If You Have Any Of These 5 Habits You’re Not Letting Yourself Be Truly Happy

I’m sure you’ve heard that advice about “choosing” happiness. It sounds a little vague, right? But there’s definitely truth to it. Not only do our choices influence happiness, but our habits do too.

Happier people have habits, like being optimistic, taking accountability for your actions and focusing on experiences instead of owning materialistic things. On the flip side, there are habits that will keep you feeling down in the dumps all the time too.

Forbes published a list about 10 troubling habits of people who are always unhappy and some of them are pretty surprising. Here are some of the most common habits of unhappy people.

1. You don’t get out enough.

Unhappy people tend to make a habit of retreating. Being alone all the time can get lonely, no matter how much you think you’re enjoying it. Loneliness is never a happy feeling.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, socializing with people you like being around and care for is a huge mood booster. So is trying new things in a group setting, like fun meetups or fitness classes.

Sure, some days you just have to keep to yourself, maybe not leave your apartment and eat a bowl of cereal in bed. But the more that becomes a pattern for you, the more unhappy you’ll feel.

2. You compare yourself to others.

No matter how you slice it, happy people aren’t jealous. Envy can take over your whole life outlook if you let it. Unhappy people are very focused on what others have that they don’t. Because we’re constantly connected on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and every other area of social media, it’s easy to get sucked in and take note of all the cool things people are doing.

It’s easy to feel a pang of jealousy. I’m not saying happy people don’t use social media. But, how much you have in life doesn’t equate to happiness. Just because people are showing off on social media doesn’t mean they’re actually happy either.

3. You’re just hoping for something better.

Something unhappy people say all the time is, “I’ll be happy if…” They tell themselves they’ll be happy if they get a promotion or if they lose 20 pounds. But that type of thinking can make you just feel worse. You can’t exactly guarantee what will happen in the future.

Telling yourself you’ll be happy if something happens, like getting a raise, is like hoping a million dollars just falls into your lap. As much as we’d like to dream about that, it’s very unlikely to happen. You have to make your “I’ll be happy if” situations happen. Happy people don’t overlook what they have now because they hope for something better in the future.

4. You accumulate meaningless stuff instead of making memories.

One common habit of unhappy people is retail therapy. People who turn to buying stuff to make themselves feel better will only get a temporary rush of happiness. Retail therapy doesn’t actually make people feel better in the long run. It just makes people feel worse.

Filling your life and environment with things won’t make you happy, which is why so many happy people are minimalists. Instead, it’s best to spend money and time on experiences with friends, family and doing what you love.

5. You’re waiting for life to happen.

Pessimistic and unhappy people are less proactive than happy people. They tend to wait for things to happen to them instead of making them happen.

The thing is, going after what you want is scary AF. If you pursue something, you could fail. It’s always easier to do nothing than to do something. Unhappy people will do the former because, well, doing something means actually trying for once.

Obviously, we all have our unhappy days where we might do a little retail therapy or have a quiet day at home alone. But if you avoid turning these behaviors into habits, you’re going to live a happier life. You can read the full list of unhappy habits here.


If You Have One Of These Five Jobs, It’s Probably Ruining Your Health

It’s not shocking to hear that working in an office isn’t as dangerous as working in a factory, but a risky work environment isn’t the only unhealthy part of having a job.

According to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, American workers are super stressed out. In fact, high levels of stress impact our overall health in a major way.

A sample of adults working full or part-time who were not self-employed and worked over 20 hours a week at their main gig participated in the poll.

And the results show the overall health of America’s working adults isn’t great.

Basically, stress negatively affects 43 percent of working adults’ health the most, next to eating habits at 28 percent, sleeping habits at 27 percent and weight at 22 percent.

On top of that, one out of five adults say their job exposes them to unsafe conditions. The job that is most dangerous and has the highest negative impact on health, you ask? Retail outlets.

Second place to retail outlets is construction/outdoor work, followed by factory or manufacturing work, then medical work and, in fifth place, working in non-retail stores.

The jobs with lower negative impact on health are in schools, offices and restaurants.

This is pretty straightforward. People who work outside risk putting themselves in more dangerous situations on a daily basis than people like me, who sit in an office all day with walls and a roof. The heaviest machine I operate in the office is probably the Keurig.

The biggest surprise from this study is the fact that physical safety didn’t have the biggest negative impact on health in the workplace, though. The biggest factor is, in fact, stress.

The results from the poll back up America’s reputation for being full of workaholics. Most people reported that they work overtime, but it’s not because they have to. The data showed that people aren’t taking full advantage of their vacation days, sick days and paid time off in general.

Taking breaks is a foolproof stress-reliever. The problem is, we don’t really take breaks anymore. The poll found that even when people take vacation days, 43 percent of high-pay workers still work during their so-called “time off.” This percentage is much higher compared to the 28 percent of average-pay workers and 18 percent of low-pay workers who don’t fully unplug on their time off.

So, really, the stress caused by our jobs is somewhat voluntary. Why are people so addicted to working if it’s literally harming their physical health?

Apparently, people work on vacation simply because they like it (50 percent), need the cash (37 percent) or find that it’s important for their careers to work longer hours (56 percent).

There’s no one simple answer to eliminating work-related stress, but maybe utilizing all of our vacation days would be a great place to start.

Unless you’re a surgeon or something, no one is going to die if you aren’t at your desk because you’re taking the vacation you’re allowed to have. Taking time off to properly de-stress will make you a better (and happier) worker.

If you’re in the 56 percent who believes longer hours are important for career development, what do you think would happen if you took all of your vacation days or didn’t work more than 50 hours a week?


You’ve Probably Been Pooping The Wrong Way Your Entire Life

I always thought I was good at number two because — I don’t know — I’m a potty-trained human, but according to the Huffington Post, I suck at the aftermath part. Namely, the wiping my butt aspect.

We’re taught several things growing up about wiping our doo-doo off our derrieres. First, you’re supposed to wipe from top to bottom, so you don’t spread fecal matter into your vagina and/or penis. Second, you should wash your damn hands after wiping your tuchus. If you still have any questions, there’s an entire guide dedicated to making your butt-wiping adventures less stressful.

Here’s where you’re f*cking up: Your ass-wiping experience should be totally hands-free. As in, you shouldn’t be using toilet paper to wipe your dirty butt. Instead, you should be using a motherf*cking bidet.

Toilet paper doesn’t necessarily make us “cleaner” — that’s a purely psychological thing, considering we’re forced to be very hands-on with our poop removal.

A toilet equipped with a bidet might seem weird at first, but it’ll actually get you cleaner. Toilet paper smears your business all over your precious tush, while water will just eliminate it altogether.

It’s also a matter of sustainability. One study claimed that Americans use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year. Additionally, we need 473,587,500,000 gallons of water and 253,000 tons of chlorine to produce that much TP.

If you’re on the market for a fancy, new (wet) throne, the Toto is a great option. It’s exported from Japan, and the New York Times wrote an entire article about it. That means it’s the fanciest throne your ass can ever sit on (unless it’s the Iron Throne, but I digress).

If you can’t drop the $500 to $10,000 on a Toto (or if bidets freak you out), you can just opt for old-school wet wipes and alternate those with the dry, old-school kind. Or, you know, you can just cease pooping altogether. Your call.


Lawsuits Over Baby Powder Raise Questions About Cancer Risk

Deane Berg thought she was going to die, and she wanted to know why. She was 49, way too young, she thought, to have advanced cancer in her ovaries.

As she scrolled through websites that listed possible causes of ovarian cancer, one jumped out at her: talcum powder. She did not have risk factors like infertility or endometriosis, but she had dusted baby powder between her legs every day for 30 years.

“I went into the bathroom, I grabbed my Johnson’s Baby Powder and threw it in the wastebasket,” recalled Ms. Berg, now 59, a physician assistant in Sioux Falls, S.D. “I said, ‘What else could it be?’”

Ms. Berg was the first of thousands of women with ovarian cancer to file a lawsuit against the consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson, claiming that Baby Powder caused their disease and pointing to a long trail of studies linking talc to the cancer. The research dates to 1971, when scientists in Wales discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors.

Since then, numerous studies have linked genital talc use to ovarian cancer, including a report earlier this month that among African-American women, genital use of powder is linked with a 44 percent increased risk for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson says its trademark Baby Powder is safe, and it plans to appeal two multimillion dollar jury awards, including $55 million in damages awarded to a cancer survivor earlier this month and a $72 million award in February.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2006 classified talcum powder as a possible human carcinogen if used in the female genital area. But the agency, part of the World Health Organization, has also said pickled vegetables and coffee are possible carcinogens and that hot dogs cause cancer.

Johnson & Johnson says research implicating talcum powder is flawed and points to studies that absolve talc of any cancer risk.

“We have children ourselves,” said Tara Glasgow, the research and development lead for the company’s baby products franchise worldwide. “We would never sell a product we didn’t believe was safe.”

So did the juries get it right or wrong? Is it plausible that Johnson’s Baby Powder — that clean-smelling soft stuff that’s a medicine cabinet staple, packaged in milky-white containers and supposedly mild enough for babies’ bottom — can cause cancer?

It’s not an easy question to answer.

“There is no way we’re ever going to know for certain that any exposure is necessarily causal to a disease,” said Dr. Shelley Tworoger, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard. “We might be 99 percent sure,” in some cases, she said, “but there’s usually no way to guarantee that what you see is actually the truth.”

Cancer is hard to study because it develops over a long period of time and is influenced by many factors, including genes, behaviors and environmental exposures. The best we can do, Dr. Tworoger said, “is look at the preponderance of the evidence.”

Talc is a naturally occurring clay mineral composed of magnesium and silicon. Known for its softness, it is used in cosmetic products like blush because it absorbs moisture and prevents caking. It is also an additive in tablets, chewing gum and some rice. It’s often mined in proximity to asbestos, a known carcinogen, and manufacturers have to take steps to avoid contamination. Many women use the powder on their inner thighs to prevent chafing, while others sprinkle it on their perineum, sanitary pads or underwear to stay “fresh” and dry. A 1980s ad campaign for a once-popular powder promised with a catchy jingle that “a sprinkle a day helps keep odor away.”

There has never been an experiment to see what happens when you deliberately expose women to talcum powder — for practical and ethical reasons, there never will be — so scientists must rely on observational studies that can link an exposure to a disease but cannot determine a cause-and-effect relationship.

In 1982, a Harvard professor, Dr. Daniel W. Cramer, and his colleagues compared 215 women with ovarian cancer and 215 healthy women who served as a control group. Compared with nonusers, women who used talcum powder were at nearly twice the risk for having ovarian cancer, and those who used it regularly on their genitals and sanitary pads were at more than three times the relative risk.

At least 10 subsequent studies echoed the results, with varying degrees of increased risk. But a small number of studies did not find a heightened risk for talc users.

When researchers pooled the results of similar studies involving nearly 20,000 women, they found powder use was associated with a 24 percent increased risk for ovarian cancer, an uncommon disease but one that is often fatal. If the finding is true, it means that for every five or six talcum powder users who develop ovarian cancer, one may be a result of talcum powder use, Dr. Steven A. Narod, an expert in cancer genetics from Toronto, said.

But critics say such studies can get it wrong, because they quiz women about their risk factors after a cancer diagnosis, and people, by nature, have selective memories.

“A patient is looking for reasons, and wondering, Why did this happen to me?” said Dr. Larry Copeland, a gynecologic oncologist from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and paid expert for Johnson & Johnson. If a researcher asks a patient about talc use, he said, “The answer is going to be ‘Aha, yeah — maybe that was it.’”

Dr. Copeland points to a large government-funded study, the Women’s Health Initiative. Researchers asked 61,576 women at the beginning of the study whether they had ever used perineal powder (although they did not specify talcum powder) and tracked their health over time. After 12 years, the study investigators found no relationship between powder use and cancer.

But that paper has critics, too. Dr. Narod said that the Women’s Health Initiative cohort was not large enough and did not track women long enough to find differences in ovarian cancer. The findings, he said, do not invalidate the earlier observational research that showed a link between talc and cancer.

Why talc use might lead to cancer is not clear. Studies have shown that talc crystals can move up the genitourinary tract into the peritoneal cavity, where the ovaries are. Indeed, a pathology report on Ms. Berg’s tumor found talc particles embedded in the tissue.

There is also a plausible mechanism, Dr. Tworoger said, because talc particles can set off inflammation, and inflammation is believed to play an important role in the development of ovarian cancer

Since the research began showing a link between talc and cancer in the 1990s, federal officials have not acted to remove the powders or add warning labels. The nonprofit Cancer Prevention Coalition petitioned the Food and Drug Administration in 1994 and again in 2008 for talc warning labels. In a 2014 denial letter, the agency said there was “no conclusive evidence” to establish causality, though it is plausible that talc “may elicit a foreign-body-type reaction and inflammatory response that, in some exposed women, may progress to epithelial cancers.”

Nevertheless, Johnson & Johnson made plans to “grow the franchise” by targeting African-American and Hispanic customers, according to internal company documents obtained by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Allen Smith. “Negative publicity from the health community on talc (inhalation, dust, negative doctor endorsement, cancer linkage) continues,” a 1992 memo said.

Although Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier added warning labels in 2006, J&J did not add similar warnings to its products, according to litigation documents. Baby powder does carry a warning to keep it out of the reach of children and many pediatricians discourage its use on babies, who can become ill or die after breathing in the particles. Inhalation studies in female rats demonstrated carcinogenicity, according to the National Toxicology Program. Condom and surgical glove makers have stopped dusting their products with talc.

“Talcum powder is an interesting case, because it’s not something that’s necessary,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “If there’s any doubt, why should anyone use it?”

As for Ms. Berg — the Sioux Falls woman with advanced ovarian cancer — she won her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, but the jury did not award damages. She hopes other talc lawsuits will raise awareness.

“I knew nothing about this before,” she said. “I figured baby powder is for babies, it must be safe.”

Science Says The Sunscreen You Use May Not Work, And We’re All Basically Screwed

For today’s dose of earth-shattering news, a new Consumer Reports study revealed, the sunscreen you’ve been using religiously all these years may be doing nothing at all.

I know. Let’s all take a deep breath before we dive into this one.

Alright, here it goes.

After testing 70 lotions, sprays and sticks that are all labeled as having an SPF of 30 or higher, researchers discovered that an alarming 43 percent of products do not contain what they claim to. This is a sad day not just for consumers worried about getting wrinkles from sun exposure, but also for the millions predisposed to skin cancer who need reliable protection.

So which products are to blame for rocking our belief in human decency? According to the report, CVS Kids Sun Lotion SPF 50 and Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free, Sting-Free Lotion SPF 50 do almost nothing when it comes to protecting your kids’ skin — or your skin for that matter.

On the bright side, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 and Trader Joe’s Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50 both offer the UVB and UVA protection their labels claim.

And, as always, you can prevent sunburns by avoiding the sun altogether. Just make sure to load up on vitamin D, as deficiencies can lead to other nasty problems I won’t even get into right now for the sake of your sanity.


Panadol recall: Children’s paracetamol products recalled by TGA over contamination fears

Multiple batches of children’s paracetamol products from Panadol have been recalled over contamination fears.

The Health Department, in consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has recalled Children’s Panadol, five-to-12 years suspension, supplied in 200 millilitre bottles.

In a recall alert issued on Wednesday, the TGA advised the expiry date for each of the recalled products was February 2018.

The batch number and expiry date are located at the bottom of the bottle label and on the base of the packaging.

“It has been identified that an ingredient used in the manufacture of these medicines may have been contaminated with small particles that could contain trace minerals and inert fibres,” the TGA said in its notice.

“The quantity of these particles would be small and they may not be visible in the product.

“If this occurs, there is a very low risk of allergic reaction and there is also potential for the medicine to be less effective over time.”

The TGA has advised the affected product could be returned to the place of purchase for a refund.

No other batches, bottle sizes or products are affected by this recall.

Anyone with concerns has been urged to phone call GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Australia on 1800 028 533.


New eyeglasses to help people with severe vision loss

Researchers have designed new eyeglasses using high-power prisms to optimally expand the visual fields of patients with hemianopia — a condition in which the visual fields of both eyes are cut by half. The new designs address some limitations of existing prism correction available to this population.

Impairing either the left or right halves of the visual fields in both eyes, hemianopia is most commonly caused by stroke, brain tumours and head trauma. Hemianopia reduces the natural visual field of about 180° to a mere 90°. People with hemianopia have difficulty detecting hazards on their blind sides — leading to collisions, falls and other accidents.

One method of treatment for hemianopia is to expand the visual field with prisms mounted on or embedded in eyeglasses.

A research team led by professor Eli Peli from Harvard Medical School has been developing prism devices to expand the visual field for these patients for more than 15 years. The peripheral prism glasses — their most recent commercially available device, introduced in 2013 — have been shown to expand the visual fields of patients with hemianopia by as much as 30°, optically shifting objects from the blind side of the visual field to the seeing side.

With the goal of expanding the visual field on the blind side even farther, the researchers explored new optical techniques to create higher power image shifting devices designed to bend the light farther than the 30° limit of conventional prisms.

By embedding the current prism in a spectacle lens that has prismatic power in the opposite direction, the image shifting effect is increased by the summation of the power of both prism types. This design — described in the journal Optometry and Vision Science — allowed for up to 36° of expansion to the visual field on the patient’s blind side.

“The new optical devices can improve the functionality of the current prism devices used for visual field expansion and may find use in various other field expansion applications such as a mobility aid for patients with tunnel vision,” Peli said.