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  • Will Going Barefoot Make You Healthier?

    Can special shoes help you get in touch with the earth?I went to high school in LA with a girl-let's call her Brianna-who never wore shoes. We're talking at school, at parties, you name it-she was always barefoot. It's the sort of thing you could only get away with in California (can you imagine what would happen to you if you always went barefoot in New York or Chicago? Shudder .) And she seemed like a really happy, free person.

    QUIZ: Are You Overly Stressed?

    So when I read about earthing-the belief that going barefoot puts you in direct physical contact with the earth's magnetic field, which in turn, helps improve your health-I wondered if Brianna was onto something all along.

    Proponents of earthing, also known as grounding, claim that exposure to the earth's electrons neutralizes harmful free radicals that trigger inflammation and carries health benefits that range from reduced stress to less pain and a better night's sleep.

    Right about now you're probably either rolling your eyes or thinking, "Huh?" It does sound "out there,"

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  • Karma is Real, Says Science

    One day, mean girls will be extinct.Physicist Chris Adami, Ph.D., would like you to imagine the zombie apocalypse. Zombies can only feed off the brains of the living, right? So, "if everyone was turned into a zombie, then zombies would have a very hard time surviving." Naturally. Well, the same goes for mean and selfish people.

    MORE: Why Fat Talk Is Hurting Your Friendships

    Adami and Arend Hintze, from Michigan State University's Beacon Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, aren't actually preparing for the (inevitable) takeover of the living dead, but the analogy works to illustrate why being a selfish person isn't a good bet in the long run. In their August 2013 paper in Nature Communications, Adami and Hintze use complex mathematical models of game theory to show that nice guys shall inherit the Earth.

    "In a sentence, the general idea is that being mean doesn't pay, because you reap what you sow," says Adami.

    MORE: How to Deal With Needy Friends

    At the most basic level, there are numerous strategies

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  • Is Your Diet Killing You?

    Your unhealthy habits might not be as harmless as you think.A raft of sobering reports released in July 2013 reveals some surprising facts underlying the overall health and wellbeing of Americans today. We're here to give you the good news, the bad news-and a little more good news at the end.

    QUIZ: What Are You Doing to Look Young Longer?

    Here's something to jump for joy about: Americans are moving more than ever before. Over the last decade, the number of women in this country meeting their minimum physical activity requirements (150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week) has increased 4.7 percent1. Now, just over half of women in the U.S. are getting what they need-and they're catching up to men, of whom 56 percent meet the recommendation. But we can do better than half , can't we?

    We have to, because even this positive upswing in biking, hiking, jogging and swimming isn't doing enough to stem the tide of obesity. (Here's the start of that bad news we were talking about.) Obesity is still on the

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  • The 7-Minute Relationship Rescuer

    This simple exercise could guarantee a healthier, happier relationship.I'll start with two facts of life that seem at odds. First, relationships-especially marriage and marriage-like partnerships-are good for us and good for our health. When you have a partner who supports you, encourages you, helps you be the best person you can be, and also has sex with you, this is about the most wonderful thing in the world.

    I take that back-it is the most wonderful thing in the world.

    QUIZ: Are You Sexually Satisfied?

    Unfortunately, the second fact is that the quality (read: satisfaction, passion, trust, intimacy, etc.) of our relationships declines over time for just about everyone. Once you fall in love with someone and create an enduring bond, that bond starts to come apart. I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom here, but this is a well-replicated scientific finding. Even among happy couples, relationship quality declines in a systematic fashion over time.

    Everyone who has a long-term partner nods their head like crazy when someone states the

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  • The Healthiest Way to Cope with Sadness

    Sometimes hibernating with your favorite rom-coms is just what you need.Your long-term boyfriend just announced that he's met someone else. In the days following the breakup, you try to expedite the process of moving on by going out with friends, flirting with strangers and keeping the ever-present thoughts of your ex to yourself. But really, all you feel like doing is getting your best friend on the phone to rehash the dirty details of the breakup yet again. Or, if she's not available to talk, curling up on the couch with a bottle of wine and putting Adele's "Someone Like You" on repeat.

    QUIZ: Do You Get Too Attached?

    While we tend to think that distracting ourselves from our feelings is the best remedy for mending a broken heart, it's not always possible to turn off our brain's onslaught of reflective programming. Nor, according to some research, is it necessarily the only way to feel better. Indeed, surrendering to the temptation to wallow in our feelings may be the first step on the road to recovery.

    Losing the person we love (to death, or

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  • Stay Up Late? You Might Be a Narcissist

    What do people do when they're up all night? Plan and plot, obviously.It seems intuitively obvious that people who prefer to roam around at all hours of the night would be sneaky and shady. Vampires. Burglars. Wall Street bros. These are the people you have to look out for.

    Looks like there's some science behind this notion. A September 2013 study found that night owls are more likely to have "Dark Triad" traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Quick psych refresh: Narcissists feed on others' energy to build up their sense of self-worth, psychopaths have a diminished sense of remorse, and Machiavellianism is used to describe duplicity, aka backstabbing.

    Sounds like a pretty awesome trio, right?

    MORE: Are You a Narcissist?

    In the study, 263 volunteers responded to scales measuring each individual characteristic (sample psychopathy question: "I think I could beat a lie detector.''), and then a sleep scale to determine their chronotypes (night owl vs. morning lark).

    The Dark Triad was correlated with the nighttime chronotype.

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  • Listen to THIS for the Most Vigorous Workout

    The right music can really push you to work out harder.Most of us listen to music when we exercise. I listen to the Carly Simon station on Pandora. My husband listens to 80s. That's what we like, so that's what we choose.

    MORE: The Uplifting Power of Music

    However, when it comes to selecting music that will inspire the most energetic movement response from your body, there's more to it than which tunes makes you tap your feet. In fact, choosing music you may not find appealing could actually benefit your workout.

    Many research studies have looked at music's effect on exercise. Findings include that music can increase the length of time someone works out, can lower their feeling of exertion, and can help them run or swim faster, among other positive outcomes. Many of these studies addressed music tempo as playing a key role in exercise motivation and performance. Most have settled on the 125-140 beats per minute range as being ideal for a workout. But as long as the music has the recommended tempo, most researchers and exercisers alike have

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  • Do You Need More Vitamin D?

    You're probably getting more than you think.We Asked: Michael T. Murray, N.D., co-author of the "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine."

    The Answer: More than half-perhaps up to 70 percent-of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. If you're not sure where you stand, get a blood test to assess your levels. Many doctors do these tests routinely now, so ask your doctor to do an annual check, or you can even order an at-home test.

    GIVEAWAY: Win a Trip to Israel, Courtesy of AHAVA!

    Ideally, your blood level of 25(OH)D (the specific form the test measures) should be between 30 and 80 ng/ml. There is no completely agreed upon threshold for what constitutes insufficiency or deficiency, but anything below 30 is enough to raise concern. (The Vitamin D Council says levels below 40 ng/ml qualify as deficient, testing labs often put the limit at 31, and the Endocrine Society says it's 20.)

    Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium, so it's vital for bone health and strength. It also plays a role in muscle function, the immune

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  • Study: Women Are Waiting Longer Than Ever to Marry—If at All

    Putting off marriage has become the norm these days.Marital bliss can wait, according to a July 2013 study that says women are waiting longer to tie the knot-if at all-these days.

    Not long ago in the 1950s, approximately 65 percent of women over the age of 15 were married. Now, researchers at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University say that statistic has dramatically changed. Less than half of all women in the U.S. are married today, making this the lowest percentage since the turn of the century.

    MORE: Should You Marry Him?

    "Although the vast majority of Americans say they want to get married, fewer are actually getting (and staying) married," says Susan Brown, co-director at NCFMR. "Indeed, more than 10 percent of baby boomers have never married, and at this point, it is unlikely that they ever will." This trend, says Brown, is one we can expect to see continue with younger generations, too.

    Interestingly enough, if you go back even further in time, the marriage rate

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  • Why 'Thinspo' Sites Are Destroying Self-Esteem

    It's good to set goals—just make sure they're healthy ones!"Thinspiration" pages-collages of pictures and slogans designed to motivate weight loss-have popped up all over online social hubs, including Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. But beware: Your body image and self-esteem can take a major hit looking at these "thinspo" pages. Why? Because most of these user-generated collections are packed with photos of unrealistically-shaped, ultra-skinny women, along with punishing slogans like "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," and "Skip dinner, wake up thinner."

    MORE: Are Some People Born to be Thin?

    Some of these sites that may have originally started as a way for people to inspire themselves to be healthy and fit have spiraled out of control, points out Rachel Dore, an adjunct professor who specializes in eating disorders at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. "It's dangerous if what you're looking at for inspiration is not realistic," says Dore. "I think that's why some of these thinspiration

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