Do you put off until tomorrow things you should do today? Or tell yourself that you work better “under pressure”? If you’re a procrastinator, you’re probably a master at making excuses rather than making plans to get the job done. A study done at the Universities of Southern California and Michigan found that putting an end to procrastination is as simple as changing your time frame to make the task seem more imminent. For instance, saving for your child’s college education or your own retirement is easy to put off if you see it as years away. But if you give yourself a shorter deadline — months rather than years — you’re more likely to start that nest egg now. Researchers say this approach helps you feel more connected to the goal. You can apply this simple shift in deadline to any task, such as a work presentation due in two weeks or a tag sale you have planned for next month. Change the due date to this week and you’ll be more motivated to get started. Another key is gaining self-awareness. Ask yourself what you’re trying to avoid and why. Some people procrastinate because they’re afraid of failing and might benefit from getting outside help. There are even classes that teach you how to overcome procrastination. If you simply feel overwhelmed by the size…  read on >

Depression in the man may reduce the chances that a couple struggling with infertility will ultimately conceive, new research suggests. Depression among women was not linked to lower conception rates, the study authors said. But women being treated for infertility who also took a type of antidepressant known as non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (non-SSRIs) were found to have more than triple the risk of first-trimester miscarriage, compared to women not using those medications. By contrast, the class of antidepressants known as SSRIs was not linked to any miscarriage risk. The findings are from an analysis of two infertility treatment studies that also screened couples for depression. Together, the studies included about 3,200 men and women. None was using in vitro fertilization procedures at the time. Just over 2 percent of the men and about 6 percent of the women had active major depression. “Our study provides infertility patients and their physicians with new information to consider when making treatment decisions,” said study author Dr. Esther Eisenberg. She made her comments in a news release from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which funded the study. Eisenberg is a medical officer with the fertility and infertility branch of the NICHD. She and her colleagues detailed their findings in the May edition of the journal Fertility and Sterility. While the study found…  read on >

The #MeToo movement has shone the spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, but a new survey shows most U.S. employers aren’t tackling the issue. The movement “has given business leaders an opportunity to finally take real action addressing a complex problem that has been pervasive for generations,” said survey author David Ballard. He is director of the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “Our survey — as well as anecdotal reports — shows that too few employers are making comprehensive efforts that can have significant impact,” Ballard added in a news release from the association. Ballard’s team conducted an online poll of just over 1,500 U.S. adults who had full- or part-time jobs or were self-employed. The poll showed that workers were now more likely to report sexual harassment, but many of their employers weren’t doing more to address the issue. Only 32 percent of these workers said their employer had implemented new measures to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey, published May 15, showed that most companies simply issued reminders about sexual harassment training or resources that were already in place. The survey found that only 10 percent of U.S. workers gained access to additional training or resources related to sexual harassment since the #MeToo movement began. Just 8 percent of workers said their company implemented tougher sexual harassment…  read on >

Ordering an appetizer rather than an entree can be the answer to enjoying restaurant meals without busting your calorie budget. The trick is to ask for yours to be served when everyone else gets their main course so you’re not just left watching your dining companions enjoying their meal. If they’re ordering appetizers, make yours a green salad with dressing on the side — a healthy and filling way to start any meal. Even though you’re ordering a scaled down “entree,” you still need to choose carefully. Think seafood, a low-calorie protein that’s on most appetizer menus. At a steakhouse, shrimp cocktail or a seafood tower is a great choice. At a French or Spanish restaurant, try steamed mussels or clams. Going out for Mexican? Go for nutrient-dense, heart-healthy guacamole, but instead of dipping in with greasy chips, order a small plate of raw vegetables like red pepper strips and carrots. At Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants, try a traditional cucumber-and-tomato-based chopped salad with a small portion of feta cheese or a single lamb kebob. For Italian fare, grilled and marinated antipasto with peppers, mushrooms and olives is tasty and filling. Asian cuisines, from Chinese to Thai to Vietnamese, feature clear soups with vegetables and lean meat or seafood for a hearty meal. Avoid dumplings because they’re mostly dough. When the urge for Japanese food…  read on >

It’s smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol — and not taking illegal drugs — that pose the greatest risks to people’s health, a new international study contends. Researchers found that alcohol and tobacco use combined cost more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted life-years worldwide, while illegal drugs only accounted for tens of millions in comparison. Disability-adjusted life-years is a measurement of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death. Worldwide, more than one in seven adults smoke tobacco, and one in five reports at least one occasion of heavy drinking in the past month, the review of 2015 data found. Central, Eastern and Western Europe have the highest alcohol consumption per person, and the highest rates of heavy consumption among drinkers (50.5 percent, 48 percent, and just over 42 percent, respectively), according to the report. Those same areas also have the highest rates of tobacco smoking — Eastern Europe 24.2 percent, Central Europe 23.7 percent, and Western Europe almost 21 percent. Illicit drug use was far less common worldwide, with fewer than one in 20 people estimated to use marijuana in the past year, with much lower rates of use for amphetamines, opioids and cocaine, the researchers said. But the United States and Canada had among the highest rates of dependence on marijuana (749…  read on >

It’s no secret that money worries can lead to health issues, so reducing monthly bills is a great goal. But it’s also important to know that some so-called time-saving conveniences can actually cost you more. For instance, one study found that people who sign up for auto-pay for their electric bills used up to 7 percent more power than they used to. The reason: not seeing monthly statements can make you less in tune with your usage. You can still streamline monthly payments, however. For starters, sign up for one-click bill processing, which still requires you to look at the bill via text, e-mail or the company’s website. Review all monthly bills online if you’ve gone paperless. To save on utilities — including cellphone service — when “introductory rates” expire, call to ask for an extension or a better plan. For many families, food is a top expense. Boost nutrition and cut costs by shopping in season at farmers’ markets. At the grocery store, buy in season or shop the frozen-food aisle for out-of-season favorites. Keep in mind that the largest bags offer the best value. Shop ethnic markets for lower prices on spices and condiments. Buy foods by the bag, not by the piece. Buy grains and cereals in bulk and, for added nutrition, choose whole grains. Try supermarket store brands. Many chain stores…  read on >