By all accounts, stress—and its accompanying emotional mix of frustration, anxiety and fear—is bad for your health. When you experience stress in your body, you release increased amounts of glucose from our liver into your blood, and your body produces cortisone, which is actually toxic to your system. Your heart rate goes up, sending more enriched blood to your muscles. Your immune system kicks into high gear, and you stay in this high-alert state which is only designed to help you combat real threats, depleting you physically.
Chances are you’ve felt a bit discouraged by the global warning reports. On the one hand, they say that our world is in for trouble unless we make significant changes in how our global economy produces the energy it needs to function. On the other, they tell us that even if we shift totally over to clean energy tomorrow (not likely), the troubling warming trend—and polar ice melts, flooding of coastal areas, and increasing droughts, hurricanes and severe winters—will continue to accelerate for the next 30-50 years. The damage has already been done.
Just over 35,000 Americans were killed in automobile crashes in 2015, a 7% increase over the previous year, which represented the largest annual increase since 1965. Does that mean Americans are less safe, or more safe, than drivers in other parts of the developed world?
How do you become an empowered health care consumer? A recent blog post on the Forbes magazine website, authored by financial planner/doctor Carolyn McClanahan, suggests that the relationship between doctors and patients is entering a third phase of its long-term evolution. Phase one was paternalistic, where the doctor told the patient what to do and the patient was expected to do it. With the rise of the Internet, the relationship has become more informational—the doctor provides the patient with a number of choices, and the patient chooses one of them.
Which is America’s most popular alcoholic beverage: beer, wine or liquor? The Gallup organization found that beer is America’s choice when it comes to alcoholic consumption, and that has generally been true since the polling company has been asking the question. Today, 42% of Americans answered “beer” when asked which beverage they drink most often, compared with 32% naming wine, and 20% who prefer one of a variety of liquors.
Do you fast—that is, do you give up food periodically? If you don’t, you should probably consider changing your habits.
Why? A variety of researchers have begun studying the health benefits of fasting, and they’ve made some interesting discoveries. When you skip eating for a day or two, your brain seems to respond by adapting new pathways, and also producing beneficial proteins that promote the growth of neurons and the strength of the synaptic connections between them.
What is a dollar worth?
If you answered that it’s worth a dollar, you must be living in Illinois. A research report by U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the prices for a particular basket of goods and services—food, transportation, housing and education—are higher in some states than others. Illinois came in at almost exactly the average; a $100 bill will buy $100.70 worth of the items. People living in the District of Columbia, the nation’s most expensive area, would have to pay, on average, $118.10 for the same basket of items.