Showing posts from January, 2015

Hostile Boss? Take Him On!

Have you ever had a boss who shamed or intimidated you?  It's probaby pretty hard to get through a career without at least one.  I had mine back in my 30s, and to this day, his name can usher up feelings of powerlessness and anger.

I never retaliated in any way (remember, I'm a good girl), but now a new study is saying that, if you have a boss who is hostile to you, your best bet is to fight him back, which, of course goes against just about any advice usually given by recruiters and job coaches.

Only once in my life did I have a boss who just didn't like me.  I suppose I brought it on myself, even though I thought I was doing the right thing.  I was not long out of college (and a little wet behind the ears, I admit), but when I was working for a major corporation (with rigid protocols), I asked my boss' boss if he had any work I could do because I was sitting idle.

The only problem was the manager sandwiched in between us -- my immediate boss.  Now, granted…

Trust Your Friends? They May Know How Long You'll Live

I don't know whether to be delighted -- scared-- but supposedly your friends know how long you'll  live. 

That's according to a new study by Washington University in St. Louis.  Apparently, close friends  may have a better sense of whether you'll live a long life, suggests new research on personality and longevity.

“You expect your friends to be inclined to see you in a positive manner, but they also are keen observers of the personality traits that could send you to an early grave,” says Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, at

The study demonstrates that your personality at an early age (20s) can predict how long you will live across 75 years and that close friends are usually better than you at recognizing these traits.

Male participants seen by their friends as more open and conscientious ended up living longer. Female participants whose friends rated them as high on emotional stability and agreeable…

Intrude on Your Kid's Computer Use? Maybe Not, Says Study

I'm not so sure about this but a new study has found that if we as parents intrude too much on our kids' computer use, it could be a bad thing.  Uh oh.  Guess I'm guilty.

But not of intruding.  More of yelling at him to get off it.  But anyway.

According to the University of Haifa, intrusive monitoring of Internet use by parents actually leads adolescents to increase their risky behavior online, reports.

I keep thinking about a recent episode of "Married," that slightly obscene (but funny) cable show about middle-aged marriage, where the parents of three young girls go to visit another family and the bored dad wanders upstairs to find a computer, and starts looking at porn, only to have the poor pimply teenaged son blamed by the father in the other family when the alarm he set goes off.  Guess you had to be there.

Anyway, the study found that parents who very closely monitor their children’s Internet use in an attempt to reduce unsafe online behavi…

Is Your Tot Autonomous? It's All Good, if He Is

I'm starting to think maybe I wasn't such a good mom.

It seems that tots who are more autonomous tend to, later in life, have higher cognitive skills (I think that means they're smarter), according to a new study.

When my son was young, I didn't let him do anything alone.  (He didn't want to, but that wasn't because of me, right?)  I kept an eagle eye on him no matter where he was, except for the one time I was in the kitchen and he climbed up on a car seat we happened to have in the house in the family room and it tipped over, crashing his head into the glass table (only one stitch, and they were able to glue it).  Maybe that's one of the reasons I decided never to leave him alone again. 

Even once he went to school.  (On the first day of kindergarten, I actually let him go on the bus.  But that was because we had a whole slew of kids at the bus stop and the older ones tended to look out for the younger ones.)

I remember the day in first grade he wasn'…

Now, Can Your Cell Phone Help You Lose Weight?

Figures.  I just finished writing about how weight loss devices don't help you lose weight.  And now experts are saying cell phones can do the trick.

That's because cell phones can besiege you with reminder texts about losing weight and maintaining it.   I say "besiege" because that's the absolute last thing I would want from my phone.  (I barely tolerate the texts from my friends.)

“In conjunction with reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity, mobile messaging services could help to maintain and sustain weight loss over time,” says Tanika Kelly, associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, who did a study on this.   “It reminds us to continue our good behaviors.”

In the study, done in China (where, admittedly, not too many people are overweight), those who got weight loss reminders and encouragement over their phones lost 3 pounds more than those who did not.  That may not sound l…

Men Will Commit When Women are Scarce

Wouldn't you just know?

When women are scarce, men will do just anything to get one.  That's according to a new study of, of all things, the Makushi people in Guyana, which showed that men are more likely to seek long-term relationships when women are in short supply, as reported by

In my experience, it's the woman who's always looking for the commitment, while the man, looking over his shoulder to make sure he hasn't missed someone cuter.

“Commitment to a relationship is influenced by the availability of partners. So we can think of the number of men and women in a population as a potential mating market where the principles of supply and demand hold sway,” says University of Utah anthropologist Ryan Schacht, first author of the study published online Wednesday, Jan. 14 in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

 I suppose that's true.  I haven't been on the dating scene for quite a while but I seem to remember that the more laid-back y…

Want the Good Life? It's Easier Than You Think

It's what we all want.

The good life.

Now a new study says it may be easier than we think.

According to Vanderbilt University anthropologist and World Health Organization well-being adviser (did you know there was such a thing?) Ted Fischer, it's not about getting more money or things, but a journey.  He studied German supermarket shoppers and Guatemalan coffee farmers to discover what hopes and dreams they share, and how anthropology can tell us about what the “good life” means for all of us.

“It’s not just money, and I think we’re realizing that more and more,” Fischer said. “But that’s a big realization because for a long time we’ve thought that money is the answer.”

 A journey?  You know all that talk about life being not a destination but a journey?  Turns out it might be true.  For the longest time in my life, I thought -- if I could just publish my novel, move in with my boyfriend, find a more fulfilling job, get married, have a child -- then life would be perfect.

Want Your Kid to Get Good Grades? Send Him to Bed At a Regular Time Every Night


Looks like my husband was right again.  A new study has found that getting kids to bed at the same time every night (read: early) is a very good thing.

Researchers found that a good night’s sleep is linked to better performance in math and languages – subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success, according to

 In findings published recently in the journal Sleep Medicine, the researchers reported that “sleep efficiency” is associated with higher academic performance in those key subjects. Sleep efficiency is a gauge of sleep quality that compares the amount of actual sleep time with the total time spent in bed.

While other studies have pointed to links between sleep and general academic performance, these   scientists examined the impact of sleep quality on report-card grades in specific subjects. The upshot: with greater sleep efficiency, the children did better in math and languages – but don't go nuts about science an…

Think Tracking Device Will Help You Lose Weight? Think Again


Wearing a tracking device won't really help you to lose weight.

Not that I didn't already know that.  I clipped a Weight Watchers' Active Link to my bathing suit in the summer and swam my laps, and to my shorts when I went running, all to find out how much food I could eat for all the exercise I was doing.  It turned out that I burned a lot of "points," how you count calories for Weight Watchers.

But I didn't lose much weight.  In fact, some weeks I gained.  All to say that exercise only contributes about 15% (according to experts) to weight loss.

No matter.  I accidentally left the device on my bathing suit when I washed it and though it survived the washing machine, the dryer was another story entirely.

I figured I didn't really need it.  I already knew how much I could eat if I didn't want to gain, and some weeks I could, and some weeks I couldn't.

Apparently that's all been discovered in a new study by researchers at the Perelman S…

Like, Not Love, Can Make Marriages Last

My husband watches Fox News.  He loves Bill O'Reilly.  Mike Huckabee, too.  He's against allowing immigrants to remain in this country.  And he's not too crazy about the Affordable Care Act, or President Obama.

We don't see eye-to-eye on anything.

So how are we still together?  I like him.

I wouldn't have said that  half our relationship ago.  In the beginning, there were many years when it was a competition.   Who could win first?

But then, life intervened.  We had a child, I got cancer, our mothers both developed serious illnesses and died. 

And suddenly winning didn't seem the point anymore.

Of course, everything isn't perfect.  He still makes me furious, pretending he doesn't hear me when I ask him to take out the garbage or vacuum the family room floor.  He still comes home and drops his coat on the floor (as does our son now, too). And his idea of a birthday gift (even a big one) is well, a card, if I'm lucky.

But something has happened.  No …

Like M&Ms When You're Stressed? You''ll Like Them Just as Much When You're Not

What do you do when you're stressed?

Reach for a half-pound bag of M&M's, like I do, or a couple glasses of merlot like my friends do?  Or maybe watch a Housewives Reunion where they all scream at and accuse each other of everything from copying their Jimmy Choo Belgravias to calling each other's kids spoiled?

Well, the sad truth is that feeling stressed may prompt you to go to great lengths to satisfy an urge for a drink or sweets, but you're not likely to enjoy the indulgence any more than someone who is not stressed and has the same treat just for pleasure, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association, as reported by

 "Most of us have experienced stress that increases our craving for rewarding experiences, such as eating a tasty bar of chocolate, and it can make us invest considerable effort in obtaining the object of our desire, such as running to a convenience store in the middle of the night," …