Researchers Use Twitter to Find Pattern in Mood
Twitter is giving researchers a look at our collective emotions. Researchers who studied 500 million tweets from 84 countries over two years, searching for 1,000 words (and even emoticons) suggesting positive and negative emotions, found a definite cycle in those 140-character-or-less tweets. We're happy in the morning, with moods peaking around breakfast, Time reports. Afternoons are gloomy, and then we perk up again at night. The same emotional roller coaster was seen across most cultures and countries, according to the study, published Sept. 29 in Science. Other noteworthy findings: People seemed to be especially unhappy on Monday afternoons and particularly happy in the spring.
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Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now
Narcissism, or excessive self-love, is marked by bloated confidence, vanity, materialism, and a lack of consideration for others. Yet narcissistic personality traits have become so pervasive in American culture that they threaten to transform us into a nation of egomaniacs, research psychologists Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell say in their 2009 book The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.
Twenge and her team at San Diego State University also reported in a study that narcissism continues to spread quickly among college students, especially young women, U.S. News reported in 2009. Considering how cultural influences on girls have changed in the past decade, that's not surprising, says Twenge. Plastic surgery rates have jumped since the 1990s, and materialism is increasingly stressed in song lyrics, for example, she says. [Read more: Narcissism Epidemic: Why There Are So Many Narcissists Now.]
6 Warning Signs of a Bad Diet
These days there's a new diet almost weekly, and it's easy to find their glittering promises alluring. "People are sick of their old habits and being overweight, and they're looking for something new," says registered dietitian Jessica Crandall, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). But embark on a bad diet and you could pay a price beyond fleeting results. Some diets can cause a range of side effects, from bad breath and frequent urination, to fatigue and slowed metabolism.
That's why it's important to choose your diet wisely. For a diet that's going to yield long-term, healthy results, steer clear of these attributes:
1. It's too restrictive. Diets are supposed to be restrictive, right? Well, yes and no. A healthy diet does entail some calorie cutting and self-discipline. But a diet that has too many rules spells trouble, Crandall says. "Extreme food restrictions are hallmark signs of a quick-fix plan," she says, adding that you shouldn't have to cut out your favorite foods completely—and doing so can intensify cravings. That's one reason diets that strictly limit food options, such as the Atkins and raw food diets, tend to have higher dropout rates than, say, the Mediterranean diet, whose general guidelines leave room for variety.
2. It bans whole food groups. Removing food groups—or worse, entire nutrient groups (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins)—can catch up with you quickly. These diets eliminate nutrients the body needs to function optimally. "The brain and muscles need carbohydrates," says registered dietitian Andrea Giancoli, a nationally known nutrition expert and nutrition policy consultant for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which helps cities develop and adopt healthful food and beverage polices. That's why low-carb, high-protein diets often cause weakness, irritability and fuzzy-headedness, she explains. And short-term fasts and detox diets, like the popular Master Cleanse diet (a hot water with lemon and maple syrup variation), can have lasting side effects, including slowed metabolism and lower bone density from calcium loss. "Diets that allow you to incorporate all foods in healthy portions are the ones people stick with long term," says Giancoli, one of 22 members of a panel assembled by U.S. News to rate popular diets. [Read more: 6 Warning Signs of a Bad Diet.]
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