6 Ways Sex Affects Your Brain


 
Even though you're bumping uglies everywhere but your heads, your brain should be the center of your sex life. Orgasms occur in the brain (and elsewhere), and you want to make sure that you're getting the most, um, bang for your buck. Consider these six ways that sex affects your brain, and always think (and act) responsibly.
  1. It Makes You Want More

    The major neurochemical that's affected by sexual activity is dopamine. Dopamine is the control center for survival mechanisms and cravings. It's also the neurotransmitter whose reuptake is inhibited in the use of cocaine. All this to say, sex is a drug. The more you have, the more you crave. And that's the chemical truth.
  2. It Makes You Want To Cuddle

    When you have sex, oxytocin is released, pair-bonding you to the person that you're shagging. Oxytocin is released in higher doses after a female orgasm, while male orgasms release more dopamine — activating the addictive reward brain centers, not the "cuddle hormone."
  3. During an Orgasm, You Literally Go Insane

    Your brain is affected in numerous ways at the point of climax, with thirty brain centers being activated during female orgasm. Your nervous system short circuits and your pain centers are numbed, just by the act of finishing the deed. Scientists at Rutgers have the studies to prove it — a good old-fashioned orgasm jumbles up the brain so much, it can make you all but paralyzed (seriously) by pleasure.
  4. It Can Make You A Junkie

    Sex addiction is a real thing, just like drugs and alcohol. Anything you do compulsively can turn into an addiction, and having mega amounts of sex can incite junkie-like behavior. Your pleasure centers are affected upon orgasm, and endorphins and dopamine are affected and released. If you get more high than you do randy, make sure that your sexual activity is reinforcing positive not destructive behavior. Junkies might get laid in scads, but no one wants the issues that come with compulsive copulating.
  5. It Makes You Feel Good

    If you can't have sex, eat some chocolate. And if you're not hungry, whet your appetite for love. Sexual activity releases endorphins (just like chocolate!) and adrenaline (just like running!), making you feel great. Who knew that post-coital glow was chemically founded? After a roll in the hay, enjoy the good that you've done for your mind and body.
  6. It Makes You Healthier

    A healthy sex life that's a positive force in your life can work wonders for your brain chemistry and help level you out. The mark of a balanced sex life is one that lifts you up, not brings you down. Those suffering from mild depression (which often comes with loss of libido) or other mood disorders can help even out their chemistries by engaging in sexual activity — but you've got to make sure that it's a balanced and healthy situation from square one.

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Your Brain on Vacation: 11 Proven Benefits of Taking Time Off


 
Your brain works hard every day, regulating your breathing, controlling your heart rate, helping you shout answers at the TV while "Jeopardy" is on. Isn't it time you gave it a rest? Sure, you could zone out for a few minutes and take a so-called "brain vacation," but then you risk making all your other organs jealous. Allow us to give you the incentive to book that trip you've been debating taking to the Bahamas: your brain reaps terrific benefits like these when you shut the office down and check out.
  1. Lower stress levels:

    We're sure we don't have to tell you taking time off from stressful work makes you feel less stressed. But you may have only suspected the corollary benefit, which is that your performance goes up after a period of no stress. A study by doctors at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York found that in rats and medical students, test results were much lower for tests taken during periods of high stress. But given time to let that stress dissolve, the subjects scored much higher.
  2. Stimulating creative thinking:

    If you can afford to take your vacation abroad, you'll receive the added benefit of kick starting your creative juices. Research by Northwestern University professor Adam Galinsky and INSEAD business professor William Maddux found that travel abroad helps people overcome "functional fixedness" by forcing people to adapt to new cultures and ways of doing things. However, the boost in creativity was found to be more significant in people who lived abroad, as opposed to brief visitors, so the longer you can stay, the better.
  3. Enhanced changes in brain connections:

    Kids may look forward to hiking, fishing, riding roller-coasters, eating junk food, or any number of other fun activities that don't get to do at home. But for many adults, the best thing about vacation is sleep. And sleep has a number of brain benefits and can even physically impact the brain for the better. A UC-San Francisco study with cats proved sleep helped create more brain change after an environmental stimulus. And during deep sleep, the brain reorganizes connections to the most optimal arrangement.
  4. Improved memory:

    Dopamine is one of the "happy hormones" produced by the brain that plays a number of roles, but especially factors into learning. Dopamine is released when we experience something new (as we do during a vacation) and helps form memories. Dr. Russell Poldrack, of the Imaging Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin says that participating in such new activities can even help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
  5. Combat depression:

    Although science cannot yet explain the entire process for what causes depression, it is known that at its root, depression is a brain problem. It is believed that the chemicals the brain uses to communicate are out of balance in people with depression. It has been proven, however, that vacations help the brain fight depression. For example, a 2005 study conducted at Wisconsin's Marshfield Clinic found that women who don't take regular vacations are two to three times more likely to be depressed than women who take them regularly.
  6. Increased serotonin output:

    In addition to increased dopamine, vacation also causes your brain to up its production of serotonin. Although too much serotonin can cause problems, a good amount of it is crucial for emotional stability and even a person's social life, as high serotonin levels predispose people to a positive outlook and a friendly demeanor. Could this explain why it's so easy to make friends while you're on vacation?
  7. Improved reaction time:

    A 2006 study out of New Zealand discovered that after a vacation, people had a 25% quicker reaction time in the brain, eyes, and muscles on average, and as much as an 80% improvement in some cases. And that was after a vacation that lasted as little as two or three days. The boost was attributed to the better-quality and longer-lasting sleep that travelers get on vacation.
  8. Keep your brain out of "calorie" mode:

    This is actually an overall health benefit, but it begins with your brain. Dr. Tony Massey says that even small stressors like trying to talk on a cell phone and drive in traffic cause your brain to go through chemical changes: your brain begins outputting signals to your body that make you feel hungrier and crave calories, especially empty calories. So getting away from stress on vacation can actually help you keep your weight down.
  9. Improved ability to coordinate and plan:

    In addition to allowing you more free time to work out, virtually every vacation involves exercise you wouldn't normally get, like carrying luggage, running to make a flight, walking around sightseeing, and more. And of course, the brain benefits of exercise are well-documented. Aerobic exercise strengthens your mind's ability to plan long-term, coordinate multiple tasks, and stay focused longer. So while laying on a beach for a week is good, mixing in a hike, bike ride, surfing lesson, or golf outing is even better.
  10. Feeling like a kid again:

    According to Baylor neuroscience professor David Eagleman, adults tend to compress memories, which results in the feeling that time is going faster than it really is. The way to combat this perception is to take a vacation somewhere you've never been before, "essentially putting you — neurally — in the same position as when you were a child." And who doesn't want to feel like a kid again?
  11. Limits brain-damaging screen time:

    The amount of time children spend in front of video screens is higher than ever. Although too much time staring at TV and computer screens is not good for anyone, it is especially damaging to children, whose brains are still developing. Experts are saying children are risking dependency on screen time due to over-exposure, and they worry that the brain could be permanently rewired after too much computer game time. Leave the laptops and portable DVD players at home, and vacations are a great way to give your kids' brains a much-needed screen time break. http://www.onlinemba.com



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7 Health Issues Men Over the Age of 40 Shouldn’t Ignore


 

Posted by: Staff Writers
Writer for InsuranceQuotes.org

Contrary to the messages our youth-obsessed country perpetuates on TV and in films, both men and women are incredibly creative, productive, and yes, passionate in their 40s. We hope you knew that already. However, with age comes certain health issues that shouldn't be ignored. But men, generally speaking, don't like to go to the doctor. Some men may even consider going to the doctor as a sign of weakness. To make matters worse, men in our society are encouraged to be macho and stoic when it comes to physical discomfort, which can cause them to ignore symptoms of serious diseases. So guys, it's time to man up and check out these seven health issues men 40 or older need to be aware of and discuss them with a trusted physician. Your loved ones will be glad you did!
  1. High Blood Pressure:

    As you get older, your blood vessels become stiffer, and your blood pressure goes up. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to serious health problems including stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. Fortunately, there are many ways to monitor your blood pressure outside of your doctor's office, including an easy-to-use iPhone app. And there are several simple and enjoyable preventive measures you can take to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, including exercise, eating healthy, and meditation.
  2. Diabetes:

    Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, sometimes called adult-onset diabetes, is most common in people over the age of 40. This type of diabetes can lead to kidney or eye problems.  People with African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, and certain Asian and Pacific Island heritage are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It's important to have your doctor test your blood sugar to diagnose diabetes if you are experiencing its symptoms, including increased thirst and hunger or frequent urination, or if there is a history of diabetes or obesity in your family.
  3. High cholesterol:

    Hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol can lead to the hardening of arteries, heart disease, and even stroke. It is more commonly diagnosed in men under the age of 55, but its risks increase with age. Since high cholesterol is often symptomless, have your doctor test your blood regularly. Good dietary habits and exercise are great preventive measures you can take toward maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol.
  4. Depression:

    The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 6 million men have depression each year. Symptoms of depression are often erroneously and derogatorily described as evidence of a "mid-life crisis," rather than indicators of a serious health issue. Men suffering from undiagnosed depression may exhibit clich├ęd "male" behavior, including anger and aggression, and engage in alcohol and drug abuse. Fortunately, once properly diagnosed, depression can be treated through talk-therapy, mediation, and even acupuncture, before turning to prescription drugs.
  5. Lung cancer:

    The number of new lung cancer cases has dropped steadily since the 1980s, no doubt due in part to the Surgeon General's 1964 report on smoking and health. But lung cancer is still the leading cancer killer in both men and women, more than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined! A small number of people who don't smoke get lung cancer. But experts agree that smoking, a habit that can be harder to kick than heroin, is a leading cause of lung cancer. So if you smoke, try to quit. Will it be easy? No. But your body and your loved ones will thank you in the end.
  6. Prostate cancer:

    After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men. However, there is increased awareness of the importance of discussing testing for prostate cancer with your doctor. The two commonly used tests for early detection of prostate cancer, a blood test and rectal exam, are helpful but not absolutely conclusive. Talk to your doctor about your family's health history, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing, including trouble urinating, swelling in your legs, and discomfort in your pelvic area, to determine if further testing is necessary to screen for prostate cancer.
  7. Impotence:

    Men can experience varying degrees of impotence or erectile dysfunction as they get older. Many of the health issues we discussed can contribute to impotence, including unmanaged diabetes, obesity, smoking, substance abuse, and cardiovascular disease. And addressing these health issues, with exercise and a better diet, can help you in the bedroom. If you are experiencing impotence, before you take those Viagra ads soundtracked by blues guitar too much to heart, talk with your doctor in detail about your health and lifestyle. There may be a simple, drug-free solution to the issue.

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