Is the secret to wedded bliss between the lines? Researchers have found a way to address the seven-year itch that doesn't involve scratching, but something far more junior high. Journaling. Yes, it seems that for many couples a little pen to paper action can put the bliss back in bed faster than you can say Shakespeare.
Call it a writing intervention. And it doesn't take complex rhyming couplets to get your heart beating faster. According to an article in Science Daily, just three, seven-minute online writing exercises was enough to keep the fire stoked for the 120 couples surveyed.
"I don't want it to sound like magic, but you can get pretty impressive results with minimal intervention," said Eli Finkel, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at New Northwestern University.
Every four months over a two-year period, the married couples rated their "relationship satisfaction, love, intimacy, trust, passion and commitment." They also recounted—while trying to sound like a neutral third party—a blow-by-blow of a noteworthy disagreement they'd had with their partner in the past four months.
Although couples showed a drop in the quality of their marriages in the first year, by the second year those who completed the writing exercises bounced back, and appeared less distraught by quarrels than those in the non-writing group. Interestingly, they still fought just as often as those in the control group.
"Not only did this effect emerge for marital satisfaction, it also emerged for other relationship processes — like passion and sexual desire — that are especially vulnerable to the ravages of time," Finkel said. "And this isn't a dating sample. These effects emerged whether people were married for one month, 50 years or anywhere in between."
Researchers were concerned about heart flutters of a different kind. After all, the quality of married life can seriously impact health, with improved prognoses among coronary artery bypass patients.
"Having a high-quality marriage is one of the strongest predictors of happiness and health," added Finkel. "From that perspective, participating in a seven-minute writing exercise three times a year has to be one of the best investments married people can make."
The act of writing about your marriage keeps it at the forefront in your mind, therefore making you more inclined to work at it. Certainly having a relationship 'check-up' every four months or so can't be a bad idea.
Inspired to break out the journal?
An OB-GYN who blew off some steam about a patient on her Facebook page now finds herself in hot water. When Amy Dunbar vented about a (nameless) patient on her Facebook page, little did she know the backlash would come back to slap her in the face.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, the Mercy Hospital physician from St. Louis was clearly frustrated by an expectant mother's perpetual tardiness:
"So I have a patient who has chosen either no-show or be late (sometimes hours) for all of her prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and NSTs. She is now hours later for her induction. May I show up late to her delivery?"
(For the record, she "put up" with the patient's shameful timekeeping because of a past stillbirth.)
While you can't blame Dunbar for her exasperation, were her comments professional? Did she cross a line? Her employers are now reviewing the case to determine whether she "violated privacy issues."
We've all heard about teachers griping about their students on Facebook. But social media networking sites are, uh, social and eminently public—something many professionals seem to forget. They are not the place in which to air your grievances, especially if you happen to have signed confidentiality clauses as part of the terms of your employment.
Boston's Children's Hospital appears to have pulled up its socks, having published a six-page manifesto all about social media policy for its staff.
Still need to gripe? Best go about it the old fashioned way—by grabbing a brew or a bite after hours with a colleague. Not naming names in this day and age may not be enough to get you off the hook, especially when all eyes have access to your computer screen.
What do you make of this OB-GYN's status? Should she be fired, as some argue, or should the anonymity of the post give her the freedom to vent every now and then?
We all know that staying healthy and fit demands regular exercise. But let's face it, life moves at an increasingly insane pace. How do you realistically crunch in those crucial workouts? Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the University of Birmingham claim to have come up with a "time-saving solution" to the ubiquitous exercise conundrum.
According to an article in Science Daily, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UK Department of Health's recommended three- to five-hour stints of endurance training per week are hardly achievable for many of us.
So a new study published February 1 in The Journal of Physiology has found that interval training offers optimal results in "less than a third of the time."
Both High intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT) were found to make a considerable impact on health and aerobic fitness—with just 90 minutes per week being "as effective as five sessions of traditional endurance exercise, taking five hours per week." Researchers further claim HIT and SIT can go a long way to preventing "blood vessel disease, hypertension, diabetes and most of the other ageing and obesity related chronic diseases."
Sound too good to be true? Here's how it works: SIT balances 4-6 30-second 'all out' sprints with 4.5 minutes of very low intensity cycling. Repeat. Obviously the high intensity of the workouts makes SIT more suitable for "young and healthy individuals."
HIT, on the other hand, which involves 15-60-second bursts of high intensity aerobic activity followed by 2-4-minute low intensity intervals.
The workouts are recommended for spinning bikes available in gyms or at home. I've been trying HIT on my stationery bike at home and it seems to be working and is much more fun than pounding the circuit. At least until spring, when running season resumes...
A fan of interval training? Or does basic bootcamp do it for you?