Women Retain Stronger and More Vivid Memories of Emotional Events Than Do Men

The differences between the sexes are interesting, and knowing about some of the differences is surprisingly helpful in a relationship. You can read more about that in How the Sexes Differ (And What You Can Do About It). I just came across another sex difference in the book, Hold Me Tight.

The author, Sue Johnson, says that when she asks couples to reveal to each other their attachment fears and longings, "the female partner will probably find this task easier." Throughout her book, Johnson goes out of her way to play down differences between the sexes, sometimes explaining them as mere socialization. And still, she can't help but acknowledge important differences because it comes up again and again in her counseling sessions, and the many studies on the subject are impossible to dismiss.

Johnson created a couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy, which has been shown in independent studies to be the most effective form of couples therapy. 

The reason women will probably find the task easier, Johnson says, is: "Women have been shown in many studies to retain stronger and more vivid memories of emotional events than do men. This appears to be a reflection of physiological differences in the brain, not a sign of the level of involvement in the relationship."

Read about why it helps to know the differences between the sexes here.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.

Makeup, Shampoo, Nail Polish — Are They Dangerous?

I just watched a four-part series on HBO Max called Not So Pretty. It's worth watching. The cosmetics industry is not very strictly regulated in the United States. On the ingredients labels, when it says "fragrance," the company doesn't have to reveal what chemicals it used because it's protected as a trade secret. And some of those chemicals are potentially harmful. 

The cosmetic industry can put a product on the market without testing its ingredients for safety. Lots of hair products, makeup, nail products, etc., have been linked to cancers and infertility problems. Products with talc — and a lot of products have talc — probably contain asbestos, which causes disease.

Some plastics used as containers for things like makeup and shampoo can leach into the product, get absorbed into your skin, enter your bloodstream and disrupt your hormones.

When consumer groups have tried to get stricter legislation to oversee these industries, the industry responds with legions of paid lobbyists, who descend on Congress and sway the vote or kill the bill. 

If you know anyone who works in a nail salon or anyone who is having trouble conceiving a baby, tell them about this documentary. And all of us should see it because these are products almost everybody uses every day. Four episodes, roughly a half hour per episode. Check it out: Not So Pretty.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.

When a Relationship is in Trouble

I've written a lot about the differences between the sexes. I find it interesting, and it's also surprisingly helpful in a relationship. You can read more about that in How the Sexes Differ (And What You Can Do About It). I just came across another sex difference in the book, Hold Me Tight.

The author, Sue Johnson, says that when their relationship is in trouble, "men typically talk of feeling rejected, inadequate, and a failure; women of feeling abandoned and unconnected."

Johnson created a couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy, which has been shown in independent studies to be the most effective form of couples therapy. She also points out that women have one additional response to distress: Something researchers call "tend and befriend." When women feel a lack of connection, they sometimes increase their attempts to connect with others.

Read about why it helps to know the differences between the sexes here.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.

Sleep is Not For Sissies

"The best bridge between despair and hope," said Harry Ruby, "is a good night's sleep." When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces extra stress hormones, making you more vulnerable to anxiety and stress.

The authors of Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life wrote: "For people prone to social anxiety, adequate sleep is crucial. It can mean the difference between thinking about an issue realistically and becoming needlessly upset over something that's not really important. In other words, when you're overly tired, you're more likely to misread social situations and interpret them negatively."

A large percentage of people go day after day without enough sleep, causing themselves extra unnecessary stress and anxiety.

The question is, of course, what is enough sleep? The research can answer that question quite specifically. People are healthiest when they sleep somewhere between seven and eight hours every night. Health problems are associated with both more and less sleep than eight hours. Of course that is an average. Some nights you won't get enough sleep, but if you sleep extra the next night or two, you're getting eight hours sleep on average, and that is healthy.

Just to give you an example, a recent study at Yale University found that when people slept less that six hours a night on average, their risk of adult-onset diabetes doubled. When they slept more than eight hours, their risk of adult-onset diabetes tripled. This is typical of the findings. Too much sleep is bad. Too little sleep is bad. The right amount is good.

But seven to eight hours of tossing and turning won't do it. Researchers have also uncovered some useful information about how to get good quality sleep. You will sleep better if you:

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

Keep your feet are warm.

Eat three hours before going to bed. The closer to your bedtime you eat, the lighter the meal needs to be (especially light in fat, which takes the longest to digest).

Do something relaxing immediately prior to going to bed rather than doing something agitating. For most people, reading or stretching gently are relaxing; watching television or working on a computer are agitating (produce alertness and tension rather than relaxation, and therefore interfere with the going-to-sleep process).

Hormones that control wakefulness and sleepiness rise and fall in a cycle with regularity throughout the day. Most people feel sleepy around three in the afternoon, and if you take a nap then, you lower your risk of heart disease. Why? It is natural and healthy to sleep in two periods rather than one. It allows you reboot in the middle of the day. Not trying to power through "slump time," probably lowers your stress hormone level.

As Winston Churchill said, "You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no half-way measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed…Don't think you'll be doing less work because you sleep during the day…You will be able to accomplish more."

It is important to sleep when you feel sleepy, and not force yourself to stay awake, because the opportunity will go away. It's not like hunger where you just get hungrier and hungrier. Your body cycles through ultradian rhythms (biological rhythms that cycle more than once a day) and you need to strike while the iron is hot. You may feel sleepy now and if you went to bed you would sleep well. But if you wait for forty-five minutes, the wake-sleep cycle has rebounded, and now it might be more difficult to fall asleep.

If you can fall asleep very quickly any time, by the way, that is a definite sign you are chronically sleep-deprived.

The sleep researcher and author of The Promise of Sleep, William Dement, probably knows more about sleep than any other person. His research will give you a respect for sleep. It needs to be taken seriously. It effects your motivation level, your competence at your job, your likelihood of making a mistake while doing something dangerous, like driving a car. It effects your immune system. It obviously effects your mood.

Good sleep has been proven to be a better predictor of how long you will live than exercise, heredity, or diet. Amazing but true.

Did you get that? According to Dement, regular good sleep will help you live longer — and it will help you more reliably than even exercise, diet, or your genetic tendencies (all of which have a major impact on how long you will live).

One of the things Dement has discovered is that not getting enough sleep influences your motivation level, especially for creative people. It doesn't take a scientist to figure this out, although scientific research is the best way to sift fact from mistaken observations.

Another good way to find out what works is to only pay someone when they produce results. Under those conditions, there is a strong commitment to discover what works, regardless of anyone's pet theory. That's why salespeople often come up with so much practical information. When you're on commission and your entire income depends on your effectiveness, you lose your attachment to ideas that impair your abilities, or you don't make it.

W. Clement Stone wrote about sleep in The Success System That Never Fails. Stone worked his way up from a young man of limited means and no connections to an extremely wealthy man. He started out as a commission insurance salesman, selling door-to-door to businesses. In the process, he learned about the importance of sleep. He tried to get ten hours of sleep every night, plus a nap in the afternoon. This may be too much for optimal health, but it worked as a salesman putting out intense effort all day, and he said getting a lot of sleep gave him the energy he needed to keep at it, and it helped him maintain the high motivation he needed, to work his way to the top.

Sleep is important. When you feel tired or sleepy and you can sleep, you ought to. It's one of the best things you can do to lower your stress level, improve your health, and increase your ability to accomplish your goals.

Adam Khan is the author of Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought, Direct Your Mind, and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Interesting Facts About Alcohol Fuels

1. Since at least 1791, most American farmers used their own alcohol stills to turn crop waste into ethanol for stove fuel. In the 1830's, whale oil became expensive, so using alcohol for light became increasingly popular.

2. In 1860 Nikolaus Otto built an early internal combustion engine. It was fueled by ethanol.

3. By 1900, alcohol fuel (ethanol) was used for lighting and many other uses including cars, farm machinery, stoves, laundry irons, heaters, coffee roasters, hair curlers, etc.

4. Around the same time, most cars on the road used gasoline because it was abundant and inexpensive. But racing cars used alcohol for fuel because it could generate more power in a lighter engine. There was a tax on the industrial use of alcohol, and Henry Ford helped American farmers stop the tax because he was familiar with experiments on alcohol fuels in Germany.

5. In 1906, the alcohol tax was lifted and alcohol became cheaper than gas — 14 cents versus 22 cents per gallon. Bills were also passed that exempted farm stills from government control. When he endorsed the bill, President Teddy Roosevelt said, "The Standard Oil Company has, largely by unfair or unlawful methods, crushed out the competition...It is highly desirable that an element of competition should be introduced by the passage of some such law as that which has already passed in the House, putting alcohol used in the arts and manufacturers upon the [tax] free list."

6. In 1908, the Model T Ford began coming off the assembly line. It had a built-in adjustable carburetor so it could burn either alcohol or gas. In other words, it was a flex fuel car. At the time, of course, gas stations weren't everywhere, but most farms had stills, so it made the car more practical to be able to burn both fuels.

7. In 1917, Alexander Graham Bell said, "Alcohol makes a beautiful, clean and efficient fuel… Alcohol can be manufactured from corn stalks, and in fact from almost any vegetable matter capable of fermentation…We need never fear the exhaustion of our present fuel supplies so long as we can produce an annual crop of alcohol to any extent desired." He was ahead of his time.

8. In 1920, Prohibition began and lasted for 13 years. John D. Rockefeller, the owner of Standard Oil Company, had backed the Eighteenth Amendment to ban alcohol. Farmers were no longer allowed to have a still.

9. In 1925, Henry Ford said: "The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years."

10. In 1964, there was a seven-car crash at the Indianapolis 500, killing two drivers because 150 gallons of gasoline caught fire. One of the drivers involved in the crash survived because his car was running on methanol, which didn't ignite. So the United States Auto Club banned gasoline. The cars ran on methanol exclusively for the next 41 years. In 2007, they switched to ethanol, which is still much safer than gasoline.

11. In 1971, American farmers were producing enormous grain surpluses, which threatened to put them out of business (because the price of grain sank too low because there was so much of it), so the Nebraska APIU Committee was formed to find new uses for the surplus grain. They tested gasoline-ethanol blends extensively and discovered ethanol could be used to boost octane, and could potentially replace lead in gasoline (to prevent knocking).

12. In 1973, OPEC initiated the first oil embargo (as a retaliation for America's support of Israel during the Yom Kippur war). The member countries of OPEC drastically reduced their oil production, which raised world oil prices catastrophically. It threw the whole world into an "energy crisis" and seriously hurt the American economy.

13. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter created government incentives to help develop alcohol-fuel production, and by 1984 the United States had 163 ethanol refineries producing almost 600 million gallons of ethanol fuel that year.

14. In the late 80s and early 90s a global oil surplus drove gasoline prices very low, putting many American ethanol plants into bankruptcy. By the end of 1985, only 74 American ethanol refineries remained in business.

15. From the late 90s until now, the ethanol and methanol industries have been making a comeback. Ethanol alone employs 400,000 Americans today, and that's with only a very small percentage of flex fuel cars on the road. Imagine what could happen with the passing of an Open Fuel Standard.

The list above was edited from the more complete article, Timeline of Alcohol Fuels.

What OPEC Does is Illegal

What OPEC does to control the world price of oil is illegal. They all agree to raise or lower their oil production for the purpose of keeping the price of oil high.

As Robert Zubrin notes in Energy Victory, "Collusion by suppliers to fix prices is not only a crime under US law, it is banned by international law as well. The rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) contain antitrust provisions that prohibit member nations from setting quota restrictions on import and exports. The WTO outlaws conspiracies to fix markets, and permits member nations to prosecute all parties to such conspiracies. The US Justice Department would thus be entirely within its rights to initiate prosecutions against OPEC principals with interests in the United States (for example, Saudi royals), as well as against corporations, such as international oil companies, found to be acting in concert with OPEC. In addition, the imposition of retaliatory trade measures against OPEC nations would be fully justifiable."

Do You Know Anyone About to Get Chemotherapy?

Fasting before a chemotherapy session might prevent some of the side effects of chemotherapy, and might even kill more cancer cells.

Researchers studying fasting have found that when they poison mice, if the mice have been fasting, fewer of them die of the poison. It got the researchers to thinking that perhaps (since chemotherapy drugs are toxins) fasting before chemotherapy might help. So they tried it on mice with cancer.

Comparing mice with cancer that didn't fast before chemotherapy with mice that fasted for 48 hours before chemotherapy, the ones that fasted beforehand shrank their tumors significantly more. After two cycles of fasting and a high dose of chemotherapy, 42% of the mice lived longer than 180 days. For comparison, by that time ALL the well-fed chemo-treated mice were already dead.

While a mouse (or a human) is fasting, its normal cells change how they use energy, shifting away from growth and reproduction and focusing more on maintenance and repair. But cancer cells do not make that switch. In fact, fasting makes cancer cells hungrier. Cancer cells are notoriously voracious, and fasting just makes them even more so, which makes cancer cells more susceptible to the toxin and healthy cells less susceptible to the toxin — exactly what you want.

Valter Longo, the lead researcher in this study, says fasting puts your healthy cells in a "protective mode," but cancer cells have the opposite reaction to fasting. (The mice in the study fasted for two or three days, which Longo says in a human is the equivalent of four or five days.)

You can find a good article about the study in Scientific American here: Fasting Might Boost Chemo's Cancer-Busting Properties.

A video called The Science of Fasting covered some of this research, and pointed out that fasting before chemotherapy is the exact opposite of what is normally recommended. Usually doctors suggest a patient eat extra calories before a chemotherapy session, since the treatment tends to kill a person's appetite for many days.

Human trials have begun. A woman interviewed in the video, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, said she realized that by the time the first human trial was over, she would already be dead of cancer, so she decided to try it on herself. She was scheduled for five chemotherapy sessions. She fasted before the first one and felt fine afterwards. Her doctors then talked her out of doing it, so she did two more chemotherapy sessions without fasting. She said she felt terrible both times. So for the last two she fasted beforehand, and felt much better. She experienced fewer side effects.

Many of the side effects you get from chemotherapy are from your healthy cells dying. The whole principle behind chemotherapy is to give you a toxic enough dose to kill cancer cells without killing the patient, but that also means destroying a lot of healthy cells. This fasting protocol might prevent many of those healthy cells from being harmed, which would mean fewer side effects.

Several people have tried this on their own, just like the woman above, and in a survey of these pioneers, they reported it made the chemotherapy more bearable. They had less nausea, less fatigue, fewer headaches, and less weakness — all typical side effects of chemotherapy.

The Emperor of All Maladies

Ken Burns makes historical documentaries. He's made some famous ones about the Civil War, the Vietnam War, Prohibition, etc. But he also made one about the history of fighting cancer. It's called, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.

The story starts with a hospital that took care of children with childhood leukemia. At the time, it was pretty much a death sentence. There was a man who worked in the morgue of the hospital, and it broke his heart to see all these children dying while he stood by helplessly, so even though he wasn't a doctor, he decided to try to do something about it. He came up with the idea of killing the cancer with poison.

They tried one toxin and it killed some cancer cells, but the cancer adapted to it. So then they tried two different toxins at the same time, and that killed even more of them. When the cancer cells tried to adapt to one of the toxins, the other toxin got them. But it still didn't kill them all. So then they tried three toxins and that worked even better. And then they finally tried four toxins and that worked even better. And that's the normal protocol now. And childhood leukemia went from being almost a zero percent survival rate to now 85 to 90 percent of children diagnosed with it survive. Advances in chemotherapy have been truly amazing.

But this method of fasting before a chemotherapy session might make it even better. If you know somebody who is going through chemotherapy or about to go through chemotherapy, please tell them about this. Although many people can't imagine going for four or five days without food, I have done it several times, and it's really not that bad. It's not nearly as bad as you'd think. I was one of those people who didn't think I could possibly do it, and I found I could without difficulty. 

Besides, if you think about the normal side effects of chemotherapy, suffering through some hunger pangs doesn't doesn't seem so bad in comparison.

I chronicled my last fast — which was 14 days long — on my podcast, and I talked a lot about what fasting does and what it is like. Check it out here: What's So Great About Fasting?

I made this article into a podcast. Listen to it here.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.