+

Mornings are tough...

Whether you're one of those mythical "morning people" who actually set their alarm as early as possible just to, I don't know, listen to birds or whatever, or if you're one of my fellow not-morning people whose a.m. routines involve marathon-smashing the snooze button before finally dragging yourself out of bed to sloppily make a pot of coffee and stare at the mirror, wondering if today is the day you finally give up on being an adult and run off for life as a house cat—


—well, they're tough.

Did you know there are a few science-approved things you can do to make your mornings less of a drag?

These nine simple tips only take a few minutes to complete and could mean never spending another morning falling asleep in the shower:

1. Take a few minutes to actually make your bed.

If you're not already a bed-maker, it probably seems like a huge waste of time. Why straighten sheets and fluff pillows that you're just going to mess up again anyway?

Honestly, the pattern on that pillow is stressing me out more than anything. Photo via iStock.

It turns out, making your bed correlates with being happier and even more successful. According to a survey of 68,000 people, 71% of bed-makers consider themselves happy, while 62% of non-bed-makers said they were unhappy.

Now, it's impossible to know if bed-making really makes people happy or if happy people just tend to make their beds more. However, we do know that clutter tends to beget stress. If your bed looks less cluttered, it's possible that it could lower your stress levels.

Not to mention, making your bed probably only takes about three minutes and gives you an easy morning win to check off your to-do list. Which means you're starting your day more relaxed, you've already done something productive, and you're ready to go out into the world and continue being productive.

2. Tidy up. Even a little bit.

Along the same lines as bed-making, if there are a million dishes in your sink from the day(s) before, that clutter is probably creating subtle stressors in your brain.

Also, unclog your sink. Seriously. Photo via iStock.

If you can find a minute in the morning, do some of the dishes. Or clean up some living room clutter. Maybe sweep out a single room or take out the trash. Reducing clutter and completing a task (no matter how small) will give you a nice sense of satisfaction to kick-start your day.

3. Drink a glass of lemon water.

Don't worry, you don't need to replace your vanilla soy latte or go on a questionably effective cleanse to make this work for you in the morning. Before you leave the house in a beeline for the closest Starbucks, drink a 16-ounce glass of water with a little bit of lemon juice in it.

Plus you'll get SO MANY Instagram likes. Photo via iStock.

I know it sounds kind of hokey, but lemon water is pretty amazing and a perfectly simple way to brighten your morning routine. According to The Huffington Post, the benefits of lemon water include but are not limited to: hydration, a nice dose of vitamin C, freshening your breath (by killing bacteria), clearing your skin, and helping with aches and pains by reducing uric acid in the joints.

Lemon water won't compliment your shirt or walk the dog for you, though, so while it can be a nice addition to your morning, it's not going to solve all your problems.

4. Raise the blinds and let the sunlight in.

Yes, I know. Its early in the morning and the world probably isn't ready to see you yet. But raising the blinds lets in some natural light, and there are a lot of benefits to that.

"There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day — particularly in the morning — is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism," Dr. Phyllis Zee, a neurology professor at Northwestern University, told WebMD.

Not recommended: sleeping with lipstick on. Photo via iStock.

Natural light also helps your brain sync up to the Earth's natural rotation, which can have major health benefits. According to one study, people with more exposure to natural light slept longer and better at night. They also got more exercise and reported a better quality of life.

So at the risk of shrieking in horror at the sunlight and your neighbors shrieking in horror at your bedhead, open up the blinds and let the light in. The benefits outweigh the risks.

Even if you don't have any windows to open, you can get an alarm clock that lights up with the sunrise.

5. Eat something high in fiber and grains.

While it can be tempting to start every day with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, starting your day with a heavy, greasy breakfast can slow you down a lot.

Just try not to spill your berries all over the F***ING DECK, DAVID.

Having a lighter breakfast instead can have a ripple effect that boosts your entire day. Try a bowl of berries or something else high in fiber and grains. If you give your body some heavy-duty nutrients in the morning, you'll feel more awake and your body will totally thank you later.

6. Meditate.

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, increase creativity, and even reduce blood pressure. Also like a million other things.

Meditate and have a ball! (I know. I'm sorry.) Photo via iStock.

Meditation is easy: Just breathe, focus on the sound of your breath, and sit still quietly. You don't have to do it all day, either. Meditating for three to five minutes in the morning is a perfect way to start your day with a stress-free, take-on-the-world attitude. There are even great apps you can use that help you meditate quickly on the go — what better way to spend a long commute than with a little mental R&R? Just don't do it if you're driving, obviously.

7. Text something nice to someone.

I know, it sounds silly, but seriously. Try it.

Sending someone positive thoughts or words of encouragement is a quick and easy way to make yourself feel happy. Being kind is a great way to live a happier life, and mornings are when we could all use a little pick-me-up.

"Hey Brian! Hope you're doing well. Thanks for buying me this giant sweater." Photo via iStock.

It's mutually beneficial. Not only will it make your morning brighter and make you happier, but you'll probably be helping someone else get their morning off to a great start too.

(Also this is way better than drunk texting. Much less regret and significantly fewer awkward connections with your ex).

8. Set aside a few minutes to read.

The benefits of reading are innumerable and well-known, ranging from improving your vocabulary to promoting creativity and memory. Starting your day with a little bit of reading gets you those benefits first thing in the morning.

Reading stimulates your brain, which wakes you up. Not to mention it also helps take your mind off of the stressors of the upcoming day so you can go into it feeling relaxed and prepared.

This guy looks all business. But he's actually reading Garfield. Photo via iStock.

Whether you're reading a chapter of your favorite book, the newspaper, or even an entry from your favorite blog, reading in the morning is good for you. Reading at any time is good. Reading is good. End of statement.

9. Stretch it out.

Don't stretch out your morning, you'll be late to work — but stretching your body before you head to the office is a great, easy way to get ready to face the day.

Stretching promotes flexibility, blood flow, and posture, and it can help you recover from injuries. It also has many mental benefits, including stress reduction and calming the mind.

This can be a few quick stretches before running out the door or a full-on yoga session with Becky.

She's probably a Becky, right? Photo via iStock.

Either way, stretching in the morning is a great way to be physically and mentally prepared for the uphill battle that is the rest of your day.

A better morning is completely up to you.

Some of you may choose to keep rolling out of bed with 10 minutes to spare before you run out the door, but taking even a few moments to try some of the things on this list can have a huge impact on the rest of your day.

Mornings set the precedent for the entire day, and (as time is linear) entire days are what make up your entire life. So even if you can only fit one of these good habits into your morning routine, I encourage you to try it out. It could make your whole day, and maybe even your whole world, just a little bit brighter.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less