Posts Tagged "Heres"


Menstrual cups are just as safe as tampons — here’s how they work – National

by BBG Hub

Menstrual cups may be daunting to some, but a new study suggests they are just as safe as tampons.

According to the first scientific review on the topic published in The Lancet Public Health journal earlier this week, authors found about 70 per cent of women continued to use menstrual cups once they figured out how to use them.

“Despite the fact that 1.9 billion women globally are of menstruating age — spending on average 65 days a year dealing with menstrual blood flow, few good quality studies exist that compare sanitary products,” senior author professor Penelope Phillips-Howard of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, U.K. said in a statement.

READ MORE: ‘Smart’ menstrual cup sends messages from your vagina

The research looked at 43 studies and data from 3,300 women and girls, and found in some cases, menstrual cups had similar or even lower leakage rates compared to pads and tampons.

What are they?

Menstrual cups are sanitary products that collect blood flow instead of absorbing it like a pad or tampon. Like tampons, they are inserted into the vagina and should be emptied every four to 12 hours. The cups themselves can last up to 10 years.

Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, told Global News menstrual cups are also economical and environmentally friendly compared to other products. She also added they have been around for decades — the versions today just look and feel different.

“They are bell-shaped and they can come in different sizes,” she continued. “It’s usually made with medical-grade silicone.”

There are currently two types in the market: a vaginal cup which is generally bell-shaped, and a cervical cup which is placed around the cervix high in the vagina. Vaginal cups are more popular.

Credit: Getty Images

“There’s less risk for toxic shock syndrome that’s seen with the high-absorbent tampons,” she explained.

But for many, there is still an underlying “gross” factor. Kirkham said this is the case for any type of sanitary product — people who use pads may be “grossed” out by tampons and vice versa.

Kirkham said the cups can also be intimidating because of their size. “It does take a little bit of practice to get the right positioning,” she continued. “There also is a little bit of a learning curve in removing the cup.”

For removal, it is advised to pull out the cup using the stem attached to the bottom and pouring the blood into the toilet before inserting it back in.

“It’s quite discreet,” she explained. “Especially places where sanitation is poor or for people who can’t afford tampons or pads… this cup can be $35 and used for up to 10 years.”

You can buy menstrual cups at most major retailers in Canada or online. The DivaCup, one of the most popular brands, is Canadian-made, and other brands include Tampax Cup, EvaCup, Lena and more. 

Awareness is key

The report found although there are 199 brands of menstrual cups available in 99 countries, people are still unaware of how to use them or what they are in general.

“Globally, menstruation can affect girls’ schooling and women’s experience of work, increase their disposition to urogenital infections if they use poor quality sanitary products, and even make both women and girls a target of sexual violence or coercion when they don’t have the funds to buy them,” the authors noted.

“There are an increasing number of initiatives in both high- and low-income countries to combat ‘period poverty’, so it is essential that policymakers know which sanitary products to include in menstrual health programs and puberty education materials.”

Kirkham added it all comes down to personal preference and if you have questions, always speak with your doctor.

“Always see a physician if your bleeding is heavy or overflowing,” she said.

There are also resources online including Put A Cup In It PACII, that offers resources and information for anyone interested in using the cup. PACII offers everything from a FAQ to a comparison round-up of popular brands.

Health concerns

Another concern (and a chunk of the report) was focused around health concerns. Kirkham said there have been several studies done around this topic, and there has been no scientific evidence to suggest menstrual cups can cause health issues.

The only concern, she noted, is with IUD birth control. “It may pull an IUD out if [the person] is not used to removing it.”

The Lancet report added there was no increased risk of infection with using a cup for European, North American, and African women and girls.

“There were five reported cases of toxic shock syndrome following their use, but the overall number of menstrual cup users is unknown, so it is not possible to make comparisons of the risk of toxic shock syndrome between menstrual cups and other products,” the report added.

READ MORE: Halifax looks at making menstrual products free at municipal facilities

“In four studies involving a total of 507 women, use of the menstrual cup showed no adverse effects on vaginal flora. In studies that examined the vagina and cervix during follow-up, no tissue damage was identified from use of a menstrual cup.”

Again, Kirkham added it comes down to the user being comfortable. Menstrual cups can be especially uncomfortable and maybe even painful for women who did not use tampons, haven’t masturbated or are virgins, she added.

“It may take some practice, there may be some difficulty… I recommend people to try it when they don’t have a period at home.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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If you stop exercising, here’s how quickly you’ll lose strength – National

by BBG Hub

It often takes months of training to gain muscle, but how long does it take to lose strength?

According to experts, it varies depending on age and fitness levels, but it may be quicker than you think.

“Every person is different… but it typically takes takes two to three weeks to [lose strength],” said Sergio Pedemonte, a Toronto-based certified personal trainer and founder of Your House Fitness.

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Pedemonte says that while muscle fibres will stay the same for weeks after stopping exercise (meaning your bicep won’t suddenly disappear), there will be a decrease in strength and power.

While this decrease may not be a lot at first, the longer you stay away from the gym, the more strength you can lose.

Research backs this up: a 2013 report on rugby and football players found that the athletes’ strength decreased just three weeks after they stopped training. The more time that went on, the more the players’ strength diminished.

Where did my muscles go?

Gabriel Lee, the co-founder of Toronto’s Fit Squad and a former strength coach, says that generally speaking, muscle mass — i.e. the size of your muscles — starts to dwindle after four to six weeks of inactivity.

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“The reason many people feel they lose muscle much sooner, that is due to a decrease in water retention and glycogen stores in your muscles, versus an actual loss of muscle tissue,” Lee told Global News.

That being said, Lee adds if you suddenly go on a calorie-deficient diet, you can lose muscle mass as quickly as one to two weeks. He does not recommend severely cutting back calories, as the body begins to use muscle as an energy source.

Factors that affect how quickly you lose strength

Everyone’s bodies work differently, and losing muscles and strength depends on factors like fitness level, lifestyle habits and overall health.

For athletes or folks who train four to five times a week, they may not lose strength as quickly as a new gym-goer or someone less active. Regular exercisers may also gain back muscle and strength more quickly, too, due to muscle memory.

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Aging also plays a role in how quickly you’ll lose strength.

“As we age, our hormone production also slows, which in turn can make the ability to gain and maintain muscle become increasingly more challenging,” Lee said.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, after age 30 you begin to lose as much as three to five per cent of muscle mass per decade. The insitute says that most men will lose around 30 per cent of their muscle mass in their lifetime.

What about cardio?

If you’ve ever noticed it’s harder to catch your breath on a jog after a running break, it’s not in your head.

Research shows that cardio or aerobic endurance is easy to lose, and dwindles faster than muscle strength. Both Lee and Pedemonte say you can expect to notice a decrease in your cardio abilities about a week or two after you stop doing things like running or biking.

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Pedemonte says that even marathon runners will notice a change in their performance if they take a break.

“For example, if a marathon runner is accustomed to running three to five times a week and can run five kilometres under a certain amount of time, if they take time off and pick it up again, that person will struggle a little bit,” Pedemonte said.

A 2014 study looked at folks who did aerobic interval training for fourth months, then stopped. Researchers found that after just one month, the associated health benefits from the exercise, like improved blood pressure, were reversed.

READ MORE: New to working out? Here’s how to overcome exercise anxiety

In order to prevent any significant losses in strength or cardio endurance, Pedemonte says it’s a good idea to hit the gym as regularly as possible, and stay active even on rest days. “Active rest” can include light exercise like walking or yoga.

But sometimes life or injury gets in the way, and a fitness break is inevitable. Don’t fear; time in the gym can get you back to where you started, Lee said.

“Luckily, strength power and endurance are very malleable qualities and they come back very quickly.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Therapy is expensive — here’s how to make the most of your sessions – National

by BBG Hub

Private therapy in Canada isn’t cheap — fees can range anywhere between $50 to $240 per hour — so it’s important that you get your money’s worth.

According to Dr. Lynda Ashbourne, associate professor at the University of Guelph, feeling heard is a telltale sign of a good therapy session.

“You should feel as if… the therapist heard and understood what you’ve talked about, what is important to you, who you are and something of your current situation — either what’s working or what’s troubling,” she said.

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By the end of your first session with a new therapist, you should also have a solid grasp on “how they work and what to expect.”

“The questions that your therapist asks should be helpful to you in thinking about yourself, the broader picture of your life as well as the specifics of your concern,” said Ashbourne.

Don’t expect to have all of your problems resolved after one hour, but you should leave your initial appointment feeling like you have a clearer understanding of what you want to work on.

READ MORE: As a person of colour, it’s a struggle to find therapists who look like you

“How it’s affecting you, how it’s affecting others, what has worked for you in the past or in other contexts of your life that you might be able to learn from and apply… and how the therapist could be helpful to you” are all things you should feel good about when you finish your first session, said Ashbourne.

She defines a “good” therapy session as one which involves your therapist taking time to ask about and listen to “the unique context in which you live.” This includes what you understand to be your culture, age, gender identity and sexual orientation, spiritual or religious beliefs, values and priorities, life experience, ethnicity and class roots.

This is what a therapist should do, said Ashbourne — not “provide you with suggestions or prescriptions that seem oriented to a generic person or relationship.”

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All your subsequent sessions should give you both insight and action items that you can start working on as soon as you leave the room.

“[They] should leave you feeling that you have some new ideas and new insight into what’s going on for you and how you can address that,” she said. “[You should have] steps you can take [and tips for] how you can continue self-reflection in a constructive manner between sessions.”

Here are some things you can do to ensure you’re making the best of your next therapy session.

Before your first appointment…

Why are you going to therapy? Asking yourself that question (and answering it) will ensure your first session is productive, Ashbourne said.

“How do you understand the ‘problem’? What do you call it? How does it affect you? Who else does it affect? How will you know if it’s getting better or worse?” he said. “How will you know if therapy is helping? What are your expectations of therapy?”

She would also recommend keeping a list of all the questions you immediately have for your therapist, so you don’t get flustered and miss something.

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“That can include what training they have, what experience informs their work, what… they think is most helpful about therapy, how they work, the number of sessions” and more, said Ashbourne.

While there is some preparation necessary on your end, Ashbourne also recommends that you try to stay open-minded.

“Let the therapist do their job in understanding your current situation and inviting you to reflect on this differently or try something new in response,” she said.

READ MORE: Can cooking become a form of therapy?

It’s important to remember that what you’ve tried before wasn’t working, and that’s why you decided to go to therapy.

If your therapist attempts to use an unorthodox method, try it out before shutting it down — it could be the angle you’ve been missing.

“Sometimes the therapist might ask you about something that seems unrelated… it’s a good idea to let that conversation unfold for a bit as there may be ideas there that are linked to how you are seeing or responding to the current dilemma, or where you might be getting stuck,” said Ashbourne.

Use your time wisely, be nonjudgmental

Not only does an agenda keep a session on track, but it offers transparency and stability to both patient and clinician.

Dr. Christine Korol of the Vancouver Anxiety Centre always uses an agenda, and she likes it because it ensures that nothing is missed or skipped.

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“It doesn’t feel good when you wanted to talk about something in particular and you don’t get to it by the end of the session,” Korol said.

“[An agenda] makes sure that you’ve covered everything… and if there is too much to talk about in one session, you know that you can prioritize at the beginning.”

In a typical session, Korol allows a few minutes at the beginning for client and patient to “go over how the last week went.” Then, together, they make a plan for the rest of the session.

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“[For example,] 10 minutes on homework, 15 minutes on a work situation, 15 minutes on an upcoming visit home, 10 minutes to review the session and make a plan for the next week,” she said.

It’s also a better use of your time if you’re completely honest and vulnerable from the outset.

“[Therapy] is where you can explore exactly how you have been feeling. This is especially important for those who are learning to set boundaries or set limits with others,” said Korol. “Telling yourself that something you’re feeling is bad or wrong will slow you down from exploring those feelings… [feelings which] may not be bad or wrong.”

Use a journal to track your thoughts and feelings

A therapist can start to feel like a friend after a few sessions, but talking about your day or your social outings are not an effective use of time.

“[Journals] can help you collect data and keep you on track in between sessions,” Korol said.

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Ashbourne agrees — writing down how you felt at the end of the last session will allow you to pick up where you left off with ease.

Use journal prompts like “what stuck with you from last time? What happened this week with regard to your problem that was different? What did you try that worked or didn’t work, and what do you think that tells you?” said Ashbourne.

If you’re still not getting what you want…

According to Ashbourne, you should feel like there have been some “beginning shifts” in how you are dealing with your concerns after three to four sessions.

If you don’t feel anything after that amount of time, it might be time to have an honest conversation with your therapist.

READ MORE: Tracking your symptoms might make you feel worse, experts say

“They may have ideas for doing something different, or they may suggest another therapist who might be a better fit for who you are,” said Ashbourne.

“Neither of these are indications that you or the therapist is flawed in some way… they simply reflect that we’re not all the same.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What are fibroids? Here’s what women need to know – National

by BBG Hub

You can think of a fibroid as a hard ball of muscle.

Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, obstetrician gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, told Global News that fibroids are common, and more than 50 per cent of women have them.

“It’s very unusual for someone under 30, for example, to have many or large fibroids,” she explained. “By menopause, or age 50 to 70, sometimes up to 80 per cent of people may have fibroids by that time.”

Fibroids — also called leiomyomas or myomas — are types of growth that can be found in or on a woman’s uterus. They can also grow over time.

“It usually just starts from one type of smooth muscle cell that just keeps proliferating,” Kirkham said.

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A fibroid is different than cysts or polyps, Kirkham added, but there’s often confusion among the three. A cyst is a soft balloon of either fluid or blood.

“[Cysts] don’t grow in or on the uterus,” Kirkham explained. “Cysts usually grow on an ovary or sometimes on our skin.”

A polyp, meanwhile, is a soft, fleshy tissue that grows on the inside of the uterus.

But fibroids aren’t necessarily dangerous — more than 99 per cent are benign. Sometimes, women can have them with no symptoms; other times, they may have to be removed.

“It may not be clinically significant, meaning that it may not impact their life,” she said.

There is no one cause of fibroids, but Kirkham added they have been linked to genetics, race (Black women are more likely to have fibroids), hormones, environmental factors and other causes.

“There is nothing you can do to prevent that.”

Where do they grow?

There are three main types of uterine fibroids.

Subserosal fibroids are found on the outside of your uterus. Fibroids found within the wall of the uterus are called intramural fibroids.

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And those balls of muscle that grow in the cavity of the uterus are called submucosal fibroids.

Credit: Getty Images

“Symptoms depend on where the fibroids are located,” she continued. “For example, if you have a little one-centimeter or two-centimeter muscle ball in the wall, that doesn’t really cause any problems at all.”

Subserosal fibroids can get quite big (up to 10 to 15 cm) which can cause pressure on your bladder.

“Same with the intramural and submucosal,” Kirkham explained. “Anything in the wall that big would cause pressure.”

Your period can also be affected

One of the biggest symptoms of fibroids is a heavy period for women in their 40s and women who are pre-menopausal.

“Fibroids on the outside of the uterus would not affect a period, but the ones in the lining can cause period problems.”

These fibroids “impeded contractions,” meaning it becomes difficult for your period to stop flowing. Submucosal fibroids can also change your bleeding patterns.

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A heavy period, she added, is using more than three to five pads or tampons a day, leaking through your clothing or changing your pad or tampon overnight multiple times.

They may be overflowing or their flow may be going on for a week and even months,” Kirkham said.

Treatment options

Fibroids only become an issue if they are symptomatic (and this is often the case for women over the age 40), but for others, treatment is not required.

Kirkham said treatment is often managing heavy bleeding or any type of cramping. This can be done with off-the-counter medicine. There is also now medication that can reduce the size of a fibroid.

“Because some people are bleeding for months on end and they’re becoming quite anemic (low blood and iron) so they can become anemic, this [medication] can help improve their anemia.”

Speak with your doctor to figure out which medication is right for you.

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Kirkham said doctors often start with oral medication or an injection, but for others, surgery may be required.

“This can be done either by laparoscopy which is minimally invasive with a telescope through the belly button,” she explained. “Or can be done by an open incision on the abdomen to shell out all of the fibroids from the uterus.”

She added some people may never need surgery, but it all comes down to the size of fibroid.

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Submucosal fibroids can even sometimes come out of the uterus and make its way into the vagina. This surgery is often more urgent. added endometrial ablation “involves inserting a special instrument into your uterus to destroy the uterine lining using heat, electric current, or hot water.”

There are also treatments where the fibroids are shrunk with a laser or frozen.

“We also have a hysterectomy which removes the entire uterus with the fibroids together.”

She added they also shrink on their own during menopause.

If you are ever concerned or experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away, she added. The most important thing women can do is be clear of what fibroids are and where they live.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada has a discrimination problem when it comes to hiring — here’s why – National

by BBG Hub

A new study has found that visible minorities in Canada are slightly more likely than those in the United States to face discrimination during hiring.

Researchers analyzed data from 97 previously conducted field experiments in Canada, the United States, Sweden, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Norway and Germany.

In every country, researchers found significant discrimination against “non-white natives” throughout the hiring process. However, discrimination levels were highest in France and Sweden.

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To be included in the study, countries needed to have at least three completed and in-depth field experiments around discriminatory hiring practices.

From those studies, researchers collected data from more than 200,000 fictitious job applications. They categorized fake candidates by race to determine if visible minorities received as many call-backs as their white counterparts. (A “call-back” is an invitation to attend an interview after submitting an application.)

The results are interesting, but according to lead researcher Lincoln Quillian, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

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He works as a professor of sociology at Northwestern University, and he holds an appointment in the school’s Institute for Policy Research.

“I don’t think it’s the case that the countries that aren’t in our analysis have lower discrimination… in fact, if anything, it may be the opposite,” said Quillian.

The nine nations studied were the only ones with enough data to support systematic comparisons across countries.

According to Quillian, it’s quite possible that the nine countries included have substantial data about discriminatory hiring practices because they’re proactive about improving them.

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This would mean that it’s possible that France and Sweden are still much better at non-discriminatory hiring than other countries not included in this report, despite topping the list.

“I would have loved [to study] Japan, a country that by many anecdotal accounts, has pretty high hiring discrimination against people — especially [those] from other Asian countries,” he said.

Japan didn’t have the requisite three field experiments necessary to be included in Quillian’s meta-analysis.

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“That may be, in part, because it’s not really defined as a big social problem in some of these places [where] there is discrimination,” he said. “It may just kind of accepted, so they’re not trying to document it [or] worry about it.”

Similarly, Quillian has received feedback that some people were shocked to find Canada (tied for third with the U.K.) with higher rates of discriminatory hiring practices than the United States (ranked seventh).

However, he emphasizes that the difference — not only between Canada and the U.S. but also between the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany — is very small.

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“Canada looks pretty similar to the U.S., in terms of its level of hiring discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities,” he said.

“Maybe a little bit higher, but the difference higher is within the margin of error that exists… so that could be a result of chance differences. We don’t have a huge base of studies for Canada.”

Understanding the numbers

Relative to the United States, the study found that visible minorities in Canada were 11 per cent more likely to face discrimination in hiring.

However, Dr. Eddy Ng believes these numbers need to be put into perspective. He’s a professor at Dalhousie University and the F.C. Manning Chair in economics and business.

He says some visible minority groups will do better than others — it all depends on the region and the occupation.

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“I think discrimination happens at a higher level because of a tendency to associate certain cultural and ethnic groups with certain professions,” he said.

For example, the study found that Black Canadians experienced roughly 0.3 per cent less discrimination than Asian Canadians. Ng believes this is because Black Canadians are more often wrongly associated with low-level jobs, such as janitorial work.

“They experience a lower discrimination [and] a higher call-back rate because there’s a tendency to hire somebody from a lower socioeconomic background,” he said, of low-level job applicants.

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Alternatively, Asian Canadians tend to “go for” professional managerial jobs, which leads to greater discrimination among the population.

According to Statistics Canada, Asia is Canada’s largest source of immigrants. (Between 2006 and 2011, 56.9 per cent of immigrants who arrived in Canada were from Asia.)

It’s Ng’s view, the large number of Asian-Canadian immigrants, who in turn apply to managerial roles and experience discrimination, could negatively impact Canada’s ranking in the study overall.

Companies need incentives

It costs money to become a more diverse workplace, and Ng says most companies won’t willingly partake unless they foresee a monetary return on their investment.

“Most employers put in place diversity and inclusion practices because it’s good for business,” said Ng. “Right now, it’s pride month, you’ve probably seen employers changing the corporate colours of their logos to include the pride flag because they want to attract those clients.”

Another example is when banks in areas with large Indigenous populations will seek to hire Indigenous people, in an effort to reflect the customer base they’re trying to attract.

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“Unfortunately, not all ethnic groups are equally attractive to business,” said Ng.

He’s conducted several studies on the topic, all of which have found that what’s best for the business outweighs moral values when it comes to decision-making by CEOs.

“Employers have actually leaped past public policy… but most practices are very selective,” he said. “They only do it if it benefits the business.”

Canada still has work to do

Ng believes that Canada’s federal diversity plan — known as the Employment Equity Act (EEA) — is outdated and limited in scope, which could explain why Canada was one of the countries with the highest levels of discriminatory hiring practices.

The purpose of the EEA is to ensure no one is denied employment for reasons unrelated to ability. Specifically, it aims to make the workplace more equitable for women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

“It’s very limiting because it only pertains to employment, and it only covers the federal government [or] public service,” Ng said.

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The EEA is federal legislation, and as such, it only applies to industries which are federally regulated under the Canadian constitution. This means it can only enforce diversity and inclusion practices on three main industries: financial services, telecommunications and transportation.

“It really covers a small portion of the Canadian workforce,” said Ng. This is unfortunate because in the industries where diversity policy is enforced, it works.

Ng also takes issue with the EEA because it only applies to the workplace, where as in the U.S., affirmative action also extends to education.

“This is a failing in Canadian public policy,” he said.

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An easy fix, says Ng, would be for the federal government to review the Employment Equity Act every five years — as was mandated when the EEA was created in 1986.

However, it’s only been reviewed once since — by Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1995.

“It was scheduled to be reviewed again by Harper’s government, but he prorogued Parliament and the parliamentary committee [created] to review the Act was dissolved,” said Ng.

Were the EEA to be updated, Ng would recommend that it expands to include maternity and paternity leave, as well as senior citizens.

“We need to modernize,” said Ng.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Here’s why you might ‘black out’ when you’re anxious – National

by BBG Hub

It happens to the best of us.

During a job interview or a first date, you’re so nervous it’s hard to think. And afterwards, when someone asks you how it went, you genuinely can’t remember.

It might feel like you’re losing your memory, but according to Dr. Ira Fischler, this “blackout” is probably not a loss at all. It’s more likely that you didn’t even make the memory in the first place.

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Fischler is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Florida who specializes in cognition, learning and memory.

“When memories for specific emotionally-laden events appear to be lost, it’s most often because our attention during the event was not on the interaction itself,” he told Global News.

Instead, it’s common for a person to focus on how they are presenting themselves or on their internal emotional state during the interaction — especially during stress-inducing moments.

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This would explain why some people struggle to recall the questions asked during a job interview, for example.

They’re instead focused on how they’re presenting to the employer in the moment.

According to Fischler, this lapse in memory — commonly called “weapon focus” in the eyewitness memory field — can be a major issue for criminal cases.

“If you’re being robbed, you may be focused on the gun (or the danger you’re in) rather than the dress or face of the perpetrator,” he said.

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“In these cases, the critical info you’re trying to recall was never ‘stored’ in the first place.”

Many people can probably relate to meeting someone new and immediately forgetting their name. Fischler says that is a perfect example of “weapon focus.”

“We’re not paying attention to [the name] and [we] are unlikely to give it that little bit of rehearsal that will make it memorable later,” he said, which explains why the name is “forgotten” within seconds.

How the brain works

“Our brain starts acting certain ways as a result of trauma and anxiety,” said Laura Bloom.

She works as a psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety and neuro-psycho education.

When we’re in a situation that causes nervousness or anxiety, a “fight or flight” reaction is triggered, which sends certain hormones out into the body.

It can cause several side effects, like feeling “light-headed and dizzy,” and it can affect “the way our brain remembers situations that we’ve been in,” said Bloom.

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She thinks of the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory) as the brain’s library and each memory as a card with all the information about what happened on it.

“When we have something [scary] happen, the experience of trauma [means] that our brain doesn’t necessarily keep all of the details properly,” she said.

Strong feelings of anxiety can cause the information to be saved incorrectly, which can in turn feel like a blank space in your memory.

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However, there’s still a debate among psychologists about whether your brain “represses” the memory or if there wasn’t any memory created in the first place.

“Research in animals and humans suggests that on balance, heightened emotion or arousal will tend to improve — rather than impair — recall of the event,” Fischler said.

“This can occur both because of increased attention to the experience (a cognitive level effect) and the release of certain ‘stress’ hormones… that appear to enhance the ‘consolidation’ of memories.”

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“Consolidation” as the transformation of an event from a short-term to a more stable, long-term memory, says Fischler.

Memory loss is real, but in this situation, it’s more likely that you can’t remember something because there was a problem with how you experienced the event — such as with “weapon focus.”

Other ways your body could respond to anxiety

According to Jim Folk, founder and president of based in Calgary, our bodies’ sympathetic nervous systems respond to the stressful thoughts or moods we may have, including anger, worry or fear.

“Rapid heart rate is one of the common ones because stimulus gets the heart going,” he said.

Urges to pee and other ways our bodies react to anxiety

“People can experience skipped beats when the heart is sort of jolted by the stress response.”

Demian Brown, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and registered clinical social worker, previously told Global News twitching in the face and body is a common symptom of anxiety.

“When you’re under stress, physiological things start to happen to the body,” Brown said. “Your adrenaline and noradrenaline levels increase as if your body is preparing for some kind of danger.”

WATCH BELOW: Scientists turn brain signals into synthesized speech

Brown added this type of response increases your muscle tone and prepares your body for what is perceived to come its way.

An urge to pee, sweating, throat tightening, diarrhea and constipation are just some of the side effects stress can have on the body, though it will vary from person to person.

How to deal

If it seems like you constantly suffer from “blackouts,” it could be that you’re putting yourself in too many stressful situations.

This can have long-term impacts on your brain health.

A recent study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute determined a clear link between high levels of cortisol, a hormone released during periods of stress, and memory loss.

‘High-functioning’ anxiety: it’s not a diagnosis, but many say it’s real

Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 people with no signs of dementia and gave them various psychological exams to measure cognitive ability.

“Higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, seem to predict brain function, brain size and performance on cognitive tests,” said study author Dr. Sudha Seshadri in an interview with CNN.

“We found memory loss and brain shrinkage in relatively young people long before any symptoms could be seen,” he added.

WATCH BELOW: Maisie Williams says fame is ‘not worth it’ and hurt her mental health

When confronting anxiety, Bloom says her motto is “rewire your mood, rewire your life.”

For her, it’s crucial that you replace the fight or flight response with a calmer, healthier approach to situations that aren’t actually life-threatening.

The first step to doing that is understanding what triggers your fight or flight response.

“First, we’ll work to identify those beliefs and coping strategies [the patient] grew up with or which have had influence throughout their lives. Why are they feeling that way? What’s it coming from?” she said.

Experiencing withdrawal: What it’s like to stop taking antidepressants

Bloom also recommends working with a psychologist or psychotherapist to learn calming techniques.

“Doing things like deep breathing really helps to calm your nervous system down after those fight or flight reactions,” she said.

She says deep breathing, or breathing from your diaphragm, can slow down your system and by extension, your panicked reaction.

Laughter, grounding statements and visualization are other techniques which can also slow down the fight or flight response.

The goal is to “activate the logical brain instead of the fear-driven brain,” said Bloom. “That way, your brain’s not acting for you… [and] you can figure things out logically.”

— With files from Laura Hensley & Arti Patel

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Hurting after the Raptors’ Game 5 loss? Here’s how to cope – National

by BBG Hub

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Toronto Raptors 106-105 on Monday.

The team will have another chance to win the NBA Finals in Game 6 on Thursday, but for many fans in Toronto and across the country, that doesn’t make the loss any less devastating.

Toronto was one basket away from clinching the franchise’s first championship title in its 24-year history.

According to Dr. Kelly Doell, it’s completely normal for fans to feel miserable.

READ MORE: Warriors force NBA Finals Game 6 after 106-105 win against Raptors

“Fans go through [the phases of grief] too, because they identify so strongly with the team. The Raptors have taken not only Toronto but Canada by storm,” Doell told Global News.

“The team has gone beyond the imagination of the fans.”

He works as a sports psychologist, guiding athletes to develop mental skills — like focus and drive — which can help them excel at their sport.

In Doell’s view, it might even be worse that last night’s winner was decided in the final moments of the game.

READ MORE: Kevin Durant forced to leave Game 5 of NBA finals with injury

“It’s kind of like if you have a lottery ticket and you’re matching the numbers and you have the numbers match up until the last one and you need the last one to win the pot,” said Doell.

“Think about how that would feel if you had a lottery ticket and the very first number decided it for you. You have time to process [the loss].”

Doell says an emotional roller coaster — like the game last night — can take a toll on both your physical and mental well-being.

“If you were just watching your typical show on Netflix last night, your heart rate was probably pretty stable. But last night, [fans] were tensing up at the big moments, jumping up and down, screaming,” he said.

“Your heart rate [and] your physical response to stress was kicking in, and it was going up and down.”

WATCH BELOW: Raptors fans hopeful for Game 6 after loss to Warriors

Doell also speculates that most viewers probably drank alcohol during the game, which would also contribute to the “hangover” feeling today.

“It’s not a typical viewing experience, and having a couple of drinks compounds it,” he said.

“Your system has been really stressed, and the next day [it could leave you] with an emotional and physical hangover.”

Olympic high jumper and sports psychologist Dr. Nicole Forrester agrees — last night’s game probably left fans in a state of over-stimulation.

READ MORE: Montrealers cheer for Toronto Raptors on Peel Street

“If you think in terms of the physiological responses that might happen, it’s the old adage of ‘fight or flight,’” she said.

“You’re going to have an increased heart rate, you’re going to have adrenaline surging through your bloodstream… You may have increased blood pressure or heavy breathing — the gamut runs really, really high.”

Forrester likens this to the physiological reaction many of the Toronto Raptors players likely had on the court last night.

The difference, she says, is that they’re professional athletes, and they’ve been taught how to manage the side effects so they don’t get in the way of play.

“Fans need to get the body back to [normal] to recover,” Forrester said.

WATCH BELOW: NBA Finals: Kawhi talks final moment, says he’s not sure he could’ve made final shot

“It’s not necessarily the stress itself or how much stress you’re being exposed to, but rather how you cope with the level of stress you’re experiencing.”

To this end, fans can employ techniques similar to the ones Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry likely used last night to stay calm and focused.

“Learning to take a deep breath into your diaphragm and very, very slowly exhaling to calm your nerves… you’ll see athletes do that when they’re in the process of playing,” said Forrester.

It also helps to put things into perspective. In this case, it can be helpful to remind yourself that the Raptors have two more chances to win.

“There are a lot of reasons to be hopeful… This has been a very successful season for the Raptors,” she said.

“Just take a moment or two to enjoy it all… It’s an exciting time to be part of it all.”

Both Doell and Forrester agree that the best things fans can do is support one another through the journey.

“The Raptors this year have especially brought people together. You celebrate together and you lose together,” said Doell.

“If you’ve got a friend who’s in the dumps, make him a cup of tea, give him a foot rub — whatever it takes. Look around you, process [the loss] and get yourself mentally ready for the next game.”

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New to working out? Here’s how to overcome exercise anxiety – National

by BBG Hub

While working out is a stress reliever, getting to the gym can cause some people a lot of anxiety.

The fear around working out often stems from not knowing how to use certain exercise equipment. Others feel judged or intimidated by gyms — especially if a space is focused on weight loss.

“The gym is known as a place people go to ‘fix’ or ‘change’ their bodies,” said Jenna Doak, a certified personal trainer and founder of Body Positive Fitness.

READ MORE: Stop obsessing over weight loss — focus on these 4 goals instead

“Most gyms do not help this situation by [conducting] an ‘assessment’ on members as they join, which includes measurements of various parts of the body, weighing the client and ‘calculating their body fat’ — which is [often] an inaccurate read.”

When it comes to boutique fitness studios or workout classes, Doak says many can be “cliquey” and promote certain body ideals. This can foster an “exclusive” members-only attitude that makes outsiders feel intimidated.

“I see [from social media] that many gyms and studios only have — or are only featuring — clients who look very fit, beautiful, well-dressed and athletic,” Doak explained.

READ MORE: From group training to ditching booze, here are 2019’s top health trends

“As a person who is new to exercise or doesn’t have what the fitness industry considers an ‘ideal body,’ this can create a lot of hesitation to join and work out in this space.”

Why working out can cause anxiety

On top of weight-loss focused gyms, Doak says that people also get anxious if they’ve never been to the gym before, or it’s been a while since they’ve worked out.

It can be incredibly hard to know how to start a fitness routine if you don’t already have one.

WATCH BELOW: 3 fitness band exercises to do with a partner

Sarah Taylor, a certified personal trainer and founder of Fitness by Sarah Taylor, says that most people just head for the treadmill or elliptical machines because that’s all they’re comfortable doing.

Taylor, who is also a plus-size model and body-positive advocate, says people who are new to exercise rarely understand how to target different muscle groups, which can add to their gym anxiety.

“When it comes to strength training, they don’t know how to do proper form,” she said. “They don’t even know how to build an exercise program, so they just kind of stick to a cardio machine — and that can be really boring.”

Find someone to help you

To help combat a lack of knowledge, Taylor says it’s important to find a reliable source to learn from.

If you’re able to afford it, Taylor says working with a personal trainer can be a great way to learn the basics. She says if an ongoing trainer is out of your budget, one or two sessions can still be helpful.

READ MORE: 10 minutes of low-intensity activity boosts brain health in older adults: Western study

“I’ll go with [people] to their gym and show them how to use their equipment, and we’ll record the session so that they have an idea of how to actually do [the exercises] when I’m not with them,” Taylor said.

Doak agrees, and says that even one to five sessions with a personal trainer can “teach you a lot of what you can use forever.”

What’s important, both experts said, is to work with someone who understands your goals and is going to make you feel good about exercise — not bad.

Join a community

Outside of a trainer, Doak says joining a class or fitness studio that has a welcoming and body-positive mentality is key.

Research shows working out with others can increase motivation and improve performance. Another study found that group fitness can decrease stress and promote well-being.

WATCH BELOW: Working out to boost confidence

If you’re new to a certain workout or type of exercise, joining a beginner’s class or six-week training program is a good way to start. Taylor says that she always offers modifications to her clients, which is important since everybody moves differently.

Small group training classes are also a good way to learn strength training fundamentals, as coaches should teach form, and walk clients through proper technique.

“If somebody were to come [to classes] for six months, for example, they would get a really good understanding of how to do everything and they could continue on their own,” Taylor adds.

READ MORE: Does going to the gym counteract your desk job? It can help, doctors say

Doak adds that a good fitness community can also change your relationship with exercise.

“I want to create spaces where all people can just experience joy in movement, lifting, stretching and sweating, and do it all with like-minded individuals in a body-positive, diet-free space,” Doak said.

“I always want my clients to come to a class or training [session] only because they want to; I never want a client to feel like they have to be there.”

WATCH BELOW: What’s your fitness age?: Adaptive fitness

Taylor says that her clients not only encourage one another, but they’ve also developed friendships outside of working out.

“The great thing about group fitness is that there’s motivation in the community,” she said. “It’s not just about going to the gym by yourself.”

Focus on how you feel — not the scale

People’s relationships with exercise can become complicated when weight loss is the sole focus.

Doak says it’s important that people see fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle, and understand working out is about making you feel good in your own skin.

WATCH BELOW: Improve your relationship through exercise

“Taking away… measuring, weighing — the things the fitness industry has revolved around for so long to make money — ensures that the only reason people are coming to the gym is because they want to, and this is the end goal,” Doak said.

Plus, when you actually learn proper exercises and enjoy working out, you become more motivated, Taylor says.

“It’s really learning to feel good and focusing on that,” Taylor said.

“It’s about having a holistic approach to fitness because, in most gyms, it’s about an aesthetic and looking a certain way — [but] our weight doesn’t dictate our value or our worth.”

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Turbulence is a normal part of flying — here’s how to ease your fears – National

by BBG Hub

Even a smooth flight can make some people feel anxious.

Add turbulence to the mix, and flying can be downright terrifying.

But as commercial pilot Clark Morawetz points out, turbulence is a completely normal — and safe — part of flying.

READ MORE: Fear of flying: How to get over the anxiety of being on a plane

“Turbulence is caused by air moving from one place to another,” Morawetz told Global News.

He says it’s helpful to think of air like water.

“If you look at a stream or a body of water… there are pockets of water that are moving faster than other pockets, and pockets that are more turned up than other pockets,” he said.

“[Turbulence is] pockets of air that are more turned up.”

In this analogy, the aircraft is like a boat on choppy water.

“Boats are designed to handle the waves as they go through the water, and airplanes are designed in a similar fashion,” said Morawetz.

READ MORE: What is turbulence and is it becoming more common?

“They go through a certification process… and some of the tests they conduct are for turbulence.”

According to Morawetz, the typical testing is for conditions much more severe than what’s common in everyday flights.

“Planes are able to withstand far and above what you can expect on any normal airline flight,” he said.

In the event that your pilot does foresee some turbulence, though, they will do what they can to avoid it.

WATCH BELOW: Changing jet stream pattern could make for more turbulent air travel

“The great thing about aviation is that you’re traveling within a three-dimensional space,” said Morawetz. “You’re not confined to a road.

“When we’re travelling through the skies [and] we can see evidence of potential turbulence, we can avoid it by requesting a diversion from air traffic control.”

However, sometimes turbulence is inevitable: either there’s nowhere for your flight to divert, or it’s not safe to do so.

In the event that a plane can’t travel a diverted route, a pilot may be instructed to fly a hold, which is a racetrack pattern over a certain point.

READ MORE: Flight report shows what happens if you don’t wear your seatbelt during turbulence on an airplane

Pilots will do so until it’s safe to move on.

“We prioritize safety over schedule,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter which airline you fly with, that’s the primary objective: safety over everything.”

Occasionally, turbulence will happen unexpectedly, which is why it’s important that passengers listen carefully to the pilot’s instructions.

“That’s why it’s always a good idea to stay in your seat and wear your seatbelt, even if the seatbelt sign is off,” said Morawetz.

WATCH BELOW: Regulators debate what requirements pilots will need going forward to fly Boeing MAX aircraft

It has happened before, but it’s extremely rare that turbulence causes an actual plane crash.

“Because airliners fly at a high altitude, there’s plenty of time to recover from most severe turbulence encounters,” said Morawetz.

“It might be a moment of discomfort for people, but the pilots do everything that they possibly can to avoid flying through turbulence. And, for us, safety and comfort are very high priorities that we take very seriously.”

According to Dr. Christine Korol, there are two camps of people who fear flying: those who worry about having a panic attack and being trapped on the plane, and those who worry the plane is going to go down.

She works as a psychologist at the Vancouver Anxiety Centre.

READ MORE: Flying high: Rules surrounding passengers cannabis at Canadian airports

For some people, education about what turbulence is and how planes work can help, but it’s not always a fix.

“You can understand something intellectually but still be afraid of it,” said Korol.

Here are some ways to quell your anxiety the next time your plane hits turbulence.


“Just because you’re afraid doesn’t actually [mean] it’s dangerous,” Korol said.

When patients come to her worried about an upcoming flight, she tells them to visualize themselves successfully coping with what they’re afraid of.

“I typically have them write down the narrative they’re afraid of, and I look for the ‘hot spots’ in their writing,” she said.

“Hot spots” are the more catastrophic outcomes her patients can imagine, like a plane crash.

“There’s not much difference biologically between excitement and anxiety, so I’ll get them to re-frame that,” Korol said.

“At first, you’re just going through the motions, not really believing yet, but the more you rehearse mentally, the more prepared you are to do it in real life.”

A comforting note

If you’re nervous about having an unwanted reaction mid-flight, write down phrases or sentences that comfort you on a small piece of paper.

“Flying is about building your confidence,” said Korol.

“Get a little cue card and write down some things for [you] to remember as a nice little distraction.”

This can be anything, from what you know about aviation to the safety of planes and the safety precautions taken by pilots, or memories from the last successful flight you took.

“We’ll write down a few things, depending on what their sort of triggers are and what makes them nervous.”

Korol calls these “coping statements.”

Avoid drugs and alcohol

Korol recommends that you try to fully experience your time in the air.

“A lot of times, you’ll read different articles about coping with fear of flying or turbulence, and they’ll say sit at the front of the plane because the back is bumpy,” she said.

“I recommend you sit in the back of the plane or wherever on the plane — don’t be afraid of it!”

According to Korol, when you’re treating anxiety, you don’t want anything to dampen your experience of it. You want to face it head on.

“If you take the medication, you might attribute your success to the medication or to the alcohol, rather than to yourself,” she said.

“You don’t really overcome the fear… you’re just white-knuckling it.”

If you struggle with a severe fear of turbulence or flying, Korol recommends you see a psychologist for treatment at least four weeks prior to air travel.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The royal baby’s name is Archie — here’s what it means – National

by BBG Hub

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed their first child on Monday and revealed his much-anticipated name via social media on Wednesday: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

The unique name was an unexpected choice as most royal experts speculated the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would pick a traditional regal name, like Albert or Philip.

According to Baby Center, Archie is an English name meaning “genuine and bold.” It’s a variant of the name Archibald, although the Royal Family hasn’t specified if that’s the baby’s full name or not.

READ MORE: How will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry raise their son?

Archie’s middle name, Harrison, is likely a sweet tribute to dad Prince Harry as it literally means “son of Harry.” Mountbatten-Windsor is a surname used by some members of the Royal Family.

Archie is an increasingly popular name in Britain and was among the top 20 most common boy’s names in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Archie is also rumoured to be cousin Prince George’s nickname.

WATCH: Prince William welcomes brother Harry to ‘sleep-deprivation society’ with birth of new baby

In January, the eldest child of Kate Middleton and Prince William was reportedly on a walk with his grandmother, Carole Middleton, when he asked a stranger if he could pet her dog.

According to the woman, she wanted to engage in a bit of small talk with the prince so she asked him his name — despite knowing exactly who he was.

“To my astonishment, he said: ‘I’m called Archie’ with a big smile on his face,” the woman told the Sun. “I don’t know why he calls himself Archie, but kids often play with their names, and I think it’s lovely.”

READ MORE: Everything we know about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s new baby (so far)

Royal fans were placing name bets long before the child’s birth, and most people believed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were having a girl. The top girl’s name was Elizabeth (6/1).

The top boy’s name was Albert (12/1), the name of Queen Victoria’s husband. Albert was also a top pick for Middleton and Prince William’s son Prince Louis, who was born in April 2018.

As few people expected Archie, people are sharing their reactions to the newest royal’s name on social media.

On Twitter, some are fans of the name and think Archie is great. Others are less impressed.

It is still unclear what official royal title Archie will have.

As of now, his title is likely Earl of Dumbarton, which he inherited from his father.

—With files from the Associated Press

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