About Poll-Vaulter

A good hair day: New York City enforces right of blacks to style tresses ‘naturally’

February 20, 2019

In the 1960s and 1970s, many black men and women stopped straightening their hair and adopted the “Afro” look—which today we refer to as what it is: “natural hair.”

But up until this week, no municipality in the nation has enforced the right of people of color to enjoy their own hair texture and natural beauty.

Now all that has changed. In February, the Big Apple became the first city in the nation to “protect the rights of  New Yorkers [under the New York City Human Rights Law] to maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic, or cultural identities”

Specifically, the New York City Commission of Human Rights said this month, “For black people, this includes the right to maintain natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

And that includes on the job, in competitive sports, and in “public places like libraries, gyms, schools, and nightclubs”—where, the Commission rules, “Black people [cannot be forced] to change their natural hair as a requirement to be admitted in or retain affiliation with those settings.”

“Policies that limit the ability to wear natural hair or hairstyles associated with black people aren’t about ‘neatness’ or ‘professionalism;’ they are about limiting the way black people move through workplaces, public spaces, and other settings,” New York City Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis said in a statement.

New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray also spoke out about the guidance, saying in a statement, “Bias against the curly textured hair of people of African descent is as old as this country and a form of race-based discrimination.”

I a report about the human rights guidance, Good Morning America/ABC News noted that it comes “just two months after controversy erupted when a New Jersey high school wrestler was told to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match. The student’s attorney asked the state’s Division of Civil Rights (DCR) last month to further investigate the “unrelenting fixation on the hair of a 16-year-old young man.”

According to the network news report, New York’s Commission on Human Rights said it is currently investigating seven natural hairstyle discrimination cases that include black people being forced to wear their braided hair up or being fired for wearing their natural hair down.

The commission will be the city agency responsible for enforcing the new legal guidance. Employers found in violation of the guidelines can be fined up to $250,000 and be forced by the commission to make policy changes and rehiresaccording to The New York Times, which reported the guidance before its public release.

Cheers of applause for the new protections for natural hair circulated on social media with the hashtags #freethehair and #YourHairYourRightNYC.

Research contact: @GMA

Payless to shutter remaining North American stores

February 20, 2019

Just two months ago, Payless ShoeSource—a privately owned chain of discount shoe stores—pranked fashion influencers when it invited them to try on footwear at what looked like a high-end retailer called “Palessi.”

And it worked! According to The Huffington Post, “Sure enough, [the] influencers appear to have been completely fooled, praising the … look and quality of shoes marked as high as $1,800, but which normally [would] retail for $20 to $40.”

When they revealed their gag, not only did they earn an ovation from the red-faced fashionistas, but they received publicity nationwide for the brand—enough, you would think, to draw in large numbers of customers also looking for “luxury footwear.”

Not so much. The debt-burdened chain already had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, closing hundreds of stores as part of its reorganization, The Huffington Post reported.

At that time, it had over 4,400 stores in more than 30 countries. It re-emerged from restructuring four months later with about 3,500 stores and about $435 million in debt eliminated.

Now, Payless has announced that it is heading back into bankruptcy—and that, this time, the company will close its remaining 2,500 U.S. and Canadian stores after completing going-out-of-business sales. In doing so, it will deprive 16,000 more workers of their jobs.

Payless simply had too much debt, too many stores, and too much corporate overhead when it emerged from the earlier bankruptcy, Stephen Marotta, who was designated in January as the company’s Chief Restructuring Officer to prepare for the bankruptcy, told Local10.com news in Miami on February 19..

The company will start shuttering its locations in March and should finish closing shop by May.

The company said in an email that the liquidation doesn’t affect its franchise operations or its Latin American stores, which remain open for business as usual. It lists 18,000 employees worldwide.

Research contact: @HuffingtonPost

16 states file suit in California to block Trump’s national emergency declaration

February 20, 2019

A coalition of 16 states—led by California—filed suit on February 18 to block President Donald Trump’s ploy to fund a southern border wall by declaring a national emergency.

In addition to California, the other states that joined the lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.

The plaintiffs called Trump’s declaration—which side-stepped a firm “no” to his request for $5 billion in funding for the wall from Congress— a “flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles,” Politico reported.

The complaint (State of California et. al. v. Trump et. al.)—which requested injunctive relief from the U.S. District Court for Northern California under proceeding #3:19-cv-00872—is the third in a string of legal challenges already launched against Trump’s use of emergency powers since he announced the move during a meandering White House news conference on January 15, the political news outlet said.

Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group, along with Frontera Audobon Society of South Texas, also filed a suit (Case No. 19-ev-404) late Friday—this one, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia— on behalf of three Texas landowners who would be impacted by the construction of a wall along the border.

“Rather than responding to an emergency requiring immediate action, the Declaration seeks to address a long-running disagreement between the President and Congress about whether to build a wall along the southwestern border and Congress’s refusal to appropriate funds for that purpose,” the complaint said.

“However,:” it continued, “under our Constitution, built on the principle of separation of powers, a disagreement between the President and Congress about how to spend money does not constitute an emergency authorizing unilateral executive action. The Declaration and the planned expenditure of Department of Defense funds for construction of the wall exceed President Trump’s authority under the National Emergencies Act, other statutes invoked by the President as authority to fund the wall, and the Constitution. The invocation of emergency powers and exercise of those powers, and the diversion of funds to build a wall, are thus contrary to law.”

And Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics—a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC— has filed a motion against the Department of Justice demanding that the agency provide documents pertaining to the legal justification of the president’s emergency declaration.

Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder, in a release from the group, adding, “We’re suing because the government has so far failed to produce the requested documents or provide an explanation for their delay.”

The states that filed against the president on February 18 argued that Trump engaged in an “unlawful scheme” when he “used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction, and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border,” according to a copy of the complaint obtained by Politico.

“It’s kind of awkward to say that on Presidents’ Day we’re going to be suing the president of the United States, but sometimes that’s what you have to do,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said during a Monday appearance on CNN, after telegraphing for weeks that he was prepared to take swift legal action if Trump followed through on his repeated vows to invoke an immigration emergency to justify diverting wall funding.

Becerra, who is leading the states coalition, alleges that Trump “has veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making” despite a refusal by Congress refusing to allocate the funds needed to start construction. It cites his remarks in the Friday news conference that he “didn’t need to do this” as evidence his emergency declaration was without merit.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

Research contact: @priscialva 

Both diet soda and sweetened fruit juice may increase stroke risk

February 19, 2019

Scientists are warning us that things don’t really go better with Diet Coke—or with your morning orange juice, for that matter.

New research finds that consuming diet sodas and artificially sweetened fruit juices may increase your risk for strokeespecially if you are a mature woman, CBS News reported on February 17.

In a study that tracked nearly 82,000 postmenopausal women, those who drank two or more diet drinks per day saw their overall stroke risk rise by 23%, compared with those who consumed diet drinks less than once a week.

Blocked arteries are often the main culprit, the network news outlet notes, with heavy diet drink consumption linked to a 31% greater risk for an ischemic stroke, which is triggered by a clot, the study findings showed.

Study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani—a nutrition scientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City—acknowledged in an interview with CBS News that an “association does not imply causation.” But she stressed that the findings held up even after taking into account the nutritional value of each participant’s overall diet.

So, “we can’t assume these diet drinks are harmless, particularly when consumed at high levels,” Mossavar-Rahmani said.

“The take-home message is that these findings give us pause,” she added. “We need to do more research on why we are seeing these associations. What are the scientific mechanisms? Is there something about the artificial sweeteners, for example, that affects the bacteria in the gut and lead to health issues?”

Indeed, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently underscored the lack of sufficient research into the cardiovascular impact of diet sodas, CBS News points out. Until more work is done, the AHA says the jury remains out on whether artificially sweetened beverages do or do not hasten heart disease.

Women in the latest study were between 50 and 79 when they first enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative trial between 1993 and 1998.

Investigators tracked the general health of all the participants for an average of nearly 12 years. During that time—at the three-year mark—all the women were asked to indicate how frequently they consumed diet sodas and diet fruit drinks over a three-month period.

The researchers did not take note of which brands of artificially sweetened drinks the women drank, and so did not know which artificial sweeteners were being consumed, CBS News reports.

That said, nearly two-thirds of the women consumed diet sodas or drinks very infrequently, meaning less than once a week or never. Only about 5% were found to be “heavy” consumers of artificially sweetened drinks.

After taking into consideration a variety of stroke risk factors — including blood pressure status, smoking history and age — the study team concluded that heavy consumption of diet drinks did appear to be tied to cardiovascular risks in a number of ways.

For example, those women who drank two or more diet beverages a day saw their overall risk for developing heart disease increase by 29%. They also were 16% more likely to die prematurely from any cause.

Certain groups fared even worse: Among obese women and black women with no history of heart disease or diabetes, a diet drink habit pushed clot-driven stroke risk up by roughly twofold and fourfold, respectively, the researchers reported.

Whether or not the findings would apply to either men or younger women remains unclear, the study authors noted.

The findings were published online February 14 in the journal, Stroke.

A group representing the artificial sweetener industry offered the following response, CBS News noted:  “The contribution of reverse causality, meaning that individuals already at a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular events chose low-calorie sweetened beverages, is very likely the cause of the associations presented by these researchers.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

Between the sheets: A new portable robot called Cleansebot rapidly sanitizes hotel linens

February 19, 2019

Do you travel with your own pillow and sleeping bag, even when you go to a “major” hotel? If you don’t, you might want to start thinking about it: A November 2014 investigation by NBC News—complete with hidden cameras—found that, when housekeeping was called to clean a room at each of three well-known chains (Hilton, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza); the maid changed the sheets but put the same pillows back on the bed, along with the same blankets and spread.

If that grosses you out, you are going to want to get your hands on a new invention that promises to eradicate all bacteria from between the sheets in a matter of minutes.

Cleansebot is a patent-pending portable robotic hotel room cleaner that’s now in production following a crowdsourcing campaign on Kickstarter that raised nearly $1.5 million.

Clearly there are plenty of germaphobes out there—including the inventors of the new robot, CNN reports..

“My wife and I came up with the idea for Cleansebot when we were on vacation,” co-creator Tom Yang told CNN Travel on February 15.

Back in 2017, Yang and his wife, Cecilia Hsu arrived in a top hotel, ready to enjoy their vacation, he told CNN—and were shocked to discover the bed was messy and the room had been left in, what they call, “unsanitary conditions.”

The couple did some research on the topic, pinpointing a 2012 study from the University of Houston in which researchers tested 19 surfaces in hotel rooms for bacteria. In fact, the study found, fully 81% of surfaces in hotel rooms are covered with germs and harmful bacteria.

It included the skin-crawling statistic that that hotel room light switches had an average of 112.7 colony-forming units of bacteria per cubic centimeter.

While some of the most contaminated samples, including the toilet and the bathroom sink, were no surprise, they also found high levels of bacterial contamination on the TV remote and the bedside lamp switch. Most concerning, some of highest levels of contamination were found in items from the housekeepers’ carts, including sponges and mops which pose a risk for cross-contamination of rooms.

“We realized that even though we couldn’t control how well hotels cleaned their rooms, we could create a way to control our own health and safety while staying there,” Yang explained to the cable news network.

An idea formed—and together with a team of engineers and designers, the couple created a robotic cleaning device designed especially for travel, dubbed Cleansebot.

Cleansebot, CNN reports, is designed to glide over and between the bed sheets in your hotel room, killing bacteria in its wake.

There are robotic vacuum cleaners on the market, but Cleansebot isn’t one of them. It doesn’t suck up debris but instead uses ultraviolet light in what’s called the C-spectrum, a wavelength at which light has disinfectant properties and that is often used in hospitals.

“CleanseBot works by using four UV-C lamps to inactivate and kill bacteria, germs, and dust mites,” Yang told the news outlet.

It’s compact—weighing only 320 grams (0.7 pounds)—and comes with a portable charger.What’s more, iIt’s designed to be easy to pack in a carry-on case.

It takes four hours to charge, and it’ll last for three hours when fully juiced.

“It can go remotely under the blankets and sanitize sheets, but then you can pick it up in Handheld Mode and hold it over literally any surface, toy, item, anything you want to disinfect,” says Yang.

Cleansebot will be available for purchase in April.

Research contact: hello@cleansebot.com

House puts spotlight on secret Trump-Putin summits

February 19, 2019

What happened—in Hamburg in July 2017 and in Helsinki in July 2018—will remain there, if it’s up to the two global leaders who participated in those meetings: Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Apparently there are secrets that the American president has gone to great lengths to suppress—confiscating his translator’s notes of the Hamburg meeting; and allowing no detailed records of his private Helsinki sit-down , according to a recent report by Politico.

But with that silence comes an opportunity for coercion by Putin, who holds Trump’s secrets close at a cost: Intelligence officials fear that Putin may have compromised the American president, who could be following the Russian’s dangerous agenda out of fear of exposure and reprisals.

Now, all that is about to change, as House Democrats prepare to take their first meaningful steps to force Trump to divulge information about those private conversations.

The chairmen of two powerful congressional oversight panel—Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) of the Intelligence Committee and Representative Eliot Engel (D-New York) of the Foreign Affairs Committeetold Politico late last week that “they are exploring options to legally compel the president to disclose his private conversations with the Russian president.

The two lawmakers told the political news outlet that they are “actively consulting” with House General Counsel Douglas Letter about the best way to legally compel the Trump administration to come clean.

“I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it’s by seeking the interpreter’s testimony, the interpreter’s notes, or other means,” Schiff, told Politico in an interview.

According to the February 16 story, the move underscores the seriousness with which Democrats view Trump’s conciliatory statements and actions toward Moscow; and its place as a top House priority as the party pursues wide-ranging investigations into the president and his administration.

Specifically, Politico reported, Democrats want a window into the Helskini meeting last summer, during which Trump put himself at odds with the U.S. intelligence community and declared—while standing next to the Russian president—that the Kremlin did not interfere in the 2016 elections.

“I don’t see any reason why [Russia would interfere with the 2016 election],” he said at the extraordinary news conference following the private confabulation.

Trump’s remark prompted Democrats to call for Marina Gross, the State Department translator who was the only other American present for the Trump-Putin meeting, to share her notes with Congress and testify in public.

Getting Gross’s notes and testimony may be a challenging task, Schiff admitted—noting possible legal roadblocks, including executive privilege.

“That’s a privilege that, based on first impression, is designed to facilitate consultations between the president and members of his staff and Cabinet — not to shield communications with a foreign leader,” Schiff said. “But that’s just a preliminary take. And once we get the studied opinion of the general counsel, then we’ll decide how to go forward.”

For his part, Engel told Politico, “I’m not saying that I’m in favor of interpreters turning over all their notes, but I do think that it shouldn’t be up to the president to hide the notes.”

The White House is expected to fight divulging the details of the discussions every step of the way.

Research contact: @desiderioDC

You can go home again—but maybe you shouldn’t

February 18, 2019

Both my husband and I grew up in the same suburb of New York City and went to college in Boston—but we didn’t find that out (or even meet) until we had moved back to Manhattan for our first jobs. Following marriage and the birth of our first child, we moved again—this time, about 45 minutes north of New York City and about an hour’s drive from our original hometown.

We never lost touch with many of the people with whom we grew up and have been back to the old neighborhood. What surprises us is the large number of people our age who have lived in, or very near to, their childhood homes for their entire lives.

We have wondered: Are they more content? More complacent? Or perhaps more financially stable? Now, a study covered by the website CivicScience has answered some of those questions.

The study asked about 1,200 U.S. adults to indicate which statement (below) applied to them:

  • I always have lived within ten miles of where I grew up (23%) percent of respondents indicated that this was true);
  • I always have lived within 60 miles of where I grew up (22%);
  • I moved more than 60 miles away, but have since returned to where I grew up (21%); or
  • I moved more than 60 miles away from where I grew up and never returned (34%).

The largest percentage of respondents (34%) now live more than 60 miles away from where they grew up—but this group represents only slightly more than one-third of respondents overall, Civic Science reports.

Through another lens, a clear majority of Americans live within 60 miles of their childhood home—whether they’ve stayed there all along, or moved away and returned. Over one-fifth of U.S. adults (23%) have never lived more than 10 miles from where they grew up.

The demographic differences were fairly predictable. Younger people (particularly, 18- to 24 year-olds) are more likely to live within 10 miles of their childhood homes—perhaps because they simply haven’t moved away from mom and dad yet. Older respondents (55+) are more likely to have moved 60 miles away, for good—perhaps to retire in warmer weather. Parents over-indexed as living within 60 miles of home, perhaps because they wanted to live close to their grandchildren—but not too close.

People in rural, suburban, and urban areas were evenly divided, CivicScience notes. But people from the U.S. Northeast— especially New York and Pennsylvania—were the most likely to live within ten miles of where they grew up; people in the U.S. West were the least likely to be 10-milers.

People in the U.S. Midwest are the most likely to live within 60 miles of home. People in the U.S. South were the most likely to move 60 miles from home and never return.

What’s more, respondents who went away to college or grad school were more likely to migrate farther from home.

No group was noticeably more tech-savvy or social media-savvy than the others. Any assumption that a person who moved away from their hometown is more worldly or sophisticated than their anchored counterparts is false.

But here’s the million-dollar question: Who’s happier? CivicScience has tracked the overall happiness of Americans on a daily basis since 2011. When the site crossed its happiness question with its ‘where-do-you-live question,’ the researchers found that , of all the groups, those who have never moved more than 60 miles from home are the happiest, by a few percentage points. The people who have never moved more than ten miles from where they grew up are the least likely to be unhappy.

Interestingly enough, respondents who had moved 60 miles from home, only to return, are 23 percentage points less likely to be happy and twice as likely to be unhappy than the next closest group. The numbers don’t lie.

But why is this group so much less happy? CivicScience cannot say for sure. Maybe it’s because they returned home under some kind of duress – this ‘boomerang’ group was 20% more likely than average to be divorced and 20% more likely to live alone. They’re the most likely of all the groups to carry significant debt, particularly student loans and credit cards. Maybe they had to return home to care for a sick parent. Or maybe they chased a dream they couldn’t fulfill. It’s hard to tell without a doubt.

Research contact: jd@civicscience.com

Amazon backs out of deal for New York City corporate campus

February 18, 2019

Following  three months of sustained opposition from state and local officials, Amazon has cancelled its plan to build a new campus across the East River from Manhattan — and, in the process, withdrawn the offer of 25,000 jobs that the move might have brought to New York City, NBC News reported on February 14..

Among those who fought the plan was high-profile Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D- 14th District, New York) whose district abuts the area in Long Island City where the new Amazon headquarters would have been located.

“It wasn’t any one incident,” Jodi Seth, the head of Policy Communications for Amazon, told the network last Thursday in an interview. “It was that the environment over the course of the past three months had not got any better. There were some local and state elected officials who refused to meet with Amazon and criticized us day in and day out about the plan.”

Seth said it came down to a long-term environment that Amazon did not care to work in, in part because different politicians put forward different reasons for opposing the project.

“If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s ‘Never Amazon,'” Seth said. “If you talk to [New York City Councilman Jimmy] Van Bramer, [whose district is in Queens], it’s unions.” (New York is still a heavily unionized town, and Amazon’s opposition to unions was frequently cited by those who fought the project.)

According to NBC News, the main frustration for opponents of Amazon’s project was the $3 billion that the company had been awarded in state and city incentives — a cost that opponents said would have been paid for by New York residents. Many also feared that the move would lead to gentrification and higher housing prices.

And a number of residents of the neighborhood protested that the already overcrowded subway and bus transportation systems could not handle the additional onslaught of commuters.

Conversely, small business owners were unhappy with the decision because they had welcomed the extra business it would bring to the area.

Following Amazon’s announcement, Ocasio-Cortez commended “dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors” for defeating “Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world” on her Twitter site.

Champions of the deal, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said that the creation of those 25,000 new jobs, plus revenue from property taxes, corporate taxes, and personal income taxes, would have benefited Long Island City and New York in the long term.

In a statement Thursday, Cuomo criticized the “small group of politicians” who opposed the headquarters and put their own “narrow interests above their community.”

Even with support from some officials, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his team concluded that it wasn’t worth sticking around for the fight, NBC News reported. Seth noted that a vote on the move by the State Public Authorities Control Board the State Public Authorities Control Board wasn’t scheduled until April or May 2020.

“We wouldn’t have even known if the deal would be approved until a year from now,” she said. “We were pretty confident the deal would be approved, in that the governor was working hard to make it happen, but looking at the opposition and the timeline we decided we don’t want to work in this environment in the long term.”

Amazon offered no plan to find another headquarters in the area, and Seth told the TV network that Amazon has no intention of re-opening talks with New York state and local

Research contact: @DylanByers

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld takes on Trump in 2020 White House bid

February 18, 2019

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld (R), who led the Bay State from 1991-1997, announced on February 15 that he was launching an exploratory committee for a potential 2020 White House bid—becoming the first Republican to take a significant step to challenge President Donald Trump, The Hill reported.

Weld sees his base as “never-Trump” Republicans, as well as Independent voters who are eager to push Trump out of the White House.

During a campaign announcement last Friday in New Hampshire, Weld outlined a number of policy differences between himself and the Trump administration, The Hill noted—while taking aim at Democrats whom, he argued, had abandoned the principles of fiscal responsibility. He also took aim at Trump personally, arguing that he was unfit for the presidency.

“[O]ur President is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office—which include the specific duty to take care that the laws be faithfully execute —in a competent and professional matter,” Weld said at the annual Politics & Eggs breakfast hosted by The New England Council. “He is simply in the wrong place.”

“It upsets me that our energies as a society are being sapped by the president’s culture of divisiveness,” Weld said, according to The Hill, adding, “Because of the many concerns I’ve talked about today, I’ve established an exploratory committee to explore the possibility of running as a Republican in the 2020 presidential election.”

The former Massachusetts governor fueled speculation of a presidential bid after he told The Boston Globe earlier this month that his planned speech in New Hampshire “will deal comprehensively with my thoughts about the 2020 election.”

Also raising eyebrows was Weld’s decision earlier this month to rejoin the Republican Party after switching to the Libertarian Party in 2016. That year, he was tapped to run as former libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s running mate.

The former governor addressed those concerns Friday, admitting to being a “small-L libertarian” while no longer a member of the party, according to The Hill’s report.

“I’ve considered myself a ‘small-L libertarian'” for years, Weld added. “[But] I want to not dribble around the court, I want to go right for the hoop. If you want to go one-on-one, you have to go as an ‘R’,” he said of running as a Republican.

Weld’s path to the Republican nomination would be a narrow one, the news outlet said, noting that the GOP has largely consolidated behind Trump in recent years. At the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in New Mexico last month, committee members voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring the party’s “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency.”

Research contact: @KMaxGreenwood

Addicted to being busy?

February 15, 2019

Is your plate too full? Are you slammed or swamped? Or is your work ethic in overdrive?

We live in an era where flaunting our hectic schedules is considered cool and multitasking is productive. But for some of us, there is another dynamic at work: We are just addicted to being busy, according to a recent report by DNA.

Seema Hingorrany, a clinical psychologist and trauma therapist whose practice is in Mumbai comes across such people all the time, she says.

“People use the ‘I’m so busy’ phrase … to seek approval, …[to] appear busier than they actually are,” Hingorrany told the India-based news outlet. “Most people are lacking awareness or mindfulness. They are on hyper mode, on autopilot …. Most [finally are driven to] seek help when they take on too much stress and go into depression, or start having anxiety.

Bhakti Thakkar Bauva, a consultant clinical psychologist at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi, sees a lot of people with this go-go psychology between the ages of 25 and 45, she told DNA. “They are mostly professionals who are entrepreneurs with their own business—or sometimes working in a multinational corporation in leadership roles. I, personally, have seen almost equal number of males and females, who use busyness as a coping mechanism,” she says. They are aware that they are busy all the time, but feel that there is no other way, and theirs is the best approach.

Indeed, “…the word, busy, has become synonymous with being successful. If you are a ‘busy’ person you are automatically important and sought-after, “ Mansi Hasan, a clinical psychologist who practices in Mumbai tells DNA.

She adds that FOMO (fear of missing out), high drive, and our environment are “hugely responsible”  for this addiction, as they are constantly putting pressure on us to compete in a world that is rapidly evolving around us.

People who are prone to exhibit the addiction have Type A personalities, she says, and typically exhibit behaviors such as aggression,competitiveness, impatience, and a desire for control.

Hingorrany sees clients suffering from severe burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome and major depressive episodes. They also suffer from anxiety symptoms. People also complain about anger, pain disorders and other physiological issues.

Most experts believe that the addiction starts as a coping strategy. Bauva gives examples like, “I am finding it difficult to sleep at night, so let me work so much that I pass out due to exhaustion …. It means that the individual has an imbalanced, stressful life, where the problems are not resolved and are getting piled up.

“As the concerns are not going anywhere, they will only magnify with time,”she warns.

If you recognize yourself in this story, Mansi Hasan says the the following tips might help:

  • Spend at least 30 minutes daily with yourself doing nothing.
  • Restrict your screen time.
  • Slow down, don’t attempt to be superhuman.
  • Initiate boredom.
  • Sleep and eat well.
  • Spend time with nature. Use your five senses to rejuvenate yourself.
  • Connect to your inner self.
  • Don’t be task-oriented, be life-oriented.
  • Seek happiness, but not in the form of materialistic success.

Research contact: @dna