In an age where we are constantly juggling different goals across our work and family lives, pursuing goals that are at odds with each other could be a recipe for unhappiness.

"We know that striving for goals that are important to us gives life meaning and purpose and promotes well-being," explained Associate Professor Joanne Dickson, from Australia's Edith Cowan University.

"However, when these goals generate conflict they can contribute to psychological distress."

Dickson and Dr Nick Moberly of the UK's University of Exeter looked into data from a survey of 200 young people that investigated two of the main factors at play.

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One was "inter-goal conflict", where a person's goal to spend more time with their family might conflict with their goal to get promoted at work.

The other was ambivalence, which happened when people had conflicting, deep-seated feelings about attaining a certain goal that they were often even unaware of themselves.

"It could be useful for people to acknowledge ambivalent feelings about their goals as these may indicate underlying motivational conflicts that are outside of awareness," she said.

"Attention to these deeper conflicts may be a prerequisite for resolving them and relieving distress."

Their study showed that both inter-goal conflict and ambivalence were independently associated with anxious and depressive symptoms.

"Goal setting and goal pursuit are increasingly being implicated in the maintenance of emotional symptoms," Dickson said.

"By better understanding how we set and pursue goals, how our goals interact, and the motives underpinning them, we can hopefully reduce rates of anxiety and depression."

Why you should sleep in this weekend

A weekend lie-in may help you avoid an early death, researchers say. Photo / 123RF
A weekend lie-in may help you avoid an early death, researchers say. Photo / 123RF

If you've been burning the candle at both ends during the week, a weekend lie-in may help you avoid an early death.

US and European scientists looked at data from 43,880 people to determine the link between sleep patterns and risk of death.

They found missing out on sufficient shut-eye during the week increased the risk of an early grave - but combining it with a medium or long sleep at the weekend meant there was no increased risk.

Short, but not long, weekend sleep was associated with an increased risk of early death in individuals under 65 years of age.

In the same age group, either short sleep or long sleep on both weekdays and weekends showed increased mortality when compared with consistently sleeping six to seven hours per day.

"The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep," the authors wrote in the Journal of Sleep Research.

"This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality."

Moonwalker's gravity-defying moves

Many dancers have tried to replicate Michael Jackson's famous anti-gravity lean. Photo / 123RF
Many dancers have tried to replicate Michael Jackson's famous anti-gravity lean. Photo / 123RF

Among many things, Michael Jackson was an incredible dancer - and decades on, even scientists are still awed by his smooth moves.

The King of Pop executed dance moves we thought impossible at the time and even now; almost every fan tried to dance like him, but very few could pull it off.

Some of Jackson's moves even appeared to defy the laws of gravity - and not just his signature moonwalk.

In one move featured in his 1987 music video for "Smooth Criminal", he pitches forward 45 degrees, with his body straight as a rod and his shoes resting on the stage, and holds the position.

How did he do it?

Was it talent, magic, or both?

A new paper by three neurosurgeons delved into the science of spinal biomechanics to show just how impressive that feat was - even the strongest of dancers could only maintain a 25 to 30 degree forward tilt from the ankle.

The neurosurgeons took into account the talent and core strength of the artist, as well as his inventiveness and use of a patented aid that, together, seemed to move his body past human limits.

But they also warn other neurosurgeons of new forms of spinal injuries, as dancers followed Jackson's example and attempt "to jump higher, stretch further, and turn faster than ever before".

"MJ has inspired generations of dancers to push themselves beyond their limits," said Manjul Tripathi, from India's Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research.

"Though a visual delight, such moves also lead to new forms of musculoskeletal injuries. The King of Pop has not only been an inspiration, but a challenge to the medical fraternity."

An egg-cellent way to help your heart

An egg a day could significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Photo / 123RF
An egg a day could significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Photo / 123RF

An egg a day could significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a new Chinese study suggests.

Eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

Previous studies that looked at associations between eating eggs and impact on health have been inconsistent, and most of them found insignificant associations between egg consumption and coronary heart disease or stroke.

That prompted a team of UK and Chinese researchers to examine the associations between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, major coronary events, haemorrhagic stroke and ischaemic stroke.

They used data from the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) study, an ongoing prospective study of about half a million (512,891) adults aged 30 to 79 from 10 different geographical areas in China.

For the new study, the researchers focused on 416,213 participants who were free of prior cancer, CVD and diabetes.

Analysis of the results showed that compared with people not consuming eggs, daily egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of CVD overall.

In particular, daily egg consumers had a 26 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke, a 28 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death and an 18 per cent lower risk of CVD death.

This was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors said their study had a large sample size and took into account established and potential risk factors for CVD.

"The present study finds that there is an association between moderate level of egg consumption (up to 1 egg/day) and a lower cardiac event rate," the authors concluded.

"Our findings contribute scientific evidence to the dietary guidelines with regard to egg consumption for the healthy Chinese adult."