In 1988, a group of researchers looked into how people stuck to their New Year’s resolutions. They found that 77% were able to uphold their goals for at least one week. However, only 19% kept at it for two years.
The study also noted how even the successful group experienced at least one slip. The conclusion was that those slips were due to high levels of stress and negative emotions.
So, by eliminating or controlling those factors in your life, you may be able to reach your goals, too.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to reduce the impact of those impediments. They all have to do with giving your brain and body what they need to stay healthy.
To that end, we created this guide on how to achieve your goals with diet, sleep, and exercise. Read on to learn how these natural remedies and strategies can help you stay on top of the things you want and need to do.
1. Get More H2O Into Your System
Scientific literature points out how dehydration can contribute to anxiety and depression. Granted, researchers are still studying what exactly the connection is. However, they found that low water intake seems to raise anxiety and depression risks.
For starters, the body requires a steady water supply for circulation and digestion. It also needs enough water to help lubricate joints and absorb nutrients from food. Moreover, it aids in keeping many parts of the musculoskeletal system nourished.
Keep in mind as well that 75% of the brain’s mass is water. So, it’s no wonder that dehydration can lead to impaired cognitive functions. By contrast, rehydration appears to counter these effects of fluid deficiencies.
All that shows how dehydration can affect your physical and mental well-being. At the very least, you’re likely to feel pain and fatigue; factors believed to lower one’s quality of life. Moreover, being in pain and feeling tired all the time can deter you from doing what you want and need to do.
So, there’s no doubt that water is one of the best natural mood boosters. Only a few things are as natural as water, which is a vital natural resource and makes up 60% of the adult human body. Drinking a glass or two of water when you’re feeling sour is also one of the fastest ways to be more positive.
However, make sure to drink no less than half a gallon (or about eight 8-ounce glasses) each day. Don’t forget to increase your intake if you sweat a lot, as you need to recover all that lost fluid.
2. Pack Your Meals With Serotonin-Boosting Ingredients
Were you aware that the term “gut feeling” is actually scientific and not just metaphoric? Scientists say those instincts and sensations are due to the gut-mind connection. So, it’s no wonder that when the brain takes on unpleasant information, it can cause a sinking feeling in the gut.
Another example of the brain-gut connection is serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood and stress, among many others. The gut, in turn, produces about 90% of this hormone.
The thing is, the body makes serotonin out of an essential amino acid called tryptophan. Essential here means that the body doesn’t produce the amino acid on its own, so you need to get it from your diet. Otherwise, your tryptophan supplies will drop, which can deplete your serotonin levels, too.
Research findings do suggest that tryptophan deficiency can lower mood. It may even increase aggression and contribute to a higher risk of depression. All these are maladies that can stop you from feeling healthy and well enough to reach your goals.
The great news is that tryptophan occurs in healthy, tasty food, such as nuts, eggs, chicken, and turkey. Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and milk are also good sources of this amino acid. You can also get it from soy products like tofu and fatty fish like salmon.
3. Feast on Mood Food
Most types of comfort food have a lot of sugar and fat, both of which can stimulate the brain’s reward system. This is how such food options can make you feel more energetic or happier whenever you feel down. Ice cream, fried Oreos, or milkshakes are okay once in a while, but they shouldn’t always be your go-to comfort food.
Besides, many other mood food choices are healthier than those sugary, fatty options. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid-Packed Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats you must get through your diet. Like tryptophan, these fats are essential since the body can’t manufacture them on its own. Of these, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) seem to affect mood.
Some studies associate DHA and EPA, both of which you can find in salmon and tuna, to lower depression levels. Moreover, omega-3s have roles in keeping the brain’s cell membranes fluid. They also seem to affect brain development.
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which aids in the synthesis of some feel-good hormones. These include dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine, like serotonin, also plays roles in emotions, mood, pleasure, and stress. It also has functions in blood flow, digestion, memory, focus, and even pain processing. As such, it can make you feel alert, focused, happy, and motivated, which are things you need to reach your goals.
Those are also the reasons scientists associate low dopamine levels with mood disorders. For example, studies suggest a relationship between dopamine deficiencies and depression.
As bananas help your body make more dopamine and serotonin, you’d want to add them to your diet. It also contains prebiotics, which are fibers that nourish the good gut bacteria.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, compounds that help reduce or prevent oxidation. Oxidation occurs whenever molecules called free radicals trigger reactions in the body. Having too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants can result in illnesses.
For example, excessive levels of free radicals can cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, in turn, can lead to healthy cell death and DNA damage. All these can then result in inflammation, diabetes, and nerve conditions, among others.
Antioxidants seem to help combat mood disorders caused by oxidative stress. Berries don’t only contain antioxidants; they also have phenolic compounds. Like antioxidants, phenolic compounds may also help counter oxidative stress.
Moreover, many berries are excellent sources of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the substances that give some berries their purple or blue color. A study found that folks who feast on anthocyanin-rich diets have a lower risk of depression.
Besides, berries are scrumptious and versatile, that you can snack on them or add them to salads. You can even make healthier salad dressings using various types of berries. Berry smoothies are also great if you need a quick, pick-me-up treat to help you stay on top of your daily goals.
Dark chocolate’s sugar content can help boost your mood by giving your brain a quick fuel source. It also stimulates the release of feel-good compounds like caffeine and N-acylethanolamine (NAE).
NAEs are fatty acids with a chemical similarity to cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, which you can read more about here, seem to have positive effects on mood. NAEs’ similarities to cannabinoids appear to include these mood-boosting benefits.
Dark chocolate is also rich in flavonoids; substances said to raise blood flow to the brain. Its cocoa content may also help combat inflammation while helping improve brain health. Plus, dark chocolate in itself can be healthy comfort food, so long as you stick to one to two small pieces a day.
Beans and Lentils
Experts say that chili pepper may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease deaths by 26%. They also associate the consumption of this spicy fruit with a 25% decrease in death from any cause.
That should be enough reason to include chilis in your diet, paired with beans and lentils. A perfect example is a bowl of chili, which can be a warm, mood-boosting meal.
Beans and lentils are also excellent plant-based sources of fiber and proteins. They also contain many feel-good nutrients, such as B vitamins. B vitamins can raise the levels of hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
The B vitamins in beans and lentils also have roles in nerve signaling functions. So, it’s no wonder that there’s a link between being low on B vitamins and mood disorders.
4. Change Dietary Habits That Affect Your Mental and Physical Health
Fresh fruits and vegetables are among the densest in terms of nutritional content. They contain many of the essential nutrients that the body can’t synthesize on its own. Unfortunately, 90% of folks in the US don’t get enough of these healthy dietary must-haves.
A lack of fruit and veggie intake can lead to poor nutrition and even undernourishment. Both can make you susceptible to illnesses, such as immunity-related diseases. A lack of proper nutrition can also put you at a higher risk of weight-related disorders.
Either way, all these health conditions can hinder you from being and feeling your best. This may then disrupt your daily activities and result in you failing to reach your goals.
Moreover, being underweight or overweight often has the added effect of lowering self-esteem. This can then cause you to question yourself, and you may start feeling unconfident. A lack of confidence, in turn, can bar you from reaching your full potential, and thus, your goals.
So, as early as today, start eating two to three cups of vegetables per day. You should also take in at least a cup and half to two cups of nutrient-rich fresh fruits. Reduce your consumption of saturated fats, extra sugars, salt, and processed food, too.
5. Invest in No Less Than 7 Hours of ZZZs
An estimated 70 million adults in the US have a sleep disorder. Insomnia and sleep apnea are two of the most common of more than 80 types of sleep disorders. Most of these conditions result not only in more stress but also higher risks of other health woes.
Either way, sleep is such an essential function that a lack of it can impair your physical and mental health. For starters, it’s during sleep that the body produces signaling proteins called cytokines. These compounds play roles in combating diseases, infections, and inflammation.
The more deprived you are of sleep, the more irritable and less focused you can be, too. Your attention and concentration can also experience a significant drop. All these can fuel your stress further, and you’ll unlikely be able to achieve all the goals you set for yourself.
To start getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, limit your smart device usage. Scientists say that the blue light they emit impairs the body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is an essential sleep hormone that aids the body to enter sleep mode.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to stop using your screens two hours before bedtime. These include the TV, computer, smartphone, tablet, and video game consoles.
You should also set dinner time to be three hours before your usual bedtime. This is enough time for the digestive system to do its work of processing your last meal of the day.
6. Get Moving to Relieve Foul Moods
One survey revealed that more than half of adults said they felt good about after exercise. One in three also said exercising put them in a good mood or that they felt less stressed.
The better you feel and the less stress you deal with, the healthier your entire being can be.
Moreover, exercise stimulates the brain to release chemical messengers called endorphins. These neurotransmitters play interactive roles with the brain’s opiate receptors. It’s in this way that they can boost pleasure and feelings of well-being while reducing pain.
Exercise also helps trigger the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Moreover, it helps you sweat things out and keep your weight under control.
Experts say that 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as walking, is enough for a week. You can go for 75 minutes a week if you do more vigorous activities like cycling, running, or swimming.
Reach Your Goals by Staying Healthy From Inside To Out
Enough water, healthy food, sleep, and mobility are critical to survival. As such, you’d want to pair exercise with hydration, nutritious meals, mood food, and sleep. Having all these present in your life is key to better health, which, in turn, is crucial for you to reach your goals.
Ready for more inspirational guides like this to help boost your health and wellness? Feel free to stick around then to check out our other educational resources!
The Causes of Neck Pain: A Complete Guide
Neck pain can be a killer. Around 20 percent of people in the United States suffer from this issue.
But, how do you know what’s causing your neck pain? And how do you treat it once you find out? Read on to learn about the leading causes of neck pain.
If you’ve recently been injured, you may have a neck injury that has been missed. If you’ve been in a car accident, for example, you may be suffering from whiplash.
Soft tissue injuries or nerve compression could both be an explanation for your neck pain. There could also be a problem with your bones that resulted from your injury.
If you have neck pain due to an injury, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor may be able to help you. Check out spinecentral.co.uk to learn more about your options.
Some forms of arthritis can cause neck pain. Osteoarthritis, which comes with age, is one of the most common causes of neck pain. However, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause neck pain, so no matter what your age, is it’s important to watch out for signs of all forms of arthritis.
If you suspect that arthritis is causing your neck problems, you should consult with your primary care physician to find solutions.
Different forms of therapy that involve ice and heat can be very beneficial for people who suffer from neck pain due to arthritis. You can also look into different stretching techniques and medications to help you with pain that results from arthritis.
There are other diseases that can cause neck pain. Some diseases that can cause neck pain include:
- Some forms of cancer
- Cervical spinal stenosis
- Heart attacks and other cardiothoracic issues
- Different infections, in some cases
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
If you have any of the other symptoms of any of these conditions, you should let your doctor know as soon as possible. For some conditions, you may need significant treatment for the underlying conditions.
For others, you may just need treatment for the neck pain, which could require medication or surgery to resolve the issue.
Do you spend all day staring at a screen? This could be the cause of your neck pain. Overuse, generally, can cause muscle issues, and that’s true of your neck as well.
To correct neck pain caused by neck strain, you should look into changing up your workstation. You should look into getting an ergonomic chair, if you don’t already have one.
Work out the height of your computer monitor and keyboard in order to avoid putting even more stress on your neck and the rest of your body. You could also get a standing desk to avoid stretching, which can also help you with your exercise routine.
Take regular breaks when you’re staring at a screen, to reduce issues. Take a walk around your office while you take a break, and try different forms of stretching. If your pain is caused by bending over your computer, look into different ways to improve your posture so you don’t put so much pressure on your body.
To prevent further issues, try taking up an exercise routine that will strengthen your neck and the rest of your muscles.
Stress-Induced Neck Pain
Sometimes, simply being too stressed can cause you to have neck pain. In these cases, you should look into ways you can reduce the amount of stress in your life. Try looking into stress relief activities, such as journaling or exercise, that are scientifically shown to help reduce your levels of stress.
Different supplements may also be beneficial for helping you bring down your stress levels as quickly as possible, so you can stop suffering from tons of pain in your neck.
Consider talking to a counselor or therapist in order to work out some of the issues that may be causing your stress levels to spike.
Of course, you’ll probably want to target your neck pain along with reducing your levels of stress. Some alternative treatments you can try out for neck pain include massage, some types of acupuncture, yoga, and seeing a chiropractor.
When you’re looking into treating neck pain, you’ll want to look into a wide range of options to work out the best plan for your needs.
Sometimes, the way you sleep can cause pain in your neck. That’s when it’s time to change how you sleep. Change what position you sleep in to avoid putting too much pressure on your neck.
If you sleep on your stomach, you should definitely shift to try out sleeping on your side and your back, which will put less pressure on your neck while you get your beauty sleep.
Consider investing in a more supportive mattress and pillows in order to support your back and neck, which can reduce your levels of pain. You may want to consider trying out a sleep lab to get suggestions as to what may be causing your different neck issues.
Now You Know The Causes of Neck Pain
Hopefully, now that you’re aware of the major causes of neck pain, you’ll be on the way to treating your issues so you can start feeling better.
If you’re searching for more health and wellness tips, we’re here to help. Take a look at some of the other posts on this website for all the top tips and tricks you need.
A Guide to Using Mindfulness for Anxiety
Take a deep breath in. One, two, three, four and breath out, one, two, three, four, five, six. Good job. You just completed a breathing technique used to combat anxiety.
Depending on the level your anxiety is at, mild, moderate, or severe, you may feel that you’re in it by yourself. You are not alone.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety affects 40 million adults and is the most common mental disorder in the U.S.
43.5 percent of adults with anxiety experience it mildly, 33.7 percent experience it moderately, and 22.8 percent experience it severely.
Read on to discover how employing mindfulness for anxiety could help.
Mindfulness for Anxiety
You may be thinking to yourself, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of paying close attention to the present moment.
This means you astutely observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
Observing and labeling your thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body can help understand yourself better.
It will also allow you to identify the triggers of your anxiety, whether they are small or large.
Self-criticism is something that people with anxiety have a hard time combating.
Mindfulness can help you identify and manage difficult emotions instead of scolding yourself for feeling them.
Living mindfully means appreciating everything in the present moment instead of dwelling on the past or trying to predict or anticipate the future. It is much easier said than done.
How to Use Mindfulness
Two mindfulness techniques involve introspection and eating.
The purpose of mindful meditation is to help you learn how to surrender and go with the flow instead of resisting what’s happening on the inside and in the world around you.
It also helps you to release the need to analyze your thoughts and surroundings, in addition to calming your mind and body.
You can practice this by doing the following:
- Breathing exercises (4-4, 4-6, 4-7-8 breathing)
- Guided imagery (park, beach, waterfalls, butterflies)
- Focusing attention on your breath
To be clear, you don’t have to spend an hour doing mindful meditation. You can start with three or five-minute sessions.
You must find a quiet and comfortable place to sit.
Mindful eating is another good use of the practice. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths and answering the following questions:
- What sensations do you feel when you’re hungry?
- What does your food smell like?
- What colors do you see?
- Upon first bite, what flavors do you taste? Is your food sweet, spicy?
Do you have anxiety that is out of control? The Thrive Wellbeing Centre has some great tips to help you take control of your anxiety management.
Find More Quality LifeBru Content
Take a deep breath in. One, two, three, four and breath out, one, two, three, four, five, six. Good job.
Using mindfulness for anxiety won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our health, food, and fitness content.
How to Tell That You Need Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep has more distractions today than ever before. The stresses of modern life, TV, and social media, up to the moment you want to sleep create perfect opportunities for distractions. Even after investing in a quality nectar mattress, a bed, and devices to boost sleep. Many people still do not get good sleep. How do you then tell when you have a sleep issue and when it becomes a problem? Sleep deprivation, disorders, and many other sleep issues are common problems today. Below are signs that will help you know that you need better sleep and you should seek help from a sleep specialist.
Often lying awake for hours
How fast do you fall asleep when you go to bed? Although there is no rule or procedure that you should follow. But falling asleep should take at most 20 minutes. Therefore, if you are still uneasy and just tossing around after an hour, this could be a tell-tale sign that there is an issue. This can be a lot of things from using your phone in bed to having a sleep disorder. On the other hand, falling asleep immediately when you enter inside the covers is a sign that you are sleep deprived and you should work on that as well.
Sleeping less than seven hours a night
How long should you sleep and how long are you sleeping? Many adults are advised by sleep specialists to sleep at least seven hours every night. This is not only for rest purposes, but to learn new information, fight off infections, and many other benefits. This sleep deficiency is brought about by work requirements, environmental causes, lifestyle, or sleep disorders. In such a case, consult a sleep doctor to help you know what the issue could be between sleep deprivation and insomnia, as they are different or it could be something else.
When you keep falling asleep, it is different from the usual drowsy feeling and yawning. Since excessive sleepiness shows that there is an issue that is causing it. This is not to be confused with when someone is feeling sleepy, as they are not the same. Most of the time it is because of inadequate sleep. Therefore, when you start feeling you can fall asleep wherever and whenever you get a chance to, it is a sign of unhealthy sleep. Plus, this is dangerous, especially if you have to drive, work at a hospital, and do other sensitive things that need you awake and alert.
Poor concentration and memory
Quality sleep boosts your memory and your ability to learn. If you do not get enough sleep you will find it hard to concentrate. Therefore, your ability to make decisions, solve problems is impaired. Also, you make more mistakes, reaction time is slower, and you take longer to finish tasks. Besides, you can tell if your concentration is poor. For instance, when you lose your concentration fast as you drive to work or back home. Also, it is common to see people with sleep issues struggling to concentrate and struggle with their memory. If this could be you, you need to make sleep a priority or find out what could be causing you not to sleep well.
Change in appetite and mood
Did you know that sleep deprivation can affect your ability to control your mood, appetite, and your weight? Also, studies show that when you do not get enough sleep there is a connection with a high risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression. Human bodies do not function well with unpredictable or inadequate sleep. As an example, people who experience major sleep deprivation like shift workers it affects their health.
To conclude, the above are reasons that show you may not be getting better sleep. Therefore, it is best to consult a sleep specialist to guide you through improving your sleep. Plus, when you watch the lifestyle that you lead, there can be simple tweaks that you can change to ensure that they improve your sleep and help you sleep better. Such as avoid alcohol hours to bed, using electronics hours to bed, and ensure your sleep environment is clean.
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