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!
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.
New Year, New Me: 4 Easy New Years Resolutions to Stick To In 2021
What’s the secret to sticking to New Year’s resolutions?
About 50% of American adults make resolutions as the new year arrives. However, only 10% wind up keeping their resolutions past a few months. Why?
Oftentimes, failure is the result of grandiose self-improvement plans. When the truth is, the secret to making long-lasting changes is to start small. The small changes you make plant seeds that can flourish into deeply rooted ways of being.
Are you ready to make the best new year new me goals? Whether you want to grow spiritually, financially, or physically, this article’s for you. Read on to learn how to make long-lasting resolutions.
1. Declutter Your Home
What better way to kick off the new year than by reclaiming your space? Starting with your bedroom, go room by room throughout the house and hunt down clutter.
Be merciless as you decide what items are worth keeping, and which ones have overstayed their welcome. Instead of wasting time taking care of things you don’t need, you’ll be freeing yourself up to focus on your other resolutions.
2. Save for Retirement
Are finances something that’s you’ve always struggled with? If yes, use your new year new me attitude to turn impossible tasks into achievable goals. Go ahead and make an appointment at your banking institution to speak to a financial advisor. Maybe even check out some brokerages to invest in stocks.
After reviewing your monthly budget, you can look for ways to begin saving for retirement. When you know your future’s secured, you can live more freely now.
3. Get Out in Nature
Instead of committing to major lifestyle changes, focus on finding new things that spark your interest. For instance, instead of saying you’re going to watch less t.v., try getting out of the house more. Make it a goal to visit at least 1 new nature location this year.
You can go to state parks, hiking trails, or do a quick online search for less known spots to visit. After you see the wildlife and natural beauty the first spot has to offer, you’re going to want to see more!
4. Expand Your Food Choices
Exploring new food options is a fun way to incorporate healthy habits into your life. You can start by looking for new fruits you’ve either never tried, or haven’t had in years. For instance, do you know what a pomegranate tastes like? What about a limequat? After trying a few new fruits, branch out and start trying new dinner dishes. For instance, you can try Korea town styled food like the meals offered at these locations.
New Year New Me Action Plan
Which one of the resolutions in this article spoke to you the most? Are you going to embrace your new year new me attitude to try new foods? Will you be mastering your finances by meeting with a financial advisor?
Of course, to have the best year possible you could always tackle all of the resolutions in this article. One at a time, you’ll be making small changes that will have major positive impacts on your life.
Are you ready for more ways to get ahead in life? Explore the rest of this site.
2021 Will Be a Year of Vaccines, Says a Feng Shui Expert
The coming year will be the Year of the Metal Ox, according to the Chinese calendar. Consequently, experts speculate that 2021 will be a year filled with massive inoculation as the world comes head-to-head against the dreaded novel coronavirus that has already claimed more than a million lives. COVID-19 vaccines will be provided for many, finally allowing people to reclaim a semblance of pre-COVID-19 life.
“It’s a ‘metal’ year, so it’s a year of vaccination because of the metal element. The metal aspect is the needle (used in syringes to administer the vaccine),” explains Marites Allen, a feng shui guru who is popularly called the “Queen of Feng Shui,” in a recent virtual meeting with various writers hailing from different countries. Allen conducted the said meet-up from London where she and her family are currently based. During the digital gathering, she provided the participants with several predictions for the coming year.
In line with Allen’s forecast, the United Kingdom and the United States have already launched their vaccination campaigns. Other countries are following suit as many of them are also slowly rolling out COVID-19 vaccines among their citizens.
As regards the economy, Allen predicts that investors will turn to technology-based businesses. “Those that have something to do with earth, such as real estate, may also expect a good year,” she shares.
Nevertheless, she mentions that not everyone will be going all-out in terms of investments and other life-changing decisions. This will be due to the fact that 2021 will lack the element of Fire, a major factor that provides optimism to all.
“Some have doubts in their hearts and minds. Trust will not be there in full swing,” Allen adds as she reiterates the need to save up and only spend money on things that are absolutely necessary.
Aside from finances and COVID-19 vaccines, she also mentions several Chinese zodiac signs that will be lucky next year. People who were born in the years of the tiger, ox, rooster, horse, and rabbit may experience a better year ahead, Allen says. Those, however, who were born during the years of the dog, rat, sheep, boar, snake, and dragon must be prepared to face the different challenges that will arrive.
Nevertheless, Allen points out that she, like other feng shui practitioners, does not do fortune telling. “We are just offering them guides on what the general atmosphere may bring,” she shares. She is scheduled to provide a more in-depth look into the different things that 2021 may bring.
Allen mentions that she is trying to embrace the challenges of the New Normal, adjusting to the demands of the new way of life. She claims that it is important for people to do so, as well. Despite the hopeful promise of COVID-19 vaccines next year, she reminds others to continue being careful so as to prevent the still rapid spread of the deadly disease. Furthermore, those who may want to read more about her predictions can find her via her different social media handles.
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