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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Why Falling In Love Clouds Our Judgment

By Professor Kimberly Resnick Anderson

The chemicals of a hopeless romantic.

Love is a many-splendored thing. And falling in love is certainly one of life’s most exquisite experiences.

Falling in love makes people feel optimistic, energetic, and euphoric. All good stuff. But it also clouds our judgment, causing us to make impulsive, something risky decisions. So, what’s really happening to our brains when we fall in love?

Many neurochemical changes unfold as soon as we think we’ve met our “soul mate.” It all begins with Dopamine.

Dopamine activates the “reward center” in the brain and is highly associated with pleasure. The awesomeness of chocolate cake or finding the perfect pair of shoes — Dopamine. The thrill of gambling, using cocaine, playing video games, all Dopamine.

Dopamine — The Pleasure Center

All basic drives are associated with increased levels of Dopamine, including sex. Here’s an interesting fact — Dopamine is activated by novelty.

Anything new (a new person, a new place, a new food) increases Dopamine to varying degrees. So, when you meet a new guy or gal that you find attractive and consider to be a potential sex partner (or life partner) your brain gets of nice blast of Dopamine. In fact, when sex gets stale, I recommend that couples do something novel together to spice things back up. That’s why “vacation sex” is typically considered to be more exciting. It’s because you are in a different environment doing adventurous and novel things.

Serotonin, Obsessive Thoughts

Serotonin is another neurochemical that plays an important role when we fall in love. Have you ever met a potential love interest and you can’t stop thinking about them? You can’t sleep or eat because you are so distracted with thoughts of your new beloved.

Have you felt all-consumed, lost focus, daydreamed? We have serotonin to thank for these obsessive, intrusive thoughts. When you’re preoccupied and distracted and you believe it must be “true love,” try to remember that it might be serotonin playing tricks on you! When we are falling in love, the same parts of our brain light up on an MRI as when we are acutely mentally ill.

We really can be “crazy” in love! So, when you are ready to quit your job and move across the country to move in with someone you met online 3 weeks ago, take a time-out and remember that Serotonin may be distorting your typically sound judgment.

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Norepinephrine — Remembering Every Detail

Another neurochemical being activated when we fall in love is Norepinephrine, which is actually a chemical derived from Dopamine. Norepinephrine increases memory for new stimuli, assisting with euphoric recall.

Have you ever noticed that you can describe every detail of the first night you met your new love interest? The color of her dress, his cologne, the song that was playing when you spotted him, the exact time it was when she walked in the bar? That’s Norepinephrine at work.

This clarity of detail can trick us into thinking that it must be true love. We try to make sense of the intense, powerful feelings. They demand our attention. Sometimes we interpret this intensity as proof of having met our soul mate. I am not saying it isn’t!

I’m just saying we are sometimes overwhelmed by these feelings and this may affect our judgment.

Oxytocin — The Cuddle Chemical

Oxytocin is a key neurochemical involved in falling in love. Oxytocin is known as the “Love hormone,” the “Attachment hormone” and the “Bonding hormone.” It’s activated by all kinds of intimacy, even holding hands or hugging (not just sexual contact).

Try to think back, did a potential love interest inadvertently graze your arm with their hand and it felt like a bolt of electricity? That’s Oxytocin. Oxytocin also activates a sense of calm, satisfaction, and peacefulness. Oxytocin levels increase during breastfeeding.

Any skin to skin contact will activate Oxytocin. You know that “post-coital glow” you experience after sex, that “spring in your step?” That’s Oxytocin. In fact, after an orgasm, Oxytocin levels jump to 5X normal circulating levels and remain elevated for up to 24 hours! Not bad!

Adrenaline — Fight or Flight

Adrenaline is another neurochemical that is activated when we meet someone new that might be “the one.” Have you ever found yourself with a racing heart and sweaty palms when your crush approaches? Has your mouth gone dry when you attempt to speak?

That is Adrenaline flowing through your body. When activated, it can trigger a “fight or flight” response and increase blood levels of Cortisol (a stress hormone). This typically only happens when we are approached by (or near) someone we find attractive or perceive as potential partner (either “long-term”, i.e. forever or “short-term”, i.e. a one-night stand).

So, it’s easy to understand, given all of these physiologic changes, why we convince ourselves that our new partner is perfect for us. We are under the influence of neurochemicals! We are unable to see any of the clay beneath the marble statue.

We have neuochemical blinders on. This exciting, initial stage of love actually has a name. It is called Limerence. It’s defined as the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings.

Keep in mind that the euphoria associated with falling in love starts to fade within 6-12 months; and by 18-24 months, the transcendental experience is virtually gone. This is not to say that we stop loving or valuing our partner, we’re just no longer under the gripping hold of neurochemicals like we were in the blissful beginning. Aahhh, the good ol’ days.


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4 Nutrition Rules That Make Eating Healthy Extremely Easy

DAILY HEALTH POST, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
The old adage “do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind when people pose questions about health; everyone lately seems to be doling out advice: doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, health advocates, bloggers, magazines, your next door neighbor…Who should you listen to?
Heed advice from people who look like they are living it. If they look well, feel well, and are aging well, they obviously have to be doing something right.
Take any advice with a grain of salt and do your own research. Here’s a list of basic nutrition rules that generally work for everyone.

1. Leave High Fructose Corn Syrup Behind
The leading causes of obesity are high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar. Sugars stimulate the same part of the reward/pleasure center in the brain as caffeine and street drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin) and release dopamine–this is where addiction begins.
Companies discovered in the 1970’s that HFCS is sweeter and cheaper than sugar and decided to replace the refined sugar used in products with HFCS. In 2010, researchers at Princeton University conducted experiments using rats: different groups were fed various diets. The ones given HFCS gained 300% more weight over the ones fed regular table sugar or diets high in fat.

“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese–every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”[1]

2. Eat Your Daily Fiber
Most Americans are not eating diets that are rich in fiber. There are two types of fiber that are crucial to a healthy body: soluble and insoluble. Fiber cleans your intestines, keeps you regular, promotes a healthy digestive system, keeps your blood glucose levels stable, and helps to keep your cholesterol balanced. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Diets low in fiber can lead to all sorts of intestinal issues, diverticulitis, colon cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Keep your digestive system healthy and your colon clean.
Here are a few great sources for daily fiber:
  • Lentils, peas, beans
  • Greens (turnip, beet, collard, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce)
  • Broccoli, asparagus
  • Carrot, sweet potato
  • Avocado, raspberries, pear, apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Sesame and flax seeds, almonds
  • Quinoa, buckwheat
  • fiber rich foods
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3. Eat Your Daily Rainbow
Eating a variety of different-colored fresh vegetables and fruit ensures a diet rich in fiber that provides essential vitamins and minerals for the body to function properly, fight disease, regrow cells, lower cholesterol, and keep heart and brain healthy.
Different phytonutrients can be found in each color of vegetation. Antioxidants and enzymes found in plants repair damage caused from the sun’s harmful rays, filter toxins in the air and environment; prevent and kill cancerous cells, convert nutrients into vitamin A, enhance immune response, reduce inflammation, lower risk of chronic disease, and repair and prevent damaged tissue by balancing oxidating free radicals.
Instead of eating the same ol’ thing every week, try adding new and colorful fruits and veggies to meals, ensuring your body is rainbow-healthy.

4. Get Enough Healthy Fats
What would happen if you took the oil out of your car and tried to drive it? The engine would seize up and you wouldn’t get very far. This is the same line of thinking for why the body AND brain need healthy fats.
Eating healthy fats doesn’t make you fat; the bad processed and sugary foods you are eating make you fat. Usually when people remove fat from their diets they replace them with processed carbohydrate foods. What carbohydrates the body doesn’t use for energy is stored as fat.

Your brain is comprised of 60% fat; if it does not have enough of the proper nourishing lubricant, it cannot function optimally and over time will start to harden, creating plaque. This hardening process is seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, and brain-related diseases. Without proper nutrition provided to the brain in the form of healthy fats, simple tasks like speech, vision, movement, and thought process are affected.
Healthy fats curb your hunger for longer periods of time because your body uses them immediately as energy and pulls from them essential nutrients the body cannot make on its own. The archaic thinking that all fat is bad has since been proven wrong.
Healthy fat foods:
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds – walnuts, almonds, pistachios, chia, flax, pumpkin (seeds)
  • Eggs (whole)
  • Wild fish: salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout
  • High-quality, cold-pressed, unrefined plant-based oils: olive, coconut, sesame
  • Olives
source:


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12 Commandments for a Happy Life and Soul

Posted: 08/18/2015    Elyse Santilli

1. Choose happiness. Radiate it.

Happiness is a choice and an energy you can cultivate on a daily basis. Do your best to live in high vibration energy like love, peace, fun and joy — for your own wellbeing and fulfillment, and for the positive ripple effect it has on those around you and the entire world. Bring a sense of play, delight, awe and enthusiasm to your daily life and tasks. Decide that no matter what happens, you will keep your heart open.

2. Enjoy the pleasures of life.

You are the Universe experiencing itself through you. Show it a good time. Give it to yourself to enjoy earthly pleasures. Get up early and watch a sunrise, swim in the ocean, devour fresh salads and juices, put on your favorite tunes, throw a dinner party, try a new recipe, relax in the park with a great book, have a second coffee, and do the things that make you feel fully alive.

3. Make empowered choices.

You don’t have control over everything in life but you do have control over your choices. Make choices that are loving and kind to you. Feel good about your choices. Make them with the right energy – wholeheartedness, joy and permission. Use permissive verbs – I can do this; I choose this.

4. Live in gratitude.

Gratitude is deceptively simple yet incredibly powerful. It makes what you have today enough, while also attracting more great things into your life. Say thank you numerous times a day. Thank you for fresh air, blue skies, rain drops, nourishing food, warm clothes, loved ones, and life itself.

5. Own your gifts.

You are the only you in the history of humankind. There will never again be anyone else like you – with your unique and magical blend of talents, passions, quirks, ideas and energy. When you think of how many sliding doors moments and events in history had to happen for you to be here today, you may realize for a moment how incredibly precious and worthy you are. Shine your light. Own your gifts. Share your true authentic self with the world.

6. Listen to your heart.

Become less centered in your circling thoughts and more centered in your heart and soul. When you can listen to your own soul instead of the noise of the world, you’ve mastered your life. Your inner guide will always tell you where to go, what to do, what to say, and to whom. Your soul knows exactly what is needed for your own highest good, growth and happiness. Following your bliss is a reasonable action plan for your life, because when you do, you open the floodgate to ideas, energy and inspiration.

7. Be creative and curious.

Make time for soul journaling, dancing, art, creating, adventuring, and solo dates to get to know yourself better. Mix up your routine, try new activities, walk the untrodden path, and open your circle to new people. When you do, you become more present and alive, because you can no longer rely on your default autopilot half-asleep mode. Have endless curiosity towards life, and positive expectations.

namaste

8. Take care of yourself.

You are a worthy, divine spiritual being. Treat yourself accordingly. The more you take care of and support yourself, the more you can take care of and support others. Nourish yourself with nutritious foods, water, movement, meditation and sleep. Fill your cup until it overflows onto others.

7. Commit to self-love.

Your relationship with yourself is the most important one of your life. How you treat yourself will have a profound impact on your relationship with others, as well as your level of success and happiness. Treat yourself like you would a best friend or loved one. Place your hand on your heart daily and tell yourself you are loved and accepted. Remind yourself ‘I love you’ whenever you are feeling anxious, ungrounded or inadequate. Remember you are always enough.

8. Be present and mindful.

The only time you can truly experience life is now. Leave those circling thoughts, worries and daydreams alone for a minute and check out what joys and opportunities are surrounding you in the present moment. Give each task your full love, energy and attention. Connect with your senses throughout the day as a window into the present. Drop into your being and make presence your natural state. Give yourself wholeheartedly to each moment. Hold nothing back.

9. Remember measure and balance.

The sage walks the middle path, away from the extremes. There is a time for action and a time for rest. A time for giving and a time for receiving. A time for speaking and a time for silence. A time for indulging and a time for holding off. Balance the areas of your life – calling and career, love and relationships, wealth, leisure and lifestyle, wellbeing and spirituality – in line with your values.

10. Creation over reaction.

You are a powerful creator. Spend less time complaining about how things are and more time deciding how you would like them to be — and then take inspired action to make it so. Embody the energy of having what you desire in advance of it arriving. Act, dress, walk, talk and make decisions as your ideal self. Keep your eyes on your vision, not the illusions around you. They are yesterday’s creations.

11. Adopt Namaste consciousness.

Bless others and soul-salute them as you pass by. Remember the light within you is the same light within them – we’re all just souls wearing different costumes. We’re also operating at different levels of consciousness, so show compassion and practice forgiveness. See everyone as a flower — unique and beautiful in their own way. Replace judgment with acceptance, respect and love.

12. Think give.

Wake up and ask yourself: how can I serve today? How can I embody love? How can I bring joy? How can I leave this world a better place? Have a spirit of service as you go about your day. Be a blessing, good company, an inspiration to others. You get more of what you give, so if you lack love, joy or abundance, find a way to help others find it. It will return to you a hundredfold.

Elyse is a writer, life coach and happiness teacher at NotesOnBliss.com and the creator of the Beautiful Life Bootcamp online course. She teaches people to align with their inner spirit, design a life they love, and expand their happiness and inner peace.


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Pass The Ice Cream, Bridget Jones: Men Take Breakups Harder Than We Think

By Yanan Wang    August 20, 2015

You know the scene: A forlorn young woman walks to the fridge, grabs a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and eats straight from the container, dripping spoon in hand. The audience gets the message loud and clear: This girl’s been dumped.

Meanwhile, her ex-boyfriend is probably shrugging off the split and hitting the nearest bar, looking for an immediate rebound.

When it comes to breakups, we tend to think that women are devastated while men quickly move on. But a new study from researchers at Binghamton University and University College London reveals that breakups actually hit men harder than women.

The study, which surveyed 5,705 people in 96 countries, found that women may feel more immediate heartbreak at the end of a relationship, but men experience greater emotional trauma over time.

Many male respondents seemed to have never gotten over certain breakups, even decades later.

“When you move from the numbers to the actual stories, you can see that women are clearly talking about something in the past,” said Craig Morris, the anthropologist who led the study. “But when you read men’s responses, you never get that sense of closure — the breakup is always something that they’re just dealing with. It’s a constant wound, even if they’re now married with grandkids.”

This was also true for the respondents (nearly a third of the total) who identified as not exclusively heterosexual.

Morris attributes men’s lingering pain with the expectation in Western culture that they should be “tough.” (The majority of responses came from the United States, Britain and Germany.) Whereas women usually have strong support systems to get them through difficult times, it’s rarer that men will express vulnerability with their friends.

“If a guy shows up for Call of Duty night while his friends are all on the Xbox and he says, ‘Guys, I’m kind of sad, I really can’t play tonight,’” Morris said, “then the guys just say, ‘Oh okay, see you later.’ ”

“They’re probably thinking, ‘What do we say? What do we do?’ ” Morris said.

So give it up to your girlfriends, girls. They’re saving you from the miserable fate of not being able to talk about your feelings.

sad man

Meanwhile, many of the men surveyed described still being upset years later.

One respondent from Britain wrote: “Although I’m 63 and have not seen this person for 40 years, I still think of her regularly and imagine myself in conversation and love situations with her.”

Even though he is now married to someone else, he hasn’t been able to stop loving her. When he feels close to truly getting over it, something will once again trigger a sense of loss and the pain returns.

“I have never stopped thinking of her as my girlfriend although the only way I can express my love is in silent acceptance of the situation because she is happily married to someone else,” he wrote.

A respondent in Turkey feels his pain: “She cheat and after I breakup with her suddenly I will wake up [in the middle of the night]. I feel like [sic] I paralyzed in the whole body.”

Compare this to an American woman’s description of her breakup with her first boyfriend of 15 years. She summed up being dumped in one sentence: “It had a lasting impression on me, mostly negative.”

But she moved past it long ago. “I’ve seen him since, but even his mannerisms kind of make me sick now, and make me realize that some bad things happen for a reason,” she wrote. “My husband and I are very happy and very devoted to each other. Yay for me!”

The difference between how male and female respondents coped with their breakups runs counter to what evolutionary biology teaches us.

Since men can have as many children as they want with as many partners as they want, there’s no need to for them to be choosy like women, who only get a few chances to reproduce with the right person. So it makes sense if men move on quickly — they have less to lose from picking the wrong mate.

But this study reveals that men’s hearts can supersede their biology, Morris said.

“They do fall in love,” he said, “and when that person is gone, men can get very, very sad.”


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Can What You Eat Affect Your Mental Health?

By Kelli Miller    WebMD Health News     Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

Aug. 20, 2015 – What’s for dinner? The question is popping up in an unexpected place – the psychiatrist’s office.

More research is finding that a nutritious diet isn’t just good for the body; it’s great for the brain, too. The knowledge is giving rise to a concept called “nutritional (or food) psychiatry.”

“Traditionally, we haven’t been trained to ask about food and nutrition,” says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University. “But diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have. By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.”

Nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness each year. The CDC says that by 2020, depression will rank as the second leading cause of disability, after heart disease.

It’s not just a problem for adults. Half of all long-term mental disorders start by age 14. Today, childhood mental illness affects more than 17 million kids in the U.S.

Recent studies have shown “the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, or what we call the Western diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. The risk of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) doubles,” Ramsey says.

A Growing Idea

Just 5 years ago, the idea of nutritional psychiatry barely registered a blip on the health care radar. There had been a few studies examining how certain supplements (like omega-3 fatty acids) might balance mood. Solid, consistent data appeared to be lacking, though.

But experts say many well-conducted studies have since been published worldwide regarding a link between diet quality and common mental disorders – depression and anxiety – in both kids and adults.

“A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health,” says Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. “A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.”

There is also interest in the possible role food allergies may play in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, she says.

But nearly all research involving eating habits and mental health has focused more on depression and anxiety. And there’s no direct evidence yet that diet can improve depression or any other mental disorder, although a trial to determine this is now underway.

Experts caution that while diet can be part of a treatment plan, it shouldn’t be considered a substitute for medication and other treatments.

Here’s what they do know about how diet may play a role in mental health. What you eat affects how your immune system works, how your genes work, and how your body responds to stress.

3 Ways Diet Impacts Your Mental Health

Here are some more details on how good nutrition impacts brain health:

1. It’s crucial for brain development.

“We are, quite literally, what we eat,” says Roxanne Sukol, MD, preventive medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “When we eat real food that nourishes us, it becomes the protein-building blocks, enzymes, brain tissue, and neurotransmitters that transfer information and signals between various parts of the brain and body.”

2. It puts the brain into grow mode.

Certain nutrients and dietary patterns are linked to changes in a brain protein that helps increase connections between brain cells. A diet rich in nutrients like omega-3s and zinc boosts levels of this substance.

On the other hand, “a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars has a very potent negative impact on brain proteins,” Jacka says.

Brain-Food

3. It fills the gut with healthy bacteria.

And that’s good for the brain. Trillions of good bacteria live in the gut. They fend off bad germs and keep your immune system in check, which means they help tame inflammation in the body. Some gut germs even help make brain-powering B vitamins.

Foods with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) help maintain a healthy gut environment, or “biome.” “A healthier microbiome is going to decrease inflammation, which affects mood and cognition,” Ramsey says.

A high-fat or high-sugar diet is bad for gut health and, therefore, your brain. Some research hints that a high-sugar diet worsens schizophrenia symptoms, too.

This Is Your Brain On … Kefir?

Certain foods may play a role in the cause of mental disorders, or they may make symptoms worse. A nutritious brain diet follows the same logic as a heart healthy regimen or weight control plan. You want to limit sugary and high-fat processed foods, and opt for plant foods like fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Swap butter for healthy fats like olive oil, too. In other words, try a Mediterranean diet.

It’s “an ideal diet for physical and mental health,” Jacka says. Recent results from a large trial in Europe show that such an eating plan may also help prevent, and not just treat, depression.

The key is to choose foods that pack as many nutrients in as few calories as possible. Nutrients might be particularly helpful for treating or preventing mental illness are:

  • B vitamins. People with low B12 levels have more brain inflammation and higher rates of depression and dementia. Falling short on folate has long been linked to low moods.
  • Iron. Too little iron in the blood (iron-deficiency anemia) has been linked to depression.
  • Omega-3s. These healthy fatty acids improve thinking and memory and, possibly, mood.
  • Zinc. This nutrient helps control the body’s response to stress. Low levels can cause depression. A great source is oysters, which pack 500% of your daily need of zinc but have just 10 calories apiece, Ramsey says. Mussels, which are rich in brain-healthy selenium, are also a good choice.

Also, fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt with live active cultures, which provide good gut bacteria, may help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel provide omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, selenium and other brain boosters. And dark chocolate has antioxidants, which increase blood flow to the brain, aiding mood and memory.

Unfortunately, the Western diet is “extremely low” in these nutrients, Ramsey says. He’s working on a new tool called the Brain Food Scale, to be published later this year. It will provide a quick look at the nutrient-to-calorie relationship.

Does Diet Replace Medicine?

You should always talk to your doctor before stopping or taking less of any medication you’re on.

“No matter where you are on the spectrum of mental health, food is an essential part of your treatment plan,” Ramsey says. “If you are on medications, they are going to work better if you are eating a brain-healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods.”

Ramsey recommends that you talk to your doctor about what you should eat — not just what you shouldn’t. He hopes that one day a simple 5-minute food assessment will become part of every psychiatric evaluation.

Nutritionists like the idea.

“More psychiatrists need to recognize the nutrition-mental health connection,” says Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, who is registered by the International Organization of Nutritional Consultants. “We can have so much power over our mental health using food and nutrients.”

SOURCES:
Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry (ISNPR) and Associate Professor at Deakin University, Australia.
Drew Ramsey, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, inventor of the Brain Food Scale, and co-founder of National Kale Day.
Roxanne Sukol, MD, preventive medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, ROHP, registered nutritionist and author of The Probiotic Promise.
Sarris J. The Lancet Psychiatry, May 2015.
Logan AC. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, July 24, 2014.
CDC website: “Mental Health Basics.”
National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Mental Illness Facts and Numbers.”
Gomez-Pinilla F. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, November 2013.
University of Utah Health Sciences website: “The Human Biome.”
Sánchez-Villegas A. BMC Medicine, 2013. 
Sánchez-Villegas A. Nutritional Neuroscience, 2011. 
Genetics Home Reference website: “BDNF.”
Nehlig A. British Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Feb. 5, 2013.
News release, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Jacka F. PLOS One, Sept. 21, 2011.
Lakhan S. Nutrition Journal, 2008.
Young S. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. March 2007. 
Peet M. British Journal of Psychiatry, 2004.
Ramsey D, Muskin P. Current Psychiatry, January 2013.
Bourre J. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, Nov. 5, 2006. 
Selhub E. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, Jan. 15, 2014.

source: WebMD


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5 Ways to Create Lasting Change in Your Life

Posted: 08/20/2015 

When you think about how hard it is to make changes in your life, you’re tempted to give up before you even start. It’s easier to coast through a good enough life. Everywhere you look, another person or situation trying to convince you a mediocre life is perfectly fine.

In one of her songs, Taylor Swift says, “People throw rocks at things that shine.” Marianne Williamson is famous for saying, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

Society has conditioned us against stepping out and claiming the kind of life we want to live. Life is short and time can never be recovered. Each moment is precious and should be lived to the fullest. Here are five ways to create lasting change that leads to an amazing life.


1. Start with the inner work. Real change starts within each of us. There are struggles and self-limiting beliefs that we have to battle before we can move forward. Take some time for a self-examination of where you are and where you want to be. Address that little voice in your head that gets uncomfortable at the thought of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

2. Be honest with yourself. For the inner work to manifest, it starts with honesty. It’s too easy to lie — especially to ourselves. Real change starts with getting honest about the things that have held you back in the past, and what scares you about the future. Change lasts when you get honest and stay honest. You will have setbacks, and the honesty helps you keep from covering up what will help you.

change

3. Focus on one step at a time. When you look at the big picture, it’s easy to get discouraged at everything that needs to happen to create change. If you want to lose 50 pounds, it seems daunting. If you want to leave a job you hate, you get 100 thoughts of all that needs to happen. The best way to approach lasting change is to focus on your next steps. Don’t look at the big pictures. Instead, break this down into bite size goals that you work on every day.

4. Forms habits. Lasting change is most successful when you focus on creating habits. Habits are making lifestyle shifts versus quick wins. You incorporate the changes you want to make into your daily routine. You focus on changing how you think about the things you want to change, which affects the actions you take.

5. Stay accountable. Having support in your life can be the difference between success and failure. As much as we want to try this alone, having someone to get honest with you or hold your hand when you stumble, is crucial. It can be family, friends, or a support group, but stay accountable to avoid giving into excuses.

I realize this is all easier said than done, but I hope you realize how important this is. The death of my father and grandfather were my wake up call. They were the catalyst to shake me out of a 12-year period in my life that could best be described as existing. Today, I’m truly living and loving life.

I don’t know what your dream life looks like. I only know you can and should do something about it. You can make your dream a reality, and it starts with creating lasting change in your life. Use these five ways to claim the life you truly deserve!


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Raising Vibrations: How To Be The Change You Want To See In The World

By Nanice Ellis      Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

We hear it all the time, “Be the change you want to see in the world” – but what does it really mean? And how do we go about making it happen?

If you are reading this far, you are likely an evolutionary pioneer, paradigm trend setter, or what I call a consciousness shifter. However you see yourself, you know that you came here to make a difference, and maybe even a profound difference. But, let’s face it, the high hopes of even the most well intentioned souls can get obscured in the confusion and chaos of reality. It’s hard to keep on track and fulfill your purpose, when you are pulled in so many directions, just to maintain a life – just to survive.

Maybe you remember what you came here to do, but you have neglected, or even betrayed, your own heart due to fear, worry or doubt, or maybe you have forgotten what you came here to do, and you have spent the better part of your life seeking your purpose, but never quite finding it. The truth is, you don’t need to remember the specifics of your purpose in order to fulfill your mission. You only need to remember one thing.

You and I – and millions of other people living on earth right now – are here to evolve the world to the next level of consciousness. Our purpose is to bring forth an enlightened paradigm of reality, with freedom from war, poverty and disease. We are the bringers of the New Dream, and each one of us has an essential role to play. The chaos of the world may seem overwhelming, but you only have to fulfill your particular part. If fear, doubt or overwhelm stops you from realizing your purpose as Consciousness Shifter, you have missed the point.

Maybe you have specific gifts or talents that allow you to express your purpose in certain ways, but, honestly that is not a requirement. Your essential role in this glorious process is to be responsible for your own evolution – not in healing or teaching anyone else and not in single-handedly transforming the world. Your special part is in the evolution of your own consciousness. Your purpose is to evolve yourself. As such, you may become a teacher, healer or innovator, but it is a by-product of your own evolution. Trying to teach, heal, or effect change from an unevolved or asleep state only reinforces the old paradigms that we are here to transform. If you want to wake others up, you must first be awake yourself. So, how do we fulfill our mission?

The Secret to Evolution is Vibration

From the city-sized Rock of Gibraltar to each tiny raindrop falling on a window pane, everything is vibration. You and I are also made of vibration. We don’t see things as vibration because we are unconscious experts at interpreting vibration into what we call reality. It is our inner interpretation that makes everything seem solid, but that is just the grand illusion. This is great news because it means that we don’t have to wrestle solid things to the ground to overcome them, nor do we have to change reality by force. It means that we only need to evolve vibration in order to evolve ourselves and our world.

The transformation of humanity is simply a vibratory shift to higher frequencies.

There is nothing more important than how you are vibrating. Your personal vibration is your greatest resource and more vital than money, time or even physical energy. Everything is second to your vibration. From a low vibration of fear, worry or overwhelm, life is difficult and relationships are challenging. Scarcity is often the norm and we spend our lives just trying to get by and survive. War, poverty and disease are low vibratory effects. This is the current collective vibration of the world, but this is not how we are intended to live.

From a high vibration of love, life takes on an effortless flow, relationships are harmonic and abundance streams with ease. World liberation is realized as the collective vibration of humanity resonates with love and harmony.

No matter what expression you choose by way of your gifts, talents and preferences, your core mission is to wake up, connect to the source of who you really are – and raise your personal vibration, and as a result, you will fulfill your essential role in raising the collective vibration.

Ultimately, you will experience a new more enlightened world. You are not changing the world or saving anybody. You are only changing you, and saving yourself. When enough of us vibrate on the level of love, a threshold will be met, and just like the hundred monkey experiment, the world will experience exponential growth, heightened consciousness and global awakening. You only need to do your part, and I only need to do mine. This is the whole point.

If you were to make your vibration the most important part of every day, your entire life would change, and you would gain the ability to consciously begin to create the life you most desire.

Take Charge of Your Vibration

Vibration is influenced by thought, but most of the time this is done at an unconscious level so we have no control over our vibration. Imagine how you can positively influence vibration with positive intentions. This means that as your thoughts become more life affirming and encouraging in nature, your life will respond. You can take charge of your vibration and even the vibration of the world around you by being responsible with your mental energy, so if you want to raise your vibration, you must raise your thoughts. The more you consciously take charge of your thoughts, the more your vibration will rise.

If you are not in control of your thoughts, you are not in control of your life.

Your mind is like a quantum computer but if you are not consciously running the computer, it is programmed and run by external forces – be that family, society, government, authority figures or media. You take back your power by taking back the control panel in your head. I know that it can be difficult, at first, to get in the driver’s seat of your thoughts, but there is no greater work that you can, and must, do. If you want to create a better life and a better world, there is no getting around it – first, you must create better thoughts.

As the thinker of your thoughts, you have the power to master your life, and be the change you want to see in the world.

Vibration Assessment

When you want to know the quality or vibration of a thought, just notice how that thought makes you feel – the way in which you feel is always a tell-tale sign of your vibration. If a thought provokes constricting emotions like fear or frustration, you are going in the wrong direction. If a thought provokes expansive emotions like love, peace or compassion, you are going in the right direction.

Depression or fear is on the low spectrum of vibration while joy and love is on the high spectrum of vibration. Although an expression of fear is just as sacred as an expression of love, fear is less evolved because it invokes separation, while love is more evolved because it is moving toward oneness – evolving toward “The One.” There is no accident that you can find the word love in evolve.

The one thing to remember is that negative thoughts and emotions produce low vibrations, while positive thoughts and emotions produce high vibrations.

What Keeps Vibrations Low?

In order to raise your vibration, it is important to understand that your natural vibration is the high vibration of love, and if you were to let go of everything that keeps your vibration suppressed, your energetic frequency would effortlessly rise up, like releasing a cork that is held under water you would rise to the top.

The major causes of low vibration include:

  • Fear of survival or worrying about the future.
  • Shame about the past or holding onto the past in some way.
  • Limiting or false beliefs like scarcity, powerlessness or victimhood.
  • Criticism and judgment of self and/or others.
  • Feelings of unworthiness.
  • Negative thinking.
  • Not trusting yourself or the Universe.

The most common issue that keeps vibration low is focusing on what we do not want; consciously and unconsciously imagining negative outcomes and undesirable experiences, this includes past, present and future.

When a problem, or even a potential problem, arises, it is human nature to focus on the problem, but our vibration cannot be any higher than the source of our focus. Or, maybe we choose to fight against the problem, but this also leads in the wrong direction, because whatever we fight against, we give energy to, thereby lowering our vibration to match that which we are fighting against. If you desire peace but you are fighting against war, you are aligned with war and you will vibrate at the level of war. Be “for” something – not against. If you want peace, be peaceful. If you want love, be loving.

reality

The good news is, at any moment you can become responsible for how you feel and how you vibrate and you can raise your mental and emotional energy to a vibrational point where problems become a vibrational match for solutions.

How Do We Live at Higher Vibrations?

Once again, if you want to raise your vibe, it is essential to Master Your Thoughts, but there are some more pivotal pieces to the puzzle. I am going to show you how to align with higher vibrations so that you can be the change you want to see in the world, but first, I want to remind you that you are not a race car driver, so don’t expect to go from zero to ninety in five seconds. As you take inspired steps to raise your vibration, it is important to be patient and kind with yourself. The following is not shared as a “to do” list, but rather as an empowering guide on your personal path of evolution.

Master Your Beliefs

Since beliefs are conditioned thoughts, every belief has a corresponding vibration. This means that you can raise your vibration by releasing disempowering beliefs, such as victimhood and powerlessness and embracing empowering beliefs. The more you believe in your ability to consciously create, and the more you believe that the Universe unconditionally supports you, the higher your vibe will elevate. It is important to practice the beliefs that will take you where you want to go.

Own Your Worth

As you reclaim your worth and you stop asking the outside world to prove that you are worthy, your vibration will naturally rise, and you will discover that your worth is guaranteed and inherent. Not only do you not have to do anything to prove your worthiness, trying to prove it, keeps you from it – as you cannot prove that which you are. As the sun will rise and the air is free to breathe, your intrinsic worth cannot be taken away, no matter what you do or don’t do.

Meet Your Own Emotional Needs

As you stop sacrificing or compromising yourself in order to get your emotional needs met, your vibration will naturally rise. Meet your own emotional needs: appreciate yourself, understand yourself, accept yourself, acknowledge yourself, listen to yourself. Give yourself full approval to live your life like you really want to live it!

Take Responsibility

In order to be a Consciousness Shifter, you must take full responsibility for your life and every experience in it. This means that nothing is happening to you, and everything is a reflection of you or a complement to you. As long as you blame the world for your woes, you are powerless to create and you keep your vibe low. Conversely, as you take more and more conscious responsibility for your life, your vibration will naturally rise.

Stop Reacting

Every time you negatively react to reality, be that a person, place or experience, you give your power away and you lower your vibration to match that which you are reacting to. The trick is to stop taking things personally – and to drop your version of the story that caused you to react. It is just a story and no stories are true unless we make them true.

Don’t Catch the Dirty Rag

Just because someone throws you a dirty rag doesn’t mean you have to catch it – that rag likely contains low vibration energy. You are not here to be a “negative energy sponge.” If you are going to be responsible with your vibration, you cannot afford to take on other people’s negative energy.

Sweet Surrender

You are a beautiful evolving being and more often than not, evolution is a death and re-birthing process – the death of who you are not and the re-birth of who you really are. This means that it is necessary to surrender whatever no longer serves you or supports your highest good. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Dump the Drama

Many of us are addicted to drama and we don’t even know it. Yes, drama is entertaining to participate in and to gossip about, but it is not worth the cost of your vibration. Drama requires low vibration thoughts, emotions and beliefs, which get acted out in a dramatization. Who cares who did what to who? It is just not worth it – forgive, forget, move on. Dump the Drama!

Be a Conscious Creator

It is powerful to notice what is wrong, but don’t get stuck there. Instead, “use problems” as emotional leverage to bounce off – and into the solution. If you know what you don’t like, you can turn it around – and know what you do like. If you focus on the problem, you are sustaining a state of destruction (this is why if feels so bad). If you refocus your energy and attention on what you do want, you have aligned with the solution which exists on a higher vibration. Once you are aligned with the solution, your inspired action will result in exponential results. This is the act of conscious creation.

Practice Allowance

Go with the flow, stop criticizing and allow everyone to be who they are. Every time you judge or criticize yourself or others, you stifle your vibration. Judgment and criticism are vibration suppressers, even if they are offered with good intentions. As you practice allowance, for yourself and others, your vibration will naturally rise.

Find a Bridge

Lucky for us, there are many bridges that allow us quick access to increased vibration, such as forgiveness, gratitude and letting go. The bridge of forgiveness can take you from shame to relief.

The bridge of gratitude can take you from fear to love. The bridge of letting go can take you from overwhelm to peace. This powerful combination of energetic tools allows us to heal ourselves and rise up to be rightfully whole.

Follow Your Inner Guidance

Your body is an amazing navigational device and it will let you know exactly where you are vibrating. Whether guidance comes from your heart, gut or third eye, learn to listen, and if something doesn’t “feel” right, it is not right. Instead of resisting the guidance from your body, course correct your thoughts, beliefs and actions.

Offer Contribution

Most of us have a natural desire to contribute to others, or to the world. If we contribute from a space of obligation, fear or guilt, we offer a low vibration which is counter-productive to our greater purpose -and also to the contribution itself. Feeling sorry for someone is judgment and therefore projects a low vibration, while compassion is seeing another through the eyes of Source and responding from love. This means that before offering your gifts, talents or any form of contribution, you must be clean and clear with your thoughts and intentions and you must align with love so that what you give comes from the space of love – and projects the high vibration of love.

Embrace Self-expression

Be brave to be different, express yourself, speak up, tell your truth, get over pettiness, stop caring what other people think, and think for yourself. Shine your light! This is not the time to be shy. Do a dance and spread your wings – you never know just when you will fly.

Spread Love

The simple yet profound act of choosing love and expressing love raises your vibration. You are made of love – and so is everyone else, even when it seems not to be the case. As you express and spread love, others will feel this great love and they will begin to find it in themselves. As you raise your vibration, the by-product of your purpose is to spread an Epidemic of Love.

Connect with “It”

The more you connect with your higher power or whatever you might call “it,” the higher your vibration will rise. There is no right way to connect – you can get connected in any way that makes you feel aligned with life and the Source of Life. The practice of connecting is a practice of letting go. You cannot be connected and holding on or grasping for anything or anyone at the same time. Mediate, go for a walk, dance, pray, paint, sing – do whatever it takes to let go and get connected. Trust yourself and trust the Universe – it’s all going to be fine.

You Don’t Get a Second Chance

Your life is a precious gift and you don’t get a second chance. If you believe that you are here to make a difference, the time is now. The days of hiding behind fear, unworthiness or shame are gone. You cannot afford another lost day to the bottomless pit of false beliefs that have held you prisoner. You and only you have the key to unlock the binds that have kept you small and uncertain. That key is courage. The courage to be who you really are. The courage to go well past your current comfort zone. The courage to stand up, speak out and be the glorious expression of who you came here to be.

It is time to reclaim all your power from everyone and everything that you have given it to, and take that power and allow it to fill your soul. Luxuriate in the energy of self-love – and from this place of absolute fullness, give it all away through unbridled acts of kindness, and the unique expression that can only come from you. As you make the highest choices for yourself, you also make the highest choices for the planet and humanity. Ultimately, you become the change you want to see in the world.