Neil deGrasse Tyson had the following to say about how neuroscience works:

“Everything we do, every thought we’ve ever had, is produced by the human brain. But exactly how it operates remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, and it seems the more we probe its secrets, the more surprises we find.”

Much of the advice that is given, especially online, regarding how to increase happiness in our lives warrants a critical eye. The reason for this, unfortunately, is the proliferation of subjective and unfounded information. In some cases, the material is just flat-out fabricated with the hopes of drawing some visitors to some website.

This is where Neuroscience steps in and says “Enough already!” The scientific method and other rigorous means of examining information is one of the primary reasons that we now have cutting-edge medicine and technology that has advanced our quality of life. After all, we didn’t double our life expectancy and eradicate a host of diseases with pseudo-science and wishful thinking.

Now, neuroscience – the scientific study of the structure and function of the nervous system and brain – has brought forth findings proving that increasing our happiness is within our cognitive control.

Truthfully, this should not come as a surprise. Numerous scientific studies have already proven the effectiveness of such practices as meditation and mindfulness – two practices that were once thought to be ineffective at best and useless at worst. My, how times have changed.

There are not many things more exciting than discovering the immense power and energy within our bodies. The human brain is the most complex structure is the known universe – one that harnesses immense potential – that we can use create our own happiness.



As we already know, the brain is incredibly multifaceted, hence the extensive research based on neuroscience. At times, we seemingly transition from one mood to another without at all understanding why. Something quite interesting to note is that thoughts of pride, shame and guilt all activate similar circuits in the brain. More interesting – and counterintuitive – is that these undesirable thoughts activate our brain’s reward center. Reward center? What kind of “rewards” could there possibly be for these thoughts? Being prideful is somewhat (not really) understandable, but guilt and shame?

Anxiety’s function in the brain is also enigmatic. As it turns out, anxiety actually calms the limbic system and strangely dials down activity in the amygdala – the part of the brain that controls emotions. Apparently, worrying serves as a coping mechanism for our anxiety and is healthier than remaining idle in our anxious thoughts.

This is where gratitude comes in and saves the day. It turns out that practicing gratitude has a profound effect on our brain by increasing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin – the brain chemicals responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness.

So, in practicing gratitude – by using a journal, expressing it to a friend, etc. – we are effectively using neuroscience to activate the happiness circuits of our brain!


Quick question: what does it feel like to procrastinate? Really, think of an answer before continuing. What were the thoughts that came up just now?

Yes, this writer participated in the above exercise as well. Here are the thoughts and feelings that arose: anxious, uncomfortable, worried, lazy and selfish. Needless to say, these thoughts are not healthy for the brain.

Second question (last one!): What does it feel like to take action? Again, please think of an answer before continuing.

Relieved, accomplished, fulfilled, selfless and determined were this writer’s thoughts and feelings. This is where creating intentions and setting goals – making decisions – positively affects the brain. Dr. Alex Korb, a renowned neuroscience expert, explains:

“Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals – all three are part of the same neuro circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety.”

Some more positive news: the decisions that we make don’t need to be perfect. For the sake of our brain health, it’s better to come to a thoughtful decision that doesn’t require rigorous analysis. In short, making good decisions is better than striving for the perfect one.

When we make decisions, we feel in control of our thoughts. This increases feelings of pleasure within our brain.


It’s no secret that human beings are social creatures; some more than others, but we’re all social creatures to some extent. We gain pleasure from receiving love and acceptance from our fellow human and eventually experience melancholy when we don’t.

While the above statement may be somewhat commonsensical, the effect that social isolation and exclusion has on our brains is quite astonishing. Neuroscience has discovered that the human brain interprets social isolation and exclusion in the same way as actual physical pain.

Let’s cue up Dr. Korb:

“As demonstrated in an fMRI experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain…it activated the anterior cingulate and insula, just like physical pain would.”

According to Dr. Korb, the best remedy for this pain is simple: human contact. Social gatherings and conversing with each other is healthy, but the most powerful results are achieved through human touch.

“One of the primary ways to release oxytocin (a pleasure hormone and neurotransmitter) is through touching. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For the people you’re close with, make an effort to touch more often.”


Nobody appreciates being “labeled,” but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t label our thoughts – specifically, the negative ones.

Here’s a quick lesson on labeling: for some reason, you’re having a bad day that’s leaving you feeling awful. By default, the brain will almost always produce a thought such as “I feel awful.” Instead, try to identify this feeling. “I feel awful” is a blanket statement that can mean many things. Do you feel anxious? Worried? Depressed? Okay, then just label it as such. “I feel worried/depressed/anxious/etc.”

For those of us who don’t engage in this practice, it can feel kind of awkward at first, which is why it’s important to understand the rationale behind labeling. Dr. David Rock, neuroscience expert and author of ‘Your Brain at Work’, provides an explanation:

“To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion…this requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces arousal in the limbic system. Here’s the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.”

The takeaway: How we think determines our happiness. Our thoughts and actions are all interrelated. Dr. Korb provides an awesome (awesome!) explanation and summation of this scientific truth:

“Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making; decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.”

Source: https://www.powerofpositivity.com/neuroscience-rituals-make-people-happy/

Comparing ourselves to others only worsens depression. Learn why comparing ourselves to others is dangerous when we're depressed and find out how to quiet those negative voices here at HealthyPlace.

Comparing ourselves to others worsens depression. When I do it, it adds fuel to my negative thoughts and the descent starts there. I have discovered some ways to keep the comparison beast from taking over my mind and my life and therefore worsening my depression.

When we already battle depression, the temptation to compare ourselves to others can be hard to overcome. Since our minds often tend to dwell on negative self-talk, we have to work harder than a person without depression to keep comparison at bay. Also, with access to other people’s lives through social media, comparing ourselves to others is as easy as turning on a device. We’re drawn into yet another opportunity for comparison to others that can feed our negative thoughts and worsen our depression.

All is not lost, though; through working with a therapist and through my own experiences, I’ve learned some depression coping techniques that I’ve found to be quite effective in stopping the comparing-ourselves-to-others-problem (Comparing Yourself to Others Complicates Coping). I’ve felt specific negative things and learned to counteract these with positive truths so that my depression won’t be worsened by comparison.

How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

1. See the Positive in What You Do

I’ve struggled with feeling guilty because I can’t buy the newest and best clothes and gadgets for my children or take them on the nicest vacations. My husband works outside the home and I’ve chosen to stay home and be with my children. While I do make a salary for my writing work, it’s not as much as I would make if I were to go back to teaching public school. I’ve struggled with this and felt guilty when I compared myself to other mothers who could buy their children the newest and best clothes or take them on nice vacations.

What I’ve learned, though, is that I have more time with my children. My children are learning the value of budgeting and bargain shopping. I was a single mother when I first began my teaching career, so I know both sides of this coin. I felt guilty then, too, because I felt I should be home with my son. What I should have known then was that I was teaching him the value of hard work and also that the two of us could take care of ourselves. Also, we definitely budgeted and bargain shopped then as well.

Don’t allow what others do make you feel guilty about what you do. Let them do their thing and you do yours. Keep in mind different things work best for different people.

2. Embrace Your Body Type

This has been a huge struggle for me. I’m going to be completely transparent here; I went off my antidepressants for years because they caused me to gain weight. This decision landed me in the hospital due to a suicide attempt early last year. I’m short and have some meat on my bones. I’m never going to be tall and runway-model thin. I was comparing myself to women who are. I wanted to look like them, at the expense of my own health and life. The comparisons I was making to others were worsening my negative self-talk and depression to the point that I wasn’t willing to get the help I needed until it was almost too late.

Thankfully, I’ve been on medication for over a year now. I’ve only gained 10 pounds, which is no big deal. Plus, I’d rather be plump and alive than not here at all. I eat healthily and exercise, which helps both physically and mentally. I do this for health reasons. I am not trying to be skinny. I have learned to stop comparing myself to other women. I know it will only worsen my depression.

Take care of the body you’ve been given and don’t wish for someone else’s. Don’t give in to comparing yourself to others because that’s taking a chance that may worsen your depression. You can appreciate someone else’s beauty without criticizing your own.

3. Understand Social Media Is Not Reality 

Logically, we know social media snapshots are not true visions of someone else’s reality. Somehow we forget when we’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram that people are showing us only the best parts of their lives. Our depression lies to us and tells us that everyone else’s lives are perfect. We start comparing ourselves to others and we always come up short.

The truth is we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. The vacations people are taking may be causing them to go into major credit card debt. The happy couple may be on the verge of a breakup. The smiling family might have had a huge fight five minutes before the picture was taken. Everyone has problems; we are not the only ones.

Comparing ourselves to others on social media is like comparing real life to a soap opera. It’s not a fair comparison. We cannot allow our emotions to overtake our logic. If this is too difficult, then taking a break from social media may be required in order to keep us from comparing ourselves to others and worsening our depression.

I hope these tips will help you stop comparing yourself to others and worsening your depression.

Sursă: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2018/03/comparison-can-worsen-depression/

Photo: Asami Zenri

Today I am happy, peaceful, and living my potential—but it wasn’t always this way.

Almost a decade ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. At the time, I was also suffering from eating disorders and addicted to drugs. But my turning point was when I learned the power of positive thinking and retraining my brain to focus on the good, in the form of meditation and mantras. I created a strong foundation for healing and positive growth. Mantras or affirmations are words and phrases that are repeated often to help us retrain our brains and align with our true selves so we can feel better instantly.

Mantras are an excellent tool for happiness because they align your thoughts to recondition the fear-based mind. Here are a few of my favorite mantras for attracting more abundance. Repeat them daily and see if they help you feel more secure too:

All my needs are always met.

There is no need for you to stay in any situation that no longer serves you. If an area of your life feels strained because you don’t understand how it could possibly work out, you can turn to trust. Plenty of possibilities are available to you when you are open to receiving.

Repeat after me:

“I admit I sometimes get ahead of myself and become consumed with frustration. I release my need to know the outcome and align with my inner self.”

The universe has a plan greater than mine.

Life rarely turns out exactly like we think it will. Perhaps you felt you would have a family, but instead you have a fulfilling career. Perhaps you studied one subject in school and have pursued a path that has nothing to do with it. The reality is we often want something, and life ends up delivering something else. This is because the universe has a greater plan than the one you imagine. Have faith in your inner wisdom and trust the timing of your dreams. It is time for you to stop resisting and let the universe take over. You may feel conflicted or unsure of this new path, but now is the time to turn inward and trust the nudges coming to you. The universe is always guiding you, and the inspiration from within will lead you in the right direction.

Repeat after me:

“I don’t always get what I want, but I will always get what I truly need. I may feel stuck and at a standstill at times, but when I turn inward I know all is in order.”

Everything is in divine order.

Close your eyes and wish upon a star. The universe is working out a divine plan for you, and all is in your favor. Feel hopeful and purposeful. Believe in your dreams. In this moment, you may feel paused or stuck. This is only temporary, as readjusting is in process.

Repeat after me:

“There is a sacred timing to everything in my life. I release any concern that I am not where I need to be. I have made no mistakes and where I am in this moment is perfect.”

Abundance and joy are my birthrights.

There is no need for you to be in fear. Joy is natural to you. Stop holding onto negative and fearful thoughts. There is no need to worry, as you were born to be happy. Instead of giving your attention to things that bother you, allow them to fall away. Harmony will soon come to you, as joy and abundance are your birthrights.

Repeat after me:

“I am not my worries or concerns. I am so much bigger than any dilemmas in my life. I choose to see the good in each situation, and I focus my attention on all that is well. I am joyful and connected to my truth.”

When I follow my heart, I am abundant, successful, and free.

We are told from a very young age that our lives must follow a certain path. This all depends on your family’s beliefs, the culture in which you live, and even the era in which you grow up. We are not encouraged to follow our hearts but told survival is based solely on logical thinking. This message is trying to tell you that wonderful things can happen in your life when you decide to let your heart make decisions for your head and not the other way around. Drop to your heart for more clarity. Perhaps you worry about all your needs being met. Today is a day to remember that when you are happy, you are always abundant and successful. All of your past decisions have led you to where you are today. By celebrating the present moment, you will feel the freedom within. Your heart is always speaking to you; now is the time to listen.

Repeat after me:

“I turn inward to listen to my heart. I trust the guidance from within. I remove all external critics and release the need to fit in. When I follow my heart, all falls into place. I am free.”

I embrace the space between where I am and where I want to be.

Slow down. You may be too focused on the outcome. When you can add more love to this moment, you will embrace the process more. Instead of racing to meet your goal, savor the sweet moments along the way. Through the process, you become who you are meant to be. Allow yourself to be more present in the journey, which will help you grow.

Repeat after me:

“I am in no rush. I simply savor the sweet moments of my life and trust the divine unfolding of everything in its right time and place. I look forward to learning new things as I grow more into my best self.”

My positive thoughts create desired results.

You have an opportunity to create a more fulfilling outcome than what you are currently experiencing. If you are unhappy with an area of your life and you worry things are not going as well as you hoped, it could be because of your thoughts. Check in with yourself and see if your thoughts about the situation have been more negative. There is no room for negative thoughts in the manifestation process. Allow yourself to go inward and reach for good-feeling thoughts. Positive thoughts will help you manifest your desires more rapidly. We get what we focus on, and you have the power to get what you want by focusing on the positive aspects.

Repeat after me:

“I no longer focus on what is going wrong and instead turn all my attention to the outcome I desire. I know that remaining positive is essential for me to manifest my ideal outcome. I focus fully on what I want and release all fear and negativity by focusing on positive thoughts.”


Photo: @paulynn

A wildly knowledgeable public health researcher and aromatherapist, Eric Zielinski, D.C., is one of the most respected voices in the essential oil space. In this excerpt from his latest title, The Healing Power of Essential Oils, he provides evidence-based approaches, recipes, and formulations that will help you take control of your health, whether you’re new to essential oils or you’re ready for advanced techniques:

How are essential oils made today?

To help you understand the difference between the various products on the market today, these are the primary extraction methods that you should be aware of before you start purchasing essential oils:

1. CO2 Extraction.

Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) uses supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2), which is a fluid state where CO2 is held at or above its critical temperature and critical pressure. In its supercritical, fluid state, CO2 has an uncanny ability to perform as a commercial and industrial solvent. Unlike other commonly used toxic solvents, like hexane, CO2 is safe and environmentally friendly. The resulting essential-oil-based extract is currently all the rage in the aromatherapy community.

2. Distillation.

Primarily accomplished with steam, essential oils can also be water-and-steam distilled as well as steam-vacuum distilled. Let me help you visualize the process: steam from boiling water comes into contact with biomass (lavender flowers, sandalwood, cinnamon bark, etc.), softens it, and breaks up the volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Now loose, the lipophilic/hydrophobic (nonpolar) VOCs then pass through a condenser with the steam separating from the original biomass that originally contained them. Also traveling with the steam are the lipidphobic/hydrophilic (polar) components of the plant. In the condenser, the steam is cooled and the polar constituents separate from the nonpolar constituents while sitting in a tube. The water is then separated from the oil and what’s left are hydrosols (“floral waters”) and essential oils.

If you’re keen on trying to do this yourself, you can easily pick up a home distiller kit for a few hundred bucks. It takes a little getting used to, but you’ll find that you can make some high-quality oils from many of the herbs, shrubs, and trees you have in your backyard!

3. Enfleurage.

One of the most expensive ways to extract essentials, enfleurage is used for fragile flowers such as jasmine. This is a labor-intensive process that is rarely used today. Still interesting to note because of its historical significance, enfleurage can take weeks to complete and essentially uses animal fat (pounded and coated onto glass) to extract the essential oils out of delicate flowers. The end result is an oil/fat mixture known as a pomade that needs to be washed with alcohol to remove the fat. After the fat is removed, an extract containing volatile and nonvolatile principles is left, so it’s referred to as an absolute.

Photo: @kireewongfoto

4. Expression.

Primarily reserved for citrus peels, mechanical pressing (aka “cold pressing”) literally squeezes the essential oils out of the rind of a fruit. Citrus oils can also be steam distilled, but the aroma has a tendency to change considerably and the therapeutic properties are much different.

5. Solvent extraction.

A type of liquid-to-liquid extraction used for delicate, low-essential-oil-content flowers like rose, jasmine, mimosa, and others. The process has been expedited, and much more of the essential oil can be extracted by using petroleum ether or chemical solvents like ethanol and hexane, all of which have safety concerns for us and for the environment. For this reason, safer alternatives like CO2 extraction are becoming more popular. Solvent extraction produces a waxy, fatty substance known as a concrete. When the concrete is washed with alcohol, the fat is separated, and the remaining end product contains volatile and non-volatile principles referred to as an absolute.

What type of essential oil is right for me?

The various forms of extraction produce different types of products—I outline the most commonly found types below. Taking note of these differences and being an avid label reader will not only empower you to become a more informed consumer, but it will help ensure that you’re spending your money on the products that you need to meet your health goals!

1. Absolutes.

A by-product of enfleurage and solvent extraction, absolutes are highly concentrated aromatic plant compounds that are widely used in the cosmetic and perfume industries as well as in the mental health field because of their uplifting aroma. The aroma generally resembles the actual plant that it was extracted from. Examples include rose, jasmine, and vanilla.

2. CO2 extracts.

CO2 extracts are still very experimental as few clinical trials have been conducted evaluating their safety and efficacy. With that said, they are quite popular now in the aromatherapy community because, unlike steam distillation, many more (medicinal) plant compounds are extracted during the process, no potentially harmful solvents are required, the oils are sometimes gentler to use on the skin, and their aromas are truer to the original plant than steam-distilled essential oils. Some of the more popular CO2 extracts include cannabis, turmeric, and vanilla.

3. Essential oils (expressed).

Citrus oils that are expressed are much different from their steam-distilled counterparts. They are darker in color, can stain clothing, and the aroma resembles the original peel much more closely. Technically speaking, citrus oils are not essential oils at all because they contain nonvolatile principles, but the aromatherapy and chemistry communities have made an exception to the rule. For more information on the safety differences (phototoxicity) between expressed and distilled citrus oils, see Chapter 3.

Photo: @paulynn

4. Essential oils (steam distilled).

It’s important to note that the chemical properties (and therefore the therapeutic effects) of steam-distilled essentials oils are oftentimes different from the original plant that they were extracted out of. Keep a lookout for labels that indicate whether or not the contents in the bottle have been steam distilled. Otherwise, you can never be sure how the product was extracted and whether or not it’s truly an essential oil!

5. Extracts.

Similar to absolutes in that they contain volatile and nonvolatile principles, extracts are popular because they retain many of the same chemical properties that essential oils have. Popular examples include cinnamon bark, clove, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, rose, spearmint, vanilla, and wintergreen. They are extracted using nonalcoholic solvents such as water, glycerin, and vinegar.

6. Hydrosols.

The polar constituents dissolved into water during the distillation process, hydrosols contain minuscule amounts of essential oils and are very safe to consume and work wonderfully as spritzers, perfumes, and in body care products. Also known as hydrolats, distillate waters or floral waters, if you get your hands on some, be careful to refrigerate and use them speedily—they have a tendency to develop bacterial overgrowth and go rancid. Common examples on the market today include lavender, neroli, Roman chamomile, and rose.

7. Infused oils.

The by-product of submerging aromatic plant matter in a fixed oil for days or weeks, the remaining oil is reminiscent of what our ancestors would have used as perfume, anointing oils, or healing ointments.

8. Tinctures.

Using alcohol as the principle solvent to extract essential oils out of plants, tinctures are concentrated herbal remedies that have a long history of medicinal use. They are very easy to make, requiring only unflavored 80- to 90-proof vodka, some herbal biomass, a Mason jar, and about two months to steep. Examples include arnica, St. John’s wort, garlic, and echinacea.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/everything-to-know-before-buying-essential-oils

Sesame seeds are a kind of seeds that provide energy and aid your overall health and wellness. They are a great source of high quality protein that is very important for growth, especially in children. These seeds are also rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and copper. Did you know that a 1/4 cup of sesame seeds contains more calcium than a cup of milk?

Calcium is not only crucial to the bone strength, but it is also beneficial for migraines, provide relief from PMS and aid in weight loss. The copper found in sesame seeds provides anti-inflammatory benefits, helping with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Sesame seeds are a good source of Vitamin E and Folic acid. They also contain B-complex vitamins such as niacin, which reduces anxiety, improves GABA activity in the brain, and provides a better night’s sleep. These magical seeds contain a special substance called “sesame-lignin”, which is a potent antioxidant, important for fighting free radicals and can also help in preventing high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.
Sesame seeds have the exclusive potentiality to nourish the nervous system, support the cardiovascular system, strengthen hormone production, reduce fatigue and benefit the digestive system. Due to the high Vitamin E content sesame seeds have been known as an ancient beauty treatment for beautiful and healthy skin, nails and hair.
You can easily incorporate sesame seeds into your nutrition by sprinkling them on salads, rice or vegetables, mixing them with dates or honey, or using them as a delicious tahini. Tahini is a sesame butter that is creamy and rich, and can be used for salad dressings, sauces, dips or hummus.

Source: http://healthylifestylezone.com/impressive-health-benefits-of-sesame-seeds-and-their-nutritional-value/

Photo: Graham Hunt

One of the best things about beauty and personal care is that it unites people. Entire websites have been built on discussions of product recommendations, beauty regimens, and new launches. Beauty videos account for an increasing number of YouTube viewers; new product categories coincide with huge growth at retailers like Target, Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and Credo Beauty; and a constant influx of new, local indie brands keep everyone guessing about what’s next.

We’re all always looking to tweak, improve, add, subtract, and upgrade—so we asked 11 real women the best advice they’d ever heard or experienced. Here’s a compilation of the tips, tricks, and shifts that actually changed their lives:

1. Upgrade your diet.

“I have never been vegetarian or dairy-free. Well into my 30s I developed cystic acne. I was told it was most likely hormonal, went on a prescription with no results, and tried countless topical routines. After cutting out most meat and dairy (I still consume nonhomogenized) and occasional hard cheeses), all of my acne has completely cleared. I’m a food lover and cook every day, but after these results, it has been easy to stay away from food I thought I’d never imagine giving up.” —Kimi

2. Don’t overlook the details.

“The best beauty advice I’ve ever received was to start getting my lashes and brows tinted!” —Rachel

3. Consider hair color, eye color, and skin undertones.

“The best advice I’ve ever received was from a friend’s mom in high school who told me that I should be wearing makeup that complimented my coloring and undertones (fair skin, super-red hair), not just what everyone else was using. At the time I was a little offended…but I was using a ton of black eyeliner and had no idea what I was doing, and now when I see photos, I cringe. I always think of what she said when I buy products, and it’s how I came to my simple everyday makeup look of brown mascara, a little white eye shadow, and cool pink blush.” —Melissa

4. Consistency matters more than products.

“I was told by a skin care expert that it matters far more to have a routine that you do consistently rather than what the products specifically are. Many products offer similar benefits, and sometimes we drive ourselves crazy asking if we should get this moisturizer or that, so I find comfort in knowing that if I wash my face, apply some type of serum, and moisturize it, I’m doing OK.” —Liz

5. Bare your fresh face.

“My mom has always said that your skin will always look better without foundation.” —Emma

6. Listen to your body.

“The best beauty advice I’ve received was ‘Listen to your body.’ Whenever I am experiencing an outbreak externally, I check in with the internal: What have I been eating or drinking too much of (and too little of), and I try to regain some balance before I go off to buy the latest product or before I call my dermatologist.” —Jeré

7. Give makeup a rest.

“The best skin care advice I ever got was from my Korean girlfriend’s mom. She told me that it’s important to ‘let the skin rest’ and not overwork it: Give it time to breathe without makeup, never do more than one mask a week, and be kind to it—no pulling, no tugging, no rubbing.” —Amy

8. Stress less.

“My grandma, who just turned 80 and is in phenomenal shape, swears by long walks, hats for sun protection, and minimal stress.” —Krysten

9. Approach breakouts like inflammation.

“When getting a facial at CAP Beauty, I recently learned to completely shift the way I approach breakouts and think of a breakout as inflammation that’s just crying out to be soothed. It’s a game-changer. So instead of overcleansing and overdrying my skin when it breaks out, I actually add more moisture and more oil so that my skin is hydrated and it can heal itself!” —Laura

10. Protect your skin.

“My mom taught me one of the simplest, but most important, beauty rules: Wear sunscreen and reapply often! This has kept me from many painful burns and has kept my super-fair skin looking good!” —Melissa

11. Smile.

“‘You don’t need all that stuff on your face!’ My mom is a minimalist when it comes to makeup, and I’m a big believer in her routine: wash your face with cold water and a very little bit of plain soap. Go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, drink more water. Smile.” —Rosemary

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/best-beauty-advice-from-real-women?utm_term=pos-2&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180318

Photo: Nadine Greeff

As someone whose weekend routine now consists of a solid two to three hours spent in my kitchen prepping my meals for the week, it is hard to remember how I got through each day just five years ago when I was relying on the thousands of NYC restaurants to keep me fed. When I first moved to NYC, I had very limited experience in the kitchen. I had just begun working full-time, and I felt so blessed to be living in such an exciting and lively city that had seemingly endless options for one of my favorite things: food. After a year of knocking off as many restaurants from my “must-go” list as possible, I noticed a few things: The majority, if not all, of my paycheck was being spent on food, my lifelong trustworthy digestive system decided to end our wonderful relationship and leave me confused and bloated, and even when I purchased “healthy” meals, I still felt sluggish and tired.

All of these issues slowly moved to the back burner once I decided to finally put my big-girl pants on and learn how to cook. Not only did I realize how much I enjoyed the act of cooking and experimenting in my kitchen, but I physically felt like a completely different person. Cooking your own meals and controlling the ingredients that go into each one makes a world of difference. As a self-proclaimed meal-prepping connoisseur, I am constantly trying to encourage others to give this life-changing practice a chance and help them along this journey. By providing numerous easily preppable recipes on my website and hosting meal-prep cooking classes, I make it my goal to help as many people give this lifestyle a try as possible. However, there will always be reasons or excuses for why people would choose not to spend a few hours on Sunday setting themselves up for a healthier week ahead. To help give you that extra push you need to get in the kitchen, I’m sharing the biggest hurdles people face when meal-prepping—and exactly how to overcome them.

1. The Problem: Eating the same thing multiple days in a row is boring and repetitive.

The solution? Pick 2 breakfasts and 4 lunch/dinner options to batch cook for the week to mix up your meals.

Trust me; I get it; meal fatigue is real. Nobody wants to eat the same meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner five days in a row; no need to convince me of that! I believe that you should truly look forward to absolutely every single meal you are about to enjoy. It is a privilege to have a plate of food in front of you when you are hungry, so why should you waste time eating something you don’t enjoy? However, no one has time to individually prep 15 different meals on a Sunday for the week ahead. In order to break free of repetition, my advice is to batch cook at least two breakfast options and at least four lunch/dinner options for the next five days. For breakfast, try cooking one sweet and one savory option, such as these vegetable omelet muffins and overnight oats, in order to mix things up throughout the week. By having four different meals to choose from for lunch or dinner, you are able to plan it out so that you aren’t eating the same meal on back-to-back days or the same exact lunch every single day.

2. The problem: Grocery stores can be too overwhelming.

The solution? Find a more unique time to go shopping and always be prepared with a list.

Something I never fully understood until I moved to NYC and experienced the longest line for the most popular club in the entire city: Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon. When I first witnessed the line wrapping around the outside of the Union Square TJ’s, my jaw quite literally dropped to the floor; I thought they were giving away everything for free (unfortunately, I was wrong). The first step to handling this craziness is to plan your grocery store runs at opportune times. Yes, I know it is convenient to leisurely stroll in after enjoying a nice brunch on a Sunday, but the rest of the world feels the same way. Instead, assess your schedule for the week or weekend ahead and figure out a time where you happen to be free that the majority of other people may not be. Whether it be a Friday night you decide not to go out (hello, open aisles) or an early Saturday morning (I have no shame in waiting outside the grocery store before it opens and being the first one through the doors that day), find a time that will make this trip less crowded and stressful. The second step to conquering the grocery store is to go in with an organized plan. Without a list of groceries for the week, you may find yourself aimlessly wandering the aisles and grabbing every random item in sight. I’ve been there; it doubles not only the amount of time spent in the store but also your grocery bill.

3. The problem: It’s difficult and expensive to cook for one person.

The solution? Find a friend to cook with/for or double the recipe and freeze the leftovers.

It seems counterintuitive, but cooking for one can be deceptively expensive. Unfortunately, not many ingredients come in single-serving sizes. Because of that, who said you have to cook individual servings? If you are prepping dinner for yourself, choose a recipe that freezes well, double or triple it, and store it in the freezer to enjoy at some point over the next few weeks. Another, less common but as effective, way to help the cooking-for-one conundrum is finding a co-worker or two who have similar tastes and health goals as you and begin a meal-prep group. To make this work, you would each choose one night of the week to prep lunch for the next day, make multiple servings of the dish (depending on how many people are in the group), and then bring in lunch for the group on your designated day. Not only are you no longer cooking for one, but you are now also having others prep some of your meals for you. Killing two birds with one stone!

4. The problem: Weekends are meant to be spent traveling and having fun—not in the kitchen.

The solution? Take advantage of weekends when you have extra time and stockpile your freezer.

In a world so work-focused, the weekends are our sacred space. After just a few months at my full-time job, I quickly understood what the saying “working for the weekend” truly meant. That being said, people like to enjoy their weekends by filling them with hobbies that they may not get to enjoy during the workweek. Specifically, traveling. When I go away for the weekend, meal-prepping is the last thing I want to do upon entering my apartment late on a Sunday night. This is why my freezer is my traveling buddy’s best friend. As mentioned in the earlier point, during the weekends that I am local and have time to prep meals, I am constantly tripling recipes and stockpiling them in my freezer. Currently my drawers are filled with mason jars containing individual frozen servings of some of my favorite recipes, like this vegan sweet potato chili and cauliflower yam & thyme soup. This way, when I get home from a trip on a Sunday night, I can throw them in the fridge to defrost and easily enjoy throughout the week.

5. The problem: There is always either too much food prepped—or not enough.

The solution? Look at your upcoming week and plan out exactly how many meals you need.

Wasting food is a big no-no in my apartment; I will make a hodgepodge bowl of a meal out of scraps just to avoid throwing out food from my fridge. In order to make sure you are not cooking too much food, or finding yourself with a bare kitchen and a hungry stomach, sit down before you meal-prep and take a look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Map out how many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you will need. Personally, I always cook one less lunch or dinner option than my schedule sees fit, knowing that more often than not I will make a last-minute plan for one of those meals and, if I am not correct in guessing so, can whip something up quickly with staples found in my pantry. After planning out exactly how many meals you need for the week, write down all of the necessary ingredients for each dish and then combine them into one master grocery list to bring with you to the store.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/meal-prep-problems-solutions?utm_term=pos-1&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180318