Archive for March, 2018

Stop bloat before it starts.

breakfast recipes for flat belly
It’s the most important meal of the day, so it’s only right that it not only nourishes you, but also helps keep you slim. That being said, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your morning eats. (Hello, oatmeal every single day.)

Need some a.m. inspiration? Check out these 20 flat-belly breakfast recipes that will help you start your day right:

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 egg
2 Tbsp skim milk
2 slices whole-wheat bread
13 strawberries, sliced
1/2 tsp powdered sugar

Whisk together egg and milk and dip bread into mixture. Cook in nonstick pan until slightly browned. Top with berries and sugar.

Total: 275 calories

The fiber in strawberries heads off hunger and also helps ward off diabetes and breast cancer.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1/2 cup uncooked instant brown rice
3/4 cup skim milk
15 pistachios
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook rice in milk. Mix in pistachios, then top with sugar and cinnamon.

Total: 216 calories

In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, dieters who snacked on pistachios daily recorded a lower BMI after 12 weeks than those who munched on pretzels

breakfast recipes for flat belly

2 whole-wheat pancakes
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup each blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries

Total: 333 Calories

Eating almonds or almond butter at breakfast keeps your blood sugar steadier, according to a study in Nutrition & Metabolism—meaning you may be less likely to jones for a sugary fix mid-morning.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1/2 medium banana
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup ice

Puree everything in a blender.

Total: 284 calories

This nut milk has roughly half the calories of skim.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 egg
1 egg white
Cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tsp chopped shallot
3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted

Whisk together egg and egg white. In a skillet misted with cooking spray, cook tomato, artichoke, and shallot for 2 minutes over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add eggs. Cover and cook 3 minutes until eggs are firm. Top with feta. Serve with toast.

Total: 286 calories

Eating whole grains may decrease inflammation, which is associated with decreased belly flab.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1/3 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp chopped dried tart cherries

Soak oats in almond milk in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir in remaining ingredients.

Total: 336 calories

Pigments in tart cherries may help reduce body weight and body fat, according to an animal study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Health System.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 tsp olive oil
4 oz soft tofu, crumbled
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
2/3 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
1 cup chopped spinach
1 Arnold Sandwich Thins 100% Whole Wheat
1 oz part-skim mozzarella
1/2 tsp oregano

Heat oil in a saute pan, then add tofu and vegetables. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Serve on sandwich thin and top with cheese and oregano.

Total: 328 calories

Happy news, vegetarians: Soy foods are as good as other proteins for helping you drop pounds on a low-calorie diet, a study found.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese mixed with 2 tsp honey
1 slice whole-wheat toast
1 navel orange
1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
3/4 tsp nutmeg

Total: 291 calories

This crimson fruit may increase fat burn and weight loss, research shows. The seeds appear to activate proteins that control fat metabolism.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup chopped papaya
1/2 tsp flaxseeds

Stir ricotta with honey, then top with papaya and flaxseeds.

Total: 400 calories

With 29 grams of protein, this bowl will keep your tummy quiet all morning.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

2 La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Soft Wrap Minis White Whole Wheat wraps
2 large egg whites, scrambled and cooked
1/4 cup arugula
3 oz lean deli ham
2 Tbsp crumbled feta
3/4 cup blueberries

Top each wrap with half the eggs, arugula, ham, and feta. Fold in half and warm in a skillet. Serve with blueberries.

Total: 337 calories

This antioxidant-packed fruit helps protect against obesity in mice—likely a good sign for humans.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

3/4 cup barley, cooked
1/2 cup nonfat milk
10 walnut halves
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

Total: 345 calories

Haven’t tried barley? You should: One study found that this whole grain is better than whole-wheat flakes at reducing hunger when subbed into hot cereal and snack mixes. Look for it in the grains section of your grocery store.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

8 oz Fage Total 0% yogurt
1 Tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp ground flaxseed
1 medium grapefruit

Total: 252 calories

Most of grapefruit’s three grams of fiber is found in the walls (the thin skin between segments). So keep the walls intact for a more filling meal.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

2 egg whites and 1 whole egg
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
1 oz feta cheese
1 tsp fresh cilantro
1 slice oat-bran bread
2 oz glass 100 percent pomegranate juice mixed with 6 oz water or seltzer

Total: 362 calories

Pomegranates are not only good for the heart, but they have natural sugars to satisfy your sweet tooth and are packed with antioxidants, which boost energy, fight wrinkles, prevent blood clots and high cholesterol, and bolster your immune system.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thin
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced
4 strawberries, sliced

Total: 430 calories

Strawberries contain a phytochemical that may increase the production of leptin, a hunger-suppressing hormone, and adiponectin, a hormone that accelerates fat burning and may fight diabetes.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 whole-wheat waffle
6 oz Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Total: 256 calories

Blueberries are high fiber, which helps keep your appetite in check. Plus, they’re packed with anthocyanins—antioxidants that may bolster memory and protect your heart.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 slice whole-wheat toast
1 egg, cooked sunny-side up
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 medium grapefruit (on the side)

Total: 380 calories

Starting each meal with half a grapefruit helped adults in one study lose up to 10 pounds in 12 weeks without any other dietary changes.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1/4 cup steel-cut oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg white
3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
2 tsp chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped apple
1 tsp honey

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a ramekin with fat-free cooking spray. Combine first 6 ingredients and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and bake for 6 to 7 minutes. Top with rest of cinnamon, pecans, apple, and honey.

Total: 324 calories

Ditch the instant stuff and use steel-cut oats—they have almost four times the fiber.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

6 oz Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt mixed with 1/4 tsp coconut extract
6 pieces dried mango, chopped
2 slices cinnamon-raisin bread

Total: 394 calories

Polyphenols in mango may activate proteins in the body that regulate metabolism and help reduce body fat.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

1 whole-wheat English muffin
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1/2 medium grapefruit

Toast a split English muffin, then top each half with sliced egg. Serve cottage cheese with grapefruit wedges on top.

Total: 357 calories

Grapefruit’s reputation as a diet superfruit just got a scientific boost: In a study, those who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost more weight than those who didn’t eat it.

breakfast recipes for flat belly

2 poached eggs
2 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with 1/4 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 sprig fresh dill
1 Thomas’ 100 % Whole Wheat English Muffin
1 small apple

Total: 353 calories

People who eat eggs for breakfast report feeling fuller and consume fewer calories over the next 36 hours compared with those who eat bagels.

Source: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/breakfast-recipes-for-flat-belly

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These things are straight-up terrifying.

Brain aneurysm symptoms
Here’s a stat that’s sure to keep you up at night: Currently, anywhere from three to five million people in the U.S. are walking around with brain aneurysms, according to the American Stroke Association.

If you’re thinking “what the heck is a brain aneurysm?” it’s basically a blood vessel in your brain that’s on the verge of an explosion. “Put simply, it’s a weakness that starts to occur in a blood vessel inside the brain or right outside it,” says David Putrino, Ph.D., director of rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “As blood flows through this vessel in the brain, the weak point starts to bulge out like a balloon, and it looks like a berry hanging off a branch.”

Luckily, most aneurysms don’t ever rupture or cause any symptoms. But when they do, things get really serious, really fast. According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, about 40 percent of ruptured brain aneurysms lead to death. Others can cause severe brain damage and neurological problems if not treated immediately. “Time is the most important factor in terms of surviving and having less neurological damage from a rupture,” says Putrino.

Here are the brain aneurysm symptoms you need to know about so you can act quickly and keep yourself healthy.


“Most ruptured aneurysm survivors report experiencing the worst headache of their lives,” says Putrino. “So if you experience a very sudden and intense headache, where one minute you’re fine and the next minute you’re in extreme pain, that’s often the first sign of a rupture.”

This pain occurs because most aneurysms are in the subarachnoid, or a small, enclosed space just outside the brain, and when they burst, they flood that space with blood, says Putrino. The quick change in pressure is what you feel as a skull-splitting headache coming out of nowhere. “The subarachnoid space has lots of nerve endings, so people start to experience very intense pain,” he says. This headache can be constant or ebb and flow, he says, as each rupture is different. Some may slowly leak while other are torn open all at once.

If you experience a headache unlike anything you’ve felt before, call 911 immediately, he says.


As the subarachnoid space fills with blood from a ruptured aneurysm, it starts to push the brain down to a point in your skull called the foramen magnum, where your spinal cord and brain stem originate, says Putrino. This pressures the brain stem, an area that controls digestion and breathing can result in you feeling dizzy, nauseated, and vomiting.

Of course, you can experience nausea and vomiting for a whole host of reasons, but if they occur with any of the other brain aneurysm symptoms on this list, you should go to the emergency room, he says.


Having a stiff, hard-to-move, and painful neck is a sign of a ruptured aneurysm, says Putrino. “There are a bunch of nerves that control neck movement located in the foramen magnum around the brain stem,” he says. “As a large amount of pressure begins to build there, these are some of the first nerves related to movement to get affected.”

And, yes, this will feel way more intense than “I slept wrong last night.” So if you experience severe neck pain, play it safe and call 911.


Similarly, the cranial nerves are also located in the brain stem. And, if there’s a rupture, they can get pushed on, causing facial tingling and paralysis, says Putrino. “Look for drooping features.”

While it’s true that some stroke and brain aneurysm symptoms are similar, both conditions warrant immediate medical treatment, so get to the emergency room ASAP.


Vision can also be affected when an aneurysm starts bleeding or bursts. As pressure builds on the brain stem, the pons, or the control center for the eyes, is impacted. This can lead to blurry or double vision and sensitivity to light, he says

“If you notice these vision symptoms come on after you get a bad headache, and then maybe you get nausea, that means something is going on neurologically,” he says. Be on the lookout for escalating and combined symptoms.


If someone experiences a seizure, it could be a sign of a ruptured aneurysm that’s escalating quickly, says Putrino. “A seizure happens when the skull is filling with blood and the brain is getting pushed on from more than one direction, and all the neurons go into distress,” he says. “When a whole bunch of areas in the brain react all at once, this causes a seizure.”

Obviously, if you or anyone else experiences a seizure (and it’s not typical, like with epilepsy) immediately call 911.


Some survivors of aneurysm ruptures report having heard a loud noise before they felt a headache, which is thought to be the sensation of the burst happening. “I’ve heard of this, and it’s possible that people are feeling the big pressure release in a closed space in their skull,” says Putrino. “Though, it wouldn’t make much of an actual noise when it bursts, because it’s soft tissue.”

Still, he notes, this is a valid warning sign that many people share anecdotally, so if you hear a strange pop or snap in your head and then experience pain, that’s good reason to seek medical attention ASAP.

Source: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/brain-aneurysm-symptoms/slide/7

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Photo: MaaHoo Studio

When your child is struggling developmentally, it’s natural to feel so frenzied that even the basics are a challenge. Research clearly illustrates how a healthy, veggie-filled diet that’s low in sugar and high in nutrients is crucial not only for development but for improving mood and having more energy. Brain Balance Achievement Centerhas the tools to make nourishing your child’s development easy.

Clean eating, a pillar of the Brain Balance program, is a great place to start when working to get your child’s development on track. When you visit a Brain Balance Achievement Center, you’ll be provided with meal plans and other tools that will walk you through how to prepare meals in ways to support your child’s growth.

Here’s why proper nutrition and healthy eating can boost your child’s development:

1. Proper nutrition supports blood sugar balance.

When blood sugar is out of balance, it may cause tiresome mood swings. If this sounds like your child, start by assessing their diet. Are they eating a sugar-filled breakfast? If so, your child may be coping with a blood sugar spike followed by a crash. Rapid changes in blood sugar may lead to a crummy mood at minimum and to lethargy and an inability to concentrate at worst. While enrolled in a Brain Balance Achievement Center, you’ll be given meal plans and ideas that are optimal for stabilizing your child’s blood sugar, thus preventing periods of exhaustion or hyperactivity.

2. Proper nutrition makes it easier to focus.

A balanced breakfast and a restful night’s sleep work together to improve your child’s focus at school. When you work with Brain Balance Achievement Centers, you’ll learn which foods are ideal for improving focus and how to avoid foods that will make your child more distracted, such as processed foods with added sugars and dyes.

Photo: MaaHoo Studio

3. Proper nutrition supports adequate sleep.

When your child is filling up on junk food, it can interfere with sleep. Sleep is the sturdy foundation of normal childhood development. If your child is not sleeping enough or not sleeping well, addressing developmental issues is nearly impossible. A nutrient-rich meal plan is the first step toward sound sleep and healthy development.

4. Proper nutrition promotes physical activity.

Studies show that spending time outside is incredibly important for mental health, as is regular exercise. When your child is slowed down by an unhealthy diet, they’ll likely be more interested in camping out in front of a screen than playing and moving around outside. Once you’re equipped with a meal plan that promotes proper nutrition, your child will have a lot more energy to play outside.

5. Proper nutrition helps balance the body’s functionality.

The gut-brain connection is real, and an unhealthy gut leads to a slew of other issues beyond a stomachache, such as depression, anxiety, and the inability to concentrate. These consequences are tough to bear for anyone and are even more difficult for a child struggling with developmental issues. If you want to improve brain health, start by taking advantage of the information provided by Brain Balance Achievement Centers for how to eat to improve gut health. Their holistic and integrated approach to addressing learning and behavioral challenges may just be the solution that your child needs. When it comes to your child’s development, proper nutrition will go a long way.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-positive-impact-proper-nutrition-has-on-your-childs-development

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Photo: Nataša Mandić

When it comes to caffeine, hardly any beverage will compete with the powerful jolt of coffee. However, no other beverage also comes with a major crash (2 p.m. slump that leaves you reaching for more, anyone?). Coffee can also lead to anxiety and jitters. Research shows that regular coffee drinkers don’t actually gain any benefit from drinking coffee because their body simply gets used to its stimulating effects. University of Bristol’s Peter Rogers concludes “we don’t gain an advantage from consuming caffeine—although we feel alerted by it, this is caffeine just bringing us back to normal.” Moreover, coffee acidifies the body, research shows, putting you at risk for diabetes, kidney disease and other health issues.

If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up that also benefits your health, gives you sustained energy without the crash, and makes you glow, check out these five alternatives that pack a powerful dose of medicinal benefits.

1. Wheatgrass Juice

Whatever you’re drinking this morning, you can boost its health potential immensely with an added shot of wheatgrass extract. Not only is wheatgrass rich in an array of vital nutrients (calcium, iron, beta carotene, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K… the list goes on!), having just a shot is equivalent to eating two pounds of vegetables! Simple nutrition aside, wheatgrass can reduce inflammation, oxygenate your blood, improve your skin, and fight infection—all this on top of giving you that morning energy boost you’re craving.

2. Wild Blueberry Juice

We all know what a powerhouse of antioxidants blueberries are. So what’s better than blueberries? WILD blueberries are shown to have even more antioxidants than their domesticated relatives. They also have improved anti-inflammatory capabilities, cancer-fighting action, and brain-boosting power, according to a 2016 study. So toss a shot into your morning smoothie or fruit juice, sprinkle on your oatmeal or toast, and the possibilities are as endless as they are tasty!

3. Mushroom elixirs

Scientific evidence in support of the wide and varied health benefits of medicinal mushrooms is mounting every year. For example, reishi mushrooms are high in flavonoids, full of cancer-crushing potential, and have even been used as a topical treatment in lesions, with great success. Cordyceps (turkey tail) mushrooms are also great allies against cancer, and a 2013 study on the pharmacological potential of cordyceps sings its praises and confirms 21 clinically approved benefits on human health.

4. Nettle, Red Clover, or Lemon Balm Tea

Tea, of course! Tea is hands-down the most widely enjoyed hot beverage in the world, far out-ranking coffee. When it comes to health, your mind might immediately consider green tea, which is widely celebrated for its antioxidants. Yet when it comes to science-backed research, the findings are lukewarm at best. An interesting bit of research on the use of nettle tea in Palestinian medicine has demonstrated the plant’s significant anti-cancer properties. Another great health-boosting tea is red clover tea. A 2001 studydemonstrated that the isoflavonoid compounds from red clover protect from inflammation and immune suppression induced by UV radiation. Do you suffer from anxiety, insomnia, or indigestion? Lemon balm tea will help you with all of those! It acts as a mild sedative, and according to a 2014 study lemon balm “helps reduce anxiety and promotes sleep” in addition to its ability to treat indigestion.

5. Rose Hips

If you’ve ever been walking along the beach and noticed bushes with bright red balls, they might just be rose hips of the rosa rugosa plant—the same tasty fruit that is made into the health-boosting tea. But if you’re not a shore-dweller or you don’t feel like harvesting and processing your own tea, there are some great options available on the market. Rich in citrusy vitamins like A, E, and C, rose hips are also loaded with, you guessed it, antioxidants, as well as a host of other health-boosters such as flavonoids, amino acids, minerals, and more, according to one 2013 study. Lastly, if you combine any tea with rose hip it will empower the tea you mix it with; rosehip tea will even supercharge any vitamins you are taking due to its high antioxidant content. Coupled with a sweet, spicy, pepper-minty taste, rose hip tea is one more way to stay “hip” to your health.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/energy-boosting-coffee-alternatives?utm_term=pos-1&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180326

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In a healthy relationship, people tend to give love and support freely and frequently. They don’t wait for a special occasion to show their appreciation. They genuinely enjoy doing nice things for one another “just because” ― no prompting necessary.

We asked relationship experts to tell us what kinds of things, both big and small, happy couples do for each other without being asked. Here’s what they had to say:

1. They check in with each other. 

“Whether it’s a ‘hello’ text or call to ask, ‘How did it go?’ the happiest couples reach out. They call to say, ‘I’m running late,’ or ‘We just landed,’ or ‘Do you need me to stop at the store on my way home?’ The message: I’m thinking of you. The result: A feeling of being connected, being a key part of each other’s lives.”  ― Winifred M. Reilly, marriage and family therapist and author of It Takes One to Tango 

2. They give each other compliments.

“This doesn’t have to be a lovey-dovey compliment about being the best wife in the world, but even an offhand remark recognizing someone’s contribution, like ‘great dinner!’ Although some couples do well without positive feedback, the majority of people like at least a little bit of verbal recognition for their contribution, and happy couples are free with positive feedback.”  ― Samantha Rodman, psychologist and dating coach

3. They surprise each other with a card, just because. 

“Giving your partner a card that says ‘Thinking of you’ or ‘Thank you for all you do’ is such a sweet gesture. It will make him or her feel special and it’s a great reminder to you as well of all you have to be grateful for. An added fun touch would be to leave the card somewhere your loved one will happen on it. My husband loves to leave cards for me in the refrigerator. I often leave his cards under his pillow.” ― Susan Pease Gadoua, marriage therapist and the co-author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels

4. They act generously, instead of keeping score. 

“Generosity is something freely given as a gift, with nothing expected in return. When a relationship feels secure, it is easy to want to offer more than your fair share of tasks or thoughtful gestures to show your love for your partner. Whether moving their clothes to the dryer for them or going on their favorite hike again, highly fulfilled couples tend to maintain great satisfaction from being thoughtful and generous toward their partner rather than scorekeeping.” ― Kari Carroll, couples therapist

5. They speak openly about their thoughts and feelings.

“When partners feel that it’s like pulling teeth to get each other to divulge any thoughts or feelings, a relationship can feel very lonely. Happy couples may not communicate constantly on a deep level, but they do it frequently enough to feel that they really know one another.”  ― Samantha Rodman

6. They surprise their partner with their favorite food. 

“We all know that food is nurturing and helps people feel connected. But when you go out of your way to bring home a special food you know they will love, it’s a wonderful way to put ‘I love you’ into action. If the favorite food is a meal that you make — rather than, say, a pint of Haagen Dazs — you’ll undoubtedly get even more points.” ― Susan Pease Gadoua

7. Or with a freshly washed car. 

“Regardless of whether you do the washing yourself or take the car to a car wash, when your partner sees their squeaky clean wheels on the street or in the driveway, he or she will likely be very grateful.” ― Susan Pease Gadoua

8. They’re in the habit of saying ‘thank you.’

“Despite the mundanity and complacency that can develop within a long-term partnership, a sure way to keep the fire alive and burning brightly is to watch your partner beam when you regularly notice and point out their contributions to your life. People want to be reminded they are of value to you, and secure couples understand that this should be frequent. Although you may assume your love to be understood, in reality, acknowledging your partner’s efforts and contributions consistently builds an even deeper connection.” ― Kari Carroll

9. And ‘I love you.’

“And they do it when it’s unprompted, unsolicited, and unexpected. In many relationships the ‘I love yous’ come more from one partner than the other. Typically one leads and the other follows. Too often I hear the excuse, ‘I don’t want to overuse it.’ In happy relationships, both partners initiate saying it and they mean it when then do.” ― Kurt Smith, therapist who specializes in counseling for men

If your partner doesn’t do all of these things, don’t fret. Relationships are a work in progress, and if you’re not getting what you want out of it, you should ask. You aren’t a mind reader, so you can’t expect your partner to be one either.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/things-happiest-couples-do-for-each-other_us_5a501993e4b003133ec7db7e

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Photo: @KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Every color of the rainbow syncs to a different emotion, and all color associations can bring positive energies to your home, if harnessed correctly. As an avid art lover, I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying how color palettes affect our mood. Here are a few insider tips for the next time you’re on the hunt for a new piece of artwork:

The living and dining room: Oranges and reds.

For social, communal spaces like the living and dining rooms, you want to be surrounded by engaging, stimulating colors. Artworks that have large amounts of orange and red components can be just the ticket. Orange and red both fuel and energize the mind, and therefore can help spark conversation at your next dinner party or family gathering.

The office: Yellows.

The color yellow has been shown to help the brain retain information, so I always recommend an artwork with intense yellows for a desk or study room. Yellow shares many of the same subliminal affects as red and orange, but then takes it one step further to boost memory.

The bedroom: Greys.

Our minds are wired all the time now, especially with technology creeping into all parts of our lives, so it’s essential that our bedrooms be a calming zone with minimal distraction. We spend so much time picking out the best mattress for our bodies to rest optimally, so why not dedicate that same energy to choosing artwork? Gray immediately calms the mind (and in turn the body), so any piece with a heavy gray tone or base is a great choice. Fair warning, I think purple is probably the worst color to have in the bedroom. It keeps the mind going and running on all cylinders, so avoid it in any areas designated for rest.

The bathroom: Vibrant tones.

Bathrooms are the one room that we tend to leave bare and void of color, which is a shame! The bathroom is where you can get crazy with your artwork; I even suggest thinking of it as a canvas for some more risqué pieces. Strong ones with a rainbow of colors are perfect to wake up the eye and the mind. I also love vibrant reds and blues contrasting with yellows and lime greens in the bathroom. Radiant artworks combined with a shower will perk you up so much, you might not need that second cup of coffee.

The entryway: Black and white.

If you want to really make a statement in a room, keep the artwork black and white. All color and no color are perfect for presentations filled with drama. All-black or all-white, or a hybrid of black with white artworks bring a sense of seriousness and sophistication, so while I wouldn’t recommend this scheme for a children’s play room, it’s fantastic in entryways. From there, you set the tone for your personal vibe as soon as anyone walks in.

A general note on color and theme.

While the colors I have highlighted make for fantastic main components of a room, there will obviously be other hues that you’ll want to pull in too. For instance, blue is one of my favorite colors and it has a great calming effect—but be warned that it can express coldness. In my opinion, any work with blue tones is perfect for a beach house or home in a warmer climate, where it can help cool the body down. Just remember, the color has the same effect in places that are cold, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you live in a cooler climate.

Wherever you may live though, nature scenes are always a good choice for art. Bringing the outdoors in by incorporating green tones into pieces can really help your mood, according to science.

Add all these thoughtfully considered colors and palettes together and you have something special on your hands. As Georgia O’Keeffe so artfully put it, “I found that I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.”

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-room-by-room-color-art-guide?utm_term=pos-2&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180324

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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/

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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/

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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.”


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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

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