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Archive for March, 2018

Stop bloat before it starts.

breakfast recipes for flat belly
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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
LEVI BROWN
FRENCH TOAST WITH STRAWBERRIES

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
LEVI BROWN
PISTACHIO RICE PUDDING

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
LEVI BROWN
PANCAKES WITH ALMOND BUTTER AND BERRIES

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
LEVI BROWN
CREAMSICLE SMOOTHIE

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
LEVI BROWN
TOMATO, ARTICHOKE, AND FETA FRITTATA

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
PLAMEN PETKOV
MUESLI WITH CHERRIES

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
LEVI BROWN
TOFU SCRAMBLE

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
LEVI BROWN
ORANGE-POMEGRANATE RICOTTA TOAST

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
LEVI BROWN
RICOTTA SWIRL

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
LEVI BROWN
GREENS, EGGS, AND HAM QUESADILLAS

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
JEFF HARRIS
BARLEY WITH WALNUTS AND MAPLE SYRUP

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
LEVI BROWN
YOGURT AND GRAPEFRUIT PARFAIT

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
JEFF HARRIS
EGG-WHITE FRITTATA WITH FETA, SPINACH, AND MUSHROOMS

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
LEVI BROWN
BAGEL THIN TOPPED WITH PEANUT BUTTER AND FRUIT

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
LEVI BROWN
WAFFLE TOPPED WITH YOGURT AND BLUEBERRIES

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
LEVI BROWN
EGG AND AVOCADO ON TOAST

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
LEVI BROWN
BAKED OATMEAL WITH APPLES AND PECANS

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
LEVI BROWN
TROPICAL YOGURT WITH CINNAMON TOAST

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
LEVI BROWN
EGG MUFFIN WITH COTTAGE CHEESE AND FRUIT

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
LEVI BROWN
EGGS BENEDICT

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
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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.

1. THE ABSOLUTE WORST HEADACHES OF YOUR LIFE

“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.

2. NAUSEA AND VOMITING

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.

3. A RIDICULOUSLY STIFF NECK

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.

4. FACIAL TINGLING AND DROOPING FEATURES

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.

5. BLURRY OR DOUBLE VISION

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.

6. SEIZURES

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.

7. HEARING A LOUD ‘POP’

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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FILADENDRON VIA GETTY IMAGES

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.

LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT. HERE ARE THE FOUR RITUALS NEUROSCIENCE SAYS WILL HELP US BE HAPPY:

RITUAL #1: PRACTICE GRATITUDE

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!

RITUAL #2: CREATE INTENTIONS AND SET GOALS

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.

RITUAL #3: EMBRACE PEOPLE

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.”

RITUAL #4: LABEL NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

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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