Eat more when you’re stressed? You’re not alone. In fact, all that stress eating can pack on an additional 11 pounds each year! Most of us are quick to turn to sugar and refined carbs the second tension gets high. When we feel overwhelmed, we seek out comforting food, giving it the power to make us feel better…and then worse.
A national survey conducted by NPR, Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that most changes to diet occurs during stressful times. And these changes aren’t always for the best.
The foods we choose under stress, like chocolate or simple carbohydrates such as bagels or white pasta, often take you on a hormonal roller coaster: surging and crashing hormone and blood sugar levels which leaves you more susceptible to new stresses than when you started. It’s a vicious cycle that must be stopped! (more…)
A number of factors in your life can contribute to your mood. Work, family, romantic relationships, and even the weather all play a part in how you feel. But what about weight loss or weight gain? Does how much you weigh affect how you feel? And does how you feel affect how much you weigh?
Speaking from experience, during the times that I am at a healthy and fit weight I’m in a happier mood than the times when I am heavier. Part of it has to do with how I feel about my body—better, obviously—but scientists think there’s more to it than that. Much of why you feel better at a healthier weight has to do with what you’re doing to reach those goals.
First off, exercise produces endorphins, so when you’re working out your brain rewards you with these feel-good chemicals. When you eat healthy foods like leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean proteins, you feed your brain nutrients that have been linked to happiness. (Conversely, when you eat trans fats and other bad for you foods your mood suffers.) And then there’s something to the idea of sticking with healthy habits, something that scientists call self-efficacy, which tends to lead to a boost in self-esteem and mood. (more…)
By Team Best Life
Too busy to get busy? There are some pretty impressive health benefits associated with regular rolls in the hay that make it well worth incorporating sex into your life as frequently as possible. It turns out, getting lucky can help you get healthy! We’ll explain how.
It’s heart-healthy. A Scottish study found that couples who had sex more often over a two-week period did their heart a favor by lowering blood-pressure levels. Blood pressure was monitored during stressful situations, and those who got it on regularly showed their heart didn’t have to work extra hard to move blood around their bodies.
It’s a stress-buster. When your brain registers that you’re having an orgasm, it releases the hormone oxytocin (also called the “love hormone”), which has been shown to have a role in reducing stress. And even just physical contact, without doing the actual deed, provides benefits; A study out of Northwestern University showed that couples who kiss and hug are far less tense and have more elevated moods than those who don’t. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Need that morning cup of coffee or tea to “really” wake up? If so, you’ve developed a caffeine tolerance. That basically means that caffeine has lost its edge—instead of giving you an extra boost of energy, it simply brings you to the level where you’d be without caffeine. My caffeine conclusion: I have more energy overall without it.
This isn’t just my own personal observation—research backs me up. Caffeine (coffee, tea, or caffeine pills) may offer an immediate spike in mood and alertness, but it doesn’t last. In fact, caffeine could make you feel little more tired and moody later in the day, according to research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. (more…)
Everyone experiences a bad mood every now and then. However mild or severe your gloomy attitude may be, the practice of yoga can lift your spirits so you can say goodbye to your bad mood for good.
The following are a few examples of how yoga can help turn your frown upside down.
Elevated GABA levels
Researchers have found that practicing yoga can raise the brain’s level of gamma-amino-butyric acid, which is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. When GABA levels are low, we can experience anxiety, depression, and a decreased zest for life. When GABA levels are high, we feel elated, happy, and interested in living life to the fullest. (more…)
I am often asked if it is appropriate to practice yoga when sick with a cold or some sort of energy-zapping bug. Some experts are convinced that rest is the best medicine when not feeling well, but practicing a little bit of yoga when you are sick can be beneficial.
The following is an explanation of why yoga can help restore your health while you are fighting an illness.
Yoga stimulates the immune system by flushing swollen lymph nodes and circulating white blood cells throughout the body. Gentle inversions such as downward dog help to create a small amount of pressure on the lymphatic system so fluids can flow freely and help the body fight infection.
The key point to remember is that too much yoga is not going to be beneficial. The body uses a lot of energy when it is sick, and stealing some of that energy so you can do a full yoga practice is not advised. Practice just a few poses, and make sure you have a lot of time to rest in between each pose. If your body is telling you to stop, honor its request and take a break. (more…)
Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to a certain color? Be it stark grey, or a wild and vivid fuschia, colors can have a direct affect on our mood, as well as reflect the way we feel about ourselves. The history of feng shui, the philosophy behind the chakras, and the classic mood ring from the 70s all reveal a close look at the influence certain colors can have on our lives.
It is no surprise that yoga mats these days come in a rainbow of shades. Tiptoe across the floor of your yoga studio and you will see varied tones of greens, yellows, and reds, in addition to multicolored, patterned, or printed mats of numerous colors. Not to mention, Kelly at KellyTurnerFitness.com just had a custom mat made with a “dead guy chalk outline.” The mat options are endless, really!
You may not realize it, but the color of your yoga mat can either inspire or dampen your enthusiasm with regard to your yoga practice.
The following slideshow offers a few explanations of how the color of your yoga mat can affect your mood, energy level, and inner peace.
Most of us have heard of comfort food. Sticky, gooey, chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven, a plate of warm mashed potatoes and rich gravy, or a bowl full of creamy chicken and dumpling soup are just a few items that come to mind when the need for some self-pampering arises. The problem is, the food we reach for when we need comfort is usually far from comforting. Indigestion and bloating, heartburn, or pure guilt are just a few of the nagging side effects that can actually worsen our mood as a result of our epicurean indulgence.
If you’re going to sink in to comfort food and eat feelings of happiness, sadness, or just overall feel good, try these three foods that you wouldn’t think of as typical comfort foods. These actually have the ability to lift your spirits and get rid of the blahs without the bloat.
This cooling fruit not only tastes great and has a pleasurable texture, but it conjures up memories or images of picnics, family gatherings, and summer vacation, too. When you eat a slice of watermelon, listen for the crunch, feel your mouth water, and have some fun spitting the seeds onto the ground. Turn an ordinary eating experience into an adventure, and before you know it, you will feel like a kid again, tickled by a childlike zest for life. (more…)
It is easy to feel lazy or lethargic in the heat of summer. Some days the thought of dragging yourself to the gym or the yoga studio is the last thing you want to do, even though you know it will make you feel better. If your youthful enthusiasm is wavering and your upbeat mood is suffering, you might find that just a few minutes of doing the right thing is all you need to get your energy back.
The following are three yoga and martial arts inspired exercises that are sure to bring your mood from drab to dynamite, plus give you a youthful and positive frame of mind.
This yoga pose can be practiced anywhere, and at anytime of day.
Stand tall, raise your arms up overhead, and take several powerful deep breaths. The fresh oxygen that will be coursing through your veins will refresh your brain. Standing in this pose energizes your core, your arms, and your legs, so take advantage of it whenever you can. (more…)
Attention high school teachers! Do you find yourself rushing to yoga after school to help you deal with the stress of being around teenagers all day? Perhaps you do, and you go because you know after an hour of yoga you will feel better, calmer, and have more energy for an evening of grading papers. It is generally understood that after practicing yoga, your mind will be clearer and as a result, you won’t stress over the little things that would otherwise bog you down and wear you out.
But if you are stressed from being around teens all day, how do you think the teens feel after constantly being around each other? Peer pressure, hormones, social anxieties and low self-esteem are all components that contribute to having a high level of stress.
The Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics recently piloted a study to determine the psychological effects of yoga on high school students. Led by Jessica Noggle of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, the results of the study concluded positive benefits of yoga on teenagers.
For ten weeks, one group of teenagers participated in regular physical education classes, while the other group practiced Kripalu yoga; a style of yoga that consists of yoga poses, breathing exercises and meditation. Prior to the start of the PE or yoga program, and after ten weeks of attendance in class, students completed a run of psychologically focused tests. Testing included measuring states of anxiety, tension and mood.