Stop Springtime Sadness: 3 Ways to Increase Your Serotonin
Just as the outside temperature is increasing, so is the body’s internal temperature. During this period of adaptation, the neurotransmitter serotonin increases its production. It’s one of the major mood neurotransmitters in our brains. Simply, when serotonin levels are low, we’re more depressed, and when they’re high, we’re happier. This is why antidepressants that raise serotonin levels can help people diagnosed with depression.
Some symptoms of low serotonin levels include depression, low self-esteem, irritability, OCD, anxiety, and panic attacks. Studies have suggested that low levels of serotonin directly affect Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), partly because there is not enough serotonin to convert to the sleep substance, melatonin. Researchers found that regardless of the season, the serotonin levels in the brain are directly affected by the amount of sunlight with higher levels on bright days than on overcast or cloudy days. In fact, the rate of serotonin production in the brain was directly related to the duration of bright sunlight.
Vitamin D, received from the sun, helps encourage serotonin production and release. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D, sit in the sun for 20 minutes, depending on your skin tone levels. Be careful not of getting burnt and watch for skin cancer warnings. Taking a supplement may help reduce symptoms related to low serotonin levels, but check with your doctor before beginning supplementation.
Serotonin levels are key to maintaining balanced mental and physical health. The following foods have the highest concentrations of serotonin. Eating these should help during this transition process:
milk (grass-fed is best)
eggs (cage-free is best)
meat (grass-fed is best)
Exercise plays a key role in anxiety and depression as well. Slow meditative walks for 15-20 minutes can boost our mood and help deal with stress. Get your exercise outdoors to increase your serotonin twice as fast. Massage and acupuncture are excellent natural modalities to help with depression and anxiety.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “Major depression is defined as a severely depressed mood that goes on for two weeks or more, interfering with a person’s daily functions.” Depression is a serious disability. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, please get them help.
About the Author:Tournesol Wellness is an integrative health center dedicated to the design and delivery of high impact holistic interventions empowering people to realize their full potential. Based in NYC, Tournesol provides the finest integrative care through its 40 vetted specialists and more than 30 modalities. For further information email Tournesol Founder, Carey Davidson at email@example.com.
Sick Of Eating For One? A Simple Strategy & 5 Healthy Tips.
You have to have balance. How many times have we heard that?
Sounds easy enough right? But any stressful situation can make it super difficult. Simply put, it can be easy to let yourself go when you are upset. Excessive weight gain or loss is not healthy no matter how you split the calories.
After I got married, I did what a lot of us do when we get comfortable: I put on weight. I got sloppy about what I was putting in my mouth both in terms of quality and quantity. Carbs were my best friend. Looking back, it seemed like every night I would eat takeout pizza, or pasta, or chips and queso and skip the gym more than go to the gym. I felt awful physically and I felt tired. Really tired. Which continued the cycle.
( Need more eating help? Tips to stop raiding your kitchen cabinets!)
After my divorce, I realized that I could not let my eating continue the way it had in the past. Or whenever I was dealing with a stressful situation I wanted to ignore.
I admit, in life after divorce, I had been accused of maintaining a refrigerator comparable to that of a super buys young lawyer in his late twenties. Ketchup, coconut spread, a tub of grated Parmesan cheese (who has time to grate?), and an unopened bottle of Limoncello that someone gave me as a gift, probably circa 2012. And let me tell you, living life without food and starving yourself is every bit as unhealthy as stuffing your stomach with the copious amounts of processed and highly refined carbs, including sugars and starches. This leads to a coma-like state that I have come to know as “Carb Fog.”
These are important points because, many times, when you go back to cooking for one, you start to eat badly because you do what is easy and depend on processed, packaged, and prepared foods full of the worst of the worst carbs. Few of us seriously want to “cook for one” so “cooking” is more like opening a can, calling the local Chinese restaurant, or, worst of all, drinking your dinner with a chaser of Cheese Nips. Whether you are overeating or under eating, the sad fact is it is cheaper and easier to be unhealthy.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School found that it costs, on average, about $550 more per year to eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. That’s $1.50 more per day to eat the good stuff, rather than the cheap, factory-processed, high sugar and starch “foods” filled with twenty-letter-long, multi-syllabic additives, and preservatives. I should also mention that the $550 per year difference doesn’t account for the money saving long-term health benefits. In other words, it costs a lot of money in the long run to eat a poor diet. Good food, as much as anything, is a determining factor in who we are going to be tomorrow and years down the road. Many experts say certain foods can help to slow down the aging process and fights disease. Plus, when you eat well, you look and feel better.
I have found that when I do the following, I have more energy and I sleep better at night.
Quick Eating Tips To Feel Better Fast:
1. Eat more green. Dark, leafy green vegetables top the list.
2. Snack on nuts to stay satisfied and they are good for your heart!
3. Stay away from sugar. Too much shows it can lead to heart disease.
4. Drink lots of water. Add lemon or lime slices to spruce it up. (I even like orange slices)
5. Balance your calories with protein at each meal.
About the Author: Tamsen Fadal is an Emmy award-winning journalist, producer and author who anchors the 5pm and 10pm news at PIX11, Tribune Broadcasting’s flagship station in New York City. Tamsen works to empower women across the country .
Tamsen has co-authored the self-help books, Why Hasn’t He Called? (McGraw Hill); Why Hasn’t He Proposed? (McGraw Hill). Her motivational book, The New Single, is a self-help guide of empowerment after a breakup or divorce. She shares her own experiences and advice for how to find, fix and fall back in love with yourself. The New Single helps women to emerge from a big life change with confidence, grace, and a recipe for self-care. It’s also designed to increase awareness about avoiding toxic repetitive relationship patterns that hold you back from your being your best self.
Forgiveness: 10 Quick Ways to Let Go & Move Forward
Spring is here, a time for renewal and new life. There is no better time to talk about forgiveness and fresh starts. Whether mending relationships, letting go of hurt, or just going a bit easier on ourselves, now is the perfect time to let go of the old and focus on the new. Rebecca Friese Rodskog gives 10 easy tips on forgiving and moving forward.
Ugh……I can’t believe I said that to him.…I screwed up that presentation.…I didn’t work out all week.…I should have called.
Are the voices in your head constantly running down a list of things that you didn’t do quite as well as you were hoping (or what you think others were expecting)? Then you fall into the great, great category of women who are way too hard on themselves.
You might think this is no big deal – it makes you perform better the next time, right? Well, no, it does not, and it IS a big deal. Constantly focusing on the negative buries you in guilt and negativity, and brings more of it your way. In addition, it actually creates barriers for you to accomplish all that you might have if you had a more positive, supportive attitude. Also, let us not forget that the state of constant stress you put yourself in by never being “good enough” is a surefire way to do actual harm to you mentally and physically, in ways we are just beginning to understand.
Sadly, it’s become almost fashionable to be self-deprecating. In a world where performance appraisals focus on the negative/needs to improve more than the “praise” part, we get used to pointing out our faults. But holding on to the things you did wrong (whether real, semi-real or imagined) can stop you dead in your tracks on any road to success. It’s like throwing a big anchor on your ankle and trying to run.
Forgiveness is one of the five tenets I discuss with my clients – the others include Love, Gratitude, Communication, and Integrity.
I grew up a (good) Catholic girl, learning that Forgiveness is the key to living a spiritually enlightened life. However, they never taught us that the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. Here are 10 quick ways to begin to become aware of what you are saying to yourself, and to letting yourself off the hook once in a while.
10 Quick Ways to LET IT GO
- Start tuning in to your thoughts. Keep a notebook with you and try to write down each negative one you have for a day. Once you’ve become more aware of your thoughts, try to say it out loud, as if you were talking to yourself at 5 years old. Hopefully your tone will start to change.
- Tell others. Sharing what you are trying to do with friends and significant others will keep you motivated. Tell them you will give them a dollar for each negative, self-deprecating thing you say about yourself.
- Evaluate fairly. If you are reviewing your performance after something (a presentation, a phone call), go ahead and write out the pros and cons instead of just running through the negative stuff in your head. For the stuff that you were not happy with, make a mini-improvement plan for the next time and then let it go. Try to end with the things you did well, like “kept my mouth shut when my co-worker made a stupid comment!”
- Work it out. Go on a walk or a run and really listen to your thoughts. Ask yourself “is this feedback real, or imaginary, or somewhere in between”. Sometimes we don’t even realize that things we are saying to ourselves.
- Talk it out. Talk to your significant other or best friend about something in particular that you’re upset with. Usually, once said aloud, the thing we are beating ourselves up about becomes much smaller, and your friend may even have a similar story to share which makes you both feel better!
- Write a positive list. One way to bring your best to light is to write them down. Start to list of the things that make you awesome (my one client calls it “My Awesomeness”). When you are having a particularly brutal feedback session with yourself, pull it out and remind yourself of how awesome you are.
- Seek support. Reach out to the people who love you. Whether it’s your mom, dad, or someone else who loves you for all your faults. Try to see yourself through their eyes.
- Eat ice cream. I don’t know, it just always makes me feel better. But then don’t beat yourself up about it, okay?
- Laugh. Fake it at first, and then watch it catch! It is hard to be mean to yourself when you’re laughing!
- Forgive. Forgive yourself for all your blunders, and love yourself because of them.
Quinoa: We’re Nutzo For This Sexy Food!
QUINOA, you make me go nutzo: You’re sexy, lean, mean, tasty, so versatile and a complete protein!? Quinoa, if you were a guy, you’d be like David Zinczenko meets Johnny Knoxville meets Channing Tatum.. aka my droolfest, dream man. Read along and learn about this powerful super sexy food!
Pronounced KEEN-Wah, this “sexy food” is always on my plate and at my dinner parties without any hesitation. Quinoa is definitely my wingman to staying fab, healthy and sexy! I often refer to it as “ Nature’s Couscous”, because most people cannot tell the two apart just by first glance or consistency. That’s where I’m trying to convince you to convert to quinoa.
Quinoa is a grain-like seed that contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein, meaning it’s a great source of protein for vegetarians. Guess what? Your boring plate of couscous (which is pasta! Duh!) is NOT a complete protein. Quinoa can also help the body absorb more nutrients with the help from its natural minerals, potassium and manganese.
With the same texture, consistency and visuals as couscous, and more nutrients, packed with protein and it’s gluten free…I’m not even going to assume that you will look at couscous ever again, right? It’s no wonder that quinoa is regarded as the “Gold of the Incas”; it’s pure sexy!
Word up xx♥ck
Spring Clean Your Career
Spring has sprung, and summer is on the way! If the past few warm days have meant you’re cocktailing at the nearest rooftop bar, grabbing a blanket in Central Park, and planning your first weekends to the Hamptons, you’re not alone.
As you’re spicing up that social life perhaps you’ve also gone through your closet to toss some old clothes that were too 2010. As you get a new spring in your step thanks to the season, it’s also time to take stock of important aspects of your life, including your career. After all, without the benjamins it’s pretty hard to plan weekend escapes, spa treatments, and personal training sessions.
That said, what are you holding onto that no longer serves you? If your boss promised you a promotion about a year ago, it may be time to truthfully look at your situation: Do you have more responsibilities, more headaches, and nothing else to show for it? Are you gaining anything such as client exposure or access to the higher-ups or are you beating your head against an exposed brick wall?
It’s time to think outside the cubicle, sister and get movin’. If your gladiators no longer feel spunky and it’s time to ditch them but you haven’t quite gotten your new “it” sandals of the summer, it may be time to stretch that career one step at a time as well. What areas of your job have you outgrown and how can you grow into new areas?
When I give career advice the first question I ask someone is what they’re currently doing. More often than not, they barely take a breath and continue by saying, “But what I really want to be doing is this…” So, as you take stock of most areas of your life this time of year, no times like the present to truly look at your job situation. What makes you unhappy? What can you change? What things are you unable to change? How can you alter your attitude to deal with some of the BS? Most importantly, how can you get to where you want to be?
Since you can’t exactly tell the boss to take this job and shove it even though you may be more qualified, smarter and let’s face it, a whole lot savvier, it may be time to add something to your plate that’s all about you: networking functions, a new blog, semi-monthly lunches with your mentor. Whatever you do, just be sure as you put effort into the social life, outfits, and all things that go glam, that you focus on ways to give your career a burst this season.
Need more career advice? Vicki Salemi is an author, global freelance writer, career consultant, public speaker and die-hard Yankees fan! Her newest book, Big Career In The Big City, is now available for pre-order on amazon! Order here!
Mindful Eating: 5 Easy Steps To Start
Mindful eating is a challenge. Most of us are used to eating on the go — in our cars or on our walk to work — and rushing through lunch breaks or just trying to get a bite in to our own mouths in between trying to get one into our child’s. More often than not we don’t sit down and leisurely enjoy a meal, much less take the time to think about what we’re eating and savor each bite.
However, the benefits of mindful eating are greater than you might realize. Weight loss, enjoyment gain, greater gratitude and a total shift in our attitude towards food are just a few. While being mindful at every meal may be a challenge, getting started on a path to it doesn’t have to be.
5 EASY STEPS TO MINDFUL EATING
1) Choose carefully. Mindful eating begins before the actual act of eating even starts. Choosing foods that are healthy, fresh and will make you feel good after eating them is the first step.
2) Prioritize your meal time. Setting aside time for your meal is essential. Making sure you can sit and relax while you eat is key. You may not be able to carve out a huge amount of time for each meal, but making sure the time you do have is well spent is key.
3) Focus on the food. Even if it’s just a 15 minute coffee break, make sure to focus on the star of the show–the food. Savor the flavor, texture, temperature and whole experience of eating. If this seems difficult, you may want to force yourself to chew each bite a certain amount of times (27 is what some recommend) in order to consciously savor each bite.
4) Disconnect. During meal time turn off the TV & computer, put the iphone away, and (when possible) get away from the kids, chatty co-workers or anything that diverts your attention. Now, I am not saying sit in solitude every meal but don’t allow yourself to be distracted to the point that you don’t even remember eating your meal.
5) Be Grateful. The one thing you do want to bring to the table is a grateful attitude. Acknowledging how fortunate we are for the food on our plates will change our attitude and the way we eat. Taking a moment of silence at the start of a meal or saying a little prayer before that first bite is an easy way to start your meal mindfully.
YOGA JOURNAL LIVE NEW YORK APRIL 21-24, 2017
If you’re looking to deepen your practice and perspective, transform yoga into a lifestyle, and make connections with fellow yogis, this is where you’ll find it.
Join us this spring for New York City’s premier yoga event! Get ready to challenge the way you practice and experience a solid yoga education with four days of innovative yoga classes, workshops, and trainings led by the world’s most renowned teachers.
Whether you are joining for a quick flow, are a serious student of yoga, or are seeking to fine-tune your teaching skills, you will find a session that speaks to you.
Beets: A Spring Detox For Your Bod
If you’re looking for a nice ‘jumpstart’ towards beach season, give a thought to a nice bowl of roasted beets, or a simple beet salad, or some more creative uses for the colorful root veg. Beets are like your personal springtime cleanup crew. Jammed with antioxidants and nutrients to detox the liver along with a good dose of fiber, they’ll flush out toxins and kick up digestion super fast. Just beware, they’ll stain virtually anything they come in contact with, nothing a good washing can’t take care of.
Check out these brilliant photos and easy beet recipes from my latest column in Rue Magazine’s fourth issue. Feta Dip with Grilled Toasts; Golden & Ruby Beet Salad with Oranges, Hazelnuts & Fiore Sardo Cheese; Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Goat Cheese-Hazelnut Frosting (oh yeah, they’re crazy good!).
Top Photo: Flickr
Personal Trainer Time? What To Look For When Choosing One.
You decide that you want to hire a personal trainer because you lack motivation, reached a training plateau, have no clue what to do to reach your fitness goals, or need to change your exercise routine.Before you do there some some things to look for in a personal trainer. After all you dont want to choose just anyone and risk getting hurt.
First, there are different ways to go about finding one. You can simply hire one through your gym, or you can hire a private trainer by referral or by searching the internet. On the internet you can Yahoo! or Google specific search words such as Manhattan trainer, for a trainer in your area.
Remember a trainer you’ll want will:
1) Have a nationally recognized certification. DO NOT hire someone without a certification or fitness related degree. Among the certifications to look for are ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association), NESTA ( National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association), NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), and ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine).
2) Before putting you through a workout will sit with you to chat about your goals, your strengths, your weaknesses, fitness history, medical history, and to take some baseline measurements. Make sure they ask you a ton of questions about yourself.This is important. There are cases where a medical doctor needs to step in the picture and give clearance for a client to start training. Make sure this is not the case with you. Here you can ask for proof of their work, such as testimonials.
3) Make sure a reassessment in 6 weeks or so is scheduled during your first meeting.This is a way to be sure that you are in fact on track to reach your goals, or you’ll find out that something needs to change in your program. Watching those numbers (your measurements) drop is great motivation.
4) Also, a good trainer is always researching. They should be knowledgeable and up to date on what’s happening in the world of health and fitness. And most of all, you should feel comfortable and confidant in their knowledge and ability.
Article By: Natasha Linton
Top Rising Star in Personal Training
-National Fitness Hall of Fame and Museum
Need Spring In Your Step? Tips To Overcome Weariness
During the change of winter to spring, most of the days I am filled with energy and excitement, the light sparks me up and I can almost smell the freeing summer breeze in the air. And then out of the bloom there comes a few odd days here an there, when I feel like crawling back to bed when the day is just at its brightest. That is a seasonal phenomenon called the ‘spring weariness’. I’ve started to wonder why does this occur…
It can of course be an ancient remain that we’ve just dragged in today. In the past the time of spring meant that most of the carefully stored winter food stock had run out and people were nutritionally deficient and not in their best vitality. In today’s lifestyle this can mean that we’ve made it through the heavy and stressful winter by eating lots of sugar and unhealthy snacks to keep us going and not necessarily taken the best care of ourselves (exercise, outdoor activities, fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamin D, enough sleep and relaxation, joyful and light happenings, meditation and spiritual practices). I truly believe this can be the case with many people. As I trust that I’ve been taking quite good care of myself concerning those above topics, some other issues have risen for me to explain this occasional weary feeling. They are: 1) the natural stress of change, 2) overwhelmed feelings and high expectations.
We humans naturally resist change. It takes us time to adapt to new, especially with the power of seasonal change. The dark and cold gives sudden space to warmth and strong sun light. We are waking up after a long silent and slow way of living. The way of living in the winter and in the summer is truly like night and day.
By overwhelmed feelings and high expectations I mean our rising stress to get the most (=everything) out of the warm and light time, there is no ray of sun to be wasted! This might also be an instinct from our ancestors, but also something we’ve learned when growing up. Most of us can probably recall that whenever the sun was out you were not allowed to play inside but were quickly rushed out by your parents or care takers. We might have the similar approach and anxiety while thinking ahead and planning our summer vacations and building up expectations that it needs to be something extraordinary. And maybe we haven’t accomplished all the tasks or actions (in work, health, finances, cleaning and organizing etc.) that we were planning to have done by now. This stress creates tension that in the end wears us down and we just feel like sleeping.
Tips To Overcome Seasonal Weariness
1) Hydrate: Drink lots of pure water to keep you hydrated and alert, and to aid in digestion and detoxification
2) Sleep: Keep a regular sleep rhythm and sleep at least 7-8 hours a night
3) Eat Seasonally: Increase your in take of fresh fruits, vegetables and berries
4) Get out and about! Take as much time as possible to get in the nature. By doing this it makes you adapt faster to the changing season as you’re more in sync with nature. Have a long walk in the woods or go for a run by the sea. Or just enjoy the nature sounds by meditating 5 minutes on a rock.
5) Minerals: Be sure you get enough iron and other essential minerals as a deficiency can strongly contribute to your tiredness. The best way to increase high quality minerals in your diet is to boost your meals with green vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley etc.).
6) Cut Stimulants: Go easy on sugar and coffee. They will give you a great high – but even a stronger low after! They do not only mess with your blood sugar levels, but with your emotional balance as well.
7) Remember that where ever you are, it is the exact right spot to be in. You have no rush and whatever you need will be provided to you. The more you let life flow freely in and out, the more easy and enjoyable it will become.
8 ) Ask yourself: what would make you happy today? What ever it is, do your best to cultivate at least a small portion of this in your day.
Top Photo: Flickr