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10 Ways to Stay Positive (When You Don’t Feel Like It) During the Holidays

10 Ways to Stay Positive (When You Don’t Feel Like It) During the Holidays

Marketing specialists were onto something when they started using positive words and symbols in their advertisements and logos. We all need little reminders sometimes. Jeep and LG got it right with their Life is Good line of phones, t-shirts, caps, tire covers and everyday products. New England even hosts a Life is Good Company who sells good vibes along with their creative line of apparel, home, and pet products.

Is all this marketing really going to keep your spirits up? Maybe not. That’s where I come in. Having been down on myself in the past, suffered from anxiety, and even clinically depressed, I am determined to share the lifelines that saved me from my own pity party. The holiday season is wrought with opportunities to celebrate, but when you really don’t feel it, all the Christmas carols in the world won’t help (they might, though). You need real ways to keep from letting everyone else’s happiness magnify your lack of it.

Here are 10 real ways to recapture that positive spirit this season (and all year long):

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1. Count your blessings

Seriously. Life, health, a home, clothing, food and family are blessings. Hopefully, you have some of these; if not, keep counting. Don’t stop until you can’t think of any more! Write them down so you don’t forget and add to the list regularly.

2. Have a pity party

I thought we were getting away from this, you’re thinking. Yeah, but allowing yourself five or ten minutes (no more) to feel bad is okay, but then move on to something else. Bad things do happen, but they do not need to define us or our lives.

3. Get busy

Don’t sit around after your pity party. Do your daily activities and you can feel accomplished at least in those things. Let others, like your kids, spouse or your live-in Au Pair or nanny, take some of the work off your list, when reasonable.

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4. Do something for someone else

You don’t have to donate a million dollars or every spare minute of your time. Try to do something nice for someone every day, even if it is just opening the door for them, picking up something they drop, or just smiling and looking in their eyes.

5. Do yourself a favor

You deserve to do something nice for yourself, whether it be getting a manicure, haircut or a small, special purchase, do it. Don’t break the bank, but treat yourself right, with love and respect.

6. Write a letter or make a phone call

It can be a letter or call to someone you’ve been meaning to contact, an old friend or even a letter to yourself. Share your current life and inquire about theirs.

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7. Go to church

The walls will not fall down. Sometimes it is nice to sit and listen to a choir or a sermon to put things into perspective, no matter your religion. Try a candlelight service or midnight mass.

8. Watch the news

You’re thinking, has she lost it? That can be depressing, but here’s the catch: your life isn’t that bad. Compared to the terrible events that make the news, your life might seem more simple and not so bad after all. The old adage, “it could always be worse”, is true. You likely have lots to be positive about in your life.

9. Go for a walk

Now that the weather is not as nice, daily walks are harder to accomplish, but the fresh air will do you wonders, not to mention the beautiful sights and sounds you may discover in the fall and winter.

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10. Embrace the season

Sing or listen to carols, decorate your house or room and remember the reason for the season. The entire world is remembering times and promises of old. Share with family and friends by asking about their happiest times and favorite childhood memories. It will be over soon, with a new year full of new opportunities for you.

If you try all of these and still can’t see a reason that life is good, maybe it’s a good time to talk to someone about how you feel. Emotions can drive our actions, therefore deserve great respect and our attention. Our feelings can change so quickly, but while we are experiencing them, they are all-consuming. Remember that you are not alone, even when it feels that way. Your community likely has resources as well. Reach out to your doctor or find one to help. Even if you don’t believe me right now, I promise you that life is worth living every day and things do get better.

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Joan Lowell

Educator, Writer

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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