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New Year’s Resolutions and Better Health

New Year’s Resolutions and Better Health

“Your body will speak when your mind cannot.” – Patti Davis

I am not a big believer in resolutions, probably because I was never very good at keeping them. Nonetheless, most resolutions that people make are focused on their physical body and health. If you really want your body to be healthier, then you might want to consider a different approach this year.

Try focusing on your emotional health instead. Pain and disease in the body are a result of unresolved emotional energy, and I am totally convinced of this.

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Understanding Energy

Einstein said it a long time ago: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”

Emotions and feelings are energy. Actually, everything is energy. Energy, by its very nature, must keep moving. When we don’t allow ourselves to fully have our feelings, that energy is stored in our body. More often than not, that storage begins in childhood without our even being aware of it.

In order to have a healthier body, we have to move the old stored energy out of our body; otherwise, it will eventually wreak havoc, if it hasn’t already. We release stored energy by expressing unexpressed feelings and emotions. When the energy is released, it will move on, and as a result, you will feel better. Your body will be healthier. You will need less medications, if any at all. You will want to eat less.

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Changing Your Focus Can Change Your Life

Now, I know you may not be convinced that there is any emotion stored in your body. and that is okay. If stored emotions are there, they will find their way to the surface. If the stored emotions aren’t there, you will have lost nothing. Nonetheless, if I can be presumptuous…there is emotion stored in your body, because after all, you’re human.

So, instead of simply resolving to change your diet in some way or starting an exercise routine, how about focusing on your emotional health. As you get emotionally healthier, you just might find you get physically healthier as well. Okay, I’m going to be presumptuous again…you will get physically healthier.

Blood pressure will drop, cholesterol too. Pain will subside, disease will be averted, disorders will heal. The possibilities are endless.

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Getting Started

Make a commitment to your emotional and mental health this year. For some reason, many seem to be under the impression that feeling negative feelings is a “bad” thing. We cannot get through life without experiencing unhappy feelings; it is the human condition.

So, consider some of the following guidelines for better emotional health this year! Do the best you can, without chastising yourself when you don’t quite make it.

  1.  Spend time alone every day, at least 15 minutes without a phone, TV, book, or any other distraction. Close your eyes, and just tune in to your internal world. How do you feel? What comes up? Is it hard to be still? Do you have any anxiety? Scan your body: any pain or tension? Pay close attention. What do you notice?
  2. Take time to feel what you feel. Do you notice feelings coming up during your day? Sadness? Disappointment? Anger? Don’t run from them. Hold yourself gently, and let yourself feel. If it isn’t a convenient time, then return to these feelings at a more convenient time, but do return to them as often as you need to.
  3. Breathe deeply, fully, and often.
  4. If you enjoy writing down your thoughts and feelings, then do so. Keeping a journal can be a great outlet, and an avenue for growth.
  5. If there are things left unsaid in your relationships that weigh you down, then find appropriate ways to say them. Say what you need to say, not necessarily what you want to say; otherwise, it will eat you up on the inside.
  6. Are you putting the desires of everyone else before your own? Are you at the bottom of your list of priorities? Consider moving yourself to the top, which isn’t selfish, it’s healthy. When you take care of yourself, you will be better prepared to care for others.
  7. If you are having trouble doing what you know you need to do or taking that next step, then go back to #1 and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

Give Yourself The Support You Need 

People avoid their emotional world because it can feel scary and overwhelming. There is no shame in asking for help, because you are worth it, you deserve it, and you have the right to it.

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Above all else, extend love and kindness to yourself. You have internalized the angry and abusive voices of your life, so notice those voices and shut them down. Replace those negative voices with the love you have always deserved, and that alone will go a long way towards emotional health.

Go ahead, shift your focus. You will likely get better results than you did last year!

Featured photo credit: Megan Varner via flickr.com

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Sandra Cooper

Psychotherapist

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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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