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10 Things Anyone Can Do to Cure the Holiday Blues

10 Things Anyone Can Do to Cure the Holiday Blues

The holiday season can be amazing: a time of gift-giving and celebration, when we have meals with loved ones, often witnessing and receiving the blessings of human generosity in full force. For some, it is a time filled with the wonder and magic of a child, and for others, it is a deeply spiritual time that demonstrates a time of renewal and hope. Still for many people, perhaps far many more than we dare to admit, the holidays can be very challenging. This challenge can even be exacerbated by the very belief that we are supposed to be so joyful during this time, and that something must be wrong with us for not being so. This downward cycle of the Holiday Blues can be remedied however. Here are some cures you can try if you find your spirits feeling low this holiday season.

1. Count your blessings

Make it a practice each day to say out loud what your blessings are in this life. Be clear that this process is not intended to suppress any real sadness or blues you might be feeling, as that would be dishonoring part of you that is real. But, it is a way to recognize that the inner focus on sadness is not the only focus worth your time and attention. Start with saying out loud the phrase: “I am blessed that…..” and let your subconscious mind fill in the gap without premeditating your answer. Keep it spontaneous and free flowing, not an intellectual exercise. You’ll be surprised how many times you realize a blessing that you may not have been consciously aware of: the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of a tree you encounter each day, that wonderful cup of tea or coffee you get each day as well as the smile of the person serving it to you. These seemingly small blessings add up, and can shift our awareness to acknowledge the greater blessings in our lives.

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2. Be of service to the world

A great way to heal your own suffering is to help soothe the suffering of others. This is true during the holiday season as well as beyond it. If the chaos of shopping at the mall is getting to you, and you don’t feel the holiday cheer, why not spend that same time bringing joy to someone else? Take the focus off of you and put it on bringing more light to the world. Give a donation of time or money to a worthy cause. Go help a friend with some project. Pick up any trash in the parks and on the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Write a letter to a the elderly. Here is one link that can help. There are many ways to be of service to the world. Pick something you feel passionate about so that it comes from the heart, and help make the world a better place.

3. Give something away for free

Giving away an item you value not only honors the holiday spirit but it also creates space in your life for something new. Think of those belongings that you value and are ready to release, which also might bring joy to someone you know: such as that old guitar you haven’t picked up in years, or that laptop that works great but doesn’t have the latest upgrades you want, or that cherished book in great condition which you have read and love but is sitting on the bookshelf now collecting dust. Give these items away to those who can put them to good use. It will bring joy to that person, and creates space in your life for you to bring in something new.

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4. Plan a feast, and then a fast, for something you want to manifest

Food is a big focus during the holiday season, so take charge of your food experience and give it a purpose. Allow yourself to partake in the festive meals, the holiday work party, or even a delicious dinner you cook for yourself. Each time you feast with others or in solitude, do so with a purpose. Intend that the food is a blessing. Bless it in your mind, or out loud, to represent something you want to bring into your life. Remember, we are what we eat, so visualize that piece of turkey (or tofurky) as the raise you are hoping for from your boss, or something else you want to manifest. Eat mindfully, as if every bite is helping make that dream come true in your mind’s eye. Then, balance the more heavy meals with a fast in the days after, maybe even to start the New Year. It can be a juice fast, water fast, or simply eating only fruit for a day or more. Most of the world’s spiritual traditions give emphasis to fasting for bringing powerful change into your life. So, balance the time you have spent feasting with some time spent fasting, keeping the focus on something you want to manifest for the New Year.

5. Share food with others

Since food is such a large part of the holidays, it is also a great way to create community. It doesn’t have to be complex and can actually be quite simple. If you have friends who live nearby, invite them over to enjoy a holiday dessert or snack. Even hot chocolate and cookies will do! A key ingredient to creating community is sharing food. If your friends are away for the holidays, invite an acquaintance or co-worker over, or that neighbor you say hello to but never get to really know. This is the time to widen that circle of community in your life, and enjoying a holiday dessert is the perfect excuse. Who knows? That acquaintance may become your new best friend.

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6. Say something kind to a stranger

Offering a simple hello or compliment to someone you don’t even know can raise your spirits as well as theirs. Be extra kind and generous with your words and use them to uplift those around you. It’s a very easy practice, and does wonders to brighten your day as well as theirs.

7. Shop less and exercise more

Sometimes the Holiday Blues is simply the result of the way we treat our bodies this time of year, as well as the way we treat our wallets, where both our bellies and credit card debt grow large. Spend less time shopping and more time burning calories, be it at the gym or working out at home.

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8. Watch an old movie that reminds you why life is amazing

Some people love watching classic holiday movies this time of year like Its A Wonderful Life starring James Stewart. But even if you prefer something of a different genre, remember movies are art, and art can be medicine for the soul. Sometimes, all we need are the right lines from a movie or song to remind us of what we need to hear—that our lives are precious and amazing gifts.

9. Find a place to meditate on New Years Eve

If you want an alternative to the traditional New Years Eve celebration, know that many yoga studios and meditation centers now offer New Years Eve meditations. It can be a wonderful and healthy way of starting the year. Simply making a commitment to attend can change your attitude weeks before the clock turns midnight to bring in the New Year.

10. Believe in your dreams and take action on making them real

Allow yourself to dream big dreams for the upcoming year. Then, buy a calendar for 2015, and write into each day of that calendar an action you will take for making your dreams become real.

Featured photo credit: Pretty red haired girl walking on frozen lake and making footpath via shutterstock.com

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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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