We think of building healthy behaviors or increasing productivity as a matter of willpower. We seek knowledge and goal setting skills to make the desired change. With determination and discipline, we may succeed, at least for days or even months—but more than often, we fall off course. The common assumption is that our day-to-day decisions are conscious choices. But our ability to make informed decisions that control our behavior is fundamentally limited. Psychology and neuroscience suggest that most of our actions are borne out of habit—they are reflexive, instinctive, and occur outside the awareness of our conscious mind. And if we pit one against the other, our thinking minds are no match for our automatic habits.
Named by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the concept of “flow” has existed for thousands of years in different forms. When you are in the flow, you are fully immersed and energized by what you are doing. In sports, performing at that point where natural skills and peak performance align is called “being in the zone.” And in ancient Chinese philosophy, when your body is in harmony between opposing Yin and Yang forces, you have an optimal flow of the vital energy called “Qi.”
The weight that you gain this holiday season is likely to remain until the summer months, or beyond, according to a recent letter published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Across three different countries, researchers found that while up to half of holiday weight gain is lost shortly after the holidays, half remains for months later.
Fall is here. That means it’s pumpkin season! Time for pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin everything. This season’s most popular food also happens to be packed with nutrients. Yes, the versatile pumpkin has so many health benefits that it can be considered a superfood.
Here are 5 main health benefits of adding pumpkin to your recipes this holiday season.
- Good for weight loss
The time-honored tradition of family meals has been a family cornerstone for generations. Eating meals at home may also be one of the most effective yet decreasingly utilized ways to help your kids get better grades in school and be less likely to drink alcohol or smoke.
Time and money. Both are common reasons people eat out. But contrary to common perception, convenient fast food meals can be more expensive than home cooked meals. And small improvements such as picking more nutritious options among breads, cereals, and packaged foods at the grocery store do not on average cost more.
For decades, the progressive damage to brain cells and the connections between them that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease has been associated with abnormalities in two brain proteins: clumps of the protein fragment beta-amyloid into plaques and twisted strands of the protein tau into tangles. Over the past decade, scientists have been getting closer to a better understanding of why the brain develops these hallmark changes. Among the contributing causes, as reviewed in a recently released online article May 2016 in the journal Physiology & Behavior is accumulating evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is a metabolic disease—a disease of how the brain responds to insulin, utilizes glucose, and metabolizes energy. Alzheimer’s disease may be a form of diabetes of the brain.
According to a recent report in The Washington Post , the average American woman now weighs as much as the average 1960’s man. The average man isn’t doing any better—having gained nearly 30 pounds since the 1960’s to an average of 195.5 pounds today.
The obesity epidemic has many pointing fingers at the Western lifestyle. A concoction of calorie packed, high fat, high sugar processed foods combined with increasingly sedentary habits, the Western lifestyle seems a sure recipe for obesity.
Two simple words—thank you—can open the door to unexpected benefits.
From the Latin gratia, meaning favor, and gratus, meaning pleasing, gratitude can be a feeling, an attitude, a virtue, or a choice. Feeling gratitude is the core of human connectedness–the give and take that supports and strengthens our relationships.
Whether you appreciate another’s act of kindness, the beauty of nature, or “count your blessings,” practicing gratitude can improve your emotional well-being, social relationships, and physical health.
Whether you want lose weight, quit smoking, or start exercising, changing your habit—and sticking with it—is hard.
From my experience, most people know at least one habit or behavior they would like to change in order to improve their health and wellbeing but struggle to make it happen. The challenge is moving from knowing to doing. How can you get started, gain momentum, and avoid slipping backwards?
Changing any health habit requires having a clear, realistic, step-by-step plan.
It may be the disease of our time. Stress and stress related illnesses are on the rise—with 44% of Americans reporting an increase in psychological stress in just the past five years. The American Psychological Association warns that we are a nation on the verge of a stress-induced public health crisis.
Stress in everyday life is only partly to blame. The crisis is compounded by how we respond: overwhelmed by stress, we often view lifestyle and behavioral changes needed to mitigate stress as insurmountable. We get trapped in a vicious cycle of heightened stress, poor health choices, and spiraling physical consequences.