Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Feeling tired, sad, stressed, or all of the above? Before you blame your ex for your emotional state, you might want to take a look at your diet. Researchers at the award-winning Food and Mood Project in the UK have found that eating the right foods can improve your mental health. In The Food and Mood Handbook, nutritional therapist and Food and Mood Project founder Amanda Geary summarizes some of the project’s findings by outlining how changing what you eat can help lift your bad mood.
Here are some of her top suggestions:
- Eat your veggies: Fruits and vegetables prevent dehydration, may decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer, and they’re the one food group you can never eat too much of. Most fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories, as well as an excellent source of important vitamins. Experts recommend that you keep your selection varied to increase the likelihood of getting all the nutritional advantages that fruits and vegetables offer.
- Get oiled up: Like any smooth-running machine, your brain cells need to be “oiled” in order to function properly. Brain-enhancing Omega-3 oils can be found in oil-rich fish such as sardines, tuna, and salmon, as well as seeds and nuts such as pumpkin and walnuts. Be careful not to confuse these fatty acids with saturated fats, however, since the latter have a tendency to aggravate your bad mood.
- Drink pure water: You’ve heard it a million times before, but are you doing it? Drinking eight glasses of water a day is still the best thing you can do for your body: not only will it keep you healthy, it’ll make your skin glow from the inside out!
- Stock up on fiber: Carbohydrates help your body absorb tryptophan, the protein fragment that makes up serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Bran cereals, whole grain bread and pasta, beans, and raw veggies are all excellent sources of fiber.
- Cut back on the sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate: These foods only give you a temporary boost and often leave you feeling guilty or low. For instance, although caffeine can temporarily increase mental alertness and concentration, too much caffeine has been associated with anxiety, cravings, depression, emotional instability, insomnia, mood swings, and nervousness. And sugar and caffeine withdrawal can leave you with a monster headache for days or even weeks.
The best way to make sure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to keep you happy and healthy is to consult a nutritional therapist. You can learn more about the Food and Mood Project at www.foodandmood.org. And remember: feeling good requires eating regularly as well as eating right, and getting plenty of exercise — especially when you’re stressed.
Looking to revitalize your skin? Researchers at L’Oreal have put the work of their 2,700 scientists worldwide into action to offer products consumers can use at the different stages of aging. Using everything from reconstructed skin to semiconductors, they have identified three stages of aging: “photo-aging,” when the first signs of aging appear (between the ages of 30 and 40), “chronobiological aging,” when wrinkles deepen as you move through your 40s, and “hormonal aging,” which occurs during or after menopause (in the 50+ group). Skin has different needs as the body ages. With time and hormonal changes, skin metabolism slows down: the skin becomes drier and thinner, and it loses its elasticity. Stress has also been noted to deepen lines and wrinkles.
Here are some of the latest anti-aging products from several different companies.
If you’re in your 30s:
- Visible Results by L’Oreal Paris Plenitude
- Lancome Impactive
- Vichy Laboratories’ Reti-C
- Ceramide Defining Skin Brightener by Elizabeth Arden
If you’re in your 40s:
- Revitalif by L’Oreal Paris Plenitude
- Lancome’s Renergie Intense Lift
- Exuviance by Neostrata
If you’re in your 50s:
- Age Perfect by L’Oreal Paris Plenitude
- Lancome Absolue Night
- Vichy Laboratories’ Novadiol Night
- Resilience Lift Overnight by Estee Lauder
With so many anti-aging creams on the market, choosing the right one is always a challenge. The safest bet is to look for products that have some scientific research to support their claims. By learning more about these stages (and consulting a dermatologist to evaluate what level your skin is at, regardless of your chronological age), you’ll increase your chances of reducing the signs of aging.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just close your eyes and have your problems disappear? The Monroe Institute can’t promise you eternal happiness, but it can help you cope with some of life’s daily struggles thanks to their line of “Metamusic” and “Human Plus” tapes and CDs.
These two lines are designed to help people cope with everything from anger and stress to finances, learning, and fitness. The “Hemi-Sync” sound technology sets them apart from other New Age CDs. According to Adrienne Harvey, customer service manager for the Monroe Institute, Hemi-Sync is a patented process that helps you safely alter your brainwaves with multi-layered patterns of sound frequencies. The process works by sending different sounds to each ear, then the two hemispheres of the brain combine them to “hear” a third signal — the difference between the two original sounds. As a result, you arrive at a whole-brain state known as hemispheric synchronization, or Hemi-Sync: an optimal condition for improving human performance.
To help reduce or release overwhelming emotional reactions, try Human Plus “Let-Go.” This CD combines sound effects, Hemi-Sync frequencies, and verbal guidance to help you control your emotional response to difficult situations. It’s designed to help you relieve anxiety and give you some tools to use when confronted with stressful or painful situations. You’ll learn to create a peaceful, relaxed state and to release disturbing emotions at will.
If you want to try meditation as a way to calm your nerves and soothe your spirit, Metamusic “Tribal Journeys” could fit the bill. The CD begins with a hypnotic drumming sequence and then fades into melodic, dream-like sounds designed to take you away from the physical, bringing you back again with the transcendental drumming at the end. The combination of these evocative sounds with Hemi-Sync frequencies help to banish everyday worries.
These CDs are backed by 40 years of clinical and scientific research into the relationship between brainwaves and states of consciousness. The Monroe Institute warns listeners not to use Hemi-Sync without consulting a physician if they have a tendency towards seizures, auditory disorders, or adverse mental conditions, and not to listen while driving.
To learn more about Hemi-Sync products, log on to www.hemi-sync.com, or call (800) 541-2488.
Let It Go!
In The Little Book of Letting Go: A Revolutionary 30-day Program to Cleanse your Mind, Lift your Spirit and Replenish your Soul (Conari Press, 2000), bestselling author Hugh Prather uses numerous real-life stories and powerful exercises to demonstrate that a unified and uncluttered mind leads to a simpler, happier life and relationships that work.
If you’ve just gone through a separation or a divorce, you’re probably holding on to a lot of anger and sadness. You may find yourself unable to forgive the person who hurt you, reliving past arguments, and feeling as though the solutions to your problems are outside your control.
Prather suggests that you should never underestimate the power of your state of mind when it comes to overcoming obstacles. “Whenever our desire is for people to change or circumstances to go our way, we are not taking responsibility for our state of mind,” he explains. “We obviously can’t let go if we are waiting to be saved.”
Instead of fixating on what can’t be solved, Prather recommends identifying “what obstructs your experience of wholeness and peace” and making sure that you indeed want to go beyond this obstruction. For instance, to let go of victim-perceptions, Prather believes that we need to realize that our minds are filled with numerous memories and thoughts, many of which are destructive. Interestingly enough, these destructive thoughts do little harm until we let them — by “taking one of them to heart.”
To release the disturbing feelings that accompany these thoughts, he encourages you to “identify as many of your distressing thoughts as you can. Write them down and stick the list in your pocket…when you find yourself thinking one of these thoughts…squeeze the list as hard as you can. Then say to yourself, ‘The thought itself isn’t the problem. Squeezing my mind around the thought is the problem.’ Then relax your fist. Relax your mind. And look around. There’s a lot more out there than these thoughts are telling you.”
Prather also has some advice for people who cannot let go of their old relationship baggage. “When a new relationship is seen through the lens of an old relationship, the cause of the distortion is not obvious. Each new relationship failure reinforces the distortion, and eventually the place where hearts are joined can no longer be experienced.” The solution to these intrusive thoughts, he advises, is to expose them and to let them go.
It isn’t always easy to be honest with yourself and to face your most disturbing thoughts or painful memories. But it is only through identifying the things that stand in the way of your happiness that you can overcome them. The Little Book of Letting Go is filled with practical exercises to help you achieve this. In the end, Prather sees only three things people need to let go of: judging, controlling, and being right. If you can release these, he guarantees you “will have the whole mind and twinkly heart of a child.”
Visit www.amazon.com for more information on this and other inspirational books by Hugh Prather.