8 Simple Hacks to Live a Healthier Life

Some people make it look so easy. They juggle family, work, and social commitments with the greatest of ease while managing to stay fit, healthy, and sharp. They always seem to have enough time to prepare a healthy meal, and they never, ever miss a workout.

Then there are the rest of us who stare from the sidelines and ask, “are those people even real?”

Yes – yes, they are. Believe it or not, there is hope for the rest of us because it turns out that incorporating positive health habits into your crazy, busy life is as simple as making a few minor tweaks. 

Here are eight easy hacks that will put you on the path to a healthier new you without making a massive dent in your lifestyle.

1.  Cook For A Crowd

Making dinner after working every day can be torture, even for the most ardent weekend chef. So… While chopping and sautéing, do yourself a favor and make enough for another night or two. By cooking a few extra servings, you will make the most of your limited time. Plus, you will be a lot less likely to tap Door Dash when there’s a healthy, home-cooked meal waiting in the fridge for tomorrow.

(Bonus Hack: Chop a few extra vegetables to keep in the refrigerator for an easy-to-grab, healthy snack.)

2. Chill Out: Keep Some Frozen Fruit And Veggies On Hand

Frozen fruit and vegetables are easy to purchase, they last a long time in your freezer, and they take almost no time to prepare. And studies show people who keep frozen produce on hand consume more of the good stuff.

Use frozen fruit and veggies in smoothies or on top of oatmeal and cereal. For dinner, there’s nothing easier than searing some frozen, pre-chopped veggies in a pan and pairing them with a lean protein or whole grain. Don’t forget to make extra.

3. Supersize Your Fiber – And Cut Down Your Food Intake

Americans eat way too much food and way too little fiber. The recommended daily amount of fiber is 38 grams, but most of us only eat about 10 grams by the end of the day!

Fiber is filling – so when you add it to your diet, you can eat less and stay full longer. The trick is to cut down your serving size incrementally while filling up on more fiber-rich foods like beans, bran flakes, broccoli, pears, and berries. 

4. Know The Healthiest Fast Food

Sometimes fast food is your only option. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the nutritional facts most fast-food restaurants post online, so you know before your in the drive-thru lane. Most popular fast-food chains offer a few healthy options – so it’s easier than ever to choose wisely. 

5. Be Ready To Get Fit

This is our favorite easy hack. Instead of rushing through your Saturday morning chores in your PJs, try pulling on something more athletic, like your favorite sweats and a pair of comfy sneakers. You’ll be ready for anything – and who knows where your feet will take you? Squeezing in a quick walk around the block is a lot easier when you are already dressed for fitness.

6. Calendar It

You have probably heard the quote, “what gets scheduled gets done.” Just as you calendar your work and home commitments, calendar your fitness routines because they deserve just as much priority in your life. Set up alerts and reminders to help you stay on track and keep your commitment to yourself, just like you would with a doctor’s appointment or an important meeting. Planning is key.

7. Make Fitness Fun

Engage your body and feed your mind by peppering some variety into your routine. Walk and explore the city where you live, visit a museum, volunteer for a beach clean-up. When the streetlights come on, grab a partner and go dancing, or take the kids to a roller rink and strap on some skates. 

Sweat is easier and feels better when you’re wearing a smile. 

8. Take Special Care Of Your Most Important Organ

Lastly, don’t forget about the most critical part of your well-being – your brain.

As we age, we naturally become more forgetful.  We also experience more brain fogginess and loss of mental energy by the end of the day, which dampens our motivation.

Brain health supplements that contain specific neuro-nutrients support your brain’s health and have been shown to increase mental clarity and energy, improve memory, and boost your attitude.

Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain provides potent dosages of essential vitamins and minerals that an aging brain needs every day. Dynamic Brain also contains cognition-enhancing ingredients like Bacopa, Choline, and Huperzine-A.(1-3)

When you have mental energy and clarity, you are more likely to have the energy to do a fitness class after work and prepare a healthy meal instead of resorting to take-out.  Plus, you’ll have the motivation you need to stick to your new, healthier way of living.

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Sources:
1. C., Stough, Nathan P., Lloyd J., Clarke J., Hutchison C., Downey L., and Rodgers T. 2001. “The Chronic Effects Of An Extract Of Bacopa Monniera (Brahmi) On Cognitive Function In Healthy Human Subjects”. Psychopharmacology 156 (4): 481-484. doi:10.1007/s002130100815.
2. “Nutritional Importance Of Choline For Brain Development”. 2021. Journal Of The American College Of Nutrition. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0
3. Mei, Zhengrong, Peiying Zheng, Xiangping Tan, Ying Wang, and Bing Situ. 2017. “Huperzine A Alleviates Neuroinflammation, Oxidative Stress And Improves Cognitive Function After Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury”. Metabolic Brain Disease 32 (6): 1861-1869. doi:10.1007/s11011-017-0075-4.

7 Gorgeous Spots to Enjoy Fall Foliage

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
-George Eliot

Here’s a question, what in nature looks more beautiful as it dies?

Autumn’s gorgeous and wildly, technicolor foliage, of course.

Deciduous trees from oaks, maples, aspens, poplars, birches, and dogwoods transform from monochromatic green to fiery gold, orange, red, pink, and purple as the life fades from their leaves and prepare to drop.   Some displays are so mind-blowingly beautiful that they can literally take your breath away.

In almost every state of this great union, October is the best month to see the annual colors change, and it’s worth a day trip to take in this remarkable yearly phenomenon up close.  But keep in mind, the clock is ticking. By mid-November, most leaves will be on the ground, and you’ll have missed out on Fall’s dazzling color show.

Here are our top picks to see fall foliage in the US this October.

1. Mount Greylock, Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ highest peak, Mount Greylock, is the stuff of legends, with both J.K. Rowling and Herman Melville noting its magical qualities. Fortunately, it’s an easy and beautiful summit drive through New England’s Berkshires. The drive we suggest passes through Great Barrington, Stockbridge, and Pittsfield on your way to North Adams.

This route takes you past rolling hills and through small New England towns clustered around white-steepled churches. This time of year, enjoy the warm oranges, golds, pinks, and reds of autumn’s glory.

Best time to go: Mid-September to end of October

2. The Catskills, New York

The Catskills, in upstate New York, is one of the best places to see autumn colors.

Located less than two hours from NYC, is the Catskills Mountain Scenic Byway stretches 52 miles through rolling hills, pristine waterways, and the charming towns of Olive, Shandaken, Middletown, and Andes.

If you’re the adventurous type, get a bird’s eye view of the Catskill’s spectacular color from zipline on from Hunter Mountain. The Summit Sky Rider Tour runs 4.6 miles through the Catskills and is the second-longest zip line in North America.

Best time to go: Mid-September to end of October

3. Roanoke Valley, Virginia

While there are spectacular views of autumn foliage all around the Blue Ridge Mountain region, there are a few prime spots that offer panoramas that will leave you breathless.

Roanoke Valley is one of them. (I had the pleasure of attending a dear niece’s wedding there a few October’s ago.)  It indeed boasts colors that you would expect to find on a postcard.

Make your way to the Roanoke Star & Overlook, just 15 minutes from downtown Roanoke, directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway, at milepost 120.

There you’ll find spectacular views of the Roanoke Valley, including the downtown skyline and the surrounding mountains. You’ll also find multiple hiking and mountain bike trails and picnic areas.

Best time to go: Early October to mid-November

4. Silver City, Michigan

Michigan’s upper peninsula is famous for its colorful coastal scenery.

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park near Silver City features plenty of hiking trails and lookout points to take in the scenery.  The scenic drive along the M-26 that ends at Copper Harbor is ninety minutes of glorious fall colors to the east and gorgeous views of Lake Superior to the west.

Best time to go: Mid-September to mid-October

5. Telluride, Colorado

The aspen groves of the San Juan Mountains provide a spectacular fall color show.  They morph from lush green to a kaleidoscope of brilliant golds, orange, and yellows. Take a day or two to drive the scenic San Juan Skyway through the mountain towns of Cortez, Durango, Silverton, ending in Telluride.

In Telluride, take a guided 4×4 tour to Tomboy Basin and Imogene Pass to get a stunning view of the valley below.

Best time to go: Late September to mid-October

6. Mammoth, California

Mammoth Lakes, California, on the Eastern Sierra mountain range, is memorable in all seasons, but the autumn foliage is simply unforgettable. Imagine golden and red aspens nestled against snow-dusted mountain peaks reflected in still alpine pools. The fall spectacle begins at the highest elevations by the end of September and descends and ends at the base by early November. 

A few fun ways to experience the most brilliant color displays are canoeing in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, driving or biking the June Lake Loop, or hiking around Rock Creek. 

Best time to go: Early October to early-November

7. Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth sits on the eastern slopes of Washington’s Cascade Mountains and is one of the most glorious places to see the autumn color up close. There are trails for every level, from the more accessible Hidden Lake trail to the more challenging Spider Meadows.

As a Bavarian town, Leavenworth is known for its lively Oktoberfest celebrations. If drinking beer and eating bratwurst while being surrounded by vibrant fall colors sounds like the perfect way to spend a weekend, Leavenworth is your place.

Best time to go: Late September to late October

Regardless of which part of the US you visit this Fall, getting outside and seeing and being in nature is crucial to your happiness, stress reduction, and mental health.

Never forget your colorful Fall memories…

Brain-health supplements can have a positive impact on your memory. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain provides essential vitamins and minerals, plus brain-boosting ingredients like Choline, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine A. Two once-daily capsules of Dynamic Brain can help you hold onto your favorite memories while giving you more focus and clarity. Staying sharp at any age is the key to a happy and rewarding life.

Caffeine: Good vs Evil… (Maybe)

Millions – no billions of people around the world start their day with a cup of coffee. It’s the preferred drink for so many because it boosts mental alertness and helps get the day going. The magic ingredient in that seemingly innocent morning cup – that turns you on like a light switch – is caffeine.  

Caffeine is the most extensively used stimulant on earth. You’ll find it in more than sixty different plants, including tea leaves, cocoa beans, and of course, coffee. It’s one of the only drugs the FDA approves for use in food and beverages.

Caffeine is classified as a stimulant drug because it increases activity in your brain and affects your central nervous system. In small doses, caffeine can give you focus and make you feel refreshed. Too much, and you may start to feel anxious and irritable, or worse.

Coffee or caffeine addiction concept. Addicted or thirsty man drinking too much. Addict with many empty take away paper cups on table. Trying to stay awake.

For many of us, downing 3 cups of coffee plus an afternoon latte for good measure is a daily routine. If you’ve rarely thought about how this habit impacted your mind and body, the following blog explores the good, the bad, and the history of caffeine—knowing what’s too much verse what’s just right is essential if daily cups of joe are part of your routine.

History of Caffeine

The word caffeine originated in Germany from the word “kaffee,” and the French word “café” – both mean coffee. Both coffee and caffeine come from the Arabic word “qahweh.” The origins of these words reflect the spread of coffee from Arabia and Turkey to Europe. 

Legend has it that a man named Kaldi first discovered the power of coffee by noticing that his goats perked up after eating the berries of the coffee-Arabica tree and subsequently had trouble sleeping at night.  

Kaldi told a local monk about his jumpy goats, who then made a drink from the same berries. The monk realized his new brew made him alert and kept him from falling asleep during evening prayers. As the story of these potent berries spread through Arabia, so did its popularity.

Coffee arrived in Europe sometime during the 17th century. Once people experienced the rush of caffeine, coffee consumption spread like wildfire. It soon made its way to the Americas. By the end of the 18th-century, coffee was the most profitable export crop in the world. 

And while tea is used more globally (and historians date tea drinking as far back as 2737 B.C.), coffee is far more popular specifically for its caffeine content. 

Today, Finland is considered the largest caffeine consumer per capita, with each adult averaging 400mg per day (that’s about 4 cups). 80% of the world’s population drinks a caffeinated product every day, and this number goes up to 90% for adults in North America.

The Good

In some circles, caffeine has a bad reputation for its adverse effects on the nervous system and its link to anxiety and insomnia. However, research also shows caffeine has some health benefits.  

Mood + Cognitive Function

Caffeine may block adenosine, a substance that forms brain-signaling molecules. Your brain reacts by increasing other signaling molecules, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. It’s believed that this change in brain messaging boosts your mood and brain function.

One study showed that after participants consumed caffeine from 4 cups of coffee, they had marked improvements in alertness, reaction time, and short-term recall. (2)

Metabolism + Fat Burning

Studies show that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by increasing adrenaline levels in your bloodstream. This process sends signals to your fat cells to break down and promotes the release of fat from fat tissue. Caffeine may boost your body’s fat-burning ability by as much as 13% (3)  

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the rate that your body burns calories while at rest. The higher the rate, the easier it is to lose weight. Studies show that caffeine may increase resting metabolic rate by as much as 11%, with large doses of caffeine having a more significant effect. (4)

Keep in mind, caffeine’s fat-burning ability may be short-lived as the more you consume, the less tolerant you become to its effects. It may boost your metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short team, but it will stop working after a while.

The Bad

For some, caffeine can cause potential health problems, including sleep disruptions, anxiety, digestive issues, tremors, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, headaches, and frequent urination. 

Caffeine, especially consumed after the noon hour, can disrupt night sleep. Any amount of sleep loss adds up and diminishes daytime alertness and performance.

And drinking cup after cup of coffee to offset the effects of sleep deprivation runs into a vicious cycle. Caffeine may prevent you from falling asleep at night, shortening your sleep time and increasing your need for caffeine when morning comes.

The Right Amount

Studies show that 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe for most healthy adults. That’s the amount of caffeine in four cups of regular coffee, ten cans of cola, or two energy drinks. 

The actual level of caffeine varies widely in various beverages. For instance, one venti (20 oz) cup of Starbucks roasted coffee has 410 mg of caffeine while Dunkin’s same size cup has only 270mg. 

Avoid caffeine if you notice a reaction with moderate amounts or if you are on certain medications. Pregnant women, those trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding, should consult with their doctors about limiting caffeine. Experts say no more than 200 mg daily.

Steer clear of caffeine in powder or liquid form. One teaspoon is equivalent to about 28 cups of coffee. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has warned that caffeine in powder or liquid form can be toxic, can cause serious health problems and possibly death. 

Finding Balance

In an ideal world, feeling upbeat, energetic, and focused happens naturally, without relying on a cup of joe – or other caffeine-heavy beverages. If you believe caffeine is propping you up, perhaps it’s time to examine your dependence. 

Now, cutting back on caffeine can be a challenge. An abrupt halt is known to cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and irritability. You may want to ease off gradually instead of going cold turkey. Try eliminating caffeine for 60 days to allow your body to reset itself – free of caffeine.

Light-to-moderate caffeine intake seems to provide some health benefits. On the other hand, too much can lead to side effects that can interfere with day-to-day living and could cause serious health risks.

To get the benefits of caffeine without the undesirable side effects, consider taking brain health supplements. One of the best is Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain. This supplement contains 40 proven neuro-nutrients – including Huperzine A, Choline, DHA, Phosphatidylserine, and B-Vitamins.

A daily dose of Dynamic Brain fully supports your brain health, promotes optimal cognitive function, enables you to think more clearly, and like caffeine, provides a similar lift of alertness and natural stimulation. And think how much money you’ll save by skipping the coffee house brew. 

Sources:
1.  Effect of caffeine on the metabolic responses of lipolysis and activated sweat gland density in human during physical activity | SpringerLink
chem.ku.edu/sites/chem.ku.edu/files/docs/CHEM190/caffeine.pdf
 
2. Caffeine (1, 3, 7‐trimethylxanthine) in Foods: A Comprehensive Review on Consumption, Functionality, Safety, and Regulatory Matters – Heckman – 2010 – Journal of Food Science – Wiley Online Library
 
3. Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals – PubMed (nih.gov)
 
4. Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers – PubMed (nih.gov)
 
5. Effect of a Thermogenic Beverage on 24‐Hour Energy Metabolism in Humans – Rudelle – 2007 – Obesity – Wiley Online Library
6. Caffeine: Effects, risks, and cautions (medicalnewstoday.com)

Bacopa Monnieri: The Powerful Nootropics Your Brain Shouldn’t Be Without


 
Bacopa monnieri – also known as Brahmi – is an herb native to India, Asia, and South America. Its use dates back centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to help with numerous diseases, promote healthy longevity, and help avoid decline associated with aging.

Today Bacopa monnieri is recognized as a highly promising nootropic. Nootropics are nutritional substances that support a healthy brain and sharper cognitive function.

A growing body of research suggests that Bacopa monnieri is an effective memory booster and cognitive enhancer that could help protect your brain against aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Bacopa monnieri could be an excellent choice if you’re looking for an all-natural supplement that may help boost your brainpower, relieve stress, and help you recover some age-related memory loss.

 

How Does Bacopa Monnieri Work?

Bacopa monnieri promotes neural processing by enhancing the growth and proliferation of dendrites which are the branched nerve cell extensions along which cell to cell communication travels. Research shows taking Bacopa monnieri extract for six weeks induces structural changes in neurons that improve learning and memory.

Additionally, bacopasides, the active ingredient in Bacopa monnieri, have been shown to help stimulate nerve cell activity and make neuro synapses more receptive to impulses.

And finally, using Bacopa monnieri in supplements has been shown to significantly stimulate acetylcholine – the neurotransmitter most closely associated with brainpower. It’s believed that Bacopa inhibits cholinesterase, a brain chemical that breaks down acetylcholine. This action contributes to improved acetylcholine levels even further.

 

How Does Bacopa Monnieri Help Your Memory?

Studies show that Bacopa monnieri significantly improves memory for aging adults. A randomized, double-blind study involving seniors resulted in Bacopa significantly improving verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall as measured by the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT).

Another study that included people 65 years and older showing signs of dementia concluded that Bacopa users experienced significantly enhanced word recall and memory relative to the placebo group.

But Bacopa’s memory-enhancing ability doesn’t appear to be limited to people 65+. In a study involving adults between 40 and 65, Bacopa monnieri was shown to increase their ability to retain freshly learned information. Follow-up testing also showed that test subjects were able to remember the information they had learned.

In a six-week placebo-controlled clinical study that included a group of medical students, those who received Bacopa showed statistically significant improvement in all tests related to memory and cognitive function.

 

How does Bacopa Monnieri affect your Learning Ability?

Studies show that Bacopa monnieri amplifies cognitive processing, making learning new things faster and easier.

A study done on healthy adults noted substantial improvements in visual processing speed and rate of learning.

 

Where do you find Bacopa monnieri?

One of the best sources is Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain. This supplement contains Bacopa monnieri and 40 additional clinically proven nootropic ingredients – including Huperzine A, Choline, DHA, Phosphatidylserine, and L-Tyrosinere, which help boost cell membrane structure, improve blood flow, and fight free radicals.

A daily dose of Dynamic Brain fully supports your brain health and promotes optimal cognitive function to help keep your memories intact, enables you to think more clearly, and boosts your mental energy too.

Sources:

1. Vollala, V. R., Upadhya, S. and Nayak, S. – Vollala, Venkata Ramana, Subramanya Upadhya, and Satheesha Nayak. 2011. “Enhancement Of Basolateral Amygdaloid Neuronal Dendritic Arborization Following Bacopa Monniera Extract Treatment In Adult Rats”. Clinics 66 (4): 663-671. doi:10.1590/s1807-59322011000400023.

2. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial – PubMed pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21655763/

3. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18611150/

4. Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial – PubMed pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20590480/

11 Proven Ways to Cope with Stress and Manage Your Well-Being to Survive the Holiday Season

One of my holiday traditions is to host a crowd of family and friends for Christmas Eve dinner. Some years the guest list can number more than 50 people. This year the number is limited to four – my partner, my two kids, and myself. This kind of alteration will be playing out in homes and dining rooms across America as 2020 continues to bludgeon our holiday celebrations.

As the number of virus cases explodes, many families across the US will abstain from their traditional holiday celebrations to help keep their loved ones safe. An unfortunate consequence of this extra amount of caution is you will likely experience a different kind of stress this year, replacing the holiday season’s beautiful chaos with isolation, uncertainty, and the loss of close human connections.

But take heart, there are numerous ways to manage this potentially disappointing holiday season and make it one to remember fondly instead of scorn.

Holiday Stress Relief

Seasonal depression is common for many people during the holidays, and this year those feelings could be amplified. Here are a few ways you can prioritize your well-being, reduce stress, and connect to the spirit of the holidays no matter what your plans are this year.

1. Plan Out the Holidays

Uncertainty puts stress on your mind, so plan out every detail of your holiday – even if the details are simply binge-watching “The Queen’s Gambit.” Think this out. Plan out every Zoom call, every meal you will prepare – down to which napkin ties you’ll use. When you think about these moments, make them unique and special.

If you feel you’re going to miss your people and the traditions tied to them, recreate them yourself. If your grandmother’s pecan pie is part of your holiday tradition, make it yourself.

I like to spend the week before Christmas baking chocolate chip cookies and mocha bars to serve my friends and family at Christmas Eve dinner. This year, I’m still baking cookies, but I’m delivering them in sealed goodie bags (while wearing a mask, of course) so that we can eat them together during our planned Zoom call.

2. Avoid Social Media over the Holidays

Social media makes it almost impossible to feel good about yourself – under normal conditions.

Imagine seeing your neighbor, breaking travel restrictions, and enjoying the last week in December on the slopes while you don’t see your grandkids. I guarantee, you will feel pretty lousy about yourself – and your neighbor.

Don’t look at Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Now is the time to retrain your brain, so you no longer measure yourself by what you see on social media. And if you must get on Facebook, limit your time to five minutes, only post positive thoughts, and don’t get personal.

If you need help avoiding social media, check the screen time setting on your device for ways to force limits on yourself for these apps if the temptation is too high.

3. Practice Gratitude

During the holidays, we tend to feel we are blessed. This year it’s going to be harder to feel this way automatically. But, we are blessed – and the more you recognize it, the better you’ll feel.

The gratitude attitude leads to more positive emotions, healthier relationships, and an extraordinary ability to deal with adversity. Feeling and expressing gratitude refocuses your mental energy to the positive, counterbalancing the tendency to focus on stressors and negativity.

Gratitude naturally creates positive emotions like love, contentment, and joy, which can undo negative emotions. Every day of this holiday season, make a point of recognizing your blessings and feel gratitude.

4. Make Connections – Virtually

Reach out to your people on Facetime or Zoom. Ask them how they’re taking care of themselves. They might have some good ideas you can use and vice-a-versa.

And make sure you give compliments out generously. Think about how you feel when you receive compliments, pretty great, right? Complements are instant pick-me-ups and lovely little gifts to sprinkle on everyone in your life this year (and always).

5. Be Generous

Be as generous as you can with your time and money – especially towards people who are isolated and need extra help – like the local mission or homeless shelter. The most powerfully positive message you can give yourself is that you are capable and willing to help others.

Everyday Stress Relief

It’s not so simple to put on a happy face and pretend everything is coming up roses, especially now. With that said, there are effective ways based on solid research and concrete techniques that can help you deal with everyday stress that make you feel instantly better.

1. Turn Off the News

Between the virus situation, natural disasters, and politics, the news can wreck your mind. If you get stressed out watching the news, turn it off. Be smart about the information you look at and how much time you’re tuned in. You can peak to keep up, but that’s all. Reading the story instead of watching the images on TV can also be a helpful stress reducer as it’s easier to stop reading than to stop watching.

2. Reduce Screen Time

Screen time takes up about 3.5 hours of the average American adult’s day or roughly 22%; that’s just the time you spend looking at your smartphone or tablet. This time does not include the eight hours in front of a work computer every day or TV watching.

Research shows that too much screen time increases your mortality, causes depression, and damages your eyes. Looking at screens tell your brain that it’s daytime and keep it buzzing – making a full, good night’s sleep less likely.

Reducing the amount of time you spend looking at screens, especially before bed, will be a giant leap towards less stress. It’s helpful to keep your devices out of your bedroom. Instead of looking through Facebook before lights out, read a real book, take a shower, listen to music, relax.

3. Box Breathing

The US military recommends box breathing to veterans who have PTSD as many studies show that it works instantly to bring down stress. And the great thing about this breathing technique is that it can be practiced anytime and anywhere.

1. Find a comfortable place to lie down or sit.
2. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
3. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.
5. Repeat the set three times.

Box breathing or rhythmic breathing – breathe in for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4 exhale, hold for 4.

Try doing three sets in one sitting. If you’ve got the time, try ten sets, which is similar to deep meditation.

4. Take a Break and Enjoy a Meal

If you’re working from home, you’ve likely spent the entire day without a substantial break. That has just got to stop. High reliance on laptops and devices is associated with elevated stress levels. Give yourself a break in your day, every day. Go outside, slow down, enjoy a 15-minute walk, don’t look at a screen, eat a meal. Your subconscious will feel relief, and you’ll very likely feel recharged.

5. Sleep

Studies show that people are having trouble sleeping with lots more worries and distractions. Once you hit age 18, 7 hours of sleep is the minimum amount of time your brain needs to recharge. Getting 7+ hours of sleep washes the brain out. It’s like turning the dishwasher on at night and waking up in the morning to squeaky clean dishes. A night of uninterrupted sleep almost always results in an energized brain and an uplifted mood.

6. Give Your Brain a Boost

Brain-boosting nootropic supplements can have a positive impact on your brain function, attitude, and stress levels. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain provides powerful dosages of essential vitamins and minerals, including brain-boosting ingredients like Vitamin B, Choline, Bacopa, and Huperzine-A. These ingredients together have been shown to help reduce your stress and improve your mood. And don’t forget, two once-daily capsules of Dynamic Brain helps improve your memory, focus, mental clarity, and cognitive function too.

It’s crucial to take care of yourself this holiday season so that this winter won’t feel so blue.

Sources:
health.harvard.edu/promotions/harvard-health-publications/positive-psychology-ecourse-apr2020-test
psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201511/how-gratitude-leads-happier-life
time.com/4882372/social-media-facebook-instagram-unhappy/
“This Is What Too Much Screen Time Does To You”. 2020. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/wellness/117838-5-things-too-much-screen-time-does-to-your-body#:~:text=5%20Things%20Too%20Muc
pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28874925/

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp at Any Age

I remember the first time I couldn’t find my car in the parking lot of my local grocery store. It was both annoying and unsettling. I spent what seemed like an eternity searching each row until it occurred to me – I walked! No wonder hitting the alarm on the fob didn’t elicit the usual lights and horn reaction.

That evening I made it a point to find out if at 55 years old, I should be concerned about my “brain blip.” What I learned was that as we age, it’s natural and normal to have memory lapses. And it’s widely believed these memory lapses begin as young as your early 40’s.

According to Ronald Petersen, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, occasional forgetfulness is expected and fortunately, not a sign of Alzheimer’s. And here’s some more good news, there are things you can do to preempt memory loss and improve your memory naturally.

How Memory Works

The act of remembering something as simple as someone’s name involves remarkable mental gymnastics. Your eyes communicate information to your brain’s visual processing center that passes it on to the brain’s area that recognizes faces.

From there, it travels to your brain’s memory processing center, which looks for associations link, do I know this person from high school? Is she a parent from the PTA? The information is then off to the brain’s language area that puts a name to the face and sends it to your mouth. When you consider all these connections happening in milliseconds, it’s a wonder we remember as much as we do!

Warning Signs That It’s Time to Act

Now, “senior moments” may be just another annoying sign that the years are stacking up, but these lapses get more and more alarming the older we get.

Below is a quick checklist to determine if it’s time to act on your memory lapses:

  • You regularly forget what day it is or appointments
  • You ask for details about an event more than once
  • You forget how to use the universal remote or microwave settings
  • You regularly misplace your reading glasses or keys
  • You can’t find the right words during a conversation

What You Can Do to Improve Your Memory

Your lifestyle choices have a significant impact on your memory. By eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep, daily exercise, and limiting alcohol, you’ll experience a natural memory boost.

Decades of research shows there are several additional strategies you can use to protect and sharpen your memory. Here are a few you might try.

1. Use Your Brain

Mental activates are processes that help maintain your brain cells and stimulates communication. Join a book club, play bridge, write your autobiography, regularly complete jigsaw or crossword puzzles, take a language or design class. If you have a mentally challenging job, volunteer for a project that involves a different skill set.

2. Repeat What You Need To Remember

Repeat out loud or make a mental note of what you need to remember, which reinforces the memory connection. For instance, when you park your car at the grocery store, don’t just park and walk away. Pay special attention to the physical surroundings. Repeat out loud the section if it is marked. If you place your keys somewhere, tell yourself out loud the place you put them.

3. Use Your Sense of Smell

Pairing something with a scent helps your brain retain the memory. Brain imaging shows that the brain’s central odor-processing region, the piriform cortex, becomes active when people see objects initially paired with odors, even when the smell is not present. Next time you park your car, take a deep breath, and note the smell surrounding you.

4. Space Things Out

Repetition works best when it’s timed out. Instead of repeating things many times in short spurts, as if you were cramming for a test, restudy what you need to know after more extended periods of time. Try once an hour, then every few hours, then once a day. Spacing out information is specifically valuable when you need to master complicated information like new work assignments.

5. Brain Health Supplements

Supplements that contain neuro-nutrients formulated to support brain health have been shown to help improve your memory, focus, and ability to learn.

Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain contains 41 researched and proven ingredients, including Huperzine A, Bacopa Extract, DHA, Phosphatidylserine, and L-Tyrosine, which help boost cell membrane structure, improve blood flow, and fight free radicals. A daily dose fully supports your brain health and promotes optimal cognitive function to help keep your memories intact, helps you think smarter, and boosts your mental energy too.

 

Sources:
 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-improve-memory
 https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/7-ways-to-keep-your-memory-sharp-at-any-age
 https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2016/senior-moment-memory-lapse.html

8 Easy Memory Boosting Tips & Tricks

It was once believed that the brain develops rapidly in the first few years of a child’s life, then reaches its peak in the early 20s, leveling off around middle age, and then declining with advanced age. We now know that’s not exactly accurate; the brain continues to develop throughout our whole lifespan.

The disturbing thing that happens to the aging brain is the hippocampus shrinks in size, and the protective coating around nerve fibers starts to wear down, reducing the speed of neuronal communication. This reduction can affect your ability to process new information into your memory and retrieve memories already stored in your brain.

But take heart, it’s not all downhill as we age. In older brains, connections between different brain areas become more robust, and the branching of dendrites increases. The result is an improved ability to identify relationships among diverse sources of information, see a bigger picture, and better understand the broader implications of specific issues.

Several things can interfere with brain function as we grow older, including medications, diseases like heart disease and diabetes, poor sleep, and depression. The more you can do now to strengthen your brain and maintain optimal brain health, the more resilient and elastic it will be as you progress into older age. Here, then, are seven simple ways to boost your memory and protect your brain from age-related decline.

 

1. Stimulate your brain

Research shows that an active brain enjoys more new connections between nerve cells, and it can even help generate new brain cells and promote neuroplasticity. Stimulating your brain is easy, simply involving activities that put it to work and make it think. Read more, take a class, learn to play an instrument, create art, or do math or word puzzles, and strive to do fewer passive activities like watching TV.

 

2. Exercise

Exercise is a proven way to heal nearly anything that ails you, including brain decline. Physical activity promotes the development of new nerve cells in the brain, and it improves the connections between existing cells. It also improves brain function by lowering your blood pressure and reducing cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and stress.

 

3. Eat your vegetables

A healthy brain depends on a healthy diet. Feed your mind a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil while cutting down on sugar, animal proteins, and processed foods. A nutritious, mostly plant-based diet can reduce your risk of cognitive impairment, including dementia, as you age.

 

4. Limit your drinking

Excessive alcohol increases your risk for dementia and other forms of brain decline as you age. It can also change your brain’s physical structures and chemical function, leading to addiction and dependence. Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day, and avoid binge drinking altogether.

 

5. Take care of your mental health

Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression take a toll on your brain function, and while these and other mental illnesses don’t appear to increase the risk of cognitive decline as you age, they can affect your brain function, including your memory and your ability to learn new things. If you experience symptoms of mental illness, talk to your doctor. Mental illness is highly treatable, and there’s no reason to allow your quality of life to suffer because of it.

 

6. Keep your friends close

Social connections have been linked to a lower risk for dementia, and having a healthy social life can lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of life, and even extend your life expectancy. Make it a point to socialize with your friends and family regularly. If you feel isolated, meet new people by joining clubs or volunteering to expand your social network.

 

7. Lower your cholesterol

High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for dementia, and it can affect your day-to-day brain function. Have your cholesterol tested regularly. If it’s heightened, modify your diet and get more exercise, which will not only improve your cholesterol but also help you lose weight and improve your overall physical and mental health.

 

8. Boost brain health with a supplement

Brain-boosting nootropic supplements can have a positive impact on your brain function. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain provides powerful dosages of essential vitamins and minerals, including brain-boosting ingredients like Vitamin B, Choline, Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine A. Two once-daily capsules of Dynamic Brain helps to improve your memory, focus, mental clarity, and cognitive function.

Taking good care of yourself–mind, body, and spirit–goes a long way towards keeping your brain healthy throughout your entire life. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise your body and your mind daily, and take a daily nootropic support supplement to provide your brain with all of the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning no matter your age.

Sources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-memory-and-thinking-ability-change-with-age
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young