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With Thanksgiving around the corner, the conversation inevitably turns to “What are you grateful for?”. We all want to feel thankful and be full of gratitude, but in our modern, plugged in, checked out giant world we are constantly striving to find happiness, meaning, and gratitude. The brain controls happiness and a sense of calm and well being with its intricate symphony of hormone balance involving cortisol, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. Not only do a balance in these hormones make you feel better — they also make you look better. With just a few small adjustments we can all look better, feel better and truly feel grateful.

When you feel happy or grateful this is what happens

Blood flow is optimal: This can occur due to the fact you’re not stressed out which can bring on sweating, redness or a dull pale complexion. Even blood flow means a clearer and more even-toned complexion.

Production of endorphins: Endorphins strengthen the skin barrier, have antioxidant properties and may help wounds heal faster.

Production of serotonin:  Serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ hormone, has been shown to help promote immune health-think getting sick less this winter and not feeling down or depressed.

Lower cortisol levels: Cortisol the ‘stress hormone’ can cause excess creation of sebum which can lead to breakouts, high blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, lowered immunity and the inability to burn fat. Cortisol is 23% lower in people who feel gratitude.

Laughing turns off the production of cortisol. Recently a study found that children laughed an average of 300 times per day, while adults averaged around 20 times per day.  Laughing also produces dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the ‘feel-good’ and ‘calming’ hormone. Laughing also relaxes muscles in the body, releases endorphins, decreases stress, increases blood flow and can help with pain reduction.

Of course, all of this sounds easy but let’s get real, it’s not always so easy.  We are busy, stressed, sleep-deprived, hormonally challenged, sometimes depressed. An easy way to jump-start into practicing gratitude is starting small.  Below are a few ideas we find helpful.

How to create gratitude?

Self-love: take the time to do something nice for yourself, your body and your brain. Be grateful for all the parts of you. This could be taking a bath, working out, stretching, telling yourself something positive in the mirror, taking a walk.

Express gratitude: Express your gratefulness to a friend, work partner, or family member. Do something nice for a stranger on the street, volunteer at a homeless shelter during the holidays or anytime, all these good deeds are considered gratitude.

Keep a gratitude diary: make a list of all the things you are grateful for, this can be as simple as ‘waking up in the morning’ to as detailed as your family, children, job, etc. Thanks to Oprah this became a worldwide trend.

We are grateful for you, our reader and loyal brand enthusiasts.  The Happiest of Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

 

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and the average American will consumes over 4500 calories on this celebratory day….. If you slept through math class that is almost two pounds! If you don’t want to end up looking like a stuffed turkey, here are some things to try: choose healthy options when baking and cooking, exercise and eat wisely!

Try waking up really early Thanksgiving morning and go for a walk or a run. If you have family or guests in town take them along. This is a great time to chat and catch up and also to get the metabolism going. This is also a wonderful opportunity to give your pets some exercise too, dogs and cats can get very sick and fat during the holidays if they are fed human food or find dropped scraps on the floor.

While deciding and preparing what you will cook or bake this year think about healthier options, for example a low fat alternative to mashed potatoes. Instead of using tons of heavy cream and butter, opt for regular milk and low fat/non fat sour cream or a butter substitute. Pay particular attention to this rule when baking. Use brown sugar where allowed and ease up on the cream and butter if possible. Pumpkin pie is lower in calories than Pecan pie and you can serve it with low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Most importantly practice portion control. Make sure you eat breakfast so you aren’t starving by the time Thanksgiving dinner rolls around or you may be rolling home. Start with one small portion of all your favorite foods and enjoy them slowly. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!