01.17.2013

Healthy and Happy Life

5 Ways to Unwind in 15 Minutes

11 Things to do on a Lazy Saturday

Reward Yourself…Without Food!

2014, 2

2014

30 Year Recap

Christmas Photos, Christmas Cards

25 Days to a Happy & Healthy Holiday

Stuck in a Rut

Natural High 

Lemons

Problem Solving 

Overvalue You

Try Something New

Be Happy #4 

Be Happy #3

Be Happy #2

Be Happy! #1

Fear

…And…

Detox Diets: Yay or Nay?

European Vacation

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Celebrate Good Times

Music & Your Mood

How the sun can lighten your mood!

Your Healthiest Fast Food Options:

Anniversary Celebration:

Reconnections:

Anxiety Reducer #4

Anxiety Reducer #3:

Anxiety Reducer #2

Anxiety Reducer #1

Gratitude- It Really Works!

Smart, Happy Food!:

Eating is one of my favorite past times. Unfortunately, that (along with strong genetic factors) is likely what made my cholesterol high. One year ago, when my doctor told me that I needed to start eating better and exercising more consistently, I took it to heart. The thought of being a 23 year old on Lipitor not only humiliated me, but also terrified me to my core. So, I joined a new gym and completely transformed my diet. And guess what? One year later, my cholesterol levels are WAY down and I’m healthier, leaner, and HAPPIER than ever. I want to emphasize that last point for this post-FOOD CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY!

According to researchers at USC, one in four people are prone to a mental illness in their lifetime. This includes Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. The likelihood of these neurodegenerative diseases has been closely associated with dysfunction in the nerves and nerve connections in the brain, as well as low levels of molecules essential in daily brain function. Foods high in dietary polyphenols (those helpful molecules), found in colorful fruits, vegetables, spices, teas, and wines (did someone say wine?), are becoming popular with their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in the brain. In addition to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, polyphenols have also been suggested to play a part in the reversal of cognitive and behavioral deficits. In other words, eating this list of foods can actually increase cognitive functioning and PREVENT/TREAT mental disorders! Of course, this is not to suggest that other factors, such as genetics, environment, etc. don’t play a significant role in the development and treatment of these disorders, but this just goes to show that eating is no longer exclusively associated with bodily functions! It is quickly gaining recognition for its impacts on brain function and consequently, cognition, mood, and associated illnesses. As if we needed more reasons to eat healthy and exercise!

FOODS THAT IMPROVE COGNITION AND MOOD

Green and white tea
Grapes
Cocoa
Soy
Oranges
Grapefruit
Lemon
Green Vegetables
Apples
Berries
Onions
Grape skin
Red wine
Tumeric
Almonds
Mustard
Strawberries
Apricots
Cherries
Cinammon
Walnuts
Cranberries
Blackberries
Guava
Grapes
Nettles
Mango
Rhubarb
Kiwis
Plums

Yum!! Now you have an excuse for that extra serving of fruit salad, or, in my case, wine!

-Allison

Source: Gomez Pinilla, F. & Nguyen, T, 2012. Natural mood foods: The actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience, 15(3).

__________

I LOVE holidays! I buy into all the commercialism they involve! So naturally, I am loving all the pink, red, and white hearts and lips abound in the stores right now (well ok, pretty much since the day after Christmas). My philosophy, anytime you can celebrate something, why wouldn’t you?? It makes life fun! So I began the month of February wearing hearts, buying pink roses, lighting candles, drinking champagne with the hubby, and planning oh-so-romantic things for the next 14 days of Valentine’s (more to come on that in a later blog post). How are you indulging your sweetie?? Or yourself, for that matter (I do plenty of that too)???

IMG_2773

{I adore this Wildfox t-shirt, perfect for a casual day paired with skinnies and a blazer. Cross necklace a gift from the hubby from AA Jewel Box.}

IMG_2778

{This was my personal indulgence of the week…a beautiful DVF dress from RueLaLa. This site is amazing!}

IMG_2816

{This candle was a gift from good friends! It smells heavenly and is from my favorite winery up in Los Olivos, Ca SAARLOOS&sons}

IMG_2850{

{My weekend is never complete without a little bit of bubbly! Perfect for a Valentine’s month celebration! Here are three of my favorites Veuve-CliquotMoet & Chandon, and Perrier-Jouet! Champagne flutes were a wedding gift from Pottery Barn}

So, enjoy and celebrate Valentine’s day! Indulge in yourself or in someone else! Either way, it’ll put a smile on your face!

Like what you read??? Follow us to get updates by entering your e-mail address to the right….

~ <3 Shannon

__________

Stress Stinks!:

What a week this has been! I began my first week of practicum hours this week…AKA I saw my first clients ever-talk about a mixed bag of emotions. It’s been so incredibly exciting, but also very intimidating and stressful-the thought that these people are putting their trust in me to help them become the people they want to be…? Talk about pressure. Add on the huge comprehensive exam I have this Saturday (which covers everything I’ve learned thus far in grad school), and you’ve got a formula for STRESS! If you ever find yourself in a similar position, here are some stress busters for ya:

1. Work out: I know this is not new news to probably anyone, but it doesn’t have to be a full blown workout! Something I’ve found that helps when working out only sounds like it will increase my anxiety is to sprint, with 100% of my speed and energy, to the stop sign and back, even just once. I know this sounds silly, but expending that amount of energy may just get rid of that extra, unwanted nervous energy you have. Plus, sprints are amazing cardio workouts, not to mention those little things called endorphins that make us feel good-can you say killing two birds with one stone?

2. Disconnect: When I feel really stressed, and I don’t feel like explaining why to anyone, I find about about half hour to an hour in my schedule to be alone in a quiet place to reflect on what’s important, remind myself that it’s all going to be okay, and calm myself down. Life gets so busy, and when we don’t allow ourselves to reconnect with ourselves and disconnect from the always-moving world around us, it gets easy to let stress add up.

3. Do something sensory- I do this with my kids at work all the time, but it’s not AT ALL just for kids with Autism! Find something that you find stimulating to one or more of your senses. Are you in tune with music and sounds? If so, listen to some calming noises, like white noise. Music with heavy beats tend to work me up, so during weeks like this one, I tune in slower paced music, especially classical music in times of especially high stress. Other things you can do involve lighting a candle with a soothing scent, chewing a piece of sugar free gum, squeezing a stress ball, or, one of my personal favorites, give yourself a little massage or run your fingertips over your arms/legs. When I give my kids squeezes (squeezing their shoulders, arms, and legs gently but firmly) or “tickles” (running my fingertips over their arms) it’s an instant fix when they get over-stimulated. Like I said-this works for everyone though!

4. Sleep-I don’t know about you, but I get cranky and irritable when I don’t get enough sleep. Add stress into the mixture and I’m downright unpleasant. I find that a “power nap” (a quick snooze for about 20-30 minutes) refreshes me and gives me the boost I need to make it through the rest of the day without disrupting my ability to fall/stay asleep at night.

5. Smile!-This sounds cheesy, I know. But research shows that simply smiling, fake or genuine, actually makes you happier. The facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness-pretty awesome right? This is what I like to call “fake it till you make it.” But what’s easier (and more pleasant) than smiling!?

Using these simple exercises, I felt rejuvenated and much less anxious come Wednesday morning. Hope some of these work for you all!

Want to follow us? Click the “Follow” button on the right hand side of this page!

-Allison

__________

Mondays aren’t my favorite. After wonderful weekends, if seems anti-climatic to return to Mondays…. so I typically challenge myself on these not-so-amazing-days, to think about all my fun indulgences of the past weekend.

Not only does it work, but it tends to alter my whole perspective. I use this often and frequently with my clients and myself. I find it works wonders on my bleak Monday outlook. Research shows that how you think, affects how you feel and act. I can choose to think about how potentially slow these next five days will go, and guess where that will leave me? Short, snappy, moody, and quite unpleasant to be around (if I’m being honest). Or, I can choose to think positive… how blessed I am that I have a job that allows me to indulge in my weekends so much! Guess where that gets me?? So, I am choosing indulgent memories and thoughts today. Thoughts of the past weekend and thoughts of planning the next weekend (Oh! And thoughts of a few good meals this week:))!! Pleasant thoughts, pleasant person.

Here are a few of my favorite indulgences from the past weekend! Enjoy, and have indulgent thoughts throughout your day 🙂

IMG_1820

{Friday night wine and take-out nights with the hubby! My favorite wine is a Grenache Blanc from a winery in Los Olivos, Ca called Saarloos and Sons}

{My gold bracelets from AnthopologieJCrew, and Nordstrom}

{A good book to unwind. It kept me turning the pages and made me think about human nature in the end….}

{Beautiful San Diego Bay views from the Marriott Marquis and Marina}

{An amazing stairs workout, at the San Diego Convention Center, after a perfectly indulgent Saturday night}

~Shannon <3