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How to Build Joy in Your Life

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A recent study demonstrated that taking a course to help cope with stress can improve mental health. Northwestern University Professor Judith Moskowitz developed this course to examine how positive emotions can affect people’s health and stress. The sample consisted of a group of caregivers who took care of a family member who had dementia. These individuals enrolled in a five-week course that taught techniques of mindful breathing, performing acts of kindness, and keeping a gratitude journal. After the individuals participated in the course, depression scores decreased by 16 percent, and anxiety scores decreased by 14 percent. 

Here are eight tips that Moskowitz recommends to cultivate joy and enhance mental health: 

  1. Identify one positive moment in your day. 
  2. Tell someone about that positive moment or share it on social media. 
  3. Start writing in a gratitude journal. 
  4. Set goals and keep track of them to increase positive emotions.
  5. Determine one of your top strengths and jot down how you used it effectively.
  6. Try to think about negative events in a more positive light. This can become a habit if you practice it consistently, according to Moskowitz.
  7. Be kind to others, and perform a good deed to someone without any expectation in return.
  8. Try to live in the present moment. This can be achieved by incorporating mindfulness in your daily life. 

What are some of the ways you cultivate joy? Let us know in the comments section. 

Source:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/05/05/719780061/from-gloom-to-gratitude-8-skills-to-cultivate-joy

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Fitness/ Diet

The Rundown of the Impossible Burger

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Photo Credit: pexels.com

With the human population immensely increasing each decade, the concern of utilizing all of our resources and making the Earth uninhabitable has loomed over our heads. Fortunately, back in 2011, Impossible Foods Inc. seemingly achieved the impossible, creating a plant-based burger that mimics the color, smell, and flavor of the meat. By replacing meat with plant-based “meat,” Impossible Foods Inc. hopes to reduce the harmful effects of animal agriculture on the Earth to restore natural ecosystems. Food scientists at Impossible Foods Inc. discovered that heme is the ingredient that gives meat that “meaty” flavor that people crave. Heme, located in hemoglobin, plays a vital role in animals by allowing the bloodstream to carry oxygen throughout the body. 

 A common reason why many people switch to being vegetarian and vegan is to live a healthier lifestyle. However, are these plant-based “meats” really healthier compared to their meat counterparts? The answer is not really. One of the main ingredients in the Impossible Burger is coconut oil. Although it is perceived as a “healthy” fat, coconut oil is high in saturated fat. The American Heart Association also advises against consuming coconut oil. Upon comparing the Impossible Burger to its other burger counterparts, we see the following: 

  • Impossible burger: 240 calories with 8g of saturated fat 
  • Beef burger: 280 calories with 9g of saturated fat 
  • Veggie burgers are not meant to mimic meat: 150-160 calories with 4g of saturated fat 

 The Impossible burger has fewer calories and grams of saturated fat than the beef burger; however, it contains more sodium than its meat and veggie burger counterparts. Even though the Impossible Burger may be better for the environment, they are not necessarily nutritionally healthier for consumers. The Impossible Burger is a good alternative for people who are vegetarian to reduce the consumption of animal-based foods. However, a traditional veggie burger is a healthier choice due to its low-fat content. Overall, Impossible Foods Inc. has created a viable alternative to classic burgers, striving to achieve what seems to be impossible. 

Sources: 

  1. https://medium.com/impossible-foods/the-mission-that-motivates-us-d4d7de61665
  2. https://medium.com/impossible-foods/heme-health-the-essentials-95201e5afffa
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/health/plant-fake-meat-burgers-good-for-you-or-not/index.html

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Lifestyle

Living Longer With a Purpose

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Having a sense of purpose sure feels good, but did you know it can also help you to live a longer, healthier life? Being inspired and having a reason to get out of bed in the morning is great for your mental health, and your mental health can make a huge impact on your physical health and well-being. But how can you learn to cultivate a strong sense of purpose in your life, especially when you’re been through trying times in the past?

Stress and trauma close your mind off to new possibilities. Rather than looking toward the future, after a trauma has occurred, oftentimes you will start to think of ways to avoid such trauma in the future. Post-traumatic stress can make you pessimistic, fearing rejection and failure and decreasing your ability to weather uncertainty. Ove time this can have a snowball effect and lead to depression and an inability to focus on your work or life.

Fortunately, there is a way through such trying times. Reframing is a technique by which you can change your perspective on difficult times in order to find a way through them. Instead of focusing on the trauma, you can think about what you learned from the trauma that will help you to become stronger in the future, thus opening yourself up to the prospect of new possibilities in life.

Cultivating a sense of purpose isn’t difficult and you don’t need special equipment. All you need to do is take stock of the important things in your life – your family, your career, your education, your hobbies, and your religious or spiritual beliefs – and work to cultivate them on a regular basis. 

It’s important to cultivate these important things together simultaneously, as placing all your eggs in one basket is a recipe for future disappointment and aimlessness. When your entire sense of purpose is wrapped up in one thing, such as your kids or your career, when the kids move out or it’s time for retirement, you can find yourself in a very hopeless place. Cultivating those things simultaneously gives you a safety net of sorts to prevent the aimlessness and hopelessness from setting in.

Having a strong sense of purpose has been proven to be good for your health, well-being, and longevity. In one study, 7000 people over the age of 50 were asked to rate their feelings of purpose in life. Those who reported a weak sense of purpose were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study than those who reported a strong sense of purpose. What’s more, 64% of people credit their health and well-being to their happiness with who they are and how they live their lives.


It’s never too late to start working on improving your life and overall well-being. Pursuing hobbies and educational activities is one of the best ways to ensure you feel a strong sense of purpose in your life – lifelong learning is a gift that should never go wasted! Learn more about the art and science of purpose from the infographic below!

The Art and Science of Purpose
Source: Online College Plan

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Lifestyle

What is Cryotherapy?

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Cryotherapy, formally defined as any treatment that uses freezing or near-freezing temperatures, has been gaining prominence in the media for its mental and physical health benefits. The most prevalent form of this treatment is a cryotherapy booth that emits cold air for about 3-5 minutes. Other therapies include facials or wands to target particular points of pain within the body. Though cryotherapy is considered to be a non-medical treatment, it has various health benefits and healing properties. Here are a couple of aspects to keep in mind: 

Proposed Benefits: 

  • Reduction in Inflammation: Cryotherapy is thought to have anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive impairments. It has also reportedly improved eczema symptoms. 
  • Pain Relief and Muscle Healing: Research has suggested that cryotherapy alleviated the pain from arthritis and determined that it can assist in reducing the damaging effects of vigorous exercise. Another study indicates that cryotherapy may be able to relieve muscle pain and heal injuries more effectively than other treatments available. 
  • Alleviates Migraine Symptoms: Cryotherapy on the neck has shown to reduce migraine pain

Risks: 

Cryotherapy is a novel treatment in the market. More research needs to be conducted, as potential benefits have not been proven. Consult your healthcare before undergoing cryotherapy. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319740.php
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/cryotherapy-benefits#tips-and-guidelines

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