Our friends are good for our BRAIN.

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In a study involving former prisoners of war, brain scans revealed that those locked in solitary confinement had neurological damage comparable to suffering a concussion! While those who had social interactions had less brain damage. It’s because loneliness boosts inflammation in the brain and interferes with our ability to remember facts and solve problems. So give your friends a call, or maybe Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime with them, or even do a social distancing get-together (weather permitting).

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Here’s a new way to fight stress, tension and anxiety.

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Don’t ignore it – or try to suppress it. Instead, consider how you’re feeling and label it. As in, “I feel overwhelmed.” Or “I feel pressured,” or frustrated, or angry. Psychologist Hans Hagemann calls it cognitive jujitsu. It works because when we label our feelings, it activates our prefrontal cortex – the rational, analytical side of the brain, and switches off the limbic system, the area fueled by stress and emotion. So, during your next meltdown, try cognitive jujitsu. Analyze your feelings, and label them. By the time you’re done, you’ll feel more in control.

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Stop mosquito bites from itching!

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Mosquitoes are still active in some parts of the country. Luckily cooler temperatures are arriving, which means mosquitoes won’t be a problem soon. Mosquito bites would be much less annoying if they didn’t ITCH. So, here’s the fix: Rub coconut oil on them! Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola says coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and will reduce swelling and itching faster than other skin treatments. Plus, coconut oil is anti-microbial, so it kills the germs that could cause an infection and helps bites heal quicker.

Also, coconut oil is a super lubricant that helps skin stay hydrated. So, you’re more likely to feel soothing relief from bug bites – rather than a constant urge to scratch!

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If you have seasonal allergies…

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eat orange foods, like carrots and sweet potatoes. They’re full of carotenoidspowerful antioxidants or plant pigments the body turns into vitamin A. Carotenoids can also stop the release of histamine, which is what causes sneezing, itching and red, watery eyes. Studies found eating a cup a day of carotenoid-rich foods can cut allergy flare-ups in half. Because the carotenoids make our immune cells more stable. Aside from carrots and sweet potatoes, you can also get carotenoids from butternut squash and spinach, even though it’s green.

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Make special memories last!

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Here’s an easy way to make special memories last longer – whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or anything else. Actively tell yourself, “I want to remember this.” Then get into the moment – really soaking it up with your senses, NOT your smartphone. Because research from Penn State University says the more ways you give your brain to remember an event, the easier it’ll be to recall down the line, and the more likely you’ll recall the positive emotions linked to it.

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Help for late night charley horses and leg cramps.

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Do you frequently wake up with a charley horse – or cramp – in your calf in the middle of the night? Next time it happens, try relaxing your leg, and pinching the fleshy area between your nose and upper lip with your thumb and index finger for 30 seconds. According to acupressure practitioners, that’s called an “acu-pinch.” And activating that area boosts circulation in your lower extremities, which can get you past the charley horse faster.

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Here’s an excellent reason to get up off the sofa and get some exercise:

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Too much sitting significantly raises your risk of cancer! According to the researchers at WebMD, people who stay physically active most of their lives are 73% less likely to develop bladder cancer, and 77% less likely to develop kidney cancer. That’s compared to lifelong couch potatoes. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, we should all be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, like a brisk walk, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, like a heart pumping low-impact workout on a stationary bike. 

Bottom line: More exercise equals less of a cancer risk

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How can you wake up happy and ready to tackle the day?

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Keep flowers on your nightstand! Harvard psychology professor Dr. Nancy Etcoff says any fresh flowers are such a mood-booster, they can even prevent workday blues. Fresh flowers also reduce anxiety and stress, two major sleep disruptors – which means, you’ll be sleeping better and waking up happier within a few days. But replace the flowers when they start to wither and turn brown. Otherwise, they can make you feel that time is slipping away and things are out of control in your life.

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Need another reason to order the veggie burger instead of ground beef?

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You’ll feel more satisfied! Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found people who ate plant-based foods, like bean-and-pea “burger” patties, felt more satiated, compared to the carnivores. The reason? Because beans are rich in fiber, which makes you feel fuller, faster, and takes longer to digest than meat protein.

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Need to de-stress at work?

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Do it in 2 or 3-minute increments called micro-rejuvenation. According to Dartmouth College, all you need to do is step away from whatever you’re focused on at least once an hour, and give your brain a break. You can take a brisk walk, or scroll through happy photos on your phone. Because spending even a few moments changing up your mindset can make you feel relaxed, re-focused and re-energized.

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