As 2020 starts to wrap up, we are seeing the ending of a very unique year. The world has been inundated with anxiety. Fires, pandemic, and social unrest are just a few of the things many have experienced this year. So as summer turns to autumn, take a few minutes to learn how to make this fall beautiful, happy, and healthy despite the hardships going on around you.
Believe it or not, there is scientific evidence that happiness actually improves health. Unfortunately, happiness and joy don’t simply happen, but they can be sought after and found. Some simple ways to invite them into your life are:
- Make time for you, and then do what you enjoy. Whether it’s writing, video games, listening to music, or spending time with friends, doing something you love every day increases personal happiness.
- Laugh every single day. Laughter boosts mood, strengthens the immune system, relaxes the body, and releases endorphins.
- Find ways to be social. Social interaction and happiness go hand in hand. Call a friend and chat, write a letter or email expressing gratitude, or have lunch with a friend.
The human body is built with trillions of cells. Inside of each cell are mitochondria, and when a cell achieves homeostasis, the mitochondria are able to work properly — they are responsible for communicating with the genes when a cell is sick, diseased, dying, or injured by releasing a redox signaling molecule. When the genes get this signal, they either fix the cell or replace it with a healthy one.
Unfortunately, high amounts of oxidative stress make it hard for cells to maintain homeostasis, and if a cell can’t release a redox signaling molecule, it either dies or starts producing more sick and diseased cells. Environmental toxins, stress, aging, and even the foods we eat contribute to oxidative stress. Here are a few ways to help reduce oxidative stress:
- Avoid sugar and processed foods.
- Exercise daily.
- Destress on a daily basis — yoga, meditation, even a hot bath can help with this.
- Boost your immune system by taking a multivitamin and drinking 64 oz. of water a day.
- If you smoke, consider giving it up. This will improve a lot more than an overabundance of oxidative stress!
Another way to get healthy is by incorporating antioxidants into your daily life. Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress, and they are easy to find. Berries (especially blueberries), vegetables, fruits, and nuts are loaded with them. Dark chocolate is rich with antioxidants. Beans are also an excellent source of antioxidants. Try incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your diet on a daily basis.
Enjoy the Season
Halloween is almost upon us. In fact, pumpkin spice is already here. Why not find time to savor autumn? Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
- Take a walk and enjoy the changing colors, or sip warm pumpkin spice tea on the front porch.
- Make a giant pot of spicy chili — you’ll be boosting your antioxidants.
- Indulge in a hot bath and decrease your stress at the same time.
- Open your blinds to let the sunshine in, and start taking a vitamin D supplement since the days are growing shorter.
- Visit the farmers market and splurge on some organic, toxin-free, antioxidant-rich produce.
Do things you enjoy and find a way to make the rest of this year warm despite the cooling weather, and joyful despite the hardships.