The LIFT Project – created by Dr. Darren Morton and based in neuroscience, lifestyle medicine, and positive psychology -- is an educational adventure designed to increase your happiness by explaining the science behind your behavior. Participants join 10 weekly lessons followed by two challenges to reinforce the lesson, and then they usually meet to discuss how everything went.
Lessons include focusing on gratefulness, forgiveness, physical and social activity, and “listening to your limbo” – or simply paying attention to your limbic system functions. And while these ideas seem elementary, understanding the “why” behind your actions helps you identify negative thoughts and change them into positive ones.
This focus on emotional health and mindfulness continues to be the driving force behind many wellness trends these days.
Dr. Morton said he created LIFT because millions of people continue to suffer with their mental health, and they need a way to lift their mood.
“I never thought that taking this class would change my life in such a positive way,” said Cheryl Schlichte, a personal health advocate at Lee Health. “Every single lesson resonates with me daily, and learning the science or the ‘why’ behind the lessons has provided me with the tools to live my life in a much calmer, confident and grateful way.”
For more information on The LIFT Project, go to HealthyLee.com.
More and more people are enjoying the ancient practice of utilizing the breath to find peace and calm in the present moment. Different breathing techniques, tried and true to yogis and researchers alike, decrease stress, improve your emotional state, and have been shown to help improve markers for disease.
“The breath is the single most convenient, accessible, and transformational wellness tool.
Anyone, anywhere can use breathwork to give themselves a moment of clarity,” says Gloria Reilly, a health services coordinator and certified yoga instructor at Lee Health Coconut Point.
There are many different types of breathwork, so you may want to start with a mindfulness app that has lessons ranging from a few minutes to a half an hour. You can also find an experienced yoga instructor or talk to your doctor to find something that works for you.
We love our gadgets, but all of us know at some point that too much of something is never a good thing.
Many scientists believe that constant bombardment from electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) and low-level radiation from cell phones, computers, routers, and Bluetooth devices could be carcinogenic to humans, according to the World Health Organization.
But while EMF exposure over the long-term isn’t quite understood or seen as hazardous just yet by other scientists, many people are using EMF exposure as another reason to frequently detox from digital devices. Try turning off your phone and WiFi at night or utilizing new EMF-blocking materials in your home.
Either way, learning to avoid that electronic blue light will keep you healthier and rested.
“The key is being aware of how your electronic device use affects you,” Reilly says. “Observe your energy level, sleep quality, and peace of mind. If you notice improvement by limiting EMF, then consider small changes to support your wellbeing.”
Better sleep, finding more time to sleep, getting restful sleep – these things will always be trendy in our fast-paced world. One of the things we’ve spotted around the web lately is the rise in popularity of weighted blankets, which purport to increase serotonin and decrease anxiety by “stimulating a comforting hug,” although Harvard Medicine reports that studies have not yet backed up these claims.
Still, The CDC recently declared sleep disorders a public health epidemic, so these blankets -- along with white noise machines, sleep trackers, mood music, and other items – will continue to be a part of overall discussions about wellness.
Dr. Jose Colon, a sleep medicine specialist at Lee Health, says that he hasn’t seen a concrete study that shows the blankets improve sleep quality. But what he has seen are studies that show some patients prefer the blankets – especially children with autism or other neurodevelopment disabilities.
It’s all about personal choices, much like the difference between a firm or a soft mattress.
“Patients report benefits … and have said the blankets reduce their anxiety and they feel more comfortable,” says Dr. Colon, who adds that there is no harm being done, and if the blankets make people feel better, then they should definitely use them.
Admit it: It feels good to be outside, breathe the fresh air, and get some life-affirming sunshine. Spending intentional time in nature has long been proven to reduce stress hormone production, improve feelings of happiness and creativity, and lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Forest bathing goes a step further. Although you won’t actually be washing up somewhere out in the woods, you will be “bathing” in the sights, sounds, and smells of the trees and forested areas.
Many health and nature blogs feature personal stories of refreshment and rejuvenation after a forest immersion with friends, forest rangers, or even counselors. Try it and see how you feel!
Feel like getting away? So does everybody else. Spas, hotels, resorts, health organizations, companies – all of them are getting in on wellness retreats where participants get together to recharge with sunrise yoga; seminars on preventive health, exercise, diet, sleep; and hands-on examples of aromatherapy and acupuncture. All of it presented over multiple hours and sometimes days on a beach or other natural setting.
Have you been to the makeup aisle lately, maybe at the drug store or even Target or Sephora? They now contain sections with “clean cosmetics” -- cosmetics without harmful or toxic ingredients.
A recent Harvard Medical School study says that the science seems to at least support avoiding a “handful of ingredients that could be lurking in your personal care products” and it’s always a good thing to be more aware of what we put on or in our bodies. The trend goes beyond makeup and includes natural house cleaning products, shampoo, soap, detergent, and more.
There are plenty of other trends making the rounds on blogs, social media, in magazines, and more: A renewed on emotional wellness, mocktails, wearable technology for fitness, personalized online training plans, and intermittent fasting. Stay tuned to Healthy News this year for more on these and other health and wellness topics.
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