Category Archives: Health

Is Kindness Contagious?

Giving coffee to a homeless person.

Giving coffee to a homeless person. #SpreadSmiles #SpreadKindness

kind-ness : noun
/kīn(d)nis/

1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

The power of kindness is both inspiring and moving. When done correctly, with the right intentions, I truly believe it can help change the world. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 64.5 million people volunteered in 2012. Why is everyone being so nice? Science helps break down the mystery.

There have been multiple scientific studies that have been done which actually proves that kindness is in fact contagious. When you see someone else helping another person it gives us a good “elevated” feeling, which in turn causes us to go out and do something philanthropic.

In a 2009 study, researchers performed an experiment in which they showed viewers a nature documentary, funny TV clip, or an uplifting segment from the Oprah Winfrey Show. After the clips had ended, the researcher pretended to have internal computer problems and told them that they could go. As they were leaving, she asked them if they would be willing to complete a questionnaire for another study (unbeknownst to the volunteers, the actual experiment was measuring whether or not they helped with the additional study). The researcher noted the questionnaire was boring and that the volunteers could leave whenever they wanted. The results showed that the participants who watched the Oprah clip spent twice as long filling out the questionnaire.

Seeing someone perform an honest deed (especially if they are helping another person), makes us feel good, often eliciting a warm, fuzzy feeling in our chest. This positive, uplifting emotion, known as “elevation.” Those who watched the Oprah segment were prime examples of this feeling.

A simple smile can go a long way. Sending out good vibes from personal reactions is always a good thing. Not only does it improve your well being, but chances are it improves the person your interacting with. Good vibes attract good vibes. It just is what it is. Kindness is contagious- Science proofs this to be true. The upcoming holiday enables everyone to be unselfish. You are buying gifts for others and showing people you care. Keep up the hype and try doing something for a stranger. Share your experience with us in the comment section.

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Boost your Natural Endorphins

smilin1g

 

Endorphins. Also known as the “Feel-good Chemical”. They are naturally produced chemicals in your central nervous system that transfer information from one cell to another. If you find yourself in a stressful or painful situation, your brain will automatically produce a surge of endorphins to try and make you feel better. They are sometimes referred to as the natural pain killer.

However, you don’t have to necessarily be upset or angry to have these stimulants released. There are aromas, actions, and foods you can try that will produce these endorphins and in turn make you feel good, better, and happier. Even if you are in a great mood– try some of these tactics to make way for an even better day!

 

Use your sense of smell.

Vanilla- helps reduce anxiety and alleviate stress.
Lavender- improves symptoms of depression and insomnia

To get the endorphins boosting try:
- lighting some vanilla or lavender scented candles around the house,
- add vanilla oils to your bathwater
- dab lavender oil on your wrists

Exercise.

Whether it’s a light walk around the neighborhood, a jog around the park, or engaging in a group exercise getting into a rhythm of continuous exercises releases endorphins.

Turn up the beats. Listen to music.

Listening to the music you love triggers a natural joy and releases endorphins. Music and dancing go hand in hand here. Go ahead, listen to some music, dance around and get exercise. You are sure to release some happy feelings with the two combined!

Eat something spicy!!

Hot and spicy foods such as chili’s contain a chemical called capsaicin. When this “spicy sensation” comes into contact with your tongue, it tricks the brain into thinking that you are in pain–which releases the pain-relieving endorphins! Tricky Tricky.

Whenever possible it is important to laugh often, smile more, and surround yourself with people who lift you higher! Happiness is not by chance, it’s a choice. Life is too short to be anything but happy :)

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5 Awesome Benefits of Running

217/365 - Ten Mile Run
Everybody needs exercise, and running is such a popular and beneficial way to workout. It’s so cheap to start; all you really need is a decent pair of running shoes and a set of goals. Unfortunately, many people lose the shoes after only a few days or weeks. There can be many reasons for this — they don’t see any change in their body, they find running boring, there’s not enough time in the day, etc. Since so many people quit running early on, I thought it would be good to cover some of the benefits of this great workout. If you’re on the edge about whether you should run or not, here’s the answer: you should!

Weight Loss

As I just mentioned, a lot of people start running and quit because they aren’t losing weight. This only happens if you’re not giving it enough time. When you first get into running, you won’t be able to run for very long. As you get more used to it, you’ll be able to run for miles. Here’s an example: in a 20 minute run, you can burn a good 200 – 400 calories depending on your weight. The longer you run, the more calories you’ll burn. Burned calories combined with a good diet will make you lose weight!

Stress Relief

Running is a big stress reliever, and I find it works even better when you’re listening to music. Running gives you time to be away from the house or the office, where you can set your mind free. You can use the time to think about something that’s bothering you, and you’ll find that you can usually get some great ideas flowing about how to fix it. You’ll also have less stress knowing that you’re getting in shape and staying active. When you run, your body releases endorphins. In other words, you’ll experience euphoria, and that’s always good.

Confidence Booster

Running will boost your confidence in many facets of life. As I mentioned before, when you run, you’ll also want a set of goals. When you can check off these goals, you’re building confidence for anything life throws at you. Running will also make you smarter. Seriously. When oxygen and nutrients are going to your brain, you’ll feel alive and focused.  And to top it off, your body will look better.  And you know what that means… a good old self-esteem boost.

Better Social Life

Many people prefer to run alone, but if you want to make your running life social, that’s up to you. Since we’re in 2013, it’s extremely easy to do so. There are plenty of apps where you can post and share your run with others. There are Facebook groups and pages that are devoted to running. Finding a 5K to participate in a piece of cake. It can also be a lot of fun to run with your friends, or meet people!

Run for a Cause

Marines, soldiers, wounded warriors, cadets run in New York City Tunnel to Towers Run, Sept. 30
Running (or even walking) is a great way to support a cause you care about. For example, we’re currently in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are plenty of runs to support that cause. Even the most famous marathons aren’t just a competition of who can run the fastest. Many of the runners are fundraising to support a person or a group!

 

Hopefully you found these points interesting, so get out there and go for a run!

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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How Yoga Improves Your Overall Health

Yoga_at_a_GymYoga is a practice, and if you take the time to study the practice, you’ll definitely see results. The problem is, many people are discouraged to even try yoga because they think you have to be flexible or totally in shape to do it. Well guess what? That’s a complete lie! All you need is a positive attitude and determination to stick with it and you’ll soon see all of the health benefits this practice offers.

Circulation and lung capacity

If you’ve never tried yoga before, it’s definitely quite the experience. There’s a big emphasis on your breathing in yoga, which gives you the opportunity to really examine the way you’re currently breathing. What’s excellent is that deep breathing can help to improve your circulation by allowing nutrients and oxygen to reach your muscles and organs more efficiently. This means you’ll have healthier skin and a better functioning brain! Another surprising fact is that deep breathing can help to expand your lung capacity, allowing you to stay focused and increase endurance during high-impact aerobic exercises. Pretty awesome, right?

Stress relief

As you practice yoga, you’ll notice a significant change in your deep breathing and meditative thinking. Because of this, you will also see a decrease in your stress level due to the fact that you’re bringing peace and a sense of relaxation to your mind. In addition to this, you’ll also be decreasing the levels of cortisone and adrenaline by practicing yoga, which are both hormones that can increase stress.

Aging

As you get older, it’s important to stay active as part of a healthy lifestyle. What’s great about yoga is that it can ultimately be practiced by anyone, and it can be extremely beneficial for older adults, possibly even helping to reverse the force of gravity on the body and in turn, experience fewer medical problems as time goes on. This is certainly a good enough reason for me to start practicing yoga!

No back pain

Yes, with aging comes back pain, but it’s also very common among younger generations now as well. Whatever age you are, you can find back pain relief through yoga! Not only will it benefit you in the now, but it will actually give you long-term results. By practicing consistently, you’ll find that you can increase elasticity in your spine, while at the same time strengthening the muscles in your back. You’ll be able to hold an appropriate posture whether you’re sitting at your desk working or exercising!

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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The Secret to Living a Happier Life

Happiness_held_is_the_seedHow we achieve happiness is different for each and every one of us. Some find happiness after a long workout. Others find happiness in helping others. Our goals, passions, expectations, and even life experiences contribute to the level of happiness we experience.

The matter in which you achieve happiness is entirely up to you. However, there are proven strategies that can bring happiness into your life. These strategies work differently for everyone. It’s up to you to adopt and customize a strategy to fit your needs. Over time, these strategies can become habitual and eventually bring more happiness and peace into your life.

Be humble

A humble person lives in a friendly world. He or she sees friends everywhere he or she goes, whomever he or she meets. A humble person has the power to look beyond personal appearance and see into the essence of a being. For this reason, a humble person has more friends than can be counted on two hands. In a world built on competition and individuality, it can be hard to be humble. However, learning to be humble can help you develop more meaningful and enjoyable relations with others. Friendship is the key to happiness.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Mistakes-Precious_Life_LessonsMaking mistakes is part of being human. Once you truly understand that everyone makes mistakes, the burden of making one will be lifted. Many people miss out on opportunities because they are afraid of what might go wrong. As a result, they let the fear of failure hold them back on what could be a great life experience. We’ve been conditioned to believe that failure is a bad thing. Perhaps it’s because failing means we have not achieved what we initially set out. We must change our mindset about failure. At some point, you will fail at something. What matters most is how you learn from your mistakes. Having a positive attitude towards making mistakes will make you a happier person.

Live in the moment

Living in the moment is about living like there’s no tomorrow. To do this, you must realize the beauty in every moment, every situation. It’s a conscious act that requires daily effort. We all have bad days, but remember, a bad day does not equal a bad life. Too many people live life just rolling through the motions, taking days for granted. A happy person appreciates the living present. Because when you become mindful of the present, you realize that you are not your thoughts. Mindful people are happier, more compassionate and more secure.

Be kind to others

smiling_girlsThere is no question that participating in acts of kindness can significantly elevate your mood and well-being. Even watching acts of kindness can increase your desire to perform good deeds as well. Kindness lives inside of all of us. While some people are innately kind, it’s something that everyone can cultivate by choice. Being kind is a vital way of making our own lives more meaningful. Remember, kindness is contagious. When we make a conscious effort to be kind to ourselves and to others, we can experience new heights of joy and happiness in our lives.

Do you live a happy life? We want to hear from you.

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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6 Benefits of Walking

A walk in the parkWalking is not only a great form of exercise, but it’s also a great activity to improve your overall health and well-being. From your mind to your heart, walking has some amazing benefits worth mentioning. Let’s take a look at the many reasons why walking is just so darn good for you!

Save on gym costs

With the economy being in the state that it is, many individuals are trying to cut costs wherever they can. Unfortunately, this means cutting smaller, less important expenses such as their gym memberships, just to save an extra $20-40 per month. Whether you simply don’t have a gym membership or you have recently cut it for cost reasons, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be finding ways to exercise. Walking gives you the freedom to exercise essentially anywhere, whether you’re in a shopping mall or a hiking trail. Find a path that works for you and stick to it!

Get you off medications

Research has found that those who participate in long, weekly walks are more likely to use less medications in the long run. Another interesting point is that long walks, as opposed to shorter walks, help to keep your heart rate up for a longer period of time but without putting added pressure to joints and muscles like a run would.

Beat breast cancer

While you might be thinking this benefit is crazy, that’s far from true. It’s actually been proven that women who walk on a regular basis after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a 45 percent chance of survival compared to those who are not active. This is a huge breakthrough for women suffering from breast cancer and is further proof that walking is absolutely a beneficial way to improve your health.

Improves your libido

Haven’t you heard that exercise and sex really impact one another? More specifically, the more you exercise, the greater your sexual desire and satisfaction. Before you jump on the treadmill or elliptical, remember that you can achieve an improved libido through an exercise as simple as walking! Take a walk once a day for at least 30 minutes to see the greatest benefits.

Reduces stroke risk

Did you know that a brisk walk for only 30 minutes, five days a week will help reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke. Long-term research suggests that those with active lifestyles and increased fitness levels in connection with brisk walking had as much as a 40 percent lower risk of stroke than those with less active lifestyles.

Saves your mind

Have anxiety, depression or every day stress? Take a walk! Those who spend time and energy walking each day can actually improve their overall mentality as well as lower the risks of developing dementia. Because physical activity helps increase blood flow to the brain, walking in itself can help keep your mind healthy and stable.

If you didn’t think walking was worth your time before, perhaps now you’ll see some of the many reasons why it is actually incredibly good for you! So get outside today and take a walk, your mind, body and soul will thank you later.

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