Strategies for Spring Rejuvenation

IMG_4085.jpg

I can see it in my students, clients, and even in myself this time of year: spring slugishness. This trend is also reflected in the natural world, as flora and fauna begin to reawaken from their hibernation, just beginning to peek their heads out from the soil and from their shelters. Perhaps it is the change in seasons and times, perhaps it is the timeline of our work projects, or the season for lots of social happenings. Whatever the cause, you might be feeling a little tired, foggy, and even depleted these days. You are not alone. 

Below you will find some helpful strategies to rejuvenate and reset your body and mind. Beyond these steps, I recommend also giving your body time and space to adapt to changes in the environment. We are only human! Sometimes the demands that we place on ourselves can be downright unrealistic. Give yourself time and space to rest as needed.

  • Take a Vacation/Staycation. Too many people wait until they are long overdue, often totally frayed and burned out, before they give themselves permission to take a holiday. Don't let this be you! Take just one day this month to go and visit your favorite pool or beach, take a weekend excursion to a new city, go explore a new museum and eat a delicious meal, or gift yourself a spa day.
  • Pay attention. Often when we are faced with symptoms like fatigue or depressed mood, we tend to chase the symptoms away with caffeine or substances, or we try to ignore them and get lost in distraction. But, if we can listen closely, we find that our symptoms tell important stories. Interoception is a human sensory ability to pick up on subtle changes in the body, which includes a basic awareness of changes to breathing, heart rate, or body temperature [1-3].  Few people are aware of their own interoceptive ability, and fewer people consciously use this sense to moderate their psychological and emotional experience. It is an ability that we all possess, but we can all use a little training in strengthening this skill.  Next time you are feeling the spring sluggishness, see if you can pay attention to what you are experiencing. Maybe you can write a list of the physiological characteristics. How do these moments feel in your body? Research finds that another great way to sharpen this sensitivity is through the practice of mindfulness meditation [4]. By tuning into the subtle changes that naturally take place in the body during emotional arousal, you can detect early signs of distress and discomfort, thereby allowing for a mindful pause before forming a reaction.
  • Breathe. Research finds an undeniable connection between our psychological/emotional states and the way we breathe [5-6]. When you find out that your project deadline was a week earlier than you anticipated, you might feel your breath become rapid and shallow. In times of fatigue or depressed mood, your breath becomes shallow and slow. When you feel calm, you might feel your breath becoming slow and deep. Your breath is not just a byproduct of how you are feeling; it's also a form of communication between body and mind. What is the emotional state you wish to cultivate? How can you begin to change your breath to reflect your desired emotional state?
  • Circadian reset. Humans, just like all living beings, coordinate bodily functions via circadian rhythms, Circadian rhythms can be thought of as the body’s internal clock, which functions on a 24-hour scale and correspond to cycles of sleep/wake, light/darkness, temperature, activity, and consumption. This internal clock is endogenous, meaning that it originates in the body. One pathway runs from your eyes to the suprachiasmatic nuclei in the brain, which explains why light plays such an important role in setting our internal clocks. But, our circadian rhythms are also affected by our behaviors. Some of our behaviors and lifestyles can sustain healthy circadian rhythms, while others can disrupt them, thereby increasing susceptibility to disease. It’s a great reminder that we as human beings are not beyond the rules and rhythms of the natural world, and when we choose to live in harmony with these rhythms, we can live healthier lives. If you are experiencing fatigue, sluggishness, or difficulty losing weight, it is possible that your body could benefit from a circadian reset. This includes eating on a set schedule during the hours of natural light and highest activity (usually early midday), avoiding eating and high intensity activities later on at night [7].  We can also train our bodies to be more attuned to naturally occurring signals in the environment (like light) [8]. One trick is to soak in natural morning light right when you wake up, sending a signal to your brain that you are entering a wakeful state. As much as possible, you can also try to avoid exposure to bright light in the evening (i.e., cell phones, computers, t.v. screens), thereby prompting your body to prepare for sleep.
  • Turn it upside down. Sometimes the only tool we have when we're super tired and overwhelmed is to just deal with life moment by moment. A quick fix for me and many of my fellow yogis is to spend some time upside down. An inversion is any posture where you raise your heart above your head. This can be a simple ragdoll pose, where you take a forward fold, bending into the knees and let your head dangle. Or a more advanced inversion, like a shoulder stand, headstand, or handstand. It's really surprising how refreshing it can be to spend just a few minutes in a new perspective. When all else fails, try turning the situation (and your physical body) upside down!

 


 

1.     Craig, A. D. (2002). How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 655-666.

2.     Wiens, S. (2005). Interoception in emotional experience. Current Opinion in Neurology, 442-447.

3.     Dunn, B. D., Galton, H. C., Morgan, R., Evans, D., Oliver, C., Meyer, M., ... & Dalgleish, T. (2010). Listening to your heart: How interoception shapes emotion experience and intuitive decision making. Psychological Science, 1835-1844.

4.     Farb, N. A., Segal, Z. V., & Anderson, A. K. (2012). Mindfulness meditation training alters cortical representations of interoceptive attention. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15-26.

5.     Philippot, P. & Chapelle, G. & Blairy, S. (2010). Respiratory feedback in the generation of emotion. Cognition & Emotion, 605-627.

6.     Seppälä, E,  Nitschke, J.,  Tudorascu, D.,  Hayes, A.,  Goldstein, M. & Nguyen, D., Perlman, D., & Davidson, R. (2014). Breathing-Based Meditation Decreases Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in U.S. Military Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Longitudinal Study. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 397-405.

7.     Manoogian, E. N., & Panda, S. (2017). Circadian rhythms, time-restricted feeding, and healthy aging. Ageing Research Reviews39, 59-67.

8.     Wright Jr, K. P., McHill, A. W., Birks, B. R., Griffin, B. R., Rusterholz, T., & Chinoy, E. D. (2013). Entrainment of the human circadian clock to the natural light-dark cycle. Current Biology23, 1554-1558.

 

 

 

 

Taking Self More Seriously

IMG_3334.JPG

I think one of the biggest obstacles to creating healthy self-care habits is to breakdown our own resistance to the process. For whatever reason, even the words "self-care" and “self-love” can feel hokey or disingenuous. But, we all crave quality relationships with other people and that can be really hard to find when we haven't yet set a precedence of love within. The poet Rumi famously said, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." 

Learning to establish and nurture an honest and loving relationship with oneself is a process, full of its own hardships. Nobody is without these challenges. This can be especially challenging for those battling depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental disorder. In fact, I just read about the tragic passing of one of the most articulate Buddhist scholars of our time, Michael Stone, who lost his battle with Bipolar Disorder. This was a great reminder that self-care is not just a hokey self-help industry catchphrase; it is a necessary tool for survival in a chaotic and complicated world.  

There are so many considerations in the process of developing an effective self-care practice, but you can begin by noticing the tendency to always put others first. The desire to be of service is a noble one, but just imagine how much more you can give when you draw from a well of energy that is constantly being replenished with small acts of self-care. It is unreasonable to expect anybody to have the capacity to selflessly serve others without also receiving the personal care and support that all humans require. 

The area of research that has really highlighted the value of establishing a healthy relationship with the self comes from Dr. Kristin Neff's work on self-compassion. This research finds that self-compassion practice is linked with increased happiness, optimism, curiosity and connectedness, as well as decreased anxiety, depression, rumination and fear of failure [1]. The benefits of this practice are not entirely self-serving. In fact, this practice has been shown to increase motivation and mastery of learning [2], and it is linked with maturity and emotional intelligence [3]. 

It's important to note that this practice goes beyond just boosting self-esteem. Self-compassion isn’t just about always feeling “good” or having unwavering confidence. Self-compassion is a matter of recognizing and accepting ourselves fully, allowing for imperfections and mistakes as inherent in all humans, and practicing mindful awareness of our needs.

Self-love, in the sense that I refer to it, incorporates the practices and principles of self-compassion, while celebrating what Eastern philosophers refer to as the "basic goodness" of all human beings (thereby making everyone worthy of loving kindness). Without falling into the ego trap of narcissism and obsession with self-esteem, can we manage to savor and revel in that which makes us good? Can we inspire others around us to embrace their true selves and shine brighter by embodying a deeper quality of confidence? I believe we can. 

How can you begin to take Self more seriously? I’ve listed some basic principles to put into action below. I also wanted to invite you all to join me this month on my social media channels. Every day of this month I will highlight one small, easy, and free act of self-love that you can complete on your own. 


You can use these basic self-care principles and actions to implement in your life: 
    Make time. There is so much talk about work/life balance, but in reality it ends up feeling more like we have to choose one. Sometimes, we might not even feel like we have a choice. I mean, we all have to work to survive, right? But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Why is it that when it comes to scheduling and managing time, most of us find it easiest to cut out the portion of the day when we were planning to do something good for ourselves (e.g., getting exercise, visiting a friend, getting rest, cooking a home-cooked meal)? How can we expect to feel centered and balanced without ever having time to recharge? It doesn't have to take that long, but we should all have at least 15-20 mins a day for self-care (the website Statista states that Americans spend an average of 135 minutes a day just browsing social media). You have to make time, and stick to it. Sit with your schedule and see if you can give yourself at least 15 minutes every day to do something good for yourself. I like to color code my daily activities in my planner so that I can see the percentage of my day I spend working, showing up for social commitments, and taking care of myself. If I see multiple days in a row without any self-care practices, I make it my priority to find a way to make it happen, even if it means cancelling or moving something else on the books. It’s possible, I promise. You just have to decide that it’s important enough to you to make it happen. 
 
•    Say “No, thank you” when you mean it. How many times have you agreed to attend an event or take on a new project that you were not feeling truly excited about or interested in because you didn’t want to disappoint others? So many people are in the practice of ignoring their gut feelings and saying yes because it’s what they think they “should” do. So many of my college students spend years trying to pursue the degrees and careers their parents want them to. So many of my friends stay in jobs or relationships that make them really unhappy just because they feel guilty walking away. There are countless examples of the plague of indifference! But learning how to respectfully decline an invitation or walk away from situations that do not align with your best interest is a way to develop the voice of authentic desire. 

•    Practice self-compassion. Thanks to the work of Dr. Kristin Neff and colleagues, there are so many resources available to those looking to develop a self-compassion practice.

Self-compassion is comprised of three parts:
1) Self-kindness: (as opposed to self-judgment or criticism). This means giving yourself grace when you fall short of your goals or ideals. Responding to ourselves in the same way that we would respond to a dear friend. 2) Common humanity: recognizing that all humans are imperfect, make mistakes, and experience suffering, therefore you do not need to feel alone or different because of your imperfections. Rather, this can become an opportunity for empathy and better connection in how we relate to others. 3) Mindfulness: learning to acknowledge our feelings (like pain or sadness) without pushing them away but also without getting stuck in them. Acknowledging the ever-changing tides of experiencing the present moment, we witness our thoughts and experience shift constantly, and maintain a loving awareness of what is taking place at all times.  

I would love to hear about your process! Where are you on this journey of the Self? 


1.    Neff, K. D. (2009). The role of self-compassion in development: A healthier way to relate to oneself. Human Development, 52(4), 211-214.
2.    Neff, K. D., Hsieh, Y. P., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4(3), 263-287.
3.    Neff, K. D., & Vonk, R. (2009). Self-compassion versus global self-esteem: Two different ways of relating to oneself. Journal of Personality, 77(1), 23-50.

The Psychology of Food and Mindful Eating

IMG_7473.JPG

One great way to understand eating behavior is to examine it at its most raw, unfiltered form: How do most animals eat? Let’s take my cat, Roxy. My husband rescued her from the streets where she was susceptible to famine and other evolutionary threats. She now lives in our safe, cushy home, where she is provided with cans of seafood every day. Yet, she still approaches each meal like a race for consumption. She competes with her sisters to eat as fast as she can, so that she can linger around and eat any of their leftovers! She eats fast until her bowl is completely bare. She often eats to the point of nausea.

Now, maybe we aren’t quite desperate as Roxy. However, like Roxy and other animals, we are still influenced by some primitive eating habits. Our brains are hard-wired to seek high caloric foods, foods with greater variety of flavor and scent (often an indication that food contains a diversity of nutrients), and we have a tendency to eat excessively. These habits are rooted in our earliest human experiences, which were also often characterized by scarcity of resources and even famine.  Although you may have never had a personal experience or conscious memory of starvation, your genes still carry these impressions.

Consuming so much food that we feel painfully stuffed at a gathering or potluck is a predictably human response to being surrounded by so many options for high calorie, salty, sweet, and diverse food options. So, how can we protect ourselves from these mindless habits that can sometimes overwhelm us?

Check out these scientifically based suggestions to use psychology as a tool for wellness and mindful eating:

·      Go in with a plan or intention. Most people wait until they sit down to eat before making any decisions. By this time, we might be really hungry and tempted to opt for a huge portion or really high calorie meal. If we are going out to eat, we might be persuaded to make decisions based on the social pressures of those around us. If your friend asks you “Hey do you want to split the nachos?” ... how hard is it to refuse that offer?! We might also be swayed by marketing, like the delicious smells, plating, and descriptions of our favorite foods on the menu. Personally, there will always be a part of me that is tempted by any combination of carbs and cheese: mac and cheese, grilled cheese, loaded French fries, pizza, etc. So, it’s always a good practice to check in with yourself, before you sit down to eat. Ask yourself: What would I like to experience from this meal? Do I want to indulge and if so, where is my limit? Am I planning to drink tonight? If so, how many glasses of wine would I like to consume?

·      Declare your plan. It may also help to just let your friends know so that they can support you in sticking to your goals. “Hey guys, I’m really trying not to drink tonight.” We all know that things don’t always go according to plan. That is ok, because we are only human. However, by beginning with a plan or intention, we are less likely to be distracted by external factors. When we share our plan, we are enlisting the support of our friends to help us adhere to our goals. 

·      Have a backup plan. Let’s say you go into a company potluck with the best of intentions: salads, water, no sweets. But, you arrive after a grueling workday and find your favorite comfort foods and your favorite people gathered around them. Perhaps, you might have a backup plan.  For example “If I plan to indulge, I will only grab a small plate.” You might even plan to take small breaks from eating, or set a goal to consume a glass of water in between each serving. In this way, can you can still have a little bit of structure and organization, even when you feel like indulging. 

 ·      Pay attention to the consequences.  If you do cross the line, eating too much, eating poorly, or drinking to excess, try to pay attention to how you feel afterwards. Begin to take notice of how your moods, thoughts, and energy levels are affected by what you put in your body. For example, if you spend an entire day drinking only coffee and wine (no water), notice how this might affect the way your skin looks and feels, and any other symptoms of your dehydration, like migraines or headaches, fatigue, and your cravings/thirst.

 ·      Create a ritual around eating.  It’s common in many cultures to say a prayer before eating. Many people have other basic little rituals, like shaking a sugar packet, or swirling wine in the glass before taking a sip. Recent studies find that practicing little rituals around food can actually enhance your experience of the flavor of food [1]. So, whenever possible, avoid eating in the car or while multitasking. Take time to pause and give thanks before you eat, or maybe light a candle. Pay extra care to create an environment that will allow you to fully enjoy your food.

 ·      Keep it simple: Less variety.  We’ve all experienced buffets or potlucks where we find so many options for food that we eat way more than we need to. Research finds that people eat less and report being satiated (feeling “full”) more quickly when there is less variety [2,3]. Perhaps you can develop a tactic to curate your plate when you are faced with a lot of variety. Stick to a theme or decide on a system in advance (e.g., 70-80% veggies, 30-20% other). If your friend is eager for you to try their yummy homemade creation at the potluck, you can still go for it but opt for a smaller spoonful.

 ·      Small portions! So much of our eating experience is visual. Much like Roxy the cat, we tend to eat until the plate is clean. This is a visual cue that we are finished with our food [4]. One simple way to prevent from excessive eating is to choose smaller plates. Most plates at restaurants carry portions big enough for 2 or 3. When you go to a restaurant, ask for a smaller appetizer plate to eat from, or better yet, ask for a “to go” container and place half of your food in the container, before you even begin to eat! This will help you have a natural opportunity to check in and make a more conscious decision about how much more you want to consume (if any). This is also quite cost effective: you often end up making two meals for the price of one! 

·      Make the healthy stuff accessible, the decadent stuff harder to reach. It’s simple psychology. We live busy lives! When we come home after a busy day and we’re hungry, chances are we will opt for the easiest foods to prepare and consume. Therefore, it’s a really great idea to clean and cut veggies in advance and keep them handy for quick and easy consumption.  Conversely, make it harder to access the “treats.” My husband and I store some of our favorite guilty pleasures, like cookies or chips, in the garage. This way, they are less visible, less accessible, and we actually have to think before reaching into a bag of yummy snacks and finding ourselves half-way finished with it’s contents!

·      Savor. I hate the tone of guilt and shame in our language around food. If you absolutely love and cherish the experience of decadent foods, you should be able to enjoy them. Food is a vital part of life, it is one of the many ways we experience pleasure. That said, when you sit down to your favorite piece of cake, take your time to be fully present with it. Express your gratitude for it. Look at it, smell it, and really taste it. Let it roll around in your mouth.  Feel all of its textures on your tongue. Take your time! Don't watch T.V. or look at your phone while you eat. Let yourself experience every morsel with all of your senses. You will likely find that by slowing down and approaching food in a more mindful way, you can be satisfied with a more modest serving [5]. Eat, enjoy, and be grateful. 


1.     Vohs, K. D., Wang, Y., Gino, F., & Norton, M. I. (2013). Rituals enhance consumption. Psychological Science24, 1714-1721.

2.     Wansink, B. (2004). Environmental factors that increase the food intake and consumption volume of unknowing consumers. Annual Review of Nutrition24, 455-479.

3.     Raynor, H. A., Niemeier, H. M., & Wing, R. R. (2006). Effect of limiting snack food variety on long-term sensory-specific satiety and monotony during obesity treatment. Eating Behaviors7, 1-14.

4.     Wansink, B., Painter, J. E., & North, J. (2005). Bottomless bowls: Why visual cues of portion size may influence intake. Obesity13, 93-100.

5.     Timmerman, G. M., & Brown, A. (2012). The effect of a mindful restaurant eating intervention on weight management in women. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior44, 22-28.

 

 

Everyday Magic: Rituals to Enhance Quality of Life

Many cultures, religions, and groups implement rituals in times of crisis or urgency. Even outside of these structured systems, many individuals often intuitively develop personal superstitions and rituals in their lives. For me, it was a lucky mechanical pencil I would rely on to take all of my math tests in high school and a favorite dress I would wear to give presentations and talks in college. Whether they are intended to bring “good luck,” healing, or closure, many studies find that superstitions and rituals can actually influence the outcome of an event! For example, for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, taking part in some kind of mourning ritual or ceremony appears to accelerate the process of healing [1]. Similarly, researchers find that priming or activating a superstitious belief (e.g., giving someone a lucky charm, telling someone to “break a leg”) often improves performance on a given task [2].
Without getting into speculation about magical forces and powers, we can still consider the “active ingredients” of these practices.  In this post, we will explore these powerful elements of rituals and ask ourselves: How can we bring a little bit of everyday magic into our lives?  I’ve identified a few key psychological characteristics of rituals and suggestions for action. I hope you find these useful!

Invoking intention. Despite our romanticized view of human behavior as uniquely rational and intentional, we find that most of human behavior is much like any other animal behavior: entirely habitual/automatic, and deeply rooted in evolutionary adaptation. What is interesting about rituals is that they require an element of intention or purposeful action. Whether it is an ancestral dance or movement that is dedicated to invoking a divine presence, a tea ritual that is intended as an honorable offering, or a purification ritual that is aimed towards inducing a sense of renewal to participants, most rituals begin with a specific purpose. Anytime we reach beyond automatic behavior and unconscious habits, we are already experiencing something unique and truly special.  In the practice of yoga, we find that even something as basic as breathing can become a powerful experience when it is done with focus and intention.


 Try it: Set aside a specific time of the day, week, month, or year for conscious and purposeful action. Take stock of your personal and emotional desires and needs at the time: What do you crave the most in your life at this time. Are you seeking safety and protection? If so, perhaps you can engage in an action that makes you feel physically strong and safe. Do you desire deep companionship? If so, set aside time to gather with close friends or like-minded individuals (even strangers) in a setting that promotes deep connection (sharing personal stories, embracing vulnerability, letting go of self-consciousness). Perhaps you are seeking healing and relief from emotional and physical pain? Set aside time to acknowledge, sit with it, allowing for space to consciously witness yourself in this experience of pain. Make time for restorative and comforting actions, like taking a bath or giving yourself a massage, all done with a focus on and intention for healing.


Claiming control. Another important aspect of rituals is that they allow us to claim control over something that is otherwise seemingly impossible to control. This is an aspect of ritual that has been particularly important in the context of mourning and bereavement, where it is impossible to control situations of loss [1]. Rituals provide us a means to organize an otherwise chaotic emotional experience. Through repetition of behaviors and systematic procedures, we are able to bring a sense of order over even the most seemingly uncontrollable experiences [3].


 Try it: Think about a situation in your life that makes you feel powerless. Think about the BIG STUFF: financial, emotional, romantic, and existential. See if you can create an action around this that symbolizes stepping into action and power. The important part about this is not that you somehow become almighty in the face of life’s challenges, but simply the fact that it represents your desire to take hold of the situation. This idea allows you to rethink your misfortune in a way that gives you a sense of control and power. If you are able to identify even a narrow opening that will allow you to feel like you have some power in the situation, you will find a sense of relief. In many rituals, these actions are quite abstract. In grieving for lost loved ones, we know we cannot bring them back to life. However, we can set aside time every year to remember them, honor them by enjoying their favorite foods, or visiting their favorite places.
These rituals can also be adapted to be more pragmatic and concrete. For example, facing financial limitations can be quite devastating to our quality of life, limiting our ability to enjoy our favorite activities for lack of time, money, and other resources. However, you can create a system to help you organize your money, like setting aside a certain dollar amount for monthly or weekly savings. You can even introduce symbolic action into this otherwise mundane ritual by creating an intentional space to deposit your savings (e.g., a beautifully colored box, a shrine of auspicious symbols and images).


If you only just believe. Rituals are often rooted in a deep sense of faith or belief, whether it is religious or personal. People who engage in a ritual often do it with a belief or expectation that it will provide extra support for them.  As such, people who engage in rituals often experience a boost in self-efficacy or confidence that they can and will succeed. Your internalized beliefs and expectations about yourself and others can absolutely shape your outcomes [4]. In other words, if my “magical pencil” made me feel a sense of calm and confidence taking my math tests, it’s likely that I actually performed better on my tests, because my anxiety did not affect my test performance.


 Try it: Engage in a ritual or intentional action that you find personally meaningful. Think and write about how you believe it will be effective in changing your own life. The more we think about and rationalize these ideas, the more ingrained they become. So don’t be afraid to think about it, talk about it, and invest in it.


Transcending the hedonic treadmill. I have these friends who are madly in love, despite being in a relationship for over two decades. I swear they act like teenagers who have a crush on each other. They are definitely an exception to the norm!
Research shows us that humans are really skilled at adapting to life’s highs and lows [5]. This is great in the face of negative life experiences, it means that we can and will recover happiness in the aftermath of most negative life events. However, it also means that boosts or increases to happiness are rarely sustained over time. Imagine, YOU FOUND YOUR SOULMATE or YOUR DREAM JOB! How long can you sustain your joy and gratitude for this event? How long before you start to take life’s gifts for granted? Sadly, research shows that it’s very likely your joy and gratitude will fade over time. The good news, rituals allow us to transcend the ordinary and mundane, bringing a divine element into everyday actions.


 Try it: Take something that you do every day: eat a meal, dinner with your romantic partner, even washing your dishes… and create a ritual around it! Light candles, turn on music, meditate or pray before or after it, recite a mantra or chant. Use this as an opportunity to step beyond the everyday rhythm of your life, to stop and observe your life through radically techni-colored classes.


Connecting to nature. Many rituals also tap into one of the richest source of healing available to us: nature. Rituals often create an opportunity for people to connect more deeply with natural elements, like fire, water, and earth. For more information about the role of nature and healing, please check out the work of Dacher Keltner and Craig Anderson, as described in this

Try it: Visit a natural space, like a forest or beach with a specific intention. Fire up your awareness, take in as much sensory experience as you possibly can. If you are unable to visit nature, try bringing it into your home. Light up your fire pit, watch an amazing nature documentary, take a bath, take a meditative walk in your backyard with no shoes on. Allow yourself to receive these sensory messages and the benefits will become inevitably apparent to you.

I hope these tips will help you amplify the level on your quality of life. Thanks for reading! Wishing you a magical day!




1.     Norton, M. I., & Gino, F. (2014). Rituals alleviate grieving for loved ones, lovers, and lotteries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 266-272.

2.     Damisch, L., Stoberock, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2010). Keep your fingers crossed! How superstition improves performance. Psychological Science, 21, 1014-1020.

3.     Legare, C. H., & Souza, A. L. (2012). Evaluating ritual efficacy: Evidence from the supernatural. Cognition, 124, 1-15.

4.     Rosenthal, R. (1994). Interpersonal expectancy effects: A 30-year perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 176-179.

5.     Frederick, S., and Loewenstein, G. 1999. Hedonic adaptation. in D. Kahneman, E. Diener, and N. Schwartz [eds]. Scientific Perspectives on Enjoyment, Suffering, and Well-Being. New York. Russell Sage Foundation.