Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gratitude for Thanksgiving


The holidays can be a very enjoyable, rewarding time. Usually spent with friends and family, it is a time of year that we focus on what we are thankful for. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time of great stress for many families. For many, the financial burden of hosting dinners, traveling to see loved ones, and or buying presents, can be very burdensome. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday stresses and lose sight of what we are truly grateful for.

Luckily, being a more grateful, happier person is largely within our control. According to Psychology Today, approximately 40% of our happiness comes from perspective. Since happiness is relative to perspective, there are ways you can change your behaviors in order to be more grateful this holiday season.

Recognize What You Already Have

It’s not that happy people have so much more money or less stress than unhappy people; it’s that they are able to recognize, acknowledge, and be thankful for what they already have on a daily basis. This is a continuous practice. As you practice more and more, you will see how gratitude can strengthen relationships, improve health, reduce stress, and, in general, make you feel happier.

Try this

Start a gratitude journal or get in the habit of beginning or ending each day acknowledging (bringing into your mind) several things you are grateful for. Gratitude puts situations into perspective. It helps you realize what you have and, therefore, lessens our need for wanting more all the time (more of anything, e.g. physical needs, emotional needs, material desires).

What Does the Science Tell Us?

Research has shown that practicing gratitude for only 5 minutes each day is associated with increased time spent exercising, increased overall life satisfaction, and increased amounts of happiness in addition to decreased instances of depression and headache occurrences. Those who practice gratitude are also more likely to have positive social relationships and physical health, especially regarding stress and sleep.  Sleep quality and quantity and sleep latency (time to fall asleep) are all positively affected by gratitude. 

The results of another research study also demonstrated the effects of positive thinking and gratitude. As a part of the study, participants were asked to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

It easy to see how simply shifting your thoughts from things you are unhappy about to thoughts of the things you are thankful for can have a significant positive impact. The reason why we call it “practicing gratitude” is because there is no right or wrong way to do it. Simply try to think of what you are grateful for each day. Writing it down with pen and paper or using a gratitude app are both great ways to accomplish this.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

News Roundup: Supplement Crackdown

This week the Justice Department announced that charges have been filed against 117 makers/distributors of dietary supplements. Charges range from false claims on the label not being supported by research to ingredients being in the product but not listed on the label.

This week’s news roundup brings to you a collection of articles related to the Justice Department filing criminal charges against dietary supplement companies.  

Dietary supplements industry in crosshairs as law enforcement announces charges.The Washington Post. “The Justice Department said it had filed criminal charges against Dallas-based USPlabs, known for workout and weight-loss supplements such as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro. USPlabs allegedly told some retailers that its products contained natural plant extracts, but the company actually used a synthetic stimulant manufactured in a Chinese chemical factory, according to "the department’s complaint."

Charges Filed Against Makers of Nutritional Supplements.US News. “Criminal charges and civil injunctions have been filed against 117 makers and/or distributors of potentially dangerous dietary supplements, U.S. government agencies announced Tuesday.”

The government is bringing criminal charges against companies that sell bogus dietary supplements. Vox. “In each of the 117 cases, federal agencies allege that companies were selling either dietary supplements that contained ingredients other than what was listed on the label or products that made claims that weren't supported by scientific evidence.”

Makers of Nutritional Supplements Charged in Federal Sweep.The New York Times. “According to the indictment, the use of OxyElite Pro led to a number of liver injuries, including at least one death. Marketers said the supplements increased strength, speed and endurance, and they became popular with workout enthusiasts.”

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