The Sign Of Solid Friendship!

Do you have a friend you know so well you can finish each other’s sentences? Or you tell stories about “remember when……” and they remember as many details as you do?

According to the Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, those are sure signs of a friendship that’s built to last! And that’s a big deal, since many studies show that a strong social network helps us do everything from ward off depression to increase our overall lifespan.

So, why is something as random as finishing a friend’s thought so important? Researchers say it’s a sign of something called the “transactive memory system” – which refers to shared memories, say, of an embarrassing experience in school, or a vacation you took. And in a study, researchers found that those with the strongest friendships were the most likely to have shared or “transactive memories.” And even with new friends, the best predictor of a trusting, high quality friendship was if two people could finish each other’s thoughts – or tell stories about each other.

Which is why researchers encourage us all to rehash old memories with friends as often possible. Because the more shared memories we have, the healthier we’ll be, emotionally and physically.

The Exercise Fix For Your Food Cravings:

If you tend to struggle resisting cookies, donuts and other sugary sweets, researchers have discovered a simple solution: Try exercising more! Because, over time, exercise is now proven to help you make healthier food choices.

That’s according to a new study in the International Journal of Obesity. It involved over 2,000 people who normally didn’t exercise. But they agreed to follow a fitness plan, which involved exercising at least three times a week, for 3 months.

And the result? Even though nobody was required to change their diet, researchers found the majority of exercisers gradually ate MORE fruits, vegetables, and lean meat… while also eating FEWER fried foods, sodas, and sugary snacks. And the more intensely people exercised, the more healthfully they ate!

Researchers say this is the latest proof that exercise has benefits that go way beyond improving your fitness. In fact, studies from Harvard University found physical activity can “rewire” your brain by triggering the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters – including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. And one upshot is that as your mood improves, you’ll begin to look for OTHER ways to make positive changes in your life… like choosing to eat a salad for lunch instead of a bucket of fast food combo!

Your Hugs Keep Your Kids Healthy!

If you regularly hug your kids, lots of new research shows you’re setting them up to be emotionally stable and healthy adults! Here’s why:

First, a simple hug changes kids at the molecular level! Research from the University of British Columbia found, the more children were held, the more genes were activated that helped kids better manage stress and boosted their immune system!

Hugging also boosts a child’s tolerance for pain! A study from the Cleveland Clinic found that gentle touches from a loved one stimulate a child’s brain in a way that helps them better regulate their pain response, compared to when they rarely experience affection. And kids who were hugged the most tended to have the fewest behavioral issues, and the highest tolerance for both emotional AND physical pain!

And according to psychotherapist Shonda Moralis, we can MAGNIFY the calming benefits of hugs by using her “three-breath hug” technique. That’s where you embrace someone in a strong bear hug, and then share three deep inhales and exhales while still holding each other. Moralis has found that even when kids are on the verge of a meltdown, offering a three-breath hug is incredibly calming, and can stop a meltdown in its tracks!

Clean Your House For A Better Brain!

Do you need another reason to thoroughly clean the house, or tackle chores you’ve been putting off? It could boost your brain health! That’s according to Dr. Noah Koblinsky from the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto.

He and his team studied mentally healthy senior citizens. Each participant was given a cognitive test and a health evaluation. They were also asked to track their exercise, and list the chores they did each day, including cleaning, cooking, and gardening.

The result: No matter how much or how little a person exercised – like walking, running or cycling – those who spent more time doing chores had greater brain volume, which is a key measure of good cognitive health.

Dr. Koblinsky believes chores are so beneficial to the brain because they get people up and moving. Doing chores also requires planning and organization, which helps promote the formation of new neural connections. And that one-two combo helps boost blood flow to the brain, and slows cognitive decline. Meaning, tackling your to-do list could significantly boost your brainpower.

Reflect On Your Goals For Success!

Are you ready to bring more success into your life and have a positive impact on others? Just take a few minutes each morning for reflection.

It’s as simple as taking a few moments while you’re drinking your coffee to reflect on who you want to be.

Because according to new research from the University of Florida, people who devote time each morning for reflection tend to be stronger leaders – compared to those who don’t. Reflective people are also more likely to BELIEVE in themselves.

The study found that employees who practiced morning reflection were more likely to help co-workers and provide strategic vision. The workers also reported feeling more like a leader, and believing they had more power in the workplace. And, on days they skipped morning reflection, their performance slipped.

And the researchers say reflection can work for anyone, anywhere, because it helps people feel they have more control over their lives!

And the best part is you can get the benefits of reflection in just five minutes. Researchers say to get the process going, ask yourself questions like: “What are my best qualities?” “What are my proudest moments?” And “How do I want to inspire others?”

How To Talk To Your Parents About Aging

When our parents get older it can be hard to step up and take on the role of the “adult.” Whether you need your mom to stop driving – or talk to your dad about going into assisted living. It’s not an easy conversation to have. So here’s how to go about it. This advice comes from David Solie, a psychologist who specializes in aging issues.

He wrote the book, “How To Say It To Seniors.” And he says to start by saying, “I’m worried.” That puts the onus on you – so your parent won’t feel attacked. Then explain why you’re worried, like, “I’m scared something will happen to you if you’re living alone and I’m not close enough to help.” And use facts, like “You had an episode recently that sent you to the hospital.”

If your parent resists and says, “I’m fine,” ask this… “How will you know when you’re not fine? How will you know when it’s time to go live in a facility that can look out for you?” That’ll force your parent to really consider the consequences. But you’re also empowering them to make a decision for themselves. If you still don’t see eye to eye, enlist the help of their doctor. A lot of times, people would rather take advice from someone without an emotional connection – and they’ll take the recommendation of an expert more seriously.

Energize Your Mornings With The “RISE UP” Method!

There’s a new way to kick off each day with boundless energy! And it’s as easy as remembering the words RISE UP.

That’s “R” – for Resist the urge to hit the snooze button.

I” – for Increase your physical activity.

S” – for Shower, preferably with a blast of cold water.

E” – for Expose yourself to sunlight.

And the “UP” can refer to listening to UPbeat music, or dialing UP a friend!

The RISE UP method was developed by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine… and it’s proven to cancel out “sleep inertia” – which is that half-asleep, half-awake feeling we associate with morning grogginess.

In fact, even if you just follow that first step – and “Resist the snooze button,” research shows you’ll have LESS sleep inertia… Because every time you hit “snooze,” you actually trick your body into wanting more sleep, which prolongs your grogginess!

Then: exercise… blasting yourself with cold water… and exposing yourself to sunlight – are all proven ways to improve circulation and alertness.

And if you throw in some upbeat music, researchers say that’ll trigger feelings of wakefulness far more effectively than listening to the news, or eating breakfast in silence!

Also: If you have a chance to call a friend, that activates the communication centers of your brain, preparing you to be productive.

The upshot? Wake up every day and RISE UP!

Activities To Improve Your Relationship

It’s time to make your relationship better with advice from psychology professor Dr. Gary Lewandowski

He says, for a stronger and more satisfying relationship, couples should engage in “self-expanding activities” together. Dr. Lewandowski describes self-expanding activities as those that help broaden your knowledge and experience.

Basically, doing new things helps us grow as individuals. And studies show that we’re more satisfied with relationships that contribute to our growth. But after a while, couples get stuck in ruts. And that may lead people to seek expansion outside the relationship – as in, having an affair.

But if couples continue to learn new things TOGETHER, that self-expansion drive is satisfied… and the result is a more satisfying relationship. And all it takes is going on a new hike together, trying new recipes together, learning a new hobby together, or even reading the same new book.

Those are self-expanding activities – and when you do them with your partner, it brings you closer together.