Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/910378

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Page 12 of 35

healthy living BEING A RECEIVER OF LOVE BEING A RECEIVER OF LOVE I t's no surprise we spend more money on food and eat more calories during the hol- idays. What you might not know is that you may unconsciously sabotage your New Year's resolution to eat healthier by what you put in your grocery basket, even after the holidays. In a 2014 study, researchers at the Univer- sity of Vermont found that despite our best intentions, we tend to hang on to our hol- iday favorites even after the New Year. Sci- entists studied average food shopping pat- terns before, during, and after the holidays. "We wanted to see how New Year's resolu- tions and the end of the holiday season im- pact grocery shopping habits — how much food people buy, and how many calories the foods contain," says co-author David Just, Cornell University. Post-holiday (ok, all year round), researchers recommend consumers stick to a shopping list loaded with healthy items, substitute fresh produce and nutrient-rich foods for junk food as much as possible, and divide their grocery cart into healthy and unhealthy foods to ensure at a glance, at least half the cart is loaded with the good stuff. By Laura Owens Rock Body YOUR DAYDREAMERS HAVE MEGA-EFFICIENT BRAINS JUNK FOOD SHOPPING CONTINUES AFTER HOLIDAYS WHERE WE COMMUNE WITH NATURE BOOSTS MOOD Q uick, list three adjectives to describe someone who daydreams at work: Un- focused? Lazy? Unmotivated? Recent fi nd- ings suggest you might be wrong. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that daydreamers may have drifting thoughts because they're smart and creative. "People with effi cient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering," said Eric Schumacher, a co-au- thor on the study. The researchers studied brain patterns of more than 100 subjects using an MRI ma- chine. The participants were asked to focus on a fi xed point for fi ve minutes. The scien- tists studied the data to determine which parts of the brain worked in unison during an awake, resting state. Then they compared that data with tests that measured the sub- jects' intellectual and creative ability. The participants also fi lled out a questionnaire about how often their mind wandered in daily life. It turns out subjects who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on in- tellectual and creative ability. They also had more effi cient brain systems as measured by the MRI. "People tend to think of mind wander- ing as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can't," said Schumacher. "Our data is consistent with the idea that this isn't always true. Some people have more effi cient brains." S cientists have known for ages that when people spend time in nature they feel relaxed, refreshed, and have a strong emo- tional connection. But in the fi rst of its kind study, researchers from England found that the extent of psychological well-being var- ies by where someone spends their time in nature. Scientists asked 4,500 subjects to describe their experience and overall encounter after they visited a variety of natural environments. They found that while subjects felt good in all-natural settings, they felt the most benefi t among protected sites (national parks), coastal, and rural green settings com- pared to urban green spaces (city gardens and parks). "These fi ndings are important as they not only help unpack the mechanisms behind these psychological benefi ts," says lead au- thor of the paper Dr. Kayleigh Wyles, "but they can also help to prioritize the protection of these environments and emphasize why accessibility to nature is so important." December/January 2018 13

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