Be Grateful for the Far-Reaching Health Benefits of Gratitude!

Snoopy

With the Thanksgiving holiday as our annual reminder to give thanks, an increasing body of evidence shows that expressing gratitude benefits the givers even more than the receivers.  UC Davis Professor, Journal of Positive Psychology editor and gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons has studied the immense positive effects that individuals feel in their own lives when they consistently express gratitude.

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Fancy a change? ‘Self-Talk’ is your answer #Mindfulness

We all have things in our lives that we’d like to do better:  exercise more, eat healthier, feel better, have more energy or a better attitude, etc.  In fact, most of us have made New Year’s resolutions along these lines– “I’m going to work out 5 days per week”, “I’m going to read more”, or the countless other things we hope to accomplish or change in our lives.  Yet, so often by January 15 these resolutions are nothing but a distant memory.  Why is this?

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SMILE when you don’t want to, or for no reason at all!

Smiley Face v2

Many of us have been told to “smile more”, as this sends off a more friendly and inviting signal to the outer world.  However, the act of smiling (even when we don’t feel like it) has powerful internal effects as well.  Researchers have shown that the mere act of smiling, even when “forced”, sends a signal to the body’s “fight or flight” response system that the coast is clear.

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Increase brain health, alertness and relaxation by writing in cursive

Cursive Writing

The numerous requirements of writing in cursive can positively impact brain health in many ways.  By stimulating both sides of the brain simultaneously, requiring dexterity and triggering norepenephrine (responsible for attention), cursive writing can help your brain’s health in ways that printed writing and typing cannot.

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Do Brain Exercises Help Prevent Dementia?

Rodin Thinker

While more evidence is needed, there are signs that brain exercises and learning new skills can help prevent dementia.  Recent data, such as the ACTIVE study (with ~2,800 patients aged 65+) show cognitive benefits lasting up to 5 years for seniors engaged in brain exercises, with reports of these gains translating more broadly into their everyday lives.  Other studies have shown that before symptoms appear, seniors can reduce the risk or even prevent dementia by keeping mentally active and learning new skills.  These should be new skills and activities that help you to learn new things– crossword puzzles, sudoku and reading books from your favorite author aren’t necessarily enough.  New forms of exercise, dance, learning musical instruments or a new foreign language can help slow the erosion of brain cells and create new neural connections, which can reduce or prevent dementia.  In addition to the positive health benefits, each of these activities can help you live a more full and rich life.

Read More:  http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/preventing-dementia-brain-exercises

 

Were you aware that learning new skills and keeping your mind active could prevent dementia and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Promising news in the fight against brain cancer, stoking hopes for patients to live longer

Syringe

Researchers are revisiting a vaccine that could extend brain cancer survival by boosting patients’ immune systems to fight cancerous tumors.  The vaccine had undergone a Phase I clinical trial in 2001 but was largely abandoned for lack of efficacy. Now, a new methodology is breathing life back into the treatment’s potential to extend the life of those who suffer from brain cancer.  The team at Thomas Jefferson University is looking to administer the vaccine to patients before chemotherapy, so that their immune systems are less compromised and better able to be directed by the vaccine to attack tumors. Initial results of a more recent Phase I trial are more promising.  Phase II trials are slated to begin in early 2015.

Read More:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141113105421.htm

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