5 Everyday Habits That Are Surprisingly Healthy

5 Everyday Habits That Are Surprisingly Healthy

Most of us know that a healthy diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, less stress, and more time spent doing the things we love leads to a healthier body and mind. And while we may not be perfect at it, it makes a big difference when we try to do our best while remaining as consistent as possible.

Some habits, however, are healthier than we might expect. Here are just five habits that are surprisingly healthy.

1. Scraping Your Tongue

Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) recommends a daily tongue scraping practice to remove the coating of food and bacteria that can contribute to bad breath and terrible tastes. In addition to freshening up your breath, tongue scraping can make it easier to stick to a healthy diet since the removal of the coating frees up your taste buds so that you feel more satisfied with what you eat while reducing your temptation to reach for more sugary, salty, or savory foods.

2. Walking Barefoot Through the Grass

Known as “earthing,” make direct contact with the Earth transfers its vast supply of electrons from the ground to your body, which has been proven to help improve sleep and reduce pain. Running barefoot through the grass also offers greater benefits over running in shoes because it eliminates the heel-to-toe shock and forces the foot to land on its ball and lateral edge in a way that neutralizes the impact.

3. Cuddling With Someone

Besides strengthening the bond between you and your romantic partner, family member, friend or anyone else you decide to cuddle with, cuddling is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Research has shown that something as simple as a hug from a loved one can lower cortisol levels. It can also help reduce high blood pressure and improve sleep.

4. Petting a Dog or Cat

If another human being isn’t around to cuddle with, grab your cat or dog to pat their fur or give them a gentle snuggle. Studies on human-animal interactions have shown that it can lead to lower cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure while also offering mental health benefits — such as reduced feelings of fear and anxiety. It’s no wonder why so many organizations and communities are increasingly recruiting therapy dogs to come and interact with people.

5. Talking to Yourself Out Loud

Positive self-talk is great when you can practice it silently to yourself, but talking to yourself out loud as if you were talking to a friend might just be even more beneficial. Research has shown that speaking can modulate ongoing visual processing, which basically means that by actually saying the words you’re thinking out loud to yourself, your brain works more efficiently. Try it next time you find yourself alone — even if it’s just for a minute or so.

Which one of the above habits do you already find yourself doing regularly? Whichever habit (or multiple habits) you do, you should definitely keep doing it, because it’s just one more good habit to have that contributes to your overall health.


5 Nature-Inspired Ways to Enhance Sleep

5 Nature-Inspired Ways to Enhance Sleep

Sleep plays one of the most important roles in our health. And yet so many of us struggle to get good quality sleep on a consistent basis.

These days, we have access to everything from supplements and sleep trackers, to luxury mattresses and memory foam pillows — all claiming to help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. But do we really need these things?

It’s so easy to get lost among the wide variety of products available to us in this modern day and age, we hardly even recognize that the best option often lies in going back to basics. Mother Nature provides us with everything we need to live happy, healthy lives — and unless a serious sleep disorder is causing problems, most of us can do without totally relying on fancy products that have been cleverly marketed to help us sleep better.

Here are five ways you can harness the power of nature to soothe your mind and prepare your body for sleep.

1. Leave the window open.

Spring is the perfect time of year to sleep with your bedroom window open. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the room temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body naturally decreases in temperature when preparing for sleep, so cracking a window to let the cool nighttime air in can help with this.

2. Use essential oils on your pillow.

Aromatherapy can help you doze off in minutes. Lavender is the most used of all essential oils for its versatile therapeutic properties as well as its ability to promote relaxation, but other oils that are good for sleep include vetiver, chamomile, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and cedarwood. Just sprinkle a drop or two on your pillow before bedtime and allow the soothing aromas to lull you to sleep.

3. Bring nighttime air-purifying plants into your bedroom.

In addition to making nice decorative touches your home, houseplants are also great for cleansing the air. The snake plant is best known for its air purifying abilities, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen at night while also purifying the air of toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene. Known as “the bedroom plant,” you’ll get the most out of it by placing at least 6 to 8 waist-high snake plants in your bedroom.

4. Eliminate all sources of light.

Your body needs darkness in the evening hours to prime itself for sleep, so if you have various glowing electronics constantly shining bright light at night — even in small amounts, such as the glowing numbers of a digital alarm clock — you could be losing sleep because of it. Consider unplugging or turning everything off and even investing in a pair of blackout curtains for your room as well.

5. Listen to nature sounds to help you drift off to sleep.

Here’s where modern technology actually might come in handy. As long as there are no glowing screens or lights left on all night, you can use a device like a smartphone, a tablet computer, an alarm clock, an mp3 player, or something else to calm your mind with the soft, soothing sounds of nature. Sounds like crickets, frogs, ocean waves, rain, and thunderstorms make perfect nighttime lullabies.

Try one or all of the above for at least a week to see if it helps improve your length and quality of sleep. Chances are these natural sleep aids may be all that you really need!


7 Stress-Relieving Superfoods to Start Eating Every Day

7 Stress-Relieving Superfoods to Start Eating Every Day

When it comes to beating stress, healthy lifestyle habits are key to keeping it under control. And while it may seem obvious that sleep and relaxation may be among the most important lifestyle factors affecting stress levels, the truth is that diet matters a lot too.

Foods that cause inflammation (such as refined grains), are high in sugar, and contain caffeine or alcohol tend to be among the worst choices if stress relief is a top priority. These types of foods can contribute to increased cortisol levels and hormonal imbalances.

For a cortisol lowering, hormonal balancing, overall stress-relieving diet, look toward foods that are anti-inflammatory, low in sugar, high in fiber, nutrient dense, and contain little to no caffeine or alcohol. The following list of superfoods can help get you started.

Berries

Add blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and others to your morning cereal, your fruit smoothie, or your yogurt bowl. They're low in sugar, high in antioxidants, high in fiber, and pack a good punch of vitamin C, which has been shown to help with stress. Rather than supplementing, you'll get the most out of this vitamin is by consuming it its most natural form.

Avocados

High in fiber and one of the best sources of healthy monounsaturated fat, research has shown that people who eat avocados report feeling fuller and are less likely to eat more, which could be good news if you struggle with emotional eating during stressful times.

Cold Water Fish

Cold water fish species like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, tuna, and sardines are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends consuming two 3.5-ounce servings of cold water fish every week for the health benefits.

Nuts and Seeds

From walnuts and pistachios, to flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, incorporating a variety of nuts and seeds into your diet is a great way to get more fiber, healthy fats, and a wide variety of nutrients. They’re also a great alternative fore vegans who can’t get omega-3s from fish since nuts and seeds contain the more common omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate doesn’t just taste amazing — it’s been scientifically proven to have a mood-boosting effect too! For the greatest health benefits with more antioxidants and less sugar, stick to dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cocoa.

Herbal Tea

Try swapping coffee and other caffeinated beverages out for caffeine-free, herbal tea instead. Tea varieties like chamomile, mint, barley, passionflower, and valerian root are commonly used to promote calmness while reducing symptoms of stress including insomnia, anxiety, and even anger.

Oatmeal

Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain oats have a mood-boosting effect somewhat similar to chocolate, triggering the brain to produce one of the feel-good hormones, serotonin. Better yet, add some berries and flax seeds for an even greater stress-relieving effect!

As a starting point, a great goal would be to aim to get at least a single serving of one of the above foods every day. Try tracking your mood and emotional states with an app or by writing out how you feel in a journal to determine whether your stress levels are improving over time in relation to your diet changes.


Win a 7 Day, 6 Night Yoga Retreat in Greece to Renew, Release, and Restore Yourself

Best known for its Mediterranean cuisine, blue and white hillside houses, and some of the world's most iconic ancient landmarks, Greece offers travelers a wide range of unique and culturally significant sights and experiences. Whether you’re looking to relax by the sea or dive deep into the historic roots of Western civilization, Greece offers something special for everyone who travels there.

For the month of April, we’re giving away a 7 day, 6 night Trip Tribe yoga retreat where our lucky winner will be able to renew, release, and restore themselves at the Aegialis Hotel and Spa. Located on Amorgos — the easternmost island of the Greek Cyclades — this is the only 5-star hotel in this region.

The hotel's minimal yet luxurious hotel rooms offer breathtaking views of dramatic landscapes and crystal clear beach waters. In the morning, enjoy a refreshing swim and a meditation practice before sitting down to a delicious breakfast made with seasonal Mediterranean vegetables and fruits.

Vinyasa flow or movement meditation will be offered to help awaken the ancient energies of the god/goddess within you as you gain more clarity on what it is you want to dedicate yourself to embodying or manifesting throughout the rest of the year. On the last evening of the retreat, a healing energy clearing ceremony will be held to help send you off on your journey back home.

This beautiful Greek yoga retreat includes all of the following amenities:

  • Three daily meals a day consisting of fresh, organic, local foods
  • Daily open level vinyasa yoga sessions
  • Daily meditation sessions (movement meditation included)
  • Daily journal sessions
  • Free use of spa facilities including sauna, hammam, jacuzzi, indoor heated sea water swimming pool, fitness center, and more
  • Optional activities including Swedish massage, island tours, herbal tours, cooking classes, hiking, wine tasting, Greek dance lessons, and more
  • Free Wi-Fi internet access
  • Air-conditioning
  • Transportation to and from the airport, including boat transportation to and from the island

As our retreat winner, you’ll join fitness and yoga ambassadors Nikki Baksh and Amy Danielson at the Aegialis Hotel and Spa this June 16th through to the 22nd for a truly rejuvenating experience unlike any other. This is your chance to get deeply in touch with your divine energies so you can really nurture your being.

Tapping into your highest, truest, most authentic self in a remarkable place like Greece will undoubtedly serve your growth for years and years to come. If you’d like to enter for your chance to win this retreat, click the link below to find out what you need to do next!

Click to Learn How to Win This Retreat >