Salt, Sugar, and Your Mood During The Holidays

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A sprinkle of salt here and a dash of sugar there… it sounds like a pretty common scenario, especially around the holiday season!

Do you find yourself adding a few spoonfuls of sugar to your morning coffee?

How about a dash or two of salt to season your holiday dinner? Add to that the existing sugar and salt in processed foods and you have a recipe for both physical and emotional health problems.

The physical complications of exces\s salt and sugar in your diet are rather well known. Too much salt, or sodium chloride, may put yourself at risk for health complications like heart disease and diabetes whereas excess sugar intake could lead to obesity. As if that weren’t bad enough, sugar and salt can also affect your mood in a negative way.

Sugar & Your Brain

Did you know that your brain uses more energy than any other organ in the human body and glucose is its primary source of fuel?

But, in the case of sugar, there is such a thing as too much. In fact, excess sugar impairs both your cognitive skills and sometimes self-control. For many people, having a little sugar triggers cravings for more. T

Sugar can actually have a drug-like effect on your brain.

In fact, science tells us that sweet, salty, and fatty foods can stimulate the reward center in our brains which creates a downward spiral of overeating, weight gain, and loss of self-control…just like any other addiction. Our bodies can adapt to crave these elements

The Effects of Inflammation On Your Mood

Both excess sugar and salt can lead to inflammation. You can start to feel bad physically and mentally. Inflammation from high sugar consumption can affect your memory and cognitive skills.

Furthermore, inflammation can have a tremendous impact on your mood. Sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression in many studies.

The good news is you can still enjoy the holiday season (and all the delicious
meals that come with it) if you fuel your mind and body with healthy foods.

Remember, an indulgence here or there isn’t the real problem. Take note of the refined sugars and overly processed foods you find in your daily diet and get a healthy jumpstart to 2020.

3 Healthy Tips That Can End The Social Media Scroll

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Do you find yourself scrolling your newsfeed mindlessly before realizing that you had no intention of even being on your phone?

You aren’t alone.

Current studies show that we are becoming addicted to the ‘scroll.’ Even the ex-president of Facebook, Sean Parker referenced the ‘thought process that went into building these applications like Facebook…was all about, ‘how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’

This world of comparing likes and comments can be detrimental if we let it consume all our attention and if it starts to impact our self-identity. So, how can we manage our scrolling before it manages us? Let’s talk.

Set boundaries around social media use.

Establish certain times when you check your social media accounts and certain times when you don’t. If social media, is your first outlet when you wake up and last outlet when you go to bed, assess whether it is impacting your mood. Are you starting your day already comparing yourself in a negative way to others? If you aren’t, is it helpful for you? If it is helpful, set a timer for yourself to create that structure. That way it puts you in the driver’s seat to manage your time effectively.

Create positivity in your newsfeed.

Make a conscious effort to really assess what you are viewing in your newsfeed. Are you watching/reading about uplifting things that bring you joy or is it the opposite? Think about following organizations that are important to you and maybe unfriending those ‘friends’ who are always negative. Of course, it’s not realistic that everything will be positive in your newsfeed, but if you are finding that more is negative than positive, that might help you assess the proper balance.

Engage in other activities.

Whenever you shift time from one activity, it’s important to find healthy replacement activities. If you are on social media less, what else can fill your time? Maybe there is a book you’ve wanted to start or a work out routine you know would boost your mood. Other activity options could be listening to music/podcasts or catching up with a friend. If you want to add a mindfulness activity, consider starting a daily meditation such as Headspace or Abide, if you are interested in a faith-based meditation.

These tips can help you take control of your social media scrolling but sometimes you need more balance. Give us a call if you’re interested in learning more about establishing healthy balance in your life and incorporating mindfulness into your routine

Renee Pugh, LCSW

5 Surprisingly Easy Tips for Better Mental Wellness

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There’s no shortage of information out there on ways to take care of your physical health, but many often overlook the importance of mental wellness. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Here are 5 easy tips you can incorporate into your daily routine for better mental wellness.

Take care of your body.

Physical and mental wellness go hand-in-hand. There are so many proven ways exercise helps promote overall wellness. Aim for even a short walk each day. Eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated and incorporate some form of physical activity into your daily routine.

Set realistic goals.

Perfectionism is dangerous and unhealthy. It’s OK to aim high and have goals in life but don’t overdo it! Pushing yourself too hard (physically and mentally) can lead to burnout. Realistic goals will help you feel a great sense of achievement which is wonderful for your confidence and wellbeing.

Build a good support system.

Surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Strong family and/or social connections are often a great system of support. Be open and discuss your thoughts, feelings and goals with your group so they can be there for you in good times and in bad.

Manage stress.

Let’s face it, stress is a normal part of life. It’s all about how you manage it. Develop a variety of calming techniques. We recommend meditation and practicing mindfulness. Try to take mental breaks throughout the day to reflect on the present moment and combat anxiety.

Above all, seek help.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. — 43.8 million, or 18.5 percent — experiences mental illness in a given year. It’s time to end the stigma surrounding mental health and work to normalize the conversation. It’s OK to seek help for stress, anxiety, depression, relationship problems etc.

At Foundations Family Therapy, we’re here to walk along side of you in the struggle, to help you connect, grow, and change. We provide superior services using evidence based practices. Let us help you be your best self today!