How many of these simple pleasures have you experienced lately? Walking barefoot in the grass...Taking a bubble bath...Singing in the shower...Grinding your own coffee beans...Getting up in time to watch the sunrise (not just on vacation, but in your backyard) and Making time to watch the sunset...Indulging in some fantastic dark chocolate...Buying some or making your own homemade strawberry shortcake or a hot fudge sundae or fresh whipped cream on top on sweet & juicy Driscoll strawberries...Walking in the warm, Spring rain...Being really lazy on a Sunday...Doing a good deed for someone you don't know...Smiling at a stranger...Meditating... Driving to the ocean...Having a massage...Walking down the street with a jar of bubble solution....Digging your fingers into the soil of a plant you re-potted. Planting your favorite, fragrant flowering plant (peonies are mine and I can't wait until they bloom). This is my list and I challenge you to make your own. And not to just write the list, but to do them, as well. Simple pleasures doesn't have to be expensive; they may not cost anything at all. However, they will reduce anxiety and increase joy.
We all believe that warm milk promotes sleepiness because of the tryptophan contained in the milk. Tryptophan, the sleep-inducing amino acid, is found in our Thanksgiving turkey and in milk, and thought to have a sedative effect. However, if you're going to rely on a glass of warm milk to act as a sleep-aid, it is best to pair it with some type of carb, e.g., crackers, bread, etc. The high-carb snack will cause your insulin level to go up, which in turn, will act as a catalyst for the tryptophan to cross the "blood-brain barrier."
If you swear by warm milk as a sleep aid, studies reveal that warm milk does have a calming influence. The milk, without the carbs, however, is more likely just a placebo effect.
Silber BY and Schmitt JA. Effects of tryptophan loading on human cognition, mood, and sleep. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2010;34(3):387-407.
Wurtman RJ et al.Effects of normal meals rich in carbohydrates or proteins on plasma tryptophan and tyrosine ratios. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77(1):128-32.
Research from Tufts University Hospital have found that folic acid (a B vitamin) supplementation will help people suffering with depression. Folic acid deficiency leads to lower levels of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) in the brain. Some people take SAM-e to help them with their mood. A very simplistic explanation as to how this works is that the folate or Folic Acid produces more dopamine in your body. Dopamine is a pleasure-boosting brain chemical. It also produces GABA, which is a relaxing neurotransmitter that acts like Valium. Note: Depression is a serious condition that requires careful, ongoing treatment with talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. The research looking into folic acid and depression is still emerging. It may be reasonable to ask your doctor about folic acid since it may be helpful when taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Also, the cost of this vitamin is low. Foods that are rich in Folic Acid are: Fortified Breakfast Cereals, Spinach, Chick Peas, Pinto Beans, Lima Beans, Papaya and Avocado.