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Want more advice and news on decadent living in healthy ways? Check out these Angelic Indulgence columns, published in The Sunday Paper.

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On TBS Movie and Makeover, AI Editor, Angela Braden, discusses using essential oils to beat stress and prevent depression. Peak inside a decadent life.

Angela Braden on TBS Movie and a Makeover

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If you’re seeing more green these days and wondering how you can help to minimize your own carbon footprint, you are in for an unexpected treat. The indulgent rewards of going green are physical, mental and, individual. Studies have found that people who see the larger picture in life and engage in group involvement to improve that picture actually boost their own wellbeing and longevity in the process. Going green isn’t only about the greater good. As environmental concerns shift from mere political rhetoric to very impassioned movements, the magical fringe benefit of doing good is icing on the cake of a green lifestyle.

A wide body of research suggests that being involved in something larger than ourselves; a group, an organization—a breeze through the house turning off lights and TVs—directly impacts our own health. Greener living may conveniently translate very literally into healthier living (and longer living) for the individual who indulges in it.
As our Earth-friendly efforts improve the community and the future health of our children, it can improve the very functioning of our bodies at the same time.
How? A few physical and mental health factors that are affected include: improved self-esteem, which translates to more motivation in many lifestyle elements, like exercise and nutrition; reduced heart rates and blood pressure, biomarkers of aging; increased endorphin production, which is also linked to longevity; and enhanced immune systems, which means lower incidence of disease.

Doing “good” has real bio-chemical and hormonal benefits that translate into enhanced cellular function and activity. One reason is that simply making a difference and improving a cause makes us feel good! And feeling good literally translates into vitality, invigorating us at the cellular level. Feel good activities, like helping the Earth safeguard its future, also buffers the impact of stress (a major health hazard) and combats social isolation, two factors that influence life expectancy.

So make a difference in ways that are meaningful to you and enjoy the results of the change you help to bring about. [Joy itself releases enzymes associated with anti-aging] It may be as simple as turning off the lights or computer monitor when you leave the room, buying “fair trade” and fresh foods from local markets, or doing a community green project like a neighborhood clean up. A home energy audit. is a great start, but the opportunities are endless. Now is the time to indulge on so many levels. By getting up, getting out, and going green you are helping to make a lasting positive difference in your health, in your community, and in the world! For more green ideas visit Think Earth Day 365.

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Happy Cells

When two-time Pulitzer nominee and former science reporter for The New York Times, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D, took an in-depth look into the neurology behind our human connection, he found, “We are wired to connect; the brain itself is social and as a result, the more important the relationship or interaction the greater impact on our health”.

In his new book, Social Intelligence (Bantam), Goleman tells us that Biology backs this up. When we experience positive interactions our brain secretes serotonin, the “feel good hormone”, as well as oxytocin, which encorages feelings of love and attachment and boosts the the immune system. These hormones also produce feelings of calm, peace and wellbeing, while significantly decreasing stress hormones. All of this means happy cells that function better.

Supporting Sources

· Volunteer for the Health of It, Etobicoke, Ontario: Volunteer Ontario

· The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks & Peggy Payne

· Peer Counseling Perspectives, April 2003 Survival News, Mary Lynn Hemphill, “Volunteer For Your Health”

· Dr. James House of the University of Michigan; group study

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