How Your Horoscope Can Impact Your Diet

astrologyI like to read my horoscope in the morning. It’s fun to see when it’s totally spot on, and when it’s way way off. You may have looked at your horoscope as a fun way to have a barometer of your day, and taken it with a grain of salt. You’d be in good company with nearly a third of all Americans who place serious weight in what the stars tell them. But now a new study indicates that people who are trying to lose weight may want to stay away from the astrology section of the newspaper (or astrology app as the case may be).

One study presented 180 people with a bad horoscope predicting a sub-par day, and then gave them the option to go to a party, or stay home and clean the house. The people who believed they could change the horoscope’s predictions were more likely to go to the party. Another study used the same scenario, but gave participants the option between a healthy snack and a chocolate granola bar. The people who thought they could change the stars went for the chocolate option. Reserachers believe the people chose to indulge after receiving new of a bad day to come to either pre-compensate for future negatives (as a coping mechanism). Or because by simply imagining that negative things were headed their way people depleted their willpower stocks trying to imagine how to turn things around, which made them more likely to choose the unhealthy option. Either way, if you’re watching what you eat this season, be extra vigilant if your horoscope predicts bad news that day.

Daydreaming Can Lead to Happiness

day dreamingDaydreaming is often equated with goofing off, and seen negatively as a waste of time that could be constructively used for paying attention in school or at work. However, a recent study (that I read about on The Intelligent Optimist) found that daydreaming actually has a useful outcome: improving mental well being.

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara tracked student moods over time to determine how the distraction of daydreaming impacted their feelings. A digital assistant asked them questions randomly throughout a week about how they felt, if they let their minds wander during the day, and if so, what they thought about.  They found that when people daydreamed, people instinctively felt a little bad about it. However, when they had interesting or creative thoughts while dreaming, the subjects had strong positive feelings. Previous studies have demonstrated that people become unhappy when they are unfocused on the current task, or having “off-task” thoughts. This is likely due to the negative reinforcement many receive for day dreaming. This study indicates that the feelings are dependent on the type of thoughts had, while day dreaming, and that creative, problem-solving musings can actually increase well being.

Monday Soundtrack

It’s a rare work day without a single meeting. When I encounter this lucky scenario, I cue up my soul pandora station, and plug away at my tasks to the tune of Etta James afternoon. It can make any work a breeze. Here are a few of my favorites.

I’d rather go blind

Purple Rain

All I Could Do Was Cry 

Take It to the Limit

Giving to Someone You Know Makes you Happier

giveLots of people volunteer, or donate to charities. This type of generous behavior usually comes from two interconnected motivations. First, there’s the desire to help others. Second, there’s the enjoyment that people experience when helping others by giving time or money freely. Yet, a new study has shown that certain ways of contributing to charities and non-profits will lead to greater happiness for the giver. People were most satisfied with their donation when it created a social connection, or was given to someone they know, rather than making an anonymous donation to a cause they support. It called to mind a post I read a while back on Yes and Yes, when she donated to Planned Parenthood online. While it was a cause she fully supported, contributing a significant sum of money to support them didn’t leave her basking in the warm glow of charity as she thought it might. It turns out that science is behind those lack luster feelings, and that because there was no social connection the positive enjoyment just wasn’t there. The researchers suggest that these new findings might impact how non-profits seek new donations using social networking, and they definitely impact you if you’re planning to do any donating. Give time face to face when you can meet and get to know the people you are helping, host a clothing swap party to give your friends old clothes you want to get rid of, or donate to your favorite charity through a friend who is doing a run for the cause, and you’ll feel happier while helping others.

Monday Reading

silverridgestudioMondays are tough! Especially in the summer when every day and weekend feels like vacation because of the soaring temps and long evenings packed full of fun. Over the past couple weeks, I have attended family barbecues, gone cherry picking, watched outdoor movies, spent time at the seaport for an outdoor music festival, engaged in some night skyline photography, and mini-golfed. Here’s what I’ve been reading in my downtime!

If Disney movies were honest with their titles. This hilarity would ensue.

Just in case you’re tempted to write an article overgeneralizing about millenials, maybe you should read this post first?

It can’t be true that guys hate every kind of comfortable shoes that ladies wear, right? Are only stilettos acceptable?

I wish I had discovered this hilarious (if full of profanity) recipe site sooner.

Facts about girls for guys.

Though I am a big fan of happy playlists to boost my mood, it turns out that sad songs might not make you sad.

Just another reason to go hard at the gym.

The 10 worst people on the subway. Personally, 4, 5, and 6 really drive me nuts.

Be more like Martha Stewart, just don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks.

I am so happy I discovered this and this delicious recipe.

I love pretty much all of the paintings in this etsy shop.

What have you been up to?

Write a Book, Stop Blogging?

ImageYou know what makes me really sad? When I find I blog that I really enjoy reading, that makes me laugh, and then the writer goes mysteriously MIA and stops posting. For a few days here and there, a week, a planned month-long hiatus, I can understand. We’re all human, and sometimes have life things that interfere with posting. But it’s not ok with me, when said writer completely stops posting, especially after having a book published. While writing the book? Sure. After? Not so much.

I’m looking at you Notes to My Future Husband and Hipster Puppies.

Maybe you made so much money writing the book, you’re out gallivanting around the world spending it. But your regular readers, who liked all your posts before you got your book deal miss you.