By Shannon Pulusan
The air may be cooler during this time of year, but the winter winds carry many different fragrances. There is the aroma of scented pine cones, fresh evergreens and seasonal spices. There are the lingering scents of home cooking and freshly baked goods. To some, these winter scents transport them to fond memories of holiday celebration and warmth. Others may associate certain smells to an unpleasant experience—remember the time when so-and-so had too much eggnog?
Though the way we process certain sensations varies from person to person, scents are strongly associated with certain habits. As we approach the holiday season, be aware of how certain scents affect you, especially your shopping habits.
Here are a few seasonal scents that fill the December air:
Sleep-friendly scents for hibernation. The sweet scents of vanilla, chamomile, lavender and jasmine can lull the restless to sleep. These scents soothe the senses and relax the body before rolling over to bed.
The smell of losing money. Naturally, we are attracted to what smells good. If an item carries a pleasant scent, a shopper is more likely to purchase it. Take that same item and give it a neutral scent, and the allure would dwindle down.
The fragrance for sweet dreams. Flowery scents may guide you through sweet dreams during rest and prevent nightmares.
Coffee bean aroma. Sitting in a coffee shop almost guarantees a jolt of alertness. The smell of peppermint has a similar affect as it stimulates and revives our awareness.
Image courtesy of [amenic181] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Shannon Pulusan
During the winter months we tend to forget who we are and follow the ways of a bear—always hungry and ready to hibernate. With a line-up of holiday feasts, complete with crowded tables of steaming dishes and overflowing plates, we allow ourselves to indulge for the occasion. Though portion sizes are difficult to control when your family chefs prepare your favorites, there are some benefits to seasonal ingredients beyond their great taste.
So before you put off healthy eating for next year’s resolution, consider the healthy qualities of some holiday favorites.
Cinnamon: This ingredient sprinkled on pastries serves as an anti-inflammatory spice that strengthens the immune system and lowers blood pressure.
Ginger: The ingredient that is the very foundation of a gingerbread home’s flavor also serves as an anti-inflammatory that lowers blood pressure up to four hours.
Cranberries: This super berry is full of health-promoting antioxidants.
Photo courtesy James Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Shannon Pulusan
With the holiday season among us, time is of the essence to mark off last-minute shopping and errands before the end of the year. E-cards of season’s greetings take only seconds to send and cost absolutely nothing compared to postage. An electronic notification for a holiday gathering receives quicker responses than traditionally delivered invitations. And there are websites where you can upload a typed letter to Santa instantly.
Instead of busting out an e-mail on your keyboard, consider the many benefits of composing handwritten letters and notes. Here are some reasons why you may want to write Santa a letter the old-fashioned way.
- Expressive. As children scribble their wish-lists on stationary, write a personal message in addition to Hallmark’s default memo. The simple gesture of placing pen on paper may result in something more meaningful and thoughtful than a standard holiday greeting.
- Better for learning. Writing notes by hand helps you retain new information. Though a electronic list on a smartphone may seem more convenient, jotting down notes is more tangible and helps improve memory.
- Exercises brain. The act of writing engages motor skills and memory; it keeps the mind active.
- Improves writing skills. Novelist Truman Capote insisted on handwriting his first drafts and revisions before typing his final manuscript. Other writers follow the same habit of writing by hand to get a better sense of their composition. Studies have shown that those who handwrite their essays are more articulate with words. They write faster and in more complete sentences than those devoted to the keyboard method.
- Less distractions. Hand-writing letters can keep you focused on your message. Without the distraction of tabs on a web browser or the flood of updates on a newsfeed, writing a letter is a retreat from all the noise.
- Mental balance. Expressive writing can be a personal catharsis. A release of negative emotions or an exploration of the imagination could benefit psychological health. Hand-writing such thoughts keeps an individual balanced and fulfilled with something tangible.
Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos.