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#neurologic

Guide to Breaking Bad Habits

Fast food consisting of burger, fries and juice laying on a red plate

Everyone has habits, whether good or bad. Many people focus on forming new habits like exercising and reading. However, to form new habits, old habits may need to be broken. Here is your guide to breaking bad habits. With hard work and determination, you can break your bad habits and focus on ways to live healthier and happier.

How bad habits are formed

Many bad habits are formed by chemicals in the brain. Things like smoking, drinking, texting, or scrolling through social media all trigger endorphins that make us feel happy for the moment. Even eating processed foods like fast food, soda, and pastries have this same effect. The problem, however, is that the feelings are temporary. You may feel happy at the moment because it feels or tastes good. However, once you have finished eating, drinking, smoking, etc. the negative effects can be felt as well. Almost every bad habit also has a trigger. Whether it is money, stress, and emotions, being around certain people, etc., you need to discover what these triggers are.

Don’t set yourself up for failure

A list of goals to check off

If you have a bad habit that you want to break, you need to start small. Trying to tackle too much at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This can quickly lead to you losing the motivation you once had to break your bad habit. One way to avoid this is to break your goal up into smaller goals. These goals should be ones that you know you cannot fail. It can even be as simple as just getting a small soda instead of a large with each lunch. Your goals can even be smaller or larger than this goal. The key is to know yourself and know what you are capable of. These goals may seem small compared to your long-term goal. However, each small goal accomplished leads you closer to your big goal.

To some, these little daily goals may seem pointless, but doing them will still leave you closer to breaking your bad habit than you would have been otherwise. Another way to help break your bad habits is to get things ready beforehand. Set a timer for yourself before logging into social media. Lay exercise clothes out or something for another activity to remind you to stay off the T.V. Another helpful tactic is to get clothes and lunches ready the night before to prevent you from running late to work once again. These are great ways to help yourself do what you need to do to break these habits and split up the work.

Related: Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise

Reward yourself

The last tip in our guide to breaking bad habits is to reward yourself. Like mentioned earlier, a lot of bad habits like fast food and smoking, have their way of rewarding the mind. This can make it difficult to stay away from these things when it does not feel quite so rewarding. One way to help is to find other ways to reward yourself when you have accomplished your goals. Take a fun cooking class once you have cut out processed food or go see a movie with friends after limiting your T.V. time for a month. Whatever your goals, take the time to create a plan and dedicate yourself to executing it. The rewards are endless and far outweigh the effects of bad habits.

Sources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-wise/201904/the-science-habits

#neurologic

Healthy Habits for Your Hair

Curly woman in white shirt looking ahead

Healthy hair is something almost everyone strives for. While genetics do play a large role in the way our hair looks and feels, there are other things you can do as well. Here are some healthy habits for your hair to make part of your daily routine.

Wear hats in the sunlight

While sunlight is good for your body, too much can cause damage to your skin. The same is true for your hair. When planning to be out in the sun for prolonged periods, it is best to wear a hat to protect your hair. Signs your hair has been damaged by the sun include dryness, brittle strands, and even hair that has changed in color.

Brush your hair before you shower

After showering, wet hair can become more brittle. That is why it is important to be careful with it before it dries. Brushing out knots before showering or waiting until it dries can help. When you do brush your hair out, be sure to start brushing it from the bottom while holding it at the top. Once knots at the bottom are out, slowly work your way up to the top of your head with the brush.

Trim dead ends

Over time, the ends of the hair can become damaged. This is especially true if you dye it often, put heat on it, swim in chlorine, or even wash it too often. If hair becomes damaged at the ends, it may be time for a trim. If you are trying to grow your hair out, then try to avoid things that will cause this damage. Let your hair air dry after showering, wear a cap when swimming, and have your hair dyed using professional dye rather than box dye. One thing many people may not realize is that you also should not wash your hair every day. Only wash it every other day at most.

Get enough biotin

long healthy hair

Biotin is a B vitamin and is known to be one of the best vitamins for healthy hair. Some foods that contain biotin are eggs, spinach, plain yogurt, almonds, sweet potatoes, salmon, and pork chops. For hair growth, many people also take biotin supplements. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, so once your body gets all it needs, it flushes out any excess. This makes it easier to take without worrying too much about a vitamin overdose. Liquid Health’s Skin Rescue + Renew is a great option for a biotin supplement. Not only is it great for your hair, but for your skin as well.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Most importantly, you should make eating a well-balanced diet one of the most important healthy habits for your hair. Your hair needs other vitamins like vitamin A for hair growth, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Many people may struggle to get these vital nutrients every day, so supplementing them is an option many people choose. Multivitamins are great for helping make up for whatever your prepared meals are lacking.

Sources

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/

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Healthy Habits We Should Adopt from Our Pets!

Happy dog laying on a pair of jeans

Even though our pets may not be able to talk to us, that doesn’t mean they don’t have things to teach us! Things that are good (or bad) for pets can also be good (or bad) for us – so let’s look at a few of these practices we would be wise to copy from our four-legged friends!

Forget Multitasking
Our pets don’t multitask. When we’re playing catch with them they are 100% focused on the ball. We, on the other hand, think it’s advantageous to talk on the phone, while checking our email, while watching TV. According to cnn.com “newly released results of scientific studies in multitasking indicate that carrying on several duties at once may, in fact, reduce productivity, not increase it.”

Take Naps
Has your pet ever gone an entire day without taking a nap? It’s doubtful, and for good reason. Healthcentral.net states “Studies show that taking a nap is a great way to increase alertness and reaction times, improve mood, and reduce accidents.”

Walk Every Day
A daily walk is good for pets and it’s also good for us. Getting exercise daily not only helps us lose weight, but according to WebMD.com other benefits of regular walking include: fighting depression, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes, keeping your mind sharp, and it keeps your bones strong.

Drink Water When You’re Thirsty
Have you ever seen your pet gulp down a sports drink or an energy shot while out playing? No, because these things aren’t good for pets! Likewise, neither of these things is as good for us as plain old water! Our bodies are approximately 60% water, according to Anatomy & Physiology for Nurses, so of course it would stand to reason that we’d benefit from drinking more of it when we’re exerting ourselves.

Eat Fish
Cats know what’s good for them! Fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to be good for your heart. Mayo Clinic recommends “fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit, but many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Play
From the National Institute for Play website: “Anyone who has ever tossed a Frisbee to a beloved dog knows that playfulness crosses species lines. What does this mean? For humans and other animals, play is a universal training course and language of trust. The belief that one is safe with another being or in any situation is formed over time during regular play. Trust is the basis of intimacy, cooperation, creativity, successful work, and more.”

Make Time to Groom
Our feline friends are known to take extensive time to groom and clean themselves, should we do the same? Aside from the cleanliness of it all, personal hygiene can have an effect on your work and personal life. Livestrong.com states: “Maintaining a professional appearance gives you a confidence boost and demonstrates to your supervisors that you are serious about your job.”

Stretch Often
Healthguidance.org lists a few benefits of regular stretching, including: an increase in circulation, reduction in stress and fatigue, it serves as a warm up before physical activity, and it can protect you from aches. The website also states: “Stretching regularly helps to relieve the tension within the muscles.”

Seek Out Shade
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog lying outside tanning. Sure they like the run in the sun for periods of time, but they always take a break in whatever shade is available to them. We would be wise to do the same. Always wear sun block when heading outside and consider a hat or umbrella if you’ll be out for an extended period of time with no shade available.

Stick to a Schedule
Your pet doesn’t know the difference between a Saturday and a Wednesday, and neither does your body’s internal clock. This is why it’s beneficial to try and stick to a bit of a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time, even eating at the same time, can keep your body in a good rhythm, which can lead to better quality sleep.

Thanks to WebMD.com for this list! I found some additional references for each of the suggestions and added my own remarks. So, in conclusion, our pets can not only be good friends and companions, they can also be good examples of healthy conduct we should implement in our own lives!

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Fast food consisting of burger, fries and juice laying on a red plate

Guide to Breaking Bad Habits

Two women in white doing push-ups, smiling and touching right hands

Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise

Curly woman in white shirt looking ahead

Healthy Habits for Your Hair

Man in a cozy room looking at a tv and relaxing

Worst Habits for Your Mind

Happy dog laying on a pair of jeans

Healthy Habits We Should Adopt from Our Pets!

Regardless of age, gender, or profession, everyone depends on the brain. It allows us to learn new things, warns us of danger, helps us figure out solutions to problems. Unfortunately, cognitive function is susceptible to decline with age, and also in times of physical and mental stress. Proper nutrition can ensure your brain is operating at peak performance, despite these factors.

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Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise

Two women in white doing push-ups, smiling and touching right hands

February is the month that many people begin to start slacking off on their New Year’s resolutions. Life gets busy and people lose motivation. Almost every year the most common thing many people want to improve is fitness. Many people might wonder, how do I stay motivated? Here are some tips for staying motivated to exercise. Maybe you will beat the odds and continue striving towards your fitness goals past February.

Why it is important

quote on a wall for motivation

First off, let’s talk about why exercise is important. As time has gone on, exercise and physical activity have become less common in the world. This is mostly due to the increase in technology. Nowadays, most people spend their time sitting in chairs at desks or on a couch. While technology is incredible and has made some great things possible, it also has its disadvantages. Elevators have replaced stairs, among other things. While there have been many medical advancements, exercise has been deemed one of the best preventative measures we can take for our health.

Related: How to stay in Shape When You Work a Desk Job

Start with small goals

One of the best tips for staying motivated to exercise is to start small. People are easily overwhelmed when they have a huge goal in front of them that they are so far from accomplishing. Instead, break your goal up into smaller goals. Don’t focus so much on the 40 pounds you are trying to lose or the six-pack. Focus on getting in a 15-minute walk every day for a week or a month. Once you start checking these little goals off your list, you will eventually end up with this big goal you have accomplished.

Make it a competition

One thing that motivates people is competition. People are usually willing to work harder when they know they are competing against others. You can even include prizes! This can either be bragging rights or a fun prize everyone pitched in for. Just remember to keep it friendly.

Exercise with friends

Exercising with friends is another great way to stay motivated to exercise. It is harder to slack off when you have someone else holding you accountable. Sometimes exercise can get boring after a while. However, having a friend to exercise with can also make it more fun and exciting.

Reward yourself

If you do not have a group to exercise or compete with, you can compete with yourself. Is there something you have been wanting like a new pair of shoes or a fun trip? Work for it! Write down your goals and the rewards you are working towards and give yourself a time frame. If you can accomplish your goals, then reward yourself with the prize you recorded. If you do not, re-evaluate, set new goals, and work towards that reward.

In the end, it really all depends on what works for you and motivates you to keep exercising. While some people may thrive off competition or working-out with friends, others may feel discouraged. Especially if they are not seeing the same results. Exercise at your own pace, but be sure to stick to it and don’t give up. You’ve got this!

Sources

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/how-much-exercise-do-you-need

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Worst Habits for Your Mind

Man in a cozy room looking at a tv and relaxing

In recent years, more time and research has been spent on learning how to take care of our minds and mental health. Different studies have discovered the effects that certain activities or the lack of certain nutrients can have on our minds. Here are some of the worst habits for your mind.

Spending too much time alone

A man sitting alone

One of the worst habits for your mind is too much time alone. Humans are designed to spend time with others. It is built into our DNA. Without enough social interaction, the mind can suffer. This is not to say that alone time is not good for you. There are plenty of benefits to spending some time alone. Alone time can be beneficial when we are trying to focus on a project, think creatively, or even when we just need to recharge. However, too much time alone is damaging. Our minds begin to become self-critical and we can begin to feel extreme loneliness and even sadness. Finding the right balance can help keep our minds be healthy and happy.

Multitasking

Recent studies discovered that multitasking does more harm than good. One study even found a 15-point decrease in IQ in people who spent time multitasking. They put adults through a series of tasks to test memory and their ability to focus. The results were not great for those who were multitaskers. Now we know that your mind should focus on one task at a time. If you are working on a presentation or an English paper, keep away other distractions. This includes watching T.V., listening to music, or even switching from one task to the next.

Not enough sunlight

Sunlight is needed for vitamin D, which in turn can affect our minds and how we feel. Not only that, but research has discovered that vitamin D can even help protect adults from a decline in cognitive function. Spending 10-15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen each day can help your body get the vitamin D it needs. Taking vitamin D supplements is also a great option for those who work indoors all day.

Watching certain T.V. shows

While the research on this topic is limited, scientists do know that sitting on the couch watching TV is not good for you. A lot of it depends on what you watch, how you watch it, and how often. Watching a documentary while you work out for an hour will most likely be very beneficial. However, binge-watching a reality show by yourself for four hours on your couch will not be. While research has shown that people who watch more T.V. have less healthy brains, it is hard to know if it is directly linked to the T.V., the lack of social interaction, or the lack of physical activity.

Not enough sleep

Another bad habit for your mind is not getting enough sleep. When we do not get enough sleep, our minds suffer. It suddenly becomes more difficult to stay alert and focus on work and other day-to-day tasks. Not only that, but not getting enough sleep can also affect your short-term memory. For some tips to help you sleep, read the article, “Bedtime Routines for a Better Night’s Sleep“.

Sources

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/does-watching-television-affect-your-brain

https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/how-social-isolation-transforms-brain-82290