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Feeling Good About Guilty Pleasures

Feeling Good About Guilty Pleasures

Every so often we need a night on the couch with a TV marathon and a pint of ice cream. Guilty pleasures have their place, and it's time we admit it.

They often come in the form of things we eat or drink or in ways we occupy our minds (such as scrolling social media feeds). Indulgences vary from person to person, but too often we make the mistake of beating ourselves up over them.

There’s good news: guilty pleasures are necessary! They give our brains and bodies time to rest from doing the “right things.” Even calling them guilty pleasures is part of the problem. See these joyful moments for what they are: the perfect rechargers for tackling our responsibilities with more productivity than before.

You’ve Earned It

Let’s say you’re an avid runner who opts for an evening drinking wine and lazing in a hot bubble bath. Although that plan might be an exception to your busy lifestyle, don’t judge yourself for it. Especially since science is on your side. In moderation, red wine can provide antioxidants that may support heart health. And soaking in a hot bath offers similar upsides; a recent study says the act of getting in the tub regularly may lower risks of heart disease, stroke, and help you sleep better.

Binge-watching a funny show is another example of a common guilty pleasure with a real upside. Enjoying big laughs can be as beneficial as a mild workout. A night of comedy can stimulate vital organs and stop your body from releasing stress hormones in favor of those that promote immunity.

Perks of Pleasure

Remember that quarantine banana bread craze from a few months back? There’s more than one reason it was so popular. There are real benefits to the power of scents. Delicious smells trigger the same part of the brain that controls your emotions, so baking something sweet really can put you in a pleasant mood.

Other sweet treats such as dark chocolate with at least 72 percent cocoa provide flavonols that help reduce inflammation. It also makes you feel better by raising your brain’s serotonin levels. Don’t balk at the idea of savoring a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter either. The natural variety makes a healthy, protein-packed snack.

Craving a salty snack? Go for popcorn. It's fiber-rich and high in polyphenols, micronutrients with antioxidant properties, so allow yourself to crunch away guilt-free. 

Take the time to pamper yourself on occasion, and you'll be sure to find yourself more productive and more satisfied.

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