Sunday, March 6, 2022

Hype 👏🏽 It 👏🏽 Up!

A few weeks ago, I had planned ahead of time to go on a girls night out with my friend Cindy. I had been looking forward to it the whole week. That Friday morning, I started counting down the hours of work left before my weekend started and I we could have fun, and I did a little happy dance before I started working. The day was still packed with one thing after another at work, but I felt less stressed about it than I usually do.


A few days later, I was listening to a LinkedIn Learning audio course that mentioned that anticipating a good event releases dopamine (one of the happy chemicals our bodies can make) just like experiencing the good event does. (I can't remember which course it was so I could cite it.) That made me remember how happy I was anticipating catching up with my friend, having yummy food, and listening to good music. 

 

I have been worried for quite some time about my chronic stress and the health effects of all the cortisol constantly pumping through my body. I've tried to find ways to reduce stress, but most things I've tried don't seem to help me. After hearing how looking forward to something fun releases dopamine, I decided that I need to spend more time thinking about even the little things I have planned.

 

Since then, I’ve been getting happier about a warm day coming up, getting to go on a lunch walk, going out to a new restaurant with all three of my children, and a lecture I was attending. I’m spending a little bit of time envisioning me in that situation and what I like about it. I’ve felt like it has helped me be happier overall and even to enjoy the events more than I might have if I hadn’t deliberately been thinking about good things to look forward to. It hasn’t taken away my stressful situations, and it wasn’t something huge and magical, but I’ll take it.

 

From now on, I’m gonna choose to exaggerate the good and

 

Hype

   It

     Up!

 

Here are two of the articles related to this that I’ve read in case you’d like to read them:

 

Dopamine: More Than Pleasure, The Secret is the Anticipation of a Reward  (This one also talks about how music can help our brain produce more dopamine, which is interesting to read about too.)

 

Your Brain Needs a Party


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Peanut Butter Pie

I don't make this pie very often since I have a daughter with a peanut allergy, but I started making it a long time ago. Quick to make and the classic peanut butter and chocolate combination. I like to top it with Oreo pieces or chocolate chips to add some texture to the smooth pie, but you can choose your favorite garnishes. 

Peanut Butter Pie

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. powdered sugar 
1 (16-oz) tub whipped topping
1 9" prepared chocolate cookie crust (store-bought or use recipe below)

In large bowl, mix cream cheese and peanut butter until completely combined. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Fold in the whipped topping.

Pour mixture into crust. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Garnish as desired (whipped topping, Oreo crumbles, chocolate chips, chopped Reese’s Cups). 

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
24 Oreos
4 T. butter, melted

Place Oreos in food processor or blend. Grind until fine crumbs. Pour into bowl.

Pour melted butter on Oreo crumbs and mix well. Pour into pie pan. Press flat on bottom and up sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling.