Monthly Archives: August 2013

Cultivating Happiness

Happiness Strategy # 1: Don’t Worry, Choose Happy

The first step is to make a conscious choice to boost your happiness.  

In short, we may be born with a happiness “set point,” as Lykken calls it but the good news is that we are not stuck there. Happiness also depends on how we manage our emotions and our relationships with others. Jon Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis, teaches positive psychology. He actually assigns his students to make themselves happier during the semester. “They have to say exactly what technique they will use,” says Haidt, a professor at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. “They may choose to be more forgiving or more grateful. They may learn to identify negative thoughts so they can challenge them. For example, when someone crosses you, in your mind you build a case against that person, but that’s very damaging to relationships. So they may learn to shut up their inner lawyer and stop building these cases against people.”

Once you’ve made the decision to be happier you can choose strategies for achieving happiness. Psychologists who study happiness tend to agree on ones like these.

 

Happiness Strategy #2: Cultivate Gratitude

In his book, Authentic Happiness, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman encourages readers to perform a daily “gratitude exercise.” It involves listing a few things that make them grateful. This shifts people away from bitterness and despair, he says, and promotes happiness. When you are able to find the gratitude in the smallest things big shifts start to happen. Don’t believe me? Try coming up with 5 gratefuls everyday.

Happiness Strategy #3: Remember, Money Can’t Buy Happinesshug

Research shows that once income climbs above the poverty level, more money brings very little extra happiness. Yet, “we keep assuming that because things aren’t bringing us happiness, they’re the wrong things, rather than recognizing that the pursuit itself is futile,” writes Daniel Gilbert in his book, Stumbling on Happiness. “Regardless of what we achieve in the pursuit of stuff, it’s never going to bring about an enduring state of happiness.” Things might provide a temporary blip of short term euphoria but it’s not one that will last for the long haul.

 Happiness Strategy #4: Foster Friendship

There are few better antidotes to unhappiness than close friendships with people who care about you, says David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness. One Australian study found that people over 70 who had the strongest network of friends lived much longer.

“Sadly, our increasingly individualistic society suffers from impoverished social connections, which some psychologists believe is a cause of today’s epidemic levels of depression,” Myers writes. “The social ties that bind also provide support in difficult times.”

 Happiness Strategy #5: Engage in Meaningful Activities

People are seldom happier, says psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, than when they’re in the “flow.” This is a state in which your mind becomes thoroughly absorbed in a meaningful task that challenges your abilities. Yet, he has found that the most common leisure time activity — watching TV — produces some of the lowest levels of happiness.

To get more out of life, we need to put more into it, says Csikszentmihalyi. “Active leisure that helps a person grow does not come easily,” he writes in Finding Flow. “Each of the flow-producing activities requires an initial investment of attention before it begins to be enjoyable.”

So it turns out that happiness can be a matter of choice — not just luck. Some people are lucky enough to possess genes that foster happiness. However, certain thought patterns and interpersonal skills definitely help people become an “epicure of experience,” says David Lykken, whose name, in Norwegian, means “the happiness.” (From Web MD)

 So, how are you going to take this information and transfer it into your own life?

Be Happy,

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Get your engines moving!

Digestive health can be easily changed with simple lifestyle adjustments.

Do you have constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea or heartburn?

If you answered yes to any of the above mentioned troubles there are simple ways to start changing how you are feeling.

15 Simple Steps:

1. More fruit and vegetables, less red meat.fruit

2. More whole foods, less processed foods.
3. Drink freshly squeezed lemons in spring or filtered water. This is alkalizing and helps to clean the stomach of any residual debris.
4. Do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Listen to your body.
5. Eat more fiber (#1)
6. Skip the NSAID’s/non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Regular use of these drugs can cause peptic ulcers in the digestive tract.
7. Be careful of use and overuse of other drugs that create digestive problems. Too many antibiotics can strip your gut of good bacteria and you can end up with c-difficile.
8. Don’t overeat.
9. Use essential oils to promote better digestion.
10. Drink your liquids before and after meals, not during.
11. Take your time and really chew-chew-chew. Your body can use energy for other things if you chew your food instead of relying on acid and enzymes.
12. Eat slower so you do not swallow a lot of air while you eat.
13. Do all of the above and skip the laxatives, as your body becomes reliant on them and they are habit forming.
14. Smoking and drinking can cause ulcers and heartburn.
15. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a specialist (gastroenterologist). You may want to get a referral from a friend or relative. Remember that they are there to diagnose and treat, prevention lies in your hands.

Cheers,

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SOURCES:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peptic-ulcer/ds00242/dsection=causes
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2010/June/clostridium-difficile-an-intestinal-infection-on-the-rise
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/constipation/#what

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I like to move it! move it!

exercise3You need to exercise. I need to exercise. I moved ahead to write this blog because I  struggle with myself when I am working on too many exciting things it’s difficult to fit in time for exercise and fitness. The problem is, once you quit moving so do our endorphins and it gets a little depressing.

Here are a few tips to get you moving:

#1 Make time…no matter how busy…make the time!

We think we don’t have time but actually we do. I have found in my experience, the more time I make to move my body the more time I have in the day. Funny how that works! I think it is because I have more energy and I am sure that endorphins have something to do with it as well. The truth is, the more you move, the more active you become!
#2 Find something you love to do!

You need to do something you love. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as you do it. I love to strength train and I love to walk. I know it sounds funny, but I get a thrill being able to lift those weights and I love how it makes me look.
You may love running. I have not learned to love it and I know it isn’t that easy I just don’t enjoy it. It is very good for you. Walking may be your thing! There is nothing like getting out and getting a little fresh air and moving your limbs. I like walking in my neighborhood where I can wave at the neighbors and feel connected which is like getting a double whammy of healthy!
#3 Pair it with something you love!

You can even do things you don’t love to do. However, these are the hardest. That is why you need to pair it up with something you do love to do. I know some of you who are reading this know what I mean. The thing that I am trying to say, is that if you choose something you don’t like to do and have a higher purpose you reach new heights of satisfaction you would never have known otherwise.
Experiment and find what is right for you. Some people like to play. If that is you then join a basketball team or perhaps a volleyball team. Sometimes if you pair it with being social then it doesn’t feel like exercise. Dance is exercise too! Pair it with romance!
#4 Clarify what you want to achieve

Do you want to lose weight, de-stress, build strength, improve your golf game, rebuild your knees? If you need to get to the grocery store, you have 3 choices, walk, ride your bike or drive. If you want to rebuild your knees, you are not going to pick lunges well that just doesn’t make sense. If you can’t figure it out, don’t be afraid to hire a professional trainer. They have been taught to know the things that you do not. They know what you can do that will best achieve your goals. You can hire them for one visit to make a plan or you can hire them for a few to show you how or long term to build on your success.

#5 Make an appointment with yourself for exercise

Schedule it into your day. The reason I say this is because, if you show up you will do it.

What’s your favorite type of exercise?  Please share….

Be Fit,

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GET MORE free healthy recipes, motivation to get you moving + expert wellness tips by clicking here.

Reading Food Labels 101

If it has a label then don’t eat it! I won’t stop there but it is about that simple.  Processed foods are not whole foods.  The longer the list of ingredients, the further you should stay away.

These are some of the words that should send you running:

Artificial  (anything)
High fructose corn syrup
Artificial sweeteners
Ammonium sulfate
Carminic acid (crushed bug parts)
Sodium benzoate
Ammonium sulfate (fertilizer)
Refined grains
Shellac (more bug parts)
Castoreum (beaver anal glands)
Gum base (from sheep)
L-cystine (hair or duck feathers)
MSG
Olestra
LOW FAT
Sugar (there are about 400 different names for sugar…that is a whole other blog!)
Bleached white flour
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil / Hydrogenated Soybean Oil

Things you should eat:

Almost anything in the produce section!  Whole Foods!

Be Healthy,

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GET MORE free healthy recipes, motivation to get you moving + expert wellness tips by clicking here.