Life's Challenges

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are. ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon, Singer/Composer

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are You Willing to Do This for One Day?

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front of you so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open - are you willing to do these things for even a day? 
—Caroline Kennedy, Author/Attorney

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Swimming: The Calorie Burner!

Get into your swimsuit and hit the pool. Swimming is a huge calorie burner and a great way to stay fit. See how many calories you can burn in an hour of swimming here: Health.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Only Dream Worth Having

"The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch."   Arundhati Roy, Novelist

Monday, June 27, 2011

Are You More Buzzed Than You Think?

This article might seem a bit lopsided since it indicates that women are more susceptible to getting buzzed quicker and staying that way longer than men. But there appears to be some solid evidence for it. All of us who have a drink now and then should use caution.  See the information here: Are You More Buzzed Than You Think?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Addicted to Standing Up

Sure, exercise is important, but how do you get moving and enjoy it?

Obesity: Sitting Isn't Pretty

Obese people sit an average of two and a half hours more a day than slim people. Daily activities are the key to weight control.

By Jennifer Drapkin, published on March 15, 2005 - last reviewed on June 21, 2011

Throw away the remote. Fire the maid. And never drive to work again. A study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, proves that the real difference between people who are obese and those who are not is how often they stand up. Literally.

Researchers find that in an average day, obese people sit for 2.5 hours more than their lean peers. They burn 350 less calories per day. All else being equal, that translates to approximately 10 extra pounds per year.

"If you've ever gone to the gym and looked at the treadmill, 350 calories is no joke," says James A. Levine, the endocrinologist, who led the study. "It's enough to account for who becomes obese and who does not."

In an age of NetFlicks, FreshDirect and Domino's, when you can order everything online and never leave a chair, the solution to the nation's obesity crisis might be as simple as walking out the door. "Obesity may be more closely tied to activity levels than we ever imagined before," said Dr. Levine. And he's not talking marathons or even gym workouts. "The calories you burn in everyday activities can make a tremendous difference in your life," he insists. In case you missed it the first time, let me repeat: everyday activities.

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Six years ago, Dr. Levine discovered something he calls NEAT, for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It describes the energy we expend in physical movement other than planned exercise. The new study measured the NEAT levels of 20 self-proclaimed couch potatoes, half of whom were obese.

Their mundane movements were tracked for 10 days. In case you're wondering how: All wore custom-made, data-collecting underwear. Each morning, the participants were measured at the clinic, where they received fresh underwear and all of their meals. The researchers found that the 10 lean participants all walked, paced, cleaned, cooked and stood more than the 10 obese subjects.

"One by one, these movements added up," says Dr. Levine. "But it's about more than wiggling your toes. It's about getting up out of your seat."

Taking the study further, the researchers sought to determine whether low NEAT levels were a cause of obesity or byproduct. Once again, the participants donned the special underwear.

For two months, the thin subjects were overfed, each gaining about nine pounds, and the obese subjects were underfed, each losing about 17 pounds. Even though the subjects gained and lost weight, their daily movements did not change. Our NEAT level seems to be hardwired into us.

But Dr. Levine is optimistic that, with a little conscious learning, people can change their daily activity levels, although NEAT may be genetic or established early in life. He serves himself up as Exhibit A. He contends his movement habits changed as a result of doing the study.

"Now, I'm addicted to standing up," he says. "People can change their lifestyles completely. I encourage everyone to just stand up and see how good it makes you feel."
In the interests of journalistic accuracy I feel bound to report that he then forced the reporter to stand up for the remainder of the interview.

"If people would just put a treadmill in front of their televisions and walk one mile per hour, it could completely change their health. The take-home message is get up, get up, get up."

©Psychology Today

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beat the Top Summer Health Hazards

Although we are well into summer activities, here are some practical tips to help you make this summer a fun and healthy one. See the information here: Health.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How do you become truly accomplished at something?

"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you."  Maya Angelou, Writer/Poet

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Unlock the Power of Bad Feelings

3 Steps to Unlock the Power of Bad Feelings

Can we be free of envy, jealousy and other emotions that make us feel crappy?
   
"My friend...care for your psyche...know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves" -Socrates

In Laugh at your own Risk I said that we don't have to endure feelings of envy or jealousy and promised to discuss their origins and tips on how to resolve them. In researching this topic, I found it difficult to pin down generic roots for these toxic emotions except for our well-documented tendency to compare ourselves to others and its connection to low self-esteem. Whoever coined the phrase "to compare is to despair" should receive the brilliant common sense award.

And then it hit me.

There are no generic roots of envy or jealousy just as there are no generic roots of anger, sadness or any other negative emotions we'd rather not feel. They developed out of our particular story and to understand and resolve them, we have to look inward. By relentlessly pursuing them, we can extract information that will help us improve our lives. The first and most important step is to accept how you feel.

Thousands of books, seminars and advice columns are dedicated to promoting the idea that to find happiness, we have to fight bad feelings. I'm not the first to point out that this approach is futile. Years of research strongly suggest that emotions are adaptations that serve a fundamental purpose to our survival. We can't will them away anymore than the urge to eat or sleep. They inform us about what's good for us and what (or whom) we should steer clear of. And seriously, if we could will bad feelings away, wouldn't we all be doing it? And, wouldn't most modern maladies like addiction, depression, suicide, violence, and divorce simply disappear? Therapists would all be out of jobs, and yes, I realize that some people already think that this should be so.

Yet, the myth persists. It does for a simple but powerful reason: the truth hurts. Not only are negative feelings inherently painful, they also frequently communicate what we'd rather not know. They tell us that we don't feel loved or lovable, that our job is killing us, that we married the wrong person, that we feel alone and misunderstood, or that we didn't really want three children etc., etc. These emotional realities are hard to face and demand that we act or change. Human beings hate change. Even when it's change for the better.

So the worst part of sticking to the "fight and deny your feelings" strategy is that it leaves us in the dark. Even the pettiest reaction flickers to illuminate. By ignoring it, we deny the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. It's time to take off that don't worry be happy T-Shirt!

The second step is to verbalize what you are feeling, in the simplest terms possible. Ideally, you would do so in an empathic environment. It could be a friend, a support group, a family member, a spouse or a therapist. This is not easy to find. Most people (however loving or well-intended) have trouble tolerating someone else's pain (often because it triggers their own). Don't let anyone smother you with explanations, pep talk or some other really well-articulated diversion. Yes, maybe the person who hurt you didn't mean to. Maybe your feeling is childish or normal. Maybe this, maybe that. Who cares? It's your feeling and you're just trying to follow it down into your less conscious mind. So choose wisely and trust that what you feel means something. I have witnessed in hundreds of psychotherapy groups that even the most "off the wall" reaction is rooted in a coherent feeling.

The third step is to explore. Some good questions to ask yourself during this process: What do I need here or feel like I'm not getting? What is this person getting that I want (in case of envy)? What can I do to get it and who is (or was) denying it to me?

The answer is frequently very simple. Many discover that they need more (undivided!) attention. In any case, if you can pinpoint what it is for you, ask for it (very nicely) from someone who you know loves you and wants the best for you. I know this sounds scary, but many people respond to this kind of honesty and vulnerability with kindness. There is really only one way to find out.

This process should bring some relief, but it can also initially make the feeling stronger. Don't worry about it; no one has ever died from feeling something (but many have from trying to avoid it by using drugs etc.). You should start to have some spontaneous insights into where these feelings are coming from. It could be a memory or something in the present you really want but are not pursuing.

Use bad feelings for what they were created for: to tell you what you need but are not getting. A particularly insightful reader of my Charlie Sheen posts reminded me of the famous Thoreau quote that most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Refuse to be one of them!

© 2011 Nadia Geipert - From www.psychologytoday.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bliss is not normal

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."  Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Unitarian Minister (1843-1918)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Healthy, Easy Recipes for Every Dad

If you haven't already figured out lunch or dinner plans for Dad, here are some simple, healthy, and delicious ideas. See them here: Health.com

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Poem of a Father by Mary Oliver

A Visitor

My father, for example,
who was young once
and blue-eyed,
returns
on the darkest of nights
to the porch and knocks
wildly at the door,
and if I answer
I must be prepared
for his waxy face,
for his lower lip
swollen with bitterness.
And so, for a long time,
I did not answer,
but slept fitfully
between his hours of rapping.
But finally there came the night
when I rose out of my sheets
and stumbled down the hall.
The door fell open

and I knew I was saved
and could bear him,
pathetic and hollow,
with even the least of his dreams
frozen inside him,
and the meanness gone.
And I greeted him and asked him
into the house,
and lit the lamp,
and looked into his blank eyes
in which at last
I saw what a child must love,
I saw what love might have done
had we loved in time.

from Dream Work (1986). © Mary Oliver.

Friday, June 17, 2011

TV Watching Raises Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease

If you are like most Americans you spend plenty of hours before the television each evening and weekends too. This has created a dangerously sedentary lifestyle that is effecting the health of millions of us. Here are some tips on eliminating more TV hours from your daily schedule and finding more healthy ways to spend your time. See the article here: Health.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Which person in our life means the most to us?

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."  Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

5 Tips for Staying Active With Kids and Family

If you have children at home or help take care of grandchildren, here are some great ideas to help keep all of you active, together! See the article here: Health.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Simple Secret to Great Sleep

There is hardly anything worse than not being to sleep. Most of us have bouts of insomnia from time to time. There are always reasons for it. This article offers some helpful information about some of the things that interfere with our sleep patterns at different stages in life. See the information here: Health.com

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (Official)

Study shows bottled water is often more unsafe than tap water

I admit, I never drink tap water. I have fallen for the bottled water obsession myself. But a new study reveals that our tap water is probably safer and doesn't carry the amount of bacteria and chemicals in it that is found in many bottled water products. See the article here: Study: The Perils of a Heavy Bottled-Water Habit

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

15 Signs You May Have Adult ADHD - Health.com

You might, like me, struggle with some of the symptoms of adult Attention Deficit Disorder. This is a brief but helpful description of the struggles those with the disorder deal with on a daily basis. If you think you may have ADHD talk with your physician. There is help available and treatment might very well transform your life. See the article here: Health.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Freedom from Obsession

"Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it's about knowing who you are. It's about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can't have it." ~ Geneen Roth, Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

Monday, June 6, 2011

5 Pain-Relieving Yoga Stretches


Yoga Poses for Joint and Muscle Aches: 5 Pain-Relieving Stretches

Yoga Poses for Joint and Muscle Aches: 5 Pain-Relieving Stretches
Ease your aches with these five easy-to-master moves
By Melissa Katz

If you're looking for an alternative to pills to treat joint pain and other common (and uncomfortable) aches, relief may be a yoga class away. A review of 20 years worth of studies conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that yoga is effective in the treatment of chronic pain, including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

In the studies reviewed, patients saw significant reductions in joint pain, muscle stiffness, and overall physical discomfort while greatly improving their flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength.

Performed correctly, yoga's fluid movements allow swollen or otherwise painful joints to glide smoothly over one another, increasing mobility and strength without excess wear and tear, says Cynthia Maltenfort, a yoga instructor at Sun and Moon Studios in Virginia. "Yoga is a safe alternative to weight-bearing exercises that could worsen weak joints because it strengthens the muscles around them, which reduces tension and increases mobility," she explains.

We asked yoga instructors for their five favorite poses for relieving knee pain, back pain, and more (talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program and use props such as blocks for support as needed).

Cobra
Try it for: Back pain

Lie face-down, forehead resting on floor. Place hands on either side, at middle of ribcage. Draw legs together, pressing tops of feet into floor. Reach back through toes, lengthening legs, and press evenly through hands as you draw elbows close to ribcage. Using strength of back (not arms), lift head and chest, sliding shoulder blades down back. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths before gently releasing to floor, turning head to one side.
-- Lynn Burgess, director of Yoga from the Heart in Sarasota, FL

Supported Warrior
Try it for: Knee pain

Stand tall and place hands against a wall at shoulder height. Step right foot forward so toes touch the wall and bend elbows as though you're trying to push the wall away. Step left foot about 1 to 3 feet behind you, slightly bending left knee toward floor. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths. Slowly straighten left leg while bending right knee, ensuring knee does not extend past ankle. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths before stepping left foot forward to meet right and switching leg positions.
-- Rachel Schaeffer, yoga instructor and author of Yoga for Your Spiritual Muscles




Butterfly
Try it for: Hip pain

Sitting on blanket on floor, bring soles of feet together, knees wide so legs form a diamond. Keep entire back straight and shoulders relaxed as you breathe and gently drop weight of legs, slowly allowing knees to lower toward floor. For gentler relief, place blocks or pillows beneath outer knees for support.
-- Annie Moyer, yoga instructor at Sun and Moon Studios in Virginia

Rear Arm Lift with Strap ("Standing Yoga Mudra" pose)
Try it for: Shoulder pain

Stand tall, feet hip-width apart, holding strap in one hand. Sweep both arms behind back and pull shoulders in to grasp strap with both hands in a comfortable position. Walk hands toward each other, creating an opening in chest as shoulder blades move toward one another. Breathe as you adjust shoulders, easing or increasing tension.
-- Vandita Kate Marchesiello, director for the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association (KYTA)

Wall Plank
Try it for: Elbow and shoulder pain

Stand facing wall with feet hip-width apart. Place palms against wall, arms extended, and slowly lean forward, letting body rest on hands. Keep arms in and body in a straight line as you slowly bend elbows, inching closer. When nose touches wall (or you feel discomfort), slowly push back to standing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Try These 7 Tricks for Instant Calm

Feeling overwhelmed? Ready to pull your hair out? Wound up by all of the nagging little irritations of the day? We all have times of stress: the repeated pressures of work; the endless responsibilities of parenting; the periodic strain of marriage or a relationship; and just the usual pace of life. Here are some easy ways to help provide quick relief from any or all of those stress producers. See the article here: Health.com

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The heart lies and the head plays tricks

"The heart lies and the head plays tricks on us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in a way knowing the truth." ~ George R.R. Martin, Novelist/Screenwriter

Friday, June 3, 2011

Healing Ourselves and the World

"Generosity, trustworthiness, kindness, empathy, compassion, gratitude, joy in the good fortune of others, inclusiveness, acceptance, and equanimity are qualities of mind and heart that further the possibilities of well-being and clarity within oneself, to say nothing of the beneficial effects they have in the world.  They form the foundation for an ethical and moral life." ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Live the Dream

We all want a healthy, productive, well balanced, fun, meaningful life. It doesn't come free. We have to do certain things to create a good life. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve some of the things you may be looking for in life. See the article here: Health.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You are not a mistake

"You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won't discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself." ~ Geneen Roth, “Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything”