Posted by: HealthyHighway | February 3, 2014

7 Reasons You Feel Like A Zombie In The Morning

7 Reasons You Feel Like A Zombie In The Morning

 

A few nights ago I stayed up too late, even though I knew I had an early meeting in another town. When I woke up the next morning, I tried to brew a pot of coffee without pouring water into the reservoir. Even when standing there in front of the empty decanter, it took my sluggish mind a few minutes to realize what I’d done wrong.

The average adult needs at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night, yet few of us achieve it. Staying up to watch our favorite late night program or stressing over a work project often cut into these precious hours. We shrug off the zombie feeling and prop ourselves up with caffeine and sugar, but this ongoing lack of sleep is making us very sick.

It’s important to point out that not all sleep deprivation is obvious like my story about staying up late and getting up earlier than usual. Often we just cheat ourselves out of an hour or two over long periods of time, leading to long-term health consequences and sometimes deadly accidents.

Do you catch every illness that strikes your community? When you get sick, does it take weeks before you feel normal again? Even “modest” sleep deprivation (less than 6 hours of sleep per night) has been directly linked to reduced immune response, inhibiting your ability to ward off illness.

Have you struggled to maintain a healthy weight, despite exercise? Research shows that when the body stays awake for too long, it struggles to process blood sugar and leptin (a protein hormone that regulates appetite and metabolism), so more is stored as fat. Interestingly, sugary foods are what we reach for when we feel tired.

Scroll through the infographic below for more astonishing facts about just how important a full night’s sleep is to our long-term health. Then click on the links at the bottom to learn how you can sleep away your zombiefied self.

Sleep and Health

Image via Thinkstock

By Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog. 

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

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Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | February 2, 2014

6 Mood-Boosting Foods

6 Mood-Boosting Foods

 

Can you eat your way to a better mood? More and more scientific research is saying so. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is important for your general health, so why should it be any different for your mental health? From depression-fighting seeds to anxiety-zapping greens, read about the best nutrients for your mood.

 

1. Sesame Seeds.

Good things come in small packages. The unassuming sesame seed is loaded with mood-boosting nutrients. Sesame seeds are on of the best vegetarian sources of zinc, a mineral that has been linked to depression and anxiety. One study found that zinc treatment lowered the depression and anger levels of young women. Other studies have suggested using the mineral as a treatment for depression.

 

2. Chocolate.

A few bites of real, dark chocolate each day will help your mood and your tastebuds! Studies have suggested that dark chocolate reduces the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body; it may also relieve anxiety. Leesa recommends 85% organic dark chocolate from Vivani!

 

3. Spinach.

As if you needed another reason to love spinach! This leafy green is loaded with all sorts of mood-boosting nutrients, from depression-fighting folates (more on that later) to anxiety-easing magnesium. Spinach also contains plenty of zinc — studies have shown that, the less zinc you have in your body, the more likely you are to be depressed.

 

4. Yogurt.

Yogurt is an excellent vegetarian source of vitamin B12, a vital nutrient for the formation of red blood cells. For reasons scientists aren’t exactly clear on yet, B vitamins seem to play a vital role in our mental health. Vitamin B12 deficiencies in particular have been linked to high rates of depression, and studies have suggested that strong intake of the vitamin may improve depression treatment outcomes. If your body doesn’t get enough of the stuff, it can actually lead to serious mental health issues. Because plants cannot make Vitamin B12, your best sources for the stuff are dairy products, eggs, seafood, and meat. Vegans and older adults are especially at risk of a Vitamin B12 deficiency, and may want to talk with their doctors about supplements or fortified foods.

5. Lentils.

Lentils, along with other foods rich in folic acid, are a key nutrient for treating depression. Like it’s B vitamin cousin, vitamin B12, plenty of research has linked low levels of folic acid to depression. It’s also thought that high levels of the vitamin will actually help anti-depressants work more effectively.  Healthy carbs help boost serotonin levels.

Other Foods Rich in Folates: Pinto, black, navy, kidney & garbanzo beans; spinach, asparagus, turnip greens and broccoli.

6. Flaxseeds.

The countries with the lowest rates of depression tend to have one thing in common: they also eat the most fish. Scientists think this is because fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that these polysaturated fats can improve your mood, and help treat depression and postpartum depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Though fish is probably your best source of omega-3 fatty acids, most healthy people can get all of it they need from flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. You can also check out supplements or sea vegetables if you are a vegan or a vegetarian.

Leesa recommends choosing organic when available.

By Katie Waldeck 

Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 31, 2014

7 Winter Vegetables that Boost Your Health

7 Winter Vegetables that Boost Your Health
We rarely think of vegetables in the winter but it is important to eat your veggies this time of year to keep your immune system strong.
Beets - Beets are one of the most overlooked superfoods.  They lower blood pressure, increase exercise endurance, and reduce inflammation.  They contain potent phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins which give beets their brilliant purple color.  Proanthocyanidins are proven anti-cancer compounds.  They are packed in nutrients like folate which is important to prevent birth defects, potassium which is critical for healthy muscles and nerves, manganese which helps build strong bones, and vitamin C for a strong immune system.  
Carrots – Just one carrot contains 13,500 IU of beta carotene which translates into a tremendous amount of nutritional power against free radicals.  Beta carotene is anti-cancerous, prevents cellular damage and premature aging, and is important to prevent cataracts.

Ginger—Ginger is one of the best natural anti-pain remedies.  Technically it is a spice but it is ideal for winter since it reduces joint pain that plagues so many people with arthritis this time of year.  It also adds warmth to foods and beverages making freshly minced garlic a welcome addition to most soups, stews, and curries.

Rutabaga—Contrary to popular belief, rutabagas are not turnips.  The most common rutabagas are larger than turnips, have purple and cream-colored skins, and tend to have a cream to yellow-colored flesh.  It is high in anti-cancer compounds, immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy nervous system. They are great in soups, stews, curries, and other places you’d use hardy winter veggies.  I love them cut into small cubes, tossed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and roasted in the oven on 350 for about an hour.

Squash—Squash is rich in beta-carotene, the nutrient that gives squash its brilliant orange-colored flesh.  Enjoy it cut in half, seeded, and roasted.  Add roasted squash to soups, salads, stews, or in wraps and on sandwiches.  Use grated, raw squash in muffin recipes, in place of zucchini in zucchini bread recipes, or in other baked goods to increase their nutritional value.

Sweet Potatoes—Like squash, sweet potatoes are also high in beta carotene.   They also contain vitamins C, B6, and minerals like blood-building iron, energy-boosting potassium, and Nature’s relaxant, magnesium.  Enjoy them chopped into French fry-shapes, tossed in a little olive oil and sea salt and baked in the oven for about 45 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turnips—Turnips are a good source of fiber which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and stabilize energy and moods.  They are also a rich source of glucosinolates—the precursors of isothiocyanates that are proven anti-cancer powerhouses.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to SlimWeekend Wonder DetoxHealing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body DetoxThe Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 31, 2014

5 Foods Proven to Make You Happier!

5 Foods Proven to Make You Happier

 
Can you find happiness in your fridge? Yes—as long as you’re eating the right stuff. Looking for a pick-me-up? Here’s what to nosh on:
broccoli
Broccoli This veggie contains a trace mineral called chromium, which in addition to helping you metabolize food, also increases your brain’s levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, helping it regulate mood. It’s even been shown to decrease symptoms of atypical depression (like overeating and sleeping excessively). You can also get chromium from grape juice and potatoes.
cashews
Cashews Cashews are full of zinc, which has been found to decrease depressive symptoms and even improve the response of antidepressants. A lack of the vitamin can lead to loss of appetite, depressive symptoms, and a weaker immune system. Roasted pumpkin seeds and pork loin are also good sources of zinc.
Salmon This fish is packed with vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”—the easiest way to get your helping of the mood-regulating vitamin is to spend about 15 minutes out in the sun a few times a week. Having trouble getting your dose during wintertime? Make sure you’re getting it from the foods you eat—in addition to salmon, milk and egg yolks are also good sources of vitamin D.
Spinach Spinach contains the mineral magnesium—something that the USDA estimates about a third of people are deficient in. It’s important to get it into your diet—magnesium plays a big role in the development of serotonin, and a deficiency can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue. You can also get magnesium from almonds and edamame. (You can also get a magnesium boost with an epsom salt bath.)
 
Chickpeas Reach for the chickpeas to get your helping of vitamin B6—the vitamin helps the body make serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood. A serious B6 deficiency can lead to irritability, nervousness, and depression. Other sources of the vitamin include chicken breasts and yellow fin tuna. Leesa recommends organic produce and wild caught salmon!
By Diana Vilibert

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 30, 2014

Super Bowl and TIME Magazine Both Focus on Mindfulness

Super Bowl and TIME Magazine Both Focus on Mindfulness

 

Guess what, we all meditate! We may be unaware of this because we believe meditation means sitting still and closing our eyes. However, the moment we focus attention on one thing and bring the mind into a quiet place then we are meditating, which means it can be as much active as it is being still.

The most well-known forms of meditation are watching the flow of the breath or repeating a mantra, as these focus the mind. But it could just as easily be mindfully throwing a football or the stroke of a brush as you paint; most meditation traditions do walking meditation as well as sitting practice. This is meditation in action, which is mindfulness: awareness of the present moment.

“The Seahawks believe their kinder, gentler philosophy is the future of football,” says Alyssa Roenigk in ESPN The Magazine. So could mindfulness and meditation be a way to win the Super Bowl? The Seahawks obviously believe that it can. They are taught yoga and sitting meditation as a part of their training, as it’s difficult to be focused if they are distracted by a monkey mind jumping from thought to thought.

“Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice,” says Russell Okung of the Seahawks. “It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.”

Meditation focuses the mind in one place and this equally applies to the Denver Broncos, even if they may not knowingly meditate. In football, mindfulness is needed for the accuracy of a touch-down pass down the field, or the presence to know when to throw or when to run with the football: Payton Manning’s great passes are made mindfully, Knowshaun Moreno runs with awareness, Eric Decker receives in the moment!

We taught meditation to the Torquay United Football team in England, sitting in the men’s locker room. They were at the bottom of their league but won their next game, which meant they advanced to the next division. Filmed by the BBC on the 6:00pm evening news, the coach was convinced that the mindfulness training had enabled the players to stay positive, despite being in such a losing position.

As our partner, Brian Jones says: “Meditation is as much something that happens to us as, as something we do, like the “ah-ha” moment when we first learn to ride a bike. All of a sudden it just makes sense, becomes familiar, and comfortable. Meditation and mindfulness, like riding a bike, are about embodiment, self-mastery, and self-fulfillment.”

TIME Magazine agrees. The Feb 3rd issue focuses on mindfulness, the far-reaching effect it is having in all walks of life, and on Jon Kabat-Zinn, who brought mindfulness to hospitals and clinics, through his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

“People come with a huge amount of pain and suffering, both physical and emotional,” says Kabat-Zinn in our Award Winning book, Be The Change. “Through the cultivation of mindfulness, they develop a more functional relationship with that suffering, they turn towards it, open to it, and actually befriend it to a degree rather than insisting that it stop, and in the process, the pain often transforms or even falls away… For the most part, they will tell you that they are more in touch with their own beauty than they may have been since they were children.”

Whether we sit in formal meditation with our eyes closed, go for a walk or throw a football, if we do it with awareness we are meditating. We can sit with our eyes closed but if our mind is scattered then there’s no stillness, while we can be running everywhere playing competitive sport but if our mind is focused and aware then we are being mindful. A clear and comprehensivetraining in mindfulness is vital, so it can become integral to every part of our life. Play to win: practice mindfulness!

By Ed and Deb Shapiro

Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com andEdandDebShapiro.com

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the Worldforewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 30, 2014

Study Shows That Your Daily Commute Can Make You Unhappy

Study Shows That Your Daily Commute Can Make You Unhappy

 

How long does it take you to reach your workplace? And how much does that commute time affect your happiness levels?

Surprisingly, this daily activity can have a major impact on your joyfulness quotient.

Many of us who work in an office commute twice a day at least five days a week. The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In traffic-heavy cities and areas, it takes even longer to reach your workplace. New Yorkers, for instance, spend nearly two hours going to and from work every week day.

Over time, this distance and extra hours begin to make us less and less happy. This is not just conjecture—two  Swiss economists who studied this have found a strong link between commute time and happiness levels.

Alois Stutzer and Bruno S. Frey concluded that people who buy a big house in the suburbs, thinking they will be happier living in a larger space, grew gradually unhappier because of the daily long drive to and from work. They simply did not factor in the pain of a long commute.

So, if you have lately been feeling down in the dumps and don’t exactly know what the reason is, take another look at your location, and how it might be affecting your happiness.

By Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 30, 2014

10 Cities with the Cleanest Air in the World

10 Cities with the Cleanest Air in the World

 

If you’re making plans for summer vacation, you might prefer not to visit the smoggiest countries. But where might you go to find the cleanest air?

The American Lung Association (ALA) ranks Wyoming’s capital city of Cheyenne as #1 in the U.S. for being the cleanest in annual particle pollution, but the city’s crisp mountain air has become smoggier as a result of natural gas drilling that has raised ozone levels, so they’ve been higher than Los Angeles. Maintaining consistently good air quality is a challenge.

As this World Health Organization map reveals, you’ll find some of the cleanest air in Canada, the U.S., Europe (especially its northern regions) and Australia. If you’re hoping to breathe a bit easier this summer, here are ten places you might want to visit based on information from the WHO and the 2013 State of the Air report (pdf) from the American Lung Association (ALA), as determined by the amount of ozone and long-term and short-term particulate matter in the air.

1. Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

The largest city in northern Canada, Whitehorse in the Yukon, has some of the cleanest air of any city in the world, according to the WHO. As Whitehorse mayor Bev Buckway says,

“A lot of people come up north and they smell the air and the say “‘Oh wow. Amazing. The air smells so good.’ And we tend to take it for granted because we just have that all the time.”

Whitehorse can thank a lower population density and stricter regulations for its clean air, as well as a favorable climate.

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

New Mexico’s capital has some of the cleanest air in the U.S., with low counts of both particle pollution and ozone — in fact, it is one of only 20 U.S. cities whose ozone levels have consistently been low. Situated in a region with 1.5 million acres of forest, the city has strict regulations to limit the burning of wood in the open air. Besides this, Santa Fe has been designated aUNESCO Creative City for its thriving art, crafts and design community.

3. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Honolulu means “sheltered bay” or “place of shelter” in native Hawaiian; this aptly describes the city on the big island of Hawaii. Honolulu is about 2,000 miles away from the U.S. mainland, beyond where particles from burning coal can travel. The Diamond Head and Koko Head craters are nearby and the city has low levels of ozone and particle matter and receives plenty of rain. A well-designed transit system with dedicated bus lanes also helps to cut down on emissions.

4. Great Falls, Montana, USA

Situated in an area of great natural beauty with hiking trails and nature refuges, Great Falls is located in north-central Montana. The city’s residents have worked to keep their air clean, successfully fending off the construction of a 250-megawatt coal-fired power plant that would have released 2.1 million tons of carbon emissions into the air per year. The power company said it would instead built a 120-megawatt natural gas-fired plant.

5. Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The WHO ranks the air quality of Calgary, Canada, highly, even with a large gas and oil industry in the region. Thoughtful urban planning and public transportation help to manage traffic congestion. Calgary is located in southern Alberta province and maintains three sanitary landfill sites for screening garbage and removing biodegradable and recyclable materials.

6. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

From a light rail system to a Spring Cleaning the Capital program in which 60,000 volunteers join together to clean parks and other public spaces, the Canadian capital has established a number of measures to keep its streets and air clean. The Rideau canal (pictured above) runs through a good part of the city and, in the winter when it freezes, becomes a huge outdoor skating rink.

7. Helsinki, Finland

The capital of Finland is one of the cleanest metropolitan centers in Europe thanks to efforts to limit emissions from vehicles and industry; the government says that as much as over half of the particle pollution in the country comes from elsewhere. The city has wide streets to cut down on traffic congestion and also advises residents to take public transit when air quality is poorer.

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm has an extensive public transportation system. The Swedish capital also has the largest percentage of clean vehicles in Europe with about 5 percent of all of its vehicles being hybrids. Stockholm has also imposed a congestion charge on cars in its central area and promoted cycling. It’s a wonderful city to walk around in; Stockholm’s archipelago offers ready access to the wilderness.

9. Zurich, Switzerland

Located near Germany on Switzerland’s northern border, Zurich has a well-developed and highly efficient public transportation system of trains, boats, buses and trams. The city also encourages bike riding and has tried a number of innovative methods to main air quality such as outfitting buses with mobile sensors — all the better for residents and visitors to enjoy its architecture, cultural institutions and lake.

10. Tailinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, the small Baltic country ranked as having the best air quality by the WHO (Estonia is also the most wired in the world and a leader in e-government). More than half of the country’s land is covered by trees and public transit helps to keep emissions low.

While saying that “in Estonia, clean air is as natural as tooth brushing in the morning in a decent family,” Keit Pentus, Minister of the Environment, emphasizes that residents must remain vigilant via “more environmentally friendly energy production and more modern and comfortable public transport.”

Clean air is something we cannot, sadly, take for granted today — all the more reason to keep working to make the air in these cities and around the world is the best it can be.

Photos from Thinkstock except top photo (Santa Fe) by Jim Nix/Nomadic Pursuits, photo of Whitehorse by grampymoose/Flickr, photo of Great Falls by roger4336/Flickr

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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We all have to make decisions about how to spend our precious time, energy, and money.

Because of my happiness project, I now explicitly ask myself, “Will this decision make me happier?

I consider:

1. Is this decision likely to strengthen my relationships with other people? Strong relationships with other people are a keythe key—to happiness, so decisions that help me build or strengthen ties are likely to boost my happiness. Yes, it’s a hassle and an expense to go to my college reunion, but it’s likely to have a big happiness pay-off.

2. Will this decision provide me with novelty and challenge? Novelty and challenge make me happier—but they also make me feel insecure, intimidated, frustrated, and stupid. To get past that hurdle, I remind myself that in the end, I usually get a big shot of happiness. When I considered adding video to my site, I reminded myself that the process of mastering the process would likely make me happier. And it has.

3. What is the opportunity cost of this decision? (“Opportunity cost” describes that fact that doing one thing means foregoing alternatives.) Energy, time, and money are limited. Even if a decision would bring happiness, if it means that I have to give up the opportunity to do many other happiness-boosting activities, it may not be worth it. I could dedicate many hours to learning about classical music, and in the end, I might enjoy classical music more, but that activity would crowd out too many other things that I want to do more. Like read children’s literature.

4. Does this decision help me obey my personal commandment to Be Gretchen? I want to shape my life to reflect my temperament, interests, and values. I ask myself: Am I making this decision to “Be Gretchen,” or because I want to impress other people, pretend that I’m different from the person I actually am, or deny a truth about myself?

5. When I consider a particular course of action, do I feel energized or drained? InHappier at Home, I write about how I conquered my fear of driving. I dreaded doing this, but I was also energized by the thought of tackling this nagging worry.

6. How happy are the people who have made that particular decision? In Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, he argues that the most effective way to judge whether a particular course of action will make you happy in the future is to ask people who are following that course of action right now if they’re happy, and assume that you’ll feel the same way. Going on a family trip to DisneyWorld. Getting a hamster. Learning to usePinterest. Working as a paralegal. Volunteering. In evaluating the likely consequences of a decision, other people’s experiences of happiness—or lack thereof—can be very instructive for me.

7. I remind myself to “Choose the bigger life.” People will make different decisions about what the “bigger life” would be, but when I ask myself that question, it always helps me see the right answer, for myself.

This consideration might help answer questions, big and small, such as:

  • Should I buy a tent?
  • Should I organize a party?
  • Should I go to medical school?
  • Should I have a baby?
  • Should I buy a new kitchen table?
  • Should I sign up for Spanish lessons?
  • Should I get a dog?

There’s no right answer or wrong answer — only the right answer for me.

How about you? Have you developed questions for yourself, or other strategies, to help make wise decisions?

For more on this subject, check out The Happiness Project.

I love book clubs — I’m in four book groups myself. If you’re reading Happier at Home or The Happiness Project in a book group, email me for the one-page discussion guide. Or if you’re reading them in a spirituality book group, Bible study group, or the like, email me for the spirituality discussion guide.

By Gretchen Rubin

http://www.gretchenrubin.com

Photo: richardsmith155, Flickr

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 24, 2014

5 Smells That Make You Kinder, Happier, Nicer

5 Smells That Make You Kinder, Happier, Nicer

Cinnabon knows what it’s doing. The smell of baking bread can make us kinder, says a study from Journal of Social Psychology by scientists from the University of Southern Brittany in France.

Wanting to test the notion that smells can influence behavior, the scientists had eight young men and women stand outside either a bakery or a clothing store, says the Independent. The participants were instructed to pretend to be searching for something in their bags and then drop an object (a glove, a handkerchief) while walking in front of a stranger.

People stopped to pick up the object about 77 percent of the time in front of the bakery, versus 52 percent of the time outside the clothing store, according to the researchers who observed the proceedings from some 60 feet away.

Eight participants is a small number but the scientists did repeat the experiment some 400 times, notes the Daily Mail. From their observations, they state that

“Our results show that, in general, spontaneous help is offered more in areas where pleasant ambient smells are spread.”

“This experiment confirms the role of ambient food odours on altruism.”

One wonders at possible practical applications of this study. Could the answer to us all getting along, dealing with anger management, turning the other cheek for each other and so forth — to nothing other than world peace! — be to waft the scent of bread baking around?

While contemplating such, here are four more smells that have been found to lift up our spirits.

Peppermint

Pepper-mint

Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University found that the smell of peppermint boosted both mood and motivation in competitive athletes by making them run faster, do more push-ups and squeeze a hand grip harder.

Spice Apple

Best Apples for Baking

The smell of American spice apple has been found to help reduce blood pressure. Perhaps that’s why a cup of warm apple cider seems so inviting, not to mention the smell of an apple pie baking?

Lavender

Lavender hill mob

No wonder some refer to this smell as nature’s own “chill-out oil.” Lavender scent has been found to help reduce stress and relieve pain (possibly).

Coffee

Coffee Beans

Or more precisely, roasted coffee beans: a South Korean study found that this aroma reduces stress in rats. Scientists found that lab rats (who certainly have reason to be stressed) had lower stress levels after smelling roasted coffee beans.

As a serious coffee drinker, I would agree with this. But one has to wonder if not all smells are created equal for all people. My husband does not drink any coffee and is no big fan of the smell — but then, in some twenty years of daily contact with coffee’s aroma, he has never once complained.

Leesa recommends always using orgnic options whenever possible!

By Kristina Chew

Photos: bread: Thinkstock; peppermint: Sir_Iwan; apples: Veganbaking.net; lavender: Billy Reed: coffee beans: Peg Waggener.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

Posted by: HealthyHighway | January 20, 2014

6 Easy & Effective Ways to Fight Forgetfulness

6 Easy & Effective Ways to Fight Forgetfulness

Do you often find yourself losing keys, forgetting names, and wondering if you took your medicine this morning? Forgetfulness can be frustrating, indeed. But here is a handful of at-home ideas to help you keep your memory razor-sharp.

Smell some rosemary.

The essential oils of rosemary and basil have been shown to increase the brain’s production of beta waves. This increases awareness of your surroundings and clears confusion. Just sprinkle a few drops of the oil on a clean handkerchief and take a deep breath. (Leesa recommends organic rosemary and organic basil!)

Drink more coffee.

Coffee really can be the cup that cheers your memory cells. Research shows that coffee may have a positive effect on long-term memory. (Leesa recommends organic coffee!)

 

 

Exercise.

A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine study, quoted by Harvard Health Publications, found that physically fit people have less brain shrinkage than less active people. The cells particularly helped by exercise are those that control memory, communication, and learning.

Keep your blood sugar in check.

Keep your blood sugar under control, and you will find your memory improving. This may sound surprising, but a study published in the journal Neurology says that those with high blood sugar are seen to suffer from cognitive impairment. Scientists say this happens because high blood sugar causes structural changes in the areas of the brain that govern learning. Find helpful blood-sugar regulating tips here.

 

 

Get your B & C.

The B vitamin group makes and repairs brain tissue. Foods that endow you with the B vitamins are nuts and seeds, wheatgerm, bananas and chickpeas. Vitamin C has been correlated with mental sharpness, so include more strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi and leafy greens in your diet. (Leesa recommends Chews4Health!) 

Go musical.

Learning to play a musical instrument develops motor skills and enhances your brain’s ability to focus and analyze.

By Shubhra Krishan

Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

 

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