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Archive for July, 2012

Environmentally-Friendly Funeral Planning

Environmentally-Friendly Funeral Planning

Despite being part of the natural celebration of the cycle of life and death,  most modern variations on traditional funeral practices are far from  environmentally-friendly.

A burial generally involves a casket made out of wood taken from forests  (most of which are not sustainable), and a body that has been embalmed using  chemicals such as formaldehyde—a dangerous carcinogen.

While commonly thought to be less environmentally disruptive than a full-on  burial, the process of cremation can also damage the environment by releasing a  slew of hazardous gasses into the atmosphere, including: mercury, dioxin and  carbon dioxide.

And those are just the environmental expenses.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average price of  an adult funeral in 2009 was $6,560—more than nine times what it cost to bury  someone in 1960.

This dramatic cost increase could be part of the reason why increasing  numbers of older adults are looking into the possibility of a more down-to-earth  burial ritual.

Preserving the green in your garden and your pocket

The so-called “Green funeral” offers an alternative for those who want to avoid squashing the environment and their family with an elephant-sized carbon and financial footprint. As its name suggests, a green funeral is about honoring a loved one while preserving the environment.

The typical green funeral involves burying an un-embalmed body in a biodegradable casket or cloth shroud. The grave site is generally marked with either a tree or a naturally-hewn stone. Some cemeteries have even taken to burying GPS devices with a body to help pin point its location without using a visible marker.

Green cemeteries specialize in providing naturally-sustainable environments where a person’s remains can exist in harmony with the surrounding environment. The lawn of a green cemetery is not meticulously manicured, but allowed to grow as it normally would. Vaults are avoided, and bodies are buried in a way that prevents the ground from settling or sinking.

Here are a few tips to help get you started planning a green funeral:

1. Know your options: Some cemeteries and funeral homes have  gone totally green. But that doesn’t mean that a regular funeral home or  cemetery doesn’t offer environmentally-friendly burial options. Cemeteries may  offer both types of burials, having set aside a portion of land to be used for  green funerals. A traditional funeral home may also have green burial options.  Be sure to do research and vet your options before deciding on the option that  is right for you.

2. Avoid embalming: Embalming is not required by law and is  frowned upon in green funerals. Some funeral homes offer embalming services that  do not use formaldehyde or  other hazardous chemicals, opting instead for environmentally-friendly  alternatives. If you’re considering being buried in a green cemetery, but still  want to have an embalming performed, check to see if the cemetery will allow a  body to be preserved using “green” practices.

3. Buy biodegradable or rent a casket: A  variety of biodegradable burial container options exist. Biodegradable caskets  and urns can be made out of pine, willow, bamboo, recycled paper, and cardboard,  among other materials. There’s also the option of renting a casket. If you chose  to do this, the casket you pick will be lined with another container (generally  made out of dense cardboard). The body will be displayed in the rental casket on  the liner during the memorial service, after which the body will be removed and  either buried in the liner or cremated.

4. Ashes to ashes (or reefs, or trees): For the  environmentally conscious, being cremated can offer up a host of interesting  possibilities. Ashes can be combined with concrete and molded into artificial  reef habitats for fish and other marine life. They can also be mixed in with  soil and used to nourish a memorial garden or tree.

Environmentally-friendly funerals have the potential to save  the environment and your wallet at the same time. Even so, a green funeral  won’t be the ideal choice for everyone.

If you’re not sure whether you should go the environmentally-conscious route,  thoroughly examine and compare the costs and offerings of different types of  funeral options before deciding how you want to preserve your legacy.

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor, AgingCare.com

AgingCare.com provides online  caregiver support by connecting people caring for elderly parents to other  caregivers, elder care experts, personalized information, and local resources.  AgingCare.com has become the trusted resource for exchanging ideas, sharing  conversations and finding credible information for those seeking elder care  solutions.

Heat Wave Survival Tips

Heat Wave Survival Tips

Feeling the heat? A heatwave stretching across much of the U.S. has many of us  seeking relief, but it’s prime time for heat-related illness to strike.

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather  events, including floods, according to the American Red Cross. Our bodies lose  water and salt when we perspire, which can lead to heat cramps. If not  addressed, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion leads to  heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Young children, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases are most at risk of developing heat cramps,  heat exhaustion, or heatstroke. Do you know how to lower your risk of  heat-related illness…would you recognize the warning signs, and would you know  what to do should heat-related illness strike?

Tips to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric like  cotton.
  • When outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Choose shade over the sun on a hot day.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise during a heatwave.
  • Drink plenty of water or other fluids.
  • If you feel overheated, take a cool shower or bath.
  • Avoid sitting in a hot car or leaving your child in the car. (And that goes  for pets, too!)
  • Take advantage of cooling centers during a prolonged hot spell.
  • Listen to weather advisories before planning outdoor events.
  • Check on people who live alone, especially the elderly or ill.

Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness

  • prolonged exposure to high temperatures
  • high levels of humidity
  • dehydration

You are at increased risk if you:

  • have heart disease or other chronic illness
  • are drinking alcohol
  • exercise excessively
  • take certain medications like diuretics and beta blockers

Early Warning Signs of Heat-Related Illness

  • fatigue
  • thirst
  • muscle cramps
  • profuse sweating

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • dizziness and lightheadedness
  • weakness
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • cool, moist skin
  • dark urine

Symptoms of Heatstroke

  • fast, shallow breathing
  • pulse is fast and weak
  • confusion and strange behavior
  • fever
  • skin is red, hot, and dry
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness

First Aid for Heat-Related Illness

  • Take the victim to a cool place.
  • Have them lie down with their feet up.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths (or cool water alone) to their skin. Cold compresses  can also help.
  • If the person is conscious, have them drink water or a salted drink. Do not  offer drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine.

When to Call 9-1-1

Consider it a medical emergency if the victim:

  • appears to have blue lips and fingernails
  • has a high fever
  • has difficulty breathing
  • has a seizure
  • is confused or behaving irrationally
  • has lost consciousness

By Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis.  She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and a regular  contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2  Causes. Follow on  Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

Photo credit: Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Sources: American Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

16 Health Benefits of Lemons

16 Health Benefits of Lemons

 

The Alkalizing Powerfood

Lemons are acidic to the taste, but are alkaline-forming in the body. In fact  they are one of the most alkaline-forming foods; this makes them great for  balancing a highly acidic condition in the body.

Lemons are a favorite all over the world and an essential food in kitchens  everywhere.

“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial  flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” –Alfred E. Newman

16 Health Benefits of  Lemons:

1. Lemons are alkalizing for the body:  Lemons are acidic to  begin with but they are alkaline-forming on body fluids helping to restore  balance to the body’s pH.

2. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work  against infections like the flu and colds.

3. Your liver loves lemons: “The lemon is a wonderful  stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons,  liquefies the bile,” says Jethro Kloss in his book Back to Eden. Fresh  lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver  detoxifier.

4. Cleans your bowels: Lemons increase peristalsis in the  bowels, helping to create a bowel movement thus eliminating waste and helping  with regularity.  Add the juice of one lemon to warm water and drink first thing  in the morning.

5. Scurvy is treated by giving one to two ounces of lemon  juice diluted with water every two to four hours. In 1747, a naval surgeon named  James Lind cured scurvy with fresh lemons. To this day, the British Navy  requires ships to carry enough lemons so that every sailor could have one ounce  of juice a day. In the past, lemons were replaced with limes; this is where the  English got their nickname “limeys.” Watch this video: “Scurvy Pirates and the Lemon of Love

6. The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve gallstones,  calcium deposits, and kidney stones.

7. Vitamin C in lemons helps to neutralize free radicals  linked to aging and most types of disease.

8. The lemon peel contains the potent phytonutrient tangeretin, which has  been proven to be effective for brain disorders like  Parkinson’s disease.

9. In India, Ayurveda medicine values the lemon as a fruit  and for its properties. It is sour, warm, promoter of gastric fire,  light, good for vision, pungent and astringent.

10. It destroys intestinal worms.

11. When there is insufficient oxygen and difficulty  in breathing (such as when mountain climbing) lemons are very helpful.  The first man to reach the top of Mt. Everest, Edmund Hillary, said that his  success on Mt. Everest was greatly due to lemons.

12. Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties;  experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria,  cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.

13. Blood vessels are strengthened by the vitamin P in lemon  thus prevents internal hemorrhage. Also, making it useful in treating high blood  pressure.

14. The symptoms of eye disorders,  including diabetic retinopathy have been shown in research to improve due to the  rutin, found in lemons.

15. Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including  naturally occurring limonene; oil which slows or halts the growth of cancer  tumors in animals and flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer  cells.

16. According to The Reams Biological Ionization Theory  (RBTI), the lemon is the ONLY food in the world that is anionic (its electron has a negative charge).  All other foods are cationic  (the outer electron has positive charge.) This makes it extremely useful to  health as it is the interaction between anions and cations that ultimately  provides all cell energy.

History, Trivia and Interesting Lemon Facts:

  • Fashionable ladies used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips during the  European Renaissance.
  • The lemon is a small evergreen tree native to Asia (as well as the fruit  that grows on the tree).
  • The lemon is thought to have originated in the Indus Valley (a Bronze Age  civilization in South Asia) because of a lemon-shaped earring from 2500 BC found  by archaeologists in the area.
  • Lemons have been in cultivation around the Mediterranean from as early as  the first century AD.
  • Lemon trees produce fruit all year round. One tree can produce between 500  and 600 pounds of lemons in a year.
  • Once upon a time lemons were presented as gifts to kings because they were  so rare.
  • California and Arizona produce 95 percent of the entire U.S. lemon  crop.

Lemon Nutrition:

  • Lemons contain vitamin C, citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins,  calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.
  • Lemons contain more potassium than apples or grapes. Potassium is beneficial to the heart.
See the table below for in  depth analysis of   nutrients: 

Lemon (Citrus limon), fresh, without peel Nutrition Value per 100 g (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 29 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 9.32 g 7%
Protein 1.10 g 2%
Total Fat 0.30 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.80 g 7%
Vitamins
Folates 11 µg 3%
Niacin 0.100 mg 1%
Pantothenic acid 0.190 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.080 mg 6%
Riboflavin 0.020 mg 1.5%
Thiamin 0.040 mg 3.5%
Vitamin C 53 mg 88%
Vitamin A 22 IU 1%
Vitamin E 0.15 mg 1%
Vitamin K 0 µg 0%
Electrolytes
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 138 mg 3%
Minerals
Calcium 26 mg 3%
Copper 37 µg 4%
Iron 0.60 mg 7.5%
Magnesium 8 mg 2%
Manganese 0.030 mg 1%
Zinc 0.06 mg 0.5%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-߸ 3 µg
Carotene-a 1 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 20 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 11 µg

How to pick a good lemon:

  • Heavier lemons will have the most mineral content and sugar, thus  thick-skinned lemons will be lighter than thin-skinned lemons and will have less  sweetness and fewer minerals.
  • The ones with the most juice will have finely-grained texture peels.
  • Lemons should be fully yellow; the ones with green tinges have not fully  ripened and will be very acidic.
  • Over-ripe lemons will have a wrinkling look, soft or hard patches and will  not be a vibrant yellow.
  • Lemons stay fresh kept at room temperature (not in sunlight) for about seven  to 10 days; or store them in the refrigerator crisper for about four to five  weeks.

How to use lemons:

  • “When life gives you a lemon… squeeze it, mix it with six ounces of  distilled water and drink twice daily.” –Jethro Kloss in his book Back to  Eden
  • A bowl of fresh lemons will add fragrance and color to a room for days.
  • Alkalize with lemon water.
  • To reducing sodium intake, squeeze fresh lemon on salads, steamed  vegetables, soups and stews.
  • Roll a lemon on the counter a few times before squeezing to maximize the  amount of juice.
  • Lemon juice can be stored for later use by putting freshly squeezed lemon  juice in ice cube trays until frozen, then store them in containers in the  freezer.
  • Dried lemon zest should be stored in a cool and dry place in an airtight  glass container.
  • The zest of fresh lemon is a wonderful addition to cakes, cookies and in  vegetables.
  • Finally…try a Lemon Facial Cleanser …as recommended by Dr. Oz.

“When life gives you lemons, make grape juice and let the world wonder how  you did it.”  –Tori Truax

Lemon Cautions:

  • Pure lemon juice contains acid which is harmful to tooth enamel. Always  dilute with water before drinking it.
  • Lemons that are not washed properly, like the ones you get in restaurants,  may include potentially pathogenic microbes.

Delicious Lemon Recipes

By Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for  helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After  testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system  she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent  book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy  Living Network and Healthy  Cooking. She is the head chef at Real  Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food  for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook  or  Twitter (@DancinginLife).

 

3 Super-Healing Summer Melons

3 Super-Healing Summer Melons

 

Cantaloupe for Healthy Eyes

The orange color gives away some of this fruit’s healing ability. One cup of  cantaloupe contains enough beta-carotene to provide your full daily intake of  vitamin A. Beta-carotene converts into vitamin A which is proven to reduce the  risk of cataracts by 50 percent.  Cantaloupe also contains enough  antioxidants to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Honeydew for a Dewy Complexion

Honeydew melon (the green-fleshed one) is a natural source of the mineral  copper, which assists in skin repair and skin cell regeneration. Additionally,  this melon is rich in vitamin C which helps boost collagen levels. Collagen  tends to become depleted as we age, causing wrinkling. Eating more honeydew  melon may help prevent small lines and wrinkles.

Watermelon for a Healthy Prostate and Liver

Tomatoes aren’t the only food that contains high amounts of the phytonutrient  lycopene. So does watermelon. Lycopene is known for its prostate protecting,  anti-aging, and disease-thwarting powers.  Watermelon contains the  important nutrient glutathione that helps to detoxify the liver. Water is also  showing promise as an alternative to Viagra for erectile dysfunction. Keep an  eye out for my upcoming article “The Fruit that Works like Viagra” for more  information.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

Change Your Sense of Time

Change Your Sense of Time

 

The best use of time is to reconnect to your being. The misuse of time comes  down to the opposite: Moving away from your being. There is always enough time  to evolve because you and the universe are unfolding together.

  • If timelessness is part of your being, the wish will come true spontaneously  without delay. You have the power to play with time as you would any other part  of your world.
  • If timelessness has a tentative relationship to your being, some wishes will  come true spontaneously, and others won’t. There will be delays and an uneasy  sense that you might not get what you want. Your ability to play with time is  shaky by developing.
  • If timelessness has no relationship to your being, it will take work and  determination to get what you want. You have no power over time. Instead of  playing with it, you are subject to its inexorable march.

From these three broad categories one can project three different belief  systems. Consider which one best applies to you:

1. I am pressed for time. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish  everything I want.

2. I consider myself pretty lucky. I’ve gotten to do a lot of the things I’ve  always wanted to do.

3. I believe that the universe brings you whatever you need. If I don’t get  what I want, I realize that something inside me is blocking it. I spend my time  working on my inner awareness far more than struggling with outside forces.

Once you gain even a hint that wishes can come true without so much struggle,  you can resolve to move to a new stage of growth. You can resolve today to  change your relationship to time:

  • I will let time unfold for me.
  • I will keep in mind that there’s always enough time.
  • I will follow my own rhythm.
  • I will not misuse time by procrastination and delay.
  • I will not fear what time brings in the future.
  • I will not regret what time brought in the past.
  • I will stop racing against the clock.

Try to adopt just one of these resolves today and see how it changes your  reality.  Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books,  2004).

By Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. , continues to transform our understanding of the  meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12  best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A  global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra’s books have been  published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in  print.

 

8 Tips to Become a Morning Person

8 Tips to Become a Morning Person

 

You don’t have to naturally be an early bird to become one. Make the  following changes to your daily routine and environment and give  yourself a little time to adjust and you, too, can be one who effortlessly gets  the proverbial worm.

1. Go to bed early.

Yes, it’s a given, but it’s important enough to emphasize; in order  to wake  up early and feel refreshed, you must go to bed early enough to  get a full  night’s sleep. Additionally, you should make your bedtime  consistent every  night in order to create a pattern that you will  instinctively follow if  repeated long enough.

2. Wake up at the same time every day.

Just as too little sleep makes you tired, too much sleep does the  same  thing. Plus, if you don’t create a pattern for your body to follow,  it will  resist your early-bird intentions. Wake up at the same time  every day,  including weekends, until your body adjusts and ultimately,  you may not need a  wake-up call at all.

3. Get a relentless alarm clock.

The yin to the above tip’s yang, you aren’t likely to get up early  if you  can perpetually hit the snooze button. Find a fool-proof way to  make sure you  wake when you are supposed to—without delay—and you’re on  your way to morning  person status.

4. Don’t drink caffeine or excessive alcohol in the evening.

All your good intentions will be foiled if you drink the wrong  beverages.  Caffeine obviously keeps you perky, which is great up until  the time you’re  ready to go to sleep. Don’t drink any after noon,  especially when you’re  starting out your new routine, to give you better  snoozing odds. Alcohol, too,  can foil best-laid sleeping plans. It may help you get groggy,  but later it disrupts sleep, causing exhaustion that lingers into the next  day.

5.  Exercise in the early evening.

While exercise gets the heart rate going and boosts energy, it also  helps  you get seriously restful sleep—so long as you give yourself  enough winding-down time after your workout. Break a sweat right after work and you’ll have plenty of  time to get groggy before bedtime. Bonus: It  helps eliminate the stress that  might keep your mind busy when it should  be snoozing.

6. Eat healthy early evening meals.

Food hangovers happen all the time. In fact, most of us are  suffering from  one at any given time. Unfortunately, the kind of foods  you eat can disrupt  sleep, too. While you’re not likely to change your  diet just to accommodate  sleep, you can and should eat on the early side  so your body isn’t overwhelmed  trying to digest and dream.

7. Prepare for your day the night before.

Being a morning person doesn’t have to mean you bound out of bed and  whiz  around. Any sleepy shortcomings you have can be overcome with some  advance  planning. Get your coffee at the ready, lay out your wardrobe  for the day, and  make your lunch the night before. Then you’ll have less  to do as you drowsily  get into your new routine.

8. Reconfigure your bedroom for optimal sleep.

Sleep experts everywhere recommend that you make your bedroom a  sleep  sanctuary. That means you should keep stimulating distractions,  such as the TV,  smartphone, or computer, out of the bedroom and focus solely on soothing things  that are conducive to getting your snooze on.

By Samantha, selected from DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women  come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability,  and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by  writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real  women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re  discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel  and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

10 Signs You Should Detox Your Life

10 Signs You Should Detox Your Life

Many of my clients come in with complaints about personal habits that  feel  toxic in their lives. Just as you can detox your body when you’re  feeling  sluggish, it’s also possible to detox your emotional life. Here  are some of the  most common ways your life can back up on you, and how  to handle it.

1. Frequently late

The cure to lateness is twofold: learn to estimate time better, and  get more  organized, so you are not delayed by looking for last minute  items. Perhaps the  most important reason to cure yourself of lateness is  that it is rude to  others, and costs you their good opinion. If your  partner is late, stop  waiting! Set a reasonable grace period (eg:15  minutes) and then leave without  the other person, leaving a note about  how to meet you wherever you’re going.  That way, you are not forced to  operate on the other person’s time schedule.  You’ll be surprised at how  quickly he or she will learn to be on time.

2. Often angry or irritated

Being easily angered or irritated is a great way to punish yourself.  It  raises your blood pressure, and tends to create unnecessary problems  with  others. Anger interferes with clear thinking, and being irritable  makes it  unpleasant and difficult for others to work or socialize with  you. To reform  this habit, you must develop more emotional maturity.  Understand that your  anger is not seen as power by others, but as  childishness and petulance. It  will lose you far more than you will  gain. Learn to slow down, and reduce your  overly high expectations.  Allow others to be themselves, and don’t expect them  to march to your  drum. Counting to 10 works wonders, as does taking three deep  breaths  when you are upset.

Taking up yoga, meditation, tai chi, or another calming pursuit will  teach  you patience. Strenuous physical activity is a great way to burn  off excess  anger. If none of these work, see a therapist or join an anger management  group.

3. Unsure of ability to do something

Insecurity and feelings of incompetence are definitely stressful,  but they  may also be useful. Find out if you really are unprepared for  the task ahead.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or ask for help. It’s  OK to be a beginner,  even if you’re an expert in other things. If you  don’t try to pretend you’re  better than you are, you will get more help  from others. Take it slowly, and  allow yourself to learn as you go.  Above all, be supportive to yourself, and  don’t subject yourself to  harsh internal criticism.

4. Overextended

Frequently becoming overextended can be a sign of  grandiosity—overblown  expectations of your abilities—or of trying to  control everything. Reduce your  expectations of your own  accomplishments, and allow others to help you in their  own way. In the  long run, being a team player is usually more efficient than  trying to  do it all alone and becoming overwhelmed.

5. Not enough time for stress relief

This is an extension of being overextended, and may be a sign that  you  always come last in your own life. Learn to schedule time for  yourself to relax  and to play. If you write personal time on your  schedule the same way you do  appointments with others, you’ll be more  likely to actually do it. Join a class  or group that meets regularly for  a relaxing activity such as dancing,  stretching or meditation, or  schedule a regular massage, manicure or facial, so  you’ll have a  guaranteed place to relax.

6. Feeling unbearably tense

If your anxiety is this high, you may need therapy.  Anxiety and panic  attacks are among the easiest things to fix in  counseling sessions. You are  probably running non-stop negative  self-talk, which keeps you anxious about  everything. Try affirmations  and/or prayer to counteract the running commentary  in your mind. Learn  to breathe deeply from your diaphragm when you feel  anxious—it slows  your heartbeat and calms you down.

7. Frequently pessimistic

A negative attitude is a result of negative self-talk, and of a  negative  attitude probably learned in childhood. There are many  self-help books which  will guide you in learning to change the nature of  your approach to life.  Techniques such as prayer and affirmations,  counting your blessings, and  setting small goals every day will help you  turn this around.

8. Upset by conflicts with others

All conflict is upsetting. The key is to reduce the amount of  conflict in  your life. Many of the above techniques, such as anger  reduction and positive  self_talk, will contribute to improving your  relationships with others. In  addition, you can learn better social  techniques such as active listening,  positive regard, win-win  negotiation and clear communication which will  eliminate the source of  conflict. Learn to listen to others (even when you  don’t agree) and,  before speaking, consider how your words might feel to the  other person.  Treat other people more as you would like them to treat you, and,  most  important, stop and think before reacting to someone else.

9. Worn-out or burned-out

Burnout is the result of feeling overextended or ineffective for a  long  period of time. Most of us can deal with small amounts of  frustration or  feeling overwhelmed, but if it goes on too long, we lose  all our motivation,  and become burned out. Motivation comes from  celebration and appreciation, so  learn to celebrate each little  accomplishment, and seek appreciation when you  need it. If you have  trouble doing that, perhaps it’s time to make a career  change or to  change some other aspect of your life.

10. Feeling lonely

Loneliness may not result from actually being alone, but more from  feeling  misunderstood or not valued. People often isolate themselves  because they feel  inadequate in social situations. Value the friends you  do have, and make new  friends by attending classes or other group  events where you can focus on a  task or assignment. This will take the  pressure off your contact with other  people, and give you something in  common with them. Be wary of spending too  much time on your computer, in  chat rooms, etc. These activities absorb time,  but do little to dispel  loneliness. Make sure you schedule some time with a  friend at least once  a week, and if you don’t have friends, then use that  weekly time to  take a class or join a group (for example, a book club or sports  group )  which will give you a chance to make new friends.

(Adapted from It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.)

By Tina Tessina, DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women  come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability,  and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by  writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real  women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re  discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel  and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

9 Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe on July 4th

9 Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe on July 4th

As much as we all enjoy watching the “big lights go boom” in the sky  every Fourth of July, our pets aren’t always thrilled with independence day  activities.

Courtesy of our friends over at the ASPCA, here  are some great products and tips to keep your  pets calm and safe during  the Independence day activities and prevent them from  becoming one of  the thousands of missing “July 4th doggies” that are  traumatized every  year by fireworks and other scary noises (…like Uncle Frank  at the  Karaoke machine, etc.).

1. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can  reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to  poison pets. If ingested,  the animal could become very intoxicated and  weak, severely depressed or could  go into a coma. Death from respiratory  failure is also a possibility in severe  cases.

2. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet  that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.  Ingestion of  sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting,  diarrhea, excessive thirst  and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent  that contains DEET can lead to  neurological problems.

3. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could  potentially  damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even  kidney  disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if  ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous  system  depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and  breathing  problems could develop.

4. Keep your pets on their normal diet.  Any change, even  for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion  and diarrhea. This is  particularly true for older animals who have more  delicate digestive systems  and nutritional requirements. And keep in  mind that foods such as onions,  chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes &  raisins, salt and yeast dough can all  be potentially toxic to companion  animals.

5. Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

6. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

7. Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

8. Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

9. Keep ‘em Calm: Consider calming your pet with a homeopathic calming remedy, available over the counter at most natural pet stores or the new Thundershirt, which features a gentle, constant pressure that has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. If your pet has severe anxiety with loud noises, you might consider consulting with your veterinarian for other options.

Please pass these tips on to any new pet parents you might know, to make sure they understand how to best prepare their pup or kitten for the holiday weekend and feel free to leave a comment with other tips you have found helpful. Happy Fourth!

 By Janet McCulley, Animal Planet

Seeing Your Home Through ‘Feng Shui’ Eyes

Seeing Your Home Through ‘Feng Shui’ Eyes

At the foundation of Feng Shui is the belief that everything in our  home is  alive and talking to us. This may seem like a stretch to many,  but stop and  think about it; when the first thing you encounter when you  enter your home is  the unrelenting pile of clutter, how does it make  you feel? My sense is – not so  great about yourself. And who needs that? (See my article The Anatomy of Clutter)

Your home holds information about belief systems that may or may not be  serving you. You can train yourself to see them by looking at exactly what is  there. By acting on this information, you gain valuable tools for transformation  and personal growth.

My client Elinore’s living room walls were filled with large,  expensive oil  paintings of her husband’s dead relatives. Sort of like the ones you might find  in a castle with everyone looking very severe and disapproving. She hated them  but did not have the nerve to tell her husband. He had inherited them and as the  only son of a wealthy family, wanted to have them up, but they had a very small  home. She had no room to put any of the pictures that she loved. Her space had  an important message for her if she was willing to see it.

In Elinore’s case it revealed that she didn’t value herself enough to have  that “courageous conversation” with her husband about not feeling comfortable in  her own space. She didn’t feel worthy of asking him for this important thing.  She could have presented him with options; he could put them in his own office  or even give them to other relatives. Because she could not speak up about her  own needs, she was consigning herself to live with the “eyes of the disapproving  relatives” eternally following her around the house.

It is our  personality that resists confrontation. It fears we may lose all  by speaking up. The truth is that we may lose if our relationships are  built on  sand, but if they are substantial, our loved ones will come  around and  our  relationships will be better for it.

Feng Shui teaches that every object in our homes and gardens has a   consciousness, which is called energy or chi. It is  interacting with us  and we are interacting with it on subtle, and not-so-subtle  levels. We are continuously “painting” where we are in life into our physical  surroundings. Whether we like it or not, our  space is reflecting our inner  psychology. By reading the messages that are there in our  surroundings,  we can gain valuable insights, bringing us the personal growth that our soul  seeks.

As we study Feng Shui we learn to see our homes with a new pair of  eyes. I  have been eternally grateful for the simple messages that my homes have provided  about what is going on in my inner world. As a person who has always been on a  path of personal growth, I welcome these valuable insights.

One example was when I got it about the impacts of having too much stuff. I started making myself have just one or two  objects displayed on a surface rather than my usual seven or eight. I realized  my home looked like the homes I staged with lots of decorative objects filling  every corner. There were no unfilled surfaces. In meditating why this  made me uncomfortable, I suddenly saw the simple lesson that was embedded  energetically into my home. I realized that I filled my social calendar the same  way I filled my home. Every corner was busy! My home, like my life,  reflected a lot of doing and not much being. I was  uncomfortable creating more spaciousness in my life and there it was reflected  in my home!

By creating more spaciousness in my living space, I  created an environmental affirmation which reflected  my  intention to spend more time developing my inner landscape. This  translated to more time spent in self-reflection, meditation and yoga. As a  result of my home becoming more balanced, my life also came more into  balance.

There are invaluable messages embedded in our space that can change  our  lives for the better. Feng Shui teaches us to look at our space in new ways  which allows for many powerful “ah hah” moments. Subtle changes in our living  space often produce big changes in our lives.

Although everything in our environment provides valuable information about  our inner beliefs, the easiest way to start is by looking at your artwork. What  is it telling you about your belief systems? The overwhelming wall of family  photos in the hallway often reveals that the client’s life has been overwhelmingly about family in an un-balanced way. Often her children  have grown and she is now faced with not knowing who she is. I  recommend weeding out some of the family photos and adding pictures of the  client doing fun things with friends or by herself. By affirming this new way of  being, she brings it into prominence in her life. She begins to attract friends  and experiences that affirm her as a individual, enriching her life and filling  the “empty nest” with her new sense of self and purpose.

Perhaps you have some depressing pictures, or too many single women pictures – and you want to bring in a relationship? Or maybe  you have art work that simply matches the room but does not inspire you? Your  walls act as important real estate reflecting what it is you want to bring into  your life. Use them to move your life forward in a way that affirms, inspires  and uplifts. This affirmation in your physical space will begin to work  energetically on your internal space and your life will begin to shift in the  direction you desire. (See my article Your Home is Attracting your Future.)

You may also want to look at what is not there. Often a home with no  pictures on the walls or sparse furniture reflects an inability or fear of  commitment. A fear of making choices that are wrong, so no choices are made at  all. It can also reflect a lack of commitment to your living space. You may not  like it and are hoping to find something you like better when you can afford it.  I have found time and time again when a client fully commits to where they are  living now and makes it wonderful, the doors open pretty rapidly to a  better place. Many of life’s lessons can be found in the Feng Shui of  our space.

It’s quite simple really; when we feel better about our living  space, we  become happier people. Happier people attract others who want  to spend time  with them, who will often bring opportunities along as  well.

A home that lifts your spirits and reflects your true tastes, loves  and  desires, makes you happy. In doing so it is amplifying the happiness   quotient in your life and attracting more of it. Consequently, a home that  always drags you down  because of the accumulation of all the little things that  bug you, is continuing to attract more of what you don’t want.

Western Feng Shui, which is the form that I teach and  practice, is not about hanging mysterious crystals and  wind chimes in strategic  places. It is not about some “woo woo” superstition that is too  complicated to figure out. You will unfortunately encounter  many books that try  to make it mysterious, but the skinny on  Feng Shui is that is is  simple. By working on your home to make it a  more pleasing place for you and/or  your family to be, you are changing  your energy. You simply feel better, hence are  more enjoyable to be around and you start to experience a domino  effect of positive things happening  in your life!

By Erica Sofrina,  author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western  World.

Erica Sofrina is a  motivational speaker, author and life coach specializing in connecting people to  their spiritual essence. She is also an Internationally recognized Feng Shui  speaker, teacher and the author of the book Small  Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of  the West  Coast Academy of Feng Shui.  She is also the founder of Earth Spirit  Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such  as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection. Find out  more at www.ericasofrina.com

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

 

Berries are a delicious addition to any diet.  But,  taste is not the only reason to love them.  Here’s why you should add these  seven super-healing summer berries to your diet:

Blackberries

Loaded with vitamin C, blackberries also contain ellagic acid—an important  phytonutrient that protects skin cells from damaging UV rays. Ellagic acid also  prevents the breakdown of collagen in the skin that occurs as we age and is  linked to wrinkling.

Blueberries

Blueberries are phytonutrient powerhouses.  They  contain: anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechins, and salicylic acid.  If the latter sounds familiar, you may recognize it as the drug we’ve come to  know as Aspirin. That’s right—blueberries contain natural aspirin, but in this  beautiful and delicious packaging offered by Mother Nature, there’s no worry  about harmful side effects. What’s more, blueberries are proven to reduce heat  shock proteins that are linked with some forms of brain disease, making these  little marvels potent weapons in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s  disease as well as other neurological disorders.

 

Loganberries

A cross between blackberries and raspberries, these berries  strengthen blood  vessels, making them an excellent addition to help  fight heart disease or  varicose veins. They contain rutin, which  research shows strengthens  capillaries and improves circulation. They  look like long raspberries.

Currants

Currants contain gamma-linolenic acid that inhibit the body’s histamine—the  allergic response in reaction to pollens. That makes them great to help you  avoid or eliminate sinus congestion and itchy eyes linked to seasonal allergies.  Since they are tart, you might enjoy them best mixed with other berries.

Raspberries

Raspberries are still my favorite fruit. Raspberries, like other  berries,  contain an important compound that is 10 times more effective  at alleviating  inflammation than aspirin. Containing the phytonutrient  ellagic acid,  raspberries can help protect against pollutants found in  cigarette smoke,  processed foods, and may neutralize some cancer-causing  substances before they  can damage healthy cells. They’re delicious on  their own, in a fruit salad, in  a smoothie, or on top of a green salad.

 

Gooseberries

Gooseberries—the berries that resemble green grapes—help you to feel  happier.  In recent research in the journal Experimental  Neurobiology,   scientists found that gooseberries contain a flavonoid  called   kaempferol that prevents the breakdown of brain hormones serotonin and   dopamine. These brain chemicals naturally help us fight stress and keep   our  spirits up.

Strawberries

More than delicious, when it comes to disease prevention, these babies pack a  serious punch. Not only do eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than an  orange, they are antioxidant powerhouses. Whether you want to evade heart  disease, arthritis, memory loss, wrinkling, or cancer, these berries have proven  their ability to help. Plus, they’re just so easy to get into your diet on a  regular basis.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural  medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet,  Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

Image credit (loganberry): ndrwfgg / Flickr

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