Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for January, 2013

9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy

9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy

 

 

Boosting your energy doesn’t have to cost a lot or feel like work. Just by  learning a few simple tricks you can have a great impact on your energy for the  rest of your life.

1. Start the day out with the juice of one lemon  squeezed into pure water. Not only do lemons contain over 20  anti-cancer compounds, they help to quickly restore your body’s pH.  While  lemons are acidic, when the juice is metabolized with water, it alkalizes your  body to help reduce pain or headaches, improve your energy levels, and optimize  your body’s natural enzyme processes.

2.  Eat fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is packed with  vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and of course, enzymes. We tend to deplete  our bodies’ own stores of enzymes by overeating and eating primarily cooked or  processed foods.  Adding fresh, raw fruit allows your body to divert its  own digestive energy to other functions in your body.  When eaten on an  empty stomach the fruit passes through your digestive system quickly to provide  you with a quick boost of energy.  Don’t overdo on extremely sweet fruit  like pineapples or bananas if you’re trying to lose weight.

3.  Snack on raw, soaked nuts and seeds throughout the  day. By soaking raw nuts for at least an hour (but preferably overnight) and  then draining them, you help to quash enzyme inhibitors found in nuts while  increasing the nutrient-content. Soaking them increases their water content and  digestibility, helping to make sure your body can assimilate their rich calcium,  magnesium, zinc and Omega 3 fatty acid stores. Nuts also make a great snack  because they help to keep blood sugar levels stable and that means weight loss,  greater energy and balanced moods for you.

4.  Keep a tray of crudités (raw veggie sticks) to  snack on or add to your meals. You’ll be far more likely to eat them on a  regular basis if they are already cleaned, cut, and ready to go.  Raw  veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

5.  Eat a large raw salad at a minimum of one meal a  day. That doesn’t include iceberg lettuce topped with a starchy tomato. I’m  talking about a large green salad, either Romaine, mesclun mix or your favorite  greens—just be sure they are actually green. But your salad doesn’t have to be a  boring plate of greens. Top with some fresh berries, garlic and ginger crisps,  brown rice noodles, salsa, roasted vegetables or raw walnuts. I’ve observed many  converts go from salad haters to salad lovers with a little creativity and some  delicious recipes.  And greens are among the most nutrient-dense food you  can eat so it’s worth the effort.

6.  Sip fresh juice. Enjoy a smoothie made with fresh  fruit and almond milk. Drink a freshly-made veggie and carrot juice between  meals. It’s easier and more delicious than you think to drink fresh juices. Once  you get in the habit of having fresh juice, you’ll never want packaged or  concentrated juices again. The added energy they’ll give you over time will be  reward for the minimal effort required to make them.

7.  Make a salad smoothie. Sounds disgusting but you’ll  be surprised how delicious, filling and nutritious this power drink can be. Toss  a large handful of mild greens like Boston lettuce, Romaine lettuce or spinach  along with berries, frozen banana, almond milk or other smoothie ingredients and  blend for an instant “green drink” and salad. I opt for a salad smoothie when  I’m pressed for time or am just feeling a little lazy and want my salad in a  hurry.

8.  Add sprouts to salads, wraps, sandwiches, noodles  or stir-fries after they’ve finished cooking. Sprouts are diverse and versatile.   They are nutrient- and enzyme-powerhouses, giving your body a serious  boost when eaten on a regular basis.  If you don’t like one kind, try  another.  There are many different varieties, including but not limited  to:  mung bean, onion, broccoli, alfalfa and red clover. Sprouts are  serious energy-boosting superfoods.

9.  Eat only until you are full. For many people eating  has become a pastime rather than something to nourish their appetites and  bodies. Reducing the amount you eat may increase longevity. Research shows that  even slightly restricting caloric intake increases the lifespan of laboratory  animals so this benefit may transfer to humans as well. Eat until you feel full  but not heavy. It may take some time to adjust to this concept. Most people eat  until they are bloated and heavy feeling and mistake that as feeling “full.” Stop well before that. You’ll use a lot less energy to eat only until you are  full than you would if you keep on eating.  And that frees up energy for  other things.  That doesn’t mean you should starve yourself, go hungry, or  use this advice as an excuse to support an eating disorder. Snack later if you  become hungry again, but pay attention to your body’s signals, not just to your  eyes and taste buds.

(Leesa recommends that your fruit and vegetable choices be organic!)

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, 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-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

15 Tips For Living To 100

15 Tips For Living To 100

Living to 100 is not rare anymore. In fact, a local billboard forecasts, “The  first person to live to 150 has already been born.”

I don’t know if or when people will live to be 150, but I do know that living  to be 100 is something that we can strive for. In fact, the number of 100 year  olds in the United States has roughly  doubled in the past 20 years to around 72,000 and is projected to at least  double again by 2020, making it the fastest growing demographic in America.  According to the 2010 census data, about 1 in 4,400 Americans lives to age  100.

Since we all get older every year, it raises an important question, “What  should I be doing if I want to continue my annual renewal and stay healthy so I  can continue to enjoy the journey.”

In general, your genes will neither kill you nor save you.  Our genes  dictate only about 10% of how long we live. People with “terrible” genes can  make lifestyle changes and improve their odds significantly, and people with “designer” genes can run them in into the ground. So a lot of it has to do with  what you do with what you have.

So how do we protect the 35 trillion cells that we call our body to make them  last for a century? In his book Blue  Zones, Dan Buettner has explored lifestyle changes that increase longevity.  I’ve incorporated his views and expanded on them to include my own. Here are my  personal thoughts on how to live the longest, healthiest and happiest life.

  • Start planning for longevity today. If you wanted to have  an adequate retirement savings account, you probably would start saving early.  The same is true with your health. Start implementing the things we’re going to  discuss below today.
  • Eat healthy. This is very confusing today because it seems  what is healthy keeps changing. But the basics are pretty consistent: avoid junk  food; limit prepared foods (restaurant and take out), sugary drinks and sodas;  eat lots of fruits and vegetables. If possible, eat organically grown fruits and  vegetables to minimize exposure to pesticide. If you haven’t heart about the  clean 15 and dirty dozen (12 highest pesticide laden fruits and vegetables), click  here.
  • Control your weight. It’s really simple; the fatter your  body, the harder your heart has to work to supply it with blood and the harder  your knees have to work to keep it moving. Some simple tips include don’t go  back for seconds (keep the food off the table and on a serving counter so people  have to physically get up to grab another spoonful), keep only healthy snacks in  the house or with you at work, chew your food at least 30 times per bite and put  your fork or sandwich down between bites so your meal will take longer and your  stomach will have time to tell your brain you are getting full. This will allow  you to stop eating before you overeat.
  • Don’t add salt to your food. Salt  is a growing health problem in the United States and is contributing to high  blood pressure and heart disease. There is so much salt already in the food we  eat that adding extra salt is unhealthy.
  • Take a multivitamin and fish oil daily. (Leesa recommends Chews4Health!
  • Maintain Family Units. In today’s fractured world, many  families live far away from each other. Yet in places such as Sardinia, Italy  where there are ten times the centenarians as in the United States, families  typically live together in units that include the grandparents. They call it the  grandmother affect. Interestingly, in a recent study of killer  whales reported in Science, in which the grandmother whale survived and  continued to live with the pod, the effect on her adult male offspring was a 14  times greater likelihood of his survival one year beyond the loss of his  mother.
  • Eat on A Smaller Plate. People in Okinawa, Japan use plates  about the size of a salad plate.  They live seven good years longer than  the average American and have 1/5 the rate of breast and colon cancer and 1/6  the rate of heart disease. Centenarians stop eating with they are 80% full.
  • Remain Active. It’s not about running in the Boston  Marathon. It’s about staying active and moving. Hardwire some type of physical  activity into every week of your life. Walk in nature, take the stairs, do yoga  or tai chi, garden. Do this at least two to three times per week. I do  resistance training with a personal trainer twice a week and walk almost every  other day.
  • Stay Connected. People live longer who have ongoing social  interactions, who are able to share their happiness and sorrow and who have  companionship. This does not mean chat rooms and Facebook. It means sitting in  the room with real people. Volunteering, participating and sharing are life  extenders.
  • Have a purpose. People who have a reason to wake up in the  morning live longer, healthier, happier lives. What’s yours? If an answer  doesn’t pop into your head, search for one. It could be playing with your  grandchildren, gardening, adult education, volunteering at your favorite charity  or school, or any of a thousand other reasons. Find yours. According to Dan  Buettner it’s worth about 7 years of life expectancy.
  • Have a day of rest. Having one day a week where all you do  is relax, abstain from work and any stress related activity, and/or pray has  been shown to increase longevity. Even God rested on the seventh day. There is a  reason that is part of every major religion. Enjoy this Free  relaxing instrumental music while you rest and relax.
  • Remain Spiritual: People who are part of a faith based  community who pray at least 4 times per month live between 4 and 14 extra  years.
  • Choose friends wisely. People tend to become who they hang  out with. The Framingham  Study showed that if your 3 best friends are obese, you are 50% more likely  to become obese. Friends with healthy habits increase your chance of remaining  healthy.
  • Smile More: People who are happier and have a more positive  attitude live longer. Happiness lowers stress, strengths your immune system and  keep the tips of your chromosomes, called telomeres,  longer, preventing cancer and disease.

By Mache Seibel

Dr. Mache Seibel

Health expert and guest speaker Dr. Mache Seibel addresses consumers’  critical needs from weight  control to HRT, menopause  and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for 19 years and is  a pioneer in many areas of women’s health. He works with companies and  organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. Visit his  award-winning website DoctorSeibel.com  to sign up for his  free monthly newsletter.

Are You Healthier Than a 100-Year-Old?

Are You Healthier Than a 100-Year-Old?

There used to be this great game show on TV: “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth  Grader?”

The premise of the show was to determine whether or not the average adult  could answer questions based on a typical elementary school learning curriculum.  Contestants would attempt to correctly respond to ten questions.

Along the way, the presumably well-educated adult could solicit the help of  one of several pint-sized counterparts, dubbed, “classmates.”

As a television program, it provided viewers with a slew of hilarious  situations, and forced dozens of adults to admit that they were, “not smarter  than a fifth grader.”

In the two- and-a-half years that the show was on, only two people won the  top prize of $1,000,000—one of them being a former Nobel Prize winning  physicist.

What does all of this have to do with you?

Well, given the results of a recent, nationwide survey, quite a lot,  actually.

The survey took an in-depth look at the habits, preferences, and lifestyles  of 100 centenarians (people age 100 and older) and measured them against 300  baby boomers (aged 50-55) to pinpoint the differences and similarities between  each group.

Looking at the outcome of the seventh-annual “United HealthCare 100@100  Survey” report, may cause baby boomers to ask themselves a rather curious  question: “Am I healthier than a centenarian?”

To help you answer this question for yourself, try (honestly)  answering the following queries:

Do I consistently eat a balanced diet complete with plenty of fruits,  vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates?

The connection between sound nutritional choices and good health has been  scientifically proven countless times, but this message appears to have had more  of an impact on the most long-lived members of our society than on those we  consider to be ‘middle-aged.’ 80 percent of centenarians reported that they  maintain a healthy  diet almost daily, while only 68 percent of boomers were able to agree with  that same statement.

Do I get eight hours of sleep every night?

Catching  Zs for the recommended seven or eight hours each night has been linked to many  positive health outcomes such as: reduced levels of stress, better  cardiovascular health, and a decreased risk for depression. Yet only 38 percent  of boomers say they get the suggested  amount of sleep, compared to 70 percent of centenarians.

How often do you laugh?

If your answer is daily, then keep up the good work. The survey indicated  that, while boomers do laugh more, most of the members of the 100-year-old club  also reported appreciating  the lighter side of life. 87 percent of boomers said they chuckled at least  once a day versus 80 percent of centenarians.

Do you exercise regularly?

Though the majority of centenarians say that they exercise almost daily,  boomers do have them beat—but only by a slim margin (59 percent of boomers  versus 51 percent of centenarians). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  recommends that adults try to get a minimum of about 150 minutes of  moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. This amount is thought to be  sufficient to reap the numerous benefits attributed to regular physical  activity, including: reduced cancer and type 2 diabetes risk, better  cardiovascular health, stronger muscles and bones, and a longer lifespan.

What do you do for exercise?

Both age groups reported that physical health was the most important, yet  most difficult, aspect of health to maintain as a person gets older. How do the  oldest elders work out? Many cited walking (44 percent) and engaging in muscle  strengthening exercises (41 percent) as their go-to methods of staying in shape.  One curious finding in the realm of physical fitness was that more centenarians  than boomers said that they supplemented their work-out regimes with  mind/body/spirit activities such as Yoga, or Tai chi.

Do you regularly communicate with friends and family?

The same number (89 percent) of boomers and centenarians claimed that they  engage in regular communication and with their family and friends, lending  further credence to the connection between a strong social support group and  good health.

So, are you really healthier than a 100-year-old?

Handling healthy habit blockers

Time, energy, illness  and money are often the most commonly cited barriers to leading a healthy  lifestyle.

Interestingly, even though the elderly are sometimes viewed as being sicker,  more tired, and more financially strained than their younger counterparts, the  survey found that fewer centenarians than boomers said that their ailments or  purse strings got in the way of them leading a healthy lifestyle. Additionally,  only 15 percent of centenarians claimed that they were too tired to make good  choices on how to be healthier; a figure not too much larger than the 10 percent  of boomers who said the same thing.

Baby boomers are likely to face some significant obstacles when it comes to  maintaining their physical, mental and spiritual well-being as they get older,  particularly if they are members of the stressed-out Sandwich Generation. The  key is to look for ways to take advantage of the opportunities you do have.

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com  Editor

AgingCare.com  connects family  caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing  options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted  resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed  decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

Stop Waiting: Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

Stop Waiting: Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again
 

In this year, month, day, hour, second – in this exact moment of  being – your life is yours to live. Stop waiting. You don’t have to have  it all figured  out. I rarely do.  And some of the best sex, best meals,  best adventures, best  creative efforts, “best of everything of Pamela  Madsen” has been done on a wing  and a prayer. You don’t have to be  perfect. Ever. Forget labels. They don’t  matter.  I used to let labels  define me. Like up until yesterday.  Change can  happen that quickly.

Sometimes, you have to stop midstream, and go in another direction.  That’s  okay too. You don’t have to clean you plate ever! Unless you want  to.

Don’t play scared. Don’t play trapped. Don’t play what if. Don’t play  small  ever.  Be painfully vulnerable. It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to want.  Show up with a full heart and roll the dice. At the very least  you know that  you are playing your life full out. Big is the new black.

So what’s holding you back? A little fear? Got it. Me to.  Reach for what you know is real. Let go of needing praise. Are you  living  your life for you or for somebody else? How hard are you working  on fitting  into the cage?

Guess what? You are worth more than that. How much of your life are  you  going to spend waiting to get permission to live? Stop it.

Now move it. Make it happen. I don’t know what it is for you. That  book,  that dance, that dream, that life. Stop dreaming. Create. Swing  the bat and  play hard. Remember you have this moment. Do it any way you  want to.

Do you hear the music yet? It’s playing just for you.

Live a life of hope and possibility. Let resistance go, you know what you really want.

Me too.

By Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach Specializing In Women’s  Issues: Sexuality, Fertility, Body Image, Wellness and Rejuvenation. Pamela is  also author of the best selling memoir Shameless (Rodale,  Jan 2011), and founder of The American Fertility Association.  Her websites BeingShameless.com and her daily blog, thefertilityadvocate.com, are  a breakfast essential for reporters, writers and  policymakers.

 

The Unexpected Secret to Successful Aging

The Unexpected Secret to Successful Aging

 

How do you define success?

Here are a few famous responses to this question:

  • “Success is going from  failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”—Winston Churchill
  • “Success is doing ordinary  things extraordinarily well.”—Jim Rohn

No matter the arena (personal, professional, financial), success is often  equated with achievement. A successful lawyer wins the majority of the cases she  takes on; a successful investment banker makes a lot of money for his firm.

Redefining the idea of effective aging

What happens when you apply the concept of success to something as complex  and individualized as  the aging process?

“There are several different definitions of successful aging,” says Dilip  Jeste, M.D., Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging  and President of the American Psychiatric Association. “Traditional ‘objective’ definitions [of aging] have emphasized absence of physical and cognitive  disabilities.”

Jeste and his colleagues recently conducted a study that turns these “traditional” definitions upside down.

After surveying more than 1,000 older adults, researchers discovered that,  when it comes to aging, it’s not how fast you can run, or whether you can  complete the New York Times crossword puzzle that makes you a success—it’s your  attitude that really counts.

“The most surprising result we found was the paradox of aging—i.e., as  physical health declined with aging, self-rated successful aging scores seemed  to increase,” Jeste says. “Our findings showed that physical health was neither  necessary nor sufficient for feeling good about one’s own aging.”

In fact, many seniors who were grappling with physical or mental decline said  they felt that their overall wellbeing was increasing with each passing  year.

How to gracefully get older

Once you’ve discovered what it means to age “successfully,” the question  becomes: How do you do it?

Jeste’s recipe for effective aging includes three ingredients: resilience  (the ability to adapt and persevere in the face of hardship), optimism (being  able to recognize both the good and the bad in a given situation) and the  absence of depression.

He provides a few strategies for approaching the aging process in a  productive way:

Be logical: It’s important to strike a balance between  pessimism and unrealistic optimism,  says Jeste. For instance, if you have cancer, you won’t be able to cure yourself  simply by thinking happy thoughts. Instead, seek out the treatment options that  are right for you and remain confident that they will help you.

Seek support: A support network of friends and family is  essential for maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing, especially as you age.  Social support provides a stalwart shield against disease-causing stress of all  kinds.

Tame tension: Whether it’s taking a walk, practicing  yoga or reading a book, make sure to regularly engage in activities that you  find enjoyable. Taking a break from the pressure and strain of everyday life is  essential for building your resilience reserves.

Manage depression: About one in ten American adults suffer  from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Women age 45-64  have a higher risk of developing the symptoms of depression, including:  excessive fatigue, irritability, feeling hopeless, loss of interest in hobbies  and suicidal tendencies. According to Jeste, recognizing and managing depression  in adults is vitally important to maintaining good mental and physical health as  you age. Consult with a doctor if you feel you or your loved one may be  depressed.

The idea that some elements of aging are controllable is a positive one for  Jeste, who is optimistic about the future of growing old in America.

“Over the next three decades, we will witness the largest increase in the  number of people over age 65 in the history of mankind,” he says. “Our study  suggests that an increasing number of these older adults can be productive and  contribute to our society in many ways.”

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com  Editor

AgingCare.com  connects family  caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing  options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted  resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed  decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

Physically Stressed?

Physically Stressed?

Letting go physically is a matter of stress release.  Under stress your body  tenses and contracts; breathing gets ragged and shallow; hormonal balances  switch from their normal levels to the hypervigilant state of fight of flight.   You cannot cope with all of this at once.  In the overall plan taking part in a  stress management program is a long-term commitment you should make, whether  through meditation, yoga, or countless other options.

Stress is ongoing; therefore reducing stress also needs to be ongoing.  In  the short run letting go of stress involves relaxing.  Take deep, measured  breaths, letting the breath go free on the exhale.  Lie down if you can and  allow release to take place for as long as it needs to.

Signs of good release are yawning, sighing, silent sobs, coughing, sneezing,  and feeling sleepy.  Let your body do any or all of these things.

Other means of physical release besides breathing include laughing,  screaming, shouting, taking a walk, swimming, taking a long bath, dancing, and  doing aerobics.

Shaking out the stress does in fact work, at least partially.  The intention  here is to let your body release what it wants to.  Your body doesn’t like  holding on to stress; it does so essentially at the urging of the mind.  Taking  your mind off the situation and letting your body release its excess energies is  a valuable step.

Under really extreme stress, walk away from the situation – tell anyone else  who is involved that you need to be alone for a while to get your bearings.   Offer reassurance that you will be back, and even if the other person puts  pressure on you to stay, give yourself permission to do what you need to do for  your own well-being.

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press,  1997).

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.

18 Ways to Boost Your Health in 2013

18 Ways to Boost Your Health in 2013

 

Let’s face it:  most of us start out the New Year with the best  intentions, but soon we are back to our old habits.  Here are 18 ways to  help you get your health on track in 2013:

1. Eat a large green salad.  Greens are full of vitamins, minerals,  enzymes, and phytonutrients like chlorophyll that give our body a huge  boost.  Chlorophyll, in particular, helps build healthy and strong  blood.

2. Drink more water.  Water fuels every cell in our body.   Insufficient water spells the breakdown of cellular process that can eventually  cause illness.

3. Eat two or three pieces or servings of fruit (count ½ cup of fruit like  grapes, blueberries, cherries, etc. as a serving) daily.  It’s easy enough  to choose fruit instead of a less-healthy dessert.

4. Go for a brisk walk.  Walking gets your heart pumping, improves  circulation, and gets your lymphatic system (the system that eliminates toxic  build-up from your tissues) working more effectively.

5. Better yet, take your brisk walk in nature.  Breath in the rich  oxygenated air from the trees and enjoy the peace and quiet nature offers.

6. Drink a freshly made juice preferably with green veggies.  Ideally,  dilute your juice 1:1 with pure water.  Fresh juices are an easy way to  cleanse your body and give it a huge amount of nutrients.  Some people  spend a fortune on superfoods (which is fine if you have the money) but fresh  juices also tend to be rich in antioxidants and other critical nutrients and are  much cheaper.

7. Think of at least 10 things for which you are grateful each day.   Better yet, start a gratitude journal.  Just the act of appreciating what  you have can help you feel happier and better about your life.

8. Hug someone you love (make sure it is someone who actually wants a  hug).

9. Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts.  The magnesium in Epsom salts  is readily absorbed through your skin to relax your muscles and ease  tension.  Many experts estimate that about 80% of the population is  magnesium deficient.  This is a delightful way to boost your magnesium  levels.  Try to stay in the water for at least 20 minutes for maximum  benefits.

10.  Meditate.  The act of calming your mind can relax the nervous  system, which tends to be in stress mode due to our high-stress, fast-paced  lives.

11.  Deep breathe for at least 5 minutes, as often as you can.   Research shows that breathing deeply can reduce the amount of the stress hormone  cortisol that is released from the adrenal glands.  Simply reducing this  hormone can reduce anxiety, stress, and even help with weight loss.

12.  Dry skin brush.  Brush your skin using a natural-bristled  brush.  Start with the legs and brush upwards toward the heart.  Then  brush the trunk of the body also toward the heart (avoiding the breasts), and  then brush the arms toward the heart.  This gets the lymphatic system  moving to eliminate toxins more effectively.  Take a couple of minutes  before hopping in the shower.

13.  Snack between meals on healthy snacks like almonds, veggie crudite,  hummus and whole grain pitas.  Snacking every few hours helps keep blood  sugar levels stable, which is critical to reduce mood swings, depression,  balance energy and to lose weight.

14.  Stop and smell the flowers.  It’s okay to slow down to a pace  that you actually enjoy life more.

15.  Eliminate at least one item from your life that contains toxic  chemicals (dryer sheets, most types of commercial laundry soap, dish soap, “air  fresheners,” etc.).  Choose a natural option from your health food store  instead.

16.  Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables.  We know we should eat  our vegetables but it’s difficult to remember sometimes.  Add mashed sweet  potatoes as a side dish, or saute some greens with freshly chopped garlic and  toss with a little fresh lemon juice and sea salt.  Even people who don’t  like greens tend to love this way of preparing them.  Check out my book Healing Recipes if you need more ideas for creating  delicious vegetable dishes.

17.  Dust off that piece of exercise equipment you’ve owned for years  and put it in front of your television.  If you’re watching TV, exercise on  the commercials.  No equipment?  Do pushups, sit-ups, crunches, or  other exercises on the commercials.  It’s easy and it adds up.  Soon,  you’ll be surprised how fit you are.

18.  Do something nice for someone.  It just feels good to do  something nice for someone else.  Usually we reap the greatest benefits out  of paying good deeds forward.  A positive attitude is contagious.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, 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-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/18-ways-to-boost-your-health-in-2013.html#ixzz2IYiSOvF4

8 Tips for Creating a Life with More Joy and Less Stress

3 Generations of Family #caregiving
Get your new year started on the right foot. We’ve compiled a list of new years resolutions you can use to cultivate a life with more relaxation, happiness, purpose and love. Happy new year!

Most of us who haven’t retired yet live busy, stressed-out lives. After all, we’ve got a lot to do: A job to work, children to raise, parents to check on, errands to run. What’s not to be stressed about, right?

The fact is that our responsibilities and obligations aren’t likely to fade anytime soon, but our stress can. It comes down to attitude. The mindset with which we approach the world around us (and the world within us) is the number one factor determining our happiness.

Here are eight time tested guidelines for a life with less stress and more joy:

1. Clarify Your Top Priorities and Control What You Can

Take time to plan and prioritize. The most common source of stress is the perception that you’ve got too much work to do.  Rather than obsess about it, pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.

Remember also that some things are beyond your control. Has a parent with dementia said something unkind? Remind yourself that while you can’t prevent these remarks, you can control how you react to them.

Laughing man #laughter

2. Laugh Often

Laughter is a healthy way of relieving tension. It decreases levels of stress hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) while increasing the primary neurotransmitter for contentment, endorphin, our body’s own natural pain reliever. It also brings people together, which is always beneficial. Did your elderly mother try to make coffee with cat litter? Allow yourself to laugh it off instead of getting flustered.

You can also work actively to add laughter to your life. Place a higher priority on spending time with loved ones who make you laugh. Get a daily dose of your favorite sitcom on Netflix-streaming or Hulu if it’s not on TV. Or try Laughter Yoga. Its practitioners note that science has found the body is unable to differentiate between natural laughter and forced laughter. For this reason they actually suggest that people make themselves laugh and have group laughter sessions, advising students to “fake it till you make it.”

3. Have Empathy for Yourself

Those stressed out from working, parenting, or caregiving should try not to be too hard on themselves. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and don’t blame yourself difficulties or bad outcomes. During the hardest times work to soothe and reassure yourself. Try repeating a favorite prayer or self-affirming mantra, reminding yourself that you’re doing the best you can under difficult circumstances.

4. Socialize

Swimming #Seniors

While a few hermits may claim that the solitary life is ideal, the psychological and medical communities agree that it’s important to spend quality time with friends and family. A groundbreaking survey by Gallup in 2008 found that social time is crucial to happiness and well-being. Gallup contacted 140,000 individuals and asked them how happy they had been on the day prior. Respondents were also asked about how many hours they spent socializing the day before (among numerous other questions). Unsurprisingly, there was a direct correlation between social time and reported happiness.

Organize regular monthly get-togethers with friends in a social setting that you can look forward to, such as a dinner club,  a Bunko or Mah Jong game, or  a movie or book club. Also take advantage of opportunities to make socializing therapeutic. If you become overly stressed from caring for an aging parent, join a support group (many can be found through the Alzheimer’s Association). Even online socializing at sites such as our Eldercare Community Forum can be beneficial.

5. Practice Self Care

Body and mind are interconnected, so our bodies will be best poised to cope with stress when we are well nourished and in reasonable shape. Exercise, of course, is key. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever.” Try incorporating extra activity into you daily routine. Take the stairs instead of using the elevator. Park further away than you need to next time you go to the supermarket.

Nutrition is also crucial. By now most of us understand what constitutes a healthy diet, but how we consume our food may be just as important as what we eat. Take the time to savor your food. Sometimes we can’t avoid scarfing something down quickly to keep us up and running. Even so, at least once a day try to eat or drink something really delicious, like a small chunk of fine cheese, an imported chocolate, or a glass of nice wine.

Smiling Man #seniors

6. Look on the Bright Side of Life

Optimism, or positive thinking, has been linked by researchers to increased health and happiness. While there’s some evidence that our level optimism is genetic (or heritable), that doesn’t mean we that we don’t have any choice in the matter or that we shouldn’t make optimism a goal. That would be, well, pessimistic.

A recent study reported about in Medical Daily found that optimism is actually important than one’s physical health in determining wellbeing.

7. Get Enough Sleep and Rest

Sleep is restorative and is one of our body’s ways to mitigate stress. Research by Nobel laureate, Daniel Kahneman, found that the happiness to be gained by getting an extra hour of sleep each night is equivalent to getting a $60,000 raise. How do we get more sleep? A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh Sleep Medicine Institute found that learning some simple but surprising guidelines can help improve sleep duration and quality significantly:

  • Spend less time in bed. Don’t spend leisure time in bed, in the morning or in the evening. If you want to cozy up with a good book, go for the couch rather than your bed.
  • Get up at the same time every day. Your sleep will improve if you can muster the self-discipline to get up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when you haven’t slept well.
  • Don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy. Even if it is past your normal bedtime, it is better to stay up and be active than to lie awake in bed.
  • Get out of bed if you’re not sleeping. If you’re having trouble sleeping, get up and read or watch a little TV rather than remaining in bed awake.

Mother and Daughter #caregiving

8. Be Here Now

Another way of putting this is, “Live in the moment.” If we live our lives always waiting for some hoped for point in the future (for example our next vacation) we discard the here and now, which is all we really have.  American author Henry James wrote, “Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”

By Jeff Anderson

www.aplaceformom.com

Image of laughing man courtesy Flickr user Chris Waits, used via Creative Common License

12 THINGS HAPPY PEOPLE DO DIFFERENTLY

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)
1.        Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
2.        Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
3.       Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
4.       Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
5.       Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
6.       Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
7.       Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
8.       Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
9.       Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
10.    Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
11.     Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
12.    Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
Have a happy day!
 by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy.
Photo by Francois Halard.

Strategies to Avoid a Wintertime Heart Attack

6 Strategies to Avoid a Wintertime Heart Attack

 

Whatever their cause, heart symptoms should never be taken lightly—especially  during the winter months. According to Cynthia Thaik, M.D., a cardiologist  and member of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart  Association, research has shown that cardiovascular deaths spike by about 18  percent as the days shorten and the weather cools.

Why do cardiovascular concerns increase in winter?

Cold weather, being indoors more often, stress, lack of vitamin D and changes  in the daylight to nighttime ratio all play a role in increasing a person’s  overall risk of cardiac problems during the winter, says Thaik. There’s also  something about the holiday season that seems to be hard on the heart—Christmas  and New Year’s top the list of dangerous days for cardiovascular problems and  death.

And, according to recent research, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you live  in icy Wisconsin, or sunny Florida—the winter months can still take a toll on  your ticker.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico discovered that people who  lived in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles experienced the same jump in  heart-death risk as those residing in cooler states, such as Massachusetts and  Pennsylvania.

There are things you and your loved one can do to shelter your heart against  winters’ dangerous effects:

Bundle up: Despite the findings of the University of New  Mexico study, Thaik says it’s still important to keep warm during the winter  months because temperature does have an effect on the cardiovascular system.  Cold weather can cause blood vessels to constrict, blood pressure to elevate and  blood to become more prone to clotting, according to Neal Kleiman, M.D.,  cardiologist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston.

Don’t fall off the wagon: Bitter weather and savory comfort  foods make for an unhealthy combination—especially during the holiday season.  While it’s okay to indulge a bit during celebrations, overall Thaik urges people  to, “keep good habits going during the wintertime.” This means sticking to a  regular exercise  routine and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole  grains.

Don’t forgo meds: Just as maintaining a healthy diet and  exercise plan is important in the winter, so too is sticking to any existing  medication regimen you may have. Kleiman urges people not to “slack off on their  medications,” and other health maintenance habits.

Get happy: Seasonal  affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that strikes during the  winter months. Shorter, cooler days spent inside can cause a person to become  lethargic, hungry and uninterested. As with any type of depression, people  suffering from SAD may be less likely to practice healthy behaviors, such as  engaging in regular physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet. Thaik  says it’s important to avoid getting into this depressive cycle. Make sure you  take time to do things that lift up your mood, such as going for a walk, or  spending time with your family (if doing so doesn’t stress you out).

Don’t be an early bird: According to Thaik, one of the  unrecognized side effects of fewer daylight hours in the winter is that people  tend to try and start their days earlier. But, because blood pressure naturally  spikes in the morning, these early birds could be putting themselves at greater  risk for a heart  attack. She suggests keeping early morning activities to a minimum during  the winter months. “The heart likes to take time and warm up,” she says, “take  things gradually in the morning.”

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com  Editor

AgingCare.com  connects family  caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing  options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted  resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed  decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

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