Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for February, 2013

Want an Exercise Routine You’ll Stick To? Ask Yourself These 11 Questions

Want an Exercise Routine You’ll Stick To? Ask Yourself These 11 Questions

When I ask people what they’d like to do for their own happiness projects, they often say something like, “Exercise more regularly.” Exercise is very important for health and mood, and everyone knows this, and yet, it’s often tough for people to stick to an exercise routine.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

I think it’s a mistake to choose a form of exercise based on what your friend recommends, what kind of change to your body you want to see, or what is the fashionable form of exercise. It’s helpful to consider these factors, but in the end, we’re far more likely to stick with an exercise routine that suits our nature and our schedule. If you’re struggling to exercise regularly, this is not the place to fight your nature! If you’ve been a night person all your life, vowing to get up at 5:00 a.m. to run isn’t very realistic.

Ask yourself these questions, and when you’re done, think about what kind of exercise routine would suit you best:

1. Are you a morning person or a night person?

2. Would you like to spend more time in nature?

3. Would you like more time in solitude or more time with friends or more time to meet new people?

4. Are you motivated by competition?

5. Do you enjoy loud music?

6. Do you do better with some form of external accountability, or does that just annoy you?

7. Would you like to challenge yourself with exercise (whether by learning a new skill or pushing yourself physically) or not?

8. Do you like sports and games?

9. Would you like more meditative time or more time to watch TV, read newspapers, etc.?

10. Do you have a lot of control over your time?

11. Are you sensitive to weather?

Your answers should guide your thinking about exercise. Work out with a trainer? Take a class? Be inside or outside? Etc.

For instance, if you’re a morning person who craves solitude and time alone with your thoughts, but has little control over your schedule and hates feeling accountable to anyone, you might enjoy walking in a park every morning before you leave for work.

If you’re a night person who loves music and meeting new people and is also motivated by accountability, you might like to take a dance-based exercise class after work.

Often, people will say, “Go for a twenty minute walk at lunch? That’s nothing. I really need to get in shape.” Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! The twenty-minute walk you take is so much better for you than the three-mile run you never do. You get the biggest health boost going from no exercise to some exercise.

Just a little tweak in a routine sometimes makes a big difference. For instance, to exercise on the weekends, I go for a long walk. Generally, I like to think while I walk, but I do a lot of walking every day, and I found myself getting bored on the long walks, and so, finding excuses to skip them.

One of my Twelve Personal Commandments is to identify the problem. What was the problem? “I’m bored during these walks, so I don’t want to go.” For the first time, I bought myself an audiobook, and for the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to The Golden Compass when I walk. It makes me so happy! I haven’t missed a day’s walk since I started.

How about you? What aspects of your nature and your schedule make it easier—or harder—to stick to an exercise routine? What works for you?

By Gretchen Rubin


Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photo Credit: lululemon athletica via Compfight cc

6 Ways to Detoxify Your Heart

6 Ways to Detoxify Your Heart

 

 

This time of year, there is info everywhere on how to detoxify your body.  Whatever toxin you want to remove, or part of your body you want to cleanse,  there’s a smoothie for that! Now, I love smoothies, and I believe that physical  detoxification is an essential health practice (especially by eliminating those  toxins to begin with — for my full views you can read Organic Manifesto and Demand Organic!). But I also believe that the most toxic  toxins start in our hearts. And for true health, healing, and happiness that’s  where we need to start. (By the way, I am not a therapist or doctor, just  someone who has personal experience in this area).

The Power of Emotional Healing

Don’t numb it, FEEL it. This is the hardest and first step.  How many different methods do we employ to avoid feeling what we really feel?  Drugs and alcohol are the easiest ways to recognize the numbing effect. But we  can also use food, TV, religion, sports, crafts, or just plain emotional  repression. Yes, emotions can be truly painful, but it’s the pain of living, of  personal growth, of healing. Let yourself feel what’s in your heart. Truly feel  it. Find a safe place and let those feelings wash over you.

Do the forensics and unpeel the layers. Often, what we first  think we are upset about isn’t the true thing that is bothering us. Our emotions  come in layers. The first layer might be anger. I AM ANGRY!!!!!! But when you  peel away the layers, what might truly be driving that is loneliness, or fear,  or hurt. This is where talking with a therapist can really help. Sometimes it  really helps to have someone help us dig out from under all those layers we’ve  covered our hearts in. As a parent, I often find that when a child is cranky or  annoyed, taking time out to sit and talk with them and help them get to the  original feeling can be transformative and enlightening for everyone.

Ask the universe for guidance. Sometimes it can be really  hard to get to the source of what is actually causing us pain or anger. When  that happens, it helps to carve out some quiet time in nature and ask for help.  The universe will often speak back through nature, through “synchronicity,” or  through bringing you teachers, if you are open to it. Sometimes those teachers  come in the form of a book, or a situation and suddenly you realize that yes,  the universe DOES listen! That’s when detoxifying your heart starts to get fun,  because it starts to feel like an adventure.

Replace fear with love. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. It’s easy.  Whenever you feel fear, question it and the situation. Ask yourself, what would  love feel like in this situation instead of fear? The world is filled with  threats and meanness and angry people–but imagine the pain they must be feeling,  the hurt in their hearts! It won’t get any better by adding to it. The key here  is trying to see the world from the other person’s perspective. I think this  gets easier as we age, since we now experience first-hand things our parents  might have felt, for example. It’s like exercise, the more you do it, the easier  it gets. And just like exercise, YOU are the ultimate beneficiary.

Let it out and let it go. This step requires action and the  courage to act, but is key to the healing process. Once you have identified what  is truly the toxin in your heart, the only way to get rid of it is to let it go.  If there is something you need to say to someone. SAY  IT. But say it with love. If there is something you need to do, a change you  need to make, MAKE IT. But make it with love. If there is something you need to  express, but don’t have the words, CREATE IT. But create it with love. Your job  here is not to hurt someone else (although sometimes that happens), but to have  them truly HEAR what you have to say. That doesn’t mean they will change. In  fact, they most certainly won’t. But YOU WILL. You will feel better, lighter,  happier, cleaner.DETOXIFIED!

Forgive yourself. Things will never be perfect. You will  never be perfect. Other people certainly will never be perfect (especially me!).  We will never eliminate every toxin — and in fact, the toxins are there for a  reason — just like all that bacteria in our bodies and world that seems bad and  dirty but in actuality we can’t live without. Every mistake, every wrong action  happened. You can’t change it. All you can do is apologize to the other  person/people and apologize to yourself and vow to learn and grow from it.  That’s living. That’s life! And it’s beautiful in all it’s imperfections, even  ours.

By Maria Rodale

11 Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System for Great Health

11 Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System for Great Health

 

The lymphatic system, or lymph system as it is also called, is a system made  up of glands, lymph nodes, the spleen, thymus gland and tonsils. It bathes our  body’s cells and carries the body’s cellular sewage away from the tissues to the  blood, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs:  the liver and kidneys. This sewage is made up of the byproducts of our bodily  processes, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, illicit drugs, cigarette  toxins, other airborne pollutants, food additives, pesticides and other  toxins.

The Fat Flush Plan author Ann Louise Gittleman,  PhD, estimates that 80 percent of women have sluggish lymphatic systems and that  getting them flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved  feelings of well-being.

If you are suffering from injuries, excess weight or cellulite, or pain  disorders like arthritis, bursitis, headaches or others, a sluggish lymphatic  system may be playing a role.  Here are 11 ways you can get your lymph  flowing smoothly.

1.  Breathe deeply. Our bodies have three times more  lymph fluid than blood, yet no organ to pump it. Your lymph system relies on the  pumping action of deep breathing to help it transport toxins into the blood  before they are detoxified by your liver. So breathe in that sweet smell of  healing oxygen. Breathe out toxins.

2.  Get moving. Exercise also ensures the lymph system  flows properly. The best kind is rebounding on a mini trampoline, which can  dramatically improve lymph flow, but stretching and aerobic exercise also work  well.

3.  Drink plenty of water. Without adequate water,  lymph fluid cannot flow properly. To help ensure the water is readily absorbed  by your cells, I frequently add some fresh lemon juice or oxygen or pH  drops.

4.  Forget the soda, trash the neon-colored sports drinks, and  drop the fruit “juices” that are more sugar than fruit. These sugar-, color- and preservative-laden beverages add to the already overburdened workload  your lymph system must handle.

5.  Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes  and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. Eat them on an empty stomach  for best digestion and maximum lymph-cleansing benefits. Most fruits are  digested within 30 minutes or so and quickly help you feel better.

6.  Eat plenty of green vegetables to get adequate  chlorophyll to help purify your blood and lymph.

7.  Eat raw, unsalted nuts and seeds to power up your  lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts,  macadamias, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

8.  Add a few lymph-boosting herbal teas to your day,  such as astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot or wild indigo root tea.  Consult an herbalist or natural medicine specialist before combining two or more  herbs or if you’re taking any medications or suffer from any serious health  conditions. Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term  use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional.

9.  Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural  bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to  the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same  direction as your lymph flows—toward the heart.

10.  Alternate hot and cold showers for several  minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to  contract. Avoid this type of therapy if you have a heart or blood pressure  condition or if you are pregnant.

11.  Get a gentle massage. Studies show that a gentle  massage can push up to 78 percent of stagnant lymph back into circulation.  Massage frees trapped toxins. You can also try a lymph drainage massage. It is a  special form of massage that specifically targets lymph flow in the body.  Whatever type of massage you choose, make sure it is gentle. Too much pressure  may feel good on the muscles, but it doesn’t have the same lymph-stimulating  effects.

There are countless benefits of getting your lymphatic system moving more  efficiently, including more energy, less pain, and improved  detoxification.  Adapted from The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox  Plan.

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.

 

Lessons Learned About Life & Leadership From a Horse

Lessons Learned About Life & Leadership From a Horse

 

Back in December, my business manager Melanie Bates and I trekked down to  Martha Beck’s new ranch in San Luis Obispo to plan the first part of the Whole  Health Medicine Institute Physician Training (which  you can read all about here). We kind of knew we were going to be guinea  pigs for the kind of work Martha is jonesing to do with doctors, but I don’t  think we fully understood the magnitude of what we were about to experience.

As we got off Highway 101 and started driving out into the boonies, the fog  was low over a lake, and Melanie said, “It feels like the Mists of Avalon, like  we’re leaving the real world and entering someplace mystical.” And it did.

The hills became more silent.  Birds stopped singing. Time  suspended.  It was clear we were opening the wardrobe to enter Narnia.

And then… voila! We were driving up to the butterfly gates (of course there  were butterfly gates!) of Martha’s horse ranch. What proceeded to unfold was so  magical I am only now able to digest it enough to begin to write about it. I’m  still pretty wordless about the whole experience, but let me share with you some  vignettes that exist like movies in my mind.

The Join Up

Horse whispering equine therapist Koelle Simpson brought me into a pen with  the most beautiful horse, not a trained horse, but a stranger horse she had  borrowed for me for the day. My instruction was simply to set an intention of  what I wanted to learn from the horse – and then to observe what showed up.

I set the intention to examine my leadership strengths and weaknesses in  preparation for co-leading the Whole Health Medicine Institute Physician  Training with Martha. Then I walked into the covered ring and started walking to  see what the horse would do. And WHEE!!! The horse walked right behind me,  sniffing at me as we walked.

I got more daring. I spun in a circle. So did the horse.

Then I did a cartwheel. And the horse backed away from me, looking at me with  this look that loosely translated into “Oooh…bitch got all upside down on me.  Hmm… not trustworthy.”

Throughout, Koelle and Martha were both coaching me to examine how subtle  things I did were instantly reflected by the mirror the unjudging horse held  up.

When I got into Wordlessness, tapped into Oneness, and got clear on my  intentions for what I wanted the horse to do, the horse followed me exactly.  When I got graspy or panicky or anxious or fuzzy in my intention, the horse  backed away and looked at me like I had two heads.

Note to self about leadership: Tap in, get clear, let  go.

The Boundaries

I spent a lot of time buddying up with the horse, getting all up in her face,  hugging her, and she cuddled back. But Koelle said, “Why don’t you try making  your energy bigger,” and she handed me a rope I could throw around. I didn’t  know what to do with it, so I curled it up and just threw it at the horse. She  jumped, startled – and backed away.  I ran right up to her, cuddled her,  and apologized for being scary.

That’s when Martha called me on it. “Hmm..” she said. “You set a boundary,  asked the horse to move back a bit, and then when she respected your boundary,  you apologized. Why?”

Gulp. I did do that. But I didn’t mean to. I was just throwing  the rope around. I didn’t mean to set a boundary. I love snuggling the horse. I  didn’t want her to go away.

But there it was again, right in my face. My desire for intimacy can be so  needy that I let myself become the Cosmic  Tit, and then I fail to set boundaries, then I give until I’m depleted, and  then I get royally pissed because I become a doormat.

“But is she mad at you for setting boundaries?” Martha asked. “Did she reject  you? Did it ruin the relationship?”

No. The horse joined right up again when I started spinning in circles.

Note to self: Boundaries good. Cosmic Tit =  depletion.

The Corral

For the next exercise, Martha’s CEO Bridgette  Boudreau, Melanie, and I were invited into a fenced-in area that had one  inner ring with a small entry opening enveloped inside an outer ring that had a  small opening too. Three horses awaited us.

The goal, we were instructed, was for Bridgette, Melanie and I to work as a  team to take all the horses on one lap around the outer ring before peeling off  one horse into the inner ring – and keeping him there. Then we were to get the  other two horses to go around the outer ring again, before peeling off the  second horse into the inner ring. Then we were to have a final lap with the one  remaining horse, and after the last lap, the third horse was to join the  others.

To make things harder, we weren’t supposed to talk. We had to use some  elaborate charades to try to communicate what we wanted to do.

Our first attempt was a total cluster f*ck. The horses galloped, out of  control, cruising right past the entry to the inner ring at 100mph.

So we regrouped. We modulated our energy. Brought it down. Waaaaay down. We  got Wordless. We tapped into Oneness. We communicated nonverbally with the  horses and asked if they’d be willing to play our little game. They said yes on  some sort of cosmic plane. And with nothing but very subtle hand motions, the  first horse trotted into the center ring, then the second, then the third.

It felt like magic. We were giddy.

Note to self: Be careful what you communicate without words. Make  sure your energy is in alignment with your intentions.

The time we spent with Martha was so mystical, this is just the tip of the  iceburg, but stay tuned. I’ll write more. Make  sure you’ve subscribed to my blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss  more posts about how to bend spoons, call in the whales, bring your dreams into  form, and invite real live magic into your life.

Grateful,

Lissa

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness  communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine:  Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join  her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out  on Twitter and Facebook.

 

8 Ways You May be Making it Easy for Your Dog to be Stolen and 8 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe!

8 Ways to Steal a Dog

 

 

For most people, the holidays are a time of peace and solace, but for Cory  and Sarah Malchow, the holidays became the start of a nightmare. While Sarah was  out walking her dog, she was attacked from behind, and her 4-month-old Pit Bull mix was stolen.

Reports indicate that one assailant grabbed Sarah from behind, held her in  the air, and threw her to the ground. Meantime, another assailant approached  from behind, unclipped the dog from his leash, and took off in a car.

According to Petfinder.com, as many as 2 million pets are stolen every  year. Sadly, only 10 percent are ever reunited with their pet parents. Stolen  dogs meet many ends. Some are sold to research labs, others are used by  unscrupulous breeders in puppy mills, while still others are forced into dog  fighting, among other very disturbing horrific purposes.

To catch a criminal, think like the criminal, right? To prevent a dog from  being stolen, think like the low life. Here are eight things dog thieves want  you to do — followed by ways you can prevent your dog from becoming a  statistic:

1. Leave your dog alone in a car

This is a favored method of pet thieves. Not only are dogs at risk of death  in the warmer months from being left alone in cars, but they also can freeze in  the winter time. I recall a local story about a gentleman who ran into a  shopping mall, leaving his two Samoyed dogs behind for a “short time.” He returned to find  the windows smashed and his dogs stolen. The bottom line: Don’t do it.

2. Tie your dog up outside, alone

A 7-year-old girl was out shopping with her mom for the Christmas holidays  recently and leashed her dog up outside the store. As the duo perused items, a  thief was caught on hidden surveillance unleashing Marley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The thief attempted to sell  Marley on the streets, where a teacher bought the dog because she felt something  was wrong. The dog was eventually reunited with his family, but this is rare.  Criminals are waiting for you to leave the leash behind, with the dog attached.  If you wouldn’t leave a baby alone outside, apply the same principle to your  pets. The bottom line: Don’t do it.

3. Cruise dog parks and dog-friendly beaches

Look around the next time you let your dog roam off leash to his heart’s  content. In my many years of covering dog travel, I have discovered that dogs  are stolen from dog-welcoming properties such as dog parks and beaches. Chatting  with friends while your eye roams away from your dog is exactly what criminals  want. The bottom line: Let your dog have fun, but know where he or she is at all  times.

4. Skip the microchip and ID tags

If your stolen, lost, or missing dog happens to luck out and end up at a  shelter, the chances of a reunion with you increase dramatically if that dog is  microchipped. Though collars can be taken off by thieves, identification tags  that remain intact, especially something like a PetHub tag using QR code, increase the chances of reunion.  If you move or change phone numbers, update the microchip contact info. The  bottom line: Keep identification current and get a microchip.

5. Leave dogs home alone without supervision

Please don’t jump on me for this one because I know a large majority of dog  moms and dads reading this work outside the home. A pet sitter, doggie daycare,  or a security system are all viable options to prevent pet theft. Thieves case  homes where pets are left alone, and sadly, homes are cased to wait for the  right moment that dogs are home alone. The bottom line: If you must leave your  dog alone for any significant period of time, ask a neighbor to watch your house  and return the favor with a neighborhood watch. I also never leave my dog alone  in a hotel room when I travel.

6. Let your dog live outside

This hotly contested topic went round and round when I wrote about not allowing a dog to live outside. Reason #864 to never let  a dog live outside as his or her primary “residence?” Theft. Recently a dog in  Cedar Falls, IA, was stolen from his heated dog kennel right near his owner’s  home. KWWL.com reports that thieves in this situation are leaving  notes for the owners letting them know the dog is “safe.” Bottom line: Never let  your dog outside without your watchful eye.

7. Don’t use locks, fences, or alarms

This is a thief’s best friend: The property that is poorly lit, without a  secure lock on a gate, and out of view of passersby. “It happened in broad  daylight” is something that has become all too common as it relates to pet  theft. Use an alarm or bell, and if possible, a security light, so you can hear  and see anyone who comes on your property. The bottom line: Good fences make  good neighbors. They also keep criminals away, and coupled with pet parent  supervision, they keep dogs safe and secure.

8. Be unaware

I tell my pet friends and contacts this all the time: Know your surroundings.  I remember watching an episode of Oprah years ago and learning about  the book, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. Considered one of  the nation’s leading experts on violent behavior, de Becker shares how to spot  subtle signs of danger — before it’s too late. Do not walk late at night by  yourself, have a cell phone handy, and be aware of your surroundings. The bottom  line: Know before you go.

As of press time, the Malchows had their dog returned, but this case is very  unusual, and they are very fortunate.

Have you ever known someone who had their dog stolen? Got any tips to keep  dogs safe from danger? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s stay safe  out there.

By Carol Bryant, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.

Photo: Dog  tied up on street by Shutterstock

7 Surprising Signs You Need to Sleep More

7 Surprising Signs You Need to Sleep More

One in three Americans aren’t getting enough  sleep — are you one of them? Click through to check out some of the most  surprising consequences of sleep deprivation. How many hours do you get each  night? Let us know in the comments section.

1. You’re Feeling Weepy.

Have you ever felt like you might burst into  tears at the drop of a hat after you pulled an all-nighter? Researchers  at UC-Berkeley have linked sleepless nights to our inability to reason and  handle perceived threats. That minor squabble with a friend or sappy movie on TV  may not seem so terrible on a day when we’re well-rested.

2. You Just Can’t Focus.

From plane crashes to oil spills, some of the worst disasters in recent  memory have been attributed, at least in part, to fatigue. Similarly, one study  has suggested that medical interns on the night shift were two times as likely  to misinterpret test results from patients. Sure, most of us don’t have the  lives of innocent people in our hands on a daily basis (well, outside of our  cars.. more on that later), but sleep deprivation can have serious consequences  on our everyday lives. Sleepiness can impact your brain’s ability to focus and  stay alert, thus making it more difficult to understand and process new  information.

3. You Always Feel Sick.

Everyone in your family has avoided the cold this winter, but you’ve had the  sniffles since Thanksgiving. What gives? Take a look at your sleep habits. If  you’re not getting enough shut eye, your immune system is not working as well as  it could be, thus making you more susceptible to catching viruses or bacterial  infections. And it doesn’t just make you more likely to catch a cold, it can  also make it harder for you to recover.

4. You’re Never Hungry.. Or You’re Always  Hungry.

Everyone is different, even when it comes to how sleep deprivation impacts  our appetites — and neither of them are healthy. A lack of sleep throws our  internal clock , and our hunger hormones, off balance. For some of us, this  means that we eat more than we normally would, and for others it means we don’t  want to eat at all.

5. Your Skin is Dry.

Sleep is a time for your body to repair itself — including creating new skin  cells. That, plus all of the essential vitamins, water, and nutrients that your  skin needs to stay healthy, can cause your skin to dry out.

6. You’re Sloppy.

Spill your coffee on the newspaper this morning? Sleeplessness can impact  your motor skills and ability to react quickly to things around you. Maybe  you’re not just a klutz, perhaps  you need more sleep!

7. You’re Forgetting Everything.

Can’t remember what you ate for breakfast? You may need a few more hours of  shut eye. Sleep impacts how your brain stores information, including, yep, where  you left your glasses. And it’s not just your short-term memory: sleep  deprivation has been shown to have negative consequences of student’s test  scores and grades.

By Katie Waldeck

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

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