Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for July 14, 2013

20 Easy Ways to Be Happier

20 Easy Ways to Be Happier

 

What we found is that sometimes,  the tiniest changes can have a huge impact on overall happiness. These twenty  ideas will help you go from grumpy to giddy.

1. Make Your Bed Every Morning I’ve heard this one  before, and not just from my mother. For most people, outer order leads to inner  calm. And making your bed is one quick, easy way to get some semblance of a tidy  room (even when your closet is anything but.)

2. Shorten Your Commute Okay, this one may not be a  cinch. But if there’s any way you can shorten your commute, it’s certainly worth  the effort. Spending two hours a day in gridlock traffic is enough to drive even  the most Zen commuter up the wall. Not only is the drive itself infuriating, a  long commute eats up time that could be spent on proven happiness boosters, like  sleeping or interacting with other people.

3. Find a Rocking Chair You know it works for babies. Now  it seems that rockers bring similar comfort to elderly sufferers of dementia.  Researchers at the University of Rochester encouraged twenty-five residents to  rock as much as they like and they became less upset and anxious and required  less pain medication. Who’s to say it couldn’t work for you?

4. Make Lists Writing it down (whatever “it” may be. is a  successful tool for managing stress. Just make sure your list doesn’t get out of  control. After all, your list is supposed to help with your stress, not add to  it. Remember that you can always adjust your priorities.

5. Paint Your Toenails … Even in the Winter In the winter  months, it’s easy to ignore your feet until they morph into a Shrek-like  monstrosity. Who’s going to see them anyway, right? Wrong. You are! So give them  a soak, a scrub, a bit of moisture, and a dash of color. You’ll feel better  instantly.

6. Wake up the Right Way Are you coffee lover? Wake up to  the smell of freshly brewed coffee by investing in a percolator with a  programmable timer. Tired of waking up to the shriek of a buzzer or the  irritating voice of the talk radio host? Get yourself an alarm clock that wakes  you up with natural light and sounds.

7. Talk About Something New People tend to get stuck on  the same old topics of conversation. Stimulate your mind and encourage others,  too, by finding one little interesting tidbit a day and starting a conversation  by saying, “Did you hear about _________? What do you think?”

8. Refuse to Give Advice The easiest way to get sucked  down the negative spiral is by participating. Do your friends a favor: when they  start unloading their problems on you, let them figure it out on their own. The  reverse is also true—don’t bore your friends with your problems. Focus on  fun!

9. Rearrange Your Furniture It may sound silly, but even  the tiniest shift of a kitchen table or couch can make all the difference. It’ll  make the room—and you!—feel new again. And the best part? It doesn’t cost a  thing. (Tip: If you need to move a large item on your own, stick a dish towel  under each leg and push; or if you’ve got carpet, use furniture sliders.)

10. Smile on the Outside Even when you’ve got nothing to  smile about. Forcing a smile can trick your body into changing your mood. You’ll  also find that other people will react better to you when you’ve got a smile on  your face. Voilà! You’ve just created a snowball effect of fuzzy feelings.

11. Gaze at a Photograph If the photograph is of a loved  one, it can stimulate blood supply to the brain, says researcher Andreas Bartels  from University of London. Imagine them giving you a hug.

12. Turn off the TV Happy people don’t watch TV. Instead,  they socialize, which brings them more long-term satisfaction. We’re not saying  to skip your favorite shows altogether. But if the choice is between watching  something just because it’s on, and grabbing a friend for a last minute dinner  date … well … you know what to do. Delicious and good for you!

13. Get Informed Stuck on a problem that just won’t go  away? Try Googling it. Reading up on how other people have handled your  situation may give you some clues on how to tackle it yourself.

14. Eat Avocados Avocados are good for your skin, your  hair, and—more importantly—your heart. But did you know they’re also good for  your mood? They’ve got monounsaturated fats and tryptophan, which boosts  feel-good chemical endorphins in the brain.

15. Sing or Hum a Tune Listening to music can make you  feel good, but singing or humming your own tune is even better! Try making up  the words to one of your favorite songs, and sing it out loud. Even if your cat  is the only one who appreciates it, you’ll feel good about it.

16. Break the Rules Here’s a little known confidence  booster: when you follow your own path, (especially when you go against the  grain. it’s incredibly intoxicating. We’re not advocating anything illegal, just  saying that you should do exactly what you want sometimes and not what you think  you should be doing.

17. Invigorate Your Senses A quick spray of lavender,  eucalyptus, rosemary, or lemon can clear your head quicker than you think. For  an extra-calming treat, take a nap on a pillow scented with lavender—either in  fabric spray form, or crumble some of the plant itself and put it in your  pillowcase.

18. Visit a Quiet Place Libraries, museums, gardens, and  other quiet places can give you a break from the frantic pace of everyday life.  Find a secret spot and make it your sanctuary, whether it’s in your backyard or  the Reference section.

19. Forgive Someone Research shows that those who are  able to forgive are less stressed, less angry, and more optimistic than those  who aren’t. So, if you’re holding onto old grudges for the sake of it, it might  just be time to let go.

20. Spend More Time with Your Happy Friends Misery loves  company. Too often, we find ourselves surrounded by soul-crushing negativity.  The good news? Happiness really is contagious. Research shows that happiness,  even when removed by three degrees, can make you happier than an extra $5000.  Focus on spending time with the optimistic people in your life and you might  just become one of them.

By Tania Khadder and Kayla Baxter 

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

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

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chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

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10 Things Unhappy People Have in Common

10 Things Unhappy People Have in Common

 

We all want  to be happy in some way or another. We strive each day  to find the  path of happiness whatever we think it is. But some of us come up  way  short. Some of us make mistakes day in and day out that take us away  from  the shining beacon of happiness at the end of the tunnel.

Are you striving to find peace? Are you striving to locate that inner  glow  that you know must exist? Are you coming up short or finding  happiness that’s  always fleeting? Life is a journey and on it we find  what works and what  doesn’t work.  However, the most unhappy people tend  to have a few things in  common. If you’re looking to find peace,  balance, and joy in your life, here’s  what NOT to do. These people have  it all wrong:

1. They Hate Their Jobs

You spend eight hours, sometimes much more at work. If you hate your  job you  can’t help but hate your life because you’re spending 40 out of  the 168 hours  in a week doing something you can’t stand. What’s worse,  we often take our  anger from work home with us, bringing that  disgruntled attitude into our  homes. I’m not saying go out and quit your  job tomorrow. Instead, take an  aerial view of your life. Why don’t you  love your job? What’s missing? Is it  the career itself? Is it your boss  or your company? What’s your passion? What  are you good at? Take time to  answer these questions and then make a plan to  move towards change,  however long it takes.

2. They’re Constantly Worried About Money

Studies have proven that being  rich won’t make us any happier. A Princeton  University study showed that people needed an  annual income of  $75,000 per year per household and no more to be happy. Above  that  amount, more cash has no effect on “emotional well-being.” What this   really means is that you need to be able to comfortably pay bills and  save  without worrying about finances. On the other hand, financial  uncertainty does  make us unhappy so this is another chance for  evaluation. Are you overspending?  What can you downsize? How can you  minimize your life so that you can afford  it? This is in no way an easy  question, but it’s part of the journey.

 

3. They Don’t Have Any Active Hobbies

Happiness  is linked to activity level. You have to move to  feel good. What  about yoga, hiking, swimming, surfing, biking, or running?  Happiness is  also linked to doing what you love so find active hobbies that  make you  happy and get to it.

 

4. They Have Wandering Minds.

According to Science  News, “[a] wandering mind often stumbles  downhill emotionally.  People spend nearly half their waking lives thinking  about stuff other  than what they’re actually doing, and these imaginary rambles  frequently  feel bad, according to a new study.” The more you can focus on what   you’re doing when you’re doing it, the happier you are. Meditation allows you to learn to focus on the present  moment so you can actually  live the life you’ve been given.  (Leesa recommends Dahn Yoga!  Visit www.dahnyoga.com to located a Dahn Yoga center near you! ) 

 

5. They Commute a Long Distance

A long commute can take a toll on your life and after a while it can  really  bring you down. How much of your life are you losing in commute?  It’s hard on a  relationship as well. A recent Swedish study found that divorce  rates were higher the longer the commute.

6. They Think “Stuff” Will Make Them Happy

Unhappy people are constantly trying to fill the void by consuming,  whether it be alcohol, food, or shopping. But  the problem is happiness  can’t be consumed, it’s cultivated from within.  Meeting desires only  brings fleeting happiness.

 

 

7. They’re Lonely

Cultivating relationships is important for both your health and your   happiness. And that doesn’t just mean how good you are at social  networking.  Unfortunately nowadays more than a few of us view our laptop  as our very best friend. Single or not, married or  not, it’s  important to always strive both to make friends and to keep them  while  also keeping close ties to family.

 

8. They Don’t Like Their Town

So often we feel stuck in our lives. We live in a town that we no  longer  love and aren’t sure how to feel better about the situation. This  is another  opportunity to take a step back and ask why you feel the way  you do. Is it the  town or is it you? Get the newspaper and look into  new events, volunteer some  place new, or, well, move. Who says you have  to live in the same place your  whole life? I certainly haven’t. I’ve  already tried out Charlottesville,  Athens, Washington DC, Florence,  Charleston, and Columbia and I’m just getting  started.

 

 

9. They Don’t Have Pets

Pets  serve as support and provide unconditional love that  we grow to  depend on but at the same time, they don’t disrupt other human   relationships, according to a new  study. If you’re considering pet ownership, adopt a pet  in need and  follow this guide  to responsible pet ownership.

 

10. They Don’t Like Themselves

We make ourselves happy by the way we view life and by learning to  enjoy the  moment. We make ourselves happy by the way we view ourselves.  By opening our  hearts we find peace but that peace has to first start  off with you. If you  dislike yourself, you can never be happy so give  yourself a break. Learn to  love yourself, you deserve it!

By Sara Novak, Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the  environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the  planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two  robust websites,   PlanetGreen.com and TreeHugger.com,  offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve  to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery  Communications.

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

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

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link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

 

Simple Moments of Happiness

Simple Moments of Happiness

 

Happiness is still a mystery to most of us, but glimpses of it are to be  found in simple moments like these…

  • A fresh-from-the-farm meal, enjoyed in the garden with your family.
  • Popcorn at the movies.
  • Listening to an old song and leafing through the album of memories that it  stirs up in your mind…
  • Throwing “should” to the wind and letting the moment take you away!
  • Time spent with your best friend, even if it is a quick cup of coffee.
  • The sight of butterflies in a garden full of blossoms.
  • A lung full of pure, sweet, mountain air.
  • Children playing in the rain. Children playing anywhere.  Children.
  • A new shirt or dress that makes you feel fit and radiant.
  • The smell of vanilla and cinnamon filling your home.
  • Those moments before bedtime, when you curl up with a beautiful book.
  • A look of love from someone you love.

Really, happiness can be so very simple! A quick gladdening of the heart, a  fleeting but fulfilling emotion…

Please add to the list. I would love to hear about the things that make you  happy!

By Shybhra Krishan

Shubhra Krishan

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

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

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

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

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join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

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The 3 Keys to a Healthy Brain

The 3 Keys to a Healthy Brain

 

 

We all have those moments–a forgotten appointment, a name we can’t recall, a  word that’s on the tip of our tongue. For the most part, these incidents don’t  worry us. However, as we age, they seem to increase in significance. We wonder  if we’re losing our edge. With Alzheimer’s disease and dementia constantly in  the news, we can find ourselves falling prey to a climate of fear that plays on  our worst anxieties about losing our cognitive capacities.

Luckily, there are a number of steps we can take to preserve our mental  sharpness. Like any other organ, the brain responds to input. Not just mental  and emotional input, but diet and exercise, as well. Many of the strategies we  adopt to maintain overall health also support the brain. We can keep that mental  acuity, and it only takes a few simple brain-friendly habits.

 

For a healthy brain, stock up on foods that are rich  in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, flaxseed, raw nuts and seeds.

1: Brain-Friendly Food and Supplements

One of the brain’s biggest enemies is oxidative stress from excess free  radicals, which are generated by toxins, exercise, illness, stress, and normal  metabolic processes, among other factors. Like a lunchroom bully, free radicals  (atoms or molecules that are short one electron) take what they need from other  atoms. As levels of free radicals increase, one theft leads to another, creating  a cascade of inflammatory chain reactions that can damage cells down to their  DNA.

Antioxidants can help block this cycle, which is why we hear so much about  these super nutrients, and there is a wide variety of sources–foods, herbs, and  supplements–to choose from. Blueberries are a rich source and have been shown to  protect neurons from oxidative stress. Other good antioxidant food choices are  beans, cranberries, artichokes, prunes, and raspberries. Herbs and spices like  sage, rosemary, ginger, and turmeric are chock-ull of antioxidant compounds to  protect the brain and support numerous other areas of health, as well.

Stock up on foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish,  flaxseed, raw nuts and seeds, and grass-fed beef. While omega-3s are more often  touted for their heart-health benefits, they are crucial to brain health, too. A  study published in the journal Neurology found that people deficient in omega-3s  had smaller brains and did more poorly in cognitive tests. The researchers  asserted that omega-3s reduce signs of aging in the brain.

Vitamin E has also been associated with improved cognitive health. In  addition, one study indicated it can help patients recover after a stroke.  Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant. Be sure to look for the natural form  called d-alpha tocopherol, often found with a blend of mixed tocopherols. Avoid  dl-alpha tocopherol, a form that is synthetic and not well absorbed.

As noted, oxidation can play a big role in damaging neurons, leading to  cognitive decline. One of the most potent antioxidant supplements is a botanical  called honokiol. Derived from magnolia bark, honokiol is 1,000 times more  powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin E and has been shown protect the brain  in numerous ways. Because its molecules are so small, honokiol taken orally is  very easily absorbed, and even has the unique ability to pass through the  blood/brain barrier. This allows honokiol to exert it effects directly on brain  tissue. Honokiol is shown to improve mood, influencing GABA and other  neurotransmitters that help mediate both anxiety and depression. It also is  shown to aid in stroke damage and protect against the amyloid plaque associated  with Alzheimer’s disease.

Another supplement that benefits brain health is curcumin, the active  ingredient in turmeric. In a recent study from the Salk Institute, a drug  derived from curcumin reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice. This is not an  isolated study. Other research has shown that curcumin influences neuron  creation and enhances memory.

2: Exercise

Multiple studies have shown a close relationship between exercise and  improved brain function. One project found that women over 65 who walked 30  minutes a day slowed their cognitive decline. When measuring mental acuity, the  researchers found that the people who exercised appeared several years younger  than those in the control group, who did not exercise at all.

Another study comparing activity levels and brain health looked at people  over age 70. The more active group was significantly less likely to develop  cognitive problems. The study also helped clarify the types of activities that  promote cognitive health. In addition to “normal” exercise, the researchers  found that simple actions, such as standing up and walking around the room, were  also beneficial.

Other research has shown that exercise can actually increase brain size. One  study used MRIs to compare brain sizes in people who exercised with those who  did not. The group of exercisers did significantly better. Maintaining a larger  brain is important because one of the side effects of aging is reduced brain  volume, which may be implicated in cognitive decline.

 

 

Scientists at UCLA found that meditation increases a  process called cortical gyrification, which helps us retrieve memories, form  decisions, and focus.

3: Meditation

The calming effects of meditation are well documented. However, some research  has shown that the practice actually changes brain architecture. Scientists at  UCLA found that meditation increases the folding in the cerebral cortex, a  process called cortical gyrification, which improves the brain’s ability to  process information. Specifically, increased gyrification helps us retrieve  memories, form decisions, and focus.  (Leesa recommends Dahn Yoga.  Visit a Dahn Yoga Center near you and discover the benefits of Meditation www.dahnyoga.com.)

 

To me, the most striking aspect of these recommendations is their  applicability to overall health. Diet, appropriate supplements, exercise, and  meditation also benefit heart health, and they can reduce the risk of cancer,  diabetes, and metabolic syndrome–plus, they simply make us feel better. In the  big picture, good practices support health at all levels, forming a foundation  for mind-body wellness, longevity, and vitality.

By guest blogger Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc, integrative medicine  pioneer

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

 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

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