Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Fun’

The Case for Slowing Down in 2015

The Case for Slowing Down in 2015

Research has shown that it takes 25 minutes for the average person to mentally recover from a single phone call or other such interruption during work. The problem is, research has also shown that these sorts of interruptions occur in our daily lives every 11 or so minutes. So when you’re halfway de-stressed from one interruption, another one comes blundering along into your life. It’s like consistently getting 4 hours of sleep when your body craves 8; it’s going to catch up with you — and it’s not going to be pretty.

Chronic, unrelenting stress is dangerous to our health, happiness, and longevity, being at the root of myriad chronic diseases and imbalances. But the benefits of reducing stress and slowing down in life are universal:

-increased happiness and enjoyment of life

-better, deeper focus

-less tension and and stress-induced musculoskeletal imbalances    

Small life changes, like reducing an addiction to technology, can help you experience less stress in your daily life, and deal with stressors more healthily when they do come thundering along.

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Take a card from the techies at Google: take a technology sabbath. Shut your electronics off for one day or an entire weekend. Read books, play games with your family, go outdoors, experience creativity-inducing boredom.  

Even if you don’t have the luxury to take a technology sabbath, you can still slow down your daily routine. Make yourself a hearty homemade breakfast instead of rushed buttered toast, and give yourself the time to mindfully enjoy it. Eat dinner with your family without checking your phone midway. Listen to the sounds of birds instead of blasting music on your walk to the local cafe. Every little bit helps. Here are 4 additional ways to slow your life down:  

1. Do a few important things instead of many trivial things

2. Leave early for events so you don’t have to rush.

3. Practice basic meditation for 5-25 minutes a day. Become comfortable with ‘doing nothing’. It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

4. Spend as much time as you can in nature, undistracted; even if all you can spare is just one day a month. It revitalizes you.

5. Eliminate what is unnecessary in your life — people, technology, fragile furnishings, et cetera; anything that requires trivial efforts, causes stress, or serves no function.  “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” Thoreau  

We are bombarded by facts and information in our everyday lives — so much so that it is impossible to absorb more than a fraction of it. Slow down and let yourself learn, hear, and see new things. Stop opening your browser window; slow down and open yourself up to the world.    

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! 

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ 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.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

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link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

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5 Science-Backed Reasons to Smile More

Leesa - Author Photo for Live Well 5-2014

Okay, so no one likes to be told to smile when they’re not in the mood to smile. But what if science is telling you to smile? It turns out there are a lot of amazing benefits when you just grin and bear it. Say cheese!

Ida  at Colin's 1st birthday

Here’s Leesa and her mother smiling!

1. Smiling de-stresses you.

Rough day at work? Smile! It activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress and help you relax. In one experiment, research participants underwent a series of stress-inducing activities while they held chopsticks in their mouths that formed a neutral expression, a forced smile, or a genuine smile. Though the genuine smilers ended up being most relaxed during the stressful activity, those with forced smiles weren’t far behind, recovering from the task with lower heart rates than those with neutral expressions.

2. Smiling helps you live longer.

Would you smile more if we said your life depended on it? Okay, probably not, but get this—researchers say that it’s possible that genuinely smiling more could add as much as seven years to your lifespan.

Ava in green clover

Leesa’s Chow Chow,  Ava, loves  to smile!

3. Smiling is good for your social life.

If you’re happy and you know it, don’t hold back! Research has found that smilers are rated higher in generosity and extroversion than non-smilers. A smile also increases another’s willingness to trust by 10 percent.

4. Smiling makes you more approachable.

Caveat: only if you’re a woman. Research has found that when a woman at a bar makes eye contact with a man, she’s approached 20% of the time. When she adds a smile, she’s approached 60% of the time. Smiling men, on the other hand, don’t have the same appeal—less smiling actually makes a man look more masculine.

5. Smiling is contagious.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you…well, actually just half the world, according to scientists. Research has found that smiling triggers other people to respond with a smile of their own, but just over 50 percent of people. On the plus side, it appears misery doesn’t always love company—few people frown back at a frowning person.

By Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member Inernational Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ 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.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

5 Ways to Take a Mental Vacation

5 Ways to Take a Mental Vacation

 

Now that summer has officially started, you are probably thinking about, or even planning, a summer vacation. If you don’t have the time to take a real vacation, you might find yourself getting more stressed and sad that you can’t take one.   However, the longer days of summer sunlight and the warmer weather mean that you can still take time to relax and unwind without going on a “real” vacation. Here are some ways to clear your mind by taking a “mental” vacation without having to wander too far from home.

Go for a walk or a hike. As I have written here many times, one of the ways I clear my mind is by walking. Walking is not only good for me physically, but I find that it reduces the stress and any sadness I might be feeling. It gets your endorphins going, and by being out in nature you get to focus on the beauty around you. Without even realizing it, you have refocused and gotten your mind off of the things bothering you. This is especially true if you walk in a new or different place, it feels like you have actually gotten away.

Have a music marathon. When I was away at college, our library had soundproof rooms that you could reserve and LP’s and cassettes you could check out. Whenever I was feeling stressed out, or studying for mid-terms or finals, I would go there, pick whatever music matched my mood, or the mood I was hoping to get in and I would spend hours just listening to music. I could listen completely undisturbed and just focus on the music. While my life is much too busy now to do this, incorporating music into my life whenever I can provides me with mini mental breaks. While in the car I listen to my iPod or satellite radio, whenever I am in the house I put music on instead of TV. Singing along is an added stress reducer. And, whenever possible, I just go in a room by myself or even sit or lie outside under a shady tree and listen to music.

Host a comedy movie festival. That old saying, “laughter is the best medicine” really is true. There’s nothing like a great, big belly laugh to make you feel better and forget all of your troubles. Get your friends together and plan a night of it. Have them choose some of their favorites and make sure that everybody turns off or puts away their cell phones and tablets and just focuses on the movie.

Plan a game night or day. Getting in touch with your inner child will clear out all of the negative thoughts and get rid of the stress you are feeling. Try to schedule monthly game nights or game days and play some of your favorite board games, card games or word games. If you want to plan something a little more ambitious, arrange a play “date” with your friends and family and go miniature golfing, bowling, or to a local amusement park.

Unplug with nature. Take the time to connect with nature and unplug. Sit in your garden or go to a garden, go star gazing on a warm summer evening. If you live near the beach or a lake, go and listen and watch the waves as they hit the shore. Just observe the sights and sounds of summer and you will feel like you had a vacation.

By Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

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

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler
Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author
 

5 Ways to Get Healthier & Happier

5 Ways to Get Healthier & Happier With Age

 
In our culture, everything happens at the speed of youth. Whether it’s cell phones, computers, songs, movies, books or opinions, it seems that only the newest models and latest releases matter. Whatever it is, if it’s been around for a while, it’s probably lost some value along with its straight-out-of-the-package luster.

And that might be inevitable when it comes to the latest iPad. But it makes no sense when it comes to people. Because while our culture is inclined to associate aging with a downgrade in beauty, vitality and appeal, aging done well has the potential to be something else entirely: an enjoyable and inspiring upgrade of self.

Unlike the boundless energy of youth, the treasures of aging don’t just arrive at our doorsteps, though. While it is entirely possible to become more interesting, attractive and dynamic as you age, it rarely happens without some conscious striving.

That said, it’s well worth the effort. Done right, living brings wisdom, emotional maturity and insight. With age comes experience, skill, discernment and perspective. We become more empathetic. We develop the compassion to fully know and love others, and the confidence to relax into our best attributes. We gain the ability to know — and even strut — our own stuff.

Seen in this light, getting older can be downright sexy. But how does one go about engaging in artful aging? One of the best ways is to start early.

Knowing at 20, 30 or 40 that you can, and fully intend to, become cooler, smarter and potentially hotter as you age gives you an important advantage, because it can help you keep your goals and priorities in line over the long haul. It also helps you focus on the end game, so you don’t get stuck thinking that midlife achievements are the highest markers of a life well lived.

But at whatever age you suddenly realize that you are, in fact, getting older, it is still possible to age gracefully from there on out. All it takes is smart choices, well-directed energy and a desire for self-renewal. As best-selling author and journalist Gail Sheehy puts it, we need to “remain open to new vistas of learning and imagination and anticipate experiences yet to be conquered and savored.”

 

1. Connect With Others

One of the most important things you can do to enrich your life at any age is to connect with other people. Meeting, talking, collaborating, sharing — none of these personal-growth essentials happens when an individual is isolated. The people around us (friends, lovers, family, mentors and even enemies) can all provide important insights and become catalysts that aid us in our quest to evolve.

Developing relationships with older folks whom you admire and perceive as good role models, whether for their enduring physical fitness, their perspective and experience, or simply their joie de vivre, can be especially inspiring. So can connecting with younger people. Older men and women gain a deeper appreciation of their accumulated knowledge by sharing it. And feeling gratitude for one’s wisdom and previous life experiences is itself a powerful factor in remaining happy and inspired as we age.

Linking with others has huge health benefits as well. Edward M. Hallowell, MD, an adult and child psychiatrist based in Boston, cites landmark research from Harvard University School of Public Health, that showed people with no close ties to friends, relations or other community were three times more likely to die over a nine-year period than those with at least one source of social support. “Social isolation is as much a risk factor [for early death] as smoking,” he says.

The value of connection increases with years and experience. As lives and relationships deepen, there’s more to share.

A Minneapolis resident, Scotty Gillette was in her early 40s when she and a group of four other childhood friends decided to meet for dinner once a month. Nearly 40 years later, they’re still doing it. “We’ve supported each other through divorces, widowhood, and issues with our children and grandchildren,” she says. “We’ve nursed each other through operations, helped out when husbands have gotten sick, and celebrated at the weddings of our children and the births of our grandchildren.” Each woman is a crucial beam in her friends’ emotional architecture.

Community can be as simple as three or four people getting together for focused conversation once a week, says Parker Palmer, an educator, community activist and author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (Jossey-Bass, 1999). “It requires, more than anything else, intentionality.” The form matters less than the function; joining a bowling league, volunteering to tutor at the local high school, starting a band, taking an acting class — all will connect you with something you love, as well as a vital group of friends.

 

2. Look and Learn

To recognize life’s continuing possibilities, you must constantly survey the world with an open, inquisitive mind. “Lifelong learning expands our horizons and helps us see a life beyond our current roles,” says Pamela McLean, PhD, a clinical psychologist and coauthor of Life Launch: A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Hudson Press, 2000).

The Harvard Study of Adult Development found that pursuing education throughout your adult years is a key factor to a rich life and healthy aging. Research has also found that learning can make your brain function better.

For many years, neuroscientists thought that the body stopped building new neural connections after childhood. But landmark studies in the early 21st century showed that the adult brain continues to grow new cells and create new neural connections. And learning helps trigger the growth of those new cells.

“Long-held assumptions that our brains are in a state of gradual decline from a youthful peak have been proven untrue,” notes Barbara Strauch in The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind (Penguin, 2011).

If you maintain only one interest in your life — whether it’s work, children, athletics or a hobby — you risk losing your source of identity and satisfaction when change comes. Conversely, if you polish many facets of yourself, you will shine no matter what.

“The demands of the 30s and 40s are so pressing that it’s almost impossible to imagine how you can diversify your interests,” says McLean. “But it’s important not to become a one-string guitar. Don’t give all your life to work. Allow yourself to try adventures you normally wouldn’t.”

The opportunities to learn are endless. You can choose a structured activity, like taking a class or starting a book club. Or you can take a more free-form approach: Learn about local history or sports teams; listen to public radio while going to work and books on tape during the commute home; commit to visiting a new place every year, even if it’s on the way to your annual vacation spot.

As your life path proceeds, keep an eye out for life’s teachers. McLean suggests seeking out role models who are living in a way that inspires you. Then learn about their lives by asking questions about how they got there.

One person who has made a career out of interviewing his mentors is Bill Moyers, the host of the public-television news program Moyers & Company. “All the septuagenarians I’ve interviewed through the years have taught me something,” he says. “They lived long enough to turn their experience into wisdom, and to share it.”

 

3. Explore Within

Perhaps the best way to integrate valuable life experiences into your aging process is to regularly evaluate where you are and what’s calling next. “It’s a challenge for anyone, regardless of their age, to know where they want to go,” says McLean. “It’s easy to wander or, in our media-oriented society, to be led. But satisfaction only comes with a direction that is truly your own.”

Palmer agrees, and points out that instead of becoming more set in their ways, aging adults need to remain nimble. “One of the keys to aging gracefully is to acknowledge that you have as much need for discernment now about the best next steps in life as you did at 32 or 45 or 56. There’s a mythology that by 72 you’re pretty well settled, but we have wiggle room as long as we’re drawing breath.”

Developing and following your own evolving sense of purpose takes mindfulness, says McLean, which requires regular doses of reflective thinking. “Look for opportunities to think outside the moment and ask what you want to be,” she advises.

There are opportunities everywhere. Take a vacation, journal, meditate, try yoga, get a coach. Resist the invented busyness that keeps most of us distracted from our feelings: Stop compulsively checking your email or your phone; go on a weeklong media fast; sit still on your couch for five full minutes and don’t write a “to-do” list or schedule a dentist’s appointment or rearrange your sock drawer. If you feel uncomfortable, that’s the point. You’re starting to listen to your inner self.

Allowing our internal compass to guide us toward meaningful pursuits brings its own set of benefits. The Longevity Project, a long-term study launched by a Stanford psychologist at the turn of the last century, followed 1,500 people born around 1910 and found that passionate people who believed they were living up to their potential and engaged in meaningful work lived longer, healthier lives than their less reflective and less engaged peers.

The inner journey itself can be a wellspring of energy and inspiration for daily life. “I’ve found that if a person has a way of being introspective while aging, it creates an acceptance of life,” says Stephan Rechtschaffen, MD, a cofounder of the Omega Institute, a holistic learning center based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. “Maintaining vitality can be aided by spiritual processes. They allow us to access our inner landscapes and to see life with wonder.”

 

4. Play Creatively

Embracing the pleasures of uninhibited expression — whether we find that in art, music, dance, woodworking, Scrabble or poker — enriches and regenerates our souls no matter how old we are. “Any healthy activity where your brain lights up helps plant the seeds of happiness,” says Hallowell.

Those bits of happiness enrich our brains now and can continue to pay off in the decades to come, bringing satisfaction and continual self-renewal. In fact, time often enhances the end results of creative endeavors. In her book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (Simon & Schuster, 2005), choreographer Twyla Tharp explains that she didn’t feel like a “master” of her craft until she had completed 128 works and was 58 years old.

“Why did it take 128 pieces until I felt this way?” Tharp asks rhetorically. “A better question would be, why not? What’s wrong with getting better as you get more work under your belt?” She cites Verdi, Beethoven, Dostoyevsky, Kurosawa and Balanchine as a few of her personal role models. All had stunning early triumphs, to be sure. Yet what interests Tharp is that all of these artists kept raising the bar for their achievements throughout their middle and later years.

How, in the face of deteriorating memories and aching backs, did they do it? In Tharp’s view, they were able to integrate what they had learned and put it into perspective.

“As we age, it’s hard to recapture the recklessness of youth, when new ideas sparked off us like light from a pinwheel sparkler,” she writes. “But we more than compensate for this with the ideas we do generate, and with our hard-earned wisdom about how to capture, and, more importantly, connect those ideas.” The results of this mature brand of ideation and creative expression, Tharp asserts, can be richer, deeper and just as satisfying as the spontaneity of youth.

 

5. Mind Your Body

Whether you’re 18 or 88, you feel better when you maintain a healthy weight, a high level of physical vitality, and a commitment to daily movement. As the years pass, though, it becomes increasingly important to examine specific aspects of your daily routine and environment.

For instance, according to Mark Hyman, MD, recent research shows that balancing blood sugar is one of the best ways to inoculate against certain age-related diseases, such as dementia, cancer and adult-onset diabetes.

Besides reducing our sugar intake, Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), advises people to take a few key steps: (1) Avoid flours and starches (“They act just like sugar in the bloodstream,” he explains); (2) include healthy proteins (such as fish, beans, nuts, lean animal protein) with every meal to fuel metabolism and maintain muscle; (3) liberally consume high-fiber foods (nuts, berries, beans, non-starchy vegetables and seeds); (4) enjoy healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to activate a critical cell-signaling system related to blood-sugar control.

Hyman also wants us to mind our mitochondria, which are the microscopic components of each of our cells that turn food and 90 percent of the oxygen we breathe into energy. We have more than 100,000 trillion of these little energy factories in our bodies, and according to recent lab tests, rats with the healthiest and most plentiful mitochondria had greater endurance and aerobic capacity, experienced increased fat burning, didn’t develop prediabetes, and lived to be the equivalent of 120 human years old.

The trouble is that, over time, mitochondria are sensitive to poor diet, sedentary habits, toxins, allergens, and high levels of stress. This is why Hyman urges us to emphasize whole foods, limit our overall exposure to pollutants, find time to relax and rejuvenate, and enjoy plenty of physical activity. Interval training is especially helpful, he notes, since high-intensity activity interspersed with periods of rest increases the efficiency and function of mitochondria. Strength training also increases the amount of mitochondria in muscle cells.

Beyond all these practical recommendations for healthy, graceful aging, though, success is ultimately rooted in self-honesty — the ability to see yourself clearly and then take action on the parts of your life that are asking for investment and attention.

For example, the Harvard Study on Aging tells us that having a healthy marriage before age 50 is an indicator of successful aging. Do you have a strong partnership? If you do, what sorts of steps can you take to fortify that bond? If not, what can you do to change your situation?

If you are severely overweight, chain smoking, or abusing alcohol or drugs, what resources are available to help you face down the demons? What role do you play in the dysfunction?

Ignoring problems not only leads to physical and mental deterioration, but also leads to avoiding solutions that have the potential to connect you to the larger community and your better self.

In other words, you’re never too old to leave behind old habits, to embrace new rituals, or to discover new vistas in the search of happier, healthier and higher terrain.

By Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

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

Live Well!

 Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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

Is Your Happiness Conditional?

Is Your Happiness Conditional?

 

Did you know that the first day of Spring 2013 was also The first World  International  Happiness Day, declared by the UN to signal the  importance of going beyond  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of  progress. The UN is taking a stand  on happiness! They are saying that we need a better measures of society’s real   wellbeing — including happiness. Right on, UN!

Consider  this outcome of the Gallup  Millennium World Survey: They polled almost  60,000 people in 60 countries,  Gallup ranked ten things that  people said were the most important to their  ability to experience happiness. At the top were health, a happy family life and  a job (a  life’s purpose) while “Standard of Living” (how rich you are compared  to  other people) was one of the least important.

So  this is what I know about happiness.  If you want to be happy you need  to be intentional about it. How are you  creating happiness in your life?  Happiness comes from our own actions. We  actually have to create it, and it can’t be conditional.

Tips on Intentional Happiness:

Is  there something that always bothers  you? Can you put it down for a  while, and take a break from it? Can you be  happy for the joy in  memories and not be sad that they are over, but happy that  whatever it  is, actually happened?

Can you spend so much time working on  your own crap, that you have little time to be critical and mean about others?

Can  you put resources towards your own  happiness creation project? That  means money, time and effort. That means  putting the pleasure in your  own hands, and not waiting for someone else to  give you permission to do  it. Can you stop being sensible about your happiness,  and stop having  to justify it behind disease and wellness? It’s true that  happiness  makes us healthier, but what if we can give ourselves happiness and  good  health is just a side effect?

Do you make happiness conditional?

One of my biggest learnings around happiness happened in the middle of my infertility   experience.

Every month, my happiness became conditional on whether or  not I was  pregnant. I was like those women who live and die by the  scale. If they lose  weight, it’s a good day. If they don’t, they sink  into a deep depression. That  was me and pregnancy.  All month long I  lived on this conditional  possibility of my own happiness. My happiness  could only look one way, and that  was not getting my period. That was a  rough way to live.

Then  in the middle of my great unhappiness came this next revelation: could  I  only be happy if everything always continued to look the way I expected  it  to look? Was there absolutely no room at all in my life for other  kinds of  happiness? Could I never enjoy other peoples’ children or go to  a movie without  thinking about pregnancy? Was there no possibility for  happiness in anything  other than a pregnancy?

I realized that I was living in the land of constant expectation. And  that  expectation set me up for pain, over and over again. It was a  pretty miserable  way to live.

I began to wonder if there were other ways to find this happiness and pleasure that I wanted in my life in between waiting for pregnancy to happen.

This is what I have found: conditional happiness was not a path to  pleasure  and well-being. I shifted my view because I started to realize  that I was  missing out on a lot of love, pleasure and joy with my  current perspective. I  was wasting a lot of really good living in my  very narrow view of what would  make me truly happy.

Often my thoughts would go to what I thought I truly wanted first,  and then  I would have to settle into what was in front of me. With some  practice the  process of being happy with my second pick was getting more  delicious with each  round.

It helped open a path filled with unexpected pleasures that I almost  stomped  away from in my anger over infertility. Silly me. Instead, I  started to be  filled with a new kind of peacefulness that I highly  recommend.  Sure, I  still wanted my babies. And they did come. The good  news is that when they  finally arrived, they came home to a woman that  was more able to receive love  than ever before.

So, when it comes to happiness think about how you look at it.   Are you  intentionally creating happiness in your life? Look at the ways you make your  happiness conditional on certain life events.  Happiness is worth  understanding and creating for yourself and the world around you.

Sometimes, happiness takes a little practice. How do you practice  happiness?

By Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach Specializing In Women’s  Issues.   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.

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Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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The 3 Best Types of Weekend Getaways

The 3 Best Types of Weekend Getaways

 

For 11 months of the year, we daydream about where we’ll go on  vacation — beaches, safaris, canyons — until we finally arrive at the  week or two when  we get to fulfill the dream. We return to work  temporarily refreshed, only to  spend another year anticipating.

The thing is, all that waiting to wind down isn’t necessary. Sure,  long  trips are great, but they’re not the only way to experience adventure or luxuriate in relaxation. Many experts believe  that even a long  weekend can deliver an impressive bang for your vacation buck. “If you  have 12 vacation days, you’re better off planning a number of three- or  four-day vacations per year than one long trip,” says Dan Buettner,  author of Thrive:  Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (National Geographic, 2010).

By studying populations worldwide, Buettner discovered that the  healthiest,  happiest people “downshift” routinely, not just annually.  “Scheduling a string  of downshifting vacations every other month helps  you get into the routine of  de-stressing your life.”

Science confirms that regular time off from work can reduce your  chances of  becoming ill or dying prematurely. But there’s another factor  in the work-play  equation: how long the good feelings last after you  return from climbing in  Yosemite or surfing in Hawaii.

The postholiday glow can fade with shocking speed, says vacation  researcher  Jessica de Bloom, MSc, of Radboud University Nijmegen in the  Netherlands. In  the people she studied, vacations’ aftereffects — less  stress, fewer physical  complaints — usually disappeared within the first  week of their returning home.  But more regular trips offer a greater  number of relaxed, postvacation  days.

Besides shortening the length of time between post-vacation highs  (and  lows), frequent three-day vacations give you more opportunities to  visit a  variety of locations with diversified experiences — a short  winter ski  adventure followed by summer cycling and fall mountaineering,  for instance.

There’s also an enhanced happiness factor. “Much of our satisfaction  from  vacationing comes from planning a trip and remembering its  highlights,” says  Buettner. “If your life is punctuated with short  vacations, then you’re getting  more of those opportunities.”

Here are three examples of quick, no-fuss getaways: one restful and romantic,  one high adventure, and one memorable trip of my own that combined them  both.  A key tip: Go somewhere that’s three hours or less from home.  Shorter travel  time helps make the most of a brief escape.

 

The Long-Weekend  Retreat

When to go: Your nerves are frayed and you can’t  switch out  of work mode. You need R&R, ASAP, because you’re  beginning to speak in  acronyms.

As Troy and Linea Gagliano sipped wine and gazed through their hotel  window,  the Pacific tide crashed against the rocky coast of Yachats,  Ore. “Watching the  waves was a Zen moment that felt better than a  Xanax,” says Linea, 40, a PR  manager who was exhausted from juggling  work and a baby. “I could feel the  stress rolling off.”

For their three-day weekend, the Portland couple unplugged from their  jobs  and left the baby in his grandmother’s care. “We celebrated our  independence by  sleeping late and soaking in the Overleaf Lodge’s hot  tub,” says Troy, 42, a  renewable-energy developer. “We emphasized  hedonism over exercise because our  goal was to rest, reconnect and watch  the mesmerizing waves.”

The couple did stretch their legs, exploring tidal pools filled with   starfish and sea anemones. They kept their mini-vacation simple and  unhurried  by skipping an itinerary, ignoring the hotel-room TV and  turning off cell  phones.  (Grandma had the lodge’s phone number in case of emergency.) They  even  packed picnic foods for the trip and ordered takeout so they could dine   quietly in their room.

The getaway rejuvenated the Gaglianos’ relationship. “We had time to  walk on  the beach and laugh together,” says Linea. “After the trip, I  was excited to  see our boy, and I knew I could tackle work with a  clearer vision. And I felt  grateful for everything I have: a wonderful  husband, a beautiful son and a  great job.”

Planning tips:

  • To save money, take restorative weekends in the off-season when the best  hotel rooms are generally less expensive.
  • If possible, choose a vacation spot that involves a scenic drive to  get  there. Then it feels like the holiday starts the moment you leave town.

 

The Active  Adventure

When to go: You’ve been cooped up in the office and want to  cut loose and challenge yourself with an invigorating physical escapade.

Russ Carroll and his son Nicholas, 12, of Weston, Mass., wanted to  pump up  their summer vacation. Traditionally, the family takes extended  sightseeing  trips in the car, but last year, Russ, 45, organized a  guys-only three-day  hiking trek in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Not  wanting to waste time with  planning and logistics, Russ hired  Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) naturalist  guides and invited some other  family members to join them.

At the site, guides prepped the group on what to expect during three  days of  moderate-to-strenuous backpacking. That first day, as they  summited Mt.  Washington (New England’s highest peak and the site of  numerous hiker  fatalities), the wind blew 50 miles an hour and  visibility was poor. “We felt  safer with guides, knowing how easily we  could have gotten lost or hurt in  those conditions,” says Russ.

Wind-battered but triumphant, the group arrived at Lake of the   Clouds Hut, where an AMC crew cooked a hearty dinner and showed them to   one of several bunk rooms, which they shared with other hikers. There  were no  flush toilets or showers, but the hut was well equipped with  food, water,  pillows and blankets.

After breakfast, the group packed their lunches and headed out for  another  full day — this time in bright sunshine — to reach Mizpah Hut  for their second  night. They climbed more mountains, and the guides  helped Nicholas use the GPS  to locate a geocache treasure.

Physically reinvigorated, Russ felt like he’d been gone a month, not  just  four days. “I watched Nicholas’s confidence build as he made it  over rough  terrain carrying a 40-pound pack,” he says. “I saw him become  responsible when  he took a turn as our trail leader, even though he was  the youngest. The change  from hiking in nature was profound for all of  us, from age 12 to 54.”

Another advantage of their short but rugged adventure: The brief time  window  allowed the Carrolls to go for broke on the trail, then return  home rejuvenated — not exhausted.

Planning tips:

  • No matter how brief your vacation, plan to spend some time in  nature. It  will get your head out of work mode and help stress evaporate  more  quickly.
  • Hiring a guide for rugged trips helps keep you safe and saves you time on  planning and logistics.

 

Yin and Yang  Weekend

When to go: You and your travel companion have  different  fitness levels or enjoy different activities — or you simply  yearn for some  variety.

My first three-day vacation was inspired by the fact that I was  recovering  from knee surgery and wanted to join my husband on his annual  ski trip. I don’t  typically ski even when my knees are in top shape,  but I was in desperate need  of some restorative time away. So we opted  for a trip to suit both our agendas:  He skis, she spas.

We searched for a hotel that could accommodate our dual needs and  found one  just two hours from our Boulder home — at Devil’s Thumb Ranch  Resort & Spa,  in Tabernash, Colo. On 6,000 acres in the Rocky  Mountains, the resort has a  relaxing spa and yoga classes (for me), 65  adrenaline-packed miles of groomed  Nordic ski and snowshoe trails (for  him), and a fireplace in the room (for  us).

On our first full day, Ken drove with his telemark skis to nearby  Berthoud  Pass, which straddles the Continental Divide, where the  backcountry powder is  deep. I threw a parka over my yoga attire and  walked to the spa, where the yoga  room has a view of snowy peaks. After  class, it was time for my Altitude  Adjustment, a treatment involving massage and hot towels soaked in relaxing  lavender oil. Thoughts of writing deadlines evaporated.

Just before dusk, Ken returned, grinning like a skier who had been  gliding  through clouds. We celebrated our individual vacation  experiences together in  the hot tub under the stars before sharing a  candlelight dinner.

Having multiple options ultimately benefited us both. On our last  day, Ken  indulged in some tension-loosening yoga with me before renting  Nordic skis and  blazing off on the Lazy Sunday Loop. We met for lunch,  and then he decided to  attempt a few laps of skate skiing. In the spirit  of adventure, I strapped on  snowshoes and tested my knee on an easy  trail. I watched Ken skate the loop; he  spotted me tramping through  snow. We waved to each other and laughed. The  future, I think, holds  many more three-day vacations tailored for two.

Planning tips:

  • When your trip involves a seasonal sport like skiing or golf, travel midweek  to avoid weekend crowds.
  • Find a hotel or resort that offers a smorgasbord of activities in one  location.

By , Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.

 

What’s Your Birth Color?

What’s Your Birth Color? (Chart)

The “Color Wheel of Life” follows the progression of the seasons,  showing  what colors they’re associated with and what qualities they  bring to life.  Whether you’re picking inspiring colors for the objects in your living space,  seeking crystals for healing, or just trying to understand more about the  influence different colors have on your mind, this chart (below) can help you  discover the color you were born to. Crystal Vaults describes how to start using it:

“The wheel is read in counterclockwise order.  Start from the  winter solstice at the top and follow the color wheel and the  year  around to the left. The second inner ring shows the days of the year as   the year and the color changes progress through the greens of spring,  the  yellows of summer, and the reds of autumn.”

To discover what your birth color is and what it means, you can explore the  chart below. What’s yours? Share with us in the comments!

(Credit: Crystal Vaults)

Healthy Living Editors

Healthy Living offers more than 10,000 ways for you to improve your life,  your home, your community, and even the world. From the latest healthy and green  news to simple DIY tips, our informative and inspirational content empowers you  to make a difference.

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