Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Self-Help’

11 Natural Treatments For Depression

11 Natural Treatments For Depression

That said, clinical depression sucks, and if you’re someone who suffers from it, my heart goes out to you. I’m in no way intending to diss anti-depressants or suggest you ignore your doctor’s advice. I know anti-depressants can be life-saving for people. But unless you’re suicidal or otherwise in dire need of urgent medication, before you dose up on side-effect laden pharmaceuticals, it’s worth considering some natural treatments that might help lift your mood.

How To Treat Depression Naturally

1.  Consider why you might feel depressed. Sometimes depression is a symptom of something circumstantial in your life, rather than biochemical imbalances. Does your job require you to sell out your integrity every day? Have you been unable to admit that you need to end your marriage? Are you feeling spiritually disconnected or sexually restless? Are you suffering from creative blocks? Is your body failing you? Are you facing financial ruin? Be honest with yourself about what might be off-kilter in your life, and make an effort to get to the root of why you might be feeling depressed.

2.  Move your body. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins, which act like natural anti-depressants. Runner’s high, anyone?

3.  Never skip a meal. Keeping your blood sugar stable reduces mood swings.

4.  Eat a serotonin-enhancing diet. Many anti-depressants like Prozac act by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by receptors in the brain, thereby increasing serotonin levels. But you can increase your brain’s serotonin levels by eating foods that boost your serotonin levels naturally.

Serotonin-enhancing foods include:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies, which are even higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other fish)
  • Healthy fats like coconut oil
  • Eat a high protein diet, especially proteins high in tryptophan, like free range turkey

5.  Avoid caffeine, which reduces serotonin levels. If you need an energy boost, supplement with L-Tyrosine (500 – 1000 mg).

6.  Expose yourself to sunlight, which can boost mood and increase Vitamin D levels. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, invest in a therapeutic light box.

7.  Try mood-enhancing supplements: (DISCLAIMER: Although you can get these supplements over the counter, I always recommend doing this under the care of a physician, since supplements can have side effects and risks and can interact with other medications.)

  • 5-HTP 50-300 mg up to three times/day — start at 50mg in the morning. Converts directly into serotonin. If you are taking too much, you will feel sleepy or have runny stools. Also usually helps with anxiety, although sometimes it can paradoxically cause anxiety. Must use with great caution if you’re taking an anti-depressant.
  • St. John’s Wort 300mg three times/day. If you don’t feel better within a week, slowly increase your dose to a max of 600mg three times/day. May decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.
  • SAMe 200mg on an empty stomach twice/day. Increase your dose every two weeks to a maximum dose of 600mg twice daily. This can be a very effective antidepressant, but it can also be expensive. Side effects at higher doses include GI upset, nausea, agitation, and insomnia.
  • L-Theanine 100-600mg daily. Reduce if you feel sleepy. Found in green tea.
  • Fish oil (DHA/EPA) 1-3 g/day with food.

8. Meditate or try guided imagery. Meditation’s effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits.

9. Get your hormones balanced. If your thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones are out of whack, your mood can get all wonky. See a good integrative medicine doctor and ask them to order and interpret the following tests:

  • Thyroid gland tests – TSH, free T4, free T3, total T3, thyroid antibodies
  • Adrenal gland tests – cortisol, DHEA-S, pregnenolone
  • Sex hormone tests – estradiol, progesterone, free and total testosterone

10. Make efforts to bolster your mental health by being more authentic in all aspects of your life. Too often, we walk around wearing masks, pretending to be something we’re not. We fake it at the schoolyard, in the boardroom, in the bedroom, at church — and then we wonder why we wind up depressed. Practice letting your authentic freak flag fly and watch how your mood lifts.

11. Talk it out. See a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach and express how you feel. Sometimes just finding someone you trust who will help you work through your feelings can make all the difference in the world.

If all else fails and you need anti-depressants, don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes you can do everything right, and if your imbalance is biochemical, you may need the drugs. But don’t forget to nurture the rest of you too. Depression, like most physical and mental illnesses, is multifactorial and requires a global investigation of your whole health — not just your mind and body, but your relationships, your work, your financial picture, how you express yourself creatively, how you satisfy yourself sexually, your environment, and whether you’re letting your Inner Pilot Light (aka authentic self) shine.

Unsure whether you’re really depressed or just in need of a vitality boost? Read this!

By Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.comand also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter. 

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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…
    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

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join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

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How You Can Make Friends With Change

How You Can Make Friends With Change

Change can be daunting. It can push all our buttons, fear and confusion can arise, doubt or insecurity as such a time is full of so many unknowns. We are personally dealing with big changes right now: selling our house, downsizing, finding the next place, getting the timing right, letting go of all that was and opening to all that will be. But this also makes it a great opportunity to remember that the deepest essence of all life is change.

The world around us is not the same as it was just a moment ago. Babies have been born, people have died, clouds have passed overhead, waves have risen and fallen. We were walking along the River Dart in southwest England, watching the water. It looked the same yet is in constant motion, never the same for even a second. Who we are now is not who we were last year, last week, yesterday, even a few minutes ago. Already our thoughts are different, some of our cells have died while others have been created; our feelings, beliefs, even our relationships are as changeable as rain and sunshine, or night and day.

There’s tremendous freedom in knowing that this is the way life is, that all things will pass. But, as much as change is inevitable, it’s not always welcome or easy. Rather, it can be disorientating and conflicting. Here are 4 ways to guide you through the changes that change inevitably brings, by incorporating mindfulness and awareness:

1. Impermanence is unavoidable

Everything that is happening now will change into something else; every thought and feeling, no matter how intense or dramatic, will one day be different. Every structure will one day collapse, and new forms will be created. Life never stands still. Awareness of this reality allows us to pay attention to feelings as they arise, whether fear or grief, to stay mindful of our reactions, and to know that every difficulty, challenge, joy, or success will, at some point, be different, that this too shall pass.

2. Transformation is always possible

Just as palm trees transform muddy water into sweet coconut milk, so we can transform fear into courage, selfishness into kindness, and loss into a new beginning. We can create ourselves with every breath, word and action. We just need to put one foot in front of the other. If everything looks hopeless we have the chance to grow into something better: what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, we call a butterfly. To grow into a butterfly simply takes patience and awareness.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.  Maria Robinson, author

3. No more resistance

Even when times are tough, resistance is the quickest route to further discomfort and unhappiness. Acceptance enables us to be with what is, to create spaciousness and room to breathe. Then we can make friends with our circumstances instead of longing for things to be different from what they are. Resistance to change is resistance to the meaning of being here, which is to become something more than what we were before.

4. Keep on moving

The clue to transformation is being able move with the waves, to paddle in the dip so we are ready to ride the next crest. Being with the flow is being able to deal with whatever arises in each moment. Meditation creates a space where times of pain, sadness, anger, fear, hurt, confusion, doubt, and all other conflicting emotions can arise, be known and gently released. It enables us to be present with whatever is and to accept, embrace, and move with change. We watch without denying, pushing away or holding on.

Here’s a meditation for staying present. It’s based on the breath, which is like an anchor that gives us stability and steadiness. And just as the breath goes in and out so it is like the coming and going of all things.

Sit upright and relax.

Breathe in and out gently, simply watching the natural rhythm of your breathing.

Follow the flow of your breath and let your mind relax into the rhythm.

With each in breath silently repeat. May I be well, may I be peaceful, may I flow with the changes.

With each out breath feel your heart smile gently.

By Ed and Deb Shapiro

Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb’s new novel is: Merging: Women in Love — what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? – and she is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com.  You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the Worldforewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

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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…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

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

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

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.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

How Does Traffic Affect Our Health?

How Does Traffic Affect Our Health?

Like many of you, I dislike driving in heavy traffic. But unlike many of you, I usually don’t have to. I live and work in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and my job is just steps from my home. Driving in the mountains can be challenging, but that’s mostly because of twists and turns in the roads, not traffic.  For occasional business meetings and appointments, I venture down into Silicon Valley and even into San Francisco. As I crawl through town after congested town, or sit bumper-to-bumper on traffic-jammed highways, I’m always struck with how lucky I am that I don’t have to deal with this daily grind. I’m also filled with compassion for all of you who do.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help make your morning and evening commutes considerably easier – on your mental, emotional and physical health.

The Tolls of Traffic

On a recent weekday morning, a list of travel advisories for metropolitan areas around the country popped up on my kitchen television.

  • Washington, D.C.: Expect delays. Allow 3 hours.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana: Expect delays. Allow 2.5 hours.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: Expect delays. Allow 2 hours.

With light traffic, the typical commute in most urban areas would take about a half-hour. But, as you well know, light traffic happens mostly in the dead of night, not during the morning rush hour.

In 2011, we Americans whiled away 5.5 billion hours of our time, burned through 2.9 billion gallons of fuel, and shelled out $121 billion of our hard-earned money driving in stop-and-go traffic on our nation’s highways. These stunning figures appear in the 2012 Urban Mobility Report of the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Today the high dollar cost of traffic congestion can be quantified, thanks to GPS-enabled vehicles that collect data nationwide. But what about the mental, emotional and physical tolls on all of us who collectively spend those 5.5 billion extra hours a year behind the wheel?  Although quantitative data on the costs to our health and well-being is less plentiful than data on the costs to our pocketbook, what is available shows that we are paying a very high personal price as well.  Traffic dwellers are more prone to stress, distraction, aggressive behavior, elevated blood pressure and larger waistlines, says one study released last year.

Heart-Traffic Connection

Even more alarming news came from the American Heart Association. A study has found a link between traffic and heart attacks. “People who have had a heart attack are likely to report having been in traffic shortly before their symptoms began,” stated a release from the Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. The association cited a German study that identified simple exposure to traffic as the key contributing factor in heart attacks. “Driving a car was the most common source of traffic exposure, but taking public transportation or riding a bicycle were other forms of exposure to traffic,” the association reported. “Overall, time spent in any mode of transportation in traffic was associated with a 3.2 times higher risk [of heart attack] than time spent away from this trigger.”

The Texas Transportation Institute found that an automobile commuter in Washington, D.C., spent an average of 67 hours in traffic each year. That’s about one and a half traditional work weeks! Commuters in the San Francisco-Oakland and the Los Angeles areas spent 61 hours each; those in the New York City area, 59 hours.

People who drive in large urban areas aren’t the only ones with traffic travails.  “Congestion is worse [than the previous year’s findings] in areas of every size,” the institute’s report said. “Big towns and small cities alike cannot implement enough projects, programs and policies to meet the demands of growing population and jobs.”

Angry man stuck in traffic

How Stress Affects Us

Anyone who’s ever been stuck in morning traffic has experienced varying degrees of heightened stress. In the most congested areas, that amounts to an astounding level of communal stress.

The detrimental effects of stress have been well documented by researchers worldwide. They range from irritability, muscle tension and mild fatigue to depression, sleeplessness, palpitations, memory loss and other cognitive malfunctions, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and the ultimate adverse effect, cardiac arrest.

  • Sources estimate 75 percent to 90 percent of visits to primary-care physicians are stress-related.
  • Billions are spent annually on antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to treat stress symptoms.
  • A Harvard study showed people living in a state of high anxiety, a primary symptom of stress, were four and a half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death.

You Can De-Stress

You can take some obvious steps to avoid traffic: Move some place where there is less of it, change jobs, live closer to your job. If you’re like most of us who live in congested areas, however, you’re stuck – in traffic.

Before venturing out each day, you may already do some yoga, eat healthfully, relax for a few minutes, or shoot for that perfect window of time when you can merge easily onto the freeway. Good ideas. Now here are two more.

Build Coherence and Add Ease

Every day you can consciously add more coherence. We are coherent when our mental, emotional and physical systems are in balance. We feel better, think more clearly and react more appropriately.  When we are incoherent, challenging situations and activities –  including sitting in traffic – can derail us.  Another important state is what HeartMath calls inner ease.  with inner ease, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to flow through challenges:  big meetings, tough days at work or school, and yes, traffic jams.

Happy Guy Driving

Quick Coherence® Technique

Before leaving in the morning, take a few minutes to get coherent by doing the Quick Coherence® Technique.

Step 1: Heart Focus – Focus your attention on the area around your heart, in the center of your chest. 
Step 2: Heart Breathing – Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. Breathe with ease until you find a comfortable rhythm. 
Step 3: Heart Feeling – While maintaining heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a time when you felt good inside and try to re-experience that feeling.

The Inner-Ease™ Technique

Sometime after you’ve reached your destination, practice this simple tool.

Step 1. Acknowledge Your Feelings – Are you frustrated, impatient, anxious, overloaded, judgmental, mentally gridlocked? Admit what you are feeling.
Step 2. Heart-Focused Breathing – Breathe deeply through the heart area, with ease and a comfortable rhythm. (See Step 2 of the Quick Coherence® Technique.)
Step 3. Draw in Inner Ease and Balance – Continue Heart-Focused Breathing and imagine with each in-breath that you are drawing in the feeling of inner ease and emotional balance.
Step 4. Anchor and Maintain – When the stressful feelings have calmed, make a heartfelt commitment to anchor and maintain the state of ease as you re-engage in your activities.

Learn more in the free download of The State of Ease booklet.

If you practice these steps faithfully both before and after your commute, I truly believe you’ll find yourself driving – and arriving — with much less stress. You may still be using up your money, time and gas, but you’ll be shoring up your heart, mind and body.

By Sara Childre

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.

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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…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

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

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

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.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

4 Ways To Go Out Of Your Mind And Get Happy

5 Ways To Go Out Of Your Mind And Get Happy

You know what it’s like when you get stressed, as if you’re going out of your mind: “Oh no, I’m losing it, I’m going crazy, I can’t take any more.” And how the more thoughts you have like this the more you’re caught up in the madness and get further away from being peaceful or happy.

The good news is that as long as we know we’re going nuts then we’re ok; it’s when we’re not aware that we’re off keel that it’s more serious. As Ed’s teacher once said: The difference between a yogi and a madman is the yogi knows he’s mad!

There’s no denying the importance and value of the mind—there’s great brilliance, creativity and beauty here—but also great absurdity. For no matter how intellectually astute or inspired we may be, this can have little effect upon the habitual mind and its repetitive patterns of guilt, anxiety, shame, or self-centeredness. The tragedy is when maintaining our dramas, ego-trips, or getting stressed out is seen as some sort of achievement.

So what if going out of your mind was actually the coolest thing to do? What if being out of your mind means you aren’t disturbed by your own madness and are more in touch with your feelings, your heart, even your freedom? What if it means getting away from insecurities, worries, judgments and doubts, away from everything that keeps you scattered and fearful, away from the commotions and stories that reinforce who you think you are?

As the great Zen teacher Alan Watts said, We all need to go out of our minds at least once a day. By going out of our minds we quickly come to our senses.

Meditation really helps here as it’s about calming and making friends with our chattering monkey-like mind while being aware and present in the moment. Being mindful of what we’re doing means that even if we don’t get it right it’s ok, it’s not such a big deal, for we can see that this doesn’t define us, that who we are is more than appearances.

Here are 5 ways to help you go out of your mind and in to real happiness:

1. Pay attention: By being mindful you can witness the madness of your mind without identifying with or becoming it; you see that who you are is more than just your thoughts and feelings

2. Make friends with fear: Being fearful of fear keeps it an enemy, while befriending it turns it to fearlessness

3 Turn shit into gold: Transform difficult or dark times into rich experiences that generate greater insight and wisdom

4. Meditate daily, even for 5 minutes: It really will change you from being a victim of your own mind into a victor! Then imagine you are free of all the limitations and difficulties you are dealing with, that you’re free of who you thought you were and can now rest in your own beingness. Just close your eyes and know yourself to be completely free with nothing stopping you from being or doing anything. You are happy! You are free!

By Ed and Deb Shapiro

Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb’s new novel is: Merging: Women in Love — what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? – and she is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the Worldforewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

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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

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

Super Bowl and TIME Magazine Both Focus on Mindfulness

Super Bowl and TIME Magazine Both Focus on Mindfulness

 

Guess what, we all meditate! We may be unaware of this because we believe meditation means sitting still and closing our eyes. However, the moment we focus attention on one thing and bring the mind into a quiet place then we are meditating, which means it can be as much active as it is being still.

The most well-known forms of meditation are watching the flow of the breath or repeating a mantra, as these focus the mind. But it could just as easily be mindfully throwing a football or the stroke of a brush as you paint; most meditation traditions do walking meditation as well as sitting practice. This is meditation in action, which is mindfulness: awareness of the present moment.

“The Seahawks believe their kinder, gentler philosophy is the future of football,” says Alyssa Roenigk in ESPN The Magazine. So could mindfulness and meditation be a way to win the Super Bowl? The Seahawks obviously believe that it can. They are taught yoga and sitting meditation as a part of their training, as it’s difficult to be focused if they are distracted by a monkey mind jumping from thought to thought.

“Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice,” says Russell Okung of the Seahawks. “It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.”

Meditation focuses the mind in one place and this equally applies to the Denver Broncos, even if they may not knowingly meditate. In football, mindfulness is needed for the accuracy of a touch-down pass down the field, or the presence to know when to throw or when to run with the football: Payton Manning’s great passes are made mindfully, Knowshaun Moreno runs with awareness, Eric Decker receives in the moment!

We taught meditation to the Torquay United Football team in England, sitting in the men’s locker room. They were at the bottom of their league but won their next game, which meant they advanced to the next division. Filmed by the BBC on the 6:00pm evening news, the coach was convinced that the mindfulness training had enabled the players to stay positive, despite being in such a losing position.

As our partner, Brian Jones says: “Meditation is as much something that happens to us as, as something we do, like the “ah-ha” moment when we first learn to ride a bike. All of a sudden it just makes sense, becomes familiar, and comfortable. Meditation and mindfulness, like riding a bike, are about embodiment, self-mastery, and self-fulfillment.”

TIME Magazine agrees. The Feb 3rd issue focuses on mindfulness, the far-reaching effect it is having in all walks of life, and on Jon Kabat-Zinn, who brought mindfulness to hospitals and clinics, through his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

“People come with a huge amount of pain and suffering, both physical and emotional,” says Kabat-Zinn in our Award Winning book, Be The Change. “Through the cultivation of mindfulness, they develop a more functional relationship with that suffering, they turn towards it, open to it, and actually befriend it to a degree rather than insisting that it stop, and in the process, the pain often transforms or even falls away… For the most part, they will tell you that they are more in touch with their own beauty than they may have been since they were children.”

Whether we sit in formal meditation with our eyes closed, go for a walk or throw a football, if we do it with awareness we are meditating. We can sit with our eyes closed but if our mind is scattered then there’s no stillness, while we can be running everywhere playing competitive sport but if our mind is focused and aware then we are being mindful. A clear and comprehensivetraining in mindfulness is vital, so it can become integral to every part of our life. Play to win: practice mindfulness!

By Ed and Deb Shapiro

Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com andEdandDebShapiro.com

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the Worldforewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

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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

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5 Ways Our Brain Sabotages Our Goals (& How to Fight Back)

5 Ways Our Brain Sabotages Our Goals (& How to Fight Back)

 

As wonderful and fascinating as the brain is, it is not always our friend when it comes to achieving goals, according to Gregory Ciotti, the founder of Sparring Mind, who writes about understanding the science behind how our brain works, and how to use it to our advantage.

I got interested in this subject because of the research I did for another article entitled, “Top 5 Regrets People Have on Their Deathbed.” I wondered why it was that so many people “go to their graves with their music still in them,” as Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said. What is it that happens to us that we sabotage our own dreams?

If we can understand how our brain works, we have a better chance at doing the things that we really want to do, suggests Ciotti. Accomplishing our goals will not only make us happier, but also more fulfilled as we approach the end of our life.

Here are five ways our brain can hinder our goals, and some well-researched ways to overcome the saboteurs.

1. Over-Fantasizing

Visualizing our goals is very important. We must envision and feel ourselves achieving what it is we desire, but we can overdo it with too much fantasizing. Grandiose dreams that focus on the ultimate ending are so much more pleasurable than dealing with the here and now, but big dreaming can actually keep us from doing the real work necessary to bring our goals into reality.

Dream big, then set goals and get down to work. Too much dreaming will trick the mind into thinking you have already achieved the goal, and getting down to work and doing the hard stuff is never as satisfying as the grandiose dream with the “Hollywood” ending.

2. Procrastinating by Envisioning the Worst Parts

The brain has a tendency to envision the worst part of something, making the entire project feel too overwhelming, so we procrastinate.  Here is how you trick your brain: start somewhere — anywhere! Just as cliffhangers keep us coming back to TV shows, our brain wants to see the conclusion. Once we start, the brain becomes enticed to finish and keeps working with the subject. It is wired to solve puzzles. All we really have to do is get it going, and it will take over and move the project on to completion.

If you have projects you keep starting and stopping, just tell yourself you are going to do one little piece of it so that the overwhelm doesn’t kick in. Your brain will become engaged in completing it, and in no time you will find yourself enjoying the challenge rather than dreading it.

3. Abandoning Ship at the First Sign of Distress

Unfortunately, once we fall short of a goal, the brain has a tendency to throw in the towel. Many of us have been there with dieting. We blow one meal, give up, and then eat the entire pie. We might as well….all is lost... you know the scenario.

You can combat the tendency to give up on a goal by coaxing your brain in the following ways:

1. Review your many successes so far and be kind to yourself.

2. Tell yourself it is only a minor slip; all is not lost.

3. Have a back-up plan for when you slip up. For example: If I accidentally eat a whole pie, I get up and walk 30 minutes in the morning, have my scheduled breakfast and get back on track. The brain likes a plan and will be much more likely to climb on board again if a structured strategy is in place.

4. Engaging in Mindless Busy Work

The mind loves mindless busy work disguised as progress. I find I will even engage in something I dislike, such as housework, rather than tackling a tough project. Don’t be fooled by doing those semi-related or barely-related menial tasks to make yourself feel productive.

At this juncture, go back to number two, and just start somewhere, anywhere. Remember, the mind is wired to completion. Once the brain starts a task, it becomes engaged to solve the creative puzzle, and the task no longer feels daunting.

5. Winging It

The mind needs a plan to stay on track. We need to set goals and be consistent — winging it won’t get us there. Research has shown that not only do well-laid plans get accomplished more often, but planning for failure (see #3) along the way (in case of emergency) helps us stay on track when under stress.

The brain is a fascinating machine. If you understand how it is wired, you can trick it into working with — not against — you. Can you relate to any of these thought patterns? What are your strategies for success?

By Erica Sofrina , a nationally recognized  speaker, teacher and author and the founder of the Academy of Feng Shui. She lives in Half Moon Bay, California

Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at www.ericasofrina.com.

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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

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5 Things to Know About Taking Care of Yourself

5 Things to Know About Taking Care of Yourself

 

I was lying on a table and she was hanging from two bars on the ceiling,  skating over my back with her feet–a little like she was snowboarding or  skating, only it was warm and there was a silky lotion and I could feel that her  feet were not calloused like mine when I said, “It’s amazing what you can learn  here in just three days that you keep with you for a lifetime.” She replied that  it’s also amazing how many people come back again and again and don’t seem to  learn anything. She’s been working at Canyon Ranch for 23 years. I’ve been  coming every few years for two decades. This time, I brought my 16-year-old for  her first spa visit and my 31-year-old for her second. It’s like an intensive  health and healing camp, and this time I was signed up for the ashiatsu massage,  which is when someone massages you with their bare feet. It was good–much more  pressure than someone can get with their hands–but only able to focus on the  biggest muscle groups.

You see, I come to Canyon Ranch both to learn what’s new and to explore the  edges of health and healing. I also come to take care of myself, which over the  years I’ve gotten better and better at, thanks to Canyon Ranch. In fact, I told  my daughters that this was the first time I’d come when I didn’t feel I needed  to be brought in on a stretcher.

So why is it so hard for us to take care of ourselves? What does it mean to  take care of ourselves? After all, it’s not like it’s taught in school. It’s up  to parents to teach children. But if we parents don’t know how, we may be  teaching the wrong things, and then it’s up to each person individually. Which  it truly is anyway. My oldest, for example, won’t listen to a thing I say about  health, but THAT’S OK because what makes her healthy and happy is different from  what makes me healthy and happy. (Although, for her sake, I wish I’d known what  gluten intolerance was 30 years ago….)

I know everybody can’t afford a few days at a spa every couple of years. So  I’m going to share with you a few of the things I’ve learned from the experience  that you can take with you and do anywhere.

• Get inside your body. The first thing you have to do is  really, truly feel yourself in your body. Many of us spend a lifetime trying to  pretend we don’t have a body. We abuse it. We overeat. We think if we keep it  covered or don’t look too closely it will just exist without us. That may work  for a while, but to truly be healthy and happy, you have to really feel your  body and get to know it. That means exercising. Getting massages that help you  feel it. Looking at it. Going to healing practitioners–medical and  alternative–that help you see inside your body. Don’t be afraid to push  yourself–in fact that’s where the good stuff is. We all took a kettle bell class  together and it was HARD and I was SORE, but the soreness got into a place  (which I won’t mention) that I’d been trying to get into for years.

This isn’t about having a perfect body; it’s about learning to love your  body. Your body is essential to every aspect of your life, so pay attention and  take good care of it. Now, some people are ONLY inside their body. Athletes, for  example, can be truly inside their body, but then it’s easy to see that may not  be enough on its own. There is more.

• Get beyond your body. Emotions, the way you think about  things, your spirit or soul–all these things extend beyond your body but are  rooted in it, and if you don’t pay attention and work on those things too, a “healthy body” will never be enough. In fact, sometimes you can’t truly get  inside your body until you clear out the blockages that are in your head or  heart. What are the emotional drivers and beliefs you hold that keep you from  truly taking care of yourself? Sometimes those things need to be addressed  first. For us women, it’s almost standard to think we have to take care of  everyone else first before we can take care of ourselves. I’m trying to teach my  daughters otherwise, but sometimes the world around them enforces that  stereotype more than I do and they need to learn to see through it. This is  where it’s really important to get different perspectives. Take a class. See a  therapist. Read books. Which leads to my next point…

• Always go deeper. I think what that woman standing on my  back was really talking about (because you never really know what’s inside  another person) is that you can stay on the surface or you can go deeper, and  the good stuff is always deeper. For example, I’m sure there are a lot of people  who go to spas and stay focused on the outside of their body–facials,  mani-pedis, and such–making their body look “perfect” to achieve some ideal of  beauty that will never last. All this is fine, but it’s not where true health  and happiness live. I took a class with an energy healer who talked about the  conditions he treats at Canyon Ranch: anger, depression, paranoia, fear, living  with a sense of doom, worry…. All these emotions greatly impact health and are  really avoidable if you learn how to deal with them. In fact, he said, another  emotion he sees all the time is passivity–which he believes is at the root of  back pain. Think about it. Passivity comes in all shapes and sizes and, as he  said, makes a person shrink over time. “Spineless,” he said. Medication might  help, but it never addresses the root issue. To address the root issue of  anything you have to go deeper. Underground! Into the dark, fertile soil where  roots grow.

• Give yourself a break. I will admit, I worried about  writing about this blog. Why? Because people can make up all sorts of things in  their heads about what I’m sharing. They may be angry with me for taking time  off or spending money they don’t have. They may have a view that spas are  hedonistic indulgences. But these are exactly the kinds of fears that hold  people back. For each of us, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other  people think. What matters is what we think and how we live in the world.

The last morning at Canyon Ranch, the three of us woke up and went kayaking  very early in the morning (a teenager woke up at 6:00 a.m. on vacation!). As we  floated on a small lake that was smooth as glass, a warm rain started to fall,  making a field of bubbles all around us, and the water lilies filled the air  with a sweet, magical fragrance, and I simply enjoyed the moment. You don’t have  moments like that without “getting up early and getting on the boat,” which is a  metaphor for just doing it, whatever it is. Because…

• You have incredible power. Use it. If you believe you are  a victim, I can guarantee you will be a victim. If you believe that you will  never have enough money to go to a spa, I can assure you, you will never have  enough money to go to a spa. What I’ve learned from years and years of  experience and learning is that we truly do create the world we live in. And if  we believe the world is one of doom and despair, it WILL be a world of doom and  despair, and everything you experience and see will confirm it. What harm would  it do for you to try to see the world as a brilliant, wonderful, loving, and  glorious place? Try it for a day. Try it for a week. You’ll be amazed at how  brilliant, wonderful, loving, and glorious the world becomes. Surround yourself  with love–good things, happy things–and it will spread. It will infiltrate your  body and your life and your heart. Doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days or sad  days or troubles, but you’ll have a greater context and power to work your way  through them, and you’ll see that you are capable, strong, and glorious.

You have incredible power. Use it.

By Maria Rodale

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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

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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10 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Surviving a Plane Crash!

10 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Surviving a Plane Crash

 

Plane crashes seem rare these days, but as last week’s vivid incident on the  San Francisco runway reminds us, they still do happen and the results can be  fatal. Since I am in the Florida Keys with my daughter and we are flying across  the country in a few days, the San Francisco accident admittedly gave me a  scare.  Fortunately, I came across an interview with Ben Sherwood, the  author of The Survivor’s Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your  Life, which included smart tips for increasing your odds that you will  survive a plane crash – if you happen to be so unlucky as to be in one. As it is  the summer travel season, I thought I would share Mr. Sherwood’s and other  experts’ potentially life-saving tips with you:

1. Maybe the most important tip: Sit as close to an exit as possible. A study  by University of Greenwich’s Ed Galea, an expert on how people react and  survive in emergency situations, examined the seating charts of over 100 plane  crashes and discovered that those within 5 rows of the emergency exits had much  better odds of survival than those farther away from exit doors. Aisle  seats are also statistically safer than other seats as it allows you to exit the  plane faster than people in middle and window seats.

2. Galea also found that seats at the back of the plane were safer  statistically than those in the front (sorry, First Class). Passengers in  the tail  of the airplane enjoy a 40% higher survival rate than those in the first few  rows.

3. Always keep your seatbelt snugly buckled when sitting in your seat. “Snug” is the operative word here: Every centimeter of slack in your  belt triples the G-Force your body will experience in the crash.  Also, keep your belt low on your pelvis, rather than your abdomen, as your bones  can handle impact better than your soft internal organs.

4. Pay attention to “Plus Three / Minus Eight.” This is aviation lingo  referring to the first three minutes of being airborne and the last eight. Why  is this time frame important? Eighty percent of all crashes happen in this  eleven-minute window. Rather than take off your shoes, snooze or pick-up a  magazine, pay close attention during take-off and landings for any signs that  something may be amiss.

5. On average you have 90 seconds to exit a burning plane before the aluminum  hull of the aircraft is no longer protective. Leave luggage, purses and laptops  behind. Also, remove high-heeled shoes. Smoke is one of the biggest threats to  plane crash survivors, so if possible, place a cloth over your nose and mouth as  a rudimentary filter.  Again, if possible, for added protection make the  cloth wet before using.

6. Sherwood emphasizes that how you react to an emergency situation and  how prepared you are has significant bearing as to whether you will survive it  or not. Easier said than done, but do not panic. Panic, says Sherwood, is the  enemy of survival. Being prepared helps prevent panic. When boarding a plane  memorize where you are vis-a-vis the emergency exits. Formulate and VISUALIZE  your exit plan – for example what if the closest exit is not available, where is  the second closest exit? The third? Imagine yourself getting to the closest exit  and out to safety.  ”You are responsible for your life,” Galea warns, “If  you know what you’re doing, you’ve got a better chance of surviving.”

7. In most extreme emergencies, about 90 percent of people either panic or  freeze, while only 10 percent keep absolutely calm, are able to think clearly  and instruct others on how to save themselves. If you happen to be a  deer-in-the-headlights person or one who is prone to hysteria and you come in  contact with an Indiana Jones-type (i.e. calm, cool and collected), do your best  to follow his/her instructions.

8. Statistically people who are in better shape are more agile, more alert  and better able to escape. Also, being thin increases your survival chances in a  plane crash as you may be required to squeeze through tight spaces to safety.  While you are not likely to suddenly get in shape or become thinner for an  upcoming flight, you can choose to be as alert as possible. Do not drink alcohol  or take sleeping pills that will impair your ability to respond quickly in an  emergency, especially in those crucial minutes before take-off and landing.

9. Listen to those safety instructions before take-off, even if you have  heard the drill a hundred times. Have your children listen as well. Look at the  emergency card and consider the different impact positions that can be assumed  during a crash. A child has a different impact position than an adult. Bracing  upon impact makes a difference on survival rates. This was well demonstrated by  Discovery TV that crash tested a Boeing 727 in Sonoran Desert. They had the  Boeing 727 equipped with crash test dummies, dozens of cameras, sensors and a  crew of daring pilots, who parachuted from the plane minutes before the jetliner  careened into the ground.

10. Be positive – while accepting the worse case scenario. While you may feel  a sense of hopelessness in the advent of an impending crash or immediately  following a crash, remember that the survival rate of plane crashes is 95.7  percent! That is an incredibly high rate of survival for something as dramatic  as a plane crash.

After sharing his plane crash survival tips, Sherwood likes to reassure his  audience that actual crashes are highly unlikely and the odds are that you  will survive.  ”You could fly every day for the next 164,000 years and not  have an airplane crash,” he said. I don’t know about you, but I find that last  statistic the most comforting.  But in the advent of a crash, thanks to Mr.  Sherwood and others, I also feel more empowered that I can survive.

By Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline  aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual  destinations.  Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon  jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete,  as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue  center.

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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

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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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

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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

 

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