Health Tip #58

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Article to come…

 

Health Tip #45

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Loving yourself.  I’ve been thinking about this post for weeks.  Unlike the other posts that are based on intellectual material from books and studies,  this post is from the heart.  When I write “love yourself”, I don’t mean narcissism.  For in fact, narcissists,  people who have to put others down, control others or be cruel to others, are the people who have the least amount of self love.  When I write about loving yourself, I mean having an appreciation for the unique soul that you are.  I mean, understanding that, even though you’re not “perfect”, you are perfectly lovable, just the way you are.  You’re okay to be 100% you! No one is you and that is your power. That’s why you’re here. That’s who you’re meant to be.  You don’t have to earn anyone’s love.  Love comes from you and others just reflect it back to you like mirrors.  Do not search for love from the outside.  Do what makes you happy.  By doing what we love, we inspire and awaken the hearts of others.  Do what makes your heart sing and the right people will appreciate you.   That’s how you find love!  Not with some false persona on a dating site that makes you seem “better” than you are.  Be you and the right people will find you. Not everyone will love you.  You’re not for everybody.  You’re only for the right people.

It is your social responsibility to love yourself.  When we love ourselves an interesting thing happens; we treat others better too.  Self love is the beginning of love in the family, which is the beginning of love in the community, which is the beginning of love in the world.

Health Tip #44

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Many artificial colors, artificial flavors and food preservatives commonly found in processed foods have been linked to various forms of cancer, asthma, allergic type reactions, behavioral changes, lowered IQ, hyperactivity and more.

The more additives we avoid the better.  Here is a list of just some of the additives to try to avoid:

  • Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite) found in cured meats like bacon, ham and lunch meats.
  •  BHA and BHT (Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene) found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips and vegetable oils.
  • Potassium Bromate found in baked goods to add volume.
  • TBHQ (tertiary-butyl hydroquinone) found in instant noodles, crackers and other prepared foods.
  • Sodium benzoate found in fruit juice soft drinks and salad dressings.
  • Azodicarbonamide used as a dough conditioner in baked goods.  Also found in yoga mats.
  • Artificial Flavors found in nearly all processed foods with no way of telling what “artificial flavors” actually means.
  • Food Colorings (dyes): Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6 found in candy, beverages, baked goods and pet foods.

Health Tip #25

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Bathing In Nature

Being outdoors in nature brings about a feeling of peace and restores our equilibrium.  I love being in the forest here on the Pacific North West Coast, surrounded by big trees, or walking along the beach, with the waves crashing on the shore.  I always feel better after spending time in nature.  “Shinrin-yoku,” is a Japanese healing practice of “forest bathing”.  It means spending time in a forest, to improve mental and physical health by  inhaling negative ions, essential oils and even beneficial bacteria from the forest air.

Health Benefits of Negative Ions

When we are in nature, near mountains, waterfalls, and beaches, we are exposed to negative ions.  There is evidence to show that negative ions produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood enhancing chemicals which in turn help to relieve depression and stress, and give us an energy boost.  This may be one of the reasons why being outdoors in nature has been shown to decrease stress, increase creativity, improve mood and self-esteem and improve SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder).

Touch The Earth

As I am writing this post in January, it may seem a little impractical, but one of the best ways to expose ourselves to negative ions is through grounding, or touching our bare skin to the earth, such as walking barefoot on the beach.

Nature Offers Better Air Quality

Another good reason for spending at least some time each day, outdoors in nature, is that indoor air quality is usually far worse than outdoors.  This is due to off gassing of building materials, paints, carpeting and furniture and the build up of dust and mold.

As we mentioned in the post about sleep, getting out in natural sunlight helps set our internal clock and helps us sleep better at night.

Green Exercise

Exercising outdoors in nature or green exercise can be very energizing and has the added benefit of adding variety and intensity to our workout as we move through the wind, weather and changing terrain.  Exercising outdoors has also shown to lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone).

Those who have little contact with nature have been shown to to be more likely to suffer from certain mental disorders.

Walking Meditation

And as a final note, the next time you’re outdoors in nature, why not try doing it mindfully.  Turn off the noise (music players, cell phones…) and be fully present, for at least a few moments, to the nature around you, moving in time with your breath and sensing the moment.  Truly be in nature.

Health Tips Introduction

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Hello and welcome to my Health Tips!

Many of the tips you’ll find in this collection are ones you have probably heard before.  It often takes us hearing something several times and presented in different ways before we are ready to take action on the information we’ve heard.  Think of this collection as gentle reminders to do the best for yourself.  I am hoping to present the information to you in very easy and do-able steps.    We will start out with the most basic tips and gradually increase in complexity.  We will even spiral back on some of the tips we’ve mentioned earlier, adding depth each time around.

Some of the tips will resonate with you and some won’t.  Don’t worry about the ones that don’t.  Do what works for you and leave the rest.  Guilt free!

What I am hoping most to impress upon you is the need to just relax and enjoy the steps you are taking toward better health.  You absolutely cannot stress yourself into better health.

I want to start out the new year with really just getting back to basics because if you’ve got the basics you’re well on your way to a healthier you.  Things like just remembering to eat real food, drink pure water, focus on the good, let go of what hasn’t been so good,  take time to just breathe, get good sleep, and don’t take it all too seriously.

Remember through this process to praise yourself often for all the good things you do to care for yourself.  The fact that you’re reading this right now means you are making positive steps toward better self-care.

Consistency is the key.  Aristotle is quoted as saying, “…we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.”  Choose just one, two or eventually a handful of tips to integrate into your lifestyle and do those things with consistency.

I wish you all the best on your health journey!

Maureen

Click here for the first of my health tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Tip #6

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This tip has recently been a game changer for me.  Like you, I’d heard this advice dished out many times before.  It wasn’t until I actually started to do it consistently that I started to notice changes in my life.  But how can writing in a gratitude journal improve my health or help me lose weight you ask?  It’s actually brilliant in its simplicity.  The nervous system can only focus on one thing at a time.  You can do more than one thing at a time but you can only focus on one.   So if you focus on gratitude and on what a privilege it is to be alive, in that moment you can’t be making those stress hormones that we talked about in health tip #2.  You know, the stress hormones that were making you store fat.  As humans, when we don’t feel safe we tend to store fat.  Not only that but a whole cascade of negative health effects follow in the wake of the release of stress hormones.  So the more we focus on what makes us grateful, the less we can feel the effects of stress in our lives and on our health.  More about stress to come in a future post.  For now let’s get back to gratitude.

So here’s what to do: get yourself a gratitude journal and a pen or pencil.  Keep them on your nightstand.  Every night before you go to bed or every morning before you get out of bed, or both, take a few moments to concentrate on what you feel grateful for and write it down.  Try to find at least five things you feel grateful for.   What we’re really going for here is to elicit the feelings of gratitude.  Ideally you should feel a slight stirring in your heart.  It should feel good.  Why’s it so important to write it down?  There are couple reasons.  1.)  If ever you are looking for inspiration for things to feel grateful about, just look through your past gratitude lists.  If they were written with feeling, they should help get you in the flow.  2.) The mind is a slippery thing.  It can go from a positive thought to a negative thought in a heartbeat.  You can start out thinking about things you’re grateful for and very quickly become distracted and off task.  Writing it down helps pin the mind down.