Friday, December 31, 2010
It has been a pleasure to present information to you over the last year. This blog is now over two years old! I began writing this blog while my Dad lay ill in the hospital in November, 2008. He died just two months later.
This blog has become a very important part of my life. I look forward to writing on it each day prior to starting my day in the office before I begin seeing my patients in my practice.
This year, I began keeping track of my visitors. In this past year, 2010, I have had the pleasure of having 5,758 visitors from 76 different countries! It is amazing to me that I may have had an impact on so many people.
In the coming year, I plan to continue my blog. I would love to meet any of you. Please feel free to drop me an e-mail (DrCrew@optonline.net), call me 631-880-2531, or make an appointment with me to share a cup of coffee!
May 2011 be your best year ever! My wish is for all of you to enjoy much happiness, good health, and joy.
Dr. W. Crew Lauterbach, Ph.D., LCSW-R, M.-C. Ht., LMFT, CWP
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The last thing most of us want to hear or think about when we are dealing with profound feelings of sadness is that deep learning can be found in this place. In the midst of our pain, we often feel picked on by life, or overwhelmed by the enormity of some loss, or simply too exhausted to try and examine the situation. We may feel far too disappointed and angry to look for anything resembling a bright side to our suffering. Still, somewhere in our hearts, we know that we will eventually emerge from the depths into the light of greater awareness.
Remembering this truth, no matter how elusive it seems, can help. The other thing we often would rather not hear when we are dealing with intense sadness is that the only way out of it is through it. Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and the faith that we will come out the other side. With courage, we can allow ourselves to cycle through the grieving process with full inner permission to experience it. This is a powerful teaching that sadness has to offer us the ability to surrender and the acceptance of change go hand in hand.
Another teaching of sadness is compassion for others who are in pain, because it is only in feeling our own pain that we can really understand and allow for someone else's. Sadness is something we all go through, and we all learn from it and are deepened by its presence in our lives. While our own individual experiences of sadness carry with them unique lessons, the implications of what we learn are universal. The wisdom we gain from going through the process of feeling loss, heartbreak, or deep disappointment gives us access to the heart of humanity.
For your appreciation to hit the mark, keep in mind that there are three different kinds of appreciation – auditory, visual and kinesthetic. These are the three ways that our brains take in information, and everyone has a dominant type they prefer. Tailor the type of appreciation you give to suit the person you want to honor.
Auditory people like to hear appreciation. Expressing thanks verbally is the best way to let them know how much we appreciate them. Auditory people are very sensitive to the tones of our voices, so speaking in a caring and compassionate voice is highly effective.
Visual people like to receive things they can see. Letters, cards, flowers, plaques, certificates, pictures and any other gifts are perfect for these individuals.
Kinesthetic people need to feel appreciation. My wife is a kinesthetic person. She loves to do things that make her feel good, such as hiking, getting massages or picking out clothes that feel good to the touch. The best way for me to express appreciation to my wife is with a hug, a kiss or simply spending time with her.
Meditation can help you cope with stress, improve mood and boost immunity.
We all know that stress has the power to wipe us out — mentally and physically. Who hasn’t gotten a headache or a bad cold after a particularly trying week at the office? Stress-management techniques like meditation can help us feel calmer, happier and even more energetic. What’s more, new research shows that these positive psychological changes can affect our health all the way down to our DNA.
A study at the University of California, Davis shows that meditation helps keep our genetic material healthier and longer lasting, which means better health and longevity for us. Past research suggests daily meditation may also boost the immune system.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
There are far more reasons to be happy right now than there are valid excuses to wait for a better day. For starters, things will never be perfect. Just as everything lines up right with work, your relationship may get complicated. Just as you settle into a healthy relationship, your family might feel neglected.
Life is a constant balancing act, and on most days, some things will work in our favor and other things will appear to be lacking. Perhaps true happiness comes not from creating the perfect balance of conditions but from finding a balance that doesn’t depend on it.
Today if things appear to go wrong, try focusing in on what’s going right.
Trying to be good this holiday season? Surround yourself with healthful eaters. Research shows self-control (or the lack of) is contagious.
Whether you’re trying to convince yourself to go for a walk or resist a chocolate-chip cookie, the company you keep could factor into your decision. Research shows that self-control is contagious.
If everyone around you is pigging out, chances are, you will too. Conversely, if everyone is practicing restraint at the buffet table, you’re likely to be angelic, too. That’s according to a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, which found that even thinking about a friend with kryptonite-strength willpower was enough to help people practice self-control.
What that also means is, every time you eat well or exercise, you’re encouraging those around you to follow the same healthful pursuits.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Pearl S. Buck
There are a lot of things we aren’t going to want to do in life.
We won’t always want to get up and go to work–we might feel frustrated with what seems like a dead end job. We won’t always want to face people who hurt us–we might prefer to sit around stewing in negative feelings and bitterness about the past.
But doing is the first step toward changing something that isn’t working. Going to that job allows you to take care of yourself so you can work toward something better. Facing the people who hurt you gives you an opportunity to communicate your feelings and set boundaries to prevent future problems.
You know that smoking is bad for your health, but did you know that it could also be bad for your career? With the national unemployment rate near 10 percent, finding a job in this economy is no easy feat. But it could be even harder for those who smoke. Job postings in the help wanted section may soon read, “smokers need not apply.”
In order to reduce health care costs and encourage healthy behaviors, many employers are adopting nicotine-free hiring policies. If you have a college-aged kid who smokes, this could be the incentive they need to kick the habit. Talk to your health care provider about smoking cessation programs in your area.
Friday, December 24, 2010
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn,
and I will listen to you.
Johann Von Goethe
If you devoted an entire day to observing everything that’s beautiful and inspiring, you could create a massive list. You’d notice friends looking out for each other, strangers exchanging simple kindnesses, and countless other pieces of evidence suggesting the world is good.
If you spent the day looking for everything disappointing and frustrating, you could likely create another list. You’d notice friends putting themselves first, strangers holding their guards up high, and countless other pieces of evidence suggesting the world is a scary place.
The world is neither black nor white. It’s all there. What you notice most often reflects what you believe in your heart. Believe in the good and find it today. It’s there. It’s always there.
Carrots aren’t the only food that’s good for your peepers. Egg yolks are a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that accumulate in the eyes and help protect the retinas from sun damage.
Research shows that people with the most lutein and zeaxanthin in their diets have a nearly 60 percent smaller risk of developing age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness. According to a 2006 study in the Journal of Nutrition, eating an egg a day boosted antioxidant levels in the retinas without elevating cholesterol.
While it’s okay to eat eggs as part of a heart-healthy diet, people who are watching their cholesterol should consult their doctor first. Other good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens and romaine lettuce.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Your responsibility is to create joy.”
It’s inevitable we’ll hurt in life, and it’s inevitable we’ll want more of the good times, less of the bad, and more control over the distribution.
We can’t change that pain is a part of life, but we can choose to be responsible for joy instead of sitting around waiting for it–wondering when someone will change or something will change and happiness will seem less elusive.
We can do the things we love a little every day. And tell the people we love how we feel every day. And try something that scares us every day. We can live bold, passionate lives by deciding to be bold and passionate, right now.
Experts estimate that proper breathing helps your body eliminate toxins 15 times faster than poor, shallow breathing. You'll not only be healthier, but you'll be able to perform better (mentally and physically) and, of course, be less stressed and more relaxed. Here's an exercise that will help you get the full benefits of good breathing. The techniques in this exercise are ones you should try to develop in your normal breathing, and that could take practice. Try to take about 10 minutes, but it can happen in five by cutting the time for each step in half. Most of it can be done anywhere you need to relax or clear your head:
Get Ready (2 minutes)
Make the room dark, or at least darker. Lie down flat on your back, or sit against a wall. Use a pillow for comfort. Make sure no part of your body is strained or supporting weight. Close your eyes. Just pay attention to your breathing for a minute or two. Don't try to change it, just notice how it feels. Imagine the fresh blood flowing through your body. Listen to your surroundings.
Stage I (2 minutes)
Practice breathing in and out of your nose. Exhaling through the mouth is okay for quick relaxation, but for normal breathing, in and out the nose is best. Take long breaths, not deep breaths. Try not to force it, you shouldn't hear your breath coming in or out. You're drawing slow breaths, not gulping it or blowing it out. Feel the rhythm of your breathing.
Stage II (3 minutes)
Good breathing is done through the lower torso, rather than the upper torso. Each breath should expand your belly, your lower back and ribs. Relax your shoulders and try not to breathe with your chest. Put your hands on your stomach and feel them rise and fall. If it's not working, push down gently with your hands for a few breaths and let go. Your stomach should start to move more freely. Relax your face, your neck, your cheeks, your jaw, your temples, even your tongue.
Stage III (3 minutes)
Feel the good air entering your lungs and feel the stale air leaving your body. "In with the good, out with the bad" is definitely true here. Make your exhale as long as your inhale to make sure all the bad air is gone. Remember, long slow breaths. Most people take 12-16 breaths per minute. Ideally, it should be 8-10. Now try to make your exhale a little longer than your inhale for a while. Pause after your exhale without taking a breath. Focus on the stillness and on not forcing an inhale. Your body will breathe when it needs to.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Here’s a piece of news we can sink our teeth into: A small study at the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate was better than milk chocolate at satisfying a sweet tooth. Those who ate the dark confection reported feeling fuller for longer, ate fewer calories at their next meal and had fewer cravings afterward than those who ate the milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate is loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants called flavanols that may help lower blood pressure. Some studies have shown an association with chocolate intake and reduced risks for heart disease and stroke. But that doesn’t mean chocolate is a health food that you can nosh on at will. Treat yourself to no more than a small square (about an ounce) of dark chocolate a day to satisfy your cravings and fill up on antioxidants.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
What we do in life matters regardless of who praises or validates us for making good choices. But what makes our choices enjoyable is our willingness to share them with other people.
We live surrounded by others, and yet we sometimes choose to shut ourselves off, waiting until a feeling passes, or a situation changes, a moment feels more worthy.
No moment will ever by more worthy of enjoying than now. No day will be more worthy of sharing with people you love than this one.
Connect with the people you love today. Send a note, make a call, leave a Facebook comment. Reach out, tell them what’s going on in your life, and ask what’s going on in theirs. Everything has more meaning when you remember you’re part of something larger than yourself.
Bring your heart rate down by speeding it up. Regular cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping can lower your resting heart rate. That’s important because research shows people with a higher-than-average heart rate have a greater risk of death. How fast the heart beats reflects the amount of work it must do to fuel the body with oxygen. Getting your heart in tip-top shape can ease some of that day-to-day workload.
The heart, as with any other muscle, can be strengthened through exercise. As we become more fit, our resting heart rate falls. While resting heart rates average 60 to 80 beats per minute, they can exceed 100 bpm in middle-aged sedentary people.
To make sure you’re working your heart when exercising, use this rule of thumb: You should be able to carry on a conversation but not carry a tune.
Monday, December 20, 2010
"Be gentle first with yourself - if you wish to be gentle with others."
"May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself."
Stop trying to change them. Let them take care of their own growth processes. We can’t learn for another. If their behavior is detrimental to us, then we may choose not to be in their presence—and that is fine. We must love ourselves enough not to be brought down by self-destructive people.
If we have many negative people in our lives, then we can look to see what pattern there is in us that attracts these people to us.
When we change, we drop our pattern and we become different, the others will also change in the way they relate to our new personalities, or they will leave our lives so that new people who will appreciate us are then able to enter. Whichever way it happens, it is always a positive move for us when we love and accept ourselves.
Don’t doubt yourself. You are more than enough.
You are good enough. If no one else tells you that, I will reaffirm you that you are good enough to do whatever you want in life. Life is too short for you to paralyze yourself with doubts.
Make your holiday a healthier one by choosing turkey over ham. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating processed red meat, such as hot dogs, roast beef or ham, is linked to heart disease and diabetes.
According to the study, people who ate 50 grams of processed red meat (that’s about one to two slices of deli meat or one hot dog) a day had a 42 percent greater risk of heart disease and a 19 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes. The culprit was not, as you might expect, the fat content, but rather the sodium and preservatives involved in the curing process.
Hate all of the work involved in roasting an entire turkey? Buy a couple of turkey breasts and legs and roast those instead.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The hectic pace of the holidays can make us less than a joy to be around. Part of that stress comes from thinking we have to do it all – and perfectly. Reassess your to-do list and decide which items can be nixed from your list, what can be delegated to someone else, and what can be swapped out for something simpler.
For instance, is someone really going to notice if the lights on your tree are uneven? Likewise, even if your kids aren’t great with tape and wrapping paper, you can still put them on gift-wrapping duty. Just affix each present with a label that says, “Lovingly wrapped by Santa’s little helper.” If something’s taking up too much time, ask yourself how you can simplify the task.
Friday, December 17, 2010
William Howard Stein
In 1957, Dr. Robert Merton introduced an idea known as the Galatea Effect, which suggests we tend to do what we expect we’ll do.
If you think you can run a marathon, you’re more likely to push yourself through training and eventually cross the finish line. If you expect that you’ll make friends easily, you’ll likely be relaxed enough to make people around you feel at ease.
It also works the other way around. If you believe you don’t have the leadership skills to run a meeting, your insecurity will undermine your authority. If you expect you’ll clam up around the person you’re attracted to, you’ll find yourself sweating whenever you meet eyes.
What if we woke up and expected not only the best of ourselves, but also the best in the unexpected? What if we expected that the things we can’t predict will somehow turn out for the best? What if we didn’t just believe in ourselves; we believed in our ability to adapt to the unknown?
We can never know exactly what’s coming, but we can know that no matter what happens, we can turn it into something good. We can know that no matter where our aspirations lead us, we can meet all our needs through our interpretations, attitude, and actions.
The keys to self-motivation are:
Understand Your Life Purpose
Choose Your Priorities
Write Down your plan, dates, milestones
Begin Now - Never Quit
Celebrate Your Victories
Use Your Support Network
Build Your Self-Confidence
When a case of insomnia strikes, forget counting sheep. Instead, imagine peaceful scenery, such as a quiet beach or a babbling brook. A study that put the two methods head to head found that people who visualized calming images fell asleep 20 minutes sooner than they usually did. Those who were told to count sheep took a few minutes longer than when given no advice at all.
Research shows that people who don’t sleep well are less likely to envision any kind of scenery and instead think about worries, unpleasant images, distracting noises, and things they did or had to do during the day. Put your worries to rest at bedtime by envisioning happy, tranquil moments or soothing scenery.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
When you focus your attention on what’s in front of you, yesterday’s problems feel a lot less catastrophic and tomorrow’s uncertainty seems a lot less scary.
It’s not easy to live in the now because obsessing over yesterday and stressing about tomorrow can seem like gaining control. If only you can analyze yesterday enough, maybe you can make sense of it. If only you can plan for tomorrow enough, maybe you can decide what will happen.
Accept neither of those things are universally true.
There will never come a time when we feel completely done with the past or secure with the future, but eventually we have to consent to let it all go regardless.
We can either use our hours thinking about the ones that have past and the ones that are coming, or we can dig our heels into the moment and choose not to let it slip away. Because it will, as will the next, and the next, and the next until eventually they run out.
Today if you find yourself rehashing, assessing, or worrying, ask yourself this question: what would I gain if I sacrificed the illusion of control and instead rooted myself firmly in the now?
Our stature isn’t the only thing that shrinks as we get older. Our brains do too. As you would probably expect, less gray matter equals more forgotten names and misplaced keys. Cognitive decline isn’t inevitable, though.
A study in the journal Neurology shows that walking at least six miles a week may help prevent brain shrinkage and memory loss. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh followed 300 senior citizens for 13 years and found that those who walked the most cut their risk of dementia in half, compared with those who walked the least.
At the end of the study, those who logged the most miles also had the most gray matter. That doesn’t mean you have to walk to the end of the earth to reduce your risk of memory problems, though. The researchers found that six miles a week was enough to protect against age-related decline.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Self-victimization. We ask ourselves “Why is this happening to me? Why am I so unlucky? Why doesn’t this happen to anyone else? It’s not fair!”
Reacting in anger. We lash back at the situation, or even people around us, for what’s happening.
Self-blame. We make self-depreciating comments like “Why am I so stupid to have done that?” “Only someone like myself can make such a dumb mistake.”
Slipping into depression. For those of us who have faced cases of depression before, we might fall back if we’re not careful at managing our emotions.
Dejection or giving up. We lose hope, or worse still, we give up. We decide it’s not worth it, that life is out to get us, and we should just stop trying altogether.
Knowing that these responses keep us stuck, we can REFRAME our responses to negativity by providing ourselves with assurance, compassion, and love.
How would you comfort and assist someone you love when they are fearful, hurting, or angry?
This is the way you can take care of yourself.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
"We are all connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Therefore, everything one does as an individual affects the whole. All thoughts, words, images, prayers, blessings, and deeds are listened to by all that is."
Serge Kahili King
So many people have not experienced a loving relationship between their own parents and therefore have no role model of what love should feel like or look like. Many of us have been exposed to the idea that love should be romantic and sweep us off our feet. While this is a natural part of any relationship, the true test of our love comes from our willingness to explore this world with another person; to not only share in the delights that we encounter but also to negotiate the bumps in the road together. Generally this often takes the form of a mutual exchange of ideas, but because any relationship is based on the needs and experiences of two people, we might also face a certain amount of misunderstanding.
Learning to be open and receptive to our partners and to treat their wants and ideas with respect can help us navigate even the most difficult situations. One way to do this is to take a deep breath, holding our partner in a space of love, and allow ourselves to listen fully with our hearts to what they have to say. Should this become difficult to do, we can also turn toward people whose relationships we admire for advice or guidance. Knowing that there are resources out there to help us and being up for exploring them with our partner will only serve to deepen and strengthen our relationship.
Entering into a committed relationship is in fact a spiritual journey that we undertake with another person. By being able to love and care for someone else with an open heart, we will find that we can reach a greater level of personal transformation, evolving along our path and learning powerful lessons about ourselves that we might not otherwise be able to do on our own.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2010) — Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy appears to be similar to maintenance antidepressant medication for preventing relapse or recurrence among patients successfully treated for depression, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
"Relapse and recurrence after recovery from major depressive disorder are common and debilitating outcomes that carry enormous personal, familial and societal costs," the authors write as background information in the article. The current standard for preventing relapse is maintenance therapy with a single antidepressant. This regimen is generally effective if patients take their medications, but as many as 40 percent of them do not. "Alternatives to long-term antidepressant monotherapy, especially those that address mood outcomes in a broader context of well-being, may appeal to patients wary of continued intervention."
Zindel V. Segal, Ph.D., of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues studied 160 patients age 18 to 65 who met criteria for major depressive disorder and had experienced at least two episodes of depression. After eight months of treatment, 84 (52.5 percent) achieved remission. Patients in remission were then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: 28 continued taking their medication; 30 had their medication slowly replaced by placebo; and 26 tapered their medication and then received mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy.
In this therapy, patients learn to monitor and observe their thinking patterns when they feel sad, changing automatic reactions associated with depression (such as rumination and avoidance) into opportunities for useful reflection. "This is accomplished through daily homework exercises featuring (1) guided (taped) awareness exercises directed at increasing moment-by-moment nonjudgmental awareness of bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings; (2) accepting difficulties with a stance of self-compassion; and (3) developing an 'action plan' composed of strategies for responding to early warning signs of relapse/recurrence," the authors write.
During the 18-month follow-up period, relapse occurred among 38 percent of those in the cognitive behavioral therapy group, 46 percent of those in the maintenance medication group and 60 percent of those in the placebo group, making both medication and behavioral therapy effective at preventing relapse.
About half (51 percent) of patients were classified as unstable remitters, defined as individuals who had symptom "flurries" or intermittently higher scores on depression rating scales despite having a low enough average score to qualify for remission. The other half (49 percent) were stable remitters with consistently low scores. Among unstable remitters, those taking maintenance medication or undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy were about 73 percent less likely to relapse than those taking placebo. Among stable remitters, there were no differences between the three groups.
"Our data highlight the importance of maintaining at least one active long-term treatment in recurrently depressed patients whose remission is unstable," the authors write. "For those unwilling or unable to tolerate maintenance antidepressant treatment, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy offers equal protection from relapse during an 18-month period." It is unclear exactly how mindfulness-based therapy works, but it may change neural pathways to support patterns that lead to recovery instead of to deeper depression, they note.
Monday, December 13, 2010
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Don Miguel Ruiz
"Don't make assumptions."
Don Miguel Ruiz
Don't assume you know what someone wants. If you care about them, ask.
Don't assume you know why someone says or does what they do. If you care about them, ask. If you don't know them, just give them the benefit of the doubt.
From their name, you might think energy bars are instant pick-me-ups, much like a cup of coffee, only more nutritious. But that’s just clever marketing. Calories are the body’s major source of fuel, so any food bar with calories, like a candy bar, can technically be considered an energy bar.
While some energy bars can be a great way to fuel up on the go, many are high in sugar and supply way more calories than you need in a snack. Keep in mind that bars that pack in more than 300 calories a pop are meant to be eaten in place of a meal.
For the healthiest option, look for less-processed bars that contain nuts, dried fruit and a combination of protein and fiber to keep you full longer. Or opt for whole food snacks, like celery and hummus or fresh fruit and cottage cheese.
Friday, December 10, 2010
you can stand up for yourself and have the strength to let them go. You can learn that it is okay to say no to anyone who is not willing to treat you with the love and respect you not only want, but also deserve. Have the courage to walk away from anything or anyone that does not serve you well.
It isn’t success that makes our efforts worthwhile. It’s the knowledge that we’re willing to face obstacles and challenges to do what we believe is right and good. At the end of the day, self respect and peace of mind don’t come from what we have. They come from being true to ourselves, regardless of what other people think.
You go to the grocery store with the best intentions and leave with a cart full of cookies, ice cream and chips. Sound familiar? If you have a tough time resisting junk food at the market, you might do less damage if you leave the plastic at home and pay in cash. According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people are more likely to buy unhealthy foods when they pay using credit or debit cards.
Research shows that people have a more difficult time parting with dollar bills than swiping their credit card. For this reason, we tend to make fewer impulse purchases when we pay in cash. At the supermarket, those with the most spender’s guilt tend to splurge the least. Try it out the next time you go grocery shopping.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wondering where that spare tire came from? A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that your favorite comfort foods could be to blame for some of that belly fat. Researchers at Tufts University found that people who choose whole grains over refined ones have 10 percent less abdominal fat than those who eat several servings of white carbohydrates a day.
Even if you eat only a bagel or a bowl of pasta in any given day, that’s equal to three to five servings of refined starches. Belly bulge isn’t just a superficial concern; it’s dangerous too. Abdominal fat is linked to high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, all of which can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Happily, you don’t have to get rid of carbs to get rid of the belly. Just choose whole grains like whole-wheat toast and brown rice instead.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
We don’t have to meet some predefined idea of success to know we’re making a difference in the world.
We only need to stay authentic, live in accordance with our values, and trust that what we do matters.
Sugary beverages like lemonade, soda and iced tea may seem like innocuous-enough treats. After all, a can of cola probably has fewer calories — and certainly less fat — than that brownie you were eyeing. But a large study from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that a daily soda habit is just as bad as junk food.
In a meta-analysis that reviewed 11 scientific studies on the link between sweetened beverages and diabetes, researchers found that indulging in just one to two sugary drinks a day could up your risk of diabetes by 26 percent and increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 20 percent, compared with people who drank less than one a month. (Metabolic syndrome is a group of medical disorders, such as abdominal obesity, unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, that together increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.)
Making the switch to water can be difficult if you’re used to that syrupy flavor. But if you limit the amount of sugar in your diet, your taste buds will adjust.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
that WILL heal.
It's a peaceful place , one of nourishment, replenishment, peace, safety, comfort, and joy. It's a place of love and acceptance.
It's a place of forgiveness, honesty, openness, nurturing, and kindness.
You can find it quickly, if that's what you're seeking. You will recognize it instantly because of how it feels.
It will bring you back to center. It will bring you back to calm. It will bring you back to joy.
Help keep colds at bay this winter by getting into a fitness routine.
Feel like you catch every virus or bug that you come in contact with? According to research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, physical fitness can curb the frequency and severity of colds. Their study showed that people who exercise five or more days a week had 50 percent fewer sick days during the cold and flu season than those who engaged in aerobic activity less than twice a week.
People who were the fittest or most active were also more likely to report less severe symptoms than those who were least active. Working out triggers a temporary boost in the immune system. Because the effect is short-lived, moderate daily exercise offers the best defense.
If the cold weather is keeping you indoors, look for a mall or indoor track where you can walk after work, rent a few workout DVDs, or sign up for an exercise class with friends.
Monday, December 6, 2010
University of Bristol researchers found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work - or exercised during lunch breaks - were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.
It also found that people's general mood improved on days of exercise but they became less calm on non-exercise days.
The research, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first of its kind to prove that exercise during work hours has mental, as well as physical benefits.
Jo Coulson, Research Associate in the University's Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, said: "Our statistical results were very important."
"On exercise days, people's mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn't, with the exception of people's sense of calm which deteriorated."
"Critically, workers performed significantly better on exercise days and across all three areas we measured, known as mental-interpersonal, output and time demands."
The study group was made up of 200 university staff and employees working for a pensions company and an IT firm.
Each employee completed a questionnaire about their mood, workload and performance on days when they exercised.
The data was compared to answers from days participants opted not to exercise.
The workers, who were already in the habit of exercising, chose their own mode, frequency and intensity of workout to better reflect a real-life situation.
Most used a gym and did classes while some did weight training and team sports.
The key findings were:
Seventy two percent reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days.
Seventy nine percent said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised.
Seventy four percent said they managed their workload better.
The questionnaire scores were 27 per cent higher on exercise days in categories such as dealing calmly with stress and 41 per cent higher for feeling motivated to work.
Those who exercised were also 21 percent higher for concentration on work, 25 percent for working without unscheduled breaks and 22 percent cent higher for finishing work on time.
Feedback from focus groups found that people who built exercise into their workday were re-energised, calmer and more able to solve problems.
Ms. Coulson added: "It's generally well-known now that there are many physical and mental health benefits that can be gained from regular exercise."
"If people try to fit an active break into their working day, they might also experience the added bonus of their whole day feeling much more productive."
"And that always feels good in our busy lives."
"The study also begs the question whether employers can afford not to be encouraging active breaks."
"The suggestion is that employers who are ahead of the game in offering proper on-site facilities actually get less from their employees on days that they don't exercise.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Hindsight can be torture. It’s always easy to identify after the fact what you think you should have done–what you should have said or how you should have acted.
It can seem imperative to look back critically when you surmise that you somehow misused yesterday, but regret in the present is far more wasteful than whatever went on in the past. You can’t possibly change what’s already happened, but you can learn from it to create what happens today.
How can you use the wisdom you’ve gained to make the most of this moment?
Fill up on fiber-rich foods, which keep you full longer. Plus, fiber has no calories.
Adding more fiber to your meal can help curb appetite and make you feel fuller. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber, because it can’t be digested by the body, has zero calories. It’s easy to get enough fiber in your diet if you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. By choosing the whole-grain version of your favorite food, like whole-grain couscous, brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, you can fill up faster and get more nutrients to boot. Whole grains not only have their fiber intact, but they also are better sources of essential minerals like selenium, potassium and magnesium.
We all know that our planet needs our help right now, but we often feel unsure about what to do, where to make an effort, and what will really help. The good news is that we can heal the planet on a daily basis simply by buying and eating food that is grown locally. Food that has been transported long distances doesn't contain much life force by the time it gets to your kitchen. Making a commitment to shop, buy, and eat locally is not only a very important part of creating positive change, it can also be delicious fun.
One of the best places to begin the adventure of eating locally is a farmer's market. Stalls brim with fresh fruits and vegetables grown on nearby farms. Not only is this good for the environment, it's good for the farmers since they benefit from selling directly to the consumer. The consumer benefits, too, from the intimate experience of buying food from the hand of the person who grew it. In addition, the food is fresher and more diverse. In supermarkets, particular varieties of fruits and vegetables are favored due to their ability to survive transport to a far destination. Alternately, at a farmer's market, you will find versions of the fruits and vegetables you know that will surprise and delight your senses—green striped heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, white carrots, and edible flowers, just to name a few.
Make an effort to buy as much of your food as possible directly from local farmers. You will become one of a growing number of people eating delicious food to save the planet and having fun doing it.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Most of us are now well trained to perceive and focus on the negative, the selfishness in others, and to follow it quickly with accusation and judgement. We forget that what we perceive is what we empower within another and, more importantly what we perceive is what we empower within ourselves in that moment. And what we choose to see is usually what we get.
Your perception is your reality. Your perception is what you project. And what you project is what comes back.
Better still, while you cannot control the events in your life, you can take charge of your thinking.
Positive thinking and acting is never about ''you'' only.
It profoundly affects the people you directly influence , and changes the world around you. Human beings are the only species on Earth whose inner lives are so powerful that what we think about a situation, how we describe it to ourselves, what meaning we attribute to it or draw from it, matters more than the event itself. And who is doing the thinking, describing and attributing of meaning? You are.
When you look for the best in other people, you create positive change.
When you uphold peace in any small way, you create positive change.
When you stand up for social justice, you create positive change.
When you see your desire for happiness reflected in other people's lives and act more compassionately, you create positive change.
When you look at the world from other people's perspectives, you create positive change.
When you take care of the physical environment, you create positive change.
When you give up a little tension and gain a little humor, you create positive change.
When you refuse to be hurried, you create positive change.
When you give thanks for the gift of existence, you create positive change.