#125 Eat Healthier

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of my olfactory inclinations, I make an effort to command control and convince myself that carrot sticks are sweet too.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#125

Eat Healthier

This sounds like a New Year’s resolution at first glance and yet it may be the cornerstone to actually living a happier, healthier, and more productive life. The concept is only new to you if you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of decades. Indeed, over that time, the Surgeon General and most of our health care practitioners, have touted the benefits of making healthier food choices while the average size of children and adults continues to escalate.

In our fast paced, modern world – the most basic element of survival has become more and more difficult to monitor. We are inundated with food choices almost everywhere we go. Even at my children’s orthodontist office – right next to the coffee pot (a valued added service) there are cookies, cake, or doughnuts ready to be gobbled up by waiting parents, siblings, and hungry kids ready for their after school snack.

Instead of picking an apple off the tree on a walk home from school, our children ride the bus around a corner and into a subdivision, get dropped off at the driveway and grab a processed rice krispy treat or a bag of Doritos before plopping on the sofa to play video games. Sadly, that morphs into a quick dinner with a ‘hurry up and eat’ before someone has to be somewhere more evenings a week than not. It’s the ‘way of the world’ these days and we are all guilty at some point of wanting and making meals to be quick and easy regardless of how healthy they are.

It is beginning to change with healthier options on menus everywhere yet our size continues to grow. In part, because even though we have options – we don’t choose them enough of the time for it to make an impact. Consequently, grocery stores still sell the processed stuff; restaurants still offer the 2000 calorie burger & fries, and deep fried Snicker bars are sold by the thousands at every fair/carnival around the country – because we keep buying them!!

In the interest of honesty I must disclose that I too, cave to the pressure – the smells – and the flavors that tempt and tease me. I can definitely commit to making more consistent healthier choices. In talking with clients who are challenged here as well, the common similarity is that we lack will power. It’s challenging to walk into a mall where Cinnabon has just finished baking a tray of toaster sized rolls. The air is pungent with the smell of cinnamon and yeast. A glance in that direction identifies the source and one can hardly ignore that they are frosted with a decadent amount of cream cheese sugary goodness – so much so that if you’ve ever tasted it – and love it – your mouth instantly begins craving another fix.  ONE classic bun touts 880 calories and the equivalent of 15 spoonfuls of sugar. Would you sit down and shovel 15 teaspoons of sugar into you mouth on purpose??

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of my olfactory inclinations, I make an effort to command control and convince myself that carrot sticks are sweet too. I then seek an eating establishment that offers ‘fresh’ non-processed options and each time I sit down to eat or stroll through the grocery store I make another concerted effort to…

Eat healthier.

(P.S. – Breaking an addiction to sugar is perhaps the most important part of eating healthier – it makes everything else taste better!)

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#126 Make a New Friend

It may be that as we grow into a new interest, we discover that surrounding ourselves with people who also like those things may inspire us to go further than we knew we could.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#126

Make a New Friend

Life is just better when we are sharing ourselves with other people who are like-minded. Some of us who are more introverted may hesitate to reach out in ways that allow us to make new friendships. Others, are challenged to keep up with the friendships that already exist. And for some of us, the friendships we have may no  longer be meeting our changing personalities or needs.

Like-minded Peeps

Friendships are built upon like-mindedness; shared interests, values, and inspirations. When our daily activities or the things we value change, so may our friendships need to change. It may be that as we grow into a new interest, we discover that surrounding ourselves with people who also like those things may inspire us to go further than we knew we could.

Breaking Barriers

Sometimes we realize we need to make new friends yet we are limited in our opportunities to meet new people. This is when we need to break barriers of comfort and habit. This is when it becomes necessary to branch out and create opportunities to be introduced to people like us via clubs, groups, volunteering, etc.

First Move

If you know that new friendships will enrich your life, be brave enough to make the first move… ask someone to lunch with you or suggest a get together. Initiate conversation or invite them over for an evening that encompasses that ‘thing’ you share. Take the initiative in opening up; be vulnerable!

It’s really not possible to have ‘too many’ friends – people that really matter to you and that share common ideologies. If you’ve notice that the number of people in your life that are innately connected, perhaps it’s time to …

Make a new friend.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#127 Identify Your Triggers

In order to change anything – we need to be aware and know what needs to be changes and so to improve our reactions it is imperative that we make an effort to know our triggers.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#127

Identify Your Triggers

Defined

An emotional trigger is something that provokes you. It may be a person, an opinion, a situation, or an environmental condition. When we are ‘triggered’, we generally REact emotionally – often with a defensive behavior. We experience a swell of emotion and it may or may not be specifically connected to the experience at hand.

Discovery

In order to properly manage your emotions, it’s imperative that you know what your triggers are. Ninety-nine percent of the time, our triggers are based in fear. Fear of losing something, having less of something, or never having something – that ‘something’ being anything really… trust, respect, time, money, love, etc… When we understand ‘why’ we are reacting – managing our reactions is much – much easier.

Management

Once we know ‘why’ we get triggered we can learn how to communicate and manage our reactions. Often, it’s about learning how to be present – not allowing our histories to overrun the present moment. It’s about communicating our truest emotion – that thing we fear (i.e, not being loved, having enough time, etc…) By being aware of our immediate thought, engaging our breath, and making an intentional choice in our response, we can stand down those automatic responses that tend to stand at attention when we are triggered.

In order to change anything – we need to be aware and know what needs to be changes and so to improve our reactions it is imperative that we make an effort to ….

Identify our triggers.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#128 Be Vulnerable

While it can be scary and uncomfortable, the experience of being vulnerable is healthy for us in many ways.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#128

Be Vulnerable

As a mental health counselor, I spend a significant amount of time encouraging people to ‘be vulnerable’. By definition, being vulnerable means that you “expose yourself to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” It means that we must be willing to lose love, admiration, safety, respect, attention, etc… It is not possible to love without vulnerability.

Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown has spent much of her career researching and talking about being vulnerable. In fact, it is at the core of her famous TED Talk. She has several books documenting her stance on how life is best lived through the state of vulnerability. Indeed – one of the most popular quotes is “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experience.”

The Value

While it can be scary and uncomfortable, the experience of being vulnerable is healthy for us in many ways. When we are vulnerable, we are our most authentic selves. In that state of mind, we are able to experience intimacy in our relationships more fully. Our sense of self worth increases and we become more accountable for our actions. We are apt to experience more compassion, be more motivated, and share our ideas more freely. Maybe most importantly, when we accept the feeling of vulnerability, we tend to let go of our need to be in control… opening doors in most areas of our life.

Letting Go

For most of us, the key to vulnerability is in learning to let go. Letting go means that we have to trust in the process most of the time, trust in the people we’ve surrounded ourselves with, and trust in our own abilities to manage life and relationships. We have to be willing to be a little afraid and accept a bit of discomfort as life unfolds in unknowing ways.

In general, life is better all the way around when we allow ourselves to …

Be vulnerable.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#129 Stargaze

There’s always something to learn about the stars and planets we can see and because our view changes as the earth turns, it’s not exactly the same month after month.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#129

Stargaze

While the bulk of the population may attempt this with the naked eye during summer evenings when we can comfortably lie outside and gaze above, there is a lot to see in the Autumn sky. The brightest star is Fomelhaut, the overall 18th brightest star in the sky – and it’s sometimes called the lone Autumn star as it seems to be alone up there. As the fall transitions into winter, the Milky Way gives way to the constellation of Orion and all of the neighboring stars. And if you’ve never taken the time to notice, the winter sky looks very different from the summer one.

Use an App

Knowing what you are looking at is easy these days with a smartphone. iPhone users can literally just point their phones at the sky using the SkyView app and identify precisely what is there. The apps NightSky and StarChart are also good options if you want to know more detail about the space beyond.

Telescopes

Another way to participate in stargazing year round is to view the sky through a telescope. Depending on your interest level, you can spend anywhere from $50 to several thousand in order to get a better view. A telescope magnifies and clarifies your view, allowing you to see much more than you might with the naked eye.

Family Time

Stargazing is a fantastic family activity that allows for fun and learning simultaneously. There’s always something to learn about the stars and planets we can see and because our view changes as the earth turns, it’s not exactly the same month after month. Not to mention that it’s a huge sky when you are gazing at it one part at a time so each night, a different quadrant can be explored.

The holiday’s are approaching and it may be the perfect time to consider adopting a new hobby or to introduce your family to an activity you’ve enjoyed through the years. If nothing else, the next time you are outdoors in the evening, take a few moments and do a little…

Stargazing.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#130 Embrace Aging

In our older years we are the Autumn of life – where we burst into full color, demonstrating maturity and seasoned perspective.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#130

Embrace Aging

On a rather gloomy day in my late twenties – maybe after I noticed the most significant patch of grey settling in – I spent an entire weekend pampering myself, my skin, and my eyes. I exfoliated, scrubbed, hydrated, and massaged every part of my body that showed any signs of aging. The next day, I stopped for a bottle of wine on the way home from work and got carded… I was elated – beyond – that my efforts at disguising my advancing age (!) had worked!

Valuing Youth

Our culture values youth so much that we tend to fixate on staying young, for women at least and more than one client, friend, and relative has lamented on the aging process weekly for as long as I can remember. Even though we see more and more examples of middle aged and older individuals in the media, there is an acute undercurrent of anti-aging in our current culture. Everywhere we look, we are exposed to ideas of how to ‘stay younger, longer’.

Out of our Control

In practice, I think the most troublesome part of aging is that it is out of our control – this seems to be the component that most people have difficulty with. Even if they attempt to control their health – people are acutely aware that there is an absence of control over the years – time – slipping by. My suggestion for all those things that we can’t control: Embrace or let go!

Embrace

Perhaps to some, these are one in the same. Embracing, for the purpose of this suggestion is to see aging as an honor; a testament to strength and perseverance. It means accepting that our bodies change as the years pass. It means to stop fighting the organic process and to stop wishing for a fountain of youth. It may also mean that we stop spending money on wrinkle removal but see them as honor lines; earned through the years as we loved, laughed, and lived.

It doesn’t mean to give up on self care; to let our bodies atrophy. It doesn’t mean that we give up the goal of making each day count or the joy of learning something new with week that passes. It doesn’t mean that we surrender to the term “I’m too old”.

Let Go

Letting go doesn’t mean that you should necessarily ‘go gray’ – although that may be a stunning option – or to give up on your physical health. It does mean acceptance and letting go of critical thoughts about your appearance as it relates to age. It means to silence any disparaging comments about getting older. It may require conscious effort to be present and find joy in the present rather than lamenting over the past.

Letting go requires you to stop comparing your current self to your younger self with disdain or regret.

Wisdom

With everyday that passes, wisdom grows. Each day is an opportunity to learn and to love – both allowing us to embrace life more completely. In our older years we are the Autumn of life – where we burst into full color, demonstrating maturity and seasoned perspective. Hold onto this ideology and make the effort to…

Embrace aging.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#131 Sleep on the Other Side of the Bed

We are creatures of habit and without realizing it, we tend to slip into comfortable routines that create the potential for chunks of monotony to set in.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#131

Sleep on the other side of the bed

I will occasionally recommend this suggestion to clients who have difficult sleeping and/or couples who are attempting to inject new energy into their relationship. It is sometimes met with resistance and declarations that they won’t be able to sleep yet, when they report back in, I often hear how making that shift was a new and interesting experience.

Habit

We are creatures of habit and without realizing it, we tend to slip into comfortable routines that create the potential for chunks of monotony to set in. The side of the bed we choose is one of those ‘chunks’. It’s necessary to notice comfortable, unconscious patterns and challenge them from time to time; to force a ‘shift’; to shake things up! In doing so, we are organically more present; more conscious of our being; and more aware of our power.

Just Try It

In 2015, a survey concluded that people would rather give up the TV remote than to change the side of the bed they sleep on so if you share the bed with someone, this suggestion will need to be a team effort. Consider sharing this post with your partner and make the suggestion. It doesn’t have to be a permanent change, or even a long term one. It can be for a night, a weekend, or however much time you may need to experience an awareness of the difference.

Potential Benefits

Changing bed sides may be good for your mattress assuming that different body sizes and shapes are on the new side – mattresses tend to conform to our bodies over time and changing it up will work to smooth out the ingrained shape. You may also find that sleeping is easier on one side versus the other; perhaps you will change the side you sleep on – shifting the pressure points to which your body is expose. You may find more romance by shifting sides… it could feel like you’re in bed with a different partner – playing into fantasy or simply refreshing a staleness in your relationship. You may snore less, be warmer, cooler, or be on the side with less light.

At the very least, you’ll be challenging your brain and the way it remembers – an activity that is all over healthy for your memory and it reminds your psyche who is running the show! Maybe start on a Friday night so that you’ll have the weekend if it totally ruins your sleep pattern. Generally though, people consider it an interesting experiment when they…

Sleep on the other side of the bed.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.