Tag Archive | Happiness

Gratitude- A Time of Thanks and Giving

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time where the weather gets colder, holidays are upon us, the year is coming to a close, and we take time to reflect on what we are grateful for.  It’s also a reminder that we should take time to express gratitude on a more regular basis, not just when the year comes to an end.

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I love this!

Deepak Chopra says it best that:

“Gratitude is such an important force that we can use to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve our health…It is a fullness of heart that moves us from limitation and fear to expansion and love. When we’re appreciating something, our ego moves out of the way and we connect with our soul. Gratitude brings our attention into the present, which is the only place where miracles can unfold.”

In the spirit of Thanks and Giving, here is a list of 20 things I’m grateful for…

  1. Having my family alive and healthy
  2. Getting to see my family for the holidaysquotes-for-family
  3. Technology allows me to stay in touch with friends & family when I can’t see them
  4. A roof over my head
  5. My well-decorated house that reflects my style and personality. I love it!
  6. Plenty of food in my fridge and pantry
  7. A reliable vehicle that gets me where I need to go
  8. I stay busy but also take time to appreciate the little things
  9. Coffee…warm, delicious coffee. I love it.
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  10. Hot showers…there’s nothing like it
  11. The drive and desire I have to commit to a healthy lifestyle
  12. Mental and physical strength
  13. Friends who appreciate and value my company and who I feel the same way for in return
  14. Being comfortable in my own skin
  15. Self-confidence and acceptance
  16. Resiliency to handle setbacks gracefully without falling apart
  17. An open mind that allows me to accept others’ ways of thinking and being even if they are not the same as my own
  18. Being able to forgive others even if I do not receive an apology or closure
  19. Faith that things will be alright in the end…if it’s not alright, it’s not the end
  20. Being at a place in my life where I may not have everything I want, but I am content with what I have

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I have to say, making this list really got me into the spirit of being in the present and being thankful. It’s amazing  how just being conscious of the the things you are grateful for can instantly boost your mood. Try making your own thankfulness list!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Ciao for now!

 -E

Paying It Forward

Recently, a dear friend of mine (who I didn’t even realize was reading my blogs) reached out to me and candidly and bravely confessed that she had been feeling at rock bottom. Down and out, stressed, not taking care of her health (physical and mental), and just not feeling her usually cheerful and awesome self. It broke my heart but also really inspired me because so many of us can be prideful when we are feeling down…we think no one will understand, we don’t want to burden others with our problems…What we often forget is that almost everyone feels this way at one point or another. And I think that it’s our duty as human beings to lift others up when we are feeling strong and positive, because we never know when WE might need some lifting up.

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Take yesterday for example. I took Sunday off from the gym (which I rarely do…I prefer taking rest days during the week) and woke up Monday on the wrong side of the bed. I didn’t go for my usual morning workout, just felt “off” all day, and kind of in a funk.  My friends who follow astrology were posing on Facebook about Mercury being in retrograde, and apparently that can lead to this type of stuff…who knows, haha, but it sounds good.

Anyway, amidst my funky mood, I received the most awesome message from that same friend of mine I mentioned above…She was proudly reporting that she’s been hitting the gym, found a workout buddy, and has been practicing some really great self-care. I mean, wow, if that’s not inspiring I don’t know what is. It takes guts to 1. ask for help/encouragement and 2. actually take the steps to pull yourself out of a rut.

What this friend of mine didn’t know is that SHE was my source of inspiration yesterday. After a long day of work and feeling really blah, I didn’t really feel like working out. I was kind of in the mood to do some self-loathing (lame, but it happens to the best of us, haha), but then I thought of my friend, and how proud of her I was that she dug deep for the motivation to get herself back on track…and I dragged my grouchy butt to the gym!

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While I marched on the StairMaster and slung some weights around, I thought of her and how she feels on days where she doesn’t feel up to working out, but she does it anyway. And when I got up this morning and resumed my morning workout, I looked around at all of the other people who got themselves out of bed to do something positive for their health, and I was so inspired.

On days where we’re feeling upbeat, strong, and capable, we have the opportunity to lift someone else up who might be feeling down that day. And in turn, we may inspire them to do the same when they get back on track.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes

Ciao for now!

-E

Exercise – It’s for EVERYbody but it benefits MORE than just your body!

A recent discussion with a friend of mine, who is recently getting back on track with making fitness a priority, prompted me to write about the mental health benefits of exercise. You see, my friend had been having difficulty getting back on track amidst running her business, recently giving birth to a new baby, raising her two other kids, and keeping a home together. She was worried about making time to workout, what if her body didn’t respond to exercise the way it once did b.b. (before babies), etc.

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As her friend, it was hard for me to watch her struggle…she has been stressed out and a little down lately, and I know from my own experience that, regardless of the physical benefits that she’d reap from regular sweat sessions, exercising would really boost her mood and be a great stress outlet.

Many of you already know about the mental health benefits of working out, but with society cramming images of perfect bodies down our throats, it’s easy to focus solely on the physical/aesthetic benefits. So, as a reminder, here are a few ways exercise can improve your mood:

1. Reduce Stress
One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. When we work up a sweat, our body increases its concentration of norepinephrine, a chemical that can decrease the brain’s response to stress.

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2. Increase Happiness
In addition to releasing chemicals that help us deal with stress, exercise also releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among those    who are clinically depressed. In some cases, exercise can even be as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. And it doesn’t have to be pumping iron or sprinting on the treadmill at a gym…go for a walk, a hike, rollerskating, etc for just 30 minutes a few times a week and you can instantly boost overall mood.exercise helps depression

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3. Relieve Anxiety
You might be surprised to know that a 20 minute jog is actually better at alleviating anxiety than a warm bubble bath. During (and after!) a sweat sesh, the brain releases chemicals that help us calm down, and doing moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise (interval training, anyone?) can reduce anxiety sensitivity.

4. Boost Brainpower
This one is awesome…Several studies on both mice and humans have shown that cardiovascular exercise can stimulate the creation of new brain cells (for my science geeks, this is known as neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Research also suggests that higher intensity workouts increase levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning.

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5. Sharpen Memory
Regular physical activity boosts memory and our ability to learn new things. Getting sweaty increases production of cells in the hippocampus—the part of our brain which is responsible for memory and learning.

I talked to my friend about some of these and she finally just bit the bullet and hit the gym for the first time in a while…and she said she felt immediate results. She told me she felt less stressed, more in-control, and her overall mood was just better. Hooray!

Give it a try and see for yourself! The proof is in the pudding 🙂

Ciao for now!

-E

What is “Wellness,” and How Do I Get It?

As with any goal, you have to know where you’re going (or what you’re striving for) before you can achieve it.  So, presuming that most of you reading this are interested in health and/or “wellness,” let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being…The term has been defined by the Wisconsin-based National Wellness Institute as an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence...with wellness being the result of personal initiative, seeking a more optimal, holistic and balanced state of health and well-being across multiple dimensions.

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So, simply put, the state of “wellness” entails actively participating in your own health and state of balance.  It’s about making a commitment to yourself to live a certain type of life…one that enhances your own personal experience of being on this earth.  For me, this means focusing on having a positive state of mind, career satisfaction, meaningful personal connections, balanced nutrition, and a healthy and active lifestyle.

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Now it may go without saying, but it is my belief that nutrition and fitness are the foundation from which other facets of wellness stem.  But, putting that aside, I want to kick off this blog by inviting you to take a look at your life and contemplating what “wellness” would look like for you, personally.  What goals do you need to work on to be healthier, happier, more balanced?

A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.  -Tom Stoppard

Food for thought…no pun intended 😉

Ciao for now!

-E

Ciao for now!

-E