Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Is Yoga the new Wonder Drug for our Health?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work, writing, and reading. Yes, I needed to decompress a little bit this week and what better way to decompress than to read, right?

I thought you’d agree. 😉

Anyway, more about that later. Today, I’d like to talk about stress and how to deal with it. There are many stressors in life that we have to handle. Back in the olden days, when we had to run from predators, our body would send out the stress hormone cortisol and it’d get us moving.

Now, our greatest stress isn’t running from predators, it’s dealing with stress from work, stress from over-commitment, family stress, and so on. In the past, when we’d get that rush of cortisol in our system, we’d run to escape the predator chasing us and we’d burn up the cortisol in our system. We’d run to safety, usually a short distance.

In today’s world, we can’t run from our stressors, so the cortisol builds up in our system. This leads to high cortisol levels, which leads to increased amounts of belly fat, which leads to diabetes, a life-threatening disease. So, the question is, how do we keep cortisol levels down when we can’t change the stressors in our lives?

My first thought was exercise. So, I’ve been running on the treadmill at least two to three times a week. I usually run about four miles, which is hard to do on a treadmill. (It’s winter right now and I don’t run outside in the winter because of the cold and ice.) While running is good, I did some research to find out what was the best way to reduce cortisol, and I learned some interesting facts.

First, extended exercise (more than sixty minutes) increased cortisol levels. It seems that too much exercise depletes our stored glycogen and when that happens our bodies release cortisol. So, what’s the best way to reduce cortisol when we’re dealing with stressful situations?

Short, high intensity workouts, such as sprints, HITT, or weight training are proven ways to reduce cortisol in your system. Another way is doing yoga. Yes, yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce cortisol levels. This is good news because yoga is a great way to quiet your mind as well. It’s good for you mentally, physically, and physiologically. Who knew?

It’s my understanding that you must make sure it’s restorative yoga and not hot yoga, or Ashtanga yoga. Anything that makes your body work hard will raise cortisol levels.

 So, there you have it. Yoga is the wonder drug when it comes to reducing cortisol levels in your body, and reduced cortisol levels means less belly fat. Less belly fat means lower risk for diabetes. Like I said earlier, it’s good for you mentally, physically, and physiologically.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about yoga? Have you ever tried it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Connecting with your Intuition

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of editing and a busy week at work. I took a little break from writing my new story because I was editing, and I had to take Christmas decorations down. Boo. I wasn’t happy about that. There’s something about those twinkling lights that cheer me up. But, enough about that, today I’d like to talk about Intuition.

Intuition is your inner guide. That voice in your head that gives you a warning or direction without any evidence that it’s true. There are times in my life when I listened to that voice. It came through loud and clear and I’m glad I did even when it didn’t make any logical sense.

My gut has never let me down yet, and now even more than ever it’s important for us to listen to our inner voice. Why? Because our world is built on creating an image. People create this image for others for many reasons. To get attention. To get validation, or to manipulate.

Advertisements bombard us with celebrities expounding the benefits of exercise equipment or makeup, implying we’ll look like them if we just use this product. It’s not true. We’ll always look like ourselves. We all know this, yet corporations have made millions of dollars by selling us their products based on this implication.

Our politicians create an image, so we’ll vote for them. They work with the media to put a “spin” on an event, or outright lie about something to throw mud at an opponent. So, we the public don’t know what’s true and what isn’t. How do you make a good decision that way?

Look at social media. An individual shares what they want the world to see and keeps the unattractive parts of themselves hidden. When their friends compare that individual’s seemingly “perfect” life with their own, they become disenchanted with their own lives and this creates angst and depression. So, it’s more important than ever to trust our gut.

Image may contain: food, text that says 'Thought for the day- Social Media never shows the whole picture. Perfection is an illusion'

We need to develop our intuition and make it stronger. So, how do you do that?

Well, it’s quite simple but hard to do.

We need to spend time alone and meditate. Take some quiet time to listen to our inner voice. Have a dialogue with it. It’ll take practice, but once you make that connection, you’ll be able to make decisions that are best for you. When we don’t make that connection and listen to that inner guide, we can travel down the wrong path that leads to unhappiness.

Spend some time in nature. It’s so good for us. I was hiking for years before I knew there were health benefits, just because it calmed me. It will have the same effect on you. I guarantee it. Whether you hike through the woods, or along the beach, you’ll experience health benefits. Both are good for you and quiet your mind, so your inner voice can come through.

Pay attention to your Dreams. That’s right, our sub-conscious talks to us through our dreams and so does our intuition. Try to remember your dreams upon waking and write them down. Think about an issue you’re struggling with before you go to sleep and see what your dreams tell you. I’ve found solutions to problems through my dreams. It’s amazing when that happens.

How about you, do you listen to your intuition? How do you tap into it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, reviews

My Thoughts on “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back and I’ve been busy working on my stories. I’m close to finishing some edits on my first one and I must say the story is coming along. I’m excited about both of these stories and like a fine wine they can’t be rushed. 😉

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Talking to Strangers.’ It was eye-opening to say the least. I’ve always wondered how Hitler could fool so many people for so long during World War II. Well, this book explains that. It delves deep into the human psyche and explains how when talking to people we don’t know we default to what “our” truth is and not necessarily what the stranger’s truth is. We ignore all the signs that would normally He called this ‘default to truth.’

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by [Malcolm Gladwell]

It explains the concept of ‘coupling’ and how ‘place’ can be a factor as well. It takes us step by step through the process of how after all these factors add up it explains how at the end of the day, we as a society end up blaming…

I won’t spoil the end for you, but I’ve got to say if you’re looking to facilitate change in our society, this book is a must read. Especially after the year we just had. Even if you’re not, you should still read it. It might change your mind.

Posted in Uncategorized

My One Little Word

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It is the New Year, 2021. I’m excited for it because 2020 was horrible to say the least. I’m sure everyone agrees, so we don’t need a recap. That’s not to say good things didn’t happen in 2020, but the negative far outweighed the positive.

But enough about that. We’re looking forward not back. So today, I’d like to talk about my one little word for 2021. I didn’t participate in the one-word trend for the last couple of years, but this year I think it’s important. My word for this year is “PERSEVERE.”

It means a lot to me. It means moving forward. It means overcoming obstacles. It means obtaining my goals. I’m so close to my writing goals. I’ve got one story complete. I’m so happy with it and I have a total sense of accomplishment.

I’m about 50000 words into my second story and I’m just as excited about this one. It’s going much faster than the first one did. I am committed to both stories and I can’t wait to see where my writing journey will lead me.

I’m also going to persevere in my other goals. Maintaining my health is another big one. I plan on continuing my weight loss goals and exercise goals. I want to be active in my old age, and in order to do that I have to maintain my weight and flexibility.

Always at the top of my list, is time with my family. My boys are growing up and they’re not so keen on hanging out with Mom anymore, but I plan on having many “Forced Family Fun” nights throughout 2021. Even if they don’t say it, they enjoy them, too.  I also feel they need to feel connected to their family especially with all this virtual learning and isolation that continues into 2021.

So, there you have it. My one little word for 2021 and some of my goals. Other words that I considered are STRIVE, APPRECIATE, and FINISH. What’s your one little word for 2021? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Reading

What I’ve been Reading

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you and that you had a Merry Christmas. I’m back today after a wonderful Christmas holiday. We did some forced family fun and drove around town and looked at Christmas lights. It was so festive and heartwarming. It was also great to get out of the house and go somewhere besides the grocery store. 😉

But enough about that. Today I want to share with you what I’ve been reading. I’m always intrigued by Malcolm Gladwell and I bought myself a Christmas gift. His latest book, “Talking to Strangers: What we should know about people we don’t know.”

It’s eye-opening and I’m intrigued by it. It’s talking about how we are unable to detect when someone is lying to us. It breaks it down into a science. It’s fascinating and I’ll definitely write a review for you, but I wanted to share what I’ve been reading with all of you before I finished the book, because it’s that good.  Now, I’m off to read. Enjoy your holiday!

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by [Malcolm Gladwell]

A Best Book of the Year: The Financial Times, Bloomberg, Chicago Tribune, and Detroit Free Pres
Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers — and why they often go wrong.
How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?
While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you’ll hear the voices of people he interviewed–scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There’s even a theme song – Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout.”
Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

Posted in Health, kindness, Love, mental-health, nature, pandemic, Personal

Let’s be like the Trees

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week with work and Christmas shopping and plans. It’s the last weekend before Christmas and we’ve finally got a vaccine being delivered. So, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic. But I don’t want to talk about any of that today because frankly, I’m sick of the pandemic. Today, I’d like to talk about connections. I read an article yesterday and the jist of the article was that trees in a forest communicate with each other through their root systems, and they can even recognize their offspring.  To read the article click this link:

Trees Talk to Each Other

Their root systems are kind of like their own internet. 😊

To me, this is evidence. Evidence that we’re all connected. That the actions of one causes a ripple effect in the universe. Now, the thing about the trees is that they take care of each other. They don’t spew hate along their root system. They send nutrients and healing vibes to their neighbors. Of course, they take extra special care of their offspring which coincides with us taking care of our family.

This is something we as humans need to emulate. We need to resist acting on our negative emotions. I know this is hard. I have negative emotions, too. But what if we resisted and tried to focus only on the positive. When something negative comes up try to give the other person some grace. They may be dealing with some incredibly difficult issues that they haven’t shared with you.

I also believe we need to practice forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive especially when the person who wronged you doesn’t believe they’ve done anything wrong. It’s hard to forgive someone like that, however, you need to forgive them for you. Holding a grudge is poison. It doesn’t mean you have to continue to take their abuse. You have to do your best to protect yourself even if it means removing yourself from the situation. But do it with grace. Try not to damage the other person too much. They’re already damaged. They wouldn’t have done what they did to you, if they weren’t. Remember that. We’re all broken. Some of us a little and some of us a lot.

I know this seems to go against the theme of this post. Connection, but, I it really doesn’t. If someone who’s abusive to you loses you. Maybe they’ll get help. Maybe they’ll become healthier because you’re leaving was the catalyst for change. So, even when we leave a relationship, we can inspire another person to change and grow. Then when that person gets into another relationship they can do better. It’s the ripple effect.  Let’s try and be like the trees and send positive ripples through our root system and see what kind of world we can create.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you stay connected to your loved ones? Leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

P.S.

I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was appropriate to add to this post!

Image may contain: text that says '05 Good BE LIKE A TREE. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing Joanne Raptis'
Posted in pandemic

Take Care of Your Extrovert Friends

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work, writing and the pandemic. Truth be told the pandemic hasn’t had that negative of an effect on me. I’m an introvert by nature and in the winter, we hunker down and hibernate.

Don’t get me wrong. I miss going to the movies with my mom and out for a meal with my family, but I’m not chomping at the bit because I can’t get out and socialize. However, our extrovert friends can’t claim the same. The mild discomfort us introverts feel is nothing compared to what our extroverted friends are going through. They get energized by interacting with people, so this social distancing is hard for them, I’m sure.

I know we should be thankful for the technology that allows us to interact via zoom calls and WebEx, but it isn’t the same as being in the same room as someone and interacting with their energy. The world before the pandemic was made for the extrovert. That world has been turned upside down, and this pandemic has many of us introverts thriving. While we’re finding our inner peace because we aren’t forced to interact outside of our homes, our extroverts are floundering.

Many of us are working from home. I love it. I used to drive ten hours a week to get to work. So, the extra ten hours a week I get for not driving, I get to devote to something I really want to do like writing. I also find freedom in the fact that I can get up fifteen minutes before work starts and do my job in my pajamas. I don’t do this. I always get up and shower before I start working. I feel more professionally prepared when I do this. 😉

However, just knowing I have that option gives me a sense of freedom. Our extroverts don’t feel the same way. They need social interaction to feel energized and they’re not getting it. It’s no wonder that the suicide rate is on the rise and there’s also a rise in domestic violence.

The increase in these occurrences aren’t just due to the isolation, though. There are other factors involved like the loss of income and displacement from homes that need to be considered. This is a hard time for all of us, but for our extroverts especially.

So, let’s keep this in mind as we interact with people even if it’s during a WebEx meeting. Let’s make sure we’re kind and giving. I know we’re all financially strapped because many of us aren’t working because of the lockdown, but if we have an opportunity to give even if it’s just a kind word let’s do it. Let’s reach out even if it’s just a phone call to our extroverted friends and let them know we’re thinking of them. They need it now more than ever.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have some ways we can take care of our extroverted friends? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!  

Posted in pandemic, raising kids, Teen

Your Teen and Pandemic Stress

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and writing. I’ve started the dreaded treadmill season where I run on the treadmill instead of going outside. I’ve finally adjusted to this even though I still struggle with motivation.

But on a positive note, I had my blood work done and my numbers look much better than they did last year. So, I’ve accomplished my goal. I’ve improved my health. 😊

Enough about that, though. Today, I’d like to talk about helping your teen deal with the stress and anxiety brought about because of the pandemic. It’s a tough time for them. They can’t socialize like normal and their activities have become severely limited. I bring this up today because we had a fourteen-year-old boy commit suicide in our state during a zoom meeting with his classmates. No one saw this coming. None of his classmates or his parents.

Now more than ever, kids need to feel connected to their families. This is a good time to do forced family fun nights. We spend time either playing Uno or watching The Office. I know. It can get kind of raunchy, but there’s some quality stuff in the show as well. For example, when Jim and Pam went to couples counseling and illustrated how to communicate with your spouse. That was brilliant. Kids need to learn how to handle conflict and how to express their needs. I loved that about that episode.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIi8i3Pf3Ys&ab_channel=LaurenAmeruoso

The show also brings diversity to the forefront with the gay character of Oscar. I think this is important to show how to accept people who are different from us. It’s also funny. The different personalities of the characters are taken to the extreme to show how we can all get along using humor and sarcasm as a way of deflecting negativity.

Another way kids can deal with this stress is video games. I know. I know. I’ve heard all the negatives about video games, but in this time of no activities and no school there is still a way to connect with their friends. They can connect through their games. I like this because my boys can stay safe and still have a little bit of social interaction. They can do this without getting on social media. You still must take precautions. I advise them to not share any personal information with anyone online, but for the most part they play games with kids they hang out with in school, so it’s working. They can connect and stay safe at the same time.

I also encourage them to get outside for at least an hour a day. It’s harder to do now that it’s gotten cold, but they do get out and get fresh air and exercise. One of my boys has gotten into weightlifting and another has started running on the treadmill. Exercise is another healthy way to deal with stress, and it helps that both hubby and I run. We are modeling the behavior we want them to engage in. So, not only are we talking the talk, but we’re walking the walk also.

So, there you have it. Some ways to help your teens deal with the stress of isolation. How about you? Do you have any ideas? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!