Get happy = get healthy

I’m traveling in Virginia this week, and a good friend told me about a study out of UCLA that explains four ways to make you to feel happier. The Dalai Lama worries that Americans don’t feel they have a right to be happy and that being happy shouldn’t be a goal. He says that’s nonsense, and if the Dalai Lama says “Go for it – it’s okay,” who are we to argue?

Here’s what’s important about happiness as explained by UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb:

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Little pops of energy

If you’re feeling out of sorts and a big project is too much to focus on, try fixing a small thing to boost your energy.

Here are a few energy boosters that work for me: Continue reading

The Creamer Dinners

A few years ago, it occurred to me that I had said the same phrase several times without taking action on it: “We should get together sometime.” Mostly this came up in the theater where I met folks in a show, got to know them, and then didn’t spend time with them again until I worked with them on another show and would once again hear myself saying, “We should get together sometime.”

As much fun as theater is, you don’t get a lot of time to talk and I was hungry for a good conversation with many folks I had met.

And I got to thinking about other friends and family I saw often but always in big groups. Big groups are fun but aren’t always great for conversation. Continue reading

100 Days of Wellness

I’ve been looking for a local meditation class and stumbled on this site with 100 wellness exercises. The videos are short, 4-6 minutes each, and focus on different aspects of feeling better – by being more grateful, clearing clutter, getting more sleep, beating sugar, and… you get the idea. It’s a great list.

Being a “get it done” kind of girl, I was like, “I’ll do all of these today,” and started to click through one to the next. But I decided instead to stop and spend a day on each one. I’ve tried to remind myself lately that I have time. I don’t have to get everything done right away. It’s a huge temptation for me to think, “Yes. Check. Got it done. Move on.” And rarer for me to take the time to deeply contemplate a thought or idea – especially if it’s a challenge or something negative about who I am or how I think. Continue reading

Take a walk!

Inspired by the recent Food Revolution Summit, I am reading Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, The Spectrum. The bottom line of Dr. Ornish’s thinking: If you want to live a long, healthy life, pay attention to what you eat. Exercise, but not to excess. And practice stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga.

There’s no big news there, but what was news to me is how exercise helps you beyond being in better shape and maybe losing a little weight.

According to Dr. Ornish’s studies, regular exercise: Continue reading

7 steps to create a nice mess

If you’re serious about cleaning a room, make it messier before you clean it up. Pull things out of drawers. Empty closets and shelves. And clear off the tops of every horizontal surface.

Then sort out what you have by putting similar items together, looking at each item to decide if you want to keep it (because you really love it), pitch it, or give it away.

Then clean all the surfaces, reassemble putting everything in a thoughtful place, and throw out the trash.

Easy peasy – the room is decluttered and all is well.

Except if you still have an edgy feeling that you aren’t doing something, or that you’ve missed something big. Now the issue isn’t a room that needs to be decluttered – it’s your head and heart that need a cleanup. Continue reading

The Science of Meditation

New scientific studies on meditation liken it to a workout for your brain. When you pair meditation with a healthy lifestyle, what can’t you accomplish? And, if you look at exercise, eating right, and meditation as three legs of a healthy lifestyle stool, meditation takes the least amount of time and effort. You just need to carve out a quiet moment to get started.

Still not sure? Ponder this. Science says meditation can help you:

  • Improve your memory
  • Hone your focus
  • Increase your brain size and density
  • Increase blood flow to your brain
  • Decrease your blood pressure
  • Regulate your emotions
  • Release antibodies
  • Decrease stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Be less bothered by physical pain

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