Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading

A clan gathers

In the past, clan members from different nations and cultures would walk for miles and even days to show off new children, play competitive games, drink, and eat. And we’re really no different from our ancestors.

Remi is our newest clan member

I was thinking this morning about how important it is that our “clan” gathers at least once a year at the beach. I always think I’m going to get a lot of reading and work done, but most of our time together is spent relaxing, hearing stories, cooking together, and having fun exploring new towns. In our family, there’s a silent commitment to set aside our differences for the week – which is really important. And we make an effort to be sure everyone feels included in whatever activities are going on.

Think about times in your life when you’ve gathered with your clan. Births, weddings, funerals, family trips. You spend some time reflecting on the past – telling old, funny stories. But you also spend time getting re-acquainted and strengthening family bonds. Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

Tea, tea, tea

A few years ago, I decided to reduce my caffeine intake as part of an overall plan to cut back on acids in my system. I wasn’t a huge coffee drinker but knew I’d miss hugging a warm mug in the morning and decided to switch to lightly caffeinated green tea for my morning brew.

I’ve been very happy with the switch AND during the last Food Revolution Summit, was amazed to hear about many of the health benefits of green tea. One of the speakers this year said there wasn’t anything wrong with coffee except that if drinking it meant you were drinking less green tea, then you were missing out!

What’s so great about green tea? Here are some facts from Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, The Spectrum: 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

Who is the Crazy Maker in your life?

I just returned from a weekend at the Kripalu Center in Western Massachusetts. The class I took was on Creative Myths and Monsters and was taught by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. I have all sorts of ideas to pass on to you but will start with the last discussion we had – talking about the Crazy Makers in your life.

What’s a crazy-maker? Think about someone in your life who may be charismatic, charming, and persuasive, but who also: 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

Continue reading