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I was perusing a Spring issue of "O" magazine, and came across a series of articles by women who were writing messages to their younger selves. An interesting premise: what would you say to yourself if your 20-year old self could hear you?
I was particularly inspired by actress Phylicia Rashad's letter to her younger self, saying, "Everything you do, every thought you have, every word you say creates a memory that you will hold in your body. It's imprinted on you and affects you in subtle ways--ways you are not always aware of."
Lately, I've been fond of touting the saying, "Your issues are in your tissues." It's so true, especially as we mature. It is undeniable that the thoughts and feelings I have create the "hormonal soup," if you will, that I live in day by day. This is actually a great thing, and a gift. To know that your thoughts and feelings directly affect your physical health--well, then, all you have to do is make sure your thoughts and feelings are all good!
The trick of course, is gaining the control and the perspective necessary to make that happen, and it's what mastery is all about. In my experience, I have some "bumper sticker" slogans I use to create some semblance of control over my thoughts and feeling. Maybe they will resonate with you and help to smooth those rocky paths:
- We are happiest when we connect with family, friends, community.
- Appreciate all that has already happened to bring you to this moment of peace.
- Celebrate the little things that bring joy--a chuckle, a grin, or an inner smile.
- Find the meaning beyond yourself; the big picture.
- Don't take anything personally.
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don't assume anything.
(see Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz)
If I can just take a minute
(part of the trick), and apply
(another part of the trick) at least one or more of these little gems, my issues begin to resolve, and my tissues relax.
More than any other time of the year, spending some contemplative moments in sheer appreciation for the abundance of life goes a long way to amplifying that spirit of giving...and receiving...this holiday season!
In vibrant health,
Pure Energy Rx
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F.Y.I. - Interesting Health News Tidbits
Young mothers produce old kids...
Want to be the first one on your block to live to 100? You are in with a fighting chance if you're the first-born child of a young mother. Natalia Gavrilova and Leonid Gavrilov of the University of Chicago sifted through data gathered on 991 centenarians born in the US between 1875 and 1899 and used US census and Social Security Administration records to reconstruct the family histories of 198 of them, searching for anything they had in common.
It turned out that first-born children were 1.7 times as likely as their siblings to live to be 100. An even stronger predictor of longevity was how young their mother was when they were born. Those whose mothers were less than 25 years old were twice as likely to survive beyond a century.
While the researchers aren't certain why this should be, they suspect younger mothers are less likely to have acquired latent infections during their life that could damage the health of the fetus. Younger mothers may also have better-quality eggs. "If the best, most vigorous maternal ova cells are used first--very early in life--this could explain why particularly young mothers produce particularly long-lived children," Gavrilov says. >>>> SOURCE
The "Dirty Dozen" foods with pesticides...
There is growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.
Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
The produce ranking was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2000 and 2004. A detailed description of the criteria used in developing the rankings is available as well as a full list of fresh fruits and vegetables that have been tested (just so you know, onions are the safest, but peaches are the most dangerous).
EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food. For more information please visit www.ewg.org.
Colds don't like happy people...
Happy people are healthier people, research suggests. People who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to catch colds and report fewer symptoms of the illness when they are under the weather. The new finding held true regardless of personality traits such as optimism, extraversion and self-esteem. A person's age, race, gender, education and body mass also did not make a difference.
Researchers interviewed 193 volunteers, aged 21 to 55, over several weeks to assess their moods and overall emotional states, and then infected them with either a rhinovirus, known to cause the common cold, or an influenza virus, responsible for the basic flu. The volunteers were then quarantined to see if they came down with a cold or the flu.
While the study found happiness is associated with boosted health, it suggests the opposite might not be true. People who reported more negative emotions, such as depression, anxiety and anger, were not any more likely to catch colds than normal controls, the study found. >>>> SOURCE
Holiday weight gain myths busted...
By Susan Burke MS, RD, LD/N, CDE
eDiets Chief Nutritionist
Every year about this time, I hear the same holiday songs. I hear people "sing" the old refrain of overindulgence-- "I have to have it." Whether it's for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or other seasonal celebrations, people have a hard time with holidays and overeating. Some throw up their hands and give in to temptation; others rationalize the holidays as a time in which they are destined to put on pounds...
MYTH: Everyone gains at least 5 pounds over the holidays, so I may as well accept it.
BUSTED: Well, the good news is that the average American gains from 1/2 pound to 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but the bad news is they don't ever lose it.
MYTH: I can take a "vacation" from my diet, because come January, I'll go right back on it.
BUSTED: I told her that you can't "vacation" from your healthy diet and expect to stay at your goal weight. Extra calories are just what your fat cells are looking for.
MYTH: I'm going to fast all day, so I can eat all I want at the Holiday party this year.
BUSTED: Wrong. Don't do it. Starving yourself usually backfires, and you wind up overeating at the party. The best strategy for weight control is to think small portions.
MYTH: I can't diet when I go to someone's house for dinner.
BUSTED: Give yourself the power to say "no" tactfully. Many people feel that if they don't partake in the holiday feasting tradition, others will perceive them as rude or ungrateful. Well, don't fall into that trap. You have the right to eat what you want, where you want, and in the amount that you want.
MYTH: My family would miss it if I didn't make the traditional favorites.
BUSTED: Make this a healthy holiday season and change your traditional fatty favorites into delicious, healthy meals. It doesn't have to be so. Don't be a Scrooge with taste, but be frugal with calories--that's how you eat delicious foods without guilt. Review your recipe file and look at recipes with a fresh eye.
Don't forget; the holidays are not an excuse for "cheating" on your meal plan. Going out or staying in, you get to choose what you will eat, how much you'll eat, and when you will eat. Don't skip meals, keep exercising (in fact, make it your business to get the whole crowd out for a walk after your big meal), and remember that there are no "good" or "bad" foods. Think of food as fuel; it may be good for your engine, or it may clog the fuel line. Foods may be fatty and full of sugar, but that's often what makes them taste so good. >>>> EDiets.com
Job burnout can burn your organs...
The daily rigors of work, such as tight deadlines and long hours, can lead to job burnout, a state scientists are beginning to link with serious ailments. Studies have shown that workplace stress can lead to an increase in rates of heart disease, flu virus, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure. One study found that stress can negate the heart-healthy aspects of a physically active job, leading to thicker arteries in physically active and stressed workers compared with active, non-stressed employees.
A new study of 677 workers in Israel showed those who experienced job burnout were 1.8 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, in which a person's body becomes resistant to the sugar-regulating hormone called insulin. The results held even when factors like age, sex, exercise and obesity were taken into account.
Some studies have found stress can cause unhealthy behaviors, such as eating poorly or drinking more alcohol, which can then lead to health problems. In the new study, the researchers suggest stress can have a more direct effect, disrupting the body's ability to process glucose, leading to diabetes.
The results show that burnout could boost the risk of illness by a "magnitude similar to other risk factors, such as high body mass index, smoking and lack of physical exercise," said study lead author Samuel Melamed of Tel Aviv University in Israel.
When work stress becomes unmanageable, job burnout can lead to a combination of three symptoms:
This state differs from a temporary malaise that passes after a period of rest. Causes of burnout include chronic stresses, such as lack of rewards, job insecurity, regular physical abuse and sexual harassment, as well as daily hassles and sudden traumas. >>>> MORE >>>>
- Emotional exhaustion
- Physical fatigue or exhaustion
- Cognitive weariness (slow thinking)
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