Happiness is...

What people believe forms what they achieve. (1) What you believe shapes what you achieve. We create our own reality. Because we create our own reality, we can change it.

One of the most difficult truths to swallow is: I can change … that we do not have to remain as we have always been.

YES. You CAN change.

Believing that we can change puts us in control of our lives. It elevates us. It makes us better regardless of the “arena” (i.e. work, school, home, neighborhood) we are in. Seeing that we can change frees us to act, to keep making decisions. Our vision is clear – we can see how our actions have a direct effect on outcomes in our lives. We have greater control over our stress. We are happier, more motivated and more successful. (2)

Many messages in life are subtly whispering in our ear that we are stuck – you are what you are, you’ll never changeyou can’t lose the weightyou’ll never conquer your anger...

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One of the MOST overlooked mental health habits...

...is getting enough sleep at night.

Skimping on your Zzzz’s can leave you feeling emotionally vulnerable and opens the door to negative thinking. Insomnia messes with our brain, making it difficult for us to regulate our emotions and think clearly. A good night’s rest on the other hand, builds emotional and mental resilience.

Clinicians now view sleep deprivation as a factor leading to poor mental health, rather than just a symptom of it. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for things like anxiety and depression (1) - two mental health concerns that are on the rise.  

The effects of inadequate sleep can be felt by all ages – children, the middle-aged, seniors, etc. According to the American Journal Pediatrics, “Adolescents who get less sleep than they need are at higher risk for depression, suicide, substance abuse and car crashes. Evidence also links short sleep duration with obesity and a weakened immune system." (2)

Other...

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How to Avoid Wintertime Illnesses

Sickness. While it may be fun as a child because it allows you to watch TV in bed, being sick as an adult is an entirely different story. Work, school, family life, and home responsibilities don’t stop. Most of us have to get up and push through our busy schedules regardless of how we are feeling.

If you stop to think about it, most of our sick days occur in the wintertime. Here are several theories behind why we often become sick during winter (1):

  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year…….for viruses! Viruses tend to enjoy cold, dry climates often found during wintertime.
  • More Time Indoors. With the cold weather, we tend to remain indoors with the windows sealed tight. The closer quarters leaves us breathing in each other’s air and exposes us to more germs.
  • Less Sunlight. During the wintertime, there is less sunlight and less sunlight leads to lower levels of melatonin and vitamin D. These lower levels compromise our...
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6 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

mental health well-being Feb 01, 2019

It’s February and that time of year when things start to drag. There are no more holidays to look forward to (except Valentine’s Day and that doesn’t really count when you are single). It is dark and cold outside. Sunshine and summer seem forever away. Taxes are beginning to hang over our heads. The list goes on...

With the things that are and are not happening during this time of year, it can be difficult to keep our mood up. With that in mind, here are 6 ways to help you combat the Winter Blues:

  1. Go for natural light. When you wake up in the morning open your blinds and curtains. Natural light can influence the production of vitamin D and melatonin in our body which not only affect our mood, but also how tired we feel.
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural mood-booster. It releases those feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Beyond boosting your mood, exercise can also build your self-confidence and provide that good...
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SIMPLE Pan-Seared Cracked Pepper Salmon

healthy eating recipes Jan 26, 2019

My youngest sister hates fish. She does that thing where you barely close your mouth and your upper lip starts to curl when you eat something "distasteful." With that in mind, understand the significance of her comment after trying this recipe: “Wow, that was actually pretty good!”

Big, BIG deal. Check out this quick, simple recipe below!

 

Note: Pairs well with roasted asparagus and sautéed green beans.

 

A couple of health notes about salmon...

It is a fatty fish…a good fatty fish. Salmon is high in polyunsaturated fats, specifically omega-3 fats which are good for your heart (1). This type of fat plays a key role in the prevention of heart disease – they keep your heart beating at a steady rhythm, can lower blood pressure, are essential for good blood vessel health and function and therefore reduce your risk for atherosclerosis.

The body cannot produce Omega-3 fast, so they must be consumed in our diet. The general...

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Be gentle.

self-care well-being Jan 18, 2019

For a majority of my life, my dad’s hands have been rough with calluses. In the wintertime the skin was often dry and cracked from the cold. Occasionally his hands were stained from the projects he was working on at the time – green from working on the lawn mower, black from fixing a car, brown from weeding the garden.

Regardless of their state, I could always feel a power and strength in them. A strength in his safe grip, their ability to carry and lift literal weights in my life as well as figurative ones. A power and comfort in them from the generosity of his spirit – his willingness to serve and be there whenever I might need him. Even a strength in their gentleness.

One of my earliest memories is of him braiding mine and my sister's hair after we took a bath. Those were the days when his t-shirts fit us as “nightgowns.” :) After our bath he would very carefully brush out our wet tangles then, just as carefully braid our hair into a short, simple...

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How to Stress Yourself Out

Sometimes we do things to ourselves.

Are you adding extra (and unnecessary) stress to your life in the following ways?

  1. Ignoring your strengths (or refusing to recognize them) and focusing on your failures. If you are ignoring your strengths, you are turning away from the good things you have to offer the world! If you focus on your weakness and failures without seeing your strengths you will not feel as motivated to work through and rise above your setbacks. This adds stress with constant feelings of hopelessness and discouragement. 
  2. Multi-tasking. When you multi-task you burn yourself out, feel overwhelmed and make slower progress. You'll often feel bad you did not give your child/spouse/friend/co-worker your full attention (e.g. when they were telling you something important to them). You’ll regret that project you did not do your best on because you were too busy trying to “maximize” your time,...
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The Resolution You Overlooked

Lose weight.

Eat better.

Focus on self-care.

These are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions from 2018.1 Perhaps they made your list last year…and maybe this year as well. Undoubtedly, taking better care of ourselves by losing weight, improving our diet and giving ourselves some much-needed TLC are consistently some of the most popular and anguished-over goals. Eating better to lose weight is a great start, but what does eating better actually look like?

If you are like a majority of Americans, “eating better” most likely begins with eating more vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of adults do not eat the recommended (2-3 cups/day for adults) amount, with young adults and men being some of the most common offenders.2 Before we start trying to just “eat better”, let’s rewrite that goal to “eat more vegetables, specifically an extra serving or two each day.”

Take a look...

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Do you UNDERSTAND the benefits of REGULAR exercise??

exercise well-being Dec 06, 2018

Exercise is one of the BEST things you can do for you - your body, your health, and your life.

While teaching a gym class on Monday I [Rachelle] heard someone say, “I eat clean so I don’t have to [do cardio].” That comment has been eating at me since. Still cringing. Because...exercise is one of the most important lifestyle choices we can make!

If, perhaps, you have found yourself thinking, “I don’t need to be active”, it is time to revisit the why’s of exercise.

If instead you are like me and periodically find yourself in an exercise slump, use these why’s to rediscover your motivation and find new meaning in movement.

Exercise, a.k.a. "physical activity", strength and aerobic training, movement, etc., 

  • Strengthens the heart. Did you know your heart is a muscle? The most important muscle in your body, in fact! Your heart contracts 100,000 times a day to push roughly 2,000 gallons worth of blood...
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Diet Scoop: What is a good diet for me?

diets healthy eating Nov 30, 2018

Have you ever had this question run through your mind? If so, you are not alone. So many people are wondering the same thing! Here are a few ways you can identify whether a particular eating plan is good for you.

A good diet is one that is…

  • Healthy. Your eating plan provides the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and water) that your body needs to survive and thrive. This looks like balance and variety. Balance refers to eating across the different food groups, while variety is eating a variety of foods within a food group (e.g. rather than eating chicken all the time for your lean protein, switch it up with fish or beans). Variety in terms of vegetables and fruits looks like a lot of colors...”eat the rainbow”, just not the Skittles one. ;)
  • Effective. What and how much you eat is helping you maintain your health and well-being – you are not unhealthily gaining or unhealthily losing weight. Your diet is helping you maintain an appropriate...
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