I just saw this story post on Facebook:
She was moved into a nursing home today.
When told her room was ready she smiled sweetly as she was provided a visual description of her tiny room. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.
I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank. I am still depositing.”
And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.”
(Disclaimer I did not personally write this beautiful story.
I was moved by it and wanted to share. Photo by Dina Goldstein)
The story reminded me that November is a great month for gratitude – with Thanksgiving coming it’s a great time to recognize the good in our lives and what you are thankful for.
Expressing gratitude is an essential part of recovery. In psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.
Simply put, the happier we are, the faster we recover from stress – and the less stress we have, the less body fat we gain or retain.
Positivity helps us tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, or “PNS.”
The PNS is the system that relaxes us and calms us down.
Activating the PNS lowers stress hormones (cortisol) that make us store fat.
Cortisol is our friend in times of “fight or flight”, but it is our enemy if we’re not being chased by a lion. When cortisol is high ALL the time (like when we’re bombarded with stress) cortisol makes us store fat.
The more positivity we have in our lives (like expressing gratitude) the more we can dampen the effects of cortisol.
So, express gratitude and soak up the positivity: you’ll be happier and leaner!
Here are a few ways you can express gratitude in your day:
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Write a thank you note
- Thank someone in person
My challenge for you this month: Write down one small thing that you are grateful for every day.
If you want, join me in posting it on Facebook or send me in an email once a day until Thanksgiving. Saying it out loud or putting it down on paper is one of the best ways to express gratitude!
Remember each day is a gift! The more gratitude you share the happier you will be and it will pass on to others around you!
My Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my sweet baby girl Ella, who truly is a bundle of joy!
I feel better already!!
It’s hard getting to bed early.
I know that now more than ever – with a baby, every second after she falls asleep is ME time.. time to get things done, spend with my hubby or just relax and BREATHE!!
But, I still know I should be getting to bed earlier.
I know this because the hours before midnight are SO precious! If you remember from last week, sleep before midnight is the most valuable.
One of the best tips that I’ve discovered that’s helped me get to bed earlier is this:
Set an alarm 30 minutes BEFORE bedtime to
remind you to start getting ready.
IT’S AMAZING! Setting an alarm before bed! Who would have thought?!
I have a Jawbone fitness tracker with a feature that allows you to set an alarm for bedtime.
So every night at 9:30pm it buzzes on my wrist and the app on my phone flashes a message, “It’s time to start getting ready for bed.”
My husband totally makes fun of me for this – he calls me grandma and asks “Who has an alarm for bedtime?!”
But guess what? It works!
As soon as my alarm goes off it reminds me that I should get bed. It’s like having a coach (or your mom…) reminding you to do what’s best for you.
I like setting an alarm for 2 reasons:
- It’s a true reminder to go to bed – sometimes we just lose track of time and need a reminder
- It tells us it’s time to start getting our bedtime routine going. If you don’t have one now, I recommend setting up a bedtime routine. It signals our bodies that it’s time to calm down and get ready to sleep.
If you have a fancy wrist band or fitness tracker to do this, that’s awesome, BUT You don’t need one!
Simply set an alarm on your smart phone or a real alarm clock (that thing that sits on your bedside table) to repeat every night at the same time.
The best alarm clocks are the kind that you have physically shut off because it forces you to stop what you are doing.
Give it a try! Be like me and grandma… set an alarm and GET TO BED!
When it comes to sleep, it turns out that the early bird really does get the worm…
But it’s not about getting up earlier, it’s about GOING TO SLEEP earlier!
I know, after a long day of work or school, all you want to do is relax and watch your favorite show on TV – not go right to bed.
HOWEVER, if you want to get stronger, have more defined muscles, and get leaner, then you NEED to adjust your bed time.
It’s easy …. all you have to do is go to bed BEFORE Midnight.
You already know that getting enough sleep is important – but sleeping at the right times can be the difference maker between average and awesome results.
What’s so magical about the hours before Midnight?
It’s not like you’re Cinderella – you won’t lose your glass slippers and your couch won’t turn into a pumpkin.
Going to bed earlier is key because it helps us stay in tune with our circadian rhythm.
Our levels of melatonin (a hormone that gets us ready for sleep) rise after sunset – telling us it’s time to get to bed. This is because our bodies are meant to sleep close to when the sun sets (turning off artificial lights close to bedtime will also help).
Melatonin then stimulates the release of GROWTH HORMONE. Growth Hormone is the “fountain of youth” hormone that helps you repair and restore your body. It stimulates metabolism and tells the body to burn fat.
Growth hormone release climbs within the hours before 12 and then peaks at midnight.
Your new bedtime:
To get more from your night’s rest, make sure you’re ASLEEP by 10pm.
That way you get at least 2 solid hours before midnight.
Ben Franklin said it best: “Early to bed, early to rise.”
It’s also been said that 2 hours before midnight is equal to 4 hours after midnight. Now you know why.. if you want more Growth Hormone released GET TO BED Earlier!!! You’ll be a smarter, happier person for it.
Think back to high school chemistry class: Do you remember the term pH balance?
You might not want to think back to chemistry class (ugh.), but experts agree – if you’re concerned about being healthy, looking good, and losing fat, that lesson on pH turns out to be very important!
Let’s review our Chem 101 notes:
“pH stands for power of hydrogen, which is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body. The total pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 considered to be neutral. A pH less than 7 is said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline.”
When the body is in good working order, human blood reveals a narrow pH window of about 7.35–7.45 (slightly alkaline).
Think of it another way: the body likes to be highly oxygenated – this environment is “alkaline” and helps the body recover quicker, prevent illnesses like cancer, and burn fat.
Unfortunately, most people (especially those who are overweight) are more acidic. Scientists have found that many overweight people have an acid problem, which prevents them from losing fat. When we are acidic, fat tissue protects the body from the acid, so our body tries to retain it.
In order to be a feel better, heal quicker, and burn more fat, you must be slightly alkaline.
Here are 3 easy ways to get more alkaline:
1. Make 70% of your diet alkaline foods.
To do this, eat lots of: Greens, almonds, carrots, dates, avocados, limes, coconuts, celery, cucumbers, walnuts, peppers, spinach, asparagus, wheat grass, green beans, figs, and radishes.
And try to limit acid forming foods: SUGAR, processed fats, processed animal meats, white flour, cow’s milk, cheese
Just remember: “go green” and eat veggies at every meal!
2. Start your day right.
Wake up and immediately drink water with lemon – this helps to alkalize the body. Then, eat a breakfast of protein and greens. Skip the fruit and sugar!
3. Drink plenty of water and fresh greens drinks:
Alternate water with a greens drink (like Doctor’s Greens) all day. Aim to get half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.
Sugar = acid and acid = aging.
An aging body cannot heal, perform or burn fat optimally. So do your best daily to encourage an alkaline environment for your body.
Keep it simple: just remember “GO GREEN!”
Have you ever noticed how well you sleep after you’ve been outdoors for the day?
Think back to a day when you spent time out in the sun at the beach, or shoveling snow for a few hours or even just spent time doing yard work.
How well did you sleep that night? How about your kids? Ever notice how well they sleep after an afternoon playing outside?
I recently spent half of a day outside doing yard work and guess what happened? I SLEPT like a baby.
Want to improve the quality of your sleep? SPEND TIME OUTSIDE!
Why does being outdoors make you sleep better?
The quality of your sleep has a lot to do with light. Believe it or not light is crucial to our health!
Our body’s circadian rhythm, your “master clock”, is dependent on light and dark cycles. The light from outside, (also known as blue light ) streams into our eyes during the day and triggers a reaction in our brain that it’s time to be awake and energetic. There is a cascade of hormones that are released in response to bright light that keep us up.
Most of us spend the majority of our day inside. And while there may be lights on, the light we get indoors is not as strong as the light exposure we get from outside.
In order to keep your master clock running correctly you need to get bright outdoor light exposure for at least 30-60 minutes a day. At night we need maximal darkness to signal to our brain that it’s time to turn down to sleep mode. That’s why we always recommend blackout shades or sleep masks.
Simply by going outside for a walk or having lunch outside for 30-60 min can provide you with the majority of light you need to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm and get better sleep.
So get out there! Spend some time in the sun! Get your master clock running correctly for better sleep!