“Pay attention to your intuition. Listen to your heart. Speak your mind. Love yourself so that you can love others. Smile.” ~Nishan Panwar
In parts I & II of the blog series, “Be Your Best You”, we talked about nourishment of the mind with a little down time and last week we talked about nourishment of the body through exercise, nutrition, hydration, and sleep. Today’s blog, Part III, is about strengthening the soul through self-love, love of others, spirituality and laughter.
The first ingredient of soul care is self-love. It’s natural to take care of other people/things we love…but to trul y love others we have to love ourselves first. The Golden Rule tells us to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Self-love isn’t being arrogant or getting our way, but it does require knowing our boundaries, being kind to ourselves (learning how to say no), and honoring our values. When we live from a place of self-love, the world mirrors compassion and love back to us.
Once we learn to love ourselves, we may offer a better self to those around us. Loving others is ingredient number two. It lowers risks of chronic diseases, stress, and brings emotional happiness. When we do acts of kindness through service, it connects us to those we serve and gives us a kind of satisfaction that self-interest cannot provide.
Ingredient number three is spirituality, or connecting to something bigger than ourselves. Mainstream science has proven that we are wired to believe. So, not only are we built to connect, the more we connect and develop our spiritual selves through meditation, prayer or other means, the healthier and happier we live.
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~Victor Borge
The last ingredient to nurturing the soul is laughter. Laughter releases tension and relaxes us. Physiologically, it benefits the body like a light workout by increasing blood flow, boosting energy, burning calories and aiding sleep. In other words, it’s time to get silly. When laughter is shared, it bonds people together increasing intimacy. Best of all, it’s fun and free.
Self-love, loving others, spirituality, and laughter are four key ingredients to strengthen your soul. What’s holding you back from loving yourself in a way that inspires and brings forth beauty? Be patient with the process and allow it to unfold. You will find you are ready to compete again, but stronger and better.
A “Blue Mind” is defined as a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment….
We are so bombarded with sensory stimuli that our poor brains need a break…but unfortunately, we often don’t allow enough time from our hectic lives to recharge adequately. This is where the great healing power of being around water comes in. It’s not that we shut down when we are near water, but we do get a break where less information comes in. We relax, and a sense of calm, unity, happiness and peace eases in. There’s a reason why rivers have often been considered sacred places and water often symbolizes a new beginning or salvation. We even have a universal attraction to the color blue (my personal favorite is the a blend between blue and green, the color of the ocean around the Florida Keys).
“We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,” Nichols writes in Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, published in last July. “We have a ‘blue mind’ — and it’s perfectly tailored to make us happy in all sorts of ways that go way beyond relaxing in the surf, listening to the murmur of a stream, or floating quietly in a pool.” I know that I can easily find perspective when I stand on the beach with the wind in my hair and watch the waves roll in. Regardless of what is going on in my life; while on the beach, I am at peace.
If you are one of the lucky ones who lives by water, working out next to water multiples the benefits exponentially. But don’t worry if you aren’t close to water. You can still listen to sounds of waves, close your eyes, and experience the benefits a “blue mind” provides. (Even the shower or a gurgling fountain works!)
“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul”. ~ Wyland
I’m ready to get “my toes in the water and my butt in the sand, not a worry in the world, and a cold beer (glass of wine) in my hand”…or is it the other way around?!
Won’t you join me?
Live fit, be happy. And smile.
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later
have to find time for illness.” ~Edward Stanley
We know our best self requires a strong foundation of mind, body and soul. Sometimes life’s pace throws us off course and before we know it, we aren’t functioning optimally. When performance suffers in athletics, it is recommended to ease up on training, step back and focus on rebuilding and strengthening the core, the body’s foundation. After that, athletes return to the training program at hand, but stronger and better. Last week, we discussed nourishing the mind by slowing down and “taking 5” to reboot our brains. Continuing the dialogue of becoming your best you, today’s topic is nourishment of the physical body through exercise, nutrition, hydration, and sleep.
Exercise: Sitting is the new smoking. What? Yeah, our lives of convenience are taking a toll on our health. The studies are in. Daily movement is tres importante. Activity trackers are great tools to remind us how long our butt’s been in a chair by monitoring steps, workouts, sleep, etc. Find your fit because one size does not fit all. Do what you enjoy most so you’ll keep doing it. Yes, it’s important to get resistance training in. But that can come in different forms, as does cardio and flexibility. The high intensity intervals we suggested in last week’s blog (go hard, take a breather, go hard, rest, etc.) works well with cardio and lifting weights. Try Tabata. Increase your strength, stamina and mind at the same time. So be like Nike and just do it (repeatedly)!
Nutrition: Eat real, whole, fresh foods. Hippocrates was right. Food IS thy medicine. What we eat provides much more than fuel. It affects our immune system, plays a role in hormone regulation, intestinal health, and impacts a myriad of diseases. The most important action item we can do in this arena is to take back control of cooking. You don’t have to be a chef or spend much time in the kitchen. There are many healthy recipe options to choose from. Focus on foods in season, eat local, and look up recipes on Pinterest. Involve the family and eat mindfully. Turn the TV off and don’t be swayed by the high cost of cheap food.
“Water is the only drink for a wise man.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Hydration: Henry knew that water is integral to our health. In fact, more than half a person’s body is made up of water, so even mild dehydration can compromise the efficiency of most bodily functions, including boosting resting metabolism. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Drink up and reap the benefits of good hydration: lower blood pressure, flushing of toxins, reduction of allergy/asthma symptoms, speedier joint and tissue repair, boosts in mood and energy, and of course weight loss/weight maintenance.
Sleep: Surveys are increasingly noting that most Americans are getting less than 6 hours a night, while 7-9 are better numbers. Like water, sleep deficiency contributes to many health issues like weight gain, high blood pressure, decreased immune function, impaired memory, and higher levels of inflammation which are linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. On the performance side, improving our sleep quality and quantity will increase creativity, work and athletic performance. ‘Nuff said, sleep matters!
The great thing about nourishing our body through the areas above is that WE can reclaim control ourselves. That’s awesome. Optimal living at our fingertips.
Today is a great day to re-commit. Then compete. I’ll see you at the finish line (yawn) after I take a nap!
(blog posted by Compete Every Day)
“Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
Society seems to prize busyness. Being “on” at all times has become an expectation. Kudos to those who are focused, have a plan, and busy are working it. You possess the necessary ingredients for goal achievement! Being too busy, however, has a cost. Ironically, it negatively impacts the very success we are trying to achieve. If we go down the busy path too long taking care of the kids, the job, the home, relationships, etc., exhaustion creeps in. We wear down our nervous system and dampen our ability to be our most productive self. Racing from point A to point B, we produce and we provide. We are “on” at all the right times. However, the more externally we focus and the larger our “to-do” lists grow, the more inefficient (& unhealthy) we become. It is necessary then, to become our best self, we must slow down and nourish ourselves in mind, body and soul. To be our best self, we need to step back and rebuild our foundation. Today’s topic is nourishment of the mind through downtime. A little bit of nuttin’, honey.
You might think being idle is nuts, a waste of time. But, taking a few minutes of “nothing” can add up to a whole lot of something. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and that, my friends, brings a slew of healthy benefits.
See, when we’re too busy, nothing new can come to mind. Creativity is dampened. Science has proven, however, that if we carve a little “mind space” we reap some cool benefits. Unstructured time allows for a process of incubation which is where our best ideas and solutions can come from. Not convinced to take a time out yet? The Energy Project study found that associates who took “time outs” increased their creative capacity in a huge way and enjoyed a greater level of health and mental well-being. Overwork has the opposite effect; less engagement, feeling worn out, a significant decrease in creativity/problem resolution, making mistakes, and so on.
High intensity intervals (HIIT) isn’t just effective in workouts, it’s an effective work/life strategy. Intense periods of focus should be balanced by time (breaks) allowing for rest and renewal. Short breaks boost digestion, lower the heart rate, increase work capacity, and elevate moods. So, go ahead, take a break. Observe how “energy management” can aid time management. Close the door. Turn off the phone. Or, step outside. Be still for 5-10 minutes a couple times each day. It may take a little getting used to, but the more you do less, the better you will be.
By making ourselves our own wellness mission, we can do better in serving others AND achieving our goals. Nourishing the self is essential to health, happiness and well-being.
Take 5 to renew. Then compete, better. Every day.
~Lisa Read More →
Last week you got the Cliff Notes to the “5 Keys to Continued Success” which provided the formula below:
Learn It. Lose it. Love it. Live it. And, laugh.
Today I am going to expound a bit (only a bit, because I know you appreciate Cliff Notes, as well!) on the second piece of the formula: Lose it. Bad habits, that is. By letting go of the them, you’ll free up energy, mental space and even money that could be better spent on a happier, healthier you. It’s not quite summer, so how about a little bad-habit spring cleaning?
Here are a couple bad habits you might consider “sweeping” away:
• A beer or glass of wine (every night)…while you might fall asleep relaxed initially, once your body starts metabolizing the alcohol there’s a rebound effect, HELLO 2 am wakeup and tired you the next day.
• 24/7 connectivity…ah, this one is a pet peeve of mine. I keep my phone on silent and look at it only certain times a day and leave it in my purse at night…much to the chagrin of my fiancé! Try to turn off all media (blue screens) at least an hour before bed because that blue light from your phone/tablet/TV reduces sleep and stimulates your brain to stay awake by suppressing melatonin, a hormone needed for drowsiness.
• Procrastination—doing it has negative impacts on your heart. A non-procrastinator feels more in control and therefore, less stressed. Like Nike, “Just do it!”
• Drinking diet sodas…OK, so I KNOW the fake sugars cause blood sugar swings and other neurological problems…and most of them are terribly acidic, but I DO enjoy a coke zero from Sonic on occasion. But, the reality is that folks who drink the diet stuff end up eating more sugar because these drinks cause blood sugar spikes and drops like the real stuff making you want more.
• Still pissed off at somebody for something? Try forgiveness, not for them, but for you. It’ll do wonders.
• Popping pills too often. Doesn’t matter if it’s OTC, pain relievers used frequently significantly increase the chance of liver damage.
• Not expecting good things. Expect good outcomes vs. bad, look for silver linings. This change in attitude comes with a slew of healthy benefits.
• Sleep walking through workouts…sorry Charley…you aren’t getting benefits or making change without getting your heart rate up. use your time effectively with interval training and get red in the face.
• Not getting enough sleep…this is a blog or two or three by itself! Study after study shows a host of benefits with more sleep and a lot of mental and physical problems when sleep is lacking.
Find your broom and sweep those ol’ habits away!
What have you got to gain?
Be fit, live strong, laugh often.
I’ve always been a fan of cliff notes and getting down to the net/net, so here are the cliff notes for today’s blog:
Learn It. Lose it. Love it. Live it. And, laugh.
That’s a pretty simple formula, right?
Here’s the deal: we’re all striving towards life goals, essentially trying to live “larger” in some form or fashion. While the formula above isn’t rocket science, we may need a gentle reminder about how to tap into our best self:
Learn it. One of the best ways to achieve goals is to observe the patterns of success demonstrated by men and women who have achieved greatness. There are reasons these folks rocked it. Keep reading, learning and sharpening the saw. Take notes and do what they do.
Lose it. Create some awesome habits. We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to create a habit, right? Well, it turns out this is a bit anecdotal. The reality is that it may take longer– or less. What matters is that we keep trying and focus on developing our good habits. They WILL stick, eventually. At the same time, we should drop any habits that don’t serve our purpose. Now. Simply lose them.
Love it. Life, that is. Life provides both sunshine and rain. What’s important is how we embrace what comes our way—opportunities, challenges, or people. Why not consider everything a stepping stone to our future and just say YES with enthusiasm and excitement?!
Live it, like Nike. Just do it, take action. It doesn’t matter if we make a mistake, get off track, or (gasp) fail. Our plans don’t have to be perfect in order to get started. What matters is that we keep going with dogged determination and persistence. If Plan A doesn’t work, switch to Plan B or C, because as long as we keep moving, we WILL succeed.
Last of all, laugh. We take ourselves far too seriously. Tony Robbins suggests considering the big picture and how we will look back on a situation 10 years from now. The odds are it will be with considerably less worry and strife. So why wait? Find humor & laugh more—especially at ourselves. Don’t take life so seriously. It’s certainly more enjoyable on the lighter side.
(Written for Compete Every Day)
Henry David Thoreau said that a loooong time ago and he was spot on. Today let’s talk about hydration and its importance to… well, to just about everything.
When do you drink water? Most of us drink when we are thirsty. Don’t! It takes a while for your body to fully hydrate. When you wait until thirsty, there is a high probability that you’re already dehydrated to some extent. That means whatever our body is doing or needs to do, it will not function effectively or optimally without proper hydration. A great way to get a jump start every day is to start your day with 2 cups of water. So, besides making everything work better, here are a few ways proper hydration helps you be more awesome:
Drinking water helps reduce high blood pressure. Your blood is approximately 92% water.
Drinking water helps reduce symptoms of allergies and/or asthma. See, when you are dehydrated, your body creates more histamines and if you have too many histamines circulating, you will feel congested and have other allergic reactions.
Drinking water aids digestive disorders by eliminating or at least reducing ulcers, bloating, gas, gastritis, reflex and IBS. You also have less constipation since water is needed to move matter more quickly through the intestinal track.
Drinking water helps flush toxins. Back to the bullet above, a well hydrated bod purges toxins and metabolic wastes better. ‘Nuf said.
Drinking water helps speed up joint and cartilage repair. The padding in cartilage is mostly water and joint repair after workouts or injuries is quicker with adequate hydration.
Drinking water also flushes bacteria out of the bladder. Proper hydration is especially important to folks prone to kidney stones or bladder infections.
Drinking water gets your “glow” on. Seriously, with good hydration the skin can rid itself of toxins which cause irritation, inflammation, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and aging.
Drinking water helps you stop gaining weight. The more you drink, the more satiated you feel and…yes, that helps you feel less hungry which results in eating less . Keeping hydrated prevents cells from sending hungry signals to the brain. Besides most “hunger” is actually shared studies where just 2 glasses of water each morning resulted in an 11 lb. weight loss in a year! That’s something to drink up to.
Last, proper hydration is a mood and energy booster.
Until next time, live fit, laugh often, and DRINK UP!
What have you got to gain?
I started drinking green tea 15 years ago shortly after my leukemia diagnosis. It was in my “combat phase” and I started researching anything and everything that was in my control so I could positively impact the outcome. Green tea came up repeatedly as something I should add to my arsenal, so I started drinking it, and I have been drinking 2-5 cups a day ever since. If you haven’t jumped on the green tea wagon, here are a few reasons why you should join me in this habit.
- It may prevent several types of cancers. Oral, prostate, breast…the list goes on. This is why I added it to my arsenal to begin with.
- It fights FAT. Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called “EGCG” which inhibits metabolic syndrome. Here’s another thought: if you sub 1-2 cups of green tea for one soda each day, in a year you’d save > 50,000 calories. Lions and tigers and bears…OH MY! That’s 14 pounds…
- It prevents the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries and improves blood flow which means it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. More recently, green tea has been shown to help block the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
- What’s good for the heart and brain is also good for the eyes. Turns out the catechins in green tea can penetrate the tissues of the eyes boosting eyesight.
- It improves insulin use by the body and stabilizes energy. Drinking green tea helps prevent sugar crashes leading to fatigue and irritability.
- It provides anti-allergy and immune system support by reducing the allergy antibody immunoglobulin.
- Green tea is anti-aging. GIVE ME ANOTHER CUP! The ECGCs in it are 200X more powerful than Vitamin E in fighting free radicals causing skin damage and wrinkles.
Are you ready to join me? If so, consider adding a little freshly squeezed lemon as that enhances the absorption. If not, read more about additional benefits and come on over to the GREEN side of life!
What have you got to gain?
Choose fit, live strong, laugh often.
It’s soooo easy to lose focus these days. With all our technological tools, productivity apps, and lifestyles of convenience, we’d be a bunch of smooth, focused goal-achieving machines, right? Masters of our universes. Yet the reality is that it’s far too easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. Social status updates, emails, texts, twitter, checking the stock exchange or game scores, and 24/7 availability make it ever-so-easy to lose focus on what matters most: our friends & family, our health, career goals, and co-creating our universe. Life happens. But if we’re not careful, we find ourselves caught in a costly conundrum and we miss our mojo.
Sometimes it’s something big—like a relationship ending, the loss of a job, the death of a friend, or an investment gone bad that initiates the detour. For many of us, it’s nothing big—just the small, incremental creep of exponential external stimuli. We know when this happens. We feel it. We feel run down. Negative thoughts creep in. We find ourselves in reactive mode, out of control, and depressed. Along with this, our immunity drops. Darn it, our mojo is missing! Our actions are not aligned with our goals.
To get it back, try following these three steps:
- Start with the end in mind. Remind yourself of your goals, and then start small. Do you have action steps and know the next steps to take? If not, this could be what’s throwing you off. (Actions should be Specific/Measurable/Attainable/Realistic/Timeframe = SMART.) Post your goals and next 3 action steps where you see them. Consider them first thing each morning and again before bed. Allow a few minutes of quiet time each day. Vison boards might be helpful—or post it notes. Do your friends and family know your goals? Share them and enlist their support.
- Identify the distractions and know what breaks you down. While I ‘m not a fan of dwelling in the past, noting distractions is important in order to set necessary boundaries—especially with technology. Limit the # of times you check your email or phone. (For example, limit email to 3 times a day for X minutes and initiate “phone free periods”. There are apps to help you manage!) Resist the technology urge and remember a distracted reactive state of mind leads to rushing, carelessness, and loss of focus. Figure out what distractions to give up and set limits on those that are essential.
- Consider excuses, and then be nice to yourself. Some of our biggest obstacles lie in our heads. Attitude IS everything and the mind can be a powerful friend– or foe. The good news is: that’s in your control, however it may take practice. Like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Find a mantra to help and replace negative thoughts. J Focus on the things you do right and forgive yourself for the things done wrong. Then get back on track and recommit.
Remember, the great thing about this wonderful life is that every day brings an opportunity to begin again. And, when you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else. Choose your yeses and you’ll find your focus. It will feel good. Then, hellooooo mojo!
Until next time, choose your fit. Live strong. Laugh often.
(blog written for Compete Every Day )
What have you got to lose?