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31 Days To Healthier Holidays - Dec. 1st - Make A Plan To Stay On Track

Thursday, December 01, 2011

SP points out that, "Gathering with close friends and family members during the holidays creates lasting joy and memories. But with so many parties, celebrations and errands to run, it can be hard to keep up with your healthy lifestyle! Here are 31 daily tips that will help you make healthy choices throughout the holiday season." Sooooo let's get started ...

Today's SP "31 Days To Healthier Holidays" tip is,

"Take inventory. Identify all the situations (office parties, mall food courts, family gatherings) that make it difficult for you to eat healthy during the holiday season. Make a plan for staying on track in every situation."

tells us that if you eat just one extra cookie a day over the holidays you'll put on a lb. Now that may not sound like much, but in 10 years you would weigh 10 lbs. more than you do right now -- that is, if you keep the rest of your diet the same, and that is asking a lot during the holiday season. Many people gain 4 - 5 lbs. this time of year because of the temptation of delicious treats and extravagant dinners.

The holiday season is a time filled with parties, family gatherings and lots of food, but with a little help, you can keep from eating too much during the holidays. If you continue to eat a healthy and nutritious diet, you will feel better and have more energy to enjoy the season.

Many people believe that if they skip breakfast or lunch, they can save up all of those calories for the holiday party that night. That sounds like a good idea, but skipping meals can make you crabby, tired and maybe even leave you with a headache that just might ruin your evening festivities. Plus, when you are really hungry and surrounded by high-calorie holiday treats, you may very easily turn into a raving eating-machine and consume many more calories than the ones you skipped earlier in the day.

Don't skip meals; just eat sensibly. A bowl of whole grain cereal and low-fat milk for breakfast, a mid-morning snack of raisins and nuts, followed by a healthy lunch with a big salad or a sandwich made with whole grain bread will keep your body and your brain fueled throughout the day.

When you have a party to attend, snack on some fiber-filled foods just before you go. Fiber helps you to feel full, and if you aren't feeling so hungry, you might not eat so much at the party. Choose foods like low-calorie vegetables, a small salad, a piece of fresh fruit, or a small bowl of oatmeal.

No one wants to feel deprived, so go ahead and take a small piece of pie or one cookie -- but not both. Look over the buffet or the serving table, and pick out one thing that you really would love to enjoy. The rest of your plate can be filled with healthy vegetables and fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese and lean meats.

It isn't easy to resist the delicious foods you find on a buffet at a party, so get away from the table. Choose your foods and your drink and move to a different part of the room. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. At the very least you will have to think about what you are doing before filling your plate again and again.

When friends and family gather at a meal, the food is usually piled high on most everyone's plate. You wolf down the first plate and pick out more of your favorites to gobble down as second helpings.

Slow down. It takes a few minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is getting full, and you can eat a lot of extra food in those few minutes. You don't need a giant mound of food, so place small portions on your plate. Set your fork down between bites and sip some water. Relax and enjoy the flavor of each mouthful. Chew each bite thoroughly before you swallow. Savor each moment with your friends, your family and this wonderful food, but remember it is a meal, not a race to see who can eat the fastest.

Many people believe that mild dehydration may feel like hunger, and the best way to avoid becoming dehydrated to drink plenty of water. You can also use water to slow down your eating by taking a sip or two between bites. Have a glass or two of water before you start drinking alcoholic beverages, and have one in between drinks to slow down your alcohol consumption as well. (Not only can cocktails be high in calories, but overindulging in alcohol can lower your awareness of how much you're eating.)

Keep some healthy snacks on hand when coworkers start bringing in holiday treats. These treats are always tasty but rarely healthy. Snack on nuts, raisins, fresh fruit or energy bars instead so that your snack calories provide you with good nutrition. If you are going to indulge in a holiday goody, make sure it's not an everyday add-on.

"If you can half-it, you can have it." ~ Author Unknown

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMY-MIMI77 12/2/2011 11:54AM

    Thanks for sharing! This was a great read.

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CRUISEBOUND2014 12/2/2011 9:46AM

    Thank you for sharing!

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SWEETTOOTH10 12/2/2011 6:48AM

    Thanks for the tips! We CAN enjoy the holidays, with just as with anything, careful planning, moderation, and eating mindfully.Hears' to Not gaining during the holidays, and perhaps, even losing! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RONOSOF 12/2/2011 3:27AM

    thanks, I'll check back every day:)

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/2/2011 1:30AM

    Great ideas, working on my plan now. Thanks!

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DEE107 12/2/2011 12:53AM

    thanks of sharing lots of great suggestions thanks

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BEVSMOSS 12/1/2011 8:20PM


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30 Days To Greater Happiness - Nov. 30th - Get Help If You Need It

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today's "30 Days To Greater Happiness" SP tip is,

"Ask for help - if you need it. If you feel unhappy most of the time, talk to a therapist, career counselor, or spiritual advisor to help you find what makes you unhappy."

tells us sometimes when you feel unhappy it can seem like the feeling will never go away. You may feel trapped in negative thoughts and it can be hard to imagine life any other way. You may also get down on yourself for feeling sad, like something is wrong with you.

But feeling down doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you are weak, unlovable or broken. It just means you have some feelings right now that are difficult or overwhelming for you. It’s normal for you to have periods of feeling sad and periods of feeling happy. Everyone goes through ups and downs with their feelings and it doesn’t mean you are defective. The following are some helpful tips and things to remember when you have sad feelings. Reminding yourself of these things can help you keep perspective on your feelings and hopefully lift you out of the negative thoughts.

1. Know that your emotions are not permanent. For most of us, emotions can be like a rollercoaster - they go up and they go down. Sometimes they are smooth and straight, and sometimes they twist and turn. Rarely do they ever stay in the same position for long. It is normal to be sad sometimes and to be happy others. It’s all a normal part of life.

2. Spend time with friends – social connection is one of the strongest ways to get out of a funk. Being alone can cause you to get stuck in your negative emotions. Isolation can lead to more distress. Engaging in the world around you with friends can help you feel connected and loved.

3. Do things you enjoy. By spending time doing something you enjoy, it can help you feel more fulfilled and help you feel that you have more purpose in your life. Feeling fulfilled and connecting with your purpose can help reduce negative thoughts.

4. Try to figure out what your emotional triggers are. Do you know what sets you off when feel down? It can be helpful to notice when you are set off on the emotional rollercoaster. Try to notice who were you with, what were you doing, what were you thinking? Paying attention to these things can help you avoid some of those situations in the future. If you can minimize your exposure to the things that trigger negative feelings for you, you may feel better

5. Avoid drugs and alcohol – sad or negative feelings can be amplified by drugs or alcohol and make a situation seem worse than it actually is.

6. Avoid caffeine – caffeine can increase nervousness and make you feel more jittery or anxious. It can also make it harder for you to sleep, which can make negative feelings worse. Keep in mind that caffeine isn’t only in coffee, it’s also in a number of soft drinks.

7. Practice gratitude -appreciate the things that you do have. When you are feeling down it can be hard to see the beauty or joy in things, but these are just the moments when you need that joy and beauty the most. Here are more tips on how to be grateful.

8. When you are feeling sad, think about someone who cares about you and what they would say to you to help you feel better. Maybe it was a teacher you had in grade school, or maybe it’s a family relative – imagine them being compassionate and encouraging towards you when you are feeling down. What would they say to help you feel better? Now that you’ve thought of it, tell it to yourself.

9. Learn to manage your negative thoughts. You can do this in a number of different ways. The next numbers 10 - 13 are some suggestions on how to manage your negative thoughts.

10. Notice when a negative thought comes up. Don’t judge it or judge yourself for having the thought, just notice that it’s there. As quickly as it arises, think that it can float away. Think of your thoughts as coming as going, just like the clouds in the sky. You can’t hold onto a cloud or grab it. If you do, it will just evaporate. Clouds float away, just like your thoughts. Your thoughts are ever changing, like the clouds in the sky.

11. See if it helps to replace a negative thought with the opposite thought. For example, if you think “I will never find a job and will always be unhappy” replace it with the thought “I will find a job and find happiness”. Keep doing this over and over when the negative thought comes up.

12. Stop yourself from thinking in extremes – such as “I should” or “I must”. This type of extreme thinking is unrealistic and impossible to live up to. It sets up an unrealistic expectation that you cannot live up to and can be a set up for failure. More on thinking in extremes here.

13. Stop thinking “it’s all my fault”. Challenge yourself and challenge that thought when it comes up. You can challenge it by asking yourself, “Is it really my fault? Was this situation totally within my control?” If it was within your control, then think what you can do differently next time. If it wasn’t within your control, give yourself a break! Remember that it’s okay, and that everyone makes mistakes. Life isn’t about the mistakes we make. Life is s all about how we recover from those mistakes and that is what really defines us.

14. Life is not perfect. Understand that we all make mistakes, it is normal. That’s why there are erasers on pencils, for our mistakes! No one is perfect. Get that? No one. Don’t try to be perfect because it’s impossible.

15. Forgive yourself and give yourself permission to not be perfect. You can learn how to do things differently from situations that didn’t work out. Instead of beating yourself up in your mind, just tell yourself that it’s normal to make mistakes and that it’s okay.

Everyone goes through feeling up and feeling down. Usually these feelings can last from a couple of hours to a few days. If you notice that you are feeling down for more than just a few days, you may want to talk to a mental health professional and seek out some help. It is often necessary to try many different things before you can find a way to feel better. Know that there is hope and feelings do change. It is possible to reduce the negative thoughts you are having, and you can change the way you think. Also, there are people who are willing to listen to you and help you. You are not alone, and often times change is possible.

"Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it." ~ Jacques Prévert

"You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness." ~ Author Unknown

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DGFOWLER 12/1/2011 7:00PM

    Wonderful advice. Donna

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/1/2011 2:33AM

    We all can use help now and then. Thanks for posting.

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FISHINGLADY66 11/30/2011 5:10PM

    Thanks for another emoticon post.

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30 Days To Greater Happiness - Nov. 29th - Laugh

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today's "30 Days To Greater Happiness" SP tip is,

"Laugh out loud. Visit a comedy club or watch a funny show. Laughing makes you feel good, so make time for fun and humour every day."

tells us that laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

* Laughter relaxes the whole body.
A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

* Laughter boosts the immune system.
Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

* Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

* Laughter protects the heart.
Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.

More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in on the fun.

* Laughter dissolves distressing emotions.
You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.

* Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.

* Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter and play adds joy, vitality, and resilience. And humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times.

Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to:

* Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
* Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
* Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
* Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.

Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.

Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.


One essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-jawed sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there!

Some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter. But most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either sadness or delight. They fall into the gray zone of ordinary life–giving you the choice to laugh or not.

Ways to help yourself see the lighter side of life:

* Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.

* Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.

* Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.

* Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond our control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical.

* Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.

* Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." ~ Yiddish Proverb

"A good, real, unrestrained, hearty laugh is a sort of glorified internal massage, performed rapidly and automatically. It manipulates and revitalizes corners and unexplored crannies of the system that are unresponsive to most other exercise methods." ~ Author unknown, from an editorial in New York Tribune, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren

"Seven days without laughter makes one weak." ~ Mort Walker

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 11/30/2011 1:14AM

    I love this! Laugh all the time.

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FISHINGLADY66 11/29/2011 8:25PM

    Love this one Thanks for sharing.

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SUSAN134 11/29/2011 7:42PM

    I know how great I feel when something makes me laugh, did not know all the fantastic benefits of laughing though! Wonderful information Val!

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CAROLEE1945 11/29/2011 7:33PM

    I took a class called "Laughing Yoga" It sounds artificial, to just start laughing for no reason, but in a large group, it was infectious. It actually worked!!

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DEE107 11/29/2011 6:32PM

    thanks for sharing

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PAMINHALF 11/29/2011 6:17PM

  I love this quote - "Seven days without laughter makes one weak." ~ Mort Walker

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KEEPITUP05 11/29/2011 5:31PM

    Love this! Thanks again for sharing! :))

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30 Days To Greater Happiness - Nov. 28th - Donate

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today's "30 Days To Greater Happiness" SP tip is,

"Make a donation. Clear the clutter in your home and give all those "extras" you don't use to someone who needs them. By downsizing, organizing and giving, you'll help yourself and others at the same time."

tells us that there are literally thousands of opportunities for a person to contribute time, money, energy or other resources to support a charitable cause.

If you have never given a thought to donating to a charity, this is a good time to start. There are so many ways that making a charitable donation can benefit you and those around you.

One good reason to donate to charity is that such donations can be written off when you file your taxes annually. There isn’t a soul out there who would not like a tax break. If you donate to charity, that money does not count toward your overall tax bill. So you can kill two birds with one stone by helping others while also helping yourself.

Another reason to donate to charity is to clean out items from your home that you no longer use. Many people have homes filled with clothes, toys, books and furniture they no longer use. Donating items such as these can be as useful and helpful as simply writing out a check to your charity of choice. In many cases, these things are still in good enough condition to be put to good use by families and individuals who do not have the funds to purchase such items on their own.

Perhaps the most important reason to make charitable donations is because it fulfills a grander purpose. You are helping people who are less fortunate than you because circumstances in their lives created that situation. It is a good thing to give back when you have the means to make a difference.

One thing you can do to make it easy is to donate to a charity that has helped you, your spouse, a family member or a friend in a time of need. The best way to repay an act of service like that is to return the good turn done to you. If you donate to a charity that helped you or someone you know, you are helping that organization also make a difference in other lives.

"Give cheerfully and freely. It is the energy behind the giving that matters so do not give grudgingly. The law of cause and effect guarantees that you shall receive plenty for what you give." ~ David Cameron Gikandi

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." ~ Maya Angelou

"You cannot receive what you don't give. Outflow determines inflow." ~ Eckhart Tolle

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 11/29/2011 1:19AM

    This is a wonderful idea. I try to donate things at least 3 times a year. It's good to do it all year long.

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DEE107 11/28/2011 10:52PM

    the best thing is that it makes others happy.. we do it through our church and they pick up and deliver and the people who get it are so appreciate

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MAGGIE101857 11/28/2011 8:29PM

    Love your holiday background! So festive!!! Great reminder to think of those less fortunate, especially important at this time of year. We do this throughout the year, regardless of the tax write-off! Today as I was making purchases at the "dollar store" for my office bulletin board, I contributed to their $1.00 toy bin charity - I try and do this every time I go in there! Also noticed many stores on Black Friday had donations to St. Jude - another wonderful cause and "painless" to add a dollar or two to your purchase! Every bit helps!!!

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FISHINGLADY66 11/28/2011 5:41PM

    Great Idea!

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EFFIEANNIE 11/28/2011 5:08PM

    This is always a good reminder. What I have been doing as I am losing weight- when my clothes are too baggy to look nice, I put them in a bag and donate them to Goodwill. I will then have no fattt clothes to fall back on- I must not gain the weight back.

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HLOCHRIDGE 11/28/2011 4:44PM

    Very good idea!!!

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30 Days To Greater Happiness - Nov. 27th - Grow A Garden

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today's "30 Days To Greater Happiness" SP tip is,

"Grow a garden. Watching plants grow and thrive under you care is a great experience! Dig in with cheer, knowing you're beating stress, becoming more active, and surrounding your home with beauty."

tells us that in today's hectic, multi-tasking world, gardening is an activity that allows us to escape, to ground ourselves, and to focus on creating.

Gardening allows us to ...

1. Exercise. Gardening increases joint flexibility and strength, and uses all the major muscle groups (legs, shoulders, back, abs, & buttocks). It has been shown to burn as many calories as the average aerobic workout, and it definitely tones your body in the process.

2. Improve our diet. A personal garden produces healthy, flavourful food that is in season. Vegetables and fruits that are grown from our own garden taste better so we will be more likely to eat them. And when we're eating more veggies and fruit, our body is getting more nutrients. More nutrients = better heath.

3. Grow our creative edge. Planning which seeds to use, where to plant them and how we want our garden to look requires imagination and inspiration to try new ideas. As these skills are practices, our mind develops new neuroconnections and learns how to be more creative. Our newfound skill of creativity can then cross over into others of our lives like our work, relationships and health. Indeed, gardening can enhance our lives.

4. Calms our mind. Gardening gets us outside and away from all the things that overstimulate our minds such as cellphones, computers and TVs. When all these devices are gone, our mind can relax, focus on one thing at a time, and be immersed in the sounds, smells, and sights of nature. A calm mind will improve the health of every cell in our bodies.

5. Connect with the earth. Humans have a deep need to connect with nature - an interesting fact when we consider the amount of time we spent cut off from nature in houses, cars, offices and stores. No wonder many of us have lost the true appreciation for our environment that is needed in order to motivate us to make changes in our lives to save our earth. Gardening can help us rekindle our true appreciation of our earth and give us more leverage to take action to help it. A healthier earth means a healthier you and me!!!

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity." ~ Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

"Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul." ~ Linda Solegato

"I cultivate my garden, and my garden cultivates me." ~ Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 11/28/2011 2:11AM

    Great advice.

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JSPEED4 11/28/2011 12:59AM

    emoticon I like corn eaten raw, straight off of the stalk---silk and all, though most people make a tea from the silks since they are stringy.

Green beans are great, fresh from the garden, raw. Add plenty of fresh tomatoes and a few mint and/or sage or basil leaves; you can make a meal sitting at a simple yard table, or on a yard bench.

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DEE107 11/28/2011 12:30AM

    thanks for sharing this

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FISHINGLADY66 11/27/2011 8:14PM

    emoticon My daughter ask me how to grow a garden.

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