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Is the sun shining in your life?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

How many of you are wondering what happen to the summer. It is now the first of October and while we still can have many nice days I am dreading the coming of winter. The winter blahs have always been part of my life come January or February but it feels like they are coming early this year. Maybe is because I was not able to do some of the things I wanted to do this summer because of time restraints and other problems, maybe it is because of other things I am dealing with, maybe it is the four deaths of family and friends last month, maybe it is not knowing how the holidays are going to be this year because of family issues or maybe it is time to evaluate some of my meds again. Whatever it is, I am not happy about it.

Finding the website Positively Sunny positivelysunny.com could not have happened at a better time. Even better was a blog titled “The ‘blues’ may not be just in your head” by Kay Allison. Below is what I read.

“Therefore, you can’t think your way out of feeling down. Einstein said, ‘Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.’ If negative thoughts are running amok in your head, perhaps you need something more than positive sayings to change your mind. I do believe that positive thinking can be a powerful tool, but on its own it’s not sufficient to the task of helping me be fundamentally a happy woman.

My story
I have had the propensity to struggle with feeling down since I was a little girl. I remember feeling sad and lonely at the age of four, the summer my family started camping. On those camping trips, my dad (normally very quiet and withdrawn) read aloud in front of the campfire at night. He read greatly compelling stories like The Hobbit or The Count of Monte Cristo with dramatic gusto and enthusiasm. Being four, I was put to bed mid-story because it was getting late. Night after night, I crept out of my sleeping bag into the corner of that cold, lonely canvas tent nearest to the fire so I could at least overhear some of the warmth and uncharacteristic liveliness of my dad. Being alone and separated made me feel so abandoned and rejected, I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it.

So, did I feel down because of the situation or did I feel down because I was already biologically predisposed?
On the physiological side:
A few years ago, I learned that people who struggle with the blues are likely to have similar physiological “bio-markers” or blood chemistry.
• For instance, many people who have mood issues have high levels of homocysteine (for which there is a blood test. Kathleen Johnson (my nutritionist partner at Positively Sunny) and Dr. Molly Roberts, a practitioner of integrated medicine, taught me that homocysteine goes up when you don’t get enough of the B vitamins folic acid, B6 and B12. High homocysteine levels have been found in people with depression. Although many labs consider a level under 15 to be normal, under 9 is optimal. Taking supplemental B vitamins (B6, B12 and folic acid) can help physiologically with this issue.
• Another bio-marker for depression is a low level of vitamin D (another blood test, this time for 25-hydroxy vitamin D). According to Kathleen, good results are over 50 nmol. If your level is under 20 (as mine was when I had it tested initially), it’s considered insufficient. I asked Kathleen to identify supplements that would help me address this issue and the B vitamin issue both. Because she wasn’t been able to find something she felt completely happy with, I asked if we could create a supplement that would combine the antidote for low levels of vitamin D along with the B vitamins to create something that would help with these mood issues.
• Thyroid malfunctions can also cause issues with mood. This is another battery of tests that your doctor can help you with. If you do have thyroid problems, your doctor can prescribe a program of action and intervention to address those issues.
• Last, clinical depression is thought to be related to hormones and other chemicals in your blood stream. I have been prescribed anti-depressants and I am grateful that I live in an age when they are available.

Through my own experience (corroborated by clinical studies), I’ve found that mood issues are triggered by stress and anxiety. It’s a one-two punch. First I’m anxious and stressed out, and then I’m down and struggling. I was on this anxiety-depression teeter-totter constantly for a while. Movement, regular movement, has been a stabilizing antidote for me. Today, I crave the endorphins and the vitamin D I get from sweating outside. What started as a way to look hot and not get fat has now become my way off the see-saw between anxiety and depression. Moving my body contributes to my fundamental level of happiness.

So, physically I am predisposed for mood issues. The good news is that there are ways to intervene with these physiological issues. Upon reflection, I also realize that I felt down as that little girl of four because I was disconnected on all kinds of levels: spiritual, communal and with nature.

Spirituality and Connection
I’m down when I’m cut off from the sunlight of the spirit. When I don’t have a clear channel to my spiritual source, I am more easily irritated. I’ve developed a spiritual practice that I engage in on a daily (or well, mostly daily) basis.
I honestly work to integrate my spirituality into all of my actions, acting in alignment with spiritual principles.

Being disconnected to the spirituality of nature contributes to my feeling down. Living in a place where I can see the mountains every day allows me to connect with something greater than myself. Those mountains were here for thousands of years before me, and God willing, they’ll be here for thousands of years after I die. It helps me transcend my own petty issues.

Creating community and connecting with people on a heart level is also a part of my spiritual practice. And one of the reasons I’m writing this blog.

Positive Thinking as a Spiritual Practice
I don't mean to minimize the power of positive thinking. I am a big fan of the Power through Constructive Thinking by Emmet Fox. Emmet Fox was a spiritual teacher in the early 1930’s in America, and his ideas profoundly influenced Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and author of the book by the same name. He points to a spiritual law of substitution. That means changing your thinking by substituting a spiritual, positive thought for every negative thought you become aware of. It’s a powerful practice, spiritual in nature, which helps me simply change my mind.

A Complex Problem Needs a Multi-Faceted Solution
Feeling down stems from a variety of causes and conditions. So it makes sense that there is no “silver bullet,” one-dimensional solution. I have woven together our four basic principles to create a tapestry of fundamental happiness in my life, and I believe it can work for you, too. Eating positively, moving joyfully, acting spiritually and tracking vigilantly create a new level of awareness… the new level of awareness necessary to solve our negative thinking.”

I can so relate to some things she has written here but especially the anxiety-depression teeter-totter thought. Have also not been feeling the best. Have been trying to decide if it was because of the depressed mood or if there was something else wrong. After reading this have decided maybe a visit to the doctor is in order and will have a discussion about the physiological side of things. Have dealt with depression enough over the years, should know better than to ignore my body signals. However the other half has a problem with the D word and all that goes with it. (A topic for another time) Do have friends to talk to but it is time to find some answers and take my life back.

It is time to find the sun of life from behind the trees/teeter-totter of life.
It is time to "Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sun Shine In"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZESTYLADY 10/24/2010 8:38AM

    Thanks for stopping by my site. Your post is very thoughtful and interesting to me as I ride the mood roller coaster as well. There is great pressure for all of us to subscribe to the positive thinking prescription. I also believe it is just one of the tolls that are in the arsenal. Addressing core issues and imbalances on the many levels of our lives is the key to change, imho. I enjoyed Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Bright-Sided- how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America" as a different perspective on positive thinking.

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    Thanks for the website! I have been in the dumps lately, and I know it's not weather relate -I live in NM! I will explore this avenue. Great Blog and good insight! emoticon

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Procrastinator – Eat That Frog!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back to sharing things I have found regarding some of my bad habits.

How many have heard Mark Twain’s saying "If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is eat a live frog, then nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day!"

I have seen this saying and had taken it as; get the worst thing I have to do for the day done first and the rest of the day will be easier. Recently discovered there is more to it than that after hearing about a book by Brian Tracy titled “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” The write-up stated:” our frog should be the most difficult item on our things to do list, the one we're most likely to procrastinate on. If we eat the frog first, it'll give us energy and momentum for the rest of the day. But, if we don't and let him sit there on the plate and stare at us while doing a hundred unimportant things, we will be drained of our energy and won't even know it.”

Upon checking out the book he has a lot to say about time management problems and how to solve them. Decided the best way to share what he has to say is to go to his conclusion.

“The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success and a wonderful feeling of personal power and effectiveness is for you to develop the habit of eating your frog first thing every day when you start work. Fortunately, this is a learnable skill you can acquire through repetition. And when you develop the habit of starting on your most important task before anything else, your success is assured. Here is a summary of the 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster. Review these rules and principles regularly until they become firmly ingrained in your thinking and actions and your future will be guaranteed.

1. Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you begin.

2. Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution.

3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to everything: 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on the top 20%.

4. Consider the consequences: Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all else.

5. Practice creative procrastination: Since you can’t do everything, you must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so you have enough time to do the few things that really count.

6. Use the ABCDE Method continually: Before you begin work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organize them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities.

7. Focus on key result areas: Identify and determine those results that you absolutely, positively have to get, to do your job well, and work on them all day long.

8. The Law of Three: Identify the three things you do in your work that account for 90% of your contribution, and focus on getting them done before anything else. You will then have more time for your family and personal life.

9. Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Have everything you need at hand before you start. Assemble all the papers, information, tools, work materials and numbers you might require so that you can get started and keep going.

10. Take it one oil barrel at a time: You can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if you just complete it one step at a time.

11. Upgrade your key skills: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done.

12. Leverage your special talents: Determine exactly what it is that you are very good at doing, or could be very good at, and throw your whole heart into doing those specific things very, very well.

13. Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or chock points, internal or external, that set the speed at which you achieve your most important goals and focus on alleviating them.

14. Put the pressure on yourself: Imagine you have to leave town for a month and work as if you had to get all your tasks completed before you left.

15. Maximize your personal power: Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day and structure your most important and demanding tasks around these times. Get lots of rest so you can perform at your best.

16. Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive.

17. Get out of the technological time sinks: Use technology to improve the quality of your communications, but do not allow yourself to become a slave to it. Learn to occasionally turn things off and leave them off.

18. Slice and dice the task: Break large, complex tasks down into bite-sized pieces and then do just one small part of the task to get started.

19. Create large chunks of time: Organize your days around large blocks of time where you can concentrate for extended periods on your most important tasks.

20. Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well.

21. Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately on your most important task, and then work without stopping until the job is 100% complete. This is the real key to high performance and maximum personal productivity.

Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they become second nature to you. With these habits of personal management as a permanent part of your personality, your future success will be unlimited. JUST DO IT! EAT THAT FROG!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAMANOS 8/21/2010 5:28PM

    I actually own this book, and have read and loved it. That said, I still Spark before I do my strength training, because I get more pleasure from it. But I'm a work in progress, so I thank you for this reminder. emoticon emoticon

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How's This For Nostalgia?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Do think it is nostalgia weekend. Saturday received an email from a friend about nostalgia and then SISIEMILO had a blog about being over 40. Have decided to share my received email with you.

I remember 99% of these things!
** All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
** It took three minutes for the TV to warm up?
** Nobody owned a purebred dog?
** When a quarter was a decent allowance?
** You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
** Your Mom or even you wore nylons that came in two pieces?
** You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?
** Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
** It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
** They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed and they did it!
** No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
** When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car... to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
** Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, 'That cloud looks like a... '?
** Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
** Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
** And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.
** When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home?
** Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
** ...as well as summers filled with bike rides, Hula Hoops, and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
~~Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, 'Yeah, I remember that'?
~~I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a Double Dog Dare to pass it on. To remember what a Double Dog Dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.
~~ Send this on to someone who can still remember Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.

How Many Of These Do You Remember?
** Candy cigarettes
** Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.
** Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.
** Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes.
** Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.
** Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.
** Newsreels before the movie.
** Telephone numbers with a word prefix...( Yukon 2-601). Party lines.
** Peashooters.
** Hi-Fi's & 45 RPM records.
** 78 RPM records!
** Green Stamps.
** Mimeograph paper.
** The Fort Apache Play Set.

Do You Remember a Time When.
** Decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-moe'?
** Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, 'Do Over!'?
** 'Race issue' meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
** Catching The Fireflies Could Happily Occupy An Entire Evening?
** It wasn't odd to have two or three 'Best Friends'?
** Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a Slingshot?
** Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?** 'Oly-oly-oxen-free' made perfect sense?
** Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
** The Worst Embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
** War was a card game?
** Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
** Taking drugs meant orange - flavored chewable aspirin?
** Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?
** If you can remember most or all of these, Than You Have Lived!!!!!!!

Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their 'Grown-Up' Life.
I Double-Dog-Dare-Ya!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEFIT014 8/8/2010 9:57PM

    That was great! I remember a good portion of that! Brought back some good memories, too!

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VICIOUS421 8/8/2010 3:33AM

    LOL That was Great!!!!! I remember a lot of that and while some things have changed for the better many things would be better if they had stayed like they were in the 'Good Old Days'!!!!!

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The Top 6 Excuses for Clutter

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Another bad habit or area I need to work on.

By Elizabeth Fenner
Why people can’t let go of stuff and how to outwit those hoarding instincts.

1. “If I get rid of this wedding vase, I’ll feel guilty.”
Solution: People feel a responsibility to be good stewards of things…especially items they’ve been given by or inherited from a loved one. Getting rid of a present feels like disrespecting the giver. But remember the true meaning of gifts.

“When you receive a present…your duty is to receive it and thank the giver - not to keep the gift forever.” That goes for items you inherit. “Ask yourself, ‘How many things do I really need to honor this person’s memory?’”. Select a few objects with strong associations to your late grandmother, say, and keep them in places where you’ll see them. Let the rest go to people who want them more than you do. Likewise, don’t be shy about admitting a mistake you made and moving on. The $120 pair of heels you bought last spring that pinch? Cut yourself some slack and give them away.

2. “I think this brooch/chair/ugly knickknack might be valuable again.”
Solution: When you hear…that someone’s grandmother’s old Bakelite bracelets would now fetch $500, it’s easy to wonder whether your vintage piece might be worth a bundle. Stop guessing and find out what the item in question is truly worth. [Check] on eBay, searching for an item similar to yours. If the sale prices look promising - or if you can’t find equivalent items - consider having the item appraised by an expert.… Be sure to ask for an estimate first.

3. “But I might need seven sleeping bags one day.”
Solution: Everyone fears tossing something out only to realize - down the road - that she shouldn’t have. Keeping things around “just in case” makes people feel safe. If your main problem is an overflowing closet, try the “packing for a trip” trick. You’re packing for a month’s vacation - you’ll need both dressy and casual clothes, for warm and cool weather, and you can fill two big suitcases. Then take all the other things and place them on a rack in your basement or attic. If you want to wear any exiled clothes in the coming days, grab them. But as the months go by, you’ll be shocked at how few of those clothes you need or even think about. From there, it’s a baby step to a Goodwill bag.

Still have separation anxiety? Box up the stuff you’re not quite able to part with and write on the outside, "Open in August 2011" - or whatever date it will be one year from now. Tuck it away in your basement, attic, or storage facility. If a year from now you find you didn’t miss the items, it will be much easier to part with them.

4. “I want this chartreuse muumuu to go to a good home.”
Solution: People often want to find just the right place for their belongings. The problem is, trying to find just the right place can be paralyzing...and while you wait, say, for your niece to move into a starter apartment, your old love seat and dinette set gather dust.

To satisfy your desire for perfect placement, look for a charity with which you feel a strong connection - perhaps a shelter for women…or call your nearest house of worship and inquire whether it has a clothing drive coming up. Ask if the donation is tax-deductible, and get a receipt.

5. “If I put the bills away, I’ll never pay them on time.”
Solution: Many clutterers have gotten into the habit of organizing their world visually and spatially. They’re afraid if they put stuff away, they won’t remember it, because they won’t see it. “But it’s a perception of order not real order.” You may initially recall the electric bill is next to the potted plant on the kitchen counter, but it will soon be buried by other items you need to have in plain sight, too, like invitations and permission slips.

Even hard-core clutterers can train themselves to complete tasks without obvious visual cues. For starters, if you’re used to leaving things in piles, designate a logical home for every object. Set up automatic e-mail reminders to help you remember to pay bills. In addition, if you feel as if out of sight is out of mind, make transparency your friend. Store items in clear plastic bins so you can always see what’s there.

6. “I want to declutter, but I can’t get motivated.”
Solution: This may be due to a phenomenon known as delayed discounting. It works like this: If it takes a long time to reach a goal, you value that goal less than if you could reach it quickly - making it harder to get started. Make projects small and rewards immediate. After you organize a distinct area, dress it up. Keep at it and your home will become not only more orderly but also more beautiful.

The complete article with more details is at: www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/o

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I am sure we all you use some of this advice. Thanks for sharing the great article! emoticon

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VICIOUS421 8/5/2010 2:56AM

    I am a packrat to the extreme!!!! Thanks for sharing this with us!!!!!

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TRIGFROST 8/4/2010 11:25PM

    Verry good .... emoticon

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6 Ways to Stop Overeating

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Am featuring another one of my bad habits. It is my hope by writing about some of these habits it will be the first step towards conquering them.

Tune in to your hunger signals for great weight loss results
By: Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, RD

Gain control of food cravings
Simple ways to stay satisfied—and keep your weight in check

…If you want to lose weight, you must tune in to your body's signal to eat. "Hunger is a physical cue that you need energy," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet. It can be your best diet ally and if you listen to your body, you'll instinctively feed it the right amount. Fall out of touch, though, and hunger becomes diet enemy number one: You may eat more than you need or get too hungry and stoke out-of-control cravings…

1. Use the hunger scale
Moderately hungry

2. Refuel every 4 hours
…Set your watch. Moderate to full-fledged hunger (our ideal window for eating) is most likely to hit 4 to 5 hours after a balanced meal. Waiting too long to eat can send you on an emergency hunt for energy—and the willpower to make healthful choices plummets…

3. Eat breakfast without fail
…If you're feeling full-blown hunger before noon, there's a chance you're not eating enough in the morning. Shoot for a minimum of 250 calories and make it a habit…

4. Build low-cal, high-volume meals
Eat fewer calories by eating more food. Solid foods that have a high fluid content can help you suppress hunger. A similar effect happens in foods with a lot of air.

5. Munch fiber all day long
Fiber can help you feel full faster and for longer. Aim to get at least 25 g fiber a day.

6. Include healthy protein at each meal
Boost your protein intake to feel more satisfied and less hungry. This also helps preserve more lean body mass, which includes calorie-burning muscle.

The above and more information can be found at www.prevention.com/6-step-plan-to-st

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PIXIE637 8/3/2010 1:06AM

    Thanks for the great tips. I will try to implement them into my daily eating.

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