Thursday, April 26, 2012
Ah, the nap. It's not necessarily from sleep deprivation and it's not necessarily for the little ones.
I used to be able to nap anytime, anywhere. If I felt like nap, I would just sit down, drop my chin to my chest and slip away. Sometimes, I would nap for hours! But mostly I would take a little power nap in the afternoon. I would have a cup of coffee, lower the lighting, and lean back in my chair and sleep for 10 to 20 minutes. The coffee's caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in, so just as I am waking, the power of the coffee to help with concentration was beginning to kick in. Longer than 20 minutes, REM sleep takes hold and then you are passing from a nap to real sleep.
She(WMBO) was always convinced that naps were a waste of time. "If you'd go to bed earlier, you wouldn't need a nap." But when we would work on project, she discovered that when I didn't take a nap around 2-2:30, I was cooked by 5:00. When I had a 20 minutes nap in mid afternoon, I could go until 7:00. It was, according to her ledger, and time investment.
It's really more than that. A Spanish study found that workplace accidents tended to be more serious after lunch, possibly due to failure to take a lunch time nap. A Hopkins study looked at airplane passengers. On morning, noon, and evening flights, people tended to be looking out the window, reading, talking, working, and in general, awake. Flights in the middle of the afternoon had a larger percentage of travellers sleeping. Even among business travellers. Studies also show that a short nap can lower risk for a bunch of health problems from high blood pressure to obesity and diabetes. Plus, napping has been known to enhance creative thinking, improve memory, and aid with learning — so maybe it’s time we take a cue from kindergarten.
There is one other type of nap I became good at. I called it the "Mommy Nap." I used to get these when I was a stay at home Dad and the kids were little. I would fall asleep but somehow I was fully aware of everthing going on and being said around me.
Now that my restless leg syndrome has moved from mild to moderately severe, naps are few and far between. But when I do get one, it is sweet.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
There are many ways to bust stress. Kissing, Laughter. I posted those over the last two days. A lot of us use exercise or running to break our stress. Sex works, sometimes but you need to find someone else in the mood.
One of the most misquoted and misattributed quotes says it best: "Music has charms to soothe the savage breast." It's not Shakespeare and it is bReast not beast.
Here is the complete poem:
The Mourning Bride, 1697
by William Congreve
Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
'Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv'd the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg'd
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?
And I think it does. It works in more situations than the alternatives ... maybe excluding laughter.
Music can also help with a situation that stresses out even the bravest among us: heading to the doctor or dentist. And one study found music can be beneficial for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Patients showed better moods, lower blood pressure, and lower heart rates when they listened to music or worked with a music therapist. Researchers think music can distract patients from their misery and even increase their ability to tolerate pain.
Music can help ease pain and depression and could even enhance creativity. (Who needs booze or drugs?) Slower musical beats can also alter brainwave speed, creating brainwave activity to when we’re in a more meditative or hypnotic state. This may help to reduce stress, headache pain, and even symptoms of PMS. On long runs, I find that music helps set the rhythm of my pace and if I just put my iPod on shuffle, the beat varies and make my run at different paces, holding off the boredom or the LOOOONNNNNG run for just a few more quarter-miles.
Still stressin’ at night? Classical music may be an effective way to ease into falling asleep, which will hopefully lead to feeling more refreshed in the AM. Not a huge Beethoven fan? Don’t you worry ’bout a thing — just listen to this song instead. youtu.be/zywDiFdxopU
Here's a tip I learned. Listening to music (especially slower tunes) can alter brain activity, which may lead to a reduction in stress and pain. So out with the punk, ska, hip hop, and in with the torch songs and slow ballads.
Monday, April 23, 2012
--- The teacher in our Bible class asked a woman to read from the Book of Numbers about the Israelites wandering in the desert. "The Lord heard you when you wailed, 'If only we had meat to eat!' " she began. "Now the Lord will give you meat. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, or ten or twenty days, but for a month -- until you loathe it." When the woman finished, she paused, looked up and said, "Hey, isn't that the Atkins diet?" ---
Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy.
Laughter us good for your health. It reduces stress and relaxes the whole body. It boosts the immune system. 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.
--- Kimberly announced that she had started a diet to lose some pounds she had put on recently. "Good!" her friend Katie exclaimed. "I'm ready to start a diet too. We can be dieting buddies and help each other out. When I feel the urge to drive out and get a burger and fries, I'll call you first."
"Great!" she replied. "I'll ride with you." ---
Laughter also helps us to stay emotionally healthy. It feels good! It helps us to stay positive. We often use laughter to help us to face difficult situations. It is not uncommon t find mourners at a funeral telling jokes and laughing. It may be at stories about the deceased or memories of the last time the family got together. It seems to give us new sources of meaning and hope.
It is always more powerful to laugh with others than to laugh alone. Laughter tends to increase bonds between people and to heal anger and resentments. It is often used to bring people together in difficult times.
--- Best line from the Godfather, diet edition: "Bring the gun, leave the cannoli." ---
So bring more laughter into your life. Smile! Count your blessings! When you hear laughter, turn toward it. If it's a private joke, that's ok, but usually jokes are meant to be shared. Hang out with playful, fun people.
Develop you sense of humor by taking yourself less seriously. Laugh at yourself. Self deprecating humor is some of the funniest. Mom once asked me why I had "that stupid beard." With it, I told her, I'm cute and cuddly, a teddy bear, I'm Santa Claus! Without it I'm just another short fat white guy. My brother looker at me and said, "Well, not much you can do about short or white." It was funny.
Lighten up! Is it worth getting upset over? Is it worth upsetting others? Is it REALLY important? Is it that bad?
--- I was talking to my doctor about a weight-loss patch I had seen advertised. Supposedly you stick it on, and the pounds melt away. "Does it work?" I asked. "Sure," he said. "If you put it over your mouth." ---
"Laugh! Don't take the world serious!" -- Abner Doubleday
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Kissing. Eww, gross! Swapping spit! Bad breath! And all those germs: meningitis, herpes (cold sores), mononucleosis, colds. Eww.
The kiss of death. The kiss of Judas!
Parents kiss children, friends kiss, people kiss religious icons and artifacts. Playing to a tie is "like kissing your sister." (Don't ask me. I always play to win.) Nowadays, even a total stranger will give you a kiss.
OK, I bet you ain't NEVER been kissed by a total stranger like THAT!
Ahh, and when lovers kiss … l'amore.
What's the deal with romantic kissing? Is it learned or is it instinctive? Thats hard to tell and the experts don't agree. But there are some definite physiological effects from that romantic kiss.
Anyone who has ever been kissed knows that the sensations involved aren't confined to the mouth. Your facial nerve carries impulses between your brain and the muscles and skin in your face and tongue. While you kiss, it carries messages from your lips, tongue and face to your brain to tell it what's going on. Your brain responds by ordering your body to produce:
* Oxytocin, which helps people develop feelings of attachment, devotion and affection for one another
* Dopamine, which plays a role in the brain's processing of emotions, pleasure and pain
* Serotonin, which affects a person's mood and feelings
* Adrenaline, which increases heart rate and plays a role in your body's fight-or-flight response
When you kiss, these hormones and neurotransmitters rush through your body. Along with natural endorphins, they produce the euphoria most people feel during a good kiss. In addition, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate, so your whole body receives more oxygen than it does when you're just standing around. You can also smell the person you're kissing, and researchers have demonstrated a connection between smells and emotions.
And one study suggests all this brain action occurs to focus our biological attention on one person (essentially, a potential mate to reproduce with) and stops us from spending too much time and energy elsewhere (isn’t that sweet?).
As most of us know, not every kiss is going to end with marriage and children (and lets give thanks for that!). A whopping 59% of men and 66% of women say they have ended a budding relationship because of a kiss (even more incentive to double check that breath). Another study showed that men were more likely to initiate kissing prior to doing the deed, while women were more likely to steal kisses after. But both genders believed kissing before sexual intercourse with a long-term partner was important (with cuddling and saying “I love you” being the most important after sex).
Kissing can boost immunity, is a natural relaxant, and also burns calories (what more could we want?). Surprisingly enough, another study showed that frequent kissing, cuddling, and hugging is a significant factor in happiness for men in long term relationships— even more than for the ladies!
Check this link: How to Kiss from wikiHow
Saturday, April 21, 2012
One of the scenes from "Rocky" that I always like was the one where Rocky Balboa was skipping rope as pare of his training. Everybody back in those days was trying to emulate Rocky with his jump roping technique.
I never did get it.
Oh, I got why people wanted to imitate Rocky. It was so cool to watch. No, I never caught on to how to jump rope.
Chris Downie, the Spark Guy, talk extensively about jumping rope in The Spark. It was his go to exercise that helped to get him into shape and lose weight. He mentioned how great it was to travel and just need to put his his rope into his bag and go.
Me? I try using a rope and I stumble all over. But, what I didn't realiz was that you don't even need a rope to jump rope. You can just jump in place with an imaginary rope.
Jumping rope burns calories, improves both aerobic and anaerobic endurance, develops strength, and fortifies bones– no gym membership required. And it can be done just about anywhere, with a rope’s small size making it easy to stash in a gym bag or a suitcase for a workout on the go. Plus it’s cheap: even a hi-tech rope like the Skipp Comp— which counts number of skips, time, and speed—runs less than $20, so any weight lost won’t be coming out of a wallet.
Jumping rope is truly a total-body exercise, with heavy emphasis on the arms, legs, abs, shoulders, and chest. Because it requires so many parts to work in unison, it also builds coordination, agility, and balance. And since both legs absorb the shock of each jump, jumping rope is usually easier on the knees than running or jogging (though it’s a little more difficult to do in water). Interestingly, a study found that because of the added concentration factor, people tend to push themselves harder jumping rope than they would jogging or skipping without a rope.
For sports with a lot of overhead movements like volleyball and gymnastics, jumping rope can even be effective in conditioning shoulders for repetitive stress. Jumping movements— known in the fitness realm as plyometrics— also improve bone density in adolescents and adults, decreasing the long-term risk of osteoporosis.
Great, now grab a rope.
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