Friday, September 23, 2011
Our Female Friends Are Important Allies
Girlfriends are such an important part of life. They enrich your life and make every moment more memorable and special, and they are also an unfailing support system during tough times.
It's no news that female friendships are special. The bond that exists between a woman and her closest gal pals is unlike any of her other relationships — women nurture one another, and good girlfriends can be an unparalleled source of strength in times of stress or turmoil. Unfortunately, during moments of crisis we sometimes push our relationships with our female friends to the back burner. When life gets crazy, the first thing we tend to let go is our friendships with other women — maybe because we figure that they, of all people, will understand.
Studies show this to be a big mistake. Researchers from UCLA have found that gathering around your girlfriends can actually chemically counteract the harmful effects of stress. When a woman is under pressure, calm-inducing chemicals released in her brain may actually cause her to seek and nurture relationships with other women. This "tend and befriend" reaction is the female equivalent of the "fight or flight" response, and a survival mechanism you may want to keep in mind the next time you're feeling overwhelmed.
It’s also important to allow your partner the freedom to have his own friendships as well. Just as you need downtime with the girls to reconnect with your feminine side and explore your unique interests, your partner needs the same for himself. Male bonding might seem like an oxymoron, but the truth is that guys need time to bond and enjoy their friendships just like women do. Show your partner that you support his friendships by surprising him with a couple tickets to a big football game, or clear out of the house with girlfriends and let him host a poker night. Show him that you trust him and respect him 100%, particularly by not hounding him with constant texts and phone calls while he is out with the guys. He will be thrilled to know he has such a down-to-earth and trusting partner, and in return, he will be just as supportive and trusting when you want to go out with the girls.
Best of all, spending time apart from your partner can actually help to increase your arousal. If you spend every waking moment with your partner you will not only get on each other’s nerves, you will also begin viewing him as a platonic partner. Leave the chick flicks and the sushi nights for your girlfriends, and you will not only get to enjoy a fun night with your friends, but you will protect your bond and keep things fresh and sexy.
You can maintain your female friendships by keeping a weekly date with your girlfriends. Get together for a couple of happy hour cocktails after work, grab a cup of coffee together every Saturday afternoon, or meet for brunch on a weekend morning à la Sex and the City. Whether you're a single siren or just need a short break from coupledom, this weekend gather your favorite females for a few precious hours of girls-only fun. Because when it comes to life, love, and the daily ups and downs of the modern woman, no one gets you quite like your closest girlfriends.
Guess I need my spark friends, does me good. Have a great Friday!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I had such a nice start to the day. My hubby came home early from his shift on midnights so he was downstairs watching TV when I came done. We had a nice hug and chat while I made my lunch for work and then he said he would drive me so I could get work earlier (and have a longer workout). We haven't seen each other much lately with all the stuff going on with the kids so it was so nice. I am so grateful for having such a wonderful husband and friend and I am so happy I said yes so many years ago. He is one of the reasons I work out so much and eat healthy, , want to look good and be healthy for him as well as me.
I hope you all have a great day too, I am sure glad it's Thursday. Make good choices today! Enjoy the last day of summer!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Life's a Mess
A poodle and a collie were walking down the street. The
poodle turned to the collie and complained, "My life is a
mess. My owner is mean, my girlfriend is having an affair
with a German shepherd, and I'm nervous as a cat."
"Why don't you go see a psychiatrist?" asked the collie.
"I can't," replied the poodle. "I'm not allowed on the couch."
From email from Round Table
Hope this made you smile! Have a great day! Donna
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Next time you want to sweeten your oatmeal, should you use molasses, or brown sugar? If you're watching your waistline, the answer may be molasses.
In a recent animal study, researchers discovered that adding molasses extract to the diet could help keep both body weight and body fat under control.
In the study, scientists fed two groups of test animals the same high-fat diet, adding 4 percent molasses extract to just one of the groups. At the end of 10 weeks, the molasses group had lower body weight and lower body fat than the other group. It doesn't appear that the molasses extract decreased hunger -- both groups continued to eat the same number of calories. But the researchers speculate that molasses may reduce the amount of calories the body absorbs and that the polyphenols in molasses may somehow help reduce body fat. (Related: Find out what three health risks you can reduce with one sweetener switch.)
More study is needed in humans to determine whether molasses has any weight loss benefits for people. But scientists are hopeful. And in the meantime, molasses as a sweetener has plenty of attributes going for it. This byproduct of sugarcane not only is chock-full of disease-fighting polyphenols but also is a good source of iron and calcium. Ready to use molasses in new and different ways!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Y awning is something we mostly stifle—after all, it can be embarrassing to yawn in front of someone. It’s as if we are announcing that we didn’t get enough sleep or, worse, that we’re bored. It’s a shame—because researchers have discovered that the humble yawn is a major contributor to mental alertness... keeps our brains properly cooled (literally)... and helps us to shift from one activity to another, even to adjust from one time zone to another. For example, yawn soon after awakening to rev up your brain for the day or at night to help calm yourself down and promote sleep. To find out how to consciously use yawning as a tool to make life better, High Energy for Life turned to Patt Lind-Kyle, a psychotherapist based in Nevada City, California, and author of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain (Energy Psychology Press).
THE SCIENCE OF THE YAWN
Most people believe that we yawn to bring oxygen from the air into the body, but that’s wrong, said Dr. Lind-Kyle. She calls yawning an "exercise for the brain" based on the growing number of studies that have found that it facilitates mental efficiency. Yawning does its magic by literally forcing extra blood directly to the brain. When you yawn, your facial muscles broadly contract and then relax, and this action pushes oxygen-rich blood into the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the location of the "executive function" that covers planning, organization, decision-making, personality expression and many other crucial activities.
The yawn also sends blood to stimulate an area called the precuneus, which is involved in consciousness, memory and motor coordination. A study conducted a few years ago at State University of New York-Albany found that performing difficult mental tasks, such as processing lots of information, actually increases brain temperature. Though we’re all familiar with the way ongoing mental labor can trigger yawning, it’s not because it is tiring. The blood that the yawn sends to the brain helps to curtail the brain’s rising temperature. This, in turn, helps to maintain mental efficiency. Interestingly, both yawning and body thermoregulation seem to be controlled by the same area of the brain, the hypothalamus.
HOW TO BRING ON A YAWN
We think of yawns as automatic, but it’s surprisingly easy to make yourself yawn...
Focus thoughts on yawning. Yawns are not only contagious from person to person—even thinking about a yawn can help trigger one, said Dr. Lind-Kyle. Close your eyes and picture a yawn, or say the word "yawn" repeatedly to encourage one.
Fake a yawn... or two... or three until a real one sets in. Dr. Lind-Kyle said that she generally gets a real yawn after one or two fakes, but however long it takes, stick with it—it will happen.
Consciously slow your breathing. The decreased oxygen may help trigger a yawn—flaring your nostrils as you breathe in may make this happen faster.
And finally, the best yawn is one you fully experience, Dr. Lind-Kyle said. So go all the way—open your mouth wide, scrunch your face fully, and take a deep, full breath. Just be ready to explain yourself if you’re in company!
PUTTING YOUR YAWNS TO WORK
Now that we know that yawning can increase our efficiency in a number of areas... how can we take better advantage of this? Here are some situations in which Dr. Lind-Kyle suggests adding a yawn...
To stimulate better thinking. When you are preparing for an exam, a presentation or an important conversation, you can enhance your performance by yawning several times first. During an exam, don’t be shy about yawning when you find yourself losing focus or starting to stumble in your thoughts—it will help.
To reduce jet lag and reset energy levels. At 20 weeks gestation, fetuses start to develop a wake/sleep pattern and as part of the process, they yawn... a lot. Dr. Lind-Kyle said that we can consciously use yawning to help reset our wake/sleep patterns, including when suffering jet lag. To start, yawn five times or so as soon as you get off the airplane. When you’ve experienced how well this refreshes you, Dr. Lind-Kyle said you may soon begin to do it intuitively—you’ll find yourself yawning whenever you feel yourself starting to drag. She said that yawning can be used in this manner to help you acclimate to high altitudes and to reset your energy level as you switch from one activity to another, such as from sleep to wakefulness.
To improve your mood... and, possibly even your relationships. Yawning is associated with increased levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter released from the hypothalamus that is associated with pleasure, motivation and sociability. Dr. Lind-Kyle said that when two people yawn together, it can help diminish tension in the relationship. If nothing else, a shared yawning session should make for a few ice-breaking laughs.
For relaxation. Curiously, although yawning serves to stimulate the brain, a deep yawn and wide stretch also relax the body. Dr. Lind-Kyle, who leads meditation classes, always starts with a healthy yawn, which she says gets people relaxed quickly. She said that bringing on a few deep yawns at bedtime may help you get to sleep.
Yawn away! Have a great day everyone!
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