January 2019

TAKE THE TIME TO UNWIND

  

Stress happens to all of us. Sometimes it's unavoidable and at times, it's unbearable. Taking time for yourself is a necessity and can help you to relax, renew, and rejuvenate.

Stress does not merely affect your body and mind; it can also affect you on a cellular level. It has been shown that long-term stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses—from headaches to stomach disorders to depression. What many people don’t realize is stress can also increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. 

Understanding the mind/stress/health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

The Fight or Flight Response is a survival mechanism that is hardwired into our nervous systems. This automatic response is needed to allow us a quick reflex when there is imminent danger, such as swerving to avoid a car crash.

Stress can be caused by an actual event or a perceive threat. As our stress hormones rush into the bloodstream there is an increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Other hormones can also suppress functions like digestion and the immune system, which is one of the reasons why chronic stress can leave you more vulnerable to illness.

That real or perceived danger mentioned above triggers the stress response, but so can work conflicts. Eighty percent of those surveyed reported feeling stressed at work. Although one bad day at work won't compromise your health, weeks or months of chronic stress can lessen your immune response and raise your risk for disease. 

There are two ways I find can reduce stress in your life. Change the situation or change the way you look at that situation. 

If you suffer from chronic stress and can't influence or change the situation, then you'll need to change your approach. Be willing to be flexible and remember that you have the ability to choose how you respond to stressors. Recognize when you don't have control, and let it go. Develop coping skills to use when you get anxious about situations that you cannot change. 

In my book Tied in Knots, 3 Steps to Reduce Stress, I show readers how to create a  vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal growth.  

Taking some time each day, even 10 or 15 minutes to relax, can improve your ability to handle life's stressors. Letting go of things in your life causing stress is obvious, but often difficult to do. Mediation, massage, listening to music or  exercising are excellent stress relievers. Although you can't avoid stress, with some practice you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. 

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February 2019

Show Yourself some Self-Love for Valentine’s Day

 FEBRUARY 9, 2019  



With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, this fact, if single, thanks to all the hype surrounding the “most romantic day of the year” may find you feeling a bit down. While some may consider V-Day a day to plan the most romantic evening of the year for their significant other, many use that mid-February day instead to focus on self-love instead of romantic love.

Self-love or self-care is one of those things that may get put off when we get too busy with work, family, and “stuff”. Being willing to help others when ever asked is something we normally do, but, it’s important to stop and refocus on yourself as well.

If you’ve been too busy lately to dedicate some time to you, Not ever giving yourself self-love, you may start to feel like it’s taking a toll on your body and your health. Self-care doesn’t have to be complex, time consuming or expensive. Here are a few suggestions that may help you feel re-centered and loved.

  • Treating yourself can mean anything from taking yourself out for a fancy dinner, to spending some alone time listening to your favorite music with a cup of tea.  
  • Buy yourself flowers and chocolate. These are the top two gifts for Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love and buy some of your favorites.
  • Journal everything you’re feeling or thinking. Journal writing is something I encourage in my books. Does the day make you feel sad, happy, melancholy? Does the upcoming day remind you of days gone by? Writing how you feel, or emotional writing has been proven to help someone feel better.
  • Bake yourself a sweet treat such as chocolate chip cookies. Make extra to share with others.
  • Buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting or that piece of jewelry you stare at every time you pass the jewelry store.
  • Take a bubble bath at the end of the day and relax. Pour yourself a glass of wine, add some candles, and maybe that new book, and you’re bound to have a wonderful night.
  • Cook yourself your favorite meal, sit down and enjoy. No eating standing up or sitting on the couch with plate in hand. Don’t forget to add dessert.
  • Unplug yourself from all technology and social media. Listen to your favorite songs on the beach    

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March 2019

Are you Lucky enough to be Irish?

  Mary-"I was wearing my new shoes today when I stepped in a HUGE cow pile of poo" 

Michael-"Well then, it's a LUCKY thing you were wearing shoes!" 

Mary-"Yea, Luck of the Irish"


What does "Luck of the Irish" really mean? Sounds like an easy question, but maybe it's not! Where did the saying originate? It is used around the world on a daily basis to wish people good luck during a toast, on greeting cards, text messages and social network status updates. It is one of the most popular Irish sayings, but is the luck good or bad luck? Some people, however, say it refers to the bad luck of the people of Ireland who have a history of sadness, famine and war? 


The term 'Luck of the Irish' originated in the USA and means bad luck and not good luck as most people think today. The Irish people were actually very unlucky as they had to leave their homeland in order to survive. In fact, on the night before a person emigrated, a party was held, a sort of 'funeral' wake. A wake is a traditional Irish custom when someone dies, and this wake was held as their family knew it was extremely unlikely, they would see their loved ones ever again.

Tennessee Williams said, "Luck is believing you're lucky." Having faith that you are a lucky person actually makes you more likely to notice opportunities and more likely to be in a positive position where opportunities can come to you.


Do you cross your fingers for luck? If you are the type of person who believes that the glass is half full, not half empty, then you're already practicing that positive thinking. Studies have shown that being optimistic can relieve stress and help you live longer.  


Visualize yourself being lucky. Visualization is a technique where you picture yourself accomplishing something you want, which helps you work out the steps to make that thing happen. When you can see yourself being lucky, being strong and being a winner, then you can work backward to see what you need to do to make that image real. 


Do you believe you can increase your luck by wearing a favorite pair of socks or t-shirt?  My husband always wore his “lucky” shirt when he went bowling with his team. In some unexplained way he believed that shirt helped him bowl better. 


There are several lucky symbols like four-leafed clovers, ladybugs, or pennies people believe will make them luckier. Sceptics would say this is superstitious nonsense, right? Not necessarily. Using lucky charms and having rituals can make you feel luckier, happier, and more optimistic. This positive attitude brings more luck into your life. It might be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but if it works, why not take advantage of it?


In gathering data about luck, one of the most extreme examples of considerable good fortune occurred one chilly Ithaca morning in November 2007, while two men were playing tennis.  During the second set, a man complained of feeling nauseated, the next thing he knew, he was lying motionless on the court.

Very shortly, an ambulance showed up,. Ithaca’s ambulances are dispatched from the other side of town, more than five miles away. How did this one arrive so quickly? By luck, just before he collapsed, ambulances had been dispatched to two separate auto accidents close to the tennis center. Since one of them involved no serious injuries, an ambulance was able to peel off and travel just a few hundred yards to this man. EMTs put electric paddles on his chest and rushed him to the local hospital. 

Doctors later told him that he’d suffered a cardiac arrest. Almost 90 percent of people who experience such episodes don’t survive, and the few who do are typically left with significant impairments. Four days after this happened,  he was discharged from the hospital, and two weeks later, was playing tennis again.  If that ambulance hadn’t happened to have been nearby, he probably would have died. Good Luck? 


Mike Edwards, formerly a cellist in the British pop band the Electric Light Orchestra, was driving on a rural road in England in 2010 when a 1,300-pound bale of hay rolled down a steep hillside and landed on his van, crushing him. He was a decent, peaceful man and a bale of hay took his life that day. Was it just bad luck? 


Whether you are Irish or not, how can you increase your luck chances? Believe there are opportunities in this world, to be successful in life. Once you have this belief, there is a higher chance that you will find the opportunities. People who are lucky are normally more aware of their surroundings and are always looking around for opportunities to make things happen. 

St Patrick’s day is celebrated worldwide and people who have to trace their ancestors back three generations or more still feel proud to wear green and celebrate the patron saint of Ireland's special day on the 17th March. Whatever the origins of the phase 'Luck of the Irish' was intended to mean, good or bad luck, the fact is the Irish are indeed a very fortunate race of people. They are proud, hardworking, funny, extremely patriotic people and are loved by nations all over the world. This may not be luck at all, but having a positive attitude of looking at a bad situation.