Smile: [smahyl] verb – to express amusement, pleasure, moderate joy or love and kindness, by the features of the face; to laugh silently.
Why is it so hard for people to smile? Even if it’s a fake smile, researchers have proven that a smile, fake or not, will automatically boost your mood. Why? Humans associate emotions with phyiscal activity or contact. If you are walking around sluggish and angry, you emit a negative energy around you. So what do you think would happen if, let’s just say, you smile? Duh! Positive energy all around.
So, I have a social experiment for everyone this month: smile at a stranger. Scenario: you’re taking your dog for his morning walk. You are about to cross paths with a someone you don’t know who is also walking their dog. For some people this is awkward so they look away, or may even whip out their cell phone to pretend to look busy (I may be guilty of this one). Try and fight these urges and just offer a quick and harmless smile. Chances are you will receive a smile back. Now was that so hard? Smiling is contagious, it takes little effort and it’s free! What’s better than a free gesture? A smile can turn someone’s bad day into a slightly happier one.
Don’t just think of this as helping others. Think of this as helping yourself. By smiling you are sending yourself the message that you are a positive individual. And remember, “smile and the whole world smiles with you.” You can thank me later.
Ahhh, the beginning of Spring. This time of season is so wonderfully refreshing! Everything and everyone starts to come out of hibernation; leaves start to grow on trees, flowers bloom and people start gardening. March usually marks the beginning of the gardening season. The weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer, which means more sunlight; perfect for planting. Gardening is a great way to know exactly where your fruits and vegetables are coming from, because let’s face it, who knows what kinds of chemicals and bacteria are on things these days. Plus, it’s a great hobby and stress reliever. There’s always a great fulfillment knowing that what you’re eating is what you just harvested from your own garden.
As fun as gardening in March is, not every vegetable or fruit should be planted now. Some should be planted as the weather gets warmer, depending on your location. March friendly vegetables and fruits consist mainly of; asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce (many types), onions, peppers, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries and tomatoes… just to name a few.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my thumb isn’t exactly green. In fact it’s at the total opposite spectrum. The only thing I can actually suggest is to go completely organic and start your own compost pile. Now that’s what I call knowing EXACTLY where your produce comes from!
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women? Not only does it affect all ethnicities, but it can happen at any age. American’s have been drilled with the idea that a fast paced lifestyle is the way to live. Well, it’s not. There are many ways to fight cardiovascular disease. The average healthy American is recommended to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. This is equivalent to 1 teaspoon. ONE TEASPOON! For those that are hypertensive, 1,500 mg of sodium per day is recommended.
So where does all of this extra salt come from? According to Heart Healthy Magazine, “Roughly 10 percent of the salt in our diet comes from the salt we add ourselves (the salt we season with while cooking or sprinkle at the table) and 10 percent is naturally occurring. The vast majority of salt—amounting to about 80 percent of daily intake—comes from processed foods. Salt is added to processed foods to achieve a (very salty) taste profile. In many situations adding salt is what makes cheap, un-tasty food palatable. Salt also is added for stability and preservation reasons. But the amount of salt added is clearly above and beyond what’s required for the safety and function of the food supply. The simple math leads to the conclusion that going easy with the salt shaker is hardly going to put a dent in the unhealthy amount of salt in the typical American diet. It’s also hard to trust our taste buds when salt is involved. Some foods taste quite salty because the salt is on the surface, while other sodium-saturated dishes don’t taste salty at all because other flavors and textures (namely, lots of fat and sugars) cover up the salt.”
You can add great flavor to any of your dishes without salt. Here are just a few suggestions and alternatives to your meals. Getting active is another great way to keep your heart strong. Grab some friends and head to the park. Not only is this a great way to get your heart pumping (safely and within your limits), but you can also catch up on the latest gossip, a great stress reliever! President Obama has proclaimed February as American Heart Month. February 5, 2010 was National Wear Red Day, I hope you all wore red to show your support. But wearing red to show your support is not limited to one day a year. Wear red and share your ideas and tips with everyone, everywhere.
1.Start each morning with a healthy breakfast, high in fiber and nutrients. Studies have shown that what you have for breakfast influences what you eat for the rest of the day. Many people go wrong by thinking a muffin is a light and healthy breakfast. WRONG! Most muffins from the bakery contain on average 340 to 640 calories, EACH. Oh and that’s without butter. Pass! For a quick on the go breakfast have a cup of non-fat yogurt with mixed blueberries, a slice of whole wheat toast and a fresh glass of orange juice (that you juiced yourself!). If you have a little more time to spare try some of these delicious recipes to jump start your morning.
2.Get up and do something! Go for a walk and check out your neighborhood, window shop at the mall, take your dog for a jog at the park or join a gym and take advantage of their exercise classes. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, just get active. Get your heart pumping for at least 45 minutes each day.
3.Everyone needs time to wind down, especially after a stressful day. Find a hobby! Try learning to play a new instrument, cooking an unfamiliar dish, knitting, bird watching…etc. The possibilities are endless!
4.Laugh and smile! Laughing increases the levels of endorphins in your body making you less stressed and with a healthier immune system. Pop in a funny movie that will get you laughing in no time. Studies have shown that with just 15 minutes of laughter (even fake laughter) will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on weight. Ever heard of laughter yoga? Pretty interesting.
5.Be positive. Living your life with the, “Why me?” attitude will only weigh you down. Life is a beautiful and precious thing. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Instead of questioning yourself and your self worth, question what you can do to make it better? There is always room for improvement.
6.Cut out the toxins – smoking, drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.
7.Adopt a pet! I can’t think of another way to get active. Pets are wonderful and loyal companions and they will show you unconditional love 24/7. Plus, you will always have an excuse to get out of the house to take them for walk. It’s a win-win situation!
8.Avoid these 5 ingredients as much as possible.
9.Track your ticker! 8.6 million women die from heart disease each year, worldwide. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and follow a heart healthy diet. Just by reducing your sodium intake and exercising everyday, you are on your way to a healthier heart.
10.Get those ZzzZzz! Try to sleep 6-8 hours every night. Everyone is busy, but your body needs time to recharge. By getting the recommended hours of sleep you will feel refreshed and energized in the morning. This will set your mood for the whole day.
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