Negativity’s Impact on Health

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Negativity. We are all familiar with it as a lower energy feeling. The simple definition of negativity is the expression of criticism or pessimism. However, that definition doesn’t go deep enough.

Negativity is a tendency to feel downcast, disagreeable and cynical. It’s a pessimistic attitude that expects the worst in life.

Anyone can experience a negative feeling or a low vibe day. Temporary negativity is often the result of an illness or accident, unexpected life circumstances or personal difficulties. However, when most thoughts about the world, life, others and the self tend toward the bleak, negativity can become habitual.

Like positive thoughts, negative thoughts create neural pathways. The more negative thoughts and experiences we have, the more entrenched those pathways become. We actually condition ourselves to think negatively and find the bad in life.

We can shrug and say, “I’m just a negative person.” However, that negativity comes with a price. Check out negativity’s impact on health and learn how to shift.

Negativity's Impact on Health title meme

Signs of Negativity

Not sure if negativity is becoming habitual in your life? It can show up in these ways:

Cynicism – a distrust of people and their motives

Hostility – unfriendliness or opposition towards people, often accompanied by anger

Unreasonable anger – an intense emotional state involving strong, non-cooperative responses to perceived hurts, provocations or threats.

Skewed perceptions – only seeing the bad in situations or people

Assumptions – assuming bad things will happen

Blaming – assigning responsibility for wrongs or faults to others or believing you are a victim of life circumstances

Feeling of doom – expecting terrible, destructive fates to happen

Paranoia – thinking everyone…or life…is out to get you

Negativity's Impact on Health
Negativity’s Impact on Health – skewed perceptions

Negativity’s Impact on Health

Negative situations, relationships and thoughts create stress. The body responds by releasing the hormone cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone.

This hormone is valuable when we are faced with actual danger. However, when the body stays in fight or flight mode, for extended periods of time, it has a detrimental effect on the body and on health.

Common effects of negativity on the body include:

Brain disorders – degenerative brain diseases, dementia, stroke, depletion of brain chemicals required for happiness

Heart disease – chest pain, heart attacks, high blood pressure

Digestive issues – slowed digestion, hardening of organs in digestive system, upset stomach, type 2 diabetes, irritable bowels, overeating, loss of appetite

Immune system – increased infections, inability to fight off inflammation which leads to many types of diseases

Fatigue – sleep disorders, tiredness, irritability, muscle tension and pain

Headaches – tension, jaw clenching, migraines, eye strain

Mental health – anxiety, fear, depression, social withdrawal, unhappiness

Negativity's Impact on Health stomachache
Negativity’s Impact on Health – digestive disorders

Changing Negativity to Positivity

Have you experienced any of the signs of negativity? Once we become aware of negativity’s impact on our bodies, we can shift it.

Here are ways to overcome negativity, lessening its impact on health and creating positive pathways in the brain:

Limit – turn off the news, stop reading negative posts on social media, unfriend or block or snooze negative people to clean up your feed, carefully choose who you hang out with, set boundaries with negative family members, remove yourself from negative situations, people and conversations

Live in the moment – release the past, forgive others and yourself, don’t worry about the future, focus on tasks at hand, speak positive affirmations

Practice gratitude – every day, express thanks for all the good things in your life

Engage in activities you love – do what brings you joy, laugh, play, explore new hobbies, spend time with people who encourage you, create, offer to others

Meditate – learn to still the mind, let go of negative thoughts, focus on breathing

Take action – if a negative situation or thought arises, take positive actions. For example, if a driver cuts you off in traffic, starting a negative train of thought, slow down, take deep breaths, and allow another car room to change lanes in front of you.

Negativity's Impact on Health online
Negativity’s Impact on Health – limit negativity online

Making Positive Choices

When signs of negativity show up in your body, affecting health, make choices.

When I’m in a negative situation or around negative people, my body responds in specific ways.

My jaw and hands clench, the muscles in my face, neck and scalp tighten and I get a headache. I notice my breaths are rapid and shallow. If I don’t remove myself quickly enough from the situation, my body goes into shut down mode. I can’t see or hear well and my throat narrows, limiting my ability to speak. For me, it feels like negative energy overwhelms me, overpowers me. It’s not a feeling I like.

The best choices I can make are to get out of the situation, leave the conversation or walk away from the person. As my body calms from fight or flight mode, I practice deep breathing, express gratitude, go for a walk outdoors or spend a few minutes in meditation to restore my positivity.

How does it feel, when you encounter negativity? What choices can you make, to shift back into positivity?

Remaining healthy at every age includes removing the habit of negativity from your life. It’s not just an attitude adjustment or a glass half full mentality…although those are important. Shift the negativity for a healthier you and a longer, happier life.

Negativity's Impact on Health laugh
Lessen negativity’s impact on health for a longer, happier life.

 

Amazon finds to boost positivity:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Superfood Mushrooms

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Four and a half years ago, new to the plant based lifestyle, some of the first superfoods that I wholeheartedly embraced were mushrooms. Most mushrooms provide high levels of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Adding them to meals and drinks boosts health in many ways.

Among mushrooms one group in particular earns the title of “superfood”. These fungi, labeled medicinal mushrooms, take health benefits to a much higher level.

Check out these seven superfood mushrooms and learn why they are so important to health.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms title meme

The Power of Medicinal Mushrooms

In the east, people have used medicinal mushrooms for centuries. Dried and taken in powdered form, these superfoods provide a host of benefits. Those remarkable properties drew attention to medicinal mushrooms from other regions in the world.

Medicinal mushrooms are still relatively new to western medicine and they don’t cure everything. However their benefits, including boosts to the immune system and the prevention of diseases, helped these mushrooms gain popularity in recent years. And for clarity, these are not hallucination inducing or mind altering mushrooms, these provide powerful benefits for health and wellness.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms

Each mushroom is unique and provides its own health benefits.

Reishi

Reishi tops the list of popular medicinal mushrooms, and for good reason. This mushroom’s unique property is its calming effect on the body. Reishi contains the compound triterpene, which positively impacts the nervous system. This mood boosting compound relieves anxiety, alleviates depression and promotes better sleep.

Reishi also helps the body heal and sharpens focus as well.

Add a spoonful of reishi mushroom powder to smoothies and soups, create a soothing hot tea or stir into a cup of hot cocoa. Chocolate and reishi seem to pair well together. Four Sigmatic offers wonderful hot cocoa mixes that contain reishi. It makes an excellent nighttime drink for a wonderful night’s sleep.

Check out Four Sigmatic’s hot cocoa with reishi HERE. If you place an order, use my discount code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE to save 10%.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms reishi
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – reishi

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane brings mental clarity, naturally. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, lion’s mane strengthens the immune system. However, its real superpower is fostering the production of bioprotein nerve growth factor (NGF) and myelin, the insulation around nerves.

Both NGF and myelin are vital to brain health. An imbalance of either can create neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Lion’s mane also improves cognition and memory and increases the ability to concentrate. Additionally, this superfood mushroom alleviates anxiety and soothes irritability.

To boost brain power, try these Four Sigmatic focus products with lion’s mane: ground coffee, instant coffee, coffee latte mix, elixir mix, matcha latte mix or their focus shots and mixes.

I also highly recommend Nature Byte’s Lion’s Mane capsules.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms lions mane
Seven Superfoods Mushrooms – lion’s mane

Chaga

Chaga is the first superfood mushroom powder that I tried. It makes a great coffee substitute or simply add a spoonful to smoothies. As with all the superfood mushroom products, the dried fungi doesn’t have a “mushroomy” taste, making it easy to add the powders to almost any food or drink.

Chaga contains extremely powerful antioxidants that fight the free radicals that age the body and cause disease. This black mushroom eases inflammation, combats oxidative stress that ages skin and prevents or slows the growth of cancer cells. It also lowers bad cholesterol.

Try adding Four Sigmatic’s defend products to your diet: mushroom blend mix, ground coffee, instant coffee with chaga, elixir mix with chaga, plant based protein powder and immune support shots with chaga.

I also highly recommend Maine Chaga Powder from Amazon.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms chaga
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – chaga

Cordyceps

Need a pre-workout boost or feeling low energy? Cordyceps is the perfect superfood mushroom for you. This fungus helps the body use oxygen more efficiently while enhancing blood flow.

Cordyceps helps athletes perform better. And it helps the rest of us too, as we exercise, plus it speeds up muscle recovery after working out. And when that midafternoon slump hits, drink a cordyceps tea for an instant pick me up.

Add a spoonful of cordyceps to a post workout drink or meal. Or try Four Sigmatic’s performance blends: cocoa mix with cordyceps, elixir blend with cordyceps and instant coffee with cordyceps.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms cordyceps
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – cordyceps

Turkey Tail

Most superfood mushrooms offer anti-cancer properties because of their high antioxidant content. However, turkey tail takes it up a notch.

This interesting fungus contains a compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK) that stimulates the immune system. Turkey tail improves the survival rate of those with cancer, fights leukemia cells and boosts the immune system for those receiving chemotherapy. This mushroom is so powerful that it’s an approved anti-cancer prescription drug in Japan.

Pick up golden latte with turkey tail or chai latte with turkey tail from Four Sigmatic.

I also recommend turkey tail powder from Amazon.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms turkey tail
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – turkey tail

Shiitake

These mushrooms provide benefits for the heart. They lower bad cholesterol while inhibiting the production and absorption of cholesterol in the liver. Shiitake mushrooms also prevent the build up of plaque and help maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.

Use dried shiitake powder in any food or drink recipe. Or add the mushrooms to stir fries and other dishes.

Try this shiitake powder.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms shiitake
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – shiitake

Maitake

Maitake, the Japanese word for “dancing mushroom”, helps support healthy blood sugar levels in the body. It also boosts the immune system and provides essential vitamins and minerals including copper, potassium and vitamins B and C.

Add a spoonful of powdered maitake to soups, sauces and pasta dishes.

Click HERE to try maitake mushroom powder.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms maitake
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – maitake

Which of These Seven Superfood Mushrooms Will You Try?

Which of these superfood mushrooms will you try first? It truly is easy to add a spoonful to teas, coffees, drinks, smoothies or recipes, or to use one of the Four Sigmatics blends. And the health benefits are amazing.

A spoonful…or two…each day of any of these superfood mushrooms is all that you need to begin enjoying greater health and vitality and protection against aging and diseases.

I most often added a spoonful of powdered mushrooms to smoothies, that is until I discovered the cocoa mixes from Four Sigmatic. Now I love sipping on a cup of hot cocoa with reishi in the evenings or savoring a cup of chai latte with turkey tail in the afternoons. It’s such a yummy way to get my mushrooms!

Seven Superfood Mushrooms hot cocoa
Four Sigmatic hot cocoa with mushrooms

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Four Sigmatic Affiliate Program. These affiliate programs provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to their websites, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Prevent Diabetes Naturally

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

November is National Diabetes Month. The purpose is to bring awareness and attention to diabetes, including ways to prevent it. For the millions who are at risk, this month is a time to learn and find resources.

Currently, 30 million adults age 18 and older live with diabetes. And 84 million are at risk for developing the disease. Additionally, those who are prediabetic are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

I’m happy to contribute by presenting ways to prevent diabetes naturally.

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Preventing Diabetes Naturally

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes that promote weight loss and increase exercise and healthy eating. And this shift is extremely important. Uncontrolled diabetes may cause blindness, kidney failure and other serious complications that can require limb amputation.

These action steps help prevent diabetes.

Cut Sugar from the Diet

Let’s start with the one people consider the toughest. And I know it’s not easy, however there’s a reason for that. Sugar is addictive and it has a toxic effect on the body.

Eating sugary foods puts us at risk for developing diabetes. When we eat sugar the body breaks it down into smaller molecules that enter the blood stream, resulting in a rise in blood sugar. That rise stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin to help get the sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells.

For those with prediabetes, the cells resist insulin so the sugar remains at a high level in the bloodstream. As a result, the pancreas creates more insulin to attempt to bring sugar levels down. Eventually those high sugar and insulin levels cause type 2 diabetes.

What’s the solution? Avoid foods with refined sugar and carbs. Refined carbs include sugars and grains stripped of fiber and nutrients such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, white flour, sweet desserts and many breakfast cereals.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally cut sugar
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – cut sugar

Drink More Water

Water is the best drink for the body. We need water, for the body to function properly. And drinking water as the primary beverage helps us avoid sugary soft drinks.

Soft drinks greatly increase the risk of both type 2 diabetes and a form of type 1 diabetes called latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). The startling facts are, those who consume more than two soft drinks a day have a 99% increased risk of developing LADA and a 20% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that artificially sweetened soft drinks do not prevent diabetes so those are not a good alternative.

Drinking more water leads to better blood sugar levels and insulin response. And those who replace sodas with water while eating healthier decrease insulin resistance.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally - water
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – drink more water

Manage Weight

Although not everyone who develops type 2 diabetes is overweight, most are. And those with prediabetes tend to carry excess weight in the belly area and around organs such as the liver.

This visceral fat causes inflammation and insulin resistance which greatly increases the risk of diabetes.

Losing weight and keeping it off decreases sugar and insulin levels.

Reducing sugar intake is a great start. While eating more fruits and vegetables helps the body shed excess weight. Strive for filling half your plate with fruits and veggies. And eating smaller portions is helpful too. Eating too much at meals causes blood sugar and insulin levels to spike.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally weight management
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – weight management

Eat a High Fiber Diet

Another way to manage weight and help prevent diabetes is to include more fiber in the diet. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the digestive track, forming a gel. This gel slows down the absorption rate of food leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Including high fiber foods throughout the day helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. Good high fiber foods to add: pears, berries, avocados, apples, bananas, carrots, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, dark leafy greens, lentils, tomatoes, legumes, quinoa, oats, nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes and surprisingly, dark chocolate (choose chocolate with a 70% or higher level of cocoa).

Most plant based foods contain fiber, so increasing fruits and vegetables is a great choice.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally eat fiber
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – eat more fiber

Vitamin D

This important vitamin helps control blood sugar levels. Most people have a vitamin D deficiency. And not getting enough raises the risk for all types of diabetes.

Studies show that when we take vitamin D supplements, or get at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day, insulin production improves, blood sugar levels stabilize and the risk of developing diabetes reduces dramatically.

If you aren’t able to get sunlight every day, supplementing with 2,000 – 4,000 IU of vitamin D helps prevent a deficiency. Read about the other benefits of vitamin D HERE.

Bonus supplement: turmeric is helpful due to its main ingredient, curcumin. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation markers and decrease insulin resistance.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally vitamin D
Prevent Diabetes Naturally with vitamin D

Drink Tea and Coffee

While water is important as the primary beverage, drinking tea and coffee reduces the risk for diabetes as well. Just don’t add sugar to them! Tea and coffee are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols that help protect against diabetes.

Green tea is especially beneficial. It contains a unique antioxidant that reduces blood sugar release from the liver and lowers insulin sensitivity.

Try this Turmeric Green Tea recipe for a powerful way to get those antioxidants.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally drink tea
Drink green tea or coffee to help prevent diabetes naturally.

Exercise Regularly

There is a strong link between the sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of diabetes. If you sit most of the day and get little or no physical exercise then you have a 91% increased risk of developing diabetes.

Begin the shift to a more active lifestyle by standing frequently if you sit most of the day. Take a break every hour and walk around for five minutes. Stretch. Then move into more physical activities.

Try aerobic exercise, walking, strength training, swimming, dancing, high intensity interval training or biking. Find something you enjoy to increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it.

Physical activity reduces insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar levels. It helps with weigh loss and management. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally exercise
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – exercise

The Choice is Ours

Rather than waiting for illness to strike, we can make choices now that help prevent diseases such as diabetes and enjoy greater health and vitality.

These steps not only help to prevent diabetes naturally, they ensure better health and wellness overall.

Which steps will you adopt today for a healthier tomorrow?

Prevent Diabetes Naturally healthy meal
Healthy meal of mashed avocado on gluten free ancient grains bread, blueberries and mandarin oranges.

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

October 5 – 11, 2020 is designated as Active Aging Week this year. Celebrating the benefits of active living at any age, Active Aging Week showcases the capabilities of older adults as fully participating members of society.

Initiated in 2003 by the International Council on Active Aging, this week long celebration shows that adults age 50 and over can live fully in all areas of life. Active Aging Week promotes wellness activities and exercise plus healthier, more robust lifestyles.

This initiative is dear to me as the purpose of Journey With Healthy Me is to encourage others to experience health at every age. We do not need to consider ourselves shelved when we pass that 50 year mark. As we enter this golden season, our quality of life is greatly dependent on our daily health practices and our attitudes about aging.

At age 62, I’ve discovered that health and well being are very possible during my “senior” years. In fact, I feel more healthy than I have in many years.

Take a look at these seven ways to practice active aging, in recognition of this week AND to increase quality of life and overall wellness.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging title meme

It’s Never Too Late to Improve Health

Four plus years ago, I embraced a plant based lifestyle, primary for health reasons. The results were so astounding that my mother and Greg decided to join me in eating a different way.

At the time, in my late 50s, I’d experienced decades of chronic, constant inflammation and pain along with a host of other disorders. My mother also dealt with a variety of moderate to severe health issues while Greg suffered from minor to moderate ailments. We all discovered that it is never too late to improve health and wellness.

I went from using a cane and facing the prospect of requiring a wheelchair to becoming pain and inflammation free and walking unassisted. Mom and Greg experienced improvements in all of their health conditions. The lesson we learned is that changes in diet and activities bring about huge changes in the body.

Practicing active aging goes beyond exercise. It is a proactive way of living and in reality, a way of life.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging have fun
Who says adults over age 50 can’t have fun? Last year’s Halloween party.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging

Incorporate these practices into your life to create a healthier quality of life.

Engage With Others

It is important to connect frequently with others, especially as we age. Older adults who socialize enjoy better health and quality of life. Lack of connection with others can cause sleep disorders, raised blood pressure and increase the chance of premature death. Loneliness and isolation may bring on depression and anxiety. During this year of social distancing it is even more vital that older adults connect with loved ones and friends via phone calls, zoom meetings and messaging.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging engage
Seven ways to practice active aging – engage. When you can’t be close, stay connected in other ways. My sister and I with Mom.

Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet & Maintain a Healthy Weight

People require fewer calories as they age, however, they need more nutrients. Increase those nutrients by adding more fruits and veggies to the diet. Doing so helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

A highly nutritious diet also maintains a healthy weight which lessens the risk for disability later in life. Obesity worsens arthritis and raises the risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and sleep related breathing disorders.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, limit alcohol, processed foods and sugar (which increases inflammation). And don’t smoke. Smoking damages the lungs and increases the risks for heart disease, strokes and various forms of cancer.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging eat healthy
Eating healthy to maintain weight is one of seven ways to practice active aging.

Have a Positive Attitude About Aging

A Yale University study found that older adults who had positive attitudes about aging lived seven and a half years longer than those with negative attitudes. That’s a significant number of additional years to enjoy life! Rejecting negative stereotypes and beliefs, such as “As I get older, I am less useful” has a great impact on quality of life and longevity.

“Our study carries two messages,” the authors of the study said. “The discouraging one is that negative self perceptions can diminish life expectancy; the encouraging one is that positive self perceptions can prolong life expectancy.”

Older adults with positive attitudes are also 50% less likely to develop dementia.

Practice shifting negative beliefs about aging. Create positive affirmations to repeat daily such as, “I am enjoying life.” Or say “I am healthy and active.” and “I am grateful for my good health.”

If we say often enough, “I’m getting old and useless” then we believe it as truth. And the body listens to what the minds repetitively says.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging positive attitude
Seven ways to practice active aging – positive attitude. My sister and I enjoying life in London, England.

Active Lifestyle

According to a study shared in 2017, exercise and moving the body, for 30 minutes five days a week, reduces premature death by 25%. Choose from walking, yoga, stretching, gentle aerobics, dancing, household chores or gardening. Sports such as golf, swimming and tennis are excellent as well as long as joints are healthy and moving freely. And actively playing with grandchildren counts!

Exercise helps older adults maintain strength and mobility and lessens the risk of injuries. It also improves mood.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging exercise
Seven ways to practice active aging – exercise for 30 minutes a day

Get Enough Sleep

Older adults may not require as much sleep as they did when younger. However, the quality of sleep becomes important. Many seniors experience restless sleep or may wake up and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to cardiovascular disease, inflammation and decreased immunity. Plus it causes fatigue.

Most experts agree that seven to nine hours of sleep is optimal. More importantly, regularly established sleep patterns are associated with longer life and greater well being.

Try creating bedtime routines that prepare the body for sleep such as limiting electronics, taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, sleeping in a dark room and lowering the thermostat.

And napping for an hour in the afternoon improves memory and the ability to think clearly, while boosting energy. Don’t feel guilty for taking a nap! Shift that attitude and think of it as a reboot for the brain and body.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging sleep
Seven ways to practice active aging – sleep. Sometimes a nap sneaks up on you! Catching a nap on the train to London.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress results in higher risks for cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and decreased immune function. And stress accelerates cellular aging, creating inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, it decreases the ability to think clearly and lessens enjoyment of life.

Common causes of stress for older adults include financial strain, relationship difficulties, work related issues and care giving pressures. To reduce chronic stress improve sleep habits, exercise, eat a nutrient rich diet, meditate and try relaxation techniques. Keep a journal and use writing as a way to explore causes of stress and identify patterns. And finally, avoid people who stress you out and situations that increase anxiety. If the news creates stress, stop listening to the news.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging relax
Manage stress with relaxation and other techniques. My favorite way to relax…afternoon tea time.

Keep Learning

This is my favorite active aging practice. Experiencing and learning new things stimulates the brain. And that mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Daily learning and trying new things sharpens the mind, boosts memory and concentration and lowers the risk of dementia. Plus, in my experience, it’s a fun way to engage with life and find tremendous enjoyment.

Learn a new language, hobby or skill. Travel to places you’ve never visited before, even if it’s in your own city. Create a new recipe. Listen to a new genre of music. Truly, the possibilities for new experiences are endless.

Last year, at ages 61 and 79 respectively, my mother and I did our first ever photo shoot for a national magazine! What a fun first experience for both of us.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging - try new things
Seven ways to practice active aging – try new things.

What Practices Will You Include?

Getting older doesn’t have to be a negative experience. These seven ways to practice active aging offer steps toward being healthy at EVERY age.

I am enjoying these beautiful years with health, energy and a passion for living life to the fullest as my most authentic self. One of my greatest joys, beyond spending time with my family, is continuing to learn and grow as I explore the world and try new experiences.

I’m not slowing down anytime soon.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging travel

Practice Active Aging with These Amazon Finds:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Tips for a Healthy Fall

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As summer transitions into fall, many celebrate the change. Cooler temperatures, cozy hoodies, sturdy boots, colorful leaves, pumpkin spice and crackling fires herald the arrival of the holiday season.

I love fall. However, in the past, fall didn’t always love me. Along with all the joys of the season came seasonal allergies, fatigue, colds, viruses and flu bugs.

Most of us feel powerless against seasonal changes and the ailments that often accompany them. However, I’ve discovered my health is not captive to the whims of nature. Your health isn’t either.

Check out these tips for a healthy fall…and a more enjoyable season.

Tips for a Healthy Fall title meme

Tips for a Healthy Fall

These ten tips make life a bit easier during fall. They don’t rely on equipment or unusual foods. Nor do they require a lot of time.

Vitamin D Every Day

I can’t stress enough the importance of this vitamin. Ten minutes of sunlight or two 1000 mg capsules a day protects the body against a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and teeth, regulates insulin levels, protects against cancer, supports lung, heart, brain and nervous system health, improves mood AND boosts the immune system.

Boost Your Immune System

If there’s one health tip I’ve repeated over and over this year, during the pandemic, it’s this one: build up your immune system. It is the first line of defense against invading viruses, bacteria and allergens. A weak immune system in a body already struggling against ailments can’t handle one more invader.

Strengthen your immune system by drinking lots of water, getting enough vitamin D, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the face and eyes. Eat highly nutritious foods.

And along with vitamin D, add vitamin C, zinc, L-lysine, olive leaf and echinacea to your diet. Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria, which is vital to a strong immune system.

Tips for a Healthy Fall boost immunity
Tips for a healthy fall – drink plenty of water.

Moisturize Skin

Cooler temperatures take a toll on the skin, drying it out and causing flakiness, cracking or itchiness.

Drink water and herbal teas, add high water content foods such as cucumber and celery to your diet along with healing herbs like calendula, lavender and rose. Check out a full list of helpful foods and herbs for the skin HERE.

Go to Bed Earlier

During the fall months, Daylight Savings Time ends, meaning we turn our clocks back one hour. It gets dark earlier in the day and the nights seem long. The change can disrupt our sleep schedules creating fatigue and moodiness.

Take advantage of the longer nights. Get to bed earlier. Establish a night time routine that prepares the body for sleep.

Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. Take a warm shower or bath. Listen to calming music. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Fall asleep counting the blessings from the day.

Tips for a Healthy Fall turn back the clock
Tips for a healthy fall – go to bed earlier.

Prepare for Seasonal Allergies

As one who suffered for many years with fall allergies, I can attest to the power of increasing health to ward them off. One in five people suffer from seasonal allergies. In the fall, ragweed is the primary culprit.

Allergy symptoms occur when the body responds to allergens by producing a chemical called histamine, which works to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes the allergic reactions by producing immunoglobulin antibodies that result in widespread symptoms.

Lessening and ultimately avoiding fall allergies is a two step process: eliminate foods that weaken the immune system and then support the immune system so it can work properly, handling allergens without creating symptoms in the body.

Avoid eggs, gluten, canola oil, GMO soy and corn, dairy products and MSG. These foods create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system.

Include wild blueberries, lemons, limes, celery, garlic, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli, onions, oranges, cranberries and raw, local honey (from conscientious bee keepers).

And add these supplemental foods: turmeric, vitamin C, nettle and elderberry syrup.

Enjoy Seasonal Foods

Take advantage of the foods of the season. Enjoy more apples, pears, beets, broccoli, cabbage, squash, root veggies, dark leafy greens, cranberries, persimmons and that seasonal favorite, pumpkin.

These plentiful foods perfectly protect the body against diabetes, improve heart health and lower blood pressure levels. Pumpkins offer vitamins C and A and their seeds help lower cholesterol.

Tips for a Healthy Fall pumpkins
Tips for a healthy fall – seasonal foods offer benefits.

Talk to Your Doctor about a Flu Shot

A flu vaccination can keep you healthier by preventing illness due to flu. The shot reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization for children, working adults and older adults. It’s especially important for those with chronic health conditions.

And while a flu shot will not prevent COVID19, getting one may prevent overwhelming healthcare systems that are already dealing with the virus. Additionally, a flu vaccine saves healthcare resources for the care of people with COVID.

Beat Stress During the Holiday Season

For many people, the holidays bring additional stress. And I think we can agree that 2020 brought enough of that already.

Establish stress reducing practices NOW, before the holiday season starts.

Begin the day with a morning meditation and a short time of journaling or free writing. During the day practice deep breathing exercises, yoga, stretches or gentle aerobics. End the day with thankfulness, writing, meditation or deep breathing, letting go of the stresses of the day and finding things to express gratitude for.

Tips for a Healthy Fall stress
Tips for a healthy fall – begin practicing stress relief now.

Get Outdoors

Cooler temperatures after a hot summer invite outdoor activities. And fall offers many possibilities.

Rake leaves, tidy up the garden or go for long walks in nature. Jog, ride a bicycle or engage in sports. Getting outside for fresh air and exercise boosts mood and creativity. Plus it reduces inflammation, relieves stress and anxiety and strengthens immunity.

Be Kind to Yourself

During this transition into fall, practice self kindness and self love.

Fall may bring colds, viruses and allergies. Shorter days can usher in depression. During the holidays, it’s easy to gain weight and feel increased stress and loneliness.

Be exceedingly kind to yourself during these months. Set aside at least one afternoon or evening a week to practice self care such as reading, a long soak in the tub, walks in nature, cups of hot herbal tea or writing. Watch a movie. Call a friend. Create. Play.

Taking care of the body and improving health is incomplete without caring for all aspects of ourselves, including mental and emotional health. As the saying goes, the body eavesdrops on the mind. A mind churning with negative thoughts, regrets, anxiety or despair greatly impacts the body’s well being.

Talk to yourself, care for yourself, the way you would someone you deeply love.

How Will You Care for Yourself this Fall?

Which tips can you implement, to improve your health and wellness this fall? Start with one or two suggestions, feel the difference they make, then adopt another…and another.

This is the season of thankfulness. And in spite of the many challenges this year offered, we can find much to express gratitude for. May your improving health be something to rejoice over.

Tips for a Healthy Fall self care
Tips for a Healthy Fall – be kind to yourself.

Supplements from Amazon:



 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Improve Eye Health Naturally

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August is National Eye Exam Month. It serves as an excellent reminder to get our eyes checked and also to care for them throughout the year.

I have a long history of eye issues, from nearsightedness and astigmatism to ocular migraines and retinal bleeds. Gratefully, my eye health continues to improve with a plant based lifestyle.

You can improve eye health naturally too, with these easy to implement tips.

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Ways to Improve Eye Health Naturally

Regular eye exams are an important way to monitor eye health and note any changes. And approximately 75% of adults need vision correction in the form of contact lenses or glasses.

Your ophthalmologist needs to know your family’s eye health history as well. Certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and optic atrophy, are hereditary.

Check out these other ways of improving eye health.

Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet

Add plenty of nutrient rich, colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods provide vitamins A, C and E and contain antioxidants that help prevent macular degeneration, a condition in which central vision deteriorates. The mineral zinc is important too.

Add these foods to meals throughout the week:

  • carrots
  • red bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • strawberries and other berries
  • sweet potatoes
  • citrus fruits

Flax seeds are an important addition, especially to a plant based diet. They provide omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve eye health.

Leafy green vegetables, broccoli and zucchini supply lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important to retinal health. These are available as supplements as well.

Improve Eye Health Naturally carrots
Improve eye health naturally with nutrient rich foods such as carrots.

Protect Eyes with Protective Wear

Whether you are working with tools, performing science experiments, mowing the yard or playing sports, protect eyes with appropriate eyewear.

Choose protective, shatterproof goggles to keep foreign objects, chemicals or sharp objects from entering the eyes.

Wear Sunglasses

Shades do more than make us look cool, they block up to 99% of UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight. Sunglasses protect the eyes from damage that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium, a condition in which tissue grows over the whites of the eyes.

Wearing a wide brimmed hat also shields the eyes from too much sun.

Improve Eye Health Naturally sunglasses
Improve eye health naturally with sunglasses.

Keep Hands Clean

This year our awareness increased greatly concerning the importance of clean hands. Because we frequently touch our faces and rub our eyes, clean hands prevent introducing germs, viruses and infections into the eyes.

Always wash hands before touching the eyes or handling contact lenses. Germs on contact lenses can lead to bacterial infections in the eyes. Change lens solution daily. And never share lenses.

Toss out old bottles of eye drops as well.

Don’t Smoke

We know smoking harms our health, and that includes eye health as well. Smokers greatly increase their risks for developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also creates inflammation throughout the blood vessels within the eyes.

However, just like the lungs, the eyes begin to heal almost immediately, once smoking ceases. For better eye health and health in general, stop smoking.

Improve Eye Health Naturally no smoking
Stop smoking to improve eye health naturally.

Stay Fit

Maintaining a healthy weight not only improves overall health, it helps the eyes. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in overweight people, can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes.

Consuming too much sugar can create diabetic retinopathy, which causes the small arteries in the retina to leak blood into the eye, impairing vision.

Take Frequent Screen Time Breaks

Staring at a phone or computer screen for long periods of time creates eye strain and blurred vision. To ease the strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule.

For every 20 minutes of screen time, stop and look at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. (I’ve practiced this multiple times while typing this post!)

Improve Eye Health Naturally screen time
Take frequent breaks from screen time, to improve eye health naturally.

Manage Inflammation

Diseases other than diabetes affect eye health as well. High blood pressure and autoimmune disorders, which are linked to chronic inflammation, create problems throughout the body, including the eyes.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and limit gluten and dairy products. They aggravate and increase inflammation.

And manage stress, as it triggers an inflammatory response in the body. Try exercise, yoga, meditation, gardening, walking or deep breathing to lower stress. Drink herbal tea as part of your stress busting practice as well.

Pay Attention to Changes

And finally, pay attention to any changes in eye health and vision.

Experiencing frequent headaches or blurry vision? Feeling pain behind one eye or noticing an increase in floaters? These are signals that you need to see an eye doctor.

Years ago, I began experiencing flashing lights followed by a loss of vision for about 30 minutes. The first time it happened, I ended up in the ER with a suspected stroke. Many tests and MRIs ruled out blood clots and tumors. Finally an eye specialist determined the cause….ocular migraines.

I saw the same specialist when blood vessels in my retinas ruptured, in each eye on two different occasions.

Know what is normal for your eyes and vision and see a doctor immediately if something changes.

Improve Eye Health Naturally pain
Pay attention to any changes in eye health, such as blurred vision or pain.

Improved Eye Health

Switching to a plant based lifestyle improved my eye health and vision drastically.

I still wear contact lenses, however I no longer have astigmatism. And at age 62, I do not require bifocals, much to my eye doctor’s surprise. I wore reading glasses for a very short time, thinking I “needed” them, until I realized they gave me headaches. A year ago I stopped wearing them and haven’t put them on since.

The blood vessels in my retinas have not ruptured again and in the last four years I’ve only experienced two ocular migraines. Before going plant based, I had them multiple times a year.

Iridology Reading

And amazingly, a couple of years ago I received an iridology reading at a local health fair. In case you are unfamiliar with that, an iridologist utilizes lights, magnifying glasses, mirrors and cameras to examine the iris. He or she looks for irregularities, changes and pigment patterns to determine the health of the individual.

The iridologist studied my right eye and then laughed in amazement. He said my iris showed him that I recently changed my diet and that my body benefited greatly. I verified that information. He showed me, in a magnifying mirror, evidence that sciatic nerves healed and inflammation cleared up and healing occurred in multiple ways. With a grin, he said I possessed the clearest, healthiest eyes he’d seen all day and commended me for my health changes. His encouragement made me smile.

You can improve eye health naturally, too. Include the above practices in your life and see, literally, the difference they make.

Improve Eye Health Naturally my eyes
I improved my eye health. You can too.

Improve Eye Health with these Finds from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Did you know that the body’s largest organ is the skin? And what an important organ it is. Skin does more than keep our insides from falling out.

Our skin is a waterproof, insulating defense against temperature extremes, harmful chemicals, dangerous sunlight and infection. Exposure to all of those things ages the skin as we get older, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and rough patches.

I’m not trying to hide my age. Rather, I rejoice in my journey of 62 years. However, I’ve learned to care for my skin as part of my overall health practice. Embracing a plant based lifestyle four years ago made me realize that true skin care begins within with adequate hydration and skin nourishing foods.

People ask me what products I use, to care for my skin. I’m happy to share.

Here is my daily routine for healthy skin, with the actual products that I use and links to those products.

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Healthy Skin Begins Within

I’d be remiss if I didn’t begin with the most important practice for healthy skin. What we put into our bodies shows up on our skin. I experienced a lifetime of rashes and skin irritations because of a gluten intolerance. A poor diet contributes to a host of skin disorders and conditions. For a glowing complexion, start with these tips.

Adequate Hydration

Our bodies need water to survive. And it is critical for healthy skin. Eight glasses of water is a good guide, just don’t guzzle it down. The body quickly eliminates excess water. Instead, sip on water throughout the day, allowing it to be absorbed more slowly. Fill a large water bottle, keep it nearby, and have a goal of emptying it a couple of times during the day. Hydrating the body goes a long way toward keeping the skin healthy and supple, which helps to combat dryness and aging.

Herbal teas count as water intake and the herbs deliver their own benefits to the body. To nourish the skin, try drinking these herbal teas: dandelion, burdock, calendula, comfrey, lavender and rose.

Limit coffee and alcohol. Both dehydrate the body, and the skin, contributing to aging the skin’s appearance.

Hydrating Foods

Fruits such as watermelon and vegetables such as cucumber have a hydrating effect on the body and therefore the skin. Add these healing foods to your diet and experience a difference in your skin’s appearance: celery, root vegetables, avocado, almonds, red and yellow bell peppers, berries, walnuts, hemp seeds and flax seeds.

Skin Repairing Supplements

In addition to the foods and herbs listed above, I’ve seen tremendous benefits from taking these two supplements daily.

Horsetail Grass – the silica in this herb is key to the formation of collagen, a vital skin building block that is essential for strength and elasticity. As we age, the body naturally produces less collagen, resulting in common signs of aging such as sagging skin and wrinkles. Stiff joints are a sign that the body is producing less collagen. Horsetail grass soothes those aching, inflamed joints as well.

Organic Plant Collagen Builder – this vegan collagen supplement supports healthy hair, skin and nails. Most collagen supplements contain beef. I’m thrilled with this plant based brand from MyKind Organics.

An additional benefits from taking these two supplements…my eyelashes are so healthy and full.

Pick up these supplements HERE and HERE.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin supplements
My daily routine for healthy skin – supplements

My Morning Routine

Because of my evening routine the night before, my morning one is simple.

Filorga Micellar Solution

First, I cleanse and tone my face with Filorga Micellar Solution.

This gentle, fragrance free solution removes makeup and soil without over drying the skin. It’s enriched with moisturizers and 50 anti-aging ingredients that actually help to build up collagen. Apply the solution to a cotton ball and smooth over face, eyelids and throat. No need to rinse. Just let it dry.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

Then I apply Eye Treatment from Smartr Skin over my entire face. I LOVE the products from Smartr Skin. See why in my review. This lightweight, de-ionized water based lotion absorbs easily and quickly into the skin.  I use it exclusively in the morning, over my entire face. Eye Treatment Lotion is unscented and rich with superior anti-aging ingredients such as aloe vera gel, hydrolyzed rice bran protein, and extracts of grape, cucumber, pineapple, passion flower and lemon.

Visit the Smartr Skin website and use my code, CINDYM20OFF to save 20% off of your order!

Coppertone Sunscreen

And finally, before applying makeup, I use a SPF 50 sunscreen on my face if I’m going to be outside at all. This Coppertone for Sensitive Skin is currently perfect for me. When I run out of this tube, I’ll explore other sunscreen options.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin morning
My daily routine for healthy skin – morning products

My Makeup

I discovered BOOM Makeup by Cindy Jacob, for pro-age women over 50, four years ago. I love their natural, simplified products. Rather than covering the face, BOOM products add a healthy glow to the skin with lightweight cream moisturizer, color and highlighter.

The BOOM Trio includes Glo, a colorless, protective, nourishing moisturizer in stick form. I primarily use this product when I travel. The trio of sticks make packing my makeup so easy.

BOOMSTICK Color, in sheer berry, that is perfect for all skin tones. This is a multipurpose product that goes on the cheeks, forehead, lips, brows, sides of neck…anywhere you want a touch of color. Cindy’s intention is to mimic the beautiful flush a woman gets when she’s joyful…or aroused…or joyfully aroused!

BOOMSTICK Glimmer goes on last. This pearlescent glimmer is applied on brows, upper cheekbones, bottom lip, shoulders, collarbones…anywhere you want a bit of shine and highlight.

It takes me about five minutes to apply this ultra-nourishing makeup. BOOM is only available on their website. They frequently run specials and carry additional high quality products. Plus they are SO encouraging to women.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin BOOM
My daily routine for healthy skin – BOOM Trio

My Evening Routine

No matter how late it is, or how tired I am, I faithfully follow this night time routine before bed.

Bioderma Foaming Gel Cleanser

I wash my face with a gentle foaming micellar gel cleanser, this one from Bioderma. This highly moisturizing, fragrance free cleanser is designed for sensitive skin. It leaves mine looking and feeling fresh and so soft.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel

Next I apply a traditional favorite, Witch Hazel from Dickinson’s. Read about why witch hazel is a great choice for the skin. I love the way it tightens my pores.

Smartr Skin Vitamin C Serum

After the witch hazel dries, I apply this amazing Vitamin C Serum, from Smartr Skin.

This luxurious enriched serum smooths easily onto the skin of the face, neck and chest. Just a few drops is all that it takes. It contains skin supporting ingredients such as aloe, vitamins C and E, MSM, botanical hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, jojoba oil and horsetail, dandelion and geranium extracts.

The hyaluronic acid helps create new collagen, restoring the elasticity and structure of skin damaged over the years by the sun and harsh elements in the environment. I’ve seen noticeable improvements in my skin’s texture since using Smartr Skin’s Vitamin C Serum.

Smartr Skin Jade Roller & Gua Sha Facial Tool

This is my newest addition to my evening routine. The jade roller helps to reduce under eye puffiness and promotes lymphatic fluid drainage. The cool stone rollers refresh and restore the skin without the use of chemicals.

And the gua sha tool gently stretches and tones the skin, increases blood flow and relaxes tense muscles in the face, neck and shoulders. Watch a tutorial video at the end of the post, for instructions on using both of these amazing tools.

I use the tools after I apply the vitamin C serum. The jade roller and gua sha help the serum to move deeply into my skin. This additional practice only takes a few minutes to complete.

Sometimes, as I’m watching Netflix, I use my DIY coconut oil serum with the jade roller and gua sha tool for an extended time. My face literally glows and feels so tingly!

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin jade
My daily routine for healthy skin – jade roller and gua sha facial tool

 

Smartr Skin Moisturizer

This rich formula hydrates the skin, locking in moisture for a healthy, glowing complexion without clogging pores. Great for all skin types, the moisturizer repairs sunspots, eases dry patches and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines.

The superior ingredients in Smartr Skin Moisturizer include sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, aloe vera gel, and extracts of avocado, carrot root, cucumber, ginseng root and linden tree leaf.

This lotion feels so luxurious and my skin drinks it up.

When you visit Smartr Skin, be sure to use my discount code CINDYM20OFF. Use this link to get the trio of the Eye Treatment, Vitamin C Serum and Moisturizer at a special price. And you can still use the discount code to save even more!

DIY Coconut Oil Serum

Finally, I apply my own concoction, this DIY serum, to my lips. I rub this soothing serum onto my upper chest and arms as well. Although I now use the products above on my face, this simple to make serum is amazing and very nourishing to the skin.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin evening
My daily routine for healthy skin – evening products

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin

There it is, my daily routine for vibrant, healthy skin. This is exactly what I do, step by step, and the precise products that I currently use. These products last for two months to nine months and of course the jade roller and gua sha tool should last indefinitely.

Am I worth this time and effort?

Yes. My morning and evening routines make me feel good and I love seeing the way my skin responds to this higher level of pampering. Plus these little routines send messages to my body that it’s either time to wake up and enter joyously into the day. Or, it’s time to enter into a calm, relaxed state and prepare for sleep.

Do you have a daily routine for healthy skin? If not, I hope this information is helpful. And please, if you have any questions about these routines or any of the products, ask in the comments below!

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin glow
Glowing, healthy skin. I am worth it.

 

 

Journey With Healthy Me participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Smartr Skin Affiliate Program. These affiliate programs provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the companies’ websites, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Laughter is Medicine

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Laughter is the outward physical expression of humor, joy and delight. And, it’s more than that. There is a strong correlation between laughter and happiness and health.

In the 1300s Henri de Mondeville, professor of surgery, encouraged post operative therapy that consisted of laughter producing humor. And Norman Cousins, a professor and journalist, developed his own mood elevating treatment based on daily laughter. Ten minutes of laughter a day, he claimed, resulted in two hours of pain free sleep.

Laughter is medicine. Experiencing giggles, chuckles and belly laughs heals the body and promotes overall health in amazing ways.

Laughter is Medicine title meme

What Happens in the Body When You Laugh

All kinds of things make us laugh. A funny movie, a silly joke, our pet’s crazy antics or a child’s cute mispronounciation of a word gives us the giggles. Sometimes we laugh from nervousness, relief or even fear. Whatever the cause, during a bout of laughter the human body experiences changes.

A wave of electrical energy sweeps through the cerebral cortex. One side of the brain processes language or sights while the other side tries to make sense of what caused the laughter. We may reach a heightened emotional state that can produce tears. And we get a boost of happiness from the release of endorphins in the brain.

Fifteen muscles in the face contract during laughter. Just hearing someone laugh makes our facial muscles begin to contract, creating a contagious response.

Extended laughter makes the muscles relax and even weaken. The respiratory system responds by half closing off the larynx, resulting in gasps for air, a red face and sometimes that pig snorting sound! Extreme laughter can even cause fainting, as one of my sisters discovered.

Contracting muscles in the abdomen can even make you pee yourself as you laugh.

Laughter is Medicine inside joke
Laughter is Medicine – Greg and I got the giggles at a museum while trying to take a selfie

The Benefits of Laughter

Laughter truly is the best medicine, playing a major role in creating better health. (Read about six other simple health practices with big results HERE.)

Check out these amazing health boosters that laughter provides.

Strengthens the Immune System

Laughter, along with getting plenty of rest and vitamin D producing sunshine, strengthens the immune system. People who laugh often reduce stress related hormones in the body while increasing the number of T cells and natural killer cells, two things that help the body stay strong and healthy.

Gives the Body a Mini Workout

There’s a reason your abs feel sore after a good laugh. Laughter increases heart and respiration rates while causing muscles in the abdomen to contract. These mini workouts caused by laughter are similar to a short burst of aerobic exercise. Additionally, laughing for 10 to 15 minutes burns up to 40 calories during those big belly laughs.

Laughter is Medicine belly laugh
Laughter is Medicine – belly laughs are actually good for the belly

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

The giggles instantly lowers the body’s stress response and releases tension held in the muscles. Plus it plays a significant role in decreasing anxiety due to the release of the feel good hormones, endorphins. Laughter also helps you deal with challenging circumstances such as illnesses, embarrassing situations and life struggles.

Clears the Mind and Improves Focus

We are all familiar with brain fog. Laughter changes the chemistry in the brain, helping you think more clearly. And laughing engages the brain in a way that instantly sharpens focus, boosting productivity. Experiencing a mid afternoon slump? Watch a few minutes of a funny video like this one on YouTube.

Laughter is Medicine funny movie
Laughter is Medicine – watch a funny movie to boost productivity

Increases Blood Flow

Laughter increases blood flow…to the heart, improving cardiovascular health…and throughout the body. Stress narrows the blood vessels, reducing blood flow. Laughing expands them, increasing the flow of oxygen rich blood to vital organs and the extremities. Doctors discovered that leg ulcers healed faster when the patients laughed, due to increased blood flow that lowered inflammation.

Boosts Creativity

Laughter loosens up the mind, creating a relaxed state that makes you feel emotionally secure. That state of relaxation enables creative ideas to surface and flourish. Plus problem solving abilities increase after a good laugh.

Laughter is Medicine giggle laugh
Laughter is Medicine – creativity and problem solving increase

Better Quality of Life for Older Adults

Laughter improves the quality of life for older adults by increasing blood vessel function, relieving stress and anxiety and boosting happiness. Additionally, frequent bouts of laughter improves memory and reduces blood pressure and high cholesterol by increasing oxygen through blood circulation. Laughing increases endorphins and dopamine while reducing stress chemicals in the body. And it helps senior with bronchitis and asthma by exercising the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.

Improves Relationships

Ask people what’s important to them, in their relationship with another, and many answer “a good sense of humor”. Laughter improves personal relationships, so much so that some experts believe that all other health benefits flow from the improved social support that laughter brings. Laughing together forms bonds, deepens connections, emotionally attunes people to one another and crosses language barriers. Laughter can diffuse a tense situation and lighten moods.

Laughter is Medicine birthday laugh
Laughter is Medicine – better quality of life for seniors

Bring More Laughter into Your Life

So how can you laugh more? Try these ideas.

  • smile more, signaling your brain and other people that you are ready to laugh
  • inject humor into conversations by asking if anything funny happened recently
  • tell funny stories and listen to giggle inducing tales from others
  • tell jokes and ask for one in return
  • read funny stories or crack open a joke book
  • watch humorous films and comedy series
  • laugh at yourself, often
  • watch funny videos on YouTube
  • attend a comedy club
  • watch comedians online or on tv
  • try out a laughing yoga class
  • spend time with kids…they are often hilarious
  • play with your pets and allow them to entertain you

Laughter does the heart and body good. It lightens mood, lifts the spirits and because it is contagious, it spreads easily to others, benefiting them too.

My grandchildren make me laugh. Funny movies and happy surprises do too. And sometimes I crack myself up when I’m feeling particularly witty.

What makes you laugh?

Laughter is Medicine laughing in Italy
Laughter is Medicine – my grandson Dayan and I cracking up in Italy

 

Laughter Finds on Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Ahhh summertime. It’s the season of playing outdoors, camping and swimming. We take road trips, hike through the woods, frolic at the beach and get away for a fun vacation.

We know being outdoors is good for us…fresh air, vitamin D producing sunshine and peaceful nature…however some of the benefits are lesser known.

Check out these 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors. And then get outside to explore and play and boost your health.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors title meme

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors

This year, with COVID19, stay at home orders and social distancing, getting outside is crucial. Not only is nature a safe environment, when maintaining distance from others and wearing a mask when necessary, it offers the gifts of health, wellness, clarity and well being.

Look at the surprising ways the outdoors heals us.

Improves Focus

Studies reveal that when we lose our ability to concentrate or focus on a task, getting outdoors for a few minutes helps us “clear our heads”. Nature allows the brain to take a break from mentally taxing activities, restoring focus when it’s time to concentrate again. Getting outdoors even improves the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Supports Aging Gracefully

While too much sun can actually age unprotected skin, a recent study found that adults over the age of 70 benefit from time outdoors. Improvements include better sleep, less aches and pains, increased mobility and the ability to perform daily activities more easily.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors Edinburgh park
I’m not over 70 however I’m all for aging gracefully, one of the 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors.

Speeds Up the Healing Process

Sickness, disease and surgery are all conditions that can increase stress in our lives. And stress slows the healing process. Researchers discovered that patients who spent time outdoors during recovery required fewer pain meds. Additionally, they had fewer complications and experienced shorter hospital stays.

Reduces Inflammation

Connected to speeding up the healing process is the fact that being outdoors helps to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is linked to a host of health issues, from autoimmune disorders to depression to cancer. Studies show that spending time in green spaces calms the body’s inflammatory response.

For the greatest benefits, spend time in green spaces such as forests, meadows, parks and gardens, anywhere there’s an abundance of trees, grass and plants.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors bridge
10 surprising benefits of being outdoors – walking in the woods to reduce inflammation

Boosts Immunity

We’ve learned just how important a strong immune system is, for fighting off viruses and infections. If you frequently catch what’s going around, spending time outdoors can help.

Trees and plants are especially beneficial for the immune system. Plants produce phytoncides that increase the production of a type of white blood cell in humans. These so called killer cells respond quickly to pathogens invading the body. Plus exposure to sunlight strengthens infection fighting T cells.

Sparks Creativity

Did you know that spending time outdoors can spark creativity? The best ideas come to us when we are relaxed and a bit unfocused. See my post on why showering creates the perfect environment for creative ideas.

Unplugging from the laptop or cell phone and taking a walk outside gives the mind a break, which allows a flow of fresh ideas to arise.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors creativity
Giving the brain a break and enjoying the beauty of nature allows creativity to flow.

Relieves Stress, Anxiety and Depression

One of the best ways to relieve stress, anxiety and depression is spending time outdoors. Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is the Japanese practice of connecting with nature through the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.

So how does forest bathing improve mental health? Spending time in nature lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. We need cortisol, for optimal health, however chronic elevated levels create health issues including anxiety, depression, memory and concentration problems and sleep disorders.

May Help Prevent Cancer

Research on this topic is ongoing, however, preliminary studies suggest that spending time in nature, especially forests, stimulates the production of anti-cancer proteins.

This boost in proteins last up to seven days after walking in the woods. Additionally, researchers found that areas with greater forest coverage have lower mortality rates from a broad range of cancers. This is a promising area of exploration.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors walk in the woods
A walk in the woods can help prevent cancer, one of 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors

Boosts Energy

When we feel like we need an energy boost, we often reach for a cup of coffee or a sugary soda. Instead of loading up on caffeine trying getting outside.

One study even suggests that spending 20 minutes outside boosts the brain and energy levels as much as a cup of coffee. Another study found that when participants simply looked at photos of nature, their energy levels surged upward. Pictures of cities did not have the same effect. Skip the pretty photos though, if possible, and step out into the fresh air.

Increasing Life Satisfaction

Getting outside has a positive effect on mood. More than that though, a recent study found that men and women who spent just 20 minutes outdoors in a park increased their level of life satisfaction by 64%!

Participants didn’t even have to exercise. Simply visiting the park boosted overall feelings of well being. Sitting on a park bench, strolling through a garden, having a picnic on a green expanse of grass is the ideal way to give spirits a lift.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors - park bench
Increased satisfaction with life is one of 10 surprising benefits of being outdoors.

Go Outside

As a child, I spent most of my summer outdoors. I swam, climbed trees, rode my bike and played a multitude of games with kids in the neighborhood. We ate lunch and often dinner on our porches and didn’t go inside until our parents called for us after sunset.

Today, kids spend an average of four to seven minutes a day outside. And adults spend 87% of their time indoors.

It’s no wonder our health suffers.

These are easy ways to boost health and well being. Get outside. Visit the park, hike through the woods, swim in the lake, meditate on the beach, plant flowers in a garden. Although activity outdoors is beneficial too, the simple act of being outdoors contributes mightily to our overall health.

Do you have a green space that you enjoy? I’d love to hear about it.

10 Surprising Benefits of Being Outdoors stream
10 surprising benefits of being outdoors – find a green space to enjoy

 

 

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The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40

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Thank you to Trent Peek for This guest post for national Men’s Health week, The Ugly Truth about men approaching 40. Check out his info at the end of the post.

They say age is a number, but it seems that when you are in your 40s that number seems to speed up faster than we want.

When we are in our teens, we all think that we are invincible. 

Our 20s seem to be a blur as the mental power struggle begins as we have the mentality of a teenager, but the responsibilities of an adult

We make mistakes, but we chalk them up to life experiences. 

By the time our 30s approach, the invincibility starts to wear off as we begin to understand that our bodies are not what they used to be.

It’s when the 40s hit that we understand that if we don’t take control of ourselves now, the bad choices we make could affect us years later.

That’s where I am right now, in my late forties. My metabolism is slowing down and the days are speeding past me faster than I can run. 

I started to ask myself if age is a number, why do I feel on certain days that I am 100 years old?

This post is for men who are approaching the age of 40 and what they should expect once they reach this age. Call it an owner’s manual on how to stay healthy and look good for years to come.

By the end of this post, I hope that men regardless of age will have a better understanding of how to win at life going forward.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 title meme

 

What Men Should Expect at Age 40

When I hit 40, I knew something wasn’t right. 

I’d groan in the mornings as I tried to get out of bed. I was making more trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night than I wanted to. Plus, I was starting to forget where I put my car keys on a daily basis.

When men hit their 40s, there are a lot of physical changes that happen that are out of our control.

A lot of these changes happen to the entire body and unfortunately, that is just part of growing older. 

But, a lot of these changes that occur once men hit 40 are controllable, if you are aware of them and stay on top of them.

As men get older, the changes to our bodies are unexpected and sometimes shocking at first. 

We start to see grey hair beginning to show, our energy levels begin to decline, we start to develop a bit of a dad bod that wasn’t there in our thirties, and we start to shrink in height. 

And let’s not talk about the decline in sexual function that is a secret that we only want to talk to our doctors about. Why do you think Viagra makes a ton of money?

The unfortunate thing about growing older is there are no owner’s manuals to read up on to stay two steps ahead of the game. 

But, understanding the body changes that many men will face as we begin to grow older, makes life easier to face.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 pain
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – aches and pains

Body Changes That Men Will Face In Their 40s

Prostate

While I was trying to figure out why I was constantly walking up multiple times during the night to pee, I start to realize that my prostate was not what it was like in my 20s or 30s. 

I was right, as I found out that once men hit 25 years old, our prostates slowly begin to grow which eventually creates pressure on the urethra. 

How could this happen? Chalk this up to hormone imbalances. 

The result of our prostates growing can result in frequent urination, difficulty urinating, and problems with the flow of the stream as well. 

The good news is that if men begin to experience situations like this, the good old doctor can subscribe treatment or suggest surgery to elevate these problems.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – improve energy with exercise

Energy

There is a thing in our bodies called Mitochondria which is the cell’s energy source. 

Mitochondria are important to our cells because without them our bodies are not able to create energy from the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins we eat. 

This is the reason why as men get older our energy levels begin to drop, and we enjoy watching golf on our couch at home rather than actually playing golf. 

So how can men slow this process down? Simple, start exercising! Cardio and strength training can be your best friend if you wish to maintain the energy you once had in your 20s. 

Cardio is fantastic for maintaining good heart health, and I would suggest HIIT training as it can elevate the heart rate fast and keep you healthy in less than 20-30 minutes a day. 

As for strength training, this is great for maintaining muscle and as a result makes men less fragile than we want to be.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 bald is beautiful
Bald is Beautiful

Hair Loss

I have bad news for you; your hair will start to go. I lost mine in my late teens, so I have come to terms with the fact that I never had a hairstylist in my contact phone list to call every month.

The term alopecia, which is male pattern baldness, starts to hit men in the 30s or 40s. 

Why? Because of the decline in testosterone in our bodies. 

Plus, our genes come into play here as well, as in my case. How can you deal with it? Simple accept it and move on, or talk to your doctor about possible treatments. 

There are some FDA approved treatments out there like Minoxidil which helps promote hair growth, and all you need to do is talk to your doctor. 

My suggestion, buy a hair trimmer and shave it off. The comb-over is so 1970s, and if you look at Jason Statham or the Rock, they can pull it off, so why can’t you! 

Heck, you will be hitting the gym for HIIT training and strength training to maintain your energy, so why not try to look like them?

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 intimacy
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – sexual dysfunction

 Sexual Dysfunction 

They say it in the damn Viagra commercial that it’s a secret that we can only talk to our doctors about, and it’s true. 

When men hit their 40s we notice something isn’t right, and our 20s are long gone. Sucks right? Well, not exactly because there are ways to help slow this problem from happening. 

The key to maintaining sexual health is to increase testosterone in the body. 

The simple solution to this is to hit a supplement store and have a daily routine in the morning of taking these pills. 

What supplements should you take? When I was at the local health food store I was told the key to maintaining testosterone levels is to take vitamin D, zinc, and D-aspartic acid. 

Why these supplements? Because they help promote serum testosterone levels. 

While I am not a doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, and I can’t give a medical option on whether this combination works or not, your body needs these vitamins in your body anyway, so why not just take them. 

Who knows, they might add some lead to your pencil. (Sorry for using that term, I like that saying.)

If you are worried about your testosterone levels, go see a doctor, as they can prescribe testosterone injections for you if they feel that it will help your body function better.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 yoga
Yoga helps strengthen the immune system.

Immune System

The sad thing about getting older is our immune system starts to decline. Those aches and pains that we begin to feel in the mornings are because of inflammation. Inflammation doesn’t just hit the muscles and bones, it hits our organs as well. 

Sucks right? But, a lot of our body’s inflammation is due to stress levels. Plus, with the way the world is today, I am surprised that a lot of 40-year-olds don’t look 80 right now.

So how can you avoid this? I always go back to my favorite tip from someone in their 90s, who looked like they were in their 70s: “It’s all about diet and exercise”. I agree with this statement. 

I’ve already mentioned how important exercise is to our bodies, but following a great nutritional diet and taking supplements like zinc, vitamin E, and probiotics maintain a healthy immune system.

Also, do some yoga! I always thought yoga was not for me at all until I was forced to go to a class. Being told to relax made a huge difference in my stress levels. 

Again, I am not a doctor, but I want to play one on TV if I have the chance.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 healthy foods
Eat Healthy Foods

What Should a 40-year-old Man Eat?

I have mentioned there are some great supplements that you can take to help maintain a working body for men in their 40s, but why not eat them instead? Who doesn’t love food? 

So, what type of foods should men eat in their 40s to maintain a healthy body? Here is a list of great nutritional options for you that will help your body for years to come and please your belly!

Omega-3s

Salmon: Omega-3 fats help in reducing the risk of heart disease, and heart disease is one of the leading causes of early death for men over the age of 40. 

By supplementing your diet with salmon, not only are you eating a lean protein, but providing the essential Omega-3s your heart needs to function. 

My suggestion is to add at least one serving of salmon a week, and then supplement the rest of the week with a good Omega-3 supplement.

Zinc

Red Meat: If you are not a vegan, red meat like steak is a great source of zinc which is a key mineral your body needs for the immune system. 

Don’t overdue your meals with red meat throughout the week, and on your off days add some other sources of zinc into your diet like green vegetables, nuts, and mushrooms. 

Veggies

Vegetables: I have been looking lately into changing my diet lifestyle and getting away from eating red meat. Even though I love a good steak, it’s not particularly popular in the vegan household I live in right now. 

So what vegetables have I been focusing on lately? Well, I have incorporated a lot of green vegetables like kale, mustard greens, and chard into my diet for the added zinc. 

But, I have been adding red peppers and tomatoes into my diet for the high content of vitamin C they bring to the diet, as well as the lycopene which is an antioxidant that helps reduce cell damage.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium/Vitamin D Products: My go to for my daily intake of calcium and vitamin D is milk. 

Calcium and vitamin D are very important in any person’s diet to promote bone density which helps us avoid being a fragile piece of glass in our 80s. 

If you are looking for other alternatives to milk for your calcium/vitamin D intake, there are some great tasting choices available like oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk.

Multi-vitamin

Side Note: Take a multi-vitamin daily! 

Your body needs it because of the amount of artificial garbage we tend to eat while on the go. Our bodies need help in getting these minerals and vitamins into our bodies to function. 

A multi-vitamin is extremely important.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 fashion
The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 – fashion

 

What Men Should Stop Wearing ASAP

I know we all are trying to reclaim the fountain of youth as we get older, however fashion is not the way to do it. I have seen men in their 40s who are trying to pull off fashion styles that even 20 year olds wouldn’t try. 

What types of clothing am I talking about? Here are the following clothing items that men in their 40s need to stop wearing now!!!

Sports jerseys and hoodies – Everyone likes to show his/her team pride when heading off to a game in a sports jersey of choice, but they don’t exactly work outside a stadium. 

As for hoodies, unless you are coming back from the gym after a great HIIT and strength-building workout, they don’t work well in an office environment. 

Hightop sneakers – Please don’t wear these unless you are called up to the NBA to play with Lebron James and the Lakers. High-ups are for teens who can’t afford a belt and are always pulling up their pants. 

Focus on casual sneakers if you are out and about as they go with pretty much everything, and don’t make you look like you are trying hard to stay young.

Skinny jeans – For the love of God! Stop wearing skinny jeans! Unless you are on top of your game in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and have skinny legs. When it comes to jeans, wear something comfortable that look good on you. 

When in doubt, go into a clothing store and say these words “I am 40, I have no fashion sense and I am looking for a pair of jeans!” You will get the help you truly need.

The Ugly Truth About Men Approaching 40 cool dude
Be fashionable, dude

 

Conclusion

I know that hitting 40 years old is tough, and I get that age is just a number, but there are ways to avoid getting old.

By following a proper diet, seeing a doctor regularly, and dressing the part, the years following will only get better. At least that’s what I keep telling myself every morning.

The information in this post has not been evaluated by any medical body. Information is provided for educational purposes. You should consult your doctor before acting on any content on this post.

Trent Peek

About the author, Trent Peek – There are things that could be said about me, and there are some that can’t. Wannabe screenwriter, director, actor, and full-time coffee drinker. A man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery. I was born intelligent, but education ruined me. 

Check out Trent’s blog, Peek At This.

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