26 Jun
2012
Relaxing With Meditation and Prayer

Often times when Americans think about meditation or prayer, thoughts of crossing their legs and sitting motionless for hours goes through their minds. However, that method is not the only form of meditation, nor is it practical for the average American’s everyday life.

Meditation is used for numerous reasons: achieving a higher state of consciousness, increasing focus, channeling creativity and/or self-awareness or to obtain a higher state of relaxation.

There are many different forms of meditation:

Various Forms of Buddhist Meditation
Christian Contemplation
Various Forms of Hindu Meditation
Judaism Meditation
New-Age (Secular Meditation)
Guided Meditation

Why Meditate?

Meditation helps numerous aspects of your life including: reducing anxiety, easing PMS, lowering blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and assisting with depression symptoms. Doctors continue to learn the health benefits of meditation are limitless. So whether you are seeking a strong mind-body consciousness, or trying to get a specific health benefit, meditation is the way to a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.

How Do I Get Started?

If you are trying to figure out where to start, don’t worry because there truly is no “one-way” to meditate. For some it might be going to a bookstore or coffee shop and listening to a meditation CD. For others it may be visualization or breathing deep breaths allowing them to let it all go. Many practices of meditation require you to sit up, but if that doesn’t sound like you feel free to lie down with your palms up and see if you can relax better.

Why is Daily Meditation Important?

The Dalai Lama was once asked why meditation is important in our daily lives. He said, “mental attitude is so influential in daily life that when you wake up in the morning and your mind feels happy or fresh, the rest of the day is good even in the face of a problem. If your mood is dull, even small things may lead you to eventually burst. So you see, mental attitude is a very important factor in our daily lives.”

In addition, he said, “meditation is an instrument to increase our mental energy and mental sharpness or alertness.” If you desire to be more at ease, consider meditation for 15 to 30 minutes a day and see how you feel. It is highly likely that you’ll be more at ease and be closer to living a happy healthy you.

8 Jun
2012
Sleeping and Your Health

If you sleep less than six hours a night, you are part of the seventy-five percent of Americans that consider themselves in the same situation. However, the bigger concern comes when it becomes chronic sleep loss. Chronic sleep loss could lead to more serious health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure (HBP) and a weaker immune system.

Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

Learning and Memory: While you are asleep your brain sends new information to your cerebrum, the part of your brain that controls memory, through a process called memory consolidation. In a study, your accuracy while working on memory tasks declines by 15 percent if you pull an all-nighter.

Metabolism and Weight: One of the side-effects of a sleep disorder is the potential to cause weight gain and/or reduce your metabolism. “Some research has suggested that sleep restriction over many years may affect metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes,” said Siobhan Banks, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. As if that’s not enough a Canadian study found that people with sleep deprivation increase their likelihood of being overweight by sixty-nine percent, compared with those who get seven or more hours. Sleep allows your body to process and store carbohydrates, by altering levels of hormones that affect your appetite.

Safety: Seventeen percent of Americans fall asleep at the wheel each year. Consequently, a loss in sleep could cause daytime mistakes including medical errors, air traffic and road accidents. So please, for not only yourself, but also everyone else, get the proper amount of sleep to prevent errors that could affect others.

Mood: Irritability, impatience, inability to focus and moodiness may be a few issues called by a loss of sleep. Which would not only affect your work performance, but also your extra-curricular activities while you’re around others.

Cardiovascular Health: After a sleep-study completed at University of Warwick’s: Warwick Medical School, Professor Francesco Cappuccio said, “Sustained sleep curtailment, ensuing excessive daytime sleepiness, and the higher cardiovascular risk are causes for concern. Emerging evidence also suggests a potential role for sleep deprivation as a predictor or risk factor for conditions like obesity and diabetes.” If you fall into chronic sleep loss you could potentially be seeing hypertension, increased stress, increased hormone levels and an irregular heartbeat. If you show any of these symptoms look at the American Heart Association’s website for ways to remedy symptoms.

Disease Prevention: Probably the most important reason to get plenty of sleep is to restore your immune system. Lack of sleep alters your immune function, which prevents your body from creating necessary cells that fight infection and cancer.

Women’s Health Magazine has provided a questionnaire to help improve your sleeping habits and offer advice to get you into Stage 3 sleep. This stage is where your body creates hormones, testosterone and thyroid hormones that boost our metabolism. As Luigi Pirandello said, “In bed, my real love has always been the sleep that rescued me by allowing me to dream.” Because you already have healthy eating habits, regular exercise and an optimistic attitude, go get a good night’s sleep to satisfy what’s missing!

29 May
2012
Beliefs, Choices and Languages

Your beliefs, choices and language are fundamental keys to a happy healthy you. Once you take hold of these “big three” you will be able to overcome personal obstacles and be more involved in the world allowing you to grasp all of your life’s desires.

Once you get a handle on managing these big three, the rest will come naturally. When it comes to change, eliminating fear is the first obstacle. Fear is a powerful and debilitating emotion. For women, change that makes her fear factor kick in affects her ability to reason, think logically and causes her creativity to dwindle.

A person that lives in fear tends to eliminate the big three. This is terrific if you are being chased by a lion across the African plains and your brain says, “Feet don’t fail me now.” But it’s not so terrific if fear is keeping you from positive change that affects regular exercise, improving your diet or living a balanced life.

Choices
What if every word you said came true? Or if you were obligated to follow through on everything you uttered? Would that be enough to change your language?

Living a healthy life involves developing personal awareness of your choices – especially in your self-esteem, what you desire and what you’d like to change. Your mind and body will align to the words you speak, so speak and think only of things you want to become a reality.

To see where you fall in allowing your words to become your reality, take this little inventory. Answer the five statements below and score each one using a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) with 4 being (neither agree nor disagree).

 

__ In most ways my life is close to what I deem ideal.

__ The conditions of my life are excellent.

__ I am satisfied with my life.

__ So far I have gotten the important things I want out of life.

__ If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

__ Total

 

Take your total score and compare it to the categories below:

 

35 – 31   Extremely satisfied

26 – 30  Satisfied

21 – 25  Slightly Satisfied

20          Neutral

15 – 19   Slightly Dissatisfied

10 – 14  Dissatisfied

5 – 9      Extremely dissatisfied

 

Your score on this Life Satisfaction Scale is a good reflection of your level of optimism. If your score falls into the “Slightly Satisfied” category or lower, you have some room to grow. Now take a step back to see what you can do to change your life and find a higher level of satisfaction.

 

Beliefs, Language and Culture

According to Robert Tennyson Stevens, “Language is our fundamental software. It is the operating system that supports our thoughts and actions.”

In our culture, language is the strongest medium of communication. Due to the fact words are often used automatically and unconsciously, people tend to treat them lightly. In daily conversation, we speak the majority of our words from habit, convenience and social obligation rather than from clear intent.

Words have immense power, and their impact depends entirely on how they are used. Your words should be seen as fuel, used to empower your desires and to direct and align with your energy.

Once you realize the potential that language has to create and transform lives, you would pay more attention to your words. You would be determined to get your language “in shape” as you are to master and hone your body.  Whether you realize it, you are constantly using language to turn your ideas and beliefs into concrete reality.

Getting those big three to swing in your favor makes your possibilities unlimited. You have what it takes to conquer your fear, along with making choices that you will cause you to never look back. Taking control of your life is a personal decision. Today, you can make better decisions that will enhance your beliefs, choices and language.

 

14 May
2012
Reclaiming Hope

Without hope, everyday problems are overwhelming. Sustaining hope is a key factor to being optimistic in every situation. Regardless of the problems you face, have a positive approach to life. Meet those curve balls head-on with hope and with purpose.

Make Peace with Your Past to Better Your Present

Too often we get caught in our past, struggling to forgive ourselves and forgetting to live in the present. Being stuck in the past is unhealthy and wears on your emotions. While it’s easier said than done, overcoming past mistakes and being optimistic about a specific situation will make you stronger.

Every day we make choices that can change our life for not only the day, but for our lifetime. We have a choice with every step we take, so make peace with your past to benefit your present and future.

When trying to forgive yourself it’s important not to compare your life to a sibling or co-worker, it’s always a bad decision. No two lives are the same and you can’t assume someone’s struggles are “easier” than your own.

Time Can Change Any Situation

To find success in your personal life, you must forgive yourself of past mistakes. This means uncovering a lesson learned from a past situation, no matter how bad it was – whether you cheated in your marriage, failed to protect a child from abuse, or even abused a child. In those circumstances, regardless of the harm done, finding a positive meaning depends on your attitude and perspective.

It doesn’t require a ritual or asking someone to forgive you. You can forgive yourself and be done with it. But forgiving yourself and finding a positive perspective is a decision you have to make for yourself. Each day is a blessing, and no matter what battles you’ve faced you should reclaim hope by setting goals and making a game plan to conquer personal obstacles.

Going After Your Passion – Don’t Take No For An Answer

There are times in life we fight for our dreams and won’t take no for an answer, even if it puts us up against unbearable odds. Going after your dreams and aspirations are yours to conquer. Not anyone else’s. Only you can accomplish those passions.

As Lucille Ball says, “One of the things I learned the hard way was it doesn’t pay off to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

When stepping into your future – let go of your past – think optimistic and ask yourself “in five years will this matter?” In the long-run, this question can help determine what you can accomplish.

A simple exercise is to write down what you are grateful for at the beginning of the day. It will help start your day off with a positive outlook. Some days might be difficult, and the only thing you are thankful for is the ability to walk or talk. Remember, that’s fine so long as you find a positive perspective.

3 May
2012
Osteoporosis after Menopause

Defining Osteoporosis

Postmenopausal osteoporosis, a preventable disease that weakens your bones over time, has affected over eight million women. Osteoporosis is the cause of over 1.5 million fractures each year in the United States.

Why worry about Osteoporosis?

Some of the cells in our body take away old bones, while other cells develop new bones. The ongoing process is part of keeping your bones strong. However, in the postmenopausal state, bone-removing cells work at an accelerated pace, resulting in thinner and weaker bones that become more fragile over time.

There are over 34 million people who have low bone mass and are at risk for osteoporosis, and it will become more prevalent as we age. For women, studies show that in the five to seven years after menopause they can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass.

If left untreated, women could suffer a broken bone simply from a minor fall. The highest osteoporosis-related fractures occur in the hip, spine and wrist. A fracture due to postmenopausal osteoporosis can be a life changing event.

What are the risks?

If you are over the age of 50 you are at a 50 percent chance of having an osteoporotic fracture in your lifetime. Of the 206 bones in your body, the two most important to take care of are your spine and hips, with your wrists and ribs being a close second. Fracturing these bones could lead to a severe loss in the body function you are accustomed to. The risk of a hip fracture is equal to the probability of getting breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. In fact, a woman with a hip fracture is more susceptible to having a second fracture occur.

A few of the risk factors for bone loss are:

– Being Female
– Being Caucasian or Asian
– Low Bone Density
– Personal History of Fracture After the Age of 50
– Family History of Osteoporosis
– Thin or Small Frame
– Advanced Age
– Estrogen Deficiency
– Loss of Periods (Amenorrhea)
– Hyperthyroidism
– Anorexia Nervosa
– Low Calcium Intake
– Vitamin D Deficiency
– Sedentary Lifestyle
– Cigarette Smoking
– Excessive Alcohol Intake
– Excessive Caffeine Intake

How can it be slowed down?

Since there are no symptoms of bone loss, osteoporosis is often referred to as the “silent disease”. Once menopause begins, you lose estrogen which makes you lose about one to four percent of your bone mass for the next seven to 10 years. That time frame will be your greatest loss. It is highly recommended to get a DEXA scan (Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry) once you reach menopause. It will inform you and your doctor of how much bone mass is present in your body. This knowledge is crucial to know how strict to be with treatment.

Two of our greatest resources are calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is the main bone mineral that we need to get through consumption of food or supplements. Ninety-nine percent of all the calcium in our body is located in our bones and teeth. The tables below are documents Dr. Jyotsna Sahni shares with her clients to guide them to a better calcium intake.

Table 1: Daily Calcium Requirements in Milligrams (mg.) per Age

Infants

Birth to 6 months: 200
6 – 12 months: 260

Children/Young Adults

1 – 3 years: 700
4 – 8 years: 1,000
9 – 18 years: 1,300

Adult Women and Men

19 – 50 years: 1,000
50+ years: 1,200

Pregnant or Lactating

18 years or younger: 1,300
19 – 50 years: 1,000

Source: United States Department of Agriculture and National Academy of Sciences, 1997

Remember these things and you will be surprised how much stronger your bones can be. Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Live a healthy lifestyle – don’t smoke and don’t drink too much coffee or alcohol. Stay up-to-date with regular bone-density tests and finally, prevention is key to a happy healthy you!

4 Apr
2012
The Importance of Vitamin C

Vitamin C – What does it do?

Vitamin C’s primary role is to regulate the formation of collagen in your body. Collagen is the protein that establishes tissue for your skin, bones, cartilage, teeth, muscles and the walls of blood vessels. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant that assists vitamin A, E and certain fatty acids from being damaged by excessive oxidation.

Studies show that a rich source of vitamin C can protect you from the common cold and prevent diseases. Numerous parts of your body such as your brain, kidney, lungs, pancreas, spleen and thyroid all use vitamin C for your health. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb the required amount of iron from natural foods.

Where can you get Vitamin C?

Strong sources of vitamin C are found in citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, strawberries, etc.) Also, foods such as cabbages, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, potatoes and broccoli contain an excellent amount of vitamin C.

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

Signs that you are lacking vitamin C are bleeding gums, nose bleeds, splitting hair, easy bruising, dry skin and skin discoloration. One of the most important functions of vitamin C is that it provides nutrients to build your tissues and support your blood vessels. It also reduces stress levels and keeps your skin healthy to give you a younger look.

Vitamin C and Premenopausal

According to the National Institutes of Health the recommended daily intake for women is 75 mg. If you are pregnant, or breast feeding, the recommended does is 85/120 mg, respectively. Studies have shown that women taking vitamin C while on birth control increases the effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.

The two most common hormones found in the birth control pill are estrogen and progesterone. Together these prevent you from ovulating during your monthly cycle. These two hormones can lead to different vitamin deficiencies, including vitamin C.

As discussed in A Happy Healthy You estrogen and progesterone are two of the four main hormones that every woman over the age of 45 should be knowledgeable about. No matter what stage of life you are in, vitamin C will help get you to living your fullest life.

22 Dec
2011
The Most Popular Health Topics of 2011

RE-POSTED FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, by ANAHAD O’CONNOR

High-protein diets and superhero workouts – those were two of the most sought-after topics on the Internet in 2011.

Or at least according to the number crunchers at Google. Recently, the popular search engine company released the results of its 11th annual “Zeitgeist” report, which includes a compilation of the most popular and fastest-rising search terms of the year. The company sorted through billions of worldwide Google searches throughout 2011 to come up with its results.

While Rebecca Black, the teenager whose infamous auto-tuned song and viral video, “Friday,” was the most popular search term of 2011 in the United States, health topics were also high on the list. In the workout category,health-conscious Americans were extremely interested in learning how to look like the muscular lead character in the superhero movie “Thor,” starring Chris Hemsworth, followed by the “Ryan Gosling workout,” the “Chris Hemsworth workout,” and the “Captain America workout.”

As for diets, it appeared that many Americans were looking to emulate the high-protein eating habits of many celebrities and tabloid fixtures. “Dukan diet” was the No. 1 search term in the fastest-rising diet category, followed by the “four-hour diet” and “17-days diet.” The Dukan diet, a protein-based eating plan developed by the French nutritionist Pierre Dukan, was well known in France but skyrocketed in popularity this year after reports that Kate Middleton had used it to drop two dress sizes before her wedding to Prince William. The diet has also been linked to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen. But it is not without its detractors. Last month the British Dietetic Association named it one of its “Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in the New Year.”

Diets were all the rage as well on Bing, Microsoft’s answer to Google, with “Weight Watchers” and “diet/obesity” two of the top health-related search terms among its users in 2011. Meanwhile, another Google rival, Yahoo!, released its own search results, which found that “pregnancy symptoms,” “diabetes symptoms” and “gall bladder symptoms” were its top three health symptom searches of 2011. The search engine also released a detailed list of the top health questions that its users plugged into Yahoo! throughout 2011. Among those that made the list: “Is a fatty breakfast better than a low-fat breakfast?” “What is physical fitness?” “What is dementia?” and “What causes pancreatic cancer?”

Some Yahoo! topics varied in popularity by month. The terms “sunscreen,” “poison oak rash” and “sinusitis” spiked in popularity in May, spurred no doubt by Americans heading outdoors with fears of sunburns and allergic reactions in mind. But the reasons for the sudden interest in other search topics were less clear. The phrase “treating depression” spiked between March and August, for example, and “What is bipolar disorder?” saw a jump in searches in March, April and August.

Here at The Times, happy relationships, alternative therapies, the brain and mental health were among the most popular health topics. The most viewed Times article of 2011 over all was “The Happy Marriage Is the ‘Me’ Marriage,” which was accompanied by a hugely popular “Sustainable Marriage Quiz.”

 

20 Nov
2011
What is Your Idea of Heaven?

We write about it in A Happy Healthy You. Nurturing yourself – physically, emotionally and spiritually is essential to creating a happy, healthy life.  Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.  That’s why we are offering you a rare opportunity—to create the contest of your dreams.

Consider this permission to think about yourself. Let us know what you would do to pamper and cherish yourself if money, time and responsibilities were no object.  As women, we tend to take of everyone else FIRST—leaving little or no time for us. Then, at the end of the day or the end of our lives, we may feel desolate, enervated, and alone.

It’s time to take charge of our lives and our own happiness. Fundamentally, it is a choice.

So, let your imagination soar—a week at a five-star spa, a personal, on-call chef, trainer,  or masseur; a session of yoga classes; a weekend in New York City with your girlfriends, a beach, or a completely renovated smile?

Post your thoughts here on the blog or on Facebook. We will consolidate the suggestions and launch our Happy, Healthy Life Contest soon!

 

27 Oct
2011
When was your last physical?

Do you remember the last time you actually went to a doctor for a complete physical? Chance are, it’s been a long time. Everyone goes to the doctor for problems or concerns they are having, but very few people actually go regularly for routine medical tests, including blood pressure checks and blood tests. Even though they may not be a fun way to spend an afternoon, getting a routine physical is vital for maintaining your health.

A routine physical can detect small problems before they become life-threatening. Treatment may still be an option. Putting off a physical can lead to serious complications, because many illnesses and diseases have no physical symptoms early on. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of your health, and make sure that you’re having regular check-ups. It can help to treat a problem if caught early enough, and can even avoid the problems from escalating into something more serious.

Sometimes a regular physical can detect warning signs for more serious disorders that without treatment could cause much more serious diseases or problems. To give you an example, a physical will often reveal high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Both of these conditions can be treated, but if left too long without treatment, can become more even more of a concern.

Maybe you are experiencing a  problem that you feel is just “too small” for a special doctor’s appointment? Well, a physical is a great time to mention some of the little concerns you have in regards to your health. Maybe you have really dry skin, a small rash, or maybe you’ve just been feeling very tired and run-down lately. This is the perfect opportunity to bring these issues up with your doctor, and bring you some peace of mind. Maybe some of the “little” things that you don’t think are important, can give a doctor some clue as to something more serious going on which requires attention.

Women need to see a doctor every year. It’s necessary to have an annual pap smear and breast examination, along with all of the other routine medical tests of a physical. There will be other tests, such as mammograms, which will be needed from time to time as well, especially after a certain age.   Men, however, don’t need to have such frequent visits. Although it has generally been suggested that men go once a year as well, new research has actually pointed out that it isn’t necessary to have them as often. Now they are being told that they need to have a physical two times in their twenties, three times in their thirties, four times in their forties and every year from then on. Remember though that the more you go for a physical, the healthier you’ll be.

So don’t put off your checkup! It may save your life.

 

12 Oct
2011
Dating Over 50

There are 97 million Americans over the age of 45, and of those, 40%, or 36.2 million, are single. The ratio of females to males increases with each decade, but does it really matter? Think back to when you were dating in college. How many of those boys would you consider potential for dating? If you’re like me, not one in 50. If you’re dating just to a warm body, that’s no problem. It’s always been “hard” to find the right material, so it’s the same game– just played on a new field.

Emotional intelligence generally increases with age; this is about “life skills.” Older people are better at dating, as they are at just about everything except a few non-consequential motor skills. From experience, maturity, and common sense, sometimes innate, sometimes acquired through the School of Hard Knocks, we interpret reality quickly and correctly. We know how to look in the horse’s mouth.  Likewise, we can maneuver in the social world. We don’t fumble for topics of conversation, faint at the thought of a formal dinner, wonder how to behave at an opera, or think planning a vacation is “hard.” We don’t fall apart when our hose run, and we operate from a deeply centered standpoint, not chasing about the fickle and changing opinions of others. We answer to ourselves. We have life skills, aplomb, sophistication, and experience!

We aren’t run by hormones, which is how many mistakes are made, and the good news, the guys aren’t either. According to Trish McDermott, at Match.com, the largest dating site, “The one thing that our research continually shows is that the older a person gets, the more he or she becomes a practical dater, as opposed to being emotionally driven.” This gives both sexes a better chance at a wise choice.

Men in our age range have had a chance to learn what matters, and what makes or breaks a marriage. As one of my clients says, their former wife has trained them in some important areas, as has life, and in some cases, divorce; or they have used poor judgment, married someone unsuitable, and learned the hard way. There’s nothing like being able to eliminate immediately things, people and relationships that don’t work for you.

Ask any man over the age of 40, and he’ll say he wants “a companion.” For a marriagepartner, according to the AARP, people over 50 say “personality” matters the most. Marriage ends up being that 6-hour drive to the kids’ house, and he doesn’t want to listen to a ninny talking about the latest sale at the Gap or what a horrible boss she has, or how unfair her life is. It’s also about the logistics of a well-run life, and he doesn’t want someone who sits on the floor and sobs when the washing machine overflows.

Now here are some of the latest stats from the AARP. Nearly half the people 40-69 didn’t have a first-date last year. Statistically, of people in their 50s, 15.4% are divorced, 6.25 have never been married, and 4.4% are widowed. This matters because men who remain embittered and terrified of involvement after a divorce, aren’t datable and should be required to wear warning signs of their backs.

Should this discourage you? No. If you’re a winner, if you have your act together, if you aren’t dragging the past around on your own back, there is someone out there looking for you just as hard as you are for them.
Where to look? Start with places you normally go (opera, theater, museums, SCUBA, hiking) just amp it up. Churches with large memberships are also a good choice. Just be awake when you’re there. Internet dating sites also score high. About half the people over 55 believe it’s possible to meet via the internet and fall I love. It happened to me. I know it’s possible. Match.com has 1.5 million members over the age of 50, the fastest-growing group, with a 65% increase last year.

Good marriages are between equals. Except in fairytales, successful marriage are between people with similar backgrounds and histories. This means, if you aren’t where you want to be, get busy. Get some coaching, get back in shape and have a makeover, take a good nutraceutical and supplement, and enrich the biggest sex organ – your brain. When you fall in love with learning, you never have a broken heart. You also become more at tractive to other people. Dating over 50 is a competitive game. So, have good cheer, and good luck!

What are your dating tips?