Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Improve Your Health, Well-Being And Happiness With Plants

As we enter a new year, it’s a great time to consider a few ways of adding greater value to our lives.  Engaging the world of plants will improve our sense of well-being, happiness and health, whether that means growing our own food in containers or a garden, nurturing indoor plants or simply walking in a green space.

In terms of growing the healthiest food, the latest research has found that not all varieties are created equal.  Certain varieties of vegetables have far more nutritional value and antioxidants than other varieties in the same food group.  Eating nutritious foods is one of the best ways to stay healthy and maintain a better quality of life, so it’s important to know which varieties offer the most significant health benefits.

Plants promote good health in so many ways

Food gardening has skyrocketed in popularity, mainly because folks want more control over the food they eat. They want fruits and vegetables that are free of harmful pesticide residues, and they want to savour flavours that can be achieved only by harvesting fresh, naturally-ripened produce.  It seems logical that today’s food gardeners should focus on the varieties with the best nutritional, vitamin and antioxidant qualities.

Leeks are great for flavouring many dishes, and the ‘Kilima’ leek has the highest nutritional value.  This variety contains vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, magnesium, silica, iron and calcium. If you enjoy leeks, it makes sense to grow this variety.

Onions are also right up there for flavouring salads, soups and meats, and the variety ‘Candy’ is the most valuable because of its ability to fight bacteria and reduce blood pressure, harmful cholesterol and blood sugars.

Peppers, both sweet and hot, are healthful in many ways, but the hottie, ‘Mucho Nacho’, is high in vitamin C, phenolic acids, plant sterols, and it has lots of carotene.  The sweet peppers, ‘Red Beauty’ and ‘Blushing Beauty’, are chock full of vitamin C, and, ounce for ounce when mature, have more vitamin C than oranges,

Tomatoes, the most popular garden fruit, contains cancer-fighting lycopene, a very strong antioxidant and free radical neutralizer, and ‘Health Kick’ has 50 per cent more lycopene than other standard varieties. Research has shown that men, who consumed a minimum of 10 servings of high lycopene-enriched tomatoes a week could reduce their risk of prostate cancer by 45 per cent. Very few foods contain lycopene — watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruit and guava have varying amounts.

oregano

Combine your favourite edibles to make a beautiful container

Leafy vegetables, particularly the darker green varieties like spinach and kale, contain high levels of lutein and zeathanthin, two carotenoids helpful in protecting eyes, arteries and lungs from those nasty free radicals.  Advanced Nutraceutical Research Inc. has found that folks consuming lutein every day have a 43 per cent less chance of developing macular degeneration.  Two to five servings a day of leafy vegetables will provide adequate amounts.

We often hear of the value of garlic, and garlic researcher Dr. Eric Bloch suggests that regular consumption of garlic lowers the incidence of stomach cancer and reduces the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Yu-Yan Yeh indicates that regular use of garlic results in lower cholesterol levels. Historically, garlic was used in treating infections because of its anti-microbial agent called allicin.  In addition to flavouring so many dishes and keeping vampires away, it also inhibits many harmful bacteria.

All these plant foods simply need to be grown, harvested and enjoyed. Over winter, as you await the arrival of spring and a new opportunity to grow these wonderful foods, do a little research on the varieties that will provide you with the greatest health benefits.

Revive your spirits when you surround yourself in a canopy of green

Our gardens provide another opportunity for improving our lifestyles: exercise. The regular, natural movement of the body is one of the best prescriptions for good physical health, and the anaerobic nature of gardening is an exercise we can enjoy.  The Royal College of Physicians in Britain has produced a list comparing various activities and the number of calories each burned over 30 minutes of exertion.  Here is part of that list:  90 calories when walking, 162 when raking, 182 when weeding, 202 when digging, 243 when using a push mower, and 243 to 364 when shovelling.  Clearly, our gardens can be our new gyms.

Green spaces also afford us the opportunity to engage with plants.  Arizona State University has identified a name for a “connection to plants and nature”:  biophilia.  Creating this connection by bringing the outdoors inside is the latest trend in “interiorscapes.”  Using water, living walls, larger indoor plants, and other natural elements boost people’s mood, productivity and health.  After a long, arduous flight, arriving back at the Vancouver airport to the sound of water and loons and the natural look of weathered stumps is a relaxing and comforting welcome.

The importance of green spaces in urban areas is now recognized as critical to people’s mental health and sense of well-being.  As little as five minutes in a park can have a positive impact.  Japanese researchers found that spending just 20 minutes walking in a natural area enhances mood, vitality and creativity.  They call it shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”.  They discovered that trees in forested areas give out aromatic phytoncides, and “forest bathers” inhale these compounds.  They also learned that a forest walk, two days in a row, stimulated the human immune system in a significant way, as well as the production of a type of white blood cell.  Apparently, this effect remains 23 per cent higher after a month of forest exposure.

It’s hard to beat the sound of rushing water

According to the World Health Organization’s report, Urban Green Spaces and Health, increasing children’s exposure to green spaces influenced their cognitive ability in a positive way, improved their social inclusiveness and behaviour and lowered the risk of ADHD.  There’s also a growing understanding that the quality of “streetscapes” enhances social cohesion.

WHO also compared the proximity of green spaces and the corresponding health benefits.  Ideally, there should be 1.5 hectares of green space within a five to 10-minute walk from any home; a 20-hectare park within a 2km distance; a 100-hectare park within 5km, and a 500-hectare green space within 70 km.  Scientists have determined that one-hectare of green space per 1000 people in the surrounding area is the optimal situation.

This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits of connecting to plants and green spaces.  To be happier and healthier in the new year, grow, nurture and eat healthy, fresh foods.  Enjoy the plants inside your home, the ones growing on your patio or in your garden, and visit the parks, gardens and forests around you.

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Fun Fact Friday

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts all contain a little bit of cyanide. Eating them primes your liver to deal better with other poisons.

  • Only 6 percent of doctors today are happy with their jobs.

  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

 

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Sleep makes you more creative and makes your memories stronger.

  • Coffee can lower your risk of tooth decay.

Happy Friday!

 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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12 Commandments for a Happy Life and Soul

Posted: 08/18/2015    Elyse Santilli

1. Choose happiness. Radiate it.

Happiness is a choice and an energy you can cultivate on a daily basis. Do your best to live in high vibration energy like love, peace, fun and joy — for your own wellbeing and fulfillment, and for the positive ripple effect it has on those around you and the entire world. Bring a sense of play, delight, awe and enthusiasm to your daily life and tasks. Decide that no matter what happens, you will keep your heart open.

2. Enjoy the pleasures of life.

You are the Universe experiencing itself through you. Show it a good time. Give it to yourself to enjoy earthly pleasures. Get up early and watch a sunrise, swim in the ocean, devour fresh salads and juices, put on your favorite tunes, throw a dinner party, try a new recipe, relax in the park with a great book, have a second coffee, and do the things that make you feel fully alive.

3. Make empowered choices.

You don’t have control over everything in life but you do have control over your choices. Make choices that are loving and kind to you. Feel good about your choices. Make them with the right energy – wholeheartedness, joy and permission. Use permissive verbs – I can do this; I choose this.

4. Live in gratitude.

Gratitude is deceptively simple yet incredibly powerful. It makes what you have today enough, while also attracting more great things into your life. Say thank you numerous times a day. Thank you for fresh air, blue skies, rain drops, nourishing food, warm clothes, loved ones, and life itself.

5. Own your gifts.

You are the only you in the history of humankind. There will never again be anyone else like you – with your unique and magical blend of talents, passions, quirks, ideas and energy. When you think of how many sliding doors moments and events in history had to happen for you to be here today, you may realize for a moment how incredibly precious and worthy you are. Shine your light. Own your gifts. Share your true authentic self with the world.

6. Listen to your heart.

Become less centered in your circling thoughts and more centered in your heart and soul. When you can listen to your own soul instead of the noise of the world, you’ve mastered your life. Your inner guide will always tell you where to go, what to do, what to say, and to whom. Your soul knows exactly what is needed for your own highest good, growth and happiness. Following your bliss is a reasonable action plan for your life, because when you do, you open the floodgate to ideas, energy and inspiration.

7. Be creative and curious.

Make time for soul journaling, dancing, art, creating, adventuring, and solo dates to get to know yourself better. Mix up your routine, try new activities, walk the untrodden path, and open your circle to new people. When you do, you become more present and alive, because you can no longer rely on your default autopilot half-asleep mode. Have endless curiosity towards life, and positive expectations.

namaste

8. Take care of yourself.

You are a worthy, divine spiritual being. Treat yourself accordingly. The more you take care of and support yourself, the more you can take care of and support others. Nourish yourself with nutritious foods, water, movement, meditation and sleep. Fill your cup until it overflows onto others.

7. Commit to self-love.

Your relationship with yourself is the most important one of your life. How you treat yourself will have a profound impact on your relationship with others, as well as your level of success and happiness. Treat yourself like you would a best friend or loved one. Place your hand on your heart daily and tell yourself you are loved and accepted. Remind yourself ‘I love you’ whenever you are feeling anxious, ungrounded or inadequate. Remember you are always enough.

8. Be present and mindful.

The only time you can truly experience life is now. Leave those circling thoughts, worries and daydreams alone for a minute and check out what joys and opportunities are surrounding you in the present moment. Give each task your full love, energy and attention. Connect with your senses throughout the day as a window into the present. Drop into your being and make presence your natural state. Give yourself wholeheartedly to each moment. Hold nothing back.

9. Remember measure and balance.

The sage walks the middle path, away from the extremes. There is a time for action and a time for rest. A time for giving and a time for receiving. A time for speaking and a time for silence. A time for indulging and a time for holding off. Balance the areas of your life – calling and career, love and relationships, wealth, leisure and lifestyle, wellbeing and spirituality – in line with your values.

10. Creation over reaction.

You are a powerful creator. Spend less time complaining about how things are and more time deciding how you would like them to be — and then take inspired action to make it so. Embody the energy of having what you desire in advance of it arriving. Act, dress, walk, talk and make decisions as your ideal self. Keep your eyes on your vision, not the illusions around you. They are yesterday’s creations.

11. Adopt Namaste consciousness.

Bless others and soul-salute them as you pass by. Remember the light within you is the same light within them – we’re all just souls wearing different costumes. We’re also operating at different levels of consciousness, so show compassion and practice forgiveness. See everyone as a flower — unique and beautiful in their own way. Replace judgment with acceptance, respect and love.

12. Think give.

Wake up and ask yourself: how can I serve today? How can I embody love? How can I bring joy? How can I leave this world a better place? Have a spirit of service as you go about your day. Be a blessing, good company, an inspiration to others. You get more of what you give, so if you lack love, joy or abundance, find a way to help others find it. It will return to you a hundredfold.

Elyse is a writer, life coach and happiness teacher at NotesOnBliss.com and the creator of the Beautiful Life Bootcamp online course. She teaches people to align with their inner spirit, design a life they love, and expand their happiness and inner peace.


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Want to be an optimist? Pick up these positive habits

By Lindsay Holmes, The Huffington Post      Fri May 1, 2015

(CNN) Ever notice how some people just seemingly have a bright outlook on life – even when everything isn’t exactly on the sunny side?

You know those people: They’re the friends who have spilled coffee on their white shirt and still manage to have a nonchalant smile on their face. They’re the co-workers who make a big faux pas during a morning presentation and are still in a good mood at lunch. They look at the upside of life but they still live in reality.

Here’s the secret: They don’t have some magical, unicorn-like powers that make them that way. They just engage in behaviors that reinforce their positive frame-of-mind without making it seem like their head is stuck in the clouds, says Melissa Blakeman, M.D., the regional medical director at Johns Hopkins University.

Below are a few of the habits these realistically positive people practice on a daily basis.

They have calming rituals.

Life can throw us a series of stressful events, but positive people know how to cope with that anxiety in a healthy way. In fact, certain stress-relieving behaviors can actually promote positive emotions. Studies have shown that both exercise and meditation have been linked with happier moods.

“Activities like exercise and meditation are definitely helpful in keeping a positive attitude but they also help you think more clearly,” Blakeman said. “When those habits fall by the wayside, I personally can tell that I get more mired in the details and I have a harder time finding a path through life’s daily frustrations.”

They tap into their positivity during challenging times…

In an analysis on positive thinking published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers suggest that cultivating an optimistic mindset can help you tackle life’s challenges with resiliency – and as a result, that could potentially lead to greater well-being. The study authors wrote:

“Because positive emotions arise in response to diffuse opportunities, rather than narrowly-focused threats, positive emotions momentarily broaden people’s attention and thinking, enabling them to draw on higher-level connections and a wider-than-usual range of percepts or ideas. In turn, these broadened outlooks often help people to discover and build consequential personal resources.”

…But they also embrace the negative.

No one is immune to the tough lots in life – even optimists. The key is staying positive but keeping yourself grounded in reality, Blakeman said.

“There are certainly plenty of challenges we all experience,” she said. “Positive people approach them head on, with a ‘this too shall pass’ mentality. There’s that idea that they’ve been through challenges before and they’ve made it through.” That may mean tackling the day one task at a time or allowing yourself time to adjust to the “new normal” of a big change, she added.

25dab-facesimagecreditallyaubry

They don’t bully themselves.

Many of us are often our own worst critics, but positive individuals have learned to embrace themselves exactly as the are. Research shows self-acceptance could be vital to a happier life.

One way to cultivate more compassion toward ourselves is through Loving-Kindness Meditation, or an exercise where you extend feelings of love and goodwill to yourself and to others. Research published in the journal Psychological Science found that those who regularly practiced the activity experienced more positive emotions. Not to mention, you’ll also reap the other benefits of meditation. Check out these tips to help you get started.

They rid themselves of toxic relationships.

Who you are is partly a reflection of who you choose to surround yourself with – that’s why a good support system is crucial to an optimistic outlook, Blakeman explained. Studies show emotions like stress and happiness are contagious – the more you’re around it, the more likely you are to reflect that attitude.

Armed with this knowledge, positive people build a strong social circle that helps reinforce their upbeat nature. “You’d be amazed by how much a good support group can influence a good attitude,” Blakeman said.

They celebrate the little victories.

Positive people hold big accomplishments and small victories with the same weight, Blakeman said. There’s power in acknowledging the little things.

Research shows that thankfulness can lead to increased optimism, and it’s a habit positive people make a point to practice. Gratitude for the little moments – getting to the subway before it leaves the platform, getting a complimentary email from your boss at work – provides more opportunities to be positive since you’re concentrating on multiple facets of your day.

They don’t let their optimism hinder their goals.

Despite all the, well, positive research on positivity, there are some downfalls if approached incorrectly – specifically when it comes to pursuing your goals. Research suggests that overly positive viewpoints – think fairytale mindset – may actually impede you from reaching an accomplishment.

Everyone experiences setbacks in the pursuit of success. Optimally positive people recognize those speed bumps and proceed to problem-solve their way around them in order to reach their goals, according to Blakeman. This sort of attitude is equal parts realistic and optimistic, which makes the pursuit less like a fantasy but still leads to a satisfying outcome.

They plan ahead.

One study conducted by psychology researcher Sophia Chou found that those who identified as realistic optimists believed they had more control over their relationships and circumstances. “Every time they face an issue or a challenge or a problem, they won’t say ‘I have no choice and this is the only thing I can do,'” Chou told LiveScience. They will be creative, they will have a plan A, plan B and plan C.”

However, it’s important to realize when your current situation or planning becomes too overwhelming. Positive thinking is best cultivated with a relaxed mind, so take a break when you feel like you’re getting “so bogged down with the details” that it’s clouding your attitude, Blakeman said.

source: www.cnn.com


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20 Ways Changing Your Space Can Change Your Life

BY DANA CLAUDAT      FEBRUARY 25, 2015

Without space, where would we exist? Space is THAT important to life.

Not only is space vital, but we see and feel its importance even when we don’t know exactly how to articulate it. You know the places you avoid. We all know when something is “off” or “not right” or feels “haunted,” even if we don’t know why or how to fix it.

We’re inextricably tied to space and the energy of that space.

Take a moment to imagine the place where you’ve felt most at home in your life.

It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it?

Do you feel that feeling now at home? If not, you can. You just need to make the connection.

Feng shui is the ancient art and science of creating incredible environments to support incredible lives. The more of a connection you can make to your own personal space, the more that space can help you to change your life.

Here are 20 of the most common ways I’ve seen lives change when spaces change:

1. You’ll have more energy.

When you adjust your home in ways that eliminate basic obstacles and clutter, you create more flow in your life.

2. You’ll clear away emotional blocks.

Get rid of just a few bits of emotionally loaded clutter and you’ll feel the emotional weight associated with that clutter leave your life as well.

3. You’ll amp up your personal style.

It’s called “lifestyle” for a reason. Not “life obligation.” Not “life rules.” Beautification is also self-betterment.

4. You’ll feel at home when you’re at home.

Rather than simply being a place to live, a home reflects your confidence, security and deeper sense of belonging in life.

5. You’ll become more creative.

A home filled with things that you love will inspire you to synergize new ideas, and even explore new ways to communicate.

6. You’ll live with more depth.

The feeling of superficial existence — largely digital and fast-paced — melts greatly in the soft textures of a home that is a sanctuary.

7. You’ll launch your dreams.

When you’re organized and clear of clutter, you have a solid foundation to build a life that’s so much more stable.

8. You’ll break habits.

Going on vacation is a great way to help you break bad habits, as you remove common triggers to behavior when you go away. A home makeover can be just as effective, year-round.

9. You’ll relax more.

Serene spaces — especially ones filled with nature — are intensely relaxing.

home-sweet-home

10. You’ll sleep better.

Simple adjustments to your bedroom can help you sleep much more soundly.

11. You’ll expand your social life.

Having a space to entertain instantly opens up your social life directly, but simply having a decluttered home that welcomes in fresh energy also opens up your life to more connection.

12. You’ll make more money.

Money is energy. The more you can clear clutter and live in a high-energy space of beauty, the more abundance tends to come naturally.

13. You’ll have more healthy boundaries.

Being drained by energy vampire personalities or overly committing yourself can leave you in last place; a clean, clear and organized home helps you put yourself first in an empowering way.

14. You’ll think clearly.

Sit in chaos and darkness, and try to make important decisions. Now, go to a beautiful, light, refreshing space. Big difference, right?! A clear space reflects a clear mind.

15. You’ll feel more wellness in your life.

Wellness is about connection. Connecting to your body, your emotions, your breath and your determination all fuel your well-being. Making this connection to your space will powerfully support your wellness revolution.

16. You’ll make a fresh start.

In some sort of transition? Changing your home can help guide you through a time of big change, supporting you through a fresh start!

17. You’ll become more grounded.

Imagination, ideas, vision and dreaming are all vital, but a grounded life helps you to put those ideas into action in a much more concrete way.

18. You’ll risk bigger.

It’s way easier to take a big risk if you’re feeling great and supported by your life rather than when you’re feeling stifled and confused.

19. You’ll live with more purpose.

If your home is designed specifically to support and encourage your dreams, every step you take though that home you’ll be reminded of your purpose!

20. You’ll love more!

Ultimately, it’s all about love, right? Love for your life, love for everyone in it, attracting love, living in love … all of it! From filling a room with colors that inspire you to decluttering objects from a brokenhearted era of the past, your environment can be a catalyst for so much more self-esteem and love every day.

Are you ready to make a space shift of your own? You can start small and open some windows for a few minutes, burn a candle and clean your house. That is a great feel-good step. You’ll see and feel the difference instantly.

Want to really make a space shift of greatness? I’ve created a video course, Your Guide To DIY Feng Shui: Change Your Space To Change Your Life, to help you overhaul your space and your entire experience in the world. When you have a little guidance, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel!

 


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11 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Einstein

When most people think of Einstein, they think of the theory of relativity and “the world’s most famous equation,” E=MC². However, we can learn a lot more from Einstein than just scientific formulas and theories.  Albert Einstein also offered renowned knowledge in how to become your best self and enjoy life to the fullest.

Even if you have no interest in science, you can still apply these valuable lessons to your life today.

11 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Einstein

1. Value Your Imagination

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” -Einstein
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” -Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” -Einstein
“Imagination is the highest form of research.” –Einstein

2. Never Stop Being Curious

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” ? Einstein
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Einstein
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” -Einstein

3. Be Willing to Learn New Things

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.” – Einstein
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” -Einstein
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” -Einstein

4. Realize that Growth Comes Out of Failure

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas.” – Albert Einstein
“You never fail until you stop trying.” -Albert Einstein
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. – Albert Einstein
“Only the one who does not question is safe from making a mistake.” —Albert Einstein

reality

5. Dare to be Different and Take Initiative

“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.” – Albert Einstein
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. – Albert Einstein
“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” – Albert Einstein

6. Live in the Moment and Realize that Beauty Exists Everywhere

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
“I never worry about the future. It comes soon enough.” —Albert Einstein
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
“A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.” Albert Einstein

7. Live Selflessly and Value Others

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
“Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.”
“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”
“We know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all, for whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.”
“Enjoying the joys of others and suffering with them—these are the best guides for man.” – Albert Einstein

8. Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

“I admit that thoughts influence the body.”
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

9. Unleash Your Greatness

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

10. Be Kind to All Living Beings On Earth

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

11. Trust Your Inner Voice

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”
“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” – Albert Einstein

 


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10 Words Everyone Should Live By

BY DR. LAWRENCE ROSEN     JULY 10, 2013 

I’ve noticed a trend in wellness circles. Whether in my work with patients or in my yoga classes, I keep coming across the same words. On a given day, one might be the theme of a dharma talk or a TED Talk video someone mentioned to me. (Or, as was the case one strange morning, the same word was featured in both.) I am sure the universe is sending me messages, and the more I mention these to friends and colleagues, it seems like they’re hearing the same words.

Which of these words resonates with you?
My guess is some will at different times, but they’re all good words to live by.

1. Presence: To be fully engaged in what you are doing right now. And right now. And right now. Mindfulness of the present moment is something we never fully attain 100% of the time, but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. Whatever tools you use to cultivate presence, make time to hone them. That is why we practice (not perfect) yoga and meditation.

2. Vulnerability: The willingness to be let others see you as you are. Vulnerability is to admit, “I am human. I am not perfect. I struggle, just like you.” No one has described vulnerability more effectively than Brene Brown. She teaches us that vulnerability is NOT weakness; in fact, being vulnerable is the most courageous thing we can be. Only when we are vulnerable can we truly connect and be open to intimacy.

3. Clarity: Transparency and lucidity of vision and thought. Not just an uber popular, kinda creepy song by Zedd. Clarity is that aha moment when everything is crystal clear and it all just makes sense. I find it comes to me when I’m not trying to achieve it, but allowing my mind to relax and focus. It’s one of those things that the harder you try to achieve it, the further away it may feel.

4. Equanimity: The evenness of mind to stand steady in the face of stress or challenge. I didn’t really “get” equanimity until last weekend, when a very wise friend told me it could best be explained by the phrase, “It’s all good.” The next day, I was meditating on this phrase at the beginning of a particularly challenging beach yoga session. (I know, boo-hoo, poor me.) Still, it was hot, with no wind, black flies biting. The teacher began by saying, “I was reading something this morning about equanimity…” Aha.

gratitude

5. Gratitude: An intentional appreciation of what and who you have. An acceptance and explicit acknowledgment of what life brings you. Not taking anything for granted. As psychologist Robert Emmons notes, “Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present.”

6. Creativity: The use of your imagination to produce something—a thought, an object, really anything. Creativity implies a childlike playfulness, having the courage to make mistakes and keep pushing on. We desperately need more creativity in education and in the workplace. Never forget: you were once a child and some part of you always should be.

7. Authenticity: Walking the walk. The real you. The most honest “way of being.” To be authentic is to accept your self as is and offer that self to the world. The challenge is to learn to be OK with who you are and then… just be.

8. Passion: An incredibly intense and compelling desire for something (or someone) that is barely containable. And I think that’s the key. Your passion should be so palpable that it’s going to burst out of your eyeballs… but it just quite doesn’t. That’s what separates a crime of passion from the kind that makes you invest your whole being in the pursuit of your dreams and inspires others to follow you.

9. Compassion: Love and acceptance for another as if they were you. To treat them as you would want to be treated. To walk a mile in their shoes.  To see through their eyes as if they are your own. Compassion for yourself is the first step in having compassion for others.

10. Love: Do I really have to explain this one? OK, just one quote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower