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The 11 Life Lessons

The 11 Life Lessons It Turns Out I’ve Taught My Six Kids

On my 46th birthday recently, my (mostly adult) kids wrote out a list of lessons I’d taught each of them in their lives so far. Each wrote their own list, and my wife Eva sweetly put them together in a notebook.

As I read through them, I felt like crying. It’s so incredibly touching that they appreciate what I’ve been trying to pass on to them, things I’ve been learning and want them to understand.

As a father, there are few things more meaningful than to see how you’ve helped your kids through your example and talks over the years. We have a mixed family of 6 kids, aging from 13 years old to 26 years, and all of them are wonderful human beings.

It turns out, there were some lessons that all or most of the kids put on their list, which I’m going to share with you here. These lessons they had in common made me wonder if these were the more powerful lessons, or if they were simply the ones I talked about the most. 🙂

So here they are, roughly ordered in how frequently they showed up on my kids’ lists:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and it’s okay to fail. This was tied (with the next one) as the most common lesson on their lists — it made all their lists, I think. I really love that this lesson hit home with them.
  2. Have empathy & try to see things from others’ perspectives. This was the other lesson on all their lists, and again, it’s beautiful that they all took this to heart. I’ve tried to show them this through my actions, though of course I’m not at all perfect.
  3. Push out of your comfort zone. This is another one I’ve tried to teach by example, from running several marathons and an ultramarathon to doing things that scare me, like speaking on stage or writing books. This lesson is so important to me that
  4. Don’t spend more than you have. This is such a simple idea, but one that is rarely followed. I’m glad my kids are starting out with this mindset — live within your means, save as much as you can.
  5. Appreciate what you have & enjoy where you are right now. I love this one. It’s something that I try to embody, but also remind them when they are thinking about what they don’t have. Each time we’re stuck in complaint, it’s an opportunity to wake up to the beauty that’s in front of us.
  6. Sadness is a part of life, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it. Despite what I said in the previous item, it’s OK to feel sadness, pain, grief, frustration, anxiety, anger. In fact, most of us never want to feel those things, so we’ll do whatever we can to ignore them or get away from the feelings. Instead, I try to actually feel those things, as an experience. It teaches me about struggle — if we’re not willing to face our own struggles, how can we be there for others when they struggle?
  7. Don’t give up just because something gets hard. As new adults, our four oldest kids are facing various struggles in new ways. This is part of growth, of course, but struggles never feel good. My job as dad has been to encourage them not to give up just because it’s hard — to keep going, and to use the struggle to grow.
  8. But don’t overwork yourself. That said, I’m not a fan of overwork. I believe the brain doesn’t function well if you keep studying or working past the point of exhaustion, so I try to teach them about taking breaks, resting, going outside and moving.
  9. It’s okay to be weird in public. Have fun. I’m not sure why several of them had this on the list — they must have learned to be weird from someone else? OK, in truth, they might have gotten it from my tendency to dance and skip with them while we’re out walking around in a city, or to encourage us all to do weird things as a group, no matter what other people might think.
  10. Your reality is a reflection of the narrative you tell yourself. This is something I learned late in life, and I’m glad my kids are learning this. The good news is that you can learn to drop that narrative, if it leads to suffering. What would this moment be like without a narrative? Beautiful and free.
  11. Make people laugh. It makes their day brighter. I’m so happy they picked up this important lesson from me! With my kids, I’m mostly always joking, except for when I get (too) serious about teaching them an important lesson. The rest of the time, I try to take a lighthearted approach.

I love my kids with all my heart, and it has been a privilege to be their dad. I take 10% of the credit and give the rest to their moms, grandparents, and themselves.

Btw, you can read Chloe’s full list in her blog post.

dad kids

Also … from them, I’ve learned some lessons that are just as important:

  • Kids deserve to be heard, to be listened to, to be respected. I started out as a dad with the idea that what I say goes, and they just need to listen to me! But over the years, I’ve learned to listen to them, and treat them as I’d want to be treated.
  • Kids have tender hearts that hurt when you aren’t kind to them. As a young dad, my frustrations and insecurities led me to angry bursts of scolding, yelling, spanking. I’ve grown since then, but more importantly, I’ve learned to see the tenderness of their hearts, and how it hurts to be yelled at by someone they trust and love so much. I am much more gentle with those hearts these days.
  • I should relax and not take myself so seriously. Whenever I think too much of myself, my kids humble me. Whenever I get too serious, my kids laugh at me. I love that playful reminder to loosen up.
  • Dads are goofy, dorky, uncool. And that’s how we should be. I sometimes harbor the notion that I can be a “cool” dad. When I try to break out newish slang or reference a meme, my kids will tease me about it. When I break out a joke or pun that I think is hilarious, they’ll laugh while rolling their eyes and calling it a “dad joke.” So I’ve learned just to embrace my uncoolness, and be myself with them.
  • All they need is love. There are lots of things to stress out about as parents, and nowadays we tend to obsess about getting everything right with our kids. But really, we’re stressing about it too much. All the details are just details — there’s only one thing that really matters. They want you to love them. And to receive their love. That’s all. Feed them, clothe them, shelter them, educate them, sure … but beyond that, they just want you to love them. Drop everything that gets in the way of that and let it come out as simply and clearly as you can.

 

BY LEO BABAUTA
source: zenhabits.net


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This Year, Consider Giving Presence Instead Of Presents

During the holiday season, many of us feel pressure to find our loved ones the “perfect” gift. Why? Because gift-giving has long been considered a prime way to express love. However, recent research suggests that gestures don’t need to be large or have a hefty price tag to feel meaningful. The study, published this summer in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, suggests that small acts of kindness, not grand overtures, make people feel most loved and supported.

“Our research found that micro-moments of positivity, like a kind word, cuddling with a child, or receiving compassion make people feel most loved,” says Dr. Zita Oravecz, a professor in human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University and one of the study’s researchers.

In the study, 495 men and women between the ages of 18 and 93 completed a questionnaire evaluating 60 possible ways that people can feel love. Each question began with, “Most people feel loved when…” The scenarios included situations like spending time with friends, receiving gifts, and spending time in nature. The survey also included negative interactions, like being controlled and criticized by others. Oravecz says the findings highlight the psychological benefits that intimate relationships can offer. In fact, study participants ranked human interaction as a more significant expression of love than receiving material items, like presents. Connecting with others was also rated more highly than getting positive feedback on the internet, indicating that people derive the most support from personal human contact. In fact, other studies suggest more time on social media leads to increased feelings of isolation. Yet despite the findings that spending time with friends and family makes us feel good, during hectic times like the holidays, these social interactions can feel burdensome instead of fulfilling. Fatigued from an overload of shopping, spending, and travel, most Americans describe this time of year as stressful instead of magical. In fact, a telephone survey conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that compared to other times of the year, 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men (out of 786 individuals polled) feel more stress during the holidays. In addition, 51 percent of women and 42 percent of men said purchasing and giving gifts added to their distress.

Esther Lui for NPR

Small acts of kindness are what make us feel loved.
 

Any kind of stress can strain relationships and cause us to withdraw from others, but small stressors can be just as trying as larger burdens. A 2015 research study found that daily hassles like working, running errands, and money troubles negatively impact romantic unions, causing people to feel less satisfied and more alone in their relationships. When we’re anxious and fatigued, it can also be more challenging to see someone else’s point of view, which might explain why family feuds seem more likely to arise during the holidays. While prioritizing one’s self-care during the months of November and December may be difficult, adopting a mindset of being present in the moment may help lessen the stress of the season.

“During the holidays, anxiety rises, making it harder to remain present with ourselves and others. However, the power of spending time with another person is a gift we can give at any moment,” says Dr. Carla Naumburg, a mindfulness coach and social worker in Newton, Mass.

While we may associate presence with mindfulness meditation, we don’t need to be Zen masters to create a calmer holiday. Naumburg says we can cultivate presence by cutting back on social media (which helps limit distractions), getting plenty of rest, and taking a pause (and remembering to breathe).

“For everyone, breathing is a small but powerful act that can keep us connected to ourselves by shifting our awareness to the present moment,” she says.

According to The American Institute of Stress, focused breathing elicits the body’s “relaxation response,” slowing one’s heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and helping muscles relax. This physical process aids in repairing an overactive nervous system, helping us to enter a calmer physical and emotional state. Although it can be challenging to forgo doing extra errands during the holidays, Naumburg suggests balancing party planning and online shopping with moments of human connection. Activities like reading to a child, meeting a friend for a walk, or taking a moment to call a family member, are ways to express love and care and can keep us emotionally grounded. While the idea of offering loved ones the gift of our time may pale in comparison to giving them a lavish present, recent empathy research shows shared human experiences can tighten social bonds. Oravecz and her colleagues also found that despite personality differences, most people agree on what makes us feel loved — the presence of our loved ones.

Juli Fraga is a psychologist and writer in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter @dr_fraga.
December 9, 2017    JULI FRAGA
 
source: www.npr.org


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Some studies suggest that eye contact must be made for about 8.2 seconds for that “Love At First Sight” feeling to occur.

  • People who generally walk fast tend to live longer.

  • Avocados, raspberries, almonds, broccoli, spinach, salmon are among the healthiest foods on the planet.

  • Telling the truth when tempted to lie can significantly improve your health.

 

~ Happy Friday!~


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This Is What Happens To Your Brain After A Breakup

“Turning on the reward neurons releases repeated floods of the neurotransmitter dopamine. And the dopamine activates circuits inside the brain that create a craving…In the case of romance, the thing you need more of is your beloved.” – Diane Kelly

We’re going to assume, at least for the sake of this article, that someone you once loved someone did not end up becoming “the one.”

Many people reading this article will concede that a such an unfortunate occasion has happened at least once.

The underlying concept you’ll see throughout the article is this: the brain’s complex – and often, unknowable – intricately woven circuitry produces complex feelings that arise from any and all situations; whether positive or negative.

Of course, this includes any relationship that has gone awry.

The motivation behind this article is to explain what happens to the brain following a painful breakup. The benefit of such knowledge is noteworthy in the sense that we will gain a more comprehensive understanding of the neurocircuitry that accompanies a hard felt separation.

It is our hope, then, that this knowledge will enable you to understand why such emotions occur – and what you can do as a rational being to make the best out of a tough situation.

HUMANS ARE HARDWIRED FOR LOVE

Anyone remember the 1980’s commercial “This is your brain on drugs?” This commercial was a well-intended (though rudimentary) depiction of what occurs in the human brain during drug use. Whether or not one is a fan of this ad, it is challenging to object its effectiveness. Following extensive research, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America reproduced a more intensive version of the commercial following a sizeable decrease in drug abuse cases.

As it turns out, the human brain reacts similarly to love. According to Psychology Today, “love has probably started more schoolyard fights, adult feuds, and outright wars than every other catalyst combined – money, alcohol, drugs, politics, sports, etc.”

Simply put, the numerous effects of love on the brain are strikingly similar to those produced by drugs. Similar to how drugs can induce a stagnant effect on the human brain, love (especially deep love) can result in the same – if not exacerbated – neurological effects.

A neuroscientist at the Einstein College of Medicine explains love’s effect on the brain as follows: “Other kinds of social rejection are much more cognitive…(Romantic rejection) is a life changing thing, and involves systems that are not at the same level as feeling hungry or thirsty.”

In other words, when someone we love rejects us, it is as harmful, if not more so, to the brain than social needs (friendships) and primal needs (sustenance).

Wow…can’t say we saw that coming. Wonder what Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil would say on the matter. Anyway, digression aside let’s get down to it.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BRAIN AFTER A BREAKUP

When we separate or reject somebody who we love, the physical effects – shallow breathing, nausea, chest constriction, etc. – are all very real phenomena.

Studies demonstrate that individuals in the midst of a breakup show disproportionate activity in the brain regions that determine the body’s response to physical pain and distress. This is potentially dangerous; and again, the more intimate the relationship, the likelier that adverse and extreme harmful physical side effects arise.

Unfortunately, this counterproductive cognitive response negatively affects other physical channels; including higher blood pressure, weakening of the immune system, and complications of the digestive system. These physical symptoms may persist for days, weeks, or months following a separation; with the duration of such effects highly dependent upon the individual.

Perhaps the most tragic response to heartbreak is a condition known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (aka, “Broken Heart Syndrome) which produces stress hormones in extreme excess, which can, sadly, result in a heart attack, stroke, or even death.

(Sigh…)

WHAT THIS MEANS (AND DOESN’T)

From birth to death (and perhaps beyond), human beings desire to be loved. Regardless of the rapid advancements in neuroscience, we cannot – nor should we presume to – understand the complex mechanisms of love on our brain, body, and soul.

Experience (and science) tells us that love and human existence are inseparable. On the positive side, this inseparability enables us to love and cherish those we hold dear despite any and all circumstances. On the not so positive side, such findings elaborate upon – for better or worse – our dependence on others for connection, friendship, love, and nourishment.

For those currently going through the heartbreak that many of us have endured, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Human beings, by evolutionary design, are resilient creatures. Our brains have the superlative capability of learning, adapting, and rewiring to any past, present or future situation.

REFERENCES:
PARKER, D. (N.D.). QUOTES ABOUT ADAPTATION (102 QUOTES). RETRIEVED MARCH 24, 2017, FROM HTTP://WWW.GOODREADS.COM/QUOTES/TAG/ADAPTATION
KELLY, D. (2015, JULY 20). HERE’S WHAT BREAKING UP DOES TO YOUR BRAIN. RETRIEVED MARCH 24, 2017, FROM HTTP://GIZMODO.COM/HERES-WHAT-BREAKING-UP-DOES-TO-YOUR-BRAIN-1717776450
WEISS, R., LCSW, CSAT-S. (2015, JANUARY 28). THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON LOVE. RETRIEVED MARCH 24, 2017, FROM HTTPS://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/LOVE-AND-SEX-IN-THE-DIGITAL-AGE/201501/IS-YOUR-BRAIN-LOVE


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Fun Fact Friday

  • If someone truly loves you, they tend to hug you for at least 5 seconds or more.

  • Changing how you walk affects your mood.

  • Studies show that the walking through a doorway causes memory lapses, which is why we walk into another room, only to forget why we did.

  • Emotions are contagious. Unpleasant or negative emotions are more contagious than neutral or positive emotions.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on Earth after oil.
  • 1% of people are addicted to exercise.

  • Long distance relationships are as satisfying as normal relationships in terms of communication, intimacy, and commitment, studies show.

  • It takes your brain approximately 90 seconds to decide whether or not you like someone.

  • Laughter helps increase memory and learning. Incorporating humor into education leads to higher test scores.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • It takes about 7 minutes for the average person to fall asleep.
  • A “gut feeling” is a chemical signal that your stomach creates to warn the brain of danger.
  • Fast food restaurants use yellow, red, and orange because those are the colors that stimulate hunger.
  • In the next 30 seconds, you will, on average, produce 72 million red blood cells, shed 174,000 skin cells, and have 25 thoughts.
  • Studies show those who don’t eat breakfast, or eat it only sometimes, are twice as likely to be overweight as those who eat two breakfasts.
  • It only takes 0.2 seconds to fall in love.

 

Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • The downside of being shy is that people misjudge you as thinking you’re better than others just because you’re quiet.
  • 91% people skip the first slice of bread, just because it’s ugly.
  • Popcorn is by far the healthiest snack. It builds bone, muscle, tissue, aids digestion, and is good for the teeth.
  • Generally, you should never forget what a person says to you when angry because that’s when the truth finally comes out.
bread
  • According to a study, wishing someone luck makes them do better.
  • A sleeping human brain can still understand the words being spoken around it.
  • Bottling up your emotions can lead to depression.
  • Studies have found that smiling is 69% more attractive than wearing makeup.
  • It only takes 0.2 seconds to fall in love.
  • Focusing primarily on the person you’re talking to rather than yourself and the impression you’re making lessens social anxiety.

 

Happy Friday  🙂

 

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


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Fun Fact Friday

  • North American school buses are yellow because humans see yellow faster than any other color, which is important for avoiding accidents.
  • People fall in love on average 7 times before marriage.
  • Studies have shown that eating food without preservatives can improve I.Q by up to 14%.
  • Psychologists have found that whenever you’re in a bad mood, you can feel better just by forcing yourself to smile.
  • A teaspoon of honey is actually the lifework of 12 bees.
preservatives
  • Washing your hands makes you more optimistic.
  • Shy people tend have great observational skills, making it easier to recognize the core of a problem then solving it.
  • Pineapples are not a single fruit, but a group of berries that have fused together.
  • Pumpkin is not a vegetable, scientifically it is a berry.

Happy Friday  
🙂

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


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Fun Fact Friday

  • A survey says that those who wear black are seen as serious and reliable — almost 50% women and 64% of men agree that black exudes confidence.
  • Treadmills were created to punish English prisoners in 1818.
  • Loneliness increases a person’s risk of mortality by 26 percent, an effect comparable to the health risks posed by obesity.
  • Bees are directly responsible for the production of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that we consume on a daily basis.
strawberries
Strawberries actually contain more vitamin C than oranges

 

  • Falling in love has similar neurological effects as the high produced from taking cocaine.
  • Strawberries actually contain more vitamin C than oranges.
  • A breakup feels more extreme than other forms of social rejection because romance ties into more primal parts of the brain.
  • Intelligent people are more forgetful than those with average intelligence.
  • The average woman smiles 62 times a day. The average man smiles only 8 times.

Happy Friday  
🙂

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


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This Powerful Perspective Shift Can Inspire The Love You Want

One of the biggest mistakes many of us make when we want more affection from someone is trying to negotiate that experience from him or her.

What I mean is: We explain all the reasons we should be treated differently and then hope the person will follow through so we can feel better in the relationship

This strategy for attracting more love never works. In fact, it usually backfires and pushes people away!

While I’m a big fan of open communication and talking about your needs and feelings, I want you to know that your words are not what inspires people to shower you with love.

What Inspires People to Shower You With Love Is Your Energy

In this article, I’ll explain what your energy is, how it influences your relationships, and how to shift your energy so people naturally want to shower you with the love and affection that feels good to you.

First, let’s talk about energy. Your energy is essentially the feeling state you’re in most of the time. And this feeling state (your energy) dictates how your relationships unfold.

We attract people and experiences that match our predominant energy state.

So if your energy state is typically fulfilled, happy, connected, and overflowing with love, then you’ll attract experiences that match that. You tend to feel fulfilled, happy, connected, and overflowing with love in your relationships and in your life.

But if your energy is in a state of lacking, not getting enough, and not feeling fulfilled, then you attract experiences that match that. You feel lacking, like you’re not getting enough and are unfulfilled in your relationships and your life.

Your energy dictates what you experience in relationships. Because of this, the way to change your relationships is by shifting your energy.

The good news is this is easy to do.

By moving from the energy of “I’m not cared for” (which is the state we’re in when trying to negotiate more love) to the state of “I’m fulfilled, I’m confident, and I’m worthy of your love, too,” you automatically inspire people to love you.

Love

 

So, How Do You Put It Into Practice?

Below are four tips that will dramatically shift your energy, so you can inspire people to love you in a deep, fulfilling way.

1. Prioritize quality time with yourself every day.

Quality time with yourself gives you an opportunity to feel connected with you. And the more you connect with yourself, the more you’ll inspire connection with others.

This alone time is a space for you to check in with yourself, see how you’re feeling, explore who you are, and simply listen to your internal process.

This subtle exercise will increase the energy of “I feel connected,” which will automatically create a positive change in your connection with others, too.

2. Cultivate love from within.

Your source of love is inside you. All the love you need starts from within.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t desire love from others or that relationships are useless. It means the foundation of love in your life always starts from within you.

Cultivating self-love is easier than most of us think. Start by getting quiet, taking a few deep breaths, and exploring the energy that exists at the center of your chest. As you practice this simple exercise, you’ll discover the essence of joy, peace, and wholeness that lives within you. That feeling is self-love.

This energy is waiting for you to connect to it whenever you want. This practice is the cornerstone for creating enormous love in your life.

3. Shower yourself with the affection you want to receive from others.

How do you want to be treated in a relationship? Are you treating yourself that way?

One of the quickest ways to shift your energy in relationships is by treating yourself exactly how you want to be treated by others. Remember — your energy determines how people treat you!
Approach yourself with kindness and respect, and that’s what you’ll receive. Shower yourself with positive vibes, compliments, and care, and you’ll inspire others to do that too.

Love yourself the way you want to be loved, and you’ll naturally attract that kind of affection in turn.

4. Stop trying to change the other person. Instead, ask how you can change yourself.

One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi is “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is deep wisdom, and it applies to relationships, too.

Be the change you wish to experience in relationships.

Become the person you want to be in the relationship, then let the relationship mold around you. Take the first step to make the changes in yourself, then watch the ways your partner and your life transform as a result.

What I really want you to remember is this: Negotiation doesn’t inspire people to shower us with love. Energy does.

The love you feel in relationships begins with you. Shift your energy to be an embodiment of love, and others will naturally offer you love and affection, too.

by Shelly Bullard      December 17, 2015