You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.
You don’t even have to be Irish to be Lucky.
Tenneseee Williams said “Luck is believing you’re lucky.”
This St. Patrick’s day we invite you to know a bit more about the power of positive thinking.
The Power Of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale, has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and takes a Christian perspective and real-world approach to positive psychology.
3 Lessons regarding positive thinking:
Lesson 1: Believe in yourself and visualize your goals to see how small your problems are.
Lesson 2: Your attitude determines your entire life.
Lesson 3: Imagine your life free of worry to become less concerned about the future.
May you be very LUCKY!
In the midst of commercials for expensive jewelry, flowers and candy, let’s talk about real love. Love is a much more complex animal than gifts and dates. Love requires forgiveness to survive; forgiveness of self and transgressions big and small. Let’s look at forgiveness – who it is for and what it really means.
Forgiveness is part of the healing process and a letting go of resentment, hatred or self-pity that grips us. Forgiveness is accepting that punishment and resentment will not heal us. It will not erase a wrong. Resentment and a desire to punish only chains us to the event.
What Forgiveness is not:
- It is not forgetting.
- It is not condoning.
- Forgiveness is not absolution.
- It is not a one-time decision.
- Forgiveness is not really even for the offender. It is for you.
Large or small, offenses wear away at our ability to trust and to love. We will be hurt again even if we forgive. Our life was not going to be “perfect” even if this particular event had never happened. Forgiveness is a choice. It can be a new and scary process to even think about embarking on, but the opportunity for more joy and love make it worth it.
With so many studies pointing towards the benefits of exercising it is impossible not to encourage everybody to get their heart rate pumping.
Exercise can reduce or help you manage depression and anxiety. Just 150 minutes of cardio per week already shows great benefits.
Please take a few minutes to learn more by watching this 23 and 1/2 Hours
Keep calm and carry on? How about keep calm and listen to music?
Research reported in HEART, a British medical publication, shows that calming music causes the heart rate and breathing to slow down. This often leads to a relaxation response. Slower breathing also relates to lower blood pressure.
The next time you need to relax, consider listening to some slow music and see if you notice your breathing and heart rate decrease.
Source: HEART Journal
Any day is a good day to take a few minutes to ease away stress. In as little as five minutes, you might be surprised how refreshed you can feel. Try different five-minutes activities throughout the week such as stretching, deep breathing, reading a few pages of a novel, listening to your favorite song or going for a quick walk. These mini “me” times provide a quick break and give you a chance to regain emotional and mental control.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression, other mental disorders, and substance-abuse disorders are risk factors for suicide. Studies show the best way to prevent suicide may be through early recognition and treatment of depression and substance abuse. If you or someone you know feels depressed and hopeless, seek help through your employee assistance program, physician or mental health professional.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health
Insomnia is a common issue so I wanted to give you a tip sheet on good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene is a combination of your behaviors and environment surrounding sleep.
Lack of quality sleep affects your mood. It also lowers your pain threshold, increases your blood pressure, and interferes with your memory. It harms your immune system, elevating your chances of getting sick. It diminishes your ability to concentrate, and makes you more impulsive. It can also cause weight gain.
How to improve the quality of your sleep?
Here is a summary of 14 suggestions given in Fix Your Sleep Hygiene by Dr Korb.
1. Go to bed at the same time every day.
The reason for going to sleep at the same time is that your brain releases melatonin about 30 minutes before it thinks you want to go to sleep. If it doesn’t know when you’re gonna go to sleep it can’t do that.
2. Avoid bright lights after the sun goes down.
The melatonin that prepares you for sleep is inhibited by bright light so when it’s getting close to bed time turn off most of the lights in your house .
3. During the day stay in a brightly lit environment.
The melatonin cycle is part of a hormonal package collectively called circadian rhythms, controlled by a region of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalaums , which projects to the pineal gland to release various hormones. These rhythms are synchronized by bright lights during the day. So take a few minutes to go walking in the sunshine. This has the added benefit of boosting your serotonin, which may be why it helps sleep, as melatonin is derived from serotonin.
4. Sleep for 8 hours straight.
Your brain needs to cycle through various stages of sleep (Stages 1 to 4 and then REM sleep). Each cycle takes about 90 minutes, so in about 8 hours you get the appropriate number of cycles. If you wake up in the middle of a cycle you don’t feel rested. Your brain needs to know how much time it has to get everything done it needs to. In general the older you are the less sleep you need. In college you need about 8 hours and 24 minutes (approximately). When you start drawing Social Security you might only need 7.
5. Use your bed/bedroom for sleeping, not doing work.
That way your brain associates your bed only with sleep, and it will induce sleepiness like Pavlovian conditioning.
6. Make your environment comfortable.
Sleep requires down-regulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which is harder if you’re uncomfortable. If your room is too cold, or too hot, or too noisy, or too smelly, then do something about it. If it’s something you can’t change, then just accept it.
7. Don’t take naps.
Taking a nap will often make it difficult to fall asleep at your bedtime. If you must nap, keep your nap between 20-30 min. This may surprise you, but if you actually consistently get quality sleep, you won’t even feel the need to take a nap.
8. Create a routine for preparing for sleep.
Do it every night. This helps you separate yourself from the hectic nature of the rest of your day. It prepares your brain for sleep. A bedtime ritual might be brush your teeth, wash your face, go to the bathroom, and then read for a few minutes. These should be non-stressful activities. If you have a really hard time falling asleep, then include some meditation as part of your routine.
9. If you find you’re stressing over all the things you have to do, then write them down.
Your prefrontal cortex is responsible for keeping all these things in your working memory, and worrying about forgetting them is stressful. That stress inhibits sleep. Write it down so you don’t need to keep your prefrontal cortex working overtime.
10. Just chill.
Just relax, and lie still in a comfortable position. If after 20 minutes or so you’re still not asleep, then go to another room. Do something relaxing for a little bit (no more than 20 minutes), then try again.
11. Avoid caffeine near bed time. Duh.
12. Don’t eat a large meal less than 3 hours before bedtime.
Indigestion can interfere with sleep, and acid reflux is more common once you’re horizontal.
13. Don’t use alcohol as a regular sleep aid.
While it may help you fall asleep, it disrupts the patterns of brain activity while you’re asleep. That means your sleep is not as restful as it could be.
Exercise is pretty much good for everything. Make physical activity a regular part of your life. The exact role of exercise in improving sleep though is not well understood. It may be due to increased levels of the neuropeptide orexin, which is essential for appropriate sleep regulation. It may also be due to the effects of exercise synchronizing circadian rhythms, or stress reduction, or some combination of several factors. Regardless of the reason though, it is clear that aerobic exercise helps improve sleep. Exercising too close to bedtime may make it difficult to fall asleep though, so try to do it a few hours before.
Maslow was a Humanistic psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.
According to Maslow, an individual is ready to act upon the growth needs if and only if the deficiency needs are met.
1) Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, etc.;
2) Safety/security: out of danger;
3) Belonginess and Love: affiliate with others, be accepted; and
4) Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.
Self-actualized people are characterized by characteristics such as incorporating an ongoing freshness of appreciation of life, a concern about personal growth and the ability to have peak experiences.
5) Cognitive: to know, to understand, and explore;
6) Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty;
7) Self-actualization: to find self-fulfillment and realize one’s potential; and
8) Self-transcendence: to connect to something beyond the self or to help others find self-fulfillment and realize their potential.
An interpretation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom (Image from wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Maslow)
April is “Alcohol Awareness Month.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), some warning signs of alcohol abuse include:
- Drinking alone when angry or sad
- Being late to work due to drinking
- Forgetting what you did while drinking
- Often having a hangover after drinking
If you suspect that you might have a drinking problem, or you know someone who abuses alcohol, check to see if your resources for treatment such as SAMHSA’s treatment facility locator at http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/, employee assistance program (EAP) provided by your employer, and feel free to contact us.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, HealthStart