Gardening in Stilettos
 
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Choose You is a movement created by the American Cancer Society that encourages women to put their own health first in the fight against cancer. The movement challenges women to make healthier choices, and supports them in their commitment to eat right, get active, quit smoking and get regular health checks.

The Choose You Movement shines a light on a hidden issue: that while one in three American women will get cancer in her lifetime, about 50% of cancer deaths could be prevented if more emphasis were placed on early detection and healthier lifestyles including maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise and avoiding tobacco.

In the constant struggle between family, work and self, we know how difficult it is to focus on oneself. To help change this, American Cancer Society has developed the Choose You Commitment. Powered by stickK, this online program provides tools and support to enable women to commit to and achieve their personal health and wellness goals. Research shows that individuals who receive support in making positive choices are up to 5 times more likely to maintain healthy habits. The Choose You Commitment provides this support.

By making a Choose You Commitment today, you are helping to change the focus and make personal health a priority — and helping in the fight against cancer.
 
 
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Adult humans normally breathe at the rate of one breath every six to eight seconds and inhale an average of sixteen thousand quarts of air each day. If nothing is done to restrict breathing, it will happen naturally and fully. But people continually inhibit natural breathing in many ways—poor posture, tight or binding clothes, "speed eating," exposure to noxious substances, smoking, lack of exercise, plus habitual patterns of emotional stress. When breathing is obstructed or suppressed, the cells in the body do not receive the full amount of oxygen necessary to carry out their assigned functions. You may feel sleepy or irritable, or develop a headache. One reason that exercise is so valuable is that it forces you to breathe more fully, literally replenishing your dwindling supply of oxygen.

The breath is life. That is why the yogi says that you "half-live" because you "half-breathe."

Try the excerises below that have been recommended to encourage you to start paying attention to your breathing as a form of relaxation, stress reduction, and healing.

Breathe to Relax
Here’s an exercise that only takes a few minutes to complete, and you can do it imperceptibly almost anywhere, at any time.
  1. If you can safely close your eyes, do that first. Otherwise, just stop talking and attend to your breathing.
  2. Inhale, and as you inhale, say to yourself: "I am ..." Exhale, and as you exhale, say to yourself: "...relaxed."
  3. Continue repeating, "I am ...." with each inhalation; "...relaxed" with each exhalation. Let the breathing gradually become a little deeper, a little slower, but don’t force it in any way. Just let it happen. As your mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to an awareness of breath and your statement, "I am...relaxed." Be easy on yourself. Continue doing this for a minute or two, longer if possible. Notice the overall effects of relaxation throughout your body.


    Experience a Full Breath
    Try this next exercise sitting, standing, and lying down. With gentle practice you will find that it becomes a smooth flow. Do it no more than about ten times consecutively unless you find the feeling of lightheadedness pleasurable.
    1. Exhale deeply, contracting the belly.
    2. Inhale slowly, expanding the belly first, then the chest, and finally raising the shoulders, slightly, up toward your ears. Hold this breath for a few comfortable seconds.
    3. Exhale in the reverse pattern, slowly. Release your shoulders, relax your chest, relax your belly.

    Breathing for Healing
    Parents often sense that their child needs to breathe more fully to relieve panic or pain. The same is true for adults. Conscious breathing practices are now routinely taught in childbirth preparation classes. Anxiety intensifies pain, and the normal reaction is to tighten up when breathing. Breathing consciously not only will relieve tension and help quiet any fear, it can also relieve pain. So before you reach for the aspirins, the antacid tablets, or the telephone to call your doctor, do some breathing. Here is a simple healing exercise:
    1. Scan your body mentally, noticing how different areas are feeling.
    2. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing increased life into areas that feel tired, painful, tight, or "starved" in some way.
    3. As you exhale, imagine that the tiredness, pain, and tightness are leaving with the expelled air.
    4. Repeat for two or three minutes. Enjoy.



 
 
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Healthy Tidbits

A Lemon Lesson

Lemon Juice is a lo-fat, low-salt, and low-calorie way to perk up soups, stews and salads.

A sprinkling of lemon juice can also keep apples and pears from turning brown adn brighten the flavor of berries and stone fruits

Why We Love EVOO

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most heart-healthy antioxidants. It also has more flavor and it's extracted without hte use of chemicals.

A Days Worth of Fruit & Veggies

Add bananas, berries or dried fruit to breakfast cereal, slice a juicy melon for dessert, and crunch on an apple for a quick snack and you will probably meet the daily nutritional guidelines of 2 cups.

Source: The Hope Hearts Institute
 
 
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 April is National Humor Month

National Humor Month was founded in 1976 by best-selling humorist Larry Wilde, Director of The Carmel Institute of Humor. It is designed to heighten public awareness on how the joy and therapeutic value of laughter can improve health, boost morale, increase communication skills and enrich the quality of one's life.

The idea of laughing and the use of humor as a tool to lift ailing spirits is growing. Scientific research now indicates that the curative power of laughter and its ability to relieve debilitating stress and burnout may indeed be one of the great medical discoveries of our times.

So……………SMILE EVERYONE!!

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1. Walk 10,000 steps a day or take three 10 minute walks
2. Count to 10 before you say or do anything in anger
3. Eat the top 10 antioxidant foods (artichokes, blackberries, beans, plums, apples, cranberries, pecans, raspberries and blueberries)
4. Talk to your household (children, spouses) one-on-one for 10 minutes everyday.
5. Automatically save 10% of each paycheck and pay an extra $10 on your montly credit card bills
6. Voluteer 10 hours a month to a community service to charity
7. Take 10 minutes for yourself each day. Meditate, stretch, do a hobby, enjoy alone time
8. Focus on the 10 most important things that you need to get done.
9. Develop a 10-year plan
10. Write down/think about 10 people or things that you're most thankful. Show gratitude daily.

Source: Hope Health Newsletter
 
 
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Our lives can be filled with laughter and joy, but as demands on our time increase and unrealistic expectations begin to build, they often become anxiety ridden. Here are a few simple things you can do to deal with stress.

1. Welcome Your Day With Gratitude 
    When you awake to a new day before you let your mind slip into all
    the daily task, be still. Lay still for a few moments, take a few deep  
    breaths- in in through your nose and out through your mouth- welcome
    the gift of another day of life into your body. Place your hand over
    your heart and feel the rhythm, embrance that moment of being, hear
    your unique rhythm, connect to your spirit and energy- center yourself.
    When you place your feet to the floor and take your first steps of the
    say "Thank You". Be thankful for another day.

2. Love Your Body
    Before you leave your bedroom in the morning, do some stretches,  
    yoga, or calisthenics. Get your body active and maintain your basic 
    movements by keeping them strong and limber. Give your body the 
    a little love before starting your day. 

3. Laugh and Be A Kid Again
    Get outside to play with the kids. Play a game of tag. Ride your bike.
    Hola hoop. Just step outside open your arms and spin around, catch the 
    wind. Laugh- laughing is a great tension reliever, it reduces stress and 
    makes you feel better all around.

4. Listen to Music
    Keep a  play list on your ipod, your phone, MP3, or whatever device
    you use of some uptempo music that makes you feel good. Music is 
    good for the soul.

5. Peace & Quiet
    Take time for yourself. Our jobs and spending time with friends/family
    are a part of life, but it's also important to have atleast five minutes 
    to yourself to relax throughout the day.  Incorporate these moments in 
    your daily activity. Prayer and meditation are great practices for peace
    and quiet time. Also, if stressful moments creep in during your day
    do deep breathing exercises to realign yourself.

Bonus item and my personal favorite:
    
Sex/Sexercise
    Releasing of endorphins is a great way of feeling fabulous inside and
    out.