31 Days of Health. Day 29: Infuse Positivity Into Your Day

Infuse positivity into your day. Ahhh, this life saver. Love this one!

There is so much power in this healthy action! Can you believe that it is possible to be spiraling in a whirl of horrible emotions at one minute, and the next you can be feeling the exact opposite? It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling depressed, angry, sad, hopeless, or annoyed. You do have the ability – I don’t care who you are; if you’re human, you have the ability – to change your brain chemistry in an instant with this tool!

Years ago, I was an angry individual. I still struggle with handling this shitty emotion, but certainly not in the magnitude I have in the past. Anger was my go-to emotion for just about anything. It was the emotion I wore on my face often to signify power. It is still so familiar to me, that even in times of jest I use it for fun.

I think there were two catalysts that set me towards freedom. One was that I noticed chronic anger in others, and I could see it was not an attractive trait. The other was the multiple times I had been innocently asked, “What’s wrong?” when truthfully, at that time, nothing (at the surface) was wrong. I remember walking past a man on the street one day who said, “You dropped your smile on the ground!” I was so pissed at him…BECAUSE IT WAS JUST MY FACE!!!

But I heard it so many times that it was kind of starting to hurt my ego. I felt weak. I began to notice: I look mad pretty often. I suck. And I knew deep down I craved more for myself, so I decided I would try to change my image. I don’t think, at the time, I expected that slight action to lead me to happier places.

I decided that I would try lifting the corners of my mouth more often. I’m sure it didn’t start out looking very pretty or natural. But you know what, that shit worked. I just did it as often as I thought about it. For years I told myself I was miserable and that I wasn’t worth anything. I was depressed… I believed that I was too stupid, weak and shy to do anything admirable. I believed I was fake and lazy. I believed that I had nothing valuable to share with the world. As a result, all of these feelings surfaced as anger. But as I molded my face into a smile more often, I was telling my brain something phenomenal – that I was happy.

It wasn’t just the faking it ‘til I made it that launched me into a happier state. No, that was the beginning! When I experienced pain, I started reading positive quotes. I came to create a private Pinterest board titled “Pick Me Up” and another called “Keep Building.” Some days I would wake up feeling awful, and it just became a habit for me to open up my brain-building Pinterest boards and read through all the quotes that resonated with me. Lo and behold, I was fueling my brain…strengthening my brain! I was blessed enough to cross paths with someone who introduced me to affirmations. I began habitually listening to these on YouTube. These led to discovering more, and more, and more uplifting content.

And one day, I realized: I am happy! Even in the midst of difficult times, I can confidently say I am the happiest I have ever been.

It doesn’t matter if your story is better or worse than mine, the power of positive words goes a long way. There is a science to it, though I don’t really know much about it. All I know is that you can transform any moment, day, week, and year by the words or feelings you choose feed your brain. Try it today.

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 26: Forgive

For today’s healthy action, I absolutely recommend you set aside anywhere from ten to thirty minutes of time for you to peacefully explore this exercise. I will give you a heads up: this has the potential to bring up some pretty sour feelings, hence why you need to give yourself some undistracted time alone. If at any time it becomes too intense, take a look at yourself in the mirror and affirm: “I am safe.” Feel the breath you take in and know that you are alive, and that, my friend, is all you need to give yourself a boost of strength when the thoughts you are bringing to the forefront of your mind are making you feel as though they are your current reality. Take as much time as you need, and feel free to give it up if it’s too much to take on at this time.
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Step one: Close your eyes and visualize the life you desire. Imagine every detail: the home you live in, the relationships you have, what types of clothes you wear, what your fitness level is, what type of person you aspire to be, what car you drive, your financial state, the career you lead, what hobbies you partake in…Go on and allow yourself to have some fun fantasizing!!
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Forgiveness can bring you closer to that life. What, or whom, can you forgive? Consider that everything, and naturally everyone, you come into contact with, you hold some type of relationship with. If something doesn’t work out in your favor, what or whom are you likely to blame? Your mother, or father? Brother, or sister? A friend, a spouse, an ex? Your children? God, the world, or life? Your finances? Your boss, or your coworkers? Yourself – your past choices, your level of intelligence, weaknesses or failures, your body??

Step two: Explore whom, or what, you are harboring resentment towards. This should be relatively easy. Often the things that bother us most, especially when asked, can pop into our head in an instant. What part of your dream life is not yet a reality? Why isn’t that a reality? Don’t stress it if nothing comes too quickly. Maybe that’s a good sign you’re not harboring much resentment. Give yourself as much time as you need to think through.
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Step 3: Choose just one thing to forgive. If you don’t know what that means, or how to do it, that is perfectly alright. You can simply choose to be open to forgiveness. Say the words: “I am willing to forgive (insert who or what you are forgiving).” You may not feel anything as a result of saying this just once, but over time as you practice being open to forgiving that person or experience or thing, then is when you will begin to feel something.

The best way I can describe that feeling is freedom. The negative thoughts you once had no longer keep you stuck in your not-ideal life. You feel love, appreciation, and acceptance for all that has been and is in your life – yes, the good, the bad and the down-right disgusting. You are meant to love and enjoy life. You can grow from those awful things; it is 1000% your choice.
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Step 4: Take a deep breath, and let this exercise go. Take another look at yourself in the mirror, if you need to, and give yourself a smile. Say the words, “I’m Okay.”

Sending you all the love, strength, and energy you need today to make today fabulous, regardless of how good or bad it is.

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 12: Meditate

Welcome to Day 12!!! Today is a good one. Oh, who am I kidding? They’re all good!!

Meditation is training for your brain just as lifting weights is training for your body. And this training for your brain is not just a teaching method for remaining calm, it causes chemical reactions throughout your body that place you in a better physical state.

Meditating can reduce stress, thereby keeping stress-related hormones in check. Your body responds to stress in a way that is meant to provide us physical balance. Stress sets off an inflammatory response that raises adrenaline and cortisol, two stress-related hormones. In a fight-or-flight scenario, adrenaline gets your heart pumping to increase blood flow throughout your body, and cortisol raises your blood sugars…because who knows when you’ll get your next meal. These raised blood sugars are meant to provide you with the energy, strength, and mental stamina to get you through a crisis.

And your body can’t tell whether you are fighting a bear, or worried about finishing a project for work on time, so this inflammatory response is there to protect you. Cortisol, however, will shut down other processes that are not needed during a period of stress, affecting the reproductive, immune and digestive systems. This can result in irregular cycles for women, increased illness, reduced metabolism and constipation or diarrhea. Inflammation throughout the body can also result in cognitive decline resulting in poor concentration or memory.

As I have researched stress, I have found it is often at the heart of most preventable, chronic diseases including obesity, depression, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Find time during your day to include meditation. It is often ideal right at the beginning of the morning when it is quiet and the frequency of distractions is low. As with most new things, meditating for the first time is often difficult, but with practice, you improve.

Meditation is not always sitting in one place with your eyes closed and your index fingers and thumbs touching together in a mudra (pronounced “moo-dra”). Some forms of meditation can include focusing on a candle flame, walking, yoga, tai chi, creating artwork, playing an instrument or listening to music. To put it simply, meditation is being fully submerged in the moment without focus on outside stimuli.

Here is a common form of meditation you may incorporate into your morning routine:

  1. Sit upright. You may do this on a pillow on the floor, or on the couch or in a chair.
  2. Close your eyes or focus on one single point in the room.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose from your belly, for a slow count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a slow count of four.
  5. Exhale through your nose or mouth for a slow count of eight.

You can repeat this breathing exercise as many times as you like. If you have an untamed go-big-or-go-home mindset like mine, four times is enough. Do practice this exercise daily, however. With time, you will begin to reap the benefits of this beautiful, self-care activity.

With love,
Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 11: PAY YO’SELF!

Is it not crazy how quickly Friday comes!? Happy Payday! 😀

I am very excited about today’s healthy action.

By profession, I am a dietitian, therefore the thought is my main interest is healthy eating. By passion, however, my main interest is overall total health. When every aspect of your life is in balance, nothing can stop you. Your quality of life is through the roof. Your energy levels are through the roof. And the sooner you work on every aspect of your life, the sooner you get to enjoy those benefits for even LONGER!

Health is not just about how well you eat and how fit you are. Other areas of health include your mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness, as well as…drum roll please, FINANCIAL WELLNESS!

No, money isn’t exactly the way to happiness….but it certainly helps! If your loved one became very ill and needed emergency care that cost a lot of dollars, you bet you’d be feeling safe and secure if you had the funds! Being financially secure relieves stress. But you don’t become financially secure by accident. To be financially secure requires two actions: 1.) having a good relationship with money, and 2.) proactively growing what you earn!

What is your relationship like with money? Do you believe that there is enough for everyone, or do you believe that the only way you’ll ever get rich is by hitting the lottery, or by some stroke of luck? If you believe money is the root of all evil, you will always be sure you never have enough of it – “because you’re a good person!” But it does not have to be like that. Money can be used for good, and it is used for good every day. And since you are such a good person, I encourage you to work on a more positive relationship with money, because the world needs people like you.

Let me ask you, how often have you gotten something that you’ve wanted by simply waiting and hoping for it? Is it working for money? How often have you gotten what you’ve wanted by going for it? I’d like to think you got what you were looking for. So if you want money, don’t give it all away to everyone else first. Pay yourself first!

Don’t go rolling your eyes at this. You’ve got to see how little things grow into enormous things. If you want to grow a tree, you don’t plant a seed and expect to see one fully grown the next day. You must nurture that seed until it pops out of the ground, and continue to do so with each new leaf it grows. If a single dollar is all you can afford to keep for yourself, then do that! Hey, by the end of the year you’ll have 52 bucks. You might laugh at that, but that is a hell of a lot more than the interest you earn in a basic savings account!!!

The easiest way to pay yourself is to work with percentages, and to do it as soon as the money is available! With all that you earn, take a percentage out first for yourself. Put it into a savings account that is hands-off. If you’re first starting out with just a little seed, this may be difficult, but with the mindset of keeping that seed nurtured as much and as often as possible, you will see your money tree begin to grow. Have debt? Set up a “debt clearance account” where you also put a certain percentage away as soon as your hard-earned dollars have come through. This just takes all the thinking and a good chunk of the stress right out of: I don’t know if I’m going to have enough this week!

Go ahead and make some magic happen today.

I’ll see you tomorrow,

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 9: Drink Water

Day Nine, Day Nine! Feelin’ healthy and fine!

Water you doing today??
Drinking of plenty of H2O, that’s what!

Did you know that the human body ranges from 50-65% water? Can you pause and think about that…isn’t that crazy!? We are at least half water! That fact alone is a big indicator that water plays such a huge role in sustaining life.

Water is essential to providing the ideal environment for your body’s cells to live in, it lubricates your joints, it flushes out waste products, it’s required for digestion and breathing, it regulates your body temperature… Think about how wonderful it feels to have lubricated eyes, saliva in your mouth to help break down your food as you chew, and even to have an easy bowel movement – I’m not afraid to talk about poop!

Where there is water, there is life! You won’t see the end of a week without water. You can last at least a month without food with water; but without water, forget about it! Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired. So, do your very best not to deprive yourself of this essential life-giving nutrient. If you remember back to Day 1, one of my suggestions includes drinking a glass of water as one of those first things to do after waking up bright and early. After hours of sleep, your body definitely needs it.

Ok, so how much? You can stick with the old eight 8oz cups of water daily, just as a general recommendation, and be alright. That’s a half gallon. Otherwise, you can get specific and calculate your personal needs by multiplying half an ounce of water per pound of body weight. But you will need to include more if you are exercising (which, I hope you are from Day Two!), if you are sick with a fever, diarrhea or vomiting; and if it’s hot outside. Another helpful indicator is the color of your urine. If it’s not light in color, start drinking!!

Alright, so glad to have you here still on Day 9, and I can’t wait to bring you more tomorrow! Remember, you can contact me if you want more, or leave some comments below to share your success!

Cheers!