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9 ways to stay healthy and happy

>> 27 February 2008

• Eat your fruit and vegetables.
I admit that the recommended 5 a day are not always easy to attain. But you can be creative and turn the fruit into a smoothie or the vegetable into a puree which makes them easier to eat. Especially rich in all sorts of vitamins and other good stuff are Kiwi's, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, . Mix a kiwi with a banana and eat it on a sandwich or bagel. Eat the fresh spinach leaves as a salad with cherry tomatoes, nuts and raisins. It doesn't always have to come the original boring way. Have meals devoid of meat and replace it with tofu. Eat like an Okinawan as they seem to be the healthiest and longest living people on our planet. Check out the Okinawa program.

• Drink
Drink lots of water. Drink before you get thirsty. Drink a lot after you wake up in the morning to cleanse your body. If you find still water bland, drink sparkling. Drink (green) tea. Put some fruit through the juicer and add sparkling water or buy fresh fruit juices. Avoid sodas at all cost.

• Work out
Walk. At least 30 minutes a day. Walking or running is the cheapest sport in the world as you don't need to buy any equipment. Don't take the elevator - see the stairs as free exercise for which you would have to pay in a gym. If you are heavy or have leg problems, go swimming instead. Advantage: no weight on your knees and ankles and you don't sweat :-)
Believe me, after a while this becomes a drug. You can also clean the house (washing windows, vacuuming energetically etc) orwork in the garden. Alternate cardio days (running, swimming etc) with muscle training (arms, legs, abs, butt) to reinforce your stature and help avoid back pain.

• Reconnect with nature
Go outside, walk through the fields and the woods. Don't come back until your cheeks are red (in winter) or your skin feels warmed by the sun (in summer). Human beings need daylight - it lifts your spirit and gets you in a good mood. A walk during a cold or windy day can do wonders for a headache. Breathe in all the smells of nature, hug a tree, feel the mossy ground beneath your feet. Find out if you are nature-deprived.

• Pamper your body
Schedule a full body massage, get a pedicure or a foot reflexology treatment, get a chiropractor to check your back, get a new haircut, take a bath, do some stretching or yoga. Your body needs time to relax and refill its batteries and your mind will benefit from it at the same time.

• Sleep
If you feel tired in the afternoon, you probably did not get enough sleep during the night. For some a good night's sleep may be 8 hours, for others 6 are enough. Listen to your body and make it easier by eating light and preferably 3 hours before going to bed. Make sure the room is dark enough.
If you tend to wake up a lot at night try changing the orientation of the bed. Put a glass of water on the bedside table (you loose a whole lot of fluids during the night). Calm your mind before going to sleep (by reading etc).. If you can and feel like it, take an afternoon nap. 20-30 minutes are enough. Have a light lunch to avoid the afternoon dip.

• Stimulate your brain
Memorize a poem, song or quote every other day. Ask a childlike question and look it up to learn a new fact every day (why is the sky blue? What sound does a giraffe make etc).. Do calculations such as 53 + 98 without using a calculator. Do some exercises on optical illusions. Don't watch television at least one evening per week and come up with something else to do (play monopoly with your kids, read a book, call your mom).

• Be creative
Paint, sing, write. Create a creative journal. Start scrapbooking.
Take a course to learn how to draw with the right side of your brain.
Get inspiration from SARK.
26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative

• Smile and laugh
Smile. A lot. Use those muscles that pull up the corners of your mouth.
Smile when you answer the phone: it can be heard in your voice. Smile at the person you dislike (not a smile from between clenched teeth, but an honest one). Smile at everyone at work and let them think what they want.
The more you smile the better your mood becomes.
Laugh. A lot. Watch a lot of funny shows or films. Read funny stories or jokes. Laughing can cure the worst diseases.

More links:
Be Happy Be Healthy tips
Do the wellness inventory
Scientific study on how happiness affects our health
Play your stress away and enoy peace of mind with these games
The Creative Journal


Boundaries don't keep other people out, they only fence you in.

>> 25 February 2008

When you grow up certain circumstances and events in your life have such an impact on you that they make you cringe, retreat into your protective shell and build a fence around yourself. Such boundaries are to keep others from coming too close, from hurting you again or from seeing a side of you that you don't want to show.
Most of the time you are too young and naïve to realise that such fences or walls do not always do you any good. In fact, they may (temporarily) protect you from being hurt and deceived, but in the long run they only fence YOU in. Defences that served you well as a child to ensure survival can, when carried into adulthood, may actually cripple you.
They prevent you from living your life, your real life, the 100 percent one, the rollercoaster up and down ride that you are supposed to take to feel alive.

You may be waiting:
- for life to happen,
- for the right person to come along and solve all problems,
- for the right circumstances,
- for the right job,
- for others to change...

In that case you should take a hard and honest look at yourself. And that is tough. Because what you don't realise is that most of the time YOU are the only one that is able to change this, to tear the walls down, to stop wearing a mask, to stop pretending, to stop cheating yourself. It is tough, because you don't always like yourself all that much. So you cover up, you embellish. And hence send a wrong message; give a distorted image of yourself.
It is hard to always be who you really are deep down, to stand up for your convictions, to admit you don’t know, to be strong, to be weak, to let someone else in all the way.

But it is the only way of living. Or else you will continue to search for a thing, a person, an opportunity which will make it all better.
YOU are the only person who can live your life, who can decide how to live it, who can change it. And if you cannot change a situation or a person, you can always change your attitude towards it. And that is what makes all the difference. Without being YOU, life will just pass you by, life will just be a series of happenings you live through instead of choosing them, life will not be all that exciting. Sure, it is safe - or it seems to be - but it is boring and not very fulfilling and something is missing. To be YOU you have to let go of the fear. You have to take risks: of getting hurt, of not being liked.

  • Stop doing things in order to keep the peace.
  • Stop belittling yourself.
  • Stop waiting or searching for someone that will change the situation you’re in.
  • Start liking yourself.
  • Start trusting yourself and your ideas.
  • Accept to make mistakes.
  • Expect to be laughed at.
  • Look at your experiences and try to learn a lesson from each of them.

    Read more:


Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love. - Mildred B. Vermont

>> 20 February 2008

I just love this video - it is so true.


Be brave - follow-up

>> 19 February 2008

In my recent post about doing one thing every day that scares you I linked to Jessie's blog and her 'Be brave project'. I was wondering where one should get ideas and inspiration to do a brave thing every day when one leads a busy but sometimes unbrave life with little opportunities to do really brave things such a bungy-jumping or charity work in Africa...

Here is what she had to say:

You've asked how to go about finding brave things to do and I must say that finding those things is very personal and sometimes just plain spontaneous. I will tell you though, at the beginning of my own Be Brave journey, I sat down with my journal and made a list of all the things I was afraid of doing. My biggest reason for doing something that scared me every day was largely inspired by my need to finish my thesis after struggling with it for the past 2 years. I'll be the first one to admit that my thesis caused a whole lot of FEAR. I feared that I would fail, that it would suck, that I didn't have anything to say, that my story didn't matter...and on and on my fear went. Fear was holding me back when all I wanted, more than anything in the whole world was to MOVE ON! But my thesis was only part of what inspired me to attempt one brave action a day. I don't consider my self a "scared" type person. Actually, I can be quite daring. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized
that I was holding myself back in lots of ways! Yes, so I made a list of things that I wanted to include in my Be Brave actions.

They were things like:
lose 10 pounds, increase my art income, fine a creative coach, send out cover letters and resumes for a new job, deal with student loans, teach myself how to use my pen-tablet, learn more Photoshop skills, finish my thesis, go shopping for a pair of pants that I feel good in...the list went on and on.

Basically, I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to improve upon or learn or get or whatever. It turned out, I realized, that the only reason I hadn't already done most of those things is because they required some level of bravery that I hadn't (because of one excuse or another) gotten the courage to muster up.
I only expected to do something brave for a month. Now it is several months later and it is effecting my day to day life in more ways that I realized it would. Actually, it just keeps getting more and more important to keep up! Since making that list I have not one, but TWO creative coaches now in my life, I've already started to
significantly increase my art income, and I finished a draft of my thesis. I think part of it is just acknowledging what it is that you REALLY WANT. Even that can be an act of bravery!

So my question is for you:
What do you really want in your life--even if it feels difficult or impossible or scary?
The next question is:
Now how can I go about making those dreams and desires a reality?
And that's the part where you get to BE BRAVE!!
Much luck to you on your journey. Does this help answer your question, even a little? I hope so!
Take good care.


If you had a band...

>> 14 February 2008

what would you be called?

what would be the name of your album?

what would your album cover look like?

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first article title is the name of your band.

  2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

  3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.Now take your photo, add the band name and title to it, then post it.

Here is my result:


The love we give away is the only love we keep - Elbert Hubbard

Today is Valentine's Day. The day of all lovers. The day that people say I love you, give gifts and write poems.

I am wondering...do we need a special day for that?

I find Valentine's day a cheesy invention, commercial trap and rip off. Everything is at least twice as expensive on Valentine's day. All Valentine's gifts seem to be made of corny messages, tatty animals, cutesy hearts and cloying objects. Yuk! I wouldn't want one of those.

My other half agrees with me and we don't do anything special on this day. We say I love you when we feel it, not because there is a special day on which you're supposed to say it. We give (non-tacky) gifts for no special occasion or reason.

Still... I am a bit of a romantic. And I don't like the feeling of being left out. Consequently, even if I hate to admit it, I guess I'd be happily perplexed if my other half surprised me with a little something, even if it were a bit tacky :-)


Television is more interesting than people. If it were not, we would have people standing in the corners of our rooms - Alan Corenk

>> 12 February 2008

We work less than a few decades ago and have thus more time than the former generation. It is a fact however, that no generation has complained more about 'lacking time' than ours. Besides the number of working hours, the number of hours spent on housework has also dropped significantly, even for working women, so the sense of 'having no time' is a strange paradox, all around.

[from What's Offline Sunday New York Times by Paul Brown]
"Since 1965, there's been a six- to eight-hour weekly increase in leisure for the average worker age 21 to 65," Mr. Hurst told Kiplinger's.
Mr. Hurst explains where all that free time is coming from: men are working less, with part of the increase attributable to stay-at-home dads. "For women, all of the increase is from a decline in housework — less cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping than 40 years ago," he says.
And what are we doing with all our additional free time? "Roughly two-thirds of the increase in leisure is spent watching television. That's been consistent across population groups since 1965. More recently, we've spent more time on the Internet, less time reading and a little bit more time exercising. We're going to church about a half-hour a week less."

On average, people seem to be watching 2-3 hours of television per day. We are no exception. Our satellite receiver broke down a few days ago and we have hence not been able to follow our daily television routine. It is strange how you find yourself feeling oddly deprived. The routine is gone and you have all this spare time on your hands. What to do with it? Do important and rewarding things such as: Read, talk to other half, paint, do tax declaration... The options are plentyfold.
No, we tried to fix the problem and when that didn't work we looked for other means (DVD's, second satellite receiver...) - everything to get the precious television back.

It is funny albeit a bit sad I admit :-)


If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? - Milton Berle

>> 7 February 2008

Before I was a Mom

I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I slept all night and nothing could wake me.

Before I was a Mom

I never tripped over toys. I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous, my cleaning products stored away properly or my medicine cabinet locked.

Before I was a Mom

I had never been puked on, pooped on, spit on (except for this once, by my friend Lucy's firstborn), chewed on, or peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.

Before I was a Mom

I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom

I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom

I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom

I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Before I was a Mom

I didn't realize how much time I had. I didn't know how to cook fresh vegetables. I didn't know many lyrics to lullabies. I didn't know I was this strong and patient. I did'nt know how to run on autopilot.

Before I was a Mom

I thought I understood people with kids - I didn't. I used to feel slightly alienated with couples that had kids. I used to babysit occasionally and was happy to return the kids to their rightful owners.

Before I was a Mom

I used to go see a play, a movie. I used to say I'd still be doing this or that even if I had kids. I used to meet with my single friends.

Before I was a Mom

I did not understand my parents.

Vote for my post If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? - Milton Berle on Mom Blog Network


Sometimes things will fall apart in order for other things to fall into place

Mira Kirshenbaum wrote a book called 'Everything happens for a reason'. I bought it because of the title which I happen to agree with.

In each of our lives we are faced with events that seem inexplicable, unjust, even cruel – events that can shatter our perception of the world, our understanding of ourselves, and our faith in a higher power.

When we ask, "Why me?" friends and family offer comfort with the words, "Everything happens for a reason" – but we all want to know what the specific reason is in our case.

Kirshenbaum helps you decode the events in your life and find solace and strength in the positive reasons behind them. It's not just that everything happens for a reason. But she has discovered that the reasons people find are positive and healing, just what you're longing for, a sense that you've been given a life-enhancing lesson or an unexpected gift or a new opportunity.
It's as if the cosmos were specifically designed to give us what we need to do a better job leading the life we were meant to lead as the people we were meant to be.


The stupidity of people comes from having an answer to everything - Milan Kundera

>> 4 February 2008

How STUPIDITY makes us grow.

Certain psychological phenomena can be called "stupidifying":

The too fusional love between a child and his parents that keep him from becoming autonomous:

Because he loves his mother too much, a child can stay in his beatitude of an impotent infant, his 'baby attitude', persuaded that his mother expects that of him.

According to Francoise Dolto a child has to go through several successive separations: weaning from the bottle to discover the pleasure of the diversified foods of adults, detachment from its mother to become autonomous...

The 'stupid' child is not an 'idiot'. It is a child scared by the perspective of growing up. And when children do stupid things they follow a normal evolution: they try to oppose themselves, to separate from their parents.

A child that is 'stupid' in school often signals that an unvoiced event or family secret is a 'parasiting' on his cognitive functions.

The insecurity of the adolescent who plays the fool because he does not know yet who he is:

Psychoanalyst Paul Denis advances the hypothesis that 'behaving stupidly is a defence mechanism to face emotions that are too invading and to give one countenance'. The mask of stupidity would protect us from scary situations and never experienced social roles:

  • the adolescent in love sniggers because he refuses to admit his feelings (to himself)
  • touched or stressed by an essay he is to present to class, the adolescent plays the fool or the cool to make his friends laugh
  • the adolescent lazes around instead of confronting his intellectual limits

This 'stupid' or silly behaviour of adolescence pops up again in adult life. As soon as an adult feels uncomfortable, not in his place, not recognised, silly jokes pop up during an evening where friends and colleagues discuss subjects we know nothing about etc.

The neurosis that makes an adult regress to an infantile stage.

Freud divided childhood into several stages: the oral stage (the stage where children place every object that comes their way into their mouths), the anal stage (the stage when children become aware of their 'waste management' and all they talk about is pee, poop and fart) and the phallic stage (the stage where a child discovers the stimulation of its genitals).

Some adults regress to the anal stage, the stage where mastering and self control was the most important. They seem to like aggressive, stupid and nasty jokes and have a sick need for control. They need to have the last word, and by definition, all others are idiots. Their contradiction is ridiculous but their narcissism keeps them from recognizing their wrongs. They never feel stupid.

Some adults regress to the oral stage: they talk a lot and with assurance of everything, even the things they don't know much about. And they don't worry that better informed others might find such a deluge stupid.

For anal personalities, the other is stupid, for the oral personalities the other simply does not exist.

Other adults have complexes and are generally victims of their incapacity to detach from their parents. To educate oneself implies a transgression, a freedom of mind of which they are afraid and don't allow themselves. For parents, infantile love is source of intellectual inhibition, it prevents the child from thinking by itself and adopt personal values, it renders the child stupid.


So before we call someone stupid, let's look at our own kind of stupidy. Did we not say something too quickly without thinking it through? What is the value of our idea? Is our idea a valid one or have we just been repeating it automatically over the last years? Do we agree with something just because we are too lazy to think for ourselves or maybe want to conform with a group of people?

Obviously we cannot continuously question what we are saying before saying it . We would not be able to think anymore. So sometimes we take on a few phrases or expressions that are in fashion and seem to say it all. Like 'politically correct' for example. We run the risk however, that we do not push our reflexion any further anymore.

Cultivated people are not necessarily less stupid. Cultivated people are sometimes less flexible in their thoughts, unable to listen ot others or put their ideas to the test.

I guess intelligence rhymes with vigilance. We should from time to time stop and think about, reason with and question what we have been thinking. We should listen to philospher Vladimir Jankelevitch and 'behave as if nothing, in this world, is a given'. In order to do that one needs a lot of self confidence however, to admit that one does not know, to ask for an explanation.

In order to be less 'stupid' we should:

Solitude, isolation, habits make us stupid. Be curious, enrich your social, cultural and intellectual life.

Take time to think
The stupid thought is always the one to come out first. It is said under an emotion, it is impulsive and nervous. We often regret having said it afterwards. Take time to think. Time it the best ally.

Doubt and question
Our ready-made ideas are reassuring and comfortable but keep us from thinking. It is essential to question ones certitudes, even if we loose our maks a bit. It is the only way to stay open to contradiction, to the 'other'.

Get to know yourself
What happens to us is not always the fault of 'bad luck' or the 'stupidity' of others. It is useful to find out why and how part of us, of our desires, or our fears is connected to the events of our lives. That helps us to get our of an intolerant and vain thinking rut.

Freely translated from content of Psychologies.com magazine Feb08.

Vote for my post The stupidity of people comes from having an answer to everything - Milan Kundera on Mom Blog Network


Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion - Hebbel

Check out this inspiring speech on 'Tales of Passion' by Isabel Allende

Or others from the website TED - Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers such as:

Finding happiness in body and soul - Eve Ensler
What I want - Nora York
Building a friendlier world through blogs - Mena Trott


13 principles to live by

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. - Groucho Marx

  1. Express your talent
    Paint, write, sing,... Find the time for it and do it with all your heart.
  2. Stand for your choices
    Stick to your conviction but be ready to abandon your assumptions.
    Voice your opinion. Accept that you make wrong choices.
  3. Learn from your children
    They are your mirror but they are not you.
  4. Listen to your body
    Sleep enough. Exercise to let your body breathe and free your mind. Eat healthy to allow your body to be healthy.
  5. Tell the truth
    A lie is an internal brake. It is a fear that locks us up. If we face this fear however, it makes us grow and the courage we used to overcome our fear reinforces us and makes us stronger. Always.
  6. Be linked to your heart
    Have friendships that are strong but not built on any kind of dependance or lies.
  7. Authorise yourself to be human
    Don't try to be happy ALL the time. Accept lows and failures. They need to exist to allow for the highs and successes.
  8. Cease to do several things at a time
    Multitasking usually means stress. You cannot listen to two of your favorite songs at the same time. Do one thing at a time, and do it well, with all your concentration.
  9. Learn to ask
    for help, for love, for advice, for explanation, for an answer, ...There are no stupid questions.
  10. If you want it to stick, make it a ritual.
    You rarely forget to brush your teeth in the morning, right? So if you want to work out once a week, pick a day and time and stick to it for a while until it becomes a ritual, a habit, a drug instead of a drag. Like children we need rituals so that we do not feel lost.
  11. Make lists.
    To do lists, Books to read lists, Websites to visit lists, Things to learn list,... They allow you to focs instead of forget or drift off.
  12. Listen.
    Really listen...instead of letting your mind wander off and think about what you will reply, what your opinion is, what you have read on the subject.
  13. Try to do something good or make someone happy every day.
    Call your mom - even if you have to listen to her nagging - it will make her happy. Give someone a compliment. Send someone a thank you note. Donate 25$ at Kiva.
Vote for my post Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. - Groucho Marx on Mom Blog Network


The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude - Oprah Winfrey

>> 3 February 2008

There are good and bad reasons to change:

One should not change for someone else
Some might want to transform their personality to keep their partner for example. However, it is impossible to desire for the other. When we try to redefine ourselves for someone else we interpret their needs, not ours. And hence the base for change is falsified.

One should change for oneself
As the change concerns us, it has to be a personal move. The wonderful thing about it is that the other (the partner,...) will of course profit from our transformation.

One should not change to flee reality
A love story turning bad, a daily rythm that stresses us and makes us unhappy...and up pops the need to change and turn the page. But when we flee, the first thing we encounter on our road is exactly what we have wanted to get away from. We change jobs to get away from mobbing colleagues and around the corner the new colleagues are doing just the same. To change one has to first face one's own demons.

One should change to confront one's reality
Change necessitates to be ready for a profound exploration of oneself and the relations to others. This entails going through some kind of crisis. If it is painful it is because it obliges us to question our certitudes and to consider our dark side...before attempting to change.

One should not change as a reaction
Changing as a reaction to something, for example after a breakup, becoming the opposite of what one has been before, or behaving in a way that does not correspond to one's moral or inner feelings. Founded on the lie to oneself, this type of change is obviously ephemeral and may generate a painful shift.

One should change to enrich oneself
Change means enriching oneself with 'other elsewheres', hence open up to others and other situations, learn to understand and get to know them. In the long run, this can become a way to acquire a certain power, but a power put 'at the service' and not 'against' others.

Site of interest:

Everybody's changing by Keane


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