7 Ways to Live a Long, Healthy Life

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We all want to live a long, vibrant, and energetic life, right? Right. So the question is how do we do that? With the stresses of motherhood, careers, PTA meetings, extracurriculars, volunteer work, music lessons, and soccer practice – how do we keep ourselves healthy and happy while balancing the chaos that encompasses our every day?

Let’s first understand that health is not a guarantee. It is almost certainly a result of the choices we make. The choices we make not only for ourselves, but for our children as well. It is very important we lay a strong foundation of wellness within our families.

Here are some tips to get us engaged and active in creating and maintaining a livelier, healthier life:

1. Keep moving. Stay physically active. Walk, run, or cycle. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba. Whatever your preferred method of working out is (assuming you have one), continue doing it. And if you don’t have one, find one. Exercise not only improves mood, it also increases energy levels and boosts immunity.

2. Eat well. Know your food. Know your farmer. Eat the rainbow. When possible, choose local and organic. Organic fruits and vegetables are less likely to contain pesticide residues. Avoid industrialized meats and dairy. Instead opt for pastured/organic meats and dairy which are raised without the use of antibiotics and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which is a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production. Avoid empty calories, processed foods, and boxed junk. These foods contain many ingredients that contribute to weight gain and other diseases.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s natural for human beings to feed off of each other’s energy. It only seems logical then that in order to be happy, you need to surround yourself with upbeat, optimistic, and encouraging people. There is no room in your life for the Debbie-downers of the world. Learn how to develop strong, intimate relationships with those closest to you.

4. Enjoy living in the moment. Live for today with what you already have. The grass is always greener on your side of the fence if you are willing to see it that way. What is the saying – Live. Laugh. Love.? Well there’s no better time to start doing those three things then right NOW.

5. Challenge yourself mentally. Never stop learning. For when we stop learning, we essentially stop living. Keep yourself involved in new things. Pick up an instrument, read something, take up writing or painting. Your passion and zest for life will stay alive and well if you remain open to new experiences and ideas.

6. Meditate. This is a great way to let go of stress, rest, and reconnect with yourself. It’s also a great way to relieve tension, anxiety, frustration, and fear. Mediation can be done anywhere at anytime. You can do it on the go with just the act of taking a few deep breaths or you can dedicate a specific time of day/night for a more intimate session.

7. Be thankful. Write down a list of things you a thankful for. And then? Be thankful for them. :)

New Year, New Beginnings

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As the new year rolls in I can’t help but feel the need to reflect upon all of the lessons wisdom from all of the screw-ups  experiences that 2012 has so graciously thrown unraveled for me throughout the past twelve months. What better time than now to review, renew and revitalize my passions, goals, and self-criticism self-growth? As I was zoning out meditating tonight, I felt this beautiful new beginning course through my body. I’m serious. I actually felt a slight quiver resonate within me and all I could think of was WOW, new energy! Never mind the fact that my phone just happened to be on vibrate and it’s location was, yep you guessed it, tucked between the couch cushions directly beneath me. But, this is the New Year, people – and I for one say bring it on!

Some of my intentions for 2013 include:

~Letting go. This one is a biggie for me. I am the type of person who has a hard time surrendering. I’m not quite the control freak per say, but I have a tendency to create unwanted anxiety within myself for no apparent reason {or for every apparent reason possible} – you pick. Do you follow me? I’m almost positive a lot of mothers feel this way, and ladies we need to just accept the fact we will inevitably wear ourselves out down the road if we haven’t already. I’m afraid if I don’t start wiping the slate clean every once in a while my body will be permanently planted face down on the living room carpet with gummy treats stuck in my hair and glitter glue coming out of my eyeballs. Now that’s a pin I’d like to see on Pinterest.

~Inviting More Positive Influence into My Life. I have been contemplating lately how I can attract more positive energy and flow into my life. What I keep coming back to is looking within myself. By accepting the reality of who I am, focusing on the parts I want to change, and consciously working towards being the person I attain to be – I hope to become a magnetic force for all that is good and loving and kind.

~Stop Taking Things Too Personally. I am a very non-confrontational person. In fact, I want nothing more than to hold hands with everyone and sing Kumbaya. Problem is, not everyone wants to hold hands with me and sing Kumbaya. Really.

~ Enjoy Living in the Moment. This one speaks for itself. When we live in a more, more, more culture, it’s easy to get caught up in the I need this, this, this and this. And when I get this, this, this, and this, I will happier or bigger or better or richer or smaller or smarter or prettier or blah blah blah. Dear Lisa, Stop feeding this vicious cycle. Live for today with what you already have: An open heart. A beautiful family. A willingness to learn. A zest for life. A love for the present. A new year. A new beginning. 

What are your intentions for the New Year?

Peace

My mantra from today:

May I find joy in the chaos and love in the storm. May I find the strength to pursue my passions in this life. May peace overflow from my heart and may the beauty within guide me to do good for myself and others, always.

Do you have a daily mantra or prayer you say often?

fear and loving in motherhood

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
John Lennon

We want to know how we should live. We look for guidance from our elders, signs from the world around us. We find comfort in the familiar and challenge in the unknown. We mindlessly tramp through life almost as if robotic. We tend to forget to focus our teachings inwards. There’s a lot we can take away from the inside out.  We can find our fears, anxieties, visions, and happiness by reflecting on our true selves from within.

As day dips into night, I am sitting at the table sipping tea with a friend. She is telling me about her busy life and the stress that accompanies it. She is mumbled and jumbled and even seems a bit sad. Her mind is running rampant with thoughts. Her face is distraught with the weight of the world lying solely upon her. She shifts uncomfortably on the wooden chair as her bulging belly overpowers her body. She is hunched over and exhausted. She is afraid of the morning. For in the morning her floating ship begins to sink, again. Her husband will leave for work and her two-year-old will triumphantly rule her day. Every minute. Every second. She will wonder what she is doing wrong. How she can possibly handle all of the things being thoughtlessly thrown at her. She is drowning in her own life. Is there a way to make it easier?

I tell her to take a deep breath. I inhale and exhale with her. We do it together, again. And again and again. I ask her if she would have it any other way.

I see a smile suddenly take hold of her. Her eyes brighten and her body perks up. She gently embraces her belly and twitches in delight as she runs her hands over the blossoming life growing inside her. She glimpses down in reflection for a moment and returns with resilient honesty.

Thank you, she says. Maybe this sounds sort of crazy, but my answer is no.

 

be happy

Smile.

A friend recently asked me what I ultimately wanted out of my life.  She was probing at my goals, hopes and dreams, and aspirations.  I could have gone into detail after detail about how I wanted to be this and that and oh that other thing too.  How I’ve dreamed of creating and healing and traveling.  Spending time with my children and my family, taking vacations, and building a beautiful home.  How I wanted it all!  But my answer turned out to be one simple word – happiness.  Of all the things in the entire world, happiness to me is the number one thing I want out of  life.

I don’t mean the materialistic “more, more, more” happiness.  The kind that is pushed upon us daily.  This sort of pop culture, money-mongering, consumer-obsessed world that I can never keep up with, nor would I want to.  I mean the mind and gut wrenching, dig deep inside myself, pure happiness.  The kind that flows through our bodies and hearts, and transcends blissfully onto others.  A happiness that centers upon connecting and giving.

Maintaining a happy life means different things to different people.  I try to maintain happiness in my own life by being consciously aware of my presence, actions, and impacts.

Below are six tips I’ve compiled to help create happiness in my life:

1. Understand that you can be happy, you deserve to be happy, and you should be happy.  It’s so much easier to appreciate the world around you with a smile on your face.  (Your kids will certainly appreciate it too.)

2. Actively set and pursue your goals. If something goes awry (and it will), don’t give up.  Use that energy to push forward and not to wallow in self-pity.  Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy.

3. Surround yourself with positive people and positive influences.  Your circle of friends, co-workers, and fellow moms have an exceedingly great influence in your life.  Leave the negativity behind.

4. Take the time to turn inward and learn more about yourself as a woman, a mother, a friend.  Recognize and focus on what fulfills and inspires you.

5. Mainstream your health.  Actively participate in supporting your body’s health and your family’s health through proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation.

6. Be thankful for all you have been given.  Blessings come in all different shapes and sizes.  (This includes over-flowing laundry baskets, work deadlines, and messy bedrooms.)

Happiness may not be easy to define into words, but it’s easy to find.  It surrounds us every single day.  It is the bright yellow sun in a big blue sky.  It is a thunderstorm in a sea of clouds.  It is counting your newborn’s ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.  It is kissing boo-boos and playing hide and seek.  It is making jelly sandwiches and doing cartwheels on the front lawn.  It is holding hands and counting to ten.  It is taking a deep breath and jumping in.

Happiness is giving others around you the gifts you have found within yourself.

Happiness is being a mother, a wife, a friend.

Happiness is me.