3 Daily Practices To Be A Happier Person

Are You Ready To Put A Stop To Feeling Stressed Out All The Time? Do you think you can find something to be happy about just once a day? Taking time to think about something to be grateful for during the day, can seem like a difficult task on some days. If you are finding yourself in this situation, you may be wondering how to get out of it so you have less stress and anxiety as well as increasing your happiness and getting to a better place in your life. Here are some daily practices that can help you be a happier person.

Gratitude Journal

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One way to become a happier person, through mindfulness and daily practice, is to start a gratitude journal. You do not need a full journal to do this. In fact, you can use your daily planner or online planner for this. You can even use social media. The key point to this daily practice is to find at least one thing a day you are thankful for or have gratitude for. This can be anything. Let’s face it, we all have bad days. It is finding the good in that bad day that helps us become happier. So, it can be anything from having a great cup of coffee that morning to being happy the day is over so you can start fresh the next day. The point is to recognize the happiness or good and note it.

Reducing for Charity

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Reducing for charity may seem like an odd endeavor as a daily practice, but it is something that can be very fulfilling for both parties. The idea here is to remove something from your life each day that you do not need. This can be anything from a toy your child no longer plays with or has outgrown to an extra set of dishes you really don’t need. Place these items in a box and at the end of the week or month, give the box to charity. These items are no longer cluttering your day and causing a storage issue, and you are helping someone else you may want or need them. The happiness comes in when you find the joy in either getting the items out of your house or seeing that they can bring joy to someone else through your charity.  

Breath Walking

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Breath walking may be something that is new to you, but it can make you a happier person. The concept here is to go on a walk in nature each day for a few minutes or more. Just get away from everything. Step out into nature with no electronics. Now this doesn’t mean to go out with no way of contacting anyone in an emergency. It simply means to turn off music and phones and just walk. Concentrate on your breath as you move and walk and work to calm it. Notice the sounds and nature around you, and let go of the stress of the day through your breathing. You will find yourself healthier and happier at the end of the walk and as the walks progress, you may find yourself more adapted to handling your daily stress as well.

As you start putting these daily practices into your life, you will start seeing a change for the better and seeing yourself becoming happier. Remember, start slow and let the process work. It’s all about letting the process develop in your life at your own pace.

Ready To See How Mindfulness Can Help You Lose Weight?

Are you a woman who is fed up with dieting day after day without seeing results? When you look at your current weight, where you want to be, how much you want to drop, and how long that journey will take, it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes gals can get derailed before they even begin. If this sounds like where you are right now, consider using mindfulness practices to bring your weight-loss to another level. If you aren’t sure where to get started, here are some how to tips to help.

Accept Your Journey

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The first way to use mindfulness for weight loss is to accept and embrace your journey. This may sound either far too easy or like something you could not do in your life for your situation. This is actually an easily attained step, that takes some time to work on and develop. Here is a mindfulness quote by Jan Chozen Bays: “Mindful eating replaces self-criticism with self-nurturing. It replaces shame with respect for your own inner wisdom.”

Find Your Triggers

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Mindfulness, journaling, and meditation can help you find your triggers. You may wonder why this important. Your triggers that send you into anxiety, stress, or depression can also trigger you into unhealthy eating habits that can move you into a situation of gaining weight. Once you start to find your triggers, you can begin moving those toxins from your life and working toward a more positive outlook and healthier choices that help with your weight loss.

Mind Map Your Goals

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Instead of just jumping into a weight loss journey, consider using mind mapping to sort everything out. This will help you sort out the related thoughts that come up with your weight loss journey, what your obstacles are, and how you want to go about handling them. Once you begin this mapping you can find a better starting point for your goals and see milestones along the way of your long term journey. This can help you remain focused and see when you have hit achievements that you normally would have overlooked.

To get started, make a list of the things you like or are happy with about yourself, then determine your goal weight. With a positive mindset, figure out a healthy and realistic timeline for weight-loss. At that point, setting weekly goals and daily micro-goals to achieve. Adding mindfulness, such as gratitude for micro-goals that are accomplished during the day, will help keep a positive mindset.

Mindfulness can bring several benefits to your weight loss journey, including staying positive and believing in yourself. You will also find that you are more focused and centered on the task at hand, which will in turn help you reach your short-term and long-term weight goals.

3 Ways To Reduce Anxiety With Mindfulness

Do you feel like there are some days that are just full of anxiety? Anxiety is something an increasing number of women suffer from. This is primarily due to the fact that women tend to multi-task, which can be a great skill, until there are too many things pulling on us that our days (and nights) can become increasingly hectic. We have work, some have school, children, community, and a full “to-do” list. Daily stress is a normal issue that we all deal with. However, when there are extra issues with family, personal life, finances, and job challenges, often time it can lead to anxiety issues. Here are a few techniques to help reduce anxiety in daily life.

Breathing Techniques

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When a stressful event happens, and anxiety response kicks in, the first thing that happens is the heart rate increases. A feeling of panic begins and the brain naturally goes into fight or flight, a primitive brain function. When this happens it can be harder to focus and harder to calm down. Breathing techniques work in several ways. They help you stop and refocus, allowing you you slow your breath and find a calm moment that helps your heart rate lower to a reasonable level. Ultimately this may help your blood pressure to lower as well, which allows you to calm down and figure out what steps to take next.

Try taking 10 deep breaths with equal inhale and exhale. Close your eyes and relax the muscles in your face. Often, we hold onto tension in the forehead and jaw muscles. When we breath and relax the face, that action can que the rest of the body to follow.

Focus on the Issue at Hand

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Mindfulness techniques like meditation and mind mapping can help you focus on the issue at hand. What mindfulness does is help you use techniques that can take a jumble of thoughts and work them into one connected thought with a clear path to a goal that has a starting point and ending point. Mindfulness can help you find joy in the task at hand, even if it is simply completing the task and moving to the next one. Though meditation, mind mapping, breathing, and gratitude practice, you can focus on the issue at hand and move forward.

Find New Healthier Focuses

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Mindfulness has an added bonus of helping you remove the negative issues and resources in your life and focusing on healthier replacements. Instead of freaking out about an unexpected situation, you can calm down with breathing. Instead of being upset about the day and feeling helpless, you can replace those thoughts with gratitude for at least one thing a day. You can find that your are happier first and healthier later and overall change your entire life outlook.  

Though mindfulness will help you with anxiety issues, it can take some time and practice to reset your natural stress reaction tenancies. If you are having severe anxiety symptoms, you may also want to consult a therapist or counselor for further assistance.

3 Surefire Ways To Reduce Stress With Mindfulness

Stress is something that everyone has and comes up in everyone’s daily life. Some days are full of stressful events and others just have a smattering of small stressors. In most cases, we can handle our daily stress, but when the stress keeps piling on it can be difficult to manage. Mindfulness is one way you can manage your stress, recognize the triggers, and work through that stress to remove it from your life and move on with your day. If you aren’t sure how mindfulness will reduce your stress, or even help with it at all, here are a few things to consider.

Work Through What Matters

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Stress can come from a variety of areas in your life and unfortunately some of those stresses don’t really matter in the whole spectrum of life. That is to say that they may matter in the moment, but they are not priorities. One way to reduce your stress with mindfulness is to focus on the items that are important and need your focus versus the things that do not. An example of this would be having your mind cluttered with what someone said about you or gossip that is affecting your day. These are things that can and need to be reduced from your life because they are causing unnecessary stress. Once these are removed you can focus on the things that do matter; the things that actually build you up and fill your soul.

Take Time to Breathe

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This may sound like a very basic concept, but taking time to breathe can help you reduce the stress in your life. The trick to this is to actually learn breathing techniques that can help you reduce your heart rate and keep your body and emotions in check. Once you learn a few breathing techniques, you can apply them at the appropriate times and help refocus yourself, reduce the stress, and deal with any fallout from that stress effectively. Focusing on the length of inhale and matching the length of exhale is a good place to start. It allows you to focus on your body and breath connection and brings you into the present.

Mindful Reactions

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Often stress is caused from our immediate reaction to the stress-maker (the thing or person causing the stress). It is easy to have an immediate reaction and let it explode in our minds. This can cause a massive amount of panic or stress over something that likely doesn’t need that sort of reaction. An example of this would be reacting to a new item on your to-do list that is unexpected. You may panic wondering how you will complete the task with the other tasks you have. Instead, you can use mindfulness to refocus and find the solution, realizing that the task can be worked in with another task or handled quickly and moved to your completed list.

Though mindfulness does take some time, it can help you with the stress in your life and reducing that stress into manageable categories or amounts. As you get into mindfulness you will start to find new ways it can help you and new methods to use.

3 Surprising Benefits Of Coconut

You might love the taste of coconut or may have tried using coconut oil for cooking, but there are even more surprising ways to use coconut for a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can use coconut a little more in your life.

Use it as a Massage Oil

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Ready for a luxurious massage oil that has health benefits and smells like a tropical island? Coconut oil not only feels amazing as a massage oil, it also has numerous health perks. According to Medical News Today coconut oil has many potential benefits for the skin. Research suggests that it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Coconut oil is also very moisturizing for dry skin and can be applied directly to the skin. Coconut oil can be a perfect oil for adults and children that have very sensitive skin that is prone to dryness, cracking, rashes, and irritation. Look for organic coconut oil which can be found at most health based stores.

It Works as Sunscreen

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A coconut oil blend can be used as a sunscreen for children and adults. While you might not want to use only coconut oil to protect your skin from UV rays if you have fair skin, it can definitely be effective with other natural ingredients blended in. Here is a DIY Coconut sunscreen that I found on TheCoconutMama.com.

INGREDIENTS
½ Cup Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Non Nana Zinc Oxide
1 Tablespoon Red Raspberry Seed Oil
Optional: 10 Drops Essential Oils (I used Carrot Seed & Lavender)

INSTRUCTIONS
Whip coconut oil up in a mixer or food processor.
Carefully add the zinc oxide (you don’t want to inhale it!), red raspberry seed oil and essential oils.
Once the oils and zinc oxide are mixed well pour them into a small container.

Coconut Can Boost Brain Function

Coconut also has fatty acids that can be perfect for someone needing a brain boost! Adults with lower brain function, such as older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, may benefit by adding coconut oil into their diet. With coconut oil and other forms of coconut, you can help boost their brain function which helps manage the symptoms and increase the quality of life.

3 Short-cuts To Get Better Sleep

Do you ever have a difficult time falling asleep even when you’re exhausted? With the constant connection to electronics, it seems like we should be able to finish daily obligations quicker and have more time to wind down at the end of the day. However, many of us are more tired and overwhelmed than ever. The reality is that we may need to adjust the way we do things in order to get better rest. Here are a few tips to help you get quality sleep.

Eat Dinner Earlier

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One of the most common habits that prevent people from getting great sleep, is eating too close to bedtime. When we eat close to bedtime, the body springs into action to digest food. During sleep, the only job that the body should be doing is healing and regenerating itself. According to Amerisleep.com, eating before bed can cause poor sleep, slower metabolism, eating more, unhealthy choices, acid reflux, indigestion, and heartburn, and health risks. When introducing food into the equation too close to sleep, it may confuse the body and tell it to do something it normally doesn’t do during those sleeping hours.

Establish A Schedule

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The human body functions on a much higher level of efficiency when it knows what times are for what things. Sleep, for example needs to happen on a predictable time slot, otherwise your body will have a hard time getting into REM sleep, which is needed to rest and repair the mind. Meals should also follow some kind of schedule so that your body is prepared to digest food at the appropriate times. If you don’t live on a schedule, your body may become hungry, tired, and weak at inconvenient times, which could lead to the loss of productivity.

Turn Off Electronics Sooner

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These days, one of the biggest contributors to the lack of sleep is the engagement with electronics too close to your head hitting the pillow. You may have a hard time sleeping if you are online surfing the net or engaging in social networking right before bedtime. If you turn off the screens at least 30 minutes before bed, this allows your mind to have some space to settle down and you will be able to relax quicker and find a calm rhythm for quality sleep.

How To Find Protein Sources You Love

Adequate amounts of protein in your diet are necessary for optimal health. In addition to just helping you feel full, protein is needed for your hair and skin, to reduce cravings, and to help build muscles. Here are some tips for finding protein sources you love.

Do You Have Special Dietary Restrictions?

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Before you choose your protein sources, consider if you have any dietary restrictions or sensitivities. Maybe you are on a vegetarian diet, so you know not to even bother with meat and fish. Or you tend to feel sick with too many beans and lentils, so you don’t want too many of those in your diet. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something you are allergic to, but if you know it doesn’t sit well with your stomach, write it down so you don’t even bother with it when it comes time to add more protein sources to your diet.

You know what make your body feel its best. Even if a diet plan recommends certain types of proteins, ultimately you need to be the one that chooses in order to feel your best, even if it is not what the diet plan directs.

The Simple Carnivore

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If you are a meat eater, this is probably where you will start when it comes to choosing your protein sources, and also contains some of the highest amounts of protein.

For example, meat and poultry (beef, chicken, and turkey) has between 14 grams of protein and 28 grams of protein per serving. While fish and seafood has between 14 grams of protein and 22 grams of protein per serving size. This includes canned tuna!

As you can see, it is really easy to increase your protein with these types of foods.

Eggs and Dairy

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The next category of protein-rich foods include your eggs and dairy. This is great because even if you are a vegetarian or you simply don’t like eating a lot of meat and seafood, you still have a lot of amazing ways to get your protein.

With eggs, you will get about 6 grams of protein per full egg. Keep in mind this includes the egg white and yolk.

Milk is about 8 grams of protein per cup, but look out for other varieties of nut milks that might contain more protein.

Greek yogurt is very high with about 17 grams of protein for one serving. This is close to the amount you get in fish or poultry!

And the star of the show is cottage cheese, with around 22 grams of protein in one cup.

Plant-Based Sources of Protein

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It is good to add some plant-based sources of protein to your diet, whether you are following a plant-based diet or not. They are very easy to add as snacks, to top salads, or just have on the side of your meals. While there are many others, here are some of our favorite plant-based protein sources:

Chickpeas – For ½ cup serving of chickpeas, you can get around 7 grams of protein.

Quinoa – For a cup of quinoa, you are adding approximately 8 grams of protein to your day.

Nuts and seeds – You can get 5-6 grams of protein with ¼ cup of most nuts and seeds.

Edamame – This is a great addition since you get 17 grams of protein for one cup of edamame.

Lentils – Lentils are high in protein and fiber and low in fat, which makes them a healthy substitute for meat. They’re also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.

Beans – Beans are filled with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals that can help reduce inflammation, ward off chronic diseases, contribute to weight loss, improve gut health, and promote satiety.

Adding a variety of proteins within your diet can help you reach your health goals quickly. Chose proteins that make your body feel good and that support your lifestyle.

How To Replace Starches With Health Carbs

Have you heard that you need to be on a low carb diet to be healthy or to lose weight? Although many successful eating plans promote this approach, you may just need to look at what kinds of carbs you are consuming in order to achieve your health goals. Here are some tips for replacing starchy foods with healthy, complex carbohydrates.

Why Starchy Foods Get Bad Press

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Starchy foods tend to have a higher amount of carbohydrates and sugar, but not as many vitamins and minerals that your body needs. They can also affect some people when it comes to lowering their blood sugar levels.

According to Healthline.com, diets high in refined starches are linked to a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. In addition, they can cause blood sugar to spike rapidly and then fall sharply.

Changing your diet isn’t about being clean 100% of the time, but just making small changes to increase the nutrients and health of your meals. Which means starchy foods aren’t all evil, but there are some good reasons to reduce them if possible.

Types of Starchy Foods to Reduce in Your Diet

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Not sure what a starchy food is? Here are some easy examples:

White bread
White pasta
White rice
Sugary cereals
Baked pastries and donuts
White potatoes without the skin

As you can see, most of these are highly processed foods that don’t contain many nutrients. But the good news is they are really easy to replace with healthier foods that will be very similar, but provide more nutrition in your diet.

Healthy Carbs to Replace Them With

A top view of a vegan meal with spiralized zucchini, tomato sauce and pomegranates in the cup

Don’t worry – you don’t have to give these foods up or go on a low-carb diet! You are just going to replace them with their healthier counterpart.

Trade out sugary cereals – Try switching from sugary processed cereal to steel-cut oatmeal or natural granola.

Enjoy whole wheat and whole grain bread – Make the switch from regular white sandwich bread to whole wheat bread.

Switch to brown rice and quinoa – For rice, if you want to eat less white rice, you can enjoy brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa.

Switch to sweet potatoes – While it is completely fine to eat white or red potatoes, you can reduce starches by enjoying sweet potatoes instead.

Healthy pasta substitutes – There are many varieties of pasta that isn’t just white pasta, including those made from whole grains, brown rice, and chickpeas. Spiraled vegetables are also a very popular choice to replace standard white pasta.

As with all diet transformation strategies, you don’t want to completely change everything you eat right from day one. Consider just switching out the starchy carbs one meal or variety at a time, like going with brown rice this week, then trying whole wheat bread next week.

3 Reasons Why Every Woman Should Get Some Quiet-Time Daily

Do you ever feel as though you need to just shut everything out for a few minutes? Life can become so full and busy, whether with the obligations at home, the noise and swirl of a workplace, or the multi-tasking pulls of motherhood, we all experience the “noise of life” in different ways. Many times it can be hard to get a moment’s peace due to the constant business and noise created by activity in our lives. Carving out a time daily to allow yourself to quiet your mind and body, can be a powerful action in your life to create balance. Here are three ways to find your quiet-time.

Take Time to Think Things Out

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In daily life, there are a variety of choices that every single person must face. When faced with these choices, we even have choices about how quickly we should act and make decisions. When we have the time to think about things, we can come to much more clear and sure decisions that we are less likely to regret. Proper time to think things through can help us to problem solve, and having quiet time to do so allows the focus needed to accomplish that.

Find A Moment to Meditate

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Another really great use of quiet time can be for meditation. This old-world skill can be used to gain access to numerous personal and mental milestones, and it can help you to become more aware of your health with a mind-body connection as well. While you sit and focus on your breathing, you can become more in tune with your body, and alleviate stress that may have built up from the days and weeks leading up to that moment. Meditation can be practiced in short intervals as well, so you don’t have to sit for hours. Meditation can be done in as little as 3 – 6 minutes.

Quiet-Time With Others

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Quiet time doesn’t always have to mean alone time. One excellent bonding experience can be simply sitting quietly with someone. When you sit quietly with another person, it can mean that there is a lot of trust between you and the other person, especially if you are touching or engaging in any sort of physical contact. This also allows you to become more aware of their physical state, because you have less distractions from the minute responses that their body is producing. This can bring you closer together, and lessen stress.

Quiet time is different for everyone. It may be clearing the mind to allow thoughts to freely flow and sort or might be a time of prayer or spiritual connecting. It can also be a time of mindful breathing and oxygenating the body. Setting aside a few minutes per day to give yourself the gift of time to focus, find your center, and breathe can have an abundance of benefits beyond the amount of time that you spent having quiet-time.

How to Be Successful With Meal Plan Prep

When you meal prep, it isn’t just about making a list of groceries and being sure you get everything on that list. It takes having a solid plan, expecting the unexpected, and being realistic. This is a big part of meal prepping with intention, because you consider your family’s specific needs and know that sometimes things come up and your meals won’t always be perfect.

Start With a Plan

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You should always have a good plan when you are meal prepping. For some people, they like to write down days they know they will be eating out and just plan the remaining days, while others are on a budget and want to use what they have in their fridge as much as possible in the meal plan.

Create a weekly habit where you go through the food you have, decide on meals with those ingredients, and make a list of what you need. This is a really easy way to start with healthy meal planning.

Use Ingredients That Cross Over Multiple Meals

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To avoid getting bored, think of foods or ingredients that you can add to your meal plan that you are able to use for multiple types of meals.

For example, you might have veggies that you are using for a Sunday brunch when you make a quiche for breakfast, and use the leftover veggies in sandwiches or wraps throughout the week. You can use parmesan cheese for pizza, pasta, and even to top salads, and use leftover chicken for quesadillas and new types of casseroles.

Don’t Cook Too Many New Recipes at One Time

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If you try to cook 5 brand new recipes in one week, you will probably get overwhelmed, and by day 3 or 4, be over cooking altogether. When you first get started with meal planning and meal prep, choose just 1-2 new recipes to try each week.

This allows you try new recipes and new foods for your healthy diet, but you can avoid becoming stressed or overwhelmed. It also ensures you are also cooking some meals that you already know your family enjoys.

Be Realistic With Your Own Needs and Preferences

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It is great to use other meal plans people recommend, but if your family or relatives hate kale, why are you trying to make a kale salad with dinner one night? The great thing about meal planning is that it is easy to personalize to your own family’s preferences. Always start with foods you enjoy, and use those to create healthy meals. You can offer your family the foods you desire, but also give them alternatives. Understanding each family members specific needs is essential to keeping the family table nourished and at peace.