10 Reasons You Should Smile For Your Health

Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available.  ~ Jim Beggs

Ever see someone who’s face reads “Please check your cheerfulness at the door”? Deep frown lines, eyes that bore holes when they look at you, and a face that would make the Grinch squirm?

So how does one end up waking up one morning with a face that growls at everyone it meets?  I must admit I have always been a little afraid that I might cross the line of crankiness and wakeup looking like a grouch. So far so good.

I often smile at strangers when passing on the street. It’s the small town girl in me, I can’t help it. When I’m lucky they grin back. Sometimes however they’ll shoot me a look that says they’d rather pull a hamstring than smile back. It’s as if they are genuinely pissed off that someone has the nerves to smile at them. Other times they observe me as if I am an alien life form come to invade their angry planet. And of course there are ones who only manage to curl up one side of their mouth. Sure, it’s technically a sneer, but I imagine it  is a smile trying to get out.

So what’s my yogic point here? Smiling is important, it’s basically yoga for your face. Those cheeks need a grin like your leg muscles need downward dog. Studies show that there are many mental, emotional and social benefits from smiling. It reduces stress, makes you happier, and makes the opposite sex find you more attractive. (Go gettem’ tiger!)

A few more smile motivating facts..

  1. If you can’t smile at least try not to frown. Studies show that adults who get Botox for their frown lines report feeling less depression after the procedure. I am not suggesting you go get botox, but there is clearly a mind-face connection at work.
  2. Smiles are more attractive than makeup: A recent studies show that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.
  3. Smiling makes you memorable. You are 3 time more likely to remember the person that is smiling over the one that is wearing a negative or neutral expression.
  4. Smiling improves the way others see you.  72% of people think of those who smile often as being more confident and successful.
  5. Smiling helps You make new friends. 86% of people say that they are more likely to strike up conversations with strangers if they are smiling.
  6. Even a fake smile will lift your mood.  Your body releases endorphins Serotonin, Dopamine and Morphine when you smile. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that reduces fear and worry. Dopamine squashes negative emotions. Morphine is a powerful pain-killer. Enjoy the natural high!
  7. Smiling at others is a way to show Ahimsa (non-violence). A smile is a non-verbal way to communicate non-violence. Scientists have found that smiles reduce aggression in both the giver and the receiver.
  8. Smiling makes you healthier. Smiling activates the central nervous System and boosts your immune system. It lowers your blood pressure, regulates your heartbeat, and enhances respiration. Those lil’ guys the white blood cells (Leukocytes) activate as well! They are on the front lines attacking foreign bacteria, viruses, and toxins keeping you disease free!
  9. Fake smiling can lead to genuine smiling and real happiness. Fake smile for 20 seconds for seven (7) days, and it creates a neural pathway in your brain.Continue for 21 consecutive days and fake smiling becomes hardwired into your brain becoming a genuine smile!
  10. Happy people live 9 years longer than unhappy ones.
Keep smiling!
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
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Are You Addicted to Being Unhappy?

love. hands in the shape  of a heart holding a rose

Addicted to suffering?

Surely not, right?

As crazy as this may sound, many of us have become addicted to feeling bad. When things begin to get too good we find reasons and ways to be miserable.

Playing the victim is easy because we don’t have to take responsibility; it’s much easier to blame someone else for our own unhappiness than to face the fact that we may be creating our own problems. Ever notice how some people drag around their problems with them like some strange badge of honor?

Suffering is not a ‘badge of honor.’ It does not make you more interesting, more spiritual, or a better person. Perhaps for some suffering has long been associated with being a better person. I assure you however, playing the martyr for its sake alone, will not help you, or anyone else become more enlightened.

The problem with being the victim is you will miss out on experiencing the beauty of the present moment.

If we constantly are dredging up the issues of the past we make enjoying what ‘is’ impossible!

We all have an unlimited supply of Love-consciousness inside of our being. This unfaltering supply of love, fulfillment and creativity is always available to us whenever we want to tap into it. Until we reconnect to this source of unconditional love we will feel insecure, and incomplete.

When we experience love-consciousness, we realize that everything is perfect exactly as it is. This does not mean we shouldn’t want to improve our situations and grow. Evolution is the nature of life, and everything is always moving forward; but if we choose to embrace the beauty of what is happening right now, instead of focusing on what we perceive as wrong, love grows, instead of fear.

We must learn to be okay with the natural cycles of life. Letting go of feelings of sadness and regret. It is of the utmost importance for your own happiness to realize creation and destruction as natural parts of life.

We must learn to embrace simplicity and spontaneity and let go of the questions, controls, and opinions.

In order to find true freedom from suffering, we need to begin to find happiness within. As adults, we may resist taking responsibility for our own unhappiness. It’s easier to blame the enviroment we live in, our parents, lovers, friends, our bosses, and so on. We can change our external circumstances, but in reality that will never change anything.

The outside is just a mirror of our own discontent. Fulfillment, peace, joy, and love do not come from outside, they come from the inside.

If we find ourselves constantly chasing romance and feel an aching inside to be desired what we may be actually seeking is a distraction: the excitement and fantasy are just ways of avoiding the lack of love we feel within ourselves. When we truly connect to the love within ourselves, this need for distraction falls away. All the expectations we place on the outside and on our partners — all the reasons we feel unfulfilled within our relationships — just vanish, because we have created a relationship with ourselves. Once you have discovered love of self, romance might appear in your life as an added bonus, but it will no longer be a requirement for your contentment.

When people are complete within themselves, they stop needing to protect, control, or grasp because the nature of love, is to give to every aspect of itself. Love perceives itself in everything. It perceives no scarcity or lack.

We can find freedom from our addiction to suffering when we choose, instead, to focus on love.

Sugar and Cocaine : More in Common than You Might Think

coca cola, sugar consumption
What?

Refined Sugar is a drug?

I know you are shocked, but the truth is that sugar is the devil.

(As in evil guy, red tail, knobby horns, enjoys hurting people, yeah, that’s the guy)

It is highly addictive, robs your body of nutrients and leaves you in a weakened state craving your next ‘fix’.

Sure sounds like a drug to me.

Dr. David Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition says,

“White refined sugar-is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. Its true name is sucrose and its chemical formula is C12H22O11.The chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4. Sugar’s formula again is C12H22O11.For all practical purposes, the difference is that sugar is missing the “N”, or nitrogen atom.”

Blood sugar, in the form of glucose, is the basic fuel for all brain operation and physical activity. When we eat a lot of sugar it causes imbalances in our mental states. Our glands struggle to regulate the sugar levels in our bodies with the release of insulin.
The result?
A whole host of problems – especially high adrenaline, which makes you feel anxious and panicked. For some people this may lead to panic attacks and for others it leads to violence.

In his book, Diet, Crime and DelinquencyDr. Alexander G. Schauss, states

“Many mental ward and prison inmates are “sugarholics” and erratic emotional outbreaks often follow a sugar binge.”

Refined sugar resembles a drug in that during the refining process everything of food value is removed!!

Everything!

What remains is something so indigestible that your body has to rob itself of vital nutrients to assimilate this toxin!

White sugar has a drug like effect on the body and is especially dangerous in the quantities consumed by the average American.

Did you know the average American consumes thirty teaspoons of this deadly stuff a day? The scary thing is, the average healthy digestive system can only digest and eliminate from two to four teaspoons of sugar daily, without noticeable problems. (for a lot of people two to four teaspoons barely covers their morning coffee, let alone breakfast!)
And how about if you are not a coffee drinker and say enjoy a nice cold Cola to wake up?

One twelve ounce Cola has eleven teaspoons of sugar!

In fact, sugar is the leading additive to food in the U.S! No wonder we are a nation of obese sugar-addicted junkies! Sugar is just as habit-forming as any narcotic; and the way it is abused is a national disaster!

Sadly, almostall of the products we consume daily are loaded with sugar!

Sugar gives you a quick energy ‘high’ so to speak, due to the rise of your blood sugar level. When the body responds with a release of insulin however your energy and endurance suddenly drops. Making you crave your next ‘high’, and the vicious cycle continues!

So why is it in just about everything we eat?

Sugar manufacturers are aggressive in defending their product and have a strong political lobby which allows them to continue push a deadly food item that keeps the nation fat, tired, sick and obese. Much like the drug cartels they are motivated by money and will stop at nothing to convince the average consumer that what they are eating is ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’. Funny thing is 90% of what is ‘natural’ has been removed-what remains is a deadly toxin that will disrupt the functions of your body and leave you sick, tired, and wanting more.

And now the real test…

Try it for yourself!

Leave sugar out of your diet for a couple of weeks and see how you feel.
Please note however, if you don’t feel amazing in the beginning it only means you are probably having a withdrawal because of the drug addiction you have acquired.

Still not convinced? Read 146 Reasons Why Sugar is Ruining Your Healthcocaine energy drink

Sex, Mental Health and Losing Weight the Right Way

Beautiful woman measuring her waist - high key shot in studioThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that at any given time two-thirds of all American adults are on a diet to either lose weight or prevent weight gain. Of those, 29 percent are men and 44 percent women. Yet only 5 percent of these dieters will be successful at keeping the weight that they lost off.

What are the typical goals of weight loss? Ask many people that question and you will hear things like upcoming wedding or bikini season. Check back with those people in a month and see how they are doing with their weight loss efforts. Usually, they will have fallen off the rails and quit, opting to either skip the wedding, reunion or other event and either wearing a sensible, black one-piece or never going to the beach again. Using a singular event for motivation for a weight loss goal is never going to work for long term, healthy weight loss especially when you look at how unmotivated you have been up to this point. The goals of weight loss actually have to go a little deeper and they must be a little more meaningful. And no, I do not mean that you should be trying to make your old high school rivals green with envy.

Goal One: Better Health

When you think of your excess weight in terms of your general health and well being, it should scare you to death. Are you aware that your excess weight could be killing off your heart, choking out your brain cells and smothering your lungs? Do you realize how hard your pancreas must work to continually pump out insulin to your body because you are flooding it with high glycemic foods? And, have you ever stopped to think that your creaking, cracking and aching bones and joints would probably creak, crack and ache a lot less if they did not have so much to carry?

Losing weight to gain better health should be your first priority, goal one. Think about it this way: You would lose weight to look good for people you see once a year at most, but you do not want to lose weight so that you can feel good around the people you see every day?

Goal Two: Better Mental Health

How many times have you stood in the mirror and literally burst into tears? Is it more than a couple? Or, you how many times have you gone to the mall and tried on clothing only to come home feeling more miserable than you thought possible because you are nowhere near your ideal size? Depression is a real disease that can be exacerbated by excess weight, and one that can be brought on by it as well. Simply put, you can become depressed if you are overweight or if you already depressed, being overweight can make you feel even worse.

Goal Three: Better Sexual Health

You do not have to be thin to enjoy sex; however, if you are feeling self-conscious about your body, then you may not relax enough to enjoy intimacy. You are not going to lose all of your weight in a matter of a few days and you cannot deny yourself or your loved one the pleasure of skin contact. Relearning to enjoy each others company can be a very big ego boost, and can help you reinforce the goals of one and two. And think of this: Sex counts as exercise too.

Article written by Don Porter of Ultimate Fitness Gear, Getinsanity and get insane results.

Top 8 Reasons You Need Yoga: Yoga For Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health

Angela Kukhahn in 'eagle' pose a yoga asana on the beach in santa monica akTop 8 Benefits of Doing Yoga: What Yoga Can Do For Your Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health

1. Flexibility: Remember your toes? Regain the ability touch them again! Not only is this satisfying it just makes practical sense. Going through life with painful stiffness in the muscles causes a host of problems. It is never too late to regain youthful vitality by stretching and opening your body with yoga!

2. Strength: Yoga finds were you are the weakest and strengthens it in a ‘whole body’ kind of way. Not only will it strengthen the big muscles, it will also strengthen the stabilizing muscles surrounding the major muscles of the body to promote balance and symmetry in the body. An imbalance in muscle strength is sometimes an overlooked cause of painful conditions such as Sciatica and lower back problems. The muscles need to pull on the skeletal system evenly for the body to move correctly and maintain proper function.

3. Pain Prevention: As The Yoga Sutras so boldly state “Pain that has not yet happened is avoidable”. How you ask? Yoga! On so many levels this is true, but to approach it just from a physical standpoint yoga stabilizes and stretches all of the muscles of the body while supporting hormonal balance, glandular function and the work of the organs. What’s not to love?

4. Better Breathing: What could be more important than the thing we cannot live without for more than a few short minutes? When we deepen our breathe and improve our ability to breathe everything else is enhanced! Need I say more? It’s free, it feels good and it will improve the quality of your life tremendously! Practice yoga and learn to breath better! In the words of Nike “Just Do It!”

5. Mental Benefits: Perhaps the most prevalent and insidious ailment of the modern world is the plague of being overworked, overstimulated and overindulged. We lack clarity. We don’t know who we are, what we want or even how to simply ‘spread our toes’. Often times the simplest things are confusing and stressful because of the sheer plethora of decisions we must make on a daily basis. Under the weight of these daily pressures we begin to crumble losing our peace of mind, sense of self, and connection to our bodies. Yoga brings us home, it brings us back to that state of clarity. We start to feel things again. We stop trying to numb our pain. Eventually we realize its okay to feel something, we stop wanting to disconnect and slowly but surely we remember who we really are.

6. Mental Calmness: You are not your thoughts. I know it is hard to believe. The fact is the constant chatter of the mind will have you running in circles. In The Yoga Sutras the mind is likened to a chariot with the five senses as the horses wildly pulling at the reins. Yoga gives you the tools to sit in the driver’s seat of your chariot with ease and comfort where in the past you might be have been tempted to let your emotions pull you in every direction.

7. Stress Reduction: Yoga not only physically reduces the stress load put on your body but will also help to induce the bodies own ‘Relaxation Response’. This is also known as inducing the parasympathetic nervous system. For a lot of people being in a constant state of ‘Fight or Flight’ is a daily reality. Unfortunately, this leads to premature aging, a breakdown of the systems of the body, and ultimately disease. When our bodies are in a state of panic the blood is directed away from the organs and vital bodily functions. When you can access the parasympathetic nervous system through yoga all the functions of the body are revitalized bringing renewal to the body on a cellular level.

8. Increased Body Awareness and Appreciation: It is fascinating this body that we live in, unfortunately, many of us do not cultivate a mind/body connection. It is ludicrous to believe that we could maintain good health and stay disconnected from our bodies. This is even more obvious when someone has been injured. A lot of times you will see a strong disconnection mentally/emotionally from the area of injury. Nothing could be more vital in terms of rehabilitation than connecting to the area of your body that needs your love and attention. Yoga helps to create a deep connection and sense of your body. You will not regret this practice!