Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ten More Sneaky Little Health and Well-Being Tricks


  1. Cultivate the habit of an after-dinner walk with your family. It doesn't have to be long - 10 to 15 minutes to walk, talk and connect.

  2. If you have a commute, use the time to learn something new. Pick a subject you've always been interested in, but haven't had the time to explore.

  3. When you have a chronic illness, there's a good chance you spend a lot of time waiting for medical appointments. Lose yourself in a book; it makes the time go by faster, plus the foot-tapping and sighing triggers the stress response.

  4. Sliced bread isn't what it used to be. Do you remember when there were more slices of bread per loaf because each slice was narrower? Thicker slices are good for the bakery; you go through a loaf of bread much faster. If you are watching what you eat, you are getting double the bread you once did.

  5. If you are watching your waist, avoid wearing gym pants, unless you're working out. The give of the fabric allows you to forget that you may have been indulging.

  6. Learn to forgive...for your own health and well-being.

  7. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees will help alleviate strain on your back. (If you have longer legs, use a king-sized pillow.)

  8. Sleep is invaluable. You know how much you need in order to feel good the next day. Poor sleep quality is related to stress. If you have a chronic disease and it is active, you'll need to give yourself extra time to rest.

  9. Trying to break a bad habit? Remember that you'll need to replace it with another behaviour. For example, instead of eating, try getting up to clean or going for a walk. Do something physical and you'll have an added benefit.

  10. Stress impacts safety. When your mind is occupied by what is stressing you, you may not be as careful as you would normally be. This includes the kitchen, the highway and at work.
Related Post: Ten Sneaky Little Health and Well-being Tricks

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kindness: The Bog Fire

In September of 2005, a fire ignited in Burn's Bog, a large nature preserve which is dubbed the lungs of the Lower Mainland.

A bog fire can be tricky to fight, as the crew is concerned with what is above-ground and highly visible, and that which is voraciously burning underground.

Kindness can be compared to a bog fire. The "above-ground", which you readily see, hear and feel, if you're paying attention.

But, kindness is also "underground", or more aptly, "inside". The donor is fueled with the fire of life when an act of kindness is performed with an open-heart. The benefits are measurable in a change in heart rhythms, if the person has taken the time to learn what this means and what it feels like. It is a conscious choice, which needs to be practised. But, it doesn't require a lot of time and can be done in any situation. (Some of the places that I've practised these techniques include the operating table, traffic and before a presentation.)

In stress coaching, you'll learn to see and feel the difference between jagged heart rhythms (stress) and the smooth ones.

Image courtesy of Jan K.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wash that Stress Right out of Your Hair

As I was shampooing my hair in the hot shower this morning, a powerful memory washed over me.

Growing up on a farm was hard work; there was always something to be done. It was a rare treat, when on a Sunday afternoon, or an odd evening off, my parents would load us into the car and we would head out to one the many fine bodies of water that surround my home town. Lakes, rivers, streams and waterfalls; there are plenty to choose from in the Thunder Bay, Ontario region.

The memory that came alive was going to what we called "Little Falls". It wasn't even a waterfall, just a series of miniscule rapids, or washboarding, underneath which you could sit and get cooled off. It was also quite entertaining to search for crayfish and tadpoles in the squelchy, moss-lined pools.

Recalling the excitement - yes, it was a big deal playing hooky from the farm - instantly changed my heart rhythms, so that the two branches of my nervous system were operating in an orderly fashion. (The more often you are able to do this, the better it is for your health and well-being.)

When you start paying attention to how you feel in a variety circumstances, it becomes obvious what brings your heart (and body) into a more coherent state.

Hair needs constant attention, just like stress transformation. The great news is that you don't need huge pockets of time to bring your system into balance.

Recognising those moments that bring you into balance is something you can train yourself to do. Please click for more information.

Image courtesy of Maria Amelia Paiva.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Room That Means Living

On a recent trip to Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, in Washington state, we had the great pleasure of having dinner at Cameron's Living Room Dining.

And, it truly is like dining in someone's well-loved living room - the kind where love, laughter and life abound! It is definitely not one of those "shrouded in plastic" living rooms, nor dining rooms, for that matter.

It is the type of place that exudes warmth; from the moment you're greeted at the door, until you cross the threshold to go out into the cool Pacific Ocean-kissed air.

The decor is a mix of old and new and includes many fine objets d'art to keep the conversation flowing, should you find yourself suspended in a conversational dead-zone, which, I think is unlikely to occur, mainly because Cameron and his business partner, chef David Burdette have created a fine dining experience that pulses with good energy.

How do I know this? Simple. It's in the way I feel. Also, by watching and listening to the other patrons. You can tell that they feel it, too.

Lively conversation and banter seem to be an invisible menu items here, not only at each individual table, but also between tables.

If you're in for a quieter meal, that can also be accommodated in one of the more private nooks that are available.

It was a treat to be jointly-waited on by Cameron, the proprietor who loves what he does - it shows - and the lovely and attentive, Erica. (Anyone who doesn't need to be asked to refill my water glass receives high-points from me!)

Ah, the food! This is food, that is locally-sourced and prepared with respect and love, which you can taste. (If you have any doubt about this, notice that when you are in a negative mood, the food you prepare often reflects that.)

I enjoyed halibut, which was that evening's Chef's Special - so fresh, I'm sure that it swam into the kitchen!

Cameron insisted that we try the White Chocolate Banana Rum Tart, which my husband and I shared. This recipe was featured in Bon Appetit magazine, so I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions!

The portions are hefty and will leave you well-satiated. I recommend an after-dinner stroll to aid digestion and to enjoy the murals in Anacortes.

If you do go, please be sure to tell them that Auntie Stress sent you. (Why not go on a spontaneous road-trip? It'll do you good to seize the moment and do something out-of-the-ordinary - forge new neural pathways! It's only a short drive from the Peace Arch border crossing.)

Watch for the launch of Cameron's To Go: Creperie and Catering, located at 704 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, Washington.