Dec 31, 2009

- Succeeding with New Year’s Resolutions

Statistics show that more than half of resolutions made on January 1 are broken by February 1. There have even been some studies that suggest that more than 90% of resolutions are abandoned within the first 30 days.
If you sometimes struggle to keep your resolutions, the following tips will help you to make and keep resolutions that will improve your life:
  • Before making a resolution or setting a goal, think about what you really want in your life. Many of us make resolutions to do what we think we should do; however, we do not want the results enough to remain committed to the resolution.
  • Ensure that your resolution is realistic and achievable. Many people give up on trying to keep their New Year’s resolutions, because they were hoping to achieve the impossible when they made the resolution.
  • Write your resolution on paper, and keep this piece of paper in a place where you can look at it every day. Research shows that people with written goals are more likely to achieve these goals.
  • Make a commitment to yourself to keep the resolution, ensuring that you understand the effort that will be involved in doing this.
  • Visualize the end result. Close your eyes, and create a mental picture of how this will look. In this mental picture, visualize yourself as you enjoy these results. Repeat this visualization daily, picturing yourself as if you have already achieved your goal.
  • Describe the benefits of your resolutions. It is best to do this on paper, so that you can read the benefits whenever you might struggle to keep the resolution.
  • Develop and implement an action plan. Determine the steps that you will take in order to achieve your goal, and write these down. It is easier to work on one small step at a time than on a big goal.
  • Reward yourself as you reach milestones along the way to achieving your goal. As we give recognition to ourselves for our accomplishments, we expand our enthusiasm and energy to accomplish more.
  • If you make a mistake, give yourself permission to start again. We are all in a constant process of growth and development. We can use our mistakes as learning opportunities and become even stronger than we had been previously.
May 2010 be your best year yet!


Dec 30, 2009

- The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s face it: most of us fail when it comes to sticking to resolutions — so much so that many people swear never to make resolutions again.

And yet the rest of us are eternally hopeful when the New Year comes around, believing without any credible evidence that we can improve our lives, that change is possible, that we’re not going to be stuck in the same old rut again this year.
I’m here to tell you that you can do it. It’s possible. I’ll show you how.

The Problem with Most Resolutions
While I love the optimism of New Year’s Resolutions, unfortunately, the enthusiasm and hope often fades within weeks, and our efforts at self improvement come to a whimpering end.

New Year’s Resolutions usually fail because of a combination of some of these reasons:
  • We try to do too many resolutions at once, and that spreads our focus and energies too thin. It’s much less effective to do many habits at once.
  • We only have a certain amount of enthusiasm and motivation, and it runs out because we try to do too much, too soon. We spend all that energy in the beginning and then run out of steam.
  • We try to do really tough habits right away, which means it’s difficult and we become overwhelmed or intimidated by the difficulty and quit.
  • We try to be “disciplined” and do very unpleasant habits, but our nature won’t allow that to last for long. If we really don’t want to do something, we won’t be able to force ourselves to do it for long.
  • Life gets in the way. Things come up unexpectedly that get in the way of us sticking with a habit.
  • Resolutions are often vague — I’m going to exercise! — but don’t contain a concrete action plan and don’t use proven habit techniques. That’s a recipe for failure.
There are other reasons, but the ones above are easily sufficient to stop resolutions from succeeding.

The 6 Changes Method

  • We only focus on one habit change at a time, so our focus and energies aren’t spread thinly.
  • We implement the habit changes gradually, so we don’t run out of steam.
  • We start out really, really easily, so it isn’t intimidating.
  • We focus on enjoyable activities, so we don’t need “discipline”.
  • We have two months to do the habit change, so if something comes up, it’s but a small bump in the road. And because we’re publicly committed, we’re going to get back on track.
  • We have a very specific plan with actions built in, using proven habit change techniques.
If you stick with the method, you’ll do much better than you’ve done in the past with New Year’s Resolutions. You’ll focus on creating long-lasting habits rather than trying to reach a short-term goal that fails. You’ll maintain your enthusiasm for longer and not become overwhelmed by the difficulty of change. You’ll have habits that will change your life, and that’s no small feat.

The Method
So how does the 6 Changes method work?

It’s simple:
  1. Pick 6 habits for 2010.
  2. Pick 1 of the 6 habits to start with.
  3. Commit as publicly as possible to creating this new habit in 2 months.
  4. Break the habit into 8 baby steps, starting with a ridiculously easy step. Example: if you want to floss, the first step is just to get out a piece of floss at the same time each night.
  5. Choose a trigger for your habit – something already in your routine that will immediately precede the habit. Examples: eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, showering, waking up, arriving at the office, leaving the office, getting home in the evening.
  6. Do the 1st, really easy baby step for one week, right after the trigger. Post your progress publicly. (Read more.)
  7. Each week, move on to a slightly harder step. You’ll want to progress faster, but don’t. You’re building a new habit. Repeat this until you’ve done 8 weeks.


Dec 29, 2009

- توقعات ماغي فرح لعام 2010: الأخطار الأشد في فصل الصيف

تحمل سنة 2010 تنافراً فلكياً بين كواكب أساسية وكبيرة تُنذر بمعاكسات وخضّات وحروب وتفرض علينا التحفّظ والانتباه والتقشّف. قد تكون الأشهر الأولى من السنة مشجّعة، إلاّ أنّ الأخطار تلوح ابتداءً من فصل الربيع وتشتد في فصل الصيف الذي يشهد معاكسات فلكية كبيرة تُنذر بمواجهات وحروب وكوارث طبيعية وتقلّبات قَلَّ نظيرها، فالإشارات الفلكية تدلّ على نزاعات شديدة تفوق ما حصل في عام 2009، فنشهد انقلاباً ما أو استقالة من بعض المواقع أو رحيلاً لشخصية أو لبعض النافذين، وقد نسمع عن عمليات احتيال وتزوير وفضائح تطال بعض المؤسسات والشركات.

أمّا توقعاتها للأبراج فهي كالتالي:

الحمل: سنة التقلبات والمفاجآت.
الثور: سنة النجاح والكنوز الكبيرة.
الجوزاء: سنة التحولات الجذرية.
السرطان: سنة الهبات المؤثرة.
الأسد: سنة التطورات السعيدة.
العذراء: سنة العبور الإيجابي.
الميزان: سنة التحديات الكبرى.
العقرب: سنة الصعود التدريجي.
القوس: سنة الإنفراجات الواسعة.
الجدي: سنة الإنقلابات المصيرية.
الدلو: سنة التموجات المشوقّة.
الحوت: سنة المفاجآت السعيدة

Dec 26, 2009

Impressions of the Moment 1 ("marri2 aw matmarri2")

Resilience is not about a falsely optimistic, pollyanna view of the world. It is about being realistic with what happens, feeling intense feelings, and not turning away from struggling. Resilience is about engaging with life. It involves authentically being with our experience to come out the other side, rather than circling around it or wishing it would disappear. It is common, apprehensible, and available to all of us. In fact, once we are aware of it, resilience can infuse our daily lives and take us from merely holding on to flourishing fully with our hearts wide open.

The Essence of Resilience: Not Being a Victim

How to be resilient? The short answer is: don’t identify yourself as a victim. Resilient people understand that anything can happen. They realize that the world isn’t fair and that difficult things can happen to the most wonderful people. They feel their emotional reactions, then figure out how to pick themselves up and move forward. It might take a long time and happen in tiny increments, but the predominant movement is toward living and not just existing.
Being resilient means understanding that we cannot control what happens to us, but that we can control how we relate to what happens. We get to choose. We can carry around the tragic events of our lives, letting them color the way we view ourselves and the world, or we can prosper.

The good news is that victimhood is perpetuated by the stories we tell ourselves. Why good news? Because being a victim is not inherent in the events that actually befall us; it is a choice we can make by the thoughts we support with our attention. Paying attention is like giving fertilizer to a plant – what we feed is what becomes our reality. 

If you are giving away your power, you are doing so in your mind. What are you feeding with your attention?

Discover Your Inner Resilience

Studies of resilient people have revealed a number of qualities that encourage thriving, no matter what circumstances occur. See how you might actualize them in your own life.
  • Strong relationships with people who support, encourage, and reassure;
  • The willingness to allow strong feelings – anger, grief, fear – without avoiding them;
  • The ability to make a plan and carry it out;
  • Confidence – an attitude of “I can,” rather than “I can’t.” Trusting oneself and one’s abilities;
  • The capacity to learn from life experiences. People who emerge from challenging circumstances often report insights such as greater clarity about life and appreciation for loved ones. They feel gratitude for what the experience has brought to their lives.
  • Self-care. Resilient people are attentive to their own needs. They nurture themselves, and seek out help when needed.
Ordinary people, just like you, are able to move on and flourish in their lives despite tremendous difficulties. We are so fortunate that the opportunity is available to all of us, in every moment, to choose life. What do you choose?

Are you resilient? What have you learned about dealing with difficult life circumstances?


Dec 18, 2009

- Dare to be Great!

I'm gonna show you how great i am

Last night i cut the light off my bedroom
Hit the switch within the bedrooms

I'm gonna show you how great i am

Only last week I've murdered a rock
Injured a stone
Hospitalized a brick
I'm so mean I make medicine sick

I'm gonna show you how great i am

This kid is gonna be the best kid in the world
This kid's gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew

I'm gonna show you how great i am

I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail

I'm gonna show you how great i am

Somewhere along the line, you changed
You stopped being you
You let people stick a finger in your face
And tell you you're no good
And when things got hard
You started looking for something to blame
Like a big shadow
Let me tell you something you already know.
The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.
It is a very mean and nasty place
And I don't care how tough you are
It will beat you to your knees
And keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.
But it ain't about how hard ya hit;
it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.
How much you can take, and keep moving forward.

That's how winning is done.

Now, if you know what you're worth,
then go out and get what you're worth.
But you gotta be willing to take the hits,
and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody.
Cowards do that and that ain't you.
You're better than that!

Our deepest fear is not that we are an inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure

It is our light, not our dark that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
Its not just in some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsiously give other people to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is not that we are an inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure

I'm gonna show you how great i am

Dec 16, 2009

- 10 Habits We Should All Adopt – Starting Tomorrow!

Habits are to your life pretty much what gas is to your car. They keep you moving along – but whether they carry you to a better place or not depends entirely on the habit.
Bad habits can hold talented people back while good habits carry less talented people on ahead.
Many, many posts can be written on bad habits (in fact, they have), but essentially, we’ll get rid of our bad habits when we’ve finally had enough of them. I don’t want to spend too terribly much time with bad habits in this post, I’d rather approach habits with another tactic.
How about this? Let’s apopt so many great habits that we put the squeeze play on bad habits. I’m thinking that if we add about 10, that’ll leave less room for the bad crowd. I remember a television special about healthy eating that aired a few years ago. A nutritionist pointed out that if you fill your plate up with healthy vegetables and fruit, you actually get to eat more food. All you have to do is replace the unhealthy food with healthier alternatives – and you almost always get to enjoy more of the healthy food.
The good squeezes out the bad, so you’re left with a double-sided win: You get rid of things that are bad for you and you make room for things that are good for you.
So what sort of healthy habits could we bring to our life’s plate? Below’s a buffet of suggestions, I know you’ll be able to come up with more. Come up with as many as you want, of course, but remember that “bite-sized” portions are always easiest to handle. Don’t put more on your plate than you’ll actually be able to eat!
  1. Start getting up a little earlier.  I realize that when the weather’s cool it’s really tough to start getting up earlier.  The body wants to sleep later, for crying out loud!  But, I’ve been on both sides of the 6:00 am, and I can say without hesitation that every corner of your day will be better if you get a running start at it.  Also, the quiet hours of the morning are the perfect way to glide into your day.  Rushing around after being summoned by a hateful alarm clock isn’t good for the psyche.  Mornings just weren’t meant to be so hectic.  
  2. Read more.  When you open a book, you open your mind and literally pour knowledge into it.  Knowledge is power.  Knowledge is power.  Knowledge is power.
  3. Laugh more.  Laughter is great for you – body and soul.  It doesn’t matter if anyone laughs with you, it doesn’t matter if anyone laughs at you.   Just laugh! 
  4. Complain less.  Starting tomorrow, do a little self improvement exercise:  Each time you feel tempted to say something negative, make yourself say something positive instead.  I’ve never understood why anyone would want to spread misery and gloominess.  I always wonder, “Do they hate life that much?” 
  5. Drink more water.  I read a lot of articles and books about health and there are several things they all agree on (the other is right on this one’s heels at #6!).  One of the things every physician, health expert, nutritionist, and great aunt tells us is this:  Drink more water.  There has to be something to it.   
  6. Get at least 30 minutes of activity each day.  Bronchitis has had me in a choke hold for weeks, but I was feeling a lot better today. So I did some intense work around the house.  I expected to feel like I’d been hit by a bus afterwards, but I feel great.  I’ve been sitting and sipping soup for so long I’d forgotten how good it feels to be active.
  7. Stop assuming people know how you feel.  Even if they have an idea, do you know how much it will mean to them if you tell them?   Most of us can recall certain things that our loved ones have said to us that meant the world.  In fact, the words meant so much that we still carry them around with us today.  Maybe it was a dad saying, “I’m SO proud of you.”  Maybe it was a mother telling us that we’re just the daughter/son she’d always hoped for.  Why is it that so often it’s when we’re in the middle of altercations that these sentiments come out?  Then, they’re often followed with a “But…”  Any sentiment followed by a but isn’t much of a sentiment!  This tactic is simply the art of putting conditions on the words.  They certainly aren’t the sentiments we carry with us.  It’s the ones that come out of the blue – not as a prerequisite to what all we’re doing wrong and not to soften any blows.  If you love someone, tell them every single day.  If you’re proud of them, tell them – WITHOUT BUTS!
  8. Put yourself in time-out.   In the same way we put children in “time out” when they show signs of being stressed out or overly tired, we could benefit just as much.  Last week, my husband did something that I thought was pretty cute.  Our daughters and I were gathering in the living room to watch Survivor – a Thursday night ritual we’ve enjoyed for years.  I make the special snacks, then we all watch a show that never disappoints.  However, my husband had had a week from hell and a particularly long, stressful day – so he opted out.  He put himself in a sort of “time out” in our home office in a chair in front of baseball.  He sat quietly in his pajamas, reminding me of a 2 year old boy who was trying to calm down!  I thought about telling him that, but I just headed to the living room. (I wasn’t born yesterday.)  Sometimes our nerves just need to unravel and they can do that better when there isn’t a lot going on.
  9. Become a more aware and cautious driver.   My poor guardian angel must be a basketcase.  Not only am I accident prone, I’m one of the most ridiculous drivers on earth.  But, years ago, I began to slow down and drive oh so much more carefully when I looked around me to see my vehicle surrounded by future drivers.  They’re watching.  What do they see?  Even if there aren’t future drivers with you, paying attention to what’s going on around you can save lives at best, headaches at worst.  Texting while driving, speeding, road rage, playing mind games (”Oh, yeah, if you want to get on my bumper, I’ll just slow down… You wanna hit me? Why, you can just buy me a new car, sucker…”) - these are all things that can get you killed, hurt, ticketed, or arrested.  I don’t think we’re interested in any of those, are we?
  10. Be thankful.  People are filled to their eyeballs with negative thoughts and words lately – but we still have it amazingly good.  I know I don’t have to tell you that – but I’m pretty sure we all need a reminder every now and again.  I remember a shallow little wake up call I got one time while we were living in Florida.  I had put on a tank top and shorts and was complaining to one of my daughters (oh, heck to anyone who’d listen) about my arms.  They weren’t “tank top arms…” etc.  I was cutting them up pretty good.  Then we walked over to the beach and the first person I saw made me, literally, cry with shame.  She was around 20 and only had one arm.  I’ve never forgotten that day.  And I honestly don’t believe I’ve complained about my arms since.  Either of them.

- Copenhagen: Only the Numbers Count – and They Add up to Hell on Earth

The Bella centre is a swirl of chatter, the streets of Copenhagen are a swirl of protest. Depending on what hour you listen to the news bulletin, the UN climate negotiations have "come off the rails" or are "back on track" or have "stalled" or are "moving swiftly". Which is why the only people who really understand what's going on may be a small crew of folks from a group of computer jockeys called Climate Interactive. Their software speaks numbers, not spin – and in the end it's the numbers that count.

First number to know: 350. It's what scientists have been saying for two years is the maximum amount of carbon dioxide we can safely have in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million. Those scientists have been joined by an unprecedented outpouring from civil society: in late October, activists put on what CNN called "the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history," with 5,200 demonstrations in 181 countries, all rallying around that number. Three thousand vigils last weekend across the planet spelled out the number in candles. Thousands of churches rang their bells 350 times on Sunday, and yesterday the World Parliament of Religions, meeting in Melbourne and representing the "largest interreligious gathering on earth" sent an emergency 350 declaration here to Copenhagen.

The second number: 100. That's (roughly) how many countries are backing a 350 target here at Copenhagen. That's more than half the nations in attendance – unfortunately, they're the small, poor ones. But it's amazing to see them, in the face of enormous pressure, keeping the idea of real action alive. Yesterday Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, spoke to a roaring crowd of thousands: "We know what the laws of physics say: the most important number in the world is 350."

The third number: 4%. That's how much the US is offering to cut its emissions from their 1990 levels by 2020. Scientists tell us that the developed world would need to reduce by at least 40% to get us back on a 350 track, so the American offer is exactly an order or magnitude off. And they're not alone. All the rich countries, not to mention China, are looking to do as little as possible and still escape here with some kind of agreement they can hide behind.

The fourth number – and the most important one. When the folks at Climate Interactive plug in every promise made at these talks (the American offer on the table, the Chinese promise to reduce "energy intensity", the EU pledges, and so on) their software tells them almost instantly how much carbon they would eventually produce. When they hit the button last night, the program showed that by 2100 the world's CO2 concentrations (currently 390) would be – drumroll please – 770. That is, we would live in hell, or at least a place with a similar temperature.

So that's the scorecard. You may hear a lot of happy talk from world leaders over the next few days as they "reach a historic agreement". But that's how it all adds up.


Dec 12, 2009

- Saffron

Saffron contains a bitter substance called picrocrocin, which stimulates the appetite and aids digestion. The plant's essential oil is rich in safranal, a compound that gives saffron its characteristic aroma, and which could be responsible for the plant's sedative effect. The stigmas contain yellow and red carotenoid pigments-crocin and gentiobiose-that have antioxidant properties.

Saffron has been used as a kitchen herb for centuries, both for its bright orange-yellow colour and for its strong, intense flavour and aroma. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans valued saffron for its aphrodisiac properties. However, the high cost of this spice means that it is rarely used as a natural medicine. Saffron was traditionally used to treat teething pain in infants. It is thought to regulate menstruation, and aid conception; it is also reputed to remedy colic and lower blood pressure. Saffron is prescribed for nervousness as it is believed to be a sedative. This attribute has not yet been confirmed experimentally, but research in Iran, in 2002, found extracts of saffron to be both anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Researchers have been looking at the cancer-fighting antioxidant action of saffron. In 1996 Spanish scientists found that saffron inhibited the growth of human tumour cells, a property that they attributed to the carotenoid, crocin. And in 1999, further studies showed that crocin suppressed the development of colon cancer. These findings could open up a new area of medicinal use for the plant.


Dec 11, 2009

- How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

A fear of failure is one of the most common fears. It can be so scary that some people decide not to try at all in order to avoid failure altogether. In the end this just ends up being another kind of failure because you’ll never reach your full potential if you don’t even try.

Accepting Yourself
An important first step to overcoming fear of failure is accepting yourself. Once you accept yourself, you need to take it one step further and believe in yourself. This will come naturally to some, and some people will find that they need more work.
Think about specific situations in your life that you approached with confidence. That extra belief in yourself was likely the deciding factor between success and failure. You need to use that strong belief in yourself to combat fear.
Keep reminding yourself that success starts in your own mind. You need to have the right attitude because as soon as you don’t believe in yourself then failure is sure to follow. You might start to make excuses for yourself and you may even start blaming others or external sources. The way to get over the fear of failure is to stop making these excuses and take responsibility for your success.

Being Positive
Everyone has a bad day from time to time. That’s unavoidable. However, you do have the choice to think positively. You can turn a negative situation into a positive one with the right mindset.
You can stare failure in the face and combat fear with your outlook alone. Think about what the worst case scenario would be if you did in fact fail. Would it be the end of the world? What would be your game plan to pick yourself back up? Chances are that part of your fear of failure is a fear of the unknown. Once you think it through it may not seem quite as bad.

Ways to Combat Fear
You can work towards overcoming fear of failure in a number of ways. For starters, you can look at the situation as a chance to learn something. Always be on the lookout for the silver lining. If you do come face to face with failure, have the courage to pick yourself up and spend a good amount of time going over why you failed in that circumstance. That particular failure may have been required in your life in order for you to be lead to the path to success. If you allow the fear of failure to get the best of you, you wouldn’t have found the courage to even proceed.
Taking action is also a way to combat fear. If you have the right attitude, and plan for success, you just need to push yourself to go for it. Don’t overanalyze or think too much, just take some small actions.
When you’re in a particularly tough spot, you can always look for help from affirmations. These are short positive statements that are in the present tense. Tell yourself that fear is not getting the best of you. Tell yourself that you’re in the process of achieving great success. It may help you to relax and get out of the fear of failure mindset.

No One Is Perfect
When all is said and done, you should realize that no one is perfect. Of course you already know this, but many times that doesn’t stop people from being too hard on themselves. A fear of failure is also a fear of making a mistake. You can’t lead your life with a fear of making a mistake, because you’re bound to make them throughout your life. Just keep working on your attitude and your reactions and you’ll soon find success.


- Are You Depressed? How to Recover the Natural Way

Depression is insidious. You can slip into into it without noticing. But you can also climb out again. Most people have experienced at least a touch of depression at some time or other. I certainly have. In this post, I list ten things that have helped me overcome periods of depression – without taking antidepressants.

Are you depressed or just feeling low?
Depression is a word we use in everyday language to describe a number of feelings, including sadness, frustration, disappointment, and lethargy. However, I’m talking about clinical depression here. It differs from everyday lows in three significant ways:
  • Clinical depression is more intense
  • Clinical  depression lasts longer (two weeks or more)
  • Clinical  depression significantly interferes with effective day to day functioning.
Most doctors prescribe antidepressants for clinical, but medication often only addresses the symptoms, and not the cause of depression. However, if you are suffering from serious depression, medication is crucial for your well-being.
I want to show you how to heal from depression using natural means.  The information I offer is aimed at those with light to medium depression. If you’ve been given medication, please continue to take it. The following 10-step strategy will speed your recovery – whether you’re on medication or not.

What are the signs of depression?
Here’s a checklist which will help you see if you’re depressed. The symptom will vary from person to person and also depend on the severity of your condition.
  1. Do you suffer from low energy, or fatigue?
  2. Do you feel hopeless, negative, or pessimistic?
  3. Do you have persistent sad, anxious, or flat moods?
  4. Do you have difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decision?
  5. Do you suffer from recurring feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness?
  6. Have you lost pleasure in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed, including sex?
  7. Do you suffer from sleep disturbances such as insomnia, early-morning waking, or oversleeping?
  8. Have your eating habits changed, resulting in weight loss or weight gain?
  9. Do you suffer from restlessness, or irritability?
  10. Do you have thoughts of self-harm?
If you answered ‘yes’ to some of the questions above, you may be suffering from depression. Depression varies in severity. It may be that you are feeling low and are just hovering on the edge of clinical depression, or that you are suffering a mild to moderate form of depression.
Most medical practitioners suggest antidepressant medication and counseling. Both can be beneficial. But there are also some natural ways to counter a mild to medium depression.

10 Steps to recover from depression

1. Acknowledge depression to yourself and others.
To acknowledge depression can be extremely hard, especially if you see yourself as a strong and decisive person. One of the practical difficulties of suffering from depression is that you may feel unable to continue with some commitments you’ve made. Let your colleagues or friends know that you will have to take a couple of steps back until you are feeling better. They may be able to come up with solutions that will help take the load off your shoulders.

2. Use a powerful natural remedy.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum) is a roadside weed that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of disorders. It’s a mood-lifter and is an excellent remedy for mild to moderate depression. There has been some discussion about its efficacy. A research project comparing the effectiveness of St. Johns Wort with the antidepressant Imipramine,

"Hypericum perforatum extract is therapeutically equivalent to imipramine in treating mild to moderate depression, but patients tolerate hypericum better."
You can get some over-the-counter preparations of St. John’s Wort at your local drugstore or pharmacy.

 3. Step up your exercise
Regular exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins) that may ease depression. Exercise has been found to work as well as medications, but may take longer to take effect.

I recommend vigorous walking or slow running. If you have a heart rate monitor, try and stay more or less at 15% below your maximum heart rate. (Your maximum heart rate is 220 beats per minute minus your age). Translated into action, 15% below your maximum heart rate may equate to a purposeful but moderate uphill walk, or a fast walk on the flat. (Your breathing should still be easy.) Try to exercise at least every second day.

4. Use nutrition
Are you following a diet that helps you to combat depression? There are some essential foodstuffs that can help you to recover your wellbeing:

  • Omega 3’s 
    shows that foods rich in B vitamins and omega-3’s may boost your mood. Make sure that you consume enough omega-3’s by eating two servings of seafood per week or by taking fish oil supplements. Salmon, tuna and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Folates
    Many people who suffer from depression are  deficient in folate, a type of B vitamin. Natural food sources of folate are liver, spinach, papaya, lentils, avocados, raspberries, black eyed peas, red bell peppers, beans, broccoli, greens, and orange juice.
  • Iron
    Lack of iron, or  anemia, is said to contribute to depression. Natural food sources of iron include meat, lentils, beans and leafy green vegetables.
  • Selenium
    A  1991 study published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that lower levels of selenium in the diet correlate with anxiety, depression, and tiredness. Natural food sources of selenium include fish, Brazil nuts, beef and turkey, garlic and whole grains.
  • What to avoid
    It’s important to stay off alcohol if you are feeling depressed. Alcohol is a depressant and will lower your mood (even though it may feel good initially.) 
 5. Improve Sleep
If you are depressed, you are likely to suffer from a sleep disorder. It may be that you feel exhausted when you go to bed, but can’t get to sleep. Or that you wake up in the early hours and can’t get back to sleep again. Personally, I use a combination of three sleep strategies:

  • Use a sleep hypnosis recording, created by Jon Rhodes.
  • Use an eye-shade, or block out light with thick curtains.
  • Use Melatonin in order to reset the body clock. 

 6. Enjoy a massage. (my favourite part) :)
Besides being physically relaxing, massage may also cause the body to produce fewer stress hormones and may also increase the body’s production of feel-good endorphins and the mood-altering hormone serotonin.

 7. Light.
Natural sunlight seems to work best for people who have seasonal depression, called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. In fact, extra sunlight can help all forms of depression. Make sure you go out into the sun for a few minutes whenever it shines. If you live in a climate with little sunshine or find yourself depressed in the winter months, you may want to invest in a Solar Simulator. It’s a special lamp that simulates sunshine.

8. Unburden yourself.
If you are feeling low, talk to a good friend. Friends can often spot if there is an imbalance in your life. You might also consider consulting a counselor or psychotherapist. Deep down we know what’s bothering us and what would help us to heal. Talking to a trusted person can help you to access your own wisdom.

9. Reduce stress.
One of the main factors that can precipitate depression is stress. Take a step back and refocus your life. Think of ways you can get others lighten your load. Can you push out the looming deadline? Can someone help you with the task that’s getting you down? Can you delegate or team up with someone?

 10. Meditate.

Learning to focus the mind can be beneficial when you are trying to recover from depression. Meditation helps to control negative thinking, such as thoughts spiraling into failure or worthlessness. Meditation can also work directly on your mood. In my experience, meditation can work wonders for people suffering from depression. But you need to know exactly how to use meditation to recover from depression – otherwise it can make things worse. To be on the safe side, practice  walking meditation...


Dec 3, 2009

- 5 things we all need in a relationship

We’ve all had relationships that were easy, simple and seemingly effortless. You might even still be in one. I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of relationships that tricky, awkward and downright difficult as well.
Positivity, encouragement and love are all things we need as people, as human beings. These positive feelings when expressed and projected on to others will help to form and maintain deep and meaningful relationships. Conversely, negativity detracts from this and creates a hostile environment in which relationships struggle and misunderstandings flourish.
This isn’t to say that if you are an overly positive, happy little ray of sunshine you’ll never encounter relationship issues. Even the best relationships have their ups and downs. No one is perfect and quite frankly it’s difficult to live with another individual with their own personality, unique history and life experience.
Here are five very basic needs when it comes to forming relationships with other people. If you find yourself in a relationship that is easy and effortless see how many of these needs you are both currently meeting. I’m willing to guess all if not a large majority of them. Similarly, if you are currently in a difficult relationship, which of these needs are not being met by your partner? Which needs are you not meeting yourself?

1. To be heard. We all want to be heard. It’s what makes us feel validated and important. Think about the last time you spoke with someone and they were clearly uninterested. Maybe they were looking around the room, checking the clock, or constantly glancing at their computer screen. Whatever it was they were doing, it appeared to you as if they hadn’t heard a word you said and didn’t really care about what you were saying. It’s not a nice feeling. When you’re at home having a conversation be it with your spouse, partner or kids give them you’re undivided attention when possible. Get involved in the conversation show them you are really listening and that they are being heard.

2. To be valued. It’s difficult to get excited about being in a relationship with someone when you don’t feel you are being valued. If there is a lack of respect or little regard for your contribution to the relationship it can’t flourish. Are you valuing the person you are in a relationship with? Do you include them in decision making or planning for the future? Do you recognize their contributions to the family or home? Are you open minded and willing to accept a different point of view or idea even if it’s not your own? If not, your partner is likely feeling devalued and like their opinions don’t matter. Try being more inclusive, show appreciation for the other person. A simple “thank you” when delivered in a sincere heart felt manner can go a long way.

3. To be an equal. This really ties into the need to be valued. As you enter into a relationship it’s clear that you are both individuals and bring a unique set of abilities, skills and talents to the table. A relationship without equality usually has one person trying to control the other. Equality in a relationship goes beyond splitting chores and other household responsibilities. It also includes:
* making decisions together as a team
* no one person being “the boss”
* having and showing respect for the other person
* giving space to the other person when they need it
* asking – not telling or barking orders

4. To be understood. To truly understand someone we must be able to empathize, be willing to take a step back, separate ourselves from our own viewpoint and try walking in the other person’s shoes. Truly listen when they are speaking and avoid getting defensive or becoming distracted by thinking of what you’re going to say in return. Spend time figuring out what makes them tick and understand why this relationship is important to them and to you. By trying to understand who you are building this relationship with you will be better equipped to make it work.

5. To feel safe. Safety in a relationship includes feeling physically safe as well as emotionally safe. Relationships don’t have to be about living in varying degrees of stress, apprehension or anxiety. Let people know that you will protect them, watch out for them and keep their best interests at heart – tell them. Let them know that you welcome them, imperfections and all and create a warm, secure place where you can just BE without judgement.
There are all sorts of relationships – marriage, parent-child, neighbors, employer-employee etc. and in each one the participants have these same basic needs. If you have a strong relationship keep doing what you’re doing, don’t stop working at it since it’s all that hard work that made it so strong in the first place. Take a minute to think of the relationships in your life. Are there any that need to be mended? Are there some basic needs that aren’t being met, either by you or someone else?

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