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My Week of Less Complaining

Less Complaining
What happens when you jot down complaints and turn them into prayers of gratitude? I’m going to find out.

Last week, after getting a nudge, I decided to limit my complaining to see if would improve my life. If what we focus on expands, you’d think my life would turn into one big party.

Right?

Here’s what happened

The first day went well, but that was to be expected. After all, it was the first day. Anyone could do that.

I also succeeded the following two days when I went on a business trip. Nothing warranted objection, really, certainly not the food, the accommodation, or even any of the people who spoke at the conference.

The hotel staff set up coffee stations in just about every corner, so I couldn’t even gripe about falling into a three o’clock slump. My bed featured a top-notch mattress. I even figured out how to turn on the shower without having to call the front desk.

Our hotel had a view of the airport, but by some miracle of modern technology, we didn’t hear a single plane. I only came close to complaining once, about the hotel’s cheap WiFi policy. They didn’t charge you to use it in the lobby, but they wanted $12.95 per day to use it in your room.

I decided to suck it up and turned on Stephen Colbert.

Then, over the weekend, on my way to my niece’s fourth birthday party, we hit traffic even before we got on the highway. In the broiling sun. I wanted to complain about it, of course, and emit some profanities, but I remembered my vow and managed a prayer of gratitude for smooth travel.

Interestingly, once we did get on the highway, we sailed out of Connecticut into New York. We arrived at the party after just one brief tie-up.

I lose it

On Sunday, a person who shall not be named resumed a behavior that I have requested him/her to cease. My automatic response was to go off on a tear about how sick I am of his/her nonsense, and when is he/she going to get it, and so on.

I went hog wild on this individual (behind his/her back), complete with jokes and petty imitations. I started to really enjoy myself at this person’s expense. Then remembered the challenge.

Also, it occurred to me:

If what I think about is what I bring about, is it possible that by complaining I am contributing to his/her annoying proclivities?

I find it again

Yesterday, when this offender reappeared and started up, I opened my mouth to go on a rant. I stopped myself dead. I got an idea to pray for him/her instead. My prayers worked in traffic. Maybe they would work here.

I don’t have any results to report yet, but I will keep praying for this individual. If anything notable happens, I’ll get back to you.

The future of less complaining: Another experiment

My success in enjoying almost no traffic gave me yet another idea: to jot in a notebook my complaints as they pop into my head, and then offer a prayer of gratitude for their opposite.

So, for example, if my complaint is:

This guy’s a giant asshole!

My prayer of gratitude could be:

Thank you, God, for this person’s hidden kindness and courtesy, which is now surfacing for everyone to see and feel.

Now, it’s nearly impossible to pray for a creep who skidded into the parking space for which I patiently waited, so the best course would be to tap and let off steam first.

(Even though this asshole took my parking space…)

By next week at this time, I’m sure I’ll have filled several pages with prayers of gratitude. I wonder what changes that will bring about.

How I feel so far after a week of less complaining

I was pretty happy to begin with, but I’m lighter and happier.

I notice that when I don’t complain I can be truly present for other people, instead of being preoccupied by a lot of nonsense. (Because who really cares if someone stole my parking space?)

And, when I’m not complaining, I can be more present altogether. It may sound corny, but I’m aware of the cardinal on my doorstep, the bursting hydrangeas, the chipmunk skittering across my lawn. I make note of the color of other people’s eyes. Everything’s a bit brighter.

I’ll let you know what the next week brings.

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Christians and the Law of Attraction

Christians and the Law of Attraction

Christians sometimes hesitate to use the Law of Attraction for fear that it will offend God, especially when proponents throw around the word Universe all the time, as if the Universe created itself and everything in it.

But if we acknowledge that the God is the architect of the universe, I don’t see a problem. God created the Law of Gravity, and while I respect the Law of Gravity and know that it “works” no matter what, I don’t mistake it for God. I don’t worship it.

I don’t worship the Law of Attraction, either, but I respect it.

What is the Law of Attraction?

It’s a pretty easy concept. It says that like attracts like.

If you’ve ever heard the expressions, “the rich get richer” and “birds of a feather flock together,” you know what I mean.

Previously unsuccessful people activate the Law of Attraction by doing and saying things to make themselves believe they’ve achieved some sort of success. Then they achieve it. That’s an example of like attracting like.

People activate LoA through various means:

– Visualization (or mental rehearsal)
– Affirmation
– Scripting ideal days, situations, or relationships
– Acting ‘as if’

To achieve the desired result, one must cultivate faith.

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

What I found out about the Law of Attraction and faith

A Catholic lecturer recommends that people spend fifteen minutes each morning reading a chapter of one of the four Gospels for one hundred days. He says to start with Matthew, finish with John, and start over again. He says this will change your life. I’ve been doing it since early April.

Along the way, I’ve come across verses that support LoA. They are:

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” – Mark 9:23

“Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he said will happen, it shall be done for him.” – Mark 11:23

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

“And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:12-13

More important than the verses I’ve collected to support my argument, I am getting to know Jesus better and deepening my friendship with him, which is more important to me than any other goal I’ve ever set for myself.

LoA works even if you don’t believe in God

Just as the Law of Gravity works if you don’t believe in God, LoA works, too. I live in the universe God created, and I am subject to all of its laws. If I go out in the rain without an umbrella, I will get wet. In this case, it doesn’t matter if I believe in God.

But life is better because I do.

You are using faith all the time

Your thoughts create your reality. When you think something won’t work out, you’re usually right. When you tell yourself you can’t achieve something, you’re usually right. When you tell yourself life is hard and getting harder, you’re usually right. (And, when somebody asks you how you’re doing, you answer, “Same shit, different day,” it’s time to come up with a better response.)

What you think about, you bring about

I got the idea for this post while reading the New Testament after breakfast one morning. Shortly afterwards, I just happened to pick a book off my shelf that I hadn’t looked at in years. It confirmed what I’m saying here. Then, a couple of days ago, I received the gift of a book by a Christian who built a successful business while placing his faith in God and also practicing affirmations and visualization.

God gave you an imagination, so use it to picture outcomes you want. Even if you’ve never had a decent romantic relationship before, you can change that with LoA. Write down the kind of relationship you want with a person who possesses the qualities you value. The same goes for getting better jobs, exceeding sales quotas, and buying the perfect house. Decide what you want. Pray about it.

Cultivate faith and act on it. If you want a boyfriend, by all means visualize your ideal relationship. Then– and this is key– get out of the house and meet people. If you want a better job, come up with a good affirmation and use it. Send out your resume.

Then believe you’ve succeeded. (Hint: What feelings would you be feeling if you succeeded? Feel them.) Keep up the visualization and affirmations. Have faith. Faith is everything.

If you like this post, share it. If you have a comment, let me know what you’re thinking!

Cancer Research

Cancer research
Ajay Goel, PhD; Marie-Therese Hernon; Terry Lemerond

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to attend a lecture by Ajay Goel, PhD, at the Europharma Retailer Product training in Newark, New Jersey.

Dr. Goel has twenty years in cancer research and detailed his findings. He provided information about the efficacy of curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

He also discussed the effect of curcumin on other diseases, which he maintains are a product of inflammation. (Goel maintains that diet is the primary cause of inflammation.)

If you’re interested in a comprehensive explanation of Dr. Goel’s findings, his book is available in paperback and on Kindle. (That’s an affiliate link.) You can also contact him directly.

I wish I had the results of this cancer research at the time of my mother’s diagnosis, but at least I have it.

From now on, I will repeat the good news about Dr. Goel to anyone who is willing to listen.

If you know someone this post may help, please share it. Your comments are always welcome.

Will I Be Happier If I Quit Complaining?

Will I Be Happier If I Quit Complaining

I wonder if I could be happier. I’m pretty happy, but maybe there’s room for improvement. This morning, I got a gentle nudge in that direction when I opened my The Secret app, and it told me to stop complaining.

(Yes, I am the type of person who spent $4.99 on a The Secret app and consults it every morning.)

It’s true I do complain about certain things. The Secret app suggests that my continual complaining signals to the universe that it should bring me more of the things I complain about. In other words, what I think about, I bring about. I’ve read that in other places. I know from experience it’s true.

So, I decided to cut down on my complaining and left the house to meet my friend for lunch.

I get another nudge to be happier

Out of nowhere, my friend mentioned an acquaintance who set a goal but doesn’t make progress because she is always complaining about her past. “Nothing’s ever going to change for her. She keeps getting what she got,” my friend said.

I took this conversation as another sign that it’s time for me to stop complaining.

The thing is, I don’t know if I can do it. Sometimes I like to complain. It’s a warped kind of fun. But, since I’d like to bring about even better things, it would be wise to be more conscious of the words that come out of my mouth.

Could it be dangerous to stop complaining?

My friend and I discussed this: maybe my efforts to be happier will cause me to bottle up dangerous emotions and give myself a heart attack. But I’m an EFT practitioner, so the obvious solution is not to bottle up my feelings but to tap on them when things start getting to me. It’s just a matter of replacing a bad habit with a good one.

That said, I rarely do anything without doing a little research first, so I Googled around for information about other people who’ve tried to stop whining. I stumbled upon the website of Will Bowen, who calls himself the World Authority on Complaining. He even wrote a book on the subject.

Apparently, I’m the only person in the world who never heard of this guy because his website has photos of everybody from Maya Angelou to Dr. Oz smiling it up with him.

His site also features a positivity test, which I took. I scored a 93, which means I was right. There is definitely room for improvement. Okay, then. I’m going to stop complaining starting right now. Really. You have my word. Wish me luck.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Are you a complainer? Have you ever tried to stop? What happened? Please let me know in the comments. And, if you liked this post, please share it!

How to Get What You Want (Painlessly)

How to Get What You Want Painlessly
Stop stressing and take time to enjoy the rhodedendrons.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get what you want without stressing about it? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to fight for every little good thing that comes into your life?

Unfortunately, too many of us have allowed ourselves to be conditioned that if we want something, we have to struggle for it. The harder we struggle, the better the outcome and the bigger the reward.

Except this isn’t true.

For example, let’s say you have some sort of exam looming. It’s months away, and your instructor hasn’t even covered the material, but already you’re thinking about that exam. You’re stressing about it. The time comes to study, and you procrastinate.

Every time you think about it, your stomach fills with a big heavy ball of dread, terror, and angst. You put off studying until the last possible minute.

Finally, the night before the exam arrives. You put on a pot of coffee and stay up all night, reading, memorizing, making flashcards. You show up for the exam the next morning bleary-eyed but somewhat confident. You pass. You call your friends and celebrate.

Because the struggle was real.

But was the struggle ever necessary?

We get it into our heads that nothing worthwhile comes without suffering. We love to suffer! It makes us feel noble and accomplished. Now, there are situations where suffering is inevitable; for example, the death of a parent or spouse. That’s tough. There’s no way out of that one.

But, in the case of the exam, wouldn’t it have been easier to spend fifteen minutes each night after the instructor introduced the material reading a few pages of the text? Better yet, wouldn’t it have been wise to, as athletes do, visualize yourself enjoying the exam and knowing all the answers?

Stop struggling and let your subconscious help you get what you want

Your subconscious mind will take you where you want to go. When you use only your conscious mind, you tend to overthink and stress about every little detail. The antidote to this is to figure out what you want (to pass the exam) and communicate that to your subconscious via visualization.

Visualization in the first step. The second step is to fully engage the subconscious by feeling the same emotions you’d experience when the instructor returned your exam with a big fat red A on it.

Use your subconscious to lose weight

Back in the day when I struggled with my weight, I tried The Scarsdale Diet, Overeaters Anonymous, Weight Watchers, you name it. I lost a few pounds, fell off the wagon, and gained it back.

Everything changed when I read about a study of basketball players who visualized themselves scoring points before they hit the court. It turned out they had an uncanny success rate. (Here’s an article that explains the phenomenon.)

When I went to bed at night, I visualized myself wearing beautiful clothes and looking and feeling slim in them. I visualized people coming up to me and complimenting me about how good I looked.

I lost forty pounds.

The amazing thing about it was that I did not struggle. I did not consult calorie counters. I did not join a gym. As if by magic, opportunities to eat better, delicious food in the right amounts appeared out of nowhere. I had always been a walker, but I found more opportunities to walk, so that exercise seamlessly slid into my daily routine. I did not have to fit it in.

Visualize your way to success in things big and little

You can visualize your way into happy relationships, new friendships, and better jobs with better bosses. You can visualize your success as a businessperson or entrepreneur. You can visualize your way to face-flattering haircuts and figure-enhancing dresses.

I’ve done it.

The key is to put yourself in the future. Decide what you want and feel what you’d feel if you had it. It takes practice and takes commitment, but if you’re ready to get what you want painlessly, it’s worth it.

If you liked this post, please share it. If you’d like to discover how you can use your subconscious mind to attract a great boyfriend, my book will tell you.

Are We In End Times?

Are We In End Times?

A lot of people think we’re in End Times. They cite melting glaciers, the frequency of terror attacks, and continual earthquakes in Oklahoma as evidence. Just this week alone, two people asked my opinion on the subject.

I also heard a story second hand about a delivery man who reported to a young woman that we are in End Times. To prove his point, he recited a litany of symptoms. He completely freaked her out.

I don’t know if the world is ending, but I do know there’s an uptick in the number of people who say it is.

A priest I like very much says that we are indeed in End Times, a condition that began after the Resurrection. In other words, God promised a Savior. We got the Savior. So, the curtain is falling slowly but no one knows when it will close.

The delivery man doesn’t have a clue. Not even Jesus knew when the world would end:

“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” -Mark 13:32

If we’re in End Times, I’m not too worried about it

I’m going to die. It’s just a matter of when and how. Since I don’t know those things, I do my best to live a good life, a kind of heaven on earth, which involves a good amount of prayer and self-examination. (The prayer part is fun; the self-examination isn’t.)

I’ve built, with the help of God, what is called a prayer life and is, in effect, a life outside and more real than this one. And even though it’s never perfect (because I am not perfect and sometimes spaced out), it has made me truly, deeply, and lastingly happy.

Because I pray, I am with my best friend all the time. I am tuned in to a supernatural power I am not equipped to explain; you have to experience it for yourself.

I want everyone to have what I have.

So, if you wonder if we’re in End Times, good. Ask yourself how you would change your life if you knew for certain we were. How would that bit of information transform you?

I’m excited for the young woman who heard the delivery man’s proclamation because, even though he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, she’s asking questions. Maybe she’ll see that there’s another dimension to life, that it’s not just nine-to-five and Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

It’s possible she’ll start to live every day as though it’s her last. At the very least, I hope she’ll make a commitment to being happy.

Wear Sunscreen As Though Your Life Depends On It

wear sunscreen
The sun is good for plants and sometimes people.

Anyone who knows me knows I wear sunscreen. Even when it rains. Even to get the mail. I’ve worn it pretty much every single day since I was nineteen, primarily because I’m vain and don’t want to wrinkle, but I’d also because I’d like to avoid skin cancer, which can be deadly.

(There is no guarantee I’ll avoid skin cancer, however, because I suffered several brutal burns as a child, which is believed to raise your risk of getting the disease in later life.)

I wear sunscreen carefully

In the early days, I used chemical sunscreens. They did the job. One summer, I came home from Turkey whiter than when I’d left Connecticut.

But, in light of evidence that chemical products disrupt hormones, I stopped using them. These days I look for products with a low score from the Environmental Working Group, my go-to resource for information on product safety.

Because I wear sunscreen in all circumstances, I go through a lot of it. I have fairly sensitive skin (I used to have rosacea, too, but that’s a subject for another post). I don’t like to use anything greasy, especially in the summer months when I tend to shine in the wrong way.

What I’m using now

Right now, I’m using MyChelle Unscented SPF 28, a broad spectrum product, which feels good on the skin and dries to a matte finish. A 2.3 oz tube seems to last a long time (I’ve just only opened my third since October, but maybe that’s because I have a small face). It gets the lowest possible rating, a good thing, from EWG.

MyChelle 28 will not mess with your hormones. It’s reef safe, so it’s kind to the environment too, whereas chemical sunscreens have been shown to be hazardous to marine life.

Best of all, it’s an effective sunscreen. I volunteered at the Mile 13 Water Station at the Boston Marathon again this year, the sunny Monday after Easter. I got a wicked burn on the v-shape on my chest where I’d neglected to apply it.

However, my face and neck remained ghostly.

wear sunscreen
I like this one.

The downside to MyChelle 28? Once it dries, you really shouldn’t mess with it. If you try to move it around, it’ll flake. It’s best to apply it in good light to avoid streaking.

It is a zinc oxide formula, which, when applied properly, dries to a lovely clear matte finish. However, it you apply it haphazardly, you’ll end up with a white streak. I’ve done it.

You can find MyChelle 28 here (that’s an affiliate link), or at your local natural health and foods store.

I’ll keep you posted on new products I use

Wearing sunscreen every day has paid off big time. When I tell people how long I’ve been married or mention my children’s ages, they tell me they didn’t realize I was so old.

I’m always looking out for the best, so when a new and safe product hits the market, I’m eager to try it out. I’ve just ordered a new sunscreen developed with technology pioneered in Spain. I will let you know how I like it.

In the meantime, if you are going to wear sunscreen (and I hope you will), be aware that people who live on certain sections of the planet (like mine) tend to be woefully deficient in Vitamin D. Ideally, we are supposed to get Vitamin D from the rays of the sun, which sunscreen prevents.

Low Vitamin D levels are dangerous, so get your levels checked. Take a good supplement if you need one. I do.

If you liked this post, please share it. If you have any tips on good sunscreens, leave a comment!

How to Be Happier Tomorrow

Be Happier

You can be happier tomorrow if you do one thing: Wake up fifteen minutes earlier.

Are you tempted to click away? Well, hear me out, especially if you’re one of those people who hits the snooze button. Especially if you’re one of those people who looks at the alarm clock and mutters, “Shit!

(Tip: If you ever want to be happy, the first word out of your mouth in the morning should not be “shit.”)

So, tonight, go to sleep a little earlier. Tape Colbert, for Pete’s sake. Go to bed.

Set your alarm for fifteen minutes earlier than usual. Drag yourself out of bed. Make your coffee. Then go into an empty room and enjoy the silence. Seriously, just sit there. If there’s a window in the room, all the better. Watch the light change beyond it. Watch the beginning of a new day.

You may want to close your eyes and meditate. Or sit in silence and actually taste your coffee. Or pray and read a Bible passage. Or write affirmations. Or read a healing book.

As long as it’s quiet, it’s good.

I didn’t used to do this, and I was not so happy

Years ago, when I worked in publishing and caught the railroad into Manhattan, I got up at the last possible minute and appeared on the platform with damp hair, dying for a cup of coffee. My routine was: Shower, dress, rush to the station, sprint across town, hit the deli for coffee and bagel, wait for elevator.

I’d barely have unwrapped my bagel when some individual appeared in my office doorway to demand something. Or complain about her commute. Or complain about his wife. (Or, in one case, tell me about the sex between him and his wife, which put me off the bagel altogether.)

After I had children, the routine changed a bit. I slept in later (my children, thank God, were late sleepers), and I’d wake up when they did. Then I’d get out of bed, feed them, change them, and play with them. I’d shower and make myself presentable, but their needs always took precedence over my own.

In both cases, while working outside and inside my home, I felt my life didn’t really belong to me. I felt under things, instead of on top of them. All I thought about was my to-do list and how little time I had to check everything off. Rude people bothered me more than was reasonable.

In publishing, I never missed a deadline. I won the position, according to the secretary there, over “a parade of applicants” because I was good and indicated I wanted to get even better. I loved my work and took it seriously.

However, I did have a flaw. My boss had a term for it. He said I was reactive.

Being reactive didn’t help me to be happier

I raced through my days by the seat of my pants. I did not give time to myself. This was a mistake. Whether you’re an executive or a stay-at-home parent, you must give time to yourself. It will change everything.

When you’re jumping out of bed at the last minute muttering, “Shit,” you can pretty much guarantee your day is not going to be great. You’re behind schedule. You’re stressed. You already have a thousand things on your mind. You get into the shower, and your scrubbing like a demon thinking about those thousand things.

Your day is not your own. You are owned by the traffic, by the unsmiling clerk in the coffee shop, by some offhand remark your boss makes, or some stupid inquiry from a woman in the playground regarding the slow growth of your toddler’s teeth. You are reactive. You are out of control.

And you are not alone.

The Grab and Go culture is a disease

Marketers are onto you. They have adapted products and advertising to exploit you and your harried lifestyle. They call it Grab and Go.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to live a Grab and Go Life. I wholeheartedly believe that I was not put on this planet to be short of breath and short of time.

If you, however, never want to be happier, be sure to grab and go. Be sure to drink your soup out of a microwavable sippy can because you bought the lie there’s no time to sit at a table and use a spoon like a proper human being.

Be sure to start your Grab and Go Day by jumping out of bed at the possible last minute muttering, “Shit!”

It’s your day. Seize it! (Gently.)

Look, you know that waking up fifteen minutes earlier is not going to lessen traffic. It’s not going to transform an unsmiling clerk into a smiling one. It’s not going to stop some woman from inquiring about your kid’s lack of teeth. It’s not going to stop a creep from telling you about his sex life.

It will, however, change the way you react to such things. Better yet, you’ll find after a little while, you don’t react so much at all. Everything changes when you give yourself time in the morning to just be. Everything changes when you give yourself the gift of thinking your own thoughts, of watching the light change beyond the window.

You will have time to put your thoughts in order. You will have time to think about your day and how you will spend it. Time will seem to expand, so that you find you’re relaxed and not always in a hurry. You will feel in control.

Really.

Please try it for a week. If you’re of those people who’s in the habit of staying up with a glass of wine after everyone else has gone to bed, drink your wine earlier and go to bed. You may think late-night time is the equivalent of early-morning time, but it really isn’t. At night, you’re unwinding. In the morning, you’re greeting the day.

And that makes all the difference. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier and take your life back. You really can be happier tomorrow.

If you liked this post, please share it! I’m curious about your morning routine. Tell me about it in the comments below.