All posts by Sheryl Keane

Visualization

Visualization is critical to staying the course on your journey to accomplishing your goals.  It’s a powerful skill that you can learn.  At first, it may sound like a far-out, space-age idea, but once you get started, you’ll likely get hooked – just like I did! 

So…why practice visualization?  Why is it so important? 

By learning and practicing positive visualization, you can change your beliefs about yourself.  It can give you confidence and make you believe you’re fully capable of doing what it takes to be successful and achieve that long-time goal of yours – that dream you’ve kept inside of you for so many years! 

Research shows Visualization is a powerful tool in achieving the results we want.

How do you visualize?

  • Go to a quiet place without distractions.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Put 3 – 4 images in your mind of your life when you’ve reached your goal. 
  • Focus on the 1st image and layer in the positive emotions you would be feeling in that image.
  • Then repeat with each of the other images.
  • It can take only a few minutes a day. 

For example, your goal may be to have an online business selling gift baskets.  You love being creative and have been making and giving personalized gift baskets as holiday and birthday gifts for years and you’ve always desired to turn it into a real business. 

To visualize this, go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes and picture yourself being successful at this.  What do you see?  Are you reviewing customer orders and placing items into pretty decorated baskets?  Is an assistant wrapping the baskets, boxing them, and then taking them to UPS for shipping?  Are you seeing yourself reading the excellent customer reviews and seeing the deposits in your bank account? 

Focus on the images one by one.  For each image feel the positive emotions.  Let the confidence and joy run throughout your body.  Feel yourself standing up tall and being so glad to have taken action and started this business.  Feel how proud you are that you are so capable of managing the details and you have made this a successful business! 

Based on research described in her teaching videos, Mel Robbins states that visualization is actually reprograming your brain’s beliefs.  She explains that your mind doesn’t distinguish between images and emotions that are real events or imagined ones.  When you visualize, you are encoding a real memory into your brain.  The more you visualize, the stronger the memory becomes.  This actually increases your confidence in your ability and your fear dissipates as you gain certainty about handling the steps it takes to accomplish your goal.  You also begin talking and acting like someone who has already reached your goal – which in the above example, would be having built a successful online gift basket business!  

The Power of Focus!

What you focus on, your body feels.  For example, if you’re thinking about when someone in the past did something to hurt you, you will physically feel the hurt inside, even though the event is not currently taking place.  Likewise, if you’re focusing on a possible future event that worries you, your body feels the anxiety and stress, even though the event has not yet happened, and may never happen.  And…stress is something we definitely don’t want to bring upon ourselves, as it has been linked to increasing the risk of certain health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, weight gain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, depression, and more. 

But, you can stop this inner pain and stress by changing what your mind is focusing on.  By changing your focus, you can change your physical bio-chemistry.

Your focus also plays a major role in the results you’ve achieved in life.  Your current environment is largely a result of what you’ve focused on in the past.  Change your focus, change your life.  To achieve your goal, you want to consistently focus on that goal.  By focusing, you stop your mind and emotions to be reacting to negative stimuli in your environment, demands of others, or thoughts of past unpleasant or hurtful events.

What you consistently focus on, you will achieve.  When you find yourself making progress towards your goal, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and joy, and you’ll also develop a sense of certainty about your ability to achieve the results! 

Consistent focus is a learned skill that can be mastered with practice.   When you notice a negative thought entering your mind, you can switch your focus by taking a deep breath and counting backwards from five…5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  This counting backwards interrupts your thought pattern, states author and motivational speaker, Mel Robbins.  In her book, The Five Second Rule, Mel further explains that when you get to “1” it is a signal to your mind for something to occur.  After you get to “1” replace the previous thought with an image of your future self.  Focusing on that successful, happy vision of yourself changes your bio-chemical state from negative to joy, pleasure, and fulfillment – which is where we want to spend our time and live our lives!          

The Power of Asking the Right Question!!

You’re smart, hardworking, and a great mom!  You’re resilient and proud of how you’ve pushed yourself through hard times, including your divorce.  And…now, you find yourself thinking, “What’s next?  What will the second half of my life bring?”    

SO, LET’S JUST STOP RIGHT THERE!

Do not ask, “What will life bring?”  It’s the WRONG question. 

The RIGHT question is:  “What do I want my life to look like?” 

When you ask a better question, you get a better answer. 

Think about it…

When you ask, “What will life bring?” you’ll find that your mind is not focused.  It’s flashing many different images, some happy and some not very happy. 

On the other hand, when you ask yourself, “What do I want my life to be?” you immediately get a more centered feeling in your gut.  Your mind is more focused and there is just one or two dominant images that you see.  Also, in these images you are happy, successful, confident, and content.

It’s similar with your “to do” list. 

Let’s say it’s Saturday morning.  You have the day in front of you and you’re about to write your “to do” list.  So…are you asking yourself, “What do I have to do today?” But, then don’t feel very motivated as you write (and picture yourself doing):

  • food shopping  
  • laundry
  • clean
  • walk dog

Well, no one would be motivated with that list!  The BETTER question to ask is, “What do I want to do today?”  With this question, you start seeing yourself doing fun, pleasurable things and may write down items, such as:

  • have lunch with my daughter
  • go hiking by the lake
  • take a drive to the farmstand and get fresh donuts

When you asked a better question, you got a better answer!  A better result! 

You’re now excited and looking forward to your day!  The day YOU designed!  And…the truth is: You absolutely can design the rest of your life!  It all starts with your focus. 

Sleep on it!

Making an important decision?

Sleep on it!

When you’re at the end of your day and find yourself finally getting around to thinking about that decision you’ve been putting off, the advice of ‘sleep on it’ is not just an old wives’ tale.  Scientific research confirms that a person should not make an important decision at the end of the day, but instead wait until morning, following a good night’s sleep.

Two reasons this is good advice: 

Firstly, at the end of the day we experience “decision fatigue.”  According to the American Medical Association, this is a state of mental overload that can impede a person’s ability to continue making decisions.  The average person makes over 35,000 decisions by the end of a day, says Dr. MacLean, a psychiatrist, which takes energy and can result in brain fog.  In addition, the wear and tear on our brains leads us to make more reckless decisions, such as impulse eating and shopping. 

Secondly, the most accurate decisions are made early in the day, according to a study published in the journal, Cognition.  Not only is this because decision fatigue has not yet occurred, but can also be attributed to adequate sleep, which is linked to better productivity, concentration, and cognition – the mental ability to acquire and perceive knowledge or concepts.

So, the next time you find yourself at the end of the day with your head spinning and you asking yourself, “What do I do?”  The answer is to get a good night’s sleep, knowing your decision-making ability will be improved in the morning and your decision more accurate. 

Exercise – the Depression Eliminator!

There is no medication that can compare to exercise for combatting depression symptoms.

Many divorced women in their 50’s spiral into mild depression as their unhealthy and inaccurate self-talk gets them believing that their future is bleak, particularly as it relates to relationships, finances, and making progress on long-time goals. 

To relieve the numerous debilitating symptoms of depression (see below), many turn to doctors, who are all too quick to prescribe medication.  However, what if there is a better, long-lasting remedy?  Well, I’m here to tell you that there is, and, it’s also free!  It is exercise!   

According to Mind Pump Media, studies show that exercise, in the long-term, proves to be the far superior remedy for depression symptoms. 

Exercise and anti-depressants both can immediately alleviate symptoms.  However, as time continues, exercise results get better, while anti-depressants actually lose their impact.   This is because the body adapts to the medication, similar to caffeine or other drugs, so more is needed for similar results.  On the flip side, as a person continues with consistent exercise, not only does the body becomes stronger, but mental and psychological health also improve due to increased energy and improved sleep – and sleep has a significant impact on mental state!   In addition, the increased level of endorphins in the bloodstream naturally makes us happier and more capable of handling stressful situations! 

There is no medication that can compare to exercise for combatting depression symptoms.  If you find yourself spiraling into a depressed state, make exercise a regular part of your routine.  If you have not been one to exercise previously, start slow and be consistent.  The results will be amazing!  You will feel stronger (inside and out) and better about your body image.  You will also feel more mentally clear and creative, your confidence will improve, and you will know you’re capable of achieving the new goals you have for the next chapter of your life!     

Depression definition and symptoms (source:  Mayo Clinic)

Note:  Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis, defined as the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest.  It can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms, including changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, and/or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

People may experience:

  • Mood: anxiety, apathy, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, mood swings, or sadness
  • Behavioral:  agitation, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
  • Sleep:  early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
  • Weight:  weight can or loss due to excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
  • Cognitive:  lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide

Prevent Osteoporosis!

Osteoporosis literally means ‘bones with holes’. It occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. Bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily.

Most people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a fracture happens, as there are usually no signs or symptoms. This is why osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’.

Osteoporosis and bone growth

Bone is formed by specialized cells. It is constantly being broken down and renewed. It is living tissue that needs exercise to gain strength, similar to muscle. 

In the early years of life, more bone is made than is broken down, resulting in bone growth. By the end of your teens, bone growth has been completed and by about 25 to 30 years of age, peak bone mass is achieved.

Sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone, have a fundamental role in maintaining bone strength. The fall in oestrogen that occurs during menopause results in accelerated bone loss. During the first five years after menopause, the average woman loses up to 10 per cent of total bone mass. 

Fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis can lead to pain, loss of height and changes in posture, such as the ‘dowager’s hump’. This hump is caused when spinal fractures are compressed due to the force of gravity, resulting in an abnormal bending forward of the spine called kyphosis.

Symptoms & diagnosis of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes no specific pain or symptoms. However, it does increase the risk of serious or debilitating fractures. If you think you may be at risk of developing osteoporosis, see your doctor.

The most reliable way to diagnose osteoporosis is with a bone density scan which is usually done at the hip. Talk to your doctor about having this done.

Risk factors for osteoporosis

  • inadequate amounts of dietary calcium and vitamin D
  • cigarette smoking
  • alcohol intake of more than two standard drinks per day
  • caffeine intake of more than three cups of coffee or equivalent per day
  • long-term use of medication such as corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other conditions.

Prevention of osteoporosis

From a young age you can take steps to prevent osteoporosis:

  • have a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium rich foods
  • do regular weight-bearing and strength-training activities.

Calcium-rich diet and osteoporosis

Enjoying a healthy, balanced diet with a variety of foods and an adequate intake of calcium is a vital step to building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, your body will take calcium from your bones. Making sure you have enough calcium in your diet is an important way to preserve your bone density. 

It is recommended that the average Australian adult consumes 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Postmenopausal women and men aged over 70 years are recommended to have 1,300 mg of calcium per day. Children, depending on their age, will need up to 1,300 mg of calcium per day.

Dairy foods have the highest levels of calcium, but there are many other sources of calcium, including sardines, spinach and almonds. If you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet alone, you may need to talk to a health professional about calcium supplements.

Vitamin D and osteoporosis

Vitamin D and calcium promote bone density. Vitamin D is important because it helps your body absorb the calcium in your diet. We obtain most of our vitamin D from the sun, and there are recommendations for the amount of safe sun exposure for sufficient vitamin D production, depending on your skin type, geographical location in Australia and the season. 

Vitamin D can also be found in small quantities in foods such as: 

  • fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel)
  • liver
  • eggs
  • fortified foods such as low-fat milks and margarine.

For most people, it is unlikely that adequate quantities of vitamin D will be obtained through diet alone. Talk with your health professional about vitamin D supplements if you are concerned that you are not getting enough vitamin D.

Exercise to prevent osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercise encourages bone density and improves balance so falls are reduced. It does not treat established osteoporosis. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary, are over 75 years of age or have a medical condition.

General recommendations include: 

  • Choose weight-bearing activities such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, netball or dance. While non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, are excellent for other health benefits, they do not promote bone growth.
  • Include some high-impact exercise into your routine, such as jumping and rope skipping. Consult your health professional – high-impact exercise may not be suitable if you have joint problems, another medical condition or are unfit.
  • Strength training (or resistance training) is also an important exercise for bone health. It involves resistance being applied to a muscle to develop and maintain muscular strength, muscular endurance and muscle mass. Importantly for osteoporosis prevention and management, strength training can maintain, or even improve, bone mineral density. Be guided by a health or fitness professional (such as an exercise physiologist) who can recommend specific exercises and techniques. 
  • Activities that promote muscle strength, balance and coordination – such as tai chiPilates and gentle yoga – are also important, as they can help to prevent falls by improving your balance, muscle strength and posture.
  • A mixture of weight-bearing and strength-training sessions throughout the week is ideal. Aim for 30 to 40 minutes, four to six times a week. Exercise for bone growth needs to be regular and have variety.

Lifestyle changes to protect against osteoporosis

Be guided by your doctor, but general recommendations for lifestyle changes may include: 

  • stop smoking – smokers have lower bone density than non-smokers
  • get some sun – exposure of some skin to the sun needs to occur on most days of the week to allow enough vitamin D production (but keep in mind the recommendations for sun exposure and skin cancer prevention)
  • drink alcohol in moderation, if at all – excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis. Drink no more than two standard drinks per day and have at least two alcohol-free days per week
  • limit caffeinated drinks – excessive caffeine can affect the amount of calcium that our body absorbs. Drink no more than two to three cups per day of cola, tea or coffee.

**Source: Better Health Channel

Want to Re-Create Your Life After Divorce? Get SLEEP!!

You may be trying to beat the clock, stay-up late, and be productive, but in the end, sleep deprivation will greatly undermine your progress.  Below are the top negative effects from the lack of adequate sleep – defined as at least 7 hours per night.    

  1. Impaired concentration and cognitive abilities.

Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function.  When you lack sleep, your concentration and decision-making skills diminish. On the flip-side, adequate sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory.

2. Lowered physical performance.

Studies have shown that poor sleep reduces fine motor skills, reaction time, problem solving skills, and muscular strength and endurance.

3. May weaken your heart.

Numerous studies suggest that lack of sleep and low-quality sleep may increase your risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure.

4. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sleeping less hours per night is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance – which is when your body cannot use insulin properly.  In addition, lack of sleep causes behavioral changes, including poor decision making regarding what foods you are eating and how much – which also increases diabetes risk.

5. Higher depression, isolation and lower social interactions.

Mental health concerns, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality.  Sleep loss also reduces your ability to regulate emotions and interact socially. When we’re tired, we have a harder time controlling emotional outbursts and behavior in front of others. Tiredness may also affect our ability to respond to humor and show empathy.  In addition, people who are chronically sleep-deprived are more likely to withdraw from social events and experience loneliness.

6. Lowers immunity.

Lack of sleep has been shown to impair immune function.  In one study, participants who slept fewer than 5 hours per night were 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold compared than who slept more than 7 hours. Those who slept 5–6 hours were 4 times more likely.  Data also suggests that proper sleep may improve your body’s antibody responses to vaccines.

7. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation.

Poor sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in the body.  Sleep loss is known to activate inflammatory signaling pathways and lead to higher levels of inflammation, which, over time can cause the development of many chronic conditions, including obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.  

8. Lack of sleep can be dangerous.

Not getting enough sleep can be dangerous for yourself and others.  When we’re tired, our focus, reflexes, and reaction time decreases. In fact, being severely sleep-deprived is comparable to having consumed excess alcohol.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 25 people have fallen asleep while driving, and most of the time this is a result of sleeping less than 6 hours a night.  In addition to increased risks associated with driving, lack of sleep may also increase the risk of workplace injury and errors.

9. Weight gain and higher BMI.

Studies shows that a lack of sleep is associated with a greater risk of weight gain and a higher body mass index (BMI). This is because sleep deprivation increases ghrelin – the hunger hormone and decreases leptin – the hormone that makes us feel full, therefore, we feel hungrier and overeat.  In addition, to compensate for less sleep and energy, your body craves foods that are higher in sugar and fat, due to their higher calorie content.  To make matters worse, when you are tired, you are less motivated to hit the gym, go for a walk, or do any physical activity.

The bottom line is that lack of sleep is associated with many negative health effects, including increased risk of heart disease, depression, weight gain, inflammation, and illness.  Though individual needs vary, most research suggests that you should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health.

When you do get your adequate hours of sleep per night, your brain is more clear and you are focused and creative.  Therefore, start prioritizing and scheduling your sleep, and you’ll be amazed that you actually become more effective and productive! 

Over 50? Make Smart Nutrition Choices!

  • Want a simple recipe to help fight aging? The ingredients are easy to find. The right mix of nutrients, and regular exercise, will help you to feel and look your best.

When you eat right, you’ll help get your weight under control, keep your bones strong, and prevent heart disease. It’s all about making smart choices.

Nutrition Basics

Boost Calcium & Vitamin D: This means three to four 8-ounce servings of low-fat dairy every day. If you are lactose-intolerant, eat hard cheese, or yogurt, canned salmon, broccoli, and legumes. You can also eat or drink that have these nutrients added, such as orange juice. You could also take calcium supplements. Always seek your doctor’s advice, including a bloodwork analysis, before taking any supplements.

Eat More Fruits, Veggies, Whole Grains, & Legumes: These will give you plenty of disease-fighting antioxidants. Focus on variety every day, including vegetables with different colors.

Get Plenty of Fiber:  Good sources include legumes, whole wheat pasta, breads, and cereals, oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Take a Daily Multivitamin: It can fill gaps in your nutrition. Again, obtain your doctor’s advice to ensure you are taking a vitamin appropriate for you. at lean proteins. Try foods such as skinless chicken, fatty fish like salmon (with omega-3 fats), and vegetable protein, including soy.

Cut Down on Salt: Too much salt is linked to high blood pressure. The recently-published 2015 Dietary Guidelines once again remind everyone to limit salt to 2,300 milligrams a day.

Choose Fats Wisely: Avoid trans-fats and limit saturated fats, often included in butter, margarine, processed foods, desserts, and doughnuts. “Good fats” can be found in olive oil, and some, but not all, vegetable oils, as well as in foods, such as nuts and seeds, avocados, salmon, and tuna.

Curb the Sweets: Limit sugary drinks and desserts and sweetened dairy products. They can be loaded with calories and have little nutrition.

source: WebMD