Trust: the Heart of Relationship

Trust is the foundation of connection. Developing trust involves discernment. You learn how to tell who is trustworthy and who isn’t by being optimistic, risking vulnerability and experiencing how your friends respond. That first step towards trusting a new friend is a leap of faith. But the risk is worth the reward. When you find a safe relationship, you can share your deepest hopes and fears.

Brene Brown explores the Anatomy of Trust in this illuminating video (click here). Building on her powerful TED talks about vulnerability and shame, Brown explains the components of trust, highlighting behaviors to look for in others and to cultivate in yourself.

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Hope: the Ultimate Superfood

You already know that it’s important to eat your leafy veggies and blueberries, rich in antioxidants. But did you know that hope is the ultimate superfood?

A superfood is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Hope offers emotional nourishment that improves emotional and physical health and lengthens life. Numerous research studies have demonstrated the health benefits of an optimistic outlook. Dr. David Snowdon found that positive emotional content in essays written during young adulthood predicted lifespan—those who had a more positive outlook lived 6.9 years longer than their pessimistic counterparts. Similarly, other research has shown that optimism is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lower death rates.

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Increase Calm and Self-Control with this 5-minute Daily Practice

Where can you carve-out five minutes? How about before you get out of bed after your alarm goes off? Or maybe you can claim five minutes after your morning coffee, at work while sitting at your desk, or in the car before you drive to the grocery store. Really, you can do this practice almost anywhere.

In fact, you’re already doing one part of this practice all day long – breathing. The only added step is to pay close attention. Breathing usually happens outside of conscious awareness, but focusing on your breath is one of the most powerful strategies for managing stress and increasing self-control. It can even help with treating anxiety and depression.

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Workplace Wellness: Escape Your Desk Chair

You may have heard  that “sitting is the new smoking.” A study comparing mortality rates of sedentary nonsmokers and smokers who exercise vigorously found that active smokers lived significantly longer than the couch-potato nonsmokers, further demonstrating that a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous for your health.

But what can you do if you have a desk job that leaves you sitting for long stretches of time? For workplace wellness, the good news is that any change from a seated position can be beneficial. Continue reading

The Paradox of Aging: the Happiness U-Curve

When imagining aging, most middle-aged people look ahead with trepidation. But take heart: the best is likely yet to come!

Satisfaction surveys have found that happiness increases after middle age, and this pattern shows up around the globe. Referred to as the Happiness U-Curve, the data show that on average, life satisfaction drops during midlife and begins its recovery around age 50, reaching its peak at the end of life.

 

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Embrace Conflict for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s focus on the most important ingredient of a healthy relationship: constructive conflict.

The term conflict usually brings to mind destructive conflict, such as yelling, bullying and physical aggression. But it’s also destructive to hold conflict in and be torn-up inside by anguish that isn’t being expressed. This is true for romances, friendships, parenting and work relationships.

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Resolve to Refresh

Have you ever returned from a vacation feeling depleted rather than replenished? Maybe you were jetlagged after an international adventure or drained from overextending yourself to host family or friends. As you return from this holiday break, whether you feel rested or weary, focus on refreshing yourself regularly this year.

The body, mind and spirit crave a pattern of alternating expansion and restoration. You will be at your best when you stretch yourself and then regroup before stretching once again. Sleep is a great example – the body and mind need rest at the end of each day in order to consolidate the learning, insights and activities of the day and reset in preparation for the next day’s experiences. Similarly, your muscles need a day to repair after a weight training session.

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Gratitude as an Antidote to Craving

The season of indulgence has begun. If you received trick-or-treaters at your home, then you may still have leftover candy tempting you. Thanksgiving offers a delicious feast, served up with a side order of gratitude, followed by the biggest shopping day of the year.

The holiday season is presented as “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many, it is overwhelming, lonely, and draining. 

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Healthy Emotional Eating

Do you ever soothe yourself with food after a hard day? Usually we think of emotional eating as turning to unhealthy comfort food when we are upset. But you can attend to your mood by making healthy eating choices. With a few yummy substitutions in your snack drawer, you can improve your psychological and physical health.

Blood sugar fluctuations can be associated with moodiness. Stabilize yourself emotionally while managing your weight by eating healthy snacks in between smaller meals. For example, you might consider putting a baggie of nuts and dark chocolate chips into your purse or desk drawer to keep yourself consistently fueled and emotionally even. Dark chocolate seems to improve mood by boosting endorphins. Continue reading