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Cross Train Your Brain April 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Meditation.
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A few weeks ago, we attended a lecture at Freedom Village on Cross Training Your Brain.

We’d heard the speaker, Dr. Kevin W. O’Neill, once before when he presented A Brain Training Symposium.


Dr. O’Neill reiterated that what benefits the body, benefits the brain:

* Exercise ~ Ball Room Dancing is #1!
* Eat right ~ a Mediterranean Diet is best
* Sleep tight ~ without popping pills
* Don’t let the bed bugs bite
* Manage stress ~ meditation is great
* Focus on positives ~ don’t worry, be happy
* Interact with friends ~ be a social animal
* Tickle your funny bone chakra
* Learn something new today ~ build synapses
* Share your talents/volunteer/help others
* Develop an attitude of gratitude
* Drinking coffee lowers the risk of dementia
* Eat tumeric ~ curried veggies, please
* Play games, solve puzzles, have FUN!
* Live, Love, Laugh, Learn!

A few key points:

(1) Exercise is the fountain of youth when it comes to brain health.  It lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, increases gray matter, improves blood flow to the brain, elevates mood, and reduces stress.  For a 76% reduction in Alzheimer’s risk, try Ballroom Dancing!

(2) Reducing Stress helps maintain brain health ~ try exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation, or other purposeful pursuits.  And get enough sleep.  Sleep allows neurons to shut down and repair themselves.

(3) A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and omega 3 fats helps keep dementia at bay.  Vitamins C, D, and E are key building blocks for brain health.  As is Folic Acid ~ found in dark green veggies, chickpeas, and pinto beans.

(4) Intellectual Stimulation and Social Engagement are beneficial to brain health as we age.  Playing games and musical instruments helps ward off dementia.

(5)  Go ahead, enjoy your daily dose of caffeine.  According to the research Dr. O’Neill shared, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day will lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease . . . by 65%!

But don’t just sit around drinking coffee, R~E~A~D!  More on that tomorrow.

Aah . . . that’s better!


What do you do to keep your brain sharp?

13 Life Lessons February 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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Yesterday’s post contained some advice S~T~R~E~S~S.  Following up on that post, here are 13 Life Lessons to help you deal with daily challenges:

Donald-Duck-Mad1)  Acceptance.  Accept that some days you’re the pigeon and other days you’re the statue.

2) Exercise restraint.   Keep your words soft and sweet (in case you have to eat them).

If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

3)  Look for hidden blessings.  If you lend someone $20 and never see them again, it was probably worth it.

4)  Go With the Flow.  A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on an unexpected detour.

5)  Watch your tongue.  If you put both feet in your mouth at the same time, you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Donald-Duck-Driving6)  Drive with care.  If everything’s headed straight  for you, you may be in the wrong lane.  It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

7)  Be patient and wait your turn.  The second mouse gets the cheese.

8)  Perfection is over-rated.  Laugh at your mistakes.

And remember that some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

9)  Dance like no one’s watching.  Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Life is not a dress rehearsal.

10)  Sleep late when you can.  It’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird.

11)  Birthdays are good for you.  The more you have, the longer you live.

12)  Be kind.  Perhaps our sole purpose in life is simply to be kind and compassionate to others.

13)  Do what you can.  You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Inspiration: e-mail from unknown author

Put Down That Load! February 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance.
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Green-ParrotA lecturer on stress management raised a pitcher of margaritas into the air, then asked her audience, “How heavy is this pitcher?”

The audience called out answers  ranging from four to eight pounds.

The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter as much as the relative weight.

“The longer you try to hold it up, the heavier it feels:

* Holding it for a minute is no problem.

* After an hour, your arm will ache.

* If you try to hold it all day, you’ll need an ambulance.”

As the audience considered her remarks, she continued:  “In each case, the  absolute weight remains the same, but the longer we hold it up, the heavier the relative weight becomes.  The same is true with stress.”

“If we carry our burdens around all the time, they become heavier and heavier and we become more and more fatigued.  We need to put our cares and concerns down once in a while to give ourselves a chance to recharge.”

With that, she poured herself a margarita, took a sip, and added, “Once we’re refreshed and recharged, we can carry our burdens more easily.”

 Aah . . . that’s better!

Great advice!  Whatever burdens you’re carrying right now, put them down and give yourself a chance to recharge.  Take a mental health break.

Margaritas optional.

Inspiration:  e-mail from unknown author

Related posts:  Your Wheelbarrow Of Woe * Just Let Go * Ordinary Miracles

Ask Your Angels February 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Health & Wellness, Synchronicity & Mystery.
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Sometimes angels tell us what we need to hear:

* It’s never too late to shut up!
* Silence is always appropriate.
* Silence is the refuge of the wise.

Sometimes angels remind us of choices we face:

* You can choose to reflect difficulty or you can use humor and courage to lighten your own burden and the burdens of those around you.

Angels are calm and compassionate.  Sometimes wry, often amusing, they lift us up without putting us down.  They encourage and inspire without nagging or bullying.  They are not bossy or judgmental.

Here are 5 steps to talking to angels . . . with GRACE:

Grounding ~ be centered and present in the moment
Releasing ~ let go of worries, concerns, and negativity
Aligning ~ be open, focused, and relaxed; awake and alert
Conversing ~ connect with the highest source of knowing and listen
Enjoying ~ it’s FUN to tune in to our higher self and inner wisdom


Angels can help us heal by removing energy that is “bent out of shape.”

* Focus on the physical or mental imbalance you want to transform.
* Close your eyes and focus deeply on the problem that needs healing.
* Visualize an angel using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the bad stuff.
* Visualize the machine unclogging blocked cells of spent & bent energy.
* Feel the pain diminish as you breathe deeper and lighten up.

Don’t forget to thank your angel for its multidimensional recycling efforts!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  Ask Your Angels by Alma Daniel, Timothy Wylie, and Andrew Ramer

When we look within, and begin using an internal reference point, we unearth our Inner Cheerleader who NEVER has an agenda other than encouraging us to be the best we can be.

No Regrets January 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
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IMGP4187Barb heard a knock on the door and looked up.

David, hat in hand, stood framed in the doorway.

“David!  Come in . . . it’s so good to see you.”

He hung back.  “I figured you’d never want to see me again.”

“I do want to see you.  Very much.  Please come in.”

He looked at Barb and frowned, “This is all my fault.  You’re stuck in here because of me.  If I hadn’t dropped you . . . “

“It was an accident.”

“You make it sound like I spilled a glass of milk.”  He nodded at the chart at the foot of the bed. “What do the doctor’s say?

“Well . . . the psychiatrist is frustrated.  He’s waiting for me to be angry.  Or sad.  Or angry.  Angry would make him happy.  He wants me to grieve.  To rail against fate.”

“Why don’t you?”

“Besides the fact that I’m getting a kick out of doing the unexpected?”

“Yeah, besides that.”

“I don’t know.  I’m just not angry.  The psychiatrist is sure I’m in denial.  He scowls when I smile and shakes his head when I laugh and tell him about my day.  He scribbles madly on my chart when I say anything positive.”

“So you’re driving him crazy.”

Barb grinned. “Yes.  And I take great pleasure and pride in that.”

“Maybe you are in denial.  Maybe it just hasn’t caught up to you yet.”

“Maybe.  But I don’t think so.  I think I’m in a state of acceptance.  At peace with the “what is.”  Any day could be my last.  If this is my last day, why would I want to spend it crying over spilled milk?”

“This is NOT spilled milk, Barb.  You’re paralyzed from the waist down.  I ruined your life.  Forever.”

Barb reached out and touched the back of David’s hand, “No, you didn’t.”

“How can you say that?”

“Easy.  Even in a wheelchair, I’m not as crippled as those who allow emotional scars to eat them alive.  People like that walk through life without seeing the good.  They are blind to the present moment.  Being paralyzed may keep me from walking, but it’s not going to blind me to the wonder and delights of life.”

“I just want those 5 minutes back.  If I hadn’t been showing off . . . “

“Let it go, David.  I forgive you.  Forgive yourself.  Let go of the guilt.  Let go of regret.  You’re my best friend.  I don’t want you to destroy your life.”

“You mean like I destroyed yours?”

“Shall I be honest?”

“Yes.  Give it to me.  I can take it.”

“I would not choose to be in a wheelchair.  But I don’t get a choice in that right now.  It is the “what is.”  How I relate to that issue is the issue.  I can crawl into a ball and cry . . . or I can look for opportunities to laugh and smile.  I can hang on to anger . . . or I can embrace peace.  I can choose to be sad . . . or choose to be happy.   I choose happy.”

Barb reached out again and covered David’s hand with hers.  “I want you to do the same.  For me.  Be happy.  Live life with no regrets.  Find whatever joy you can.  Don’t take life for granted.  Life is good, but life is short.  Bad things happen.  Laugh when you can.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Is happiness an inside job?  Are we buoyed up or dragged down by the thoughts we choose to think?

Is Barb right?  Does hanging on to pain, regret, guilt, fear, anger, and sadness weigh us down more than losing the ability to walk?

Quote to Ponder:  How refreshing the whinny of a pack horse fully unloaded! ~ Classic Haiku

Following Our Feet Out Of Bed January 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,

Mickey-OKI read a book once that said that people with clinical depression deserve a gold star “just for following their feet out of bed in the morning.”

I agree.

Recognizing all of our small accomplishments does wonders to lift our mood, even if we don’t suffer from clinical depression.

It also gets us off the hook for failing to win the Nobel Prize.

When I stopped practicing law, I wondered if I was wasting my life and the precious gifts I had been given.

My lack of achievement when compared with what others had accomplished (with far fewer resources) made me frown at my countenance.

Focusing on the negatives sapped my energy and enthusiasm . . . not a recipe for future success.  Switching gears, I turned my attention from what I didn’t do to what I did do.

I made a list.

This week, while sorting through my writing files, I found the list:

I followed my feet out of bed 357 days (so far) this year.  I wrote 30 songs and submitted 4 to the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.  I read more than 30 books.  I donated goods to charity and gave things to friends.  I shared laughter with those who crossed my path.  I made homemade gifts for loved ones.  I visited my nieces and nephews.  I hosted a going-away party for Sue.  I painted pictures.  I rode my bike.  I cooked dinners and went grocery shopping and paid the bills.

I interviewed, selected, and trained 15 people to act as volunteers for Side By Side.  I attended meetings of the Domestic Violence Working Group and planned several in-service meetings.  I gave talks on Domestic Violence to the Cherry Hill Religious Leaders Organization and to students at Cherry Hill West High School.

I forgave mistakes and missteps and encouraged others to do the same. I gained a better understanding of myself and others. I fed the birds and enjoyed the antics of thieving squirrels.  I raked leaves and planted tomatoes and peppers and flowers.  I stopped to smell the roses.

Writing the list enabled me to realize that I had NOT wasted the year . . . even if I hadn’t won the Nobel Prize.

* Don’t get caught up in the numbers game.  Having a profound impact on one person may be more important than having a modest effect on a thousand.

* Most of us will never do great things, but we can do small things with great love. ~ Mother Teresa

Sometimes, when the world spirals out of control, we need to press PAUSE and “just be.”  We need to breathe, relax, and repeat.

Other times, the best thing for our health and wellness is to “do something.”  Anything would do for a start.

Aah . . . that’s better!

What about you?  Do you find it easy to find the right balance between doing and being?  Or does life often feel a bit off-kilter?

Related post:  Old Advice Is Not Always Good Advice (Rainee)

Taking A Holiday November 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , , ,

What we eat is important to health and wellness . . . but so is flexibility.

Being too rigid adds to our stress levels and creates feelings of deprivation ~ both of which can negate the benefits of healthy eating.


When we view food choices as “all or nothing,” we’re afraid to slip up.  And, if we do, that momentary indulgence can result in an all-out binge.  Instead of enjoying a single cookie or savoring a piece of chocolate, we inhale boxes and bags of sweet and savory treats.

By swapping our “all or nothing” mentality for a 90/10 rule, we can enjoy mini-indulgences without telling ourselves that we’ve “blown it!”

What we do MOST of the time matters more than the occasional Holiday.

Here . . . have a cookie!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Less Stress, More Joy October 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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One of my priorities is to retain peace of mind and contentment when faced with challenges, obstacles, and S~T~R~E~S~S.

Even if it means walking out of a Lecture Gone Wrong.

Once we learn the underlying principles, we are able to tap the infinite source of peace, gratitude and love even in the midst of the stormiest seas.

Instead of floundering on the surface, tossed around by relentless waves, we dive deep and float, buoyed by gentle undulating currents of joy and harmony.

S~T~R~E~S~S disappears as soon as we remember to Let IT Go.


Instead of battling the waves crashing over our heads at the surface, we go within . . . and float.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn (my fave -> #6) * Swimming Beneath The Current

The Deaf Wife October 11, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Joke.
Tags: , , , , ,

Donald-DuckaBert feared his wife Peg wasn’t hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.

Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem.

The Doctor suggested a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

“Here’s what you do ~ stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.”

Donald-Duck-BaseballThat evening, Peg is in the kitchen cooking dinner and Bert thinks, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.” Then in a normal tone he asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

No response.

So Bert moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, “Peg, what’s for dinner?”

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his Wife and asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

Again he gets no response.

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”


So he walks right up behind her. “Peg, what’s for dinner?”

“‘For F*-#?? sake, Bert, for the FIFTH time, CHICKEN!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

Heaven . . . I’m In Heaven! October 10, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor, Joke.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Once upon a time, a health conscious couple did everything right ~ they exercised, ate nutritious food, got enough sleep, and promoted wellness with every decision they made.

* They NEVER sat on the sofa with a bag of potato chips for company.


* They NEVER over-indulged at holiday parties . . . no matter what.

* They NEVER gave in to temptation by mindlessly eating a dozen cookies or a plate of cupcakes in a single sitting.


And they died anyway.

Because parts is parts and a lifetime warranty is only good for a lifetime ~ not for eternity.


When they got to heaven, they wandered into a HUGE banquet hall with an ENORMOUS buffet table overflowing with all of the food they’d been denying themselves for years.

The maître d’ encouraged them to sample as much as they wanted of anything or everything.



“Absolutely . . . it’s impossible to overeat in heaven.”


“But what about our health and wellness?”

“That’s no longer a concern.  It’s impossible to eat too much or exercise too little in heaven.  You can spend all day eating and NEVER gain an ounce.”


Instead of looking pleased at this news, the husband clenched his jaw, furious.

Reading his body language, his wife asked, “Honey, what’s wrong?  At last, we can indulge to our heart’s content without hurting our heart.  Isn’t that great?”


He snorted, “It’s bloody fantastic.  And, just think, if YOU hadn’t INSISTED on eating all the right things after we retired, we could have been here 30 years sooner!”

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Inspiration: joke heard during water aerobics (told by Joe M)


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