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The Power of Pen . . . and Paper! July 19, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
23 comments

Journaling on a daily basis helps boost creative thinking.

It allows us to access hidden recesses and expand the boundaries of our minds.

It promotes clarity and fosters insight as we allow our imagination to take flight.

It helps us to assign positive meaning to what life metes out.

It improves our ability to “think outside the box” and come up with creative solutions.

Judy Willis MD, a neurologist, and former classroom teacher explains, “The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.”

To read more about the benefits of this powerful practice:

The Life-Changing Habit of Journaling (Why Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Many More Great Minds Recommend it)

Best of all, starting a morning journal practice is simple:

  1. Find a pen or pencil.
  2. Grab a notebook or sheet of paper.
  3. Write, draw, doodle, reflect, reminisce, explore, etc.

It’s your boat to float!

Aah . . . that’s better!

No Bake Oatmeal “Yummies” July 17, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
18 comments

In a mixing bowl, combine:

1/2 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or honey)
1 Tbsp. warm water

Stir in chopped walnuts or pecans, shredded coconut, and chocolate chips.

Once well combined, roll into 1″ balls.

Chill for an hour, then store in a covered container in the fridge.

Aah . . . that’s YUMMY!

Related:  Peanut Butter Protein Balls with Coconut, Pecans, and Honey (Nosh with Chef Julie)

 

My Birthday Crown July 15, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
29 comments

I’ve long been purr-suaded that everyone should be Queen (or King) for a day . . . at least once a year.

That’s what Birthdays are all about, right?

This year’s birthday celebration got off to a great start.

BFF & I went out for lunch to Ella’s Greek ~> Spanakopita, Greek Salad, Lentil Soup, Fries . . . and Baklava!

Baklava = my birthday “cake.”

After lunch, we went to an exhibit at the library and shopped at the just-opened Goodwill Art & Book Store.  After purr-using the racks, I purr-chased a copy of “Universal Orlando” so we can read up on Hogswarts and Hogsmeade before we buy passes to park hop on the Hogswart’s Express.

Later that afternoon, I received a fun e-mail from my nephew with a link to this dancing zebra kicking up its hoofs:

Zebras crack me up!

That evening, after a delicious dinner, I watched a movie, popped some popcorn, and . . . cracked a tooth. Didn’t realize it until I got in bed and my tongue found a hole in my mouth where tooth used to be.

Hey, wait! . . . maybe the tooth cracked while I was cracking up at the dancing zebra?  

Maybe dancing zebras aren’t all they are cracked up to be!   

The next day, I called the dentist to schedule a repair ~>  I’ll receive my “Birthday Crown” on Monday.

In the meantime, I’m NOT in any pain.  Yay!

It would be hard to maintain my Cheshire Grin if I were grimacing in pain due to a tooth that’s MIA and/or AWOL.

In the future, I’ll watch what I wish for ~>No more Queen for the Day!

After receiving this crown, I’m abdicating the throne!

Aah . . . that’s better!

You Should Be Dancing . . . Yeah! July 13, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
21 comments

Dancing is the best thing you can do for your body . . . and your mind.

Dancing burns more calories than other forms of exercise because you are moving in different directions, stopping and starting, and using muscles in your arms, hands, hips, legs, thighs, and core:

If running is like driving on a freeway, dancing is more like motoring through a busy city. All of that starting, stopping and changing directions burns a ton of fuel even though you’re not covering a lot of ground.

Dancing is great for brain health, strengthening the white matter that keeps us “sharp.”

And it’s a BIG mood booster and stress reducer:

Like other forms of cardio exercise, dancing also seems to have mood and mind benefits. A 2007 study found that hip hop dancing improved energy, buoyed mood and lowered stress in ways similar to aerobic exercise.

To read more:  Why Dancing Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Body

Best of all ~> it’s FUN to groove to your favorite tunes!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  The TIME Guide To Exercise ~ with links to 68 articles on the benefits of exercise.

 

Success & Failure = Inside Jobs July 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
31 comments

Chasing Unicorns posted a thought-provoking “stolen quote” last week.

He lifted it (exercising due care) from  J. K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address in 2008 when she reminded the graduates (and other attentive attendees) that we must decide for ourselves what constitutes “failure.”

She’s right.

It’s pointless to measure our success and failure using someone’s else’s yardstick.

No one else knows what we value the most.  They only know what they value most . . . since they are looking at the world through their eyes.

Some yardsticks measure power.  Others measure money or acclaim or fame.

For some, success lies in approval from others manifested in the form of awards and trophies, accolades and attention, and “likes” on social media.

They tend not to agree with the “less is more” philosophy.

Still others measure success by education or knowledge . . . or by the adrenaline rush of running the rapids or parachuting from a plane or wrestling an alligator.

My preferred yardstick is inner peace and happiness and contentment.

For years, I’ve measured success by how much I am “enjoying the journey” . . . without worrying about reaching some unseen and imaginary “Finish Line.”

If I am happy and peace-filled right here, right now ~> THAT’S SUCCESS!

Aah . . . that’s better!

On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined. ~ Lord Byron

Be Healthy, Well, and Wise! July 3, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
17 comments

#1 ~ Washing Hands In Cold Water Works As Well As Hot Against Germs

In handwashing experiments with 21 volunteers, Rutgers University researchers found no significant difference in cleaning power between water that was 60, 79 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

They also found that lathering hands for just 10 seconds was sufficient to remove germs.

#2 ~ Want to Lose Weight? You Should Stop Counting Calories

The quality of calories is what matters most for staying healthy, losing weight, and maintaining those results.

People who are more mindful have also been shown to experience fewer weight fluctuations over time.

Even though eating quality calories will help you crave treats less, there’s still room for the occasional indulgence. Dr. Ludwig is a fan of dark chocolate, which has heart, brain, and satiety benefits.

#3 ~ How to Protect Your Eyes from Digital Eye Strain

Practice the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes with your screen, give your eyes a 20 second break and look 20 feet away, which will relax the focusing muscles.  Consider wearing yellow-tinged specialized computer eyewear, which takes strain off of eyes by focusing on the computer, reducing glare and filtering blue light.

And if you’re a real stickler for eye safety in the workplace, give your screen a friendly high five: that’s the distance you should keep to protect your eyes.

#4 ~ The Science of Sleep

This Guide to Sleep is a collection of links to 45 different articles on How to Fall Asleep, How to Stay Asleep, and How to Wake Up Refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

P.S.  It’s Mickey tested and approved!

#5 ~ 8 Ways to Stay Energized All Day

It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with energy issues. We go, go, go from morning to night, running on little but grit and caffeine. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  This complete guide to all-day energy is packed with proven strategies that will keep you powered up as you plow through your to-do list.

You’ll also learn about surprising energy drains (social media, we’re looking at you)—and how to keep them from stealing your mojo.

#6 ~ How to Create the Ultimate Black Bean Burger

Black bean burgers have something of a special status in the world of veggie burgers, and with good reason! Black bean burgers are packed with protein and flavor, they can be seasoned up in all kinds of ways, and they’re easy to whip up from a handful of pantry staples.

Every batch of black bean burgers the author makes starts with four base ingredients:

1 (14 ounce) can of black beans. Make sure to drain and rinse them.
1 cup of breadcrumbs or oats or oat flour.
1 small onion. Dice it.
1 to 3 cloves of garlic. Mince them.

Everything goes into the food processor and gets pulsed a few times until it’s finely chopped and well mixed. Just be careful not to overdo it.

For more tips on add-ins, spices, cooking, and serving, check out the recipe on Oh My Veggies.

#7 ~ Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

And last, but NOT least . . . Here’s Julie with 6 of her favorite natural Happiness Boosters!

Ginger + Cinnamon + Turmeric + Matcha + Cacao + Cayenne ~> S~M~I~L~E!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Wedding With Whimsy May 31, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, People.
38 comments

When my niece got married in December, the ceremony included more than a few touches of whimsy.

From sunglasses . . .

And silly poses . . .

To the groom’s cake . . .

The Bride and Groom included touches designed to give guests a grin . . .

Because as we all know, life is better with laughter!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Press The *PAUSE* Button May 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
10 comments

The myriad of challenges we face in our lives can create agitation and anxiety in our thoughts, crowding out feelings of peace and happiness.

When we take a few minutes to press the *pause* button, our calm center returns . . . and with it our feelings of love and gratitude for all the drops of good in our lives.

When we remember who we are at the core, our days overflow with peace, kindness, love, and contentment.

And we stop struggling with the current of life and enter its flow.

Want to dive in to the flow of life?  Enjoy the calming cadence of Val’s recent post:  Haiku – Notice

Aah . . . that’s better!

Walden ~> The Game, Not The Pond April 19, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Nature, Sustainable Living.
20 comments

I heard about this video game from Poets and Writers.

If you’ve got 45 minutes to commune with virtual Walden, this presentation by the game’s creator is a fascinating look at how and why she designed a video game modeled after Thoreau’s contemplative time On Walden Pond, where he concluded that it is not until we’ve met our innate and mundane needs for Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Fuel that we can turn our attention to inspiration, creation, and the more sublime and ephemeral aspects of life:

If you’ve got 13 minutes to wander in the virtual reeds, this clip will give you a glimpse of how Tracey has used gaming technology to slow “the quickening pace of life” allowing us to “play deliberately” and reflect, as Thoreau did, on how the choices we make change our relationship to nature and the sublime aspects of life:

If you only have a few minutes to walk in Thoreau’s footsteps and ponder his words and philosophy, this video game trailer will give you a sense of what “slow play” is all about:

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Following The “What Ifs” . . . April 17, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
21 comments

Life is all about following the “what ifs” . . . isn’t it?

What if I moved away from crowds, noise, and congestion toward silence, serenity, and solitude?

What if I moved away from cold cloudy days toward warm tropical breezes under bright blue skies?

What if I moved away from perpetual busyness toward simplicity?

What if I ignored the yipping of border collies trying to keep me in line and steered my own ship following the call of my inner voice?

For some, drifting with the tides holds no appeal.  To them, my decision to “go with the flow”~ to rise and fall with the ebb and flow of life ~ sounds dull.

For me, it’s perfect.

Time to pause and reflect, to read and write, to pursue things that interest me without concern about accolades, awards, achievement, or recognition in the eyes of others.

Instead of being nervous or anxious about meeting external expectations, I am relaxed as I flow from one activity to the next.

Instead of acting with deference to the judgments of others, I happily assert my independence.

Instead of settling for societal mandates and consensus, I persist with what matters to me.

Instead of dreading the dawning of the day, I’m excited to be awake and aware of the infinite possibilities around.

Instead of being stuck like a square peg in a round hole, I can enjoy each custom-made niche.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Next up:  Thoreau had the write idea when he penned Walden.