Category Archives: Mental Health

How to De-Stress Instead of Distress?

We share helpful tips on how to de-stress when otherwise in distress!

  1. Meditate to relax and spiritually connect with oneself deeply at the very core on a regular basis. Besides meditating, set aside a me-time to do something fun for yourself. It could be anything just for 15 minutes a day that gives you a lot of joy.
  2. Practice light yoga or other physical activity to keep up the energy level and boost metabolism.
  3. Practice taking deep breaths to relax oneself and to deeply connect at the very core on a regular basis.
  4. Watch your white sugar consumption and replace with natural substitutes wherever possible. Sugar is no different than any other addictive substance. Hence it is very important to limit the intake of refined sugar.
  5. Eat more whole foods and limit the intake of processed foods. Whole grains and complex foods go a long way to increase our metabolism, prevent diabetes and contain much more nutritional values than processed foods.
  6. Absorb plentiful sunshine and get some vitamin D. If you live in a place without regular sunny days,  it is recommended to take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D enhances mental and physical activity and prevents depression.
  7. Schedule only limited blocks of time to be on social media and minimize gadgets and device usage. Enjoy life’s bountiful gifts by being in the moment.
  8. Organize your day, prioritize all your activities by order of importance and de-clutter all your belongings.
  9. Connect with your family, friends and loved ones by appreciating them for their love and support on a regular basis. Feelings of gratitude and being loved uplift our moods and immediately alleviate stress.
  10. Last but not the least, make someone else’s day by doing something special for them and making them smile.

How To Maintain A Healthy Pregnancy?

Early prenatal care is important in promoting a healthy pregnancy. It starts with prenatal visits to the doctors to ensure that we are staying on top in all of the following areas:

1) Avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol: These are the absolute no-no(s) to get out of the way. Smoking or even second-hand smoke, alcohol and drug intake can affect the development of the fetus and affect the infant’s health. During pregnancy, the expecting mother should not have anything to do with these harmful substances.

2) Medications: Most pregnant woman may already be taking some medication, such as for acne or for chronic pain or for any other medical condition. It is important to discuss with the doctor which of these medications are still safe to take.

3) Avoid toxic substances: At all costs, we must stay away from exposure to any harmful chemical solvents or other toxic substances, such as lead or mercury.

4) Minerals/Vitamins: We have to ensure that we are taking adequate amounts of folic acid as supplements throughout the pregnancy to prevent the child developing any neural tube defects. The good news is that most prenatal vitamins will have at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Also your healthcare provider may give you supplements of vitamin B12 and assess that your iron levels are adequate.

5) Eat a Healthy Diet: It is important to have balanced meals with variety of fruits and mixed berries, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, proteins and low-fat dairy products to ensure the developing fetus has all the required nutrients. Also during this time one should drink plenty of fluids. Here is an awesome link that helps pregnant women to create a checklist of their daily meal plates:
https://www.choosemyplate.gov/moms-daily-food-plan

6) Eat a safe diet: Pregnant women should avoid all kinds of raw fish, processed meat, undercooked meat and unpasteurized cheese. They should also avoid fish with high content of mercury. The FDA guidelines for pregnant women are that 12 ounces a week of fish with low levels of methyl mercury, such as shrimp and salmon, is a safe choice during this time.

7) Limit Caffeine Intake: Excess caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage. Your doctor can dicsuss with you and recommend the total amount of caffeine you can take. They may suggest an upper limit of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.

8) Maintain a healthy weight: The doctor will recommend how much weight you can safely gain during pregnancy based on your current weight or BMI. It is important to follow the weight-gain chart as gaining too much can lead to many other problems such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure etc.

9) Maintain physical activity: It is very important during this time to maintain a light level of physical activity. Some of the best forms of exercise during this time is walking and swimming with minimum physical strain. Activity improves sleep during pregnancy, helps to maintain healthy weight gain and also makes childbirth easier.

10) De-stress and relax: Last, but not the least, relaxing and de-stressing throughout your pregnancy is probably the best thing you can do for yourself and for your bundle of joy. Try to engage in peaceful and relaxing activities even when you feel anxious or stressed out – with a little bit of mindfulness and meditation, you can de-stress instead of distress!

In Search of a Habit of Activity

Nowadays, with the explosion of advanced technology, there are numerous #fitness apps and #activity #trackers to chose from. Undoubtedly, these work well for all those who are already into fitness and #training. Needless to say, these active individuals are into regular #exercise training and have formed the healthy habit of working out. They are invested into being healthy by training themselves physcically and require little to no extra motivation to get them moving.

My concern is for those who are on the more #inactive end of the spectrum and therefore do not benefit from these fitness apps or activity trackers. The missing link is still the motivation and desire to move – a key factor without which the #sedentary people remain inactively so – we are in crucial need of a habit of activity. For the benefit of the sedentary people, there should be other innovative solutions geared towards motivating or resetting their will to become more physically active over time. Perhaps an innovative and creative way to engage these individuals gradually towards developing an inevitable habitual level of activity is warranted.

Easier said than done of course – what would be some of these innovative methods that would help the inactive person to form a healthy habit of frequent activity? One idea that has been implemented in some fashion is the reward based mechanism. There are some merits in this type of reward mechanism such as providing health coupons to those tracking enough activity points. However, if the rewards are mainly for healthy products, it is still a challenge to attract the not-so-health concerned individual. We may need to explore other novel ways that appeal to the fundamental desire of habitual activity. If you have other ideas please free to share.

How to Age Well Emotionally and Spiritually?

We take constant care of ourselves physically but what about our souls and our spirits? We should also take care of ourselves spiritually. Why is it extremely important to age well spiritually and emotionally? If you haven’t already done so, take a moment now to think about how we want to be remembered as when we leave this earth and what kind of legacy we want to leave behind?

Do we want to be remembered as someone who was always stressed out, selfish, lacked self-control and discipline, was helpless and blamed others constantly or was always angry and ill-tempered? Or do we rather want to be remembered as the hero of our own life’s story? – someone who was helpful and supportive to others in need, kind, generous and big-hearted and who was a significant contributor to their community? Deep in our hearts we almost all wish to be the latter person but do we always practice the daily routine that ensure we will age well spiritually?

What are some of the main emotional obstacles or mental stressors that we potentially face in our lives that cause us to lose our inner peace and control of our minds?

– Abuse in any shape or form
– Recent death or loss
– Legal problems
– Financial problems
– Changes in living situation
– Unstable living situation
– Work or school problems
– Relationship problems with parents, children, spouse, siblings or close friends

There must be infinitely more obstacles and also many other problems that are specific to different individuals but we get the general idea. Humans are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted complex beings and are constantly faced with many challenges of life and living! But how can we adequately defend ourselves against these mental stressors?

This article is a brief walkthrough of some helpful tips for us to meditate so that our true inner spirit can flourish and age with us peacefully and gracefully. #MindValley# experts (#Vishel Lakhiani#) have created amazing videos and concepts on meditation:
1.http://www.mindvalley.com
2.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaRu14P9H84

They have coined some inspirational and out-of-the-box ideas in describing these meditation concepts – such as ‘Blissipline’ – a feeling of bliss, gratefulness in the present while being disciplined in the journey towards our awesome future! When we take control of our own lives and are accountable in our present actions, when we create the self-discipline to work gradually towards our envisioned future, while being truly grateful and happy in the present moment is the idea captured in ‘Blissipline’! Truly inspirational work from MindValley and a great place for help with meditation and spiritual healing. We should take some time to meditate before we start our day every morning – and connect with our souls and spirit, feel gratitude for what we have now and nurture a vision for our future path.

We take the broad concepts of MindValley and summarize a few important pieces of meditation:

– Gratitude – Being grateful for all of our blessings in life such as family, intelligence, potential and inner strength and realizing the love and support that surrounds us.
– Forgiveness – Letting go of any negative thoughts and truly bringing out our inner peace.
– Daily Purposefulness – Starting each day with purposefulness and with the knowledge that we have the inner strength to make each day and every day amazing. This also incorporates being contented and happy in the present moment.
– Vision for the future – Nurturing a vision for the future and imagining all the amazing things we want to manifest in our future. We can realize that awesome vision by the theory of manifestation.

In addition to starting each day with meditation, we must constantly remind ourselves to relax conscientiously in order to enjoy all the blessings in our lives. When we are stressed out, we fail to notice the bountiful gifts of life even if they are right in front of us. We also perceive the same situation in different ways when we are anxious and when we are relaxed. Pursuing activities or hobbies or nurturing relationships with our loved ones can also help us to relax. We can implement this type of relaxation and self-control with one small step at a time. Eventually we will generate a cycle of positive events – and reap the benefits of the Domino effect – where we perpetuate the feeling of relaxation, peacefulness and inner control.

What can superfoods do to our brain? – Aging well mentally

Please check out our new video “Aging Well- Mentally” on youtube channel ‘Healthy Flamingo’

Age is just a number and we are as old or as young as we feel! This is often easier said than implemented in our daily lives. In fact, often there are two groups of people – those who feel and act younger than their numerical age and those who are the opposite. Therefore, it is not surprising that these two groups will also have different perspectives and have completely different stories to retell about their intricate journey throughout life. In fact, there is now scientific research to support the notion that feeling younger can actually make us live longer  :

Feeling young at heart may help you live longer

When we feel younger, we are more likely to keep ourselves mentally and physically heightened with pursuing all those activities that promote health and fitness. In fact, our brains are very plastic and have a natural capacity to transform throughout life – not much different from a putty dough. We can truly shape it as we like! Also neuronal connections in our brain are constantly evolving and we would lose them if we did not use them or vice versa! We can always train our brains by trying new ideas, learning new skills, picking new hobbies, new languages and challenging ourselves with new activities. There are softwares and apps now available easily for such brain teasing exercises.

Additionally, to fuel our brain and promote its maximum functionality, we can consume superfoods! We constantly read so many articles on these superfoods and it can be difficult to summarize their benefits. We attempted to group the superfoods into three categories of improved brain blood flow, improved cognitive function and those that prevent against brain diseases:

  1. Increasing blood flow through the brain – All kinds of nuts, especially walnuts and avocados are rich in mono saturated fats and promote improved blood pressure and cholesterol regulation. Beets, a great source of nitrates and dark chocolates with their healthy dose of antioxidants – promote really good flow of blood through our brains, thus improving its function.
  2. Improving cognitive function – The first superfood in this category is water and it is a no-brainer because dehydration causes the brain to shrink and inevitably affects cognitive function. Olive oil is a great source of mono-saturated fats and has been found to slow down the brain’s process of aging. The super powers of mixed berries and fatty fish, rich in omega-3 acids, such as salmon and sardines, as well as green and leafy vegetables, such as spinach all improve cognitive function – namely, memory, focus and attention. Wheat germs and eggs, being an excellent source of the nutrient choline, also enhances memory. Choline is important for the body’s production of the brain’s neurotransmitter chemical, acetylcholine.
  3. Preventing brain diseases – Regularly drinking coffee has been linked to lower rates of depression. Also, fatty fish, rich in their omega-3 acids, has been shown to significantly reduce the risks of depression, especially, among women. Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, also reduce the risks for dementia. Additionally, cancer research has shown that consuming garlic regularly can prevent against brain cancer.

 

What are you humbled and saddened by?

I am humbled by

-all that remains to be learnt

-and that we cannot ever know

-the incomprehensible vastness of space

-the beauty in all of nature’s gifts

-the inevitable passage of our times

-the mortality of our very beings

-and our fleeting existence

-the love we receive that we can never repay

-and the kindness bestowed upon us by others

I am saddened by

-the world’s pain and suffering and injustice

-the unnecessary divides of poverty and oppression

-the potential wasted in our materialistic selfish goals

-the children who will go hungry today and tomorrow

-the pointless battles that we rage against one other

-that leave us too exhausted for the real wars

-against injustice, disease, drugs, poverty

-and the destruction of our planet earth

Hosting an all Ladies Lunch

A ladylike hosting!

I had been wanting to host this for a while : “A lovely ladies luncheon”. I had envisioned a gathering of several girlfriends to enjoy a wonderful spring lunch just chatting about our favorite lipsticks or our new shoes! Doesn’t get more feminine and exciting than that for us lovely ladies!

I wanted  my friends to be able to enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. I knew I had numerous small undertakings to accomplish that would culminate in the final lovely luncheon! I prepared pretty handwritten cards to send out the invitations. Of course there were miniature diamond stickers (small and sophisticated yet noticeable) to seal my envelopes! The cards had been mailed to 14 recipients of my invitation. Everyone initially showed much enthusiasm to join, however, busy as our lives are several declined. Eventually there were 9 confirmed guests for my luncheon!

I also wanted to have little favors for all my guests who were taking the  trouble to drive over to my house. I wanted to give them something small yet feminine. I bought mason jars, decorated them and filled with little nail polishes and hand lotion.

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Several days ahead of the event, I started making a rough plan for what my appetizers would be, the main luncheon menu and what I could serve as dessert. I even researched online for cute but light delectables that could become my appetizers. I wanted to make something light yet very lovely as my dessert! I researched quite a lot and at last decided on vegetarian red velvet cupcakes made with fresh beets. I wanted my health conscious friends to enjoy the light dessert with natural red color from the beet vegetable as opposed to red food color. I finalized the lunch menu knowing that some of my guests also have dietary restrictions. I would need to have several vegetable dishes as one of my friends was vegetarian. I finally went with some roasted peppers, roasted red potatoes, and greek spanakopita. I also made flavored rice and stir-fry chicken.

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Finally the lovely day arrived.  I tried my best to ensure it would go as beautifully as planned. I woke up very early and made sure that all my hallways, living room and kitchen counters were neat and tidy. I set the lunch table with fine silverware and decorative china. The favors were labeled with each of the guests’ name  and served as the place holders.

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At the very last minute through my online research, I had learned a very quick way to turn my cupcakes into beautiful high heels. My friends absolutely enjoyed the gathering and the little simple ways that I tried to make them all happy!

 

 

 

It’s your day everyday

I try to tell this to myself every morning. No matter what may come my way I will make the most of the day ahead – that it will be my best day every single day. If you believe it then you can make it happen – faith in yourself will move mountains.

It is definitely easy to be happy and positive when things are going our way and everything around us is perfectly pleasant and nice. The challenge is to be positive when we are faced with potential problems – when everything is not going the way we planned it. That’s when the real test is – whether we can still believe in our strengths and potential.

I feel it helps in those challenging moments to make a decision and chose to make the most out of my day . I find it helps under pressure to open my heart to many possibilities, be more kind, to listen more and most importantly to catch the little glimpses of joy in simple little things to help us go through each day….