Make your Kitchen Safe for your Children

Children – they are both blessings and miracles. They may be small, helpless and adorable today, but soon they will be an important of society as the next generation contributes to the world.

So what else is there to do other than love them? Yes, take care of them, feed them, play with them, and teach them how to be a good person. But most importantly, love them! No other love can compare to a parents’, and no amount of material things can equal it.

But it is not always possible to be by their side at all times. There are times when you’re not there to watch out for them. Especially when you’re working and they’re left at home. So the next best thing to do on these occasions is to make sure everything is safe for them. Especially the kitchen. Read more

The Many Reasons to Quit Smoking

I successfully gave up smoking several years ago now, and like most other former smokers, I just wish I had stopped sooner. It is not just because of all the health problems it causes and what a thoroughly anti-social habit it is (that was a major reason for me to quit),  but other factors applied as well. I am a vegan, and I discovered fairly recently that cigarettes very often contain animal products (besides the tobacco, and a great host of other harmful substances. If you ever wonder what goes into a cigarette, you may as well ask what doesn’t go into them!) Read more

Work Harder, Be Happier

This past year was my first year in the “real world” – as people call it. In the past 10 months, I graduated from college, started my first full time job, moved to a new city, got married, bought my first house, (and therefore moved again) and began the process to adopt a puppy. So, I feel like I was/have been pretty busy! However, I still don’t feel all that busy. I get to spend more time with my husband now than I ever had before. Read more

How to Be Happy in an Unhappy World

how to be happy

Do you ever feel like the world around you is just full of… unhappiness? That’s because it is. According to the CDC, in 2017, 479,000 Americans visited emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries. 47,173 committed suicide the same year, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the US (after health conditions such as heart disease and cancer as well as accidents). In 2018, nearly 20% of American adults experienced some form of mental illness; almost as many kids (ages six to 17) dealt with a mental health disorder themselves.

And these numbers are the extremes; they don’t even account for the millions of people who simply feel low-key unhappy from day to day. Sadness, stress, frustration, it’s all there bubbling under the surface, and it’s not hard to see why, especially given the current state of the world. From the pandemic to the protests, from impeachment trials to “murder hornets,” 2020 has been a tumultuous year, to say the least.

And yet, happiness is just as accessible as it has always been.

I recently watched a documentary called On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace. (It’s on Netflix as I write this if you’re interested.) This film, based on the photographer Michael O’Neill’s book of the same name, follows O’Neill as he travels the world to meet and talk with the great Yoga masters from India to Tibet to New York. The entire documentary was inspiring to me (not to mention visually beautiful), and it got me thinking about inner peace (a phrase at which I’ve previously rolled my eyes). But one concept in particular struck a personal chord. I’ll paraphrase:

Happiness, health, joy, and peace are already inside you. Instead of blaming outside influences for making you unhappy, ask yourself what you’re doing that is interfering with your own innate happiness.

What are you doing that is interfering with your own natural joy? What would you like to stop doing to give yourself more free time, to relieve you of an ongoing burden, or to improve your life in some small or big way?

The truth is that we have a good deal of control over how we spend our time and with whom we spend it, but we can get “stuck in a rut” and start believing that there is no way out. With that in mind, remember that things will never be different unless you make different choices. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you make a move toward the elusive and life-changing “inner peace.”

1. Go outside. There’s nothing like fresh air to boost your mood. Don’t have an hour to recline on the patio reading a book? Sit on the steps for 20 minutes – or stand outside your back door for five. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or time-consuming – simply take yourself outside and breathe. You might be surprised how five minutes of enjoying the sunrise can set the tone for your entire day.

2. Sleep more. Nothing drains happiness like fatigue. Sleep helps your body recover and repair itself after a day of use. It also refreshes your mind and helps you focus and be more productive the next day. Being sleep-deprived also makes you more susceptible to negative emotions. If you are one of the many people just not getting quite enough sleep, it’s time to make it a priority.

3. Exercise. I know, I know. If you don’t enjoy exercise, it can be incredibly hard to make it a regular part of your routine. But it’s key to enduring happiness. The good news is that you don’t need much to significantly impact your mood. Check out the science-based New York Times 7-Minute Workout – everyone has seven minutes! Or, maximize your time by combining exercise with fresh air and going for a quick walk on your lunch break. Your body, mind, and mood will all thank you.

4. Spend time with your family and friends. Did you know that not staying in touch with friends is one of the top five regrets that dying people have? Your social health and relationships are extremely important to your overall well-being. Even introverts need some time with the people they care about. So, take a minute to respond to that text, email, or phone call, and make an effort to get together with the people who matter to you once in a while.

Changing how you approach your daily life and being intentional about how you spend your time can make a huge difference in your overall happiness. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or energy, but it does have to take some. Find the places in your life where you can “declutter,” so to speak, and replace what you’ve been doing with something that makes you happy. When you have a solid foundation of joy, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the next unhappy event that 2020 (or any other year) throws at us.

Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

Can Music Help Your Mental Health?

 

Listening to some Leonard Cohen in a darkened room might not be the most uplifting experience and certainly there are times in our lives when we want to withdraw and listen to music that might be described as melancholy or depressing. There is evidence however that on the whole listening to music is an uplifting experience and in many instances it can be something that has a positive impact on our health and well-being. Read more

Second Hand Smoke Makes Smokers of Us All

Most of the people in the world are smokers whether they know or not. Even people who haven’t smoked in their life may have undergone passive smoking.  Passive smoking (also known as second-hand smoking) refers to the process of inhalation of tobacco smoke due to burning of tobacco products by others. Read more

Iowa House Bans E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

In a move that might send a powerful precedent to the world of e-cigarettes and vaping, the Iowa House voted 76-22 banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. One of the key points seeks to prevent vaping or e-cigarette inhaling from becoming an acceptable activity for minors. One can only imagine school children inhaling e-cigarettes inside their school buses as other children look on. Although there’s no research that proves that e-cigarettes can cause cancer, the presence of nicotine is a crucial issue as it is habit forming and addictive. As a father, I know fully well the bane of children developing bad habits. Read more

COVID-19 Safety Tips to Keep You Healthy – and Sane

how to protect from covid-19

There’s no arguing that we live in a new world – one where a simple trip to the grocery store could result in a life-threatening illness. Or so it seems if you stay on top of the latest headlines. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction with so many people disagreeing, but a few things are indisputable: first, there is a new virus out there that we don’t fully understand; second, staying home is the best way to avoid exposure; and third, most people cannot stay at home day after day, so understanding how to protect yourself is key. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and give you peace of mind while we wait for a vaccine (the ultimate goal). Read more

Defying the Odds? Superstar Smokers from Sports

The Winter Olympics in Sochi has begun and will be watched by millions of sports fans worldwide who will marvel at the athletes’ fitness, skill and mental stamina as they strive to win gold for their countries. Each competitor has their own tailor-made training regime complete with specific dietary requirements to ensure their body remains in peak fitness. Olympic athletes obviously don’t smoke; right? Actually, some of them do. Read more