The Benefits of Walking

benefits of walking

While we all know that we should walk more, there are now even more reasons to do so.  In a study published one year ago in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487316655466  low aerobic capacity was associated with increased mortality rates.  In other words, if you don’t walk, you will die.  Of course, this study was conducted on middle aged men, however, as with other studies, one can assume that it will hold true for women as well, since other scientific studies do show corresponding factors for women.  To back this assumption, there is another study http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288042.php  completed with 340,000 male and female participants showing that 20 minutes of brisk walking per day was enough to decrease the chance of early death by 16% to 30%.

coolnsmart-373

However, there are benefits other than fitness and lower early mortality rates to consider when a person walks.  For one thing, anyone can go take a walk.  We don’t need fancy shoes, we can walk no matter what our fitness level is, and we can control how long and how difficult our walk is.  Just the very fact of getting outside does wonders for our mental health.  We can get some sun (not too much), breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature.  All these factors are a mental health boost.  Not only that, walking in our neighborhoods gives us a chance to interact with our neighbors, boosting our sense of community.

19f38df974160771f69ac9be78609c11--the-great-outdoors-walk-in

I go for a daily walk, and I find that it really helps me to be outside and getting some much needed exercise.  I love the boost walking gives me, and of course being in nature is so important to my own mental health.  Do you go for a daily walk?  Where are your favorite walks?  Do you prefer your own neighborhood or do you go to a park or a walking trail?  Have you felt the benefits of walking in your own life?  Let me know in the comments below.

ministry_silly_walks

And of course, don’t forget to perfect your silly walk!

 

Confidence

What-is-confidence

This quote is so true.  For many of us, we spend so much time trying to be something that we are not, that we lose track of who we are. I know that for most of my life I’ve been trying so hard to please other people that for a long time I lost my sense of self.  In fact, I often feel like I’m stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out who I am.  Confidence in myself is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time, as I’m sure many other people have.  By always pleasing others, I’ve come to a point in my life when I don’t really know who I am.  How do you find the confidence to be yourself when you’ve lost yourself somewhere along the way?

Screen-Shot-2015-03-11-at-8.26.27-PM

My solution to this dilemma has been to try to get back to those things that made me happy before I began trying to please others.  The longer I’ve been working on improving and changing myself, the more confident I’ve become.  Another side-effect of this is that I’ve become a lot more understanding of not only my own deficiencies, but other peoples.  I also spend less time complaining about things than I did before.  Confidence is a gift that we give to ourselves.

believe

Music and Health

2408165e9c8ebeb5cb17ae24487b7f2e

As someone who spends way too much time being depressed and suffering from anxiety about the state of the world – and other things that I can really do little about, I do my best to listen to music that is designed specifically to soothe, relax and bring about a peaceful frame of mind.  Because of this I was wondering if listening to certain kinds of music had been found to scientifically improve mood and health.  So, of course, I looked into it.

plato-music-quote-2

So, what I’ve discovered is that yes music is a valid, scientific way of improving health.  It is used in a variety of medical situations including depression, anxiety, autism, dementia, brain development and sleep disorders.  It is also used in the premature baby ward in many hospitals to help promote the growth and health of these babies.  Different types of music also enhance different feelings; for example, rock music increases the heart-rate and can either agitate or energize.  Personally, I try to usually listen to peaceful and relaxing music since I’m just a bit hyper and on edge naturally.

6c77cdf529e3e759f7c3a3dec9804fa7

Do you purposefully listen to different types of music to either energize or to relax?  Let me know in the comments below.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10673229.2011.549769

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/natural-standard/201306/music-therapy-health-and-wellness

 

 

Be Your Own Advocate!

be-your-biggest-advocate

I’ve been writing about self-education for a long time.  I truly believe that the more educated you are on a subject, the better off you are.  Do you check out the reviews of a product before you buy it?  How about ingredients on the side of a box at the grocery store?  Do you know what most of those ingredients are?  Are you the type to look something up if you don’t know?  If you are, then you’re definitely ahead of the game.

Knowing what your buying and/or ingesting is a good thing.  Finding about more about a disease you or a loved one may have is another good thing.  Educating yourself is always wise.  If you’ve got a long-term disease, keeping up-to-date on new ways to manage/deal with it is a great thing to do.

own-advocate-quote-diabetes-whatdiabetes-298x300

No one is going to take care of you.  Self-care is one of my problems.  I live I the land of denial at all times, and this has been a real challenge in my life. I’m really good at taking care of everyone else, but not so good at taking care of me.   As a quick example of this, my underwear drawer is full of torn panties.  I know what you’re thinking, but unfortunately, they were not torn in a fit of passion, they are just old. In my defense, I’m still losing weight and am waiting to drop some more to replace them with a hopefully smaller size.

Being your own advocate can be hard.  This means that you have to take responsibility for yourself, whether it be at work, at home, in relationships or with your health.  Being responsible is difficult.  However, think of the benefits (besides great underwear), you can influence in your own life.  Wouldn’t it be great to live the life you really want?  This is what being your own advocate can achieve for you.  Let me know what you do to advocate for yourself.  Let’s see if we can inspire each other!

health-advocate

Shopping

1-women-love-shopping-300x210

This week was a little different.  I went to the mall with my daughter, and this time, I came home with two shopping bags.  Yes, me, yes, two bags!  A number of years ago, my son gave me a gift card from Victoria’s Secret as a Christmas gift, and I put it away in a safe place (because that’s what you do with gift cards).  Even though I understand that it’s to a woman’s benefit to have her bra size checked every few years, I haven’t had mine checked since I first started wearing bras – more years ago than I want to remember.  I buy my bras from Walmart, and even though I’ve breast-fed two babies, gained more weight than I want to even think about, and have been feeling (seeing) the effects of gravity, I’ve still been simply guessing at bra size, throwing my shirt on, and trying to forget about it.  If you can’t see it, it’s not there, right?

Victoria's Secret

So, I screwed my courage to the wall, took a deep breath, and got sized.  You know what?  The woman who helped me was so nice, caring and understanding that I almost cried.  Yep, having someone else take care of me does that to me.  Thanks to my son’s gift card I’m now the proud owner of two bras that make me look pretty good – gravity be damned!  But, for those of you out there who love to get freebies, I also got a pretty beach cover-up and a beach tote for FREE!  So, after years of hemming and hawing, I just so happened to pick a freebie day!  Wow!

missf-2

My second bag was for a ten-dollar black sleeveless duster, much like one the wonderful, worldly wise Miss Fisher would wear.  I’ve been looking for one of these for quite some time, and found it in a store that sells everything for the princely sum of $10.00.  So, it was bargains all around.  What a great shopping experience!

d364e155c5a42ae17276ae26b3217f05

For someone who absolutely hates shopping, this was one day for the record books.  Best of all, I now know my bra size and what a well-made bra looks like, so I can purchase some better bras now.  And, I get to swan around (somewhat) like the fantastic Miss Fisher! What a great day!

The Destructiveness of Verbal (Emotional) Abuse

verbal-abuse-symptoms

There are various forms of abuse, but verbal abuse often gets ignored, and/or brushed aside as though it doesn’t really have any effects on the person who is abused.  The reason for this is that it doesn’t leave any physical scars.  There are many people who believe that if there isn’t a physical scar, it doesn’t matter.   Many women who suffer from verbal abuse are told “at least it isn’t physical”.  Since this is a common statement, it can make the victims of verbal abuse feel like it must not be happening – it’s all in their heads.

What is verbal abuse, and how can you decide if this a part of your relationship with your significant other?  Here is a definition:  “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1

Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.

https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/emotional-abuse-definitions-signs-symptoms-examples/

cropped-abusive8

There are many long-term effects of verbal (emotional) abuse that can include:  chronic pain, migraine, headaches, indigestion, bowel issues and stress-related heart conditions.  The psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, memory gap disorders, sleep and/or eating disorders, hyper-vigilance or extreme startle response, anger issues, addiction issues, irritability and/or anger issues, suicide or self-mutilation.

6c0788fcc4fe8558609ed1fd731a8e21

As you can see, being in a relationship where there is verbal (emotional) abuse has long-term effects.  The first thing you can do is figure out if you are in such a relationship.  The second thing you need to do is decide whether or not you want (need) to stay.  There should be no judgments on whether or not you decide to stay.  I understand that there are many considerations to be made.  If you’re dependent on the abuser, feel a need to stay; or whatever reason, this is your decision.  However, if you do decide to stay, being aware of the abuse is a step in the right direction.  You will no longer feel as if you’re “going crazy”, or wonder if you’re being “gas lighted”.  You will be aware, and can change your reactions to what is happening to you.

I’m leaving links in this post so that you can make yourself aware of what verbal (emotional) abuse is, what could be happening to your mental and physical health, and how you can care for yourself.  Be aware, be safe and be healthy.

emotionalabuse1

https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/verbal-abuse/effects-of-verbal-abuse-on-children-women-and-men/

https://www.7cups.com/blog/post/81/12+Effective+Ways+to+Defend+Yourself+From+Verbal+Abuse.html

https://www.californiapsychics.com/blog/mind-body-spirit/the-best-strategies-against-verbal-abuse.html

13dafeed8adf3900271533948dccce76

 

Stress, What is it Good For?

stress

We’ve all been told that stress is extremely bad for us, especially long-term stress.  The high blood pressure, the rapid breathing, the clammy hands, the shot of adrenaline that can leave us shaking in its wake.  All these things are really really bad for us, or so we’ve been told.  I recently watched Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk, and she made me rethink what I thought I knew about stress.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#t-123462

how-to-make-stress-your-friend

In the studies that McGonigal talks about, subjects were simply informed that stress was actually good for them.  That’s all.  They believed that contrary to what they thought they knew, stress was good for them.  The blood pumping through their veins was so they could think better; the adrenaline was getting them ready to respond to what was going on around them.  Once these subjects really believed this, their bodies reactions to stress changed.  So, if we believe that stress is bad for us, we can die from it.  If we believe that it’s not bad for our health, we don’t die from it.  Our beliefs can change our bodies reactions, making me think of the Buddhist teaching that we are what we think. Our body is a system, so if we can change our thinking about stress, we can change our reactions to it.  This actually gives me a great deal of hope.  I really can control my reactions, and so can you.  Make sure you watch the video, since McGonigal has fantastic things to say, and then work on changing your thinking.  You may just save your own life.

when-you-choose-to-view-your-stress-response-as-helpful-you-create-the-biology-of-courage-quote-1