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Saturday, May 29, 2010

12 Little Instant Health Boosts

12 Little Instant Health Boosts
Minor moves that offer major benefits for your mind and body
By Alyssa Shaffer
published in Prevention Magazine

1. Giggle
Health boost: Improve blood flow by 21%

2. Brush and floss
Health boost: Cut risk of head and neck cancer by 400%

3. Brew a pot of tea
Health boost: Cut stroke risk by 21%

4. Pen a thank-you note
Health boost: Feel 20% happier

5. Hide your TV remote
Health boost: Whittle 2 inches from your belly

6. Doodle during work meetings
Health boost: Improve memory by 29%

7. Keep your doctor on speed dial
Health boost: Slash medical mistakes up to 25%

8. Squeeze your husband’s hand
Health boost: Slash stress by 200%

9. Strike a warrior pose
Health boost: Ease back pain by 56%

10. Grill some fish for dinner
Health boost: Lower risk of dementia by 19%

11. Drink milk at breakfast
Health boost: Shed 5 pounds

12. Pour a glass of Pinot
Health boost: Live 5 years longer


Read the entire article here

Friday, May 21, 2010

Learning to Unplug


World Class Performers Unplug Differently
by Michael Gervais, PhD

All of us "perform" in some aspect of our lives. For some, performance comes in the way of business, sport, or military applications; for others it might be school, relationships, care-taking, or artistic expression.

While it may be true that all the world's a stage, an audience is not actually required in order to "perform." In fact, Dictionary.com describes performance as simply, "the process of carrying out a task." Think of all the tasks you've carried out today. Believe it or not, even the most mundane of these things count; almost every activity involves in its process some form of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual performance.

In their pursuit of being the best in the world, how do world-class performers -- from Olympic athletes to Forbes-list business moguls -- manage the effort behind their particular tasks? How do they get so much out of themselves when they're plugged-in to their activity? And how do they unplug afterwards?

After spending over a decade with world-class performers, a very clear pattern has become evident: They seem to know and accept that stress is an inevitable part of life -- that it's necessary for growth and optimal performance. They also seem to understand that the recovery from stress ("unplugging") is equally important.

In the search for balance, every unit of stress needs an equal unit of recovery....

Read the entire article here

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finding Tranquility



'Tranquility' Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum

'Equilibrium, Enlightenment, and Facing Your Day,' by Arthur Rosenfeld

In psychologist Daniel Goleman's 2004 book Destructive Emotions, the writer asks the Dalai Lama whether he thinks that the Buddha's brain was organically different from that of a normal person. In a question that might well have been asked of any spiritual master from Jesus to Mohammed..., the writer is seeking to know whether The Enlightened One was made of such different stuff that he never experienced negative thoughts such as jealousy, frustration, hatred or sadness. The Lama answers, somewhat unexpectedly, (I paraphrase) that whether the Buddha's brain was the kind of saucepan that never formed a negative bubble, or whether he was able to dissolve the rising bubble of destructive thought before it reached the surface, the effect is the same.

Simply put, this means that enlightened masters are qualitatively just like the rest of us; the difference is one of quantity. Unlike those of us just struggling to get through our day … enlightened folks nip negative emotions in the bud and take life's challenges in stride. …

It's a simple takeaway, really. Honor the feelings -- just don't become a slave to them. Listen to the inner voice of calm and reason and regain control of the way we feel in the shortest possible time. Strive not to say or do anything until we're calm again. See enlightenment as a process, not some lofty, unobtainable goal.

Instead of trying to change who or what we are, let's work to liberate ourselves from the bondage unfettered, destructive emotions bring us. We want to be free, don't we? Isn't freedom the greatest promise that any self-help class, book, podcast, lecture, DVD or program can offer? Isn't it wonderful that we already have all the tools we need to escape from a prison of our own creation?

Make it a game to notice your own dance with emotion. If you do, you will have taken the first draught of the antidote to the venom destructive emotions deliver. Pay attention to how long your anger burns. Recognize for how many days your resentment smolders, your jealousy lingers, your indignation persists. Breathe. Concentrate on letting go. Tell yourself you want to be free and happy again. It's a skill, see? All it takes is practice.

Read entire article here

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fascinating! Artist's Skills Restored for $50 in Parts

“Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others.” ~Tony Quan, aka Tempt One

From Quest Magazine Online -

A Los Angeles graffiti artist with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), was the inspiration behind a low-cost, eye-controlled drawing device called the Eyewriter. For about $50 in simple components, Tony Quan (aka “Tempt 1”) has been able to resume creating his artwork for the first time in more than six years.

'Hackers and artists' join forces

Quan learned he had ALS in 2003. A well-known graffiti-style artist and social activist, in the 1980s Quan had created a distinctive form of graffiti-type art.

Quan’s disease progressed rapidly, until all he could move were his eyes. His career came to an abrupt stop and would have stayed stopped had his case not come to the attention of several people from across the country, loosely described as “a bunch of hackers and artists.”

Plans and software are free

The device consists of cheap eyeglass frames, some wire ties and copper wire, several LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and a micro video camera. Free, do-it-yourself instructions for building one can be found on the Eyewriter Web site. The hardware is used in conjunction with original computer software, also written by the Eyewriter team. The software is open source (free), too.

The Eyewriter tracks Quan’s eye movements and permits him to plot points on a computer monitor. From the points he can create letters and words that he can fill in with colors, render in 3-D if he wants, and add other features.

Like air for a drowning man

The tech team built the Eyewriter at no cost to Quan. When they first fitted it on him, in the hospital bed where he spends all of his time, he was overwhelmed. After tentatively trying the equipment out, spelling his father’s name, Ron, and seeing it projected on the wall of his room, he’s quoted as saying (by communicating slowly through an eye gaze alphabet selection device) that he felt like a person who has been held underwater for 5 minutes, then mercifully brought up to breathe.

“I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to be able to rock styles again,” Quan told a friend. Since putting the Eyewriter to work, he has participated in art shows in venues as diverse as Norway, Vienna and Tokyo.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mettā bhāvanā (lovingkindness) Meditation

As those of you following my blog know, I've been challenged with debilitating headaches after having eye-surgery to repair damage caused by a faulty champagne-cork accident.

One of the things that has really made a good difference in my life is Meditation. While I've taken meditation classes over the years (I do live in Marin County, after all), recently I've discovered a form of meditation that really works well for me: Mettā bhāvanā (lovingkindness).

Here's a couple of links you might enjoy of the Venerable Bhante U Vimalaramsi guiding you in how to practice Mettā bhāvanā (lovingkindness) meditation:






Namaste.
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