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Posts Tagged ‘positive’

You Have the Habit of Health

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

BeautifulBlueDay two of this new year. What positive habit have you incorporated into your daily routine? In my last post, I said the most effective way to add a new positive habit is to link it to a habit you already have, like reading a few lines of a book while you brush your teeth.

Today I’ll tell you about a habit that may be new for you, but it’s one that we all can benefit by implementing. A few years ago, I was having some health challenges that included severe migraine headaches. I went to see my doctor and she immediately observed I was dehydrated. It showed in my blood work and also on my skin that looked dry with deep lines appearing on my face.

Oh course she recommended drinking more water. I visualized a row of eight 8 oz. glasses of water on the countertop that I would never drink in a day. But I really wanted to relieve those headaches and not look so drawn out.

Dehydration is a condition that affects almost everyone. Our bodies are up to 65% water, so when we do not replenish the fluid that we loose naturally through perspiration and urination, a large part of us literally “goes away,” and our body suffers. If you neglected to put oil in your car, think about those grinding gears as the engine tries to function.

Now I rarely have a headache and when I do, I know the reason why. What’s the easy solution that keeps me running smoothly?

Link the habit of drinking water to a habit I already have. Every morning as I pour my cup of coffee, I pour a large glass of water and drink that down before indulging myself with coffee. After six or eight hours of not drinking while you sleep, you are especially dehydrated in the morning.

One glass down, seven to go. Whenever you use the bathroom, you are in the habit of washing your hands. Link to that habit, drinking a glass of water. Whatever goes out, must be replenished. That will add another four of five glasses per day. If you’re not releasing liquid that often, that means you’re not drinking enough.

Another way to ensure hydration is to always ask for a glass of water when you eat out and don’t leave the restaurant until you drink it all. This also works with your meals at home. Have a glass of water along with your usual beverage, especially when drinking alcohol which tends to be dehydrating.

That’s seven glasses. How can you possibly down another? As you go to bed at night, link to your evening ritual pouring a glass of water to set on your nightstand. Take a sip before closing your eyes and any time you wake up in the night. You will wake up refreshed and less dehydrated.

There, you did it!

Your choices become your habits of health.


“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” Aristotle

It’s True. It’s Blue.

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Close your eyes and imagine a calm and restful place. Mmmm. What color did you see in your mind? Chances are, a soothing blue colored your thoughts of a perfect place for respite.

Sailboat Under Blue Skies off the Florida CoastA cloudless blue sky.

Gently rolling waves of blue.

We are accustomed to associate blue with positive feelings of contentment and tranquility. That’s why the color blue is often used in the branding by companies that seek to inspire your trust in them, such as banks that want to put you at ease when dealings with them.

If you want others to feel relaxed and receptive when around you, wear blue clothing. You will appear more approachable and friendlier than if you choose to wear stoic black.

So it is with the month of August. Who doesn’t relish the comfortable days of August? The rainbow hue of blue that describes this month reminds us to enjoy the fleeting days of summer.

Relax while you can. You’ve waited all year for this time of vacation, walks on the beach hearing sounds of lapping waves, lying back in the grass to behold the immenseness of the brilliant blue sky.

It’s not too late to grasp your blue heaven on earth.

It’s true. It’s blue.


“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”    e.e. cummings



What’s New?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Can you even make it through the day without hearing this common question as a form of greeting, "What's New?" Not even considering a possibly engaging answer, your automatic reply is, "Not much."

How boring!

Couple Dining Think about it. When was the last time you experienced something "new"? 

Creatures of habit we are. Going to the same restaurants, ordering the same favorite entree every time, pairing it with the default drink of your choice.  

"But I like it," I say as I defend my selection of the Spaghetti Norma, yet again. I'm sure you have similar menu justifications.

Do you remember the first time you tried that favorite dish? I do. Eggplant, ricotta, in a luscious, rich tomato sauce. Ahh, that was something new to my taste buds.

It had to be new and different because I had never visited that restaurant before. I had never been in that city before.

So logically, new must involve an unfamiliar experience. That's what makes new so rare, so untouchable. We must experience the unknown. How much more comfortable it is to know, and to have our expectations met.

New doesn't have to be scary or uncomfortable. It's all in the way we look at new. What if new is just another word for exciting? A new restaurant in town, how exciting!

New environments breed new experiences. Pretend you've just arrived in town. With the eyes of a visitor, what looks appealing to you? You have no choice but to experience something new.

Sorry, Norma, I have a new favorite. But it won't be a steady date. There are too many new and exciting options to try.

Besides, now I have a more interesting reply to that question- What's new?


"You can't make positive discoveries that make 
your life better if you never try anything new."

— Josh Kaufman

Habit As a Mirror

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Yesterday you read an example of someone who made a habit of being gracious and grateful. Through repetition day after day, his actions became a positive habit in his life. That brings us to another unexpected consequence of habit.

Why do you shop where you do? Dine where you do? Vacation where you do? For most of us, the comfort of the familiar is a seductive lure. You know what to expect every time you go there. No unexpected surprises.

Do you remember the first time you went to that store, that restaurant, or vacation spot? Your initial experience was a positive one or you would not have gone back. The second, third and all subsequent visits reinforced your choice to return.

Something about the place made you want to come back.

How did that establishment create your loyalty? Through habit. The business set standards, carried out by their employees, for a habit of excellence. Time after time, you were pleased by their interactions with you. As a result you formed the habit of doing more business with them.

Just as the habit of being gracious mirrored the restauranteur's welcoming personality, his customers reciprocated by creating their own habit of coming back frequently. As they say, what goes around, comes around.

Habits are habit forming.


"Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."
Vince Lombardi

What Does Kindness Look Like?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

If you read my post from Wednesday, Clearly the Better Choice, I mentioned that witnessing someone else performing an act of kindness for another person can create a positive feeling in the person watching.

Why is that so? Kindness touches the emotions in a peculiar way. It reinforces the human bond with our fellow earthlings and underscores the inherent goodness present in each of us.

When we watch kindness expressed, our own goodness is intensified causing a surge of mood enhancing serotonin to the brain. Just like watching a feel good movie, when tears well in your eyes, you are expressing appreciation for the positive portrayals of the actors. The tears come in combination with a smile.

This week, an act of kindness by my husband, touched me and all the people involved. While at a shopping mall, he choose to find a comfortable chair and people watch instead of walking through the stores. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

In the center court of the mall, tables were set up and volunteers began carrying boxes to the staging area. Along the side corridors, long lines of children and adults began to assemble.

As the boxes were opened, he saw they contained backpacks imprinted with words like knowledge, success and kindness. A local radio station was sponsoring a backpack giveaway for needy school children and the volunteers had a big job ahead of then unpacking and distributing the bags full of school supplies to the waiting crowd.

Without a thought, Keith sprang to his feet and offered to move more boxes out of the storage room so the others could unpack them onto the tables.

Noticing his color was not the same as the rest of the group, the person in charge asked him with an expression of surprise, "Are you a volunteer?"

"I am now," was his reply. He and the other volunteers smiled broadly, and the cooperative effort was quickly completed.

Sure Keith felt good lending a hand. And the group distributing the backpacks was enjoying the high of compassion as each child got to choose their own red or green or black backpack. The school children felt proud to carry bags emblazoned with positive values.

And I felt those tears welling up as I smiled too- must be the effect of the serotonin.

Kindness, pass it along.


"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.
Princess Diana

Clearly the Better Choice

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Imagine two glasses, one holding clear water, the other coffee. Think of the glass of clear liquid as your mind.

            You are relaxed and happy.

            The sun is shining.

            You are surrounded by positive, uplifting people and circumstances.

            Nothing clouds your clear, positive outlook.

This is also you, the dark coffee, on another day. You wake up, turn on the television, and watch the daily news. The airways are full of disasters, tragedies dramatically related by the news commentators. You can’t take your eyes away. Your mood darkens.

On the car radio you are reminded again of everything that went wrong in the world, and in your local community. Even the weather forecast is foreboding. Chance of showers, partly cloudy. A furrow appears in your brow.

Later in the day, the newspaper arrives complete with photos of the events you’ve heard about on TV and the radio, and a downward sloping graph of the daily stock report.

The people around you complain of their aches & pains, their marital problems and computer viruses.  Ugh! The cloud hanging over your head gets darker & darker.

Noticing your mood, a friend offers a positive compliment about how you look today. That felt good, but no visible change in you mood.

You notice an act of kindness, someone helping an old lady across the street. You manage a positive smile. Did that change your outlook?

Your phone rings. It’s an old friend you haven’t heard from in years. Your conversation is filled with the fun of the good old days. Little by little, you see some improvement.

Before falling off to sleep, you read a chapter from an uplifting book. A sigh of gratitude leaves your lips as you fall asleep.

The positive influences are making a noticeable difference.

I’m reminded of a Bible story, I’m sure you’ve all heard, on the subject of sowing & reaping. When I first heard it as a child, I thought, what’s this got to do with my life?

I’m no farmer.

When I heard it later, as an adult, I heard it another way. Or maybe I was ready to hear it another way.

The freshly tilled, fertile soil, when planted with corn, will grow corn. If wheat is planted, the soil produces more wheat. If nettles are planted, that’s what will grow.

The farmer expects to get out of the soil what he puts into it- that’s the law of nature. The soil does not care what the farmer plants. Its job is to make it grow, to produce more of what is put into it.

This fertile soil is akin to our fertile minds. Whatever we plant in our minds, our minds set out to make it grow- to produce more of what is put into it. Maybe I am a framer after all. You are too.

If we put into our fertile minds the “nettles” of negativity, the photos, the words, the TV images, the gossip and negative comments, how can we expect to feel good? Planting nettles will not harvest a bumper crop of sunflowers.

How can a positive result be produced by ingesting negativity?

It never will.

Even by adding positive events, it takes many more positives to counteract a negative attitude. It takes much more positive energy to overcome feeling of anger and sadness.

Remember your crystal clear, positive mind? It takes only a little dark negativity, like a tiny bit of poison, to start to darken your positive mood.

Don’t plant nettles is you don’t want the prickly result.

Take yourself away from the negatives influences in your life.

The difference will be clear.


"Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.
Thomas Szasz

If You Can’t Say Anything Good

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

We recognize in others what we do not like in ourselves. When I first read that statement, I thought it was untrue. At that time, I also tended to be critical of the perceived faults of others. Faults I certainly did not have.

Looking more deeply into this idea, I decided to observe my thoughts for a day and question the hypothesis that I was merely seeing myself in others. I had to think about what I was thinking about.

That takes some major attention, to be an observer of yourself, like a tag along friend- or foe. Keeping track of a brain full of criticism, pettiness and disdain has a way of turning those feelings inward.

Like the proverbial battle of the angel on one shoulder and devil on the other, as soon as I noticed a critical thought, I would reprimand myself for thinking that way. This clash of egos was not supplying useful information for my experiment. 

I began again and set aside self scrutiny in favor of simple observation, as if I was watching an actor in a movie. That perspective allowed me to decide if the heroine in my movie was a likable character or a villain.

As a thought popped up, "What a messy person," I noticed it, and immediately asked myself if messiness was an issue for me. Oh, it certainly has been and I feel disempowered whenever the clutter in my life builds up.


Try it again.

"He is wasting time, not getting anything done." Any identification there? Wicked procrastination. That brought up feelings of frustration I have experienced.

We recognize in others what we do not like in ourselves.

It's making sense now…. and providing the opportunity to turn observation into understanding my our own motivations.

We also recognize in others what we like about ourselves.




Reinforce your positive self image by seeing your reflection in the inspiring faces you meet.


        "If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much  more than you can by talk."
 Robert Baden-Powell

What Color Is the Rain?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Is it raining where you are today? If it is, check what color you’re wearing. Akin to the sensation of Seasonal Affective Disorder, weather induced mood changes often determine the color of clothing you reach for in your closet.

Before moving to the Sunshine state, my husband’s favorite color and normal color of choice for his shirts was yellow. It suits him. He’s a sunny kind of guy. He owns twelve yellow shirts, last count.

If the day was cloudy and dreary, he would put on a blue shirt instead of his usual yellow. Not a conscious choice, mind you. He was just experiencing a less than sunny feeling and acting on that feeling by picking blue to wear. No wonder he dreaded rainy days.

Thankfully, he had me to make this observation and call it to his attention. (You’re welcome, dear.) Now, on a rare rainy day, he says he must wear a yellow shirt to counteract the gloominess of the weather. Ah, a color victory!

How do feelings about colors show up in your life? The two most commonly worn colors on rainy days are gray and black. Not exactly party wear, these two hues of gloom are not flattering to the face or uplifting to the psyche.

To create a base color for your wardrobe, these basics are fine, as long as you add more color when you wear them. As a singular color, you’ll look as dull as the Grim Reaper and boring to boot.

That’s not the real you, even on a rainy day. It’s great to feel the color you wear if it means something positive to you.

If the color’s meaning produces a negative feeling for you- Here’s a tip for success- Don’t wear that color!


"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. "
Gilbert K. Chesterton

How Is Your Immunity?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Have you ever asked someone, “How are you today?” and they actually told you? If that's the case, it probably wasn't a positive response.

I once knew a woman who was always eager to share her pain. Most of the time, I listened and nodded with an empathetic look on my face. After our conversation I would feel emotionally drained and feeling down myself.

Eventually, I learned to no longer ask that leading question and began the conversation by complimenting her on how well she looked.

That simple shift of perspective would often lead to a more positive interaction. She felt better about herself and I felt relieved by not being part of her negative focus. If our conversation eventually returned to irresolvable health matters, I excused myself until our next meeting.

There is a fine line between feeling empathy for others and protecting your own well being. Contagious negative energy spreads faster than the common cold.

Of course you cannot live in a social bubble, especially in this age of immediate communication and interactions with a global community. Purveyors of doom and gloom are no longer limited to face to face conversations. 

When you are exposed to the viruses of pessimism, disdain, and intolerance, your resistance is weakened.

So how do you build up your immunity from the disease of negativity?

  •    Realize everyone creates their own reality. Do not adopt someone else's reality.
  •    Offer a proactive solution to the problem. Be prepared to be ignored.
  •    Smile and say a prayer for them.
  •    Walk away (or Unfriend).

Any interactions affecting your well being, be your own best friend and protect your positive attitude.

You deserve to feel great!

The Uniform of the Day

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Do you find yourself always reaching for the same pieces of clothing day after day, a uniform of the day? Go ahead, open your closet door. Notice the things you never wear.

We are often tempted by a luscious sweater or an attractive jacket. Maybe it's even on sale. We say, “Sure, why not? It will go with something”, only to get it home, hang it up, and never wear it. 

Is it the fit?

The style? 

Or the COLOR?

Color speaks a language that only our subconscious mind may hear. The color that caught your eye in the store may be delicious or dramatic, but if it doesn't  feel right on you, it will never see the light of day.

Color is all about the feeling it evokes when you wear it. A pleasant childhood memory of a color, or a compliment you received when you wore a color, will give you a positive feeling. When you feel positive, you look great.

Naturally, a negative memory or experience surrounding a color will give you an uncomfortable feeling and you won't look or feel your best.

Start your color exploration by removing the items you have not worn in awhile for later scrutiny. With the clothing you have left in the closet, your “favorite” items, begin to organize them by color.

Use the color wheel above as a guide to organize warm and cool colors. Put neutral colors of whites, browns and blacks at one end. Do you see a color pattern emerging? Are your favorites mostly one or two colors?

This is telling you that you're drawn to certain colors; they probably make you feel good when you wear it.

If your closet is filled with neutral shades or all black, then you haven't yet discovered the colors that truly make you sparkle.

Tell Me More

Mary Ellen Lapp reveals how the colors we wear, and the colors that surround us, even the color of the car we drive, impact out self image and affects how we are seen by the people around us.

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Feel Great in Color!