Welcome to my February 2009 Newsletter.
Interesting times we are living in. For those of you who are interested in Astrology and maybe even for those of you who aren’t, we are currently experiencing a strong aspect, the square of Saturn and Uranus. Without going into all that this entails, I find it interesting to note that the last time we experienced this particular aspect was in the late 1960s. And weren’t those interesting times. Even if you weren’t around to experience them first hand, everybody has a pretty good idea of just how interesting those times were.
I’ve felt, at least here in the U.S., a similar energy and a similar dissatisfaction with the establishment, an unpopular war and our government; but along with that dissatisfaction is the beginning of hope. Back in 1968 a great man, a great black man with a dream was assassinated; 40 years later in 2008 the U.S. has elected it first black president! Whether he will turn out to be great or not remains to be seen, but regardless, what an amazing transformation has taken place. A transformation that I feel is linked with that dream from 40 years ago and a transformation that should give all who want change, whether that change is within themselves or their world, hope that the change they seek is possible. [visit www.newhypnotherapy.com if you feel that you could use a little help incorporating the changes you seek]
Well, what would a February newsletter be without some mention of Valentine’s Day?
According to Wikipedia, the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas. The association estimates that, in the US, men spend in average twice as much money as women. Now, I found that little fact interesting.
Those of you who have been reading my newsletters and articles for the last couple of years know that I don’t like Valentine’s Day and I tend to get up on my soap box to complain about it. Well, not this year! I figure you are all tired of reading my tirades about it. So, this year I am focusing on LOVE, what a wonderful thing it is and how varied and unique it can be.
First, some general definitions for Love:
A strong positive emotion of regard and affection; "his love for his work"; "children need a lot of love".
Any object of warm affection or devotion; "the theater was her first love"; "he has a passion for cock fighting".
Has a great affection or liking for; "I love French food"; "She loves her boss and works hard for him".
Get pleasure from; "I love cooking".
A deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction; "their love left them indifferent to their surroundings"; "she was his first love".
Maternal love for a child.
Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests (love for his old schoolmates).
Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion (love of the sea).
Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) the fatherly concern of God for humankind or (2) brotherly concern for others.
A score of zero in tennis or squash; "it was 40 love".
And these are just a very few of the numerous definitions I found when searching for the perfect definition of Love. I’ve reached the conclusion that perhaps there isn’t a perfect definition of love (because I think it is constantly changing) but with Valentine's Day being a symbolic celebration of love and all, I think it is important to mention that each and every one of us is here to experience love. And that experience of love occurs in a variety of ways including heartache, healing, romance, sex, trust, admiration, affection, devotion, faith and even just simply enthusiasm. Valentine's Day should be for every person whether single, dating, partnered, married or alone.
The message of Valentine’s Day really should be that you need to be in love with you; understand and embrace that you are uniquely perfect just as you are. Make the day special, do something for yourself that you love to do or for someone else if that gives you pleasure; call the people you care for, your friends, kids, family, best friends, lovers and tell them you love them. Volunteer at an animal shelter or a homeless shelter if that feels right to you. Take a long bubble bath, run with you dog, hug you cat. Remember one crucially important thing, Love is contagious, so why not spread it around
Last year I included a link to a video about a woman and the lion she rescued. This year my gift of love to each of you is also a short video. It only takes a couple of minutes to watch and it still makes me get a little teary and smile when I think of it. So, enjoy my gift of love to you:
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
I’ve brought back the poetry section for this issue because this just seemed appropriate.
Everyone You Love Can't Love You Back
Everyone you love can't love you back,
Every falling leaf can't be caught.
Some drifting clouds must pass away.
Same winging sparrows must end their flight.
So, often the portrait is found to lack
As beauty fails to be when sought.
And often sorrow seems to stay
And thicken in the dead of night.
But, still and all, a few will find
Love, and solace and peace of mind.
A few you love will love you too,
For a few drifting clouds must fill the blue.
December 11, 1969
By Linda A. Copp ©
In honor of Valentine’s Day:
- Top Foods to Put You in the Mood
Just about every food you can think of has made the aphrodisiac hit list at one time or another -- and most of it is bosh. But not quite, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Age-Proof Your Body. Although there's no proof that any food will consistently boost desire, there is definitely something seductive about these five:
Bright foods — If someone's diet is a junk-food debacle, their love life may be, too. That’s because the quality of sexual experiences fluctuates with overall health, says Somer. But reversing the effects of poor nutrition improves energy, mood, and even conception rates. And since brightly colored fruit and veggies are the most nutrient-packed foods you can eat, consuming the recommended nine-a-day could rev up your sex life.
Lite foods — Men with romance on their minds should think low-fat. University of Utah School of Medicine researchers found that testosterone levels plunged 50% in men after they drank a rich milk shake containing 57% fat calories.
Chocolate — This melt-in-your-mouth delectable has been called irresistible, wicked, and divine -- no wonder eating it makes us think of other pleasurable indulgences. But there's actually a possible scientific explanation for its effects. "Chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine or PEA that stimulates the nervous system, increases blood pressure, and makes your heart beat faster -- creating feelings similar to being in love," says Somer.
Alcohol — Wine and liquor may rate as love potions because alcohol depresses higher brain centers, suppressing anxiety and inhibitions. But there's a hitch: More than one or two drinks slows arousal and increases clumsiness. Oops. Even Shakespeare wrote about alcohol's double-edged side: "It provides the desire, but it takes away the performance."
And, yes, oysters — The belief that oysters boost fertility has some basis in fact: Just one usually supplies the daily requirement for zinc, a trace mineral that's essential for conception. Even a brief shortage of zinc impairs ovulation in women and reduces semen and testosterone in men. However, while getting the recommended 15 milligrams of zinc a day will help sustain normal sexual function; larger doses will not turn a couch potato into Casanova!
- Make a Happy-Friend Date
This weekend, have lunch with a good-natured pal. It could have far-reaching benefits for your mental health. Research confirms -- and quantifies -- it. Your chances of becoming happy increase by at least 15 percent if someone in your immediate social circle is happy. Yep, it seems that happy people can spread their feel-good vibes far and wide; the same way a ripple spreads through a pond. Not only do immediate friends matter, but friends of friends, too -- more so if they happen to live close by. Of course, the study findings don’t mean you should ditch unhappy friends or family members. Instead, remember that the road to happy is a two-way street. You may spread happiness to downtrodden pals by feeling upbeat yourself.
The rest of these health tips are about staying fit in ways you can incorporate every single day and suggestions on how to overcome our natural resistance to working out.
Slimming Secret: Tap Your Foot
Having trouble getting back to healthier eating habits after all the holiday cooking? Tapping your foot could help keep the extra calories from expanding your waist. It may sound silly. But check out the numbers: Whether they were leg bouncers, toe tappers, or thumb twiddlers, people in a study who had a habit of fidgeting burned, on average, nearly 350 extra calories per day! It’s true: Fidgeters are more likely to stave off weight gain from extra calories. (This might also explain why so few 6-year-olds have a weight problem!) One truly fidget-prone person in the study burned a whopping 700 extra calories per day. You don’t have to tap your toes to get the job done. Doing just about anything besides sitting still counts -- maintaining your posture, turning pages, or regularly lifting a glass of water to your lips -- but the more active you are, the better. Of course, one of the best ways to increase your daily calorie use is to exercise regularly. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Hide the remote and get up to change the channel. Walk whenever you talk on the cell phone.
Burn calories without even trying with this no-workout workout.
The No-Workout Workout
Ah, the end of another busy day. Your workday is over, your errands are done, and dinner is slowly digesting in your belly. You sit back on the couch to take in the news of the day or the latest scores before heading to bed. But what about your workout?
At this stage in the game, it's easily the last thing on your mind. Wouldn't it be great to get home from a busy day and already have completed your workout? You bet it would. And RealAge can show you how to do it. The key is to realize that exercise doesn't have to have its own separate time slot. You can get your workout in just by adding a few quick and easy movements to your existing daily routine. Simple actions, such as taking the stairs or lugging your groceries to your car, can help you tone muscles and burn calories on the go.
With these 7 simple exercises, you may discover that you're already exercising without even knowing it!
Build up to 30 minutes of these activities and you'll be meeting your minimum daily exercise requirements for good health. Over 60% of U.S. women do not get 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
Strengthen your stomach while you sit in a chair, whether you're at your desk or at home on the couch.
Muscles worked: abdominals. Aim for 4 minutes.
Starting point: Seated, back straight, arms at sides, hands gripping the bottom of the chair, feet flat on the floor, knees bent and over toes, legs pressed together.
Action: Lift your knees straight up, keeping the bottom of your feet parallel to the ground. Exhale while you lift your knees and inhale as you bring your feet back down to the floor. Complete 1 set of 10-12 repetitions.
Tip: For extra workout points, keep your back off the backrest and do not lean heavily on your arms
Chair crunches with a twist
Muscles worked: internal obliques. Aim for 4 minutes.
Starting point: Same as regular chair crunches, except instead of gripping the chair, clasp your hands behind your head and push your elbows out to the sides.
Action: Lift your left knee straight up. As you do so, twist your upper body to the left side until your right elbow meets your left knee. Return to your starting point. Repeat, only this time lift your right knee straight up and twist your upper body to the right until your left elbow meets your right knee. Complete 1 set of 5-6 elbow-to-knee touches per side.
Firm your upper body while you run errands, shop at the mall, or walk in your neighborhood.
Grocery bag curls
Muscles worked: biceps (upper arms). Aim for 5 minutes.
Starting point: Standing or walking, arms straight down at your sides, palms facing forward, grocery bag handle gripped in one hand.
Action: As you walk, every time you step with your left foot, bend your arm at the elbow to lift your bag up to chest level; straighten and lower your arm back down every time you step with your right foot. Complete 1 set of 10-12 reps. Switch hands and repeat with the other arm.
Tip: Keep your wrist straight and your elbow directly beneath your shoulder with each curl.
Quick Tip: Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes and a pair of sweat socks in your car at all times.
Grocery bag rowing
Muscles worked: deltoids (shoulders). Aim for 5 minutes.
Starting point: Standing or walking, arms straight down at your sides, hands in front of your thighs, palms facing your thighs, a bag handle gripped in each hand.
Action: Pretend that there is a "golf club" connecting the bags in your hands. Lift the golf club up toward your chest, bending your elbows out to each side as you lift. Complete 1 set of 10-12 reps.
Tip: Keep your hands about 3 inches in front of your body as you lift
Tone your lower body while you are standing in line at a café or movie theater, or waiting for your ride.
Muscles worked: adductors (inner thigh). Aim for 4 minutes.
Starting point: Standing, weight on left foot, right leg extended in front of you until the toes are resting on the ground about 10 inches in front of your left foot.
Action: Slowly sweep your right toes to the left, beyond your left foot. Use your inner thigh muscles to pick your right foot up and move it back to the starting point. Complete 1 set of 10-12 reps for each leg.
Tip: Keep your knees straight and your weight on your stationary foot.
Muscles worked: abductors (outer thigh). Aim for 4 minutes.
Starting point: Standing, weight on left foot, right knee bent with right foot setting on a stable 4- to 6-inch rise (such as a stair step or a sidewalk curb), hands on hips. Action: Slowly straighten your right knee so that you are lifting your weight up onto the step or curb. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly lower your weight back onto your left foot. Complete 1 set of 10-12 repetitions. Reverse legs and repeat.
Tip: When using a step, stand sideways so that your feet are parallel. When using a sidewalk curb, safety first! Choose a sidewalk curb that is not near traffic.
Muscles worked: gastrocnemius, or gastroc (calves). Aim for 4 minutes.
Starting point: Standing, legs straight, feet one inch apart.
Action: Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the ground as high as you can, and then slowly lower your heels back to the ground. Complete 1 set of 10-12 reps.
Tip: Keep your legs straight but don't lock your knees.
If you make it a habit of slipping these seven exercises into your daily routine, you may begin to notice improvements in your strength and endurance after only a few weeks. And don't forget to complement your RealAge No-Workout Workout by mixing in more moderate to vigorous activities — such as walking, swimming, biking, or jogging — whenever you can.
When you think of exercise as a separate activity, it's easy to find a million excuses to leave your workout gear in the closet. You slept in a little. You worked late. Your commute was extra long. You didn't feel motivated. You had to run to the post office, the bank, the store. Bad weather. Maybe tomorrow . . . Anytime is a good time for exercise. So wear comfortable shoes and take on your day and your workout at the same time.
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