Increase your happiness through your home

Want to infuse your home with a little happiness, without having to go to extremes?  There are a few mystical, even if uncommon ways to bring positive energy and personal happiness to flow through out your house.

Crystal Energy Healing

There is just something about shiny rocks that appeals to me.  Crystals are a very subtle practice, setting crystals throughout a space is believed to affect the energy of a room, and those who inhabit it.  Sure, it sounds a little crazy to think rocks can affect mood, but proponents of crystal therapy believe in the beneficial effects of placing crystals in the home.

Crystal healers recommend trying hematite to protect the home from negative energy and black obsidian to absorb any negativity from others.  Want to bring in that loving feeling? Try sticking a rose quartz crystal in the common area, this light pink crystal brings feelings of love and joy wherever it is.

DoTerra Essential Oils

Ever walk into a friend’s home or your favorite yoga studio and immediately felt a sense of belonging?  That is probably due in part to the use of essential oils.  Essentials oils can be used to create a calm and balanced atmosphere.  Diffusing oils at home can purify the air, cleanse the energy and directly affect the mood of anyone who enters.  DoTerra offers relatively inexpensive, especially when diffused, pure essential oils in wide range of scents.  Play around with different combinations or choose one of their prepackaged blends to clear away negative energy, create a relaxing environment, remove allergens and even purify the air.

Smudging

A Native American form of clearing energy in a space.  Energy can become stagnant after a while.  Some believe bad luck happens due to energy getting, figuratively stuck.  Smudging requires burning dried and fresh herbs such as sage, cedar, lavender and juniper while allowing the smoke to dissipate into the room to cleanse the energy of the space.  This process is deeply rooted in ceremony and should be researched as to how to practice properly.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui stems from how people interact with their environments.  The organization of a home, office, or personal space can deeply affect how one interacts with the world.  Feng shui practitioners believe that the space one lives in mimics the energy of the individual – so if a space is disorganized, messy, cluttered or closed off the inhabitant’s personality could mirror just that.  Start by clearing your space of junk and useless stuff.  Everything has energy in Feng Shui, so surround yourself only with items that have positive associations.  Arrange furniture so you and your guest can flow freely through the home.  There are several books on this subject but really just look around and change what doesn’t feel right to you.

To increase your personal happiness come join me for a mood boosting yoga session at Chandor Gardens every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 or at a Hiking Yoga session at LG Ranch.  For more information go to HealthyMeNow.Net or call me at 817-597-1503.  Hope to see you soon.  Loretta

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Sit and Stretch: the way to a happier you at the office by Loretta Benham – HealthyMeNow.Net

Your back and neck are screaming; your brain is swimming, you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours and you haven’t moved.  Its crunch time and it’s you and your computer for the any foreseeable future, so you wiggle in your seat and try to find a more comfortable “sitting” position. Nothing seems to work. The aches persist and you spend the rest of the day cursing your uncomfortable chair for turning on you.

How do you get relief? Try bringing some age-old wisdom into the modern work-place by doing a few yoga stretches. Stretches designed so they can be done anywhere, anytime. Taking a few moments to stretch will do your mind, body and soul some good. Not only can a few targeted poses focus your mind, but they can also help you in opening up your lungs, activating your breath, and in fact stretching your entire body without ever leaving your chair.

“Office Chair Yoga” helps combat the negative impacts of sitting by reducing muscle pain and tension and decreasing mental stress. Get started by incorporating some of these popular poses into your daily routine, right at your desk.

Headache and Eye-Strain:  Take minibreaks from your computer screen.  Refocus every ten minutes by looking out the window or around the office.

Each hour close your eyes, let your face soften then slowly roll your eyes in a circle while taking a few deep belly breaths then return to action.  For a more soothing relief, rub palms together very fast till they get warm, then place them gently over your eyes.  Softly hold them there till the heat dissipates.

Neck and Shoulders:  Neck Rolls, drop your head to one side and roll it slowly around in a wide circle, finding the tight spots, hold and breathe deeply, letting your breath release the tightness.

Angel Wings, interlace your fingers behind your head, relax your shoulders, smile, and as you breathe in stretch your elbows back, as you breath out close your elbows in front of you.  Let the tightness release slowly with each breath. Focus on opening your chest as you inhale and opening the back as you exhale. To energize the mind place the hands on the shoulder inhale and exhale at a faster pace while opening and closing the “wings”

Hands and Wrists:  Make it a habit:  Constantly stretch your hands and wrists. Place your hands in a prayer position; move in all directions pressing palms together gently. Interlace fingers bring arms overhead and rotate the hands, palms up, palms down.  Brings arms in front and repeat.  Keep your shoulders relaxed and Breath.

Sore Lower Back:  Good posture is the best place to start. Throughout the day take a moment to align your body properly by sitting up on your sit bones.  When sitting properly your spine lifts into a straight line all the way up to your head. Now round the back and slump forward.  Notice the difference?

Chair Cat/Cow:  Sit so your feet are flat on the floor.  Place your hands on your knees.  As you inhale raise your head up looking at the ceiling, arching your back.  As you exhale lower your chin to the chest and round the back, relaxing the head and neck. Move slowly, mindfully and deeply following the natural rhythm of the breath. Repeat several times.

Chair Twist:  Sit tall with your feet on the floor, hips toward the edge of the chair and your back straight. Inhale and reach your arms overhead to press your palms together, keeping shoulders relaxed. As you exhale, drop your arms down as you twist to the left, bringing the right hand to the left knee and the left arm behind you to the top of the chair, look over your shoulder. Inhale back to center, repeat on your right side.

Adding a few chair yoga poses to your day will help you stretch and strengthen your body. In just a few minutes a day, you will feel yourself getting more flexible, more focused, healthier and happier.  For even more health benefits take a yoga class or start a daily home practice.  We would love to see you at Yoga at the Gardens and/or for Hiking Yoga at Life’s Good Ranch.  For more info on class options go to: www.HealthyMeNow.net  Hope to see you soon.  Namaste, Loretta

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Give Your-Self some Love

It’s been said that we teach what we need to learn and so I write not as someone who has it all figured out, but rather as someone who is struggling to make sense of it all.

Exhausted, stressed, and irritated there just wasn’t enough of me to go around. I had been trying to do things for everyone else without taking care of me first.  I thought if I kept going, giving and doing, then one day I’d feel happy and I’d find my purpose. It never happened.

We search for happiness for our purpose, thinking that once we find the answer – that thing we are meant to do – we will find peace.  But as we look around, comparing ourselves to others, deciding what we think we ‘should’ be doing, we are rarely fulfilled and more often than not, exhausted by our efforts to fit in with the crowd.

So give yourself some love by setting the tone for your day, wake up to a soft light or a wind chime alarm.  Hit the snooze and snuggle under those blankets a little longer.  Scroll through facebo-NoNoNO

We’re at the mercy of the external world when we launch into the day without plugging into ourselves first. Before getting out of bed ask yourself  “How are you feeling today?”  Talk to yourself like you are your own best friend. If feeling a bit off, ask yourself how to get back on track. Ask what do I need to do and whatever it is, do it.

Take five minutes in the morning for meditation.  Just five minutes benefits you all day.  Meditation creates space for honesty in all its beautiful and brutal forms.  Be honest and listen to yourself, your needs.  Just listen! What makes you feel alive? What makes your heart sing? Follow whatever it is that brings you the most joy and share it with others because it is this shimmering passion that lights up the world and makes more of a difference than you can ever imagine!

Allow your perspective to shift as you spend more time with yourself.  Listen to your heart. Listen to your feelings. And that means all of them.  So pay attention, acknowledge what is present and embrace it all – embrace everything that makes you human, realize this is the only way to be.

And remember that whatever you do, you are not alone, ever. We live on this planet with billions of other people and are connected to an infinite source of love and support. We are not meant to struggle. Reach out for help and ask for what you need.  There is nothing you need to do or not do to be more or less worthy. Forget trying to be perfect and know that right now, you are perfect as you are.

If you’re anything like me – and yes, as I said, I am learning too – your mind may drift to every reason that this isn’t so, but if you can take a deep breath and look yourself in the eye with half the compassion and acceptance you so easily offer your best friend, then you’re well on your way to recognizing the truth of who you are.

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Happy New Year-Taking steps to the best year of your life!

Happy New Year – Taking steps to the best year of your life!  By HealthyMeNow.Net

Put yourself first

Loving yourself is the most crucial requirement for living your greatest life. When you feel good about who you are, you radiate an undeniable magnetic energy that attracts good things to you.

It may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help others with theirs. This metaphor for self-care accurately expresses why it is important. It says, that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others.

Encourage yourself by saying “I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others”.  It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be massively time-consuming acts. The best remedy for taking care of yourself may be a small, daily ritual; taking a half-hour for yourself to meditate, journal, or just be.  Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will pay off for you and your loved ones.

Forgiveness is freedom

Remember that forgiveness is for you and releases the ties that hold you to your past. Being forgiving doesn’t mean you’re accepting what happened or the behavior of the other person.  It means you’re extending grace in the knowledge that no one is perfect. You don’t even have to tell the other person that you’ve forgiven them. You can simply hold the forgiveness in your heart.  Allow healing to occur with these three words, “I forgive you.”

Accomplishments 2016

Sometimes our minds focus on what didn’t work. Ignore the bumps and start with the positive instead. Think back to where you were at the beginning of the year and list everything you achieved—even the small things. Remember all your positive accomplishments, write them down then place where you can see them daily to remind yourself of all the great things you did.

Lighten Your Load
It’s difficult to clearly see what needs to be done when your environment is burdened with half-completed projects, unfinished to-do lists, old files, clothes that don’t fit, and equipment that no longer works or serves any purpose.  Get ready to clean out the old and make room for the new. What could you give away? What needs to be thrown away? What are you holding on to that no longer serves you.

Give Thanks for What You’ve Learned

A sense of gratitude for life’s hard lessons means, “Thank you. I got it. Now I’m ready to move on.”  Gratitude not only means, “I got the lesson.” It also means, “How can I bless another through my experience?”

Keep a Positive Outlook

The slate is clean. Now go explore all the new possibilities for this year with an open mind and heart.

Namaste

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How to Keep Holiday Stress in Check

Relatives, parties, shopping, oh my! It’s easy to see why the most wonderful time of the year can also be one of the most anxiety-producing. Try a different stay-cool strategy each day, and from now on your troubles will be out of sight!

Instead of driving around to see your neighborhood light displays, slip on your jacket and walk.  Just 20 minutes of exercise elevates serotonin levels and with it your mood!  Or sign up for a hiking and yoga sessions at LG Ranch adding nature to the mix is gratifyingly stress busting.

Drop some coin in the Salvation Army bucket.  Giving even a little to charity activates the same “reward circuit” in the brain that lights up when you indulge in chocolate or other fun activities such as Yoga at Chandor Gardens on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm.

Just Breathe!  Breathe in for four counts, out for eight.  Don’t force the air out (that will create tension) just release.  Try this any were, at a party, the grocery store, in traffic—anytime you feel stressed.  This type of exhalation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which lowers your heart rate and relaxes the entire body.  You can experience different types of breathwork at both Hiking and Yoga or Yoga at the Gardens.

Be present.  While baking batch number 2,759 of holiday goodies, stop and take in the sights, sounds and smells of all those delicious homemade desserts.  Stop worrying about the future and take stock of the moment, brining yourself back to the present silences anxieties. Yoga at Chandor Gardens or LG Ranch can also bring you back to the present.

While out shopping, duck into an essential oil, candle or bath and body shop.  Rub on some lotion or inhale a scent.  Lavender and ylang-ylang scents are particularly soothing, but any favorite scent will do.  Every time you treat yourself, you feel more in control.  So give yourself some credit and amplify the physical stress relieving effect of pampering yourself.

Don’t forget to actually enjoy yourself this season!

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What’s In Season – October

By HealthyMeNow.net

Farmers Market -What’s in Season?

October already? It’s time for pumpkin spice and everything nice. Naturally, produce peaks at different times in different areas of the U.S., so this is a general guide to the produce you’ll likely find at farmers’ markets in North Central Texas around this time of year. You’ll find some short preparation tips for each type of produce, plus one of my quick and easy recipes at the end!

Broccoli is one of those poor cruciferous vegetables that has gotten a bad rap due to poor cooking methods (it’s no wonder kids don’t like overcooked steamed broccoli). I love raw broccoli florets on vegetable platters or in salads. It becomes totally irresistible once roasted with olive oil and sea salt. Broccoli goes great with lemon, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and other bold flavors. Select small, tightly packed florets with minimal brown spots.

Cauliflower! Roasting cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt transforms the cruciferous vegetable from bland to French-fry irresistible. You can also pulse raw cauliflower in the food processor to give it a rice- or couscous-like texture. I am skeptical about cauliflower crust pizza, but plan on trying it soon. I will let you know how it turns out!

Corn is still going strong! It’s hard to beat corn grilled in its husk, served with butter and salt. To avoid genetically modified corn, buy organic.

Cucumber doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Its vitamin-rich, hydrating qualities make it an excellent juicing ingredient. Peeled, muddled and strained cucumber makes an incredibly refreshing cocktail. Cucumber water is a treat—just soak cucumber and lemon slices in a pitcher of water.

Kale is so hot right now. I love to chop kale for stir-fries, or massage it with a dash of salt for salads, or lightly coat roughly chopped kale with olive oil and roast it for kale chips. You can also blend kale into smoothies or juice it.

Pears are generally more grainy than their cousins, the apple, and ripeness is fleeting. They are delicious, however. Pears pair well (see what I did there?) with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar in sweet-and-savory salads. In desserts, they’re lovely with warming spices, cream, honey and lemon. My fav caramelized pear with fresh cracked black pepper and blue cheese!

Pumpkins! Everybody loves pumpkin, right? As you well know, pumpkin go nicely with warming spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves (all the standard ingredients in pumpkin pie mix). Roast fresh pumpkin for savory dishes or toss it into the food processor to make homemade pumpkin purée. (The moisture content in homemade pumpkin purées can vary significantly, which is why most bakers opt for canned.)

Sweet Potatoes! I used to hate sweet potatoes! Then I tried a sweet potato mash with cream and butter, awesome! Then came sweet potato fry again a winner! I still don’t enjoy sweetened, mashed sweet potatoes, but I could live off of salted, caramelized, roasted sweet potato. I especially love sweet potato pancakes!

October in North Central Texas can also give us arugula, green beans, eggplant, persimmons, fresh peas, red potatoes, and lots and lots of fresh herbs.

West African Veggie Stew

by HealthyMeNow.net

Prep     15 min             Cook   30 min           Ready In         45 min             Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled & cut ¼ inch slices
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 quart chicken broth (vegetable broth if going Vegan)
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped spinach

Directions

  1. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes. Add raisins, cinnamon, red pepper and broth. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas and spinach. Heat through. Serve over cooked rice or couscous, if desired.

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Cleansing Nature

The next rainy day, imagine the rain washing away and cleansing your emotions. There are times when we might feel the need to wash away all of our troubles and bring brightness into our lives. Since perhaps the most cleansing substance on this earth is water, we can think of the joy rain brings as an energetic bath, rejuvenating our minds, bodies and souls. Just spend a few moments every time it rains to become aware of the healing powers of water.  As we do this we will find that the more we appreciate nature’s gift to us in the form of rain, the more we can see that a gentle rain as a strong reflective tool that has the ability to cleanse our entire self.

The next time it rains try and experience the rain with all of your senses, allowing yourself to truly understand how important each and every drop of water is. Look outside and notice how each individual raindrop seems to come down in a continual stream, consider how it takes many small accomplishments to create the whole of your existence, for nothing exists in isolation. Then you might wish to focus your attention on the sounds of the rainfall, letting the sounds of drops penetrate into the innermost recesses of yourself. Listening in this way may bring you a greater sense of connection with nature and the world around you, knowing that the sounds you hear are a fundamental part of not just the physical nourishment you require but can also nourish your spirit as well.

Intentionally using our senses to feel nature’s healing energy as it comes to us in the form of rain is an act of internal cleansing. Just as the rain physically washes over the earth and rinses out impurities and imperfections, it may also bathe our spirit in the delight that comes from knowing that we are in fact one with the world around us.

#HealthyMeNow #YogaInTheGarden #ChandorGardens

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West African Veggie Stew

West African Veggie Stew

by HealthyMeNow.net

Prep     15 min       Cook   30 min        Ready In         45 min             Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled & cut ¼ inch slices
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 quart chicken broth (vegetable broth if going Vegan)
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped spinach

Directions

  1. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes. Add raisins, cinnamon, red pepper and broth. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas and spinach. Heat through. Serve over cooked rice or couscous, if desired.

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Negative Labels

Many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation, but this can be reversed.

We live in a culture that uses labels as a means of understanding the world and the people living in it. As a result, many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation. Unless we can find a way to see the good in such a label, we may feel burdened by an idea of ourselves that is not accurate. It is important to remember that almost nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and most everything is a complex mixture of gifts and challenges. In addition, different cultures revere certain qualities over others, but this does not mean that these qualities are inherently good or bad. For example, a culture that elevates outgoing behavior will label an introvert in a negative way, calling them antisocial. In truth, the ability to spend time alone is one that most great artists, mystics, and visionaries share. Owning the positive side of this label can lead us deeper into our gifted visions and fertile imaginations.
When we look into the lives of any of the great people in history, we always find that they had quirks and eccentricities that earned them less than ideal labels from the societies in which they lived. Many famous artists and musicians were considered to be isolated loners or disruptive troublemakers, or sometimes both, yet these people altered history and contributed to the world an original vision or advances in our understanding of the universe. If we can remember this as we examine our own selves and the labels people use to describe us, we find that there is a bright side to any characterization.

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Feminine Wisdom

What makes a woman confident is her ability to call

upon her feminine wisdom.

So often in our world we tend to think of strength as a quality that arises from a place of firm determination and a will to succeed no matter the cost. Even though we might want to think of a strong woman as being defined in this way, what really makes a woman confident is her capacity for listening to her true self and being able to call upon her feminine wisdom to any situation that may arise. A woman does not need to step into an assertive role or act like a man in order to be effective at what she does—she simply needs to get in touch with her insight and sense of compassion to truly demonstrate the depth of her strength.

Listening to the feminine side of ourselves may not seem easy at first for this type of energy is something that is often overlooked in many aspects of our everyday lives. If we can connect with this part of who we are, however, we will find that there is an unlimited wellspring of strength available to us. Our capacity to tap into our intuition and listen to our inner guides, to take into account the needs of those around us, and to view a situation with compassion and love are ways that we can show the world the true power that is part of our feminine nature. When we learn to integrate this source of strength into our daily tasks and decision-making, we will find that we can be more flexible and open to the things that happen around us and more receptive to new ideas. Not only will we see the world in a different light, but we will truly start to realize the potential for this form of energy to both empower ourselves and those around us.

As we cultivate our feminine energy we can redefine the meaning of strength. By embracing our feminine power as something that is strong in its own right, we are able to use it with true assurance and determination and draw upon what truly belongs to us.

 

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