The Secret to A Really Juicy, Healthy Relationship

The Secret to A Really Juicy, Healthy Relationship

What is a key ingredient to making a relationship really juicy and healthy?

Answer: Love yourself first.

Yup, it really comes down to accepting yourself, admiring yourself; LOVING yourself first. If you don’t love yourself the amount of love you have for your significant other, your job, your friends etc. will not as strong as it could be.
Know and understand that you rock.

Does it sound easier said than done?

Imagine feeling good in your own skin, owning your talents and skills and essentially who you are as you are. It isn’t vain, selfish or thinking you’re better than everyone else.

Nobody is perfect, not me, not you, not the person you admire the most. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths too. Embrace it all and be happy to be you.

Focus on your strengths and avoid getting stuck in your perceived flaws – judging what you don’t like about yourself.
You could be thinking you’re too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, not smart enough, too boring, too serious, too shy or too talkative.

STOP.

Negative self-talk and being hard on yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. Catch yourself when you’re going down that dark, nasty path.

Realize it’s more about perception and how we define things or how others have taught us to define, rate and value things in our life.

I worked on Dove’s campaign for real beauty back during my corporate career and I found it so devastating when we did a study on women and at the time only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful.

Yet I could identify with the remaining 98% of women who didn’t think they were beautiful. I certainly didn’t love myself back then but I committed to turning that around.

It took a total mindset shift from stomping out negative thoughts to thinking about what I could love about myself and what act of love I could do for myself.

It came down to better self-care. I started doing things that were good for me and my body like saying no to things that would have stretched me too thin. I chose foods that were healthier for me like more vegetables especially fennel (it’s my all-time favorite, love it with olive oil). I stopped reaching out for that pint of Ben and Jerry’s I’d be spooning into when I felt bad. I thought it would make me feel better but I’d always end up crashing and feeling tired and cranky afterwards.

So now it’s your turn. Think about what you love about yourself even if at first it feels hard. What have people complimented you on? What are you good at?

Identify one thing. Is it your hair? Your eyes? Or maybe your honesty, authenticity, warmth, courage, generosity, kindness or compassion? That’s beautiful.

Give yourself credit for being an amazing person and focus on the good in you.

Let it out and let it shine. You are an amazing person no matter what you may think or compare yourself to.

Now I would love to hear from you. What do you love about yourself? And what self-care will you commit to doing for yourself?

The Real Truth About Breathing

 

What’s the one thing you can’t live without? If you guessed oxygen, you are right. We can go without sleep, food and water for days or even weeks at a time, but without oxygen it’s lights out, game over.

 

It goes without saying that oxygen is vital for staying alive and being healthy. But how much do you actually get? If you might think deep breathing and doing deep breathing exercises are methods to get more oxygen into the body, Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage, says this just isn’t the case.

 

Breathing right has a tremendous impact on our health, our energy, stress levels and the quality of our sleep. However, many of us don’t get it right. The key is breathing through your nose, not your mouth. Practices like yoga, tai chi and qigong that focus on gentle, light breathing are the way to go. In fact, competitors at tai chi tournaments are also judged on their breathing. If judges can detect breathing too easily, points are deducted from their score.

 

According to McKeown, when we breathe deeply it’s like adding water to an already full glass. When you breathe normally your blood oxygen saturation is normally 95-99%. You don’t want it to be 100% because you want your blood to release oxygen to your tissues. Deep breathing doesn’t allow any more oxygen into the blood because it’s almost fully saturated.

 

Deep breathing is also getting rid of CO2. You remove CO2 from the blood in the lungs. The harder you breathe the more you get rid of CO2 and this, in turn, reduces it from the blood, tissues and cells and your blood vessels constrict. We actually need CO2 to be present in order for oxygen to be released into our body.

 

All the more reason to slow down your breathing. Try this:

  1. Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest.
  2. Focus on the airflow in and out of your nose. No need to force your breathing or count the amount of seconds.
  3. Aim for gentle, slow breathing.
  4. Slow it down to the point where you feel air hunger because air hunger signifies that CO2 has increased in the blood.

The body breathes to get rid of excess CO2 so the air hunger you feel when you do this exercise doesn’t mean your oxygen levels have dropped. When you work on slowing down your breathing, CO2 increases in the blood and your blood vessels open up, making you feel warmer.

 

Another great advantage of slowing down your breathing is that it activates your parasympathetic nervous system. According to research at the Stanford University School of Medicine, there is a cluster of cells in the brain that act as your pacemaker. Think of it as a pacemaker for the brain that spies on your breathing. If your breathing is fast, this pacemaker releases the information to other parts of the brain and you become stressed. If, on the other hand, you slow down your breathing, the pacemaker sends this information to the rest of the brain and it has a calming effect. When we get stressed, we breathe faster making us more stressed.

 

By changing your breathing you can change your energy levels, improve your sleep and feel more relaxed.

If you like this and want more specific resources to improve your breathing download your complimentary guide “6 Wellness Trends You Need to Know About Right Now” here.

How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Work

A new year, a new healthier and happier you! A chance to think about your hopes and dreams and take a crack at making them come true. So many things to look forward to, the year is full of promise and hope.

Do you start off the year strong taking action on your goals only to fizzle out later or maybe you just think about them but they never take off?

A friend of mine runs one of the most popular Equinoxes in NYC. He told me January is a hot month, people come streaming in to work out, but come February the gym is back to having just the handful of regulars coming in.

What sets these regulars apart from the gun-ho crowd in January?

In one word: systems. Yes, you heard me, systems not just goals or New Year’s resolutions that fall flat.

Systems are exactly what have helped me stay healthy and fit and they can help you too.

It’s what Scott Adams says propelled his career forward that lead him to his success in his career and later with his cartoon Dilbert. It was systems that got him ahead NOT willpower or goals.

One such system he adopted early in his corporate career before Dilbert was to continually look for better options in the job market. An idea he got from a businessman who had given him advice to make job searching an ongoing process, not only to be done when necessary. This businessman used systems to make it to CEO of a company.

Notice it’s about working towards something continuously and persistently.

Let’s say you have a New Year’s resolution or goal to lose 10 pounds in a couple of months. It’s a great S.M.A.R.T. goal. It’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Congrats! You’ve nailed one of the most recognized and used methods for defining a goal. I used it all the time when I was in the corporate world.

Many would say you’re odds of achieving it are even greater when you define your goals. But are they? Would you really stick to your goal and, in this case keep, the 10 pounds off? For many, losing weight usually means gaining it all back and then some.

Adams distinguishes a goal from a system. A goal is something specific you achieve or don’t in the future and a system is something you do continuously to increase your odds at happiness for the long term like your career or health.

So in the case of losing 10 pounds, you may or may not achieve it. If you change it into a system of eating healthy foods that are right for your body and leading a healthy lifestyle, it’s likely to become long-lasting and increase your odds at succeeding and ultimately being healthier and happier.

Say if you reach your goal of losing 10 pounds what then? You may feel happy and most likely will at least for a while. You’ve reached it and then you are done. I know for myself in the past this never worked. I could lose 10 pounds, but it would inevitably come back and maybe even more. I would be done with an often rigid restricting diet and, as soon as I reached my goal, I’d go off and reward myself with all the goodies I could not eat during my diet. It was hard.

With a system, Adams says when you do it on a regular basis, like eating healthy, you’ll get to a better place in life. There is no deadline, it’s just a part of your everyday life.

Kirsi Bhasin helps working women sleep, eat and live better. She contributes to The Huffington Post on Healthy Living and is an expert member of Dr. Oz’s Sharecare community of top-ranking health experts. Need to relax and take the edge off? Download your free copy of “7 Quick & Simple Ways to Relax” here.

Best Health & Wellness Podcasts You Don’t Want to Miss

If you haven’t seen or heard of these podcasts yet (they are my personal favorites) check them out:

 

 

  • Free Cookies with Kathryn Budig. Kathryn is a fantastic yoga instructor and writer. She wrote the book Aim True. If you haven’t seen my interview with her for The Huffington Post check it out here.

 

  • Thrive Global – Arianna Huffington has done it again with an incredible line up of interviews with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston who share their wisdom on living a healthier life.

The Goodness of Breaks

Do you have racing thoughts and feel like you can’t keep up? Take a break. A stressed mind is not your best bet to being focused, engaged and productive. Studies show that stress actually shrinks the brain. The brain needs breaks to function properly.

 

A study in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that employees who had designated breaks in the day reduced their stress. It also had a positive impact on blood pressure and sleep quality.

 

There are many ways to take a break, sometimes 3-5 minutes can go a long way.

Here are some ways to take a small breather from your work and put your mind on something else that will calm and make you happier.

 

  • Surf the web for some zen and happiness if you have access at work. One of my favorites is http://www.calm.com/

 

  • Talk a small walk or just stand and stretch yourself out a little. It could be to the water cooler, kitchen or to another floor. Just a 5 minute can resettle your anxious thoughts and help calm you. In addition it’s great for your eyes to get a little rest too.

The Cost of Exhaustion

My favorite book as a kid was “The Little Engine That Could”. I had my parents read it to me over and over and over again, I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to hear how the little engine overcame his fear and was able to climb the mountain by just repeating to himself, “I think I can, I think I can.”

That became my mantra – in my career, in my life. I CAN. I can have a great career. I can have a great relationship, a great social life, great health and so much more. I can have it all and it had to be perfect.

I kept moving and pushing forward to cram in all of the things I wanted. My can-do attitude got me more responsibility at work. I had not one role, not two but 3 roles all at the same time After a long day at work no matter how exhausted I was I’d rush off to see my friends or race to the gym. All day long and even in the middle of the night my mind would be thinking about all the things I needed to do now to get it all perfect now.

One day in my constant whirlwind of activity and running around I found myself in the eye of the storm. My body came to a complete halt – literally. One minute I was in a conversation the next minute I was on the floor unconscious. When I came to I freaked. In my wide-eyed shock the question, “What if I had been driving a car when this happened?” surged through my brain. The reality of I would not be here hit me hard. I could have easily lost my life and career.

What happened?

I was plain exhausted, on edge and feeling burnt out but I didn’t notice until my body gave out on me. I didn’t get the red flags earlier that something was wrong like being irritated on a daily basis by all sorts of things like small requests from people that normally would not have bothered me, having brain fog and a dilapidated memory trying to remember if I sent an email or not. Worst of all anxiety was a constant companion of mine –what if disaster scenarios plagued my mind.

If you are on the fast track to being burnt out and this sounds like you here are the first basic steps it takes to readjust and recoup:

Patience

Rome was not built in a day and neither is your life. Instant gratification is the norm today. We get texts, emails, downloads in a split second but building a career, a relationship or running a marathon don’t happen that fast.

It takes consistent effort over time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you live your life? One moment and step at a time. Celebrate the steps you are taking toward your bigger goals and dreams no matter how small or insignificant they may feel.

Taking a seemingly insufficient step forward can eventually lead you to the prize. You won’t know which one will be a home run until you have tried so keep on going.

 

Acceptance

It’s ok not to have it all perfect right now. Let go of how things should be versus what you want them to be. It’s great to have goals but there are many ways of getting there.

Think about it. The last time you achieved something in your life did it go exactly the way you thought it would? Did all the steps it took to get there go like you thought they would? Accept where you are now. Detach yourself from how you think it should be and leave other possibilities open.

 

Focus on what is truly important

Focus on what you can realistically do in one day, one week and one year. Not everyone can climb Mount Everest tomorrow but everyone can prepare to climb it tomorrow. If there is a goal or dream of yours that doesn’t light you up then scratch it off your list. Focus on what you want and enjoy.

In the book “Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters” enduringly successful people developed the habit of always choosing in favor of things which have deep personal meaning for them.

What helped me was just focusing on the top five things that were truly important and meaningful to me. What top five things are important to you and give you a lot of satisfaction and joy?

Soon after my own collapse health became a major priority for me. My experience is a good reminder of how much I didn’t know about what I was doing to my health even though I thought I had it right. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble had I known what I know now. I went back to school soon afterwards to learn more about what happened to me and nowadays I teach and write about health and wellness to help others avoid my mistakes.