Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Monday, November 19, 2018

9 Proven Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain!

Amy Keating, M.S., R.D., Guest Author

For all the joy—and delicious food—that the holidays can bring, the time can also be somewhat stressful if you’re watching your weight or managing a health concern, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

You don’t want to make food the enemy, but it’s good to play a little dietary defense. These are the tips I give to others and use myself to keep on track.

1. Stock the fridge. It’s true that the holiday season and tempting treats go hand in hand, but you probably won’t be faced with them every day. If you have plenty of healthy ingredients—vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fruit—you’ll have an easier time making your meals extra-healthy. That will help offset those gingerbread cookies or that slice of pumpkin pie.

2. Have a food gift strategy. You don’t have to immediately eat all the cookies, breads, and chocolates that friends and neighbors deliver during the holiday season. Many goodies freeze well, so you can enjoy them over the next few months rather than the next few days. If possible, divide the treats into individual portions so that you only defrost as many servings as you need.

3. Don’t skip breakfast. It’s a common practice to skip early meals on a big day of eating, fasting in advance of the dinner ahead. But this approach has a high probability of backfiring; people often end up overeating later. Instead, opt for a sensible morning meal—say, oatmeal, yogurt, and a piece of fruit—and if your celebration is in the evening, eat a light lunch midday. The last thing you want is to show up to dinner starving.

4. Start with a drink … of water, that is. Your brain sometimes has trouble distinguishing thirst from hunger, so at parties and holiday dinners, sip a glass of water before you have a cocktail or eat anything. And if you do drink alcohol, stick to one or two, sipping a glass of seltzer between each one. That will keep you hydrated and slow your intake. Or try a spritzer: Mix half red or white wine and half seltzer or club soda in a glass. Add a slice of lime and you have a festive drink with half the calories and alcohol.

5. Be smart about appetizers. At cocktail parties, stick to three or so items (or six if the appetizers are doubling as dinner) to keep calories in check. Skip the fried foods and go for items like shrimp cocktail, vegetable-stuffed mushrooms, or hummus and veggies. Before holiday meals, go easy on the munchies. Do you really need to eat 5 ounces of cheese and then sit down to dinner? If you’re the host, you have more control over what’s being served, so try putting out something small and healthy—such as nuts, olives, or a crudités platter—for people to nibble on with drinks.

6. Survey the buffet. Many holiday meals are served buffet style, with a variety of dishes on offer. The typical advice is to have a little taste of everything, but there’s some research that shows this can leave you feeling less satisfied. When you’re exposed to too many different flavors in a meal, you don’t feel as full as quickly, and you eat more. My tactic is to choose two or three favorite foods, especially those I don’t get to enjoy year-round. Food is so much a part of the season; this way the meal feels special and I don’t feel as though I’m missing out.

7. Eat your veggies first at your meal. You’ll fill up on foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals and lower in calories, leaving less room for less unhealthy stuff. It doesn’t need to be boring, though. For instance, if dinner is at your house, try making the first course a festive seasonal salad, with goodies like pomegranate seeds, clementines, toasted nuts, and candied citrus peels mixed in with the leafy greens.

8. Make some simple swaps. There are all sorts of ways to insert healthier ingredients into your meal without sacrificing much by way of flavor. For example, use balsamic vinegar and olive oil instead of store-bought dressing, which is often high in sodium. Yogurt can replace sour cream in creamy dips or on baked potatoes. Blend cauliflower into your mashed potatoes. Have stuffing or a roll and butter—but not both.

9. Take a walk between dinner and dessert. For some families (mine included), this is a holiday tradition. It’s a nice way to bond with relatives and helps you sneak in some activity. But it also does more. It takes some time for the brain to recognize how much you’ve eaten. If you go straight from the meal to dessert, you may not realize how full you actually are—and you’ll probably enjoy dessert more if you aren’t completely stuffed.

Larry’s NOTE: This article also appeared in the November 2018 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.

© Copyright 2018 by Amy Keating, M.S., R.D. Amy Keating is a registered dietitian and have been evaluating food products and providing nutrition advice at Consumer Reports for over a decade. She is passionate about getting her kids to eat healthfully, and she loves growing, cooking, and even composting food!

BONUS Article: 7 Strategies to Survive the Holidays When You’re Hurting

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

7 Strategies to Survive the Holidays When You’re Hurting

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Holidays,Personal Growth,Relationships — Larry James @ 10:30 am
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Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors

• My wife is having an affair. It hurts.

• I wonder if we’ll make it to next Christmas. I’m so sad. This could be our last holiday together.

• I want to divorce my husband, but I have to wait until after the holidays. The anxiety is killing me.

• This is the first year since we split. Everything’s changed. It’ll never be the same.

• My kids are going to be with my ex for the holiday. I feel so lonely.

• As a relationship therapist, these are the kinds of things I hear from individuals and couples in my practice.

• The holidays can be incredibly painful when you’re hurting.

In your mind’s eye, you picture everyone else having a jolly time – cheerful and excited; enjoying the holiday season; decorating; cooking; singing; giving and receiving gifts. Yet you are suffering. You feel so alone. You may have sad or anxious thoughts, such as:

• There is nothing to celebrate this year.

• I’m so depressed; I just want to stay in bed.

• I don’t want to decorate.

• I’d like to go to sleep and wake up when it’s all over.

• I’m going to skip the holidays this year.

• I’m so isolated.

I want you to know that although you feel alone, you are not. There are many people who feel sad, depressed, or anxious this time of year.

When life is on the upswing, the holidays may bring added joy and happiness. But when that’s not the case, the holidays may highlight your unhappiness and distress, especially if you are facing the loss or potential loss of a significant relationship.

After all, the holidays are not really about the gifts, the songs, or the pretty decorations. They are about the relationships we have, the people we are giving to or receiving from. They are about sharing the songs and the decorations with others, about eating the latkes or drinking the eggnog together.

I recall one of the times I hurt during the holidays. I grew up in Baltimore. My dad was a cardiovascular surgeon who specialized in emergency medicine. Several years after my parents’ divorce, my dad was offered an opportunity to develop an emergency trauma center at the University of Oklahoma, similar to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. I understood why he couldn’t pass up this opportunity, though it meant he would live 1,334 miles away. He left. As a going-away gift, I gave him an album with pictures of me and my siblings.

It was hard that first year. I went out to visit in December. He and my stepmother hadn’t made any close friends. So, for the holidays they had an “orphan’s dinner.” They rounded up people they worked with and neighbors who didn’t have family locally and invited them to bring a dish to the dinner – and they had to dress like orphans. It was actually fun and we had a very nice time. It’s one of the memories that has stayed with me. I admired the creativity. Instead of focusing on their loneliness, they created a new tradition, which went on for years.

If you are hurting because your relationships are not on solid ground this year, you have some choices to make. You have some control.

Here are seven strategies to survive the holidays when you are hurting:

1. Accept Your Feelings

Sit with your feelings and acknowledge them. Even the most intense feelings will lessen over time. After unthinkable losses, people are more resilient than they imagine. In my practice, I’ve journeyed with people for 25 years through tremendous hurts and losses, through the most painful periods in their lives. I’ve had my own share of pain and losses, too. We can’t imagine surviving them until we do. And then we thrive once again.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

At difficult times, we are more likely to think negatively, to criticize or berate ourselves. Thoughts start with, “If only I had …”; “I wish I would have …”; “I’m worthless because …”; “I’m a failure because …” Validate your feelings; they’re real. But don’t stop there. Work on changing your thoughts to more positive ones.

Ask yourself, “If my child or best friend was saying these things, what would I tell them?” Tell those things to yourself. Love and embrace yourself and your inner child.

No to stress! 3. Take the Stress Off

Often, we put pressure on ourselves, especially when it comes to cooking and gifts. Do you:

•  Think you should make every dish instead of asking others to bring something?
•  Believe all the dishes and desserts should be homemade from scratch?
•  Obsess about getting the “perfect gift”?
•  Spend more money than you can realistically afford?
•  Wrap every gift meticulously?
•  Go overboard on cleaning and decorating?
•  Feel you have to attend every function you’re invited to?

Take the pressure off. These are things you can control. Buy some ready-made food. Ask others to bring a dish or dessert. Get the “good enough” gift. Do less decorating, wrapping, cleaning. Or say, “I wish I could host this year, but I can’t.”

When you are hurting, reach out to friends or family for support, even if you have to push yourself.

4. Connect with Others

When you are hurting, reach out to friends or family for support, even if you have to push yourself. Feeling connected to others is often what soothes our pain. Go to some of the events you’re invited to, even if you stay for only a short time. Remind yourself the holidays are about sharing with others.

5. Start New Traditions

The one thing we can count on is life always changes. Eventually, all traditions end. Kids grow up, marriages end, a family member passes away, and your children start their own families. Traditions feel good because they are familiar. They reassure us that the world is safe, that there is something we can count on. Many of us don’t like change, but none of us can escape the fact all traditions change eventually.

6. Help Others

One of the best ways to not feel isolated is to volunteer where others need help. Work in a soup kitchen, serving meals to people who are poor or homeless. Find a charitable or religious organization in your community and attend an event to pitch in. Volunteer at a hospital.

These acts of kindness not only help the community, they serve to remind you that you are not alone and there are people who have suffered (or are suffering) more than you. This is not meant to invalidate your own suffering, but to remind yourself that pain is a part of life – and it will pass. Helping others may give you a different perspective on your suffering and make you feel more connected.

7. Practice Self-Care

When you don’t have anyone there to care for you, you must care for yourself. Being alone won’t last forever, even if it feels that way. Some suggestions:

•  Cook your favorite meal.
•  Try not to overeat.
•  Get seven to eight hours of sleep.
•  Meditate or listen to soothing music.
•  Stay away from alcohol; it’s a depressant.
•  Don’t use drugs to cover up the hurt. You may only create another problem for yourself and your family.
•  Treat yourself to something special that you wouldn’t ordinarily do – a show, a pedicure, a spa day.
•  Explore nature. Bundle up and go for a walk. Breathe in the cold air. Practice mindfulness.

Now it’s your turn. What are you going to do to survive the holidays? If you need help, coaches are here to support you.

“What’s difficult in life is to stay centered when somebody does or says something that tempts us to close our hearts because their heart was closed. That is hard. But that is also how we grow. We go through those circumstances in order to evolve into people who can hold to our loving center no matter what the world throws us.” ~ Marianne Williamson

BONUS Article:  Rx for the Holiday Blues!

© Copyright 2017 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Unhappy in Marriage is Bad for Your Heart!

A new study suggests that an unhappy marriage could wreak havoc on your cardiovascular health.

Researchers examined five years of data from married men and women, ages 57 to 85. People with spouses who were negative or critical were more likely to have heart health issues – women suffered more than men – than those supportive partners. This effect worsened with age.

REL-UnhappyMarriageThey then compared heart health to how these adults said they felt about their marriages. Wives and husbands (who were not married to each other) answered questions about how close they felt to their spouses, how happy their marriages were, and how demanding and critical they felt their spouses were.

Theory: Relationship stress intensifies over time, and heart disease is harder to overcome in those who are older and more frail.

It’s one of the first to take a nationally-representative sample of adults and examine the impact of marriage quality on heart health over time.

This from a study of nearly 1,200 married American men and women by researchers at Michigan State University, East Lansing, published in Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Being in an unhappy marriage can cause stress, which has a direct link with cardiovascular health. And those effects accumulate. “It’s not like you have contact with your spouse and the next day you have heart disease,” Hui Liu, a Michigan State University sociologist, said. “It really takes time. That may explain why it’s stronger for older people. Your body will remember the effect.”

Such marriages can also push you toward unhealthy and harmful habits, like drinking a lot or smoking.

But why is it that women were hurt even more by unhappiness in a marriage? Liu said it’s possible that women are more likely to internalize their feelings, feel depressed and be more sensitive than the men in their relationships. They also found that when women were sick with heart disease, it lowered the quality of a marriage, but not when men were sick. Liu said women are more likely to serve in a caregiver role for their sick husbands and be more sensitive to not exacerbating stress, but husbands may not be as sensitive about the relationship when their wives are sick.

While a lot of marriage counseling may focus on younger couples, the study authors emphasize that older couples would be wise to pay attention to the qualities of their marriages, too. Their hearts may very well depend upon doing so. “But these results show that marital quality is just as important at older ages, even when the couple has been married 40 or 50 years,” Liu said.

A happy marriage, of course, isn’t the only way to a healthy heart. Cardiovascular health begins with your diet. Start by cutting back on your salt-intake. Consuming too much can lead to high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of risk of death for women in the U.S. Most Americans should eat fewer than 2,300 milligrams of salt, which means almost all of us should cut back on sodium, according to the CDC.

You can also change your diet to include more heart-friendly foods like oatmeal, salmon, avocado, and berries. Beefing up your green veggie intake with more spinach and soy beans can help as well. And go ahead and indulge in a glass of wine every now and then. Research suggests the tannins in red wine might help reduce the risk of heart disease and moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer a heart attack.

Another key to a healthy heart is exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week. Alternatively, 25 minutes of high-intensity exercise three days per week, in addition to muscle strengthening exercises two days each week can also help to prevent heart disease. So get out there and swim, run, bike, jog, whatever it takes to get your heart healthy and pumping.

Copyright © 2015 – Hui Liu, a Michigan State University sociologist. You can contact her at: http://Sociology.MSU.edu/faculty/profile/liu-hui/.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Challenge: A 24 Hour Cell Phone Fast!

First of all, let me say that modern technology is terrific. I love it… and we have a new phenomenon – cell phone addicts! We even have a new phobia – nomophobia: the fear of being out of cell phone contact. Welcome to the digital age!

Can you remember a time where people just used to have conversations? If someone is talking to you, you should be listening to them. Not to worry. Your cell phone will still be there at the end of the conversation, then you can check it or whatever yo do with it. There is a reason that when you get text messages, they stay there on your phone. They won’t go away until you delete them. No need to rush to read your texts. There is a reason it’s called an in-box. Text messages stay there so you can go back and look at them later. Here is the point! If you are with people… be with the people! We all need to interact and talk more face-to-face and enjoy the moment.

CELLphobiaA recent study on cellphone activity conducted at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, found that college students spend nearly nine hours per day on their cell phones.

The report, “The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students,” revealed that of the 164 students surveyed, 60% admitted that their excessive phone use might be an addiction. Smartphones are so ingrained in daily life that it’s not surprising that addiction to such devices is on the rise.

One student recently said, “If I don’t feel my phone vibrate within a 15-minute time range, I check it,” he says. “Now that I think about it, I might be addicted to my phone.” Might be? Half of being smart is knowing what your dumb at. It’s been said that the average person spends 4 years of their life looking down at a tiny screen. Do you? Do you tune out from people trying to have a conversation with you by constantly checking your smartphone screen?

CellPhoneFastWe can’t escape social media “and” we can control how it gets in our way of good communication with a real, live human. Are you a cellphone addict? It’s time to take a break from your online life to experience real connections. When you’re in public and you start to feel alone, put your hands behind your head and step away from the phone. We are beginning to be a generation of idiots… smart phones and dumb people. We need to relearn being in the moment. Remember when we just ate the food instead of Instagramming it first?

Remember when you had one phone at home and it was plugged into the wall? You couldn’t take it with you. When you returned, you pushed a button and listened to your voice-mail.

Here is my one-day challenge to you. Let’s call it a “24 Hour Cell Phone Fast!” A sort of digital detox. Just for one day, when you are with your partner or friends, turn your cell phone off or better yet… leave it at home. Ignore your smart phone for only 1 day. Don’t use apps, or play games, or Twitter, or Facebook, or engage in idle texting or check the weather. Look up, and look around. Perspective is a beautiful thing, and it’s hard to get any when your face is glued to a screen. When you return, you can check your texts and your voice-mail. Perhaps it will help you feel really present, and more in-the-moment. I think we could all benefit from an occasional digital diet.

But today, there you are, with your sweetheart looking at your smartphone or tablet, swiping, scrolling, texting, reading, while she sits across the table. Not a good scenario. Obviously we all need to stay connected with e-mail, work and friends, “and” still be present with our close friends and partners. Cell phones can be corrosive to the relationship. Our smart phones are hurting our relationships – and that’s hurting us.

Recently, Applebee’s – the world’s largest casual-dining chain – filed a trademark for something called “No Tech Tuesday,” which is rumored to be in anticipation of a program of the same name.

Here are a few horrifying facts that are intended to cause you to put down your phone.

• Using a cell or portable electronic device while driving increases the risk of crashing by 300%!

PutDownYourPhone2• The average time your eyes are off the road when texting is 5 seconds! At 55 mph that is enough time to drive the length of a football field.

• in 2011, 3,360 people died in a crash related to distracted drivers.

• Parents on smart phones often ignore their kids.

• A study in the Journal of Hospital Infection showed a greater risk of contamination in medical wards where mobile devises were being used.

• A study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden reported that heavy use of cell phone use increased depression as well as sleep disorders (specifically in men).

• A microbiologist at the University of Arizona concluded that cell phones have more germs than toilet seats.

• THe iPhone keeps track of a lot of personal information. Your phone is constantly tracking your coordinates and saving them to a secret fie. Which means that if someone gets access to your phone or computer, they can tell exactly where you’ve been.

Somewhere I read that 33% of people would rather give up sex than their cellphone. What is this world coming to? You don’t own your phone. Your phone owns you and that is a sad state of affairs.

Even the Pope got on the bandwagon. Speaking to a 50,000 strong crowd of German altar servers recently, Pope Francis warned of time wasted with eyes glued to screens.

iPhones, Androids and smart phones are everywhere and there are some places they shouldn’t be. I was saddened to recently see a good looking couple having a candlelit dinner together and both of them had their cell phone and were checking things out between bites. NO! It should and could have been a very romantic time together. It would have been much wiser to silence the ringer, put the phone away and ignore it until the date was over. You should be having meaningful conversations not being digitally connected to each other. I thought you were supposed to give your partner – not your smart phone – your full attention when on a date and that conversation was a two-way street. I was tempted to walk over and say, “Put your cell phones down, look each other in the eyes and talk to each other, for God’s sake!” It’s a matter of respect! Here’s a tip: Keep your cell phone off the table during meals so that you’re not interrupted or tempted to fiddle with it when you’re with the one you love.

It’s time we put down our phone and reconnect with each other. Connections are made by people, and not technology.

Perhaps this video poem will inspire you to take on my “one-day challenge” and put down your smartphone!

And finally…

BONUS Articles: 5 Ways to Deal With Dinner Party Guests Who Won’t Put Down Their Phones
Put the Cell Phone Down
How to Persuade Someone to Stop Using Their Cellphone During Lunch With You
Cell Phones, Bras, and Breast Cancer Risk

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Friday, October 4, 2013

Focus!

Cheryl Ries, Guest Author

focusIf you haven’t felt joy, contentment, the presence of beauty or peacefulness in the world – perhaps you’re looking for those things in the wrong way!

All of your happiness, contentment and perspective comes from within. When you maintain a calm demeanor, a peaceful spirit and your soul is at rest, all of those things are evident to you because they are within you. The world might, and often times make it seem impossible to be at peace or to feel contentment, but your choice to feel that way and to remain calm no matter is in your control.

You’re only helplessly adrift in this world if that is how you choose to see things. You are able to shift internally to make even the biggest rogue swells and the roughest waters seem less so. You are truly the captain, sailing your vessel, guiding your course and responding as you go.

The moment you stop viewing life that way is the moment you will start to feel you are merely able to react. That is a lie you have told yourself which really only causes you to feel fearful, taking your peace and contentment.

When you center yourself first, believing you are in control of your emotions and your perceptions, then you can become proactive and less reactive. You will see more of the beauty around you while you are in the peaceful state of contentment and calm. Things may be going on – maddeningly so – all around you, but you don’t have to cede your emotions to taking that ride!

Life is short, why live it with an attitude of seeming helplessness and uncertainty? Live it knowing that no matter what happens, you can maneuver and alter as is best for you.

See first with eyes focused on your own contentment and the world won’t seem so out of focus.

cherylriesCopyright © 2013 – Cheryl Ries. Cheryl Ries is a friend who is in the process of writing her first book. This is a preview of things to come. She likes to take a bite out of life’s big juicy apple… and believes that richness is measured in friendships, family, love and what you give away. Visit Cheryl’s Facebook page.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Friday, July 12, 2013

Are You Taking Care of YOU?

You are #1!

Don’t feel that way? Perhaps you should take better care of you.

frazzledYou can begin by saying “no” to anything that is not important to you. You don’t have to give any excuses or defend yourself. Friends may expect you to give an excuse, but you don’t have to do it. Make your own choices. Assert your right to say, “No, and thanks for asking.”

We often get so wrapped up in our everyday life that we forget that if we don’t take care of ourselves, who is going to do that?

Things are piling up. You just don’t have enough time to do the things that must be done. Relax. It’s okay to ask for and accept help. It is easy to overlook what is probably the most important step that can ease the stress of a stressful life and that is: taking better care of you. Never neglect yourself. Take a nap in the middle of the day. Read a “good” self-help book.

You must accept that you can’t do or be it all. Everything is not always up to you. Eat your veggies. Get enough rest. Exercise.

You also must learn to do what makes you feel energized and happy. What makes you smile? Seek more of that.

“Mindfulness develops attention, concentration and the ability to simply be present with little or no future orientation, past orientation or goal orientation – choosing to be a human being rather than a human doing.” ~ Ian Gawler, Paul Bedson

We can all come up with excuses about why we are too busy to take care of ourselves. It’s time to rethink the reasons, not the excuses. Excuses let you off the hook. Often it seems like there is not enough time to meet all of life’s demands. Sometimes there may be an occasional moment when there is a legitimate reason, but your job – if you decide to accept it – is to stop coming up with excuses and stop looking for reasons not to take care of you and to turn that all around so that you can begin paying attention to “your” needs. This might seem easier said than done, but if you stay on the path you are on… well… let’s not go there!

Here are a few ideas that will help you break loose:

• Get enough sleep. Sleep has a big impact on mood disorders. Depression can set in. Not good.
• Take a long nature walk by yourself. Stop under a tree and just watch the squirrels. Hug a tree (when no one is looking).
• Lethargy be gone. Get moving. Being a couch potato and watching endless TV shows is not good for you. Just 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week can make a significant difference. Choose more active activities.
• Give up your toxic friends. You know, the ones that suck the life out of you. Make a choice to limit your exposure to people like that.
Woman getting a back massage in front of the white background• Make some new friends and stay connected with them. Join a health club or book club; something that will keep your interest. Intentionally go out of your way to meet new people.
• Go shopping for some new perfume.
• Eat right, choose fruit, a variety of veggies and whole-grain snacks whenever possible.
• Take a hot bath or shower. Focus of the feeling of the water on your body. Shake the tension loose.
• Meditate. Turn off your brain for 30 minutes. Can’t do 30 minutes? Do 15 minutes. Meditation helps you to quiet your mind and to separate you from your thoughts. Be aware of your breathing. Stop, breathe in for a count or 8, breathe out for a count of 8. Try it 8 times. You will feel a restoration of calm.
• Visit a landmark or memorial in your city and take notes. Discover more information about it by doing a Google search later.
• Educate yourself on something you would like to know more about. Look up a word in the dictionary that you’ve heard used but do not know the meaning.
• Everyday focus some time on laughter. Watch a funny video or TV show. Have lunch with a friend who will agree to a “laughing lunch;” one where you each bring 5 of the funniest jokes you can find and take turns making each other laugh. You could to this at a private picnic if you are afraid of looking silly to the lunch crowd. 😉
• Get a 2-hour massage or spa treatment. Yes, 2 hours! Massage can help you sleep better, increase your immunity, decrease pain, anxiety, PMS and depression. Plus, it causes you to feel real good.
• Attend a spiritual service.

“You can think of spirituality as connecting to whatever you consider meaningful and holy. You can find it in God, in yourself, in other people, in nature, art or kindness. Whatever you focus on, spirituality offers many possible benefits, including better mood, less anxiety and depression-and even fewer aches and illnesses.” ~ Jeff Levin, PhD, adjunct professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center and author of “God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection

eatingchocolate• Give up your lack of self care excuses. Make a “I’m taking care of me” daily list and keep to it.
• Eat some chocolate! 😉

This from my friend, Connie Kadansky, Sales Call Reluctance Coach: Take yourself on a “date” – just you – and do something that you have always wanted to do; hike a particular trail, go to a museum, simply go to the library for an hour, go eat food that you have never eaten before, go to a movie by yourself and eat all the popcorn you can eat, go to Costco and buy a dozen socks and a case of water then donate them to a homeless shelter. Have fun!

Choose one of more of the ideas above to focus on each day or make some up of your own. Create a sense of urgency to begin today! Making the decision to really take care of you is the hardest part. Once you’ve made the decision… the rest will fall into place. A daily self-nurturing item is simple in nature, and consists of creating a habit of devoting time daily to this important activity. It’s powerful and uplifting. Live your life well. When you feel good about the things that you are making happen in your life, you will feel motivated and full of energy.

And guess what? Everything around you – including your relationships – will appear to get better. The secret is, it’s always and only you that is changing. AND that affects everyone around you. Are you up for that?

BONUS Articles: 55 Gentle Ways to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Busy Busy Busy

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And You Thought That You Had it Bad…

I want you to know the wisdom of a 19 year old boy who survived Katrina. Do you remember the chaos in New Orleans? He and his family lost everything they owned in that storm.

words-of-wisdom2Bernell Taylor is his name. During his audition for American Idol, Ryan Seacrest asked him, “How do you come back from something like that?” he replied, “It happened. Ya just gotta live after that!”

Please go back and read Bernel Taylor’s response again… No. Forget it. Here it is again:

BernellTaylor

Bernell Taylor

“It happened. Ya just gotta live after that!”

What a terrific attitude!

My wife divorced me! ~ “Ya just gotta live after that!”

We just had to file bankruptcy! ~ “Ya just gotta live after that!”

I got fired today! ~ “Ya just gotta live after that!”

My girlfriend dumped me! ~ “Ya just gotta live after that!”

Did you see the numbers today! I lost my butt in the stock market! ~ “Ya just gotta live after that!”

___________________! (fill in the blank!) ~ “Ya just gotta live after that!”

writeyournextchapterI know. It never feels like it’s going to be easy. You know that, don’t you? You’d be right! But at least Bernell’s wisdom gives you hope. It may even cause you to think less of what happened and more about who you are becoming. A brief glimpse into the future… thinking about what might be instead of what has been. HOPE! Does that make better sense to you?

“Ya just gotta live after that!”

You may even discover that there really could be something “after that!”

What’s your banana? What is your “after that?” What is that one thing that you hold on to – that if you could have the courage to let go – would ignite a new spark in you! You finally got it. The fire grows stronger and suddenly “You’ve got the burn!”

When you read that last paragraph, didn’t you feel a little tingle that made you think of what might be? You got to be sick and tired of being sick and tired and you really don’t want to feel that way anymore.

Okay! So stop reading, turn your computer off and begin again. Begin first to count your blessings. You may get more benefit if you would get a note pad and begin to make a “GET ME OUT OF THIS HOLE!!!” bucket list. Come up with a few things that you can do that invites you to look past what got you here, and that will support you in what you’re gonna be up to.

You’re welcome to comment, especially if you’ve never before posted a comment. Tell us 3 benefits that may (or may not) have come from reading and/or being inspired by the article, “And You Thought That You Had it Bad…;” benefits that will assist you in moving on and getting on fire about life again. Very soon you will catch yourself saying, “Watch my SMOKE!!”

American_IdolThat’s all folks! Get busy!

By the way, Bernel Taylor’s audition made me and Mariah Carey cry. Keith Urban was freaking out over Bernell Taylor. It was incredible! One of the best I’ve seen. He sang, “I’m Here,” a song from “The Color Purple” at the Baton Rouge American Idol auditions week (1/25/13). Watch the Burnell Taylor “I’m Here” Video; the video that inspired this article.

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Monday, December 26, 2011

Run! Play! Laugh! Dance! Jump! Love!

Filed under: Having FUN,Health & Wellness — Larry James @ 8:00 am

Never stop having fun with life! Tell some zany jokes. Talk. Listen. Dance to the music. Be passionate. Take a walk – hop or skip part of the way. Be silly for 2 minutes. Read a magazine at a picnic table. Take a bike ride. Don’t have a bike? Rent or borrow one. Engage in a pillow fight.

playingfetchKeep your body in motion. Do it alone or with someone. Pretend you are a child again. Play some kid games. Let go. Hug a tree. Lose yourself in play. Play hide and seek with a friend. Have water fight with water pistols, then switch to buckets!

See how fast you can walk around the shopping mall – time yourself (take someone with you). Wrap yourself in a blanket and roll down a hill. Go roller skating.

Borrow a dog if you don’t have one and take it for a walk and play fetch. Exercise in the park. Go bowling and don’t worry about getting a low score. Go for a swim. LOL (laugh out loud) for no reason at all. See how far or how high you can jump. Climb the monkey bars on a playground. Play catch with a basketball. Borrow a church hymnal, choose a song and sing it to your partner. Run around the block in “slow motion.” 😉 (I wanna watch that one).

OlderCouple“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Having fun at play should be an important activity in the lives of everyone! Play is important because it helps us grow strong and healthy and gives us something more to think about than work, work, work. Use your imagination to make up some of your own stuff to do. Be active.

And did I mention that you it’s best to do these fun things with someone you love? Never grow up enough to stop playing and having fun.

After all that… I’m exhausted! Run! Play! Laugh! Dance! Jump! Love! Especially Love!

healthyheartCLoveLOGOCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Things Can Be Fixed. . . Others Must Heal

Filed under: Guest Authors,Health & Wellness,Personal Growth — Larry James @ 8:00 am
Tags:

Thom Rutledge, Guest Author

Are you a fixer?

When someone tells you a problem they are having, do you immediately feel the need to offer advice? Is it difficult for you to just listen to someone who is in distress, to just be there for them without knowing precisely what to say or do? Are you uncomfortable with anything being in limbo? Are you addicted to certainties? Does your self-esteem depend on your ability to make things right for other people? If you’re answering yes to some of these questions, you are probably a fixer.

ConflictDid you just now experience an impulse to “fix” the fact that you may be a fixer? If so, you are definitely a fixer.

I find it helpful when faced with a problem or a discomfort or a pain to ask this question:

Does this need to be fixed or healed?

Think about it. The two options are very different. When a pipe burst below my kitchen sink, I don’t wrap a bandage around it and wait for it to heal. Similarly, when I cut my hand slicing tomatoes I don’t imagine that I can simply “fix” the cut.

Certainly when something needs to heal, we still attend to it. I can apply pressure and bandage my cut. Or if I have the flu, I can go home, lie on the couch drinking juice and chicken soup. But I know that as much as I might try to convince myself otherwise, I cannot simply fix myself so that I don’t have the flu anymore.

loveConsider relationship problems: do they need to be fixed or healed?

In this context the question is more difficult because both are often called for. If I have been dishonest with you causing damage to your ability to trust me, then I need to fix my behavior and allow there to be time for the relationship to heal. I suppose this is analogous to a broken bone needing to be set so that it can heal properly.

When something needs to be fixed, it calls for us to be proactive in identifying what needs to be done and then doing it. When something needs to heal, our job is to protect the space around the wound or injury, allowing in only what will contribute to the process of healing.

“Does this need to be fixed or healed?” is just one of those good questions to keep around. Sometimes the answers will be obvious, and other times the question may just get us thinking in a different direction. Certainly using the question will save some valuable energy when we can stop trying to fix what can only be healed, and stop waiting around for what needs fixing to heal.

Write the question down on an index card and put it in your pocket, your wallet, or your purse. Carry the question everywhere you go for the next week or so – test drive it.

See if it makes a difference.

rutledge

Click cover for info!

Copyright © 2011 – Thom Rutledge. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission. Thom Rutledge is a psychotherapist, speaker and author of several books, including Embracing Fear. For more information visit www.ThomRutledge.com.

CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When You Look Into the Mirror. . . Who Do You See?

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Personal Growth,Self-Image — Larry James @ 7:00 am

When you look into the mirror. . .

self-imageDo you see someone who has wasted their life away? Do you see a person that is filled with hope or do you see a person that needs hope? What is your relationship like with yourself? Do you know who you are? How would you describe what you see when you look into the mirror? Who do you think you are? Do you like what you see? Can you look into the mirror and honestly say to yourself. . . “I love me!”?

Do you see insecurity or confidence? Do you first see the flaws or low self-esteem rather than what you like about yourself? How would you describe what you see when you look into the mirror? What is your relationship like with yourself? Do you see the person you always wanted to be?

Do you see someone who may be run down, tried, a failure, no good, not good enough, ugly, too tall, too short, too heavy, to thin, not enough intelligence, not enough success, not enough energy, or not enough happiness.

Nothing trumps honesty and authenticity! These questions need be explored. The truth of where you are on your path of evolution and growth will stare right back at you. The answers to these questions can reveal to you the areas in your life that need healing.

You don’t have to be “hot” or “attractive” to be a beautiful person. Outside the limiting story you tell yourself when you look into a mirror is an unspeakable degree of freedom – a freedom to be yourself – no longer pretending to be someone, someone else thinks you should be. That’s hard work!

concaveimage

Is the person you see in the mirror a distorted image of what you think about yourself?

I remember – at a particularly low point in my life – looking into a full-length mirror after exiting from the shower and just looking at myself. Then I surprised me by saying aloud, “Who the hell do you think you are?” “Who am I, really?” Then I cried.

That moment was a breakthrough for me. It was an “ah-ha” moment. When I began to look at the reasons why the tears came, I realized that up until then, I had been fooling myself. I was not who I pretended to be. I wasn’t even the person I wanted to be. I began a serious exploration of my self-image and began to make some major behavioral changes.

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time. What we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” ~ Sydney J. Harris

whoareyouI worked on changing my thinking. Your physical body is truly a reflection of the thoughts you think. A thought doesn’t have any power in itself. Only you have the capability to remove or attach beliefs to any thought you think. Your beliefs. . . your faith in the thoughts make them powerful – and thoughts become the things.

I had what I call a lot of “negative self-talk.” I learned that what you think about and what you speak about is what you bring about. My life was a perfect design of what I had been thinking. I began to change that.

pushyourself

You may have to give yourself a little push toward a higher view of yourself.

I challenge you to do the same. Take a good look at yourself. Stare into your own eyes for a while. Discard any thoughts of who you think you are and slowly begin to discover the real you. What is it that you really like about yourself? Make a list of at least 10 things – no matter how insignificant you think they are – post the list on the mirror you look at in the morning and review the list everyday. That’s what I did.

Start with #1 at the top of your list and look yourself in the eyes and repeat what you have written that you like about yourself. Say it out loud. The next day do the same thing with #2. When you get to the end, begin again. From time-to-time you may want to expand your list. That is the exciting part of this process, because the better you begin to feel about yourself, the more you discover what you like about yourself.

“You have to learn to see the big picture. Get on track with the BIG picture and get ready for the ride of a lifetime! The image you hold of yourself otherwise known as your self-image is the view you hold in your head about who you are. As hard as you work to do and be more you will not and cannot ever outperform it. Your self-image is the limiting factor in your success.” ~ Matthew Britt

nathanielBrandenYou deserve to be and feel happy. That starts with loving the one you see in the mirror.

BONUS Article: You Will Never Outperform Your Own Self Image

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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