Label Me!

Halloween is coming and you know what that means? Ya you do, dress up time!

I was having trouble figuring out my costume until I realized there’s not really a name for what I want to dress up as. As soon as I realized I don’t need a name for what I am, everything became more fun.

Now I can just go shopping for all my favourite things and put them all together and call it Carly dressed up. Actually I’m calling myself “Sherry Poppins” because I have a bag full of treats.

But that got me thinking, maybe that simple realization I had this morning about my costume can spread into other aspects of life. There are so many things in life we try to slap a label on.

We even have names for every personality type; the punks, the hippies, the hipsters, the red necks etc…

Truly we are all mix of all kind of characteristics. How can we really throw a label on ourselves and/or others? And if we are going to label ourselves/others maybe we should consider the possibility that the label we choose may be as deceptive as the labels on our food.

ie. Did you know that the “natural” flavouring Castoreum, comes from the castor sacs underneath a beavers bum, right next to its anal glands? Ya, it tastes like vanilla. Yum yum!

:)

**BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE FOR HALLOWEEN AND BEYOND**

RESOURCES

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/04/what-is-the-difference-between-natural-and-artificial-flavors.html

 

 

Grow Old Get Happy

A study has found that the older you are, the more appreciation you have for the simple things in life.

:)

Of course those kind of “once in a lifetime” moments like major vacations and the birth of new life make both young and old folks happy; but, a study posted in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that the older populations find more enjoyment in the simple things in life.  The younger folk on the other hand, rely more on extreme events for happiness.

This is not new news. Studies have found time and time again that as we age we generally become happier. There are a few contributing factors.

As we age, we get to know ourselves better. We learn what interests us, who we like to be around, and what our main values are. Also, we become less tolerant of things that we were willing to put up with when we had, or felt as though we had, all the time in the world.

As we age we have a greater acceptance towards the unchangeable truths in life. We become more content with what we have and less focused on what we want.

There are some conflicting studies out there. Some say that our happiness happens on a U curve, suggesting that we hit a high happy point in our early twenties and then slope down through as we move towards middle age. But when we pass middle age something extraordinary happens- our happiness levels rise back up, reaching a point higher than ever before! This study found that at age 69 people are the happiest.

A study done in the UK however, found that people were the happiest at the age of thirty-seven, which is a little on the early side. Still, this study suggests that at this age many people have accomplished some of their life goals and are now able to coast a bit and enjoy the ride.

***

I’m writing this post because I just had a birthday yesterday! I’m not so concerned about getting older. Life seems to get juicier each year.

Each year I get a little bit better at navigating my ship through life.
I meander happily through it’s sweet flowing patches,
Until naturally it’s sweetness turns sour
And I’m pushed off my tower
Only to plummet onto a hot pile of shit…
Both parts of this ride help me explore a separate side of me.
And apparently the longer I hang on to this real life ride,
The happier I will be :)

Thanks for reading :)

RESOURCES

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/674724?uid=3737720&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21104921998073

Ted Talk by Laura Carstensen about how older people are happier (check it out):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/scientific-proof-that-the_n_5110179.html

Happy Turkey

So we know that the turkey makes us sleepy… or at least the heavy amounts of turkey and other delicious traditional foods that we indulge in at Thanks Giving make us feel sleepy.

The turkey in fact, is high in tryptophan which is a precursor to              5-HTP, which is converted into serotonin in our brain!

Serotonin is our good friend

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood.

Interestingly, 80-90%  of the body’s serotonin is found in the gastrointestinal tract. The serotonin made here is not used in our brain. Only the serotonin that we make in the brain can be used by our brain.

The focus for this post, of course is the mood enhancing effects!

Serotonin in the brain plays a role in not only our moods, but also appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sex drive.

Now you can not only feel good about the delicious turkey and leftovers; but also, you know that your brain is soaking up the extra serotonin- helping you to feel just a little bit better about life happenings this week :)

For more mood enhancing foods check out this previous post:
Feel Good Foods

RESOURCES

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php

Myers & Briggs

The more you know yourself and how you relate to the world, the better you can understand when and why are comfortable or uncomfortable in different areas or circumstances in your life.

Knowing yourself is key to being happy

The Myers & Briggs quiz is a great tool to help you understand your preferences. It is often used for businesses to help employees understand each others preferences, processes and strengths.

There is no personality that is better than the next. Doing this quiz is about knowing your preferences.

Doing the full quiz off of the Myers & Briggs website does come with a fee; however, there is a free version online (both are listed in my resources). I have done both and the free one gave me accurate results.

The preferences are divided into 4 letters. For example, right now I am an INFP. Your letters can change at different points in your life. Following is a short explanation of each category in the quiz.

Introvert/Extrovert

Introverts recharge by spending time alone. They often are reserved and reflective.

Extroverted people get energy from being around people and sharing ideas. Many extroverted people like to be surrounded by people often and don’t really enjoy being alone.

Sensing/Intuition

Sensing people pay attention to facts and reality. They rely on their senses for information. They notice facts and remember details. They learn through experience.

Intuitive people pay attention to impressions or patterns. They learn by thinking things through and think more about the future than the past. They like abstract theories and don’t need to understand the details of things. They remember things as how they experienced them rather than through factual details of what happened.

Thinking/Feeling

Thinkers like basic principles. They like to look at pros and cons and find the most logical choice. They try to keep focus on facts rather than on feelings.

Feelers on the other hand, like to make decisions by thinking about what people care about. They want to maintain harmony. They come across as caring, warm and tactful.

Judging/Perceiving 

Judging people typically like to have decisions made, have things preplanned and have life under control. Judging does not mean judgemental. Judgers are task orientated and like lists and like to get their work done before playing.

Perceivers appear to be more flexible and spontaneous. They do not feel that they need to organize life as much and instead just let things happen. They are often open to change and like to keep their schedule open also and may struggle to commit to one plan or decision.

***

By reading the short descriptions you probably get a sense of what letters you think represent you best. It is fun to see if what you think corresponds with the test results.

Access the test free here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

RESOURCES

Myers & Briggs website:
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

Access the free, shorter version of the quiz here:
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

 

Water does What?!

Do you want to lose weight, have skin that glows, think more clearly and have better overall health?

For a Simple cost of…
nearly FREE
You can have all of these things!

Just go into your kitchen right now and turn on your tap.
That’s right, I’m talking about water.

Fill up your glass and drink it.

Did you know water increases your mood and your cognitive ability?

The study was lead by Biological psychologist Kristen D’Anci, with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. (see resources list at bottom of this article to access link)

What they found in the study was that the athletes who did not hydrate during their athletic event rated their moods lower than those who were hydrated. Also, they scored lower on cognitive tests.

Many of us spend our days dehydrated. If we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated.

Our body is 50-75% water. We depend on water to move nutrients throughout our body and flushes out waste. Without it we die.

Think of your body like a plant. You know when you look into the garden on a hot day when the plants are thirsty. The leaves droop and curl and hang from their stems. Our skin does the same thing when we are thirsty (aka dehydrated)!

When we are dehydrated we feel lifeless, tired, grumpy and maybe even confused!

We need water!

NOTE: The last thing we need in this moment is a coffee! I’m a real coffee lover, but when I drink more water I am more energized than I am when I’m relying on coffee for energy.

If you are dehydrated and drinking coffee, it will only contribute to your dehydration and it probably not give you the kick in the butt you are looking for… But water will!

Water helps keep our joints lubricated. If you are taking glucosamine for your joints, it probably won’t have it’s full effect unless you are drinking water. Glucosamine helps the joints absorb water… if you aren’t drinking enough water, then you are wasting your money buying glucosamine.

Studies have also found that drinking water can prevent certain types of cancer such as colon and bladder cancer.

***That sounds good, how do I start?***

I’ve struggled for a long time to drink enough water. I eat a lot of fruit which I would probably crave because I was dehydrated. Since I have started incorporating more water into my life I feel more alive, invigorated and capable. It’s fun.

Some ways that I have gotten into the routine of drinking water are:

1) I changed how I think. Instead of thinking to myself when I am tired “I need a coffee” I think to myself “I need water!”

2) I keep water around all of the time. I keep it in my van and drink it on long red lights.

3) I keep a glass of water at my desk at work and I drink out of a straw because I think straws are fun

4) I drink decaffeinated tea like it is going out of style. My favourite right now is Bengal Spice. I make an entire pot full of tea and let it sit on the stove. I drink it hot, I drink it cold, I drink it weak, I drink it bold. Bengal spice here and there, bengal spice everywhere!

5) I buy lemons and limes to put in my water to give it some flavour and increase the appeal.

I hope some of these tips help you to increase your mood and your wellbeing by increasing your water intake. If I can do it, you can too :)

Also in this post I want to mention how important water is in our world and how important it is that we do what we can to keep our glaciers/rivers/oceans/lakes in existence and clean.

Be grateful for your access water every day. It may not always be this way. Be aware that
780 million people in this world do not have access to clean water.

RESOURCES

Water study on athletes cognitive abilities and mood:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2009/091123.htm

Water prevents bladder cancer:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/331514.stm

Water (along with physical activity) prevents colon cancer:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10404059

Water crisis:
http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/