You're Gonna Give Yourself A Heart Attack

You know how people say "he's gonna give himself a heart attack"? Turns out they may be on to something.

According to this article, the hormone cortisol is directly correlated to death by heart disease. In fact, you have a five times greater chance of dying by heart disease if you have high levels of cortisol. What causes high levels of cortisol? Stress.

(What is not mentioned in the article, is that even low-grade sleep deprivation can also cause high levels of cortisol- because it puts stress on your body). Even more interesting (to me at least) is that high levels of cortisol are related to obesity (especially belly fat), and poor metabolism. So you can see how all those things might equal a higher risk of death from heart disease.

So next time you are overwhelmed with stress in your day, just remember: you're killing yourself.

... ha. Just kidding. Like that would help you relax!

Instead, try remembering that your heart and health are more important than that moment's stress. Visualize a long, healthy life ahead of you. Remind yourself that this is (after all) one moment's stress... and doesn't need to affect a lifetime.

Wishing you heart health (both literal and metaphoric)


Why Do Women Do This?

If you have ever been pregnant... you KNOW what I'm talking about.

I put these encounters up there with the oh-so-helpful cliches:
"It will change your life forever"
"Things will never be the same"
"Sleep now while you still can!"

What if we lived in a world where every pregnant woman got greeted with- "Wow, I'm so happy for this new phase of your life. It is a blessing, and while some times are hard, I have total faith in your ability to figure this out like generations of women before you?"

.... or would that be equally annoying?

Okay, new plan: don't speak to pregnant women. Unless you are offering: chocolate, foot rubs, or compliments. In that order.


Ouch! Handling Critcism

Alright, I'm unveiling my new, embarrassing, dirty little secret.... I'm trying vlogging!

Don't hate on me! (Or maybe, do- b/c I'm good at handling it now!)



In my job, people really only come to see me at the worst points of their lives. As they start to feel better, I see less and less of them. This means I'm doing something right. It also means I see lots of the hardships, and not alot of the optimism that exists. It's alright, I'm a naturally (ridiculously) optimistic person. It's one of my core beliefs.

But because it's Friday- I wanted to share what I heard:

Gallup (the poll people) randomly calls people during the day and asks them "how they feel" (kind of sounds like a therapist now that I think of it. Hmmm... maybe I'm onto a new marketing idea- cold calling random numbers and asking how they feel...ha! Could you imagine? I digress). Two of the options were: happy or stressed.

Given the state of the economy, and all the gloom and doom you hear on tv- what would YOU estimate the answers were?

NOPE! You're wrong! And even if you're not, just play along. It makes things more fun for me. (Sometimes I get a good deal on something and I'll ask my Hubby to guess how much it cost. He always lowballs his guess- just to steal my fun. Booger. The point is- play along here people!)

On September 7, 2010 people reported
63%- happy
8%- stressed

.... and if that was the number on a TUESDAY- I'm thinking a FRIDAY has to be even better, right? Ahhh, optimism and resiliency of the human spirit. That's what I'm talking about.

Happy Friday


Wait, We're Doing What?

In my last post I talk about the new crazy, revolutionary experiment I'm trying.

Okay, let's just be honest. It's actually rather an OLD tradition... that I'm just now considering. I'm late to the party. But I like it better the first way I said it. It sounds more exciting.

Our mission, is to follow the principles of the Sabbath Manifesto, one day a week, for one month (then re-evaluate). I'm excited by this new idea... and a little nervous. I mean, what does one do all day if there is no laptop, cell phone or tv?

Turns out: a whole lot. Our first day's experiment left me with:
-a cleaner house
-yummier food (b/c I had plenty of time to contemplate and prepare it)
-more conversation with my husband than I've had in a month's time
-a house full of laughter
-a day full of sunshine (playing outdoors) and an evening full of candlelight. *sigh*

I'll admit, the first thing I did was forget about the new experiment (when my son requested "bear" on the tv). But after Hubby's reminder (and the sleep rubbed out of my eyes)... I started getting into it. We found ourselves stumped a few times... missing the easy distractions. But we dug deep into our creativity, and ended up at Fairytale town (a place we have wanted to take my son for a while... but hadn't seemed to find the time.)

At the end of the day, Hubby said- "Maybe we should just live life without tv." But I think he was just overcome with appreciation in the moment. It was a momentary lapse of sanity- right?



My Experiment..

What do you think of my new digs? Not bad, right? Many many thanks to Krystal Bagley of "The Clever Mommy Chronicles". If you're looking for graphic design services, I cannot recommend her enough. She is not only incredibly talented- she's also nice! Any project you can think of- I'm confident she could do it! (And pssst- she's an award winning blogger too!)

Now, in a valiant attempt to alert the irony police.... I'm gonna spend today talking about one of my favorite topics- Technology and Mental Health. More specifically- my own journey as I balance my love of technology and my love of being mentally healthy.

A few scary facts:
-The total average time [of television viewing] per household in 2005-06 was eight hours and 14 minutes per day.
     -- Reuters (September 22, 2006)

-Children ages 8–18 spend the following amount of time in front of the screen, daily:
     • Approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media
     • Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV
     • Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer
     • Over an hour playing video games

          ..... and 25 minutes reading books.
     -- NIH

- The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.
     -- (A.C. Nielsen Co.)

Yikes. I do not share these statistics from a place of finger-pointing superiority. Trust me on this. (As I type, my child is engrossed in Mickey- I'm embarrassed to say.) When I was preparing for a recent speaking gig, I came across these stats and let me tell you- they cut through me like a knife. No one understands the allure of tv like a mom-of-a-toddler-who-tries-to-work-from-home-two-days-a-week. *Insert blushing emoticon here*.

But no one understands the heart-breaking distance in today's modern family like a therapist-who-specializes-in-seeing-the-whole-family either...

What to do, what to do....?

So it seemed only appropriate that I stumbled across The Sabbath Manifesto - which you've probably seen me posting a great deal lately. Regardless of your faith background, I think this old idea's time has come. The creators of The Sabbath Manifesto encourage everyone to take one day a week to:
1. Avoid technology
2. Connect with loved ones
3. Nurture your health
4. Get outside
5. Avoid commerce
6. Light candles
7. Drink wine
8. Eat bread
9. Find silence
10. Give back

They even leave each item open to interpretation. (This is more a spirit of the law over letter of the law- kind of situation- and lets face it, some items may not work for you.)

So in my family, we've accepted the challenge. I'll be sharing our experiences in the next few days. For now, I want to give you a chance to consider- just ONE day a week... reconnecting with loved ones and stepping away from distraction. Statistically that ONE day will save you 8 hours of tv time as a family. Imagine what you could do with 8 collective hours!

Wishing you a connected family