Positive Attitude

Five Ways to Get Through Tough Times

5-ways-to-get-through-tough-times

Everyone on the planet has one thing in common – we all have tough days. You know those days, right? When you just don’t feel that you have what it takes to keep going, to summon up the strength to face what needs to be faced. You can help yourself get over the hurdle by trying some, or all, of these suggestions.

1. Focus On What Is Working

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Is it Time to Take Yourself Less Seriously?

less-seriouslyDo you take yourself too seriously? I know I catch myself in serious mode more often than I’d like to admit – but I’m working on it! Our mental attitude affects how we perceive the moments of our lives and can also influence our health.

Here are 4 good reasons to take yourself less seriously:

  1. Being overly serious can trigger stress hormones and we all know that stress is directly linked to a whole host of illnesses.
  2. Being too serious takes the fun out of life!
  3. Life is too short to be serious all the time.
  4. Being overly serious often inadvertently self-sabotages our goals and what we want to manifest in our lives.

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Mind Over Milkshakes: Can Your Thoughts Influence Your Weight?

Mind over milkshakes: can your throughs affect your weight?

At last, science is finally catching up to what the mystics have been saying for thousands of years: the mind and body are intricately connected. More than ever, people are talking about the power of our thoughts – and I for one, am a believer. We’ve all heard some variation of these popular sayings:

“As you think so shall you be”

“If you can think it, you can be it”

“Visualizing what you want will attract this into your life.”

But does this apply to how we think about our own body or about the food we eat? Can we wishfully visualize ourselves in top shape and see it manifest for ourselves? Can our thoughts influence our weight?

What if I told you that the thoughts you think about the food you’re eating in addition to the perceptions that you have about food can affect your body on a physical level and influence how much you eat, and also have a direct affect on your weight.

Consider this one study from the American Psychological Association titled “Mind over milkshakes: mindsets, not just nutrients, determine ghrelin response”. The goal of this study was to determine whether an individual’s perception of a food affects physiological hunger as measured by ghrelin levels.

Ghrelin is one of the two primary hunger hormones that transports hunger messages between the stomach and the brain. When you are hungry, ghrelin levels increase. When satiated (meaning full and satisfied) ghrelin decreases.

Scientists from both Yale and Arizona State Universities asked 46 healthy men and women to drink milkshakes on two separate occasions. Although these milkshakes were the exact same 380 calorie milkshakes, they were led to believe on the first occasion that they were a 620 calorie “indulgent” shake and on the second occasion, they were led to believe that they were drinking a 140 calorie “sensible” shake.

The researchers wanted to know if mindset and perceptions of the food would affect something as measurable as a hunger hormone, which effects how satiated we are after we eat, thus influencing how much we eat and ultimately how much we weigh.

Ghrelin was measured through blood samples in participants at three points, before during and after the milkshakes. They were also asked to view and rate the (misleading) label of the shake and then asked to drink and rate the milkshake.

Conclusion: Do Our Thoughts Influence Our Hunger and Our Weight?

I bet you can guess where this is heading. The interesting part of this research actually found that mindset (or perception based on what they thought they were drinking) did indeed affect participants hunger hormones.

When drinking the “indulgent” shake, participants reported more satiety, but even beyond that, this perception of fullness was directly seen on a physical level by a decrease in the levels of ghrelin.

In comparison, when they drank the “sensible” shake, despite it being the exact same shake, participants reported less physiological satisfaction and this too was also directly seen in a corresponding shift in the hunger hormone, resulting in a less pronounced ghrelin response.

This means that participants’ satiety was consistent with what they believed they were consuming rather than the actual nutritional value of what they consumed.

Our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, strongly influence weight management. High ghrelin levels are associated to increased food consumption and weight gain.

This research is extremely important given that we thought these hunger hormones were only strictly influenced by food consumption. But as this study has demonstrated, it’s not that straight forward. How we choose to perceive food can also potentially affect how satiated we are.

The first thing I thought about when I read this study was fruit. So many people exclaim to me that fruit can’t make up a meal; that it’s not a substantive food in it’s own right. I used to think this way too, years ago, but the more I educate myself, the more my perceptions change and the more I view fruit as not only a meal, but one of the best meals designed for our bodies.

Like I tell my clients transitioning to a low-fat raw vegan lifestyle: If you think that the food before you is not going to satisfy you, then it probably won’t.

How does this change your perception of your next meal?

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Five Ways to Improve Your Happiness When You’re Stuck In a Rut

5 Ways to improve your mood when you're stuck in a rut

Everyone wants to be happy – especially when they’re not. The good news is that no matter how “stuck” you feel,  you can make small changes to immediately improve your happiness and boost your mood. But oftentimes, when we’re feeling stuck we don’t feel like taking action to feel better – that’s why we call it being stuck! But there are small things you can do to help yourself out of it. Here are five evidence-based ways that you can improve your happiness quotient no matter how you’re feeling.

  1. Look for opportunities to laugh. Laughter helps the body release endorphins which give us an overall sense of well-being. Laughter is also a great way to relax, decreases stress hormones, and can protect against heart disease.
  2. Improve the quality of your sleep. Poor quality sleep or lack of sleep is linked to anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep is also linked to weight gain. On the flip side, good sleep hygiene is linked to optimism and greater self-esteem. If you wake up without the use of an alarm clock and you feel rested, that is an indication that your sleep habits are healthy. Check out these top 7 natural ways to improve the quality of your sleep and increase your energy levels.
  3. Turn to music. When you listen to music your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter which contributes to feeling good. So turn on your favorite tunes and make a daily investment into your happiness account.
  4. Stay away from the news. Did you know that watching the news causes your body to produce stress hormones, which may lead to lead to nervousness, fear and aggression? Doesn’t sound all that happy does it? And of course, the news is rarely, if ever, good news. Put yourself on a news diet for six months. Be selective about what you allow yourself to watch and listen to. You may find that you are in a better mood not listening to “bad news”.
  5. Be grateful. Practicing gratitude can increase your happiness. Counting your blessings is a clichéd as it comes but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective in raising your happiness level. Take time to acknowledge your gratitude towards others for support, friendship, or a kindness shown. In turn, make it a daily practice to be grateful for one thing.

If your own personal happiness project seems a bit daunting, try one of the five suggestions listed above.  Once it is well-established add on another. If your habits fall by the wayside, just simply start again, and again. And don’t forget to be happy about being willing to try to incorporate new ways to gain and maintain happiness.

What do you do to boost your mood when you’re stuck in a rut?

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn

 

3 Surefire Ways to Feel Sexier In Your Body

Feel-sexier-in-your-body

Do you want to feel sexier in your body? I believe it’s every woman’s right to feel sexy, radiant and alive. To me, sexiness is the expression of feeling totally at ease within yourself and loving every moment you get to spend in your own body. True sexiness has nothing to do with egotism; it’s the result of feeling fully grounded in who you are and completely owning that. Claiming your sexiness requires that you show up, in each moment with an unshakable knowing of the true essence of who you are.

Here’s 3 surefire ways to help you step up and claim the sexy, confident, unique and beautiful being that you are.

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Weight Loss Tip: Just Start Where You Are

Start-where-you-are-today“Just start where you are.” ~ Pema Chödrön

One of the keys to achieving your health goals, especially when it comes to weight loss is to fully acknowledge where you currently are and simply start from there. When you think about it – what other choice do you have but to start where you already are? But how often do you wish that you could start someplace else – anywhere but right here? Wouldn’t you rather start at least 10 pounds lighter or at least in a better mood? It can take a lot of courage to stare at yourself in the present moment, and face all the decisions that you’ve made that have lead you up to this very moment in time, inhabiting the body you currently have – for better or for worse – without getting caught in thoughts of self-denigration. But if you just simply allow yourself the space to acknowledge where you currently are, in a non-judgmental, loving way, then you can consciously choose if you want to stay where you are, repeating the old patterns that have lead you here, or if you want to move in the direction, one step at a time, of a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Author and spiritual teacher Pema Chödrön couldn’t have said it better:

“This is a very important point. There’s no problem with being where you are right now. And the fact that we encourage it and expand it at the level of mind training is just to say that we respect and have appreciation for where we currently are. And at the same time we leave wide open the possibility of being able to expand way beyond where we currently are in the course of our lifetime. But, you know, the expansion never happens through greediness or pushing through or striving. It just never happens that way. All practice grows and flourishes by learning to relax with where you are already. So some combination of learning to relax where you are already and, at the same time, holding a big vision or keeping the possibility open that really your capacity, my capacity, the capacity of all beings is limitless, absolutely limitless. This is such a powerful thing.” Pema Chödrön

The place where you start, right where you are, also needs to be rooted in the belief that you are worthy enough to live a healthier, happier life. That you deserve to step onto this path and that it is possible to lose weight and keep it off – for good. And in order to do this, you need to start from a place of love.

This willingness to make friends with yourself, exactly as you are is really important when you’re ‘starting from where you are’. If you have the courage to see that you have gained weight this year, and to accept it without judgement, and then move forward from a place of loving-kindness, this is how you can achieve long lasting fundamental changes to your health.

It is my deepest and heartfelt wish that you awaken to your own inherent and basic goodness, for your benefit and the benefit of all beings.

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Daily Snippet of Inspiration: Align with the Power of Life Force

Align with life-force potential through raw, living, real food.

Our society as a whole has strayed so far from the inherent healing power of our own bodies. Life-force is what connects us to the spirit realm, it is the energy that fuels everything into manifestation, an unfolding of creation in all the limitless ways that it does. We are made of this life-force potential, so are the trees, the mountains, the oceans, the rivers, and all the creatures – all are dancing with life-force energy and potential. When we eat in a way that is closely reflected in nature – pure, organic, living food, we immediately feel something we may not had been accustomed to feeling, an essence that is beyond words…this is us merging or becoming one with the life-force potential of Mother Earth through the gifts of her food. When we eat straight from nature – whole foods that have not been processed or fragmented – we are enabling ourselves to align with All-That-Is, pure life-force potential…image how that can impact your life, in all the ways you never even dreamed possible. You’re thoughts become more clear, you have more energy, better moods, but beyond that, synchronicities start to align, you have more meaningful ‘random’ encounters, you start to be guided by your intuition – guided by your heart more than your mind – these are all the spiritual benefits of eating in alignment with Mother Earth. It’s a profound experience, and I invite you to take your first steps on this journey. Even if you’ve been eating raw food for years, allow yourself to delve deeper into your spiritual connection with the Life-Force of the Universe…it’s the same Universe that’s within you.

It’s a beautiful journey; one that is not about destination but about every single step on the path…

Just a moment of inspiration coming through, that I thought I would share.

Blessings to all…

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn

Snippet of Inspiration: Create Your Own Manifesto

Think Positive Inspiration

It’s such a fun and wonderful process to create your own manifesto. What does your personal positive manifesto look like? Writing a personal manifesto is super fun, easy, creative and can dish you up a little inspiration as you list some of the things that you would like to see more of in your life. Your manifesto doesn’t have to be static or fixed, it’s as fluctuating and evolving as you are. Depending on what you’re wanting to create in your life, a manifesto can be a great way to remind yourself to play more, relax more, take yourself a little less seriously, laugh more, spend more time with friends, more time in nature or more time alone. Your manifesto can revolve around a theme like ‘health & wellness’ or anything that you like.

It’s really limitless and endless what we can manifest in our lives. This is by no means a limited list!

I like to print my manifesto’s and place them on my fridge or somewhere I can see it often – as a daily reminder.

What’s your personal manifesto looking like? What are some of the things you’d like to create in your life?

Have fun and enjoy the process…

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn

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