Health Plans: How to Stay Laser-Focused & Calm Your Mind (Part 2)

This is a part of a monthly column, Health Plans, to help you become an organized ninja when it comes to your health. I write once a month on a different area of your life to help you get and stay organized for your best health. Please check out other months' plans, too, and come along with us to become your organized healthy self.
This post is Part 2 of How to Stay Laser Focused and Calm Your Mind. You may want to tap the green link for Part 1, How to Stay Laser Focused and Calm Your Mind, and find out why this is important to achieving your health goals and exactly how to go about it easily (and some of the ways are really fun!)   This post covers to keep your mind focused on the task at hand whatever you choose that to be!

Now that you are up on the impact your state-of-mind can have on achieving your health goals from Part 1, How to Stay Laser Focused and Calm Your Mind and you have seen some actions to take to improve it, please don't stop there as I have more!  Check this out! Here is another tool to help you get more focused as well: the food on your plate! 

It's true that the food choices you can make may make a difference in how sharp you stay and how chill you are. Scan on down to see what I mean.

Your food choices may make a difference in how sharp you stay and how chill you are. Tap here for ideas of how to fill that plate with yummy foods to keep you the sharpest one in the room as well as get more done and be more productive.TheHealthMinded.com  #health #brain

How and Why Foods Keep Us Focused . . . Or Not

See below some information to help clarify why the foods we eat impact how our brain functions and our level of productivity as well as keep us healthy all around:

Feed that power organ.  The brain requires and consumes an immense amount of energy so it makes sense that a healthy diet can ensure it has what it needs to keep you functioning at our best all day.  Ever notice how the lunch room at a school cafeteria gets louder after the children have eaten? The food they ate just fueled their energy! I often see that on days I don't necessarily feel that hungry and may I skip a meal, my tummy may not notice, but my brain sure does.  I frankly just don't feel as sharp and with it when I have not eaten in a while!

Hold back disease.  The food choices we make can slow down the aging process of our brain and keep it sharp according to many studies.  Two diets are specifically mentioned often: the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet. It is probably not a coincidence that both contain lots of vegetables, fruits, some fish, nuts and healthy fats. Stick to those for a healthy, long lasting brain function.

Don't miss this: Here is what a day of eating the Mediterranean Diet looks like and tastes like with recipes too.


Health Plans: How to Stay Laser-Focused & Calm Your Mind (Part 1)

This is a part of a monthly column, Health Plans, to help you become an organized ninja when it comes to your health. I write once a month on a different area of your life to help you get and stay organized for your best health. Please check out other months' plans, too, and come along with us to become your organized healthy self.

Perhaps, I have done this all wrong! Maybe I would have served you better if this post had been my first in this monthly column to help you get organized to create your optimal health.  I say that because getting your mind focused plays a critical part in your success to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family and it really is your foundation to getting it right.

It is true that I have discussed this topic before at THM, but let's zone in more heavily now with many strategies and ideas and see what we can do to laser-sharpen our focus and enhance those beautiful brains of ours that sustain us in every way, every day!

It is hard to get much accomplished with a scattered mind. Tap here for lots of strategies and fun ideas to laser-sharpen your focus to achieve a lot more and enhance your beautiful brain that sustains you in every way, every day! (TheHealthMinded.com) #health #brain

How Our State-of-Mind Affects Our Health

The connection between our state of mind and our healthy or unhealthy habits is compelling. With the constant distractions of modern life of cell phones dinging and ringing, traffic jams and work and family demands that never end, it is certainly understanding to see how it might be difficult to create or sustain better and healthier choices.  The distractions you feel though may be even more far reaching than you even realized. Think about this:

Impulsivity can show up on the scale.  This recent study showed that a disorganized and impulsive mind can even pack on more than a few pounds. That only makes reaching our healthy lifestyle goals all the more challenging.

Our mood affects our energy levels.  If we are feeling low, we hardly feel like lacing up those athletic shoes and hitting the gym.  Even though it can be the very thing that can elevate us, it is more difficult with a fatigued mind to want to start a task that requires our energy.

A scattered mind makes less effective choices.  There is a lot of information to sift through when designing the healthy life we want for ourselves and family. When our mind is not focused, it can be overwhelming to choose which area to work on first or the hardest.  We can't assimilate information as well or make the best decisions either as to which strategy can work best for ourselves within our time allotments or budgets.

An over stimulated brain does not read situations as they are.  If one is jumping from one Instagram account or Facebook entry or TV show displaying "the perfect life" and the comparisons start to set in, an overstimulated mind with these messages can not assess well what is real and what is not.  It can create a negative film to play in our heads about ourselves that probably is not even true! Here is an interesting take on this phenomenon.

If you can create a more calm and focused state of mind (even under pressure from various modern life demands), you will be able to set health and fitness goals and focus well on achieving them.  Tap here for a fun strategy to get you clear headed and bee-lined focused to be your best self. (TheHealthMinded.com) #health

9 Healthy Habits to Keep Our Brains Strong and Our Minds Calm

If you can create a more calm and focused state-of-mind (even under pressure from various demands), and I know that you can, you will be more equipped to set many goals including health and fitness goals and focus well on achieving them.  You will then have that road map to be more productive and therefore have more time to do things that are healthy for your body and mind. And it only gets better from there. You'll then feel good about yourself and positive emotions are health promoting as well.  It is a giant health-promoting snowball of sorts and I do believe we all are able to improve our organizational abilities that can lead to so many better things.

So, if I have you convinced to give attention to your state-of-mind as well as your brain health, let's get to it and flip on through to these several ideas to get more clear headed and bee-lined focused to design our healthiest life.  And, besides, no drudgery here - a lot of these habits I am promoting are a lot of fun and enrich your life in many ways:

1. Quiet the storm.  First and foremost, before you can consider any other actions to take, unless you can dial back the negativity playing and decompress your emotional reactions of worry, anger, frustration to name a few, you won't be able to accomplish much.  Too much negative messaging shuts down your mind to a more positive direction or at least your ability to strategize for the life you want to have.  So, first, check in with yourself and see what road blocks are there and work on those.

Don't miss this:  Here is a plan to lessen your anger that can be taking up too much space in your life and here are four positive calming practices you can take to quiet your mind.

2.  Don't just react.  Distractions and stresses are inevitable. But, rather than mindlessly succumbing to them, stop and use your intuition, your judgement and other senses to assess if that is urgent enough to bump out the other activity you were engaged in (hopefully your walking routine, bike ride with family, cooking a healthy dinner or even relaxing and gazing at the stars).  Think first before you allow something to interrupt you.  Can you come back to it later? Is it really more important than what you are doing now?

Give yourself permission to turn off the phone or only check email and social media twice a day to keep your distractions from all the beeps minimized.  You could even create a special ringer for your children's calls or other important people that you can answer for if there is an emergency to soothe your worries about not answering all phone calls.

Don't miss this:  Check out these great ways to relax if you have a hard time unwinding.

3.  Don't reach for a button all the time.  Have we all gotten a tad lazy always relying on technology to do the remembering,  finding our way to a new location or recalling a title? Do try to put the gadgets down sometimes and work your brain! Read a map, memorize a quote, create a mnemonic aid to remember a long list and be a little more independent of all the buttons to push to go about your day.

Don't miss this:  Memorization techniques that may help right here.

4.  Join in the conversation.  I talked all about the importance of our social lives before on our health.  You don't need to be an extrovert at all to create a great social life that you enjoy and suits you. And you don't need to be Martha Stewart either.  Try to get an impromptu gathering going with little effort and use that social side of your brain to stay sharp in conversations, learn something new or feel more connected to others around you.  Besides, connecting with others promotes brain development such as intuition, thinking, and empathy, too – all health promoting for our brains.

Don't miss this:  I have loads of ideas to get your social side ignited.

5.  Break a sweat.  The great news is that many of the same things that improve your overall health can improve your mind, too.  We all know how great regular exercise is for us.  It produces better circulation and more oxygen to the brain and it creates nerve cells that create those much needed synapses in there, too.  And, don't forget the mood-boosting effects that many studies show regular exercise has as well.

Don't miss this:  Here is how I created an inexpensive home gym.

6.  Never stop learning.  Creating more synapses in those brain cells can come in the form of learning so many different things:  reading a challenging book, learning a new language, or even playing games regularly like chess, Scrabble and cards.  They activate strategic, spatial, and memory parts of the brain, and require you to socialize, which can help form new neural pathways too! Make it a goal to choose one new area that you want to learn more about and devote a bit of regular time to it.

Don't miss this:  Learning new things gives you something to talk about and connect about with others. Here are some other ideas to be a more interesting person, too.

7.  Carry a note.  Even if you can't sing well, you can at least hum a mood-boosting tune.  Or, learn to play an instrument or practice the one you have.  But if any of that does not appeal to you, simply listening to music regularly is stimulating to the brain. Many studies have shown that children who play an instrument have higher IQs and older musicians score higher on cognitive tests as well.

Don't miss this:  The effects of music on your health are great.  Check out what simply listening to music can do for you and your family.

8.  Aim for quality shut-eye.  Rest is key for our bodies and brain.  They both need a break from working so hard all day and sleep is when our bodies restore our bodily systems as well.  Good quality sleep can be elusive for many (present company included) but it is important to get the 7-9 hours a night.

Don't miss this:  Dive in the cherry bowl for a natural and effective sleep aide.  

9.  Hit the road.  Change up your routine, your environment to stimulate your brain and emotions by traveling to new places.  Whether that is even to a new local spot, I count that as travel, too.  It is new and different and it is all good for the brain and state-of-mind.  It keeps you flexible, you learn new things, see how differently others live and how they spend their time, try new foods, experience different weather or terrain and customs - the list is endless! Just make sure to do it and put some money aside to take even a day trip now and then.

Don't miss this:  Let me take you through the steps to make those travel dreams actually happen.

Wait! There is more to come! Make sure to catch my next post, Part 2: Tasty Foods to Help You Stay Focused throughout your day and the recent interesting research on that topic.

Do you have a great trick to keep focused on a task that you'd like to share? Please do in the comments.

Featured on Urban Naturale blog hop.


Health News: The Latest Skinny (September 2015)

Staying well-informed on the latest health news can really help you reach your goal of living a healthy lifestyle. There is a lot of information to sift through though! Allow me to help a bit with that and bring you a monthly round-up of a few health-related links that can help you stay up on it all.

And, if you like, be sure to follow me on Twitter as well (tap right here) as I post each day at 3 p.m. even more health news tid-bits that can help you and your family be in-the-know when it comes to designing your best health!

Stay well-informed with useful and fun wellness news to make your health its very best! Great links from how being outdoors helps your children's eyesight, why chocolate is great for your health, and why using natural ways for your pets affects your children's health too.  (TheHealthMinded.com) #health #news


Click on these great topics (in green) regarding your health that I saved for you this month:

1.  Hello parents! Here's even more reason to encourage our children to experience the great outdoors . . . and to do so often!

Don't miss this:  Here is one of my favorite family outings and tips to do it right.

2.  Chocolate fans, rejoice!  Catch this interview with a Ph.D who has studied its far reaching health benefits that you really must read about (while you are chewing on a square of dark chocolate, of course!)

Don't miss this:  I have a fantastic, yummy recipe for you featuring chocolate in the healthiest of versions.


Don't Fear the Dark: Try These Powerful Black Superfoods

Step out of the light and into the dark - if even for a bit -  and experience what the dark side of things can do for you and your health!  Please do indulge and let those dark fruits, vegetables and grains easily tempt you with their alluring secrets.  It is true, those richly-hued black (or almost black) foods may be able to do more good for your body than even some of their light-hearted counterparts.

Don't be afraid of the dark and experience what these dark-colored foods can do for you and your health! These richly-hued black (or almost black) foods may be able to lower cancer, diabetes and heart disease risks. And, don't miss this amazingly good for you and easy-to-make dessert recipe packed with dark foods too! (TheHealthMinded.com) #health

So, what is so amazing about these shadowy foods? What makes them so powerful? It is all that rich color that packs the pumch as it carries the anthocyanins or plant pigments that may help lower the risks of cancer, diabetes, and even heart disease.  But, that is not all.  Read on to find why you should make lots more room for some of the items on your dinner plate and while you are at it, create a simple, creamy dessert with a few of them that is drenching with amazing healthy goodness!

7 Dark Foods to Eat Often For Optimal Health

Throw back more of these black-hued foods for health benefits we can all use more of:

1.  Order a side of black beans.   Next time, you are dining at your favorite taco joint, ask for black beans. The dark skins of these beans are packed with bioflavonoids that may be helpful in protecting us against cancer and they provide special support for digestive tract health, especially the lower part of our digestive tract.

2.  The fiber rich blackberry is a stand-out.  Here is another one good for our digestion and our vascular system fighting heart disease and protecting eyesight, too.

Don't miss this:  Read even more great benefits to this tasty and beautiful berry.


How to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle Despite Your Busy Schedule

When juggling a lot in our life (whether by choice or having it thrust upon us), staying true to the  healthy lifestyle we want to lead can feel downright impossible! And, dare I say, sometimes, that workout or making that healthy meal is the first to get bumped off the "to do" list because the pressure of doing thattoo, is all too much.

Then, . . .  the guilt sets in.  Throw in some frustration over not achieving your goal and you are well on your way to creating a cocktail of stress and a whole lot of other negative thoughts and consequences.

Not. So. Pretty.

But. So. Not. Necessary!

 If you find yourself in this scenario, let's not waste any more time and please scan down.  I have some ideas to change all that for you.

Staying true to living a healthy lifestyle is tough when our lives are so busy! If you find yourself frustrated over this, help is on the way with lots of ideas here to get you on the healthy road despite your crazy busy days. (TheHealthMinded.com) #health

7 Ways You Can Create A Healthier Lifestyle . . . Even When You are Busy

You are about to break that ugly rut and negative cycle! It is possible to achieve the healthier lifestyle that you want without zapping all your time and energy.  Flip on down and see if any of these time-saving ideas you can implement rather quickly might help you hop on the road to better health and keep you there . . . yes, even despite your crazy busy days.

1.  Verbalize it.  When you say your healthy lifestyle goals out loud to yourself or your spouse or friend, neighbor - whomever will listen - it somehow makes you focus more to make it happen.  Even better - get that spouse or friend to join you and you can check in and encourage each other! Also, take a moment to write it down! Go ahead and make it real.  Put reminders to yourself on your phone, tack it up at a spot you will see everyday.  Start small and build from there.

2.  Let others do the planning.  Sign up for a workout program on line (lots of great free options for tight schedules) or let the trainer at your gym design the exact measures you are to take to get fit within the time you can give.  That way, it is all spelled out for you.  No thinking or creating.  All done!

Don't miss this:  Here is how I created a home gym that fits under my couch!


Healthy Snack & Post Workout Smart Choice: Chocolate Milk

Now this, my friends, is how to do chocolate milk . . . creamy, rich, dairy-free and oh so healthy! It will surely satisfy any chocolate craving you are having and fill that sweet tooth, too, but with no refined sugar! And, this is so good for you with loads of antioxidants and mood elevators to get you through any busy afternoon. And, look at that! It is here just in time for those after school snacks!

Creamy, rich, delicious, chocolately ... & healthy. What's not to like? Get a quick recipe here for your next post workout or after school snack: dairy-free, sugar-free chocolate milk. (TheHealthMinded.com) #health

Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Delicious and Healthy Chocolate Milk

This batch is for a few servings so go ahead and whip up enough of this for a few snack breaks or post work-out rewards as this will keep in your refrigerator for a few days:


Cooking with Chocolate the Healthy Way To Feel & Look Great

When I was growing up, many of my friends considered breakfast cereal and cartoons a Saturday morning ritual.  Be me?  I didn't particularly care for either. Now, though, I do make an exception for a good granola. One homemade with lots of crunch and goodness. One that can be eaten any time, not just for breakfast.  One that will not only satisfy, but nourish at the same time. Yes, I can make room for a ritual like that - and especially if it contains chocolate!

Some forms of chocolate are a health food! Yes, you heard right! The high antioxidant level contained in cacao (used to make chocolate) may be able to reduce the risk of many diseases. Tap here to find loads of other health benefits too and why you want to indulge in this favorite flavor often. (TheHealthMinded.com) #health

Yup! Just to make it a little naughty, there is chocolate in the granola I am sharing today.  But, I mean that in only the very best way as this recipe uses raw cacao, (the seed from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate are made) and it is wickedly good-tasting and wickedly good for you, too. If you scan on down, you will see exactly what I mean.

High Antioxidant Rankings for Cacao and Some of Its Variations

You may think kale deems supreme (and it is great stuff indeed)!  But, I think you may want to consider this: Some rankings like the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), a method of measuring antioxidants in biological samples, rates raw cacao and unsweetened cocoa powder in the top 10 of many nutritious foods.  The high antioxidant level contained in cacao may be able to repair the damage caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of many diseases.

That's good news for chocoholics out there, but you just need to make sure it is the right form.  If you indulge in a chocolate bar, dark is best (cacao content of at least 70 percent or higher) and ditch the high sugar content while you are at it.


Easily Get Rid of The Toxins Lurking In Your Bathroom

Tweaking a bit here and there can sometimes make all the difference. Those small improvements and adjustments can lead to bigger and better things for you and your health.  With that in mind, how about improving a room you enter every day - your bathroom. Those showers, those baths can add to your toxicity level in several ways. It is true that some of those bottles, bars, jars, sprays and lotions, and even your bathroom decor could be adding to your toxic load without you even realizing it.

Why turn a good thing - taking a shower or bath - into a bad thing - increasing your chemical load? Tap here to follow these simple actions you can adopt to avoid hurting your health and exposing you and your family to harmful chemicals. (TheHealthMinded.com) #health

Why turn a good thing (taking a shower or bath) into a bad thing (increasing your chemical load)? There are a few simple ways you can adopt to avoid doing just that.  We certainly can't control everything we come in contact with living in our world today, but we can try to lessen it where we can.

So, let's open the door to your bathroom and take a closer look, but first let's check your shopping bag . . .


Health News: The Latest Skinny (August 2015)

Lots of great links I am sending your way to help you stay informed on health and medical news! You never know what latest study or discovery, intriguing article or other healthy bit may help you become your healthiest self or that you could forward on to those in need as well!

Be well-informed with useful and fun wellness news to make your health its very best!  Great links from how your personality affects your disease risk, why surgeons need to play more music, and what those fish oil supplements can do and not do for you. (The Health-Minded.com) #health


Click on these great topics regarding your health that I saved for you this month:

1.  Next time your boss asks you to punch your timecard extra hours, you may want to show him or her this: what overtime can do to your body.

2.  So . . . how does your diet hold up to this longevity expert's?  You may be surprised by some of his messages.

3.  Let's certainly hope no one every needs this, but it's great to know scientists are working on disaster planning to protect our health under such dire circumstances.
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