Wellness Articles

A “Crash Course” on LEADERSHIP

Some people mistakenly think that leaders are uniformed figureheads who are elected or chosen to represent a certain group or organization, but everyday leadership is demonstrated by parents, teachers, older siblings, clergy, friends – in fact, just about everyone finds themselves in a position of leadership from time to time.

Here are the thoughts of leadership educator Steve Ventura on
the subject:

The 10 most important words:
“What can I do to help you be more successful?”

The 9 most important words:
“I need you to do this, and here’s why …”

The 8 most important words:
“That’s my mistake and I will fix it.”

The 7 most important words:
“My door is always open to you.”

The 6 most important words:
“Let’s focus on solving the problem.”

The 5 most important words:
“You did a great job!”

The 4 most important words:
“What do YOU think?”

The 3 most important words:
“Follow my lead.”

The 2 most important words:
“Thank You.”

The MOST important word:
“YOU.”

Healthy Halloween!

Halloween is a time when many kids go trick or treating, only to stockpile mass quantities of candy – it’s bad for their teeth, bad for their weight, bad for the inner workings of their body, and bad for their psychology too, as sugared-up kids will go into overdrive, act out, and even get depressed in response to the excessive sugar in their systems.

This Halloween, try some healthy snacks instead of the usual not-so-good-for-you sugary treats! In the past few years, many companies have created dozens of options so you can help your child and the neighborhood kids have a healthier Halloween.

Here’s a list of some yummy Halloween treats that shouldn’t hurt your family’s health, yet allow them to participate fully in the Halloween festivities.

1. Dark Chocolate Bites
Skip the milk chocolate and sneak antioxidant-rich dark chocolate into trick-or-treat bags. Dark chocolate helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Try Organic Dark Chocolate Bug bites, Equal Exchange Mini-Chocolates, or Sweet Earth Trick or Treat Chocolates.

2. Organic Candies
Don’t deprive the kids of sweet Halloween snacks, just pick better ones they’ll also like. Try Organic Fruitabu Smooshed Fruit Flats, Rolls and Twirls. They’re made with over 90 percent organic fruit and no artificial additives, and come in delicious fruit flavors. Or, you can try Clif Kid Twisted Fruit Ropes, also USDA certified organic, or St. Claire’s Organic Fruit Tarts, or Candy Tree vegan organic Mixed Fruit Toffee Chews, or Stretch Island Fruit Leather, in apple, grape, raspberry, strawberry, mango, cherry-apricot, tropical and blackberry. All of these are much healthier than store bought fruit roll-ups and Twizzlers.

3. Organic Gummy Bears
The Let’s Do Organic! Company sells Classic, Jelly and Super Sour vegan gummy bears.

4. Organic Hard Candies
Yummy Earth lollipops are USDA certified-organic, contain no artificial colors or corn syrup and are available in 20 flavors such as Pomegranate Pucker, TooBerry Blueberry and Strawberry Smash. Or, try Organic Root Beer Barrels, or Candy Tree Organic Lollipops, updated versions of perennial favorites that will please even the finicky candy lovers. Or, you can go with College Farm Organics Naturepops and Hard Candies, whose organic suckers and hard candies contain only natural flavors and colors, and are good options for people with food allergies because they contain no gluten, nuts, soy or eggs.

5. Organic Nutballs
Betty Lou’s makes delicious nut butter balls, and don’t miss their Golden Smackers organic chocolate peanut butter patties.

6. Organic Popcorn
Newman’s makes Newman’s Own Organics Pop’s Corn individual microwave popcorn packs of organic popcorn, a great departure from the sweets.

7. Organic Cookies and Bars
Barbara’s Bakery offers organic animal cookies, in chocolate chip, oatmeal wheat-free, vanilla, and vanilla-fruit-juice-sweetened. Earth’s Best makes organic Whole Grain Bars for babies, just the right size for a Halloween tidbit, in Apple Blueberry, Peach Banana, Pear Raspberry, and Carrot Raisin. New England Natural Bakers offers organic Save the Forest Cereal and Trail Mix Bars, in a variety of flavors. Ten percent of their profits goes to environmental and social causes. Oskri Organics sells organic Sesame Bars and Coconut Bars in various flavors (sesame flavors include dates, fennel, molasses, and cumin; coconut flavors include strawberry, pineapple, almond, and mango). 

8. Organic Beverages
Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic both offer small juice boxes for kids, while EdenSoy makes small boxes of soy drinks (original, carob, and vanilla flavors). The Whole Kids line at Whole Foods Markets includes small boxes of organic juices and soy drinks, too.

9. Organic Baby Carrots, Raisins and Honey Sticks
Earthbound Farm sells organic Thompson Seedless Raisins in handy snack packs, just right for kids. Pavich Raisins are also available in individual small boxes but are not sealed. You can get organic baby carrots at any Whole Foods and most grocery stores. Very little organic honey is currently available, but Stash Tea, a maker of organic teas, makes delicious, naturally-flavored honey sticks, another tasty Halloween option to the usual overly sweet chemical laden treats.

You can probably see that there’s no excuse to settle for yucky Halloween treats for your family and the neighborhood kids, when there’s such a wide variety of healthy snacks available. Do a little homework of your own, and you’ll find scrumptious, satisfying snacks to please your toughest critics.

In fact, it’s healthier for you and your kids year-round, not only at Halloween time – make it a habit to eat healthier, and avoid overly processed, sugary and chemical treated foods — it will come back to reward you many times over with a better overall quality of life and more years to enjoy it.

Why Take Care Of Your Spine?

Most people want to be as healthy as possible. Some think it’s luck, some think it’s genetics, some think it’s for someone else besides themselves.

But what most people don’t realize is that there is a way to improve the quality of your health, by following some simple, logical guidelines, which improve your chances of living a healthy life.

These easy-to-understand lifestyle choices will lead to a better quality of life overall, as well as relative freedom from the pain, suffering and inconvenience that often comes when we don’t follow these basic rules.

  1. Get enough rest and sleep. Too many of us “burn the candle at both ends,” and the result is that we deplete our energy. Allow for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, on a comfortable and supportive bed, and if you can’t do that, then find time to rest during each day so your body and mind have a chance to recover from the stresses of daily life.
  2. Eat a healthy wholesome diet. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less heavy, fried or processed food makes it easier for your body to use your nutrition and leads to reduced body weight, which experts agree leads to a longer, healthier life.
  3. Drink enough water. Your body is mostly water, and that means you need to constantly replenish your cells that lose water through breathing, sweating, urinating and other body functions.
  4. Exercise enough. As little as three thirty-minute sessions of walking each week can set your body on the road to fitness. Be reasonable, start at the right pace, but be consistent and it will reward you many times over.
  5. Develop a positive mental attitude. Look for the bright side of life, and be nice to yourself and those around you. Find ways to reduce and manage your stress.
  6. Take good care of your body parts – your skin, eyes, teeth, and spine require periodic maintenance, and as long as you take the responsibility to keep your body working right, it’s more likely you will experience a sense of vitality.

 Why take care of your spine? Your spine protects your nerve system, responsible for communication between the brain and all body parts, so an unhealthy spine leads to an unhealthy body. Take care of your spine by visiting your chiropractor, and he or she will advise you on any further attention that may be necessary. For many people, this is the missing link that brings together everything else they do to stay healthy – find out for yourself what your spinal health care needs may be, and make the decision to take proper care of your spine – it makes a big difference!

Everyday Enlightenment…

World class athlete, college professor and bestselling author of the classic “The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” Dan Millman offers us twelve gateways to personal growth in his outstanding book, “Everyday Enlightenment.”

  1. Discover your worth – Life is full of gifts and opportunities; you will open to receive and enjoy them to the degree that you begin to appreciate your innate worth, and offer to yourself the same compassion and respect that you would give to others.
  2. Reclaim your will – Inside you is untapped strength of will, of spirit, of heart. You have only to remember your purpose — great strength of will resides within you, waiting for expression.
  3. Energize your body – If you lack vitality, nothing else matters. If you have your health, anything is possible.
  4. Manage your money – it can serve you or bind you, depending on how you manage it. Clarify your goals and use your gifts, and you can make good money doing what you enjoy while serving the higher calling of your soul.
  5. Tame your mind – You perceive the world through your beliefs, interpretations and associations. As your mind clears, you perceive reality simply as it is.
  6. Trust your intuition – Your subconscious mind holds keys to intuitive wisdom, clear sight, and untapped power. All you have to do is look, listen and trust, paying attention to dreams, feelings, and instinct.
  7. Accept your emotions – emotions are like waves on the sea or weather in the skies, rising and falling on their own accord. You cannot control your feelings, so you are not responsible for your feelings, only for your response to them. Accept emotions completely, let your feelings be, just don’t let them run your life.
  8. Face your fears – Fear is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. Like pain, it can alert you and advise you, but may also cloud or limit your life. Your fears are not walls, but hurdles. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquering of it.
  9. Illuminate your shadow – As an infant, you were pure potential, but in growing up you disowned parts of your being, and you became “this” but not “that.” By illuminating your shadow, you become whole again, and real.
  10. Embrace your sexuality – Hungers and appetites for food, sex, and life are natural. If you suppress the power of your drives, you create obsessions, compulsions and guilty secrets. Life is not a matter of indulging or denying the energies of life, but of observing, accepting, and wisely channeling them.
  11. Awaken your heart – Love is life’s great secret. Love endures not from words or feelings alone, but from actions that carry you beyond the interests of separate self. You are not here to contact your higher self; you are here to become it.
  12. Serve your world – Service is both a means and an end, for in giving to others, you open yourself to love, abundance, and inner peace. You cannot serve others without uplifting yourself.

Sleep, Your Body’s Daily Vacation

Most of us wish we could spend more time on vacation, but we forget that nature has provided for us a piece of every single day designed for our rest and rejuvenation.

If only it were that simple. Daily stresses can build up and interfere with sleep patterns, not to mention working overtime and feeling like there isn’t enough time to get everything done, much less get a good night’s sleep. That’s why it’s so important to get the most out of the sleep you do get, and here are some simple tips from helpguide.org to help you do so. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and you will have to experiment to discover your best sleeping patterns.

Tip 1: Keep a regular sleep schedule
Get back in sync with your body’s natural sleep–wake cycle. If you go to bed and get up at the same time each day, you will feel more refreshed and energized. Consistency is important, so set a regular bedtime, wake up at the same time every day, and nap to make up for lost sleep.

Tip 2: Make your bedroom more sleep friendly
You’ll sleep better when your bedroom is quiet. If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise, try masking it with a fan, recordings of soothing sounds, or white noise.  Keep your room dark and cool.

Your mattress and bedding are also important. Make sure your bed is comfortable. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to invest in a new mattress or a different pillow.  Experiment with different mattress and pillow firmness.

Tip 3: Create a relaxing bedtime routine 
A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to let go of the day’s stresses. Turn off your television, which actually stimulates the mind. And if you associate your bed with work or other obligations, it will be harder to wind down at night, so use your bed only for sleep and sex. That way, when you go to bed, your body gets that it’s time to nod off.

Tip 4: Eat right and get regular exercise 
Your eating and exercise habits play a role in how well you sleep. Stay away from big meals at night. Avoid alcohol before bed. Cut down on caffeine. Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Quit smoking. And you’ll sleep more deeply if you exercise regularly, as little as 20-30 minutes each day.

Tip 5: Get anxiety and stress in check 
Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it difficult to sleep well. When you wake up or can’t get to sleep, take note of any recurring theme, to help you figure out what you need to do to get your stress and anger under control during the day. Learn how to manage your time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a calm, positive outlook. Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or simply visualizing a peaceful, restful place.

If you have questions about mattresses and pillows, ask your family chiropractor for his or her advice – doctors of chiropractic are often familiar with the various products and also with your particular needs, so make sure you have comfortable and properly supportive bedding – it will make a big difference in the quality of your sleep, and the quality of your life.

What is Wellness?

We hear a lot about wellness these days, but it seems to mean different things to different people.

For some, wellness is fitness, good muscle tone, proper posture, and being in shape. For others, wellness is eating right, avoiding processed foods, preservatives and food additives that clog their bodies, instead concentrating on fruits and vegetables and other fresh, whole foods. Others still think wellness is in the mind, and that positive mental attitude and an optimistic outlook on life is wellness. Who is right?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.”

The American Heritage Medical Dictionary says wellness is “the condition of good physical, mental and emotional health, especially when maintained by an appropriate diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications.”

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary says wellness is “a dynamic state of health in which an individual progresses toward a higher level of functioning, achieving an optimum balance between internal and external environments.”

It’s a Blend
These definitions help us to understand that all of the abovementioned people are right in pursuing wellness in their own way. No one has to be wrong for each of them to be right. And it seems like blending the different pathways to wellness can make it more personalized, more effective for each individual, and more fun as each person creates his or her own best quality of life.

Notice that each of the definitions quoted here includes an intention to be well, and a willingness to do what it takes to experience wellness. Different people use different combinations of lifestyle habits to get as well as they can, and many people have discovered that the right approach is to develop habits like good diet, sufficient sleep and rest, drinking enough water, exercising to keep fit, maintaining a positive attitude, and performing body maintenance procedures, like massage or meditation, and periodic check-ups for your eyes, your teeth, and your spine and nerve system.

Choosing Your Professional Wellness Team

Most people have a dentist, and if they have needed glasses to see better they’ve seen an optometrist, but many people have not yet learned of the importance of having a family chiropractor to take care of your spine and nerve system. Your nerve system is your body’s switchboard, connecting all the parts to the brain and to each other, and the spine protects the delicate nerves with bone. If the spine is healthy and the bones move properly, the nerve system is protected. But if anything disturbs the way the spinal bones fit together, like an injury or other stress, they don’t protect the nerves, and in fact can start to irritate them. This can cause pain and poor body function, and the way to prevent that is to get regular spine and nerve system exams, just like you get your teeth checked.

The doctor who specializes in the spine and nerve system is the doctor of chiropractic, also know as a chiropractor or DC. Most people think of the chiropractor as a back doctor, and it’s true that the doctor does examine the back to decide how to help you – that’s because the spine is in the back, and the doctor of chiropractic is interested in how your spine is working to protect or interfere with your nerve system. This doesn’t only affect back pain and neck pain, it affects all of your body’s functions that depend on nerves to carry information to and from the brain – your digestion, your breathing, your immune system and reproductive function all are influenced by nerve system control.

Chiropractors and Wellness

Chiropractors have been educating people about wellness for over a hundred years. Choosing good lifestyle habits, like good nutrition, rest, exercise, attitude and chiropractic care, has always been a part of the doctor of chiropractic’s recommendations – just remember that like all people, each doctor of chiropractic also chooses the blend of lifestyle habits that lead toward wellness. Based on that blend, your chiropractor may concentrate primarily on spinal care, leaving the remainder of the wellness habits and routines up to your discretion. Others have learned about and specialized in various other disciplines, like exercise, nutrition, sports, and many other areas of expertise.

So, when you combine these definitions of wellness, you can see that wellness is “a dynamic state of being in good physical, mental and emotional health, especially as an actively sought goal, maintained by an appropriate diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications, toward a higher level of functioning, achieving an optimum balance between internal and external environments.”

Ask your family chiropractor about which wellness habits he or she uses – it may give you some insight into how you can keep yourself healthy physically, mentally and socially, and improve the quality of your life by deciding which lifestyle habits are best for you.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is meant to give due honor to the woman who gave us birth and life. Though we often feel gratitude towards our mothers we may not demonstrate it often enough. Mother’s Day is celebrated to share those feelings with our mothers, to spend some time with them and make them feel special.

Great women like Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis will always be revered for their contributions in bestowing dignity to women and motherhood and they are largely responsible for the creation of Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in May in dozens of countries worldwide, but ranges from February in Norway, to March in the Middle East, to November in Russia.

Mother’s Day is also a huge commercial success. Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out in the United States. Americans will spend billions on flowers, pampering gifts, and greeting cards, not to mention about 7.8% of the U.S. jewelry industry’s annual revenue in 2008, with custom gifts like mother’s rings.

Here are some favorite Mother’s Day sentiments and quotations:

M – O – T – H – E – R
“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell “MOTHER,”
A word that means the world to me.
Howard Johnson (c. 1915)

A mother understands what a child does not say.
Jewish Proverb

Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall;
A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, physician and poet

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.
Strickland Gillilan

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
William Makepeace Thackeray

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My Mother.
Ann Taylor

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us;
when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our
sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us,
and endeavour by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness,
and cause peace to return to our hearts.
Washington Irving (1783-1859)

All I am or can be I owe to my angel Mother.
Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President

There never was a woman like her. She was gentle as a dove and brave as a lioness … The memory of my mother and her teachings were, after all, the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way.
Andrew Jackson, U.S. President

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.
George Washington, U.S. President

Water, The Overlooked Nutrient

Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”
-Albert Szent Gyorgyi, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology, discovered Vitamin C

Water may be called the elixir of life, as it is essential for your body to work properly. Water makes up between 55 and 75 percent of the human body. Although food is important, your body can go a considerable amount of time without eating. You can only go a few days without water.

The amount and the quality of the water you consume can have a dramatic impact on your health. Good, clear, drinkable water is very accessible for most of us. Many people have acceptable drinking water in their homes. Others purchase bottled water at their local supermarket. Still others filter the water in their homes to improve the quality.

Most people need to drink more water than they currently do. Juice, coffee, tea, and soft drinks are not water – the body sees them more like food. To estimate the amount of pure, clean water you should drink daily, take half your body weight in pounds, and that’s how many ounces you need – in other words, if you weigh 128 pounds, you need to drink 64 ounces of water, a half gallon, eight glasses of eight ounces each. If you weigh 192 pounds, you need to drink 96 ounces, three quarters of a gallon, twelve eight-ounce glasses. If you are overweight, you need to drink one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight.

A lack of water leads to dehydration. Dehydration is a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry normal functions. Your body loses water on a daily basis through sweating, urinating and breathing. It’s essential that you replace lost fluids. Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headache, dizziness, muscle weakness, dry or ‘cotton’ mouth and little to no urination.

Get into the habit of drinking water – drink a glass when you wake up, another mid morning, one or two glasses with lunch, one mid afternoon and then two or three glasses before, with and after dinner.
You’ll be amazed how good you feel when you keep your body hydrated!

Is Chiropractic Care Good For Painful Problems?

Many people first visit a chiropractor because they are suffering some kind of pain – back pain, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, or some other kind of discomfort. They are mainly seeking relief, often having tried other approaches like medications, pain-killers, bed rest, and heat.

In fact, many people do get relief from visiting their chiropractor. The reason, though, may be somewhat different from what you might think!

When you’re hurting, the pain seems like the problem, but this is usually not the case. Your body uses pain as an alarm system to alert you to the fact that something inside isn’t working right. So, the pain isn’t the problem, it’s your body’s way of telling you there is a problem.

If you just shut off the alarm, and the fire continues to burn, then the purpose of the alarm was ignored and the house burns down, even though the alarm rang. It’s the same in your body – if you just shut off the pain without finding out why it was happening, the fire in your body continues to burn, and the effect can be a more serious health condition. For example, stomach pain may mean a developing ulcer, but shutting off the stomach pain with antacids or drugs does not address the underlying cause of the ulcer, like stress or poor diet, and eventually the stomach wears out.

So, the pain usually isn’t the problem, it’s the evidence that there is a problem!

That’s why chiropractic care doesn’t really try to shut off the pain, but to find the underlying cause, and deal with that. Often, the cause of the pain is some malfunction in the body, and chiropractors are experts at finding such malfunctions.

Here’s the way it works. The body is designed with a wiring system that connects the brain, which runs the show, with all the body parts. This wiring system is called the nerve system, and nerves are the wires that go from the brain to the body parts, so the brain can direct their function and tell them what to do.

The brain and nerve system are protected by bone, the brain by the skull and the nerve wires by the spinal bones. That’s why chiropractors are trained to examine and correct misalignments in your spine – when those bones go out of position, they can interfere with nerve function, which may either cause pain, or cause some other body malfunction that leads to pain.

When someone decides to begin chiropractic care, the decision frequently stems from a desire to experience relief, and it would be inaccurate to say that this doesn’t happen – most of the time, the pain subsides fairly quickly, and if this is all the individual wants, there’s a tendency to discontinue chiropractic care prematurely, before the underlying problem is adjusted properly so it can heal.

That’s why many chiropractors recommend periodic check-ups, for early detection and the correction of structural problems before they progress.

Many families decide to come in for their adjustments together, as a health and wellness practice, whether or not anyone has a painful problem. They have found that their quality of life improves with regular chiropractic care, among other good lifestyle choices, like healthy diet, sufficient exercise, sleeping on a good mattress, drinking enough water, and practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga.

So, doctors of chiropractic do help people with painful problems by finding the cause of the problem, and they also help people who don’t have painful problems by coaching them on better lifestyle decisions and keeping their structure healthy. Chiropractic care has something to offer just about everybody.

Beware the Ides of March …

Poets, authors and philosophers have recorded their ideas about the beauty and excitement of this time of year – enjoy some lovely and entertaining thoughts about the month of March.

 It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
- Charles Dickens

 “A light exists in Spring
Not present in the year
at any other period
When March is scarcely here.”
– Emily Dickinson

 “Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.”
– William Shakespeare

 “The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.

When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here.”
– Author Unknown

 “Springtime is the land awakening.  
The March winds are the morning yawn.”  
– Lewis Grizzard

 “March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes and a laugh in her voice.”
–  Hal Borland

 One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring.
Aldo Leopold

 Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
– Robin Williams

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