Tips for Naturally Improving Hiatal Hernia Problems – Plus the Basics About this Little Monster…

Plus the Basics About this Little Monster...

Zico Coconut Water

Coconut Water: Ahhh-mazing for Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

This article is going with the assumption that you know what a hiatal hernia is and that you know you are the proud owner of this little nightmare.  However, we will take a brief refresher course on what a hiatal hernia actually is:

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

When an internal body part pushes its way into another area of the body (someplace it certainly doesn’t belong), we call it a hernia.

The opening in the diaphragm is called the hiatus.The diaphragm, of course, is what separates your chest cavity from your abdomen. When working conditions are as they should be, the food pipe (esophagus) goes smoothly through the hiatus – taking food/drink from the mouth to the stomach.  That’s in a perfect world. A hiatal hernia (sometimes called a hiatus hernia) basically says, “Not so fast, my foodie friend…”

When you have a hiatal hernia, the stomach bulges up into the chest through the hiatus. Pain? You betcha. Oddly enough, people with hiatal hernias have different levels of discomfort and even different symptoms. We’ll get to the symptoms in a minute, but it’s worth noting that seldom are two people’s experiences with a hiatal hernia exactly the same.

There are two kinds of hiatal hernias: Sliding and paraesophageal.  Sliding hiatal hernias (such as my little monster) are the most common. The stomach and a section of the esophagus that joins the stomach “slide up into the chest” through the hiatus.

The paraesophageal  hernia is less common, but much more serious. If you are unsure which type of hiatal hernia you have, I’d certainly recommend seeing a doctor. A paraesophageal hernia can be very dangerous.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

For someone like me, who has plenty of symptoms with their hiatal hernia, I’m amazed by the fact that many people have few to no symptoms.  I kind of suspect, however, that there are people who DO have a little hernia monster of their own, but they assume their symptoms are tied to something else.

Here’s my personal story (shared in case you recognize your symptoms): About 8 years ago, I was driving home (eating a hamburger). Suddenly, there was a discomfort in my chest as though my bite of burger couldn’t quite make it all the way down the pipe.  There wasn’t any choking involved – just a feeling that something was stuck in my chest cavity. I had never felt anything quite like it before and it kind of freaked me out.

A few seconds later, insane hiccups began – then the feeling in the chest went away… and the rest of the burger went back into the bag.

It was, probably, several weeks before it happened again. I remember that it was (again) a sandwich that caused the problem. This time the pain was a little worse.  At this point, I realized that I had what my mom had… a hiatal hernia.

For about 5-6 years, it only acted up “every now and then.” The foods that caused flair ups the most were bread, rice, chicken, raw apples, and carrots. Anything dense began to spell trouble for me.

Like a lot of people, one of my main “regular” symptoms is fierce heartburn related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Experts know there is a link between Hiatal Hernias and GERD, but one condition doesn’t seem to cause the other.

In addition to quite a few smaller episodes, I’ve had a couple of frightening, horrific experiences with my hiatal hernia. Each time, I was (as luck would have it) dining out. Food got stuck and simply would not budge. The first time, it was a chicken taco. I felt clammy, sweaty, and completely “on fire.” The pain was about an 8 on a scale of 10. I was unable to talk. Phlegm often comes into your mouth rapidly when you’re having one of these spells (or as I call it, “When my monster is acting up.”). The phlegm isn’t in any way fun, but it is what it is.

Inevitably, hiccups soon hit and they hit hard. But the thing about these guys is they actually bring relief. When they hit, I know that the entire episode will soon be over.

Another horrifying spell was while eating at a favorite BBQ restaurant. The pork didn’t make it all the way and all hell broke lose. This time (unlike any other time my monster has attacked), I had violent vomiting. Again, the shakes and clamminess accompanied the production. It was, if we’re being honest, the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

 Remember the two events above as the Chicken Event and the Pork Event – no, there won’t be a test.. but I will tell you what led to them.

During the pork event, after the hiccups ended, my husband got me a dish of ice cream and, I have to tell you, it felt like Heaven to my poor, sore, traumatized esophagus.

There have been other events, but none as horrifying as these two. Each event was preceded by certain things that brought them about, which is the point of this article – to help others with hiatal hernias reduce their own events.

How Can You Prevent Hiatal Hernia “Flair Ups”

The number 1 thing I want you to do if you have a hiatal hernia is to start keeping an accurate, faithful “Hiatal Hernia” journal. Record your flair ups, symptoms, and what you were eating and drinking at the time. Record your activity the day of AND a few days prior to the big event. I keep a “Hiatal Hernia Journal” on my iPad, in the notes and I’ve done so since July 7, 2014.

During the months of keeping this journal, I’ve learned what things cause me the most trouble and have even discovered things that pretty much invited the monster to run amok.

The things that have helped me the most are about as simple as it gets:

I no longer lift anything remotely heavy I don’t “move” or “push” furniture around I don’t do certain yoga moves I used to love I don’t do an imitation of a sleeping bat.

Before a lot of the events over the years, I noticed that I  had actually lifted something heavy the day of the event or the day before. I’m a HUGE bird lover and regularly buy a 35 pound bag of birdseed at the store each Friday. I’d pop it into the cart, pop it into my car, then pop it out of the car when I got home. This, inevitably, led to many hiatal hernia episodes.

Before the Chicken Event, I had actually hung upside down on an inversion table the day before. I had a horribly stiff neck that had been giving me fits for days, so I hopped on the inversion table and hung upside down for a minute.

My neck loved it and apparently my hiatal hernia took it as an invitation to pounce.

Before the Pork Event, I had moved furniture around that morning. I’d moved a bookshelf from one room into another and pushed a huge, wooden desk to another spot.

I look back now and think, “DUHHHHH….” but, at the time, I honestly didn’t expect that to cause issues.

I’ve also seen (thanks to my accurate journal) a correlation between flair ups and certain “yoga” poses, lifting trash bags, lifting large bags of cat food, and even carrying too many grocery bags in at once.

If you have a hiatal hernia, whether or not you have horrific symptoms like the ones above, you’ll help yourself out a great deal if you stop lifting heavy objects all together. I hate it, if we’re being honest. I hate not being able to take the trash out when it needs to go, I hate having to ask someone else to put birdseed or cat food into my cart for me – BUT I hate the attacks far worse.

Here’s the run down of things you need to STOP doing:

Stop lifting heavy objects. How heavy? This would differ from person to person, but I’m really not sure you could be “too” safe or cautious. Stop lifting weights – that’s obvious, I’m sure. If you love yoga, use common sense. Don’t do any that involve lifting your leg above your head or “hanging” your head below your waist.  Also, a lot of pilates moves and poses can cause big trouble. The “Planking” pose once caused a pretty big event for me. STOP Overdoing caffeine – caffeine weakens the area around the esophagus, and we need that area to be as strong as possible. Don’t even think of doing an imitation of a sleeping bat. Bad deal. Pushing furniture around can cause as much trouble as lifting it. Leave it where it is…. seriously, it’s fine there.

There have also been certain things that have helped me with handling my hiatal hernia.

Things that can help with a Hiatal Hernia:

I’m not entirely sure why, but coconut water helps my symptoms. It helps with heartburn, GERD, and causes the entire area to feel better. I’m convinced it has a healing effect on the entire area. Aloe Vera Juice each day is also great. It doesn’t take a lot – just 1/3 cup is comforting. Eat small meals, frequently. If anyone gives you grief about it, you let me know – I’ll straighten them out. When you have a hiatal hernia, eating too much at one time is just asking for trouble. You know your body and you know what and how much you can eat. Listen to your body, not to other people. If there are certain foods that seem to cause you trouble, find alternatives. For example, I love apples but they aren’t… shall we say… a joy for me to eat. Now I just pop them into smoothies or eat applesauce. If raw vegetables give you trouble, steam them. I never met a steamed carrot I didn’t love. Slow your roll. Don’t eat fast -ever, ever, ever.  That just begs the hiccups and pain to show up. Drink more water. Isn’t this particular piece of advice on seemingly every list in the world?? Maybe it’s for a good reason – who knows what all drinking more water may cure! In this case, it keeps your digestive system humming along and that’s something people in our boat need. Don’t eat when stressed. If you’re upset, anxious, or stressed when you eat, you won’t digest your food properly. Wait until you chill out a little, THEN eat. Sit up straight! Sorry to sound like your mom, here, but it’s very important to sit up straight when you eat. Slouching is a bad deal. Losing any extra weight helps when you have a hiatal hernia. Naturally, this can be a bit of a challenge when there are so many exercises that are “Don’ts.” Thank goodness for walking. Eat healthy. Certain foods “strengthen” the area while others “weaken” it. Leafy greens, corn, and potatoes strengthen while caffeine, coffee, tea, and chocolate (I hate it as much as you do) tend to weaken the area. I’ve cut back on these culprits, but haven’t eliminated them. Nor am I likely to – if we’re being totally honest.

Advice for when your Hiatal Hernia is Flaring Up:

Remain calm. I know it’s difficult when pain and frightening symptoms are involved, but panicking is just going to make it worse… far worse. Mentally RELAX all of your muscles – particularly the ones involved in and around your chest and abdomen. Remind yourself that this will pass soon and focus on the feeling of relief that follows an episode. Free yourself! If you have on a bra, either take it off or at least unhook it. Where a bra “lies” or “binds” across the chest creates a nightmare for a hiatal hernia situation. Unhooking the device can actually head off a flair up. I’ve had times when I felt a little pressure, then unhooked and avoided a problem entirely. Obviously, this poses a problem in public, but shhhhh, I’ve learned to be as sneaky as the Fonz (Happy Days reference for those of you who are “whipper snappers.”). Try to always wear loser, non-restrictive clothing. Don’t eat or drink anything whatsoever until the pain or discomfort in your chest is gone.  During the Pork Event, I tried drinking some tea and it only made things worse. Let people in your world know what’s up. Be sure your family and friends know about your hiatal hernia, as well as what the symptoms feel like. This will keep them from panicking or offering you a drink or, worse yet, patting you on the back! Be on guard. If you have (out of necessity) had to lift something heavy, be on guard for about a week. Each time you eat, begin doing so with the tiniest bite imaginable and never, ever, ever “lead” with meat. That is to say, take a bite of something soft, then see how that goes. If, after a few bites of soft food, all seems well, THEN take a small bite of meat. For me, personally, chicken and pork are my trickiest meats – oddly enough, even more so than beef.  Rice can also be a trouble maker and bread is all but on my don’t touch list. Since I have to eat gluten free, that’s not a big deal for me. Never let your guard down. Whenever you’re eating a meal (or even a snack), always be mindful of each bite. Chew thouroughly, eat slowly, and always be mindful that you have a “condition” that requires special care and attention.That doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t make you ill, but it is what it is. You have a little monster that you don’t want to awaken – life’s a lot easier when he’s sleeping… so let him sleep!

Advice for dealing with heartburn, GERD, and reflux:

After I began following the guidelines below, my nighttime reflux completely went away. The heartburn is A LOT better now as well. In fact, is seldom shows up these days and, when it does, letting a papaya enzyme dissolve in my mouth gets rid of it.

If your hiatal hernia is accompanied by GERD and reflux (these monsters run with a nasty crowd), eating smaller meals is going to help with these symptoms as well. As I said (commanded??) earlier, keeping a journal will help you find food(s) and drink(s) that cause issues for you. I learned that drinking coffee on a completely empty stomach put out a big welcome mat for heartburn.  I also found that chocolate (too late at night) causes issues. Papaya Enzymes, taken after each meal, have helped me a great deal. I can tell a big difference when I take them immediately after a meal. Raise the head of your bed or, if that isn’t possible, sleep on several pillows. Elevating your head is a great way to prevent reflux. Stop eating all food several hours before going to bed. Again, coconut water is absolutely wonderful. I, admittedly, have no idea why coconut water has been so healing for my issues but, frankly, I don’t really care WHY, I just know it’s downright medicinal for me. I wouldn’t take anything for my coconut water and my enzymes.

One final thought:

Why do I refer to my hiatal hernia as my “little monster?” Because doing so allows me to:

Keep things in perspective. Things could always be worse and the word “little” reminds me that, compared to the absolute hellions some people live with, this “little monster” is next to nothing. Keeps things light. I almost laugh each time I refer to him as my little monster and that’s the whole point. I’m always looking for my next reason to laugh have a strong aversion to things that are overly serious and gloomy. Keeps me in control. As long as it’s MY little monster, I’m the one in control. Fourthly? Well…it gives ME the last word!

~ Joi (“Joy”)… owner of a little monster who likes to keep him in his cage.

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Post tags: GERD, hiatal hernia, reflux

Top 11 Quotes By Keanu Reeves To Help You Live a Happy, Epic Life

You're reading Top 11 Quotes By Keanu Reeves To Help You Live a Happy, Epic Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Top 11 Quotes By Keanu Reeves To Help You Live a Happy, Epic Life

Straight from the mouth of the immortal Neo himself!

So if you've been around the internet, you'd know that Keanu Reeves is pretty much a meme.

But it's not all for the sake of shallow humor, like most memes all.

The actor has a lot of wisdom and I've compiled some of his best quotes for you!

1) On opening your eyes and enjoying the beauty in life around you

"You see these people behind me? They are rushing to work and not paying attention to anything. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to take the time out to enjoy the beauty in life. It’s like we’re zombies. Look up and take your head phones out. Say Hi to someone you see and maybe give a hug to someone who looks like they’re hurting. Help out someone. You have to live every day like it’s your last. What people don’t know about me is that I had depression a couple of years back. I never told anyone about it. I had to fight my way out of depression. The person who was holding me back from my happiness was ME. Every day is precious so let’s treat it like that. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so live today! I hope you share this post to spread love this holiday."

2) On the true importance of money and living simply

"Money doesn't mean anything to me. I've made a lot of money, but I want to enjoy life and not stress myself building my bank account. I give lots away and live simply, mostly out of a suitcase in hotels. We all know that good health is much more important."

3) On living authentically and not faking it

"Because we're actors we can pretend and fake it, but I'd rather the intimate investment was authentic."

4) On simple happiness

"Life is good when you've a good sandwich."

5) On being thankful for the struggle

"Every struggle in your life has shaped you into the person you are today. Be thankful for the hard times, they can only make you stronger."

6) On convenience and living a simple, humble life

From his AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, after being asked if there was a reason why he takes the subway.

"Yeah, the subway in New York is really convenient, and uh, I've been taking subways since I was a little kid. So... some days it's just a really smart way to travel."

Note: Please go check out his AMAs on Reddit! Just from his answers alone, you'd see that he's a pretty cool dude.

7) On respect

"I was raised to show respect. I was taught to knock before I open a door. Say hello when I enter a room. Say please and thank you, and to have respect for my elders. I'd let another person have my seat if they need it. Say 'yes sir' and 'no sir', and help others when they need me to, not stand on the sidelines and watch. Hold the door for the person behind me, say 'excuse me' when it's needed and to love people for who they are and not for what I can get from them and most importantly, I was also raised to treat people exactly how I would like to be treated by others. It's called respect."

8) On overcoming hard times and still loving life!

"Most people know me, but don't know my story. At the age of 3, I watched my father leave. I attended four different high schools and struggled with dyslexia, making my education more challenging than it is for most. Eventually I left high school without earning a diploma. At the age of 23, my closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. In 1998, I met Jennifer Syme. We fell instantly in love and by 1999, Jennifer was pregnant with our daughter. Sadly, after eight months, our child was born stillborn. We were devastated by her death and it eventually ended our relationship. 18 months later, Jennifer died in a car accident. Since then I avoid serious relationships and having kids. My younger sister had leukemia. Today she is cured, and I donated 70% of my gains from the movie Matrix to Hospitals that treat leukemia. I am one of the only Hollywood stars without a Mansion. I don't have any bodyguards and do not wear fancy clothes. And even though I'm worth $100 million, I still ride the subway and I love it! So in the end, I think we can all pretty well agree that even in the face of tragedy, a stellar person can thrive. No matter what's going on in your life, you can overcome it! Life is worth living."

9) On Art

"Art is about trying to find the good in people and making the world a more compassionate place."

10) On Love

"It's fun to be hopelessly in love. It's dangerous, but it's fun."

11) On living life to the fullest

“My friend’s mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any “bad” food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible- so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.

My friend’s father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors says his health is that of a young person.

People you cannot hide from your poison. It’s out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend’s still living mother: “If I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!”

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”

Just for Pick The Brain readers

Hey guys! Wanna be inspired even more?

Get my free book then. I’ll activate that happiness in you: 12 things happy people don’t give a f**k about!

This free book only available through this link. Enjoy!

Alden Tan is a passionate breakdancer and writer. He writes about honest and real self-improvement without the bullshit. Get his free book already!

You've read Top 11 Quotes By Keanu Reeves To Help You Live a Happy, Epic Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

No Grey Areas (Review) – The Inside Story of the Largest Point Shaving Scandal in History and the Consequences Thereafter

The Inside Story of the Largest Point Shaving Scandal in History and the Consequences Thereafter

No Grey AreasNormally, my book reviews on Self Help Daily fall under one of the following categories:

Inspirational Motivational Self Improvement

The book I want to tell you about today doesn’t really fall under one of the above categories. But here’s the thing – that’s okay!

I was sent a copy of  No Grey Areas: The Inside Story of the Largest Point Shaving Scandal in History and the Consequences Thereafter to review on Self Help Daily. I actually allowed the e-mail to sit in my inbox for 24 hours while I thought about it. If a book is an obvious “fit” (as in it fits comfortably in one of the categories above) and sounds like something my readers would be interested in and inspired by, I reply immediately.

However, every now and then, a book will come along and I’ll have to think about it. I decided that this would be an interesting “change” from the regular books I read and review, so I gladly accepted the review copy.

After all, it’s always been my FIRM belief that we can learn from and gain inspiration and motivation from any book. This is never more true than when the book is a biography or autobiography. I mean, what could be more thought-provoking that getting inside someone else’s mind and world and seeing where their actions took them – for better or worse.

“Answers never come on our time, but they do come in time.” – Joseph N. Gagliano, Page 164, No Grey Areas

From Amazon: 

In 1994, Joseph N. Gagliano calmly sat back, put his hands behind his head and smiled as the NCAA clocked ticked down the remaining last seconds of the game. It was the third game in a row Joe had bet on where the point spread had to land on a specific number. With millions at stake, was he nervous? Not at all.

As the buzzer sounded on the 3rd game, his duffle bags were filled with millions in cash. How?

Joe had fixed the outcome of the games.

No Grey Areas tells the incredible, true story of the man who orchestrated the largest sports point shaving betting scam in sport’s history. But that is only where the story begins…

It is always the cover up, not the crime, where white collar criminals get caught. Joe was caught, convicted and served time in Federal prison for his role in coordinating and financing the 1994 ASU point shaving scandal.

His journey continued as Joe came out prison in late 2000 with a passion to clear his name and a desire to remove perceptions held by others of him. He embarked on an aggressive path to success; building a sizeable chain of full service car washes, making millions in real estate, living a life of luxury, and even buying a private jet just to get to his yacht in San Diego quicker.

But the story does not end there….

A few years later, the 2008 financial collapse engulfed the world and because of Joe’s “grey areas” a banking deal landed him in prison for a 2nd term.  Labeled a 2-time felon, he made some brilliant and yet morally questionable decisions while searching for the true meaning of success.

Inside these pages, you’ll get a backstage pass on what it was like to slowly fall into the “grey areas” of scandal, greed, corruption, money, and business. Joe’s honest, detailed telling of this life of infamy, history, and successes along with the consequences of his decisions will amaze and inspire you.

No Grey Areas is a riveting read, filled with all the elements of a great non-fiction book, except that is a TRUE story. Reminiscent of The Wolf of Wall Street and MoneyBall, this gripping personal life story will carry the reader through the internal struggles of poor life choices and fortune squandered. It is a captivating journey of morally questionable decisions, and the pursuit of freedom, all during a harrowing ride to redemption.

As I said at the top of the review, No Grey Areas is a real page turner. It’s the type of book that reads fast. When I’m reading a book that I’m going to review, sometimes I have to tell myself, “Pump the breaks… ”  so I can be certain I catch everything I need to catch without speeding by something that’s extra special.

This book is a very fast-paced, highly enjoyable, and exciting book to read. I had to pump the breaks in every chapter if we’re being honest because I was always anxious to see…

…. what Joseph (the author) was going to get in next. …. how he was going to get out of it. …. if he’d ever get it all turned around!

I had gotten only a few pages into the book when I realized that the old saying is true: You can’t judge a book by its cover. While No Grey Areas does not resemble the more traditional “inspirational” or “motivational” books I’m exceptionally familiar with – it is, in the end as inspiring and motivating as any I’ve read in a very, very long time. Author Joseph N. Gagliano set out to simply tell his story, but in doing so, he has given others danger signs.  Signs that can keep their own “story” from having similar destructive and heart-wrenching chapters.

If that’s not inspiring and motivating, I’m not sure what is.

In one of my favorite chapters, Chapter 21, I had forgotten about pumping breaks – or that any breaks even existed. I was cruising right along, pulling for Joseph, when something he said stopped me in my tracks.  It wasn’t a “stand alone” quote that you see coming or a revelation that sits apart from other paragraphs. It was actually something he said in the middle of a paragraph… in the middle of a sentence no less.

When reviewing books, I am always VERY careful not to spoil things for future readers or to unfairly ruin moments for authors – so I won’t give away the context of his words. I’ll simply say that he is in the middle of discussing a conversation he’d had with two men who proved to be angels on earth for him. He writes, “While I had no intention during that lunch to discuss my plans…. I guess the guilt I was carrying must have had its own way of speaking…”

Although I was, at the time, reading full tilt – anxious to get Joseph to a safe place – I threw the brakes on and re-read the words.  “…the guilt I was carrying must have had its own way of speaking…”

I had to close the book and spend a few minutes alone with that thought. DEEP. This is yet another beautiful example of the importance of guarding what we carry around. Whether it’s guilt, anger, bitterness, pain, regret, or any host of hideous travel companions. While in this instance, it was beneficial for the words to come out, that’s not always the case.

Unchecked emotions take on a life of their own and, make no mistake about it, they will have their moment in the spotlight.

Take away: Leave no emotions simmering beneath the surface. Bring them out, confront them, and deal with them. Otherwise, they’ll come out on their terms and that’s seldom a pretty thing.

Well. What do you know… a book I didn’t think would fall into any of the three categories managed to fall under all three.

No Grey Areas is a wonderful book and I hope you’ll read it for yourself.

“A read that will have you saying WOW…! Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Andre Wadsworth, 3rd overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL draft to the Arizona Cardinals, Executive Pastor and Founder of Impact Church

About the Author:

Joseph N. Gagliano grew up on the northwest side of Chicago in a strong Italian-American family, the son of Chicago police officer and a housewife. Joe’s family struggled to make ends meet until Joe was about thirteen years old, when the security company his father created grew to into a successful business.

He attended Eastern Illinois University, opened a few businesses and purchased several student rental properties. He dropped out of school early and began working on the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade in the bond futures trading pit.

As a young man on the trading floor of the CBOT, Joe’s integrity was initially compromised. The trading environment was one of questionable ethics and seemed to embrace life’s “grey areas”. This learned acceptance tilted Joe’s moral compass to a point that allowed him to rationalize many questionable opportunities for a period of time.

At age 24, Joe organized and financed the multi-million dollar, Arizona State basketball point shaving scandal in 1993-94. To this day, it remains one of the largest known scandals in sports history.

After being indicted for the ASU scandal, Joe lost his license to trade in the markets and was sentenced to federal prison. Struggling to get out from under the cloud of the ASU scandal, upon his first release from prison, Gagliano embarked on an aggressive path to success, making millions in various businesses and real estate.

Joe’s run in’s with the law were not yet over.

A few years later, the 2008 financial collapse engulfed the world and Joe’s “grey area” in a banking deal landed him in prison for a 2nd term. Now labeled a 2-time felon, he made some brilliant and yet morally questionable decisions while searching for the true meaning of success.

It was also the wake up call he needed.

No Grey Areas is not just about the inside details on the ASU scandal, or a story about right and wrong. It is Joe’s personal story of greed, consequences and redemption. No Grey Areas is Joe’s first book and a brutally honest telling of a slice of history, money, and family that will both captivate and inspire you.

Joe’s new motto is simple, “Always perform for an Audience of One”. Whether your “One” is faith based and driven by higher divine principles, or, it’s yourself. Performing for an “Audience of one” will hold you accountable for what is right and moral. All life choices – big or small – will have an impact on our lives. If we can learn to keep our “Audience of One” happy, the rest of our stress will always fall into their proper places.

Joe is married and lives in Arizona with his wife and children.

“Joe has written a book that’s hard to put down with very positive life lessons. Call it the Holy Spirit or simple gut instincts – there are reasons why small voices become SO PRICELESS. And, why most of us have been given two ears but only one mouth. LISTEN UP…” – A.C. Green, 3x NBA Champion and NBA All-Star, NBA Ironman – holds the record for the most consecutive games played in the NBA.

Read more about No Grey Areas on Amazon.

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Improving Your Self Confidence: It All Starts in the Mind – Confidence is What You "Think" Yourself Capable Of….

Confidence is What You "Think" Yourself Capable Of....

Quote About Self Confidence

Grenville Kleiser on Self Confidence

I often hear from the wonderful readers of Self Help Daily and their words direct me in the direction I need to take the self help blog. The three most frequent subjects are almost always family relationships, empty nest syndrome, and self confidence.

We had a series of “Building a Happier Family” articles a while back (with more coming) and I’ve written quite a bit about Overcoming Empty Nest Syndrome as well.

However, I’ve been a little neglectful when it comes to writing about self confidence. I apologize for that and will try to right my wrong by serving up a series of articles, quotes, and posts geared toward helping you improve your self confidence and get your swagger on!

How to Develop Self Confidence

One of my favorite authors of all-time is Grenville Kleiser. His books, published in the early 1900’s, are filled with more wisdom than you’ll find in a lot of modern books. I also enjoy his writing style. He’s one of those authors with what I call the “gift” – the ability to make the reader feel as though the author is right there with them. Reading Kleiser feels more like a visit with a wise old uncle than actual book reading.

“How to Develop Self Confidence,” Copyright 1910, is one of his greatest works . It’s amazing how applicable Mr. Kleiser’s writings are to our present time – in spite of having been written so long ago.

In this world of self help and self improvement, we run across “buzz words” or “keywords” such as ability, action, passion, determination, and talent on a regular basis. But, the one thing they each rise on or collapse under is Self Confidence.

As defined by Self Confidence is

1. realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

2. excessive or inflated confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, etc.

Self Confidence, as defined by me, however, is what we think ourselves capable of.

Here’s an example: I think I could design and publish a blog about Basset Hounds and, within a year, have it ranked among the top 10 Basset Hound blogs. My confidence is healthy or high. Why? I know all about blogs (I’ve been doing this for so long I should) and I know all about Basset Hounds – a favorite breed. Although I no longer have a Basset Hound, I know and love this beautiful breed as well as I do cats (which is saying something!).

My level of knowledge would be a 10 out of 10 and my passion for the subject would even surpass that. As a result, my confidence is through the roof.

However, if someone asked me to create a blog about fishing and have it ranked even within the top 25 within a year, I’d probably go hide in a closet. The extent of my “fishing” knowledge is that the sport takes place in water.

That’s it.

With zero knowledge about my subject, my confidence in myself in such an endeavor would be lower than low.

Many times our confidence rises and falls with our preparation. I’d be prepared to photograph and write about Basset Hounds all day long.  Fishing…. not so much.

If I HAD to create a fishing blog, I would have two choices:

Approach it with a half-hearted attitude and try to fake my way through it. Determine to read everything I could get my hands on about fishing, get my fishing license, grab my camera, and have my husband take me out and show me how it’s done!

Number 1 wouldn’t end very well… certainly not within the top 25.  The second one, however, would really give me a fighting chance. It’s that type of attitude that leads to confidence – which in turn leads to success.

And, often, a lot of fun.

“The development of self-confidence begins properly with intelligent self-examination. The mind must be closely scrutinized, undesirable tendencies checked, faults eradicated, and correct habits of thought and conduct firmly established.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence

Fear trips us up more than anything else when dealing with Self Confidence. We’re fearful that we’ll make a mistake, that we’ll make a fool of ourselves, that someone will laugh at us or (my greatest fear) that we’ll let someone down. We know, full well, that we can erase all chances of any of these happening simply by not even attempting the challenge in the first place. We pull the covers up around our ears and get all comfy in our comfort zone.

The only thing about comfort zones is that, while they’re undeniably comfortable, they encourage zero growth. Comfort zones are like overly indulgent parents – the end results are never pretty.

Comfort Zones spoil what could have been.

Fear needs to be diagnosed and faced. More times than not, fear arises from what we allow to go on in our minds. You know those quiet little conversations we have with ourselves throughout the day? The ones where we think, “I’m fat (or scrawny),” “I wish I were smarter (younger, older..),” “If only I had more money…” etc.

“The mind is permitted habitually to dwell upon thoughts of doubt, failure, and inefficiency. So great does this power become, when unchecked, that it affects to greater or less degree almost every aspect of one’s life.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence

Maybe we’d be better off if we just stopped thinking so much and do what needs to be done. We have to find a way to work with our fear rather than not working because of it.

Ironically, we can actually use our fears as tools to help us. Going back to the example above, if I were timid about building a Fishing blog, I could very well write down my fears. They might read something like this:

There’s too much competition.  I’d never be able to compete for top rankings in the search engines.  There are far too many other fishermen and women getting their groove on. I don’t know anything about fish OR catching them. Worms??? YUK! Where would I find the time? I have 10 blogs as it is… What if I disappointed my family by failing?

“To walk straight up to the thing feared will often strip it of its terror.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence

When we write down our fears, we can then go back and stare them “eye to I” and manipulate them to work FOR us rather than AGAINST us.

We can take our “objections,” and create “objectives.”

For example, if I were worrying about time, I could write out a strict time schedule (you have no idea how that phrase just made me cringe – I’m not sure if it was the strict part or the schedule part, but I shivered). By writing the day’s available hours on paper, I could hold them accountable and find the extra time I needed.

Fears can be incredibly motivating if we allow them to be.

“The other day I saw a dog leisurely pass a cat on the street, and to all appearance there was no ill feeling on either side. The cat looked him straight in the eye as he approached, and the dog returned her confident glance and quietly passed on. Then the cat, seeing a good chance for escape, bolted across the street, but the instant the dog saw her running he turned and followed in hot haste. It was cat and dog for some yards, when suddenly the cat stopped, humped her back and looked defiantly at her adversary. He stopped, caught his breath, blinked uncertainly, turned up his nose, and walked off. As long as the cat showed fear and ran, the dog chased her; but the moment she took her stand, he respected her. When a man stands up boldly and self-confidently for his rights, fear slinks tremblingly into the shadows.” – Grenville Kleiser, How to Develop Self Confidence

Self Confidence can be built and nurtured. We can work towards the level of self confidence evident in the cat above. He has got it going on! If we work hard and believe in ourselves – the same can be said of us.

~ Joi (“Joy”)

Also On Self Help Daily:

Be Who You Are, Say What You Feel

How to Boost Your Self Esteem and Confidence

Be Yourself: Let Them Be Them, You Be You

Daily Quote: Walt Disney’s Four C’s

Quote by Mahatma Gandhi

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Review: Healthy Brain, Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki – Wonderful Book With a Profound Message

Wonderful Book With a Profound Message

Healthy, Brain Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki

Healthy Brain, Happy Life

I was recently sent a copy of Healthy Brain, Happy Life (pictured above) to review on Self Help Daily. I enjoyed it so much and found it to be so informative and useful that I also wrote a Healthy Brain, Happy Life review on my brain fitness blog.

Healthy Brain, Happy Life is the first book from Wendy Suzuki, PhD – but I hope it’s just the first of many.  She writes in such a way that allows her infectious personality to come through each word. This is, undoubtedly, my favorite type of author to read. When an author can inject personality into the prose… that’s where book magic happens.

A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide—a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

That’s when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change.  Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved.  Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better.  Yes—you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises—4 minute Brain Hacks—to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

Healthy Brain, Happy Life is, obviously, geared toward strengthening the brain, but it goes further than than that. The book shows you how you can take control of your own life, your own mind, your own heart, and your own destiny. Your life isn’t something that happens by chance – you are at the wheel.  And guess what, if you don’t like where you’re headed…. you have it in your power to turn!

As someone who is completely fascinated with mental fitness and with improving and strengthening the brain, this book didn’t just speak to me, it yelled.  I love the “Brain Hacks” that come with each chapter. They, basically, tell you, “Okay, this is what you’ve learned… this is why it matters… and this is how it can rock your world.”

I also love how clearly the author illustrates how exercise and meditation can improve your brain.  Exercise, for example, actually increases the number of new brain cells.

How exciting is that?!

Profound Message Within the Pages

As I said, I love everything about this thought-provoking and eye-opening book. As a book lover, I’m a firm believer that you can get at least one “gem” from any book you read. I’ve even found inspiration in Agatha Christie mysteries. You just have to know where to look, I guess.

While I got a lot from reading Healthy Brain, Happy Life, one of the most profound “take aways” was a small paragraph in one of the early chapters:

The more you bring a memory back to mind, the stronger it becomes…. At the neural level, with each repetition you are strengthening the synaptic connections underlying the memory, allowing it to resist interference from other memories or general degradation. – Page 75

Basically, each time we dwell on something or relive something in our past, we are giving it lasting power. As we grow older, doesn’t it stand to reason that the strongest, most easily “called to mind” memories will be the ones that’ll keep us company?

Hmmm, wonder if that’s why some older people look so miserable?

Since I’ve often been accused of being a “Mary Poppins,” I guess it’s no surprise that I tend to dwell on happy thoughts. I have a darn good knack for shaking unhappy thoughts out of my head. My reasoning is that thoughts are like company you keep and I have zero interest in being in miserable company. Lead me to smiling faces, good times, positive vibes, and happiness – whether they’re in the present or in my memories.

Problem is, a lot of people don’t choose their company quite so carefully. In fact, I’ve known plenty of people who “call up” negative memories more often than most people call their mother.  Deep down, beneath the umbrella, my inner Mary Poppins always knew this was an unhealthy way for them to live. However, until reading the words on page 75, I never realized just how harmful it was to dwell on negative memories.

The more you bring a memory back to mind, the stronger it becomes….

I want to strengthen my good memories, how about you?! As for the bad ones, let’s vow to push them so far out of our minds that a GPS couldn’t help them find their way back.

Front to back, Healthy Brain, Happy Life is a wonderful read. The author brings personality and even “fun” to a very important subject.

You can improve your mind while improving your world and I just told you all about a book that can help you take the next step.

From the Back Cover

The key to a happy life . . . is a healthy brain

From the outside, it looked like Dr. Wendy Suzuki had it all. She was a world-renowned neuroscientist. She had been lauded by her peers with many prizes and had produced many highly regarded scientific publications. She had tenure at a top-ranked university, where she also ran her own lab—two of the most difficult and highly coveted positions for any scientist to attain. And yet . . .

Wendy was forty, frumpy, and focused on her work one hundred percent of the time. She was single, overwhelmed by her responsibilities, and often found herself in uncomfortable, strained interactions with everyone around her. To put it simply, Wendy Suzuki needed to change her life.

She set out on a journey that would transform her body, her mind, and her brain. The first step was exercise and creating a regime that would make her body more fit. In the process, Wendy found herself focusing better, working smarter, and getting more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. As her body changed, her determination grew. Wendy set out to build a more vibrant social life, spark her creativity, and engage in meditation and other mindful activities—using her expertise in neuroscience to pinpoint exactly how these actions not only made her brain work better but also made her feel, well, happy. In Healthy Brain, Happy Life, Wendy Suzuki makes the ultimate mind-body-spirit connection and shows that everything she did for her body changed her brain—and her life—for the better.

Healthy Brain, Happy Life is an accessible blend of memoir and science narrative that will transform the way you think about your brain, your health, and your personal happiness. Through both groundbreaking brain research and personal stories, Wendy offers practical and fascinating ways to improve memory, engage the mind more deeply, and learn new skills that will ultimately transform your body and your life.

About the Author

Wendy Suzuki, PhD, runs an interactive research lab at New York University, where her work has been recognized with numerous awards including the prestigious Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and is regularly interviewed in the media. She lectures nationally and internationally on her research and serves as a reviewer for many of the top neuroscience journals. She lives in New York City.

Billie Fitzpatrick has coauthored numerous books, including several New York Times bestsellers. She specializes in mind-body health, neuroscience, nutrition, and diet and fitness.

Read more about  Healthy Brain, Happy Life on Amazon.

Keep those thoughts positive! ~ Joi

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Bare Naked at the Reality Dance!

The Skinny on Willpower: How to Develop Self Disci...

The Next Book You Have to Read: Sitting Kills, Mov...

Book Review: Life is a Business by Charles E Cox

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Dance… As Long as the Music Plays

Dance as Long as the Music Plays

Dance… as long as the music plays.

When it comes to the subjects of aging well or coping with illnesses, one of my favorite sayings is this: “Dance as long as the music plays.” Tragically, yet understandably, most people – when they either reach a certain age or a certain point in their illness when their fight begins to leave them – turn their attention from living to dying.  They stop enjoying the world and begin missing the world…. long before they even have to leave it!

Short story: My father, Larry Joe (how perfectly southern is that name?), battled horrific illnesses most of his adult life. The things this man had to deal with would make the rest of us shake with embarrassment over the things we

Coping with an Illness: Overcoming Feelings of Sadness and Anger

Making Peace When You Really Just Want to Throw Things

Lake Barkley at Sunset

How can you keep from feeling depressed when you have a chronic illness? How can you feel happy when you’re sick?! How can you keep diabetes (or high blood pressure, Celiac Disease, cancer, or other illnesses) from stealing your joy and happiness? Can you be truly happy when you have a chronic illness? How can I keep from feeling discouraged when I suddenly have to think about my health so often? How can you get used to having a chronic illness? How can I get used to checking my blood pressure daily? How can I get used to giving myself a shot every day?

The above are what we’d have to call very FAIR questions. From what I’ve seen, heard, and experienced, the most difficult illnesses and/or conditions to handle are those that seemingly come out of the blue. They land smack dab in the middle of your world – completely  unannounced and most definitely without an invitation.

Welcomed or not, chronic illnesses and conditions become part of our lives and have little (if any) intention of leaving.

From Web MD: A chronic illness is a condition that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely, although some illnesses can be controlled or managed through lifestyle (diet and exercise) and certain medications. Examples of chronic illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, lupus, multiple sclerosis…

Getting Used to Chronic Illness

While I named this section, “Getting Used to a Chronic Illness,” in all actuality what we’re really looking for is a way to make peace with a chronic illness. “Getting used to” something is pretty misleading. I mean, technically, how would one ever “get used to” pain or discomfort?

What we really WANT and what we really NEED is peace of mind. Peace is always better than war and when we find ourselves struggling with feelings of anger, remorse, self-pity, and frustration, we are at war with an enemy we must find a way to live with.

You may feel anger, sadness, and even a sense of being overwhelmed. You may miss how life used to be, before everything changed. I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with feeling these emotions.  You aren’t wrong to not want to be sick! You aren’t wrong to wish you were free from this particular illness or condition.

You’re human after all.

If you’ve read Self Help Daily (or my food blog for that matter) recently, you know that I recently developed a chronic condition (or, more to the point, a pre-existing condition came boiling to the surface).  While I am THRILLED that I don’t have anything terminal or what we’d term “serious,” I am greatly annoyed by its presence. I’ve had to completely change how I eat and cook. For someone who has always been a very passionate cook, this felt like a kick in the gut.

Come to think of it… literally at times.

I had to completely give up gluten and wheat, which to be honest, I’m completely fine with now. The damage done to my insides, however, is something I’ll have to live with. My stomach is easily upset if I eat the wrong type of food and, thanks to the damage combined with a hiatal hernia, heartburn is a frequent, particularly unattractive guest.

The heartburn and GERD, actually, only showed up this year. Their “newness” is probably what has hit me so hard. Maybe your particular illness or condition are the same. Maybe, like me, you went YEARS without your illness – be it high blood pressure, Celiac Disease, diabetes, or any other “unattractive guest.”  I think you could make a strong case for these illnesses being much harder to cope with than those we have either all of our life or for over 10 years.

Here’s an example: Asthma is an old friend of mine. I’ve had it since I was a baby, so I don’t know life without asthma. Many times, my husband or daughters will hear me wheeze before I’ve even registered the fact. A while back, I realized I was short of breath and heard wheezes coming from my chest. I simply put down the book I was reading, found my inhaler, used it, and went back to my book. I never gave the process a second thought.

The very next night, however, I felt heartburn coming on and every emotional switch in my body went on high alert.

“What the heck?”
“This is so not cool!”
“Where are those darn Tums?!”

Fortunately for my husband and cat, I didn’t have my mini meltdown out loud – all the angry questions took place inside my mind. After chewing a Tums, all was well and peace was restored in my chest and mind.  Then it hit me… why did I react like this to something as simple as heartburn and yet didn’t blink an eye to an actual breathing condition?

This article actually sprang forth from that single thought. When a new illness or chronic condition springs itself on you, it is a shock.  I think we tend to be in denial for a while..

… it’s just something I ate… … I’m just tired… … must have a bug… …. this will pass….

Once shock and denial give in to reality, anger sets in – usually joined by sadness.  You read up on your condition and realize, “Life is never going to be the same again.”

Can you get used to the new condition or illness? No. You can, however, learn to live with it and even make peace with it.

I promise. Keep reading.

A New Normal

Think back to the first time you had to start wearing contacts or glasses. Think back to when (thanks to father time) you had to give up a particular sport – or at least had to cut back on the amount of time you spent with it. Think back to when you had to make the font on your computer screen larger. Think back to when you had to stop drinking so much caffeine.

If you’re like most people, these changes are so much a part of your life right now that you can’t even remember what it was like BEFORE.  Why are you so comfortable with them? They’re your normal.

Whatever chronic condition or illness you have right now is your new normal. The sooner you acknowledge it as such, the better you will feel.  And here’s the real heart of the matter – no matter what condition/illness you’re up against, you MUST HAVE a positive outlook and peace of mind. Being at war in your body will only make matters worse.

You must find peace, which means accepting that which is seemingly unacceptable. Acceptance can be the most powerful step we ever take.  That does not mean, in any way, that you are giving in to the illness. Heck no! It means you are making yourself remain calm and in control.

You’re basically telling it, “YOU’RE the newcomer. You’ve come into my life, but you are not my life. You are not going to rob me of any happiness, joy, or peace. What’s more, I’m going to use you to my benefit!”  (More on that last thing you told your illness in a minute – but, rest assured, you meant it.)

Here’s a little checklist for taking your new guest from nemesis to normal:

Breathe. Take deep, cleansing, healing deep breaths and do so often. When we’re under stress, we often hold our breath without realizing it. That, or we’ll take frequent shallow breaths. Either extreme puts every system in our body on high alert because they assume we’re under attack. Naturally, this only brings about more stress, anxiety, and even feelings of panic. Breathe. Focus on Loveliness. Forgive me for sounding like a greeting card, but sometimes a flowery word like loveliness is the only one that’ll do.  Having a chronic illness or condition isn’t lovely. Heartburn, high blood pressure, chronic pain, multiple doctor’s visits, daily shots, frequent tiredness, headaches.. none of these are lovely. When you have one or more of them, however, they require a certain amount of attention. The trick is not to DWELL there. Give them the attention they require (whether it’s with medication, a nap, heating pad, ice pack, or good old fashioned hot bath), then step away. Don’t stand there staring at the wreckage, so to speak. Switch your focus to something… that’s right… lovely. For me, lovely is my family, my cats, birds, trees, animals, recipes, and flowers. For you, this may mean fishing, television, golf, or a home improvement circular! Move your mind, your eyes, and  your attention from the unlovely to the lovely and be cognizant of it throughout the day. Do your homework. Read up on your condition or illness and find ways others are dealing with discomfort, illness, restlessness, pain, or other symptoms you’re experiencing.  Do everything you can to find what works for you. It’s your life, remember, and the illness is a guest – not the other way around. Often, good old fashioned naturally “home remedies” can relieve symptoms better than anything else.  Chai Tea Lattes and coffee, for example, relieve my asthma symptoms better than inhalers and they’re tastier too. Naturally, if it’s too late for one of these miracles in a mug, I go with the inhaler. Do your homework – never replace a doctor’s orders with anything you turn up, though, and if you have a serious illness, seek his/her advice at all times. Practice being nonchalant. The next time your illness or condition presents you with discomfort,  respond with, “… well this is nothing…. it’s just _____.”  Saying the words is a powerful thing. Trust me, I’ve tried it! But you have to do it each time your nemesis looks you in the eye. Eat a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will make you feel better, inside and out. Many conditions are actually improved by simply eating a healthier diet and by getting plenty of vitamins. Take supplements if needed. Vitamin deficiencies are common among those with chronic illnesses. Low iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and Vitamin D can affect your mood as well as your body. Have your levels checked if you feel something is off. Getting the right amount of any of these vitamins can make a world of difference in how you feel – physically and emotionally. Get plenty of rest. When your body is coping with an illness or condition, it is working harder than you realize. That’s why we often feel so tired when we’re sick – our body is at work trying to heal itself. This extra work is exhausting! If you feel too tired to go to a party, say so. If you feel like turning in at 8:00, sweet dreams! You know your body better than anyone else. If it’s tired, let it rest.

Your illness/condition is your new normal. All the tears, outbursts, and sulking will not make it go away – they will only allow it to steal more from you than it already has. What’s more, emotional upheavals simply drain more of your body’s precious energy. Time it has to spend making sure your emotional state is balanced could be better spend making sure your physical state is balanced.

Deal with Emotions as they Arise

Okay. We’re accepting our new normal. We have no intention of allowing this new normal to rob us of our happiness or peace. However, there will be emotions that’ll need to be dealt with.  Having emotions does not make you bad – it makes you human.

When you feel overwhelmed by your new normal, talk it out with someone. When you feel frustrated by the new restrictions in your life, focus on the things this illness can’t touch. Can you still sit in the front yard and listen to songbirds? Can you can still enjoy a book by your favorite author? Can you take a nice stroll around the yard or park? Can you listen to your favorite music? Can you spend a little time reliving favorite memories? Think of as many things you CAN do and don’t spend another minute thinking about the things you can’t do. When you have questions, ask them. When you hear a small voice inside ask, “Why me?” answer with, “Oh, that’s easy. Because you’re strong enough to handle it.”

No matter what end of the spectrum your new normal is – whether it’s GERD/Heartburn, High Blood Pressure, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, or a disease I couldn’t even begin to spell… realize that it has already taken enough from you. Refuse to let it have your peace of mind or happiness.

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Quote About Perspective by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Using Your Illness to Your Benefit!

Earlier, you put your illness in its place. You told it that it was a guest in your life and that it wasn’t going to rob you of your happiness or peace of mind. Remember? You even told it that you were going to use it to your benefit. I’m not sure you believed yourself, so I’m going to try to back up your words.

Many people, when confronted with a chronic illness or life-changing condition, find that other areas of their life are enriched.  Whether you’re confronted with life and death with your “new normal” or are simply forced to alter areas of your life, make no mistake about it… you begin to appreciate life and all of its moments more. Little things pass away like a snowflake in a snowstorm. So-and-So‘s long hair… big deal. Such-and-Such‘s fifth marriage… hope this one takes!  Not enough money to buy a new refrigerator… kind of like the way this one moans anyway.

Seriously. When you stare eye to eye with an illness, you gain an insight to life that others simply don’t have. You appreciate the little things others step over. You watch them fly off the handle over minute things and wonder what the fuss is.

You appreciate life and all of its moments more than ever.

Perhaps this is why so many people with chronic illnesses enjoy sweeter relationships.  They don’t “pick” at people or measure their imperfections.  They don’t spend time thinking of ways this or that person doesn’t quite measure up.  When you appreciate life on such a huge level, you don’t take time to judge people – you use your time to love them.

Many people also use their illness to their benefit by “opening up” the world around them. They’ll take up new hobbies, learn new things, explore new places – each of which probably would not have taken place in their “old normal.”

Your new normal can bring a lot more to your world that is GOOD than you ever thought possible, but you have to let it. The more time you spend dwelling on the negative, the longer it’ll take you to get to a better place.

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It is what it is but it will be what you make it!

Final Thoughts

When you feel frustrated, sad, angry, or overwhelmed – cut yourself some slack. No one else can possibly know what it’s like for you. They would have had to lived YOUR life in the past and they would have to be living YOUR life now to know what it’s like for you.  Be patient with yourself and forgive yourself when you occasionally get down. The trick is to not stay down. Get back up and keep going.

Your new normal will soon become your normal – and you know how normals are, they’re barely given a second thought. They just are.

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Give yourself the time you need and the extra rest you will require. If you need a mid-day nap, take it! Don’t worry what others say or think – this is your life and you know what you need to feel your best. Stay well-rested, your body, mind, and emotions will all function better.

Also, remember that stress will creep in at times. Whether it’s extra medication, discomfort, or life restrictions, stress and anxiety will pop up from time to time. When they do, for crying out loud, don’t roll out the welcome mat! Insist that they leave immediately. Below are a few suggestions for getting rid of stress and anxiety:

Go outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine do wonders for your mood. Spend time with your pet. Time spent with animals is never wasted. Take a walk. Read a book.  A great Agatha Christie mystery will keep your brain cells too busy to stress. Watch a movie – an old western, maybe?! Flip through a magazine or Avon brochure. It’s all but impossible to feel stressed when looking at nail polish. Turn on Motown or Oldies. Talk to a family member or friend who always seems to lift your spirits. Last – but in NO way least – pray. Prayer chases stress and anxiety away and leaves peace and contentment in their place.

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Quote About Springtime: The Land Awakening…

Spring is Almost too Beautiful For Words

Quote about SpringI’ll spare you all the flowery speech and colorful spiels about springtime and simply say this – Springtime is the lovely! Each year, as the trees begin to bud and I’m greeted by songbirds each morning, I remember one of my favorite proverbs, “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”

Beautifully true… year after year.

I hope your spring is even more vivid and glorious than ever this year. ~ Joi

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. – Anne Bradstreet

More Quotes About Spring

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How to Calm Your Brain During Conflict (Infographic)

No One Agrees ALL The Time...

Conflict is inevitable – being at its mercy is not. The great (beautiful, too, isn’t it??) infographic below shows you how to stay in control of any situation – even the ugly ones.

Courtesy of: CashNetUSA

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What to Do When Life Wants to Steal Your Peace

Self Help Daily Info

What to Do When Life Wants to Steal Your Peace

We assume that our lives will go according to our plans–education, family, career. But we sometimes encounter things beyond our control that keep us from following the path we predicted for ourselves.

When these disruptions come along, it can be very difficult to maintain peace of mind as we pick up the pieces and try to get back on track. But it can be done. Many great figures in history had failures that could have stopped them, but instead they forged ahead and achieved amazing things for humanity.

A good example is experiencing an accident. Despite all your careful planning–obeying traffic laws, wearing your seat belt, maintaining your vehicle, and so on–you end up injured and off work for an extended period of time. The mistakes of someone else, in this case, have gotten you off course. It is incidents like these that can have a long-term affect on your life.

In order to bounce back and move forward after an unplanned setback like an accident, we have to know how to go about regaining our sense of direction and balance. This takes several steps.

Build A Recovery Plan

It is a lonely feeling to be mired in a daily routine of bed rest and doctor visits. You are unable to work, unable to maintain your home, and unable to socialize as you once did. The physical recovery can be slow and grueling, and in the meantime your income is probably reduced even as large medical bills roll in.

As distant a need as it may seem at the time, you need to contact a personal injury law firm as soon as your health permits it. The wheels of justice turn slowly, so every minute of head start you can get is a minute sooner that your compensation will come.

The same applies to any other setback. If you come up short academically in an educational program, you need to find a new curriculum that better suits your talents. If your job relocates, you need to examine your options for a less volatile career. And so on. The important thing is to get a plan established for getting back to normal.

Maintain A Routine

When you’re off work or school for an extended period, it’s important to keep the days from smearing together into a long series of TV shows and Internet. This can erode your happiness and create a long-term impact on your spiritual health, as well as slowing your physical recovery.

Structure your day, even when it doesn’t seem to need it. First write in the necessities–doctor appointments, physical therapy times, legal consultations–and then some time to be outdoors, even if it’s just to sit in a chair and read or relax. Find spiritual time for religious meditation or inspirational entertainment. And don’t neglect human interaction! Find friends who can spend time with you as you recover.

The important thing is to plant some trees in your routine; that is, to establish immovable things that help you frame up the rest of your day. Once those are in place, you will find that it’s much easier to avoid an endless string of unshaven days spent on the couch staring at game shows.

Address The Cause

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. When we get knocked off our planned path, it can be easy to fall into a blame game. But it’s important not to go in that direction as you begin to identify what the underlying problem is. If you’ve had a car accident, the cause can be obvious: Someone made a mistake, and now you’re hurt.

But maybe an incident of poor scheduling on your part put you on the road in a place where distracted drivers are numerous. It’s still not your fault, but sometimes we can take steps to avoid being in those dangerous situations. If you go for a walk in the woods and wander off the trail into the path of a snake, it’s not your fault you were bitten, but you’d be wise to stay on the path next time.

Again, this is not about blaming yourself for the mistakes of others. It’s about reducing the feeling of helplessness you get when something bad happens, and giving you a strategy to feel more confident later that you can avoid a repeat of the incident. And sometimes avoiding a repeat of history is the best way to move past it.

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