There was a recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania suggesting that sleep deprivation kills brain cells..
Research on sleep-deprived mice detected measurable damage to the loss of neurons responsible for alertness and optional brain function. "Really what you are looking at is similar to the effect of doing drugs" says James Maas, an internationally renowned sleep educator. "Sleep deprivation fries the brain"
A lack of sleep has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even allergies and skin problems.. The bottom line is that the effects of sleep deprivation deserves as much attention as nutrition and exercise,
We must stop thinking of sleep in terms of hours and start thinking in terms of efficiency (quality rather than quantity)
If you are unsure if you are sleep deprived take the short quiz below: Put a check by all those that apply to your situation..
___ Do you fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed?
___ Does an alcoholic drink or a warm room make you drowsy?
___ Do you ned a nap to get through the day?
___ Do you often fall asleep while watching TV?
___ Do you rely on caffeine to stay fit?
If you answered yes to three or more questions you may have a serious health problem and should see a doctor.
By Iyanla Vanzant
It isn't always easy to express our desires. We worry that others will see us as pushy or demanding, or that we'll be turned down. But asking for what you want is a necessary part of life, and I've found that the more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Here are the five things I want you to remember:
Ask with commitment.
The first ask is for yourself: Question whether this is really what you want. Only when you're certain of your true desires will you have the courage to pursue them.
Ask with awareness.
Every request comes with a price -- there is no free lunch. For instance, asking for a raise may mean a tense conversation with your boss -- and if you're successful, nine times out of ten the raise will come with additional responsibilities. That's the cost: You have to be willing to do what's required. We cannot enjoy the benefit if we can't accept the price.
Ask without fear.
Fear is an obstacle that blocks your capacity to receive. I'm not just talking about the fear of making your voice heard. I'm also talking about the fear of getting what you want and realizing it's not all you'd hoped it would be, the fear of the responsibility that will come with it, the fear of losing it, and the fear of what will happen if you don't get it. These are all common, and they can get in the way of going after the things you yearn for most.
Ask with trust.
When you do not believe you deserve whatever you're asking for -- if you don't believe you're worthy -- you are not open to receiving it and, more often than not, you will not get it. That's how the universe works: If you don't put your trust in it, it won't deliver.
Ask without expectations.
When you want something, you may be required to ask more than once -- and you can't get too attached to the manner through which you receive it. If you want love, ask for it -- but know that it might take a while and may not come from the partner you expect. If you want a fulfilling career, understand that you may get it, but perhaps not in the field, position, or time frame you anticipate. Asking for and receiving what you want means keeping the faith that you will get it, even if the outcome doesn't look the way you thought it would.
Iyanla Vanzant is the host of OWN's Iyanla: Fix My Life and the author of Peace from Broken Pieces (SmileyBooks).
Six Things A Travel Agent Knows That Customers Do Not
Sure, a traveler can spend hours doing research about where to go on vacation. But they will never learn as much as a travel professional knows; after all, you spend all day, every day doing research on travel!
Here’s just a brief list of some of the things you know much better than anyone.
(Thanks to American Express Travel for their insights and feedback for this article.)
1. How to personalize your trip.
Travelers are seeking experiences that reflect their lives, passion and distinct needs—and a good travel agent is highly trained to create itineraries that reflect clients’ unique lifestyles. They can not only recommend the right destination and property to meet your needs, but also customize your travel itinerary for a seamless trip experience.
2. Local knowledge.
Travel advisors can introduce you to the world of the locals and ensure you experience the authentic and the unexpected, while staying within your budget. They can offer in-destination experts to provide insider access to unique events, offbeat excursions, and unconventional itineraries.
3. How to add value.
Your travel agent is always in the know about current and upcoming promotions. They have access to the best rates, and often also to comps or food & beverage or spa credit.
4. How to find a room when none seems to be available.
Even when a website shows no availability on rooms during your travel dates, they are not always actually sold out. Many properties hold inventory on reserve for partner travel companies. Agents can also help avoid misleading room names, such as “mountain views” that overlook the parking lot.
5. How to troubleshoot for you.
From minor glitches to major disasters, it’s when something goes wrong that the value of travel advisors really kicks in. Travel agents can change flights, upgrade and rebook hotel rooms, find missing luggage, and submit an insurance claim.
6. How to ask about dietary restrictions.
Noting an increase in queries regarding dining options and food allergies, many agents have accrued a more in-depth knowledge of hotels and cruise lines that cater to individual health requirements, so they can recommend the best option for each client.
Frequent travelers are extremely busy people. One type of traveler crams business and pleasure trips into single junkets. Another type corrals an entire family through an itinerary that would kill a hardy donkey, let alone an exhausted working parent. Another type micromanages their trip down to the minute such that they're setting alarms at all times of day to keep themselves on schedule. And then there are those who are so busy they can barely find enough time to take their vacations, much less do all the nuts-and-bolts tasks of planning those vacations.
We've compiled tips to make your trips more efficient and to meet the ultimate goal of any busy traveler: to get you there on time and with minimal hassle.
But First: Slow Down, You Move Too Fast
Before we get started here, let's take a step back and think about slowing down. I appreciate that to do both of those (step back and slow down) at the same time might be tough for some of us, so grab the arms of your chair and take a deep breath first.
In some cases, folks just need to slow down. It wasn't so long ago that I would take a boat to Europe. Travelers in less hyper-developed countries will continue to experience maddening slowdowns and complete shutdowns; in the nation of the all-night CVS and the 24-hour ATM, some folks are shocked to hear "I'm sorry, sir, we're closed."
Time isn't always going to bend to your will; for your own sanity, you'd better get used to it.
Okay, that's enough deep breathing and slowing down for a weekday. Let's put the hammer down and get back up to speed. Here come the tips to help you avoid stress when you travel:
1. Travel light.
This is the one key thing you can do to guarantee easier passage through security, tight connections, terminal shutdowns, backtracking planes, and other serious and mundane hazards of post-9/11 travel. It's also the best way to avoid the many baggage fees that the airlines are now heaping on travelers who dare to bring more than a carry-on.
2. Dress for success at security.
Your favorite traveling clothes and accessories could cause slowdowns at airport security. Leave the jewelry at home, remove your piercings (if possible) and wear clothing that won't hold you up in the security line -- like slip-on shoes, belts with plastic buckles instead of metal, and simple clothing that doesn't require elaborate searching.
3. Expect delays.
A truly busy person has learned how to move projects around, make doctor's appointments from the train platform, walk the dog while the coffee's brewing. If you're this kind of person, you're probably only truly put out if you can't get anything done at all.
Traveling items to help you cope with those all-too-frequent delays at the airport:
Program the phone numbers of your airline, car rental company, shuttle service and hotel into your cell phone. If you've got time to kill during a flight delay, you can make a few calls and provide your new ETA to anyone waiting for you at your destination. (For even more efficiency, check to see which other airlines also fly your itinerary and program their phone numbers in as well -- that way if your original flight is delayed, you can start calling around for alternatives.)
Have a to-do list of productive things you can work on during delays. This might be a good time to read that chapter in your guidebook on the history of the place you're visiting, or to sketch out a detailed itinerary for the first few days of your trip.
Things to Do Before You Travel
4. Have other folks do some of the work.
Some examples: Ask the front desk at the hotel to call you a cab, make a dinner reservation, or organize a tour or day trip. Book your airfare, hotel and car rental at a single website -- or, if you don't mind a little less customization, book an organized vacation package that includes accommodations, transportation, meals and sightseeing.
5. Use a travel agent.
Following on from the previous tip, why not leave all the heavy lifting to someone else? Investing some time in finding a travel agent you can trust and communicate with will save you time (and maybe some money) over the long haul. Consider the difference between scouring countless websites for the best deal and itinerary, then making a purchase, then putting together your own travel itinerary versus placing one phone call or e-mail to your travel agent -- this could add up to hours of your life on every trip.
6. Ask for seats near the front of the plane.
You'll get on last, granting you time to get more things done before boarding lockdown, and you'll get off first. Many airlines now allow you to select your seat online at the time of booking or check-in (sometimes for a fee) -- this is the best way to guarantee yourself the seat you want.
7. Know where the airport gas station is.
If you are responsible for returning your rental car with a full tank of gas, ask where the closest gas station is before you drive off the lot. This way you won't be driving around looking and hoping for a gas station to fill your tank just before returning.
8. Reuse your packing list.
If you're the type of traveler that scribbles down a hasty packing list before every trip (and inevitably forgets some vital item each time), get organized by creating a single comprehensive packing list and saving it on your computer. Before each trip, customize the list as necessary and then print out a copy to refer to as you pack. Need help getting started? Use our Interactive Packing List.
9. Use the following time-tested tactics:
A. Fly direct. Connections cost time; missed connections cost lots of time. Avoid layovers where you can.
B. Fly early in the day; there are fewer delays, cancellations and people in the airport.
C. Consider alternate airports. They're less crowded and often better located than the big hubs, and they have fewer flights going in and out -- reducing your chances of delays.
Spring is in the air and when this happens we immediately think of cleaning out our closets to get rid of all that winter clutter, things we have stuffed in the top of the closet or under the bed or wherever you put things when you want to keep them out of sight. But did you know this is also a good time to declutter your mind?
When we have too much clutter in our lives we can become stressed out, overwhelmed and stagnate. It’s common to talk about the clutter at home, at work in closets etc. But clutter can affect all parts of your life—even your mental life. Living a simpler life means reducing the clutter and stress to feel more balanced.
Following are some strategies to de-clutter your life.
1. One day a week have a “day of simplicity” This will be your day without technology. Make it a day of play and fun. A day filled with meditation, conversations, rest and relaxation
2.Change your thought process. Live in the present. When we have too much clutter it means we are holding onto past baggage and worrying too much about the future.
3.Change your perspective. Adopt an attitude of gratitude, it will reduce your stress, remove the negative clutter and help you sleep peacefully.
4.Initiate an emotional detox. Remove any toxic people from your life . To naturally remove clutter. set up boundaries and limitations in order to feel mentally healthy.
5. Learn to enjoy the simple pleasures. Take a walk in nature, enjoy a morning cup of coffee, we are often happiest when we stop to “smell the roses”.
6. Spend time with a “higher power” it is then that we feel a sense of calm and peace. Learn to commune with nature. Nature rejuvenates us and gives us a feeling of starting fresh.
Finally if you are de-cluttering your home, work space or your mind, be realistic. Start small and take baby steps. Celebrate your accomplishments. Every time you accomplish a goal you will feel a sense of positive reinforcement, which in turn, will motivate you to move forward.
Wellness Is A Destination
In his book “The Dream Giver” Bruce Wilkinson tells us we have a genetic code that describes our unique passions and abilities and these passions and abilities have been woven into our beings from birth.
Rick Warren also talks about these passions in his book “Purpose Driven Life” He calls it your “Big Dream”. We all have it for a reason, to draw us toward the kind of life we were born to live and to love.
As we travel through this life, riddled with set backs and failures, stressors and dream busters we must learn to maneuver, problem solve and be able to reach our own individual break through.
Before we can lead a healthy, spirit filled abundant life we must refuse to settle for less. We must learn to break out of the confining circumstances of a stressful life and step into a life of abundance.
When you let go of the strongholds in your life you will be able to move to a place where you can grow and thrive. We must learn to restore our minds, revive our spirits and relax our bodies on a daily bases.
Wellness is an on-going journey—wellness is a destination. A little step may be the beginning of a great journey- Travel with a purpose.
I always feel relaxed and peaceful.
Calmness is my birthright. I claim it with joy each day! Effortlessly, I glide through my days. Whatever may go on around me, I remain centered in myself. I always feel relaxed and peaceful.
I create the reality I want to live. Therefore, I choose to source myself in a relaxed and centered place. I am a beacon of peace and joy for those around me. Because I know that my harbor in any storm is inside myself, I stand tall in the face of challenges, and serenely focus on the task at hand.
Whatever goals I may have, I can accomplish them with greater ease and productivity if I stay still inside while working toward them. I know that they are within my reach. There is no need to struggle.
If a goal turns out differently than what I was hoping, or I change my mind before I can complete it, I easily choose a new one from my centered state.
Life has many surprises. Some are exciting and pleasant while others might be unwelcome. From a place of relaxation, I am able to respond with equanimity to all situations.
If good things come to pass, I am pleased and calm. If challenges happen despite my best efforts, I peacefully accept them as a natural part of life.
Today, I choose to walk my life path effortlessly. In all situations, I am calm and centered. I am confident in my ability to respond to any challenge with balance and fairness. I am always relaxed and peaceful.
10 Things Everyone Should Know About Seasonal Depression
It's more than just the winter blues.
Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post
If you live any where in the Middle Atlantic or the North Eastern part of the United States you have just lived through a major snowstorm of epic conditions.
For some, the winter is hardly "the most wonderful time of the year".
What is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that affects nearly 10 million American adults and can make a few months out of the year feel downright unbearable. It's common to feel bouts of the winter blues, but those with seasonal depression may experience symptoms and low moods that sometimes make everyday tasks feel impossible.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind about seasonal affective disorder, its treatment options and how it affects people's daily lives.
1. The underlying cause of SAD isn't just bad weather.
In most cases, SAD is just a seasonal component of clinical depression or bipolar disorder, according to Michelle Riba, a professor of psychiatry and the associate director of the University of Michigan Depression Center.
"For people who see a regular pattern every year of getting sad, anxious or a cycling of moods, the first thing they need to do is to see someone to get an overall diagnosis," she said. "They need to treat the underlying depression."
It can be easy to blame a bad mood on the earlier dark skies, but people should think twice before saying they "must have SAD." The condition is hardly something to be flippant about.
SAD is not something to laugh about or joke about," Riba said. "It's a significant health problem."
There are multiple ways to treat SAD...
For a long time, many considered light therapy one of the gold standards of SAD treatment. The method helps sufferers by exposing them to artificial light similar to sunlight. Experts theorize this technique helps correct the body's inner circadian rhythm and produces feel-good hormones that people get from the sun during other times of the year.
However, light therapy isn't the only route. Since the key is treating the underlying depression, that could include methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or both. Recently a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that talk therapy may even be more effective than light therapy when it comes to treating SAD. But keep in mind that the best method varies from person to person, Riba says. Any active treatment is better than nothing.
4. ...But it may take some time.
Riba says that most doctors don't determine if a person has SAD until they've experienced at least two episodes (essentially seasons) of the disorder. In other words, it may take a little while to make sure it's the right diagnosis. Physicians want to make sure that they're treating every aspect of a mental health disorder properly.
5. It's debilitating.
Symptoms of SAD include sadness, fatigue and a loss of motivation. Any depressive disorder can also be physically exhausting. People with depression often experience headaches and changes in appetite in addition to their emotional symptoms.
6. SAD doesn't always occur in the winter.
It's rare, but some people do experience the condition in the spring or summertime. These symptoms usually include increased feelings of agitation or anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic.
7. The condition is complex.
According to Riba, SAD can not only be a component of major depression, but also bipolar disorder or other mental health issues. A rare case of SAD also may have contributed to one woman's obsessive compulsive disorder flareups during the winter months. Experts agree that there may be a tie between seasonal changes and exacerbation of illnesses. Like all mental health conditions, the disorder is complicated and as such, deserves thoughtful and effective treatment from a physician.
8. It's more prevalent in northern states.
People who live in colder, cloudier climates may be more susceptible to the disorder. Northern states have higher rates of SAD than southern states, according to the University of California, Irvine.
9. SAD is more common in women.
Studies show women have higher rates of depression than men, including SAD, the New York Times reported. However, that doesn't mean men are immune. Depression doesn't discriminate and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or any biological factor.
10. It should be taken seriously.
Above all, mental health conditions like SAD are manageable, but only if people seek the help they need.
"It's important for people to recognize these signs within themselves and get evaluated," Riba said. "This isn't a trivial problem, it's part of a major mood disorder that really needs to be addressed.
2017: A New Year With New Possibilities-
Every single human being on this planet has a path and purpose to fulfill, whether they realize it or not. Whether it is fulfilled within your career, volunteer work, parenting, creating social change, or something else entirely, you too have a brilliant purpose and it's about time you found it.
This is Part I of some surefire ways to find your passion and live your purpose starting today.
1. List what you love and connect the dots. Identifying the things you absolutely love to do in life is the single best thing you can do to find your passion and purpose. It may not make sense at first, but all of the things you enjoy doing are part of your path in one form or another, so grab a pen and paper and start writing. By creating what I call a 'Love List', you get really clear on all of the things you love including foods, experiences, travel, and the things you love to do. Once you have your list, take a step back and see how all these brilliant pieces might connect to the work you are meant to do in the world. The key is to be open, honest, and to let your inspiration run wild. (Hint: The pieces may come together in a way you never dreamed, so keep an open mind.)
2. Identify what you do with ease. Often times our passion and purpose are staring us right in the face, but it's so natural to us, we don't think anything about it. What you do in your everyday life with ease is likely in some way connected to what you are meant to do in this life. Don't overlook the things that are easy for you because I guarantee, just because they are easy for you, doesn't mean that's the case for everyone else. By identifying what comes naturally to you, you have the ability to build on those strengths and help others in ways you never thought possible.
3. Look at your past. Many times the very struggles we've managed to move through in our lives become part of the tapestry that is our purpose. By looking at your past and the circumstances you've successfully moved through, you have a perspective that many people in the world do not. You can then use that experience to help others who are just starting out on a similar journey and make a huge impact in world. What part of your life story do you feel passionate about? That's usually a clue as to what your bigger purpose might be.
4. Play like a child. As adults we tend to forget about the joy and freedom we felt as a child. When you were younger you likely had a wild imagination and were open to any and all possibilities about what you could be. Whether it was being a singing and dancing firefighter or the teacher who also saved the world, you never once questioned the reality of your dreams. You simply allowed your imagination and heart to guide you. It's time to spark up your creativity and get dreamy again by tapping into your inner child. Get out of your head for a bit and into your heart and go have some good old-fashioned fun. For that is usually where you will find your major 'aha' moments that will lead you to amazing ideas and ultimately your purpose.
5. Do what makes you happy...all of it. Finding your passion is directly related to doing the things that light you up and set your soul on fire. If it makes you happy to sing, write, and build things then go do it! If you love to teach, run, and host live events then please, do it all! Who says your life purpose has to be just one thing? Human beings by nature have multiple interests and to feel like you have to choose one thing goes against the very freedom you likely desire. You are meant to experience life and all that it has to offer, so don't limit yourself to just one thing. Try lots of things and do what makes you happy. Therein lies the path to your true purpose.
6. Ask others to help. If you are still feeling stuck in finding your passion and purpose in life, it might be time to ask others for help. As your own worst critic, it can be difficult for you to see where you truly shine because you are simply too close to connect the dots on your own. Friends, family members, and professionals (like coaches) have a view that you don't and they can help you see things within yourself that will lead you to do not only what you love, but also what you are meant to do.
Passion and purpose go hand-in-hand, so when you are struggling to find your purpose get back to what brings you joy and in no time you will be making a difference while also living a life you love.
Let's keep the conversation going. What do you find is the most difficult part of finding your passion and living your purpose?
Lamisha Serf-Walls is a life coach for women who are ready to live an amazing life on their own terms, but feel held-back and frustrated in how to make that happen. Her mission is to create a community of empowered, free flowing, lovers of life who live a life of freedom with ease and inspire others to do the same. You can learn more about Lamisha and what she offers by visiting her Online, on Facebook, or Twitteror grab her free audio 5 Ways to Break Free From Stuck.