TODAY THE WORDS are TABOO LAUGHS. This morning I saw some posts and videos on Facebook and I am going to admit I was laughing at a few things which are hilarious when you are watching a video or looking at a picture but could not have been funny to the person it was actually happening to at that very moment. This thought brought to mind a few people who will remain nameless, but who would have to laugh even before helping someone. They can’t help themselves and I call them the taboo laughers…you could be hurt and they would laugh; you could be in danger and they would laugh!
I wanted to share an interesting article by Sally Wadyka on laughter before telling a tale about uncontrollable, taboo laughter:
13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Laughing
Laughter is a funny thing: Why did we evolve to giggle and cackle and guffaw, and what purpose does it serve besides, well, making the world a happier place? Here, some more surprising facts about cracking up.
By Sally Wadyka
1. Contrary to popular belief, the number one catalyst for laughter isn’t a joke: It’s interacting with another person.
2. That’s because the modern-day ha-ha! probably evolved as a form of communication. Our primate ancestors used a similar sound—a sort of pant-pant—to reassure one another that their rough-and-tumble play was all in good fun and not an attack, says Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the author of Curious Behavior, and one of the foremost experts on laughter.
3. One of Provine’s earliest experiments proved that just listening to recorded laughing could evoke fits of giggles in subjects (which is why television studios use laugh tracks on sitcoms). In fact, according to his research, you’re 30 times more likely to laugh when someone else is around than when you’re by yourself.
4. The ideal number of words in a joke? 103.
5. “There is no magic formula or key for what’s funny,” says Scott Weems, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the author of Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why. But, in general, he says, what often makes us laugh is when our brain is expecting one thing and then, in the space of a few words, that expectation is turned on its head. Take the classic Groucho Marx joke: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.”
6. Ten to 15 minutes of daily laughing burns 10 to 40 calories.
7. Our appreciation for the unexpected starts as early as infancy, although on a very basic level. “Parents will notice that they can elicit a giggle from their baby by making a funny face, talking in a funny voice, or playing peekaboo,” says Merideth Gattis, Ph.D., a psychologist at Cardiff University, in Wales.
8. British psychologist Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., the author of Quirkology, has revealed clear regional preferences for what we find funny. Americans often like jokes that include a sense of superiority. (Texan: “Where are you from?” Harvard grad: “I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.” Texan: “OK, where are you from, jackass?”) Europeans tend to laugh at jokes that make light of anxiety-provoking topics, like marriage and illness. (A patient says, “Doctor, last night I made a Freudian slip. I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and wanted to say, ’Could you please pass the butter?’ But instead I said, ’You silly cow. You have completely ruined my life.’”) And Brits? Wiseman finds that they are tickled most by wordplay. (Patient: “Doctor, I’ve got a strawberry stuck up my bum.” Doctor: “I’ve got some cream for that.”)
9. An adult laughs an estimates 15 to 20 times a day.
10. “The same pleasure sensors in the brain that are activated when we eat chocolate become active when we find something funny,” says Weems. “It’s a natural high.” In fact, a 2003 brain-scan study published in the journal Neuron found that the dopamine reward centers and pathways in the brains of subjects lit up when they were treated to a funny cartoon, but not when they were shown an unfunny version.
11. Research has linked laughter with boosts in immune function, pain tolerance, cardiovascular health and maybe even memory retention.
12. A typical 10-minute conversation has an average of 5.8 bouts of laughter.
13. Even those with zero sense of humor can reap the benefits of laughter. How? Fake it. A 2002 study in Psychological Reports reveals that forcing yourself to laugh (or even just to smile) can improve your mood. The human brain is not able to distinguish spontaneous laughter from self-induced; therefore the corresponding health-related benefits are alleged to be alike, according to a 2010 report in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine by Ramon Mora-Ripoll, M.D., Ph.D., an advisory board member of the Laughter Online University, a supplier of online laughter education.
The crazy part about these crazy laughs seems to be they are uncontrollable. People I am referring to are fantastic people and very caring but they are going to laugh. Let me give you an example and for this example, we have to go back to a different time in my life. You can read this article by clicking on: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/why-do-people-laugh
When I owned the decorating business for manufactured homes (in the south, better known as mobile homes or trailers) we were under the gun for completing the houses before a trade show. We had to load our arms with pictures, accessories, napkins, floral arrangements, pillows, dishes, etc. When it was loaded, our frontal vision was blocked somewhat so accidents could happen easily. One wrong step or move and you could find yourself splattered on the floor. Without calling names, Worker #1 was in the house and Worker #2 was loaded with supplies, tripped over the threshold, and looked like a free falling skydiver with all limbs extended and never mind all of the decorating items all over the floor. You would think Worker #1 would have hurried over to help Worker #2 but no; Worker #2 finally looks over to the sofa to find Worker #1 kicking her heels up and down dying laughing. This is the Taboo Laughs I am referring. If this was the only time and if it was only Worker #1 doing it, it would be funny but a couple of weeks later, the roles reversed and exactly as you are thinking; Worker #2 had her opportunity to Taboo Laugh at Worker #1 and so on and so on.
I know most of you have been the victim and the instigator of the Taboo Laugh when no matter what; you have to laugh. I don’t know if there is a deeper thought but here are my thoughts on why we Taboo Laugh. It may be an escape from the fear of someone you care about being hurt. Whatever the reason; it happens so if you are a victim of the Taboo Laugh; remember your time will come. But at this time, try to remember about God requiring us to forgive others.
DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Psalm 126:2ESV Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third Party Material sourced with original location for reference/credit.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICYis the topic for my blog today. With so many issues in our current campaign about trustworthiness and honesty or the lack of it, and no; I am not going to make a political statement but I want to discuss how I value honesty over any consideration for lying. I had rather someone be honest than try to skirt a basic question. The following quotation is simply true and I wish the author’s name had been retained but I am sure a lot of frank people have thought or said it at one time or other.
Truth fears no questions. ~Unknown
Here is a post I made a couple of years ago and you can see how honesty has infiltrated my family’s history and it is a value we cherish.
“Honesty is the thought for the day. We were a family of common means but we were rich in so many ways. We were taught to be honest, respectful of others, and had good working ethics instilled in our upbringing. Of course, we were normal children and did the same things that average kids did. What we were taught was the consequences of our actions, so honesty paid off. With those lessons came values. As I grew up, it became a natural habit to say it like it is. Being honest does not mean you have to be cruel as the truth does hurt sometimes; a good partner with honesty is respect. A person can be honest with someone to help them but respect for their “soul” is important to maintain relationships, either in personal or business life. Now for the message behind these thoughts…..Are we being honest with ourselves? When something happens in our lives, are we taking responsibility or do we try to put the blame on someone else, circumstances, work, or the world? The first step in being honest, is being honest with ourselves and God. I had to get “really honest” at a point in my life to see exactly what I needed to change and I do it on a regular basis, honestly!!”
Our Mother told us a story about how determined her Father was in instilling honesty in his children. While I recount this episode, there is a lesson for parents as well as children. Here is how I remember this emotional story:
” My sister and I were walking down the road from our house when we saw our neighbor out in his yard. He asked us how we were doing and, as silly girls, we laughed and said we were doing good. He looked over to a big pear tree loaded with those golden pears and asked us if we wanted some pears. Of course, we said yes and he told us to pick up all of the pears which had fallen. We went crazy picking up as many as we could hold in our dresses without showing our undies and thanked him. We laughed and giggled all of the way back down the road and could imagine the pear preserves our Momma could make with those pears after we picked a few out to eat. As we came into the yard, we were met by our Daddy who asked us where we got those pears. We told him about our neighbor giving us permission to pick them up. Daddy didn’t believe us and told us we stole them. We kept saying No, he gave them to us and no matter how many times we told him, he got madder thinking we were lying. He proceeded to take his belt off and spanked us. We didn’t understand why he thought we lied. After he spanked us, he made us gather the pears up and walked back down to the neighbor’s house. The neighbor heard us crying as we put the pears on the ground and walked over to Daddy and asked what was wrong. Daddy said I am making them bring back your pears they stole and the neighbor explained he had told us it was okay to get the ones that had fallen. Daddy felt ashamed and offered for us to take the pears. You can believe me, my sister and I didn’t want those pears. No money on earth could have made us pick those pears up. It is a wonder I can eat a pear now.”
While this story is a hard story to hear. My Mother never forgot the consequences she faced when her Daddy thought they lied. Yes, he was wrong but he left an impression she and her sister never forgot. I am not agreeing with his method but in those days, honesty was not an option; it was a requirement. While I advocate honesty, I choose first to believe someone until they are proven to be untrustworthy. In all things, be honest. It costs nothing and is a priceless virtue. Honestly, it pays to be honest.
OUT OF SILENCE CAME ONE TINY CHIRP is the topic for today’s blog. My husband and I have become fans of the tiny hummingbird. We have developed a fondness for the buzzing and the speed of these magnificent little airplanes of joy. Feeders have been purchased and the nectar supplied and we wait in anticipation of their arrival and feeding maneuvers with delightful excitement. We count them as if we are trying to reach some kind of goal if the numbers increase. What fascinates me is how loud of a chirp one of God’s tiniest creatures can make. Even the humming of the wings is seemingly louder than this little bird could ever achieve. Listen and watch the video and then I will share with you my thoughts on the effect one tiny chirp can have on the world.
Now that you have listened to this video and heard the hummingbird sing or chirp, however you wish to call it; I want to share my thoughts. I found an article which states there is something hidden in the Hummingbird’s Chirp. When they slowed the audio down, each chirp sounded like a huge dinosaur’s roar. Isn’t that amazing? A tiny bird can resonate to the other tiny birds a sound loud and strong. If you glance over the following article, you will see what I am talking about.
Excerpt from interesting articleListen Closely: There’s Something Hidden in This Hummingbird’s Chirp
Here’s the thing about hummingbirds: Almost nothing they do is like a regular bird. A hummingbird’s heart beats about 1,200 times a minute while exercising.
When hovering, their wings flap around about 100 times a second. So when Alejandro Rico-Guevara, who studies evolutionary biology and ecology at UConn, wanted to capture male hummingbirds fighting over potential mates in groupings called “leks,” he recorded them with a high-speed camera, and then slowed the tape way down.
That’s when he discovered something interesting inside each chirp:
“People haven’t paid that much attention to hummingbird songs, because they don’t seem complex or interesting,” Rico-Guevara said. “But now that we have the tools … we’re trying to study all the different calls from different males. We’re finding they vary a lot. Maybe that source of variation is what females are selecting upon.”
Now for the deeper thought…… If one little tiny bird chirping can have that much of a dramatic effect on its species, what kind of effect do we as humans have on others. Do we sound like a tiny bird which no one really pays attention OR do we roar with a strong impact making a powerful sound? We don’t have to be very complex or even very interesting to impact others. A tiny, kind chirp or talk with another human can inspire tremendous results. A small word of encouragement, a cheering chirp, or a compassionate song may move mountains. God made the dinosaurs and the hummingbird and gave each the same power in their own world. How about that? We can make a difference by choosing our song to sing in life. Today, let’s spread our wings, no matter how big or small they are, and make some noise for others to hear and enjoy.
Featured Bible Verse:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
(C) Copyright 2012-2016 Arline Miller with rights and privileges reserved. Third party material sourced with original location for reference.
Today August 14, I dedicate this blog to the birthday gardener and my friend Linda Christian
TODAY THE WORDS are THEGARDENER’S GLOVE This topic may seem a little strange coming from a lady whose husband does all of our landscaping and who considers herself blessed to not have to pull weeds (but he doesn’t do a lot of that with his routine weed control). I have several FB friends who grow beautiful gardens (Linda Christian whose birthday is today and she can make us envious of her gardening skills and beautiful spirit of sharing with others) , some who are in their rose gardens and flower beds, and there are my friends who do not like the outdoor gardening at all. I love flowers and there is nothing better to eat than fresh home grown vegetables but I think my resistance stems from my childhood.
Let’s return to my childhood to give you my thoughts. In order to make some money, my Mother grew turnip and mustard greens in our back garden. Before school, and sometimes in the bitter cold, we would go to the garden, gather the greens which were ready, clean them off and bundle with string. Off to the grocery store they would go and off to school we would go. It wasn’t the work as I had too much energy; we didn’t use gloves. In those days, you used your hands (maybe others had enough money to buy gloves; not us). It was the smell of the greens on my hands and mind you, I washed my hands several times and they were as clean as they were going to be. I see my husband prepare, by putting on gloves, before he goes out to do yard work, gardening, and/or pruning. He is very particular about how the gloves have to fit as a proper fit will not slow him down. He jokes with other guys that his wife does yard work. He says “She tells me where to put everything and walks back in the house.” He smiles when he says it but I know he loves being in the yard and in control of its beauty. I am usually the one who is in charge of the interior of our home and I love doing it.
Now for the deeper thought….as important as gloves are to a gardener or landscaper…..gloves of life are as important to our being. Gloves are a protective covering to avoid scratches, cuts and sometimes bites from insects. They wrap around the hand and fingers securely and when properly fitted, are an extension of our very bodies. They become a second skin in other words. Our “character” is a pair of gloves of life. We start, at an early age, to develop (or put on) our character which comprises of several things: our personality; our integrity; our work ethics and our moral ethics (may be the same or sometimes not); our nurturing persona; and our spirituality. With the proper gloves of life, we can garden our souls and protect ourselves from the scratches, bites, and burns which the garden of life brings. I am not discounting God’s influence in our gardens, but we as His Children, need to put on our gloves and protect ourselves too. Good gardening, my friends, and don’t forget your gloves.
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced to the original location for reference.
My horseman, Greg Miller (husband) in his riding days.
TODAY THE WORDS ARE GIDDY UP! Each morning, since I write the blog early, I may benefit if I use a command, Giddy up for myself. For some of the readers who may not be familiar with this southern word used to command a horse, mule or donkey to move or go faster, I will take you on a ride for a lesson of life.
My father was raised on a farm and mules were used for plowing. I heard many stories about the daily plowing and the tedious laying out the rows in the fields were all in a day’s work. The mule would normally fall in line and keep going down the rows without a lot of command. That is “normally” but there would come the day when the mule would be “stubborn” and Giddy up was shouted many times. They would have to use the whip at the hardest times as the mule had made up its mind to do no more. These were rough times and many will not remember the hand plowing days as technology with the latest in tractors and equipment have replaced the mule so the word Giddy up has taken on new forms of meaning. Giddy up has been used to say, “Are you ready to go to the game?” and “let’s go”. I myself, have not used Giddy up for a long time, but this morning it came to me this phrase may need to get back into mainstream communications. Children, and grown ups too, have forgotten to move or go faster. We show stubborn streaks in our relationships; we have days that we give up and decide we do not need to do more. Does this sound familiar? Do we plow full days in the fields of life; do we give our all; or do we do as few rows as we can get away?
Have you ever watched a horse in a race? They give every bit of their strength and endurance. They sweat, their nostrils flare with intensity, their eyes are focused on the track ahead and I am sure jockeys have their special words for the horses. I think those words are more for the jockeys instead of the race horses as they were born to run and to run as fast and as long as they possibly can endure.
As much as the ability to go is important, we also should know when to stop. I can almost see the equivalent in people making an abrupt stop and I can see them going over the horse’s head at times. A smoother stop is advisable when we are in unhealthy relationships with humans, food, friends, or even work. Slow down in your thoughts, think it thoroughly to know how you should stop without too much stress and pain.
Now for the deeper thought……Should someone have to say Giddy up to us to move us in life? Is it possible to rise each day, start “plowing” in the fields of life, be excited instead of finding something to complain about, and endure the sweat, the nostrils flaring, the pain associated with pushing it to the limit, and knowing at the end of the race, we have GIDDY UP’D with the best of them.
BAD POLITICS OR JUST PLAIN BAD MANNERS? Before I start this blog message, please know this is not a political endorsement for either candidate. My thoughts are in line with a bigger message. With the upcoming election, I have witnessed from ALL sides a lot of anger, distasteful rhetoric, and the worst display of human compassion. At first, I felt myself being dragged into “the battle” and I realized if I didn’t back out of the fight, it would change me. I hope this message is not perceived to be favorable to either party or an endorsement of any kind.
Let’s look at this subject without any reference to either party and/or who you intend on voting for or against. I am not advocating taking a silent stance either. Our freedom and independence is important and everyone is entitled to our right of selection and a healthy discussion is good especially for those on the fence (undecided voters). A candidate’s pros and cons should be reviewed and believe it or not, they should not be sourced through media alone. If we research real history and documents, we can learn the truth. What I do find out is that I have learned the most when I have someone who is more experienced than myself and I listen. I may not always agree but I do have more information in my mind to draw from and make decisions.
In honor of February 12th, today we’re going to share the 12 best pieces of debate advice we’ve ever received. Read and absorb these nuggets of wisdom below.
1. “Know the internal link scenario.”
No matter what event and what topic, everything comes down to internal links. How does one argument connect to another? If it doesn’t seem to make sense to you, chances are it’s because it actually doesn’t make sense. Figure out where the logical breakdown is, and explain that to your judge.
2. “If you don’t win the ballot, you didn’t win the round.”
No whining. Fundamentally, all debate is a persuasive communication activity. If you didn’t win the round, even if you were sure you were going to, it’s because you messed up somewhere. Maybe the judge was wrong, but if they were wrong it can only be because your explanation wasn’t clear to them. Figure out what you needed to do to persuade this particular judge, and regroup. Sulking and blaming others for your losses will never help you grow.
3. “Think like a human, not like a debater.”
Too often, debaters freak out when they hit an unfamiliar argument, and the round completely breaks down. This is because they’re scrambling to find “the right debate argument” to make, instead of keying in on obvious responses. The next time you see something new, take a deep breath and think to yourself “how would I respond to this if my friend said it to me?”
4. “Most good debates are ties. You gotta give the judge a reason to break the tie.”
Once you get to the level of evenly-matched debates between talented competitors, the truth is that there are many rounds where the judge could easily vote either way. Your job is to figure out why they should pick you, and explain that to them clearly, early and often.
5. “Look and sound right, no matter what you’re saying.”
Fake it until you make it. It’s much better to actually know what you’re talking about, but everyone occasionally stumbles into unfamiliar territory. In these situations, confidence is key. Judges want to make the “right” decision, and seeming like you’re certain you’re winning is a good way to capitalize on that.
6. “Debating your way will work better than debating the ‘right’ way.”
You’ll always do better when you keep the debate in your wheelhouse. If you’re just not a fast-talking, technical person, you’ll do better by tailoring your arguments to suit that style than by trying to transform yourself into someone who runs 12-off. The reverse is also true. Do an honest self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, and then work on emphasizing your strengths, while downplaying your weaknesses. You gotta do you.
7. “When the round is going off the rails, hard stop and reboot.”
We’ve all had those debates where mid-round we were sure we were destined to lose. Fight those feelings! Never give up. Instead, stop, and take a minute to figure out what new direction you can take. Dropped a counterplan that solves the aff in the 2AC? Hey, you can always go for theory. And so on.
8. “Know where the debate is headed before it starts.”
Ask yourself before the round even begins, and then again when you start prepping for every speech “how am I most likely to win the debate? How are my opponents most likely to win the debate?” Your goal should always be to place yourself in your opponents’ and judges’ shoes, and then cover the flow accordingly.
9. “You’re always telling the judge a story. Make it one they want to believe in.”
Whether you’re an LDer talking about Kant, a policy kid reading 8 politics disads, someone rocking a nontraditional argument about identity, or anything in between, you are ALWAYS telling the judge a story. The winner is usually whoever told the most salient, believable story. Don’t forget to tie everything together into one neat little package, and never underestimate the power of a good story.
10. “Research should be open and honest.”
Don’t just research by trying to find a specific card. Even if you find it, you may miss out on a cool position you never anticipated. A better technique is to begin your research process open to anything you might discover. This will help you develop a strong foundation of background knowledge in the topic, as well as give you opportunities to stumble upon unique, creative arguments. And, yes, it will also make it easier to choose good search terms when eventually you need to find that one special card.
11. “Winning is important, but it isn’t everything.”
The skills you learn and the friends you make will stick with you a lot longer than your record will. As we’ve said before, the people you meet in debate will probably become your best friends, so you should start treating them that way now. Above all else, never sacrifice your integrity for a W. You have to be able to live with yourself at the end of the day.
12. “When in doubt, just say the opposite of what the other team said.”
The strategy of just asserting the contrary is surprisingly underutilized. Sometimes, the best argument is simply “no, the opposite.” If they say “economic growth is good,” why not say “economic growth is bad?” You should always be ready for that direct clash.
In reviewing this article, some items stood out to me. In my work, I research a tremendous amount. I don’t research to “scream” my point: I want to sound confident when I speak. In the past few months, I have witnessed deceit (maybe not intentional) on both sides. Journalists are distorting; people are reacting. People are distorting; journalists are reacting. What a mess!
Now for my deeper thought…... Forget politics for a minute and realize this election is not going to last forever. One candidate will win; one candidate will lose. What if we allow this election to steal our soul by becoming less than we are? What if we forget all candidates are Children of God and we become ambassadors for Satan? There is only one election which results in a forever position and if we vote for God’s love and compassion; we won’t hear the hate and threatening tones in voices. If I seem to be preaching, I am not. Let’s debate with manners; let’s vote with our consciences; and let’s pray from our heart. Above all else, let’s remember we are all human with great qualities and flaws too.
TODAY THE WORDS are ‘THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST.” As most of us who are parents have had the experience of our children’s first step. Sometimes, even in one of life’s greatest pride moments, their first step can be quite humorous with wobbling, wide eyes, and arms flailing to the sides or in front of them. We ooh and awe but it must be very scary and exciting at the same time for the child. I have never heard anyone say they remember their first step and this may be a good thing for them to forget. Think back now, without the personal involvement and you will probably smile at the thought.
We go through many first steps in our lifetime. In dance, we learn many steps and usually the first dance steps are somewhat awkward and even though most of us learn “the moves” some people don’t ever seem to get their groove on (flashback to our sixties and seventies, dear classmates and friends of mine). We take a different kind of “first” step when we apply for our first job and it is difficult to step with confidence without experience. It is a charitable action for a lot of employers who give us our first positions in life. When we marry, what a huge first step of marriage and speaking from multiple marriages; it doesn’t get easier to take that step. For some, the marriage track runs smoother than others. Others stumble and fall and have to start over. It would be great if we could learn how to step correctly in a marriage or even life itself without falling or stumbling. When we have children, we take a huge step, as we now have the responsibility of teaching and encouraging a little precious being how to step in this difficult world. Huge, huge, steps for them and us to have to take. Life is a long walk with hills and valleys, straight roads and roads with dangerous curves, bumps and dangers and we all have to walk it.
There is an important “First Step” we have to consider is getting our health in check. I want to give us some things to consider and when we take that first step in healthy eating and life style; we can handle the other first steps easier. Do not put this first step off. A few years ago, I thought I was fairly healthy but after a long needed complete physical, I had some work to do. I will have my regular check up next week and I hope to see my hard efforts have paid off. I found an article for us to review as first steps in acquiring a good health check up:
Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living
Get your copy of Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living
All of us probably know some areas where we could boost our health and happiness — perhaps by exercising more, eating healthier, learning stress management techniques, or nipping a bad habit in the bud — but making a change can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be, though. This report will show you how to incorporate simple changes into your life that can reap big rewards.
Click here to read more »
The day-to-day choices you make influence whether you maintain vitality as you age or develop life-shortening illnesses and disabling conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. You may understand exactly what you need to do to enjoy a healthier, happier life: carve out time to exercise, perhaps, or find a way to ratchet down stress. There’s just one hitch. You haven’t done it yet.
Often, the biggest hurdle is inertia. It’s true that it isn’t easy to change ingrained habits like driving to nearby locations instead of walking, let’s say, or reaching for a donut instead of an apple. However, gradually working toward change improves your odds of success. Here are some strategies that can help you enact healthy change in your life, no matter what change (or changes) you’d like to make.
Seven steps to shape your personal plan
Shaping your personal plan starts with setting your first goal. Break down choices that feel overwhelming into tiny steps that can help you succeed.
Select a goal. Choose a goal that is the best fit for you. It may not be the first goal you feel you should choose. But you’re much more likely to succeed if you set priorities that are compelling to you and feel attainable at present.
Ask a big question. Do I have a big dream that pairs with my goal? A big dream might be running a marathon or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, wiggling back into a closet full of clothes you love, cutting back on blood pressure medication, or playing games and sports energetically with your children. One word to the wise: if you can’t articulate a big dream, don’t get hung up on this step. You can still succeed in moving toward your goal through these other approaches.
Pick your choice for change. Select a choice that feels like a sure bet. Do you want to eat healthier, stick to exercise, diet more effectively, ease stress? It’s best to concentrate on just one choice at a time. When a certain change fits into your life comfortably, you can then focus on the next change.
Commit yourself. Make a written or verbal promise to yourself and one or two supporters you don’t want to let down: your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends. That will encourage you to slog through tough spots. Be explicit about the change you’ve chosen and why it matters to you. If it’s a step toward a bigger goal, include that, too. I’m making a commitment to my health by planning to take a mindful walk, two days a week. This is my first step to a bigger goal: doing a stress-reducing activity every day (and it helps me meet another goal: getting a half-hour of exercise every day). I want to do this because I sleep better, my mood improves, and I’m more patient with family and friends when I ease the stress in my life.
Scout out easy obstacles. Maybe you’d love to try meditating, but can’t imagine having the time to do it. Or perhaps your hopes for eating healthier run aground if you’re hungry when you walk through the door at night, or your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator aren’t well-stocked with healthy foods.
Brainstorm ways to leap over obstacles. Now think about ways to overcome those roadblocks. Not enough time? I’ll get up 20 minutes early for exercises and fit in a 10-minute walk before lunch. Cupboard bare of healthy choices? I’ll think about five to 10 healthy foods I enjoy and will put them on my grocery list.
Plan a simple reward. Is there a reward you might enjoy for a job well done? For example, if you hit most or all of your marks on planned activities for one week, you’ll treat yourself to a splurge with money you saved by quitting smoking, a luxurious bath, or just a double helping of trhe iTunes application “Attaboy.” Try to steer clear of food rewards, since this approach can be counterproductive.
Breaking it down
Taking a 10-minute walk as part of a larger plan to exercise, or deciding to drink more water and less soda, certainly seem like easy choices. Even so, breaking them down further can help you succeed.
Here are a few examples of how you can break a goal into smaller bites.
Take a 10-minute walk
Find my comfortable walking shoes or buy a pair.
Choose days and times to walk, and then pencil this in on the calendar.
Think about a route.
Think about possible obstacles and solutions. If it’s raining hard, what’s Plan B? (I’ll do 10 minutes of mixed marching, stair climbing, and jumping rope before dinner.) Maybe I dislike getting my work clothes sweaty. If I’m planning to hop off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home, what could I do? (I’ll need T-shirts to change into at work. If I bring in five every Monday, I’m covered. I’ll put my walking shoes in my work bag at night.)
Drink more water, less soda
Find my water bottle (or buy one).
Wash out the bottle, fill it up, and put it in the refrigerator at night.
Put a sticky note on the front door, or on my bag, to remind me to take the water bottle with me.
At work, take a break in the morning and one in the afternoon to freshen up my water bottle. This is a good time to notice how much (or little) I’m drinking.
When I get home from work, scrub out my water bottle for the following day and repeat.
Track my budget for a month
Every night, put all receipts and paid bills in an envelope placed in a visible spot.
Choose one: a) buy budget-tracking computer software, such as Quicken or QuickBooks; b) buy a similar application for my phone; c) use a debit card for every purchase; d) tuck a notepad into my purse or pocket to record all purchases.
Follow instructions to load software on computer, or application on phone, if I’ve chosen to use it.
Schedule 30 minutes at the end of the two-week mark to go over expenses with an eye toward identifying low-hanging fruit to trim. Sort expenses into categories first (rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, entertainment, etc.). Consider what categories to trim. Set a goal to reduce or eliminate some of these expenses (for example: cut out 5% of spending across the board or in one category, ride a bike to work rather than paying commuter fees, or make my own coffee rather than buying it).
At the end of the fourth week, review all spending categories and add up the money I’ve saved. Decide on an appropriate reward — maybe spending half the money, spending time in a pleasurable pursuit, or just basking in praise for a job well done.
Originally published: September 2010
What a great article and I have taken notes! How about you? First step and one foot in front of the other and here we go!
Now for the deeper thought….It would seem nice to say, Life is so easy; no problems; no fears; no mistakes; no sickness and no worries. Life is a fantastic adventure but we have to have a fantastic attitude. Take first steps and second steps. If we fall down; we get up and try it again until we get it right.
(C) Copyright 2012-2016 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location and credits.
BUSTER BEATS THE HEAT. I have featured Buster in the blog before as he has the most colorful personality, even though he is black with the exception of his chest patch of white. He knows a lot of tricks by hand signals and loves to make his run to Lowes with Greg, riding in the cart. He sounds like he is braver than he actually is. If you have to be convinced, the limb snapping under his paws and giving him such a startled reaction; Buster went airborne imitating a cat’s leap. Oh yes, we have fun with Buster and I could write a book on his antics (maybe I will soon). This summer’s temperatures has kept Buster inside more and I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas on keeping our fur babies cool and comfortable. As special as we think Buster is to us, I am sure all of you love your pets and want them to be around for a long time. Here are some tips for the summer:
Practice basic summer safety
Never leave your pets in a parked car
Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. Learn how to help a pet left inside a hot car »
Print our hot car flyer [PDF] and spread the life-saving word »
Watch the humidity
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog’s temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke.
Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
Don’t rely on a fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.
Cool your pet inside and out
Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. (You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.) And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.
Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak.
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian.
Prepare for power outages
Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.
Keep Pets Safe in the Heat is the article from the Humane Society of the United States
I thought I would provide one of the first blog posts I wrote about Buster. Our little Yorkie, Bandit is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Each one of our fur babies have been unique and I can assure we love and miss each one of them. I feel God blesses us with animals who love us in spite of our flaws. RIP Bandit and RIP Whiskers (who is a book in itself waiting to be written).
TODAY THE WORDSareTHE WORLD ACCORDING TO BUSTER. Usually every morning, our Yorkie, Bandit lays next to me while I write the blog. I make the statement to him, “Are you ready to help me write the blog?” He just backs up closer and lays still. This morning, however, Bandit sat at the end of the bed and Buster, our rowdy Papillon, took Bandit’s place. He was looking up at me and touching the laptop with his nose, curious as he normally is, and as the topics come spontaneously, Buster gave me the inspiration for this message. Let’s look at life through the eyes of Buster and see how it shapes up. Buster was rescued as a puppy so his life, like so many displaced children was turned upside down at a very early age. He was given to strangers and had to adapt to a new home and new “parents”. Buster is unique (and I am sure all doggy owners feel the same) but while Bandit is a passive dog; Buster somehow thinks he is a showman and has to put on his shows. He doesn’t see anything wrong with clipping Greg’s socks and as all of his treasures, they find their way to his hiding place which is under our bed. He “prances like a Dressage” across our back yard and doesn’t hesitate being protective when he hears a noise. He, however, gets scared and it is so obvious when he is scared. Being all black with the exception of a white blaze on his neck, when he exposes the whites of his eyes, we call them crazy eyes. But this is the exception and usually Buster is full steam ahead and taking no prisoners. He does a lot of tricks by hand commands but all of this is not the deeper thought I had…….We live in a world we have to adjust as Buster had to adjust. We face new challenges each day and we react similar to Buster. Some days we are so excited about something new; we prance too. Other days we get scared when our world has had an unexpected jolt such as a loss, a sickness, job changes, or tragedy. We probably get our “crazy eyes” too. Then there are the days, just like Buster, we want to be petted and shown love for comfort. As Buster and Bandit too, have us to make sure they are fed and given treats; God gives us the same as His Children. God comforts when we are scared, showers us with blessings or “treats”; allows us to learn “tricks” or lessons of life; and above all, God loves us and takes care of us. The world according to Buster can be the same for us knowing Our Master loves us and wants us to be happy and joyous like Buster.
DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Psalm 103:13 ESV
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material sourced to original source.
TODAY THE WORDS are INSPIRATIONAL or SPIRITUAL? This topic came to my heart and I wanted to share my thoughts on this question. There are a lot of inspirational writers, speakers, and ordinary people who are extra-ordinarily full of inspiration. This does not mean they are without a spiritual side. When I think of a spiritual person, I think and feel the aura of a Higher Power at play. Does a spiritual person always have to be a minister, pastor, evangelist, holy man, priest, Rabbi, monk, etc? Not necessarily, but they are definitely in the spiritual ranking. Have you ever had a conversation with an elderly person who speaks of their life experiences for the purpose of encouraging others, especially younger folks? They are filled with inspiration using their “mistakes” of life and how that taught them how to be a better person. Not every one of them share their spiritual experiences; some of them do. We, then have the spiritual forerunners, Billy Graham, John Hagee, Joel Osteen, Joyce Myers, Wayne Dyers, and others, who are inspirational in all of their messages and sermons. Several ones in today’s world come to my mind immediately and they accomplish both missions at one time.
Definitions from Merriam Webster for Inspiration and Spiritual Simple Definition of inspiration : something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone : a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something : a good idea
Simple Definition of Spiritual : of or relating to a person’s spirit : of or relating to religion or religious beliefs : having similar values and ideas : related or joined in spirit
When I started this blog, it went toward the inspirational format but God had His way of providing His Spiritual message and plopped it right in the message. I have never claimed to be anything but me.
Now for the deeper thought…….God can take a positive person and through His wisdom, use that same person for His mission and not theirs. Sometimes, the inspirational message can be used as a spiritual tool. My thought….we can be both by living the word of God. We can inspire people to be the best they can be and while they are making the changes I felt led to make in my life, they are becoming more spiritual. There can be a big difference between inspirational and spiritual; there can sometimes be no difference. When God plants a seed, all we have to do is water it for it to grow. I am inspired by so many others who are traveling down life’s path and share their thoughts and experiences with me and others. Whatever we are; we are that by the grace of God. Allow Him to use us for his Good. Without Him, we struggle and are not the extra-ordinary people He knows we can be.
DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material referenced to original source.