Archive for August, 2012

Recipe of the week

August 30, 2012

Paterson Pork – Serves 2
1 protein | 1 fat | 1 dairy protein

Ingredients

2 (125g) pork fillets
1 large tomato, sliced
6 tsp avocado
40g grated parmesan
Method

Pre-heat grill. Place pork on grill tray and grill, turning once, until cooked through.
Mash the avocado and spread on each pork fillet. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle with parmesan.
Return to the grill and cook until golden brown.
Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.
Lyn D – Maitland

 

 

The importance of strength training

August 28, 2012

Strength training as a form of exercise gets little to no attention compared to cardiovascular training. Most people know that walking or riding their bike is an essential part of maintaining good health; strength training is often acknowledged as a beneficial thing to do for optimal health, but not essential enough to regularly incorporate into their exercise routine.

Strength training, by definition, is a concerted effort to use resistance or weights to work a muscle group. Many people falsely believe that being active, such as standing and moving during a shift at work, or doing house work, is enough effort to keep muscles healthy and strong. Being active is beneficial to the body, but it takes a focused effort to work muscles by either using weights, or your own body weight, to get the benefits of strength training.

The benefits of strength training are much too important to omit when committing to a healthy lifestyle, and many of these benefits cannot be accomplished with cardiovascular training alone. A well-designed strength-training program can provide the following benefits:

Strength Training:

Increases muscle mass, and muscle burns more calories than fat. Even at rest, your body will burn more calories if you strength train regularly. As muscle mass increases, metabolism increases, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. If you don’t intentionally rebuild muscle through exercise, every ten years you will need to eat 150-450 less calories each day to maintain your current weight.

Helps to slow down or halt muscle loss that accompanies aging. A typical adult loses about one-half pound of muscle per year after the age of 20, which means you feel less energetic and generally weaker.

Slows bone loss that accompanies aging and increases bone density.

Maintains or increases joint flexibility.

Helps to manage or reduce pain from ailments such as arthritis and old injuries.

Improve fitness variables such as glucose metabolism, blood pressure, muscle strength endurance, body composition and even insulin sensitivity.

Improves your mood. Research from Harvard University found that strength training is very effective at reducing depression in older adults (Singh, Clements, & Fiatarone, 1997).

Improves brain function. The coordination that is required to strength train keeps your brain active.

Enhances appearance.

Improves balance and decreases your risk for injury.

Helps you sleep more soundly.

Allows you to do activities you otherwise could not do.

When beginning a strength training program, follow these tips:

Consult with a certified fitness professional to learn safe technique before beginning a strength-training program.

Warm up properly. Spend a few minutes before exercising to warm muscles and connective tissues up and reduce risk for injury.

Perform every exercise at a slow, controlled and consistent rate of speed throughout the movement.

Engage in a strength training program that is designed to achieve muscle balance. Make sure each muscle has a chance to be worked equally.

Perform all exercises through a full range of motion.

Breathe through each exercise. Inadvertently holding your breath while strength training can cause excessive stress to your heart.

Vary your program. Machines, free weights, pilates and fitness ball exercises, to name a few, are all effective tools for strength training. Try one or two together to further enhance muscle strength and decrease boredom.

Exercise each muscle group at least two times per week, with at least two days rest in between workouts.
You don’t have to spend three hours a day to see the benefits of strength training. Exercise two to three times a week for thirty minutes a session and you will reap all of the great rewards mentioned above. Strength training is undeniably worth your effort and time.

About the Author: Alice Burron is an affiliate spokesperson and highly successful personal trainer for the American Council on Exercise. She earned a master’s in physical education with an emphasis in exercise physiology from the University of Wyoming and is a leading national fitness and wellness program expert.

The truth about belly fat

August 26, 2012

By Sonya Collins
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Belly fat: Did you know that it’s not just about your waist size?

It’s also about your health. And you can do something about it, starting right now, at any size.
But first, let’s be clear: This is not about fat phobia. Your body needs some fat. And it’s not about judging yourself or anyone else, or trying to reach some unrealistic ideal.  Instead, it’s about getting a handle on your fat — even the fat you can’t see.

Location, Location, Location

That’s right: You have fat you can’t see. We all do.  People store most of their fat in two ways:

Just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. That’s called subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. It’s the fat that you notice.

Deeper inside, around the vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive tract, liver, etc.) in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. That’s called “visceral” fat. It’s so deep inside you that you can’t notice it from the outside.
Many people are self-conscious about the fat they can see. But actually, it’s the hidden fat — the visceral fat — that may be a bigger problem, even for thin people.

Like another organ fat doesn’t just sit there. It makes “lots of nasty substances,” says Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

We all have visceral fat — and it isn’t all bad. It provides necessary cushioning around organs.

The problem is when there’s too much of it. That’s linked to a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers (including breast cancer and colon cancer.)

How Did I Get It?

When obese, a body can run out of safe places to store fat and begin storing it in and around the organs, such as the heart and the liver.

“Fatty liver disease was, until recently, very rare in nonalcoholics. But with obesity increasing, you have people whose fat depots are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs,” says Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Now there is much interest in fat being deposited around the heart, as well.”

Now that you know more about the fat that we all have, it’s time to take action.
How Much Is Too Much?

You could get a CT scan or MRI if you want the most precise way to see where your fat is stored. But that’s over the top. There’s a much simpler method.

Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist, and check your girth. Do it while you’re standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level.

For your best health, you want your waist size to be:

Less than 35 inches for women
Less than 40 inches for men
Having a “pear shape,” with fatter hips and thighs, is considered safer than the “apple shape,” which describes a wider waistline.

“What we’re really pointing to with the apple versus pear is that if you have more abdominal fat, it’s probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat,” Hairston says.

Even thin people can have too much visceral fat, though you’d never know it by looking at them.

It’s partly about their genes. Some people have a genetic tendency to store visceral fat.

But it’s also about physical activity. Visceral fat likes inactivity. For instance, a British study showed that thin people who maintain their weight through diet alone, skipping exercise, are more likely to have unhealthy levels of visceral fat.

So the message is, get active, no matter what size you are.

Controlling Belly Fat: 4 Steps to Take

There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.

Exercise: Vigorous exercise trims fat, including visceral fat. It can also slow down the build-up of visceral fat that tends to happen over the years.

How much exercise does it take? Half an hour of vigorous aerobic exercise, done four times a week, a Duke University study shows.

What counts as “vigorous”? Jogging, if you’re already fit, or walking briskly at an incline on a treadmill, if you’re not yet ready for jogging. Vigorous workouts on stationary bikes and elliptical or rowing machines are also effective, says Duke researcher Cris Slentz, PhD.

Moderate activity – raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week – also helps. It slows down how much visceral fat you gain. But to torch visceral fat, your workouts may need to be more vigorous.

“Rake leaves, walk, garden, go to Zumba, play soccer with your kids. It doesn’t have to be in the gym,” Hairston says.

If you are not active now, it’s a good idea to check with your health care provider before starting a new fitness program. They’ll probably be thrilled that you want to get started, and will check that you’re ready for it.

And forget spot-reducing. There aren’t any moves that specifically target visceral fat.

Diet: There is no magic diet for belly fat. But when you lose weight, on any diet, belly fat usually goes first.
Controlling Belly Fat: 4 Steps to Take continued…

A fiber-rich diet may also help. Hairston’s research shows that people who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day, without any other diet changes, build up less visceral fat over time than others. That’s two small apples, a cup of green peas, and a half-cup of pinto beans, for example.

“Even if you kept everything else the same but switched to a higher-fiber bread, you might be able to better maintain your weight over time,” Hairston says.

Getting the right amount of sleep helps. In one study, people who got six to seven hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years, compared to those who slept five or fewer hours per night, or eight or more hours per night. Sleep may not have been the only thing that mattered — but it was part of the picture.

Stress: Stress happens. It’s what you do with it that matters.

You probably already know that people tend not to make the best food choices when they’re stressed. And when you’ve got chronic stress, that can be a problem.

Shively recommends getting social support (turn to your friends and family), meditating, and exercising as ways to handle stress. Signing up for a workshop or some counseling sessions can also help you tame your stress.

Short on time? “If you could only afford the time to do one of these things, exercise probably has the most immediate benefits, because it hits both obesity and stress response,” Shively says.

Reviewed on August 29, 2011
© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Pineapple BBQ Kebabs

August 23, 2012

Main Course

Serves 4

1 protein | ½ fruit carb | 1 fat

Ingredients:

  • 4X200gm chicken breast fillets, cut into 2cm cubes
  • ½ fresh pineapple, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 125gm button mushrooms
  • 2 green capsicums cut into 2cm pieces

Marinade

  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Directions:

  1. Shake the ingredients of the marinade in a jar.
  2. Thread kebab ingredients alternatively onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers and marinate in a shallow dish for 1 hour.
  3. Grill kebabs over hot coals for 5-7 min or until cooked through, turning occasionally. Brush kebabs with extra marinade as necessary to prevent the kebabs from drying out. Serve with fresh green salad.

Fight the Fire: Cool Ways to Manage Heartburn

August 21, 2012

Understanding Heartburn

Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. It’s a burning feeling behind your breastbone, along with a bitter, sour taste in your mouth.

stomach diagram

How heartburn happens:

When you eat, food goes from your mouth down a tube called the esophagus into your stomach. In between the esophagus and the stomach is an opening called the lower esophageal sphincter. This muscular valve acts like a door to let food into your stomach. It normally closes quickly behind the food to keep stomach acids — which break down the food — from backing up into your esophagus.

If that valve doesn’t close all the way, stomach acid backs up, or refluxes, into the esophagus. Stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus and causes a painful burning sensation. The feeling may be worse after bending over or when you lie down.

Certain foods and drinks — like tomato products, alcohol, citrus, coffee, and fatty or spicy foods — may be more likely to irritate the lower esophageal sphincter and make heartburn worse. Being overweight, eating big meals, wearing clothes that are tight around the waist, and smoking also raise your risk for heartburn.

Learning what triggers your heartburn can help you ease the burn.

Avoid Heartburn when dining out:

Western

burger and soda

Whatever fast food is your favorite fare, pay attention to portion size. Overeating ups the chances of getting heartburn.

Avoid

  • Combo orders with sandwich, fries, drink
  • Double burgers
  • Onion rings, fries
  • “Supersize” orders
  • All-you-can-eat buffets
  • Country fried steak and all the fixings
  • Meats with fiery-hot BBQ sauce
  • Ketchup

Choose

  • Sandwich without fries
  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • Plain baked potato
  • Salad bar with low-cal dressings
  • Turkey sandwich with vegetable soup
  • BBQ meat with no sauce, or mild sauce
  • Honey-based dressing

Coffee Shops

cup of coffee

It isn’t just the coffee that might turn on the burn. Coffee shop fare can contain a lot of fat. If that’s one of your heartburn triggers, there is still tasty food for you here.

Avoid

  • Quiche
  • Fried chicken sandwich
  • French fries
  • Chicken fried steak
  • Donuts
  • Chocolate cake
  • Coffee
  • Tea with caffeine

Choose

  • Broth-based soups with vegetables
  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • Plain Baked potato
  • Veggie burger
  • Whole wheat bagel
  • Fruit bowl for dessert
  • Decaf herbal tea
  • Mineral water

Breakfast

muffin

Breakfast is a perfect meal to squeeze in some of your fruit servings for the day. Pick ones that will be kind to you. The less citrus, the better.

Avoid

  • Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines
  • Coffee, orange juice
  • Bacon and fried eggs
  • Chocolate donuts or croissants
  • Sugary cereal

Choose

  • Apples, bananas, peaches
  • Low-fat milk, apple juice
  • Poached or hard-boiled eggs
  • Whole-wheat bagel and jam

Chinese

chinese food

Some Chinese food may be spicy, but the menu at your favorite restaurant should have plenty of heartburn-free options.

Avoid

  • Egg rolls or fried spring rolls
  • Deep fried wontons
  • Crab Rangoon
  • Szechuan pork or chicken
  • Fried rice
  • Sweet and sour pork or chicken
  • Hot and sour soup
  • Fried dessert

Choose

  • Wonton soup
  • Steamed dim sum
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Stir-fried beef with broccoli
  • Plain or brown rice
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan or Mu Shu Pork
  • Egg drop soup
  • Steamed broccoli or eggplant
  • Fortune cookies

Dessert

dessert

Getting heartburn doesn’t mean you have to give up desserts. Just fine-tune what you order to avoid your triggers, such as chocolate.

Avoid

  • Chocolate candies
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Fried or chocolate pies
  • Mocha ice cream
  • Chocolate mocha cake
  • Mocha cookies
  • Key lime pie
  • Lemon meringue pie
  • Regular ice cream

Choose

  • Hard non-citrus candies — not mint
  • Angel food cake
  • Sugar cookies
  • Apple pie
  • Vanilla low-fat ice cream
  • Sponge cake
  • Vanilla or sugar cookies
  • Berries in season
  • Peach pie
  • Non-fat frozen yogurt

Fine Dining

wine bottle and glass

If you like gourmet cuisine, you can still enjoy it without getting heartburn, even if fatty foods are a trigger for you. Here, how to cut back the fat, but not the taste.

Avoid

  • Creamy salad dressings
  • Dishes made with butter
  • Porterhouse steak and other high-fat cuts
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Fish in lemon cream sauce
  • Fennel with lemon stuffing
  • Green beans with lemon
  • Spring greens with cherry tomatoes
  • Caprese salad
  • Ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes
  • Gourmet pizza with tomato paste
  • Lamb or lamb kabobs with mint sauce
  • Beet and mint salad
  • Mint and yogurt soup
  • Au gratin potatoes
  • Rib eye steaks
  • Fried vegetables
  • “Designer” coffee drinks
  • Wine, other alcohol

Choose

  • Low-fat salad dressings
  • Dishes grilled with little oil
  • Nonfat frozen yogurt
  • London broil or filet mignon
  • Plain Baked potato
  • Grilled fish
  • Vegetable kabobs with grapes
  • Fennel with parsley
  • Green beans and onions
  • Mixed green salad with low-fat dressing
  • Ravioli with zucchini
  • Gourmet pizza with pesto base
  • Lean Beef kabobs
  • Roasted lamb
  • Asparagus or other vegetable soup
  • Brown rice
  • London broil or round steak
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Fruit bowl
  • Mineral water

Greek

greek food

If fatty foods trigger your heartburn, you can still enjoy Greek food.

Avoid

  • Fried calamari
  • Moussaka (lamb and beef)
  • Classic Baba Ganoush
  • Classic lentil soup
  • Zucchini with lemon
  • Artichoke with lemon
  • Fried fish
  • Gyro
  • Bakalava

Choose

  • Dolmas (rice in grape leaves)
  • Roast lamb
  • Shish kabob
  • Eggplant dip without tomato
  • Lentil soup without tomato
  • Fava beans
  • Grilled fish
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Fruit

Indian

indian food

If you love Indian food, don’t despair — yes, it’s often spicy, but you can avoid the burn with some wise menu choices.

Avoid

  • Pineapple chutney
  • Paneer Pakora (cheese and mint sauce)
  • Indian relish (red peppers)
  • Butter chicken (tomato sauce)
  • Tomato rice
  • Pappu Tomato
  • Samosas
  • Curries made with cream
  • Fried or stuffed breads
  • Curries with coconut cream or milk

Choose

  • Vegetable platter
  • Squash Vada
  • Asparagus with ginger
  • Malai Kofta (vegetarian meatballs, without sauce)
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Mango chicken salad
  • Papadum (thin lentil wafers)
  • Curries with a vegetable base
  • Naan (bread)
  • Roasted meat dishes such as chicken tikka

Italian

italian food

Tomatoes are a common heartburn trigger, and a big part of Italian fare. Eating Italian takes a little creativity to avoid the burn. But you can do it.

Avoid

  • Tomato sauces, toppings
  • Tomato toppings
  • Chicken parmigiana
  • Pepperoni, sausage, salami on pizza
  • Tiramisu
  • Coffee
  • Wine

Choose

  • Mushroom sauce, broth-based sauce
  • Crunchy bruschetta toast without toppings
  • Baked chicken without sauce
  • Broccoli, mushrooms, olives on pizza
  • Plain biscotti
  • Decaf herbal tea
  • Mineral water

Mexican

mexican food

Salsa is traditional Mexican fare, but if tomatoes kick up your heartburn, you can still enjoy some South-of-the-border dishes.

Avoid

  • Chips and salsa
  • Tomatoes in tacos
  • Fried taco shells
  • Chile peppers
  • Mole sauce
  • Chorizo
  • Chimichangas
  • Margaritas
  • Flan

Choose

  • Chips with mild guacamole
  • Guacamole in tacos
  • Flour tortilla
  • Milder peppers, if you can tolerate them
  • Mild guacamole
  • Chicken in flour tortilla
  • Fajitas (no onions)
  • Mineral water

Seafood

seafood

Seafood can be kind to your heartburn — or cruel. If fried foods are your heartburn trigger, here’s what you need to know.

Avoid

  • Fried fish or shellfish
  • Balsamic vinegar glazed salmon
  • Seafood gumbo or bouillabaisse

Choose

  • Baked, broiled, or grilled fish or shellfish
  • Grilled salmon without sauce
  • Fish and potato stew (no tomatoes)

Thai

thai food

Spices are a mainstay of Thai cuisine. If spicy foods trigger your heartburn, choose wisely.

Avoid

  • Geow Grob (fried wontons)
  • Tod Mun (fried fish cake)
  • Gang Leang (spicy vegetable soup)
  • Tom Yum Goong (shrimp in spicy soup)
  • Tom Yum Hed (spicy oyster mushroom soup)
  • Moo Dang (BBQ pork with five spice marinade)
  • Pud Makua Yow (stir-fried eggplant with chili pepper)
  • Goong Ob Woonsen (shrimp with garlic)
  • Mee Grow Chow Wung (sweet and sour crispy fried rice)
  • Goew Tiew Kak (rice noodles in beef curry sauce)
  • Cha (Bright orange tea)
  • Pineapple mango upside down cake
  • Fried bananas

Choose

  • Satay (marinated, grilled meat)
  • Thai salad rolls without sauce
  • Gang Jued Naw Mai Sod Gub Gai (fresh bamboo shoot soup)
  • Nam Gang (chicken broth)
  • Tom Yum Gai (lean chicken soup with lemongrass)
  • Neur toon (slow-cooked beef stew, hold the spices)
  • Grilled snapper
  • Ginger and chicken stir fry
  • Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles with chives, sprouts and shrimp)
  • Kow Su-ay (rice cooked in water)
  • Fug Tong Gang Buad (pumpkin in coconut milk)
  • Boa Loy (rice balls in coconut milk)
  • Saku Piak Maprow On (tapioca pudding in warm coconut milk)

Reviewed by Andrew Seibert, MD on March 01, 2012
Information source from http://www.webmd.com

Are you suffering from burnout?

August 19, 2012

Even if you love your job, do too much of it, and you’ll hate it.

That’s the conclusion of Mark Cullen of Stanford Medical School, who studies overworked execs. Pride yourself on your work stamina, how much you can take, and you can get taken—by the terminal exhaustion of burnout. That’s when productivity, not to mention your brain and body tank, but you can opt out of that.

Burnout is the last stage of chronic stress, and a job and life killer. If you’re good at endurance and believe your value lies in taking more of a pounding than the next person, you are a prime candidate for it. The irony of the professional world is that it’s the hardest workers who fall prey to burnout—1) the most conscientious, 2) the Type A’s, 3) the bravado warriors. They can take more, and so the usual warning signals of stress are ignored. The fact is that humans, as of yet, don’t have Pentium processors, only caffeine.

The hollowing-out of burnout happens gradually. Your body adapts to chronic stress so it looks like you’re handling things, but it’s an illusion. Adrenaline pumped out by the stress response masks the fact that it’s taking your body down and suppressing your immune system.

Doctors say that when patients arrive with burnout symptoms, there is always a long prelude: Heart palpitations, headaches, back pain, insomnia, irritable bowel, hot flashes, exhaustion. Ignore the signals leading to burnout, and you can wind up adapting to the stress response until your resources are gone. Burnout can trigger stroke, depression and a host of things you can do without, not to mention reduce the sense of accomplishment, interest and joy in your life to zero.

Opt Out of Heroics

Burnout is a three-way shutdown — mind, body, and emotions. It’s the depletion of all your energetic and emotional resources. The result is dramatically lower productivity, guilt, shame, cynicism, falling behind, not caring about the things that you used to.

One of the hallmarks of burnout is disengagement, the opposite of getting things done. This makes burnout a big problem for any organization, since it takes down the top talent. Productivity plummets for anyone with burnout, a cause of presenteeism—you’re there physically, but not mentally—and the sick days and medical bills mount.

Preventing burnout takes a vigilant mind, paying attention to the stress signals and doing something about them, not gutting them out with heroics (which only prolongs and deepens the stress cycle). You have to be proactive and break out of autopilot.

Recognize and dump the behaviors that drive the burnout trap—work overload, perfectionism, no refueling or recreation, un-viable schedules, nonstop busyness, chronic conflict, and giving too much of yourself emotionally. It’s also critical to build skills to communicate about key burnout funnels: lack of reward, control, and community, pieces organizations need to address too.

You Do, Therefore You Are?

You can turn down the stress by altering the way you do your tasks, deal with stress, expend emotion, and set boundaries. Regular recovery strategies are key to buffer stress and chronic exhaustion, which can be the start of the withdrawal from life that marks the downward spiral of burnout.

The tendency to overdo it drives the burnout beast, so you’ll need to wean off compulsive behavior. Why is it so hard to turn off the go button and stop? It could be you are getting all your value from performance. When performance is the sum total of your identity, and you pull back from constant busyness and production, you have no value.

Do less, and you actually get more done, the research shows. And you just might like your job again.

Information sourced from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/the-top-3-candidates-for-burnout-and-how-to-avoid-being-one-of-them.html

Recipe of the week – Garlic Roasted Salmon

August 16, 2012

Garlic Roasted Salmon – serves 41 protein | 1 fat
Ingredients

4 (100g) salmon steaks
4 tsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
Method

Pre-heat oven to 230° C. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray. Place the slamon on the rack and drizzle with the oil. Spread the garlic and ginger over the salmon, patting them lightly and evenly over the surface. Bake for 9 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
Variation:

The rapeseed oil may be replaced by the oil of your choice.
Lois W – Maitland

101 Ways to Feel Happy

August 14, 2012


Do you want to feel happy — or even happier — on a daily basis?

The simple solution is dipping into these 101 quick, easy and free ways to make you feel happy right now. They’ll help you get the big picture on how you can actively seek happiness and start to feel happier every day.

Once you’ve got started you can add more ideas of your own to make sure you get your daily dose of happiness. Life’s too short to be miserable and there are infinite ways to feel happy, it’s just a case of finding out what makes you feel instantly happy and taking a moment to enjoy those things every day.

In the long term living a life which is in tune with your values, doing work you’re passionate about and surrounding yourself with inspiring people will help increase your happiness.

But in the short term it’s about doing small things to please yourself, choosing activities that raise your happiness levels slowly but surely then keeping them there by repeating the process regularly.

Here’s the most important stuff you need to do to live in the moment and feel happier every day in one quick list:

  1. Smile.
  2. Connect with nature.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people in person or online.
  4. Do something you’ve always enjoyed.
  5. Do something you’ve never done before but have always wanted to try.
  6. Learn something new.
  7. Smell something that makes you happy: a mandarin, your lover’s perfume, chocolate, you decide.
  8. Reward yourself for your good habits.
  9. Eat something that makes you happy, but not too much if it’s fattening.
  10. Spend time with a good friend.
  11. Touch something that makes you happy: a cat, velvet, the bark of a tree? Take time to notice.
  12. Don’t worry now, worry later.
  13. Say, or sing, something that makes you happy.
  14. Challenge yourself, I dare you.
  15. Look at something that makes you happy.
  16. Stop procrastinating, do something.
  17. Take a small step towards your goal.
  18. Congratulate yourself.
  19. Tell someone you love them.
  20. Do a good deed.
  21. Face your fears.
  22. Read a book you love.
  23. Get outside.
  24. Spend time with inspiring people or read about someone who inspires you.
  25. Clear out your junk, literally.
  26. Let go of negative memories.
  27. Dwell on positive things from your past.
  28. Be creative.
  29. Dare yourself to do something.
  30. Give someone an unexpected gift.
  31. Change your habits just this once, do something unexpected.
  32. Watch the sunset.
  33. Get up for sunrise.
  34. Open a savings account.
  35. Be active.
  36. Plan for success.
  37. Eat something healthy.
  38. Trust your instincts.
  39. Follow your passion.
  40. Throw a party, or plan one.
  41. Avoid drama queens and energy suckers, you know who they are.
  42. Write stuff down, keep a diary.
  43. Set a goal.
  44. Clean your house, bit by bit.
  45. Say “no”.
  46. Spend a day alone.
  47. Devote a day to family.
  48. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while.
  49. Wear your favourite outfit.
  50. Be present.
  51. Go for a bike ride.
  52. Do something you loved as a kid that you haven’t done for years.
  53. Forgive someone, especially yourself.
  54. Go slow.
  55. Have a meal somewhere different: try a picnic.
  56. Avoid advertisements.
  57. Pick a bunch of flowers and put them in your house.
  58. Ban all media for the day.
  59. Let something slide.
  60. Display a colorful fruit bowl and eat one or two pieces a day.
  61. Be romantic.
  62. Play a game: try Uno or Monopoly with the kids and chess or poker with your friends.
  63. Make a smoothie.
  64. Have a siesta.
  65. Do something you’ve been putting off.
  66. Dream big.
  67. Start small.
  68. Seek out supportive and like-minded people.
  69. Understand that all things come to an end.
  70. Feed the ducks.
  71. Persevere: pick up something you gave up on.
  72. Start a new habit, a good one.
  73. Look at yourself in the mirror, pick what you like best and flaunt it.
  74. Seek sensuous activities and enjoy them.
  75. Look around for funny things and have a laugh.
  76. Rest up.
  77. Change your routine.
  78. Take a photo, and look back at old ones.
  79. Stretch your body.
  80. Meditate.
  81. Write a mantra.
  82. Focus.
  83. Don’t buy something — and see if you miss it. Put the cash in a savings account instead.
  84. Notice what makes you happy and use it in sad times.
  85. Ignore people who annoy you, stop being with them.
  86. Play hide and seek with some kids.
  87. Put a picture of something you want on your wall.
  88. Tell someone your dreams.
  89. Love yourself.
  90. Be grateful.
  91. Visualise.
  92. Unblock.
  93. Use your brain: try a crossword or sudoku.
  94. Make a good choice.
  95. Acknowledge your feelings.
  96. Go on a journey, long or short.
  97. Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally connect with.
  98. Be grateful for life.
  99. Write a poem.
  100. Teach someone something you know well.
  101. Choose to be happy every day.

If you haven’t already had your happy fix today, or if you want to feel even happier, try these 101 quick, simple ideas. But maybe not all on the same day.

What makes you instantly happy?

Sourced from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/101-ways-to-feel-happy-on-a-daily-basis.html

Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect

August 12, 2012

per·fec·tion·ist

1.  a person who adheres to or believes in perfectionism.

2.  a person who demands perfection  of himself, herself, or others.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you spend a lot of time “perfecting” your work,so everything comes out the way you want it to?

I believe all of us are perfectionists in our own right. I’m a perfectionist, too. We set high bars for ourselves and put our best foot forward to achieve them. We dedicate copious amounts of attention and time to our work to maintain our high personal standards. Our passion for excellence drives us to run the extra mile, never stopping, never relenting.

And a dedication towards perfection undoubtedly helps us to achieve great results. Yet, there is a hidden flip side to being perfectionists that we may not be aware of. Sure, being perfectionists and having a keen eye for details help us become excellent. However, as ironic as it might sound, perfectionism at its extreme prevents us from being our best.

How so? Here are some examples:

  1. We become less efficient. Even when we are done with a task, we linger on to find new things to improve on. This lingering process starts off as 10 minutes, then extends to 30 minutes, then to an hour, and more. We spend way more time on a task than required.
  2. We become less effective. We do little things because they seem like a “good addition”, without consciously thinking whether they’re really necessary. Sometimes, not only do the additions add no value, they might even ruin things. For example, over-cluttering a presentation with unneeded details. Jam-packing a blog layout with too many things.
  3. We procrastinate, as we wait for a “perfect” moment. Our desire to “perfect” everything makes us over complicate a project. What’s actually a simple task may get blown out of proportion, to the extent it becomes subconsciously intimidating. This makes us procrastinate on it, waiting for the ever “perfect” moment before we get to it. This “perfect” moment never strikes until it is too late.
  4. We miss the bigger picture. We are too hung up over details that we forget about the bigger picture and the end vision. It’s not uncommon to see better jobs done in pruning the trees than growing for the forest.
  5. We fuss over unfounded problems. We anticipate problems before they crop up, and come up with solutions to address these problems. It becomes an obsession to pre-empt problems. As it turns out, most of these problems either never do surface or they don’t matter that much.

However, the problem isn’t perfectionism. Well, not the normal form of perfectionism anyway. Perfectionism helps us to continuously aim for higher standards and become better. It’s a good thing.

The problem is when the quest for perfectionism turns into an obsession – so much so that the perfectionist becomes neurotic over gaining “perfection” and refuses to accept anything less than perfect. In the process, he misses the whole point altogether. Such perfectionists can be known as “maladaptive perfectionists”.

The answer isn’t to stop being a perfectionist. It’s to be conscious of our perfectionist tendencies and manage them accordingly. We want to be healthy perfectionists who are truly achieving personal excellence, not maladaptive perfectionists who are sabotaging our own personal growth efforts.

Here are my 8 personal tips on how we can be healthy perfectionists.

  1. Draw a line. We have the 80/20 rule where 80% of output can be achieved in 20% of time spent. We can spend all our time getting the 100% in, or we can draw the line where we get majority of the output, and start on a new project. Obsessing over details is draining and tedious, and doesn’t help us accomplish much. I used to review a blog post 3-4 times before I publish. All the reviewing only amounted to nuance changes in phrasings and the occasional typos. It was extremely ineffective. Now I scan it once or twice and publish it.
  2. Be conscious of trade-offs. When we spend time and energy on something, we deny ourselves from spending the same time and energy on something else. There are tons of things we can do, and we need to be aware of the trade-offs involved, so we can better draw a line (#1). For example, if some unimportant blog admin work takes an hour, that’s an hour I could spend on content creation or blog promotion. Being conscious of this helps me make a better choice on how to spend my time.
  3. Get a view of the big picture. What is the end objective? What is the desired output? Is what you are doing leading you to the overall vision? To make sure my attention is set on the end point, I have a monthly and weekly goal sheet for The Personal Excellence Blog that keeps me on track. Every day, I refer to it to make sure what I’m doing contributes to the weekly goals, and ultimately the monthly goals. These help me stay on track.
  4. Focus on big rocks. Big rocks are the important, high impact activities. Ask yourself if what you are doing makes any real impact. If not, stop working on it. If it’s a small yes, deprioritize, delegate it to someone else or get it done quickly. Seek out high impact tasks and spend time on them instead. Knowing the big picture (#3) helps you know the big rocks that contribute to the end goal. I used to spend endless amount of time tweaking my blog layout, which is really insignificant to the reader. These days I focus more on writing articles and guest posting which are the big rock activities.
  5. Set a time limit. This is same as time boxing. Parkinson’s Law tells us work will take however long we want it to take. If you give yourself 4 hours, you will finish it in 4 hours. If you give yourself 3 hours, you will finish within 3 hours. If you don’t give yourself any time limit, you will take forever to do it. Set the time limit and finish the task by then. There can be a million things you can do to improve it, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
  6. Be okay with making mistakes. Part of the reason why we obsess over our work is because we want it to be mistake-free. However, trying to achieve 100% perfection is highly ineffective. If we’re busy perfecting this thing, we can’t get to other important things. Realize that making mistakes is a trade off we have to embrace. The more we open ourselves to making mistakes, the faster we can get down to learning from them, and the quicker we can grow.
  7. Realize our concerns usually amount to nothing. It’s good to plan and prepare, but there comes a time when we should let things roll and deal with problems as they crop up. Being overly preemptive makes us live in an imaginary future vs. in the present. As I grow, I’m more inclined to adopt a “roll with the punches” attitude. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. What it means that most of the things that do crop up can always be controlled on the spot, without worrying about them before hand.
  8. Take breaks. If your productivity is waning, take a break. Resting and coming back to the same thing later on gives us a renewed perspective and fresh focus. Sometimes I run out of mental juice when writing my articles, and I don’t get anywhere by pressing on. I know it’s pointless to continue, so I take a break from work. Not surprisingly when I return later, I’m able to make progress again.

Are you a perfectionist? What are you doing to stay healthy and get things done?

 

information sourced from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/why-being-a-perfectionist-may-not-be-so-perfect.html#