Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.

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It’s not everyday that you see a smiley face on a water tower, but, it’s interesting how much of an impact on your day something like that can have. I don’t know about you, but, it makes me want to smile too!

I found these interesting facts on Smiling on pickthebrain.com by nursingschools.net and wanted to share them with you:


  1. Forcing yourself to smile can boost your mood: Psychologists have found that even if you’re in bad mood, you can instantly lift your spirits by forcing yourself to smile.
  2. It boosts your immune system: Smiling really can improve your physical health, too. Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system.
  3. Smiles are contagious: It’s not just a saying: smiling really is contagious, scientists say. In a study conducted in Sweden, people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other subjects who were smiling, and their muscles twitched into smiles all on their own.
  4. Smiles Relieve Stress: Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, even when you force it. This sudden change in mood will help you feel better and release stress.
  5. It’s easier to smile than to frown: Scientists have discovered that your body has to work harder and use more muscles to frown than it does to smile.
  6. It’s a universal sign of happiness: While hand shakes, hugs, and bows all have varying meanings across cultures, smiling is known around the world and in all cultures as a sign of happiness and acceptance.
  7. We still smile at work: While we smile less at work than we do at home, 30% of subjects in a research study smiled five to 20 times a day, and 28% smiled over 20 times per day at the office.
  8. Smiles use from 5 to 53 facial muscles: Just smiling can require your body to use up to 53 muscles, but some smiles only use 5 muscle movements.
  9. Babies are born with the ability to smile: Babies learn a lot of behaviors and sounds from watching the people around them, but scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability, since even blind babies smile.
  10. Smiling helps you get promoted: Smiles make a person seem more attractive, sociable and confident, and people who smile more are more likely to get a promotion.
  11. Smiles are the most easily recognizable facial expression: People can recognize smiles from up to 300 feet away, making it the most easily recognizable facial expression.
  12. Women smile more than men: Generally, women smile more than men, but when they participate in similar work or social roles, they smile the same amount. This finding leads scientists to believe that gender roles are quite flexible. Boy babies, though, do smile lessthan girl babies, who also make more eye contact.
  13. Smiles are more attractive than makeup: A research study conducted by Orbit Complete discovered that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.
  14. There are 19 different types of smiles: UC-San Francisco researcher identified 19 types of smiles and put them into two categories: polite “social” smiles which engage fewer muscles, and sincere “felt” smiles that use more muscles on both sides of the face.
  15. Babies start smiling as newborns: Most doctors believe that real smiles occur when babies are awake at the age of four-to-six weeks, but babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they’re born.

So, as you can see, there are many benefits to smiling! 🙂

Here’s your mission should you choose to accept it:  Try these tips anytime you need to turn that frown upside down!

  1. Pull up a picture on your phone, computer, etc. of someone that you love dearly and that makes you happy.
  2. Do something silly! This could mean, dance, hula hoop, run through a sprinkler…the possibilities are endless!
  3. Listen to one of your favorite songs.
  4. Make a game out of seeing how many strangers you can get to smile just by smiling at them first.
  5. Do something nice for someone else. This could be for someone you love, or a complete stranger. Buy someone a coffee, help someone carry groceries to their car, send a sweet text to a friend…

Have a bright, sunshiny day! 😀

Namaste,

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Be your own kind of beautiful.

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We are all unique. Our individual attributes, personalities & characteristics are what make each of us unmistakably beautiful. Be your own kind of beautiful and don’t try to do things to change yourself into what you think others perceive as beautiful. Just know that you are, and embrace the unique beauty that is yours and yours alone. 🙂

We tend to make a habit out of focusing solely on the outer façade of ourselves and/or others to determine beauty. The fact of the matter is that true beauty is not just skin deep. It’s also a very subjective matter. What I find beautiful about myself or someone else will most likely vary to what your perceptions are…kind of like art. Is there a specific set of guidelines to outline what beauty is? Absolutely not. That determination is a judgment that each of us make personally based on our opinions.

The easiest way to distance yourself from the idea that someone is absolutely either Beautiful orNot, is to first acknowledge the fact that: EveryoneIsBeautiful. Rather than looking at yourself in the mirror or someone in the street and making an ultimate decision, alternatively, hone in on what you do find beautiful. This also applies to situations you are in, places you go, or personal circumstances. Make it a point to seek out beauty rather than ugliness. Isn’t that a much better way to view the world? Appreciate the beauty of your neighbors kind heart, or the beautiful rainbow after the storm. Love your beautiful laugh lines, and enjoy your friends beautiful singing voice. Beauty can be found in everyone and everything! 😉

Here’s your mission should you choose to accept it:  Each day, try these 5 things to make you appreciate beauty:

  1. SMILE!
  2. For everyone you encounter, find one thing you find beautiful about that person. This includes yourself each time you look in a mirror!
  3. For every place you visit, find one thing you find beautiful about your surroundings.
  4. Listen to a song that you find absolutely beautiful.
  5. Share your beauty with someone else. That could mean visiting an old friend, making a donation to a charity you support, or complimenting a stranger.

Namaste,

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Happiness is an inside job.

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Do you ever make deals with yourself regarding happiness? Sadly, I think we are all guilty of that. “Once I get that promotion, then I’ll be happy.” “When I’m able to move into that new house, then I’ll be happy.” “Once I finish school, then I’ll be happy.”

If you notice, once those things do happen, you find something else to delay your happiness. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle. We’re like rats in a maze trying to find our way to a happy life, but we can never seem to get there. The exciting truth is that we can be happy… today… no strings attached, no deals to be made. Happiness is something we can choose every morning when we get up!

Happiness comes from within. Material things and life experiences are not what actually MAKES us happy. It’s how we CHOOSE to REACT to those things or experiences that make us happy…or not. This applies to anything that happens in our lives. If you get ready to leave for work and realize you have a flat tire, you can either choose to let it ruin your day, or just laugh it off and have a great day anyway. The choice is yours and will always be yours. There’s no reason to delay your happiness when you can have it now. The present moment is all that is certain. The past can’t be changed…it’s over and done with. The future is not guaranteed, so there’s no point in fretting over the what if’s. Decide today that you will be happy!

Here’s your mission if you choose to accept it: The next time you find yourself compromising your happiness, or you’re feeling down & out, try these 5 things:

  1. SMILE!
  2. Think of 3 things that make you utterly happy. If your mind wanders to what is making you unhappy, bring your attention back to those 3 things.
  3. Look in the mirror and repeat to yourself: “I am in complete control of determining my emotions.”
  4. Take a brisk walk outside. Nature has a way of nurturing your soul.
  5. Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile. Yes…call…no texting or Facebooking!

Namaste,

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Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from the negative.

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Our brains seemed to be wired to “survival mode” to constantly focus on the “what if’s” and attempt to plan for every possible one. This usually means thinking negatively. Have you ever noticed how one negative thought leads to another? Then, negative things start happening around you? If negativity consumes you, then where’s the room for positive? The answer is there isn’t any.

Negative energy is only going to bring more negative into your life. Having a pity party and feeling sorry for yourself is not going to suddenly makes things right in your world. The only way to do that is to distance yourself from the negative, and focus on positivity.

I’ve noticed on days when I’m super positive and think happy thoughts…lovely things happen. I hit every green light, my hubby will show up with flowers for no reason, I get a call from an old friend, I gain a new client, that cool breeze shows up just when I need it…   Positive = Positive. 🙂

When things don’t seem to be going your way, it’s best to take a breath, then look at everything that’s right and good in your life. The world is a very beautiful place if you look at it in the right way. When you exude positivity and love, it rubs off on others around you…and that’s pretty awesome. Be the reason that those around you are feeling positive today.

Your challenge should you choose to accept it: Whenever you are feeling negative today, try these 5 things to turn it around:

  1. Smile!
  2. Take 5 deep, cleansing breaths.
  3. Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
  4. Write down your negative thought(s) or feeling(s), then try to reword it in a positive way.
  5. Do something nice for someone. (This could be anything from buying a stranger a cup of coffee to sending your significant other a sweet note…anything to brighten someone else’s day!)

Namaste,

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Life is Short. Choose Love.

Does your relationship need a little pick-me-up?  Then try something new together!
The other night, my husband jokingly told me to sit on his feet and he would lift me up… He was referring to the little game that my niece and I play to see how long she can balance sitting up on my feet.  When he mentioned this, it made me think of some articles I had seen about Acroyoga. We pulled up some photos to get an idea of what kind of poses you can do, then proceeded to give it a try.
3 hours later, we were tired & sore, but, it had been SO much fun.  We laughed… A LOT! More than we have in a long time. It made me really see and appreciate his strength, and how he was concerned about making sure I didn’t get hurt.  We both had to fully trust the other and we had to work together on all aspects of our little endeavor. Not to mention it was a great workout for the both of us!
What started out as a little joke turned into an incredible bonding experience.  All I can say, is stay tuned, because I have a feeling this will be something that we continue to practice!
I challenge you and your Honey to do a little bonding by trying something together. It doesn’t have to be Acroyoga (although, it IS really fun), but something that will get your blood pumping (endorphins = happy) and that you’ve never tried together before. You could jog, take a scenic hike, lift weights, run a Mud Race, go skydiving, go ice skating, try a yoga class… Your relationship deserves the effort. What’s better than feeling deeply connected to the one you love?
“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”  -Audrey Hepburn
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Determination

At the beginning of the summer, my 12-year old nephew and 9-year old niece decided that during their summer break, they wanted to try and eat better and exercise. They wanted to be a little smaller and a lot stronger when they went back to school. I can tell you this was music to their fitness crazed Aunnie’s ears!
Over the course of the next several months, they were subjected to quite a bit of running, more burpees than they probably ever want to do again, and a countless number of hop hop squats. We ran relay races, played hot potato with a 15lb medicine ball, and lifted weights. We played kickball, rode bikes and worked on climbing the pole. They also swam with their Hemi (grandmother) every afternoon. We sat down and figured out some nutritious things they would like to eat, and Hemi made sure they got it. They were really determined to make better choices and learn more about what to eat, and what not to eat.
When we started, I took measurements with Body Fat Calipers and a measuring tape. They wanted to be able to see their progress and know that all of their hard work was actually doing something. Initially, according to their Body Fat Percentage, they were both teetering on being considered “Obese”. I don’t like that word, and I don’t like using charts, but it was in black and white, right there in front of me. You can’t imagine my pure joy and admiration for those two when we re-measured a few days before school started. Not only did they pull away from that nearly “obese” category, but they both have moved into the HEALTHY category for their ages! I am so happy and so proud of them! Not only did they lose body fat, but they also gained some nice muscles along the way too!
I know sometimes the thought of trying to “get healthy” or becoming more active seems daunting, but, take a lesson from these two kiddos. They made a decision and spent their entire summer vacation working towards their goals, and THEY DID IT! Not only am I proud of them…they are proud of themselves which is awesome in itself.
When you think you can’t do something, know that you CAN, IF you are willing & determined to put in the hard work to achieve it.
Great job Zach and Cat! We are all so proud of you!

Leading By Example

​Are you leading by example? According to the CDC, childhood obesity has doubled in the last 30 years, and quadrupled in adolescents.  These are frightening statistics, especially since the following health problems become a real possibility as outlined by the Mayo Clinic:

Physical complications
  • Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in children is a chronic condition that affects the way your child’s body metabolizes sugar (glucose). Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome isn’t a disease itself, but a cluster of conditions that can put your child at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or other health problems. This cluster of conditions includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and excess abdominal fat.
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure. Your child can develop high blood pressure or high cholesterol if he or she eats a poor diet. These factors can contribute to the buildup of plaques in the arteries. These plaques can cause arteries to narrow and harden, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
  • Asthma and other breathing problems. The extra weight on your child’s body can cause problems with the development and health of your child’s lungs, leading to asthma or other breathing problems.
  • Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which your child may snore or have abnormal breathing when he or she sleeps, can be a complication of childhood obesity. Pay attention to breathing problems your child may have while sleeping.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This disorder, which usually causes no symptoms, causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can lead to scarring and liver damage.
  • Early puberty or menstruation. Being obese can create hormone imbalances for your child. These imbalances can cause puberty to start earlier than expected.
Social and emotional complications
  • Low self-esteem and bullying. Children often tease or bully their overweight peers, who suffer a loss of self-esteem and an increased risk of depression as a result.
  • Behavior and learning problems. Overweight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal-weight children have. At one extreme, these problems may lead overweight children to act out and disrupt their classrooms. At the other, they may cause overweight children to socially withdraw.
  • Depression. Low self-esteem can create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness in some overweight children. When children lose hope that their lives will improve, they may become depressed. A depressed child may lose interest in normal activities, sleep more than usual or cry a lot. Some depressed children hide their sadness and appear emotionally flat instead. Either way, depression is as serious in children as in adults. If you think your child is depressed, talk with him or her and share your concerns with his or her doctor.
Since children learn by observation, you have to ask yourself…are you setting a good example? Are you teaching them the importance of exercise by exercising yourself? Are you showing them what healthy, nutritious foods are by eating them also? What will you do today to lead by example and show your children the significance of making better choices? The Alliance for a Healthier Generation provides a wealth of information on how to fight childhood obesity, and of course I am always here to help! 🙂