Creating Joy, Nothing is Certain Don’t Skip Sweets

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I live in the present, I truly believe that nothing is guaranteed so we must live like we don’t know if tomorrow will come so appreciate each day and have some fun.

This post is a bit different from what I usually write about because I don’t typically recommend a specific lifestyle practice. But, one morning I was enjoying a glass of iced tea with a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie I made, I relished the deliciousness and I enjoyed the break. I thought what a simple, versatile practice and anyone can enjoy it, so I decided to put it to “paper”.

Cultivating our own happiness is how we become more resilient and self-reliant. No, we don’t walk around with a smile on our face all of the time, but rather than expecting happiness to come from a person, situation or an event, make yourself happy. Happiness is an inside job that evolves by creating practices that bring joy, a smile and a feeling of pleasure, a sweet or two a day should be one way to celebrate yourself and the day and there are benefits.

About Desserts: from Szandra Szabó, Model, Pastry Chef and Business Woman

They elevate your mood
Have you ever wondered why your mood goes from drab to fab the moment you sink your teeth into a gooey chocolate cake or a chimney cake straight out of the oven? This is because desserts, specifically the sugar in the desserts, causes your brain to release endorphins such as serotonin. These hormones are responsible for making you feel happy, cheerful and calm.

Sugar reduces stress
Sugar is a great stress reliever. So, if you sometimes feel like life, work or school is bogging you down, eating a dessert can surely help you manage some of the stress. How does that happen, you may ask? Well, it has been found that sugar brings down cortisol levels to a certain degree (cortisol is the stress hormone). Although eating desserts or sugar is not a long-term solution for stress, it can give you some momentary respite.

They are a great pick-me-up.
A lot of people eat desserts when they want to reward themselves. Sweet treats offer a great pick-me-up. So, if you choose to eat a dessert after a particularly stressful week, it will instantly make you experience a sense of contentment and satisfaction.

Confections are a part of my daily routine, they are satisfying and enjoyable and prompt pleasant memories of childhood. To assure that I have the best experience, all of my sweets are homemade, with the exception of ice cream, because I use healthier ingredients and adjust the sugar. Irrespective if I eat sweets with a meal or sometime during the day, it’s an enjoyable experience that I savor, whether I have something simple like fresh fruit, breakfast sweets, a piece of chocolate or a baked good.

While your brain only accounts for 2 percent of your body weight, it uses 50 percent of the sugar energy in your body. Your brain loves sugar! Why does it love sugar? Because sugar releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the part of your brain linked to reward, novelty and motivation. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling emotional responses. In fact, not only does it help us visualize the rewards, but it also enables us to take the action we need to achieve the reward. In addition to releasing dopamine in the brain, sugar also releases endogenous opioids. These are responsible for the wonderful surge of pleasure you feel when you eat a piece of candy. Warrell Creations

Eat Dessert First: Why It’s a Good Idea from David and Carla Hays/Mary’s Fine Dining

Whether it’s cheesecake or coconut pie, most desserts have a fair amount of fat. Too much fat isn’t good for you, but a little fat with a meal serves a useful purpose – it helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamin and nutrients better. Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E, and K, can’t do their jobs if they aren’t adequately absorbed from the digestive tract. Other nutrients such as the carotenoids in green, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes also need fat for best absorption.

That’s where eating dessert first comes in. Taking a few bites of dessert before eating your vegetables helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients better – and that’s a good thing when it comes to your health.

I thought I’d share a recipe from one of my mom’s old cookbooks that I’ve enjoyed for years, it can be eaten anytime of the day.

Finnish Pancake: (4-6 servings)

Image Courtesy of JoCooks

This is a delightful custardy, souffle-like baked pancake that melts in your mouth, topped with honey or confectioners sugar and fresh fruit, it is delicious. Make sure when you remove it from the oven, you eat it immediately as it falls as it cools. (NOTE: If making for yourself, cut the ingredients in half, but must be eaten immediately)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk or half and half
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 425o. Put an oven-proof 10-12 inch high sided frying pan in the oven for about 10 minutes to preheat. Combine the flour with milk, whisk until smooth, add eggs, honey and salt, whisk all together. Remove the pan from the oven, put the butter in the pan, when its melted, carefully pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Thank you for stopping by.

Your purpose isn’t what you do, but who you become, while doing it. ~ Matt Kahn

When was the last time you played? The positive effects of play for adults

Of all of the personal development or self-help activities we can engage in, fun and play are probably the most underused and disregarded. Contrary to what people think, adults aren’t being lazy or thoughtless when we turn our attention to activities that are recreational and entertaining, we’re tapping into one of the greatest resources for our overall health.

For many adults, letting go of being serious and focused on adult responsibilities isn’t easy or in the forefront of importance. I promise anyone who incorporates play into their life on a regular basis will be much better prepared to handle whatever issues come your way.

Along with the emotional benefits, there are a variety of health benefits by adding play into your life. According to helpguide.com, play:

  • Relieves stress
  • Improves brain function
  • Stimulates the mind and boosts creativity
  • Improves relationships and your connections to others
  • Keeps you feeling young and energetic
  • Helps develop and improve social skills
  • Teaches cooperation with others
  • Heals emotional wounds
  • Boosts innovation

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer shares his thoughts on the positive effects of fun and play.

For many years I allowed the seriousness of my responsibilities to control my way of being. Then the opportunity arose to make a significant change in my life away from the considerable and weighty issues I had to deal with. During that transition, I felt the need to liberate myself and embrace playfulness and the wonder of life, be curious and have fun. Now, I don’t think twice about being spontaneous and having fun. I’ve created a sense of harmony and balance by injecting play into my life, no matter what’s going on around me, I am always sure to incorporate laughter and enjoyment into my day.

Imagine a billion people pushing for play time, not in a frivolous way or a way that negates progress, but in a way that supplements and allows us to make even more progress. It’s time to put play back into our lives. Jared Keller

According to Dr. Stuart Brown, a play researcher and psychiatrist out of CA, adult play may actually increase our intellect.

“Of all animal species, humans are the biggest players of all. We are built to play and built through play. Most obviously, it is intensely pleasurable. It energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens.”

Here are some innovative ideas for you to pick and choose from that incorporates play into your everyday life.

make play a part of your day – from Genuisofplay.com

  • Use unscheduled time to be creative, to daydream, reflect and decompress
  • Appreciate playtime – whether it’s alone or with other adults or children
  • Smile and laugh often throughout the day
  • Try new things and experience the unexpected
  • Participate in a variety of arts/sports/activities whenever you can to expand your horizons
  • Make mental connections (e.g., “how else can I use this,” “what else can this do?”)
  • Sing and dance just for the fun of it
  • Spend time with the children in your life, observing them as they play, listening to their conversation, and following their train of thought
  • Cultivate a happy, joyful, positive attitude, full of gratitude for even the smallest, everyday things
  • Plan to make play part of your day, whether it is indoor or outdoor, solo or social, active or quiet

Finally, the human experience is spiritual, play is spiritual. Play is a time when we take a break from thinking, essentially connecting with all that is. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy life and move away from the grind of work and the pressures of everyday life. Laughter and play are necessary parts of life and a time to reflect on all of the things that make us happy to be alive.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Thank you for reading my post, I appreciate your time, namaste.

Negative Self-Talk – 8 Ways to Silence Your Critical Inner Voice

It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it is that whisper to yourself that has the most power. Robert T. Kiyosuki

Where does negative self-talk comes from? 

Negative self talk slowly works its way into our mind from the people around us, too much attention on the media and the negativity in the world around us. The more we hear it, the more we think it. Negative thoughts are constantly swirling around in mind, they never stop. We create those gloomy thoughts, we can replace them with more practical and optimistic thoughts, if we just stop, listen and shift.  Our mental and emotional health can only improve if we take the time to pay attention to what we say to ourselves.

If we tell ourselves we are fat and will always be overweight, we do everything to ensure that happens. If we tell ourselves we have a hard life with no way out, then we create that life.  If we tell ourselves we are unlovable, not worthy of happiness, stupid or clumsy, not only are we what we think, but everyone around us will see only what we project ourselves to be.

From WebMD, The more you focus on negative events or shortcomings, the harder it is to put them behind you. Research shows that happy people put bad days behind them. http://www.webmd.com/balance/express-yourself-13/negative-self-talk

8 Ways to Turn Down the Volume on Negative-Self-Talk

Once you begin to retrain your brain, you will catch yourself and use one of the many ways you learn to replace it.  Here are a few I’ve found successful:

  1. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like about yourself, find things that you do like, say you have pretty eyes or nice hands, you get the picture.
  2. When you catch yourself criticizing something you’ve done or said, ask yourself this, “Would I say this to my friends or family and is it really true?”
  3. Take stock of the people in your life who are negative, can you create a boundary to limit your time with them or are you better off finding new people to surround yourself with?
  4. We all have the habit of calling ourselves names or lashing out at ourselves when we make a mistake. Try thinking, I always do the best I can or I have good abilities and I know I will do better next time.
  5. Meditation is a way of calming yourself and helping to take your mind to a state of pure relaxation.  It helps to give your brain a rest which helps you to pay more attention to what you say to yourself.
  6. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small the achievement is instead of finding fault with yourself.
  7. Stop that harsh inner critic when you assume the worst, start assuming the best outcome and let it go.
  8. Stop allowing what others think about the way you are, look, dress or act define you. Instead empower yourself by caring more about what you think of yourself and the way you are.

Set-backs and failures are a part of life, everyone experiences them even the most successful people have stories to tell.  The key is to turn our inner critic into our inner friend so we can enjoy our life and thrive.

Thank you for your time, Namaste.