Healthy Living

#1 Yoga Mistake You're Making

woman rolling up yoga mat

People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons: injuries, stress, tight hamstrings, or even to help them get more sleep. To be honest, no matter how you get there, you’ll eventually notice the amazing benefits it has to offer.

Studies have shown that yoga does a lot more than just get you flexible, but because most teachers focus solely on the physical practice, we miss out on the many other incredible benefits that will serve us in more ways than touching our toes. 

So what’s the #1 mistake you’re making when practicing yoga?

You’re only practicing yoga on your mat.

Don’t get me wrong - flowing through a series of poses has its benefits, but the poses are only one of The Eight Limbs of Yoga, and I’ve yet to see Warrior 1 transform a life like what I’m about to share with you.

The Eight Limbs are like a roadmap for how to live your life in the present, not sweat the small stuff, let go of the things that aren’t serving you, to be content where you are, and to be happy for those around you, even if it seems like their lives are a gazillion times “better.”

Once you put all Eight Limbs into practice you’ll marvel at how you no longer are irritated by your kids fighting over the X-Box, or your jerky co-worker who stole your idea and presented it to your boss as his. Even the five pounds you gained on vacation won’t put you into a tailspin, because once you start living in the present without reacting to every outside obstacle, then you look at situations for what they are, figure out a way to handle them, and move on.

No complaining or eating a pint of ice cream necessary.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga work together as a team. They start off with practices that are more about being more mindful of our actions than perfecting the poses, and they’re taught to be followed in order. So ironically, nailing the first two limbs that deal with personal growth and serving others is more important than getting into that handstand you’re coveting on Instagram- because asana, or the actual poses, are number three.

Breaking Down The Eight Limbs of Yoga

  1. Self-restraints that teach us self-discipline. Ever heard of The Ten Commandments? These are just like them minus the religious aspect, and they relate to how we can best co-exist peacefully with our neighbors, and those aforementioned credit-stealing co-workers.
    • Non-violence
    • Truthfulness
    • Non-stealing
    • Self-restraint
    • Non-coveting

  2. Observances to guide us along our yoga practice and they’re important to be learned before stepping foot on a mat.
    • Cleanliness
    • Contentment
    • Discipline
    • Self Study
    • Surrender

    Can you see why it’s been said to practice those first two limbs before moving on? They have so much to do with how you treat people, and yourself, that these mental practices are given much more value than balancing on your head, as they should. Yogi masters believe that once you begin to practice those, you are ready to get “physical” on the mat.

  3. Asana is the physical part of yoga; the poses that most westerners are familiar with. The number one thing to remember when doing physical yoga is that the posture should be steady and comfortable, and the breath flowing freely- nothing else matters.

  4. Breath regulation is one of the most underrated aspects of yoga, yet one of the most powerful. The breath takes precedence above the postures, as it’s usually a mirror of what’s going on in your mind. If your breath is steady and comfortable then your pose probably is as well. If you’re holding your breath or gasping for breath then you’re probably pushing yourself past where your body should go.

    woman practicing yoga

  5. Sense withdrawal is all about focusing your attention inward so as to not be distracted by each buzz on your phone or mosquito biting your arm. On the mat, can you stand in Warrior II with your thigh on fire and stay focused on your breath without constantly having the urge to straighten your leg? Great, then you’re already practicing this limb. Concentration is a constant battle with the senses, so turning inward essentially prepares you for the next 3 limbs.

  6. Concentration leads us closer to peace. It could be a candle flame, a mantra, or a picture - whatever it is, you practice concentrating so intently on that object that time disappears. All this concentration is a set of training wheels for meditation, which is next.

  7. Meditation is uninterrupted focus - where the real magic happens. So what are you thinking of? Some teachers say nothing at all, but for beginners that can be discouraging as it takes years to have glimpses of concentrating on absolutely nothing without any thoughts of disruption. I’ve been taught and teach to use the same tools that you use to begin concentrating- your breath, a mantra, a candle flame, etc.

    Then what’s the difference you ask? Think of your object of focus as water flowing from a pitcher- in concentration that flow stops and starts and stops and starts while pouring into a glass, and in meditation it continually flows freely.

  8. Bliss is when they say you have reached enlightenment, the ultimate goal. (Uhh, I’m still working on this last one). But seriously, instead of looking at it like I’m aiming at some unattainable nirvana, I’ve made my goal something much more tangible, that of being present in each and every moment and in every interaction, and on some days I reach it, but not every day.

I promise, even if you focus on practicing just one of these limbs at a time, alongside your physical practice, it will have a profound effect on your mental well being as you begin to integrate them into your daily life.

It takes practice to stay calm on your mat—and in life, but if you ditch the notion of yoga just happening on that 8 x 2 foot rectangle, you’ll notice a radical change in the positive light that is you yourself and the world around you.


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5 Road Trip-Friendly Summer Recipes

bliss bites and map

What makes a recipe road trip-worthy? 

First off, it has to travel well - nobody wants to open their snack bag to find a wilted salad, a squashed sandwich, or warm fruit salad. These recipes are easy to pack and will not only keep their shape, but also their flavor along the way- while providing you with much needed nutrients to fuel your hiking, biking, or sunning at the beach.  

Second, snacks should give you the energy you’ll need to explore once you get to your destination. So although they should taste great and definitely include “treats,” you want to avoid sugar laden, fried or overly processed packaged snacks.

We’ve road tested our favorite recipes below and given them all the green light - they’re sure to keep you energized, hydrated, and happy on the go.

Sweet Potato Bread

sweet potato bread recipe

Bread travels well, but it’s usually just white flour packed with carbs that make you want to take a nap - not our make-ahead Sweet Potato Bread, packed with Life’s Abundance Plant Protein. It will give you a much needed energy boost after sitting on a long ride, instead of putting you in a carb coma.

Protein-Packed Brownie Cookies

Protein-packed-brownie-cookies

Brownies? Yes, when we said our recipes were healthy, we even meant this one. These Protein-Packed Brownie Cookies pack a double protein punch with the addition of almond butter and Life’s Abundance Plant Protein, so go ahead and eat two!

Bliss Bites

bliss bites recipe

Ever eat a kitchen sink cookie filled with chips, dried fruit,  pretzels and whatever else was hanging around the bakery? Yes, they’re delicious, but packed with sugar and full of empty calories you don’t need. These Bliss Bites are the same concept except they’re chock full of healthy add ins like coconut, almonds, flax seeds, oats and our nutrient-dense Greens Blend. Ok, they also include chocolate chips, but you’re on vacation - go for it!

Summer Wonder Slushie

summer-wonder-slushie

Hydrating drinks, (sorry not a latte),  should be on the top of your packing list, especially when traveling in the summer. Yes, you can pick up a bottle of water when you stop for gas but you’re more likely to be tempted by the slushie machines promising to make your taste buds do a happy dance. Honestly, that two second Cha Cha isn’t worth the red dye #7 and 54 grams of sugar it’s jammed with. Instead, take two minutes and mix up our Summer Slushie that includes our Minerals and Antioxidants powder packed with hydrating coconut water and super fruits to keep you refreshed until you reach your destination. 

Cherry Limeade Fresh Whips

pink-fluff-things

Craving a light and refreshing, crunchy and flavor packed cookie? We’ve got you covered. These Cherry Limeade Whips will keep your passengers happy and your car free from major cookie crumbs. These make ahead treats are so easy, make a double batch and save half as a hostess gift. You’ll be sure to get an invite to return next summer!

Why Your Cardio Needs Strength Training

two people doing lunges at gym

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to tell you to ditch your brand new Peloton bike (that you waited eight months for) but if you’re just “spinning your wheels” doing cardio, without adding strength training, you definitely want to keep reading.

Both cardio and strength training have many of the same benefits and play an important role in your wellness routine. Both can strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of developing a ton of other health issues, including high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis, but strength training has value-added where cardio falls short. Below are just some of those incredible benefits.

Strength training:

    • Can incorporate both your upper and lower body at the same time, unlike cardio which focuses only on 50% of your body. Bonus -  it can raise your heart rate on par with cardio zone levels.
    • Can save your joints, unlike cardio, which puts extra pressure on them. Strength training strengthens all the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even our bones. Plus, it can create more fluid in the joints without placing those repetitive blows to the joint that running or other high-impact cardio does.
    • Fights bone and muscle loss from increased stress on bones. This is great news for people with osteoporosis, or for those of us who want to get ahead of the game and prevent it.
    • Improves flexibility, according to results from a 2017 study in the journal Isokinetics and Exercise Science.
    • Prevents injuries and falls, since strong muscles are important for balance and coordination.
    • Is more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise, according to a Harvard study.
    • May be more effective at reducing cardiovascular disease risks than cardio exercise such as walking and biking, according to research from the ACC Latin America Conference 2018.
    • Can boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories 24 hours a day.
    • That last one gets most people excited, and rightfully so.  One study showed that after working out with weights, your metabolism can actually be boosted for up to 38 hours post-workout. That might not sound so epic, but If you add up every time you workout it can mean a few extra slices of pizza or craft cocktails every month.

person using kettle bell weight

The greatest news? It’s not just about the physical benefits, it also improves mental health. Research published by Jama Psychiatry found that not only do those exercise-triggered endorphins boost your mood,  but strength training provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles which helps increase mental resilience.

Think about it: something as simple as increasing your weights from 5 to 8 pounds can seem like a big victory - we’ll take it!

And don’t think these benefits are just for men. A 2015 Journal of Extension study of middle-aged women, showed that consistent strength training improves body image and perceived physical appearance even if the aesthetics don’t change. But in reality, another benefit to lifting weights is that the results are relatively fast and noticeable.

If you’re looking to tone up and get more definition from your workouts, you aren’t going to see those results just from doing cardio. Watching your clothes getting looser comes from building muscle, which takes up less space than fat, and that results from strength training.

Still worried you need to do cardio every day? You’re in luck!

Strength training can be turned into a cardio workout simply by adding intervals with lighter weights and more repetitions because as long as you’re increasing your heart rate and breathing, then you’re doing a cardio workout.

See, it’s a win-win!

If you love a challenge and want to take it a step further you can up the multitasking benefits by combining upper and lower body dynamic movements that also work the core- it’s like getting three workouts in one. Think about doing a squat with an overhead press, incorporating a twist.

Just think of all the progress you’ll make - in half the time.

The great news? Just 15 minutes of strength training 3 times a week will bring you all of the incredible benefits mentioned above - especially enjoying that extra pizza and margaritas with friends.


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Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

woman holding bottle and bag

Going green is more than just a trending topic. If you truly want to have a significant impact on your own ecological footprint and improve your local community, then you should consider adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. On the surface, it may seem difficult to transform your entire life and begin living in an eco-friendly way. However, you can take small steps and slowly change your habits in a way that will eventually make a big difference in the world around you.

Here are five ways that you can live a more sustainable life:

Minimize Your Plastic Use

It seems that everything and anything can be made out of plastic, and that material has taken a serious toll on our world. It is often found washed up on beaches and has been known to cause harm to animals that come into contact with it. One of the best ways to combat this global issue is to reduce your own use of single-use plastics. A few ideas that can help you get started include:

  • Purchasing a reusable water bottle to use instead of buying disposable bottled water. Get fancy with it and buy one that really suits you.
  • Metal and glass straws which are super affordable, eco-friendly alternatives to using regular plastic straws that are not biodegradable.
  • Bring reusable, fabric bags to the store and give them to the bagger to use instead of plastic bags.

Shop at Thrift Stores

The process of manufacturing and distributing clothing products is incredibly draining on the world's natural resources, and the high turnover rate of new fashions has only compounded this issue. Rather than constantly buying a brand new wardrobe every season, you can shop at thrift stores to get great deals on clothes that are in excellent used condition. Even better, many of these stores have designer brands in stock that are still in season and in style!

Amp Up Your Recycling Efforts

One of the simplest ways to live a more sustainable life is to recycle as often as possible. If your community has a recycling program in place, make sure that you recycle every eligible product that you can. However, be mindful of what cannot be recycled as one tarnished recycling bin can compromise the entire load. In addition to participating in curbside recycling, you can also get creative and think about ways you can reuse the products in your house before you dispose of them. Some great ideas include:

  • Repurpose glass jars to organize small items like nails and pins.
  • Use egg cartons to start a gardening hobby.
  • Turn your empty paper towel rolls into a DIY bird feeder.

woman farming

Go to Farmer's Markets

At the farmer's market, you will be able to discover endless options for your next meal. There are tons of vendors available who sell fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. In addition, you can find homemade pastries and baked goods as well as other locally-produced food items. By shopping local at the farmer's market, you can support your community and reduce the need for cross-country transportation to get food into your area.

Be Mindful of Your Water Usage

Thousands upon thousands of gallons of water are wasted on a daily basis, while many around the world do not have access to clean, fresh water. By being more conscious about how much water you use and when you use it, you can aid in the water conservation efforts that are taking place worldwide. Some things you can do include:

  • Take cooler, shorter showers.
  • Buy a rain barrel to harvest fresh water to reuse in your garden.
  • Wash your dishes by hand rather than using a dishwasher.

Buy from Sustainable Companies

Many companies are getting on the train of sustainability and incorporating eco-friendly practices into their daily operations. Choosing these green businesses over others that take a toll on the environment is just another way to live a more sustainable life. At Life’s Abundance, we aim to decrease our carbon footprint in just about every practice from product packaging to using solar panels. We took it an extra step with our Trees for the Future program by planting a tree for every clean beauty and clean body purchase. As a result, we will have planted over 1,000,000 trees by 2025!

As you take small steps toward a larger goal, it is important to know that a sustainable lifestyle is always within reach. By being conscious of the impact that you have on the environment and staying informed about the best ways to go green, you can improve your own health, reduce your ecological footprint and make the world a better place for the generations to come.


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Yoga At Your Desk

woman at desk with yoga mat

Unless you’re on your feet often as part of your job, it’s highly likely that you sit at a desk for hours on end - and you know what those new studies say, “sitting is the new smoking.”

The chronic stress and tension you place on your body by sitting at a desk, without taking breaks to get up and move, places unnecessary strain on the lumbar spine, overstretches the mid to upper back, and shortens the muscles of the chest and hips, leading to neck, shoulder, and low back pain - and who wants that?

Instead of sitting uncomfortably throughout the day, set aside just a few minutes in between calls to stretch your tight muscles with the quick yoga poses in the video below, take some deep breaths, and clear your mind.  Your body will thank you, and you’ll move through your day healthier, happier, less stressed, and more productive.

POSES

 

Arms clasped behind back to open shoulders

Start by sitting up straight in your chair and interlacing your hands behind your back. Micro bend your elbows and lift them without locking. Roll your shoulders outward to create more space in your front body, and then lift your hands away from your lower back, any amount,  and breath into your upper chest.

Seated pigeon

Crossing your legs while seated, especially when done on one side more than the other, can create imbalances in the hips and lower spine- this pose stretches the outer hips which tend to be super tight from all that sitting.  Flex foot, extend leg out if hips too tight, bend knee and lean forward if you want more of a stretch.

Seated side stretch

The side body tends to collapse when hunched over a computer, contributing to neck and shoulder discomfort. This pose helps you sit with a taller spine, and lengthens the muscles around the ribcage to create more space. Keep shoulders rooted as stretch and side body long.

Seated chair twist

The muscles and other tissues that surround the spine can become stiff over time. This will lead to a decreased range of motion, pain, and stress. Turn sideways hands on the back of the chair, twist from the ground up, and lengthen through the crown of the head.

Forward fold lower back stretch in chair

Forward bends calm the nervous system, so hold this pose for at least 10 long deep breaths. Sit in your chair and widen your legs so they are wider than hip-distance apart. From the hip crease, bend forward and allow your entire body to relax. You can round your back. Drop your head and completely relax your neck.


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Don't Disconnect, Decrease

man watching television

With the New Year here, many of us are thinking of some good habits we want to implement into our lives. One of the biggest things people think of is to completely disconnect from technology. This could mean staying off and away from their smartphones, televisions, and computers. While it sounds good on paper, it may not be the smartest to quit cold turkey. This can be quite unrealistic and hard to stick to, so a better option would be to decrease, not disconnect.

We get it, technology can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. You probably catch yourself scrolling through social media or stuck in front of a TV for hours at a time. Before you know it, the day just passes by. One of the other things about technology, primarily social media, is that we constantly compare our lives to the people we see online. This causes an unhealthy relationship with yourself as you start to become unhappy with your own reality. There are other harmful effects of too much screen time including:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • A disrupted circadian rhythm
  • Neck and back pain

So, it sounds pretty reasonable when you decide that you want to go on a full technology detox. You may think it’ll relieve you of any related stress and allow you to fully relax without the worries of needing to respond to someone. This may have worked well in the past, but it doesn’t necessarily do as much good as you think.

smartphone and laptop

Technology surrounds us in our everyday lives. Whether you work on a computer, or make calls and texts on your phone, our society is engulfed in it. Technology has only grown over the years, which has made it even harder to disconnect from it. Some of us might even flippantly say we are addicted to it. In saying this, it’s important that we don’t completely rid ourselves of it. Not only would it not last long, but it also doesn’t work so well when you are trying to go about your normal day. Texts, calls, and work emails are just a few things that make it difficult to fully disengage.

Instead of completely disconnecting from technology, set a goal to decrease and limit your time on it and around it. This is a much easier habit to implement into your life since you won’t be quitting it so abruptly. For example, if your screen time on your smartphone tends to be around five hours a day, set a goal of  two hours, or any amount you feel is achievable. Find yourself sitting in front of the television binge watching your favorite show? Decrease down to an episode or two.

If you find it hard to stick to it, you can write it down where you’ll always see it so you’re constantly reminded of it. You can even tell a friend to help hold you accountable. Set yourself up for success and schedule this time away from technology to do other activities. You can go for a walk, talk to a loved one, or spend time doing a hobby. Little by little, you will start to feel the results of decreasing your tech time, both mentally and physically. You can do this!

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Set Goals, Not Resolutions

journal writing

2020 has been quite the year and we’ve all been through this journey of ups and downs. The new year is finally here and you might be tempted to think of a long list of resolutions you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to start going to sleep earlier, make a workout plan, or save a certain amount of money. We get it - you may feel like you lost a lot of time and need to catch up on life. We’re here to tell you though, resolutions shouldn’t necessarily be your focus in the new year. Goal setting is a much more realistic way to reach where you are striving to be.

What is goal setting?

Goal setting is the process of defining exactly what your goals are and what steps you will take to achieve them. This ensures you have a solid plan in place with set deadlines. As you define these objectives, they should be attainable and tangible.

Why does goal setting work better than resolutions?

Resolutions are merely goals or habits you want to incorporate into your life without actually having a plan in place. This can make it extremely difficult to live out your resolutions in the new year. In fact, about 80 percent of resolutions fail before the end of February! This is usually because the resolutions set are huge goals that end up being very overwhelming, especially when you don’t have a deadline or clear plan set for yourself.

In saying this, goal setting is much more efficient in this way because even if you have a big, intimidating goal you want to reach, you can break it down into smaller ones. For example, if you are aiming to shed a bit of that holiday weight, it is better to take it little by little. Aim to lose a lesser amount of pounds each week rather than a higher amount of pounds in six months. Smaller goals are easier to obtain and you are much more likely to reach your target.

woman victory

How can you incorporate this into your life?

It’s best to identify a few goals you want to achieve. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a bunch of things you want to get done this year. It’s okay to have a top two or three objectives and put all your energy into those few. On top of this, there is also something called setting “SMART” goals. This means your goals should be:

  1. Specific - Stay away from generic goals like “eat healthier.” The more specific you are, the better it will be when you start planning.

  2. Measurable - Measure your progress in terms of amounts, time passed, etc.

  3. Attainable - Goals are meant to be achieved! They should not be so out of reach that you cannot attain them.

  4. Relevant - Keep your goals aligned with your life. Make sure it helps you get where you want to be.

  5. Time Bound - Set a deadline! It will only make it that more rewarding for you when you achieve it.


Now that you have your goals, it’s time to make a plan for each one. Write out the small steps within your large goal and make deadlines for those too. All that’s left to do is stick to your plan! Just remember that you can take advantage of goal setting at any time of the year, it isn’t only limited to each time the new year comes around.

Happy planning and Happy New Year!

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Make Your Holidays Sustainable With Eco-Friendly Decor

sustainable wrapping ideas

How great would it be if you could celebrate the holidays while giving our earth the gift of sustainability? Well, that’s exactly what we want to do! We’ve come up with some eco-friendly decor ideas so you can deck the halls without the guilt (or expense) of waste. Here are some of our favorites:

Pressed Leaves

As fall comes to an end, take up the leaves from your backyard and get to pressing! Elevate this tried and true activity to make gorgeous wreaths or tie them to your wrapped gifts as a colorful accessory. There are a couple ways you can press your leaves. You can use a heavy hard book and put the leaves between the pages to flatten them or iron the leaves between wax paper, paper towels or a thin cloth.  To preserve your pressed leaves, you can coat them with eco-friendly epoxy so you can use them for holiday decor for years to come!

Dried Fruit

Another elegant eco-friendly item you can use for your gifts, wreaths, and ornaments is dried fruit! This is a colorful way to decorate your space while using what you already have in your kitchen! Some of the best fruits to use are oranges, apples, and lemons. All you have to do is slice up the fruits and be sure to dry them out as much as possible with a paper towel. Then, lay them flat, bake in the oven at 200 degrees Farenheit for 3-4 hours, and make sure to flip them until they are completely dry! And there you have it! Beautiful eco-friendly decor that smells good and looks even better.

Cranberry and Popcorn Garland

Need a new garland? Look no further! Make a new one that pops with color by using cranberries and popcorn. This is a classic to be sure, but if you’ve never tried it, it’s a wonderful homemade addition! You’ll need none other than popped popcorn and washed cranberries as well as craft string and a needle for threading. Make the popcorn a few days in advance so it gets slightly stale and is firm enough for threading. Thread your two snacks through the string in any pattern you like and then add it to your tree decor! If you really want your homemade garland to last a few more years, spray it with shellac to preserve and reuse!

sustainable decor ideas

Gingerbread Ornaments

Get the kids in on the eco-friendly decor with gingerbread ornaments! This super easy craft looks adorable on trees and gives off an inviting cinnamon scent. These gingerbread cookies are made with only three ingredients, making it the perfect homemade project. All you need is craft glue, ground cinnamon and unsweetened apple sauce. Combine these ingredients together into a dough, roll out and get to work with the cookie cutter. Don’t forget to create the hole at the top for the string to hang. Let it dry by baking, air drying, or using a food dehydrator. Then, whip out the glitter and any other gingerbread accessories for decorating! Once these have all dried, string a ribbon through and hang them up for everyone to enjoy. Even though these look good enough to eat, make sure that you keep them away from kids and pets!

Cloth Gift Wrapping

Traditional wrapping paper doesn’t have the best impact on the environment, especially considering over two million pounds of it end up in landfills by the end of the holiday season. A fantastic alternative to wrapping paper, which is reusable and looks just as festive, is wrapping cloth. Also known as furoshiki, the practice of using cloth to wrap gifts originated in Japan. You don’t need to purchase the exact kind of cloth traditionally used because you probably have something very similar lying around the house. Once you find a fabric, check out the easy tutorials online for the many unique ways to tie up your gifts.

Recycled, Personalized Greeting Cards

Need a fun holiday decor project to do with the kids? Instead of buying a bunch of greeting cards that could potentially end up in landfills, make your own! You can get recycled cards or paper and customize them using potato stamps. All you need to do is outline the desired shape on the potato and then cut around it with a knife so the design sticks out. Dip into paint and you’re all set! This keeps the same festive feel as traditional greeting cards while adding a unique touch, and serious crafty bonus points

By all means, continue to enjoy festivities and less-DIY holiday decor! Just by making small changes to your decorations like we’ve listed here, you can reduce your environmental impact while still experiencing all the warm, fuzzy feelings of the holidays.

Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life

young woman cutting vegetables

People have spent centuries looking for the Fountain of Youth, hoping to stay young and prolong their lives. We now know that the real gold is in aging as well as we can by embracing a reasonably healthy lifestyle.  We’re here to share the great news that there are some healthy habits you can adopt to help you live longer and better! A recent study conducted by researchers out of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that your lifestyle choices do indeed make all the difference.

The Harvard Study

This 2018 study looked at existing information on thousands of men and women to see if there were patterns that might tell them why some people live longer than others.

They found that a healthy lifestyle played an essential role in how long people lived. According to the study, certain lifestyle factors can reduce the risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. The earlier you start, the better, but adhering to these five standards by age 50 could add 14 years to your life.

Five Healthy Habits That Can Extend Your Life

 

1. Refrain From Smoking

This comes as a surprise to no one. But it’s important to reinforce avoiding the use of tobacco products as this is the most influential factor in living longer. Although the number of people still lighting up continues to drop, cigarettes are not completely out of style. Just one cigarette a day can result in cancer and heart disease later on in life. Also, younger people, especially teens, have taken up vaping and e-cigarettes.  Studies are still emerging on this hot group of products, but fundamentally it is just another way to introduce chemicals from tobacco into their bodies. Lung disease and early death are a risk from use of any form of tobacco.

The numbers might surprise you, but about 12 percent of women and 16 percent of men are still habitual smoking. And an alarming 3.6 million high school students admit to using e-cigarettes for vaping. Estimates are that smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year.

senior family yoga

2. Remain Physically Active

If you’re reading this while sitting, let this be the little voice that reminds you to get up and move. A sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also increases your risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, and mental illness.

Most people know by now that exercise should be part of their daily lives, but how important is it? The study found that the people living the longest did at least 3.5 hours a week, about 30 minutes daily, of moderate to vigorous activity. You can reach this goal by going swimming, dancing, or our favorite - taking a brisk walk with your furry friend.

3. Limit Yourself to Moderate Alcohol Intake

There has been some toss-up on the effect of alcohol on your life. Some studies say that drinking helps you live longer while others say it contributes to chronic illnesses that take years from your life. This study in particular shows that you can still drink, but there is a limit you should try to follow. The U.S Department of Health Dietary Guidelines lists moderate alcohol intake as one drink per day for women and two for men.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Generally, body mass index (BMI) is the tool that measures healthy weight and excess body fat. The study lists a healthy BMI as 18.5 to 24.9, so you’ll want to be within this range. You can calculate your BMI manually, but the math is a bit tricky. Talk to your doctor about calculating your BMI, or use one of the free tools online.

5. Eat a High-Quality Diet

We all know nutrition is a big part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be confusing to know exactly what you should include in your diet. The study used a tool called the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) to determine what a high-quality diet looks like. The AHEI allows you to develop a score based on the number of daily servings you eat certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The goal is to follow a diet that is rich in foods that can help prevent chronic illnesses. The study suggests a score of 40% or higher as the standard for a high quality diet.

Along with following these guidelines, you can enhance your food choices and maintain a balanced diet by using high-quality supplements. One takeaway from this study is that even if we know the steps to take toward healthier living, we need support and reminders.  From probiotics to multivitamins and more, Life’s Abundance nutritional supplements provide key elements necessary for good health.

If you’re questing for the Fountain of Health, start by applying these healthy habits and you can potentially add more than a decade to your life.

Journaling For Your Self-Improvement

woman writing in journal

There’s never a better time than now to evaluate your habits and goals plus make changes that will benefit you. Some people might reflect on their daily routine and decide they want to start a fitness plan, focus on their diet more, or learn a new skill. It’s also just as important to pay special attention to your mental and emotional health while truly investing time in YOU!

This year has brought many difficulties as well as a “new normal” that we are all trying to get accustomed to. While physical distancing is necessary during these times, it is not optimal for mental and emotional well-being. It is natural for people to want social interaction and the lack of time spent in person has led to a great deal of anxiety and stress for many. There are multiple ways to work on your mental and emotional health, but journaling is an effective way to track your day-to-day moods. This is an age-old activity that allows you to reason through daily situations as well as make sense of both positive and negative thoughts.

Types of Journaling

Journaling can take many different forms. Many of us may have had a diary when we were younger, and though the fact that Kristi had a crush on Chad isn’t of great consequence, that was a form of journaling. You may have had to keep a journal in your English class when you were in school or maybe your healthcare provider asked you to keep a nutritional journal or one for any type of therapy.

The great thing about keeping a journal is that there are no real rules. Your journal can be about any topic that helps you or about anything that you're interested in. Some people keep journals full of poetry or little blurbs about daily events in their life. It can be a way to write out all your thoughts on paper. Journals can be strictly private for your eyes only, or they can be shared with others. Blogs, for example, are sometimes considered online journals. These are the blogs that are often personal in nature.

What Journal Method Is Right for You?

This is a personal decision. Some people are comfortable sharing their journal and they get a great deal from the feedback they receive from readers. In other cases, it might be easier to be fully honest if you know that no one else will read your thoughts. A mental health journal should help you gain clarity and it needs to be honest.

Your journal should be a way to guide you with self-improvement. This is going to be specific to your own needs. You might find that it's a good place to help you prioritize the things that you need to do in your life. Or, maybe it's a good space to write about the things you're afraid of or the relationships you're having trouble with. Again, there's no right or wrong answer here. You'll find that the act of writing these things down can offer a great benefit both in the present moment and long term.

Writing in a journal can be like a form of meditation. You have the ability to clear your mind and verbalize all of the thoughts in your head on the page. You can also look back at your writing later, with a clearer mind, and really analyze the thoughts in a more unbiased way. This can help you decipher and analyze things in a way that is exceptionally difficult to do in the moment.

How Do You Begin Journaling?

While journaling is unique to you, there are some basic rules you can follow to stay on track.

  • Choose the method that's most convenient. If you prefer typing or keying information, you might open a blank document to become your journal. You can also create a blog that's private or public.

  • Add your own creativity to the process. Journaling doesn't need to only be words, unless you prefer to use prose exclusively. You can add any form of creativity that you want to make it yours. This might include adding photos, drawings or paintings, and decorations of any type. This works for an online journal as well as a physical book.

  • Develop a routine. Journaling reaps the most benefits when it becomes a habit. You can set aside time each day to work on your journal or you might simply keep your journal handy to add bits as the mood strikes.

writing in journal


Your journal may change over time as your needs and goals change. It’s not a static process. Your goals now might focus on your health while in a year you may start to work towards a new hobby. Journaling can become a self-improvement tool that you can turn to at any point in your journey through life. So, grab your journal and start making strides towards the best version of yourself!