STOP STRESSING AND IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH!

Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk

Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk with examples provided.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic — and it may even affect your health.

Indeed, some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don’t despair — you can learn positive thinking skills. Here’s how.

Understanding positive thinking and self-talk

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.

If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

The health benefits of positive thinking

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

It’s unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It’s also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

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CRAVING SOMETHING CHOCOLATE??? TRY THESE LOW CAL CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES!!!

 
 
 
 
Yields:
4 servings
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Meal Type:
 
 
 

Chocolate Banana Souffles

These are little bowls of heaven, so creamy and rich.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F (205° C). Coat 4, 6 oz ramekins with butter flavored cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and vanilla together.
  3. Sift cornstarch and cocoa powder over bananas and stir well.
  4. In another medium bowl, beat egg whites with sugar until they form soft peaks.
  5. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into banana mixture. When incorporated, fold in the rest of the egg whites.
  6. Spoon mixture into ramekins. Wipe the top 1/4 inch “collar” of the ramekin to remove any excess batter so that the souffle will rise straight. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
270 members have added this recipe to their cookbook.
 

 

CHOCOLATE COVERED BANANA SHAKE!!

Banana-Chocolate Sipper

When you crave something sweet, cold and chocolatey.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a blender combine milk, frozen banana, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla.
  2. Cover and blend until smooth and frothy.
  3. Makes 4 (8 fl oz) servings.
  4. Note: for frozen banana, peel and slice banana. Place banana slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. Freeze about 1 hour or until firm.
  5. Note: for better drink thickness, add less milk.
 

CHANGE UP YOUR SALAD WITH CILANTRO LIME VINAIGRETTE!!

   
   
   
Yields:
8 servings
Prep Time:
10 mins
 
 
 
 

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Light and flavorful salad dressing for Mexican style salads.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Blend the dressing until smooth.
  2. Let the flavors settle together for at least 30 minutes before using (to taste).

SCRUMPTIOUS BAKED ZUCCHINI CHIPS!

   
   
   
Yields:
4 servings
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
 
 

Baked Zucchini Chips

A quick, healthy way to use some zucchini from your garden (or pantry).

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 475° F (250° C).
  2. In one small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, pepper and parmesan cheese.
  3. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl.
  4. Dip zucchini slices into the egg whites, then coat the breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Place on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn over and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until browned and crispy.

AMAZING GRILLED PESTO AND TOMATO CHICKEN KABOBS!!!!

 

Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs

 
 

These chicken kebobs just SCREAM summer, made with my skinny basil pesto and grape tomatoes. Serve this as an appetizer at your next backyard bash, or have them for dinner any night of the week with a great big salad or over pasta. 

 

 

We grow sooo much basil in my garden all summer long, so I make a lot of pesto and use it so many ways. This is super easy and can be made a day ahead, in fact the longer it marinates the better! Doubling the skewers helps keep everything in place while grilling, and makes them easier to turn. I love how the tomatoes taste after they are grilled, and they smell just divine when they come off the grill. To make my pesto skinny, I use less oil and make it without the pine nuts – but it’s still so flavorful you won’t miss them! If you’re having this for dinner, I would serve 2 skewers, rather than one with salad or grilled veggies on the side.

These are gluten free, inexpensive, low-carb, clean and simple. If you want to make them paleo, you can leave out the parmesan and swap it for pine nuts. If you love pesto as much as we do, you may also love Skinny Chicken Pesto BakeGrilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers, or this delicious Eggplant Panini with Pesto – so good!!

Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 kebab • Old Points: 4 pts • Weight Watcher Points+: 4 pt 
Calories: 147 • Fat: 7.5 g • Carb: 3 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 18 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 104 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 2.5 mg

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/4 lbs skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 16 wooden skewers

Directions:

In a food processor pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing.

Combine the raw chicken with pesto and marinate a few hours in a bowl. Soak wooden skewers in water at least 30 minutes (or use metal ones to avoid this step). Beginning and ending with chicken, thread chicken and tomatoes onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total.

Heat the outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium heat until hot. Be sure the grates are clean and spray lightly with oil. Place the chicken on the hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

 

BREAK A SWEAT AND IMPROVE YOUR MOOD!!

YOUR BRAIN ON CARDIO

Anyone who has ever tackled a StairMaster has a pretty good idea of what happens to your body when you break a sweat. But here’s what’s going on in your head at the same time: All that extra blood bathes your brain cells in oxygen and glucose, which they need to function. The more they get, the better they perform.

 

Every muscle you move also sends hormones rushing to your brain. There, they mix with a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which plays a role in brain cell growth, mood regulation, and learning. “BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain,” says John J. Ratey, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Without it, our brains can’t take in new information or make new cells.”

 

Exercise has another vital role: It signals the release of several key hormones, including serotonin, the famed mood booster; dopamine, which affects learning and attention; and norepinephrine, which influences attention, perception, motivation, and arousal. This exercise-induced chemical cocktail has a powerful impact. “By elevating neurotransmitters in the brain, it helps us focus, feel better, and release tension,” Ratey says.

 

Experienced regularly, all that rushing of blood and hormones primes your brain to grow. In one study, researchers scanned the brains of people who exercised for one hour per day, three days a week, for a duration of six months. They discovered an increase in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. Working out literally bulked up the study participants’ brains, allowing them to perform better at tasks that require concentration and recall ? two talents that come in handy if, say, you do your own taxes or tend to forget passwords.

 

“Exercise improves attention, memory, accuracy, and how quickly you process information, all of which helps you make smarter decisions,” says Charles H. Hillman, Ph.D., an associate professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

 

THE MENTAL ADVANTAGE

People who exercised during their workday were 23 percent more productive on those days than they were when they didn’t exercise, says a recent study from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. And the majority of the study participants (72 percent) did aerobic workouts.

 

A pulse-pounding workout acts like a cup of coffee (minus the jitters): Your heartbeat picks up, your circulation increases, you’re filled with energy, and your thinking becomes clearer and sharper. What’s more, a study published in Brain and Cognition found that after just 30 minutes of doing an easy half-hour bike ride, subjects completed a cognitive test faster than they did before exercising… and just as accurately. And the brain-boosting effect lasted for at least 52 minutes after the ride.

 

Use this cardio-induced clarity to your advantage by timing your daily sweat sometime before you punch the clock, on your lunch break, or prior to a demanding task like a big meeting (just don’t skip the post-workout shower!).

OUR CHILDREN NEED OUR HELP!!!!!!

23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese; 33.0% of boys and 30.4% of girls.
Of these children, 12.7 million are obese; 18.6% of boys and 15.0% of girls.

The obesity epidemic is dis proportionally more rampant among children living in low income, low education, and
higher unemployment households, according to data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Data from 2011

 American Indian/Alaskan Native
youth have an obesity
rate of 17.7%,

whereas rates are 14.7%  for Hispanics, 10.6%
for non-Hispanic blacks, 10.3%

for non-Hispanic whites, and 9.3% for Asian/Pacific Islanders. 

 obesity continues to increase prevalence in male
youth of 5% but not in female youth.
©2013 American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION SAYS OBESITY IS A DISEASE.

American Medical Association says obesity is a disease

American Heart Association Comment

June 19, 2013 

DALLAS, June 19, 2013 – The American Medical Association has announced the organization has designated obesity as a disease requiring treatment and prevention efforts.

The American Heart Association believes the additional focus is needed on this important risk factor for heart disease and stroke.   We work with individuals, industry, healthcare professionals and national, state and local governments to recognize the severity of the issue and the need for more coordinated and comprehensive solutions.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. Over one-third (33.7%) of U.S. adults are obese (nearly 75 million adults) and about 12 million (16.9%) of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 are obese and nearly one in three (31.7%) U.S. children (23,500,000) ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.

“Obesity is mainly caused by taking in more calories than are used up in physical activity and daily life, but other factors may also contribute to obesity including genetics, limited access to healthy foods or unsafe environment for physical activity,” says Donna Arnett, Ph.D., president of the American Heart Association. “When people eat too many calories, or too much saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, their blood cholesterol levels often rise. But even taking off a few pounds can provide you with cardiovascular benefits, so every step in the right direction is a step toward healthier living.”

If you have too much fat — especially around your waist — you’re at higher risk for health problems.  Obesity

  • raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • lowers HDL “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is linked with lower heart disease and stroke risk, so reducing it tends to raise the risk.
  • raises blood pressure levels.
  • can induce diabetes. In some people, diabetes makes these other risk factors much worse. The danger of heart attack is especially high for these people.

When your weight is in a healthy range your body more effectively circulates blood, your fluid levels are more easily managed, and you are less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and sleep apnea.   The American Heart Association can help you get there.  To determine your risk for heart disease and stroke, visit www.mylifecheck.org and learn how you can lower your risk.

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The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

WAKE UP STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE!!

With a stash of berries in your freezer, you can jump-start your day with this nutritious, tasty smoothie in just minutes. It provides vitamin C, fiber, potassium and soy protein.

“This smoothie is quite tasty. I didn’t add any sugar but did add a bit of toasted wheat germ. Sweetness was perfect for my taste, but the kids thought it was a bit tart. Either way we all loved it and have made a few times.q “

 
Wake-Up Smoothie Recipe

Makes: 3 servings, 1 cup each

Active Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

NUTRITION PROFILE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice, preferably calcium-fortified
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu, or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or Splenda Granular (optional)

MORE HEALTHY RECIPE IDEAS

 

PREPARATION

  1. Combine orange juice, banana, berries, tofu (or yogurt) and sugar (or Splenda), if using, in a blender; cover and blend until creamy. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 139 calories; 2 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 19 mg sodium; 421 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (110% daily value), Fiber (16% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 fruit, 1/2 low-fat milk