Happy brains are like hula-hoops.
The last few weeks I’ve been reading research articles by really smart people on how our emotional health impacts our physical health. I won’t quote all the studies but the gist is that happy brains build happier bodies and happy bodies build a happier brain. It’s like a hula-hoop. You just have to start twirling and dancing to reap the benefits. If the hula-hoop drops, be gentle on yourself, pick it up and try again. I’m really good at starting the hula-hoop. I’m working on picking up the hoop and trying again when I drop my goals.
My latest challenge is to build a happier brain and body by doing the following activities.
1. Do a 10 minute mediation/deep breathing exercise every day
2. Exercise five days a week for at least 30 minutes
3. Find something funny every day
4. Eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal
5. Do something social with friends once a week
6. Write down all of my negative thoughts and try to re-frame them in a little cognition journal
7. Leave work by 4:30 p.m. every day. I won’t be able to do all of these happy brain/happy body things if I work all the time.
“By faithfully working eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.”—Robert Frost
I love poets. They really know how to do the happy brain dance with their figurative hula-hoops.
It’s hard to believe my last challenge is over. I went 40 days without fast food. Okay, I have to be honest. I went 24 days without fast food and then I had to start over. I then went 9 days without fast food and then I had to start over. Chinese food was the culprit both times. I just love Chinese food. I just finished another 7 days without fast food. Here is how I see it.
24 days+9 days + 7 days = 40 days
I went 40 days without fast food. I met my goal. Since it’s my goal, I’m allowed to make up all of the rules. I can change the rules too. It’s a very convenient thing being the owner of your own goal. What did I learn from my challenge? It’s okay to try again. You are considered successful if you keep getting up and keep trying.
I start my new goal tomorrow. I’m super excited!
Josefina loved music. As a child, she imagined that she could play the piano. Whenever she had a chance to sneak away at Church or at a friend’s house she would pluck out notes on their piano. Josefina’s family did not have extra money for lessons, but that did not stop her. She studied piano books on her own and dreamed about playing. After high school, Josefina decided to take an introductory piano class at the community college. Josefina described her first day of piano class in this way. “I was nervous, but I knew I could learn something easier as an adult. I had already had life experiences to use as a guide. I knew I could work hard and be motivated”. Josefina did work hard. She practiced using the college’s piano practice rooms for hours every week. She took additional piano classes and soon found herself being able to play the songs she imagined as a child. Today Josefina teaches piano and shares her love of music with her family, friends and students. When she meets an adult who thinks it is too late to learn something new, she tells them her story. You are never too old to learn something.
Josefina is a Wonder Women.
The Accountant is pretty proud of himself. He has learned how to do a magic trick. He can make the cup stay on his hand. Our dinner guests were very impressed.
Of course, they only saw the final trick. I observed all the cups that fell to the ground on the way to learning how to do the trick. It’s kind of like reaching a goal. You may spend hours, days and even years to reach a goal. The audience only sees the final show. People will tell you that you make it look easy. It’s a magic trick. There’s a lot of work that went into it. Go work on your magic trick!
About a month ago, I got a brilliant idea. It sounded so easy. I’d make an app and every one would pay me a dollar to put it on their phones. I only had to get a million people to buy it and then I would be financially set for life. I identified two challenges to my bright future. Challenge #1: I don’t know how to write in code or make an app. Challenge #2: I don’t own a fancy phone that can have apps so I couldn’t even buy my own app once I made it. At eleven o’clock at night, I can do anything so neither challenge sounded too hard to overcome. The next day I went to the library for how-to-books, watched a bunch of YouTube videos and started working.
Three frustrating weeks later, I finally got the app to the point where I could submit it to the store for people to buy it. Guess What? I got an e-mail back letting me know that my app does not meet the minimum specifications to be fully functional. Translation: It’s so bad that it doesn’t work and we don’t want it here. I felt sorry for myself for a bit, but then I realized what a truly awesome story I am creating by adding another challenge to my list. Challenge #3: The computer people think my app is horrible.
I’m back at the beginning trying to rebuild my app. It may take a few more weeks before I’m able to resubmit it again. Last night I thought of a lovely ending to my app adventure. After overcoming challenges 1, 2 and 3, my app goes crazy and every one wants it. It is amazing how I can do anything at eleven o’clock at night.
In case you have never seen a phone that can’t get apps, here is a picture of mine.
Have you ever met a cheerleader? I have. Her name is Doeshann.
Doeshann loves life. She likes making people laugh. Doeshann finds and creates opportunities to have fun. She recently completed a 5K mud zombie race with her friends. For the last 14 years, Doeshann has enthusiastically volunteered one week each summer as an adult mentor for a youth camp. She loves to inspire teens to set and reach their goals. Doeshann does operational support at a college. Her coworkers describe her as an effective worker who knows her stuff and is always there with a kind word and infectious laugh for everyone.
When asked about her greatest challenge, Doeshann described the process of accepting and loving herself. She feels that once she learned that God loved her she was able to let go of what other people said and thought about her.
Doeshann is a Wonder Women.
Remember every women’s success can be my success if I let it.
Have you ever met a magician? I have. Her name is Alie.
Today’s Wonder Women took difficult life circumstances and with the magic of grit, faith and hope turned those challenges into an opportunity for growth. Alie’s child Chris was born with several rare cognitive and physical disorders. She wished she could talk to other parents. She didn’t find such a support group in her area so she created a group to meet her needs and serve other parents. As Chris got older, Alie took on an advocate role to find resources and programs to meet her son’s needs. Her advocacy paid off and Chris recently graduated from high school. He works part-time and continues to grow and learn.
When her children were young, Alie found herself not only with difficult health challenges but the need to support her two children after a divorce. She went back to school and earned her degree in school counseling. Alie moved her family to a new state for a better job. She had the courage to date and fall in love again. As her daughter Becca got older, Alie wished she had a coach to help her with the college and scholarship application process. When she didn’t find any couching services that were reasonably priced, Alie created her own college coaching company.
Alie is a magician. She took hard life events and turned them into opportunities for growth.
Remember every woman’s success can be my success if I let it.
The idea of Lent has always intrigued me. I remember seeing friends at school give up chocolate for the 40 days before Easter. Last year, I did some research on Lent. It is so much more than just not eating your favorite treat. It is a time to rededicate your life. I have decided to participate in my own Lent this year. Now, before my family gets concerned, let me put them at ease. I am a very happy Mormon girl. I love expressing my Christian faith through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But like everybody else here on Earth, I’ve got a few weaknesses that would benefit from more self-reflection. I’m looking forward to spending the days before Easter giving up my own favorite things and spending a few more minutes praying and reading scriptures. I thought about giving up chocolate, but we just made these delicious brownies.
When I was eleven years old, I saw a PBS special on small pox and became fascinated with diseases. I wanted to learn how everything in the human body worked so I could avoid diseases like small pox. The library had anticipated my interest, because the next time I went they had put up a huge display in the lobby. The sign said you could protect yourself from diseases. I picked ten random books from the display and went up to the library counter to check out. The lady at the front desk started asking me questions about my books.
“Honey, does your mother know you are reading books about sexually transmitted diseases? These are kind of big books for a little girl”.
I was insulted. How dare she tell a grown 11-year-old like me that I was a little girl? I told her that my mother let me read whatever I wanted. Driving home with Mom and the brothers from the library, I wondered if I would really be allowed to read anything I wanted. Just to be on the safe side, I hid all the books in my laundry basket and only read them when I thought Mom wasn’t watching me. I think about it now and laugh. Yes, I was a very mature 11-year-old.
Update on my challenge
Tonight we had chicken stuffed with green chilies and cheese on top of a bed of asparagus and potatoes. I felt like I was real chef when I put it on the table. There is something fulfilling about making things yourself.
“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” —George Elliot
Ice cream is now a vegetable. Did I get your attention? I didn’t eat a fruit and vegetable at every meal yesterday. I did great for breakfast and lunch, but then I had a bowl of ice cream for dinner. It felt silly to add a carrot with my bowel of ice cream so I skipped it. In case you are wondering, I enjoyed every spoonful of that ice cream. The nice thing about 13 day challenges is that if you don’t do it perfectly one day you still have a bunch more days to try again.