Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Best Case Scenario

According to researchers at Duke University, physical exercise is no longer considered good just for developing a lean and strong body or a strong heart. Now, it is actually viewed as a “preventative or wellness activity” that helps prevent physical and emotional conditions. The chemicals or endorphins that are released by the brain, during physical activity, are our body’s energy boosters and natural pain killers. One study showed that workouts of only eight minutes lowered sadness, tension and anger.

On the other side of the coin, physical inactivity can now be determined to be a “risk factor” for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, obesity and depression. The American Heart Association has reported that more than 12% of total deaths are attributed to the lack of regular physical activity.

Okay, let’s review this. Physical activity renews energy, makes us look and feel great, and prevents a variety of illnesses and diseases. So, why, with all this said, is it a well-known fact that most people aren’t active enough? Usually it is blamed on lack of energy from working all day or just worn out from the hustle and bustle of daily life. But the holistic concept, which is supported by an enormous amount of evidence, indicates most people are “worn out” from the lack of nutrition in their diets. The fact is people have more energy when they eat well! The interconnectedness between nutrition and physical exercise is extremely important!

After most kinds of physical activity we are rewarded with a larger degree of alertness, in better moods and we feel more confident! Hopefully the “reward” is what will motivate you to respect your health by practicing good nutrition, which reinforces the entire cycle. Eating nutritionally, 70% of each meal should be fruits, whole grains and vegetables, and exercising regularly will give you great pleasure and satisfaction. You’ll not only be doing something great for yourself, but as Dr. Colin Campbell states, “You’ll be part of the vanguard working toward moving America into a healthier, leaner future.”

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food For Thought...Literally

Diet and nutrition have a profound impact on mental and physical health. If your doctor doesn’t agree or realize this, don’t be too upset with him/her. The fact is, our western doctors have had very little training in nutrition, and it’s just not their area of expertise. It’s a shame, though, as the wrong food and lack of balanced nutrients can cause serious and damaging psychological and physical health issues! This is why I encourage you to educate yourself, (easier now than ever before with access to the internet) and gain knowledge of a more “holistic” approach to health, which simply addresses the body, the mind and the spirit as a whole. Start today with a self-care program that provides your body with the highest levels of nutrition!

Our bodies produce chemicals that regulate our moods and emotions. The lack of nutrients in the foods we eat will trigger certain amino acids and will decrease the production of emotional neurotransmitters.

Sugar, for example, is destructive to our bodies in so many ways. Most apparent is, it gives us an increase of energy, for a few moments and a false sense of feeling good but as soon as the insulin is produced in our bodies we will feel tired and possibly depressed. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits, on the other hand, increase the release of seratonin, which reduces our appetite, calms us, helps with physical pain and alleviates depression.

Although we need to eliminate animal fat from our bodies, we need to make sure we are getting the “healthy fats” from avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil and some fish. These fats promote the absorption of nutrients into our cells and a natural cleansing takes place, which also lessens depression and enhances our moods. On-going clinical studies have shown that folic acid deficiencies have been linked to depression but a simple glass of orange juice or a cup of cooked spinach will relieve it.

Hopefully this little bit of education will help you realize the importance of the foods you eat and will jump-start a healthier lifestyle. Over a period of time your taste buds will change. Instead of craving foods, that are high in sugar, high in the wrong fats or that contain artificial ingredients; you’ll crave the way you feel and your new zest for life.

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just What It Takes

It is now more urgent than ever before to take control of our health, which must include changing our way of thinking to have a broader perspective, and should include the use of good nutrition. Food can not only lengthen or shorten your life, for better or for worse, it can change your life. Eating the right way not only prevents disease and generates good health; it creates a sense of well-being, both physically and mentally. The “sense of well-being” is what we all desire but many of us spend our lives wondering what it takes.

Although I have my strong beliefs on “what it takes,” all of which are based on scientific research, I will not take it upon my self to try and convince you of my beliefs. I urge you to read The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, as I mentioned in my previous blog, titled “Feel Great/Be Great.” I think you’ll be amazed and enlightened from Dr. Campbell’s 40 years of research, take it to heart and, you, too will change your current dietary beliefs and habits. Although, I have met many people who refuse to read this book because they really don’t want to know that the foods they love and crave are so harmful to their health and hinder the “sense of well-being.”

What I will provide you, are a few facts on nutrition that are not controversial, they’re just not being publicized fast enough. Most important to know is the healthiest type of protein, a sacred nutrient and a vital component to our bodies, is found in a natural variety of plants. Animal protein isn’t necessarily consistent with long term health, as we’ve been led to believe for so many years. Additionally, our bodies do not naturally build shields to protect ourselves against free radicals. Fortunately, the antioxidants in plants put up the shield and sponge up those nasty substances. Uncontrolled free radical damage is part of the process that can cause cataracts, cancer, hardening of the arteries, arthritis, emphysema and many other ailments.

Reduce (or eliminate) your intake of animal protein and load up on your vegetables! It’s likely you’ll lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, have more energy and finally begin to get that long, sought out, “sense” of well-being!

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feel Great/Be Great

There's no doubt that taking responsibility of your life, in all aspects, is the requirement, per se, to total body well-being. Making the decision to take control of your health, emotional and physical, is the first and most important step. The key to success is knowing this decision starts today and never ends, not even for a moment. When it comes right down to it, there's a sense of freedom associated with knowing, you're it; no longer can a person, place or thing influence who you are, where you are or what you're striving to become.

In my past articles I focused on our thoughts and feelings being crucial factors in one's overall health, the first step to lasting happiness. But the second and third "crucial factors" go hand in hand and cannot be ignored, diet and exercise.

In 2006, as I mentioned in my article, Learning Something New Everyday, my father passed away from lung cancer. What I didn't tell you was that the doctors discovered a "spot" on his lungs, during a short hospital stay, unrelated to cancer in November of '03 but didn't tell him about it until February of '05. The information got "misplaced." By the time he was told, the "spot" had grown into stage 4, with a 1.7% chance of survival. After I got over the shock, terror and anger, (actually, I've never totally gotten "over it") I began a crusade to save his life. Unfortunately, the cancer in my father had spread uncontrollably so even though my hours of research and devotion didn't save his life, they "saved" mine.

Through integrative doctors, Homeopaths, Acupuncturists, books, DVDs, support groups and seminars I discovered that much of the cause of our physical ailments directly stems from what we eat and our inactivity. You may think, as I did for most of my life, that you eat well and get plenty of exercise. It may shock you when you learn that most of what you eat is causing you more harm than good. In fact, many foods we've been led to believe are "healthy," are actually making us sick. Once I learned the truths about the food I once ate, I dramatically changed my diet, which consequently, changed my life.

We need energy to maximize this gift of life! It's impossible to map out a road to lasting happiness and well-being if we consistently feel sluggish, tired, overweight, chronic pain or dwell on "what's wrong," instead of "what's right." To begin your new healthy campaign and to have more energy than you ever dreamed possible, I recommend you read the book, "The China Study," by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. While you're reading, it's important to keep in mind this information is "findings from the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease." (The New York Times) In addition, included in The China Study are hundreds of publications from the most reputable scientific journals.

Tomorrow I will inform you of a few "musts" but please, don't delay, take the time and "learn" how-to "feel great" because when you do, it/you will "be great."

Stay tuned,

Midnight Motivator

Friday, February 12, 2010

All We Need is Love, Love...Love is All We Need!

With Valentine’s Day just ahead it seems fitting to talk about love and how it also relates to my past articles on the mind and body.

First of all, I’m going to recommend a book for you to read, again and again. I will often refer to it, “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav. Not only has this book changed my life but I feel it offers critical and insightful information to assist you/us in our journeys to become the best people we can be and lead the amazing lives that were meant for each and everyone of us! If you’ve already read it, I suggest you read it again. New parts and segments await your eyes!

In my last article I touched upon our energy and where it can lead us. When energy we take in or dish out leaves us in fear, distrust or with emotional harm, in general, we will feel anxiety and powerless. Power losses affect certain parts of the body. If we feel fear in our ability to love or be loved we will feel pain or discomfort in our chest, near our heart. Chronic or acute “heart-ache” can literally result in the attack of the heart. In fact, Gary Zufav states, “Every distress and every dysfunction of the body, every illness, can be understood in terms of power loss to an external circumstance through the energy centers within the body.”

When we release energy in love and trust, and feel free to love and be loved we are on the road to eternal peace-of-mind and lasting happiness. There is nothing that cannot be healed when we live in love. Love is an active force that brings harmony and a genuine interest in the well-being of others. It directly relates to the quality of experiences that occur within our lives.

This weekend, especially, be conscious and focus on your power to remove your negative thoughts and emotions. Heal yourself of fears, inferior and unnecessary thoughts through the energy of love. Give and receive love. It will enhance your personality and, at the same time, be graciously appreciated as you enrich the lives of the people around you.

Happy Valentine’s Weekend,

The Midnight Motivator

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healthy Energy = Healthy Body

In my last article I discussed the importance of health being a critical part/step in the journey to lasting happiness and overall well-being. How happy can we really be if much our time and thoughts are consumed by our physical aches, pains and illnesses? The fact that the mind rules the body, "the most fundamental fact which we know about the body," (Frank Alexander, M.D.) we need to transform our thoughts that rule our minds.

In Deepak Chopra's book, "Reinventing the body, Resurrecting the Soul," it states that every cell in our body is made up of two invisible ingredients: awareness and energy. "Any change in mood is conveyed via "messenger molecules" (through the bloodstream) to every part of the body, altering the basic chemical activity of each cell." Negative and distorted patterns of energy are the main cause of aging, infirmity and disease. "The tiniest change in energy, no more than a few words, can lead to massive physical disruptions." Our bodies will literally suffer from the toxicity of negative thoughts we tell ourselves or from the disruptive words we tell others.

The biggest myth is that people can't change. Oh yes we can! The fact is our cells know what our brain is thinking and our mood levels. Once we become tuned in to the power of our thoughts and moods, our bodies have the capacity to correct themselves. As our energy changes so will our bodies. Much of life's everyday hardships are dominated by our inability to think and behave in a new way. "To break out of any habit, you need to reclaim your power to choose." (Deepak Chopra)

Have an impulse to grow and evolve today,

The Midnight Motivator

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Learning Something New Everyday!

I lost my father, George Jeffers, in 2006 to lung cancer. His illness and death were especially hard for me as he was also my boss of 23 years, my mentor and my best friend. When none of the traditional cancer treatments worked and his doctor said, "There's nothing more we can do for you, George," I began a personal campaign to try and save his life. For almost two years I spent hours each day researching alternative treatments and integrative cancer institutions. During our journey together to win the battle, we were introduced to a well-known and well respected MD/Master of Acupuncture. With stage 4 lung cancer Dr. Kauffman never promised us a cure but he did promise to lessen his pain and make him more comfortable, overall. He did exactly that. After each treatment, twice a week for 3 months, my father showed signs of improvement and said he felt better. In fact, he always looked forward to his acupuncture treatments. To this day I have never known a doctor more compassionate, intelligent or as knowledgeable, in both the eastern and western worlds of medicine, as Dr. Kauffman.

Last summer, in a nation-wide search through the Nationals Speaker's Association, I was asked to co-author a book with Deepak Chopra, Dr. Denis Whaitley and Jack Canfield. The book, "Stepping Stones to Success." is scheduled to be released late spring . (2010) Because of the overwhelming evidence that good health is directly linked to happiness and overall well-being, I asked Dr. Kauffman for his professional opinion/help on my segment on health. I had attended one of his seminars and knew we had similar beliefs on the most important aspects of good health, or, so I "thought."

During my meeting with Dr. Kauffman, ready take pages of notes and gather as much information as possible, he said to me, "Joanne, tell me your ideas on health." I tried to impress him with my vast knowledge and years of research on the benefits of plant-based diets vs. animal protein, etc. He was so kind and caring and let me ramble on and on. When I finally stopped to take a breath, he said these words, "Yes, all those things you have mentioned are part of a good-health program. But, the medicine I believe in, have been studying for over 17 years and has been practiced and proven for five thousand years... health, good or bad, starts with one thing, your thoughts. The relationship you have to your own thinking will determine your physical and mental health." "Wow," I remember thinking, "of course." I sank back in my chair, listened to more of his knowledge on the profound effects our thoughts have on our physical health. His words, so real, so true and so profound, made everything I had been researching for so many years suddenly became more clear and complete. I did several weeks of intense research before completing my segment on health, which I and many other experts believe is first and most important "stepping stone" to success.

Dr. Richard Carlsen states in his book, You Can Be Happy No Matter What, "Understanding the nature of thought is the foundation to living a fully functional and happy life." Everything we feel stems directly from a thought or many thoughts and since we are the only ones who can produce our thoughts then we are the only ones that are responsible for our feelings. Negative brain activity, thoughts, feelings and unnecessary worrying is directly linked to weakened immune systems - the weaker it becomes the higher your risk is for minor illnesses and major diseases.

Researchers continue to explore the health benefits of "positive thinking," which I will cover in depth, but for today, when a negative thought appears evaluate it and then eliminate it! Practice positive self-talk! Just like that, on a spin of a dime, you can do it! Surrounding yourself with up-beat, positive people makes it much easier to do as there are, no "ifs," "ands" or "buts" about it, we are products of our environments!

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Greatest Gift of All

One Christmas, so many years ago, I received a beautiful set of books in a compact, leather bound sleeve with gold lettering. They were from my father. After I opened them I remember smiling and saying, "Dad, thanks, they're so beautiful." I don't remember if I said anything else before setting the books down and proceeding on to open my next gift or not. At the time I was busy; working full-time in our family business, married and raising two children. What I do remember, though, is what I thought; "I'll never have time to read these books but, oh well, they'll look nice on our bookshelves." Sure enough, they did look nice and for many years that followed.

I can honestly tell you, there was no thought process and no known reason why, one random night, after putting the kids to bed, I walked over to the bookshelves and reached out for the set of books my father had given me so long ago. There was nothing unusual, earth shattering or alarming going on in my life at the time and to this day, 15 years later, it remains a mystery. After I blew off the 3 inches of dust that had accumulated on top of the cover, I took the books over to my dining room table and proceeded to read. The set, "How you Can Arrive, Survive and Thrive through Possibility Thinking," written by Dr. Robert Schuller, has forever changed my life!!!

It became a ritual. Every night after the kids went to bed, I sat at my dining room table and read...every inspirational, motivational and self-help book I could get my hands on. The excitement from the almost immediate and positive transformation that took hold in my life made it difficult to fall asleep at night, at the same time, I was anxious to begin the next day. I looked forward to acting upon what I had learned and experiencing the instant reward. What "reward," you ask? Simple...the reward of having a great day, everyday...the reward of knowing what ever I put out, I got back, every time, everyday. It was almost foolproof. When I exhibited love, enthusiasm and compassion I was almost guaranteed to receive the same in return.

Through my "studying" I learned something new that enhanced my life each day. It was fun, exciting and I began to welcome new challenges. Then, after awhile, it dawned on me, why, I wondered, wasn't this critical and so badly needed "subject," of emotional well-being taught or at least presented in our schools? Couldn't our young children stand to learn about self-worth, self-respect and ever-lasting happiness? Yes, of course, I thought, but a problem existed, who knew enough or anything about this subject and would be qualified to teach it??? Now, I "get it." There is a reason why there are large sections in book stores labeled "Self-Help" because until our government and our educators realize the importance of such subjects being taught in our schools, we, or at least the seekers of a better life, will have to "help ourselves."

I will often refer to excerpts from many doctors, philosophers and other experts, from all over the world who have, so graciously, shared their wisdom and information from their research. I will also go back over all my highlighted areas and dog-eared pages in many of the books that have had the greatest impact on my life. There is no doubt in my mind that if you go on this journey with me; take the time to read these "articles," for the next few weeks, maybe even months, they, too will be the "greatest gift of all."

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Let the New You Begin

I love the "firsts" of each month. I feel invigorated by what I perceive as another new beginning~another opportunity to accomplish an unfinished list from the prior month, or in my case, begin my New Year's resolutions.

For over 15 years I and many other experts in the field of Positive Psychology, have been researching the complexities of happiness and overall well-being. It has been both fascinating and life-altering! Because it may seem a bit challenging/overwhelming to embark upon such an extensive research program I am going to attempt to share some of my key and instrumental findings with you. I will review valuable information that has so positively enhanced my life and so many lives around me and continue to gather new data from current research.

Much of our lives are spent focusing on the wrong issues and setting the wrong priorities. Quite frankly, the reason we do this is simple; we've never been "taught" how to direct or discipline our minds to focus on what really matters. Consequently, our inner strengths and potential are rarely realized and our lives fall short of our hopes and dreams. Scientific research, within the world of Positive Psychology, has proven each and everyone one of us has the ability to change our stubborn, old and ineffective ways, that often result in emotional anguish and despair, once we've been given the substantiated tools and techniques to do so. In fact, last year approximately 1500 students were enrolled in Harvard's most popular class, Positive Psychology; Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment and reported the class improved the quality of their lives.

I find my mind is more useful when I am least mentally distracted which, most often, is late at night. My hope and goal is to provide you with daily, rather "nightly," messages, untold truths and valuable lessons that will change your world!

There's a new life that awaits you! Why don't you join me, without having to go to Harvard, in what just might be the most important journey of your life, learning the subject our educator's have overlooked and the one that matters the most; happiness!

"Everything changes when you have the burst of new belief." (Dr. Robert Schuller)

Stay tuned!

The Midnight Motivator