Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

Happy Thanksgiving is almost here in the USA! For all of my Canadian friends I know that you celebrated last month.  Personally, I am looking so forward to spending Thanksgiving Day with almost all of my family including my mom and her husband; my oldest son and his wife and two children; my youngest daughter and her husband, along with her mother-in-law and their six-month old baby;  my youngest son and his girlfriend.  We will miss our oldest daughter and her husband but we know that they will celebrate and give thanks elsewhere.

Thanksgiving is a time where we stop and give thanks for all that is good and right in our lives.  Even if you've had a rough year or have tragically lost something or even worse someone, each and everyone of us has something to be thankful for.

If you are having a tough time giving thanks this year I want you to stop what you're doing right now.  Go and get several notebook style, lined pieces of paper and title the first page, "My Gratitude List."  Next, take a good look around you.  Start with where you are sitting and notice anything that you are thankful for, maybe it's as simple as your favorite chair or unique family heirloom on one of your shelves.   Write those items down.  Go outside and notice your surroundings: the birds, the trees, the flowers, the sun or the snow.   Do you have a pet who loves you unconditionally?  Go to your closet and list your favorite items.  Do the same in your drawers.  Give each thing a separate line on your page.  Most importantly make a line each for every member of your family and each close friend or co-worker whom you give thanks for.  As you make your list you can also say a silent prayer for each person who provides you with love and friendship.

Meditate on Psalm 100, verse 4

"Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."  

Here's a breakdown of that verse that may help you practice gratitude.  You can slowly say it over and over as it fills your heart and your mind with peace and comfort.

Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise him.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.  Give thanks.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving.
Enter his gates.

Remember:  Today is a gift and no one knows what tomorrow may bring.  Give thanks today!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

You may contact me here:  Donna@DonnaSchuller.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How To Sleep Well For Better Health

In one of my recent posts titled "Sleep Deprivation Can Be Deadly" I reviewed a bit from chapter 3 of my newest book, "Healthy Family, Happy Life: What Healthy Families Learn From Healthy Moms."
Since I continually talk to people who say "I just don't sleep well at night" I was really intrigued when my friend, Brad Grossman sent me his "Zeitguide To Sleep" statistics since studies included in this facinating and educational article not only supported what I know about but added to the information by providing some of the latest scientific information available. 
This is the thing I love about the "Zeitguide, Cultural Almanac";  I learn intriguing facts and find out the latest cultural trends in regards to subjects I teach others about and other things I never even knew I wanted to know about!  Following is the article on sleep.  As you read it keep in mind that sleep deprivation is an epidemic in our society so if you don't need the advice I'm sure you know someone who does! 

My grandson, Christian at 4 mos. Sound asleep while his parents play cards

Do you get enough sleep? And the right kind of sleep?
That topic was buzzing in recent weeks on Quora, where the question, “How do CEOs who sleep for only 4-5 hours daily manage to function and run multimillion dollar companies?” drew hundreds of opinions.
Answers ranged from “I really, really, really love what I do” to avoiding carbs to the recent studies that suggest genetic mutations of “short sleepers,” who represent less than 1% of the population.
But according to Alice Park’s recent article in Time magazine, “The Power of Sleep,” new scientific research proves that people must get at least seven hours of sleep per night. It wasn’t the usual story about sleep’s role in improving concentration, alertness, memory, and happiness.
Rather, it provided the latest research on how sleep reduces toxic waste from our brains.
During sleep, our glial cells slow electric activity down, and the size of our brain cells literally shrink. This allows more spinal fluid to slosh around and clean out biological debris. “It’s like a dishwater that keeps flushing through to wash the dirt away,“ says Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester.
Because we multi-task, live attached to our smartphones, and hyper-schedule, our brains are on daily overdrive. And with that over-action and energy consumption, our brains produce more waste today than ever before.
When we don’t get enough sleep, the glial cells can’t clear away all that garbage. Scientist now think this could contribute to brain disorders. Alzheimer’s, for instance, is caused by a buildup of excess of amyloid protein that isn’t washed away.

But do we have to get seven hours of sleep all in one shot?
Scientists and historians are discovering that bimodal sleep might be our natural behavior. Roger Ekirch, a professor of History at Virginia Tech, found historical and literary evidence that two shorter periods of sleep was common in the pre-industrial era. In between was a 1-to-2-hour period when people would visit with neighbors, chat with bedfellows, or have sex. We switched to a single sleeping period only when streetlights, indoor lamps, and coffeehouses made nighttime the prime time for socializing. Current sleep studies see these same patterns reappear when artificial light is taken out of the equation.
Rather than panic when you wake at 3 a.m., think of it as an anthropological throwback.

But if you have trouble falling back to sleep or continue to get less than 7 hours of sleep on a continual basis, try to change your patterns.
As Brown University’s Mary Carskadon told Time, we should think about sleep depravation the same way we do smog, secondhand smoke, or chemicals in our drinking water. Insufficient sleep pollutes our minds.

How to get a better night of sleep?
ZEITGUIDE friend, Ari Miesel, Founder of LessDoing.com, gives us 5 tips:
1. Wear Blue-light blocking sunglasses an hour before bed to remove the melatonin reducing effects of TVs, laptops, and iPhones
2. Cool your bedroom; 68 degrees is optimal sleeping temperature
3. Take a bath before bed with Magnesium flakes
4. Use the Stress doctor iPhone app before bed to help you breath deeply and reset your heart rate variability
5. Use Beddit sleep tracker kit to quantify and identify aspects of your sleep that are sub-optimal
Keep Learning and Sleep Well...
Brad Grossman and Team ZEITGUIDE

ZEITGUIDE 2014 is available on Kindle and Amazon paperback
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Join me for "The Call" on November 15th at 6pm Pacific time.  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848#
To reach me write to:  Donna@DonnaSchuller.com