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All I Really Want is to be Happy!

My idea of happiness may be totally different than any one of your is. However, no matter what anyone’s concept of happiness is I’m pretty sure that taking time for them selves to relax is part of their happy state of mind. Though you may not have time or money to go out and have a luxurious spa weekend  there are somethings that you can indulge in at home that will definitely increase your relaxed state. This weekend would be the perfect time to try to take some me time and just relax. I found these ideas online:

Get refreshed without ever leaving your home

1. Wing It Once In a While

If you’re ruled by your to-do list, it’s time to learn the art of anything goes. Contradictory as it sounds, you have to schedule spontaneity, at least at first, says life coach Cheryl Richardson, author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care. How? Plan a plan-free day: Put it on your calendar (in pen!) and when the time comes, let your freewheeling, creative, impulsive side call all the shots. Whatever you feel like doing that day, do it—no chores or responsible girl tasks allowed. Wake up and then go right back to bed. Watch a Real Housewives marathon. Spend an embarrassing amount of time on Facebook. Go solo to see that new rom-com your husband scoffs at.

2. Give Yourself a Rubdown

Two tennis balls in a tube sock is all you need for a DIY deep-tissue massage. Kristy Yazzi, a massage therapist at Canyon Ranch wellness center in Tucson, Arizona, tells you how: Lie down on the floor or in bed and place it under your lower back with the balls positioned on each side of your spine. Using a slow, continuous movement, roll your body back and forth (toward your head and then toward your feet), letting the tennis balls knead your muscles.

3. Act Like the Kid You Were

Need to destress? Regress. For a guaranteed mood lift, do whatever it was that gave you joy before teen angst changed your world view. “A girl is most connected to her soul, to the things she really loves to do, between the ages of 10 and 13,” says Richardson. Think of a few things you couldn’t live without when you were that age. “I loved digging in the dirt,” says Richardson. “Today I love flowers and gardening.” If you can’t recall any particular activities, take a cue from your children. Who cares if it’s age-inappropriate? That’s the point!

4. Pump Up Your iPod

Since music affects your mood (and heart rate and brain waves and dance moves), create a playlist of songs that demand you have a good time, like Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and pretty much anything by The Go-Go’s.

5. Meditate On the Fly

Don’t have a quiet spot to get Zen? You don’t need it. Try mindful meditation, the simple practice of moment-to-moment awareness to quiet the mind and calm the body. Say you’re cutting up veggies for dinner. With each chop, really notice the crunch and vibrant color of the carrots and peppers. Heading out for a walk? Let the rhythm of your footfalls put you in a meditative state. “We have to train our brains to help our bodies relax,” says Marie Steinmetz, MD, who heads an integrative primary care practice in Alexandria, Virginia. If you need an extra hand to find your happy, peaceful place, Dr. Steinmetz recommends listening to guided imagery recordings by psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek (HealthJourneys.com).

6. Pay It Backward

Got extra coupons? Offer them to the people in the checkout line behind you. It feels good to do good—and acts of kindness (even mini ones) totally count toward your lifetime karma points.

7. Destress Your Face

“Women don’t realize how much tension they carry in their jaw,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, codirector of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC. “If you clench a fair amount of the time, over the long run it can cause hypertrophy, or thickening of the muscle on the side of the cheek, and change the shape of your face.” Chin up—it’s easy to relieve the pressure. When you apply moisturizer, gently massage the muscles along your jawline, under your ears, in a circular motion. (It’s easy to find the spot: Clench your jaw and it’ll pop right out.)

8. Redefine Downtime

Rid yourself of that stuck-in-a-rut feeling by throwing a wrench into your daily routine. “Downtime is simply any enjoyable deviation from the typical demands of your day,” says psychologist Dan Baker, PhD, author of What Happy Women Know. Look for opportunities to make those precious moments happen—and we really do mean moments. Spend just five minutes on the phone with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, take the dog for a late-afternoon bonus walk around the block, take a more scenic route on your drive home from work once in a while. “Even a slight change in routine can bring big benefits,” points out Dr. Baker.

9. Channel Carol Channing

There’s a reason grandes dames like Carol or your sassy great-aunt are so unflappable: Everyday annoyances are no big whoop when you’ve been there, done that. “They’ve learned what’s really important and, when faced with adversity, don’t ask, ‘Why me?’ but ‘How can I learn and grow from this?’” Dr. Baker explains. You’ll get there too…eventually. Until then, try to adopt that “so what” attitude whenever you feel yourself getting riled up about something small. You’ll be amazed at how well it works.

10. Say It to Make It So

Remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams? “If you build it, he will come.” The same thinking holds true with your choice of words. “Just as smiling has been shown to change your mood, language can do the same,” says Loretta LaRoche, author of Lighten Up. What you say and how you say it steers your state of mind. So when a friend asks, “How are you?” don’t refer to your usual script (“OK, I guess” or “I’ve got so much to do today”). Instead, say how you want to feel as if you already do (“I’m fantastic!”). “You not only convince others, you convince yourself too,” she says.

11. Take a Power Nap

You know you could use it, but you insist on powering through your day anyway. Bad idea, says Jyotsna Sahni, MD, a physician who specializes in sleep medicine and women’s health at Tucson’s Oro Valley Hospital and Canyon Ranch wellness center. Your brain needs a breather in much the same way your muscles do when you are working out. There’s definitely a point where overdoing it leads to diminishing returns. A little shuteye clears the fog and reenergizes you to tackle your daily tasks much more effectively.

But be sure to limit your midafternoon snooze to 20 or 30 minutes (set an alarm just in case), Dr. Sahni says. Any longer and “sleep drunkenness” will make it difficult to rouse from your nap and hard to fall asleep at bedtime.

12. Wake Up with a Hug—Literally!

Toss your covers aside, bend your knees, bring them to your chest and hug them close to your body with your arms. Hold the pose for 20 to 50 seconds, then release and repeat, says Yazzi. This stretch hits all the muscles in your body— and it feels great. What better way to start the day?

13. Go to Recess

Kids get a break during the school day. Why shouldn’t you get one too? So head out to your backyard, plop down on the grass and just chill. One huge advantage of the great outdoors: no power outlets. Just you and nature. Natural environments turn down the static of everyday life, wake up your senses and calm the constantly whirring frontal lobes of your brain.

14. Make Over Your Mindset

You spend your days caring for everyone else, and you know where that leaves you? At the very end of the line. It’s time to give yourself permission to cut the line for your own TLC—and don’t be stingy about it. “There’s a huge difference between self-care and selfishness,” explains Dr. Baker. “If you can’t be good with yourself, then you can’t be your best with others.” In other words, don’t let guilt spoil your self-pampering. Doctor’s orders.

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Craig Lamar Davis




Ronita McAfee

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All I Really Want is to be Happy!

Hello everyone! I hope you are feeling happy!

In my search for happiness I found this very interesting article addressing whether happiness is overrated. Humph really? All this time I been looking for happiness and come to find out that these people are sayin it’s over rated. Well no matter what they say I still want my “HAPPY“! However since it was quite interesting to me I thought it was worth sharing with you all! I also wanted to share a song with you by my girl India Arie of her first aalbum that helps give insight to living a happy life. That girl is deep! I hope you enjoy!

Is Happiness Overrated?

Study Finds Physical Benefits to Some (Not All) Good Feelings

The relentless pursuit of happiness may be doing us more harm than good.
Some researchers say happiness as people usually think of it—the experience of pleasure or positive feelings—is far less important to physical health than the type of well-being that comes from engaging in meaningful activity. Researchers refer to this latter state as “eudaimonic well-being.”Happiness research, a field known as “positive psychology,” is exploding. Some of the newest evidence suggests that people who focus on living with a sense of purpose as they age are more likely to remain cognitively intact, have better mental health and even live longer than people who focus on achieving feelings of happiness.

In fact, in some cases, too much focus on feeling happy can actually lead to feeling less happy, researchers say.

The pleasure that comes with, say, a good meal, an entertaining movie or an important win for one’s sports team—a feeling called “hedonic well-being”—tends to be short-term and fleeting. Raising children, volunteering or going to medical school may be less pleasurable day to day. But these pursuits give a sense of fulfillment, of being the best one can be, particularly in the long run.

“Sometimes things that really matter most are not conducive to short-term happiness,” says Carol Ryff, a professor and director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“Eudaimonia” is a Greek word associated with Aristotle and often mistranslated as “happiness”—which has contributed to misunderstandings about what happiness is. Some experts say Aristotle meant “well-being” when he wrote that humans can attain eudaimonia by fulfilling their potential. Today, the goal of understanding happiness and well-being, beyond philosophical interest, is part of a broad inquiry into aging and why some people avoid early death and disease. Psychologists investigating eudaimonic versus hedonic types of happiness over the past five to 10 years have looked at each type’s unique effects on physical and psychological health.

For instance, symptoms of depression, paranoia and psychopathology have increased among generations of American college students from 1938 to 2007, according to a statistical review published in 2010 in Clinical Psychology Review. Researchers at San Diego State University who conducted the analysis pointed to increasing cultural emphasis in the U.S. on materialism and status, which emphasize hedonic happiness, and decreasing attention to community and meaning in life, as possible explanations.

Since 1995, Dr. Ryff and her Wisconsin team have been studying some 7,000 individuals and examining factors that influence health and well-being from middle age through old age in a study called MIDUS, or the Mid-Life in the U.S. National Study of Americans, funded by the National Institute on Aging. Eudaimonic well-being “reduces the bite” of risk factors normally associated with disease like low education level, using biological measures, according to their recently published findings on a subset of study participants.

Participants with low education level and greater eudaimonic well-being had lower levels of interleukin-6, an inflammatory marker of disease associated with cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, than those with lower eudaimonic well-being, even after taking hedonic well-being into account. The work was published in the journal Health Psychology.

David Bennett, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and his colleagues showed that eudaimonic well-being conferred benefits related to Alzheimer’s. Over a seven-year period, those reporting a lesser sense of purpose in life were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared with those reporting greater purpose in life, according to an analysis published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry. The study involved 950 individuals with a mean age of about 80 at the start of the study.

In a separate analysis of the same group of subjects, researchers have found those with greater purpose in life were less likely to be impaired in carrying out living and mobility functions, like housekeeping, managing money and walking up or down stairs. And over a five-year period they were significantly less likely to die—by some 57%— than those with low purpose in life.

The link persisted even after researchers took into account variables that could be related to well-being and happiness, such as depressive symptoms, neuroticism, medical conditions and income.

“I think people would like to be happy,” says Dr. Bennett. “But, you know, life has challenges. A lot of it is how you confront those challenges.”

There is some evidence that people high in eudaimonic well-being process emotional information differently than those who are low in it. Brain-imaging studies indicate people with high eudaimonic well-being tend to use the pre-frontal cortex more than people with lower eudaimonic well-being, says Cariem van Reekum, researcher at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics at the University of Reading in the U.K. The pre-frontal cortex is important to higher-order thinking, including goal-setting, language and memory.

It could be that people with high eudaimonic well-being are good at reappraising situations and using the brain more actively to see the positives, Dr. van Reekum says. They may think, “This event is difficult but I can do it,” she says. Rather than running away from a difficult situation, they see it as challenging.

The two types of well-being aren’t necessarily at odds, and there is overlap. Striving to live a meaningful life or to do good work should bring about feelings of happiness, of course. But people who primarily seek extrinsic rewards, such as money or status, often aren’t as happy, says Richard Ryan, professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester.

Simply engaging in activities that are likely to promote eudaimonic well-being, such as helping others, doesn’t seem to yield a psychological benefit if people feel pressured to do them, according to a study Dr. Ryan and a colleague published last year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “When people say, ‘In the long-run, this will get me some reward,’ that person doesn’t get as much benefit,” he says.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to feel happy, psychologists say. Happy people tend to be more sociable and energetic, which may lead them to engage in meaningful activities. And for someone who is chronically angry or depressed, the goal should be to help this person feel happier, says Ed Diener, a retired professor at the University of Illinois who advises pollster Gallup, Inc., on well-being and positive psychology.

Surveys have shown the typical person usually feels more positive than neutral, yet it isn’t clear he or she needs to be any happier, Dr. Diener says. But there is such a thing as too much focus on happiness. Ruminating too much about oneself can become a vicious cycle. Fixating on being happy “in itself can become a psychological burden,” Dr. Ryff says.

Being happy doesn’t mean feeling elated all the time. Deep stress is bad, but the “I don’t have enough time” stress that many people feel while balancing work, family and other demands may not be so bad, Dr. Diener says. To improve feelings of happiness and eudaimonia, focus on relationships and work that you love, Dr. Diener says, adding, “Quit sitting around worrying about yourself and get focused on your goals.”

As always leave me a note to let me know if this blog was useful to you and forget your troubles come on get happy!

article written by: Shirley S. Wang

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30 Minute Meals: Healthy Eating for the New Year! Healthy Alternatives for Fatty Foods

Fatty foods are soooooooooooooooooooooo goooooooooooooooood, right? I know! When trying to get your weight under control or lose weight it seems that you crave those unhealthy choices even more.As my 15 year old says “It’s a struggle”. I definitely can identify with the struggle. Here are some low fat healthy alternatives to common foods that we eat. I hope these ideas have you in the grocery store pickin better choices in your food selections. Good Luck and may the force be with you.

Healthy breakfast alternatives

Avoid unnecessary fatty foods and high amounts of sugar to ensure a proper start to your day. Try these breakfast favorites to change your way of eating for the better.

  • Fat free milk instead of whole or 2 percent milk. (I can definitely feel  cutting back from whole milk to 2% but I’m not feelin that 1% or fat free if I want water I’ma drink some dag on water milk is too damn expensive to pay that price for the weak stuff!)
  • Egg whites or egg beaters instead of whole eggs.
  • Ham or turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. (Turkey bacon can be really good when cooked crisp but there is sometimes when nothing but real bacon will do.)
  • Kefir or Greek yogurt instead of prepackaged fruit and yogurt cups.
  • Whole grain bagel or toast with fruit preserves instead of white bagel or toast with butter.
  • Agave syrup, maple syrup or fresh fruit instead of store bought syrup.

Healthy snacks and lunch alternatives

Boost your health and power through your day with these energy-enhancing foods. Try these lunch and snack alternatives to help maintain your energy throughout the day.


  • A handful of almonds or peanuts instead of sugary protein bars.
  • Fresh fruit (apples, bananas, pears, berries, tomatoes) instead of candy or sweets.
  • Fresh, raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, beets) instead of salty, crunchy snacks.
  • Baked chips instead of fried chips.
  • Home-popped popcorn or rice cakes instead of store bought popcorn bags. (Some of the rice cakes they have out are just the bomb! It’s not even like your eating something healthy…my family loves the cinnamon drizzle, mint chocolate, caramel, cheese and sour cream flavors especially in the mini version. Aldi’s usual have a good selection at an very affordable price and Wal-Mart always has any flavor you could ever imagine.


  • Leafy green salads with light or vinegar based dressing instead of iceberg lettuce with creamy dressings.
  • Skim mozzarella or light cheddar instead of other fatty cheeses.
  • Light mayonnaise with olive oil or mustard instead of regular mayonnaise.
  • Whole wheat pitas and whole wheat bread instead of white bread. ( Watch the pitas, tortillas and flat breads if you are trying to low carb. Most of the time these foods have more carbs than a regular piece of whole wheat bread.)
  • Baked turkey or chicken instead of salty deli meats. ( Some of those seasoned turkeys and chickens are far better than the roast beefs and hams. Sara Lee has a BBQ Chicken that is to die for! I love making homemade chicken salad out of it) I made actually give you all the recipe later. My family loves it.)

Healthy dinner alternatives

It’s important to keep portion control in the forefront of your mind for all meals, especially dinner. By selecting healthy food alternatives and keeping an eye on your portion size, you’ll feel better and begin to lose weight at the same time. Try these healthier foods options for your dinners.

  • Lean ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken instead of regular ground beef. ( I myself LOVE ground chuck versus ground beef. Here”s a tip. When cooking ground beef of any kind, cook it in water. The water allows you to drain all of the fat right out of your meat. If you are cooking it to crumbled like in spaghetti or for tacos mix the water into your beef and sort of boil it. You can add your seasoning to it * add taco seasoning after the beef is done)
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables. (I love frozen veges they make all the difference in the  world and they have those very convenient  steam packs too. Yep they done made it real easy for you lazy cookers out there.)
  • Chicken breast instead of chicken thighs and legs.
  • Fish or tofu instead of red meat.
  • Brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice.
  • Whole wheat or brown rice pasta instead of white pasta. (You can’t even tell the difference between whole wheat or white pasta when it comes to taste)

Healthy beverage alternatives

The number one way to cut down on calories and increase your health is to eliminate soda from your diet. Replace sugary soda with water, sparkling water or infuse your water with strawberries, lime, lemon, orange or cucumbers to instantly boost your health and detox your body. Follow these simple tricks for healthier drinking:

  • Use fat-free milk, rice milk or soy milk in your morning coffee instead of fatty creamers.
  • Use agave syrup instead of white sugar to sweeten your coffee.
  • Drink vegetable juices instead of fruit juices.
  • Drink fresh squeezed juices instead of store bought juices.


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30 Minute Meals: Healthy Eating for the New Year! Fajita Style Quesadillas

Fajita-Style Quesadillas

Makes: 8 servings

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 8 mins to 10 mins


1/2 medium red or green sweet pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size strips

1/2 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 fresh serrano pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into thin strips*

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 6-inch white corn tortillas

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)

2 thin slices tomato, halved crosswise

1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro

Light dairy sour cream (optional)

Cilantro and lime wedges (optional)


In a large skillet cook sweet pepper, onion, and serrano pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat.

Lightly coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. On the uncoated side of two of the tortillas, divide half of the cheese. Top with onion mixture, tomato slices, the 1 tablespoon cilantro, and the remaining cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, coated sides up.

Heat a very large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook quesadillas for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until cheese melts and tortillas are lightly browned. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve warm and, if desired, with sour cream, additional cilantro and lime wedges.

From the Test Kitchen

*Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.

Nutrition Facts 61 kcal cal.; 4 g Fat, total; 6 mg chol.; 1 g sat. fat; 5 g carb.; 1 g Monosaturated fat; 1 g Polyunsaturated fat; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 2 g pro.; 41 mg sodium; 8 µg Folate; 0 µg Cobalamin (Vit. B12); 0 mg Niacin; 0 mg Pyridoxine (Vit. B6); 0 mg Thiamin; 0 mg Riboflavin; 292 IU vit. A; 11 mg vit. C; 1 Starch; 1 Fat; 0 mg iron; 54 mg Potassium; 61 mg calcium

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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