How To Be The Most Positive Person In The Room

I love this!  Thank you Lindsay Holmes of the Huffington Post. -- Dr. Dale


How To Be The Most Positive Person In The Room


No one wants to be -- or be around -- a Negative Nancy. Positive people encourage others to be happier and more comfortable with themselves because their energy is contagious. And with all the adversity we face in our lives, it's no wonder that kind of outlook is appealing.

Studies show optimism certainly has its benefits. And even though it's always possible to find the negatives in a situation, there are a few ways to cultivate the sort of mindset where you choose to see the positives. (After all, as Oscar Wilde once said, "We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.")

So how do we become a positive power wherever we go? Try these science-backed strategies:

Put kindness first.

We never forget the times people show compassion toward us, whether it's a genuine smile from a stranger when we look down, or a friend who surprises us with ice cream and a movie after we've just been dumped. And turns out, it's not just the recipient of kindness who experiences benefits -- research shows those simple, empathetic behaviors make us happier, too.

Talk to someone you don't know.

While we tend to ignore those we don't know, a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests we should be doing the opposite for the sake of our happiness. Researchers found that talking to strangers increases positive experiences through feelings of social connectedness. Step outside of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with someone new in the room -- you just might find yourself in a happier mood.

Go for a walk down memory lane.

Letting our minds wander back to our glory days has a way of making us feel warm and fuzzy inside -- and there's a reason for it. According to research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, feeling nostalgic about the past will increase optimistic feelings for the future (and as optimists well know, the best is yet to come).

Take charge.

Those with optimistic attitudes have an innate ability to bring out joy in others, and as a result, they're incredibly effective leaders. People who look on the bright side tend to be more inspiring communicators and have a way of rallying others around them to see the positive, Forbes points out. These kinds of leaders don't just know what it takes to get tasks done -- they encourage others around them to optimistically do the same.

Be mindful of your body language.

The secret to a positive attitude may just start with positive posture. Research suggests that uncrossing your arms, standing tall and having a more approachable demeanor can all be positive marks of confidence. Studies also show that even just the simple act of smiling can make you seem more open (not to mention it can also boost your mood).

Listen more than you speak.

Good listening skills are a quiet, yet coveted power -- and being a good listener also conveys positivity. "When you listen, you open up your ability to take in more knowledge versus blocking the world with your words or your distracting thoughts," David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism, previously explained to HuffPost Healthy Living. "You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others. Knowledge and confidence is proof that you are secure and positive with yourself, thus radiating positive energy."

Open yourself up to positive thoughts.

It's natural for us to dwell on the negative, but the truth is, we all have the capacity to look at life through a glass half full. The key to being a positive force is to open yourself up to like-minded thoughts. One way to do that? Practice gratitude. Studies show reflecting on what you're thankful for can make you a happier, more positive person. And when's the last time anyone hated counting their blessings?

Stressed? Think again.

This is a really great article about stress management.  Something we all should read. -- Dr. Dale


Stress-Free Is As Near to You As Your Own Thoughts


If you take a close look at stress over the course of a busy week, you're likely to discover that stress is happening in you far more than to you. It has more to do with the anxious way you relate to people and events than with the events themselves.

"We humans generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads ... linked to mere thoughts," states Robert Sapolsky, one of the world's leading stress researchers.

It's the way worried, pessimistic, stress-provoking thoughts ignite upsetting emotions that generate a sense of threat, when a real threat isn't verifiably present.

It's called psychological stress and it can flood your system with adrenaline and cortisol, sending your mind and body into an uproar. If these kinds of stress reactions become chronic, it will gradually wear out your body, depress your mood and could contribute to killing you. And it all begins with the stress provoking thoughts we think.

Recall the last time an email caused your mind to race with anxious thoughts, painting you mentally into a tight corner. This tight corner makes the world appear threatening, and we believe the threat our mind imagines is real. But it isn't real; it's the mind making up emergencies that the primitive brain assumes must be happening simply because you imagined it. The primitive brain possesses the intelligence of a two-year old, and when it senses any kind of danger, real or imagined, it sets off a fight, flight, or freeze reaction.

For the last 500 years, we've been quoting the great French statesman Michel de Montaigne, who said, "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened." There's now a study to back up Montaigne. This study found that 85 percent of what we worry about never happens, and that the 15 percent that does happen turns out better than we expect. We laugh at Montaigne's comment because we see ourselves in it, but we often miss the message.

So here's the message: most of our stress is a form of mental suffering we inflict on ourselves by believing thoughts that aren't even true.

I knew a lawyer who was in litigation over a dispute between two large corporations. There was a lot at stake and this lawyer, who I'll call William, thought he was losing the case. He blamed it on the opposing litigator, who he described as unscrupulous and crooked. William was stressed about the case and he was becoming increasingly difficult for his legal team to work with. He was taking the case home at night. He thought about it incessantly, lost sleep over it, and as his stress level increased, he began to lose his edge and make bad decisions. By the time I ran into him he was exhausted.

Biologically, where there's stress, there's fear, so I asked William, "What are you afraid of?"

"Losing the case, of course," he said glaring at me as if I'd asked a stupid question.

"And if you lose the case, what are you afraid of?" I asked.

"Looking like a fool," he said nervously.

"And what's the fear of looking like a fool?" I asked.

"I'll lose my reputation," he said, and I could see terror flash in his eyes.

"So what's the fear of losing your reputation?"

"Well ... I'll lose my clients ... and my job ... and my livelihood." All at once, he looked like a deer caught in headlights. When I asked him what he was feeling, he said, "I see myself pushing a shopping cart down Main Street."

You can see in his last statement how far the mind can travel when we are afraid and really stressed. This was the story running in the back of William's mind, and the more stressed he became the more he believed the story.

So, I asked William, "Have you lost the case yet?"

"No," he said, "it's still on-going."

"Any chance you might turn things around and win?" I asked.

"Well, yes," he said. "I suppose there's an outside chance. You never know what a jury might do."

Next I asked, "Do you really think people see you as a fool?"

"No," he said somewhat self-consciously. "People respect me."

"If you lose this case will you really be in jeopardy of losing your clients?"

"No, it's not very likely," he said. "Everyone knows you win some, you lose some." He began to breathe easier and the lines on his forehead began to relax.

"Will you really be asked to leave the firm if you lose the case?"

"No," he laughed. "They're making me a partner." It was the first he'd smiled in some time.

"So," I said, "It's safe to say that you won't be pushing a shopping cart down Main Street any time soon, right?"

"Right," he laughed.

So I asked William: "Who would you be without these fearful thoughts?"

"I'd be calm," he said. "My mind would be clear. I'd sleep better. My decision-making would be a lot smarter. And I'd be nicer to my team."

This had a happy ending: When William went back to work on the case, he was at the top of his game. He wasn't undermining himself with stress-provoking thoughts.

A better life is as near to us as our own thoughts. In the last twenty years, biology has established that the vast biochemical environment that constitutes our brain and body is shaped by our mental state. So, become keenly aware of stress-provoking thoughts and tell yourself, these thoughts are in me, not in reality. Then choose not to believe them. If you don't believe a stressful thought, it doesn't turn into stress and anxiety. The ticket to the health, wealth, and love we seek is cultivating a mental state that every day brings a little more peace into our experience, a little more empathy into our heart, and a little more gratitude into our attitude. This is how the door swings open to a better life.

Best time to go to bed? Hmm.

Thank you Markham Heid for this interesting article.  I'm all about learning about sleep these days. -- Dr. Dale


You Asked: What’s the Best Bedtime?


The earlier the better? 11 PM? Sundown? Sleep experts say it’s not that simple. But there is a time range you should shoot for if you’re questing for a perfect night’s sleep

Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight. Your grandparents (and great grandparents) probably adhered to that creaky adage. “The mythology is unfortunate, because there’s no pumpkin-like magic that occurs,” says Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. And while nothing special happens to you or the quality of your sleep at the stroke of midnight, many do wonder: What’s the best time to go to bed?

Walker says your sleep quality does change as the night wears on. “The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep,” he explains. Your slumber is composed of a series of 90-minute cycles during which your brain moves from deep, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep to REM sleep. “That 90-minute cycle is fairly stable throughout the night,” Walker explains. “But the ratio of non-REM to REM sleep changes.”

He says that non-REM sleep tends to dominate your slumber cycles in the early part of the night. But as the clock creeps toward daybreak, REM sleep muscles in. That’s significant, because some research has suggested that non-REM sleep is deeper and more restorative than lighter, dream-infused REM sleep—though Walker says both offer important benefits.

What does this have to do with the perfect bedtime? The shift from non-REM to REM sleep happens at certain times of the night regardless of when you go to bed, Walker says. So if you hit the sack very late—at, say, 3 AM—your sleep will tilt toward lighter, REM-heavy sleep. And that reduction in deep, restorative sleep may leave you groggy and blunt-minded the next day.

That’s unfortunate news for nightshift workers, bartenders, and others with unconventional sleep-wake routines, because they can’t sleep efficiently at odd hours of the day or night, Walker says. “The idea that you can learn to work at night and sleep during the day—you just can’t do that and be at your best.” Your brain and body’s circadian rhythms—which regulate everything from your sleeping patterns to your energy and hunger levels—tell your brain what kind of slumber to crave. And no matter how hard you try to reset or reschedule your circadian rhythms when it comes to bedtime, there’s just not much wiggle room. “These cycles have been established for hundreds of thousands of years,” Walker explains. “Thirty or 40 years of professional life aren’t going to change them.”

When it comes to bedtime, he says there’s a window of a several hours—roughly between 8 PM and 12 AM—during which your brain and body have the opportunity to get all the non-REM and REM shuteye they need to function optimally. And, believe it or not, your genetic makeup dictates whether you’re more comfortable going to bed earlier or later within that rough 8-to-midnight window, says Dr. Allison Siebern, associate director of the Insomnia & Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Stanford University.

“For people who are night owls, going to bed very early goes against their physiology,” Siebern explains. The same is true for “morning larks” who try to stay up late. For either type of person—as well as for the vast majority of sleepers who fall somewhere in between—the best bedtime is the hour of the evening when they feel most sleepy.

That means night owls shouldn’t try to force themselves to bed at 9 or 10 if they’re not tired. Of course, your work schedule or family life may dictate when you have to get up in the morning. But if you can find a way to match your sleep schedule to your biology—and get a full eight hours of Z’s—you’ll be better off, she adds.

Both she and Walker say your ideal bedtime will also change as you age. While small children tend to be most tired early in the evening, the opposite is true for college-aged adults who may be more comfortable going to bed around or after midnight. Beyond college, your best bedtime will likely creep earlier and earlier as you age, Walker says. And again, all of this is set by your biology.

Siebern suggests experimenting with different bedtimes and using sleepiness as your barometer for a best fit. Just make sure you’re rising at roughly the same time every morning—weekdays or weekends. It’s fine to sleep an extra hour on your days off. But if you’re getting up at 6:30 during the workweek and sleeping until 10 on weekends, you’re going to throw off your sleep rhythms and make bedtime more challenging, she says.


How Bad Sitting Posture at Work Leads to Bad Standing Posture All the Time

Amen to this!!!  I recommend something like this for your desk: click here - Dr. Dale




Looks like your mother was right when she told you to sit up straight.

There's growing evidence that good posture contributes to a range of health benefits, from reducing back and joint pain to boosting mood. Health-care practitioners from physical therapists to surgeons to psychologists increasingly take posture into account when evaluating patients, and offer tips and tools for improvement.

Good posture doesn't just mean standing with the shoulders thrown back. More important is maintaining good alignment, with ears over the shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over the knees and ankles. Body weight should be distributed evenly between the feet.

Seated posture, especially while using a computer, is critically important and deserves more attention, experts say, in part because it can affect a person's posture while standing and walking. Experts say it is essential to think about posture while walking, getting up out of a chair or using a cellphone or tablet.

The hunched-over position of the typical electronic-device user is of particular concern, and is sparking new back- and neck-pain problems in teenagers. A study of 6,000 Finnish adolescents found frequent use of computers, mobile phones, videogame players and television was associated with greater rates of neck and lower-back pain, according to a 2006 paper in the European Journal of Public Health.

Posture is "probably the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to health and wellness," says Allston Stubbs, an orthopedic surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C., who treats patients with back or joint pain. "We see the spine and overall skeletal structure being critical to a patient's functionality and their satisfaction with their life and health care."

Evan Johnson, of the New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center Spine Center, helps a patient, Josh Gordon, work on alignment. Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal

Because poor posture can often be caused by obesity or weak muscle tone, correcting it isn't a quick fix for many patients. Even for people in good shape, bad posture habits can be so ingrained that it takes constant vigilance to improve them.

Evan Johnson, head of physical therapy at the Spine Center, a back-pain treatment facility at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, starts scrutinizing patients' posture as soon as they walk through the door. "I will go get the patient from the waiting room and escort them back. As they're walking, you're evaluating," he says.

On a recent morning Dr. Johnson sat his patient on a bench. "Roll your chest up and forward. Sit tall through the top of the head," he said, gently pulling the patient's hair upward. "Bring your navel in." The patient, a man recovering from back-pain surgery who declined to be named, slowly straightened up.

Dr. Johnson then put a wooden stick down the back of the patient's shirt and asked him to stand. The stick was meant to remind him to keep his spine straight and bend at the hips as he got up. "Many patients, when they go from sitting to standing, they lose their posture. They slouch," Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson shows how an annotated map, right, can help locate the neutral spine position. Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal

He peppered the patient with questions. "Remind me again, do you commute to work? Do you have a bucket seat in the car?" Dr. Johnson asked. "When you have a bucket seat, your butt is way down," which can cause back pain, he said. He brandished a wedge-shaped cushion and asked the patient to sit on it, with the thick edge in back. "It takes the bucket out," Dr. Johnson said, so that "your behind is above your knees."

One of the most common posture problems, called kyphosis, is a direct result of spending too much time in front of a computer, experts say. The shoulders hunch forward, the pectoral muscles in the chest tighten, the neck and head extend toward the computer screen, and the spine is no longer vertically aligned.

Many deskbound office workers have started standing and walking in this position, too, says Andrea Cheville, a rehabilitation physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

To counteract kyphosis, it is important to stretch the pectoral muscles and strengthen the trapezius muscles in the upper back, which hold the shoulder blades back, Dr. Cheville said. Remembering to keep the ears and head over the shoulders, and not jutting forward, is also important.

Another common problem is lordosis, or swayback, where the lower spine curves inward, toward the front of the body, and the butt is thrust backward. Overweight people often display this posture, as do women wearing high heels, Dr. Cheville said. Losing weight, strengthening the so-called core muscles around the trunk and pelvis and wearing flat shoes can help reverse it.

New research is also demonstrating links between body position and mood. It has long been known that depression can lead to a slumped posture. But new evidence suggests the reverse is also true—that slouching can spark negative emotions and thoughts.

In one recent study, 30 people receiving inpatient treatment for major depression disorder in Germany were divided into two groups, and asked to sit in either a slumped or upright position. Participants were shown 16 positive words, such as "beauty" and "enjoyable," on a computer screen, and then 16 negative words, such as "exhaustion" and "dejected."

After each word, they were asked to imagine themselves in a scene connected with the word, such as a time when they'd felt depressed or beautiful.

The participants were then distracted with other tasks for five minutes, and afterward asked to recall as many of the words as they could. Patients in the slumped position recalled more negative than positive words, while those in the upright position showed more balanced recall, according to the study results, which were published this year in the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.

The study's main author, Johannes Michalak, a clinical psychologist at Germany's University of Hildesheim, said he became interested in the link between posture and mood after practicing qigong, a traditional Chinese movement exercise that he says helped boost his sense of well-being.

In a study published in the journal Biofeedback in 2012, researchers in California and Taiwan asked 110 university students to rate their energy levels, then walk in either a slouched position or in a skipping pattern. The students reported a decrease in energy levels after the slouched walk and an increase after skipping, the researchers reported.

Hey, you. Laugh more!

Why Laughing Is Healthy


Can watching a funny cat video at work actually improve your productivity?


A study presented at this year's annual Experimental Biology conference finds that when people laugh, their brains are activated in the same way as when people are mindfully meditating.

The study, from researchers at Loma Linda University, measured the brain activity of 31 people when they watched a funny video and again when they watched a stressful video. Researchers measured activity in nine parts of the brain. What they noted was that during the funny videos, the viewers actually activated their entire brains, with high gamma wave activity, as measured by electroencephalography, or EEG.

EEG measures electrical activity along the scalp. “The electrical activity translates to neuroactivity,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Lee Berk. Gamma wave activity is associated with increased dopamine levels and putting the brain’s cognitive state at its most alert level.

Berk explained, “What we know is that gamma is found in every part of the brain and that it helps generate recall and reorganization.” That’s why, he said, after people meditate, they feel refreshed and are better positioned to solve problems.

Not only can laughing help increase your awareness, Berk thinks it is likely to have the health benefits of meditation, like reducing stress, blood pressure and pain.

Berk acknowledges that more research is needed about how laughing can actually benefit our health, but he is optimistic about an area of science that shows real correlation between the mind and body. “We are looking at the keyhole in the door – and the light is bright on the other side," he said.

The bottom line, he says: "Humor is evidenced to have a therapeutic value.”

So next time your boss catches you watching a funny cat video, just tell her that you’re trying to be more productive.

The Benefits Of Sunlight

This is just so amazing.  The power of the sun is incredible on our bodies. Thank you Dr. Mao Shing Ni.

-- Dr. Dale.


Dr. Mao Shing Ni's Wellness Living: The Benefits Of Sunlight

SUNDAY, 27 APR 2014, 8:47:00 AM


With the beautiful weather of spring here and summer closing in, people are spending more and more time outdoors and the power and benefits of the sun are essential. A lack of sunshine can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Many centenarians understand the power of the sun. They rise at dawn, and sundown is their bedtimes. Sunlight, as we know, can either be helpful or destructive to our health, depending on the level of exposure.

The ultraviolet rays of the sun are a natural sterilizer, killing bacteria and fungus on the skin as well as promoting the production of vitamin D. It can also stimulate your immune system, raising the levels of natural killer cell activity.

However, too much sun can cause skin cancer, heat stroke, dehydration and suppressed immune function. Here’s why you need to let the sun in and enjoy it!

The Sun’s Effect On Your Mood

Sunshine increases the hormone serotonin, which is connected with feelings of happiness and wakefulness. It also regulates the chemical melatonin, which is associated with sleep.

That could account for why we may feel like sleeping more in the winter and not feel as elated and energized as we do at the height of summer.

The Wonder Of Vitamin D

As more research is done, it’s becoming apparent that vitamin D is something of a wonder vitamin. It’s not only necessary to make calcium work in our bones, it’s been linked to a host of health benefits such as stimulating the immune system, lowering rates of cancer, bone fractures, diabetes, heart disease, even anxiety and depression.

And the most attainable, absorbable source of vitamin D is the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It only takes 15 minutes of sunlight exposure to get a full day’s supply, yet according to recent studies, 75 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient.

Let The Sun Shine

Instead of hiding under a quilt, get outside. Embrace the weather. Try to take a walk every day, even a short one when the sun is highest in the sky.

It not only makes you appreciate the contrast of seasons, it elevates your mood and lets you soak up that beneficial vitamin D.

Of course, if you happen to live in the southern climes your concern could be getting too much sun. In that case, maximize the benefit from the sun by limiting direct exposure to thirty minute or less, when the sun is at its peak.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at contact@taoofwellness.com. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit www.taoofwellness.com.


Hello friends, how great is this article?  It's so true and very important to recognize. -- Dr. Dale


What Your Breath May Tell You About Your Health: 5 Conditions That Can Show In Your Breath


It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but we may not be too far away from having a complete health exam using only a Breathalyzer-type tool. The idea of using breath tests as a medical diagnosis dates back to Hippocrates. Around 400 B.C., he wrote a paper on breath aroma and disease. For many years, doctors have noticed how particular breath odors can be associated with a disease. Today, doctors are even taking the idea a step further by actually diagnosing illnesses through your unique "breath print."

Tools called mass spectrometers can detect the tiny chemical compounds in your breath, according to The Wall Street Journal. Scientists are beginning to decipher what these combinations mean and, in turn, are getting a better understanding of what’s going on inside our bodies. “Anything you can have a blood test for, there is potentially a breath test for, as long as there is a volatile component,” said Raed A. Dweik, director of the pulmonary vascular program at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, to The Wall Street Journal. Here are just a few of the many illnesses that may be revealed through your breath:

1. Lung Cancer

Scientists have already known that some animals are able to sniff out certain diseases. Working off of this idea, researchers have been trying to develop an “electronic nose" technology. This would work by detaching different profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath samples, according to the press release from 2013. Although researchers are not able to clearly identify which VOCs are linked to different diseases, the study suggests that it is possible for an electronic nose to differentiate lung cancer from different lung conditions and healthy people. Out of a group of 128 nonsmokers and 114 smokers, the technology only misdiagnosed 10 individuals. “We have shown that it is possible to use breath tests to correctly identify lung cancer with a high sensitivity rate. The results of our study take us one step further to understand this important new technology,” lead author Maris Bukovskis explained in the press release.

2. Heart Failure

One team of scientists was able to detect heart failure through an analysis of patients’ breath. The test was originally used to detect kidney failure using a breath test. The heart patients were merely used as a control. It did not take long for the researchers to realize that the heart patients also had their own unique “breath prints.” Their 2012 study could revolutionize the way that doctors are able to detect heart disease by providing a non-invasive alternative test for diagnosis.

3. Obesity

Another study, conducted by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, found that one’s breath could show how susceptible a person is to develop obesity. Researchers analyzed the breath of 792 participants and found that those with high concentrations of the gases methane and hydrogen had higher BMIs and higher percentages of fat than those whose breath had the normal mix of gases or a high concentration of either methane or hydrogen alone.

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4. Diabetes

A fruity breath odor, or one similar to nail polish, can indicate a serious problem in diabetic patients called ketoacidosis. This is a life-threatening problem that occurs when the body cannot use sugar as a fuel source because there is no insulin or not enough insulting. Fat is used for fuel instead. When fat breaks down, waste products called ketones build up in the body.

5. Kidney Failure

Breath that has an ammonia-like odor can sometimes occur in people who suffer from chronic kidney failure. This smell is also described as urine-like or fishy. The kidneysremove wastes from the blood. When the kidneys fail, also known as end-stage renal disease, they are no longer able to remove toxins from the blood. Waste builds up throughout the body, and one of the ways they are released is through the respiratory system in the form of bad breath.



Taivans I, Jurka N, Balode L, et al. Exhaled Air Analysis in Patients with Different Lung Diseases Using Artificial Odour Sensors. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. 2009.

Cikach FS, Dweik RA. Cardiovascular Biomarkers in Exhaled Breath. ScienceDirect. 2012.

Mathur R, Amichai M, Chua KS, Mirocha J, Barlow GM, Pimentel M. Methane and Hydrogen Positivity on Breath Test Is Associated With Greater Body Mass Index and Body Fat. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2013.

Lesson #3 {Mental Health}

Cross It Off the List


Samantha Bennett Creator, The Organized Artist Company

Consider the art of "selective neglect."

We know we're not going to get everything done today that we would like to get done.

We know that we're probably not going to get it done tomorrow, either.

So rather than walking around feeling bad about all the stuff we know we're not going to get to, let's do some strategic thinking about "the list" itself.

I've discussed before the the idea of moving your highest income-producing activities to the top of the list, and I still find that to be a useful tactic.

But what about eliminating some of the non-income producing activities entirely? (I know -- there goes your chances for being crowned Queen Perfectly Doing Everything.)

Seriously -- what could just go? And I don't just mean delegate, I mean eliminate.

For example:

    • Alison has an online grocery delivery service do the bulk of her weekly food shopping. Yes, this deprives her of the opportunity to squeeze her own melons, so to speak, but it saves this working mother at least two hours a week of parking, shopping and schlepping.


    • Nancy quit Facebook. Cold turkey. Probably gained her an extra 6-9 hours per week.



    • Jessica quit her church choir. "I loved the singing," she said, "But I was not loving the two-hour rehearsal each Thursday night. Being home with my family instead means we've started a weekly game night -- Bananagrams! -- and now in church on Sundays I get to just relax and enjoy church." So she gained two hours plus not having to be there early on Sunday -- probably three hours a week.



    • I put my husband in charge of all national and international events. I do skim the front section of the newspaper each day with one eye half-closed, just to stay abreast of the general news trends. But I realized that don't really want to take the time to learn all the details. Plus, I find the details depressing. But my husband reads everything cover to cover and is well-informed about almost everything and so, when I find myself wondering about what's actually going on in Tunisia, I just ask him. It's very refreshing to remain deliberately under-informed in this world of the non-stop news cycle. How much time do I save? Maybe 10 minutes a day plus a whole lot of brain space.


  • David sent out a hilarious post-holiday email to his family and friends saying something to the effect of, "Dear Ones, A better father would probably be able to get his kids to write thank-you notes. But I'm not that guy. So please accept this generic email as a sign of our sincerest thanks for the gift/card/well wishes you sent/made/delivered. We really like/appreciate/use it a lot. We love you. Sincerely..." This single dad's big savings was in deciding to quit nagging his kids. Again, some gain in time, probably, the bigger gain was in his newly-peaceful approach toward his kids.

So what could you just give up on?


    1. Look in the areas of your life where there are a lot of "shoulds" going on in your head.


    1. Be willing to sacrifice some pleasure for a greater good. All of the activities above were at least somewhat pleasurable -- Alison loves food and cooking, Nancy loved Facebook, Jessica loved her choir, I love being well-read and David loves having polite kids. But what if the gain in time or peace of mind is greater than the pleasure factor?



    1. Is the gain in time or peace of mind greater than the ego gratification? (This is a biggie -- so be gentle but firm with yourself in your answer to this one.) After all, it can feel pretty good to know that, "you did everything yourself, " or that "you stay connected online," or that "you sing," "you're informed," "you appear to have perfect kids." Your ego could take quite a hit, here. But there is great freedom in stepping down off the moral high ground.



    1. I would not eliminate anything in the arena of personal care. The time you spend working out, meditating and getting your hair cut is a valuable investment in your appearance and your self-respect. Clearly, this is just my big ol' opinion (and I suppose if you're spending an hour blow-drying your hair every morning or two hours a week at the manicurist keeping up your elaborate acrylics, you could consider an adjustment there...) but I really want you to keep your self feeling good and looking current. Not necessarily dressed in cutting-edge fashion, but in a style that is neat, clean, well-fitted to your lifestyle and, you know, from this decade.


  1. Try it before you decide. Consider eliminating something for a week or a month before you cut it out entirely. After all, if you really miss it, you can always go back to it.

So, what will you selectively neglect today?


No, Is The New Yes: 5 Tips For Scaling Back Your Busy Life

I love this!!  Please read when you feel the list piling up and weighing you down. -- Dr. Dale



Much of the fun in life is getting stuck in things -- parties, dating, working out, work itself, shopping, brunch, online research, social media... the list is endless. Sometimes these things are extremely useful, valuable and satisfying. Our spirit knows when this is the case, as we feel refreshed, content and rewarded. It makes us happy -- like the time we have coffee with the friend we have a soul connection with, the barre class we take where we love the music and really stretch ourselves, or the day we take a staycation somewhere new and find a fantastic book store or restaurant.

Then there's the rest of the crap we do. This "stuff" often isn't useful or valuable, and instead of feeling satisfied, we're left feeling neutral, indifferent, even hollow.

Picture an awesome day you had in your life. I bet it included people you love, an activity you love, or both. Sometimes, in the day-to-day of doing "stuff," we lose sight of the valuable and confuse it with the non-valuable. We say yes to things that don't necessarily serve us, connect with people who take our energy rather than energize us, and spend hours of our precious time doing things out of habit or to please others.

When we attach perspective to time, our time on the planet, we remember that time is more than precious. For this reason, time is one of my favorite topics. It's a completely nonrenewable resource, and when used and planned correctly, it's our friend, not our enemy (how often do we hear people say. "I don't have time"? That is enemy-talk).

There are two sayings I love about time: "Time we enjoy wasting isn't wasted time," and, "We say we are wasting time, but we are really wasting ourselves."

Paradoxically, these both make perfect sense. "Wasting time" with a loved one lying in the park reliving memories is a wonderful use of time if it serves you and feeds your soul. Trawling through tweets or Facebook pictures or online shopping sites for hours with no purpose is a waste of you. You know what's a good use of time based on how you feel doing it and how you feel afterward.

Here are five tips for scaling down and making the best use of your precious time:

1. Before accepting an invitation, think, "Am I genuinely excited or looking forward to this?" If yes, go for it! If you're not certain, say you will let the person know. If not, politely decline. A simple, "thank you so much for the invite, so sorry I can't make it" will suffice.

2. When there are many things going on, breathe, take a moment, and let your intuition decide what makes most sense. Yoga or brunch? Movie with a friend or two hours spent on your blog? We all have 24 hours in a day -- you know the best ways to spend yours.

3. If you feel bored or restless -- before you succumb to Facebook or scrolling your contacts for someone to call, think, "What do I feel I never have time to do that I could use this time for?"

4. Enjoy your down time. It's in the quiet, white space that many creative ideas and answers come to us. Enjoy "wasting time" being with an important person: you!

5. Remember the golden rule -- don't prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.

Time is your friend and it is on your side. Take good care of it, and it will take care of you.

6 Daily Rituals You Can't Afford to Skip

I love articles like this.  So true.  Thanks Diane! - Dr. Dale


6 Daily Rituals You Can't Afford to Skip


Posted: Updated: 

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Diane Gottsman Become a fanNational etiquette and modern manners expert; Owner, The Protocol School of Texas

1. A morning routine. Some people enjoy reading the paper and drinking a quiet cup of coffee, while others use this time to go for a run or exercise at the gym. A few simple minutes of food prep the night before, and setting the alarm for as little as 10 minutes earlier, will help set the right pace for your morning.

2. Prayer and/or meditation.  Studies have shown that regular mediation and/or prayer, can positively affect yourheart and benefit your mind. Taking a five-minute break at the office, or taking a walk around the building to clear your mind is a daily indulgence that isn't expensive or caloric.

3. Family rituals.  You don't do your best work when you are feeling guilty and distracted. These feelings often come from grabbing nightly fast food for dinner, skipping after school performances and sports, and missing important parent/teacher conferences due to working late. Even if your nightly dinner is reheated leftovers from the weekend, rather than drive thru fries and a soda, it "feels" better to be in control of what you are serving your family. This is where a concise calendar and time management system can be very important. A schedule of meals and meetings is less overwhelming when you can look at it, and helps you to plan out your week accordingly.

4. Commitment to perform at a high standard during the day. We often go through the day by the seat of our pants, counting the hours until it's time to clock out and go home. Rather than responding and reacting to whatever is tossed your way throughout the day, make a concerted effort to efficiently handle the daily minutia, and occupy the remainder of the work day thinking beyond what is in front of you, and creating a job you will look forward to coming to, day after day. Take a good look at what you need in order to excel and don't be afraid to ask your boss for the tools and training you will need to be your best as an employee.

5. Staying connected to friends. Designate a few minutes every day to contact one friend you owe a call, or feel guilty for not speaking with in a while. Deliver a quick "I'm thinking of you" message, send an email or text a friend to let them know they are in your thoughts. Just a friendly check in is more than a valiant effort for most of us. Your core friends will understand that you don't have 30 minutes to talk every day, and normally don't expect daily conversations. Schedule a lunch or go out to dinner with a group of friends once a month to catch up.

6. An evening power down.  Going strong all day leaves little time for communicating with your spouse, working with your kids on homework, or even taking a leisurely bath. While the bath may be a luxury, making time to check in with the people in your home is a necessity in order to continue to build strong relationships. Asking three simple questions, "What did you eat for lunch?", "Have you talked to your mom?", "What would you like for dinner tomorrow?" indicates you are present and interested in the other person. Create your own list of questions, but make a nightly attempt to communicate. Stay away from your email and off of social media for the last few hours of your day, dedicating it your family and yourself. You will find you have a few extra minutes without that last post, tweet or Instagram pic.

I publish weekly business etiquette articles on my blog, including topics such as interview etiquette, technology etiquette, email etiquette, and everyday social etiquette topics. Connect with me here on the Huffington Post, follow me on Pinterestand "like" me on Facebook at Protocol School of Texas.

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