Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Affirmations, self-talk...etc .....etc

                          Image result for magazine cover about affirmations

I have already mentioned that I have a couple of affirmations that I have used, since my mid-20s actually. I kept those two because they work for me: 

  • "I believe in love, I believe in life, I believe in me"
  • "I do what I have to do willingly & cheerfully", which may sound a bit silly, but if you have to go to work, or clean, or do a social thing that you balk at, it really does help if we can be cheerful about it

Affirmations haven't always worked for me

But I have, in the distant past, done absolute overkill trying to get affirmations to work, such as adding my name, a time frame eg by "1st January 2000 I will be.........". Also I've done "now" affirmations such as "I am happy & have lots of money". I have "powered-up" with force, concentration, doing affirmations. 

None of these worked. Why? Because there are ways to do affirmations that really do work, & there are also lots of silly ideas too.

Here are a couple of secrets that I've found, some by myself, others by researching:

  • first, the affirmation has to be relevant, which sounds obvious. If, for example, you want to be rich but don't even have a job, then perhaps getting a job, or training would be better things to make affirmations about 
  • and, using the same example, do you actually want to be rich
  • Or do you want to have lots of money to spend? 
Generally, rich people don't waste money!! There is a difference between the two. So if you want to be rich but spend all your money all the time, the affirmations could be about:

  • saving money
  • being careful with your spending
  • growing vegetables
  • using what you already have (rather than always buying "stuff")
And, if these are the things that make you rich(-er), then affirming "I am rich" makes sense.

An affirmation "trick" for tiredness

Researchers at the University of Kent, England, have found that the symptoms of physical tiredness can be staved by simply repeating phrases to yourself like "I feel ok". Try it & see. 

Tricks to help how we feel

There is a highly lauded technique called The Lightning Process, which has been found to be miraculous for head injuries & fibromyalgia (amongst others). I don't know the full technique but basically, we can try something similar, so when your symptoms appear eg severe pain with fibromyalgia: 

  • you change your stance. So, if you are standing, turn & stand in another direction. Or, if you are sitting, stand. If you are stooping, stand tall. 
  • talk to yourself: "do you want to be this way?" "do you want to feel better?"
  • then bring to mind a colour, remember what it felt like when you were free of the problem
  • as you release the colour through your brain & body, bring those "good" feelings through your body, mind emotions
  • pause
  • say your affirmation, we will use "I feel ok" here, still holding onto all the good feelings
  • now, be aware of how you are in the present moment...this helps to "imprint" everything through the nervous systems. 

An easier version

Tony Robbins, personal mentor extraordinaire,  used to say that if you want to change the way that you feel, change your (physical) stance & it will change your emotions.

Be relaxed

Affirmations work best when we are relaxed. For some, it's necessary to learn how to relax first. When we are stressed, angry, anxious or upset in any way & we say "I feel ok" (for example) can that work? We are saying that we are one way when we actually are the opposite way in fight or flight mode. These are contradictory messages for our psyche, & we are creating tension by doing this. There is a wonderful old book, from the 1960s or 1970s, called Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz. It can sometimes be found in 2nd hand book shops & fairs, & although it's quite dated in many ways, the basic principles are still correct. Relaxation whilst doing visualisation & affirmations are the important criteria, according to this book.

These are a few ideas to start working with, or to consider. There are more.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A BIG secret to being youthful

                          Image result for magazine cover about looking younger

There are people who stay youthful....& it doesn't cost anything!!! They have found some of the secrets. There is one secret which is glaringly obvious, really, yet usually overlooked: it's about when, as one gets older, one sincerely tries to look & feel their best, be more youthful feel & look younger.

So often, people dress, act, & for & have hairdos, that they had in their youth, or when they were a few decades younger. B-I-G mistake. V-E-R-Y ageing. One of my kids, when she was a teen, asked me if women kept dressing, doing their hair & make-up, as they did when they were young. We were both looking at an elderly neighbour who was doing just that. I had to admit that it did seem to be true.

Which is a pity. Because it is so ageing. It screams: "I am old but I think that I am young & think that I look young!" And, you know, there are times when we feel old, past-it, but these should be fleeting things, not daily sensations.

  • If you want to look & feel younger...have a "current" hairdo. For example, if you look at "bob" haircuts since the 1920s....there are slight variations in the cut over the decades. To have a bob cut that is 10 - 30 years out of date, is not flattering. In the 1980s, frizzy perms were the rage. (so don't have one now!) A vintage hairdo such as a french twist from the 1960s, can look amazing on a younger woman...but when we're older?/...I think not. If you find a hairdo which is "you" can stay using it but...keep it current. I recently did a talk where I "set" my hair to look a bit more professional, because I'm useless with blowdrying my hair...then I messed it up a bit to look a bit more "now". (I think, hope, that it worked...)
  • The same goes with makeup.....eyebrows drawn in like a big surprise expression - old! Dye your eyebrows or draw in lots of little eyebrow hairs instead. Much more modern.
  • Lipstick drawn inside the lipline (circa 1980s?) - old! Horrible too. As we get older, our lips get thinner (which makes me very suspicious as to how Angelina Jolie's lips are still majorly puffy at age 40), so to draw an even thinner set of lips, is awful, ageing, unflattering. What we can do is draw our lipstick outline just outside of our lips so that they appear fuller, & use a lightish lipstick shade: instant youthifier!
  • Lots of blusher - old! Blusher is meant to be discreet & give a touch of colour, not look like a clown nor a makeup refugee from another era.
  • Eyes cleverly sculpted a la a previous era. Don't do it. Because it's ageing. Please don't. People don't walk around looking like that anymore.
  • And, women look after their skin now, rather than walk around with heaps of make-up, they have healthy-looking skin instead. Now, that is youthful!
  • Wearing old fashioned clothes is a real ager too. Old fashioned as in vintage, like 1970s & prior, now that's trendy, if the rest of you is modern. But overdressing = old! Truly.
Stay "current"

Look at women in their mid-20s to mid-30s to see what looks current. It actually is just a matter of being able to "see" an overall effect which is made up of a few details. The teenage look is always amazing...when you're a teenager. Otherwise it can fall into the (tragic mutton or) inappropriate look.

So, an easy way to stay youthful: be Now, be current. You will look & feel so much younger if you do this, & it usually is a process. I wear some similar clothes to 2 of my grandchildren who are in their 20s. I know I don't look silly & I'm always asking where they got their clothes from. Because I like to stay current. Be Now. And I get really upset when people try to get me to wear dressy clothes or clothes from 10 years or more ago. (I don't, won't, wear them!)

So be Now, be Relevant. Always. You will enjoy it.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

more choices

                   Image result for sufi quotes on choices decisions

It seems to me that my last post, on choices, might have not been quite as clear as it could have been. Basically when we have to make too many choices, our good judgement and common sense in making choices, this lessens, weakens, for example later on during the day, & we start making unwise choices as the day goes along, or come evening, when we let the kids do things we know we shouldn't allow, we can't decide between healthy & unhealthy food. The list goes on! 

So this is why we can make better choices when we are rushed, tired, under stress, if we have some things that are habits. Like kids' bedtimes, dinner decided earlier in the day, breakfast & lunch same but maybe slightly different each day. Takeaways for special times or when we just fit in cooking.

Apparently we usually have a repertoire of about 10 meals that we regularly make. If you add a choice of maybe 2-3 breakfasts, & the same with lunches...what we chose is depending on the seasons, I mean...who wants hot thick soup in summer? or chilled foods in winter? Straight up, just by doing this...when we get to the supermarket we know what to buy, what we need & we then don't hike up our food bill dollars by having to make on the spot choices.

Sometimes we have too many choices

I think that it's the same with everything. If we have too many clothes which don't mix &'s stressful just getting dressed! So unnecessary. Imagine how it is for young kids when they have too many clothes & they decide what to wear. Or too many choices in anything. How can  they be expected to always make suitable choices?

But we do need some choices

But I am totally into choices on another level:

  • my kids often decided what to wear when they were young, but, they didn't have endless amounts of clothes, and shoes
  • and they often got to choose meals. But not always
  • they had so many choices with playing & their friends. It was through these interactions with their peers that they learnt how to make the choices which built them as individuals.
Our choice are learning curves

This is the flip side of choices:

  •  our choices teach us in life
  • we learn about ourselves, about others, about society
  • we grow through good choices & bad choices

As a parent this is what I so wanted for my learn about life & themselves through experience & learn how to make their own choices, travel their own path. And I want it for my grandchildren too. 

To stand tall & to know who they are. To find & reveal their own uniqueness. This is real power. Although (apparently) I was a strict mum, I always wanted my kids to be true to themselves & to grow in that truth. Not follow my path, & not adhere to my truth.

So, for me, I believe that in restricting daily choices so that with the real things that matter, we can then make easier, happier choices. I can see with some much younger friends, that their children will have a happier adulthood because they have not been overwhelmed in childhood with too many (spoilt) choices. And experience & choices, & the aftermath of those choices, good or bad, taught me this.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

the dilema of choices

                      Image result for vintage children playing

Choices, choices

When my 2 eldest children were young, I was a lot stricter with them in many ways, than I was with my youngest. There is a big age gap between the 2 eldest & the youngest. But I was more strict about other things with my youngest. I think that I had just gotten older, wiser, & learnt a lot of lessons, so my emphasis on what was "allowed" & what wasn't, had changed. As it does.

But irregardless of all this: what was constant was choices. Choices that I, as the parent, made, & choices that they were allowed. Bedtime was non-negotiable. 

The 2 eldest had the whole army of neighbourhood children at our place, after tea, playing outside, running with the wind, laughing, climbing. Then it was bed. No arguments. Trust me, they tried: one was a balker, & the other a trickster, so often (usually) I had to deal with this. 

My youngest, when we lived in Northland, in the countryside, had the same "deal", but she had to be in bed by "1/2 past late", no matter what & I had learnt, finally, to give a child ample warning. I am a great believer in fresh air, playing, running, climbing, learning how to get on with other children. So within that arena, were my children's choices.

When it came to meals, the choice was to eat it, or not, but, there weren't alternatives. However, I honestly endeavoured to feed the children really healthy food that mainly included the healthy food that they liked.

It seems that when we make too many choices, our cognitive ability diminishes. What this means is: our memory (of what a particular choice produced previously), our judgement (is this right for me?), these attributes get smaller, have less impact on our emotions in regards to our decisions.

This is as a result of making too many decisions, which is why, say, we make bad judgements/choices at particular times. One of my danger areas for choices was at much choice!! But now I have eliminated this problem.... I have 2 poached eggs & toast if I'm out for breakfast or lunch. And usually Earl Grey tea with trim milk. And tons of water. Non-negotiable. This simple decision has eliminated so many bad aftereffects from cafe meals. I just do not handle rich food especially during the day. 

Often, talking about food still, we can get through the day making good choices, then come afternoon or tea or after tea....everything turns to custard, & out come our bete noir (black beast) foods & drinks, caused ultimately by having made too many choices throughout the day, triggering off less positive food hormonal responses & the cravings set in.

Find out what suits you

So how can we get around this? For ourselves, with diet, nutrition, way of eating? Why not try 1 meal at a time to get it right for you? It could be 2 eggs & a piece of toast for breakfast, or weetbix, or toast & marmite. Whatever. As long as it suits you, your lifestyle, wallet. A meal that keeps you going for at least 3 hours. Have a back-up meal or two for breakfast. I need my backup plan once a week when I leave home at 6am every wednesday to teach yoga. I have a piece of toast with peanut butter & a coffee before I go. When I get home about 8.30am, I have something else, like eggs or porridge. 

Having eggs for breakfast cuts down on the rest of your food for that day by about 400 calories, without even having to think about it. 

Eating porridge (whole rolled oats not instant which messes up with our blood sugar & makes us become sugar hunters all day) reduces our lunch intake by 31%. I found that I had to have equal amounts of oatbran & rolled oats for my porridge to keep my blood sugar stable. Or just oatbran. 

When you have got breakfast sorted, start on lunch. Find a lunch that you can take with you when you are out & about, say, shopping, errands, at work. Mine is a Vogels Very, Very Thin sandwich, with mustard, lettuce, & cheese. And a small carton of soymilk for extra protein. Glamorous? No. Exciting? No. Does it stop me buying rubbish when I'm out? Absolutely. 

During winter I had homemade vegetable or lentil & vegetable soup for lunches at home. I had to add a big dollop of cottage cheese to each one as I seem to need protein at lunchtime, but this week, inspired by a friend, it's salad & protein for at home lunches.

Some people need afternoon tea. I have tried nuts but they don't suit me too well. Some people have fruit, or a muesli bar, or cheese & crackers. Some protein powder, in milk or not, is a good idea as it reduces our evening appetite. Again, try different things. If you then go on to eat even more dinner, or have extra wine, or go hunting for food after could be that whatever you had for this snack is making your blood sugar behave crazily. Trial & error's a great teacher.

It helps to have a food system

Then all we have to do is make a choice for tea!! It will be easier to do this if you have systems in place for breakfast & lunch. And if we get stuck in "choices" for this meal, & it's a stress, we could always try what people did in the past: sunday=roast/tuesday=leftover roast & vege/wednesday= ....whatever you decide for each day to be repeated each week. works for some people.

A friend told me that Friday evenings meals in her home when she was growing up were packaged rice risotto & fish fingers. A family member used to do Maggi instant soup & scones on friday evenings. These might not be your choices, but not every meal needs to be a culinary delight, with a new dish every evening. 

I am off clothes shopping today. All the choices in those shops are overwhelming for me so I have decided to approach it as a "hunting" expedition, with the shops being civilised "calls of the wild". I think that it's the only way that I shall cope.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

more being youthful on a budget

                    Image result for budget beauty

I bought some yummy chocolate covered muesli bars recently & after finishing them I realised that I could have saved some money by having peanut butter or nutella on rice or corn thins. And also I would not have consumed so many unnecessary calories. 

Food additives are ageing

And I think that with staying, or becoming, youthful, we need to look at these little details. Nutella probably isn't the healthiest choice, but my very yummy muesli bars I bought were in a packet from a shop shelf, keep pseudo-fresh by use of chemicals. Chock full of artificial sweeteners. These artificial additions to our food do nothing really to increase our vitality, in fact, I often feel that they block our vitality by interfering with our body's processes, the natural chemical reactions of our body. 

Choose food which has the most life-force

So one of the first things that we can do, that fits in with a budget, is look for food choices that have the least chemicals, or, have the most life force. For example, if you are out & thirsty & your blood sugar is a bit low, so you pop into the diary for a drink: 

  • a fizzy drink would have very little life-force
  • a bottle of fruit juice would have more life-force depending on the juice, because it would have more vitamins
  • an apple would have the most life force because it is fresh & not tampered with, unprocessed. With it you could have a bottle of water. 
Choices, choices!! As we went down through these choices, we came closer & closer to youthful type foods, which are always the foods with the most life-force & which are also the best for you. (and the best was the cheapest). 

Even cheaper would have been to take a piece of fruit with you & fill up a water bottle from home.

In my research about anti-ageing, I read of a woman aged 69 who looked fantastic, with beautiful skin & a toned face & neck. She said that she had not had good skin in her 20s & 30s. About 20 years ago, she started having: 

  • porridge made with just 3 tablespoons of oatbran, & low fat milk, for breakfast every day, for health reasons.
  • then when she went through menopause, her iron levels dropped, so she started having chicken & spinach, every night for dinner
  • she never varies her breakfast & dinner, & said that since she had been doing this, her skin became lovely & stopped ageing. 
Oatbran & milk are cheap. And if you can't afford spinach, it's always possible to grow a pot or two of iron-rich silverbeet instead. I buy organic milk...but when my finances aren't so good, I buy the cheapest. Do the best that you can.

Budget make-up

I met a very glamorous & gorgeous young woman recently, & me being me, I just had to ask her about her makeup. The surprise was that she used a Garnier BB cream from the supermarket & a face powder from K-Mart that was only $3. Honestly!! I raced off to K-Mart & found the powder but they were out of my colour. And talking of K-Mart, they have cheap, effective face wipes, just $3, & I know quite a few women with nice skin who use them.

I knew a woman who looked many years younger than she actually was: she dyed her own hair & used a tinted moisturiser from the supermarket. She only ever used the same lipstick which was from the Constance Carroll range, very cheap. That range might be now discontinued. Twice a year she bought a mascara & eyeliner pencil in the Avon sales. I would do that too once but now I only go for make-up & skin care which is Cruelty-free. A friend says to use Designer Brand as it is cheap, good, & not tested on animals. Find out what looks good on you, & stick with it in a cheaper brand. At present I'm using 2 lipsticks from my sister's bathroom cabinet..the best "shop" that I know of.

Budget hair care

I would always recommend dyeing your hair yourself, unless of course, you have lots of money to spare. Basically you go by the number on the packet. I was using Miss Clairol number 6...they put another number in front of the 6, so it might have been 116. Now I prefer Garnier number 6, because it looks better on me. If you have cool colouring you can use a number which has the number 1 after it. So if Garnier had a 6.1 & I was a cool colouring, I would use that one. 

  • for cool colouring, look for the word "ash"
  • for warm coloured skin look for "golden"

In a pinch, you can even cut your own hair. Which I did recently, following a friend's directions (and, incidentally, these are the same directions that Helen Mirren gave about cutting her own hair!). I pulled as much hair as I could up into a ponytail on top of my head, & cut evenly across the top of it. This created layers. Then I took it down & made a little fringe. Not the best haircut ever, but I have been getting haircuts which look amazing, & I leave the hairdresser's feeling like a million dollars. Two days later I look ratty & sad because it was too complicated for me to do myself. Or I've been blessed with hack jobs. I much prefer my own hack job, for a while, at least.

Skin care

I was at a friend's place, she's a working solo mum who doesn't have much money spare. She has beautiful skin. In her bathroom was:

  • a supermarket facial cleanser
  • a Comvita moisturiser with SPF
  • and a body lotion from the $2 shop. 
Just the basics. I have looked at some of those lotions in the $2 shop...& was surprised to find that many of them had less artificial preservatives in them. 

You can also use grapeseed oil or olive oil. So. after your shower, when you are still wet, rub the oil all over your body, then lightly pat it dry so that you don't wipe it all off. If that sounds too unappealing, you can wet a flannel, tip on a bit of oil & wipe it over your dry body. A lot of the beneficial work of the oils is actually that they seal in moisture i.e. water. So it's helping the oil if there is some water to work with. If your skin is really dry, you can just add some oil to your body lotion. 

And in Victoria Beckham's beauty & fashion book, amongst all the expensive stuff she uses, was her recommendation for using baby oil as a body lotion.

At present I'm using a cold cream to take off my make-up...just because I hate standing in the bathroom freezing & splashing water over my face, which to me is misery personified. (It's still cold in Auckland!) I bought the cream at a $2 shop. Bargain. And I have convinced myself (so it may or may not actually be true!) that it's making my skin soft. And I'm using a baby body lotion that was in a $2 bin at the Warehouse. I'm feeling most virtuous with all this economy.

I read an article a few years ago, about a local celebrity who always looks amazing. She has used the same:

  • Fresh Nivea body lotion 
  • & Olay sensitive face cream, for over 20 years. 
That was the sum total of her skin care, including a cleanser. Not exactly top of the range, but she looks great. The whole point is: we don't have to spend a fortune to look good. Looking good, youthful, it's about other things, not about how much money we spend on ourselves.

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