Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks! Tips for Starting a Later-In-Life Hobby

By Aging No Comments

Most of us, when we were growing up, had hobbies. Some of us collected stamps or coins, others rode horses, and still others liked to draw or bake. But then we grew up and our world became filled with work and family responsibilities, and we had little time to do the things we once loved.

And that’s too bad, because hobbies are essentially a way for us to play as adult. We don’t pursue needlepoint to become famous or to make millions of dollars (if only!), we partake in hobbies for the pure pleasurethey bring to us.

Happiness isn’t just nice to feel, happiness actually makes us healthier and live longer! A study found that older people who are happy have a 35% lower risk of dying over a five-year period than unhappy people. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But I’m Too Old to Pick Up a Hobby

Rubbish.

Did you know that Winston Churchill didn’t start painting until he was in his middle years? He absolutely fell in love with it. In a small book called Painting as a Pastime, he wrote:

“… There is no subject on which I feel more humble or yet at the same time more natural. I do not presume to explain how to paint, but only how to get enjoyment.” [and then later in the book] “We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box…”

Whether it’s painting, ceramics, photography, Italian cooking, writing poetry, or scrapbooking – or something else entirely – pick something you’ve always wanted to do and just try it.

Getting Started

Okay, let’s set you out on your new journey of growth, discovery, and joy! Here are some steps you can take to get started.

1. Brainstorm – If you aren’t exactly sure what kind of hobby you would enjoy, spend some time making a list of things you have enjoyed in the past. Maybe you like music or you’ve always liked being outdoors.

2. Research – To narrow your list, do some research on things like cost and time needed for these hobbies. This is good to know before you dive in.

3. Don’t listen to others – Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you’re foolish for wanting to learn to Salsa dance or kayak “at your age.” These people are to be pitied, not listened to.

4. Be honest with yourself – Maybe you’ll love the hobby you choose and maybe you’ll want to try something else. The idea here is to play and explore yourself.

It is never to old to begin a new journey. I wish you an exciting one!

Could Your Family Benefit from Family Counseling?

By General, Parenting No Comments

Does your family love and support one another unconditionally? Do you have fun together? Do you find talking with your spouse and children is easy and effective?

If you had to really pause and think about your answers to these questions, there’s a chance your family may not be as cohesive as you once thought or hoped. And that’s okay, not every family acts like something out of a 1950s television sitcom. Most have their own fair share of problems.

If you’ve never considered working with a therapist before, here are some benefits of family therapy:

Improved Communication

There aren’t many families out there that have flawless communication skills. It’s actually far more common for family members to feel that they can’t open up to one another. This of course leads to a disconnect between spouses or parents and children.

A family therapist can facilitate effective and respectful communication between your family members.

You’ll Understand Your Kids Better

Do you find yourself going slightly insane in an attempt to understand why your one child lies so much? Are you scratching your head as to why your other child is constantly hitting your first child?

We all think because our kids are made from our DNA that we’ll have some magical insights into why they do what they do. Nope. The truth is, most parents are in a constant state of stupefaction over their child’s behavior.

Family therapy will help your child feel safe enough to express their thoughts and feelings, giving you many A-ha moments.

Help Your Kids with Self-Esteem Issues

Healthy self-esteem is the foundation for a successful life. But unfortunately, many kids grow up feeling less than confident or good about themselves. A child with self-esteem issues may be the product of a parent with self-esteem issues.

The great news is, a family therapist can help both children and their parents build up their self-esteem to become happier individuals and, a happier family.

Help You Deal with Grief

Whether it’s a divorce or the loss of a loved one, most families are ill-equipped to handle loss, especially sudden loss. A family therapist can guide each one of your family members through the stages of grief so they can heal.

If you’re interested in exploring treatment options, please get I touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

 

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Pets Are Better Than Medication

By General No Comments

Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.”

– Thom Jones

For many of us, our home is just a house unless there is something with four legs and a tail sharing the space with us. Our pets are not only cuddly and cute, they give us unconditional love.

But it turns out our pets actually offer us more than “just” unconditional love; they seem to also have the ability to help our physical and mental well-being.

Research has found that the bond we share with our animals can do everything from improve our cardiovascular health to lower our cholesterol and decrease our blood pressure.

Beyond these physical health benefits, our animal companions can help our mental and emotional life as well. Here are some ways your pet is better than medication.

Our Pets Teach Us Mindfulness

Have you ever just watched your dog or cat find a swath of sun as it streams into your house in the afternoon? They seem to luxuriate in the warmth and energy of the sun in those moments. Nothing else matters to them but enjoying the feeling of the sun on their body.

Our pets can teach us how to be more mindful and enjoy every moment of our life if we let them. Studies have shown that mindful meditation, which simply means to be fully in the present moment, helps alleviate stress and anxiety.

Let your pets be an example and try and spend more time just “being” instead of “doing” so much.

Pets Relieve Stress

Let’s face it, each of us faces our fair share of stress in life. But research has shown that our dogs and cats act as de-stressors. This is why a growing number of companies such as Atlantic Health System, Mars Inc., Amazon, and Etsy, to name a few, are allowing employees to bring their dog to work.

College students are a segment of the population that also feels a lot of stress. When the University of British Columbia brought therapy dogs on campus, allowing a group of 246 students to pet and cuddle them, the students reported their stress levels decreased significantly after the interaction.

Pets Offer Empathy

There are numerous accounts of war veterans who, when they experience pain and agitation, are comforted by their service dog who will run into the room, somehow sensing their need for empathy.

Recent findings from the University of Vienna suggest that dogs can sense emotions and even differentiate between good and bad ones. There are numerous reports of cats living in nursing homes, sensing when someone is about to pass and going to lie on their bed.

The long and short of it is, when we are feeling tired, scared, sad and alone, our pets are there to remind us that we are not alone and that they love us very much. For those of you who have pets, hold them tight and show them your appreciation. For those of you that don’t have pets, it may be time to take a trip to the local shelter.

 

How to Kick the Cravings and Retrain Your Tastebuds for a Healthier Diet

By Nutrition No Comments

Do you tend to opt for a donut and vanilla latte in the morning? Does your lunch typically include a soda? Do you always have dessert with dinner and maybe even a sweet treat before bed?

Do you also find that the more sugary foods you eat, the more you crave them and the hungrier you feel?  It is indeed a vicious cycle!

The good news is, there are actual ways you can STOP the cravings for sweets and junk food and retrain your tastebuds to want healthy foods. Use the following tips to help you get healthy once and for all!

Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

When we eat foods high in simple carbohydrates like pasta and bread, it causes a blood sugar spike, which leads to more sugar cravings. In order to get a handle on your tastebuds and overall health, you really need to cut out refined carbs and replace them with complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and brown rice.

Eat More Protein

Research has uncovered an interesting fact: your body will force you to eat in order to get enough protein! That’s why when you eat a lot of carbs you still feel really hungry and keep eating. It’s because your body NEEDS way more protein to be healthy than you are giving it. Eat more quality protein from meats, eggs, and dairy. You’ll find that a lot of your cravings will quickly subside and you’ll feel fuller longer.

Eat More Healthy Fats

Healthy fats found in foods like fatty fish, eggs, nuts, and avocados are important for your overall health. And, like protein, they will help to satiate you. Fat is also important for brain health. Many mood disorders, like depression, stem from a lack of healthy fats in the diet. When we feel depressed or anxious, we tend to reach for unhealthy comfort foods laden with trans fats and refined sugars. So be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats.

Stay Hydrated

We think of hydration as getting enough water in the diet. But hydration is about ensuring we have a proper balance of electrolytes. Just as our body will crave all kinds of foods in an effort to get enough protein, it will also try to get you to eat to get enough salt and other important electrolytes like calcium and potassium. Try using sea salt instead of refined table salt, and/or opt to take an electrolyte supplement every day.

When you know WHY your body is craving certain foods – because it is trying to get you to eat what it REALLY needs – then you can take the appropriate steps to stop the cravings and get healthy once and for all!

 

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