Look On The Bright Side

Look On The Bright Side

 Pessimism can hold you back in life. After all, if you always assume that the worst will happen, you will always stay on the safe side. But taking risks is what life is all about. If you didn’t take any risks at all, you would never date anyone in case things didn’t work out. You wouldn’t change jobs because you might not be able to handle the new role.

Some people believe that they are natural-born pessimists. But if that were true, you would never have enjoyed the carefree and hope-filled childhood that you likely remember. So, if you want to regain that youthful optimism, read on. Here are some tips to help you become more of an optimist.

Learn from Past Mistakes

Past experiences shape a person’s attitude to life. So, if you have experienced disappointments or hardships, then it is only natural that you might have a more negative view of your future. However, you cannot change the past, so there is no point in dwelling on past events. Instead, learn from your mistakes and failures and recognize that you did eventually come through the bad times.

See the Good as Well as the Bad

If it is past events that have made you a pessimist, then it is likely that you are only focusing on the negative aspects of events. For example, you are only thinking about the pain that a breakup caused, and you are ignoring the good times that you had with your ex-partner. So, every time a negative thought comes into your head, try replacing it with a positive image of something good that came out of that situation.

Keep Things in Perspective

People who are pessimists are incredibly good at catastrophizing. If a pessimist has a bad day at work, for example, they will start thinking about losing their job. Next, they will imagine themselves being homeless and destitute and never being able to find a job again. When you feel yourself beginning to make a mountain out of a molehill, try to get things back into perspective. Don’t think about the worst possible outcomes; try to weigh up the situation logically and think about the most likely outcome.

Remind Yourself of All the Disasters that Never Happened

If you look back at all the times you thought the worst would happen, you will likely find that the disaster you feared never materialized. Indeed, if you did lose your job, you probably got a new job reasonably quickly. And, what’s more, you likely get paid more now, and the role is more enjoyable. So, when you find yourself in a negative thinking spiral, just remind your pessimistic self about how many times you have been wrong before!

Stay in the Present

Instead of letting your negative imagination run wild, try to focus on what is happening around you right now. While you are thinking about the bad things that might occur, you are missing out on all the beautiful things that are happening right now.

Talk Yourself Out of Pessimism

If you had a friend who was going through a tough time, you would try to help them through it and give them some encouraging words of advice. You certainly wouldn’t tell a friend that their current woes are only the beginning, and it’s going to get a lot worse from here! So, try to be kind to yourself, too. Instead of talking yourself down all the time, try giving yourself the same kind of upbeat advice that you provide for a friend who was worried about something.

Think Longer Term

If pessimism has become an ingrained way of thinking for you, then you probably assume the worst of every situation. If you want to go out for a walk, you will believe that it will rain. You may think you will make a fool of yourself if you go to a party. You may be right, but five years from now, you won’t even remember that you got soaking wet, and you will laugh along with everyone else about the time that you spilled red wine down your shirt at a party. So, try to remember that, even if embarrassing or painful events do occur in your life, they won’t last forever.

Make a Daily Gratitude List

Start each day by making a list of six things that you are grateful to have. Making a gratitude list will set you up for the rest of the day with some positive thoughts. Becoming an optimistic person is not all about changing who you are; it is about changing how you look at the world. So, when you start focusing on the good things in your life, it will help you realize that positive things do happen to you.

Tell Yourself That You Are Optimistic

If you walk out of your front door every day, convinced that you are a pessimist, guess what? You will spend the rest of the day believing that you are a pessimist! No label describes who you are, because you are an individual, and, like everyone else, you will have some good fortune and some bad.

Spend Time With Optimists

People tend to gravitate toward like-minded individuals. So, if you take a negative view of life, then it is likely that you have friends who do the same. Try to widen your circle of friends to include some more update optimists, because enthusiasm and optimism are catching on! If you spend too much time with pessimists, you will all convince each other that things are even worse than you imagined!

Conclusion

Of course, the above tips are not going to transform you into an eternal optimist overnight. Hopefully, though, these ideas will give you a starting point. The most crucial decision that you must make is to decide that you want to change your perspective on life to a more positive one.

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.” -Plato

Common Migraine Triggers

Common Migraine Triggers

Migraines cause excruciating pain and debilitating symptoms for millions of people and can have a devastating impact on quality of life. Learning to identify and avoid triggers is the key to preventing or reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. Here are some common triggers that could be causing your migraines.

Food

Food is a major migraine trigger for many people. Certain foods, such as coffee, red wine, chocolate and citrus fruits, are well-known triggers, but almost any food has the potential to cause negative reactions, including migraine, headaches, nausea, digestive problems and skin irritations. The best way to discover which foods are triggering your migraines is to keep a food diary.

Dehydration

Dehydration is another common migraine trigger and can be caused by a number of things, including inadequate fluid intake, strenuous exercise, excess salt consumption, vomiting, diarrhea, high fever and some medications. In addition, it’s important to stay hydrated during a migraine attack, as dehydration can increase pain sensitivity and make the symptoms worse.

Stress

Mental and physical stress can cause muscle tension in the shoulders, neck and jaw that restricts the flow of blood and causes pain. This muscle tension can trigger migraine and is difficult to treat, as pain-killing medication is often ineffective. Learning to relax is usually the best way to prevent stress-related migraines. Physiotherapy and some complementary therapies, such as deep tissue massage, acupuncture or acupressure, can also be useful for some people.

Screen Flicker

Smartphones, tablets, computers and television screens can also trigger migraines. Some people are sensitive to screen flicker, which can occur on smartphones, computer monitors and some television screens. Screen flicker may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but it can usually be seen when looking at the screen through a video camera. AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) displays are a big problem for some people, as this type of display flickers continuously. Screen glare is another common problem that can sometimes trigger ocular migraines and affect vision.

Fragrances

Some smells and fragrances can trigger migraines or make the symptoms worse. Chemicals and artificial fragrances, such as those found in air fresheners, cleaning products and perfumes, can cause nausea, headaches and other neurological symptoms, including dizziness and digestive problems. Using unscented products can make a big difference for some people. However, if you are unable to avoid the fragrances that cause your symptoms, your doctor may be able to refer you for treatment to help desensitize you to fragrances and other triggers.

Food, dehydration, stress, screen flicker and fragrances are common migraine triggers. However, each person reacts differently to potential triggers, so it can take time to work out what is causing your migraines. It’s important to seek medical advice and to get an official diagnosis, as migraine symptoms can sometimes be caused by an underlying health problem.

The Untethered Cook

The Untethered Cook

I like to believe we all strive to stay true to ourselves, to our own path. It is very easy to get pulled by others’ opinions and the need for approval, even if it comes from our own striving for perfection. This applies to all paths, cooking as well.

My philosophy of cooking with the seasons allows for inspiration, rather than motivation. Where does inspiration come from?  What does it mean to be motivated?

Inspiration is something that you feel on the inside, a sudden creative wonderful idea, while motivation is something from the outside, that compels us to take action. Inspiration is a driving force, while motivation
is a pulling force.

Inspiration is designed to help us get in touch with that inner knowing, and encourage us to celebrate the wondrous and precious gifts nature has given us. It’s a map, a guide, to help us along the way.

I keep this reminder on my kitchen vision board, to remind me of the place I am creating from. This allows for authenticity.

My inspiration comes from an ingredient grown in healthy soil that each season has to offer. Cooking in this way brings us what our bodies need, crave and deserve. It is the recipe for all the pleasures of the table.

Whether you are a serious artist, or a weekend amateur, remaining untethered to any expectation allows for a spontaneous, heartfelt  expression of our own unique beauty.

We all deserve a treat now and again… My Raw Blueberry Pie is a summer healthy indulgence. Blueberries are in season in NC through August.

To your good health…

If you are a curious cook,  join me on my Radio Show ~  “A taste for All Seasons” 

We explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons.

And… as always, l  will be sharing cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen.

Visit: A Taste for All Seasons Show Page @ WPVMFM.ORG and listen to the July show, for a delicious conversation with farmer Gaelan Corizine of Green Toe Ground Farm.

It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC.   

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. 

For more information, visit LaurieRichardone.com

For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit:
LaurieRichardone.com

A Practical Guide to Living with Hay Fever and Allergies

A Practical Guide to Living with Hay Fever and Allergies

Hay fever and allergies cause misery for millions of people. While summer is a time of joy for most people, many hay fever sufferers dread the seasonal symptoms. Some allergies are present all year round, and sufferers may find their lives being ruled by their allergy. Over thirty percent of people will be affected by hay fever or allergies at some point in their lives, with many of these experiencing symptoms severe enough to interfere with their daily routine, work, sleep, study or home life.

What is an allergy?

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts or responds inappropriately to a harmless substance. The human immune system is designed to protect us from harmful substances, infections, viruses, diseases and so on. However, sometimes the immune system misinterprets harmless substances (allergens), believing them to be harmful, and attempts to rid them from the body. This results in a variety of symptoms, commonly known as an allergic reaction.

Types of allergen

Airborne allergens cause allergic reactions in many people. House dust mites are one of the most common airborne allergens, along with pollen from grass and trees, which causes the symptoms of hay fever. Pet dander and mould spores can produce an allergic reaction in some people, although these are far less common than dust and pollen allergies. Certain foods can also cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms of hay fever and allergies

Hay fever and allergy symptoms range from a mild rash to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Hay fever symptoms typically include respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing, sneezing and a blocked or runny nose, itchy or watery eyes and an itchy mouth or throat. Some sufferers also experience tiredness or weakness.

Allergic reactions to other airborne allergens, such as pet dander, house dust mites and mould spores, are commonly similar to hay fever symptoms, although some people may experience other symptoms, such as hives, itchy skin or a rash.

The symptoms of food allergy can include itching, inflammation, skin rash, headaches, migraine, tiredness, weakness, wheezing or a tight chest. In severe cases, food allergy can cause anaphylactic shock,
a serious and potentially life-threatening reaction that needs immediate medical attention.

Avoiding pollen and allergens

Minimizing your exposure to pollen and allergens that cause an allergic reaction is the first step to managing your allergies. If you know that you are allergic to a substance, try to avoid it as much as possible. While this may be relatively simple for food allergens, airborne allergens can be harder to avoid.

Minimize your exposure to house dust mites, pet dander and mould spores by introducing a rigorous cleaning schedule for your household. Invest in a high-suction vacuum cleaner to keep dust and pet hair to a minimum. Some vacuum cleaners also have special filters to help reduce allergens. Treat any areas of damp or mould as soon
as possible, and avoid mouldy environments, such as damp forests and areas filled with wet leaves.

Avoiding hay fever triggers is almost impossible, but minimizing exposure to tree and grass pollen will help to reduce the severity of symptoms. Avoid grassy areas and places with a large amount of trees, whenever possible. Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to stop pollen getting into your eyes. Wash your clothes and hair when you get indoors, as pollen sticks to fabric and hair. Shut windows and doors when you are indoors to prevent pollen getting inside, and avoid drying clothes outdoors.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines can help prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms associated with most types of allergy, including hay fever. Some people experience side effects, such as drowsiness, although there are also non-drowsy antihistamines available. Antihistamines are available over the counter at most pharmacies, but stronger medications may be prescribed by your doctor.

Topical treatments

Nasal sprays can be bought over the counter to reduce respiratory symptoms, dry up a runny nose and prevent sneezing. Decongestant sprays and tablets can help to unblock stuffy noses, but beware of long-term decongestant use, as overuse can lead to the same symptoms that they are designed to cure. Nasal barriers are also available to prevent pollen from entering the nasal passage. Eye drops and sprays can help to soothe sore eyes and prevent itching.

Alternative remedies

Many hay fever sufferers find that eating locally-grown honey helps to reduce their symptoms. It is thought that eating local honey in the six weeks leading up to hay fever season exposes the body to small doses of local pollen, which helps to desensitize the body to the allergen.

According to some studies, antioxidants, zinc and quercetin (a flavonoid most commonly found in onions and tea) may also be useful in reducing the symptoms of hay fever and other allergies.

Some hay fever and allergy sufferers find relief using a range of alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. However, what works for one person does not necessarily work for everyone else. With alternative therapies, it is often best to try different therapies to see which works for you.

In most cases, hay fever and allergies can be managed successfully by the individual. However, if the allergy is particularly severe, or if it is having a detrimental effect on your daily life, your doctor may be able to refer you for immunotherapy to desensitize you to allergens.

Managing Our Emotions

Managing Our Emotions

Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems. – Epictetus

Consciousness is an unending tide of emotions. Every moment that we are awake (and often asleep) we are inundated with both remarkable and unremarkable emotions. All emotions are a natural part of our reaction to stimulus. Positive feelings such as joy and accomplishment can enhance and enrich our life experience, while emotions of fear and caution can help us navigate danger. The broad spectrum of emotions can be an intoxicating experience and allow us to fully engage and connect with the gift of life.

As emotions increase in intensity, we become more conscious of them and they can quickly become pathological. In Chinese Medicine, too many heightened emotions can become pathological and hurtful to the health of the body and mind in the same way a poor diet can make us sick. Too much joy can become manic and make us anxious. Too much bliss can make us gluttonous and greedy. Too much worry can become an obsession. Too much anger can turn into rage.

While it’s important to engage in each emotion so that we have a full life experience, it’s equally as important to learn to process and release them so that they don’t create illness. For example, in my acupuncture practice, I have found that people with chronic tension headaches or teeth grinding often have stored up anger and resentment. This is because energy flows throughout the body and negative emotions disrupt the smooth flow of our energy. Intense emotions act like a traffic jam in the body. Learning techniques to help us process our emotions is an important tool to avoid making ourselves sick.

One of the most important tools to help us move through our emotions is breathwork. There is nothing more powerful than this. Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique is very helpful for reducing anxiety and controlling or reducing anger responses.

To use the 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

empty the lungs of air

breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds

hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds

exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds

repeat the cycle up to 4 times

Movement is our best friend when it comes to getting our emotions “unstuck. If I find myself having trouble releasing nagging feelings, I will often do a quick cardio routine that allows me to move the energy through my body both fast and efficiently. The quick routine includes these exercises and can be done as often as needed:

30 seconds of jumping jacks

30 seconds of jogging in place

30 seconds of holding a plank

30 seconds bicycle crunches

Other important tactics to help us process our emotions include the following:

mental health counseling

journaling

yoga and Qi Gong

creative expression through things like art and dance

bodywork such as acupuncture and massage

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit acuwellhealth.com

Summer Beauty Checklist

Summer Beauty Checklist

If you feel like you could use a bit of a glow up, this beauty checklist is for you. It’s time to get ready for summer, show some skin, and jump back into your social circle.

From head to toe, we’ll get you back into prime condition.

Hair  It’s time to freshen your locks with a maintenance trim and color. Don’t be afraid to DIY if your favorite salon is booked for the next few months. It’s especially important to trim if you have bangs, which can look unloved without frequent shortenings.

Add a weekly hair mask or hot oil treatment to boost the health and shine of your mane. Many kitchen ingredients, such as egg whites or olive oil, will get the job done.

Face  How old is your makeup? It’s likely time to purchase a new stock, and maybe experiment with different brands while you’re at it.

Washing your makeup brushes with soap and water is another important step to avoiding exposure to bacteria, which can cause skin breakouts. Replace any broken or missing beauty tools as well.

It’s also time for a facial. If your budget can handle a professional facial, try to book one that offers exfoliation, extractions, and a gentle peel. However, you can certainly freshen your skin at home with a DIY facial. The internet is full of facial recipes from common ingredients. Just focus on cleansing thoroughly and moisturizing deeply.

Skin  For the rest of your body, exfoliate from the neck down. Gritty scrubs, such as coffee grounds, will sluff off all your
dead skin to give you a new glow. Follow up with moisturizer and sunscreen, as this fresh layer will be more susceptible to damage from the elements.

Clothes  Peruse your favorite stores in person or online to refresh your closet. You need a couple of cute outfits that fit well and make you feel excited to get dressed.

Try a curated subscription box if you’d rather a professional weigh in on what would look best on your body type.

Nails  It’s a good idea to file or clip your nails, both on fingers and toes, and get a good polish. Don’t forget to trim the cuticles and scrub away the calluses. Summer is all about barefoot beaches and walks in sandals.

Body  It’s also time to hit the gym. Set a workout time daily and commit to at least 20 minutes. Your body will be stronger and leaner by the end of the summer.

Supplements  Ask your doctor what supplements you might need based on your diet. Most people lack omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. However, your doctor can tell you if you are low in any particular area.

Building up your body’s supply of vitamins and minerals, as well as good fats, will help your skin, hair, nails, and much more look beautiful.

Although this checklist is for summer, it’s actually great to run through at the beginning of each new season. It keeps you fresh and glowing all year long.

UA-146562848-1