Journaling Your Thoughts, Dreams, and Worries

Writing is a cheap, flexible, private and portable vice. In spite of what you may think, it requires no particular skills or talents.

Journaling is something that has been an on and off relationship for me. I love to write down my feelings and what events happen in my life, but I often forget. As it turns out, there are many health benefits to journaling. The one that stands out to me without any research from the internet is the ability to give yourself peace of mind before you turn in for the night. It helps to write down whatever is on your mind and get them out of there before they start piling up onto whatever enters your mind tomorrow. For some inspiration, take a look at the Smash Book Brandi started!

On DeepMeditation.net, I found many reasons as to why journaling is so beneficial for us. As well as making journaling not seem like a chore, but rather a reward for yourself.

The Benefits of Journaling

  • It is a companion and best friend
  • Improves mental health
  • Improves communication skills
  • Releases pent-up emotions
  • Encourages reflection
  • Clears the mind
  • It is empowering
  • Helps in the healing process

“Writing dissolves some of the barriers between you and others. If you write, it’s easier to communicate with others.”
– James Pennebaker, the author of Writing to Heal

The main idea behind journaling is learning how to open up about yourself and the issues and situations in your life. For some people this takes a fair amount of practice, while others do it quite naturally. Once you begin, you will observe that the process of expressing your feelings will make you feel better.

There are really no rules to keeping a journal, only suggestions. A journal can be anything you want it to be and there are many types of journals. For example, there are observation journals, travel journals, dream journals and gratitude journals. In the tradition of the Quaker diaries, Oprah Winfrey has long kept a gratitude journal. “I have kept a journal since I was 15 years old,” she has said. “As I’ve grown older, I have learned to appreciate living in the moment.” At night, she lists a minimum of five things she’s grateful for—no matter how small. She says that it’s been instrumental to her success. “What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. I believe that if you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see the universe is abundant,” she adds.

Journaling is a healthy way to cope during stressful times. It could inspire you to enjoy the lifelong habit of journaling regardless of stress. The important thing is that you write from a deep place because the process is about having an authentic relationship with yourself. The more comfortable you are with your true self, the easier it will be for you to handle stress. Part of this process involves trusting your inner wisdom, intuition and heart. If you do this, your true inner voice will emerge on the page.

Not sure how to get going? Here are some tips:

How to Start Journaling

  • Buy a journal and pen that feel comfortable for you
  • Find a safe and quiet place to journal
  • Use a centering ritual (cup of tea, burning a candle, meditation)
  • Date your entries
  • Establish a routine; journal at the same time each day
  • To start journal for 15-20 minutes
  • Write without editing or censoring

Some Journaling Prompts

  • Write about a recent upheaval
  • Write a letter to someone alive or deceased
  • Write about your first memory
  • Describe your first room
  • Write about what makes you happy
  • Write about what makes you angry
  • Write about your accomplishments.
  • Write about a book which changed your life and why
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The Speech That Reminds Us To Live

I know many of you out there have seen this speech, but it is one that I constantly go back to, to remind me that this life is mine, and I need to live it! There are times when I start to question the direction I am heading or maybe the corner I have been backed into and I need to realize that I totally have control of the wheel! If you have already seen Steve Jobs commencement speech, watch it again…guaranteed to motivate you for a great week to come. If you haven’t seen it yet, please enjoy and take in every word. 🙂

Fashion Friday: Mustard Yellow

Now I know that this color to many people is something they would probably NEVER consider allowing into their wardrobe, but honestly it’s one of my favorite colors and I get plenty of compliments when I wear it. There are so many cute ways to incorporate it into your wardrobe without looking like a walking condiment bottle. Here are a few ideas.

Wellness Wednesday: Fast Food Sucks!!!

Every corner there seems to be a fast food restaurant and at times you can’t help but pull into the drive-thru. Schedules can become busy and the first thing most people seem to do is put a healthy diet on the back burner. Doing some research on the internet, I found a website that lists some of the effects that fast food may put on not only your body but also your mind.  Next Wednesday, we will have quick healthy snacks that you can make so that you can drive past the drive-thru!! Take a look at what fitbodylife had to say about fast food and the yuck that comes with it!!

The ill effect of fast food and the potential danger that it possesses by its regular consumption is shocking. Obesity, increase in cholesterol levels, nutritional deficiencies, cardiac disorders, loss of muscle mass, depression and even sexual dysfunction, can all be caused by eating fast food on a regular basis. Soaked in trans fat and loaded with calories, fast foods are labeled as ‘health hazards’ by many leading medical professionals. Listed below are some of hazardous health effects of fast food consumption.

10 Negative Health Effects of Fast Food

#1 – Headaches
The processed meat used in fast food contain nitrates, nitrites, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate which increase blood flow and can trigger a migraine attack. Additives are used to keep the meat fresh and to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum the bacteria which causes food poisoning. The increased blood flow can cause excessive pressure to build up in the head and can lead to headaches or a feeling of a hangover.

#2 – Collection of Trans Fat
The processed food used in the fast food industry is loaded with trans fat, which not only increases the ‘bad cholesterol’ (Low Density Lipoprotein) levels but also reduces the ‘good cholesterol’ (High Density Lipoprotein) levels. Processed meat used by fast food industries can sometimes have 45% more trans fat than their natural counterparts.

#3 – Increased Cholesterol Levels
Consuming fast foods leads to an increased intake of cholesterol which is highly dangerous for humans. The cholesterol molecules attach themselves to the arteries which leads to their thickening or clogging. This can cause obstructed blood flow which can lead to high blood pressure. If cholesterol accumulates in one of the main arteries it can lead to a blockage, when an artery is completely blocked it can lead to heart attacks or complete heart failure.

#4 – Depression
Depression is one of the many negative effects of fast food. This emotional condition has been linked to regular consumption of fast foods by a study done by the University College of London. According to the study, people who indulge in fast foods regularly are 58% more likely to suffer from depression. Fast foods do not contain antioxidants, foliate and omega -3s which is necessary for good mental health. Fast foods contain preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers and flavor enhancers which can affect the mental well being of the person.

#5 – Excessive Sodium Intake
Fast foods contain high amounts of sodium which can lead to hypertension and high blood pressure. Although small amounts of sodium is needed for bodily functions, consuming too much can lead to not just high blood pressure, but build up of fluids in people who are suffering from liver cirrhosis, congestive heart failures or kidney ailments.

#6 – Sexual Dysfunction
What we eat affects our physical, mental, and sexual health. Fatty acids found in fast foods are a major contributor to sexual dysfunction, not only does it cause weight gain but can trigger biochemical changes which effect libido, sperm count and female ovulation.

#7 – Food Poisoning
Even if we overlook the dangers posed by low fiber, trans fat and high calories, fast food pose another problem, food poisoning. The processed meat is many times contaminated with manure which contains Escherichia Coli and Salmonella. E.Coli is considered very difficult to treat and sometimes referred to as the worst sort of food poisoning. Even after antibiotics kill the bacteria, the toxins released by it can produce harmful effects. This disease is usually spread through undercooked hamburgers and is a leading cause of renal failure among American kids.

#8 – Addictive Nature of Fast Foods
According to the Science Daily, high levels of sugar and fat can cause blood sugar to spike and then crash suddenly. The patrons of fast food feel a sudden rush of euphoria when this happens making them dependent on the euphoric effects of insulin surges. Therefore one of the harmful effects of fast food consumption is the addiction or the incessant craving it causes among people.

#9 – PFCA Contamination
The wrappers used in the fast food industry are coated with perfluoroalkyls (PAC) which prevents the grease from leaving through. These have been proven to get inside the human body and change into more harmful forms which can lead to many health complications. The wrappings used in fast food industry are a significant and indirect source of PFCA contamination.

#10 – Weight Gain
Studies have found a direct link between fast food consumption and weight gain and increased Body Mass Index (BMI). The high levels of trans fat and calories present in fast foods leads to accumulation of abdominal fat and even insulin resistance which is an early indicator of diabetes. Obesity has been ranked the number one health threat for Americans; it is also the second leading cause of preventable death in United States which claims up to 400,000 lives a year. Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart problems, hyper tension, blocked arteries, increase in cholesterol levels, malnutrition, loss of muscle mass and depression.

Fast food addiction can lead to an unhealthy and depressive sedentary lifestyle, to prevent this it’s recommended to switch to a healthy and balanced diet along with regular exercise. Hopefully, this article on the health effects of fast food consumption has been informative. Remember the key to happiness is a healthy lifestyle.

Tutorial Tuesdays: Striped Anchor Tote Bag

Anchors are my thang! (I even have a tattoo) So when I had a chance to make a craft project at work, I of course had to make something fun to take to the beach. So I sketched out my project and it luckily came out exactly how I expected it to. I wish I could have taken better pictures but it wasn’t possible with how busy I was at work.

Items used for this project:
Tulip Soft Paints: Turquoise, Holiday Green, & Mandarin Orange
Tulip Slicks: Turquoise
Tulip Fashion Glitter: Turquoise & Glitter Bond
Tote Bag
Painters Tape
Freezer Paper
Felt
Exacto Knife
Paint Brush
Rope

I first used painters tape to make 2″ stripes across the bag and painted the stripes Mandarin Orange.

Once it’s dry, I removed the tape. I used an exacto blade to cut out an anchor from freezer paper. Ironed on the freezer paper to the bag. I then mixed the Holiday Green and Turquoise Soft Paints( to match the color of the Turquoise Slick paint) to paint the anchor. Once it’s dry, remove the freezer paper and outline with the Slicks 3D paint.

With the felt, I cut out a smaller anchor and covered both sides with the turquoise glitter. I then cut a small hole with the exacto blade to string to the tote bag.

Motivation, Inspiration, & Conversation

Let’s welcome Monday with a big round of applause! This weekend went by in a flurry, bringing us to Monday a little too quickly for my taste, but all is well. At least when it’s Monday, you know another weekend is around the corner. This Monday we give you some images and quotes that may start a conversation with you and a friend or even with us! Take a good look at what we pulled from the wonderful tumblr of i am that girl. If you do anything this Monday check out I Am That Girl’s website because they are all about motivating women and young girls of all ages, ethnicities, classes, and religions. Happy Monday and tell us what plans you have for this week!!!

This one's for you Brandi 🙂

 

Fashion Friday: Leopard Print

It’s just about impossible for me to walk past something leopard print and not stop to contemplate on purchasing it or not. My collection of leopard print clothing is starting to get out of control.  The one problem with leopard print is that there is a fine line between fashionable and trashy. But when done right, it can be very stylish! Here are some ideas on how to wear leopard print without looking like Peg Bundy from Married With Children.

 

Get catty and have a great Friday! =)

Thing to do Thursday: DANCE DANCE DANCE!!!

Dancing is great, whether it's by yourself or with someone you love.

This Thursday you should dance. Plain and simple. It has been a goal of mine for some time now to dance at least five minutes every day. No, I am not running into a club and gettin my groove on, but I am dancing everywhere. My iPod has become my right hand man with playlists such as: Old School, Beats, Me Music, Gangsta, Rock Out, and Relax. When one of these playlists come on I start to shake the youth and fun back into my life. I am a dork and I dance like one and I LOVE it! Dancing makes every mundane task turn into something a little more exciting!

Where can you dance and when?

Dance while brushing your teeth
Cleaning the house
Doing yard work
Dance out of bed in the morning
Dance your way to a hug
Dance on the way out of your office

Who do I dance with?

Dance by yourself (the absolute best and easiest option)
Dance with someone you love
Dance with your grandma
Dance with your friends
Dance with your dog
Dance with your kids if you have them
Take some advice from Pocahontas and dance with the wind!

What music should I dance to?

You need to dance to whatever will make you happy
Feeling extra girly, how about Madonna, Cindy Lauper
Feeling powerful and sexy turn on some Lady Gaga, P!nk, or Beyonce
Feeling like a bad a$$ and want to feel like a rebel, ummmm, yeah you need some Ozzy
Feeling like an OG then you need some Notorious BIG
Feeling sappy requires some Norah Jones
Any music will work!!!!

Of course there are some rules when you are dancing:

Don’t be embarrassed
There is no volume limit (but please care for your ears)
There is no wrong music
There is no wrong time
Just go with the flow
Have fun!

Take a look at some of these videos to get some inspiration and get your mojo moving 🙂

Wellness Wednesday: Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Too much on the mind?

Getting a good night’s rest is hard to come by. With so much going on in your personal life, work life, and social life, how in the world are you supposed to settle down your thoughts and get some sleep? Not getting the proper amount of sleep can cause your mood to be gloomy, hinder your abilities to concentrate, and if you are trying to lose weight, not getting enough sleep will dramatically slow down your results. I searched around the internet for some tips on how to get a good night’s sleep and the best one I found was on sparkpeople.com. This website seemed to have the most common sense answers to help one have sweet dreams throughout the night. Here’s what they said:

  1. Create the right environment. Get your body and mind in the habit of using your bedroom for sleeping. If you frequently sit in bed to pay your bills, do your homework, watch television, eat, talk on the phone, etc., your mind will expect that the bedroom is for daytime activities. Instead, create an environment that is suitable for sleeping. Equip your room with soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and relaxing music. Other tricks include turning the temperature down a few notches, and turning the clock away from your view. Recent studies reveal that watching your sleep time vanish into the morning hours only makes you more anxious and less able to fall asleep.
  2. Get yourself into a routine. This is especially hard for people with wavering, active schedules, like students and parents. On busy days, it is difficult—but crucial—to be firm with a routine. If you normally don’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, or if you don’t have a sleep schedule at all, try going to bed a half an hour earlier each week, or set a time to get in bed and stick with it. Eventually your body will get used to going to sleep at that time and it will begin to come naturally.
  3. Limit food and beverage intake before bed. As you lie down to sleep, acids in the stomach level out, making heartburn and indigestion more likely to occur. Also, your metabolism increases slightly to digest food, which can also raise your energy level. Stop eating at least three hours before your scheduled bedtime. If you must snack on something, keep it small, and avoid high-fat foods, which take longer to digest. Instead, have a granola bar, some toast, or a small bowl of cereal, but keep your portion small. Say no to stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, which can raise blood pressure and energy levels. Alcohol may be a depressant, but after its sedative effects wear off, your sleep patterns will suffer.
  4. Consider a natural approach. Certain herbal teas can help you relax and fall asleep. Chamomile is a popular herb that slows the nervous system and promotes relaxation, for example. As always, consult your health care provider, use herbs and other supplements only as directed, and make sure to read labels. Some herbs may react with certain types of medication or cause adverse effects in individuals with liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, and pregnant or nursing women. Other liquids, such as a small glass of warm milk, may also help. (A little note from Polkadot Tango: I have tried melatonin and had a serious side effect…insanely vivid dreams. I would wake up constantly to these terrifying dreams. So if you are someone who dreams regularly, I would not suggest taking melatonin, because you’re dreams may be a little too real for comfort.)
  5. Know when and how to nap. When energy levels drop around 3-5 p.m., most of us desire a little shut-eye. Napping is okay, as long as you do it wisely. Most sleep counselors recommend napping for no longer than 20 minutes. Exceeding 20 minutes could leave you feeling groggier and make it harder for you to fall asleep at bedtime. If you know you have to stay up late, or if you have an erratic sleep schedule (especially new moms), take a nap during the day. You’ll be more productive and in a better mood.
  6. Take control of your worries. Let’s face it—most of us lead very stressful lives. Stress, surprises, and changes can take a toll on your sleep habits. Schedule some downtime each day for meditative activities like stretching or a hot bath. Try to decrease your brain activity before bed by writing down your thoughts in a journal and closing the book on the day. If thinking keeps you up at night, get out of bed and try to be productive. Deal with those thoughts (pay the bill that you are worried about forgetting, make a to-do list, etc.) in a positive way, and come back to bed when you’re ready to sleep.
  7. Get a check-up. If you toss and turn most nights, it may be time to see a physician. You could be suffering from one or more sleep disorders, including insomnia and sleep apnea. The sooner you find out what’s wrong, the sooner you can fix it. Sleep disorders are dangerous to your health, so if you suspect something is wrong, tend to it immediately.

Sweet dreams!!

 

Motivational Monday!!! Quotes that make you Question

Hello all and welcome to the week! I hope everyone’s holiday was lovely and that you are all ready to get this week in full gear! Polkadottango has so much up it’s sleeve for the blog and so much going on around us in other parts of our lives at the moment. With work and school and everyday flusters one needs a little motivation to keep going strong. This Monday are some quotes that may make you raise an eyebrow and think about what it is that really stands out to you in life. Whether you are going through a hard spell or are having the best time of your life, positivity should always be present!