I LOVE a statistic! Maybe because most of the time they totally take me by surprise, and who doesn’t love surprises?!? A recent statistic that caught my attention is that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. Yes, there are people who work in the great outdoors and benefit from all that fresh air, but most people go from their home to work and back. Given all this “indoor” time, it is of vital importance that the air in our homes, schools and offices be of good quality. Sadly, this is not always the case and indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the Top 5 environmental risks to public health! This is serious!! Poor air quality can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, ear nose and eye issues and can lead to various health issues including asthma, allergies and inflammation. Inflammation in the body is a risk factor for many diseases. Everything from the building materials used, the glue that holds things together, the furniture, rugs and upholstery, to the cleaning products we use can all give off a variety of toxins including formaldehyde – yuk! Other contaminants like pollen, bacteria and mold also find their way in. Don’t panic – there’s a simple, affordable solution to the problem. In the late 1980’s NASA scientists conducted a study to find ways to improve air quality and what they discovered is that houseplants do the job perfectly! Don’t you just love when the solution is a simple one! The plants filter out the toxins so we can breathe in good, clean, healthy air. 6 Houseplants that purify the air – aah!!
Aloe VeraREMOVES: Formaldehyde, Benzene This succulent loves a sunny spot and requires little water. It’s ideal for those who really want low maintenance and a plant they can forget about and find it alive when they do remember! It might be small but it is a powerful air filter. We typically think of aloe for it’s precious gel which is known for healing burns and cuts but it does so much more!
Spider PlantWonderful information for care and growing! http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/spider-plant/spider-plant-care-gardening-tips-for-spider-plants.htm REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Xylene The spider plant is one of the easiest to grow and a great choice for those who’ve never grown plants or tend to forget they have plants. They thrive in indirect sunlight and before you know it, will produce flowers that turn into baby spider plants (spiderettes), and you’ll have enough for every room in the house.
Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)REMOVES: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Xylene This is a popular plant in offices, hotels and restaurants because they’re attractive, easy to care for, like dry soil (excellent for those who don’t like to water plants often or forget) and need little sunlight. I can vouch for this as a low-maintenance plant and have two that seem to have doubled in size in just two years.
Peace LilyREMOVES: Formaldehyde, Ammonia, Benzene, Trichloroethylene The pretty peace lily will work hard to improve your air quality. They prefer a shady spot and moist soil to thrive. More fabulous info: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/peace-lily/peace-lily-plants.htm NOTE: Toxic to pets and young children, so keep out of reach or choose an alternative.
Boston FernREMOVES: Formaldehyde, Xylene The Boston fern is a star when it comes to removing formaldehyde, however, it can be tricky to maintain. They like a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. Depending on the humidity levels in your home or office you may need to mist them daily. More information: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/boston-fern/boston-fern-care.htm
English IvyREMOVES: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Reduces airborne fecal matter Outdoors, this plant can wreak havoc on the exterior of your home, but indoors it’s a highly effective air cleaner. For those with pets, English ivy has been shown to reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter (an icky thought, I know…however, it’s nice to know there’s a solution!). It likes part sun and part shade, so you might have to experiment to find the perfect spot for it. For more information: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/ivy/indoor-ivy-care.htm I have to admit, that I used to be very “anti” indoor plants. I never seemed to be able to keep them healthy and happy and so they inevitably ended up looking sad and being thrown away :( It was about two years ago that I first read about all the amazing things that plants could do for our indoor air and I decided to try to add them back into my life. I can now say that I LOVE my plants. The key for me was to find ones that a) I love stylistically and b) ones that are a wee bit forgiving of a perfect watering schedule. Success! I now have many beautiful, thriving plants in every room in the house. I particularly LOVE aloe vera and have them in every room! So, if you’re like me and think you don’t like plants or you can’t keep them alive, I’m going to encourage you to give it a try. Start small. Buy (or get a cutting from a friend) of just one! It’s a simple, inexpensive way to improve the health of your home or workplace, remove toxins and improve your concentration! If they’re good enough for NASA, they’re good enough for me! Formaldehyde is a colorless strong smelling gas used in making building materials and household items. It is used in pressed wood products like particleboard, plywood and fiberboard. It’s also found in glues and adhesives, permanent press fabrics and paper product coatings Benzene is a chemical that is colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. OUTDOOR sources of benzene would be from gas stations, motor vehicle exhausts, tobacco smoke, and industrial emissions. INDOORS it comes from products containing benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. A major source of benzene is tobacco smoke. Xylene is a chemical product that is colorless but with a distinct odor and is found in many household and industrial items. Products that contain xylene include paint, varnishes, fingernail polish, adhesives, rubber cement and gasoline. Ammonia is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the US. It is colorless with a sharp odor. The majority of the ammonia produced in industry is used in agriculture as fertilizer. It is also used as a refrigerant gas, to manufacture plastics, explosives, fabrics, pesticides, dyes and other chemicals. It can be found in many household cleaners. Trichloroethylene is a colorless volatile liquid with a sweet odor. Trichloroethylene is used in consumer products such as paint removers/strippers, adhesives, spot removers, dry cleaning fluids (and dry cleaned clothes) and rug cleaning fluids.
A New Year! As I head into this brand new year, my mind is full of thoughts and questions about the year that lies ahead of me. Thinking about it makes me both excited and a wee bit terrified all at the same time! Looking back on my life, there have been years that stand out as pivotal, significant years. I didn’t necessarily know going into them that they would be so important, but by the end it was clear that they were literally “life-changing”. I seem to be having more of them these days. Last year, 2015 was an unexpectedly big year which culminated in my “Cups of Prevention” project and starting my new blog.
Here we go!However, as I enter 2016, I know this is going to be a HUGE year for me. I’m not sure I’ve started many years actually “knowing” this in advance?! I feel like I’m entering a whole new phase of my life as I embark on my new Masters program. I will be learning new things, meeting new people, spending time in a different place…and these are just the obvious things I can predict. I have a sense that along with these there will be many other new things in my future this year. This is both an exhilarating and scary thought!
Ready, Steady, Go!Several people have asked me if I feel ready. From a practical standpoint, I’m ready. I’ve registered for my classes, I have my schedule and I have my books. More than this though, I’m ready to get started on what feels like the beginning of a journey towards fulfilling my true life’s purpose. I’ve wondered over the years, what my true purpose in life is, and used to try to make it fit into something I was doing, so as I could make sense of it and feel like maybe I had actually found it. I never did truly find it, until now. It’s been an interesting, winding road to this place, but I am so grateful to have finally reached this point.
Starting Point.Of course, as much as I feel that I have finally “arrived” at my life’s purpose, I’m also more than aware that this is really just the beginning. Wheee! I trust that all will be revealed to me as time goes on. I’m trying not to focus too far ahead or feel like I have to have all the answers right now. I am going to allow the next 2 years while I’m in this program to reveal these answers to me and point me in the right direction.
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” -Buddhist Proverb
Am I nervous?Yes! I can’t help but think that everyone else in my class will somehow be further ahead than me already. That they will already have a grasp on Organic Chemistry (just the title alone freaks me out a bit). I’m wondering if I’ll be the oldest person in my class…and by how much? Rationally I know these things don’t matter and I know that once I get there these wee worries will dissolve. Roll on January 15th!
“You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” -Brian TracySo as my amazing husband Randall always says when something big is about to happen…”Buckle Up!” So “buckle up” with me and have an epic 2016!! What does the new year hold for you? Are you trying something new? Embarking on a new project, hobby or career? I’d love to hear what your hopes and dreams for the year are. Please share in the comments.
We hear and see phrases like these all the time these days: "Just Breathe." "Breath is Life." "Take a deep breathe." "Catch your breath" But, what do they really mean by breathe? Surely, I AM breathing?! Of course I’m breathing, or I would not be alive.
Breathing: we simply can’t live without it!The truth is, most of us are not breathing effectively. Notice your breathing right now. Is anything moving? If not, then chances are your breathing is shallow. Deep breathing should be an essential part of everyday life. It can help you to feel happier, give you more energy and even make you more productive. Deep breathing is probably best known for stress relief, but this #DailyMeasure has many other amazing health benefits, and I’ve highlighted some of my favorites for you.
Breathing Detoxifies and Releases ToxinsThe body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. I know – I was surprised too! You know I’m a huge fan of detoxing the body to keep it healthy and happy, so this is reason enough for me breathe deeply! If you don’t release these toxins through your breath, other systems in the body have to work overtime to help out, which can eventually lead to illness.
Improved Oxygen DeliveryDeep breathing removes the carbon dioxide from your blood and floods it with oxygen – ah! Your cells will thank you! This increases the functionality of every system in your body.
Deep Breathing Makes You CalmerDeep breathing naturally relaxes the body and the mind. We all have times in our day when stress creeps up on us and we know that stress is at the core of most diseases, so finding a simple way to manage stress is key. When we feel stressed our breathing tends to become short and shallow. When we breathe shallowly our body doesn’t receive as much oxygen as it needs and this constricts our muscles. We’ve probably all had that feeling of tightness in our body when we’re stressed or angry. This response triggers the sympathetic nervous system to release cortisol and adrenaline into the body, fueling the response again. The parasympathetic nervous system is the antidote to this and breath is the fastest way for these two systems to communicate. Deep breathing will quickly stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, to help you relax. So the next time you feel stressed, anxious or angry…take a few deep breaths and think about breathing in “the good” and breathing out “the bad”.
Breathing Relieves PainWhen we anticipate or feel pain our natural reaction tends to be to hold our breath. This is the absolute opposite of what we should be doing. Studies show that breathing into your pain actually helps to ease it. Deep breathing releases endorphins, which improves feelings of well-being and provides pain relief. Yay!
Deep Breathing Helps to Regulate WeightDeep breathing can help whether you are overweight or underweight. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the cells and tissues. If you are overweight, the extra oxygen in the body will help to burn up excess fat more efficiently. When we are stressed (and most of us are at some point in the day) your body burns glycogen instead of fat. However, when you practice deep breathing and engage the relaxation response, this encourages the body to burn fat instead. Other Benefits of Deep Breathing
- Elevates your mood
- Helps you sleep
- Lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves posture
- Increases energy
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens lungs
- Clear thinking & improved concentration
Keep it simpleIt doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It can be as simple as spending some time each day consciously breathing slowly and rhythmically. Draw your breath deep into your lungs and imagine and feel them expanding. When you’re breathing is shallow you’re only using a small portion of your lungs. Breathing deep into the lungs drives more oxygen into the body, which cleanses the blood and in turn benefits your entire body. You can practice this anytime, anywhere. Driving, sitting at your desk or computer or lying in bed at night.
Deep BreathingFind 5-10 minutes once or twice a day to practice Deep Breathing. I can hear you all now, saying this is just one more thing you don’t have time for :) I totally get it. This is the one thing I had the hardest time with, and yet I find it incredibly beneficial, and I know you will too! There are several different breathing techniques, but I’m going to share just one simple version.
OverviewIn order to breathe properly, you need to breathe deeply into your abdomen not just your chest. Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmic, and through the nose, not the mouth. Are you sitting comfortably?
- Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down
- Take a moment to relax your muscles. Find where there’s tension in your body and release it.
- Inhale through your nose, expanding your diaphragm (belly) then fill your lungs, counting to 5
- Hold and count to 3. Feel your cells filled with golden, healing light.
- Exhale fully through your mouth, emptying your lungs completely. Again counting to 5. As you exhale release tension from your muscles.
- Continue this pattern for 5-10 minutes. You may need to build up this time. If you can only start with 2 or 3 minutes, that’s OK. It is better to do it for a shorter time than not at all. Doing this twice a day is ideal.
- Concentrate on your breathing and counting, which will give your mind a much-needed break.