Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Moderation: Are You Drinking Too Much and Don't Know Why?

Once again I have a guest blogger. I was intrigued by the topic. Since I rarely imbibe alcoholic beverages I knew I would never write an article on the subject. None the less, I thought it might have some useful advice, especially with the holidays approaching. Please enjoy and share this blog written by Derek Whitney.

Alcoholic beverages have played a vital role in society throughout all of history. Interestingly, wine was once safer than water to drink and was given to everyone from infants and adults to provide a healthy dose of nutrition. Doctors in the past have also prescribed beer and wine for health issues ranging from anxiety to tuberculosis. While alcohol does have some healthy properties, we now know that not everyone should be drinking. Additionally, it is now recommended that a person should drink in moderation if they want to avoid unhealthy consequences. Yet, how do you know if you are drinking too much? Here are some general guidelines as to what constitutes healthy drinking along with some of the reasons why you may over-imbibe.

Pay Attention to Alcohol Content
Novice drinkers often discover a tasty beverage of which they just cannot get enough. Whether you have a signature drink or you are trying out a new one, you should always be aware of the alcohol content. As a general rule, hard liquors and wine have more alcohol than beer. For example, wine can come in as high as 15% alcohol while many beers barely exceed 4%. If you are consuming a mixed drink, then you should also take into consideration the alcohol content of each of the ingredients, then adjust your drinking accordingly.

Watch Your Portions
There is a reason why wine tasters only pour a small amount and spit out the majority of their sample. It just makes sense that the larger your portion is then the more you will drink. Using the correct glass for your alcoholic beverage is one way to manage your portions. Standard portion sizes, such as 12-ounces for beer and five-ounces for wine should always be used. For hard liquors, use a standard shot glass to measure your pour.

Eat a Full Meal when Drinking
When you have an empty stomach, alcohol will be absorbed quicker leading you to become inebriated with less alcohol than you may normally consume. Try to eat a full meal before an evening in which you anticipate drinking, or you can simply sip your glass of wine with dinner. If it has been a while since your last meal, having a handful of nuts or pretzels can also be a way to put food in your stomach to absorb some of the alcohol.

Know the Role of Gender
If there is one form of gender inequality that cannot be fixed, it is that women tend to get drunk faster than men. Research has proven this to be caused by women having less water in their body and bloodstream than men. With less water, a woman’s body is slightly less capable of diluting the alcohol. Body height and weight can also affect the amount of alcohol that goes through the bloodstream. Generally, people with a smaller stature will need to pay extra close attention to how much alcohol they consume.

Notice Your Environment
Fast-paced and loud music has been used in shopping centers for years to encourage people to spend more money. It turns out that this same effect can also cause people to drink faster. During a recent study, it was found that men who were exposed to loud music drank their beers an average of three minutes faster than those in a calm environment. Cold or hot temperatures, social situations and being alone are other environmental triggers that could cause you to drink too much.

Knowing the reasons why you may over-drink can help you to enjoy your alcoholic beverages in moderation. Although having a drink or two is a normal social activity, it is important to be aware of when it begins to be too much. Now that you are aware of the factors that play a role in your body’s ability to process alcohol, you can begin to implement a plan that will keep your drinking within moderate limits.

Derek Whitney is blogging for Aligned Signs, an astrology match making site that helps connect like minded people while getting to know yourself better. When he is not blogging, he enjoys relaxing with his girlfriend

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Scarey Thoughts Not Limited to Halloween

It’s nearly Halloween and the stores are filled with ghoulish d├ęcor. On a recent outing my little granddaughter, Rosannah, discovered some holiday decorations packed more trick than treat. Rosannah is nearly two years old and quite fearless. She runs through the house with her hands in the air, scales the couch and her high chair with the speed of a mountain goat, and follows the family’s Rottweilers through the doggy door, with no worry of being trampled.

However, my plucky, little granddaughter’s bravery melted like a candy bar when she encountered a cackling witch at the local hardware store. Rosannah buried her head into her mother’s shoulder and whimpered, “no, no.” When she looked up, she saw another display – a werewolf. She smiled at the item and said, “doggy?” Then the eyes of the beast turned red. This elicited another whimpering “no, no” and she buried her dimpled face into her mother’s shoulder once again. Even something as innocuous as a skull on a glass elicits a quick retreat.

I’m not sure why the symbol of a skull is so frightening to Rosannah. It makes me wonder if there could be universal phobias that are buried deep within our collective consciousness. I read somewhere that snakes are feared in many cultures – including those areas that have never seen one of the slithering reptiles.

Other phobias are not so universal. For instance, my friend, Michele, has a 36-year-daughter who is afraid of dryer lint.

I reminded her of this quirky habit. I assumed she had outgrown it. Nope. If her husband wanted a divorce he could chase her around the house with the lint, much like how her brother used to do when they were kids. But, like I said, the man wants to remain happily married so he takes care of the lint disposal. My normally logical sister, Diane, gets squeamish touching balls of cotton. I always felt I had a sense of power over her as I would valiantly pull the wad of the white padding from bottles of aspirin. Recently I reminded her of this childhood fear. Well, guess what? She still won’t touch the cotton balls.

The point is, there are many things that strike fear into the hearts of humankind. However, there is one demon that, unlike dryer lint, has caused tremendous harm, but holds free reign in society – negativity.

These pessimistic messages take various forms – news reports, gossip, complaints, lack of gratitude, judgmental thoughts, as well as stinging criticism of ourselves and others. Unfortunately, negativity has become so pervasive that many of us accept it as a normal part of life. This is especially true because we are bombarded with negative news 24/7. The reality is there are many more happy incidents in a day, but no journalist is going to lead the 5 o’clock news with a story of good cheer. As the old adage goes, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

As dismal as this may seem, the good news is we still have a choice on whether or not we are going to allow negativity to stain our lives. There is no law that says we have to watch depressing news. We should not feel compelled to listen to others say disparaging things about others. And we should never repeat gossip…period.

Living a happy life is not that difficult. Even in the most depressing situations there are things to be grateful for. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Every morning I recite several things that I appreciate in my life before I get out of bed. This only takes a few seconds, but it creates an attitude of gratitude that I try to embrace throughout the day.

For those who have a little more trouble adopting a positive attitude, there are little tricks you can perform to shift into an attitude of gratitude. I outline several in the my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. I’m also happy to provide customized advice to those who contact me through my website, EraseNegativity.com.

In the meantime, you can always adopt an adult version of Rosannah’s technique when confronted with negative messages. It’s the same thing we teach children who are tempted to take drugs. Turn away and just say no.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Living in the Moment: 4 Ways to be More Mindful Everyday

This week's words of wisdom come in the form of a guest post by Nettie Gray. I hope you enjoy it.

Have you ever felt so worried about the future that you no longer find happiness in today?

You’re too bent trying to solve issues that are yet to arise.

There’s nothing wrong being considerate about what lies ahead, but to let ourselves be consumed by things that are yet to happen is harmful. It only makes the future more terrifying.

Practicing mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment. Doing this helps alleviate stress, promote happiness and positivity.

Let us talk about few ways how you can be more mindful each day.

Focus on routinary activities.
Has typical daily activities such as taking a shower, brushing your teeth or washing dishes ever appeared interesting to you?

If you strive to be more mindful, then these things can turn out enjoyable too.

Brush your teeth in front of the mirror and observe the stroke of the brush every time you push your arms up and down, then sideways. Listen to the sound of the brush against your teeth.

When taking a shower, meanwhile, feel the first drops of water falling on your skin. Listen as well to its sound. Indulge in the sweet smell of your shampoo and soap. Play with soap suds forming on your skin while you’re gently scrubbing.

Observe the plates and glasses you’re washing and take delight seeing it looking like new again. Enjoy the clean scent afterward.

Be mindful when waiting.
You arrive at a fastfood chain and notice the long queue.

In the fast-paced world we’re living in, waiting is somewhat a luxury. Being stuck in one place for a long period can easily annoy or piss off a person. But truth is, it depends how you look into the situation. You have a choice whether to let it get on your nerves, or use the opportunity instead to bring peace into your mind.

Will you tap your foot on the floor, look into your watch every time, cross your arms and frown to everyone whose eyes meet yours? Or will you be mindful of your reaction when the line moves forward or when you check your phone or talk to the stranger next to you?

Learn to accept.
Stop being a worrier. If you will focus your mind to the present then the future is likely to turn out good for you. Our actions work in a domino effect.

Think about what’s making you worry.

Is it because your salary today isn't enough to raise your own family in the future? Don’t you think by the time you settle down, then your career experience must have improved a lot, and hence your income might have already increased as well?

Accept the situation you’re in right now. Many others are probably enduring a tougher circumstance. Yours cannot be the worst.

Be extra considerate and patient when commuting.
You’ve hit the rush hour yet again.

There you are, standing in a bus exhausted from work, jealous of those comfortably sitting, reading a book or taking a nap, trying hard not to feel annoyed by those talking too loud or getting off the bus hitting your shoulders or stepping on your feet.

And you say to yourself, “Thought I could start to write my papers within an hour, and turn it in earlier.”

Like being stuck in a long queue, commuting also tests your patience. Resist the urge to unleash rage or scream out loud. Be mindful of your reactions. Think of the possible consequences first before doing anything.

Author Bio:
Nettie Gray finds dishwashing relaxing. After working on the household chore, she feels as though her mind had been as well cleared.