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Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

How to Avoid Stress and Anxiety? By Being Hopeful, Grateful and Mindful.

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! The only new year resolution I made this year is to avoid stress and anxiety. But how? I found the answer to this question in a beautiful quote from a good friend, Seung-Ah Kim who is a stroryteller from South Korea.

Looking forward makes me hopeful. Looking back makes me grateful. Being present makes me peaceful.

Seung Ah- Kim

In just one sentence Seung-Ah managed to capture what life is all about, which is quite a ‘tour de force’. For my first blog article of 2022, I thought that it would be a good idea to develop this a little bit and share with my readers some thoughts on how to avoid stress and anxiety by being hopeful, grateful and mindful.

Avoid stress and anxiety by looking forward and by being hopeful about the future

How to avoid stress and anxiety. Photo featuring Joanne and Alize Reed in Plateau Kerval Reunion Island. This is truthfully the most beautiful place I have been to. It was kind of surreal, a mix of Jurassic Park and enchanted forest; and it was definitely worth the long arduous trek and difficult weather conditions to get there.

Everyone hopes for something. We are living in an age of despair, fractured communities where we are being forced to alienate ourselves from our family, friends, colleagues, and clients. The world currently is filled with fear, stress, and sadness, and it can become second nature to develop a negative worldview and a feeling of hopelessness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal, more dissent than we can mediate, and more uncertainty than we can comprehend.

In times like this, what can we do to comfort ourselves, and the people around us? We can call upon Hope to step into our life. Hope is a powerful antidote to feelings of despair and desolation. Hope acts as the light in the midst of darkness and will bring you renewed optimism and vitality. Hope doesn’t mean that life has to be all rainbows and butterflies, it doesn’t mean that you are always happy and that you can’t feel emotions like hurt, sadness, or anger, but it does mean that your view of your circumstances and those of the world around you go beyond what it is actually happening.

Hope is the place you want to go when you find yourself sitting in a dark place. Hope is the name of the person you want to know where all the people around you are spreading fear and misery. Hope is the seed that is buried deep inside you that you want to sprinkle around like magic fairy dust. Hope is the feeling that carries you through, no matter what.

Joanne Reed

Avoid stress and anxiety by being grateful for your past experiences

How to avoid stress and anxiety. Photo taken by Alize Reed featuring Joanne and Sarah in PLateau Kerval Reunion Island. This is truthfully the most beautiful place I have been to. It was kind of surreal, a mix of Jurassic Park and enchanted forest; and it was definitely worth the long arduous trek and difficult weather conditions to get there.

Looking back at your past experiences, every one of us would be able to highlight some beautiful and happy memories, but also some bad experiences as well. We have all heard the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”; with this, in mind, we should remember that life is a mishmash of good, bad, and sometimes ugly experiences.

Don’t you ever regret knowing someone in your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad people will give you experience, while the worst people will give you a lesson, and the best people will give memories.

Unknown author

Talking about negative experiences in our life leads me to also talk about the concept of acceptance or to let things be. Misery is not just an absence of pleasure, but it is also caused by unmet expectations and aspirations, and by a continuous need for approval in our personal and professional lives. These disappointments, some big and some small cause some people a lot of stress and anxiety and may result in depression or other mental illnesses. Psychologists and therapists believe that a lot of this struggle and stress can be avoided if we practice the art of acceptance.

A standard acceptance definition in psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change or protest it. Acceptance does not equate to approval, which is more about a good opinion of someone (or something) but is more a subtle feeling that connotes there is something in the situation less than appealing, but for various reasons, we tolerate its imperfections.

It is a well-accepted concept that practicing gratitude, whether it’s internalized or externalized, can have a number of positive psychological effects. Multiple studies found that people who express gratitude experience overall better well-being and higher levels of positivity whether they started out with mental issues or not.

It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.

Germany Kent

When we recall happy memories, we are often nostalgic, and remind ourselves how things used to be. When we recall less happy events, there is a tendency to hold on to those unhappy memories too. Accepting the reality of our situation allows us to move forward and gives us more energy to focus on the present moment to feel grateful for the people and things we have now.

Avoid stress and anxiety by being present and mindful.

How to avoid stress and anxiety. Photo featuring Joanne Reed in PLateau Kerval Reunion Island. This is truthfully the most beautiful place I have been to. It was kind of surreal, a mix of Jurassic Park and enchanted forest; and it was definitely worth the long arduous trek and difficult weather conditions to get there.

I am sure you have all heard the saying “don’t let the future steal your present”. Although we all know the saying, a lot of us don’t put this into practice, but we should because it could save us from depression and anxiety. Psychologists often say that depression lives in the past; anxiety lives in the future and calmness and peace of mind live in the present.

The trend these days is to learn to be more mindful, which inherently means learning and practicing to be more present in the moment. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not be engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. So if you don’t want to be depressed or anxious, practice mindfulness.

You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere, and with anyone by being fully engaged in the here and now. Many people go about their daily lives with their minds wandering from the actual activity they are participating in, to other thoughts, desires, fears, or wishes; but it has been said that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”.

I would like to encourage all my readers and followers to look forward and be hopeful. Be grateful for all the things and events in your life (happy or less happy ones) that made you the person you are today. And whatever you do practice mindfulness so that you can be peaceful too.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy

If Turkeys Thought, They’d Run Away a Week Before Thanksgiving Day…

“If Turkey thought, they’d run away a week before Thanksgiving Day. But Turkeys can’t anticipate, and so there’s turkey on my plate.”

Jack Prelutsky

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and followers! Wishing you a happy and joyous Thanksgiving sourrounded by your loved ones around a lovely Turkey dinner. This tradition started almost 200 years ago following an epic tale where pioneer spirit, courage, adversity, generosity, and gratitude took center stage.

For this occasion, I would like to serve you an article where la pièce de résistance is a turkey and for those who don’t like turkey, you can have swan instead. We always talk about the turkeys that end up being served for dinner and much less about the wild ones who have quite an exciting life. Not all turkeys end up on the dining table at Thanksgiving dinner, the wild types prefer to proudly strut their stuff, look pretty, act wild, and live a long and happy life. Wild turkeys’ life expectancy can stretch up to 10 years, domesticated turkeys would be lucky if they make it to their first birthday.

Turkeys were considered sacred by ancient Mexican cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans, who honored turkeys for their striking beauty and cocky confidence and pride. Certain Native American tribes also honored turkey as a spirit of abundance, sacrifice and, fertility. As a spirit animal, the turkey reminds us to honor ourselves, to honor the earth and, to care for and nourish both. Cultivating a harmonious relationship with the Earth is one of the key teachings of turkey’s wisdom. And one we are surely in need of in the world today. Turkeys are also a strong symbol of the importance of community, sharing , authentic connection and remind us to be grateful and aware of the many blessings we have in our life.

My thanksgiving message, be like the wild turkey

If the turkey thought, they’d run away … be like a wild turkey – Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Did you know that wild turkeys can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and can fly as 55 miles per hour? Domesticated turkeys lost their ability to run fast and to fly due to their selective breeding aimed to make them grow abnormally big and much less agile than their wild cousins. Captivity and laziness turned a fast-flying bird into a stagnant piece of meat

Wild turkeys are social, playful birds who are intelligent and have distinct personalities, and, just like dogs and cats they can be quite moody. They are incredibly curious and inquisitive animals who enjoy exploring, they are really good at geography and can learn the details of really large areas which is especially good for finding food. They like flirting and when they see a female that they fancy they put up a show to impress her showing off their beautiful feathers.

My feathers are easily ruffled. Every now and then I get broody. My favorite thing is to gobble-up attention and makes it all about me. I proudly strut my stuff whenever I have the chance to do so. Keep your eyes on me, I like being the center of attention. Thanksgiving sounds great. What’s for dinner?

WIld-Turkey

Nasim Taleb’s thanksgiving message to all of us, let’s not be turkeys

If the turkey thought, they’d run away a week before Thanksgiving Day – Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Nasim Nicholas Taleb, the best-selling author of The Black Swan, told the story of a turkey who is fed by the farmer every morning for 1,000 days. Eventually, the turkey comes to expect that every visit from the farmer means more good food. He is quite comfortable with his lifestyle. He figures that he is living the good life, hanging out on the farm with his friends and being fed every day by the friendly farmer, who is looking after him quite well by making sure he eats well and continue to grow and put up on a good amount of weight. Turkey came to the realization that the bigger he is the happier the farmer seems to be. Hence, there is a bit of competition on the farm amongst the turkeys to put on as much weight as possible in order to gain the favors of the farmer.

But then day 1001 arrives. It is 2 days before Thanksgiving and when the farmer shows up, he is not bearing food, but an ax. Turkey learns very quickly that its expectations were catastrophically off the mark. On Thanksgiving Day, Turkey gets more attention than he has ever received before, he is taking center stage as the main dish at the dinner table.

Let’s not be turkeys. The moral of the story is not to use the observable past as an indicator of the future. Just because you never died before, doesn’t mean you are immortal.

Nassim Taleb

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Talking about Nassim Taleb and his book the Black Swan, I am thinking that maybe we should have something a little different this year for Thanksgiving, instead of having turkey we are going to have swan instead because you get more stuffing.

Turkey or Black Swan? Photo by freepik via freepik.com

PS: I am grateful for my family, my friends, my readers, and my followers. Thank you all for your love and continuous support. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help

My Thanksgiving Message: Be like a Wild Turkey

My Thanksgiving Message: be like a wild turkey

Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey will be on the menu of many American families this weekend.  For this occasion, my thanksgiving message to you is: be like a wild turkey. I am sure you will feel a little bit puzzled by this message, please bear with me. Let’s start from the beginning , stay with me till the end and you will understand my thanksgiving message.

Thanksgiving is an American tradition celebrated across the United States on the 4th Thursday of November. It is the occasion for the whole family to gather together around a  turkey dinner. This tradition started almost 400 years ago following an epic tale where pioneer spirit, courage, adversity, generosity, and gratitude took center stage.

The Origin of Thanksgiving starts with the pilgrims

The story takes place in 1620 in the state of what is now known as Massachusetts. The main actors of this epic story were 100 English born pilgrims who boarded the Mayflower and sailed from England across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World in search of a better life. The first winter in their new home was brutal and unforgiving; they arrived too late to grow crops,  as a result, half the colony died from starvation and disease.

The remaining members of the colony who survived winter made it through the rest of the year thanks to the kindness of the Wampanoag  tribe who shared some of their own food with the settlers and taught them how to grow a variety of crops such as corn, barley, beans and pumpkins. The Native Americans also helped the settlers familiarize themselves with the land and taught them the art of hunting beavers and fishing salmon.

The origin of Thanksgiving – The Wampanoag  tribe chief

In the Autumn of 1621, the colonists harvested their crops and rejoiced at the sight of the beautiful and plentiful harvests. To express their gratitude, the pilgrims organized a feast and invited the local Wampanoag chief and 90 members of his tribe to join the celebration.  The Native American guests brought deer and turkeys to roast and to complete the feast various dishes were prepared using fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from the land. It was a happy and joyful occasion that lasted 3 whole days.

Celebrating Thanksgiving is still an important event in the United States when families  gather around a table to share a sumptuous meal of roast turkey, turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Each year, one lucky turkey  will take residence in an animal sanctuary instead of being roasted in someone’s oven  after being photographed with the President of the United States who granted him a pardon. What a lucky escape. This tradition dates back to Abraham Lincoln when his son Tad begged him to write a presidential pardon for the turkey meant to be used for the family dinner, arguing that the turkey had as much right to live as anyone. Lincoln agreed, the turkey lived, and a new tradition was born.

Nasim Taleb’s thanksgiving message to all of us: Let’s not be turkeys

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, best-selling author of The Black Swan, told the story of a turkey who is fed by the farmer every morning for 1,000 days (note: the life of a farmed turkey is 6 months on average). Eventually, the turkey comes to expect that every visit from the farmer means more good food. He is quite comfortable with his lifestyle. He figures that he is living the good life, hanging out on the farm with his friends and being fed everyday by the friendly farmer, who is looking after him quite well by making sure he eats well and continue to grow and put on a good amount of weight. Turkey came to the realization that the bigger he is the happier the farmer seems to be. Hence, there is a bit of a competition on the farm amongst the turkeys to put on as much weight as possible in order to gain the favors of the farmer. But then, day 1001 arrives. It is 2 days before Thanksgiving and when the farmer shows up, he is not bearing food, but an axe. Turkey learns very quickly that its expectations were catastrophically off the mark. On Thanksgiving Day, Turkey gets more attention than he has ever received before, he is taking center stage as the main dish at the dinner table.

Taleb’s advice: “Let’s not be turkeys.”

Thanksgiving Dinner

The moral of the story is not to use the observable past as an indicator of the future:

Just because you never died before, doesn’t mean you are immortal.”

Nassim Taleb

My thanksgiving message : be like the wild turkey

Did you know that wild turkey can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and can fly as fast as 55 miles per hour? Domesticated turkeys lost their ability to run fast and to fly due to their selective breeding aimed to make them grow abnormally big and much less agile than their wild cousins. Captivity and laziness turned a fast-flying bird into a stagnant piece of meat.

A wild turkey Story. I like to strut my stuff

Wild turkeys are social, playful birds who are intelligent and have distinct personalities and, just like dogs and cats they can be quite moody. They are incredibly curious and inquisitive animals who enjoy exploring, they are really good at geography and can learn the details of really large areas which is especially good for finding food. They like flirting and when they see a female that they fancy they put up a show to impress her showing off their beautiful feathers. Another interesting fact about wild turkeys is that their life span can stretch up to 10 years.

Moral of the story: if you want to live a long, happy and, free life, better be a wild turkey.

Message from Wild-Turkey

My feathers are easily ruffled. Every now and then I get broody. My favorite thing is to gobble-up attention and make it all about me. I proudly strut my stuff whenever I have the chance to do so. Keep your eyes on me, I like being the center of attention. Thanksgiving sounds great. What’s for dinner?

Wild-Turkey

Message from ancient Mexican cultures: Turkeys have a sacred nature

Turkeys were considered sacred by ancient Mexican cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans, who honored turkeys for their striking beauty and cocky confidence and pride. Certain Native American tribes also honored turkey as a spirit of abundance, sacrifice and, fertility.

As a spirit animal, the turkey reminds us to honor ourselves, to honor the earth and, to care for and nourish both. Cultivating a harmonious relationship with the Earth is one of the key teachings of turkey’s wisdom. And one we are surely in need of in the world today. Turkeys are also a strong symbol of the importance of community, sharing and, authentic connection and reminds us to be grateful and aware of the many blessings we have in our life.

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

PS: I am grateful for my family, my friends, my readers and followers. Thank you 🙏 for your love ❤ and continuous support.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Be Happy

Activate Your Own Fountain of Youth

The Fountain of Youth Legend

For centuries the Quest for eternal youth, immortality, or ‘just’ a prolonged life has been a topic of various myths, legends, and quests. The Fountain of Youth is a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters.

Alexander the Great searched for the Fountain in the 5th century AD and was said to have found a healing “River of Paradise.” In Japan, in ancient times and today, stories of hot springs that could heal wounds and restore youth are common. Similar stories were prominent among Caribbean people during the early 16th century, who spoke of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini.

Explorers and adventurers have long looked for the elusive Fountain of Youth or at least some remedy to aging. Has science found the map? It seems that this dream could be at least partly obtainable! Put on your explorer hat and follow me on this epic expedition to your own Fountain of Youth!

I have found the Fountain Of Youth!

First, a stop-over in the world of science to understand the aging process

Growth and Repair; Even after you are fully grown, your body is constantly working to replace or repair itself. The body replaces itself on average every 7 years or so but not every cell’s lifespan is the same. For example, the cells that line your stomach can renew as fast as every two days, since they’re often in contact with digestive acid. Cells that make up your skin are replaced every two to three weeks, your fat cells live a fairly long time — an average age of 10 years roughly the same as your bones which also regenerate about every 10 years. Brain cells don’t regenerate as you age, tooth enamel is never replaced, and the lenses of your eyes are also with you for life.

Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in cells. Enzymes play a huge part in the day to day running of the human body and are vital for the proper functioning of all human systems, e.g. the digestive system, the nervous system, etc. Some enzymes help break large molecules into smaller pieces, such as complex carbohydrates into smaller molecules such as glucose so that the body can use them as fuel. Other enzymes help bind two molecules together to produce a new molecule. Enzymes are highly selective catalysts, meaning that each enzyme only speeds up a specific reaction.

DNA; Every cell in our body contains DNA; DNA is the genetic material that makes each of us who we are. Each time a cell divides – for growth or repair, its DNA needs to be copied. Enzymes help in this process by unwinding the DNA coils and copying the information. Telomeres, from the Greek telos (end) and meros (part), are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protects our chromosomes. Telomeres, like the aglet at the end of shoelaces, can become frayed until they can no longer do their job. Telomeres are shortened as we age, but can also be shortened by stress, anxiety, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet and lack of purpose. When telomeres get too short, our cells can no longer reproduce, which causes our tissues to degenerate and eventually die.

Each one of us has a Fountain of Youth within us!

There have been many experiments which have shown to increase the maximum life span of laboratory animals. Science has found that it is possible to extend telomeres to help you live a longer and healthier life and discovered that there are 6 key triggers that can positively influence your telomere length. These triggers are:

  1. Good nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Happiness and gratitude
  4. Positive outlook
  5. Self-love and love
  6. Being in service.

Good Nutrition & Exercise

We all know that good nutrition and exercise is vitally important, but knowing without doing is like not knowing at all. Hippocrates[1] also known as the “Father of Modern Medicine” is credited with being the first person to believe that disease was not a punishment from the Gods, but rather the product of environmental factors, diet and living habits. He noticed that bodies grow relaxed and sluggish through sedentary lives which led to various illnesses. Those who walked more stayed well longer, so, he often prescribed exercise. Hippocrates’ medicine was humble and passive; his therapeutic approach was based on the “healing power of nature.” According to Hippocrates’ doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance and heal itself. Hippocrates is known for saying: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

Gratitude & Positive Outlook

Be grateful and wake up happy every day, happy to be given another day, to be, to strive, to create. Be grateful for your family, your loved ones and the people around you. Be grateful for who you are and what you can do. Keep a positive outlook on life. Change the things you can change and stop worrying about things you can’t.

Love yourself and love others

Philautia[1], the Greek word for self-love. Self-love is in its healthiest form (not focused on personal fame, gain, and fortune as is the case with narcissism). It shares the Buddhist philosophy of “Self-Compassion,” which is a deep understanding of one’s own self, such that you feel comfortable in your own skin. Self-love is important, as Aristotle described: “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” You cannot share what you do not have, if you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to be truly happy is to first find unconditional love for yourself.

Being of Service

Being of service is critically important. Not having a purpose, waking up each morning with nothing to do or nowhere to go creates stress and shortens our lifespan. Conversely, studies have shown people who report a greater sense of purpose and direction in life are more likely to outlive their peers.  Older age, or retirement, is a time when we start aging very quickly and when disease and depression are more likely to set in. Having a purpose gives meaning to life, it doesn’t have to be saving the world or anything extraordinary or amazing, every person great or small has important work to do. It can be something very small indeed. Each one of us has our own path to walk and our own mission in life. Small things and big things are big in themselves.

Conclusion

The ‘secret’ path that will lead you to your own Fountain of Youth can be found within you. The ‘magic triggers’ that will show you the way is to eat well, exercise regularly, express gratitude, love yourself, love others, and be of service. Activate your own Fountain of Youth!

This, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.


[1] For more information, please see my book “This Is Your Quest,” Chapter 19, Page 214


[1] For more information, please see my book “This Is Your Quest,” Chapter 21, Page 228 :