Tag Archives: habits

“The Little Habits” by Leo Babauta of zenhabits.net

This post was really encouraging, and I just couldn’t help but share it. Below is an excerpt. To read the full post, click here.

‘Powerful indeed is the empire of habit.’ ~Publilius Syrus

“It’s amazing how big a difference a little thing can make. Starting your day mindfully with some tea, for example, can change your entire day. Clearing your desk will make your work day amazing. A smile from a loved one can mean the world.

“And when these little things are repeated daily, and formed into habits, their benefits increase not just by multiples but by exponents.

“The little habits can be life-changing.

“Everyone’s world-changing little habits will be different, but I’ll share a few of mine, and then some tips for forming them.”

Here’s some of the categories and tips Leo discusses:

  1. Get-in-the-door ritual.
  2. Put clothes away.
  3. Wash my bowl.
  4. Prepare meals in advance.
  5. Just step out the door.
  6. Clear distractions.
  7. Take a walk & reflect.
  8. Breathe.

And here are some tips from Leo to get yourself started:

  • Do one habit at a time.
  • Make it easy to do.
  • Do it consciously, very consciously at first.
  • Don’t allow any exceptions.
  • Post your progress publicly.
  • Keep doing it, every single day.
  • Enjoy the habit.


“Forming a habit can be easy, if you enjoy it, take it slowly, and do it mindfully.” ~Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Boost Your Brain: Boost Your Body, by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. (Mar. 15, 2010)

So, I’m sick, and stuck in front of the TV between favorite shows, and the only channel that’s coming in clearly is an educational program called “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” by Dr. Daniel G. Amen of The Amen Clinic. This one caught my interest though. Primarily, he talks about taking fish oil supplements and exercising daily. Here are his top 10 subjects from his book (and his seminar):

1. Boost Your Brain to Lose Your Belly. When it comes to the brain, size matters.

2. Know Your Motivation: have a burning desire to be healthy — family, friends, etc. No amount of cheeseburgers, double fudge brownies, etc., is worth losing time with my family. Sugar and fat act on the brain’s addiction center.

3. Know Your Brain Type:

  • The Compulsive Overeater (stuck on thought of food, feel no control, worry, trouble sleeping, night time feedings, lower levels of serotonin), Help: exercise and 5HTP or St. John’s Wort, Nix NIght Time Eating after dinner to boost serotonin.
  • Impulsive (Poor Impulse Control, Easily Distracted, Common in ADD, Low Dopamine levels, short attention span, disorganization, inconsistent), Help: Boost Dopamine levels, Strengthen Prefrontal, High Protein, Low Carb, Green Tea, calming meds make this type worse.
  • The Impulsive-Compulsive Overeater (too much activity in attention region, stuck on negative thought, too little prefrontal cortex activity, trouble with sleep behavior), Help: increase dopamine and serotonin, exercise, combo of 5-HTP AND Green Tea.
  • The Sad Overeater (to medicate feelings of sadness, depression, low energy, low self esteem, tend to gain weight in winter, pain symptoms, high limbic activity, low vitamin D level), Help: boost vit D, exercise, fish oil, SAMe supplement.
  • The Anxious Overeater (medicate anxiety with food, headaches, stomach problems, high basal ganglia activity, low GABA chemical), Help: sooth brain with meditation and hypnosis, B6, Magnesium and GABA.

Note: It is common to have more than one brain type. Work on most bothersome area first, then move on to the next one.

4. Use Brain Specific Supplements to Boost Your Body: 91% of Americans do NOT eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Recommend Multivitamin and Omega-3 supplement daily. Low Levels of Omega-3 linked with heart disease, strokes, depression, ADD, Obesity, Suicide. Good for heart, eyes, skin, joints, hair, ad brain. Also decreases appetite and cravings. 1-2 grams of high quality fish oil daily. Low levels of Vitamin D associated with MS, Diabetes, cancer, obesity, alzheimers, depression. Typically, get boost from sun, but our levels are falling. Recommends asking doctor for a 25 Hydroxy-vitamin D test. Take Vit D3 if levels are low.

5. Get Your Cravings Under Control.

  • Keep your blood sugar balanced. Substitute fruit for simple sugars.
  • Decrease artificial sweeteners in your diet.
  • Reduce Stress
  • Manage Food Triggers: mall, advertisements, vendors, home for the holidays, etc.; know your vulnerable spots and plan ahead.
  • Hidden Food Allergies can trigger cravings. Wheat gluten and milk allergies can decrease activity in your brain.

6. Kill the ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that Steal Your Health. Need an internal ANTeater. Lies: I can’t control it; It’s in my genes.

7. Eat Right to Think Right.

  • Think High Quality Calories In vs. High Quality Energy Out.
  • Drink Plenty of Water and Not too many of your calories.
  • Eat High Quality Lean Protein throughout the day.
  • Eat Low Glycemic, High Fiber Carbohydrates (Whole Grains, Vegetables and Fruits like Blueberries and Apples). “The whiter the bread, the faster you’re dead.” Sugar increases inflammation, and recently linked with aggression.
  • Healthy Fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids. Fat stores toxins, so any fat you eat from an animal is giving you any toxins that the animal ate.
  • Eat from the rainbow: natural foods of many different colors to boost antioxidant levels.
  • Cook with brain healthy herbs and spices. Saffron as effective as anti-depressant, cinnamon helps with attention.

Dr. Amen’s Average Daily Diet:
Breakfast: Protein/Fruit Shake
AM: Fruit and a few Nuts
Lunch: Chicken, Avocado, Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain
PM: Fruit and a few Nuts
Dinner: Large Salad or Soup, Lean Protein, Veggies
Dessert: Frozen Blueberries with Greek Yogurt

8. Know Your Important Numbers

  • BMI – Body Mass Index – normal between 18.5 and 25
  • Calories
  • Fruits & Veggies per day – strive for 7-10
  • Sleep Hours – at least 7, preferably 8
  • Vitamin D Level
  • Know Your Inflammatory Levels
  • Know Your Hormone Levels: Thyroid, DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Sugar Levels
  • 5 Things You’re Most Grateful for

9. Hypnosis and Meditation Can Boost Your Brain. Recommends at least 12 minutes daily.

10. Start Today.

  • How Can I Love Others?
  • How Can I Take Better Care of Myself So I can Love my family and do the work I love for as long as possible, despite my genes?

Note: if you’ve been bad to your brain, you should start seeing results within 2 months of following this plan.

More information can be found on his website at http://www.amenclinics.com/.

Top 50 Best Brain Foods: I like 45 of them. My husband likes 23. But that’s still almost half of them! I can deal with that. How many do you like?

  • Almonds, raw
  • Almond milk, unsweetened
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beans (black, pinto, garbanzo)
  • Bell peppers (yellow, green, red, and orange)
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cheese, low fat
  • Cherries
  • Chicken, skinless
  • Cranberries
  • Egg whites, DHA enriched
  • Grapefruit
  • Herring
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Lentils
  • Limes
  • Oats
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Red grapes
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tea, green
  • Tofu
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Turkey, skinless
  • Walnuts
  • Water
  • Whole wheat
  • Wild salmon
  • Yams and sweet potatoes
  • Yogurt, unsweetened

I’m not a 100% believer at this point (first off, not a big fan of the BMI because it doesn’t take enough factors into account), but this does have a lot of helpful information that can help boost our brains and lose those pesky pounds that are still hanging around. I am 100% convinced that exercise and sleep are directly correlated to energy levels and emotional health. Diet and water intake are just as important. Happy researching!

Filling My Plate with the Good Stuff (Mar. 3, 2010)

We recently were invited to join two couples at the Grove Park Inn for their famous Sunday brunch after church. They were offering a buy one get one special for their Sunday brunch, so we decided to join. They had two rooms filled to the brim with breakfast options, meats, cheeses, desserts, seafood, soup, and all sorts of deliciousness. It was impossible to taste everything that was offered. Though everything I sampled was very tasty, I left having sampled too much. And once again I learned the lesson that my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

I was thinking about it later, and it reminded me of watching The Biggest Loser on TV. They have those cases full of tempting treats that are not healthful for you, but then they have kitchens full of healthful, natural foods that satisfy. It reminded me of my life. How often do I think “my plate is too full” and “I just can’t add anything else to my life right now,” or “I don’t have time to read my Bible.” Well, maybe I’m filling my life’s plate with the wrong stuff. Even good stuff in excess is bad for me. So I’m taking a step back, just like I would with my eating habits, and looking at my life habits, trying to choose what needs to be on my plate, and what needs to stay on the “pantry shelf” or go in the garbage.

Things like hours of TV because “I deserve a break” need to go in the garbage. And things that have been in the pantry, like reading my Bible every day, need to be on my plate. It’s like trashing the candy bar for the piece of fruit. We can train our tastebuds to enjoy healthful things, and we can train on hearts to crave meaningful things too. I am always more satisfied after finishing reading my Bible than finishing a television show, even if it’s my favorite television show. I think about God often and pray every day for something, but I tend to read my Bible in preparation for small group, Bible study, or Sunday School, instead of as building a relationship with my Savior.

I was reading a devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries today that talked about scheduling regular retreats with God. I need one of those. So, I’m scheduling Saturday morning as my retreat with God (and Saturday afternoon, I’m scheduling to finish my taxes).

So, each day, I have a buffet of choices before me. It contains things like work, church, school, family, friends, God-and-I time, eating, exercising, TV, music, hobbies, Facebook, shopping, chores, Twitter, gardening, bills, volunteering, and the “menu” goes on. Each day, I will choose what I need to eat instead of what I might want to put on my plate. Sure, sometimes the candy bar is the quick answer, but it won’t last long. I want to put things on my plate that will supply satisfying effects for a lifetime and, ultimately, that will matter for eternity.