Category Archives: HEALTH

Trick or Treat Yourself

10 27 14 CatTrick or treat!

Yes, it’s that time of year again, where often, people may confuse treats with things that actually are tricks. Oh no, what is she going to tell me I’m doing wrong? Believe me I am all about fun, and if you don’t believe me, yes, that blog photo is me!

But how often do you reward yourself by saying, when I get this project done or that goal accomplished, I am going to treat myself with a big bowl of Rocky Road ice cream? Or at the end of the workday or work week I am going to indulge in several Happy Hour drinks? Or buy something I really can’t afford and end up paying more for it in credit card interest in the long run?

Are these really treats? They may feel good momentarily, until you get the stomach ache, hangover or the bill!

Let’s talk about how often we really “treat” ourselves. How do we treat ourselves? A little play on words here!

How much negative self-talk do you practice? If your best friend talked to you the way you talked to yourself, would they still be your best friend? Look yourself in the eye in the mirror and repeat to yourself out loud “I love you” – compliment yourself – it may be harder than you think.

Do you make time to rest your body and spirit on a daily basis? Most people probably don’t, they get caught up with the daily hustle of work and obligations. But in the same way as your Outlook calendar or your smart phone calendar or Siri will remind you of your constant “to do’s,” why don’t you use them to schedule some time for yourself?

People always say they don’t have time, but how long is 10 to 15 minutes? Those 10 to 15 minutes in a day can be more valuable than you think. I used to say the same thing: “Oh, I can’t take 10 minutes at the beginning of the day to do a focused meditation!” Now, if I don’t do it, I notice that my day does not go as well!

Here’s one way you can find 10-15 minutes for yourself. Do you know that an hour-long TV program has 15 minutes of commercials? If you record your favorite program and then watch it in playback mode, fast-forwarding through the commercials, you will gain those 15 minutes back. If you have six weekly favorite TV programs that you usually watch live, by recording them you can gain yourself back one and a half hours! You can do a lot with an extra 90 minutes a week!

Instead of reaching for the ice cream, how about 15 minutes watching the sunset, taking a walk, taking a bubble bath, doing some relaxing yoga stretches or tuning in to any one of the many meditation videos on YouTube. Treats such as these will have a more lasting and transformative effect on you. If you have a spouse or children, sharing 15 minutes with them in some relationship building activity will have benefits for your loved ones as well – but that’s another blog!

If you do partake in any Halloween parties this weekend, enjoy yourself and party safely! Remember to always treat yourself in the best possible way; your body and spirit will thank you for it.

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The Secret Link to Good Habits

8 10 15 HABITBreaking bad habits.
Forming good habits.
Habits of successful people.

There have been many books written about the subject of humanity’s attempt to improve their daily practices. I don’t have a book for you today – just a little epiphany that occurred to me this past month that I will share.

I’m sure you’ve all had the occasion to say, “I’ve GOT to start doing this! I’ve GOT to add this positive habit into my daily routine! But I don’t know how!”

Our days are already filled with habits, whether we know it or not. Especially in the morning, and perhaps also in the evening. Our morning coffee. Perhaps an evening glass of wine.

We have no problem with keeping the appointment with this habit. It comes naturally like breathing. If only we could make other new practices happen the same way!

Attach your habits. Piggyback them. Link them.

Let me explain.

In the past year I have became acquainted with green matcha tea. It is extremely healthy for you, but that is not the focus of this blog. I began drinking the tea first thing in the morning, a morning ritual, where I sat and savored it, and gave it the moment of mindfulness it deserved. I was unwavering in this ritual.

But I had been unsuccessful in my life to come up with a method of incorporating meditation into my life in the way that I really wanted to. I wanted to make the habit of meditation convenient and have it occur easy and naturally.

Then it dawned on me. They say meditation is best in the morning. My morning matcha tea habit was firmly ingrained in me, and while drinking it, I was being quiet and still, so … hmmm.

Link the meditation habit to the tea habit! I began a meditation practice while drinking my tea!

It was only fitting. I had read that over a thousand years ago Japanese monks had discovered that matcha tea helped them be alert, calm and focused. Science has since confirmed that it is the amino acid, L-theanine, that creates relaxed alertness.

The linking method was successful.

By linking a “difficult to set up” habit to an already easily practiced habit, I was able to establish this new habit in my daily practice. I liken it to how train cars are attached, one to another.

I had linked two habits. Could I link more? I drank my tea and meditated. Now it was time for – a little morning stretching? A little yoga? The possibilities are endless!

What habit do you want to start? Is it something that will go along with your morning coffee or tea, or another established habit of yours?

Link a “difficult” habit to an “easy” habit and you will be on your way!

True Freedom

7 4 15 FireworksHappy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! As we celebrate the birth of our nation and our nation’s freedoms, after the burgers are eaten and the fireworks have lit up the sky – let’s think about our inner freedom.

How free do you feel? You might not be in a cell behind bars, but what prison bars have you created for your spirit?

Self-doubt
Low self-esteem
Fear
Bad habits
Unforgiveness
Hatred

It’s time to release those things that are not serving us. To choose to love, starting with ourselves.

The Bible says to love our neighbor as ourselves, but if we don’t love ourself how can we then love our neighbor?

It’s that airline “put the oxygen mask on yourself first” principle. I had a hard time understanding that principle at first because I am such a giver! But I understand now.

Do you ever talk to yourself? What do you say?

Do you say, “Oh, I’m stupid! Why did I do that?” If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself!

What are your inner voices telling you? There is a good movie in theaters now for you to see, and take your children to! “Inside Out” is a story of the voices inside a young girl’s head: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. Great lessons to learn here!

Make sure you listen to your positive voices!

Be good to yourself. Start by scheduling 5-10 minutes in the day to pause, reflect, meditate, be thankful. Acknowledge a skill that you have and be thankful for it.

Look in the mirror and say, “I love you.” More than once. And mean it. It might be harder than you think!

Self-care is not selfish, it is vital to our physical health and wellbeing. When we love ourselves, work on our personal growth, and free ourselves from the fears and doubts that hold us back, then we will have even more love to give.

So this weekend, make a choice. Start setting yourself free from those things that hold you back. Love yourself enough to move forward.

Louise Hay’s favorite quote is, “Life loves you.”

Feel the love today and every day, and be free.

I Am Not the Same

5 17 15 Not the SameAre you the same person you were a year ago? Of course, you say! The name on my driver’s license is still the same!

There is a quote attributed to the artist Michelangelo in the 88th year of his life: “I am still learning.”

I’ve always loved this quote, since I have always been an avid learner. If we are the sum of our experiences and we learn on a daily basis, then each year after the earth has gone around the sun one more time we should be a different and hopefully better person.

I’m listening to the Hay House World Summit speakers and videos for the second year. If you are not familiar with this event, you still have 11 days to get on board! It is 100 free lectures/interviews (averaging 60 minutes each) and 12 videos about self-discovery, health and success. You pick who you want to listen to and which videos you want to watch. Check it out at: Hay House World Summit

I looked at my notes from last year because I wanted to choose new speakers to listen to this time around. New speakers, new nuggets of wisdom! As I listened to one speaker, I was profoundly moved by her words. I happened to look back at my old notes and discovered that I had listened to her last year. I had missed her in my list!

Why did she impact me so much more now?

Because I am a different person than I was a year ago. I have grown. Now, I was listening from a different place and a different perspective. I had new “ears.” I did not “hear” what she had to say last year, but this year everything was different.

I encouraged a few friends to take part in this feast for the mind/soul/body. One friend said, “I’m fine. I don’t need to listen to seminars now.”

What? I can’t comprehend thinking one knows all you need to know at any point in life. But, if he had listened, he may not have heard anything anyway because his emotional ears were not open.

On the other hand, I was happy to introduce another close friend to listen to a popular, modern-day philosopher, and he was quite moved by the speaker’s presentation. Later, I was happy to have a deep, philosophical conversation with my friend about some new concepts! (We are prone to deep conversations anyway.)

I did caution him that when he listens, to do so with himself in mind, not me. My lessons will take care of themselves! Let each walk on his or her path of self-discovery.

Today’s learning was exceptionally “mind-blowing” – which is probably a very apt phrase. Last year I remember after ten days of Summit, my brain felt as if it had grown several new neural pathways. This year they have spread out the sessions over twenty days to give us more time to listen to more speakers. After only nine days as of today, I can only imagine how I will feel by the end of the twenty days!

I know I will be a different person than I was three weeks ago.

How wonderful to know that if we want to, our learning, our personal growth can continue our whole lives.

Who will you be a year from now?

It all depends on if you keep learning and growing.

Be Your Whole Self

12 8 14 Cranky cat“Because I’m Happpppy!” Well, what if you feel crankyyyyy? Do you ever feel guilty because you are constantly told that you should be “happy” but you are not always?

Some experts think the most toxic idea in the happiness movement is that you should always feel good and run from feeling bad. So maybe it’s okay to feel cranky once in a while?

Dr. Todd B. Kashdan, scientist, author and professor of psychology at George Mason University, was a featured speaker last week on the December Wake Up Happy series.

Todd’s recently released book  The Upside to Your Dark Side discusses our ability to access our full range of emotions and behavior—not just the “good” ones—in order to respond most effectively to whatever situation we might meet. Appreciating our entire psychology makes us whole.

What does wholeness mean? Although we know that we have a multi-faceted personality, we tend to focus only on the positive aspects, and shy away from the difficult sides of our personalities. When we prematurely discard other sides of our personality, we’re not whole.

How can we harness the dark sides of ourselves instead of trying to hide them or ignore them?

While it might be useful to avoid uncomfortable feelings, what are the consequences of this? Anger and anxiety are not necessarily debilitating. By always striving to be happy, we get anxious about “being anxious!” We create negative feelings “about having these feelings.” The only thing to fear… is fear itself!

All emotions and thoughts are tools.

Which tool is right for the situation I’m in? Kashdan says we need to get rid of the notion that being happy is good and being unhappy is bad. In this way, we are applying a “moral judgment” to happiness that perhaps does not belong there. Sometimes people who are a little “too” happy have less perseverance. Kashdan’s point of view is very interesting because it seems to contradict some of what we’ve heard elsewhere.

Sometimes we will be happy and sometimes we won’t. If we are so afraid of painful emotions, we will not take risks. Don’t make a bad mood even worse by judging yourself and criticizing yourself for “being” in a bad mood. Create a climate where all emotions have value.

Have we as a society tried too hard to banish negative emotions, when in fact they could bring us closer to other people?

Do not try to force yourself to be happy when evolutionarily, we are meant to feel emotions such as sadness. If we acknowledge that sadness, we can ask for help and connect with other people. Let your emotions be present in the moment. Acknowledge. Move on. Don’t wallow.

There are many effective ways to boost ourselves out of a bad mood. Talking to a friend about your emotions, even if they are negative, will be helpful. Even being on the receiving end of anger, 76% of people say that because of that anger they understand themselves better. Check out Dr. Kashdan’s website at http://toddkashdan.com to learn more about his controversial work.

Where is the line between acknowledging and expressing negativity and wallowing in despair? It’s all about energy. Mix in three bits of action for every negative thought. Action will counteract your “wallowing.” Those actions will help you get out of your head and into your life. 

Here is an example and a confession. The other day I was cranky and I got an idea. I was driving in my car and put in my CD with Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and tried to rewrite the lyrics as “because I’m cranky.” It was impossible not to smile with glee as I tried to sing words counterintuitive to the music! Result: I was no longer cranky!

Accept the dark side, as well as the light. Acknowledge. Move on. Only then can we be fully whole. 

Now go. The next time you get in a bad mood, I double-dog-dare you to sing: “I’m cranky.” 🙂

Disconnect and Discover

12 2 14 ChairsAre you good at keeping promises? I’m sure most of you just thought, “Of course I keep my word when I tell someone I’m going to do something. I respect others!” But that’s not the type of promise I’m talking about.

Do you keep the promises you make to yourself?

“When I get that project done I’m going to treat myself!”

“Next month I will go to the spa.”

“Next year I really am going to take that cruise!”

You may even have a “Vision Board” of the things you want to do. Do you keep those promises to yourself? Or do you let it slide because after all, it’s just yourself that you are talking to!

Do you treat others better than you treat yourself? It’s time you started being good to yourself.

Eight years ago I discovered a location that became a favorite reoccurring vacation spot. I made it a point to return every year. Then when the economy got bad and I had to make choices over whether to travel to visit family or travel “for me”- family won out. I promised myself I’d go the next year, but something else always came in the way – and I didn’t go.

This year I made a serious promise to myself. (Aren’t all promises serious?) No matter what, I would take that trip!

A few months ago when I went online and found a fantastic lodging opportunity and booked it, the feeling of joy that came over me was amazing! If I could have had a conversation with myself, my “self” would have talked back and said, “Thank you! It’s about time!”

Oh, but then there were the roadblocks that started cropping up. The unexpected car repairs. Twice.

A restaurant that was hosting my favorite band decided to close, meaning I would only get to see them once! What?

You see, one of the best parts of the vacation is strategically booking it so that I can see “my band” at least twice. Once is not acceptable! But, since I have connections, I saw them twice after all! I got into the private party!

“Vacation” means to “vacate” your usual space for a different space. Vacate your regular routine for a routine of rejuvenation.

I’ve read much recently about limiting the use of electronics during vacation. This was my first vacation with a smart phone in hand and I found this absolutely true.

When you are on vacation please limit use of electronic communications with the universe beyond where you are! It disrupts your flow! I told my best friend not to text me unless the world ended, and he texted me bad news anyway. Thanks!

Also, resist the urge to share every moment via text, Messenger, Facebook, etc. It is an interruption to the experience. Settle back, savor the moment. How long can you go without touching your phone?

View your space through your own eyes, not the eyes of your electronics. When you have your eyes on the world around you, you can make eye contact with angels in the guise of people, start conversations, establish friendships, recognize opportunities. You will attract adventure into your vacation. After all, you can always post when you get back home!

I met a lady this weekend who told me I was courageous to take a trip on my own. I do not call it courage, simply the desire to not let anything impede me from enjoying life to the fullest.

My advice to you – make time for some “me” time, rejuvenation time. Cancel those electronic impulses and observe the world around you. Open yourself up to chance encounters and new adventure. Disconnect and discover. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Let It Go

11 10 14 forgivenessThis week the content of a Wake Up Happy webinar had so much great content, I felt it deserved its own blog. The guest speaker was Dr. Fred Luskin, Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project. You can read more about his work at Learning to Forgive.

Forgiveness is a big topic in its own right. I’m sure everyone reading this has been hurt in some way and may hold bitterness in their heart. These feelings have more consequences that we realize.

When you hold onto “junk” from your past, it makes it very difficult to be happy.

By “junk” I mean things like anger and grudges that could be resolved by forgiving and letting go. If we don’t learn to let go of these negative emotions, the stress of them has health consequences, such as high blood pressure, muscle tension, anxiety and more. Forgive what happened and move on, before we create serious physical damage to ourselves.

The ability to forgive is inside of everyone. We are hard-wired with the capacity to be positive; we just have to learn how to access it.

This takes us back to the idea of choosing happiness and focusing on the positives instead of the pain. By saying “I’ll never get over it” you create strong mental pathways that make getting over it difficult, says Dr. Luskin. We need to cut through the layers of damage and reach a sense of forgiveness. Start saying to ourselves that we can get over it.

Are you creating an “emotional prison” for yourself by holding onto grudges instead of forgiving?

Have you made the decision that you are going to forgive? We need to make a decision about what kind of life it is that we want.

Have you said to yourself, “I’ve suffered enough. There’s nothing I can do with this. I am stewing in my anger, so I need to change. It is up to me to make that change. Do I want to keep suffering, or embrace happiness for myself?” The decision is up to you.

Forgiveness is a subsection of the happiness decision.

When you blame anyone from your past for why you’re not happy today, that’s a real problem. It’s tempting to blame outside sources for all of our suffering, but that is not the path to creating a better life. Sometimes it’s easier to blame others, and parents oftentimes get the bad rap. Maybe they didn’t do a great job, but now in the present, it’s up to us to make ourselves happier and more forgiving.

The decision to be happy and forgive means you have to work at it. We can only control our own lives; looking back with anger and blame will only cause us more hurt. One exercise you can do is to write a letter to your parent explaining why something she/he did may have hurt you. Don’t mail it! Just put it in a drawer. This act in itself can be very cathartic.

It takes a lot of effort to let go of anger and grudges, but there is a major pay-off: better health and wellbeing!

It takes a lot of work to be happy, but it also takes a lot of work to be unhappy! Put your effort towards the happy!

Try an exercise this week: choose one person who might have been unkind to you, and do something kind for that person. You will feel all the better when you do this, not only emotionally but physically.

Put forgiveness into action. “Let it go.”

Live Happy – Part Deux

ae420ec5ac8e16745144860a5729b85dThe “Live Happy” people were at it again last week. They are going to do this every month, so get ready for your monthly dose of “happy.”

Unfortunately I missed the one speaker that I was most interested in hearing because I needed to be on the road at the time!

These are a series of 30-minute web conversations with New York Times best-selling authors and experts in the fields of happiness, business and positive psychology. Hosted by Live Happy CEO Kym Yancey, the guest speakers share tips on how to tap into the power of happiness. Listeners interact and post questions.

Research proves that happiness is a major force behind your success in business, relationships and much more. Make a decision to “live happy” and check out the resources provided by the Live Happy organization. Become a Happiness Ambassador!

Here are some nuggets from the past week just for you!

October 13, 2014
Dr. Drew Ramsey – Happier with Every Bite
Author of The Happiness Diet discusses how poor diet and nutrition can cause anxiety and depression. His new book 50 Shades of Kale provides 50 exciting recipes for this superfood.

Brain health begins at the end of your fork.

Change the architecture of your brain by picking healthy food.

Some foods actually contribute to depression, such as soda and the trans fats in processed food.

Dark chocolate gives a mental boost!

“I witness people transform themselves every day-from tears to smiles, chaos to calm. We all have the power to build happy, vibrant lives. Since every molecule in your brain begins at the end of your fork, that’s where I like to start.” – Dr. Drew Ramsey

October 14, 2014
James Pawelski – The Positive Portfolio
Dr. James O. Pawelski, Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania is widely published on the topics of positive psychology and philosophy.

Don’t wait around for happy to happen.

Happiness = human flourishing = a deep sense of well-being.

What’s in your Positive Portfolio? The Positive Portfolio is a collection of items that give you love, happiness and confidence. Think about a strength or positive emotion that you want to cultivate. Gather pictures, emails, music, etc. that help cultivate that strength or positive emotion. Focus 15 minutes a day on your “Positive Portfolio.” Add frequently to your Portfolio.

Bring mindfulness to your life; bring in the good happening around you.

Sometimes you wake up happy, and sometimes you have to wake up your happy!

October 15, 2014
Judson Laipply – Discover Your Happy Senses
Judson is a motivational speaker and dancer, best known for his performance in the Evolution of Dance viral video clip. In 2006, it was the #1 Most Viewed All Time Video and #1 Top Rated Video on YouTube.
The Evolution of Dance

Happiness is a decision, an attitude, a way of life.

Don’t hope for things, decide for things.

Make people happy and flood people’s brains with dopamine so that they remember what you say.

You cannot light another’s path, without lighting your own.

The more we share happiness, the happier we are.

The flame we have together is bigger than two individual flames.

Our words are powerful, It’s ok to day, “Yes, I am going to have a good day!”

Vocabulary lesson for the day: Perspicacity-Understanding how our perception affects our reality.

If you perceive the world through the lens of “I’m going to be happy” you can find things to make you happy.

Purpose and passion are hard to have without the other. “Pur-passion!” They feed on each other.

We have 5 “happy senses” – “pur-passion” (purpose and passion), play, harmony, perception and gratitude!

Giving isn’t giving until you give to someone who could never pay you back.

October 16, 2014
Michelle McQuaid – Wellbeing in the Workplace
Michelle is a best-selling author, workplace well-being teacher and playful change activator. She is passionate about translating cutting-edge research from positive psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies for health, happiness and business success.

Prime your brain before you go to sleep to cue up your morning habits.

During the day, make sure you get up frequently and move around, get up and drink water, create an inflection point to refresh yourself.

Inject a moment of positivity to short circuit that downward spiral that can happen at work. A jolt of joy = anything that puts a smile on your face.

You have a choice in how you feel and how you show up.

October 17, 2014
Mary Jane Ryan – The Happiness Makeover
MJ Ryan, a personal change expert and executive coach, is the author of How to Survive Change…You Didn’t Ask For: Bounce Back, Find Calm in Chaos, and Reinvent Yourself.

Accidental acts of happiness help us to become happier.

Accidental acts of kindness help us to become happier.

Gratitude is an “and” experience. No matter what is going on in your life, you can always appreciate and enjoy.

What can you still appreciate despite the difficulty and negative circumstances?

It’s not permanent; it’s not personal; it’s not pervasive.

We catch our feelings from our friends.

Give a smile to someone else today.

“We can be happier because we can grow and change until we take our very last breath.” – MJ Ryan

“Pink October” and Confident Hope

SuzyCIf orange is the new black, then pink is the new orange. The new color for October and the start of the autumn season!

I began October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month coaching and assisting my friend and “cancer-vivor” with her public appearances and book signings. She is an amazing woman with an amazing story of strength in the face of her trials with breast cancer.

Susan was an award-winning hair designer, an active businesswoman in Orlando, running her second successful hair and beauty salon and living a very active social life. Her work in the beauty industry had taken her to Europe on fashion trips and she had clients in the Orlando entertainment industry. It was the good life in the Sunshine State!

In January 2003 she was having a lumpectomy on a non-malignant tumor. No sweat. Until she went for the follow-up visit a week later and heard the dreaded “C” word. It was cancer after all.

So began the rollercoaster ride of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Susan says that it is during times like this that you find out what you are really made of. Her family and friends rallied to help her and she also found strength in her renewed faith in God. It was a rough year but things seemed to be working out.

Then a year later, she was shocked when her doctor told her that the cancer was back – same breast – a different type of cancer! Drastic measures were in order and she underwent a double mastectomy at age 39. Medical complications ensued, and she contracted MRSA infections. Sickness, fatigue, nausea and depression were growing stronger every day.

Then Hurricane Charley struck Florida in August 2004, and an oak tree fell on top of her house, destroying her in-home salon.

When it rains it pours! Literally in this case. But as the other saying goes, sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn.

It was at this dark time that Susan learned what it was truly like to “lean on the Lord.” Her faith and peace was severely tested but she began to see everything working towards a greater purpose. She likes to say, “God can take your mess and turn it into a message.”

Susan has been a Spiritual Care Volunteer with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and thrives in helping others find the “confident hope” that God has given her. With all the heartbreaking and painful situations in her physical, mental, financial and spiritual life, she has now come out on top with confident hope and faith. She says that it is only through personal pain and heartache that you can really understand the needs of others.

She began writing her book on scraps of paper when she was in the hospital going through her treatments and it took her several years to get this labor of hope and love to print. Overflow with Confident Hope is her story and her inspirational insights into how we can triumph over our struggles through faith and perseverance.

Susan has become a motivational public speaker sharing her story of confident hope and inspiration with all who are dealing with cancer or any other challenge in life. You can check out her book on Amazon.com and her blog at susanculey.com.

Yes, pink is the new power color for October. And I always think of her when I wear it.

glo n suz

The Greatest Gift

9 1 14 OneBlood Logo WEBI remember my first time.
I was disappointed.
But the next time, I was elated.

I’m talking about donating blood.

The first time, my blood was not flowing fast enough and they could not collect it. They gave me the free T-shirt anyway! The second attempt was successful and I felt a very satisfied and rewarding feeling.

Could you spare an hour of your time?
Could you spare an hour to give someone a chance to live?
Could you spare an hour to donate blood?

What do people need to live?

Air, water, food, shelter…blood.
Air can be bottled, water can be purified, food can be grown, shelter can be built.
Blood cannot be manufactured.

Every 2 seconds an American needs a unit of blood.
A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days, so the supply needs to be continually replenished.

If everyone who was eligible donated, when the time came for you or one of your loved ones to need blood, it would be there.

Has there been a time when someone you knew needed blood?
I’m sure you have. Cancer patients and sickle-cell patients, infants in NICU and other patients are always in need of blood.

By donating blood you will help countless others, and yourself.

How can donating blood help you?

When you donate – your screening provides you with a “mini-physical” – checking your blood pressure, temperature, cholesterol, iron level, and more. Sometimes even a mini-physical can detect conditions important to your health.

Donating is actually GOOD for your body! After donating blood, the count of blood cells decreases in our body, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells in order to replenish the loss. So, it stimulates the production of new blood cells and refreshes the system.

I call it getting my oil changed!

The whole process of blood donation – from the time you arrive until the time you leave – ordinarily lasts no more than one hour. The donation itself takes only about fifteen minutes. Your single donation can help as many as three people, and can be at a hospital in as little as 48 hours, ready for a critically ill patient. Just think – you can help a trauma patient, a cancer patient, and a premature baby with one donation!

Around holiday times, when there are more traffic accidents, or in times of natural disasters – the need for blood grows. You can be responsible for saving a life. Many people go on vacation during the summer, which makes blood donations more challenging. And here we are in the middle of Labor Day weekend, when there is likely to be an increased need for blood with more drivers on the road.

Do you know what the rarest blood type is?
The rarest blood type is the one that is not there when you need it.
Today’s donor may be tomorrow’s recipient.

I am in one of the special groups. Only 8% of the population has B+ blood. My type is especially helpful for leukemia patients.

All donations to charity make a difference, whether they consist of money, clothing, or simply a couple of hours spent volunteering. While every contribution is equally important, nothing is comparable to the donation of human blood.

But what are the actual statistics on blood donors?

Only about 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, and of that less than 10% actually do. If all eligible donors gave 4 – 6 times a year, there would be no blood shortages. Most people do not give simply because they do not have the facts.

They think it will hurt. They think they will faint.
They think they can catch a disease.
They think it will take too long. They think it is inconvenient.
In all cases, no.

You can go on a Saturday afternoon to your local Blood Center – spend an hour relaxing in a chair while you give blood and then drink juice and eat snacks afterwards.

Besides helping to save a life and keep ones own blood fresh and renewed, some blood centers also rewards its donors with gift certificates from vendors including grocery stores, retail chains, restaurants and gas stations. I’m sure if you knew you’d be getting a gas card you’d be running out the door now!

While these rewards are all well and good, the greatest reward is that warm feeling that you get, knowing that you have just given the greatest gift you can give – the gift of life.

So what’s stopping you?

Go to Google and look up your local blood center and make an appointment now.

Me – I’m getting another T-shirt this Labor Day.