What made you happy today?

What made you happy today?

By Angela Atkinson

Via @NotAPretender Follow Best flowchart ever? #happiness https://twitter.com/NotAPretender/status/184385903404392448/photo/1

You can never be too happy, I always say. And, happiness is contagious (in a good way!) That’s why, in addition to polling the world at large in this happiness-inducing Storify, I took a poll of my Facebook friends to find out what makes them happy–I hope something they mention might inspire you to embrace the good things in your life too.

Without further ado, let me turn it over to my friends.

The Question: What made you happy today?

  • Melanie said: my kids snuggling in bed together working on a craft… either that or my new fav show- Ice loves Coco!!
  • Amandah said: The hot temps last week and sunshine. 🙂
  • Meredith said: Me taking a walk tonight…rockin out to Coldplay and my hubby running to catch up with me so we could have a half hour together…NO KIDS! 🙂 best walk ever!
  • Jennifer said: My son spontaneously kissing his sister. Also my three year old making me coffee “all by herself” (with the keurig-aka pushing the button). Such a sweet thing.
  • Pen said: Writing.
  • Christy said:a beautiful sunset
  • Tonya said:The laughter of my little ones!
  • Deborah said: My son calling the #13 “little 14″…I suspect it has something to do with the “th” and “f” sound being so similar at his age.
  • Denise said: Finally got to spend a little quality time with my oldest…we went to see Hunger Games by ourselves and joked about all the trailers.
  • Sarah said: Listening to Sadie playing by herself in her room suddenly bust out with “Sadie Sadie Bo Badie Banana Fana Fo Fadie Me Mi Mo Madie, Sadie” and then quietly go back to playing.
  • Andrea said: I had a patient that made me giggle and her sister liked my smile….so she gave me a good reason to smile…..
  • Aja said: My husband’s sweet compliments.

Need more inspiration? Check this out.

What made you happy today? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below!

The Day Oprah Winfrey Broke My Heart

The Day Oprah Winfrey Broke My Heart

By Angela Atkinson

Oh, Oprah! My heart, it’s in pieces.

I’m not one of these people who blindly follows celebrities just because everyone else does, and I’m not generally one to even think too hard about anything a celebrity does. I’m not into the reality shows (with the exception of American Idol, of course), and in general, I’m not even a big TV watcher. I’m busy, you know. 🙂

Prepare yourselves, I’m about to get a little dramatic here*, if you hadn’t already guessed. 🙂

The drama begins…

The rare celeb who causes me to behave in a typical fan-like manner should feel honored (you know, in a world where a celeb could possibly know each of his or her fans personally). At the very least, I consider these few special celebs worthy of note.

If you’ve been following this site, you know very well that Oprah is one of those few who make the cut in my book.

So yesterday morning, as I was checking the day’s news while getting ready to start my workday, I saw something that made my heart jump.

She was here.

In St. Louis. The one and only Oprah Winfrey. Just miles from my home.

I couldn’t believe it.

One of my favorite idols was in my town, and as I feverishly began to figure out how I was going to get everything on my ‘to-do’ list done and sneak myself downtown to see her in a rare local appearance, I clicked on the “get tickets here” kind of button with excitement and anticipation…I was really, truly going to see OPRAH WINFREY!

And, they had recently added a second show. I couldn’t believe the luck.

But then it happened. I saw two of the most awful words a fan could see.

Sold Out.

Oh, the angst!

Ok, so it wasn’t Oprah‘s fault that I was so busy that I missed her invitation. I’m sure she sent it, because I’m on nearly every mailing list the woman has–and no, I’m not kidding. I love me some Oprah, as I may have mentioned before.

Still, somehow I missed that she was in St. Louis  along with Iyanla Vanzant for Oprah’s Lifeclass: The Tour.

And logically, I knew that I couldn’t expect to get into any Oprah-bearing event at the last moment. But logic didn’t make it any better.

On the plus side, at least I could watch it on TV. (It’s waiting for me on my DVR, but I could also watch it online, if I want.)

I have been a fan of Oprah’s Lifeclasses since they were first announced, and I am super excited to see this life-changing show continuing to grow. If you’re not watching it already, I suggest you check it out. If you’ve got cable, you can get the episodes on demand in many areas, along with many other enlightening OWN shows.

My heart will go on, I guess, but I gotta say it.

Hey Oprah, next time you’re in town, let’s do lunch. 🙂 Or, I’ll sit in a crowded audience and soak up your awesomeness. Either way. Just lemme know. 🙂

*Disclaimer: While I was genuinely disappointed that I missed the opportunity to see my favorite Oprah, this post is mostly written tongue-in-cheek. But Oprah, if you’re reading this, I’d really be up for that lunch thing. Just saying.

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen’s Going to Figure Out What Makes You Tick

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen’s Going to Figure Out What Makes You Tick

By Angela Atkinson

Deutsch: PhrenologieHave you heard about the big bucks Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s allocating for the study of the human mind? Allen wants to figure out what makes us tick.

According to a recent press release, the Allen Institute for Brain Science recently announced that Paul G. Allen has committed an additional $300 million to the Institute to significantly expand its scientific programs.

This means that Allen has committed to a total of $500 million to date.

He has charged the Institute with “tackling some of the most fundamental and complex questions in brain science today. The answers to these questions are essential for achieving a complete understanding of how the brain works, what goes wrong in brain-related diseases and disorders, and how best to treat them,” the press release said.

There’s a 10-year plan in place, during which Allen hopes researchers learn the answers to a few key questions:

  • How does the brain store, encode and process information?
  • What are the cellular building blocks that underlie all brain function, and are often targets of disease?
  • How do those cells develop, and then create the circuits that drive behavior, thought and brain dysfunction?

MSN’s Cosmic Log blogger Alan Boyle was in attendance when the Institute laid out its plans, and he had the opportunity to interview Christoph Koch, chief scientific officer for the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

Koch told Boyle that the Institute is focusing many of its resources on “trying to understand this piece of highly, highly complex math and science.”

“The most organized piece of matter in the known universe is the cerebral cortex, the one that makes you and me think and smell and hear and talk. That’s what we’re trying to understand,” Koch told Boyle. “Just as people spend a huge amount of time and effort to build these different observatories to look at the origin of space and time, we’re going to build these observatories, these very sophisticated instruments, all of them using common standards, all peering at the brain — primarily animal brains, but also the human brain.”

Is this the future of artificial intelligence?

Jack William Bell recently posted his thoughts on the matter over at Blogging the Singularity.

“While this knowledge will certainly help understanding ‘brain-related diseases and disorders’ it provides for other applications as well, including direct neural interfaces and uploading–two subjects at the core of transhumanist singularity scenarios,” Bell wrote. “While Mr. Allen is undoubtable rich enough to afford even such a princely sum, one has to wonder if his motives are related more to the latter than the former. After all, what good is being a billionaire if you can’t use it to live forever?”

As I was putting together a Storify on this very intriguing topic, I came across this Facebook post:

“Undoubtedly a move to support the Ray Kurzweil/Bill Gates agenda of a union of neuro-science, computer science and genetic engineering to produce the future human they envision – Cyborg – a genetically engineered human machine. Be attentive, it is a much deeper, more hidden evil then anything appearing on the outer political or economic headlines. This whole cover up that it has to do with helping people with diseases is not the ultimate agenda. See the film: Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil or if you have patience, read his 400 page book with the same name.”

What do you think about this whole thing?

I have to admit that my first thought when I heard this was that it might have something to do with developing the next phase in artificial intelligence–and on the other side of the coin, I thought about how amazing it would be to truly understand how the mind works, because we could learn how to heal ourselves in new and better ways.

But then, of course, my mind went to all of the TV shows and movies we’ve all seen that showed ‘the future,’ including robo-maids (thank you, Jane Jetson) and robo-spouses and robo-kids. Even a robo-dog or robo-cat could be a possibility–they’d surely be allergen free, right?

Can you imagine the possibilities? Do they excite you, or scare you a little? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

10 Crucial Ways To Fuel Your Body’s Self-Healing Powers This Summer

10 Crucial Ways To Fuel Your Body’s Self-Healing Powers This Summer

By Laurie Erdman

Laurie Erdman

I just love summer.  The beach. The sun. Homegrown tomatoes. Hammocks.  And it’s a great time to jumpstart some healing and get your wellness on.

What does that mean?  Well, more energy, less pain, less fatigue and fewer pounds around the middle. But where do you start?  Here are ten easy ways to get started this summer.

1. Take a Trip to the Farmer’s Market

Visit your local farmer’s market each week.   In fact try to do the majority of your weekly shopping there.  Stock up on fresh fruit and lots and lots of vegetables.  From apricots to zucchini, bring home a rainbow of goodness and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a self-healing program.  They are full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and anti-oxidants that your body needs to heal.

Too hot out there?  If, like me, you are sensitive to the heat, go to market early, dress light, wear a hat and don a wet bandanna around your neck.  But go. Those raw fruits and veggies will help with your sensitivity.

2. Go Swimming

Speaking of heat, cool off with a few laps. Not only is swimming one of the best forms of exercise, but you can stay cool at the same time. Perfect combination. And don’t forget that getting exercise and staying fit will help you recover from, or stave off future occurrences of, chronic illness. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

3. Nap Time

There is nothing better than a summertime nap. We know we should be getting 8 hours of sleep every night, but with the longer days, that can be a challenge.  If you are waking with the sun, try taking an afternoon nap to give your body some down time so it can heal and restore. Better yet, take your nap under the shade of a tree if possible.  Ah, how delish. Pure summer.

4. Berries

One of the best things about summer is the berries. Strawberries. Blueberries. And my favorite, raspberries.  Not only are they packed full of disease prohibiting, health promoting, detoxifying phytonutrients, they are delicious and easy to add to any dish.  Add them to your morning cereal (gluten-free, of course) or to your lunchtime salad. Pure sunshine.

5. Melons

Aaaah.  Just the word seems to cool me off.  One of my favorite melons is watermelon.  Not only does it taste amazing, it is hydrating, cooling and alkaline producing. Can’t get much better than that. Melons are sweet enough to stand up to any baked goodie.  So don’t save the melon for picnics, be sure to have a fresh ripe melon on hand so you can enjoy it everyday.

6. Turn Off the Heat

Forget your stove and oven this summer.  There is no better season to have fun with creating your own fresh, tasty, creative salad combinations. By simply tossing together several of your favorite raw veggies, naked or with a light dressing, you have a perfect meal for a hot summer’s day.

  • Try your favorite leafy lettuce with various sliced, diced or grated veggies. The possible combinations are endless.
  • Fresh herbs are a wonderful option to mix in, as they are packed full of flavor and healing nutrients.
  • Experiment with adding diverse forms of protein to your salads, such as nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, fish or poultry. Canned Alaskan salmon is my favorite.
  • Pick up a light and healthy dressing at your local health food store, or mix up something easy, like lemon juice, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
7. Have Fun and Experiment

Summer is a great opportunity to experiment and try a new vegetable from your farmer’s market. What are some creative flavors you’ve never tried before? Fennel and mint? Daikon radish and arugula? Summer squash with watercress? Mix it up – you may discover a new favorite.

8. Take a Sun Break

Getting sunshine is a delicate balance for our health.  There is much conflicting news – get your sunshine, don’t get your sunshine.

I say get practical.  First of all, get out there.  Whether it be the beach, the garden, or the pool, get your Vitamin D the natural way when you can.  But if you are going to be out more than 20 minutes, set a timer and put on your sunblock when it goes off. That way, you get the best of both worlds – Vitamin D and skin cancer protection.

9. Take a Dairy and Gluten Sabbatical

Gluten and dairy can interfere with our body’s healing processes.  But don’t fret, the beauty about summer is we naturally crave more fresh and raw foods. That means we also need less of the dense, high-energy food because we get so much energy from being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. So while your body is craving less heavy foods, try taking a sabbatical from dairy and gluten.  With all those wonderful fruits and vegetables, you will hardly miss the dairy and gluten.

10. Spice it Up.

Just as there are warming spices to keep you warm in the winter, try some cooling herbs and spices this summer.  Mint and basil are my favorite.  Try a mint and lime cooler to quench your thirst.  You can also indulge in basil or cilantro pesto. Toss in some cumin and cayenne pepper into your salsa. All will help you stay cool while packing a nutritional punch.

So what are some of your favorite ways to stay healthy in the summer? Please share your favorite ideas in the comments below.

About the Author

Laurie Erdman

Chronic Wellness Coaching: Empowering You to Heal Your Body, Mind and Spirit

Laurie Erdman's pictureAs a former lawyer, I know the havoc a stressful lifestyle can play on your life. I lived it. As a holistic health coach, I blend my own healing experience and studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the Center for Mind Body Medicine, with years of counseling clients together in a caring, loving, supportive experience that enables you to take charge of your healing journey and become a Wellness Hero. I also write about radical self care and wellness at Owning Pink, Ezine, Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis and Examiner.com and I write a monthly health column at FemCentral.

*Reprinted with permission from OwningPink.com.

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