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Happiness

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The key to happiness: Appreciate the little things

Right now, look up from your phone, or look away from the computer screen or the TV. Look around you, look in your loved ones’ faces or out of the window. When did you last go for a walk in nature and notice the beauty around you? People spend their days worrying and thinking about the big things: acing that big test, getting that big paying job, going on that big date. They fail to notice the sweet little things that make life so special: The bird that is warbling in the tree branch outside of your office window is a call to enjoy the beauty of nature rather than the stress of work, yet you probably do not take the time to notice it because you just must get your proposal done for your demanding boss. The smell of freshly baked bread can awaken pleasant memories of your childhood

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Longevity

Love is blind: the story of Ruth Vallis

This excerpt is from a memoir which commences with my birth and concludes with the death of my mother whom I called Peach. Blind since before the age of three, I will take you on a journey through two years in a residential school for the blind, becoming a pioneer of integration of blind children into the public school system in Canada, to studying physiotherapy in England, back home to try and land a job before employment equity, taking a Master of Science degree online before accessible technology is legislated, training with my first guide dog, and more. You may laugh and cry. In the end, I hope you are glad you read it.  Residential School for the Blind When I was growing up in Toronto in the 1950s, we always had some sort of dessert with dinner, although there was little in the way of treats. When my father

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Longevity

We all deserve happiness

While we mainly look at Yoga in the west as a source of exercise that additionally makes us feel calm and centered, there are many ways to practice Yoga off the mat that don’t involve movement at all. In saying this, please know I continue to value and promote physical exercise – we must keep our bodies strong and mobile for our overall health and wellbeing.  Yoga is the 6,000 year-old science of the mind and is experienced as a stilling of our thoughts, or ending the ceaseless chatter in our minds. A revered Yoga sage and guru from 1450 BCE by the name of Patanjali explains that reaching this quiet space in the mind is done through non-attachment and practice. Practice, in reference to the eight limbs of Yoga which includes: social and personal ethics, physical poses, breathwork and meditation. However, I find the concept of non-attachment powerful. That

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Health

Finding kindness and compassion

There are many ways in which we harm both ourselves, and others. Open up your mind and let go of negativity with these tips. The world needs more of our kindness. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is one of the oldest sources of yoga philosophy dating back to 2500 BCE. Sutras mean threads, and this work was put together by Patanjali’s students as a way to record his teachings. Originally passed through generations orally, it continues to be one of the most important resources when looking to deepen our yoga practice. It is from the Sutras that the “Eight Limbs of Yoga” are first described. The eight limbs being: Yamas: social code of ethics to which there are five »  Ahimsa or non-violence »  Satya or truth »  Asteya or non-jealousy »  Brahmacharya or moderation »  Apparigraha or non-coveting Niyamas: personal code of ethics to which there are five » 

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Longevity

Keeping your cool in the age of unreason

Christoper J. (Chris) Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University in Florida, is interested in madness, especially among the influential. His latest book is “How Madness Shaped History: An Eccentric Array of Maniacal Rulers, Raving narcissists, and Psychotic visionaries.” He uses “madness,” loosely defined, to mean personality disorders and other ailments that allow a certain effectiveness, and often ruthlessness, that is not possible for those with major illnesses like untreated schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder. These strange people – consider Alexander the Great, Caligula, and Hitler, as extreme examples – sometimes exploit difficult times. They provide simple and simplistic solutions to difficult issues and are often adept at persuasion. Some modern leaders may not be as extreme, or maybe they are still waiting their turn. For a variety of reasons, these oddballs attract followers. Eventually, chaos ensues and they fall from grace. But in the meantime… Today, in

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Resonance

Out of the shadows: PTSD and me

After World War II, when the troops – the lucky ones — returned home, they settled in as quickly as they could to their new and relatively stable lives. Not all had seen combat, but those who had would bear the scars for the rest of their lives. I knew a man who as a teenager had served in Italy, fighting house to house, eyeball to eyeball, for months on end. For the rest of his life he took walks alone in the woods, feeling one with nature and screaming to relieve the pain he carried from those early years. Some of those who missed direct combat had seen some terrible things. A friend was telling me about his father who was a translator, never closer than five miles from the front. Part of the job was stacking bodies at the end of the day. Women served as well men.

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Mind

How to reduce worrying

If you are stressed out, you are not alone. Studies show that more than 75% of people feel anxious, depressed, stressed or overwhelmed on a daily basis. Stressful situations happen all the time. For most, these situations are unavoidable, like losing a loved one, getting in a car accident or preparing for a job interview. Stress is a part of life. From the moment we wake up until we go to bed, our minds are racing with stressful thoughts, worries and concerns. “What if this happens? What if that happens? What will I do?” But it is not the situations that happen in our lives that cause us stress, it is how we mentally and emotionally respond. While some stress in our lives can be valuable—the fight or flight response is ideal if we need to outrun a bear or swerve last minute to avoid an accident—excessive, chronic and pro- longed

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Silhouettes of two people on a beach drinking cocktails and watching the sunsetting
Longevity

Creating order in the disorder of life

Harnessing the drive and discipline needed to achieve our goals.  In continuing our journey through the social and personal code of ethics from Yoga philosophy known as the Yamas and Niyamas, we arrive at Tapas.  The literal translation of Tapas is heat. Our understanding of it as a practice is the drive or fire that takes us through. Commonly compared to discipline, it is the push we need to complete the tasks that maybe we don’t want to do.  We use Tapas to build out routines and habits in order to achieve our goals or dreams. The idea around Tapas is that it keeps us focused on our path or journey. We set our goal and then this is the driving force to get us there. Remember the translation to heat, so it is more than just setting up a routine, it is also the desire; the inner fire and

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Health

Whole person integrative eating

An interview with author Deborah Kesten, M.P.H. about her new book and the science behind this approach to eating better. Q1. What is Whole Person Integrative Eating? So many people struggle with their weight. My book, Whole Person Integrative Eating, is a science-backed program that gives you the exact skills you need to nourish “all of you”—body, mind, and soul—each time you eat, so you can lose weight and keep it off. Anyone struggling with weight needs this book to halt—even reverse—overeating and being overweight. Q2. You describe Whole Person Integrative Eating as a “dietary lifestyle.” What is that? The Whole Person Integrative Eating program is a dietary lifestyle that is the opposite of traditional dieting; something you go on, then off. Rather, Integrative Eating is a dietary lifestyle because it is based on the original meaning of the word “diet,” which, during the time of Hippocrates—about 2500 years ago—meant “way of life.” Over the centuries, the word diet traveled throughout Europe, until it came to mean a

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