Improving Brain Health for Women Over 40

Women Over 40 and Brain Health

 

Brain Health

Do you ever walk into the kitchen and totally forget why you went there in the first place? Ever drive to work on autopilot when you were supposed to be driving to the grocery store? Do you forget your daily tasks if you don’t write them down?

 

Once we hit 40, it seems that our brains aren’t always able to keep up with our busy, daily lives. Brain health is something we don’t think about too much, but maybe we should. So, let’s explore what affects brain health, and learn some easy health and wellness flips that we can incorporate into our daily lives in order to improve our brain health.

 

How Does Daily Stress Impact Our Brain Health?

 

 

Stress Can Damage Your Memory and Brain 

 

When you are stressed, do you ever get the feeling that your mind is racing from one thought to the next, and it’s hard to concentrate on just one thing? When we get stressed out, the host of chemicals that are responsible for our thoughts and memories start acting and reacting at faster rates than we are used to. This creates a sense of panic and unease in our bodies and leads us to feel emotionally overloaded. No fun.

 

 

Stress Can Change the Structure of Your Brain 

Click on the picture to get your free guide!

Click on the picture to get your free guide!

 Stress is such a powerful set of reactions and emotions that frequent stress can actually cause your brain to shrink in size, diminishing your brain health. If you continually experience high levels of stress over a long period of time, the structure of your brain can change. Studies reveal that humans who have gone through trauma and prolonged stress can lose brain cells and their brains can actually decrease in size and slow in function. 

 

 

So, What Can You Do to Improve Your Brain Health and Combat the Effects of Stress on Your Brain?

 

How to Increase Your Brain Health

 

Luckily, there are quite a few health and wellness flips we can make in order stop or reverse the effects of stress and improve our brain health, especially for women over 40.

 

 

Get Your Dose of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

One of the most important nutrients you should be incorporating into your diet for you brain health is your Omega 3s. Omega 3 fatty acids help your brain retain its plasticity, and there help to nurture the part of your brain that stores memories. So be sure you’re getting enough Omega 3s. You can take a supplement, or eat a diet rich in the following sources of Omega 3s.

Improving Brain Health

·      Dark leafy green vegetables

·      Chia seeds

·      Flax seeds

·      Oily fishes such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines

·      Walnuts

·      Fish roe (caviar)

 

 

 

Bust Out Those Journals

 

I know I’m always harping on you to start journaling for your health and wellness, and I’m about to do it again! Writing is such a beneficial exercise for your brain health, because it employs several different parts of your brain, being a physical activity, a mental activity, and one that also ignites creativity. Writing also relies on your ability to recall information—this is why it seems easier to remember things when you write them down. The more you exercise these different parts of your brain, the better your brain health will be.  

 

 

Eat Less Sugar

 

Sugar is one of the most addictive substances we eat. Most women will tell you that they have a sweet tooth. However, studies have been linking sugar to a decrease in cognitive function. Sugar gives us high and low energy spikes, and can lead to brain fog, confusion, and a reliance on a sugar buzz to keep us going in the middle of the day. Reducing sugar intake reduces the severity and frequency of inflammation in the body. This inflammation can lead to bloating, intestinal diseases, increase in allergies, exhaustion, and even brain fog. 

 

Related: How Sugar Ages You From the Inside Out and What to Do About it



Brain-Boosting Activities

 

Get your gears moving and your brain warmed up by stimulating your brain and improving brain health. Your brain is just like the muscles in your body, you have to use it to keep it in top shape.

 

 

Have Fun and Stimulate Your Mind with Games

 

Studies have shown that the mind can become sharper through the use of games such as word puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and any other game that forces you to think and challenge your mind. Not only are these games fun, but they’ve been found to improve several areas of development including memory, global cognition and has even been shown to slow the effect of cognitive impairment brought on by disease. 

 

Get Creative

When you participate in creative activities, you brain lights up with imagination. Even if you haven’t created anything since you were a kid, you still have creativity inside of you, just waiting to bust out. Creating something, like art, writing, drawing, or crafts, not only gets your brain working to improve brain health, but people who are creative on a regular basis are happier and say that they feel more balanced after taking part in creative activities.

Need some ideas to help you get creative?

Related: Using Creativity as Relaxing Self Care For Women

 

Dive into a Good Book

 

Improve Brain Health

Reading is great way to stimulate your mind and promote brain health. Scientists have been measurably track brain health improvements in people who start to take time to read. Frequent readers develop complex social skills that people who read less might lack. Reading also engages your imagination and makes your brain create images, sounds, thoughts, and ideas it normally wouldn’t have to invent if you didn’t read. This keeps your brain working in several different ways, and helps improve brain health.  

 

 

Get More Exercise

 

Over the course of a person’s life, the amount of exercise they get can play a role in how their mind develops. When scientists studies the brains of athletes after performing, they have found an increased connectivity in the frontal cortex of their brains. That part of the brain is where you process plans for the future, weed through choices, and perform similar tasks in a day. 

 

And, you might notice that when you exercise, you release stress. And, remember what I’ve already told you about stress and brain health. Releasing stress, especially through exercise, is one of the most beneficial activities you can do for you brain health and your overall health.

 

 

Meditate

 

Taking time to meditate is a great way to release stress and center yourself. But, did you know that studies have shown that meditating can increase your IQ? Win, win, win. 

 

Learn how: How to Meditate for People Who Don’t Meditate and Didn’t Ever Think They Would

 

Herbs for Improving Brain Health

 

Nutrient rich foods like herbs give your body a punch of nutrients. And, different types fo herbs have different effects on our brain activity and brain health. 

 

 

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Click the Picture to Get Your Free Clean Eating Mini Cleanse!

Ginkgo Biloba

 

Ginkgo Biloba is used to help increase brain functionality. Ginkgo Biloba thins the blood and allows it to pass through your blood vessels more easily, even in the brain. Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to function, and taking Ginkgo Biloba helps get extra blood pumping through your brain. 

 

 

Tulsi

 

Tulsi is another herb that can help you to get more blood to the brain. Be careful, however, to be sure that you avoid taking it with blood thinners or if you suffer from hypothyroidism.

 

 

Ginseng

 

Ginseng is one of the most popular herbs in the world, and it’s used by millions of people who are trying to gain a boost of energy and focus while working or studying. It helps your body to deal with stress, and it can help you to age more gracefully, so it’s always a good addition to any morning herbal tea routine as well. 




Brahmi

 

Brahmi is often associated with aiding nervous system stress. Some studies have shown that it can be used to effectively reduce anxiety and increase memory recall functions. In some case it’s had positive effects on conditions like insomnia. That makes it a great aid to cope with all sorts of issues that stem from sleep disorders. Some people report that they become slightly more creative as well.

5 Strategies to Learn How to Live in the Moment and Tap into your Intuition

Flip Your Mindset and Flip Your Life by Learning How to Live in the Moment

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Being stuck in blah-mode is like living your life on autopilot. You know, just getting through the day to day in a fog, not paying attention to the world around you, not getting out there and slaying your goals, not being in touch with your body and feelings. It’s just blah. I spend a huge chunk of my adult life living without intention, and stuck in my head instead of in the moment, all day, every day. And then I learned how to live in the moment and with intention, every day. And now, I look back on those lost days and realize how much I regret living years in blah mode.

Read More About Blah Mode Here: Why Living and Eating With Intention Will Change Your Life for the Better



How did I flip from floating through life, numbing out on food and social media, thinking that I'll get to my to-do list tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow and never, to learning how to live in the moment? 



By living with intention and learning how to live in the moment using these 5 tools:



1. Stay mindful: It is important to notice the small details of life and environment around you—this is the basics of learning to live in the moment. Observing more of the world around you nourishes your mental state, and mental well being is imperative for an intuitive soul. Check in with yourself throughout the day and ask yourself if you are actually living in the moment. When you walk, feel your feet pressing into the ground, hear the sounds around you, feel the temperature of the air. Just be where you are and let all your 5 senses work for you. When you feel disconnected, a good trick is implement the 5 Sense Flip: check in with your senses and ask yourself--What do I see? hear? smell? feel? taste? This is a great little flip to pull you out of the blah-zone and into living in the moment. Try it!



Ideal Times to Try Out the 5 Sense Flip to Living in the Moment:

  • When you are out walking the dog, or just out walking yourself (even if it’s just to the mailbox.)

  • When you are eating! Try to avoid eating at your desk, in front of the TV, or while doing anything other than eating and socializing. Eating should be something you focus on and enjoy—savor those meals! And it’s a communal time, a time to check in on the people in your life. Try to have family dinners around the table as often as possible.

  • When you find yourself driving on autopilot (You know what I’m talking about; you decide to stop at the store on the way home from work, and only realize that you didn't turn left to go to the grocery store once you’re in your own driveway.)

  • When you are with family and friends. It can be so easy to drift back into your own head when your teenager is telling you all the latest gossip about a fight that broke out between YouTube “stars,” whom you’ve never heard of, and start daydreaming of the next vacation you’re planning to take. (Can you all tell I’m using a real life example here?) But, this is the time to deploy the 5 Sense Flip, and be present mentally with the people you are present with physically. Yes, even teenagers! lol



2. Check in with your body: Intuition is often dismissed as random emotions or an insignificant, random thought inside your head that is often ignored. This is because you haven’t learned to live in the moment, and so you are out of tune with your body. Intuition could present itself as a warning sign such as unexpected goosebumps or an uneasy feeling in your gut, or it could be a fluttering of your heart with excitement. Pay close attention to these feelings and see if you can connect what your body and mind are trying to tell you. Trust your gut a little more than usual this week and see if you discover something about yourself.

3. Avoid overeating, especially out of boredom or for a food high: Did you know that overeating is detrimental to not only your physical health, but to your mental health as well? Eating too much makes you feel bloated and depresses your mental abilities, such as concentrating. And, we all know the terrible feeling of coming down from a sugar high or food high and regretting the poor choices we've made. When we aren’t living in the moment, we tend to eat zoned out or based on emotional needs rather and physical needs.

A healthy body and a healthy mind go together. That's why here at the 40yearflip, we aren't concerned as much with weight loss for attaining a "perfect body," as we are with wellness--body, mind, and spirit. Our goal is to always eat mindfully and, if we do so, weight loss will be just an added bonus! Once you learn to eat with intention, your relationship with food changes, and you no longer have to “diet.”

Read More: Flip from Emotional Eating to Mindful Eating



4. Boost your psychological immune system: Just like with physical health, you need to boost your mental health immunity. That way, things that used to get you down won't anymore. Develop a positive outlook towards life and your environment. Staying optimistic, forgiving others, being more easy going, managing stress and avoiding mental trauma all add up and can enhance your psychological well being. This doesn't mean be blindly positive and ignoring when things go wrong. There's a huge difference between being positive and being blissfully ignorant! A person with a positive attitude is living in the moment, and is able to recognize when something is wrong, but they've just learned to proactively take on the challenge of a bad situation instead of wallowing in it. 




5. Learn to trust your intuition: Intuition is that small voice inside us--the one that guides us through the dos and don’ts of life. Your brain and body tell you when you need to exercise, when you need to eat a salad instead of a pizza (or the opposite, sometimes, you just need to eat the pizza--the important word here is SOMETIMES), when you need a self-care day, but often, we just aren't listening. Try to tune into your intuition by living in the moment and listing to that little voice inside your head, and by using these flips and strategies, and see if you can get more in-tune with yourself and living in the moment this week! 


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Why Living With Intention Will Change Your Life for the Better

Flip from Living in Blah Mode to Living With Intention

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How often are you actively participating in your own life, in the moment? How much time do you spend either locked up in your own head, or zoned out, staring at a screen, letting time pass you by? Living with intention is the secret to living a balanced and fulfilling life.


So many of us just go through life in blah mode. And we don’t even realize that we aren’t living with intention.


Why? Because it’s easy. It’s easy to just move through life without intention and just live your day to day. It’s easy to get through the day and veg out on the couch at the end of it and wait for it all to start over again tomorrow.


Sure it seems easy, but what it’s not is fulfilling, challenging, exciting, or vibrant. And, it’ll keep you stuck and not moving forward. It’s blah. It’s being stuck in the blahs.


It sounds cliché, but honestly, how often do you connect with yourself and the world around you? How often to you propel yourself though your life, slaying goals and making progress? What intentions have you laid out for your life, your year, your week, your day? Hell, what intentions do you have for this minute (hopefully, by now, I’ve convinced you to make your current intention to learn how to live with intention!)


When you flip the switch on blah mode and start living with intention, you open yourself up to living a life of design, but you also open yourself up to feeling more deeply, making more mistakes, and realizing that you are in charge of your own life.


Scary shit, right?

Yes. 


But, it’s worth the scary shit. Because once you flip out of blah mode, and start living with intention, you can live a life by design. You can bust out of floating through life and start living each day with intention. And these single days of living with intention, build on each other, one by one, until they create a well-designed life.


By living with intention, you can build, day by day, an entirely new life, whatever that looks like for you. For someone, it could be as simple as learning to live with more gratitude, so that they could be happier on a daily basis. For others, it could be totally starting over, in midlife, with a new career, relationship, new life.


And, while you are on this journey to flipping your life, by being actively present in yourself and living with intention, you will manifest joy. You will begin to love each day. You will feel your body move. You will taste every bite of food. You will feel balanced. You will feel grounded. You’ll feel some bad stuff, too, but you’ll be more equipped to face these things, with intention.


And you will make progress in your life. You will set goals and reach them. Whatever those goals may be.



How to flip from the blah mode to living with intention:

 

1.     Living with intention requires making thoughtful and informed decisions. You can start with what you want to get out of today. Or, if you are a think-big kind of girl, start thinking long-term. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to own? What kind of life do you want to live? What hobby should you be enjoying? Where do you want to travel to? What do you want to learn? Make some choices and then choose your actions each day in accordance with those objectives.



2.     Every time you do something ask yourself why. Why is it you everything you do. You should be able to recognize why you choose to do certain things. 

 

To live with intention, you must evaluate and understand yourself. Why do you do the things you do? Why do you fail to do the things you don’t do?

 

·     What motivates your actions each day? Are you moving toward short-term pleasure or avoiding short-term pain? Or are your actions directed toward an intentional purpose?




·     Before taking any action, ask yourself what your intention is. Is spending 2 hours on Facebook helping you reach your goals for today? For the week, month, year, life? Then don’t do it. However, if you are feeling like you haven’t been in touch with family and friends lately because you’ve been too busy at work, spending 2 hours on Facebook might be what you need to do in order to feel reconnected.  




·     Evaluate all of your chosen and avoided behaviors. Learn what make you tick. And, what actions do you avoid taking because it’s just easier not do? Should you have cleaned your garage out like months ago? Is there a doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off? Putting things off seems easier than doing them, but in reality, it’s not. They will still need to be done, eventually, and your brain will nag you until you do it. This, in the end, will just make you feel bad about yourself. So, flip out of procrastination and get shit done.

3.     Try to choose what’s productive and important over what is easy. Living with intention involves taking effective action over choosing the easy way. Continuously ask yourself, “Is this the most effective action I could be taking?”




4.     Flip your habits. Evaluate your bad habits and flip them! When do you tend to waste time? Do you get enough sleep? Are you in tune with your body? Do you eat with intention? Do you take time for self care? Do you take time to create a pleasant environment? 

 

Evaluate your habits and flip the ones that are not contributing to your daily and long-term goals.




5.     Lay out your intentions for each day. Carve out 5-10 minutes a day to decide on your daily goals and what you intend to do each day. I find that my Bullet Journal is invaluable for this. I don’t know about you all, but the older I get, the more I forget. I need to write down anything that I need to remember.




6.     Be proactive. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. The feeling of getting ahead of your goals and getting shit done is amazing! It feels way better than eating a plate of cookies (which, let’s not lie, sometimes feels pretty darn good, too.) Celebrate every victory. Congratulate yourself for every goal met. And, it’s 100% true that when your to-do list is all neatly crossed off, you sleep better and feel happier.




7.     The key to intentional living is mindfulness in all parts of life. Be mindful of your intentions, thoughts, eating, actions, goals, and of living in the moment.

 

Related: 5 Strategies to Learn How to Live in the Moment

8.    Be a mindful eater. Eating is vital to live and is a pleasure. But so many people eat mindlessly and without intention. It is vital to your health to be a mindful eater. Just as with goals and intention, when you eat, you ask yourself why. Why are you eating what you’ve chosen to eat. Most of the time, the answer should be because you are hungry, and you’ve chosen to eat something that is nutritious, and delicious. Sometimes, however, it will be, well, I really want a piece of cake today. I haven’t had cake in a while. It’s a nice treat, and I trust myself to make healthy choices after this yummy indulgence. And, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this piece of cake.

 

You must make conscious decisions and question your thoughts and actions.Seek to be more aware of your desires and choose your behaviors accordingly. Habits can be the bane of intentional living unless you chose your habits intentionally.

 

Be mindful and take responsibility for your results, and you’ll find that more of your results please you.

 

So, set an intention for today and then get out there and slay it! Write in the comments (scroll down passed the contest form) one small goal you hope to check off your list this week so that we can all send you productive and positive vibes. I’ll go first!

How to Declutter Your Mind So You Can Feel Balanced

How to Declutter Your Mind

We are more in control of our own emotions, thought patterns, and mood than we give ourselves credit for. Most of us believe that our brains just work on their own wave lengths, and we are just along for the ride. Well, my 40yearflip friends, this is simply not true. Or more accurately, it doesn’t have to be true. We all accept the fact that if we want a healthy body, we need to exercise our bodies in order for them to be strong, and vibrant. So why don’t we accept the same for our minds? In order to feel balanced, you have to learn to declutter your mind.

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It’s 100% true. If you want your mind to be healthy, happy, and balanced, you need to work on your thought patterns, be in tune with your own moods, and declutter your mind. And, yes, this takes practice. But think of it as taking your brain to the gym. 



How to Declutter Your Mind Exercise #1:  Flip Negative Thoughts Right the Hell On Out ASAP

 

Once you get in the habit of remembering to implement this exercise, it becomes your most powerful tool to being happier. But, remembering to do it is the hard part. All you have to do, whenever you find yourself thinking a negative thought, particularly one that is critical of yourself, like, “I’m no good at this,” “I look fat today,” “I feel old,” is to flip that thought right the hell on out, like pronto.

 

You don’t have to negate it with self-affirming mantras, or even by telling yourself that the opposite is true; you just have to acknowledge that you are being unproductively negative, and flip that thought out of your brain. When I catch my kids expressing negative thoughts about themselves aloud, I clap my hands and say, “Flip that thought!” It’s become embedded in the little folds of my brain at this point, so whenever I catch myself being negative, I think those words, and I do a quick hand clap. I even do this in public, which might look strange, but I don’t really care, because it works!

Read more about how to flip negative thoughts: FLIP: FROM UNHAPPY TO HAPPY

How to Declutter Your Mind Exercise Exercise # 2: Train Your Brain to Flip the Switch on Worry

 

Similar to flipping negative thoughts about yourself, you need to do the same thing when it comes to worrying about things you cannot control, especially things that you have no real reason to believe will ever happen. It’s natural for us to worry. Some degree of worrying is good, because it makes us go through life in a careful and cautious manner. But when we get in cycle of worrying about things we cannot control, on auto-loop, it can make us more anxious and feel out of balance. 

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Flip those thoughts!

 

For example, once upon a time, our house burned down. We lost almost all of our physical possessions. Luckily no one was injured. But for years afterwards, I was constantly worried that we would be trapped in a fire or other disaster, especially, for some reason, in public spaces. My worrying over this intensified whenever I wasn’t with my children. I would obsessively worry that if I went out to eat without my kids, the restaurant could catch on fire. 

 

And trust me when I tell you that housefires were not nearly the only things I obsessively worried over. I was quite adept at finding danger lurking in every corner to the point where I rarely separated from my kids, even just to run to the store. At some point, I realized that I was letting my worrying thoughts control how I was living rather than me being in control of my own thoughts. So, every time I would catch myself in the cycle of worry, I would implement the same thought-flip from Brain Exercise #1. 

 

It seems so simple, but it is very effective. And, the more you implement this thought-flip, the easier it gets. My brain will still go to these dark thoughts when I’m not being vigilant, but I flip the thoughts out as soon as I recognize them. 


How to Declutter Your Mind Exercise #3: Practice Self Care

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I see it over and over again, and I’ve lived it. Women tend to give and give and give, until they are empty and exhausted. By the time we’ve hit our forties, we’ve spent decades giving our time, love, and energy to our children, spouses, family, friends, and careers, and we put ourselves last. This leads to feeling unfulfilled, lonely, exhausted and unbalanced. And for those of us who really never carved out a life for ourselves, it can feel as if you are living a life that isn’t your own. 

 

Well, my friends, this is clearly not a healthy way to live. So many women feel guilty whenever they take time for self care. Flip that thought, right now. You must, must, must practice self care. There is nothing selfish about it. It’s a mandatory exercise for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. And, when you practice self care, you fill yourself back up, so that that there is an overflow to pour out to other people, making you a better lover, mother, friend, co-worker, and human.

 

Self care can be as extravagant as a weekend getaway with your girlfriends, or as simple as getting up 20 minutes early to read a book in silence before your day kicks off. 

 

Read more ideas for self care:

FLIP A BAD DAY INTO A MANAGEABLE ONE WITH SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES

FLIP YOUR MORNINGS FROM FRANTIC TO FANTASTIC WITH A MORNING ROUTINE

FLIP YOUR UNTAPPED CREATIVITY INTO A FUN AND RELAXING SELF CARE ACTIVITY

5 SELF CARE FLIP FOR WOMEN WHO ARE TOO BUSY TO PRACTICE SELF CARE




 

5-Minute Meditation for People Who Don’t Meditate

Are you convinced that meditation’s not for you? Well, flip that thought and give yourself 5 minutes to try this easy 5 minute mediation technique for people who don’t meditate…

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I hear ya, meditation sounds a bit woo woo. I know; I know. And, it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, in its most basic form, meditation is really just about clearing your mind, connecting to yourself, and being in a peaceful state while remaining in the moment. But mediation can be a powerful self-care tool for you, even if you’ve always thought that you would never, ever meditate. So, if you’ve never meditated before, get started with a 5 minute meditation.

 

You don’t have to sit crossed legged. You don’t have to chant. You don’t have to burn incense. In fact, the point is that you don’t have to do much. Almost nothing, in fact.  And anyone with 5 minutes on their hands can give it a try (even if—make that especially if—you have to somehow find those 5 minutes.)

 

For most of us, our internal default settings are set to d-e-t-a-c-h. We are detached from ourselves, detached from the moment, and we are detached from our own feelings. Our stress levels are always sky-high. Our habits are out of wack. Our minds are cluttered. Our bodies are exhausted.

 

Sound familiar?

 

Yeah, you are not alone.

And, on top of all of that, we feel as if we don’t have the time, money, patience, fill-in-the-blank-with-your-go-to-excuse, to reconnect to ourselves and clear our minds. But the truth is you don’t need a yoga class to relax your body. You don’t need to take a cruise to the Bahamas to reconnect with yourself.  And ladies, hear me now…it is not selfish to practice self care, and you aren’t taking time away from anyone else if you take time for yourself. So, even if you barely have the time to brush all 32 of your teeth, you can still take 5 minutes and give yourself the gift of super-simple, totally not woo woo, 5 minute mediation, even if you don’t meditate. Just try it, ok? And then later, you can thank me. 

5 Minute Meditation for People Who Don't Meditate

How to do a 5 minute Meditate for People Who Don’t Mediate (and Never Thought They Would)

1. Go to a room with a lock on it. The lock part is especially important if you have kids—even furry ones. Lock yourself in, and dim the lights. For some of us, finding a time when the house is quiet and no one will knock (or scratch) on the door, repeatedly, is tough. I suggest meditating first thing in the morning before your household wakes up, or last thing at night, if you outlast the rest of your people. For the next 5 minutes, your focus needs to be solely on the 5 minute meditation.

2. Take a seat anywhere you are comfy, literally--on the floor, bed, chair or couch. Sit comfortably. You could get all traditional and cross your legs, or if you don’t want to, don’t. You could even lie flat. Your position doesn’t matter, so long as you are comfortable and in a position you can hold, without effort, for 5 minutes. For the next 5 minutes, your goal is to get lost in your 5 minute meditation; movement would disrupt that tranquility. 

 

Related: Why You Should Focus on Mindset if You Want to Be Happier

3. Set the scene for relaxation. How can you hygge-up your space really quickly, to get your mind, body, and spirit in a space for relaxation? Ask Alexa or Siri to play some spa music. Turn on your essential oil diffuser. Draw the shades. Whatever works for you, works for you.

 

Five Minute Meditation 2

4. Set the timer on your phone or ask your smart device to chime in 5 minutes. That way, you don't need to wonder when the 5 minutes are up. The important word here is “chime.” Do not set that default buzzing alarm sound, unless you want to be brought out of your relaxing meditation with a startle and jump your heart rate up a few notches, and thus, undoing and the good you just did.

 

5. Get your 5 minute meditation on. Close your eyes and relax. Visualize the stress and tension floating out of your body from the top of your head and pouring out of your chest. Clear your mind of all thoughts by focusing, as intently as you are able, on your breathing, and letting shit go. Do this and nothing else until your timer chimes. If you find your brain wandering (and it will), do not judge yourself. Do not think you aren’t able to mediate. Just recognize the thought and let it drift away. Focus back on your breathing and on picturing your stress and tension floating and pouring out of you. 

 

6. Ta-da! That’s it.  When your timer goes off, congratulate yourself. 

 

Try this 5 minute meditation technique every day for 5-7 days and see how it helps you feel more balanced and self-connected, because I promise it will. If you decide this is a flip that you’d like to incorporate into your life, try upping your 5 minutes to 7 minutes for a week, and then 10, and then 12-13, etc. Find the balance point that’s right for you, the amount of time you find most relaxing and beneficial. Then, incorporate this meditation flip into your daily, every other day, or weekly self-care schedule.

Want to learn more about how you can work easy, mindset flips into your life so that you can be more balanced, happier, and stress less? Join the 40yearflip’s 5-Day Mindset Challenge below. It’s fun and it’s free.

How to Change Your Mindset and Flip Your Life

Why should you change your mindset if you want to flip your life?

Change Your Mindset Picture

Too often we are focused on our external circumstances when we think about being happier. We will be happier when we get the kitchen renovated, get that promotion at work, or finally lose the extra fifteen pounds from that last pregnancy nine years ago. But, the truth is, none of those things have the power to make people happy. Instead, we just need to change our mindset! Only by changing your mindset can you feel happier.

 

Your mindset has profound effects on everything: self-esteem, health, relationships, and careers. Your mindset is even more powerful than your circumstances in setting the course of your life, and in terms of how happy and content you feel.  Unlike experiencing random circumstances, it’s possible to change your mindset and flip your life. With some specific activities and intentions, you can radically flip your reactions to common experiences in your life.

 

But, as with any change, it’s tough. Every day we have to scroll though endless bad news in our social media feeds, or yet another natural disaster somewhere in the world. But what affects us even more is that nagging voice in our heads that are constantly whining, “I’m so tired,” “I’m fat,” “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

And when you feel blah, you radiate blah, and you attract blah. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Law of Attraction, that law that says your negative mindset will just keep attracting more negativity in your life. Well, it’s true. And once you change your mindset, you’ll see just how powerful the Law of Attraction is. So, stop using it against you, and start using it as your tool to flip your life.

Related: 5 Minute Meditation for People Who Don’t Meditate

Change Your Mindset

 Sadly, we are often moving through life on auto-pilot and we glaze over all the best things in our life.  You know the old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” Well, do you? I mean seriously, do you? How often do you take a walk and truly appreciate nature? Watching the sunrise or the sunset is an awe-inspiring thing. It’s 100% free, and it happens Every. Single. Day. And yet, we miss it.


Why is it so damn hard to stay in that happy, positive place?

Journaling is a great way to change your mindset!

Journaling is a great way to change your mindset!

 

Because thought patterns are learned, and once they are ingrained in your mind, your mind tries to keep you in that space. The more you allow yourself to repeat negative thoughts, the more ingrained these thoughts become in your mind, and the harder it is to flip those thoughts and your mindset. If you want to flip your life, you must change your mindset, so that you can be happier and more content. And they way to do that is to train your brain. If you want a fit body, you need to train. If you want a fit mind, you need to train, as well.

Change Your Mindset 5

 

But how? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve created a super-simple, 5-Day 40yearflip Mindset Challenge to get you flipping that mindset from negative to positive. It’s easy and painless, and totally FREE. And, it’s designed to make it easy for you to start focusing on mindset and actively working to change your mindset and flip your life.


If you want to create great things in your life, then you have to start by expecting yourself to achieve great things. Ready?  Let’s do this! Click on the link below to join, and an email from me will zoom straight to your inbox.

Self Care Activities to Flip a Bad Day Into a Good Day

Self Care Activities 5

Bad days, we’ve all had them. We will all, inevitably, have more of them. But, my 40yearflip friends, it’s how we deal with these bad days that separates the old us from the new us. When you have a bad day, you might find yourself popping a bottle of Cabernet, and ordering a pizza to numb yourself out on alcohol and carbs. I’ve been totally guilty of that a hundred times (ok, maybe more like a thousand.) But, over time, I’ve flipped the carb-stuff and booze-binge for a better option—self care activities.


Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a good glass of wine or a good slice of pizza every now and then. In fact, I indulge in both regularly. It’s only bad if you are using these things to numb-out. When you indulge in the things you like to eat and drink, it should be done for the simple pleasure of it.


Self Care Activity 1: Read a Good Book

Self Care Activities

My number-one, go-to, most-favorite way to banish the blahs of a bad day is to dive into a good book. Books are magical; they transport you out of your everyday life and plop you into someone else’s. When you immerse yourself in a story, the thoughts that give you stress, kind of lay low for a while.


In fact, if the negative thoughts that were bringing you down, were actually not as bad as you let yourself believe, there’s a good chance that by the time you stop reading, those negative thoughts will have faded away.


Self Care Activity 2: Netflix and Giggle


Comedy is a powerful tool for mood lifting, and I’m not joking. Don’t underestimate the power of laughing! If you are having a terrible day, tune in to a funny movie or TV show. Re-watching an old favorite comedy can make you and laugh and bring back good memories as well.


You know the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine?” That’s because laughter releases endorphins, your body’s happy chemicals, making you feel instantly happier. This, in turn, decreases stress and boosts immunity! So laugh yourself silly, happy, and healthy.


Related: Flip Your Mornings from Frantic to Fantastic


Self Care Activity 3: Get Out of the House


If you feel like the walls are coming in on you, or if you feel like you are beginning to cocoon yourself into your house, it’s time to get out and see some different scenery and some actual humans. If this is you, then getting out to socialize and meet up with friends might be your best bet.


Self Care Activities 2

When you find yourself doing nothing but working and going home, you may simply need another outlet. Try meeting co-workers for drinks after work or calling up a friend to have a girls’ night out. I suggest downloading the meetup app, and finding a group-based activity to partake in. Get a little bit out of your comfort zone and it can be very good for you.

Self Care Activity 4: Spend More Time with Friends and Family

I know I tend to cocoon myself into my own little world when I’m not feeling 100% emotionally. I tend to cut myself off a bit. But that’s no bueno! Whenever you notice this happening to you, you’ve got to flip that behavior and reach out to the people who make you happy. This was a hard flip for me to make in my life, and even though it sounds simple, like all things, sometimes it’s not. 

Related: How to Declutter Your Mind So You Can Get Happy

Spending more time with your loved ones can be great for self care. Many people think being alone is the only way to take care of themselves and relieve stress, but sometimes the best thing for you is being around others. Think about your daily lifestyle and what tends to stress you out. You might find that you feel worse when you are constantly alone, but your mood seems to lift on happy hour night or when visiting your best friend. This is a good sign that what you really need is to get out and spend more time with others.

Self Care Activity 5: Get Social Online

We are more connected now, by more devices and apps than we have ever been. There is literally no reason to ever feel alone and disconnected. Get active on social media with like-minded people. Hit me and other 40yearflip friends up on Facebook or Instagram.

Find other Facebook pages and Instagrams to interact with based on your interests. There are pages for everything from specific TV show fandoms to reading clubs to gardening, you name it, there’s a Facebook page for it. And don’t be afraid to jump in and post and participate. Social media is SOCIAL, that’s the damn point. And these pages thrive on activity and couldn’t exist without interaction.

Ok, ladies, tuck these self-care activity ideas into the folds of your brain and pull them out next time you are feeling down in the doldrums. Comment below on what self-care activities work for you, and/or, just for fun, what you like on your pizza when you AREN’T eating it to numb-out.


Flip Your Mornings from Frantic to Fantastic with These Morning Routine Ideas

Morning Routine Ideas 4

Having a good, solid, morning routine that nurtures from the very start of your day, is one of the best ways to practice self care, and to get your day of to a calm, good-vibe start. There’s only one thing that’s hard about starting a morning routine, and that’s getting a few good morning routine ideas, and actually starting a morning routine. As they say, the first step’s a doozy.

I know that most of us, first thing in the morning, want nothing more than to just keep sleeping. However, I promise you, if you make this small flip, from snoozing-button-pushing, to giving yourself the gift of extra you-time in the morning, you will come to love your morning routine.

Like most things, morning routines are personal. What works for one person, won’t work for another person. So, my 40yearflip friends, I’ll just toss a few morning routine ideas at you and, you decide which of these would work best for you.

Morning Routine Idea 1: Get Cozy with Your Favorite Morning Beverage

Whether you drink coffee or tea in the morning, you can make this part of your self care ritual. Don’t do as I used to, and pour your caffeine fix into your to-go cup, and chug it down in the car on the way to work. That’s not enjoying your morning beverage; that’s gulping it down just for the caffeine jolt.

Morning Routine as Self Care

Everything you eat and drink should be consumed for the health of your body, or to enjoy the taste, the temperature, the texture, and the experience food and drink can give you. Savor your bites and your sips, always. 


Try to have your first cup of coffee in the morning all alone and in silence. Make it just the way you like it. Serve it to yourself in your favorite mug and savor it. Really, savor your drink. Take a minute to appreciate the smell and taste.


You can read the paper, write in your journal, or sit on your patio and listen to the birds chirping as the sun comes up while you enjoy your beverage. This is another great reason to wake up a little earlier than everyone else in your household. You will be amazed at how much better you feel with just a few minutes to yourself.

Morning Routine Idea 2: Spend a Some Time with a Book


Reading is on the best morning routine ideas. If you can set your alarm for an earlier time, it gives you the chance to catch up on your reading. Find a book that is inspirational and helps motivate you for the day. In the morning, I tend to reach for self-development books or other nonfiction. I like to be inspired in the mornings. I save fiction for the evenings.


Read just a few pages or a whole chapter, depending on how much free time you have. This can be while you are having your morning coffee, or if you are listening to an audiobook, during your morning walk. This gives you some time in the morning to not worry about what’s ahead, or get stuck in planning mode. 


Related: Flip Your Untapped Creativity into a Fun Self Care Activity

Morning Routine Idea 3: Avoid the Internet 


You want isn’t self care? Doing what almost everyone does when they have a few minutes in the morning, getting online. Stressing yourself out over work email is the opposite of self care. Reading they typos in Donald Trump’s tweets is the opposite of self care. The same goes for checking your calendar, reading the news, and scrolling Facebook. Flip this behavior right on out of your life.

Morning Routine Ideas


There’s plenty of time, later in the day to do all those things. When you are trying to start a new morning routine for self care purposes, you should unplug all devices. Don’t spoil your morning by letting your cell phone feed you stress. I put my cell phone on Do Not Disturb mode before I go to bed, and I don’t take it off until I’ve officially started my work day. 


Morning Routine Idea 4: Meditate for 5 Minutes


The morning is also the ideal time to meditate and repeat mantras. Mantras are sayings or words that help to center your focus and make it easier to meditate. You can also try breathing exercises or traditional meditation. If you want to take a walk in the morning, that can also help you to meditate.

Read How to Do the 5 Minute Mediation for People Who Don’t Meditate

What does your morning routine look like? Be honest! It’s ok if it’s less than zen right now. We are all here to learn and flip those habits. Tell us below so we can be inspired (or, if your morning routine is in progress, so we can commiserate!) Got a great pic of what your mornings look like? Tag us on IG with #40yearflip

Using Creativity as Relaxing Self Care for Women

Self Care For Women Idea: Get Creative!

Self Care for Women

Despite what you’ve seen in Hallmark Channel movies, not all self-care for women involves going for taking a bubble bath. Instead, you can tap into the creativity that’s inside of you, just waiting to get out! And, please, don’t tell me you aren’t creative. You are. Everyone is to one degree or another; you probably just haven’t let your creative muses out of their cage since childhood.


Well, it’s time to unlock that cage, and get creative! The benefits of participating in a creative activity for self care are abundant. You will feel relaxed, accomplished, and you’ll tap into a well of creativity that you didn’t know you had. So, let’s channel our inner artists, writers, and creators, and reap the self care benefits. Here are some creative and artistic activities to help you practice self care:


Self Care for Women: Get Writing

Self Care for Women 2

My go-to activity for creative self care is writing. Writing for self care can take many forms. If you have a story, burning inside of you, by all means, let those creative juices flow from your brain and out of your fingertips. If you enjoy playing around with words sounds, and meanings, try poetry.


Remember, no one ever needs to see the writing you do for yourself, so don’t be afraid to experiment. And most importantly, don’t be afraid of writing something that you think others will see as “bad poetry,” or “bad writing.” Your writing is no one else’s business but yours!

Related: How to Change Your Mindset and Flip from Unhappy to Happy

If you feel as if there’s an emotion in your chest or gut that you haven’t let flow out of you, or that you can’t really identify, freewriting is a great way to unleash that emotion. To freewrite, all you need to do is pick up a pen, get a sheet of blank paper, and write as quickly as you can--letting the words flow through you and on to the paper. It is important to write quickly so you don’t censor yourself. The idea here is to achieve a flow and get yourself into a trance-like writing state, so your inner feelings, thoughts, and emotions can come out. By freewriting, you can feel the feelings associated with that emotion, identify the root cause, and then address it. 


I find that when one freewrites like this, a lot of suppressed emotions can be released. Once these emotions are out of your body and on paper, you can then go one step further to releasing these feelings for good by burning the paper or tearing it up. If you aren’t ready to let them go, you could always keep the writing, of course, even if you don’t plan to ever read it again. 



Self Care for Women: Get Arty


Self care for women is about engaging in activities that makes you feel good about yourself and give you a break from whatever is causing you stress. By participating in creative and artistic self-care activities, you spend more time focusing on yourself and letting your inner creative bloom.

Artistic and Creative Self Care Ideas

Getting artistic is another super-easy way to be creative, while practicing self care. You should have some hobbies and activities you truly enjoy, just for yourself—activities that involve more than just watching Netflix and zoning out. 

So, grab a sketchbook and some art tools to draw, sketch, or paint as you wish. Don’t think you are capable of creating art? Well, you are wrong; everyone has at least a little artistic ability. Get on YouTube, and search for tutorials on sketching, watercolor painting, or even flow painting. Immerse yourself in a new way to be artistic and to create. Personally, I couldn’t draw a recognizable stick figure if my life depended on it, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try! 

Related: How to Slay Your Goals and Avoid Overwhelm

Self Care for Women: Get Coloring

Why is your Instagram account full of pictures of adults coloring? Because it’s a fun, addictive, therapeutic, and oh-so-pretty way to practice self care! I have seen adult coloring books focused on a wide variety of topics from The Golden Girls (which absolutely cracked me up, so of course I bought it!) to intricate, lacy mandalas.

Find one that fits your personality and is designed with the intricacy level you’re looking for. The more intricate the coloring book, the more patience, steadiness, and concentration it will take to complete a page. For some, a very detailed coloring book lets them zone out and get in the flow. For others, it will just seem like an unnecessary chore. We’re all different! So, flip to it, get one that appeals to you, and start coloring. This fun and easy self-care activity allows you to be creative and de-stress by simply coloring and not having to worry about anything. And bonus, it’s a great way to express your artistic side, even if you lack in artistic talent (slowly raises hand.)

Self Care for Women: Get Crafty

What better way to express your creative side than to learn something brand new? This is the perfect opportunity to get out there and try a new craft or form of art. You don’t have to be naturally artistic to be creative and enjoy any type of creative activity. Doing the activity isn’t the only way to taking better care of yourself, but also in learning how to do it. Think of some hobbies you always wondered about, like oil painting, making jewelry or metal stamping, or giving sewing or knitting a try. Go to Etsy.com and get inspired by all the great crafts, and then look up a tutorial for that craft. Or, visit some of these great crafty sites:

A Beautiful Mess  

Blueprint   

Crafting in a Green World    

30 Minute Crafts   

Get creative, ladies.

What’s your favorite way to get creative? Tell us all about it in the comments so you can inspire us. Or, get social with me on Instagram, and tag your self care pics with #40yearflip

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

How to Be Happier Every Day and In Five Seconds Flat

Flip From Unhappy to Happy: How to Be Happier

How to be Happier

It is so easy to get stuck in the cycle of thinking that one day your life will be better, but just not right now. Or, even worse, that you are doomed to live an unfulfilling life, day in and day out, until one day, you die.

Ugh, that was depressing just to read. I can’t imagine living that way. Well, yes I can, because I did. I lived with that exact mindset for most of my entire adult life. I get it. But what so few realize is that it is so much easier to make the small flips in life that make us happier than to remain stuck and unhappy. 

And, if you are still stuck feeling this way, you, my friend, are not alone. Most people don’t realize that it’s in their grasp to learn how to be happier. As little experiment, I kept my curious little ears open all last week to hear how people talk about themselves and their lives. (Eavesdropping is one of my super powers, in case you were wondering.) 

Here are a few things I heard:

  • When I win the lottery, I’m going to retire, and move some place better than this. This place is depressing. (I wanted to say, “Yo, you live in Miami. People dream of retiring here. And you are…already here!) 

  • I’m not buying any clothes until I lose five pounds. (Ok, you know who you are, so I’m just going to say right here what I said to your face…Ummm, didn’t you say that like six months ago? And six months before that? And, I think you see where I’m going with this, right? Good! So buy the damn pants and enjoy the heck out of them!)

  • My life is so boring! (I didn’t know this person, but we were sitting at the same happy hour spot, and it was such a great happy hour spot. Who are these people being bored at a happy hour with free tacos? Yes, free tacos.)

How to Be Happier

How to Be Happier

If you are brave enough to admit to yourself that you can relate to these Debbie Downers (don’t worry, no one has to know), here are 4 quick and easy flips that’s teach you how to be happier in seconds: 

1. Focus on the Good Over the Bad

No matter how spectacularly blah-tastic your life seems right now, there are some shiny little objects you can hold on to. Do you have a warm place to sleep at night? Is your favorite TV show on the DVR, just waiting for you and a tub of ice cream? Did you just send out a meme to everyone you know and now the lols are rolling in? Is there a taco with your name on it out there in the universe (bonus points if it’s free!)?

Can you, your heart, and your brain land on at least 5 good things? Are there 5 things in your life that give you at least a glimmer of joy, hope, or just make you say, “Umm, yes, please!” Good. You are so lucky. You have so much to be happy about.

Related: Self Care Ideas for Women Who are Too Busy for Self Care

2. Look back with gratitude instead of regret

4 Easy Flips Can Teach You How to Be Happier in No Time

4 Easy Flips Can Teach You How to Be Happier in No Time

Every single thing that has happened to you in your life, every fall, every misstep, every lost lover, every forgotten opportunity, and even every mistake you’ve ever made has made you the you you are right now (there’s a heck-ton of “you”s in that sentence, but hey, this is self-help, and self-help is the one time where it really is ALL ABOUT YOU!) 


Even if you don’t think you are living your best life, or that you aren’t the ideal person you want to be, you know yourself better than anyone else in the world, and you know that you have a plethora of redeeming qualities. And, you’ve earned them. Yes, it would’ve been great if you got the promotion over Sally-know-it-all-down-the-hall, but you learned from that experience. It made you smarter. It made you a bit tougher. Maybe, hopefully, it made you evaluate what you want and what you can do to get it. 

Look back on all your past with gratitude—even the dark and ugly times. The bad times are the ones that give you grit. They are the experiences that build wisdom. You deserve a lot of respect for living through them and surviving, and no one owes you more respect for that than you do. Go you.



3. Flip Your Mindset from Negative to Positive

It sounds so simple because it is. It sounds too simple, in fact—too good to be true. But the truth is, it’s that simple, and it’s that hard. 


It’s simple because deciding to be positive really and truly makes you a happier person. When you decide to look for the positives in any situation, to appreciate the growth and knowledge gained from a less-than-stellar experience, it immediately makes you happier. This is what I call a flip. A flip is a small, quick mindset change that can improve your life.


Flip from dwelling on negativity, and looking for all the chances to be negative, and instead, look for those shiny objects you can grab and hold on to. It’s that simple. But it takes practice—that’s the hard part. 


Start practicing this flip with small things, and soon it will become part of your mindset tool collection. For example, let’s say that after work one day, you go to the grocery, intent on making your Grandma’s famous spinach lasagna. So far, so good. But, once you get there, you discover that they are out of her super-secret ingredient. As soon as your start hearing your brain say things like, “Of course, they don’t have what I need. Isn’t that typical. First I had a crap day at work, and all I wanted was some damn spinach lasagna, and now I can’t even have that. The world is against me. I have the worst luck.”


Flip that switch, girl, pronto. As soon as that voice starts babbling on, cut it off, and tell yourself that you just weren’t meant to make dinner today. And now you have time to finish reading the book you haven’t had time to read, and finally order from that cute new Italian place on the corner. Alone time + book + hot food delivered to your door = perfection. Damn, you’ve got it good.

Related: Why You Should Focus on Mindset if You Want to Be Happy

4. Remember You are in Good Company


I know you think that you are the only one who feels this way. You’re completely convinced that your next door neighbor, your friends on Facebook, and that promotion stealer, Sally-know–it-all-down-the-hall all have their sh*t together, and only you feel this way. But I promise you, that this is not true.


Evidence number 1—remember my little week of eavesdropping on Debbie Downers?


Evidence number 2—Let me tell you, I spend a good chunk of my everyday life, hanging out with other life coaches, and even they have their moments. We all do. And thinking that you are the only one who suffers with this, is just another belief that holds you back from being happier every day. 


So, those are 4 easy mindset flips that you can start practicing right now because you now know how to be happier. The hardest part is just remembering to implement them, and believing that you have the power to use these flips, and make them work for you. Say them aloud. Write them down. Set a reminder in your phone. Commit to them in comments, right here, right now. Do whatever it takes to remember, implement, and benefit. I believe in you. Don’t flip out. Flip your life.