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Attitude of Gratitude

Fit Tip, by Angela Goon

Working women today have strong demands on their time, often being pulled in many directions. It's easy to become frazzled and even depressed. If you are prone to depression when life's stressors become too much, you may want to try this excellent exercise for keeping some perspective and balance in your life. This simple mental exercise has the potential to change your life if you can incorporate it into your daily morning routine.

It involves taking about five minutes each morning in the early silence before the home begins to stir with activity. Having a special place to do this, preferably peaceful and beautiful, is especially beneficial. Each morning in this special place, begin by giving yourself the gift of just sitting in silence long enough to focus and center yourself. Take a few deep, slow breaths. Then it's simply a matter of letting your mind focus on all the things for which you are grateful. Remain there until you think of five things.

When one is feeling sad and blue, it may be difficult to think of even one thing to be thankful for. Yet it is at just such times as these that we most need to focus on how blessed we are and how much abundance we have. Living in Flagstaff, we can almost daily be thankful for the gorgeous weather and the beautiful landscapes on which to hike, bike, and picnic. Most people take for granted their good health, but that is a big thing to be grateful for, when you consider how many people suffer from chronic health problems. The more you practice this attitude of gratitude, the more you will realize how much there is to be grateful for. This exercise gives you the power to change your state of being. Try it daily for a week and see what changes occur in your life.

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Fit Tips

Exercise is Good for Women -- A large-scale, six-year study involving 39,372 American women over age 44 confirms that exercise reduces the risk of coronary heart disease in women. The study found that the more energy women spent exercising, the lower their risk of developing heart disease, including heart attacks, regardless of other factors. Among the approximately 23,000 women who did not engage in any vigorous activity, women who walked as little as one hour per week had about half the risk of more sedentary women of developing heart disease. Intensity was less of a factor than the total amount of time spent walking.

Supplements, high energy bars and drinks -- Unless you are working out for longer than two hours per day, you don't need to supplement with high-energy bars and drinks. High energy is often a code word for high calorie.

Smoother Skin From the Inside Out -- Women's magazines frequently run stories on how to improve your skin using items from your kitchen. But you might be better off eating that paste of crushed almonds, berries and yogurt than slathering it on your face, according to the results of a new study. Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, studied the diets of more than 400 residents of Australia, Greece and Sweden, including both dark- and fair-skinned people. All the subjects were septuagenarians or older. They found that those who followed a diet comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats had noticeably smoother skin than those who consumed a fat- and sugar-laden diet. Dr. Mark L. Wahlqvist, lead researcher, speculates that the antioxidants in these foods, including vitamins A, C and E, help to protect the skin from environmental stress and damage. More studies are needed, however, to determine how these foods aid the skin's natural defenses against sun damage. (Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2001; 20, 71-80).

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