But even being subjective in defining our individual criteria for happiness, there are still some basic essentials we all need to live a happy life.
Happiness is subjective; what makes one person happy won’t necessarily make another one feel the same. But even being subjective in defining our individual criteria for happiness, there are still some basic essentials we all need to live a happy life.
Health in 3 Forms
This is a universally accepted essential. Your health is the most important component of happiness. It isn’t just physical health that is required for happiness but mental and emotional as well. Without these three forms of health, your chances of happiness dwindle. You are surviving and not living. Keeping yourself healthy in all ways is essential. Make every effort to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
Money is probably one of the most debated essentials for happiness. We have all heard, the repeated saying that money doesn’t buy you happiness. It’s usually said by the very people who seem to have made a very happy life for themselves by having a great deal of money!
You don’t have to be a billionaire to be happy, but a certain amount of money does help you to have a more positive outlook on life in general. It offers you a safety net. You don’t have to worry about not being able to meet your mortgage payments or losing your home, not having money to repair your car and not feeling desperate when a small financial crisis hits.
Certainly, having enough money to be able to take care of yourself and those you love is an added security.
Money itself isn’t evil, and it is an essential. It can buy you time to pursue goals and dreams, and there is also nothing wrong with living a certain lifestyle that adds to your happiness quotient.
You don’t need 50 BFFs to make your life happy nor do you necessarily have to join all the online social networks. What you need is people in your life who care about you and vice-versa. People with whom you can laugh, cry, hug, touch, kiss and share life. Statistics have always shown the positive benefits of having healthy relationships in life whether it is with friends or in a romantic partnership. We can include our pets in this essential since they are companions whose love for us is unconditional.
Contentment at Work
Note the word contentment. You don’t have to love your job but you have to derive a certain level of satisfaction from what you do, and a feeling of enjoyment during most of the work-day. Will you have days of frustration? Absolutely! But on the whole your job should be more than just a paycheck to you.
If you are in a job that you truly hate, (and we have all had that experience at one time or another), make solid plans for leaving. Keep looking for the job you really want, be prepared for opportunity and stay as positive as you can. Find a ‘bit of heaven in your hell’ and know that this is temporary. Life changes, it only stagnates if you give up.
Love and Accept Yourself
Self-love gets a lot of bad press because it keeps getting confused with the word selfish. There’s a world of separation between the two words. Love and acceptance of self is a key essential for true happiness. If you are accepting of who you are, warts and all, you are on the road to a happy life. This doesn’t mean that you won’t want to make changes in your life, it simply means that you know who you are, know your strengths as well as your weaknesses, and want to do what will best suit you to live successfully and happily.
The right to happiness is a basic one. You deserve to be happy simply because you are alive. The idea of what constitutes a happy life, however, differs from person to person; we are, after all, individuals. But the five essentials of health, money, relationships, contentment at work and self acceptance form the basis for creating happiness for yourself.
Try putting them into practice and see what changes they bring to your life.
A busy schedule, waning motivation and tough workouts can all make you think twice before heading to the gym. While missing one day of exercise won’t completely derail your process, making it a habit can. Before you skip a workout, consider your motives. When in the name of rest and recovery, skipping a day can be beneficial. When the result of a lack of motivation, missing exercise can hinder your progress.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or simply live a healthy lifestyle, exercise is an integral part of your health. Exercise helps to keep your heart strong, burn calories and increase your energy level, so it’s important to create an exercise routine that you’re comfortable with and that you can commit to on a daily basis. Missing one day here and there won’t negatively affect your overall health and wellness, but it could be the start to a dangerous habit of skipping exercise on a more regular basis.
Rest and Recovery
When you’ve participated in a strenuous workout, such as endurance running or weightlifting, giving your body a day to recover can help you come back stronger. Continuing strenuous exercise when your muscles and joints are sore could result in injury. Still, just because you engaged in high-impact exercise doesn’t mean you should automatically skip your next workout. Interspersing days of high-impact training with days of lower-impact exercise methods can help you stay healthy, on track and injury-free.
When you’ve worked out recently, it can be tempting to allow yourself to take a day or two to avoid the gym and participate in other hobbies. But getting off track can make it difficult to get back on once again. Making exercise part of your daily routine is what turns it from a daily annoyance into a daily habit. Stay motivated by setting easy-to-achieve goals and offering yourself incentives. For instance, if you go to the gym every day for a week, you get a pedicure or a new top. This helps you get your foot in the door even when you don’t necessarily feel like working out.
Even if you don’t feel like going to the gym, it doesn’t mean you have to do without exercise altogether. On days where you’re tempted to skip a workout, plan another physical activity instead. Whether it’s a pickup game of volleyball at the beach, a hike or even parking far away from you building, it doesn’t have to be formal to be exercise. By making a conscious effort to move your body more, you’ll be able to squeeze in exercise on days where your motivation is lacking.
Inactivity breeds complacency. Dropping onto your couch after a long day at work has become a comfortable habit. And, even though you know you should get in shape, it’s tough to overcome the mental resistance. Exercise takes work and discipline. Getting in shape after being sedentary means making a physical and mental commitment to improving your health and becoming physically fit. There’s satisfaction to getting in shape after a long period of inactivity, not only from looking better than you have in years, but from participating in activities that challenge and inspire you.
Stop making excuses. Rid your mind of all the negative chatter that’s been holding you back from getting in shape. No more, “I can’t” or “I’m too tired.” Replace those kinds of statements with positive affirmations that speak to your goals — whether those are to have better health, a toned body or improved self-esteem. Declare your intent to get back in shape on a daily basis and visualize what you want your body and your life to look like once you’re in shape. Pictures of what you want to look like, or what you used to look like, may be the simple motivators you need to become re-inspired every day, so put them where you’re bound to see them, at work and at home.
Get your gear together. Buy yourself the best running shoes you can afford. If your feet hurt from ill-fitting sneakers, you won’t look forward to putting them on. The same goes for your workout clothes. If they’re dingy or have holes, you won’t want to be seen in them and that can be a de-motivator. Purchase, rent or borrow anything you might need to kick-start your fitness plan – that means everything from a yoga mat, workout DVDs, water bottle or gym bag. Having all your tools at the ready will give you less time to ponder and more incentive to road test your gear.
Start slow. Even though the Centers for Disease Control advocates 150 to 300 minutes every week, or 20 to 30 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity, you can start getting back in shape by working out for 10 minutes at a time. Set the countdown timer on your phone and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Put on your favorite dance tunes and let your spirit move you around the living room. As long as your chosen activity gets your heart rate up, you can be as creative as you like. When your fitness level improves, then exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day doing an activity you enjoy.
Change your diet to reflect your commitment to getting in shape. Swap out the prepackaged, overly sweet or salty foods for healthier ones. Buy fresh, luscious fruits and vegetables, leaner cuts of meat and whole-grain products. Use low-fat dairy products and fill jars with a variety of nuts and seeds that you can snack on when your energy stores need a boost. Pour over recipes that you’ve never tried. Experiment with exotic spice blends — anything to change what you have been doing into something new and exciting. Getting in shape never has to be boring.
Things You’ll Need
Make getting in shape such an intrinsic part of your lifestyle that you won’t be tempted to slip back into inactivity. It’s about your mindset as much as your physical stamina. Motivate yourself with the desire to be healthy and fit for the rest of your life and that commitment will spur you on.
Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time, if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.
If losing weight were easy, no one would be overweight. Many people try and fail every year to shed extra pounds; according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, a whopping 69 percent of American citizens are attempting to lose weight or keep it off. If you’re one of them, you might find that you start off motivated, only to see your willpower fade when you become hungry or tired. Finding the discipline to lose weight requires concentrated, ongoing effort, but it is possible.
Visit your physician for a check-up, including blood work. Discuss your weight-related concerns and ask how your weight is affecting your health. Learning you’re prediabetic or that you have high cholesterol or blood pressure can be the reality check you need to start your weight-loss regime. Ask for a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist if you need help making a healthy eating plan.
Set a goal and place reminders of that goal in visible places. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, write that goal — and the steps you will take to achieve it — on a piece of paper and tape it to your refrigerator. Tape another to the bathroom mirror. Make an image file of your goals and use it as your computer desktop or smartphone screen. The more visual reminders you give yourself throughout the day, the harder they are to ignore.
Make a concrete exercise plan instead of just telling yourself you need to work out. Schedule a regular exercise date with a friend, family member or personal trainer. Sign up for an exercise class; if you’ve paid for sessions, that’s extra motivation to attend.
Declare your intentions publicly on a social media page or blog. Friends on social media or blog commenters can be powerful motivators when you don’t want to work out or when you want to binge on junk food. Post your workout plan for the day to your social media page as soon as you wake up, and tell your friends to comment on your status throughout the day asking if you’ve followed through.
Compete with someone. Make a bet with a family member or friend and set the stakes high enough that you don’t want to lose. For example, if you don’t exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days per week, you have to do the dishes for a month, take your competitor on a weekend vacation or — the best motivator of all — give him money.
Commit to at least five minutes of exercise each day. Don’t want to go to the gym? Fine. Jog in place for five minutes in your living room, go for a five-minute walk, or put on your favorite song and dance vigorously until it’s over. Build a daily exercise habit, even if the time you put in seems negligible. By forcing yourself to do what’s good for you, even for just a few minutes, you build a sense of mastery over bad habits and inertia.
Sit in a quiet spot and meditate. Breathe deeply and calm your mind while visualizing your goals. Schedule a short meditation session every day to check in with yourself, calm your racing mind, and refocus your attention on what you really want.
Consult a therapist. If you’re having trouble sticking to your weight-loss goals, you may have deeper psychological issues holding you back. Counseling, especially behavioral therapy, can help you learn new and better ways to approach your goals.
Asthma attacks rarely happen without warning. Before one begins, you might:
Not feel hungry
Feel tired or have trouble sleeping
Have a headache
Get dark circles under your eyes
Wheeze and feel very weak or tired when you exercise
Recognize the signs, and you could keep yourself from having an asthma emergency.
A Cough That Doesn’t Go Away
Signs of an asthma attack can change from one attack to the next. One time you might have little or no coughing beforehand. The next time, you might have a cough that you just can’t get rid of, especially at night.
An asthma cough is usually dry and hacking. If you have one that doesn’t go away after other cold symptoms are gone, that could point to asthma.
Avoid taking cough medicine to feel better. It won’t help the asthma.
Measureable Changes in Your Breathing
A peak flow meter can let you know if an attack is about to happen. Be sure you always know the number that reflects your best breathing.
If your peak flow meter shows numbers between 50% and 80% of your personal best, an asthma attack has probably started.
A number below 50% means an emergency. Use your rescue inhaler, and call for help right away.
Call 911 if you have trouble walking or talking because you’re short of breath, or if your lips are blue or gray. Use your rescue inhaler while you wait for help.
Follow Your Asthma Action Plan
An action plan tells you how to deal with the symptoms of an asthma attack.
Based on your peak flow numbers, it shows you what medicines to take and when. It’s important to follow the steps and take your medications exactly as your doctor tells you to.
If your symptoms still get worse after you’ve followed your plan, call your asthma doctor. Your plan should have instructions for emergencies, too.
During an asthma attack, muscles around the airways tighten, and the airway linings swell.
The airways make too much mucus, which can block the air tubes in the lungs.
Air gets trapped in the lungs, and it gets hard to breathe.
Wheezing might be the first symptom you notice. But as the attack gets worse, you’ll feel more chest tightness and shortness of breath. Eventually, you might feel like you can’t get enough air.
When someone is having trouble breathing, he might lean forward, speak in single words instead of sentences, and get very agitated.
As the problem gets worse, he might hunch over with his hands supporting his upper body. This is called the tripod position.
Chest and Neck Retractions
When it’s hard to breathe, the tissue in the chest and neck may sink in with each breath. This is called retraction.
Retractions mean not enough air is getting into the lungs. They’re a sign of a medical emergency. Call 911 or see a doctor right away.
In children, other signs that breathing is getting worse are:
Not as active as usual
Blue Lips or Fingernails
Blue or gray lips or fingernails are a sign that there’s not enough oxygen in your blood. The condition is called cyanosis.
If it happens, you need medical help right away. Call 911 as soon as possible
Other Signs of Asthma Emergencies
Get emergency help at once if you have any of these symptoms:
” You may hold my hand for a while, but you hold my heart forever”
Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.
The Legend of St. Valentine
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.