Monday, May 29, 2017

The Fascinating History of Hemp

Hemp is one of the earliest known plants cultivated and could well be the first agricultural plant in humanity. Hemp was used for its fiber and for its medicinal properties. The archaeological record shows that hemp fibers were used for making cloth and other textiles such as baskets and rope and ancient writings refer to its use. There is evidence of hemp cord in pottery in Asia as early as 8,000 BC, where Taiwan exists today. That is 10,000 years ago, which makes it one of the earliest examples of human agriculture and the start of the transition from us being a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian society. 

Imagine how important hemp must have been to those early people if it was what they decided to stay in one place for? 

It wasn't until the early part of the twentieth century that hemp cultivation became outlawed in most of the industrialized world. The chapter in The Hemp Miracle about the history of hemp walks you through the journey of civilization and how hemp has been used in virtually every part of the world for rope, cloth, food, and medicine. 

The book goes on to discuss how hemp became associated with addiction and crime in the early twentieth century. This is a fascinating story that must be told. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

7 Effective Ways to Manage Stress

Eliminate Toxic Stress

We have a culture that is very stress promoting. Stress is the number one reason why our bodies start to fall apart. Many hormones and biological processes are generated as the result of stress.  If we learn how to manage our stress better our health will vastly improve.
Common health conditions caused or worsened by stress include heart disease, hypertension, impaired immune function, infertility and mental illness. When you understand the tools of stress management and implement them, you can remain free of the detrimental effects of stress on your health and brain.
You are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of stress if you feel like you have no control, no way out, like things are getting worse, and if you have little social support.
The point at which good stress becomes bad stress comes when you feel like you can’t control your environment anymore, and become overwhelmed because you feel you can’t accomplish your dreams and goals or do the things you want to do in your life. Then you become burned out.
When you are in such a state you are over stressed. Your adrenal system shuts down, your immune system is compromised and your health begins to deteriorate. So, we want to be in this optimum functioning zone whenever possible.
I am sure you have read and heard it a number of times; stress causes belly fat. One of the first places to pay attention to stress is to notice how much belly fat you have. The belly fat has the greatest potential for creating inflammation and damage to the heart or other systems of the body.
An additional wrinkle is this: stress can cause you to become insulin resistant. This is called Syndrome X. It is basically pre-diabetes.

Stress Management Tips:

·        You will find your body relaxing if you take a warm, not hot, bath with Epsom salts for twenty minutes. Epsom salts is a form of magnesium. Your skin absorbs it in the bath to relax your muscles and will make it easier for you to relax. Add some lavender oil to the water. Lavender oil will relax you, as well.
·        Deep breathing: Close your eyes and try to take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
·        Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.
·        Stretch: If you allow your muscles to relax and breathe as you stretch, your entire body will respond.
·        Put on some headphones and listen to music. Research shows that listening to some types of music has the same brain response as meditation.
·        Get a massage. Massage has wonderful health benefits and should be part of your collaboration practice.

Read Create a Happy Life. This book walks you through a 21 day program to shift your thinking habits and create greater happiness. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Think Yourself to Success

Think yourself to Success


Today I want to talk to you about the effect of your thoughts and emotions on your outcomes. The psychological term for this is ideation. You see, our thoughts cause our outcomes to a great extent, so as we learn to master them we can reduce the devastating effects of stress and negative emotions in our business and relationships.

First, let me offer some advice. Stick with the winners. Find people that are not toxic to you; people who make you feel good about yourself, and then start hanging around with them. There is a lot of data that shows you will eventually do and be just like them!.
So, if you start hanging around with people who exercise, that eat well, people who have a positive outlook on life, people who are nurturing, your life will become like theirs and won’t that be wonderful? So, be with people you want to be like and then it will be easier to do those things that create long-term optimal health.


IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT THAT YOU LEARN TO SAY NO WITH GRACE.

Many of us feel we need to do what people want and make them feel good to the point that we sacrifice our own health and well-being. So learning how to have good boundaries is another emotional step, and then learning to forgive. The more you can let go of resentment and anger the longer your life will be and the better your health.
We are in a culture that is a very stress-promoting. We have financial pressures, job pressures, family issues, and then, to compound it, we also have health issues with which we are dealing. So, stress is a huge thing. Stress is the number one reason why our bodies start to fall apart. There are a lot of hormones that are generated and a lot of biochemical processes that are the result of stress. If we learn how to manage our stress better, our health will vastly improve.

The Stress/Performance Meter

Now I don’t want you to think that stress is all bad because that just isn’t true. As you can see from this picture, there is a zone where people can perform at optimum levels. This is a level where a person is not bored by being able to control too much and provides enough stimulation and challenge that life is interesting, while not being overwhelming.

In fact, if you don’t have enough stimulation in your life, you get very bored. You become apathetic and depressed. There isn't enough challenge. You tend to not grow. That, in itself, can be very stressful. So work on creating an environment in which you can have control over your stressors so you can be stimulated but not overwhelmed by life. You want to get to a place where your thoughts and attitudes (ideation) is affecting your life in such a way that you feel positive about your outcomes and you feel that you can actually control things that are going on around you.

The breaking point comes when you can’t control your attitude about environment anymore and then you become really stressed because you don’t feel you can accomplish your dreams and goals, you can’t do the things you want to do in your life, and then you eventually get burned out.  When you get burned out you are over stressed; your adrenal system is shut down, your immune system is compromised, and your health begins to deteriorate.


So, we want to be in this optimum functioning zone whenever possible. Learn More.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's Stealing Your Energy?

What's Stealing Your Energy?

JUST LIKE THIEVES THESE ENERGY STEALERS CAN SAP YOUR STRENGTH AND KEEP YOU FROM HAVING A FULL AND RICH LIFE. HERE ARE SOME KEY ITEMS YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF. EACH OF THEM CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS!

1. Shallow Breathing

This is a classic case of energy theft! Not taking deep, full breaths deprives your body of oxygen and makes you feel tired and fatigued.

2. Emotional Pain

Hurt, sadness and anger are too heavy to carry with you at all times. Drop off some of these negative emotions during the day – exercise it out, talk to someone who cares, and work on forgiving those who have hurt you.

3. Doing Too Much

Giving to others is important, but make sure you don’t overbook. Doing too much will only make you feel burned out – and it’s difficult to do anything when you don’t have energy.

4. Neglecting your Spiritual Side

You give your body and mind a lot of attention during the day, but your spiritual side needs attention too. Focusing on this aspect of your life for a few minutes each day can add inspiration and joy to your life.

5. Not Eating Nutritiously

Energy is stolen the minute you eat meals and snacks that aren’t nutritious. Give your body the nutrients it needs with healthy, natural food and Mannatech’s Optimal Health System.

6. Watching Too Much TV

It’s fine to watch programs you enjoy, but are you “zoning out” in front of the tube? Ask yourself how much you’re enjoying the program you’re watching. If you’re only watching because you can’t think of anything else to do, shut the TV off and do something you really enjoy. Garden, go for a walk, play with a pet, call a friend, or read.

7. Being Ungrateful

Not being grateful for the wonderful big and small things in life steals your energy. Noticing all of the things you have in life makes you feel warm with joy.

8. Worry

Worrying is a part of life, but when you worry about things you can’t control, you use up energy you could be using to enjoy your life. The next time you get stuck in a cycle of worry, distract yourself by doing a crossword puzzle, gardening, or going for a walk.

9. Not Letting Others Help You

We all need a helping hand now and then. When you resist help from family and friends, you drain your energy. Accept help from others and look for opportunities to return the favor.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Belief Scale

The Belief Scale

Did you ever hear this one: "The Why is Bigger than the How". Well, what I used to wonder was "How am I ever going to create enough belief to have a Why and build a successful life?"
Then I ran across this simple tool...

You see, as long as you don't have a road map that shows you how to get to where you want to go, you will take side roads, detours, and even get stuck at a few dead ends!

IT'S REALLY AS SIMPLE AS DEMONSTRATING TO YOURSELF THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO BELIEVE IS TRUE!

You can dream and pray and hope that belief will come to you, but until you actually do the work to validate your belief, you will remain stuck.

Please understand that I am not talking about faith. You can have faith without any validation or evidence. But if you want to have enough belief to build a successful business, you will probably need to do some work.

This Belief Scale is your road map. Simply start with today and measure where you are in the following four quadrants: Your belief in your own skills and talents, your belief in your vision and purpose, your team and resources, and your belief in your products or service.
Then focus on the weakest link or quadrant and educate yourself so that you come to believe to the degree that when something appears to block your path,  you will have the confidence to move through it.


Let's say you lack confidence in your product or service. Then, by all means, check out some competitors and find out if yours is any good, in comparison to theirs. Once you have done your homework, your belief will go through the roof and you will become unstoppable!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Five Steps to Resolve Any Conflict

The Five Steps to Resolve Any Conflict

Conflict with people is pretty much inevitable. We all see things through our own lenses, values, and perspectives. So, the reality is we will invariably come across people who are upset with us. Sometimes—perhaps often, for some—we will experience anger. It is our choice how we respond when we are angry, and that can make or break a relationship, a reputation, or a business.

Diffusing anger takes a specific set of skills and practice, but it can be done without becoming a doormat or losing out. Here are five powerful steps you can take to resolve conflict:

Step 1:  Listen to the person, and I mean truly listen

  1. Hear the person out…focus on what they say and quit always trying to defend yourself or others.
  2. Stay out of judgment!   We go there with alacrity; why?  Because that is how we listen.  These are terrible listening skills.
  3. Focus on them...not on what you want to say in response.
  4. Do not interrupt the person…why? Often people calm down
a)     they just “run dry”
b)     they start hearing themselves and see how foolish they have gotten over a small issue
c)     they finally found someone who will listen
  1. Critical that your body language reflects your listening:  you focus on their eyes, lean into them, do not say “I see”, no distractions.

 Step 2:  Apologize

  1. No matter whether you perceive you were wrong or not, it works to apologize because you truly are sorry if there was some kind of mix-up or miscommunication. You are not accepting fault when you do this. You are merely accepting that you are in this conflict and are sorry about it.
  2. Your willingness to be accountable will have a great impact on the other person.
  3. Make sure your body language (tone, posture) supports your apology.  If they think you are just trying to pacify them, this will not be effective.

 Step 3:  Sympathize

  1. Review the facts together as they see them in their mind and express some empathy for how they feel.
  2. It is important to convey an understanding of their feelings. It gives them a feeling that their emotions are important to you.
  3. Once again, match your posture, words to reflect this empathy.

Step 4:  Take Responsibility

This step is implied in the apology but goes beyond just the apology…it goes to doing whatever it takes to make things right.
  1. Get their order straight, pay out a few bucks lost, take care of the issue so that the person is made whole.
  2. This step moves everyone forward…gets the focus off of the past so there is no more dwelling on the negative.
   

Step 5:  Prepare for Action

  1. Decide how to resolve and communicate what that resolution will look like.
  2. Always attempt to go beyond the call of duty…in other words make the resolution have some kind of bonus associated with it. This is one of the most powerful things you can do to create a great reputation and have raving fans.
  3. Use the ASAP to remember this technique of resolving any conflict.
  • A:  Apologize
  • S:  Sympathize
  • A:  Accept Responsibility
  • P:  Prepare to take action

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top 20 Tips for Focus and Productivity While Maintaining Life Balance

Top 20 Tips for Focus and Productivity While Maintaining Life Balance

Carol Merlo, M.Ed.

One of the most common issues that solopreneurs and network marketers have is how to be productive and maintain focus. This is something that becomes very important when we are working alone, without the benefit of an office or other workplace environment where other people determine our schedules and activities. After doing some research, I found that there are about twenty key ideas and strategies for maximizing our productivity. I have broken them down into three main subject areas: personal care, time management, and work habits. Notice how many of these items you have already incorporated into your habits and where you can add some new ones.

Personal Care

1. Nourish your body.

Just as your mental state in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, what you eat for breakfast helps determine what you’ll eat throughout the day. If you begin with a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to continue that trend. It is important to have protein in the morning to set up a consistent blood sugar balance and maintain your physical energy.

2. Get moving.

A good morning workout is invigorating, especially if you have great music or a motivational podcast that gets you fired up. Taking a brisk walk can be good for your health and make you more productive throughout the day.

3. Set your goals and visualize their manifestation

Successful achievers practice writing down their goals, plans, or vision for success and reviewing it regularly. A great way to do this is to practice it first thing in the morning to set your intentions and to prepare yourself for a day of challenges on the road to success.
Reading your goals out loud is a practice that instills the vision of their accomplishment into your unconscious mind, and can propel you into productivity. Read your goals to yourself as though you have already accomplished them each morning to set yourself up for success.

4. Train your Thinking with Meditation

Meditation seems to be a popular habit on the rise between the highly successful. Meditation increases the amount of rest you would normally achieve through sleep and is almost twice as effective as taking a nap. The best way to meditate is to focus on your breathing and watch your thoughts as they come in and out without becoming interested in the content of the thoughts. Just notice them and then gently bring your focus back to your breathing or a mantra.

5. Practice Gratitude and Positive Self Talk

Being grateful and focusing on the positive shifts your emotional energy away from your problems and blame, guilt, or regret.

6. Self Development

Make time to focus on learning new skills, reading practical books and listening or watching podcasts, interviews and informational courses. This will keep you inspired and creative.

Time Management

7. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

An early-morning routine is powerful because it allows you to take time for yourself and prepare for a productive and successful day. Take some time to be alone and enjoy it. You can use that time to meditate, read or teach yourself something new. Whatever you do, make it something you enjoy. You do need to get adequate sleep, so practice turning off the electronics and relaxing into a full sleep each night.

8. Track your time.

Your time is valuable. It can sometimes be frightening to see how much time you’ve spent on various activities. Start keeping track of the hours you spend on Facebook each day, or watching Hulu and Netflix on the weekends, to develop your self-awareness about computer usage habits that diminish your productivity. Check out these time management tools: Due, RescueTime or Wrike.

9. Schedule tasks in blocks of time.

If you have several things you need to get done, instead of going back and forth, schedule each a chunk of time where you can focus on one and when time is up change to the other. If you’re concerned about getting so involved that you lose time and don’t get to the next tasks, set a timer.

10. Learn to prioritize

Not all tasks carry the same weight in importance. Instead prioritize your tasks so that you’re achieving the things that create the most results. You can download a terrific priorities grid on my website to help with this.  Do creative work first, when you are fresh and inspired then move on to easier work, like deleting emails or scheduling meetings for later in the day.

11.Focus on one thing at a time.

You find a lot of articles on how to multitask, but in fact, it’s nearly impossible to multitask work tasks. Multitasking implies doing more than one thing simultaneously. When you’re involved in tasks that require focus, it is impossible to multitask. So when you think you’re multitasking, you’re actually switch-tasking, alternating between multiple tasks, and that takes energy and wastes time when you leave one task, refocus, do another task, and them refocus on the first task again.

12. Write Your “To-Do List,” The Night Before

Prioritizing your “To-Do” list is the key to productivity success. Whenever possible, avoid generic to-do lists. They often turn into never-ending laundry lists filled with trivial items and feel impossible to complete. Instead, break up big projects into smaller, easy-to-tackle parts. Services like Asana or Trello allow you to arrange, categorize and weigh the importance of specific tasks to enable you to better manage your priorities.

13. Put off texting, tweeting, posting, and emails for the first hour of the day.

When you grab your phone first thing in the morning to check messages, your mind can’t help but shift into reaction mode. When you constantly check your phone, it can lead to increased stress, because you feel an immediate need to respond to demands. Before you know it, you’ve lost control of your day. As much as you might like to hang out on Twitter all day, you don’t have to engage your followers. Apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, Foster.fm and Tailwind allow you to schedule social posts to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ days or weeks in advance so you can consistently feed your followers, even when you are away from your desk.

14. Manage your work environment. 

Your office environment can be a major distraction when you are trying to get work done. While it is great to be accessible to your entire team, it is also important to have quiet space when it is time to get down to business. Establish a closed-door policy and put a small whiteboard on your office door, so team and family members can leave you a note about what they need when the door is closed. Taking unscheduled appointments cuts into your productivity and sends a message that your time is not valuable. Teach your friends and family that your work time is valuable.

Work habits

15. Network with others

“Your network determines your net worth.” Make it a habit to collaborate, help others, attend social and networking events, and get back to people when you say you will. Make it a habit to either meet one new person a day or make a follow up each day.

16. Participate in Accountability and Mastermind Groups

Find someone who is on a similar level to you in life and make a commitment between you and that person to hold a catch-up call or meeting once a week to share your achievements, struggles, new goals and what you have learned from the previous week. In addition, finding a mastermind group can help you move into areas of expression that you might not have seen on your own.

17. Keep your email in check

Most of our technology woes come from a perpetually flooded inbox. To avoid drowning in email, try tools like Sanebox or organize your email into folders. Try only checking your email twice a day to limit how much it would otherwise interrupt your work schedule.
When you are in high production mode, you will communicate with customers, sales prospects or vendors and you need a tool to help you communicate with them in a more automated way.  Take advantage of powerful email marketing services like Klaviyo or Yesware.

18. Turn off Skype, Email, and Text notifications, including the ringer on your phone.

Not only are phone calls and text messages a major distraction, but most of us have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and various other social apps on our smartphones. While putting the phone on silent mode is better than nothing, it may vibrate across your desk, eventually peaking your interest and causing you to check it. If you really want to eliminate distractions, turn off your phone or set it to airplane mode while you work. You really can live and function without the distraction of technology controlling your time. Each chime or ring, even if you don’t respond to it, is an interruption.

19. Wear headphones or earplugs.

Headphones and ear plugs eliminate all ambient noise, such as trucks, copiers and other distractions that occur in your office. Download a white noise filter or nature sounds. These work with your brain to help you focus. Let other people know that you are in ‘closed circuit’ when your headphones and to only interrupt you if it’s an emergency.

20. Work in the cloud.

These days, people spend a lot of their time on-the-road or telecommuting. Regardless of whether you are in a coffee shop or standing in line, you can still have access to everything you need to get real work done.
To access all your files anywhere where in the world, you need to upload everything to the cloud. This reduces the amount of hard drive space you need and enables you to access your files anywhere in the world, and on any of your devices. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy to securely save and store documents, spreadsheets and presentations.


Get more tools and tips from Carol Merlo here.

The Fascinating History of Hemp

Hemp is one of the earliest known plants cultivated and could well be the first agricultural plant in humanity. Hemp was used for its ...