Monthly Archives: March 2010

Women Vitamins- Smile and the World Smiles with You…Longer


Don't give me a fake smile
Image by Jen SFO-BCN via Flickr

I try to smile… a lot…every day…for several reasons:

  1. I like smiling, it reminds me to be happy and to share that happiness
  2. I like being smiled at in return
  3. I think it makes my face look more youthful…I kid you not, go to a mirror smile…look….frown, looked bored or stern…look…smile…reevaluate.  Don’t you look younger?  More interesting?  More like the REAL you?
  4. It alters my reactions….I take things less personally.  I have the, “I grant you my happiness”, nobles-noblige  outlook.

I’ve noticed that as I smile, I am content.  I find myself dwelling on the blessings of my life.  I have a job I love, students spanning the last 20 years who genuinely care about me and seek me out…a nice house, great health….good friends…

Sure, I could make a list as long as my arm about the stuff I don’t have or the things that have been done to me, the wrongs and slights I have endured, the loneliness of being single in a couples world, the pits of aging…on and on… ad nauseum….but why?

When you are truly happy, these negative things are sort of reminders to enjoy the good.

A smile and a kind word can change the day for others as well.  Just greet a teen with a smile and a hug or high-5 and watch the difference in their eyes, in their body posture, and in the rest of their day.

SO-  I was intrigued by a study done and recently released, that hypothesized that a sincere smile, named a Duchenne smile,  reaching not just the lips but also involving the eyes, actually indicates the potential for a longer life.  A Duchenne smile requires the raising of  both cheeks, the corners of the mouth rising (demonstrating contraction of the zygomatic major muscle), and crow’s-feet wrinkles observed around the eyes.  (SEE there is a GOOD reason to love those crow’s-feet!)

Duchenne smilers were half as likely to die in any year compared with non-smilers

Keep that thought in mind when you are frustrated in snarled traffic, in a long line, on hold forever, with your child or your spouse…

Further, 70% of Duchenne smilers lived to age 80, as compared to 50% of non-smilers who survived to that age.

In 2000 the Mayo Clinic released data from a 30 year study of optimists and pessimists, which found that pessimistic patients had a 19% increased risk of mortality over optimists.

On-going research shows that basic emotional conditions, such as happiness and sadness, generate differentially patterned autonomic responses, which then influence physical and mental well-being and longevity.

Emotions affect personalities and life outcomes by influencing how people think, behave, and interact with others. People with positive emotions are happier and have more stable personalities, more stable marriages, and better cognitive and interpersonal skills than those with negative emotions, throughout their life span.

So start smiling…really smiling, ‘cuz that half-hearted smile doesn’t really count.  As that old adage states: Smile and the world smiles with you…and it will– for a longer time…

Be healthy, be safe, take your Women Vitamins and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Listening to that Still, Small Voice


About 10 years ago, while my loving father was dying of cancer, I wondered if Dad had heard any messages from his body about the cancer…and I realized that I no longer heard messages from my body.

I know that I “heard” my body as a child.  I remembered that  if I didn’t get meat for dinner, I had a tummy ache that night,  if I didn’t get outdoors to play, I felt grumpy and anti-social.  If I had not forgiven or been forgiven, I felt awful and achy all over.  Then I sort of forgot to listen, for too many years.  And I knew I had to start listening again.

I was lucky, I was ready, and the Universe supplied me with wonderful teachers who taught me to be still and listen again.

You may not find a teacher as quickly as I did, but I know that we can teach ourselves to hear:  Be still and listen…hear your heart, your joints, your breath, your muscles and the alignment of your bones.  Listen to your organs, the stomach telling you  it is satisfied before the plate is empty, the joy of your heart when you forgive or are forgiven, the blessing of the sun upon your face in early morn.

Listening to your body is not something we are taught.  We run ourselves ragged thinking we can always rest later, eat later, resolve issues later, be healthy later…and then when our system breaks down, we run to a doctor and hope for a prescribed pill to put us immediately to rights….and we are off again, never having taken time to deal with the real issues.

We are delicate machines, meant be maintained by the  healthy equilibrium of body, mind and spirit…  We have lost the ability to hear our body’s thirst, pain, and hunger.  We filter the  “I’m out of balance” cry…it’s too inconvenient and maybe too uncomfortable to acknowledge that voice.

7chakra
7 chakras for balanced health

In yoga, we learn there are 7 chakras, each a portal for a particular energy center:

The Root Chakra affects the health, structure and safety of your body. This chakra, symbolized by the color red,  is associated with how one’s body links to the material world.

The orange-colored, Naval Chakra is associated with the feelings of love, passion, sexuality and pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra is found just above the navel and below the chest. This yellow chakra is the point at which

self-control, will power, authority and discipline are focused.

The Heart Chakra, green in color,  is found in the middle of the chest. Love and understanding are the focused in this chakra.

Located in the throat area  is the sky blue Throat Chakra that is linked to communication and understanding.

The Brow Chakra sometimes called the Third Eye Chakra is indigo in color, and is associated with sensitivity outside the physical sphere as a clairvoyance-related focus point.

The Crown Chakra dwells at the center point on top of the head, and is concerned with the spirit and the mind. One’s consciousness and items related to the High Self are dictated by the violet-coloured Crown Chakra.

My shamanic teachers often mentioned that unresolved issues manifested as disease in specific areas…..throat problems when you didn’t speak your truth, leg cramps and foot problems when you weren’t on the path you should be on, heart issues with unresolved emotional wounds and abandonment, stomach issues over dealing with authority, anger and the inability to forgive, eye problems when you refused to see the truth….

Some of this may be over simplified…perhaps…some is just uncomfortable truth…

So what am I saying?

Take time to listen to your deepest, inner-most self….It wants to start a conversation with you.

Learn to bless the  foods you prepare that satisfy your deeper needs… instead of filling up on hollow-calorie junk foods. Relearn the sweetness of fruits instead of grabbing those sugary processed foods.  Enjoy the exhilaration of a brisk walk, a run around the block, take a bike ride to the local park instead of playing on the computer or watching TV for hours.  Gather your friends and family members around you and bless them for the richness they add to your life.

Listen to that still, small voice.  Be healthy, take your vitamins for women, and be blessed, Kersten

Apple pear banana
Image by DeusXFlorida via Flickr
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