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New Year New Habits?

New Year New Habits?

Someone asked me recently about my new year resolutions and they were surprised to hear that I don’t have any. I wasn’t surprised by the question. After all, this is the time of year we most see courses, books, and offerings on how to set intentions, healthy lifestyles, and positive changes. It is a new year, and with it comes the opportunity to start afresh. We are also in the midst of winter, which means nature itself is in the process of renewal, dying off and preparing to re-surge again in the coming months.

I do set goals and seek to improve myself in various ways, but I do that throughout the year. Somehow new year resolutions do not work for me. Perhaps what is missing with resolutions is making them realistic and achievable.

When I got my hands on the book High Performance Habits- How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard (2017), I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have seen a few promotions on the book as well as courses Burchard offers, and I was afraid it was going to offer a different way of working on resolutions.

It didn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised. The book describes six habits to perform at a higher level, and these habits are more about attitudes and approaches to life.

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2019 Intentions & Review of 2018

2019 Intentions & Review of 2018

On this last day of 2018, I am reflecting on what I have lived through this year and wanted to share some of the most significant moments for me and Petal Life.

I also want to look forward to 2019 and set intentions for the starting year.

Most Read Articles of 2018

This year I wrote on a range of topics, including forgiveness, connection, reducing stress at work, chakras, placebos, crystals, and many others. I interviewed my friend Agnetha to share about Swedish Lagom as a key to a balanced lifestyleand my friend Amy to share her approach to do-it-yourself cleaning products. I told you about herbs such as spearmint, turmeric, and black-seed, and about pine essential oils for arthritis as well as aromatherapy for anxiety and constipation relief.

As per your engagement, the most popular articles in 2018 were:

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Our Connection is Evident in the Origin of Foods

Our Connection is Evident in the Origin of Foods

We take for granted that we can find most crops almost anywhere in the world. Walk into a grocery store and it is likely we’ll find bananas, kiwis, black pepper, corn, and various other spices and produce, regardless of where they originate from, be it Ecuador, New Zealand, Chile, India, Mexico, or somewhere locally.

But that is not as it was.  In fact, corn, vanilla, and avocados are native crops to Mexico and Central America, and cacao, tomatoes, and potatoes are native to the Andean region of South America (Island Press, 2009).

Globalization of food production enables us to grow crops outside of their native environments, and while this is convenient, it also has created a greater connection amongst us that we now may take for granted.

The extent of our interconnectedness is awe inspiring. Let me show this by telling you about the origin of black pepper, potatoes, and limes.

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Decluttering: The Alternative to Minimalism

Decluttering: The Alternative to Minimalism

I am amazed at people who own very little. I’ve heard stories of people who live with the bare essential, with a wardrobe of 2 dresses, 3 skirts, 3 sweaters, a few t-shirts, 2 jeans, and 2 trousers (Luhrs, 2016).

While I cannot live with a minimalist wardrobe, stories like these make me realize I own too much. My closets are filled with items, some that I use, others that I barely use, and still others that rarely see the light of day. At a time of year when people generally acquire, I have decided to discard.

Whether we realize it or not, the things we own have an effect on. They clutter our space, they create dense energy, and they encourage us to remain attached to things that no longer serves us. It is quite likely that the more we own, the more baggage we carry- literally.

I know I cannot be a true minimalist, but I used that as inspiration to declutter.

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Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

We’re in the midst of the holiday season and with it an increased consumption of sweet and baked goods.  At a time where so many of the foods commercially available are laden with sugar, and excess sugar consumption has been found to be detrimental to our health, it is important to find alternatives.

There are, of course, many alternatives to sugar, including honey, agave, molasses as well as sugar substitutes that don’t add caloric content to the food.  However, most of these calorie-free sugar substitutes come with consumer alerts.  The latest one I saw was on a toxic chemical released in Splenda when it is heated.  Studies found that dioxin, a cancer-causing compound, is released when Splenda, particularly sucralose, is cooked (Ji, 2018).

On the other hand, stevia is touted as the healthy alternative to sugar (Santana, 2018).  I decided to learn more about it, and here is what I found.

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The Importance of Mental Health Support

The Importance of Mental Health Support

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), nearly ¼ of adults in the United States are affected by mental health, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others (2017).  This means that over 44 million people in the US suffer from a mental health issue (Mental Health America, n.d.).

There are social stigmas surrounding mental health, including the misunderstanding that people who suffer from mental health issues are more likely to be violent or institutionalized.

The truth is mental health issues affect people of all ages and are no different than any other issues that we face.  In fact, we all suffer from some form of mental health issue at some point in our life. Having discussions and open communication about mental health can provide people with proper support.

Ashely Santangelo (2018) discusses her experience with mental health issues, diagnoses, and eventual support. I was inspired by her story, and it motivated me to write this article.  The holiday season can be a particular trigger for those suffering from mental health issues, which made me feel this is an appropriate time to write about this.

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How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

Measuring ourselves against others leads to feelings of insecurity and that we are not enough.  Comparisons are draining and keep our focus on others rather than on ourselves.  In the long-run, they hurt us.

There will always be people who have more than us, who can do more than us, and who have what we desire.  Similarly, there will always be people who have less than us, do less than us, and are in situations we don’t desire.  It is inevitable.  It is a fact of life that we are better off accepting and not indulging in.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I realize comparisons aren’t healthy, I struggle with comparing myself to others.  I have done it my whole life and continue doing it still, but I have gotten better at managing it.  Here is how I have learned to reduce the desire to compare.

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Get It Done

Get It Done

If you are like me, you struggle to get things done.  Even though most who know me consider me to be organized, I am far less productive than they imagine.  At times I lose myself to procrastination.

That is why I was intrigued when TCK Publishing sent me a copy of the book Get It Done – The 21-Day Mind Hack System to Double Your Productivity and Finish What You Start by Michael Mackintosh (2018).

Michael makes big promises.  He says his system is different because he explains how to overcome the resistance that holds us back from accomplishing what we desire.

The book does not provide strategies, timelines, or time management techniques.  It is quite the opposite.  Although there is planning, it’s quite simple.  The book is divided into three parts and provides a step-by-step system for bringing our ideas to life.  I tested it and I am sharing my take and results.

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How to Cultivate Spirituality (Without Religion)

How to Cultivate Spirituality (Without Religion)

“Spirituality begins when you decide that you’ll never stop trying.  Spirituality is the commitment to go beyond no matter what it takes.  It’s an infinite journey based upon going beyond yourself every minute of every day for the rest of your life.” (Singer, 2007).

Those are the most accurate and powerful words I have found to describe spirituality.

Spirituality is a belief and a connection to something that is bigger than us.  It is not linked to religion, although faith in a religion can certainly increase our spirituality.

Spirituality is personal and is about cultivating a connection with ourselves, people around us, and our universe.  It is something that unites us and helps us feel more connected with one another, the Earth, and all beings on it.

Many of us are curious or interested in spirituality but do not know what to do to cultivate it.  Here are five practices we can try.

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Placebos Have the Power to Heal

Placebos Have the Power to Heal

One of the most common arguments we see against the use of alternative, herbal, aromatherapy, or other forms of traditional medicine is that the benefit we have from using these forms of treatment are due to the placebo effect (Null & Gale, 2018).

The placebo is commonly known as the sugar pill.  Scientists argue that traditional treatments are not effective in it of themselves, but that the cure comes from the patient’s belief in their effectiveness.  This they call the placebo effect.

I believe in the effectiveness of alternative remedies.  I have published several posts that share personal stories and studies that show evidence of the effect traditional cures have.  In fact, 80% of the world population uses herbal medicine, and often the traditional remedy is more effective than the scientific or allopathic ones (Ji, 2018; Null & Gale, 2018).

Yet, I also think that our beliefs play a large role in our healing process.  As such, so what if the placebo has a healing effect?  What is wrong with someone believing that something will work, and then that something actually working?  Isn’t that part of the healing process?  I believe it is.  Let me explain why.

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