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It’s Ok to Not Be Ok.

Wow! 2016 is almost over! In less than 48 hours, 2017 will have arrived! Reflecting on the closing year is a prime opportunity to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What have you accomplished? Where could you use more support? What needs cleared out? What could be built up? Are there circumstances that have influenced you? How will you turn them into an action plan? What is your first step?

Initially it may seem overwhelming to catalog your thoughts, emotions, accomplishments, and set-backs. However, taking time to truly assess your well-being and honestly face your circumstances will allow a better foundation from which to start building a better outcome in 2017. Find out where you are at on your internal map so you can formulate a solid plan on where you want to go in 2017.

Maybe 2016 was full of goals met, moments celebrated, progress, peace, and things coming together. We wish this for each and every one of you! If so, take that momentum right into the New Year, with bigger and better plans on climbing higher in 2017! Maybe 2016 held brokenness, illness, loss, difficulty, failure, struggle, or conflict. While we at Lake Pointe would wish you a better set of circumstances and a more joyful place to stand today, we also realize that this is a reality in many lives at any moment and honor the truth that there are times when each of us is not ok. If you find yourself in this category, take a moment, openly assess where you find yourself mentally and emotionally and use that information to power your journey upward.

The functional medicine doctors at Lake Pointe understand the intricate connection between mental and emotional health and physical health. Feeling blue can be the result of any number of factors from circumstantial difficulty to low Vitamin D levels to poor gut health. Regardless of what might be getting you down, there are ways to support your physiology for stronger mental and emotional health. It’s ok to not be ok. However, finding the right support is key in your plan to regain, recover, and restart. True wellness is more than the lack of physical illness, but incorporates the health and balance of body, mind, and spirit. If any of these is not functioning properly, the whole is unwell. Partnering with a functional medicine doctor can help set you on your journey from maybe-not-so-ok to more balanced moods and mental health. Schedule a consult with your Lake Pointe practitioner to put together a customized plan for wellness. Call 612-922-8100 to get started. And may 2017 be a happy year!

Body Language for a Better Life

Fascinating research is confirming that choosing more cheery body language can translate into the physiological responses that make us feel better! In just a matter of minutes, chemical changes take place in the body (and brain!) in response to particular postures or poses. These responses, however, work both ways… choosing a despondent posture or shuffling around looking at your feet can keep you feeling low as much as lifting your chin and producing a smile can make your spirits soar. Turns out that body language not only informs others, but it informs us!
Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, has spent years researching how body language impacts our own physiological responses. In her TED Talk on this very topic, she explains the profound impact on the body and mind when one simply assumed a more “powerful” pose for as little as 2 minutes prior to entering a stressful situation.  Not only did the test show differences in how others perceived the test subjects, but revealed that the internal chemistry of the subjects shifted in relation to whether they had assumed a positive or negative stance prior to testing. Imagine how your mind and body could be impacted by more consistent changes in body language and posture if it only took 2 minutes to shift biochemistry in test subjects! For the full take on this intriguing research, check out the video below:
A May 2015 article by Live Happy Magazine enumerates 6 quick ways to give yourself a little boost by just engaging your body in a positive action, posture, or facial expression:
1.  Add a little bounce to your step. Walking in an upbeat and cheerful manner can positively affect mood and memory!
2.  Smile!!!! It could boost your immune system, release endorphins, and help you recover from stressful situations.
3.  Assume a “power pose.” (See Amy’s TED Talk in the video above!) Standing like a victor or superhero can reduce stress hormones and promote feel-good chemistry, helping you feel more confident.
4.  Mirror someone. Loosely acclimating your body language to that of whomever you are engaging with can help to produce trust. Once that trust is established, your partner may then mirror you!
5.  Let out some laughter! Genuine laughter reaps a host of benefits for the body. Laughing with others reduces isolation! Quick! Share a joke with your neighbor!
6.  Spread out. Stress tends to encourage us to hunch up, fold arms, close our posture, and make our bodies generally smaller. Opening your posture and inhabiting more space is a natural way to tell your body you are confident and haven’t lost control.
Try to incorporate a new technique each day this week. Let us know how it impacts your day!
be happy

Happiness Habits You Can Master

hat-591973-1January isn’t far away. (YIKES!) Who wants to resolve to Be Happy in 2017?! Below is a mega-list of attributes and habits shared by happy people. Habits have to be carefully cultivating, requiring effort and dedication for lasting impact, so rather than trying to tackle the whole list (and then getting tackled by your zealous commitment…), choose a few of the habits listed below and make a plan now to incorporate them into your life in the coming year. Take intentional steps toward happiness!
1.  Keep yourself busy (don’t get bored), but don’t allow life to get rushed (don’t get overwhelmed).
2.  Maintain a handful of close relationships… preferably with happy people.
3.  Don’t allow your happiness to be tied solely to external sources.
4.  Cultivate resilience. Keep getting back up!
5.  Actively try to be happy. Be the decision maker when it comes to your attitude.
6.  Exercise.
7.  Look for good in everything and appreciate the small and simple pleasures life presents.
8.  Be generous. Spend some of your time and resources giving to others.
9.  Don’t avoid discomfort if it’s leading to mastery. Struggle is part of progress. Keep at it!
10.  Find a hobby or activity that you can get lost in. Let yourself get carried away once in awhile!
11.  Choose to spend on experiences more often than you do on things.
12.  Seek out opportunities for in-person connections (rather than opting for social media or text messaging).
13.  Engage in deeper conversation.
14.  Learn to listen.
15.  Get enough sleep!
16.  Listen to music.
17.  Get outside more often.
18.  Follow your dreams.
19.  Make time for your spiritual health.
20.  Change your body language (check out our recent post on this!)
Check out some of the research behind these habits and benefits of making them part of your life by checking out this post on 99U and this article by the Huffington Post. Make happiness a habit!
be happy