Yoga for Your Face (aka SMILING)

GSBJustJudySmile4This body of mine has done a fantastic job taking care of me.  For the most part, I’ve returned the favor. I feel we are in pretty good shape given the number of years we’ve been together.

So a while back while walking by a mirror, I glanced over and actually did a double-take.  When did my face start wearing jowls?!?

Trying to be politically correct, I’ve looked it up.  There is no other word for the lower part of your cheek.  The only difference is that we normally never refer to jowls unless they are drooping.  And mine definitely were.

“That’s to be expected for a person your age,” I chuckled, smiling at my ego-self.

And, just like that, my jowls disappeared!  When I smiled, my face immediately “lifted”.  No surgery required.

But, if you know me at all, you know that I had to immediately google “facial exercises for the jowls”. As you might expect there were pages and pages of suggestions for Facial Yoga.  Most include pretty funny videos so you can see exactly how to contort your face to get the best stretch.   Even fitness guru Jack Lalanne had a facial workout video.

And they all had one thing in common:  moving and stretching the facial muscles to keep them fit – what a concept!

Now I’m sure my jowls didn’t just start drooping in one day.  It’s just that I didn’t notice them.  When I’m looking in the mirror or the eye of a camera, I’m normally smiling.  Many of the facial yoga videos I watched included some form of exaggerated smiling as well.

So add this to your daily workout.  Whenever you think about it, whether you feel like it or not, just smile.  It will add light and lift to your facial muscles and your spirits (according to “…smiling, forced or not, can have a positive effect on your mood”)

Bonus:  Smiling is contagious 🙂  People will wonder what you are up to and will probably smile back !

InJoy ~ M

The Power of Vitamin D

I spent much of today listening to happy people walking past my office window and marveling at the degree to which the lightness of our spirit directly relates to the weight of our outerwear.

It didn’t even bother me (much) to be on the other side of the glass.

Spring is the unfailing cure for so many of my winter woes.

BrighterCamusQuoteI know, I know.  I love this this wonderful quote by Albert Camus.  Re-reading this worn scrap of paper usually gets me me through the long winter months.  But there is nothing that compares with the first couple of days of spring.

Chances are, if you’ve had your blood work done lately, you’ve been told that your vitamin D levels are low.  Everyone I talk to is taking vitamin D supplements.  This long neglected vitamin is finally getting its day in the sun (pun intended).  Of course vitamin D aids in calcium absorption for building strong bones, but it can also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart attack and a slew of other bodily dis-eases.

And (surprise?)  recent medical science studies indicate that an increase in Vitamin D consumption has been shown to lighten your mood.

I’ve done a little research of my own and while it is  possible to take too much vitamin D in the form of supplements,  it is nearly impossible to overdose on vitamin D from sunlight or from foods  (unless you consume a LOT of cod-liver oil).

Now I’m pretty competitive and very interested in home-made health so when my PCP suggested I increase my intake of vitamin D, it was ON.  Every year I increased the amount of Vitamin D I took in the form of supplements.  Every year my blood work indicated I still needed more.

I was remarking about this trend with my friend Linda who asked me what time of year I normally went in for my exam.  I told her it was in the winter – when I’ve been almost unbearably cooped up in the house for 3 months.  Well, duh!

This past winter, I made it a point to bundle up and sit outside in a sheltered spot whenever the temperature soared above 40 degrees.  Of course, I would usually start getting hot and shed layers, exposing more skin.  Even a few minutes of sun without sunscreen does wonders for my mood.  The recommended amount of time depends on the season, the angle of the sun and your personal propensity to sunburn.

I am happy to report that – related or not – my blood work finally indicates I am no longer vitamin D deficient.

No wonder our parents always told us to go outside and play.  It’s good for you in so many ways.

31215bulbsHappy Spring everyone! Now get out there and grab you some sunshine.

InJoy ~ M