A fireside-even if only in the heart

I love the picture of a warm fireside.

warm and cozy fireplace

I am a cold climate person… was born and lived with cold winters all my life. One of the things that freezing temperatures highlight is the comfort of a fireplace. Whether it includes the view of the fire or not, radiant heat of a real fire is supremely cozy and enjoyable.
We borrow that feeling when thinking of building relationships with others: the fireside chat.  Or we picture the security we feel when sitting by a warm fire while the cruel weather wails and blows outside our window.

The Fireside Chat

It is a page of features and descriptions highlighting my work online for the past decade and more. Sometimes it is hard to believe that I have been writing and contributing to the worldwide web for that long.

I have shared myself, warts and all, online and during the process managed to make friendships with people who I have a genuine affection for. I suppose we doubt that this is possible, or as real as “in person” relationships, but I am reminded of those of Victorian times correspondence. Or more recently, of those we were “penpals” with in the not so distant era of my childhood.

It is different when relating long distance, but no less warm.

I don’t think it is better, nor can it replace our physical relationships of family and friends, but I recognize its reality and importance. 

Mantles, The Vestiges of a Hearth

I have always enjoyed the look of a fireplace, and in my youth ( during the fifties and sixties) we usually had the fireplace without the fire. Usually a defunct gas fireplace that was no longer in use with a very decorative architectural element of a mantled opening in the wall. We might have had a picture or mirror overhead; and always had decorative objects on the mantle itself.

It was a strange thing to have the shell of what was once the center of a room, but no longer the use or the warmth of it.

Then, the Fire, but not the Mantle

After the energy crisis of the seventies, I had woodburning stoves. These are energy efficient fireplaces that are closed, so you don’t see the fire and they have no mantles.

The decoration is gone, but the substance of the fire is magnified for a delightful radiant heat experience that is more and more desirable as the cold of winter rages outdoors. 

Fitting a Woodburner into an Old Gas Fireplace

The details on how we did this was as follows:

  • First we hired an expert in Rumford fireplaces. He rebuilt the inner part of the chimney to accomodate a wood fire.
  • We lined the chimney with a chimney pipe for the next step.
  • We then purchased an airtight woodburning stove. This was connected to the inner chimney pipe.

This stove had glass inserts to view the fire, but was rather small. It provided wonderful supplemental heat and made a precedent for the large stove that is the primary heat for our present home.

Nothing feels better on chilly days than to stand close to the comfort that emanates from its iron body to your fleshly one.

I do miss the mantle. It graces a room in a way that is hard to replicate otherwise. But given the choice of necessity, I am content to do without, so as to have the real heating properties of a stove. A fireplace, even with a crackling fire is often too drafty to provide needed warmth. It is more a psychological enjoyment of the sight of the fire, which is a delight to the eye without any benefit to the bones.

Rambling On To An Eventual Point

Loosely, I am celebrating creature comforts and taking pleasure in simple things. Just as loosely, I am following a metaphor to our relationships in life. 

We build our relationships around what we believe we need. They can be culturally constructed in ways that might derive from necessity or perhaps are gutted by social traditions. Experience sometimes teaches us their value or the way in which they must change.

At times we may even believe we no longer need them as a central focus for our life. I wonder, though, whether the fireside pictures for us the wisdom or folly of our perceptions?

De-stress Yourself

yoga helps reduce stress

Get Rid of Stress

We all need to get rid of excess stress. Few people realize how destructive and debilitating stress really is to their lives. Instead of wishing it different, there are real things we can do to lessen the drain of daily accumulations of stress.

We can’t, and wouldn’t want, to have all stress removed. It has its usefulness to help us handle urgent situations, but modern day life and mentalities give us more than we were ever meant to handle. So, when you’ve received advice to get rid of your stress, or have those physical symptoms of “too much overwhelm”, why not try some of the relaxation suggestions here?

I also have a mood helium section, from the old “House of Happiness” blog, filled with all the things that help me feel relaxed or happy – or both! If you want further inspiration from poetry, art, suggestions for spa products or ideas on how to enjoy life more, check out “Happy Thoughts” for some mood helium.

Start with some good advice from dogs that someone gave a human voice:

Animal Mammal Cute Terrier Pet White Dog
It’s a dog’s life

Things We Can Learn From A Dog

  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp and play daily.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout …run right back and make friends.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Exercise articles

Be sure to keep up your exercise program. Exercise is one way to relieve stress, along with things that you do to relax and renew yourself. So don’t let your exercise program be a source of stress: find things you enjoy, pace yourself, diversify your activities.

One of the reasons exercise is a stress reliever is because it gets your circulation going and causes your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that affect your brain to reduce perception of pain and can trigger positive feelings in the body (if you have experienced “runner’s high” you know what this feels like.

I have put together some helpful relaxation hints

spa time
Serenity in the spa

Relaxation Hints

Helpful Hints and Tips for Getting Rid of Stress

  • Allow yourself some private time each day, as little as half an hour can make a difference.
  • Pray and meditate.
  • Take a long walk. Exercise that relaxes and gives new perspectives is rejuvenating.
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers for yourself. Or pick one from your garden, even roadside Queen Anne’s Lace will do
  • Turn off the phone, and allow your answering machine to pick up your calls. This is a mindsaver.
  • Snuggle up with a good book.
  • Put on your favorite music. You can even turn it up loud, and dance; if you have toddlers they love this, too.
  • Call a friend, and settle in with a hot cup of tea, give yourself time to enjoy the conversation.
  • Run the hot water, pour in bath salts, and luxuriate in your tub for a long, fragrant soak at the end of the day.
  • Indulge in getting (or giving) a massage.
  • Fix a little favorite comfort food.
  • Recall favorite memories, and allow yourself to recreate that feeling with loved ones, or a special moment in your life.
  • Write. In your journal, or a love letter to anyone you love, or a poem to express yourself
  • Treat yourself to a trip to the salon,a manicure and a pedicure, a shampoo and styling, nothing too different, maybe, but just for the fun
  • Rent a great video. Or better yet, go to the library, and borrow it with some good books
  • New Books! There are times only a Borders or Barnes and Noble store will do! Spend the afternoon, on your own or with a friend.
  • Start a Blessings journal, and take time for God.
  • Go outside: to the beach, hike in the park, walk in the neighborhood. Bask in the sunshine, examine the trees and the flowers, make up pictures in the clouds, delight in the day.

This article was originally published by Ilona Erwin © Copyright 1999 – 2018

mind and body connection
Go back to  Body Beautiful index page

Fabulous Fragrances

Fabulous Fragrances For Feelings Of Joy

Stuff That Smells Good


Proust wasn’t kidding!

Marcel Proust caught onto the idea that something in our sensory memory holds on to certain aromas, and ignites vivid and wonderful memories of people, places, and circumstances. Nothing seems to go deeper into the inner reaches of our consciousness.

Proust was a French writer of the beginning of the last century. Popularly known for his evocative prose, he wrote a famous passage detailing the sensory experiences of his childhood.

Summing up his story, he said,

“When nothing else subsists from the past,” he wrote, “after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered…the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls…bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory.”

Science corroborates Proust: The olfactory center interacts directly with the hippocampus, a brain area involved in the formation of new memories.

“For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little.”

– Rachel Carson said that.

In the present as well, to be able to breathe deeply of a pleasant aromatic smell is to enter most deeply into an experience of that moment, of that thing.

There are times that a fragrance is the most relaxing, uplifting thing we can experience. Something not unlike the use of incense in a ritual, a delightful smell that will raise the spirit and pull the soul into a comfortable pause. Just to breathe a bit more deeply -as if to catch and hold the inhalation of the good aroma.

“Sweet tastes reduce pain by activating opioid systems in the brain, and the odor comes to activate the same systems”

-says Australian psychologist John Prescott.

So there is more to feeling good when smelling sweet scents than we might first have thought!

There are all sorts of fragrance and cosmetic lines, but Lush products have a …lushness that is delightful, but not cloying the way some bath and body products are. Let me tell you the story of how I discovered LUSH products ( and yes, their company is spelled with all capital letters), and other delightful smelling things that make life more pleasurable. LUSH! Discover something deliciously fragrant, and you can thank me later.

This Is About Good Smells

It isn’t just about a product, but about using aromas to better your quality of life. Take time to smell the roses! … and vanilla, and jasmine…. and -you get the drift 🙂

Top Summer Fragrances for Women

As reported by Byrdie , Cosmopolitan, and others…

Wonder what evening perfumes last the longest?

  1. Jo Malone Queen of Pop Amber & Lavender Cologne
  2. Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori Eau de Toilette
  3. Love the Way You Feel By Kilian
  4. Aerin Amber Musk
  5. Tiffany & Co Eau de Parfum
  6. Cartier La Panthère eau de toilette
  7. Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon
  8. Marc Jacobs Rain
  9. Victoria’s Secret Love Eau de Parfum
  10.  CK One Summer

How might fragrance affect you?

Known responses to scents

Certain essential oils can trigger physical or emotional effects, here are some examples of how aromas affect moods or responses in alertness or calm.
Ylang-ylang promotes calmness and reduces stress.

Rosemary has demonstrated the ability to reduce cortisol levels. It promotes feelings of contentment.

Lavender also reduces cortisol levels and increases feeling of contentment and heightens cognitive performance. Said to promote positive mother-infant interactions and deep sleep for all of us.

Peppermint scent has been found to increase memory and alertness.

Lemon oil may possess anti-depressant-type effects.

Health Benefits Of Scent

Lemony Fresh

lemon slice
Lemony fresh

Lemon and sweet sugar are a recipe for a delightful summer scent. That makes this refreshing and warm aroma just right for your shower gel.

Try layering fragrance from bath to lotion and on to a few drops of cologne in the same scent.

We associate the smell of lemon with the freshness and sparkle we expect from a clean environment. You can find many products with a lemon fragrance added. Many plants also have a lemon smell, lemon verbena is a famous one, and lemon thyme or certain scented pelargoniums, for instance.

Early studies from the 1920’s looked into the idea that the effects of scent on mood. They indicated that when inhaled, citrus scents relax, calm blood pressure and breathing, and regulate circulation.

“Essential oils from plants are very powerful chemicals that influence brain chemistry, hormone production, and stress levels… A study of depressed men showed that citrus fragrance in their room reduced their intake of antidepressants.” – The Human Brain

I have a crush on LUSH

LUSH bath bomb
LUSH bath bomb

Amazingly Good Scent: Bath Bombs Make Great Smelling Gifts

Lush bath bombs are intensely perfumed with wonderful formulations with fun names. Pop one in the bath for a really indulgent experience.

Come out smelling like a rose… or any number of beautiful aromas.

Received For Christmas, Enjoyed Long After

Aromatherapy, the very word means to breathe in… as a Christmas present one of my sons gave me a gift of handmade “bath bombs” from a company called LUSH.

Almost “too good to use”, have you felt that way about something? So good that it almost seems as though it should be saved, set aside for some special future, undefined except that it is special.

The fresh lovely smells of these loosely wrapped and intensely fragrant balls wafted up from the gift box, so that I kept it by my chair just so I could inhale the perfume.

Finally, it found its way into my lingerie drawer… I really will need to buy more so I can bring myself to use this gift in a luxurious bath session!

I have something of an allergy to modern artificial scents, so I am entranced and adore scents that are fresh and real. LUSH products are of that caliber. I think I have a crush on these bath and cosmetic products.

When some say,”That smells divine”, it denotes something that brought them a little closer to that blissful heavenly feeling that sweet aromas seem to inspire.

More Lushness

  • “Lord of Misrule”
  • “Cheer Up Buttercup”
  • “The Big Sleep”
  • “Green Coconut”

You have to admit the names that LUSH calls their products are cute. They give you a smile even before you open a lid or unwrap a bath bomb.

If you are thinking about Tropical fruit when you look at this pretty yellow bath bomb you are right on target. Waft the smell of fresh cut mangoes, coconut and pineapple and you get the idea of how this will juice up the bath waters.

Aromatherapy Is Not Just Alternative, It’s Primal

In many ways aromatherapy is a part of life that we just don’t label that way.

Delightful Aromas Surround Us Every Day

Lavender in the sun
Lavender in the sun

Think about:

  • the aroma of fresh-baked bread
  • smelling the roses
  • clean wash
  • sun dried linens
  • the crush of mint
  • lavender sprigs
  • ocean breezes
  • fresh fruit smells

Aromatherapy Works

smell takes a direct route to the limbic brain, where emotional memories are processed – and where stress hormones do their worst damage

Roses – Everyone loves a rose…

Rose in my garden.
Rose in my garden.

The Nuance Of Rose Fragrance

Sweet, rich, sumptuous. That is the way I would describe the smells of rose petals, whether they are of true rose, tea, myrrh, or any of the numerous notes detected within rose fragrance.

It is an odor that has been loved since ancient times, giving itself to not only perfumes, but foods and cosmetic products. Mixing well with other scents, often found in perfume blends, the rose is an all sensory treat.

Perfumes With Rose Notes

Do you have a favorite rose perfume?

Some with rose notes: Anne Klein, Arpege Lanvin, Beautiful (Estée Lauder), Bellodgia Caron, Chanel No.5, Delicious (Gale Hayman),Dolce & Gabbana… and the vast number of women’s fragrances has some rose in there somewhere in the recipe.

Rose Blooms With Scent

Surprisingly, many modern rose hybrids do not have much, if any, fragrance. That feature was bred out in the pursuit of larger blooms, longer bloom times, and other features thought desirable for gardens. Perhaps just as surprising is that when a rose has a perfume, it can come in variations, not all of which are “classic rose”. some are citrus, or myrrh, licorice, or spice.

Some of the Most Powerfully Perfumed Roses (as listed by The American Rose Society):

  1. Captain Harry Stebbings
  2. Dublin
  3. Folklore
  4. Fragrant Cloud
  5. Limelight
  6. Miss All-American Beauty
  7. Mr. Lincoln
  8. Royal Highness
  9. Tiffany

I can attest to their choices, and of them all, ‘Fragrant Cloud’ is my own personal favorite on the list.

Fresh Mint Brings Senses Alive


Inhale Peppermint To Get Going.

Peppermint is generally invigorating. “Peppermint scent increases activity in the brain area that wakes us up in the morning”

Mint Mojito Soap – Punch Aches and Pains

A perfect gift to give to the athlete, the runner, or anyone who needs an “ultra minty” wake up call to soothe tired, achy muscles.

Which scent ingredient transports you?

These are some of the very popular ones.

  • Lemon and citrus-
  • Rose-
  • Lavender –
  • Jasmine and Ylang Ylang –
  • Berry –
  • Vanilla-
  • Patchouli-

Incense for Your Senses

Ancient way to create a relaxing atmosphere.


Sometimes a stick of good quality incense made from natural ingredients is just the ticket to ride away from stresses.

Japanese incense is one of the finest with subtle scent. Shoyeido is my favorite brand, with such high quality ingredients that it is never cloying.

Shoyeido’s Kyoto Autumn Leaves Incense, 35 sticks – Kyo-nishiki

There are many ways to surround yourself with pleasant scents. Incense is one very ancient way. Most women also know about the ways to use perfumes, “layering” a scent with various mediums like using lotion, perfume, and powder all in the same scent. Home fragrance oils, adding aromatherapy scents to home fountains, fragranced candles… it seems we have unlimited ingenuity when it comes to introducing a good smell into our environment.

Breathe Deeply

Fragrance delights… to lift your day.

Fresh Figs


I love the look of fresh figs, they are sumptuous in look and subtle in color, but it is the luscious taste that is the big attraction.

If you have access to these delights, try them in delicious new ways.

Who doesn’t love pizza? Try Pizza Bianca

From Italian Food Forever.

An appetizer I know I would love to eat.

Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto
Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto
From Fargo Monthly

Try Fargo Monthly’s Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto ? From Chef Eric.

Hungarian Traditions, Finding Happiness

Using your culture to find your happiness. Hungarians aren’t known for their high happiness levels, in fact they rank #9 in the world suicide rate. Is there hope for happiness?

|JL| on Flickr
|JL| on Flickr

Finding Happiness In Your Cultural Values

There are too many reasons for people to find themselves depressed and in despair, but if you look there are also plenty of life changes that can be made to lift your happiness levels. While I’m not a professional, and not silly enough to try to tell you there is one quick fix for your emotional unhappiness and struggles, I can tell you a few things that are helpful and can make a huge difference for you.

Maybe you would like to know a little more about Hungarian culture, or maybe you want some tips on how to lift your mood; this is a collection of things that help me from my heritage, that I enjoy and want to share with you.


That certainly is a hard question to answer.

Despite the fact that perceptions of happiness are different for each individual, researchers have found some interesting findings on how human happiness levels work. What makes conclusions about those findings so hard to analyze is that there are a number theories based on data collected about the relative happiness of people. It is hard to reduce to just one theory or answer. But there are a couple primary ideas.

One idea that has been formulated is that people are happy relative to the perceived comparisons between themselves and others.

Another gauge of happiness is how much an individual enjoys life.

So much of what makes happiness a complex affair to understand involves the fact that there are a large number of ways to measure it. That can also make the definition very slippery to pin down. But the good news in an attempt to raise levels of happiness are two factors: one is that human beings are very adaptable to circumstances and adjusting their feelings about them, and the other is that there are common ways that people employ to become happier.

A Few Things Known To Affect Happiness

These factors affect happiness for the better.

  • A sense of control
  • A sense of meaning
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Experience of pleasure
  • Experiencing good health
  • Relationships with others
  • Having pets
  • Financial well being

Animal Lovers Are Happier

Hungarian horses
Source: Karpati Gabor

Hungarian horses

Vizsla, loyal, affectionate, and fearless is beloved by his owners
Source: Karpati Gabor

Vizsla, loyal, affectionate, and fearless is beloved by his owners


Magyar Heritage

Costume of Kalocsa region of Hungary

How happy are you?

Costume of Kalocsa region of Hungary Source: hajna OA Elit tagság

What Things Give Hungarians Happiness?


Hungarians love their pets.I’m sure you might find one that doesn’t, but overall, Hungarians love their animals. My uncle raised Puli’s and Komondor which are two sheep dog breeds (the Puli is a herding dog, and the Komondor is a guardian breed). Having a pet, especially a dog, helps people to feel happier and less depressed.

A young Puli, but where are his cords?
A young Puli, but where are his cords? Source: Karpati Gabor

Hungarians love music. In that, they fit right in with the rest of the world. When you listen to music that moves you emotionally, it releases the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain. The music and happiness relationship.

If you have a cultural heritage, chances are a certain kind of music moves your emotions, it might be certain instruments and their use in important events, or classical music. Perhaps it is music of your generation, and certain songs remind you of good times. I always think of good times of my teenage years when I hear the Beach Boys songs.

Hungarians love color. It is a known fact that colors affect us emotionally. The Hungarian people often love bright colors, just take a look at the traditional Kalocsai designs that are painted on every imaginable surface in the homes and embroidered fabrics.

I know that color impacts me, and there are times when walking into a room decorated in colors I love just helps to lift my mood. Almost as good as a sunny day!

Hungarians love good food and good company. Yes, I know we have to be careful here, because we don’t want to confuse eating for emotional reasons with the kind of lift that certain foods, and a healthy meal shared with loved ones, can provide. Still, looking at it from its best side, we all have what we call comfort food, and often that is linked with those foods and flavors we grew up with in our families.

For me, comfort food would include Chicken Paprikash, Stuffed Cabbage, and Poppy Seed or Nut Rolls. Mmmm, I feel better just thinking about those favorite Hungarian foods.

Foods that boost your feeling of well being and happiness are foods with plenty of nutrients. Vitamin D and B, foods with omega-3 fatty acids are good for your brain and your health.

Combining meals with the addition of good relationships, and meaningful times together is the reason why our happiness levels are improved with pleasant family meals and times with friends that center around sharing food together.

Just don’t ruin it by getting stressed about the inconsequential details.

What Makes Your Family’s Idea Of Good Times?

Consider the music, foods, and holidays of your own heritage. Take time to assemble as a family, whether it is for mealtimes or the Fourth of July. Take time to engage in healthy eating and exercise. Take control of your life and your finances.

There are many things that contribute to well being and happiness, I hope these tips from the point of view of my Hungarian background have inspired you to take a few of your own traditions and maximize the time and focus on what matters to you and your family. You might find that together you can raise the bar on happiness for all.

Egeszsegedre (cheers!)

The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian: 50 Facts and Facets of Nationhood
The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian: 50 Facts and Facets of Nationhood

About Happiness

How Many Hungarians Read This?

Hungarians have a long relationship with horses
Hungarians have a long relationship with horses Source: Public Domain

Have you tried this cream? Do you like it?

Pretty, Haunting Melody

What About Hungarians?

© 2013 Ilona

Take Time To Relax And De-stress

There are times when modern life is just too much: too much noise, demand, and activity. Here are some pointers and soothing music to de-stress your day.


Nothing improves the quality of life more than learning how to manage stress.

Stress contributes to physical diseases as well as emotional discomfort. But we can learn how to minimize stress, and I might even say we must learn to do so for our health and well being.

Modern life and its demands do not exactly lend themselves to this healthier way of living and think, so we must mindfully replace frustrating pressures that keep us on the hamster wheel with different habits. Some involve ways of thinking, some are physical activities…. but all lead us to find time to relax and breathe a little deeper.

Enjoy the tips and suggested products, listen to the soothing music. It’s all good.

Helpful Hints and Tips for Getting Rid of Stress

spa time
Bain au Raku

I took many ideas from a webpage I had made, and my old Happy Thoughts blog for this post.

My blood pressure had gotten dangerously high and I really needed to stop stressing, but have you ever noticed that when you try so hard to stop stressing it stresses you all out? So I started using my online journaling to focus on the positive, to be grateful and to think about life in a more optimistic way. I still struggle sometimes, but my life and thinking have really improved. I highly recommend implementing many of these stress breakers into your own life.

UPDATE: My Happy Thoughts blog, “mood helium”, has been folded into this one.

My Cuppa Gratefulness writing list of blessings exercise.

  1. Allow yourself some private time each day, as little as half an hour can make a difference.
  2. Pray and meditate.
  3. Buy a bouquet of flowers or pick one from your garden, flowers brighten up your mood.
  4. Take a long rejuvenating walk, it gives new perspectives.
  5. Unplug. Your ipod, your computer, your phone, your TV, your radio. The mind you save may be your own.
  6. A nice hot cup of green tea and a good book- you are feeling relaxed already.
  7. You can’t unplug? Then turn on some music and dance. Invite a toddler to join you.
  8. Call a friend.
  9. Go to the salon for a manicure and a pedicure, a shampoo and styling; don’t make major changes, just enjoy the pampering.
  10. Fix a comfort food, and let yourself completely enjoy it. Mindfully, in-the-moment eating for the full benefit of this indulgence.
  11. Take 20 minutes to remember the good times of your life, and to be grateful.
  12. Get your favorite feel-good movie out and watch
  13. Start a Blessings journal, and take time for God.
  14. Go outside, go to the beach or the mountains or your favorite park. Smell the roses and let the breezes ruffle your hair. Let the sun shine on your face. Now, wasn’t that nice?

A Spiritual Journey To Peace

  • Spiritual Soaking and Mental Relaxation: Modern interpretation of an ancient religious practice, spiritual soaking is a form of prayer and meditation. It relaxes ones mind and relieves stress as side benefits.

Things We Can Learn From A Dog…

How to really enjoy life

I read this years ago, and the simple wisdom of it never fails to amaze me. The older I grow the more I appreciate the good advice…. if only dogs could talk I know this is what they try to tell us.

  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.


If you have ever sat in one of these chairs, you know why it is on my wish list. An at home massage anytime you need it; it relaxes you head to foot.

Inhaling a pleasant or refreshing fragrance can sometimes be more soothing than almost anything else- and no calories! Incense, fragrant bath oils, aroma infused indoor fountains, scented candles, those and more are things that refresh my mind. And I just love the smell of laundry that has been hung out to dry on the clothesline.

What smells create a calming effect for you?

More Aromatherapy Info

Tussy mussies were invented for just that reason…. You can make your own you know.

Oils and essences have healing properties, besides creating a sense of rest, energy, or calm.

Reviving My Senses

Paradox: Exercise Reduces Stress – when working harder helps…

When stressed-out, the temptation is to eat something fattening and comforting, sleep more, or sit in front of the TV or computer to try to distract oneself, but the better answer is often to get the body moving physically. What happens when we exercise that helps to reduce stress?
taking a bath

“Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.”

Yoga relaxes – The gear aims for comfort and relaxation

yoga stretches
Comfortable clothes and yoga mats make for a great workout. Workouts are an important key to health and aid feelings of well being.

More things that relax….

At home or away, there are certain things that restore and relax like nothing else: hot tub or massage, and soothing music.

“A hot tub can stimulate the release of our stress reducing endorphins. A hot tub’s hydrotherapy jets also dilate blood vessels to help prevent headaches. And when it comes to falling asleep faster and getting a deep night’s sleep, the National Sleep Foundation clearly states, “soaking in hot water, such as a hot tub or bath, before retiring to bed can ease the transition into a deeper sleep.”” [2]


Other times and cultures, resiliency of people over history, “this too shall pass”, simplicity of a monk’s meditation, the greatness of the mountains…

Let the realization of your own troubles and urgent pressures melt in the background… imagine a visit to a quiet, ancient mountain fastness.

draw a picture

Or draw… or do a collage. Something about making a beautiful piece of art is restorative. It calms your mind while giving you a bit of a creative challenge. Many people find the process of art to be a good antidote for stress. So pull out the pens and pencils, the watercolors and papers and make something!