10 Mantras to Begin Your Day Right

A mantra is traditionally a short sound, word, or phrase spoken in Sanskrit and used for meditation. It is repeated to help keep our mind and body focused on the present moment. And since ancient times, mantras have been considered sacred and calming sounds, which is why you’ll often hear the most common “om” used to wind down the end of a yoga class.

However, in our modern era, the term “mantra” has been co-opted to include self-affirming statements that give us the strength and confidence to face the world. But the underlying goal remains the same: it’s a way to focus our intentions and calm our minds. So, rather than focusing on traditional Sanskrit mantras, we’ll look at some daily phrases to say in the morning and keep repeating them throughout the day. If you keep these simple mantras in mind, they could help you achieve success and happiness:

“My mind is brilliant. My body is in good condition. My spirit is at ease.”

“I carve my path and walk it with joy.”

“I’m going to have a good day because it’s my choice.”

“I hold the key to better health through better eating and exercise.”

“Good health is a practice, and I have patience.”

“I listen to my body and give it what it requires.”

“Every cell in my body is alive and beautiful.”

“My potential is limitless, and I choose where to direct my energy.”

“I will speak with confidence and assurance.”

“My devotion to myself is unbreakable.”

Although these mantras are divided into three categories (body, mind, and spirit), they are all related to the power of your mind. Because your heart and body could not progress without controlled thinking and optimistic belief, it is our choice to think and feel positive, and our lives will soon follow. So remember to keep repeating whichever phrase you choose — and don’t be surprised if you notice a significant difference.

Food And Habits To Boost Your Brain Health And End Inflammation

Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in integrative medicine, which incorporates body, mind, and spirit.

After a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked at the NIMH for a year and wrote The Natural Mind. As a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled to North and South America and Africa to research medication use in different cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative disease treatments. From 1971 until 1984, he studied medicinal and psychotropic plants at the Harvard Botanical Museum.

Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Public Health. The Center is developing a comprehensive integrative medicine program. Through its fellowship, the Center currently trains doctors and nurse practitioners worldwide.

Dr. Weil is a well-known authority on healthy living, healthy aging, and the future of medicine and health care. Prevention magazine publishes Dr. Weil’s monthly piece. In addition, Dr. Weil is an international specialist in medicinal plants, alternative medicine, and medical education reform.

In this episode, Dr. Weil covers foods and habits that boost mental and physical health. Learn about inflammatory disorders, how to cure and avoid them, and the origin of most medical problems. This episode is essential.

Dr. Andrew Weil explains how to boost brain function, reduce inflammation, and live longer. Click here to watch the video. 

Exercising In The Summer: What The Wellers Need To Know

For those who live at the Wellings, exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. But it can be dangerous or even impossible to exercise outdoors during the sweltering summer months. It would be simple to move the workout indoors. However, one of the summer’s joys is that outside generally feels better. To your luck, if you’re careful and aware of the dangers, you can safely work out outside.

Here are a few outdoor exercises that you can do this summer:

Walking/Hiking
Take a walk whenever you can; it’s one of the simplest ways to get fit. You can also walk for long distances and stay cool even in the heat of the summer. However, hiking might be for you if you’re looking for more strenuous activity. You can experience the wild side of nature while you are protected from the sun by trees. Don’t forget to bring a lot of water with you on this trip.

Golf
Do you know golfing is a low-impact, high-intensity way to improve your strength and flexibility? During the summer months, golfing can be a great way to exercise. Even though you’ll spend a lot of time outside, there are usually shady spots on the course, and golf carts are readily available at most clubs. In addition, golf is an excellent way to meet new people and socialize.

Tai Chi/Yoga
Tai Chi and Yoga are two low-impact options to consider if you want to improve your flexibility and strength. Both of these workouts emphasize stretching, movement, and controlled breathing. As a bonus, they can be customized to fit a person’s specific athletic abilities. In other words, even if you’re just getting started, you can benefit from this.

Biking
Even though biking is more challenging than walking, you’ll get a better workout and burn more calories. The relief from the heat from riding in the open air is another benefit. Biking to the park for a picnic is an option if you have a bike basket.

Gardening
It’s no secret that gardening can be physically taxing, as anyone who’s done it before will attest. However, gardening can be therapeutic and a healthy hobby. If you’re going to be out for a while, don’t forget to bring extra sunscreen. It’s not just plants that need water! Don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Kayaking
If you’re looking for a fun way to get out on the water, kayaking may be the best option. The upper body gets a good workout while you relax on a boat trip around a local lake. Wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, as there isn’t much shade in the middle of the lake. A life jacket is an absolute necessity.

Fishing
Consider renting a boat if you want a relaxing day on a lake without having to row yourself there. You might enjoy fishing. You can fish from the sand or take a trip out on the water to find larger fish. In either case, you can take a breather and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. If you catch a fish, reeling it in can be a good workout. However, standing is beneficial to human health.

Swim
Swimming in a pool, on the other hand, is a great way to stay cool and tone your muscles simultaneously. In addition, you’ll get a more challenging workout because the water adds resistance to your regular movements.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from heat exhaustion, seek shelter indoors or in a shady location, rest, and hydrate. Drink plenty of water and wear light clothing in the summer. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and have fun.

Don’t Give Up Hope

There are many ways in which life challenges us. The loss of a loved one, a layoff, or a health issue can all impact a person’s life. Positive thinking, on the other hand, can be a valuable ally. Choosing to be positive and thankful has a positive effect on your mind and body.

People who have a more positive attitude on life live longer and are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and depression. According to one study, thinking positively about aging can add 7.5 years to one’s life expectancy. However, after considering factors such as gender, wealth, and overall health, the results are much more striking.

If you have a positive mindset, it may encourage you to exercise and eat healthier. Because you’re feeling better, you’re more likely to remain optimistic and joyful. If you’ve ever heard of a “virtuous circle,” you’ll know what I mean.

Things like low blood pressure and cholesterol have enhanced life spans by roughly four years, but if you view the glass as half-full, it could have a more significant impact.

Optimism is a skill that may be acquired. Time and practice are all that is required.

A few options are as follows:

  • Smile, even if it’s a phony one. It has the potential to alleviate some of the symptoms of stress.
  • Reframe. Instead of focussing on the negative, focus on the positive.
  • A thankfulness diary is a good idea.
  • Do good deeds for the sake of good.
  • Make friends with folks who make you happy.
  • And remember, you can’t change everything.

Finding Purpose at Every Age and Every Stage of Life

We’ve been taught that having purpose in life centers on achieving things like getting good grades in school, finding a life partner, having a family, earning a certain amount of money or attaining status in the business world. Are these markers really what give our lives purpose and meaning and once we’ve achieved these goals, what then? I ask the question because I’ve seen too many people feeling confused once they’ve achieved what they thought would give their life purpose and they’re asking the question, what now?

According to one analysis on the subject of purpose by The New York Times, about 25% of American adults admit to having a clear sense of purpose about what makes their life meaningful, while 40% claim neutrality on the subject, or acknowledge that they don’t feel aligned with a purpose at all.

In my view, having purpose is simply a way of framing our day, so that we look forward to either sharing our gifts with others or being of service in some way. Perhaps it’s that it feels like such a big subject that people shy away because they overthink it. I think we all want to feel that we have meaning in our lives and that may have little or nothing to do with what’s in our bank account or what we do to earn money. It’s about what makes our day worthwhile and that can imply different things at different stages of our lives.

When we’re young, we’re in foundation building mode, figuring out how we’re going to shape our lives. It’s followed by raising a family if that’s the choice we make; then helping our children find their way as young adults. This is often where it gets challenging for many people because purpose and meaning take on a different flavor when our nest is empty. That’s the time to get curious again because we have accrued experience, hopefully we’re a little wiser than we were when we were young and we can choose again how we want to shape the next chapter.

“I believe the second half of one’s life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.” – Frances Lear

Having purpose is not necessarily connected to our goals; rather it’s how we have ongoing impact on the world around us with our gifts. It’s about knowing our “why” at every stage of life. Our “why” is our calling, our conviction; you could say it’s our mission statement. Knowing what our purpose is at any stage of life gives us stability and a sense of direction. Before you jump to the conclusion that your purpose has to be something grand I’m here to say that having purpose doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to feel right to you. We’re not talking about the purpose of life; we’re talking about your purpose in life which can change, depending on where you are on your life adventure.Your purpose is as unique as you are. Remember we all have distinct talents, experiences, skill sets and interests that fire us up and there are always new ideas to uncover.

Which brings me to connecting with purpose; I’m often asked how we connect with it; is there a formula for finding it? While these are good questions, there are no easy answers. Often we look outside of ourselves, thinking that there must be someone who knows what our purpose is. Could it be an elder, a partner, a teacher or a friend? While feedback about our skills and talents from others can be helpful, in truth we are the only ones who truly know what purpose means to us. So it’s best not to chase it; rather allow it to emerge by asking yourself a few important questions, such as: What are my gifts? What do I stand for? What are my values? The answers to these questions hold clues for us and will help point us in the direction of our purpose.

“When it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift any day.” – Marty Buccella

If your gift is that you’re a good listener or a nurturer, allow those qualities to guide you. If you stand for safety for children, pets or older people, those are clues for you and if family is among your values, you can tease out ways to express your values, your gifts and your principles in your every-day life. You could be the best Grandmother or Grandfather; you could be a fantastic friend who really listens to those you cherish. You could align yourself with an organization that rescues or protects animals, a group that advocates for children or older people. You could do intentional acts of kindness for your neighbours; the possibilities are limitless.

“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.” – Albert Einstein

Be careful around FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real because fear is a trickster; it can convince us to stay small; not to step outside of our comfort zone. However stepping out is the only way we can create space for our purpose to emerge. Remember there’s no one way to get there, just as we are all unique our exploration will be unique as well. Keep in mind too that we are all creative beings regardless of our talents and it is never too late to connect with activities and communities that will make your heart sing.

While you’re investigating your purpose, here are a few tips to help you on your quest:
– Be open hearted and open minded.
– Think about what you’re good at.
– Look for ways to be of service to others.
– Ask people who know you what they think your talents and skills are.

While reshaping our sense of purpose in life can feel challenging please don’t feel pressure to find it; rather let it find you because it’s already in you. The world needs you at every stage of life to share your skills, knowledge and your wisdom. This is ageless living.

Footnote: How are you doing with your intention for 2022?

Honey Dressing, with Jaime Oliver

In this video, we see Jamie Oliver keep it simple and let the ingredients shine. We spend a lot of time thinking about food and flavour but make no mistake, we truly appreciate learning from the experts.

This recipe features honey and as natural or raw honey is more readily available in-store and on-line, the flavour comes together easily.

I love Peace River honey from Canada. It’s a flavour I remember from childhood, and would be perfect in this recipe.

At this time of year, you can sub in maple syrup from your favorite Sugar Shack! Adjust the amount to your own tastebuds.

Enjoy Jamie Oliver’s simple and delicious recipe and why not share it with a friend? Click here to watch the video. 

Simple Stretches To Relieve Neck Stiffness

Every day we put our bodies in positions that create stress and tension in the neck region. As a result, the muscles in this area shorten and become tight over time, leading to poor posture, neck stiffness, and discomfort.

The following video will provide you with some simple stretches to help loosen these muscles, increase range of motion, and reduce pain. Click here to watch the video. 

Cultivating Optimism For Good Health And Longevity

These last few years have been a little confusing for optimists like me. There’s a sense that we’re not on firm footing; Pandemics will do that. This roller coaster ride has reminded all of us that we’re not in charge of life’s events but we need to remember that we are in charge of how we respond to life’s events. We can choose to be skeptical, cynical, fearful or we can choose to be optimistic despite the evidence in front of us.

How we respond to difficult situations has a wide ranging impact on us emotionally, physically and spiritually. How we think influences how we feel and over time, how we feel has an effect on our physical health through chemical interactions in our brain, which is connected to every part of the body. So the question is: what is the message you want your brain and body to share?

I get it. We’re not all naturally optimistic but we can learn how to nurture more positivity in our lives and we have excellent motivation to do so. Research tells us that optimistic people have a better quality of life and tend to live longer. Skeptical? Then this blog is for you.

Recent studies conducted at the Montreal Heart Institute show a relationship between optimism and a decreased risk of cardiovascular events as well as a longer life span for optimistic patients, while studies at Carnegie Mellon University in the US show lowered risk of return hospitalization for cardiac bypass surgery patients, who were deemed optimistic.

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely curious about how to increase optimism in your life and by association, you’re choosing to improve your physical health. Optimism isn’t measurable the way we measure blood levels and obvious physical outcomes but there is speculation that optimistic people have healthier habits than pessimists. It’s also suggested that optimists have stronger social connections, are more likely to exercise and more frequently follow medical advice. It should also be noted that it’s perfectly fine to have days when we feel discouraged; it’s just not where we want to stay, if we’re looking to be more optimistic.

So how do we turn up optimism in our lives?

Start with small shifts in your attitude by allowing optimism in. Watch for opportunities to interact with people you see as optimistic; their generous, positive energy will help get the process started. Where perhaps you may have dismissed them in the past, see them as your teacher and be open to receiving their kindness.

Don’t forget to give positive feedback. Most people are reminded by others when they make a mistake but it’s just as important to share positive feedback.

Be mindful of what you’re consuming in the media. Too much News can fuel fear and while it’s important to be informed, make sure to limit your exposure and find resources that make you feel lighter: watching uplifting videos or movies, enriching your day with upbeat blogs, books or television shows.

Watch what you say. It’s easy to be critical and our thinking habits are tenacious. To increase optimism we have to become mindful of the negativity we put out into the world and make the choice to shift what we say to something more optimistic or positive or say nothing. If you’re in conversation with someone and you feel their negativity, I find the best strategy is to just listen without getting into it with them. I also like to say “I’m sorry you feel that way” because I am sorry they feel that way but it’s not my job to correct them or to instruct them. We are all free to think and say what we want but I don’t have to participate in negativity and gossip; I can turn it around by being kind and compassionate. When I come across negative, critical people I recognize that it’s fear speaking and I say to myself “if there’s no audience, there’s no show.” In other words, if I don’t engage in the gossip or negativity the conversation will either end or change course.

Use role models as mentors. Think of people who you consider to be optimistic in your social network, workplace or even on television. When you find yourself challenged by a negative or cynical response to something, ask yourself: what would that person do or say? Then try doing or saying that; it’s another way to let more optimism in.

Look for the good. It’s so easy to find something wrong with just about everything; optimists invest their energy in looking for the good. It’s there in every situation but sometimes we have to look carefully. Ask yourself: what is good about this day? Your brain will go looking for the answer. It’s also helpful to ask yourself what you can learn from challenging situations instead of letting disappointment win. There’s always something to learn that will benefit you in the future.

I want to encourage you to embrace the process of becoming more optimistic even though it’s uncomfortable; even though it may go against deeply engrained habits. We all have negative thoughts, we’re human; it’s what we do with them or about them that makes a difference. I like to remind myself and others that we are all beautiful works in progress and every day, every minute is a new opportunity to learn and grow. There’s no instant fix but the investment you make in yourself by inviting more optimism into your life will improve your overall happiness and allow you to collect more hopeful thoughts about the future.

How To Minimize Tax On Retirement Income

Ah, its tax time, and in our home there is a lot of discussion around the latest rules and next steps.

This month Marci, gives us a few tips for minimizing the tax we pay on our retirement income.

These tips provide a good basis for conversation with your wealth management partner or tax specialist.

Marci Perreault is a partner at KenMar Financial Services, and is available to discuss any aspect of your portfolio.

How To Minimize Tax On Retirement Income

By: Marci Perreault

When you’re retired, you need an income strategy that balances today’s cash flow needs with an investment strategy to safeguard your ability to produce income in the future.

Tax-saving strategies

You will also want to pay as little tax as possible so that you keep more of your hard­ earned savings. Here are four ideas to help you minimize the tax on your retirement income.

Pension income splitting

This is a strategy for couples to reduce taxes by transferring pension income (for tax purposes) from the higher income earner to the lower income earner. The transferring spouse or common-law partner can give up to 50% of their eligible pension income to the receiving spouse or common-law partner. If you are 65 years of age or older, eligible sources for pension income splitting include a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), a registered pension plan and an annuity purchased with a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). If you are under age 65, eligible income is mainly limited to registered pension plan benefits and certain payments resulting from the death of a former spouse or common-law partner. Note that residents of Quebec under 65 cannot split pension income for provincial income taxes.

Withdrawing income in the right order

The traditional rule of thumb is to withdraw first from accounts that are not tax-deferred, such as your non-registered investment accounts. The idea is to put off withdrawals from RRSPs and RRIFs, where all proceeds are taxed as income, attracting the highest rate of tax regardless of how they were earned. It also allows those investments to continue to grow tax deferred.

The truth is that this rule is simplistic and overly focused on current tax savings. Your strategy really depends on how much you have and where those assets are held. It may be that income should be drawn from a mix of sources to achieve the best tax-efficiency both in current and future years. The right order for you will also depend on a number of factors, including whether maximizing government benefits such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) is a goal, if you want or need to keep your portfolio growing in retirement, and if you have non-investment income such as rental income or part-time employment income. Estate planning goals may also affect your withdrawal order strategy.

T-series funds

For mutual fund investors, T-series may provide a more tax-efficient way to generate income from your investments. T-series funds are designed to provide a predictable and sustainable cash flow, often at a set percentage which helps with cash flow planning. Depending on the fund’s earnings (usually interest income, dividends and capital gains) the fund may also distribute a portion of the investor’s original investment, known as Return of Capital (ROC). ROC is usually not taxable, resulting in a more tax-efficient payout for you.

If you are not currently in T-series funds, it may be possible to transition to the T-series version from the series of the fund you currently hold without triggering a tax liability. One word of caution: when you receive an ROC distribution, you will lower the Adjusted Cost Base (ACB) of your holding, which could have tax implications later. Careful planning and monitoring are required.

TFSAs during retirement

Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) can play a useful role after you’ve retired because of their principal benefit: money earned inside the account is not taxable – even when you withdraw it (unlike RRSPs and RRIFs). If you have retirement assets in a non-registered account, they may be better off in a TFSA (up to the contribution limits) earning income tax-free. Remember that TFSA contribution limits are cumulative and provide room of up to $81,500 as of 2022 if you’ve been eligible to contribute since 2009.

TFSAs also provide a great place to “park” money in retirement. This could include money that you have been required to withdraw from your RRIF but don’t have an immediate use for, as well as money put aside as an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. By sheltering these funds and their profits from tax, you’ll ensure you get the benefit of all your savings.

Customization is key

Every retiree’s situation is unique and there is no “out-of-the-box” solution. While obtaining tax-efficient cash flow is an important goal, so is maintaining the right asset allocation for your portfolio’s long-term health and managing risk according to your own risk tolerance. Most of all, it’s about enabling you to have an enjoyable and sustainable retirement lifestyle. Professional tax and investment advice are needed to achieve the right balance for you.

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