HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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The limbic system helps control body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue and sleep. These hormone responses help the body regulate itself. In a nutshell, we smell an odor and our brain quickly decodes the odor’s message. Depending on that message, our body produces the necessary hormones. If the smell is paired with a good memory, the body relaxes. If the smell is paired with a stressful experience, the body sends stress hormones for action.


The hippocampus, which is the seat of memory, and the amygdala, which regulates emotions, are where we can see this concept in action. By inhaling an oil that has a pleasant association, it is possible to ease tension because the brain sends the message that all is well. Coupled with massage, essential oils can foster deep relaxation, which can alter our perceptions. If my brain says I’m okay, I must be okay. Helping ease the stress on the body and encouraging it to relax allows these important centers in the brain to function and perform at their ultimate capacity. With all the demands of today, who couldn’t use a little more natural help? And who knew one of the keys to well being could be right under our noses?


SOURCES AND RESOURCES

 

By now you probably have heard of essential oils. It seems we all know of someone who is using essential oils or has spoken of their value. You may find them to be a passing phase. You may even think they are a young person thing. But whatever your opinion, essential oils are gaining the attention of young and old alike. What are essential oils and why are so many people using them in their everyday lives?


An essential oil is a volatile substance derived from plants containing the natural smell and characteristics of the plant. From the beginning of time, cultures have used plant oils and extracts. If you have ever broken off an aloe vera stem and rubbed it onto a burn, then you, too, have experienced the benefits of essential oils. The oils from the aloe vera calm the discomforts of the burn while at the same time encouraging skin repair. Essential oils in the very same way provide our bodies with natural building blocks to support cellular functions.


Today, instead of growing our own plants and distilling oils, we can buy them. But buyer be aware: Not all oils are the same. Depending on how the plant is grown, its distillation process and the attention to purity, oils on the market can be nothing more than fragrances. They can also contain toxic chemicals. Therapeutic grade essential oils, when used as intended, can provide a powerful complement to your daily health regimen. Because essential oils contain the actual building blocks

ESSENTIAL OILS - NATURES WAY OF DEALING WITH LIFE

of plants, their cellular make up is similar to ours. Essential oils cross over our cellular membrane, encouraging and supporting overall health. Their aromas go beyond smelling wonderful. Essential oils can be used to stimulate and support our body systems.


How do essential oils work? The body is equipped with systems that regulate it. The endocrine system secretes hormones that regulate cell activity. The pituitary gland secretes stress hormones or cortisol. Both of these systems keep us alive and balanced. They help us respond to danger and they help us relax and rest in the off hours. Unfortunately, these systems can be overstressed. Our jobs, our environment, life’s demands – all can keep us in a constant state of stress. Our bodies are not made for constant stress. When our immune system is constantly under stress, we can become more vulnerable. Essential oils can help support these hormone systems of the brain.


Did you know smell is the only sense directly linked to the emotional center of our brains? This emotional center, known as the limbic system, is in charge of decoding smells and sending the appropriate message to the brain’s switchboard.

JENNIFER LORD

Jennifer Lord is an office director and distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. She has a personal commitment to whole-body wellness, with emphasis on nutrition and fitness. For a free consultation on the benefits of essential oils and how to implement them into your daily regimen, follow her on Facebook at “Nature’s Essential Truth” or contact her at Jennifer.lordcvlc@gmail.com.

more articles by Jennifer Lord