February, 2019

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Gretchen Rubin’s Daily Tricks for Staying Happy + MORE

Beauty and health are wonderful areas to dedicate one’s life. We have seen the simple addition of hair with Invisablend’s hair extensions and treatments cause an immediate increase in our client’s confidence and life enjoyment. We encourage you to do the little things that make you feel good and give you confidence. It will have a dynamic effect on your quality of life.

What Does It Really Mean to Be Happy? 6 Experts Explain

– www.health.com

When you go to your “happy place,” you might picture yourself relaxing on a beach in Bali, fitting back into a pair of favorite old jeans, or landing that promotion you’ve been gunning for. But here’s the thing: Elation, achievement, and success aren’t the same as the warm and fuzzy feelings of happiness—and mixing them up may actually bum you out. That’s why we endeavored to learn what happiness really means, by interviewing a handful of people who have devoted years of their lives to studying it. Read about what their research and real-life experience has taught them; then use their wisdom and advice to boost your own joy. (Spoiler alert: Those old jeans will do more good in the giveaway bin.)

RELATED: 7 Self-Care Tips That Will Make You Happier

“Happiness isn’t something you feel. It’s something you do.”

I used to think I had a clear idea of what happiness looks like. I came to the U.S. at 13. My family emigrated from Russia, and we lived outside of Detroit. It was a really rough time, especially because I didn’t speak English. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and self-doubt. The only time I felt OK was when I achieved anything—the day I was moved from remedial English, the day I moved out of the projects.

I thought, “This is how I’m going to be happy: I’m going to achieve things.” I lived my life with this attitude. I’ll be happy when I get into a good college. When I graduate. When I move to New York. When I get married. When I’m able to take care of my family…

I was always proud of my achievements, yet the happiness bubble would eventually pop. I thought I wasn’t doing enough to gain the privilege of feeling good, but I hit a wall, burned out, and couldn’t push anymore.

When I stumbled onto research about gratitude nine years ago, I thought it was a bunch of BS. Saying three things I was grateful for would make me happy? Ridiculous. If I was grateful for everything, I wouldn’t work for anything. Still, I decided to do a 30-day experiment. I told my husband and daughter that each day, I’d write down something I was grateful for and say “thank you” to someone at least once.

RELATED: Here’s How Feeling Grateful Can Improve Your Life

The punch line is obvious. I noticed a difference right away. It’s not like I became a happy-go-lucky person, but I started to find joy in small, everyday moments. Tiny things, like my daughter running up to give me a hug. Coming into my living room and noticing the light hitting a vase of tulips. Even driving to work in minimal traffic and suddenly enjoying the commute.

Before I began practicing gratitude, I wasn’t present for those moments. I only stepped on them before running away. Happiness, I now realize, is not something you feel, but something you do. We don’t have to earn it, or be “good enough…

Gretchen Rubin’s Daily Tricks for Staying Happy

– www.health.com

What inspired you to write about the power of decluttering?

Your space reflects you. It projects your identity to the world. If you look around and everything you own is useful or beloved, you may feel more integrated with yourself.

Any advice for getting started?

Adopt the one-minute rule. Anything you can do in less than a minute, do without delay. Throw away a wrapper. File an email. Hang up your coat. That will get rid of that scum of clutter on the surface of life. And over time, you start to see a big difference.

RELATED: I Tried Marie Kondo's Tidying Up Method—and It Had a Serious Impact on My Happiness

Once you’ve cleared the clutter, then what?

It’s not enough to get rid of stuff that’s dragging us down; we also need things that lift us up. We want to be delighted in our spaces. You can add whatever you want to your space to make it beautiful—just choose those things purposefully.

What else do you do to feel happier?

Relationships are most important to me. I’m in four book groups because I love to see friends and I love books. I also have this habit with my sister and parents called “update”: About once a week, we send a super-boring email about whatever’s going on, just to make ourselves feel more connected.

RELATED: 25 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

What’s your morning routine like?

The first thing I do is kiss my husband. He’s usually still asleep, but I’m like, “I want to kiss my husband before I check my phone.” Then most days I go for a long walk in Central Park. It’s exercise, it’s nature, it’s light on my face resetting my circadian rhythm. It’s the greatest thing.

How about when you’re feeling blue—how do you recover?

Do 10 jumping jacks! I tell my daughters this all the time. Or run down the stairs. It makes you feel goofy and energized.

Rubin's new book, Outer Order, Inner Calm, is out now.

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This 6-Step Yoga Flow Will Open Up Your Tight Hips

– health.com

On average, we sit for about 12 hours every day. “Yikes” is right. “Whether it’s at a desk or in the car, when people sit for most of the day, they may develop tight hip flexors. These muscles attach to the lumbar spine and could create lower-back pain when they are shortened,” explains physical therapist Erica Anne Meloe, owner of Velocity Physiotherapy in New York City and author of Why Do I Hurt?

So what can you do to help those suffering hip muscles? First, make sure you’re getting up and walking around throughout the day—researchers suggest at least once every 30 minutes. But to further help, try this hip-opening sequence created specifically for Health readers by Peloton yoga instructor Kristin McGee. “These poses take a 360-degree approach, helping to stretch and strengthen the hips from all angles—front, side, and back,” says McGee.

Run through them three to four times a week, and you’ll feel so much looser.

RELATED: How Mindfulness Can Make Your Workouts More Effective

Cow Face pose

Get onto all fours. Cross right leg over left, then sit back down between your heels or on a block, with knees stacked. Extend left arm toward ceiling, then bend left elbow, bringing palm to touch the center of upper back; then bend right arm behind back, trying to grasp fingers of left hand. Stay here for 5–8 breaths, breathing evenly; then switch sides and repeat. To make it more comfortable, you can also sit on a blanket instead of a block.

RELATED: 15 Stretches You Should Do Every Day

Pigeon pose

From Cow Face pose, slide right leg forward onto the floor, placing right shin parallel to the front of the mat, and slide left knee on floor behind you. Lower left thigh to mat with top of left foot facing down. Stay upright, with torso over hips and hips square to the front of the mat. Remain here for 5–8 full breaths, then bring left foot toward right and repeat on opposite side.

RELATED: 5 Best Yoga Poses for Runners

Bound Angle pose

Sit on mat with soles of feet together and knees bent out to sides. Interlace fingers around feet. Inhaling, press knees down toward mat while sitting up tall; bow forward slightly to get a deeper stretch. Stay here for 8–10 breaths.

Ankle to Knee pose

From Bound Angle pose, cross right knee over left ankle and bring bottom leg in so right ankle is over left knee, with shins stacked. Bring both palms to floor in front of you, leaning forward slightly. Hold here for 5–8 breaths.

Half Reclining Hero’s pose

Kneel on mat with knees together. Sit back on heels, and then extend right leg straight out in front of you. Slide left foot slightly wider than knee with the top of left foot on the floor and big toe angled in, allowing butt to rest on floor. Then place hands on floor behind you and lean back, bringing elbows and forearms to floor behind you. From here, continue to lower all the way to the floor or as far as you can go without pain or discomfort; cross elbows overhead…

Fresh Box

Watch Jennifer Lopez Leg Press Nearly 300 Pounds Like It's Nothing + MORE

If you thought Jennifer Lopez accepting Alex Rodriguez's marriage proposal mid-leg extensions would be her best gym moment this week, think again. Lopez is back with another look at her workouts, this time showing everyone how leg presses are done. Lopez posted a video to Insta.... More »

9 Times J.Lo Showed Off Her Insanely Defined Core and Proved She's the Queen of Abs + MORE

If there's one thing everyone (and I mean everyone) can agree on, it's that J.Lo's abs are goals. I mean, seriously: At 49, her middle is as chiseled as ever. But make no mistake, girl works damn hard for that definition. She always makes the gym a priority, and .... More »

Jada Pinkett Smith's Trainer Demonstrates Her Gravity-Defying, At-Home Workout: 'You Don't Need a Gym' + MORE

Jada Pinkett Smith is showing fans that you don’t need a fancy gym membership to get in a decent workout. On Tuesday, the 47-year-old Girls Trip star shared a video of the intense full-body exercise routine, created and demonstrated by her trainer Jeanette Jenkins&nb.... More »

The Exact Skincare Products Victoria Beckham Uses Every Day for Glowing Skin + MORE

She's a fashion and beauty icon, retired member of the Spice Girls, wife to soccer hunk David Beckham, and is known for her serious smirk and stylish lob. What we really want to know, though, is how Victoria Beckham always has such a dewy complexion, wheth.... More »

Continue Reading

What Does It Really Mean to Be Happy? 6 Experts Explainwww.health.com
Gretchen Rubin’s Daily Tricks for Staying Happywww.health.com
This 6-Step Yoga Flow Will Open Up Your Tight Hipshealth.com

Fitbit Is Having a HUGE Valentine's Day Sale on Some of Their Most Popular Trackers + MORE

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Beauty and health are wonderful areas to dedicate one’s
life. We have seen the simple addition of hair with Invisablend’s hair
extensions and treatments cause an immediate increase in our client’s confidence
and life enjoyment. We encourage you to do the little things that make you feel
good and give you confidence. It will have a dynamic effect on your quality of
life.

Woman Contracts Rare Autoimmune Disease From Touching Stray Cat: 'I'll Have It for Life'

– www.health.com

Even after contracting a life-altering syndrome from a feral cat she befriended on vacation, Gemma Birch still considers herself an animal lover.

The 25-year-old from Southport, England, was spending a week in Albufeira, Portugal, in June 2015 when she took in a “gorgeous” stray cat who would lounge on the patio of the rental apartment, Birch recalls to PEOPLE.

Immediately smitten, Birch began giving the animal milk from a bowl and letting her inside.

RELATED: Virginia Woman, 22, Diagnosed with Rare Illness That Has Left Her Paralyzed, Stranded in Thailand

“She obviously loved me, and she’d follow me everywhere,” says Birch, who runs a lifestyle blog and works in a gym. “I was fine all week. I was so sad to leave her.”

But on the last night, she started vomiting severely and suffering from diarrhea. On the plane ride home, on top of her existing symptoms, Birch started to feel faint.

By the time she landed, her stomach was so swollen she looked “nine months pregnant,” she says. “Like I was about to burst.”

She made it home, where her father immediately told her she needed to go to the hospital because she was so weak and pale, Birch recalls.

After spending a week in the ICU and undergoing many tests, doctors discovered Birch had been infected with campylobacter, a common cause of food poisoning.

RELATED: This NFL Player Was Diagnosed With Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Here's What That Means 

RELATED: Woman Dies from Rabies After She Was Misdiagnosed With Panic Attacks

Doctors asked if she’d eaten any uncooked poultry. A staunch vegetarian, Birch said no. Then they asked if she had come into contact with any animals recently, and she remembered her feline friend.

Next came more tests, which helped the medical team discover that she had contracted the infection from a living animal.

“Once they found out, they weren’t worried. They said I’d get better at home with bedrest,” Birch recalls. “But I got worse. I couldn’t walk. I kept falling and losing my balance.”

Her symptoms, inconsistent food poisoning, led Birch to make repeated appointments with her general practitioner, who kept telling her to just get more rest.

“Eventually I stopped going because I felt like I was bugging them,” Birch says. “But you just know when it’s something else.”

Then, two weeks after leaving the hospital — three weeks after returning from Portugal — Birch woke up around 3 a.m. because she’d fallen out of bed.

“I couldn’t feel my legs on the sheets or my feet on the carpet,” she explains. “I started scratching my legs so hard that they bled, but I still couldn’t feel it. I screamed for my dad, and he took me to the hospital.”

In the emergency room, Birch says she googled her symptoms and the campylobacter bacteria, which turned up three words: Guillain-Barré syndrome…

15 Transformations That'll Inspire You to Start Lifting Weights

– health.com

15 Transformations That'll Inspire You to Start Lifting Weights

 

Stacey D.

PHOTO: @BOOMFAMF INSTAGRAM

In two years, Stacey went from CrossFit obsessed (left) to entering into the world of powerlifting and counting macros (right). She lost 15 pounds and about 5 percent body fat, but not overnight. "Understanding that this whole fitness thing is a lifelong journey really helps me understand that there's ups, downs, weekends of eating it all, weeks of consistency, fat days, 'damn who dat' when you look in the mirror days, and overall a lot of learning and self-encouragement, forgiveness and love," she wrote.

Katie Crewe

PHOTO: @KATIECREWE INSTAGRAM

The now-trainer and Insta star used to find weights intimidating so she stuck to cardio classes. But once she picked up a dumbbell, she realized the body she wanted couldn't be achieved with light lifting. "My 'gains' came very slowly, compared to many. It took me a really long time to start doing full push-ups (especially darn triceps ones)," she writes. This photo—and Katie's story—are proof that if you can get past intimidation and frustrations, hard work will pay off eventually.

RELATED: 10 Things I Learned During My Body Transformation

Kathryn Nash

PHOTO: @MINIBUTMIGHTY_ INSTAGRAM

Kathryn Nash started reaching for dumbbells as finishers for her BBG workouts, but pretty soon, the weights became her favorite part of the workout. After ditching HIIT to go all in with lifting, it took almost a year for Kathryn to build up her backside. "This took me a solid year of bulking to build the muscle I currently have. Don't be afraid to lift heavy and EAT, ladies!!! You can't grow if you neglect either of them. Muscle growth takes time and a whole lot of patience, but it is so worth it. Gainz are nice and all, but nothing beats the adrenaline rush you get from lifting heavy a$$ iron," she says.

Abby Pollock

PHOTO: @AMPOLLO INSTAGRAM

Over the past four years, the Canadian fitfluencer has built her booty with a mix of heavy lifting four times a week and strategic cardio. "A structured weightlifting routine that has you progressively doing 'more' over time will deliver the best and most predictable results," she writes. 

RELATED: The 17 Best Butt Workouts from Kelsey Wells, Jeanette Jenkins and More Fitness Stars

Sia Cooper

PHOTO: @DIARYOFAFITMOMMYOFFICIAL INSTAGRAM

Sia switched up her workouts after the birth of her first baby. "My tummy was soft, my thighs were blown, and I just simply didn't feel like ME anymore. Most of all, I didn't think I could ever get my 'body back,'" she writes. So instead, she decided to build a new one. "I began doing something that I had never done before: lift weights!" she adds. The results? Well, that second photo after baby number two speaks for itself.

Mikaela Beauchamp

PHOTO: @MIKAELAFAE INSTAGRAM

For Mikaela, the benefits of weightlifting are more than just physical…

Fitbit Is Having a HUGE Valentine's Day Sale on Some of Their Most Popular Trackers

– health.com

In the market for a new Fitbit (or have someone you still need to find a Valentine's Day gift for)? You're in luck: The brand is slashing prices on some of their most popular trackers. From now until February 16, three Fitbit trackers are up to $40 off on Fitbit.com and Amazon.com. New Year's resolution to get more steps—check!

To buy: from $129, fitbit.com and amazon.com

• Fitbit Charge 3 ($129-$149; fitbit.com and amazon.com). With a touchscreen, smartphone notifications, and seven days of battery life, this remains one of Fitbit's most popular trackers, if not its most high-tech—and the current sale makes it a lot more affordable. In addition to a discount on the classic black and blue gray colorways, you can also save $20 on the slightly more expensive special edition hues.

• Fitbit Versa ($169-$199; fitbit.com and amazon.com). The Versa is an incredible fitness tool for people who want a watch to help them through their toughest sweat sessions. You'll get 24/7 heart rate monitoring, personalized onscreen workouts, and four days of battery life. Also good: The ability to stream more than 300 songs right from your wrist.

• Fitbit Ionic with GPS ($230; fitbit.com and amazon.com). The seriously high-tech Fitbit Ionic is the most heavily discounted tracker on this list at $40 off of its original retail price. It boasts a ton of impressive features, including dynamic personal coaching, continuous heart rate monitoring, multiple sport modes, and a water-resistant material that lets you swim in it up to 50 meters. All with a built-in GPS so you can track your distance covered and route maps.

RELATED: The Best Valentine's Day Gifts for Men on Amazon

Fresh Box

Prepping for a Destination Race? Here’s What You Need to Know

Many say that the best way to see a new city is to run through it—I’m a big believer in this concept. From 5Ks on the West Coast to half marathons down South to international marathons (I recently ran 26.2 miles in Tokyo!), traveling for races has given me the opportunity to see the .... More »

5 Easy Barbell Exercises for Beginners + MORE

Cardio is great—in fact, it’s a must. But there’s another beneficial component to physical fitness that many women are ignoring: weight lifting. And we’re not just talking about picking up those little 2-pound weights and doing a few bicep curls (though there’s noth.... More »

Everything You Need to Know About HIIPA: The Exercise Trend for People Who Don’t Have Time to Work Out

Let’s face it: On some days, you just don't have the time to spend a full hour clocking miles on the treadmill or pumping weights at the squat rack. You already have one thousand other things on your to-do list, and unfortunately, working out doesn’t always make the cut. We g.... More »

9 Times J.Lo Showed Off Her Insanely Defined Core and Proved She's the Queen of Abs + MORE

If there's one thing everyone (and I mean everyone) can agree on, it's that J.Lo's abs are goals. I mean, seriously: At 49, her middle is as chiseled as ever. But make no mistake, girl works damn hard for that definition. She always makes the gym a priority, and .... More »

Continue Reading

Woman Contracts Rare Autoimmune Disease From Touching Stray Cat: 'I'll Have It for Life'www.health.com
15 Transformations That'll Inspire You to Start Lifting Weightshealth.com
Fitbit Is Having a HUGE Valentine's Day Sale on Some of Their Most Popular Trackershealth.com