All Good – February 2016

All Good – February 2016
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In This Issue
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Mindfulness — A Break For Your Multitasking Brain
by Marion K. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Flowers And Allergies
by Amy Nutt
The Many Different Types Of Tea
By David Ansley
Be My Valentine.
by Martin Avis
Lovely Links
Words Of Wisdom

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Mindfulness — A Break For Your Multitasking Brain
by Marion K. Jacobs, Ph.D.
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When is the last time you stopped and really smelled the roses?
Not recently, if you’re a chronic multi-tasker, as so many
people are today. Life is too hurried for roses. Modern living
demands keeping as many balls in the air at once as possible.
Electronic technology compounds the problem, addicting us to
instant information and communication.

It’s easy to mistake this rush to overload for productivity.
But UCLA researcher Dr. Russell Poldrack cautions that
multi-tasking has its pitfalls. “We have to be aware that there
is a cost to the way that our society is changing, that humans
are not built to work this way. We’re really built to focus. And
when we sort of force ourselves to multitask, we’re driving
ourselves to perhaps be less efficient in the long run even
though it sometimes feels like we’re being more efficient.”

This article describes a very different kind of productivity.
It’s called Mindfulness, a mental skill that once learned, lets
you to relate to your entire world in a way that not only
enhances true productivity, but makes you happier doing it.

Training in Mindfulness can benefit many aspects of living. It
sharpens your attention, concentration and ability to focus.
That means you can use it to help interrupt unproductive mental
chatter and move more effectively towards your goals.
Mindfulness offers other rewards as well. To take just one
example, once you learn how to switch into the Mindfulness mode
of thinking, any time you choose you have at your command a
refreshing way to take a break from the mental pressures that
preoccupy so much of our waking lives. Using Mindfulness just
for fun lets us reclaim what children do naturally, see the
world through fresh eyes and delight in the wonder of things.

As is true in acquiring any skill—riding a bike, driving a car,
communicating effectively—learning how to be Mindful takes
practice. I can say from personal experience though, that the
learning process is both interesting and rewarding. I thoroughly
enjoyed it.

Here is how it works. When being Mindful, you intentionally
shift your mental focus away from whatever had been going on in
your mind and instead observe one single, here-and-now event.
The event can be anything, for example, a picture on the wall, a
tree on the path where you’re walking, people coming and going
on the street outside your office. You can even do Mindfulness
by observing a feeling. But for starters it’s best to practice
Mindfulness by shifting your attention to an external event,
something occurring in your environment as opposed to something
coming from inside you. Start with a simple external event, say
observing a tree. As experiencing Mindfulness becomes
increasingly familiar, pick more complex, but still external,
events. Once you are adept at achieving a state of Mindfulness
with external events, then you can practice focusing on and
dealing with internal feelings. When you are practicing this new
form of concentrated attention, if your mind wanders, don’t
worry, just gently redirect your attention back to what you are
focused on.

The first step in becoming Mindful is always careful
observation. As you observe the event you selected, be it
pleasant, neutral, or uncomfortable, do not try to change
anything. That is very important. During Mindfulness, you do not
analyze, solve problems, make decisions, or plan action. You
simply stay in the present moment and observe the event.

Next, as you observe the event, silently describe to yourself
in words exactly what you are observing. Keep your attention
completely focused on what you are observing and describing in
the moment. Using all your senses, participate actively, giving
yourself as rich and detailed a description of the experience as
possible. Include what the event causes you to see, hear, feel,
smell, or taste. Note any other sensations it generates in your
body. Concentrate. Do this for two to three minutes at first,
longer if you wish. As you become more practiced at it, you can
lengthen the time you spend being Mindful.

Just as important as what you do during mindfulness is what you
do not do. Do not elaborate on what you are observing and
describing. If you are watching a bird in flight, do not go
beyond describing it and spin off into thinking how the bird is
so free, you feel like a prisoner in your marriage, you wish you
could soar like that, and… No! Just stick with what you see,
hear, and experience in the moment—details of the bird and the
sky—the thrill you experience seeing it fly—the warm wind
blowing through your hair and across your arms. That is as far
as you go when you are being Mindful. You do not let your mind
wander into associating what you are seeing now with past
memories, or thoughts about the future. If that happens, which
it sometimes will, don’t get upset with yourself, just gently
redirect your attention back to the present event.

Finally, in the practice of Mindfulness, do not judge whether
what you are observing and describing is ultimately good or bad.
Being judgmental is not part of being Mindful. Judging can be
appropriate if you are problem solving or planning some action.
Mindfulness however, is only about observing and describing. You
do not judge anything or try to change anything. With
Mindfulness, the idea is to stick with what you are observing
and experience it as it is. If what you are observing feels
pleasant, that’s easy. If it is unpleasant, you learn to
tolerate a negative event while still only observing and
describing it. Learning to be Mindful even when you are dealing
with personal feelings that are creating problems for you has
important implications for learning to handle those feelings
more productively.

To sum up, the following are guidelines for what to do when you
want to practice Mindfulness:

Observe only one event at a time.
Concentrate. Keep your attention focused on the event.
Describe the event to yourself in detail.
Actively participate. Use all your senses to observe and
Do not elaborate on the event by associating it with other
If your mind wanders, simply guide it back to the present
Do not judge the event as good or bad. Just observe and
describe it.

I hope I’ve interested you enough to want to learn more about
the many benefits of Mindfulness. I explain in much more detail
how to do it in my book and on my CD, Take-Charge Living: How To
Recast Your Role in Life…One Scene At A Time. Another detailed
description can be found in a book titled Depressed & Anxious,
by Dr. Thomas Marra.

About the Author: Marion K. Jacobs, Ph.D. is a Clinical
Psychologist in Laguna Beach, California, Adjunct Professor at
UCLA and self-help expert. Her book and CD, Take-Charge Living:
How to Recast Your Role in Life…One Scene At A Time offer a
detailed plan for personal change. To learn more visit


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Flowers And Allergies
by Amy Nutt
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Flowers are beautiful. They brighten up a room and make everything
in it seem more beautiful, more cheerful. For most people a vase of
flowers on the table signifies that that room is a happy one, a
comfortable place to be. For allergy sufferers, however, a vase
of flowers is far from inviting– it’s treacherous.

If you’re one of those unlucky people who enjoys fresh flowers but
has to consider the effect they’ll have on your allergies, plastic flowers
are not your only option. You just have to know which types of flowers
are dangerous. Of the huge variety of flowers that you can plant or buy,
many types of flowers will affect your allergies very little– or even not at all.

Dangerous Flowers for Allergy Sufferers

Truth is, if your allergies are particularly severe, most flowers are
going to affect you negatively. In general, the more dangerous flowers
are the ones with more pollen. So a good guideline when decorating
with flowers to avoid those ones that have visible pollen.

One type of flower that is particularly bad for allergy sufferers is
tree flowers. If creating a flower arrangement, be careful not to
include almond, cherry, orange, or any other kind of tree blossom.
Though they are beautiful flowers, they’re some of the most powerfully

Lilies are some of the more dangerous flowers for allergy sufferers,
as parts of them are covered in powdery orange pollen. Strangely enough,
however, they can be a good choice for allergy sufferers, as it’s easy to simply
remove the stems of pollen from each flower. Just have a
non-allergic friend or family member do this particular job, as it will
probably have you sneezing in two seconds flat.

Good Flowers for Allergy Sufferers

There are several types of flowers that will affect allergy suffers less.
One of these is possibly mums and daisies. While regular mums and
daisies do have lots of pollen, an new hybrid type of daisy, called formal
doubles, that do not have any pollen at all, and therefore won’t
aggravate allergies. Forma double flowers were bred so that the parts
of the flower that used to produce pollen now produce petals. Watch
out for regular mums and daisies, however, as they can be highly allergic.
If in doubt, ask your florist.

Another great choice for the allergy sufferer is roses. Roses are some
of the most beautiful and elegant flower you can find, and fortunately
for allergy sufferers, they don’t have much effect on allergies. The reason
for this is that their pollen is too large in size to be able to become
airborne and truly infiltrate the respiratory system. If in doubt, choose
roses with little or no smell– the less smell, the less pollen.

Last but not least, one of the best kinds of flowers for allergy sufferers
are orchids. Orchids are gorgeous and exotic flowers that come in an
amazing variety of shapes and colors.
Very few types of orchids cause any pollen-related allergies, and so
are quite safe for those allergic to most flowers. It is important to note,
though, that some orchids may cause a slight skin rash on sensitive individuals.

About The Author: Tropical arrangements are suitable for a wide array
of occasions such as corporate events, birthdays, anniversaries,
grand-openings, house-warming gifts, and funeral tributes to celebrate
the life of a loved-one. Find them at

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Be My Valentine.
by Martin Avis
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Before there was a Saint Valentine to bring romance into the
equation, mid-February was an important date for lovers. From
400 years BC, the Romans held an annual lottery in the name of
their god Lupercus. The names of teenage women were put into a
box and drawn at random by adolescent men. The ‘winners’ were
legally paired for a year.

Meanwhile, the mad emperor Claudius banned marriage for young
men – he believed that single men made better soldiers.

A Christian bishop, Valentine, disagreed with his Emperor and
secretly performed marriage ceremonies until Claudius found out
and first imprisoned him, and finally had him clubbed, stoned
and beheaded on February 24th, 270.

While he was imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with the
daughter of his jailer and when he was taken to be executed, he
left her a note signed, ‘From your Valentine.’

Taking Valentine’s name in vain, the Church, in AD 496, decided
to finally abolish the annual pairing off lottery held in honor
of the god Lupercus and so decreed a small change in the rules:

From then on, both the young men and the young women would pick
a name out of the hat, but instead of getting a year of
companionship (and often lust), they drew the name of a Saint
whose life they had to spend the next year emulating.

Must have been quite a disappointment for the hot- bloodied
young Romans!

They named the day after Saint Valentine whose involvement, 226
years after his death, was more to usurp the pagan god than to
signify love.

Thankfully, public memory was more powerful that political will
and Saint Valentine remained associated with lovers. Young Roman
men, deprived of their lottery, took instead to handing
hand-written notes to the women they admired on February 14th.

The tradition of the Valentine card was thus started over 1500
years ago!

The earliest known card that still exists is currently in the
British Museum. It was sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his
wife. He was a prisoner in the Tower of London at the time and
so his feelings of love were probably more acute than most!

In the sixteenth century the Bishop of Geneva tried to
reinstate the annual Saint’s name lottery, but his efforts were
short-lived. February 14th was by then too firmly associated
with lovers for the Church to successfully interfere.

In 1797 a British publisher, who would have done very well in
modern Internet times, published ‘The Young Man’s Valentine
Writer’ which offered scores of suggestions of sentimental
verses for the creatively challenged.

The practice of sending cards anonymously began with the
Victorians, who secretly loved anything of a racy nature, but
publicly needed to maintain a show of respectful purity. Hence,
the verses in the cards became more and more obscene, but the
authors remained hidden behind a respectful anonymity.

The first publisher of Valentine’s cards in America, Esther
Holland charged up to $35 for each card. And this was in 1870!

Finally, kisses are written as ‘x’ because in days of
illiteracy, your signature was a cross. To convey the effect of
an oath, people would draw their cross and kiss it – in the same
way that they would kiss the Bible. So the x and the kiss became
one and the same.

Have a lovely Valentine’s day! X

Copyright Martin Avis


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The Many Different Types Of Tea
By David Ansley
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Green Tea

This kind of tea is extremely popular and it contains catechins,
which is an antioxidant.

A lot of people drink green tea because of the potential
benefits, which includes playing a role in decreasing
your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

It is also worth pointing out that some people drink green
tea because they believe that you can lose weight by drinking
green tea.

One of the reasons why green tea is thought to help people
lose weight is because it boosts the metabolic rate.


Black is one of the most commonly drunk teas, and it does contain
quite a bit of caffeine, at least when compared to other types of tea.

There are two antioxidants that are found in black tea, and
these two have been known to lower cholesterol levels.

Also, if you drink three or more cups of this kind of tea on a
daily basis, then you could end up cutting your risk of stroke
by up to 21 percent.


If you are looking for a really healthy tea, then look no
further than white tea. White tea contains catechins, just like
green tea. Consuming white tea on a regular basis may even
reduce the risk of having a recurrence of cancer in breast
cancer survivors.

Asides from that, this kind is the purest of all teas, and it
is the least processed of them all.

White tea is not fermented, and the leaves that are used to make
it are dried naturally, usually via sun drying or steaming methods.

Don’t worry about whether or not this tea has a plain taste
to it because it does have a slight sweetness to it, so you
will love drinking it.


This tea is often served in Chinese restaurants, and it is known
being very flavorful, so if you want to drink a tea with a sweet
taste to it, then Oolong tea is for you.

You should know that Oolong tea is expensive, and most Oolongs
come from Taiwan and it is only semi-fermented. Many drinkers
prefer to drink it without milk, lemon or sugar.

This isn’t because they don’t like sugar, lemon or milk,
it is because this kind of tea has a very delicate flavor.

Pu Erh

Pu Erh has a very rich and smooth taste to it, and the aging
process lasts for a long time. Sometimes the process can take
years to complete, or it can take as little as a few months.

As for what the health benefits are, there are a number of them,
and this includes playing a role in lowering your cholesterol
levels, as well as help your digestion.

One of the things that make this tea stand out from other teas
is that it is fermented twice, and then it is matured.

A lot of people do drink Pu Erh Tea for pleasure, but there
are also many people who drink it for medicinal purposes.


People brew tea from various things, including berries, onions,
peach leaves and orange peels. Certain types of flowers are
also used for tea. Herbs, spices and oils are often used too.

If you are looking for teas that have unique tastes to it, or y
ou just want tea with some strong flavor to it, then you will
want to get your hands on some flavored tea.


Blends are teas that are not from a single lineage, hence the
name. Teas that fall under this category of tea has been made
with other different types of teas.

Some common blends that you may be interested in trying include
Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, Caravan and Earl Grey.
There are many brands that product blends, and they can be
purchased in just about any grocery store.

Those are the different types of tea. Now that you know what
the different ones are, you can decide which one you want to try.
For more information on the many different types of tea and
their benefits check out Types Of Tea here

Article Source:

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Lovely Links
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101 Ways To Tell Your Husband, “I Love You”

Lovely list of ideas to show your partner that
love them, most of them quite inexpensive too.

Valentine’s Day with Martha Stewart

Recipes, crafts, decorations, dinner menus as only
Martha can.

Another Girl At Play

Wonderfully inspiring site that talks to creative
women entrepreneurs about how they started businesses
that followed their hearts.


Amazing video of a no sew way to make a bag and
examples of simple ways to wrap gifts with fabric.

Zen Habits

Make regular visits to this web site the resolution that
you do keep. The About page sums up the site as finding simplicity
in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter
so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing,
find happiness. Gentle, powerful, and truly uplifting.

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Words Of Wisdom
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Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale.

When love is not madness, it is not love.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca

You can’t buy love, but you can pay heavily for it.
Henny Youngman

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes.
There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.
Henry Kissinger

You can’t buy love, but you can pay heavily for it.
Henny Youngman

Marriage is like the army. Everybody complains,
but you’d be surprised at how many re-enlist.

Click here for more quotations about Love

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That’s all for this month.
Have a fabulous February!