Tips that help reduce stress

Stress, also known as the silent killer, can be defined as a state of mental or emotional pressure resulting from difficult or very challenging situations. Basically, it is life happening all around us and the seemingly insurmountable weight of it all. Life happens to everyone and everyone will (at some point) encounter stress. We all respond to stress in different ways but learning to structure our lives around it can ultimately be a matter of life and death, sickness or good health. Below are a few stress-reducing tips you can try.

Tip #1
Breathe, baby breathe
deep breathing(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
Deep breathing works. It really does. When I had my first child, the doctors and nurses told me to breathe, inhale through your nose (your diaphragm contracts and your lungs expand), and exhale slowly through pursed lips. This was my first introduction to deep breathing and over the years I have found that this technique has many amazing and powerful benefits, mainly being instrumental in reducing stress, improving sleep, optimizing your immune system and so much more. So when faced with a stressful situation, before you become unglued, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply!

Tip #2
Pray, Meditate and Refocus
prayer meditate refocus(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
There are situations that we will encounter that are beyond our human control. We are not super people with super human strength, contrary to popular belief. This life will get crazy and that’s when we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Prayer, like deep breathing, works. It is the understanding that we cannot control or fix everything and everybody that brings us to our knees. Learning to pray sincerely, meditate honestly on God’s word and taking time to refocus on what’s really important in our lives, will reduces stress immensely.

Tip #3
Laugh
laughter(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
This one is fun. Laugh! Hard and loud and until your stomach cramps and the tears soak your cheeks. Laughter is your internal medication, its God’s natural remedy for a soul-ache. What Tylenol does for your headache, good old-fashioned laughter does for your soul’s-ache. It works!

Tip #4
Read a good book
reading a book(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

We can get so caught up in the hub-bub of life that we forget how relaxing it is to sit down with a steamy/hot romance novel or an inspirational self-help book that not only takes your mind off your problems but gives your brain the inspirational work-out that it needs. There have been studies that determine that reading is the work-out your brain needs in order to stay in its optimal health. Reading reduces stress and expands your knowledge; it’s a win-win situation!

Tip #5
Music calms the savage beast (called stress)
listening to music(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

This is another one of my favorite stress relievers. The power of music is remarkable in so many ways and has so many incredible benefits. We can actually calm that beast called stress by listening to our favorite songs, regardless of the genre. Listening to soft classical or jazz can help slow down your pulse and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease stress hormone levels, while up-beat tempo music can help boost your self-esteem, improve your mood, your concentration and so much more. So close your eyes and relax as your stress dissipates into the sounds and rhythms of melodic pleasure.

A few other stress reducers are, going on walks in the evening, riding a bike, working out, watching a sunset, singing, going to the beach, fishing, journaling, road trips, pampering yourself at a day spa, doing Yoga, sitting in a hot tub, going to the movies, volunteering, reading your bible, eating ice cream (or your favorite treat), simplifying your life and spending quality time with good friends and family. Can you think of other ways to minimize stress?
sunset(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

At whatever cost, reduce the stress and relax. YOLO (you only live once)!

Love,
Toni

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Happy (Wind Chimes) Friday!

I absolutely adore the lovely, melodic carol of wind chimes blowing in the wind. Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature, chimes, and soft music (especially jazz LOL)?

I think it’s because there was a time in my life when LIFE was so chaotic and noisy for me. I had disturbance all around, a lot of drama; I engaged in dysfunctional relationships that all but drove me crazy.

Now, however, my LIFE has taken a peaceful and much needed turn for the better, so every moment I can sit and relax with my eyes closed and inhale the serenity of tranquility, I DO!

I thank God for the music of the chime and I love it so much that I actually recorded my very first video and posted it on YouTube! Woo Hoo!

Here are my chimes, singing sweet melodies of love to my heart. Enjoy!

Love,
Toni

Have You Ever Wondered?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if:
The birds didn’t sing?
The sun refused to shine?
There was no summer breeze?
Or autumn leaves?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if:
The earth was void of music?
No melodies?
Or symphonies?
Or harmonies?

Have you ever wondered is the name of the song that when I first heard it, I almost cried. It brought such a feeling of peace and tranquility. A sense of calm that flowed warmly throughout my entire soul.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This is Hiroshima performing live at Grooves on the Green: Have You Ever Wondered?

Love,
Toni

Jazz and Nature, It’s Only Natural!

I was awakened this morning by the chirping melody of a group of ruby throated hummingbirds. They sing to me every morning. After I dressed and prepared to take my children to school, we were greeted by a brisk, cool breeze that kissed the wind chimes above my porch. The chimes started dancing and singing a romantic ballad. I stood mesmerized for a moment before going about my day.

Oh how beautiful it is to hear nature sing!

Then I thought about:
A male toad fish sings a song called a hum to attract females to his nest.

Mice are actually seductive singers. Males do it to lure females.

The great humpback whale has a mating song. They also sing to get the female’s attention.

Belugas, known as the ‘canneries of the sea’, received this label because of the birdlike songs they make.

A Red-eyed Vireo sings more than 20,000 songs a day. A Pileated Woodpecker drums on a tree at 15 beats per second. A Wilson’s Snipe dives through the air, the feathers on its wings vibrating to produce a winnowing sound, hu-hu-hu…

And we simply cannot forget about the enchanting song of the ocean’s wave, billowing and blowing misty sprays all over the tropical islands.

Oh how beautiful it is to hear nature sing!

In keeping with our theme, I have a few recommendations for listening to this next song by Mr. Tisdale. It is called, One on One.

Drive down the highway with your windows and sunroof open (if you have one) and turn the volume up. Drive safely and enjoy.

Play this song on your electronic device with headphones and dance freely outside.

Find a comfortable spot in your home, grab some wine and listen to this groove with someone you love. You can do this alone as well, just make sure you close your eyes and embrace every moment of it.

Find a way to connect with nature today, one on one, and appreciate the song that she will sing, just for you.

Love,
Toni

Jazz For the Soul, Simply Divine!

Good morning Jazz lovers.

Not a lover quite yet? That’s fine, but hopefully you’re a music lover and can appreciate the art of sound in time (rhythm) that expresses the artists ideas and feelings through compositions of grandeur!

Jazz, as well as all other genres of music, originated from our creator, God. Music has played a vital role in every human culture since the beginning of mankind. The Bible is filled with scriptures of music being part of worship to God, a part of warfare and a celebratory expression of victory over the enemy.

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is about David, the psalmist, who before he became king, was summoned to strum the strings of his harp in the presence of King Saul in order to relieve him of distress. The scripture reads like this:

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”

The anointed music of David had the power to drive evil spirits away or to comfort Saul’s soul.

Below are five Bible verses that pertain to singing, or making vocal music unto the Lord. He created each of us with the ability to make melody whether vocal, emotional or instrumental. Even nature sings (but we’ll talk about that tomorrow).

1. Psalm 105:2
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

2. Psalm 104:33
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

3. Psalm 95:1
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

4. James 5:13
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

5. Psalm 71:23
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.

Our Jazz artist for the week, the late Wayman Tisdale (the professional basketball player in the NBA who died of bone cancer in 2009) is going to sing a beautiful descant with the voice of his fingers entitled, Glory, Glory. I call this one, anointed music for the troubled soul.

Love,
Toni

5 Medical Reasons (Jazz) Music is Good for You

Good morning family. We are on day two of our celebration of National Jazz Appreciation Month and guess what? We’re just getting started. We will learn many exciting things about jazz music and enjoy the delicious sounds of several phenomenal artists who have made outstanding contributions to this industry.

But first, I want to share some interesting points about how powerful music is and how it affects our physical bodies, acting as a medication with wonderful side-effects.

1. Did you know that listening to music can reduce chronic pain from a range of painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis, by up to 21% and depression by up to 25%, according to a paper in the latest UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing?

2. Did you know that Music Therapy is increasingly used in hospitals to reduce the need for medication during childbirth, to decrease postoperative pain and complement the use of anesthesia during surgery?

3. Did you know that by playing recordings of relaxing music every morning and evening, people with high blood pressure can train themselves to lower their blood pressure – and keep it low? According to research reported at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in New Orleans, listening to just 30 minutes of classical, Celtic or raga music every day may significantly reduce high blood pressure.

4. Did you know that a daily portion` of one’s favorite pop melodies, classical music or JAZZ can speed recovery from debilitating strokes, according to the latest research? When stroke patients in Finland listened to music for a couple of hours each day, verbal memory and attention span improved significantly compared to patients who received no musical stimulation, or who listened only to stories read out loud, the study reports.

5. And did you know that music can boost the immune function? Scientists explain that a particular type of music can create a positive and profound emotional experience, which leads to secretion of immune-boosting hormones. This helps contribute to a reduction in the factors responsible for illness. Listening to music or singing can also decrease levels of stress-related hormone cortisol. Higher levels of cortisol can lead to a decreased immune response.

Jazz (music) is not just good for the soul, it’s good for the body as well.

So, how are you feeling today? Have you had your dose of your favorite music, yet? If not, I’ll give you some. Here’s Wayman Tisdale (of Tulsa, OK) again playing SHAPE OF YOUR HEART. Just a little heart medication. . .

Love,
Toni

Jazz Appreciation Month – Wayman Tisdale (Week One)

April is celebrated as the National Jazz Appreciation Month! Yeah!

Jazz, a smooth blend of African and European music which was birthed somewhere around the early 20th century, is a combination of rhythm and blues. It is a harmonious intertwining of instruments and melodies that releases dopamine (a pleasure chemical) in the brain, causing one to experience a euphoric stimuli, a feel good sensation.

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT IT SURE DOES WORK FOR ME! JAZZ MAKES ME FEEL GOOD!

So I decided to highlight a few of my favorite jazz artists and share some of their greatest hits with you this month of April. My husband was instrumental in introducing me to some of the best jazz musicians and artists this world has ever known. Thank you baby.

Week One, we will celebrate the unique sound of a left-handed bass player from my home town of Tulsa, Ok, named Wayman Tisdale. He graced this world with his beautiful gift of urban jazz before he went home to be with the Lord in 2009. We miss you Wayman, but thank you for leaving your legacy of splendor for us to enjoy. Your music.

Love,
Toni