Friday, March 30, 2012

How a Grudge can Ruin a Life

Be honest about this: Sometimes, don't you just want to "smack" someone? Throw your hands up, say "screw it" and begin a life long love affair with the grudge of your choice? Lord knows there have been times when I may have not only thought this, but have actually been guilty of it. Is this you, too?

I'm not proud of those moments. In fact, I'm embarrassed and ashamed of my past behavior sometimes. I'm sure you can empathize with me. What I've discovered is that most grudges that I've made were usually a result of misunderstanding; a failure to grasp the true reality of the moment.

I could swear the offender meant one thing when they really meant another; harmlessly. Or, perhaps, rumor informed me that they said something that in reality was never even said at all. What I've learned from this is that even if it is all true, grudges do more harm than good.

While a hot-headed reaction may feel appropriate (and really good for a brief moment), you are only allowing yourself to wallow in resentment and anger. And, by increasing your stress levels by the second, your health eventually pays the price. Simply put; my health is worth more than the grudge. So is yours.

I'm not suggesting you must be happy and lovey-dovey with everyone you meet, especially if the person or situation is toxic to your emotional or physical well-being. But, we all need to take time to evaluate before committing to any particular behavior, especially a destructive one. 

Sometimes this means you need to walk away from the situation. Step back so that you can return with a clear head, open mind and arrive at a mutual understanding. Other times, this may mean you just walk away.... and keep walking.

The point is that either way, you let go of the grudge and the burden it places on your life. You will feel lighter as you let this tension release and you re-focus on creating happiness within your life. Don't allow yourself to be robbed of that happiness simply because of a grudge that, after further inspection, might have only  been started by a little inferior, unimportant, possibly imagined "offense."

While I may not have learn to forgive and forget; I most definitely have learned to at least do one of the two... And, I'm much happier for it! ; )

I welcome your thoughts and experiences on this. If have any to share, all you need to do is post a comment below.

As Always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal


The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Squeeze the Pain Away:How Does it Work?

You know this. You read my blog and know that part of my services include me kneading, squeezing, push-pulling, stretching and in some cases slapping or "cupping" (don't let your mind slip into the gutter; it's a legitimate technique) my clients' muscles into submission. After all, I am a licensed massage therapist.

My "magic hands" aside though, there is a science to what I do. In fact there is more and more research being done to support the fact that massage is more than a feel good way for people to pamper themselves; massage is good medicine. But, how does it work?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article listing a variety of tangible health benefits of massage. For example, one study discovered that cortisol levels could be reduced by as little as a 45-minute massage. As you may know; cortisol is the stress hormone contributing to a long list of diseases from obesity to heart attacks.

Another study suggests that in as little as 10-minutes, massage could reduce proteins associated with inflammation in the body. It does this by aiding in the repair of micro-tears to the muscles, and encouraging adequate blood circulation.

When tight, bunched muscles relax and are lengthened through massage, they don't press as much on surrounding structures. As a result, circulation is restored, and the flow of oxygen rich nutrients and endorphins (natural pain-relievers produced by the body) flood the stressed muscles while removing metabolic waste. Thereby reducing fluid buildup in areas of swelling.

What's more, in 2012 a study of 401 people with low back pain was published. The subjects who received a massage once a week for 10 weeks not only experienced a reduction in pain, but an increase in mobility over their counterparts that received no massages at all. Some recipients noted that their benefit lasted more than nine months after the last treatment.

So "listen to your pain" and give your body what it needs. In fact, follow-up massage in times of stress can help prevent an old pain from flaring up. So, remember to schedule that next massage!

And as Always – Enjoy Your Life,

John Aaron Villarreal

The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.


Monday, March 26, 2012

How Habits can Change You

So, I'm not super-human...(sigh...). This is a fact that I sometimes think of as unfair.

I have bad habits that need breaking, but I have plenty of good ones, too! I regularly do my cardio. I watch what I eat. I strive to look on the bright side of things and do my best to "do my best" under pressure. But, I also have a sweet tooth, can be quick to anger (especially when hungry or tired), and I'm sure I have a mile long list of other things needing improvement that you would rather not hear about.

While there are equally a lot of things I am great at, why is it that habits can seem to be such hard things to break? Just when you think you've moved past one, it jumps out in front of your path of progress to taunt and tease you; just hoping you will give in to it.

Well, my take is that habits are more than just a list of things you do. They are the things that make up who you are. Think about it. How you act, react, or interact with the world is purely based upon your habitual actions. Stay with me here; the reason I say habits make up who you are is because once you realize this, you have the secret to change...

Sometimes, like anyone, I can get to feeling blue, disappointed with where I am physically, spiritually, whatever... Typically, I arrive to these emotions because of the actions (or in-actions) I have consistently performed. While these actions innately are a part of me, this does not preclude my ability to change (myself or my environment). Tackling a tough, or negative, habit isn't meant to discourage you from trying to improve yourself. Instead, they are there to demonstrate how important change is to your future.

If you are doing something that regularly makes you unhappy, try not to focus on the "stopping" of that action, but rather find (and regularly DO) something that WILL make you happy. Something that "pulls" you toward that positive direction.

If you are ever going to grow into the person you wish to become, live the life you've always dreamed you would have; you MUST align your "habits" with the visions you have of the ideal you. If you want to be a healthy active person, habitually DO what healthy & active people do! If you want to be less stressed, actively pursue the activities and environment that encourages this emotion in you.

What it takes is consistency...

Be patient with yourself and don't let set-backs be the end of the road to your better self. Remember: failure is NOT forever. In fact, failure is only an indicator that you need to try a different approach or direction toward your dreams.

As always – Enjoy Your Life,

John Aaron Villarreal


The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dreams are Turning Points of Life


Today I want to write about dreams. Not the kind you have while sleeping, but the kind that really get you excited about life! The dreams you have for yourself, your family, the world.

Personally, I live by the little dreams of love, success, hope and happiness that float around in my head. I assume that all humanity has similar “floaty” dreams and goals. Fantasies of achieving something great are part of the spirit that drives each of us forward. They start with the tiniest seed of an idea, and like children, you love them because somehow they are a part of you.

You nurture and grow these ideas and as they grow so do your hopes.  But, what happens when these ideas, through no fault of your own, fall apart? Heartbreak is what. You may even become bitter about the very thing you once loved so dearly.

Maybe that “perfect” job you’ve worked for all your life didn’t pan out, or perhaps you have an argument with a loved one and this makes you feel like giving up. You may feel like you’ve lost purpose, direction or focus and that’s when you arrive at what I call the turning points of life.

The turning points of life are the landmarks that create change in us. Often they are the moments that take us beyond our dreams into new directions that we hadn’t imagined before.

Instead of letting something or someone get you down, before you give up on your dreams; remember that these situations are learning opportunities. You learn to dream MORE dreams. Have new ones or bigger goals.

If you can take advantage of the situation, you can become a better, stronger person. For me, it’s not always easy to look for the positive…especially when things appear to be their worst. But, what I’ve found is that “total loss” is a rare event. Something is to be gained from every situation… even if it means you start over with a new dream. A bigger dream.

As always – Enjoy Life,

John Aaron Villarreal



The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Sweetest Choice

I was watching my daughter the other day. She was supposed to be putting up the toys she left scattered in her bedroom. Instead, she was in her papa’s study eyeballing a candy jar sitting on a high shelf. Laser focused cannot begin to describe her standing catatonic. It was as though she thought if she moved, the jar would run from her.

I watched. I waited. She took a deep sigh and turned to make her way into the hall where I was standing. A little surprised, she looked up at me and said, “I wasn’t going to get that candy.” I laughed. She smiled wryly and made her way to her awaiting chores.

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you should be doing something other than what you are? I don't just mean in the area of good vs. evil, but in everyday life. Conscience is a funny thing, huh?. That little voice inside your head that can make you feel guilty about doing a half-hearted job, ignoring the rules, or neglecting your duty...

Well, listening to her conscience was just what Lexi was doing in that brief moment of stillness. It kept her on track. It made me realize that inside each of us lies a meter that knows what’s good vs. what’s best for us.

Deep inside, we all know what we’re superbly capable of and where our shortcomings are. Neglect these standards, and chances are your priorities get mixed up, and your direction wanes. In whatever you do, take pride in your actions and do your best – even if you think nobody notices.

It doesn’t take a lesson from a four year-old to know when you are doing something you ought not. Whether it's your diet, exercise routine, family or work; live up to your best potential because while you may think no one is looking, somebody really is – you are.

As always – Enjoy Life,

John Aaron Villarreal

The Legal Stuff: The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.