Tag Archives: mood

Member Spotlight: Amanda Schmidt

iGnite - Amanda SchmidtRoots:
I was born in Chicago but became a Texan at the age of 2 when my Dad took a teaching position in Dallas with the business school at SMU. I grew up in Dallas and graduated from Highland Park High School and then from Smith College in Northampton, MA in 1986, after which I worked in Spain for a year. I landed in Austin for law school at UT in 1987 and have lived here ever since.

Basic family stats:
I am married to Dick Schmidt, and we have 3 daughters: Samantha (sophomore at Northwestern University), Sophie (senior at Westlake High School) and Lucy (freshman at St. Stephen’s).

Current/Previous Occupation:
After law school, I got to clerk for Justice John Powers on the Austin Court of Appeals for a fantastic year after which I practiced commercial litigation for ten years, mostly at the firm Clark, Thomas here in Austin. After trying to practice a litigation practice with mom responsibilities and feeling like I wasn’t doing well at either thing, I retired when our third child, Lucy, was born. For the last 15 years I have worked as mom and participated in a variety of volunteer jobs through schools and philanthropies.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
I have learned a lot of life lessons from many of the dear women I have gotten to know in iGnite. I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned is to surround yourself with positive people who support you and don’t waste your precious time with people who drag you down.

Who inspires me the most and why:
My mother is a terrific role model to me and my biggest inspiration. If asked this question ten years ago, I would have picked someone more illustrious like Amelia Earhart for following her dreams and breaking accepted norms for women, but in the last few years I have come to realize what I should have known all along: my own mother lived her life the way I hope to live mine. She was a wonderful and supportive friend to many people, and she maintained an extremely positive outlook on life, living it to the fullest, even after losing her lifelong partner (my Dad) and her youngest daughter in the course of 15 months.

In my free time, I like to:
Other than work out with iGnite, I love to read, see movies, travel (especially to snow-covered mountains) and just hang out with my family.

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would be:
Chocolate because it brings so much enjoyment to so many people; chocolate is a real mood booster!

You May Also Like:

4 Benefits to Working Out in the Great Outdoors

workout outside

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

This is great info! You will love it 🙂

There are numerous benefits of working out in the great outdoors:

1. It’s Harder and More Effective

Studies found that outdoor running/walking is more strenuous than the indoor treadmill/eliptical. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle. The machines are obviously doing some of the work for you. When you run outside, YOU provide the movement. Running outside increases your work load from 2% to 10%!!!!

The same dynamics apply to CYCLING:

Where wind drag can result in much greater energy demands than going the same distance on a stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many calories as possible, you should head outside instead of the gym!

2. It Improves Your Mood

In a number of recent studies, volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside on a treadmill and one outdoors. In all of the studies, the volunteers reported more enjoyment outdoors, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside! And of course exposure to direct sunlight greatly affects your mood.

3. You’ll Do it More Often, for Longer and Be More Active

In another study, those who exercised outside exercised longer and more often than those working out indoors, and were significantly more physically active than those who exercised indoors!

4. Stress Reduction

A few studies have found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared to inside!

We are blessed to live in Austin, Texas where we can work out outside most of the year, so keep moving!

The Food & Confidence Connection

Almond-Berry-and-Chicken-Spinach-Salad-with-a-delicious-and-easy-dressing 4

“You are what you eat so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.”

Points to Ponder:
Is your diet providing you the opportunity to maximize your confidence?
Is it providing you the opportunity to optimize your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being?

Action Items:
1.  Consume 20-30 gram or 1 oz of protein per meal from: fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, beans, grains, nuts and seeds (meats and eggs need to be free range and grass-fed, dairy needs to be organic, fish needs to be wild and not farm raised)

2.  If vegan, vegetarian, or serotonin levels/moods don’t increase with added protein, consume an effective and natural serotonin herbal remedy called Saint-John’s wort, which is equally as effective as Prozac in treating symptoms of depression.

Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Undoubtedly, when I began reading The Confidence Code, I never would’ve imagined all of the research that has been dedicated to determining the origin of confidence, how we get more of it and why some of us have more or less of it. And, I for sure would not have guessed that food (our diet) plays a real physiological role in our ability to have confidence. Honestly, The Confidence Code has not made the diet/confidence correlation (at least not that I’ve read yet). Rather, I have drawn this conclusion and here’s why:

In The Confidence Code, research has found that “having healthy levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the prefrontal cortex of the brain enables us to make more rational decisions, because serotonin helps us remain calm. Our prefrontal cortex is the command center of our brain–it’s the home of executive function, rational thought and decision making. When that part of the brain is awash in serotonin, it encourages confidence in our decision making because we feel much less stress.”

Now, couple the serotonin piece with the findings from another compelling book, The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, which is based on 15 years of clinical results. She also sights that “if you have healthy and high levels of serotonin you are positive, confident, flexible, and easy-going. On the flip-side, if you have low or sinking levels of serotonin you’ll tend to become negative, obsessive, worried, irritable and sleepless. Furthermore, serotonin is emotionally vital in that it is our primary defense against depression and anxiety”. And so, if we are anxious or depressed, sustainable confidence is impossible.

Now, here’s the crazy but not surprising discovery found in the The Mood Cure. “Serotonin is made out of the foods we eat and is synthesized in your body from tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) found in foods like turkey, beef and cheese. And therefore, if we are not eating pro-serotonin foods like protein and healthy fats, and we are consuming too much anti-serotonin foods like caffeinated sodas, coffee, artificially sweetened foods and drinks (man-made/fake foods), chances are our serotonin levels are low, leaving us sluggish and not feeling confident. (Fast foods and skipped meals have depleted us from many of the vitamins and minerals that assist in the magic conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.)”

According to The Mood Cure, there are also three other neurotransmitters that affect our moods: catecholamines, GABA and endorphins. “If you are high in catecholamines, you are energized, upbeat, and alert. If you are low in catecholamines- you are sinking in lethargic funks. If you are high in GABA- you’re relaxed and stress free. If there’s a gap in your GABA- you’re wired, stressed and overwhelmed. If you are high in endorphins- you’re full of cozy feelings of comfort, pleasure and euphoria. If you are low in endorphins- you may be overly sensitive. And, to sum it all up, too much stress depletes the brain of the these “feel good” neurotransmitters. A good night’s sleep, adequate relaxation and appropriate down time are critical to restoring optimal levels of good-mood chemicals.”

I’ve always believed that ‘diet is king’ and plays a significant role in our health and happiness. After reading the scientific evidence in the The Confidence Code and The Mood Cure, I am now more convinced that the foods and drinks we consume are indeed directly related to our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual well-being and confidence.



9 Reasons Why You Should Work Out Tomorrow…& the Next Day…& the Next…

9 Reasons To Work Out Tomorrow

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Just in case you need a little extra incentive to put on your tennis shoes & get out the door, here is a little “recap” of my favorite reasons why you should work out tomorrow! …and the next day, and the next for that matter. 

  1. You SLEEP better
  2. People who workout during their workday are 23% more productive on those days than other days!
  3. Your energy greatly INCREASES and your thinking becomes CLEARER!
  4. Statistically people who work out regularly make more money than those who don’t!
  5. After an INTENSE workout, people learned vocabulary words 20% faster than after a low intensity workout — meaning that the more you challenge your body, the more your brain benefits!
  6. Exercise improves your outlook on EVERYTHING — and the lift in your mood can last for up to 12 hours after your workout.
  7. A study showed that the brains of people who exercised 3 to 5 days a week had an increase in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning.
  8. Exercise improves attention, memory, accuracy, and how quickly you process informationall of which help you make smarter decisions.
  9. And my personal favorite, IT IS JUST REALLY DARN FUN BEING STRONG!  You don’t have to say “no” to living a fun, fabulous, fulfilling, and passionate life.

All I can say is,  get your workout on!
Keep moving!


Effects of Exercise on Your Mood & Mind

Central Austin iGnite workouts

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

Hi you all!

According to a study presented last year at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, exercise can improve your outlook — for over 12 hours!  After a study group participated in a moderate intensity workout, they reported immediate positive change in mood — so during this holiday season, don’t miss your workout to keep your spirits high.

There is a huge MENTAL ADVANTAGE too: people who exercised during their workday were 23% more productive on those days than they were when they did not exercise. A pulse-pounding workout acts like a cup of coffee (minus the jitters!).  Your heartbeat picks up, and you circulation increases, you are filled with energy, and your thinking becomes clearer and sharper.  A study published in Brain and Cognition found that after just 30 minutes of a moderate intensity workout, subjects completed a cognitive test faster than they did before exercising…and just as accurately!

So this week, be sure to get in your “PRE-PIG-OUT WORKOUTS” and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep moving!