Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cut Out Stress!!

Seven Tips to Cut Out Stress:

1. Focus on your breath - "Breath focused attention" lowers activity in the brain's fear and anxiety center. Practiced regularly and you'll have fewer negative emotional experiences overall. For five minutes, focus on the feeling of air passing the outside edge of your nostrils. Don't have to breathe deeply or consciously slow down your breath, just focus on the sensation.

 2. Identify the cause - Ask yourself: What is the source of my feelings? Do they stem from something you are dealing with at the moment or a different issue? Focus only on what is right before you.

 3. Don't ruminate - Playing the "what if" game is a clear sign you are ruminating. Take a pause, ask yourself what step you can take. Are you worried about a loved one? Plan some quality time with them. Upset about a natural disaster or political issue? Make a donation. You'll feel better because you've taken control of your thoughts and dome something however small to the make the situation better.

 4. Put down your phone - social media can produce the same gawker effect as a car accident on the highway. If you can't tear your eyes away from the "carnage" on Twitter or Facebook, then set a time limit for your social media.

5. Visualize your anxiety - Focus intently for a moment on your worry and give it a rating on a scale one-to-10. Picture where the fear is in your body - chest, throat, stomach? Imagine your fear as an object, like a fiery red ball. Then, imagine the color of the ball changing. Make it pink or pale blue. Visualize it changing size. So small, that a breeze carries it away.

 6. Say it out loud - When our voice is trapped in our mind, we start to believe it is true. Speaking it out loud helps you realize how you speak to yourself and identify thoughts that may sound ridiculous when verbalized.

7. Tap - This may sound hokey, but try it! Start by labeling your emotion as specifically as you can -- ie "I am worried my partner is irritated with me" then rate it on a one-10 scale. Take two fingers and tap gently on the top of your head while saying your worry slowly, out loud several times. Repeat this by tapping down the side of your body, the inside of your eyebrow, under your eye, your chin, your collarbone and the side of your torso. After you finish, rate the strength of your feeling. Repeat as needed until you get to one.

Compliments of Ambassador Queen Sunny Mathews, Florida.  Highlights from "Seven Tips from the Experts to Cut Down Stress" Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Getting older is inevitable, but feeling older? That’s a different story. On average, people older than 70 feel 13 years younger than they really are, according to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.

Among study participants who were particularly healthy and active, the gap between subjective age and actual age was even wider. But beyond health status—which probably doesn’t surprise you—what other factors can influence our perceived age?

1. Hang Out with Older and Younger Crowds Feeling younger starts with seeking out people who are at least a decade your senior—who will expose you to new health behaviors, attitudes, and wisdom—and young children and teenagers, who will remind you what it’s like to see the world through innocent eyes, says Katie Rickel, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in Durham, North Carolina. “When we find ourselves only spending time with our peers, we often grow accustomed to the same activities, beliefs, interests, and culture of a single generation.”

2. Embrace Newness and Change Traveling, ballroom dancing, painting, and volunteering ... Never say no to (almost) anything. Experts agree it’s a good motto. When we learn a new activity or change up our routine, our brains need to rewire themselves to assimilate the novelty, New synapses—which neurons use to communicate with one another—form and learn to fire in different patterns, she says. This phenomenon helps promote brain health and rejuvenation. Even small, seemingly unimportant changes, such as driving a different route to the supermarket or reorganizing the cabinets in your kitchen, can make a difference.

3. Never Consider Yourself Old Your mindset really does matter.

4. Move as Much as You Can Exercise is essentially equal to Ponce De Leon’s fountain of youth,” says Shanna Levine, M.D., an internist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Whether it’s walking, running, swimming, biking, or dancing, physical activity is key.” Any amount of activity counts, Levine says. Walk around the block, or start a dance party with your grandchildren—it will keep you looking and feeling your best.

5. What Makes You Laugh? Do More of That Surround yourself with people who like to laugh a lot—and stay away from “drama-prone individuals.” While more research is needed on the value of avoiding drama, there’s proof on the health benefits of laughter. Studies have linked laughter to everything from lower stress levels to stronger immunity to a more active social life.

6. Engage in social activities,” says Levine, adding that keeping your mind active and engaged has been shown to slow aging. Pick whatever makes you happy, from attending a group fitness class to a picnic in the park with your family. The type of activity doesn’t matter as much as simply having something on your schedule, Levine says. Start by making plans with your family and friends. You can also look for opportunities to connect at your community center or church, or with Members of the Red Hat Society!                   
 Compliments of Sunny Mathews from Do Something Simply Because It’s Fun Highlights from SilverSneakers e-newsletter, September 12, 2017


Thursday, October 5, 2017


21st Century Etiquette:  Why Silence Is Golden 

Thumper, from Disney’s Bambi, really said it best when he stated, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” 
In today’s modern world, sharing how you feel and what you think about any subject is encouraged.  Your Facebook feed seems to lure you with a statement within your own post window, “What’s on your mind?”  In person, we take time to mentally pull our thoughts together ensuring that what we say will be received well.  Online, we have a tendency to be a bit bolder—in many cases, sharing before we think!   
With these new and online platforms comes a responsibility to mentally “check ourselves” before we share our thoughts.  As Members of The Red Hat Society, we know we are “inclusive” and not “exclusive.”  All are invited to play on our playground and with that comes the responsibility to allow others to play in their own fashion, have their own perspectives and find who they are within our world.  Just because you don’t agree with one Sister’s viewpoint or position on a subject doesn’t mean that we won’t love playing with her in person.   At each of our cores is a desire to live a joy filled life.  Let’s give one another a chance online and remember Thumper’s sound advice!   

by Emily Yost, Marketing Director, Red Hat Society


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Club with a Twist


Mid-September, I ran a 5-Day “Book Club with a Twist” challenge group for my virtual fitness Facebook group. Twenty-Six Red Hat Society Sisters, joined me for a unique, online book club. My intent was to encourage everyone to get up and move more. Book Clubs are a great place for meeting interesting people, a venue for sharing and talking about books. An opportunity to be introduced to books you wouldn’t otherwise read. Online groups work best when everyone participates actively. The more everyone engaged, the more they got out of it.

This Book Club had a unique Twist. To combat too much sitting, participants had to get up and move an equal amount of reading time. Be active anyway they liked … exercise, dance, walk, swim etc.

 There were three requirements:

1. Challengers selected a book of their liking to read that week. It wasn’t necessary for everyone to read the same book.

2. There were guiding discussion points. Challengers Posted/Commented/Reflected on these discussion points daily.

3. For every 15 minutes of reading, Challengers matched it with 15 minutes of movement … a workout, swimming, walking, biking, dancing etc. 30 minutes reading, 30 minutes of moving.

Some of the girls read novels or mysteries, some read for personal development, some opted for historical interest.

Sample discussion points included:

·        What is the main theme or plot of your book?

·        Would you recommend it to others?

·        Does the main character learn something or change? If you’re not reading a novel, is there something that is changing your thinking?

·        Share your favorite line so far in the book you're reading.

And, as far as exercise goes, there was just as much variety there. One Hatter read while she walked on her treadmill. How’s that for multi-tasking!

Everyone closed out the week with some great book recommendations. For me personally, as someone who never sits still, it got me to SIT still and read a book 30 minutes a day (LOL) …  It was a super fun week for all. 
Compliments of Ambassador Sunny Mathews, Queen of the virtual Fit n Fabulous Chapter


Wednesday, September 6, 2017


The Perfect Shade of Pink

When it comes to defining your Hatting-style, it is imperative to find the perfect hat for you. Many women focus on the size, shape and style of the hat, while other places a great amount of emphasis on the color. Afterall, your hat should compliment both your complexion and your hair color. Empress Becky of the Red Hat Power Ladies (Saarbr├╝cken, Germany) knows this dilemma all too well. She recently wrote to Hatquarters about her Chapterette’s journey to discover her Pink Hat style, and what she discovered in the end is so worth the share!

 “I can see both sides (I'm Gemini) of rules and no rules, but would like to tell you a story along these lines. When I wanted to start my very first Chapter in Germany, I told all my friends what the Red Hat Society is about and invited them to come to the first meeting a few months later. One friend was thrilled to hear about it, because she loves to wear hats and had already a small collection, including a red one. A week or so later, she said, ‘Becky, now I hear I have to wear a pink hat because I'm under 50 -- you didn't say anything about that! I can't possibly wear a pink hat with my red hair!’ I gulped and told her, ‘Well we don't have a rule about it, just a very, very strong recommendation from the Founder Sue Ellen!’ During those weeks up until the first meeting, I kept sending her very modern pictures of wonderful rose-pink and hot-pink hats, but she wasn't happy about any of them. I repeated to myself, ‘Not a rule, not a rule.’

On the day of the meeting, I opened my front door when she rang and my jaw must have dropped, because there she stood wearing a hat in old rose! ‘This is the right color for me,’ she said, ‘I can identify with this!’
Since then, she has come to love her pink hats (3 by now), declaring ‘Pinkie Power!’ at the drop of a hat. Recently, she corrected me, as I explained to an interested woman that she had to wear pink.
 ‘Not HAVE TO,’ she said, ‘GET TO!’"

 What a perfect match Empress Becky! Thank you for sharing this story with the Sisterhood!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I’d say that many Red Hatters are just naturally good at friendship. Maybe there are some, here and there, who learned a bit more about friendship after becoming Hatters. In any case, taken as a group, I think we’re friendship experts.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one." So simple! But, like most simple ideas, it’s also very profound.

Friendship is not something we reach out and grab; it’s not something we can just demand and receive. In order to make a new friend, we must first relate to the new acquaintance as an already-established friend would do.

A friendship has to be constructed from a series of interactions. That’s one of the reasons we advocate gathering with great regularity with your friends; just being together often, over time leads to sharing lives, confidences, shared laughter and pain. It is built incrementally. What starts as acquaintance slowly becomes something more. You may not even notice that something is gradually developing and building.

"Yard by yard, it’s very hard. But inch by inch, it’s a cinch." - Anon

Then, when the not so good times come....

"But every road is rough to me that has no friend to cheer it." - Elizabeth Shane

In friendship
Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society

For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


You know the women I’m talking about—the ones who take the spotlight in a group and can also take criticism with a smile on their face. Confident women are that little piece of magic in this world that reminds us how good we are and how great we could be. Whether you consider yourself a confident woman or look up to one, it’s no secret that we’re all inspired by them. These women not only embody the traits of self-love, but they’ve also turned it into a lifestyle. Read further to discover the five habits of truly confident women.
1. They seek challenges.

The fear of failure stops many people from taking chances—but not confident women. Instead, they search for opportunities to challenge themselves and view any “failure” that comes from it as simply a stepping stone to get to where they want. These women collect experiences through trial and error, expose themselves to new ideas and constantly push themselves to continue learning. Whether it’s changing their career path or investing time and money into mastering a new hobby, confident women aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone—they live for it.
2. They support instead of compare.

With the convenience of social media, it’s nearly impossible to not know what someone is doing. It takes a swipe of a finger and a screenshot of an image to discover what someone is up to and share it with your friend. Although it’s easy to begin comparing yourself to the successes and life decisions of others, confident woman avoid this toxic decision and choose to support. Thus, they open the door to networking with more people and feeling inspired by the milestones of others (instead of threatened by them).
3. They hold themselves accountable.

Confident women not only have goals—but they also have steps they take to achieve them. They’re not waiting for a sign to make a move, because they’re already too busy taking action and pursuing what they want. These women understand that their lives are happening right now and that it’s up to them to take control of it..
4. They communicate effectively.

The ability to communicate is a skill that anyone in any situation can gain from. Confident women are the walking definition of this—they easily adjust to social settings and can hold conversations on a wide variety of topics due to their knowledge and natural curiosity to learn more. Not only are they a pleasure to speak to, but they also have positive body language that makes them easy to approach. Whether a confident woman is giving a professional presentation or explaining her feelings during a conflict, she’s able to clearly communicate in a way that’s simple for people to understand, making others want to listen.
5. They ask questions.

Similar to how confident women live outside of their comfort zones, they also don’t accept views and ideas simply because they’re told to. They’re individuals, and they aren’t afraid to be who they are—and fight for it. Confident women are natural born leaders— even RHS Queens - they’re people who aren’t afraid to ask questions to try to understand a concept better. Furthermore, they won’t settle their standards to comply with what the majority of people believe. They aren’t afraid of standing alone, and that’s what makes them worth standing with.
By The Everygirl. Edited.

 For more information on confident women and the things we do, click here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Every aspect of the Red Hat Society has its roots in one essential: friendship.  The other things we value most – fun, freedom, and fulfillment – owe much of their achievement to one’s friends.  Of course it’s easy to see why friends are indispensable when one wants to go do something fun; we all know that everything goes better with someone special with whom to share it.  Freedom and fulfillment, while more dependent on individual effort, still owe much to underlying friendships.  It is our friends who encourage and support us, listen to us, reassure us when we doubt ourselves, and cheer us on as we strive to reach our goals. Given all this, it’s no surprise that we all value our friends.

But do we put as much effort into being a friend as we do into enjoying the friendship of others (maybe even taking it for granted)?  It’s been said that “the best way to keep friendships from breaking is not to drop them.”  I’ve been thinking about that lately.  I don’t ever want to lose a friend because I have been too busy to keep in touch, or too self-absorbed to pay attention to what she may be going through lately, perhaps missing a chance to be of help.  Staying in touch doesn’t necessarily involve a large investment of time; it can be as simple as a quick email (or tweet), a brief phone call, or even a note to let her know you’re thinking about her.  Being a friend does take a bit of effort.  But surely anyone who matters to you deserves frequent attention and plenty of support.  If you doubt that, try reversing the situation in your mind.

I think it comes down to this:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  You can’t find better advice about friendship.

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click

Thursday, August 3, 2017


In the formal Red Hat Society mission statement, “freedom” comes right after “fun” and “friendship” as one of our primary values.  Of course, we’re not referring to freedom in a political sense; we are talking about something a little harder to pin down.   Some of us have trouble shaking off imaginary shackles, many of them self-imposed.  There are plenty of adults in this world who cannot begin to really have fun (our primary value) until they deliberately confront, and face down, their own (perhaps unnecessarily stern) codes of behavior.

Psychologists tell us that we soak up vast amounts of “shoulds”  and “should nots” as we grow up, some of them from our biological parents and some of them learned from other, not necessarily benign, societal norms.  A lot of them are surely worthwhile.  But some of them are not.  Some of them only cause us to be afraid of change or stuck in unhealthy patterns. It’s up to each one of us to sort through our own “stuff”, though doing so may cause us a good deal of discomfort.  Only by doing this can we come up with our own personal codes, some of which may be quite different from the ones that we followed for our first half-century or so.  It’s never too late to “screw your courage to the sticking place”, think things through for yourself, drop old, worn-out emotional baggage, and set yourself free to experience life in new ways!

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.


Thursday, July 27, 2017


When fitness is mentioned, most of us think immediately of such things as working up a sweat or gym memberships. But fitness can also refer to the appropriateness of something. We might say that a courageous leader is "fit" for his or her position or a mom who is gently tending to her toddler in a store is "fit" to be a mother. When we put both meanings together we come up with a concept, emphasized by the RHS, that it is "fit" to be "fit." By that we mean that it is appropriate for women in our age group to keep ourselves in reasonably good physical condition in order to be "fit" for the kinds of activities we love to indulge in.
Obviously we can’t aspire to perfection in our physical appearance or abilities any more – if, in fact, any of us ever could. And no one’s suggesting that we should set our goals that high. But, speaking just for myself, I have noticed a tendency to go easier on myself in ways that initially seem pretty harmless. I’m not speaking about forcing myself to go to pump iron or anything, but I catch myself putting off my daily walk or taking the elevator when I certainly could take the stairs. These are little things, sure. But I choose not to give in to what is really, in these specific cases, nothing more than just laziness. I want to be fit so I can DO things, so I can enjoy life to the limits of my capabilities. No, I’m not as fit as I used to be, but I’m still fit to be an enthusiastic Red Hatter. Let’s all continue to enjoy our recesses with the best of them! It would just be fitting!

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Friendship has been our primary theme from the very birth of the Red Hat Society.  Usually we discuss it in the abstract; this time I’d like to talk about the particular friendship that Esteemed Vice Mother, Linda Murphy and I share.  It has endured for 40 years, surviving and flourishing through moves and all manner of life dramas.  

There were many years in which our friendship was nurtured, almost exclusively, by long, heartfelt letters and occasional phone calls.  Other years found us living close together (and it was during one of those periods I gave her the first red hat).  She was also the one who was responsible for landing us in “Romantic Homes” magazine; and it was her friend, Nancy Manning, who started the first-ever, second chapter – in faraway Florida.  
In retrospect, I cannot think of anyone better suited than Linda to co-host our international conventions and represent the RHS in her area.  The Red Hat Society came into being directly as a result of one special friendship between two women.  And look what has happened!  The most marvelous aspect of this is that thousands upon thousands of women have met each other – and bonded – as a result of the relationship Linda and I share.  That fills us both with gratitude, as well as pride in the ability we women have to draw close to each other and share our lives with one another.  

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.


Thursday, July 20, 2017


What motivates you? Is it money? Recognition? A sense of belonging? We all have needs that drive us, inspire us, move us to action. My passion is helping people live healthy fulfilling lives. This is what motivates me to do all that I do to encourage my Red Hat Society Sisters to Stay Active.

Ten years ago, I planted the seeds within the RHS. Ten years ago, I started my virtual chapter, Fit n Fabulous.  Fit n Fabulous was created to focus on building up the fifth F in the RHS mission: Fitness.  Hatters in Fit n Fabulous post their workouts, their adversities, their progress, their inspirations, and their chuckles. I post an exercise of the day to give everyone ideas of exercises they can do at home. Fit n Fabulous is a closed Facebook group only for Supporting Members of the RHS.

At the same time that Fit n Fabulous was getting off the ground, I started posting in the RHS forum highlights from interesting and relevant wellness and fitness articles. Hatquarters staff reviews these write-ups and selects the best ones for inclusion in the RHS Friday Broadcast Newsletter.

To do more for my RHS Sisters. I started running monthly Free Groups outside of the Fit n Fabulous group page.  These 5-day Free Groups are always theme based.

For example, we did:

Be a Rainbow in July … where we learned to eat a variety of colorful foods,
               Mid-Summer Mindfulness … where we practiced meditation,
               Move More in March … where we tracked our steps and
               Absolutely Abs … where we strengthened our core.

 The Free Groups have been a huge success with over 100 participants each month. Announcements are made about upcoming Free Groups on my Facebook wall and via emails within the RHS site.

 I am committed to helping Hatters reach their health and fitness goals, whether it’s to lose weight, get stronger, or have more energy. I am here to help.

Sunny Mathews, your Fabulous RHS Fitness Facilitator.  

Join the Red Hat Society to learn more about these activities and how to contact our fabulous Queen Sunny.       Click here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


“There is no wilderness like life without friends; friendship multiplies blessings and minimizes misfortunes; it is a unique remedy against adversity and it soothes the soul.”  Baltasar

Those are quite enough reasons to make sure you have a good supply of friends, don’t you think?  They are exceedingly handy to have when we encounter difficulties, disappointments, challenges, and the like (in other words, every day we live in this world).  When you’re handed a big bowl of lemons, the first thing you do is pick up the phone, in search of a familiar, caring voice.  Friends are the ones who will help you come up with the unique recipe for whatever kind of lemonade you’re going to need to make out of those lemons.  But if that formula proves elusive, they’ll gather around and help get you through the situation.
This sounds like making friends is all about building a safety network to get you through the bad stuff.  Not true.  Loving and being loved are fundamental to being human.  Friends make glorious playmates, fabulous fellow explorers and marvelous companions for all kinds of light-hearted activities. Your Sisters in the red and pink hats (some of them, perhaps, relatively new to your life) have already proven that point to you.   But, you know what? Undergirding all of the Red Hat Society fun and frivolity, rock-solid friendships develop. So, next time you hit a bad patch, call one of your Chapterettes.

I’ll bet she makes a mean lemonade!

In friendship, Sue Ellen Cooper, Founder and Exalted Queen Mother of The Red Hat Society
For more information on Sue Ellen Cooper click here.