Thanks so much to Higher Existence for this wonderful infographic illustrating the benefits of mindfulness:
This reminds me of a great quote by Lao Tsu:
“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
And there is also a great TED Talk about teaching your mind to think positively, to set up small goals, and to request the help of others throughout life – it is proven to help you live longer!
Though it seems more expensive these days to eat healthy – it really does seem worth spending a little extra to eat food that makes you feel better! Over time, my body is so much happier if I spend a little more for organic veggies, fresh juice and gluten-free breads than I ever did trying to eat on a budget in college…
“it is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold & silver” – mahatma gandhi
Laughter is the best medicine. Whether it’s meeting with a friend to tell funny stories or watching funny videos online, just try to get a good, massive laugh in daily!
Here’s a few funny videos that make me laugh just remembering them:
Dog Friend vs. Cat Friend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbycvPwr1Wg
Funny Old 7up Commercials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E93sBTnC_Fs
Spandy Andy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXYjgHC_Ycw
What are some of your favorite videos?
When we’re stressed, we tend to hold our breath or shallow breathe, which can cause a wide range of health issues. If there is tightness in your chest, it is usually due to chemical sensitivities such as smoking, too much alcohol or a poor diet. Your body just needs to learn how to breathe deeply again. One tip? Breathe from your belly – inhale deep down and make your tummy stick out as far as you can, then exhale. Repeat this 5 times. This helps relax you, bring you to the present moment, and most importantly – reduces stress! Try to set a goal to do this breathing exercise at least once every day.
There are many different types of breathing exercises out there – have you found any that work great for you? If so, please share!
Essential Oils used to scare me a bit – I had no idea what I was looking for, didn’t understand how to use them, and there seemed to be so many scents, I didn’t know where to start!
This website: Essentialthree.com has some great information to learn more about all types of oils and what the different scents promote within your body – physically, psychologically, and as an addition to your skin care regimen. It also helps give you an idea of what to look for in an essential oil, and you can even purchase them on the site! (Yes, they’re expensive, but they are pure, and great for your body – without all the toxins that cheaper oils might have.)
Here are my Top 3 Essential Oils:
(Uses are copied from the above website)
1. Lavender: (one of the most versatile oils)
Physical uses: Respiratory congestion, bronchitis, laryngitis, colds, flu, tense breathing, muscle spasms, muscle aches, muscle cramps, infections (bacterial,viral), headaches, inflammation, lymphatic support.
Skin care uses: Imbalanced oil production, small wounds, bruises, burns, sunburn, insect bites and stings, infections (bacterial, viral), inflammation, irritations, itching, blemishes, eczema, skin tonic.
Psychological uses: Stress, nervous tension, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, mood swings, anger, sleeplessness.
Subtle uses: Balances the energy centers. Calms. Clears energy blocks. Brings in positive energy.
2. Spearmint: (uplifting)
Physical uses: Respiratory congestion, bronchitis, sinusitis, colds, flu, fevers, infections, muscle aches, muscle spasms, stiff joints, indigestion, nausea, headaches, menstrual cramps.
Skin care uses: Oily skin, blemishes, congested skin, infections, body odor, itching, small wounds.
Psychological uses: Mental fatigue, mild depression.
Subtle uses: Energizes, uplifts, and rejuvenates.
3. Sandalwood: (popular for meditation)
Physical uses: Dry coughs, bronchitis, laryngitis, sore throats, respiratory congestion, inflammation, infections, muscle spasms, nerve pain, poor circulation, lymphatic support, immune support.
Skin care uses: Dry skin, mature skin, sensitive skin, rough skin, devitalized skin, oily skin, blemishes, eczema, itching, chapped skin, inflammation, infections, small wounds, skin tonic.
Psychological uses: Anxiety, tension, stress, sleeplessness, sense of isolation, emotional instability, low libido.
Subtle uses: Calms and comforts. Promotes the ability to trust and accept. Encourages meditative state and a sense of peace.
Exercise as often as you can and keep that heart rate up for at least 20 minutes at a time. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – aerobics, dancing, martial arts, heck – cleaning sometimes works – just make sure you’re moving!
With regular exercise, your body can actually heal eight times faster than normal! There is more oxygen circulating in your body during and after you sweat it out, so this helps your lymphatic system to remove toxins from your body and excrete them either through your skin (from sweating) or through waste.
If you have a little time, try to get outside and walk/run/jog. But if not, I love to look up fun YouTube videos to keep myself moving. Here are some of my favorite go-to videos:
Yoga – 20 minutes:
Yoga – 30 day challenge (Day 1):
Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred – Day 1:
Your body works at night to detoxify everything from the past day and to prepare you for the day ahead. If you fall asleep with an empty stomach, your digestive organs (arguably some of the most important to your overall health!) are able to focus their detoxification efforts on toxins already within your body. Your liver, gallbladder, and kidneys are able to give better attention to moving bad things out of your body, and promoting the growth of the good! If you go to bed on a full stomach, your body works overtime to digest that food, and in turn, you’re not able to sleep as well!
I find that when I give myself 3 hours between eating and falling asleep (a lot of times this means eating a huge lunch, and only snacking at dinner), I wake up feeling refreshed and exhilarated the next morning. And many times, my energy lasts throughout the day! Go ahead – give it a try for a couple days. It’s hard at first, to try to un-condition yourself from wanting to eat a large dinner at 8pm, but your body will thank you for it – and so will your future self!
I have to admit it – I have been working at meditating on and off for almost 10 years now, but never really sat down to give it a shot. But once I did, once I really opened up and allowed myself to try it, I felt incredible afterwards! It was a bit of an uneasy feeling at first – I couldn’t place the way my mind and my body were feeling, but I had a sense that was a good thing! The rest of that first day was fantastic and I felt confident and in control! I’m not sure how it got such a “voo-doo” and “hippie” reputation over the last several years, but if you take a moment and try (really try!) it is worth it! I still have a long way to go in discovering myself through meditation, but here are 5 steps that worked for me to meditate:
1. Set up a special place – just for you. You should feel comfortable and surrounded by love. I have pictures of friends and family, a few candles, and if it’s the right temperature, a window open. Fresh air is incredible for relaxation!
2. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe. Yes breathe – just follow your breath by thinking, “Inhale, exhale – 1, inhale, exhale – 2,” and so forth. When you find your mind planning out your day, come back to thinking about your breath and start over. It’s not a race, or a competition – it’s slow and steady training to keep yourself focused.
3. Set a timer. Find something other than your phone (you don’t want any text messages or phone calls to distract you!) and set it for 5 minutes first. You’ll be both surprised at how slow and how fast 5 minutes can go. Having a timer helps you to relax easier (I was always afraid I didn’t have enough time, or somehow I would get “sucked in to meditation” and it might take way too long). As you get better, move it up to 10 minutes and so forth.
4. Let the frustrated feelings happen. Allow yourself to feel them, to notice them, and then move on. You will get frustrated, busy thoughts will occur, but allow yourself to feel and think them, then move on. It’s the opposite of meditation if you get angry at yourself for not being able to focus right away!
5. Be grateful at the end. Whether you were able to connect with your breath and your body or not, spend just a few minutes at the end to be grateful for the opportunity to try to give your mind a small opportunity to focus.
Good luck! It’s a challenge, but I can tell you, once you are able to start figuring it out, all that work will be worth it!