Posts tagged ‘self improvement’

Learn To Listen To What Your Body Is Saying

I enjoy reading articles that recommend I get a massage…

Our bodies hold all of the information we need to function at our best, but too often we ignore their messages and plow ahead with what our minds tell us. Because most of us are taught from an early age to focus on external demands, we frequently ignore what our bodies are saying.

More often than not we treat the physical symptoms rather than looking for the internal cause of pain, depression, and weight gain. We take another extra-strength aspirin, rather than investigating what’s causing our head to ache. We use caffeine or sugar to give us a lift when we feel tired, rather than listening to our body’s message about needing rest. A look at our pets may be all we need to see the value of naps.

Our bodies communicate thousands of little messages to us every day. For instance, is your mouth pinched and tight? Are your shoulders up around your ears? Do you feel a knot in your stomach as you promise to do something? Your body is telling you that you are tense, stressed, and over-extended.

As a society, we notoriously put deadlines ahead of the protests of aching bones or inadequately nourished bellies. Your body is a sophisticated, intelligent machine, but too often we fail to understand them because we don’t value them as highly as we should.

So, what do you do to give your body an equal say in how you use it?

Start with the breath

Breathing consciously is a major part of body awareness. Allow your thoughts to come and go in the background while breathing in and out. As you inhale and exhale, think the words “In. Out. In. Out.”  Lovingly make a note to yourself how and where you are failing to breathe. Many of us breathe only in our chests when we should be allowing the breath to expand down into our abdomens. Perhaps you are denying life by taking in shallow breaths, and your body is asking you to stop and breathe more deeply. Practice this daily for five minutes to start, and soon it will be easy for you.

Allow yourself quiet time

Sit for ten minutes each day, or even five if that is more manageable. This will give you a chance to listen to your body. Begin by sitting while breathing and become the conscious observer of your thoughts. This would be a great practice, especially in the middle of a busy day. This time can also involve taking a walk or a nap or soaking in a hot tub.

Get a massage

This is not an extravagant indulgence; it wakes up the whole nervous system and helps you tune in. Massage is proven
to alleviate stress and help circulation and muscle recovery.

Use your journal to dialogue with your body

Ask your body how it’s feeling, what it wants, what’s going on. Give that sore wrist, or stiff lower back, a voice and let it tell you what its message is.

Eat when hungry, sleep when tired

Take a week and really pay attention to your body’s most basic needs. Do your real rhythms for eating and sleeping conform to the habits you’ve established? If they don’t, ask for help changing them.

Do a body inventory to relax

Start with your toes and work upwards. Scan your body from the inside, tensing each part slightly, then relaxing it to release residual tension. Tense your feet first, then your calves, and so forth, until you reach your face. Relax your entire body.

If your body suggests rolling down a grassy hillside, taking flight on a playground swing, or skipping down a winding path—why resist? It knows what it needs.

If you want to truly be happy and healthy—begin listening to your body. Body awareness is part of a healthy lifestyle, just as much as eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly. Its impulses hold the key to your well-being.

Via Positively Positive

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5 Things You Should Do Every Morning

Morning mantras set the tone for the whole day. Here are five things you should do every morning to be healthy and successful.

Each morning the sun shines, the birds sing and it’s another glorious day. With the winter cold, dark mornings and lack of any singing going on from the birds, it’s this time of year that it’s harder to stick to feeling wonderful and gleeful throughout the day. But you can try these simple steps to keep your mornings on track and start the day for a happier, more successful start.

1. Stretch in bed
Before you throw off the covers and jump out of bed, try a few simple stretches to ease your muscles and get your blood pumping. Reach your arms out to the side and extend the legs. Bend one knee up towards your hips and roll it across the body to feel a stretch in your lower back and thighs. Straighten your legs and repeat on the other side.

2. Drink a glass of water
Next stop is the bathroom for a big glass of water. This helps hydrate the body, which loses hydration while sleeping, and will help get you started on a good habit to continue throughout the day.

3. Shower
Although this is a given for most people, a warm shower can stimulate circulation and blood flow, giving you more energy throughout the day. Use warm water instead of steaming hot to reduce dry skin, and put on lotion afterward to seal in moisture.

4. Eat breakfast
In my experience, people who eat breakfast have more energy in the morning, tend to snack less during the day and may even do better on tests. Every day, try for something with protein — from egg white omelets to Greek-style yogurt. I do a mug scrambler to save time. Simply use one cup of liquid egg whites with a quarter cup of pre-cut frozen veggies. Microwave for up to four minutes, stirring once after each minute. Then add a spoon of salsa to top it off.

5. Meditate
After your breakfast, set the timer on your smartphone for three minutes. Simply focus on your breathing and find a positive mantra you like to think about. I inhale strength and exhale fear. I also use phrases like, “I am only one person but I can make a difference in many” or “I am grateful for my family, my health and my life.” Find something that moves you and either say it to yourself or write it down in a journal. It will help clear your mind and bring focus to your day.

Every day can be the best day of your life. Start living

Via Huffington Post

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Six tips from your future self

Today is New Year’s Day (!!! and ack!), and with this day comes New Year resolutions. I thought this article was a good place to start reading about perspectives for the upcoming year. Let’s make it a great year!!

By Dr. Karl Pillemer, Special to CNN

(CNN) — In an episode of the popular sitcom “30 Rock,” television CEO Jack has a hallucinatory encounter with his future self, from whom he receives life advice that helps him avoid major mistakes.

Most of us would also like to know which choices and decisions we make as young people will benefit us later on — or come back to haunt us. Although there’s no way to step into our own futures, we can get a very good sense of what mistakes younger folks should avoid. We can ask our “future selves”: our elders.

Based on this premise, over the past six years, I’ve conducted several studies involving 1,200 older Americans regarding the advice they would offer to members of the younger generation. The research has included a national, random-sample survey, as well as in-depth interviews with several hundred persons identified as “wise.” To protect respondents’ identities, actual names are not used in the study. Participants ranged in age from age 60 to 108 (average age was 74) and represented a geographically and economically diverse sample of the older population.

The surveys addressed the question, what mistakes should younger people avoid? Respondents were also asked their views on what people are most likely to regret when they get to the end of life.

Answers were categorized into major themes regarding mistakes and possible regrets. The findings reveal some interesting cautions for the young (and not so young as well).

According to America’s elders, here are some of the biggest mistakes young people make:

1. Putting too high a priority on money. These elders were affected by the Great Depression, so I thought they might suggest pursuing financial security at all costs. Not so: Their responses were much more like this one from a 76-year-old: “Don’t make money number one for everything. You need money, and that’s fine, but it can’t be your be-all and your end-all. You’ve got to spend time with your family and not spend every hour on the job and never be home.” Most of the elders believe that a fulfilling job trumps a higher-paying but unsatisfying one any day.

2. Getting into debt. These are folks who have lived through economic hardship so tough that it makes what we’re experiencing look like a minor blip. So listen to them when they point out the dangers of going into serious debt. From an 89-year-old: “They should avoid spending money they don’t have. They should not be using that credit card if they can’t make the payment on a monthly basis. That’s just my old-fashioned way of doing it. We have a credit card, just one, that we use, and we pay it every month so the following month I don’t have a debt that I have to pay from the month before. I wish they would wait until they can afford to buy something before they buy it, because that’s why life is so difficult for them.”

3. Worrying too much. A little surprising, right? But if there’s one do-over the elders wish they could have, it would be not spending precious time worrying obsessively about the future. They said this as clearly as can be: “Worry wastes your life.” “Worrying never solved anything. So don’t.”

4. Excessive drinking and drugs. Okay, we expected that one. This 84-year-old was typical: “For one thing, stay away from smoking; stay away from drugs; stay away from too much alcohol.” But believe me, these people know from experience. This advice comes from watching plenty of ruined lives — and in some cases personal experience. They don’t ask you to be a puritan, just to know what moderation is and practice it.

5. Rushing into marriage before you’re ready. Nope, they don’t want everyone to get married as early as possible. Just the opposite: They want young people to wait until they are really sure (actually, really, really, really sure). And no one was more vehement about this than those who had one marriage fail and a second one succeed. As a 93-year-old put it: “Well, nowadays there are so many divorces, and I think they should be more careful about their decisions to get married. I mean, they should think at the beginning, is this going to be for a lifetime?”

6. Passing up opportunities. The elders much more strongly regret things they didn’t do than what they did. As a 73-year-old told me: “The lesson I learned is that it really pays to say yes unless you’ve got a really solid reason to say no. Life is an adventure, but to take advantage of it, you have to say yes to things.”

New Year’s Day is fast approaching, and many of us will be talking to our older family members to wish them a happy new year. Why not ask them about the secrets to living a life without regrets? It could make for a very interesting conversation.

 Article can be found @ http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/27/living/six-tips-from-your-future-self/index.html

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8 Reasons to Meditate

Meditation is simply directed concentration, and involves learning to focus your awareness and direct it onto an object: your breath, a phrase or word repeated silently, a memorized inspirational passage or an image in the mind’s eye. The physical and psychological benefits of meditation are numerous and include:

  1. Helping lower blood pressure
  2. Decreasing heart and respiratory rates
  3. Increasing blood flow
  4. Enhancing immune function
  5. Reducing perception of pain
  6. Relieving chronic pain due to arthritis and other disorders
  7. Maintaining level mood
  8. Bringing awareness and mindfulness to everyday aspects of life

A simple form of meditation that can be practiced by anyone is to walk or sit quietly in a natural setting and allow your thoughts and sensations to occur, observing them without judgment.

Courtesy of Dr. Weil @ http://www.drweilblog.com/

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