Benefits Of Being Mindful

Some Benefits of Being Mindful

Being mindful is something we should all practice.  It means focusing on the present moment and not letting distractions pull you away.  Here are some benefits of being mindful:

  1. Improved sense of well-being

    People who practice mindfulness are less likely to be as stressed.  They’re not worrying about the future and they’re not grinding on the past.  They’re able to enjoy each moment and by doing that are able to create stronger bonds with those they love.

  2. Improved physical health

    Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can actually have a positive impact on your health.  Here are some health benefits of mindfulness:

  • Helps to relieve stress
  • Helps to lower blood pressure
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Improves sleep
  1. Improved mental health.

    There have also been studies done that show mindfulness can improve your mental health.  It can help treat:

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

How To Practice Mindfulness

Here are three things you can start doing today to help you be more mindful and live a more rewarding life:

  1. Breathe.  Sounds simple right? You’d be surprised though by how often most of us are not breathing properly.  When you have a few free minutes find a quiet spot.  Just sit and focus on your breath.  I find it helps to follow a count: breathe in for 4 counts then out for 4 counts.  As you get better you can extend your count.  You’ll be surprised by how easy this makes it to focus on just your breath and drown everything else out.
  2. Become aware of your body. Find a quiet spot for this too.  This will take a bit more focus.  If you can lie down in a comfortable spot.  Close your eyes and then start focusing on different parts of your body.  Start at your feet.  Spend some time here and focus on what you’re feeling in your feet.  Then slowly work your way up your body.  Notice if you’re feeling any tightness.  If you do try to let the tightness go.  This brings us to the third thing to try.
  3. Let go of tension. When we’re distracted and/or stressed our body will become tense.  For most people this tension is most noticeable in their neck and shoulders.  You’re probably holding tension in other areas too.  In your quiet spot, while you’re breathing deeply and becoming aware of your body look for those tense spots.  Once you find one focus on letting it go.  Keep doing this for each tense spot in your body.  This could take a bit of time so if you’re short on time focus on one area today and do the others on another day.

Go Be Mindful

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and lose the ability to be mindful.  You might think you’re doing a great job of multi-tasking and getting lots done but really in the end you’re only giving a small part of yourself to things that require a large part.  Becoming mindful will change your outlook on life and you’ll be able to deeply connect with the people and things that are truly important to you.  Mindfulness leads to a rich and rewarding life.

What To Do When You Feel Insecure About Your Body

I used to be chubby and super bad at sports.  No surprise that kids teased me and school was a miserable experience for me.  Unfortunately I’ve carried a lot of those insecurities into my adult hood but luckily I’ve learned to deal with them better.  I want to share with you some ideas of what to do when you feel insecure about your body.

What To Do When You Feel Insecure About Your Body

  1. Learn to love your body.

Definitely easier said than done but once you figure this one our you’ll be SO much happier.  When you have a negative thought about your body come up with two positive thoughts.  For instance, if you have large legs like me, remind yourself of all the wonderful things your strong, beautiful legs allow you to do.

  1. Keep in mind that everyone feels insecure at times.

You might look at another person and think they have the perfect body but it’s almost guaranteed that that person is insecure about certain areas.  Using my leg example again: I always felt they were too big and masculine but over the years I’ve had countless men and women compliment me on how beautiful they are.  It took a while for me to be able to accept the compliments but eventually I did.

  1. You don’t see yourself as other’s do.

Flaws that you see in yourself are probably only seen by you.  Those areas that you agonize about are not as bad as you think they are.  People tend to over exaggerate the so-called flaws they see on themselves.

  1. Have realistic expectations for your body.

I always wanted to be that tiny, wispy girl who was a size 0.  I wasted SO much time and effort trying to get there and it always ended in tears and frustration.  Finally, one day I got really honest with myself and realized that my body type would never be thin and wispy because I simply do not have the build for that.  At my lowest weight I still didn’t look the way I wanted because I don’t have that body type.  I finally realized I had to stop fighting it and work with my body, not against it.  That’s when I embraced strength training.  My body is the type to put on muscle and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Once I accepted that my relationship with myself got MUCH better.

Love Your Body So You Can Live Your Life

When you hate your body, life can be pretty miserable and you can end up holding yourself back from things if you let your insecurities get the best of you.  I don’t always feel great about my body and I definitely have my ‘I hate my body’ days but now I’m able to deal with it better.  Your body is your body and it’s beautiful so make sure you love it and treat it well.

Benefits Of Listening To Music

I absolutely LOVE music.  If I’m having a bad day and need a pick-me-up listening to my favourite music always works.  Music has the ability to change your mood, take you back to a different time and even lower your blood pressure.  There are many more benefits of listening to music so let’s take a look.

7 Benefits Of Listening To Music

  1. Improves athletic performance.

Studies have shown that exercise can actually improve your athletic performance by reducing the feeling of fatigue and improving motor coordination.  If you’re not feeling like doing your workout, get your favourite playlist and get to it!

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety.

Music has the ability to reduce your stress and/or anxiety by actually reducing cortisol levels.  The next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious try listening to your favourite down-tempo music.  This can be really helpful if you have a stressful commute.

  1. Reduces pain.

They’re not sure of the exact mechanism here but they suspect that music’s impact on the release of dopamine plays a role.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and relaxed.  I know that when I get tattoos it really helps when I’m enjoying the music that they’re playing.

  1. Improves your immune system.

Listening to music causes an increase of immunoglobulin A in your body which is an antibody that helps keep cells healthy.  As mentioned above, music also decreases cortisol and high cortisol levels  can cause a decrease in immune response.

  1. Helps your brain.

A study showed that young children who took music lessons showed different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year than children who didn’t take music lessons.  Music even helps people struggling with memory problems.  A study showed that stroke patients who listened to music daily showed significant improvement in memory and were able to focus better.

  1. Helps you sleep better.

Listening to soothing music before bed helps you sleep better and get a better rest.  Soothing music reduces sympathetic nervous system activity, relaxes your muscles, alleviates anxiety and helps to distract you from thoughts that may be keeping you from falling asleep.

  1. Helps lower blood pressure.

Listening to calming music or music that makes you happy actually helps to lower your blood pressure.

Improve Your Day With Music!

If you’re having a bad day, try putting on your favourite music.  You’ll be surprised how music can take you to a happier place.

5 Reasons Why We Need Vacations

Vacations are fun but did you also know that they’re good for your health?  If you’re super busy it might be tempting to forgo your vacation but don’t!  Here’s why we need vacations.

Why We Need Vacations

  1. Vacations help you to calm your mind.

Some neurologists believe that the neural connections that make you feel calm become weaker if they’re not used regularly.  This means that over time, if you don’t vacation, it’ll become harder for you to switch into relaxation mode.  Without the ability to switch over to relaxation mode your stress levels will go through the roof.

  1. Vacations help reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

Did you know spending some down time with family and friends can reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 30% in men and 50% in women?  Down time is critical for your overall health.

  1. Vacations restore your energy.

Taking a vacation increases your energy.  When you get back to work after your vacation this energy will make work seem easier and maybe even more enjoyable.

  1. Vacations make you happier with your entire life.

If all you do is work and never take a break you’re going to start to feel like your life sucks.  When people schedule in regular vacations and take control over their free time they feel much more satisfied with their life overall.

  1. Vacations allow you to view the world differently.

When you go on vacation it gives you a chance to experience different cultures and a different way of living.  This can be a real eye opener and often results in you viewing your own life differently.

Book Your Next Vacation Now!

Don’t just tell yourself that you’re going to make time for a vacation soon, book it now so you have to commit.  Booking ahead of time saves you money and guarantees that you will take that quality time you need.  It’s easy to talk yourself out of taking a vacation because life is SUPER busy.  Don’t get into that unhealthy habit.  Book your next vacation now and start daydreaming about how great it’s going to be!

Take A Break Before You Break!

I know some of us think we don’t, but we all need to take breaks once in a while.  Many people feel like they’re too busy to take a break but what they don’t realize is that not taking a break is making them less effective.  Breaks are necessary if you want to perform at your best and feel excited about what you do.  Not sure if you need a break?  Check out the warning signs below that you need to take a break before you break!

Warning Signs You Need A Break

  1. You truly believe there just isn’t enough time to get everything done.

I think a lot of people fall into the trap of trying to do everything themselves so it gets done right.  This is a bit of a control freak characteristic.  If you’re one of those people and you keep running around trying to do everything you’re going to burn out.  You need to take a break and use that time to figure out what you absolutely have to do and what you can delegate to others.  It’ll be hard at first but once you see how much more effective you become you’ll be so glad you did it.

  1. A ringing phone stresses you out.

When you’re super busy and the phone rings it signifies more work which can completely stress you out.  If this is happening to you it’s a clear sign that you have way too much on your plate and you need to step out for a while to reevaluate.  Quite often a lot of the things you do can be streamlined or delegated or dropped completely.  You need a clear head to be able to figure all that out so take a break.

  1. You have no social life.

Spending time with people you love is something we all need to do as often as possible.  Did you know that people with more active social lives tend to live longer?  If you’re so busy that you can’t carve out time to spend with your friends and loved ones you really need to take a break and get some of that quality time with them.

  1. You hate it when there’s a change in your routine.

When you’re so busy trying to be in charge of every aspect of your life a change can really throw you for a loop.  If you find yourself getting angry when someone changes a meeting time or reschedules plans they had with you it’s time to schedule some time off.

  1. Things that normally wouldn’t annoy you suddenly start annoying you.

Are you finding yourself getting annoyed with things that normally wouldn’t bother you?  Are certain people who you’re close to suddenly becoming super annoying?  This can be a symptom of burnout and a clear sign that you need to get away before you react in a way that you’ll regret later.

Take A Break!

I know it’s easy to get caught up in your own busy world but taking breaks is essential.  If you never take a break you could be heading to a really bad outcome.  Don’t let yourself get to a point where you hate what you do and you’re miserable with your life.  Schedule in regular breaks so you can be the best you.

10 Ways To De-Stress

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily drama and get totally stressed out.  Chronic stress is highly toxic to the body though so you need to find ways to de-stress.

10 Great Ways To De-Stress

There are some great ways that you can take a mini break from life.  You should be taking at least one mini break per day from what stresses you out so you can reset and get yourself in a better mindset.  Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also be more productive.  You owe yourself a break and here are some ways to do it!

  1. Move that body!

Exercise is a great way to de-stress!  Even just 10 minutes of physical activity will release a much needed dose of endorphins.

  1. Visit with your fury/feathery/scaly friend.

Studies have shown that spending time with your beloved pet can reduce stress and even lower blood pressure .

  1. Listen to music.

Music has the power to calm you down, cheer you up and even transport you back to a time and place from your past.

  1. Go outside.

Spending time in nature has a very calming effect.  The best places to go are by the water or in a trail (bring a buddy).

  1. Get a massage.

Whether it’s from a professional or from your partner or good friend a massage can make that stress melt away.

  1. Aroma therapy.

Get a diffuser or take a hot bath with a few drops of essential oils to help yourself relax.  Lavender is great.  You can find more HERE

  1. Read a chapter in your favourite book.

Getting caught up in a book is a great way to forget whatever’s stressing you out.

  1. Laugh more.

Spend time with someone who makes you laugh or watch your favourite comedy.  When was the last time you had a really good laugh?

  1. Hug your friends.

Hugging can really help calm you down and just make you feel good.  Just make sure the recipient is okay with it 😉

  1. Have sex.

One of the greatest stress relievers out there!  Sex relaxes the nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems and increases levels of oxytocin.  Oxytocin is a hormone that helps us bond and build trust.

Go De-Stress Now

So there you have it!  10 ways you can de-stress right now.  Pick one (or more) and enjoy a mini break from your stress!

How To Know When It’s Time To Move On

I think everyone has been in a situation where they realized that things just aren’t working.  But how do you know when it’s time to move on?  What if the thing, or person, you feel like you may need to move on from is a significant part of your life?  What if what you’re feeling is because of other circumstances in your life but you’re just projecting your frustrations onto something or someone else.  You don’t want to make a mistake that you can’t fix again.  You need to figure out how to know when it’s time to move on.

How To Know When It’s Time To Move On

Here are a few things that may be clues that it is actually time to move on.

  1. You’re not happy.

We all have bad days where we feel unhappy but if you find yourself feeling unhappy more often than not it’s time to take a closer look.  Are you unhappy the majority of the time?  If so, that’s a clear signal that you need to change or leave the situation.  Keep in mind that you can’t necessarily change things.  If you realize you can’t change the situation and that makes you unhappy, it’s time to move on.

  1. You’ve stopped pursuing the things you love.

When you’re unhappy with a major part of your life it’s really hard to get passionate about anything.  If you find that the things that once excited you no longer do, it may mean the situation you’re in has become toxic.

  1. You find yourself wishing things would change.

If you’re daydreaming about how much better things would be if they changed but you can’t make the change happen it’s time to move on.  Life isn’t meant to be spent daydreaming about how great it could be.  If you feel that you can’t actively go after what you want because of your situation, it may be time to move on.

  1. You’ve done all you can to make things better and it hasn’t worked.

If you’ve tried everything you can to change the situation and nothing has worked it’s a clear sign that nothing ever will change.  You need to feel truly happy in order for a situation to be healthy.  If you’ve tried everything and you’ve been completely honest with the people involved about how you feel and it’s still not changing, it never will.  Don’t stay stuck in something that makes you unhappy.

  1. You’re burnt out.

If you feel emotionally and physically exhausted and it’s been going on for a while you’re probably burnt out.  Burnout happens when you feel a lack of control.  You’re overloaded with responsibilities that you’re not being fairly recognized and/or rewarded for.  You’ll also feel like your values are conflicted.  If this sounds familiar make your voice heard.  If the problem can’t be rectified, move on.

Making That Tough Decision

The decision to move on isn’t always easy.  Especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into something.  The bottom line though is that you need to look after you and do what’s right for you.  Staying in a situation where you’re miserable is not only a disservice to you, it’s a disservice to those around you.  Take a long hard look at the issues and decide what you truly need.

Reasons to Exercise That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss

I think when most people think about exercising and eating right they’re motivated by weight related goals.  There is SO much more to it though.  I used to punish myself with exercise trying to drop weight.  My obsession with losing weight did nothing but make me miserable and frustrated.  Here are some reasons to exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss.

Here Are Your Reasons To Exercise That Have Nothing To Do With Weight Loss!

  1. Exercise fights depression.

When you exercise your body releases endorphins which make you feel good.  Just 30 minutes a day can make a world of difference.

  1. Helps you to deal with stress.

When you’re stressed about something go for a workout!  Working out is one of the fastest ways to clear cortisol, the stress hormone, out of your system.  Anytime I’m going through something stressful I use my workout as my little vacation from what ever’s bothering me.  Since cortisol is cleared from your system when you workout, you’ll feel calm and relaxed after your workout.

  1. It boosts creativity.

Got a report or paper due?  Maybe you’ve been put in charge of organizing a function and you just don’t know what to do.  Try going for a quick workout and just see how it gets the juices flowing.

  1. It helps people deal with their addictions.

Whether you’re addicted to sugar, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs it’s been shown that exercise can help.  Studies have shown that the endorphin rush released during exercise acts on the same neural pathways as addictive substances.

  1. Exercise saves you money!

You might think it’s too expensive to join a gym or invest in an at home program but if you compare it to the cost of being sick you’ll see that everyone can afford to exercise.  If your health deteriorates to a point where you need to spend a lot of time at the doctor’s and you have to take expensive medications in order to survive you’ll spend far more time and money than you ever would on exercise.

What Are You Waiting For?

These are just a few of the many reasons you should be exercising now.  Don’t let yourself get to a point where you become dependent on medications.  Don’t get to a point where you live in constant pain.  Start exercising regularly now so the future you can be happy and healthy.

Next article will be non-weight related reasons to eat healthy!

Why Hugs Are Awesome!

Are you a hugger?  I am!  I love a good hug and I’ll hug pretty much anyone who will let me.  Did you know that a hug can lower your blood pressure, ease your stress and even boosts your immune system?  Here’s why hugs are awesome:

  1. Lowers blood pressure.

When you give or receive a hug your body releases oxytocin which is the hormone that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.  It promotes feelings of contentment and reduces anxiety and stress.

  1. Eases stress.

Hugging eases stress by reducing levels of circulating cortisol (the stress hormone) in the blood.

  1. Boosts your immune system.

Cortisol inhibits the immune system and hugging lowers cortisol so it actually has an effect on the immune system!  There was a study that was done with 400 healthy adults who were asked about their perceived social support.  They were interviewed over a course of 2 weeks and were asked about the frequency that they engaged in interpersonal conflict and if they received hugs that day.  The researchers then exposed all of them to the common cold virus to see what would happen.  They found that the people who engaged in less interpersonal conflict and received regular hugs had less or no cold symptoms as compared to the people who when through regular interpersonal conflicts and did not receive regular hugs.

  1. Increases bonding.

When you hug someone and your body releases oxytocin it increases the bond between you and the person you’re hugging.

  1. Relieves pain.

Another hormone that gets released when you hug someone is endorphins.  Endorphins relieve pain by blocking the pain pathways!  It also increases circulation to soft tissues which can help to soothe aches.

  1. Help to relieve depression.

Hugging increases the production of dopamine and serotonin in your brain.  Both dopamine and serotonin levels are low in people who are suffering with depression.  A simple hug can improve a person’s mood and even boost their self-esteem.

Go Hug Someone!

Any time you get the opportunity to hug someone do it!  I do!

How Overthinking Is Holding You Back

Overthinking is a normal thing, but it might be what’s holding you back.  When you overthink things you tend to not act on them and that leaves you stuck where you are.  If you constantly find yourself overthinking everything it’s time to get out of that habit and let yourself enjoy life.

Why Do We Overthink?

When you find yourself overthinking something it’s most likely because you lack confidence in your ability to do something so you think about all the negative possible outcomes.  You second guess yourself because you’re letting yourself believe that you’re not capable of being successful.

Worrying about every little detail will hold you back.  Overthinking is really just a habit and this habit can be broken with a bit of effort.

How To Stop Overthinking Everything

  1. Catch yourself when you start thinking too much about something and remind yourself that your thinking will not lead to any kind of insight or solution.

The only way to know what something will be like is to actually experience it.  Just thinking about it will not give you that experience.  The only way to know how something will turn out is to make a decision and act on it.

  1. Remind yourself that you can always change your path.

Rather than staying stuck because you’re afraid about how things might turn out, move bravely in the direction you want to go in knowing that you can always change your path.  If things start to go south all you have to do is re-evaluate and adjust your course accordingly.

  1. Force yourself to turn off your thoughts and just act.

Quiet that self-doubting voice in your head or better yet don’t even give it a chance to speak.  If you start to hear it, block it out and start doing what you need to do.  All you have to do is start but if you’re letting your self-doubting voice speak you’ll never start and you’ll stay stuck.

Stop Thinking And Start Living

How tragic would it be to have never realized your dream because you couldn’t stop thinking about all the possible negative outcomes?  Shut out that chatter in your head, decide what step you need to take right now and just take that step.  After you take that next step, take the next one and keep going.