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5 Steps to Defeat Stress

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Stress can get to everyone at some point in their life. We experience little moments of stress every day when something doesn’t go right. It could be that guy who just cut you off in traffic or it could be your boss going back on their word about a promotion. Either way, the more proactive we all are about the stress that surrounds us, the less that stress can be in control. We can be in control!

Here are 5 ways that you can be more proactive against life’s stresses beginning today:

Learn to say “No.” One of the biggest causes of stress in life is the feeling of obligation that we all have to certain people. We say we can get something done even though we know it’ll take a miracle of supernatural proportions to make that happen! The instant we say “Yes I can do that for you,” the stress begins. That means there is no greater way to be proactive against the stress of life than to learn to say “No!” when something just can’t get done.

Take some time with nature. There is no greater force that controls stress better than Mother Nature. Sure, a hurricane here or a tornado there will send people into anxiety and sometimes a tsunami will destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, yet even in the greatest disasters there are places where peace, serenity, and gentleness are the order of the day. Be proactive and find this places that nature provides and you’ll be able to gather up the strength you need to tackle a difficult situation.

Take care of yourself. When your body is worn down, you’ll experience more stress simply because you won’t have the willpower to be proactive against it. The worst decisions that people make are when they’re scared, they’re stressed, or they’ve been hurt in some way and that’s when trouble starts. If you focus on wellness, both physically and mentally, then you’ll also be naturally focusing on proactive ways to defeat stress on a daily basis. Let good stuff go in so great stuff can come out!

Make sure you get enough rest. When your body is in a constant state of being tired, it begins to crave certain things to make it stay awake. That means unhealthy snacks, fatty foods, and undoubtedly lots of caffeine. Your body also tends to store these extra calories as fat when you don’t get enough rest, ultimately giving you less energy on a long-term basis! Know how much sleep you need every night and, worst case scenario, schedule it into your calendar to make sure you get it so you can have more clarity against the stress.

Celebrate every victory. With stress constantly around, it can seem like there aren’t any victories to be had because stress is never defeated. That’s a dangerous trap! Any time you are proactive against stress and remove it from your life, even if it’s just for a moment, that is a small victory. Begin celebrating each small victory you receive and you’ll begin to notice a pattern of you being great against the storm of craziness that always seems to be around you!

We can’t necessarily control the chaos that surrounds us, but we can be proactive and do something about how it affects us each day. Use these tips as you see fit in your life and you’ll be taking a step toward a calmer, happier life that is keeping the stress out every single day!

Is It Possible To Find a Happy Place in the Midst of Chaos?

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It’s tough these days to find a place of contentment unless you’re truly seeking it out. Phones ring at all hours of the day. Facebook notifications draw us back toward the computer even when we’ve got other things we’d rather be doing. E-mail notifications at 2am can ring, making it difficult to get back to sleep. In the midst of all this chaos, is it really possible to find a happy place where contentment reigns supreme?

It is possible if you are willing to make four potential changes in your life:

Find time to step away from it all. There’s only so much that your mind can take. It might be a sponge that can absorb a lot of data, but even a sponge can become overflow and leak out liquid! Find time to step back from all the distractions every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, so you can find some peace from it all. You’d reset your computer when it begins to get errors, right? Take the time to restart your mind once and awhile too.

Find a place that you can breathe in some fresh air. There’s something that causes the air in my office to plug up my nose every day. If I’m in the office for too long, I start getting this creeping headache that sets in, right around the upper part of my sinuses. Add in the tension from a tough day and a full blown migraine isn’t out of the question! By finding fresh air and breathing it in deeply, the extra oxygen can literally recharge your system, much like you’d recharge your iPhone when the battery is low.

Don’t assume responsibility for everything. The reason why so many people begin to feel overwhelmed is because they try to do everything on their own. This on its own creates chaos, but when it becomes combined with all the other chaotic moments of a busy modern life, you can give yourself a hurricane force storm of chaos that is difficult to move through. Reach a hand out, grab a lifeline, and allow others to help you out. Have confidence in them, have faith in yourself, and take on only the things that you know you can handle every day.

Don’t forget to smile! What smiling does is it forces the mind to look at something in a different way. It’s not one of those ridiculous fake smiles that you see plastered on everyone’s stressed-out faces at the office I’m talking about here. No – a genuine smile that reflects the fact that there is a silver lining in even the darkest of clouds that could be drenching you right now, making you trudge through mud puddles!

If you are willing to make these 4 potential changes to your daily routine, then no matter how chaotic your environment may become, there will always be a tranquil place for you to go. Finding contentment in even the busiest of lives really is possible!

5 Tips To Help Combat Anxiety Attacks

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Anxiety attacks can be devastating, immediate, and come on without warning. Even those who have consistent panic attacks can be caught off-guard by the immediate ferocity that they can provide. The good news is that you can do something about these anxiety attacks through the use of mindfulness meditation.

These 5 tips can help you stay in better control, defeat anxiety, and ultimately win the day:

Tip #1: Identify the Source of Your Anxiety

A good question to ask yourself when you feel anxious is “What has triggered my anxiety?” Pause when you feel that anxiety and examine your environment, your thought patterns, and the stressors that are in your life. Anxiety triggers can be internal, external, or a combination of both. Without recognizing the trigger, you’ll never be able to stay in control!

Let’s say you have a dear friend who has the on-going problem of falling asleep at night. You spend the day hanging out with this friend. The focus of your conversation throughout the day with this friend is about how he cannot fall asleep at night. You might even discuss the various methods he has used to get to sleep without success. By the end of the day, you find yourself having trouble falling asleep and feel anxious. In this case, the anxiety you are feeling was triggered by the memory of the conversation.

Tip #2: Get Out of Your Environment

When an anxiety attack appears, the tendency that many have is to sit and dwell on this panic. When this happens, the anxiety attack deepens because dwelling on this emotion creates a negative spiral that can lead to the breakdown of any installed mental barriers. Get up, go grab some water, or just go outside and take a deep breath. By changing your environment, you’ll be able to potentially break the cycle of the anxiety attack.

Focus on your senses. What are you seeing? What are you smelling? What are you hearing? By focusing on your senses, it takes you away from focusing on the anxiety at hand. By focusing on your senses, it will help you bring your awareness to the present moment.

Tip #3: Use Meditation Techniques To Gain Control

Breathing is one of the most critical components of meditation and it can also help you be able to lessen the ferocity of a panic attack. Pause for a few minutes and focus attention on your breathing patterns. Count 1, 2, 3, 4 in your mind when inhaling. Count 1, 2, 3, 4 when exhaling. Do this as many times as needed. As you do so, you will find your racing thoughts will begin to slow down and eventually. You may even find  a moment of clarity during this exercise!

Tip #4: Remember a Recent Calming Experience

Anxiety attacks tend to become more frequent and more ferocious over time because the mind and the body are training themselves to expect them. Because they are expected, the uncontrolled emotion must become greater to have an impact! If you can, remember a place where you were able to calm yourself down and stay in control. The more recent the memory you have of this calming experience, the more effective it will be. Why? Because just as an anxiety attack can train the mind, so can calming experiences.

Tip #5: Seek Out a Conversation

Just being able to talk about bad things with a trusted loved one who won’t judge you is often enough to break the cycle of a panic attack. Don’t dwell on the bad things because that could initiate another trigger, which would then simply prolong the anxiety you’re experience. Talking helps the mind process information and by processing information, the focus won’t be on the anxiety, but what to do with that anxiety!

Do you have strategies that help you cope with an anxiety attack? Please let a comment with us to share what has helped you so that together we can navigate through anxiety attacks and hopefully eliminate them one day!

Meditation For Anger Management

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Are you the type of person who gets angry at even the little things? Some people are wired to get angry at everything that doesn’t go their way. Anger that is left uncontrolled can lead to many different health maladies that can sometimes even be life threatening. Constant anger can lead to:

  • increased levels of stress
  • ulcers
  • high blood pressure
  • acid reflux
  • joint pain
  • heart issues
  • strokes

Finding a way to be able to control your anger means needing to find a way to forgive the person who has made you angry… and that person is usually yourself. Meditation could be the missing tool that is needed to get your mind into the peaceful state it needs to be in to find that forgiveness.

Meditation Helps You Examine Your Emotions

The primary benefit that you receive from the practice of meditation, no matter how skilled you happen to be at it, is the ability to rationally examine the emotions you’re feeling. As you take deep breaths and quiet your mind, the anger slowly begins to seep away. As you close your eyes, you create an internal barrier against the outside world that so often tries to crush you. You have just yourself and time to look at what is going on

Maybe you’re angry with yourself because you feel like your reputation will suffer because of failure. Maybe you’re upset with someone else because you feel like they betrayed you or failed you in some way. Recognize the reasons behind the emotion and then look at what the impact of what has happened to you really has had. Chances are the impact is minimal and this realization often helps to bring about forgiveness.

Meditation Turns the Negative Into a Positive

Everyone has a genuine want for other people to succeed hidden within their core being. Some people choose to suppress this desire, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is there. As you examine your anger and forgive those that have wronged you, even if that person is yourself, you begin to realize that you want that person to do well. As part of the forgiveness process, you end up having a desire to lift that person up so that they can succeed.

Once you’ve done this, you can turn your internal examination to other aspects of your life. You don’t have to reconcile with someone who has wronged you. You don’t have to put yourself back into a situation where you might get hurt or become angry once again. Just the process of releasing anger can help you achieve better health and emotional stability!

Have you tried meditation to relieve your stored-up anger yet? Don’t let your anger continue to fester so that it creates a decline in your health. Try meditating today to see how far forgiveness can go to reducing your anger levels, making life just a little bit happier.

5 Benfits of Yoga and Meditation

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The practices of yoga and meditation are infiltrating every layer of society in some way, making it difficult to get through a day without reading about them or hearing someone talk about them. If you’re someone who hasn’t yet started these practices, you might be wondering what is so great about them.

Yoga and meditation have been practiced for millennia and that is because many people experience 5 key benefits when doing them. You don’t have to be an expert practitioner to experience these benefits either! So what’s in it for you if you decide to pick up yoga and meditation?

#1 – Improvements In Health

Yoga and meditation bring about a harmony within your body that exercise alone simply cannot provide. These practices require you to learn posture techniques, stretching techniques, and the combination has the ability to release hidden stresses. Stress can do amazing things to a human body, from nerve disorders to digestion issues and everything in-between! With regular yoga and mediation, these issues can resolve naturally, without medication.

#2 – Overcome Bad Habits

The reason why people tend to eat high caloric content foods, like processed sweets, candy bars, and other sugary foods, is because they need a coping skill. People can only take so much stress and when they reach their breaking point, they need to find immediate relief. Smoking, drinking, and even drug use occur often because of stress too. Yoga and mediation help to relieve stress in the same ways as these other coping mechanisms do, but in a healthy way.

#3 – Encourage Weight Loss

Let’s be clear for a second, however – yoga and meditation alone won’t help you lose weight if you’re eating 1,000 more calories per day than you should be. Practicing them regularly, however, can help to eliminate cravings that you may have, stop boredom temptations, and improve your overall willpower so that you can defeat those negative decisions once and for all.

#4 – Increase Inner Peace

How many times have you thought something like this: If only I could make another couple thousand dollars at my job, I’d be happy because I’d finally be able to pay all my bills? We define happiness in today’s world by looking at our possessions, the size of our home, or the quality of our vehicles that we drive. Yoga and meditation help to open up another level of contentment in our lives where we can work toward redefining happiness away from the material items and toward things like family, friends, or even good health.

#5 – Increase Wisdom

A common problem that people have is negative self-talk. This negative viewpoint muddles the mind and prevents people from being able to effectively problem-solve a situation. Yoga and mediation help to clear your mind so that when you’ve completed a session, you’ll have a greater focus on any problem that may be at hand.

A Day Visit at Yosemite National Park

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“It is by far the grandest of all of the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” – John Muir

I recently did a day trip to Yosemite National Park. It was a perfect August day. The temperature was at the high 80s. I took Route 120 into the park. My first impression was the park is filled with interesting rock formations. However, no one rock is like another. The park is also full of Ponderosa Pine. The cinnamon-red bark of these pine trees are handsomely marked with irregularly shaped plates separated by dark crevices. Ponderosa pine lives to 300 to 600 years.

I felt my worries from the week melted away simply by being in this beautiful park.

Tenaya Lake

Around lunch time, I arrived at Tenaya Lake. The lake is surrounded by granite domes and forests. The water is blue and clear. I got a sense that I could see every rock in the lake because the water is so clear. When I looked out to the lake, I felt quiet and peaceful. I secretly wished I could sit by the lake for the rest of day. It was around lunch time. Lots of people were picnicking and enjoying their sandwiches by the lake. Quite a few people were swimming in the lake. Of course, almost everyone was taking a picture of the lake using their smartphone. I was very happy to see so many people were enjoying nature and having a good time.

Tuolumne Meadows

The air is pristine and crisp. The area is quiet. The meadow, creeks and surrounding granite mountains are spectacular with remarkable rock formations. Every rock seems to be just at the right place. It is tranquil and peaceful. It was also a good break from the crowds. I spotted two young mule deers with their mother on the meadow. It was an amazing feeling to see three deers up close and personal. It was a highlight of my trip.

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome is a gigantic rock formation situated at the east side of Tuolumne Meadows. The dome is hugged by Tuolumne River and surrounded by Alpine trees. On a sunny day like the day I visited the park, with the blue sky as the backdrop, it is simply a Kodak moment. Lember Dome trail is a moderate to strenuous hike because of its elevation and rock climbing to the top. Once you get to the top of the dome, it will afford you a panorama view of the Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite National Park is truly a magical place. I sincerely hope you have an opportunity to visit this amazing park in the near future. The visit will transform you.

Doctors Are Asking Their Patients to Say Om

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Many people want to learn how to meditate because of the numerous health benefits that it promises. If you suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, pain, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches and other ailments you are a good candidate for meditation. While meditation does not promise to cure you of all your health issues, it can certainly help in coping with it better.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. These practices include meditation, yoga, acupuncture and other types of mind-body-practices. Meditation programs are increasingly showing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Doctors are recommending meditation to their patients as an adjunct to conventional drugs and therapies.

They emphasize that it should be use for symptom management, not to cure or treat disease. It is still very important to take your presciption drugs and see your doctors. Many experts say meditation is more likely to treat medical conditions successfully when it is used in conjunction with conventional therapies.

If one of your goals is to improve your health, you should give meditation a try.

5 ways to improve your brain

You know the saying, if you don’t use it, you will lose it. This is so true for the functioning of our brain. The brain is like a muscle. If you don’t give it regular exercise, it will eventually atrophy. Below are 6 ways you can keep your brain in top shape.

1. Minimize television watching.
Watching TV is a passive activity for most people. The average adult watches way too much TV. Since the health of your brain is largely determined by how much you actively use it, watching too much television can therefore have a detrimental effect on the health of the brain.

2. Exercise. Exercise is great for relieving stress and making us feel better. Exercise also increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost.

3. Google often. When you search the Internet, you engage key centers in your brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. And these few clicks may be more mentally stimulating than reading, say UCLA scientists. Their studies found that Internet searching uses neural circuitry that’s not activated during reading–but only in people with prior Internet experience. MRI results showed almost 3 times more brain activity in regular Internet searchers than in first-timers, suggesting that repeated Googling can be a great way to build cognitive strength over time.

4. Writing. Writing is good for your mind in a number of ways. It is a way to tell your memory what is important, so you’ll recall things more easily in the future. It is a way to clarify your thinking. It is a way to exercise your creativity and analytical ability. Diaries, idea-journals, poetry, note-taking and story-writing are all ways to use writing to boost your brain power.

5. Meditation. Since this is a meditation blog, I need to mention the positive effects meditation has on the brain. Emerging research suggests participation in a mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.

7 steps to mindful eating

Yesterday, millions of Americans had a Thanksgiving meal. Most of us tend to overeat during Thanksgiving. This is perfectly acceptable since it is a time of celebration and sharing good food with friends and family. What can be troubling to our health is when we overeat on a regular basis. We all know of the obesity problem in America. In a few years, half of Americans will be considered overweight. One of the ways to combat overeating is to be more mindful during your meal. Here are some practical steps that you can follow to be a mindful eater.

1. Determine if you are hungry before you eat.

I used to eat even when I was not hungry. I still do this sometimes but I try to refrain myself. I used to have three big meals each day. Lately I realized that I could do fine on two small meals and one big meal. For me, breakfast and dinner are my small meals of the day while lunch is my big meal. You should listen to your body and eat only when you are hungry.

2. Appreciate your food.

As Americans, we have more privileges than most people in the world. Most of us take eating for granted. Very few of us know how it feels like to go to bed hungry. We also take for granted the great amount of food diversity that we see in the restaurants and in the supermarkets. So next time when you are about to take the first bite of your meal, take a minute to really be grateful for food that you are about to have.

3. Eat alone.

When you eat alone, you can become more mindful of how much you are eating. When we eat with others, we have a tendency to eat more than we should because of peer pressure or because we are not aware of what we are doing. Eating alone is something that I recommend you do once in a while. It will give you a deeper appreciation for the pleasure of eating that we can sometimes forget when we are with others.

4. Eat slowly.

My father was a fast eater. I don’t think he ever chewed his food but swallowed it. It was always a race to see how quickly he could finish his meal. I always told him to slow down but he just didn’t listen. I tend to eat slowly. My meals can take up to an hour sometimes. There are many reasons why you should eat slowly. First, you will enjoy your meal more. Secondly, your body will signal you when you are full more accurately if you slow down. Be aware of every bite you take.

5. Eat healthy.

We live in a fast food nation. The food that we eat greatly affects our body and mind. Part of being a mindful eater is knowing what you are putting in your body. I know that eating fast food can be very tempting because of the cost and convenience factors. But once in a while, you should consider healthy alternatives besides eating in restaurants. An even better idea is to cook a healthy meal at home. Not only you will enjoy it more, but it will be healthier and less expensive than eating out. I also recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables since they are the healthiest things we can eat.

6. Eat less.

I used to overeat all the time. This made me feel bloated and heavy. I definitely did not enjoy the feelings of being so full. It actually makes it hard to meditate when you are full. My recommendation is to eat until you are 80% full. Two things will happen when you do this. First, you will enjoy your meal more. When we overeat, we don’t enjoy the meal as much. Secondly, we feel better. Eating requires energy. When we stop eating, the body is at rest.

7. Go on a fast.

If you want to have a spiritual experience, go on a fast. Fasting has occurred in every faith and has been used as a method of transformation and healing since recorded history. When you fast you will get more in touch with yourself and your body. It is an effective way to clear the mind and get you closer to higher spiritual powers. Fasting is also a great way to cleanse toxins out of your body. If you plan to abstain from food for longer than a few days, you should do it under medical supervision.

Meditation can relieve pain

There is a new study published in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience that suggests meditation can reduce a person’s sensitivity to pain. What is fascinating about this study is that it claims you don’t have to meditate for years or months to get these benefits.

In the study, researchers mildly burned 15 men and women in a lab on two separate occasions, before and after the volunteers attended four 20-minute meditation training sessions over the course of four days. During the second go-round, when the participants were instructed to meditate, they rated the exact same pain stimulus — a 120-degree heat on their calves — as being 57 percent less unpleasant and 40 percent less intense, on average.

The reduction in pain ratings was substantially greater than those seen in similar studies involving placebo pills, hypnosis, and even morphine and other painkilling drugs.

Meditation has many health benefits including helping a person to heal faster from an injury or disease. I believe that we should seek alternative ways of healing our bodies besides the conventional methods of medication and surgery. As a society, we are too dependent on drugs and doctors to relieve our pain. Your body has a wisdom all of its own if you would only listen to it.

Source: Daily Mail

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