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Meditation may relieve fatigue and depression in multiple sclerosis patients

A new study discovered that mindfulness meditation could help patients with multiple sclerosis who often suffer from depression and anxiety.

Researchers randomly selected 150 patients to take part in an eight-week meditation program based on mindfulness or receive regular medical care. Patients in the training program were asked to focus on mental exercises that were intended to develop non-judgmental awareness of the current moment, or mindfulness.

The training was held every day for about two and a half hours. One all-day retreat and 40 minutes a day of homework assignments were also included in the course.

The patients who were selected in the meditation program reported lower levels of fatigue and depression than those receiving the standard medical care.

This study is more evidence that meditation can be used in place of drugs in some instances.

Source: BusinessWeek

The benefits of making time in your day for exercise

Like meditation, there are so many benefits to exercise. If you plan to live a happy and healthy life, I highly recommend you incorporate daily exercise into your life. Here are 5 reasons to exercise:

1. Reduce stress levels. Stress is to blame for many health problems in society. It’s also deadly. Exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of stress and make you feel much more relaxed. It’s a great way to unwind and take a break from work and family worries. Even thirty minutes of walking after work can make you feel ten times better than when you left the office.

2. Burn excess calories that you’ve consumed over the course of the day. Many people overeat every day hence the obesity epidemic going around. By taking some exercise every day you immediately reduce your chances of becoming obese. If you’re already overweight a dose of daily exercise can help you shed those excess kilograms and make you feel more positive about your body.

3. Improve your sleeping patterns by getting more quality sleep. Exercise uses up energy and it makes you feel energized. It also allows for a good nights’ sleep. It will be much easier to fall asleep and sleep through the night if you’ve managed to fit in some exercise to your day. You’ll be able to train your body to sleep a certain amount of hours which will give you the stamina to work and exercise at your best.

4. Relax by having some time to do something for you. Most people use up their time doing things for others. At work it’s for their boss. At home it’s for their families and loved ones. Exercise gives you the time to do something for yourself which is just as important as doing things for others. No one is going to take better care of you than you can of yourself. Exercise is all about you, make the most of it.

5. Food tastes better after a good workout. Food is supposed to be enjoyed but if you’re always eating and not taking the time to burn off the food and give your body a chance to go hungry, your meals won’t taste the same. Making the time to exercise every day helps you burn calories and feel hungry. During hunger your meals will be much tastier and probably even healthier than if you miss a workout.

5 ways to deal with seasonal fatigue

Do you feel tired all the time. Well you are not alone. 50% of adults report feeling chronically tired. At least 20% of doctor visits are for relief from fatigue.

“Shorter days, darker skies, colder weather, poor sleep habits, and the stresses that come with the busy holidays and months at the end of the year can leave many people feeling fatigued and depressed at this time of year,” says Dr. Elin Ritchie, a specialist in family alternative medicine. Here are simple ways to fight seasonal fatigue:

1. Get as much (safe) sun exposure as possible.
Open drapes and blinds as soon as you get up to allow sunlight into your home. If you can, take a morning walk. Get as much time outdoors as your schedule and the weather permit. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D in your body and also benefits your mental health.

2. Stick to a reliable sleep schedule as much as possible. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. And make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep – declutter, choose comfortable and comforting linens, and turn off the TV.

3. Eat healthy. Fruits and vegetables provide many healthful benefits and definitely belong in your diet.

4. Find ways to relax. The cooler seasons can be a very stressful time and stress can keep you awake at night. To combat natural levels of stress, find activities that relax you, whether it’s container gardening indoors, meditation or aromatherapy. Relieving stress can help improve sleep patterns.

5. Support your immune system, especially during cold and flu season. Fatigue can lead to illness. New studies show that sleep deprivation has detrimental effects on the immune system. Researchers believe that sleep should be considered a vital part of immune function, as it is clear that sleep and immunity are directly related.

How exercise can put you in a more positive frame of mind

When you are feeling stressed, it might be tempting to start drinking, smoking, binge eating or engaging in other unhealthy activities to relieve the tension. However, this kind of action won’t really improve the way you’re feeling and so you would be better off looking for healthier methods to get into a more positive frame of mind. The most obvious way to feel more positive would be to get some exercise. This article talks about how exercise can lift you out of your negative state of mind. I believe a good workout is one of the best ways to beat stress in your life.

Walk this way

In today’s modern society, it appears almost everyone has some levels of stress. If you allow stress to overwhelm you, your health could suffer as could your overall well-being.

One of the simplest things to decrease your stress is to take a walk. I try to take a short walk everyday during work. It makes me feel more relaxed and centered. Walking is a great form of exercise and it does not require and special training or equipment. Just put on a pair of shoes and go. This article talks about how walking can reduce stress.

Meditation reduces the emotional impact of pain

People who meditate regularly find pain less unpleasant because their brains anticipate the pain less, a new study has found. “Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to treat chronic illness such as the pain caused by arthritis,” said Dr Christopher Brown, who conducted the research.

Meditation trains the brain to be more present-focused and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events. This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse.”

We teach in class that one of the benefits of meditation is its ability to reduce or eliminate physical, emmotional, mental and spiritual pains that we experience in life.

Read more from the article.

Meditation can make you healthier

For those looking for ways to relieve stress and live a healthy life, meditation offers cost-effective remedy to stress and stress related issues.

We are becoming so reliant on conventional medical treatments for our ailments. We are too dependent on doctors, drugs and hospitals when we become ill. I am recommending that we also consider alternative options in our quest for better health.

My recommendation for living a healthy and happy life includes:

1. Eat properly
2. Get some exercise
3. Get plenty of sleep and rest
4. Learn to meditate
5. Laugh more

Having trouble sleeping?

I used to have insomnia for a brief period of my life. It began out of nowhere. I was quite perplexed and worried about why I was not able to fall asleep. Like most of you, I started doing my research on the internet looking for answers to my insomnia. I tried all of the seemingly practical tips but I was still having trouble falling asleep. I even went to a doctor but all he wanted to do was give me sleeping pills. I decided to not take any drugs because I did not want to be dependent on them.

I became quite a zombie during the day since I couldn’t focus due to a lack of sleep. The good news is that my insomnia eventually went away. I am not sure what did the trick but I would like to pass on a few things that I learned from my insomnia.

1. Don’t get stressed out because you can’t fall asleep right away. If you can’t fall asleep, lying in bed and relaxing will eventually put you to sleep. We have all had nights when we can’t fall asleep.

2. Avoid external stimulants prior to bedtime. For me, it was to turn off the computer one hour before bedtime. For others, it means staying away from coffee, alcohol, or talking on the phone. Only you know what you do that cause you to not be able to fall asleep.

3. Go to bed and wake up at the same time. Getting on a sleep schedule will train your body when it is time for bed. I know the temptation is strong to sleep late when you go to bed late, but if you have insomnia, it is important to get up at the same time everyday.

4. Start to wind down an hour or two before bed. For some, it might be reading a book, listening to some relaxing music, doing yoga, or meditating. Reading, listening to audiobooks, and meditating always does the trick for me.

5. Create a soothing sleep environment. That usually means a cool and dark room with comfortable pillows. If external sounds interfere with your ability to fall asleep, you can invest in a white noise machine.

These are the things that have worked for me.

Low pain threshold? Here’s why

According to one of the researchers in a study, William Maixner, PhD, DDS, director of the Center for Neurosensory Disorders at the University of North Carolina, when the body is injured, it releases a flood of pain-relieving substances, notably beta endorphins, a natural opioid.

But many women’s bodies release fewer beta endorphins than men’s bodies do, Maixner says. Fewer natural painkillers can translate to more pain for women from the same injury — although, interestingly, women’s threshold for pain gets higher when they’re giving birth.

Read more to find out.

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