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.

4 reasons to be mindful of breathing

Dr. Arnie Kozak wrote a nice article on the importance of being mindfulness of breathing. It is really important that we pay attention to our breath because it is a powerful barometer of our state of mind.

Here are the four main points that I got from the article.

1. The breath is always with us and always available to you as an object of attention. You can’t forget to bring it with you.

2. Awareness of breathing brings us into the body, and the body lives in the present moment. By focusing on breathing, we come into the body and the wisdom of the present. This helps us to stay connected to the present moment where stress doesn’t live.

3. Every breath we take is colored by our emotional state. Paying attention to breathing on a regular basis provides an early warning system to alert us when we move into problematic emotional states. By making breathing our friend we will know where we are in our emotional landscape at any given moment.

4. Breathing teaches us directly the process of becoming and dissolving. This arising and releasing can serve as a metaphor for other experiences, such as difficult emotions that also become and dissolve.

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.

Meditation can improve mental and physical health

Once in a while I find a great article that explains meditation in a simple way. Dr. Lisa Keating does a fine job on why meditation can improve mental and physical health. Some excerpts from the article:

Typically, people begin practicing meditation much like I did: Looking for more emotional balance, to cope with illness, or to enhance overall health and well-being. Some people are searching for how to feel “more present” or “awakened” in life.

While it may sound too simple to be true, just 20 minutes of meditation a day is linked to dramatic improvements in emotional and physical health.

Brain scans are beginning to show that meditation improves brain functioning. Research indicates that those who practice meditation regularly heal quicker from illnesses and surgeries, improve concentration, and feel calmer and happier.

7 steps to nurturing your inner self

If you plan to live a happy and healthy life, you need to nurture your body, mind and spirit. If you neglect these three things, you will suffer negative consequences such as unhappiness and depression. As you start to take better care of yourself you will find that you have greater energy, feel more relaxed and enjoy life much more. Here are 7 ways to nurture your inner self:

1. Send loving messages to yourself. Tell yourself, “I love you and appreciate who you are.”

2. Take good care of yourself. Eat right and get plenty of rest, sleep, fresh air and exercise. Keep yourself healthy and fit.

3. Do nice things for yourself. Get into the habit of doing special things for yourself.

4. Set healthy boundaries with others. Let people know what you want and don’t want. Tell them what’s okay for you and what’s not.

5. Become your own advocate. If someone is disrespectful or hurtful to you, speak up. Tell them you don’t want to be spoken to that way.

6. Believe in yourself. Become your strongest supporter, coach and cheerleader.

7. Be compassionate with yourself. Have compassion for your humanity and your flaws. You’re human and you’re going to make mistakes. Look at yourself through the eyes of a loving parent; don’t punish or criticize yourself. Reassure yourself. Comfort yourself. Accept yourself unconditionally.

Meditation is simple

Meditation appears to be so simple. All you do is sit down and try to quiet the mind for a few minutes. Yet most people get frustrated and give up so quickly. If only they stick to meditation a bit longer, they will be able to see some tangible results from meditation such as lower stress and better concentration. Below are some tips to make meditation easier:

1. Make sure you know what you want from your practice. For starters, take a look at why you’re practicing meditation.

2. Don’t take it too seriously.
Meditation in everyday life is not a religion, so don’t approach it as one. Don’t take it too seriously and try to keep your sense of humor.

3. There’s no such thing as success or failure in meditation. Don’t judge yourself as a success or failure at meditation — there’s no such thing.

4. Keep it simple. Try to commit to practicing twice a day, for a few minutes at a time, for a specific number of days. It doesn’t matter which regimen you choose; what matters is that you choose one that you can manage in your daily life and stick with it.

5. Find a buddy. If possible, enlist someone to join you in this experiment. You don’t need to practice in the same room at the same time as your buddy but it’s helpful to check in with someone else when you start out so you have a sounding board and can help each other stay on track.

6. Have some fun with it. Before you sit down to meditate, spend a few minutes doing a simple physical or playful activity that you enjoy.

7. Take it off the cushion and into your life. Once a day, do something mindfully where you’re aware of all of your senses while you do it — whether it’s opening a door, putting on your socks, or drinking a warm cup of coffee.

Bring more happiness into your life

Happiness is a state of mind that you can cultivate. Here are 5 ways to turn on your happiness way up:

1. Find a Happiness Buddy: The more you and your buddy practice choosing happiness, the more it becomes ingrained in your neural pathways.

2. Stop Worrying and Go to Gratitude:
here is a simple antidote to worry, and that is gratitude. At the first sign of worry, list off and recreate in your mind three things that you are grateful for in your life.

3. The Power of Perspective:
There is great power, presence and aliveness in noticing the present moment and how you are feeling right now. By becoming the “watcher” of your emotions, rather than the brunt of them, you can decide, even in tough situations, the perspective you choose to adopt/transmit.

4. Celebrate the Little Things:
Every day is a new chance to notice, honor and savor the little things in life.

5. Transmit Your Happiness to Others: When you are transmitting waves of happiness, these ripple out and influence others more than you know. Think of yourself as a catalyst of positivity for those around you.

5 steps to achieve a state of mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that we practice throughout the day. It is being fully aware of the present moment. When a negative thought pops in your mind, you should immediately replace it with a positive thought. If you practice mindfulness correctly, you will actually be gaining energy throughout the day instead of being completely drained by the end of the day.

This article talks about 5 steps you can implement to be more mindful. To begin mindfulness meditation, try these steps:

1. State your purpose. Ask yourself why you want to practice mindfulness. As you continue practicing, your intention may evolve, extending the mindful approach to other aspects of your life.

2. Make a commitment, even a small one. Decide to give over 20 minutes each day for the next two months to practicing mindfulness meditation.

3. Train your mind. Each day when you meditate, you will be training your mind to pay attention in an accepting way. Many people are surprised at how hard it is to pay attention. When you’re not paying attention, you don’t even feel your breath.

4. Extend your mindful actions. Once you become comfortable with the practice, bring mindfulness into your daily life. Take time to appreciate the experience of simple actions, such as washing dishes, eating a meal or taking a walk.

5. Find a teacher. It helps to have guidance, as you would in a yoga or spinning class.

8 Ways Meditation Can Change Your Life

Meditation has changed my life profoundly. After a few months of daily meditation, I started feeling better about myself. I began to smile more. All of the petty things that used to occupy my mind slowly faded away like the morning fog. I had some powerful meditation experiences that convinced me that true happiness exists inside all of us.

When you meditate, you will start to have a new outlook on life. You will notice yourself changing and thinking differently. Ed and Deb Shapiro talks about 8 ways meditation can change 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.

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