summer blues

The Importance of Stillness

Many of us, mistakenly, think that we are much more productive if we are constantly doing something. That doing something and getting things done means that we have accomplished something and that this is the key to true success. Although there is some truth to this, constantly doing something is NOT the key to our success nor productivity.

 

Believe it or not, the real key to success and productivity is being able to balance doing with stillness.

 

And why is stillness so important?

  1. Stillness is a time to relax your mind and body. By constantly doing non-stop, you are stressing your mind and body, unnecessarily. That, in the long run, will wear you out. This kind of exhaustion will lead you to frustration, anger or resentment.

Instead, when you give your mind and body a moment to relax, it is in this moment that both are recharging its batteries so that you can be more productive.

 

As your mind and body are recharging….

  1. Stillness allows you to get into a state of meditation. When you can quiet your mind of all the worries and concerns of the world, it is then that you can put yourself in a state of meditation.

It is in a state of meditation that you can sometimes get the answers to the questions you have been asking. It is in a state of meditation that you get your great ideas. It is in a state of meditation that you can heighten your senses, allowing you to enjoy the present moment.

 

Because of all this….

  1. Stillness allows you to transition to your higher self. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the everyday petty things, this is when we disengage from our higher self.

When we disengage from our higher self, this is when we react rather than respond to situations. This is when we forget who we are, forget our potential, forget our dreams and drown ourselves in a sea of worries, anxiety, problems and frustration- none of which we were designed to experience on a consistent basis.

 

It is very important to always return to our higher self. Our higher self is love, happiness and powerful.

 

Because stillness allows us to return to our higher self, we have the following effect…

  1. Stillness returns us to a place of joy. Whether we realize it or not, joy exists in the present moment. I have learned, from personal experience, that when we wait for a future event in order to be happy, we feel misery in the present moment, thus robbing our joy. When we keep thinking about a past event in order to feel happy, it reminds us of what we don’t have anymore, thus robbing our joy.

 

This is why joy can only truly be experienced in the present moment. Stillness returns us to joy by quieting our mind, which takes us to a meditative state, which allows us to transition to our higher self, which expands our awareness to the now. Because now is all we have.

 

Because of all that stillness can do for us, it’s important to schedule time for stillness every day. This is NOT a luxury; it is a necessity for your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.


Aura Elena Martinez is a Wellness and Life Coach, Blogger and Writer, owner and founder of Live to the Max™/Viva al máximo™, who encourages others to live their fullest in every way, the way they are meant to be.

To be inspired or to contact Aura, visit http://www.auraemartinez.com/ or you can follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/AuraEMartinez, you can also follow her online radio show at https://blogtalkradio.com/AuraEMartinez  or you can follow on Instagram @AuraEMartinez.

3 Steps to Successful Stress Management

 

Stressed woman

You can cope with stress if you have the right tools. Image by africa

Previously I talked about “The Crippling Effect of Stress on Your Organs”. We discussed the negative physical effects caused by stress ranging from heart problems to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Managing stress is all about taking charge of your life and your attitude towards dealing with problems.

Today we are going to look at the 3 steps that will help you manage and even overcome stress so that you don’t have to worry about the damage that stress can do to your body.

Step 1: Identify Source of Stress

Young woman pondering

The first step is successfully identifying the source of your stress.
photo by stock images

Let’s face it; identifying the source of stress in our lives is easier said than done. We can easily overlook our own negative behaviour such as stress-inducing thoughts and negative attitudes. Continue reading

Make Fear Your Friend to Achieve Your Goals

Fear – we all hate that feeling of being uncomfortable and scared. Fear also shows up in anxiety, overwhelm , feeling stuck, and self-doubt. Fear has many masks.

However it shows up for you, fear stops you from taking action to go to the next level in your life. As a result, you can’t live in your highest version of yourself and be happier.

Let me use this analogy to help you understand conceptually how you may be allowing fear to keep you playing small.

If you look at a spaceship, it needs to have to enough momentum to escape the gravitational force field in order to enter space. Once the rocket enters space, then it’s smooth gliding from there and the view is phenomenal, isn’t it?

Now imagine that YOU are the spaceship and the gravitational force field is your comfort zone, and outside of your comfort zone is fear. You need to have enough momentum and energy to take yourself past this force field in order to really get to where you need to get to when it comes to achieving your goals – whether that’s making new friends, trying a new hobby, changing your relationship with food, achieving your dream body, starting a new business or letting go of a toxic relationship.

comfortzone

Once you achieve your goal, you experience a state of feeling exhilarated, powerful, and proud of yourself, amongst other amazing feelings. It’s truly incredible how the Universe really does provide you the supports you need to help you get to where you want to go, when you are truly opened to it.

Whatever your “goal” is, let yourself make friends with fear, because without it, your goals are not challenging you enough to get you into your Highest Self. So making friends with fear is about leaning into the resistance, rather than avoiding or fighting it.

Here’s an example. My client Kate (note: name is changed to maintain confidentiality) came to see me because she wants to lose weight and feels frustrated with not achieving this goal. She has been following a very structured eating plan. However, her approach to her relationship with food has her constantly obsessed with it- from the amount of time she has to take planning and prepping so that she eats the perfect amount of protein, carbs, fats down to the measurement, to thinking about the next meal she eats, to figuring out how to sneak in that cupcake and then work out extra hard so she can eat it, to overindulging at parties at the bread and dessert table, to obsessing over the number on the scale and getting frustrated that the results are not happening fast enough…she cannot stop obsessing about food, and it completely controls her life. She’s constantly thinking or talking about losing weight to her friends and family.

What I invite Kate to do next is to learn to let go of control in her relationship with food. The very aspect that keeps her tight and controlled is the same aspect that is keeping her playing small and “falsely safe”. Letting go of control of course brings up extreme amount of discomfort and fear. “If I let go of being so structured and controlling with food, how will I ever lose weight?!” This does not make sense to Kate because her fear makes her believe that letting go emotionally and mentally is equivalent of letting herself go physically.  In fact, this is not true.

Kate needs the “momentum” of learning to face her fear and work through it, which is where I come in to support and guide her with strategies so that she can pierce past the boundaries of her comfort zone (that is, how she was going into relationship with food).

After only working with Kate for a few sessions and having her understand the negative impact control had over her in mind, body and spirit, and learning tools to approach her relationship with food and her body in a more loving, gentle way, she started to lose the weight. Today, Kate has lost her goal weight and more importantly, speaks to herself kindly and feels at peace in her relationship with food. She is “soaring” and feeling free! Yay Kate!

If you’re inspired and resonate with Kate’s story, I’d love to support you as a Self-Love IMG_0909Transformational Coach!

Go ahead and book in a complimentary strategy session with me now to see how I can best help you achieve your goals! I’d absolutely love to!🙂

Rosalyn Fung, M.Sc., is the Founder of Holistic Body Love. You can learn more about her on her website here.

sleeping tiger

How to Naturally Get a Good Night’s Sleep to Reduce Anxiety

Sleep is very important when it comes to health and productivity. However, not many people are able to enjoy a good night’s sleep and this could lead to serious cases of anxiety, stress and even mental breakdown. Research has shown that everyone needs to enjoy not only the right amount of time in sleep but also to do it qualitatively.

Unfortunately, many people today can’t easily fall asleep without taking sleep pills or drugs. The good news however is that each one of us can enjoy peaceful sleep naturally. This article will discuss some natural ways to help you get a good night’s sleep to help reduce anxiety.

Control the amount of light you are exposed to prior to bedtime

Exposure to light normally triggers the production of melatonin hormone which helps in the regulation of sleep-wake cycles. This hormone is normally secreted by the brain when it’s dark thus helping you to sleep.

When the light is bright, the brain produces less melatonin which makes you more alert. As such, maintaining dimmer lighting in your bedroom could naturally help you sleep peacefully and thus reduce anxiety. It will also be good to avoid watching television until bedtime as this could be disruptive to your sleep.

Try some yoga

Yoga has been found to be helpful when it comes to the calming of the mind and body. When the body is stressed due to the strenuous activities of the day, sleeping peacefully becomes an uphill task. However, by practicing yoga before bedtime, you will be able to relieve the mind and  thus helping you to sleep calmly. This is a natural thing and works effectively well.

Check what you eat especially at night

Your eating habits have a direct relation with how you sleep at night. Not only should you watch what you eat at night but also at daytime as this plays a major role in the way your body reacts or responds. You should avoid things such as nicotine and caffeine, avoid eating too much at night and if possible, eat a few hours before going to bed.

An early meal is encouraged and this should not contain acidic and spicy foods as these could cause heartburn and stomach trouble keeping you awake or giving you troubled sleep. Energy drinks should also be avoided at night as too much of the same will cause you to wake up thus disrupting your sleep cycle.

Create the right sleeping environment

The environment you sleep in will play an important role in determining whether your sleep will, be restful or troubled. In addition to lighting, you should try to eliminate unnecessary noise and keep your room cool.

Sleeping environments that are too cold or too hot could greatly interfere with your sleep thus denying you the opportunity to enjoy quality time. No matter how many hours you sleep, your body and mind will still not have rested if you spend most of this time tossing and turning in bed.

Sleep on a good bed

Everything else you do will fail if you do not have the right bed to sleep on. Your mattress should be comfortable and supportive. As such, it is good to have a mattress with the best firmness so as to support the spinal cord and the entire body. You may need to add a nice pillow and mattress topper as these will help improve the support on your head and body respectively. Additionally, your bedding should be made of breathable material and offer enough space for you to stretch comfortably as you sleep.

With these few tips, you can deal with cases of insomnia and get a good night’s sleep to reduce anxiety. We all need relaxed sleep if we are to enjoy good mental, emotional and physical health. Try these methods and enjoy great results.


Molly Garner is a freelance writer at MemoryFoamMattressGuide.com . She also writes about herbal and mental health and shares amazing tips to maintain and rebuild good health. Molly’s mission is to help people get energized and achieve healthy lives so they can concentrate on the important things in life.

BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND COPING

What’s It Like to Have Body Image Issues?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

People who have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) develop an obsession over some perceived or imaginary flaw in their physical appearance.

BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND COPINGThey mistakenly believe they are deformed and monstrous. This delusion can literally ruin their lives. Michael Jackson was a famous person who had it.  After therapy a person may know that they are not disfigured and monstrous. In fact, they can actually know that they are very pretty from all the compliments that they get. Even then, they may sometimes avoid mirrors, worry about lighting, and even fall back into the thought that, “Oh my god, they see it, they all see it, and they’re disgusted.”

How does it feel to have body image issues?

body image issues

Tanya Brooks 16 – High School Student

“To me it feels like I’m missing out on my own life. Like I’m missing quite a lot of what my peers are enjoying to the full; right in front of me and all around. Wherever I go, I see their slender, beautiful and fit bodies in their perfect coordinated outfits, with casual smiles all over their young and delighted faces and awfully perfect skin.”

Bart van Kippered 21 – Gamer

“Even though I stay in due to the pressure I feel when facing the world and its people, Facebook is there to remind me how all these constructed lives are cheerful and unconcerned, while I’m the exact opposite.

To me, it means I don’t go hang out with friends, I don’t go to the beach in the summer, and I never meet new people except through internet. I’m trapped in my own body. I simply cannot make myself do such things and let myself be exposed to the surroundings.”

Fiona Wild 28 –Volunteer Fire Fighter

“I get depressed every time I glance at my reflection in a mirror or walk by a shop window and get a glint of my own image. I simply don’t want to glance down at my body by accident. I can’t bear to look at myself and accept how awful I feel about my appearance.

When I am in intimate with my husband, it is never without having my self-hatred pound on me the entire time; every single time. I don’t get joy out of activities other people tend to enjoy. I therefore avoid them because I simply can’t handle them. I feel mortified and want no one else to see what I’m seeing when I look in a mirror.”

Do intelligent people worry about body image?

intelligent guy with body image issues

Intelligent people keenly understand the impact that their physical presentation can have on their lives. From an early age, we all realize that people who look a certain way tend to get treated differently in certain situations. You don’t believe this to be a fact? Read Teachers Give Better Grades to More Attractive Students: Study.
As one gets older, it becomes more apparent that, say, a boy looks athletic and strong will be less likely to be bullied. A girl with nice skin, straight teeth and a slender body is more likely to be popular amongst her peers. A teen with piercings and tattoos may not be taken seriously by the coach of the debate team.

Anyone who thinks the surface is an illusion is wrong. It’s true that we should strive to pay less attention to surface presentation, but we also cannot ignore its effects.

I am no Einstein, but yes, I would consider myself an intelligent person. I do loathe what the world has become: a place where image is considered more important than humanity. I do however realize that if I presented myself without concern to the way I appeared to others, I might not have an easy time getting a job, a life partner, or have my grievances heard in court.

The danger is when you start obsessing about it. Forgetting who you are and relegating yourself to be just a body, when actually your body is just a vehicle that carries who you are.you are a soul

How do I make my parents understand my body image issues?

how do i tell my parents

The lack of support from parents is a complex issue. You should however consider involving your doctor too. He should be able to help you get through to them if you ask him to explain to them the impact and distress your condition is causing you.

It’s possible that you your body is perfectly OK. That doesn’t mean that you’re not unhappy about what you perceive about your body. If that’s the case, your doctor will certainly be able to help.

Sometimes the problem has practical aspects too. If you’re actually overweight for example, and you are still living with your parents, then you’re probably expected to eat whatever meals and snacks they provide, which may not be a healthy diet.  Your doctor can advise them about improving their diet or at least be more conscious to your health needs.

Where can I get help for body image issues?

One may read 5 Ways to Deal With Body Image Issues or  10 Steps to Positive Body Image to better understand where they need to be to start recovery. Although helpful, you cannot just read these articles and switch off your Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) button. Go talk to a therapist. If you are still living with your parents, talk to them and help them understand what you are going through.

Here is a helpful organization that deals with body image issues; take action to today!

USA – Association and Depression Association of America

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Outside USA

http://treatment.adaa.org/finding-help/advanced-search/?ShowAdvanced=Y


 

Physical and mental health

Physical Fitness & Mental Health Connection for the Best You

It is a known fact that daily exercise is good for the body, but the recently discovered connection between physical and mental health might prove that exercise can be good for the mind as well.

Research has shown that exercise can help combat against mental ailments such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression. Likewise, exercise can help you:

  • sleep better,
  • improve your memory retention, and
  • improve your overall mood.

Although there is no set age to start becoming more physically active, it is best to engage in exercise and other physical activities as early as in your teens, according to medcarehealth.com.

After all, starting out early can help you grow and mature with a mind and a body that is ready for anything.

But, before I delve deep into the connection between mental and physical health, let’s start with a simple question:

What is health?

health lab mouseAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person who is free from disease or disability is not immediately considered healthy. Instead, you must demonstrate physical, mental, and social well-being in order to be considered truly healthy.

Great, but how are those connected?

The Canadian Mental Health Association lists 3 concrete associations that demonstrate the connection between physical and mental well-being:

  1. Poor mental health increases the risk for chronic physical conditions.
  2. Patients suffering from serious mental ailments are at a greater risk of suffering from chronic physical conditions.
  3. Finally, people suffering from chronic physical conditions might also develop mental illnesses in the future.

These associations show that there is indeed a connection between physical and mental health.

Though there might not be a proven way to prevent these chronic illnesses from developing, acknowledging the relationship between your mind and body can help you minimize potential risks.

What benefits can you reap from exercise?

exercise-ballThe primary reason why you might choose to engage in more physical activities is to trim your waistline or to lose some pounds. However, exercise can provide you with so much more.

In a study that aimed to answer the question:” how does physical health affect mental health?”, researchers discovered that elderly adults who engage in regular exercise and are physically fit tend to possess much larger hippocampi than other people in their age group.

Wait, what is hippocampi?

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for your spatial memory. Maintaining this part of your brain even in your older years gives you a great advantage.

Does mental health affect physical ability?

Meanwhile, in a study conducted by researchers at the Bangor University in Wales, it was discovered that people who engaged in mentally draining activities before performing difficult exercise tests reached exhaustion much faster than those who were mentally relaxed prior to performing the physical task.

This study shows that one of the benefits of nurturing your mental well-being can also affect your physical strength and endurance.

Can exercise combat depression?

anxietyAccording to Jane Collingwood, author of The Relationship between Physical and Mental Health, those individuals suffering from depression often have worse physical health than those who are mentally healthy.

Likewise, patients suffering from chronic physical diseases are also likely to suffer from depression.

Just a little exercise goes a long way

Exercise, even in moderation, can greatly improve both the mental well-being and physical health of those suffering from depression.

Physical activity can help encourage positive changes in your brain such as a surge of endorphin or “feel good hormones”.

Regular exercise can also help distract you from any destructive or negative thoughts and allow you to find your inner peace.

Exercise relieves anxiety

While you might think that the physical benefits that you reap from exercise are the things that make you feel good, its effect on your mind are probably the more likely reason for your happy feelings.

Exercises such as weight training can ease the suffering of people who are living with anxiety by elevating their mood and reducing their feelings of irritability.

Remember: Even moderate daily exercise can contribute to improved long-term mental health.

Reaping the benefits of exercise

Benefits of exercise

photo by zirconicusso

As previously stated, you will not need to block off your entire day just to reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise. You will see a difference in 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

Additionally, while it might take months before you see any significant physical changes after exercise, the mental boost that it can provide is almost instantaneous (Weir, 2011).

For this reason, it would be more beneficial if you learn to focus on how good you actually feel after your workout than to simply look for the physical rewards.

This is particularly important for patients who are suffering from stress or mild cases of depression and anxiety since focusing too much on your physical appearance would only worsen your condition.

Don’t delay another day: simple exercises to get started

One of the easiest ways to sneak some physical activities into your busy schedule is by taking a quick walk to or from your office. Exercise can enable your brain to better manage your stress levels.

The Key Takeaway: Sweating it out even from a brisk walk can help relieve you of your physical pain as well as make you feel more at peace.

Another easy way to get an energy boost is by hopping on a treadmill, jumping on a rebounder trampoline, or lifting a few weights at home or at the gym.

Regardless of your age, weight, or gender, all you really need is the motivation and determination to keep moving.

Exercise and mental health – the undeniable bond

There is a significant amount of proof that supports the connection between physical and mental health. Physically fit individuals are better able to handle stressful situations and those who are mentally healthy are able to handle more difficult physical tasks.

Therefore, it is important to nurture both your physical and mental health in order to reap all possible benefits for your mind and your body.

Want more great health information?

Visit the Rebounder Zone blog to learn more about how you can improve your mental and physical health today.

 

Sources

Breene, S. (2013). 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise
Collingwood, J. (2016). The Relationship between Mental and Physical. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-relationship-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Connection between Mental and Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-health/connection-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Grohol, J.Psy.D (2009).The Connection between Mental & Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/25/the-connection-between-mental-physical-health/
N.A. (2014). 5 Ways Physical Health Impacts Mental Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://fitstar.com/5-ways-physical-health-impacts-mental-health/
N.A. (2016). Research Shows Connection between Mental Health and Physical Fitness. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.medcarehealth.com/health-problems-prevention/research-shows-connection-between-mental-health-and-physical-fitness-2/
Robinson, L., Segal, J. Ph.D., & Smith, M. M.A. (2016). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise:The Exercise Prescription for Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and More. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm
Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. Vol 42, No. 11. P.48. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

Leonard Parker is a health blogger and owner of the eCommerce store, RebounderZone.com. Rebounder Zone offers rebounder trampolines, health equipment, and health information to mature adults.

Leonard is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in a number of roles as a consultant and digital marketing specialist. Rebounder Zone was started because Leonard saw first hand how exercise and healthy living can change lives, and he wants to help others experience this fantastic feeling, too. For any inquiries, please contact Leonard at leonard(at)rebounderzone.com.