Today’s lifestyle keeps most of us at high-speed, heavily caffeinated, sleepless creatures with too much to do and not enough time. However, this is not how the human body is meant to work! The end result is: high stress levels, frustration, lack of sleep & weight gain (or loss).
There’s many ways to make sure stress doesn’t get the best of you and that’s what I’ll share with you today.
Find an activity that truly relaxes you but that has no end-goal or requires energy, effort and, preparation from you. For example, if you havea TV series you like to watch, that’s one hour that you can have to sit back and relax. Other activities could be taking a bubble bath, watching sunsets, talking with a friend over the phone or simply sitting down to meditate for a few minutes.
Plan Me-Time and Vacation Days. You might only be able to do these once every two weeks or once a month but you should try to identify days in your calendar where you can let go, put a pause on your daily life and do something you want to do. Do something that allows you to disconnect. Make sure that you don’t have big or important commitments the day after so that you can truly relax. On that day, go to the movies, to the beach, a mall, a museum, see a play or go someplace you’ve wanted to visit for a long time.
Learn to let go! Sometimes we get stressed out for things that make absolutely no sense to be stressed about. Learn to notice when you’re getting stressed out for things that don’t matter or that aren’t worth the energy and the stress.
Stay organized always. If you stay organized at all times you are less likely to have situations or scenarios that will make you stressful. The best way to feel at ease about all your responsibilities and commitments is to stay on top of everything by keeping a schedule of it all.
Living with depression can be a challenge that many of us have had to face at some point in life or have seen someone else face. Many people become frustrated and desperate to overcome depression, especially if they have family members or significant others that know about their situation. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your brain can get sick, it can stop functioning properly and that’s okay because we are not perfect.
Getting frustrated with yourself solves nothing and in fact you’re just bullying yourself and your system. When you get sick with the flu, fracture a bone or get any other type of physical injury, you don’t get mad at yourself, do you? You might get mad at the circumstance or sad over the end result but you simply nurse yourself back to health with caution and treatment. It’s the same with mental illnesses! And, guess what? Depression is no different, you need to be patient with yourself, understand your triggers, your responses and make the best out of the tools you have at hand.
Never stop fighting, however, don’t fight with yourself or your closed ones, fight to rise above your depression instead. Don’t be aggressively optimistic, you don’t need that, staying within reality will help you accept it and work around it. When you’re living with depression, it’s better to see things the way they are and figure what’s the best you can do with them than hold on to hopes that won’t fix your issues.
Somedays, it will be so easy it’s almost as if the depression was gone and other days you might feel like you have to push through an indestructible, thick brick wall. It’s all part of the process and it takes time which is why you have to be gentle and patient with your mind, soul and spirit.
Express your feelings as delicately and often as you can to your family or the people you trust most, don’t stay all alone fighting, always make sure you have someone even if that someone is just your therapist and your prescription bottle. Somedays depression might win and somedays your willpower will but overall, what’s important is that you fulfil your goals in life, that even while you’re living with depression, you manage to understand and hold onto the things that make your life worthwhile.
Procrastination has been found to actually be a complex psychological behavior where the person puts off tasks and makes up excuses until the last minute. Studies show this behavior is linked to serious conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, OCD and, major depression disorders. It is important to have a firm hand against procrastination as it not only affects your productivity but your well-being in general.
Fear of failure and lack of commitment are common reasons for procrastination.Ironically, it has been found that perfectionists are often procrastinators themselves who put off lengthy or difficult tasks behind excuses such as “I’ll take care of this once I have time and can finish it perfectly.” Or “I’ll do this only when I know I can do it right.”
Planning things ahead of time and sticking to a schedule is great way to start. Make sure to add everything that is important and that can’t be overlooked. Planning and keeping a schedule will also help you to settle your priorities correctly, finishing things that are urgent first. It’s also good to plan and schedule things you will be doing just for fun like getaways or dinner dates with your friends and family. Joining your responsibilities with your leisure activities will help you understand that you’re not keeping a schedule just for boring stuff but to have a more organized lifestyle.
Tackle long and difficult tasks little by little. If an upcoming task is too hard or too long to work on it, start off by doing it in parts. Divide the task in short parts that can be taken care of for short periods at a time. For reading assignments or tasks that require research, setting aside 20 minutes of your time to work on them with 5-10 minute breaks in between will help you get things done effectively. Sometimes you might get carried away and even work for a longer period of time.
There are many reasons for procrastination and ways to tackle it effectively. In order to successfully tackle procrastination you must first find the root of your issue and work on ways to overcome itthat give you best results.
Writing is almost as old as time and is a powerful communication tool. Writing can also have strong therapeutic effects on those who practice it regularly. Through writing you can let go of pent up emotions, heal wounds from the past, and forgive people who’ve wronged you or even forgive yourself. However this strategy isn’t a one-time fix, using writing as a therapeutic tool is a long-term process and the benefits of it show with time and persistence.
Making a habit out of writing can start off by writing every day or once a week, it’s recommended that you start off by setting time limits rather than pages or word limits. However, if you find you feel more comfortable using words or pages as your limit, do so. There’s two ways in which you can keep a journal and receive the emotional benefits of the practice: write freely or set themes and goals.
If you decide to write freely, you’ll be writing with the flow by putting on paper whatever comes to your mind first. This is a helpful way to express and relief yourself of thoughts that might be taking up too much of your energy as it is likely that those will be the first things that come to mind when you sit down to write. Alternatively, this method of writing might allow you to write about subjects you haven’t had the opportunity to develop opinions on.
On the other hand, planned writing consists of stablishing specific things you want to talk about for a particular period of time. This type of writing is helpful if you have in mind specific things you want to work on. For example, if there are unresolved childhood issues you’ve been wanting to work on, you can start off by planning writing sessions about your family, what was it like growing up in your first house, what were your feelings in certain events, set a day aside for writing about the people that affected you negatively while growing up and why. Alternatively, write about the good times and the positive influences you had in your childhood. Reading these entries after a long period of time might you find out what you still need to work on and what issues you’ve already resolved. Writing these entries will also help you express and exteriorize emotions you feel you can’t tell anyone about. And if not go get a limousine to cheer you up, do something fun..
Do you have a hyperactive or hypersensitive child that never seems to be at ease no matter what you do? Modern technology today has brought us many advances and improved daily life greatly, but it has also been proven that it overstimulates children. Add to that a passive lifestyle and not the best choice in foods and you have anxious, hyperactive and irritable children up to no good every day. You might find that even by improving your kid’s diet and daily activity they still have more energy than what they can handle. Meditation equips these kids with the tools they need to find peace, focus better in school and control their urges from an early stage in life.
Practicing meditation with your children is also great way to spend quality time with them and stablish a bond strengthened by communication and spiritual connection. Not to mention most kids’ anxiety tend to present improvements once they spend more time with their parents doing activities they both enjoy.
At first, it might be hard for your child to stand or sit still while you both meditate which is why it’scrucial that you only start with very short periods of time and ask them to focus on only one thing at a time.Breathing meditation is a very easy way to start, so begin by asking them to focus on their breathing and how their chest expands when they inhale and contracts when exhaling.
You can also play their favorite song and ask them to focus on the lyrics and the message of the song. Another great type of meditation to use is guided meditation by giving your kids instructions of what to imagine in their minds as you talk. The benefit of guided meditation is that it helps your kid focus on specific things rather than asking them to focus on something on their own.
Don’t tell them if they’re doing something wrong or right, as it might discourage them quickly. If your child moves too much at first, don’t worry, as they learn to quiet their mind and reach peaceful states of mind, they will modify their positions and behavior while they meditate. Encourage your child to try different ways and remain interested in the activity by setting a role model and meditating often with them and/or by yourself. With time, your child’s irritability will become less and easier to handle.
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If you’ve heard about meditation before you might be thinking of a group of bald-headed monks sitting inside a temple deep within a mountain in Asia. Other images that come to mind is sitting ona yoga mat in the garden of your dreams or perhaps below a big, blossoming tree while facing a sunset. Well, yes, many people do meditate to these beautiful scenes, but the reality is that meditation is not limited to these scenarios. You can meditate in the comfort of your very own home just as easily and effectively!
You can meditate while doing your house chores: it’s quite simple, instead of letting your mind drift off to think about the mundanities of everyday life, focus on the task you’re doing. If you’re listening to music while you clean or work, focus on how the rhythm of the songs affect your movements. How the surfaces you’re touching feel, the temperature of the rooms, the movements of your body and the smells of the detergents you use or areas you cleaning.
While Working Out, Meditation can help you focus:many people actually have trouble working out for longer periods of time because their thoughts overwhelm them and they become desperate to finish. Many listen to music and are able to distract themselves by singing. You might also want to try focusing on the body parts you’re using while you work out. Think of how they move, what you wish them to look like in the long run, the goal you’re trying to accomplish by working out, imagine the movement of the muscles underneath your skin and focus on what you’re feeling. If you’re using a machine or any type of accessory think of how the surfaces of these objects feel, notice how the temperature of your body rises and your sweat.
Listen to Music: listening to music is one of the easiest methods to try at home. Pick your favorite song or album and listen to it carefully, think about the lyrics and what they mean, the images the song brings to your mind. Think about how listening to this song makes you feel emotionally or even imagine yourself singing the song somewhere.
As you can see, meditation can be achieved by many ways and it doesn’t always require that you stand still in the same spot. Feel free to try these methods and find one that best works for you!
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Meditation is an amazing way to release stress from your daily life and connect with yourself and your needs. However, it can be a bit daunting (and, ironically, stressful) if you’re a beginner. Meditation promises many benefits for those who practice it regularly and many times the expectation of these great benefits can cause beginners to get anxious about whether or not they’ll succeed. Hopefully, these tips for successful meditation will ease the nervousness during your first few attempts at meditation.
Search for Silence: there’s many methods of meditation and not all of them involve silence, but it’s important that you find a spot in your house, office or wherever in which you’re sure you won’t be disturbed by anyone or any outside noise. You can also try to join a meditation group where it’s more likely that you won’t be disturbed while you meditate.
Don’t react just Acknowledge: it’s expected that during your first meditation sessions a million thoughts will come to your head, but never react to any of them.
Time: the first time you sit down to meditate, you might feel that those five or ten minutes you were meditating felt like a lifetime. This is why you should start off with maybe 2-5 minutes, and increase the time as you see fit. You might even perpetually stay meditating for 5 minutes daily.
Comfort: look for a position that is comfortable, but not so much that it would make you fall asleep. Your comfort is important so that you don’t get distracted by any body parts hurting, but it’s also important that you don’t get so comfortable that you doze off!
Variety: as mentioned before, there are many types of meditation methods, make sure you try a different type once you’ve mastered one. You might find that not all methods give the same results or are as effective for you.
Lower your Expectations: if you expect some big revelation after each meditation session, you will be heavily disappointed. However, if you have no expectations, the long-term results of your practice will sneak up on you and surprise you. Don’t meditate expecting immediate results.
Remember that practice makes perfect. At first you might not even be able to understand what you’re doing, but with time and repetition, you will improve and find out what suits you best.
Anxiety and many of its variants (panic attacks, social anxiety, etc.) affect many of us and in some cases it can hinder our daily lives. There’s many prescription drugs that help people with serious anxiety issues, however, you might want to try these remedies to further help your anxiety or to have natural alternatives.
Teas: tea is a lovely drink many enjoy but there are also a variety of herbs that help relax your nervous system such as chamomile, linden and green tea.
Exercise:being physically active helps you release endorphins which in turn, make you feel more active, energetic and happier. Through exercise you may also release pent-up energy from emotions.
Improve your Diet: there’s many supplements and essential vitamins that, when taken regularly, have been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and stress levels greatly. To name a few: Omega-3 acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Lysine, Vitamin B-12, Magnesium and many others.
Cut down on the Caffeine: coffee, sodas, energy drinks and any other drinks containing caffeine should be cut down to a minimum perhaps two cups a day or less.
Laugh: it takes our brains less than 10 seconds to reduce Cortisol levels when laughing (Cortisol is aka the stress hormone). It’s also been proven that the brain releases dopamine almost instantly after laughing. So watch funny videos, look up for a prank or try to remember a funny event when you’re in need of a quick fix for sudden anxiety.
Sleep: make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Most adults need 8 hours of sleep whereas teen agers might need up to 10 hours. Each person is different, therefore, find out what’s the optimal amount of sleep you need to feel well-rested and refreshed.
Relax: there’s many relaxation techniques and practices you can choose from to help yourself relax. You can try mindfulness, meditation, yoga, guided relaxation, going to a spa for a massage or using massage machines and many others.
Seek help: do you have someone to talk to about your anxiety or insecurities? A family member, partner or friend? It’s always good to have someone you can trust and talk to about your anxiety, it’s also good to have a professional you can talk to and that helps you monitor your symptoms, improvement and gives you tools to further control your anxiety.
If you’re trying to meditate and you’re finding it hard to do so, it may be because your body is not used to the quiet and peaceful state that you reach through meditation. You might also be struggling with thoughts about whether or not you’re doing it right and other insecurities. The first thing you need to do is to accept these thoughts and stop caring whether or not you’re meditating the ‘right way’. The first rule of meditation club is that there’s no right way. The second rule is that you set your own rules. Basically, do what feels natural to you, what makes you comfortable.
The purpose of meditation is to allow you to reach a quiet and peaceful state of mind. If you’re bickering inside your head over ‘how wrong you’re doing this’ or ‘how ridiculous you must look right now!’ you’re not doing yourself a favor, instead you’re perpetuating a stressed state of mind. When these thoughts come to your head simply accept them, I find it useful to reply with “maybe, maybe not” and continue focusing on the type of meditation you’re practicing at the moment.
For example, if you’re doing Om meditation for the first time and you’re thinking “I look like one of those Asian dudes on the movies…” acknowledge that thought and don’t reprimand yourself for having it. Instead of reacting to the thought, continue chanting your “Oms”.
If you’re unsure of what reacting to the thought means here’s an example:
Imagine that, once again, you’re trying ‘Om’ meditation and you’re thinking about what would happen if someone walked in on you chanting “Om”. Reacting would consist on answering to yourself by thinking next “They’d probably laugh at me” or “Oh gosh, I’d be so embarrassed”. Reacting to a distracting thought results in another distracting thought.
The key of successful meditation lies on not reacting to your thoughts! If you react, a train of thoughts will follow and you will soon realize you’ve become overwhelmed, you’ll give up and maybe stop trying to meditate all together. It is expected that the first few times you sit down, thoughts will come to you from all different directions, just remember: don’t react. Eventually you will notice that the thoughts become less frequent and you will be able to reach a quiet and peaceful state of mind more easily.
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