Tag Archives: Mental health

Meditation is one of the proven alternative therapies that in recent years have been classified under mind-body medicine therapies. It continues to gain popularity as more and more health experts believe that the connection between mind and body is greater than modern medicine can explain. Meditation has been shown to help the immune system and improve brain activity, according to researchers. More and more doctors are prescribing meditation as a way to lower blood pressure, improve exercise performance, for people with angina, help people with asthma breathe easier, relieve insomnia, and generally relax the daily stresses of life. Many hospitals now offer meditation classes for their patients because of the health benefits. All promote physiological health and well-being.

Traditionally, meditation has been used for spiritual growth, but more recently it has become a valuable tool for managing stress and finding a place of peace, relaxation, and tranquility in a demanding and fast-paced world. The resulting benefits of meditation include: physical and emotional healing; relief from stress, fear, and grief; improved breathing; development of intuition; deep relaxation; exploration of higher realities; seeking inner guidance; release of creativity; manifestation of change; emotional clearing and balancing; and deepening of concentration and insight.

Meditation elicits many descriptive terms: stillness, silence, tranquility, peace, stillness and calm. All counteract stress and tension. Lama Surya Das in his book Awakening the Buddha Within says, “Meditation is not just something to do; it is a method of being and seeing – an unconditional way of living moment by moment. In other words, learning to live in this moment because this moment is all we have. Henry Winkler is quoted as saying, “The first responsibility of a human being is to shake hands with himself. Meditation is an opportunity to “shake hands” in a safe and simple way and to balance our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

Meditation takes many forms in today’s society. They all have one thing in common. They use concentration techniques to calm the mind and stop thinking. There are various practices such as chanting (Mantra), focusing on the body’s energy centers (Chakra Meditation), breathing, attention (Mahamudra), loving-kindness, formal sitting (Vipassana), expressive practices (Siddha Yoga), and walking to name a few of the styles. Try each style and see what works for you, or you may want to alternate between the techniques from time to time. For the purposes of this article, I will discuss Mahamudra and walking meditation.

Practical Steps to Start Meditating

1. Find a place where there are few outside distractions. A place where you feel emotionally comfortable, safe, and free from pressure and stress is the optimal place.

2. Wear loose clothing and sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

3. Plan to meditate in an area that is warm and comfortable. You may want to have a blanket or light cover as some people experience a cool sensation when they are not moving for a period of time.

4. Candles can be used to focus attention on the task at hand. If you use them, remember to be cautious and extinguish them before leaving the room.

5. Relaxation is a key component of meditation. Take a few moments to achieve a state of relaxation by breathing deeply through your nose, expanding your lungs and diaphragm. Hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this several times until you feel relaxed.

6. Calm and relaxing music can be helpful in inducing a state of calm and relaxation

7. If you are hungry, eat something, since it is not necessary to meditate with a completely empty stomach.

8. Leave your expectations aside and don’t worry about doing it right.

Ever since the advent of social media, everybody’s life has been an open book to everyone around the world. Browsing through social media has become a daily habit for most of us, especially when we are feeling bored, depressed or lack motivation and we can’t do anything. There has been a self-care hype that is in full bloom, it is now quite normal that social media influencers are growing in numbers. These social media influencers are kind of the ones who reminds us of the daily things we need to do while taking care of ourselves. We are so engrossed in our routine life that we forget to pay attention to little things such as taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves.

If you are looking for inspiration on social media, then here are 10 Instagram accounts that you should definitely follow for self-care.

1. @morgnaharpernichols

As an artist and writer, Morgan Harper Nichols has a way with words that speaks directly to your soul. Her work is inspired by other people’s stories. She share everything that will inspire you to acknowledge how far you have come to help yourself to keep going, even when everything is going wrong. Visit her shop where you can purchase prints, stickers, etc. to keep a little dose of self-love whenever you need it.

2. @selflovegxng

The mission of Self Love Gxng is to sprinkle your feed with love, light and reality. They have some of the best self-love content shared on Instagram. They also share quotes to inspire and motivate you to be a bit kinder to yourself. We all need that, am I right or I am right?

3. @gemmacorrell

Gemma Correll fills her Instagram feed with positivity that are always relatable to any situation. Her famous cartoon style is always inspiring a little bit of confidence by reminding us that we are not alone in the problems we face everyday. Her cartoon style is always highlighted by being loud in its own way. Don’t miss her pun-laden posts that will never fail to add a bit of humor to your feed. You will surely love to share her posts in your stories.

4. @youarecomplete

Bianca L. Rodriguez focuses on the spiritual side of her mental health. Her struggles with depression, anxiety, and alcoholism led her onto a path where she helps others in their mental health journey. Her aim is to teach people how to connect with and harness their intuition to become the best and badass version of themselves. She has created a community with like minded souls around the world.

5. @heidiewilliams89

After years of struggling with suicidal depression, debilitating anxiety, and explosive PTSD, Heidi started her journey of studying trauma and neuropschology. Her Instagram is filled with photo of amazing yoga poses across the Salt Lake City landscape. Her captions recite her mental health struggles and how she has turned around her life in her favor. She’s one influencer to look around for.

6. @healthyisthenewskinny

She focuses on spreading the messages of wellness and health to women everywhere. Katie Will Cox shares her story about her fitness journey and how she gained more confidence after that. Her feed is all about inspiring and witty quotes that has the hashtags #fitspogoals. There is also the testimonials of the power that comes from striving to be strong instead of being skinny.

7. @mynameisjessamyn

A yoga guru and a body positivity enthusiast, Jessamyn Stanley is a bonafide badass. Her yoga poses are so mesmerizing that most of us can only dream of doing so. She reminds us all of our biggest obstacle to accomplishing anything is our minds. She is all about authentic happiness. Her Insta is not to be missed at all.

8. @lucialitman

Lucia Litman adds a whole lot of colors and inspiration to your Instagram feed. Her posts are all about relatable and motivational quotes that use every color imaginable. All her posts have different pictures of paintbrush photos that depicts a quote on it.

9. @nadiaaboulhosn

In two words, Nadia slays! A self-made model and fashion designer, she creates inclusive clothes for women of all sizes. Her feed is all loaded with some seriously fierce modeling pictures, as well as plenty of glamorous BTS shots. Nadia is goals for so many reasons. Her confidence, success and totally badassery will motivate you to look out more for yourself.

10. @najwazebian

My personal favorite, Najwa Zebian is a confidence booster. She’s an excellent reminder of us defining our own beauty through her words. For her, we don’t even need to show our skin to be beautiful, it’s what we want and what we feel best is all that matters. She defines beauty in a way that describes any of us.

It is known that everyone has confidence issues or some rough patches that they just want to forget. I have this conviction that we all can do a better job by embracing our unique personalities, bodies, beauties. I am going to follow all these accounts after I post this, will you do the same?

If you want to change your lifestyle and live a healthier life, exercising is important. Over the last 4 years, I have been working out hard in the gym and opted for a healthy diet. Below are some changes which I have found since I have started to live life on the healthier side.

1. Makes you mentally tough

Apart from keeping you physically healthy and fit, exercise helps you to stay mentally strong. Whether you are struggling to do a yoga pose or running on the treadmill, exercise helps to release all the tension from your head. It pushes you to exceed your limits and do more than you have ever thought. This attitude helps to build your self-confidence. It encourages to keep on trying to beat your own records every day. Being mentally strong is all about the faith and determination that you have. It is the capacity to get up again after failing. Exercise definitely helps you to achieve this attitude.

2. Teaches us discipline

When you start working out, you will start following a schedule. Your life will be back on track as you will eat, sleep and exercise on time. Apart from physical and mental enjoyment, discipline is one of the most important contributions of exercise. Discipline is all about putting your priorities first. If you are lost in your life track, try starting some exercise first, you might find your life goals along the way.

3. Helps you notice all the small improvements

We get so busy in life at times, that we forget to be grateful to all the small changes in life. Working out is a great way to enjoy small things along the way. If your goal is to lose weight, let’s agree that you will not lose them all at once. It starts with 1 pound each day before you reach your goal. You improve day by day and this adds to the beauty of working out.

4. Helps to de-stress

Whether you are studying or working, negative stress always finds you. It is a sign that we are out of balance and energy. Negative stress always finds a way to steal happiness away from us. By working out, we get a chance to re-channel the negative stress and change it to a positive one. It helps us to release all the tension from our body. It explains why you always feel better and lighter after a work out session.
5. Helps you focus

Just like you cannot do bench press and squat at the same time, exercise helps you focus more. If you master the skill of focusing, you will move smoothly in life. We are so keen to have everything at one time that it creates frustration and confusion. By staying focused, we see things clearly. Exercise teaches us that by focusing on one thing, we can easily move on to the next.

6. Teaches us perseverance

Imagine a winter morning, you are all wrapped up in your warm blanket and the alarm goes off, it is time for the gym! What do you do? Even though working out will become a habit after some time, the aim is to persevere every day. It’s about following your schedule and maintaining the discipline. Perseverance is the only thing that keeps you going. It helps you to focus on your goal and achieve it. Without perseverance, you find yourself back to square one everytime. No matter how slow you go, all that matters is that you are moving forward.

7. Boosts your confidence

When you are getting into the shape that you have always been dreaming about, your self-confidence starts to boost up. If you want to gain confidence without faking it, working out is one of the best ways. This confidence is going to follow you everywhere. Say goodbye to the shy side of you!

8. Makes you happier

When you are exercising, your body releases a chemical name “dopamine”. This chemical is considered to be a neurotransmitter which is responsible for all your happiness and pleasures. You have to go through a lot of sore muscle pain when you start working out, it teaches you that you have to go through pain to achieve happiness. It also keeps you busy from overthinking and ruining all your happy moments.

9. Schedules your day

My favorite thing about working out is that I have learned to sort out my day. It helps you to manage your time. I always manage to find some time for my work out session may it be in the morning or afternoon. I personally believe that working out made me more productive. It keeps me fresh all day.

10. Showing up is winning half the battle
Making an effort and waking up early in the morning to go to the gym is already a big accomplishment. It teaches you that no matter which battle or situation you are in, show up!

Once my assignments are over, I can snooze my alarm over and over again.”

As soon as I settle all my debts and start a new job, I will be able to sleep peacefully.”

Do any of the above statements ring a bell? Our relationship with sleep tells a lot about our health. When we are younger, we have more energy thus missing on a couple hours of sleep does not make a huge difference in our energy level. As we grow older, the accumulated amount of sleepless nights start to affect our health. Believe it or not, recuperating sleep has a long and significant impact on our lives. It is time that we start prioritizing a good night sleep. Below are some of the benefits of sleeping soundly…

1. Loss of weight

People who are trying hard to lose weight should consider changing their sleep pattern. It is said that people who are poor sleepers produce the ghrelin hormone, which is known to boost appetite in the body thus encouraging them to eat more and gain weight. On the other side, deep sleepers always manage to maintain a healthy weight and BMI. Sleep deprivation also decreases your leptin hormone which makes you feel like you are full all the time. If you are working hard to shed that extra weight, along with your healthy diet, make sure that you consider getting 8 hours of sleep. Your weight will meet your target real quick!

2. Boosting your memory

If you ever feel bad about sleeping in for a couple of hours or taking a nap, do n’t! Researchers from Zurich University have proved that there is a linear relationship between your memory capacity and a deep sleep. They said that during sleep, our brain classifies all our knowledge and information accordingly. With a good night’s sleep, the brain is able to do enhance our memory. If you are a victim of interrupted sleep, you will find it difficult to memorize things.

3. It helps you to focus better

When you suffer from sleep deprivation, your focus and attention become fussy. Have you ever fallen asleep at work or while driving and wake up with a shock? This experience is known as micro sleeping which is caused by chronic fatigue. It is a dangerous thing especially if you are a driver. When you are sleep deprived and have trouble focusing, your driving skill is equal to drunk driving which might cause involuntary accidents. It is better to stay over or get a friend to drop you home if you feel too tired to drive. Lack of focus also makes you lack behind in your job and daily routine.

4. Feel Healthier

A lot of things happen in your body while you are asleep. Resting helps your body heal. People who are sleep deprived often find themselves victims of inflammatory infections which causes chronic pain in the body. It also increases stress hormone cortisol which makes you feel angry and irritated. High-stress hormone cortisol increases the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure. You will feel that you are sick every time. On the contrary, 8 to 9 hours of sleep boost immunity, regulate your blood system, support muscle repair and boost your mood.

5. Make better decisions

Lack of focus and attention works well with sleep deprivation. When it comes to decision making, especially life-changing decisions, it is a must that we give it our full attention. Lack of sleep affects an important part of the brain which is the right prefrontal portion. This part of your brain is responsible for reward and delay gratification. The desire for immediate award increases with lack of sleep. If you have an important decision to make, better sleep on it first.

6. It reduces your risk of Depression.

Nowadays, mental health is becoming a vital issue. Serotonin is a chemical in your body which controls your emotions. Lack of sleep affects this chemical and disbalance all the emotions which leads to depression. It has been estimated that 90 % of people who suffer from depression complain about not being able to sleep properly. One of the best ways to prevent depression is to make sure that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Poor sleep has also increased the risk of death through suicide.

If you have trouble falling asleep, you can increase your magnesium intake through supplements or vegetables such as spinach, kale, avocado, and others as deficiency of magnesium can lead to insomnia or troubled sleep. In order to have a great night’s sleep, your body and mind should be relaxed and magnesium is known for its soothing effect. It regulates neurotransmitters which send signals to our brain. It also controls your hormone melatonin which regulates your sleep cycle. Thus, it prepares your body and mind for a good sleeping time.

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