Increasing Your Energy With Meditation

Juggling responsibilities at work and home can leave you feeling stressed out and fatigued. Meditation is a safe and effective way to rev up your energy levels. Here’s an explanation of how meditation gives you more energy and a sample meditation to get you started.

How Meditation Gives you More Energy

  1. Improve your posture. Straightening up will instantly make you feel more alert. Good posture helps protect your body from injury and chronic pain. Try pressing your abdomen in toward your back while relaxing your shoulders. Hold your head up high.
  2. Take full breaths. Stress can cause shallow chest breathing. This limits the oxygen flow to your brain and other organs. Slow down and breathe deeply from your abdomen. If you lie on your back, your body will automatically show you how.
  3. Reduce mental stress. In addition to reinforcing correct posture and breathing, meditation clears away mental stress by turning your mind toward more constructive purposes. 
  4. Sleep better. Many people suffer from sleep deprivation. A daily mediation practice will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Meditation can even reduce your need for sleep.
  5. Live in the present moment. Worries about the past and future can leave you feeling depleted, even if you send your body on vacation to a tropical beach. Mediation liberates your mind to focus on the present.
  6. Feel more motivated. It’s easy to feel energized when you love what you’re doing and believe that your hard work will pay off. Meditation will help you attain and prolong that state of mind even while you’re cleaning the toilet or paying your bills.

Sample Meditation for Boosting Your Energy Level

  1. Get into position. Find a comfortable position on a cushion or in a chair. Sit up straight. Draw slow, deep breaths up from your abdomen. Exhale through your nose keeping your mind on the spot where the air passes out of your nostrils.
  2. Scan your body. Scan your body from the top down. Notice any spots where you feel pain or tightness, without allowing them to disturb your practice.
  3. Scan your mind. Give your mind the same treatment. Observe your passing thoughts without pursuing them or making judgments.
  4. Welcome tensions into your heart. If you’re like most people, you may be wasting a lot of energy by trying to avoid the things you find unpleasant or fearful. Instead, bring them on. As you inhale, imagine all your anxieties coming to take shelter inside your heart.
  5. Apply compassion and healing. You can think about practical solutions later. For now, just view yourself and your difficulties with great compassion and the desire to heal.
  6. Send out purified thoughts. Imagine that you already have the power to transform all adversity. As you exhale, send your happy feelings out to create a positive environment for you and all creatures.
  7. Gradually ease out of meditation. Allow the good feelings you generated to last longer. Bit by bit, take more notice of your surroundings while retaining the intention of bringing more positive energy into all your activities.
  8. Dedicate your efforts. Take a moment to appreciate the benefits of your meditation in improving your outlook. Express the wish that these benefits will keep enriching your life and your connections with others.

Become more productive and enjoy greater peace of mind by using meditation to welcome more energy into your life. You’ll soon feel better and get more accomplished with less effort.

The 15 Best New Year’s Resolutions for Your Health

Are you unsure which of your priorities is most important in the New Year? Do you have plenty of dreams for the future, but not many concrete plans?

Check out these 15 resolutions you can make to improve your physical and mental well being during the next 12 months and beyond.

Resolutions to Improve Your Physical Health 

  1. Eat right. Focus on adopting healthy eating habits rather than resorting to crash diets. Learn to eat more slowly and reduce your portion sizes.
    • Eat a variety of foods with plenty of complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables and fruits. Add in some lean proteins and healthy fats to complete your meals.
  2. Exercise daily. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every day. Round that out with training for strength and flexibility.
    • Find a variety of activities that you enjoy, like brisk walks and biking.
    • Get an exercise ball or treadmill that you can use at home on busy days or when the weather outside is unpleasant.
  3. Get adequate rest and sleep. Insufficient sleep can make you more vulnerable to weight gain and many illnesses. Different individuals need different amounts of sleep, but the conventional eight hours is a good rule for most people. If you constantly feel drowsy, try going to bed earlier.
  4. Take care of your bones. Almost half of all women over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture. Men can be at risk too. Eat plenty of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Get some sunshine and lift weights or do other resistance training.
  5. Practice good posture. Strong abdominal muscles will protect your back from injury and help you look younger.Get used to pressing your navel towards your lower back and keeping your shoulders relaxed. Breathe from your abdomen rather than your chest.
  6. Quit smoking. You probably already know all the dangers of smoking, including lung cancer and premature aging.
    • Many people make several attempts before quitting for good so be open to various cessation methods. Your doctor may be able to help you find the right plan for you.
  7. Drink alcohol in moderation. Some people may need to avoid alcohol all together. Others can stay safe within the general limits of one drink a day for women and two for men. Avoid alcohol before bed so you get good quality sleep.
  8. See your doctor. Regular checkups enable early treatment to keep small health issues from growing worse. If you can’t afford health insurance, you may be able to get some free or inexpensive screenings at local pharmacies and health fairs.

Resolutions to Improve Your Mental Health

  1. Manage stress. Keeping stress under control lets you enjoy life more. Set aside time each day for meditation or listening to soothing music.
  2. Build healthy relationships. Develop a strong network of support. Communicate openly and with respect.
  3. Monitor your thoughts. Think positive. Divert your attention away from nonproductive worrying by brainstorming creative solutions to challenging situations.
  4. Practice positive self talk. Be a good friend to yourself. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.
  5. Be compassionate.Show compassion to yourself and others. Be aware of the suffering in the world and look for ways to alleviate it.
  6. Engage in lifelong learning. Keep your mind sharp by giving it constant challenges. Take adult education classes or listen to foreign language tapes.
  7. Consider counseling. It’s wise and courageous to ask for help when you need it.Professional counseling or spiritual practices may help you bounce back from unfortunate events like divorce or unemployment. They can be useful for smaller things, too, like if you’ve just had a rough week.

While many New Year’s resolutions get discarded faster than the dried out Christmas tree, there are ways to make them stick. Set specific goals that are meaningful and attainable for you. Improving your physical and mental health is a great gift for yourself and your whole family.

Feel Fabulously Attractive During Pregnancy

You can love the way you look all through your pregnancy. Try these simple ways to help you feel more beautiful inside and out.

Positive Thinking

1. Practice constructive self-talk. Put a positive spin on all the new things you’re experiencing. Let your growing tummy remind you of the joys of motherhood. Focus on your best physical features, whether it’s your eyes or your new bust line.

2. Welcome support from your loved ones. Accept compliments graciously when your partner or other loved ones tell you that you’re glowing. Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel good.

3. Remember that the weight gain is temporary. Take comfort in knowing that you’ll soon return to your usual size. Post-pregnancy weight loss will be even easier if you work with your doctor to stick to sensible eating and exercise habits. This usually means gaining about 25 to 35 pounds over 9 months.

Strategic Dressing

1. Buy a variety of flattering maternity clothes. Attractive and comfortable outfits will make pregnancy more pleasant. There are many options that’ll show off your curves without highlighting your abdomen. Look for tie-backs and side shirring on tops. Wrap-around dresses and empire waists are also good choices.

2. Stretch your wardrobe budget. Shop for styles that will work for all three trimesters. Stomach panels and stretchy fabrics like spandex will expand along with you. Get separates that you can accessorize for both casual and more formal occasions.

3. Select the right bras. Most women gain a cup size or more. Get professional fittings to ensure adequate support and to make your clothes look their best. You may want to start wearing your nursing bra during your last trimester.

4. Check your shoe size. Even your feet get bigger during pregnancy. Protect your health and look more graceful by getting shoes that fit. Wedges or chunky heels can give you extra height without throwing off your balance.

Additional Suggestions:

1. Style your hair. Your hair may grow more lustrous during pregnancy thanks to changing hormones and prenatal vitamins. Consider wearing it long and wavy to complement your fuller figure. Side-swept bangs, layers, and highlights also help to slim your face.

2. Change your eyeglass frames. If your face gets rounder, you can use eyeglass frames to create the illusion of angles and greater length. Experiment with rectangular shapes and skinny rims.

3. Minimize sun exposure. Your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy. Avoid premature aging by wearing protective clothing and using sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

4. Treat acne breakouts. Acne is common in expectant mothers. Talk with your doctor about safe treatments. Consult your doctor with safety questions about any health and beauty products you use while you’re expecting.

5. Banish dark under-eye circles. Some women find that the skin under their eyes appears darker during pregnancy. You can minimize this by getting plenty of sleep. Putting cucumber slices over your eyes also helps. If circles persist, use concealer in a shade close to your skin tone and blend it well. Avoid using mascara and eyeliner on your lower lashes.

6. Play up your nails. You may be one of the lucky women whose nails start growing faster and stronger. In any case, you can draw attention to your pretty hands by treating yourself to a manicure. Just use phthalate-free nail polish and apply it in a room that’s well ventilated.

Pregnancy is an incredible experience! Take good care of your baby and celebrate your changing body.

How to Sit Comfortably While Meditating

Learning to sit comfortably while meditating will help you welcome more relaxation and peace of mind into your life. If you’d like to start meditating but feel too uncomfortable to sit for long, these steps will help.

Steps to Take Between Your Meditation Sessions:

1.      Keep limber. It’s easier to sit comfortably if you work on improving your flexibility in advance. Many people use yoga to accomplish this, but any program of gentle stretching will help. Just remember to warm up first to prevent injury.

2.      Maintain a healthy body weight. Meditating can give you one more good reason to shed any excess pounds. You may feel more comfortable while meditating if you keep physically fit.

3.      Breathe deeply. Breathing correctly plays a major role in meditating. Make it a habit to breathe from your diaphragm so your abdomen falls and rises rather than your chest. Let the air flow through your nostrils instead of your mouth.

4.      Practice good posture. You’re more likely to practice good posture on the cushion if you keep track of it even when you’re not meditating. Try to always be aware of keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Imagine you’re pushing your abdomen gently toward your back so you hold it slightly tucked.

5.      Cultivate a calm mind. You’ll get more out of meditating if you try to hold onto a calm mind all day. If you start your meditation session in a peaceful state of mind, it will be easier to get into position faster and spend more time focused on your objectives.

Steps to Take During Your Meditation Sessions:

1.      Start gradually. It’s great if you’re all ready for the full lotus position, but there’s nothing wrong with making a more gradual start. Sit in a chair if it’s painful to sit on the floor. Sit for a few minutes at a time to begin with, and then increase the time in steady increments.

2.      Position your body correctly. No matter how you sit, keep your back straight and your abdomen tucked under. Pretend your head is being gently lifted by a balloon so you hold it high without straining your neck. If you use a chair, keep both feet flat on the floor. If you use a cushion, cross your legs and bring your feet toward your waist.

3.      Shift positions when you need to. Your ability to sit still for longer periods will naturally increase with time but it’s always okay to shift positions if you feel pain or stiffness. Stand up and stretch or just re-cross your legs placing the other leg on top for a while. Roll your shoulders or gently bend your head toward one shoulder at a time.

4.      Figure out what to do with your hands. There are two options that work well: rest your hands on your knees or rest them in your lap. Any arrangement that keeps your hands supported and out of the way is fine.

5.      Hold your tongue. As you move your focus inwards and stop talking, you may experience discomfort as you become more aware of the saliva in your mouth. One easy solution is to touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. This naturally inhibits the flow of saliva.

6.      Lower your eyes. If visual images distract you, try lowering your eyelids so there’s just a small sliver of light before you. Keep your eyes softly focused without targeting any single object. You can even close your eyes as long as it doesn’t encourage you to fall asleep.

Meditation can transform your life with spiritual insights and greater peace. Learning to sit comfortably will help you focus on your objectives without any aches and pains getting in the way.

Beat Anxiety Without Medication

When anxiety hits you, it can be terrifying. The panic and frightening thoughts coupled with physical symptoms may lead you to believe that you’re having a heart attack or suffering from a terrible disease, when in reality, you’re perfectly healthy!

Anxiety can often cause you to have an exaggerated nervous system reaction to common stressors that others are able to ignore.

If you’re one of the millions who struggle with anxiety, the good news is that you can feel better, even without medication. You can take positive action on your own to get a handle on your anxiety and feel more in control. Of course, especially if your symptoms are debilitating, please consult your doctor or other health professional for their advice.

Both your mind and body are involved in anxiety. It’s a vicious circle: the constant worrying and negative thoughts can produce physical symptoms, which can cause more anxious thoughts. It becomes a pattern that can be challenging to break free of.

But when you’re able to overcome this challenge, it’s well worth the effort! Tackle your anxiety on both the physical and mental levels today by practicing these 10 strategies.

Physical Ways to Lower Anxiety

Try these tips to physically lower your anxiety levels:

1.      Breathe. If you’re breathing from the top of your chest and not from your abdomen, you might be making yourself more nervous. Breathe from your diaphragm and take full, deep, slow breaths.

2.      Get moving. Use up that extra energy and adrenaline that your body produces. If you don’t, it can build up and make you more nervous. By getting frequent exercise, you’ll prevent your body from storing excess adrenaline.

3.      Sit still. It’s important to exercise, but sometimes it’s more effective to be still. If you usually run from a panic attack or anxiety episode, force yourself to stay where you are and focus on your relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, to help prevent your impending anxiety.

  • The anxiety might get worse for a moment, but you’ll be calmer after a few minutes and you’ll be more prepared the next time you face anxiety.

4.      Distract yourself. It’s hard to think about feeling nervous when you’re actively engaged in other activities. Help others, play a game, or do something else that requires your total concentration as soon as you start to feel anxious.

5.      Get in shape. Being physically fit can help you feel better about your health and reduce anxiety. It’s not a quick fix, but more of a long-term goal that you can actively pursue. Staying in good physical condition goes a long way in preventing anxiety.

Mental Ways to Lower Anxiety

A positive mental attitude is just as important as using physical techniques to help overcome your anxiety. There are many ways you can use your mental resources to find peace and calm amidst the chaos of anxiety.

Follow these techniques to tackle your anxiety on a mental level:

1.      Educate yourself. It’s hard to battle something you don’t understand. Learn about your condition so you have a better understanding of what you’re facing.

2.      Use the stop sign. Imagine a big stop sign in your head when you start to have anxious thoughts. The stop sign technique is a great place to start.

3.      Network. Talking to others with anxiety can help you feel more “normal” and bring you additional strategies that have worked for others in your same situation. Reach out to others!

4.      Set aside a worry time. If you allot a few minutes each day at a set time and give yourself permission to worry only at that time, you’ll soon find that it becomes a chore – making you worry less. By only allowing yourself to worry for a short period, you can program your mind to actually worry less.

5.      Offer yourself affirmations. Say positive statements to yourself each day to help you stay strong and brave. For example: “I am a valuable and worthy person, and I have much to offer to the world.”

No matter how long you’ve had anxiety, you can do something about it. When you apply both mental and physical techniques to getting better, you’ll soon find that you – not your anxiety – are the one in control!