Meditation is a practice of training your mind over time, developing mindfulness and deepening your awareness of the present moment with an attitude of kindness.
By turning your attention to a single point of reference, which involves focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra, helps to turn your attention away from distracting thoughts, and instead, focus on the present moment.
Numerous scientific studies show that meditation generates better health, improved productivity and more happiness.
To Practice Mindfulness Meditation:
1) Find a place where you won’t be disturbed.
2) Sit in a comfortable position and set a timer.
3) Gently close your eyes.
4) Ask yourself what you are currently experiencing, and observe your feelings, sensations, and thoughts.
5) Shift your attention to your body and spend a moment or two zooming in on the sensations in places that touch the chair or floor.
6) Shift attention to your belly and observe your sensations. Focus on how it extends and falls with every breath. Observe your breathing some more without changing it.
7) At some moment, your mind will naturally wander away.
8) When you realize that your mind is no longer in the present, recognize it as a moment of awareness and shift your attention back to your breathing.
9) Now focus on your whole body, observing your posture and face.
10) When you are ready — or when the timer reminds you — open your eyes.
* Remember, consistency is key.
“By learning to pay attention to your thoughts and actions in the moment, you’ll discover how to let go of old patterns and create healthier habits and ways of living that will make you feel good about yourself. And when you feel good about you, you can do just about anything.”
— Hugh Byrne, PhD
Host, "In Good Company with Hugh Byrne" podcast
In this day and age, stress surrounds us. It comes at us from all angles: work, home, family, and our physical health. Learn effective ways to cope with stress so when we do become overwhelmed with such challenges, we can tap into our inner resources and overcome them in a healthier, more sustainable way.
What is Burnout and How Does It Occur?
Like many common stress-related ailments, burnout is not a diagnosable medical condition, but it does have distinctive psychological markers. The core symptoms of burnout include chronic fatigue, cynicism, a sense of inefficacy, and lack of attention. Burnout tends to arise slowly rather than suddenly and is considered by psychologists to be a chronic work-related ailment. When burnout occurs, it is frequently accompanied by increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Individuals who are burnt out tend to feel as though they are seeing little forward movement in their day-to-day work life despite putting in large amounts of effort. This can be the result of many different stressors in the workplace such as time pressures, large amounts of overloaded work, and competition among office members.
The Risks of Burnout
Research has shown that the chronic psychosocial stress that’s common in people suffering from burnout can impair personal and social functioning as well as overwhelming your cognitive skills and neuroendocrine systems. Over time the effects of burnout can lead to memory, attention, and emotional problems. One study also found burnout sufferers may have accelerated thinning of the brain’s frontal cortex—a part that’s essential for cognitive functioning. This section of the brain thins as part of the natural aging process, but the thinning effect was more pronounced in participants who’d experienced burnout. It’s not just the brain at risk, either. A study of nearly 9,000 workers found burnout significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
Focus on why the work matters to you if professional obligations preclude a vacation. Connecting your current assignment to a larger personal goal — completing this project will help you in the bigger picture because...
It’s easy to forget about looking after yourself when you’re burned out. You’re feeling stressed, you’ve got too much on your plate, and the last thing you have time for is looking after yourself. But that’s exactly what you should be doing - making sure you eat well, stay hydrated, exercise, and get plenty of sleep is critical when you’re facing burnout.
To perform at your best over the long term, you need regular opportunities for restocking your mental energy. Take a walk or go for a run. Have lunch away from your desk. Stepping away from your computer gets you out of the weeds and prompts you to reexamine the big picture. It’s often in the intervals between thinking really hard about a problem and then stepping away that solutions becomes apparent.
Today we’re all carrying around an office in our pocket in the form of a smartphone, so we’re both psychologically and physiologically still attached. The remedy is to actively limit your use of digital devices after hours. Place your smartphone in a basket or drawer when you arrive home so you’re not tempted to pick it up and check your email; or you might devise a rule for yourself about turning it off past 8pm.
Feeling mentally and physically exhausted is a sign that you need to take some time off.
Instead of concentrating on limiting or avoiding work in your off-hours, try scheduling restorative experiences that you look forward to, like a yoga class, a relaxing massage, or establishing a daily mindfulness meditation practice.
Make sure you’re scheduling some time to do the things and be with people you value, whether that’s getting together with good friends, exercising, reading or spending time with a loved one. Research shows that the quality of the time off is just as important as the quantity of time off.
The health of Americans is steadily declining despite the amount of money spent on health care, technology, and prevention efforts. Diabetes and obesity rates continue to sky-rocket among adults and children.
Unless we take responsibility for our own health and nutrition, the pattern will continue. A health coach will listen to you and help guide you in making better choices that will improve your overall health.
Here are the top 10 reasons you need a health coach now:
1. You have healthy intentions to lose weight and eat better, but can't seem to make it stick.
*To help you follow through with your plans to lose weight or get healthy, a health coach will provide accountability and show you how to make small changes that will build up to a lifetime of good health.
2. You don’t understand why you have gained the weight, but you're not eating any differently.
*A health coach will help you identify the changes you need to make and work with you to implement an action plan that will make the biggest impact on your health.
3. Giving in to your cravings and eating foods that you know you shouldn't.
*A health coach will help you identify the cause of the cravings and enable you to beat your cravings or binge eating.
4. The people around you are overweight or unhealthy, which makes it harder for you to instill healthier habits and eat better.
*If your family and friends look like they are at an unhealthy weight or don’t feel healthy, you might be hanging around people who aren’t aware of what good nutrition changes are needed. A health coach can help you navigate the truth about what is healthy and what is not.
5. You want to lose weight fast, but you have been on so many fad diets that just don't work long-term. .
*Strict diets usually don’t work. First you severely restrict yourself, and when you lose the weight, the diet ends and you don’t know how to eat on a normal, daily basis. A health coach will teach you how to make healthy decisions that work for your body.
6. You can't find the time for better self-care.
*There are only so many hours in a day and you simply don’t have any time to devote to exercising or cooking healthier, due to work and family obligations. A health coach will help empower you to prioritize your health and make the time to take better care of yourself.
7. You are stressed out with family and work responsibilities.
*If you suffer from stress or anxiety, a health coach will teach you about the relationship between stress and chronic disease, how to reset your priorities, and how to get your stress and anxiety levels under control.
8. Your need to eat better but aren’t sure how to accomplish that with what you know or the time you have.
*There are cookbooks, diet books, and products labeled “healthy” on the market everywhere, but you're not sure what is actually healthful and what isn't. A health coach will help guide you in finding foods that you enjoy that are healthful and nutritious.
9. You're not sure whether meat, protein, carbs, dairy, produce, or GMO foods are healthy.
*A health coach will help you determine what foods work best for your body and health needs.
10. Nothing has worked before so you continue to gain weight or have chronic health issues.
*Chances are you have given up because nothing you have tried before worked. If you have gained weight, or if you are suffering from chronic health issues that are blood sugar-related, high cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation or arthritis, or other health issues, you may be able to improve your health quickly through food and nutrition. A health coach can help you figure out what works for you and your health needs.
Do something empowering and healthy for yourself today and talk to a health coach. Your life and health will improve, and you will feel so much better!
The truth is there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach that's going to work for everyone, and figuring out the most nourishing diet and lifestyle for you isn’t easy.
As wellness has increased in popularity and the Internet has become an unprecedented resource for everything from recipes to research, many have taken their health into their own hands and experienced a wide range of results. With that has come the explosion of unverified information, confusion, and more fad diets than ever before.
There are many factors that go into finding your unique balance, such as your body type, personal preferences, life circumstances, schedule, location, access to resources, and much more. A health coach can help you put it all together in a way that makes sense and allows you to thrive.
Try these out and see how they work for you.
● Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn
relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
● Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting
snacks on hand.
● Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
● Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
● Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Take deep breaths. Inhale
and exhale slowly. Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
● Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however
close you get.
● Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as
bad as you think?
● Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
● Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive
● Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which
creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
● Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can
identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
About 30% of people with anxiety disorders go through life untreated. If you think you might fall into this category — or if you have IBS, asthma, COPD, or heart disease and haven't been evaluated for anxiety — discuss it with your primary care clinician. Also be open to considering anxiety as the root cause if you have unexplained physical symptoms. Keep in mind that all symptoms are real — and treatable — whether they originate in the body or the brain.
How to Keep Exercising Regularly, Eating Better, and Living Healthier
Do you ever say you're going to do something, and then at the last minute change your mind? You talked yourself out of it. So instead of putting on those running shoes, you hit the snooze, or you headed for the kitchen and grabbed the pint of ice cream out of the freezer. For a moment you feel guilty, but then tell yourself you will start tomorrow. But of course, something comes up and you've already forgotten the promise you made to yourself.
These mental stumbling blocks are what prevent us from taking it to the next level. When we overthink things to the point of talking ourselves out of doing something that we know is good for us, that's where we need to stop and assess exactly what the underlying issue is. Is it purely habit or laziness? Lack of motivation? Depression? Or simply being tired? Sometimes we get caught in this vicious cycle and don't know how to get out of it.
But you can break the pattern. Here's your guide:
1) Be aware. Take the time to really think about what is holding you back or sabotaging your goals.
2) Set your intention. Why and what it is that you want to accomplish? Those are hard questions, but once you've figured out what exactly you want to achieve, then anything is possible. Journaling is a good way to start. Keeping a written account of your actions makes you accountable, plus writing it down makes it real.
3) Be mindful. This goes a long way- mindfulness is an exercise that you can do in every aspect of your life. It is the practice of thinking through every decision - big or small - before you make it. You weigh the pro's and con's, then if it's worth the cost/benefit to you, you should do it.
4) Get back on track. Just because you got off track a day, or two, or 5, doesn't mean you give up. Put those days behind you, and start fresh. Remember - nobody's perfect everyday, all the time. Things happen in life; you have to be able to pick yourself back up and not be so hard on yourself.
5) Go ahead. After being aware of your actions, sometimes you just have to do things without a second thought. So instead of talking yourself out of putting on those running shoes, just put them on and go out the door. After 20 minutes, you will already feel mentally and physically much better.
6) Have gratitude. Take a moment to honor yourself, your commitment, and your accomplishment. Small gradual steps lead to sustainable long-term positive change.
So, don't let "excuses" get in the way of what you want to achieve and what you know you are capable of doing. Be your best self EVERYDAY!
Mindfulness is being present in each moment, aware of yourself, your feelings and your surroundings, rather than consumed by the past or anxious about the future, and brings with it the ability to remain calm and grateful in challenging situations. Focusing on the here and now, the abundance of each and every moment will open up your eyes, mind, and spirit to the inspired beauty of each breath.
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
- Viktor E. Frankl
All adults and children should eat more fruits and vegetables, whether they are organic or conventionally grown. With EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, you can choose healthy produce while minimizing unwanted doses of multiple toxic pesticides.
Many shoppers don’t realize that pesticide residues are common on conventionally grown produce, even after it is carefully washed or peeled. EWG's analysis of the most recent tests by the Department of Agriculture found that nearly 70 percent of samples of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues.
The USDA tests found a total of 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples analyzed. EWG's analysis of the tests shows that there are stark differences among various types of produce. The Shopper's Guide lists the Dirty Dozen™ fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues, and the Clean Fifteen™, for which few, if any, residues were detected.
Key findings from this year’s guide:
Clean Fifteen - *okay to buy conventional
Dirty Dozen - * buy organic when possible
The Environmental Working Group is an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability.