Archive for July, 2013

31
Jul
13

Mind, body, sprit – The benefits of meditation

If you ask most people what meditation is or what their opinion is of the practice, they’ll most often associate it with Zen Buddhists or the transcendental meditation movement of the 1960s. But the truth of the matter is, meditation is simply the practice of achieving a relaxed state of contemplation.

Entertainers, movie stars, athletes and business leaders have discovered the positive effects of meditation. The list includes Paul McCartney, Clint Eastwood, Howard Stern, Michael Jordan and the late Steve Jobs, just to name a few. The benefits of meditation include:

Focus

Meditation can help you pay attention to what really matters. Work, family and personal responsibilities, combined with the sheer number of stimuli that bombard us every hour, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Meditation lets you focus on what really matters, to slow down and experience things rather than rushing through them and on to the next thing.

More control

Meditation helps you to focus on what is happening right now, and approach challenging situations without judgment or emotion, which will allow you to make better decisions.

Less stress

Perpetual stress can have long-lasting mental and physical effects. Reducing and managing your stress level is essential to living a long and happy life. The best thing about meditation is that anyone can learn to do it, and you can do it anytime, anywhere.

Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with practice you can meditate in five easy steps.

Turn off everything

Turn off cell phones, tablets, TVs and computers, and give yourself the expectation of quiet. Researchers have found that there is immediate physical impact in people who meditate. Their blood pressure decreases and brain activity is less frenzied.

Choose a location

You can do it anywhere, any time. The most important thing is to make sure you’re comfortable. You can sit in your favorite chair, on a yoga mat, or on the floor on a cushion. It doesn’t really matter as long as the environment that you choose is not a distraction.

Just breathe

The simple act of breathing is the most important part of meditation. Concentrate on the flow of your breath, and stay focused on that sensation. You should breathe deeply from the diaphragm rather than the chest.

Keep your eyes and senses open

The goal of meditation is to attain a state of relaxed alertness. Your eyes should be soft; focus on something, but nothing specific. The goal is to become as relaxed as possible without going to sleep.

Practice every day

Although experts recommend 20 minutes, you can benefit from a meditation session as short as five minutes. The important thing is to be consistent and do it every day, as needed.

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24
Jul
13

Mind, body, sprit – How to boost your self-confidence

We’ve all been there. From big, life-altering situations that seem overwhelming to those minor situations that simply make us uncomfortable or nervous, these techniques can help you increase your self-confidence and come through with flying colors.

Control your breathing

Deep inhales and exhales can slow you down to four to six breaths per minute, helping you feel calm and more confident. You’ll think more clearly and decrease the fight-or-flight response.

Learn something new

By building your knowledge base, you’ll gain self-confidence by being able to adapt your knowledge to new tasks. Take a new class or take some time to learn in-depth about a subject outside your wheelhouse. Develop a new, hands-on hobby.

Wear red

Red is a power color. Even a small splash can provide you with a boost in confidence.

Speak up

The fear of speaking out, especially during a group discussion, is usually unjustified because people are generally much more accepting than we give them credit for. Remember, most people are dealing with that exact same fear. Speak up and you’ll be viewed as knowledgeable and recognized as a leader.

Set lofty, yet attainable goals

Working towards something is a great way to remind yourself that you are ambitious, driven, and capable of succeeding. Setting a timeframe to complete your goal helps you focus and beat the enemy: procrastination.

Be social with everyone

Some people struggle in social situations because they feel they lack the confidence to converse with people they do not know. Work on your small talk. The more you work on this skill, the better you will be at it.

Exercise

Even a brief, leisurely stroll releases serotonin and endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that make you believe that you accomplished something, in turn raising your self-esteem and happiness levels.

Contribute

Although most self-help books tell you to concentrate on you, focusing on the contribution you’re making to the project, the company, to others, rest of the world, offers you the opportunity for personal and professional satisfaction and fulfillment.

Turn up the tunes

Watch the locker room shots before any game being broadcast on any major network and they’ll show athletes with their iPods. Why? Music pumps you up. Make a playlist of tunes and listen to it before you make a presentation.

These are just a few things you can do to boost your self-confidence for both the short- and long-term. Doing what you can to increase your confidence with help you to be more efficient and more effective.

17
Jul
13

Alleviate occasional heartburn quickly and naturally

Heartburn is common in adults. For some, it’s something they deal with every day; for others, it happens only occasionally.

Caused by acid reflux, heartburn is that uncomfortable burning sensation right behind the breastbone. According to WebMD, reflux occurs when the ring of muscle that allows food into your stomach – the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES – relaxes when it shouldn’t. This can be caused by some foods including tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, caffeinated products and peppermint.

The result is that acid from your stomach goes back up your esophagus, which then causes the sensation of heartburn.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for those with chronic heartburn. However, if you experience heartburn on the rare occasion, there are some home remedies you may want to try.

Baking soda…

A spoonful of sodium bicarbonate can help put an end to heartburn. Stir a teaspoon of baking soda into an 8-ounce glass of water and drink the whole thing. Because it has a pH level higher than 7.0, it will neutralize the stomach acid.

Apple cider vinegar

By getting more acid into your system, you’ll help your LES to know that it needs to tighten up. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into an 8-ounce glass of water and down it.

Mustard

If you’re in the midst of a bout of heartburn, or even feel one creeping up, take a spoonful of mustard. It has some alkaline properties, as vinegar is one of the main ingredients contained in mustard, so it will neutralize the acid in your stomach.

How to prevent heartburn

Watch the way you eat. Make sure to take smaller bites and eat slowly. This allows your stomach time to digest the food without giving it an excuse to pump out excess acid. Keep track of the specific foods that trigger heartburn, which for most people are usually spicy or high in acid. Remember that gravity works against you. Lying down puts more pressure on your LES and increases the likelihood of acid sneaking through. Give your digestive system time to do its job. Don’t eat more than three or four hours before bedtime.

10
Jul
13

Multitasking? It’s not helping!

One of the challenges we face every day is the temptation to multitask. Look around… how many tabs do you have open on your browser? How many gadgets within reach at all times? How about in your vehicle – do you check email, text or talk as you drive?

The truth of the matter is, multitasking does not increase productivity. With everything that pulls our attention away from the task at hand, colleges and think tanks have done studies about the effect multitasking has on us. Here’s a synopsis of what they’ve found:

Multitasking is less efficient

Because you’re not able to concentrate on one task, productivity isn’t as high as it should be. It takes longer. Try this: Try sending a text message while walking. Time yourself to see how long it takes to cover the distance. See how many mistakes you’ve made on the text. Then try walking the same distance and see how long it takes. Then send the same text. Chances are it takes less time to accomplish both tasks AND your text will have fewer mistakes.

It causes stress

One study found that employees who receive constant emails were more likely to have a higher heart rate. The University of California – Irvine study also found that performance issues associated with it could cause depression and self-esteem issues as well.

Would you believe it causes overeating?

If you eat lunch at your desk, or if you have dinner while watching TV, you’re more likely to overeat. The distraction prevents your brain from fully processing what you’ve eaten, which means you won’t feel as full. So experts recommend that you concentrate on what you’re eating and actually enjoy it.

News outlets from Forbes to PBS have reported findings about the detriments of multitasking. For more information about how multitasking affects productivity, take a look at the findings outlined in the MSN Healthy Living article. (link to: http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/12-reasons-to-stop-multitasking-now) You’ll be more efficient, more productive, and yes, even happier, if you can keep multitasking to a minimum.

03
Jul
13

Maintaining good oral hygiene necessary for overall health

Everyone knows that brushing and flossing is important for a beautiful smile. But did you know that good oral hygiene is also necessary for overall health?

The human mouth is home to a variety of bacteria that can begin to multiply and become harmful. Practicing good oral hygiene keeps the amount of bacteria in check. When tarter or plaque builds up, it can lead to periodontitis, an advanced form of gingivitis that can lead to early tooth loss and various health problems.

Studies have shown that poor oral hygiene can cause a variety of health problems due to the harmful bacteria from the mouth being released into the bloodstream.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is just one of the serious health problems that can result from poor oral hygiene. Studies show that gum disease doubles the chance of developing a cardiovascular disease. This happens because the bacteria in the mouth causes a condition called atherosclerosis, which can lead to a hardening of artery walls.

Cancer

In addition to oral cancer, there are various forms of cancer that can result from poor oral hygiene, the most common being noncardia gastric cancer (lower stomach), lung cancer and pancreatic. Studies have also found that tumors can worsen when cancer patients have gum disease.

Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can also lead to problems including type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. You can avoid these serious health problems by maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth regularly, flossing daily and visiting your dentist on a regular basis. For more information on maintaining good oral hygiene, visit dentistry.com.