Enema or Colonic – The Better Option for Bowel Troubles

Nothing can be more painful and frustrating than encountering an imbalance in the bowel function. People rush to the doctors and clinicians to get rid of this unpleasant encounter. However, in the process of choosing the best hydrotherapy for ensuring a healthy bowel function; most of the people get confused between the two remedies that are colonic and enema. Here are some of the facts regarding both these treatments so that you can choose the most efficient alternative.

The treatment of both colonics and enema share a common aim of cleansing the colon by infusing water through the rectum channel. At the initial stage, the clinicians and therapists get to know their problems through several sessions of health counselling. Evidently, the principle of the methods of treatment seems to be same that is to stimulate the colon for flushing down contaminated waste through the rectum channel. Although apparently, both the treatments seem quite similar to each other, some fundamental differences exist between these two methods.

Difference in the procedure

The enema therapy demands the patients to hold up almost a litre of water within their colon for approximately half an hour until the clinicians feel it is the right time to flush off the water through the rectum. It may seem that the duration of the treatment is too small, but it becomes quite difficult for the patients for holding the water within them for so long. It requires a lot of self-administration and control from the person’s end who is opting for the treatment.

On the other hand, the treatments for colonics are comparatively soothing and relaxing for the patients. In this process, the clinicians attach a large tube to the rectum of the patients that is again connected to a large container. The continuous water flow through the tube helps in flushing the colon, pass it through another tube and store that waste in the container.

Benefit of water flowing through the colon

Colon hydrotherapy is surely an effective alternative as the method implied to wash the colon is much more scientific when compared to the enema. The continuous flow of water through the colon creates a pressure that helps in easy cleaning. Moreover, where in the case of enema, the quantity of water should only be about one litre, in the case of colonics; the clinicians can infuse 20-40 litres of water within the colon. The constant pressure lets the water to run through delicate curves of the colon and clean those parts as well.

According to the experts, the water flow can be considered as a great exercise for the colon as it helps the colon to relax and the torn muscle tissues get fixed. Unlike the enema, the therapist takes the responsibility of monitoring the entire procedure of colonics, making it convenient and comfortable for the patients.

Bottom line

Several people opt for the enema, discarding the colonic treatment as they can do it with a DIY kit, sitting at home. However, if anything goes wrong, it can cause you more danger. Therefore, following the scientific approach of the latter will prove to be much beneficial and convenient for you.

Holistic Approaches to Health and Wellness

Lifestyle illnesses, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease cost billions of dollars in healthcare costs every year. They not only take up a great deal of your time but also pose risks for premature death and at the very least decrease your ability to enjoy the things you love to do.

Instead of living with disability and sickness, there are several holistic ways to improve your health and avoid the hardships that come with chronic disease.

Regular Physical Activity

There are many healthful benefits to exercise. Exercise can involve aerobic exercises like walking, running, swimming, or cycling, or anaerobic exercises, like lifting weights and using weight machines at the gym. Research has consistently shown that, by engaging in regular exercise, you can decrease your chances of suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and lung cancer.

Exercise is not only something you do for your body’s health. Exercise can easily help your mental health as well. Exercise is known to increase the brain’s endogenous endorphins so you feel better and have a decreased perception of pain.

It also decreases your chances of suffering from an early death. One study from the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital revealed that those people who engaged in a regular exercise program had a decreased risk of premature death by nearly a third.

Keep a Healthy Weight

It has been well established that people with a normal weight for their height have better health and function better in daily activities. Unfortunately, obesity is on the rise and this means an increase in chronic illnesses. There are many ways you can keep your weight within the normal range.

Exercising on a daily basis can go a long way toward improving your weight and eating a low calorie healthy diet is also essential in avoiding weight gain and the medical problems that go along with being overweight. You don’t have to drastically change your weight. Losing just a few pounds can make the difference between poor health and good health.

Get Vaccinated and Screened For Chronic Illnesses

While getting a vaccine against the flu or pneumonia isn’t technically holistic, they are important things you will want to do, especially as you age. In addition, you need to see your doctor on a regular basis to be screened for many of the chronic illnesses that go on to having a poor quality of life.

Screening for diabetes alone can identify your risk for the disease and can help you stave off the complications that go along with having this chronic illness. Cholesterol screening, too, can identify your risk for heart diseases and can lead you toward better eating habits that will lower your cholesterol and improve your overall health.

Stay Social

People who isolate themselves have worse health than those who spend time with friends and loved ones. It can involve taking out time to eat together as a family, going out periodically with your spouse, or engaging in an exercise program with a close friend. Your social network is just as important to your health as any other healthful activity you can engage in.

Social activity keeps the brain healthy and promotes emotional wellbeing, and when you feel good your body thrives, it’s really as simple as that.

Four Reasons to Choose a Whole Body Wellness Clinic

When it comes to healthcare decisions, it’s difficult to know which doctors to visit, let alone which wellness clinics or wholistic health centers are best. Many people neglect taking proper care of their mental and physical health until they’re in dire straits, and medical issues are often treated without evaluating the whole body. Wholistic healing works by focusing on all aspects of both body and mind because many illnesses and problems are connected to other parts of one’s lifestyle or mental health. Here are a few reasons why choosing a wholistic wellness clinic may be the best decision.

Natural Methods

Not only do wellness clinics provide standard medical services, but many also focus on natural and wholistic methods of healing. This includes herbal treatments, diet plans, and ensuring that patients have a good understanding of nutrition. Eating well helps to prevent other illnesses and ailments in the future and keeps the body running smoothly. Also, a proper diet and herbal supplements can sometimes improve healing time when one is sick. These natural treatments can tend to a patient’s root problem, rather than just treating symptoms.

Quality Care

Centers like these are often more attentive and focused on quality care than a traditional urgent care center. When the emphasis is on a whole body treatment, the doctors and staff are sometimes more in touch with the patient’s overall health problems. Doctors at a wellness clinic are not just focused on a particular injury or body part; they take into consideration all mental and physical aspects of a person’s health. Wholistic healing is not a quick fix-it is the long-term monitoring of diet, exercise, stress, and any other outside factors that could possibly affect one’s health and wellbeing.

Traditional Services

In addition to alternative medicine, a wellness clinic will still offer traditional medical services. Many will still conduct X-rays, EKG scans, ultrasounds, nuclear stress tests, and even lab services. Including traditional health services can help diagnose issues like broken bones or monitor conditions like pregnancy in ways that natural techniques cannot. In addition to more natural approaches, these clinics still use the latest in medical technology to treat and diagnose.

Mind and Body

These clinics are often a better choice for people who are interested in healing both the mind and body. From stress to anxiety to neurological conditions, the mind can significantly alter physical health. Many wellness clinics, therefore, incorporate aspects of therapy and counseling to ensure healing of the mind and body in the same place.

The Mind and Body As You Age

Aging is meant to be a joyful experience for every woman. However, this is not always the case. On average, women are subjected to much more daily stress than men are which makes for a less than ideal aging experience.

Do all the things that promote good health and good state of mind to bask in joy and happiness.

Taking Care of Your Mind

There’s more to taking care of your mind than meditation and yoga, though both of those things are great ways to keep your mind agile. According to WebMD, there is a whole host of things you can do to keep your mind and body in shape.

Sleep is vital, you might have been quite fine about getting just 4 hours of sleep every night when you were young and chasing a career or dealing with kids, but it becomes more difficult for our bodies to cope with little sleep as we age. Taking time to meditate before bed is an excellent way to ensure you get a restful sleep.

Take time out every morning to enjoy quiet time. Whether it’s for yoga, meditation, or to visualize your day. Even taking time out to read a passage that you find inspiring, anything that allows you to focus on self-renewal. It’s important to be optimistic, so take time to dwell on the purpose and meaning in your life. You should associate with positive people; you don’t want to be surrounded by people who will drain you of your energy with complaints and misery.

Keep your home clutter free and clean, make it a space that you can enjoy and recharge in.

Make sure that you get as much aerobic exercise, which is as simple as taking a long walk. Not only will it help to strengthen your bones, but it will also reduce the risk of heart disease.

Take time to have fun, whatever activities you enjoy are the ones you should take time out to indulge in. Whether that is skiing, backpacking, dancing, or going to a baseball game.

You should take time to find an outlet for your creativity- it stimulates your mind and helps to prevent depression, which can affect your memory.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about depression, it’s a common occurrence for women in midlife. The symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, sadness, loss of hope, lapses in concentration, and feelings of worthlessness.

Taking Care of Your Body

With age comes wisdom, and when we were younger we spent all our time comparing our bodies against magazines to see how we measured up. Forget being hung up on measurements, instead focus on what your body does. The more you focus on what your body can accomplish, the more you learn to love it.

It’s time to focus on being strong, and forget about being skinny. When our focus is on being skinny it’s because we’re worried about what other people think about our bodies, however when we work at being strong- it’s about what our bodies are doing for us, and what they’re capable of. It’s time to start focusing on what your body does for you, rather than getting hung up on how it looks.

That doesn’t mean you should hit the gym and eat whatever you want. Diet can play a huge role in taking care of your body, with the American Journal of or Clinical Nutrition suggesting that adhered to a healthy lifestyle can combat serious chronic illnesses.

Our blood vessels lose their elasticity as we age, and that increases the force with which the blood runs through veins. For menopausal women, the risk of heart disease increases and a healthy lifestyle reduces that risk. That includes plenty of vegetables and fruit, as well as whole grains, olive oil, and moderate wine consumption. A healthy lifestyle is associated with lower risks of heart disease and cancer.

Additionally, our risk of high blood pressure grows as we age, so it’s vital that we reduce our salt intake. Americans get 72% of their salt intake from processed foods, adhering to a healthy diet reduces that risk. High blood pressure leaves us at risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, heart failure, and early death.

Because our stomach acid decreases as we age, it’s difficult for our bodies to absorb B12 from the foods that we eat. Taking B12 supplements daily will help prevent the symptoms before they get a chance to start.

The Middle Age Women of Today

Up until this point, life has probably been about taking caring of and making everyone else happy. You have been putting everything into making your marriage successful, and you have poured your energies into making a happy home for your children.

At some point, you’ve put your career on hold for the benefit of others, and you have had to make decisions that you didn’t serve your happiness. It is part and parcel of your existence, and that’s just the way it is for many women.

There’s no better time than now to take control of life and start doing more for yourself than now.

Doing More for Yourself

You’re at midlife, enthusiastic, flourishing, and ready to tackle life. It’s time to kiss guilt goodbye, and embrace what you love. It’s time to do something new, whether you want to learn a new language, how to play the piano, or you have always wanted to learn how to dance the waltz.

Your midyears are the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and throw yourself into something new.

It’s time to embrace your confidence!

There’s nothing sexier than the confidence that life experience brings. While aging might sound scary, living in fear will hold you back from living a full life. So, keep moving forward, learn every day, and listen to your heart.

Don’t be afraid to be bold, present, brave, and fearless.

“Once you become fearless life becomes limitless.”

Hobbies Make the Woman

Whether your interests are in arts, sports, in the home, on the water, or in the gym, you should feel free to dive in headfirst. You can take up a hobby that allows you to socialize with others, or to enjoy time on your own. They can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be, and they will help shape your lifestyle, and connect you with likeminded people, and energize you.

When it comes to hobbies for women in midlife, there is no limit. From book clubs, painting, gardening, golfing, and sewing to swimming, dancing, or jazzercise, playing an instrument, and calligraphy, whatever your point of interest, there is a hobby that will bring out the best in you and give you new meaning.

Finding a hobby that you love and that provides you with social engagement is vital to your mental health and overall happiness, especially if you don’t get to experience a lot of socializing with your family and friends.

Letting Go of What Matters Less

Saying Goodbye to Judgements

Remember when you were young and you would get dressed thinking about what others may think of your outfit? Versus now, when chances are you aren’t too worried about what other people think of how you are dressed or what you are wearing, you’re concerned much more with whether you like it or how you feel in it. This is so liberating, a new mindset where you dress and how you look aims to satisfy you and promotes your confidence, instead of appealing to the masses.

Needing To Be Validated

You probably felt pressured to go out at the weekend, even when you weren’t interested, couldn’t afford it, or just didn’t want to. You were more willing to spend time with people that you didn’t care for, and chances are when someone disagreed with your point of view you wanted to argue until they agreed.

You wanted to hear those delicious words; “You’re right.” Now you’re at a point in your life where you realize the stress of those situations just isn’t worth your time.

None of those things adds value to your life, so if it isn’t adding value, what’s the point?

If it doesn’t contribute to harmony in your life, thus happiness, then kiss it goodbye. If that just happens to be a keen interest in the music of Phil Collins or Barry Manilow or avoiding family squabbles that only harm your peace of mind, then so be it – own it!

Expectations from Others

At this point in life, it becomes much less important what others want from you, and it becomes more important to satisfy your own needs and desires. You come to realize that life is short, and you want to live to its fullest!

The guilt trips from others that used to drive you seem comical now, as you tread on your own road to happy destiny, and leave the external influences fluttering in the wind.

Creating A Home That Is A Wellness Sanctuary

How can you create a home that feels like “home”?

A place that you want to come back to every evening after a long day at work…

Where you truly feel safe and comfortable, and can really relax and unwind…

A place and a space that makes you feel peaceful, calm, and well.

There are a number of simple and cost-effective changes you can make to your home that will really help enhance your experience of your home as a wellness sanctuary.

• One of the biggest health enhancers is to clear out all the junk: get rid of that stuff you no longer use, and de-clutter your living space. This will automatically give you a sense of spaciousness and relief, and will immediately help you feel more peaceful within. (You could even sell some of that stuff online and make a bit of extra cash, thus increasing the wellness of your wallet, as well as your home!).

• Stay organized, nothing ruins peace, harmony, and calm than a cluttered house where you cannot find anything. This includes that pile of bills and mail that is sitting unorganized in plain sight and other piles of papers.

• Keep a clean floor. Floors that are dirty or cluttered with papers, towels, clothes and other stuff make the whole room look unkempt and disorganized.

• Have comfortable furniture; this is key in having a place where you can truly relax when you get home. Furniture that looks good is great, but you will quickly regret a purchase made for looks alone when you cannot relax in your own home.

• Remember the old adage “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”? Well, you don’t necessarily have to feel holy about it, but having a clean living space is healthy for more than just the reduction in germs and harmful bacteria: it will smell good, look good and feel fresh, all of which will help you to feel good when you are in it!

• Talking of scents and smells, essential oils are a natural and health-giving way of enhancing the comfort of your home: the scent of citrus oils adds a fresh, invigorating feeling whilst lavender helps you feel calm, for example. Frankincense and myrrh are wonderful in promoting a meditative air. You can use a simple oil burner or make an air freshener with nothing more than a few drops of essential oil in a spritzer bottle filled with distilled water.

• Another way to increase your comfort level, and therefore your capacity to relax, unwind and de-stress in your home, is to add “ambience”: soft music, soft lighting, candles, and beautiful art pieces can all add to a feeling of calm and tranquility.

• Color schemes affect our mood: for example, blues and greens are calming, whilst reds, corals, and maroons make a room seem cozy and warm. Keep this in mind when redecorating.

• Can you find one area, or room, to devote to your spiritual self? A meditation cushion and a small altar with items of special meaning can turn an unused corner into a sacred space for prayer, contemplation, and connection with the Divine Source (whatever that means for you).

• Having living plants in the home will help keep the air oxygenated, and give a sense of the presence of nature. Just remember to water them!

• Use a water filter for great drinking water.

• Keeping some windows open whenever possible will help the circulation of fresh air and will keep your home from getting stuffy and from feeling oppressive and claustrophobic.

• Growing herbs in the kitchen will again bring a little bit of nature in from the outside and will help you connect to the earth in an immediate and practical way. Not to mention bringing some wholesome nutrition to your kitchen table.

• Natural light in your home, as much as possible, can enhance your mood and provide some vitamin D (although there is no substitute for getting outside every day).

• Remember to laugh, spend time with, and hug those you live with, to increase the good vibes in your home.

• If you live alone, invite family and friends over to share a meal.

10 Ways To Combat Fatigue And Increase Your Vitality

We live in a society of tired and worn out people. Many people have desk jobs or sit around all day, which, while not using much actual energy, tends to make us feel zapped and more tired because physical movement begets energy. We run around from work to chores to home where we face more chores without the needed energy to accomplish these tasks. We spend weekends stuck to gaming systems, television screens and spend little time in the fresh air.

We spend time wishing we had more energy. We take unhealthy shortcuts by downing Red Bull energy drinks to keep us going, not realizing that these drinks contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine that have landed many people in hospital emergency rooms. The energy drink industry, which nets an estimated $10 billion per year is resulting in a rising number of patients, many of whom are young in being treated in emergency rooms for serious complications related to the high intake of caffeine in drinks like 5-hour energy, Monster Energy and of course, Red Bull.

According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, visits to hospitals because of energy drink complications doubled from 2007 to 2011. 20,783 emergency room visits cited energy drinks as a primary cause of the health condition being treated, including headaches, anxiety, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks.

Many of us are overweight and partake in a diet filled with processed fake food that does not nutrify our bodies and only weighs us down and makes us tired and sick.

Fortunately, there are natural and effective ways you can combat fatigue and increase your energy and vitality. Some of these techniques and habits can also slow the process of aging.

There are some ways you can fight fatigue:

1. Make sure there isn’t something physically wrong. There are several physical reasons why you might have chronic fatigue, from thyroid disease, anemia, sleep apnea, heart disease, to arthritis. The only way you can determine if any of these are the problem is to visit your doctor and be evaluated for these diseases. Many can be treated or reversed so that you can gain energy back.

2. Pay attention to the medications you are taking. Many medications have fatigue as a side effect and only a few of them have this side effect wear off after continued use. If you feel especially tired after starting a medication, talk to your doctor to see if anything can be done.

3. Exercise. While it would seem logical that exercise would make fatigue worse, actually the opposite is true. Being physically active tends to boost your energy levels, not to mention maximize the function of many of your body’s organs. Exercise can help you lose weight, which can further significantly increase your energy. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for aerobic activity that is known to increase energy and vitality, especially as we age.

4. Try yoga. Yoga is one exercise that has been shown to improve confidence, lessen fatigue, and clear the mind. Many types of yoga are ideal for just about any fitness level. Yoga has been found to be helpful by research in men and women over the age of 65, who generally have a great problem with fatigue.

5. Keep from being dehydrated. Keep a water bottle filled and chilled for more energy by fighting dehydration. Research on athletes has shown that being dehydrated zaps the energy from their activity. Even if you’re not athletic, staying hydrated with water will give you that added bit of energy you deserve.

6. Get enough sleep. The best way to get enough sleep is to go to bed early and get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. In one 2004 study, it was found that people who got adequate sleep were more vigorous and reported less fatigue. Naps are other ways to freshen up your energy level. Try for short naps, no longer than 30 minutes. Any longer than that and you will have difficulty sleeping during the night. One study showed that a nap followed by a small quantity of caffeine such as a 5-ounce cup of coffee or tea can restore your energy even more.

7. Try omega-3 fatty oils. Fish oil capsules are good for you in many ways. One way, as shown by a 2009 Italian study, to boost energy and have quicker mental reaction times, is to take fish oil capsules containing omega 3 fatty acids. The capsules also restored physical vigor.

8. Become aware of your personal circadian rhythm. Everyone is different in terms of when they have the most energy. Find out if you’re a morning person or a night owl and work with it instead of against it. If you have especially demanding activities to do, choose to do them when you have the most energy to work with.

9. Lose weight. Carrying around extra weight can be exhausting and the only way to rid yourself of that exhaustion is to start a healthy exercise and diet program that will help you shed pounds and feel more vigorous. There are no specific diets that work any better than creating a calorie deficit and working out at least 30 minutes per day.

10. Eat smaller meals. Large meals zap you of energy because the body needs to use a lot of energy to digest them. Think about a time you ate a buffet, where everyone naturally eats too much food, versus a meal that included a salad. More likely than not when you left the buffet you felt exhausted and wishing someone would wheel you out of there, versus the energy you felt after a raw whole food meal such as a salad. Small and frequent meals will keep your blood sugars from fluctuating, giving you steady amounts of food energy throughout the day.

Assessing Your Need For Relaxation: Are You On The Verge Of Burnout?

It is kind of obvious once you have hit burnout, the exhaustion, lack of motivation, poor efficacy, and overwhelming doubts of whether you should even be at your job are hard to miss. But, if you are not there yet, perhaps the symptoms aren’t as obvious.

So what is burnout? Burnout is the result of too much stress either from your job, a life situation, or even your personality. In the simplest of terms, burnout is absolute exhaustion, physical, mental, and emotional.

It is a combination of symptoms that cause you to be much less effective at work, less happy at home, and if left unchecked could cause your serious health complications.Burnout can leave you anxious, depressed, unmotivated, and ineffective. The list of symptoms can be vague and sound like just life, but life isn’t supposed to feel like burnout.

The first things you will notice looking for burnout are the causes. You will experience poor work-life balance, poor job fit, mismatched values, lack of control, or a dysfunctional work environment that wear on your peace of mind and your sanity. At first, it won’t seem like much we have all muscled through hectic times, made it through, and not suffered any consequences.

Then, the symptoms hit. They creep in quietly and gradually as the enjoyment drips from your job and then your life. Perhaps just a general air of negativity and apathy towards your everyday activities. You might just feel stuck or indifferent. But, soon you lose sight of your values and your ability to focus; anxiety, depression, and insomnia set in as your mental faculties deteriorate from the weight of the stress.

Scariest of all, if left unchecked your physical health can begin to take the brunt of the burnout. You may begin noticing weight gain, frequent illnesses, various bouts of pain, high blood pressure, and an increase in the severity of existing conditions.

With burnout being something everybody would live better without, how do we prevent the mental turmoil and physical deterioration?

If you are beginning to experience any of the symptoms of burnout, consider reassessing your interests, skills, and passions and compare against current options. If you have good options, to move within your company or career path, these changes will be the easiest to make and cause the least amount of stress. Identify and manage your stressors as best as you can.

Another thing you can do to lessen the effects of burnout on your health and your life is keep your own attitude in check. Find gratitude and enjoyment in your job and life, it could be your lunch break or the drive home. Just find something you can enjoy and look forward to through your day so it doesn’t feel like the deep dark hole. Making a conscious effort to change your attitude may buy you the time to make a change.

Reach out and gather support around you. Friends, family, co-workers, HR, and professional help can all help you through the difficulties associated with burnout and decrease symptoms like depression that make the experience so much worse.

Lastly, take time for self-care, it isn’t selfish. Getting the time to relax, sleep, and exercise can be vital to curbing burnout before it starts. The required amount of sleep, 7-8 hours a night, can nip exhaustion in the bud and help your concentration. Exercise decreases pain and releases dopamine and serotonin to decrease depression and anxiety.

4 Key Steps To Developing A More Positive Mindset

Negativity can discourage us, add to our stress, put strain on our relationship, make us less productive, and reduce our overall happiness. Positivity on the other hand has many benefits across our lives in terms of our health, relationships, and careers.

But, how do you become more positive? Is it really that simple?

Here are four key steps to help you to develop a more positive mindset:

1. Keep a thought journal

If you have a negative internal dialogue constantly keeping you down, you need to take action to banish these thoughts. If you have difficulty identifying this negativity within your own mine, a simple first action can be keeping a thought journal. Write down a random sample of thoughts you say in your own mind about yourself, events, people around you and other things that happen throughout your day.

Then analyze these thoughts by reading the journal every night and establishing your thought patterns.

Do certain events trigger your negative thoughts? Take note of these and the next time you are faced with a similar triggering situation, think more carefully about how you are approaching it.

2. Banish negative self-talk

After keeping track of your thoughts for a week or two, you will soon notice how consuming your negative thoughts potentially are. The next step is to banish these all together. Next time you go to write down a negative thought in your thought journal, try to rephrase it to that it becomes a neutral statement.

For example, “Bob forgot to take out the trash again so I had to do it and it ruined my evening” could become “Bob forgot to take out the trash. I did it.” This is a small but effective way to train yourself.

Don’t just do this exercise on paper in your journal; begin to rephrase your negative thoughts into neutral ones in your mind.

3. See the positive side

It can be incredibly challenging for many people to jump straight from negative thoughts into positive ones, which is why that neutral-thought stage is so crucial. By banishing negative self-talk, you are now in a great position to genuinely see the positives, in different situations.

Refer back to your thought journal and particularly examine the negative thoughts you have had. Putting aside all of the things you so obviously dislike about that thing, try to think of at least one positive.

For example, if you dislike your boss because they speak badly to you, think about the way that you are actually developing more resilience and ‘thicker skin’ by being in that situation, which is a positive result from a bad situation.

It can be hard to find benefits within challenging circumstances, but there is always a way to see something good.

As the Dalai Lama once famously said, “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” Sometimes a lot of effort might be required, but it’s worth it!

4. Keep a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal is an incredible way to take stock of all of the wonderful things around you. Every evening write down all of the things in your day, and life more generally, that you are grateful for.

Perhaps you are grateful to your friends for their support, for the warm bed you are able to sleep in, or for the great weather you had that day. Write it all down.

If someone gives you a compliment that you appreciated on any particular day or said something very thoughtful, write it down in your gratitude journal too. Then when you find yourself being negative or critical, open up the journal and read over all of the positive things in your life that make you feel grateful.

This is a sure-fire way to re-ground you, make you gain perspective and make you realize how insignificant that particular trigger may be in the larger scheme of things. Context is important, so keep shifting your mind towards the positive.

Reduce Stress With Your Breath

Breathing is an involuntary activity. As soon as you were born, you knew how to breathe without anyone teaching you. When you were a baby, even when you didn’t have conscious muscle control, you breathed. The way we breathe determines how much oxygen our blood transports to our tissues and muscles. Breathing and breathing properly is so vital to our circulatory function. We need to breathe properly in order to maintain our body’s good functioning.

When you engage in strenuous physical activity such as climbing a flight of stairs, more blood is pumped by your heart to go to the lungs to get oxygen. The blood then transports the oxygen it obtained from our lungs to your leg muscles which you use to climb the stairs.

The more stairs you climb, the more oxygen you need to power your muscles. Your need for oxygen requires you to breathe in more. When we continue our physical activity for a few more minutes, our body demands the oxygen so our breathing becomes fast which is why we pant-our lungs are trying to keep up the supply of oxygen that our body needs. In this situation, your heart is beating fast but you are not tense.

Deep Versus Short Breaths

When you are nervous, anxious, afraid, distressed or excited, your heart beats faster. Your pulse races, your heart pumps faster and you breathe in at shorter intervals. Breathing at shorter intervals makes you breathe more often but this does not mean that you are breathing in more deeply. There is a difference.

Deep breathing allows you to use most of your lungs’ capacity to hold in your breath. If you control your breath by breathing slowly and deeply, you stabilize your pulse – consequently, you slow down the beating of your heart.

Managing Stress Through Breathing

Stress is inevitable. You could be standing in line for coffee at the corner coffee shop and you hear a bus’ engine backfire – you think it is a gunshot and your body’s stress reaction is turned on. The stress reaction (the fight-or-flight reaction) enables you to meet a perceived danger, however, living with chronic stress tires out your heart and it alters your brain chemistry: you become more irritable and even more anxious. One advantage to learning how to breathe properly and deeply is that it helps calm you down during times of stress.

When it’s past ten o’clock and your teenaged kids are not answering your calls or texts on their cell phone, you begin to worry – notice how your heart rate picks up – the next thing you know, you’re breathing faster and taking more shallow breaths.

Your muscles tense up, your palms get sweaty and your stomach feels knotted up. If your teenagers don’t come home until midnight, your heart will be racing for two hours. If your kids make it a habit to come home late every night you will be sitting in the living room all tense every night. In this situation, you are not doing any strenuous physical activity, and yet, your heart is racing – you are having a stress reaction.

Deep and slow breathing will help you relax even as you experience stress.

You can test whether deep and slow breathing will work for you by lying down and putting a hand on your belly. Inhale through your nose slowly while silently counting up to five. You will notice your belly rise. Hold your breath for about four or five seconds. Then, release your breath. Exhale slowly, counting to eight. Make sure you empty your lungs.

Do this deep and slow breathing for four or five times. You will notice that your muscles will relax. And you will feel that your tension has melted away.