Is Your Life Designed To Support Wellness?

The question we are asking ourselves here is whether our own personal life, in its current state, is designed to support wellness.

This requires a dual approach.

We must investigate exactly what wellness is referring to.

Does it mean a general state of well-being?

Can we be well physically but not mentally?

Does this have anything to with spiritual wellness?

We must recognize whether or not wellness is suited to our life currently.

Maybe we already live in a way that promotes wellness in our everyday life and maybe we do not. However, in either case, we want to understand how well our life is suited to wellness.

For those of us who do not live in a way that promotes wellness, what do we have to do to inspire wellness in our current life?

Do we have to make any changes or is it simply a case of doing more?

Maybe it is a case of doing less?

What is Wellness?

Wellness is something that many people overlook. Most people think that how they feel is how they feel and there is nothing to be done about it.

For some, the primary goal of seeking good health is to prevent some possible future disease, like heart disease or diabetes.

Some others relate wellness only to the physical body and others relate it more to their mental state than anything else does.

Let us have a look at a holistic view of what wellness is. Quite simply, wellness can be understood as balance.

Wellness = Balance

When we feel well physically it is due to the fact of our bodies is getting what they need from a balanced lifestyle. This includes our level of physical exercise, our nutrition intake, our level of work vs play, and our personal and environmental hygiene. When we feel balanced physically, we feel well.

Mentally we feel balanced when our thoughts are aligned with our purpose in life. When we have an understanding as to what we are doing, why we are doing it and what needs to be done to maintain order in our life. When we are emotionally disturbed on the other-hand, we say that we feel out-of-balance, or perhaps mentally unwell.

Spiritually, we have a much bigger picture to look at. In order to determine whether we are spiritually well we need to be very honest with ourselves when asking that question.

If we feel completely happy with our lives, if we have a genuine understanding of our function and position in the universe, as living beings, then we could be said to be spiritually well. But, and this is where the importance of self-honesty shines through, we must be clear with ourselves if we feel spiritually unwell.

Do we feel confused about our way of life, or our beliefs?

Do we have unresolved conflicts with our past or even perhaps our understanding of our life, or our purpose?

Do we feel inner calm and peace that supports and promotes our utmost quality of life?

Being spiritually unwell means that no matter what we do, or where we go, or who we are with, our happiness, our wellness is only temporary.

Eventually we always fall back into some form of despair or confusion, or suffering: like having a splinter in our minds that inevitably, always returns back to hurt.

The Best Thing About Wellness

The best thing about wellness though is that it is attainable, by anyone and everyone. Everyone and anyone on the face of the planet can achieve physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Bearing in mind, that wellness does not mean ‘to be in good health’. If that were the case then no terminally, ill person could ever feel well.

This is what is meant by, wellness = balance. Even a person who is suffering from a terminal illness can feel well, if their life is balanced and fulfilled.

In order to encourage the development of a holistic wellness in our life, all we have to do is maintain a balanced way of life. This incorporates the physical, mental and spiritual worlds, since all of those things are within us.

Therefore, with regards to the question, is your lifestyle designed to support wellness, the above will give you an idea if it is, and only you will know the answer. If the answer is no, there are many things you can do to make changes, so make a plan and stick with it.

The Simple And Powerful Steps For Optimal Health, Energy And Longevity

In this day and age health issues and disease are rampant. Being in a good state of health is almost like a prized possession. Most people think if you have it, you’re lucky, but luck isn’t the real factor here. One can achieve optimal health by taking simple action steps to boost energy, happiness and longevity. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health and we have the power to take control. In this article, you will find the steps you can take today to start changing your health.

What is Optimal Health?
Optimal health can be defined as a balanced state on all levels, such as physical, mental, emotional, and social. This state is free from any limitations or dis-ease and is essentially complete well-being. When we are in a state of optimal health we have natural energy, happiness, clarity and peace of mind. We are able to function and go about daily life with ease.

Health Issues in 2017
Here is a list of common health problems people face today: heart disease, cancer, pain and arthritis, diabetes, obesity, digestive issues, allergies, asthma, sleep problems, headaches and the list goes on. For most of these issues we don’t have to live with them, we can alleviate symptoms and prevent further problems or dis-ease. Another big problem today is stress. Stress is a killer. We know that stress impacts the body negatively and is connected to high blood pressure. We do not have to accept stress and health issues as our “normal”. Let’s make a new normal, and that is “optimal health”!

Let’s Get Started
We need to envision the health we desire and how we want to feel. This vision is now our goal, let’s write it down. Post the goal where you will see it every day whether this is on your bedroom door, your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, the side of your computer monitor, or somewhere that you will be reminded of it daily. Next, we must set up a plan of action. Have you ever heard the quote by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? A goal with out a plan of action is destined to be a dream. You’ll choose from the steps below which one you want to work on first and schedule it in as a priority to work on. Once you have your plan set up, take action! Taking action is what’s going to produce results. If you feel overwhelmed making changes then take it one step at a time, even if you have to stay on one step for a few weeks or months before you feel like you can move on to the next. Eventually you will form new habits and your health will improve.

The 5 Steps
I won’t go into the details of why each step is important because this will turn into a book, but a quick Google search will provide you with plenty of resources on the benefits. And while I believe whole-heartedly that we should always focus on nutrition first, customize these steps and start wherever you feel most comfortable. Remember, one step at a time, I know you can do this.

Step 1 – Whole Food Nutrition
Processed foods come in packages or boxes like cakes, cookies, chocolate/snack bars, chips, sugary-cereals, etc., and they are void of nutrition. Fast food which is mainly deep-fried food contains trans-fats which are harmful to our health. If we want to have energy, no bloating, no heartburn, no pain or headaches, we need to focus on eating a diet primarily made of whole foods. Whole foods are foods that have one ingredient; themselves. These are foods such as: potatoes, carrots, oats, rice, beans, broccoli, cucumbers, eggs, fish, apples, bananas, berries, etc., you get the drift. Eat foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (a substance that protect our cells). This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy those other processed treats but they must not make up the bulk of our diet. Think of the 80/20 rule for your nutrition, 80% whole nutritious foods, 20% treats. Remember, take it one step at a time.

Here are the steps in this section:
– focus on finding new foods to eat rather than what you can’t eat
– create a shopping list so you’re prepared for the store
– stick to buying foods in the produce section and the outside perimeter of the grocery store
– try 1-2 new vegetables each week until you find something you enjoy and play around with how you cook it (steam, bake, boil). Vegetables can be hidden in smoothies! Spinach is completely hidden in a frozen berry protein shake.
– find healthy recipes online, once or twice a week start making real food at home from scratch. A slow cooker might just become your new best friend.
– get in the habit of preparing some meals and snacks ahead of time, this will save you time, stress and money in the long-run. Even cooking your food in bulk such as lean meats, healthy whole grains, and chopping up veggies and storing them in the fridge will ensure your success. You will be able to piece together a healthy meal quickly!

Step 2 – Water
Our bodies are made up of 60% water and our brains are made up of 70% water! We need water to survive. Water lubricates our bodies and joints, it helps cleanse and flush toxins, it helps with digestion, skin complexion, energy and so much more!

Here are the steps in this section:
– drink a glass of natural spring water first thing in the morning
– fill up a large bottle with fresh, natural spring water – keep this bottle right beside you all day long so you see it and remember to drink it
– flavour up your water if you’re not a fan of it plain, try infusing some slices of fruit, veggies or spices in your bottle. Tasty flavour enhancers are: orange slices, strawberries, cucumbers slices, lemon slices, lime slices or mint leaves
– replace a glass of pop, juice, alcohol, or coffee with a glass of hydrating water – this may help your waistline and you’ll feel better for it too!

Step 3 – Exercise
The body was meant to move. If you think about it, our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, this is why we shouldn’t be sedentary, we need to move. There is a plethora of benefits to exercise such as increased energy, improved strength, bone and muscle loss prevention, improved mood, and it will help us live longer! Exercising can feel overwhelming so it’s about finding something you enjoy and taking it slow, one step at a time. *ALWAYS consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning this or any other exercise program.

Here are the steps in this section:
– just walk – even if it’s 1 day per week for 20 minutes, build up until you can walk longer and more frequently
– perform resistance training – build up to at least 3 days per week, if you don’t know what to do visit YouTube, it’s a great resource, or hire a trainer at the gym. You can also take it back to the old gym class days and start with the basics: push ups, jumping jacks, sit ups, bicycle abs, squats and lunges.
– stretch your body – yoga is fantastic for lengthening our bodies and strengthening our core. You’d be amazed at the pain you can relieve from your body simply by opening it up!

Step 4 – Heal Deeply
What I mean by heal deeply is clearing any old emotional baggage that is holding you back in life. This is an uncomfortable step but it’s a critical one. It is unhealthy to be full of anxiety, worry, stress, fear, guilt, and shame all the time. If we are stuck living in the past or worried about the future then we can’t live fully in the now. We must be present, free, clear and at peace.

Here are the steps in this section:
– seek counselling or psychotherapy – never be ashamed to get help, we need to work through issues so we can move forward in life
– read personal development books – increase your awareness and understanding of yourself and others. One of my favourite books is called The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
– learn to forgive – being angry or upset at someone else only hurts you more than it hurts them
– practice meditation to reduce stress
– try energy work or alternative therapies – Reiki, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, classical Homeopathy, etc.

Step 5 – Sleep
Sleep is a beautiful thing. We need sleep to rest, recover, repair and have renewed energy. If getting a sound night’s sleep is a problem for you then consider something called sleep hygiene (see below).

Here are the steps in this section:
– set a sleep schedule – get in the habit of lying down at the same time every night, even if you don’t fall asleep right away
– remove all light – sleep in complete darkness, this means even putting your alarm clock behind a closet door or in a drawer
– lower the thermostat – some people find it easier to sleep in a cooler temperature
– keep a journal near by – if your best ideas come to you at 11pm then write them down so you can forget about them until tomorrow
– cellphones in the hallway – you’ll still hear your alarm! We know that EMFs are harmful so don’t have that WiFi connected device under your pillow, charging beside you or even in your room for that matter
– if you’re not tired… you’re probably not moving enough throughout the day to expend energy or you’ve consumed caffeine too late in the day
– if you’re anxious… go back to step 4 then come back to sleep

Holistic Healing for Everyday Activities

A holistic Approach is a form of healing that takes the entire person into account, meaning physical – mental – and emotional.

Healing is promoted by treating the entirety of the person based on the principal that, where one part is out of balance, it causes the entire system to become imbalanced and therefore unwell. For this reason, we say that the core of Holistic Healing, is to help you reconnect with your Authentic Self, you spirit.

Here are steps that you can take towards healing yourself within everyday activities.

Self-Care

In the modern world, self-care has become at best something of an after-thought and at worse a completely neglected consideration. Busy schedules, an astounding amount of time spent on social media and smartphones, the hustle, the bustle, it all takes time, and attention from what should be our first priority: self-care.

Stop and think for a moment, can you identify what your true needs are right at this moment?

Perhaps, you are so exhausted that you need a nap?

Maybe your body aches from tension and too much work and you could use a massage?

Were your last few meals eaten from a paper bag from some greasy take out that you wolfed down while rushing from one errand to another?

Are you really taking care of yourself, as much as you could?

Self-care and learning to listen to your body to identify what you really need and doing everything possible to fulfill those needs is the core of a holistic approach to good health and wellbeing.

Make yourself a priority!

When you care about yourself, and make the actions necessary to do a priority, your quality of life will naturally improve.

Stress Management

Holistic health practitioners and coaches understand that many ailments and ill health in general can be traced back to stress. In fact, a prolonged state of chronic stress is the root cause of many chronic medical conditions that afflict the body, and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety that affect the mind and emotional health.

Taking care of your emotional wellbeing is considered of utmost importance in holistic medicine and the body is greatly affected by what goes on in the mind.

Mind-body practices such as yoga, aromatherapy and meditation unite the mind, body, and spirit to promote overall wellness and a unique connection between physical and mental wellbeing. These activities and others, like simply taking a walk in nature calm the mind, and detract it from the very hectic and overly stimulating modern world.

A calm mind, supports a healthy body, it’s really that simple.

Taking the time to relax, and deep breathing exercises further support wellbeing and help to decrease the impact that stress has on our health.

Positive Relationships

Everything we do in life affects our wellbeing and relationships are no small consideration. Do your relationships fulfill you, uplift you, and support you?

If not, help is available to identify the problems and resolve them so that familial, romantic, and platonic relationships support you to thrive.

Nutrition

Yes, you have heard it all before… A healthy diet is necessary for good health.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women and is mainly tied to lifestyle choices such as diet.

Junk food kills… etc. etc. etc.

But, there is so much more…

  • Nutrients supplied by whole real food protect
  • and heal the body and the brain
  • They allow the body to work at its best
  • They give you unparalleled energy
  • They provide antioxidants to protect the body from chronic diseases
  • Real food strengthens the body to better deal with stress
  • Nutrients in food strengthen immunity to fight off colds and flu
  • The essential fatty acids you get from fatty fish, nuts and seeds promote healthy brain function, and vibrant and supple hair and skin
  • Eating right supports focus, concentration, and memory power

How Nature Helps To Alleviate Stress And Rejuvenate The Mind

Stress is something everyone experiences.

For some it comes and goes in spurts, while others are victims of chronic stress that is ongoing. Stress can come from work and personal sources, including hectic lives, and highly demanding jobs that put undue pressure on an employee.

With the many life responsibilities and situations all of us have, such as, the job, the kids, the pressures of a relationship, dealing with bosses, spouses, finances, home responsibilities and just the general hectic state in which many live can take its toll.

And, on top of the regular “every day stress,” certain events can yield additional anxiety and tension that only exasperates the situation.

Work is one area where stress is most prominent as deadlines, demands and pressures cause people to become overly tense, anxious and stressed out.

Working for long periods of time with intense focus and concentration can put an inordinate amount of stress on the brain and the body that sits without moving.

There are many ways to deal with stress, but, recent research has confirmed what some people already know, and that is the fact that nature can help.

Many experts have long stated that taking breaks helps to clear the mind and alleviate stress, but, it is really the type of break that is taken that will determine just how much stress will be alleviated.

Many researches have concluded that general cognitive performance and memory were improved when people were exposed to nature.

They also found that those who simply looked at images of nature in a dimly lit and serene environment gained more clarity of mind and a general cognitive boost.

The positive effect may lie in the fact that being in nature allows one to completely relax, and does not require any type of cognitive focus, it is simple enjoyment, which allows one to just “be” instead of having to focus and concentrate. This alone can go a long way to permitting the mind a rest period that allows for a reduction in stress.

So, in contrast to taking a walk down a busy street, where one might become overly stimulated and be on high alert when having to focus on traffic, avoiding people and other hindrances, a walk in nature allows one to just walk, without having to look out for anything.

Wide open, natural surroundings provide several opportunities to improve mental and emotional health, which includes alleviating stress.

There may be several reasons.

• Going outside typically results in people getting some exercise, even if it is just a simple stroll.

• Being out in nature allows one to just “be” without any type of pressure, focus, concentration or effort required on the part of the mind.

• Nature is peaceful. No one can argue that fact. What can be more calming and relaxing that breathing fresh air, hearing the gentle swish of leaves from branches swaying in a light wind, listening to the soothing sounds of water as it rushes down a small stream, gazing at a beautiful rainbow as it glistens under the clouds, or being surrounded by the gorgeous, greens, yellows and reds that are the stars of a beautiful fall day?

• It is also likely that when we are outside we instinctively breathe deeper, and breathing is one of the best ways to alleviate stress.

So why not take a walk in the park, visit some gardens, go to your local mountains, the beach, eat a picnic at the park on your next lunch break, go anywhere where nature is abound and see how it makes you feel.

Nature is peaceful, by nature.

When one is in a peaceful setting, it can go a long way to bringing an inner peace, which, will inevitably lower stress levels and bring calm to the mind, body and soul.

How Laughter Can Improve Your Overall Health

Laughter can be infectious. When you hear the sound of laughter, you can’t help but laugh yourself. When laughter is shared among others, it causes a binding between people and increases both intimacy and happiness.

It is well known that laughter triggers healthy bodily changes and healthy changes in the mind. Laughter can increase your energy level, lessen pain, strengthen the immune system, and protect you from stress. Laughter is the best medicine because it is free, fun, and easy.

Laughter is Strong Medicine

Laughter can be a strong antidote to conflict, pain, and stress. There is nothing else that works more dependably or quicker to bring your body and mind into balance than laughter. The use of humor can lighten your burdens, connect you to others, inspire your hope, and keep you focused, alert, and grounded.

With this ability to renew your health and heal you, laughter can be a great resource for whatever problems you may have. It can also strengthen your relationships, and can support your emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

How Is Laughter Good For Your Health?

Laughter can do many things for your health. These include the following:

• Laughter can increase your immune system. It can decrease the level of stress hormones within the body and increase the number of immune cells and antibodies you have, which will help you become more resistant to disease.
• Laughter is relaxing. A wonderful laugh can relieve you of stress and physical tension so that your muscles can be relaxed for up to 45 minutes following laughing.
• Laughter releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s feel-good hormones. When your endogenous endorphins are released, you feel a sense of well-being and a reduction in the sensation of pain.
• Laughter can help the heart. Laughter can increase the ability of the blood vessels to nourish all parts of the body. It can increase your blood flow, which in turn can help prevent heart attacks and other types of heart diseases.

The Overall Benefits Of Laughter

Laughter is known to have many health benefits, including physical, emotional, and social benefits. Some of these include the following:

• Decreases your stress levels
• Increases your immunity
• Relaxes your muscles
• Protects your heart
• Lessens pain
• Lessens fear and anxiety
• Relieves stress
• Adds joy to your life
• Enhances your mood
• Improves your resilience
• Attracts other people to us
• Promotes the bonding among group members
• Improves teamwork
• Strengthens relationships

Laughter Can Help Your Emotional Health

Laughter simply makes a person feel good. This good feeling persists even when you are done laughing. Laughter helps you maintain an optimistic, positive outlook so you can better get through situations of loss, disappointments, and other difficult situations.

Laughter is more than just a protection against pain and sadness. It gives you the strength and courage to find other sources of hope and meaning. Even when you find yourself in the most difficult of times, laughter or even a smile can take you far when it comes to feeling better. Laugher really is a bit contagious.

When you hear someone else laugh, it primes your brain and sets you up to join that person in laughing, too.

Laughter And Mental Health

Laughter is associated with better mental health. Some things laughter can do to improve your mental health include the following:

• Laughter allows you to relax. A good laugh can lessen stress and increase your energy levels so that you can remain focused and get more things accomplished.
• Laughter can lessen distress. It is hard to feel sad, anxious, or angry when you are instead laughing.
• Laughter shifts your perspective. It allows you to see things in a less threatening and more realistic light. Being humorous helps create a psychological distance between you and stressful events so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Laughter Has Social Benefits

When you use humor and engage in playful communication with others, your relationships become stronger and you trigger positive emotions and an emotional connection with those you are laughing with. A positive bond develops-one that can act as a powerful buffer against disappointment, disagreements, and stress.

When you laugh with others, this is a more powerful thing than when you laugh alone.

How To Create More Opportunities To Laugh

There are things you can do to increase your chances of laughing. Here are some you might try:

• Attend a comedy club
• Watch something funny on television
• Watch videos of funny animals there are tons on YouTube, or just add the search term “funny” into the YouTube search bar
• Read the comics in the newspaper
• Be with people who are funny
• Share a funny story or joke with another
• Read a funny book
• Sponsor a game night with your friends
• Play with your pet
• Play with children
• Do something you think is silly
• Engage in activities you consider fun

Laughter can do a lot to help you feel better on a physical, emotional, and cognitive level. Don’t be afraid to share a good laugh with others for all around better health.

5 Ways To A More Balanced Life

Creating a work-life balance can be tough. It is very hard to find the delicate balance between a happy boss and happy home life. There are a few things that you could do both at work and at home to create a balanced life.

Because this is such an important topic, it has been covered by groups like Mental Health America, Web M.D., Forbes, and Business News Daily. Instead of sending you all over the Internet to try and find some tips to help you manage your time and create a work-life balance we’ve combined them into five tips that you can create a more balanced life both at home and at work.

1. Create a Routine

One of the best routine tools to use at work is to make a list of tasks based on priority. Prioritizing your work allows you to get the most important things done and using a checklist allows you to see what you have achieved during the day. Having a daily routine will make you less stressed about what you will do each day at work.

Routines are great for home as well. They let everyone know what’s going on and when. However, sometimes you need downtime too. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself and your family some downtime. You can even put it on the calendar if you want to. Scheduling in downtime for you and your family is a great way to make sure you all are able to relax and bond together.

2. Telecommute

If you can telecommute to work especially on days where you are sick, your children are sick, or the commute will be extra-long due to weather or outside circumstances. Telecommuting is a great way to provide your employer with what they need while giving you some breathing room.

3. Learn to Say No

Many of us think we don’t have the ability to say no at work. This results in taking on too many tasks, working overtime, and being stressed about not being able to get everything done. If there’s a job you know, you won’t be able to get done or that you are not suited for say no. You may be surprised at how well this is received by your employer.

It is important to learn how to say no to social events and home life events that will be too taxing as well. Maybe you have social obligations that are just too draining, or don’t allow you enough time with your family in the evenings. Cutting these out will help you find balance.

4. Learn Your Employer’s Policies

Learning leave, vacation, sick, and disability policies are paramount. Also, learn what telecommunication systems your company has in place. If there aren’t any, you may need to ask. This will alleviate any stress if you need to use vacation or sick days or if you need to telecommute.

If you have children, learn their school’s policies too. Knowing the procedure for turning in sick notes, calling out for the day, or showing up late is going to save a lot of headache for both you and them!

5. Communicate

Let your employer know what’s going on. Let them know where you’re at on individual projects, if you’re going to be on time ahead of deadline or behind on schedule. Communicating these vital elements to your employer will alleviate stress on the job.

At home, communication is essential. This is even more so if there are a marriage and kids at home. Make sure you are letting everyone know what is going on with you. In addition, you need to know what is going on with everyone else.

Set a family meeting once a week to discuss upcoming events, stress points, things that may need planning and other elements of life that could cause stress if not well planned. This simple act will aid in your ability to find that balance between work and home.

These five steps will help you find some balance in your busy life. What are some ways that you have found a balance between work and home that weren’t on our list?

The Incredible Benefits Of The Present Moment

Silence is all about the present moment; stopping the constant flow of thoughts, worries, and concerns about the past and future and allowing the mind to just be in the moment.

Living in the present is another form of silence.

It is not the deliberate state of sitting in silence, but training your mind to live in the present moment without concern for the past or future does turn off the many constantly streaming stressful thoughts that stem from those concerns that we experience each and every day.

Think about it: How many times have you failed to enjoy an experience because your mind was distracted with thoughts of some past or future trouble or worry?

It’s good to learn from the past and plan for the future, but often we use this to avoid dealing with our present situation in life, which might be overwhelming us or we miss out on enjoying the here and the now.

If we never learn to find peace and enjoyment in the present, we feel constantly overwhelmed, anxious, and out of control, and this can lead to fatigue, depression, body aches, insomnia and a reduced quality of life and an inability to enjoy life.

Our senses are important in “bringing us home” to our experience of ourselves, in the present moment. When we experience the present moment we become present to ourselves, so we become more authentic. We become our true selves. When we can let go of our fears, we can experience the caress of a fresh breeze on our face.

When we are present with our sight, we can see the details of textures, colors, shape and form, that we otherwise would be missing. We can feel the cool air on our nostrils as we breathe in and the warmer air as we breathe out. We can feel the weight of our bodies against the chair as we sit. We can feel the softness of our clothes.

We can smell the fresh scent of soap when we wash. We can taste the flavor, see the bright colors, and feel the textures of our food.

We can listen to the sounds outside our window: trucks passing, birds chirping, dogs barking.

This brings us to the concept of mindfulness.

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

We hear about it a lot these days, but do you really know what it is and how to create the conditions for its existence?

It’s found in many of the world spiritual traditions. The Sufis, the mystics of Islam, practice the concept of Presence. In mystic branches of Christianity, there is the concept of “centering prayer” where the “Presence of God” is the result of being mindful of a specially chosen “sacred word,” such as “Peace,” or “Love.”

Zen Buddhism, for example, focuses on this practice of mindfulness. “If you are going to eat that cream cake, make sure you enjoy it!” was the comment a Zen Buddhist teacher once made.

In other words, don’t go worrying about how it will make you fat, or how you shouldn’t really be eating it, or how it is bad for your heart, or other such thoughts.

These types of concerns are thoughts that take you away from the experience of the moment, which in this case, is the enjoyable act of eating a lovely cake. How does the cake look? How do you feel when you look at the cake? Notice that you salivate, you feel a little bit excited as you anticipate how delicious the cake is going to be.

Next, you experience how the cake smells and you experience a pleasurable sensation. Then you take a bite and experience the explosion of taste, chocolate, sweet and creamy, and silky, crunchy, smooth and soft, texture sensations inside your mouth. So much pleasure in each mouthful!

Mindfulness states that it is better to be “in” the experience of eating that cake than worrying about all its possible negative effects.

Obsessing about our thoughts, which tend to be mainly negative, is known as “rumination.” It is a common occurrence. This keeps us locked in either the past or the future and prevents us from being truly present.

We’re either remembering something that happened in the past or we are worrying about what is going to happen in the future.

Our thoughts can be productive or non-productive.

If we find ourselves constantly ruminating on resentments, anger, fear, worry or despair, our mental environment is not conducive to good health and well-being.

If we can begin to notice the space, the silence, in between each of our thoughts, we begin to make contact with the present moment.

In that present moment, we can start to experience the beauty, which is ever present and calling us to be present with it, and we can begin to appreciate it and to experience it.

We live in a beautiful, exquisite world full of the mystery and the miracle of life. Yet for most of us, most of the time we are too busy to see it.

Grab the Right Attitude About Midlife: It’s A Whole New Life Ahead

Hitting midlife is certainly a milestone, as the stress related to forging a career, settling down and raising children fades into the rearview mirror and it’s time to shift down a gear. We start to feel more content and it’s time to truly enjoy life! It only gets better from here, with life getting better with each decade.

According to Psychology Today, the older we get the happier we are, and as we kiss our 30’s goodbye, our happiness grows.

Our worry tails off as we say farewell to the stress and anger that we have been experiencing, and in comes enjoyment and happiness. In fact, our happiness continues to grow the older we get, with peak happiness continuing until the age of 85!

With age comes wisdom, which offers us the ability to be in tune with our thoughts and feelings.

It also becomes easier for us to screen the negatives out of our lives and instead focus on the positives. Older people find it easier to dismiss their temper in favor of savoring enjoyable experiences.

Midlife crises seem to be a thing of the past, with improvements in education, life expectancy, and healthcare.

It’s fair to say, rather than life beginning at 40, 50 or 60, it’s simply a new life. We no longer have to worry about the wobbles that 40 to 60 somethings of past generations have. The difficult decisions are behind us and it’s time to start enjoying life.

Think of the first half of your life as the research period where you have spent your years discovering who you are and what you like and in the latter half you can start fulfilling it.

Consider the man who coined the term midlife crisis in the first place. Elliot Jaques was a Canadian psychoanalyst and at the age of 48, in 1965, he coined that term. Between 1965 and his death in 2003, aged 86, he wrote twelve books, got married, served as a consultant to the US Army and the Church of England.

It’s safe to say that the latter half of his life was when some amazing things happened. It’s just a fact of life that older people have the ability to view their life circumstances more positively, forgetting their bad experiences.

Listening To Your Body For Better Health

For many of us, better health does not come naturally. It is usually something we must work on in order to lead healthy lives and have overall excellent health. This means listening to your body and understanding what it is telling you about what is going on inside the body. Here are some ways you can listen to your body so you can have a life that is sustained by good health.

Watching The Scale

You can listen to your body every time you put on your clothes or when stepping on the scale. Do your clothes fit right? Are they becoming too loose on you or are they fitting snuggly? Is the scale tipping one way or another in the wrong direction? If you find that you are losing too much weight or packing on the pounds, it may be that you are being affected by stress and are not eating in ways that promote good health.

Good health comes from eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. This is in lieu of eating processed foods such as cookies, cakes, processed meals, and candies-all of which have excess calories and preservatives that are generally unhealthy for you.

Eating too little can affect your health as well. When you eat less than the amount of food you are supposed to eat, you can suffer from lack of proper nutrients. Lacking in proper nutrients, your body does not function properly and you can cause yourself to be sick from lack of the nutrients to support immune health.

Listen To Your Digestive System

Your digestive system is not only the way you get proper nutrients but also it is a main way your body uses to protect itself from pathogens. The digestive system is one big part of the immune system so you need to treat it with the care it deserves. This means paying attention to episodes of diarrhea that can strip the colon of protective bacteria, constipation, and indigestion from being under excess stress or eating the wrong foods.

You can care for your digestive system by eating healthy foods and by taking probiotics, which can replenish the gut with good bacteria. Probiotics can be taken in by eating plain yogurt with live cultures or by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir.

If you can’t get it in the foods you eat, you can purchase many probiotic supplements at the drug store or online. Some of the best probiotics are those that come in spore form. The spores can survive the acidic environment of your stomach and then release the live bacteria in the intestines, where they take root and drive out the bad bacteria and fungi.

Listen To Your Cardiovascular System

This means following your blood pressure and pulse very carefully. If you are inactive or have a family history of high blood pressure, you may be suffering from high blood pressure and not know it. This means you have to check your blood pressure every time you run across a blood pressure machine at the drug store or grocery store.

When you see the doctor, your blood pressure will be taken as well. If it is consistently elevated, you may need to be on an antihypertensive medication or modify your diet and exercise program so you can avoid some of the many complications of high blood pressure.

You should check your pulse as well on a periodic basis. A high pulse can mean that you are too inactive or are under a great deal of stress. Exercise can cause your heart to function better and will slow your pulse to normal levels.

Listen For And Respect Signs Of Stress and Fatigue

Feel tired, but keep pushing yourself past your limits? Are you fighting fatigue on a regular basis, instead of taking the time to rest and rejuvenate? Fatigue and low energy are both your body talking to you and letting you know that you need to rest and relax, if you don’t listed you will crash and burn.

Are you ignoring anxiety, instead of looking to erase its sources and lower stress levels? Stress kills, and you are the only one that can take care to reduce its load on your body, mind, and spirit. Great ways to fight stress and its impact are Tai Chi, meditation, yoga and taking vacations on a regular basis.

How Silence Serves Your Brain and Wellness

The modern world is indeed loud and distracting, and silence may be increasingly difficult to come by, which impairs our wellness, serenity, and inner peace, but there are many reasons to make time for silence in your life.

“All of man’s problems could be solved if he could just learn to sit

alone in a room with himself for an hour” – Pascal (1623-1662)

Silence Reduces Tension and Stress

Noise can lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks, loud noise raises stress levels and promotes the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

Conversely, silence does the opposite, promoting calm, inner peace, allowing the brain to have a rest.

Research has shown that silence releases tension in both the brain and the body.

A 2006 study published in the journal Heart reported that just two minutes of silence elicited a better relaxation response including lowering blood pressure and affecting blood circulation in the brain than listening to relaxing music.

Silence eliminates the fight or flight stress response, and instead creates calm and relaxation, which lower stress and consequently promotes healthy immunity, and reduces risks for stress related diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches, and anxiety.

Replenishes Mental Resources and Restarts Brain Power

The modern world is filled with an over abundance of sensory input, which causes attention centers in the brain to become run down but you can restore them with silence.

The endless demands place a significant burden on the prefrontal cortex draining the ability to pay attention, causing mental fatigue and impairing the ability to concentrate and focus.

Silence restarts the brain and replenishes the mental resources needed to improve cognitive function. In silence, the brain gets a break, and just as a power nap restarts your energy, so silence restarts your brain.

Tap into Our Inner Selves

Meditation, daydreaming and eliminating external noise by simply sitting in silence allows the mind to wander and just be idle.

This allows us to tap into our true inner selves, to discover new ideas, and focus on and engage our thoughts, memories, and emotions.

These processes allow us to create a better state of wellness for the body, mind, and spirit by creating meaning in our experiences, promoting creativity, and providing reflection that supports mental and emotional health.

Deep reflection is gained from silence, something that can never be achieved with the distraction created by external noise.

Improved Creativity

Excessive thinking and mental stimulation stifles creativity. In silence, your mind is free to just be, which allows your creative juices to flow freely.

Self-Control and Eliminating Self-destructive Patterns

The mind produces more than 60,000 thoughts a day and more than 80% of our thoughts repeat themselves daily.

Our thoughts drive our emotions and behaviors.

This means that more than 85% of our emotions and behaviors are preprogrammed by our habitual ways of thinking.

When you do not stop to quiet the mind, you will forever be a slave to your own thinking patterns and consequent habits.

The practice of quieting the mind puts you back in control, and allows your habits to serve you, giving you the freedom of choice.

Regenerates Brain Cells

Silence can help your brain to grow, as a study that was published in the Journal Brain, Structure found.

This study compared the effects of white noise, pup calls, ambient noise, and silence on the brains of mice.

While originally the intent was to use silence as a control factor in the study, the scientists found that only two hours of silence each day resulted in the growth of new cells in the hippocampus, the brain center responsible for memory, emotions, and learning.

Although these findings are only preliminary, there is a clear suggestion that silence is indeed helpful for the brain in growing new cells, and that it may have therapeutic value for conditions associated with decreased hippocampus neuronal regeneration, such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Inner Peace and Calm

Silence promotes inner peace and calm, both of which elude many in the modern world but are so necessary to promote a general state of optimal wellness. When you achieve a healthy state of inner peace your every day performance, mental state and emotional wellbeing is improved.

You are better able to handle stress, and improve your quality of life.

Inner peace allows you to achieve a new level of joy, and not from obtaining material possessions, or from external sources, but from inside yourself through a new perspective that supports harmony within your mind and spirit.

Cultivates Awareness

Cultivating awareness is a key solution to stress and its effects on the body, mind, and spirit.

Cultivating awareness of the present moment allows you to be so completely immersed in the “experience of the present,” that it suppresses any urge to let thoughts in that can trigger stress.

Controlled breathing, immersion in all of your senses and devoting your complete attention to the current environment and your body prevents the mind from being stuck in stress and consequently allows you to bypass its responses in the body.