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Fun Fact Friday

  • Stephen Hawking was told that he had two years to live by doctors back in 1963. Today, he’s alive and is 72-years-old.

  • 71% of breakups happen because of mood swings.

 

 

  • Banana is a happy fruit. Eating just one can help relieve irritable emotions, anger and or depression.

  • It only takes one lie to completely change a person’s perception of who you are.

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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A 5-Minute Breathing Exercise To Reduce Stress

In yoga, we try to balance the flows of energy and awareness as we raise prana, or breath. Pranayama (“conscious breathing”) creates this balance by linking the body with the mind. Pranayama is the inhale, the exhale, and the suspension of the inhale and exhale. Performed correctly and gradually is to be freed from all disease.

In essence, without the breath, yoga would be no different than our traditional Western forms of exercise. The breath is the tool that unites body with mind. When linking breath with movement, we gradually develop a relationship with the length, depth and pace of our inhale and exhale. This synchronicity creates balance. Now let’s see what this mind-body connectivity hoopla is really all about!

To deepen your yoga practice, try this 6-step process once a day for 30 days:

  1. Pick your favorite seated yoga posture. Secure yourself safely in the posture.
  2. Close your eyes and breath naturally for a moment. As you do so, acknowledge your slowing pulse, become aware of how still your mind and body are, and absorb your connection to your entire being
  3. Now, deepen your breath, inhaling the breath from your belly into your chest. Feel the strength of your life force.
  4. Exhale slowly and completely through your nostrils, being patient with your release
  5. Still holding this posture, breathe deeply for at least 90 seconds. Watch the heat build. This is how we detoxify and purify the body.
  6. Notice any sensations and discomfort that arise in the body. Notice the mental discomfort as the ego wants to escape from the posture. Every breath is a source of valuable information for you.

 

d16c0-yoga-meditation-woman-mountain

Pranayama is also a powerful tool for developing mindfulness and witness consciousness.

The average person has between 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day.

(Take a moment to soak in thought #60,001.)

So what determines whether you’re having 40,000 or 60,000 thoughts?

You guessed it: the length, depth and pace of your breath.

The mind spends the majority of its time replaying memories of the past or projecting how events or moments in the future will unfold. These repetitive thought-cycles carry an emotional charge. Those that are negative and fear-based enslave us in negative habitual patterns of unconscious and subconscious behaviors.

And that kind of thinking certainly takes the fun out of life, doesn’t it?

In yoga, we call these Samskaras. As long as these particles containing these emotions, thoughts or desires are within, we will continue to be influenced by them at an unconscious level.

The past is our guide to healing. The breath is our tool for healing and transformation.

All we have is the present moment, which empowers conscious choice and transformation from the inside out.

So, maybe you’re not a yogi or yogini. Even so, a daily pranayama practice is one of the most valuable resources you have for your overall health and well-being. Conscious, mindful breathing allows you to organically raise energy levels in your body while activating the relaxation response, all designed to bring you maximum vitality.

Take five minutes for yourself every morning for a little mindful breathing and see how that elevates your workout, reduces stress, and helps you realign inside and out.

This is pranayama!


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8 Ways to Put Yourself on Your Priority List

Finding Time for ”Me” Time

By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach

How often have you found yourself thinking or saying the following?

“I wish I had more time for myself.”
“I’m so busy! I don’t have a moment to breathe.”
“I need more hours in the day.”
“I don’t have time for that.”

We lead crazy, busy lives. And the one thing we never seem to have time for is ourselves. This problem seems even more pervasive as we work harder to meet the challenges of this new economy.

Creating more personal time tops the list of goals many people want to accomplish. With work time, partner or family time and social time all demanding our attention, we are constantly juggling our day-to-day responsibilities. Finding as little as 15-30 minutes a day of uninterrupted, relaxing “me” time is challenging at best.

But we all instinctively know that when we take time for ourselves to pursue our passions, do the things that we enjoy, relax or even do nothing at all, we end up happier, healthier and feeling better. “Me” time allows us to de-stress, unwind and rejuvenate. Taking time for yourself allows you to renew, heal, and create reserves of energy and peace.

When I ask my clients why they don’t plan more “me” time in their schedules, three common themes arise: not enough time, feeling guilty, or it feels selfish. The more giving and caring a person you are, the more these feelings seem to emerge.

Remember that no matter what we do, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you can’t create more time. But you can clear some time by reevaluating priorities, perhaps saying “no” more often and practicing smart time management.

“Me” time is not something you should feel guilty about. It’s nothing more than taking some time to put aside your everyday business and treating yourself to an activity that you enjoy. It gives you an opportunity to relax, refocus and recharge. And when you do that, you can come back to your responsibilities with greater focus, commitment and enjoyment.

It is very common to become so involved in giving to others that we fail to give to ourselves. And although this is more often a trait in women, there are plenty of men out there who feel this way too. Many are so caught up in earning a living to take care of their families, that breaking away from responsibilities to indulge in hobbies, reading or hanging out with the guys makes them feel selfish.

If everyone else around you is worthy of care and attention, then so are you. You not only deserve this time, but you need it for your own well-being. Lack of time for ourselves often leads to feeling frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and out of balance. Without this time for ourselves, we lose sight of what’s important to us.

Peaceful woman relaxing at home with cup of tea

Occasionally I am asked, “Doesn’t exercise count as ‘me’ time?” Well the answer is yes and no. If you approach exercise as another responsibility to cross off the list, and/or get more joy when you are done vs. enjoying the actual time spent working out, you are probably getting lots of health benefits, but not the same kind you get from “me” time. Unless you walk away from your routine feeling renewed, refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on the world once again, you may still need another activity that you do just for the pure joy of doing it. If, despite a regular exercise routine, you still feel overwhelmed and yearning for personal time, scheduling a few “me” time activities will do you a world of good!

Let’s look at some ways you can make “me” time a reality:

First, decide that you deserve some time to yourself each day. Stop feeling guilty for taking time out for you, and realize in the long run, it’s a win-win for everyone. When you are tired, stressed out and pulled in too many directions, it is hard to give your best to all you must accomplish. Remember, self-time is not selfish—it’s a necessary dimension of self-care!

Decide how best to spend “me” time. How each of us chooses to spend free time is as individualized as we all are. If you had an extra 15 minutes, a half hour, an afternoon or an entire day, what would you do to make yourself feel rejuvenated, relaxed and happy? Write a list and keep it handy when you begin scheduling time into your calendar.

Evaluate the things that are wasting your time each day. Do you check your emails constantly and end up spending more time on your computer than you planned? Do you answer personal calls in the middle of your workday? Run to the supermarket daily to pick up dinner rather than plan in advance and shop once? If this sounds like you, you must take the time to organize your responsibilities, and you will gain more free time than you can imagine.

Learn to say “no” to requests to do things that you don’t really want to, don’t value or don’t bring you satisfaction and joy.

Ask for help with chores that don’t necessarily have to be completed by you alone.

At the beginning of each week, take a few minutes to designate specific time slots for all that must be accomplished—including “me” time. Treat your personal time like you would any other appointment and make it non-negotiable.

Commit to a minimum of 15-20 minutes of “me” time every day. Do something (or nothing) that completely lets go of responsibilities and releases your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts.

Create a daily ritual. This can be a bath, listening to music, taking a walk or meditating. Make it something you can look forward to. Years ago, when my children were small and life felt too hectic and overwhelming, I created a ritual for “me” time. I decided it was well worth it to get up 45 minutes before the rest of the family to enjoy my coffee and breakfast in solitude. To this day it’s my time to read, daydream or just bask in the sounds of silence. Looking forward to this time, and a coffee pot on a timer, gets me out of bed with a smile on my face.

Stop wishing you had more time to yourself, and commit to carving it into your schedule. Rather than bemoan your lack of time, change your approach and create the time using the tips above. You will be amazed at how a little bit of time to yourself can make a huge difference in your health and happiness!

Source:
Richardson, Cheryl. 1999. Take Time for Your Life:
A Personal Coach’s 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want,
NY, Broadway Books.
www.sparkpeople.com


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How to Claim Some ‘Me Time’

By Karen Asp       WebMD Feature Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

Say it loud, and say it proud: Me, me, me! OK, maybe you don’t want to shout it, but it is that important.

Fitting in time for yourself is essential to do your healthy habits. Take charge of your health and happiness, and you’ll lower your stress, become more productive, and have more energy.

You may think “it’s all about me” is selfish. But consider this: Other people benefit from your “me time,” too. Do things that feed you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and you’ll bring greater patience and a more positive attitude to your relationships. You’ll become a better parent, spouse, and a more effective team player at work.

Book It

Take a page from your calendar, literally. Every week, look at your calendar and book some me time.

Can’t find an hour to devote to yourself? Even 5-15 minutes can work, if you stick to it.

Don’t use the time to fold laundry or catch up on email. It may even seem more stressful at first to leave things undone, but you’ll have more energy if you take a little time off.

Where to find the time?

  • Take advantage of the kids’ reading or nap time.
  • Get up 10 minutes earlier.
  • Ask your kids (and spouse) to do the dishes.
  • Turn off the smartphone.
  • Claim a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon for yourself, even if that means adjusting your family’s schedule.

Gimme 5

If 5 minutes is all you’ve got, you’d be surprised at how much you can make it count.

Just breathe. Really focus on taking deep breaths. Your mind may wander — that’s OK, just gently lead it back from thinking about everything that’s on your to-do list.
Stretch. Get up from your desk and energize your muscles.
Do nothing. Sit quietly. Resist the urge to jump up and clear the table or pick up the kids’ toys. Let your mind and body rest.

A Few Minutes More

At least once a month, carve out a little more time for yourself — say 30 minutes to an hour. Get a pedicure. Or a facial. Go somewhere you’ve never been (a certain museum or a walking trail, perhaps). Write down your dreams and goals in a journal.

Say No, Gracefully

You don’t have to tell your friends and family what you’re doing. But if their demands cut into your time, it’s okay to create a buffer.

Tell them you can help but that you need a quick 20 minutes (or whatever amount of time feels right) before you can do it.

Stick to It

Unless it’s crucial, don’t cancel me time. It’s tempting and easy to forgo this time. But if you do it too often, you won’t have any me time left!

Stick up for yourself, and you’ll find it pays off for those around you, too. You’ll be happier and more able to help them.

source: WebMD


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10 Ways To Stop Stressing & Start Living Peacefully

BY TINA WILLIAMSON    NOVEMBER 9, 2013 

If you’re anything like me, you might worry like it’s a second job: if the coffee is good or bad, if we’ll get that promotion, and what diseases the future has in store for us. The unfortunate part is that this all-consuming gig doesn’t pay money—it pays in stress, unhappiness, anxiety, and inner turmoil.

It can feel almost unbearable waiting for these future outcomes to transpire. Sometimes our worries are small and manageable and pass, but sometimes worry becomes a chronic default setting. When we worry chronically, it becomes second nature to live in this revved up state of anxiety and restlessness. Know that you’re not alone; chances are, if you are breathing you are likely worrying.

Instead of replaying the same old worries day after day, why don’t we look at how to stop worrying and start living peacefully?


1. Take time for silence.

We need to first understand why we worry—worry comes from unpleasant thoughts that our mind manifests. When we follow these thoughts, we tend to dwell, fixate, exaggerate and obsess. Through silence, we can become acquainted with these thoughts and through mindfulness and meditation we can change these thoughts.


2. Get rid of stuff.

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise. But material possessions are things we can lose, and with that comes worry and stress. By adopting a minimalist lifestyle you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.


3. Give yourself a safe space.

Whether your safe space is a room designed for yoga or meditation or simply your bedroom or office, the point is it should be relaxing, a place where you can close the doors to the outside stressors and just breathe.


4. Create a budget.

Even though it may seem like you’ll never have enough money, you need to stop stressing about it. One way to stop worrying about money is to gain some control over it. Create a budget and follow it.


5. Organize your time and self.

When you’re overextended, you are being flung in every direction, and when that happens, you’re not really following through on anything or doing anything particularly great. This ignites stress; we want to be perfect for everyone all the time. Make effective use of your time; learn how to say no, set a realistic schedule and forget about the expectations others project onto you.


6. Stop being influenced by media.

The media can make us feel like we are not thin, rich, or successful enough. It also instils fear of war, disease and even coffee. The media can be a fear-based breeding ground for worry.


7. Be rational.

Ask yourself, “Are my worries realistic?”

8. Exercise.

It releases endorphins, which make the brain feel good. Exercise also reduces the body’s stress hormones.


9. Express gratitude.

Stop worrying about things that may or may not happen and start being thankful for the things you have right now. Developing an attitude of gratitude can transform our states of mind. Spend a few minutes each day, listing things for which you are thankful.


10. Trust yourself.

Do you worry about whether you’re on the right path? Get quiet so that you can hear the small voice deep inside of you. Your inner GPS won’t steer you wrong.

Simply tune into your inner compass; it’s guiding you in the right direction.

Remember these things:

  • Worrying accomplishes nothing.
  • Worrying is bad for you. 
  • Worrying is the opposite of trust and peace. 
  • Worrying puts your attention in the wrong direction.

 

When worry does grab a hold of you, these fun tips can help stop it from snowballing:

  • Listen to music
  • Go to a party
  • Read a book
  • Have a movie night with your friends
  • Go camping
  • Have a family outing
  • Spend a day at the beach
  • Take a relaxing cleansing breath ….

Aaahhhh. Feel the stress float away.

 


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Magnolia Tree Bark Extract Fights Bad Breath, Tooth Decay, Stress

by: Leslee Dru Browning     Tuesday, January 08, 2008 

(NaturalNews) Magnolia Bark has been used in Chinese Medicine since the year 100 A.D. Magnolia Bark was primarily selected as a safe treatment for low energy, anxiety, stress and depression. Recently, after hundreds of years of herbal use, scientific research discovered that magnolia bark is rich in two biphenol compounds (magnolol and honokiol), which are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-lowering effects of the plant. Today, medical research specifies that magnolia’s anti-stress benefits are, indeed, linked to its ability to control levels of the body’s primary stress hormone, cortisol.

Elevated cortisol levels are associated with conditions including, but not limited to, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, memory problems and suppressed immune function; magnolia bark can help these conditions by regulating cortisol levels. Numerous health benefits are associated with normal cortisol levels.

Old-time herbalists used magnolia bark in hypertension herbal remedies and Japanese researchers have now determined that the magnolol and honokiol components of Magnolia officinalis are one thousand times more potent than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in their antioxidant activity, thereby offering a potential heart-health benefit. Research has also shown both magnolol and honokiol to possess powerful “brain-health” benefits through their actions in modulating the activity of various neurotransmitters and related enzymes in the brain.

The latest research news from scientists in Illinois report that breath mints made with magnolia bark extract kill most oral bacteria that causes bad breath and tooth decay within 30 minutes of chewing the mints. A magnolia bark extract could be a boon for oral health when added to chewing gum and mints according to a study reported in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Minmin Tian and Michael Greenberg tested the germ-killing power of magnolia bark extract using saliva samples taken from volunteers following a regular meal.

In this new study, Mints containing the extract killed more than 61 percent of the germs that cause bad breath within 30 minutes, compared with only a 3.6 percent germ-kill for the same flavorless mints without the extract, the researchers say. Magnolia bark is much more effective than existing anti-bacterial products for bad breath, which are far from ideal, with some having side effects like tooth staining.

The extract also showed strong antibacterial activity against a group of bacteria known to cause cavities. Mints and chewing gum containing the extract may also provide a “portable oral care supplement to dentifrice (toothpaste), where brushing is not possible,” the study states.


Herbalists have also used magnolia bark in herbal remedies for the following health conditions:

Traditional Usage:

* Allergies
* Anti-anxiety
* Anti-inflammatory
* Antioxidant
* Chest Pain
* Cleansing
* Detoxification
* Digestive Problems
* Emotional Distress
* Energy Loss
* Fainting
* Heart Health Maintenance
* Hormonal Imbalances
* Inflammation
* Insomnia
* Muscle tension
* Nervousness
* Obesity
* Stress and restlessness
* Tension
* Tension Headaches

All magnolia species have been found to have similar active ingredients and are used interchangeably.

Drug Interactions when ingesting Magnolia Bark tincture, extract or capsules:

Do not use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Contraindications for ingestion of Magnolia Bark tincture extract or capsules:

Contraindicated for use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Side Effects:

No significant toxicity or adverse effects have been associated with traditional use of magnolia bark. However, do not operate heavy machinery while ingesting magnolia bark.

References:

Compressed Mints and Chewing Gum Containing Magnolia Bark Extract Are Effective against Bacteria Responsible for Oral Malodor in the Nov. 14 issue of the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jafcau/2007/55/i23/html/jf0721…)
Sweet magnolia: Tree bark extract fights bad breath and tooth decay from the American Chemical Society:
(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/89384.php)
Herb & Supplement Encyclopedia:
(http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/HealthInformation/Encycl…)

About the author
Leslee Dru Browning is a 6th generation Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist from the ancestral line of Patty Bartlett Sessions; Pioneer Mid-Wife & Herbalist. Leslee practiced Medical Herbalism and Nutritional Healing for over 25 years and specialized in Cancer Wellness along with Chronic Illness. She now devotes her career to teaching people, through her writing, about Natural Healing from An Herbal Perspective.


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Stress and the Brain

Brought to you by Deepak Chopra, M.D., Alexander Tsiaras and TheVisualMD.com        Posted: 07/24/2011


The human body responds to stress with a powerful fight-or-flight reaction. Hormone surge through the body, causing the heart to pump faster and sending extra supplies of energy into the bloodstream. For much of human history, this emergency response system was useful: It enabled people to survive immediate physical threats, like an attack from a wild animal. But today, the stress in most people’s lives comes from the more psychological and seemingly endless pressures of modern life. Daily challenges like a long commute or a difficult boss can turn on the stress hormones — and because these conditions don’t go away, the hormones don’t shut off.  Instead of helping you survive, this kind of stress response can actually make you sick.


Chronic stress can harm the body in several ways. The stress hormone cortisol, for instance, has been linked to an increase in fat around organs, known as visceral fat. The accumulation of visceral fat is dangerous, since these fat cells actively secrete hormones that can disrupt the functioning of the liver, pancreas and brain, causing problems such as insulin resistance, inflammation and metabolic syndrome. Chronic exposure to other stress hormones can also weaken the immune system and even change the structure of chromosomes.

How Stress Affects the Brain

Recent research suggests that chronic stress takes a toll on the brain, too. Studies on mice show that stress-related hormones alter physical structures in the brain in ways that could affect memory, learning and mood. Some of these changes involve dendrites — tiny branch-like structures on nerve cells that send and receive signals. Several studies have shown that stress hormones can shrink dendrites and, as a result, information doesn’t get relayed across nerve cells. When the cell damage occurs in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, it can impact memory and learning.

If stress makes you feel anxious, damage to dendrites might be part of the cause. A 2011 study found that rats whose dendrites had eroded due to stress had higher levels of anxiety. More research is needed to determine the exact effect of stress hormones on people’s brains, but one study of adults with post-traumatic stress disorder suggests that the stress hormone cortisol may actually shrink the size of the hippocampus. Researchers are still trying to determine if this is because of the hormone’s toxic effect on neurons or if there is a genetic component — or if both are involved.

Another part of the brain that seems to be affected by stress is the amygdala — the part of the brain that regulates fear and other emotions. A 2003 study found that in mice under stress, the amygdala grew larger while the dendrites in the hippocampus shrank. Researchers believe that together, these two effects may cause an increase in anxiety. They think that as the amygdala grows in size, you may experience more anxiety and fear. (The amygdala is known to become bigger and more active in people who are depressed). But because the hippocampus cells involved in memory are shrinking and not transmitting information effectively, you can’t connect the feelings of fear to memories of real events. You’re left with a lot of generalized anxiety.

Tips On Coping With Stress

If this news about stress and the brain is giving you a headache – or stressing you out in other ways – relax. The good news is that you can learn healthy ways to cope with stress that will protect your brain – and the rest of your body – from stress’s negative effects.


Not everyone is equally vulnerable to stress. Genetics play a role in how a person’s body reacts. Your past experiences can affect your response, too. If you lived through a lot of stressful situations growing up, you may be more sensitive to stress as an adult. Try to notice your own reactions to stress. Do you stay calm when pressures mount, or can you feel your pulse increase just thinking about a stressful situation? Once you become aware of what sets off your body’s fight or flight response, you can use these tips to try to change your response to stress.

1. Resolve the stressful situation if you can. You may not have much control over many of the sources of stress in your life, but if there is a something you can do to resolve a stressful situation, do it! Talk to friends about what you can do to change a bad situation, and consider getting help from a conflict resolution expert if necessary.

2. Spend time with loved ones and cultivate healthy friendships. Research shows that a good social support network has definite mental health benefits. It can keep you from feeling lonely, isolated or inadequate and if you feel good about yourself, you can deal with stress better. Friends and loved ones can be a good source of advice and suggest new ways of handling problems. But they can also be an excellent distraction from what’s bothering you. If your network of friends is small, think about volunteering, joining an outdoor activities group or trying an online meet-up group to make new friends.

3. Do an activity you like. Part of being stressed out is feeling that you never have enough time, so adding more activities to your schedule might seem like the last thing you need. But if you make even a little bit of time for an activity you really enjoy, the payoff can be huge: You feel calmer and happier and can deal with work and other demands better. Whether it’s playing music, doing a craft, or working on your car, do something that absorbs and relaxes you.

4. Try relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga, and tai chi can help slow your breathing and heart rate and focus your mind inward, away from whatever is causing you stress.

5. Exercise regularly. Whether it’s walking outside with a friend or taking an exercise class at the gym, getting active can help you relax and help turn off your body’s stress response.

6. Get plenty of sleep. When you’re well-rested, you can approach stressful situations more calmly.

7. Eat a healthy diet. Stress is tough enough on your body, so help it out by feeding it fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat protein.

8. Appreciate what’s good in your life. It sounds corny, but focusing your thoughts on positive parts of your life instead of the stress-ridden areas can be good for your physical health. Research shows that positive emotions helped people recover their normal heart rate more quickly after it was raised during exertion.

9. Laugh! Researchers are still investigating the precise effects of laughter on stress hormones, but some findings suggest that it has a stress-relief effect on heart rate, respiratory rate and muscle tension. Your own research has probably convinced you that laughing makes you feel better.

10. Seek professional counseling if necessary.  Extreme chronic stress is no laughing matter. Enlist the help of a professional if you think you are at risk for serious health effects.