Mindfulness and Meditation: The Hot Trend

Mindfulness and Meditation: The Hot Trend

In 2015 the mindfulness and meditation became the latest hot trend.  The mindfulness and meditation industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld in 2015!  Why all the sudden has the meditation and mindfulness industry exploded?

First lets look at what we’re talking about:  Meditation is not a new practice it’s been around for a long time, some scholars say it dates back to 20 BC.

According to Wikipedia

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.  Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way.  Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness is not the same as Meditation.

According to Psychology Today

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.  When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.  Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Research shows there are numerous health benefits including effective pain management have been attributed to mindfulness practice.

So back to my initial question why is mediation or the new version “mindfulness” so popular?   I believe it’s because the human race on the whole had become so technologically advanced and we think “oh now I have more time to do more” instead of relaxing more.   Most people feel they must achieve to feel worthy and worthwhile which is resulting in increased daily stress and anxiety.

For many years many people believed the answer could be found in prescription medications for anxiety and depression and the pharmaceutical companies prospered.   Now I believe people are starting to realize that perhaps the drug’s sides effects at not worth it and attempting a more holistic route seems logical.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying anything against mindfulness and meditation.   In fact, I have found great personal benefit to it and have recently incorporated formal practice of mindfulness into my weekly routine.  Prayer has already been in my daily routine for sometime and I consider prayer a type of meditation.   What I find interesting is how people are paying a lot of money to attending mindful and meditation workshops when these are not difficult practices to learn on your own.   I think buying a inexpensive mindfulness cd by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a better option for incorporating natural ways to de-stress.    I just wanted to point out although you may be helping the industry of meditation prosper more when you buy a cd on meditation or mindfulness or any of the new apps out there, there are also inexpensive ways for you to learn a very beneficial practice.  Try the less expensive methods first so that your bank account doesn’t suffer.   After all most of us know how stressful financial problems can be!

Sleep is Good!!!

The Importance of Sleep

For many working adults and parents, we tend to be in full throttle mode on a daily basis.  Even at night when it is time to settle down, relax and prepare for a wonderful sleep; we tend to continue to play scenarios over in or heads or continue planning the next days events. How many of us truly bother with ensuring that we get adequate sleep on a regular basis?  Several studies show that on average adults between 25-64 years of age should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.  This time does not include the time you are laying in the bed pondering and planning  for things to come. Why is sleep so important?  Excellent question!!! Sleep affects several aspects of our lives.  Take weight loss for example, you would not think that these to have a correlation but they absolutely do.  If you do not get enough sleep you may lack the energy to exercise. You may also decide to get that venti frappuccino, or latte because you are to tired and need that extra boost of caffeine and calories.How many of you have gone to work in a grouchy mood because you did not get enough sleep?  How many of you say, “I’m not a morning person?” ( Okay, I say this one….alot!!!) Is it that you are not a morning person or simply suffering from sleep deprivation?  My challenge for you all is a two-week sleep challenge.  All you have to do is make sure you are in the bed (preferably sleep) for 7 to 9 hours for 14 days.  I know with our schedules this is easier said than done but I want to encourage each of you to try. Each day of the challenge note any differences you experience both positive and negative. And at the end of the 14 days share your experience with everyone.

Happy Sleeping!!!

Holiday Depression

Holiday Depression

Holiday Depression

With all the commercials, advertising in stores, and sales we know that the holiday season is amongst us. But this is not always a happy moment for everyone. We must remember that many are suffering from what professionals are calling: Holiday Depression. Holiday depression is described as regression, development of diffuse anxiety, feelings of helplessness, irritability, and depression; said to occur in certain psychoanalytic patients before Thanksgiving and continuing into the Christmas holiday season, ending a few days after January 1. Researchers have found that 18% of the US  population suffer from this form of anxiety this time of the year. For many they see this as a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past failures and anxiety about an uncertain future hence leading to holiday depression. This reflection time has caused this time frame to become the highest time for suicide rates.

Professionals know that this may be a hard time to speak with your love ones. They feel that this may be a time when you may not know what to say or just fear you will bring up something that will upset your love one. But, they feel that just being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. Researchers feel that you should NEVER try to “fix” the person; you just have to be a GOOD listener.

Tamika Lockett

 

 

 

Power of Music

Power of Music

Have you ever wondered why we feel better when we listen to music?  Well, there is proof in the pudding, er I mean, notes!

According to BestBinauralBeats.org, a website dedicated to research on music and mood, the rhythm and tone of music has the most impact on our brain.  Our heartbeat synchs up with the rhythm, while the tone relays to our brain the attached emotions.  It’s amazing to think that an external sound can regulate our mood in that way!

The website goes on to state how you can increase the “mood-boosting benefits of music” by:

  1. Rise and shine with light, easy music.  The peak time to get moving with a grooving is around breakfast time.  So, while you eat your eggs and bacon, listen to some enjoyable music.
  2. Meditation and soft music will help decrease anxiety.  Are you feeling jittery or sad?  If so, listen to some calming tunes, such as wind chimes, nature, waterfalls, etc.  Listening to soothing music will sooth you over like a blanket of comfort.
  3. “Choose ‘directed tones'”.  Allow your brain to grow by alternating the music in the sound of one ear and then the other.  Your brain will follow the sound and in exchange, so will your mood.
  4. Provide down time from listening to your tunes.  In order to train your brain to change emotions, allow distinction between quiet time and therapeutic tune time.  Allow your brain to anticipate the next time you listen to music.  If you listen to music constantly, then the effect to lower anxiety will diminish, because it is no longer paired with set music time.
  5. Hard or fast music is appropriate in doses.  With a fast rhythm, our heart beat increases, which in turn can increase anxiety.  Don’t stop listening to the music you love, but recognize the effect it has on our bodies and emotions.
ROCK ON (hard or lightly)!  Overall, enjoy your tunes and enjoy the effect it has on your emotions!

Foods to Help Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol lowering foods

We go to the doctor for an annual check up or due to an illness…….usually if a problem is detected, the first solution is medication. Sadly, we are in an era where medication is the solution for most symptoms.  Don’t get me wrong….sometimes medication is necessary but often times it is a lifelong Band-Aid solution.  When my husband’s cholesterol was a little elevated; I began to do research on the causes as well as ways to reduce your bad “LDL” cholesterol.  According to the staff at the Mayo Clinic the following are ways you can reduce your cholesterol:

Can a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or an avocado? A few simple tweaks to your diet — like these, along with exercise and other heart-healthy habits — might help you lower your cholesterol.

Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes.

Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol. Eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal provides 6 grams of fiber. If you add fruit, such as bananas, you’ll add about 4 more grams of fiber. To mix it up a little, try steel-cut oatmeal or cold cereal made with oatmeal or oat bran.

Fish and omega-3 fatty acids

Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil — or omega-3 fatty acids — may reduce the risk of sudden death.

Although omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL levels, because of their other heart benefits, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in:

  • Mackerel
  • Lake trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Albacore tuna
  • Salmon
  • Halibut

You should bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don’t like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods such as ground flaxseed or canola oil.

You can take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement to get some of the benefits, but you won’t get other nutrients in fish, such as selenium. If you decide to take a supplement, talk to your doctor about how much you should take.

Walnuts, almonds and other nuts

 Walnuts, almonds and other tree nuts can improve blood cholesterol. Rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy.

Eating about a handful (1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams) a day of most nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts, may reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure the nuts you eat aren’t salted or coated with sugar.

All nuts are high in calories, so a handful will do. To avoid eating too many nuts and gaining weight, replace foods high in saturated fat with nuts. For example, instead of using cheese, meat or croutons in your salad, add a handful of walnuts or almonds.

Avocados

 Avocados are a potent source of nutrients as well as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). According to a recent study, adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can help improve LDL levels in people who are overweight or obese.

People tend to be most familiar with avocados in guacamole, which usually is eaten with high-fat corn chips. Try adding avocado slices to salads and sandwiches or eating them as a side dish. Also try guacamole with raw cut vegetables, such as cucumber slices.

Replacing saturated fats, such as those found in meats, with MUFAs are part of what makes the Mediterranean diet heart healthy.

Happy Wife….Happy Life!!!

Exercising together is fun. Royalty Free Stock Photo

For the past six months I have been cooking/eating healthier. Which means my family has been eating healthier as well. I originally made the change in our diet due to my husband’s cholesterol. It was not extremely high but it was out of normal range. In efforts to lower his cholesterol, I made a change for us all.  Not only did I change our eating….I began to exercise more times a week.  I have finally got my family to join in on this as well.  My husband reports that I appear to be less stressed and my happy go lucky self.  Apparently there must be something to the “Happy wife….Happy life” saying. I am very happy that we are working together as a family to better our health….it has been a wonderful experience. Less stress, less fussing….happy me= happy family!!!

I would like you guys to pick a day and go to the park or take a walk as a family….come home and cook a healthy meal in the same manner……..I do admit I still do most of the cooking but that’s another topic!!!

Healthy wishes to you!!!