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!

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!

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of SleepI grew up hearing “You’ll get enough sleep when you’re dead”.  Well, at times I do feel dead.  I find myself on auto-pilot driving in to work, zombie mode when doing administrative duties and thinking about the next time I will receive R&R (the weekend).  During the week, I am lucky to receive 6 hours of sleep.  According to National Sleep Foundation (http://sleepfoundation.org), I should be receiving 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.

The National Sleep Foundation reports the following sleep recommendations for different age groups:

Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours

School Age Children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours

Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours

Young Adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours

Adults (26-64 years): 7-9 hours

Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours

So, what is the importance of following the recommended sleep time?  Well, there are mass benefits!  Not only will you feel rested, but you will also experience: an improvement in learning and retaining information, a hormonal balance, a natural immune system booster, alertness, less dependency on caffeinated drinks, and an enhancement in creativity!  With all these benefits, why would we not want to sleep?  Starting tonight, I plan to commit to receiving 8 hours of sleep by setting an alarm to go off on when I need to call quits on daytime functions and to say hello to the cows that I need to count.

So, how are you stacking up on your z’s?  Do you need to change some of your habits?  If so, what do you plan on doing differently to receive your appropriate sleep hours?

…One more saying before I catch some z’s: “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Laughter

Laughter

Laughter

“Laughter is inner jogging.” –Norman Cousins

We respond all the time with LOL but are we actually doing so?  Laughter is a great stress relief and actually increases oxygen in the body like deep breathing and exercise.  It’s no wonder we are drawn towards funny people and things that allow us to have a good laugh.  Someone said laughter is good medicine and I believe it to be true.  Carry on with all the LOL’s!