1. Awareness practice
A few minutes a day to experience joy, appreciation, unity, consciousness, forgiveness and BREATH. What a world we would live in if only everyone had this priority!
We are not taught to breathe appropriately and effectively. But, as we get anxious, stressed, or frustrated, we often either hold our breath or shorten the length of our breath. This keeps our brains and bodies from oxygenating properly.
Studies have shown that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, depression, PTSD, and attention deficit disorder. It elevates the mood and promotes calm and relaxation.
Excerpt From Dr. Jocker's, Click here
Deep breath work is a great way to quickly pull your body out of a stressed state. This is because, done correctly, it can activate the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system which is responsible for inducing a state of relaxation.
One common and effective way of doing this is to perform what is called the box breathing technique. This is a simple technique where you breath in, hold, breath out, hold, and repeat in increments of 5 seconds each. So breath in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, etc.
Many people will notice that this technique is great for grounding during a time of stress and quickly reduces any anxiety they are feeling. You can also employ an active form of this technique when you are walking somewhere. Following the same pattern, breath in, hold, breath out, and hold in increments of every 5 steps. This can be a great mindfulness strategy when you don’t have time to sit and meditate.
Also called “earthing” or “grounding,” the simple act of walking barefoot offers so many benefits that often get overlooked by mainstream society pushing the importance of wearing shoes at all times. According to Dr. Mercola, walking with your feet directly touching the soil allows your body to absorb negative electrons through the Earth, which helps to stabilize daily cortisol rhythm and create a balanced internal bioelectrical environment.
We have lost much of our connection with Mother Earth due to modern living. But making an effort to spend more time barefoot in nature can provide more benefits than you would think.
2. Self Love and Forgiveness
It's key part of our mental health and directly affects our stress levels.
We can all be incredibly self-critical and caught in the cycle of looking for what’s wrong (or expecting things to go wrong). And in that negative spiral we lose connection to the truth of who we are. Little, positive things really do add up over time and they gradually shift us into more resilient and happier ways of being. A minute here, a breath there, really does make a difference. Authentic self-care looks different for all of us, and it should look a little different every day for each of us - since we are constantly shifting and evolving. Making mistakes is an inevitable part of life. There’s no shame in making genuine mistakes and admitting our fault. What’s most important is how we choose to learn from our mistakes, how we make them right and the actions we choose to take afterwards to ensure we do better next time.
In studies, forgiveness has been shown to improve anxiety, sleep, depression, and stress. It also enhances your mood, vitality, and levels of positivity.
“Why is self-love important?” you might ask. For many of us, self-love might sound like a luxury rather than a necessity — or a new-age fad for those with too much time on their hands.
Ironically, however, self-care and -compassion might actually be needed most by those of us who work too hard and who are constantly striving to surpass ourselves and grasp the shape-shifting phantasm of perfection.
Most of the time, when we’re being too hard on ourselves, we do it because we’re driven by a desire to excel and do everything right, all the time. This entails a lot of self-criticism, and that persecutory inner voice that constantly tells us how we could’ve done things better is a hallmark of perfectionism.
Studies have shown that perfectionists are at a higher risk of several illnesses, both physical and mental, and that self-compassion might free us from its grip. Therefore, perfectionism and self-compassion are inextricably linked.
This article will look at ways to dial down the former and boost the latter, with the conviction that doing so will help you to lead a happier, more fulfilled life.
While stress relief is important, Enright believes there are other important mechanisms by which forgiveness works its magic. One of those, he suggests, is "toxic" anger. "There's nothing wrong with healthy anger, but when anger is very deep and long lasting, it can do a number on us systemically," he says. "When you get rid of anger, your muscles relax, you're less anxious, you have more energy, your immune system can strengthen.
"Forgiveness can also help rebuild self-esteem, Enright adds. "When people are beaten down by injustice, you know who they end up not liking? Themselves," he says. "When you stand up to the pain of what happened to you and offer goodness to the person who hurt you, you change your view of yourself."
We all want it and we all need it. It's one of the most important things we can give our bodies. It's when reparation and healing occurs. But, why can it be so elusive!! Let me just ask you one question. Do you make it a priority?
Well, let me help you get back on track. The last hour before bed is very important. Make yourself a routine and stick to it, even when you don't have to be up the next day. Your body will soon respond to a new pattern. The cortisol levels in your body will soon respond and everything else will follow. Just read some of the articles about stress, cortisol, and sleep.
It's time to make it a priority! Your health depends on it.
Excerpt from this article:
"Along with eating right and exercising, getting quality sleep is an important part of weight maintenance. Poor sleep dramatically alters the way the body responds to food.
For starters, your appetite increases and you are less likely to resist temptations and control portions.
To make matters worse, it can become a vicious cycle. The less you sleep, the more weight you gain, and the more weight you gain, the harder it is to sleep.
On the flip side, establishing healthy sleep habits can help your body maintain a healthy weight."
Excerpt from this article:
Stress and Sleep - How to Master Stress and Enjoy a Restful Sleep Instantly
When your body is experiencing chronic stress, it thinks it’s in a state of perpetual danger and that it shouldn’t be sleeping! You might be able to fall asleep but not stay asleep and you might wake up frequently in the night.
You might find it hard to calm your thoughts and lay awake at night, worrying about your finances, relationship, work or whatever else is bothering you.
Overwork or being too busy during the day can also lead to stress and leave yourself with not enough time to get a good sleep. If you find yourself with not enough hours to sleep, you might not fall asleep easily when you finally do go, because you are overstimulated and overworked.
With no time to wind down at the end of your day, your body forgets which is rest time and which is time for action.
Not enough time and too much stress in your day might also mean that you don’t have enough time to exercise, make time for friends and family or do otherwise relaxing and healthy activities that relieve stress, leading to a poor sleep at night.
After a bad sleep, you might need more caffeine to stay awake, causing a vicious cycle in which you can’t get to sleep at night, because you’ve had too much caffeine. These are just a few of the ways in which stress can keep you up or ruin the quality of your sleep.
4. Unlocking Creativity
Allowing our passions to emerge leads us to our purpose!
Sometimes we need to let go to be able to flow. We often hold back thoughts and ideas because of fear of failure or that our ideas aren't good enough. Or, we are so busy with day to day stress and business that we never truly give ourselves enough time to relax and feel inspired.
There really are endless possibilities in this world to express ourselves and to find authentic purpose. The practices that I share with you here are meant to provide opportunities to open up any blockages that you may have in your mind and body. When we shift our focus to feelings of inspiration and openness, we can break down any perceived obstacles that stand in our way.
5. Mindful Eating
Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees. – BKS Iyengar
Research is showing that meditation changes the physical structure of the brain in significant ways. Meditation and reflection have been shown to increase frontal cortex activity (linked to focus, calm and concentration) and even enlarge that part of the brain.
There have also been a number of studies showing how yogic breathing practices increase the Alpha brain waves associated with lower levels of stress and greater levels of creativity. Alpha brain states are where brilliant ideas arise, and where athletes find their zone.
Benefits of the Ujjayi Breath
- Improved concentration in the physical practice. Becoming absorbed in Ujjayi allows the practitioner to remain in poses for longer periods of time.
- Instills endurance that enhances a flowing practice by lending a meditative quality that maintains the rhythm of the class.
- It diminishes distractions and allows the practitioner to remain self aware and grounded in the practice.
- Ujjayi breath regulates heating of the body. The friction of the air passing through the lungs and throat generates internal body heat. It is similar to a massage for the internal organs; as the core becomes warm from the inside, the body becomes prepared for the asana practice. This heat makes stretching safer while the inner organs can be cleansed of any toxins that have accumulated.
- A focused Ujjayi breath can release tension and tight areas of the body.
- Additional benefits of Ujjayi pranayama include diminished pain from headaches, relief of sinus pressure, decrease in phlegm, and strengthening of the nervous and digestive systems.
- Ujjayi tells us when we need to surrender into a resting posture, as the breath should remain as even and smooth in the postures as when we rest. It allows us to practice honesty in our practice, taking a step back to let go of our ego.
- Ujjayi allows us to practice full deep breaths during the challenges of a physical practice. Therefore, we can stay just as equanimous when faced with the challenges of our daily lives.
Fundamentally, mindful eating involves:
- eating slowly and without distraction
- listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full
- distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating
- engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and flavors
- learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food
- eating to maintain overall health and well-being
- noticing the effects food has on your feelings and figure
- appreciating your food
These things allow you to replace automatic thoughts and reactions with more conscious, healthier responses
If you are ready for lasting transformation in these 5 areas, please read about my coaching course Reclaim your Body, Transform your Mind by clicking here.
I would love to have you in the community!!!
Grab the Free PDF 15 Ways to Build Self compassion here