Healthy Mind – Eternal Lifestyles Live Healthy, Live Long, Live Young Wed, 09 Dec 2015 07:38:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Keeping Your Energy Up Even During the Mid Day Slump Wed, 08 May 2013 11:51:44 +0000 It’s common to hit a mid day slump at about two o’clock in the afternoon and feel ready to take a nap. We lose all our energy and just want to curl up and sleep or lounge somewhere and do mindless activities.

But the world doesn’t stop at mid-day and there is still plenty of stuff that needs to get done!

Being lazy doesn’t make you feel any better either; it just keeps us from getting important things accomplished which will only serve to stress us out later on. There really isn’t much that is satisfying about being lazy, especially not if you do it day after day.

But don’t rush for the coffee or those (terrible) energy shots just quite yet. There are better ways to keep you going and feeling alert and awake through the last few hours of your work day.

  1. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Our bodies need it to rest and restore themselves. But don’t overdo it either. Oversleeping can leave you feeling just as tired as under-sleeping.
  2. Stay hydrated. You should be drinking plenty of water during the day; there is a reason why you always hear about the “eight cups” rule. Your body needs water to keep itself going so make sure it gets it.
  3. Keep yourself active during the day. Even if you work a desk job, you should get up and do some stretches if you can. And if you can swing it, try taking a short walk around the office to get your legs moving. Sitting stagnant all day is only going to keep you feeling drowsy.
  4. Drink some green or oolong tea. Both of these teas have tons of health benefits and can help keep you feeling alert during the day. Throw a little lemon into a cup of green tea and feel your body waking up.
  5. Eat some citrus fruit. There is a reason that a lot of people drink orange juice in the morning. Fruits like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit can really make you feel more energized and ready to go, so try to snack on them during the day. Or add lemon juice to some water for a more subtle kick in the butt.
  6. Cut down on your sugar intake. While ingesting sugar can give us a temporary high there is always the inevitable crash. Eating a lot of sugar can weaken our immune systems and leave us feeling drained. Stay away from the candy bars and leftover office birthday cake. It’s not worth it.
  7. On the same note, try to stay away from fatty/greasy foods such as fast food as well. They’re heavy and often leave you feeling like there is a lump in your stomach that slows you down and sucks out your motivation. Replacing these foods with healthier alternatives (fresh salad, yogurt, fruits, raw nuts, etc) can really improve your overall mood and energy levels.

There is no need to fall victim to the mid day slump. We are all perfectly capable of powering through our work day and accomplishing our goals, we just have to make sure we are making the right decisions.

Don’t complain about having no energy – instead have a cup of green tea, take a walk to get your blood flowing, and take a salad over a burger. It will work wonders for you.

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Having a Little Patience Will Improve Your Life Fri, 03 May 2013 11:36:50 +0000 How many times have you heard that patience is a virtue? Probably a ton. Now how many times have you actually thought about the phrase and tried to be more patient with the things around you?

Maybe you do this all the time, but if you don’t, here’s why you might want to start.

As a society, we are incredibly impatient. We want things done quickly. We don’t want to wait too long for our food, we want our cashiers to check us out fast, we want the cars in front of us to get a move on and we want commercial breaks to hurry up and be over. We want things now and we are quick to become irritable if something takes even a minute longer than expected. Why?

Think about it. How important is it that your food arrives immediately? Are terrible things going to happen if it doesn’t? Is your world somehow a worse place if it takes an extra five minutes?

Chances are the answers to these questions is a no.  So honestly, what’s wrong with a little extra wait?

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. – John Quincy Adams

Why can’t we just learn to relax and take things as they are?

Who cares if the person in front of us on the road is a little slow? Perhaps they are nervous about driving and are trying to be extra cautious so as not to crash and hurt someone. We don’t know their circumstances so why get judgmental and upset at someone whose circumstances we don’t even know?

With impatience comes negativity. You aren’t happy when you are growing impatient with someone. You become stressed and aggravated, prone to making a jab at them and complaining to whomever will listen.

Then later you might tell someone else, reliving the whole annoying experience and prolonging the time you allow that negativity to live in your mind. Why do that? What is the point?

Practicing patience can do so much for your mood and your overall mental well-being. When we don’t allow little things to weigh on us so much we feel much more content with the world.

Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Things will go slower than you would like, people will get in the way, and on and on.

The world is not out to get you when checking out at the grocery store takes an extra ten minutes because the lines are too long.  All it means is that a lot of people are grocery shopping that day –and you’re one of them, so why complain?  You’re holding up the person behind you, too.

He that can have patience can have what he will. -Benjamin Franklin

Take some to actively practice patience. When you feel yourself getting annoyed by something small take a few deep breaths and try to relax.  Ask yourself how important it is in the grand scheme of your life. Are you in danger?  Is you’re life going to be permanently affected?  Probably not.

Putting little annoyances up against big, real problems can really help you get some perspective.  And when you allow yourself to relax and just let it go, you will be so much happier.

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Does counting to 10 really work? Fri, 26 Apr 2013 11:10:05 +0000 Life is too short to let yourself be overwhelmed by stress. If we’re lucky, we only have 80 years or so on this planet. That means not letting the little things get to you is essential. Stuff happens; it’s how we respond (not react) that matters.

Counting to 10, the age-old method used on you by your mom, is one of the best ways to contain a stressful situation. Read on to learn why counting to 10 really works, plus some other stress reducing tricks that are worth your time.

The origins

While the origins of counting to 10 are a mystery, we know that it’s been an effective method of dealing with stress and anger for at least a few hundred years. Thomas Jefferson, the beloved US president, was a huge fan of counting to 10. He wrote, “When angry, count to 10 before you speak. It’s very angry, a hundred.” That’s some very wise advice.

See, the theory behind why counting to 10 works is two-fold. 1) It gives you pause, (and even though that seems like a small thing, it’s really not.) And 2) It helps distract you from what’s stressing you out at that moment.

Just a 10 second mental break from a negative situation (try imagining yourself in a different place), can have a huge effect on your psyche.

How it’s done

The hard part is making yourself follow through with counting to 10 when you’re an adult. Doing this takes some serious self discipline. But, if you can force yourself into it, you’ll be surprised at how much counting to 10 can work.

To count to 10 effectively, simply mentally a step away from the situation (close your eyes if that helps) and take deep breaths, preferably a deep breath on each count. Deep breathing can help a lot because it help relax you and help us focus on the present moment.

A good way to look at counting to 10 is it like hitting the “pause” button on your life, like you’re using a remote control. Just think of how much stress you can get rid of by looking at life in this way. Simply hit “pause,” count to 10 (with deep breathing), then hit “play” to engage yourself in the situation again.

Other easy stress-fighting ideas

If, after you’ve counted to 10 and you still feel stressed, try taking yourself more physically out of the situation by going for a walk. Physically moving can help you get rid of all those icky side effects from feeling stressed out. Just take a few minute walk, nothing too dramatic, and see how you feel afterwards. More than likely the tension you were feeling will be gone, or better at least.

If going for a walk isn’t a possibility, try unplugging yourself from everything. Your cell phone, your computer, the television, just get your mind in a quiet space so you can recharge your batteries.

And remember, eating healthy, getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep or just hanging out with a pet are other age-old (yet effective) stress-reducing tricks to give a whirl if you find yourself in a stressful situation.

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Meditation: Cleansing of the Mind Mon, 22 Apr 2013 11:20:57 +0000 Meditation is widely talked about in our world today with results from decreasing anxiety to taking care of physical symptoms related to chronic illnesses. What exactly makes up meditation, though? When it comes down to it, the basic concept is a being in a state of relaxation and finding inner peace.

Components to Meditation

There are four components that help make up this process.

Location:  A quiet location is desired for the lack of distractions it holds. Beginners benefit from this type of atmosphere.

Posture:  There are different ways to position yourself as you meditate depending on what feels most comfortable to you. Examples include sitting in a chair, crossing your legs, standing, or even lying down on your back.

Attention:  Along with different positions, different focuses are used as well. This could range from focusing on your breath, an object, or a repeated word.

Attitude:  This is a key factor with meditation. As life comes and goes, so do distractions. While meditating, it’s important to not force these distractions away. Let them go naturally and gently refocus your attention.

Types of Meditation

With those as the basics, we can find that there are a variety of meditations we can choose from as well.

Guided Meditation:  This type can be guided by a teacher. Situations or places are imagined in which they find relaxing, and they try to use their senses while doing so.

Mindful Meditation:  This is a more aware approach where you bring your attention to the experience itself. Observations of thought are made without any struggle to get rid of them.

Tai Chi:  Chinese martial arts are used with poses that embrace gracefulness. Deep breathing is also performed in this type of meditation.

Transcendental: This is done by quietly repeating a word or sound in which we call a mantra. Focus is given to the mantra while letting go of your thoughts, bringing attention only to whatever you’re repeating.

How Does Meditation Work?

It works in two ways. First, the activity in your sympathetic nervous system is slowed down. The sympathetic nervous system is what readies your body for emergency action, also known as “fight or flight”. When this happens, you heart rate and breathing skyrocket, causing blood flow to restrict.

Two, it heightens the activity in your parasympathetic nervous system. This goes hand in hand with the decreasing of the previous nervous system. Your heart rate and breathing become slower, and your blood flow is improved in the process.

Benefits of Meditation

While it’s easy to see that it results in making you feel more calm and relaxed, it also does so much more.

Studies show that if you meditate for 8 weeks for 30 minutes per day, changes will occur in your brain matter. The matter associated with your learning and memory is increased in density, and the matter linked with your anxiety and stress levels is decreased in density.

These occurrences also provide other results. A 2007 study showed that using meditation can lead to longer attention spans. In 2009, a study stated that blood pressure was also lowered.

What’s to Lose?

Absolutely nothing. Meditation has many uses to improve your life. It’s used for helping depression, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and both physical and mental symptoms that come from chronic illnesses. As shown, taking just a little bit of time during the day to meditate can do wonders for you. It’s worth every moment.


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Your Mind, Your Mood: Keep Your Stress in Check Mon, 08 Apr 2013 12:08:46 +0000 We all suffer from various forms of stress. Between paying our bills, being on time for appointments, dealing with family, trying to fit in personal time, and the other myriad of things to accomplish in a day, it is easy to let stress overtake you.

And when that happens we usually fall into a bad mood and a negative way of thinking. Little things become more important in our mind than they actually are and start to cause us even more stress.

It’s a vicious cycle, but not one that we have to fall victim to.

Stress is not good for your mind or body. It can make you feel nauseous, dizzy, increase your chance of catching a cold, as well as cause chest pain and a decrease in libido. Doesn’t sound like fun does it?

We often accept stress as a normal and expected part of our lives but it shouldn’t be. It should not be something that we allow to creep into ourselves. There are things that are going to cause you stress no matter what – that is unavoidable – but being aware of the little things that shouldn’t is what is important.

There needs to be a distinction between what should be stressed over, and what shouldn’t be. And once that distinction is made it will become so much easier for you to regulate your moods and keep yourself happy.

When you wake up in the morning, decide that you are not going to let the little things get you down. Resolve to do your best to get things done, but not to push yourself too hard or beat yourself up if you don’t do everything on your list.

Actually, since most of us give ourselves a ridiculously long list of things to do, it’s probably better to work on shortening your daily task list.

Think about everything you want to get done and then evaluate how realistic it is to do it all in one day. Only give yourself goals that you can actually reach, otherwise you’ll end up beating yourself up for no reason.

What’s most important? Do that first, and then go down your list.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Being in good physical health will, of course, help your mental health, but to live a happy life it is vital to recognize the correspondences between your diet and exercise and what is going on inside your mind.

Your mind is one of the few things in the world that you have complete control over and it can either lead you into happiness and peace or completely ravage your sense of self-worth and send your stress level through the roof. Don’t let it.

When you sense your stress levels raising it’s a good idea to take a deep breath, center yourself, and focus on keeping them in control.  

Try to stop what you’re doing and just focus on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Think about what it is that is stressing you out. How important is it in the grand scheme of your life?

Worrying about things won’t change their outcome, and hurrying to accomplish small things (and throwing yourself into turmoil over it) will not benefit you in any way.

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Motivate Your Mornings Sat, 06 Apr 2013 11:46:37 +0000 Getting out of bed in the morning. Washing that pile of dishes. Meeting the demands of work. Just getting through another day.

It’s hard to get motivated. What with all of the stresses and hassles that confront us on a daily basis, it’s a wonder anyone wants to start their day at all. And yet we’ve got to get up and get going and get things done. That all starts in the morning, which is probably the hardest time to get motivated for most people. Here are some simple ways that you can get motivated in the morning:

l Get Up: A head honcho at Netflix told me years ago that the hardest thing to do each day was get vertical. By that he meant simply getting out of bed. He said that if you could get vertical, the rest of the day was easy. He told me that when he was already rich and probably didn’t have to get up early in the morning anymore, sleeping well into the afternoon if he preferred. But no matter if you’re working days or nights and getting up at all different hours, getting up is hard to do. End the agony and just do it.

l Drink: You might have some problems getting up in the morning if you imbibed heavily the night before, but having a tall glass or water first thing will clear away those cobwebs in your head and get you motivated for the day. You’re tired and groggy in the morning not just because you woke up, but because you’re dehydrated. You haven’t had a drink in 6 to 8 hours, and perhaps longer, and your body is craving some liquids. And the colder the better; if your stomach suddenly gets hit with an arctic blast of water, you’re blood will start pumping to warm you up.

l Eat: Don’t skip your breakfast. I hate hearing that, but it’s true. Mom was right, and you should always have something in your stomach before you start the rest of your day. And that something shouldn’t be coffee alone. Studies have shown that an apple in the morning will do a whole lot more to wake you up than a cup of coffee. When you’ve got food in your stomach, the work whistle is blown. Your body goes to work breaking down that food, and all of that work wakes you up. And the larger the breakfast you eat in the morning, the less you’ll eat throughout the day.

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Overcoming the Mid Afternoon Slump at Work Thu, 04 Apr 2013 11:33:45 +0000 Overcoming a mid afternoon slump at work  isn’t always easy.   Especially when that sleepiness you did so well at shaking off in the morning starts creeping back in after lunch.

What you had going on in the morning often isn’t always happening the same way in the afternoon.  Thoughts begin creeping toward the evening, dinner, your bed; seemingly everywhere but the tasks at hand.

But staying motivated in the afternoon doesn’t have to be difficult either. There are things you can do to keep those afternoon motivation killers away and get through the rest of the day.

Food: Food can be your worst enemy in the afternoon, or it can be your best friend. Most people become tired after eating lunch, and it’s why so many countries around the world take an afternoon nap.

Keeping that food sitting in your stomach while you doze isn’t the best idea for staying fit and healthy long-term, however. And not everyone has the option of catching a few Z’s after the sun’s reached its peak.

A better approach is to eat small portions of food as the afternoon wears on.

Keep fruits and healthy nuts like almonds and walnuts at your desk or nearby to fend off cravings, keep your metabolism going and help you stay productive.

Exercise: When you feel your motivation slipping at work in the afternoon, get up and get moving. Take a quick jaunt around the office, or do a quick activity like jumping  jacks or push ups if your work space allows it.   At the very least stand up and do a short stretching routing.  Even a quick walk down to the water cooler will get your blood flowing, and help you refocus your thoughts.

Try standing up at your desk for a while; there are probably plenty of things you can do that don’t require sitting.

You don’t have to do a lot.  A few quick exercise moves or full body movements from time-to-time might be all you need and, at the very least, are always better than doing nothing.

Rest: It might sound counter-intuitive  but getting a quick rest in between busy, or boring, things at work can really do a lot to keep you motivated and energized.

It’s recognized around the world, that everyone falls into the afternoon doldrums occasionally. Students in China stop work at three o’clock each day for eye finger massages and exercises.

Of course, you probably can’t take a nap at work.  But just sitting back and breathing deeply while relaxing for a few minutes will do a lot of good keeping you focused and motivated to continue on until the end of the day.

A little caffeine: Obviously a cup of a coffee can give you temporary relief from that afternoon slump, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know there.  But if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine there are  other lower caffeinated drinks that provide a similar jolt like coffee does – without the jitters.  Drinks like green tea, oolong tea and yerba mate are a few of them.

Green Tea typically has only 20-30mg caffeine per cup (compared to 160mg per cup of coffee.)  but is able to provide a similar effect due to high levels of the amino acid L-theanine.

L-theanine has a calming affect that helps eliminate the jitters caused by caffeine, as well as aiding with concentration and mental energy.  Exactly what you might need to get through those last couple hours of work.

While Yerba Mate has more caffeine than Green Tea, it still has 1/4 the caffeine of a 16oz. Starbucks coffee. [1]  It provides it’s similar, non-jittery effect with a combination of caffeine and other similar compounds (xanthines)

Yerba Mate also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including magnesium, potasium, 15 amino acids, and the beneficial plant compound quercetin.

Do you have any tips for overcoming the mid afternoon work crash and staying motivated?


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Ease Your Worried Mind with Valerian Tea Mon, 01 Apr 2013 11:26:23 +0000 The benefits of Valerian Root cannot be ignored. Historically the herb has been used as a sedative, pain reliever, anti-convulsant, and for migraine treatment. People in China have been drinking Valerian tea for generations, and indigenous populations in South America have been doing the same. No one knows why Valerian is such a great natural remedy, but scientists believe it has something to do with how it works with GABAA receptors in the brain.

However it works, one thing is clear: Valerian is becoming an increasingly common method of treating all manner of physical and psychological ailments. More and more people around the world are coming to recognize the benefits of Valerian, especially when taken with tea before bed. Insomnia sufferers everywhere found out long ago that Valerian could get them that restful night’s sleep they’ve been craving. And the root is increasingly being used for anxiety disorders, a much safer alternative than pharmacological sedatives.

Valerian tea works especially well for those suffering from gastrointestinal pain. It doesn’t take much more than a cup or two a day to send irritable bowel syndrome on the run. Stomach cramps and intestinal colic also find their match with Valerian tea, since many of its properties work like a muscle relaxant.

Everyone is stressed out these days, but those drinking Valerian tea probably less so. Anxiousness, excitability, and tension have all been reported to decrease with people taking Valerian as a supplement, whether through a pill or in Valerian tea. The herb acts as an antioxidant, and that improves the brain’s function. When the brain is functioning better, you’ll feel less stressed and burned out, and more rested and relaxed.

So the next time those work deadlines have you all worked up, consider having Valerian tea to calm down. If you’ve been counting sheep for hours, get up and have a cup. You’ll soon find that Valerian tea tastes great, and makes you feel great too!

Learn More about Valerian Tea

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