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Monthly Archives

February 2015

How Mindfulness Can Help You Love Your Body

By | Inspire | No Comments

How Mindfulness Can Help You Love Your Body

Most of us, especially us ladies, have a love/hate relationship with our bodies from a very early age. We spend a great deal of our time on this planet comparing ourselves to everyone else and determining that our “goods” just aren’t good enough. And while we judge ourselves on a daily (if not hourly) basis, we treat our bodies less than kindly.

Sadly, in my youth, I had more of a hate/hate relationship with my body. I hated that my stomach was never flat enough, hated that my hair wasn’t thick enough, hated that my thighs touched, and hated that my skin wasn’t flawless as the women I saw on TV and in magazines. And, to make matters worse, I treated my body, the greatest gift I have ever been given, like an enemy – polluting it with sugar and processed food, nicotine, alcohol and way too much caffeine and I never let my body get enough regenerative sleep.

Well, all of this self-hatred and mistreatment eventually manifested itself in a terrifying cancer diagnosis. My body, which I had abused with thought and action, was suddenly going to die within 3 short months and I very suddenly wanted to save its life. I knew instinctively that in order to save it I was going to have to make peace with it and yes, LOVE it. My body was no longer a target of my frustration and disappointment; it was now my prized possession – warts and all.

How Mindfulness Leads to Self Love

By now you know I am an advocate for mindfulness because it has completely transformed my health and my life and I want to shout from the rooftops and share my personal story with anyone who will listen.

It is more important than I can even articulate that you love your body, truly LOVE it and honor it and be grateful for it. Grateful even if you think your hair is too stringy; grateful even if you think you’re three inches too short; grateful even if you still get acne; grateful for all of it, every precious cell that is uniquely and wonderfully YOU.

Mindfulness can help you start to love yourself and your body, which is the most important key in radiant health.

Meditate on Feeling Well

The minute you stop obsessing over whether or not you’re thin enough or pretty enough or have big enough biceps is the minute you start to transform your life and your health. Throughout the day try and focus on feeling well – simply that. Whenever an urge to compare yourself or hate your body because it’s not this or it’s not that, stop… take a breath… and focus on how you feel in the moment. Were you able to take a deep breath without any problems? Good, be grateful for it. Do you have any major pain in your body? If not, be grateful for it.

By meditating on feeling well instead of feeling good enough you automatically will begin to feel a deeper sense of gratitude which will cause you to make healthier choices as far as what you put into your body.

Treat Yourself and Your Body the Way You’d Treat a Loved One’s

Be more mindful of the self-talk that happens every day in your head. It’s pretty gruesome isn’t it?

Can you imagine saying to your nine-year-old daughter or niece what you say to yourself all day long? Imagine walking up to her and looking into her sweet, innocent eyes and then exclaiming, “God your arms are fat! And what’s with that outfit? Don’t you know print shirts make your stomach look ridiculously big? Why are you crying? God I hate it when you cry – you look so weak when you cry.” No, you simply would NEVER say these things to a loved one, especially a child, so why not treat yourself like a child that you love?

You would never allow your nine-year-old niece to eat nothing but fast food and ice cream and smoke a pack of cigarettes every day because it will make her unbelievably sick. And yet, you may not bat an eye at making these choices for yourself.

Be mindful of the thoughts that move around in your head. When you catch yourself being cruel, stop and treat yourself like a loved child. You will be floored with the amount of love and respect you are capable of showing yourself.

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“Awake” Oil on Canvas ~ Barbara Wolkinger
Her expressionistic compositions unite color and shape to create a spiritual sense of harmony. See more here

Be Mindful of Those Creeping Negative Thoughts

When you notice yourself having a negative thought about your body (I still can’t fit into those jeans!), stop in the moment, release the negative thought and replace it with a positive visualization – in this instance, see yourself wearing that pair of jeans. How do you feel in them? What do you look like? What are you wearing with them?

Anytime this happens with any negative thought about your body (I still can’t walk up 4 flight of GD stairs without huffing and puffing!) – stop, release that negative thought and replace it with a positive visualization. See and feel yourself walk up many flights of stairs with energy and you’re not winded even a little bit!

The moral of the story here is, stop taking your body for granted. Don’t wait until a doctor diagnoses you with something awful, or worse, life threatening. Start being mindful of the wonderful things your body does for you on a daily basis and love it just the way it is. And, once you truly love and respect your body, you will naturally lose that weight and feel and look better as a result.

These FREE techniques will change your life forever. Get your Goody Bag here

Can Mindful Meditation Give Your Love Life a Boost?

By | Ignite | No Comments

Can Mindful Meditation Give Your Love Life a Boost?

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. How was yours this year? Did you spend it with the one you love? If so, was your time with this person lovely or did it leave you realizing there is something lacking in the relationship? Though I’ve never claimed to be a relationship expert, I do know a thing or two about the amazing benefits of being mindful and I can tell you this: mindful meditation can give your love life a major boost!

Less Stress Equals Happier and More Connected Couples

I’ve known the power of mindfulness for over twenty years, but what gets me so excited is that science is now really studying the effects mindful meditation can have on our bodies and our lives. For instance, a study conducted in 2004 by the University of North Carolina revealed that mindfulness has a positive impact on our interpersonal relationships. The study illustrated that couples who practiced mindfulness had greater levels of happiness in their relationship. This makes sense because meditation relieves stress and increases our ability to cope with “ugly” life situations.shutterstock_248278789

A Better Relationship with Ourselves Leads to Better Relationships with Others

Mindfulness is a tool we can all use to get in touch with ourselves. We can know with greater certainty what we are feeling and experiencing in every moment. The more we know about what we want, need and feel, the better able we are to communicate our feelings to others and in a calm and nonthreatening way.

Think of the following scenario: You and your partner agreed to use a certain credit card for emergencies only and you found out your better half used it to buy the family plane tickets to visit your mother-in-law (talk about stress!). Now the balance on your card is causing the higher interest rate to really kick you where it hurts. Normally your “discussion” with your partner about money would be ridiculously heated and you both would be yelling at each other within five minutes.

But, since you have been practicing mindful meditation, you are able, in that moment, to simply be aware of your feelings and emotions without reacting to them. Since you are able to keep it together emotionally, you won’t set your partner off. Now imagine if BOTH of you were practicing mindfulness how able you would be to have necessary discussions about uncomfortable and frustrating topics. You could actually… communicate instead of argue. That’s a happier relationship, no?

But Can Mindfulness Improve Your Sex Life?

Yes, mindfulness also helps you in the bedroom! The truth about sex is, it’s even better when you are fully present in the moment. So many couples try and reignite the flame by getting intimate in a different location or by using marital aids, but what will really reignite the passion is if both people actually show up, mind, body and spirit, for lovemaking.

And here’s a bit more science to back up what I’m saying: mindfulness actually has an effect on the composition of your brain. There is an underappreciated part of the brain called the anterior insula and you could say it’s like the “information superhighway” that connects your brain to your lower, limbic region.

Imaging has shown that when a brain is “in action” AKA when we are being mindful – the insula performs better, meaning, the insula is better able to help your body experience all of those wonderful physical sensations. If you thought sex felt good now, you have no idea! Special note to my female readers: a study at Dartmouth University found a direct correlation between an active insula and the quality of orgasms in women.

I guess I should have shared all of this with you before Valentine’s Day. Sorry. And, you’re welcome!

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5 Ways Love Makes Your Heart Healthy

By | Inform | No Comments

5 Ways Love Makes Your Heart Healthy

February is the month to embrace love in all its glory, which makes the shortest month of the year one of the healthiest – at least for your heart. That’s because the act of loving someone else, whether it’s your boyfriend, mother, spouse or dog, actually and quite literally improves the health of your heart. And yes, this is backed by science.

Here are 5 ways good lovin’ helps your ticker.

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Your Blood Pressure Dips

As if spending time with the one you love wasn’t fantastic enough…

According to a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, our blood pressure actually dips more when we are around our loved ones than when we are around strangers. Researchers believe this effect is most likely due to the fact when we are around those we love, we feel “perceived emotional support” which calms us and gives us a profound sense of well-being.

Hugs Are Better Than Drugs

Or at least as good anyway…

When you hug someone you really love, your body releases that feel-good hormone oxytocin which helps the body reduce stress hormones, so says a study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina.

When Your Heart Beats Faster – it Literally Gets a Workout

You know when you’re standing really close to the one you love, whether it’s your partner of 15 years or a new crush, and you look in their eyes and you feel… a rush? Well, this happens because your brain releases the hormones adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which make your heart beat faster and stronger. Have these pitter-patter sessions enough times and you can train your heart to be more efficient at pumping your blood just like aerobic exercise does. Although, isn’t making googly eyes much more fun?

Laughter Fights Atherosclerosis

Research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine has revealed that the very act of laughing with friends and other loved ones can reverse the effects of atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the blood vessels. How does this work exactly? Well, atherosclerosis has been linked to mental stress, and laughing has a way of releasing that stress. So, if you haven’t laughed lately, get together with someone you love and rent a funny movie – STAT.

Holding Hands or Valium?

According to a study published by Psychological Science, holding hands with someone you love reduces anxiety and has a very calming effect on your entire body. Get this – they had wives lie inside an M.R.I. scanner and prepared them to get a mild shock on their ankle. Knowing what was coming made the women very anxious. But when their husbands reached into the scanner and held their hand, the imaging showed a reduction in activity in the area of the brain associated with anticipating pain.

High levels of stress and anxiety can lead to increased blood pressure and heart disease. So, if you want to keep your heart healthy, better start holding hands with that special someone more often.

If you want a healthier heart, better invite as much love into your life as you can!

 

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