6 Ways in Which Meditation Improves Wellbeing

Meditation is best described as a discipline centered on turning the mind inward and focusing on a single though, image, object, or feeling. While meditation has long been associated with different cultures and religions as a way of finding inner peace and becoming closer to God, it’s definitely not just for the spiritually inclined.

High-quality scientific research has been done on the practise of mindfulness – which involves focusing on sensations to direct attention to the present moment – and it has been proven to improve both mental and physical wellbeing.

1. Meditation Slows Brain Loss from Ageing

A study by American and Australian researchers recently showed that long-time practitioners of mindfulness meditation suffer from less age-related loss of brain tissue than those who do not meditate.

By using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brains of 100 men and women aged 24-77 who had either meditated regularly or not at all, researchers were able to show that while both groups displayed a decline in grey matter, the meditators experienced markedly smaller reductions than those who did not meditate at all.

2. Meditations Improves Sleep Quality

An American randomised clinical trial has found that people over 55 who displayed moderate disturbances in sleep reported greater improvements in sleep quality using mindfulness meditation compared with those who used a structured program to correct poor sleeping habits.

Sleep disturbance scores dropped from 10.2 to 7.4 in the mindfulness group, while they only dropped to 9.1 in the group who learned better sleep habits or ‘sleep hygiene’. While your version of meditation may be enjoying your favourite CAD casino, there is something to be said for switching off completely, lessening distractions, and emptying your mind of all thoughts.

3. Meditation Lessens Mind-Wandering

Mind-wandering or ‘monkey mind’ is a common occurrence in roughly 50% of our waking life, but it is also associated with decreased levels of happiness as recently discovered by researchers at Yale University.

This is most-likely due to the fact that most people tend to fixate on stressful or negative thoughts. The Yale University study showed that mindfulness meditation appeared to reduce activity in the areas of the brain associated with wandering thoughts and showed a marked improvement in anxiety and depression levels.

4. Meditation Can Help Relieve Pain

Studies have found when examining the effect of meditation on pain that advanced meditators reported feeling less pain than those who didn’t meditate, yet showed more activity in the brain areas associated with pain.

This might sound puzzling at first but it would appear that meditators are essentially better able to reduce the unpleasantness of the pain stimulation than non-meditators.

5. Meditation Improves Concentration

A well-known benefit of meditation is that it improves attention and therefore concentration, and one landmark study even showed a boost in efficiency when it comes to multitasking.

For the study, a group received mindfulness training for 2 hours a day for a total of 8 weeks and became much more efficient at completing complex tasks in a multitasking challenge compared to those who had not received the mindfulness training.

6. Meditation Can Assist with Addiction

There is significant evidence which shows that mindfulness meditation can assist with addiction on multiple levels: self-control, detachment from the sensation of craving, and being generally less stressed.

A recent study found that a 4-week mindfulness training program was a far more effective treatment for addiction to smoking than the ‘gold standard’ treatment recommended by the American Lung Association.

Why taking time out is so important

Life is hectic. Between work and family commitments we seldom have time to even pause, let alone simply relax doing the things that we love. This, however, is imperative in order to have not only a healthy mind but a healthy body too.

Taking Time Out – Live Your Life Don’t Just Exist

Our minds and bodies are inextricably linked; if you are stressed or miserable it is reflected in your physique and overall appearance. Here are some basic reasons why this is so important, and how it benefits you holistically.

It Creates A More Balanced You

Stress and hectic lifestyles can create a person who is irritable and twitchy. If we are always on the go, we never give our bodies and minds time to recover and recalibrate. Life is a balance, and thus when you are out of balance it shows. Taking the time to simply breath and pause for a bit will create a sense of calm in our otherwise frenzied existence.

Doing What You Love Makes You Happy

We all have passions. Be it a sport or a past time such as photography. Some people love to read or play computer games such as online blackjack. Taking the time out to do what you love makes you happy. Let’s face it; most of us are not lucky enough to have a job that involves our passion, so every day is pretty much a grind. You NEED to follow your passions and your dreams for your mental health. Even if you do it alone, it will improve your mood and overall sense of well-being.

It Improves Relationships

Humans are social beings. We need the company of others to make us happy. Often that may just be a loved one or even your children, but either way, we need to be in contact with people who love us. If you are not in a happy space, it will come out in how you interact with others. You may be snappy or short-tempered which can lead to fights and falling out.

This, of course, is hugely detrimental to relationships and can even lead to them failing. A happy person makes others happy and subsequently has happy relationships.

It Allows You To Grow

Taking the time to get to know yourself will ultimately help you to become a better and more fulfilled person. We all grow and change, but that growth cannot happen if we never take the time to reflect.

Activities such as yoga or meditation are great for spending quality time with yourself, and thus allowing you to bloom and blossom.

Some Ideas For Time Out

In case you are stuck for things to do because you have spent so much time being on the go, here are some ideas and activities to relax and rejuvenate you.

Yoga and meditation: great for simply “being”.

Learn a new Skill: in the vein of improving yourself, learning a new skill such as cooking is a great way to spend your time.

Take Up A Sport: be it horse riding or boxing, taking up a sport is great for the mind and body.

Go To A Spa: even guys like to be pampered. Take the time to just relax and feed your body and soul

Listen to Music: we never simply sit and listen anymore. Don’t use your phone to check social media, just switch off and listen.

Have a bubble bath. Light some candles add some bubbles and just let all the stress leave your body.

What to Start – and Stop – Doing in 2018

Exercise - Healthy Eating and Healthy Habits - What to Start - and Stop - Doing in 2018

There is a fatal flaw in New Year’s resolutions that extends to the majority of goal-setting: we all typically will bite off more than we can chew, and our intentions are simply unrealistic.

Thanks to this, we end up failing, inevitably, and feel guilty and filled with self-loathing by the time February rolls around!

This article outlines tips and tricks to setting resolves that will last. They are things that are not just doable, but enjoyable as well, and, thanks to this, will eventually become second-nature. You will forget that they were once a task you had to set yourself, and will find them as easy and fun to do as playing the online blackjack NZ has to offer is.

Make a Point of Taking Time for Yourself

All of us are guilty of prioritising other people over ourselves, and as such see the new year in feeling stretched too thin, overextended, and, often, resentful. Take this as a period of learning for yourself, grow from the experience, and start implementing this lesson in 2018.

Give yourself permission to say no, and make sure that there is time for your own needs, desires, and wants in the new year. Whether it is organising your wardrobe, doing a workout you love, or binge-watching your favourite show after a long day at work, make sure you have set time aside to fill your own cup before attempting to fill others’.

Stop Doing That Workout You Hate 

This is your year, and your time. You don’t have to jog every morning in order to lose weight, you don’t have to make time to step onto the treadmill, and you don’t have to hit a Zumba class every Wednesday evening.

If you hate doing these things, why are you forcing yourself to do them? If it’s because you feel you have to, you’re wrong. Use this new year to find an activity you really enjoy, and watch the results come quicker than you can say daily exercise!

What to Start - and Stop - Doing in 2018

Unplug a Little More Every Day 

You don’t have to break up with technology completely, something which is, for the most part, simply not possible anymore, but you can do small things to unplug your various devices and reconnect with yourself, your loved ones, and your environment.

Maybe you veto checking your emails before you have finished your first cup of coffee, or charge your phone in another room to ward off the habit of falling into late night Wiki-holes.

You could even make a tech-free day once a week -think Meat Free Monday with a twist, but try to find something that pulls you out of this habit and replaces it with one that will see you feeling better and more refreshed.

Learn One New Healthy Recipe that You Love 

It is more than possible to learn how to make one new dish over the course of 365 days, and while this may take some trial and error, even the process may well be enjoyable.

Once you have hit on a new dish that you really enjoy make sure you work it into your weekly meals, and you will find yourself enjoying all the parts of the process of eating better over the longer-term.

The Beginners Guide To Fitness

Beginners Guide To Fitness

Once again another year has passed, and once again a bit more weight has been gained…sigh! And new years is fast approaching, so instead of making the usual annual commitment to weight loss and then flaking after week or two, try our top tips on getting and staying fit for 2018:

One: Think SMART (smart, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely)

Smart – plan this journey out, you need to have specific goals to achieve, so spend some time and do your homework. Even if you have to go to a trainer or a dietician, you need to figure out what will work for your body and implement it

Measurable – ensure you monitor your results; sometimes motivation can be lost when the scale goes up instead of down. But often muscles can cause you to become heavier, but if you monitor your measurements you will see the results more clearly.

Achievable – Do not fool yourself into believing you can get fit or loose 20kgs in two weeks, when you have done your proper research you will be able to implement a fitness program that will be achievable for you. do not sabotage yourself with extreme unreachable soul destroying goals

Relevant – ok so you want to run a marathon next year June, that’s a great goal. But do not train like your planning on beating the professionals and are going to win this your first ever marathon after spending their last 4 years playing real money slots on your couch.  So unless you have decided to become a professional athlete, make goals that suit you and your lifestyle.

Timely – be reasonable about the time it will take to achieve your goal. For example – I would like to run a marathon in 3hrs in June next year. Is this a reasonable goal? No, average amateur runners take between 4 to 5 hours to run a marathon, so if you attempt to push yourself into running it n three hours – you will damage yourself (and also not succeed)

Two: Diet

Once you have set up your SMART goals and are ready to begin, do not forget your diet:

– remember the 80/20 rule, 80% of fitness depends on your diet. So if you are eating 80% junk and exercising 6 days a week, you can expect t have some very poor fitness results. You cannot exercise enough to day to make up for that cheeseburger and fries!

– If you do see a dietician, implement their recommendations and stay on it! If you fall off the diet wagon occasionally, do not quit, carry on do some extra crunches, skip for ten minutes – you got this!

– Find food replacements – cauliflower instead of rice, zoodle noodles instead of pasta, butternut fries instead of potato fries.  The options these days are just as tasty as the originals, so do your research and find what you like.

Beginners Guide To Fitness

Three: Exercise

You do not have to jog or run or do aerobics or swim or any other type of exercise that makes you want to die (and quit). The options for exercise are varied, so if you ate running try weightlifting or swimming.

For myself, after a stressful day at work I really seem to enjoy punching – so my speed MMA box class is perfect for me. Find your favourite exercise (or exercises) ad work on them.

Easy Ways to Get Healthy

Easy Ways to Get Healthy

These small adjustments to what you are doing every day anyway will see you feeling great and showing the results in not time! Getting healthier does not mean that you have to change every aspect of how you love -sometimes simple changes are all you need. Don’t overburden yourself with one hundred new rules, either. Implement one change at a time, and, as you feel the benefits, make space for the next one to start impacting positively on your life.

Touch Your Toes

Grabbing your toes and pulling boosts the circulation in your feet after they have been housed in shoes for a while. Without proper circulation, the nerves and muscles in your toes won’t work properly, and you may experience pain in your back, hips, or knees. Take in a game or two of the online pokies NZ in order to relax after work, but do so without your shoes on and get some extra benefits while you are at it!

Wash Your Linen, Make Your Bed

Dust mites are a huge trigger for those of us with allergies, and these little guys love to make their home where you sleep. Clean ‘em out by laundering your bedding at least once a week in hot water, and make use of duvet and mattress covers that have been designed to combat them as you can.

Frequent Fliers Need to Fly Right

Always turn the air vent above your seat on, as this will protect you from the germs that are hitching a ride right along with you. Angle it so that the air blows down onto your face, since this filtered air will create a small barrier between you and the various bugs trying to make their way to you.

Keep Your Phone on Silent at Night

Set your phone so that emergency calls will be able to come through, and then turn your phone’s sound off, limiting texts and calls as you ready yourself for bed. This makes for a nice nighttime ritual that signals to your brain that it is time to rest.

Get Your Shots

Do you already get a flu vaccine once a year? Good work! Now add a TDaP booster to your regimen as well. TDaP stands for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Better safe than sorry!

Drop Your Drawers

Going commando -going sans underwear- is highly recommended every so often, especially if you suffer from UTIs on a regular basis. No undergarments, or those made of pure cotton, allow this area to dry out completely and inhibits the growth of bacteria that could otherwise make its way into your urethra and cause a nasty bladder infection.

If you are not comfortable going out and about without your undies on, try doing this once every few evenings or so, at home in the comfort of your own bed.

Keep it Simple and Stay on Track

As you can see, there is no major overhaul required to start living a healthier life. Find what works, and implement it as you can!

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit and Healthy

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit and Healthy

While the decision to commit to a healthier lifestyle may seem daunting, putting your new habits into place does not need to be onerous. If you are unsure of where to start, the tips outlined here are a great way for you to meet your goals as you see your energy and overall well being increase exponentially.

As you wave goodbye to your old, indulgent way of life, you will find a great deal of satisfaction in honouring the new way of living that you are aiming for. Where do you begin? Well, creating a vision is never a bad idea!

Vanquish Your Doubt with Visualisation

Sit down in a quiet place and bring your fitness goals to mind. Close your eyes and see the results of your new choices: a fitter body, more energy, less unhealthy cravings. Imagine the way you will feel once you are on the road, and keep motivated to keep walking along it!

You can build in rewards as well, as you reach milestones, and make sure you celebrate each step you take! Perhaps you can take in an Aristocrat pokies game or two, or buy a book you have been eyeing -whatever will get you going is good enough!

Feed Your Fitness with Food that Strengthens You

Start drinking filtered water, as much as you can. Water will remove toxins from your body, clear your skin, control your appetite, and boost your energy overall. Start with a litre, build up to two, and aim for three as your end goal.

Cut out sugar completely. Stevia is an excellent substitute which keeps your blood sugar levels stable as you lose weight.

Eat smaller meals more frequently, grazing every two and a half to three hours. This speeds your metabolism up, allowing for faster fat loss, ensures you stay alert and will see your energy levels soar. Eat until you are full and then stop -enjoy the process, and don’t stuff your face absentmindedly.

Make sure your eight essential amino acids are available by including protein with each of your meals. You could even try a protein shake if you wished to, and take supplements to ensure you are getting what you need.

Focus on Feeling Good

You are an individual with specific likes and dislikes, but also particular nutritional requirements. A counsellor can help you implement better habits and ensure that your new choices do not disrupt your working or home life overmuch.

It is always a good idea to get a check up before you start exercising, especially in the case of cardiovascular activities like walking, swimming, hiking, or bicycling, all of which will tone you up, lift your mood, and assist you in getting fit and happy once more. Don’t overburden yourself with exercises that you hate and don’t have time for: have a good think about what you enjoy doing and then find a way to work that in a couple of times a week. Commitment is key, as there will always be a good reason for not doing something you don’t want to do, and this is why many people make use of a workout buddy. You are more likely to show up on time and do what you need to do if your not doing so will put someone else out.

Making Fitness Part of an Enjoyable Lifestyle

Fitness Lifestyle - making fitness enjoyable

Whether you are just starting to get fitter or have spent years working hard at the gym, chances are that, at some point, you have come across and despaired at the clichés surrounding fitness lifestyles.

These include things like having to limit your food to only bland, diet-friendly choices, feeling hungry and irritable while you doggedly power away on a boring treadmill every day, and just generally feeling imprisoned by the daily routines you have signed up for in order to start getting healthier.

The good news is that these clichés are not true –in fact, getting stuck into a regimen that you resent is an almost definite way to never integrate the changes you need into your lifestyle.

Patience and Mental Discipline is Important

Fitness is a flawed, long-distance event that will ask you to tap into the reserves of your patience and cultivate huge mental discipline. It is not a short-term, hell-month type of experience, and nobody gets fit in 30 days or three months.

If you are paying for services that promise you these kinds of results, you have been tricked, and need to hightail it back to the world of reality.

The truth is that fitness as part of your lifestyle can be something you truly enjoy that has positive effects on your day-to-day lifestyle, or something you dread and loathe doing.

The path that you end up following is one of your own choosing. This article outlines some ways to make it a good experience, and so ensure that you stay motivated to stick with it over the longer term.

Make Plans to Be Successful

If you are going to be working really hard, make sure you do it right, and are working towards the results you want. Plan on how to do this, and include rewards along the way as you reach your milestones.

Spending some time at one of the online betting NZ sites so widely available could be how you celebrate dropping your first dress-size, for example. These kinds of rewards will ensure you stick with your plan even when the going gets tough, and will help you acknowledge how far you have come.

Have Fun with Your Cardio Workouts

If you are one of the many individuals, myself included, that loathe running, I have excellent news for you! You don’t have to do it!

You shouldn’t be forcing yourself into your jogging pants to meet your cardio requirements. If you don’t enjoy it, find an activity that gets your blood pumping and heart thumping and do that instead.

Fitness - running on a treadmill - healthy Lifestyle

Stop Worrying about Everything

Once you have done the research you need to and selected a fitness programme that you feel is best for your requirements, settle in a little and enjoy the ride.

Put your focus on keeping your mindset clear and your discipline sharp instead of trying to find a way to get quicker results, or worrying about having chosen incorrectly.

Get Ready to Go the Distance

Release dangerous ideas about your self-image and thoughts that pigeon-hole you as an unhealthy or unathletic person.

These kinds of negative proclamations only halt your progress and encourage failure.

Remember that your brain can be either you best ally or worst enemy, and direct your thoughts towards its being the former.

5 Expert Nutrition Tips for Athletes

Nutrition Tips - healthy habits - sports nutrition

If you’re doing more than 90 minutes of exercise on a regular basis, especially if you’re doing high intensity or endurance exercises, you will need to be aware of what you’re putting into your body to get the most out of it.

If you’re training for strength or weight-less you will need to be especially careful of your daily calorie intake and eat a diet that will help you perform at your best and help you recover quickly. Here are 5 expert tips for getting the most out of your diet.

Carbohydrates Are Your Friend

Nutritional experts have known for many years that carbohydrates are the athlete’s main source of fuel, as the body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose – a form of sugar – and stores it in your muscles as glycogen.

When you exercise and burn calories, your body takes the stored glycogen and turns it into energy, which is what allows you to keep going even if you haven’t just eaten a carb heavy meal. However, it’s important to remember that if you’re exercising for less than 90 minutes you will have enough stored glycogen, so be careful not to overindulge.

Get Enough Protein, But Not Too Much

While protein doesn’t offer much in the way of energy to an athlete, your body does need it to maintain and replenish muscle. The average person requires 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, which is approximately 90 grams of protein for a 70 kg person.

Contrary to popular belief, the best source of protein is real food so stick to lean meats, eggs, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, or milk as opposed to protein supplements.

Take It Easy on Fats

The best type of fat is the unsaturated kind found in nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish like salmon or tuna.

The internet has brought us many amazing things: with everything from online shopping and social media to online betting and recipes, no one can say that they don’t know how to cook healthy and delicious meals anymore.

There are plenty of ways to cook with less fat and cutting down your daily fat intake by just a few teaspoons make a huge difference. Remember – it all adds up!

Drink Fluids Early and Often

Heavy exercise, especially during hot weather, can quickly leave you dehydrated which will hurt your performance, and in the worst cases can even threaten your life. All high intensity athletes should drink fluids early and often.

In other words, don’t wait until you feel thirsty as by the time you’re parched you may already be facing dehydration. It’s important to drink fluids before, during, and after a workout because your body expels fluids during exercise through sweating.

It’s also a good idea to drink chilled fluids as they are more easily by the body absorbed as opposed to room temperature water.

Replace Lost Electrolytes

Electrolytes help to convey nerve signals throughout your body, and both fluids and electrolytes are lost when you start sweating.

As such it’s a good idea to reach for a sports drink post exercise, as these contain the right amounts of both sugar and salt which mimics natural electrolytes in the body.

If you’re losing a lot of fluids while you exercise, it’s a good idea to mix equal parts water and sports drink to maintain the correct balance of hydration to electrolytes.