Category Archives: relaxation

Sounds of nature help us to relax – Study

I am a great believer in enjoying the outdoors. I ride my bike outdoors instead of opting for the exercise bike at the health club. Ditto, walking. I walk a lot outside rather than on the treadmill. So, I was very happy to run across this study from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).

The gentle burbling of a brook, or the sound of the wind in the trees can physically change our mind and bodily systems, helping us to relax. New research explains how, for the first time.

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Researchers at BSMS found that playing ‘natural sounds’ affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and ‘green’ environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and well being, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports. Continue reading

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Harnessing stress – Harvard

Dealing with stress seemed like a daily occurrence back when I was in the working world. These days, being retired, it’s a different story. I know that many of you are still  working and deal with severe stresses on a regular basis. For that reason, I have written numerous posts on the subject. I offer some examples at the bottom of this post.

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Here is Harvard taking a positive look at stress:

Changing your mindset doesn’t mean taking a Pollyanna view of the world. The key isn’t to deny stress, but to recognize and acknowledge it — and then to find the upside, because a full-throttle fight-or-flight response is not the only possible reaction to stress (at least when the stress does not involve a potentially life-threatening situation).

In people with a more stress-hardy mindset, the stress response is often tempered by the challenge response, which accounts for the so-called excite-and-delight experience that some people have in stressful situations, such as skydiving. Like the typical stress response, the challenge response also affects the cardiovascular system, but instead of constricting blood vessels and ramping up inflammation in anticipation of wounds, it allows for maximum blood flow, much like exercise. The balance of hormones is different, too, including more DHEA. Continue reading

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Filed under dealing with stress, Harvard, Harvard Medical School, relaxation, stress, stress reduction

The Best TV Show To Feel Joy, Amazement And Awe

This is so nice to learn, both on its own and in connection with nature itself for me. As I have written more than once one of my great pleasures riding my bike on the Chicago Lakefront is being out in nature.

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This was a sunrise I witnessed not long ago.

Tony

Our Better Health

The study compared TV show genres to see which makes people happiest.

Watching nature documentaries — like being out in nature itself — can help you feel happier.

The survey of 7,500 people around the world found they felt happier after viewing clips from BBC nature documentaries.

The study compared watching the documentary to the news or a popular drama show.

People reported that after viewing the nature documentary they felt more:

  • joy,
  • amazement,
  • awe,
  • and curiosity.

At the same time it reduced feelings of anger, tiredness and stress.

Professor Dacher Keltner, who teamed up with the BBC for the study, said:

“I have long believed that nature and viewing sublime and beautiful nature in painting, film and video shifts how we look at the world, and humbles us, brings into focus our core goals, diminishes the petty voice of the self and strengthens our nervous system.
When the BBC…

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7 Habits That Make Your Brain Work Better

Lots of good information here. Because of my family  history of Alzheimer’s and dementia, these positive habits rang a bell with me.

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To read further on them, you can check my pages:

Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits)

How important is a good night’s sleep?

I have written a number of posts on dealing with stress. You can check them out by typing in the word s t r e s s in the search box. I recommend the following one which I wrote in 2010 as one of the most useful:

Some super tools for handling stress

Tony

Our Better Health

In a hyper-competitive world overflowing with information, our brains need to be able to keep up and outpace our competitors. Who doesn’t want their brain to process faster, remember more information or be able to come up with elegant solutions to complex problems? Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I am. Our brains more or less define our existence and who we are. So how can we get our brains to work better, faster and more efficiently?

HERE ARE SEVEN HABITS THAT WILL HELP IMPROVE YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION:

1. EXERCISE REGULARLY

Exercising promotes blood flow, cardiac health and releases beneficial hormones and proteins into your body. These hormones and proteins protect your neurons, which are the cells that make up most of your brain, and encourage them to multiply and make new connections. Studies have shown that exercise helps you learn faster and remember more information. Further studies have shown…

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Stop Letting Your Feelings Color Your Thoughts

In view of the upcoming elections, I thought this was a particularly timely post. Whether you want to trumpet the Donald or pillory Hillary, there are some worthwhile ideas here.

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Tony

Our Better Health

Imagine getting into a political discussion with someone who is highly passionate about their beliefs. If the conversation is a good one, those beliefs will likely, at some point, come under question. If their emotional PH is high enough, they’ll interpret that as not only their ideas being threatened, but their identities too. Soon, you’re not having a conversation anymore, but a back-and-forth defense match. It’s not about listening, it’s about being right. You reach for over-generalizations, they argue with singular, personal anecdotes, you make sweeping assumptions, cite studies you read once-upon-a-time, their faces widen with bewilderment at how you cannot possibly see what’s so logical and self-evident to them.

This is a really common example of what happens when people allow their emotions to color their thoughts.

Being passionate is fine. Feeling a lot is fine. But when you lose your ability to differentiate what you feel from what…

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Noise, Nature, and Stress

I love the ideas here. We are all subject to stresses on a daily basis. Here are some ways to reclaim your stability.

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I have written so many posts on stress, relaxation and walking that I can’t list them all. Please type any of those words into the s e a r c h box on the right to read further.

Tony

D.I.G.

A Surprising Source of Stress and What to Do About It

We all have a lot of stress that we get exposed to all the time.  When we usually talk about stress, we mean the kind that involves planning dinners for the whole family, getting your finances in order, showing up for you loved ones, and getting time in a day to exercise a bit.

This stress is ubiquitous and we mostly talk about it in the inevitable sense.  Those are all things we’re going to be exposed to, right?  In a way that’s true, if you plan to be part of the modern day world.

But today, we’re going to expand our meaning of stress a bit.  But before you panic about all that extra stress, there’s going to be an exercise that helps you deal with any and all type of stress.  It’s…

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A Couple of Worthwhile Quotations For You

I just ran across these and thought they were too good not to share.

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I really liked the positive point of view here.

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For further posts on stress, check out;
Super Tools for Handling Stress
Is Stress Contagious?
Using Music Therapy For Stress Relief Is Very Effective
Stress: It Should Never be Ignored!
It’s Not Stress That Kills You: It’s How You Handle It
What Are Some Techiques for Dealing with Holiday Stress – Harvard

Have a great day!

 

Tony

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11 Meditation Tips for Beginners

Not everyone enjoys just sitting in lotus pose, and believe it or not, you can meditate in many other ways. Yoga is also a form of meditation, and involves holding certain poses and flowing through different movements to achieve mind-body-soul unity. meditateYou can also engage in “walking meditation,” in which you fully focus on the act of walking, and helps you develop mindfulness. You can test out different styles, or combine them, to find one that relaxes you the most.

I would like to add that I have said for years that riding my bike is a meditation for me in exactly the way described in the paragraph above.

 

Tony

Our Better Health

For those who have never tried meditation, it can seem like an unproductive, strange way to spend twenty or so minutes of your day. However, meditation offers a slew of benefits to anyone on the planet, and it costs nothing to start up a daily practice.

By meditating regularly, you can increase your vibrational energy, or life force, and even retrain your brain to think positively. If you need some help getting started with meditation, refer to these tips for guidance.

11 Meditation Tips for Beginners

1. Don’t get frustrated with your brain.

In the beginning, you will probably have a hard time just sitting quietly, even for five or ten minutes at a time. It takes time to adjust, as meditation is a foreign concept to many people. However, as long as you make a conscious effort to tune out from everything and go within, you will soon find…

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11 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care and Release Stress

Our Better Health

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day

Life often produces “pre-packaged stresssfulness” that can come in many forms.  Buying a car, house, paying for college, looking for jobs, etc. are all examples of this. How you deal with the stressful situations however, makes all the difference. Stress can either eat away at you or empower you; it all depends on the self care strategies you employ to deal with the stress when you encounter it. If you have been extra stressed lately, it’s important to remember the value of YOU and take time for proper self care,

Find freedom from stress with these 11 simple, yet powerful self care practices:

1. Breathe deeply.

In our fast-paced society, we often forget to slow down and pay attention to our breathing. Taking…

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5 Steps To Harness The Power Of Intention

An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.

Our Better Health

BY DEEPAK CHOPRA    MAY 20, 2013

Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.

Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, wiggle my toes, or call a friend, it all starts with intention.

The sages of India observed thousands of years ago that our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim…

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10 Simple Ways to Find Balance and Get Your Life Back

There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new found equilibrium. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits and you’ll never look back!

balance

Our Better Health

PRODUCTIVITY BY ROYALE SCUDERI

Life balance seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind of late. We have discovered that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career or business success as well. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.

The big question is…What does life balance really mean? What would a balanced life look like to us? And most importantly, how do we go about achieving it in the midst of our crazy schedules?

There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new found equilibrium. The…

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3 Infographics to Help You Live Longer

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10 Ways To Restore Energy When You’re Exhausted Or Burned Out

Our Better Health

BY MARISSA HÅKANSSON      APRIL 5, 2013

You have the power to cultivate energy within your body in any moment. Even when you’re exhausted, burned out and feel like you’ve got nothing left to give, your body can guide you to a space of greater vitality, inner strength and wellbeing.

Here are some strategies that I’ve used in my own life to do just that:

1. Rest when your body says rest.

It’s important to follow your body’s cues on when you need to rest rather than pushing yourself beyond what you can handle and then crashing. If in doubt, rest. When you listen to your body and give yourself the rest you need, you’ll rebuild your energy over the long-term.

2. Cultivate stillness within you.

There’s an incredible healing power in stillness. Prioritize creating quiet spaces in your day where you can simply be still. Really allow yourself…

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Exercise and Depression

For most people, it is OK to start an exercise program without checking with a health care provider. However, if you have not exercised in a while, are over age 50, or have a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, contact your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Please be sure to checkout my Page – Important Facts about Your Brain  to learn more about this.

Tony

 

Our Better Health

Want to learn more about exercise and depression? Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.

What Are the Psychological Benefits of Exercise With Depression?

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your…

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11 Things to Start Doing For Yourself Right Now

Live in the here and the now. No time is better than the present. Make the decision to focus on living your present life. The past and future are irrelevant. According to “Science”: “A human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”

Autumn Walk

Further posts on positivity: How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard, What is Positive Psychology? Can I Be Happy?

Tony

 

Our Better Health

    “People will always say all sorts of stuff. Let them. I’m enjoying my life.” -Angelina Jolie

No matter where you go, you will always hear the saying: “Life is short.” What does it mean exactly? It means that life is meant to be enjoyed and that we shouldn’t waste our days living in a negative, self negligent environment.  To create positive energy, you’ve got to do implement positive practices to keep your inner wellspring full.

Here are 11 things to start doing for yourself right now:

1. Smile

Every time you crack a smile and flash those pearly whites, endorphins are released. What are endorphins exactly? They are the ultimate feel-good chemicals. According to Psychology Today: “The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.”

2. Laugh

In the matter of a moment, you can make a very important decision: to laugh or to…

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6 Things You Must Know About Money and Happiness

Here are six facts that may surprise you—and tips on how to live the good life, no matter how much you’ve got.

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I have written numerous times on happiness. For further posts, check out 75 Years In The Making: Harvard Just Released Its Epic Study On What Men Need To Live A Happy Life, Don’t Worry, Be Healthy, Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain, Why Should I Be Happy? Happy People Live Longer – Time Magazine, How Exercise Makes You Happy, Can I Be Happy?

Tony

Our Better Health

August 20, 2014     By Amanda MacMillan

If you were offered a well-deserved raise at work or a no-strings-attached wad of money, would you take it? You’ve surely heard that money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly get you closer to an enjoyable life, right?

Yes and no, says Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. “It turns out, what you do with your money seems to matter just as much to your happiness as how much you make,” she says; good news for those of us without a sudden windfall or promotion in our near futures.

Here are six facts that may surprise you—and tips on how to live the good life, no matter how much you’ve got.

Don’t sweat the six-figure job

“There is definitely a correlation between income and…

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