Tag Archives: relaxation

Sore back? Try yoga

I have written about yoga a number of times here. About a month ago I posted on a yoga study – yoga and back pain.

For the record, I dated a yoga teacher some years ago and practiced it religiously for the two years we were together and for several years afterward. So I am very familiar with its practice and results. I have certainly used the relaxation techniques available from yoga breathing virtually every day of my life.

I recently had some problems with my lower back. It was stiff and painful. It also felt like I was aggravating it riding the bike. So I went to the doctor. Upon examination, she told me that at my age, 77, I may have lost some of my flexibility, particularly in my spine. She recommended doing some yoga to see if it gave me relief.

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First, some back pain facts.

WebMD says, “Back pain includes lower back pain, middle back pain, upper back pain or low back pain with sciatica. Nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis can result in back pain.”

More than three million cases per  year are reported in the U.S. alone. Continue reading

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STRESS ISN’T REALLY THAT DANGEROUS; IS IT? — All About Healthy Choices

“My job creates so much stress.” “My marriage is so stressful.” “The holidays are always a stressful time of year.” We hear the word “STRESS” so often, we are almost immune to the REAL HARM it often produces. It is NOT just a NOUN or VERB. It is an EMOTION that causes SERIOUS HEALTH COMPLICATIONS […]

via STRESS ISN’T REALLY THAT DANGEROUS; IS IT? — All About Healthy Choices

After reading this superb explanation of the damage stress wreaks on your body, please check out my post – Some super tools for handling stress. There is an answer for it.

Tony

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6 ways to use your mind to control pain – Harvard

In an effort to keep as many foreign substances outside of my circulatory system, I take as few drugs as possible. Since I suffer from arthritis of the hands, I have to resist the temptation to get into painkillers daily. I fear the side effects more than my hands hurting.

The Harvard Health Publications offer  a number of techniques, some of them age old, that may reduce one’s need for pain medication.

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No respecter of age, arthritis pain can strike in numerous places.

The following techniques can help you take your mind off the pain and may help to override established pain signals.

1. Deep breathing. It’s central to all the techniques, so deep breathing is the one to learn first. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and exhale. To help you focus, you can use a word or phrase to guide you. For example, you may want to breathe in “peace” and breathe out “tension.” There are also several apps for smartphones and tablets that use sound and images to help you maintain breathing rhythms. Continue reading

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What Self-Care Is — and What It Isn’t

More good step by step info on living a healthy and happy life.

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To read more on the value of exercise, check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits)

For more on how good sleep is for the body, check out – How important is a good night’s sleep?

Tony

Our Better Health

When asked the question: “Do you take care of yourself?” most of us will answer yes — we’d even think, “What kind of question is this? Of course I care about myself.”

When asked, “In what ways do you take care of yourself?” — well, that’s where the tricky part begins.

What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that we deliberately do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. Although it’s a simple idea in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also keep to a good relationship with oneself and others.

What isn’t self-care?

Knowing what self-care is not might be even more important. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. As Agnes Wainman defined, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes…

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How healthy is laughter? – Infographic

This being the weekend, I thought it appropriate to offer some ideas on how good it is to laugh.

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Tony

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8 Mind Shifts That Can Trigger Success & Happiness

I like these eight simple mental actions. They can clearly make a mountain of difference in your daily life if your aren’t practicing them.

These reminded me of the ideas from Dr. Maggie Crowley in Super tools for handling stress. Check it out.

optimism

Tony

Our Better Health

MARK DENICOLA     MARCH 17, 2016

As much as our lives may be impacted by our circumstance, I’m a firm believer that they are far more influenced by our attitude. While we may collectively look down upon certain things, you can almost always find an opposing, positive stance to pretty well everything.

Take a rainstorm, for example. Most would find it annoying, gloomy, and/or unfortunate, but others (such as a farmer) would consider it something to be happy, relieved, and/or excited about.

With so much of our experience being within our control, why do so many of us continually choose to take such pessimistic and negative views towards things? Here is a list of 8 mind shifts that I personally feel could be the keys to finding the always sought-after success and happiness:

(NOTE: Of course there are certain experiences that will be far more difficult to apply these…

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8 Everyday Activities That Increase Your Mental Health

I love the simplicity of this. Truly the best things in life are free.

When I bought my apartment, one of the major selling points was the fact that it overlooks Lake Michigan. My east view gives me sunrises every morning. Truly food for the soul.

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To read further on positivity, check out PHow to harness positive psychology for you – Harvard.

For more on number three – stress, check out Super tools for handling stress.

Tony

 

Our Better Health

Which of these uncomplicated activities to you do most days?

Do these most days and it will help protect your mental health.

1. Dwell on the positive

Positive memories could be used as a way to help boost mental well-being, new research finds.

People in the study were asked to focus on positive social memories.

Participants focused on their own positive feelings from that memory as well as on the positive feelings of the other person.

The results showed that people felt socially safer and more positive and relaxed after the exercise.

At the same time feelings of guilt and fear were reduced.

2. Drink some tea

Tea is both calming and can make you feel more alert.

It improves cognitive performance in the short-term and may help fight Alzheimer’s in the long-term.

Finally, it is linked to better mental health.

I’ll raise a cup to that!

From: Tea: 6…

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How to Reduce Stress – Harvard Medical School

When I was a kid and watched hundreds of double feature cowboy movies on Saturday afternoons, one of the phrases that I heard in almost every movie was, “Let’s head ’em off at the pass.” I knew the bad guys didn’t have a chance to get away because the good guys always headed them off.
Amazingly, that is also an example of one of our best defenses against stress. Head it off at the pass. Don’t even let it get get into your head. Works like magic, but it isn’t at all.

The Harvard Medical School has produced a special 52 page report on stress management and offered some superb guidelines on exactly that. It is called Cognitive Restructuring.

Here is an example: “Stop for a moment and try to remember the thoughts that were running through your head the last time you were late for work. Perhaps a simple thought, such as “the train is late,” quickly transformed into “I’ll be late to work. I won’t make it to my meeting on time. My boss will be angry with me. My job is in jeopardy. This always happens to me.” Continue reading

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7 Ways to Calm Your Upset Stomach – Harvard

This seemed particularly timely in view of the fact that Thanksgiving is little more than a heartburn away.  Harvard HEALTHBeat Offers the following:

“Maybe you’ve just eaten, or finished a meal an hour or so ago — and now your stomach just doesn’t “feel right.” You feel bloated and uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s more of a burning sensation. Maybe you feel queasy, or even throw up. You might say you have an “upset stomach” or indigestion. If there is no known medical cause for your symptoms, your doctor would call it “dyspepsia” or “bad digestion.”

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“Indigestion is real. The medical term for persistent upper abdominal pain or discomfort without an identifiable medical cause is functional dyspepsia. The symptoms can come and go at any time, but often eating is the trigger. Sometimes the discomfort begins during the meal; other times, about half an hour later.

“If you suffer from functional dyspepsia, you’re not alone. Roughly 25% of the population is affected, and it hits men and women equally. It’s responsible for a significant percentage of visits to primary care doctors, in part because many people worry they might have an ulcer. While it’s frustrating that the cause of functional dyspepsia is unknown, it’s even more frustrating that there is no surefire cure.

The good news is that there are simple things you can try to help get some relief:

1    Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms.
2    Eat small portions and don’t overeat; try eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, and be sure to chew food slowly and completely.
3    Avoid activities that result in swallowing excess air, such as smoking, eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages.
4    Reduce your stress. Try relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exercise. An aerobic workout 3-5 times per week can help, but don’t exercise right after eating.
5    Get enough rest.
6    Don’t lie down within two hours of eating.
7    Keep your weight under control.

For more on diagnosing and treating indigestion, buy The Sensitive Gut.

Tony

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It’s not just WHAT you eat, but HOW you eat as well.

Excellent ideas here. Let’s take the hurry out of eating.

Tony

Kim the Dietitian's Weblog

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How you eat matters.  A recent study supports what seems obvious to me:  a pleasant, relaxing eating experience leads to healthier food choices and better health.

So many people race out the door, grabbing something as they go, or they graze all day long without ever sitting down to enjoy their food.  The study looked at the eating habits of over 1000 college and university students and found that those who prepared food at home and had a set eating schedule ate healthier than those who ate “on the fly,” grabbed food at school or were distracted by video games or TV.

What a shame to miss the experience of eating!  It should be pleasurable; in my opinion, eating is one of the great pleasures of life.  Being more mindful of the experience is not only healthier, but it’s also much more enjoyable.

I know we are all in a hurry, but we can all…

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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.

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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10 Secrets About Your Metabolism That Can Help You Lose Weight – Infographic

This infographic has some good suggestions for trimming back the pounds. If you want to read further on this, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – And Keep it Off.

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Number 10 tells you to reduce stress. In my post Super Tools For Handling Stress you can find useful techiques.

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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An Optimistic Outlook May Be Good for Your Heart

“There’s a lot of psychological research linking pro-social behaviors to better health,” she said. “Gratitude, for example, has been linked to lower impulsivity, higher salaries, better sleep and stronger relationships. And this strikes me as yet another study that reinforces an intuitive knowledge that probably most people have that our mind and body are linked.”

Regular readers know how strongly I feel about living a positive life. Here are some previous posts:
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain
What is Positive Psychology?

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Study of more than 5,100 adults found a strong correlation between the two.

Accenting the positive may be good for your heart, with a large study suggesting that optimistic people seem to have a significant leg up when it comes to cardiovascular health.

“Research has already shown a link between psychological pathology and poor physical health,” said study lead author Rosalba Hernandez, an assistant professor in the school of social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “So we decided to look at whether there’s also a link between psychological well-being and good physical health.

“And by looking at optimism as a measure of psychological well-being, we found that after adjusting all sorts of socio-economic factors — like education, income and even mental health — people who are the most optimistic do have higher odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health, compared with the least optimistic,” she added.

Hernandez…

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