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10
OCT

5 Best Mindful Activities When Meditation Isn’t Cutting It

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Mental Wellbeing,Mindfulness at 12:27 pm | By: Guest Blogger
Mid adult woman riding bike

Article Written by Jessica Thiefels

“Mindfulness” is a buzzword we can’t seem to ignore any longer because it’s more than just a passing trend. In fact, this concept is rooted in ancient Eastern customs and culture and, when practiced regularly, can have a wide variety of holistic benefits that strengthen the mind, body and spirit.

Greater Good Magazine defines this term as “moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment.” This mental exercise grounds us in the present, enables us to observe our inner selves without judgment, and keeps our focus off the “white noise” of this distracted, hyper-frenetic world.

I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t just sit still for 20 minutes; I’ve tried meditation, I just can’t do it.” The good news is you don’t have to sit still to reap the benefits of mindfulness. If you want to experience more balance and peace in your own life, these sports are ideal for practicing mindfulness and getting a workout at the same time.

Cycling

Cycling engages the mind-body connection in several capacities, from the physical act of steering and pedaling to the mental drill of pushing through challenges, finding your pace and anticipating the route ahead.

“Every aspect of cycling can become a meditation,” suggests Nick Moore, author of Mindful Thoughts for Cyclists. He explains that preparing for a ride “has its own rituals that switch us unconsciously from civilian to cyclist—a mental shift of gears in which we transition from one energy state to another, from the potential to the kinetic.” And after, “giving the bike a rub-down, re-lube and once-over is a chance to decompress and gather our thoughts.”

Take your cycling outside for even greater mental health benefits. If you can only cycle in a gym or your home, stay in tune with your body and your breathing to maintain mindfulness.

Tennis

The elements of competition and self-awareness that are prevalent in tennis work to keep your attention engaged in the action and energy of the court rather than your mind. According to a discipline known as Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology, this practice “enhances overall performance by increasing an athlete’s ability to function ‘in the zone,’ by sharpening concentration” to hone both “accuracy and precision.”

The Huffington Post also reports that tennis champion Novak Djokovic uses mindfulness in this tennis to release self-doubt, anger and worry, a skill he deems “just as important as physical training.”

You can play tennis alone against a wall, or with a partner; in either case, you may not have to try very hard to maintain mindfulness in this game. The game will keep you naturally focused on breath and movement.

Running

Running has a way of giving you clarity and focus as you move to the rhythm of your footfalls and feel the deepness of your breath. That may be why 22 percent of runners said they started running as a natural form of stress-relief, according to a 2017 runners poll by Fit2Run.

This type of movement leaves room for “reflection and exploration,” suggests Runner’s World, making it the perfect way to practice active mindfulness. Tune into the repetitive motion that engages both the upper- and lower-body and listen to your feet as they strike the ground. Take note of how that feels, as your foot flows from heel to toe and back into the air again.

Archery

This less popular sport is rooted in the “kyudo” tradition of samurai warriors and has been described as a “moving meditation” to synchronize and bring about a sense of equilibrium to a person’s inner world. “Kyudo [which means ‘way of the bow’] is infused with philosophical influences…making it a ritualistic practice,” explains Archery360.

This unique form of archery eliminates all outside diversions to “symbolize leaving your worries at the door.” Instead, you enter the practice range, uninhibited from stressors with a clarity of “pure heart and mind.” The precision needed to align your stance, engage your isometric muscles, then fixate on the target is both an intuitive and immersive experience.

To enjoy this active meditation, look for a local archery school or class, which you may be able to find at a local college or recreation center.

Weightlifting

The breathing sequence of “inhale, exhale, lift, hold, pause and repeat” is a powerful way to activate active meditation during your workout. Tuning into yourself in the weight room, finding stillness in the sound of barbells making contact with a metal rack or the feel of your biceps protruding under a heavy mass, boosts strength, both mental and physical.

Ayurveda expert Larissa Carlson suggests that by noticing the “sensation of muscles contracting and releasing, the roughness of your skin against the weight or the sweat trickling down your back,” it’s possible to achieve a posture she calls “meditation in motion.”

Start Moving Mindfully

Find time for these activities in your regular fitness routine—but don’t expect mindfulness to come naturally. Tune into your breath, make note of how your muscles are feeling, and connect breath with movement as much as possible. Soon, this mindful active state will come naturally, and you’ll leave very workout feeling that familiar post-yoga bliss that comes with focusing on breath and our bodies.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time writer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist. She’s also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Honest Body Fitness, an online health magazine for women who are fed up with being told how to look and how to get there, yet still don’t feel like enough. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.




17
SEP

The Best Essential Oil Blends for Focus & Concentration

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Health Concerns & Ailments,Mental Wellbeing at 9:22 pm | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
Woman working on computer and writing down her thoughts

Aromatherapy is so much more than cleverly named and pleasant smelling candles. When practiced correctly, and to the fullest, aromatherapy has the potential to not only enhance and elevate moods but positively alter fundamental brain functions in amazing ways.

With another summer firmly in our rearview, and with several months of colder weather and darker days ahead, now is a great time to unlock the full slate of healing and rejuvenating benefits aromatherapy can offer. Whether you work in an office or stay at home with your littles, get through these hectic times with these essential oil blends that will have you feeling laser-focused and ready to conquer the world (or just back to school season).

Memory & Concentration Blend

This blend uses rosemary essential oil which is known for boosting memory and concentration. Throw in some lemon essential oil to heighten the senses and you’ve got yourself a dynamic pairing that will keep you on point all day.

INDREDIENTS

1 tablespoon jojoba oil

3 drops rosemary essential oil

3 drops lemon essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (jojoba) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. With essential oils it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way. Just add a drop or two and rub on your temples.

Crunchy Concentration Blend

Calling all bohemians! Sandalwood is the star of this earthy blend that provides a sense of clarity and pairs well with the calming effect of patchouli.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

2 drops of sandalwood

2 drops of patchouli essential oil

2 drops of orange essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (coconut) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. When using, a little goes a long way. Just add a drop or two and rub on your wrists.

Fresh Focus Blend

Knock out brain fog with frankincense. Applying frankincense topically can work wonders for you mood and peppermint puts pep in your step and improves concentration.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of almond oil

3 drops of frankincense

3 drops peppermint essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (almond) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. You only need a few dabs to feel the effects. Just add a drop or two and rub on your wrists.

 




4
AUG

How To Practice Mindfulness

Filed Under: Ask The ND,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing,Mindfulness at 11:30 am | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
Hands of young beautiful woman practicing yoga at home

We have all caught ourselves worrying about our busy lives. Wake up, make breakfast, pack lunch, get the kids off to school, go to work, finish the big project at work, pick the kids up from school, take one kid to music lessons and another to practice, make dinner, do the laundry…the list goes on. Whatever fills your day, thinking about the exhaustive list of tasks and chores is likely to cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to health issues. What if we stopped worrying about everything that needs to get done and instead focused our attention on the present moment? The moment we’re actively experiencing. This is mindfulness: being present in your everyday life.

Practicing mindfulness means paying attention to your experiences, both physical and mental, and not judging them. This means instead of rejecting a feeling because it is “bad” or “good,” you learn to cope with it by not labeling it. For example, maybe you are working on a big project at work and you start to feel your heart racing as you realize the deadline is approaching. In mindfulness, you acknowledge the fact that your heart is racing, but don’t judge the feeling. Just acknowledge it’s there and accept it. While mindfulness is most often associated with meditation, the two don’t have to coexist. The best thing about incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine is that you can do it anywhere!

Benefits to consider of mindfulness: 

  • May help reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improves focus and cognition
  • Enhances emotional regulation and control
  • Helps promote stress reduction while allowing the brain to become more adaptive to stressful or negative situations.
  • Lower stress levels are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved immune function, lower blood sugar levels and reduced risk of early mortality.
  • Enhanced self-insight, morality, intuition and the ability to modulate fear.
  • May help improve sleep and reduce insomnia
  • People who practice mindfulness report more positive moods
  • May help reduce pain

What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

  • There is a lot of overlap between mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is specifically the awareness of what is going on that present moment. It can be both a formal or informal practice. For instance, mindfulness is stopping to breathe when the phone rings versus rushing to immediately answer it. Just because you are mindful of your experiences does not mean you are meditating. Just as there are many forms of meditations, there are many ways to define the practice as well.
  • Meditation is the formal practice that encourages relaxation and attaining a state of consciousness different from your normal, waking state. One of the most common forms of meditation is mindfulness meditation. In mindfulness meditation, you set aside time to intentionally pay attention to whatever is happening in the moment, bringing awareness to your breath, body and mind without judging any thoughts that come and pass.

Ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life

We all live busy lives. Being mindful doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop what you are doing to meditate. Here some ways to bring attention to your daily routines:

  1. Eating: Focus your attention on your meal. Invoke all your senses. How does the food smell? What is the taste and texture? What does it look like? Take note of all the colors on the plate. Be present at the meal without watching TV or scrolling through your phone.
  2. Walking: Mindful walking means being aware of every step you take. Take note to how your feet strike the ground and your specific, heal-to-toe rhythm. Notice the muscles in the legs and how your hips move. Is there any discomfort? If so that’s OK, remember not to judge! Take note to your breath, every inhale and exhale. Bring attention to your surroundings.
  1. Mindfulness meditation (the body scan): There are plenty of ways to meditate. One of my favorites is the body scan. The core of almost any meditation is the breath, so start your focus there, noticing the rise and fall of your stomach and the change in temperature from inhale to exhale. As you relax, bring focus to your head. Note any sensations on the top of your head, maybe there is tension in your scalp or you feel a draft. After a few minutes, shift your focus to your face, then neck, shoulders, arms, chest etc. until you have reached your feet. Always remember your mind is allowed to wander. If you have a thought pop up, simply acknowledge it without judgment and recognize that your mind has wandered off, and then return to your awareness back to your breath or scan. Start with a couple of minutes each day and increase over time.
  2. Showering: The shower is a perfect time to relax and forget about past and future events to focus on the now. As you stand in the shower, take note the temperature of the water, how does the water feel as it hits your body? Be mindful of the smell of your shower gel, soap or shampoo, the feeling of your hand or wash cloth passing through your hair or over your skin. Listen to the sound the water makes as it hits the shower floor. Take note to any thoughts that come up while you’re in the shower—remembering the importance of not passing judgment on them. Lastly, notice the feeling of the towel as you dry yourself off.
  3. Teeth brushing: Become mindful of the taste and texture of your toothpaste, the sensation in your arms as they go from side to side. Take note of the pressure of your feet on the surface of the bathroom floor.

In the digital world we live in, there are many apps that can help you incorporate mindfulness into your day. Just like anything else we do, learning mindfulness takes practice. Take some time today to be mindful and see how it can improve your day!




25
APR

8 Morning Habits To Boost Productivity All Day

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing,Mindfulness at 10:58 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Rearview shot of a young woman stretching on the edge of her bedhttp://195.154.178.81/DATA/i_collage/pi/shoots/783596.jpg

How many times have you gone to bed determined to wake up, early only to hit “snooze” five times before finally getting up and bolting out the door? I am far from an “up-with-the-sun” kind of person, but getting in the practice of rising earlier gave me more time to clear the morning brain fog and get energized for a productive day.

Here are my 8 tips for creating and actually sticking to a morning routine that enhances your mood and focus all day long!

1. Define your “why”
Why are you getting up so early? Defining your purpose is key to finding motivation to get out from under the covers. Maybe you want to clean your room, squeeze in a run or yoga session, or work on the novel you always wanted to write. Whatever your motive, write it down, set a phone reminder and make it a priority so you don’t have to think when the alarm sounds!

2. Set yourself up for success
When you’re half-awake, pressed for time and willpower is low, limiting your morning tasks and responsibilities the night before is helpful. While this seems like a no-brainer, actually making sure our clothes are laid out, lunch is packed, dishes are done and the laundry is folded before hitting the pillow is easier said than done.

3. Write something 
Setting aside time to put pen to paper in the morning is the equivalent of a cup of coffee for a creative brain. Believe it or not, creativity peaks in the morning while the analytical side of our mind is still snoozing, allowing for a free flow of thoughts and ideas. Even if you’re job doesn’t demand a ton of creative thinking, giving your brain an early workout will allow you to hit the ground running once you’re at your desk.

4. Create an energizing environment
My favorite part about mornings is waking up and feeling happy in my space and connected with myself. I light a few candles or throw on my diffuser to gently wake up my senses and soak in the aromatherapy benefits. Make your space one that’s clear of clutter and distractions so you can wake up feeling stress-free. Try opening the curtains for some natural light or listening to a podcast or upbeat music while you get ready. Fill your environment with the good vibes you want to exude all day long!

5. If you can’t work out, stretch out
Exercising first thing is a great way to boost energy levels all day long, but if you’re not morning workout person, don’t sweat it (pun intended)! Instead, block out some time (preferably right after you wake up) to stretch out and get your blood flowing. The American Council on Exercise says stretching in the morning can reduce aches, pains and lead to greater amounts of energy and focus throughout the day.

6. Take your time with your coffee 
In many cultures, the morning cup is a daily ritual meant to be savored and enjoyed. Don’t settle for blah tasting coffee or tea that’s just a shortcut to caffeine. Pour a cup of superfood spiked coffee to start your day with some essential fats and nutrients as well as a healthy jolt. If tea is more your style, try savoring earthy, herbal teas in the morning to stimulate your senses and help feel more grounded. You’ll be amazed at how the simple luxury of a good morning cup can enhance your mood all day.

7. Break from the screens & set intentions
When you jump right into e-mails, news updates and Facebook over breakfast, it can be over-stimulating and your morning time shifts to the needs of others. I like to silence my phone and set my own personal intentions for the day. I use this time to create to-do lists and write out my goals for the day and week. Taking the time each day to focus on yourself and your tasks puts you in an organized, productive mindset early, and visualizing your goals keeps your days filled with purpose!

8. Reward yourself!
Have one part of your routine that you absolutely love and look forward to each day. For me, sitting down to a podcast over my morning cup of tea and bone broth collagen smoothie is my reward for getting up early and giving myself extra time to settle into the day. Maybe you make time to read, make a tasty breakfast or stop for a good cup of coffee on your way to work. Saving time for little indulgences will boost your mood for the day and create an incentive to do it all again tomorrow!

Remember to keep your morning goals realistic and flexible. While you should hold yourself accountable to sticking to a routine, be patient with yourself and treat it like a practice: it’s okay if you miss a day so long as you get back to it tomorrow!

What are your favorite morning routines and rituals? Let’s talk about it in the comments!




11
JAN

How To Actually Stick To Your New Year’s Goals

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing at 7:46 pm | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
Person silhouette standing in 2017 on the hill at sunset

For most of us, New Year’s “resolutions” — those well-meaning actions plans of self-improvement — are, if we’re being realistic here, better off re-branded as New Year’s “intentions”.  It may just be a minor semantical difference but a “resolution” implies a solemn pact — a pledge of unwavering commitment that a simple “intention” does not. If you intend to live to 100 it just kind of means that you expect to do so, whereas resolving to live to 100 means that you’re ready to put in the work to make it happen!  In that spirit, we’ve laid out some tips on how to make your best New Year’s intentions a reality.

Be realistic – Nothing happens overnight either. Don’t think if you quitting smoking or give up sweets that this will all happen in the same month. Set realistic goals to achieve. Try monthly check-ins with yourself at 1-, 3- and 6-month intervals and track your progress.

Create a Vision Board– Once you set that goal, back it up with a vision board, which helps clarify your thinking and provides some concrete imagery to help inspire and keep you on track. If you’re resolving to lead a healthier lifestyle then seek images of what that looks like to you. A vision board can definitely sharpen your goal-setting focus as well as what success looks like for you.

Don’t Do it Alone – The age old saying is true, “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Having a partner in your quests makes it way more likely that you’ll achieve your goals. Hey, why not host a vision board party where everyone can create their visions of their better selves? This would be a perfect gathering after all the gluttonous holiday festivities.

Practice Self-love – When you feel down and discouraged, remind yourself of how much you’ve accomplished. Turn up the will power and make a list of 10 things you’re proud of. That will get your spirits lifted in no time.

The Power of Imagery – Tufts University psychologist Christopher Willard, Psy.D. explains the craving center of our brain is highly susceptible to visuals. Trying to lose weight? Keep a picture of yourself at your goal weight on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself that you CAN get there.

 




19
DEC

The Best Teas For Stress Relief

Filed Under: Herbs,Mental Wellbeing,Teas at 12:01 pm | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

If you’re feeling restless and wound up after another hectic day of juggling your daily stresses, think about steeping back and relaxing with a warm cup of tea! Feel your stress and anxiety melt away with every sip of one of our favorite types of tea listed below.

Chamomile
Chamomile
 has been shown in multiple studies to reduce stress and anxiety in patients. How does it do it? One of its potent flavonoids, chrysin, gives it it’s sleep-inducing properties. While another compound, apigenin, helps induce a feeling of gentle, pleasant sedation. Bonus — chamomile is safe for kids too, and could help calm an anxious or overactive child. It has also been shown to help with other ailments such as colds and stomach aches. This tea combines chamomile with lavender for an extra dose of chill.

Valerian
Valerian’s relaxing nature is why it has enjoyed a long history as a mild sedative. Known as “nature’s valium”, valerian has been shown to really take the edge off. A 2005 study reported in the journal Sleep, showed clinically proven results for sleeplessness. We suggest a trifecta of relaxation with this tea that blends valerian with passion flower and lemon balm. Speaking of…

Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm
 has been used medicinally going way back to when the ancient  Greeks prescribed it for those suffering from insomnia and anxiety. This culinary herb appears to reduce cortisol – also known as the “stress hormone” — concentrations and helps blunt the effect of enzymes that inhibit GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) production, a neurotransmitter that helps the brain to self-soothe.

Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Holy Basil, also known as tulsi, is a well-known Ayurvedic herb that grows all over the eastern tropics. Ayerveda medicine says that tulsi can promote overall general health and well-being due to its adaptogenic effects, and a recent study showed extracts of this herb reduced general anxiety disorder along with stress and depression. We really love this brand that uses completely recycled packaging and bleaches their tea bags with oxygen rather than chlorine, which causes less damage to the environment. That’s something you can relax about.

Do you have a favorite tea you use to relax at night? Let us know in the comments!




12
OCT

10 Days of Vipassana Meditation

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing,Mindfulness at 12:21 pm | By: Mary Nason, Contributing Author
 Meditation

After making plans to attend a residential course to learn the ancient meditation called Vipassana, I told my friends about it. Their collective response included the words “relaxing” and “retreat”. I let them know that it’s actually intense and challenging – about 100 hours of meditation packed into 10 days – and noble silence, meaning no speaking, writing, gestures, or eye contact. Their encouraging facial expressions twisted as I added that course participants awake at 4am, the last vegetarian meal of the day is served at 11am, and there are no phones or internet. No reading, stretching, yoga, or entertainment is allowed and the accommodations are very modest. I realized it didn’t sound very vacation-worthy, but I knew it offered the possibility of changing my life.

Now that I’m back I can tell you that indeed, it did change my life for the better. And yes, it was different than an average vacation. I didn’t come home tan – or enlightened – but I now understand the choices I make and how they result in happiness or misery. I am now acquainted with this simple non-sectarian technique that has been trusted for over 2,500 years by people of all backgrounds and faiths. The practice helps me stay focused, loving kind, and receptive. I’m more emotionally balanced – responsive, not reactive – and I know how to enjoy life more thoroughly. I now recognize when I’m multiplying a physical pain into a mental pain, and vice versa.

What is Vipassana?

Vipassana is mental training that helps practitioners see things as they really are, not as they would like things to be. This provides groundwork for transformation through self-observation, and liberation resulting in true happiness, harmony, love, and compassion for self and others. The highly concentrated 10-day teaching (as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin) offers a way to become established in this technique that can provide understanding of the depth of your mind and the way it works – to understand at the experiential level (not just intellectually) – in the framework of your own body – how and where you started generating negativity and multiplying misery. By understanding and using the technique, you can locate the roots of your misery and break free from old habit patterns.

The Technique

Vipassana is the simplest, yet most difficult form of meditation because it asks so little of the practitioner. There is no visualization, mantra, or breath control. The technique only requires equanimous awareness of bodily sensations and the impermanent quality of all things. Basically, it’s a body scanning process that can be learned intellectually in minutes. However, a concentrated and almost continual practice of at least 10 days is necessary to establish experiential understanding of the technique and its benefits. Awareness is moved systematically through the body while sensations are observed objectively and neutrally. Pleasant feelings are not to be craved and unpleasant feelings are not to be averted.

The Experience

The course merely provides a Kindergarten-level understanding, yet for many, the subtle sensations experienced are so different than the gross sensations they are accustomed to, they may think they are experiencing enlightenment or bliss. During the 10 days, one learns to sweep one’s awareness of subtle sensations throughout the body, the result of which can feel something like a shower of tingling vibrations. Not all the sensations are pleasant however. Many people have to work through a variety of physical and emotional pains, so it can be cathartic and healing as well. Experienced practitioners explore even subtler sensations, penetrating their awareness through muscles and organs, while more advanced practitioners go even deeper, becoming aware of the subtlest of sensations, even into the depth of the spine.

During the course, one is to consider it as working in isolation. This is the first time that most people will ever be alone with their mind with no distractions. While everyone’s experience is unique, many get a chance to power through internal struggles in a way that makes them stronger.

Session duration is usually 1 or 2 hours long with 10 minute breaks in between. After 3 days of being able to shift position and futilely attempt to gain comfort, participants are asked to resist the urge to move during each 1 hour sitting. This teaches strong determination and practitioners learn they can make it through nearly torturous mental and physical pain. Everything arises and eventually passes away.

There are no charges for the course, food, or accommodations. Expenses are met exclusively by donations from students who complete the course. Donations pay it forward by providing someone else with the opportunity to experience the benefits of Vipassana. About 300 Vipassana centers located globally offer this unique experience to learn the basics of the technique in an uninterrupted, safe environment where one can practice almost continuously without concern for the chores of a householder. Volunteers silently cook, clean, and manage daily tasks so students may focus on learning and practicing.

If you are interested in learning more about the pure, original form of Vipassana and its benefits, visit dhamma.org. There are also many interesting anecdotal videos you may want to explore that have been posted online by individuals who have experienced the 10-day course. If you do not want to commit to 10-day course, know that the simple act of quieting the mind and paying attention to breath is in itself an act of meditation and can be a very beneficial way to begin a meditation practice.




25
AUG

How To Calm Back to School Jitters

Summer is coming to an end and the beginning of school is right around the corner.  For parents, it’s back to the school year routine.  For a child, it commonly means a new teacher, new classmates, new routines, new thoughts and maybe even a new school. However, all this excitement can unfortunately bring some anxiety. While the cause of anxiety in children can differ, anxious feelings are normal and even expected as children make these important transitions in their life. I have found that when dealing with a fear driven thought, it’s important to walk through the fear in its entirety to help them problem solve. For instance, if your child is nervous about attending a new school and is afraid they’ll get lost or be late to class, don’t just reassure them that everything is going be “OK.” Instead, help walk them through the worst things that could happen and go through different scenarios of what to do if they get lost. Besides talking out the fears, I have found homeopathic remedies may be helpful in calming back to school jitters. These remedies can be taken as pellets and dissolved in the mouth. Below are just a few examples of some of the remedies that may be helpful. Remember it is always best to consult with a trained health care provider before starting to more accurately get the correct remedy and potency for your child.

 

Homeopathic Remedies to Consider

  • Pulsatilla
    • This remedy is appropriate for a child that is very timid, mild and tends to have a yielding disposition. Often times they have a strong emotional bond with the mother and cling to them. They may display their anxiety by demanding excessive attention, weeping often and crying at almost everything. Generally their anxiety is worse in a warm room and they seek the open air.
  • Lycopodium Clavatum
    • This remedy is one of the first remedies that come to mind when speaking about anticipatory anxiety. Lycopodium is suitable for children who have an aversion to undertake new things, yet when they do so they go through it with relative easiness. A lot of the anticipatory anxiety is because they are afraid they will fail and look foolish. Most of these children try to conceal these insecurities with over confident mannerisms.
  • Gelsemium
    • This remedy is often the first remedy considered when it comes to test anxiety and stage fright. One of the keynote symptoms for this remedy include anticipation of any unusual ordeal, such as appearing in public, public speaking or test anxiety that can bring on diarrhea.
  • Phosphorus
    • This remedy is good for a child that is generally very sharp, alert and desires creative activities yet has many anxieties. In their anxious state they become fearful when they are alone and for that reason strongly desire company. They are very restless and fidgety and desire to be rubbed gently. When they are anxious they can bite their nails. Lastly, they have a strong fear of the dark and their anxiety is often time worse during thunderstorms.
  • Baryta Carbonicum
    • This is a great remedy if your child is afraid to go to school because of undertaking anything new, such as new people, new classes, etc. This child is excessively shy, they oftentimes hide behind the mother, their hands or furniture as to not be looked at by strangers. They tend to lack self-confidence. If this type of child walks into a room with people laughing, they may assume the people are laughing at them. They easily get homesick because they feel a sense of safety in their home. Lastly, this child may also have some problems in the classroom with learning. They tend to be very forgetful and inattentive, and have a hard time learning and remembering new information.

 

Dietary and Emotional Health

Diet may also play a major role in emotional health. While sugar itself may not cause anxiety, researchers have found that it might worsen anxiety symptoms. In one study, researchers found that rats that binged on sugar and then fasted displayed anxiety-like behaviors. It’s important to limit the amount of sugar laden, processed foods in your child’s diets throughout the school year. This may not only help with keeping their anxiety at bay but also may help improve their overall health and immunity.

Other Tips to Consider

  • Role playing can help your children to come up with different plans for different scenarios that they may be anxious about.
  • Focus on the positives and help your children to redirect their attention from negative worries to positive thoughts. This could be getting to see friends they haven’t seen since the last day of school, focusing on a special snack in their lunch bag, or any other positive experiences you can come up with.
  • Pay attention to your own behavior. Remember, children are very aware of how parents react to situations. Even if it doesn’t seem like they are paying attention, they hear and see more then we think they do. Children also learn many cues and emotions from their parents. If you can show more confidence and less anxiety, your children are more likely to follow suit.

 

While back to school jitters are common, there are many tips to help tackle them before they get out of hand. Consider some of these tips the next time you are faced with a child who is experiencing anxiety around school and life. Best wishes for a happy and healthy school year.

 




7
JUN

5 Reasons You Might Need an Iron Supplement

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Mental Wellbeing,Vitamins and Minerals,Women's Health at 7:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
They are called essential minerals for a reason. A member of this group, iron is very important for your health as all cells contain some iron. The majority of iron is located in the red blood cells, responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the organs and tissues throughout the body. Iron has a role in creating energy from nutrients but it also contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses, which coordinates the actions of different parts of your body. Maintaining healthy iron levels is essential for good health and we present you 5 reasons you may need an iron supplement.

1.Deficiency

If you have iron deficiency anemia, your body is lacking iron for the red blood cells to effectively provide oxygen to cells and tissues, resulting in fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. Iron supplements are commonly recommended to help prevent anemia. Nearly five million Americans have iron deficiency, by far the most common form of anemia in the United States.

2.Exercise

When you exercise, you burn fuel, including iron and other minerals, and replenishing is important to maintain good health. Additionally, people who do regular intense exercise may need up to 30% more iron than less active adults, as iron may cycle through the body more rapidly in people who exercise vigorously.

3.Pregnancy

Recommended by doctors, women who are pregnant or nursing need significantly more iron than the average of 15-18 mg of iron daily. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron for pregnant women is 27 mg daily.

4.Kidney Disease

Kidneys make an important hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). When you have kidney disease, the kidneys cannot make enough EPO, causing red blood cells count to drop and anemia to develop. Most people with kidney disease will develop anemia and iron supplements can help avoiding that.

5.Concentration

Lack of iron may lead to difficulty concentrating and is a common problem among students. Low iron levels can also lead to unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, decrease in physical performance, and learning problems in children and adults.

Check with your health care provider before start taking an iron supplement.




3
DEC

Happy Holiday Spirits with St. John’s Wort

Filed Under: Herbs,Mental Wellbeing,Supplements at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
St. John's WortIt’s December and the holidays are upon us. We are focused on holiday parties, shopping, spending time with family and friends and many other “end of the year” rituals. Many people enjoy this time of the year and believe December is a month full of joy and happiness. Others may not share the same feelings and, unfortunately, some people may feel sad even depressed as the year closes out.

Depression affects people in many different ways including mood swings and change of behavior but also affecting physical health. Treatment may vary from person to person but natural remedies may be helpful at this time the year.

Natural supplements for depression have been helping people for years but one particular product has been labeled as one of the best products to treat depression naturally: St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort supplements are made from a wild plant named Hypericum perforatum. Studies have shown that this herbal product may help fighting depression and can be as efficient as standard prescription antidepressants. Moreover, St. John’s Wort has a long history of positive results when used by medical professionals and appears to have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.

In addition, St. John’s Wort has been studied in the treatment of other mood disorders such as severe depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For depression, the standard dose for adults is 300 milligrams of St. John’s wort (of 0.3% hypericin extract) taken three times a day. After the initial treatment, some people may choose to go onto a lower maintenance dose of 300 milligrams to 600 milligrams per day.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you are on any medication and before you start taking St. John’s Wort supplements.




18
OCT

New Brand Spotlight: Neurofuse

Filed Under: Mental Wellbeing,Supplements at 7:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
NeurofuseIf you are looking for a supplement to safely increase focus, energy, and mental performance, Lucky Vitamin has great news for you. We are happy to introduce Neurofuse to our site.

Neurofuse is an elite cognitive enhancer containing clinically studied ingredients and designed to help sharpen focus and clarity, improve mental performance, boost energy and alertness. This special supplement can also reduce perceived stress and anxiety and elevate memory levels without jitters or a crash.

Neurofuse combines a precise blend of 13 high-quality, carefully researched, and clinically studied ingredients designed to safely improve memory, focus, and mental performance. Originally developed by Harvard roommates and perfected by leading researchers and scientists, this unique combination of ingredients is manufactured in a cGMP facility within the US where each ingredient is carefully tested for purity and effectiveness.

Neurofuse supports your brain in a number of different ways, by increasing important “learning” neurotransmitters, improving blood flow, and boosting energy so you feel youthful and sharp. Some of the ingredients in Neurofuse are scientifically proven to improve your memory, enabling you to recall more information more accurately with more clarity.

This revolutionary formula can boost mental and physical energy with ingredients such as caffeine, rhodiola rosea, DMAE, and vitamins B6 and 12 that work synergistically to help you fight fatigue and stay alert. All ingredients in Neurofuse are permitted for use in dietary supplements. In addition, the company’s manufacturing facility has stringent quality and safety standards and it is a certified GMP facility that routinely undergoes FDA screenings.

Additionally, you can save even more when you shop Neurofuse products at LuckyVitamin.com. Just enter the promotional code OCT15NEW15 at checkout to save 15% on all items of this new brand but hurry, offer ends October 31st, 2015.




29
SEP

The Easiest Way to Reduce Stress (and You’ll Love Doing It)

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing at 9:00 am | By: Leah Hazuda, Contributing Editor
iStock_000003309008_MediumI’m not sure there’s a day that doesn’t include stress in my world. Whether it be work-related, family-related, or just plain adult life-related, it’s always there. We read articles that say to beat stress you should meditate, get a good night of sleep, or exercise. Sometimes there just isn’t time for that, but there is always time for this fast, no-cost solution. Laughter. When they say laughter is the best medicine, they’re right.

Nothing works faster to bring you back into balance than a good laugh. You can feel it the minute you start – you begin to feel calmer and it immediately brightens your mood. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t take much for me to burst into giggles (in fact I’ve earned the nickname “Giggle Queen”), but we’re not all the same. Find whatever makes you laugh and take a minute to enjoy the giggles. Whether it be cat videos, a good joke, or a memory of something hilarious that happened, take a break and have a good laugh. You’ll enjoy a host of benefits for mental and emotional health, but also physical benefits as well. Want to know how laughter affects your body? Let’s break it down.

  1. Laughter reduces the effects of stress hormones which lowers your stress and anxiety levels
  2. Laughter increases the production of antibodies which helps to protect your immune system
  3. Laughter burns calories (10-15 minutes of laughter can burn anywhere between 10-40 calories)
  4. Laughter lowers systolic blood pressure and relaxes your muscles
  5. Laughter releases endorphins and increases your pain tolerance

See, there’s no reason not to laugh! Make it a goal to laugh everyday and enjoy the benefits that come along with it.




26
FEB

3 Natural Supplements to Improve Memory

Filed Under: Herbs,Mental Wellbeing,Supplements at 7:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
MemoryIf you are having memory problems, taking supplements can be helpful but the question remains: which natural supplements are the most effective? Vitamin B12 and fish oil supplements are the top-selling memory products but if you are looking for another option or just a little extra, check out these three natural supplements to boost your memory.

1. Ginkgo Biloba

One of the most popular natural supplements for memory is ginkgo biloba. Studies have concluded that ginkgo biloba may enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults as well as people experiencing cognitive decline. The world’s oldest living species of tree, ginkgo trees can live up 1,000 years and grow most predominantly in the southern and eastern United States, southern France, China, and Korea.

2. Panax Ginseng

Often used in combination with ginkgo, Panax ginseng is also known as Asian Ginseng and has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This remarkable supplement has the ability to improve memory, promote calmness, and reduce fatigue. Research suggests that taking 500 mg twice a day can improve cognitive performance in healthy adults.

3. Bacopa

Another herb commonly used in memory supplements, bacopa monnieri has been used for centuries to enhance long term memory, improve learning, and overall cognitive performance. This herb contains anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sedative properties, with the active ingredients responsible for these effects including sulfhydryl and polyphenol, compounds that lessen oxidative stress.




25
NOV

7 Ways to Practice Gratitude

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing at 7:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
gratitude

We all wish we could live in a world full of joy and happiness. Joy and gratitude are spiritual practices that can help human interconnectedness and promote better lives. We often do not realize how wonderful life is and do not recognize how good things really are. Practicing gratitude can be an excellent way to promote happiness and bring better days for you, your family and your friends. Here is 7 ways to practice gratitude:

 

1. Say “Thank You”

Say these two magic words can really make a difference. It is always nice to hear that from our partner, kids, parents or friends. Sometimes we are so used to people doing the little things in life like cooking, cleaning, making breakfast, taking the trash out, that we forget to appreciate these small gestures.  Say “thank you” frequently, as often as you can.

2. Call your family members frequently

Call your mother, father, or grandparents just to check in. Tell them something about your life, share some good news, even if those news are not so important. Ask them if they need any help or maybe find an activity that can be done together.

3. Don’t forget anniversaries

Birthdays and anniversaries are special occasions and a great time to practice gratitude. With today’s technology, it is a lot easier to remember these moments and celebrate special days with your loved ones.

4. Respect the nature

Showing gratitude does not necessary have to be towards people. Promoting gratitude can be a simple gesture to show respect and kindness to the Mother Nature as well as pets or animals. Cleaning up your street or a public area nearby can be a great way to help, not just the environment but other people too. You can be sure that some people will be grateful to your simple gesture.

5. Expand your understanding

People are different and have different opinions and views about many things in life. Many times we argue and even fight just because we are unable to accept differences. You do not have to change your opinion about a subject but you can expand your understanding towards other ideas or point of views.

6. Thank the people behind the service

We come across many people in life that are also part of our life for short moments. Think of the barista, the bank teller, the cashier at the grocery store and many others who are somehow quickly, but often, part of our life. Take a minute to sincerely thank them for the ease they bring to your life.

7. Write a Letter of Gratitude

One of the most common ways to show gratitude is to write a letter. Send one to a teacher, coworker, mentor, coach, friend or anyone who has made a difference in your life.




24
NOV

Wonderful Aromatherapy!

Filed Under: Announcements & News,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Mental Wellbeing at 7:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
aromatherapyAromatherapy has become one of the most popular therapies and the number of practitioners continue to grow year after year. If you are one of the few people still not familiar with this amazing therapy, here is a quick guide to introduce you to aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy, also known as essential oils therapy, uses a plant’s aroma-producing oils, called essential oils, to treat disease. Essential oils are taken from a plant’s flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots and then mixed with other substances such as oil, alcohol, or lotion. The end result is used as a product that people can apply onto the skin as well as spray in the air or inhale. You can also massage the oils into the skin or pour them into bath water. Originated in Europe, aromatherapy has been practiced in the old continent since the early 1900s.

Practitioners of aromatherapy believe that fragrances in the oils stimulate nerves in the nose. Those nerves send impulses to the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. Depending on the type of oil, the result on the body may be calming or stimulating. The oils are thought to interact with the body’s hormones and may cause changes in blood pressure, pulse, and other body functions. In addition, aromatherapy may promote relaxation and help relieve stress. Studies have shown that regular therapy may help treat a wide range of physical and mental conditions, including burns, infections, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure.

Practitioners of aromatherapy are often licensed health professionals such as massage therapists, nurses, and counselors. They may have experience and training in aromatherapy but it is important to talk with your doctor to see whether aromatherapy may be helpful and safe for your specific health condition.

Lucky Vitamin is now offering a special aromatherapy sale. Click here to check out and shop these amazing products at LuckyVitamin.com.