Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When it comes to your health, are you looking at the big picture?

If there’s one thing you don’t want to cut corners on, it’s your health. Any sensible person will tell you it’s worth every cent and every ounce of effort to eat the healthiest food, exercise frequently, and when you’re sick, visit a good doctor who can prescribe you the best medicine and treatment.
What most people don’t realize is there’s another piece to the puzzle of holistic health. A step that most people never take, that most doctors won’t even tell you about, and that could make all the difference to your well being. And that is... meditation.

Why meditate? Can't I find a stress free life?
You can’t.  Stress is part of life and the only way to live stress free is not to live. However, you can manage the harmful effects of stress with various kinds of meditation. 

According to a 20 year study by the University of London completed in the early 1990s: “… it was found that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high-cholesterol foods."

So how do you meditate? Do you join an ashram in India and give away all your possessions to meditate? Not really, simply put - meditation is just emptying the mind for a period of time- but this is easier said than done. 
According to Dr. Deepak Chopra "we have approximately 50,000 thoughts a day" and it is difficult to turn off this constant stream of thought. Take a minute and close your eyes and try to not think of anything. Most people will have thoughts flowing through their consciousness within seconds . So how do you accomplish this?

 If staring at a flower or chanting a mantra doesn’t appeal to you, another route is Tai Chi, Qigong or Yoga. This kind of meditation is easier to do because you focus on the moves and breathing completely. This eliminates the overload of thoughts temporarily. 

By being ‘in the moment’ you are entering a different state of brain activity that is conducive to deep relaxation and potentially - healing. The added benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong or Yoga are that you also get a gentle physical and energetic workout at the same time.

How do you know if you are meditating successfully? If you lose track of time - you are meditating.

Any simple activity that focuses your mind in a relaxing way can be a meditation:  looking out at a beautiful view, listening to some music, counting your breaths or other breathing techniques may also get you into the ‘meditation zone’. Some repetitive physical activities such as running, swimming, paddling etc can also be meditative when you focus on the moves and relax your mind.

According to the Mayo Clinic Newsletter: “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don't end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions.”

So spend part of your day not thinking!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

60 is the new 45

This post might seem off topic, but really it isn't.
Reflecting about my generation compared to my parents or grandparents; the 6th decade was the time of slowing down, retiring from jobs and basically getting ready for the next stage: death or infirmity.

When I observe my contemporaries, I see people in their 2nd or possibly 3rd career or business, enjoying the challenges, enjoying their grown children, grandchildren and significant other relationships. Perhaps some of this change is out of necessity, we need to support ourselves. Out of this necessity, a new reality has blossomed, for the betterment of our lives.
The rocking chair is far ahead in the future, for most of us.

Some of this shift is due to improvements in health, prevention of the diseases that our parents and grandparents had less control over. Some due to the new ways we are finding to improve our own health, such as healthier eating habits, lifestyle, fitness, meditation etc. Still some is about mindset.
How much of what you think becomes your reality ? How is it that some at 90 still run a business, and some at 70 have given up? there's no simple answer, but there is a definite link to how you see your future and what it becomes.
As we learn to expand our consciousness and embrace new attitudes, we expand our potential to live fully and richly in our later years.