Start Meditating For A Healthier Lifestyle

As stressed out as most people are these days, it probably comes as no surprise that meditation is becoming increasingly popular. While there are a number of things you can do to get and stay healthy, given how much of an impact meditation can have on your stress levels, it’s something you should strongly consider adding to your daily routine. The question, then, especially if you’ve never done it before, is how?

Fortunately, that’s an easy question to answer. Below, you’ll find a few meditation techniques that are incredibly easy to use and won’t take up a huge chunk of your day:

  • Visualization – Turn your mind inward. Close your eyes and visualize your life exactly as you want it to be. Where are you? Sitting on a beach? In a hammock? Enjoying the beauty of a sunset? Whatever your personal ideal is, see it vividly in your mind’s eye and enjoy the way it makes you feel. When you open your eyes, you’ll be calm, centered and focused.
  • Music Therapy – Fifteen minutes a day spent listening to your favorite soothing music can do wonders not just for your soul, but for your stress levels as well. If you don’t enjoy soft, lilting music, try nature sounds, which have the same impact.
  • Gazing – Instead of turning your thoughts inward, turn out all the lights and focus on a single point. A candle works wonders in this case. Clear your mind and focus exclusively on the candle until the whole world seems to fade away, and nothing but the candle exists. Clearing your mind in this manner will relax and refresh you in ways that almost defy explanation.

Meditation can be as simple or as complex as you’d care to make it. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on your floor chanting mantras, but if that sounds appealing to you, you certainly can! Whatever form your meditation takes, the important thing is that you do it every day.

Prevent Your Next Headache With These Tips

Nobody likes having to endure headaches. Not only are they painful and distracting; they can hurt your productivity at home and at work, and in the worst cases, they can be absolutely debilitating.  Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to drastically reduce your chances of getting one.

  • Have some water instead of coffee – Did you know that most American adults suffer from mild dehydration? It’s true. Coffee is the main culprit here, and one of the first warning signs of dehydration is a painful headache.
    Try a simple alternation experiment. Drink one cup of coffee, and then an equal-sized cup of water before enjoying your next cup of coffee. It makes a huge difference!
  • Catch some Z’s – Your body needs an average of eight hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, Americans average less than seven, and one of the side effects of chronic sleep deprivation is headache. This one’s easy to fix. It simply requires that you make sleep a priority. Set a bed time designed to give you the eight hours your body needs and stick to it!
  • Work on your posture – It pays to make note of how you sit when you spend long hours at your computer, and to make sure your monitor is elevated sufficiently that you’re not spending the whole day looking down. Doing so can lead to awful headaches centered in the neck and the base of your skull, which are pure agony. Again, this one’s very easy to fix!
  • Don’t stress! – Stress is one of the leading causes of headaches, so anything you can do to reduce it will go a long way toward reducing your risk of a headache. Fortunately, we know a lot about what causes stress: cortisol, your “fight or flight” hormone.
    The simplest way to reduce your cortisol levels is to spend fifteen minutes a day walking in the woods. Research has shown that doing so will lower your cortisol levels by as much as fifty percent. Even if you don’t have any woods near you, a fifteen-minute walk in an urban setting will still lower your cortisol levels by up to 25 percent.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely banish headaches from your life, but by adopting these simple strategies, you can greatly reduce your risk of suffering one.

Getting More Sleep Could Have Huge Benefits

Most people are pretty good project managers. They juggle their daily schedules and manage to get an amazing amount of work done each day. Unfortunately, in this 24/7, “always on” world we live in, the one thing that seldom gets prioritized is sleep.

That matters because our bodies require 8-9 hours of sleep every night to maintain optimal health, and Americans average less than seven hours a night. It matters because getting enough sleep provides a whole raft of health benefits, including:

  • Bolstering your immune system – Sleep helps regulate all the body’s systems, including your immune system. Chronic sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, making your body less capable of warding off diseases. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can bet you’ll wind up taking more sick days than you otherwise would have.
  • Heart health – Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for heart disease and tend to have higher blood pressure than those who regularly get a full night’s sleep. If you want to guard against these conditions, a good night’s sleep is a super simple way of doing so!
  • Brain defense – Not only does a good night’s sleep help ward off conditions like anxiety and depression; it also has the effect of flushing out the toxins that tend to build up in your brain during the course of a typical day. Both very good things.
  • Weight management – This comes down to simple math. The more time you spend sleeping, the less time you have to eat. If you’re prone to enjoying “midnight snacks” which invariably consist of sugar-laden foods, simply going to bed before snack time will do wonders for your diet and your weight.
    In addition to that, people who don’t get enough sleep have higher than average levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone that stimulates appetite. If you want to lose weight, get more sleep.

The bottom line is that sleep is extremely important to your overall health.  If you’re not getting enough, you can do wonders for your mind and body by remedying that.

Sprain Or Strain – How Can You Tell?

Many people use the words strain and sprain interchangeably. It’s not hard to see why. They are similar conditions, but they’re not the same, so if you hurt yourself, how can you tell which one you’re suffering from? The guidelines below will help you sort it out!

Strains are injuries to your muscles and/or tendons. They’re most commonly caused by simple overexertion, and are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle spasms or weakness
  • Inflammation
  • And Cramping

As painful as they are, most strains are fairly mild, and with proper care, you’ll be back on your feet in no time. In a few particularly serious cases, though, a strain can cause a tendon to tear or be completely ripped apart, which is debilitating and much more serious. You’ll be able to tell the difference because you can still use the limb in question if you’re suffering from a mild strain. It’ll make you wince, but you can do it. If you’ve torn a tendon, though, that limb is out going to be out of commission for a while. The pain of trying to use it will simply be unbearable.

Sprains, on the other hand, have everything to do with your ligaments, which are the connective tissue between the bones in your body. You’ve got 360 joints, and if you suffer from a sprain, it’s going to be centered on one of these.

The symptoms of a sprain are:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • And Bruising

When you suffer a sprain, you’ll usually (but not always) feel or hear a distinct popping sound.

In both cases, the recommended course of treatment is the same. RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Here’s where a lot of people go astray, because most folks are inclined to apply heat to strains and sprains. While that might feel good in the short term, it’s the completely wrong approach to take. Stick to RICE, and you’ll be back on your feet before you know it.

Of course, if you fear that you’ve suffered from a serious strain or sprain, forget self-treatment and see your doctor immediately!