I read this post written by Jasmine Matthews who is an energy healer, nutrition coach and yogi. I thought it contained relevant information for busy people in today's world.
Using mindfulness to make time - Jasmine Matthews
Do you ever feel like your mind is a computer browser with 100 tabs open all at once? You flick through them, a million thoughts swirling around your mind, pulling you down through different ideas, stories, memories, and possibilities. Let me teach you some tools to create a day that's both productive and fun.
You sit down to complete your tasks for the day, but end up scrolling through the virtual tabs in your mind, as well as the real ones that sit in front of you on your computer screen.
This is, without a doubt, an extremely ineffective way to use your time.
We all have 24 hours in each day. But how we approach those hours can have very different results.
You could have a day that feels peaceful, full of flow, and accomplishment. Or you can have one that feels hectic and full of struggle, with a to-do list that gets longer instead of shorter.
Using mindfulness to become time-smart can, and will, make your life more flow than push.
The key to being effective with your time is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of being fully absorbed in the present moment. It means focusing your mind entirely on what is in front of you, rather than thinking about the past or projecting possible scenarios into the future.
When you bring mindfulness into your day, your productivity soars. Tasks become easier and more enjoyable.
Becoming mindful is a practice; it doesn’t happen overnight. Every day you will get better at it. Every day you will get closer to making it a natural habit.
Here are three tips to help you get going. They are simple, and very powerful, which means you will see results quickly.
1. Embrace anchoring
In 2011, I studied yoga teacher training in a beautiful studio in Melbourne. I was at that studio at least 3 times a week, and every time I walked through the door I was instantly greeted with the beautiful aroma of lemongrass.
The teachers at that studio had an oil burner on the desk at reception. It became such a familiar smell that eventually as soon as I walked through the studio door and smelt it, I would become deeply relaxed, and in the zone for practicing and learning about yoga.
The smell triggered a memory in me, reminding me of how this studio made me feel. And I would be transported to that state, that feeling, without having done any yoga at all yet.
This is a form of anchoring. Specifically, aromatic anchoring.
Anchoring is a technique that utilises the power of repetition. Your brain becomes trained to associate a certain aroma (or place, or movement, or image) to a particular activity or feeling.
You can use anchoring not only to get your brain in an optimal state for work, but also to create a clear definition between work time and home time.
Essential oils are optimal to use for this because our sense of smell has a particularly strong association with memory. Simply choose a scent, and use a cold-water diffuser to diffuse that oil either when you want to switch on for work, or switch off for home.
2. Focus on your relaxation
In 2007 I was in the depths of a blood-sugar imbalance called hypoglycemia. Part of the illness was being in a constant state of “fight-or-flight” mode. This is where your mind and body believes it is under threat, so it produces hormones to appropriately deal with the situation. Specifically, stress hormones.
This is all good and well when there is a real threat. But when it is a chronic day-to-day existence, this backfires.
When you release stress hormones, your mind actually perceives time as going too fast. Imagine if you were a cave man/woman and you were cornered by a tiger. It makes sense for your brain to signal to you that you need to act quickly! When a fight-or-flight mode is justified, you really don’t have much time to spend on thinking.
But, again, when it is not justified and exists on a day-to-day basis, an anxiety can arise due to this sensation of lack of time.
So, you can imagine, when you have a to-do list to get through, and you are in a constant state of stress, then you are going to be feeling overwhelmed and snowed under.
When your hormones are balanced, and you are calm and relaxed, your perception of the speed of time softens.
So focusing on relaxation can, in a sense, give you more time! Your day feels more spacious.
There are so many ways you can help your body get into a relaxed state:
- Eating whole foods
- Breathing techniques
- Taking walks in nature
- Luxurious baths
- Positive self-talk
All these beautiful things will help you stay in a relaxed state.
3. Be here, now
One of the easiest ways to stop the chattering mind is to come fully back into the present moment.
Being present is about being in the current moment. You aren’t thinking about the past, or projecting into the future. You are in this moment fully.
A simple but highly effective way to ground yourself in the here and now is by listening to all of your senses.
TUNE IN TO YOUR SENSES
Take a couple of minutes to run through your senses.
- What can you see? Look around and use your eyes to absorb everything. Try not to label things, or reminisce, or think about what you will use them for. Try not to attach a story around the objects in front of you. Simply notice them. Observe them without thought or attachment.
If your mind does start to create a story in your head, don’t worry. It’s OK. Just gently let the thinking go and come back to simply observing.
- Next, use your ears. What can you hear? Don’t think about what you should be hearing. What is actually in this space, at this moment? Again, try not to start a story in your mind around what you can hear. Just notice it.
- Run through the rest of your senses. What can you feel? Use your whole body for this one. What does the floor feel like beneath your feet? Are you sitting on something? Bring your attention to the place where you and the chair meet. What does that feel like?
- What can you taste? Maybe you have just eaten? Maybe slightly bitter? Sweet? What can you smell? Perhaps an aromatic anchor that you have chosen. Or maybe nothing at all.
Once you have run through all of your senses, you will be feeling much more present and alert. Your mind will be clear and focused. From this space you can continue to do what you need to do from a much more mindful place.
We all have 24 hours in each day. Yes, our days look very different. Perhaps yours is full of meetings, coffee dates, and admin work, whilst mine is full of parenting, juggling two businesses, and an endless array of housework.
How we choose to use those hours is completely up to us. Put two different people side by side, each with the exact same amount of tasks, and they could approach it completely differently. At the end of the day one may feel light, accomplished, relaxed, and at ease. The other might feel frazzled, having barely scratched the surface of what they needed to get done.
You will get more done, at a much higher standard, in a less stressful way if you approach your day with mindfulness.
So close all those tabs in your mind and start living from a place of presence and real-time awareness. Then relax, and watch the quality of your day improve dramatically.
Good Digestion Is Important For Skin Health
We all know that your body (and skin) can benefit from good nutrition, but did you know that the digestion of our food is important too? Janine Tait from Bestow shares her tips for good digestion so your body is able to benefit from the goodness your food has to offer.
- Avoid liquids around meal times. Liquids dilute the digestive juices and make your digestion less efficient at breaking down food.
- Chew, chew and chew some more.
- Nature hasn’t provided teeth inside our digestive tract, so you only get one chance to break your food down well enough for it to be digested.
- Chew slowly and mindfully and pause between mouthfuls.
- Enjoy the taste, smell and look of your food.
- This gets your body prepared for digestion. Concentrate on what you’re eating and avoid being distracted by reading or watching TV.
- Get your zinc levels checked with a simple taste test with your beauty therapist, local pharmacy or health food store.
- Eat small, regular meals so you don’t overfill your stomach and digestion is easier.
- Try to eat at around the same time each day – your body will anticipate when it needs to prepare for digestion.
- Chamomile tea soothes mucous membranes and contains a bitter principle to aid with digestion.
- Peppermint tea after meals aids digestion and reduces flatulence and bloating
- Avoid eating after 8pm at night – your digestive system is closing down for the night.
- Don’t eat within two to three hours before sleep.
Words by dermo-nutrition expert Janine Tait. Source: www.janesce.co.nz
EFAs—Give Your Skin an Oil Change
Boost mood—and sagging skin— with essential fatty acids.
If you think healthy skin and oil don’t mix, think again! The right oils—specifically oils high in essential fatty acids (EFAs)—can leave your complexion glowing.
There are two basic types of EFAs—omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, and we need them both. Some omega-6 oils, such as borage seed oil and evening primrose oil, provide the skin-friendly beneficial omega-6 fatty acid
gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Omega-3 fatty acids boast alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—found in flaxseeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds—and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in fatty fish such as salmon. But these fatty acids are more than simple lubricants. Taken internally or used externally, EFAs can provide numerous benefits to both your skin and your overall health.
What They Are
Both omega-6s and omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are critical to good health. But even though your body needs these special fats, it can’t manufacture them. Instead, they must be obtained through either diet or supplements. Once in the body, EFAs break down to form eicosanoids—hormone-like substances that regulate important bodily functions, including the nervous system and immune response.
EFAs are important structural components of cell membranes throughout the body. They help cells stay fluid and flexible, allowing nutrients to enter the cells and wastes to exit. EFA metabolites also “waterproof” the skin, creating an antimicrobial barrier against the elements. Without enough EFAs, your skin can suffer from dryness and premature aging.
Did You Know?
EFA supplements can reduce blood viscosity, so check with your doctor if you are having surgery or are taking blood thinners or high doses of aspirin.
What They Do
EFAs can enhance your complexion by improving the skin’s texture and softness. They also help to keep skin cells moist and strong by reducing the amount of water lost through the epidermis (the top layer of skin). Among a group of 60-somethings, German researchers found that those who took supplemental borage seed oil daily for two months experienced an improvement in their skin’s barrier function. Better yet, dry skin was reduced 28 percent.
According to researchers at Purdue University, EFAs also increase production of collagen, a protein that makes up connective tissue and is a structural building block of firm, healthy skin. A randomized, double-blind trial found that taking 500 mg of evening primrose oil three times a day increased the moisture content and improved the firmness and texture of skin.
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, they are especially well-suited to treat eczema and possibly even psoriasis, both orally and topically. Evening primrose oil is another traditional omega-6 remedy for eczema. An analysis of 26 clinical trials involving more than 1,200 eczema sufferers concluded that evening primrose oil benefits the itching, crusting, inflammation, and redness of eczema, making it a safe alternative to topical steroids.
Omega-3 fatty acids quell inflammation, support a healthful heart rate, tame unhealthful cholesterol and blood pressure levels, discourage blood clots and clogged arteries, and help prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. They also support healthy brain function, ease depression, promote good vision, and enhance immunity. Omega-6s are important for maintaining our bones, regulating metabolism, and maintaining reproductive health. Both of these essential fatty acids are critical to good health. But to be truly effective, it’s important to take high-enough doses. Most experts recommend taking 1 to 6 g of an omega-3 supplement such as fish oil or 5 to 15 g flaxseed oil to supply 500 to 3,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily. The recommended dose for evening primrose oil or borage oil is based on providing approximately 270 to 540 mg of GLA per day.
Where to Find Them
Simply taking EFAs in supplemental form can benefit your skin—and your overall health. But to get all of the beautiful benefits these healthful fats have to offer, it’s smart to use them topically too.
Glycation-The truth about sugar
Sugar in the form of a decadent chocolate mousse cake can weaken the willpower of most and lead them into temptation…..
Unfortunately the content of this article will be nowhere as sweet or as a decadent as a chocolate mousse cake. I am about to highlight the truth about sugar and it’s impact on our skin at a dermal level. Excess sugar consumption can lead to premature ageing, leaving us with a bitter taste in our mouths and unnecessary lines and wrinkles on our faces!
The body produces glycated sugar in two ways—one way is through our diet. Simple carbohydrates are found in refined flour, white rice and the other starchy foods which are then converted naturally into sugar by the body. Sugar is also added to some foods during the food preparation process. Canned and processed foods can add a significant amount of sugar to our diet without us even realising it. These sugars supply energy in the form of calories but with no other real nutrient value, hence the reason why the majority of the population is struggling with obesity and diabetes.
The second way the body produces glycated sugar is by internal metabolic processes which produces sugar in order to supply our cells and brain with sufficient energy to function optimally.
How much sugar should we consume?
According to the World Health Organisation, sugar intake guidelines recommend that sugar should be less than 10 per cent of our total energy intake per day. It suggests that a reduction of 5 per cent or less of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits.
How much sugar is five percent?
Five per cent of our total energy intake is equivalent to 25 grams (about six teaspoons) of sugar a day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index.
How will excess sugar impact our skin?
The process of glycation will occur if there is too much sugar in the body. Sugar molecules will randomly attach to protein and cause a structual cross-linking. The new cross-linked sugar and protein molecules are called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). Antibodies can be produced by the body which can then lead to inflammation. Further exposure to external stressors will result in distinctive structural changes and inadequate cell functioning. This impacts the skin on many levels and increases premature ageing.
How can we prevent or slow down the formation of AGEs?
With some discipline, saying no to that favorite sugary treat and assistance from your skin therapist willstart to make a difference and help fight premature ageing caused by the glycation process.
Your skincare professional will be able to recommend a treatment protocol and products formulated for your skin’s requirements. Nimue Skin Technology uses Alpha Lipoic acid, several forms of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, retinol and peptides to help couteract the formation and damage caused by AGEs in the skin.
In addition, Nimue Skin Technology ensures their skincare is scientifically formulated, has been allergy tested and is nonirritating to help to restore and maintain the skin’s barrier function.
This information has been extracted from the article Glycatiion – The Truth About Sugar written by Skin Therapist Nadine Vorster from Nimue Skin Technology.
References: Kiwis going sour on sugar (+vote) By Susan Strongman Jan 15, 2015