Meditation 101

meditation 101The beginning of new year means a new you, am I right? So many of us find ourselves making new goals or resolutions that we want to achieve as we make way into the new year. Often, its physical appearances that we fixate ourselves on. Wanting to loose ten pounds or look good in that little black dress to wear out to the bars. But whatever happened to focusing on our mental state and thoughts? Why are we as humans of the 21st century so fixated on our outermost appearances when the root of everything we do and feel stems from within?

Well I may not have the answers to all of these questions; I do have a solution that can help improve your everyday life and health in 2017. This solution stems all the way from India in the middle ages, 18th century (according to Medical News.net).  Indians used meditation to help guide them to faith where it was eventually brought to the western culture in 1979 for the Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program. Today, meditation is used throughout the United States to help alleviate stress and everyday wellbeing.

Rather then focusing on only the physical outermost aspects of your health in 2017, I challenge you to focus inside yourself where you health ultimately begins, your mind.  If your anything like myself, you may have heard about meditation through the grapevine, but are unsure of what it really is. Below I have broken down the art of meditation through common questions people have regarding this art.

What is meditation?

In short, meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. Through regular meditation practice, one is able to learn the patterns and habits of their mind while cultivating a new, more positive way of being.

Why should I meditate?

With the hectic pace and high demands of everyday life, it is often that we feel stressed, overworked and out of tune with out body and thoughts. Meditation gives us a chance to reconnect our body back to our thoughts to improve many aspects of our lives. Some of the main benefits from meditation include…

-Lower stress levels

-Better connections

-Improved focused

-Increased control over emotions

-Increased overall well being

 

How do I Meditate?

The art of mediation itself is a very personalized experience, which allows you to transform each session to fit your exact needs. The most important part of your practice should include finding a quiet space that is away from any distractions from the outer world. Making sure all electronics are turned off and out of sight is the best way to ensure you are fully present with yourself. It is also important to find a comfortable position for your body in your session, weather that be lying down or seated in your favorite chair.

You should begin by bringing your mind to your breath and slowing your breathing pace through deep ujjayi breaths (deep inhales through the nose and slow exhales through the mouth).  For those new to the mediation practice, it is recommended that you start by following guided scripts. These can be found through apps for your electronic devices, the most popular include sattva, calm and headspace. Warhawk Fitness and Aquatics Group Fitness program is now offering live mediation sessions in the Williams Center dance studio on Wednesday’s from 12:15-12:45p, where you will be lead through a live-guided meditation script. As you become more experienced with mediation, you are eventually able to block your mind completely from the outside world without any scripts.

Now that you know the basics of mediation and all the benefits it has on your body, what are you waiting for? Take time to meditate today and feel the effects it has on the rest of your health goals. Remember: healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy soul.

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Soul.~

-Hannah Anderson

Post Tan Lines

The week free of homework, tests, stress and responsibility has once again come and gone in the blink of an eye. Whether you spent your week on a beach, soaking up the sun, or back in your hometown, we all had that one week where we could briefly escape from it all. The cold hard truth sinks in as we face the reality of the remainder of the semester that lies ahead. If you are struggling to find the motivation to get through the end of your semester, read these five tips to help successfully get you through the last weeks

1). Organization

Endless amounts of papers, assignments and books easily get piled up after a week away. Taking the time to properly organize your belongings will allow you to know where everything is making you less stressed. You will be a lot more motivated to get your work done if you know where everything is and don’t have to spend extra time searching for it. It is a simple step that will lead to smooth sailing for studying.

2). Sleep

You won’t have the energy needed to get everything done on little to no sleep and that’s a fact. No matter how much work you need to get done, sleep is not something that should suffer .It is crucial that you get the proper amount of sleep (7-8 hours) each night in order to be able to put full concentration into your work. Plan your days ahead of time and prioritize what needs to get done each day so you don’t find yourself up until 3 AM cramming for your test.

3). Routine

If you study at the same time each day, you will begin to get used to doing so. Setting a schedule for your days that include study time, exercise and social life will help get yourself in a routine that will quickly become habit. Soon, you won’t even have to think twice about sitting down to do your homework and it won’t make it seem so awful every time you have to do it.

4). Fight procrastination

Excuses don’t produce results. The longer you wait to do something, the more you will regret it later. The best way to fight prostration is to just do it. You know you have to get it done, so move forward and check it off your to do list right away.  Plus, you will feel much more relieved once it’s done.

5). Reward yourself

There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little reward after finishing that long paper. Having something to look forward to gives you the motivation to help get that task done faster. Just remember to do it sparingly and only give yourself the reward if you truly deserve it.

Use these tips to help keep you pushing through to the end of the semester. Keeping yourself on track will ensure that you finish the semester strong and before you know it, summer will be here.

 

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit.~

– Hannah Anderson

Why Traveling is good for your health

WHY TRAVELING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH (1)Vacation time in the workplace is decreasing.  Which makes my mind twist and turn.  Vacations offer the chance to relax and restore our overall well-being.  As spring break is approaching, I wanted to show the world how important this week of vacation is; not only our mental health but our physical health.

Recharge emotionally

It is known that being near the water can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do.  Being near the ocean side can help reset our emotions.  The feeling of awe come about when the sea is at your fingertips.

Get back in shape

While some may think a vacation is an excuse to put aside fitness, traveling goes beyond sitting in a beach chair.  As a tourist you are spending many days walking, whether its sightseeing Europe or walking on the sandy white beaches.  As a traveler you are also inclined more to try new actives while visiting your destination.  These activates may be sailing, surfing, hiking, biking, etc.  Many resorts also encourage fitness while at your stay.  The resorts bring in fitness instructress to do water aerobics or beach yoga with the guest.  This allows visitors to boost physical and mental fitness while away from home.

Eliminating stress

Engaging in new surroundingsallows you to eliminate the stress you are leaving back at home.  There are many psychological benefits from change of scenery from home and work.  Humans thrive on freshness, and travel offers the complete package with new faces, sounds, and sights. Leave all your worries at home.

Wind down and rest up

We’re all guilty; little sleep mixed with high stress can lead to irritability and negative consequences on your everyday performance.  Vacations are a great opportunity to catch up on sleep.  To feel more energized, make sleep and resting and important thing you need.  Grab a beach chair and catch some z’s, but make sure you apply SPF before shutting those eyes.

Mood booster

Traveling can improve our emotional state. Surveys have shown that planning one trip a year can make a human feel happier.  When vacations become a routine it makes it that much easier to leave the stresses of life behind and leave the guilt behind.  Regular vacations, while taking time for yourself and your family lowers your stress level that contribute to degrading our mental and physical health.  And who could forget about the memories that last a life time with vacations.  Memories of vacations can trigger happiness long after your trip.

Many physical and mental benefits to traveling are gained when you step out of your comfort zone and explore the culture around you.  With spring break right around the corner, I hope you truly take advantage of it.  You do not need to travel miles away by plane to gain these benefits.  A vacation lies right within your own backyard.

I hope you learn. I hope you laugh. I hope you never stop. And remember being fit is always in style.

Karlee Fowler

The Grocery List Makeover

groceryRoutine can be a hit or miss when it comes to someone’s diet. It might be the one factor that keeps your diet in check to stick to what you know, but sticking to the same old same old might be take a huge toll on your health. One thing that I’ve noticed in my personal diet is that I constantly end up eating the same foods. This hasn’t been brought up to my attention as a fault in my eating until my nutrition professor talked about how lack of variety is depletion of nutrients. Although it seems like a simple concept, it really clicked that our bodies need so much nutrients from a wide range of foods and we can only consume so much variety in one day, that’s why it is so important to switch up what we eat on a day to day basis. You may be sticking to health foods and that’s not the problem, the problem is sticking to the same healthy foods.

 

How to give your grocery list a makeover:

  • Ask yourself: are your “staple” items really staples?:
  • We deem certain food items as “staples” and it makes sense to have some basic food items that you feel are crucial for different recipes. It took me a while to admit that my weekly tub of hummus is not necessarily a staple item.
  • Shop according to a new recipe:
  • Look up a recipe that you have never tried before and enter the store with that recipe in mind. Often I find myself gravitating to the same foods simply because I don’t know what I would do with other food items, but if you come with a plan of attack you can quickly learn how to cook and use new foods.
  • Go through the motions and then don’t do them:
  • Observe yourself go through the grocery store just as you normally would. For me this means I would walk into the produce section, grab a tub of spinach, avocados and some sweet potatoes. But since I want to switch it up I would stop before actually putting this items in my cart and decide how I want to change it up, so instead this may mean asparagus, tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.
  • Aim for at least ⅓ of your list to routine items: Similar to number one, addressing staple items, check the ration of items you recognize and ones you don’t. Make sure that while you might have some routine items, the majority of your cart is brand new.
  • Shop according to My Plate: Sometimes we get so used to the foods we like that we don’t even prioritize balance the food groups. Make your list into sections of food groups and list the items that go under that food group. For instance: Carbohydrates: Brown rice, Sweet Potatoes, Whole wheat bread etc.

You might be a healthy eater, but being the same healthy eater might not be healthy at all. So switch it up, try something new and expand your grocery list horizon.

 

It’s a good day to have a good one.

-Alena Purpero