Many worthwhile things in life really do take hard work and practice.
Here’s a list of 10 things that, when practiced daily, will serve to make your life healthier and happier.
1. Mindful eating.When you’re about to pop something into your mouth, ask yourself if you’re doing so because you’re hungry, or if it’s for another reason. There’s nothing wrong with eating something just because it’s good or because you’re socializing, but food is meant to be fuel for your body—and practicing eating with awareness will serve you physically, as well as mentally and emotionally.
2. Positive thinking.If you frequently catch yourself being a Debbie Downer, then spend more time practicing being conscious of your thought patterns. There’s an underlying truth to the concept that thoughts become words and words become actions, so speak your words more carefully—and positively—if you want to have a more optimistic outtake on life.
3. Giving. Giving from a place of love and joy within yourself brings joy and love back into your own life. Practice giving without any intention of receiving, and you’ll likely find you have more to give than you thought possible—and more space to receive life’s happiness in return.
5. Listening.Listening is another thing we all need to practice—and I’m not just talking about waiting for the other person to finish speaking so that you can say something. Nearly all of us are also guilty of is trying to fix others or trying to offer advice. Practice listening to someone else and try to refrain from speaking in return. Often all we really want is to say something out loud to someone else, not to be told what to do.
6. Breathing.Okay, I know we do this on our own quite naturally and without practice, but practicing breath work will benefit your body and mind by bringing yourself into yoga (re-read #4) and focused, deep, steady breath is intensely calming to you physiologically. Try this simple three-part breath. Think of your lungs as pitchers and then “pour” the air into the bottom, just like a pitcher, into your belly (deep into your lungs), then breathe into your chest and then up into your throat. Take in one more bite of air and, again like a pitcher, “pour” the air off of the top, exhaling out of your throat, your chest and your belly. Make sure to sit up straight with your shoulders down and back, and try to breath as slowly as you can.
7. Saying no.Practice using your voice, so that it matches your heart. If you find yourself often saying “yes” to a commitment that doesn’t serve you or really isn’t even possible for you to do (and then bowing out of this commitment later), then say “no” the first time around. Think about why you want to say “yes.” Ask yourself what you’re afraid of. Usually we’re afraid of disappointing others or afraid of rejection, but you’re letting yourself down if you spread yourself too thin.
8. Say yes.On the other hand, how many times has a new friend asked you go go to lunch, for example, and you said “no” when you could. Possibly you wanted to, but again encountered fear (fear of not having enough to say; fear of not having enough in common; fear, fear fear). When life hands you opportunities that are healthy for you and healthy for your life, are you saying “no?” Say “yes” instead.
9. Turning off technology.My giving blog also shared another idea with my readers: giving up overuse of technology. I’m by no means saying to stop emailing, using Facebook or reading the news. I am, however, suggesting that instead of flipping on the TV or your laptop when you’re bored that you, I don’t know, go outside or read a book. You know, things that have existed for many, many years that you stopped doing because you’re iPhone’s quite handy.
10. Self-love.How do you love yourself? You begin by speaking kindly to yourself (re-read #2). Has your inner voice become quite harsh? Would you speak to a friend or a stranger the way that you speak to yourself? I truly believe that the first step towards loving and accepting yourself is to talk to yourself the way that you would a child—lovingly, kindly and patiently.
If these little tips seem easy, then congratulations. You’re much farther along then I am.
Many of these practices might seem easy in thought, but give them a shot, every single stinkin’ day, and see just how difficult—and rewarding—they can be.
So go ahead, turn off your computer or phone (after you share and comment on this blog, of course) and then commit to doing any, or all, of these practices—starting today.
- See more at: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/02/10-things-we-should-practice-every-day/?utm_source=All&utm_campaign=Daily+Moment+of+Awake+in+the+Inbox+of+Your+Mind&utm_medium=email#sthash.uMgOx8yJ.dpuf
Of course, I didn’t have to see the glowing orb overhead to know this. My body told me.
I’ve been in one of those loony moods.
Touch me! Get your hands off me!
I have a million things to say! I can’t write a single word!
I need you, now! Get away from me, now!
In many ways, my life—and my husband’s life—will be easier when this period passes. And yet I sense great transformational potential at this time of the lunar cycle.
That’s part of what makes me crazy. I know amazing things could and should be happening but instead, I’m twisted up in angst and aggravation.
Things come to a head during a full moon; I suspect it’s because the wisdom of the body takes the reins. Suppressed feelings burst out. Tension makes us snap like twigs. Our body has had it with the emotional hide-and-seek we play.
Some of us break down, precipitating the need to rebuild on a new foundation. Sometimes that’s necessary. But monthly disintegration doesn’t serve.
So how can we harness the power of the moon for growth and renewal?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Practice yoga
I know, some lineages discourage practice during a full moon. But I crave it more than ever. If you’re not taking the time to explore your body for hidden tension, it will find its expression now. Recommit to a regular practice of release as a buffer against the pull of the emotional tides.
2. Seek support
This is a wonderful time to connect with the people with whom you can be yourself. You know, the ones to whom you can admit, “I’m feeling like a complete lunatic” and they just nod in understanding rather than run away. If you don’t have people like that in your life right now, consider seeing a counselor or other professional. Everyone needs a release valve.
3. Try something new
Don’t quit your day job and run off to Hollywood today. But maybe take a minor risk and be a little adventurous. Let the extra light reveal hidden aspects of yourself. Stay grounded but stretch your limits. Do something brave and be proud.
4. Express yourself
Use the moon as a source of inspiration. If you like to write, write about the effects of the moon or pen a story with a full moon as the backdrop. If you make visual art, create something amazing with your hands. Dance, sing, shake or roar. Just let it out.
5. Embrace the dark side
It’s ironic, but the light of the moon can illuminate the shadow side of our personalities. That’s uncomfortable but a necessary part of becoming a healthier, more integrated person. So, acknowledge your mania, rage, jealousy or restlessness. Welcome these intense emotions to the full spectrum of your experience as a living, breathing creature. Chances are, the negative feelings will lose their luster once they get some attention and appreciation.
If all else fails, remember that this, too, shall pass.
When people don't get enough sleep, changes to genes that control metabolism may trigger or exacerbate conditions such as diabetes or obesity. Photograph: Getty
Getting too little sleep for several nights in a row disrupts hundreds of genes that are essential for good health, including those linked to stress and fighting disease.
Tests on people who slept less than six hours a night for a week revealed substantial changes in the activity of genes that govern the immune system, metabolism, sleep and wake cycles, and the body's response to stress, suggesting that poor sleep could have a broad impact on long-term wellbeing.
The changes, which affected more than 700 genes, may shed light on the biological mechanisms that raise the risk of a host of ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stress and depression, in people who get too little sleep.
"The surprise for us was that a relatively modest difference in sleep duration leads to these kinds of changes," said Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre at Surrey University, who led the study. "It's an indication that sleep disruption or sleep restriction is doing more than just making you tired."
Previous studies have suggested that people who sleep less than five hours a night have a 15% greater risk of death from all causes than people of the same age who get a good night's sleep. In one survey of workers in Britain more than 5% claimed to sleep no more than five hours a night. Another survey published in the US in 2010 found that nearly 30% of people claimed to sleep no more than six hours a night.
Professor Dijk's team asked 14 men and 12 women, all healthy and aged between 23 and 31 years, to live under laboratory conditions at the sleep centre for 12 days. Each volunteer visited the centre on two separate occasions. During one visit, they spent 10 hours a night in bed for a week. In the other, they were allowed only six hours in bed a night. At the end of each week, they were kept awake for a day and night, or around 39 to 41 hours.
Using EEG (electroencephalography) sensors, the scientists found that those on the 10 hours-per-night week slept around 8.5 hours a night, while those limited to six hours in bed each night got on average 5 hours and 42 minutes of sleep.
The time spent asleep had a huge effect on the activity of genes, picked up from blood tests on the volunteers, according to a report in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Among the sleep-deprived, the activity of 444 genes was suppressed, while 267 genes were more active than in those who slept for longer.
Changes to genes that control metabolism might trigger or exacerbate conditions such as diabetes or obesity, while disruption to other genes, such as those that govern the body's inflammatory response, might have an impact on heart disease. Further genes that were affected have been linked to stress and ageing.
Sleep loss also had a dramatic effect on genes that govern the body's biological clock, suggesting that poor sleep might trigger a vicious cycle of worsening sleep disruption. The tests showed that people who slept for 8.5 hours a night had around 1,855 genes whose activity rose and fell over a 24-hour cycle. But in the sleep deprived, nearly 400 of these stopped cycling completely. The remainder rose and fell in keeping with the biological clock, but over a much smaller range.
"There is a feedback between what you do to your sleep and how that affects your circadian clock, and that is going to be very important in future investigations," said Dijk.
The researchers did not check how long it took for genes to return to their normal levels of activity in the sleep-deprived volunteers, but they hope to in further studies. Though scores of genes were disrupted in the sleep-deprived, the scientists cannot say whether those changes are a harmless short-term response to poor sleep, a sign of the body adapting to sleep-deprivation, or are potentially harmful to health.
Jim Horne, professor of psychophysiology at Loughborough University's Sleep Research Centre, said: "The potential perils of 'sleep debt' in today's society and the need for 'eight hours of sleep a night' are often overplayed and can cause undue worry. Although this important study seems to support this concern, the participants had their sleep suddenly restricted to an unusually low level, which must have been somewhat stressful.
"We must be careful not to generalise such findings to, say, habitual six-hour sleepers who are happy with their sleep. Besides, sleep can adapt to some change, and should also be judged on its quality, not simply on its total amount."
The Doctor Who menace designed by the late Raymond Cusick is a kind of kitchen sink sci-fi, at once absurd and marvellous
Ironic juxtaposition of real and unreal … the Daleks at work. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive
The Daleks are a masterpiece of pop art. The death of their designerRaymond Cusick is rightly national news: it was Cusick who in the early 1960s gave a visual shape to this new monster invented by Doctor Whowriter Terry Nation. But in the 50th anniversary of Britain's greatest television show, the Daleks need to be seen in historical perspective. It is all too tempting to imagine Cusick and Nation sitting in the BBC canteen looking at a pepper pot on their lunch table and realising it could be a terrifying alien cyborg. In reality, the Daleks are a living legacy of the British pop art movement.
With Roy Lichtenstein whaaming 'em at London's Tate Modern, it is all too easy to forget that pop art began in Britain – and our version of it started as science fiction. When Eduardo Paolozzi made his collage Dr Pepper in 1948, he was not portraying the real lives of austerity-burdened postwar Britons. He was imagining a future world of impossible consumer excess – a world that already existed in America, whose cultural icons from flash cars to electric cookers populate his collage of magazine clippings. But that seemed very far from reality in war-wounded Europe. Pop art began as an ironically utopian futuristic fantasy by British artists trapped in a monochrome reality.
Mark Twain said ““In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” Mark Twain would have lost his mind if he saw these places.