How to Be Mindful While Taking a Shower

Credit Sam Kalda

“Your daily shower is a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Alone, quiet and away from the normal distractions of your life — even if only for a brief period — it can be a time to observe your habitual patterns of thinking. If you want to develop or deepen a meditation practice, the shower is an ideal place to start.” — Nancy O’Hara, who teaches and writes about mindfulness practice.

Leave all your electronic devices on the other side of the bathroom door, far enough away so that you won’t hear them.

Prepare your towel and other necessary items, treating them and yourself with the utmost care. As you undress, silently name each article of clothing and hang or lay them down with deep attention.

Bring to your mind the idea that you are about to cleanse yourself for the good health of your body and mind.

Feel the water as it hits your body, and take a moment to be grateful that you have hot, running water.

Notice if your thoughts turn to dwelling on the past or planning for the future.

Wash your body in a different manner than usual. Change this pattern each time you shower.

The timing of your shower is not important. All of this can be done quickly or slowly, depending on how much time you have.

When you exit the shower, dry yourself.

When finished, leave the bathroom in the same or neater condition than you found it so that it’s ready for the next person, even if, especially if, that person is just you.

How You Can Increase Your Odds For A Healthier, Happier Life

 

What do the plastic covers on the end of shoestrings have to do with living a longer, healthier life? Nothing, really, unless your name is Dr. Elissa Epel, a leading health psychologist at University of California, San Francisco, and Director of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Lab. Dr. Epel compares those little plastic shoelace covers to telomeres, what scientists have found on the ends of the body’s chromosomes, and have been studying ever since those telomeres were realized. Continue reading “How You Can Increase Your Odds For A Healthier, Happier Life”

Will Exercise Really Help Me Get Better Sleep?

The Question: Will exercise help me sleep better at night?

The Answer: An exercise routine can actually improve sleep quality, according to Alon Avidan, professor of neurology and director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center. However, there are a few caveats: How you exercise matters and what time you work out can have a big impact, too. Continue reading “Will Exercise Really Help Me Get Better Sleep?”

How To Change Your Life In Just 10 Minutes Per Day

We’ll even have time to spare.

If you have very little time to invest in your personal development, this is for you. I’d like to show you that even 10 minutes a day can go a long way. Keep this short morning routine up for a few months, and you’ll become calmer, more relaxed, and feel great about starting your day in a productive way, like this: Continue reading “How To Change Your Life In Just 10 Minutes Per Day”

Learning The Importance of Truly Letting Go

Do you ever really let yourself go?

And I don’t mean in the sense that you forego makeup and wear pajamas all day. What I mean is do you ever really just let loose, totally engross yourself in the moment, or forget about your stressors or to-do list?

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I find that I am habitually tense. Without even realizing it, I hold my breath for extended periods of time. I sleep tucked in a protective ball and many nights I wake up sore from clenching my teeth and my fists. My mind is so cluttered that it takes constant effort to tune out my own mental soundtrack when someone else is talking to me.

I mean, I try to catch the most important details, but I am often focused on what I have to do next.  Most of the time I am not even aware that I am doing it. Continue reading “Learning The Importance of Truly Letting Go”

Treating Insomnia Can Ease Depression And Paranoia, Study Finds

 

In a large trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, researchers at Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute also found that successfully treating sleep disruption eased psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia.

“Sleep problems are very common in people with mental health disorders, but for too long insomnia has been trivialized as merely a symptom, rather than a cause, of psychological difficulties,” said Daniel Freeman, a professor of clinical psychology who led the work.

“This study turns that old idea on its head, showing that insomnia may actually be a contributory cause of mental health problems.” Continue reading “Treating Insomnia Can Ease Depression And Paranoia, Study Finds”

Why You Feel So Stressed Out After A Vacation

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You’ve just returned home from vacation — sun-kissed and blissed out — but the moment you open your inbox or spot the pile of mail that accumulated in your absence, you’re hit with a crippling sense of anxiety.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to Dr. Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and co-host of radio show “The Web,” it’s normal to experience some degree of stress or disorientation when you’re coming down from the high of vacation. Continue reading “Why You Feel So Stressed Out After A Vacation”

6 Ways To Survive Summer Travel With A Chronic Illness

Two summers ago, I planned the family road trip of a lifetime. I bought an inexpensive and used camping trailer, loaded it up with everything from toiletries to food, and set out on a 21-day road trip through six western states. I planned our route meticulously, lining up activities and stops along the way, but what got lost in the shuffle was my own chronic health needs.

I assumed I would be able to stretch out my regular medical infusions to allow for my travel or refill my prescriptions on-the-go, but I quickly learned how wrong I was. I spent way too much of my vacation tackling my medical challenges instead of enjoying the sites, and I returned home worse for the wear.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to plan ahead for your health-related travel needs. Since my trip, I’ve learned how to better prepare for travel, and the trips I’ve taken since then have gone smoothly. Chronic diseases like neurological and gastrointestinal disorders, asthma or diabetes can require extensive monitoring and preparation. These tips from medical professionals, people with chronic diseases and their caregivers will help you safely navigate your next summer trip. Continue reading “6 Ways To Survive Summer Travel With A Chronic Illness”

5 Simple Habits Of The Most Energetic People

We all know someone with seemingly boundless energy. You know, that person who wakes up with the sun, who actually goes to the gym before 8 a.m., who is always up for an after-work adventure or weekend-long excursion. But chances are, you are not one of those people.

According to a 2015 survey from YouGov, only one in seven Americans wake up feeling fresh and rested every day. The rest of us slog through life exhausted, getting by with the help of extra-large coffees and the promise of a comfortable couch to collapse on at the end of the day.

Tired of being tired? We partnered with Sleep Number to talk to some of those mythical, extra-energetic people and get some tips even the sleepiest among us can follow. Here’s what they had to say.

Eat a filling, balanced breakfast.

 

Feeling sluggish? Check your diet! If you’re consuming mostly processed foods full of sugar, or if you’re skipping major meals like breakfast in an attempt to lose weight, you’ve found your culprit.

“You should always have a balanced breakfast that will provide you with energy and promote stable blood sugar levels,” says Alyssa Cohen, a registered dietitian and food blogger.

“Blood sugar is often elevated in the morning, partly due to the release of hormones like cortisol, which spikes around the time people wake up,” says Cohen. “In order to prevent a large spike in energy, which will be followed by a crash, it’s best to eat a breakfast heavy in good carbohydrates, like whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruit, and pair those with some protein and fat. This will manage blood sugar levels and prevent energy crashes.” Continue reading “5 Simple Habits Of The Most Energetic People”

Anxiety: The Monster I Cannot See

Make no mistake: anxiety stinks.

Lately I have been anxious: unbearably anxious.

Maybe it is all of the impending changes in my life. Maybe it is the current state of our nation, the insecurity I now feel in the country I call home. Or maybe it is just my damn anxiety disorder, but whatever it is I find myself on edge. My heart has been racing and my mind has been chasing after random thoughts and barely formulated ideas.

I am afraid of a monster I cannot see, of a future I cannot predict, and of matters in which I have no control. And earlier today, my anxiety came to a head. I found myself shaking on the toilet, and in tears. I found myself unable to articulate anything. My thoughts, my feelings, everything was just too big. Continue reading “Anxiety: The Monster I Cannot See”