Truer words were never spoken when it comes to meditation.
Our mind is the most powerful entity in our body and has the ability to affect every aspect, right down to the cellular level. This is why we feel physical tension when we are under mental stress. This can reside many different ways in our bodies, such as tension in our necks and shoulders, headaches, upset stomachs, irritable bowels, etc. Our mental stress can also affect our actions and reactions through our daily life. It can cloud our minds and decision making and therefore produce negative outcomes. It is important to control these outcomes and manage how we think and feel. If our minds are practicing positive and relaxing meditations, our physical body will follow suit.
Meditation can be beneficial to the body in many ways. It can help with sleeping, releasing the stress of the day, help you stay focused and productive, and have an overall healthy awareness of your mind and body, to name a few. Starting meditation is easier than you may think. All it takes is the ‘want’ to do it and making time in your day for it. As you practice it more, it will become easier. Your mind will develop with the meditation practice and you will see differences in your life as you continue.
Living in our health conscious society today, we often make time to work on our physical health. We go to the gym on a regular basis, we get outside and become active when we can, and we are aware of eating healthy and making conscious choices when it comes to food. We know the impacts and benefits to eating local and organic foods, and we are even now more aware of possible intolerances in our bodies. However, we don’t seem to make the same amount of effort when it comes to our mental health. We can set aside an hour for the gym and block out our Tuesday nights for our sports team we belong to, but we can’t imagine sitting still for 10 minutes to create a clear mental space. Now that we understand that our mind controls our physical body, doesn’t it make sense to take care of our mind to the same extent, if not more?
So, if you’re ready to experience the mind-body connection with mediation, here are my top five tips on creating the best mediation space to get you started.
Tip #1: Make sure your meditation space is quiet. You don’t want to be distracted by anything. This doesn’t just mean other people; if you are going to hear traffic noise, dogs barking, phones ringing, or anything that will take your attention away, meditation will be a harder task. If you live in a busy household, try using something that creates white noise such as a fan, heater, or sound machine to drown it out.
Tip #2: You want your meditation space to be calming to you as well. It doesn’t matter where you meditate, as long as it is somewhere you enjoy. It can be a designated area in your home, in a room you love to be in, cozy in your favourite chair, or on your back deck in the sun. It can even be somewhere you go; maybe it’s down by the water, on a beach, or a local park. Just make sure it’s completely relaxing and calming to you. Try out different spaces and see what works well.
Tip #3: While finding this space, keep ‘mental clutter’ in mind. If a space is cluttered to you or messy, this is going to affect how you feel in the space. This will in turn create a non-relaxing space and could distract you.
Tip #4: Comfort is important with meditating. You don’t want to be fidgeting. Make sure you have pillows or proper support for your meditation time. I enjoy sitting on a meditation pillow that is more firm and high, or simply using a fluffy throw pillow is fine too.
Tip #5: Lighting in your meditation space is important. Lighting can affect our moods, so keep the lighting soft and dim for a relaxing meditation, or try sunlight for an uplifting effect.
Once you have your mind clear of clutter, and have a calming, comfortable, properly lit space, you’re ready for a great meditating experience! Now that you’re ready with your space, check out danagoodfellow.ca for your guided meditations to get you started. These are beginner friendly and easy to follow, plus, you’ll receive more tips and tools for you to use during your practice. Start today to become a ‘better you’, remember, ‘what you think, you become’.
Originally Published: August 28, 2017
Dana Goodfellow, RMT, Contributor and D.Ac., Meditation Teacher, Owner – Quinte Mind & Body
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Dana is the owner of Quinte Mind & Body, and has been a practicing Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) for many years in the Belleville area. Through Dana’s love of learning and providing superior results for her patients, she has added modalities from her knowledge of the body and medical treatment. Two modalities are Contemporary Medical Acupuncture and becoming a Certified Meditation Teacher and Facilitator. As a graduate of an advanced course of Massage Therapy at Georgian College, Dana takes great pride in treating patients with many different manual techniques. After a year in practice, Dana received her certification from McMaster University for Contemporary Medical Acupuncture.
If someone asked me how I was doing over the last three months, I could easily have said “stressed”.
I have taken on a couple of major projects that probably should not have been attempted at the same time; I have had two significant staff changes; and I trained for the CN Tower Climb. Add to that family commitments, full-time work hours, and running my own business and it’s easy to see how my plate got too full too fast.
So what’s my secret to keeping it all together?
Here are three important keys to stress management that I not only practice, but also preach to my patients:
1. Eat my veggies – I imagine how I would feel mentally and physically if I was not eating a proper diet. I can imagine this because I see it in my patients every day. Ensuring half of my plate contains veggies is always my focus and then I build the rest of my meal around that. If I can’t get veggies in at breakfast, I aim to at least have some protein and good fat – like a smoothie with protein powder and avocado, and stay away from high-carb, grain-based things like cereal, toast, pancakes or bagels.
2. Yin yoga – I have switched from doing hot yoga to this slower, gentler version to reduce my cortisol levels by 50 percent each time I practice. Right now, I do twice a week: once a week at a yoga studio, and once a week at home using a YouTube video I found online.
3. Chunking – This involves breaking the projects I have to complete into smaller, more doable steps. I always feel myself getting overwhelmed when I look at all the things I need to get done all at once. Once I break it down into smaller steps, it becomes much more manageable and I’m more productive if I can focus on one step at a time. The other benefit of breaking it down into smaller chunks it that I can decide which of those steps I can delegate to someone else. In recent weeks, this meant hiring a student to come into the office three days a week to do data entry that otherwise would cost me hours of time. The quote I was reminded of before I made the decision to hire was this, “If you can spend money to solve the problem, you don’t have a problem.”
Now I would love to hear from you! What is your stress-busting secret? Leave a comment below.
Originally Published: August 14, 2017
Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre
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Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).
Are you feeling happy today? If not, why not? Are you postponing your reward of happiness until you’ve met some specific criteria?
Perhaps you think you won’t deserve to be until you lose 10 pounds, land your dream job, meet your soul mate, or retire?
These are all very nice things, but if they’re your reasons for not being happy now, they aren’t serving you. The reason you want any of these things is you believe you’ll be happier when you do. So why not just choose to be happy now, for no particular reason?
The opportunities are endless. Happiness is waiting for you around every corner, every moment of the day. It’s in letting someone off the hook when you have every reason to be mad at them. It’s in focusing on a loved one’s strengths when their weakness is screaming louder. It’s in going for a calming nature walk instead of sitting stewing.
It’s in remembering that you, and you alone, are responsible for the thoughts you think, ergo the feelings you experience.
You can set yourself up for happiness by reflecting on the best moments of the day as you go to sleep. When you wake up, decide you’re happy before even getting out of bed, and keep that momentum going by expressing gratitude for your life, your loved ones, the blue sky, anything you can think of.
Being happy is not just about you. Yes, it generates endorphins that contribute to your overall wellbeing, but it goes further than that. Moods are contagious. Happy people increase happiness and decrease stress levels of others just by being around them. They’re more popular because people like to be around happy people!
Happy people look younger, live longer, and have fewer aches and pains. Over 30 studies show they get sick less often after being exposed to cold and flu germs, because they have more immune-boosting blood cells. When they do get sick, they rebound much quicker. Instead of whining about their illness, they treat it as a blessing – time to rest and rejuvenate.
Habitual happiness reduces the risk of developing diabetes or cancer, and is good for the heart! It lowers heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol. As seniors, happy people have 77 percent lower risk of heart disease.
By intentionally focusing on the positive, happy people downplay issues that stress out ‘normal’ less cheerful folk. They handle problems more effectively, with less stress. Stress ages you inside and out, so that’s a pretty big plus! They are naturally more creative problem solvers, as being happy expands your thinking and lets you think outside the box, finding creative solutions to problems.
Happiness is a habit of thought, a mental muscle that responds quickly to your efforts, paving the way for synchronicities and serendipities, keeping life an exciting adventure where you know with conviction that life is good and getting better, and something wonderful is just around the corner.
Originally Published: July 10, 2017
Alexandria Barker, Contributor
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Alexandria Barker is a certified life coach and Soul Re-alignment practitioner, providing healing at the deepest level for lasting transformation. She is also an Infinite Possibilities Coach specializing in freeing you of limiting beliefs, enabling you to live the life of your dreams.