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How Mindfulness Meditation Can Fix The “Wrongs” in Your Life

Living in a fast-paced world has led many to suffer from serious mental issues. The rat-race that most people live in has resulted in stress, anxiety, and depression that has crippled many people around the world. If not addressed properly, these disorders can lead to life-threatening conditions ranging from heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, to substance abuse and suicide. Psychologists blame the overwhelming number of stimuli in today’s world as one of the leading causes of these mental issues.

Overwhelmed

The human mind seems incapable of handling tons of pressures of daily living. As technology progresses, so does the pressure to accomplish personal or career goals or tasks quickly. The bombardment of stimuli creates mental pressure that forces the brain to release stress hormones.

Under chronic stress, the mind fails to function sensibly. Aside from impaired thinking, a mind under constant agitation disrupts sleep. It also leads to irritability and changes in thoughts. These conditions reduce a person’s capacity to cope with the challenges in their life. What was once a jovial, hopeful individual can become morose and sorrowful.

Stress and Depression

Many people all over the world experience depression and chronic stress. From the US to Australia, millions are affected by the so-called stress and depression epidemic. In America alone, depression sucks the life out of around 16 million adults every year. On the other side of the world, Australians also feel the bite of the depression outbreak. A survey revealed that 40% of Australian adult women are diagnosed with either anxiety or depression.

Some sufferers of chronic stress, anxiety, and depression were able to live their lives but are still struggling to fill in the void of meaning, passion, and purpose. As if someone sucked the joy and enthusiasm out of their soul. Those with severe cases even decided to take their lives during a serious bout of depression to find lasting relief from their emotional and spiritual pain. It’s as if everything in their lives has gone wrong.

Meditation: A Way to Right the Wrongs

Fortunately, there’s still hope for people who have experienced wrong. Thanks to the ancient art called meditation, many people now have a way to cope with the mental challenges evident in today’s world. Since Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced mindfulness meditation in the late 1970s, millions of people all over the world have found relief through this millennia-old practice.

An innovation from the ancient Buddhist ritual Vipassana, Kabat-Zinn devised the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a psychological therapy that can relieve stress, clear the mind and improve wellbeing. MBSR is backed by hundreds of scientific studies, making it one of the most effective therapeutic interventions for stress and depression.

Basic Mindfulness Meditation

Unlike the meditation practiced by Buddhist monks, a mindfulness session can be done anywhere. If you want to enjoy its benefits, here are some steps to successfully carry out this practice:

In a quiet, comfortable area, the person should sit on a chair, meditation cushion, or any other seat as long as the body is relaxed.

  • Focus on what your body is feeling and doing at the present. Make an effort to put aside thoughts about your past and future.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. Be mindful of the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nose. Feel the rising and falling of your belly.
  • Become a passive observer of your thoughts. Allow them to come and go, whether it is anxiety, fear, worry, or hope. When they flash in your mind, just acknowledge them, without ignoring or suppressing them.
  • If you feel you’re carried away in your thoughts, simply observe where your mind left off without judging and go back to your breathing. This is not a time to judge or be hard on yourself.
  • After 10 minutes, sit for a minute to become aware of your present surroundings. Then get up slowly.

MBRS may just be another cult following for some people. But science has proven it to be one of the best solutions to the rising incidence of stress and depression.

Doing these sessions regularly can lead to better focus, mental clarity, as well as renewed joy and zest for life. Millions of people have benefited from this practice. They have regained their passion to live life better. They are in the process of righting the wrongs in their lives.

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3 Forgotten Nutritional Aspects That Are Wrecking Your Energy Levels

During the summers as young spritely kid, I would skateboard and play basketball all day long in the hot Florida sun and would still somehow have enough energy to play video games into the wee hours of the night. The next day I’d get up do it all over again. Long gone are the days of endless energy.

I know part of the decrease in energy came from “adulting”. Having our minds in a thousand places and all the stresses that came along with that take a significant toll on our overall health. A huge amount of energy is spent just making decisions. Who would have thought. Also, as an adult, I sat around a lot more than I did as a child. Which led to long bouts of inactivity and less calories being burned. Beyond those factors, there were a few other things I discovered later on that had a Major impact on how I felt, energy wise.

In my mid twenties, I really started to take my health more seriously when I could feel my energy levels declining each year that went by. I ate better and worked out more consistently and that definitely helped. I also looked into a lot of alternative ways to increase my energy levels such as energy drinks, caffeine and other various supplements. All of these were merely a Band-Aid and gave only short bursts of energy only to be followed by a drastic crash and burn. I dug so deep into that nonsense that I forgot what “life” was really powered by. Want to know what those are? Well, they are…

Water, Breathing and Sleep.

Sorry for the lack of fireworks here. Those 3 critical elements are about as basic and boring as it comes however, when I started to being more conscious about them, they made all the difference in my energy levels going forward.

In this world where information about health and wellness disseminate faster and more efficiently, a lot of people are striving to lead a healthier lifestyle. Not just me. This, however, comes with a price. With various popular dietary practices prevalent today, a lot of people tend to forget the most basic things about nutrition we were taught about when we were younger.

Here are some of these nutritional aspects we tend to overlook but are extremely important in maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle:

Water Consumption

Boy oh boy did this one miss me. I drank so much soda and juice as a kid and always felt proud by it because I always drank more than all of my friends. I also had more cavities than them, but that’s nothing to brag about lol. On the other hand, my sister pretty much only drank water and she never had cavities and she was always on the top of her game, especially mentally. I was very active back then so those calories were put to good use. By far one of the most overlooked factors in nutrition is the consumption of water. Many people think that because water does not have flavor means that it does not contain elements that are good for our bodies. With the rise of variously flavored thirst-quenchers such as sodas, juices and alcoholic drinks, a lot of individuals tend to forgo water in favor of these beverages. Remember, our body is composed of nearly 75% water and not getting enough results in dehydration, which can lead to more severe health problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates ingesting a minimum of 2 liters a day. I personally drink at least 3. Those living in places with hot climates need to get more than that. It helps your body lubricate your joints and spine, improving mobility and spinal cord health. It also facilitates waste disposal through urination, perspiration and defecation.

Proper Breathing

Being both a voluntary and involuntary bodily action, a lot of people tend to forget the significance of breathing in day-to-day living. We are often told to do the things we love “before we breathe our last” pertaining to the importance of breathing as a life-sustaining function. Whilst, getting air into our lungs is the primary significance of this act, the benefits of properly doing it are often overlooked. This leads to the suboptimal use of your breathing capacity, resulting in shortness of breath, quickly getting tired and other symptoms.

This is why you should always practice proper breathing. You can do this by breathing through the nose using your diaphragm in a relaxed and rhythmic manner. This allows you to give your brain and other organs the right amount of oxygen and facilitate the elimination of wastes such as carbon dioxide and toxins. Moreover, you can use breathing techniques to curb negative emotions and clear your mind.

Getting Enough Sleep

Between the increasing demands of work, personal time and other daily errands, getting a good night’s sleep seems to be out of the question. We often sacrifice sleep to fulfill these duties expected of us. What most individuals do not know is that the lack of a proper slumber greatly affects the mental and physical wellbeing of a person. Often, this leads to impairment, affecting the way they go about their day. If done on a regular basis, this can contribute to obesity, infections and other heart diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults from 18 to 60 years old need 7 or more hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep leads to better sleep quality, making them feel rested once they wake up. It also helps them process memories and thoughts better, leading to a more alert mind. To improve your sleep, you might want to designate a sleeping time to enforce consistency and distance yourself from electronics such as TVs and phones as it emits blue light that affects the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Bonus Health Reminders:

Get a Balanced Diet

As kids, our parents always make it a point that we get a balanced diet every meal. This means having carbohydrates, protein, as well as vitamins and minerals every day. However, diet practices nowadays advocate for the elimination of some aspects of nutrition. Some promote the removal of carbs in your daily diet, whilst others encourage you to minimize proteins. This leads to an unbalanced diet, which prevents you from getting all the nutrients you need.

Make sure to eat a balanced diet by reducing the consumption of unnecessary fats and sugars and increase those that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Consume an appropriate amount of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, protein and carbs as this helps your body work in a better and healthier way. You might want to stick to your diet, but make sure to consume even a bit of these to prevent heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

Strive for Complete Vitamins and Minerals

Whilst you might be getting these from fruits and vegetables, keep in mind that not all of it contains a complete array of vitamins and minerals. Should you fail to supply your body with the right amount of these, you can suffer from micronutrient deficiencies including Iron, Calcium and Vitamins such as A, B12 and D. When left unaddressed, these can lead to serious illnesses, making it all the more important to get the appropriate supply. In some cases, you might need to take supplements when prescribed by licensed medical practitioners.

Incorporate Exercise in Everyday Life

Today, most corporate jobs entail long hours in front of the computer. Between the horrible commuting conditions, particularly during the holiday rush, and the tedious and repetitive jobs, incorporating exercise has been the least of our priorities. Over time, this sedentary lifestyle leads to serious complications, some of which can be observed in the American society. These include obesity, heart problems and a spike in blood sugar levels.

Medline Plus outlines the major advantages of leading an active lifestyle no matter what age. With regular exercise, individuals can see a significant change in their weight, thereby helping prevent the onset of obesity. Likewise, keeping yourself fit allows a noteworthy improvement in reducing the risk of heart diseases, such as heart attacks and high cholesterol. Working out can also improve mental health, stimulate sharper thinking, promote better sleeping patterns and generally boosts physical health.

Being reminded of how important these nutrition aspects help get your health back on track. Lead a healthier lifestyle by making it a point to practice these 3 forgotten yet important health aspects. This way, you can perform better at school, work and in attaining your personal goals.

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The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting

I’d like to start by saying that Intermittent Fasting is one of the most profound practices I have incorporated into my life. It is single handedly what I attribute the enhancement of mental clarity, focus and a feeling of clear drive. Beyond that, there are many health benefits that sweeten the deal even more.

Trying to get a lil six pack going might have been part of it too but don’t judge.

Hey, if you look good you feel good right?

My experience with Intermittent Fasting

As an entrepreneur I constantly search for new ways to improve my mental performance, and my first encounter with fasting began in 2015 when I decided to cleanse and detox my body so that I could perform, feel, and look my best. Since that time, I have tried various types of fasts and cleanses, whether it be juice, water, or dry fast, and neither one of them worked as effectively as Intermittent Fasting has for me.

I believe Intermittent Fasting is by far the most lifestyle friendly and easiest to follow for longer periods of time.

The Summer of 2017 was my true breakthrough point, when I decided to experiment with IF as a way to test my health and athletic ability. I had an idea to create my own mobile application geared toward health and human performance, the predominant focus being Intermittent Fasting. I couldn’t promote something that I haven’t tried myself, so I went on a 22 day intermittent fasting regimen combined with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and recorded my results each
day.

What I saw and even more so FELT, was incredible!

I LOVE INTERMITTENT FASTING!

I enjoyed the effects so much that I didn’t stop at day 22 and continued with this regimen. On day 30, I recorded a video about my experience with Intermittent Fasting during one of my walks. There you can find out more about how IF affected my body and mind.

Overview of Intermittent Fasting

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a mantra we’ve been hearing and repeating for ages. And we love our breakfast, so much that we could eat it all day, and in fact, we do.

More and more restaurants offer all day breakfast, but what if breakfast being the most important meal of the day, one that supplies your energy for the day ahead, was a myth? If you follow health and fitness trends, you’ve probably heard of the term Intermittent Fasting(IF). Many of us know very little about it, and shudder at the term “fasting”, as it is often
associated with starving yourself.

If you can already hear your stomach growling, as you imagine giving up your beloved pancakes and eggs, you can stop. What if I told you there is a way that you can still enjoy your favorite foods and not worry about putting on that unwanted weight, all while benefiting and extending your life?

The answer lies in changing your pattern of eating, and not in what or how much you eat, but rather WHEN you eat.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting (IF for short) is essentially a form of restricted consumption of food/beverages in order to gain the most important benefits which I will outline below.

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating in which one fasts for a number of hours each day, and eats within the remaining hours. The day is divided into a “fasting period” and “eating period”. The usual ratio is 2:1, however, that can be changed based on preference.

What are the different types of Intermittent Fasting?

There are many different types/techniques when it comes to IF, the top two being a 24 hour fast, and 16/8 fast.

Some of the most common types of fasting are Daily and Periodic intermittent fasting. For example, daily intermittent fasting would take place over the course of 24 hours where you have a period of fasting and a smaller window of eating.

The 24-hour fast literally means not eating for an entire day… sounds scary right? No midnight snack, no chips, nothing of that sort. On the bright side, the following day you can indulge in all the foods your heart desires although you should really eat like an adult as a general rule of thumb 🙂

The second option is definitely easier to incorporate into your daily routine and it’s pretty simple. You fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours. The timing could be of your choosing, whether you elect to skip breakfast or dinner.

What is the science behind Intermittent Fasting?

When it comes to food, your body is in either of the two states, fed or fasted. In the fed state, your body is absorbing all the nutrients you just ate, and because sugar and carbs are the first to be absorbed, your insulin level goes up. Due to that, it is difficult for your body to burn the fat. Insulin is the hormone commonly known as the fat storage hormone.

The fasted state occurs approximately 12 hours after your last meal. During that period your insulin level goes down and your body turns to fat for energy. Since you are fasting for about 16 hours after your last meal, that is 4 hours of pure fat burning without doing anything!

Why should I try Intermittent Fasting?

1. Intermittent Fasting can keep you look and feel young
According to research, low calorie diets are proven to delay aging processes and aid in the prevention of diseases, such as cardiovascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes. If you limit your caloric intake each day, you reduce your insulin resistance, blood pressure, and lower your cholesterol. This results in a better and healthier you.

2. Intermittent Fasting can help you lose weight
Not only can Intermittent Fasting help you lose weight, it can also help you keep that weight off in the long run. How will it do that you may ask? Well, I’ve got a pretty simple explanation for you. Aside from what I mentioned above about your body turning to fat once your insulin levels go down, by cutting out a meal or two each day you are restricting your caloric intake even if the other meals are larger and higher in calories, thus resulting in weight loss. It also promotes higher sensitivity to insulin and increases the production of the human growth hormone (HGH). Incorporating Intermittent Fasting is easier than most conventional diets. It limits the amount of stress we put on ourselves when preparing our meals, feels less like a chore, and still allows us to enjoy our favorite meals without worrying about gaining those pounds back.

3. Intermittent Fasting promotes mental health and clarity
Most studies, human and non-human, have shown that Intermittent Fasting has enormous benefits for the brain and its processes. Some of the benefits include increased ability in learning and memory, mental clarity, growth of new neurons, prevents as well as aids in the treatment of disorders such as anxiety, and even depression.

What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

So the buzzing question really is… what will Intermittent Fasting do for me? Well, luckily there are a whole slew of benefits to mention.

When you fast some important things happen:

  • Your cells repair themselves (through autophagy)
  • Your insulin sensitivity can increase (decreases insulin resistance)
  • Your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) can increase
  • Your blood sugar levels may decrease
  • Your body will have less oxidative stress and inflammation
  • Your brain benefits with more clarity and focus
  • Your belly fat can decrease significantly
  • Overall Weight Loss can also occur with better insulin sensitivity
  • Slows down aging (increased HGH to look and feel younger)
  • Radically improves metabolism
  • Increase in brain function (BDNF)
  • Increased immunity
  • Better digestion/absorption of nutrients
  • Boosts mood
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Easy to adhere to

What can I have during my fasting window?

What I consume during my period of fasting is pretty simple: black coffee, green tea and water.

If I feel really hungry, I use the coffee (either an americano or espresso) to suppress my appetite a bit followed by 8-16 ounces of water (coffee is a diuretic and can dehydrate you quickly). I also will sometimes have an espresso just before the gym as it gives me a little extra spark to push me through my toughest workouts.

It is generally accepted that anything less than 15 calories will not break your fast and some people consume no calorie drinks. I personally don’t dance around this too much as my thought process is this; Why even risk the benefits of fasting for a tiny bit of calories that will more than likely make you crave more calories anyways? When in doubt, go without.

24 Hour Fasting Benefits

If the 16/8 protocol is something you’ve mastered and you want to give something else a try, 24 Hour Fasting could be the next step. Along with the many benefits as the standard fasts, the biggest benefit in my opinion is Time Saved!

The overlooked benefit 24-hour fasting benefits is the added time it puts back into your day. Making multiple meals and snacks every day is time-consuming. Even if you go to a restaurant or go with a prepared meal, the act of dining wastes time. Fasting allows you more time to focus on things that are important to you, such as family/friends, fitness, meditation, yoga and so on.

A Harvard study also documented that intermittent fasting (including 24-hour fasts) can actually increase your lifespan.

Intermittent Fasting Resources

Have you tried Intermittent Fasting before? If so, let me know in the comments how it went for you!