Women's guide to stress.
What can you do to relieve stress?
As well as build up immunity and lose fat too?!
We teach you how to get the most out of the same hours in your day!
Have a read of Rachel Young's article here.
COOK UP A PERFECT BATCH OF MOTIVATION!
Are you struggling to reach your goals?
Or even just to make it to the gym anymore?!
Here's a killer recipe for recharging your motivation!
Coming to you courtesy of Todd Bumgardner, MS, CSCS.
Check it out here.
EXERCISE FOR MENTAL HEALTH: A NO BRAINER?
The physical health benefits of exercise are well researched and understood.
But what do we really know about exercise and its effect on our mental health?
Cathy Johnson's article for the ABC covers the topic exceptionally well.
6 BREATHING EXERCISES TO help you RELAX
Overworked, underslept and feeling the pressure?
There are plenty of ways to find calm, without investing in a four-hand spa massage.
All you need is a pair of lungs, your breath and 10 minutes or less.
Check out this fantastic article from Greatist.com columnist Jordan Shakeshaft, where he discusses several methods to help you destress and relax, simply by breathing better!
DIETING AND ANXIETY
No it's not sugar, the reason you're feeling overwhelmed with anxiety could be a lot more.
It could be more to do with you're not eating, rather than what you are!
We take a look at the connection between the two, here.
7 REASONS FITNESS IS LIKE MEDITATION
There’s more to fitness than gaining muscle weight, or losing fat.
There’s a large aspect of it that is calming, meditative, and relaxing.
Find out all things Meditation here.
STRESS LESS AND PROGRESS
Is something holding you back from achieving your goals?
Be calm & stress-free to achieve your physique goals!
Check out our article here.
4 Mind-Boggling Ways Fitness Whips Your Brain Into Shape
Exercise does more than shape your body; it has a profound impact on the human brain.
We explore the fascinating frontier where neuroscience meets physical fitness!
Get your brain into shape here.
YOUR PRACTICAL GUIDE TO STRESSING LESS.
The big causes of stress in life are easy to identify, more importantly, they could be messing with your wellbeing.
We rounded up 10 of the sneakiest (and most common) stressors, as well as foolproof ways to outsmart them
Check out our tips here!
find your peace and your posture!
Pilates has a plethora of benefits, find out all you need to know here!
proven to Benefit your mind, body and soul.
Find out how the power of Yoga can change our life, here.
not always there and often difficult to find!
If you struggle with motivation in any aspect of your life - ask yourself these 3 questions
HOw to stop your mind racing in the middle of the night
Do you struggle with anxiety or insomnia?
Click here to discover some strategies to help you get a good nights sleep!
How to make your commutes more enjoyable
No one enjoys being stuck in traffic or stressing about work out of work hours do they?
Enjoy your commute - read here
Keep your mind sharp!
As we age, our brain health weakens, and it is paramount that we continue to challenge and train ourselves to different things whether it be
doing crosswords, or retraining ourselves to do an activity
Click here to read about 6 ways to keep your brain sharp as you age
Do you need positive thoughts to get you through challenging or nerve wracking situations?
A mantra could be just what you need!
It's as easy as CBT!
Change how you think about weightloss and healthy eating and start seeing changes
Master what you can control
Let go of all the things you can't control and focus on what matters
After all, there are only 6 things you can control in life:
Stress isn't good for your health, both mentally and physically...
Read ways to combat stress here
no one enjoys hangovers..
And we mean NO ONE! Remember that dehydrated feeling when you have a headache and you want some greasy food to soak up all the alcohol you shouldn't have drunk last night? That one, yuck!
Read here to find out 13 ways to cure your hangover next time you've had a few too many!
Summer & Sunburn
Ouch! How do we prevent sun damage? And what can we do if it's too late?
Click here to find out more
Zzzzzzz... Why is sleep so important?
How much should you get? Does your phone affect your sleep?
Find out all these answers by clicking here
Scientifically proven ways to boost energy
Could it be lack of coffee, sleep or just plain old Mondayitis?
Click here to learn more
Having trouble with stress, sleep or calming down?
Try these 6 simple breathing techniques to help you through any situation life throws at you
Need to stretch? Try some Winter Yoga!
Yoga is great for stretching and we all know that along with Winter comes aches and pains of old injuries and overused muscles..
Try these simple Yoga poses to feel refreshed and strong!
Click here to download.
Desk Bound? Create a balanced body with these Yoga moves.
Static postures hours on end, day after day or repetitive movements can create muscular imbalances, and lets face it, with the increasing dependence on tech devices, creating a balance in the body is essential for remaining pain and stress free.
Click here to download.
Strategies for managing festive season anxiety
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of celebration, togetherness and joy but for many, the holidays can bring added stress, anxiety and sadness. Money, social situations, family tension, isolation, grief and conflict are all issues that can easily come to the forefront during this time so it is helpful to have some strategies in place to manage these added pressures.
Spending large amounts of time with family can often be cause for increased anxiety levels. And while it can be difficult to predict how your family are going to interact, you can put some strategies in place to prepare you for the possibility of family tensions.
If you are going to an event (or hosting an event) where you know the possibilities for tension between family members or guests is high, be prepared. Try to think about all the possible scenarios where difficulties could arise and prepare your response. It can also be helpful to enlist a supportive family member or friend who you can talk to if difficulties arise.
There are some things to remember when you approach social events that can help to combat stress and anxiety:
- Avoid difficult or controversial topics. If there is a particular topic that your family or friends often argue about, try to avoid speaking about it. If the controversial topic does come up, have a distraction prepared
- Try to avoid sitting next to someone who you know are likely to cause tension
- Use relaxation techniques – such as slow deep breathing – to cope with anxiety or tension
- Try not to drink too much as alcohol can contribute to stress and anxiety levels
The end of the year – and the beginning of a new one – is often a time where difficult conversations arise. If you find yourself in a difficult conversation or wanting to start one yourself, it is helpful to remember the following:
- Difficult conversations are not easy for anyone, especially at this time of year
- Choose the right moment for the conversation
- Try not to be defensive
- Frame your sentences in a way that uses “I” statements, “I know it has been a busy time for you, but I ______”
- Always approach these conversations with respect and kindness
Going it alone
There are many people for whom the holidays bring feelings of loneliness, isolation or grief.
Being alone during the festive season can be difficult, especially when it seems that everyone else is enjoying time with family and friends. There are, however, some strategies that can help to combat loneliness throughout the holidays and help you to feel more connected:
- If you are separated by distance, try to connect with family and close friends. Facebook, email and other social networking tools make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family who are living far away. Make sure you stay connected when you can
- Volunteering on Christmas Day is a great way to feel connected to people in your community
- Look for community events that are happening in your area such as carols or local markets. Getting out and interacting with the community can help to combat feelings of isolation
- If you are alone and grieving on Christmas Day, make plans in advance so that you can celebrate in your own way. It can be cooking yourself a special meal, going for a long walk or attending the local church service
Inevitably, this time of year brings its own stresses and strains. Putting strategies in place and being mindful about how you are feeling are the first steps to managing anxiety and enjoying the celebrations. Put your health first and remember to be kind to yourself.
Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health
How to Avoid Shoulder Injuries in Chaturanga and Plank
Arm-strengthening poses like chaturanga and plank protect the shoulders—if you do them correctly. To learn how to prevent shoulder pain and injuries with simple exercises, click here.
THE ART OF DEVELOPING CONFIDENCE
Being confident means you believe in your abilities to achieve what you want to achieve. You are more likely to try something new if you are confident – and having confidence will give you the ability to deal with the outcome, whether you succeed or fail. If you are confident you will find it easier to interact with people and build relationships. Confidence also helps you deal with life’s challenges.
Research shows that people who believe in themselves tend to have less sickness and better mental health. Developing your confidence will help you to make the right choices for your health and wellbeing.
Confident people seem to have something very appealing about them. Studies reveal that people with high levels of self-confidence know what they’re good at; they know the value they provide, and act in a way that shows this.
Confidence is dynamic and changes across your various roles. For example, you may be confident in how you parent your children or play a team sport, but not have the confidence to speak up at meetings or try a new skill. While it may seem that confidence is something you are born with, it’s important to know that confidence is gained over time through what you learn and do, and the influences around you. It’s not just something you either have or don’t have. It’s never too late to believe in yourself and increase your self-confidence.
What you can do
· Pay attention: Observe confident people and note what they do, how they start conversations, their body language, how they dress, what they have in common – think about the areas of your life that you already feel confident about
· Trial and Error: Try what you have observed – try speaking up at meetings, experiment with more open body language, try smiling at people and watch their response
· Fake it until you make it: It takes time to master any new skill and for it to feel natural – persevere until it feels more natural
· Feedback: Listen to honest feedback from people you trust and alter your behavior accordingly – coping with feedback is something confident people can do
the exercise - brain connection
Did you know that your brain is incredibly dynamic? It can change its structure and function by adding new neurons, making new connections between neurons and even creating brand-new blood vessels, all in response to exercise.
Jeffrey A. Kleim, PhD, associate professor in the Arizona State University School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, shares the following insights on how exercise impacts the brain.
Exercise Improves Cognitive Function
A sedentary lifestyle affects the brain—and in turn lessens mental capacity. Sibley and Etnier (2003) found a clear connection between how much schoolchildren exercised and their cognitive performance: the more aerobic exercise the children engaged in, the better they performed on verbal, perceptual and mathematical tests. The same pattern of results was found in older adults: aerobic training improved cognitive performance (Colcombe & Kramer 2003), and active lifestyles decreased age-related risks for cognitive impairment and dementia (Yaffe et al. 2009). Not surprisingly, these cognitive effects were accompanied by clear changes in brain structure and function.
Exercise Changes Brain Function
Research shows that exercise changes brain function in a lasting manner. For example, the reduced cognitive capacity in sedentary individuals is associated with different patterns of brain activity—both at rest and while performing mentally challenging tasks—than those observed in active subjects.
Plus, compared with sedentary people, active individuals show greater baseline levels of cortical activity (Dustman et al. 1990). (The cerebral cortex helps with complex cognitive tasks.)
Exercise Changes Brain Structure
The structure of the brain can be broken down into two general components. Gray matter contains the neurons and supporting cells, while white matter consists of the axons of these neurons (nerve cell fibers) that carry signals from one area to another.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows for the measurement of gray and white matter. MRI scans have shown that exercise boosts overall brain volume (Colcombe et al. 2006), increasing both gray matter (Colcombe et al. 2006) and white matter (Gordon et al. 2008). These changes can occur over relatively short periods of time. After learning to juggle for only a few weeks, for example, study subjects showed increases in gray matter within regions of the brain concerned with integrating visual and motor information (Draganski et al. 2004).
Mindfulness involves paying attention each moment to things as they are, with an open hearted and non-judgemental attitude. This is a process of observing thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they come and go, with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance.
Mindful awareness can be applied to experiencing every day activities such as eating, walking, washing the dishes, and having a shower. Practicing mindfulness can help us to be less caught up in stress, worry, low mood, by helping us to develop a greater capacity to engage in our lives by being more fully present.
Mindfulness is a skill that can be developed with practice over time. Making time to practice mindfulness meditation regularly can help us to become more mindful in our day-to-day activities, and can help us to step out of habitual patterns of stress.
The basic practice of mindfulness meditation involves intentionally placing our attention on the breath, and observing each rise and fall of the breath. It is natural that our minds will not stay aware of the breath for very long. The mind will inevitably wander off and soon we will be thinking, or planning, or worrying. The practice of mindfulness is to be aware when our attention has wandered, and then without judgement, gently but firmly redirecting our attention back to the breath.
At the beginning of practice it is likely that our minds will wander many, many times. While this can be frustrating, it is important to remember that the moment that we are aware that our mind has wandered, we are practicing mindfulness. Then we simply return our attention to observing the breath, again and again and again.
It is helpful to learn how to practice mindfulness with the guidance of an experienced instructor. Guided recordings such as the ones on the link below can also help with learning to meditate.