Monthly Archives: March 2011

Stress-Free Zone

Your home should be the place where you can go to restore your mind and body after a busy, stressful day. Make one area in your house your personal place; created for happiness, peace and calm. Whether you choose a whole room, a corner of a room or just a special chair, everyone should know that you are in the “do not disturb” zone. Decorate it to fit your style and enjoy the quiet, private moments.

Food and Moods

Our moods can play a role in the foods we crave. Research shows that if you crave salty foods, you may be feeling stressed; if you reach for soft sweet foods like ice cream, you may be anxious; sugars, you may be depressed; tough foods like meat or hard, crunchy foods, you may be angry. Knowing how your emotions can steer your desire to eat will help you to resist cravings. Also, filling up on healthy meals and snacks doesn’t allow you to get into a state of true hunger, so resisting emotional cravings is a little easier.

Preparing For Sleep

You’ve had a day at work you’d rather not repeat. Sleep is the only thing you can think about, but lately, you have had difficulty “shutting down” for the night. Prepare your mind and body for sweet slumber by turning off all electronic devices an hour before bed. Take a warm bath with lavender oil or salts in a dimly lit bathroom, perhaps by scented candles. Listen to calming music and complete this bedtime ritual with slow, deep belly breathing as you lie down in your cool, dark room.

12 Minutes to an Improved Brain

Can you give up 12 minutes of your day? What if you knew it significantly increased blood flow to your brain? That’s what happened to the brain in both normal subjects and Alzheimer’s patients in a study after spending 12 minutes of daily meditation for eight weeks. One recommended technique is the 4-5 breath, for restoring calm. Breathe in for a count of 4, exhale for 5. (Remember to always belly breathe) This activates the vagus nerve and slows your heart. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 12.

Taking Care of Your Teeth & Cancer Prevention

There has been a correlation between brushing and flossing your teeth and heart disease prevention, but research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY has shown that people with chronic gum disease have a fourfold risk of developing a type of head cancer or neck cancer, especially in the mouth and throat. The risk is increased whether or not you smoke. Gum disease occurs when bacteria that are in the plaque infect the gums, so listen to your dentist and brush and floss to prevent plaque buildup.

Stretching Your Stressed Muscles

Unless you are doing a full-body workout, some of your muscles are likely getting strained and sore during your work day. Adding stress just increases the muscle tension. Pairing mindful stretching with deep breathing can makes changes in how your body feels, how you look and improves functioning. To gently stretch the muscles and improve posture from sitting at a desk, try a chest opening stretch, pictured below.

Breathing Easier With Plants

Adding plants in your home and office is good for the air and some specific plants help remove toxins. According to a study, the weeping fig removes formaldehyde gas (released from some carpets and curtains) from the air and another study showed that purple heart and English ivies eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs). More research is needed, but we can begin to improve our air quality by bringing nature inside.