- Twenties: Develop healthy habits early to lay a good foundation for the rest of your life. Make a habit out of regular visits to a health care practitioner (at least once a year). Try to develop a lifelong habit of exercise; skip the soda and extra sugars; and increase your vegetable intake. If you don’t already, now is the time to start taking a multivitamin. Taking a multivitamin regularly will help to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need.
- Thirties: Learning to balance the demands of family and self can be a challenge at this age. Work to connect meaningfully with others, as those connections will help support you throughout your life. Bone and muscle loss (incredibly) start now, so making sure you are exercising and getting enough calcium is essential. Learn how to sit less and move more, and establish exercise as a way of life.
- Forties: If you haven’t made regular doctor visits a priority, now is the time to start this habit. It is a good idea to know your common health numbers (cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure). Metabolism tends to slow in this decade, so learning how to maintain a good muscle mass (a large part of metabolism) and a healthy weight will serve you in future years. Stretching, yoga, and meditation can be good practices to incorporate into your health regimen. Add fish oil to your routine (if you haven’t already)—it is good for your heart and your brain, especially as we age.
- Fifties: The two biggest health concerns for this age group are bone mass and heart health. Bone mass is a concern because women can lose as much as half their bone mass in the 5 to 10 years after menopause.[i] Heart health is a major concern for everyone but can impact women’s health disproportionately. Make sure you have a good bone health routine (including sufficient calcium and regular exercise) in place. Soy is another good protein that helps to support heart and bone health.
- Sixties and beyond: Retirement presents a challenge for some, so you may want to prepare for the transition by reaching out to family, friends, and other social groups (many people report less social interaction with retirement). Exercise not only helps us physically but can serve as an emotional outlet as well. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.
Work stress, home stress, family stress, money stress—they can all add up to a whole lot of pressure. The ability to recognize and respond to stress is a crucial skill for everyone to learn, especially because stress is tied to many conditions that can harm our health. Psychological stress occurs when the world’s demands tax or exceed our ability to adapt to those demands.[i] Our bodies then release hormones (including cortisol and adrenaline) that can mimic a real attack. It is these compounds that can impact our health in (sometimes) serious ways.[ii]
Stress affects the brain and can lead to feeling sad and burned out, but it can also impact heart[iii] and digestive health.[iv] The good news is that relaxation is a skill that can be learned.
Here are some of the best ways to help get stress under control:
Breathe: Because you can control your breath, it is one of the best ways to make changes to your body. You breathe fast when you are nervous and more slowly when you are relaxed. It also works the other way: you can tell your body that you are relaxed by consciously slowing your breathing. Slow breathing can work in the moment but is much better if you practice every day.
Relax: When you are feeling stressed, there is nothing worse than hearing “just relax.” But relaxation, and especially progressive relaxation, is a great technique to learn. Progressive relaxation is easy: you start at your toes and relax each muscle as you slowly move up your body. Pay attention to the way you hold your body and where you feel most tense . Letting go of those tense areas can help you feel relaxed.
Be mindful: Mindfulness can be defined as a state of active and open attention on the present. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to what is around you in the present moment. The scientific community has become enamored of mindfulness, and there are multiple studies using this technique in many different populations (from children to older adults) and for many different conditions (from work/school performance to heart, digestive, and other conditions).[v] (If you need so help developing your mindfulness practice download my FREE meditation 101 guide.)
Exercise: Your body needs exercise as much as it needs food, water, and light. Exercise, especially intense exercise, has a way of bringing a sense of calm to your day, and its effects last for days.[vi] Exercise today to help you with a stressful situation tomorrow.
Trigger awareness: What causes you to go into overload is unique; we all have our triggers. Most of us know we are becoming stressed well before it happens. Trigger awareness is one of the most important skills to learn for stress reduction. When you learn what your early warning signs are, that is when you can start your relaxation techniques (or go for a run or walk).
Stress relief works.
People who practice these techniques have been shown to lower their blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, increase blood flow, feel energized, boost confidence, and have better concentration and mood. It is well worth your effort to learn some (or all) of these techniques to handle stress.
But to get the most benefit from these techniques, you must practice. Stress reduction is a set of skills that you get better at with time. The list above is not exhaustive. Other techniques may work for you: Go get a massage, spend time in nature, dance to your favorite music, take a warm bath, play with your children or pets.
Start small. Start today. Don’t wait for an especially stressful time in your life to start practicing stress reduction.
Source Shaklee Naturally Blog
[i] Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE. Psychological stress and disease. JAMA. 2007 Oct 10;298(14):1685-7.
[ii] Ranabir S, Reetu K. Stress and hormones. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011 Jan 1;15(1):18.
[iii] Dimsdale JE. Psychological stress and cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2008 Apr 1;51(13):1237-46.
[iv] Mayer EA. The neurobiology of stress and gastrointestinal disease. Gut. 2000 Dec 1;47(6):861-9.
[v] Brown KW, Ryan RM. The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology. 2003 Apr;84(4):822.
[vi] Deslandes A, Moraes H, Ferreira C, Veiga H, Silveira H, Mouta R, Pompeu FA, Coutinho ES, Laks J. Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move. Neuropsychobiology. 2009 Jun 10;59(4):191-8.
Why You Should Try This Smoothie?
This delicious high protein smoothie comes in at just under 250 calories with a whopping 20 grams of protein. (A moderate daily intake for protein is 100 grams) The Energizing Life Shake and Greek yogurt provide most of the protein so be sure not to skip them. Lower the calorie count by using low fat Greek Yogurt and decrease sugar by skipping the banana…but what fun would that be??!?
Visualization or creating mental pictures of desired outcomes in order to achieve them is an idea that has been around for a long time.
In sports and athletics visualization is considered an integral aspect of competitive training. Developments in brain scanning technology are now revealing interesting information about the effect of visualization on the brain.
The Brain Cannot Tell The Difference Between a Real and an Imagined Action
According to Lynne McTaggart in her book The Intention Experiment, electromyography (EMG) has shown that the brain does not differentiate between the thought of an action and a real action. In an experiment with a group of skiers, EMG discovered that when they mentally rehearsed their downhill runs, the electrical impulses sent to the muscles were the same as when physically engaged in the runs. It appears that, just as when really performing an activity certain neural pathways are stimulated and chemicals produced, so when mentally imagining that same activity, the same physiological changes are present.
Neural pathways are strengthened whether the activity is carried out in reality or is imagined.
Visualization and Brain Activation
According to Dr. Srinivasan Pillay, a psychiatrist, brain researcher and coach, the impact of visualization on brain activation has been well-demonstrated in cases of stroke. During a stroke, because of the blood clot in an artery in the brain, blood cannot reach the area of brain that the artery once fed with oxygen and nutrients, and the tissue dies. Tissue death spreads around the area that no longer receives blood. If, however, the patient imagines moving the affected limb or limbs, brain blood flow to the affected area increases and tissue death is minimized. Pillay also emphasizes the importance of visualizing in the first person in order to reap the benefits. It is this which creates the experience of being in the self, thereby stimulating the neural pathways.
The legendary Muhammed Ali prepared for his fights by mentally rehearsing them in minute detail. He acted as if he were really in the ring. In The Intention Experiment, Lynne McTaggart says that when preparing for a fight with Joe Frazier, he would imagine “his right fist at the moment of impact on Frazier’s left eye.”
Using Visualization for Self-Help
In his article Why Does Visualization Not Work For You?, Dr. Pillay gives further guidelines on how human neurology supports the practice of visualization. It appears there is a part of the brain responsible for creating a navigation plan for action. This part of the brain is the posterior parietal cortex. The posterior parietal cortex also plays a role in voluntary movement. Information from the skin, the internal organs and the vision, creates an internal model of the movement to be made before it’s done. Pillay states that by giving the posterior parietal cortex too much information at once through visualization, it becomes overloaded. Whatever one is visualizing may need to be broken down into stages so that the posterior parietal cortex can digest the information.
Getting The Most Out of Visualization
In order to make visualization practice as beneficial as possible, honoring the neurology behind it is significant. Practice to get to where you can see and feel yourself doing your activities. This develops the neurological pathways. Therefore, break visualizations down into stages, if necessary, to prevent your brain from being overwhelmed with too much data.
Visualize your desired outcome by:
- Creating a vision board
- Practicing an affirmation that changes negative “self talk” to something positive
- Closing your eyes and seeing yourself, your circumstances or your performance as you would like it to be
- Telling yourself or someone else “the story” of how it will be
Tangible Visualization Tool ~ Vision Board
Vision boards serve to add clarity and remembrance of your big hopes and goals by creating a visual aid. Consider making one to help you complete the 14 Day Green Smoothie Challenge or to help you succeed in any endeavor that requires sustained motivation for success.
Before you start your vision board, review your goals and your reasons why your goal matters to you.
Be very clear about what you would like to change in your life and what you would like to improve.
If you have been journaling, this knowledge should come a little easier and you will have double reinforcement.
Take time to see yourself in your mind’s eye or look at your vision board and connect to what success will feel like. Finally, just
Feel it. See it. Live it.