I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but I am so grateful that spring is here - regardless of the temperature hovering in the 40's to 50's. It has been a long, cold winter and although I usually enjoy the change of seasons, this was one winter that didn't end soon enough for me.
Spring always brings up such happy feelings -- as well as grateful ones. I am blessed that my family is healthy and everyone seems to be doing well. My friends are priceless -- always ready to give me such great support and lots of love. My husband and I have lots more time together which is new to us since I am no longer working for someone else and out of the house from 8-6. We absolutely love spending this time together and doing all the things we used to say we would do "someday." Somehow, "someday" never comes until you realize that "today" is that someday. So, in the spirit of living in the present moment, here are my healthy tips for enjoying yourself right now....
Belly breathing is FREE! And, it one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can be done right when you get out of bed in the morning, in the car on your way to work or even at work. This type of breathing slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure. Here's how to do it....
- exhale first; breathe in through your nostrils, letting your belly expand for a count of 5; hold your breath for a count of 7 and exhale for a count of 8 or 9. It's that simple and is so important for all body functions.
- remember to relax the belly so that each inhalation expands it fully.
Think Positive Thoughts
Again, this is FREE! But, how many of us tend to focus on what's NOT going right instead of being grateful for this very moment? When you find yourself thinking of something that does not make you feel happy, take notice and shift your thoughts to something that does elicit those happy feelings. Just like a muscle that needs exercise, our attention to negative thoughts and shifting them to positive ones is an exercise we need to repeat - over and over until we begin to focus more on what makes us smile.
Yep!.. you got it!! It's FREE! I have incorporated meditation into my life -- although not every day (something I'm still working on). I went to a Zen Meditation Group one Sunday morning and actually learned how to meditate (there is a little technique that helps you stay present). Sitting in silence can bring mental clarity to oneself. I know this is something I definitely need.. well, I suppose we all do since our minds are always wandering and the endless chatter never ceases.
A University of Utah study found that mindfulness training can not only help us better control our emotions and moods, but it can also help us sleep better at night. People who reported higher levels of mindfulness described better control over their emotions and behaviors during the day.
Again, FREE! According to Forbes, we think of our face as reflecting our internal emotions, but that linkage works both ways – we can change our emotional state by altering our facial expression! Pasting a smile on your face, even if you are consciously faking it, can improve your mood and reduce stress.
Some of the earliest work in the area was done by psychologist and “facial coding” expert Paul Ekman. While experimenting with negative facial expressions like frowns, Ekman found that his mood seemed to be altered. In 1990, Ekman’s research on other subjects showed that adopting a “Duchenne smile” – a full smile that involves facial muscles around the eyes – produced a change in brain activity that corresponded with a happier mood.