An Online Portfolio
The result of a new Swedish study posted this week gives some scientific backing to the “myth” of beauty Sleep! Subjects were young adults who had photos taken well rested, and photos taken after being sleep deprived and those viewing the photos agreed that the subjects appeared more attractive when they had been well rested. The study suggests 7-9 hours of sleep a night is optimal. Creating better sleep can help you live better in every area of your life.
So, the dilemma most of us then face is how to improve our sleeping. In this day of seriously high stress, long work hours and worries about finances, how does one get more and better sleep? Luckily, there are some very simple things that you can do, and if you work them into your daily schedule, all the better! These things are guaranteed to lower your stress, help you to sleep better, and maybe even lower your blood pressure!
Yes, I know the subject has been beaten to death, but it’s been proven, exercise helps you burn off stress, sleep better and it creates endorphins, making you *feel* happier as well! Even if you just take a walk with some music on your IPod in the morning or evening. It counts! Just get that body moving! Even dancing at home with some music!
Yoga is proven to bring positive effects in all areas of life, physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga not only works your outer muscles, certain Asanas (poses) massage your inner organs, adding to overall health benefits. The focus on breathing and (if you do it slowly like I do. I’m not into the fast power yoga, but the slow, mindful, spiritual kind) connection with soul energy teaches you to be mindful, keeping you in the present moment while doing yoga. This means you are doing a sort of moving meditation. This brings me to our next topic…
When you mention meditation, people automatically think of sitting cross legged and still, with a perfectly clear mind (a state of listening). Yes, this is a very common form of meditation, but do you know you can bring the act of meditating into any activity you do? You can create a meditative state doing anything. I create a meditative state while singing much of the time, most recently since I have been introduced to Kirtan. The Sanskrit chants in the Kirtan music just lift my spirit to another place, giving me a very easy way to slip into meditative state- and a blissful one at that. One of my best friends will repeat mantras in her head whenever her job is stressful, or whenever she just needs to get through the day. A mantra can be any positive, empowering uplifting phrase. It doesn’t have to be a Sanskrit chant, it can be anything that keeps you focused on the moment, and uplifts your energy. Many people swear by walking meditations, and this is a double benefit because you get both the exercise and the meditation! In walking meditation, as in a sitting cross legged meditation, the simplest thing to do is to breathe deeply, and if you are not repeating a mantra, then just let your thoughts flow, do not fight them. Accept each thought as it comes into your head, and then just let it float away. People get frustrated because they cannot completely clear their minds. Well, that’s normal. Most people cannot do that right away, and that’s fine. So let the thoughts come, and picture them as a bird in your hand, observe the thought bird for a moment, then just open your hands and let it go, watch it fly away. Do this for each thought that comes up, and as time goes on, you will find fewer and fewer thought birds to release, as your mind learns to be still.
Journaling is an excellent way of releasing stress, just like letting the birds fly away, when you journal, or write out your thoughts, stresses and worries, you are giving them form and letting them go. You can destroy the pages afterwards, or put them away, but just get them out of your head. This reminds me very much of the Pensieve in Harry Potter. The Pensieve is a bowl in which a wizard can collect the thoughts from his or her head, and using the wand, take them from their mind, and put them into the Pensieve to review at another time. It keeps your mind from being too overwhelmed, so you can use your journal in the same way. Just clear your mind so you can sleep, knowing that you can review the things that worry you at another time, allowing your mind to relax so that you can get the proper sleep. If you sleep better, you will think better when you awake, and you will handle those problems better!
I hope that some of these ideas will help you dear readers! If you have any techniques that you use, please comment and share them with the rest of us! You can never have enough ways to de-stress, sleep better and feel better!