1. Making the Time: How to Gain an Extra Hour in Your Day

    March 7, 2014

    Making the Time: How to Gain an Extra Hour in Your Day

    “I don’t have the time.” How many times have you heard that excuse before? How many times have you used it yourself? You’re probably saying to yourself: “Hey it’s not an excuse! I really don’t have the time.” Well, first of all, time is a matter of perception. Meaning it has to do with the way you perceive the world and the concept of time, rather than a real and tangible thing. And how many times have you felt overwhelmed with the amount of work you still have to finish before going home (or bed)? Sounds familiar? Managing effectively your time seems to be an order of the day thing. But this article is not about being more effective in your work, it’s about gaining an extra hour in life for some quality time. Keep on reading.

    Why do I need an extra hour for?

    You might ask. To work more? Definitely not! An extra hour in your day to do whatever you feel like will re-energize you and help you take off steam. What would you love to do? Do you want more time to play with your children? Do you desperately need to relax after a day’s work?

    Use your extra hour for that. Take some time to think. Where can you make the time? Your extra hour will make up for itself. After spending an hour doing what makes you feel good, you’ll have energy to do what’s necessary.

    But first let’s make a few things clear:

    No-one owns time.

    One of my college professors once said during a class (to justify why he wouldn’t tolerate anyone missing paper deadlines) that “time is the most democratic thing there is. It’s exactly the same to everyone.” You can’t buy more time, but you sure can use it in a more effective way. But of course he was German and a working machine! But he was right and I’m glad he taught me that lesson.

    Time doesn’t rule your life.

    You don’t have to be running around everywhere always stressed and trying to accomplish the impossible: beat the space-time continuous and prove it’s possible! Because it’s not, Physics says so. The clock doesn’t rule your life, time is what you do with it (forgive me for using the famous ad sentence). You have a choice: you can live enslaved by the clock or you can make the time for yourself. What’s going to be?

    A few Steps on how to gain an extra hour in your day:

    • Organize yourself. This one seems obvious. Make lists, organize schedules, and make appointments with yourself to take the time to relax.
    • Prioritize. Is it urgent or could it be done later on?
    • Prevent distractions. Yes, drop all social networks right now! How much more focused can you get if you spend an hour without social networks?
    • Can anyone else do it for you? Delegate! Don’t go all superman or wonder woman and try and do everything. Other people can help and that doesn’t make you look weak.
    • Force yourself to stop. Perfectionism is not good for your mental health. You might need to work on your compromise and pronounce it “the best you could do”.
    • Gain time. Is there something you could do less or that will save you time? Why not instead of cooking you can have take out once a week?
    • Procrastination is your worst enemy. And it will clog your life! Take it from someone with experience in procrastination! Get the worst and most unpleasant tasks out of the way first and then move on. If you have that awful chore hanging in your head it will use up precious space in your mind.

     

    Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/6745404691


  2. Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

    November 25, 2013

    Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

    by Beth Wallace

     

    After years of working hard and raising a family, retirement should be a time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In reality, the ‘golden years’ aren’t always as easy or carefree like the brochures and glossy magazines seem to portray.

     

    Just because work and children may no longer be primary concerns, doesn’t mean our stress magically melts away. It’s true that stress is a part of everyday life; however, our ability to cope with it can weaken the older we get.

    Whatever the source — financial concerns, the transition into a retirement home, death of a spouse or illness —the effect of stress on the body and mind can be catastrophic.

     

    Here are 10 easy ways for seniors to reduce stress and live a happier/healthier life:

     

    1. Walk Away from Stress

    According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, seniors who are physically active in their leisure time are twice as likely to be in good health and have a low level of stress. If you’re looking to add some physical activity into your daily routine and have been give the green light from your doctor, walking is an excellent step — quite literally! Aside from being cheap and convenient, walking for 35-minutes or more a day can help you stay physically and mentally strong. Just remember to stay safe by dressing weather-appropriate, wear bright colors and reflectors if walking in the evening. During the winter months, make sure you wear proper footwear to avoid any slips or falls — one little slip on black ice can have long-term consequences.

     

    2. Say ‘Om’

    You don’t have to be able to bend it like Beckham to excel at yoga, nor do you have to twist yourself into a pretzel. While some mistakenly believe that yoga is more of a youthful activity, the young at heart can benefit greatly. Deep breathing (a key component of yoga) is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress  — increased heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure all decrease as you deeply inhale and exhale.

     

    3. Go for a Dip

    Swimming is an ideal solution for arthritis sufferers or anyone who wants to keep fit and avoid injury, according to Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co.’s blog post “10 Ways to Relieve Arthritis Pain Naturally”.  As soon as you take that plunge into the pool, you’ll feel your stress float away while you concentrate on your laps.

     

    4. Bottoms Up

    In recent years, there have been many reports that have claimed a glass of red wine an evening is ideal for combating stress and lowering blood pressure.  Before you reach for that bottle opener, make sure your medications can be mixed with alcohol —to be safe, always check with your doctor. Once you get that ‘thumbs up’ it’s time for happy hour. Just don’t overdo it!

     

    5. Four-Legged Friends

    It’s a proven fact that pets can help lower one’s stress level —that’s why there are countless pet visitation programs that exist throughout North America. Those who are physically able to care for a pet, but have shied away from the idea in the past, may want to give it a second thought.

    For seniors or anyone for that matter,  a handful of benefits that come with having a pet are: less depression, sense of security, lower blood pressure and pulse rate, unconditional love and support — all factors that can ultimately lower your stress levels.

     

    6. On a Happy Note

    A new health and wellness craze that has seniors singing a happy tune in most retirement residences and care facilities is music therapy. While it’s no big surprise that music can help improve one’s mood, this form of therapy has been proven to also improve awareness, concentration, improve memory, reduce tension and promote relaxation. If there isn’t a music therapy programs in your community, you can still benefit from the calming effects of music by simply playing music at home.

     

    7. Massage Stress Away

    There are plenty of reasons seniors should consider booking a massage with a registered geriatric massage therapist. While it’s not exactly breaking news that a massage can help ease tension in your back, neck and shoulders did you know it can also reduce anxiety and depression? It’s true! Studies show that seniors who go for regular massages have an improvement in their personal well-being and overall health. Sounds like a great excuse to head to the spa!

     

    8. Reconnect with Nature

    The beauty of nature has always been compelling — it inspires us. Whether it’s your own backyard or a leisurely stroll at the beach or a park, the calming effects of Mother Nature can help promote relaxation. There’s also the added benefit of cardiovascular exercise, which also reduces stress (see #1).

     

    9. Get Crafty

    Have you ever considered taking up a craft? You certainly don’t have to be the next Martha Stewart to create a hand-made project. Whether it’s woodwork, sculpture, knitting, cross-stitch, etc., an artistic project can be your prescription for good health and lower stress levels.

    According to the American Journal Medical Association, a study of 30 female heart patients showed a significant decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and perspiration rate upon completing a craft project.

     

    10. Laugh out Loud

    There’s no denying that a good hearty laugh can make you feel great and forget your worries—that’s why the phrase ‘laughter is the best medicine’ has been used for centuries. In recent years, laughter has inspired a whole new form of therapy called Laughter Yoga — a revolutionary activity that combines yogic deep breathing with laughter exercises. For seniors, this is a safe and effective way to release energy, and reduce negative thoughts, which can in turn reduce the risk factors of cardiac diseases due to stress.

     

    While it’s impossible to reduce all stress from our life, especially as we age, there are countless ways seniors can counteract the negative, harmful effects. With these 10 stress busters, you’ll be feeling relaxed in no time. Ready, set, relax!

     

    Author Bio: Beth Wallace is a Safety Specialist for Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. She visits the homes of Canadian seniors to show them how they can make their homes safer. Beth wants every senior to have the chance to bathe without the fear and risk of falling. You can follow Beth on Twitter at @_BethWallace.

    Image Credit: Ryan Forsythe @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/16135068@N00/304753195


  3. 8 Reasons To Stop Smoking Through Hypnosis

    June 29, 2013

    you got to stop smoking

    Tobacco use started in the late 15th century as a harmless habit, but by the 20th century people realized just how dangerous the long-term effects of smoking are. Today, it is one of the leading causes for premature death in various countries. Vigorous advertisement campaigns and awareness programs have helped in many ways. Almost everyone knows the dangers of smoking, especially those who smoke. Yet, you still find them smoking cigarettes day after day. The reasons for not quitting may vary, but one of the most common reasons is the lack of will power.
    If you have tried different ways to quit smoking but come out unsuccessful every single time, you may want to give a chance to hypnotherapy. The biggest challenge of quitting the habit is leaving the smoking routine you followed. Hypnotherapists generally do this by reminding you of the benefits of quitting and dangers of smoking. Here are the top 8 ways in which hypnotherapists convince you to stop smoking while you are in a deep state of relaxation.

    1. A longer life

    Did you know that you can increase your life expectancy by 10 years if you quit smoking by the time you hit 30 years? Imagine what you could do with that decade and how many more years can be saved by quitting early. Even if you quit when you are 60 years old, you can still add a few more years to your life.

    2. Better quality of life

    Quitting the habit will not only prolong your life but also improve the quality of life you enjoy. You have fewer health problems and feel better too.

    3. Improved immunity

    When you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer affected. Smoking lowers the efficacy of the body’s immune system and makes it more susceptible to various diseases.

    4. More energy

    Moreover, quitting helps in increasing your energy because your lungs and muscles function better and you sleep more soundly without nicotine in your system.

    5. Reduced stress

    Smokers often start the habit to reduce their stress, and the immediate effect of nicotine after withdrawal does give a relaxed feeling, but the feeling is short-lived. In the long run, smoking actually increases stress levels.

    6. Better looking skin and healthier feeling

    Smoking ages the skin prematurely by causing it to dry and dull and making it more prone to wrinkles. This effect reverses when you stop smoking because the skin begins to receive the necessary nutrients.

    7. Protecting your loved ones

    When smokers think of the dangers of their habit, they often focus on the dangers of active smoking. However, passive smoking can be as dangerous as active smoking, if not more. Passive smokers are those who breathe the same smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. Your family members, friends, and even children could be passive smokers. Quitting the habit helps ensure that they do not run the risk of developing diseases related to smoking.

    8. Better smell and taste

    The chemicals present in cigarettes tend to dull the taste buds in your mouth, which in turn affects the way you smell. As a result, the food and drink you have lose their taste and smell. Quitting the habit reduces the dullness and improves your sense of taste and smell.

     

    Author Bio: Tom is the guest blogger who blogs on behalf of Balance For Life, interested in writing articles that creates awareness on stop smoking through hypnosis.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

     


  4. Why Exercise is Good For Your Brain

    June 24, 2013

    by Christine Hanchett

     

    We all know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy body weight and gaining muscle, but did you know that exercise is good for your brain as well?  To be more specific, it is actually cardio exercise that has been shown to be great for the brain.  That is not to say that anaerobic exercise isn’t good for the brain—it’s just that there hasn’t been too many clinical studies to conclude one way or another yet.   But there has been a lot of research into cardiovascular exercise and improved cognition and brain plasticity.  So as to the specific reasons for the cardio exercise being good for the brain, here are the five main benefits:

     

    Sends More Oxygen to the Brain

              Physical exercise increases breathing and heart rate, sending more blood to your brain. The extra oxygen and glucose you receive from the improved blood circulation is used for enhanced energy production and waste removal. Exercise can actually make cerebral blood vessels grow, even in people of an older age. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do for your brain; you get the increased blood circulation and because it is not as strenuous as running, for instance, you do not get a buildup of oxygen and glucose in your leg muscles.

     

    Stimulates Growth of Neural Connections and Cells

              Exercise aids in the release of hormones, particularly those that aid in the growth and nourishment of new brain cells. New connections are also able to grow between important cortical areas of the brain. The growth of new neural cells (neurogenesis) and new connections between cells allows your brain to have what is called “plasticity.” Plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize neural pathways. These types of changes occur when we learn something new or memorize new information. Research supports the idea that if someone experiences a brain injury, plasticity allows another part of the brain to actually adapt itself to be able to perform the duties of the injured part!

                      

    Better Cognition

              Exercise not only makes you look better, it can make you smarter as well! The increased blood flow to your brain from your increased heart rate can improve your memory, learning ability, concentration, executive functioning (planning, organization, the ability to mentally juggle several different tasks at once, etc) and abstract reasoning. To really improve your brain, take some ballroom dance classes; you’ll be getting the brain benefits of exercise and improving your cognition mentally (by having to remember the steps) at the same time!

     

    Reduces Effects of Stress

    When you are stressed, cortisol levels in your brain become higher, leading to slow, scattered thinking, impaired learning, and forgetfulness. High levels of cortisol can increase blood sugar and suppress the immune system. If prolonged, it can lead to muscle wasting (atrophy). Exercising helps to lower your cortisol levels, leading to clearer and faster thinking again.

     

    Protection Against Diseases

    Studies have shown that physical exercise can have a protective effect on the brain against diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The more an individual exercises, the less likely he or she is to develop dementia or lose their mental abilities. Even light or moderate exercisers reduce their risk for mental decline significantly. Risk of stroke is also cut in half for those who spend at least twenty minutes a day exercising. Interestingly, the positive effects of exercise against age-related diseases are shown to be particularly beneficial for women.

     

    With all of these mental benefits in addition to the obvious physical benefits, why are you still reading this?  Get your butt down to the gym—now!

    Author Bio: Christine Hanchett is currently enrolled in college and majoring in psychology.  She is looking to get her Masters soon but in the meantime, she writes for Fitz101, which is a fitness site focusing on forming habits for healthy eating and regular exercise.

    Image credit: Bruno Hotz