One of the most important gifts you can give to yourself this New Year is to have a healthier lifestyle. To achieve this ideal, you need to embrace a sustainable program that entails gradual steps. This is far easier to sustain and less strenuous compared to a sudden change of lifestyle.
You stand to have an enjoyable experience if you engage in specific daily tasks. Your body will adjust gradually depending on its needs. Eventually, you will fall in love with healthy living because you will realize it is a lovely gift you are consciously offering to yourself every day.
You probably have heard that adapting healthy habits into your daily life is difficult. Nothing can be further from the truth. All you need is to adhere to a number of rituals, and your body will begin to love healthy living.
Drink Warm Lemon Water First Thing In The Morning: This is important for expelling toxins from your body, reinvigorating metabolism, fortifying your immunity, giving your organs the water they need for optimal functioning and obtaining much-needed energy to begin your day. You stand to benefit more from this drink if you add black pepper, freshly-ground turmeric or ginger, and a little bit of your favorite healthy oil. Turmeric will also be of great benefit to your body because of the presence of black pepper. The latter improves the bio-availability of the former.
Start Your Day With A Smoothie: There is no better nutrient-packed drink than a smoothie. You can increase the amounts of minerals and vitamins in a smoothie by loading it with superfoods.
Take Herbal Teas Instead Of Coffee: It is possible to gravitate towards coffee, but your body stands to gain more from drinking rooibos and other herbal teas. You will surely be a healthier person when your kidney is cleaned, your body hydrated, and when you have lower levels of cholesterol. Similarly, herbal teas help you to lose weight and assuage your headaches, among other gains.
Exercise: When your body moves, more endorphins are released into the blood, making you a happier person. Both your mood and energy levels improve when you exercise. Where possible, walk to your place of work instead of driving. Depending on your personality, exercise in the morning or after work. It will help clear your mind.
Opt For Healthy Snacks Instead Of Processed Nibbles: Smoothies, fruits, a couple of nuts or your home-based energy bar are healthier choices compared to cookies and sausages.
Enrich Your Food With Turmeric: This spice is packed with medicinal properties and plenty of other benefits. Nothing adds more value to your pasta and rice meals, sauces and soups like turmeric.
You see how easy is ease to adapt these practices into your daily lifestyle? A time will come when you will not imagine your life without them. Along the way, you will pick up other similarly-beneficial habits. There is no substitute for your body. Nurture it.
Your Grace Guru
The joy, enthusiasm, optimism and productivity exhibited by creative people is infectious. If you are the inventive type, losing your spark is the last thing you want to happen. Even those who don’t consider themselves imaginative crave for the day they will exude positivism without struggling.
We all can do with an injection of originality in thinking. Creativity invigorates your mind and gives you the impetus to face challenges and pursue new endeavors. Are you suffering from momentary or prolonged dearth of imagination?
Here are ten tips to help you become creative again…
- Embrace Good Old Nature
Human beings often forget they are part of nature. The outdoors, especially the woods, water bodies and hilly areas can ignite the spark that is lying idle in you. Take a walk and breathe fresh air. Listen to the chirping of birds. Learn from the diligence of bees. Your creativity will come back in a flood.
- Exercise Regularly
Sitting down for long constricts your muscles and blood vessels. Blood does not reach your body cells, tissues and organs as effectively as it should. You feel lethargic because oxygen is not reaching every part of your body. Why not join a fitness club or create an enjoyable exercise routine? You will realize that every time you exercise, you lose bad moods and redundant thoughts and feel fresh to think again.
- Take A Journey To New Territory
Creativity often takes a plunge because we are so much used to the familiar. Your eyes need to see a new world to feed the brain with novel ideas. Take a physical journey to an exciting place you have never visited before. Let your juvenile curiosity be awakened again. Get lost in the wonder of new frontiers as this will bring back your creativity.
- Become Playful And Childlike Again
Once upon a time, you were a little child who was mesmerized by fairy tales and ogre stories. You played hide and seek without any care as to what people thought about you. You mimicked other people; laughed at the slightest provocation, and shed tears of joy and pain in equal measure. That unfettered, jovial, carefree and playful child is still within you. That boy or girl still craves happiness. Play with little children. Engage in their games.
- Sleep, Baby, Sleep
In our busy world, sleep is fast becoming a luxury. We are too busy running errands and eking out a living to care about taking a nap. Your brain and body need rest. That way you recuperate and get the strength you need for another day. Think of a baby and how it cries when it lacks sleep. Think of how playful the same baby becomes moments after waking up from restful sleep. That is what will happen to you when you embrace regular sleep or unscheduled naps.
- Do Something Else
Creativity decreases with monotony. When you perform repetitive tasks, your body is overwhelmed by your predictable movement. If you have been writing for hours and are bored, why not listen to music? Get rid of the junk in your house. Do whatever will make you break the monotony and your will begin to think creatively again.
- Inject Yourself With A Dose Of Laughter
You have heard that laughter is medicine to the bones. Sometimes you need to look at the funny side of life. Find something to laugh about, including your past mistakes. Go and watch that comedy at the theater. How about a funny movie or a sitcom featuring your favorite comedian? Doing this revitalizes your mind and your creative energies.
- Hook Up With Friends
People you love and whose company you enjoy can be your greatest source of inspiration. When your creative fuel tank is almost empty, call that funny friend of yours and share a cup of coffee. Relieve those funny experiences that you share.
- Admit Defeat And Move On
When you think about failure constantly, your creativity suffers. To avoid this, be sincere with yourself and admit it when you have failed. You are not a paragon. You are made of flesh and blood. Nobody said you must know everything. When you can’t handle an issue anymore, and it is costing you more than you are investing in it, admit defeat and look for another challenge.
- Indulge Your Senses
You will do yourself a great favor if you find a way to invigorate each of your senses when your creativity goes down. When was the last time you plucked a rose flower, and imbibed its sweet aroma? Eat that meal you have craved or never tried. Go for a full-body massage. Go birdwatching. Listen to a different kind of music. This way, your creativity will be revived.
Whatever you choose to do, remember you cannot accomplish much when your creative batteries are running low.
Your Grace Guru
Quantum physics (or as some choose to call it, Quantum Mechanics) is a branch of physics concerned with the way energy and matter behave, particularly in relation to molecules and atoms as well as nuclear and other smaller levels of matter.
Physicists themselves have described it as an impossible science because it defies conventional knowledge of cause and effect and relies heavily on probability. It has been described as the science of the ‘very small’.
It revolves around the idea of isolating objects from the surroundings and attempting to study such objects. Now that some objects are too big to be removed from their environments and analysed, quantum science takes place in the world of atoms, molecules and other microscopic elements.
This line of physics became of concern to scientists when it was established that the laws that dictate how larger objects operate do not apply in the same way where microscopic objects are concerned.
The word ‘quantum’ refers to quantity and is derived from the Latin language. In quantum physics, matter and energy can be broken up into discrete units which are not only observed but also predicted. Indeed, everything that exists can be studied in quantum physics. For example, even though one cannot see time and space, quantum physics studies and describes them.
Brief History Of Quantum Physics
Quantum physics has its roots in the early 20th Century when physicists discovered that at the macroscopic and microscopic levels, the laws that govern objects were different. With time, scientists developed more precise methods of measuring matter, and that is when they began to observe unusual trends.
In terms of documentation, though, quantum physics is said to have been spawned by Max Planck who wrote a paper on the subject of black body radiation in 1900. Other experts who played significant roles in the development of this field of inquiry were Niels Bohr, Erwin Schroedinger, Warner Heisenberg and the renowned Albert Einstein.
It is important to note that while Albert Einstein is renowned for his ground-breaking and significant discoveries in science, he was opposed to the tenets of quantum physics. Einstein dedicated a lot of his time to experiments and discourse meant to discredit quantum physics. Credit to him; the proponents of this line of thought put in more research and came up with the discoveries we have today.
The Uniqueness Of Quantum Physics
This field of physics holds that the moment you begin to observe something, you begin to influence the physical activities that take place around it. Waves and articles act in similar ways and may be confused for one another. The movement of matter happens even where there is no intervening space.
Moreover, transmission of information also occurs over infinite distances. The main discovery in quantum physics for most people is that the universe consists of sequences of probabilities.
Some Important Issues In Quantum Physics
It is true that many people find this field of study rather complex especially because of constant reference to unseen matters. For scientists, it may not be much of a problem to visualize the claims of quantum physics, especially because the right technology exists to measure the links between various phenomena.
However, for the general public, quantum physics must be explained in simpler terms if it is to be appreciated. Actually, this area of knowledge is somewhat complex and weird even for the physicists who study it, but this should not imply that it is entirely incomprehensible for those willing to grasp its gist. Here are some fundamental issues that underlie this field:
- Quantum Physics Revolves Around Waves And Particles
Matter has both particle and wave elements and the two natures are mutually existent. It sounds rather weird to have an object that is simultaneously a particle and a wave. In actual sense, quantum physics deals with an object that is not entirely a wave or a particle, but a combination of the two.
The basic unit of quantum physics has wavelength and frequency, thus sharing the characteristic of a wave. On the other hand, the same unit is countable and can be domesticated up to a certain level, which means it shares the elements of a particle. The moment one begins to understand the dual nature of the object of quantum physics; he or she is on the way to understanding what quantum physics is all about.
- It Is Distinct
The very nature of quantum physics implies that it is discrete. All models consist of measurable amounts. For example, light is measure with wavelengths and frequencies, all of which can be quantified. The energy contained in light is similarly quantified based on the wavelength and frequency of the respective light ray.
- It Is Probabilistic
It may sound contradictory or ironical (after learning that quantum physics is discrete) to realise that the same science is probabilistic. In essence, it is not possible to be certain of the outcome of an experiment when using a quantum system. There are many possible outcomes of an experiment and probability is applied when trying to establish the outcome of each attempt.
Even when finding the congruence between theory and practice, it is only through probability that the relationship can be inferred. The final outcome is arrived after carrying out several experiments over some time and trying to find out which one is closest to the expected outcome.
Probability is also applied when trying to conceptualise the existence of particles in multiple states. Any predictions are based on probability. Before any calibrations that would lead to an outcome, the system in question is said to be in intermediate state. In essence, quantum physics is probabilistic in as far as outcomes are concerned.
- The Result Of Quantum Mechanics Are Not Tied To Prevailing Circumstances Only
According to quantum physicists, the result of experiments in this field is non-local. This means that respective results can depend on the characteristics of an object that is far removed from the object being measured. Moreover, one cannot explain these results using the same logic employed when explaining the movement of signals at the speed of light.
However, one should not misconstrue this to mean that one can transmit information at a rate that surpasses that of light. Some experiments were done in the attempt to employ non-locality of quantum mechanics to surpass the speed of light. As would be expected, these experiments did not succeed.
- In Most Cases, Quantum Physics Deals With ‘Smaller’ Objects
One of the unusual things about quantum physics is that whatever it predicts often goes against conventional experiences. The larger the object you study the lesser the effects. In essence, this field of study is concerned with minuscule objects, like particles and wavelengths, all of which diminish as the size of an object increases.
- It Is Real…
Many people, on coming into contact with the assertions of quantum physics, often assume this is an intangible issue – like magic. Simply because one cannot conceptualize waves and particles does not mean that they don’t exist. Similarly, the fact that quantum mechanics works in an almost invisible manner does not mean it is magic.
Quantum physics is ingrained in scientific thought and it supported by definite and infallible laws of nature. Mathematical procedures and methods exist to support the claims of quantum physics. It is also true that human beings can study and exploit the teachings and principles of quantum, physics but this does not make the latter is magic or mysticism.
Application Of Quantum Physics
It is important to understand that quantum mechanics is not just an abstract kind of knowledge. It can and has been used in practical ways to develop technology and items that human beings use every day. This is especially in the electronic and computer world, which is always in flux, thus implying that the quantum science is alive and necessary.
Some of its applications include LED lights, computer monitors, florescent bulbs, MRI scanners, bar-code scanners, semi-conductors, super-conductors, transistors, spectroscopy, digital cameras, fiber-optics, photocopiers, solar cells, DVDs and CDs. Further, it is estimated that developed countries derive 25% of their GDP from quantum science-related activities.
Not Yet Fully Understood
Interestingly, many physicists who have spent time researching on quantum science opine that no one has ever fully comprehended what this area of knowledge is all about. Indeed, Niels Bohr one said that unless one is shocked by quantum theory he or she is yet to understand it.
This assertion should be taken seriously considering Bohr was one of the scientists who first realized that unlike what classical theory had led many to believe, quantum physics was replete with chaos and murkiness, not precision. In other words, this is a field that requires greater inquiry and experiment before any plausible conclusions can be made.
That said, humanity continues to enjoy the marvels of quantum science. While one may not fully comprehend what exactly happens with particles and waves in matter, this does not prevent one from enjoying the benefits of such knowledge.
Your Grace Guru
People in the world are becoming lonelier despite the increasing population and more ways of making friends. Before you dismiss my assertion, you must understand that by ‘lonely’ I do not mean isolated. Actually, you can be alone but not lonely.
Loneliness is not a good experience. Can you imagine being at the centre of a crowd yet you are feeling lonely? Think about it this way: You are attending a celebratory event, partaking of all the eating and fun, yet you are not part and parcel of the crowd. You feel lost amongst friends.
The Extreme Effects of Loneliness
Did I hear you say that one can only be lonely in the remote parts of our planets? Let me startle you a bit. In one of the Koreas, it is reported that people are so lonely that they are watching videos of other people taking dinner! That is how serious loneliness is for people around the world. To aggravate matters, people that suffer from loneliness are likely to die early. It turns out being out of touch with people and social life is harmful to your health and life. Research also indicates that social circles are reducing in circumference. Today, you are likely to have fewer friends than you had several years ago.
What Causes Loneliness?
Considering the negative effects of loneliness and the interdependence of human beings, it is imperative that we find ways of averting loneliness. We need to remember, though, that loneliness begins in the mind before extending into the physical realm. The moment you lose touch with yourself, you begin to feel lonely. If people are not coalescing around and you feel like they are isolating you, more often than not it is because you have created an aura of loneliness around you. Consequently, any effort to fight loneliness must recognize the role your temperament and conduct play in creating this condition.
The moment you begin to feel comfortable and confident with yourself, you begin to find freedom from loneliness. Having low self-esteem leads one to seek validation from others from a defeatist point of view. The fight against loneliness, therefore, begins from within as it moves to the outside.
Here’s How To Overcome Loneliness
1. Appreciate Yourself: There are countless reasons to love yourself, but only you can identify and appreciate them, before others do. Within you is a great person, waiting to be expressed and to enrich the world with exceptional talents and gifts. You are valuable to the world even as you are unique. It is important for you to learn to ideologically distance your ‘self’ from you and the appreciate it. When you value yourself, you will always find something worthwhile to do, irrespective of where you are. Your thoughts will be geared towards making most of the time you have either with friends, family or yourself. You will not fear to be alone because that is when you imbibe the wisdom that you share with those you meet.
2. Create Time to Feed Your Soul and Mind: People grow emotionally and in personality when they have time with themselves. You must find time to withdraw away from the public to think and meditate about yourself in order to appreciate who you are. Moments of silence, isolation and profound reflection are crucial for people who want to overcome loneliness.
You need to occasionally hike up the hill alone. One of these fine days, take a boat and explore the deeper parts of the lake. Take time to read a book that motivates you. Go out on a date by yourself where you can enjoy a meal to celebrate who you are. Keep a journal to jot down and later reflect on your experiences.
3. Identify and Address The Cause of Your Condition: Deep inside you is a voice that you cannot silence. If you listen to it, it will tell you why you are lonely. Once you realize the root cause of your problem, address it. If the problem is related to people around you, for example those who have hurt you or you have hurt, seek for peace. If the reason you feel lonely is because you have no confidence in yourself, you may need to consult a life-coach or someone who can help you overcome your self-confidence issues. Self-pity and relocation to another city or neighborhood will not work in the long run. Confronting your fears and the people and objects that represent your phobias is a great step towards liberation from loneliness.
4.Appreciate Others and Create Time For Them: While loneliness and being alone are not the same, they are related. That is why people who travel away from home for prolonged duration’s often feel lonely. They are far removed from their loved ones and cannot participate in the rituals and excitement of friendship and family. It is for this reason that you need to create time to be with the people that value and love you. Never miss a social event deliberately. When people are celebrating birthdays, weddings, funerals and other social events, avail yourself. Make time for sick folks in hospitals and homes. Help out in community service and emergencies. Be present in good times and in bad moments.
5. Do What Makes You Happy: Loneliness is a product of disengaging yourself from that which makes you who you are. The moment you forget to pander to the whims of the kid in you, you begin to feel lonely. I am talking about that carefree fella who likes to have fun. That old self that appreciates loving and begin loved.Feed that little rascal that wants to laze on the sofa and watch television after days of work. That little ‘you’ that you are trying to stifle still enjoys taking a cup of coffee with friends. He or she loves a holiday and the occasional bungee diving or other daring sport. Be carefree at times and loneliness will take a flight.
That said, if you still feel lonely after trying these tips, get help from a professional because the problem could be deeper than we think.
Your Grace Guru
Visualisation meditation is a form of meditation that involves communicating with either spiritual guides, your higher self / subconscious mind or Supreme Being. The other form of meditation is object-focused but this one is a form of visual meditation that is subjective. Practitioners preach that meditation visualisation is a powerful tool for transforming one’s inner being and conduct.
Visualisation meditation is subjective but at the same time it involves a high level of action from the person who wants to benefit from it. The reason some people have never realised the benefits of visualisation meditation is because they often confuse it with daydreaming. To the observer, a practitioner of this technique may appear to be daydreaming but in actual sense the latter is involved in an engaging and powerful self-transformation exercise.
The Power of Visualisation Meditation
As noted earlier, visualisation meditation is regarded highly because of its powerful ability to transform lives. The following are some of the ways in which practitioners have benefited from using this technique:
- Relief from pain. People who have experienced chronic pain have reported to feel significantly better after this particular practice.
- Acceleration of healing: Individuals who are recuperating after undergoing treatment attest to the speeding up of the healing process after engaging in visualisation meditation.
- Dealing effectively with anxiety and stress: After practicing visualisation meditation repeatedly, practitioners report significantly decreased levels of tension and the increased ability to focus the mind on other productive activities.
- Generally, people are using this technique as a substitute to or to complement contemporary medicine.
- Did you also know that if people practiced this technique, they would reduce their visits to the doctor by 90% because the majority of illnesses we suffer from can in fact be cured through visualisation meditation?
- Last but not least, if you have a problem concentrating on a task, lesson or routine this technique can drastically help you to reverse the trend.
Getting Down to Business:
- Begin by looking for a quiet place and time, preferably a quiet room or at night before you sleep. However, don’t limit yourself – ensure you have enough time and will not be interrupted during the session.
- Like all meditation, visualisation meditation begins with the practitioner adopting a comfortable meditation posture.
- The next course of action is to shut your eyes. This helps you to concentrate your mind on the task at hand.
- Now breathe deeply from you diaphragm and relax your muscles gradually.
- Visualise yourself in a place where you are surrounded by a glowing white light.
- Imagine that that light is filled with peace and happiness.
- Concentrate on imbibing the light every time you breathe.
- Allow that feeling to infiltrate into your body, reaching each of your cells, organs, atoms and every other part of your being.
- Now visualise yourself getting rid of negative energy. Think of all negativity as a black smoke. Release the thick stuff from your body as you breathe out.
- After getting rid of negativity, focus on the positive. Think about that thing or state you desire and how you will feel when you eventually achieve it. With that image in mind, inhale deeply, as if allowing the dream to become a reality.
- Remember to create as clear an image as possible, complete with all the senses.
- Once the process is over, go through the normal procedures of concluding a meditation session.
- Don’t forget that visualisation meditation should be repeated regularly until it becomes a normal practice. The desired image must be called into the mind as often as possible in order to make it some kind of an obsession you must achieve.
Which kind of scenario is conducive for Visualisation Meditation to endure expected results?
- To begin with, your visualisation should involve smaller moments and not vague gigantic amounts. In other words, you cannot dream the world in one setting. You know what you want. Break it down into smaller goals and objectives. Remember the dream will be realized piece by piece, not all in one go.
- You also need to have a clear plan. Like your dream, your plan must be broken down into achievable parts. You might want to create daily, weekly or monthly tasks that contribute to the overall goal. You also need to be realistic when making your plans.
- Now put your plan into action. Be faithful to the plan you have made. You are your own supervisor. Have a To-Do list for each day.
- It will not be easy. You must have self-belief. There may be many times you will feel like giving up. You need to have self-confidence. Nothing will be achieved without your efforts. You will find obstacles throughout your journey. Let the expected outcome work as an incentive for you.
- It is the sum of small efforts that will culminate in the dream. Always see the bigger picture in the smaller effort.
Is there a Recommended Frequency?
Visualisation meditation is not about the time you spend doing it but the level of concentration and result. At the onset, it is advisable to spend between a quarter of an hour and half an hour in the exercise. This is especially when you are new to the technique.
As you become more experienced, you may want to concentrate for longer periods of time. In other words, the duration of time spent by different people depends on experience.
How many times should you do it in a day, week, month etc.? Again this is a decision to be made by the individual. Some do it twice a day while others visualise only once every week. It is only you who knows how desperately you need to make your dream come true. However, you should be careful not to overdo the exercise to the extent of it become mundane and ineffective.
Despite this, if you make it a routine and it works for you, then go ahead and practice it. For example, there are people who engage in it before going to bed or after waking up. Your bed will often provide enough comfort to visualise and meditate. This is especially effective for people who find it difficult to sleep.
Why people fail to gain from Visualisation Meditation
Visualisation meditation has been criticised by people who do not understand the rationale behind it. In recent decades, the debate on the law of attraction has attracted widespread acceptance and rejection / skepticism in equal measure. This is especially true when it comes to attracting the things, people and circumstances that one wants in his or her life.
The reason I am talking about the law of attraction is because it teaches a form of visualisation meditation that many use for material gain at the expense of their spiritual, emotional and mental development. Visual meditation acknowledges (like the law of attraction) that everything begins as an idea before it matures into reality. Everything your senses can perceive was once an idea in the mind of another person.
However, many beginners of visualisation meditation stumble when the ideas they hold in their mind do not come to achievement. What they forget is that even the best idea must be backed up by a parallel action of the technique in order to produce the desired results. As one anonymous individual said, building castles in the sky is commendable but the dreamer must go ahead and lay the foundation if the dream are to become a reality.
In essence, you must go beyond visualising what you want and create an action plan for achieving your desires. There must be some form of physical effort towards achieving the dream. Unless you act towards your goal you will be like the person who dreams he or she had won the lottery and wakes up to search for the money in the bed, only to realise it was merely a dream!
Nature has rules and laws that do not change to suit our needs. It is us who need to change to be in tandem with nature. In the case of visualisation meditation, nature demands that we align our attitudes and actions with the desired outcome. A seed that is planted but not watered will die. An idea that is visualised during meditation but is not planned for eventually becomes a distant dream or a fantasy.
Some people also fail to realise the fruits of visualisation meditation because they fail to back up the dream and action with belief. You must believe that you will achieve your dream. There are many who have an idea, create a plan for achieving the dream but fall along the way because they do not have self-belief. You need confidence and self-assurance that you are equal to the task and that the universe will help you to achieve your desires.
Another barrier to visualisation meditation is over-indulging in the exercise without the backing of common sense. Creating a mental image of what you desire is the first and very important step towards your target. However, creating mental images for the sake of it or simply because you want to escape your current position ASAP is detrimental to your efforts.
Think about it this way. If you visualise yourself getting out of poverty or some form of misfortune tomorrow yet you don’t have the means to back you up, you will be disappointed. It is important to remember that visualisation meditation is not magic. There can be no miracles if you don’t expend any efforts towards making your idea a reality. Wishful thinking is not synonymous with visualisation meditation!
I hope you do not think that I want you not to be ambitious. No. Ambition is crucial for personal success. However, your dreams must be in tandem with the universe and its workings. There are laws of cause and effect; laws of planting and harvesting, and laws for rewarding effort and not mere fantasising. To emphasise: that is how nature works and it cannot change to suit your whims.
Many of the people you will hear disparaging visualisation meditation are those who were looking for quick fixes and instant riches, contrary to rationality and common sense. They came with high hopes. They wanted a miracle. They were not willing or prepared for the mandatory effort and self-belief. When the natural and rational outcome of their meager efforts came to fruition (here I mean when they failed) disappointment and disillusionment set it and they started blaming the technique and not themselves.
The process we have discussed here is just an example. Come up with one that fits your need. Make sure the atmosphere and experience you visualise is one that brings you into the right state of mind to expel negative energy and imbibe positive energy. Make sure you do this as often as you feel you are functioning optimally.
Finally, an idea / dream, coupled with the right plan and a determination to succeed are the main ingredients for effective visualisation meditation.
Your Grace Guru
Moods are important! Emotions are part and parcel of every human being. The tradition with human feelings – these include both good and bad vibes! If anyone tells you that they only experience good moods, please realise you are dealing with a liar or a mentally disturbed person!
As fate would have it, it always seems harder to get into a good mood but always very easy to lose it. To put it differently, you are likely to change into a bad mood faster than it will take you to adopt a positive emotion. It feels like an exercise in futility, right? … Not exactly!
Why A Bad Mood Is To Be Avoided
It is important to consider the negative effects of a bad mood, hoping that this will jolt you into realising why you need strategies in order to rid yourself of a bad temperament. A foul disposition sets in motion a series of negative reactions to people, events and other external stimuli.
When you are in a foul temperament, you are likely to dent your reputation through negative talk and actions. You may say something you will regret. It is also possible to throw away opportunities and people that could have helped you. In other words, a bad mood beclouds the mind and precipitates negative conduct.
How To Change Your Mood For The Better
Here are effective actions to take when your mood goes south, as it will often do. You will realise that changing your mood to the better will demand that you address certain mental, physical, social and even dietary issues:
1. Treat the cause, not the symptoms: Your moods are indicative of a deeper problem within you. Perhaps it is self-acceptance or low self –esteem. Possibly there is an unresolved problem with someone else. It is time you took the bull by its horns. Iron out the issues with the other person, or, where necessary, seek professional assistance.
2. Set goals and priorities: Your foul mood is probably due to exhaustion and feeling that you have too much to do within a very short time. Write down all the tasks that await you and prioritize them. Identify the urgent and the important and decide what to do first.
3. Adopt a positive disposition: Whenever you focus on the bad that is happening or is likely to happen around you, you tend to feel to despondent. Focus, rather, on what makes you happy. Think about your past success whenever the present seems to be going against your present desires.
4. Grab a wholesome snack or meal: Your moods plunge when you are low on energy. The best solution is to eat healthy food like fruits, nuts, vegetables, avocado and dark chocolate, to name a few. The nutrients these foods carry will elevate your mood almost immediately.
5. Engage in an enjoyable activity: What is that pastime that brings out the best in you? Just do it. Get out there are and ride a bike. Volunteer for community service. Engage deliberately in activities that have previously lifted your moods and made life enjoyable.
6. Invest in some humour: Your mood has plummeted? Watch that favourite comedian or comedy show and bring back some excitement into your life. Call the funny friend who makes you laugh simply by being around you. Go out and meet them as this will spike your mood. How about remembering events and people that made you laugh in the past?
7. Bring a smile to your face: This is where we say you should fake it until you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at the person who is looking back at you. Act happy and you will be surprised at how quickly your thoughts pick up the happy mood.
8. Engage in a distraction: Instead of focussing on that issue that has negatively affected your disposition, look for something different but more enjoyable to do. It may not be something you have done before, but it has to help your forget your reasons for being sad.
9. Work out: It is rare to find a person who is exercising being unhappy at the same time. Exercise has a way of stimulating the secretion of endorphins thus lifting up your mood. Take a brisk walk, hit the gym or perform push-ups in your living room to drive bad moods away.
10. Practice spirituality: There is a soul inside you that yearns for connection with the Supreme Being. Nurture your soul by engaging in prayer, meditation or any other activity that nourishes the inner being. The ensuing peace of mind cannot c0-exist with bad moods.
11. Listen to your favourite music: Music, especially that cool and sentimental type and spiritual vibes, has a way of lifting up your spirit and giving you a reason to be positive and to smile again, despite the negatives around you.
12. Dance: Closely related to music is the idea of moving your body in unison with the beat and rhythm music you are listening to. Dancing, like exercise, has a positive impact on your endorphins, banishing away a foul mood and bringing back the positive vibe you need.
13. Reach out to friends and family: Some bad moods stem from feelings of disconnection from the rest of the society. That is why you need to call your friend and eat out or watch a movie together. A much cheaper option is to set out on a walk or picnic.
14. Play: Which is your favourite game? Football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, badminton? Get some friends or visit the sports club and play to your satisfaction. Bad mood will eschew you.
15. Disengage social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their cousins have a way of making you feel less successful, unimportant and less attractive, especially when you look at the posts and profiles of apparently more successful peers. Give yourself a break and focus on improving your self-esteem.
Most importantly, remember you can only get out of a bad mood by taking practical steps. Whatever works for you, bring the vibe and groove back, maximize on it, and bad moods will not dictate how you live your life!
Your Grace Guru
One of the most renowned experiments on the close connection between the body and the mind is the placebo effect. Simply put, the placebo effect holds that when a sick person is given a counterfeit pill or one that resembles an actual pill but has zero effect, the patient will be cured, not because the medicine has any effect, but because of the patient’s unreserved belief in the efficacy of that pill.
The Starting Point
That will form the starting point as we seek to understand the powerful effect the mind has on other faculties of the body. Dr Lissa Rankin, a physician and researcher established in a study that the prevalence of diseases and concomitant expenditure was almost as high in poor neighbourhoods as they were in posh California areas.
The Poor And The Rich, Alike, Get Sick
While everybody would expect poor folks to have higher risks of falling sick due to poor dietary practices, lack of exercise, smoking and drug abuse among other practices, people in wealthier areas were also at risk, to the surprise of many. This study brought to the fore the fact that contrary to the teachings of conventional medicine, it was important to unleash a holistic approach to treatment of illnesses, especially to embrace the marvels of the mind.
The Law of Attraction
Another important issue to consider when pondering how strong the power of the mind is lies within the law of attraction. Over the years, philosophers, theologians, quantum physicists and other professionals have come to the conclusion that when the mind consistently holds on to a thought pattern, whatever is being thought about comes to pass.
There have been many reports of people who have transformed their financial fortunes as well as other spheres of life by using the law of attraction. Some terminally ill patients, who had been informed by physicians that they would not live for long, have been known to walk out of their hospital beds into flourishing wellbeing.
Now, To The Immense Powers Of The Mind
These and other developments in the study of the mind illustrate just how powerful this organ is. However, in order to understand, to a greater depth, the powers of the mind, let us delve into the specifics.
1. Healing Of Diseases: For many years, faith healing has been practiced but is always dismissed by most medical practitioners. The field of medicine or conventional healing has been aided to an extent by the discovery of the power of the mind. According to experimental studies carried out at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, located in Massachusetts, patients who underwent a number of mindfulness techniques (e.g. meditation, and mantra) demonstrated significant gene changes, which helped to decelerate ageing, improve metabolism and relaxation, and regulate insulin in their bodies.
The practice of mindfulness created changes in the DNA that led to remarkable health improvements for participating patients. In essence, the power of the mind was called into action to aid conventional medicine and what resulted was more than could have been accomplished through common therapeutic means. With more experiments, we could witness a decrease in global expenditure on medicine and healthcare. The irony is that this power has always been with us yet medical practitioners did not find it prudent to try it on human beings.
2. Assuaging Of Physical Pain: The study of the mind has also led to interesting findings that have impacted the way we understand and deal with pain. To begin with, the placebo effect indicates that the mind actually has control over the body. While pain is real and cannot be wished away, it is evident that the human body has its own healing mechanisms which are domiciled in the mind. It is possible now to understand how faith-healers work, whether they (faith-healers) understand the rationale or not. The moment one believes that they are going to be healed, the mind starts to work towards the healing of that person.
The connection between the mind and the body, though unseen, is very powerful to the point of bringing relief from pain. This discovery has led many to believe that what we call ‘miracles’ of healing are merely the manifestations of the healing power of the mind on body maladies. Again, if such a discovery is actualized people will spend less on medicine and healthcare systems will not be as strained as they are today.
3. Emotional Healing: Did you know that emotional pain is as excruciating as physical hurt? The fact that people who hurt emotionally may not exhibit physical injuries does not mean that they are hurting less. Studies have established that the same mechanisms that work in emotional throbbing are the ones involved in physical pain. The brain is created in such a way that it does not differentiate between sources of pain. When people lose a loved one or go through a breakup, the aching they feel has the same potency as if they had been hurt physically.
But there is something that should worry you more. While physical pain lasts for certain duration and disappears, emotional pain stays for a longer time. Every time a person is reminded of the hurtful event that stung their feelings, chances are that the wound will become fresh again and pain even more. It takes time and deliberate acceptance of circumstances for the mind to bring about healing. Need we be careful about the emotional pain we inflict on other people? We should.
4. Managing Stress: Another important area of medical research that has benefited a lot from understanding the power of the brain is stress management. One fact about the brain is that it cannot differentiate between real threats and those that don’t exist. We all know the reality of stress even when it emanates from genuine issues that put the lives and comfort of those we love and ourselves at risk. And life has so many of these, many of which emanate from the people we interact with daily.
However, we need to understand that even imagined stress can have a devastating effect on our lives because the brain considers it stress. Whatever we imagine that can bring pain into our lives eventually hurts us. The solution, thankfully, lies in the same mind. We can visualize ourselves doing away with both real and imagined stress and it will be gone as simply as it came. The moment we realize that we can change our thinking and change our circumstances, we rid ourselves of negative stress that can easily destroy us.
5. Learning Through Visualisation: The mind is so powerful that we can use it to learn without actually being in a learning environment. The brain has a capability called neuroplasticity, which implies that it devices new pathways on a continuous basis. By repeating a routine when learning a skill, we strengthen the pathways which carry the respective action. That happens when you are in a classroom trying to learn a skill. However, the brain does not differentiate between what you actually perform and what you visualise.
According to the great Albert Einstein, you are better off with imagination than with knowledge, if you were to choose between the two. In essence, if you imagine carrying out some action using your brain, the mind will react as if you are in actual practice. Visualization is, therefore, a very important aspect of learning. This should be of great interest to educationists.
6.Goal Achievement: Now, this may shock many because it is unprecedented. Did you know that when you speak about your goals, your brain believes you have achieved them? Wow! Your mouth may be your downfall, after all. Experts have established that the moment you start telling others of the goals you intend to achieve, the brain confuses your talking for action, thus depriving you of the motivation to achieve an ‘already attained’ goal.
Talking about your goals gives you satisfaction and sends the signal to the brain that you don’t need any more inspiration and inner strength to reach out. Methinks we should keep quiet about our dreams and wait until we have accomplished them. Once again, a goal in mind tells the brain to give you the resources you need to achieve it. What a discovery!
7. Boosting Your Mood: Put a smile on your face now because there is good news. Did you know that your facial expression affects your emotions? The brain (how “confused” this organ is) cannot differentiate between a fake and a genuine smile. This means that the moment stress engulfs you, you can laugh your way out of it. A fake smile has the same effect on your brain and relieves stress the same way a real smile does. When you facial muscles move to form a smile, the brain interprets it as a positive emotion and stress takes a flight.
Something is the matter and you are stressed? Laugh at your problems. Hide from people and smile your way out. Someone is stressing you out, pretend not to be upset and smile instead. Don’t frown because this will strengthen bad moods. Make it your reaction to always meet stress with a smile because you have a brain that is so powerful that it does not realize you are pretending you are happy!
The Parting Shot
This space is not enough to elaborate exhaustively just how powerful the mind is. However, with this knowledge, you can live a better life because you can handle physical and emotional hurt as well as ubiquitous stress.
Hopefully, scientists and other interested parties will continue to discover other marvellous capabilities of the brain that would help us live happier and longer lives. Until then, let us toast to the most powerful computer ever created – your brain!
Your Grace Guru
One of the greatest and most beneficial lessons we can learn from our early ancestors is how to make prudent food choices. Today, we grapple with numerous illnesses, majority of which stem from what and how we eat. The Paleo diet is an attempt to replicate the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. There are numerous benefits to be gained from this approach to nutrition.
Some Reflections On Our Past Are Crucial At This Point
As man evolved, he devised various strategies for survival. Food, as a basic necessity, was at the center of man’s development throughout the years. Originally, human beings were hunters and gatherers. Their diet consisted of what they could find easily in nature.
If you were to subsist on a caveman diet today, what would you eat? To begin with, fruits and nuts were easily available from trees even before man knew how to light a fire. Plants provided the food needs of the cavemen. If this diet was harmful, our ancestors would not have survived. I would not be writing this article today and you would be nowhere to read it.
With the discovery of fire, the Paleolithic man began to cook food, especially meat from animals. Now he could eat fowl, mammals and fish. It is important to remember that these animals were found abundantly in the wild. They fed on natural vegetation and grass. This augmented the plant diet and kept our early ancestors in perfect health.
They Lived Longer Than Us
By now you know that we cannot even come close to the number of years these people lived. Many of them clocked centuries, except for instances when plagues and other diseases decimated populations. I want to believe that obesity was not in the parlance of the day because these were active people who ate lean meat and plant materials.
Enter Manufacturing And Food Processing
However, the scenario was to change when human beings began to domesticate animals and to practice agriculture. Gradually, eating habits changed. Food began to be cooked more than being eaten raw. Modern technology led to the processing and storage of food. Needless to say, the nutritional value of cooked and processed food is lower than that of raw food.
Today, as a consequence of gradual diet changes, we are experiencing many life-threatening and violent diseases. Experts opine that we need to change our diets to the original caveman food if we are to survive the onslaught of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and other illnesses.
What The Paleo Diet Entails
Paleo means going back to the basics in terms of diet. It entails eating what the cavemen feasted on. The word ‘diet’ should not be misconstrued to mean a temporary measure for purposes of losing weight. Paleo is a lifestyle choice which entails eating particular foods and avoiding others.
When you adopt a Paleo diet, you eat as much as possible as our early ancestors. This means eating fruits, vegetables, seafood, nuts, lean meats and wild meats as opposed to starches, milk products, legumes, grains and processed foods. If you are keen enough you will realize that caveman ate the former and not the latter.
Customized The Paleo Diet
It is important, though, to understand that there is no standard Paleo diet. While it is important to stick as much as possible to caveman delicacies, one must be realistic about the type of food available in their vicinity. Moreover, this diet cannot be adopted and accepted by the body immediately. It takes time to get used to it.
Moreover, you need to be patient when you are adopting this diet because it is not easy to stop eating food that you were used to. Take the example of legumes and potatoes, foods that are common in any household. How about dairy products and peanut butter? It will take time before you get used to the idea that these foods are not part of a Paleo diet and should be discarded.
In actual sense, there are categories of Paleo dieters depending on the extent to which one adopts this lifestyle. There are absolute Paleo dieters, those who cannot contemplate taking anything that our cavemen ancestors could not eat. Considering the reality of modern life vis-à-vis Paleolithic times, it is quite difficult to replicate the past.
The more realistic and common approach is to try as much as possible to eat a Paleo diet, while still consuming little amounts of some of the foods that do not meet the threshold. For example, most Paleo dieters still find time to take some milk, eat peanut butter and consume legumes and grains. However, it would be foolhardy to take alcohol if you are on a Paleo diet.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Paleo Diet?
- It promotes metabolism since the body only eats a ‘primitive’ diet; that which it can absorb and assimilate easily.
- It helps in weight loss because efficient metabolism helps to unclog the digestive system thus promoting the burning of excess fat.
- It helps to stabilize blood sugar thus contributing significantly to efforts to prevent or limit the effects of type 2 diabetes.
- It reverses autoimmunity, a situation in which body tissues ‘eat’ into each other, especially when a new organ is transplanted into the body.
- A Paleo diet is effective is preventing the onset of heart diseases and controlling exiting cases. Hunters and gatherers were never known to have cardiovascular complications.
- People who subscribe to a Paleo diet have virtually no allergies.
- Paleo diets help the body to have optimal levels of energy the entire day as opposed to conventional diets which cause energy fluctuations in the body.
- It boosts skin health and also results in stronger teeth.
- Improved sleep patterns have also been reported among people on this type of diet.
- For those who want to lose weight healthfully, this is one of the most effective approaches.
List Of All Paleo Foods
The following is a comprehensive list of Paleo foods:
Fruits: Avocado, papaya, peaches, mango, blackberries, grapes, plums, lemons, lychees, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon and bananas. Despite this, fruits contain high amounts of fructose and eating a lot of them may be counterproductive to the Paleo diet and efforts to lose weight.
Vegetables: Avocado, Carrots, celery, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, artichoke hearts, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, parsley, green onions, peppers, eggplant and cauliflower. However, it is important to avoid vegetables that have high amounts of starch, like butternut squash.
Nuts: Cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pine, pecans, sunflower and macadamia seeds. It is important, though, that you watch out not to eat a lot of nuts especially if you want to lose weight.
Fats and oils: olive, macadamia, avocado, coconut and grass-fed butter. In Paleo diets, fats and oils form are a major source of energy for the body.
Meat: Poultry, quail, pheasant, pork, veal, grass-fed beef, bacon, lamb, goat, buffalo and venison, kangaroo, ostrich and turtle. All these meats should be prepared as naturally as possible. Remember you will only say you have eaten a Paleo diet when the animal in question has been eating the natural way, not through modern methods of rearing animals.
Fish: Sardines, Salmon, Mackerel, Bass, Tuna, Halibut, Walleye, Sunfish, Red snapper, Swordfish, Tilapia, Shark and Trout. It is important to understand that wild fish is the best for Paleo purposes. Our lakes and rivers are full of these creatures, which contain omega-3 fats that are important for the wellbeing of the heart and mental health too.
Seafood: Crab, shrimp, clams, oysters, crayfish, lobster, crawfish and oysters.
Your Grace Guru