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
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
Happiness is something that all of us crave and search for all the time. It comes and goes, sometimes very quick and sometimes it stays a bit longer! Ask any person you meet what they want from life and chances are they will mention happiness are very high. We spend a lot of money trying to attain all that bliss, we go to great lengths – to the end of the world – just to feel that serenity and gladness that we crave so much.
So why is it that we don’t remain happy for long?
Here are 10 simple things you need to do to become happier or to inculcate an attitude of happiness:
1. Live a simple life: Most of us forget that life is meant to be enjoyed and the best way to do it is to live as simply as possible. Often, it is not the money and material things that bring happiness into life. Rather, it is the simple things that matter. Appreciate the very fact that you are alive and healthy; that you can talk to people and listen to the beautiful sound of nature. Much of these can be enjoyed away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Think about it this way: how would you live if you were taken to a world without modern technology?
2. Imbibe the fresh air from outdoors: There are few things that are as refreshing and invigorating as the outdoor. You level of happiness is likely to spike when your brain imbibes fresh air. After hours of interacting with many people and machines, some of them irritating, you need an injection of freshness and happiness from nature. Create time over the weekend or after work to visit that park or lake where nature teems. The blood in your brain needs that freshness to bring back happiness.
3. Exercise gratitude: It has been proved that people who accept themselves as they are often experience high levels of happiness compared to those who are always complaining. Learn to give thanks for the people around you like family and friends. Be happy when things go right and learn to appreciate when you don’t get your way. Instead of basing your daily disposition on the weather, train your body to appreciate all kinds of weather. Grateful people often find more reasons to become happier.
4. Engage in regular workouts: Regular exercise relieves the body from stress. It stretches out your muscles and brings relaxation. Your brain becomes invigorated because fresh air is mixed in the blood. Your mood is boosted and you begin to feel happier. Rarely will you go into the gym with a foul mood and low spirit and return with the same disposition. People who exercise regularly are among the happiest on earth.
The only bad workout, is the one that never happened!
5. Focus on the good, not the bad: To become happier, you need to identify issues that make you happy and those that sadden you. Your focus should be on maximizing on the positive issues and minimizing or eradicating the negative. In life, there will always be some things and people that exasperate you. Remember you cannot control what comes your way but you can decide how to react to all stimuli. Choose to be happy. Choose to see what is good inside you instead of focussing on the bad that some people associate with you.
6. Spend adequate time on sleep: The human body is designed with its own mechanism for happiness, and part of this is getting enough sleep. There is no way you will be happy when you deprive your body of sleep. Most of the time when you are irritable and likely to pick a fight with other people, it is because you have not slept adequately. It is important that you sleep for between six and eight hours daily since this will naturally rest your body and give you greater happiness.
7. Extend a helping hand: Human life was never designed to be a lonely and selfish affair. We are what we are because someone helped us along the way, we only become happier when we extend the same kind of assistance to other people who need it. Human nature is such that when we lift the spirits of others our joy is amplified. And there are many people in need of your help. Orphans, widows, the homeless, the sick and so on, can benefit from some of the surplus resources you have.
8. Have quality social time: Your friends and relatives play a great role in your life. They know you better than anybody else. Your good and bad moments are all engraved in their minds. Your happiness is connected with theirs. It follows that as their happiness increases, so does yours. Consequently, plan to spend more quality time with those who love you. Attend special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties to show support and enjoy these people’s company, and your happiness will increase.
9. Meditate: One of the most acknowledged strategies of making you happier is to meditate. Meditation helps you to bring your mind, body and spirit into conformity. It eliminates your inner conflicts, giving you peace of mind and contentment. The moment you give your inner nature contentment, you begin to become more positive and pleasurable to live with. Learn to spend time is silent contemplation of your life, listening to your inner voice.
10. Treat yourself well: Your happiness depends on how well you value yourself and how you treat yourself. You cannot make others happy if you are not happy with yourself. The battle must begin within you. Money may not buy happiness but you can use money to increase your happiness. Treat yourself to that special meal in the restaurant you like. Make that special trip to a place where you have always craved to visit. Buy that special smartphone or latest kind of clothing or car if you can afford it. You deserve it as this will make you happier.
When all is said and done, happiness begins with you appreciating yourself. Becoming happier is possible when you extend this love to others, appreciate what life brings your way, and find little ways to make life more bearable for all human beings.
Your Grace Guru
Rumi was a poet of Persian origin who lived in the 13th Century. His birth can be traced to modern Afghanistan in a city called Balkh. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī on September 30, 1207. He would later migrate to a little town called Konya; in the country we call Turkey today. Don’t be shocked, therefore, if you come across Iranians, Turks and Afghans, who claim Rumi was one of their own.
According to Frank Lewis, a scholar who has written the biography of Rumi, the name Rumi actually means Rome, a reference to the areas under Roman rule that were later conquered by Turks, and where Muslims like Rumi settled. Rumi’s other name, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, cements his connection with his city of birth in Afghanistan.
It is this multiple identity that makes this jurist, poet, theologian and Islamic scholar a popular figure not only in Asia but also across the world. No singular religion or culture can claim to own Rumi exclusively. His works are revered among Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews. You will hear recitations of his poetry in mosques, cathedrals, Zen monasteries and synagogues alike.
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He is arguably the greatest composer of mystical poetry to have graced the earth. The world is more than 7o,000 poetry verses richer thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and profound philosophical knowledge of this great man. It is no wonder that his teachings have been translated into the major languages of the world.
While many in the West have come to know Rumi in the last two decades, thinkers and scholars in Asia and the Middle East have always held Rumi in high regard. His poetry covers a range of topics – some mystical – some philosophical. In his works, you will come across passion, desire, love and spirituality. Like many of the philosophers whose knowledge was revered in the past, Rumi’s counsel was timeless and is still relevant today.
It is important to note that Rumi was born in a wealthy and noble family, and though his life had the usual drama all of us ago, it was not until he met wandering holy man than life changed drastically. One wonders why the philosophy and mysticism bug had not bitten the young man before, considering his father was a mystic, jurist and theologian.
Enter Shams, the potent spiritual wanderer who was way below the social class of Rumi, and who belonged to the upper class, and the Rumi’s life took a dramatic turn. Although the two would come together as teacher and student when Rumi was around 37 years of age, Shams had noticed the younger man at 21 years of age and decided to wait until a later date to covert him into spirituality.
The bond between the wandering teacher, otherwise known as the Bird, and Rumi took time to heal. The fact that Shams was a lonely antisocial figure and below the nobility associated with Rumi, was so much of a hindrance that the older man had to leave town following death threats from the upper class.
To solve the class problem, Rumi married the daughter of his teacher thus setting off their long friendship. It is no wonder then that the first epic written by Rumi was titled, “The Collective Poems of Shams of Tabriz.” It is evident that Rumi ascribed his knowledge and philosophy to his master and teacher –Shams. His search for love and the truth under the tutelage of Shams transformed Rumi into a thinker and philosopher.
The death of Shams at the hand of the youngest son of Rumi resulted in profound grief for the latter. This, coupled with their two years of interaction, led to two collections of epics: Massnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi.
The following quotes illustrate just how deep Rumi’s philosophy of life was and how he conceptualized human existence and the experience of living:
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Rumi celebrated love:
The garden of love is green without limit
and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy.
Love is beyond either condition:
without autumn, it is always fresh.
On love and the possibility of a disagreement between lovers, he said:
“Every day my heart falls deeper in the pain of your sorrow.
Your cruel heart is weary of me already.
You have left me alone, yet your sorrow remains.
Truly your sorrow is more faithful than you are.”
Rumi also understood what most of us have had to experience when being left by a lover and said:
You left and I cried tears of blood.
My sorrow grows.
It’s not just that You left.
But when You left my eyes went with You.
Now, how will I cry?
But he also understood the need for one to endure the pain of being rejected:
Love is best when mixed with anguish.
In our town,
we won’t call you a Lover
if you escape the pain.
Rumi also had something to say about drunkenness, the inherent dangers and the need to say ‘no’:
“I am so drunk
I have lost the way in
and the way out.
I have lost the earth, the moon, and the sky.
Don’t put another cup of wine in my hand,
pour it in my mouth,
for I have lost the way to my mouth.”
The importance of more silence and less speech was also a great concern of this philosopher:
Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell,
for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.
When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.
Rumi’s philosophy was also based on the Supreme Being:
I have seen the king with a face of Glory,
He who is the eye and the sun of heaven,
He who is the companion and healer of all beings,
He who is the soul and the universe that births souls.
On the need to seek happiness from the source and not reflectors of love, Rumi had this to say:
Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?
Seek out the source which shines forever.
Finally, do you know the value of your soul? Rumi has this challenge for you:
You know the value of every article of merchandise,
but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.
Your Grace Guru!
Obsession with Veggies!
Hello gorgeous ladies, I have written this article just for you!
It is not possible to talk about the human body without mentioning the word hormones! Many people do not understand about these chemical secretions and reactions, but all of us have to deal with hormonal issues every now and then. Hormonal imbalance is a serious health complication for many people, especially to women in all stages of life.
Owing to the complex lifestyles and dietary choices we make today, we have compromised the composition of hormones in our bodies. Incidentally most of the illnesses wreaking we have in our lives emanate from hormonal disproportion. It is important that you understand exactly what it means to have hormonal imbalance.
Vitamin D in Riviera Maya
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, then your body is having problems balancing your hormones.
1. Lethargy: If you are the type that feels weary most of the time and needs to have some snack to make your body active, it is likely your hormones are not well-balanced. Is it becoming common for you to feel exhausted, befuddled and lazy? Have yourself checked for hormonal inequality.
2. Bloating and other digestive complications: Many a times when you experience problems of the digestive track, you tend to associate them with poor dietary habits. However, it is also possible that your digestive hormones are not being secreted normally.
3. Uncontrolled weight gain: One of the main problems facing women today is excess weight. It is true that most of this is caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods. However, if your hormones are not working optimally, this problem will persist.
4. Depression: A dip in mood and emotions is often a sign of hormonal imbalance. It happens when we don’t get enough rest, are stressed, or when the body has a large number of toxins.
5. Poor sleep patterns: Hormonal imbalance may also manifest itself through erratic sleeping patterns. Insomnia tends to affect every faculty of the human body. Unless you align your body to the natural sleeping order, you are going to experience interruptions in your daily routines.
6. Low libido: Sex is controlled by hormones. The moment your hormones don’t work exactly as they should, you will experience lack of or low sexual drive.
7. Hot flushes and night sweats: If you are starting to experience increased temperatures and unusual sweating at night, it is time you were checked for hormonal disproportion. Don’t just dismiss it as any other complication.
The best way to deal with such health complications, then, is to balance your hormones. There are a number of ways you can do this. The most popular (but unfortunately not the best) is hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Considering hormonal imbalance is a problem for many people, especially women, HRT practitioners are making a kill. The actual problem with HRT is that it does not treat the cause of the problem but deals with the symptoms only.
Despite this, we should not be fast to condemn HRT. Many perimenopausal women will tell you that when they begin to experience hot flashes and night sweats, the fastest method to relieve the pain and discomfort is to take respective pills. What we are saying though is that it is better to use more long lasting methods, most of which are natural and less expensive compared to HRT.
Natural Strategies of Balancing Hormones
1. Ensure that you have healthy weight: The level of oestrogen in your body increases with increases in adipose tissue, the latter being as a result of excess fat. This is because the adipose tissue performs a similar role as the endocrine glad at this point. To avoid unnecessary secretion of surplus hormones, therefore, you need to have healthy weight. Know your BMI and always live by it. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Remember having the right weight is also good for your general outlook and health.
2. Include cruciferous veggies in your diet: Indole-3-carbinol is the element in cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and related plants that generates diindolylmethane (DIM) after metabolism. With these two elements, the secretion of oestrogen in your body is regulated thus preventing hormonal imbalance. In addition, it has been proved that eating cruciferous veggies helps to prevent cancer, especially the type that affects the breasts. Stock up on these vegetables and find ways of including them in as many as your foods as possible.
3. Introduce phytoestrogens in your food: This is one of the best approaches to dealing with hormonal imbalance since it happens naturally. Instead of buying expensive HRT medication, simply eat food rich in soy and also consume generous amounts of seeds such as sunflower and flax as well as beans sprouts. Other foods rich is phytoestrogens include peas and garbanzo beans. By simply eating such food, you will regulate hormones in your body without experiencing negative side effects. And you don’t have to worry because these seeds are found in abundance in areas close to you like grocery stores.
Healthy Food Choices Inspiration
4. Consume avocados and coconut oil: Another relatively inexpensive way to curb unusual fluctuations in body hormones is to consume foods that contain fatty acid chains of varying lengths. The best examples of these are avocados and coconut oil. This category also includes salmon derived from natural habitats and butter from grass-fed animals. Apart from having your hormonal levels restored to normal you will experience improved metabolism and increased loss of weight. Instead of using expensive drugs, look for these food products and eat them as often as possible.
5. Reduce your intake of caffeine: Coffee and tea are favourite beverages for many, but herein lies a problem for those with hormonal imbalance. When you take caffeine, especially before you sleep, you tend to lose sleep, but more significantly, the hormonal level in your thyroid is interfered with. This is the moment you experience all sorts of chaos in your body since hormonal activity is significantly altered. We are not intimating that you avoid these beverages altogether (although this is advisable for those with critical hormonal imbalance problems) but reducing intake, especially before going to sleep is important.
6. Sleep adequately: Your hormonal imbalance problem is likely to be as a result of not getting enough sleep. If you are not getting between seven and eight hours of quality sleep every day, your hormonal activity will be affected negatively. Your body is designed to have reduced activity at night and this is when sleep sets in. The moment you disturb this order, you also interfere with your hormonal activity. Make sure you sleep by around 10 pm as this will ensure you get quality sleep. Make sure you have lie on a comfortable bed and that your room is dark enough. Avoid watching television or gazing at smartphone screens before you sleep.
7. Practise deep breathing: To deal with night sweats and hot flashes, you don’t have to resort to HRT all the time. The simple routine of breathing from the belly two times every day with each session lasting fifteen minutes will bring you natural relief from hormonal discrepancy. Deep breathing helps your lungs to imbibe enough energy to be fed to the blood, which ensures the blood that reaches your cells is clean. When your blood is clean, you will have not only stronger immunity from illnesses, but your hormonal activity will also be balanced correctly.
8. Herbal remedies can help: There are herbal medicines that have been proven to deal effectively with hormonal imbalance. Shatavarim, an Ayurvedic herb, is known for its ability to reduce mood swings and irritability that comes with menopause. There are even herbs that are known to deal with the physical pain and psychological distress associated with hormonal imbalance. However, it is important to talk to an expert before you begin using herbal remedies for this problem.
9. Avoid conventional birth control: While this may not be a popular kind of advice when dealing with hormonal problems, it is important to consider the rationale behind it. Did you know that birth control pills are essentially hormonal therapies that alter how your body works? More importantly, these pills make you more vulnerable to breast cancer, migraines, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, high blood pressure and breast tenderness, among other issue that should worry you. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look for more natural and harmless ways of controlling child bearing than to interfere with hormonal activity and expose you to some much pain?
10. Get vitamin D and lots of It: This vitamin is known for its ability to boost mode and general wellbeing. To this end, vitamin D helps to control hormonal activity. This implies that you need to get enough time in the sun, though you should take care not to be harmed by the sun’s rays. Bask in the early morning and late evening hours. If you do not have this privilege, look for vitamin D supplements. This is especially true if you live in an area where you don’t have adequate exposure to the sun.
So now you have it! HRT may work over some time but it is not sustainable for hormonal imbalance problems in the long term. Go the natural way and you will never suffer from painful side effects or have to worry about the possibility of contracting dreadful illnesses again!
Your Grace Guru
I would like to write about a special breathing practice, which is called Paranayama. We all know that breathing is something that we do every day, 24/7, but don’t really pay any attention to it most of the time. If I tell you what life changing benefits you can get out of Pranayama, I am sure it will make you so much interested that you will start practicing it on a daily basis.
Pranayama is made up of two words i.e. “prana” meaning breath and “yana” meaning to control or restrain. Pranayama, therefore, means to control the breath. Without breathing, we obviously can’t live. Prana is a vital element of our existence on this earth. The only thing we ought to do is take good care of this precious gift God has given us. Utilization of this energy source gifted to us is crucial to ensuring we stay a healthy and disease free lifestyle.
The benefits of pranayama can’t be underscored. There are intangible (that can’t be touched) and tangible (that can be perceived by the sense of touch) advantages.
Controlled breathing rate!
I am sure you know it already or at least heard it from your friends – Yoga is great for the mind, soul and it will also help you to control your breathing a lot. So another way to practice Paranayama is trough Yoga, it will enable you reduce your breathing rate and breathe more deeply and slowly.
But can you imagine?! With Pranayama, you can reduce your rate of breathing from 13-16 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths!
A decreased respiratory rate leads to the following
- More oxygen will be pumped into the lungs due to the slower and deeper breaths
- Lower blood pressure
- Relaxation of the body muscles and joints
- Eased nerves
- Internal organs will be relaxed leading to less wear and tear hence a healthier lifestyle
Increase in life
According to yoga, breathing increases longevity. The deeper and slower you respire, the longer you will live. For instance, tortoises breathe 4-5 times a minute, and they end up living more than 200 years.
Improved blood circulation
When we breathe, fresh oxygen enters our bodies, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Oxygen travels from our nostrils to our lungs and later on to the heart. Once it reaches the heart, it is pumped into the veins and arteries throughout the body. Therefore, deeper breaths lead to better blood circulation and a revitalized life.
A healthy heart
It’s common knowledge that the heart is the most conscientious organ in the body. Once it stops beating, that’s the end of life. It beats close to 101, 000 times a day. There is not a single minute it has stopped, whether you are resting or sleeping. Your life expectancy will mainly be determined by how healthy your heart is. The more oxygen you breathe, the more oxygen and blood is passed through the heart leading to the more youthful heart. The lesser oxygen you breathe, the lesser blood will be pumped through your veins and arteries leading to a weakened immune system and lower energy levels. You will feel weak, and your muscles and joints will be frail.
Benefits to the body
Pranayama will have a positive effect on various body organs such as the kidneys, abdomen, heart, pancreas, intestines, diaphragm, and the lungs.
An improved digestive. Digestive system related problems will be cured with better breathing techniques.
Reduced lethargy and improved energy levels.
With more oxygen in the blood, toxins will be removed from the body leading to a better well-being and an improved immune system. Removal of toxins and a better immune system means the onset of illnesses is easily prevented.
Improved mental health
Pranayama frees us from all forms of stress and depression related issues such as anger and lasciviousness. You will be freed from all mental conditions bad characters traits such as arrogance, egotism, and greed for the earthly possessions such as money.
Yoga is great for the mind and soul. Pranayama practice will help you feel relieved, calm, a sense of body lightness, inner peace, and better concentration. You will experience better memory, improved sleep patterns, and enhanced skills.
Enhances life quality in old age.
The world is changing, and unfortunately, we are engaging in more sedentary lifestyles. We are exercising less, walking less (because we think having a car is the most important thing to own), and spending more time on our smartphones and computers. We are becoming zombies. Living such a lifestyle will lead to your lung capacity decreasing as the lung tissues grow less elastic.
Such a lifestyle means we will have a poor quality of life in our old age. Pranayama will help improve this quality and help us live a better life when we are retired.
Old age problems that yoga will reduce include:
- Hardened arteries which may lead to lower circulation of blood in the body
- Rheumatism, headaches and backaches.
- Muscle pains, stiff joints and weakened bones.
- Pranayama will also lower the buildup of uric acid in the body which can have adverse effects such as discomfort and chronic joint pains.
Once you feel stressed, your body will experience bursts of energy to counter any form of danger that may come your way. Scientifically this is known as the fight or flight effect. You will experience faster and shallow breaths which mean less oxygen will be inhaled and consequently pumped into your bloodstream.
Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline will be produced which increases the blood pressure and heart rate. However, with breathing you can be able to control all these. Deep breathing will give you a sense of calm. Your heart, mind, body, and soul will be peaceful. Deep slow breaths reverse the effects of adrenaline by stimulating the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nerve system which lowers the heart rates and blood pressure which eventually leads to a calm mind and body.
Your emotional state will be improved with deep controlled breathing techniques. You will be less reactive to your emotions due to a relaxed spirit.
The stages of the breathing process include
Puraka known as inhalation- Here you breathe in deep and slow, and you fill your lungs with air.
Kumbhaka i.e. retention. This is the second stage where body temperatures are raised, and oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream.
Rechaka i.e. exhalation. You release the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the lungs and diaphragm return to its normal position.
Types of Pranayama
This means to bellow, i.e. produce a blast of air. Just as a bellow is used to generate lots of air, you ought to breathe in and out rapidly. To practice the Bhastrika Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position and inhale in and out while closing your mouth, expanding and contracting your chest.
Start with 10-15 breaths then increase them to 25-30 breaths. Remember inhaling deeply is the whole point of Pranayama. Retain the air in your chest for as long as you can, then slowly release the carbon dioxide.
Bhastrika Pranayama leads to
- Reduced throat inflammation
- Eradicates asthma
- Destroys phlegm
- Eliminates all diseases related to the lungs, throat and bile.
Ensure you are in a comfortable position such as siddhasana. Keep your eyes shut when practicing this Pranayama. Close the left nostril and slowly inhale air through the right nostril. Once you have inhaled enough air (you should be comfortable), close the right nostril with your thumb and retain the air by pressing your jaw against your chest. Increase the rates of retention until sweat is slowly excreted from the hair roots.
Exhale slowly without producing any form of a sound through the left nostril with the right nostril is still closed using your thumb.
Benefits of Suryabheda Pranayama
- It eliminates any decay in the body
- It also destroys any worms in the digestive system
- It cures illnesses such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and rheumatism
- Suryabheda Pranayama also clears the brain and purifies it.
Before beginning this Pranayama sit in the siddhasana position and keep your mouth closed at all times. Inspire slowly through both nostrils in a smooth, comfortable pace. Close your mouth once the inhaled air fills up your lungs until the end of your throat. Enlarge your chest when breathing in.
When you are inhaling, there is a weird but uniform sound that will be produced due to the partial closing of the throat. Ensure you are in a comfortable position when breathing and retaining the air in your lungs and throat. Then slowly respire through the nostrils. The best thing about Ujjayi Pranayama is that it can be performed even when during your normal day activities e.g. when at work, or even when walking.
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama include
- Reduces the amounts of heat in the head.
- Removes phlegm and increases the gastric fire in the body
- Curing of pulmonary illnesses such as asthma
- Reduces occurrence of heart-related illnesses
Ensure you are in a padmasana sitting position before starting the Bhramari Pranayama. Breathe in through both nostrils and expire while making the sound of a bee. Repeat the inspiring and expiring severally until the body is soaked in perspiration.
Once you feel like you have perspired enough, inhale deeply through both nostrils and retain the air as long as you are comfortable then let out the carbon dioxide slowly through the two nostrils. You will feel calm and joyful once you are done with this procedure.
- When you start the process, there will be increased body temperature and consequently improved blood circulation throughout the body
- When you conclude the process, body heat will be reduced through sweating.
This Pranayama is a little different from others as it involves folding the tongue till it touches the upper part of the mouth. Once you do that, inhale through your mouth while making a hissing sound. Ensure you are comfortable while inhaling, then respire slowly through the two nostrils.
You can choose to keep the upper and lower jaws in contact when breathing in and repeat that process severally.
- It boosts robustness and beauty. You will be full of strength and life
- Eliminating problems such as insomnia, hunger, sluggishness, and dehydration.
Sit in a comfortable position. Stick out your tongue straight and fold it like a tube. Then inhale air through the mouth while making a weird but uniform hissing sound. Expand your lungs and retain the air as much as you can. Relax a little bit, then respire the carbon dioxide slowly through the right and left nostrils.
Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama include
- Blood purity. Your blood and circulatory system will be pure and toxic waste will be exhaled.
- Quenching of thirst. You will feel better and rehydrated
- This practice also reduces the hunger pangs and cools the body.
The Plavini Pranayama is unique as it involves drinking air from the mouth to the stomach like water. ‘Drink’ the air until the stomach is ballooned a bit. You have to hear some hollow sound when you tap your stomach.
Practice the said procedure slowly. Once you have practiced enough, allow air out. Belch out the air repeatedly.
- Those who have perfected this Pranayama can float for lots of hours on water
- Persons with this skill can stay without food for several days
Sit in a comfortable position. Use your right thumb to seal the right nostril and inspire using the left nostril. Breathe in the air to the lungs and not the stomach. Seal the left nostril and expire using the right nostril. Do the said procedure repeatedly.
Then close the left nostril and inspire through the right nostril. Seal the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat those steps severally.
Anulom-Vilom Pranayama leads to
- Stable body temperatures
- Lengthens life
- Reduces stress
- Removal of toxins from the body
- Better blood circulation
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor. Your shoulders should be straight and relaxed, and the back should be upright. Seal your right nostril with the right thumb and inspire through the left nostril. Ensure you are comfortable when inhaling to the lungs. Seal the left nostril using your right-hand index finger and exhale through the right nostril.
Repeat the procedure above for 15-20 times.
- Curing heartburns
- Stabilizes the body’s temperatures
- Cooling the body
It’s important to note that this Pranayama shouldn’t be practiced by people who suffer from low blood pressure. It should also be done only during the summer and not any other season.
Pranayama for Children
So now that you have learned the most popular Pranayama techniques, how do you go about teaching your kids such methods of cleansing the body and living a healthy lifestyle?
Pranayama helps children find inner peace and harmony. Pranayama will uplift their moods and spirit; they will learn how to deal better with nerve-wracking or anxious situations. Practicing such yoga techniques is fun.
Steam Train Method
This is particularly popular with baby class or prekindergarten kids. The first step is to sit in a comfortable position such as a crossed- legged position. Instruct them to seal their nostrils using the upper lip. Then, breathe in through the nose forcing the inhalation to sound like a steaming train.
Gradually speed up the breathing in and out. This particular Pranayama method is critical as it calms the minds of the kids and betters blood circulation in the body.
Dragon Breath Technique
This is another popular Pranayama method for children. It’s slightly different from the steam train method because it involves letting out the toxic carbon dioxide to the universe. The mouth should be kept wide open, and exhaled gas let out to the universe.
The first step is to be in a kneeling position. Instruct them to should raise their hands in the air and outstretch their fingers. Inhale through the nose slowly until the lungs are filled with air. When exhaling, the kids should stretch their arms in front and exhale through the mouth. It’s an entertaining process, and I’m also pretty sure the kids would have fun pretending they are a dragon.
With the hand and fingers movements, the kids are stretching and relaxing their upper body.
Using a mantra in the form of a poem, encourage the children to breathe in and out. A mantra will help them improve their concentration, cleanse their bodies and enhance awareness. A chosen mantra should be something that will uplift, calm or empower the kids.
Reciting loudly or quietly, the kids can recite the mantra below.
There (inhale) is (exhale)
Nothing (inhale) that (exhale)
Can (inhale) stop (exhale)
Me (inhale) from (exhale)
My dreams (exhale)
The three named Pranayama for kids can be practiced by kids who are up to the age of 18. They can be used as a good base for teaching the more complex Pranayama techniques such as Chandrabhedan, Anulom-Vilom, Plavini, Sheetali, and Sheetkari et al. They are great for the mind, body and soul. They can be particularly useful for the children who suffer from anxiety issues, and stress related problems such as depression.
They can be performed during any season the year or whichever time of the day or night. Encourage your kids or younger siblings to practice Pranayama for kids as there is no other perfect gift – blissful moment – you can give your child or younger sibling(s).
Your Grace Guru
According to Vedanta philosophy, there are two categories of happiness. The first type of happiness is the one that is a result of things turning out the way we want them to be. For example, we can say we are happy because of our friends, family or even children. We are happy because of certain resources that are affecting us, resources that can be taken any time e.g. they aren’t permanent by nature – You could lose your job or wife, so reasons for this type of happiness can be lost any time.
The second category of happiness isn’t as a result of something we achieve or something we do but it’s a state of being. It doesn’t depend on the outer circumstances or our moods. As a result of this state our inner self tends to become calm and exuberant. Pure joy, in this case, is a result of a connection in our deepest state of unbound awareness.
Listed below are keys that will ensure lasting happiness in your life.
- Listen to your body’s behaviour and needs…
What are you comfortable doing and what are you not comfortable doing? When you are undertaking a task, ask yourself, “Do I like doing this?” If your body displays signs of distress and agony or anguish don’t proceed with the work. However, if you feel comfortable and eager to do the chore, please continue. Know what you love doing and what you detest doing then follow what your body says.
- Pay the most attention to the present…
Live and enjoy the present and always keep in mind it’s the only time you have. Accept what comes your way, maximize whatever it is and learn from it. Keep attention to what is on the table at the moment. The infinite laws of nature should be left the way they are, and life should be enjoyed to the fullest the way it is. The present is the way it is. The current moment is as it is because the world and universe are at is.
Ignore what others have to say about you. People may say all sorts of things because of how you look, the way you dress but you should ignore all the negative comments. Discover the infinite possibilities that you have on your hands. Look at life positively.
- Eat healthy…
Avoid alcohol and other fermented foods. Expose your body to safe and clean environments, nourishing foods, and happy and comforting experiences. Consider your life to be a life support system. It is like a transport system that will take you to where you desire to be. For you to arrive safely at a particular place, you need a road worthy vehicle. The same way, you should keep your body healthy. Avoid contaminating your body with toxins such as cigarettes, or liquor. Desist from alcoholic drinks. The human body is made up of cells that contribute to the state of comfort and well-being. Therefore, keep every single cell in your body in its purest form.
- According to psychology, the natural state of us humans is a state of love. Fear, hate and distress counter the state of love…
You should, therefore, build a “wall” that will shield all the hate and negative statements from your family and friends. Take part in undertakings that will have a positive impact in your life such as team building exercises. Take any fears you have and come up with ways of countering them with compassion and love. Instead of fearing exams, why don’t you study hard and work hard for them so that you won’t have to fear the outcome of the results. Once you read and revise, you will be happy when you receive your results. You can face threats because your inner self is invulnerable and impenetrable to fear.
- Create time for meditation and relaxation of the mind…
Meditation can be explained as the gateway to high levels of self-awareness, linking the mind to our inner power and eventually to self-worth. Look for space and release your feelings, breathe in the clean air, and discover your inner happiness and peace. You could start short e.g. with a ten-minute meditation either by listening to calming music or just relaxing over something that works for you. You could eventually lengthen the time you meditate by staying for longer periods every week.
How about you start each meditation session with a short prayer. Don’t ask for stuff, instead, connect your higher self and your source of light. Make it a habit, a daily practice. Pay a lot of attention to your inner life and shun external interpretations that aren’t good for you such as animosity and deception.
- Find a place in your heart to forgive…
Avoid reacting to opposition or anger with hatred, because through that, you will stressing yourself. You will make things worse because you will end up filling up your heart with disgust, and you will end up being furious. How about, you relinquish your anger as, through that, you will be cooperating with the universe flow of peace and tranquility.
- Show me who are your acquaintances and I will describe your character…
Such are wise words that we should always remember so as to remain happy. Your world “out there”, replicates your reality “in here”. Persons who you react with abhorrence and revulsion project your inner world. Be nice to those close to you. Whatever you love and care about most is what you wish for yourself. If you love someone and care about them, it means you would want the same for yourself. The key objective here is self-knowledge.
What Will Affect A Peaceful Mind?
- Special attachment is dangerous…
What we all call love is nothing but special attachment to someone or something. Such kind of attachment isn’t recommended.
If there is love, I will be at your service. Whatever you need, I will provide.
If there is attachment, I will look at you and ask myself, “What kind of service do you provide?”
One partner states: I deserve this because I married you.
The other half says: I deserve this because I married you.
This form of special treatment often passes off as love, because both the husband and the wife think that life is all about rights and not duties.
Affection + Egotism = Attachment | Attachment – Egotism = Affection.
Understand the statements written above. I don’t dispute love and its existence. I am just a firm believer that attachment isn’t something that should be approved.
Attachment is all about how many times you will see your partner and, therefore, there is no space for anything to blossom between the two of you. With love, you are open with each other, and there is a chance for discovery of new things between you two. Just like when flowers bloom during the spring season, your relationship will blossom, and you will be happy when there is love.
- Control your desires…
Uncontrolled feelings and desires cause mayhem. We are humans, and as humans, we can’t live without desires, needs and wants. However, the tricky part is, can we control our feelings? What happens once we let our emotions rage?
Feelings can be uncomfortable at times. Controlling what you feel doesn’t necessarily mean repressing or ignoring them all together. It means keeping them in check, the same way that thermostat keeps the room temperatures in your house in check. Doing so will help you become emotionally stable as well as bettering your health.
The best way of keeping your emotions in check is to focus more on your physical senses. For instance, is your heart beat rate faster? How are muscles behaving? Are they tense or tightened? Is your breathing shallow or rapid?
Acknowledge your emotions instead of suppressing them. Once you know they are there e.g. sweaty palms, and a faster heartbeat, you will be able to relax and heed what your body is communicating.
If you have heightened muscles, you could try PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). PMR will enable you to identify any muscular tension in your body
Look for a quiet and relaxing environment and calm down. Relax for about 10-20 minutes.
Ensure you are always comfortable. Wear clothes that you like. Try to wear loose fitting clothes. Cleansing and deep breaths will help calm your mind and muscles.
Curl your toes as tight as you can for 5-10 seconds. Relax your muscles for around 20 seconds, and then move to the other foot. Do the same for all the other muscles in your body including those on your stomach, buttocks, lips, eyes, forehead, upper arms, hands, hips, thighs, feet and the forehead.
If you are always working, or if you are always busy, focus on the facial muscles. Engaging in such activities will help you relieve any stress you may have.
You could use visualization methods to relax. Picture yourself in a safe place. That place should be soothing and relaxing. That calm place could be quietest park you know, your bedroom, the spa, your worship place, or the beach. Create as much detail as you can. What do you smell, hear, feel, or touch?
You could imagine yourself as that pebble that’s thrown in the ocean. The pebble will drift away as the waves rise. Picture your problems to be that pebble. Imagine all that negativity, hate and animosity are drifting away just like a pebble. Comforting, isn’t it?
Visualization often seems weird in the beginning, but once you practice it, you will find it normal and comforting.
- What do you operate on? If they are likes or dislikes, be ready for consequences…
We are all unique in different ways. What I desire, might not be what you desire. For instance, a person might find pleasure in smoking, but another guy might not stand it. Some guy may look forward to selling his condo; another, on the other hand, can’t wait to buy it. Such happens everywhere.
What might be happy for someone may end up being sad and sorrowful for another. Therefore, it’s not a being or thing but how you relate and share with it. It’s not the external world that wrecks your peace but rather how you relate to it.
When you are operating on the mind level, it’s all about what you like and dislike and that is dangerous. For example, if you go to a certain country, and you find whatever food you like isn’t part of the menu, so what next? You will end up furious. And that will dent on the level of happiness you intend to achieve.
You should, therefore, operate on the intellect level instead of likes and dislikes as that will help you choose the correct path.
- The mind has a tendency of wandering…
Sometimes the mind rambles when you are talking to someone. It’s a little bit tough to concentrate 100%, even if you really want to. Lots of things are always running through our minds. The haunting past, anxieties about the future often affects our concentration.
Such worries tire us and tire our minds. Take time off and relax.
Avoid working on the weekends. Relax your mind, take a walk at the beach or spend your Saturday at the park. Children are most of the time happy. You have ever asked yourself why? Because they never worry about the past or future. Their minds are always relaxed and therefore, they are always joyful and happy.
Once You Change, You Will Be Able To Change The World!
Be the change that you want to see on the planet. Do things that you would want to see happen on the earth. If you decide to change your thoughts, your actions, the world around you will change.
View your environment with new lenses. I know everyone would like to see a clean and airy environment free from all filth and waste from non-biodegradable goods. I know you love it when the air is clean. Since you like it that way, then why would you want to engage in practices that will be detrimental to the environment such as unclean energy sources e.g. coal energy. Isn’t that going against what you would want the world to be? If you want a clean earth, green, use clean energy sources such as solar power. Avoid littering the environment. The main problem of changing the world without changing yourself is that you will still be you even after you change the environment that you dwell in. With all your negativity, hatred and flaws, you will stain the world with your sabotaging tendencies.
With you being in such kind of situation, you will not achieve whatever you intended because your mind is full of all that negativity.
Avoid spending so much time on other people’s mistakes e.g. “I wish he didn’t walk like that”, “I wish he didn’t drink that beer” Sometimes we end up forcing our closest friends or family members to change. The truth of the matter is, it’s a little bit challenging to change a person for who he or she is.
Instead, be an example, a beacon of hope. If you wish your spouse to be more positive, allow your positivism to permeate your relationship.
Your Grace Guru