October is breast cancer awareness month. Let’s test our awareness and further educate ourselves. Press play to start the quiz.
It’s no secret that stress can have a negative effect on our lives. The good news is, understanding the relaxation response and utilizing certain tools, may help us to better manage it.
That said, relaxation is defined as, “a lessening of tension,” which can include relieved muscle tension, a quiet body response, and rebuilt energy resources. This outcome is what is referred to as the relaxation response.
Understanding the Relaxation Response
“The relaxation response” was first coined by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School. According to Dr. Benson, it is “a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress and the opposite of the fight or flight response.”
Consequently, we won’t elicit the relaxation response by lounging around the house all day or sleeping. Instead it involves the use of proper techniques and tools, which will of course help to facilitate calm, endurance and better sleep.
Stress and the Relaxation Response
Stress is a part of everyday life. However, when the nervous system is overwhelmed by stress, it inundates the body with chemicals that prepare it for “fight or flight.” Yet while the stress response is needed for learning, creativity, and can be beneficial in situations where you need to act quickly, it wears the body down when there is constant activation.
The Benefits of the Relaxation Response
Studies reveal that proper relaxation may have a positive effect on our overall health and well-being. Essentially, when we activate the relaxation response, it enhances our immune system functioning. This means an improvement in breathing, sleep patterns, digestion and mental clarity occurs. Moreover, when we allow the system to experience this rest, it creates a balance awareness that enables us to make healthier and wiser lifestyle choices. It also empowers us to pursue and embrace more joy and peace within.
Utilizing Relaxation Techniques
The most common and effective relaxation techniques involve meditation and proper deep breathing exercises.
In the American Heritage Dictionary, Meditation is defined as: a devotional exercise of or leading to contemplation. The word meditation is synonymous with words like thought, reflection, concentration, and even prayer. Additionally, hagah, the Hebrew word for meditate also translates to words like murmur, ponder, speak, imagine and study. Therefore, as essential as these all are, meditation is more than just a practice; it is a lifestyle. For instance, with scripture meditation, the goal is to seek to commune with God by contemplating on His Word. This basically allows us to renew our minds and continuously build our faith, as we connect more with scripture and apply it to our day-to-day lives.
When it comes to proper breathing, our souls (mind, will and emotions) as well as our bodies, were not meant to function in a healthy way without our natural breathing pattern. This is because the breath is what essentially makes us a living soul. However, for many us, due mainly to the pressures of life, our breathing tends to become more and more shallow over time. Yet this creates an imbalance that can hinder our overall health and well-being. Hence the reason why proper breathing exercises often play such a key role in our pursuit of greater well-being.
Tools for Managing the Negative Stress in Our Lives
In our daily lives, we all have to figure out our stress triggers and how we react to them. In other words, know what situations tend to make you stressed and understand those you can and can’t control. It may also be helpful to prioritize tasks and/or prepare for stressful events in advance.
Finally, knowing how to relax and be still are vital aspects of effective stress release. And, ultimately, they both contribute to the maintenance of our overall health and well-being. So never rule out visiting a community health and wellness center or consulting a licensed professional if you are having any difficulty managing stress.
Is an at-home spa pedicure something you have been considering lately? Certainly, there is nothing like a professional spa pedicure. However, you can surely come close to this rejuvenating experience in the comfort of your own home—and with some basic tips and resourcefulness, your DIY pedicure will make you feel like a brand new person!
Essentials you’ll need:
At-Home Spa Pedicure Directions:
1. Use nail polish remover to remove old nail polish from your toe nails.
2. Add warm water to either a foot spa or basin.
3. Add some Epsom salt and/or your favorite foot soak or even body wash to the water.
4. Soak your feet for 7 to 10 minutes.
5. Scrub your feet with the foot file, and follow by applying some foot scrub. Massage both feet entirely in a circular motion, and then rinse in the water.
6. Cut your toe nails straight across with the nail clipper, and then use the nail file to smooth/groom each nail.
7. Massage some cuticle oil into your cuticles; use the cuticle pusher (in the nail set) to gently push them back.
8. Moisturize your feet with your favorite lotion or cream. However, be sure to remove any excess oil/lotion from your toe nails with nail polish remover.
9. Place a toe separator on your feet and apply a base coat to your nails, followed by your chosen nail polish. After a few minutes, add some nail polish remover to a q-tip and use it to clean up any excess nail polish around the nail. Finally, add a top coat.
There! Your at-home spa pedicure is now complete! That wasn’t so bad now, was it?
*Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links that allow me to earn a small commission, that is of no extra cost to you. I only share links to other products/services that I think will be useful to readers.
An overnight face and hair mask recipe containing a mixture of organic shea butter and coconut oil can help to strengthen and maintain healthy hair and skin.
Shea butter is known to help heal dry skin, as well as tone and soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. As far as the hair is concerned, it promotes regrowth and repairs hair that has been damaged by excessive coloring and blow drying. For this reason, it is often used as either a deep or leave-in hair conditioner.
While coconut oil, in its most natural state, has excellent moisturizing, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which are beneficial to both the skin and hair. Additionally, it retards hair loss, improves scalp health and adds luster and life to dry, damaged hair.
Try the following overnight DIY face and hair mask recipe:
- 1/4 cup Organic Shea Butter
- 3 Tbsp Organic Coconut Oil
- Add shea butter and coconut oil to a saucepan, and heat until melted.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Pour contents into a bowl.
- Stir the mixture again.
- Apply to face, hair and scalp.
- Cover hair with plastic cap overnight.
- In the morning, rinse face and hair with luke-warm water.
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Physical movement provides many clear advantages to the mind and body. However, today, because our lifestyles don’t always require lots of activity, in order to reap these benefits, exercise has to be an intentional part of our routine. Yet for those of us who lead busy lives or aren’t particularly fans of exercise, this can be a bit of a challenge. So the goal is to incorporate exercise into our lives in a way that is encouraging; this is while still satisfying time limitations, as well as supporting our overall well-being.
How Much Exercise Do We Need?
From a biblical perspective, Godliness should always take precedence over physical fitness. Still, the work and lifestyles of our forefathers demanded lots of physical activity. And unfortunately, today, our society has totally changed. These days, most of us lead really busy lives, yet with barely any requirement for physical movement—which means today we have to consciously make it a part of our lives.
So, as far as how much exercise we generally need to maintain optimal health: According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity per day; while children between the ages of 6 and 17 years need a minimum of 60 minutes per day.
Why Is Physical Movement Important?
Essentially, there are many benefits to engaging the body in regular physical activity. These include stronger muscles and bones, better sleep, healthier skin, better physical health, and greater endurance.
A lack of movement, on the other-hand, can create an imbalance in our system that affects us as a whole. According to recent studies, this imbalance may even disrupt the body’s “circadian rhythms”—affecting the way our bodies are able to determine favorable times for moving vs. being still.
These studies suggest that a healthy body, accustomed to regular movement, will automatically prompt this person to rest after physical activity, and engage in movement after a period of being still. Therefore, when we engage in regular physical activity, we may be improving our body’s’ ability to calculate more appropriate responses.
3 Convenient Ways To Fit Exercise Into a Busy Lifestyle
This is still the most popular form of exercise. Walking in your neighborhood or a nearby park are always the most convenient outdoor options. If time allows, you can start a habit of using staircases instead of elevators or parking a distance away from your destination. However, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to walk at suitable times or it’s too cold, etc… don’t rule out walking indoors! One common option is to purchase a treadmill for use in the home. Still, you can try walking in place or do a some laps around the largest area of your home.
If you like music and dancing is your thing, then put on your favorite song (with or without headphones) and just move! Dancing also doesn’t require a specific place or time of the day. Yet a good time for this exercise is immediately after you arrive home from work; as it’s a great way to replenish your mood and spirit after a really long or challenging day.
Exercise DVDs or Streaming
Using DVDs or streaming videos is another convenient option. There are many possibilities available on Amazon. If you are signed up for Prime, many videos are accessible for free. In fact, you can sit and watch a few of them before-hand and select the one you connect with the most.
You can’t go wrong with a basic cardio routine.
Also, if you are interested in a Christian exercise program that merges faith with fitness, I’ve shared three options below. Essentially, these programs are all centered around faith, where it is used as a direct motivator.
The following are the three (3) options:
PrayFit is a 28-day program is about giving your best by scheduling time with the Lord and to exercise everyday. It may appeal to men and to individuals interested in strength training and/or building muscle. Also, it is essentially designed for individuals at any fitness level.
Sweating in the Spirit is an inspirational work-out that uses Gospel music as a motivator. If you love to dance and have fun while you exercise, then this program is definitely for you. It includes “gospel aerobics” workouts, as well as stretching, strength and Pilates training.
Wholy Fit is a whole-body fitness technique. Wholy Fit offers programs which integrate gentle exercise movements with worship and the Word of God. If you prefer a more peaceful work-out experience, then this is the perfect program for you. It develops you into “stability,” then “strength,” and “flexibility.”
Finally, like any exercise, the above options may require a little discipline to get started; but, it is all about becoming more and more motivated to incorporate it into your regular routine and lifestyle in a way that pleases God.
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate I earn a small commission, that is of no extra cost to you. I only share links to other products/services that I think my readers will find useful.