October is breast cancer awareness month. Let’s try this brief quiz below to test our awareness and further educate ourselves on how to take better control of our health.
Journaling is a writing or creative practice, which involves documenting one’s reflections, ideas and feelings; often in relation to specific occurrences in that person’s life.
The Advantages and Disadvantages
One of the most commonly reported benefits of journaling is that it helps to refine thoughts. In fact, experts say it is also a very effective problem solving tool—as oftentimes we can find solutions to certain problems just from writing them on paper.
Now, one of the noted drawbacks of journaling, is that sometimes individuals tend to focus too much on negative experiences, which could end up causing more stress in that person’s life. However, once it is used in a positive way, experts say journaling can be a very beneficial practice—it is often used as a tool in coaching and psychologists say journaling is still a very useful and effective exercise for self-reflection and discovery.
Some Basic Tips for Journaling:
1. Purchase an actual journal. Depending on our needs, you can get one that is durable or choose one that will inspire you everyday. Also, reserve a pen that you’ll use specifically for journaling.
2. Decide on a time where you’ll journal each day. You may decide to journal in the morning, during an afternoon coffee break and/or at night as you wind down and get ready to retire for bed. Yet, you may also choose to keep a small journal with you all the time to jot down ideas as they come.
3. Write whatever you are inspired to write. This may be a revelation, a thought, a unique occurrence, or even some creative writing.
4. Journal following meditation. Journaling is a great way to clarify your thoughts after meditating and/or after your daily devotion.
5. Read your journal entries every now and then. Being reminded of how far you’ve come, will surely allow you to gain some insight. It may also provide some motivation, or even inspire you to step out on faith regarding something you have always envisioned to do.
“Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak,
and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”
– Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV)
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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.
“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 Eliciting 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 us to earn a small commission, that is of no extra cost to you. We only share links to other products/services that we think will be of assistance to our 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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