Tag: health

Why you should Meditate?

The Many Health Benefits of Meditation

The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its many benefits.

Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.

This article reviews 12 health benefits of meditation.

You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.

People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.

Please find 12 health benefits of practicing the art of meditation…

Stress Reduction is one of the most common reasons why people try meditation.

1 study, which included over 3,500 adults, showed that it lives up to its reputation for stress reduction.

Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines.

The effects of cytokines can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.

During a 2-month study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress.

Another study, on nearly 1,300 adults, demonstrated that meditation may decrease stress. Notably, this effect was strongest in individuals with the highest levels of stress.

Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.

SUMMARY: Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress. Meditation can also reduce symptoms in people with stress-triggered medical conditions.

Less stress can lead to less anxiety.

For example, an 2 month study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety.

It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, paranoid thoughts and panic attacks.

Another study, followed up with 18 volunteers 36 months after they had completed an two-month meditation program. Most volunteers had continued practicing regular meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels over the long term.

A larger study in 2,466 participants also showed that a variety of different meditation strategies may reduce anxiety levels.

For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce their levels of anxiety. This is likely due to benefits from both meditative practice and physical activity.

Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. 1 study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses.

SUMMARY: Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias, paranoia and obsessive-compulsive behaviours.

Some forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life. 

2 studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults.

1 study followed 18 volunteers as they practiced meditation over 36 months. The study found that participants experienced a long-term decrease in their levels of depression.

Inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress, can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may reduce depression by decreasing these production of these inflammatory chemicals.

Another controlled study compared electrical activity between the brains of people who practiced mindfulness meditation and the brains of others who did not.

Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism.

SUMMARY: Some forms of meditation can improve depression and create a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that maintaining an ongoing habit of meditation may help you maintain these benefits long term.

Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self. 

For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.

Other forms teach you to recognise thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive thought patterns.

A study of 21 women fighting breast cancer found that when they took part in a tai chi program, their self-esteem improved more than it did than in those who received social support sessions.

In another study, 40 senior men and women who took a mindfulness meditation program experienced reduced feelings of loneliness, compared to a control group that had been placed on a wait list for the program.

Experience in meditation may cultivate more creative problem solving.

SUMMARY: Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can help you “know yourself.” This can be a starting point for making other positive changes

Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention. 

For example, a study looked at the effects of a 2-month mindfulness meditation course and found it improved participants’ ability to reorient and maintain their attention.

A similar study showed that human resource workers who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation stayed focused on a task for longer.

These workers also remembered details of their tasks better than their peers who did not practice meditation.

1 review concluded that meditation may even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying and poor attention.

Even meditating for a short period may benefit you. 1 study found that 4 days of practicing meditation may be enough to increase attention span.

SUMMARY: Several types of meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention. As little as 4 days of meditation may have a noticeable effect.

Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young. 

Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with repetitive motion of the fingers to focus thoughts. It improved participants’ ability to perform memory tasks in multiple studies of age-related memory loss.

A review of 12 studies found that multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers.

In addition to fighting normal age-related memory loss, meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia. It can also help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia.

SUMMARY: The improved focus you can gain through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can help fight age-related memory loss and dementia.

Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.

Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself.

Through practice, people learn to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally, first to friends, then acquaintances and ultimately enemies.

22 studies of this form of meditation have demonstrated its ability to increase peoples’ compassion toward themselves and others.

1 study of 100 adults randomly assigned to a program that included loving-kindness meditation found that these benefits were dose-dependent.

In other words, the more effort people put into Metta meditation, the more positive feelings they experienced.

Another group of studies showed the positive feelings people develop through Metta meditation can improve social anxiety, reduce marriage conflict and help anger management.

These benefits also appear to accumulate over time with the practice of loving-kindness meditation.

SUMMARY: Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behaviour toward others.

The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviours.

Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their addictive behaviours.

1 study that taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress.

Meditation may also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce emotional and binge eating.

SUMMARY: Meditation develops mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses. This can help you recover from addiction, lose weight and redirect other unwanted habits.

Nearly 50% of the population will struggle with insomnia at some point.

1 study compared 2 mindfulness-based meditation programs by randomly assigning participants to 1 of 2 groups. 1 group practiced meditation, while the other didn’t.

Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate.

Becoming skilled in meditation may help you control or redirect the racing or “runaway” thoughts that often lead to insomnia.

Additionally, it can help relax your body, releasing tension and placing you in a peaceful state in which you’re more likely to fall asleep. 

SUMMARY: A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the “runaway” thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.

Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions. 

For example, 1 study used functional MRI techniques to observe brain activity as participants experienced a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through 4 days of mindfulness meditation training, while others had not.

The meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain. They also reported less sensitivity to pain.

1 larger study looked at the effects of habitual meditation in 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain.

An additional study of meditation in patients with terminal diseases found meditation may help mitigate chronic pain at the end of life.

In each of these scenarios, meditators and non-meditators experienced the same causes of pain, but meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced sensation of pain. 

SUMMARY: Meditation can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. This may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or physical therapy.

Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart. 

Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function. 

High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. 

A study of 996 volunteers found that when they meditated by concentrating on a “silent mantra” — a repeated, non-vocalized word, blood pressure reduced by about five points, on average.

This was more effective among older volunteers and those who had higher blood pressure prior to the study.

A review concluded that several types of meditation produced similar improvements in blood pressure.

In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations.

SUMMARY: Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease.

People practice many different forms of meditation, most of which don’t require specialised equipment or space. You can practice with just a few minutes daily.

If you want to start meditating, try choosing a form of meditation based on what you want to get out of it.

There are two major styles of meditation: 

  • Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualisation. It emphasises ridding your mind of attention and distraction. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra or a calming sound.
  • Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.

If your regular work and home environments do not allow for consistent, quiet alone time, consider participating in a class. This can also improve your chances of success by providing a supportive community. 

Alternatively, consider setting your alarm a few minutes early to take advantage of quiet time in the morning. This may help you develop a consistent habit and allow you to start the day positively. 

SUMMARY: If you’re interested in incorporating meditation into your routine, try a few different styles and consider guided exercises to get started with one that suits you.

Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. 

You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships. 

Alternatively, meditation courses and support groups are widely available.

There’s a great variety of styles too, each with different strengths and benefits. 

Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Why you need a good night sleep!

Why you need a good night’s sleep 💤

We have all experienced a time when your alarm goes off after a sleepless night and you drag yourself out of bed feeling like a bear with a sore head.

A poor night’s sleep can leave you feeling tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. You crave a pick-me-up in the form of sugar or caffeine and spend most of the day wishing, hoping and praying for the moment you can get undressed and crawl back into bed again.

On the other hand, eight hours of deep sleep can see you springing out of bed “feeling the joys of spring” and ready to take on anything that the day has to offer you.

However, when you have a lot on your mind, getting a good night sleep can be easier said than done…

Just like having regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, getting a good night sleep is an essential part of looking after your health.

Here we look at some of the health benefits of sleep and why it’s important to make your usual 7.5 to 8 hours sleep a priority.

10 Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep!

For tips and advice on how to improve your sleep, visit our information on how to get a good night’s sleep.

In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage.

  1. Good Sleep Can Improve Your Attention & Concentration – It’s no surprise that getting a good night’s sleep can help to keep your energy levels up. Less well known though is that plenty of rest can also help to keep your mind from wandering and maintain your concentration throughout the day. Not sleeping properly can mean that both your body and brain fail to function properly through the next day. Not being properly rested could impair your attention span, concentration, strategic thinking, risk assessment and reaction times. This is even more important if you have a big decision to make, are driving, or are operating heavy machinery. So getting plenty of sleep can help you to stay sharp and focused all day long and could even improve your safety.
  2. Good Sleep Can Help You To Learn More & Make More Memories – Not only does sleep allow your body the time it needs to rest, repair and rebuild, but it also does the same for your mind. As you sleep, your brain begins to organise and process all of the information that you have taken on during the day. It converts your short-term memories into long-term memories. This helps you to learn better and remember better which means that when you wake up, you can often see things more clearly and remember things better.
  3. Good Sleep Can Help You Maintain A Healthy Weight – Not getting enough sleep can make it more difficult to control your appetite and thus can impact your eating causing you to gain weight. If you do not sleep properly, your body will need more energy because it’s awake for longer. Some research has even suggested that being sleep-deprived changes the level of hormones that signal hunger and fullness in your body. This can make you more likely to choose unhealthy foods (like those high in sugar), and to overeat, particularly later in the day. So sleep plays a key role in regulating how your body uses food for energy and getting enough sleep could help to control your weight.
  4. Good Sleep Can Keep Your Heart Healthy – A lack of sleep can increase your risk of developing a number of problems including high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart decease. Waking up too often is thought to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system which is the system that is responsible for your body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The ‘fight-or-flight’ response is how your body physically reacts when it senses danger. Your sympathetic nervous system also activates your cardiovascular system and increases your blood pressure to prepare you for waking up. If you are regularly being kept awake too much or being woken up a lot, your body cannot compensate for this rise in blood pressure and your level may remain higher than expected. Having high blood pressure is also a major risk factor for stroke and coronary heart disease. Poor sleep has also been linked to poor insulin regulation and resistance. Insulin is the hormone that controls your blood sugar and if you are not getting enough sleep, your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar becomes disrupted and the levels of sugar in your blood can increase, which could cause diabetes. Therefore getting a good night’s sleep is an important factor in looking after your cardiovascular health.
  5. Good Sleep Can Keep Your Immune System Strong Which Can Prevent You Catching Many Illnesses – Getting a good night’s sleep can help to keep your immune system fighting fit and keep germs at bay. Sleep gives your body the time it needs to rest and repair, which is one of the reasons you feel tired and want to sleep more when you are not feeling very well. Good sleep supports the proteins and cells of your immune system to detect and destroy any foreign invaders that your body might come into contact with, such as viruses like the common cold etc. Good sleep also helps these cells to remember past invaders, so that if you come across the same bugs and germs again, you are better prepared to fight them off the next time. So a good night’s sleep can help to strengthen your body’s immune response and it’s essential that you allow yourself time to rest & recover, when you are ill or run down.
  6. Good Sleep Can Take Care Of Your Emotional Wellbeing – If you have got a lot on your mind and are struggling with your emotions, going over things in your head can often keep you awake at night. If you are up all night worrying, you can often see a change in your mood and a lack of sleep can leave you feeling low and down. This could then cause you to feel more anxious and create more negative thoughts about not sleeping which could keep you awake even longer and can turn into a vicious cycle of worry and poor sleep. If this happens you can try practising meditation or mindfulness to help you sleep and take care of your emotional wellbeing. Alternatively you could try writing down your worries & concerns on a pad by the side of the bed before you go to sleep. This can help to put your thoughts in order as well as getting certain concerns off your mind, so that you are able to fall to sleep.
  7. Good Sleep Can Really Help Your Mental Health – Not only is sleep important when looking after your physical health, but it plays a massive part in looking after your mental health too. If you are not sleeping properly, you are at a much higher risk of developing poor mental health.
  8. Good Sleep Can Reduce Your Stress Levels – There are lots of things that can cause you to feel stressed, and how you personally deal with stress is different for everyone. Feeling stressed, for example, from work, relationships, financial or health concerns, is often a key factor for people who are struggling to sleep. When you are feeling stressed, your body releases ‘stress hormones’, for example cortisol, and this can keep you awake. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can have the opposite effect of relaxing the systems in your body that are responsible for this stress response.
  9. Good Sleep Can Help You To Maintain Good Relationships – It’s no secret that a bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling grumpy and this can affect relationships. Making sure to get good sleep can help to put you in a more positive headspace which will make you feel good. This is likely to be felt by the people around you, such as your colleagues and loved ones which can help you to build and maintain these relationships. Therefore getting good sleep can help you to maintain good relationships. How much sleep you get can affect your language, reasoning skills and communication skills. All of these are key factors when building relationships with others.
  10. Good Sleep Can Have A Major Effect On Inflammation In Your Body – Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel disease. One study observed that sleep-deprived people with Crohn’s disease were twice as likely to relapse as patients who slept well. Researchers are even recommending sleep evaluation to help predict outcomes in individuals with long-term inflammatory issues

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

#MorningMotivation Get back up and keep going no matter how many times you get knocked down…

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: #MorningMotivation Get back up & keep going no matter what 💪 Motivation by UK speaker #MikeArmstrong https://anchor.fm/mike-armstrong9/episodes/MorningMotivation-Get-back-up–keep-going-no-matter-what–Motivation-by-UK-speaker-MikeArmstrong-efd71h

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

5 ways to sleep faster and easier

One of the most common problems among adults is not being able to sleep, so-called “Insomnia”. It’s not like the Coronavirus! There are very simple …

5 ways to sleep faster and easier

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Get better sleep to strengthen your immune system

By Glenn Paradise, Dep Slepwear We all know that sleep is important to our health. We get a good night’s sleep and we feel good the next day. 279 …

Get better sleep to strengthen your immune system

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

#OnlineEvents – Happy Place Festival | 12th June – 12th July hosted by Fearne Cotton…

Happy Place Festival
Welcome to Happy Place Virtual Festival.
We’re excited to present a month-long schedule full of passionate people promoting mental and physical wellbeing! Roam around our virtual grounds and find inspiration from the amazing performances, tutorials, and speakers that are making this festival so special!

Connect your mind and body, unlock your creativity, and find your Happy Place!

The festival is completely free, but we encourage you to donate to our wonderful charity partners.

— Read more and get involved on www.happyplacefestival.com/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

10 Benefits of Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day…

We often forget to hydrate, but a steady supply of water is critical to our health and wellness. Here are 10 Benefits of Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day.
— Read on meritagemed.com/gallon-of-water/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Free Webinar for Life Improvement from Your Holistic Academy…

Join Our Life Improvement Course 

                             
Meet Your Speakers 

Wellness and Floatation expert Vivian McKinnon set up Hydro-ease, Northern Irelands only dedicated floatation centre, in September 2015. She established the business in response to her own traumatic experiences after a chance introduction to floatation in her native Scotland and a passion for helping people move away from pain and towards a life of fulfilment.

The idea to open a healing centre came about during her first float in Edinburgh in 2004 where Vivian knew instantly this ‘strange and a bit different therapy’ could help other people; especially those living from addictions, physical and mental pain. In that moment, Vivian’s life purpose became clear. She now dedicates herself to helping people heal from the pain of their past.

Qualified and experienced in Havening techniques, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Timeline Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, SPECTRUM Coaching, Laughter Yoga and auricular acupuncture. Vivian is also the Northern Ireland Coordinator for SMART Recovery UK, a trainer for the Health Care Trust and a Multi Award-winning International Public Speaker.

Her experience as a unique and dynamic change-work specialist spans over almost 3 decades. It is her belief ‘there is magic within us all to heal and change’. Vivian is an effective and experienced, inspirational and creative therapeutic practitioner with an interest in the latest approaches in neuroscience and epigenetics. 

Through the process of post-traumatic growth, Vivian is thriving and living out her mission of ‘healing the world, one float at a time.

Ciara Heneghan is the CEO of Ciara Heneghan Consulting, founder of Time to Thrive and The Rise of the Genix.

Ciara works with creative entrepreneurs who have a big vision inside them but are uncertain and lacking in the confidence to take that vision from their heads into reality.

Working on the genius inside each client, Ciara gets you learning and understanding who you are at the core and the power and potential you really hold and how to unleash that power to create the powerful and successful life you have always wanted.

Ciara has worked with many clients over the span of 20 years in a variety of settings from one to one, group workshops, speaking at transformational seminars, hosting seminars and online coaching/mentoring. Ciara is qualified as an NLP coach, life coach, and ho’ponopono practitioner 

Working with creative entrepreneurs who want to take action and are ready to make quantum leaps regardless is where Ciara’s passion lies.

Una established Anu Change to help and support individuals and businesses to clarify and realise their personal and business ambitions. Specialising in Leadership Development Una is qualified as an administrator to deliver ECR & ECR360 (Emotional Capital Report), working with organisations helping them to retain and manage talent and leadership development. Una’s focus is on helping leaders and potential leaders gain clarity and lead with confidence while deepening their understanding of themselves and how they impact their teams and the wider organization (DISC Profiling).  

Anu Change provides a range of management services to business clients, including Training, Business Mentoring, and Business Coaching. Una is an approved Business Mentor, Coach, and Certified Trainer for a range of public support agencies including the Department of Employment, Skillnet Ireland, and Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’s Louth, Meath, Cavan and Dublin City). Una is a member of the Board of Directors of Credit Union, Member on Independent Evaluation Committee for Louth Leader Partnership, Member of Institute of Bankers, Member of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, and Member of British Psychology Society. She is also a facilitator for LIFT Ireland Programme (Leading Ireland’s Future Together).

All Ken’s life he has been interested in people, their perceptions, how they act and react to any given situation or stimuli. He understands how opinions, habits, behaviors are all linked to beliefs, morals, and values – the very identity of that person. 

However, up until 2017, Ken spent most of his career at management level in the Construction Industry where he gained extensive knowledge in all areas of business management. But as his passion is people and more so helping people, he changed careers and became a qualified Hypnotherapist and ran a Mental Health Clinic in his home town. He lives to help individuals to realise their full potential.

‘Construction had been in my blood since I was employable at 16 – I loved every moment of it, hands-on as a tradesman, foreman, factory manager, contracts manager, and finally director of construction. I loved being in an industry that produced real bricks and mortar measurable results. Measurable results are important for me and within my Coaching, I continue to use methods to measure progress,’ say’s Ken

Ken has now also evolved into a Business Coach, and with his past professional experience, he has a unique set of skills that involves the application of Emotional Intelligence. He provides measurable Coaching methods to allow Business owners to take their business to a new level.

— Read more and sign up to the Free Webinar launch event on johndonnelly.members.hbafunnelbuilder.com/raisewebinar2

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

#PositiveCoronavirusNews – 1 Hour Coronavirus / Covid19 Test approved!

One-hour Covid test approved for rollout

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/one-hour-covid-test-approved-for-rollout-56v2gj9f9

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me