Joy and Beauty
"When you look good, you feel great.
When you feel good, you look great."
101 Ways To Feel Happy
The simple solution is these 101 quick, easy and free ways to make you feel happy right now. They’ll help you get the big picture on how you can feel happier, and from there you can start to add more ideas of your own. Make sure you get your daily dose of happiness, because life’s too short to be miserable.
Here’s the most important stuff you need to do to make you feel happier, all compressed into one quick list.
If you haven’t already had your happy fix today, or if you want to feel even happier, try these 101 quick, simple ideas, but maybe not all on the same day.
Please, dip in to these happy hints, try them out one by one and start to feel happier day by day:
2. Connect with nature.
3. Surround yourself with positive people in person or online.
4. Do something you’ve always enjoyed.
5. Do something you’ve never done before but have always wanted to try.
6. Learn something new.
7. Smell something that makes you happy: a mandarin, your lover’s perfume, chocolate, you decide.
8. Reward yourself for your good habits.
9. Eat something that makes you happy, but not too much if it’s fattening.
10. Spend time with a good friend.
11. Touch something that makes you happy: a cat, velvet, the bark of a tree? Take time to notice.
12. Don’t worry now, worry later.
13. Say, or sing, something that makes you happy.
14. Challenge yourself, I dare you.
15. Look at something that makes you happy.
16. Stop procrastinating, do something.
17. Take a small step towards your goal.
18. Congratulate yourself.
19. Tell someone you love them.
20. Do a good deed.
21. Face your fears.
22. Read a book you love.
23. Get outside.
24. Spend time with inspiring people or read about someone who inspires you.
25. Clear out your junk, literally.
26. Let go of negative memories.
27. Dwell on positive things from your past.
28. Be creative.
29. Dare yourself to do something.
30. Give someone an unexpected gift.
31. Change your habits just this once, do something unexpected.
32. Watch the sunset.
33. Get up for sunrise.
34. Open a savings account.
35. Be active.
36. Plan for success.
37. Eat something healthy.
38. Trust your instincts.
39. Follow your passion.
40. Throw a party, or plan to soon.
41. Avoid drama queens and energy suckers, you know who they are.
42. Write stuff down, keep a diary.
43. Set a goal.
44. Clean your house, bit by bit.
45. Say no.
46. Spend a day alone.
47. Devote a day to family.
48. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while.
49. Wear your favorite outfit.
50. Be present.
51. Go for a bike ride.
52. Do something you loved as a kid that you haven’t done for years.
53. Forgive someone, especially yourself.
54. Go slow.
55. Have a meal somewhere different: try a picnic.
56. Avoid advertisements.
57. Pick a bunch of flowers and put them in your house.
58. Ban all media for the day.
59. Let something slide.
60. Display a colorful fruit bowl and eat one or two pieces a day.
61. Be romantic.
62. Play a game: uno, monopoly, chess, poker.
63. Make a smoothie.
64. Have a siesta.
65. Do something you’ve been putting off.
66. Dream big.
67. Start small.
68. Seek out supportive and like-minded people.
69. Understand that all things come to an end.
70. Feed the ducks.
71. Persevere: pick up something you gave up on.
72. Start a new habit, a good one.
73. Look at yourself in the mirror, pick what you like best and flaunt it.
74. Seek sensuous activities and enjoy them.
75. Look for funny things and have a laugh.
76. Rest up.
77. Change your routine.
78. Take a photo, look back at old ones.
79. Stretch your body.
81. Write a mantra.
83. Don’t buy something, see if you miss it. Put the cash in a savings account instead.
84. Notice what makes you happy and use it in sad times.
85. Ignore people who annoy you, stop being with them.
86. Play hide and seek with some kids.
87. Put a picture of something you want on your wall.
88. Tell someone your dreams.
89. Love yourself.
90. Be grateful.
93. Use your brain: try a crossword or suduko.
94. Make a good choice.
95. Acknowledge your feelings.
96. Go on a journey, long or short.
97. Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally connect with.
98. Be grateful for life.
99. Write a poem.
100. Teach someone something you know well.
101. Choose to be happy every day.
25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier
While it’s hard to define (especially since it varies from person to person), some experts describe happiness as “a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions,” while others view it as consisting of three parts: feeling good, living a “good life,” and feeling part of a larger purpose. There’s also a distinct difference between short- and long-term happiness: The former is a fleeting feeling, while the latter applies to how we describe our own lives.
While some factors that affect happiness might be outside of our control (such as genetics or certain life circumstances), there are always actions we can take to amp up our own good feelings. To smile wider, be more satisfied with life, and feel altogether better—both in the present and the future—try introducing any (or all!) of these practices into your life.
1. Spend time outside.
Enjoying time al fresco is a great way to put some pep back in your step. Living near green spaces is associated with better mental health, and even just looking at images of nature scenes can stimulate the parts of your brain associated with happiness, positivity, and emotional stability. Plus, spending time in the great outdoors exposes us to sunlight, which can help our bodies produce vitamin D . Since low levels of the nutrient have been linked to depression, soaking up a little bit of sun (we’re talking just 15 minutes per day) may lift your spirits both in the present and over the long term. Just make sure to slather on some sunscreen!
2. Sweat it out.
We’re obviously big fans of exercise in general, but making time for a regular fitness session does more than just sculpt a strong physique. While getting your sweat on may not cause happiness, it can certainly contribute to it. Physical activity helps our bodies produce disease-fighting proteins—called antibodies—and our brains release endorphins. While antibodies boost happiness by keeping illness at bay, endorphins are feel-good chemicals that improve your mood while promoting feelings of euphoria. To top it all off, research suggests that regular activity may lead to lasting happiness . So it’s safe to say your pricey gym membership pays off—physically and mentally—in the long run.
3. Sleep more.
Catnaps, power naps, a full night’s sleep… no matter the method, a quality snooze session is vital for overall well-being and happiness. In fact, research shows that not sleeping enough (four hours per night) may lead to lower levels of optimism. And skimping on sleep can cause us to choose larger portion sizes and hurt on-the-job performance . Your best bet: Load up on your vitamins for a healthier, happier life.
Though meditating can sometimes be daunting (quieting your mental chit-chat is tough work!), there are tons of health benefits associated with the practice. Research shows that eight weeks of daily meditation can lead to greater happiness. Looking to get started? Try incorporating any of these 10 meditation strategies into your day.
5. Get a new hobby.
Not only is it mentally stimulating (not to mention fun), but challenging yourself to learn a new skill can lead to greater happiness. That’s thanks to the feelings of accomplishment and self-confidence that often come along with gaining new expertise. Consider this your cue to sign up for those French lessons you’ve always wanted to take, or pick up the ukulele—choose something that genuinely interests you, and run with it!
6. Turn up the tunes.
Just try to frown while listening to upbeat songs (like any of the ones on our Ultimate Happy Playlist)—we dare you! Jamming out can help reduce stress—which leads to greater happiness in general. Plus, listening to music with the goal and desire to become happier may actually lead to greater happiness than simply listening for the sake of listening. So the next time you pump up the volume, keep that positive intention in mind—you may just find yourself smiling a little wider.
7. Write it down.
Negative thoughts are nasty, powerful, and all too easy to dwell upon—and it goes without saying that doing so can make us feel pretty bummed. One way to relieve your mind: Jot it all down. Try writing down your negative thoughts on a piece of paper, and then throwing the piece of paper away. Research suggests that physically tossing your worries can lessen their hold over you. On the flipside, if you document positive experiences that you feel grateful for, you’re likely to feel happier and more satisfied with life. And if you really want to boost your mood, phone a friend and share some of your happy journal entries—doing so may triple your positive feelings.
8. Twist the sheets.
It’s no secret that stress can get you down. Luckily there’s a pretty sweet solution: some between-the-sheets action—and that totally includes solo sessions. Those mind-blowing romps can not only boost your mood, but also slash stress and beat anxiety . Can’t argue with that, right? And in case you need an excuse to get it on more often, consider this: Research suggests that the more sex people have, the happier they tend to be. One study even suggests that having sex once a week may make you feel as stoked as scoring an additional $50,000 in income. Getting lucky even more frequently—four or more times per week—has been linked to making more money—and while extra dough certainly can’t buy happiness, it definitely plays a part in it.
9. Have an attitude of gratitude.
Our parents were onto something when they reminded us to always say your “thank-yous”—doing so can make you healthier and happier. What’s more, being grateful may lead to other positive emotions (including a boost in energy and optimism) and well-being . Besides simply thanking people, try keeping a gratitude journal, and write down what you’re thankful for every day. Experts maintain that jotting down even one sentence of gratitude a day can boost feelings of happiness.
10. Be a friend.
A few wise men once sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends”—and they couldn’t be more spot-on. Except we don’t just get by thanks to our friendships—positive friendships help us feel more confident, less stressed, and happier.
11. Spread joy.
Much like yawning and a case of the giggles, happiness really is contagious. One study found that happiness has a waterfall effect among pals (and their pals… and their pals’ pals). When one person’s happy, it spreads to his or her friends and entire social network over the long term. Pretty much the most awesome way to influence other people, right?
12. Learn to let go.
Adopting a hakuna matata outlook can boost overall happiness. Easier said than done, to be sure, but making a point to detach yourself from mistakes, worries, and regrets may lead to more lighthearted times. In fact, holding onto resentment and hurt feelings can tie you to the past and also marks a decision to continue suffering. Make the choice to be happy by forgiving people who hurt you and moving away from situations from your past that brought you down.
13. Practice self-care on a daily basis.
Given the manic pace of day-to-day life, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself—and that’s a surefire way to end up unhappy, burnt out, and even ill. Try treating yourself to regular actions that improve your overall, long-term health and happiness (this list is a pretty great place to start!).
14. Do some downward-facing dog.
Getting your om on is an excellent way to boost your mood and beat anxiety . In fact, one study suggests yoga may be more effective at boosting mood than other methods of exercise. Plus, practicing yoga can also help slash stress and improve immunity—both of which contribute to overall, long-term health and happiness.
15. Load up on nutrients.
When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well is clutch—especially since the nutrients you consume improve your mental health as much as your physical well-being. Case in point: Research finds that happiness and mental wellbeing are highest among people who eat a good amount of fruit and vegetables per day (seven portions, in this case). Plus, some nutrients, like calcium and iron, are particularly good at making you merry. Check out this long list of mood-boosting nutrients here, and fill up your plate with the good stuff.
16. Go easy on yourself.
Too often, we’re our own worst enemies. While it’s good to be aware of mistakes you’ve made and improvements you can make, beating yourself up on the regular is a surefire way to wind up singing the blues. In fact, experts believe that self-criticism can just make us more miserable. So instead of dwelling on your every failing, focus on how and why you value yourself. This shift will help make you stronger, more productive, less stressed, and, yes, happier.
17. Just say yellow.
The next time you’re feeling down, try harnessing the power of a yellow hue. Happy people tend to associate their mood with the cheerful color, and folks also tend to think of yellow as the color of optimism (possibly because we associate it with the sun). To incorporate the power of yellow into your life, try adding a bit of yellow to your outfit or painting your walls the cheerful hue.
18. Feel the flower power.
Apart from brightening up a room, flowers can also brighten up your mood. A floral fixture may reduce feelings of pain and anxiety while boosting positive emotions. One study also shows that looking at flowers first thing in the morning leads to increased happiness and energy and decreased anxiety. Not only that, but being surrounded by blooms can also positively affect your 9-to-5—it’s been shown to boost creativity and make workspaces feel more pleasant.
19. Minimize stress.
When it’s a chronic problem, the big bad stress monster is responsible for tons of health problems—including anxiety, sleep issues, depression, and more—and these can all put a damper on your mood. To keep your spirits soaring, try incorporating any of these stress-busting strategies into your life, and get ready to feel the stress melt away.
20. See the glass as half-full.
If there’s one trait that goes hand-in-hand with happiness, it’s optimism. People who think positively are less likely to feel depressed, more productive at work, and generally healthier than their doom-and-gloom counterparts. That said, it’s important to be both optimistic and realistic instead of just blindly positive (In fact, forcing ourselves to feel over-the-top positive may do more harm than good, especially for those of us more prone to cynical thinking.). People with a healthy combination of optimism and realism don’t let unhappy thoughts bring them down, but they use their realistic outlook to make smart decisions and actions. Talk about the best of both worlds.
21. Have meaningful conversations.
Shooting the breeze may be fun and completely effortless, but small talk won’t lead you to a happier life. In one study, people who engaged in the least amount of meaningless chit-chat were also the happiest . And speaking of conversation skills, being a good listener may also lead to a greater sense of wellbeing, stronger relationships, and all-around better experiences.
22. Get stuff done.
Fact: Since it prevents us from accomplishing goals, procrastination diminishes happiness. Avoid putting off tasks and continue working towards your goals in order to give yourself a mental boost. Though conquering something challenging may stress us out while we’re doing it, it also makes us happier in the long run (hey, who doesn’t love an accomplishment?). Plus, when we set goals (and meet or surpass our hopes and expectations), it can help us feel more purpose and control and boosts our self-esteem.
23. Complain—the right way.
Whining is generally considered a bad thing—and yeah, it can get pretty annoying if you’re on the receiving end. Done effectively, however, it can actually benefit our mental health. So what exactly makes complaining effective? When voicing a concern leads to results, which in turn lead to a better mood and self-esteem and feeling empowered, it’s effective. In other words, complaining done right involves identifying a problem and taking positive action to address it, not just getting stuck in a loop-de-loop of complaints.
24. Save money…
Building up a nest egg is an important part of a happy life—and a financially sound future. One survey found that the more people saved, the happier they tended to be. Putting money aside is also associated with feelings of security, wellbeing, and control. Save some cash here, there, and everywhere.
25. …But also spend money (wisely).
While it’s crucial to stash some cash away for a rainy day, indulging in the occasional shopping trip can actually reduce sadness by making us feel more in-control. While retail therapy seems to be a legit thing, science shows that spending money on others is especially beneficial to happiness. And if you really want to boost your mood, experts suggest combining an actual gift with the gift of your time—so both you and your giftee enjoy both the purchase and the time spent together. To reap the mood-boosting benefits, enjoy the gift with your loved one—whether you’re giving an experience, like cooking classes, or something more material, like new golf clubs.
Beauty Starts In Your Head, Not In Your Mirror! Love Yourself NOW!
1.Celebrate your past. This might be one of the hardest ones for you. There are things you used to be that you just don't want to celebrate. However, everything that happened to you in the past made you the person you are today so you need to embrace and celebrate that past because, without it, you wouldn't be youself.
2.Indulge in your desires. Now, not every desire should be indulged it, but sometimes it's important to recognize the things that make you happy, that inspire you, that send little shivers of delight down your spine. Doing so will help you recognize the uniqueness that is you and will help you to identify the things you can focus on, those things that truly bring you happiness.
3.Let go of your mistakes. Mistakes happen. To everyone. No matter what you look like, who you are, what you do for a living, you've made mistakes. We all have and they all suck. You look back on some of your mistakes and literally cringe. But you know what? It doesn't do you any good to focus on them. Take what you can from them, learn from them, and then move on.
4.Transform your mindset.Sadly it's often easier to get down on yourself than it is to lift yourself up, but if you want to love yourself, you have to change your mindset. You have to believe that you're worthy of love and you have to actively seek out positive things about yourself and your life. If you don't do it, no one else well. Change the way you think about yourself and the rest will fall into place.
5.Embrace your future. Sometimes you find yourself in a tough spot, unhappy with your life and ultimately unhappy with yourself. While you are all about living in the present, sometimes that the present can be pretty rotten. So cut yourself some slack and remember that you have a deliciously exciting future ahead of you. Focus on what's to come and remind yourself that you can do anything. Always believe something wonderful will happen.
6.Dive into your passion. Most people are passionate about something. They have things that really matter to them -- whether it be a cause or a job or a loved one or a hobby. Whatever it is that gets you really excited, focus on it. Embrace it. Run with it. One of the best ways you can learn to love yourself is to zero in on the things that make you the happiest and spend as much time as you can on them.
7.Live in your moment. While it's not always easy to live in the moment, it's important that you do so. Why? Because to live in the moment is to accept what is and to accept what is is the best way for truly loving yourself. If you focus on the past or present, you're not loving yourself now. Love yourself by being present.
8.Sing your own praises. Some people don't like toot their own horns, but you know what? It's okay to say how awesome you are every once and awhile. It's okay to admit that, wow, you did an amazing job on something or accomplished something you never thought you could. Celebrate yourself and your achievements and all of that self-love is sure to find you. Love your awesomeness because, seriously, you are awesome.
9.Listen to your ideas. Do you ever find yourself ignoring your instincts or avoiding your gut reaction? Don't do that anymore. If you want to love yourself, you have to believe yourself. You have to trust yourself. It's not always easy to listen to yourself, but recognize that your thoughts and ideas are always valid (no matter how ridiculous they might seem). You don't always have to act on your ideas, but always listen to them.
10.Appreciate your life. Okay, so there are some things you want to change about yourself, about your look, about your relationships, about your life? That's okay. We all want to change things. But what if you stopped focusing on the things you want to change and, instead, focused on the things you wanted to stay the same. Appreciating all that you have in your life is one of the very best ways to remember that you're so very lucky to be YOU!
The Power of Mindfulness and Meditation
One morning I woke up and noticed a few, strange red bumps on my arms—bug bites, I thought.
Then, the next day, more bumps. Within one full week, my skin went from being clear and tan to being covered with red, scaly, teardrop spots all over my body, including my face.
My self-esteem and confidence were thrown out the window; my comfort zone reduced to about the size of a prisoner’s cell.
I went to the dermatologist, avoiding any possible eye contact or bright office lights, and made my way into the office. The doctor came in and I watched her eyes go straight to my arms and hands. By the look of it, she immediately knew what it was.
I’ve had acne before but nothing this excruciating. She explained to me that no magic pill to cure it. Creams alleviate it (although they never worked for me, ever). Light therapy helps, but the ultimate cure: meditation and believing that I would get better.
Just put yourself in my shoes for a second and imagine your skin completely shifted gears on you over the course of one week, and the only answer that you get from a professional with a foreign-sounding name, holding an iPad, is meditation and belief. Sounds like a load of crap, right?
But when you’re in the mercy of the unknown, and you literally feel like jumping out of your own skin, you will do anything to get better.
I’m not here to complain or give you a medical testimony on acne: I’m here to tell you how my skin alleviated tremendously in about two months by being mindful of my actions and thoughts, harnessing the effectiveness of words, and exercising the practice of meditation.
I knew that feeling sorry myself wouldn’t heal my skin, so I took the dermatologist’s advice and began practicing meditation.
When most people try meditating, they quit because they don’t know what it is they’re trying to accomplish, or even how to start.
But what if it’s as simple as relaxing?
What if you meditated because it helps you organize your thoughts, mitigate negative emotions, and maintain some peace in your mind? Isn’t that worth it? I firmly believe that the practice of meditation is the sole reason why my skin cleared up, and it also allowed me to better focus on my tasks and get them done.
Note: Meditation isn’t necessarily a cure-all, and medical treatment may be necessary; I had to go to light therapy to further alleviate my skin. However, meditation can ultimately have positive results. It will be as effectiveness as you allow it to be.
Some tips for meditation:
Sit in a quiet room, set your environment to your comfort, close or open the door (your choice). I sometimes sit on the floor, other times I sit in a chair like I’m at the psychiatrist.
Sit still. Take deep breaths, in your nose, out your mouth. At one point, you may not realize you’re even breathing because it happens so naturally. It’s truly fascinating, and it feels liberating.
Try to think of nothing and just be. Be the person in the room. Be you. I try to think of a white room without any surroundings, corners, or edges.
While you attempt to do this random thoughts will pop up: What’s for dinner? When will that email come in? Ice cream sounds good right about now. And so on. Simply observe them and let them pass.
Focus on what you want. For me, it was for my acne to go away—so I would focus on clear skin. I would focus on getting better and not feeling the way I did. I consistently told myself—even if it felt like I was lying—that I would get better. I adamantly believed it.
Sure, there were days I was completely down on myself, but the point is to catch yourself in the act, refuse to give into negativity, and focus on the small, positive steps that lead to a positive outcome.
Do this for 10 minutes a day if you can. If you can do more, then do it.
Practice often. All you need to do is breathe.
Always remember: go slowly.
The truth is, meditating takes much practice. You learn to develop the habit of sitting still, purging your negative thoughts, and simply breathing.
Mindful Words and Actions
It’s not just seated meditation that creates positive change in our lives. Being mindful of our language can also make a big difference.
I believe that words are an influential and determining force—not only the words that we say, but how we say it.
If you consistently use negative, undermining words, the result will consistently show. If you use positive, encouraging words, you’re more likely to create a positive outcome.
I had to quit saying: “My skin is awful. I’ll never get better. I hate my life.”
Instead, I had to begin exercising mindful thoughts such as: “My skin will get better. This is only one obstacle, and if I get over this I will be stronger than yesterday.”
You can apply this to your life, your passions, and craft.
If you consistently tell yourself that you will never lose weight, or you’ll never find happiness, then guess what?
You never will.
You Have Power. By developing the habit of meditation, and exercising mindful actions and words, you will decrease the stress and anger in your life and harness your personal power to create and spark positive outcomes.
When negative emotions pop up, you will know how to cope with them instead of feeding into them.
I could have sat in my room and felt sorry for myself. I could have procrastinated writing for the next few months. I could have thought that the doctor was full of it and completely disregarded her advice.
But I didn’t. I chose to be mindful of my thoughts and actions. I chose to practice meditation, regardless of how daunting it may have seemed.
I chose to put effort into getting better.
After a few months, my skin cleared up dramatically, my mood became less foul, and I reached my target, largely through simple, mindful practices.
You can change your life too, starting right now.
You won’t see drastic change in a few days, and maybe not in a few weeks.
I felt antsy because I wanted to get better quickly, but I’ve learned to be patient with myself.
Go slowly. Be present. Be mindful of your words and actions. Start choosing to live a more fruitful, positive life.
Amazing Health Benefits of Walking in the Morning
It has been proven by heart studies that walking for just two miles daily reduces the risk of death by almost 50 percent. Walking in the morning raises this rate to a bit over the 50 percent mark. Studies have also shown that the risk of certain cancers is reduced by walking. The benefit: walk your way to a longer healthier life.
2. Beautiful Skin
Morning walks can help improve your skin. Pollution is light during the morning hours and this pollution–free atmosphere will help with the absorption of vitamin D which is essential to provide glowing skin.
3. Stress Reduction
Morning walks also give you the added time to meditate and reduce stress. Morning is generally quiet and calming and your brain is functioning at a higher level. Better decisions can be made and a start to your working day is enhanced.
4. You´ll Sleep Better at Night
Health benefits of walking in the morning also include a better sleep at night. Exercise that is done in the early morning increases your metabolism and resets your body clock.
5. Vitamin D is Absorbed more Easily
Vitamin D can be more easily absorbed during morning walks. Again there is less pollution to cut down on sun rays. Vitamin D helps with calcium regularity in the bones. With a lack of calcium you can experience osteoporosis and osteopenia.
6. Improved Blood Circulation
Blood circulation is better since walking provides great cardio exercises. Your heart beats faster and blood can be efficiently pumped to every part of your body. As blood circulates you are also controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Early morning walking will reduce heart disease and strokes. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day will regularize your heart beat.
7. Improved Stamina and Muscle Strength
Stamina and muscle strength is improved by morning walks. You will not be as tired during the day since you have provided a means for your endorphins and metabolism to wake up and be motivated.
8. Better Blood Sugar Levels
If you are diabetic and on insulin a morning walk will help control your blood sugar levels. The American Medical Association researched and found that morning exercisers had a much better handle on their blood sugar levels throughout the day.
9. Improved Metabolism
Metabolisms are improved when you walk in the morning. After the slowed-down effects of night sleep, morning walks will give you a jump start to the day by providing mental alertness, more energy, and psychological clarity.
As you see, health benefits of walking in the morning are amazing.Walking in the morning is a very simple way of helping your body be physically active, your brain more alert, and your spiritual side more in tune. The benefits of a healthier heart, lower diabetic possibilities and the simple pleasure of being outside in the fresh air all out weight the cons of having to get up early to walk!
Inspire your friend to walk and share this article about the health benefits of walking in the morning.
Meditation for Beautiful Skin
The impact of meditation on aging, particularly the aging brain, has been a topic of research for many years for Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, the founding president and medical director of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation in Arizona.
“Our research reveals that meditation lowers the stress chemical in the blood called cortisol. Cortisol kills brain cells and leads to cognitive decline. Our research also shows that our simple 12 minute daily meditation called Kirtan Kriya enhances brain blood flow in critical areas of the brain and reverses memory loss.”
Dr Khalsa also explains how meditation can increase our longevity and decrease our overall aging process. “Meditation lowers blood pressure and other markers of aging including MVO2 or oxygen demand. It enhances psychological well-being, perhaps the most significant determinate of telomere length (telemores are the end cap of our DNA), which is a very important marker of aging and longevity: longer telomers = less illness and longer life.”
Building healthy cellsOccupational Therapy Practitioner and Host of television show Functional Fitness Suzanne Andrews uses meditation in her treatments with clients, saying that meditation is an important part of healthy cell function, and that our cells ultimately determine everything about the way we look and feel.
“Meditation when combined with diaphragmic breathing increases oxygen intake which increases blood flow. There are 1 billion oxygen molecules in 1 red blood cell - very important because blood nourishes all of your body systems cells. Adults come with a total number of 100 trillion cells. Each of these cells is an important life form that depends on oxygen and blood to transport nutrients, gases, wastes, and hormones.
Meditation helps our cells work better as a system because a cell is a system of parts that help it to work. Like a watch, if one part breaks down, the whole watch stops keeping time. So too, our cells age when one part breaks down. Keeping our cells healthy slows down the aging process.”
Meditation and fertility
Essentially, meditation is a key way of taking charge of your own health, looks and longevity. Acupuncturist Janet Humphrey is the founder of New York’s Giving Nature Center, and uses acupuncture needles to induce a state of meditation.
“This state restores the body’s optimum functioning and harmonious nervous system function, benefiting our organs, skin and circulation. It helps issues including insomnia, anxiety, depression, ulcers, digestive disorders, menstrual and fertility issues. Cells are receiving the healthy nutrients that they need. When they are well nourished they can work at their best. Once people experience this through acupuncture, they want to maintain it – so I recommend meditation so they aren’t dependant.”
The brilliance of meditation is that it is simple to do, and accessible to everyone. Here is a ten minute Deep Breathing and Relaxation Meditation to help get you started.
How Meditation Can Restore Your Youthful Glow
Meditating not only calms you down, but can also change your perspective and how you handle stressful situations like this one; and as a bonus, every step you take toward reducing stress will also reduce your risk of heart disease, lessen the chance that you’ll turn to food for comfort (and gain extra pounds), and even keep your skin looking younger.
Meditation works much the same way breathing exercises do, but it also allows you to go deeper. If breathing exercises are like taking a walk around the block, meditation is like going to the gym for an hour— both are beneficial (and both are good habits to get into), but the latter is going to have a greater impact on your health and how young and vibrant you feel. For instance, in an Australian study, researchers found that people who practiced meditation regularly for eight weeks had greater improvements in work stress, anxiety, and depression.
Meditation may even help you cope better with menopausal symptoms. In a University of Massachusetts Medical School study, women who were experiencing hot flashes and night sweats participated in weekly two-and-a-half-hour mindfulness classes focusing on body awareness, meditation, and stretching. By the end of the eight-week study, although they didn’t have fewer hot flashes than a control group, they were less stressed and anxious, slept better, and were less bothered by their hot flashes and night sweats.
If you practice meditation regularly, you’re not likely to get as worked up by things like a sister’s stubbornness, a contractor’s negligence or a bad dog. In stressful situations, we often operate on autopilot, but handling problems in a more deliberate way can be far more effective and less likely to send your stress level soaring. “Meditation helps you do that by cultivating mindfulness,” says Steven Hickman, Psy.D., director of the University of California, San Diego, Center for Mindfulness, “so that you can be less emotionally reactive and have the presence of mind to deal with difficult things.”
There are different ways to practice meditation - the following is one example of meditation in the mindfulness tradition. It may take several weeks for you to get into a daily habit. Start by trying to meditate for 10 minutes, working up to 20—or even longer, if possible.
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Become aware of your breathing. Breathe slowly and naturally, drawing air into your belly and exhaling.
- Focus on your breathing, and any time your mind wanders away from your breath, take note of what’s on your mind and bring your focus back to your breathing. Acknowledge your thoughts without judging, condemning, or rejecting them. Each time, bring your focus back to your breath and begin again.
- When you are finished, sit quietly for a minute, then open your eyes and rise slowly.
Inner peace and joy are spiritual gifts. The gifts of Spirit enter the heart when we make the choices we need to make to be available to them. What are these choices?
Peace and joy exist in this present moment - not in the past or future. If you are in your left-brain ego programmed mind - your wounded self - you are likely thinking about the past or the future with a desire to have control over something. The moment you are out of the moment with a desire to control, you cut off access to the spiritual gifts of peace and joy, as well as to the gifts of love and truth.
The heart needs to be open in order to receive the gifts of Spirit. Nothing opens the heart faster than deep gratitude - gratitude for your life, your soul's journey, for the body your soul lives in, for the food you eat, for friendship and caring, for shelter, and for anything else that you are blessed with - eyes that see, ears that hear, arms, legs, health, and so on. Being truly grateful for your particular blessings opens the heart to the gifts of Spirit.
The opposite of compassion is judgment. When we choose to judge others and ourselves, our heart closes and we get stuck in our wounded self - our left-brain programmed ego mind. Judgment cuts us off from the gifts of Spirit, while compassion opens our heart.
It is not enough to be compassionate toward others - you need to also be compassionate with yourself, with your own feelings, your own woundedness, your own mistakes and failings. You will feel a sense of emptiness within that comes from inner abandonment when you judging yourself rather than being compassionate toward yourself.
When your mind is open to learning about truth and loving action toward yourself and others, you are open to receiving the love, truth, peace and joy of Spirit. Choosing the intent to learn rather than the intent to protect against pain with addictive, controlling behavior is essential for receiving the gifts of Spirit.
Accepting what is regarding people and events supports you in being in your open, right brain, loving adult state. When you do not accept what is, then you get stuck trying to control that which you cannot control - events and how others feel, think and behave. The moment you try to control others and events, you move into your closed, controlling wounded self, which cuts you off from the gifts of Spirit.
Surrender to the wisdom of Spirit is the opposite of living out of your left-brain controlling ego wounded self. When you open to learning with the Guidance that is always with you and always all around you - the Guidance that is both imminent and transcendent - you know that you are never alone. You receive a true sense of inner safety when you open to being guided by the wisdom of Spirit rather than by the learned knowledge and programming of your wounded self.
As you open to your Guidance and begin to receive the gifts of Spirit, you are able to move more and more into faith that you are truly not alone - that what we often call God is here always supporting you in your highest good and always manifesting your thoughts and beliefs. Faith that you are loved and that you are in co-creation with God supports you in thinking the thoughts and taking the actions that open you to the gifts of Spirit.
Choosing to live through accessing the truth that comes from your spiritual Guidance, rather than from the lies and false beliefs of your ego wounded self, is an invitation to all the wonderful gifts of Spirit.
While many people choose the above some of the time, few people make these choices most of the time. Yet openness to receiving the peace, joy, love, and truth of Spirit requires consistency in your spiritual practice. When you consistently, moment by moment, make these choices, you will discover the deep inner peace and joy that are your birthright.