In today’s busy world, we are constantly pressured to multi-task in order to get everything we have on our to-do list done, but multi-tasking all the time isn’t good for us. Multi-tasking can drain our energy, increase stress, and affect our health negatively. Below are three easy and accessible ways to help create more focus, productivity and positivity in our lives and to help us move from “rush to relax”.
Our founder Lyndall calls these tools her Mind Gym and as we all know that you can’t go to the gym ones and be fit forever, if we want a fit and healthy mind we need to give it some good regular exercise. Some research indicates that up to 80% of our daily thoughts are in some way negative. So in order to be boost our focus, productivity and positivity we can easily visit our Mind Gym
1 – Inhalation and Breathe
Shallow chest breathing uses about 50% of your lung capacity. Breathing deeper oxygenates our bodies and recharges our cells, muscles and organs. Like putting your phone on the charger, your body is getting a full recharge with the breath.
Also if you have ever tried to detox, a great way to detox is to breathe fully. About 70% of our body’s toxins are designed to be expelled through our breath. So if you were just to breathe more fully you can have a mini detox wherever you are.
Start by putting your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest and take three slow deep breaths. Feel your left hand rise and fall. Ideally you won’t have any movement in your right hand as you breathe.
Now use that full deep breathing for an inhalation. By simply bringing our focus and attention to our senses is an experience of mindfulness. This can help us relax the mind and body helping to create more positive and productive thoughts.
Right now we are going to focus on our sense of smell with the application of your favourite hand cream.
Let’s go on a mini holiday for your mind, eyes closed or open, lift your hands to your face and take in the aroma and focus on your sense of smell. Breathe fully. Let go of any other thoughts…..
If you would like to create an inhalation habit, link it to something you already do like applying some hand or body cream or even having a coffee.
2 – Turn off technology and light a candle during dinner
Turn off your technology and light a candle during dinner. Be present as you eat dinner and engage in conversations and be more mindful with your eating.
Benefit: This helps digestion and helps your body to wind down ready for a good night’s sleep.
3 – Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
You can do a Progressive Muscle Relaxation anywhere and it helps to release tension in the body. By taking your attention to a particular body part we are going to be tensing and relaxing muscles through your body.
Begin by taking a deep breath in, and hold this breath for a moment. Holding, holding… then relax and let go…
Now move your awareness to your legs, contracting and tensing the muscles in your legs, squeeze and hold………. then relax and let go…..
Now moving your attention to your core, contracting and tensing all of your abdominal muscles, squeeze and hold ………………..then relax and let go……
And now to your shoulders pulling your shoulders up towards your ears, squeeze and hold ………………..then relax and let go……
Now just notice how relaxed your body feels.
We have just focussed on 3 major muscle groups. You can take this technique and apply it to any part of the body, hold it for longer, repeat areas that are particularly tight.
The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much air as possible in your lungs. The more oxygen you get, the less tense and anxious you feel.
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The stress response is the body’s natural response to a stressful situation. With The stress response we unleash our “fight or flight” response where our bodies release stress hormones. In the days of humans as hunter gathers, we needed this response to stay safe and it served us well. In today’s world our stress response can be triggered more frequently in our 24/7 hi-tech society. However, the effects of triggering your stress response frequently can lead to many health issues. Whilst having some stress in your life is positive, having too much can lead to an imbalance in your body.
Some of the effects of the stress response are:
- Heart rate increases
- Blood pressure rises
- Shallow breathing
- Muscles contract
- The immune system is less effective
- Anxiety increases
- Digestion is less effective amongst many other bodily and brain responses
In the 1970’s, Dr Herbert Benson conducted an extensive amount of research on the effects of how we respond to different situations – a stress response vs a relaxation response and how they affect our bodies. He found that a relaxation response can counterbalance the effects of stress.
A relaxation response is a more positive response that helps to keep our stress levels down. The relaxation response is the polar opposite to the stress response as it helps to restore a state of equilibrium in the body. The relaxation response is what helps us to increase mind and body balance as well as concentration, creativity, immunity and digestive health and also to reverse the predominant stress response effects. There are many ways to cultivate more of the relaxation response, think about what you can do when you are relaxing, nourishing or nurturing your body. Some ways that I like to have more relaxation in my life are having a bath, a quiet cup of tea, a massage or reading a book. It is a time when nothing is required of you and you are doing something you feel is pleasurable. More relaxation, less stress sounds like a great recipe for living your best life.
|STRESS RESPONSE “fight or flight”
Breathing rate increases
Heart rate increases
Blood pressure rises
Cholesterol levels go up
Immune system is less effective
Depression is more prevalent
Sleep disorders increase
Fat is more likely stored around stomach
Digestion works less effectively
Sex hormones/sex drive decreases
Breathing rate slows down
Heart rate slows
Blood pressure lowers
Immune system improves
Sense of wellbeing increases
Brain wave patterns slow down
Thought process increased
Increase in creativity and concentration
Sex hormones normalise
3cm piece of ginger
ice cubes, to serve
Juice pineapple, oranges and ginger through a juicer. Stir and serve over ice for a quick energy and immune system boost. Serves 2.
Recipe sourced from Squeezed, Murdoch Books Australia, 2006
Eat your way to healthy skin with this Kiwifruit Trifle recipe. Yum!
Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit Chia Trifle
The SunGold Kiwi Chia Trifle combines this nutrient dense kiwifruit with the protein rich chia seeds. A nourishing, revitalising breakfast or the perfect snack at any time.
This trifle is packed full of fruit and the nutritionally rich chia seeds. Add that to a complete protein seed like chia and you’ve got a nourishing, nutritionally dense breakfast or anytime snack.
The chia seed belongs to the mint family and helps repair the mucous membranes of the intestinal wall that may be depleted due to ulceration and inflammation. It is a complete protein as it contains nine amino acids. When combined with golden kiwifrut the nutrient value sky-rockets with all the goodness of vitamin C. A great start to the day.
- 4 tablespoons black chia seeds
- 1 cup water
- 2 SunGold Kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped
- 2 SunGold Kiwifruit, peeled and sliced for layering
- 1 tablespoon mint, washed, dried and finely chopped
- 1 cup coconut yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts, crushed
- Extra maple syrup for drizzling
- Soak chia in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, combine Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest, vanilla
- Add chia and blend until smooth in a food processor
- Layer the base of two balloon glasses with sliced SunGold Kiwifruit
- Distribute half the mixture between the glasses, layering mint and add more chia mixture. Then add a layer of coconut yoghurt
- Continue this process so you have two layers of chia and two layers of kiwifruit to create a trifle effect
- Set in fridge 4 hours or overnight
- Garnish with crushed macadamias and drizzle with maple syrup to serve
For the month of June, Samantha has generously given us a promotion code for you to download her ebook The Healing Feeling for $14.95 (full prince $19.95). ‘The Healing Feeling’ is packed with information and inspiration to eat and live well every day. To purchase The Healing Feeling click here and use code AURORA at checkout. Visit Food Health Wealth for more information.
Images courtesy Zespri SunGold kiwi