Having finished 2017 by giving up beef, chicken, fish, pork and eggs, I am working on how I will continue onwards with this health trajectory I’ve set myself on. Psychologically, and physically, I feel great knowing I was able to accomplish the goal of becoming vegetarian by going through a methodical process of eliminating meat, and physically, my body is thanking me for it.
I feel incredibly light, more energetic, my muscles aren’t nearly as sore/stiff in the morning and overall. I’m proud to have broken my fast food and soda addiction which lasted over five years.
To help you along a journey of a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle, I’ve included four actions to relieve stress, feel better and be present in the moment.
Often life is overwhelming, challenging and many times we get stuck worrying about events yet to come, or still living events which already happened. Neither are helpful nor in the present.
The hardest part about laughing, is doing so without reason. To spontaneously laugh as if the funniest joke you’ve ever heard was shared. The kind where you grab your stomach, gasp for breath, shed a tear and maybe start laughing again.
During my yoga training, the instructor made us do this all the time. On occasion, he’d be in the middle of talking about a pose, then he’d randomly stop, close his eyes, take a breath and burst out laughing. At first it was awkward. Why is he so caught up in laughing at nothing? You feel foolish, childish even. But that’s the point, to be as a child, not childish.
Eventually you’ll become comfortable doing it, you’ll even notice while laughing, it is IMPOSSIBLE to think about anything else. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to remain as frustrated, stressed and tired as you previously were.
I remember one evening in China, when living with Angie, I was bitching on a tangent about something. I suddenly paused, laughed really hard for a few seconds, and when I stopped, my frustration did as well. Why bother clinging to such low vibrations?
Read about nine benefits of laughter on Life Hacker!
There’s a lot of talk about meditation lately. All kinds of research is being done on what the mind looks like during meditation, how it relieves stress and a variety of other benefits only recently known (to the West). The App Store has exploded with apps claiming to help you breathe your problems away... for $7.99/month.
But the truth is, starting meditation is simple. Sit up straight or lie down, close your mouth and breath using your diaphragm and chest, in and out your nose. Breathing through your mouth gives you bad breath and promotes breathing solely through the chest. This limits how much air you intake and reduces the efficiency of your lunges to transfer oxygen to the blood.
Set a 5 or 10 minute timer, close your eyes and simply keep your attention on your breath. Don’t worry if your thoughts drift, this is your mind expelling what’s weighing it down. The important part is to notice you’re no longer focusing on your breath and to return to focusing on it. Playing music with no drums also helps as your brain cannot keep track of rythym or time.
3. Breathing Exercises
Many of us take breathing for granted. Which explains a lot about how mindful we are of our body, particularly if breathing through the mouth. This needn’t be the case.
Our breath is an incredibly powerful source of vitality, energy and health. A major part of our life force. In fact, the slower and deeper you breathe, the longer you’ll live as your body is filled with fresh oxygen which prevents are variety of diseases from developing. Look within the animal kingdom, those who breathe the slowest (ie. elephants, turtles) live the longer. Conversely, those who breathe rapidly through the mouth (cats, dogs, other small animals) live much shorter lives.
Get started by watching this Ujjayi breathing video.
Want to delve a little deeper — learn more about pranayama.
4. Listen to meditative/vibrational music
Every atom in existence pulsates back and forth and an extremely fast rate. But not all vibrate at the same rate. When we are excited, happy, thrilled, in love and a variety of other pleasant emotions, we are actually vibrating at a higher frequency. And, when we are depressed, sick, tired, angry, hateful and other negative emotions, our vibrational rate slows down.
According to some Eastern traditions, religions, spiritual practices and yogic philosophy, the words we speak also have an impact on our vibration. In Sanskrit, various chants and mantras containing words with positive/higher vibrations are used to increase the vibration rate throughout the body. This is why OM/AUM is chanted at the beginning and ending of each yoga class. OM/AUM is the universal frequency, and associated with the highest point of human energy: the crown of the head.
Listening to various meditative/vibrational/binaural music will help promote higher vibration rate. Lately, I’ve been listening to the Meditative Mind channel on YouTube. It offers a variety of great soundtracks which are simple, long and at a variety of frequencies depending on what you’re looking for.
For more information about the effects of sound therapy and meditative music, check out this article on Collective Consciousness.
These four actions can be done nearly anywhere, and used as often as needed. They are simple, free and effective. The challenging part is building the momentum. Set a positive intention, have some faith they will help you, and start by practicing once or twice a week for a couple minutes.
Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing four more posts with free activities to help boost your health over this coming year.
How do you stay healthy for free? Let me know!