Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Best & Worst Sleeping Positions

#Sleep #Relaxation #Wellbeing #Infographic

Via @MindBodyGreen The Best & Worst Sleeping Positions (Infographic).

Sleep is a tricky subject. How much should you get? Is it better to sleep on your side or on your stomach? What position makes you more likely to snore?

Thankfully, The Huffington Post put together an infographic detailing the pros and cons of each sleep position. So pay close attention to the tips below!

The Best & Worst Sleeping Positions (Infographic)

10 Tips To Get Great Sleep, No Matter How Stressed You Are

#LaurenNoreen #Breathing #Caffeine #Food #Relaxation #Sleeping #Stress #Yoga

Via @MindBodyGreen 10 Tips To Get Great Sleep, No Matter How Stressed You Are.

By Lauren Noreen

10 Tips To Get Great Sleep, No Matter How Stressed You Are

My highly sensitive friends know the frustration of lying awake in bed with a busy mind or achy body. A twinge of worry or an unrelenting thought can keep us awake for hours. We’re familiar with the nagging noise in the other room, or the footsteps on the floor above that keep us from drifting off no matter how tired we feel. We know the draw of caffeine and sugary foods when we finally pull ourselves out of bed. And there’s often the “don’t cross me” feeling that might emanate from us as we walk into the world after a crappy night’s sleep.

Undoubtedly, all of us will experience bouts of insomnia at some point in our lives. The stresses of life and work deadlines will leave anyone tossing and turning. However, for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), approximately 20% of the population according to researcher Elaine Aron, a good night’s sleep can be more of an enigma than a simple part of everyday life. Having a more sensitive nervous system lends itself to a predisposition toward insomnia. Sleep requires us to be in a deep state of relaxation, which is not easily attainable or familiar to an HSP.

While us sensitive folks may not have the ability to doze off at the drop of a hat, we can certainly get the shut eye we need by creating an environment that’s conducive to deep relaxation.

Try one of these tips tonight for sweet dreams and a peaceful slumber.

1. Emphasize relaxation 1-2 hours before bedtime.

In the evening hours, decrease stimulation as much as possible. Dim the lights and slow things down. Do something you find relaxing, such as reading, practicing gentle yoga, taking a bath or talking about your day with your partner. As much as possible, make relaxation the theme of the evening. If certain tasks are unavoidable, then practice doing them in a relaxed manner.

2. Quit caffeine by noon.

Caffeine can stay in your body 8-14 hours after consuming it. Caffeine’s effects vary from person to person, but in general, if you are having trouble sleeping, try completely eliminating it for a month and see if that improves your sleep. Also consider sneaky sources of caffeine such as chocolate and tea. Switch to water, herbal tea, and herbal coffee substitutes.

3. Have a sleepy meal at dinnertime.

Eat foods containing nutrients that promote sleep, including tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium. At dinner, eat a combination of high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates. Try a dish of quinoa mixed with sautéed greens and sliced chicken breast sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds. For dessert, try a bowl of fresh cherries or a frozen yogurt made with frozen cherries and coconut milk.

4. Lights out at 10:30 p.m.

Aim to go to bed around the same time every night. Our bodies are built for a 10 p.m. — 6 a.m. sleep pattern. The most regenerative form of sleep occurs between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

5. Practice left-nostril breathing.

Block off your right nostril with your right thumb and take long slow deep breaths through your left nostril only. Left-nostril breathing has a soothing and relaxing effect on the body mind. In Kundalini Yoga, it’s suggested that you take 26 long, slow deep breaths in this manner to produce a relaxing effect on the mind and body.

6. Shift your perspective.

What do you believe about sleep? Fearful thoughts create tension in the body and a body that is tense will not be able to fall into a deep sleep. The fear of not being able to fall asleep can easily keep one from falling asleep. My struggle with insomnia finally lifted when I believed that perhaps I could fall asleep without a sleeping pill. I often use the affirmation, “I choose to relax and let go now.”

7. Play with lighting and sound.

Aligning our internal rhythms with those of nature sets us up for more restful sleep. Make a point to get exposure to sunlight during the day and in the evening, dim the lights a few hours before bed. Sleep in a pitch-black room or wear an eye mask. If you find that you are more relaxed with some background noise, use a fan or noise machine while sleeping. Earplugs are also a great option if you are sensitive to noise.

8. Take a relaxation bath.

Combine ½ cup Epsom salts with a few drops of an essential oil, like lavender, in hot water. Soak for 20 minutes. The magnesium contained in Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and promotes feelings of relaxation. Water and salt cleanses energy from the day.

9. Try acupressure or another relaxation technique.

Lie on an acupressure mat in bed before dozing off. You can also try a progressive muscle or yoga nidra video in which you relax each part of your body using your mind. Another option is giving an alternative therapy like acupuncture a try.

10. Take relaxation breaks during the day.

Try taking at least one 15-minute relaxation break during the day to keep your body in balance so that you’re not in a state of overwhelm by the end of the day.

I’d love to hear from you. What have you found helps you get a peaceful night’s sleep?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Lauren Noreen

Lauren Noreen helps men and women who are struggling with anxiety, fatigue and issues with food and weight to heal their minds and bodies, discover their spirits and live a life they love in a vibrantly healthy body. Connect with Lauren at her website to download her guide: 5 Ways to Know you are a Sensitive Soul & Quick Guide to Calm.

Science Explains What’s Different About Highly Sensitive People

#Happiness #News #Relationships #Study

Via @MindBodyGreen Science Explains What’s Different About Highly Sensitive People.

Science Explains What's Different About Highly Sensitive People

Often, people think that they have to learn how to master love when they’re already in a relationship. In reality, who you are before you ever fall in love says much more about how your relationship Read

Are you the type of person whose heart aches when you see others in pain? Do you cry easily? Do you have an eery ability to pick up on social subtleties?

You may be a highly sensitive person (HSP), part of the 20% of our population who is genetically predisposed to greater empathy and responsiveness to social and environmental stimuli. And your brain functions a little differently than everyone else’s.

As reported in Science Daily, a new study published in Brain and Behaviorused Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of brains to explore what works differently in the brains of highly sensitive people.

Using imaging to examine 18 people, some who were highly sensitive and some who were not, researchers could glimpse what was going inside the brains of participants as they viewed photos of smiling faces and sad faces, some photos of strangers and other photos of their husbands or wives.

The researchers found that those who were highly sensitive had increased blood flow to areas of the brain related to awareness and emotion, especially to areas associated with empathy.

Strikingly, brain activity in high sensitive people was at its highest when they viewed pictures of their spouses, with the greatest amount of activity occurring when they saw their spouses smiling.

That’s enough to make even a non-highly sensitive person get a little misty-eyed!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

How to Be Brave

#PollyMorland #Behavior

Via @PsychToday How to Be Brave.

As Anaïs Nin wrote, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Herein are the stories of four brave souls.

5 Attitudes That ACTUALLY Change Your Life

@isabeaumiller #Attitude #Behavior #Communication #Fear #SelfImprovement

Via @MindBodyGreen 5 Attitudes That ACTUALLY Change Your Life.

BY ISABEAU MILLER

5 Attitudes That ACTUALLY Change Your Life

Growing up, I was a lot to handle. I was loud, I was energetic, I was active. Sometimes I would wave my hands so wildly that I’d knock over my drink at the dinner table. Sometimes I would get called Read

I lived the majority of my 20s in a bubble of possibilities. I’d decided that when I won the lottery, I would do all the things I hadn’t been able to do before: I’d work for myself, I’d spend more time on my body. I’d reconnect with family and friends. I’d travel the world and become an adventurer.

It wasn’t until I was 28 that I realized my “lottery” might never come. In fact, it was more likely not going to happen, despite my intricate vision boards, daily mantras of abundance, and intense self-reflection. I had two options: Concede that I may never “win” and live a listless existence of mediocrity; or, decide that I had to “win,” but that my own resourcefulness, inspiration and determination was going to get me there — not some lottery.

My life changed when I took myself out of my head and into my life. I’m the happiest, healthiest and most authentic I’ve ever been. Here’s how I got there:

1. Practice small actions, every day.

I was waiting for Oprah to gift me a trip to the Outback before I felt worthy of adventuring, for Random House to call and give me a book deal before I felt worthy of writing, for Sony to call and give me a recording contract before I felt worthy (or capable) of sharing my music. We’re all preprogrammed to see successful, happy people and what their result is; we fail to understand that we haven’t been privy to the steps that got them there.

Success and happiness are not a book deal. They aren’t the dream come true. Success is the late night worrying how you’ll pay your bills when you’ve started your own business. Learning how to communicate with a new partner you’re in love with. Running for one minute more than you could the week before at the gym. If you want big results, you need to stop discounting small action. Small action triggers big change.

2. Tell the truth.

My life drastically changed when I made it my responsibility to tell the truth to myself and the people around me. I told the truth about what I wanted to change about my body. I said out loud, for the first time, that I was unfulfilled in my relationship. I told the truth about being stuck and fearful in my dead-end corporate job, that my heart was aching to work with people, and make music and write.

Nothing magically happened — at first. But once my “truth” was out there, it was as if me, my family and friends, and the universe were all working together to get me what I needed, because I was clear about where I stood. Beyond that, issues that had become too heavy for me to hold were released.

The idea of telling the truth is terrifying. But doing it is freeing and absolutely necessary to get to whatever your next step is.

3. Show up.

Show up when you don’t want to, when you’re tired, when you’re not sure if you’ll be able to, when you’re burned out, when you’re uninspired, when you’re busy. Show up all the time. I made a promise to myself when I started making decisive changes in my life that I would take every opportunity that was presented to me; that if something found me it was meant for me, and if I didn’t say “yes,” and didn’t make progress, or get what I wanted, it was my fault for not answering when opportunity knocked.

Sometimes I’d “show up” and something profound would happen. Other times, seemingly nothing came of me being there. But almost always, whether it’s been in the moment or after the fact, the times I’ve said “yes” have led to an opportunity, a new friend, a new idea. Show up for your life, relentlessly, and life will show up for you.

4. Get to know (and love) your body.

I kept my body at arm’s length for most of my life. I was either feeding it recklessly, or beating it into the ground through treacherous, hate-filled workouts. When I started making big changes, I talked to my body like it was my life boat: the thing that would pull me through the storms. I fed it the right way. I strengthened it in my workouts, and rested it when it felt exhausted. I slept. I got to know my curves and lines, embracing and relishing in my sexuality.

My body, ultimately, became my center, and I found that because I had poured so much trust and confidence into what I was physically, my energy was no longer consumed by fitting into a pair of jeans, but rather free to focus on bigger, more important life decisions.

5. Be scared EVERY day.

What if all your dreams suddenly came true for you? How would you feel? Excited, absolutely. But you’d be scared. Scared to fail, to succeed, to try something new, to lose it all. “Conquer your fears” is my least favorite phrase. Because it’s not about “conquering” them. It’s about living with them. If you aren’t fearful, you’re staying still. If you’re ready to really grow and change something big in your life, fear is a requirement.

These days, I’m most scared on the days I’m not scared. I know that fear, for me, is an indicator that I’m expanding myself beyond my current, self-imposed limitations. If your dream-come-true would scare you to death (and it should), then you need to practice that emotion every day. Cold call a stranger to ask for their business. Ask out the person you’ve been flirting with for months. Try the new workout class you swore to yourself you couldn’t do. Put yourself out there. You already know what will happen if you don’t, and maybe nothing will happen if you do … but what if it did?

About the Author

Isabeau Miller is a Nashville-based Musician, Motivator and Entrepreneur. A previous contestant on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”, Isabeau is committed to inspiring positive change through workshops, private coaching, speaking engagements and written publications and blogs. With topics ranging from her time on reality television to her passion for wellness and body image issues, her experience in building businesses and climbing the ladder in Corporate America, Isabeau works with individuals, organizations and corporations to harness the power of personal potential to shift the focus from “surviving” to “thriving.”

Aging Gracefully

#JessicaGrogan #Aging

Via @PsychToday Aging Gracefully | Psychology Today.

Flexibility, openness, and good habits might give us an edge later in life.

Suicide Prevention Requires Access to Effective, Evidence Based Treatment, APA Member Tells Congress

#SuicidePrevention #MentalHealth #Emotions

Via @APA Suicide Prevention Requires Access to Effective, Evidence Based Treatment, APA Member Tells Congress.

Suicide Prevention Requires Access to Effective, Evidence Based Treatment, APA Member Tells Congress

WASHINGTON — Suicide is preventable, but not all Americans have access to effective treatment and crisis intervention, a member of the American Psychological Association told a congressional panel Thursday.

“Because the risk factors associated with suicide are multifaceted and vary across groups, suicide prevention demands comprehensive, evidence-based efforts across many settings,” Joel Dvoskin, PhD, told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “We need to ensure that our health care system reimburses not only for suicide assessment but also for depression and substance abuse screening and treatment. Providers across the health care delivery system need to be trained in assessing suicide risk, suicide management and treatment through using therapies especially devised for these problems.”

Dvoskin — an APA member who is a practicing clinical and forensic psychologist and faculty member of the University of Arizona School of Medicine — testified on behalf of APA. He noted that suicide consistently ranks among the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, and that the main cause of suicide is despair.

“Suicide is often an impulsive act, where an individual is desperate to relieve their suffering and knows no other way,” he said. “Suicide risk can be reduced through identifying and providing support to address the factors that drive a person to consider suicide.”

Suicide is also a problem across the lifespan, he noted.

“Among youth, suicide ranks high as a cause of death, and is often preceded by childhood trauma, bullying or other abuse,” he said, calling prevention of child maltreatment essential. “However, increasing age is also a risk factor, and the fastest growing rates of suicide are found among middle-aged and older adults.”

Dvoskin called on Congress to:

  • Increase access to screening for depression, suicide and other mental health concerns across the lifespan;
  • Ensure insurance coverage for prevention services;
  • Improve access by increasing the number of trained health care professionals, including psychologists and other mental health professionals;
  • Support reauthorization of essential behavioral health programs, such as the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act;
  • Support programs such as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network;
  • Increase dissemination of evidence-based treatments for all populates and ages.

“Over the many years I have worked in this field, I have seen tremendous progress in identifying approaches to reduce completed suicides, attempts, ideation and feelings,” said Dvoskin, who also serves as chairman of the Nevada Governor’s Advisory Panel on Behavioral Health and Wellness. “However, we do not implement these tools effectively and broadly enough. We must reduce the barriers to violence prevention and mental health treatment for all Americans and provide the community supports so that our citizens can build lives of meaning and purpose.”

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.