The Best Morning Routines To Kick Start Your Day Right

How many times your New Year’s resolution has been about improving your health and overall lifestyle? Almost every time, isn’t it? How many times did you fail to keep up with your resolutions just into the second week of January? Nearly every year, isn’t it? Half of the January gone by, chances are you might have given up n your resolution already and if not, then you are on the brink of giving it up. If this sentence has found you nodding in a yes then this article is meant for you.

This year, instead of not being able to keep up with your resolutions, why not try and build some healthy habits to live by? Forming a pattern is more natural than vowing to stick to something. The latter is called forcing yourself to do something that you are not willing to, and the former is refining your system to adhere to something.

How you start your day defines the rest of the day to follow and hence, it is essential to start your day on a good note. Developing a healthy morning routine can increase your efficiency and productivity throughout the day. Cut through the chaos of morning rush by incorporating these morning routine habits and kick-start your day on a happy note:

Drink Water

As soon as you open your eyes, catch hold of a water bottle instead of your mobile phone. Drinking water first thing in the morning is known to improve metabolism and to flush out toxins from the body. Apart from this, it helps in keeping your body hydrated through the day – especially on busy days where you don’t even remember to drink a glass of water. How much water should you drink? Well, there can never be a right answer to this. Drink as much as you can. Start this routine with a glass of water and gradually increase it to a litre of water every morning.

Stay Away from Mobile Phone

Since mobile phones have replaced alarm clocks, the first thing a person does is scrolls through their mobile notifications in the morning after opening their eyes. An American Mental Health study research suggests that reading work-related emails and texts first thing in the morning is known to escalate stress and anxiety levels in humans. Stay away from your phone in the morning hours. Devote the first couple of your waking hours to recreational activities like stretching, workout, listening to music or reading.

Exercise in the morning

The benefits of exercising are aplenty. Physical exercise is known to get rid of stress, tension and anxiety thereby improving blood circulation in the body, strengthening immune system, improving metabolism and better sleep habits. Starting your day with exercise keeps your body energised throughout the day. It helps in combating fatigue and exhaustion.

Meditate

Meditation has various physical and mental health benefits. It helps in increasing concentration and focus along with reducing stress levels. It also keeps anxiety and panic at bay. Starting your day with a few minutes of meditation in the morning can result in high productivity and calmness throughout the day.

Devote time to learn something new

Morning hour is the best time to concentrate on learning or developing a new skill. Devote the morning hours to learning something new. It can be related to honing your professional skills or getting better at a hobby that you never found time for before. People who love reading can devote the morning hours to reading books.

Concentrate on what you are doing / Tame your thoughts

Learn to live in the moment. Every morning we wake up with a rush and keep mentally preparing for the day ahead without focussing on what we are doing. Brushing your teeth, drinking water, eating breakfast; everything is finished off in a jiffy. Stop doing that. Enjoy brushing your teeth, enjoy your meal – be mindful of what you are doing instead of always being in a rush of thoughts about what lies ahead.

Plan for your morning

The morning rush is often caused due to waking up late or being unprepared for the morning. Every day you are running late, but every night you tend to stretch yourself to the farthest limit of sleeping time. Stop doing this. Instead, invest your time in preparing for your morning. Set the alarm an hour early than your usual time. Prepare for your morning the night before going to bed. Iron your clothes and arrange everything in one place to avoid the chaos in the morning.

Your morning routine can make or break your day. Hence, it is imperative to form a healthy morning routine. A chaotic start to the day will end up in bigger chaos by the end of the day, and nobody wants to live a life like that. Follow these simple, healthy morning rituals and see the difference for yourself.

Food For The Soul – Why Meditation Is Important

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day unless you’re too busy then you should sit for an hour.” – Old Zen Saying

A lot has been said and written about meditation in the recent past but how important it is to meditate every day? There are many schools of thought on this and there’s no universal answer to this question.

Meditation is a practice where an individual aims to achieve many things like mindfulness, increased or better concentration levels, calm state of mind, relieving of stress, emotional balance, spiritual awakening, etc. There are numerous techniques to perform the act of meditation and each technique is unique in its own way.

Some of the common meditating techniques are:

  • Silent Meditation: In this technique, people are urged to observe silence. This can be done while sitting in one position, lying down or observing silence or maun for more than 24 hours at a time.
  • Chanting Meditation: In this technique, people meditate by chanting a name (usually a God’s name) or a mantra.
  • Focused Meditation: In this technique, people focus on an object as a form of meditation.
  • Visual Meditation: In this technique, people are made to visualize a scene or a setting that would bring them peace or happiness. This technique relies on a person’s imaginative powers.
  • Breathing Meditation: In this technique, people are made to focus on their breathing and typically follow the 4-3-7 breathing rule.

Meditation – Science or Spirituality?

Meditation has been practiced since times immemorial. The roots of meditation cannot be affixed to a particular religion or ethnicity. It has been practiced in various religions like Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam alike. Every religion has a different meditative technique that the followers practice.

It won’t be wrong to say that roots of meditation lie in spirituality but benefits of practicing meditation have been proven by science. So, meditation is an amalgamation of science and spirituality.

Benefits of Meditation

Now I meditate twice a day for half an hour. In meditation, I can let go of everything. I’m not Hugh Jackman. I’m not a dad. I’m not a husband. I’m just dipping into that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it.” – Hugh Jackman.

The sedentary lifestyle is making meditation ever so popular. Meditation is gaining momentum as more and more people have started unearthing the benefits and importance of practicing meditation on a daily basis.

Here are some of the benefits of practicing meditation regularly:

Helps in dealing with Mental Health Issues

Meditation has been scientifically proven to calm a person during an anxiety episode and in dealing with depression.

If I had not been meditating already, I would certainly have had to start. I’ve treated my own depression for many years with exercise and meditation, and I’ve found that to be a tremendous help.” – Judy Collins

Medical research has ascertained the importance of meditating in dealing with depression.

Helps in Reducing Stress

Stress has become a part of the modern lifestyles so much that people often don’t realize that they are stressed out due to their work, job or routine life. Meditation helps in calming down the human mind which helps in combating stress on a day to day basis.

Helps in curing sleep disorders

Insomnia has become a part of the sedentary lifestyles that humans have adjusted to. Besides stress, insomnia and other sleep disorders have become a common occurrence in people these days. Meditating before bedtime helps in promoting sound sleep.

Improves attention span and concentration

The Focused Meditation technique helps in improving attention span thereby increasing concentration levels. It is therefore proven helpful in controlling or curing ADHD in many people.

Helps in reducing or keeping a check on Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the direct outcome of high stress levels. Since meditation is known to reduce stress levels in a person, it directly helps in keeping a check on blood pressure. There are various studies that show the effect of meditation in maintaining the blood pressure.

The best thing about meditation is that it can be practiced or done at any time and any place. It is the best remedy available for various health issues that the humans face in today’s time. Isn’t it the cheapest therapy available?

Learn How to Breathe – Yes, There Is A Right Way!

One of the functions of our body which we rarely, or probably never, pay attention to is breathing. Breathing is a sub-conscious activity which our body carries out for 24 hours every day. But did you know that there is a particular type of breathing pattern which is right? Yes, breathing wrongly can cause side effects to your body and has the capability to cause a lot of disadvantage to it in the long run. Without being aware of it, you may be harming your sleep, mood, digestion, brain, muscles, nervous system, heart and even your teeth and face structure!

In order to avoid these problems and keep your body feeling healthy and fit, you need to learn the right way of breathing. Once you learn the right technique, you will inevitably feel less anxious, stress-free, relaxed, in harmony with yourself and lead an overall happier life. Firstly, you need to breathe in a manner that is physiologically optimal for your body. The problem is that no one ever teaches us how to. Most of us end up over-breathing, holding our breath or engaging in shallow breathing. This leads to a shortage of oxygen and energy in the body.

The human body takes approximately 25,000 breaths per day. The better you take each of these breaths, the more positive will be the effect on your body. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure that you are doing it right:

Rhythmic Breathing

Just like the ocean, breathing also has a particular rhythm which your body follows. The rhythm is measured by getting an EEG (Electroencephalogram) of the body and is similar to the rhythm of your heartbeats or hormones in the human body. When this rhythm gets affected or disrupted, it causes some strain on the body. Activities like coughing, snoring, sniffling can tend to do that. When these occur for long periods, the natural breath falls out of pattern and becomes irregular. The right way to deal with this would be to breathe consciously as much as possible and be aware of how you breathe during different parts of the day. If you want to keep a proper check, set an alarm for every hour on your phone and check your breathing every time it rings. This will help you breathe in a relaxed and silent manner throughout the day.

Breathe using the diaphragm

It is important that the air you breathe through your nose should go all the way down to your stomach. It is only then that your body will feel at sync and you will feel an overall cleanse in your system. Your breathing pattern consists of not only the nose but even your neck, chest, abdomen and shoulders. Almost 70-80% of your breathing should be done through your diaphragm so that it is deep. This will positively affect your lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines and give them a rhythmical balance.

Extended Exhale

When you exhale, try to extend it as much as possible as this helps make your breathing deeper and more rhythmical. The right kind of breathing will involve an inhale that is 2-3 seconds long and an exhale that is 3-4 seconds long, followed by a pause for 2-3 seconds. Extending the exhale also helps make the inhale deeper, further making your breathing more efficient and relaxed.

Body Consciousness

Be aware of your body and keep a check on how tensed or relaxed it is an any given point of the day. The more you are aware, the more you will be able to feel the breathing and regulate it on your own. Always try to maintain a straight posture. Upright posture provides a body with healthier breathing since the diaphragm gets more space to function. It makes it easier for the body to breathe through the nose and also affects your thoughts and feelings in a positive manner.

Deep Breathing

Doctors recommend 10-20 minutes of deep breathing on a regular basis. But even if you manage to practice it for a minute every hour, it can show a considerable change in your body and provide you with a feel-good factor. If you manage to do it right, you will see great changes in your mental and emotional state. Deep breathing also provides a lot of physical benefits to the body, it reduces acidity and makes the body more alkaline. Chronic acidity in the body tissue can be avoided by regulating your breathing and maintaining its level.

While knowing how to breathe properly is the first step, implementing it in your life on a daily basis is what is important. The right amount of practice and determination can help you achieve it and provide all the health benefits your body can acquire.

 

Stress is just hype; only simple daily habits can defeat it

Stress has become a very common factor that is found in working professionals, many youngsters and even teenagers. Having the spirit to excel and giving your best is one thing and worrying about it all the time is another. When it comes to stress, it is only YOU who can help yourself. It’s as simple as accepting the fact, problems won’t stop occurring if you stress more. You will never be able to remove stress from your life completely, issues are going to creep up every now and then, and people around you (your parents, siblings, colleagues, seniors, managers)are going to expect higher and better performance every time.

It all comes down to how well you manage your stress.

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This may not sound simple but in reality if you sit down and think, you will come up with a list on your own. The real reason of stress is not always obvious and more than often you tend to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You are aware that you are constantly worried about work deadlines but the real reason may be your procrastination that lands you in a soup.

Stress management comes with practice, you need to exercise habits. Your to-do list is never going to be complete and more tasks will keep adding but there is one task that should never come off your to-do list: Relax.

The following tips if practiced daily may help you manage your stress. Just a mere couple of minutes from your schedule and you’ll be fresh and energized to take what the day brings!

Meditate

Meditation is one of the best ways to help you ease anxiety. Research has shown that when you meditate daily the neural paths in your brain may alter making you more pliant to stress. Meditation is a very simple process, sit up straight with both feet on the floor (you may also sit cross legged on the floor the bottom line is to sit up straight). Once you get comfortable, focus your attention on reciting a mantra loudly or silently that makes you feel positive. It can be anything like “I feel at peace” or “I am the strongest”. You can place your hands on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths.

Just Breathe

Every time you feel you are worked up or beginning to stress due to the work load, take 5 minutes off and focus on your breathing. You can do this sitting at your desk in office, all you have to do is take deep breaths, inhale and exhale fully. Taking deep breaths releases stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.  5 minutes may seem a lot when at work but even if you try focusing on work you will be less productive. So take time off and just breathe!

Be Present

Live the moment, it’s as simple as that! You rush through dinner, hurry to reach the destination; you are running the race to strike off another to-do from your list. For a change try something different, try to slow down. Focus on the thing you are doing right now! If you’re having food, enjoy the texture and taste of every bite, notice how air feels on your face while walking or driving. When you are working concentrate on the task at hand and not about the problems that will arise in the next task. When you start to spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel the relaxation that grips your body and be more productive.

 Reach out

Very often you hear people saying, “Those were the golden, carefree days when we talked so much!” One of the major reasons that add to stress is not talking to family and friends. Take time out from your “busy” schedules to catch up with friends. Talk about worries that are troubling you and it will surprise you that talking out loud to your friends can do wonders to your mood. A good social support system plays a major role when dealing with stress. Meet friends face-to-face and spend time with them without talking or thinking of the to-do list, just have a good time! Having a good laugh is a great way to better manage whatever is stressing you out.

Listen to your body

Whether you believe it or not, your body is constantly talking to you, giving you signs to handle it with care. One of the best ways to manage stress and stay fit is to take up a sport of your choice – anything that requires physical involvement. Join a gym and more importantly go regularly, participate in a physical group activity you love whether it is cycling, running, football, table tennis or badminton. Just sweat it out at least for 45 minutes once in a day. You will be surprised by the wonders working on you. After continuous practice, you will see and feel the difference in you and your reaction to tension.

– By Shraddha Barde