Since I am constantly striving to improve myself I do a lot of reading. I want to share with you an ebook I found recently which I find to be very helpful. It has 101 quick and simple tips for staying healthy and fit. Some are simple, but most are quite informative and insightful. I thought my readers would be able to get something out of this book, so here are a couple examples of tips on how to stay fit:
This book is straight-forward and to-the-point. Any reader of this blog will love this book because of it's simplicity and accuracy. You can start learning from this book in just seconds and implement life changes or small adjustments to your routine immediately. I guarantee you will love this book. It's got lots of things I hadn't thought of before and it's something that I flip through fairly often for more ideas on how to stay healthy and fit.
This book is normally sold at 17.95, but I worked out a deal with the distributor and I can offer it to you today for only 9.97!
In ancient China, Shaolin monks developed a fighting style based on the physical characteristics and iconic elements of the personality of the Tiger. They called this Tiger style Kung-Fu. Since a Tiger has very keen eyesight, the monks developed methods of exercising their eyes to improve thier eyesight. These would have been exercises that they trained and developed from a very young age. They would have been performed by eveyone training in the Tiger style regardless of whether they had so-called "20/20 vision". No matter how good you are at something, you can aways become better with more training.
I have been recently practicing the following exercises and have noticed an improvement in my eyesight over just the past couple months.
One exercise was to count the leaves on a far away tree. With meditative patience they would focus in and count hundreds of leaves at a time. (This is a good one to practice in the fall since the leaves are changing colors and you may be staring at leaves quite a bit anyway.) Start up close with some leaves that are easy to make out and count 50 of them. With patience, slowly pick trees that are farther away from you and then slowly increase the number of leaves you count. Work your way up to 200 which will give you a good amount of time with your eyes focused at a distance. Do this once daily.
Another exercise is to focus on an object very close to your face. I usually choose my hand. Get it as close to your eyes as you can while retaining a good focus on it. Look at it for about 2-3 seconds after you've fully adjusted your focus on it, and then pick another object that is more than 20 feet away. I generally pick a leaf on a tree or something else that has some fine detail that will allow me to really focus on finer and finer detail. If you pick a flatt wall or something that doesn't have much texture or detail it will be hard to focus on. Again, look at the object for 2-3 seconds after you have achieved a good focus. Go back and forth between these two objects about 20 times and do this exercise daily.
Image by KayVee.INC via Flickr
One-hour meditation too much to handle? 20 minutes? 5 minutes got you beat? Here's a new approach to meditation with one very westernized quality about it. It's very fast.
This method is less focused on meditation, but more about trying to sit peacefully and achieve a brief moment of clarity, or clarity of presence. This way of thinking comes from Zen philosophy. The idea here is to create an instantaneous state of mind, or state of being wherein your awareness or understanding of your immediate surroundings or situation is increased. Try not to exert effort when attempting this. It will inevitably lead to failure and regret. Failure to do something that you didn’t “try” to do, is not really a failure. If you want it to be a sunny day and it turns out rainy, you did not fail. If it rains, it rains; if it’s sunny, it’s sunny.
Hints to help you achieve a moment of clarity:
- Focus on your heartbeat until you can feel it pushing the blood throughout all of your arteries.
- Create a phrase or sentence that describes what it feels like to be alive.
- Look at your hand and try to understand that no matter what happens in this life, all that's sure is that you will have this body.
- Picture yourself from a bird's eye view. Visualize whatever you're doing at the moment and zoom out little by little to picture the room, building, trees, street, town, state, country, continent, planet, galaxy, and all of the cosmos.
- Imagine you have just been born and are seeing all of the things around you for the first time.
- Do not concentrate, just pay attention.
- Do something you absolutely love doing. Something that engages your mind and body 100%.
- Rise to a challenge that is slightly more than you think you are capable of.
- Breathe silently and listen to the other sounds your body may be making.
- Focus on your skin until it begins to tingle.
Have a nice day!
Too many times I take out the 10am snack only to find that it has disappeared by 10:05 and I can't even place exactly what it tasted like.. This has happened to you, no doubt? Here's a list of tips to help you slow down, enjoy, appreciate, and actually make your snacks last. Eating one snack more slowly will help you avoid or at least postpone your cravings. (See questions to ask yourself when cravings hit )
1. Reward yourself - Use food only as a reward for being productive or accomplishing something. Don't go crazy though, you don't deserve a reward for everything , you know..
2. Keep busy - If you're simply busier, hypothetically, you won't have as much time to be snacking. Read my post on how to stay motivated and on task at work .
3. Clean out your mouth - Between each bite make sure your mouth is clean. Get all the extra goodies out from between your teeth and from all of the little places where food gets stuck. Take a sip of water if you want.
4. Portion control - Bring only as much food as you think you need to eat. Only buy the small bag of chips this time; only pack one handful of pretzels instead of three. Note that this is probably less that you would want to eat, but not more than you need to eat to stay content.
5. Bring a variety - Something like trail mix (it's good for you!) And eat only one thing at a time. One peanut, one raisin.. Take your time deciding which piece it will be next. Consult your taste buds and consider all of your options before making the BIG DECISION! Too much of the same thing can make you complacent and your appreciation for each bite will be reduced.
6. Exploit your own discomfort - Put your snack just out of your reach so that you are required to lean over or get out of your chair or otherwise inconvenience yourself in order to grab a bite.
7. Appreciation - Notice how much different a peanut tastes when you eat one (or one half) at a time as opposed to a handful. How many different flavors do you notice? What do you notice from the shape? How is one peanut different from another? How does the flavor change as you slowly eat your way through the peanut?
8. Include all senses - Smell your snack or look at it closely before putting a piece in your mouth. This goes along with appreciation. Chinese and Tibetan monks have even been known to listen to their food before consuming it. The idea here is that it makes each bite feel larger and more important.
9. No one can eat just one? - Take the challenge.
10. Set a timer - Say you want your one little bag of peanuts to last for 3 hours. Estimate how many peanuts are in the bag, divide that number by two. Divide 3 hours by the previous number you got, and that means at that interval you are allowing yourself to eat 2 peanuts. IE, if I had 24 peanuts (a handful) I could eat 2 of them every 5 minutes and they would last for an hour. Use a timer on your watch, phone, computer, etc.
As I wrote this list I made a couple handfuls of trailmix last for an excess of 3 hours. And I can still taste every bite! It was great. I challenge you to give it a try. And let me know how it went!
Image by hale_popoki via Flickr
Try asking yourself some of these questions next time you get those cravings for sweets or fatty foods. Asking questions of yourself in general, is a good way to ensure you're actually conscious of what you're doing, and not acting on impulse.
1. Will it be more wasteful for me to drop this into the trash, or to store it in the fat cells in my body and then have to use my own energy to burn them up?
2. How does my stomach feel right now? Is it full?
3. If I could extract only the fat/calories in this food and put it in a cup, would I want to slurp it down?
4. Am I craving this because I actually want it, or because it is a physiological attraction of my senses to it? (A physiological desire would be a natural occurrence of which only the senses are in control, whereas an actual wanting is consciously controlled by rational thoughts in the brain. The rational thinking of the brain, despite popular belief, does have the power to trump the senses.)
5. How important is it that I eat this food? How important is it that I do not?
6. How different would my life be if I ate this junk food everyday, compared to if I did not eat this junk food at all?
7. Do my senses really have more control over my actions than my brain does?
8. How will I benefit from eating this, or will I?
Leave a comment and add to the list.
What do you ask yourself when cravings hit? What helps you? What hurts you?
Image by feastoffools via FlickIt's a pain in the EYE to stare at a computer screen all day long. Trust me, I know... Eyes get fatigued and this can lead to discomfort, dry eyes, teary eyes, headaches etc.. Which can, in turn, lead to frustration, stress, unhappiness etc.. Which can, in turn, lead to depression, anxiety and other health issues... need I go on?
Some sources refer to this as "Computer Vision Syndrome". Personally I hate the word "syndrome" because it is used to describe a simple condition and in actuality, it has a cause and resolution just like everything else. The word syndrome invites people to exhibit undue concern... but enough on that for now.
I started doing some simple eye exercises a while ago, and have found that they work great for:
- Relieving eye tension
- Taking your mind off of work for a minute
- Overall relaxation
- Rejuvenating the eyes for the remainder of the day.
Try these quick exercises whenever you can. Once a day would be good, otherwise, just do them whenever you can. If you wait until you've already got a headache, the exercises probably won't get rid of the pain so try them occasionally throughout the day for the best results.
Exercise #1: Trace the screen.
Keep your head facing your monitor, keep your back and neck straight. Moving only your eyes, trace the frame of your monitor. When eyes move, they naturally "hop" from one spot to another, try to keep the movement as smooth as possible. One revolution around the frame of your monitor should take about 8-10 seconds to complete. Do this 5-6 times.
Exercise #2: Stretch your peripherals.
No, this doesn't mean yank on your mouse... Again, keeping your back and neck straight and your head facing forward, look UP with your eyes as far as you can. Hold this for 5 seconds and then look DOWN as far as you can; hold again for 5 seconds. Relax the eyes and close them for 5 seconds. Then look to the LEFT as far as you can for 5 seconds and then the RIGHT for 5 seconds. Again, relax the eyes and close them. Repeat this 5 times.
Then roll your eyes all around in the widest circles you can. Try 10 circles in each direction.
Exercise #3: Blink more often.
Not really an exercise, just don't forget to blink! It's been proven that people blink 5-6 times less than normal when working on a computer, so make a conscious effort to blink more often which simply keeps your eyes moistened and prevents them from drying out.
Exercise #4: Look to the horizon.
Pick an object with a good amount of detail at least 20 feet away, or as far as you can get, (if you're near a window, you can look outside at tree leaves or something) and focus on that object. Take a couple seconds to establish your focus and then take a few more to refine your focus on smaller and smaller details of the object. Remain in this focus for a couple seconds. Then hold up your hand about 6 inches or less from your face and bring your focus to that. Again hold this focus for a few seconds. Repeat this 5-10 times, or until you can feel your eyes really working. Then repeat it a few more times for good measure.
In general, the world Image via WikipediaIn general, the world is moving at a much faster rate today than it did a decade ago; things need to be accomplished quicker and people are more impatient than ever. Maybe, instead of impatience, I should say, we have a different level of patience now than we did in the past. If we isolate the level of patience we have today and quantify it, there's no justification to refer to it as "impatient"; such is the evolution of man.
Um.. This article is about teeth, right?!?... yeah....ok.
My point is that when people have to continually do one task, especially as mundane as brushing your teeth for any amount of time, it can seem very BORING, and you will have the desire to be finished so that you can move on to other things.
My advice: Do something else while you brush your teeth. Read the mail, check your email, feed the cats, read the newspaper, or all of the above.
Finding one-handed or no-handed tasks to do while you brush your teeth will make it feel much less like you are wasting your time in front of the mirror. If you're doing other things it should be easy to brush for an excess of 5 or even 10 minutes. And I guarantee you will notice that your teeth feel much cleaner if you double your brushing time. Granted, if you are preoccupied with something else, you will have a tendency to stop moving the brush, or get stuck brushing one section for a long time. Just be conscious of that and you'll get better at it with time!
The number one New Year's resolution in the US is to lose weight. Especially after a big holiday season of fruit cakes and chocolates. So you resolve to lose weight, but didn’t you do that last year? And did it work?
We all have off-days, when we just don’t feel like working out. But what happens when that day falls on a day you’re scheduled to go to the gym? (oh yeah, you need a schedule too) Well here’s a simple trick to get yourself motivated to go to the gym when you really don’t feel like it:
Just change into your gym clothes!
And here’s why:
The clothes that we are wearing at any given time become part of our self-image. If you are wearing boots your feet will feel heavier, your gait will be different and your self-image will be different than if you are wearing sneakers. If you change into your sneakers or gym shoes, your feet will feel much lighter and you will inherently feel more agile and able to run, jump, exercise, etc..
You’ll also guilt yourself into going to the gym because you’ll be sitting around the house in your gym clothes.
Food is good. There aren’t too many people that don’t appreciate certain foods. During this season it’s especially easy to happen upon some decadence and improperly indulge.
I think it’s important to appreciate this privilege and accept indulgence once in a while, but one thing to keep in mind while doing so, which may change the amount you eat, is that: The first bite tastes the same as the last.
What I mean to say is that if you take time and adequately appreciate whatever food you’re eating (sourdough bread & spinach dip for example…) you’ll notice that this appreciation can be taken away from only one bite. All subsequent bites of the same thing will taste remarkably similar and you’ll begin to realize that it is not necessary to continue eating once you have gotten what you were after: An appreciation of the taste of the food. So make it a good bite, take it very slowly, move it around in your mouth, try to concentrate on every atom in the food and ENJOY IT!
This concept pulls influence from an ancient Buddhist meditation called the “Raisin meditation”. Buddhist monks were known to concentrate on a raisin, study it, smell it, feel it, listen to it, and fully appreciate its entire existence to the point that they got so much sincere appreciation and substance out of the raisin that it could sustain them for an entire day.
More about the raisin meditation
More energy throughout the day
and Burning more calories!
I brought in a few text books to the office (user boxes or telephone books or whatever you have) and propped up my keyboard so that my arms bend approximately 90 degrees to rest on it. I put my mouse pad on top of my mini-tower and my monitor is on a tall stand, set back about 2 feet in front of me, and angled upward so that my eyes can easily come to rest on it by looking slightly downward. I found some insoles for my shoes that add a nice amount of padding which is important. You might even want a soft rubber mat to stand on.
The setup I have allows me to easily transition from sitting to standing fairly quickly which I think is important because if it's too much of a procedure then you probably won't ever actually do it, especially if you're busy working. So take a few minutes and create a setup that is easy to configure. Maybe a high stool would work instead of moving the desk around. Sometimes I do have to take a seat; right now, after only about a week of trying it, I'm probably sitting for a total of 30 minutes to 1 hour a day. Hopefully I'll be standing all day very soon.
I'm definitely seeing the benefits of it too. The days actually tend to fly by much quicker. I get to move around a bit, too, and I think that is part of what makes it more comfortable.
If you're having trouble try:
- Shift your weight around
- Stand on one foot for a while, then the other.
- Stand with feet together, then apart.
- Legs bent, and then legs straight.
- One foot in front of the other, and then switch it around.
- Move your weight from your toes to your heels to the outside edges of your feet.
- Turn your body to the side, twisting your torso, and then to the other to move your organs around.