All it takes is 10 minutes

Are you dreaming of getting into a daily mediation practice, but you just don’t know where to start?

Have you tried meditation again and again and given up again and again?

Or, maybe you  want to get into a daily practice,  but you feel overwhelmed  just thinking about it?

Maybe you feel so stressed that you think it would be impossible? Look at this….

Breathe

Breathe

 

I came across Andy Puddicombe, the creator of GET SOME HEADSPACE –   a mindfulness meditation program online. He has THE most pragmatic, fantastic and down-to-earth approach to meditation you will ever find!

The benefits of taking just 10 minutes out of your day to meditate, are tremendous.

I love and live my meditations – this time of my day, reserved for me, is a way to reconnect and tune in, it’s my sanctuary. In a busy life with lots of balls in the air, this is what makes me feel grounded, connected and reconnected.  It’s really not just about me, when I’m more in touch with me, I’m more in touch with my children, my family, friends, the people I work with and meet during my day. I’m able to be truly present with the world. 

These are some of the side-effects you may experience when meditating.  Be aware, you may feel more:

  • calm
  • clarity
  • laughter and happiness
  • energy
  • creativity
  • flow

Mindfulness meditation:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reliefs anxiety
  • Helps with depression
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Improves your sleep
  • Helps with Addiction
  • And even PTSD

And all it takes is 10 minutes!

Andy Puddicombe has created the Get Some Headspace program – which starts with a 10 minutes for 10 days program and it’s FREE for you to download HERE

Read how mindfulness meditation may be more efficient than drugs to treat anxiety and depression, HERE

10 tips on how to establish a meditation practice – read them HERE 

More articles on meditation HERE

The Danish/American documentary,  FREE THE MIND  about how meditation changes the brain, see the trailer and read more HERE

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Give time

Do you remember the time when there was no internet? No cellphones, no smartphones, no computers, no emails – just perhaps a landline, but no answering machine!

Television, yes, but no broad casting 24/7 and only a few channels to chose from.

Do you remember when the shops were closed on Sundays?

That was peace!

To me, holidays and Christmas in particular, means peace and time to reconnect with the people I love. But it seems to have become increasingly more difficult to actually create that space of complete peace. Don’t you think?

Just have a look and see how distracted we are here and  here – these stories made me laugh, but really, they are sad!

Stories of people falling down stairs while texting, someone falling off a bridge, a lady into a fountain, someone fell down onto the  train tracks at the station! All were they  “Wexting” – walking while texting.

In London they are padding the lampposts because people walk into them while texting….

People in restaurants busy on their phones and not in contact with the people they are with.

All this 24//7 online connection is making us crazy, more and more stressed and disconnected.  We are missing out on precious present moments.

So how do we create a space of peace, or at least more of it?

How about something as wonderful as an “Unplugged Holiday” ? Just a few days…… unplugged, undisturbed –  connected to the real world?

Join me on my “unplugged holiday” 

This is what I plan to do:

  •  I will turn off my iPhone over Christmas
  • unplug my computer
  • No checking email, no blogging, no twitter, no Facebook, no Pinterest

I will attempt to convince my teenagers to do the same, I know it will be a hard one, but perhaps as a role model I will inspire them further down the road.

After all THE most important gift we can ever give one another – is time, time to truly be,  present with life and with each other.

“Our relationship lives in the space between us – it doesn’t live in me or in you or even in the dialogue between the two of us. It lives in the space we live together and that space is sacred”

-Martin Buber

 IMG_1362I wish you peace, reconnection and fun this holiday! 

Check this great idea out from the Clinton family:

Gifts that Give

Mind over Medicine

Thank you for all the bloglove I am receiving! I apologize for not replying to comments and email messages as promptly as I would like to, but please know that your love and messages are like honey poured directly into my heart and healing tonic for my soul!

I am doing what I need to do right now – taking time to slow down, creating space to listen to my heart, to meditate, to write, spending time with people  I love – doing the things I know will assist my body in healing.

I feel the benefits in many ways –  less pain, more laughter, more ideas coming to me, more creativity, wanting to dance and do somersaults on the lawn….. 🙂

I would like to share a book title and a TED talk – by Dr. Lissa Rankin

Dr Lissa Rankin speaks my language – re-afirming to me, just how important it is to listen to the body. How important emotional health is to our overall health – it’s not a separate entity – emotional health is the foundation of health.

Dr. Lissa Rankin is wildly inspiring. I hope you enjoy!

 Lissa Ranking M.D.

Another thing I want to tell mention, is that the famous VVP Virtual Vegan Potluck, will take place on the 16th of November.  If you are into healthy eating or simply wants inspiration to a healthier diet – the VVP is a mecca of great inspiration!

Read more here –   http://virtualveganpotluck.com/november-2013/

What is stress telling you?

Since I became sick I have had my focus on, what I could do myself, to help my body heal, and preferably, as soon and as fast as possible!

Good food and rest

Good food and rest

But most importantly,

I have been thinking, what is there in this for me to learn?

I kept asking myself – how could I who is, so healthy, become so sick?

How?

How?

I poked and I prodded, I took deep breaths, I scratched my head, I turned and I swirled with the question……why, and what is in here for me to learn?

The illness, the imbalance in me, surely had a message, a very important one, I knew, but what was that message?

I finally got it ! I knew that stress creates havoc in people’s bodies. But somehow I didn’t think it also meant in my own body!

I could somehow, magically escape stress and just move on, without it having any effect on me…….

Just continue my tin soldier act …. stressing away….

But reality is, no-one can, not even me or you! Eventually, stress catches up with us and we break down in some way or the other. In my case, it was this infection, but it could just as well have been, depression or a heart attack…

I have to admit that I have been stressed, emotionally stressed for quite some time and finally my body broke down. I had neglected to hear my body’s desperate whispers in my ear for too long. I had not been listening and in the end it had to scream, in the form of an illness, that almost wiped me out, to finally, finally, get my attention!

Quiet enough to hear

Quiet enough to hear

Illness forced me to become quiet enough to hear.

What I learned is that we can eat healthier than heathy and we can exercise till the moon goes down. But, if we are stressed, its not going to work. It’s like a beach ball we can try to hold it down under the water, but it eventually will pop back up.

The truth is, stress robs us of life, it makes us sick – it’s a killer!

Please see the interview by clicking the link below, with Gabor Mate MD  –  Dr. Mate, a Vancouver based doctor, who has for many years worked in the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital where he was the medical coordinator. Based on medical studies and his own  personal experience, and through his work, states that there are important links between the mind and the immune system.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/15/dr_gabor_mat_when_the_body

Stress is a sign to slow down and listen. The problem with stress is that we become used to it and can hardly even feel we are stressed after a while it just feels “normal” to feel like that.

Stress actually starts in our childhood, for example, some of us learned not express emotions and needs as children. This means we are much more receptacle to becoming stressed because we have learned early on to suppress our emotions and needs.

Stress weakens our immumne system and makes us more prone to diseases and while stressed it’s more difficult to heal.

It’s obvious that stress creates imbalances in our bodies and our lives! It should be treated with uttermost respect – symptoms of stress are not only whispers, they are the body’s desperate scream for attention!

Read more about stress symptoms, signs and causes here

Read Gabor Mate’s book “When the body say’s no” Understanding the stress- disease connection.

Yoga

One of the best things that I remember from my childhood is my mom’s passion for yoga. Often I would  join her on the mat and try to copy her poses. I could walk on my knees, put my legs behind my neck and stand on my head. Not so much anymore….. 🙂 — but I have always wanted to start yoga and get into the yoga groove. My problem is, I really don’t enjoy big, filled-to-the-brim yoga studios.  I like to be in my own space, I like the peace, and I like to enjoy yoga when it fits into my schedule.

Breathe

Breathe

That is why I was so happy when I found Myyogaonline and Doyogawithme.

Two fabulous programs, videos of different lengths, different levels, different styles, different teachers – you pick and choose what fits you best.

I absolutely love it!

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Rumi

There are so many benefits to doing yoga. It’s quite amazing what happens in just a few moments of deep breathing, slowly moving the body into poses, simply being on the floor reduces stress and before you know it, you feel more relaxed!

P.S  Please listen to your body and don’t do too much – let your body be your guide!

Here are some great articles about the benefits of yoga:

One from Harvard University on how yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Another by Science Daily, an interesting study shows that yoga reduces stress and anxiety among prisoners and has a positive effect on impulsive behaviour.

And a third by the Yoga Journal about the overall health benefits

On a finishing note – I am moving my blog to be self-hosted – this means my blog might be down for a day or so – Looking forward to seeing you over there 🙂

Soothe your Jet-lag and sleepless nights

I just returned back from Europe and the first couple of days with jet-lag were rough, to say the least!

9 hours time difference, really does you in and affects your entire system, in a big way! I felt completely out of balance…

Woke up at 1:30 in the morning and was hungry, started to unload the dishwasher and checked my email ……

I desperately needed to soothe that out of control jet-lag of mine!

Sleepless nights creates imbalance in the body, it affects our health and overall sense of well -being, but there are lots of different ways we can promote great sleep and regain balance again.

Jet-lag is always talked about as something we get when traveling thorough time zones. But really, we go thorough the exact same thing if you work shifts, if you have had a baby and need to get up to feed in the middle of the night or when we are simply stressed and just can’t sleep at night. Regardless of the reason it is important that we take time to really soothe that sleepless, tried and exhausted body of ours in order to get back in to balance and promote good sleep patterns again.

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I travel a lot and often experience jet-lag – so these are my favorite tips for soothing jet-lag and regain balance again:

  • I set the clock and go with the time it is where I am
  • I don’t nap or sleep during the day even though I am dead tired.
  • I spend time outside and get as much sunshine/ daylight as possible, as it helps to adjust to the new time zone.
A swim in the lake

A swim in the lake

  • I go to bed early (but not too early…)
  • I get up at the usual time
  • I quickly get back into the routines and follow the daily rythm
  • I exercise gently – a swim, a walk, a bike ride, yoga
  • I meditate
  • I drink lots of water
Fresh Cool Water

Fresh Cool Water

  • I drink green juice and/or green smoothies
Green and delicious

Green and delicious

  • I eat lots of healthy food to help my body restore, find balance and rejuvenate.
Balance

Balance

This mornings fresh green juice –

Refreshing green juice

Refreshing green juice

Red Kale, Apple, Ginger and Lemon Juice 

5 sweet apples

1 bunch of red kale

1 lemon

A small slice of fresh ginger

Wash and clean the apples and kale, peel the lemon and the ginger – run it all through the juicer and serve ice cold.

Sleep well

Sleep well

Summer without stress

I’m off! Today is the day I have been longing for – for months – the first day of the summer holiday!

I am off to spend 3 delicious weeks in a summer-house by the sea.

I can hardly wait.

Summer

Summer

I am so excited and at the same time I know it’s important to plan ahead, so that we make the most of it. Successful holidays don’t just happen. Holidays can be disappointing! We all have expectations and dreams and they may not turn out the way we wished, hoped and longed for. Unfulfilled expectations cause stress and disappointment!

The time leading up to the holidays can be particularly stressful.

We all need our holidays – to recharge, rejuvenate and fill ourselves with new energy.

So how can we increase our chances of fulfilling it …

This is “my” plan for a stress-free summer:

  • Unplug. Actually turn of all electronics and be out of reach. Yes, no need to check emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc.
  • Mindfulness – live in the moment. Practice mindfulness, breathe, and be in the moment.
  • Meditate – to reconnect with myself through daily mediations
  • Read books – instead of computers and internet, I want to read great books, in the shade …..
  • No plans – be spontaneous. No schedules, just feel the flow and be part of it.
  • Play – God yes, be crazy, play let go, have fun, look silly
  • Bare feet – connect to the earth and the ground -lots of research on this …. great idea.
  • Go slow – nothing I need to do or nothing I need to get to – just inhale the moment – remember to stop and smell the roses.
Smell the roses

Smell the roses

“Every Sweet-scented rose tells from it’s heart the secrets of heaven and earth” –Rumi

Bare feet in the sand

Bare feet in the sand

Beach

Beach

I know this will not be easy and I am sure I will have withdrawal issues for a while 🙂 But I also know how vital, how crucial, it is to disconnect to reconnect – and recharge.

IMG_0675

” And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

Khalil Gibran 

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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The Power of Relationships

If there is one thing in life that can completely create imbalance in our lives, emotionally and physically – it’s troubled relationships.

Relationships between our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, co-workers, or our boss – any relationship out of balance has the potential to create havoc in our lives.

Relationships have a huge impact on how we thrive, our health, our overall well-being and enjoyment of life.

We are genetically wired for connection and we need connection, we need relationships to survive. So when our relationships are challenged we feel enormous stress, we feel threatened and our bodies suffer –  causing anger, resentment, guilt, sadness and pumping out stress hormones causing us to be on alert, a constant fight or flight mode.

Our relationships live in the sacred space between us, which is sacred – Martin Buber

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Continue reading

Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is one of the most important cornerstones of emotional and physical health. If we don’t accept ourselves and value our needs and emotions, it will stress our body and deeply affect our well-being.

It’s so easy to find beauty in other people, to honor them and be kind to them. But to do the very same thing to ourselves, can be very difficult. Few people have learned how to accept and appreciate oneself and for the most we are not even aware of how unkind and hard we can be to ourselves.

Compassion and kindness starts within ourselves – the more compassionate and kind we are towards ourselves the more caring and loving we can be to others.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha

I came across an amazing series and I would love to share it with you.

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Sounds True is a multimedia company that among many things offers free podcasts – with amazing teachers. It was founded by Tami Simon. She is a wonderful woman and an amazing interviewer, it’s a real pleasure to see her at work.

This particular series is called the “Self-Acceptance Project”.

Tami Simon explores the important questions: “How can we befriend ourselves?” and “How can we be kind to ourselves?”. She interviews experts and people renown within psychology and neuroscience, for example, capacities like Kristin Neff, Harville Hendrix, Geneen Roth, Brene Brown and many more.

It’s a 12 week video program, it has already started, but it’s possible to sign up and enjoy the previous episodes.

It’s such an amazing opportunity and it’s FREE.

Check it out and sign up here 

Enjoy!

Stop Shame-attacks

Shame is brutal  – it robs us of life and happiness. It undermines our health, self esteem and overall well-being.

While we are feeling shameful, it’s impossible to enjoy life. We bombard ourselves with hurtful self-defeating messages. Messages like; I am not good enough, I am hopeless, I can’t believe I am so stupid, I am a total failure………………..

It’ s like drinking poison for the soul.

IMG_3255

 

When we are feeling shame, we feel awful. We feel there is no hope for us. It’s like a never ending spiral of self-loathing and self-reprisal.

In psychodynamic therapy, shame is considered as a defense mechanism. A defense against emotions. Whenever we feel shame, there are emotions of anger, guilt and grief underneath.

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression and low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes” William Gibson.

I use shame as an indicator, when I feel shame coming on, when I start to blame myself or be hard on myself. I know something is going on underneath and I remind myself to look deeper and ask questions like:

  • Was there something someone said or did that hurt me?
  • Was there something someone did or said that reminded me of something painful?
  • Is there a need I have not acknowledged and or expressed?
  • Are there feelings I have not acknowledged and or expressed?

 Shame is like turning anger inwards and we end up blaming ourselves with no mercy.

This causes tremendous stress and pain in the body. When we feel shame, we are much more likely to make unhealthy choices that undermine our health and even feeds the shame.

We don’t talk about it, we keep it to ourselves and bottle it up.

We may drink, take drugs, binge, over -work, or sit in front of the computer to numb out the painful feelings of shame. We are caught in a spiral of shame.

What we really need most of all when we are caught in shame is:

  • First of all notice what is going on and that shame is at play.

Then we need:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Self-compassion
  • To share it with someone we trust. Someone who will listen with compassion and without judgement.

Dr Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. She is an author of 3 wonderful books. I recommend them all!

1. The Gifts of Imperfection

2. I thought it was just me

3. Daring Greatly

Her messages about shame and vulnerability are profoundly important.

The last 2 Sundays she has been interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday.

Watch the first episode here

and the second episode here

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!