Posts Tagged ‘stress’

The Awesome Way Tattoos Boost Your Health

Science shows there are plenty of easy ways to build a stronger immune system on a daily basis, including working out, staying hydrated, and even listening to music. Not usually mentioned on this list? Getting a sleeve of tattoos.

But according to a new study published online in the American Journal of Human Biology, getting multiple tattoos can actually strengthen your immunological responses, making it easier for your body to ward off illness. We know, crazy, right?!

For the study, researchers analyzed saliva samples from 24 women and five men before and after their tattoo session, measuring levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that lines portions of our gastrointestinal and respiratory systems and is a front line of defense against common infections like colds. They also looked at the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone known to suppress the immune response.

As expected, they found that those who were relatively inexperienced or receiving their first tattoo experienced a significant drop in their immunoglobulin A levels due to heightened stress. In comparison, they found that those who had more tattoo experience (determined by number of tattoos, amount of time they spent getting tattooed, how many years since their first tattoo, the percentage of their bodies covered, and the number of tattoo sessions), experienced an elevation in immunoglobulin A. So, while getting one tat can make you more susceptible to getting sick because your body’s defenses are lowered, multiple tattoos can do just the opposite.

“We think of tattooing like exercise. The first time you exercise after much sloth, it kicks your butt. You can even be more susceptible to catching a cold,” says Christopher Lynn, Ph.D., professor at the University of Alabama, and author of the study. “But with continued moderate exercise, your body adjusts.” In other words, if you’re out of shape and hit the gym, your muscles will be sore, but if you continue, the soreness fades and you’ll actually become stronger. Who knew tats and working out had so much in common?

The researchers didn’t specifically look at how long these immunity-boosting effects last, but Lynn believes that there is an extended affect, granted you don’t have an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle or experience a large environmental change, which can cause the body’s stress and immune systems to be affected.

Of course, we aren’t recommending you head to the tattoo parlor in the name of a potentially stronger immune system, but consider this one way to get all those tattoo haters off your back.

Skipping Lunch Is Bad for You and Worse for Business

Did you skip lunch last week—either by gobbling down something at your desk or forgoing food altogether? The odds are good that you did.

A 2012 workplace survey by Right Management found just one in five employees take actual lunch breaks. That’s a problem because both the lunch and the break are good for you.

Skipping lunch is bad for your mind, bad for your body, and bad for your workplace productivity.

Can’t Leave Their Desks

The good news is that most workers do eat something in the middle of the day. According to the Right Management survey, in addition to the one fifth of North Americans who take a lunch break, another two-fifths eat some food at their desks.

The bad news is that almost 40 percent of workers and managers eat some kind of lunch “only from time to time” or “seldom, if ever.”

Michael Haid, a vice president for the management firm, called this “yet another warning sign of the relentless stress experienced by workers.”

If we’re being honest, it’s worse than that.

The decline of the lunch hour is a sign of poor leadership. Organizational policies and team culture pressure workers and leaders alike to embrace busywork and distraction—and hurt their own long-term productivity in the process.

The Lunch Hour Dividend

A lunch hour is good because we need food if we are going to be energetic and sharp. Plus, we need a change of scenery if we are going to be creative. We might treat it like an interruption standing in our way, but there are at least two key reasons lunch is critical for peak performance throughout the day:

  1. Energy. We need fuel in the tank. Otherwise, our bodies and brains will punish us with distractions. Not only will we experience hunger pangs and thoughts of food, but we’ll also experience drowsiness, fuzziness, and fatigue.So it’s good to make sure that we eat something healthy in the middle of the day. It’s also beneficial if we get away to do that, which takes me to the second reason.
  2. Creativity. Taking lunch to your desk might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually detrimental. “Creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to nature-like environments,” Kimberly Elsbach, an expert in workplace psychology at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

    She argues that “staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to the creative process. It’s also detrimental to doing the rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha!’ moment.”

Miss this and you’re missing out on what I call the Lunch Hour Dividend. You’re sacrificing breakthrough moments that could take your organizations to the next level for the unbroken monotony of calls and meetings and emails. That’s a bad trade.

Lunch by Example

Leaders have to be intentional about turning this around. Let it be known that you want people to take their lunch breaks and set the example. Your team will eventually follow.

Here’s my challenge to you if you regularly skip your lunch break. Today, get away from your desk. Eat something with friends or colleagues or on a bench outside. Then go for a walk in a field or a park.

It will help you get clarity about the first half of your day and give you energy and insight to maximize the rest.

~ Courtesy of M.H.

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lavender Lemonade

lavender lemonadeFlavoring your lemonade with lavender is a great way to utilize the amazing medicinal properties of lavender. Lavender is a wonderful aromatic herb that calms the senses.

Pure lavender oil is an incredible essential oil to use for your own health and wellness. It’s among the gentlest of essential oils, but also one of the most powerful, making it a favorite of households for the healing properties and uses of lavender essential oil. Lavender oil  has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents, which explains its effectiveness at helping with a lot of health ailments. Lavender oil possesses amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifier, hypotensive, and sedative properties.

Florida researchers have found that lavender oil benefits include reducing anxiety and lowering pulse rates in nursing students taking stressful tests. And in hospital settings, lavender aromatherapy has been demonstrated to decrease pre-surgery distress and to be more relaxing than massage or merely resting.

Lavender essential oil has medicinal properties as well. It has been shown to reduce depression, improve insomnia and ease labor pains. And anecdotal evidence suggests that lavender oil benefits those with headaches, hangovers, sinus congestion and pain relief.
“Much prior research on lavender has focused on the administration of lavender via an olfactory route. The anxiolytic activity of lavender olfaction has been demonstrated in several small and medium-sized clinical trials. The efficacy of aromatherapy of lavender is thought to be due to the psychological effects of the fragrance combined with physiological effects of volatile oils in the limbic system. These calming effects of lavender oil and single constituents may be the origin of the traditional use of lavender. Lavender oil olfaction has been shown to decrease anxiety, as measured by the Hamilton rating scale,51 and can increase mood scores.

The following are selected examples of clinical trials on lavender aromatherapy:

  • Dunn and colleagues demonstrated anxiolytic activity of lavender oil aromatherapy in patients in intensive care units. Subjects received at least 1 session of aromatherapy with 1% lavender essential oil. Significant anxiolytic effects were noted in the 1st treatment, though 2nd and 3rd treatments did not appear to be as effective.
  • Alaoui-Ismaili and colleagues found that the aroma of lavender is considered by subjects to be very pleasant and is correlated with changes in the autonomic nervous system.
  • Tysoe and colleagues conducted a study of lavender oil in burner use on staff mood and stress in a hospital setting. A significant number of respondents (85%) believed that lavender aroma improved the work environment following the use of the lavender oil burners.
  • Diego and colleagues demonstrated that people receiving lavender oil (10%) olfaction for 3 minutes felt significantly more relaxed and had decreased anxiety scores, improved mood and increased scores of alpha power on EEG (an indicator of alertness), and increased speed of mathematical calculations.
  • Lewith and colleagues investigated the effects of lavender aromatherapy on depressed mood and anxiety in female patients being treated with chronic hemodialysis.  The effects of aromatherapy were measured using the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) and the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HAMA). Lavender aroma significantly decreased the mean scores of HAMA, suggesting an effective, noninvasive means for the treatment of anxiety in hemodialysis patients.
  • Lavender aromatherapy, with or without massage, may also reduce the perception of pain and the need for conventional analgesics in adults and children, though more rigorously controlled trials are needed.

DIY Lavender Lemonade with Lavender Essential Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 12 cups pure water
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 6 lemons, peeled and juiced
  • Lavender sprigs for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Add more water or raw honey if needed.

Other ways you can use Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Headaches

  • Mix 5 to 6 drops of Lavender essential oil to your bath water if you have dry skin.
  • Diffuse 10 to 12 drops of Lavender into the air during your workday for natural stress relief.
  • Add 2 drops of Lavender per ounce of your favorite lightly scented, unrefined organic oil (like almond oil or olive oil) for a body oil with all the benefits of lavender for improving your skin, relaxing your mind, warding off insects or helping you sleep.

~ In courtesy of Living Traditionally

Holiday Moods in Motion

winter sportsENERGY TAKES A HOLIDAY during winter. These dark, depressing days can leave you overweight, overstressed, or just over it. The solution? Short bouts of activity get the blood flowing, which instantly lifts your spirits. Exercise builds brain endorphins that help us feel happier and more positive about life.
So how do you pump up your pep when you’re feeling fat, frazzled, fried, or forlorn? We consulted four vitality specialists, whose favorite moves will boost your mood and resurrect your energy in just 10 to 15 minutes.
You’re Feeling: Fat Energy Transformer: Brisk Walking
If you found it hard to resist overeating during the holidays and even harder to squeeze in regular workouts, moderate cardiovascular exercise is a great way to get back in gear. Not only will you burn calories, but a brisk walk lets fresh oxygen and blood circulate through your body, making you feel more fit and confident nearly instantly.

Stride And Stretch To shake yourself out of your sluggish mood, try this 15-minute walking program.

1. Begin by walking for 3 minutes at a relaxed pace to gradually warm up your muscles. 2. Pause to stretch your quadriceps by standing on your left leg, your left arm reaching out for balance. Hold onto your right ankle with your right hand and gently pull the ankle toward the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the left side. 3. Walk for another 2 minutes, going at a faster pace than in the warm-up. Hold your head high, lower your shoulders, and concentrate on drawing your abs in tight. 4. Increase your speed for 5 minutes. Pump your arms with each stride and keep drawing in your abs. Your heart rate should now be elevated. You ought to be able to carry on a conversation, but only with a little effort. 5. Reduce your heart rate by gradually slowing your pace for 3 minutes. Focus on your breathing, and include some deep inhales and exhales through your nose. 6. Stretch out your calves by standing with your feet a couple of inches apart, right leg front and left leg back, toes pointing straight ahead, feet flat. Bend your right knee and keep your left knee straight, feeling the stretch in your left calf. Hold for 30 seconds without bouncing, then switch legs and repeat.
Tips: Parks recommends building up to 10,000 steps per day. A step-counting device will help you achieve your goal. Or try the NL-2000 Activity Monitor ($54.95; digiwalker.com), which lets you plug in your age, height, and weight to get an accurate account of how many calories you’ve burned. * Wear supportive footwear as well as socks made of breathable fibers. * Drink water before and after your walk.
You’re Feeling: Frazzled
Got a million things to do and no time to do them? Most people, especially those balancing work and family, end up feeling frazzled several times a day. You need an exercise that provides mental clarity to help you focus on the task at hand. Qigong, an ancient Chinese healing art that offers unique breath-control techniques, can put you in a more centered frame of mind. The steady focus and concentration enable you to calm the chaos in your mind.

Monk Gazing At The Moon Find mental clarity–and a little peace in the chaos–with this standing meditation.  Kundalini Yog

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Raise your arms in front of your chest, with your hands at eye level,  palms facing each other, and fingers spread. Maintaining a straight back, “sit” in a shallow stance (shown). Relax the back so it doesn’t arch. Keep your eyes open, gazing through your fingers. 2. Keeping your mouth closed and the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, begin to breathe through your nose. 3. Take 3 deep breaths. After the third one, inhale fully, then exhale 60 percent of your breath capacity. 4. Inhale fully, then exhale 100 percent. 5. Inhale fully again, then exhale 40 percent of your breath capacity. 6. Inhale fully, then exhale 100 percent. 7. Inhale fully once more, then exhale 20 percent of your breath. 8. Inhale fully, then exhale 100 percent. 9. Take 3 deep breaths, then hold the position for 3 to 5 minutes, breathing naturally.
Tip: To keep physically balanced, focus your attention on your lower abdomen, about 3 inches below your navel, which is the body’s natural center of gravity. The Chinese call this center the Tan Tien, or “Elixir Field,” where the qi, or life force, is nurtured.
You’re Feeling: Fried Energy Transformer: Kundalini Yoga
Is “deflated” your primary state? You need to pick yourself up and get on with your day. Kundalini yoga practitioners do repetitive movements while focusing on a word or the sound of the breath. This repetition stimulates the nervous system, allowing you to decompress, re-energize, and awaken your senses.

Kundalini Torso Twist Whenever you feel burned out, try this technique

1. Sit tall in a cotorso twistmfortable crossed-leg position, with your fingers spread and resting on your shoulders. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and your belly drawn in. Close your eyes. 2. As you inhale through your nose, twist your torso from your waist to the left, keeping your hips still and allowing your shoulders and head to follow your trunk. Then exhale through your nose and twist to the right. 3. Repeat this twisting motion for 1 minute without stopping, eventually working up to 2 minutes or more. Let your breath guide you into each side of the twist. 4. When you’ve completed your minute (or more), slow the movement gradually until you come to a complete stop, then lower your hands to your shins and take 3 deep breaths to get centered and bring yourself back to a restful state.
Tip: Focus on the sound of your breath to let go of any distractions. 10. End with 3 more deep breaths. On the third, exhale through your mouth, then lower your arms to your sides.
You’re Feeling: Forlorn Energy Transformer: Strength Training
It’s common to get the blues this time of year; you need a workout that will give you a much-needed boost of positivity. Getting your body into shape with strength training does just that. Strengthening your muscles improves your posture, making you look taller and slimmer–a great confidence booster. It also releases feel-good endorphins, putting you on the road to physical and emotional wellness.

Twisting Walking Lunge This multi-muscle exercise utilizes not only the upper and lower body, but also the abdominals, making it a fast way to shape up all over. Adding in the balance challenge forces your muscles to work harder to stay upright and stable.twisting walking lunge
1. Warm up by walking on a treadmill or outside for 5 minutes, pumping your arms as you go. 2. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, holding a ball in front of your chest. Keep your elbows bent and close to your ribs, and your abs pulled in. (If you’re new to strength training, use a volleyball or other lightweight ball until you are comfortable with your balance and stability. Those who are more advanced can use a 3- to 5-pound medicine ball; find one at spriproducts.com.) 3. Take a step forward with your left leg, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Your front knee should stay over your ankle as your back knee approaches the floor. When you are in a full lunge, rotate your torso and shoulders to the left, taking the ball to your left hip as you draw your abs in tight [A]. 4. Rotate back to center, then push off the back foot and lift your right knee to hip height as you raise the ball above your head [B]. Keeping the right knee lifted, toss the ball up in the air and catch it. 5. Take a step forward with your right leg to repeat the sequence on the opposite side. 6. Continue lunging forward, alternating sides. Start with 1 to 2 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, building up to 15; add a set when you’re ready.
Tip: Hold your gaze steady–don’t let it wander. Keep your posture erect and your abs drawn in to stabilize your balance as you perform this exercise.

Yoga For The Winter Blues

As the weather shifts to chillier temps, many of us are finding ourselves with the sniffles or sore throats. Beat the symptoms of a common cold all year long with these yoga asanas, which help to balance the sympathetic (activity, or “fight or flight” response) and parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) systems. Anything that affects this balance, whether coming from the inside (like hunger, the need for oxygen, fear) or the outside (like temperature change, movement, watching a movie), requires a change from one state of balance, such as hunger, to another, such as digestion.

Because our immune systems consist of white blood cells that circulate in the blood and organs of the thymus located in the chest (above the heart and the spleen in right upper abdomen) you can help stop the common cold by a shoulder stand to draw blood to your head and throat, which brings more white blood cells to the areas where they are needed and helps relieve sinus congestion.

Shoulder Stand  (Sarvangasana)

Benefits: Brings blood to the head and throat, thereby relieving sinus congestion and stress, and strengthens the immune functions of the hormonal system.

How-to:

1.  Lie on your mat, press shoulders down and draw the shoulder blades toward the waist. 2.  Turn the upper arms out and extend them toward the legs, bring elbows close to trunk. 3.  Move the back ribs in and bend the legs with feet close to the buttocks. 4.  With palms up press elbows into the floor, exhale and lift the trunk, bending legs over the abdomen. 5.  Support the back with the hands and raise the trunk and legs higher, bringing the chest toward the chin; take the hands lower down and press the back ribs forward. Straighten the legs up until they are vertical and with the help of the hands raise the shoulder blades and extend the trunk up, lift the hips and stretch the legs.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Benefits: Opens up the throat and lungs, increasing circulation while helping to break up congestion. Stimulates the thyroid gland in the base of the throat, helping to regulate metabolism. Stimulates the pineal gland in the center of the brain, releasing melatonin brings a relaxed response to the nervous system.  Increases blood flow to the thymus and the spleen helping white blood cells target infection.

How-to:

1.  Lie flat on the floor with your palms pressed against sides of your thighs. 2.  Shift your bodyweight to your elbows and raise your head and trunk. 3.  Arch your chest and lower the crown of your head to the floor, creating a “bridge” between your buttocks and head; expand your chest as much as possible. 4.  To come out of the pose, place your body weight on your elbows again and raise your head gently.

Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation)

Benefits: Relieves strain and tightness of the lower back.  This asana massages the abdominal organs and digestive tract, increasing circulation and pushing the contents of the bowel along, helping to relieve constipation. A powerful ancient meditation technique, it is also a scientific way to eliminate the root cause of all the negativities. This asana also allows heart to rest deeply and reduces stress, helping to strengthen the immune system. It is also helpful in balancing the hormonal system while stimulating the pineal, thymus and thyroid glands, which increases circulation into all major organs.

How-to:

1.  Lie on your back in a comfortable supine position with your arms and legs extended, about a foot-and-a-half apart, and your arms a few inches away from your body with your palms up. 2.  Close your eyes, breathing through your nose and begin relaxing. 3.  Bring your awareness to your right leg and foot. Tense the leg. Lift it off the floor a few inches. Tense a little tighter and let it drop. Roll it from side to side and just forget about it. Repeat with the left leg. 4.  Now, inhale and tense your pelvis and buttocks; squeeze the tension out. Most of us hold a lot of stress in this area, which can lead to disorders in the reproductive system as well as in the pelvis and hips. 5.  Inhale and fill your stomach with air. Hold it for a few moments, then release through your mouth – just let it gush out.

~ Spa Wellness

Immunity Herbal Tonics

Feeling run-down and stressed-out? Does it seem you always catch whatever is going around? You may want to consider taking a daily tonic. Also known as adaptogens, these nontoxic, plant-based substances help to bolster your body’s natural defenses and increase its ability to cope with normal daily stress. When taken long term, tonics may help support energy and maintain normal, healthy immunity. Popular tonics include:

1. Ashwagandha. This traditional herb (Withania somnifera) from India is much used in ayurvedic medicine, where it is valued as a general tonic and adaptogen.

2. Eleuthro. Formerly called Siberian ginseng, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a distant relative of true ginseng. It can be useful for alleviating exhaustion, fatigue from heavy workloads and lack of energy. Look for products that are standardized for eleutheroside content.

3. Reishi. This distinctive, woody mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is too bitter to be eaten, but can be taken in supplement form. Reishi is recommended in traditional Chinese medicine for increasing resistance and extending life, and has been studied for its ability to support normal immune health.

4. Rhodiola. Also known as arctic root, rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) contains a group of distinctive compounds that are at least partially responsible for the plant’s remarkable properties – including anti-fatigue, anti-stress, antioxidant and immune-supporting effects. It is useful for acute stress, to support optimal mood and for memory health.

You should be able to find all these herbal products in health food stores – choose the one that best meets your needs, follow package directions, and give it about six to eight weeks to see how it helps. You can take tonics indefinitely, but some herbalists suggest taking a two-week-long break every three months to help maintain the tonic’s effectiveness.

~Special Thanks to Dr. Weils

9 to 5 Yoga Poses ~ Work Wellness Part 2

It is the middle of the week: between Monday and Tuesday’s work load headaches to Thursday and Friday’s happy hour relief breaks, WHAT CAN YOU DO? OhMyGosh it’s yoga time again! Who says you can’t have a break at work and enjoy a wellness experience of a lifetime. Check out the second part of our 9 to 5 Yoga Poses~Work Wellness blog and begin a start towards a better you not only physically but mentally through the following poses for your eyes, back, feet and ankles (Women’s Health Magazine). To have even more OMG fun, get some of your colleagues involved and start a OMG Yoga day~this will definitely make your workplace a more inviting environment. Let’s go!

 OMG MOMENT (Feet & Ankles): High heels throw off your entire skeletal system because your foundation doesn’t have the solid connection with the ground leading to aches, cramps and even blisters.

Yoga Position #3: Sitting at your desk with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, lengthen up through the crown of your head and let your shoulders gently drop away from your ears. Bring your hands together on your lap, interlacing your fingers. As you take a deep breath in, reach your arms out in front of you and press your palms away. As you exhale, raise your arms overhead and try to straighten your elbows as much as you can without scrunching your shoulders. If your shoulders rise up, keep your elbows slightly bent. Hold this pose for 10 complete breaths and lower your arms on the last exhale. Repeat twice more.

OMG MOMENT (Eyes): Hours staring and squinting at a computer monitor according to recent studies may fatigue the optic nerve, which transmits to the brain. This could lead to headaches, red eyes and even slight dizziness.

Yoga Position #4: Turn away from your computer so your eyes are focused on a completely different object. Sit up in your chair with your chin parallel to the floor. Now, without moving any other part of your body, look up to 12 o’clock, over to 3 o’clock, down to 6 o’clock, over to 9 o’clock, and up to 12 again. Do that five times in each direction.

OMG MOMENT (Back): Sitting at your desk, discs in your back bear triple the amount of pressure than when you are walking. This can cause spinal fluid to squeeze out and this fluid is a manitory luburicant for your spine flexiablity. This causes your disc to become unstable and rub against each other which result in extreme pain. Brittle spine increases this injury because there is less fluid to act as  a shock absorber; so bending and lifting your 5lb purse or briefcase could cause serious damage in just one day.

Yoga Position #5:Turn away from your computer so your eyes are focused on a completely different object. Sit up in your chair with your chin parallel to the floor. Now, without moving any other part of your body, look up to 12 o’clock, over to 3 o’clock, down to 6 o’clock, over to 9 o’clock, and up to 12 again. Do that five times in each direction.

Hope you enjoy these awesome yoga positions and keep up your OMG Status at work!  Remember our motive is:

 (Natural + Knowledge) x (Dedication + Application) = OMG healthy lifestyle

Ms.OMG

%d bloggers like this: