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Your Hour Of Power

I’ve called this post “Your Hour Of Power” as it’s what world famous Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins, calls this precious time of your day to spend on you, to de-stress, get focused, visualise and be grateful for everything you have in your life.  We live in a crazy, fast-paced world these days and most of us never take any time out to focus on us. In this article, Pip Thomas talks about how she’s incorporated this time into her life by taking her dog for a walk and visualising on the outcome(s) she intends to achieve in the day to come.

MeditationThe first hour of your day will totally influence the way the rest of your day will unfold and what you will achieve. So is it right to fill your head up with conversations to be had, emails that need sorting or lists you have still got to write? Are you best to focus on being grounded, setting a clear intent for the day, how you wish to feel and behave – and as a result – what you want to achieve?

Tony Robbins and Richard Branson, along with a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs, will not even consider checking their emails or picking up a phone until they have spent time on ‘them’. Whether you opt for meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or other affirmations, the impact will mean a positive start to your day.

Click here to view the whole article

I came across the idea of your hour of power when listening to Tony Robbins’ “Get The Edge”. Other highly successful entrepreneurs like Eben Pagan and Richard Branson call this your daily ritual or daily success ritual where you set aside about an hour each day to make yourself strong for the day by incorporating exercise which alleviates all your stress, gets all the right chemicals flowing around your body and brain, and you combine it with visualising everything you want to achieve that day, that week, that month or year, for your body, friendships, relationships, your loved ones, finances, hobbies, spirituality and emotions in general. Tony Robbins says he has met so many people who seem to have everything but they’re unfulfilled, yet he’s met others who seemingly have nothing but they’re grateful, which makes them rich and fulfilled. I’ve actually been doing this for the last few months and have noticed quite a difference in my frame of mind. By simply taking time out to be grateful for everything you have already in your life, this shifts your mindset to one which is positive and fully charged  to take on the day ahead. We build our days – it’s up to us to create them. We need to take time out for ourselves or our lives will flash past us!


Exercise Can Reverse The Effects Of Alcohol?

Time to revive this blog and what better way to start than to discover that exercise can reverse the effects of alcohol! An abundance of research has proven that exercise generates blood flow and therefore oxygen to the brain, which helps with neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells or neurons) and slows brain shrinkage. However, new research at the University of Colorado has shown that cardiovascular exercise can decrease white-matter damaged by alcohol. Check out this article for more info:

Exercise to reverse the effects of alcohol Working out can help former heavy drinkers limit the damage alcohol has done to their brain.

New research has found that aerobic exercise may alleviate some of the white-matter damage caused by heavy drinking.

Previous studies have shown aerobic exercise can slow cognitive decline and decrease negative neural changes associated with normal ageing and several diseases. 

The new study investigated if aerobic exercise may also prevent or repair alcohol-related neurological damage, finding that it may in fact protect white matter from alcohol-related damage.

Continue reading here

We all enjoy the occasional tipple now and again but no one really knows about the negative effect it’s having on us. At least now with the knowledge that exercise can reverse the effects of alcohol, we can at least attempt to alleviate the damage we do to ourselves. Aerobic exercise is also the number one method for emotional renewal, according to Tony Schwartz who wrote The Power Of Full Engagement and therefore the best stress reliever on the planet. Since stress causes brain shrinkage, this is yet another reason to make exercise a priority in your daily routine. Did you find this article useful? Please share!



Strengthen Your Brain With Exercise

We were born to move, yet too many people do not prioritise exercise. This article explains how you strengthen your brain with exercise, improve learning capabilities and also slow down aging. It was once believed that our brains stopped growing when we reached a certain age. This is of course nonsense. Our brains are constantly undergoing changes, the neurons between cells can be renewed and strengthened with the right treatment, or indeed weakened and severed when not treated with care. Exercise is key in maintaining the brain’s plasticity – its ability to build and repair and change throughout our lives. Take a few minutes out to read this no-nonsense, concise and informative article by Lori Rockl for Castanet.net.

Strengthen Your Brain With Exercise

Exercise for your brainNumerous studies have been conducted on brain plasticity to explore the changes in cellular structure which occur in the brain over time. A number of factors appear to contribute, from hormones generated inside the body to shock therapy. One of the most effective and least compromising is exercise. Studies show that people are able to enhance the flexibility of the brain by “exercising” it, much like exercising the musculoskeletal system can be improved or modified with exercise.
The growth of new brain cells and nerves – neurogenesis – happens when the brain blood volume increases. Blood volume increases during moderate exercise. The hippocampal area of the brain, the area responsible for memory and learning, is the area primarily affected by increased blood volume. This is good news for us with aging brains where memory seems to deteriorate and learning new things like language or music also seems to be fairly challenging.

Read the whole article on Castanet

Therefore, you strengthen your brain with exercise by stimulating neurogenesis. This happens when the blood volume increases which of course exercise induces. It’s frustrating to see people neglect exercise as they’re neglecting their bodies, their health as a whole and their brains. I speak from the heart, having parents who don’t seem to understand the importance of exercise, knowing that their aging could be considerably slowed if they undertook regular exercise.  Spread the word!


Exercise For Brain Health & Protection

It will come as no surprise to many that there is more conclusive research to promote exercise for brain health and protection. Our bodies were designed to move. Our vital organs require exercise to function properly and that includes our brain. I recently read that not exercising is actually a depressant  – which makes complete sense given the amazing benefits it brings to our minds. This is an article from Denise Mann for WebMD. It’s never too late to start exercising!

Exercise For Brain Health & Protection

Exercise for brain health and protectionNew research shows that older people who reported exercising for 30 minutes at least three times a week had a nearly 40% lower risk of dementia compared to people who were less active.

The study included 639 people who had an average age of 74. All participants were living independently and without disability. Of these people, 90 developed dementia during the three years of follow-up.

Dementia is an umbrella term for multiple types of mental disability, the most common being Alzheimer’s. In this study, most of the dementia cases were cases of vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is related to inadequate blood flow in thebrain.

About two-thirds of the people in the study said they exercised for 30 minutes a day three times a week. They were less likely to develop problems with thinking skills or dementia than their counterparts who did not get regular physical activity.

Continue reading on WebMD.com

Although this exercise for brain health & protection article is featuring people seventy plus, it’s well worth absorbing by people of all ages. People don’t prioritise exercise enough these days, yet it’s essential to live a healthy life. I’ve never regretted exercising, ever. It gives you a natural high too – who needs drugs!


How To Deal With Stress

We know that stress inhibits our ability to focus, but are you aware of how detrimental it is to your body and health as a whole? Stress is very harmful and leads to illness, disease and in extreme cases, death. This is why it’s so important to get a hold on it before it gets a hold on you. Here’s how to deal with stress written by Heidi Stevens for Chicago Tribune Health.

How To Deal With Stress

Before we look into how to beat stress, here’s what J. David Forbes, director of Nashville Integrated Medicine says about stress:

“Stress drives all kinds of biochemical changes in our bodies,” Forbes says. “It instantaneously increases our heart rate and blood pressure, makes our guts not function well and creates damage to our blood vessels and organs.”

This sounds scary doesn’t it? The good news is, that even in today’s fast paced world where we are surrounded by a myriad of stress-inducing situations, you can manage it. Here’s how to deal with stress, or at least one main method:

Break a sweat

Exercise, widely touted as a healthy outlet after stress hits, also protects the body from flying unnecessarily into crisis mode at the first sign of trouble.

“Exercise is a good stressor,” Singer says. “It gives your neurons a tiny little assault and they thicken in response, so they can better withstand a bigger assault.”

So hitting the treadmill will make life’s unexpected traffic jams less taxing on your brain and organs.

It also trains your brain to relax, says Seaward.

“When athletes engage in exercise they have a parasympathetic rebound,” he says. “When they stop, their bodies say, ‘It’s time for relaxation’ and they kick in a chemical called acetylcholine, also known as a relaxation hormone. If you look at our culture, we’re not exercising regularly. We’re training ourselves for stress, but we’re not training ourselves for relaxation.” Continue reading full article

Once again we see just how important exercise is in our lives. Not only is exercise the no.1 stress buster, but it’s fuel for our bodies, and is as important as food and water. It makes you feel amazing too!


How Exercise Makes Us Happier

We’ve all heard that exercise releases endorphins in the brain, but do we really know what that means? This article by Joe Wildrich on Buffer, which I actually found on Lifehacker, explains how exercise makes us happier. He then explains that it’s not about becoming a marathon runner, but engaging in just 20 minutes a day, before you start your day. Countless studies have shown that this is the most effective time in terms of fueling your brain which will help you focus and be more productive for the day to come.

How Exercise Makes Us Happier

Exercise For FocusIf you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and like things are clear after exercising.

At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, are released in your brain. Your endorphins main purpose are this, writes researcher MK McGovern:

“These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain, and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.”

Continue reading on Buffer

Hopefully that has clarified how exercise makes us happier – it certainly did for me. It was great advice to make exercise a habit, and as Joel suggested, to actually put your gym clothes over your alarm clock, so it’s easier to actually do the exercise first thing in the morning, rather than put it off until the evening, or tomorrow, or the next day. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so stick it out for those 21 days and it’ll become a natural part of your life and feel amazing for it. 20 minutes every day, it’s really not that hard to fit in! I actually believe that our brains are half asleep when we don’t exercise regularly. If you think about how great you feel after exercise, how clear your mind becomes and how you feel you can tackle anything, I wonder how people can function at all without it.



10 Ways To Focus on Creativity and Insight

This intriguing article from Psychology Today reveals some ways to focus on creativity and insight. Do you often find it hard to trust your gut or make good decisions quickly? The better you know yourself the more insight you will have. This is because insight is all about making decisions according to your natural inclinations and abilities. It is often said that successful people are those that can make decisions quickly without having to ask others for their opinions. They’re able to trust their gut and inclinations and act accordingly. If you don’t feel that you fit into this category then you’ll be pleased to know that there are measures you can take to develop this ability. Carrie Barron, M.D, explains all in these 10 tips from which I’ve excerpted three.

Get Creative

  • Play or listen to music, old and new. This might take you back to a time when you were vital, free, spirited, full of desire and your True Self. Joy and the desire to jump up and dance means a primal or past part of you is emerging.
  • Clean a closet. The removal of clutter can clear the mind and help you uncover what you need to see in your space and in yourself. When you handle sentimental objects and remove junk, you move closer to what matters within.
  • Exercise your body. Take a leisurely walk or engage in a vigorous sport.  An active body gives rise to a receptive, observant, free mind. Ideas and insights surface when your body is moving.

Continue reading on Psychology Today

I love the fact that listening to music was near the top of these 10 ways to focus on creativity and insight. I’m not sure I could live happily without listening to music – it completely lifts my mood in one way or another and can trigger ideas and thus creativity. If you don’t listen to music regularly, start!

Cleaning out the closet and removing junk is also so important, as by doing this you’re decluttering your brain to allow it to function clearly, freely and therefore more creatively. Obviously exercise is featured here; without exercise, I strongly believe that we’re only using a fraction of our brains. Or a fraction of the fraction of our brains that we use to be more precise. If you don’t regularly get blood and oxygen pumping around your brain, your brain is essentially half asleep. Almost every day I read about the importance of exercise for your brain. What do you think? Do share!


How Exercise Feeds The Brain

We all know that exercise is a basic requirement for our main organs to function properly, and most people have heard that exercise is excellent in alleviating stress, anxiety, to lift your mood, keep fit, help you concentrate and focus etc. There is more evidence that shows how exercise feeds the brain, and that’s its ability to improve memory, cognitive ability, and slow down or prevent dementia.  This article from by Meg Selig for Psychology Today, explains how recent research has presented all of the above findings.

How Exercise Feeds Your Brain

Exercise Feeds Your Brain1.  Exercise and memory smarts. Exercise guru Gretchen Reynolds reports here that when a group of 120 older men and women followed either a walking program or were part of a control group, the walkers performed better on cognitive tests and regained volume in the hippocampus—a part of the brain responsible for memory, certain types of learning, and the genesis of new brain cells. A typical 65-year-old walker developed the hippocampus of a 63-year-old.  My new goal: A youthful hippocampus!

2.  Exercise and name/face recognition.  In this study, after just 30 minutes of exercise, exercisers were better able to recall names and faces than volunteers who sat quietly for 30 minutes. This ability would come in handy in reducing those embarrassing I-know-I-know-you-but-who-are-you moments.

Continue reading on Psychology Today

So if you’re not regularly exercising already, hopefully these findings on how exercise feeds the brain will entice you to do so. I think not exercising, is like trying to run a car without maintaining it. It’ll be fine for a while, but soon enough the engine will become sluggish, and gradually, over time, parts will start to fail. It’s so important to exercise. It doesn’t even have to be strenuous but regular exercise is imperative.


3 Yoga Poses That Boost Energy And Mood

I thought this was quite fitting, leading on from a post earlier today about giving yourself an energy boost. Here are 3 yoga poses that boost energy and mood which you can do in the comfort of your own home. I’ve yet to try yoga but I keep on hearing only positive feedback about it. These tips are brought to you by Jill Lawson who has been a fitness professional for 20 years and has focused on yoga instructor for over 10 years.

Mountain PoseMountain Pose

This yoga pose can be practiced anywhere, and at anytime of day.

Stand tall, raise your arms up overhead, and take several powerful deep breaths. The fresh oxygen that will be coursing through your veins will refresh your brain. Standing in this pose energizes your core, your arms, and your legs, so take advantage of it whenever you can.

Dynamic Standing Twist

Inspired by the Five Tibetan Rites, the book of youthful exercises, this standing twist will raise the chi energy through your spine.

Stand comfortably with feet hip width apart. Bring both arms level with your shoulders. First, swing your arms to the right, and slap your left hand against your right shoulder, and slap your right hand against the small of your back. Switch sides. Allow your head, torso and legs to follow the movement of the twist, gently raising each foot to accommodate the range of motion of your upper body.

The twisting motion will give you a fresh outlook on life, and refresh your perspective from stale, all the way up to superb.

Continue reading full article on Diets In Review.com

I think these 3 yoga poses that boost energy and mood are so straight forward that it makes total sense to include these into your daily routine, several times a day.  Why not start right now? See how if they make you feel energised? If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of yoga, take a look at this page.


7 Ways To Boost Your Energy Levels

A lack of ability to focus may just be down to depleted energy levels. That’s why I’ve incorporated these 7 ways to boost your energy levels written by Gretchen Rubin For Psych Central.  If you have low energy levels, not only is it difficult to focus, but it makes you less willing to try new things, be creative, step outside of your comfort zone, push yourself to your limits and essentially get more from life.

Boost Energy Levels By Listening To Lively Music 1. Exercise!

Even a quick ten-minute walk will increase your energy and boost your mood. This really works! Try it! People often say they’re too tired to exercise, but in fact, unless you’re exercising at a veryintense level, exercise tends to boost energy rather than deplete it.

2. Listen to lively music.

This is one of the quickest, easiest ways to get a jolt of energy.

3. Get enough sleep.

If the alarm blasts you awake every morning, you’re not getting enough sleep—and it matters. Most adults need at least seven hours each night. Don’t kid yourself about how much sleep you need! (Here are some tips for getting good sleep.)

4. Act energetic.

Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up. Also, because the way we act influences the way we feel(to an almost uncanny degree), acting with energy will make you feel more energetic. Stand up while talking on the phone, walk more quickly, speak with more animation.

Click here to view all 7 ways to boost your energy levels on Psych Central

I doubt you were too surprised when you saw that exercise was at the top of the list of these 7 ways to boost your energy levels. It really baffles me to know that so many people do not understand the necessity for exercise. It’s an absolute basic requirement for your body and vital organs to function properly. Choosing not to exercise is like choosing to not drink water, or eat well. Listening to lively music is a great idea to boost energy levels, be it in the car or doing some exercise or simply doing the house chores. What’s your favourite way of boosting your energy levels?