Healthy Cove

MINDFULNESS 101

There’s a new trending practice across Insta-feeds, Pinterest boards, and coffee shop chatter: how to be mindful. Practicing mindfulness is about focusing yourself on the present and being intentional throughout your day. So, if you find yourself distracted while you read this, or if your mind feels too cluttered, learning to practice mindfulness can help you feel lighter and refocus your day.

Mindfulness has several definitions:

  • The mental state achieved by focusing on awareness of the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, or bodily sensations.
  •  The self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
  •  The ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, while not getting overwhelmed by what’s happening around you.

Mindfulness is a personal practice, so it’s fine to craft your own definition.

mindfulness

There are three foundational principles of mindfulness:

  1.  Awareness
  2.  Acceptance
  3.  Attentional redirection

The goal of mindfulness is to set an intention with a purpose. Your intention can flow into a relationship, an objective at work, better mental health, or improving your self-esteem. Your intention for the day can even be as simple as taking time to breathe.

Awareness

This step is your starting point to become a more mindful person. It’s all about experiencing life and recognizing if you are or are not present in the moment. Awareness isn’t about staying on track 24/7 or daydreaming your day away. By taking time to realize if you are present in the moment, you’re gently nudging your brain back to focus on the here and now. Awareness is as simple as acknowledging you feel “this way,” or are thinking about “that.” It’s the first step to recognizing your present reality.

Acceptance

Acceptance is perhaps the most freeing aspect of mindfulness. If you ever feel frustrated with yourself, practising mindfulness can help. It’s normal to get distracted, daydream, or get caught up in emotion. Yes, it’s even okay to do so (gasp!). Accepting your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations will allow you to notice their value or effect to then move on. Dwelling on things you cannot change can send you down a spiral of agitation, discontent, and leave you at a standstill.

Attentional Redirection

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, panicked, or anxiety-ridden, intentionally redirect your attention. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling what you do. Adjust your focus to the sound of a coworker’s keyboard, the stitching on the steering wheel, the weight of your body on the bed, the expanse of your breath.

Cultivate Mindfulness

Several techniques and resources are available to easily cultivate mindfulness as a daily practice.

1. Getting in the Right Headspace™

This app is a treasure trove of thought-provoking and calming messages to help you practice mindfulness throughout the day. Most of the 15–30-minute sessions are led by a mindfulness expert. Each gets you calm, present in the moment, and leaves you with tips you can recall any time you need them.

Both meditation sessions and mindfulness sessions cover an array of focuses, sleep sessions, sleep sounds, and more. The Headspace app is free to download at the App Store or Google Play and has a plethora of free sessions. There’s also a paid plan option for any serious mindfulness gurus.

2. Meditation Class Is in Session

Let’s try a few moments of meditation. Find someone to read this to you in a calm voice, pausing a few minutes after each step.

Gently let your eyes close.

Settle in and feel your feet on the floor, your spine stacked, your hands in your lap.

Take a moment to focus on your breath.

Feel the weight of your diaphragm change as you take a deep in-breath…and now a long out-breath.

If your mind has drifted off, acknowledge that thought. Accept it, without judging it.

Gently bring your attention back to the body, acknowledging any sensations, tension, or pain.

Let those sensations exist. Give them room in your body to be.

Turning your attention back to the breath, feel the weight of your diaphragm change as you take a deep in-breath…and now a long out-breath.

When you’re ready, open your eyes.

Do you feel refreshed, lighter, more mindful?

3. The Game of Life

Living is complex, chaotic, exciting, enthralling, and a swirling mass of all those things together. Pick an area of your life you’d like to improve, be more attentive to, or gain more from. Practising mindfulness around a main area of your life can reap amazing benefits.

Let’s see which of these best fit your situation:

• Mindful Eating

Nutrition is a large part of your daily routine. It can be either fuel or frustration, depending on your eating habits and relationship with food. Intuitive eating mixes nutrition with mindful practices to help strengthen your body and your mind. There’s even a Mindful Eating Guide on Health Line’s website that’s a fantastic starting point to stay present in and out of the kitchen.

• Mindful Parenting

Piles of laundry and toys + raging teenage hormones + homework on the new math system x crying terrible twos + navigating a first-time crush = one majorly exhausted parent. Mindful parenting techniques can turn the crazy times with your kids into manageable moments of love and growth. Taking time to slow down and be present not only makes things easier for you, it does the same for your child. A brave paediatrician tells her story for practising mindful parenting—it starts with ending perfectionism.

• Mindfulness at Work

The grind. The nine-to-five. Payin’ dem bills. A big majority of our life is spent at work, behind the desk, punching the time clock. It’s easy to just go through the motions, without being present and intentional about the work we’re doing or the interactions we have. There are realistic ways to be more mindful in the workplace, though. Make it a priority to take breaks to clear your mind and refocus on your next task. Remember to actively listen to conversations you have by making solid eye contact. You could even try email meditation. Check out this great article for more mindful workplace tips.

• Mindful Students

Teachers recognize the flood of information that comes at students is a lot to process. Even the quick switch from subject to subject can leave children on autopilot. That’s why some teachers are starting their lesson plans with a daily mindful moment for themselves and their students.

Now you better understand what being mindful means, take the next five minutes to be in the moment, accept yourself, and direct your attention with intention. Remember, your mind is becoming a non-judgmental zone—soft lighting, river sounds, and all. Take a deep in-breath…and exhale.

Passion Warrior

Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers?

Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers?

People suffering from mental conditions are marginalized and people tend to stay away.

When it comes to helping these people, there are a couple of things that that strike you: firstly, everyone thinks they’re crazy and dangerous for possessing abilities that most people need meditation to access.

Secondly, our current mental health care system hasn’t progressed much since e century ago: the white straight-jackets are replaced by chemical ones. And lastly, mental illnesses seem like nightmares, but with the right care and support, it can make suffers realize they’re dreaming and wake up from it.

But what if these people are not crazy at all, and need no medications?! Perhaps the cure is just the right amount of sleep, support and encouragement to become a healer.

Our mental health care system is breaking people. We’ve got no room for the sacred, just for the normal.

The list of socially accepted behavior is a short one, and it oppresses us more than we might realize. It’s only after we’ve been judged, failed to fit in, broken down and needed fixing, that we see how limited we are. We take people in possession of a different perceptual experience and deem it wrong.

We’re weeding out our geniuses. We’re killing off our prophets. We’re drugging our messiahs.

If any historically notable person were alive today, they’d probably be on anti-depressives. From artists, to writers, to scientists, many of the geniuses who revolutionized our knowledge, suffered at the hands of the psychic strain of doing so. If you think treating their genius with medications would ease their suffering while allowing them to explore their talents, think again. And even if these drugs prevented some suicides, these people would fade into obscurity, known by few, admired by fewer.

It’s unfortunate that in our society, those who refuse treatment have nothing to catch them if they stumble; no people to offer them support and embrace their new abilities. Only pain and the will to get rid of it.

So what are people suffering from mental and emotional distress to do? How do they get the true support, help and respect they require? How can we transform our mental health centers into places of healing and growth, rather than confinement and apathy? How can we accept the experiences of people experiencing life differently from us, so that they stabilize and we become wiser by sharing their perspective? And most importantly, how do we take mental illness activism past this point of stagnation, and accept mental suffering as equally grave as physical suffering?

How do we recognize the healers in people who are, themselves, healing?

How do we learn to look past the defined categories, and look into the beautiful realms of consciousness that defy categorization? We need to come together, learn and share each other’s perspectives. How can the manic, the depressed, the generous, the needy, unite disregard all labeling and learn together? How can each person be allowed to matter, and no one is left to rot between four walls? How can we stop arguing for a second a listen to ourselves agreeing?

The answers to these questions aren’t important; it’s the questions themselves that matter. We need to keep asking questions until things finally start to work. The state of the mental health care system is inhumane, it’s mechanistic and cruel.

Our inability to think differently about mental illness is no one’s fault, but it’s our responsibility to come together and decide to do better. We deserve it.

East Coast Life Solutions has a passion for caring the alternative way.  Someone has to take a stance to defy the system in a way for the betterment of all.  2018 seems to be guiding us to speak out and release our passion warrior style.  Are you interested? One by One We Can Make a Difference!

Shout Out to Y.O.P. for this article.

Healthy Cove

Pro Tips for a High Plant-Based Protein Diet

High Plant Based Protein Diet

I think it’s safe to say, most everyone knows how crucial protein is in your diet. In the body, proteins break down amino acids that promote cell growth and repair. An added benefit: they take longer to digest than carbs, which means you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories. Whether you are a body builder or keep up a casual exercise regimen, no one can deny the power of protein.

So, how much protein do you need? It’s suggested that men eat between 1 and 1.5 grams and women eat between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Depending on the intensity of your exercise and training, you may need to eat closer to 2 grams.

I also think it’s safe to say that if asked, most of us would be pretty quick to say that most animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) are great sources of protein. But what if you don’t eat any animal products? Do you have to give up on your high-protein dreams? Absolutely not.

Thankfully, there are several high-protein options for those who choose a plant-based diet.

Legumes

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Legumes

Foods in the legume family (green peas, lentils) are a great source of vegetarian protein. One cup contains 7.9 grams—about the same as a cup of milk. If you don’t like these foods as a side dish, try blending them into a pesto. a pesto or hummus.

Quinoa

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Quinoa

Quinoa is my favorite grain and not just because I love the nutty taste! It contains 8 grams per cup as well as ALL NINE essential amino acids the body needs for growth and repair. You can eat it on its own or add it to soup. I sometimes swap out my morning oatmeal for quinoa—delicious!

Nuts and Nut Butter

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Nut Butter

All nuts contain healthy fats and protein, making them the perfect addition to a plant-based diet. It’s always best to choose varieties that are raw or dry roasted. If you’re selecting a nut butter, make sure to check the label to see if it has added ingredients. Manufacturers love to sneak in added sugars. Choose a brand with only salt or no additives.

Beans

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Beans

With so many different varieties, it’s easy to find one you’ll love. While they all taste different, they have one thing in common: lots of protein. Two cups of beans contain about 26 grams! The best part? You don’t have to make them from scratch to reap the benefits. Simply rinse and heat canned beans and you’ve got yourself a high-protein dish!

Chia Seeds

High Plant-Based Protein Diet: Chia

You probably recognize the name from the famed Chia Pets, and yes, it’s the same plant! These seeds are delicious and contain 4.7 grams per two tablespoons. I love adding them to green smoothies, oatmeal, or even making chia seed pudding.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

I’m not going to argue with getting protein from chocolate! Unsweetened cocoa powder contains about 1 gram of protein per tablespoon and is the perfect thing to add to your protein shake or smoothie. Try it out with banana, peanut butter, and your favorite protein powder.

Coast Lifestyle

GROWING HEALTH IN THE GARDEN

gardening

All the benefits of Gardening

The garden is a great place to grow healthy produce. But the harvest is just the beginning of gardening’s health benefits. From exercise to stress relief, see how a garden can be good for you.

Exercising and eating right are said to go hand-in-hand, but when you work in a garden, they actually do. Gardening is one way to maintain your health and enjoy time outside. It’s a great way to keep fruits and vegetables in your diet, and get some exercise. Growing your own food is also healthy and sustainable for the environment. See how learning to garden can improve your quality of life.

Gardening Improves and Promotes Healthy Nutrition

Gardening is a hobby that can easily and effectively increase your daily access to healthy foods. Nutritious snacks and delicious dinners are only a stone’s throw away when you regularly keep a garden. Whether you garden at home or with your community, regular access to fruits and vegetables improve your nutrition.

Surveys of children whose schools have after-hours gardening programs illuminate how beneficial gardening can be for individual nutrition. Teachers at schools with these programs can utilize the garden in developing health and nutrition curriculum.

A 2005 study of fourth grade classrooms with after-school gardening programs provides a great example. In the study, teachers reported the eating habits of their students had improved with regular access to their school’s garden. Principals reported a nearly two-fold increase in use of the cafeteria salad bar by students.

The students also illuminated the health benefits of the school garden in their personal nutrition. Fourth graders were surveyed before and after the incorporation of the school garden into the curriculum. They answered two yes/no questions: “I eat vegetables every day,” and “I am physically active every day.” There was a significant increase in the proportion of students answering affirmatively after participating in the gardening program.

gardening

Gardening Provides Exercise on a Daily Basis

It should be noted that in the study mentioned in the previous section, children who participated in after-school gardening programs increased their daily vegetable intake AND their daily exercise. Gardening gets your body to work and gets you into nature.

Gardens require daily care in order to produce plentiful crops. Harvesting the rewards of a diligently kept garden can motivate gardeners to get up and move. Gardening provides the body with moderate cardiovascular exercise. Regular exercise of any kind, including gardening, reduces the risk of heart disease and can improve strength and stamina.

Older-aged populations can have trouble finding regular exercise regimens for which they feel well-suited. Gardening is great functional exercise for everyone, including the elderly. Functional exercise refers to activities that include: stretching, pushing, pulling, lifting, squatting, etc. These activities all improve muscle tone and flexibility, and improve general well-being.

Gardening Improves Self-Perception of Mental Health

Gardening has been called good for the soul. There are actually several aspects of this hobby that make that description accurate.

Gardening promotes mental and physical health. When you garden, you interact with nature on a regular basis. It also gives you a chance to serve others. Simply put, gardening makes us feel good.

A number of studies have recently reinforced the importance of our relationship with nature. Being immersed in nature, including a garden, opens the door for creativity to bloom. Unplugging from technology and stepping outside to do work in the garden is refreshing for the mind and spirit.

The physical exertion required in gardening helps maintain blood pressure in the normal range and increases your production of endorphins. Endorphins have been referred to as “feel-good” hormones because they help us feel happy and full of life. Endorphins are also crucial in reducing stress. That’s why so many people take up gardening as a stress-relieving hobby.

Gardening Can Establish Community and Boost Civic Engagement

In addition to relieving stress, gardening also provides opportunities to serve others. After working in a community garden, many gardeners give their extra fruits and vegetables to friends and neighbors. This kind of community engagement and service encourages a healthy mental state and helps build strong communities.

Community gardens have been increasingly popular in neighborhoods far from a dependable source of produce, like farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Community gardens are also almost always free to use or require very little in order to participate.

These gardens are funded through grants and city budgets, and are staffed by volunteers and garden experts.

Community members have access to cooking classes, healthy meal-preparation instruction, and gardening help through these local programs. Skill-building opportunities for participants, involvement of volunteers, and commitment of local leadership have made especially successful community gardens.

Community gardens have continued to flourish in cities across the globe because they promote public health and a high quality of life. They encourage healthy living and eating, community engagement, and civic and neighborhood pride. These gardens also promote sustainability and the local environment.

Summary

Gardening, in your own yard or as a community, is a great exercise in proper health and nutrition. Being active in your garden relieves stress and provides your body with regular exercise. Gardening can also give you the chance to build a deeper relationship with nature, which has been shown to improve mental health. Community engagement and neighborhood pride come as a result of spending quality time in your garden. Take the chance to develop your green thumb and try gardening.