Monday, March 20, 2017
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
You devote so much to your friends, family and career that you might have lost sight of the most important person in your life: you. Here are our top tips for setting aside some important alone time to help you live a happier, healthy life.
Make time to move
Whether you prefer the soothing stretches of yoga or the fast burn of running, regular exercise is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Not only does working out make you look and feel better, it's been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. And staying in shape is vital for preventing disease and ensuring a long, healthy life.
If the gym's not your thing, you can still find a way to exercise every single day. Try biking to work a few days a week or taking a stroll around the block on your lunch break. Take your dog for a walk after work. Or lift a few hand weights before bed. If you really want to take care of yourself, schedule a little "active alone time" into every day.
Make time to breathe
Even if you're not religious, it's important to create some alone time for you and your spirit. If you have a place of worship, make a commitment to attend a service once a week. If you feel more inspired by nature, take a Sunday morning walk along the beach or a hike through the hills at sunset.
Use this time to pray, mediate or just be with yourself in peace. If you're not sure what to do, start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. As the air moves in and out, you'll feel the world around you drift away as you become present with yourself in the moment.
Make time to rest
If you're like most Americans, you don't get enough sleep at night. You probably just brush it off as a fact of life in today's busy world. But getting regular sleep is more important than you may realize. Sleep is the body's time to heal and rejuvenate itself. Besides the ugly side effects like dark circles under your eyes and acne breakouts, lack of sleep can affect memory, concentration and even your moods.
The only way to ensure you get more sleep is to plan for it in your schedule. There will always be something you could be accomplishing instead of sleeping, so you have to set a time to go to bed and stick to it. Get the most out of sleep by avoiding caffeine after 4 p.m. and not watching intense television before bed.
Make time for fun
You probably think having fun means being around your friends. But there's something to be said for learning how to have fun on your own. If you're creative, find an artistic outlet that allows you some alone time, like drawing or painting. Starting a journal can be a great way to stretch your creative muscles while also getting to know yourself better. If you prefer the outdoors, plant a garden or go fishing.
Every now and then, take yourself on a fabulous solo date. Explore a park alone or check out a new library exhibit. Dinner is the ultimate date, so if you feel self-conscious sitting alone in a restaurant, bring something to read while you're waiting for your meal. The goal is to make time to be by yourself and learn to enjoy your own company.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
No matter how pragmatic or analytical you are, you can't avoid it. You're a dreamer. Everybody dreams. We dream one to two hours a night, and typically experience four to seven dreams in that time. Some people remember their dreams more vividly than others, and some claim they never remember dreaming at all, but dreaming is a natural and integral - if still mysterious - phase of the sleep cycle.
There is still some confusion as to exactly what purpose your dreams serve. Researchers have found evidence that dreaming helps deposit recent events and feelings into long-term memory. And most agree that dreams are a way of processing unresolved fears and desires, which make them an excellent way of clueing you into your own subconscious struggles. Have you're dreams been particularly violent lately? You may be frustrated with an injustice of struggling with something you want to change. If you find yourself endlessly searching in your sleep - even for something mundane like a name tag or your keys - it could be that you feel there is something missing in your life.
They aren't just idle brain chatter; your dreams can be excellent tools in processing your thoughts and feelings. Dreaming about little yellow balls after a day of tennis is a pretty easy connection, but some of our less literal associations can be enlightening about everything from how you feel about your ex to what you're in for in the next phase of your life. If you're planning to pay more attention to your own dream world, here are a few tips that can help:1. Keep a dream journal next to your bed
Try to make a habit of thinking about your dreams as soon as you wake up, especially if they were particularly vivid or disturbing. Then, write them down. We're more likely to remember nightmares, so these can be a good place to start.
2. Don't wait until after breakfast
As is turns out, dreams really are fleeting! You'll forget half the content of a dream within five minutes of waking. After ten, you'll lose about 90%. So write them down as soon as you can.
3. Pay attention to recurring dreams or themes
These represent recurring issues in your life. You may think you've dealt with a particular issue, but if a problem continues to turn up in your sleep, it's a sure sign that it hasn't been resolved.
4. Go beyond the literal
Ever had a dream about Brad Pitt, but he felt like someone else you knew? Your subconscious is dense with thoughts, feelings and images. The more you pay attention to these many layers, the more likely you are to discover something useful about yourself.
5. Rely on your instincts
Dreams tend to communicate in intangibles, in the way something feels rather than what exactly transpires. That means there are no true universal guides. A dream-death that indicates hopelessness in one person might mean a readiness for a new beginning in another. While dream books might give you clues and talking about them can help you process your dreams, only you are qualified to interpret them.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
You can't be happy everyday. Each and every one of us goes through ups and downs and that's normal. In fact, there's an entire school of thought devoted to the idea that without the bad times, we couldn't appreciate the good. Whether you believe this or not, one thing is for sure, most of us could think more positively most of the time. And if we did, we'd be happier more often!Here are five practical steps to becoming a more positive - and thereby more satisfied - person!
Cope with stress
How do you cope with stress? Do you head straight for the chocolate when things get you down? Or perhaps that glass of wine to unwind turns into three? Whatever your stress-reactions are, make note of them. Only when you're aware of a behavior can you take steps to replace it with another. After all, stress is a part of life - you may be able to reduce it, but you can't remove it altogether. So, you'll need new coping mechanisms - the kind that make you feel better, not worse, in the end!
Remember your joy
One self-help expert talks about creating a memory bank. This is a place where you write down things that bring you joy as they happen. Then, when you're feeling down, you can look back on them and you'll find you experience a sense of calm - a little bit of the happiness associated with that moment returns. This is a great thing to start doing - but in the meantime, make a list of some people or experiences that make you feel good and calm. Think about your favorite vacation spots, or your last workout high. Consider a pet you adore, or an aunt that made you feel particularly special.
The next time you feel particularly stressed, turn your focus to one of these uplifting thoughts. Make a conscious effort to do this instead of reaching for that ice cream or a cigarette.
Be aware of negativity
This one sounds easy, but it's not. It requires a shift in perspective.The next time you find yourself feeling particularly negative, whether your boss has pissed you off, you're stuck in what seems like endless traffic, or you're simply experiencing the desire to tell the entire world to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, stop yourself. One of the most important things we can do to improve our quality of life is realize if everything is making us angry, we're probably the problem. Not that we've necessarily done anything wrong, but it's useless to be controlled by external occurrences.
Take a breath and consider the situation. Is it a chance to practice patience or communication skills? Is your energy better spent somewhere else - other than stressing about this? The answer is probably yes to both of these questions. Remain calm, refocus and recognize that negativity will get you nowhere.
Give yourself credit
Each day, make a list of what you've accomplished. The word accomplishment should not be reserved for huge projects, but rather, give yourself credit for doing the things you need to do to take care of you. You got up on time and had a calm morning - big accomplishment. You washed off your makeup before bed and took the time to use face cream - you're taking care of you. You made the kids' lunches and still had time to eat breakfast yourself - amen.
If you begin to see the little things you do through the eyes of accomplishment, you'll feel the urge to accomplish more, and you'll feel more productive without actually adding anything to your plate, except maybe a little "me" time.
Express your love
There's an ideology that says we're all part of the same energy - a universal flow. A simplified, redux explanation of Taoist philosophy is that if we go with the flow we will find peace. Part of this flow is accepting that love is energy.
Contrary to cultural obsession, true love is not simply romantic love. It is loving yourself. It is taking glory in each moment of your day. It is feeling and being loving - not in a phony, "paste on a smile when you want something" way, but in a "we are all one, and what's good for me is good for the whole" kind of way. This does not mean being selfish - sometimes what is good for you is not necessarily what you desire (anyone who has spent time chasing the wrong mate knows this one)! What it does mean is being free with your love - your happiness - your energy.
Don't be afraid to pay compliments. Hug the people that mean something to you. Smile at that guy on the street for no reason other than that you feel like it. As you express the positivity you do feel, the amount you experience will grow. And it will spread to everyone around you.
Just in case you needed one more reason to take up meditation practice, a new study indicates that Transcendental Meditation benefits patients with heart disease.
According to multiple outlets, in a study of adults with coronary heart disease (who were stable and receiving optimal medical care), 16 weeks of Transcendental Meditation not only reduced blood pressure significantly, but also improved heart rate variability and insulin resistance, which is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. These benefits were achieved without weight loss, medication or psychosocial variables. In other words, meditation alone fostered these improvements for patients. Hats off to the mind/body/spirit connection!
For starters, meditation lowers stress levels and promotes a calm, connected feeling. It improves focus and concentration and boosts your energy (physical and mental) as well as sharpening your mental clarity. Meditate in nature to experience even greater benefits - and a oneness with the world around you. All it takes is a few minutes a day and you can be on your path to a far more pleasant, healthier existence. Meditation is like recharging your batteries.
Make a change for the positive! Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be. Sure, there are people who meditate for hours, but ten minutes a day will do the trick for the busy individual (and you can even start with five).
Start by clearing your calendar for fifteen minutes, just to make sure you've got enough time to prepare beforehand and then ease back into your day after you're done. Mornings are great (especially if you can get up just a little bit early), but so is the time just after work before you eat dinner. Naturally, any time you can spare will work.
First, turn off the TV, computer and any (and all) phones. Create a comfortable space where you will not be disturbed. When beginning your practice, you may want to set a timer. Start with five minutes.
Next, get yourself into a comfortable, seated position. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor and you should be sitting up straight. For this reason, a chair is probably better than on the floor (unless you're a Pilates junky with posture to spare)!
Then, once you're settled and comfortable, clear your mind of any stray thoughts, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe in through your nose in a way that you can hear your breath as it enters. Breathe out through your nose the same way.
The idea is to breathe deeply and evenly. Some people find counting helpful. If that works for you, breathe in on a four count and out on a four count. Focusing on your breath is not necessary, but many people find it helps their minds from wandering.
A certain amount of thought activity is normal, especially at first. So, as stray thoughts enter your mind, politely send them away. Don't get angry at yourself for these thoughts - they're natural. It's not easy to quiet the mind, and even five minutes may feel like a lot at first. Just do your best to make it through as long as you can, aware that your meditation stamina will increase as you continue to practice.
When the timer goes off, take a moment complete a final breath and open your eyes. Allow yourself to re-acclimate to your surroundings. You should find that even after just a few minutes, you feel alert and refreshed.
If you keep this up daily for a few weeks, it will become ingrained and you should be able to extend your practice time.
On a last note, if you find you fall asleep during meditation, you're not alone. Consider opening a window, or some gentle music to help keep you awake, and pay special attention to your posture and the grounding of your feet. Try not to meditate before bed at first too, just in case… while it may lull you off sweetly, it will also defeat the purpose.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Have you ever awakened from an exceptionally vivid dream with a feeling of indescribable awe, reverence and gratitude? If so, you may have had what we call a "numinous" (mystical) dream, which is a direct communication from your superconscious, or soul. A numinous dream, which often resembles a vision, is unusually vivid and has a spiritual tone or theme. Its purpose is to awaken your spiritual life and provide guidance, healing or spiritual "progress reports."
Location, location, location
Beautiful natural locales, like a majestic mountain or shimmering lake, are often the backdrop of numinous dreams. You can also recognize these dreams from their spiritual symbols, such as a beautiful ship, brilliant light, vivid colors, religious figures (or people who have a spiritual aura), white garments, and flowing clear water. Actually, a numinous dream will contain any symbol that evokes a reverent response in you and gets you in touch with your spirituality.
Numinous dreams can reveal our soul purpose and encourage our spiritual growth. Sandra in Everett, Massachusetts offers an excellent example of such a dream, which is prompting her to "cross over" to a more spiritual way of life. She writes, "I had a dream once that I am standing in front of a big, clear lake with crystal and diamond rocks underneath the water. Across from me I see a man with a long white gown and long white beard. He is sitting down and looking right at me, calling to me to cross over the water." Sandra's dream has many elements of a numinous dream, including a picturesque, clear lake (symbolizing spiritual and emotional clarity) and a wise being who advises her. This figure may actually be her spirit guide or even the part of her psyche that guides her on her journey.
If Sandra chooses to consciously embrace her spiritual life, in whatever way that's appropriate for her, she may eventually have a dream that offers a kind of progress report on how she's doing. For instance, she might dream of climbing a steep mountain slope, striving to reach the peak. Mountains symbolize higher planes of consciousness and being closer to Source. In the dream, her path may include stumbling blocks symbolized by boulders that she has to navigate around (a good metaphor for life's distractions and challenges that may obscure her true path). This dream would be giving her an A for effort as she ascends upward on her path.
Physical and emotional healing can take place during our nighttime excursions as well, as prompted by the superconscious. Healing dreams often include hospitals, doctors, treatments, or even the loving touch of an angelic presence. You may dream of being on the operating table or a nurse giving you a shot. These dream scenarios are actually symbolic representations of the healing that can occur during a numinous dream. You may even awaken with the urge to change your diet, attitude or habits to supplement the healing you received while you slept.
Sometimes numinous dreams come to us simply to remind us of our bond with the Infinite. Kim from Hollywood had such a dream, which took place about 15 years ago and contains many classic numinous symbols. She writes, "I'm walking along a street of white picket fenced houses - the fences are about a foot high and the lawns perfectly manicured. It's the time of night where it looks like a Maxfield Parish painting (either dawn or dusk). I am all alone - I am so content. It feels like I am going to Bethlehem (like the wise men before Jesus was born - yet it is modern day and I am my present age. It is perfectly quiet and the only other glow I see is a few televisions on the houses - very faint. I run into this guy I know (but not very well) from an entertainment side job I have in San Francisco. We say hello and he tells me he is going 'over there' as he points high in the sky where there is a crescent moon and a star shining just to the side of it. A stream of white light comes together from each and drops to the horizon. He explains that it's 'where The Mojave, The Himalayas and Egypt meet.' I say, 'Cool! I'll see you there!' and we merrily go our separate ways. (In life, it was just before I moved to Los Angeles, and when I told Dennis about the dream, he said, 'Oh you're part Cherokee.' And I said 'Yes - my great great Grandmother was 100% Cherokee.' He replied, 'That was a Cherokee dream. Did you know I have my Master's from Berkeley in Religious Studies and I'm 100% Cherokee?')"
Kim's dream beautifully portrays how everything in the Universe is connected, as symbolized by the streams of light coming together ("I'll see you there!"). The reverent feeling of traveling to a spiritual place like Bethlehem and the sense of profound contentment are typical of numinous dreams - plus the fact that the dream still makes such a deep impression on Kim after so many years.
Numinous dreams that contain messages from the soul provide invaluable guidance, inspiration and healing. Perhaps most important, they remind us that there is a unifying energy to all life, and that we're part of an infinite and loving Universe.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So start sending your questions and any ideas that you would like to see or read about.
Thanks and have a wonderful day
"Life can be seen through your eyes, but it is not fully appreciated until it is seen through your heart"
"The starting point of a life filled with love is the desire and commitment to be a source of infinite love"
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Come and receive a massage, remember that I also offer 30 or 45 minute sessions for those on the go. Tell all your friends and family members about your previous massage experience with Healing Hands Massage Therapy, and how relaxed and destressed you felt after your massage and how much you would enjoy a chance to return. Drop a hint about gift certificates so you can come on your time. And treat your friends and family members to a massage.
You can purchase gift certificates online at www.healinghandsmassage-bristol.com and click on the instant gift certificate link. Be sure to follow the instructions, and everyone have a wonderful holidays and see you soon.
Monday, September 17, 2007
We have moved from the Euclid Ave location in search for a permanent location. Please follow the website for updates, www.healinghandsmassage-bristol.com. I am still taking appointments during this transition.
I want to use this blog for questions about massage and helpful info for you to use to improve your life and become pain free. Please post any questions that you have.
This is a professional legal therapeutic massage therapy blog, I will not tolerate any sexual remarks or questions. It is not allowed!