Woman meditating in the forest

Planning Your Daily Meditation

Katy Perry says she starts her day with Transcendental Meditation. Madonna can be seen with her foot behind her head practicing meditative yoga. Lena Dunham claims that all Type A women, she included, could benefit from meditation. Clint Eastwood says he’s been using Transcendental Meditation for almost 40 years. Talk show gurus Ellen DeGeneres and the great Oprah Winfrey both swear by meditation and, if that isn’t reason enough to start practicing your daily mantras, the lovely Nicole Kidman uses the meditation app on her phone that shows her a map of all the people who are meditating at the same time.

Meditation is a practice which involves self-regulation of the mind. It is used to ease high blood pressure and to combat depression and anxiety. It is known to improve the quality of life and health and help you make better choices. Here are some ways to work meditation into your day.

1. Find A Place Where You Can Meditate Regularly
Find a quiet spot and place a chair or meditation cushion there. Create a peaceful atmosphere that recalls the sacred purpose of meditation. You may choose to make an altar with flowers or sacred images.

2. Pick A Regular Time To Practice
If you love mornings, you might consider meditation before breakfast, schedule permitting. If you prefer evenings or have more time at night, try to meditate then. Start by sitting ten to twenty minutes a day and gradually increase the length of time and the number of sittings.

3. Pick A Posture
You want to be able to sit erectly without stiffness. Plant your body firmly and let your hands rest. Your eyes should be gently closed and your heart rate should be slow. Feel your body consciously releasing tension and let go of your thoughts.

4. Concentrate On Your Breathing
Take a few breaths to try and find the place from where you breath most easily. Feel the sensations of your breathing like the movement of your chest and belly. Relax with each breath, feeling the air entering and exiting your nose and throat.

5. Allow Your Mind To Wander
Your mind may slip away for a while. Allow yourself to return to the next breath and think about where you have been. You may want to use a word to name to yourself where you have been, such as “wandering” or “thinking” and say it to yourself silently. When you become more accustomed to meditation, you may be able to train your brain to return to the place it has been, but until that is possible, just use the word of acknowledgment and return on the next breath.

6. Sit, Letting Your Breath Change Rhythm
Relax into the rhythm of your breath allowing it to change from short to long, fast to slow, easy to rough. Concentrate gently.

As you progress, you should notice it will be easier to center and calm yourself. Meditation is a journey that needs to be ridden out, with some days more peaceful than others. If you stick with it, you will find that concentration on breathing helps to calm your mind and body.

Couple breathing deeply outdoors

The Benefits of Deep Breathing

Chances are during times of stress, one or more people around you have told you to take a deep breath in order to help you relax. Maybe you did or maybe you didn’t, but those individuals had a point. Deep breathing can do incredible things for the body. It may take some getting used to, but it’s easy to learn and the efforts can be worth it.

Let’s start with discussing how to actually do deep breathing. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply (and slowly) through your nose, hold it for a second or two, then breathe out through either your mouth or nose – whichever feels more comfortable to you – while counting to five. You can do this while sitting or lying down. Focus on your breathing, maybe repeat a mantra in your mind, or focus on something that makes you especially happy such as a destination you love. Now onto a few of the benefits.

You Can Relax
One of the worst feelings is being tense; you feel like every part of your body is in one giant knot. Deep breathing helps you relax, ease your muscles, and calm your mind.

You Can Ease Unpleasant Moods
Whether you’re scared, upset, or just plain ticked off, deep breathing can help you get past the initial stages of that mood and anything negative that may come with it to get you to a better, calmer place. This can be especially advantageous if you’re having a rough day at work. After deep breathing, you may be able to focus better on the issue at hand and may even come up with a solution if need be.

You Could Lower Your Blood Pressure
Stress can temporarily raise your blood pressure, but deep breathing can help get those numbers back to a normal level. Deep breathing on a daily basis may help you keep your numbers where they’re supposed to be, especially during times of stress.

You Can Clear Your Mind
We go through so much on a daily basis, so it’s understandable how our mind can get cluttered. Deep breathing allows you to clear your mind, refocus on the positive, and move forward in a calm and rational manner. This can be excellent in every aspect of life from home to relationships to work. A mind that isn’t cluttered is one that’s better able to be more aware and in the present moment.

You Help Your Body Overall
You’ve probably heard by now how many diseases and conditions may be made worse by stress. Considering deep breathing helps to ease your stress level and improve your mood, that, in turn, could have a positive effect on your body as a whole.

Deep breathing is all about mindfulness and getting you to a place where you feel better than you did before you started. Try out different methods and don’t overthink the process. Once you start, chances are it will become a habit you will want to keep and make a part of your daily routine.

Potted plants indoors

Why You Need a House Plant

If you’ve ever been surprised by a bouquet of beautiful flowers or a pretty potted plant, you know the instant mood lift you can get just by seeing them, but you might not realize that these plants actually do have significant health benefits. A houseplant is so much more than a decoration, it can improve your breathing, reduce the number of illnesses you suffer from and increase your mental functioning. Learn five reasons you need a houseplant below, and find out which houseplant varieties are thought to be the most beneficial.

Better Breathing
When you inhale you bring oxygen into your body then you release carbon dioxide as you exhale. Your houseplant does the reverse in a process known as photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Keeping a houseplant increases oxygen levels, which leads to better breathing. Photosynthesis is a process done during daylight hours, but some houseplants such as orchids and succulents, continue to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen throughout the night. An orchid in your bedroom can improve breathing during your sleep, which leads to a better, more restful sleep.

Air Cleaning
According to space agency NASA, both the plants and the roots are used in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide can be removed using plant leaves alone. Some of the most effective houseplants for air cleansing are:

  • Peace lily
  • Gerbera daisy
  • Bamboo palm
  • English ivy
  • Spider plant

Reduce Illness
The roots of plants tap into the groundwater table and then release this as moisture in the air in a process known as transpiration. The moisture produced by transpiration is responsible for about 10 percent of all moisture in the atmosphere. Houseplants complete the same process indoors thereby increasing the moisture level in your home. While this may not sound that like an impressive reason to get a houseplant, studies conducted by the Agricultural University of Norway associate an increased moisture level in your home has been linked to a decreased incidence of colds, dry skin, sore throats and dry coughs.

Promote Healing
Bringing flowers or a houseplant to someone recovering from a chronic illness or rehabilitating after a surgery is a common practice, and some research shows that this may be more than a kind gesture. A study conducted at Kansas State University revealed that simply looking at plants during recovery from a surgery was associated with lowered systolic blood pressure and decreased levels of pain, anxiety and fatigue when compared to patients without plants in their rooms. The study labels plants as a “noninvasive, inexpensive and effective complementary medicine for surgical patients.”

Increase Mental Function
Have you ever gone outside for a quick walk and found that your concentration and mental clarity seemed improved? If so, that’s because simply being in the presence of nature provides some significant brain benefits like concentration, memory and productivity. A study from the University of Michigan suggests that merely being near plants can increase memory retention by up to 20 percent. Notes Texas A&M, “keeping ornamental plants in the home and in the workplace increases memory retention and concentration. Work performed under the natural influence of ornamental plants is normally of higher quality and completed with much higher accuracy rate than work done in environments devoid of nature.”

A houseplant expresses your personality, adds beauty to your home and improves your physical and mental health. Bring a houseplant home today to breath easier, work better and enjoy the presence of natural beauty around you.

Mother with her daughter in her backyard.

Stress Busting Tips for Mom

Stress levels continue to rise for modern mothers and 70% of mothers surveyed in the United States rate motherhood as “incredibly stressful.” The pressures of everyday family life not only consume time and energy, but they also consume the mind as well. Worrying about finances, success in academics and cultivating a healthier family take their toll on mothers. Below, Resveralife offers some of the most effective tips to help bust stress, if only for a few minutes, and have more peace in your day.

Beautiful woman writing in her diary in a park.

Stay Organized and Plan Ahead
It can be difficult to plan for a typical day with your children, but there are steps you can take to stay organized and help reduce stress. Your kids can constantly come up with new ways to add unexpected stress to your day and those are hard to plan for, but there are also times during each mom’s day when things are stressful. One of the most stressful times of the day is morning. Someone lost a shoe, your keys are magically missing, your child cannot decide what to wear and you’re out of milk. Starting your day this way not only stresses you out in the morning, but it makes your day more chaotic as well. Experts suggest that parents, particularly mothers, rise a bit earlier in the morning than the rest of the house. This way you get at least a bit of uninterrupted time in the morning which starts your day with a sense of calm. Leave outfits for the next day (including shoes) out the night before for easy dressing and make an extra set of keys to save time searching for them every morning.

Woman performing a yoga breathing exercise in an outdoor setting.

Learn Calming Techniques
Moms are going to experience stress each day and it is incredibly helpful to have a few strategies for calming yourself down. One way of doing so is to practice deep breathing. Experts suggest employing the 5-7-8 breathing method to center yourself. Inhale for a count of five, hold your breath for a count of seven and the exhale for a count of eight. This may feel completely foreign and uncomfortable at first, but it slows you down and relieves stress. Another method experts say is helpful is to spend a few minutes each day meditating. You may think you have no time to simply sit and do nothing, but taking just a few minutes every day can help reduce stress significantly. Start small with three to five minutes and sit in silence. If you find it too hard to shut off your thoughts, try focusing on a calming word or phrase and repeat this as you breathe deeply.

Woman trying to hold a butterfly.

Be Present
One of the biggest stresses mom face is worrying about everything that must get done each day. When you spend your time thinking about all of the things that need to be done and how things could go wrong, you are missing out on living in the present moment. Try to really focus on what is going on around you. Notice your surrounding, listen to the noises, inhale deeply and experience the smell of your area. Channeling your stress energy into immersing yourself in the moment naturally relieves stress.

Let’s face it, being a mother is not an easy job. However, it is also the most rewarding one you’ll ever have. With your day so busy it can be overwhelming to take a few minutes out to just focus on yourself, but when your stress is lowered, everyone around you experiences increased happiness as well.