Physical fitness is not enough. A state when you are physically light and look fit but emotionally drained and heavy. This is not a healthy state of affair. Therefore, give yourself another chance every day to grow, build and improve yourself and present the world with the best version of yourself.
7 ways of Daily emotional fitness program :
1. Attitude: Take life as it is. Take each experience at each moment like it. Analysing and overthinking makes it good or bad.
2. Breathing: It is important to do deep breathing ( around 10 times) both morning and evening. Deep breathing calms down the brain and relieves us from tension and stress.
3. Creativity: Every day, learn, create, understand new things, new ideas. This way, we create new neural pathways. Memorizing new things, old lessons do refreshes the memory too.
4. Laugh: Laugh as much as you can. Laughing not only lighten up the mood but also releases happy hormones and keep stress in check.
5. Forgive yourself and another: Forgiving yourself often is important because it reduces the emotional baggage that you carry for something or the other. Forgiving others is equally important because we don’t know what the other person is going through.
6.Maximum Nourishment: Try eating healthy every day. Eating healthy not only influences your physical health but also your mental wellbeing.
7: Be grateful: Last but not least, being grateful for everything you have. Being grateful for every moment and every breath, I live. Being surrounded by people whom I love. And, there are a lot more reasons to be grateful for. Acknowledge them.
Our mind is illusional. Whatever, we think and perceive is our own derived illusion. It’s our biggest friend and at the same time can be our biggest enemy. Therefore, a common quote says ” You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil “ Our mind makes up everything that happens in our life – good or bad, big or small, ugly or beauty, sad or happy, success or failure, it ‘s all within this thing, called mind. So, how do I control this thing ‘mind’ and remain focus on my goal and life purpose?
Understanding the mind, and its content is very important and fundamental. What makes our thought world? How do thoughts are generated? We build up mental impressions through the different inlets of this outer world. The inlets can be : *Five senses: sight, hear, smell, touch, taste
*Memory: That has been built up over the years of this outside world experience, right from the day we were born.
*Activity: That we perform , habituated and do throughout the day.
We create thought by an idea backed with emotion. Through different inlets, we build up thoughts as our mental content every day. We generate, perceive, analyse, process and ruminate our entire thought world. So, we keep doing the same mental activity of thinking, analysing, ruminating every day. The thinking pattern doesn’t change. So, does our behaviour and habits. It is uninterrupted, a never-ending process which we may not be even aware. According to Yoga Psychology ( Yoga Sutras), our thought world mainly depends on mental fluctuation (Vritti) and thoughts (prataya). The mental impulses (vritti) are created through the different inlets like the senses, memory, activity which inturn create mental impressions generating thoughts (prataya). This is the reason, when we are in a positive , vibrant environment, surrounded by positive people, we generate positive, beautiful, creative thoughts. But, when we surround ourselves with negativity, we generate negative thoughts of guilt, anger, pain, hurt, jealousy and so on.
Normally, what happens, when we centred our mind for a particular activity, at the office or home. There are endless distractions. Okay, we try to control the distraction or cut down to some extent, but still mental fluctuations and wondering thoughts continue to distract us. This is because the memory continues to generate unstable thoughts in an unstable mind.
Therefore to manage our mind, we need to control our mental fluctuation and thoughts. The only way to control them is through a concentrated mind. A concentrated mind can be achieved through the power of attention. The power of attention is our very own property (which arises from self) which we can achieve by practising and training our mind. It is a steady power of awareness which is created at our own will. It is the only capability that we can learn to develop for mind control. Whereas, the mental fluctuations (impression) and thoughts are greatly influenced by our outer world, the external distractions. They are not completely within our control.
The different states of mind depending on the power of attention can be defined as *Ordinary mind: When both the mental fluctuations (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are unstable. The mind is rather restless distracted, jumping from one thought to another.
*Focused mind: When there is less mental fluctuation (stable vritti) but thoughts are still wobbly (unstable prataya). This is the learning mind.
*Concentrated mind: When both the mental fluctuation (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are on the same line, stable enough. This is the highest level of attentive mind.
*Meditative mind: When the vritti and prataya are concentrated at the same point, on a similar goal. That is the mind is concentrated at one point say, your attention is entirely on your breath or a point of focus. That is when both mental fluctuation and thought are at the same point. This is the highest level of concentration.
The power of attention is similar to a focused beam of light where all your energies are focused. With this power of attention, you can learn, achieve, complete tasks and attain success in whichever areas of life you want to. That is the reason, we should always learn to perform an activity or task one at a time. So, we give our full power of attention. Handling multiple tasks all at a time can be like a scattered beam where all your energies are distributed. You can be able to do some while some are left undone. Your mind will keep fluctuating and your attention span will be variable and unstable.
So, how do I learn to achieve a concentrated mind with the ultimate power of attention? How do I control my mind, my inner thought world, daily? How do I focus my mind on one activity at a time? How do I take charge of myself? This is a self-learning task, an ongoing process. Two comprehensive ways:
1. To achieve the power of attention, two important things matter the most : Awareness: Being consciously aware all the time. Feeding our thought world and thought process with positive, constructive and creative thoughts.
Will: Self-training and developing a restrained impulse towards worthy goals, purposeful life.
2.Control of thoughts:
*Exposure to right kind of thoughts: Feeding the mind everyday with right kind of thoughts. Reading good books, being in a positive, good company, surrounded by positive vibrations.
*Right behaviour: Good conduct, right behaviour pattern influence thoughts and emotions. That means reframing our cognitive abilities. Correcting our behaviour patterns as on when required.
*Right lifestyle and habits: Maintaining a regulated lifestyle and habits will greatly influence our mind. You cannot have a stable mind with an unstable lifestyle. *Purposeful life: Working towards a specific goal, understanding and working towards a meaningful life. Developing a stable mind through meditation and prayers. This cannot be achieved overnight. It is an ongoing, self-learning process. You and I have to keep working on it daily.
Thanks for reading.
Blessings and much love to all 💐
References: Science of Focus by Pravrajika Divyanandaprana (Vivekavani)
We have 50 to 75 trillion cells in our body. Believe it or not, each of them has a nucleus which has a DNA strand of about 6 feet. Now, how such long length of DNA strand fit inside the small nucleus of a tiny cell. The DNA strand is wrapped around a cluster of proteins called the histones. Histones are like molecular spools. These molecular spools form the chromatin, where there are the sequencing of proteins. These chromatins form the complex structure of DNA, that is the chromosomes. There are about 30 million spools in each of the cells. So just imagine, how much of genetic material, we carry in each of our cells. The functional unit of DNA are the genes encoded in it. It is this genetic codes which tell the cell how to function and who to become. That is how a muscle cell differs from a neuron or a skin cell.
Epigeneticsmeaning above the genes.So, epigenetics are chemical tags that sit on the chromatin. Some epigenetic marks can condense the chromatic making the cell unable to read the genes underlying, in other words, they turn the genes off. Again, some epigenetic marks can decondense the chromatic making the cell accessible to read the underlying genes. So, then the genes are turned on. Therefore, these epigenetic marks are responsible for influencing our cell biology. So, in our body, though each cell has the same DNA, it is these epigenetic marks which instruct the cell to turn on or off the particular genes. This is how a muscle cell or a neuron function differently from a skin cell. Now, the question is when do the epigenetic marks laid down the information or instructions to the cells. Most of it occurs during the embryonic development inside the womb. Initially, when the embryo is only a few cells big, there are very less epigenetic marks on the cells, As the days pass by, the influence of environment slowly increases the epigenetic marks on the cells.
In a pregnant lady, the growing embryo inside her womb has been influenced by the food she eats, behaviour, her stress level, habits (like smoking alcohol). That’s how the epigenetic marks are laid on the chromatin of each cell. That is how the foetus genes are affected and also the long term health effect of the child. Even as the child grows into an adult, the habits, behaviour, disease pattern does not entirely depend on the hereditary genes. Researches have shown that the environment continues influencing the epigenetic marks of the chromatins.Throughout life, the genes keep turning on and off depending on the environmental choices, pattern or the kind of environmental responses, the person perceives.
We keep making choices on the perception of this world, thoughts, emotions, lifestyle habits, eating habits, stress responses and other environmental influences. Depending on all these choices, our body’s nervous system influences the chemical pathways (neurohormonal pathways) instructing the genes through receptor responses (some genes get turn on while some get to turn off) in different cells of our body leading to different changes that occur regarding health, ageing, longevity, diseases, stress levels and wellness. Improving our choices ( being in a positive environment), positivity, reducing stress levels, healthy eating, active physical life all can affect our genes greatly. Have an impact on our overall wellbeing ,can reduce disease prospects, or can make healing faster.
So, the concept of “we” being the victims of hereditary genes doesn’t completely hold the truth. We still hold our magic stick depending upon the choices we make. We are still the “masters” of the body in terms of our health and wellness. If you wish to know more about this topic, I recommend the book “Change your Genes, Change your life” Creating optimal health by the New Science of epigenetics. by Kenneth R. Pelletier
Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis, two terms commonly used when it comes to brain health. We, just don’t need to dive so much into Neuroscience to learn what they mean and how we can help ourselves to keep our brain healthy. Brain health is important because as long as our brain is healthy, we keep learning new things and our memory is intact. As ageing progresses, we can prevent ourselves from certain chronic conditions like dementia, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease by maintaining good brain health.
Neuroplasticity,meaning that our brain is continuously changing through our entire lifetime depending upon our experiences, the environment, habits, behaviour. Neural pathways keep rewiring and dewiring depending upon what is necessary and what is no longer useful. Therefore, being in a positive environment, thinking and feeling positive is all very important.
Neurogenesis meaning formation of new neurons, that is our ability to learn new things and retain in our memory. Previously, it was believed that neurogenesis stopped once we reach our adulthood, that is around the age of 20. Now, researches have shown, that neurogenesis occurs throughout our lifetime.So, we can learn until the day we die. In our brain, the neurons are formed from the neural stem cells and progenitor cells which are in the Hippocampus mainly and also in other regions of the brain. Though every day, new neurons are formed, before, theycould get matured, many of them get pruned. A special protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) has been identified which is responsible for promoting the maturation, survival and maintenance of the neurons.
So, how do we facilitate this process of neurogenesis and maintain the level of BDNF? 5 simple ways
1. Exercise: Any exercise which can increase the heart rate mainly aerobic exercise, running, brisk walking.
2.Food: Rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fishes (salmon, tuna, sardines), avocados, chia, hemp seeds and nuts. Other sources which help are turmeric, blueberries, goji berries, lotus roots, algae, green tea, coffee. However, too much caffeine is detrimental to neurogenesis.
3.Emotions:Experiencing positive emotions like joy, excitement, love and feeling good, stimulate Neurogenesis. Such emotional experience can appear by being creative, learning a new skill, going out in Nature, proper sleep, listening to Nature sounds, good music and sex. A positive relationship with partners, peers, relatives is helpful. Being in chronic stress, anger, anxiety are detrimental to neurogenesis.
4.Mind stimulation: Cognitive abilities like reading, learning, memorizing, discussing new ideas, taking up music lessons, problem-solving, all stimulate neurogenesis. Cognitive reserve (resilience against brain damage) can be built up by engaging mind stimulating activities or intellectual work.
5.Meditation: Prayers and meditation can stimulate neurogenesis. Practising mindfulness, compassion, being in silence, stillness all facilitate neurogenesis.
Some lifestyle factors which can decrease neurogenesis are a high intake of carbohydrate, sugar, fried foods, inflammatory foods, chronic caffeine intake, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic stress, lack of sleep, negative emotions like sadness, depression, lack of engagement, boring life. Direct trauma to the head can be very detrimental to neurogenesis. Nowadays, even environmental pollution is quite hazardous to brain health.
If you are intending to learn more about lifestyle changes that you can do to improve your brain health, I recommend the book: Neurogenesis diet and lifestyle by Dr Brant Cortright
Hello everyone ! Have a great Friday and weekend too 🙋🏻
Individually, our body is not a single life form. It is a community of 50 -75 trillion cells depending on body size. Each of the cells collectively forms individual tissue, tissues collectively form organs, organs collectively form systems and systems form the human body. Each cell function as an individual unit. It needs food, nutrients, water, air and undergo metabolism, absorb its necessary nutrients and releases toxins as waste. That’s how, fundamentally the cells functions, grow and carry out different bodily functions. Optimally, our body needs 116 essential nutrients to function normally, maintain a proper weight, energy and health, that is the overall wellbeing.
As we age, the cells slowly get tired, slows down metabolism. They are unable to absorb the nutrients and vitamins that we get from food and supplements. The toxins from food, air and water get deposited in the cells. Slowly, the cellular function gets damaged leading to diseases state, fasten ageing and poor health. So, several factors are affecting at the cellular level. The poor quality of food, processed food, food contaminated with pesticides, low quality of vitamins and supplements. Other factors like environmental pollutions, high level of stress daily, lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, all of them affect greatly at the cellular level, the core of the body.
Therefore, to become healthier and stay healthy, we need to take care of the body at the cellular level. Experts say that NAD+, a coenzyme is associated with the function of Sirtuins, the kind of protein which is responsible for ageing and longevity. NAD+ is the main factor for maintaining the cellular functions ranging from metabolism, energy production, circadian rhythm, excretion/release of toxins and DNA health. As age progresses, Sirtuins activity, NAD+ levels decline in the body. When Sirtuin activity and NAD+ levels decline, not only we age faster, affect the life span, also result in pathogenesis of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like diabetes.
How to increase and improve the activity of Sirtuins and NAD+ levels?
Calorie restriction: This is not a diet plan. It is just that you started to reduce the intake of the number of calories slowly than your usual or habitual intake. Research shows, that when food is restricted, scarce in the body, the state has a powerful influence in the activity of Sirtuins, SIRT 1. Similarly, in the case of intermittent fasting, the same effect is observed.
Intermittent fasting: This is a pattern of eating. It is having just 2 proper meals a day leaving long hours of fasting between the meals so that you get the maximum benefit out of them.
3.Physical activity: Any form of physical activity.
4.Melatonin, the sleep hormone also influences the activity of Sirtuins.
5. Food which increases polyphenols and omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that some particular variety of food are responsible to increase the activity of Sirtuins, SIRT1
Quercetin: Found in green vegetables, berries, tea, citrus fruits, apples, onions Resveratrol: Pomegranate, berries, grapes, soybeans. Food like green tea, olive oil, cocoa, omega 3 fatty acids rich fishes (salmon, tuna, sardines) avocados, all influences the activity of Sirtuins, SIRT1.
Chronic diseases contribute to huge healthcare expenses. Regular doctor’s visits, buying the prescription drugs, undergoing procedures, hospital treatments and stay, all of them incur huge expenses.
We know by now that inflammation is the key to all chronic diseases in the body. Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases like COPD and asthma, Crohn disease, arthritis, HIV, Cancers and the list goes on. Not only these, even brain diseases like Alzheimers, dementia, and Parkinson are also related to inflammation in the brain.
The only solutions to this huge health issues are prevention and controlling the chronic conditions. So, how do we do that? Researches have already proved that most chronic conditions are caused by food and unhealthy lifestyle. So, the easiest and efficient way to reach our goal to prevent and control chronic conditions is by switching on to a healthy diet and making lifestyle changes. 80% of our immunity comes from good gut health. So, eating right, removing stress, active physical life, all contribute to a healthy gut. Therefore , the five some ….
1.Food:The problem is that too much information on food flooding the internet, conflicting information, different diet regimens like keto, paleo, vegan, Meditteranean and the list is long. Too many lists of superfood come out daily. So, how do we know what is right for us?
I think following any diet, there is always pros and cons because you eat some and skip something else. Depending on your goal, whether to lose weight or maybe for some chronic conditions like diabetes, your diet is scheduled and designed. Though following a particularly strict diet, do benefit like losing weight in case of a Keto diet. Sometimes, it can lead to unhealthy outcomes. And, following a particular diet seems to be like, you are doing for a temporary phase. But, to have a goal of a healthy life, the food and lifestyle changes has to be permanent and adopt it as a way of life. It has to be a mentality shift. Again, not every type of grain, vegetables, fruits available in every part of the world. Different regions grow different crops according to their climatic conditions. So, the best food is preferably,organic (devoid of pesticides) and locally produce grain, vegetables and fruits so that they are fresh. And locally produce grains, veggies, fruits are usually affordable. Your daily consumption should be a majority, about 70% of plant-based food like greens, veggies, fruits, nuts. About 30% should be whole grain fibres, low fat and protein like eggs, chicken and fish. This is how simple a daily healthy diet plan can be.
2. Exercise:Right from evolution, we, humans are meant to be active. So, being active is essential. Follow your daily routine exercise of at least an hour. Do whatever you like, running, walking, swimming, cycling, gymming., dancing. The workout you enjoy doing. There is no hard and fast rule.
3.Meditation/ Mindfulness: I have already written posts on meditation and it’s benefits. it is important to empty our mind daily, at least for some time.Spend a few minutes in silence every day. If you can, be mindful (being aware ) as much as you can. Being mindful means, paying attention to your thoughts, emotions without being judgemental. Staying mindful, by following your natural breaths, simply just being aware of, at least 20 mins or more is very beneficial. It reduces your stress level.
4. Support: Have always a support system. Loneliness is a major factor in many health issues. People with a good support system can better control chronic conditions. Rely on your spouse, partner, friends or a social support group where you can open up.
5.Sleep: Though ideally recommended in adult as 7-8 hours of sleep. But the fact is, the quality of sleep is more important than the quantity. When you follow sleep hygiene of going to bed and getting up from bed at a routine timing, whatever hours of good sleep, you get is enough.
All these 5 steps can guarantee you for a healthy life for the longest time. Even, if you suffer from a chronic condition, it can be maintained better with a disciplined lifestyle.
Resentment is a common feeling. We, all must have harboured at some point in life. It is a feeling of anger or a sense of bitterness after an unfair incident, an event that has happened to us. It may happen very often in our everyday lives. Resentment can be felt from as simple as rude behaviour or unfair comment from a friend to as large as issues like racism or religion. The immediate reaction after we feel resentful is an emotion of anger,hurt, pain, annoyance or even shame. Very often, we get affected so much that we start to harbour a feeling of revenge. The emotion gets trapped when we are unable to express our feeling of bitterness after the hurtful experience. It may come from either a true situation or a misunderstood situation of injustice.
How emotion of resentment get trapped in us from different situations? Any kind of tense relationship maybe between partners, a colleague with a boss, or between friends. *A feeling of fear or avoidance to confront the person or similar situation. *A feeling of regret, low or dejected. *Continuously ruminating the strong emotion against the incident, person or experience.
In a normal healthy individual, though there is an immediate feeling of pain, hurt, annoyance after the experience, you tend to overcome the feeling by letting go. Thinking it as a part and parcel of life or just an unfair or bad experience in life. Moving away from the negative situation or the negative person.
Or maybe, thinking that we have misinterpreted the person or the situation.
But the real problem arises when it started to affect our mental health. The resentful feeling continues to ride over us in spite of trying to let go of or trying to move on from the person or the experience. We started to develop a fear, negative attitude for every similar situation or person in our lives. It affects slowly our every perception of reality.We start looking at every situation with a negative outlook. We start having fear and fail to trust people. It becomes difficult to hope for positive outcomes. We, finally land up in the hands of a Therapist or counsellor.
So, the simple approaches, how we can help ourselves get over it.
1.Practice self-compassion:Compassion over self is a key to all kinds of negative situations, experiences or persons, we encounter in life. Holding self-compassion helps us to give a sense of security which is important. It helps us to restore our self-identity, self-worth which otherwise have the fear of losing if resentment is held up for a long time. Self-compassion helps us to overcome the feeling of lowness or less.
2.Being empathetic: We deal with people every day. There are both good and bad experiences of people with us. So, trying to empathize and understand the other person’s perspective or the circumstances which influence the behaviour will surely reduce the feeling of resentment. Many times, we may have misunderstood or the person who did it may not have realised that it can be hurtful.
3.Practice Gratitude: Practising gratitude and thankfulness for everything, everyone we have in our life is important. It gives us a sense of security and wholeness. So, unfair treatment or unfair incident can be overlooked with ease as they hold hardly any value to the beautiful life we lead. If we focus on how privileged and fortunate we are in life, harbouring resentful feelings look just meaningless.