Can we develop skills that enable us to enrich our lives by thinking in the moment? By taking a look at how mindfulness can be immersed within personal development we can identify how the strategies can collectively help us to accept that life is the way it is but with an outlook that can remain positive and appreciative. Can mindfulness take us to a place of humble gratitude?
Bringing About Change With Mindfulness
Mindfulness allows us time to gain self awarenes, building upon self esteem and confidence. To be able to believe in ourselves without self judgement and feel secure enough to invest in ourselves is an ability to achieve a state of mind that lends itself to feeling contentment, gratitude and appreciation. Mindfulness. Being present without judgement in every moment.
Please allow me to take you on a snap shot of mindfulness discovery to show how mindfulness can be part of personal development, for life.
Imagine living a life thinking of worst case scenarios while enduring real physical reactions because of those fictional thoughts. The feeling of being crippled by such pointlessness is matched by the feeling of endured negativity. Being mindful focuses on the present moment, negating the ability to look for the untruths of the future and when meditation alone can’t focus the mind and body, yoga can assist in combining physical poses and controlled breathing with relaxation. Childs pose is especially helpful, releasing tension in the neck, back and shoulders while encouraging steady conscious breathing.
As meditation slows down our busy thoughts, it is thought that focusing on the present in a meditative state enables a reduction in cortisol levels, lowering stress on a neurochemical level. Thoughts that are mindful enable us to become aware of what is going on within ourselves. As we tune into our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations we can learn to accept our experiences as they are, responding with a skillful awareness instead of acting, and reacting, out of habit and conditioning.
Being mindful when eating helps to slow the process down while giving the opportunity to savour. Purposefully thinking in this way helps you to feel more in control as you consume when you are hungry and appreciate what you consume. When positives are applied to food consumption we can begin to apply positives to how we perceive ourselves in terms of our body image. The act of slow purposeful eating facilitates good digestion therefore negating the need to eat more to gain the feeling of satisfaction.
Every day stresses take their toll on our ability to sleep. Research by Hulshegar et al suggests that even a small amount of mindfulness can calm our mind to improve our sleep. Their research found that those who meditated experienced improvements in sleep quality and sleep duration.
How do you help yourself to better sleep?
• Don’t look at the clock when you do struggle to get to sleep or remain asleep. Watching time pass adds to the stress and frustration of not sleeping.
• Keep to a sleep routine. Get up and go to bed the same time every day, even at weekends. This will help your body clock get in to sync.
• Try to unwind with meditation to focus the brain and relax the body. Exercises that engage breathing will help to quieten your mind and body, bringing a sense of calm that enables you to drift off to sleep.
Instead of focusing on how badly we want our pain to stop, being mindful allows us to think of the pain in a way that is not natural for the brain. The pain sensation ensures our minset surrounds negativity, annoyance and upset possibly feeding anxiety and sadness. Little do our hurting negative selves know but that approach makes the pain appear much worse. A change in our thinking will enable us to relate to the pain differently. We should focus on what is noticable about the pain and it’s attributes (for want of a better word!) bringing forth an awareness to the severity patterns, peaks, troughs and differing sensations. In other words, in times of chronic pain try to focus on learning about what you’re experiencing rather than enter a frantic search for answers and endings.
Lowering Blood Pressure
Taking a few minutes to relax each day could help you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Being mindful and in control of stress, anxiety, sleep and having good eating practices can all have a positive effect on blood pressure. It is recognised that mindfulness alone isn’t enough to lower blood pressure but being mindful and adopting positive lifestyle changes can be a complementary treatment for blood pressure in the prehypertensive range.
To be able to successfully pay attention the mind needs to be aware of how we’re paying attention. Our minds will naturally wander but an empathetic person will experience compassionate thoughts about the ‘interuption’, embracing an attitude of ‘I’m interested and care that this is in my present’. To be able to show compassion for others we should endevour to show compassion for ourselves. If we’re able to be patient wth all of our unresolved issus, we can learn to love the questions too.
As we sit down to consider what we’re actually grateful for, we take a moment to picture each item in our mind. The feeling of gratitude enables neurons to light up areas of the brain that facilitates happiness. In term of mindfulness, we can’t feel grateful for things that we don’t notice. The two go hand-in-hand helping us to appreciate lovely moments in life whilst enabling us to make lovely moments for others.
The humble amongst us are able to see and accept their own strengths and weaknesses without being defensive or judging themselves. In possessing self acceptance we can expect to show little value in showing others that we can accomplish to feel accepted in the society in which we live. It mens we don’t place our seelf worth on those extermal things, keeping ou self esteem in tact when we can’t live up to expectations. The trick, it seems, is self compassion.
We can let ourselves become laden with worries that take their toll on our body and our mind. The need to rejuvenate our physical and emotional self becomes apparent at some stage as we have an innate ability to know that when the mind and body are struggling we should slow down. By learning to live in the moment we can use awareness and positivity to reconnect to our inner self, breathing slowly to calm the body.
Mindfulness offers us the chance to change the conditioning that has occured through experiences and our perceptions of them. It enables us to take back control of ourselves and the way we think, feel and act while helping us to live with greater joy, contentment, and kindness. We can learn to embrace difficult feelings and emotions both in mind and in body. Mindfulness is no quick fix but it can be a desirable strategy for coping with what life throws at us. Mindfulness isn’t a life changer but could well be seen as a life enrichment tool.
Mindfulness pioneer Sylvia Boorstein suggests ”Mindfulness doesn’t change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. What changes is the heart’s capacity to accept life as it is. It teaches the heart to be more accommodating; not by beating it in into submission’ but by making it clear that accommodation is a gratifying choice”.
As the current culture continues to grow and evolve, certain words and phrases are becoming more common as people continue to embrace them. One of the many words that has been thrown around is “mindfulness.”
Undoubtedly, most people have heard this word before and think that it is important, yet few people actually know what it is. Today, many people find themselves multitasking on a regular basis. Perhaps people do the laundry while helping the kids with their homework. Maybe someone is on the phone with their boss while continuing to type away at their current assignment.
Kids seem to always balance multiple text message conversations while doing their homework (perhaps poorly) at the same time.
Mindfulness is the practice of taking the time to focus on the present moment instead of on the distractions that can overwhelm someone’s life and soak up every ounce of their attention.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing on the present moment in an active manner. Think about everything that people miss out on when they don’t take the time to focus on themselves and the moment at hand. Mindfulness meditation helps prevent this from happening. In fact, the benefits of mindfulness and meditation have been studied scientifically.
Mindfulness Meditation can Improve Someone’s Mental Health
As people’s lives continue to get busier, it is easy for people to lose their mental and emotional health in the shuffle. People may start to feel like they’re simply being stretched too thin and may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms as a way of dealing with the stress. In fact, substance abuse disorders involving drugs and alcohol remain one of the major health problems that society has to deal with. Furthermore, people develop mood disorders, including anxiety and depression, from trying to balance everything that is taking time out of their day. In the past few years, many scientists and researchers have studied the practice of mindfulness meditation and the benefits that it can bring to someone’s state of mental health. It can even help with:
When people take the time to be mindful of their emotional state, it can help them accept the emotions that they’re feeling in their life, whether they are good or bad. By accepting what has happened, they are able to process what they’re feeling instead of turning to avoidance of these emotions through unearthly means. Mindfulness has even been incorporated into cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the backbones of treatment employed by psychiatric providers. This meditative state helps people find a new, healthy perspective that improves their mental health.
Mindfulness has Numerous Benefits on Physical Health
In addition to the many benefits that mindfulness can have on someone’s mental state, it can even improve various facets of someone’s physical health as well. When someone takes the time to meditate and think about their current state of mind, it provides a calming influence on both their mind and their body, which is reflected in the numerous physical health benefits that mindfulness meditation can bring. Among the many health benefits are:
It is important for people to realize that many of their chronic health problems stem from a cluttered mind, anxious emotional state, and a lack of sleep created by many of the problems above. When all of these areas of life are improved, their emotional health translates to an improved state of physical well-being and is reflected as an improvement in many of the health parameters discussed above.
Mindfulness Meditation can Improve Someone’s Well-Being for the Future
When people start to incorporate mindfulness meditation into their daily routine, they start to see many of the overall benefits as they move into the future. When the mental and physical health benefits of mindfulness are rolled into one, it creates a general sense of improved well-being in many ways, including:
Enjoying the Moment: When people take the time to be mindful and remain in the present moment, they are able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. This means that people are more engaged in the present activities and are less likely to miss the important moments that occur from day to day.
Less Likely to Have Regrets: People who are able to practice mindfulness regularly are less likely to have regrets over the past because they know that they have lived in the present moment. They will not be concerned with their own success and self-esteem which allows them to take chances that they otherwise would not have taken. It also helps people to open themselves up to the ability to form deeper connections with loved ones and others around them.
Overall, mindfulness meditation will help people develop the attitudes that are necessary for not just success but fulfillment as well.
Ultimately, this is only a brief overview of the practice of mindfulness, meditation, and the numerous benefits that it can bring to someone’s life. Remember that mindfulness is an important part of maintaining a healthy mind, spirit, and body while meditation can help focus the mind on the moment at hand without having to miss out on what’s happening around a person. By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into the daily routine, it can help someone gain a new perspective on their life that can bring about a healthy change in someone’s emotional, physical, and mental state.
If you are looking to lose or maintain your weight, is eating organic going to help? I have eaten organic food for a long time. I am sure that eating organic does affect your weight, although lightly. However, what are some of the factors that may contribute to weight loss when eating organic. However, before that what are some of the things that make organic foods organic?
For organic food to be organic it, first, it must be grown without the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides of any kind. Natural fertilizer is acceptable, things such as eggshells, fruit skins, and dead plants. If the food comes from livestock, the animal has to be free of antibiotics or growth hormones. Finally, organic food cannot be genetically modified or treated with radiation. Now let us move on to some ways eating organic foods can help you lose/ maintain weight.
1. Organic Food Isn’t Processed
Today almost all the food we find in the grocery store has been processed, packaged, and stripped of its nutritional value. Why? To make the food last longer, stay cheaper, and taste better. When your body is robbed of the nutrition it needs, it starts storing the energy you consume in the form of fat. Organic food, however, is more wholesome and full of nutrition. When you eat wholesome foods you feel satisfied, allowing you to get the nutrition you need, without eating too much. It is a win-win situation!
2. Organic Food Does Not Have Food Additives
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve its flavour and appearance. Things such as starch in chicken to make it crispier, and fats in pastries to make them tastier are just some of the common examples. They also add salt, sugar, and thickeners. All these are definitely not good for your body in large amounts. Organic food does not contain any food additives, making it less sugary, fattening, and unhealthy.
3. Organic Food is Non-Toxic
Non-organic foods can contain toxins, which can affect your body’s state of being, making you sick, sleepy, or mood. All these can have effects on your weight and that means weight gain. Sometimes these toxins may target your weight directly, especially with fried foods and foods full of preservatives and other substances.
4. Organic Food is Associated With an Active Lifestyle
People who eat organic are thought of as active and outgoing people. Other people choosing to switch to organic might step in their shoes as well and follow suit. While this is not a direct link, when people change their diet to organic, they might start exercising just because they are starting to eat healthy.
5. Organic Foods are Often Grown Locally
If foods are grown locally, chances are if you are like me, you will walk to get your fresh produce. When food is grown locally and it is just half a kilometer from your house, you might feel a little bit guilty driving that car. When you walk you burn calories and that is one step to weight loss.
Whether or not organic food is going to be in the next wave of weight loss techniques is still yet to be answered. However, through my experiences, I have to say it definitely helped me lose and then maintain my weight!
The history of life on earth is littered with evolutionary mistakes, natural disasters and mass extinctions.
It is thought by some that human beings are the pinnacle of creation, an example of evolutionary perfection that was an inevitable consequence of the development of life. In reality, this view couldn’t be further from the truth.
Human beings are no more and no less evolved than any other species on earth. Homo sapiens have evolved to cope with certain environments and perform particular tasks. A bat, for example, is just as evolved, but has developed to live in a very different environment.
Accidental Development of Species
If all life on Earth became extinct tomorrow and the whole evolutionary process began again, Homo sapiens would not eventually re-evolve in several billion years time. There have been literally trillions of accidental events that led to the existence of all current life on the planet.
Take, for example, the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. It is now accepted by scientists that this event was caused by the impact of a meteor, in what is today the Gulf of Mexico.
Up until this point, the ancient ancestor of Homo sapiens was a small, shrew-like mammal that generally kept a low profile in the shadow of its larger reptilian cousins. It was not until the dinosaur population was decimated, that the mammals could evolve into new areas and start on the path to humanity.
Other mass extinctions are also known to science. These too shaped the future state of all life on Earth.
The Role of Chance Extinction
Beyond natural catastrophes such as meteor impacts and ice ages, many other chance factors have shaped life on Earth. One mechanism of evolution is mutation. This is where mistakes appear in the genetic code of an organism, and this alteration leads to some form of physical difference.
The vast majority of mutations are either harmful or have no effect at all. Some, however, are beneficial. This benefit leads the organism to have a better chance of survival, and consequently reproduce more. This beneficial mutation is then passed on to the next generation, which also have an increased chance of survival.
The key point here is that mutation is random. Human beings have well developed eyes thanks to a series of chance mutations, but those mutations were haphazard. Evolution does not plan for the future, and so if an immediate advantage is less than a perfect design, so be it. This has led to Homo sapiens having a blind spot, the area on the retina where the optic nerve enters the eye. Other animals, for example some squid, do not have a blind spot. This is purely down to chance mutation.
The fact that through hundreds of millions of years of extinction, mutation, suffering and pain, Homo sapiens exist is something amazing that shouldn’t be underestimated. For billions of years, life on earth had no need for the level of intelligence that leads to civilisation, and if humanity disappeared tomorrow, it may never happen again.
This underscores the importance of protecting the planet and life on earth, to make sure that the incredible series of chance of events that have brought humanity to this point was all worth it.…
What Is a Paternity Test?
Before we were able to analyze DNA, blood tests were used to assess paternity. However, blood testing is limited, in that it can only rule out a possible father, not prove paternal identity.
Today, genetic technology is used, and DNA paternity testing makes it possible to, with a very high degree of certainty, determine the identity of a child’s biological father.
The Genetic Code
Everyone, except identical twins, has a unique set of genetic instructions made of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is a nucleic acid made of smaller molecules called nucleotide monomers, and each nucleotide is made of the same general ingredients:
The specific nitrogenous base is what makes one nucleotide differ from another, and nucleotides of DNA each contain one of four possible nitrogenous bases:
These four bases, particularly the combination in which they exist in along the DNA molecule, form the ‘genetic code’.
Restriction Fragment Analysis
Also called DNA fingerprinting, this type of genetic testing compares segments of DNA termed restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). By using special restriction enzymes, the DNA molecule is cut at base sequences, also known as recognition sequences or restriction sites.
There are many different kinds of restriction enzymes. Each type will only cut the DNA when it encounters a specific combination of bases; A, G, T, and C. Different restriction enzymes cut DNA at different places—each has a unique sequence it recognizes. For example, the restriction enzyme named EcoRI cuts DNA when it encounters the sequence GAATTC and will cut only at that sequence, no other.
After being cut up, the restriction fragments of each genome (mother, father and baby’s) are separated, according to length, using a technique called gel electrophoresis. Since people who are closely related have similar DNA, the DNA of more closely related individuals will show more similar length fragments of DNA.
Gel electrophoresis enables the lab technician to see which DNA fragments of the mother are shared by the child and, more importantly, if some of the child’s DNA fragments are the same size as fragments found in the supposed father’s DNA sample.
Chromosomes encapsulate DNA and are responsible for every physical aspect and a host of personality traits of every human body. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Men and women have all the same types of chromosomes, except one vital pair. In women the last pair will be XX. In men the last pair will be XY. Whether or not the last chromosome pair is XX or XY is determined by the male sperm.
Human Genome Project
The quest for the map of human chromosomes was started in 1990. Surprisingly, the project was fully completed in May 2006. The results have already poured mounds of new information about genetics into the biology world.
For instance, one thing determined was that the X chromosome has many more genes than the Y chromosome. Due to less genetic material from their fathers, males are 6% more genetically similar to their mothers. Male twins are also slightly more identical than female twins due to less genetic information, according to Natalie Angiers, in her book Woman: An Intimate Geography.
X and Y Chromosomes
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it was determined that the Y chromosome contains about 70+ genes. The X chromosome carries about 2,500 genes, and is responsible for about 300 specific diseases, including colorblindness, prostate cancer, hemophilia, baldness, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and many mental retardations, as reported by Jai Dennison at Daily News Central, in his article, “X-Chromosome Studies Unlock Deep Mysteries About Gender Differences.” Women are less likely to suffer from these X-linked genetic diseases due to what is called X-inactivation.
X-inactivation and Mosaicism
When two X chromosomes come together to create a female embryo, X inactivation occurs. During X-inactivation, cells randomly chooses to “shut down” sections of its extra X chromosome to form a “mosaic” of genes.
Consequently, X-linked diseases are more common in men than women, since women have both Mom’s and Dad’s X genes to pull from. Scientists are still discerning just how “random” the X-inactivation process is. Philip Avner and Edith Heard’s article “X-Chromosome Inactivation: Counting, Choice and Initiation” discusses interesting research in this area. Similar to the reason that tortoise-shell cats can only be female, X-inactivation creates a mosaic of X-linked traits in women but not in men, who are subject their single X’s full expression.
Inheritance and the X Chromosome
Because men only have one X chromosome, men may inherit their mother’s genetic diseases related to the X chromosome but will never inherit their father’s X-linked genetic diseases, since men only receive their father’s Y chromosome. While men escape any X-linked diseases from their father, they are vulnerable to and likely to fully develop any of the X-linked diseases given to them on their mother’s X chromosome.
In contrast, women’s double X requires that both parents have a gene an X-linked disease and even then severity of inherited disease will likely vary due to the fact that during female development random sections of the X-chromosome are inactivated. A woman is less likely to develop X-linked diseases, and more likely to develop a light instance if a disease should develop.
In conclusion, nature appears to have a “back up plan” for women through X-inactivation, while unlucky men must suffer the full severity of X-linked diseases.