Tag Archives: Energy

Hawaiian Meditation Techniques to Get Your Energy Back

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“Meditation is part of many ancient traditions, and the benefits—a greater sense of peace, less anxiety, clear thinking—are well-known. While dramatic new findings such as the Yale study point to therapeutic benefits, meditation is also extremely useful in everyday life to boost energy.”  See link below…

This short article highlights, to my mind, one of the greatest benefits of regular meditation…that is, the restorative quality of its practice for our mental health….

http://www.naturalsolutionsmag.com/balance/mind-body-connection/5-hawaiian-meditation-techniques-get-your-energy-back

Enjoy…

What Caffeine really does to your brain

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What Caffeine Really Does to Your Brain

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Some of it is what you think, a lot of it isn’t. See what is fact and what is all in the mind.

“Legend has it that an observant goatherd named Kaldi discovered coffee in Ethiopia somewhere between about 300 and 800 A.D. He noticed that his goats did not sleep at night after eating coffee berries. He took the berries to a local abbot, who brewed the first batch of coffee, noting its effects on arousal and cognition.” (Smith et al, 2004)

Ever since then humans have been fascinated with caffeine, and rightly so.

Some of its effects are strange and contradictory. In many ways caffeine’s effect on your mind is much more about what you expect than what it actually does.

Hopefully you’ll find at least one or two things here to surprise you…

1. Caffeine doesn’t stop most people sleeping

The goatherd Kaldi may have been right about his goats, but not necessarily about humans. Despite all the fuss made about caffeine and sleeping, there’s little evidence that it’s a problem.

The research finds that the vast majority of people have worked out how to use it. It’s not that complicated: don’t have a double espresso at midnight. Duh.

Even then, there are studies where they give people caffeine secretly before they go to bed. Surprise, surprise it doesn’t generally affect their sleep that much!

2. People blame caffeine for anything and everything

It’s not just poor sleep, because people think caffeine is at least a bit bad for them, they blame all kinds of non-specific problems on it: headaches, bad night’s sleep, feeling jittery, and so on.

Researchers sometimes give people placebos and tell them they’ve had caffeine. People subsequently claim to have slept badly, developed headaches and all the rest.

But it can’t be due to caffeine, because they haven’t had any. So it must be down to what we expect caffeine to do to us.

3. Coffee plus nap?

It might seem mad to have a cup of coffee and then go for a nap. But if you’re sleep deprived, this may be the answer.

Studies have tried giving tired people 200mg of caffeine (a cup or two of instant coffee), then telling them to take a nap.

The caffeine plus the nap often has an additive effect on performance. In other words the caffeine improves performance above the nap on its own.

Try it: have a coffee and a nap of around 5-15 minutes and see you feel. Even people who don’t normally nap can find this beneficial.

4. Boosts in sustained attention

Most people feel more alert after a coffee, but are they any sharper when scientifically tested?

The answer is: in some ways yes, but in many ways not.

The strongest positive finding is that caffeine increases sustained attention and vigilance. This is the kind of attention you need to keep doing a relatively routine task that is unchallenging. That’s why it’s often so good at work: it keeps us plodding on through boring stuff that we’ve got to get through.

This finding is particularly strong for people who haven’t had enough sleep, which is most of us nowadays.

When we stray away into other psychological areas like reaction times, learning and memory, things become much less clear. Sometimes caffeine improves them, sometimes it makes them worse and sometimes there’s no difference.

In general, though, there’s little evidence that caffeine makes much difference on tasks that require pure thought.

5. Two cups good, five cups bad

Like everything in life, you can have too much of a good thing. And caffeine is no different.

In the studies mentioned above, when people have around 200-300mg of caffeine, they get the benefits mentioned. That’s around three espressos or 2-3 cups of instant coffee.

Upwards of 500 mg, though, and there’s no increase in performance and people start to experience negative effects.

Naturally, though, this will depend on your usual level of intake; as the body and mind gets used to caffeine, like any drug.

6. No withdrawal symptoms when giving up?

If you fancy giving up caffeine then prepare for withdrawal symptoms between 12 and 24 hours after your last cup of coffee. Then you may start to develop a headache and feel irritable, tired and anxious.

Or will you?

Even withdrawal symptoms may be at least partly down to our expectations about the effects of caffeine. It’s little studied, but there’s a suggestion that if you don’t expect to get withdrawal effects, then you won’t actually get them.

That’s probably why some people report having no withdrawal symptoms when they give up caffeine. So giving up may not be as hard as you think.

7. Feeling good

No caffeine drinker needs me to tell them that some coffee makes them feel better and too much makes them feel bad.

Moderate doses are the key. What counts as a moderate dose will depend on your usual intake and your genetic susceptibility, which is inheritable. So if your parents can take a triple espresso without their heads exploding, then you probably can as well.

But even an inherited sensitivity to caffeine can be overcome with real dedication to the cause.

8. Coffee kills pain

There is some suggestion in the research that caffeine can help reduce pain.

If you’ve got a tension headache, for example, then studies suggest that acetaminophen (paracetamol) plus caffeine will provide better pain relief than acetaminophen alone.

Rather than causing non-migraine headaches, caffeine has been shown in one study to cure them!

9. Caffeine sharpens the senses

Caffeine ramps up the senses a little in all sorts of interesting ways. Here are a few:

  • Studies find that after a cup of coffee or two people can actually see better in the dark. The boost is between 20 and 38%.
  • People can discriminate between colours better when they’ve had some caffeine.
  • Caffeine helps people ignore distracting stimuli in the environment.

10. Caffeine probably isn’t addictive

Technically caffeine is not really addictive because of the way it works in the brain and because many people don’t suffer withdrawal symptoms when they give up.

However a small number of people do look like they’re addicted to it. But when you compare caffeine to the drugs that are really addictive, like cocaine or heroin, it’s pretty clear that caffeine is not properly addictive.

[Studies described here are cited in Nehlig (2004)]

Image credit: Eric

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Making Habits, Breaking Habits

In his new book, Jeremy Dean–psychologist and author of PsyBlog–looks at how habits work, why they are so hard to change, and how to break bad old cycles and develop new healthy, creative, happy habits.

→ “Making Habits, Breaking Habits”, is available now on Amazon.

Join PsyBlog’s 71,074 readers now:

 

Ways to help others and yourself Part 1.

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It can be very annoying when people talk about doing something good for others, because sometimes we know that it`s good, but just not WHAT to do. So, what about making a list over small things one can do for others ? Feel free to supplement this list. More parts are coming later

1. This girl donates her hair for people with cancer.

In the next few weeks, I will cut off 8-12 inches of my hair and donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. This is an amazing cause where women grow strong, together. Check back for pictures by summer’s end. I originally donated my hair to honor CMD who was diagnosed with spinal cancer when I was in high school. This will be my third time donating to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and it is my way of changing someone’s life, for the better. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much hair I have or how I look without it. What matters is that someone is benefiting from the wig that my hair contributed to and feeling beautiful again (http://jhemway.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/10-change-someones-life-for-the-better/).@

write a donate organ card! Or donate blood

Stories about people saved by organ donation:

  • A little six-year-old boy regained his eyesight and an ex-fireman has a younger and healthy heart.
  • I have corresponded by mail and e-mail with the 37-year-old man who has one of James’ kidneys.  I hope someday we can meet each other, but right now we live too far away to do that.
  • Last year at the annual Giving and Living Celebration at the Southwest Transplant Alliance, we met a woman who was 47 and near death when she received James’ liver and other kidney.  She told me when she was in her coma for over two months, she felt like she was on a ship in the middle of an ocean alone.  She could hear people talking but they were far away.  How can I adequately describe the feeling when we met?  She was like meeting a long lost relative that I had never met before. It was wonderful and overwhelming.  She is a precious lady who has had to battle with a tremendous amount of physical problems and has a young child at home.

 Small Changes Which Can Make a Big Difference

small changes
Photo by Shermeee

 Set Your Alarm Half an Hour Earlier

The next tips by Ali Hale

There’s never enough time in the day – especially when you want to start something new. Maybe you’d love to write a novel, take up exercise, or have time to pray or meditate.

simply setting your alarm half an hour earlier? An extra 30 minutes in the morning, before you go out to work, could make all the difference. Write a plan about how you can do something good for someone that day. If 30 minutes is to rough, get up 15 min. before

One of the simplest tricks for drinking more water is to keep a bottle of it on your desk. It’s easy to take a swig regularly if you’ve got water in arm’s reach – and if you keep the cap on the bottle, there’s no chance of a spillage.

Hide the Television Remote (and Keep a Book by the Couch)

reading a book on the couch
Photo by Helga Weber

There’s nothing wrong with watching television. But for many of us, the TV becomes a default activity. It’s all too easy to come home, slump on the couch, and reach straight for the remote without even thinking. Increasing knowledge really can help you become more aware and conscious, which in return will make you more able to think for yourself

If that’s a habit you’re trying to break, put the remote somewhere else. Hide it in a cupboard or on a high shelf. That way, you’ll have to make a real decision to watch television.

You can go even further with this by putting a book that you want to read, or something else you want to get on with, next to the couch.

1. Say “Good morning” to a person standing next to you in the elevator.
2. Put a coin in an expired meter.
3. Help a mother carry her baby stroller up the subway stairs, or hold a door open for her. Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/35-Little-Acts-of-Kindness#ixzz2XoULqvjz
4. Pay the toll for the driver behind you.

5. Vote. While the Presidential election comes around only once every four years, elections happen every year. Check out the candidates for local and state elections.

6. Encourage your employer to sponsor local events, join a civic organization or allow employees to volunteer during work hours. Many businesses have volunteer programs to reward employees for volunteering. Local news

 Switch Your Light Bulbs for Energy-Saving Ones

Suffering eco-guilt? A lot of us want to do our bit for the planet – but we don’t know where to start. One of the simplest steps is to switch all your standard light bulbs for energy-saving ones. It’s not only much better for the environment, it’ll also save you money on your electric bill.

Be a good example!

(http://www.thechangeblog.com/gratitude)  Last year millions of people took the challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.