Lowering Your Stress With Better Posture

One of the main things that contributes to stress in our modern society is poor posture, but stress also contributes to poor posture. Improving your posture immediately takes pressure off your organs being compressed and your bones being bent out of alignment, thus making your body and mind feel more relaxed. A recent study by researchers from Harvard and Columbia Universities published in journal Psychological Science also showed that postures that were expansive, rather than hunched, actually altered the participants’ hormone levels in decreasing cortisol and increasing testosterone.

Mentally and emotionally as your body improves its posture you’ll literally have more of the happy hormones floating around in your body compared to the bad ones, which will help you to feel calm and centred. When we position our bones correctly, our muscles are lifted onto the bones the way that they are supposed to. This triggers muscle memory ensuring that every muscle is the perfect length and reminds the muscle of its individual purpose. The muscles will resume working for you exactly as they are designed to do.

Try to stop work every hour and do five or six breathing exercises and strengthen your deepest breathing muscles whilst sitting at your desk; too often people sit completely hunched over a computer. First move your spine away from the back of your chair to sit on the front half of the chair. Place your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees. Look straight ahead and sit as tall and relaxed as possible. Your vertebrae will be stacking up, so the natural curves of your spine will already have improved. Staying tall and relaxed, let your body breathe in through the nose.

To get the most out of lying on your back, bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are comfortably on the ground and sink the top parts of both your upper arm bones into the floor. This naturally rolls your collarbone wide and repositions your thoracic spine. This relaxes the large upper back and neck muscles and fires up the hundreds of smaller muscles around your spine and ribcage.All of your abdominal and breathing muscles immediately activate to flatten your abs and strengthen your body front and back.

We spend a lot of time standing around – unfortunately nowadays that means we’re often looking down at our phones. This pulls the neck forward resulting in a hunchback. Always look ahead if you can. When standing still, look straight ahead. Stand as tall and relaxed as possible. This will reduce strain throughout your spine, especially your upper torso and neck.

As a result of trying these really simple moves, fixing up your posture will help you feel a lot calmer!



How Meditation Can Change Your Brain

In today’s fast paced world, it seems like everyone is stressed about something. There are so many things competing for our attention throughout the day, especially nowadays with social media and the constant flow of information and notifications all calling out to be noticed. It’s rare to get a moment of stillness in the day, but if you can make meditation a part of your routine, you’ll notice some staggerring benefits. How?

Meditation literally changes your brain. There are certain brain regions that become activated when you’re awake and at a state of rest (ie. your attention isn’t on external stimuli), known collectively as the default mode network. Activating these areas is achieved through meditation, and it’s associated with a range of positive effects. It slows the speed of your brain down to a state where it produces alpha waves, generating wakeful relaxation with a reduction of negative emotions like anxiety and tension. By fostering shifts in perspective and greater self awareness, mindfulness leads to positive mental health beyond simply helping to reduce stress.

Learning and memory processing receive a big boost from meditation, and it takes only weeks for these changes to set in. People who regularly stimulate their brain’s default mode network have increased grey matter on the left side of the brain, which is responsible for complex thought and problem solving. This was reflected in participants of one particular study; after completing an 8-week meditation program, the grey matter density in these areas of the brain increased, along with an improvement in their memory processing abilities!

In Buddhism, there is no separation between mind and body – they are interconnected as one. The benefits of meditation certainly reflect this; mindfulness training has been linked to lowered blood pressure. This is great for your heart, as it can better regulate blood flow depending on how much oxygen you need at the time. Meditation has also shown the potential to reduce the levels of stress hormones that can lead to inflammation, among a variety of other physical complications.

The benefits are emotional, cognitive and physical…. You can potentially transform your entire wellbeing through meditation! If you do one thing new this week, make it a simple 10 minuts of meditationbefore bed (not very long, so no excuses!). See how you feel 😀