Monthly Archives: August 2016

When Mindlessness Can Be A Source Of Stress

Staying alert and diligent can be a tiring routine to go through. Wouldn’t it be great if we can just go about life without having to work that brain of ours all the time?

If we can program ourselves into auto-pilot, we can free ourselves from the chains of daily routines and spend that time to think about kitten videos and about that looker we met the night before.

But if you are an adult, you’d probably agree that mindless thinking and behavior can have dire consequences to not only you, but to the people around you as well.

And in both instances, it can be a very big source of stress.

Everyone has a talent in mindlessness

You don’t need to train yourself into mindless thinking. The overwhelming odds are that you are already an expert at it. And a part of you don’t wish to let this personal indulgence go.

Remember the time when you were day-dreaming on the subway and almost missed your station? The time when you were so engrossed at thinking about how to best capture a picture of a gourmet on the table that you come across as rude to others on the table? Or maybe the time when you felt a presentation was so routine that you forgot to address the CEO attending it?

While cruising on auto-pilot can have it’s merits, it is something you’d want to manage if stress is something affecting the quality of your life.

When in the mood, you become unaware, unfocused, and robotic. Not the best condition to avoid consequences that result in stress.

On top of that, while you are on auto-pilot, it just gives you mind extra room to think about issues that are already stressing you and non-issues that give you anxiety.

This is not to mention the trouble you might get into while being in a trance.

Multi-tasking

The main advantage of mindlessness is multi-tasking.

These days with the mess of the modern world around us, multi-tasking is an essential skill. So much so that it is now a given that any job description would list “multi-tasker” as a requirement by default.

There are just so many things we want to do in a day. And 24 hours sometimes just don’t seem enough.

Just take a seat on a bench in the park and would see joggers listing to music, making phone call, texting their friends, sharing their running pictures on social media, and even gaming while they are at it.

There are little downsides when we are referring to innocent activities like these.

But when activities become more serious, multi-tasking can be a disaster in the making.

For example, when you are texting and driving at the same time, when you are cooking too many dishes at the same time, when you are ironing your clothes and watching the kids at the same time.

When your attention is spread too thin when doing hazardous tasks, you are basically inviting bad things to happen. And happen fast!

At work, multi-tasking can cause you to forget about deadlines or even about the flight booking you boss told you about yesterday. And he is flying off today!

At play, it could mean arriving late to a social gathering because you had overlooked the message about the change in meetup timing. And everyone is leaving in 10 minutes.

At home, you might have forgotten to turn off the water heater. Giving you the edgy prospect of of looking forward to the utility bills that arrive at the end of the month.

It might be alright is if you have to bear the brunt of the consequences resulting from your mindlessness. But your stress levels might go through the roof should a third party have to suffer as you are due to your mindless acts.

People close to you might get hurt. Compounding anxiety.

Distorted thoughts

The way we think, feel, and act are linked. And whenever we give out mind to wander when being mindless, we are giving it a free-hand at what to think about.

This includes distorted and unrealistic thoughts.

This can be a catalyst to create negative feelings of anguish, misery, anger, resentment, depression, torment, sorrow, etc. It’s basically how people start becoming emotionally and mentally unstable.

And if you are a pushover in your own head, the voice inside can convince you of negative thoughts like:

  • You are a loser
  • You are unworthy
  • You are a pain in the neck
  • You will never succeed in life
  • You deserve misery
  • etc

And this in turn, can alter your self-worth and self-esteem. Giving anxiety a playground to take root and stress a place to thrive.

The fact is that not everyone is an expert in recognizing and deciphering their own feelings. In fact, less than half the population can tell the difference between fact and feeling. Meaning most people assume something is as such just because they felt like it.

The connection to all these is self-explanatory.

Mindlessness can lead to wandering of the mind. Which can lead to distorted thoughts. That can lead to negative emotions. And resulting in destructive actions that affect both the suffers and the people around them. Amplifying your stress levels.

With this in mind, next time you catch yourself being mindless or you can predict it (like when you know you would be on a 3 hour fight), do something that would catch the attention of your mind. Don’t let it wander off unless… that’s exactly what you want it to do.

14 Heart Healthy Foods You Can Get At The Supermarket

Did you know that the top heart healthy foods are also the densest in nutrients?

They are readily available, extremely affordable and they taste great They often require very little preparation and deliver a very high per-calorie level of nutritious phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, fiber and other natural health goodies.

Incredibly, these foods naturally deliver fewer calories and carbs then their sugary, man-made, processed counterparts in almost every case.

Most are natural whole foods, and can be grown right in your backyard or on your patio. They are also high in dietary fiber much of the time, meaning you feel full quicker, end up eating less, and reap incredible cardiovascular as well as total body benefits.

No doubt the following list of the top 14 heart healthy foods is going to be very familiar to you.

And benefiting from them is simple – just get more of them in your diet, using them to replace sugar, salt, white flour and other processed, fatty, fast foods. Your waistline and heart will benefit, you will feel and look great, and possibly even form a positive addiction to these healthy super foods.

1) Almonds

Almonds are high in fat, so how can they be good for you? The answer is, they deliver “good” fats, protein and essential fatty acids. By lowering your “bad” cholesterol (your LDL cholesterol levels), almonds help reduce your risk of getting heart disease. Also, since they are so dense, a small handful helps you feel full quickly. When added to a meal or a snack, any weightlifting or exercising you do helps you gain lean, strong muscle as well. Walnuts are heart-healthy also. (Natural almond butter is a great alternative if you do not enjoy eating nuts.)

2) Kale

In recent years the incredible “all-around” health properties of kale have come to light. This versatile dark leafy green can be cooked or eaten raw. Fresh leaves of kale drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt can be baked into incredibly delicious kale chips. Kale is easily added to salads, and is miles ahead of iceberg lettuce in healthy nutrition.

What heart benefits do you receive from kale? As Dr. Joel Fuhrman and most other nutritionists will tell you, this is truly a “superfood”. Eating kale boosts your production of heart healthy antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids. Your heart benefits by working more efficiently, becoming healthier and resisting disease and infection.

3) Oranges

You probably know that oranges are high in vitamin C. That is a good thing. But they also deliver nutritional soluble fiber called pectin. This amazing natural compound actually works like a big sponge, absorbing cholesterol and keeping it from entering your body. That is definitely heart healthy. Also, oranges are high in potassium. Potassium is great for countering the negative effects of salt, and this property can keep your blood pressure at a decent level.

4) Salmon

Grilled salmon offers a taste and texture that is enjoyable to many people without the addition of salt, condiments and unhealthy sauces.

You can also grill salmon with a little extra virgin olive oil and enjoy it on a sandwich, in a wrap, on a salad or with some healthy whole grains.

Salmon is very flexible as a food item, and along with sardines and tuna (wild, not farm-raised) is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.

The human body cannot manufacture Omega 3. This means you must obtain it in your diet. Salmon and some other fish are extremely high in this naturally beneficial component, and reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association and other respected health authorities.

5) Garlic

Garlic has been known for its health properties for centuries. Garlic is also extremely versatile. It can be cooked or ingested raw, and does a great job of lowering the levels of an enzyme called angiotensin in your body. Angiotensin constricts blood vessels, so when you get plenty of garlic in your diet, your heart does not have to work as hard to pump normally. Garlic has also been shown to reduce the buildup of plaque in your cardiovascular system.

6) Pomegranates

Have you seen the rash of pomegranate-based beverages and supplements that claim incredible health benefits? Natural, unprocessed pomegranates and the juice from this purple superfood are exceptionally good for you. Just be aware of pomegranate products that have been processed, with artificial flavors, sugars and other unhealthy man-made chemicals added.

Aside from lowering your LDL levels (which is a good thing), pomegranates prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. This means you form less plaque in your cardiovascular system, making your heart stronger and healthier.

7) Red Wine

In moderation, red wine bumps up your HDL (good cholesterol) levels. This helps prevent plaque buildup, much like garlic.

As explained by John Folts, Professor Emeritus of Cardiovascular Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, polyphenols found in a high concentration in red wine make your blood vessels very flexible.

This reduces your risk of clotting, and helps your heart combat a long list of diseases. (Not more than 1 glass of wine 3 to 5 days a week is recommended.)

8) Yogurt

Research shows that a diet with above average levels of yogurt protects against gum disease. Over time gum disease can elevate your risk of heart disease, by almost 100% above normal. This roundabout benefit that yogurt delivers to your heart is made possible through the presence of “good bacteria” called probiotics, which also offer the positive side effect of contributing to a healthy gastrointestinal system.

9) Brown Rice and Oatmeal

Along with similar foods like flaxseed, oatmeal and healthy brown rice (as opposed to processed, enriched, nutrient-free white rice) are full of healthy dietary fiber. They also provide essential nutrients like potassium, folate, niacin, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Your heart once again benefits from a healthy cardiovascular process, and does not have to work as hard to pump blood and valuable oxygen throughout your body. This increases your chances of living a long, healthy life, while decreasing your risk of contracting heart diseases and cancer.

10) Natural Dark Chocolate

We are definitely referring to natural dark chocolates here, not sugar and chemical-packed sweet chocolate treats. There are plenty of health studies that show the positive heart benefits of the flavanols found in minimally processed cocoa.

Harvard cardiologist Dr. Norman Hollenberg found that the Kuna Indians of Panama have extremely few cases of high blood pressure and hypertension. Their secret? Cocoa made from dark chocolate. Your heart benefits from improved blood vessel flexibility from just a few small squares of natural dark chocolate eaten daily.

11) Kidney Beans and Black Beans

Most legumes are very healthy, and deserve a place in your diet. Like the other foods on this list incredibly high in dense dietary fiber, you only have to eat a very small amount to feel full quickly. That fiber is naturally soluble, and joins calcium, B complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids as heart healthy components.

As far as dining possibilities, there might not be a more versatile and flexible food than beans. Tossed in your salad, used to make a healthy paste, spread or soup, or simply enjoyed by themselves, black beans and kidney beans lower your risk of death from heart disease and fight hypertension. They also help keep your blood pressure under control.

12) Raisins

Just like yogurt, research is showing that raisins limit your risk of contracting gum disease. They also fight inflammation throughout your body. As we mentioned previously, if you have gum disease you are up to 2 times more likely to suffer from heart problems. Several studies have shown the link between inflammation and a long list of heart diseases and afflictions, so enjoy a handful of raisins a day to keep heart problems at bay.

13) Whole grains

A high-fiber diet has been proved to drastically lower your risk of heart disease. Harvard researchers showed that a high-fiber diet enjoyed by female health professionals produced a 40% lower risk of contracting heart disease than participants who ate less fiber. The benefit? Your LDL cholesterol level is lowered, meaning a healthy blood pressure and a lower risk of heart problems. The black and kidney beans we mentioned earlier classify as high-fiber food items, and so do barley and other whole grains.

14) Blueberries

Blueberries are known among the health and fitness communities as one of the most perfect super foods in existence. From beta-carotene and lutein to vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, not to mention high levels of dietary fiber, blueberries are good for you in a number of ways.

Strawberries, raspberries and cranberries are healthy too, but there are not too many foods that can match blueberries for heart health. This delicious and versatile berry is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which fight cancer and chronic heart disease. You also run a lower risk of having a heart attack when blueberries are a consistent part of your diet.

You were probably already aware that most of the foods listed above are good for you. So why aren’t you getting more of them in your diet? You just learned the exact benefits that eating those delicious, natural foods deliver. In many cases, you experience many wonderful health benefits in addition to improving your cardiovascular system and heart health.

Your skin and hair instantly become stronger and healthier looking. You experience less inflammation, aches and pains in your joints. Your flexibility and balance improve. Your thinking is clear and crisp, and your memory gets better. Your natural body weight begins to automatically regulate itself, your muscle tone and strength are noticeably better, and from head to toe you enjoy marvelous fitness and excellent health.

Make a concerted effort to eat more of the foods listed above on a weekly and even daily basis, and you will begin to feel and look better than you have in a long time.