Health and Fitness Tips of the Month: August

Posted: 1 August 2017 at 8:00 am | Author: Alison German

Health and Fitness Tips of the Month: August


We have all heard that meditation reduces stress however it is now being recommended by doctors that it can help improve creativity, improve sleep, decrease anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even addiction.

So how do we meditate?

  1. First, find a comfortable place where you can sit without distractions for at least 2 minutes and build up to 15 minutes.
  2. Sit comfortably with your back upright with head up.( Imagine your head is being pulled up to the sky)
  3. Close your eyes and focus within.
  4. Focus your attention on any one of the following.
    1. You can focus your attention on your breath and breathing. There is no need to regulate this. Let it be natural.
    2. You can repeat a positive statement about yourself and life.
    3. If you do use a statement to focus on, try to feel what it means to you.
    4. You can focus on your heartbeat.
    5. You can use any other method with which you feel comfortable.
  5. If you notice your mind drifting off onto other thoughts or stories , just bring your focus back to the technique you are using to focus on.
  6. When you have completed meditating, it is a good idea to give yourself a few minutes to adjust back into the activities of your day.

You are encouraged to meditate ideally at the same time every day. Most people will choose early in the morning or late at night. It does not matter when you meditate, as long as you can devote a period of time to your practice without being disturbed .Do not worry there is no perfect way to meditate . Just be pleased that you are doing it. Meditation is not always easy or even peaceful however it can have amazing benefits. Try it!

Having Pets

It has long been known that pets are great company and have been ‘man’s best friend’ for centuries. However, increasingly pets can help people of all ages with health problems. For example, recently an autistic child was helped with his communication skills by having a pet dog. It boosted his confidence and provided him with a non-judgemental companion.

Care homes often have pets visit on a regular basis for residents to stroke. People living on their own are often much calmer and feel less lonely if they have a pet. The stroking and caring has a positive effect on them and reduces anxiety.

If you do not have a pet yourself, you might have a friend or relative who would be happy for you to walk their dog. You might be able to volunteer at a pet charity or sanctuary to help look after the animals.

If you want to have a pet yourself think carefully about the costs involved and the time it takes to care for it properly but there are significant advantages in having company and something to fuss and look after.

Coping with Bereavement

Bereavement is the time we spend adjusting to loss. Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating and it is normal to find it hard to adjust to life without them. It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel when you’re grieving. Some people might lash out, others may withdraw into themselves; you might feel sorrow and longing, or guilt about what you did or didn’t say to someone. Bereavement is about learning to accept and cope with what has happened, rather than ‘recovering’ as this would suggest that you emerge the same as you were before.

There is no quick fix; you might experience grief every day for 12-18 months after a major loss. However there are practical things you can do to help yourself get through a period of grief or bereavement. Reaching out to others such as a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor can help you process your emotions.

Allowing yourself to experience the emotions associated with loss, as it is a healthy part of the grieving process. Keeping up routine where possible, even simple tasks such as going for a walk or visiting the shops can help. Avoiding things that “numb” pain such as alcohol, as it will only make you feel worse once the numbness wears away.

Where can you go for support?

Support, advice and information is available from Cruse Bereavement Care, the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline (08088081677) is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers. They can offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement. The helpline is open Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm, excluding bank holidays; with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

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