Physical Time – Smart Ways to Unlock your Brain Power

Physical Time – Smart Ways to Unlock your Brain Power

Physical Time is one of the 7 daily essential mental activities that we need to expose our mind to in order to optimise our brain and perform at our very best.

Physical time is the time when we engage in aerobic, strength or flexibility exercise. Nowadays, most people are aware that in order to stay healthy, vigorous exercise 3 to 5 times a week should be part of our lifestyle, but there are other benefits to having a regular exercise routine that you should know about. (more…)

#1: Sleep your way to success

#1: Sleep your way to success

Sleep time is one of the 7 daily essential mental activities that we need to expose our mind to in order to optimise our brain and perform at our very best.

Sleep is a vital process which is essential for our biological and psychological balance. Sleep plays a critical role in restoring, repairing and rejuvenating our body as well as strengthening our immune system. Good quality sleep allows us to clear the stressors from the day before and has a significant role in emotional regulation, learning consolidation and memory processing. (more…)

Eating at your desk will negatively affect your work and your health

Eating at your desk will negatively affect your work and your health

Do you find yourself regularly eating at your desk? If you are part of the 67% of office workers that do so, then you need to be aware of the consequences of this unhealthy habit.

Some people see food, as just a functional aspect of their lives. Mindless eating extends beyond the office desk, I see it all the time….people in the morning gulping down a piece of dry toast or pastry and a cup of coffee on the way to work, or eating a quick bite on the way to a meeting. It appears that for quite a few us, eating just gets “on the way” of seemingly more important things. (more…)

How Your Family’s Health Issues Will Impact Your Health

How Your Family’s Health Issues Will Impact Your Health

Is there a history of heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, cancer, Alzheimers, migraines or any other mental or physical illness in your family?  If so, it’s very likely that contained in every cell of your body, are the genes responsible for triggering those chronic conditions.  Whether you like to hear it or not, you may be carrying a vast array of ticking health bombs in the form of “bad” genes that could potentially impact your health.

Fortunately, there is a way for you to defuse those bombs. Approximately 5% of disease-related genes are fully penetrant, meaning that the disease will develop regardless of any type of intervention. Through healthy lifestyle choices, we can keep the remaining 95% of disease-related genes dormant. A booming field called epigenetics reveals how lifestyle and environmental factors can regulate gene expression. (more…)

Demystifying Meditation: Brain Imaging Illustrates How Meditation Reduces Pain

Demystifying Meditation: Brain Imaging Illustrates How Meditation Reduces Pain

Meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain, according to new research published in the April 6 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.
“This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation,” said Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., lead author of the study and post-doctoral research fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Meditation reduces pain. “We found a big effect – about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.” For the study, 15 healthy volunteers who had never meditated attended four, 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique known as focused attention.

Focused attention is a form of mindfulness meditation where people are taught to attend to the breath and let go of distracting thoughts and emotions. Both before and after meditation training, study participants’ brain activity was examined using a special type of imaging — arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL MRI) — that captures longer duration brain processes, such as meditation, better than a standard MRI scan of brain function.

During these scans, a pain-inducing heat device was placed on the participants’ right legs. This device heated a small area of their skin to 120° Fahrenheit, a temperature that most people find painful, over a 5-minute period. The scans taken after meditation training showed that every participant’s pain ratings were reduced, with decreases ranging from 11 to 93 percent, Zeidan said. This clearly shows that meditation reduces pain.

At the same time, meditation significantly reduced brain activity in the primary somatosensory cortex, an area that is crucially involved in creating the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is. The scans taken before meditation training showed activity in this area was very high. However, when participants were meditating during the scans, activity in this important pain-processing region could not be detected.

The research also showed that meditation increased brain activity in areas including the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula and the orbitofrontal cortex. “These areas all shape how the brain builds an experience of pain from nerve signals that are coming in from the body,” said Robert C. Coghill, Ph.D., senior author of the study and associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist.

“Consistent with this function, the more that these areas were activated by meditation the more that pain was reduced. One of the reasons that meditation may have been so effective in blocking pain was that it did not work at just one place in the brain, but instead reduced pain at multiple levels of processing.”

Zeidan and colleagues believe that meditation has great potential for clinical use because so little training was required to produce such dramatic pain-relieving effects. “In terms of meditation reducing pain, this study shows that meditation produces real effects in the brain and can provide an effective way for people to substantially reduce their pain without medications,” Zeidan said.

Your Emotions Impact Your Physical Health

Your Emotions Impact Your Physical Health

Physical health is inseparable from emotional well being. Happy people are healthy people. The wisdom traditions of the world tell us that happiness does not depend on what you have, but on who you are. Let’s take a moment to reflect on what really creates happiness in us.

The following ten keys, gleaned from the wisdom traditions, may give us some insight.

1. Listen to your body’s wisdom, which expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort.

(more…)