Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Positive Effects of Ambient Music

Ambient nature sounds have the ability to aid sleep, reduce stress, and provide a relaxing atmosphere for activities such as yoga, tai-chi, and meditation.

Most of us spend our days surrounded by the sounds of vehicles, televisions, and office machines. Nature sound recordings can offer us an escape from these unnatural surroundings, and allow us to reclaim our balance. Popular sounds used in ambient recordings are: ocean waves, creeks, waterfalls, wind, rain, thunder, and birds. Our sense of hearing can have a strong influence on our emotional health. Through experimentation, you can discover the effects each of these sounds have on your moods and emotions. Because our life experiences and environment are so diverse, each person reacts differently to the various sounds of nature. Below are a number of common benefits that nature sounds may offer:

Consistent sounds, like rain or waterfalls, act like a “white noise machine” that masks household noises such as refrigerators, heaters, and creaking floors. These types of sounds often help light sleepers and infants sleep better.

The sound of steady, rhythmic ocean waves provides a sensation of relaxation and calm. The hypnotic consistency of waves can also help to lull you to sleep.

Creeks, especially a slow babbling type creek, is a warm comforting sound. The gurgling sounds are unique and quickly conjure up images of a countryside getaway.

Thunder can help to mask low rumbling sounds like motorbikes, loud cars, or boom boxes.

Singing birds is a joyful sound, and may remind one of a day off at the lake or in the back yard.

Storm sounds can help you to relax or concentrate on work while you’re at home. When it feels like a stormy day we tend to relax, thinking that we can’t go out to work in the poor weather.

You might associate many of the nature sounds with a pleasant experience or location. Ocean waves, creeks and waterfalls are some of the sounds that are common on vacations.

If you spend some time listening to ambient nature recordings, you will quickly discover how each sound effects you. Put in the time – I am confident you will be pleased with the results.

The following tools are designed to help you discover how nature sounds effect you:
vibraphone sleep-aid
drum relaxation tool

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Sleep Apnea Treatment: Tips to Ensure Sound Sleep

Ever wondered, how easily we wish our family, friends or relatives "Sweet Dreams", but at times the so called "Sweet Dreams" don't come so easily to us. It really gets ironic. May be because money can buy you designer beds bot not sound sleep. We all know the benefits of sound sleep but still many of us long for it. How to ensure sound sleep then becomes the biggest problem and may be the biggest mystery too.

Here are some valuable tips one can follow to ensure Sound Sleep. But before mentioning it, lets have a peek-a-boo on the benefits of sound sleep.

Benefits of sound sleep.

- The first and the foremost, sleeping is the time when our muscles relax. They get rest so that they can work efficiently next day. Also, while sleeping our breathing rate and heartbeat slow down too.

- An adequate sleep is a must for maintaining a balanced biochemical state. It is well known, many enzymes and hormones work only at night.

Now we come down to the valuable and effective tips which ensure sound sleep and sweet dreams!

- Avoid drinking coffee or tea before going to bed.

- Dont go to bed with over-stressed mind. Resolve your issues before hand.

- Yoga or exercise before sleeping is really a smart option. It also ensures tight sleep.

- Avoid watching action-packed movies or horror movies before sleeping. This may harm give you nightmares.

- Reading before sleeping is good habit but once it gets habitual, you become dependent on it. You can also listen to some soothing music before turning off the lights.

- A balanced diet also helps in a great way to get to your goal.

- Last but not the least, avoid sedatives. If you are addicted to them, take some physician's advice.

There could be nothing like keeping your mind at peace. Though it is difficult to achieve but not impossible. Keep yourself calm and relaxed.

Besides, Sleeping apnea/apnoea, other conditions related to sleep are not serious and can easily be overcome. Sleeping apnea/apnoea is a disease where you stop breathing every now and then during sleep. The soft tissues at the back of your throat and your tongue fall back and obstruct the upper airways. This leads to the stopping of breathing. Sleeping apnea/apnoea can be cured with the help of doctor's advice. C pap, a portable machine is highly used to fight sleep apnea/apnoea.

Snoring is othe major problem with many of us. We, unconciously, affect our partner's sleep too which can get really irritating at times. Snoring can be because of the following reasons

- Exessive Day time Sleep

- Obesity

- Obstruction of the upper airways which further leads to sleep apnoea.

To avoid snoring, either have your dinner early or use a nose-guard that discourages snoring. It has also been found that sleeping on your back back encourage snoring too. So try sleeping on your sides. Also, alcohol and sleeping pills aggravate snoring. At times, allergies can also cause snoring.

Random Tip---> To know about foods which aid sleep, visit

Ashley Green

For your complete and most comprehensive family guide on Health.

Also get free tips and advice on various health issues at Natural Health Care, Tips and Advice

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Finding Balance - in a Stressful World!

By Karen Dahlman

Is it possible to live a balanced life?

Living a balanced life may conjure up images of balanced scales, being a “superhuman”, feeling even-keeled and in control. We perceive it to mean symmetrical, composed, stable and poised. The collective belief is that if you equally attend to all facets of your life, and if you maintain your composure while doing so, you will find the nirvana of balance within your life. This is a great myth, yet a perceived road map to many for finding balance.

FYI - Your life is not meant to be one static pie chart you control!

When you learned to ride a bike, roller skate or turn a cartwheel, everyone probably remembers the more you fought your body’s natural sense of balance or had thoughts of falling, your struggle to succeed was harder. In fact, you discovered when you worried less, trusted in the uncertainty more and enjoyed moving through space, your balance became effortless. Balance within in your life works very much the same way.

The process of balance involves an ever-evolving dynamic. This fluid ingredient of life, known as balance, becomes increasingly present when it builds up a momentum and is allowed to have its own ebb and flow without your control! Living a balanced life is found in being perfectly imbalanced and stepping outside of yourself many times. If this sounds like a contradiction, it really is not. In order to experience balance within your life, you must, ultimately, alter your definition of balance. Not unlike how nature recovers the pertinent balance of minerals in her soil through what many view as destructive forest fires, you need to understand that balance can come from being thrown off balance, no matter how distressing things appears. You come to know your own sense of balance by living the breadth and depth of life and by not avoiding it.

Here are suggestions for reframing and reclaiming a sense of balance with your life:

Prioritize – Organize and focus on what really matters. This means establishing priorities for what you need to do and want to do daily. All in that order. There are daily events that must be attended to, such as going to work, shopping for groceries and feeding the family. Then there are the events that you want to do, such as pursuing your hobby, answering emails and taking that relaxing bath. It is a myth that you must spend the exact amount of time on every item in your life’s pie chart. In fact, attempting to do everything equally can establish patterns of mediocrity instead of opening you to extraordinary feats and accomplishments when you focus. Your balance is found in attending to the parts of your life, but not always focusing in equal increments. So go ahead and put time into exploring your creative whim.

Simplify – Learn to not over commit. You can say no to extra activities and say yes to your priorities. Sometimes you may want to be extra-involved in certain activities and at other times, you may need to shy away from these same commitments. This is natural and not flaky. It is only flaky when you first commit and then drop out. Avoid this by simplifying and saying yes to what matters and is important. Balance arrives when you are fully present within your commitments and give yourself permission to choose.

Emotions – Experience the breadth and depth of your emotions. When you avoid your deeper, tougher emotions, which could be anger for some and love for others, you cause an unhealthy internal imbalance. You grow your psychological balance through expressing and understanding the nature of your moods and feelings, not by remaining placid. You get to learn about your inner strengths and human nature when you own and accept who you are regardless if you feel fearful or happy. Quit judging your emotions. Emotion is a channel of energy that allows you to learn about your world. It is true that the levels of great joy one feels in life are proportionate to the depths of hardship ones also experiences. Understand that emotion is energy in motion and energy must continually flow to be balanced. Experience, express, but do not hold on.

Flexibility – Understand that balance is an ever-evolving dynamic. It involves movement and the inevitability of change. New events occurring within your life, such as a move, divorce or new job, can leave you feeling anxious, stressed-out and overwhelmed. These feelings worsen when you resist the change these events bring into your life in the present. By clinging to what was, you loose focus and are further removed from your internal locus of balance. Instead, experience your emotions, listen to them and implement their teachings. Balance is found in being flexible to what and where life leads you in the present moment and by not clinging to or controlling it. Often, balance arrives by being thrown off balance!

Is it possible to live a balanced life? Yes you can, when you understand that balance is not a static state where you will arrive some day. Instead, balance is found in the process of making the daily choices that keep you focused on what is important within your life. It teaches you to learn about balance by knowing what it feels like to be imbalanced. It is through the path of imbalance that you come to know the fine art of finding balance within your life. It is this path that becomes an opportunity to rediscover your life in a seemingly balanced, yet perfectly imbalanced way.

Have a well-being question you would like to have answered? You can write Karen at for answers. For more information about Gifts of the Goddess – All-Natural Body & Skin Care, visit:

Copyright (c) 2005 Karen A. Dahlman. All rights reserved.

Karen A. Dahlman, art therapist, licensed counselor and entrepreneurial business owner aspires to teach others to lead a creative life. She is founder and CEO of Creative Visions Consulting, Inc., a fortune 500 telecommunications-consulting firm. Her latest business endeavor is Gifts of the Goddess – All-Natural Body & Skin Care, which is close to her heart as it developed from her work as a therapist, inspiring women to evoke their inner goddess through self-empowerment. For more information about self-care through body-care, visit Gifts of the Goddess – All-Natural Body & Skin Care:

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Meditation - Transcending Limitations

Many believe that the mind is divided into three parts: the conscious, the sub-conscious, and the super conscious. Our conscious mind is usually cluttered with distractions and noise, our sub-conscious holds suppressed past experiences, fears, and (imagined) limitations, but the super conscious is where our perfection and mastery reside.

Think back to a time in your life where everything “clicked”, and you could do no wrong. It may have been for only a few minutes, but for that brief time you were invincible. Maybe you were shooting hoops, and you just couldn’t miss. You felt so “on”, you knew that every shot would be a “swish”… and it was. Possibly you were playing tennis, and you felt as though you could return every shot… and you did. Perhaps you were painting, and you felt like no stroke from your brush could be wrong… and the canvas turned out to be beautiful. Whether you were dancing, playing a musical instrument, programming a computer, or public speaking, I imagine that at some time in your life, you have experienced such a transcendence of your regular limitations. This state is known as “superconsciousness”. If you have been to this space before, you would do anything to get there again. Unfortunately, therein lays the problem. When we try to analyze and pressure ourselves to reclaim “superconsciousness”, we almost certainly fail.

One way of attaining super consciousness is through meditation. Meditation is the path to true self-awareness. Through meditation we can escape from the limitations that our conscious and sub-conscious mind subject us to.

Come back to the SoundSleeping discussion page in the next few days when I will describe how you can use meditation to rise above your limitations.

In the meantime, consider the following advice: “Do not fear mistakes, there are none” – Miles Davis.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Journal Your Stress Away

Writing down our thoughts and feelings, as in keeping a journal, is a proven method to relieve stress and improve well being. The expression achieved through writing in a journal on a regular basis, or during times of high stress, helps to clarify and focus what we are actually feeling and experiencing. Putting down on paper what we are frustrated about, worried and concerned with, helps us to begin to understand in a clearer, more concise manner, what we are going through. That understanding can help us to realize what actions we can then take to work through the stress.

Journaling on a regular basis about daily events, joys, and struggles alike, can actually help us to face our day, and solve our problems with less stress. When we record our days on paper, or on the computer, we are processing our feelings, fears and joys, as we are writing.

To help with the stress in our days we can create a routine and journaling system for ourselves. Ask yourself a daily morning question upon rising. This becomes a check into the day question, and writing the answer down, can be a great way to focus the day. For Example - "What am I going to do today that will support just me?" Or - "What am I going to do today at my work, (or with friends, or family), that is different than I have done before?" Another idea - "What one thing do I want to accomplish today that I have not had time to do?" We can ask the same question each day, or ask a new question.

We can also create a journal to record what we need to keep doing, stop doing, do less of, or more of. For example - "I need to stop playing old broken records from my past that no longer apply and no longer serve me. I am enough. I do not have to live in fear. We can journal on that topic alone, until it feels finished."

Another journaling idea is to define what is causing the stress: Whatever or whomever.

For example - "Bob really bugs me when he misses deadlines."

Or - "I never have enough time to fit it all in, family, friends, work, fun."

Or - "I am in way over my head on this project."

Next in your journal write about and define the why.

"When Bob misses deadlines it makes me look bad. I can't enjoy my weekends when Bob has a project due on Monday, because I keep worrying Bob won't come through."

Then ask why again to those answers, and write them down.

"I hate to look bad in front of my peers. It is embarrassing to me. I don't like to be embarrassed. I don't need/deserve that."

Then ask why again. Keep writing, then asking why to those answers. What can be found is the real reason(s) for the stress. After the reason(s) are revealed then processing the root of the stress is easier to address. Then journal about those feelings.

Journaling is something we can all give to ourselves. Find a quiet time in the day, and a quiet place to journal. Set the journal where you will see it every day. Using a notebook, a blank book, a favorite journal, or a computer, any of these all serve as outlets for expression of stress. Through journaling we use that outlet of expression to help us see, process and understand our stress. Through journaling the toll stress takes can be reduced or eliminated.

Doreene Clement, a cancer victor and author of The 5 Year Journal, is currently writing a new book, Blessed, about her life and her cancer experience. For more information 480.423.8095

Copyright 2005 OMDC, LLC All Rights Reserved

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Beating Anxiety Naturally

Anxiety is a common problem in modern day society and is a common symptom of stress. In stressful situations, anxiety is normal, it’s when anxious feelings start to take over your life that it becomes a problem. Typical symptoms of anxiety are feelings of dread, worry, panic, apprehension, doom, insomnia, loose bowels, sweating, muscle tension, dizziness, hyperventilation, flushing, irritability, fatigue, palpitations, stomach problems, tremor, sweating and restlessness. These symptoms are usually associated with what may happen. In some people who feel anxious, anxiety is linked with depression so it is always wise to consult your doctor if you have anxious symptoms.

To combat anxiety, it is best to find out what is causing the stress, try to reduce the stress by taking up counselling, meditation, group therapy, yoga and relaxing more. Some people who suffer from anxiety have found acupuncture beneficial. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and substances that contain caffeine such as coffee, carbonated drinks, tea, chocolate and caffeine containing medication. Many anxieties suffers find that the herbs Valerian and Kava Kava help them to feel calm and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. There are many different makes of relaxing supplements that can be bought in health food shops that contain these herbs mixed with others that help you to feel calm. Some people also find Bach Rescue Remedy helpful when suffering from anxiety.

The following supplements may help if you are suffering from Anxiety.

B group vitamins




Kava Kava


Multivitamins and multiminerals

St John’s wort


Stewart Hare C.H.Ed Dip NutTh

Advice for a healthier natural life


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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Reduce Stress by Using Lists

Stress is a result of conflict. When faced with a struggle or decision, stress enters our lives and doesn’t leave until the conflict is resolved. Levels of stress usually get out of control when we are busy, because we consistently have too many things on our mind.

One way to lighten the burden of stress is by creating lists. Having our tasks set out and prioritized can take us out of the “constant decision-making” mode that often accompanies a busy lifestyle.

Follow the steps below to create lists that will reduce stress.

1) In point form, write down all the things you would like to get done. Make it a comprehensive list. Include personal and professional items, both short-term and long term.
2) Once the list is complete, prioritize the items. Put the most crucial and time-sensitive tasks near the top, and work your way down.
3) Take a realistic number of tasks from the list, and make that your daily goal. Set aside the rest of the list to be dealt with later.
4) Check off items on your list as they are completed, and add new ones in the prioritized list as they come up.
5) Long-term goals may be broken up into smaller sections.

Here is an example list (probably much shorter than your daily list would be) :

• Finish report for client
• Pay electricity and cable bills
• Complete the first two sections of the budget proposal
• Take the kids to the park for 45 minutes
• Buy flowers for my wife on the way home from work
• Change the light bulbs in the basement washroom
• Tidy the shed

When you write down your jobs for the day, they no longer have to dwell in your mind. A prioritized list reduces the need for constant decision making throughout the day, and provides a sense of accomplishment as items are checked-off the list. Most importantly, you will feel more at ease, knowing that important tasks won’t be forgotten or put-off, but completed in an orderly and timely fashion.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Aromatherapy And Your Sense Of Well Being

By: Catherine Olivia

Who doesn't smell a loaf of homemade bread baking, or fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and not close their eyes and remember simpler, happier days? Smell is a very strong sense which can evoke many different types of emotions. Aromatherapy is the use of specific essential oils to help rebalance, harmonize and promote spiritual health and a feeling of well being.

While lavender helps one to relax, and can be used in conjunction with meditation, mint and rosemary are stimulating and uplifting and are great pick-me-ups used in a morning shower. Oils such as lemon and tree tea are used to help healing of wounds and infections. These oils can be mixed in a base cream.

Baths with essential oils are very popular. Chamomile and peppermint can be used to sooth tired and aching muscles and make a wonderful soaking bath. If, with research you find you want to blend your own essential oils for bathing, they can be diluted in a base of powdered milk, sea salts, or milk.

Inhaling is another way to use aromatherapy and is most beneficial to aid some respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, hay fever or sinusitis. Inhalation can be done in a variety of ways, through steam or by use of an electric diffuser, which are easily available in many stores. Don't forget aromatherapy candles!

It seems that manufacturers have caught on to the popularity of aromatherapy and they are now incorporating aromatherapy into their products, including it in things such as cosmetics and hair care products.

Aromatherapy is used in the US by some medical practitioners such as massage therapists, and naturopaths. Aromatherapy is widely accepted in France and Britain and is even taught in medical schools there.

About the Author: This article provided courtesy of

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Planning a Relaxing Vacation

A common so-called irony in life, is when a person finally gets around to taking a much needed vacation, and falls ill as soon as they are away from work.

The reason for this situation being common is easily explained. Most people, as they are preparing for a vacation, are in a hectic state; trying to tie up loose ends at work, getting packed, finding a house and or pet sitter, finding visas or passports, organizing and cleaning the house, getting the yard prepared, creating “to do” lists for people, the list goes on. When you finally set off on your vacation, your body needs a break. Your immune system has been suffering from lack of sleep and excess stress. It’s an ideal time for a virus to attack and get a solid foothold.

There’s another reason illness attacks during vacation. Often people choose a trip that is not relaxing for them.

Two years ago my wife and I went on a vacation with friends. We went cross-country skiing at a resort. The cabin we stayed in was beautiful, we were surrounded with close friends, and the weather was nice - Seemed like a recipe for a wonderful vacation. Unfortunately, our friends were far better skiers than us, and ran us so ragged we were painfully stiff for days. Also, we let loose in the evenings, and trying to keep up with our friends' drinking proved to be a big mistake. My wife and I returned from our vacation exhausted and ill.

The way to avoid a poor vacation is to plan ahead.

- Think about what the purpose of the vacation is. If your aim is to reduce tension after a busy time at work, make sure the destination will give you the peace and calm you need.
- Take a vacation before your vacation. Take three or four days off work before your vacation begins, so that you can get organized, and begin to slow down your pace gradually.
- Get prepared, well before your vacation. If you will need any documentation (visa/passport), prescriptions, reservations, tickets, etc… get them all in advance. Nothing is more comforting than a sense of preparedness.
- Lastly, do not feel like you have to do anything on your vacation. Often there is pressure to go site-seeing, or participate in social events. If you feel like staying in the room and reading a book, that’s probably what you should do.

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Laughter Is Good For You

by: Nicky Vanvalkenburgh

Have you ever thought about laughter as healthy?

Over 25 years ago, Dr. Norman Cousins in his book "Anatomy of an Illness" described how watching Marx Brother movies helped him recover from a life-threatening tissue disease. "Laughter is an antidote to apprehension and panic," wrote Dr. Cousins.

Can laughter improve your health? Yes! Medical studies have shown that laughter utilizes muscles throughout the body. For instance, laughter exercises the lungs and circulatory system and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Laughter also:

Reduces muscle tension
Boosts endorphins, the body's natural painkillers
Reduces levels of hormones and neurochemicals
Stablizes blood pressure
Increases heart rate
Provides a natural boost to the immune system
Amazingly, laughter also reduces stress. Levels of epinephrine, the stress hormone which constricts blood vessels and suppresses immune activity--decrease in the body as a result of laughter. In other words, laughter is a good way for people to relax! It is beneficial from the inside-out, and has no side effects.

Do you have respiratory problems? It may be possible to laugh them away. There have been incidences where a hearty belly laugh helped people with respiratory problems by clearing mucus and aiding ventiliation.

Laughter also gives your heart a good cardiac workout. Some hospitals have stand-up comedians and "clown kids" in attempts to speed their patients healing, recovery and boost morale.

Medical researcher Dr. Lee Berk found that laughter increased the activity of "natural killer cells" which destroy viruses and tumors. Laughter also increased disease-fighting protein, B-cells, the source of a disease-destroying antibody, and T-cells which help cellular immune response.

Today is a fantastic day to laugh, learn, love, and grow. You can do it! Go ahead and laugh. It's good for you.

Nicky Vanvalkenburgh

If you need a good laugh, check out Nicky VanValkenburgh's stress reduction website that features funny, weird and bizarre photographs:

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Three Things You Can Do Now To Reduce Stress

Are any of these scenes familiar?

...The kids woke up late again this morning. By the time you get
them to school and fight rush hour traffic, you'll be 20 minutes
late for the meeting you're supposed to lead...

...When you were first hired, you felt lucky to get your
customer service job. But now you wonder if it's worth it. The
phones ring constantly and you hear nothing but complaints. Last
week, you called in sick just to get a break...

...It's almost time for your presentation. Top management is
here and your supervisor is counting on you to make her look
good. You were up all night finishing the Powerpoint. You wonder
if you've anticipated all the possible questions...

Stress is a permanent feature of our lives, but it really seems
to ramp up at work. More than two-thirds of American workers
report that workplace stress is a problem.

This means we're all spending way too much time in "fight or
flight" mode. And it's taking a toll on our bodies through
weakened immune systems, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
These conditions shorten our lives and lower the quality of
what's left.

There are lots of strategies for managing stress, but when
stress blindsides us with no time to prepare, we don't need
strategy. We need quick, practical steps we can take NOW that
work fast and can be done anywhere. When stress launches it's
next surprise attack, try one of these: breathe deeply,
visualize mentally, relax progressively.

Breathe Deeply

Breathing deeply could be the single most effective way to stay
calm. Everyone breathes, but a lot of us breathe the wrong
way--shallow, fast, and high in the chest. This kind of
breathing is restrictive, it increases our anxious feelings, and
it fuels our body's negative stress reactions.

Slow, deep breathing triggers a relaxation response, calming the
body and focusing the mind. It increases the amount of oxygen in
our blood, raising our performance potential.

Are you breathing the right way? To find out, try this: put one
hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen just below your
rib cage. Now breathe. Which hand moves? If it's the hand on
your chest, your breathing is too shallow.

The trick is to make the hand on your abdomen move. Inhale
deeply while you slowly count to five. Try to get your abdomen
to expand instead of your chest. If you have trouble making it
happen, try it lying on your back. With a little practice and
patience, you'll be able to shift into a deep breathing pattern

Once you learn the technique of deep breathing, you can do it
anytime--in the middle of rush hour traffic, right before you
handle the next irate customer, even in the middle of your big

Visualize Mentally

There are two kinds of visualization techniques. The first one
involves building a mental image of a place that's relaxing for
you. It may be a remembered place that triggers relaxed,
contented feelings, or it may be imaginary. The basic idea is to
give your mind something to focus on besides the stress.

Once you have visualized your restful scene, you should spend
about 10 minutes attempting to imagine it as fully as possible.
Inventory your senses. What do you see? How does it smell? Do
you hear anything? What do you feel? What can you taste? Then
slowly allow yourself to return to the real world around you.
Effective visualization will take some practice.

Professional musicians and Olympic athletes practice a different
form of visualization: a mental rehearsal of what's about to
happen. Instead of visualizing a relaxing scene, mentally
rehearse the situation that's causing your stress. Visualize the
meeting you're about to walk into and rehearse what happens.
Imagine yourself successfully completing tasks that give you
trouble. Visualize feeling calm and in control. This type of
mental rehearsal can help you actually attain these feelings
when the situation becomes reality.

Relax Progressively

Breathing deeply and visualizing mentally both involve your mind
convincing your body to relax. Progressive muscle relaxation
works the other way, with your body reporting to your mind that
all is well.

Progressive relaxation works by tensing and relaxing muscles
throughout your body, one group at a time. Try this: starting at
your feet and working your way up to your head, contract and
loosen each muscle group one after the other. Become aware of
each muscle, tense it, hold the tension for a count of five,
then slowly relax it. As the muscles in your body relax, your
mind will become calmer and more focused.

The more you practice, the more sensitive your muscles will
become to levels of tension and relaxation. The goal is to reach
the point where you can relax your body on demand without having
to go through the entire cycle. If you can do that, then stress
doesn't stand a chance.

Be aware of the situations that cause you negative stress. If
you can see them coming sooner, it may give you extra time to
breathe deeply, visualize mentally, and relax progressively. Not
only will these fast and easy techniques help you in the moment
of stress, using them regularly may help lessen the long term
effects of stress on your life and health.

About the author:
Art Turner is a writer, musician, and creator of Relaxation
Emporium, where you can learn more about stress and stress
management techniques. Visit

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Meditation – Advice for the beginner

Maybe you’ve heard about the wonderful benefits of meditation; “It will relax you, center your thoughts, allow you to escape from your stressful day”. Why wouldn’t you want to take part in such an activity?

The truth is - most people never reap the considerable rewards that a quality meditation session can offer. After a few unsuccessful attempts, these individuals give up and conclude “meditation doesn’t work”. If you don’t believe meditation can work for you, I’d like to offer you a bit of perspective via the following exercise:

Go to a music store that sells pianos (if you can play piano, substitute this instrument with one you’ve never played before). Sit down at a piano and play some beautiful music. What, you can’t……? But I’ve heard that a person can play beautiful music on a piano. Maybe try a few more times. No doubt, if after three or four attempts you are not producing exquisite sounds from this instrument, you will come to the conclusion that “pianos don’t work”.

We all know that the piano is capable of producing music, so why are you not able to get it to work? It’s because, in order to play the piano successfully, you must take the time to learn how to the instrument works, and then spend many hours practicing.

Meditation is not a practice that will “work” the first time you try it. It took you awhile to learn how to ride a bike. You probably couldn’t catch a ball the first time you tried. Most likely, your first few meditation sessions won’t be very successful either. Instead of giving up, read some literature on meditation, research the subject on websites, and try to practice once a day for a month. Your local library probably has some meditation audio recordings or videos that you can borrow. Try a variety of meditations to find an approach that works well for you. With a bit of effort, you will get results from your meditation sessions.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Foods that Aid Sleep

The benefits of a sound sleep is not a state secret. We know how sleep can effect our productivity, our decision making capability, functioning of our brain. According to Ayurveda, people who are most vulnerable to sleep disorders have dry hair, suffer hair fall, sensitive digestions, are usually restless, prone to smoking and have DRY SKIN too. In the nutshell, a good night's sleep is essential to good health.

Studies say over 100 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia. But the good news is, you can easily improve your sleep with better sleep habits. For sound sleep tips, click here.

Also, it has been proved now that some food have the power to affect our sleep. The affects can be positive as well as negative. Some foods cam increase our nervous simulation and prevent us from sleeping. Drinking caffeinated beverages or xanthine in tea before bed time are egample of such foods. Also fizzy drinks and cigarettes have the same effect. Basically, these foods stimualte neurochemicals that perk up the brain. Other major factor responsible for a disturbed sleep is eating a heavy dinner before bedtime. it results in snoring, heavy breathing and reflux esophagitis.

Myth: The most common myth found among mass is, they believe alcohol helps in the sleep. But the fact is, alcohol may initially act as sedative but it interupts normal sleep patterns in the long run.

Now, lets look at the other side of the story. There are certain foods which improve our sleep. These foods are rich in trytophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic and lulls us into restful sleep. Eating carbohydrates rich in trytophan makes this calming amino acid more available to brain.

Foods containing trytophan that aid sleep are

. Milk

. Cheese

. Curd

. Potato

. Wheat

. Seafood

. Beans

. Sesame seeds

. Oatmeal

. Apricots

. Bananas

Tip: Avoid eating junk food and highly refined food at night because fibre-rich food increases serotonin availability, but processed carbs over stimulates insulin, which leads to disturbed sleep.

Other Bed time snacks can include:

. Whole grain cereal with milk

. Ice-cream

. Seasame seeds

. Oatmeal or rasin cookies

Tip: Lighter meals are more likely to give you a good night's sleep.

About the Author

Ashley Green - For your complete and most comprehensive family guide on Health.

Also get free tips and advice on various health issues at

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Use The Sleep-Aid / Relaxation tools

For those of you who haven't tried the sleep-aid / relaxation tools on the website, this article will describe the tools and give advice on how to use them. For those who have used the tools already, the following tips may help you to use the tools more successfully.

The two tools can be found at: - Drumming tool - Vibraphone tool

These tools allow you to mix nature sounds with drumming or vibraphone music to create your own relaxing ambience. You are able to control the volume of each sound, enabling you to fine-tune the music to suit your own unique tastes. I'd like to share with you my method of finding effective mixes.

Turn up each sound on the tool to it's highest volume (100). Very few people will enjoy the result of this mix. Concentrate on the feelings the music evokes, trying to find the sound that is working the least for you. Once you have found that sound, reduce the volume until it no longer bothers you (this may be a volume of 0). Continue doing this until all disquieting sounds have been either removed altogether or reduced to a comforting level.

Your “ultimate mix” may change from day to day, depending on your mood. To help me relax, I usually have thunder as my highest level (100), ocean (65), a light rain (26), and faint wind chimes (13). This mix makes me feel as though I am vacationing, and because of the inclement weather, I have no choice but to stay inside and relax. For me, this creates a very peaceful and calming atmosphere.

Experiment on your own. If you’ve found your own methods of using the tool, please share them with us all.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Meditation And Relaxation

If you haven't tried meditation to relax, reduce stress, and improve your sleep, you should give it a try. I found a great site the other day, that has short audio meditation sessions ( You can take part in these exercises at work or at home. The visuals and background music are very nice as well. Breathing is very important for these exercises, so you may want to check out my article on Deep Breathing posted on September 26.

Have fun at the site.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Good Stress - Bad Stress

Websters dictionary defines stress as: “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation”.

It’s important to realize that this “physical, chemical, or emotional” tension is a part of life, and is important to the workings of the human body.

Stress occurs whenever we encounter something in our lives to which we must react. This may be a small event, like swatting at a fly that has landed on our arm, or something more significant, like dealing with the death of a loved one.

When we run into stress, our body reacts by producing adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones do good things for our body: cortisol by improving our memory, and adrenaline by enhancing our immune system and supplying us with energy. It’s when we allow this stress to remain with us for extended periods of time that bad things begin happening. When cortisone builds up it can actually cause our brain cells to shrink and hinder our short term memory. Unused adrenaline can eventually lower our immune system and cause depression.

The healthy way to deal with stress is to allow it to take its course the way nature intended. The adrenaline that your body produces needs to be used-up, and the best way to do this is by exercising. These hormones are meant to help out with short term situations, so we need to find stress reducing activities to deal with ongoing stress (like work or finances). Some ideal relaxation and stress-reduction activities are yoga, tai-chi, and meditation.

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