Overcoming Multitasking with Mindfulness

Overcoming Multitasking with Mindfulness

Article Highlights

  • We lose time and efficiency when expect our conscious mind to multitask
  • Multitasking results in lost productivity and distraction
  • By being mindful, we become truly attentive and productive

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night suddenly realizing that you made a mistake or forgot to do something the day before?

Isn’t it crazy, that you can go all day and not think of something important, and then at 2:56 a.m., it hits you like a brick?

But what can you do about it at 2:56 am? You know you won’t be able to take care of it until morning, but that isn’t going to help you fall back asleep. As a matter of fact, if you are like most people, it will keep you awake thinking about it and – worrying.

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To fix this, we must look at why this happens in the first place. (more…)

Back to School Stress? Here’s a free gift for your kids

Back to School Stress? Here’s a free gift for your kids

Back to school stress?

Back to school brings with it excitement, new opportunities, challenges, and  . . . . stress.

Here are some ideas on how to minimize the anxiety that naturally comes with the beginning of a new school year.

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  1. Understand that most stress and anxiety occur when there is “fear of the unknown”

Many times, when people don’t know what to expect, they tend to fear what is coming. That turns on stress. This is especially significant in kids, who don’t have a lot of life experience to pull from to boost their confidence in new situations.

  2. Let your kids express their feelings

You don’t necessarily need to agree with what they are feeling. You may even think they are being a bit dramatic, but they don’t need to know that.

What they need to know is that you have their back. So just listen. If they feel understood, they will feel better.

  3. Give them some downtime

Families today tend to be over-scheduled and that can create over-stimulated, tired, stressed-out kids. Give your kids constructive tools to reduce their stress.

Tools for Success

Our 11-year-old son loves the Power Nap. Even though he doesn’t understand the physiology of anxiety, he knows when he is stressed and afraid. The Power Nap interrupts that physiology, relaxes him, and helps him feel back in balance where he is better able to handle what’s going on in his life.

He just feels better.

We want your kids to feel better and have a great start to the school year, so here is a gift for you — a free Power Nap guided relaxation audio download.

Try it with your kids, and you will feel better too!

Best Wishes!

Dr. Olpin in the Media

Learn more about coping with back to school stress by watching Dr. Olpin’s interview on Good Things Utah,

Click on the picture for the link. 


Life Can Be Simple

Life Can Be Simple

Article Highlights

  • Eight ways to live a meaningful and purposeful life
  • Many philosophies have similar agendas, but have different names
  • A simple life boils down to a few simple ideas

Life really is quite simple:  Focus on the moments; learn from our past, and do things today that will benefit our future. 

So, I ask you: What are you doing this very moment to honor these three things? Do you feel like you can focus on each moment, being present and mindful?  Have you allowed yourself to heal and grow from your past (even from just a minute ago)?  And, are you actively preparing yourself to have a better tomorrow?

Life really is that simple.

If life is so simple, why do we tend to make it so complicated? … As I was contemplating this, I was reminded of some basic philosophies and behaviors that can bring us back to simplicity (if we choose it).

In my training to become a yoga instructor, we spent an entire weekend discussing Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, which describes eight ways that we can live a meaningful and purposeful life (1) – including mindfulness, meditation, nonviolent thought/behavior, surrender to God, and others.

Similar teachings were brought to the forefront of my mind as I was re-reading a book on stress relief (2).  I was reminded of Levels of Responding, including acceptance and gratitude (2, pg. 52); meditation; and exercise.  It became more apparent that the ways to have a simple (and enjoyable/meaningful) life are being taught within many different names. 

I have ready a decent number of books, and I used to get so confused as I would read one type of philosophy and then another – thinking they were all saying something completely different. 

However, I am beginning to understand that many of the same things just have different names.  Love is love even if you call it acceptance, nonviolence, allowance, or forgiveness.  I was making it more complicated than it actually is.

As we strive to find meaning, purpose, and peace in this life remember, it all boils down to these simple ideas: living in the moment (mindfulness, gratitude, meditation), letting go of the past (nonviolence, surrender), and doing things now that will benefit our future (exercise, yoga, spirituality).

It really is that simple.  Let’s try to keep it that way.

The Best Medication for a Stress Headache? Meditation

The Best Medication for a Stress Headache? Meditation

Article Highlights

  • Simple meditation practice improves pain tolerance
  • Meditation produces deeper brain wave activity
  • It can help you fall asleep faster, reduce anxiety, and reverse the stress response

In a study from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, people who meditated for just 20 minutes a day saw their pain tolerance rise in 4 days.

Volunteers learned an ultra-easy technique called mindfulness meditation that teaches you to focus on your breath and stay in the present moment, not worry about what’s ahead.

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A Higher Pain Tolerance

Researchers tested the volunteers’ pain thresholds with mild electric shocks and found that shocks considered “high pain” before meditating felt mild afterward. Volunteers who didn’t learn the meditation had unchanged responses to the shocks. (No, we can’t imagine why anyone volunteered for this, though we’re grateful that they did.)1

This is great news because about 30%-80% of the adult U.S. population suffer from an occasional tension, or stress headache. Approximately 3% of those suffer from chronic daily tension headaches. Women are twice as likely to suffer from tension-type headaches as men. 2

Many of these poor sufferers don’t realize that medications don’t cure headaches and that, over time, pain-relievers and other medications may lose their effectiveness. In addition, all medications have side effects. The truth is that pain medications are not a substitute for recognizing and dealing with the stressors that may be causing your headaches.

Why Meditation Works

This is where the power of the mind comes in. Meditation works by slowing brain wave activity from beta brainwave activity, (when we are awake and alert and stressed), to the deeper levels of theta and delta brainwaves that are experienced when we are in our deepest sleep.3

Researchers have found that people who regularly meditate are able to reach these deeper levels of brainwave activity and enjoy deeper levels of rest after only 5 minutes of meditation compared to one to two hours for people falling asleep! That is powerful because it is when your body is resting deeply, it repairs itself, restores itself, and the immune system works most efficiently.3

Mindfulness meditation doesn’t work because your pain is “all in your head.” It works because when the pain won’t quit, stress and worry kick in, boosting levels of stress hormones. This tricks your brain into thinking the pain is actually worse than it is.1 In other words, many people make their pain worse by stressing about it. Meditation helps to reverse the stress response.

Reduce Anxiety

Meditation also seems to be one heck of a great anxiety remedy. England’s University of Manchester found that meditation also eased pain by helping the brain stop anticipating it – another stress trigger. Less stress and less pain can also mean better sleep, more motivation to exercise, and even less depression, all of which help us to relax more and hurt less.1

Mindfulness meditation and other relaxation therapies like progressive relaxation and guided imagery are easy to learn. You don’t have to sit on the floor with your legs crossed, or go on any expensive retreats. Many people find it extremely easy to play a meditation download and de-stress for a few minutes, letting their mind relax and their body heal itself. The results may lead to fewer and a far less painful stress headache. For more information on learning this pain reducing, body healing technique check out the some of the sources listed below.

Helpful Resources:
Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety – Learning to Meditate
The World is NOT a Stressful Place

References:
1. Use Your Brain to Relieve Pain   http://www.realage.com/blogs/doctor-oz-roizen/use-your-brain-to-relieve-pain?eid=7210&memberid=8626931
2. Tension Headache  http://www.medicinenet.com/tension_headache/page3.htm#tocf
3. The World is not a Stressful Place, Olpin, p. 138-141

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Do You Have the Winter Blues, or is it SAD?

Do You Have the Winter Blues, or is it SAD?

Article Highlights

  • SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a more extreme form of the winter blues
  • Sunlight, or lack of it, plays a large role in SAD
  • Sunshine and Light Therapy can be used to regulate hormones and reduce SAD

Many of us dread the coming of winter, the darkness, the cold, the increased risk of getting the flu.

About 10 to 20 percent of the American population suffers from what is commonly referred to as the “winter blues.”

A smaller percentage, from about 4 to 6%, suffers from a more extreme form of the winter blues called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

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SAD is a type of seasonal depression that shows up most of the time in late fall and lasts through the winter months, although there is a rare form that shows up in a smaller number of people in the late spring and lasts through the summer. In winter version of this disorder people suffer symptoms of depression including;

(more…)

Retrain Your Brain

Retrain Your Brain

Article Highlights

  • Meditation improves your mind, memory and mental focus
  • When the brain is resting in deeper brain rhythms during meditation, repair and restoration of brain cells occurs
  • Improved mood, happy thoughts and focus are side effects of regular practice of meditation

Want to improve your ability to focus, learn, and remember things?

Practice regular meditation.

That’s right, not only does meditation reduce stress, but it can also improve your mind, memory, and mental focus – permanently.  

Here’s how  . . .

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While you meditate your brain goes from the beta waves, which are the awake and alert brain waves, to the slower levels of brainwave activity called theta and delta waves. This is usually where the brain goes during deep sleep, dreaming, or deep hypnosis. This is also the time when the body undergoes its most restorative rest.1

While the brain is resting in these deeper rhythms, the body is at work. The immune system gets boosted and the body also repairs the damage done to it during the day, including healing cuts, bruises and internal problems we may not even know about. This restorative state is also when the mind shuffles through the thoughts and experiences of the day, organizing data into short term and long term storage.1

Meditation rewires the brain by producing high-frequency brain waves that increase the ability to focus, pay attention, learn and remember what was learned.  Meditation can also increase happy thoughts, improve your mood, and slow the aging process in the brain by slowing the thinning of the brain’s frontal cortex and helping to produce more brain cells. Those who meditate can experience these benefits permanently with regular practice. 2

If that’s not enough, meditation has also been found to improve long-term and short-term recall as well as academic performance in high school and college students. 3

There are several different types of meditation, but the one thing they all have in common is they are all easy to do and they all have powerful results.

I spent over ten years and over $2000 in trainings learning different techniques and methods of meditation. I teach everything I know and provide multiple guided meditation exercises in my online course – RELEASE

References

1. Stress Management for Life– Third edition, by M. Olpin and M. Hesson, (Wadsworth Cengage Learning) p. 321.

2. Benefits of Meditation: Train Your Brain, by M. Oz MD and M. Roizen MD, (Realage.com).

3. Stress Management for Life– Third edition, by M. Olpin and M. Hesson, (Wadsworth Cengage Learning) p. 325