How Well Do You Sleep?

April 10, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under Low Density Lifestyle, Relaxation, Stress

Now, She is a Great Sleeper! Do you sleep as well as that?

(Please note: YouTube has embedded ads in the video. If you don’t want to see them, below the video on the right it says “Ads by Google” and then there’s a little box with an “X” in it. Just click the “X” and it will shut off the ads.)

One of the signs of being stressed out is not sleeping well. Sleeping well is crucial to relaxation, stress management and healthy living.

Many people have trouble sleeping. They use all kinds of sleep aids/medications to help them. But taking drugs for sleep is not an answer if you’re interested in health and wellness. The answer is learning good stress management approaches.

Do you have trouble falling asleep, or do you have trouble staying asleep? If so, the stress if getting to you.

If you want to have stress management and experience stress relief, then review the articles on 30 Ways to Relax Part 1 and Part 2. The suggestions on ways to relax are also relevant for ways to help you sleep.

The ideal is to sleep like a baby. To hit the pillow and be out like a light. Then you know you have no worries, you have good stress relief techniques, and you’re well on your way to healthy living.

Sleeping well also keeps you in the land of The Low Density Lifestyle.

If you want to see some really good sleepers, see the video above and check out the pictures below for some uncanny good sleepers.

Nighty-night to all!! See you in the the land of dreams!1742883218_56b529cb6f1742023451_54564572512092390485_4b54b01fec2092410691_28ba4345fc12093188998_6020f0828c2092410461_e9d7dc8cb81819818626_a404cb2763

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Why Play is Good For You

Dr. Stuart Brown on Why Play is Vital – No Matter Your Age

I talked yesterday about play and relaxation, and how conducive play is to relaxation, stress relief and healthy living.  Today’s article is a video from a May 2008 talk by Dr. Stuart Brown.

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

Dr. Stuart Brown came to research play through research on murderers — unlikely as that seems — after he found a stunning common thread in killers’ stories: lack of play in childhood. Since then, he’s interviewed thousands of people to catalog their relationships with play, noting a strong correlation between success and playful activity.

With the support of the National Geographic Society and Jane Goodall, he has observed animal play in the wild, where he first conceived of play as an evolved behavior important for the well being — and survival — of animals, especially those of higher intelligence. Now, through his organization, the National Institute for Play, he hopes to expand the study of human play into a vital science — and help people everywhere enjoy and participate in play throughout life.

Play allows us as adults to stay in touch with the child within. And when you lose that child within, you lose spontaneity, creativity, joy and happiness.

So keep playing, you hear? You’ll definitely find stress relief by playing, and you’ll definitely feel like you’re experiencing healthy living .

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Want to Relax? Then Go and Play!

boy_playing_water_smallOver the last two days I told you about 30 Ways to Relax, Part 1 and Part 2. Another way to relax and have stress relief is to let loose, have fun and Play!

When we think of play we think of kids, because we believe that kids should have time to play. But we forget that kids aren’t the only ones who need to play—we tend to think that as adults, we should forget our childish ways and be serious and not play.

Wow, what a boring way to live. And also, what a stressful way to live. No play = living a High Density Lifestyle. No play, no stress relief. No play, no joy.  And no play, no health and wellness, for that matter either.

Play is necessary, no matter your age. Play is so important, in fact, that Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) once described it as the defining characteristic of our species. For Huizinga, humanity is notable not as Homo sapiens, “wise people,” but Homo ludens, “playful people.”

So, what is play good for?

Absolutely everything, as it turns out.

Play is good for healthy living. Play helps manage stress, easing us into relaxation mode. Play releases1160564___soccer__ a whole range of beneficial brain chemicals, which not only make play fun but relieves tension and allows for stress relief.

Play opens up your mind and allows you to think different. Play stimulates the brain in nonlinear ways, causing your creative intelligence to be heightened. This changes the way you see things and allows you to think different. In this mindset, nothing is just what it seems – things take on new forms, problems seem not just solvable but trivial, and we feel empowered to take on the world.

Play unites the mind and body.  In play, the gap between physical sensation and mental sensation is bridged, as both your mind and body enter into heightened states of awareness. As the mind is stimulated from play, so is the body, and as the body is stimulated from play, so is the mind. It becomes a two-way street, and play helps to make you more in touch with yourself.

svillagekidsplayingPlay creates social bonds. When you play with others, a bond arises from it. You don’t think about what your differences are and let that get between you – instead you form a camaraderie due to your commonalities. Play unites us as humans – everyone likes to play, and so we bond over it.

Children bond with other children quickly, and the bond is based on playing. “Can you come out and play?” is the common refrain one child will ask another.

So when’s the last time you played?  I mean, really, really played. You know, having fun, letting loose, blowing off steam type of play. Not play in which you work out your tensions and aggressions at the expense of someone else, but good, old-fashioned play that’s fun and is a meaningful manner of stress relief.

When you find that kind of play, that’s when you really feel like you’re living a Low Density Lifestyle and you’re on the path of health and wellness.

If you’re not sure where to start, try this: Stand in front of a mirror, and make really ridiculous faces. Turn mccain-funny-faceyour eyelids out, stick your tongue out, snort, chuckle, and make weird noises. Truly embarrass yourself.  That’s right, really make a fool of yourself.

We all need to lighten up.  Being serious, heavy and dense all or most of the time isn’t good.  When you’re like that, you’re caught up in the High Density Lifestyle mode and taking life way too seriously. Chances are when you’re like that, you’re also getting stressed out way too easy.

So, now you know how to manage stress and find stress relief and start on the path to healthy living: Go out and play!

And actually, by making time to play, you become better at dealing with all the serious stuff in your life. You’ll feel better, be more relaxed, have better health and wellness, and enjoy more creativity – and all this will help make the rest of your life better.

And you know why?  Cause then you’ll be living a Low Density Lifestyle.

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30 Ways to Relax: Part 2

relaxIn yesterday’s article, I told you about 15 of the 30 ways to relax. In today’s article, I will tell you about another 15 ways to relax.

All told, if you put any of these into practice, it will give you much stress relief and give you a chance to experience healthy living.

And it will also help you live a Low Density Lifestyle.

I don’t know about you, but any opportunity to manage stress and have stress relief is fine by me. I’m sure you would agree with me.

So let’s go down the list and find out about more ways to relax and experience some healthy living.

Ok, so here we go with 30 Ways To Relax. Today, numbers 16 – 30.

16. Breathe. Breath is such a vital part of being able to relax and find your inner stillness. Try practicing breatheslow and deep breathing for a 10 count: deeply inhaling and then exhaling, slowly and calmly. The more you do this, the more it becomes second nature. This will allow you to easily relax and slow down at any point.

17. Lavender. Lavender is an essential oil that is prized for its soothing and relaxing effects. Try spraying your bedsheets with lavender and laying down on them.

yoga-cat18. Yoga. Whether you are naturally flexible or find yourself tight and stiff when you try and do yoga, is not important. What is important is how calming and relaxing yoga can be. You owe it to yourself to do it.

19. Meditation. Sitting still and emptying the mind will slow your body down and allow it to enter into a state of stillness and quiet.

20. Basking in the Sun. Whether at a beach, a lake, or in your backyard, feeling the sun’s energy beating into your body can be very relaxing. Just make sure you’re wearing enough sunscreen. An additional treat is if you’re at the beach, then you can listen to the sound of the waves crashing as the tide comes in.

21. Walking in nature. Being in nature is very invigorating, quieting, soothing and relaxing. Next time you’re feeling stressed out, if you get yourself immersed in nature you will find yourself decompressing in no time.

22. Fishing. This one is for those of you who like to fish – though there’s always a first time to get into it. Fishing is something that teaches you patience. It’s just you, your pole and the water, and you just wait and wait until something happens. Or it might be that nothing happens. But it can be very relaxing and soothing.

23. Vegetable Gardening. Gardening has many rewards, and one of them is how it can focus and quiet vegetable_garden_tomatoyour mind, and keep you involved in the cycles of the seasons. Each season has its own energy, and gardening can help you to feel more in harmony with the seasons.

24. Unclutter Your Living Space. If you allow clutter to take over your home, it can make you stressed out. Cleaning up the clutter and making order can create much more calm in your home.

25. Listen to Relaxing Music. Sure, it’s fun to rock out, and of course, as the famous saying goes, music soothes the savage soul. But to allow you to get deep-rooted stress relief, it’s best to listen to music that is calming and soothing. It can be classical, jazz, or some other melodic music. Or perhaps your relaxation will come from you playing on an instrument.

26. Do something creative. Write a poem, paint, play with clay, take photos, bang on a can, etc. Doing something creative can feed your soul. And by so doing, your soul will breathe a little easier and release any pent-up tensions and frustrations.

27. Just Say No. Create boundaries by saying no to other’s demands and requests. This allows you to not take on any more responsibilities and burdens, and allows you to take time for yourself.

28. Say Yes. Sex is very relaxing.

29. Tell Someone You Love Them. By doing this, it opens up your heart and allows your body to relax and let go.

24dog_and_cat130. Pet Your Dog or Cat. While you stroke your pet, tell them about all the stresses you are going through. Because they’re your pet, they love you unconditionally, so they’ll listen to you and always be there for you.

So that’s it for the 30 ways to relax. There are lots of other ways, and it might be that you have your own best way. Whatever that is, go for it and remember the more you relax and find stress relief, the more you will be on the path of healthy living and living a Low Density Lifestyle.

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30 Ways to Relax: Part 1

relax__stdLast week I was discussing stress – what stress is, stress and teenagers, 10 warning signs, and a video of life in the High Density Lifestyle lane.

This week I will talk about the opposite of stress: Relaxation. When you relax, you manage stress better and you get outstanding stress relief.  If you relax well enough, you get yourself into the Low Density Lifestyle mode.  And you also get yourself in the mode of feeling FREE.

Relaxation is such an important part of life, and it is something that cultivates healthy living.  Relaxation recharges the batteries, restores energy reserves and allows you to be healthier, happier and live a better quality life.

So, how good at relaxing are you?

In today and tomorrow’s articles, I will give you 30 different things you can do that will allow you to relax. Once you start implementing some or all of these, you will feel lighter and you will be living more in the Low Density Lifestyle.

Don’t forget: relaxation will help you to manage stress and give you stress relief, and will help you have a greater sense of health and wellness.

So, here we go with 30 Ways To Relax. Today, numbers 1 – 15.

1. Complete Your Project. Whatever it is you’re working on, if you don’t have much more to go on it, it’s better to finish it than to keep thinking about it when you should be relaxing. Don’t start another big project that you know you won’t finish, until after you’ve completed your relaxing, in order to keep your mind on the present.

2. Massage, Sauna, & Hot Bath. When was the last time you rewarded yourself with the gift of spa_massage_mastheadrelaxation by taking time out to concentrate on blissful restfulness? Get a one-hour massage, sit in a wet sauna for awhile, or make yourself a bath at home while listening to some nice and relaxing music.

3. Beat Your Tension Out. Beat the tension out at the gym, on the treadmill, or with the punching bag. You can do this without music or accompanied by some high-intensity music that will get your heart pumping. This might not sound too relaxing at first, but once you’re done exercising and the endorphins have overtaken your mind, you’ll be nothing short of relaxed.

4. Block the Time Out. In order to alleviate guilt about taking the time off, go ahead and schedule in a block of time during which you can hang loose, and not worry about anything. This way your mind knows it can chill, and that when the time comes you can get back to 100% efficiency.

5. Turn Off Distractions. Turn off your phone, door bell, computer, internet connection and anything else that can distract you. If no one can reach you it’s fine, they can always leave a message or call you later.

6. Dress for Relaxing. If you’re going to relax, do so in the right clothes. Sweat pants, pajamas, and loose hoodies are perfect to lounge around in.

7. Get ‘Extra’ Clean. We’ve all slothed around on a weekend morning without showering. We’re supposed to be relaxing, and no one is going to see or smell us anyway, right? Wrong! Before you set out on a day of relaxation, make sure you get extra clean, shower, shave, brush, floss, rinse, and put on clean clothes. You’ll feel like a million bucks!

chimp-drinking-tea8. Drink Soothing Tea With No Caffeine. Have a nice cup of herbal tea, and sit with a good book or mood music.

9. Journal. Carry a journal with you during your relaxation time, and write whatever is on your mind. You might come up with some great insights or ideas, or maybe you’ll write poetry. It might be a work-related thought you have, which you’ll be able to jot down so that you can stop thinking about it for now.

10. Write. Write a story about your life, or a piece of fiction – writing can be very relaxing.

11. Release Your Tension. If there’s a problem and it’s on your mind, don’t let it get you all bound up. Get out your journal and start writing. Feel free to vent, and write down exactly what’s wrong. When you’re done, toss what you wrote into the scrap heap, and with it the stress.

12. Visualization Exercises. Without ever having to go anywhere, you can visualize anything you want or any place you want. It can be a white sand beach, snow-capped mountain, fjords and streams, and on the other end of the universe. Sit down, close your eyes, and let your mind wander wherever it wants to go. Put on nice relaxing music if that helps you get in the mood.

13. Giving Appreciation. Take the time to think about people in your life that deserve appreciation and gratitude. You can write them a letter, or send them a card. When you do this, write it from your heart.

14. Bake. Baking can be a pleasurable and meditative experience, and can fill your house with wonderful bakingsmells. And of course, once it’s baked, you can eat it!

15. Read a Novel. Find a novel that you know will be interesting and intriguing, and delve into it, letting it take you into another world.

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Stress and the Teenage Years

March 31, 2009 by Michael Wayne  
Filed under FREE, Longevity, Relaxation, Stress

stress5

Are You Stressed?

So, are you stressed? Are you able to relax and experience stress relief? Do you have time to play? Do you sleep well? These are some essential questions, because if you’re overly stressed, not able to relax, not taking the time to play, and not managing stress well, you’re also most probably not sleeping well.

And if you’re stressed and not sleeping well, you know what that means? You’re living life in the fast lane, the lane in which you’re burning your candle at both ends and the candle is just about flamed out. You know what you call this: that’s right, that’s living the High Density Lifestyle, a lifestyle that is not conducive to healthy living and health and wellness.

So where do I start when talking about stress?

Teenagers and Stress

How about this? I’ll tell you that if you’re stressed out when you’re younger, you’re setting yourself up for a High Density Lifestyle adult life. Habits that we learn when we’re younger follow us into adulthood.

And getting stressed out when you’re younger is a nasty habit that if you don’t change, will affect you adversely when you’re an adult, because you’ll have a harder time managing stress and experiencing stress relief.

Teenage Stress and Heart Disease

A recent study found that teenage stress can lead to physical problems in adulthood and put adults at risk for cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that a greater frequency of stress in teens was associated with higher levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein, or CRP. CRP has been identified as an indicator for the later development of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

When you’re a teen, there are a lot of stressors that come at you, and most teens are ill-equipped to deal with them. And just think, if you’re ill-equipped to deal with them when you’re younger, then the adverse reactions your body has to stress will follow you all the way to when you’re grown-up.

Peter Panning It

Now you can take the Peter Pan approach to growing up, and basically refuse to grow up, but, and I hate topeterpan be the one to deliver the bad news, until science develops a cure for growing up, it ain’t gonna happen.

What researchers found was that daily interpersonal stress experienced during the high school years was associated with elevated levels of inflammation, as measured by higher levels of CRP, even among normal, healthy teens.

“Our findings are consistent with the emerging body of evidence that points to the link between stress and increased inflammation, which places individuals at risk for the later development of cardiovascular disease and could have a significant impact upon long-term physical health during adulthood,” was the summary of the research.

Develop Self-Awareness

So the bottom line is, getting immersed in living a High Density Lifestyle can start in your younger years and follow you along when you become an adult.

This is no way to live, so the best bet, if you’re not a teen anymore, is to develop the self-awareness of what stress is doing to you, so that you can be better at stress management and get yourself onto a Low Density Lifestyle.

And that’s when you really start living. The good news is that healthy living will be a beneficial byproduct of this.

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Stress: Life in the Fast Lane

street-signs-stressed-outFor the next few days I will talk about stress and relaxation. Stress is both a symptom and by-product of living a High Density Lifestyle, while being relaxed and calm is something easy to do when you’re living a Low Density Lifestyle.

Relaxation is one of the ingredients in the acronym FREE, which if you remember, stands for Flow/Relaxation/Effortless Effort. Living FREE means living a Low Density Lifestyle.

Life in the Fast Lane

When you are living life in the fast lane, you are putting your body under a lot of stress. There is only so long the body is capable of operating at a maxed lifeinfastlaneout level—you can only burn your candle at both ends for so long, and then the inner flame starts to be extinguished.

Stress is all-pervasive in our modern fast-paced culture. I will return to this category time and time again, and I will also return to the category of relaxation many times over. Why, you may ask? Because it can’t be talked about enough. Stress puts you smack in the middle of living a High Density Lifestyle, and the longer you live that way, the worse things become.

So let’s look a little more in-depth at what stress is.

A Brief History of Stress

The term stress was coined by scientist Hans Selye in the 1930s based on his careful observation of physiological responses in laboratory animals. Selye later broadened his findings to include the human response mechanism to a perceived threat, or “stressor.”

lab-ratSelye found that when he exposed various lab animals to unpleasant or harmful stimuli, there were three general stages of reaction. He called these the General Adaptation Syndrome, or GAS. The three stages were Alarm, Resistance and Exhaustion.

By the end of the third stage of GAS, Selye found the animals depleted of their body’s most important resources: their adrenal glands were fatigued, their autonomic nervous system was misfiring and their immune systems were burnt out.

Furthermore, it was found that this type of reaction played havoc on the feedback loop that constitutes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the system that controls reactions to stress and regulates many body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and expenditure.

Not everyone reacts to stressors in such a detrimental fashion, and there are times when stress can have positive attributes (Selye called stress that enhanced function eustress). But most people don’t cope well to stressors because they are on system overload, bombarded by stimuli and overwhelmed by life’s demands. Living in this manner is truly a major impediment to a Low Density Lifestyle.