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Make Use Of The Last Of Summer!

Make Use Of The Last Of Summer!

As summer starts to wind down there always is a sense of depression that comes with it. The days get a bit shorter and returning to school looms; it still strikes dread into me even though it’s been so long since I had to worry about getting all my school supplies in order!

Yellow #2 pencils still make me break out in a cold sweat and to this day the sight of a school bus leaves me on the sidewalk in the fetal position.

So with the fall and start of the school year being the second New Year in my mind, here’s how you can make the best of the end of summer.

1. Enhance Your Diet By Embracing The Fall Harvest

If you are a foodie then this time of year is like Christmas. When the fall harvest begins to kick in a real abundance of true local and organic food becomes available.

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Many people look to January 1st and the New Year to start getting healthy or losing weight but to me the end of summer and the fall is when you really want to undertake it. This is the time of year when you get food in its purest and healthiest state and it will be right in your own backyard.

Apple picking becomes a bigger activity and things like corn and squash are available everywhere. These are great, real whole foods that should make up the cornerstone of your diet. Do yourself a favor and start looking for farmers markets in your area as the amount of fresh local produce is at an all time high for the year. At a farmers market you know you are getting local, organic and most important, seasonal food.

So many of the foods we eat now are out of season as they are available year round, but getting foods when they are meant to be grown gets you a little more in tune with your environment and ultimately your health.

So get online and see what’s nearby you. The USDA has a Farmers Market Directory to search for them but you can even just do a Google search, and you might be surprised what’s close by! I pride myself on eating as natural and local as I can and I feel I’ve got my finger on the pulse of the local food scene where I live, but have recently searched online for other farmers markets in my area and found two within five minutes of my house! I had no idea they were even there, so get out there and meet the people that are actually growing this high quality food.

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2. Make Use Of The Outdoors For Exercise

As a personal trainer I always tell clients to get out of the gym for the summer and make use of the outdoors, sunshine and warmer weather. I live in Canada and when we are buried up to our necks in snow half the year we crave those few months of summer. It’s what I dream of when I almost get hit by snow plows trying to dig my car out of ditch.

The one issue in summer is when it gets too hot and exercise outdoors is not the healthiest thing. Poor air quality from humidity, smog and blazing heat can actually do more harm then good. There is the potential for heat exhaustion, sun burn, sun stroke, and dehydration. When the weather starts to cool at the end of the summer and we go into the fall it becomes the ideal time to get outside to get healthy.

You still can get that healthy sun exposure and fresh air and the cool crispness of the weather has a motivating and energizing effect. So this is a great time for those longer runs, hikes, hill sprints, long bike rides, outdoor boot camps, yoga and even early morning walks.

Once again, get a jump on things earlier and embrace that crisp, healthy late summer/early fall weather.

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3. Instead Of A Spring Cleaning, Do An End Of Summer Clean

This is where I will stress the point of looking at the fall/back to school time as the real New Year; and that means getting things organized and removing the clutter from your life.

Don’t wait until after a harsh winter to start making things fresh, get a jump on it at the end of summer while the weather is still good and really organize the things around you. The more clutter and disorganization around the more it impacts other areas of your life.

This is a good time to keep tackling those projects around the house, the yard or anything you can do to get things organized around you. That way, when you get out of those winter months you are farther ahead in the game than you normally would be.

Wrapping It Up

I love summer and I know you do too, it’s the time of year when things get to move a little slower and it feels like we can finally take a deep breath and relax. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you need to lose motivation and feel let down!

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Use the end of summer and the start of fall to make some improvements in your life, your health and your fitness and use that momentum to tackle the rest of the year and the winter head on.

But everyone needs to take it easy with all the pumpkin spice products and lattes…

Featured photo credit: amira_a via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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