Clap with me if you feel happiness is the key to success in every sector of your life. It’s true! When you’re happy, your mind, body, and spirit are aligned with the universe, and all of those aspects are working together to create an extraordinary life.
Happiness is just that important to long-term success in every facet of being. So I’m going to break it down to four concepts that you can implement in your day-to-day life to create happiness and prosperity wherever you focus.
Your Vigilant Drive
Vigilance is the action of careful observation, watchfulness, attentiveness, and mindfulness. Your vigilant drive is what makes you aware, awakens you, and keeps you on par with your purpose. On a more basic primitive level, it keeps you alive.
So how do you find happiness with vigilance? You’ve got to create a lifestyle for yourself that puts you on a path of chasing something you desire (rather than being whipped into it). Then, the vigilance acquired on that journey is positive, pleasurable, and we’re happy to ride it all the way to the goal.
Being on the whipped side of vigilance forcibly may still get you results, but you won’t be as happy about it when something/someone is forcefully driving you to action. This is negative vigilance. You will likely be highly stressed and unsatisfied. So, ensure your drive is fueled by positive vigilance in order to acquire happiness the right way.
Finding Your Purpose
This is a very important next step. Once you have recognized and started living with positive vigilance, you have initiated the journey, which will propel you to find your evolving purpose. You’ve got to be aware, alert, and open to hints that the universe sends you. If you follow those breadcrumbs, you will find your purpose because every time you pick up one of those tiny seemingly insignificant crumbs, you will instantly be filled with warmth and light. This will lead you to happiness and that feeling will continue all the way to the next breadcrumb. This is your trail to finding your purpose.
Getting In Flow
The crucial component to finding happiness stems straight from finding your purpose. It is the need to be “in flow”. Daniel Pink wrote a book called Drive that details this concept brilliantly.
You don’t get in flow by doing things “you have to do”. You get in flow when you do things that fulfill you. You may need to get creative to make what fulfills your heart put food on the table, but that’s the game of life we all have to figure out.
Being in flow is the point you reach when you’re not thinking about whatever you’re doing, you’re completely on purpose, your long-term vision is clear, you’re just in the groove doing it! When you’re in flow, taking steps is easy, and you love what you’re doing. When action doesn’t feel like work, that’s being in flow. And when you’re in flow, you’ve found joy.
Flow accentuates the importance of happiness. If you want to be more successful and more joyful and if you want to give back to more people, those goals become an upward spiral once you’re in flow.
My Formula To Happiness
If you build a practise like this in your life, you’re going to be purposefully working towards a bigger and better future. Happiness is a natural byproduct of that vision. The further down the path you go, the more happiness you will find.
Do something you love every day, whether it means reading, going for a run, teaching, gardening, or a combination of a couple or a few of these things.
Practice gratitude. A quick and easy way to raise your happiness level is writing in a journal dedicated to things you’re grateful for each day. It works every time.
Perform random acts of kindness. It’s unbelievable how performing small gestures for random people can bring you so much joy.
Meditate daily. Find the kind of meditation that works for you. Yoga is a moving meditation that works for me.
Exercise. The more intense your workout is, the happier you will be. It’s scientifically proven, so go for it!
Be mindful. Really pay attention to what you’re doing, consciously create your life with each purposeful action.
That’s it. Implement these concepts into your life and happiness will be yours. Now go forth and prosper!
Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.
Why is it important to train up our core strength?
There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.
This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.
Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.
In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.
One Exercise, multiple benefits
There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.
By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.
When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.
Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.
In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.
What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.
What will happen when you start doing planks every day
1. You’ll improve core definition and performance:
Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:
Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.
2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column
Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.
Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.
3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism
Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).
4. You’ll significantly improve your posture
Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .
A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.
A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.
On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.
5. You’ll improve overall balance
Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!- but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before
Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.
7. You’ll witness mental benefits
Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.
How to hold a plank position
Get into pushup position on the floor.
Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
Hold the position for as long as you can.
Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.
Watch the video if you have any doubt!
Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:
How to improve your plank time gradually
Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.
Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.
Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?
You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:
After prolapse surgery
Pelvic pain conditions
Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.