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6 Steps To Be Healthy When Traveling

6 Steps To Be Healthy When Traveling

I currently travel twice per month for work for two to three days at a time, facilitating leadership development sessions for clients. When I started traveling for work I felt on top of the world. I was able to travel all across the country, do what I love doing, and best of all, it was on the company’s dime. I love visiting different cities, checking out different restaurants, and having a nice dinner with a couple of drinks.

However, it wasn’t very long before I started regretting these decisions and began rethinking what I loved about traveling. My health is my number one priority, and very few of my habits when I traveled aligned with my health goals. I’ve said for a long time that I never wanted to be the fat dude in a suit, and though I wasn’t at that point, some things needed to change.

Whether for work or pleasure, here are six steps to be healthy when traveling!

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1. Know your goals and challenges

When you travel, what are two or three things you really want to accomplish? When I travel, my three things are to be mindful of my eating, work out every day, and get good sleep. While on the road there can be significant challenges to succeeding in all three areas.

When it comes to being mindful of my eating, realistically I am going to be eating out for every one of my meals. That in itself can be a hurdle. I need to pay more attention to where I am eating and the options on the menu. Working out every day can be a challenge as well. I don’t like running outside that much, which can be dictated by the weather, and I really like my gym time. The challenge here is many hotel gyms are hit and miss. Equipment might not be working properly, the layout of the gym might be funky, or options are just very limited. Sure, I could just go run outside and/or do push ups in my room, but I’d rather have a gym. Sleep just comes down to organization of my day and night. I control that.

Take some time to think about what you really want to accomplish and what challenges you need to overcome to be successful.

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2. Get the right tools

Take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish. What do you need to be successful? To accomplish my nutrition goals, I need something to help me be aware of and manage my food information and choices. I use the website Loseit.com. I also downloaded its free app on my smartphone. Lose It! allows me to easily look up food, track my food for each meal, and it provides me with a nice pie chart that shows me the ratios of my protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake. This has allowed me to make smart decisions when I am eating out and finding menu items that align with my health goals.

For my workout goals, I refuse to roll the dice on the gyms at the hotels, so I have a membership to Anytime Fitness that I pay $35 per month for. With so many locations, I have yet to travel somewhere and not find an Anytime in the area. Now, it may not always be as conveniently located as your home gym, but if needed I will drive a little further to reach my goal. I know I’ve only mentioned a few resources here, but that is what works for me. You need to do your homework and figure out what works for you to accomplish your goals.

3. Get to know the area

Once I know where I am traveling to, but prior to booking my hotel, I open up Google Maps and look up the locations of: my client, Staples, my gym, different restaurants, Target, and Walgreen’s. Doing this research allows me to book my hotel in an area that is convenient to everywhere I want to be, making things easier on me, and most importantly reducing potential challenges in reaching my goals. Nothing will screw up your plans worse than thinking you know where you are going, realizing you aren’t going the right way, and spending more time correcting yourself.  At this point, it’s easy to say forget it, and run through the drive through on the way back to your hotel.

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4. Make your plan

If you do steps one through three, making your plan should be a piece of cake. You should already know what you need, what you need to do, and where you need to be. I know that I typically arrive at my destination late afternoon or early evening the day before I have to do training. I take that time to make my round to the places listed above to get my “necessities for success.” Based on my training schedule, I will try to determine if I am going to work out in the morning or evening and what restaurants are in the area that align with my health goals. Before I arrive I have an idea of the flow of my trip and how I am going to accomplish my goals.

5. Prepare prior to and after arrival

You might say that steps one through four fall under “preparation,” and you’re right, but I’m taking it a little further. To prepare fully, prior to leaving I map out the most efficient routes to get everything I need in the shortest period of time and I email myself the link with addresses. I make sure I have my workout clothing packed and ready to go as well. When I arrive and I start getting my necessities; I’ll grab bananas, protein bars, a four-pack of protein drinks, a gallon of water, and other little snacks I might like that align with my health goals. The last thing I want to be is dependent upon the offerings of my hotel. If I get hungry or want a snack, I don’t like my only choices being the junk food or processed food in their little store or the meals in their restaurants. Having healthy snacks and water in my room allow me to have control. Once you do this a couple of times you’ll get in the flow, and the time it takes you to prepare will be minimal.

6. Execute

If you follow steps one through five, you will know your goals and challenges. You will have the right tools and resources. You will know the area and where you are going. You will have a plan to make it all happen and you will have control and confidence because you’ve prepared. There is only one thing left to do: do it! You’ve planned your work, now work your plan!

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I never want to use the excuse of a busy travel schedule for not fulfilling my health goals. You just have to know your goals and have the plan and resources to accomplish them. Once you get in the flow of doing this, you will never stop. It’s too easy and you’ll feel too awesome. Now I fully recognize that what works for me will not work for everyone. However, I feel this can be a good starting point and you can personalize what works for you.

Feel free to share any tips you have for being healthy while traveling in the comment section below. Have fun and be healthy!

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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