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Getting Your Head Together In 10 Minutes a Day: A Busy Person’s Guide to Keeping Sane!

Getting Your Head Together In 10 Minutes a Day: A Busy Person’s Guide to Keeping Sane!


    Too busy in your hectic life to “take ten” to ground yourself for the day? Too much to do and too little time? Stressed out beyond belief and you can’t imagine sparing any extra time to stop and take stock and take a daily pulse? Do you want to get off this endless cycle of “to dos” but can’t seem to get away from your life “inbox?”

    Just when you feel like you cannot take “one more thing,” perhaps it’s time to try this “Get Your Head Together” plan for just one week.

    What have you got to lose? No more than 60 minutes.

    And what you can gain? A lifetime of a clearer head and a happier heart – and a chance to manage your stress rather than carry it.

    Isn’t it worth the trade off?

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    Even if you exercise in the morning before you start your day, surely you can spare 10 minutes to exercise your mental muscles! So let’s start by giving a ten minute plan to start the day off right!

    1st Minute: Start the day by writing out one positive intention.

    Think of an action or resolution that will help you put a positive spin on the day. Examples: Today I will make an effort to smile more. When I am in the meeting, I will say at least two things even if I fear sounding stupid. This will help me to less immobilized by my fears. 

    2nd Minute: Take a mindfulness moment for a morning mediation.

    Consciously slow your breathing, taking deep breaths and attempt to focus only on the sensations around you. How do you feel? What do you smell? What do you visualize? Example: Help yourself breath deeply by putting your hand on your stomach, feeling it extend and deflate as you breathe.  Most of us have shallow breathing and this “backwards breathing” as they teach in Yoga takes in more air to nourish the mind! 

    3rd Minute: Have on hand a menu of inspirational quotes or passages that you can choose from every day.

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    A moment of inspiration will prevent a lot of mental perspiration! Example:  “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle; “We might not have it all together, but together we have it all! ” – Unknown.

    4th Minute: Think in “victor language and not “victim” language.

    Take an inventory of any negative thoughts that interfere with a positive outlook and take a minute to W.A.I.T. and ask yourself What Am I Thinking?  Identify irrational, judgmental thoughts and replace them with more rational thoughts. Separate fact from fiction! Example:  Replace negative and illogical thoughts such as ”My boss made me so mad yesterday. I can’t stand him” with “ I was mad when my boss raised his voice to me yesterday and scolded me, and I will tell him I do not deserve to be talked to like that.”

    5th Minute: Each day strive to be conscious of gratefulness for the gift of life.

    Identify at least three things you are especially grateful for. Example:  “I am grateful that I have a family that loves me and to whom I can give love, that I have freedom to choose a positive attitude, and that I get another chance to learn from and build on my successes and mistakes of my yesterdays”

    6th Minute: Surrender any grudges and bitterness.

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    Realize that a lack of forgiveness pulls you into the world of negativity, and strive to forgive everyone for everything. Example: “I forgive my ex-spouse for falling short in his behavior towards me, and although I do not condone certain behaviors, I will not keep the bitterness within – it only poisons me.

    7th Minute: Visualize a successful outcome today.

    Even if it does not come true the way you visualize, the positive visualization makes your attitude more positive no matter what! Example: Roleplay in your mind or visualize a calm response in dealing with your argumentative children.  

    8th Minute: Smile and Say Cheese!

    Swiss Cheese is full of holes – and so is our lives. It’s how you get through these holes that counts! So smile and embrace life’s imperfections!  Learn and grow from them! Example:  “I will make an effort to have a sense of humor when faced with obstacles instead of losing my sense of humor when things do not go the way I  think they “should.”

    9th Minute: Stretch your mind!

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    Think of a metaphor that will inspire you today. Comprise a list of metaphors to pick from each day. Think of your metaphor as your daily mascot to keep you in check! Example:  One powerful metaphor is that of the sunflower. A sunflower is big, bold, loves lightness and with enough light grows rapidly and robustly. It reminds us that if we keep thinking positively, we will flourish!

    10th Minute: Tell yourself something nice about yourself each day.

    This is called a positive affirmation. Tell yourself something you really admire about yourself, and this reminder will help you start the day off right by thinking straight to feel great! Example:  “I am proud that I keep trying new things and I embrace change.”  

    Wishing you the best on taking a time out as you work on transforming your life and yourself 10 minutes at a time! Are you truly too busy for that? I welcome comments to hear your reactions and tips!

    (Photo credit: Businessman Emotional via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

    11 WARNING Signs Of Unhealthy Relationships You Need to Be Aware Of The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People Robin Williams’ Death Is A Wake-Up Call: 12 Natural Ways To Fight Depression Quick Test: What Is Your Forgiveness IQ? 7 Essential Ways That Inspirational Quotes Can Literally Change Your Day … and Your Life!

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    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.

    Video Summary

    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.

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    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 abdominusthe 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:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • 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

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        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.

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            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 – shouldersshoulder 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

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                  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

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. 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

                    1. 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.
                    2. 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.
                    3. 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:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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