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10 Things Worth Doing Every Morning Before 10 AM

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The way you start your day will determine how the rest of it will go. If you wake up late and are running around stressed out, trying to put together your lunch (and leaving a mess behind in the process), there’s a good chance the rest of your day will feel very hectic as well. Luckily, there are some simple practices you can start to implement into your morning routine right away to get you off to a good start and ensure you have a calm, yet productive day ahead. You may need to start waking up earlier each day to start out, depending on how much time you currently give yourself to get ready in the morning. Try giving yourself a bit of extra time so you don’t feel rushed and you can accomplish the following rituals with a sense of peace and calm. When your alarm goes off, get up right away and start your day — none of this ‘snooze’ business!

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1. Don’t Check Your Phone

According to an IDC Research report from 2013, 63% of nearly 7,500 people surveyed said that they immediately reach for their phone upon waking each morning. That number jumps to 74% among 18-24 year olds. This tip isn’t something you should do, but rather something you shouldn’t do. Don’t reach for your phone first thing when you wake up. If you use it as an alarm, simply turn it off and leave it be. Your phone shouldn’t run your day; when you see emails that need to be answered and other tasks awaiting completion, you can’t help but think about those things instead of what you would like your day to look like overall. Keeping up with your social media feeds is also a colossal waste of time that is taking away from time that could be better spent doing positive things for yourself to ensure you have the best day possible.

2. Hydrate

One of the most important things you should do right when you wake up in the morning is drink some water. Over the course of the night your body becomes increasingly dehydrated, so it is a good idea to drink some water before doing or ingesting anything else. I like to keep about a litre of lemon water (the lemon adds some extra nutrients, alkalizes the body, and fires up your digestive juices) right on my nightstand so the first thing I do when I wake up is drink up and get rehydrated.

3. Journal

This may sound like a bit of a daunting task, but it’s actually incredibly beneficial for you to do and definitely worth your time. Try writing between 1-3 pages in a journal every single morning, right when you wake up. You may be thinking, I just woke up, what could I possibly have in my head to write down? You would be surprised! The key is to just write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Maybe it’s something that was bothering you the night before, such as worrying  about approaching a situation with a coworker or an upcoming presentation —  whatever it is, even if it is only, this is dumb I don’t want to do this, write it down. I have noticed that when you get everything down and out of your head first thing, it eliminates the repetitive thoughts that can cloud your head throughout the day and leaves more room for creative space.

4. Visualization

Take a few moments to visualize the day ahead. See yourself confidently going about your day and getting tasks done and communicating with people effectively. You can multi-task by doing this in the shower if you want.

5. Stretch/Light Exercise

Stretching is so good for your body, and, let’s face it, it feels good too! After a long slumber our bodies can certainly benefit from a good stretch; this is particularly great for people who don’t have time to work out in the morning before starting their day. Consider doing a simple to moderate stretching routine every morning to loosen up your joints and get your blood flowing. If you prefer, you can do some yoga instead for a bit more intensity and mindfulness.

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6. Schedule Your Day

Take 5 minutes to jot down everything you wish to accomplish during the day. You can have a separate section for work tasks and personal errands that need to be done. This way you can effectively see in front of you what needs to be done and then you can cross off each task as you accomplish it. And I believe we all know how great crossing things off a list feels!

7. Pump Up The Jams

Play some uplifting music to boost your mood and add a little dance to your step as you do your morning tasks. If you prefer a more calm start to the day, try playing some peaceful mantras to get you into that relaxed headspace.

8. Keep Things Clean

Take the extra time to make your bed, clean up your dishes, and wipe the counters. Put care into these acts, because when you give yourself enough time to do things mindfully and to the best of your ability, they won’t feel like as much of a chore, and you’ll start your day feeling as though you’ve already accomplished a great deal.

9. Smile

Most of us spend a decent amount of time every morning in front of the mirror when we are getting ready. Why not try smiling to yourself? It may feel phony and forced at first, but as the saying goes, smiles are contagious (even if you’re smiling to yourself). You may also want to repeat some positive affirmations to yourself. I like to say something along the lines of: You are confident. You are worthy. You are loved. You are beautiful. But you can customize this any way you like.

10. Nourish Yourself

Give your body some fuel. Eat something healthy to get your body going and ensure you have energy throughout the day. Consider having a smoothie to start, followed by some oatmeal or granola.

There you have it! This may seem like a long list of things to accomplish first thing in the morning, but you can start by adding one each day until you have either added them all, or at least incorporated the ones that feel most beneficial. By ensuring you get this much needed time for yourself, you will be able to start your day feeling clear in your intentions and confident that you can tackle whatever comes your way.

Much Love

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Health

How To Activate Autophagy: Your Body’s Self-Cleansing System

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Autophagy, the body's self-cleaning system, allows the cell to get rid of old cell machinery, breaking them down into smaller parts to be reused by the cell. Activating autophagy through fasting has neuroprotective and immuno-regenerative benefits.

  • Reflect On:

    Intermittent fasting (IF) is an easy and sustainable way to activate autophagy as well as reap many other health benefits. The easiest way to IF is to pick an eating window that is eight hours or less every day that works best with your schedule.

 

The fountain of youth has long been sought by man, science being the critical avenue in which we’ve explored this prospect, and one Nobel Prize-winning scientist recently uncovered a vital piece in the search.

On October 3rd, 2016, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy, a term that translates to “self-eat.” In short, autophagy is the body’s self-cleaning system, a mechanism in which cells get rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes). It is a regulated, orderly process to degrade and recycle cellular components.

The process of autophagy is like replacing parts in a car—sometimes we need a new engine or battery for the car to function better. The same thing happens within each of our cells. During autophagy, old cellular debris is sent to specialized compartments within the cell called “lysosomes.” Lysosomes contain enzymes that degrade the old debris, breaking it down into smaller components to be reused again by the cell.

Fasting & Autophagy

Scientists have found that fasting for 12 to 24+ hours triggers autophagy, which is thought to be one of the reasons that fasting is associated with longevity. There is a large body of research that connects fasting to improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, weight loss, and improved brain function, and Oshumi’s findings provide greater insight into this research.

“Sporadic short-term fasting, driven by religious and spiritual beliefs, is common to many cultures and has been practiced for millennia, but scientific analyses of the consequences of caloric restriction are more recent…short-term food restriction induces a dramatic upregulation of autophagy in cortical and Purkinje neurons. As noted above, disruption of autophagy can cause neurodegenerative disease, and the converse also may hold true: upregulation of autophagy may have a neuroprotective effect.

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Food restriction is a simple, reliable, inexpensive and harmless alternative to drug ingestion and, therefore, we propose that short-term food restriction may represent an attractive alternative to the prophylaxis and treatment of diseases in which candidate drugs are currently being sought.”

So autophagy and fasting is in essence a form of self-cleansing, getting rid of the junk to make room for new healthy cellular components. And it is the accumulation of the junk that may be responsible for many of the effects of aging. The consequences of accumulating old proteins all over the place can be seen in two main conditions – Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and cancer. Alzheimer’s Disease involves the accumulation of abnormal protein – either amyloid beta or Tau protein, which gum up the brain system. So, if inducing autophagy cleanses the body of denatured proteins, it would make sense that the process has the ability to prevent the development of AD.

Other Benefits of Fasting—Stem Cell Regeneration

While inducing autophagy is one of the key benefits to fasting, there are also many incredible longevity-related reasons to fast.

A study in the journal Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

Fasting triggers regeneration of immune stem cels.

In a study on mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial involving patients receiving chemotherapy, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles “flipped a regenerative switch,” changing the signalling pathways for liver stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems. Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose, fat and ketones, but it also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells.

During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induced changes that triggered stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells. In particular, prolonged fasting reduced the enzyme PKA, an effect previously found to extend longevity in simple organisms, which has been linked in other research to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency (the potential for one cell to develop into many different cell types). Prolonged fasting also lowered levels of IGF-1, a growth-factor hormone linked to aging, tumor progression, and cancer risk.

How To Fast Intermittently & Activate Autophagy

While there are many ways to fast, one of the more sustainable methods of fasting is intermittent fasting (IF). IF is done cyclically and for shorter periods of time, so it is much easier to adopt IF into your weekly schedule as it won’t take much out of you compared to longer periods of fasting. In fact, practicing IF will have you more focused and energized throughout your day compared to when your body is in a constant state of digestion.

The easiest way to IF is to pick an eating window each day and stick to that window. This can be an eight hour window or less, but typically you want to keep your eating window under eight hours in order to reap the most benefits. An example of an eight hour eating window could be 11am-7pm, or if you normally eat later in the day then you could try something like 3pm-10pm.

During your fast you can still drink beverages as long as they contain no calories such as lemon water, tea, or coffee (without cream or sugar). There are incredible regenerative benefits to dry fasting as well (abstaining from consuming any food or water); however, dry fasting will push the body into deeper levels of detoxification and should be approached more slowly.

Breaking your fast is just as important as the fast itself. The first meal after a fast should be easy to digest. Juices, coconut water, and smoothies are great options as well as watery and astringent fruits such as grapes, cherries, and oranges. After that, salads are the next best option. After breaking the fast with raw fruits and vegetables, you can then move on to eating cooked foods as your digestive system will be activated by then.

Autophagy and fasting are the key to regenerating the body on a cellular level and, when used strategically and systematically, these tools hold enormous potential in transforming your health.

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Lifestyle

How To Release The Stress Stored In Your Body

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It’s all about taking time to unlock the ‘Muscle of the Soul’

Do you spend much time sitting in front of a computer, on a plane, in a car? If so your hips may be locked up which effects your ability to dance, but worse than that it may be causing you undue stress and fear. The Psoas Muscle, is a long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and brim of the pelvis, that is also known as the “muscle of the soul”.

It is one of the largest muscles in the body and it is a place where we often store stress or trauma that can literally influence our mood and our outlook on life. We recently explored in depth just how much fear can inhibit our ability to think clearly thus creating an unhealthy perspective that can harm us and those around us. Now let’s look at where that fear might be stored in our body, and a few ways to release it.

In humans, the extremes of the two polarities might appropriately be described as LOVE (+) and FEAR (- ). Love fuels growth. In contrast, fear stunts growth. – Bruce Lipton, Ph.D

How Built Up Stress Makes Us Easy To Manipulate

Being in a state of fear allows us to be easily manipulated. Advertisers and politicians have learned to capitalize on this biological aspect of humans also known as the lizard brain. Unfortunatel,y our fast-paced lifestyles (mentally), combined with our relatively stagnate physical activity (driving, working at computer, etc.) causes our bodies to be ineffective at releasing built up stress which manifests in our thoughts as fear or anxiety.

Lizard brain refers to the oldest part of the brain, the brain stem, responsible for primitive survival instincts such as aggression and fear (flight or fight) – Joseph Troncale M.D., Psychology Today

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The effects of stress on the body.

Where Is A Majority of The Stress Stored?

It is often stored in one of the largest muscles in our body, the psoas. This muscle stretches from our lower trunk through our hips into the top of our thighs, it is used for core stability and the fight-flight reflex. Every time we see something that startles us (real or perceived threat) like an animal crossing the road while we drive, or a violent scene in a movie, our brain sends signals our body to respond by releasing epinephrine (adrenaline).

The muscle that is most central to our fight/flight response is the psoas. When we don’t respond, these stress hormones go unspent and become stored in the body. This can bring many health problems including insomnia, lowered immune system, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and living in a constant state of fear or alert.

Because the psoas is so intimately involved in such basic physical and emotional reactions, a chronically tightened psoas continually signals your body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system. As you learn to approach the world without this chronic tension, psoas awareness can open the door to a more sensitive attunement to your body’s inner signals about safety and danger, and to a greater sense of inner peace. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book

Therapeutic Approach

Since stress accumulates on an unconscious level, healing our bodies is a process that must happen consciously. There is no single way to do this, it requires gradual lifestyle changes and a daily practice. Craniosacral Therapy is powerful because it helps teach our body how to relax into a parasympathetic state which relaxes the nervous system. This gentle and non-invasive approach helps us bring awareness to and melt away the stress stored within us.

To work with the psoas is not to try to control the muscle, but to cultivate the awareness necessary for sensing its messages.  This involves making a conscious choice to become somatically aware. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book

Yoga and Personal Practice

The best doctor is already within you. There is no replacement for cultivating a practice that heals, replenishes, and relaxes you from the in-side, out. There are numerous yoga poses that can help you on your journey of releasing this stress, anxiety, and fear stored within your psoas. Yoga calls this “the muscle of the soul” so any focus here is sure to give great results to your overall well-being. Yoga International seems to have a comprehensive list of photos and descriptions of poses that can start you on your journey.

If you spend as much time stretching your psoas muscle every day as you just did reading this article, you will notice some big changes in your life. First you may begin catching a lot of attention on the dance floor, but more importantly you will loosen your mind from the grips of fear and anxiety. It comes down to a conscious choice to live in trust and love instead of fear and anxiety, and that choice has to be followed by real-world action. It all starts within!

H/T: Uplift Connect where I originally published this.

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The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Health

Being Near The Ocean Gives Many Clues About Our Well-Being

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There are many reasons that most of us feel more relaxed, happy, even creative after spending some time near the ocean.

  • Reflect On:

    What can we learn about ourselves and what we need in our lives by examining the impact that being near the ocean, or water, usually has on us?

It is not a big stretch to say that we know ‘intuitively’ that being near the ocean can lead to improvements in our health and well-being, because so many of us have had the actual experience when we have gone to the beach. Feelings of serenity, calm, happiness and balance seem to arise in us as naturally as the waves that crawl rhythmically onto the shore and immerse our toes with refreshment.

There is some science to support this. An English study analyzed data from 48 million people ‘which indicate that good health is more prevalent the closer one lives to the coast.’

Water Is Essential To Life

To say that water is essential to life, as we know it, is not an overstatement, it is a fact. That’s why NASA’s motto in the hunt for extraterrestrial life has been “follow the water.” And here at home, water is the conduit for many of the processes essential for complex biological life. For human beings, it makes up over half of what we are physically. Up to 60% of the adult body is water, with the brain and heart at 73%, and the lungs at about 83%.

It’s no wonder that we are drawn to water, even as being fully immersed in it would cause us to drown. We have the need to be close to water at times just to feel good, to see it, to touch it, to drink it, to have it splash upon our body. If I ever get blocked or feel my thoughts getting confused while writing, my healing salve is a warm shower. It inevitably returns me to calm clarity, where my ideas become more supple, integrated, and ultimately creative.

The Ocean

Being in the presence of the ocean, then, would seem to be the quintessential place of healing and rejuvenation. It’s why people have always flocked to the beach. Yes, many like to lie on the sand and take in the sun, but far fewer people would take the trouble to go to the desert to do that. There is a feeling that sun-worshipping usually goes hand in hand with a refreshing plunge in the water, if only a brief one.

And even if one is laying down with eyes closed, there is the rhythmic sound of the waves advancing and receding, that attunes us to the in-and-out cadence of our breathing, our source of life. This immense presence is there, and we can feel it even when we don’t look at it. There is a gravity, a pull from the center of this big body, and the feeling that we are resting with this gentle pull upon us is both relaxing and energizing.

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By The Shore

Many, many go to the beach to simply walk for miles and miles along the shore, the meeting point of earth and water. This meeting point seems like home for many of us, as we experience our human lives as occurring in a meeting point between conscious and unconscious, between matter and spirit. The water inside of us is put into calm and balanced movement, and entrains itself to the rise and fall of water on the shore that we see and feel.

Just looking out at its immensity seems to give us comfort, a feeling that we are part of something much bigger, something that connects us all. It both reminds us that we ourselves are not as significant as our worries would have us believe, and yet confirms that we are much deeper and more vast than we appear.

Then of course there is the deep blueness of the ocean, which of all the colors in the spectrum is known to most evoke happiness and creativity. Ernest Hemmingway loved to look out at and be near the ocean to help foster his creativity and imagination. Marine Biologist Wallace J. Nichols also notes that looking out on the ocean,

“…the visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of water and look out on the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to the room you’re sitting in right now, or a city you’re walking through, where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.”

If You Can’t Reach The Ocean

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of living Oceanside or even has the means to visit the ocean on a regular basis. Still, we can take many clues from what the ocean provides us and how it makes us feel to understand what we need in our lives to live in a balanced and happy way. Lakes, rivers, even ponds have something to offer us, and we may want to take more opportunities in our busy lives to sit quietly near them and gaze upon them, in a state of openness and curiosity about what the experience has to offer us.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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