Envision Success: How will the new healthy you look, act, and feel?

iStock_000005594705_Small

Ok so you followed the advice in our post about how to get started on living a healthier life and you’ve made the decision to begin making healthy changes in your life… now what? Now we get to have a little bit of fun and give your imagination a workout.

disney_quote

Once you’ve decided on health, make it real by envisioning what success will look and feel like. This may seem trivial, but it is an extremely important step in the process. In fact many of the most successful people throughout history have described this step as being fundamental in their process. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey lists ‘beginning with the end in mind’ as the second habit that all successful people have in common. From professional athletes  to the CEO’s of the most successful companies in the world, Covey found that all of them were able to envision what success would look and feel like early in the process. The same is true for this journey, you must be able to envision the new and healthier you.

Picture yourself living an active lifestyle: hiking, jogging, running around with your kids or grand kids. Picture your new wardrobe and how fun shopping for new clothes will be. Picture yourself exercising and all of the great new friends you’ll make. It is also important that you picture yourself getting started. See yourself throwing out the junk food in your house and replacing it with healthy snacks and foods. See yourself getting up early in the morning to exercise or going to the gym after work. Imagine how empowering those things will be and how good they make you feel. Imagine how great you will feel when your friends and family start to notice your progress and pay you compliments about how great you look. See yourself living and enjoying the life that you deserve.

Now that you have the proper mindset, hold on to that image of your future self and remind yourself of it everyday. When you encounter a setback on your journey, return to that image and remind yourself that it’s just a speed bump on the way to the new and healthier you. When you are struggling to get through a run or a workout, motivate yourself by using the image to remind you of what you are working toward. And always remember this quote from the great  American classic …The Waterboy,

“You can do it!”

For more great health and wellness information or to learn how we can help your business grow: follow our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on:

facebook twitter linkedin google_icon

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why does exercise make us feel so good?

This is your brain on the couch

brain_sitting


This is your brain on exercise

brain_walking

ANY QUESTIONS?


Depending on your age,  you may or may not be familiar with the above reference. Throughout the 90’s there was a popular public service spot that showed a person holding up an egg and saying, “this is your brain.” They would then crack the egg into a hot frying pan and say, “this is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” It was a simple but powerful spot that effectively demonstrated that doing drugs causes harm to the brain. Since that time technology has advanced to a point where functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has allowed us to capture actual images of how the brain responds to various activities. Using this technology scientists have been able to generate pictures like those above and  uncover the science behind something that we already know; exercise is not only good for us… it makes us feel good too. But why?

Increased Endorphin Levels:

Endorphins are chemicals that our bodies produce in response to various stimuli such as: pain, excitement, love, sex, and (you guessed it) EXERCISE. Endorphins act as neurotransmitters connecting pathways within the brain, blocking pain receptors and creating an overall sense of well-being or happiness.  The term endorphin is actually derived from the words endogenous (created internally) and morphine (an opium-based narcotic typically used for pain relief) which provides further insight into the effects that endorphins have on the brain.

A number of studies have been done that link exercise to increased endorphin levels. One such study was performed by the Department of Health and Sport Science at the University of Richmond, VA. The study found that the endorphin levels in a test group were nearly 39% higher after exercising for 45 minutes. The invorgation and positive sensations created by these high endorphin levels is often referred to as a “runner’s high” and can last for a couple of hours after completion of the exercise.

exercise bike

Increased  Dopamine Levels:

Also contributing to this extended “high” is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical substances that transfer signals to neurons) that is at the heart of our brain’s reward center. When our body experiences a reward (something  it perceives as good) the neurons release dopamine which then binds with the dopamine receptors on neighboring neurons; quickly spreading the message that whatever we are doing right now is good and we should keep doing it. Typically once the message has been passed, the dopamine is reabsorbed and recycled for future use. Many addictive drugs like cocaine, heroine, and caffeine effect dopamine levels by blocking the removal of dopamine from the communication process. This leaves the neurons overloaded with dopamine and the users feeling a heightened state of pleasure long after the activity is completed and craving more when the dopamine is finally removed.

Dopamine Pathways. In the brain, dopamine play...

Dopamine Pathways. In the brain, dopamine plays an important role in the regulation of reward and movement. As part of the reward pathway, dopamine is manufactured in nerve cell bodies located within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and is released in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex. Its motor functions are linked to a separate pathway, with cell bodies in the substantia nigra that manufacture and release dopamine into the striatum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A number of studies have shown a positive correlation between exercise and dopamine production. When we exercise the rewards center of our brain is activated and our neurons release a large amount of dopamine. These high levels of dopamine take longer to reabsorb and remain in the synapses longer. This creates a natural effect that is similar to the one created by drugs, where the individual experiences pleasure for an extended period after the activity has been completed.

There are a number of other factors that contribute to our overall  sense of feeling good after exercise, but endorphins and dopamine are two of the primary contributors. Exercising daily ensures that we are at our best: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

For more great health and wellness information follow this blog, visit our website, and connect with us on:

facebook twitter linkedin

Sign up for the CANI newsletter

Enhanced by Zemanta

Start your day with a Positive Mental Attitude and Carpe Diem

Woman Turning Off Alarm

Have you ever woke up and immediately started to dread the day at hand? One of those days where your schedule seems to be overflowing with meetings, deadlines, quotas, the kids’ after school activities, and a whole host of other responsibilities. You almost wish you could bury your head under the sheets and make it STOP! It turns out that this type of negative approach to the day may be contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy of misery for your day. Research has shown that our mental attitude has a profound effect on the way that we interpret various events. The key is to focus on having a positive mental attitude and seize the day (carpe diem).

Perception is everything

In her article, “7 Keys To Having A Positive Mental Attitude” Nancy Friedman highlights the power of a positive mental attitude (PMA) through the telling of a funny story about a brother and a sister. The story goes that a brother had finally had enough of his sister’s constant, overly positive attitude so he derived a plan to bring out the worst in her one Christmas morning. He wrapped up some horse manure in a box and placed it under the tree; knowing that there was no way that anyone could be positive about receiving such a crappy gift (pun intended). He watched with eager anticipation as his sister grabbed the box and gave it a shake in an attempt to determine its contents. She unwrapped it and finally the moment of truth was at hand; his sister’s positive attitude was about to come crashing down and he couldn’t wait. However to his dismay, his evil plot failed as he watched his sister excitedly yell, “Where’s the pony?!”

Girl at Christmas Time

While this story may be a little extreme, the lesson is unmistakable. Our mental attitude has a major impact on the way that we interpret the world around us. If we can start the day with a positive mental attitude, no matter how overwhelming our schedules may be, it will be more productive, less stressful, and more enjoyable than if we go into it with a sense of trepidation and filled with negativity.

5 Ways you can boost your PMA and ‘seize the day!’

1. Create a morning exercise routine.
Get your body moving first thing in the morning. Exercise gets your blood flowing and releases dopamine and endorphins that help boost your PMA.
2. Spend at least 10 minutes reading something positive.
Don’t read the news (it’s usually depressing). Instead read something positive and motivational. This could be motivational quotes, a motivational or self-improvement book; anything that helps boost your attitude. NOTE: Social Media (Facebook,Twitter, Etc…) does not qualify as motivational content. I know there are motivational pages – like CANI’s- but your news feed can be a harmful distraction so avoid social media and stick with books and blogs.
3. Meditate.
Don’t know how? Learn! There are many methods that you can research(Transcendental Meditation, Buddhist, etc). Find one that you are comfortable with and practice it. Most methods have you focus on breathing or a mantra to help put the mind into a trance-like state, allowing it to reset. There are a number of studies that show the positive effects that meditation has and how it contributes to a PMA.
4. Take inventory of the positives in your life.
Rather than thinking about all of the things you must do today, begin by being grateful for the things that you have: health, a home, food, your job, etc… Beginning your day with an attitude of gratitude will contribute greatly to your PMA.
5. Create a top 5 “to do” list the night before.
Eliminate the need to overwhelm yourself in the morning by starting your day with a ready-made list of the first 5 things you will do today. Focus on getting through that list before you worry about any of the other things you must do. Allowing yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment will help you approach the remainder of your tasks with the right attitude.
challenge2

Try to incorporate some or all of these items into your routine and begin your day energized and positive.

For more great health and wellness information or to learn how we can help your business grow: follow our blog, visit our website, and connect with us on:

facebook twitter linkedin google_icon

Sign up for the CANI newsletter

References:
Friedman, N. (2005). 7 Keys To Having A Positive Mental Attitude. Business Credit, 106(7), 78.

Enhanced by Zemanta