Mind Over Madness

Equinox, the gym I use here in California (mostly for treadmill work), is running a neat “campaign” designed at helping people find some balance in their lives. They have 10 simple keys that I thought were extremely well thought out. So I decided to hijack them. They call it “Mind Over Madness,” which is catchy in that typical motivational-speaker type of way. I certainly could stand to be reminded of several of these things more often.

In these changing times, make a renewed commitment to yourself to lead a healthy life. Here are some tips to help you find balance, stay focused and gain perspective. IT’S THE MIND OF THE TIMES.

1. Exercise When you exercise you are present in the moment and not focused on worries and concerns. Studies show that cardiovascular and resistance training can help reduce stress and boost endorphins. Try a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise most days of the week.

2. Get enough sleep Insufficient sleep can make it more difficult to cope with the normal challenges of daily life. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep to function optimally.

3. Eat well A balanced diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can help reduce stress by stabilizing blood sugar levels. Combine carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats at each meal to fuel and energize your body.

4. Pay it forward Studies show that people who approach life with a positive attitude are less stressed. Begin and end every day by making a mental list of the things for which you are grateful.

5. Live in the moment Accept that some things are out of your control. Rather than worrying about what will happen next week, next month or next year, focus on making decisions that will lead you in the direction of your goals.

6. Get organized Being disorganized can add to your stress level. Knowing where things are and reducing clutter lets you focus on the important things.

7. Meditate Studies show that people who meditate regularly have more activity in their left frontal cortex and less activity in the amygdala – both of which are associated with calmer emotional states. There are many ways to meditate. Practice yoga, take a walk in nature, sit quietly, spend time with your pet or take a bubble bath.

8. Say no when necessary Avoid taking on more than you can accomplish. Do not feel guilty saying “no” to unnecessary obligations and responsibilities.

9. Hydrate Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water regulates body temperature, aids in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients and detoxifies the liver and kidneys.

10. Lean on your support system People who have a strong social network of family and friends typically report less stress and a better ability to cope. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from close friends and family during these times.

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