Forming good routines for healthy habits.

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Having had a recent break from regular routine, it only confirms to me the importance of it, in the formation of good habits. For me having a good routine is very helpful in forming good habits. Sticking to regular workout times for example helps it to become part of your daily/ weekly rhythm to the point you can become naturally motivated to do your workout without having to think about it. This can apply to any healthy habit we wish to form – meditation, healthy diet etc.

With any healthy habit I have formed such as regular meditation , exercise and healthy eating this has always been the case. There are also other benefits to some of these routines such as an increase in metabolism when eating at regular intervals.

I have come to a point now where I even consider it to be essential , through experience of how well this works I find myself being far more effective and motivated when I have formed these good routines which then become habits. This is something I also recommend to anyone who lacks motivation to exercise. If you can stick to the same time and days each week for long enough then it will become habit, you will then without doubt be motivated to do it. It will become part of your physiology, you will feel like you need to do it, just like how you naturally feel the need to brush your teeth and wash everyday.

This is also how many of us form bad habits where they have become a fixed part of our routine, such as when we come in at night and may veg in front of the T.V, or get drunk on a saturday night. It could even be said that such routines have become habits of the nation, even to the point where those who spend their evenings at the gym or choose not to drink or get drunk are seen as ‘fitness freaks’ or somewhat abnormal.

The saying that ‘we are creatures of habit’ is a very true one and we will naturally form habits throughout our lives. But ultimately we are in control of our habits as long as we choose to be, we just have to make the choice. Decide what to do and who you want to be.

Forming a good routine is one very powerful way to form good habits as it puts you back in the driving seat of your life. Habits are not mindlessly formed, at one point we have to learn them and it is then formed through repetition.

We can therefore, at any time choose to learn and develop new ones. If forming new healthy habits is something you want to do then it is very helpful to begin by adding it in to your routine. Start by writing in your diary the times and days that you will workout in each week, the same for your healthy meals and any other new healthy habits. Then be strict with yourself and stick to it, no matter what, no excuses, and within a month you will have formed yourself a very good habit that if you keep it will serve you well for life.

This can also help with quitting bad habits, use the new routine to form a good habit that will replace the bad habit. Taking your focus off the bad habit and onto something new in a new routine will actually make it much easier than just trying to quit the bad habit, because your focus will be on something new that will drive you to quit your bad habit when your new routine becomes more important.

This is not to say that spontaneity doesnt have its place, of course it does, so allow for this also and dont be too hard on yourself. Many things in life cannot be planned and will occur naturally but the good routines you have formed can hold you in stead and keep you focused on your health, work and success when these unplanned things do happen.

Like many things in life it is about balance but ultimately which would you prefer; a life of health and vitality, feeling good and in control of your life or one of following the herd and being a tv or junk food junkie. Of course choose the one which you think is right for you, but know which serves you best and that it is you that has the choice.

Habits are said to be hard to change but this only makes us less likely to do it, make the focus positive and part of your routine and it will feel much easier.

Some helpful tips:

  • Define your goals and what you want to achieve – use the SMART approach.
  • Write down your goals and break it down in to actions that you will add in your daily and weekly routine.
  • Write down the days and times that you will be doing your new activities such as going to the gym/ meditating etc
  • Stick to it without fail if any excuses enter your mind – ignore them.

For the first 4-6 weeks it may feel difficult, but focus on all the positives ( such as how good you feel from a workout or meditation.) – also keep these written down and remind yourself of them regularly. Then once you have formed the habit it will become an enjoyable and life changing part of your lifestyle worth every single bit of initial effort.

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‘The self is not something ready made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.’ ~ John Dewey

Faith vs Fear

faith vs fear

Life can be a challenge between Faith and Fear. A lot of what we may need or want in life lies in the unseen, therefore requires an amount of faith in its manifestation, without faith a state of fear can arise.

We need an amount of certainty in our lives to know that our basic needs are going to be met, sometimes we can not be sure that they will be so it can bring about fear – this is where our faith comes in. Faith is believing in the unseen with absolute certainty and conviction, knowing that that which you need will appear , having this type of faith is very empowering and is what can often give us the strength and courage to come through the difficult times and to manifest our needs and more than we thought possible.

This is also how visualisation and mindfulness can be so powerful as they can bring about this state of faith and certainty, and take us away from the state of fear and uncertainty.

Fear on the other hand is like a trap, it can control our lives if we allow it to, it is false however and also yet unseen but will have very different results to that which we desire. I have as many been in both of these places, that of intense fear and that of intense faith and I can say with absolute certainty that I much prefer the latter. Fear is perpetual doubt and until you decide to beat it with your own faith it will keep winning and keep you trapped there. Faith is in your hands, your heart and your mind, and it is also extremely powerful.

When you next feel a state of lack and you need something or you are setting goals to stretch yourself and you start to feel fear or uncertainty, remember to choose faith over fear. Dont give fear any power, dont allow it to trap you and to confine your life.

Have faith in yourself and your environment and the results will come.

‘Take the first step in faith, you dont have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.’ ~ Martin Luther King

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Chronic Pain Management

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Chronic Pain can be a very frustrating and debilitating condition to manage so I would like to share with you some of the methods I have learnt through personal and professional practice on how best to manage it. It is my hope that anyone who struggles with this may find some of these methods helpful because I know how frustrating this problem can be when it is severe.

Firstly I’d like to identify that there are different types of pain; the type I am referring to here mainly is chronic muscle pain<land fatigue, as I know this can be very difficult to manage and also frustrating when you feel that it is limiting your life.

Although I am referring more to chronic muscle pain and fatigue in this post, much of these methods will also be of help for more short term muscle pain such as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is experienced after heavy gym sessions. The reason for this is these methods will help to speed up the recovery process. It will also be helpful for some other types of chronic pain.

In terms of pain it is very important to identify the role of our perception. All people have different pain thresholds and so will have different coping degrees. However you can also learn to raise your pain threshold through re-focussing your mind. For example when you are focusing on the pain itself it will feel far more painful than if you direct your focus elsewhere.

Stress can also be a major contributor to the perception of pain; this is another reason to take your focus off the pain. If you know that the pain you experience is chronic then, other than painkillers, much of how you perceive it is under your control. This can either be scary or empowering once you have the necessary tools. Our minds respond to pain as a warning sign as this is what it often signifies in the short–term.

To clarify my point here

– The main thing you can do to help yourself once you know this pain is chronic, is focus your mind on something else. All the following techniques I will give you will be an addition to this.

Coping Methods

First things first, Eat Well, this is so important I cannot emphasise it enough. The main priorities here are that you need a good balance of food to meet all your nutritional requirements ensuring you are getting enough protein (for muscle growthand repair). Wholegrain carbohydrates (for sustained energy release) and a variety of fruit and vegetables(for micronutrient needs). It is also highly important that you eat regularly so that your metabolism runs effectively. Little & often is best if you can – around every 3-4 hours.

Stretching/ Yoga – This is very important and very helpful when you have muscle pain. By stretching properly you will help to release the tension and that has built up in your muscles and is causing you more pain and fatigue. You only need to do a stretching session for 10 – 15minutes to obtain benefits. Yoga and stretching will also help you to relax and take your mind off the pain.

Meditation
Although it can be difficult to re-direct your attention when you are in pain. This is very powerful and will benefit your life in every way by allowing you to focus better on the task at hand and be mindful wherever you are. You do not have to meditate for long, just 5 minutes can be helpful. There are lots of different meditation techniques but essentially what you are doing is directing your focus on to one thing (that is not the pain), such as your breath, and allowing all thoughts and distractions to pass by. This will bring you in to a state of peace which can be very blissful and a welcome relief from any form of pain. If you are unsure of which method to use then please contact me and I will happily help you with this.

Massage/ Heat – As with stretching this method will also help to relax your muscles and release toxins. The added benefit here however is it requires no effort on your part other than getting there. Massages can be wonderfully relaxing & therapeutic and are not just for pampering as some may think. If you make it a regular thing such as once a month I am certain you would notice a difference. By heat I mean either using a sauna or having a hot bath – these methods alone will help to release built up tension and toxins. In addition something I would highly recommend that is natural and extremely effective is Epsom salts – You add these to a hot bath and you will almost instantly feel the tension release.

Other methods
The above methods I would say are the main methods for you to try, However below are some methods that are also useful that you may want to try;

Swimming moderately ( 20-30 minutes is adequate )

Positive thinking and visualisation

Acupuncture

Social support

Laughter (The best medicine as they say:)

Writing/Art – (this helps you to process your thoughts and feelings)

Understanding your limitations and using necessary tools i.e. A Journal, time management.

Qigong / Tai Chi.

Adequate Rest & prescribed exercise.

EFT– Emotional Freedom Technique.

I hope you have found this blog post helpful. If you require any further help or advice then please do not hesitate to contact me via email/phone. Much of the above has come through my knowledge of holistic health and fitness and through personal experience. If you are unsure in anyway of the causes of the chronic pain you are experiencing, then please consult a medical practitioner.

‘Those who have the greatest struggles have the greatest strength.’

Priceless Gifts

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Take time to think of all the small things you have to be grateful for about your health everyday. It may seem small at first but it will be very significant- such as being able to breathe clearly, being free from aches & pains or having full use of any one of your senses. 

 
All of these are so vital to our vitality and can so easily be taken for granted if not consciously thought about. These can be seemingly small parts of our health but are priceless gifts and when we take time to be grateful for them we can realise how much so.
 
 Our health is exceedingly valuable and we should not need to lose any part of it to realise how much so. 
 
If any part of your health is not so good try focusing your mind on that which is still good and focus your gratitude on these parts of your health. 
 
It is easy to become absorbed in difficulties if we have them, but when we consciously focus on the health that we do have, we realise that we have many beautiful gifts, treasure these.
 
The most beautiful and important parts of our lives do not have a price tag, practicing gratitude daily helps us to realise this and appreciate these gifts of real value.

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