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Top Psychological Benefits of Massage Therapy

There are many reasons why everyone should enjoy the gift of regular massage. Imagine, being relaxed in a beautiful spa with the scent of vanilla candles floating in the air while a skilled masseuse works their way into relieving all the tension from your body.

Okay, alternate scenario for people who might not be able to afford to go to spa is a really good massage chair working on your muscles and joints while you relax. Both the scenarios sound great, no?

If just thinking about it gets you feeling relaxed think of what the actual thing is like. So to tempt you further, here are five proven psychological benefits of massage therapy:

Efficient Treatment for Anxiety

Anxious people have constant fears plaguing their minds. They cannot seem to calm themselves and think rationally even for a little bit. We are not saying that they should quit their medicine and therapy sessions but massaging can prove to be a great catalyst for people who have anxiety. This is because massages help release hormones that make the recipient feel much more positive and confident about their life.

Relieves Stress 

Everyday tasks make a whole lot of stress get bottled up in your body and eventually it becomes difficult for you to figure out how to let that stress go without being destructive. The more stress you build up, the less productive and more exhausted you become.Science has proven that massage will help stimulate the body in such a way that you will feel all that pent up stress just melt away from your body, leaving you energized and inspired.

Great for Insomniacs

Much research has proven that people who find it hard to sleep at night have been able to do so efficiently with the help of regular massage therapy. In fact, people who get massages at least twice or thrice a week are get much better REM sleep; which means they sleep deeper and wake up completely energized.

Calming Effect 

If you are an emotional person and want to control your negative thoughts, you should get massages to help you stay more calm and relaxed. While you're being more relaxed you're more likley to respond to other people with a much calmer demeanor. 

As you can see there are numerous benefits of getting the massage. If you're looking for a good way to relax and relieve stress, massage might be a good option to try.

Photo Credit Pixabay

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5 Ways Meditating Changed My Life

Ever go through life feeling like something is missing? Between double-checking that you’ve got your keys in the morning to the endless to-do list running through your mind while you’re laying in bed, there’s something you’re missing.

It’s simply this: Being okay with where you are. That’s the big way meditation has changed my life. You often worry that you’re “too much” of something: too emotional, too broken or too weird. You also worry that you’re “not enough” of something: not good enough, not pretty enough or not smart enough. You worry you’ll never be happy, and dreams are simply dreams.

Happiness is about living in the present, and yes, that’s something every practitioner will write about. Yet, there are no tricks or spells to get you there. You find your way there because so many of life’s little problems are solved by remembering to breathe and accepting life as it happens.

I don’t do any weird chants, breaths or visualizations when I meditate. I mainly focus on my natural breathing, which may be done anywhere at any time. I let the world come as it is because I am who I am, and that’s all I can really control. As a result, meditation’s transformed my life in so many simple but vital ways. Here’s a look at five of them:

1.I Get the Best Sleep

Sleep is everything! Sleep is important to every function in your body, and you’ll literally die if you miss out for too long. You do the weirdest things during sleep: tossing and turning, snoring and teeth grinding, which are often signs of poor sleep quality and underlying health issues. With meditation, I eventually cured myself of my bruxism[1] habit and stopped grinding my teeth!

My sleep quality is amazing after practicing meditation. I used to become distracted by every little sound, from the refrigerator running to the cars on the highway — not to mention my obsessive thoughts spinning on the hamster wheel.

Meditating an hour before bed helps my mind and body wind down. I let the hamster wheel run its course for a few minutes, with emotional detachment and without judgment. In bed, mindfulness helps me concentrate on my own breathing as I soothe myself into a dream state.

2.I’m Actually a Morning Person

I don’t burst out into song like a Disney princess in the morning, but I’m well-rested, alert and eager to start the day. Before meditation, I looked like a horror movie character with stringy hair and a real grudge against anyone who got in the way of my first cup-of-Joe, because every zombie needs their coffee.

Letting yourself lie in bed and adjust to the morning light helps you remember your dreams more easily, too[2]. That’s because you’re not shocking yourself out of that dream state.

I like to place a hand on my heart and breathe into that space, becoming conscious of my body little by little. It’s my weird way of greeting my waking body in the morning.

Meditation finds its way into my morning routine. A cup-of-Joe is still a vice, but I like to drink water first while watching the sunrise. This also helps me avoid bright light blinding me in the face every morning. My body clock’s thanked me endlessly because it now has time to concentrate on more important things — healing my body and processing information.

3.I’m Almost as Bubbly as Bubble Wrap

I’m not so annoyingly optimistic that you want to pop me like bubble wrap, but I have noticed a mood boost due to meditation[3]. Stress, anxiety and depression may see measured improvements with a daily mindfulness practice. My days used to seem long and drawn out, but now I notice the little details that inspire and ground me: a bird watching me from the window or the soothing sound of a radio host’s voice over a traffic jam.

You carry the weight of stress throughout your body, and the more you ignore it, the more weight is added. Sometimes, I place my hand on my heart and focus on radiating love and understanding throughout my body, as I breathe naturally. I feel the muscles and tension ease. Once my body is comfortable, I focus on extending a feeling of gratitude and love to important people in my life, as my way of silently checking in.

Meditation has definitely improved my daily mood. I’ve gotten compliments from friends on my mellower attitude and the new light in my eyes, because I do see the world definitely now.

4. I Know That I Am Enough

Self-doubt and fear of failure, as well as fear of your potential, are issues that everyone struggles with throughout life, yet they fail to authentically address it at a deeper level. You get so caught up in negative self-talk, reinforcing the narratives you’ve assigned to yourself or that others have assigned to you based on their judgment.

Meditation has reminded me that I am in control of my own story, my own actions, behaviors and thoughts. Meditation reminds me daily that I am enough. I am here. I am good enough.

Each day I do have to pause and breathe through moments of negative self-talk,but the briars of anxiety, negative narratives and self-doubt are unwinding. I know that I am enough.

5. I Am Deeply Connected

Whether you have a network of family or friends or not, we all feel alone and rootless at times. Often we fail to admit it and see this as a weakness. You feel lonely, but you are not alone.

Meditation taught me that lesson. By connecting with myself daily, I connect on a deeper level with the world. I am okay with being alone, and I don’t itch to have someone nearby or have the television playing in the background. Silence isn’t a threat to me.

It’s easier to tell when I feel off and why. I am able to take the time, whether that’s one minute or one hour, to breathe and focus on remaining centered and connected. This connection to yourself is a powerful acceptance of you as you are and the intricacies of people and the world as they are. It brings a powerful and deeper connection to emotion, intellect and spirituality overall.

Meditation is only as complicated as you make it, and all you have to do is breathe with awareness. Breathe with awareness of your heart and all you are feeling and thinking without challenging it. This takes perseverance, but if you can sit with yourself through this, you know you will be able to sit with yourself through anything.

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How Yoga Helps Improve Quality of Life: My Personal Experience

My first experience with yoga wasn’t great. I had enrolled in a free extracurricular introductory yoga class through the university I attended, and expected a pleasant, mellow experience for my first time Hatha yoga. It could not have been more different. I arrived to an overly warm and jam-packed room with yoga mats laid haphazardly from wall-to-wall. Finally locating the instructor, I checked to make sure that I hadn’t inadvertently showed up to the Bikram class, seeing as I was already sweating buckets and class hadn’t started yet. In short, I was in the right class, and opted to leave after ten minutes of sustaining more consciousness over where other peoples’ bodies were than my own.

Now fast-forward three years to my first proper Hatha yoga experience. A new colleague of mine had just left her full-time job at a holistic health spa, but was still teaching yoga classes a couple days a week. She encouraged me to give it another try, and offered me a spot in her class. After the first session, my mind was blown. It was eye-opening, and so different from that first experience at university; rather, it was how yoga should feel. Throughout the class, I felt relaxed, supported, and like a huge mental weight had been lifted as I flowed through each posture and breath. That was the day I decided that yoga would become a regular part of my life.

The last two years of practicing yoga on a near-daily basis have been truly transformative. I didn’t expect yoga to affect other areas of my overall wellbeing like it does, but it has and it’s a welcome surprise. My mind, body, and spirit are more whole as a result. I am a centered, stronger, better version of myself.

 Prior to my yoga routine, I suffered from tension headaches and migraines on a near-weekly basis. The headaches were especially bad on the first couple days of my menstrual cycle and were of course, not helped by bouts of extreme menstrual cramping. Ibuprofen was my go-to remedy for the aches I had learned to anticipate. But since my first month of practicing yoga, my headaches have subsided to a frequency of about once a month, something I hadn’t thought possible. I’ve learned to relax, stretch, and release the tension I carry. And while it doesn’t always prevent menstrual cramps, it sure does help once they’ve started (I cannot recommend the Cobra pose enough! A life changer, that one.). The overall physical relief I’ve found through yoga has made me feel like a newly healthy person.

The transformation has been as much mental as it has been physical—Perhaps even more so. Back in 2011, I had suffered a sudden panic attack while working at a large-scale event. It wasn’t something I had experienced before, and I was blindsided when it hit me. For those who aren’t familiar with panic attacks, they can make you feel like you suddenly can’t catch your breath, like you may vomit, and like getting outside to fresh air is the most important and lofty goal you’ve ever had to reach. At least, that’s how they make me feel.

Some post-panic attack introspection led me to conclude that finding myself without my colleagues’ support in a stressful situation brought it on. My emotional resources had been taxed, and something inside me snapped. Since that awful experience, I have been able to integrate my yoga instruction with those kinds of feelings. The panic attack of 2011 happened at a time where I couldn’t find the will to be flexible with the situation, or to take myself out of the situation entirely. Yoga has taught me mental flexibility as much as physical flexibility, which continues to be an excellent tool for preventing panic attacks.

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 Nowadays, when I find myself in situations that present similar challenges to the ones I faced in 2011 and for all the years I was coping with headaches, I am able to channel the lessons bestowed upon me by the physical demands of yoga practice. I know which yoga poses will resolve which pains, and can now practice them with ease and endurance. I can consciously steady my breathing, relax the tenseness I accumulate throughout the day, and know that I can bend with the wind. I can be flexible and not break.


Mary Frenson is a Marketing Assistant at Checkdirector.co.uk, a new source of information on UK companies. Mary is always happy to share her marketing ideas and thoughts on business issues. In her free time she enjoys handicrafts.

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Are You Really Happy? Signs You Are Really Truly Happy (Infographic)

What is happiness? What does it mean to be truly happy? Humans always have been searching for the answers to these questions. Of course,there is no single factor that determines human happiness. There are many causes that can influence how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Daily happiness can be affected by something as little as getting a good night sleep. If you want to find out what some of the reasons a person can be happy take a look at this happiness checklist.

Am I Depressed Quiz?

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More Good News About Meditation

It seems like there is every day a new study is coming out showing the benefits of meditation. For decades the scientists have been showing that there are numerous benefits of simply sitting quietly and concentrating on your breath.

Well there is more good news. A new study published this month and reported in the New York Times  that shows that practice of meditation, no matter whether we are expert meditators or novice practitioners, produces measurable changes in two key ways:

1. More communication between two brain regions involved in self-control and focus.

2. Lower levels of a stress-linked substance called IL-6 that's been linked with inflammation and can sometimes be used as an early indicator of later health problems.

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Furthermore, if that's wasn't enough to convince you that you should meditate, there are multiple studies suggest that meditation can also help reduce depression and anxiety and mindfulness meditation in particular might help people deal with psychological stress and help them relate to others.

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Facts Everyone Should Know About Exercise and Your Health

Across the globe children and adults are more physically inactive than ever before. Unfortunately this is true despite the fact that everyone knows that the regular exercise is extremely beneficial for your health. By exercising as little as 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you can reap many benefits from this. When you do a regular exercise you can improve your mood, sleep quality, boost your brain power, increase your attention span, improve your social life and enhance your overall happiness.

Check out this infographic to see how exercising as little as 30 minutes a day can be a key to a healthier, happier you.

30 Minutes Of Exercise Infographic

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Choosing The Right Mental Health Career Path

Mental health is a booming field around the world and doesn’t look likely to slow down anytime soon. Indeed, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its ranking of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the United States last year, the job that ranked highest (with a likely growth rate of 53 percent in the years leading up to 2022) was that of an industrial-organizational psychologist.

If you’re currently studying a degree in social work or a psychology-specific degree, or looking for a new career path in the field, you’ll no doubt be feeling a little daunted about choosing which exact stream of the popular area to specialize in. After all, while many of the methods used are the same, the daily working life of different types of workers can vary hugely.

If you’re keen to find out more about the various industries where the scientific and holistic study of human mind and behavior is used, read on for some of the most popular career paths you can consider. 

1. Social Work

Social work itself can be a diverse career path. When training as a social worker, you learn about all the different aspects of the profession, from child protection to mental health and everything in between. Social workers can choose to either specialize in a particular area of the field if they have a singular passion, or can move between specialties over time as it suits.

A reason many people decide to become a social worker is because of the opportunity it provides to connect with, and assist, their community. Social workers act as an advocate, and provide local people with resources, referrals to other professionals, and counseling.

If you choose to go down the path of social work, you will be able to connect with people (both individuals and families) in a positive and beneficial way, no matter the particular area you work in. You will be able to see for yourself the difference made in a client’s life, whether you help them with counseling, housing, literacy training, food, or education.

2. Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists apply their knowledge, skills, and experience of psychology to the understanding and functioning of justice systems. They also research relevant areas of the field, and can work in a variety of legal contexts.

Forensic psychologists utilize their skills to collect and report on psychological evidence, to conduct assessments and diagnose patients, for research purposes, for psychological intervention, forensic interviewing, and to evaluate programs. They can provide assistance in criminal, family, and civil legal cases, as well as aid victims, government personnel, litigants, perpetrators, and community organizations.

If you choose to become a psychologist specializing in this scientific-based area of study, you could find yourself employed in areas like courts and tribunals (often evaluating criminals to decide whether they are fit to stand trial or not). Other areas include police departments, alcohol and other drug services, child protection units, juvenile and adult prisons and community corrections facilities, mental health and family services, rehabilitation facilities, academic and policy organizations, or private practice. Generally the highest demand for forensic psychologists comes from federal governments.

3. Neuropsychology

If you’ve always been fascinated with how the brain works, consider a career as a neuropsychologist. These specialists assess and rehabilitate people suffering from a traumatic brain injury, as well as other neurological illnesses like strokes, tumors, metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

As a neuropsychologist you would work with people of all ages, and must demonstrate clinical skills and extensive knowledge in a broad range of mental health issues and the way in which the brain works. Before being able to specialize in the field, you will need to first become a registered psychologist within either educational or clinical psychology.

Neuropsychologists most often work in “acute” settings, such as neuroscience facilities where the main focus is on the effects of trauma, neurological diseases and neurosurgery on patient brains and functions. However, there are also job openings in rehabilitation centers (providing support, training and assessments for people who have sustained a brain injury, for example), as well as in research centers or as expert witnesses for court cases.

4. Industrial-Organizational Psychology

If you’re interested in getting involved with businesses or large organizations, becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist might suit you best. People qualified in this area use psychology to help companies, government agencies, and other organizations to increase their effectiveness, as well as to improve the level of job satisfaction in staff members.

Also known as “occupation psychologists”, these specialists evaluate business models and management theories, help to create better business policies, and can work directly with employees to increase productivity and workplace satisfaction. The role can also involve screening employees such as police officers, government agents, and security officers before they are given permission to carry a firearm. 

 

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