Adolescent athletes in all sports, levels, and abilities have one thing in common. They hate being injured! They also hate it when they don’t perform as well as they know they can. The good news is by doing this one simple thing; you can improve performance mentally and physically, and reduce the risk of injuries by 68%.
Many of us dread the coming of winter, the darkness, the cold, the increased risk of getting the flu. About 10 to 20 percent of the American population suffers from what is commonly referred to as the “winter blues.”
A smaller percentage, from about 4 to 6%, suffers from a more extreme form of the winter blues called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD is a type of seasonal depression that shows up most of the time in late fall and lasts through the winter months, although there is a rare form that shows up in a smaller number of people in the late spring and lasts through the summer. In winter version of this disorder people suffer symptoms of depression including;
Do you ever get frustrated because you can’t find your keys? Have you ever walked into a room and don’t remember why? Are you ever afraid that you may be on your way to Alzheimer’s?
Here is what chronic sleep deprivation can do to you . . . .
Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep
The human wake and sleep cycle is naturally regulated by the bright light of day and the darkness of night. When the light of day first hits the retina and stimulates a nerve pathway to the hypothalamus, it sets off a chain reaction that sends messages to other parts of the brain that help us feel more awake, like raising body temperature and increasing hormones like cortisol.1
The body also decreases the production of other hormones like melatonin which is both a hormone and an antioxidant.2 Melatonin, sometimes referred to as the “Dracula of Hormones,” is made by your pineal gland which is inactive during the day, but is turned on when the sun goes down and darkness occurs.1 Melatonin production helps us to fall asleep and to stay asleep during the night.
Insomnia is generally taking longer than 20-25 minutes to fall asleep which occurs more than three times a week. (1) According to Sleep Expert Michael J. Breus, PhD., at any given time, one third of the population will have trouble falling asleep, and ten percent of those have chronic insomnia.
All stress begins with a thought. It isn’t what’s happening “out there” that initiates the stress response. It’s how we interpret what’s happening “out there” that causes us to become stressed or not. We call this a perception of a threat. If we think this situation will lead to some kind of pain (emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical), we turn on the stress response automatically to prepare for the potential pain. The potential pain is what we call a “threat.” Prevention of stress, then, is best done by focusing on our thoughts, by changing how we think about those things we think are threatening.
[frame align=”left”][/frame]Not only does meditation reduce stress, but it also improves your mind by helping you learn and remember new things. It also improves memory and the ability to focus – permanently. In other words, meditation can wire your brain for success – here’s how . . .
While you meditate, your brain goes from the beta waves, which are the awake and alert brain waves, to the slower, more restful levels of brainwave activity called theta and delta waves. This is usually where the brain goes during deep sleep, dreaming, or deep hypnosis. This is also the time when the body undergoes its most restorative rest.1
While the brain is resting in these deeper rhythms, the body is at work. The immune system gets boosted and the body also repairs the damage done to it during the day, including healing cuts, bruises and internal problems that we may not even know about. This restorative state is also when the mind shuffles through the thoughts and experiences of the day, organizing data into short-term and long-term storage. 1
Have you ever been disappointed with a test score because you knew you could have done better but were just so nervous you didn’t do your best?
How about on a job interview, or when giving an important presentation?
When we are anxious or nervous our breathing changes from deep diaphragmatic breaths to shallow chest breathing. This kind of breathing restricts oxygen flow to the cells of the body and may cause drowsiness, irritability and even headaches.
On the first day of class every semester, I usually ask the students, “What is a healthy person?”
Typically, I get answers like, someone who exercises, eats right, is thin, has good hygiene, gets enough sleep, doesn’t do drugs, has nice skin, is in shape, isn’t sick, is tan, isn’t overweight, someone who has lots of energy.
Did you notice something about all of these responses?
They all have to do with a person’s physical health. That is usually what people think of when they think of health, but there are other aspects to a healthy person. What else is a healthy person?
How do books & downloads relieve my stress?
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When you are under stress, your autonomic nervous system thinks you are being threatened and turns on the stress response. This is the mechanism that helps you get out of dangerous situations. Some people refer to it as being in “fight or flight” mode.
Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol rush through the body. The heart beat, breathing rate, and blood pressure increases. Blood and energy is diverted away from things like digestion and the immune system to places like muscles which may need extra energy to escape danger. This response is designed to be short-lived, only on for a few minutes at a time.
The problem is that most of the time we are stressed, our bodies are not in physical