Archive for March, 2016

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Lamb Curry

March 31, 2016

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Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Incidental Activities

March 29, 2016

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Do you know if we all just moved more , then we would be slimmer, fitter, less stressed and more confident.  Did you know that if you just did 30 minutes of activity a day, even if you break that activity down into 3 ten minute blocks you would be slimmer, fitter, less stressed and more confident.

So to do that all you need to do is to get smart and add some movement incidentally into your life. For instance use the stairs not the elevator or escalator. Park further from work or the shops so you can get a few minutes walk to and from your destination.  Take your grocery bags in to your house,  one bag at a time to make more trips.  Hand wash your car instead of using the drive through so you burn up more energy.  Walk your dog twice a day and watch him benefit as well.  If you arrive early for an appointment, go for a walk around the block rather than sitting and reading magazines in the waiting room.

All this extra movement will add up and after a couple of weeks you will notice the benefits.  Let’s see how you rate with your incidental activities.

Give yourself a point for each time during last week you did the following:

  • Used the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator (1 point)
  • Took your grocery bags into your house one at a time (1 point per bag)
  • Parked the car further from the shops and walked (2 points)
  • Walked around the block because you were early for an  appointment (2 points)
  • Hand washed the car (2 points)
  • Walked your dog twice a day (2 points)
  • Went for a walk with a friend rather than sat and had coffee. (3 points)

So let’s say each point equalled 5 minutes and you did each of the above suggested incidental activities last week.  You added 65 minutes of extra activity into your week.  Minutes you didn’t really even have to think about. Minutes that have boosted your metabolism and decreased your stress.  Minutes that will make a big difference to you long term, if you do them regularly.

Now all you have to do is work out how you can get 30 of those minutes, or 3 lots of 10 minute blocks, into your day to be making the biggest difference to your  health and long term longevity.

On the flip side you can see how when we become more sedentary and take these movement opportunities out of our days, weeks and lives, we become fatter, lazier and stressed.  Thank goodness those of you who read this article think smart and are always on the lookout to live healthier and more fulfilling lives.

So get smart and give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222 for a free activity session or chat.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week -Roasted Broccoli & Tomato

March 24, 2016

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Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Fitness & Fun Ambassador

March 22, 2016

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I have a challenge for you this week. I want you to become a Fitness and Fun Ambassador amongst your own circle of friends.      We all have too many family members and friends that are not doing the best things for their health or are making token efforts with plenty of room for improvement.
So if you’re the exception amongst your friends and family,  I want you to talk to 5 friends and family members this week and encourage them to make some healthier changes in their lives.
Before you get started though try to understand what the other person could be feeling in regards to doing this with you.  Let’s take going for a walk.  They may think you’re a super athlete, or you might intimidate them with your sprightliness, so you may have to walk a little slower or take an easier route with no hills.  After all being their Fitness and Fun Ambassador you will want to ensure they can manage it and, it feel good at the end. In time they can work harder but remember initially it’s just about getting moving.
Maybe you could encourage healthy eating. As much as my mum taught me how to look after myself and some basic cooking, I am now showing my mum how a lot of the “healthy” foods she recommended are in fact laden with hidden kilojoules. It’s not her fault; it’s just what she knows and what she had been taught. The same goes for you and your friends.  They may not actually know the amount of movement required to burn off that ‘little slice of cake’ or ‘healthy’ muffin.  A good start is instead of going for coffee and a chat, swap the coffee for a walk and a chat.  By the way forgo the low fat food choices as these often have sugar or salt added to them to improve the flavour that the missing fat supplied.
Take you friends/family members shopping with you to see what healthy food items you put into your trolley, and to see which isles you totally avoid (this helps a lot, if it doesn’t go into the trolley, it won’t go in your mouth).
Being a Fitness and Fun Ambassador is a big responsibility but also a rewarding one.  After all some people just need a little help and guidance and more importantly someone who believes they can do it.  So get out their and go spread the word.
For more information or to meet some of our great Fitness and Fun Ambassadors contact Glen or Jacqui at Coffs Coast Health Club on 6658 6222 and we can organise you a FREE Session with us.

4 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Workout Routine

March 20, 2016

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When you started a regular exercise program, whether to lose weight or improve your overall health, your enthusiasm and motivation were high. Even though exercise wasn’t the most exciting activity you had experienced, you began feeling better and seeing results from your hard work. You managed to get yourself out of bed early, to squeeze in a little gym time each day, and stick to your plan without much effort.

But then slowly, the novelty began to wear off. You started finding reasons to sleep in and found “better” things to do with your time. Then before you realized it, you had missed a whole week and your drive to continue was missing in action. Is this common scenario just another motivation issue? Probably not. Could something else be getting in the way of the excitement and effectiveness of your previously-rewarding workouts? The answer is yes! Luckily, you can learn to identify the signs that it’s time to shake-up your workout routine so you can remain consistent and enthusiastic about exercise. Here are four of the most common signs and what you can do to get back on track:

Top 4 Signs Your Workout Isn’t Working

1. Your workout bores you.
You used to like walking on the treadmill, so why do you dread your workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try taking your workout outside, adding speed intervals, putting new music on your iPod or bringing a friend along. If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in a new class at your local gym. Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to. And that is exactly what will keep you coming back for more.

2. Your workout isn’t giving you results anymore.
Someone who does the same activity all the time is likely to plateau much sooner than someone who varies her workouts. Just as you can get bored by always doing the same exercises, your body can also adapt to these exercises so that they don’t offer the same benefits that they once did. A little variety might be just the thing you need to get the scale moving again or bust through that strength plateau. “Variety” means either changing something about your current routine (adding speed, distance, hills, resistance, etc.) or trying a totally different activity. If you like some consistency and don’t want to change your workout each time you hit the gym, change your routine at least every 4-8 weeks (this includes incorporating changes to both your cardio and strength training exercises). This will keep your muscles challenged, your body guessing, and the results coming!

3. Your workout leaves you more tired and sore than before.
Exercise should give you more energy, not leave you feeling run down. If you’re feeling overly tired or perpetually sore, you could be over training. Your body needs time for rest and recovery. It is during this down time that you build strength and endurance by allowing your muscles to rebuild and repair. If you don’t give your body ample recovery time, you’ll become weaker instead of stronger. If you have been overtraining, your first priority should be rest. You might need up to a week off to recharge mentally and physically. Once you are feeling better, start back slowly. Reevaluate your workout program and find ways to make changes that will prevent this from happening again.

4. Your workout is no longer challenging.
Running a 10-minute mile, for example, becomes easier as time goes on. If your workouts aren’t challenging you any more, it can be helpful to wear a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate will change over time as you become more fit. By using a heart rate monitor, you’ll know to change up or intensify your routine, and ensure that you’re working in your target heart rate zone. Challenging your body improves your fitness level and can also provide a sense of accomplishment as you become stronger and work toward your goals.

Changing your workout routine whenever these signs arise will help keep your motivation high as you work to improve your fitness level. The key is to pay close attention to how you’re feeling both physically and mentally. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore that you dread, but something that makes you feel good about yourself!

Article sourced from: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=874

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Mexican Shredded Chicken

March 17, 2016

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Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Falls Prevention

March 15, 2016

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To fall or not to fall?    It’s not really a hard question to answer. I know I want to stay upright for as many years as I can. As you age you may have heard “ I’ve finally got my head together and now my body is falling apart”.    It doesn’t have to be that way but it is important to be aware that statistics show the risk of falling escalates around 65 years of age.   Falls prevention should start as young as 40+.

Causes
Deteriorated/deteriorating health – weight gain, blood pressure issues etc
Flexibility, mobility and strength loss associated with inactive ageing.
Lack of exercise leading to impaired balance – weakened core and stabilising muscles.
Gait changes eg shuffling walk and not lifting your feet.
Impaired visual acuity – bifocals, dim lighting, bright sunshine.
Environmental
Inappropriate footwear – thongs, slippers and loosely laced shoes
People traffic – busy shopping centres
Unfamiliar environment – creates caution and confusion
Uneven, loose or slippery floors – at home, foot paths, wet areas
How to prevent falls
Increasing muscle strength, flexibility and bone density and
Improving balance and gait.

The first step, starting today,  is to increase the strength and endurance in your legs because if they give way the only way you will be going is down.  Try the following movement opportunities:
Walking – anywhere
In the house, in the street
Parks the Jetty and Harbour area
With a friend or go solo

Then increase the intensity by:
Finding a gentle hill to walk up
Walking faster
Increase the distance
Picking up a dancing class or two
Attending classes specifically older adults

Next Increase your leg strength.  As I have said in previous articles, you lose 10% of muscle up to 55 then 40% more after that. Try some:
Step ups
Wall push ups
Rows with some cans, hand weights or resistance bands
Seated squats.
Don’t ignore your balance:
Try  hanging on to a table/ wall, standing on one leg, and as your balance improves you will find you can release your death grip.  Prepare your body for falling and you will find you don’t fall as easily as you think you will.

Stay active.  Keep moving.  Get out of the lounge chair.

Oh and by the way make sure you keep getting down on to the ground so you can practise getting up . You don’t want to be in a situation that if you do fall you can’t get up.  To summarize:
if you don’t use it you will lose it; and
falls prevention requires your attention!

Call Glen or Jacqui on 66586222 to organise a free session at Coffs Coast Health Club.

Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits

March 13, 2016

Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.
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Every day in June, the most popular wedding month of the year, about 13,000 American couples will say “I do,” committing to a lifelong relationship that will be full of friendship, joy, and love that will carry them forward to their final days on this earth.

Except, of course, it doesn’t work out that way for most people.

The majority of marriages fail, either ending in divorce and separation or devolving into bitterness and dysfunction.

Of all the people who get married, only three in ten remain in healthy, happy marriages, as psychologist Ty Tashiro points out in his book “The Science of Happily Ever After,” which was published earlier this year.

Social scientists first started studying marriages by observing them in action in the 1970s in response to a crisis: Married couples were divorcing at unprecedented rates. Worried about the impact these divorces would have on the children of the broken marriages, psychologists decided to cast their scientific net on couples, bringing them into the lab to observe them and determine what the ingredients of a healthy, lasting relationship were.

Was each unhappy family unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy claimed, or did the miserable marriages all share something toxic in common?

Psychologist John Gottman was one of those researchers. For the past four decades, he has studied thousands of couples in a quest to figure out what makes relationships work. I recently had the chance to interview Gottman and his wife Julie, also a psychologist, in New York City. Together, the renowned experts on marital stability run The Gottman Institute, which is devoted to helping couples build and maintain loving, healthy relationships based on scientific studies.

John Gottman began gathering his most critical findings in 1986, when he set up “The Love Lab” with his colleague Robert Levenson at the University of Washington. Gottman and Levenson brought newlyweds into the lab and watched them interact with each other.

With a team of researchers, they hooked the couples up to electrodes and asked the couples to speak about their relationship, like how they met, a major conflict they were facing together, and a positive memory they had. As they spoke, the electrodes measured the subjects’ blood flow, heart rates, and how much they sweat they produced. Then the researchers sent the couples home and followed up with them six years later to see if they were still together.

From the data they gathered, Gottman separated the couples into two major groups: the masters and the disasters. The masters were still happily together after six years. The disasters had either broken up or were chronically unhappy in their marriages.

When the researchers analyzed the data they gathered on the couples, they saw clear differences between the masters and disasters. The disasters looked calm during the interviews, but their physiology, measured by the electrodes, told a different story. Their heart rates were quick, their sweat glands were active, and their blood flow was fast. Following thousands of couples longitudinally, Gottman found that the more physiologically active the couples were in the lab, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time.

But what does physiology have to do with anything? The problem was that the disasters showed all the signs of arousal — of being in fight-or-flight mode — in their relationships. Having a conversation sitting next to their spouse was, to their bodies, like facing off with a saber-toothed tiger.

Even when they were talking about pleasant or mundane facets of their relationships, they were prepared to attack and be attacked. This sent their heart rates soaring and made them more aggressive toward each other. For example, each member of a couple could be talking about how their days had gone, and a highly aroused husband might say to his wife, “Why don’t you start talking about your day. It won’t take you very long.”

The masters, by contrast, showed low physiological arousal. They felt calm and connected together, which translated into warm and affectionate behavior, even when they fought. It’s not that the masters had, by default, a better physiological make-up than the disasters; it’s that masters had created a climate of trust and intimacy that made both of them more emotionally and thus physically comfortable.

Gottman wanted to know more about how the masters created that culture of love and intimacy, and how the disasters squashed it. In a follow-up study in 1990, he designed a lab on the University of Washington campus to look like a beautiful bed and breakfast retreat.

He invited 130 newlywed couples to spend the day at this retreat and watched them as they did what couples normally do on vacation: cook, clean, listen to music, eat, chat, and hang out. And Gottman made a critical discovery in this study — one that gets at the heart of why some relationships thrive while others languish.

Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t — those who turned away — would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.

By observing these types of interactions, Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples — straight or gay, rich or poor, childless or not — will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later. Much of it comes down to the spirit couples bring to the relationship. Do they bring kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility?

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman. “It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.”

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there.

People who give their partner the cold shoulder — deliberately ignoring the partner or responding minimally — damage the relationship by making their partner feel worthless and invisible, as if they’re not there, not valued. And people who treat their partners with contempt and criticize them not only kill the love in the relationship, but they also kill their partner’s ability to fight off viruses and cancers. Being mean is the death knell of relationships.

Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together. Research independent from theirs has shown that kindness (along with emotional stability) is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved. “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,” says Shakespeare’s Juliet. “My love as deep; the more I give to thee, / The more I have, for both are infinite.” That’s how kindness works too: there’s a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship.

There are two ways to think about kindness. You can think about it as a fixed trait: either you have it or you don’t. Or you could think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise. Masters tend to think about kindness as a muscle. They know that they have to exercise it to keep it in shape. They know, in other words, that a good relationship requires sustained hard work.

“If your partner expresses a need,” explained Julie Gottman, “and you are tired, stressed, or distracted, then the generous spirit comes in when a partner makes a bid, and you still turn toward your partner.”

In that moment, the easy response may be to turn away from your partner and focus on your iPad or your book or the television, to mumble “Uh huh” and move on with your life, but neglecting small moments of emotional connection will slowly wear away at your relationship. Neglect creates distance between partners and breeds resentment in the one who is being ignored.

The hardest time to practice kindness is, of course, during a fight—but this is also the most important time to be kind. Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage on a relationship.

“Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express our anger,” Julie Gottman explained, “but the kindness informs how we choose to express the anger. You can throw spears at your partner. Or you can explain why you’re hurt and angry, and that’s the kinder path.”

John Gottman elaborated on those spears: “Disasters will say things differently in a fight. Disasters will say ‘You’re late. What’s wrong with you? You’re just like your mom.’ Masters will say ‘I feel bad for picking on you about your lateness, and I know it’s not your fault, but it’s really annoying that you’re late again.’”

For the hundreds of thousands of couples getting married each June — and for the millions of couples currently together, married or not — the lesson from the research is clear: If you want to have a stable, healthy relationship, exercise kindness early and often.

When people think about practicing kindness, they often think about small acts of generosity, like buying each other little gifts or giving one another back rubs every now and then. While those are great examples of generosity, kindness can also be built into the very backbone of a relationship through the way partners interact with each other on a day-to-day basis, whether or not there are back rubs and chocolates involved.

One way to practice kindness is by being generous about your partner’s intentions. From the research of the Gottmans, we know that disasters see negativity in their relationship even when it is not there. An angry wife may assume, for example, that when her husband left the toilet seat up, he was deliberately trying to annoy her. But he may have just absent-mindedly forgotten to put the seat down.

Or say a wife is running late to dinner (again), and the husband assumes that she doesn’t value him enough to show up to their date on time after he took the trouble to make a reservation and leave work early so that they could spend a romantic evening together. But it turns out that the wife was running late because she stopped by a store to pick him up a gift for their special night out.

Imagine her joining him for dinner, excited to deliver her gift, only to realize that he’s in a sour mood because he misinterpreted what was motivating her behavior. The ability to interpret your partner’s actions and intentions charitably can soften the sharp edge of conflict.

“Even in relationships where people are frustrated, it’s almost always the case that there are positive things going on and people trying to do the right thing,” psychologist Ty Tashiro told me. “A lot of times, a partner is trying to do the right thing even if it’s executed poorly. So appreciate the intent.”

Another powerful kindness strategy revolves around shared joy. One of the telltale signs of the disaster couples Gottman studied was their inability to connect over each other’s good news. When one person in the relationship shared the good news of, say, a promotion at work with excitement, the other would respond with wooden disinterest by checking his watch or shutting the conversation down with a comment like, “That’s nice.”

We’ve all heard that partners should be there for each other when the going gets rough. But research shows that being there for each other when things go right is actually more important for relationship quality. How someone responds to a partner’s good news can have dramatic consequences for the relationship.

In one study from 2006, psychological researcher Shelly Gable and her colleagues brought young adult couples into the lab to discuss recent positive events from their lives. They psychologists wanted to know how partners would respond to each other’s good news. They found that, in general, couples responded to each other’s good news in four different ways that they called: passive destructiveactive destructivepassive constructive, and active constructive.

Let’s say that one partner had recently received the excellent news that she got into medical school. She would say something like “I got into my top choice med school!”

If her partner responded in a passive destructive manner, he would ignore the event. For example, he might say something like: “You wouldn’t believe the great news I got yesterday! I won a free t-shirt!”

If her partner responded in a passive constructive way, he would acknowledge the good news, but in a half-hearted, understated way. A typical passive constructive response is saying “That’s great, babe” as he texts his buddy on his phone.

In the third kind of response, active destructive, the partner would diminish the good news his partner just got: “Are you sure you can handle all the studying? And what about the cost? Med school is so expensive!”

Finally, there’s active constructive responding. If her partner responded in this way, he stopped what he was doing and engaged wholeheartedly with her: “That’s great! Congratulations! When did you find out? Did they call you? What classes will you take first semester?”

Among the four response styles, active constructive responding is the kindest. While the other response styles are joy-killers, active constructive responding allows the partner to savor her joy and gives the couple an opportunity to bond over the good news. In the parlance of the Gottmans, active constructive responding is a way of “turning toward” your partners bid (sharing the good news) rather than “turning away” from it.

Active constructive responding is critical for healthy relationships. In the 2006 study, Gable and her colleagues followed up with the couples two months later to see if they were still together. The psychologists found that the only difference between the couples who were together and those who broke up was active constructive responding. Those who showed genuine interest in their partner’s joys were more likely to be together. In an earlier study, Gable found that active constructive responding was also associated with higher relationship quality and more intimacy between partners.

There are many reasons why relationships fail, but if you look at what drives the deterioration of many relationships, it’s often a breakdown of kindness. As the normal stresses of a life together pile up—with children, career, friend, in-laws, and other distractions crowding out the time for romance and intimacy—couples may put less effort into their relationship and let the petty grievances they hold against one another tear them apart.

In most marriages, levels of satisfaction drop dramatically within the first few years together. But among couples who not only endure, but live happily together for years and years, the spirit of kindness and generosity guides them forward.

Written by: EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH, The Atlantic
Nov. 9, 2014, 3:20 PM
Read the original article on The Atlantic. Check out The Atlantic’s Facebook, newsletters and feeds. Copyright 2014. Follow The Atlantic on Twitter.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Tomato & Fennel Gratin

March 10, 2016

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GARDENING AND MINDFULNESS

March 6, 2016

Want to improve your health and mental wellbeing? Getting your hands dirty might well be the answer.

Nature is a powerful balm and you don’t need to be surrounded by acres of countryside to experience its redeeming benefits. Rather, a few hours spent in the garden each week can be all you need to keep your mental wellbeing in check.

Research is showing that being present in the garden, even for a small amount of time, is the perfect antidote to a busy and stressful urban lifestyle. As your mind focuses on the quiet and steady work of digging, weeding or harvesting produce, a kind of mental declutter takes place. Thoughts order themselves and become quiet, allowing stress and anxiety to melt away. And when the mind is quiet, there’s more room for new, creative ideas to form and be heard.

Image via: Tuinieren Focusing on a simple, repetitive act is a great way to clear the mind.

Image via: Tuinieren

Focusing on a simple, repetitive act is a great way to clear the mind.

In its simplest form, mindfulness is a heightened state of awareness. This state of being is beneficial for calming the mind, managing stress and learning to live in the moment. Most people associate mindfulness with meditation, but there are many ways you can practice mindful living, with gardening becoming a more popular way of doing so.

There are two main reasons why gardening goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness.

1.     The connection between nature and wellbeing

A number of studies have proven the positive relationship between green spaces and mental health. People who spend time in natural environments experience lower levels of stress and anxiety, as well as improved mental health. While achievements such as a nurturing a flower garden may seem small, they actually connect us with something much larger – the energy of the planet and cycle of life within it. That is why the feeling of accomplishment from gardening is endlessly satisfying and hard to find elsewhere in life.

2.     Gardening is an act of solitude

As Sigmund Freud said: “Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.” Unlike other environments we are exposed to on a daily basis, the garden is a place for peace and quiet. It demands little and rewards you with beautiful blooms and bountiful produce. Gratitude, solitude and repetitive physical tasks such as potting plants give your mind a chance to rest, allowing you to embrace a peaceful state of being. When this happens, you’ll begin to feel rejuvenated, even if you are physically tired.

Image via: Simon Griffiths Photography  Create a quiet corner in the garden where you can slow down and be present.

Image via: Simon Griffiths Photography 

Create a quiet corner in the garden where you can slow down and be present.

So how can you find mindfulness in the garden? Gardens are naturally quiet environments, making them a perfect spot to move into an almost meditative state. Rather than putting on a podcast or music the next time you venture outside, focus on listening to the sounds of rustling leaves and any birdlife. Make an effort to appreciate the different textures of dirt, flowers and foliage, and take note of how much your plants have grown.

These small actions will help you to clear away nagging thoughts and simply appreciate the moment for what it is. After a while, your conscious efforts to engage the senses will become second nature.

Think of gardening in this way and watering or weeding will no longer seem like a chore, but rather a chance to reconnect with the earth and your mind. Your brain will thank you for the time out.

Article source here: http://www.thesmallgarden.com.au/blogpages/gardening-and-mindfulness