Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety & Exercise’

7 Ways to Feel Better Naked

August 9, 2015

7 Ways To Feel Better Naked and Feel More Comfortable With Your Body in Bed,
Because Life’s Too Short To Be Insecure
insecurity
We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we actually  hear the nitty-gritty details of how we might actually achieve those things? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex psychotherapist based in San Francisco, to help us out with the specifics. This week’s topic: How to feel better naked in bed.

Is there a certain beauty routine or ritual that you genuinely love doing? Not because you feel like you’re “supposed” to do it, but because it’s authentically fun for you? For example, do you love brushing out and styling your hair? Applying the perfect cat eye? Rubbing your favorite lotion all over your body? The key word here is “authentic.” There’s a big difference between, “I’ve got to put on make-up because I look disgusting otherwise” and “I feel so hot when I’m wearing my favorite shade of red lipstick.” If you’re able to enjoy the process of getting yourself ready for the big reveal, you’ll feel way more confident.

Take Care of Your Body

Q: I’ve been dating someone new. Thus far we’ve only made out, but it seems like things are starting to heat up. Any tips for that awkward first time taking your clothes off around someone new? I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate my body, but there are definitely areas that I strongly dislike.

A: The situation you find yourself in right now is one with which most people can relate. It’s such a bummer that the excitement of being with someone new for the first time has to be marred by self-consciousness about your own body!

It’s not that I blame you though. The physical ideals that women are expected to live up to are insane, and it’s hard not to pick yourself to pieces. I don’t think it’s possible to get rid of body consciousness entirely, but I do have some ideas for minimizing its impact in the moment.

Feel Sexy Getting Ready

When you grow up in our society, it’s hard to remember that you don’t need to have the body type of Beyonce to be attractive. Like I said before, I don’t think you can completely eliminate body consciousness, but you can develop a healthier relationship with your body.

Try to find ways to take care of your body and send it the message that it deserves love and pampering. Maybe that’s getting massages, manicures, or facials. I also recommend moving your body in ways you actually enjoy. The point is not to lose weight, but to help you feel more comfortable with and present in your own skin. That might be dancing, yoga, running, weight lifting, or swimming.

Set the Scene

If you can, invite your partner over to your place. Being in the comfort of your own space can help alleviate some of your anxiety.

You can also set things up to help you get in the mood. One of the best investments you can make is a cheap dimmer switch and soft light bulbs, which are much more flattering than your typical harsh overhead lighting. Or you can buy a small bedside lamp or candles. Don’t forget to put on music that makes you feel confident and sexy.

Consider Investing in Good Lingerie

Good lingerie is an extremely underrated self-esteem booster. You want to feel excited about your partner seeing what you have on under your clothes!

The important thing is to find lingerie that shows off your best assets and captures your style. Most women think only of Victoria’s Secret when they think of lingerie, which is a shame because VS is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. There are so many more interesting style options out there these days — burlesque-inspired, minimalist, high-fashion, or tomboy.

Check out indie designers For Love And Lemons and Negative Underwear. Etsy is also a surprisingly good resource for creative and unusual lingerie. You can look for body-positive lingerie stores, like Dollhouse Bettie in San Francisco. They can also help you find the proper fit, and suggest cuts that flatter your body. If you’re not sure what kind of style you’re into, check out True and Co, which allows you to try on bras and chemises in the privacy of your own home.

Don’t Put Yourself Down

A lot of women feel so self conscious that criticize or make excuses for their bodies before even taking their clothes off. Please don’t do this! Don’t beat yourself up in front of your partners. Don’t point out your flaws. Don’t make self-deprecating “jokes” about your body. It’s unnecessary, it’s cruel, and it draws attention to things your partner probably wouldn’t have noticed on his or her own!

Remind Yourself What’s Important

If you catch yourself thinking critical thoughts in the moment, remind yourself what’s really important to you about being intimate with another person. To yourself, you could say something like, “I want to focus on being present with my partner instead of stuck in my own head” or “instead of criticizing myself, I’d rather pay attention to how good this feels.”

Know That You’re Your Own Worst Enemy

We women can be so mean to ourselves, especially our bodies. I promise you that any sexual partners you may have will never be as critical of your body as you are. With each item of clothing you remove, your partner is far more likely to be thinking, “hell yeah!” than, “hmm, her upper arms look a little jiggly to me.”

I hope these suggestions lessen your anxiety and help you actually enjoy this experience. Don’t forget to have fun!

Article sourced from: http://www.bustle.com/articles/58719-7-ways-to-feel-better-naked-and-feel-more-comfortable-with-your-body-in-bed-because?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=partnerships&utm_campaign=greatist

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Life isn’t Perfect … What to do When Things Get Messy

April 12, 2015

sometimes-life-gets-messy

Many people live under the common misconception that enlightenment grants them immunity to life’s events. They feel if they reach a heightened state of consciousness they’ll be exempt from getting angry, feeling sorrow or enduring life’s pesky clutter. Some think they’ll achieve solace and harmony at all times, and enlightenment will soak up life’s spills and scrub away the stains.

I’ll tell you right now, it won’t.

No matter where you are on the road to fulfillment, life gets messy. Milk cartons tip over. Businesses fail. Fender benders happen. Friends disappoint you. Messes, big and small, are inevitable. However, in any moment, you have a choice. You can meet challenges as the narrow perception of personality or as the infinite expansiveness of spirit.

When life gets messy, you’re receiving a gift — an opportunity to come into clarity. Say your son comes home from school with bad grades and has little or no interest in improving. This lack of motivation makes you depressed, cross, and frustrated. You’re gripped with worry and your aggravated mind runs wild. “How do my child’s failing marks reflect on me?” “How will others perceive me if he’s not doing well in school?” Your inner monologue declares, “I did something wrong. I’m a horrible parent.” when, in reality, the external event is presenting a chance to embrace your sadness, let go of expectations, and lovingly explore effective solutions for what’s truly affecting your child.

In every moment, you’re either experiencing life as your personality or as your spirit. Living as your personality engages all the aspects of your limited individualized self while navigating life as your spirit allows you to meet all things with spaciousness. Personality brings contraction, spirit brings freedom and both aspects present invaluable prospects for growth.

Disruption occurs so you can acquire a greater awareness of yourself and deal with life’s messes more consciously. Recognizing that everything is Divine allows you to stop judging situations as good or bad, and simply be with what is. In that space of acceptance, you can experience what you need experience and expand into more compassion, gratitude, and self-love.

Life is messy, but you always have a choice. You can cry over spilled milk, or you can grab a mop.

Article sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/panache-desai/what-to-do-when-life-gets-messy_b_7033874.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000032

Surviving the HSC

October 19, 2014

HSC_English_Cramming_

Practical advice for the whole family

If your child is studying for the HSC, you’re probably feeling the stress too. Many parents want to help but don’t want to interfere.

As well as pre-exam tension, there are other common factors that can make life seem even more challenging for the whole family.

Year 12 is often the year when kids:

  • lose interest in school
  • have no plans for after the HSC
  • develop an intense relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • get their driver’s licence
  • experiment with legal or illegal drugs
  • have a part-time job
  • are a member of a sporting team
  • develop an eating disorder
  • suffer from depression.

If any of these concerns sound familiar, don’t despair. You’re not alone – and this won’t last forever.

How you can help

Richard Cracknell, counsellor and district guidance officer at Inverell High School advises that “the most obvious forms of support parents can offer are the practical, physical things,” and recommends parents:

  • Provide a good place to study, that’s quiet, comfortable, with good ventilation, good lighting, adequate desk or table space and free from distractions such as TV, noise, a telephone, interesting conversations, little brothers and sisters.
  • Provide healthy, balanced meals.
  • Encourage sleep and regular exercise.
  • Encourage them to avoid late night parties and alcohol consumption.

Less obvious, but just important, is giving your child the support they need in the lead-up to exams, which can be hard when emotions run high.

Tips to remember

  • Be supportive and encouraging.
  • Highlight strengths and successes. Encourage your child not to dwell on failures, but to see them as “mistakes”, which can actually be something they can learn and benefit from.
  • Appreciate your child maybe feeling very stressed, even if it’s not obvious to you. Many kids fear letting their family down so beware of setting unrealistic expectations. Some worry they can’t do as well as a sibling, or friend. Many Year 12 kids are feeling overwhelmed about what lies ahead: leaving home, leaving lifelong friends, the prospect of having to live in a new city.
  • Understand people under pressure become supersensitive and explosive from time to time. Family members are usually the first targets. Try not to overreact.
  • Be realistic in your expectations as to where the HSC leads. Not all HSC students will go on to university – but they can still have a wealth of excellent and satisfying career options. If they don’t get the HSC marks they needed and still really want to go on to tertiary education later, there are many other pathways. Interestingly, the success rate of mature age students is much higher than for those who go straight from school.
  • Encourage your child to seek help from teachers or the school counsellor if they are having any difficulty with subjects, study organisation, stress or anxiety about examinations.
  • Encourage a healthy balance between work and leisure. Some times kids need a total break from everything for a weekend  or so, to recharge their batteries.
  • Take an interest in what your child is doing, if they’ll allow you to (some won’t). This can include the subjects or topics being studied, how their study timetables and programs have been organised and their leisure pursuits. (Note: “Taking an interest in” does not mean interfering.)
  • Remember the occasional hug and “I love you” don’t go astray, even when they are 18 years old.
  • Encourage and allow your child to be as independent as you can possibly stand. The more independent your child is in meeting the demands of Year 12, the better prepared they will be to succeed at a tertiary level or in the workforce.

Just before exams:

  • Don’t stress about the little things like leaving lights on, leaving the lid off the toothpaste and not doing chores.
  • Don’t panic when they announce on the evening before the examination that they know nothing. (Reassure them, even if you think they could be right. “Just do the best you can. We know you’re giving it your best shot.” is a good standby.)
  • Avoid nagging, which doesn’t mean you can’t give a nudge or gentle reminder from time to time.
  • Encourage confidence by reassuring your child. If you have doubts, keep them to yourself.

According to Richard Cracknell, all parents make mistakes, and we need to bear in mind that we’re human too.

Don’t feel too badly when you forget not to nag, when you get picky, and complain bitterly that your child has the time to attend the 18th birthday party of every Year 12 student, but doesn’t have time to help with the washing up.

As parents we sometimes can’t help being over-involved and from time to time we also feel the pressure of Year 12.

Know this is a temporary stage, just like the newborn, toddler and adolescent stages you’ve already negotiated together.

Article sourced here: http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/homework-and-study/homework-tips/tips-for-surviving-the-hsc

Start Shaping Up

August 19, 2014

IT’S TIME TO SHAPE UPshapeup

As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, over 63% of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy eating and not enough physical activity can lead to overweight and obesity, and an increased risk of developing a chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Shape Up Australia is an initiative to help Australians reduce their waist measurements and improve their overall health and wellbeing. There are many everyday changes you can make to help you Shape Up and get on your way to a healthier lifestyle.


GETTING ACTIVE

Life can be busy, and it’s easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active.  But being physically active doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising each day or that you have to push yourself to the point of feeling exhausted.

There are great benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically.  Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.

You can start with small changes, like increasing the distance you walk by getting off the bus earlier or parking your car further away from the shops.  Gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do – it all adds up.  Aim for 30 minutes (or more) of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.

If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do your 30 minutes (or more) all at once – combine a few shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day.  Those short bursts are just as effective as longer exercise sessions.

To get started, check out these physical activity tips or find activities in your local area using the activity finder.

GETTING PHYSICAL TIPS

Tips for being more physically active every day

  • The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth.  Some activity is better than none, and more is better than a little.  But you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse to get a health benefit.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Set a date for when you will start. Write the date down and stick to it.
  • Make time to be physically active and schedule it as you would an appointment.  The Shape Up activity planner can help you plan and track your activity.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals.  Make your goals specific, measurable and achievable.  Rather than a vague goal like “I will get fit”, try “I will walk every day for 10 minutes after meals” or “I will get off the bus/train two stops earlier than my usual stop”.
  • Build up gradually.  If you are starting a new activity or have been inactive for some time, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.
  • Choose activities that are right for you.  Do something that you enjoy or go for something different you’ve always wanted to try, such as walking, jogging, joining a team sport, taking a group fitness class, dancing, cycling or swimming.
  • Mix it up.  Consider changing your activities every so often to avoid becoming bored.
  • Plan physical activity with others.  This can help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals.
  • Do not give up before you start to see the benefits.  Be patient and keep at it.
  • HAVE FUN! Physical activity can make you feel good about yourself and it’s a great opportunity to have fun with other people or enjoy some time to yourself.

FINDING TIME TO GET ACTIVE

It can seem hard to find time for physical activity.  One solution is to look for opportunities to build as much physical activity into everyday activities as you can.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Rather than spend five minutes circling a car park looking for that “perfect space” right near the entrance, park five minutes away and spend that time walking instead.
  • If you arrive at a bus or tram stop early, why not make use of the time to walk to the next stop?
  • Walk rather than rest on escalators… it’s quicker so you’ll actually save time! (Or better still, use the stairs).
  • Work in the garden – get into some energetic gardening activities like digging, shifting soil and mowing the lawn to raise your heart-rate.
  • Clean the house! Activities like vacuuming, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors that raise your heart rate are all good examples of moderate intensity physical activity.
  • Park further away from work (or get off public transport a few stops early).  If you walk for 10 minutes to and from work, you’ll have done 20 minutes without even noticing.  Add a 10 minute brisk walk (or more!) at lunch time and you’ve met the guidelines for the day.

ACTIVITY INTENSITY

What is moderate intensity activity?

Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate.  A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing.  Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

What is vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.  Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging and fast cycling.

Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.

WHAT SHOULD I BE EATING

Eating a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods every day helps us maintain a healthy weight, feel good and fight off chronic disease.

Best of all, healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these seven golden rules:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit
  3. Watch how much you eat – even foods that are good for us, when eaten in large portions, can lead to weight gain
  4. Eat less processed food
  5. Eat regular meals – don’t skip meals – and always start the day with a healthy breakfast (e.g. a bowl of hi fibre cereal with sliced banana and low fat milk)
  6. Restrict your alcohol intake
  7. Remember that some foods are high in added fat, salt and sugar and so are best eaten only sometimes or in small amounts.  Examples include lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chips, pies, sausage rolls and other takeaways.

To help you eat well every day, check out these healthy recipes and snack suggestions, tips for staying on track when eating out, our guide to healthy eating on a budget, and tips for drinking to health.

Snack suggestions

  • Add fruit and yoghurt to low fat milk and blend them together to make a great tasting smoothie.
  • A slice of wholegrain bread or raisin toast with a healthy spread such as avocado or low-fat cream cheese, makes a filling, healthy snack.
  • A piece of fruit – like a banana or apple – can make a great “on the run” snack.
  • Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or packet of chips, try vegetable sticks with low-fat hummus.
  • An occasional handful of unsalted nuts or dried fruit makes a nutritious snack.
  • Grab a tub of natural low-fat yoghurt and add your own fruit.
  • Air-popped popcorn with a sprinkling of salt makes a great afternoon snack.
  • When the weather is hot, fruits such as oranges and grapes make delicious frozen snacks.

Other useful links:

Australian Dietary Guidelines www.eatforhealth.gov.au

Stay On Track When Eating Out Fact Sheet

Your Guide To Buying Fruit And Veg In Season Fact Sheet

Information sourced from this Government Website: http://www.shapeup.gov.au/start-shaping-up

Sweet Poison – sugar, it never fully satisfies our cravings.

August 12, 2014

addiction
In the last 24 hours, I’ve drunk several cups of coffee, each one sweetened with a sugar cube. I’ve eaten a bowl of porridge sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and I’ve enjoyed on three separate occasions, a piece of my date and apple birthday cake, to which the chef tells me he added one cup of castor sugar.

This is pretty standard fare for me (birthday celebrations notwithstanding) and although occasionally I fret that my sugar intake is perhaps a little high and that I should reign it in or else risk all manner of health problems down the track, I continue to indulge my sweet tooth. Although after listening to David Gillespie present at Happiness & Its Causes 2011, I’m seriously thinking I really do need to wean myself off the white stuff.

Gillespie, a former lawyer, is the author of Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat, whose thesis is that sugar, or more specifically fructose (of which folk are consuming, on average, about one kilo a week), actually does much more that pack on the kilos. It also makes us physically ill and exacts a significant toll on our mental health.

What we’ve come to identify as sugar is actually a combination of two molecules: fructose and glucose, the latter an indispensable element to the body’s healthy functioning. As Gillespie explains, “The glucose half is fine. It’s more than just fine; it’s vitally necessary for us. We are machines that run on the fuel of glucose.” Indeed, all the carbohydrates we consume – and which for most of us constitute about 60 per cent of our diet (everything else is proteins and fats) – are converted to glucose.

Fructose, on the other hand, is not metabolised by us for fuel but rather converted directly to fat. As Gillespie says, “By the time we finish a glass of apple juice, the first mouthful is already circulating in our arteries as fat.” But even worse than that, fructose messes with those hormonal signals which tell us we’re full so that we keep on eating sugary, fatty foods.

Two hormones in particular are affected, the first one being insulin “which responds immediately to the presence of all carbs except fructose,” says Gillespie. “When insulin goes up, appetite goes down. So insulin tells us, ‘all right, you’ve had a meal, stop eating’. Fructose does not provoke a response from insulin and in fact, over time, it makes us resistant to the signals we do get from everything else we eat.”

Leptin is produced by our fat cells and works as our “on board fuel gauge” in that the more fat cells we have, the more leptin we produce and the less hungry we are. The problem with fructose is it “makes us resistant to that signal,” says Gillespie.

And yes, this leads to all manner of health problems including Type 2 Diabetes and its associated symptoms including lethargy, blurred vision and skin infections, and what Gillespie says is “significant damage through something called glycation”, the destruction through the excessive production of so-called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) of our skin’s elasticity which causes hardening of our arteries and brittle skin, both unmistakable signs of ageing. Gillespie also cites some biochemistry studies that have found fructose accelerates the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours.

These are just some of the physical effects. The addictive quality of fructose means it’s also a bit of a downer and that’s because of how it interferes with the balance of two feel-good hormones in the brain, dopamine and serotonin. Gillespie explains, “It significantly ramps up our dopamine (released when we anticipate pleasure) at the expense of our serotonin (released when that pleasure is delivered).” In other words, it never fully satisfies our cravings, and as anyone who’s battled an addiction knows, unfulfilled cravings are never much fun.

Article sourced from: http://www.thinkandbehappy.com.au/eating-way-health-happiness/