Stress

Too Busy to Relax?

massage-300x200by Jeanne Mancinelli, RN, LMT

Busy-ness is the trend these days. People carry over-packed schedules like winning trophies. I’m SO busy at work! How do you have time to do that? I’m too busy to read/watch TV/exercise/do anything fun. I can’t get monthly massages I have too much to DO!

Too much “busy” could be making you tired, sick, and probably cranky.

When do you relax? RELAX. “Relaxation” is a word we hear often, but don’t know always know what it means. Here, I’ve compiled some options for you.

re·lax  verb \ri-ˈlaks\

1: the state of being free from tension or anxiety.

2: a way to rest and enjoy yourself

3: recreation or rest, especially after a period of work.

4: the loss of tension in a part of the body, especially in a muscle when it ceases to contract.

5: something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.

More importantly, what does relaxation mean to you? 

If you’re not a “hot bath and good book” kind of person, you probably cringe at Calgon commercials and spa photos of people with stones piled on their backs. But here’s the beauty: You can make your own definition of relaxation.

It’s your job to figure out what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile, and what makes you feel like you are a hundred miles from work or home jobs?

Then, make time for that. 

You have a schedule. Write in special time for a hobby, a nap, massage, your favorite show, a weekend getaway, a new class, ANY thing you enjoy can be relaxing.

Need someone to give you a reason? Want permission?

August 15 is National Day of Relaxation. Yes, it’s a thing! And it’s just begging for celebration.

Here are some ideas:

  • Spend part of the day alone.
  • Spend part of the day with your family, doing ONLY fun stuff.
  • Meditate
  • Devote time to your hobby.
  • Sleep in. Or get up extra early. Whichever excites you!
  • Arrange for take-out or pre-cooked meals all day.
  • Schedule a massage! (My personal favorite.)

Call Jeanne Mancinelli LMT to schedule 610-393-9676.

If you’ve always wanted a day to “not leave the house” today’s the day! Wake when you wish, eat when you’re hungry, stay in your jammies and read a book.

Taking care of you is important. And, self-care puts you in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who depend on you. So find the thing that mellows you out, and make it happen!

 

Be Your Best Self

Business-Clients-e1465417507182by Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay

We’re all born geniuses, life degeniuses us.
– Buckminster Fuller

For most of her life, Mary said she felt like a “human doing.” She was constantly striving for greater satisfaction by doing more. The pace of her life was rapid fire and relentless. Now, recognizing that stress was taking its toll, she was looking for relief.

Most everyone wants more in life – more happiness, satisfaction, love, and success. But is it possible to have success without being overwhelmed? The answer is YES, however to avoid burnout, we must be at our best.

How to Become Your Best Self

I recall a provocative statement made by a teacher in 1974. He said that there’s something missing in most people’s lives. The good news was that the missing element is inside us. Explore and nurture it, and everything will get better, he promised.

He was right on. My life significantly improved when I acted on his proclamation. He said that we didn’t have to change our behaviors or beliefs, we just needed to develop our potential for success. The approach that he promoted was meditation.

Although I knew little about meditation, it made sense. If our nervous system is depleted by overwhelm and stress, our ability to perform will be compromised. Also, everything that we achieve will be colored by the tension that we’re experiencing. This should not be the price that we pay for success.

While the stress response hijacks the brain, the teacher explained that the deep rest experienced during meditation heals it. The practice of Effortless Meditation allows our mind to settle down, becoming quieter and quieter, and bringing a level of healing rest to the central nervous system and its control tower – the brain.

People routinely report after beginning an Effortless Meditation practice that they are happier, sleeping better, and thinking more clearly. They’re less anxious and all aspects of their health improve – mental, physical, and emotional. One man said that since starting a daily meditation practice, he was falling in love with life again. A woman was delighted because her brain fog was lifting and her memory improving after just a two weeks.

A Key

A key to being our best self is to bring balance into our lives. Adding two short periods of Effortless Meditation™ each day is a formula to do just that. The practice restores energy, vitality, and well-being.

This is an inside job. Start by healing your nervous system and brain. It can be an effortless and enjoyable process. A daily meditation practice is one simple step that will set in motion a cascade of positive changes. In short order, subtle and powerful benefits will be showing up in your life.

Keeping Your Inner Well from Running Dry

Close-up of a young woman receiving back massage at spa

by Jeanne Mancinelli, RN, LMT, Reiki Practitioner

Constantly giving to family, friends, job, life events all help to drain your energy. When the inner well is full, we are able to give as the situation needs. If these events or situations begin to drain our energy and we do not take the time to replenish our supply, then we run into trouble.

As the body approaches this level, it begins to send out warning signals. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Feeling “down”
  • Irritable, Etc.

Now we are entering a “dis-ease” state. If left unchecked, it will spiral downward and become more systemic. You may experience:

  • An increase in blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent severe headaches

How to replenish the well?

  • First is to recognize the situation
  • Secondly, realize that if you do not take care of yourself, you could end up with a physical or emotional breakdown.

What do do?

What helps you relax? Make some “you time.” This is where massage can help. As early as 15 minutes into the massage, the body releases endorphins. These are the “feel good” hormones. During this time your blood pressure begins to lower. Further into the massage, your muscles begin to relax and tension begins to ease. Clients frequently report improved sleep.

The type of massage will depend on the needs of the client. The therapist should discuss the expectations of the client. Some people prefer a more vigorous massage, while others enjoy the long, slow strokes of the Swedish massage. Incorporating essential oils can help ease muscle tension, help elevate moods, and help alleviate stress.

Taking time to refill your inner well is good preventative medicine.

According to a statement issued by the American Massage Therapy Association, there is a growing body of research supporting the health benefits of massage. They have listed 25 conditions that are positively affected by massage.

Included in this list are:

  • Relieve stress
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Relieve tension headaches
  • Improved sleep, Etc.

Massage is so much more than what a lot of people think it is.

Massage is not just a frivolous activity. It improves your health and well-being, it is good preventative medicine.

Join Jeanne Mancinelli, licensed massage therapist, for a cup of tea in our homey kitchen and learn about the different kinds of massage and their benefits.

Tuesday, February 9th at 5:30-6:30 pm

Register with Jeanne at 610.393.9676.

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Yearn for Peace?

Anxious-WomanThe world community was shattered again, in a big way, by tragic acts of violence in Europe and around the globe. Fear and sadness abounds and the voice inside us wants to understand.  We yearn for peace. 

Yesterday, I listened to analysts talking about terrorist groups and some of the ways in which they become radicalized. There’s a lot of understanding about the making of a terrorist.  What’s missing is creative solutions to grow peace.

Being the Solution

Did you know that there’s a statement in the UN Charter that says war begins in the mind?

Under chronic pressure and stress, and who isn’t, the fight or flight response rules.  Fuzzy thinking and overwhelm dominate the lives of far too many.  As a coping strategy, we start labeling people familiar to us as US and others as THEM. We divide ourselves.  This divisive thinking is based in the ego’s quest for safety and the desire to be known. It’s the breeding ground of mistrust and hostility.

Without corrective action, we grow in frustration, anger, and resentment. Are we helping the cause of peace when we are holding these emotions and stress inside?  I think not. If you’re not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. Is this what you want for your life, for your world?

The good news is there is wisdom from ancient cultures that can help us. They’ve told us how to create peace and live a healthy life. The key is to quiet the mind.  A quiet or still mind does not see differences, it just sees what is. It doesn’t judge itself or others.

Us vs. Them thinking drops away when the mind is still, quiet. There is nothing to fear.  Fortunately today, there’s a growing understanding of the need for bringing peace to our turbulent minds.

The other day I was reading about one such initiative, the work of the David Lynch Foundation.  They have funded the teaching of children in at-risk schools the practice of Transcendental Meditation®. The daily meditation periods are referred to as “quiet time.” Over a couple years, the schools implementing the quiet time programs are transformed. Kids excel and the school environment blossoms.  Both parents and administrators are thrilled with the impact of quiet time in the school day.

Make a practice of quieting your mind and you’ll experience your relationships becoming more harmonious. The practice of quieting the mind cultures more tender qualities of the heart. With a quiet mind, we become better listeners, more attentive and receptive. And a quiet mind brings peace to the body, manifesting as better physical health. Bring enough minds to silence and over time, our outer environments transform as is happening in schools, prisons and other environments implementing meditation quiet time programs. There is an antidote for hostility and stress and it’s easy to implement.

Steps to take now

Peace also begins in the mind, and it starts with each one of us. Here’s several things you can do to create a peaceful world.

  • Spend some time each day quieting your mind. Use meditation, prayer, yoga, painting, just do something to quiet the mind. Try it; you have nothing to lose and much to gain.
  • During your day, look for similarities among people. We are far more similar than different.
  • Reach out and smile. It’s contagious.
  • At the end of each day, list four things that you were grateful for that day.

These may seem like small things but they are big.

Greg Schweitzer 

Director, Stress Reduction Resources

Stress, Allergies, & Meditation

By Greg Schweitzer

Meditation can help bring our lives under control when we are under stress. Under chronic stress and relentless pressure, the fight or flight response is activated. You can see it everywhere. Drive thru a yellow light today and probably 3 cars are following behind.  Look to your right or left, drivers are on cell phones.  Most of us know that studies have proven that multi-tasking while driving at high speeds is fraught with unnecessary risk and danger.  Why do we live this way?  Is our priority to live fast or to live well? We need to heal our brains if we want a better quality of life.  A healthy brain creates a solid foundation for life.  So, how do we create a healthy brain?

The ancient traditions say the way to heal the brain is with:

  • Stillness
  • Daily experience of a quiet mind, if only for minutes

A meditation practice doesn’t have to be connected to a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle, but the restful alertness it produces can reduce stress, anxiety, and develop inner peace.  This restful alertness means that while the body is gaining deep rest and inner peace, the mind experiences quieter and quieter levels of thought. This can lead to a strong immune system that in turn will lower not only the risk of allergy suffering, but many other unwanted conditions.

Daily meditation practice benefits include:

  • Deep healing and rejuvenating zest
  • Release of stress and fatigue, more energy
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Improved memory, creativity and focus
  • Relief from headaches and pain
  • Stronger immune system, less illness and better sleep
  • Better moods and increased happiness
  • Mental clarity and peace of mind
  • Enhanced self-esteem and emotional stability

The message of well−being through training to heal the brain and mind with meditation, is resonating with people everywhere.

Join our Effortless Meditation™ class that is offered 4 times each month at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.. Call 610-3953355 for more information.

Greg has been teaching Effortless Meditation for more than 30 years.

 

20 Simple Ways to Be More Mindful Right Now

  1. Pause right where you are and take two deep breaths.
  2. Look directly into your loved one’s eyes as you talk.
  3. Eat a snack with your full awareness – no reading, no screens, no conversation.
  4. Gaze out the window and take in the sights.
  5. Step outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh air.
  6. Pause and notice the sounds around you, both near and far.
  7. Move just the slightest bit more slowly and with more awareness.
  8. Imagine a time machine has transported you from 1915 to 2015 — notice what you typically take for granted.
  9. Consider what you appreciate about someone and tell him.
  10. Imagine you live in an underdeveloped country where having your basic human needs met is not a given.
  11. Name five things you are grateful for right now.
  12. If any of these are people, let them know you are grateful for them.
  13. Drop your shoulders.
  14. Sit up straight.
  15. Stretch.
  16. Hug someone and allow him to be the first to let go.
  17. Perform one simple random act of kindness.
  18. While waiting in line, resist checking your phone and look around.
  19. Smile. Make it genuine. What changes in your body, thoughts and mood?
  20. Smile at someone else. Notice the same.

Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued- when they can give and receive without judgment.” ~ Brene Brown

In my last post, I wrote about balance and connection as my guiding words of 2015.  Crafting a flexible plan to bring me closer to my intentions, I divided up the areas of connection into categories where I had been lacking: self, husband, and friends.

Connection with self.

If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I would add — when Mama’s been meditating, the peace is increased.  Mood is infectious and the benefits of meditation are as well.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is vital to start here — with the need to get quiet in order to foster wisdom and clarity.  Call it prayer, meditation, or simply sitting in silence for a few minutes. Without it, awareness of our inner thoughts and experience is much more difficult to assess.

Although I currently meditate daily, I recommitted to 5-30 minutes of practice a day.  This also means offering myself compassion and honoring my need for sleep, rest, fun, and balance.

Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW, Psychotherapist

Heart Attacks & Strokes Cut in Half

American Heart Association Says Meditation Helps

New research, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), found that people with heart disease who regularly meditate may be able to reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke nearly by half.

For the study, which was published in the journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease patients were enrolled in a stress-reducing program based on Transcendental Meditation (compare Effortless Meditation). The participants were required to meditate for about 20 minutes twice a day, practicing specific techniques that allowed their bodies and minds to experience a sense of deep rest and relaxation.

Meditation has been practiced in various forms for thousands of years all around the globe. Transcendental Meditation / Effortless Meditation are simple, effortless and natural ways to settle down to a quiet state of mind.

Benefits may be::

  • Tranquility and inner peace
  • Awareness
  • Calmness & emotional balance
  • Helps with treatment of medical conditions (those aggravated by stress and anxiety)
  • Lowered blood pressure (an important role in the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular disease)

“Those who meditate can choose among a wide range of practices, both religious and secular,” said Dr. Charles L. Raison, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who participated in a study on the healing effects of meditation on both body and mind. “What they have in common is a narrowing of focus that shuts out the external world, which usually [also] stills the body.”

Effortless Meditation does not require any particular education and does not conflict with lifestyle, philosophy or beliefs. It’s a straight forward technique that is easily learned and effortless to practice.  Everyone can do it.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay, has been teaching meditation programs for 35+ years and has trained with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program.  He taught TM® for 17 years and worked with best-selling author, Deepak Chopra, M.D.  For the past 20 years, Greg has been teaching his brand of meditation known as Effortless Meditation™.  

For more information on Effortless Meditation, please call 610-395-3355.

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Joy to the World

 

Would you like to have more joy in your life? Who wouldn’t?   The expansion of happiness is a major goal of life, if not “the” goal of life.

So why is it elusive for so many even in this holiday season?  Answer – we’re looking for joy in the wrong places.  We’re looking for it outside of ourselves.  Is your joy dependent upon your relationships, the money that you make, or the place that you live.  If you are dependent upon these externals of life for happiness, there will always be huge swings in your state of mind.  If however, your mind is grounded in peace and joy, you’ll find joy everywhere.

Happiness is an inside job.  Start the work by dissolving the stress in your nervous system.

How do you do that?  It’s not rocket science, you could try this.  Eat healthier food to bring more nourishment to all the cells of your body including your brain.  Get regular exercise.  Surround yourself with positive people who inspire you.  Quiet your mind and deepen your spiritual connection with Effortless Meditation.

A recent meditation client said that he was more patient, more often after just two weeks of meditation practice.  There’s more happiness in our lives when we “practice” sitting in silence with our eyes closed in meditation.  Well-being becomes our baseline experience with repeated exposure to it during our meditation.  There will be more balance in your life.

Whatever appeals to you, a key word is practice.  Wayne Muller, in his very important book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in our Busy Lives, said that we need a “rhythm of rest” in our busy lives.  I encourage my meditation clients to do it daily, ideally twice a day.  Just 10-15-20 minutes at a sitting will strengthen your nervous system by reducing stress and recharge your batteries for the day ahead.  This will bring greater balance and joy to your life.

Philosopher William Campbell had it right when he encouraged us to follow our bliss.  The good news is that bliss and peace is inside you, and it’s waiting to be unlocked and lived. 

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, a teacher of Effortless Meditation™, stress reduction and wellness, and a professional speaker for more than 35 years.



How to Get Better Sleep…

Many experts are now recognizing that sleep is as important to a healthy life, if not more so, than exercise or the food that we eat. And yet we live in a world where many squeeze more and more into their day while minimizing the value of a good night’s rest.

Discounting the importance of sleep is one aspect of the problem, denial is sweet.  Another equally disturbing trend is that many find it difficult to get good quality sleep even though they make the time for it.  Lying in bed with your eyes open feeling anxious about not sleeping is stressful, to say the least.

The good news is that there are many lifestyle factors that can be addressed to turn this around.  And the solutions differ based upon the habits of the person suffering with the problem.  For some, excess stimulation (e.g. violent TV shows) before going to bed is an issue.  For others, irregular sleep hours are a contributor. Food and/or beverage consumption may be a problem for others.  Stress reduction, however, plays a key role for almost everyone.

Stress and worry excite our mind. Despite the fatigue in the body, our mind and brain under stress does not fall asleep easily or stay asleep.  You’d have to be living under a rock to not recognize that the world is in a state of chronic stress.  Releasing the pressure of a stress filled day is key to better sleep.

A particularly valuable tool to quiet the mind and reduce stress and worry is meditation.  With the practice of Effortless Meditation™, we directly experience and know calm and mental stillness.  When we establish the platform of deep relaxation and stillness in our lives, we can more effectively address other actions that will further promote a healthy night’s rest.

Many possibilities open up for us when our mind is still.  Bring your brain and mind to stillness every day and better sleep will come more effortlessly.

Greg Schweitzer, a meditation teacher for more than 35 years, teaches at Twin Ponds Center Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.

 

Massage, the Ultimate Mind Body Medicine

Massage, the ultimate mind body medicine isn’t just for the wealthy any more. . . and it isn’t a rare occasion when someone enjoys a massage.  Now-a-days, many people are taking regular trips for a massage to a spa, chiropractic office, alternative health centers, and even a hospital. Is this a sign that people are becoming proactive with their health?  Let’s hope so!

People of all ages are scheduling a massage on a regular basis because they have learned that it isn’t just a mental sensation that makes them feel better, but a very deep healing process. Something many of us don’t realize is that a massage also involves giving us a sense of being cared for, comfort, empowerment, and adds to the healing process by creating a deep connection with another human being, the massage therapist.  These are all so important for our over-all health.

          We have all heard that newborns need touching or they will die.  It seems that we humans never stop needing to be touched and a massage is the “ultimate touch.”

        Physical contact is more precious than ever in our world where so much of our interaction is virtual (Facebook, e-mails, and texts).

Most people don’t realize that our skin is our body’s largest organ, and when its sensory receptors are stimulated, the hormone oxytocin, the one that makes you feel good, is released. At the same time, cortisol, the stress hormone, is reduced.

We just don’t realize how stressed we are until we have relaxed enough to feel the difference.  That gives us a clue as to how deeply a massage can affect us. Since the skin is the largest “organ” in the body, it is amazing what benefits we experience when it is massaged or even when we are touched.

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine and is increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. Check the website, TwinPondsCenter.com, one of the largest complementary and alternative health centers in the country, to learn the many types of massages available.

It is the touch of massage that has become the ultimate mind-body medicine. If you’re into “preventative medicine,” this is a great avenue to take; however, once the body has gotten off balance, some studies have found massage to be helpful for:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Happiness
  • Lowered blood pressure & heart rate
  • Boosted immune function
  • Relief from pain
  • Stress release  (cortisol hormone level drops)
  • Release of muscle tightness

Because there are many different types of massage for specific conditions or diseases, it is recommended that you talk with a few experienced practitioners to be confident the one you choose is the right one for you. 

Despite the fact that massage is called the Ultimate Mind Body Medicine, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care.  Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.

For more information and help in finding the right practitioner for you, please call 610-395-3355.