Army H.e.a.l.t.h. Arsenal
May, 2016


The Calm mindfulness meditation app allows users to pick a calming background, sounds, and alarm for their self-guided meditation. The app also offers 7 day guided meditation programs in addition to daily guided meditations.

Whether you are new to meditation or are seasoned at practicing meditation, the Calm app can help you deepen your practice and help you to feel less stressed. You can also visit Calm from your desktop for a quick meditation while at work.

The app is available for free in the app store for iPhone and Android.


Sleep Corner

The Effect of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programs for Treating Insomnia

As discussed in the April newsletter, symptoms of insomnia can range from difficulty falling asleep, restless sleep, waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed.

One effective method for treating insomnia is mindfulness. The results of a research study, published in 2014 showed that participants who completed an 8-week program which focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction, were able to reduce many of the symptoms of chronic insomnia. Those who completed the program said they were not sleeping more, but sleeping better, waking more refreshed, feeling less distressed about insomnia, and better able to cope when it occurred.


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The Mindful Home


Our home can often be a place of chaos, disorganization, and missed connections. It is usually the place where we get our day started and end our day…two of the most rushed times of day. Practicing mindfulness can help transform your home into a sanctuary that is less stressed and rushed. When we take the time to focus on the present moment, we don’t leave room stressing about the future or worrying about something that happened in the past. Being present in the moment also allows us to truly connect with our families and enjoy small moments that we would normally miss while operating on “auto-pilot”.

Mindfulness, or being present in the moment without judgment, is something that can be practiced anywhere, anytime. It’s best to dedicate at least 5 minutes per day in the beginning. The goal is to practice often enough that, eventually, you are practicing mindfulness throughout your entire day and using the skills you have sharpened to help you get though struggles and enjoy life a little more.

Use these tips to help cultivate mindfulness in your home:

Give Your Full Attention. This applies to everything you do, but is especially helpful when it comes to spending time with loved ones. When asking “how was your day?” make sure that you are truly listening to the response and engaged in the conversation. Often, we are distracted by social media or other thoughts about our day, when we are asking these daily type of questions. It would be more beneficial for our relationships if we dedicated our full attention with the person we are speaking with at the moment. It allows us to pay attention to subtle cues we may have otherwise missed, such as tone or body language.

Make It A Habit. Just as we pencil in time doctor appoints and dinner dates, setting aside time in your day to practice mindfulness can help ensure that you are staying on track. Life can keep us busy and we tend to get stuck in the same monotonous routines, day after day. By setting aside at least 5 minutes per day, you are helping yourself create a habit that will likely help you de-stress and handle whatever life throws at you. Practicing in the morning can help you prepare for the day with a fresh mind. Practicing at night can also help you let-go of the day’s worries and sleep better. It’s easy to see how practicing 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night can really make a difference.

Cultivate Empathy. Whether receiving or giving it, everyone benefits from a relationship that has empathy. When we feel that we are truly being understood, we are more open, forgiving, and happy. There are many ways you can bring empathy into your home. One way is to practice compassion meditation. You can do this by focusing your thoughts on well-wishes and well-being for others.

You can also practice being more empathetic when interacting with loved ones. This is especially helpful during a “touchy” conversation. When a heated topic is brought up, our natural instinct is to go on the defense and do whatever it takes to prove our point is the right one. When this happens, we are not truly listening to the other person or attempting to see things from their point of view. Next time you find yourself starting to react this way, try to focus on what the other person is saying, rather than mentally formulating your response while they are speaking. It may also help to ask questions. The more you know about where they are coming from, the more likely you are to understand their point of view. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with it, but being able to understand another person’s point of view is a great tool for any relationship.



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Ask An Expert

Q.
I tend to overeat a lot. What can I do to curb my habit?


A. One reason why many people over-eat is they are not paying attention. That is, they eat on auto-pilot. Rather than focusing on physical hunger cues, they may zone-out (i.e. in front of the TV) and eat more than they intended. By paying more attention to your body and the food you are eating, you can re-shift your focus to your meals, and not the TV, Facebook, etc. Try these tips next time you have a meal:

  • Sit down at the table. By removing yourself from digital devices and other distractions, you are better able to connect with your body and the food you are about to eat.

  • Listen to your body. Do you physically feel hungry? Or are you feeling misplacing other emotional feeling for hunger?

  • Engage your senses. Think about how the food smells, tastes, and looks. Savor each bite.

  • Be aware of portion size. Rather than sitting dishes on the table, keep then in a separate location and start with a small portion. You can always go back and get more of the dish that you really enjoyed the most.

  • Mindful Moment

    “Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
    --James Baraz


    Bottom Line

    Given the benefits of practicing mindfulness (reduced stress, depression, and anxiety; improved sleep and happiness-to name a few), it’s easy to see why finding a time and place to practice each day is important. Whether using an app to practice on the go, practicing at home throughout the day, or practicing just before bed, incorporating mindfulness practice into your day is simply a matter of dedicating time to do it.

    By practicing mindfulness we can enjoy deeper and more meaningful relationships with our friends and loved ones. One way this is done is by setting aside time each day to truly pay attention and listen during our conversations. Cultivating empathy is also a great tool for helping us to develop a deeper level of understating when it comes to other’s point of view and learning how to work through issues.

    Lastly, practicing mindfulness is also a great way to reduce over-eating. Many of us are guilty of eating or snacking on “auto-pilot”, without really enjoying the food we are putting into our body. By paying more attention to your senses and the details of your meal, you are less likely to over-eat and more likely to end the meal feeling satisfied.



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    Featured Recipe: Blueberry Banana Parfait



    Mangos and strawberries are at their peak ripeness in May. Enjoy the seasonal deliciousness by making this Mango Strawberry Smoothie made with Greek Yogurt. It is a great source Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Fiber.

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup mango, diced
  • 1 cup ice

  • Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

    Nutrition Information:
    Servings: 2      Calories: 139      Carbs: 30g      Fiber: 4g      Sugar: 24g                Fat: 1g            Protein: 6g         Sodium: 28mg     


    Featured Exercise: Abdominals


    Sources:
    Featured Recipe from The Penny Wise Mama.