3 Top Hacks to Increase Well-being
Wow, what a crazy world that we are living at the moment, I wake up every morning alternating between the feeling of Ground Hog Day and the Twilight Zone.
In this time of uncertainty, we have seen elective surgeries close, private hospital and clinics shut their doors, essentially stopping many people on their pathway to parenthood.
Whether your treatment has been delayed, your surrogate is overseas and you cannot get into the country or your age is making the delay unbearable – no matter what your individual circumstances are currently – stress, uncertainty and financial impact are major worries touching everyone worldwide.
So, what can you do to increase your well-being?
It was important that these 3 top hacks must be – universal, affordable and have ease of access. If these hacks are free and simple, anyone can do them, right?
Number 1 hack to increase your well-being is Meditation.
Now before you go off thinking that this is some kind of woo woo nonsense, bear with me here. Meditation is essentially an exercise to quieten the mind, when you consider how much activity your brain is currently processing right now and throughout any given day – giving it 10-20 minutes every day is not too much to ask.
If you think of a manual car, with all the gears, meditation is akin to sitting in neutral … Meditation can be done at any time of the day, I prefer the morning, as it sets the tone for the rest of my day. Meditating in the morning will give your productivity a huge boost.
Meditation and also the state of prayer for those who actively practise their faith, has been studied extensively for many years. In particular, what happens to the brain waves when people are in these states.
Meditation can be introduced into your morning routine with relative ease, I have some favourites, which I will put in the show notes for you to check out and see if these work for you. If you think of meditation as a form of practice for your mind, a little like maintenance really, much the same as you maintain your teeth by brushing your teeth them.
One of my favourites that I started off with was Priming, which is by Tony Robbins. I particularly like this one as it is only 14 minutes in length, so super quick, interactive, easy and very importantly completely free!
Starting off your day with meditation will give you acute awareness of your thoughts during the day as a by-product. One of the very first things you will notice when you begin to meditate is that your mind will wander off in all sorts of directions – did I feed the dog, where is that favourite jacket, or playing over some incident that happened the day before.
Our minds have a tendency to race away with different things, completely random and not related to the very present moment.
So, at first when those thoughts enter your head, you have to learn to shut them down. I have a mental trick, of exiting them stage right and then closing the door.
When you have practised meditating every day for a week, you will notice that you get much better at completely focusing on the meditation and very few thoughts will pop up to distract you.
My daily routine when I awake, is drinking some lemon water and then meditate, before I do anything else for the day – daily practice makes it a daily habit in no time.
My number 2 top hack to increase your well-being is – Cold Showers
This is something that absolutely anyone can do every single day.
On my recent trip to Brisbane, I had cold showers every day, although I barely noticed it because it is so much warmer up there! Living in Sydney however, I experience a significant difference, due to colder weather. Currently we are in Autumn so the temperature in the morning is around 9 degree Celsius – yikes – very cool for a cold shower indeed!
Let’s look at the science of cold showers though. The mindset shift is incredible. The instant you have cold water running over your body and especially your head, no matter what mood you were in prior, it is gone, instantly changing your state!
The first thing that you want to do when you enter a cold shower is to immediately hold your breath – however, with a little practice, you will find that deep breathing will actually enhance the experience by increasing your oxygen levels.
Your heart races when you step into the cold shower, so the blood vessels are getting a great workout all over your body – this is fantastic for your circulation.
When you consider the vast number of receptors in our skin, it is not surprising that when these are exposed to the cold, they will send electrical impulses to the brain, a very quick method which has been shown to give your mood an instant boost.
Cold showers can also help with weight loss, yes, when it comes to stimulating the good fat in our bodies, brown fat, exposure to cold temperature activities this fat to keep us warm.
Cold showers have also been linked to improving immunity via your lymphatic system. As your lymphatic system switches on and pumps lymph fluids, this then triggers your immune system.
In December last year, I had the absolute pleasure of attended the Wim Hof event in Sydney. Wim Hof is affectionately known as the – Iceman – with some 26 world records relating to swimming in cold water and submersion in ice baths. To prove that he was not a freak of nature, Wim has trained others in his breathing techniques worldwide and holds a number of events, retreats, trainings and expeditions.
At the event in December, we learned Wim’s incredible breathing techniques. Importantly, this breathing technique has been used to attain influence over the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS operates unconsciously and controls many bodily functions, respiration rate, heart rate, digestion, metabolism etc.
In terms of depressive symptoms, the world-renowned Wim is currently helping universities study the benefits here of cold water therapy and breathing.
Going back to the Wim Hof event … this was the first time ever that I had ever experienced an ice bath. We were one of the last groups to go into the baths, the ice had melted considerably and I think we experienced the baths at their absolute coldest! What a sensational experience though, it was a full minute immersion (I think), there was loud live music and naturally we had Wim guiding us through the bath and breathing. The bath was a jolt to my system, not in a painful way, we focussed on our breath and going into the baths in groups was a collective baptism of ice!
To get started with cold showers gently, you can have your regular shower and then switch to cold water for the last 30 seconds only. If you do this for a week, you will gradually be able to do 1-minute cold showers, then 2-minute ones and eventually get to 3 minutes long in the cold.
When I started cold showers a year ago, I went straight into the cold. Now I jump in and wash my hair in there, which definitely gives me a good 3-minute time frame – totally hard core!
So give cold showers a go and ease into it gently, by switching to cold water after your regular shower.
My number 3 top hack to increase your well-being is – Exercise.
Now if you prefer, you can call this movement. It does not matter what label you put on it here, exercise increases your well-being.
It is quick, easy and free to do. If you can get outside, you can get some vitamin D as well, which is beneficial at this time.
If you have injuries, then you can do some floor work, stretching or planking at home inside or on the grass outside.
Walking is perhaps the easiest form of exercise for most people to do, swimming the gentlest on joints or even bike riding. There has been a huge resurgence of bike riders in our streets recently.
There is simply no excuse for not moving your body and getting some physical activity.
What are the health benefits of exercise?
There are so many, but let’s start with the feel-good hormones that are released, endorphins.
- Increased energy levels
- Good for muscles and bones
- Helps with weight loss
- Reduces your chances of chronic disease
- Assists with sleep and relaxation
- Helps with mood elevation
- Can improve your sex drive
To name just a few of the sensational reasons to get your body moving!
At this time, it is important to get exercising as much as possible, daily is good, but if you have not been doing any exercise previously, every second day will suffice. start small and then increment as your fitness level increases and things get easier.
A good rule to remember is that you want to start off slowly and if you find yourself out of breath quickly, then you are probably pushing yourself too hard.
Taking a family member or partner with you, even taking a pet, will encourage you to get out there and keep going with a new habit.
I had thought of taking D’Artagnan the python with me, however, he has a tendency to latch onto things like branches, so not very practical pet to take on a walk!
My 3 top hacks to increase your well-being are – Meditation, Cold Showers and Exercise – easy, free and completely accessible for everyone, so no excuses really.
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Let’s have a chat soon and see if I can help you with any of the things discussed today or on your quest to conceive.