Mental illnesses in various forms have been a major health burden globally in recent years. Unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits and rise in work-related stress are factors that are contributing to the rising incidence of anxiety and depression. Psychotic drugs in treating anxiety and depression are effective but offer only symptomatic relief. Long-term intake of drugs often leads to dependence without preventing further illness or providing a comprehensive solution to improving mental health.
People suffering from poor mental health can reap rich and long-term benefits by adopting the ancient Indian practice of Yoga in their daily lives. Yoga helps in maintaining good mental and physical health. It harmonises our body and mind and restores our emotional balance. There is growing evidence that Yoga can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and those who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When adopted as a daily practice, yoga can help calm down the mind and prevent the development of mental illnesses.
Stress is the root cause of several lifestyle diseases. Yoga adopts a scientific approach of exercising and relaxing to ease the stress of modern day living. Yoga also contributes to improving memory, sleep and even quality of life in elderly persons with mild memory impairment.
Here are some poses that help improve mental health besides providing other health benefits:
Shashankasana or Child's Pose
This asana stimulates your nervous system thereby re-energizing your whole body. This asana is basically a resting pose somehow resembling a child in fetal position. It is performed by sitting down on the knees and then bending forward so that the chest touches the thighs, and the forehead touches the ground. Stretch the arms forward. If performed with precision regularly, the performer will notice a sense of mental, physical, and emotional comfort descending upon him/her. Like most yoga asanas, this one, too, should be performed on an empty stomach or at least six hours after a meal. However, people suffering from high blood pressure and back pain should avoid this asana.
This inverted pose is one of the best yoga asanas for improving blood circulation towards the head. It helps to calm anxiety, treat depression and insomnia besides regulating blood flow. This pose can be performed by lying down flat on your back. Keep the legs together. While inhaling raise the legs, buttocks and the trunk and support the hips on the palm. The trunk is held at 45 degrees angle to the ground. Breathe normally in this position. To return, lower the legs over the head and keep the hands down while exhaling. Bring the spine and the legs down.
This yoga pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.
This pose is typically performed at the end of yoga routines and helps boost mental health and relaxes the body. Lie flat on your back, keeping the body straight and hands at the sides with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and hold the position for at least five minutes. Even pregnant women can practice this asana as it will help them prevent prenatal depression, a prevalent mental disorder in women during pregnancy.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned yogic practices are to be learned in a gradual manner under the supervision of a yoga expert. Yoga enables a practitioner to expand their mental faculties and achieve a greater acceptance of self and others, which ultimately leads to calmer approach to the life.
Yoga encourages practitioners to experience an open heart. Many yogic philosophers consider the entire practice to be about metaphorically connecting to our hearts. Within the chakra system, the heart lies in the middle of the seven chakras. Asanas such as arda chakrasana (back bend), kapotasana (pigeon pose), and ustrasana (camel pose) encourage the expansion of the centre of the chest which is the location of the anahata chakra, the yogic heart centre. Visualizations and pranyams in yoga also encourage open heartedness.
Read More► Escape Wedding Blues With These Yoga Postures & Breathing Techniques
लखनऊ | 'डेंटल स्लीप मेडिसिन' पर एक सम्मेलन के अनुसार भारत में करीब 40 लाख लोग, खासकर बुजुर्ग और मोटे लोग ऑब्सट्रक्टिव स्लीप एपनिया (ओएसए) सिंड्रोम से पीड़ित हैं। सोमवार को यहां आयोजित सम्मेलन में विशेषज्ञों ने कहा कि अगर कोई व्यक्ति सांस लेने में तकलीफ के कारण रात में कई बार जागता है और पूरे दिन सिरदर्द और थकान के साथ सुबह शुष्क मुंह का अनुभव करता है, तो यह ओएसए के कारण हो सकता है।
श्वसन चिकित्सा में, ओएसए का आमतौर पर निरंतर पॉजिटिव वायुमार्ग दबाव मशीनों के साथ इलाज किया जाता है, लेकिन दंत चिकित्सा भी आसान प्रबंधन प्रदान करती है।
सरस्वती डेंटल कॉलेज के डीन और सम्मेलन के आयोजक प्रोफेसर अरविंद त्रिपाठी ने कहा, "मोटापा, जीवन शैली का तनाव और दांतों का पूरा गिरना ऊपरी वायुमार्ग में संपीड़न का कारण बन सकता है। यह सांस लेने पर प्रतिकूल प्रभाव डालता है। अगर ऐसी स्थिति लंबे समय तक बनी रहती है और अनुपचारित छोड़ दी जाती है, तो यह शरीर की ऑक्सीजन की आवश्यकता को प्रभावित करती है और हृदय और श्वसन संबंधी समस्याएं पैदा कर सकती है।"
दंत चिकित्सा में, विशेषज्ञों ने कहा, इस स्थिति का इलाज मैंडिबुलर उन्नति उपकरण के साथ किया जा सकता है, एक मौखिक उपकरण जो अस्थायी रूप से जबड़े और जीभ को आगे बढ़ाता है, गले के कसने को कम करता है और वायुमार्ग की जगह को बढ़ाता है।
विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन के लखनऊ कार्यालय के डॉ अंकुर ने कहा, "लगभग 80 प्रतिशत रोगियों को नहीं पता कि वे ओएसए से पीड़ित हैं और यह घातक हो सकता है, इसलिए लोगों को इसके बारे में बुनियादी जानकारी होनी चाहिए।"
यह भी पढ़े► कैंसर और हार्ट अटैक से ज्यादा खतरनाक हो जाएगा सेप्सिस: शोध
A very common tip to improve heart health is to exercise regularly. But what form of exercise is best for the heart and how much exercise is too much? There have been several myths about the impact of exercise on the heart, while some sound reasonable, there are many that are inaccurate. One such myth is that one should avoid exercising after a heart attack.
Avoiding exercise for the first few weeks after a heart attack may be advised. However, studies show that supervised exercise helps in improving the outcome for all patients. It is important to note that after a heart attack, one should begin a regular activity program to reduce the chance of additional heart problems. Most patients are provided with a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation which entails an exercise program, diet instruction, educational classes on lifestyle changes and emotional support through a peer support group.
While everyone recovers at a different pace, here are a few guidelines that one may follow to get started:
Consult your doctor before starting exercise. Based on your heart disease, condition, heart function (ejection fraction), rhythm etc. Your doctor will give you an exercise prescription.
It is best to start slow. Once, you get used to walking regularly, you can increase your pace gradually over time. If shortness of breath is felt, it is best to slow down the walking pace.
Exercise should always be done in 3 phases warm-up, peak exercise and cool down, please.
What helps is walking at a moderate pace for the first 10 minutes the first time and each day tries to a few minutes more. At the end of the month aim to walk for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
It is important to keep in mind that one should cool down after finishing the exercise by gradually walking at a slower pace for the last 3 minutes.
If the patient walks outside the house, as a precaution they should walk with someone or in short distances close to home so they do not get too far away.
One should drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration before you start walking.
Choose an exercise or an activity that you enjoy doing. For example, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.
Doctors' advice should be taken before lifting heavyweights.
Exercise should be done regularly to ensure benefits. 6 days a week of exercise is advisable.
Exercising at the same time daily is important to establish a habit. It also minimizes any variable that may impact the exercise.
If any symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitation occur and does not go away, one should stop the exercise and notify the doctor.
There are several changes that take place after a heart attack like energy levels and medications. This affects exercise tolerance. Therefore it is important to keep the exercise expectation day to day as one goes through the healing process.
If a patient does not go through cardiac rehabilitation, they should begin with gentle exercise after a heart attack. The amount of exercise that is advised to each patient will depend on how active the patient was before the cardiac event and how severe the event was. Overall, one must keep in mind that they should start exercising as soon as they can after a heart attack to get the energy and strength back.
Read More► Noise Pollution Increases Risk of Dementia
Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.
Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?
Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:
Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone.
What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.
Switch From Ordinary Substandard Cooking Oils to Cold-Pressed Oils: Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. Choose the right quality and quantity of oil to boost your heart health. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but remember, your health is not a cost but an investment.
Switch From A Sedentary Lifestyle to An Active One: Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. Choose fun workouts that you enjoy -- dancing, aerobics, Zumba, swimming, whatever it is, but keep that body moving. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are at high risk of heart attacks. Having said that, over-working out with little or no rest or recovery period is equally harmful. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to it.
Don't Take Matters to Your Heart: Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. While stress is inevitable, what sets a happy person apart from a stressed person is their capacity to diffuse and navigate stress and see things in a positive light. You can continue attending stress management classes and workshops, and while all of them can help you feel better for some time, the real change happens when you start changing your perspective towards life and how you relate to stress.
Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.
Fix Your Sleep Routine: There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. Your body only cares about survival. Remember, your sleep is your heart's free drug. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type-2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
We cannot wait for more misfortunate incidents to realize the importance of lifestyle and start prioritizing it. We must wake up and work towards prevention. Many of us may go through heart disease later in life, no matter how well we exercise or eat clean. So, identify risk factors and work towards tackling them. Even if one of your risk factors is genetic predisposition and there is nothing you can do about it, you can still alter your lifestyle. Our intelligent human body was designed to fix and heal itself. The least we can do is invest in it and help it do its job effectively. Lifestyle can help you bridge this gap.
Read More► Does Using Oil on Your Hair Cause It Fall?
Lifestyle plays a huge role in your fitness and health. Often a sedentary lifestyle along with unhealthy eating habits contribute to weight gain or other lifestyle diseases. With discipline and patience, you can work on your lifestyle to reach a fitness level you have always desired. Always remember that whatever changes you implement should not be focused on temporary results, but rather on a long and sustainable lifestyle.
A good fitness level is more important than just fat loss. However, you can lose fat by practising these things:
1. Make Your Diet A Lifestyle:
Most people tend to focus on diet as a destination, rather than a journey. Your nutrition should not be a trend or a plan for short-term results, but rather a lifestyle that you can follow effortlessly. Although easier said than done, implementing a positive lifestyle can have tremendous long-term results. Tweaking your food habits and incorporating essential macro and micronutrients can aid your fat-loss journey. A good way to include the right food components in your diet is through a good diet plan which you must follow with discipline. Eat good food every day. It's as simple as that. Don't divert even if you have to eat the same food every day, you can always innovate your dishes with the help of spices and other preparation methods.
2. Workout Regime To Increase Activity:
Even if you can't do a heavy workout every day, it is essential to include some kind of activity in your lifestyle. Find a physical activity that suits you. Some people despise gyms, but love jogging or playing a sport. Some like strength training and lifting weights. Whatever you choose, follow through without any excuses. Your daily physical activity plays a huge role in your metabolism and fitness level. It's not just about burning calories; it's about setting a pattern for your body to undergo positive stress. When you exercise, your body is already doing half the work required for losing weight and becoming fit.
3. Don't Compromise on Your Sleep and Hydration:
People underrate the importance of a good night's sleep. Your body requires sleep to recover, to balance the cortisol hormone level which is responsible for your binge eating. Sleeping is our body's natural way of balancing the stress level and rectifying any errors in its system. Fix a sleeping time and don't change it no matter what. This is one of the most important changes you must incorporate. The other being hydration water is extremely important for your system. Not only does it help in passing the nutrients throughout your system, but it also helps the body detox and shed the pesky water retention habit. You'll be surprised by the number of times your body confuses thirst for hunger, so always drink adequate water. Set a reminder through a phone app, it can be helpful.
(The author Pranit Shilimkar is a Health and Fitness Entrepreneur, Digital Content Creator and Founder of Fitnesstalks)
Read More► Five Fitness Mantras For A Healthier Self
Many factors can contribute to your high stress levels, lack of sleep, and getting sick. But did you know that all three of these actually go hand-in-hand? Here's how stress, sleep, and immunity are linked when considering one's general well-being.
"Stress, sleep and immunity are closely linked. When you miss out on sleep, you miss out on time for your body to recharge and prepare for the next day. In fact, sleep is quite vital for our cardiovascular and immune systems to function properly, as well as our ability to think clearly, learn and retain new information, and manage our emotions.
If an individual continuously deprives themselves of getting enough sleep each night, they create more stress on their bodies physically and mentally, which in turn affects the immune system, and essentially creates a negative downward spiral," says Nora Tobin, performance enhancement and executive coach, nutrition specialist, and CEO of Nora's Naturals Coffee.
How can optimising stress, sleep and immunity improve your professional performance? Here's what she has to say:
"Other than a strong work ethic and a high level of drive, your professional performance too, is connected to your overall health and well-being. Practicing healthy habits such as getting consistent sleep and managing your stress, can help you stay healthy and maintain a strong immune system. When you get into a healthy routine you will feel more productive and ready to produce high-quality results that you wish to see in your professional life."
Here are Tobin's top 3 tips for optimising stress, sleep, and immunity:
Result of Stress: When the body is under chronic mental or physical stress, the production of cortisol becomes unbalanced. This leads to excessive fatigue, brain fog, and the storage of fat in the abdominal region. In order to produce enough cortisol to keep going throughout the day, the body pulls from the thyroid (lowered metabolism).
The Solution to Stress: Guided breathing, vitamin D and adaptogenic herbs balance cortisol (stress hormone) as well as regulates the amygdala part of your brain that controls anxiety. Try to incorporate one or all of the below daily.
1-minute Meditation: take an inhale for 3 counts, hold your breath at the top for 3 and exhale for 3. Repeat for 1-minute.
Vitamin D: The precursor to serotonin (a feel-good hormone) and strong immune defence for the body. Get outside for 10 minutes without sunglasses or try this quality source of Vitamin D daily.
Herbs: Adaptogenic Herbs have been utilised in India for thousands of years and help support the body's energy and naturally protect against cellular stress. The top two herbs to utilise to lower stress and anxiety are Reishi and Ashwagandha. Mix into tea or water before bed.
Result of Sleep: During sleep, cerebral spinal fluid runs through the brain to clear toxins and create new neural connections crucial for retaining information and slowing down aging. This process is called glymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system primarily works during sleep so to successfully create new cerebral pathways and clear waste products, it is essential to get at least six hours of sleep.
A solution to Sleep: Legs up the wall, temperature changes and minerals help the body shift into a parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and out of flight or fight mode.
Legs up the Wall: Lying for 5-10 minutes with legs up the wall will reset circadian rhythm and improve the body's ability to drop into deep REM sleep. Simply lie with legs resting on the wall with feet above hips taking deep breaths.
Change Temperatures: Alternating between hot water and cold in the shower (20 seconds hot, 10 cold) for two minutes before bed will greatly improve the body's natural ability to regulate its own production of melatonin.
Result of Low Energy: The body has two forms of energy-burning -- glucose and ketones. When the body is primarily burning glucose, it goes through rapid spikes in blood sugar, leading to cravings, energy crashes and weight gain. When the body is burning ketones, it's receiving steady-state energy while burning its own fat stores.
Solution to Sustained Energy: Interval workouts, whole foods and eating healthy fat allow the body to burn more ketones for energy without feeling deprived. This leads to rapid cellular turnover, efficient weight loss/management, and high energy levels all day long.
High Intensity Interval Training: Raises post workout oxygen consumption, elevating metabolism for 24 hours post-workout. The form of training is suitable for all levels, takes less than 20 minutes, and requires no equipment. This allows the body to burn fat much more efficiently and supply adequate energy to the brain. Alternate with days of low-intensity training like yoga or walking.
Increase Anti Inflammatory Foods: Lowering inflammation in the body will optimise and help sustain energy throughout the day, help fight off pathogens and generate rapid cellular turnover. Pick any foods from the attached list to incorporate daily as well as spices and herbs (the more the better).
Incorporate the 8-Hour Eating Window: Shortening the time window of our meals increases autophagy and allows the body to burn ketones (fat stores) for fuel instead of glucose. Eating in this window a few days per week will rapidly increase cellular turnover, boost irisin and enhance cognitive function.
Read More► All You Need to Know About a Cellular Detox And Cleansing