... and 43 to frown. Who knew?!
This week's blog is about muscles and how to look after them. Muscles are responsible for maintaining posture, physical movement (sitting, walking, eating), and movement of internal organs (such as keeping the heart pumping to circulate blood and moving food through the digestive system). Think about which muscles you are using now: are you standing, sitting or moving? Focus in on the ones most in use. So often, we take for granted their function and only really notice their presence when they have been stretched or over-used.
For many people, exercise leads to sore muscles, either the next day or the day after (weirdly, this is often to do with your age more than anything else). This is usually because muscles aren't permitted to reach their pre-exercise length (by stretching) so are a bit 'short'. A couple of things can really help:
1. S-t-r-e-t-c-h! Spend between 15 and 20 seconds stretching muscles after exercising. If you come to any of my classes, you'll spend a long time stretching and cooling down at the end.
2. Have a warm bath. This is for two reasons: firstly, the heat can help to stop muscles seizing up; and secondly, the compression of the water on your body is likely to ease soreness.
I've recently discovered magnesium sulphate or Epsom salts: putting them in a warm bath makes a massive difference to aching muscles and tired limbs. You need to use quite an amount (not just a sprinkling) to feel the benefits. And if you are concerned about whether this is right for you, read this article to make sure.
Have you booked your place at the MMM Celebration Day on 12th November? Everyone is welcome!
Odd question... Can you even think too much? Logically speaking, we obviously think all the time, but our thoughts can sometimes get a bit out of hand - especially when we think about other people: what they did, what they should do, what they should have done, what they said, what you wished they had said, why they spoke at all, and so on. We get stuck on little things and gradually the little things become huge things that we cannot shake off.
Thinking too much is a bit like eating too much: you feel heavy with having taken on too much. And actually, it's mostly unnecessary 'weight' that can be easy to shed and easier still not to consume in the first place. So ask yourself: does it matter what someone else said or did? Does it change things hugely? If not, it might be time to shed that 'weight' and move past the over-thinking. Focus on being light and flexible in thoughts and actions instead.
A few years ago, I spent some time in Denmark researching happiness in the classroom and the concept of 'flow'. It's a beautiful country with a wonderfully relaxed attitude towards life - with the only downside for me being too few desserts (not a single one was offered the whole time I was there!). Anyway, the idea of flow was being applied everywhere, and I was there to find out how to apply it to schools in the UK. It's a concept that has stayed with me since then. Put simply, it can be explained like this:
If we are actively involved in trying to reach a goal, or an activity that is challenging but well suited to our skills, we experience a joyful state called 'flow'. The experience of flow in both professional and leisure activities leads to increased positive affect (your mood and outlook), performance, and commitment to long-term, meaningful goals.
Have you ever found yourself immersed in a moment, completely unaware of the time? When does this loss of time and total engagement typically occur for you? Many activities, such as sport, playing an instrument, or teaching, can produce the experience of flow. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a pioneer of the scientific study of happiness, flow is a type of intrinsic motivation. In his words, "You do what you're doing primarily because you like what you're doing. If you learn only for external, extrinsic reasons, you will probably forget it as soon as you are no longer forced to remember what you want to do."
For me, flow comes when I'm in the veg patch, out walking, or reading a really gripping book - time really flies when I'm immersed and my sense of well-being increases hugely. What about you? Where have you found your flow? I'd love to hear from you!
Speaking of walking, here's a photo from my trip to the Peak District and Chatsworth last weekend - flow in action!
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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Clean Well-being blog