Discover The Health Benefits Of Cultivating Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude: Incredible Health Benefits

In a world in which many of us feel stressed and overwhelmed, it's easy to overlook the joy and blessings all around us. This can be especially hard when living with chronic pain, chronic illness and/or disability. You may already know that the simple act of practicing gratitude brings more joy into your life, but did you know it also improves your overall health and well-being? According to scientific research, the power of gratitude is immense, and its benefits far exceed just a positive mindset. Scientific studies have shown that consistently expressing gratitude can boost your immune system, reduce stress levels, and even improve sleep quality. With wide ranging effects such as lowering blood pressure, promoting feelings of contentment, and a reduction in depression level, gratitude has the potential to affect your life in numerous positive ways! Let's dive into the science and benefits of this profound practice of gratitude.

The Science Behind Gratitude and Its Impact on Health

Gratitude is not just something discussed in a yoga or meditation class; actually it has been well documented within positive psychology. Research has shown that gratitude can have numerous positive effects on your overall well-being. When gratitude is practiced, our brains release both dopamine and serotonin (neurotransmitters that promote feelings of satisfaction and joy). These chemicals not only make us feel good at that moment, but they also have a long-term positive impact on our overall well-being.

In addition to the release of these "feel-good" chemicals, the practice of gratitude has been found to activate our brain's hypothalamus, which is known to control various bodily functions, including one's sleep, appetite, and stress level. The activation of your hypothalamus leads to an array of positive effects throughout your body, such as improving immune response, reducing overall inflammation, and lowering blood pressure. It is incredible that the simple act of re-focusing and reflecting on the positive aspects of your life, can contribute to creating the best possible conditions for your body to heal.

The Physical Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Practicing gratitude adds additional benefits to overall well-being. One of the main ways gratitude improves our physical health is through the reduction of stress. Chronic stress can lead to numerous health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system. Cultivating gratitude, assists in counteracting the negative effects of stress and promotes wellness.

Research shows that gratitude improves sleep quality as well. Many of us struggle with getting a good night's rest. Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your overall health. Focusing on gratitude before falling asleep, will shift your state of mind from negative thoughts to more positive ones, generally resulting in a better night of sleep.

Interestingly, gratitude has also been shown to boost our immune response. When we feel gratitude, our bodies start producing more immune system cells, such as natural killer cells and antibodies.

Cultivating Gratitude in Daily Life

One easy way to practice gratitude is simply using a gratitude journal. Taking time each day to write down a few things that you are grateful for can be an effective coping mechanism for living with chronic pain, and illness. The points of gratitude can be something very small or something big, anything from a kind smile from a stranger to a promotion at work. By writing these moments of gratitude down, you are creating a record of it and bringing more awareness of the good you often overlook in your life and instead create a practice of looking for things to be grateful for.

Another powerful gratitude practice is to express gratitude directly to others. Take the time to thank someone for their kindness or let them know how much you appreciate them. Not only does this make the other person feel good, but it also deepens your own sense of gratitude and connection.

Gratitude Practices and Techniques

Cultivating gratitude in our daily lives is individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Luckily, there are numerous gratitude practices and techniques to choose from. Here is a short list to get you started:

Gratitude Meditation: Set aside a few minutes each day, to reflect in a quiet space, on the things that you feel grateful for. Observe any sensations and feelings that come up as you sit with your gratitude.

Gratitude Outdoors: Get out into nature and consciously appreciate the beauty all around you. Noticing your five senses by focusing on any colors, smells, and sounds etc. Experience gratitude for the beauty of Mother Earth.

Gratitude Jar: Pick a container and decorate it however you like. Write down something that you are grateful for daily, and store it inside the jar. You will eventually have a multitude of reminders of gratitude to reflect back on.

Gratitude Letter: Compose a letter to someone whom you are grateful for. Either share the letter with the addressee or save it for just you, as a reminder of the positive influences that individual has had on you.

Embracing Gratitude for a Happier and Healthier Life

From boosting your immune system to reducing stress levels, gratitude has the ability to transform your life in positive ways. Including daily gratitude practices in your routine is a powerful practice. Keeping a gratitude journal, sharing gratitude with others, and cultivating gratitude in our lives, deepens our sense of well-being and connection. It is important to remember to find a gratitude practice that feels right for you and supports your lifestyle. Trying many different forms of practicing gratitude, will help you to determine what works best for you.

5 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Manage Your Pain

Mindfulness Can Lessen Pain Using These 5 Techniques

If you are suffering from chronic pain, mindfulness is a valuable complementary therapy to traditional pain management methods, as it is a proven way to reduce pain and improve overall quality of life. Try these simple techniques listed below the next time you have intense pain, and experience for yourself, how they can lessen the pain and improve your life.

If you're an individual who is living with chronic pain, you know first hand how debilitating it can be. Chronic pain can make it hard to focus, sleep, and simply find enjoyment in life. But there is always hope. Mindfulness is a proven way to reduce pain and improve your quality of life and it is available to you anytime, anywhere!

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without added judgment or commentary. It's a state of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without getting caught up in them. When one is being mindful, they are not trying to change their experience, they’re just simply observing it.

Although simple in theory, this can be a challenging practice, especially when you're in pain. But it's worth trying it. After all there are no side effects and it does not cost you anything.

According to research, mindfulness can help you to:

  • Reduce the intensity and frequency of pain

  • Improve your mood and sleep

  • Increase your ability to cope with stress

  • Enhance your overall well-being

Here are five simple mindfulness techniques that can help provide relief from pain:

1. Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing is one of the simplest and also the most effective ways to quickly reduce pain. When you focus your attention on your breath, you are bringing your attention into the present moment, and away from your pain. This will not take the pain away completely. However, it will inevitably give you more space from the overwhelming experience of your pain, and likely give you a momentary reprieve from the pain as well. You are not your pain. You are a person with a body, who is experiencing physical pain in that body. This is an important distinction that mindfulness helps us become more aware of.

In order to practice mindful breathing, make yourself as comfortable as possible, either sitting or lying down. Close your eyes or soften the gaze, and begin to take a few deep breaths. Noticing the coolness of the breath as it flows into the nose, the warmth as it flows out, the rising and the falling of your chest and belly, and the expansion and contraction of the back body as your lungs expand with each breath. This beautiful breath, coping mechanism, tool that is with you always. See if you can follow an entire breath from the start of the inhale, all the way through to the exhale. And then one more. Let the thoughts come and go, trying not to follow or engage with them. Try to keep refocusing your attention on your breath again and again.

Continue to breathe mindfully for a few minutes. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath without any judgment. For some, listening to guided breathing exercises can be helpful.

2. Body scan

The body scan is another incredibly helpful mindfulness tool that can be soothing for pain relief. When a person scans their body using a body scan, it brings their attention to each individual part of the body, from head to toe. Many notice areas of tension or holding that may be adding to their level of pain. Once tension is located, we can imagine breathing into those areas (or surrounding areas) releasing any pain that we are adding, by tensing around the painful area(s).

To practice the body scan technique, find a comfortable position for your body. Close your eyes and bring your attention to all the points of your body resting on the chair, floor, bed etc. Notice any sensations in the body pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. Begin to focus on scanning the body (usually head to toe or toe to head) and move through each part feeling into and mentally relaxing or softening that particular area. If it is too painful in a certain spot to soften or relax, focus on softening the surrounding areas around the pain.

For instance, bring your attention to your feet. Feel into the soles of both feet, the heels, arches, pads, toes. Then, feel the tops of your feet and move up the leg and continue working up the body mentally.

Continue to bring your attention to each part of your body, from your toes to your head or head to toes. Notice any sensations, and breathe into any pain or surrounding areas of pain with self-compassion.

The body scan helps us to refocus our attention on other parts of the body, often giving a little mental space from our pain or momentary reprieve from the pain level. It also helps us to become aware of ways in which we may be contributing to our pain by tensing the body and resisting the painful sensations.

3. Present moment awareness

Present moment awareness also more broadly known as "Mindfulness" is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment you are actually experiencing without any need for anything to be different than it is. When you're truly experiencing the present moment, you are not thinking about your past or your future. You're just witnessing your moment by moment experience and bodily sensations.

This can be especially challenging, when you're in a lot of pain. But if you are willing to try it within these overwhelming moments, you will find it very useful. There is nothing wrong with the current moment even if it includes pain, this is just your body in this moment. When you focus your attention on the present moment, you're much less likely to get carried away in your thoughts and feelings surrounding your pain. You're also able to find joy in the small things in your life, yes even while you're still in pain.

To practice present moment awareness, find a comfortable position for you and your body. Notice your surroundings, take in the textures, colors patterns and small details you may have been overlooking prior. Like a scientist never having experienced your environment, become incredibly curious and observant. Next, close your eyes and notice the sounds in the surrounding space, transition to any smells, and lastly feel into the body. Feel the points of your body resting on the floor, chair, bed etc. Notice the air moving against your skin, the clothing resting on your skin. Don't judge anything that you're experiencing, just observe it. Feel your breath moving through your body. The coolness of the breath flowing in, the warmth of the breath flowing out, the rising and falling of the chest and belly. The wave of the breath moving through your entire body.

Continue to stay with your moment by moment experience and come back to this moment each time you become lost in a thought. Listening to a guided mindfulness practice can help you get started!

4. Gratitude

Gratitude is simply the act of truly appreciating all of the things in your life, good and bad. When you're grateful, you focus on the positive aspects of your experiences, even when you're in pain and have a bad experience.

Research shows that practicing gratitude can have a number of incredible benefits, including reducing stress levels, improving mood, and increasing an overall sense of well-being. It has also been shown to be helpful for coping with pain.

In order to practice gratitude, simply try taking a few minutes each day to think about the things you're grateful for that day. It can be anything, big or small. In fact, focusing on the small things that you are grateful for can help you find gratitude even when it is very difficult to see the positive within your painful life experience. 

You can start by being grateful for a bed to sleep in, a roof to sleep under, food in your belly, clean water to drink and bathe in. There are so many small things that we take for granted daily, especially in our modernized world.  

When you focus on the good aspects of even the challenging parts of your life, it helps to distract your mind from your pain. The pain will not go away, but you can refocus your attention and temporarily find relief from the pain. Reframing your perspective to that of gratitude can immensely help you to feel more positive and hopeful about your life circumstances.

5. Self-compassion

Self-compassion refers to being kind and compassionate to yourself, just as you would be to a very close friend or loved one. In fact, even more compassionate than you would a friend or loved one, because you my friend need it! When you feel most depressed, and the most overwhelmed by your pain please be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Rub your arm with the other arm (or imagine if needed) and kindly tell yourself, “It is okay, I am here with you, and anyone would be sad in these circumstances.” Be the kind empathetic friend you need for yourself.

All of these coping techniques can help to lessen pain levels and allow you to refocus your attention on something other than your constant pain. I encourage you to try just one of these techniques the next time that you feel overwhelmed by your own pain!

Breaking Down Stigmas: How Society Views Disabled Individuals

How Does Society See The Disabled Community:
Redefining Stereotypes

Disabled individuals have long been subjected to negative stereotypes and discrimination within our society. These stigmas have often led to exclusion, isolation, and limited opportunities for people with disabilities. It's truly time to challenge these harmful attitudes and work together toward creating a more inclusive world for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

Understanding the Stigmas

The stigmas surrounding disability are deeply ingrained within our society and manifest in a number of different ways. Individuals with disabilities are often viewed as less capable, less intelligent, and generally less valuable than those individuals without a disability. Sadly they also may be subjected to pity, infantilization, or even outright hostility. These mistaken perspectives can lead to exclusion from social, educational, and employment opportunities, as well as limited access to healthcare and other very essential services. We are all individuals with a wide range of ways in which we contribute to the world. Instead of looking for a person's limitations, let’s begin to see the individual as uniquely capable of contributing in ways that able-bodied people may never have thought of! It is important to recognize and address these harmful attitudes if we aspire to create a more inclusive and equitable society for ALL individuals.

Invisible Disabilities

It is often assumed that if one has a disability they will always be in need of a wheelchair, when in fact roughly ten percent of disabled Americans have invisible or hidden disabilities. This can be especially difficult for able-bodied individuals to understand and often there is an assumption that one is "faking" or "not truly disabled". Invisible or hidden disabilities generally refer to disabilities that are not immediately obvious. Some individuals have a varying level of symptoms or energy and may need a mobility aid one day and none the next. Many will be unable to do any activities on some days and light activities on other days. Changing our society's perspective of what living with a disability can look like is an important step in breaking down the stigmatization.

Inclusive Environments.

Creating more inclusive spaces is another essential way towards breaking down stigmas. This can simply involve making physical spaces more accessible, providing accommodations for individuals with disabilities, and promoting diversity and inclusion across all aspects of society. It is equally important to educate others about the experiences and perspectives of disabled individuals, and to challenge ableist attitudes and behaviors when they arise.

Advocating for Rights

Advocating for disability rights and representation is another crucial step towards breaking down stereotypes surrounding disability. This can involve supporting disability rights organizations, advocating for policies that promote accessibility and inclusion, and promoting the voices and perspectives of disabled individuals in media and other public forums. It's important to recognize that disability is a natural part of human diversity, and that individuals living with a disability make valuable contributions to our society.

Celebrating Individual Abilities

Disabled individuals have many unique abilities and talents that should be celebrated and recognized. They have to overcome immense adversity to live their lives each day. It is important to shift the focus from what disabled individuals are not able to do to what they are able to do. By highlighting their strengths and abilities, we can break down stigmas and promote a more inclusive society. This can involve showcasing disabled individuals in media and advertising, creating job opportunities that cater to their individual strengths, and providing accessible spaces for them to showcase their talents. Let's celebrate the incredible abilities of disabled individuals and create a world where EVERYONE is valued and included.

When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away

Illness and Chronic Pain Took Everything Away,
Now What?

For those living with chronic pain and illness it can sometimes feel as if everything has been taken away from you. Often it can be a constant struggle just to manage symptoms, maintain relationships, and keep up with daily responsibilities. However, there are ways to find resilience and find joy in your life again.

Here are some tips and strategies for coping with chronic pain and illness:


Chronic pain and illness can have a significant impact on every aspect of your life, including physical, emotional, and social well-being. It can affect your ability to work, participate in activities you enjoy, and maintain relationships with loved ones. It’s important to accept the impact of chronic pain and illness on your life in order to develop effective coping strategies.


Dealing with chronic pain and illness can feel isolating, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Seek out support from others in similar circumstances, through patient support groups. Additionally, consider seeking professional help from an individual therapist. They can provide valuable resources on ways to cope well with chronic pain and illness. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, not of weakness.

Coping Techniques

Coping with chronic pain and illness can be overwhelming, but developing coping strategies and self-care routines can help you regain a sense of control. This may include practicing mindfulness or meditation, reading a book or taking a course on illness and/or pain, engaging in gentle exercise or stretching, or finding a creative outlet like painting or writing. It’s important to find what works for you and make it a regular part of your routine. Additionally, prioritize self-care activities like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking breaks when needed. Remember, taking care of yourself is essential to managing chronic pain and illness.

Alternative Therapies

While traditional medical treatments can be effective for managing chronic pain and illness, exploring alternative therapies and treatments can also be beneficial. This may include acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, or herbal remedies. It’s important to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatments. Additionally, some alternative therapies may not be covered by insurance, so it’s important to consider the financial aspect as well. However, for some individuals, alternative therapies can provide relief and improve overall well-being.


When chronic pain and illness take everything away, it can be easy to feel like there is no joy or purpose left in life. However, it’s important to actively seek out and cultivate moments of joy and purpose. This may include finding hobbies or activities that bring you pleasure, connecting with friends or loved ones, volunteering, or setting small goals for yourself. By focusing on the things that bring you happiness and fulfillment, you can regain a sense of control and resilience in the face of chronic pain and illness.

15 Inspirational Chronic Illness And Pain Quotes

Chronic Illness And Pain Quotes

Living with chronic illness and pain can be a challenging and lonely experience. It can be extremely difficult to find the strength to keep going, when you feel like you are in a constant battle against your own body. These 15 quotes offer words of encouragement and remind you that you are never truly alone in your struggles.

1) “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.

There is a mistaken assumption when we are young that life will become easier as we age, but the alternative is usually the case. Life only becomes more complex as we age. This is especially apparent when facing chronic pain or illness. Life is an ever evolving acceptance of where we are, as we are.

2) “The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

This quote so eloquently demonstrates in a simple way the need to adapt and adjust to our life and the “weather” we experience. Rigidity and the need for control will only harm us more.

3) “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

I love the way this quote shows us that even if we are unaccepting of our reality it will not change it. The sooner that we can come to a place of acceptance, the quicker we can move forward into a more joyful life even alongside illness and pain.

4) “If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.”
― Shane Koyczan

We are never truly broken and we are so much stronger than we ever imagined. Lean into the unique strength your “brokenness” is gifting you.

5) “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
― Gever Tulley

There is so much gained through facing all that you do each and every day. It only makes you better prepared to meet the next challenge.

6) “It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

It is our reaction to everything in our life that defines how our life evolves. We have very little choice over a lot in our lives, but we always have agency to react in a way that is supportive of our goals and life.

7) “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou

I completely agree with Maya. No matter our life circumstances, they do not have to define us as a person.

8) “She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

Life is ever-evolving and changing. The quicker we learn to expect difficulties in life, the sooner we can get to refocusing our attention on living our best life.

9) “No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can’t take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.”
― Ryder Carroll

We always have the choice in how we respond and react to the challenges in our lives.

10) “On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.”
― Gregory S. Williams  

It truly is the most difficult times in our lives that give us the greatest strength, not the easy times.

11) “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

― Helen Keller  

The world is full of those that are suffering, but persevering anyway.

12) ”You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle." - Julian Seifter

You are more than your condition and have a unique story to tell.

13) ”Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." - Haruki Murakami

While we may not be able to control the pain we experience, we can choose how we respond to it. Suffering is a choice, and we have the power to choose to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and find joy alongside our pain.

14) ”The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about." - Unknown

We never truly know what battles someone else may be facing. It's easy to assume that someone who appears strong and put-together on the outside is not struggling, but the reality is that many people are fighting invisible battles every day.

15) ”You are not a burden. You are a human being with challenges that are valid and real." - Unknown

It is okay to ask for help and support when dealing with chronic illness and pain. It's easy to feel like a burden on others when we need extra help or accommodations, but the truth is that we all have challenges and limitations. It's important to remember that our struggles are valid and real, and that we deserve compassion and understanding from ourselves and others.

The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Isolation And Homebound Life

How To Live Well While Homebound And In Isolation 

The isolation definition is simply the state of one who is alone. However simple it may sound, isolation and being homebound can be anything but simple, especially if it happens as a result of a sudden life change, such as an injury or a rapid onset of an illness. However, there are many ways to stay positive and still feel a part of the world, even while staying at home. This guide will suggest practical advice and hopefully provide you with some inspiration as you navigate your new normal.

Create A New Routine

In your previous life (prior to being at home) you likely had a daily routine and a long, “to do” list at all times. As you may have noticed, now it has become a “not to do” list and that can, ironically, be even more difficult to manage than the list of things to do. It is hard to not do, and rely on others for help. Trust me I know. Try to create a new daily routine that is not time specific, but a response plan for your emotional and physical well-being instead. For example, have set routines for self-coping when you have discomfort such as pain and other routines for moments of emotional overwhelm. For me, listening to my body when I feel discomfort is imperative, so I will take my medication, lay down, focus on deepening my breath and feeling into my bodily sensations, allowing myself to be with the discomfort as opposed to resisting it and tensing my body in response. In times where I feel an overwhelming emotion, I (ideally) find a secluded space, listen to soothing music or sound, connect with my body and breath in order to fully allow myself to feel all of the emotion(s) and how it presents in my body for a set amount of time, no more than thirty minutes. I try to let it go after thirty minutes if I am still unable to move through the emotion at that particular time. I practice letting it go and then come back to sit with it at a later time, as I have found that ruminating is never helpful. Having a daily routine, although much different than your prior routine, can help you feel more in control of your day to day life when you cannot control a lot of your other circumstances.

Stay Connected

Isolation can be very lonely at times, but in this modern day there are more ways than ever to stay connected with loved ones. Use the available technology to your advantage such as video chats, phone calls, voice recordings, social media or messaging with friends and family. You can also participate in virtual events or activities together, such as online game nights or virtual classes. It is also vital to begin to make new connections with others who are in similar circumstances. Patient support groups can be a fabulous way to find others who can relate and support you in ways that your friends and family are unable to. Isolation can have effects on the brain as humans are very social beings. This is why even when you do not feel social, it is important to stay connected, despite not being able to be with others, in the same way that you once were. You can still maintain strong relationships and support systems right from your own bed, if you are homebound, bed bound or both. There are more ways than ever to stay connected on your own terms.

Keep Moving

Including gentle physical movement into your day if at all possible, even if it seems very minimal or pointless. I started when I was bed bound with ankle and wrist circles. For every patient “movement” will look differently, and may not even include any physical movement of their body. Breath work is a great form of movement and most everyone can participate. Another great option for those who are not physically moving their bodies, is to use the imagination and pretend you are participating in the activity of your choice. There have been numerous research studies showing the body and brain still benefit, demonstrating the incredible power of our minds! Staying active, in mind and/or body not only benefits your physical health, but can also improve your overall mood and mental wellbeing.

Bring The Joy Back

One way to make the most of your time in isolation is to learn about something new. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn about a certain subject, but never found the time? Do not worry if you have limitations such as reading or struggles cognitively or simply feel you do not have the energy to mentally contribute to anything else. Trust me! There are still ways to enjoy a new interest and bring joy into your life even amongst the suffering. Maybe just listen to five minutes of an audio book each day, a movie you love, the voice of a loved one or a short TedTalk for example. Perhaps you do not feel any motivation to explore new interests? To that, I would say this is the BEST time to motivate yourself to listen to new perspectives or ideas. With so many online resources available, there's never been a better time to pick up a new hobby or improve upon your existing skills. Maybe you can write a book about your life experiences? With the technology available today anyone can tell their story. Or maybe for you, it is learning a new language, taking an online class, or trying out something creative? There are endless opportunities to expand your knowledge and creativity even if you are disabled or very physically limited. Do not let your new physical and mental obstacles hold you back, anything is possible when we think outside of the box. Not only can learning a new skill or hobby be a fun and rewarding way to pass the time, but it can also boost your confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment that you may be missing. It is possible to be, “Living a Beautiful Life Alongside Illness, Pain and Disability”!

Isolation Effects On Mental Health

Isolation and homebound life can take a toll on your mental health, so it's so important to prioritize your own self-care. Simple techniques such as regularly practicing mindfulness and other practices such as breath meditation are very beneficial. Additionally, staying connected with loved ones through video or phone calls, voice memos, messaging and social media are very helpful as well. Most importantly, seeking professional support whenever you feel that you need is imperative. Your mental well-being should be your top priority and it is just as important as your physical health. So please do not forget to include joy in your new routine, by making time for activities that bring you happiness and relaxation, such as reading, listening to music, meditating, gently moving/stretching your body, and communicating with a loved one. Whatever you are able to do today that feels good in your body and mind.

The Science Behind Setting Intentions

Intention Setting is Based on Science

Setting an intention is a technique for achieving your goals and creating the life you desire most. It is a whole lot more than just wishing for something or repeating positive affirmations. There is actually a significant amount of science supporting the idea that setting an intention can have a positive impact.

What Is Intention Setting?

Intention setting or intentionality, is the act of consciously contemplating a goal you desire to achieve or perhaps an experience you desire for your life. One focuses their thoughts and energy on a specific outcome, in addition to actively taking steps to make it a reality. Intention setting is commonly referred to in practices such as meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, but the majority of individuals do not know that it can also be applied to virtually any area of your life in which you want to focus on.

Does Science Support Intention Setting?

The science behind intention setting is based on the power of the mind and neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to adjust and physically adapt in response to environment, experience and stimuli. When you mentally take the time to set an intention, you are hypothetically rewiring your brain to fixate on achieving a certain outcome. In addition, it can help you to be more aware of opportunities that might support your intention, and help you to take the necessary action to support your intention. Interestingly, intention setting can assist in the reduction of stress and anxiety, increase focus and concentration, and foster feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

Can Intention Setting Improve Mental And Physical Health?

Intention setting has been shown in research studies to have a positive impact on mental as well as physical health. By taking the time to set an intention, you encourage a sense of purpose and direction for your life. Additionally, intention setting can result in a more positive outlook on one’s life. Research demonstrates that intention setting can improve your overall well-being, which can have a positive impact on your immune system and cardiovascular health.

Setting Intentions Ideas

Setting an intention can be an impactful tool to achieve your goals and transform your life in profound ways.

Here are some tips for setting powerful intentions:

1. Be concise: Instead of setting a vague intention like "I want to be happier," try setting a specific intention like "I will to practice gratitude everyday to feel happier."

2. Use positive verbiage: State your intention in a positive way, future focused statement as if it has already occurred.

3. Start Small: Set an intention that is challenging but also ultimately achievable will help you stay motivated and help you avoid becoming overwhelmed. Sometimes including others is another supportive option, such hosting a setting intentions group activity.

4. Write it down: Writing down your intention helps you solidify your goals in your mind, and stay focused on what you want to achieve. If you are in need of inspiration, look up setting intention ideas.

5. Visualize your success: Take some time to imagine yourself fully achieving your goals/intention(s). This exercise helps to stay motivated and focused on your goals when you feel unmotivated.

6. Use supportive tools: To help facilitate the best possible conditions for your intentions to manifest, use supportive modalities. Examples include: setting intentions with moon water, setting intentions with the moon, (full moon, new moon etc.) setting intentions with crystals, setting intentions with quotes, or using setting intention YouTube videos.

How Do I Make intention Setting Part Of My Daily Routine?

Incorporating intention setting into your daily routine can be a profoundly simple way to make changes in your life. Start simply by setting aside just a few minutes every day to think about your ultimate goals, deepest desires and intentions. I personally do this using meditation, writing, or simply taking just a few deep belly breaths and begin focusing on setting my intention for the day. As you go throughout your day, try to stay aware of your intention(s) and take actions that support not diminish your ability to achieve them. Remember to be very kind and patient with yourself. With consistent practice, intention setting can become a powerful tool to help you live the life you want to live.

Breaking Down Barriers: Tips For Communicating With Healthy People As a Disabled Person

Overcoming Boundaries in Communications with Healthy People, as a Individual With a Disability

Communication is a vital part of our daily lives, but for many disabled individuals, it can be challenging to communicate effectively with the otherwise “healthy” able-bodied people in our lives. Varying communication styles and, communication barriers can sometimes lead to avoiding others completely. However, with some insight on what healthy relationships require, disabled people can overcome these obstacles and truly feel heard in the presence of “healthy” able-bodied people.


One of the most important things to remember when communicating with healthy people as a disabled person is to be confident in yourself and your abilities (as well as your limitations). Your disability does not define you and you are so much more than your disability. Do not hold back from expressing yourself and clearly addressing your needs. Relationships matter and honesty is crucial. You have incredible experiences to share, and your disability does not diminish your value as a person. By approaching communication with confidence and self-compassion, you can help others to also view you as an equal and valuable member of the conversation (as you already know that you are).

Use clear and concise language

When communicating with healthy people as a disabled person, it's important to be clear and straightforward. Avoid using medical jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to the average person. As an alternative, use very simple language and explain any terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to the listener. Taking these steps will help ensure that your message is better understood and you will more effectively communicate your thoughts and ideas. Relationships that work exhibit the use of simple words helping to avoid misunderstandings as well as ensuring that a message is received as initially intended.

Don't be afraid to ask for help

As a disabled person, it's important to remember that you have the right to ask for accommodations to help you communicate effectively with healthy people. This could include requesting a sign language interpreter, using assistive technology, or asking for written materials in advance. Don't ever be afraid to advocate for yourself and your personal needs. Relationships require speaking up for your needs and asking for understanding, this way you can ensure that your individual needs are met.

Practice active listening and be patient

Relationships are hard, and it's important to not only express your feelings clearly but also to actively listen to the other person’s viewpoint as well. This includes giving them your full attention, asking clarifying questions, and acknowledging their point of view. As a person living with a disability, you may need to communicate in a different way, at a slower pace, or using different means than other people, and it's important to be patient with yourself as well as the other person. Effective communication takes practice, time and effort from both parties.

The Importance of Listening to Your Body

Listen to Your Body, Feel Your Power

Your body is an intricate, intelligent system that communicates with you in numerous ways, both consciously and unconsciously. From hunger and thirst to pain and fatigue, your body sends signals that can tell you when something is wrong or when you need to act. Learning to listen to your body and respond to its needs in the moment is a vital part of maintaining good health and overall well-being. Below, we'll explore the importance of listening to your body and provide tips for tuning into your own bodies' signals.

Understand the Signals Your Body Sends

Your body is constantly sending you signals, but it's up to you to understand what they mean. Some signals are obvious, like hunger or thirst, while others may be more subtle, like a feeling of unease or discomfort. By learning how to pay attention to these signals, you can better understand what your body needs and take action to address any issues. Some common signals to look out for include changes in appetite, sleep patterns, energy levels, and mood.

Pay Attention to Your Body's Reactions

Listen to what your body is telling you. Your body is constantly reacting to the environment around you, and it's important to pay attention to these reactions. For example, if you notice that you feel anxious or stressed in certain situations, it may be a sign that you need to take a break or find ways to manage your stress. Similarly, if you experience physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches, it may be a sign that you need to address an underlying health issue. By listening to your intuition, you can take proactive steps to maintain your health and well-being.

Practice Mindful Eating and Exercise

One way to listen to your body is to be mindful of what you are eating and whether you are moving your body enough. This entails paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, as well as choosing food that you feel nourishes and energizes you. For most it also means engaging in some type of physical activity or movement (listening to your body exercise), that feels good and supports your overall health. By turning inward, tuning into your body's needs and responding with loving care, you can vastly improve your overall physical and mental wellness.

Get Enough Sleep and Rest

One of the most important steps towards listening to your own body is prioritizing quality sleep and rest. Lack of sleep can lead to a range of negative health effects, including decreased cognitive function, weakened immune system, and increased risk of chronic diseases. An otherwise average healthy adult should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Those with health issues likely need more sleep and rest. Listening to your body's signals for rest and relaxation throughout the daytime is equally important for everyone in order to avoid burnout. This may mean taking more breaks during work, reconnecting with your breath, or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. Another obvious option is to simply take a nap when you feel tired. By prioritizing rest and sleep, you can support your body's inborn natural healing and rejuvenation processes.

Is Guided Imagery The Same As Guided Meditation?

Meditation or Guided Imagery, What’s The Difference?

Guided imagery and meditation are two well-known techniques for reducing stress and promoting relaxation and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. However, while they do share some similarities, there are equally important differences between the two practices. Understanding these differences can help you choose the technique that best suits your needs and preferences in any particular moment.

Understanding Guided Imagery and Meditation

Both guided imagery and meditation involve focusing one’s mind and the relaxation of their body. Guided imagery involves using your imagination to form mental images or visualizations, ultimately creating a sense of relaxation. This can involve imagining yourself in a place that is soothing to you (e.g. the beach, sitting in a green meadow, or by a creek). Another possible example of using guided imagery would be visualizing yourself going through the motions of an upcoming stressful situation (e.g. a job interview or giving a speech) as if it goes perfectly, imagining how it would feel to succeed.

Meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing your attention on something other than your racing, monkey mind! Letting the thoughts come and go (because there is no stopping the thoughts even if you try), we choose instead to focus on feeling into our own bodily sensations, focusing on breathing exercises, and repeating positive affirmations or mantras. Ideally, through the process, we achieve a state of deep relaxation and mental clarity. While both practices can be effective for reducing stress and promoting relaxation, their differences mainly lie in their specific area of focus and overall approach. But, there are obvious similarities and a lot of overlap, as well.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery can be a powerful tool for relieving stress and increasing relaxation. By visualizing peaceful scenes or positive outcomes, you can create a sense of calm and connectedness within your own mind and body. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and pain, while increasing an overall sense of wellness. Guided imagery has even been used to enhance creativity, increase focus and concentration, in addition to fostering a sense of inner peacefulness and harmony. Whether you are simply looking for stress reduction, are interested in improving your mental well-being, or just need to relax, guided imagery can be an incredibly versatile tool to add to your self-care toolbox!


Meditation is a practice that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. It involves focusing your attention on a specific object, thought, or activity, and allowing your mind to become calm and still. Meditation has been shown to have a number of benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression, improving sleep quality, and enhancing cognitive function. It can also help to lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of pain, and increase immune function. Whether you desire to improve your mental or physical health, meditation can be a valuable tool to improve both simultaneously! And, it is free and costs you absolutely nothing.

Combining Guided Imagery and Meditation

While guided imagery and meditation are both effective practices on their own, combining the two in one practice is common due to the benefits. Guided imagery can help to enhance the visualization aspect of meditation, allowing you to more easily imagine yourself in a uniquely (to you) peaceful, calming space. This can allow for a deepening of your meditation practice and assist in achieving a greater sense of relaxation and calming. Fascinatingly, guided imagery can be used to focus on specific goals, desires or intentions during meditation, such as reducing anxiety or improving self-confidence. Try practicing with each individually and then combining these two practices to find the approach that works best for you, in this moment.

Soothing Anxiety

How to Calm Anxiety

If you are suffering from anxiety, know that you're not alone. The information below will help you understand and cope better. Anxiety disorder is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause feelings of fear, worry, and discomfort, and can interfere with daily activities and relationships. Today's blog, will explore the causes and symptoms of anxiety, as well as various treatment options to help you and your loved ones manage anxiety in a way that is best for your needs.

Anxiety Causes

Anxiety can be influenced by many different factors, and therefore it is generally not just one thing that causes an anxiety attack to occur. Some commonly known causes include genetics, brain chemistry, environmental stressors, and traumatic life experiences. Of course, certain medical conditions and medications can also contribute to anxiety symptoms. This is why it is very important to be honest with a supportive healthcare professional that you trust, to determine the underlying cause of your anxiety and develop a treatment plan

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms experienced by those who have anxiety may look very differently for one person compared to another, but some commonly experienced signs include excessive worry or fear, overwhelming negative emotions, irritability, difficulty concentrating, racing mind, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping and/or sleeping too much. Physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, trembling, random movement, shallow breathing, incoherent speech and rapid heartbeat can also occur.

It's important to recognize anxiety symptoms, and remember that there is no shame in seeking help if they are interfering with your daily life. A trustworthy healthcare professional can help diagnose and treat anxiety. There is a history of stigma associated with anxiety, and it is simply mistaken and harmful. Please do not let the fear of being stigmatized ever stop you from seeking the appropriate care that you need. Anxiety can happen to ANYONE at anytime and it is not a weakness of character. Asking for help is a sign of vulnerability, which is strength not weakness.

Anxiety Treatment

There are several anxiety treatment options available for anxiety relief, including talk therapy and anxiety medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to an anxiety attack.

Other forms of anxiety disorder treatment, such as exposure therapy, breathing exercises to calm the nervous system, guided anxiety meditation, yoga, and other forms of exercise or exploration of creative outlets can be very soothing. Anxiety medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can also be prescribed by a healthcare professional to help manage symptoms. Again, it is important to work with a trusted healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.

Anxiety Relief

There are several strategies that can help individuals manage and cope with anxiety on a daily basis. These include practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, getting regular exercise (this may look very different for some of us, for me it is Yoga In My Bed), maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding anything that adds to anxiety such as medications and alcohol. Alcohol may feel as if it settles anxiety initially, but as the alcohol breaks down in your body it actually is shown to increase anxiety levels the following day. It can also be helpful to identify any potential triggers that contribute to your anxiety and develop coping strategies to try to manage them. Seeking support from friends, family, and a mental health professional can also be very beneficial in managing anxiety. Remember, it's important to prioritize your own self-care or you truly cannot be there for anyone else!

Which Meditation App is Best?

Deciding Which Meditation App is Best for you

Looking for the best meditation app for your needs? We've compared the top options to help you find the perfect fit for your personal meditation practice. Meditation apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a convenient and accessible way to incorporate mindfulness, breathwork and bodily awareness into your daily routine. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your specific needs. In this blog, we've compared some of the top meditation apps to help you find the perfect fit for your practice.

Headspace: Best for beginners and those looking for basic guided meditations

Headspace is a popular meditation app that offers a variety of guided meditations for beginners and experienced meditators alike. The app offers a free trial period, after which users can choose to subscribe for access to a wider range of content. Headspace also offers themed meditation packs, such as stress relief or sleep, to help users target specific areas of their life. The app includes a feature called "SOS meditations" for moments of high stress or anxiety, as well. Overall, Headspace is a great option for those looking for a guided meditation experience.

Insight Timer: Best for those looking for a FREE app with a large library of meditations

Insight Timer is a popular meditation app that offers a vast library of guided meditations, music tracks, and talks from teachers around the world. The app is free to use, with most content needing no subscription, and offers a variety of features such as customizable meditation timers, progress tracking, and a community forum. The Member Plus membership offers premium offerings such as courses. Insight Timer also offers themed meditation courses, such as mindfulness for anxiety or self-love, for users looking to target specific areas of their life. Overall, Insight Timer is a great option for those looking for a free app with a wide range of meditation content. The majority of offerings are free, including live events daily.

Calm: Best for those seeking a variety of meditation styles and sleep aids from celebrity voices

Calm is a popular meditation app that offers a variety of meditation styles, including guided meditations, breathing exercises, and sleep stories including celebrity voices. The app also includes a feature called Daily Calm, which provides a new meditation each day. Calm offers a free trial, but after that, users must subscribe to access all of the app's features. However, the subscription includes access to a wide range of content, including guided meditations for specific situations like anxiety or stress, as well as sleep aids like bedtime stories and calming music. One unique feature to Calm is the ability to choose a nature sound to play after the meditation finishes, which is great for bedtime. Overall, Calm is a great option for those looking for a paid, comprehensive meditation app with a focus on relaxation and sleep.

Effective Bedtime Yoga Practices

Bedtime Yoga Positions For Ultimate Relaxation

Bedtime yoga is an excellent way to relax and unwind after a long day. With the right postures, you can soothe your body and mind, bringing serenity and restful sleep. Here are three simple, effective bedtime yoga postures that provide body relaxation and peace of mind.

Cat/Cow Pose - Energizes the Body While Calming the Mind.

This yoga posture can be done lying in bed or on the floor. Start by kneeling on all fours, back parallel to the floor. On your inhalation raise your chin and chest towards the ceiling, inverting the spine and taking an arch shape with your lower back (Cow Pose). On exhalation tuck chin towards chest and draw belly button inward contracting your spine, simulating a Cat Stretch. Continue moving from Cow to Cat with each breath, energizing yourself while calming down at the same time.

Legs Up The Wall - Releases Tension and Promotes Blood Flow

Legs Up the Wall pose, also known as Viparita Karani, is a wonderful posture for calming your mind and bringing blood flow back to the internal organs in the body. To practice this pose, lie on your back about an inch away from a wall, and slowly bring each leg off the ground and up onto the wall. Maintain this position for 5 to 10 minutes with your arms in any comfortable position. As you hold this position, take deep breaths and focus on releasing tension from your body. This posture can help reduce stress and fatigue while allowing you to relax deeply.

Happy Baby Pose -Stretches the Lower Back and Inner Thighs.

To enter the Happy Baby Pose, begin lying on your back with legs bent and soles of feet facing the ceiling. Hold onto the outer edges of your feet where you can reach with your hands or grab a strap or towel if you cannot reach them. Draw knees toward armpits engaging core and expanding inner thighs as you extend away from tailbone. In the pose focus on feeling relaxed, cozy and safe-like a baby! Stay in this yoga posture for up to 5 breaths then slowly embrace knees back into chest and release feet to floor.

Savasana - Reconnect with Body and Create New Neural Connections

Savasana (also known as Corpse Pose) is one of the most commonly practiced postures for relaxation and often starts and completes a yoga practice. Begin by lying down on your back with your eyes softened, palms facing up, shoulders rolled under, and feet falling outwards, naturally. Mentally soften all muscles, relax your jaw and forehead, and simply let every thing else go. This basic posture can help to bring renewed energy to the body and a clear mind for a restful night of sleep. Stay here for five minutes or longer if you wish.

Are Patient Support Groups Effective?

Do Patient Support Groups Help?

Are support groups an effective way to improve your overall health and well-being? Yes! Below, we will explore the benefits of joining a patient support group, including having access to people who are going through a similar situation, connecting with others, feeling less alone, and gaining tools that can help you cope with your health issues.

What are Support Groups?

Patient support groups are usually small, informal group meetings that provide a safe environment for people who share similar challenges. They are often themed around specific relatable topics, and help with setting/achieving individual health goals. During support group meetings the members often share their personal experiences and offer one another compassion.

Benefits of Participating in a Support Group

Joining a support group is a great way to learn new ways of coping with your own health issues, and alleviate feelings of isolation and stigma that often come along with being chronically ill or in pain. Being part of a supportive community can help group members get the emotional and social support they need to stay positive and hopeful. Which is something that many people are lacking when connecting with the healthy people in their own lives. According to Mayo Clinic, it provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies that can be used to cope with health issues on a daily basis. Additionally, groups helps members discover they are not alone in dealing with these issues.

Photo credit: Chris Montgomery

Why Acceptance is Important in Chronic Pain & Illness

Acceptance When Suffering With Chronic Pain and Illness

Living with chronic pain and illness can be overwhelming, isolating and downright scary at times. But, working towards developing acceptance of your circumstances, and learning to live with it is key to leading a more joyful life. In this blog, we explore ways to accept the reality of chronic illness and pain as well as live a beautiful life alongside it.

Allow Your Feelings

Acknowledge the emotions you feel in response to your illness. It's okay to feel sad, overwhelmed, resentful or grieved - accept your feelings and give them space to exist. At the same time, remember that these feelings are transient; they change and pass over time allowing more positive coping strategies to come through. So, try not to ruminate on these negative feelings too long if they do not pass right away.

Connect with Others Who Can Relate

Finding people with whom you can relate to is a key part of accepting and living with chronic illness and pain. Connecting with others who understand what it’s like can help make managing your illness easier, as you’re no longer handling it solo. Look for online support groups specifically addressing similar challenges you have or that cater to managing chronic illness and pain. It's important to find people who are sympathetic and will not invalidate your experiences or opinions.

Setting Healthy Boundaries Where Possible

Of course, it's also important to make any necessary changes in your life. Adjusting to living with chronic illness and pain begins by making lifestyle modifications that improve your overall health and well-being. This may include eating a healthier diet, exercising more or less, limiting stressors, or even trying alternative forms of help like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, Reiki or herbal supplements. With diligence and effort, you can work to cope better, and find a sense of normalcy again.

Identify New Goals and/or Purpose in Life

Acceptance of chronic illness and pain includes looking for new ways to find joy and fulfillment. It's important to identify new hobbies, activities, and goals that you can pursue in order to get more out of life. This could be taking classes on a subject you've always been interested in, giving back to your community through volunteerism, starting a side business, or simply finding time everyday to relax, and reconnect with yourself, while doing something that brings you joy. Finding meaning and purpose in life despite chronic illness and pain can be a difficult, but ultimately a worthwhile, transformative journey.

Reach Out for Professional Help When Needed

Finding acceptance in regards to chronic illness and pain can be difficult, and feeling discouraged is completely normal!  Please never hesitate to reach out and talk with a mental health professional if needed. Seeking help from a qualified psychologist or other mental health professional can provide good guidance in order to work through intrusive thoughts or feelings that can arise from having a long-term illness and pain. Seeking advice is not a sign of weakness, it’s just taking the important step of being proactive about your own personal well-being.

How Quickly Can I Feel The Benefits Of Meditation?

How Long Does it Take to Feel Benefits of Meditation?

From lowering stress levels to boosting your focus, learn how quickly you can start to feel the benefits of meditation in this comprehensive guide! Meditation has a variety of physical and mental health benefits according to research. Examples include: reducing stress and anxiety levels, improving concentration, a lessening of physical pain, and an overall happier state of mind. But just how long does it take to start feeling these incredible effects? In this short guide, we'll explore how quickly you can begin to feel the positive effects of meditation.

Conscious Breathing

One of the quickest ways to start feeling the benefits of meditation is to use mindful breathing techniques. Mindful breathing can help you gain greater self-awareness, improve your focus, and even lower your stress and anxiety levels almost instantly. Start by taking a few deep breaths and paying attention to extending your exhales longer than your inhales. This will begin to tell your brain and body to feel more relaxed in just a few minutes, allowing you to start reaping the rewards that meditation has to offer immediately!

Be Present in The Moment

In order to reap the full rewards of meditation, it’s important to make time to be still and present in the moment. Setting aside 5-10 minutes each day for meditation is a great way to start seeing the benefits very quickly. A few minutes every day can go a long way towards helping you find peace and balance in your life. The brain becomes better at dropping into a relaxation state with consistent practice. If you don’t have time for a long session, even just 1-5 minutes of
mindful breathing can make a noticeable difference!

Try Guided Audio Meditations Or In-Person Classes

Joining a
guided meditation class or working with an experienced meditation instructor, can be beneficial in accelerating your progress. Their experienced guidance and personalized attention can help keep you focused, answer any questions you may have, and ensure that you’re practicing correctly. Whether it’s in-person or online, there are so many ways to gain access to the insurmountable advantages of practicing meditation!

Keep A Meditation Journal

Documenting your journey is a great way to track your progress and reflect on what has been working for you (as well as what is not). Not only does it help keep track of your
daily meditation practice, but reflecting back on our experiences also gives us insight as to what needs to be adjusted or applied differently in order to achieve our desired results. 

5 Benefits of Loving Kindness Yoga For Physical And Mental Health

5 Advantages Of Loving Kindness Yoga

Loving kindness yoga, also known as metta meditation, is a form of practice that emphasizes cultivating love and compassion towards oneself and others. This practice has been shown to have numerous benefits for both mental and physical health, making it a great addition to any wellness routine. In this post, we'll explore the benefits of loving kindness yoga and how it can improve your overall well-being.

What is Loving Kindness Yoga?

Loving Kindness Yoga, also known as metta meditation, is a form of yoga practice that involves offering love, kindness, and compassion to oneself and others. It originated in the Buddhist tradition but has been adapted into various forms of yoga practices. This type of yoga encourages individuals to focus on positive emotions such as gratitude, forgiveness, empathy, and joy towards themselves and those around them. Through this practice, practitioners cultivate a sense of inner peace and improved relationships with others.

Boost Your Mental Health

Loving Kindness Yoga is an excellent way to enhance your mental health. It helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression while also increasing positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and compassion. Regular practice can lead to increased self-esteem and self-worth, improved relationships with others, and an overall sense of well-being. The practice encourages individuals to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, focusing instead on the positive aspects of themselves and their world. This approach results in a shift towards a more positive outlook on life, ultimately benefiting both mental and physical health.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

As mentioned, Loving kindness yoga focuses on self-compassion, empathy, and love towards oneself and others. Practicing these qualities can have a positive impact on one’s mental health, reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol while promoting feelings of relaxation and calmness. Studies have also shown that practicing loving kindness yoga can help reduce symptoms of anxiety by promoting positive emotions and feelings of well-being. So if you’re looking to relieve yourself from daily stresses or manage your anxiety levels, loving kindness yoga could be a great tool for you!

Cultivate a Positive Mindset

The optimistic mindset can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health, reducing stress levels, improving sleep quality, and boosting overall well-being. The mindfulness aspect of this practice encourages practitioners to stay present in the moment, promoting a sense of calmness and inner peace. So if you’re looking to cultivate a more positive mindset, loving kindness yoga may be just what you need to bring harmony to your body, mind, and soul.

Join A Patient Support Group On Zoom

Zoom Support Group For Patients

Join others who are facing similar issues and connect at one our weekly Zoom Patient Support Groups. Gain emotional support, interconnectedness and coping skills.

Patient Support Groups Online

Looking for a supportive and compassionate group to join and discuss your medical condition and/or disability with? Consider joining one of Loving Kindness Yoga's Zoom Patient Support Groups for Illness, Pain & Disability, where you can find commonalities with individuals facing similar health issues and/or physical limitations. Although we may have many different diagnoses, disabilities and life circumstances we have many similar life experiences as those that suffer with pain, illness, and disability. Together, we will learn how to take back some control over our situation, reach out for help when needed, and foster resilience.

Why Join a Zoom Patient Support Group?

When you join one of our Zoom Patient Support Groups for Illness, Pain & Disability, you can expect to join a diverse group of individuals living all over the world! And you will also experience immense emotional support, online camaraderie, and a valuable exchange of knowledge. Through meaningful conversations and activities, you'll gain insights into yourself and receive encouragement from others who empathize with your situation. We welcome you to connect with people who are a source of true emotional support, and access resources that can make every day life easier to manage.

Why Connect With Others in a Support Group?

Being part of a Zoom Patient Support group can help you alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation that many of us feel, as well as provide social support to help you cope with the constant strain of health issues and/or disability. Our patient support group also serves as a place for you to explore new perspectives, and potentially view your situation in a more positive light. Find connection with other people who are facing similar struggles, by venting, listening and refocusing on helpful, positive topics as well as coping techniques. Ideally, giving you more hope, courage, connection and self-compassion. These qualities will help sustain your mental well-being even in the midst of great suffering. An online zoom patient support group allows you to express yourself freely in a safe space, without the fear of judgement or criticism while receiving valuable feedback from friends who have faced similar circumstances.

How To Meditate For A Calmer Mind And Body

A Guide To Meditation To Calm The Mind And Body

It's normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious at times. In today's fast-paced world, we often struggle to find a moment of peace and quiet, leaving our minds cluttered and exhausted. Fortunately, meditation can provide the space that we need to clear our minds from unnecessary distractions, and bring focus back into our lives. With the simple techniques outlined below, you'll learn how to meditate effectively for a calmer mind, body and ideally a healthier, happier life.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that involves training the mind to focus on a specific thought, object, or activity to achieve a state of mental clarity and emotional calmness. The goal of meditation is to cultivate awareness, concentration, and inner peace, which have been shown to improve overall well-being. There are different types of meditation techniques, that vary in their approach and purpose, but they all share the common goal of quieting the mind and promoting relaxation. Meditation is not a lack of thinking or a cessation of your thoughts. It allows us space from our thoughts, as we observe the thoughts and emotions come and go completely on their own. We learn to not engage or follow those thoughts, allowing us more time to decide what thoughts we would actually like to engage, and which we would prefer to let go of and reframe in a more productive way.

Meditation is a Practice that Helps the Mind to Focus and Settle in Order to Achieve Mental Calmness, Relaxation, and Inner Peace.

Meditation is a simple yet effective practice for gaining space from your thoughts, as you allow your thoughts to come and go without engaging or following them. This enables us to have more agency over what thoughts we choose to act upon, and which we reframe and let go of. Otherwise, we are constantly subjected to following every desire or thought being completely controlled by our subconscious. Meditation involves finding a quiet and comfortable space, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breath or a specific point of attention such as your body or a mantra/prayer. The only goal is to allow your mind to settle and the thoughts to come and go, ultimately achieving a state of deep relaxation. With regular practice, meditation can help reduce stress, reduce pain, improve focus, increase self-awareness, and promote better sleep. It is generally suggested to begin with short sessions and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable with the practice. But, there is no right or wrong way to meditate, so listen to your own intuition and what feels right for you personally.

Focus on Your Breath.

One of the most effective and simplistic types of meditation is focusing on the breath. Breathing deeply and slowly (focusing on long exhales) can help you relax, release tension, lessen pain, and improve overall well-being. Once you are in a comfortable space, close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice how it moves in and out of your body without any need to control it. If you find that your mind starts to wander, gently guide yourself back to focusing on the breath. The breath is a beautiful gift that we are given the moment that we enter this world, and it is with us always. It is the connection between our mind and our body and using the breath one can calm themselves even when they are feeling pain or discomfort. This practice of being aware of thoughts, but not reacting to them, helps cultivate mindfulness and mental clarity. As you continue to meditate regularly, you will likely find it easier to stay focused for longer periods of time.

The Best Meditations for Falling and Staying Asleep

The Most Effective Meditations for Getting to Sleep and Staying Asleep

If you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, meditation for sleep may be the answer. From calming guided mediations to soothing visualizations and affirmations, these techniques can help relax your mind and body so you can get a good night's rest.

Guided Sleep Meditation

A guided meditation for sleep is an audio-guided session that helps you relax and disconnect with your thoughts, allowing you to drift into a peaceful sleep. This type of meditation usually involves calming music or nature sounds paired with a soothing voice guiding you through relaxation exercises or visualizations. Guided meditations for sleep can help create a sense of calm and focus, reducing stress, restlessness, and other factors that make it hard to get quality sleep.

Body Scan Meditation

Another sleep meditation many people find helpful is the body scan. It’s a great way to relax your mind and body before bed. Another similar option is a guided mental massage, allowing you to further relax the body. Begin by finding a comfortable spot in bed and closing your eyes. Take several deep breaths, allowing your chest and abdomen to rise and fall. Then bring your focus to the tips of your toes, noticing any sensations you may be feeling. As you progress slowly up your body, observe areas of stiffness or tension as well as areas of release or relaxation. By the time you reach the top of your head, you should be feeling calm and at ease.

A Guide to Practicing Meditation in Bed

Tips For Meditation From Bed 

Learn how to practice mindful meditation in the comfort of your bed and find the perfect way to start or end the day without stress!

Mindful meditation in bed is a wonderful way to destress and relax. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced meditator, taking a few moments to focus on your breath and let go of any worries can help you drift off into a peaceful sleep or start the day with renewed energy and clarity. With some simple tips and practice, you can incorporate mindful meditation into your nightly routine.

Set Up a Comfortable Position.

Before jumping into the meditation, make sure your set up is comfortable enough to keep all distractions away. You can try a variety of different positions, such as lying down or even sitting cross-legged on top of your bed. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you’re in a comfortable position that allows your muscles to relax and your spine to remain straight. If lying down, ensure that your neck and head are properly aligned to prevent straining any parts of the body during the session.

Take Time to Focus on Your Breath.

Once you’ve established a comfortable position, close your eyes and take at least a few moments to let go of any worries or anxious thoughts and let your body relax. Focus all your energy on being mindful of your breath. Feel the air entering and exiting your nostrils. Make sure each inhalation is deep and gentle, allowing for maximum oxygen intake into the lungs, and let each exhalation flow out without any force or strain. Stay in this state for as long as possible — 10 minutes is ideal — and maintain awareness throughout the entire breathing session.

Retrain Your Thoughts from Negativity to Positivity.

Another core element of mindful meditation is being conscious about your thoughts and deliberately shifting them to something more positive. Whenever you find yourself worrying or ruminating on the past, take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything is eventually going to be okay; ask yourself what can you do right now to make the present moment easier. Then redirect your focus on actively cultivating a sense of peace in each moment of meditation.

Be Patient with Yourself.

As you sit in meditation at times you may feel bored or as if you are somehow doing it wrong. There is no such thing as a bad meditation, so feel reassured that any time spent siting with your thoughts and focusing on your breath is benefical. Remember this is your time - it's special and unique to you - so end each session feeling grateful for something even if it’s your own strength and courage to practice mindfulness and kindness in the moment.

The Benefits of Joining a Patient Support Group

Belonging to a Patient Support Group has Advantages

Feeling alone and unable to find the support that you need? Have you considered joining a Patient support group? Patient support groups offer companionship, understanding, and a sense of community for those living with chronic illnesses and/or disabilities. Engage with others who understand what it is like to live with a medical condition/disability and share stories, learn coping strategies, and come away feeling more connected and empowered. Many of support groups today have accessibility online, for those that are unable to physically attend classes or for those in more remote areas without any in-person group gatherings. Online patient support groups are uniquely capable of connecting individuals from all over the world on one platform!

Why Should You Join a Patient Support Group?

Patient support groups are safe places to express your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to be part of a community of individuals facing similar situations. Through mutual understanding, encouragement, and empathy, members create strong bonds that can help ease the heavy burden of illness/pain/disability. Knowing that you truly are never alone in facing the challenges presented by your current circumstances, can provide a reassuring sense of comfort and hope.

Share Your Experiences and Find Emotional Support:

One of the most meaningful components of online patient support groups is the chance to connect with other people who had have similar life experiences. When you join a group, you’re connecting with people who understand what it’s like to live with very similar challenges. Sharing your experiences and emotions in a safe environment can help provide a healthy outlet, on days when symptoms are difficult to manage or your life feels overwhelming. In many cases, emotional support from others who understand can be quite literally invaluable.

Learn Through Group Discussions and Sessions:

Most patient support groups include time for discussion and/or questions about health issues, potential treatments and ways to manage. Often, the online patient groups include large groups of people gathering from all over the world, exposing you to many new ideas and concepts. You might learn questions to ask your healthcare provider or receive valuable information from peers who have faced similar experiences. Additionally, you will likely be exposed to new resources (e.g. books, research, teachers, courses etc.) and alternative therapies (e.g. meditation, acupuncture, yoga, medical massage, Reiki etc.) that may be beneficial for your own symptom management or needs. Conversing with others who deal with the same or similar struggles can increase your overall knowledge base, giving you more tools and strategies for staying resilient despite the incredible hardships that you face.

Find Helpful Resources and Practical Advice.

In addition to providing emotional support, many patient support groups provide access to helpful resources and practical advice for managing common challenges that many of us experience occasionally. Group members openly share their personal experiences in coping with side effects; information they have recently read/researched, financial aid tips and more. Furthermore, being part of an online patient support group, can introduce you to a larger group of individuals with varying backgrounds and education allowing for unique recommendations from fellow group members for patient support services.

Yoga For Back Pain: 5 Movements To Reduce Discomfort

Five Yoga Postures For Back Pain

Yoga can be an effective form of back pain management, providing an array of stretches and poses that can provide both physical and mental relief from soreness and discomfort. Check out this guide to learn five yoga postures that could help reduce your back pain and improve your day-to-day quality of life. Long slow extended exhales will help you to gain the most relief from the stretches. Most importantly, consistency is key! The more frequently that you do these stretches the better your pain relief will be. Join us live for Yoga online! Check our current event schedule for classes!

Cat-Cow Pose

The Cat-Cow pose is a gentle, easy stretch that is great at helping to release tension in the spine and lower back area of the body. To begin, kneel on the ground into table top positon, in which your hands are planted directly below your shoulders and your knees are bent parallel to your hips with the shins on the mat. As you exhale, gently begin to round your spine and tuck your chin and tailbone into cat pose. Then, reversing the spinal bend as you inhale start to arch your spine, round your tailbone out/up, bringing the head/gaze upwards into a full cow pose. Repeat several times for relaxing relief.

Child's Pose

Child's Pose is a resting yoga pose that helps to lengthen the spine and stretch the lower back while calming the mind. To do it, start in an all-fours (table top) position, then widen the knees and slowly sit your hips back onto your heels. Extend your arms along the ground in front of you, alongside your body or in prayer hands above your head. Draw your forehead toward your mat and stay there, breathing deeply into any areas of discomfort. Use pillows under your bottom and/or under your head if desired for a more supported, restorative version.

Seated Forward Fold

Seated forward fold is a great pose for relieving tension in your shoulders, neck and entire back body. To perform this movement, sit with both legs extended out in front of you. Inhale as you sit up tall from the crown of the head and then begin to reach your arms up to the sky (shoulders down away from your ears), then exhale as you hinge at the hips over your legs. Keep your spine as straight as possible, chest facing forward and rest your head and neck wherever they reach. Feel free to bring in pilllows for support to increase the comfort. Also, remember that bending the knees will lessen the intensity if it becomes painful. Next, focus on mentally sofening the muscles around any areas of discomfort or tension as you move deeper into the pose. Hold the pose for a few breaths before releasing it and slowly walking your upper body back body upright.

Standing Forward fold

Standing forward fold is another pose with many potential benefits for those suffering from back pain. To get into this position, start from a standing posture and slowly hnge at hips over your legs, bending your legs and bringing your belly to meet your thighs. Allow the arms, neck and head to hang heavy and shake the head gently from side to side. To deepen the stretch, grab opposite elbows and hang freely over your legs, and rock gently from side to side. As with the seated forward fold, focus on relaxing into any tight or sore areas of your body as you soften into the pose. Gently hold it for a few breaths before returning upright very mindfully rolling up one vertibrae at a time.

Spinal Twist

Spinal twists are an effective yoga movement for back pain relief as it gently stretches the entire spine. To get into this position begin by laying flat on your back, tucking your knees in towards your body and gently rocking side to side to massage the back. Choose one side to allow your bent knees to drop over to, keeping the shoulders weighted equally on the floor or mat. Bring in a pillow under your knees for extra support or allow gravity to gently stretch your spine and hips. Stay for at least 1 minute breathing into the twisted spine, and then slowly make your way back to center, knees to chest once more. Maybe noticing one side of the spine is looser than the other? And once you are ready exhale and drop the knees to the opposite side again holding for the same amount of time (at least 1 minute). Then gently come back to center and extend the legs out straight once more. Allow the spine to settle before getting back up to standing. Roll to one side in a fetal position and gently use your upper body to help yourself upright.

How To Meditate For Beginners

A Starter Guide To Meditation

Meditation is an ancient practice that can bring about a sense of peace and relaxation to the mind and body. This guide will provide the basics for new meditators, so that you can begin to experience the calming benefits of meditation for yourself today!


Before beginning, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit or lie down. It’s important that your posture is relaxed, but also in a position in which the body is supported with a blanket or cushion if needed. It is not required that you be sitting upright in a cross legged position. Do what feels best in your body to start. You can also set the mood by diffusing an essential oil, lighting a candle, or taking some time outdoors and sitting in nature. Whatever you desire to create an environment that best supports your own personal relaxation.

Set an Intention:

A great way to strengthen your meditation practice is by setting an intention (or purpose in mind) before beginning. Start by thinking of what you are desiring most in your life at the moment. For example, you may want to feel more connected to your body, let go of intrusive thoughts, find clarity about a situation in your life, or foster courage to take action. Next, word the desired outcome as if it has already occurred. In the above example of wanting to feel more connected to your body, a potential intention would be, "I feel connected to my own body and mind". Take a few breaths and create an intention that feels right for you. Focus on that intention as you begin your meditation practice, and at the end of practice repeat the intention.

Relax Your Body:

Settling into your meditation posture (however that looks for you), start closing the eyes or softening the gaze. Mentally relax any tension you are holding in your body. As you allow your body to begin to relax, focus your attention on your breath. Feeling the gentle expansion and contraction of your belly like a balloon filling with air, as you take each breath in and each breath out. See if you can follow an entire breath from the start of the inhale all the way through your exhale. Doing this for even just a few minutes will begin to bring a sense of calm and relaxation to both your body and mind.

Focus on your Breath:

As your body becomes more relaxed, keep focusing on your breath and the sensation of the breath moving throughout your body. The coolness of the breath as it flows in, and the warmth of the breath as it flows out. The gentle wave of the breath moving through your body without any effort or control on your part. Rather than trying to control or alter your breath, simply observe the natural flow of each in-breath and out-breath. Each time your mind wanders away from your breath, gently bring yourself back to your breath. Allow yourself the permission to let everything else go.

Practice Gentle Acceptance:

It’s important to become comfortable with your meditation practice and to allow yourself to be in all of the ways that you are without judgement, embarrassment or shame. As you observe your breath, gently accept whatever thoughts and emotions come up and watch as they pass through your mind. Do not try to stop thinking, as this is impossible. Meditation is not a lack of thinking. It is just a space from constantly following our thoughts, allowing us the time to choose which thoughts to follow and engage in.

Chronic Pain Relief Meditation

Soothe Chronic Pain With Meditation

Living with chronic pain can be difficult, but learning to manage it through mindfulness, visualization and relaxation techniques can help reduce the severity of your pain. Discover how meditation can be used as a powerful tool for relieving pain and improving quality of life.

Understand the Mind-Body Connection.

Meditation can be particularly effective for chronic pain relief because it helps us create an awareness of the mind-body connection. By connecting our minds and bodies, we are able to focus on the body’s natural healing processes and recognize physical sensations as signals. With regular practice, meditation helps us become more mindful of our bodies and our pain, allowing us to move through it with ease and grace.

Take Time to Practice Meditation Techniques.

When it comes to using meditation techniques for chronic pain relief, consistency is key! To get the most out of your practice, you’ll want to commit to meditating every day. Start small – even with just a few minutes a day you can feel the difference. During that time, focus on mindful breathing , progressive muscle relaxation, body scanning and visualization. Each technique has its own unique benefits and can help you find some much-needed relief from your chronic pain.

Implement a Self-Care Routine that Incorporates Regular physical activity and Stress Reduction Strategies.

In addition to practicing regular meditation, implementing a self-care routine that includes regular physical activity (whatever that looks like for you) and stress reduction strategies can also be helpful in managing chronic pain. Movement helps your body release endorphins, which can improve mood, decrease stress levels and reduce the intensity of aches and pains. Stress reduction activities like yoga , tai chi, massage therapy and aromatherapy can also help to reduce pain levels. So make sure to incorporate these activities into your self-care routine for some all-over pain relief! Having a daily practice such as the 10 day course, "Living a Beautiful Life Alongside Illness, Pain and Disability".

Implement Guided Meditation Sessions Led by Professionals to Further Improve Your Experience with Pain Management Through Meditation.

Having guidance from a professional can be helpful for those who are new to meditation and don’t know where to start. Led by experienced professionals, guided patient support/meditation sessions can help you reduce stress, ease anxiety, and manage chronic pain through specific relaxation techniques. We offer a patient support group that provides additional support and connection with others facing similar pain. Our weekly sessions are even designed with pain management at their core - helping you attain the deep relaxation and mental clarity needed for truly better coping over time.

Address Any Emotional or Psychological Issues That May be Contributing to Your Chronic Pain Symptoms.

A powerful technique to reduce chronic pain is practicing self-acceptance - accepting that pain is present and working through it, rather than trying to resist or escape it. While this can be difficult for many, meditation can help you practice acceptance and develop greater insight into your thoughts and emotions, giving you more control over your responses to pain. For example, rather than blaming yourself for physical pain or feeling guilty about not “getting better” fast enough, self-compassion can help bring a healthier attitude towards the experience. With mindfulness techniques such as breath awareness and visualization, you can observe any negative thoughts associated with pain while developing positive intentions for healing and overall wellbeing.

How To Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra Made Easy

Yoga Nidra Meditation , or “yogic sleep”, is a meditative practice that has been used for centuries in India to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It involves relaxing the body completely while focusing on a single point of awareness (such as the breath or the body), allowing students to reach deep levels of restorative states of relaxation.

Understand the Basics of Yoga Nidra.

It’s important to understand the basics of yoga nidra before you get started. During your practice, you may be guided through a series of postures, breathwork, and/or visualization exercises that help prepare your body for meditation. This helps build awareness, creating a strong foundation from which to allow the body to restore, repair, regenerate and most importantly rest deeply.

Find a Quiet Place to Practice.

Before you start your Yoga Nidra journey, it’s important to find a quiet, dimly lit place where you can practice. This could be your bedroom, living room, or any other place that is free from distractions. Make sure the temperature is comfortable, and you have plenty of support for your body (such as a cushion, blanket, or bolster). Once you’ve found the perfect spot, take some time to get very comfortable, supported and ready to begin. Be sure to let anyone else around you not to disturb you, and perhaps consider putting a reminder note on your door to avoid being startled by any unexpeted interruption. Finally, turn all electronic devices to silent and set an alarm if you are worried about falling asleep and missing something important afterward.

Get Comfortable and Create and Intention.

Once settled and cozy, it’s time to begin considering your intention (or sankalpa in Sanskrit) for the practice. To do this, close your eyes and focus on one intention that will guide you during your practice. An intention is a positive, forward focused statement. If you were trying to make healhier eating choices and stop consuming junk food for example, one could have the intntion, "I only eat foods that are nourishing to my body" but would be advised to use something similar such as "I want to stop eating junk food". In the first example we assume that we have already made the change we are desiring to make. The second only reminds us of something we are already ashamed of. Often, Yoga Nidra instructors will also offer a specific intention for your practice. Visualize this phrase in your body until it resonates deeply with you. Take a few more deep breaths before starting the nidra practice itself. And, try to bring it back into your awareness throughout your practice.

Relaxing the Body Through Rotation of Awareness.

Continuing on from the visualization of your intention, the practce generally will begin to move your awareness throughout each body part. Mentally rotating your awareness until you have moved from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. Take your time and allow your body to respond to the guidance without judgement or comment.

Prepare for Conscious Deep Sleep

As you move from your rotation of the body deeper into relaxation, let yourself drift away. When you come back into awareness listen for the guidance. Focus on your breath and feel the subtle energy shifts in your body calming down as you start sinking deeper into your own mind and body. Observe your thoughts coming and going completely on their own, as you rest deeply. Allow any emotions that arise to pass through without attaching yourself to them. Breath slowing down, body becomes heavier allowing for complete rest.

The Power of Meditation For Pain Relief

The practice of meditation for pain relief is growing in popularity. By focusing on the breath and engaging in mindful practices, you can effectively relax tight muscles and reduce stress, helping to alleviate your physical pain. Learn how meditation can help reduce your suffering and improve  your overall well-being.

Understand the Benefits of Meditation and Pain Relief

Meditation has long been known to be beneficial for both the mind and body, especially when it comes to managing pain. Studies have shown that regular meditation practice can increase overall relaxation, reduce stress levels, and boost mood. Additionally, meditation may even help reduce inflammation and potentially aid in the body’s natural healing process.

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