Meditation has been used for centuries to increase calmness and physical relaxation, improve psychological balance, cope with illness, and enhance overall health and well-being. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a growing body of scientific research on meditation suggests that it is a very powerful tool for increasing the capacity for mindfulness, regulating emotion, and enhancing self-awareness.
On May 19, Gina Sandgren, a long-time practitioner and teacher of meditation, will share simple methods to naturally offset the chaotic cycle of a busy day by restoring mind and body.
What is Meditation?
In our active state of doing, our concept of self is always changing and vulnerable to societal comparisons, obligations and so much noise (inner and outer chatter). Meditation is exercise for the mind like walking is to the body. It can be a tool to tap into the reservoir of stillness that already exists within us. When we cultivate stillness in our lives, we begin to hear our voice again and connect with the essence of who we are. The more we meditate, the more we show up in life as ourselves.
A comparison that comes to mind is the constant use of our devises. My computer needs to power down before it reboots to activate any systems changes or upgrades. We require the same process if we expect to effectively integrate any physical, emotional or spiritual changes or upgrades in our life. We can use meditation as a tool to unplug, therefore off-setting all the experiences and stimuli we are bombarded with daily. It’s in stillness (power down) that these effects take hold (boot up). The beauty of this practice is that we move effortlessly and naturally toward purpose. It’s not something we need to work hard at it's inherent in the practice. The practice is the means and the end. Try it, trust it…do it without judgment…notice what happens.
Think about your childhood. Do you remember doing such fun things like hop on one foot, or walk along a real or imagined edge? We didn't call it exercise or balance training then, but that is exactly what we were doing. Those activities helped us develop balance and stability to survive our youthful clumsiness. Today, top athletes in the world recognize that balance training helps them perform better and experts, like Melanie Carvell, PT, know that good balance and a strong core go hand in hand.
Melanie Carvell presents “Balance & Strength from Head to Toe” at the Women’s Health Conference on May 19. Melanie, a champion triathlete and physical therapist, will share simple exercises that will help you feel more steady and confident as you engage in your daily activities.
Read more about Melanie:
Melanie Carvell: ALWAYS FINISHING STRONG
Excerpted from “City Magazine” July, 2011
By Tom Regan
If North Dakota has had an icon in athletics and fitness over the last two decades, it is 49-year-old Melanie Carvell of Bismarck. In addition to dominating regional athletic competitions over the years, she has traveled the world as a four-time Team USA Triathlon All-American, a Duathlon World Champion bronze medalist, and an Olympic Trails qualifier in cycling. As a leader and volunteer, her name is synonymous with such events as the Prairie Rose State Games and the Great American Bike Race for cerebral palsy. Most of all, as a wellness expert, motivational speaker and world-class athlete, Melanie Carvell has led by example and given of herself to inspire thousands to live healthier and happier lives.
Despite scores of accomplishments, accolades, ribbons and medals, Carvell is amazingly modest and ever eager to help others achieve their personal goals. She jokes about her less than stellar track career at UND (“I think I came in almost dead-last in several of my early college cross country races”) and is quick to point out that any later successes came as a result of hard work as opposed to natural talent. Her athletic career is a testament to perseverance.
Now, five years after a serious back injury and surgery turned Carvell into a cautious mall walker, she has characteristically “done the work” and turned hardship into victory: She is back on the starting line. Last winter, she placed 28th out of 50 at the “Best of the U.S. Triathlon” in Tempe, Ariz., and she plans to compete regionally this summer in several events. Her best times may be behind her, but she will continue to give back to sports and the community. “I’m blessed to have such a unique job where my goal is to inspire someone, see them succeed, and then shine the light on them in order to inspire others,” said Carvell of her role as Women’s Health Center manager, physical therapist and fitness advocate. “I look at my humble beginnings and think if I’ve been able to do these things, anyone can.”
CM: How did physical therapy become your career area?
Melanie Carvell: In the eighth grade, I tried out for cheerleading at St. Vincent’s Grade School (Mott), and the last thing we had to do was a cartwheel right into the splits. I took off into my cartwheel and landed into the splits, and you could hear the crack throughout the whole gym. I knew I’d hurt myself quite badly. I ended up taking an ambulance drive to Bismarck. Instead of just tearing the muscle, I actually took a piece of bone off my pelvis where it attaches. I was in the hospital for about a week. I was 13. On about the third or fourth day, this incredibly good-looking guy, a physical therapist, came into my room to get me up on my crutches. The physical therapy gym was this beehive of activity where these therapists were working with different people with different problems, trying to help them get better. I sat there and thought this is what I wanted to do.
CM: What is the starting point for exercising and feeling better?
Melanie Carvell: We as human beings are like a computer. A computer has an operating system which you have to boot up or none of your programs are going to run. If you can’t get the operating system up and running, you won’t be able to run QuickBooks or PowerPoint or anything else. If you use that analogy with us, your operating system is your self-esteem, your self-love, your spirituality, your optimism, your sense of humor. That core has to be strong or none of the programs you throw at it will stick. You can hire a personal trainer, you can go on the South Beach Diet, you can even have gastric bypass surgery, but none of those programs will run without the core of a positive attitude and self-esteem. You need to start from a place of self-acceptance and self-love.
CM: I understand you’re writing a book that is scheduled to come out this year.
Melanie Carvell: The title I think I have settled on is “Running With the Prairie Pronghorn.” I don’t think of the book as a “how-to” manual. It’s about the experiences I’ve had making physical activity a part of my life. It’s about some of the people I’ve met, the opportunities physical activity has given me, and some of the disappointments and challenges I’ve encountered. It’s about growing up in a small town and finding that life might take you to places you never imagined. It’s about being not very good at something, as I was a mediocre high school and college athlete, but sticking with it. It’s about western North Dakota. I spend a lot of time biking the roads of western North Dakota and cross country skiing over it and have spent many hours under our sky and watching the seasons change, looking at the land and how it rolls and changes. I try to describe my outdoor experiences and what I’ve seen and felt. My hope is that anyone reading it will be encouraged to do more about their health. My purpose is not to tell anyone to go run or go for a walk, but to encourage and inspire them to take those steps themselves
CM: How difficult was it for you to accept that you could no longer compete at the “elite” level?
Melanie Carvell: After my back surgery it was a humbling road to travel, but I was motivated and grateful to return to athletics at any level. Going through injuries comes with the territory and is hard for any athlete, but can also be a springboard for future success. As far as not being an “elite” athlete anymore, there definitely comes a time when any athlete comes to the humbling realization that their “best times” are most likely behind them. It is hard to deal with the expectations of others and the pressure we put on ourselves. You have the option of retiring from the sport or staying involved at whatever level you can. I hope at this point to stay involved and to give back to the sport by helping beginners. Mentoring others keeps me learning and also is one of the best motivators to stay active myself.
-Excerpt from the original article by Henrik Edberg at The Positivty Blog
What would you like to improve about yourself?
Although we may not want to admit it publicly I think a lot of us feel like we could use an improvement in self confidence.
Fortunately there are better advice out there than the often exclaimed “Just be more confident, man!” or “Have another beer!”.
There are actually quite a few practical tips you can use to raise your self confidence. Here are 24 of them.
As usual, with these tip-lists, don’t try it all at once. Just try a few suggestions and see which ones work best for you.
Some of them you’ll need to practice a bit before they start to pay off.
It’s like playing the guitar or soccer, it might not work too well the first or second time you try it.
And keep in mind that you have a choice. You can choose if you want to raise or lower your self confidence.
Many of these suggestions can only boost your confidence temporarily. But this can allow you to do something you may not have been able to do before. And as you do it you build a deeper confidence in yourself. And collect concrete proof that you can actually do and achieve a lot of things.
1. Ask yourself: What’s the worst that could happen?
It’s easy to get lost in a vague fear – or very improbable scenarios – of what might happen if you go through with something. When you really ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen you get a clearer picture, a bit of fear vanishes and you discover that the potential consequences are seldom as frightening as you first thought. By doing this you define the potential consequences and also discover that whatever the might happen you can manage and recover from it.
2. Use uplifting music.
A classic. Use inspiring and motivating music to pump up yourself before leaving for a night out, before a big test or meeting, before anything that might make your confidence unstable. This works pretty well as a temporary state-booster.
3. Try something new.
When you break out of your comfort zone and try something you haven’t before you not only challenge yourself. You expand your own limitations and your confidence in your own abilities, in how many things you can actually do. By trying something new on a continual basis you can also lessen your fears and live a life with less barriers and limitations.
4. Make a plan to do something. Then follow through.
This is probably one of the most important and effective ways to building lasting confidence. When you decide to do something and don’t back down but go through with it you get proof of your – often underestimated – capabilities and your confidence in yourself soars. If you need motivation to get going have a look at 25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself.
5. Use Guided Meditation.
I’ve already written a bit about guided meditations and their positive effect in One Very Simple Way to Feel Relaxed for 24 Hours and How to Move Beyond Being a Self-Help Junkie. I find that guided mediations such as Paraliminals are an excellent way to break out of negative emotional states and ease into more positive ones.
For feeling more confident for a few days I recommend trying the two Paraliminals called Self-Esteem Supercharger and Talking to Win. They are sold by The Learning Company for $29.95 each and there is a 30 day money back guarantee. You can also link to The Learning Company from your website and receive a free CD. If you want to try a free guided mediation right now have a look at the One Very Simple Way to Feel Relaxed for 24 Hours article.
Take 5 minutes this weekend, sit in a quiet space, listen to your breath, and think of one or many of the things for which you are grateful.
Scavenger Hunt: Can you find the Women’s Health Conference ad in INFORUM?
Thanks to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead for their support of the Women’s Health Conference!
Through the Forum’s generosity, the Women’s Health Conference is able to bring a great line-up of health topics, activity and conversation to the women attending the event.
It's time to register for the Women's Health Conference! Click on the image above or "Register for Fargo" in the column to the left.
"Strong" is definitely a term to describe Anne Mahlum. Anne is the founder of Back on My Feet, a non-profit organization that uses the power of running to change the way those experiencing homelessness see themselves, so they can make real change in their lives. She's a CNN Top 10 Hero, a two-time TEDx speaker, an entrepreneur, marathoner and a triathlete, inspiring and reminding audiences everywhere that change begins with just one step. Anne is speaking at the Women’s Health Conference, the leading health event in the region for women to consider their health and wellness as a whole person: body, mind and spirit. The conference takes place on Monday, May 19, 2014 at the Ramada Plaza Suites.
I believe that the foundation for happiness is health. Running really is a metaphor for life. There is always another mile. You just have to take it one step at a time.
Anne M. Mahlum is an entrepreneur who loves to create and build with purpose. The majority of her focus over the past six years has been on Back on My Feet (BoMF), a non-profit organization she founded in Philadelphia in 2007 that uses the power of running to change the way those experiencing homelessness see themselves so they can make real change in their lives, which includes employment and independent housing.
In addition to Philadelphia, the organization now has chapters in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis, Atlanta, New York City, Austin and opens in Los Angeles in October. Anne has led BoMF to become a $6.5M privately-funded organization with staff of 48, thousands of volunteers and hundreds of members. Anne's vision for Back on My Feet is simple, yet bold - to help as many people as possible, in the most efficient way as possible, redefine themselves so they can redefine their life and, just as important - to change the perception of homelessness on a global scale.
Adrienne White, conference committee member that is bringing Anne to women in Fargo says, “As women, we often forget that we need to take care of ourselves in the way we take care of others. Underlining Anne’s message is that we are all well worth it.”
Anne is originally from Bismarck, North Dakota and currently lives in DC. She has completed 11 marathons, four triathlons and loves to constantly challenge her body, her mind and her spirit.
By Jacquie Cattanach | For Active.com
Everyone knows that running is a great way to get into shape, but did you know that it can benefit almost every part of your body, as well as lift your mood? Running is incredibly effective at making you healthier in a number of ways. While it may not be everybody's favorite form of exercise, knowing what it can do for your life just may make you look at running in an entirely new light.
Improve Your Health
Believe it or not, running is actually a great way to increase your overall health. Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use. In addition, running can also boost your immune system and lower your risk of developing blood clots.
For women, running can actually help to lower your risk of breast cancer. It can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke. Many doctors today recommend running for people who are in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis, and it is proven to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack. By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced.
Read more Benefits of Running…
Jacquie Cattanach is an avid runner and triathlete whose biggest achievements have been 15 marathons and Ironman Canada. She has learned and experienced a lot of trials and tribulations along the way and she expresses her views through writing on her Online Running Gear Blog and running related information, stories and running product reviews.
Through DMF’s generosity, the Women’s Health Conference is able to bring Joanne “Dr. Jo®” Lichten to the morning session. She's America’s On-The-Go Health Guru, an accomplished author, speaker, freelance writer and media spokesperson who inspires busy people to stay healthy, sane, and productive.
Dakota Medical Foundation leads initiatives to improve health and access to care, helps build nonprofit organizations that produce superior results, and actively seeks and invests in breakthrough ideas to vastly improve health for people of the region.
The efforts of Dakota Medical Foundation include working to curb youth obesity, deliver insurance coverage and prescriptions for low-income people and help volunteers lead successful events that raise more money for people facing catastrophic medical expenses. They also teach nonprofits how to excel at fundraising so they may better address health issues in their communities. This leverage strategy is creating an army of charitable top performers to improve quality of life for the people they serve.
—relax, renew, and rejuvenate
Work demands, financial pressures, family problems, and many other things can cause stress. Luckily, there is a low-cost, fast-acting and highly effective treatment available. It’s called “relaxation,” and the directions are simple: for maximum effectiveness, use as often as needed.
Relax and Recharge Be sure to make time for fun and relaxation so you'll be better able to handle life's stressors. Carve some time out of your day – even 10 to 15 minutes – to take care of yourself. Also, remember that exercise is an excellent stress reliever.
At the Conference:
Everyone has different ways they like to relax and unwind. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Whether you re-invigorate yourself through reading, jogging, playing with a pet, or laughing with a friend, for your health’s sake, make sure you tackle your stress head-on and… take time to unwind!