You may rise above the mud far enough to breathe a bit more easily if you practice vipassana meditation with diligence. Vipassana meditation is the road to nibbana. And from the reports of those who have toiled their way to that lofty goal, it is well worth every effort involved. Build muscles. Muscle-building exercises are increasingly important as we age, as the human body begins losing muscle mass from about the age of thirty. When we refuse to let nature take its course and become intentional about moving in ways that help us maintain and even build muscle, we reap the benefits in nearly every area of life. Besides the obvious perks (like having an easier time picking up kids and grandkids or carrying groceries in from the car), stronger muscles improve balance and reduce the likelihood of falls as we age. Plus, stronger muscles help maintain bone mass, reducing our chances of developing osteoporosis. Provide a better night's sleep. We've already examined the link between depression and sleep and shown how consistently getting a solid night's sleep can dramatically improve emotional health. According to one study, people with chronic insomnia who engaged in medium-intensity aerobic exercise (such as walking) fell asleep quicker and slept longer.[10] Support cardiovascular health. Every year, about 735,000 American adults have a heart attack. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, killing more than 600,000 people in the United States every year.[11] Study after study shows that physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for heart disease and that exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of developing heart disease--and can even help reverse damage that has already occurred. But collectively, we're still not moving nearly enough. Four out of five adults don't meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for heart health recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Four of the best exercises for a healthy heart are brisk walking, running, swimming, and bicycling. Lower blood sugar. Exercise lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity. This helps your muscle cells use available insulin to take up glucose during and after your workout. The contraction of your muscles during exercise also improves the way your cells absorb and use glucose, even without insulin.[12] In addition to doing wonders for your brain and body, physical movement can be a game changer when it comes to your overall attitude and mind-set.

Dr. Ratey talks about exercise being the perfect tool for reprogramming a depressed prefrontal cortex. It can reprogram how you think and cope too. Here's what else regular movement is going to do for you: Increase your confidence. There's the confidence that comes from having a body that is fit and healthy, and there is also confidence that comes from doing something every day that you know is good for you. Either way, regular physical movement empowers you to feel better about yourself. Bad body language happens for a lot of reasons, and 99% of the time we don't realize what we're doing. Any of the following can cause someone to grow uncomfortable and distance themselves from others: When mad, people tend to spend a lot of time repeating thoughts and running through scenarios internally. Our bodies reflect that emotional state and it doesn't look pretty. Discomfort displays in a number of ways, usually in protective, standoffish gestures that are designed to put distance between you and the source of your discomfort. Nervousness - When nervous you may fidget, sweat, and become flustered in conversation. Nervousness doesn't go away with body language control, but at least other people won't realize it's there. When tired, we tend to lose control of most of our outward controls. We grow lumpy and sometimes grouchy. Hunger can make this worse. When going to meet people or involving in social situations, make sure you're rested and satiated. Distraction manifests in a lack of eye contact, distant voice, non- squared posture and general disinterest. Stress manifests in almost every way we've discussed. That's because stress is a combination of nervousness, discomfort and sometimes anger - so much so that it can take over and dictate a conversation. Basically, when we feel bad inside, our body reflects that on the outside.

The solution is simple - do everything in your power to feel good on the inside and your body will take care of the rest, displaying your generally happy demeanour for anyone you meet. Pretty much, you need to change every little thing about how you carry yourself and approach the people you meet. Heck, even the friends and family members you see on a regular basis would probably benefit from open, inviting body language. So, let's take a look at what you can do right now to make a big difference in how you look to the people around you. Consider the following true story. A young woman was sexually assaulted in 1987. Her assailant was caught and sentenced to eighteen months in prison, but the woman continued to be plagued by nightmares. To cope with her feelings of grief and rage, she sought the help of a therapist. In the midst of therapy, she began to believe that her parents sexually abused her as a child, and that her dreams were manifestations of those repressed memories. The woman told her sister and sister-in-law to keep their children away from their grandparents. A little worried, the sisters took their children to a therapist who specialized in childhood sexual abuse. While in therapy, one of the children started having nightmares of frightening creatures that she identified as her grandparents. The therapist diagnosed the children with post-traumatic stress disorder, supposedly caused by sexual abuse, and the grandparents were arrested. During the trial, the children testified that their grandparents made them touch their genitals. One child also said her grandparents put her in a giant cage in the basement, and threatened to stab her mother in the heart if she told. Because of these memories, the grandparents were convicted of multiple counts of rape and indecent assault and battery. No physical evidence existed to corroborate any of the charges. However, the grandparents were sentenced to nine to fifteen years in prison because of memories that didn't exist until someone had a bad dream.7 Mindfulness is the English translation of the Pali word sati. Sati is an activity. What exactly is that?

There can be no precise answer, at least not in words. Words are devised by the symbolic levels of the mind, and they describe those realities with which symbolic thinking deals. Mindfulness is presymbolic. It is not shackled to logic. Nevertheless, mindfulness can be experienced--rather easily--and it can be described, as long as you keep in mind that the words are only fingers pointing at the moon. They are not the moon itself. The actual experience lies beyond the words and above the symbols. Mindfulness could be described in completely different terms than will be used here, and each description could still be correct. Mindfulness is a subtle process that you are using at this very moment. The fact that this process lies above and beyond words does not make it unreal--quite the reverse. Mindfulness is the reality that gives rise to words--the words that follow are simply pale shadows of reality. So it is important to understand that everything that follows here is analogy. It is not going to make perfect sense. It will always remain beyond verbal logic. But you can experience it. The meditation technique called vipassana (insight) that was introduced by the Buddha about twenty-five centuries ago is a set of mental activities specifically aimed at experiencing a state of uninterrupted mindfulness. When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you conceptualize the thing, before you identify it. That is a state of awareness. Ordinarily, this state is short-lived. It is that flashing split second just as you focus your eyes on the thing, just as you focus your mind on the thing, just before you objectify it, clamp down on it mentally, and segregate it from the rest of existence.

It takes place just before you start thinking about it--before your mind says, "Oh, it's a dog." That flowing, soft-focused moment of pure awareness is mindfulness. In that brief flashing mind-moment you experience a thing as an un-thing. You experience a softly flowing moment of pure experience that is interlocked with the rest of reality, not separate from it. Mindfulness is very much like what you see with your peripheral vision as opposed to the hard focus of normal or central vision. Yet this moment of soft, unfocused, awareness contains a very deep sort of knowing that is lost as soon as you focus your mind and objectify the object into a thing. In the process of ordinary perception, the mindfulness step is so fleeting as to be unobservable. We have developed the habit of squandering our attention on all the remaining steps, focusing on the perception, cognizing the perception, labeling it, and most of all, getting involved in a long string of symbolic thought about it. That original moment of mindfulness is rapidly passed over. It is the purpose of vipassana meditation to train us to prolong that moment of awareness. When this mindfulness is prolonged by using proper techniques, you find that this experience is profound and that it changes your entire view of the universe. This state of perception has to be learned, however, and it takes regular practice. Once you learn the technique, you will find that mindfulness has many interesting aspects. Boost your creativity. Research conducted at Stanford University showed that something as simple as casual walking improves creativity by boosting convergent thinking (solving a problem) as well as divergent thinking (coming up with original ideas).[13] Help you cope. We've already talked about the fact that the endorphins released while exercising serve as your body's natural painkillers while helping to reduce anxiety and stress. That makes exercise the perfect go-to activity when you're looking for a healthy coping strategy. Unhealthy coping techniques (such as misusing alcohol, overeating, and excessive TV viewing) may provide a temporary release or escape, but they are expedient at best and cause more harm than good in the end. Physical movement, however, is a coping strategy that not only provides relief in the moment, but it also offers innumerable lasting benefits for a healthy brain and body. Exercise is such a powerful resource because the impact is so comprehensive. In fact, time after time, I see the power of movement become a catalyst for transformation in many areas in my clients' lives.