Before we jump into folate and meditation, our survey results! We asked, and you guys responded in a big way! We so appreciate all those who took the time to respond to our survey. The results we received will be what we work towards for the rest of the year to implement. Here are some of the outcomes of the survey…
- Preferred Monthly Newsletters opposed to weekly.
- Enjoy Elena’s personal journey with Happiness or Personal Wellness but maybe a little less sciency.
- Interested in learning more about plant-based meals but not ready to give up meat necessarily.
- Like all of the Puerto Rican recipes but maybe a healthy take on them.
If you didn’t get a chance to fill out the survey and there are things you really want us to know or work on, feel free to still fill out the survey! It’s never too late and we always appreciate feedback.
Mindfulness and Folate
As we have discussed earlier this month, adding folate, folic acid, or vitamin B-9 to your diet can slowly boost your overall mood overtime. However, here at SavorParadise, we promote increasing natural sources of folate since your body better absorbs vitamin B-9 compared to a folic acid supplement.
You can find folate primarily in legumes, citrus foods, and leafy greens. Pregnant women should especially watch how much folate they are taking in. Folate is important to the development of the neural tube in babies. Folate helps to ward off depression and also aids in warding off rheumatoid arthritis. The recommended dose of folate is 400 mcgs per day. If you don’t believe that you take this much per day through vitamins, then you may want to try and get your daily intake through food. Even just increasing the amount of folate in your diet by adding kale, broccoli, lentils or papaya to your daily routine can be enough to make a difference. In turn, getting sufficient amounts of folate will increase your mood overall (1).
This week we will continue our mindfulness journey. Mindfulness is important in happiness because it can help with an increased positive mindset, lowered stress, being grateful for the small things in life, staying present, lower blood pressure, improved sleep and improved mental health by helping decrease depression and anxiety just to name a few benefits (2).
Our Journey with Meditation
An introduction to meditation
I am an overthinker and my brain pretty much never turns off. So, I have thoughts all the time and sometimes that can be overwhelming for me. I have had numerous people suggest over the years that I should try meditation, but I never really had a chance or knew where to start. One day back when I used to work for the Walt Disney Company, they were offering an after work course on meditation. It was during the thick of my internship and my colleague was interested as well and suggested we check it out. So, we signed up and took part in the class and it was such a great course.
The gentlemen that gave the course was so knowledgeable and had studied it for years. However, while I found everything about this person super interesting and loved learning about his history and how he learned to master the art of meditation, when it came to actually practicing the art of meditation, I.felt.so.silly!! Just imagine being in a small room with a group full of people and you only know 2 of them. Now imagine that room is extremely hot (it is Florida after all), everyone is so quiet we can hear a pin drop (or my biggest fear, farting!) and you are asked to close your eyes and make a whooshing sound with your voice. I found myself the opposite of relaxed in that first session. However, as the weeks went on, I began to feel less awkward and I wouldn’t say that I looked forward to the in-person sessions, but I did find myself practicing more at home. My biggest take-away was that meditation helped me deal with my anxiety of being an intern at that time. The anxiety of performing well at work, having to learn very quickly, and not making mistakes, all while finishing my master’s program, and living states apart from my husband for 9 months straight. There was A LOT.
Meditation is not just for times of stress
Because of that time though, I now had a tool that could help in times of extreme stress. However, it wasn’t until much much later that I understood that mindfulness and especially meditation had benefits for everyday life not in just times of stress and that I could deal with the stress before it even starts. Meditation has helped me be proactive against stress. So, my husband and I decided to give it more effort and to-date, I am proud to say that we practice 5-7 days a week! It has helped us clear our minds, make us more present and even sleep better! For my husband, it helps him to focus better and has reduced his anxiety.
I still consider ourselves beginners and that is okay. I like that meditation cannot be mastered in a week or a year but something you must strive to achieve every day. It keeps me learning and I have concluded that I will probably be a life-long learner when it comes to meditation. So right now, we are still in the guided meditation phase meaning we do best when we have someone else proctoring the meditation.
Getting Started with meditation
When we first started, I had heard about a free app called Headspace. You start with (or at least at the time that I had downloaded the app) a few minutes of meditation and you work up to more minutes and more times per week. But alas, like many new routines, I didn’t keep up with the daily meditation and eventually removed the app from my phone.
How we currently meditate
Then about a year later during a doctor’s checkup I brought up my anxiety and sleep issues and she recommended the Calm app. I told her about my adventures with headspace and she told me I should try again. She told me that on this app there was music, bedtime stories and meditations for whatever ails you at the time. I was intrigued and I decided to test it out. That night, we downloaded the Calm app and I was searching around and found their Sleep Stories section. The first story recommended was a story read by Matthew McConaughey called Wonder. I can’t honestly remember what it was even about, but ladies, if you think falling asleep while listening to the soft sweet voice of Matthew McConaughey doesn’t bring on happiness then you don’t know what you’re missing!
All joking aside, it is an app we still use today, we absolutely love Tamara who guides us and we swear her voice has hypnotized us to fall asleep at lightning speed. Lately, I’ve even been using the music side of things when studying or drawing. It’s just super diverse. Although we love the app, we still find ourselves only using it occasionally. Most often we use in times of stress or potential stress (like a job interview), and for when we are having a restless night to help fall asleep or while we are studying to block out distractions.
We still weren’t using the Calm app every single day as part of a daily routine. Then my husband came across the Headspace: Meditation series on Netflix. Yep, it was made by the same person who created the headspace app. We are currently obsessed! It is beautifully written, loaded with information and at the end of each episode you do a little meditation. We enjoyed the series so much that we now do one episode every single morning as part of our daily routine before work. We love it and it is the perfect start to our day and also a great way to get introduced to meditation.
Our plans for meditating in the future
I know that not everything on Netflix lasts forever, so I came across ZIVA Meditation that I heard about from a book I was reading and found her on YouTube. On this specific episode she says if you meditate a certain way for 20 minutes a day that you could heal past traumas or stress. I thought that was astounding. She also claims that it will energize your brain much like a nap in the middle of the day would. This intrigued me because I hate naps. I am always so groggy afterward. But if I could have the same benefits without feeling groggy, then I’m in! So one of the next books I plan on reading is hers, called Stress Less, accomplish more, meditation for extraordinary performance by Emily Fletcher, founder of ZIVA meditation. Hopefully, I will report back in a later newsletter what my thoughts are on it. This will be an unguided meditation, so charting into new territories here. Wish us luck!
Check out our most recent folate related recipe:
Join Our Community: Find out more about our Challenge and participate by joining our private Facebook group, SPHappinessreset.
THIS WEEKS CHALLENGE:
I would like to challenge everyone to meditate three times this week. If you don’t know where to start, I highly suggest Headspace on Netflix.