5 Interesting Facts About Downward Dog

5 Interesting Downward Dog Facts

Downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) is perhaps one of the most widely known yoga poses. Even people who don't practice yoga know what it is.

Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to this pose than simply using it to take a breather, and mastering your downward dog will set you up to improve your entire practice. So whenever you get to take a brief break as you shift back to down dog, remain mindful of all the subtle ways your body is continuing to work and be challenged.

Here are just five interesting facts about down dog — one of our favorite yoga poses for all sorts of reasons!

Downward dog has digestive benefits.

Pulling the navel toward the spine in downward dog helps keeps things moving along in the digestive system, even going so far as to benefit the kidneys and liver. Poses like down dog where the head is lower than the heart also helps promote good blood flow throughout the entire body, possibly even helping to relieve pain related to menstruation.

It can help strengthen the feet.

Anyone who has ever done down dog knows that it can be a big stretch for the calves and hamstrings, but even the feet get to be worked in this pose. This may be especially beneficial for those yogis who have flat feet. Staying in down dog a little longer while pedaling and lifting the heels up can help to strengthen all sorts of muscles in the feet and ankles too.

It can help you become more aware of imbalances.

Down dog is one of those poses that allows us to do a more thorough check-in with ourselves so we can see how we’re feeling as both the lower and upper parts of our bodies are activated and working together to hold us up in tht V-shape. The arms, legs, and back are all stretched at the same time, giving us the opportunity to pinpoint where imbalances might become more noticeable in places like the shoulders, wrists, legs, and lower back.

It can help you combat mild cases of depression and anxiety.

Down dog is a calming pose that not only stretches the whole body, but also helps relieve stress as well as mild anxiety and depression by encouraging the chest to expand and facilitating deeper breathing. We also get the benefit of increased blood flow to the brain without having to go all the way upside down like in other inversions, which can help relieve headaches, insomnia, and fatigue.

Downward dog is an inversion pose.

It's common to visualize impressive headstands and handstands when we hear the word “inversions,” but downward dog is actually a gentle inversion too, marked by the head being lower than the hips. In fact, it helps pave the way toward eventually working up to those more impressive inversions like handstand by helping to strengthen the chest, arms, wrists, and core.

So next time you find yourself in class and the teacher asks you to stay a little while in down dog, take advantage of it. You’re improving and growing more than you know in this delicious resting pose!

Related Articles: Down with Your Dog | Hand Strengthening


10 Negative Experiences That Can Be Helped By Mindfulness

10 Negative Experiences That Can Be Helped By Mindfulness

Mindfulness allows us to become aware of our thoughts and emotions so we can observe them from a curious and totally open-minded state. This can be really helpful when we’re experiencing negative thoughts and emotions that feed off of each other and make things worse.

It’s a lot easier to practice mindfulness when we’re in a calm, emotionally stable state, but it’s most helpful when we can practice it during the most difficult times. When we do, we can put a stop to the vicious cycle of negative thoughts and emotions.

Here are 10 common negative experiences that can be helped or even resolved by practicing mindfulness during or after they occur.

1. When you think you need more.

For the ego, what you have now is never enough. It always wants you to think you should achieve more, tricking you into believing that as soon as you get this or that, you’ll finally be happy. Mindfulness shows us that this is not true.

2. When you judge others.

You judge others based on very incomplete information. After all, you don’t know what another person is feeling, how they think, or what they’ve been through over the course of their lives.

3. When you compare yourself to others.

You also judge others so that you can decide how you stack up against them. Depending on your judgment of others and how you see yourself, you may create a very negative comparison that doesn’t necessarily reflect the truth.

4. When you’re striving for perfection.

Similar to how the ego always wants you to strive for more, it also wants you to perfect every last detail. But the road to perfection is never ending, because it can never be achieved.

5. When you’re worrying about what other people think of you.

You may change your behavior and actions just to satisfy something you think other people want from you. But do you know for sure that they want you to be something other than yourself? The answer to this is simply no, you can't be sure.

6. When feelings of shame or guilt are triggered in you.

Your deepest beliefs that were planted in your subconscious during childhood may cause you to feel unworthy if provoked by external events or other people. Question them. Are they true?

7. When you feel jealous of others.

If you feel like you’re competing against others, or that it’s unfair that they have something that you don’t, you put yourself in a mental and emotional state of scarcity. Learn to observe this and ask yourself whether the world and life itself is actually all about not having enough to go around for everyone.

8. When you feel unable to forgive.

Being hurt by somebody (or by yourself) is painful, but learning to question whether that hurt can be resolved by answering it with punishment or revenge is critical. Mindfulness will reveal to you that it can’t.

9. When you want to be certain of something that is happening or hasn’t happened yet.

The ego will do everything it can to make you overanalyze everything so that you can be certain of something. What if, though, you simply let go of your need to be certain and just worked on learning from genuine curiosity?

10. When fear motivates you to seek protection.

Your ego has one job: to help you survive. As humans, we thrive on social status, so we become afraid of anything that threatens our self-image. Become mindful of how you feel compelled to protect your self-image when something you perceive as a threat comes into your life.

You may want to start a mindfulness meditation practice to get better at developing this skill when difficult times arise. The more you practice, the more natural it will feel to become mindful even when negative thoughts and emotions are trying to pull you in.


5 Practical Reasons to Love Your Fears

5 Practical Reasons to Love Your Fears

Throughout the course of our lives, we’re consistently taught to “face our fears” in order to beat them and achieve our goals, essentially solidifying the belief that fear is something bad and wrong about us. Fear may be unpleasant to experience, but interpreting it as something bad or wrong puts us at war with ourselves.

Accepting and even loving our fears can help us understand ourselves better so we can work with our feelings rather than against them. Every human being has felt fear in their lives — it’s normal and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

While fear certainly makes things more inconvenient, it serves a valuable purpose. When you start looking at your own fears as something that can actually serve you, you open yourself up to being able to start loving your fears so much so that they eventually dissolve completely.

If you’ve faced your fears in the past, but only found yourself feeling fearful all over again later on, consider thinking about your fears from the following perspectives. This is how you transform your fears into love and break the cycle of facing them without necessarily beating them.

1. Fear lets you know something is important to you.

The very fact that you feel fear represents a deep truth about yourself. Whatever you’re afraid of, there’s something deeply meaningful about it to you. Try exploring these feelings in your meditation practice to pinpoint the exact components of your fear that you want to accomplish or be successful at doing. Just by becoming aware of these meaningful components, you’re moving further in the direction of love.

2. Fear always signifies the potential for growth.

Growth is always on the other side of fear. And the greater you fear, the greater potential for growth. So start thinking more about how much you could grow if fear were not standing in the way. Use your imagination. Fill in all the details. And remain aware of negative self-talk trying to pull you away from imagining the endless possibilities of your personal growth.

3. Fear can encourage us to practice mindfulness.

Those days where your mind is running wild with thought, when you’ve been emotionally provoked, or when you’re just having a bad day in general are they days when you need meditation the most. Mindfulness meditation can help you observe your thoughts and emotions created by fear from a conscious distance so you can find a little peace in knowing that your fear is not necessarily real.

4. Fear is an opportunity for healing.

The fears we experience as adults are often linked to emotionally traumatic experiences from childhood. You may not remember or be aware of a specific event that was emotionally traumatic in childhood, but your subconscious does. Using mindfulness meditation to look inward, we can accept our fears and feel into them in a way that releases suppressed emotions and fosters healing.

5. Fear can trigger you to start listening to your intuition.

Most of our fears are about inadequacy and rejection these days rather than being killed and eaten by a predator. Since the majority of our fears today don’t really present any real danger to us and are often exasperated by overthinking and overanalyzing, you can turn to your intuition, which never lies, to tell you the truth. Fear may keep you safe and in your comfort zone, but your intuition knows what you really need to do.

Why hate your fears when you know you can learn to love them this way? Focus on this and you’ll be surprised to find that someday, your fears will have dissolved into pure love.


5 Surprisingly Great Benefits of Doing Nothing

5 Surprisingly Great Benefits of Doing Nothing

When was the last time you actually did nothing? Not the “busy” type of nothing that involves zoning out in front of the TV or sitting on public transit on your commute to work — but actual nothing that involves no activity and no goal.

You’re not actively or passively trying to get somewhere, you're not trying to achieve something, and you're not filling your head with distractive thoughts. You’re just existing and breathing.

This is the type of "doing nothing" that modern society typically frowns upon. After all, what's the point? It makes it sound like just a lazy way to waste time.

Doing nothing, however, can be one of the most healing practices. Here’s why.

1. It’s an Opportunity for Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply the state of being aware. When you sit and do nothing, you’ll naturally to notice things like your thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and whatever is in your external environment. Do this often enough and mindfulness will become a greater part of your life even when you’re busy doing things.

2. It’s Grounding

Being busy puts you in a state where you’re constantly focused on what you need to achieve for the future. It’s a whole lot of doing and not enough being. Doing nothing brings you back to the present and frees you from the never-ending race toward goal achievement.

3. It’s Stress-Relieving

It’s a lie that you have to be doing something in order to relieve stress. When you take the time to simply do nothing, you free up all the energy your mind and body has been using to do all sorts of other things. The mind and body are designed to keep you healthy and well, and you can help that process along by doing nothing.

4. It Get You in Touch With Your Intuition

Intuition is feeling. But because we’re always bombarded with thoughts being triggered by everything that’s occurring in our external environments, we often fall far out of touch with our intuitive feelings. Doing nothing is a simple way to regain that lost connection.

5. It Helps Release Suppressed Emotions

Doing nothing may not always be a peaceful experience. Without as much external stimuli distracting you from your inner world, your body may take it as an opportunity to bring up emotions that went unfelt long ago and were suppressed. While it may be painful and scary, it’s healthy to release them.

Doing Nothing As a Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Doing nothing is essentially a mindfulness meditation practice. If you’ve been wary of starting a mindfulness meditation practice because you’re not sure what to think of it, think of it this way — it’s just doing nothing.

There’s no trying. There’s no doing. There’s nothing to achieve. You simply set aside some time to just be where you are as you are while you notice whatever’s happening in and around you.

Doing nothing is best done in a calm, quiet environment ideally where you can be in solitude (like a room in your house or somewhere outside) where there aren’t too many environmental distractions. Keep your eyes closed or open, sit however you like, and let yourself surrender to the nothingness of the present moment.


4 Helpful Tips to Find Joy in the Unknown

4 Helpful Tips to Find Joy in the Unknown

“Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown.” — Charles De Gaulle

Us humans aren’t really all that good at dealing with the unknown. Though we may think we have complete control over any situation or aspect of our lives, the reality is that we never really do.

We can influence any outcome by how we feel, think, and act, but ultimately, we can’t control anything. What might happen in the next few seconds following this very moment are about as unknown and uncertain as what might happen a thousand years from now (even though it probably doesn’t feel that way).

By working on accepting and even finding joy in what remains unknown, which is practically everything in true reality, we can take a lot of suffering out of our lives. Here are some tips.

Recognize Impermanence

Our minds recognize that comfort and familiarity are good for survival, causing us to cling to what we have now and what we want to keep or create for ourselves in the future. The problem with this is that it goes against the nature of impermanence.

Get used to looking for even the subtlest day-to-day changes in your life. Even if you maintain a very regular routine, everything in your life — including you — is constantly changing. The more you recognize this, the easier it is to accept and embrace how all of existence never remains the same.

Look for the Lesson

When we find ourselves in the midst of some serious uncertainty, looking to latch onto anything that reassures us of some positive truth that ideally serves us well, we end up shifting our emotional and mental resources away from what’s really important: understanding the lesson.

Everything that you’re going through in your life right now is teaching you something — especially the most difficult challenges. The more aware you remain of what you learn, the more it will accelerate your growth. After all, you wouldn’t be where you are right now had you not learned from everything you’ve already been through.

Connect With Your Intuition

Modern society doesn’t value intuition as much as logic, which is a shame, because those who are most deeply in touch with their intuition are really the ones who unlock their potential to experience the most intensely valuable bouts of inner growth — regardless of what makes sense or what logically seems like the right thing to do. Our minds may be obsessed with using rationality to help us get what we want or become certain of something, but our intuition comes from something greater that cannot be rationalized.

When you find your mind rationalizing a situation that conflicts with a gut feeling, consider going with your gut (a.k.a. your intuition). While rationality/logic might seem safer because it makes uncertainty feel more certain, consider going with your gut and the uncertain thoughts that follow, because your gut always knows best.

Seek to Flow Rather Than Attach

We all want results. We make a plan to get those results. We keep the idea of those results in our mind to motivate us to stick to our plan. When impermanence and an unpredictable reality throw us off, we struggle, because we’re attached to the idea of getting results.

Going with the flow challenges you to stay grounded in the present. You may not know exactly where you’re going or exactly how you’ll get there, and that’s okay, as long as you flow along with what your intuition is telling you, the lessons you’re currently learning, and of course the impermanence of every present moment that eventually passes into the next moment.


4 Ways to Make Yoga More Challenging

4 Ways to Make Yoga More Challenging

One of the best feelings in the world is noticing progress during your yoga practice. It’s those rare, brief moments of noticeable improvement in strength, flexibility, alignment, concentration, or even transition that make all those stumbles and fumbles feel worth it.

But when we start to get the hang of something we previously struggled with, how do we ensure that we keep growing? It can be tempting to cling to the high of repeating the same thing over and over again now that it's possible to do, without moving forward much after that to keep the challenge of growth going.

Ready to step things up a little? Try some of the following growth tips to see how you can put a good challenge back into your practice.

Get Serious About Your Alignment

If you only pick one thing to do to challenge yourself more in your practice, make it your focus on alignment. More often than not, we think we’re doing a great job while holding our bodies in really strong and beautiful asanas, but in reality, our alignment can be way off.

Do your own research online to get familiar with proper alignment, watch YouTube tutorials if you have to, ask your teacher about specific asanas you want to improve, and consider taking private lessons if you want to get real serious. Likewise, don’t be afraid to use props like yoga blocks. They exist to help you improve.

Hold Your Asanas a Little Longer

Almost anyone can hold Warrior II for a couple brief seconds, but try holding it for 30 seconds to a minute or longer and see how it feels. Chances are your legs and arms will burn a little!

If you can combine long holds with a commitment to maintaining extremely accurate alignment the whole way through, then you’ve got yourself a real challenge. Holding your asanas for longer also gives you the opportunity to become aware of all the different parts of your body that are working.

See If You Can Go Deeper (Safely, Of Course!)

Obviously, if it hurts to go deeper, then you shouldn’t do it. But if you’re feeling good, feeling strong, and are warmed up enough, it may be worth seeing of you can sink lower into your lunges, open up your shoulders a little more, or go a little further in your backbends.

This requires knowing your body and knowing it well enough to know when to back off. You could also try focusing more on your warm-up, such as practicing cobra or upward dog several times more than usual throughout your practice before trying to do a more serious backbend, like full wheel.

Try to Relax As Much As Possible

We often forget that just trying to relax is as much of a challenge as it is to work through the physical postures. When both the mind and body are relaxed, we also put ourselves in a better position to prevent injury simply because we’re more aware of what’s going on.

Whether you’re focusing on alignment, holding your asanas longer, going deeper, or any other type of challenge, remember to tune into your breath and allow yourself to relax a little more with every exhale. After all, yoga is not just about physical challenge. It's a mental challenge too.


3 Amazing Science-Backed Ways Yoga Improves Memory

3 Amazing Science-Backed Ways Yoga Improves Memory

There aren’t many forms of physical exercise that calm the mind quite like yoga does. And it’s this very calming effect that yoga has on the brain that can lead to a variety of great mental benefits, including memory enhancement.

So if you’re the type of person who has trouble remembering the names of people you meet, or you have a big test coming up, or you simply want to be able to recall past events in greater detail, then yoga might just be able to help you do that.

Here’s some of the science behind how yoga can have such a positive impact on memory.

Yoga Boosts Memory Better Than Aerobic Exercise

Exercise in general has been shown to have all sorts of beneficial brain-boosting effects, but in a study where participants completed a 20-minute session of hatha yoga versus a 20-minute session of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise, it was the yoga that led participants to show significant improvements in the speed and accuracy of their memory when tested for it. Surprisingly, participants didn't show any improvement after the aerobic exercise.

The yoga session involved seated, standing, and supine postures with isometric contraction and relaxation of the muscles, plus breathing techniques and a brief meditation at the end. The researchers said that after the yoga practice, the participants appeared to focus their mental resources more efficiently, process information faster, learn faster with more accuracy, and retain/update bits of information better.

Yoga Has a Broader Effect on Memory Than Brain Training

Think it’s worth investing a few minutes every day spent playing a brain training game? You may be better off just using that time for your yoga practice. A study involving a group of older adults with mild cognitive impairment or memory problems showed improvements in verbal memory after completing a three-month yoga and meditation course.

The types of cognitive and emotional problems that the participants had were those that typically precede Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to the researchers, memory improvements from yoga were comparable to that of brain training, but the yoga enhanced the mental benefits by also providing a mood boost and anxiety relief.

Yoga Improves Concentration and Short-Term Memory

It turns out that yoga can help you focus your attention on specific things and remember things that are temporarily stored in your memory — like what you had for dinner last night. In a study involving around 300 students, both an experimental group and a control group were pre-tested for their concentration and memory skills before they participated in a seven-week yoga practice that combined postures, breathing, and meditation.

Both the experimental group and the control group were tested again after the seven-week practice period, with results showing that those who practiced yoga yielded higher levels of concentration and exhibited improvements in their short-term memory. The participants involved in the study were a mix of both high-stress and low-stress students, suggesting that yoga can help improve concentration and short-term memory in all types of people with varying levels of stress.

The evidence is pretty clear that yoga has great potential to improve memory not just in those who are already mentally healthy, but also in older adults with age-related cognitive decline and those who may be under more than normal stress. So next time you’re on the mat, do a quick check-in to be grateful for the incredible effects your practice is bringing to your memory!


3 Inspiring Ways to Think Differently About Positivity

3 Inspiring Ways to Think Differently About Positivity

Yoga encourages us to set powerful intentions for our practice, use mantras or affirmations to help lift us up, and spread love everywhere we go. It’s the ultimate practice of positivity, but for some yogis, feeling disconnected to such a positive state is something they have to deal with in their practice.

Research has actually shown that positive thinking can be greatly beneficial for those who naturally have higher self-esteem, yet detrimental to those who most need it. Essentially, the path to positivity isn't necessarily as simple as thinking positive thoughts.

If you’re someone who struggles with positive thinking, perhaps the following ideas will help you grasp it in a more practical way that you can apply to your own yoga practice and your entire life.

Positivity Is Just One of Many Perspectives

Imagine looking through a telescope at the night sky. As you look at the stars, you start to feel very small, insignificant, and even frightened of what might be out there.

Now imagine you look at the same night sky, but through a different telescope. Just by changing telescopes, you instantly feel awe-inspired by the vastness of space and grateful to be part of something so incomprehensibly magnificent.

Being positive in any situation is just like changing telescopes. Many other telescopes may still exist, but what you see depends on which one you're looking through. Positivity works the same way by shifting your perspective without denying the fact that there are many other perspectives that you can choose to see.

Positivity Gives You the Power to Combine Curiosity With Desire

Positivity has everything to do with our desires. The trouble is, we want to be certain we can get what we desire, which is impossible to do because nobody has the power to control or predict reality.

What most people don’t know is that positivity becomes most powerful when they acknowledge their desires, but then surrender to faith and curiosity. We’re typically so attached to wanting to be certain that our desires can be fulfilled that we don’t even realize our attachment is causing us to feel doubtful, anxious, unconfident, and all sorts of other negative feelings.

Positivity is about desire, but it’s not about being certain. Surrender to curiosity — to  learning and experiencing the journey — while remaining aware of what you want, and that’s all you’ll never need to become more positive.

Positivity Is Better Built from Compassion Rather Than Evidence of Success

You’d think that to be more positive, all you’d have to do is take a look at all the great things about yourself. Your strengths, your past achievements, and everything people admire you for should be enough to help boost your self-esteem and positive thinking, right?

The trouble with bombarding your mind with all the positive aspects of yourself is that it puts the not-so-positive stuff in hiding, even though you know they're still there. This is why being compassionate toward yourself when you’re scared, when you’ve failed, or when you're facing difficult challenges is the real key to becoming more positive.

If you can be kind to yourself when you’re not successful or feeling positive, then you’re already on your way to becoming more of a positive thinker. Past achievements and personal strengths to focus on are a nice bonus, but they don’t offer much of a complete solution.

When you really think about it, positivity is really the most natural state you can be in. Real positivity doesn’t lie, it doesn’t hide anything, and its only purpose is to inspire you to cultivate and spread more love in your life.


3 Myths to Stop Believing About Self-Love

3 Myths to Stop Believing About Self-Love

Self-love is a big topic these days — not just in the yogi community, but everywhere. Now that social media is such a powerful tool that provides a platform for everyone voice their opinions, lots of people have been inspired enough to become self-love activists online.

To those who are pretty far from being completely and unconditionally loving toward themselves, however, the idea of being so self loving can seem ridiculous. Unfortunately for them, lack of experience in the self-love department coupled with first impressions of self-loving people can communicate the opposite of what self-love really is.

Here are just five of the most commonly believed myths about self-love.

Myth #1: Self-love is selfish

Self-love may have a lot to do with the “self,” but when practiced correctly, it’s anything but selfish. Think about self-love this way: If you can’t fill yourself up with love first, how will you be able to give any to others? When you love yourself, it positively affects your thoughts, feelings, and actions — meaning it also positively affects other people.

Surely, you can’t go around trying to be loved by everyone in hopes that it will make you love yourself. There’s nothing wrong with making yourself a priority while still being compassionate toward others. In fact, here are five ways self-love inspires selfless love.

“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” — Karl Lagerfeld

Myth #2: Self-love means settling for less

Before you reach a state of unconditional self-love, you have to practice self-acceptance, and for many, this translates to giving up on working toward being better. It’s easy to assume that those who love themselves just as they are don’t care about improving themselves.

Believe it or not, you don't have to give up one for the other. You can still love yourself now and work on self-improvement. Self-love is about recognizing that life is a journey, and that it’s worth embracing every stage of yourself, regardless of where you are right now.

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” — Brené Brown

Myth #3: Self-love means being happy with yourself all the time

Because self-love is obviously a positive state, some people assume that once you start loving yourself, you literally have to be loving yourself constantly, no matter what. It’s as if self-love is supposed to be the big cure for self-judgment and self-criticism and all sorts of other negative behaviors. And if it isn't, then people think they're doing it wrong.

The truth is that self-love is messy and imperfect. It means falling back into old ways of thinking even after years of practicing self-love. There is no requirement to be content with yourself at all times — only that you can be aware of how you feel, whatever you’re feeling, and that you are willing to be self-compassionate during those darker times.

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely” — C.G. Jung

Self-love is more than what it seems on the surface. Just know that nobody can tell you exactly how to love yourself, because you are the only one who can discover that for yourself.


8 Easy Ways to Instantly Feel Healthier

8 Easy Ways to Instantly Feel Healthier

We all want to be the healthiest versions of ourselves, but sometimes our big health goals can seem daunting and when we realize how far off we are from them right now. The time, energy, and resources needed to get ourselves from our current state of health to a much more improved state of health can sometimes feel just too overwhelming.

When it comes to feeling healthy right now in the moment, we have to find ways to reconnect with where our feet are — because after all, we’re here because we're supposed to be here. Try some of these stress relieving, mood boosting, energizing tips that can help you feel healthier in as little as a few seconds.

Do your favorite yoga pose.

One yoga pose is all it takes, and if you pick your favorite one, you’re more likely to naturally tune your mind into your body as you stretch and strengthen your muscles. You may even notice improvements compared to the last time you did it, which will most certainly make you feel healthier!

Take a few deep, slow breaths.

Deep breathing is the easiest and most effective way to cleanse the mind of stressful thoughts and relieve tension throughout the body. After expelling all the air from your lungs, breathe long and deep in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth.

Drink a glass of water.

Dehydration can contribute to irritability, confusion, sluggishness, and even headaches. And even if you’re not suffering from any of these, drinking some water can at least help keep your digestive system healthy and moving along smoothly.

Sit or stand up straight.

Good posture is known to be associated with higher self-esteem and a more positive mood while bad posture has been linked to negative feelings, like fear and sadness. Do your mental and emotional health a big favour by straightening up your posture wherever you are — sitting at your desk, driving in the car, or waiting in line at the store.

Be grateful for what both your mind and body can do.

Many people who work hard to get to their health goals often forget to appreciate what their bodies are capable of right now. And not just their bodies, but their minds too. Even if you can recognize something as simple as being able to memorize something complicated or healing a wound that required stitches, those are still some pretty amazing things worth being grateful for.

Smile at your reflection in the mirror.

It’s no secret that people tend to just look healthier when they’re smiling. Next time you catch your reflection in a mirror, flash a smile at yourself. Not only will this give you an instant mood boost, but it’s also a great practice in self-love. Smile at your reflection more often, and you’ll learn to love yourself more!

Use aromatherapy.

Essential oils are known to hold a variety of medicinal properties that can benefit both the mind and body. The easiest way to benefit from them is by catching their aroma, but many people apply them topically as well (after testing for allergies and skin sensitivities, of course). Here are a few essential oil uses to get you started.

Unplug.

Do you feel healthy and full of energy when you spend  all your time on your electronic devices? Probably not. Even if you can just take a short 20-minute break away from all glowing, beeping electronics — including your phone — then it’s worth it.

You don’t have to wait days, weeks, months, or years to feel a lot healthier. In fact, the healthier you feel now, regardless of what your future health goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them.