9 Ways to Think Calm and Happy Thoughts

Many, if not all of us, are on a journey to find happiness. But happiness isn’t an end destination — it’s an ongoing practice, much like patience or mindfulness. More often than not, we can choose to be happy. We can train our brain to be positive. We can let happy thoughts flow in and out of us. A happy life is within reach; we just have to make sure we’re equipped with the right tools to reach for it. Read more

Shift Work Sleep Disorder: How to Identify and Treat It

Working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week has become common. Medical staff, call center agents, government workers and various other jobs require workers to be on hand at all times, which means someone has to work night and rotating shifts.

While this schedule has become commonplace for many people, it is not without dangers and health impacts. Many people have a hard time sleeping during the day or getting sufficient sleep when their schedules change so frequently.

Those who have sleep problems due to shift work suffer from Shift Work Sleep Disorder, and it can be a major problem. Read on to learn about this disorder and what can be done to mitigate the negative effects of our on-demand work culture. Read more

How Anxiety and Blood Pressure Could Be Causing Your Health Problems

Is your heart pounding? Feeling some dizziness? Is your face flushed? Maybe have a headache? You may believe that you are experiencing high blood pressure. However, according to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure (or hypertension) doesn’t usually present symptoms. The only way you can know for sure is to get a blood pressure reading.

The symptoms that you are experiencing are most likely due to anxiety. But can anxiety affect blood pressure? What’s the link between the two? Read more

How to Stop a Panic Attack in 6 Steps

During a panic attack, your entire body is on high alert. Your heart is pounding and you are breathing fast and shallow. Your thoughts are racing, and you can’t think straight. The physical symptoms of a panic attack are real and intense. A panic attack can truly throw off the rest of your day. It’s understandable that you’d want to learn how to stop a panic attack.

At the peak of a panic attack, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do. Don’t get discouraged. There are techniques you can leverage to reduce the severity of your panic attack, and even stop it altogether. Read more

Why Are My Hands Always Cold? A Guide To Warming Up Cold Hands

“Cold hands, warm heart!” as they say. But even if it indicates a kind and loving personality, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with constantly-frigid fingers and hands.

Having cold hands in cold weather is expected. However, even when indoors and otherwise warm, having cold hands is a common complaint coming from people of all walks of life.

But why do people get cold hands? Is this something to worry about? Or is it just a minor annoyance to be placated by cute idioms like “cold hands, warm heart!”? Read more

A Beginner’s Tutorial for Using Guided-Meditation to Relax

The fast paced flow of the modern world makes it difficult to find peace of mind. Between work and home, there are plenty of excuses as to why you don’t have to time to relax.

It can be hard to switch your brain off, but making time to relax is important for both your physical and mental well-being.

For those struggling to find their zen moment, guided relaxation can be a good way to your train body and mind to discover calm.

What is guided relaxation? Simply put, it’s a form of meditation where an instructor gently guides you into a relaxed state.

Benefits of Guided Relaxation

Meditation is a simple way to calm your mind, but can seem difficult to incorporate and maintain in your everyday life.

However, once you add it into your daily routine, you can easily reap the benefits for years to come.

One study found that guided relaxation improves mood, reduces levels of clinical depression, and anxiety.

Combine the method with yoga and guided relaxation can even reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system – the system in your body that is responsible for the fight or flight response.

Busy minds who struggle to relax will find that one of the biggest benefits of guided relaxation is that a calming voice is instructing you what to do. Following along with someone’s careful instructions means you can take the pressure off yourself.

With guided relaxation, there’s no need for previous training; all you need is a quiet place where you can listen carefully.

How Does Guided Meditation Work?

There are many types of guided relaxations you can follow along with. Most will use visualization techniques and deep breathing to effect positive changes.

Often times, the guide will ask you to visualize your stress and anxiety as an object that you can see yourself pushing away. After pushing away the object, they will guide you into a meditation that enhances feelings of positivity and calm.

More often, guided relaxations will ask you to participate in mindful breathing. Taking a breath is a fast and easy way to regain calm. In a guided meditation, you deepen or slow the breath so you can stay in that calm moment for longer.

Where to Find Guided Meditations for Relaxation

A quick search on Google will turn up plenty of guided meditations for relaxation. Each guide will have a different style and technique for leading you into relaxation, so don’t feel like you have to commit to one guide every day.

A great place to start is with guided meditation from the Plum Village monastery, trained by prominent mindfulness leader Thich Nhat Hanh.

Follow along with their full-body relaxation guide here:

In this guided meditation, the Plum Village monastery leads you to find compassion for your body, discover more calm and fall into a deeper sleep.

For a simpler guided relaxation that focuses more on your breath, follow along with Spire co-founder Neema to develop clinical-strength calm.

To find more guided meditations, check out Spire’s Boosts where you can listen to guides for mindfulness, focus, and rest too.

Additionally, Spotify has a few good playlists of guided meditations for relaxation. The following playlist has over 100 tracks of calming meditations.

If you are more visually inclined, YouTube has a great selection of guided relaxation videos as well. This particular guided meditation video uses sounds and images of a peaceful beach to guide you into blissful, deep relaxation.

pexels photo 196666

Guided meditation can help you develop a healthy relaxation habit that you deserve. Your brain needs to take a break just as much as your body does. Yet, so many of us often forget that.

With guided meditation, it becomes a little simpler to clear your mind and take that break. All you need to do is find a quiet place or plug in a pair of earphones to start relaxing.

If you still need a gentle nudge to take a break, Spire can help by sending you a notification when your breathing gets tense.

Refresh your energy, find some peace of mind, and discover calm with guided relaxations.

5 Breathing Exercises for Better Sleep

5 Breathing Exercises for Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep can be a tough task. In fact, a Gallup study found that 40% of Americans get fewer than the recommended 7 hours of sleep.

Sleep deprivation can lead to numerous physical health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and more. Additionally, a lack of sleep has detrimental effects on mood, leading you to be more irritable, less productive, and unfocused. Read more

How to Balance Work and Health

From Monday through Friday, 9-to-6, I’m a web developer, hunched over a laptop, coding away, shipping features, and fixing bugs. In the evenings, I teach yoga, guiding students through power vinyasa flows, linking breath to movement.

Read more

Tips to Stay Sane This Thanksgiving

Can you believe that the holidays are already here again? For many of us this is the busiest time of year. Even though we take time off to be with family we always fill it up very quickly by traveling and eating tons of food. It’s this time of year in particular that we need to be able to tap into our zen no matter what! Re-connecting to gratitude and mindfulness during Thanksgiving weekend will help you return to work feeling happy, health and re-charged versus depleted, check out these tips to get you through the whole weekend and still feel positive and healthy. 

Read more

Spire Inspires a Workout!

Summer is finally over so I bet some of you may be contemplating joining a gym. I realize that’s a bit backwards, but if you’re anything like me, you enjoy working out far more when the pressure has been removed to obtain killer abs for men and for women, a thigh gap and a bikini bridge. We actually should only discuss gaps and bridges when we’re in a dental chair so please never strive to achieve an unhealthy shape for your body.

Read more