Take a Deep Breath

The practice of quieting your mind and focusing on your breath is not just for the enlightened. Here’s one of my favorite deep breathing exercises. It can be done at any time and any place. Try it lying down or sitting in a comfortable chair while maintaining good posture.

  • Close your eyes and relax your body as much as possible. Scan your body from head to toe and let go of any tension.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. With one hand on your heart and another on your belly, notice the rise and fall of each breath. If you are using the lower part of your lungs, your abdomen should be noticeably rising and falling. Your chest should not be rising nearly as much.
  • Continue breathing deeply through your nose.
  • After several more breaths, inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Keep your mouth, tongue, jaw relaxed.
  • Continue this pattern of methodical breathing as you stay relaxed, and focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.

relax2

Meditation is not for everyone, but it’s also not just for monks anymore. With time and patience, anyone can learn to meditate. It’s like entering a deeply restful sleep while being fully awake; its casting the human brain back to a more primitive state where we are freed of our analytical and critical selves. In this blissful state of mind, you are more aware of senses and feelings rather than negativity and stress. Here’s a simple way to try it:

  • Sit in a quiet comfortable spot. Be mindful of your posture. Set a timer for five or ten minutes.
  • Choose a word to repeat to yourself. Many people like to use the word “om” because it has been shown to be calming. Or you can murmur “breathe in” and “breathe out” to yourself, or count your breaths from one to ten, then repeat.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your work or count. When thoughts intrude, gently bring your attention back to the words or count.
  • Keep going as long as you can without falling asleep.
  • When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes. How do you feel?

 

Doctor Murad Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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Bridal Beauty – top picks to prep your skin on the big day.

BL15_516-BridalBeauty101

 

We know you want to look flawless on your big day! Having great skin is just as important as wearing the perfect bridal gown, so start your pre-wedding skincare countdown now. Our Murad skincare experts put together this helpful six-month timeline to follow for glowing, gorgeous skin on your big day.

Pre-Wedding Skincare Countdown: A few tips for a beautiful skin

 6 months to go
  •  Take daily dietary supplements to give your body the building blocks it needs to help every cell in every system.
  • Now that you’re engaged, everyone will be paying extra attention to your hands! Rejuvenate them with a monthly manicure and moisturize daily (We recommend our Youth Builder Rejuvenating AHA Hand Cream) to keep them looking and feeling soft and lovely.
3 months to go
  •  Stick to your workouts to reduce skin-damaging stress and wedding-planning anxiety.
  • Commit to a monthly facial routine to keep your complexion healthy and rejuvenated.
1 month to go
  •  Keep your skin smooth and glowing by exfoliating 1-2 times a week (We recommend trying our Skin Smoothing Polish).
  • Get your last facial 2-3 weeks before your big day to allow redness from extractions to resolve.
Week of the wedding
  •  Get a stress-relieving massage.
  • Keep your diet heavy on fruits and veggies and light on salty, processed foods, which can make your eyes look puffy and your body feel bloated. We suggest you read a bit more about the science behind eating fruits and veggies with Dr. Murad’s “Eat Your Water” research.
The Big Day

Remember that it’s likely something won’t go as planned or turn out the way you imagined it, but don’t let that ruin your day. As Dr. Murad says, “When you learn to be imperfect, your life will be more perfect.”

 

Here are top picks to prep your skin on the big day.

eye-lift-firm Say “Eye Do”

While the early-morning beauty prep gets underway, start with this professional-strength eye treatment. Its exclusive surface-filling and firming technologies work beneath the eye pads to instantly lift, firm and visibly reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

hydrating-toner Happily Ever Hydrated

Spray a few spritzes of this refreshing toner to rehydrate skin and restore pH balance. The fresh peach scent also helps set the relaxing, pampering mood for the makeup and hair prep to come.

oil-control-mattifier Joined in Matte-rimony

Save yourself from a makeup meltdown during any outdoor photo shoots by applying this mattifying moisturizer with SPF 15. It helps control oil for up to 8 hours so you’ll stay picture-perfect all throughout your wedding day.

eye-cream 3-Tiered Treat

Between battling the never-ending to-do lists, last-minute crises and wedding jitters, getting a full night’s sleep might slip down the priority list. Keep under-eye creasing and puffiness at bay with this multi-active eye cream that firms, brightens and hydrates.

invisiblur Toast to a Flawless Future

Before you apply foundation, finish with this breakthrough product to treat, blur and protect. Its silky smooth formula blurs lines and imperfections, conceals pores, and primes skin, so you’ll look flawless in all your wedding photos.

We wish all the brides-to-be out there a joyful, stress-free, beautiful wedding day; one filled with moments you will cherish forever!

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Free to Be Happy and Healthy

Summer is traditionally a time to celebrate freedom. People all throughout the Northern Hemisphere feel a spirit of freedom in the air throughout the summer months. The combination of warmer temperatures, extra hours of daylight, lighter work schedules and a recess for most schools gives us freedom to explore new places and new possibilities for personal growth. And it’s not surprising if you feel healthier and happier in this season of freedom—most people do.

What you may not realize is that there are real and tangible psychological and physiological factors which feed the summer boost to our mood. Extra summer daylight and the brighter quality of that summer light both have a direct effect on the production of hormones that regulate our moods and our waking and sleeping cycles. This hormonal effect may be part of the reason people report fewer episodes of depression during the summer months. The free time that comes with extra daylight hours and lighter summer schedules also gives us an opportunity to relax and have some “me time” to try and recover from the chronic Cultural Stress® that can burden us and erode our health and sense of well-being.

I strongly encourage you to make the most of this opportunity to unwind by truly unplugging, at home and on vacation. I also encourage you to heal your spirit and body by behaving like a child during your free time by letting go of unreasonable expectations and negative thinking. And if you are planning to take a family vacation, please take to heart the following advice “be imperfect; live longer.” Don’t fall into the trap of pressuring yourself to deliver an ultimate vacation experience for the whole family. Try not to over-plan and try to let everyone have an age-appropriate amount of input—it will be less stressful for all concerned if the agenda represents a family collaboration instead of a parental imposition. I hope you have a wonderful summer with many memorable moments and that the health and happiness you rediscover this summer will stay with you throughout the year.

 

Doctor Murad Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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How to Turn Any Negative Into A Positive

Negative-To-Positive

 

So much of our life experience is shaped by how we view the world. Whether you see the glass as half full or half empty can actually make an impact on your health, your friendships, your family and your career. Numerous studies have shown that positive thinkers are physically and psychologically healthier than pessimists. And in a study of salespeople, those with a positive attitude and outlook sold 37% more than the pessimists.

Here are a few ways to help you turn a negative into a positive.

  1. Separate fact from fiction

    What we think of as an “objective” perception of events in our lives is actually just our subjective perception—and that perception is profoundly shaped by our mood and worldview. When you are feeling negative, take a step back and look for external validation for a truly objectively view of the situation. What are the verifiable facts? What are the emotions? Be aware of words like “always” or “never” which can indicate when your brain is escalating a situation with emotion.

  2. Flip your thoughts

    When you are feeling negative, flip your thought. For example, if you are feeling, “This will not work for me.” Turn it into a question, “How can I make this work for me?” This change in perspective opens up your mind to new ideas and allows you to see things in a very different light.

  3. Focus on the positive

    Sometimes it seems like there isn’t anything good about a situation. And many times horrible things happen to good people. But when you feel like there isn’t anything good about your day, focus on the things that we often take for granted – a roof over your head, food on your table, that you are alive to see another day.

  4. Smile

    The act of smiling actually triggers your brain to release endorphins, relieving stress and helping you to have a more positive outlook.

  5. List what you are grateful for

    I like to list three to five things I’m grateful for every night before I go to bed. It helps me remember how fortunate I am and helps me to remain focused on all the wonderful things, people and situations that I have in my life—which keeps my mind from going to thoughts of loss or want.

  6. Take a breather and reset

    When a negative situation overwhelms you, sometimes the best thing to do is take a step back, take a deep breath and relax. Focusing your attention on your breathing takes your thoughts away from the negative situation and helps to neutralize your perception. Here is an example of an easy deep breathing exercise to get your started.

  7. Channel your frustrations into art

    Many great songs, poems and pieces of art were created out of a time of challenge. Channel your negative thoughts into your art to help dissipate them and move on. You might be surprised and create something beautiful while unlocking your hidden talents. Find what makes your happy and brings comfort to your life.

Remember, life always throws you curveballs. You just need to learn to hit them out of the park! Stay positive and your loved ones and every cell in your body will thank you for it.

 


Doctor Murad

 Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

 

 

 


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5 Ways Laughter Benefits Your Health

Laughter Fuels Renewal

 

“Laughter is the best medicine” may sound a bit cliché, but there is quite a bit of truth underlying this old saying. In fact, research, including our own here at Murad, has unveiled that laughter actually is a powerful “prescription” that helps both mental and physical health.

Here are a few great reasons why you should allow yourself to indulge in a full-blown belly laugh:

  1. Laughter can be relaxing. After a hearty belly laugh, some people can be heard sighing as they come down from the convulsions of laughter. The relaxation that follows a good laugh can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
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  3. Laugher reduces stress hormones. That overload of mental tension really melts away from the forefront of your consciousness when you just laughed so hard you cried. Laughter can be a great mood regulator in a stressful situation. Make the most of opportunities to change a dark or fraught emotional tone with some laughter.
  4.  

  5. Laughter increases blood flow. Increased blood flow is good for the heart, blood vessels and the cardiovascular system overall. Laughter is a mini workout and we should take advantage of that fun way to experience some light exercise.
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  7. Laughter boosts endorphins. Laughing gets our endorphins flowing. These natural feel-good chemicals give our brains a boost and help to give us a more positive outlook on the day.
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  9. Laughter as a coping skill. “Frantic.” “Out of control.” “Overwhelming.” These words are sometimes used to describe our feelings about trying to cope with life, work, kids, marriage and the myriad responsibilities on our plates. We cannot always predict the stresses of life but our reactions to them can dictate how much negative impact they can have on our day. Sometimes, the healthiest option in the face of stress overload is to stop and laugh.

 
In short, laughter can help you change your perspective — and change your life for the better.


Doctor Murad

 Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

 

 

 


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The benefits of Deep-Breathing Exercises

If negative emotions and stress can cause disease and make us less healthy, surely positive mental states and life-enhancing therapies that make us feel good can slow the inflammatory process, leaving us healthier, happier and as beautiful as we can be.

There are a great number of ways for you to take some healing time for yourself. A walk, a warm bath, a massage, it is all about what works best for you. But sometimes, a most common act such a breathing can make all the difference.

Without realizing it, most of us take short, shallow breaths, especially during times of stress. This leads to poor circulation and adds to tension. Try to breathe deeply into your abdomen whenever your find yourself anxious.

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