Your mind

And... breathe

Yogic breathing can be a very effective way to combat stress, anxiety and depression. “Breathing techniques (known in yoga as pranayama) can have an incredibly powerful effect on the nervous system,” explains Natasha Moutran, co-founder of The Retreat Collection (www.theretreatcollection.com). “Also, they can be practised anywhere and any time, which means that they can be very useful in any situation when you feel you might need a little calm and some centering. They only take a few minutes to perform.”

Try the following technique, as guided by Natasha:

“Close the eyes and start to become aware of the breath. Notice the quality of your breath and the natural rhythm of your breath. Gradually begin to inhale and exhale through the nose. Take your time and begin to elongate your inhalations and exhalations. Take your awareness to the breath and feel it getting longer and slower with each breath. Once you can feel the breath and feel connected to the body begin to count your breath, inhale - exhale for one, inhale exhale for two, and so on, all the way to 10. Once you reach 10, if you wish to continue, you can do so starting again from one. Do this as many times as you need, depending on how long you have and once you have finished your rounds let go of the counting and just come back to your natural breath. Then gradually when you are ready begin to open the eyes.”

Brain-boosting foods

Frida Harju, nutritionist at Lifesum (www.lifesum.com), a health and fitness app, suggests a few foods that can help you to boost your memory:

Oily fish: A Northumbria University study found that essential fatty acids such as omega-3, found in oily fish, help build myelin, which helps to send messages between brain cells. Try making mackerel on toast or taking a can of tuna into work to eat as a snack.

Pumpkin seeds: A handful each day will provide you with the recommended daily levels of zinc, which is vital for increasing brain power by enhancing memory and focus.

Tomatoes: Having a few cherry tomatoes is a great way to improve your concentration and memory. Tomatoes have a positive long-term effect on the brain so by eating a portion each day you are investing in your health. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which prevents free radicals from damaging brain cells.

Blueberries: These berries have high levels of polyphenols, antioxidative and anti-inflammatory compounds that positively impact the nervous system and brain function, helping to combat memory loss and improve your mood.

Bananas: These are rich in potassium, which is essential for keeping the brain concentrated. A study found that school children who ate bananas during lunch had higher levels of concentration than those who didn’t.

Mirror, mirror...

In her bestselling self-help book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay introduced the concept of looking in a mirror and repeating positive affirmations as a method for improving self-esteem and self-worth. In Mirror Work: 21 Days to Heal Your Life, the concept is taken further and features a series of practical teachings and exercises based on Louise’s popular online video course. Priced at £9.99 it’s published by Hay House.

Yoga and meditation could boost memory power

A new study has found that yoga and meditation may help to improve our memory. Researchers from UCLA and Australia’s University of Adelaide gathered information from 25 adults aged 55 and over with mild cognitive impairment. Over a 12-week period, 14 of the participants practised yoga and meditation while the other 11 undertook memory exercises. At the end of the 12-week period the researchers found that all participants experienced similar improvements in verbal memory skills, but those who practised yoga and meditation experienced greater improvements in visual-spatial memory skills.

Read previous Your Living articles here...

Read articles from our latest issue here...

A top buttonTop