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Wellness Hub

 

Mind
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The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you are asking yourself.

When was the last time I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone?

What did I learn from this experience and about myself?

 

 
Changing bad habits
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Making change stick- Reach those goals and resolutions you made in January

Does this sound familiar? It’s a new year and a new decade, and the new you is ready to follow suit. Motivation and ambition are running at an all-time high. You’re finally going to reach those goals you’ve been striving for; you’re finally going to take those first few steps towards actualizing your dream. And then… Three weeks into the new year and you’re back to the old self, stuck in old familiar thoughts, habits, behaviors or emotions, living out of the same unconscious programs, and succumbing to your environment (or the people in your environment), which expects you to act and behave a certain way.

For many of us, while there is no question that we possess the desire to change, change does not come easily. First and foremost, it requires a will of the mind to be greater than the unconscious body-mind. But beyond that, it also requires daily, positive habits and routines designed to keep you in alignment with your goals.

 

The Brain Is the Organ of Change

The concept in neuroscience called neuroplasticity demonstrates that the brain alters itself every time we learn something new. Our nerve cells are specially arranged by what we learn, what we remember, what we experience, what we feel, and what we envision. Our 100 billion brain cells are always communicating with the rest of our anatomy. If you learn even one new piece of information today, brain cells will make new connections within the living latticework of your nervous system. In other words, when we really change our mind, the brain changes…and then we can affect permanent, lasting change.

When you take the time out of your busy schedule and begin to intentionally dream a new reality, for instance, focusing on your goal of losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising daily, etc., just remember that your brain is rewiring itself to your desires, and that your body is being reconditioned in order to prepare itself for that new event. Therefore, if you mentally rehearse (think about what you are going to do) daily - what it would be like to experience any transformation - there will be internal changes taking place that will begin to help you achieve your goal. So, if you want to make change stick, here are seven initial steps to start you on the path.

1. Intention

Write a clear and simple resolution statement. This tells your brain you’re serious about change. Make sure your mission statement creates a positive feeling for you. Avoid words such as ‘not,’ and make your resolution specific. Instead of saying you want to eat healthier, say, “I will eat a fresh healthy salad once a day so that I look better and feel better about myself.” Your intention is your mental compass. The clearer your purpose, the better you know where you are going and how to get there.

2. Sponsoring Thoughts

List out five strong reasons about why you want to change. This is the biggest secret to making change stick. You should feel passionate about the change you want. Be specific. For example, if you are interested in losing weight, one reason could be to wear your mother’s wedding dress for your wedding ceremony in five months.

3. Review, Rewind, Prime

Create a plan, then review your action steps daily. To get yourself in the right state of mind, when you wake up in the morning, review your desired specific behaviors for the day. When you go to bed at night, review the day to see if you stayed in alignment with those behaviors. This exercise literally sets up your day so that you stay conscious of your change, and when done at night, it begins to set you up for success the following day. If you imagine yourself making the necessary decisions for that day, you will begin to prime your brain to automatically follow your intentions. Your mental rehearsal can install the neurological circuits in place to use when executing your changes appropriately. For instance, questions like: “What do I have to do to get there?” Write down the steps. “When do I need to have those steps taken?” Decide what steps you can take this day or even right now. Review and remind yourself of the entire plan, and then take the first step. Think of this as reviewing your map on your journey to change. The more you do it, the easier it is to get to your destination.

4. Align Your Behavior to Match Your Intention

Hold yourself accountable by demonstrating change throughout your entire day. One of the hardest parts of breaking a habit is to not make the same choices you made days, weeks, or months prior. When you decide what you are not going to do that day, it will help keep you on task. The biggest reason most people fall short of their vision relates to giving into familiar feelings. Get clear that when those feelings, cravings, and bodily urges come up during your day, you are not going to give in to them. This is when you take your ‘new you’ for a test drive. Your daily goals will always be in alignment with your ongoing intention. Think of this step as small destinations or towns you arrive at along your journey.

5. Track Your Changes

Create a reward system for yourself. If you can create a chart that you can see or a ledger you review daily, and then check your wins off daily, you will begin to make your discipline and changes a new habit. At the same time, you’ll be building a new feeling of self-esteem, worth, and belief that you actually are doing it. If one day on your journey you fall from grace, make the choice to get back into your routine the very next day without wallowing in failure, guilt, and self-depreciation. These emotions will surely undermine your efforts and cause you to return to the old self that may have already felt that way for too long.

6. Come Out of Your Resting State—Change Your Energy

Change can be uncomfortable. When we are in the midst of change, it feels unnatural, unfamiliar, and uncertain because we are no longer ‘being’ the same person. This is called the unknown. We are changing how we think, how we act, and how we feel. Therefore, each day when you begin, you must lift yourself into a new state of being and raise your energy. Questions like—How would I have to ‘be’ today to master my day? or How would I feel in my future when I am this person? — these are key ingredients. Just remember that you can’t get up from your meditation today as the same person who sat down. You must be in a new state of being and live from this level of energy. Get excited that you can conquer yourself in some way

7. Cue Your Environment

There is nothing more satisfying than to have little reminders in your life to keep you on track. Place pictures, notes, word phrases, and/or vision boards where you can see them daily, such as at your desk, on the refrigerator, or pasted to the bathroom mirror. You can even listen to motivational lectures, books, or inspirational music while you exercise. These will keep you on task by reminding you that what you are doing is important. The more you stay conscious of your future, the more inspired you will be to overcome your present reality.

These are a few starter steps, The rest is up to you. There is much more that can be done to ensure that you can make change stick. What is important is to know that it’s possible to change. True transformation is possible—and it’s possible for you!

Nutrition
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Having a variety of foods will best support your nutrition needs!

1. Dark leafy greens:
Dark green leafy vegetables (DGLVs) are an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.

Part of what makes DGLVs so super is their potential to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses including heart disease and type 2 diabetes (1Trusted Source opens in a new window2Trusted Source opens in a new window).

They also contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds known as carotenoids, which may protect against certain types of cancer (3Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Some well-known DGLVs include:

  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Collard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Spinach

Some DGLVs have a bitter taste and not everyone enjoys them plain. You can get creative by including them in your favorite soups, salads, smoothies, stir-fries and curries.

2. Berries:

Berries are a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

The strong antioxidant capacity of berries is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and other inflammatory conditions (4Trusted Source opens in a new window5Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Berries may also be effective in treating various digestive and immune-related disorders when used alongside traditional medical therapies (6Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Some of the most common berries include:

  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries

3. Legumes:

Legumes, or pulses, are a class of plant foods made up of beans (including soy), lentils, peas, peanuts and alfalfa.

They earn the superfood label because they’re loaded with nutrients and play a role in preventing and managing various diseases.

Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, protein and fiber.

Research indicates that they offer many health benefits including improved type 2 diabetes management, as well as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol (14Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Eating beans and legumes regularly may also promote healthy weight maintenance, due to their ability to improve feelings of fullness (15Trusted Source opens in a new window).

4. Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, vegetarian protein and heart-healthy fats.

They also pack various plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can protect against oxidative stress (16Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Research indicates that eating nuts and seeds can have a protective effect against heart disease (17Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Common nuts and seeds include:

  • Almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts.
  • Peanuts — technically a legume, but often considered a nut.
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds.

Interestingly, even though nuts and seeds are calorically dense, some types of nuts are linked to weight loss when included in a balanced diet

5. Garlic:
 

Garlic is a plant food that is closely related to onions, leeks and shallots. It’s a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and fiber.

Garlic is a popular culinary ingredient due to its distinct flavor, but it has also been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries.

Research indicates that garlic may be effective in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as supporting immune function (24Trusted Source opens in a new window).

What’s more, sulfur-containing compounds in garlic may even play a role in preventing certain types of cancer (25Trusted Source opens in a new window).

6. Turmeric:
 

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is closely related to ginger. Originally from India, it’s used for cooking and its medicinal benefits.

Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and is the focus of most research surrounding turmeric.

Studies show that curcumin may be effective in treating and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes (35Trusted Source opens in a new window36Trusted Source opens in a new window).

It may also aid wound healing and pain reduction (37Trusted Source opens in a new window38Trusted Source opens in a new window).

One drawback of using curcumin medicinally is that it’s not easily absorbed by your body, but its absorption can be enhanced by pairing it with fats or other spices such as black pepper.

7. Avocado:
 

Avocado is a highly nutritious fruit, though it’s often treated more like a vegetable in culinary applications.

It’s rich in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats (42Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Similar to olive oil, avocado is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Oleic acid is the most predominant MUFA in avocado, which is linked to reduced inflammation in the body (43Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Eating avocado may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer

8. Sweet Potato:
 

The sweet potato is a root vegetable loaded with many nutrients, including potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C.

They’re also a good source of carotenoids, a type of antioxidant that may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer (47Trusted Source opens in a new window).

Despite their sweet flavor, sweet potatoes don’t increase blood sugar as much as you might expect. Interestingly, they may actually improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes

Movement
Been wanting to try Yoga? Here are some amazing benefits for you ;-)

1. Improved R&R

Yoga activates your parasympathetic nervous system. Most people have heard of the “fight or flight” instinct. The parasympathetic system is on the opposite end of the spectrum and is known as the “rest and digest” part of the body. When this system is running efficiently, the benefits include lower blood pressure, better digestion opens in a new window, and a more balanced life. Essentially, this is the system that helps you wind down and relax.
 

2. Boost Your Overall Intelligence

Studies opens in a new window have shown that a regular asana practice can increase the connection between the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (or GABA) and brain cells. Low GABA levels have been linked with both anxiety and depression.
 
Additionally, the more cell connections the brain has, the better memory and cognitive functionality you will have. Thus, yoga might actually increase your intelligence!
 

3. Increased Happiness, Decreased Stress

Your brain releases all kinds of good feelings after a yoga sesh. Scientifically speaking, that means that the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin go up. This means that you feel more creative and energetic while also feeling less anxiety.
 
Many believe that there is a huge benefit to doing yoga if you struggle with mental illness. While your happy brain chemicals increase, cortisol levels decrease. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress and fear, and also decreases the size of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which deals with discipline and self-control.
 

4. Pain Reduction

Yoga helps keep the body strong, supple, and better able to prevent and also recover from injury. A large aspect of the yoga practice is mindfulness and meditation.
 
Regular meditation has an effect on the parietal lobe of the brain. This is the area of the brain which manages limb movement, understanding speech, and pain. A study in 2011 opens in a new window showed that eight weeks of a mindfulness and meditation practice succeeded in reducing sensitivity to physical pain. Meditation is a way that anyone, regardless of mobility, can utilize yoga and its teachings.

Balance
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Self inquiry journal time!
"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I write" Flannery O'connor (and Chloe Scarey he-he)
 
1. What have I done lately that was worth remembering?

2. Are the people around me a positive influence in my life?
Who are they? Who do I spend most of my time with? How do they affect me?

3. Am I holding onto something/s I need to let go of?
What are they? Why do I need to let go of this? How is this not helping me?


 
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