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Archive for the 'zen' Category

Buddhist Alarm Clock

Monday, January 28th, 2013
zen appreciation

zen appreciation

If you have been browsing on-line you may have seen a Google Ad-words for the search term “Buddhist alarm clock” that leads to our website www.Now-Zen.com.

“Buddhist Alarm Clock” is not a product name or search term we created, but instead one that people have been using on their own.  We are the makers of the world famous “Zen Alarm Clock” and although we are using the word “Zen” as part of our trademark, we are not trying to associate directly with Buddhism or any other organized religion. We have no control over “Buddhist Alarm Clock” being used by Google.

The founders of our company have great respect for the spiritual teachings and the aesthetic achievements of Buddhism, but we also respect and appreciate a wide variety of other spiritual paths as well. Zen is the name of an ancient form of Japanese Buddhism, but ever since Robert Pirsig’s famous book, Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was published in 1974, the word “Zen” has come to have a larger meaning within American popular culture. Zen also connotes a sort of nondenominational metaphysical quality that transcends any particular spiritual forms or teachings. The word evokes the image of a beautiful rock garden or a weather beaten pine tree on a windswept mountainside.

The timeless aesthetics of Zen Buddhism did provide inspiration for our Zen Alarm Clock, but the design also arose from other influences, such as the sublime patterns of sacred geometry.  We thus use the word “Zen” in the name of our product as a kind of lighthearted tribute to progressive spiritual culture.  But, as we have been careful to explain over the 15 years we have been in business, we make products for both spiritual and non-spiritual people and we are not directly associated with Buddhism or any other specific form of spirituality.

Our motto is “quality of thought, stillness of being” and we hope that this is the kind of spiritual message that everyone can appreciate.

We apologize any confusion that the Ad-words search term “Buddhist Alarm Clock” may have caused. If you continue to have any questions at all, please contact us or visit www.now-zen.com for more information.

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Progressive Awakening, zen


How to be More Compassionate? Use Your Meditation Timer with Chime

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

How to feel more compassionate

How to feel more compassionate

Maitryadisu balani

The cultivation of friendliness creates inner strength. (Yoga Sutra III.24)

We typically think of our emotional range as something that is fixed and unchanging—a reflection of the personality we’re born with. But research is revealing the possibility that we may be able to cultivate and increase our ability to feel the emotional state of compassion. Researchers have found that feeling connected to others is as learnable as any other skill. “We are trying to provide evidence that meditation can cultivate compassion, and that you can see the change in both the person’s behavior and the function of the brain,” Lutz says.

So what does compassion look like in the brain? To find out, Lutz and his colleagues compared two groups of -meditators—one group whose members were experienced in compassion meditation, and the other a group whose members were not—and gave them the same instructions: to generate a state of love and compassion by thinking about someone they care about, extend those feelings to others, and finally, to feel love and compassion without any specific object. As each of the participants meditated in-side the fMRI brain scanners, they were occasionally interrupted by spontaneous and unexpected human sounds—such as a baby cooing or a woman screaming—that might elicit feelings of care or concern.

All of the meditators showed emotional responses to the sounds. But the more experienced compassion meditators showed a larger brain response in areas important for processing physical sensations and for emotional responding, particularly to sounds of distress. The researchers also observed an increase in heart rate that corresponded to the brain changes. These findings suggest that the meditators were having a genuine empathic response and that the experienced meditators felt greater compassion. In other words, compassion meditation appears to make the brain more naturally open to a connection with others.

These meditation techniques may have benefits beyond the experience of spontaneous compassion. A study by psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the University of Michigan, found that a seven-week lovingkindness meditation course also increased the participants’ daily experience of joy, gratitude, and hope. The more participants meditated, the better they felt. Participants also reported a greater sense of self-acceptance, social support, purpose in life, and life satisfaction, while experiencing fewer symptoms of illness and depression. This study provides strong evidence that chipping away at the illusion of separation can open us up to a far more meaningful connection to life.

adapted from Yoga Journal, by Kelly McGonigal

Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga & Meditation Timer.  It features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings your meditation or yoga session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal. Our Yoga Timer & Clock can be programmed to chime at the end of the meditation or yoga session or periodically throughout the session as a kind of sonic yantra. The beauty and functionality of the Zen Clock/Timer makes it a meditation tool that can actually help you “make time” for meditation in your life. Bring yourself back to balance.

Zen Timers and Gentle Alarm Clocks

Zen Timers and Gentle Alarm Clocks

Now & Zen – The Chime Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Well-being, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice, zen


Green Tea Lowers Risk of Heart Disease – Use Your Zen Timer to Time Your Tea

Monday, November 19th, 2012
Green Tea for Heart Disease

Green Tea for Heart Disease

Start sipping your way to a stronger ticker. While heart disease is the biggest killer of women in the United States — nearly twice as many women die from heart disease and stroke than from all forms of cancer combined — a recent “Journal of the American Medical Association” report on green tea offers hope.

In 1994, researchers began studying a group of 40,530 Japanese adults (ages 40 to 79) with no history of stroke or heart disease. Following up with participants 11 years later, they discovered that women who drank five or more cups of the green elixir daily had a 31 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to those who drank less than one cup. (Tea-drinking men showed a 22 percent lower risk.) Can you still safeguard your heart without draining an entire kettle each day? According to lead study author Shinichi Kuriyama, M.D., Ph.D., drinking at least one cup daily would produce health benefits.

adapted from Body + Soul, 2007

“The Zen Alarm Clock & Chime Timer‘,  uses soothing acoustic chimes that signal it’s time –  gently and gradually.

Rather than an artificial recorded sound played through a speaker, the Zen Clock features an alloy chime bar similar to a wind chime.  When the clock’s alarm is triggered, its chime produces a long-resonating, beautiful acoustic tone reminiscent of a temple gong.

wake up alarm clocks with chimes

wake up alarm clocks with chimes

Now & Zen – The Zen Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Zen Timers, zen


Try a 10-Minute Meditation to Boost your Immune System – Use Your Zen Chime Meditation Timer

Saturday, October 20th, 2012
meditation

meditation

Stress is the immune system’s worst enemy. Whether you’re dealing with a brief bout of craziness like Christmas shopping, or a longer-lasting stressor like divorce, your body’s ability to fight germs is compromised by physical and mental tension. Meditation can help. One study found that people who attended an eight-week mindfulness meditation class (a three-hour class once a week, plus daily meditation for an hour) ended up with stronger immune systems than those people who didn’t meditate. Researchers believe that the meditation-induced relaxation boosted the group’s immunity. Over time, high levels of stress hormones dampen the immune system, says Timothy McCall, MD, Yoga Journal’s medical editor and author of Yoga as Medicine. “So it makes sense that by practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction, your immune system benefits.” Research shows that even 10 minutes of daily meditation reduces the physical symptoms of stress. (To learn meditation techniques, go to yogajournal.com, click on “Practice,” and then choose “Meditation.”)

“The Zen Alarm Clock & Chime Timer’,  uses soothing acoustic chimes that signal it’s time –  gently and gradually.

Rather than an artificial recorded sound played through a speaker, the Zen Clock features an alloy chime bar similar to a wind chime.  When the clock’s alarm is triggered, its chime produces a long-resonating, beautiful acoustic tone reminiscent of a temple gong.

adapted from Yoga Journal by Catherine Guthrie

Zen Timepiece with Brass Singing Bowl, a Meditation timer to Calm your Mind

Zen Timepiece with Brass Singing Bowl, a Meditation timer to Calm your Mind

Now & Zen – Zen Chime Meditation Timers and Clocks

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Well-being, Yoga Timer, Yoga Timers by Now & Zen, yoga, zen


Does Meditation Restructure Your Brain? Use Your Meditation Timer from Now & Zen, Inc.

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Brain Aid -- Meditation and Yoga

Brain Aid -- Meditation and Yoga

Science has proven that meditating actually restructures your brain and can train it to concentrate, feel greater compassion, cope with stress, and more.Read the latest research and put it into practice.Yoga citta vritti nirodhah. Yoga is the ending of disturbances of the mind. (Yoga Sutra, I.2)

Nothing is quite as satisfying as a yoga practice that’s filled with movement. Whether you prefer an intense and sweaty vinyasa practice, a gentle but deliberate Viniyoga practice, or something in between, all systems of hatha yoga provide a contented afterglow for the same reason: You sync your movement with your breath. When you do, your mind stops its obsessive churning and begins to slow down. Your attention turns from your endless to-do list toward the rhythm of your breath, and you feel more peaceful than you did before you began your practice.

For many of us, accessing that same settled, contented state is more difficult to do in meditation. It’s not easy to watch the mind reveal its worries, its self-criticism, or its old memories. Meditation requires patience and—even more challenging for most Westerners—time. So, why would you put yourself through the struggle?

Quite simply, meditation can profoundly alter your experience of life. Thousands of years ago the sage Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutra, and the Buddha both promised that meditation could eliminate the suffering caused by an untamed mind. They taught their students to cultivate focused attention, compassion, and joy. And they believed that it was possible to change one’s mental powers and emotional patterns by regularly experiencing meditative states. Those are hefty promises.

But these days, you don’t have to take their word for it. Western scien-tists are testing the wisdom of the masters, using new technology that allows researchers to study how meditation in-fluences the brain.

Meditating to the rescue

Meditating to the rescue


The current findings are exciting enough to encourage even the most resistant yogis to sit down on the cushion: They suggest that meditation—even in small doses—can profoundly influence your experience of the world by remodeling the physical structure of your brain.

Although meditation can be done in almost any context, practitioners usually employ a quiet, tranquil space, a meditation cushion or bench, and some kind of timing device to time the meditation session.  Ideally, the more these accoutrements can be integrated the better.  Thus, it is conducive to a satisfying meditation practice to have a timer or clock that is tranquil and beautiful.  Using a kitchen timer or beeper watch is less than ideal.  And it was with these considerations in mind that we designed our digital Zen Alarm Clock and practice timer.  This unique “Zen Clock” features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings the meditation session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal.

Digital Zen Alarm Clock - A Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock

Digital Zen Alarm Clock - A Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock

adapted from Yoga Journal, by Kelly McGonigal

Now & Zen’s Meditation Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Well-being, Zen Timers, intention, zen


Lovingkindness Meditation From The Zen Meditation Timer Shop

Friday, July 27th, 2012

meditation

meditation

Put it into practice.

Sit comfortably in a place where you won’t be disturbed. Take three to five quiet breaths. Gently close your eyes.

Imagine the horizon spanning through your chest with a radiant sun rising in your innermost center—your heart. As though being melted by the solar warmth, release tension in your shoulders and across your throat. Soften your forehead and rest your attention inward on the light deep within. Take 
7 to 10 smooth, even breaths.  Set your Zen Meditation Timer to repeat and chime every 10 seconds to help you time your breathing.

As you inhale, invite the glow from your heart to expand toward the inner surface of the body. With each exhale, let the light recede. Take another 7 to 10 peaceful breaths. Inhaling, invite the light to touch the parts of you that interact with the world—your eyes and ears, the voice center in your throat, the palms 
of your hands, the soles of your feet. Exhaling, feel your light shine more clearly. As you continue to inhale and exhale, silently say: “I radiate friendliness for those who are happy, com-passion for those who are unhappy, equanimity toward all.” Continue until your attention wavers. Then, sit quietly for several minutes.

When you feel complete, place your palms together in front of your heart and bow your head. Release the backs of your hands to your thighs and lift your head. Gently open your eyes to return to the horizon of the world.

adapted from Yoga Journal by Kate Vogt

Zen timers for meditation and yoga

Zen timers for meditation and yoga

Now & Zen – The Zen Meditation Timer Shop

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Well-being, Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice, zen


Meditation: Commit to Change – Use Your Zen Meditation Timer & Alarm Clock Everyday

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
mediation

mediation

As the evidence for the benefits of meditation grows, one of the most important outstanding questions is, How much is enough? Or, from the perspective of most beginning meditators, How little is enough to see positive change?

Researchers agree that many of the benefits happen early on. “Changes in the brain take place at the very beginning of learning,” Luders says. And many studies show change in a matter of weeks, or even minutes, among inexperienced meditators. But other studies suggest that experience matters. More practice leads to greater changes, both in the brain and in a meditator’s mental states. So while a minimal investment in meditation can pay off for your well-being and mental clarity, committing to the practice is the best way to experience the full benefits.

Luders, who was a lapsed meditator when she started her research, had such a positive experience being around seasoned meditators that she was motivated to come back to the practice. “It’s never too late,” Luders says. She suggests starting small and making meditation a regular habit. “The norm in our study was daily sessions, 10 to 90 minutes. Start with 10.”

If you do, you may discover that meditation has benefits beyond what science has revealed. Indeed, it will take time for science to catch up to the wisdom of the great meditation teachers. And even with the advances in brain technology, there are changes both subtle and profound transmitted only through direct experience. Fortunately, all you need to get started is the willingness to sit and be with your own body, breath, and mind.

adapted from Yoga Journal, by Kelly McGonigal

Bamboo Meditation Timer & Gentle Alarm Clock - Boulder, CO

Bamboo Meditation Timer & Gentle Alarm Clock - Boulder, CO

The Bamboo Digital Zen Clock’s long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime makes waking up a beautiful experience – its progressive chimes begin your day with grace. When the clock’s alarm is triggered, the acoustic chime bar is struck just once … 3-1/2 minutes later it strikes again … chime strikes become more frequent over 10 minutes … eventually striking every 5 seconds until shut off. As they become more frequent, the gentle chimes will always wake you up – your body really doesn’t need to be awakened harshly, with a Zen Clock you’re awakened more gradually and thus more naturally.  Unlike artificial recorded sounds coming out of a tiny speaker in a plastic box, natural acoustic sounds transform your bedroom or office environment.

The Digital Zen Clock also serves as a countdown and interval timer for yoga, meditation, bodywork, etc.; and it can also be set to chime on the hour as a tool for “mindfulness.”

Meditation Clocks and Timers from Now & Zen

Meditation Clocks and Timers from Now & Zen

Now & Zen’s Meditation Timer & Alarm Clock Shop

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Well-being, Zen Alarm Clock, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice, zen


How Meditation Trains Your Brain – Meditation Timers Are Useful Tools

Friday, July 20th, 2012
Meditation

Meditation

Using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, Eileen Luders, a re-searcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, looks for evidence that meditation changes the physical structure of the brain. Until recently, this idea would have seemed absurd. “Scientists used to believe that the brain reaches its peak in adulthood and doesn’t change—until it starts to decrease in late adulthood,” Luders says. “Today we know that everything we do, and every experience we have, actually changes the brain.” Indeed, Luders finds several differences between the brains of meditators and nonmeditators. In a study published in the journal NeuroImage in 2009, Luders and her colleagues compared the brains of 22 meditators and 22 age-matched nonmeditators and found that the meditators (who practiced a wide range of traditions and had between 5 and 46 years of meditation experience) had more gray matter in re-gions of the brain that are important for attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility. Increased gray matter typically makes an area of the brain more efficient or powerful at processing information. Luders believes that the increased gray matter in the meditators’ brains should make them better at controlling their attention, managing their emotions, and making mindful choices.

Why are there differences between the brains of meditators and nonmeditators? It’s a simple matter of training. Neuroscientists now know that the brain you have today is, in part, a reflection of the demands you have placed on it. People learning to juggle, for example, develop more connections in areas of the brain that anticipate moving objects. Medical students undergoing periods of intense learning show similar changes in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory. And mathematicians have more gray matter in regions important for arithmetic and spatial reasoning.

Meditation Timers and Alarm Clocks - Boulder, CO

Meditation Timers and Alarm Clocks - Boulder, CO

More and more neuroscientists, like Luders, have started to think that learning to meditate is no different from learning mental skills such as music or math. Like anything else that requires practice, meditation is a training program for the brain. “Regular use may strengthen the connections between neurons and can also make new connections,” Luders explains. “These tiny changes, in thousands of connections, can lead to visible changes in the structure of the brain.” Those structural changes, in turn, create a brain that is better at doing whatever you’ve asked it to do. Musicians’ brains could get better at analyzing and creating music. Mathematicians’ brains may get better at solving problems. What do meditators’ brains get better at doing? This is where it gets interesting: It depends on what kind of meditation they do.

Over the past decade, researchers have found that if you practice focusing attention on your breath or a mantra, the brain will restructure itself to make concentration easier. If you practice calm acceptance during meditation, you will develop a brain that is more resilient to stress. And if you meditate while cultivating feelings of love and compassion, your brain will develop in such a way that you spontaneously feel more connected to others.

Improve Your Attention

New research shows that meditation can help you improve your ability to concentrate in two ways. First, it can make you better at focusing on something specific while ignoring distractions. Second, it can make you more capable of noticing what is happening around you, giving you a fuller perspective on the present moment.

Some of the most fascinating research on how meditation affects attention is being conducted by Antoine Lutz, PhD, an associate scientist at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, in collaboration with Richard Davidson and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin. Their work has shown that concentration meditation, in which the meditator focuses complete attention on one thing, such as counting the breath or gazing at an object, activates regions of the brain that are critical for controlling attention. This is true even among novice meditators who receive only brief training. Experienced meditators show even stronger activation in these regions. This you would expect, if meditation trains the brain to pay attention. But extremely experienced meditators (who have more than 44,000 hours of meditation practice) show less activation in these regions, even though their performance on attention tasks is better. The explanation for this, in Lutz’s view, is that the meditation training can eventually help reduce the effort it takes to focus your attention. “This would be consistent with traditional accounts of progress in meditation practice. Sustaining focus becomes effortless,” Lutz says. This suggests that people can immediately enhance concentration by learning a simple meditation technique, and that practice creates even more progress.

The researchers also looked at whether vipassana meditation training can improve overall attention. (Vipassana means “to see things as they really are,” and the meditation techniques are designed to increase focus, awareness, and insight.) Researchers label our inability to notice things in our environment as “attentional blink.” Most of us experience this throughout the day, when we become so caught up in our own thoughts that we miss what a friend says to us and have to ask her to repeat it. A more dramatic example would be a car accident caused by your thinking about a conversation you just had and not noticing that the car in front of you has stopped. If you were able to reduce your attentional blink, it would mean a more accurate and complete perception of reality—you would notice more and miss less.

Time Your Meditation With A Zen Timepiece with Tibetan Singing Bowl

Time Your Meditation With A Zen Timepiece with Tibetan Singing Bowl

To test whether meditation reduces attentional blink, participants had to notice two things occurring in rapid succession, less than a second apart. The findings, published in PLoS Biology, reveal that the meditation training improved the participants’ ability to notice both changes, with no loss in accuracy.

What explained this improvement? EEG recordings—which track patterns of electrical activity in the brain, showing precise moment-by-moment fluctuations in brain activation—showed that the participants allocated fewer brain resources to the task of noticing each target. In fact, the meditators spent less mental energy no-ticing the first target, which freed up mental bandwidth for noticing what came next. Paying attention literally became easier for the brain.

As a result, Lutz and his colleagues be-lieve that meditation may increase our control over our limited brain resources. To anyone who knows what it’s like to feel scattered or overwhelmed, this is an ap-pealing benefit indeed. Even though your attention is a limited resource, you can learn to do more with the mental energy you already have.

Our Zen Timepiece’s acoustic 6-inch brass bowl-gong clock is the world’s ultimate alarm clock, practice timer, and “mindfulness bell.”  It fills your environment with beautifully complex tones whenever it strikes. In the morning, its exquisite sounds summon your consciousness into awakening with a series of subtle gongs that provide an elegant beginning to your day. Once you experience the Zen Timepiece’s progressive awakening, you’ll never want to wake up any other way. It also serves as the perfect meditation timer.

adapted from Yoga Journal, by Kelly McGonigal

Meditation Timers and Gentle Alarm Clocks
Meditation Timers and Gentle Alarm Clocks

Now & Zen’s Meditation Timer Shop

1638 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO  80302
(800) 779-6383

Posted in Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Zen Timers, intention, mindfulness practice, zen


Being Kept Awake…It Makes A Girl Want to Cry…Choose The Most Natural Way to Wake Up…Zen Clocks

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Being Kept Awake - What to Do? Ukiyoe Hokusai

Being Kept Awake - What to Do? Ukiyoe Hokusai

It’s annoying enough to be kept awake by a music-blaring neighbor, but when it’s you who is sabotaging your own opportunity for rest, it really makes a girl want to scream…and cry from exhaustion.

Stress-induced insomnia is rampant these days among 20- and 30-something women. Thanks to job and money craziness, hectic social schedules, and the pressure to be totally together, the typical chick is more tense than ever, and that means she’s getting less sleep than her body needs, explains Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and coauthor of A Woman’s Guide to Sleep.

Here, we explain how stress messes with your nocturnal schedule. Plus, we give tips to help you quiet your reeling brain and racing heart so you can get the R & R you need.

How Chronic Stress Screws Up Your System
It should be simple: You are tired and it’s bedtime, so you drift away within minutes of putting head to pillow. But when you’re stressed, things go haywire, and the exact opposite happens instead. Being even a little anxious can make your muscles tense, prompt your body to release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and elevate your heart rate.

You can feel these effects when you’re worried during the day. But at night, they have a stronger impact, overriding your ability to sleep or preventing you from staying asleep so you wake in the middle of the night, says Thomas Roth, PhD, director of the sleep center at the Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit. Even if you do manage to snooze, stress will make the rest you get more fitful. Plus, you’ll spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep rather than in deeper slow-wave and REM sleep, which leaves you vulnerable to waking in the middle of the night, explains Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of the Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and author of Sound Sleep, Sound Mind.

Why Women Have It Rougher
Hormonal shifts may make a woman more susceptible to anxiety during certain points in her cycle, such as during her preperiod week. But insomnia is also caused by the way so many chicks run their lives: cramming a ton of tasks and responsibilities into their schedules and not saying no to bosses, friends, and family members who ask them to take on more, says Walsleben.

When you’re juggling a zillion things all day, it’s almost impossible to chill out at night — especially since the time you’re waiting to fall asleep may be one of the only free moments during which you can contemplate your life. If you’re stressed, thoughts and worries will flood your mind, triggering physiological changes incompatible with drifting off.

Wake up with gradual, beautiful acoustic chimes. The Zen Alarm Clock transforms your mornings and gets you started right, with a progressive awakening

Wake up with gradual, beautiful acoustic chimes. The Zen Alarm Clock transforms your mornings and gets you started right, with a progressive awakening

The Snowball Effect
If stress kept you up only once every so often, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Unfortunately, it’s the snowball effect that makes the stress-sleeplessness trap so pernicious. “It’s called psychophysiologic insomnia,” says Walsleben. “After worrying about how you got no sleep the night before, you get into bed early the next night, worried that it’ll happen again. But this panic produces brain activity that makes it even harder to sleep, and the cycle continues for days, even weeks.”

Besides leaving you tired and cranky, insomnia also decreases your immunity, makes you forgetful, and can even lower your metabolism so you pack on pounds. It’s a health issue that affects your entire body, Walsleben adds. Beating the Stress/No-Sleep Cycle

Getting a handle on this kind of insomnia means learning how to reduce your stress levels during the day and keeping yourself from wigging out at night. These anxiety reducers will help.

Unplug yourself. Always being hooked up to your cell and social- networking sites boosts anxiety because you’re constantly anticipating the next call, text, or message. “Turning off your gadgets for an hour or two before you hit the sheets gives your brain time to turn off as well,” explains Allen Elkin, PhD, director of the Stress Management and Counseling Center, in New York City, and author ofStress Management for Dummies.

Take a nap. It sounds counterproductive, but a 30-minute nap will lower levels of cortisol, so you’ll wake up feeling less anxious. Try to nap before 2 p.m., when it’s less likely to cut into your regular sleep hours.

Write a been-done list. Instead of a to-do list, jot down everything you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, even small tasks. Seeing the list in writing will remind you that your life is less frazzled and out of control than you think it is, and that’ll help you chill.

Set a daytime worry slot. Late in the afternoon, take 20 minutes to think about only whatever it is that’s making you nervous at the moment. “Worries are never as bad in the day as they are at night, so you’re more likely to put things in perspective and come up with a plan of action,” says Walsleben.

Sink into sleep. While you’re lying there, obsessing over whether sleep will ever come, ease your nervous system with this trick: Imagine the muscles in your feet relaxing and melting into your mattress. Picture the same scenario with your calves, then your thighs, until you have worked your way up your entire body. In addition to relaxing your muscles, it’s a visualization tactic that calms your brain as well.

Take advantage of being up at night. Instead of freaking out about how tired you are going to be in the morning, treat your being awake at 2 a.m. as a lucky break, giving you time to enjoy soothing activities like reading. By viewing insomnia as a positive thing, you’ll have nothing to stress about, and paradoxically, you will likely have trouble keeping your eyes open much longer.Sleep Tricks
Below, little tactics that bring on the zzz’s and some that backfire.

What Works

Taking a hot bath before bed. Besides being relaxing in its own right, the steamy water also raises your core body temperature, and the subsequent drop in body temperature after you leave the tub puts you in hibernation mode.

Sipping a cup of warm milk. The warmth is comforting, but it’s really the milk that has a soporific effect. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin — a body chemical in the brain that makes you drowsy.

Playing quiet, soothing music. Folk, classical, and even lite-FM tunes that maintain a steady pitch and rhythm have a lulling effect on your system.

What’s Bunk

Exercising close to bedtime. Working out prompts the release of adrenaline and endorphins, hormones that keep you awake. Better to hit the gym at least three to four hours before you go to sleep so you give your body time to cool down and the hormone rush time to subside.

Having a drink. Alcohol can make you sleepy initially, but it will likely wake you up later as your body metabolizes the booze.

Snacking late at night. It varies depending on the type of food, but in most cases, eating will just pep you up. Even a rich, heavy snack that leaves you feeling woozy at first may cause you to wake in the middle of the night as your body digests the fat.

Wake up refreshed, love your alarm clock, transform your mornings with The Zen Alarm Clock’s progressive awakening with gentle chimes.

Boulder, Colorado—an innovative company has taken one of life’s most unpleasant experiences (being startled awake by your alarm clock early Monday morning), and transformed it into something to actually look forward to. “The Zen Alarm Clock,” uses soothing acoustic chimes that awaken users gently and gradually, making waking up a real pleasure.

Rather than an artificial recorded sound played through a speaker, the Zen Clock features an alloy chime bar similar to a wind chime.  When the clock’s alarm is triggered, its chime produces a long-resonating, beautiful acoustic tone reminiscent of a temple gong.  Then, as the ring tone gradually fades away, the clock remains silent until it automatically strikes again three minutes later.  The frequency of the chime strikes gradually increase over ten-minutes, eventually striking every five seconds, so they are guaranteed to wake up even the heaviest sleeper.  This gentle, ten-minute “progressive awakening” leaves users feeling less groggy, and even helps with dream recall.

Source: Registered nurse Joyce Walsleben, PhD

Progressive Chime Awakening - Choose the Most Natural Way to Wake Up

Progressive Chime Awakening - Choose the Most Natural Way to Wake Up

Now & Zen – ‘The Most Natural Way to Wake Up’ Clock Shop

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

orders@now-zen.com

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Sleep Habits, Zen Alarm Clock, sleep, zen


Mindfulness Clock Timer for Your Practice

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Choose a Soothing Chime Timer for Your Mindfulness Practice - Utgarwa Beauty

Choose a Soothing Chime Timer for Your Mindfulness Practice - Utgarwa Beauty

Mindfulness

“Mindfulness” is the spiritual practice of being aware of your present moment. World famous Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh has developed the use of a bowl-gong in a practice he calls the “mindfulness bell.” When you hear the sound of the mindfulness bell, you are invited to take a moment to breathe in and out and center yourself in the present.  This practice allows the sound of the bowl-gong to periodically connect you to the peace and tranquility that resides inside you right now.  This delightful practice reduces stress and improves your overall health.
Mindfulness practice, is increasingly being employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions.
Scientific research into mindfulness generally falls under the umbrella of positive psychology. Research has been ongoing over the last twenty or thirty years, with a surge of interest over the last decade in particular. In 2011, The Natural Institute for Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) released the findings of a study wherein magnetic resonance images of the brains of 16 participants 2 weeks before and after mindfulness meditation practitioners, joined the meditation program were taken by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Bender Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It concluded that “..these findings may represent an underlying brain mechanism associated with mindfulness-based improvements in mental health. [From Wikipedia]
Choose a Yoga & Meditation Timer with Soothing Chimes

Choose a Yoga & Meditation Timer with Soothing Chimes

The Zen Timepiece can serve as a mindfulness bell in two ways: it can be set to strike on the hour (providing an hourly moment of stillness), or it can be set to strike at a programmed interval, such as every 20 minutes, or even every three hours.
Soothing Chime Meditation & Yoga Timers from Now & Zen, Inc.

Soothing Chime Meditation & Yoga Timers from Now & Zen, Inc.

Now & Zen – The Meditation

& Yoga Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Well-being, Yoga Timer, Yoga Timers by Now & Zen, mindfulness practice, yoga, zen


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