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Men And Mindfulness.

2018 has been something of a moment for mindfulness. The mindfulness market generated huge $1.2 billion in 2017 alone and 4 in 10 of our American buddies over the pond say they meditate at least weekly. A recent study from the University of South Carolina has shown that mindfulness is more than just a hipster trend to be practised by Instagram #fitspos – in fact, we could all use some mindfulness in our lives. The study has revealed that practising mindful movement can play a role in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. “When people were both more mindful and more active than usual, they seem to have this extra decrease in negative affect,” said Chih-Hsiang “Jason” Yang, who conducted the study. With around 2/3 more women practising mindfulness than men, where are all the mindful men and why are fewer men than women jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon to better mental health?

Is it time to hold off on the weight training?

Maybe mindfulness simply does not work for men?

A study conducted by Brown University back in 2017 revealed that men might not get the same benefits from mindfulness as women. The study showed women experienced increases on scales measuring mindfulness and self-compassion whereas men did not experience any measures of experiential or self-acceptance. However, how much of this came down to the different emotional expectations placed upon the genders? Dr. Willoughby Britton, reflected upon the disparity stating how, “while facing one’s difficulties and feeling one’s emotions may seem to be universally beneficial, it does not take into account that there may be different cultural expectations for men and women around emotionality.”

It seems, therefore, the problem is not with biology but with culture. Whilst women are expected to be honest and open about their emotions, men have been condition to well, ‘take it like a man’ making it no surprise that man are less likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue, despite the fact 3 our of 4 suicides are men. With women being encouraged to weight train as much as they’re encouraged to roll out their yoga mats and downward dog, men have a much more prescriptive work out routine deemed as acceptable. A man heading to the gym to practise mindfulness and yoga begs the question do you even lift, bro? Yet, in their research, the University of South Carolina noted no discrepancies between the genders – both reaped the benefits of mindful movement.

Perhaps, it is time men joined the mindful movement?

Fear not, being ‘mindful’ does not have to mean sitting under a tree with your legs crossed in search of the elusive meaning of life. Who has time for that? In fact, previous studies have highlighted how we need to rethink our approach to mindfulness so that men can enjoy the same results as seen by women, Dr. Britton noted. Simply opting to take a walk can provide a good opportunity to be more mindful of your breathing and surroundings, which has been shown to boost the wellbeing of both men as well as women. According to researchers, participants reported being less stressed while they were on their feet and moving than those who remained sedentary and those who took the time to practise mindful thinking saw an even greater benefit in their mental wellness.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated in order for you to reap the benefits. Even just one introductory session has been shown to encourage not only psychological but also physiological benefits in men, including helping to monitor heart rate, blood pressure and aortic blood pressure. Mindfulness has also been shown reduce seizures and to help men suffering from prostate cancer, with a study conducted by the Northwestern University how intervention from mindfulness medication led to significantly greater resilience and less anxiety when going through treatment.

Culture has dictated that men should avoid emotions, however, perhaps it is time to look beyond gender stereotypes and begin embracing the benefits of mindfulness. The real question now is; do you even Bandha, bro?

Jamie x

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Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180621112007.htm

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00551/full

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170420113801.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423135048.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160526185426.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180215110337.htm

http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1946-105603-2878495/20180129/the-meditation-industry

 

Sunshine Blogger Award.

Hey guys! Something a little bit different for you today (and on a Wednesday! 3 posts in one week? Christmas came early this year, ey?) I am so honoured to have been nominated by the lovely Emily for the Sunshine Blogger Award! She is an incredible blogger who has been such an inspiration to me and I am so glad to have her as one of my blogging friends. I would seriously recommend checking out her blog as she is a fantastic writer with such a big heart. I wish her all of the success in world. 

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This award is all about bringing positivity to the blogging community, and inspiring others to do the same. As it is voted for by other bloggers, there are a few rules that you have to stick to (not being a party pooper guys – they’re fun rules!).

RULES:

Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog so others can find them.
Answer the 11 questions which the blogger who nominated you asked.
Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 different questions.
List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.

Okay, let’s get started!

EMILY’S 11 QUESTIONS:

Why did you pick the blog name that you did?

So my blog is called jamieleejenkins.com (not very imaginative, I know). No surprises here but it’s called that because, well… that’s my name. I toyed with the idea of having a more exciting name but I am the most indecisive person in the entire universe and I couldn’t find something that I thought summed up my little corner of the internet. I decided therefore that the best option was to let my Mum decide and go for my name – what could possibly sum me up better? 

Name a blog that inspires you.

Without a doubt ruthinrevolt.com! She is such a ray of sunshine and I am so inspired by how hard she works. Ruth in a fantastic writer and her content is always so motivational. I would serious recommend checking her out as she deserves all the love and support in the world.

What is your favourite aspect of your blog?

I love having my own little space on the internet that’s mine. Writing has always been an absolute passion of mine but I used to really struggle with technical stuff. With a lot of hard work, I managed to pick up loads of new skills and I am incredible proud of how I have managed to develop my little blog. It’s never been about stats for me, but hearing how my work has helped my readers is so motivational and makes all the hard work worth while. I adore my blog and everyone I have had the pleasure of coming across through it.

Best blogging tip?

Everyone says it but it is so so true – Be authentic and love what you do.

When you love your work it really does shine through in the writing and it is such a great thing to see. I guess from this I would also say give yourself a break if you need it. There is no shame in having down time and no content is better than forced content. 

If you were only able to watch one film for the rest of your life, what film would you choose and why?

I am going to go with Forrest Gump. I think it is such a beautiful film that has me laughing and crying in the same scene. I adore the story line and think the acting is incredible. It has some really important lessons of love, life and loss. As Forrest said, ‘life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get’.

Where do you write the majority of your blog posts?

I’d love to say something cool like in a coffee shop in central London but that would be a massive lie. I do love writing out and about as it gives me some great inspiration and makes me feel like a proper little professional but the majority of the time I write sat at my desk at home whilst cuddling my puppies.

What is your favourite item that you own?

This was a really hard one but I am going to go with my MacBook. I honestly could not be without it. It helps so much when it comes to blogging and keeping in touch with the community and it is where I watch most of my TV (I’m a bit of a Netflix addict). I was torn between this and my phone but the MacBook won because, well… it’s rose gold. 

You are stranded on a desert island, but have your three favourite books with you – what are they?

I have recently got back into reading after my degree so this is such a perfect question! I am going to do with Angels and Demons by Dan Brown because I could read this 1000 times and still find something new in it. I think he is such a fantastic author. Next, I would go for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson for similar reasons. I have only recently read this book but I think it is fantastic – definitely in my top 3. Finally, I would go for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (one had to be Harry Potter, right?). I chose this one because it is one of my favourite books in the series and has one of my favourite chapters ever written in it – The Prince’s Tale.

Fruits or vegetables?

Fruits! I love fruit and vegetables but I have to give this one to fruit. I make a delicious dark cherry and chocolate protein smoothie for my post-workout that I am truly obsessed with. As good as veggies are I just couldn’t say goodbye…

What is the main aim of your blog?

I want to make people smile. 

The main aim for me was to help others through my writing and make them smile. Life can get pretty tough sometimes and I wanted my little corner of the internet to be a place where readers could gain knowledge, make friends and have a breather.

Any goals for the rest of 2018? List them below, and let us help you reach them. 

Yes, yes, yes! 

  1. I want to smash my first ever job! I start next week (eek!)
  2. I would love to hit 5000 blog views and Twitter follows, which may be optimistic but let’s see.
  3. Continue with my mental and physical health journey and see out 2018 the happiest yet.
  4. Book a holiday for next summer with my savings from my job.
  5. Maybe earn a little bit of money from my blog.

Watch this space guys! 

My 11 Questions:

  1. Who is your biggest inspiration in the blogging world?
  2. When you’re feeling down what is one thing that is guaranteed to make you smile?
  3. Summer or Winter? Why?
  4. What are 3 things you have learnt from blogging?
  5. What are your 3 favourite things about yourself?
  6. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
  7. What is your best childhood memory?
  8. If you were hosting a dinner party and could invite 5 people, dead or alive, who would you invite?
  9. And what would you cook for them?
  10. What would your top tip be for practising self love?
  11. What are your goals for the rest of 2018 and how can we help you smash them?

I AM NOMINATING: Charlene, Cara, Vikki, Britt, Lupe, Samantha, Dalindcy, Rachael, Jade, Daniela, Alys

I have chosen then 11 bloggers because I adore their content and have had the pleasure of meeting them either online or in the big wide world and I think they are absolute rays of sunshine. I cannot wait to see the nominee’s responses!

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time. 

Jamie x 

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1, 2, FRÉ: Skin Care For Women Who Sweat.

I never really thought about what sweating and running around all the time was doing to my skin. I would rock up to the gym with the make up I had had on all day and then stay in that make up until I went to bed that night. Yeah, I know… this is gross in hindsight but it’s oh so practical. Anyway, my skin was suffering. I have been really lucky with my skin and never really suffered from spots. However, recently I have been struggling with spots, dry skin and black heads. I put 2 and 2 together and decided it really was time for me to start taking care of my skin the same way as I take care of my body. A few weeks ago now the lovely folks at FRÉ sent me over their 3-step solution for skin that sweats and I decided to share my thoughts with you guys.

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Spoiler: I am impressed. 

Before I get into reviewing the products, I thought I would share with you a little bit about the ethos behind the brand.

‘FRÉ has emerged out of admiration for active women, through a willingness to promote authentic beauty in motion, a drive to refresh the skincare industry and express positive social values all over the world, and the clear and obvious need for a line of facial skincare products that will take sweat and exercise-induced damages into account. After all, no woman wants her face to suffer for the sake of her body…’ – FRÉ

Yeah, I can get on board with that. And if this empowering ethos supporting strong women isn’t enough, the products are also vegan AND for every purchase of their products, they plant an Argan tree to help replenish the forest. All the more reason to treat yourself to some new skincare, right? Plus, the packaging is really sleek and elegant… I really care about packaging, okay?

This is all very nice, Jamie… but why do I need special skincare? Well, when you work out (especially if you’re an outdoors sort of gal) your skin is subject to extra damage. These products are specifically designed to revive your skin after your workout and protect you from issues such as photo-sensitivity, dark spots, irritation, breakouts, over-redness and premature ageing. Now it is nice whether I am training outside a lot more, so this is great, but I also think these products are fab for those girls who might be training (and sweating) in your make up.

Now on to the products. So I got gifted the 1, 2, FRÉ set (which I would definitely recommend if you can!). In this set you get an SPF30 moisturiser, a daily facial cleanser and a gorgeous replenishing serum.

The moisturiser, other wise known as ‘Protect Me’ should be used daily in the morning and as well as SPF30, it also has strong anti-aging properties (it’s never too early!). I would using this product in the morning before my makeup and it kept my skin feeling super smooth without feeling greasy or sticky. I found that when I was training, my complexion stayed a lot more even and I did not find moisturiser remnants dripping off my face as I have done in the past.

Next up is ‘Purify Me’ – your daily facial cleanser. This can be applied morning, evenings and post-workout. If I was going straight home after a workout I would use this product then, but most of the time it would be an evening thing. It felt so gentle on my face but helped remove all the rubbish I had left on my face. As it isn’t harsh at all, I use this product every day and it is fab. I think if you can only get one of these products it it this one I would recommend. It purifies your skin and pores, prevent post-workout breakouts and calms skin.

And finally it is the ‘Revive Me’, which  is your deep replenishing serum that builds your skin resilience and fights the signs of ageing whilst creating a natural glow. I ma not one to go out without make up but this serum really did give my skin life and made it feel smooth and dewy without being greasy. I use this product every evening after cleansing my face.   with exceptional anti-wrinkles and skin tightening powers. It creates a natural healthy glow.

These products are not cheap and I was lucky enough to have been sent them to try out, but honestly I really do recommend them. I have pretty sensitive skin and have been in search of something like this for a while. My skin is looking loads better and finally has some life back, even after a full day of training and revising. Thank you FRÉ, you guys are fab! 

Jamie x 

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Why You Should Be Doing Yoga…

As you will know if you follow me on Instagram, I have been experimenting with yoga. I will be totally honest with you, I am really rubbish at yoga. It takes a mix of both physical and mental strength, resilience and the ability to not laugh when you fall over trying to cock your leg in the air. These are skills that I am unfortunately lacking in… Despite this, yoga has loads of benefits and so I’m going to try and stick with it. I thought I would share with you guys some of the reasons why you should be doing yoga. 

The History 

Eurgh, history, how boring.

Trust me guys. I get you. But your girl has got to at least pretend she is doing something productive for her degree. Also, the history of yoga is really important to know as it is an integral part of the practise. In all of my classes, we have given thanks to its history and its development into what it is today, whilst maintaining the principles that existed way back when…

Developed in India, yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for the last 5,000 years, so don’t feel bad if you don’t pick it up in the first session. The original people who practised yoga were called yogis (cute, right!) and started in reaction to India’s ancient Vedic religion, which emphasised rituals. See, this was not quite enough for the yogis and so they developed yoga as a way to gain direct spiritual experience with the divine consciousness individually rather than symbolic ritual. Hence the fact yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the classical language of India.
So, what are the benefits?
Now you have had a quick history lesson, what are the actual benefits of taking up yoga. In a weight lifting world, yoga kind of gets mugged off a bit, sitting below even cardio on the ‘ways to get a bubble but’ list. However, fitness is not all about getting a big booty. I know, shocking really. It is about mental, physical and spiritual well being and, with yoga, you get all three. For all you folks scared to leave the weights room at the risk of wasting a session, or people training for a marathon who dare not dedicate time to anything other than the treadmill, have a think about yoga. Yoga is a highly restorative activity that helps to better align the body, which can help with a huge variety of different sports. Being renowned for it flexibility benefits, yoga is a great way to prevent any shortening of the muscles that can come with repetitive training such as running. Although not typically associated with strength, maintaining a decent level of muscular flexibility is super important and overly tight muscles can become weak because they have an inability to fully contract and relax. Yoga, therefore, can help with both endurance and resistance training and help prevent any risk of injury. Yoga is also great for strengthening and mobilising the core, improving posture and preventing unwanted compensatory movements – positives when it comes to pretty much any sport.
Beyond being good at keeping you nice and supple, yoga actually does help to keep you fit and maintaining a healthy weight. It might not exactly be a HIIT session, but yoga does use up energy and so it does burn calories so is a great form of exercise for older individuals or people just wanting to get a little more active without signing up for the next Tough Mudder. The benefits don’t end with the gym either. Yoga has been proven to help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in sufferers. Research has also shown that yoga can help with insomnia, due to the relaxation benefits of the practise.
Beyond the physical benefits, yoga is also great for mental and spiritual wellbeing. As someone who has tried yoga quite a few times, I have to say that I haven’t quite got to the stage of enlightenment just yet but I certainly do feel accomplished when I master a new position. These benefits do take time but, according to science (and all the lovely people at my Ashtanga yoga class) are very real and worth sticking it out for. You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote about lifting and your libido. Well, turns out there is a link between your sex drive and yoga as well, with yoga actually increasing your sexual satisfaction. Apparently, sexual performance is enhanced in both men and women when they practise yoga, so sign you are your partner up for a class before your next Netflix and Chill session. This could also be helped along by the fact that yoga can help to increase self confidence (something I have definitely experienced!) and boost your mood.  By encouraging relaxation, yoga can help to lower the levels of the stress hormones, which has also been linked with helping sufferers of anxiety. Related benefits  to the lowering of cortisol include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system – so grab yourself a mat and get started!
I started yoga because I was intrigued, I got a yoga mat for Christmas and I was procrastinating. I don’t love it yet. I don’t even always like it. But it offers me a way to get to know my body in a different way to any other exercise I do. It allows me to take time to push out of my comfort zone and exercise not for social media or for huge weight loss, but just for me and my body. Namaste to that. 
Jamie x 
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Sources: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/reasons-to-do-yoga_us_576802c3e4b0fbbc8beaf4621.https://wanderlust.com/journal/21-reasons-yoga/http://www.yogasite.com/why.htm