You are here: Debras Wellness Tips
Debras Wellness Tips
Work Stress Busters
6 August 2012
Nowhere is stress more likely than in the workplace.
Twenty-five percent of people say that their job is the primary stressor in their lives.
Job stress can affect your professional and personal relationships, your livelihood, and your health.
The good news is that youre not powerless.
You can learn better ways of coping with stress.
~ Mayo Clinic Staff
While work stress has been considered the most common stressor, with an increased
awareness you can lower your work stress. Give some of these stress busters at chance to
make a difference for you:
- Change your shoes and listen to music or use aromatherapy on the way home to help
you leave your job at work.
- Put a small mirror near your work station so you can catch a glimpse of yourself to
remind you to put a smile on your face.
- Have a special water glass, cup, or bottle so you stay hydrated on the job.
- Keep a stress inventory for one week and then prioritize solutions (take the bus rather than
fight the traffic; have a neighbor pick up your son; make lunches for the week on Sunday
evening; etc.) you can implement one at a time.
- Walk on your lunch break, or book slots of me time on your business calendar.
- Vary your routine by entering or leaving by different doors, or taking your laptop and
spending some work time out in nature.
- Create a gratitude list for the interpersonal connections you find easy to appreciate.
If it is challenging to identify them at first, prime the pump by practicing some random acts
- Keep a tennis ball at your desk and slip your shoe off and roll the ball back and forth
under the arch of your foot for about a minute noticing how tender areas release.
- Coach stressful thoughts right out of your head by using your logic to do a reframe.
If you have to work late, affirm the truth that you are fortunate to have a job. When something unexpected
happens, realize that your brain is growing new neuronal patterns. If you get passed over for a promotion,
appreciate the ease of familiarity of tasks.
- The more stressful a situation is the more important it is to remember to breathe....
This week notice what a difference these make. Choose your favorites, and then share them with
at least one friend, family member, or co-worker, saying how well they are working.
30 July 2012
As you get out-of-doors and enjoy the summer, you are more exposed to the sun. Being
knowledgeable about good skin care is vital. Your skin is your bodys protective cover,
and, as such, skin is one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Skin is the largest
organ of the bodyweighing about 8 pounds and covering about 22 square feet of surface.
Think about your skin as the container you live inside. (See National Geographic,
Skin at http://bit.ly/dhIRHr)
Year round you will want to moisturize daily, using products that avoid these additives:
A carcinogenic impurity, formaldehyde is released by a number of preservatives used
in cosmetics. On labels, look for: Formaldehyde itself and the following preservatives:
diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, or quaternium-15.
Another carcinogenic chemical, 1,4-dioxane was found to contaminate almost 50 percent
of personal care products tested in 2008. 1,4-dioxane isnt an ingredient listed on
labels but an unwanted byproduct of processing. On labels, look for: PEG
(polyethylene glycol) and ingredients that contain eth.
- Retinyl Palmitate (a form of vitamin A)
Frequently found in personal care products such as moisturizers and sunscreens, when
used on skin that is exposed to sun, retinyl palmitate speeds the development of skin
tumors and lesions. (Note: This is much different than taking vitamin A orally.) In 2011,
the ingredient was found in two-fifths of sunscreens. On labels, look for: Retinyl palmitate.
(See Better Nutrition, July 2012, Skin Salvation.)
The real risks to skin are free radicals, and the process that damages skin is essentially
the same that makes an apple turn dark after you bite or cut into it. Plant-based foods are
really good for your skin because the antioxidants contained within them lessen the risk of
Remember that your skin needs vitamins! In addition to enjoying a healthy, plant-based diet,
think about your intake of essential fats (omega 3, 6, and 9) as a way you feed your skin. Eat foods
of many colors to get all the antioxidants. Specifically, the carotenoids found in orange and yellow
plant foods work to protect your skin against sun damage.
Additionally, you want to drink plenty of water in the summer because when you stay well hydrated
your skin is actually less prone to damage.
This week, give some thought to the valuable container you live inside. It may not be a
Ming vase, but your skin matters!
Natural Migraine Relief
23 July 2012
A recent Huffington Post article on natural migraine relief caught my attention, not just
for those who have suffered from migraine headaches, but for each of us who has found you
make a choice to be healthier because life is too precious to waste. Here is a link
to the article: http://huff.to/ScnFs6.
Share this summary of suggestions for what you can do for natural migraine relief.
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Peppermint (aromatherapy)
- Regular exercise
- Rubbing the temples
- Drinking plenty of water
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has a webpage for both feverfew and
butterbur. See http://nccam.nih.gov/health/feverfew and http://nccam.nih.gov/health/butterbur for more information about where
science is weighing in on these at the moment.
If you have been a regular reader, you will notice and appreciate how many of these have
previously been highlighted in the Wellness Tips, including in the March 21, 2011, tip
on headache prevention.
This week, pay close attention to the way your wellness is overlapping. Good choices
affect all of you, as you continue to find natural ways to feel better while getting healthier.
Cool Under the Collar
16 July 2012
Drinking hot tea this summer to stay cool under the collar? That is very wise of you,
as you will see in Cool Down with a Hot Drink (see http://n.pr/L7OAAr).
Here are some easy tips for staying healthy in the heat that were shared in the
July 24, 2011 tip:
- Take kids to the lake or pool or let them enjoy water-balloons, playing in the sprinkler,
or with squirt guns.
- Wear loose clothing. Maybe you have a granny gown or a gauze wedding shirt still
hanging in a closet.
- Eat light meals. Ever notice you get hot after a big meal? That is your furnace
firing up to burn off the calories!
- Choose cotton or linen or seersucker fabrics.
- Take an ice pack to bed with you.
- Run cool water over your wrists to cool your pulse points the same way
a cold washcloth lowers a fever.
- Ditch the down pillow until fall or winter. Switch to one made of organic cotton.
- Eat spicy foods! They make you sweat and that will cool you down.
- Sip on lemonade quinine water.
- Control your temper.
Since anger is heat or fire in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), here are three
great energy medicine tips well worth using. As you do these, you can include some
This week, keep your cool as you make these easy energy medicine holds a standard
part of your self-care. You will enjoy the benefits after even a few brief moments of holding.
- Hold your middle finger. (Jin Shin Jyutsu)
- Place the palm of one hand lightly on your forehead with your little finger
by your eyebrows and thumb by your hairline. Place your other hand lightly at the
back of your neck with your thumb pointing down and your little finger pointing up.
- Using your thumbs, locate the tender points (see image) somewhere along a vertical
line directly below where your armpit connects to your upper chest. Rub with a moderate
pressure until the point is no longer tender to your touch. (Acupressure)
9 July 2012
Sometimes we hear terms without really understanding what is meant, and knowing how
this is relevant for you. For example, what is embodiment, and what does it mean when
you are fully embodied? To put it very simply, it means that you are intimately aware of
the movement of your body in space, and of the healthy flow of energy within your body.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you will want to be very intentional to be
aware of both of these. Without energy awareness, the legs move, the arms raise and lower,
but there is a sense of just going through the motions of life. That can result in sitting
at our desk for too long or waiting too long to go to the restroom or to get a drink of water.
It can also mean we could have missed the opportunity to really get the most out of our genes:
Our bodies were made to move.
The January 2, 2012, tip (Low Downs on Let-Downs) highlighted the benefit of
exercise to lessen, eliminate, or prevent seasonal depression. February 27, 2012, we
looked at how children of all ages Need to Play. April 16, 2012, the wellness tip was
on the value of bouncing. Now we are reading that breast cancer risk was reduced by 30
percent in women who exercise 10 hours a week. (See http://cbsn.ws/KHIVAN)
Here is a link for you to see the adorable movement beyond this still shot of Cory
dancing to Beyoncé! Over 32 million people have taken time to enjoy viewing the two-and-one-half-minute
This week, begin to see and seize opportunities that allow you to love to be aware of the
energy and move your body. Yes, dancing, tai chi, walkingthese movements can become your way of life.
You can also begin to feel the dance in every movement you make. On your way to get the
mail or to get into your car, sense the rhythm of your own movement. Awaken your inner
Cory and enjoy being fully embodied.
Sweet Orange Oil
2 July 2012
Once you have begun to value the benefit of aromatherapy as a general aid to your health and well-being, you will go on to discover specific oils you especially appreciate. One such oil you might explore is sweet orange oil.
Some of the suggested benefits and suggested uses include:
- A few drops drizzled into the bottom of it will freshen your waste basket.
- Mix a couple dozen drops in about half a cup of water and spray on your houseplants
to discourage pests.
- Place drops on an air vent as a natural air freshener that can lift the mood
in the room.
- A dozen drops with a quarter cup of sea salt makes a rejuvenating bath.
- That same mixture can be used to freshen and purify cutting boards.
More medicinal uses include: Colds, constipation, dull skin, flatulence,
flatulence, flu, gums, mouth, slow digestion, stress. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), pp. 57-67.]
As with any medicine one might be suggested to use, be sure to make sure
it is good for you. Some people do have citrus allergies, just as some are allergic
You can buy an orange and when you peel it, take a moment to squeeze a bit of the
rind. You should be able to smell the sweet orange oil releasing. If you buy Sweet
Orange Oil, be sure you select a pure essential oil so you get the most out of this
amazing world we live in.
This week, explore a bit and let what you find around you heal youphysically,
emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
25 June 2012
Aching backs are a common complaint. In fact, lower pack discomfort is one of the most
frequent presenting problems at pain clinics and medical facilities across the globe.
It may seem fishy to mention the fact, but including plenty of oils that come from fish
is something you can do for good back health. For more about the benefits of fish oils,
see Debras Wellness Tips, Something Fishy, December 4, 2011, at
However, proper sleeping postures play a big role in your having a comfortable back.
Sleeping postures are generally one of three positions: on your side, on your back,
or on your stomach. Mayo Clinic has provided tips for each of these that will assist
your helping if you have had a back issue, and keeping good back health if you already
enjoy that. Here is the link: http://bit.ly/7SFwWe
When sleeping on your side, use a thin pillow between your knees to prevent your top knee
from sliding forward and resting on the mattress, causing the lower spine to rotate.
When sleeping or lying on your back, slip a pillow underneath your knees. This is a
familiar position to you in massage or body work. I always put a pillow under my clients
knees when they come in for a session. If you have had back discomfort, the Mayo Clinic
information suggests a rolled towel be placed under the small of your back. Use a good
pillow under your head. It is very good to relieve the pressure off your spine. This
aids in circulation and assists energy flow.
If you have tried to stop sleeping on your stomach, but still find you do sometimes do,
at those times, the suggestion is to be sure to place a pillow beneath your pelvis and
abdomen, and one under your head if you can do that comfortably.
This week, if you have not yet added the Everlasting Peace guided imagery audio to
your sleeping habits, you might want to do that now. You can sample listen and purchase
the audio file at http://www.scs-matters.com/products_download.shtml. CDs are available
at http://www.scs-matters.com/products.shtml. The current research
indicates about 7 hours of restful sleep might be optimal for good mental, emotional,
and physical health, and now you know how so you can get that!
18 June 2012
I have been working on an article about the benefits of silence for the July Beyond
Mastery newsletter (you can sign up for free at http://www.scs-matters.com/beyondmastery.shtml). As part of my research
for that article I was reflecting on various comments about silence. One of my favorites is
printed on a T-shirt of a good friend: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.
The benefits of silence might also be thought of as part of an approach to preventative
medicine. That is certainly something we need more of. It is reported that the National
Institutes of Health and other governmental agencies, along with pharmaceutical companies
and private research groups in the United States, spends a whopping $100 billion every
year on research for new interventions. That is like spending all of our money to mop up the
floor without patching the roof, closing the window, or turning the faucet off.
According to a recent article, We Should Be in a Race for Prevention, Not Cures,
James R. Knickman says we will do better if we move to a more balanced research agenda. It
is undisputable that prevention is a much better investment, dollar-for-dollar, than treatment,
and that truth means a lot to you personally. You can read Knickmans article at
Dee Edington would agree. And I think you will agree that his biography
(http://bit.ly/K2yhFN) is pretty impressive:
Dee W. Edington is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan,
Director of the Health Management Research Center, and Research Scientist in the School of
Public Health. In addition to his research and teaching, he spent 25 years in academic
administration. Trained in mathematics, kinesiology and biochemistry, Dr. Edington received
his BS and PhD degrees from Michigan State University and completed his MS at Florida State
University. He did post doctoral work at the University of Toronto and taught at the University
of Massachusetts before coming to Michigan in 1976.
In his very informative book, Zero Trends, Edington sums up prevention in the
workplace in this way:
Dr. Edingtons research focuses on the precursors of disease and vitality. His interest
is in the relationships between healthy lifestyles, vitality and quality of life, as they
benefit both individuals and organizations. He is specifically interested in how individual
health promotion, worksite wellness activities and programs within organizations impact health
care cost containment, productivity, and human resource development. He is the author or
co-author of over 500 articles, presentations and several books, including Biology of
Physical Activity, Biological Awareness, Frontiers of Exercise Biology, The One-Minute
Manager Balances Work and Life, and Zero Trends: Health as a Serious Economic Strategy.
The Health Management Research Centers Health Risk Appraisal has been completed by
over 3.5 million individuals. The concepts and materials from the Center have influenced
health promotion and wellness programs in over hundreds of corporate worksites. Current
research is concentrated on twenty organizations and over 2 million persons who have been
in the Health Managements Research Centers database up to 20 years. These longitudinal
studies continue to provide leading edge research learning opportunities.
- Dont get worse.
- Keep healthy employees healthy.
- Create a culture of health.
This week, do your own assessment and notice the ways you can practice preventative
medicine in your own life. Identify one or two lifestyle choices that will allow you to
maintain your best levels of well-being now and into the future. Be willing to give up
things that are just not good for you in the long run, so you can enjoy life. Notice how
your doing that contributes to helping your family, friends, colleagues, and/or co-workers.
11 June 2012
This tip might have been titled This Ones for the Girls but then men may have not
read this information and it is important that you share this tip with all the women
you know and love because it not only minimizes breast tenderness and reduces breast
lumps, it just might also protect them from breast cancer! What woman in your life would
you not want to know how to do that?
From Ladies have you Phluffed Your Girls Today? by Cheryl Chapman, a breast care
advocate dedicated to empowering and educating women about breast care, these are the
benefits of reducing breast congestion:
- Softens breasts
- Relieves breast pain
- Decreases lumps and cysts from fibrocystic breasts
- Moves lymph and brings T-Cells to protect the breast
- Reduces breast tenderness during pregnancy
- Enhances breast feeding
Chapman says daily phluffing allows a woman to become familiar with her breasts
which makes it easier to do a self breast exam. Thank you, Cheryl for inspiring women to
good breast health. Phluffing maintains healthy breasts, and it feels good!
There is an art to phluffing and Cheryl Chapman has put together specific directions
with great descriptions, directions, and illustrations. You can take a few moments to check
it out at this link: http://www.cherylchapman.com/pdf/phluff.pdf. You can even print the
information. As we all know, breast cancer is no party. Phluffing just might be a key
to prevent the most prevalent cancer in women.
This week, post my wellness tip on your Facebook page, and send it along to all of
your friends, family members, and co-workers. Here is the link:
http://www.scs-matters.com/Debra-blog.shtml Every woman deserves to have
good breast health.
4 June 2012
For all of our similarities, humans differ greatly from one another. We have
unique history (or her story), and a unique perspective or viewpoint. Now
viewpoints are interesting because they seem like reality, but in reality,
they are just a point of view.
Office politics are usually thought to be just a given, but notice what
happens when you think about winning and losing as simply being points of
view. Some people have thought the only way to play is to play to win,
but if we give up playing to win, we dont play to lose. You can play to play.
View every encounter in your life as an opportunity to build relationships
and to deepen awareness. Here are some phrases that remind us how to play to play:
The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake.
The five most important words: You did a good job.
The four most important words: What is your opinion?
The three most important words: If you please.
The two most important words: Thank you.
The most important word: We
The least important word: I
While it is not practical to ignore I completely, you can build
from I, going up that ladder of insight and relationship building. From I to
we; thank you; if you please; what is your opinion; you did a good job; I made
If you have found yourself within a group where the politics is problematic,
you might appreciate knowing that, because everyone is different, you can catch
more bees with honey than with vinegar. Learn to observe others from a point of
view of curiosity, and as the book with the same title hints, go about bending
the golden rule to give others what they want. Rather than taking office politics
personally, see the opportunity for your developing greater emotional intelligence.
That is a skill you can take to the bank....
This week, play to play. After all we can play together, even when were on
opposite teams. It really changes the way you look back on things at the end of
28 May 2012
A wall angel is a great stretching exercise that you can do against a wall, or even on the floor.
Of course, then you might have to call it a floor angel. Nicky Hilsen has a short article in
Massage & Bodywork Magazine (May/June 2012) describing the technique, and I found several videos
by simply doing a Google search for wall angel. The steps are quite simple, but the results can
be very profound, even treating or preventing upper-crossed syndrome (a rather troublesome muscle
tightness and weakness which contributes to shoulder difficulties).
- Stand with your back against the wall with your feet about 6 to 8 inches from the wall. Bend
your knees a bit and slightly tip your pelvis toward the wall to protect your low back.
- Imagine a string going straight up from the top of your head as you tuck in your chin ever
so slightly. Let your shoulders soften down away from your ears.
- Bring your arms out at a 90 degree angle, at about shoulder level, and bend your arms
at the elbow (also at 90 degrees) while keeping the backs of your hands, your wrists, and the
backs of your forearms as flat as possible against the wall.
- Using your breath and maintaining contact with the wall, exhale as you slide your
elbows up along the wall. Inhale down to 90 degrees, and on the next exhale, slide your
elbows down toward your hips. Inhale back and rest. Repeat a few times, allowing the
stretch to strengthen weak back muscles and lengthen strong front muscles.
If you do this stretch on the floor, be sure to bend your knees and keep your feet flat on
the floor. Again, your pelvis and chin will be tucked in. Some research indicates that physical
flexibility is related to mental agility as well. If you are new to stretching, you might want
a good general book describing the benefits and the techniques, such as Delaviers
This week, stretch your point of view whenever life gives you the opportunity. Rather than automatically
think either/or, allow yourself to see both/and, even if you have to use your imagination. And remember
it is really helpful when you make sounds as you stretch.
21 May 2012
As we move outdoors to enjoy summer fun, we are moving into territory that is
home to ticks. We do know ticks are part of nature, but since they can carry disease,
it is best to have some simple tick tips.
- Get into the habit of wearing light colored clothing so ticks are easily
spotted and removed from your garments.
- Socks with sneakers or hiking boots are better than sandals.
- You can tuck long pants right into your socks.
- Staying on the trail lets you avoid dense vegetation where the ticks live.
Some natural repellents include garlic pillsand, yes, the odorless version
seems to work just fine. Neem oil, available at health food stores or online,
can be rubbed directly on the skin. Neem oil comes from a type of evergreen in
India. Tea tree oil is an astringent, and it is best to be mixed with water
(just a bit more water than oil) and sprayed on.
You may be interested in knowing that Vitamin B complex in natural Brewers
Yeast has been shown to help prevent ticks from biting your dog. The article I
read online suggested you mix it with your dogs food: 1 teaspoon for every 30 pounds
of body weight. You can check with your vet, because you might also choose to give
your dog the Vitamin B complex, along with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It sounds
as though what is good for humans might be good for dogs, too.
Even with all these helpful tips, it is still good practice after an outing to
check yourself, your children, or your pets before (or upon) entering your home.
And be sure to tell others that the best way to remove a tick is not with a lighted
match, but a pair of thin tweezers. Then clean the area like you would any other bite.
This week, notice how you can take precautions wisely from a place of knowledge. It
is just like keeping the spare tire in your car filled with air, so you can enjoy a
safe trip every time you go somewhere, especially the great out-of-doors.
14 May 2012
DASH is short for dietary approach to stop hypertension. One marker for
overall health is our blood pressure. Most doctors suggest that optimum numbers
stay around 120 over 80. The first number is the systolic, the second is the
diastolic. Prehypertension is roughly 120-139 over 80-90, and hypertension is
classified as 140 or higher over 90 or higher.
One of the easiest ways to make a great improvement in your blood pressure
is to enjoy a diet with less sodium. The average man in this country eats
4,200 milligrams of sodium. Women, on average, 3,200. Lowering your sodium
intake has been shown to be very effective for those of at least middle-age.
African Americans also tend to benefit greatly from this dietary improvement.
DASH (http://1.usa.gov/19zNa3) has
a comprehensive food plan to help you get healthy and stay healthy. Their suggestion
for a balanced, heart-smart regimen is as follows:
- Carbohydrate 55% of calories
- Total fat 27% of calories (saturated fat 6% of calories)
- Protein 18% of calories
- Sodium 2,300 mg (1,500 mg sodium was a lower goal tested and found to be
even better for lowering blood pressure)
- Fiber 30 g
- Potassium 4,700 mg
- Calcium 1,250 mg
- Magnesium 500 mg (many if not most of us need more magnesium)
- Cholesterol 150 mg
With a little bit of awareness, you can easily lower your sodium intake. Cook at
homefrom scratchwhen you can, and eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
Use oil and vinegar on salads, and get into the habit of rinsing canned foods unless
you purchase no-salt options. Really watch mixes and always read labels. Spaghetti
sauce can range from over 200 mg to almost 800! When dining out, ask your server which
foods are prepared without added sodium. (See 9 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Reduce
Sodium Intake at: http://bit.ly/qoHRBu)
In addition to your lowered blood pressure and increased heart health, diets lower
in sodium have been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis as well.
Now that is good medicine.
This week, be aware of the healthier choices you are making. Now, I will grab an
apple and head out for a walk.
7 May 2012
We all know that humans have been on the planet longer than modern medicine. What have we
humans relied on for millenia? You are right. Humans have always relied on the wonders of nature
to help us stay and get healthy. One of Natures wonders you may want to learn more about,
especially if you are ever blue, is lavender!
In addition to being a great smelling herb, lavender is showing promise as an effective remedy for
both depression and anxiety. According to Jeremy Appleton, N.D., lavender has been shown to be
effective as low-dose benzodiazepines for attenuating anxiety.
In an article by Appleton published in the Spring 2012 edition of Holistic Primary Care (Vol. 13, No. 1),
lavender is native to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia and Africa, and has been used for
centuries. In addition to being an effective remedy for anxiety and depression, uses of lavender for
its antibacterial and antifungal has been recognized. If you would like one more reason for being a fan,
lavender is also shown to have carminative effects. In common language, lavender prevents flatulence!
Lavender aromatherapy is very popular, but it can also be taken orally. The researchers used capsules of
100 mL or 200 mL, and compared the benefits to placebo capsules. In that particular study, the evidence
was more encouraging for low-level anxiety than with clinical anxiety disorders. When lavender oil was
taken, the lavender was superior to placebo. The only adverse effects with the lavender oil were
digestivestomach acid or belchingand uncommon.
The article states that the adverse event profile for lavender is the least severe of the available
anxiety and depression treatment options by a wide margin. Unlike benzodiazepines, lavender does not
appear to induce psychological or chemical dependence. If you would like to read more, here is a link
to a review (2/7/12) of the literature on the safety and efficacy of lavender, also by Appleton:
This week, allow yourself to be impressed by the wisdom of our natural world. Share this information with
someone who might need to be encouraged. It is wonderful to know there are best practices that are safe
29 April 2012
Human emotions can be quite volatile. I think of them as stormy weather. A storm can blow up in a
hurry, and do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Just as we have weather-watching systems,
we can learn to monitor our emotional well-being to help us keep ourselves and those around us
An important action is to step right of our left brain (a quotation from Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor,
author of My Stroke of Insight). One of the key functions of your marvelous left brain is to keep
you safe, to make sure you survive. Therefore, it is always scanning the environment for any threat.
In the world of our emotions that translates to taking things personally that have nothing (or very,
very little) to do with you.
For sure, we affect one another. That is a fact. Being emotionally aware recognizes this truth,
and assists you in building bridges, not walls. One of the best ways I have found to avoid emotional
storms is to monitor an unconscious tendency I have had toward overdoing. You may discover this
checklist a good inventory for yourself, or perhaps for anyone since we live very busy lives.
- Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
- Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can't?
- Do you take work with you to bed? on weekends? on vacation?
- Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most?
- Do you work more than 40 hours a week?
- Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?
- Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts?
- Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
- Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it wont otherwise get done?
- Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?
- Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
- Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
- Are you afraid that if you dont work hard you will lose your job or be a failure?
- Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well?
- Do you do things energetically and competitively including play?
- Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else?
- Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?
- Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep, or when others are talking?
- Do you work or read during meals?
- Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life?
Just as barometric pressure is the measure of the weight of the atmosphere above us, times
of increased stress can trigger out-of-control emotions. Fortunately, your commitment to
self-awareness enables you to do a better job of weathering the storms of life.
This week, keep a close eye on the forecast and take necessary precautions as you watch for rainbows!
23 April 2012
It is rather shocking that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 74 percent
of the 20,044 deaths from prescription drug overdoses in 2008 involved opioid painkillers.
In 2010, pharmacies in the United States doled out 69 tons of pure oxycodone (sold under
the names of OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), and 42 tons of hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco,
and Lortab). Even over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, and
aspirin have a host of undesired side effects, reportedly causing roughly 7,600 deaths
and 76,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. annually.
Recently I attended the International College of Integrative Medicine conference
in Lexington, Kentucky, and I can tell you first hand there are alternatives to these
highly addictive and terribly toxic medications!
Of course, as a regular reader of Debras Wellness Tips you already know proper
nutrition and regular exercise, conscious breathing and effective bodywork, therapeutic
music and aromatherapy with essential oils all help prevent illness and lessen pain. Even
so, most of us know someone who deals with chronic pain, so, in addition to these basics,
you may want to do some research on some of the many therapies that have been shown to
provide relief of chronic pain, even pain following surgeries that were undergone to
Prolotherapy is a nonsurgical reconstruction of ligaments in which a localized inflammation
in the weakened area stimulates the tissue to repair itself. This link is to a free ebook
on the Osteopathic difference, written by William Faber, D.O., of Milwaukee Pain Clinic
Deep muscle pain that is related to trigger points has been shown to respond well
to acupuncture, acupressure, and myofascial release work. Check out Myofascial Pain
Syndrome: Frequently Asked Questions at http://bit.ly/wFgxj1, by Hal Blatman, M.D., of Cincinnati, Ohio.
CranioSacral therapy affects the central nervous system and nourishes the brain and
spinal cord. (Frequently Asked QuestionsCranioSacral Therapy at http://bit.ly/htTBa1, which is provided by the Upledger Institute.)
Hypnosis has been shown to be effective in pain relief (http://bit.ly/A4Mwv). Some of you
have seen my personal story about overcoming chronic pain. If not, let me know,
and I will share it with you.
This week, take some time to educate yourself. Many of the best options for you or
those you know and love may still be waiting to be discovered by you.
And while it is not always about pain, it is often about a different approach. Take a
few minutes to watch a very moving video of Dr. John Laughlin, an amazing dentist who
made a life-changing difference working with Baby John Garrick. Grab a tissue, and promise
you will watch to the end: http://bit.ly/H7TiSC.
Have a Ball
16 April 2012
Did you know you can strengthen your core and help your lymphatic system by having a ball?
Well, this is true if you are lightly bouncing on an exercise ball!
There are some precautions worth taking before you start enjoying the benefits of bouncing.
- It is best to check with your doctor before starting any workout program.
- Always wear a pair of good athletic shoes when you are bouncing.
- Make sure you are bouncing in a location with plenty of space around you.
- Exercise balls are available at sporting goods stores, and they are an inexpensive
exercise tool. Be sure your ball is the proper size for you. Sit on it. You want
your knees to form a straight line with your hips. Knees too high, ball too small.
Knees too low, ball too big. Read more: http://bit.ly/IRsF1J.
According to Dr. Norm Shealy, called the father of Holistic Medicine, you do
not even need an exercise ball to benefit from bouncing! In this short video
(http://bit.ly/HD76U5), he says we
should all bounce three minutes each hour we are awake. His suggestion is for
everyone working in an office to bounce three minutes for every working hour. He says it will
give you lots of energy, and you will be more productive.
This week, do yourself a real favor and have a ball as you bounce your way to a
healthier you! Just three minutes for every waking hour....
Natural Trauma Treatments
9 April 2012
Trauma generally means damage to a body part. Trauma can be the result of
an accident or an injury, as well as a medical intervention (as in the case
of surgery). Whatever the cause of the trauma, your bodys reaction becomes
part of the problem: swelling, histamine, and discomfort (pain). You might
think of it as a traffic jam. The swelling prevents fresh blood flow from
aiding in the healing.
You might already know there is new science to indicate that putting ice
on an injury might slow healing. Fortunately, as we are seeing things with
more wisdom, we are coming to recognize safe, natural healing agents for
As it turns out the use of wheatgrass appears to be very effective in
treating sports injuries including pulled hamstrings, sprained ankles,
muscle cramps, blisters, abrasions, wounds, bruises, corks as well as a
range of other conditions. Dr. Chris Reynolds, who is a practicing doctor,
has used an extract of wheatgrass to treat numerous sports and other injuries
since 1995. In his considerable experience, it is without doubt a powerful
haemostatic agentin other words, it stops bleeding quickly. Bleeding noses,
open wounds, bruises, sprained ankles, cuts, scratches, abrasions and deep
tissue injuries such as corked, torn or pulled muscles usually respond very
quickly to wheatgrass.
When you use homeopathy (http://bit.ly/GQZQE5) as a natural trauma treatment,
Arnica will be a staple. Arnica can significantly reduce swelling, pain,
and complications. Because Arnica treats emotional upset and shock as well
as physical trauma, present to some degree in any accident or injury, you
may wish to choose this one even if the injury does not seem major. Arnica
is appropriate even if bruising is already present.
Wheatgrass is an amazing healing agent, and soft tissue injury is just
one of the conditions it works for. (See http://bit.ly/GSx8B4.)
Aromatherapy has been studied to speed recovery time and reduce
anxiety by Dr. Oz, cardiovascular surgeon, along with clinical aromatherapist,
Jane Buckle, Ph.D. They suggest using lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus.
Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests Frankincense and Myrrh, used in
combination. Essential oils are to be diluted with an appropriate carrier
oil, such as almond, avocado, jojoba. The suggested formula of Dr. Buckle
is 15 drops of essential oil and two tablespoons of carrier oil, right on
After I stopped the bleeding, I put all of these to good use after I slipped
going up some steps, hit my forehead hard enough to cause both bleeding and
bruising. The Healing Touch and Reiki techniques came in very handy, as well
as the Emotional Stress Release from polarity therapy. Just put the palm of
one hand on the back of your neck, while placing the palm of the other hand
on your forehead. These energy medicine tools worked wonders! If you would like
more information about energy medicine, email
me, and I will share some of my favorite resources.
This week, make sure your medicine cabinet or home first-aid kit has some
basics in it for natural trauma treatment because no one plans an accident
2 April 2012
One of the great advances in medical treatment is in the area of strokes. For sure, it
is good that everyone knows the warning signs.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
One way to remember the list of symptoms is by this little list: S, speech.
T, trouble with balance. R, remembering. O, off balance.
K, killer headache. E, eyes (S-T-R-O-K-E). Call 9-1-1
immediately, and then check the time. As aid is given, knowing the time of the onset of
symptoms is critical.
Of course, it is great to know that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented! Here is
a list of tips:
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Treat atrial fibrillation (abnormal heartbeat)
- Be a nonsmoker
- Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks per day
- Keep cholesterol levels healthy
- Have healthy insulin levels
- Treat circulatory problems
- Exercise regularly
- Eat wisely
I would add to this list the importance of good mind-body health. Write in a journal to
lower stress. Get massage or energy work. Meditate regularly. And enjoy life!
This week, tell someone the stroke warning signs and also tell them how you can prevent
strokes by making good choices about your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual
health! The easiest way to do that might be to just send them this weeks tip.
Mad about Mushrooms
26 March 2012
While it may be true that you need to develop a taste for them, as a healthy
food choice, I admit that I am mad about mushrooms. They are low in calories.
They are a fat-free food. Mushrooms are loaded with vitamins and minerals; rich
in Vitamin C, D, B6 and B12. They also contain large doses of riboflavin, niacin,
and pantothenic acid.
Mushrooms are best stored in the refrigerator, to prevent them from drying out
and losing nutritional value.
There are lots of varieties of mushrooms available from your grocery or farm market:
White Button, Portabella, Shiitake, Enoki, Maitake, Oyster, Crimini, Beech. I grew
up eating wild mushrooms, so Morels are a favorite variety of mine, but since poisonous
mushrooms can look a lot like those that are edible, it is best to purchase those
unless you know for sure what you are harvesting in the wild.
Fortunately, mushrooms are easy to use in soups, salads, pastas, and even as a
substitute for meat.
Some of my personal favorites include a creamy three-mushroom soup; mushroom,
artichoke, and sundried tomatoes over angel hair pasta; and mushroom pizzas. Just
place portabella mushrooms (one big one for each person is usually perfect)
gill-side-down on a baking sheet. Bake until fork tender at about 400 degrees.
Usually about 20 minutes is great. Flip the mushrooms over and fill each with
a paste of chopped olives or other yummy veggies. Top with your favorite cheese.
You can use low-fat mozzarella or I like to use gorgonzola for this recipe. Bake
until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with some fresh basil and enjoy!
Think about how what we should do had often been associated with unpleasant
things. Look in the fridge and see some celery sticks and a piece of cheese cake.
I should eat the celery. After having that satiated feeling, I shouldnt have
eaten the cheese cake. One of the wonderful things about mushrooms is you
can make good-for-you dishes that create that great-to-eat feeling.
This week, pay attention to the thoughts you think about the choices you
make that make you healthier and happier. Put some Spring in your step and your attitude!
Music as Medicine
19 March 2012
Chanting, drumming, singing.... Music has been used by indigenous peoples since
the beginning of time. Now science has recognized music as medicine, and it is
just as good for the body as it is for the soul.
Music has been shown to:
- relieve stress
- lower blood pressure
- promote restful sleep
- improve cognitive function
- aid digestion
- promote healing
- lessen pain perception
- benefit memory
- improve mood
This year I am using my iPhone as a listening device. One day I was having challenges
with my phone, and I had to drive quite a distance (I was on vacation so I was in a
totally unfamiliar area) to an Apple store.
Fortunately, I was able to play relaxation music as I was driving, and I arrived in a
good state of mind, and this was in spite of the weather and the traffic!
Whatever listening device you use, make a conscious choice to have music be one
of the ways you de-stress daily. Listen at bedtime, have a good-mood-on-the-way-to-work
piece, and some I love life music for listening between work and home.
Use music for babies, including those still in the womb. I suggest a marvelous
piece of music by Pamela Chappell that I have used as the background of a guided
imagery audio for pregnancy, labor and delivery. You can listen to a sample at
this link: http://scs-matters.com/products_download.shtml. Scroll down to
Welcome Baby! Background Music.
At home, play music that makes you move as well as music that relaxes you deeply.
The benefits of music affect us profoundly, because sound (like the other senses)
creates powerful anchors.
This week, enjoy music as medicine. The best medicine is prevention, and prevention
is music to your ears, your eyes, your nose, and your mouth!
12 March 2012
Years ago a friend told me it is better to not drink fluids with meals. I have come to
understand more about why this is good digestive practice.
Ordinarily your stomach is very wise, and it will produce the correct gastric juices
for what you are eating. If there is too much liquid in your stomach, this process
can get mixed up.
When that happens, your body may absorb the water through the membranes of your
stomach to get the proper balance of those juices. That can result in the solids
being even thicker than normal. This can just be an unnecessary stress on your
While it may take a bit of practice to drink plenty of fluids away from meal
time, I think you will find that it is worth doing. Because skin is the largest
organ of your body, one of the first benefits you might see is healthier skin.
If you had been drinking with your meals, choose one meal that will be the
last for your new behavior. The other two meals, eat without drinking fluids.
Remember that it takes about six weeks for you to develop a new habit.
This week, watch for signs that this slight change of behavior makes pretty
significant improvement overall. I notice that I enjoy feeling less bloated.
Think, dont drink!
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
5 March 2012
Long before medicine consisted of treating illness, the foods we ate were designed to
keep you healthy. When you have made a commitment of eating well, make sure you are
thinking about how you can use (and even grow and store) herbs.
Parsley is often seen as simply a garnish, but it has amazing health properties:
anticancer, anti-inflammatory, healthy heart, healthy immune system (it is
loaded with Vitamin K).
Sage is loaded with a variety of antioxidantsin the form of volatile oils,
flavonoids, and phenolic acids.
Thyme is rich in both vitamins and minerals, which are essential for good health.
According to a recent article, Rosemary has a long history as a traditional
remedy with such widespread uses as a hair rinse and a cat repellent. When steamed,
some say it can treat bronchitis and other forms of congestion, while the link
between rosemary and improved cognitive function has long been established.
Here is some great information on growing rosemary (http://bit.ly/aCHqRQ) and one on
drying garden herbs (http://bit.ly/15GuxD).
This week, before you turn on Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy, or
have that important talk with your boss, rub some rosemary between your hands and take
a few deep breaths!
Need to Play
27 February 2012
As it turns out, according to Stuart Brown, author of PlayHow it Shapes the Brain, Opens the
Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, play is one of the brains best forms of exercise because
it allows you to think outside the box.
It might be a surprise to some that play is shown to be a very important element for well-being.
And it is not just true for humans. If you have not yet seen it, check out this Russian Youtube
video of a snowboarding crow! (See http://bit.ly/zmJv6l.)
From kittens batting a ball of yarn, to dogs catching a Frisbee, play is in your genes.
Children just naturally make what they do into play. Bubbles in baths, straws in milk, cartoon
characters in vitamins, and peek-a-boo while dressing or undressing.
When you think of play, what comes to your mind? I immediately think of riding my bicycle. It is
really convenient when your source of play is also good exercise for your body.
In this February 5, 2012, article, Fun and
Play are Key to Survival for Bears, Dogs, Humans, Birds and Maybe Even Ants,
by Bill Blakemore, an unnatural lack of play activity, or
even worse, the constant suppression of play by a parent or adult group or political leadermay
increase the likelihood of violent behavior.
Right now I am looking forward to some jump rope and some online time for Zen painting (See
But first, I am thinking bubbles
in a nice warm bath!
This week, make time to play. If anyone says you cant take time, just send them this tip for well-being.
20 February 2012
You have to really appreciate it when something that feels good turns out to be good for you, too.
That is what research has been showing about the benefits of massage therapy.
In an article How Massage Helps Heal Muscles and Relieve Pain, (Time, Healthland,
Feb. 2, 2012) Maia Szalavitz says, Massage may work as well as drugs like aspirin or Advil in
easing pain from intense exercise. And the only side effect you will get with massage or
bodywork is the ahhh... (Read more: http://ti.me/wGygGO)
Some of the common names of types of massage include: Swedish Massage, Acupressure, Reflexology, Myofascial Release, Polarity, CranioSacral Therapy, Shiatsu, Rolfing.
Light-touch (or no-touch) approaches are known to promote healing, too: Therapeutic Touch,
Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Quantum Touch, Healing Touch. Healing Touch is the modality I am
certified in. Research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of cancer and pain and for
general health situations. (See http://www.healingtouchresearch.com/articles.php)
When you think about these for prevention and relaxation or stress relief, use the hair cut
ratio for scheduling. One day a month most people get your hair done when you get it cut. Every
other day of the month, do your own hair. If you think about it as one or one-and-one-half hour a month,
even if your out-of-pocket cost is $75 to $100, over time, you have made a very good investment.
This week, see your acupuncturist, schedule a massage, take some time to work your acupressure
points (See Potent Points, 14 November 2011, in http://scs-matters.com/Debra-blog.shtml, or
make an appointment for some Healing Touch (See Healing Touch 22 August 2011). Be intentional about the health
benefits of touch, and say ahhh....
13 February 2012
Sometimes you get really good information in the most surprising ways. That recently happened to
me when my husband and I met a gentleman, Pruitt, while out for our evening walk where we are visiting
in South Florida. He told us his wife could not walk with him because of some challenges with her
ankles. I casually asked if she might be open to holistic options, to which he replied,
Probably not, but I am.
The next mile as we walked I was hearing his story
Several years ago, Pruitt had a blood clot in his leg. He was immediately given Coumadin, a
blood-thinner. The clot did not go away, and he was told he would need to stay on the medication
for the rest of his life. He did not like the side effects of Coumadin, and something in his
memory kept haunting him.
When he was in Japan during the war, Americans would often get blood clots following injuries,
but Pruitt said he remembered that none of the Japanese soldiers got blood clots, and he thought
he remembered this was because they ate stinky cheese. He got busy and did some research.
I looked at the label on the product Pruitt takes. Imagine my surprise when I read the fine print.
The active ingredient is Nattokinase,
a product my husbands doctor has had him taking for heart health (he says research shows Nattokinase
is a much better choice than taking a baby aspirin).
For over two thousand years, the Japanese people have eaten natto, made from fermented soybeans. The
fermentation creates amino acids, enzymes, and specifically pyrazine and nattokinase, which was known
to dissolve and even prevent blood clots!
This next part of the story comes with an important rule, Absolutely do not ever take anything or
stop taking anything without doing your own research and working with your health care team!
Pruitt did not follow that rule. He said he ordered the stinky cheese and started taking that and
stopped taking the Coumadin. The next time he went to his doctor, his blood levels were perfect, and
the doctor was thrilled that blood clot in Pruitts leg was gone. But when the doctor asked Pruitt what
dose of Coumadin he was taking, he was totally shocked by what he heard. Pruitt said he had been taking
Nattokinase. He has been taking it since that time and had just ordered and received 18
He also told me he had done chelation therapy, after which his hair got dark again, and he was able to stop wearing
glasses! He was quite the character, and I enjoyed meeting him very much. It seems odd that his wife
would see all this and not yet be open to doing her own research about what might help her situation, too.
This week, do your own research about Nattokinase, chelation therapy, or other possible natural health
options you had not known about previously. Humans are always discovering helpful things previously known
only to others. We can be grateful for that. We do not all have to discover fire. We can learn and go on
to share with others what we have learned. We can do that just as Pruitt did!
Not the Genes
6 February 2012
It appears that the way our brains age is not in the genes. In the article,
Lifestyle is Main Influence on how the Mind Ages, researchers have
concluded that environmental factors (lifestyle) play the most significant
role in how sharp your mind will remain in old age.
Intelligence tests were given first at age 11, then again between the
ages of 65 and 79. Researchers found genetic factors only account for 24
percent of changes in intelligence, suggesting environmental factors
have the biggest influence on whether a persons mind remains sharp in
old age. (See: http://huff.to/yv283j.)
What are these lifestyle secrets? They will not be new to those of
you who are regular readers of this wellness column.
- Go Mediterranean
- Do daily stretches
- Cut back on salt
- Be positive
- Get sufficient sleep
Be sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Include plant
oils. Remember that EVOO stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil as well as
every victory overcomes obesity! If you know they are healthy for you,
add nuts. If you work in a well-ventilated room, eat plenty of beans.
By adding these good things you will automatically limit animal fats.
Small amounts of low-fat dairy and lean meats are OK.
This week, notice how much more empowering it is to realize the truth:
You are making healthy lifestyle choices that are going to result in
your mind staying sharp.
Skip the Soda
30 January 2012
People usually say to get along with others just avoid discussing politics or
religion. Suggesting to a soda drinker, To be healthier, you might just want
to skip the soda, may be up there in the conversations easier to avoid.
Most of us already know sodas are best to be avoided, or for sure one of
those only special occasion choices, because they are loaded with
unwanted sugar. It is now vital for folks to know research is showing
diet sodas may also contribute to unwanted girth.
According to Dr. Helen Hazuda, professor of medicine at University of
Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, They [diet sodas] may be
free of calories, but not of consequences.
It will take more research to answer all of the questions; however, after
three months, mice, which had been given food containing the sweetener
aspartame, had higher levels of blood sugar than those given normal food
without the sweetener.
It is possible that artifical sweeteners might trigger the appetite and
could inhibit brain cells that make you feel full.
So, what are people to do? If regular soda is not good for you, and
diet soda isnt either, what does Dr. Hazuda think people should be
drinking? I think prudence would dictate drinking water. (Daily Mail)
This week, be more aware of your drinking habits. If you have been a soda
drinker, diet or regular, when you are ready for something to drink, have a
glass of water first. See if you are still thirsty after that or if water is
the healthiest way to quench your thirst.
23 January 2012
I have always been fascinated by surprising uses of ordinary things, even
things as mundane as white vinegar or baking soda or Epson salts. Great
websites exist for all of these.
A few of the 1001 uses for white vinegar include killing weeds
in the garden, removing odors in clothing or on your feet, soothing sunburn,
polishing chrome, removing skunk odors, and tenderizing ribs or stew meat.
Most everyone knows you can use baking soda to brush your teeth, scour your
sink, boost your laundry soap, deodorize your refrigerator and drains and
dishwasher and garbage disposal. You can use it to extinguish kitchen fires, too!
Epson salt makes a great foot soak, including reducing swelling of sprains
and bruises, and tames tendonitis. Use it to remove splinters and try it as
a hair volumizer by warming in a pan equal parts with any deep conditioner,
working it through your hair and rinsing it out after about 20 minutes.
Making good use of everything includes turning plastic soda bottles into
art, crocheting plastic shopping bags into purses, using paper bags to finish
walls or floors, and seeing the gift of whatever shows up in your life. One
of my favorite quotations about this comes from Mark Nepos The Book of
Awakening: The best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets
in the way, until it ceases to be an obstacle.
After the kidnapping and murder of young Adam Walsh, his parents used
their personal loss for public good and, through their advocacy, spurred
the formation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
(NCMEC), and the Code Adam program for helping lost children in department
This week, find ways to make good use of all of the stuff of
your life. If life gives you lemons, even if you have to borrow a cup of
sugar from the neighbor, make lemonade.
16 January 2012
Perhaps it is because my birthday is right around the corner and, for the first time in
my life, I could draw Social Security benefits that a health tip about our aging well is
on my mind.
The first thing to say is we do not all age along with our chronology. You already know
this if you have attended a class reunion and looked at the wide variation of how
old (or young) folks of the same general age look. Fortunately, you are never too
young (or old) to begin to think about your aging well.
A Google search for the term aging well will produce lots of results.
I will give you a brief synopsis (with my own twists) and you can apply the ones
that make the greatest improvement for your life.
- Learn to laugh at the tough stuff (one writer said to make yourself the punch line)
- Think of yourself as a role model so you can inspire others by your lifestyle
- Find and live your passion (no two snowflakes are alike, you are needed in this world)
- Live with an attitude of curiosity and generosity
- Watch less TV and more birds
- Enjoy eating to live rather than living to eat
- Although things wont happen exactly as you imagine it, write your
ideal obituary and aspire to make it come true!
As you are reading this tip, you are living at a time unprecedented in human history.
At the beginning of this past century, there were estimated to be only 123,000 Americans
over the age of 85. Current estimates put that number at over three million people! We
now have over 50,000 folks in this country who are over 100. According to the
Center for Health Sciences, it is expected there will be 50 million Americans
over age 85 by the year 2050. I will turn 100 that year. The best news is that we can
embrace aging well, whatever age we are now. Remember that the only cure for aging
is premature death.
This week, put into place those lifestyle changes that will support your aging well.
I remember years ago I was turning 32 and the son of a friend (his birthday is also
January 22) was turning 16. I said, You are half my age. When I am 50 you will be
25, and when I am 100, you will be 50. I wasnt fully aware of what I had said until
he said to me, I like your math!
On the Move
9 January 2012
According to Jessica Cassity (How to Get Slim Without the Gym, December 18, 2011,
Prevention), the biggest health hazard youre up against just might be a chairor
a couch or reclinerand all the time you spend sitting in it. Most of us know this is true.
Even if you are already thoroughly committed to a more active lifestyle, you will
appreciate this visual lecture by Dr. Mike Evans, Associate Professor of Family
Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto. In a very clever presentation
titled Twenty Three and One-Half Hours Evans answers the old question, What is the
single best thing we can do for our health in a completely new way.
According to Linda Carroll at vitals.msnbc.msn.com (where they have a great tag line:
One body. One mind.), thats what each of us gets to last a lifetime. For those who
might still need a bit more incentive, a group of Australian researchers say they
have figured out that if you walk faster than two miles an hour, you can outrun
the Grim Reaper.
As none of the men in the study with walking speeds of [3 miles per hour] or
greater had contact with Death, this would seem to be the Grim Reapers most likely
maximum speed; for those wishing to avoid their allotted fate this would be the
advised walking speed, the authors wrote.
Cassity does make some very practical suggestions in a list she calls 100 Ways
You Can Stand Up for Your Health. You can read them at http://abcn.ws/sUg2V6, but
here are some that caught my eye:
- Hide your remote
- Ditch the hand mixer and use a wooden spoon instead
- Put most-used items on top or bottom shelf so you have to reach for them
- Walk to the mail box instead of checking the mail from your car
- Instead of sitting and reading, walk as you listen to audio books
- Preset the timer on your TV to turn off after an hour unless you
march in place while you watch!
Well, even if you just want to sleep better, get more exercise. Randy
Dotiga (Thursday, December 1, 2011, HealthDay News), reports that if you get
150 minutes of activity a week you will likely join others who are less likely
to report daytime fatigue.
This week, notice how easily you can get moving, and how much healthier you
are for it. The Reaper will not find you sitting there waiting for him to
arrive, will he... Make the activity even more fun by scheduling it with a
friend or family member you enjoy spending time with anyway. Thats a winning combination!
Low Downs on Let-downs
2 January 2012
Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from
your own actions. ~Dalai Lama
Postholiday blues can find their way into our lives, perhaps just from the lack
of balance that is a result of having more than usual on our plates. Even if you
are feeling pretty OK right now, everyone can benefit from a few good suggestions.
These come from Belinda Munoz, who has her list (See 50+ Ways to Beat the Holiday
Blues at http://bit.ly/8odyYm)
broken down into categories. Just her headings will give you some great ideas so you
can start 2012 off very well.
Under Solo, she has such things as pray or meditate, take a nap, practice
yoga, or do any kind of exercise. Actually, exercise has been shown to be clinically
effective for both preventing and treating depression. (See Debras Wellness
Tips, October 3, 2011, http://www.scs-matters.com/Debra-blog.shtml.)
Getting Social includes breaking out a cookbook and inviting a friend
or two over to try a new recipe. If you live alone, organize a food share event
with several others. Each participant makes a family-sized dish and
everyone brings freezer-to-oven containers and takes home healthy meals for a month!
Lose Yourself by laughing it up at an improv or comedy club, or just
do something silly and let go of any self-conscious feelings. Have you ever heard of
Patch Adams, M.D., the Medical doctor, Clown, Performer, Social Activist, Founder and
Director of the Gesundheit Institute, a holistic medical community? This one might
open up a whole new career for you...
Get out of doors. If it is winter, make a snow angel. Tune in to a nature channel.
Play an audio with nature sounds. Get up early enough to see the sun rise. Go outside
and look up at the stars. Nature has a way of changing us from the inside out.
As William Blake (Auguries of Innocence) wrote:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
Whenever you are doing creative projectstaking photos, drawing, writing a poem
or a short story, playing a musical instrument or singing, even listening to musicyou
are stimulating whole brain activity. This is why meditation is so restorative. And these
things are fun. Choose your favorites.
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
Suggestions for taking care of yourself include a couple of my favorites: manicure or
pedicure, vacation, smoothie, haircut. I would add: schedule a pajama day, make a pot
of chicken soup, and let a baby kiss your face.
Brenda finishes her list with get educated. The New Year is a great time to learn
something worthwhile. Let me know if you would like to schedule the two-hour Imagine
Healing workshop at your church, workplace, or with a group of family and friends. With
Skype as an option, I can be anywhere you are, and since 25 to 30 million Americans will
undergo surgery with anesthesia each year, the time is right for this one for sure.
Send email to email@example.com. Professional
trainings (CE credits are available) in conducting the sessions for someone else are also available.
Get busy and do something for others might go hand-in-hand. One other resource
mentioned getting back on a budget. Well, make sure you are making good choices in
every area of your life.
This week, notice that the things you would do to treat a problem, will most often
prevent a problem. Let yourself be inspired. Inspired people are inspiring. The
world can use more of that, you know.
26 December 2011
What could happen if Santa got stuck in a chimney?
He might end up with Claustrophobia!
In the January 2012 Beyond Mastery newsletter is an article I wrote on regrets. Regardless
of our religion, or how we spent the day, the morning after Christmas seems to provide
opportunity for us to evaluate how things went. From the article:
Kathryn Schulz gives a riveting 16-minute talk on TED about the benefits of regret
If you dont yet get the newsletter, you can sign up to receive
it automatically the first of each month simply by going to this link:
http://www.scs-matters.com/beyondmastery.shtml. It is a two-step process,
so be sure to watch for a confirmation email you will send back. If you dont see
it right away, check in your trash. We never spam anyone, and that is a great promise
in this electronic climate. Archives of all the past newsletter issues are also
available online. (See http://scs-matters.com/archives.shtml.)
One of the notes in my journal I made from Kathryns talk includes three steps to take
with regret about something that did or did not happen. First, take comfort in universality.
Second, laugh at ourselves. She says humor helps. It does.... Third, passage of time.
Her sincerity, her vulnerability, her grasp of the energy of regret and the gifts
it can bring comes through in every moment, but especially in the last few heart-felt comments:
If we have dreams and goals, and we want to do our best, and we love people and we dont
want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel regret when things go wrong. The point isnt
to live without any regrets, the point is not to hate ourselves for having them. We need
to learn to love the flawed, imperfect, things that we create, and to forgive ourselves
for creating them. Regret doesnt remind us that we did badly. Regret reminds us that we
can do better.
Take some time to not only reflect on Christmases past and the things we did badly, but
also to think ahead to the New Year and the ways we can always do better. Lets greet
2012 with a more open heart, a clearer mind, and a healthier body. Lets say yes to the
changes that are sure to come by meeting them halfway.
This week, remember how true it is that if nothing ever changed there would be no
19 December 2011
A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist. I want a
tooth pulled, and I dont want Novacaine because Im in a big hurry,
the woman said. Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and well
be on our way. The dentist was quite impressed. Youre certainly a
courageous woman, he said. Which tooth is it?
The woman turned to her husband and said, Show him your tooth, dear.
If you are considering an electric toothbrush, make sure you get one that is
comfortable to hold and easy to use. The bells and whistles, such as adjustable
power levels and rechargeable batteries, are just a matter of choice. Manual or
electric, the most important thing is to brush and floss daily, according to
Alan Carr, D.M.D. (See http://bit.ly/aGw4CQ).
Most of the time he says it is best to brush right after eating. A major exception
to that rule has to do with acidic foods or beverages. Wait at least 30 minutes, or
brush ahead of time if you know you are going to have orange juice or something else
acidic. This will ensure you take good care of your tooth enamel.
He adds that medications can be a cause of dry mouth, and while the best way to
treat dry mouth (the medical term is xerostomiapronounced zeer-o-STO-me-uh) depends on
whats causing it, and the best long-term remedy is to address the cause, there are
some things that will relieve dry mouth temporarily:
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol
- Stop tobacco use (smoking or chewing)
- Sip water
- Breathe through your nose
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom
But your developing good dental habits is about more than just your teeth and a great
smile. According to Dr. Martha Grogan, Poor oral healthnot regularly brushing or
flossingis unlikely to be the primary cause of heart disease. But poor oral health
combined with other risk factors may contribute to heart disease.
Bacteria on your teeth and gums could travel through your bloodstream and attach
to fatty plaques in your arteries (atherosclerosis), making the plaques become more
swollen (inflamed). If one of the plaques bursts and causes a blood clot to form, you
can have a heart attack or stroke.
This week, when you are brushing and flossing your teeth, take a moment to look
in the mirror. Think about a change you know would be good for you and good for others
in your life. Look yourself in the eye and say (or sing) this line from the Michael
Jackson song, Man in the Mirror: Take a look at yourself and then make
a change.... And the world will be a better place!
Its possible that swelling in gums leads to swelling in other parts of your body,
including your arteries. This swelling can also contribute to heart disease.
Regardless of whether you have heart disease, its important to take care of your
teeth and gums. Steps to good oral hygiene include:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily (Dr. Carr says always just before going to bed)
- Floss daily
- Replace your toothbrush at least every three months (I use a soft bristle
and replace at once if I have had a sore throat or bug of any sort)
- Get regular dental check-ups
12 December 2011
I got this joke about being tired from a clean joke website:
Im Tired! Yes, Im tired. For several years Ive been blaming it on getting older,
lack of sleep, weekend projects, stale office air, poor nutrition, carrying extra
pounds, raising a family, recent colds, and a dozen other reasons that make you
wonder why life is getting rough.
If you are experiencing tiredness that may be thyroid-related, even this joke might not
be funny. Life is too precious to live it without vital energy that cannot exist without
good thyroid function. Whether you are male or female, this is a real health issue and
one for which there is hope and help.
But now I found out whats really happening! Im tired because Im overworked.
The population of the USA reached 300 million last October. 79 million of the
population are retired. That leaves 221 million to do the work. There are 19 million
toddlers and 76 million students in schools, which leaves 126 million to do the work.
Of that total, 21 million are unemployed, leaving 105 million to do the work.
Then you take away 34 million in hospitals and that leaves 71 million to do the
work. 43 million are in prisons and thats 28 million left to do the work. Now take
away 14,683,468 federal, 5,344,722 state and 5,370,743 city workers who run our
government and youre left with 2,601,067 to do the work. Take away the 2,601,065
people in the armed forces and that leaves just two people to do the workYou
and Me! And youre just sitting there reading this! No wonder Im tired!!!
Millions of women suffer from low thyroid function (medically referred to as
hypothyroidism), especially in the perimenopausal and post-menopausal years. Unfortunately,
the conventional approach to thyroid problems is to treat the thyroid in isolation
from the rest of the body. But that just isnt how your body works. ~ Marcy Holmes
(Womens Health Nurse Practitioner) and Marcelle Pick (OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner)
I do not usually do this, but I am going to just send you to this link so you can
read about thyroid health. Marcy and Marcelle are not the only ones with good information
out there, but I think you will appreciate how easy to read and understand this information
is. Here is the link: http://bit.ly/to0bCe.
The January 2012 issue of Prevention also has an article about a mother and daughter
who both had thyroid disorder. Curing Their Energy Crisis, as told to Margery D.
Rosen, is the story of Heather McElrath and her mother, Margaret. The article says to
make sure you are getting enough iodine, limit soy products (soy isoflavones can suppress
thyroid function), only take supplements that are standardized, be sure to cover your
neck if you have a mammogram or dental x-rays, and if you have been a smoker, quit now.
This week, make sure you make knowledge of how you can be healthier and have
more energy your number one priority. After all, in The Princess
Bride, Count Rugen rightly says, If you havent got your health,
then you havent got anything.
5 December 2011
Which fish can perform operations?|
I agree that joke is more than a little lame, but obviously scientific research on the vast health
benefits of fish oilOmega-3 fatty acids to be more specificis really stacking up. The shocking news
is that this evidence has been around for a while. The following is from May 16, 2005, when Dr. Judith Reichman
was on the Today show (see http://on.today.com/sJLvm6):
Fish remains our chief natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids, a fatty acid that our body is unable to
produce on its own. Numerous studies have shown that this fatty acid lowers triglycerides, helps prevent
abnormal heart rhythms, reduces blood pressure, improves blood clotting and even aids and abets the work of
prescription drugs to improve cholesterol levels. It reduces inflammation, helps prevent arthritis and
heart disease and promotes healthy brain function.
Michael Castleman, author of Natures Cures, reports a Cincinnati study where fish oil significantly
reduced menstrual cramps. The study featured 42 young women with severe cramps where the dose was
1,800 milligrams a day (see http://bit.ly/tA8BIT).
Researchers have looked at large populations of women (and men) and have found that those who consume
fish more than twice a week have lower heart rates, less irregular heart rates, a decrease in heart
disease, fewer heart attacks and even fewer cases of sudden death. Higher fish consumption has also
been found to significantly decrease heart attacks in diabetic women. Their risk of developing heart
disease decreased by 40 percent if they eat fish once a week and 64 percent if they eat it five or
more times a week.
The Omega-3 fatty acid content in fish has also been found to possibly protect against Alzheimers disease.
But we shouldnt just focus on Omega-3s in our perfuse praise of fish. Fish and shellfish are also a
great source of protein and have (depending on type and preparation) less saturated fat, cholesterol and
calories than chicken or beef. Fish contains Vitamin D and can help with calcium absorption and prevention
And there is some data that women who eat a diet rich in fish are a third less likely to get breast
cancer than women who seldom eat fish.
Mark Thompson posts on Friday, August 26, 2011 (http://ti.me/vXWQpj),
Mom Always Said It Was Brain Food. Even knowing that, the subheading is rather surprising
'Omega-3: Suicide Fighter? and well worth taking note of.
Can fish oil help curb the epidemic of military suicides? Thats the startling finding in a new
study just published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. It links suicides by military personnel to
low level of docosahexaenoic acidfound in fish oiland finds that troops with higher levels of DHA
in their blood were less likely to take their own lives.
Men with depressed DHA levels were 62% more likely to have committed suicide than those with the
highest levels. The DHA found in fish oil seems to provide psychiatric benefits. DHA supplements boost
the impact of antidepressant medications and reduce attention deficit disorder. Theyre just preliminary
findings, but they could lead to new ways to shield troops from the mental ravages of war.
As if you needed any more information to be convinced to do the thing that is good for you,
fish oil makes Dr. Andrew Weils 10 Ways to Have a Happier Life list
Adequate blood levels of these nutrients has been strongly tied to emotional health. They are so
necessary and deficiencies are so common in the developed world that I believe everyone, depressed or
not, should take them. Take up to three grams of a quality, molecularly distilled fish oil supplement
dailylook for 1,000 mg capsules of combined docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosaentaenoic
acid (EPA) in a ratio of about three or four to one. I also recommend 2,000 IU of Vitamin D each day.
This week, make sure the only thing fishy going on, it that you are taking appropriate fish
oil and getting the benefits of those Omega-3 fatty acids.
28 November 2011
Man can live about forty days without food,|
about three days without water, about eight minutes without air,
but only for one second without hope.
I am not sure who said that, but it certainly is thought provoking, isnt it. We all
know our breath is vital. Kala Abrose writes about breath as a way to think cool thoughts
in an August 14, 2011, article for Huffington Post:
When we hear bad news, we instinctively tighten up and go into protection mode. Our breathing
becomes shallow and if the stress continues, we forget to take care of ourselves. During this time,
its more important than ever to take care of ourselves, eating right, exercising and remembering
to breathe deeply. Pay attention to your body right now, are you sitting hunched over your
computer? If so, sit back and lower your arms to your side. Take a deep breath in and hold
it to the count of three, then breathe out deeply, exhaling through the mouth. Try it again,
breathing in deeply and feeling your body relaxing, focusing just on the act of breathing.
One more time, take a deep breath in and think of nothing but the pleasure of your body
relaxing as it takes in a deep breath of air and exhales the breath outward. This simple
act can pull you mentally and emotionally out of a tense moment and return you back to a calm state.
Breath patterns and emotions are intimately linked to your well-being. When you breathe
deeply and slowly, from a spontaneous, easy, comfortable space, you feel peace, optimism,
and other good things. Your muscles are relaxed and you have warm feelings (sensations and
emotions), because your body is producing valium, immunomodulators, interleukins, interferon,
and oxytocin. Oxytocin is my favorite ... sometimes called the cuddle chemical or the love hormone.
Breathing consciously is one of the quickest ways to lower stress in your body. This is
because when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The
brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed,
such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you
breathe more deeply to relax.
Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Happiness: Eight Weeks to a Lifetime of Emotional
Well-Being, and founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, has
a cool little webpage with three breathing exercises. Here is the link for that information:
http://bit.ly/sRROt. One of the three
(he says it is a favorite) is the 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath:
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times.
As with many other breath exercises, the suggestions include sitting comfortably with your back
straight, and keeping the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth.
While some breathing exercises are a bit to learn consciously, the main thing is to become
conscious of your breathing. If you catch yourself feeling stress anywhere in your body, just
take a deep, cleansing breath, even if you don't always count. You can do the more complex
breathing exercises for special occasions, if you prefer, and just breathe deeply and slowly
most of the time.
This week, get a balloon and blow it up, or sing a song (it is time for Christmas carols
if you are into those), or just make all the vowel sounds as you breathe.
A.... E.... I....O....Oooo. If anyone looks at you strangely or asks what you are doing,
just tell them you are manufacturing some oxytocin. It will surely take your mind off what ever
had been bothering you and put it where it will do you more goodon your breath!
21 November 2011
In the spirit of humanity, we give thanks for all that is.
We thank the great spiritual beings who have shared their wisdom.
We thank our ancestors who brought us to where we are now.
We are grateful for the opportunity to walk this planet,
to breathe the air, to taste the food,
to experience sensations of a human body/mind,
to share in this wonder that is life.
We are grateful for the natural world that supports us,
for the community of humankind that enables us
to do many wondrous things.
We are grateful that we are conscious,
that as intelligent beings we can reflect upon the many
gifts we have been given.
This writing comes from a November 18, 2011, Huffington Post entry in their Religion section
called Thanksgiving Quotes, Prayers and Blessings: Inspiration for a Holiday of Gratitude.
It can be found at this link: http://huff.to/gyvQuX,
and if you are gathering with family or friends, perhaps you can share it with them.
In the United States this Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. Some years Thanksgiving Day
is also the birthday of my husband, John, but this year his birthday is on Sunday. From
an article in Forbes, Want to Celebrate 100? Live Smarter and You Can Live to be
Older (May 7, 2006): If you really want to live longer, then start with your
attitude. Your way of thinking not only improves your outlook on life, but also how long
you actually live. In 2002, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that
optimistic people decreased their risk of early death by 50 percent compared with those
who leaned more toward pessimism.
If you want to live a long, healthy, life, it may be wise to make every Thursday a day for
thanks giving, because according to an ABC News article (October 25, 2005) by Ned Potter,
Positive Thinking the Key to a Longer Life? the evidence keeps mounting.
You can bring about biochemical, molecular, physiological changes in the body
that are effective in treating stress conditions, said Dr. Herbert Benson,
founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and an associate professor at
Harvard Medical School. Benson is the author of several best-selling books on what he
calls the relaxation response, a technique he
says people can use daily to control stress.
Jeffrey Kluger, in a Time Magazine article, The Biology of Belief (Thursday,
February 12, 2009), writes that research indicates even AIDS is affected by the
attitude that might be called faith.
[A] growing body of scientific evidence suggests that faith may indeed bring us
health. People who attend religious services do have a lower risk of dying in any
one year than people who don't attend. People who believe in a loving God fare better
after a diagnosis of illness than people who believe in a punitive God. No less a killer
than AIDS will back off at least a bit when it's hit with a double-barreled blast of belief.
Even accounting for medications, says Dr. Gail Ironson, a professor of psychiatry and
psychology at the University of Miami who studies HIV and religious belief, spirituality
predicts for better disease control.
I recently heard a powerful comment: What if tomorrow you woke up and only had in your
life those things that you had given thanks for yesterday. Wow....
This week, whatever else we are doing, lets all be more intentional as we focus on
the things in our lives that are truly worthy of giving thanks for.
14 November 2011
Just about every week there is another article saying how acupuncture has been shown to be
effective in treating things like infertility and hot flashes, in relieving problems from
addictions to stress, and very helpful for those being treated for cancer. You can read more
about all that in Decoding an Ancient Therapy: High-Tech Tools Show How Acupuncture Works in
Treating Arthritis, Back Pain, Other Ills, The Wall Street Journal Health Journal,
March 22, 2010. (http://on.wsj.com/aOFUhO)
This week I had email from someone who had been sick for over a month. This was the persons
self report: Its like a blocked Eustachian tube from what feels like bad sinusitis. My right
ear is blocked and my nose is so clogged most of the time that theres post nasal drip like
crazy. My head has a really off balance feeling that makes me so nauseas most of the time.
Im on my third antibiotic now and maybe feel a little better, but the worst part is I cant
really sleep because my head clogs up so bad it creates vertigo!
OK, I admit that I am one who likes therapies I can do on my own, but that is just one of
the reasons I mentioned acupressure. This is the message I received back: After you
suggested acupressure I did look up some acupressure for sinus/ear problems and I think
it did make a difference! Im feeling much better today anyway.
If I had my way, just about every household would have a copy of Acupressures Potent Points:
A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments, by Michael Reed Gach. When I was first using this
book I had a very interesting experience with my husband. I was working a point on his
shinbone. He said that the area was tender. When I looked up the point, I was surprised to
read that it was related to constipation. Now, given his normal digestion pattern, that
would have been the last thing I would have expected, but he said he had been constipated!
Gach has a pretty nice website: http://www.acupressure.com.
Acupressure is great for a lot of reasons, not just because it is something you can easily
do for yourself and your family, but also because some people have a fear of needles. Of
course, fear of needles (any other phobias, too) can be cleared in just a few minutes
doing the Fast Phobia Cure, an application of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP),
which was co-developed by Richard Bandler. In the Spring of 2010 I had an article published about
how a woman was able to overcome the fear of flying so she could go see Desmond Tutu and the
Dali Lama. Here is a link: http://www.abh-abnlp.com/AccessJournalSpring2010Final.pdf if you
would like to read the entire article. It is quite remarkable.
In a January 13, 2010, ABC News online article, Dr. Tony Chon, Mayo Clinic, says Theres
been no research validating whether acupuncture or acupressure is better. Its just a matter
of opinion. Theres a long history of success in both methods.
This week, think about ordering a copy of the book. For sure you can save 32 percent
right now on Amazon, but acupressure might be a way that you can save a lot more than that.
It has been shown to prevent colds and flu, treat headaches, eliminate arthritis pain, and
my husband will testify that it alleviates constipation! The main thing is to be more aware
that there are things you can do for yourself for your health. We all know people all over
the planet were taking care of themselves long before there was a Walgreens on every busy corner.
7 November 2011
I feel sorry for people who dont drink. When they wake up in the morning, thats
as good as theyre going to feel all day. ~Frank Sinatra
I am not sure that healthy brews are what Ol Blue Eyes had in mind when he said that, but
do you agree or disagree that it is exciting that more and more those of us who choose to
be healthy are more and more thinking about teas and herbal blends as additional ways we can
enjoy life more for a lot longer.
I saw this blend in an article called Getting Back to Wellness (Daily Om October 31, 2011).
If you feel ill health coming on, brew a wellness elixir. Simmer three sliced lemons, one
teaspoon freshly grated ginger, one clove freshly minced garlic, and one quarter teaspoon
cayenne pepper in five cups water until the lemons are soft and pale. Strain a portion into
a mug and add honey by tablespoons until you can tolerate the taste. Drinking this potent
mixture of antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredients three times each day can
ensure your symptoms never progress into a full-blown illness.
You have to appreciate anything that lets you nip something in the bud like that.
For a long time I have used a hot drink to aid digestion: 6 ounces of hot water, two
tablespoons of organic lemon juice, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and one tablespoon
of organic maple syrup. I admit it is hot going down, and it certainly gets things moving,
if you know what I mean.
A great article titled Easily grown herbs make for flavorful, healthy brews will
get you started if you are new to conjuring up healthy brews, or it might inspire you
if you have already been taking good care of yourself that way. You will find a recipe
for a relaxing After Deadline Tea and one of my favorites, ginger tea. Here is the
Although this is the time of year hot brews are really welcome, I enjoy making fresh
yogurt drinks year-round, too. I like to start with organic yogurt and add fresh fruit.
At this time of year apples are great, as well as pears. Add an organic banana
if you like, or some frozen red raspberries or blueberries. Pop it all in the blender,
and if you need it, use a bit of orange juice to thin things down. Yummy....
This week, be mindful of the things you drink. Someone once asked me how long my house
plants would live if I poured on them what I drank each day. Make this the time of year you
take time to be really good to yourself. We might just have to edit Franks comment so it
says we feel sorry for people who dont drink healthy brews, because when they wake up in
the morning, thats as good as they are going to feel all day. Lets drink to a healthier
future for us all. Bottoms up!
Tricks for Treats
31 October 2011
It is pretty much common knowledge that, with better diets and healthier lifestyles,
you can prevent many of the most serious diseases. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) says
it could prevent up to 2.8 million cases of cancer each year.
Although obviously what is right for you will be different based on your height, your ideal
weight, your current level of activity, and your level of fitness, the FDA recommends the
average (is anyone average?) person consume 2,000 calories a day. FDA General Guide to Calories
considers a product with 40 calories as low, 100 calories as moderate, and 400 calories as high.
The FDA recommends the average person consume 300 grams of carbohydrates a day. The FDA
recommends the average person consume 65 grams of total fat a day. And you need protein
because protein is essential for your building muscle. The more muscle mass you have,
the more calories you burn. Protein also helps with building new tissue and repairing damaged
tissue (which occurs every time you use your muscles). Protein sources include: milk, meat, fish,
egg, and vegetables. Think about whey, egg, rice, and soy as being some of the excellent protein sources.
As we approach the time of year when our lives are much more likely to be influenced by
candies and cookies and all sorts of high-calorie and high-fat treats, here are some healthy
snack tricks you can choose to keep yourself and your family healthy. One caution: allergies and
other special needs should be taken into account, but here are some general suggestions that make
good sense and healthy bodies.
- fresh or frozen fruits
- yogurt (I love the organic, plain version from Stonyfield, and I mix it with fruit and top it
with fresh-ground flax seed)
- peanut butter (or try sunflower butter.... yum!)
- eggs (grateful to live near some organic chickens)
- sweet potato chips (or the new purple variety http://on.msnbc.com/rcgbiL)
- fresh fruit smoothies
- whole grained cereals
- healthier baked goods made from fruits and vegetables like banana or zucchini bread or carrot bars
You will see these, along with other great ideas, when you read Parents online article, 20 Best
Snacks for Kids, at this link: http://bit.ly/bsqXmE.
Here is the first question to a little quiz about how you can avoid hidden calories in
healthy-seeming snack foods that comes from Dr. Oz
Nothing satisfies a mid-afternoon slump like a good healthy snack. Snacks can be a
between-meal pick-me-up with many nutritional advantages. Snacking helps your metabolism
stay well-tuned, keeps you from sabotaging a well-meaning diet and prevents ravenous overeating
at mealtimes. It keeps blood sugar level so you aren't irritable and helps you focused. Kids get
much of their nutrition throughout the day from snacks and most diets make provisions for snacking.
But seemingly healthful snacks can pack a caloric punch without your knowledge. Lets test
your snack smarts and see if you can pick out the healthy poser.
This week, decide now two or three tricks that will allow you to have healthier
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, and Easter treats. You will
enjoy the benefits every day for the rest of your life!
Question: Its 4:00 and youre stuck at work with the poorly-stocked
kitchen. Which snack has fewer calories, trail mix or cookies?
Commercially prepared trail mix can be loaded with salted peanuts, milk chocolate
morsels and sugarcoated dried fruit that can make a 1/2 cup cost you 320 calories. Whereas
one raisin cookie weighs in at 250 calories. The solution? Make your own trail mix: include
true tree nuts like raw almonds and walnuts for protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids; and
dried cranberries and dark chocolate for antioxidants.
Workout at Work
24 October 2011
Jean Lawrence, author of the WebMD article, Exercise at Your Desk
(http://bit.ly/MwYhJ), writes, While
you shouldnt give up on your home or gym exercise routine, you can certainly supplement
it with exercises done at your desk (and, on those extra-long workdays, its much better
than doing nothing.) Check out these easy ways to get in your workout at work:
- Glance at the wall clock and rip off a minutes worth of jumping jacks.
- Do a football-like drill of running in place for 60 seconds. Get those knees
up! (Beginners, march in place.)
- Simulate jumping rope for a minute: Hop on alternate feet, or on both feet at once.
- While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, then rapidly tap your feet on
the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
- If you can step into a vacant office or conference room, shadow box for a minute or
two. Or just walk around the room as fast as you can.
- Or do walk-lunges in your office or a vacant room.
- Take to the stairs, two at a time if you need a harder workout! Do this 5-7 times a day.
Another article, Seated Total Body Strength (http://bit.ly/3Jk3Zf), has several easy exercises that you can do
in a chair. The article says you can get more of a workout with the lower body exercises
by adding ankle weights. I can see that becoming a healthy trend around the office, but
make sure you tell everyone why you are doing it otherwise it might make HR a bit nervous
Long-distance travel in planes, trains, and automobiles may increase the risk for deep-vein
thrombosis. Prevention tips include wearing compression stocking in flights longer than eight
hours, and being sure you drink plenty of water goes right along with walking up and down the
aisle. You can point and flex your feet every 20 minutes, and for some great reminders scroll
down to see the tip for well-being from September 13, 2010 (Tai Chi in Flight).
This tip comes at a good time for me, too, since I will have just flown to Germany, then
auto-traveled around the South of France, Italy, Austria, and flown back home. My host
is an American civilian who works for the U.S. Army as an Occupational Therapist in the
Return-to-Duty Program. While we were seeing the sights, and I was doing my seated chair
exercises, I was also teaching her NLPs advanced language patterns that she will use to
help wounded soldiers put their lives back together.
This week, put into practice some easy ways to get regular exercise. The days are
getting shorter, and the weather is keeping us indoors more of the time. We are made to
move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day, says Joan Price, author of The Anytime,
Anywhere Exercise Book. Get your workout at work. Most of us spend more waking hours
there than we do at home. Where there is a will, there is a way for you to be more fit and
feel better, too.
17 October 2011
Where is the eye located? Y it is located right between the H and
OK, so I agree with you that joke was a bit corny. But knowing you can eat foods so you
enjoy good eye health is anything but. It turns out that the old wives tales about carrots
were correct even long before we knew that lutein (an antioxidant in the carotenoid family)
is essential for eye health.
Here is a list of ten foods (http://bit.ly/aRoHsn)
found to be beneficial for good eye health. Another list I saw online also included blackberries,
soy, and orange bell peppers.
- Sunflower Seeds
Lutein is found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Kale and spinach have high
concentrations. Corn and collard greens also have this substance. Spinach, the long-time
favorite of PopEYE, is loaded with lutein. Some recent studies have found that just 6 mg of
lutein a day reduced the risk of macular degeneration by 43 percent!
You can buy supplements that contain lutein to make sure youre getting enough, and
you might want to check to see what vitamins are considered good for your eyes. Here is
one link: Eye Vitamins for Macular Degeneration.
Most of us have been told to be sure to eat our carrots. Here is a link to AARPs Ten
Great Carrot Recipes, including a delicious ginger carrot soup and yummy spiced carrot
bran muffins. (See http://aarp.us/poZY25.)
Come to find out, lutein occurs naturally in the macula area of the retina. This is the part
of the retina which is responsible for our central vision, and it is the central area of vision
that is lost in macular degeneration.
This week, take some time to be grateful for your vision. Take a good appreciative look at
yourself in the mirror. Enjoy the profound awareness that a spinach salad, a bowl of carrot
soup, two eggs over easy, or an afternoon snack of sunflower seeds are all ways you are contributing
to your enjoying good eye health.
Be Bigger Than Anger
10 October 2011
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
For revenge is a two-sided sword.
It destroys all,
and spares none. ~ Confucius
Have you ever noticed how people use words to describe anger as though it were a substance?
Anger was building up. Anger was boiling over. He (or she) was
filled with anger. Well, we are now entering an age (thanks in part to functional magnetic
resonance imaging or fMRI) of awareness that our emotions are not something, but are a result of
our thoughts and our actions. Fortunately, that means you can be bigger than anger. And that is
a very good thing for your health and well-being.
In her book, Emotional Freedom, Dr. Judith Orloff makes a point of the importance of forgiveness,
which she defines as the act of compassionately releasing the desire to punish someone or yourself
for an offense. Its a state of grace, nothing you can force or pretend. She says there
are no short cuts.
The Fetzer Institute has been very involved in
research on forgiveness. According to their website, leading this effort is Everett L. Worthington,
Jr., professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Topics of research include:
- Forgiveness in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Steven J.
Sandage, Ph.D., Bethel University
- The Oppressor and Oppressed: Investigations of Forgiving Oneself and Forgiving Others,
Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Ph.D., Hope College)
- The Role of Forgiveness in End-of-Life Care and Bereavement,
Julie Juola Exline, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
- Transgression and Forgiveness in the Laboratory: Forgiveness of Others and
Self-forgiveness, Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., Baylor University)
- Forgiveness in Christian Colleges: Effects on the College Community,
Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University
- The Effect of Forgiveness of an Ex-Spouse on Parenting and Mental Health,
Mark Rye, Ph.D., University of Dayton);
- Attachment Style, Group Cohesiveness, and the Effects of Interventions to
Promote Forgiveness, Nathaniel G. Wade, Ph.D., Iowa State University.
Often I have heard the discussion about forgiveness take a quick right-angle turn to assuming
that your behaving from forgiveness means you let others abuse you. Orloff makes it clear that
your motivation is based in your own desire for well-being. She writes, Forgiveness refers to the
actor, not the act. Not to the offense, but the woundedness of the offender. This doesn't mean youll
run back to your battering spouse because of compassion for the damaged person he or she is. Of
course, you want to spare yourself mistreatment.
Forgiveness is a paradigm-shifting solution for transforming anger. It liberates you from the
trap of endless revenge so that you can experience more joy and connection. Forgiveness does more
for you than anyone else because it liberates you from negativity and lets you move forward.
Forgiving might not make anger totally dissolve, but it will give you the freedom of knowing
you are so much more.
You will want to read the entire article, How to Forgive In 3 Steps, (http://huff.to/npBBYi), but here are a few of her examples worth pondering:
- A good friend acts inconsiderately when shes having a bad day. Remember, nobodys perfect.
You may want to let the incident slide. If you do mention it, dont make this one-time slight
into a big deal. Give your friend a breakforgive the lapse.
- A coworker takes credit for your ideas. Do damage controlwhether it means mentioning this
situation to the coworker, your boss or Human Resources. And dont trust her with ideas in the
future. However, try to forgive the coworker who has to stoop so low as to steal from you.
- Your mother-in-law is needy or demanding. Keep setting kind, but firm boundaries so over time
you can reach palatable compromises. But also have mercy on the insecurities beneath her
neediness and demandsperhaps she experiences fear of being alone, of aging, of being
excluded from the family or of not being heard. This will soften your response to her.
- You suffered childhood abuse. The healing process of recovering from abuse requires
enormous compassion for yourself and is facilitated by support from other abuse survivors,
family, friends or a therapist. Still, if you feel ready to work towards forgiveness of an
abuser, it might require seeing the brokenness and suffering that would make the person want
to commit such harm. This is a huge stretch of compassion, but it could possibly be the path
This week, notice how you, too, can make forgiveness work for you in your life, even (and maybe
especially) in those times and situations where anger is justified. There is growing clinical
evidence to support that forgiveness is good for your heart! (See When the Heart Pays the Price
of Anger at http://nyti.ms/o5XmSD.)
3 October 2011
On a website about depression, I read that it is estimated that each year over 17 million American adults
experience a period of clinical depression. Whether that statistic is accurate or not, many of us know people
who are, have, or might experience depression. One tip I will give right out of the gate, is to remember the
importance of the use of our language, but I will say more about that a bit later. For now, lets look at one
key factor that everyone can benefit from: exercise. |
In a New York Times article, Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression, (August 31, 2011), Gretchen Reynolds
quotes James A. Blumenthal, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Blumenthal was
not involved with this study but he has written extensively about exercise and depression. Although he
cautions that the results of this particular study are nowhere near conclusive, he says that Evidence is
accumulating that exercise may be an effective treatment for depressed patients who are receptive to exercise
as a possible treatment and who are able to safely engage in exercise.
I dont know if you, like me, make choices based on the mandate to first do no harm, but this one seems to
be a no brainer. The question a researcher (Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi, a professor of psychiatry at the University
of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas) started with was a simple one: Can a stroll help ease depression?
He began to be preoccupied with the question after several of his patients (they were all being treated for
serious depression) mentioned that they felt happier if they went for a walk. A couple of good points are that,
if exercise is going to be recognized as a valid treatment, compliance and ways to evaluate the output will
be necessary. I found many references online that agree on the importance of exercise as it relates to relief
of depression, including one with the heading: Lifestyle changes that can treat depression
(http://bit.ly/a7VMR3). Notice that exercise is
number one on the list:
- Exercise. Regular exercise is a powerful depression fighter. Not only does it boost serotonin,
endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals, it triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections,
just like antidepressants do. Best of all, you dont have to train for a marathon to reap the benefits.
Even a half-hour daily walk can make a big difference. For maximum results, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of
activity on most days.
- Nutrition. Eating well is important for both your physical and mental health. Eating small,
well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings.
While you may be drawn to sugary foods for the quick boost they provide, complex carbohydrates are a
better choice. They'll get you going without the all-too-soon sugar crash.
- Sleep. Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you don't get enough sleep, your depression
symptoms will be worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue.
Make sure you're getting enough sleep each night. Very few people do well on less than 7 hours a night.
Aim for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours each night.
- Social Support. Strong social networks reduce isolation, a key risk factor for depression.
Keep in regular contact with friends and family, or consider joining a class or group. Volunteering
is a wonderful way to get social support and help others while also helping yourself.
- Stress Reduction. Make changes in your life to help manage and reduce stress. Too much stress
exacerbates depression and puts you at risk for future depression.
You may want to read the entire article about his research (http://nyti.ms/orgkFM). Admitting that
additional studies are needed, Dr. Trivedi says there is no reason for people with unyielding depression
to wait to talk to their doctors about exercise as a treatment option.
Side effects are almost nonexistent, he said, while you get additional benefits, in terms of
improvements in cardiovascular health and reductions in other disease risks, things antidepressant
drugs do not provide. Plus, he pointed out, the cost profile is very favorable.
Exercise, as medicines go, is cheap.
This week, think about the way exercise might not only be the best treatment for depression, it might
just be the best prevention as well.
Curb Hot Flashes
26 September 2011
This weeks health tip was inspired by a line in an article in the September/October AARP magazine.
The title of the article by Melissa Walker is Funny Business. The subtitle is A comedian
plots to leave corporate Americaforever, and it is about Mary Ellen DePetrillo Rinaldis
journey from earning six figures as a global accounts manager for a technology-training company to the owner
of her own production company and her work as a stand-up comedian. The article ends with a line about
her hot flashes: I have ripped my shirt off so many times, the only place I can have dinner now
is Hooters. A funny line, but for any woman (or man) who has experienced them, hot flashes are
no laughing matter. |
Hot flashes, considered by many the most challenging symptom related to menopause, are probably
the result of declining levels of estrogen. Fortunately, a March 7, 2011, news article by Linsey
Davis and Jennifer Metz, reports that acupuncture curbs the severity of hot flashes and other
menopausal symptoms, largely related to mood. Here is a link to the article:
Of course, as the article states, this is just the latest use of acupuncture that research has
shown to be effective for.
Menopause is the latest use of the 2,000 year-old Chinese
traditionits already being used to reduce symptoms related to arthritis, back, neck,
knee and shoulder pain, and anxiety. At the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture is part of the standard
care for all patients in the Joint Replacement Center. Doctors there are also involved in their
own trial of the benefits of acupuncture for hot flashes. Researchers suggest the reason
acupuncture may work for women suffering from hot flashes is that the treatment is able to boost
the production of endorphins, and that could help stabilize body temperature.
After just the second or third treatment, women reported significantly fewer hot flashes, some
saying they were not flashing at all during the day anymore. Night sweats were also reported to
have diminished with the acupuncture.
According to Medicine.net, although we may not know for sure which came first, the chicken or
the egg, anxiety and hot flashes seem to be related. Womens anxiety scores were directly
correlated with the severity and frequency of hot flashes, even when factors such as blood
estrogen levels, cigarette smoking, and stage of menopause were taken into account. Those women
with the highest anxiety levels reported almost five times as many hot flashes as less-anxious
women, and women with moderate anxiety had hot flashes three times as often as those with normal
levels of anxiety.
A few years back I worked with a guy who had had a couple of bee stings, in two incidents,
just a few days apart. He had a severe reaction, and before I saw him, he had been treated
in the ER department of three hospitals. He had received the best of what Western Medicine
had to offer, which included several injections. However, when I first saw him, he was in
terrible pain from the burning and itching and his entire body looked as though he had severe
sunburn. I made a call to my acupuncturist, and she was able to guide me in some measures
to do until he could get in to see her the next day. Even with some relief, he could barely
get dressed and get to the appointment, but one session with her and he was almost symptom
free. A second session was all it took to get total relief!
This week, be open to new understandings and to additional ways you can improve your well-being.
How many ways might you have been willing to suffer without noticing you can do things that make
your life better in myriad ways. Acupuncture may just be one....
Call a Lie
19 September 2011
Laura Harvey, Editor of Daily Word Magazine, made a very significant observation in
her life that she shared in an article titled How I Broke All the RulesBut Still Quit
Smoking. She said she learned to call a lie a lie when she would hear herself say, I need a
The truth is, we dont need cigarettes. We need something, but its not a cigarette. We
need a break, we need a few moments alone, we need a distraction, we need to slow down, we
need to give ourselves a gift, we need to feel nurtured, we need a moments peace. But we do not
need a cigarette.
It might shock you to realize that other people would buy into the lies we had told ourselves,
too. Recently I had a call from a woman about a smoking cessation session with her adult
daughter. The daughter has some emotional/mental challenges, but her mother reported to me
that her daughter is able to live independently. Somewhere in the conversation the mother said,
I feel bad for her because smoking is the only thing she has to comfort her.
Oh, you can bet
your lucky penny that I immediately invited her to challenge that belief! I compassionately
said, Is that true? Your daughter has absolutely nothing but smoking to comfort her? Not
music, not nature, not her faith, not your love? I am grateful to report that the mother
immediately recounted the statement and admitted that all these things are there as comfort
for her, for her daughter, and for everyone else in the world, too. That woman took an important
step we all need to take when she was able to call a lie a lie.
So this time, when I heard myself say anything close to I need a cigarette, Id
answer back forcefully with "Thats a lie! I do not need a cigarette." Any lie brought into
the light loses its power. Just the simple act of calling the lie a lie was enough to loosen
its grip on me, and slowly my belief in the lie started to fade.
Over and over, humans have been seduced into thinking that a belief you held is true just because
we had believed it! Remember that the belief that the world was flat was also based totally on
untruth. Think how long human thinking had been dominated by that lie. Many things you and I
have believed have been, too. Harvey continues:
If I needed a break, I would take a break, but without the cigarette. If I needed a few moments
of peace, Id go to my room, shut the door and meditate or take a quick nap. If I felt tense, Id
exercise. If I wanted to enjoy the evening air, I would take a walk around the neighborhood after
dinner, but without the cigarette. In time, my belief changed, and I finally believed that I
didnt need the cigarettes after all.
The article makes some other really good points, too, and it is not just about how anyone
can be successful at becoming a former smoker by changing your beliefs. It is really about
how you can change your life by noticing your beliefs and learning to call a lie a lie. You
can read the whole article at this link: http://huff.to/oLO9bt.
This week, begin to notice those places you will benefit in your life every time you are able
to call a lie a lie. The first belief I am going to challenge is about not having enough time
to get things done and really enjoy life. Gosh. We all know every hour has 60 minutes, and every
day has 24 hours, and every year has 365 days. Well, not exactly 365 days in every year because
leap year has 366, so we can enjoy them all more now ... every one of them!
12 September 2011
OK, even if you are not a tree-hugger, after this weeks tip you will want to make it a point
to spend more time out in nature. As one blogger wrote, Its not just that going out in Nature
is peaceful (even though it is) or that its pretty (even though it is), its an amazing
prescription for modern dis-ease.
Would you be surprised to know that research indicates some time gardening or taking a trip
to the wilderness results in many psychological, emotional, and physical benefits? The facts
show these benefits might be behind the success in wilderness therapy programs, as well as
wilderness rites of passage. It may also be why pet therapy programs are such hits at schools,
hospitals, and assisted living facilities.
The following comes from Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals, by Roger S. Ulrich, Ph.D.
The belief that plants and gardens are beneficial for patients in healthcare environments is
more than one thousand years old, and appears prominently in Asian and Western cultures (Ulrich
and Parsons, 1992).
Fortunately, that is changing and most people now know that spending time out in nature
reduces your stress level, increases your sense of well-being, and brings you to an internal
locus of control. Hospitals and other healing environments are again planning gardens. Dentist
offices have nature scenes playing in the treatment rooms. Churches are putting out bird
feeders. Cities are creating green spaces.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, for example, monasteries created
elaborate gardens to bring pleasant, soothing distraction to the ill (Gierlach-Spriggs
et al., 1998). European and American hospitals in the 1800s commonly contained gardens and
plants as prominent features (Nightingale, 1860).
Gardens became less prevalent in hospitals during the early decades of the 1900s,
however, as major advances in medical science caused hospital administrators and
architects to concentrate on creating healthcare buildings that would reduce infection risk
and serve as functionally efficient settings for new medical technology. The strong
emphasis on infection reduction, together with the priority given to functional efficiency,
shaped the design of hundreds of major hospitals internationallythat are now
considered starkly institutional, unacceptably stressful, and unsuited to the emotional
needs of patients, their families, and even healthcare staff (Ulrich, 1991; Horsburgh,
Despite the intense stress often caused by illness, pain, and traumatic hospital
experiences, little attention was given to creating environments that would calm patients
or otherwise address emotional needs (Ulrich, 2001).
Since we cannot always enjoy as much time out in nature every day as we would like to,
here are a few tips that will let you get some of the benefits every day.
- Choose a nature scene for the background of your computer screen.
- Have some nature music for listening and enjoying. One of my favorites is Chet Days
Cats Purr CD.
- Place a favorite nature scene photo on your desk, or load a number of nature images
on a digital frame.
- Visit the photo pages of an Audubon society. Our Florida connection is
- If you know you love the mountains, or the ocean, or the desert, choose a painting,
print, or photo of that scene, and hang curtains or drapes on either side to create the feeling
of looking out a window at what you love.
This week, be intentional about your awareness of the healing benefits of nature. When
you can, get out for a walk. Notice the plays of light and the shifting seasons. Let yourself
be nurtured ... and pass the good feelings along.
Just Say NO
5 September 2011
Most of us have heard the phrase, There is no free lunch. I confess I have consumed
the free food, and then asked for a box to take home my meal, but if you can believe an
article by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding (Mens Health, January 18, 2011), when it
comes to Free restaurant food, it is best to just say NO!
The article tells all, listing the high calories from fat, sodium, and carbohydrates,
and naming names. You will be shocked to see all the details, but here is a list of what
they found to be the big offenders:
- Fazolis breadsticks
- Red Lobsters cheddar biscuits
- Ruby Tuesdays endless fries
- On the Borders chips and salsa
- Dennys unlimited pancakes
- Olive Gardens bottomless salad and breadsticks
Now, you may know that salsa is the number one condiment, but not be thrilled to read
the grim details for the chips and salsa from On the Border. They weighed in at 430
calories, 22 grams (4 grams of saturated fat) of fat, 52 grams of carbohydrates, and
460 milligrams of sodium. Gosh, and we know that a 150 pound person burns off less than
500 calories from an hour of high impact aerobic exercise. Yikes!
Many of these offenders added more calories than are suggested for an entire meal
(see http://bit.ly/g1QIhB), but
I am not sure it is just the restaurants choices that have been problematic. Perhaps
we are all more like kids than we like to admit.
I was recently at dinner with a little one (15 months old), and I was once again aware of how
unnatural eating out really is for humans. We would never put our child in a highchair
at home and expect that child to sit there for 30-40 minutes while waiting for food.
We would prepare the food, and then, when it was ready, we would put the child in the chair.
We would immediately feed him or her. When he or she had finished eating, we would
immediately return him or her to whatever activity was holding attention for the moment,
but for sure it would quickly be out of the chair. How many extra calories had you been
eating while you were sitting waiting for your order to be prepared? If you were drinking
beverage with calories, those figured as extras, too.
This week, if you are going to eat out, tuck a deck of cards in your briefcase or
purse, and when you arrive at the table, deal a hand or two of 500 Rummy. That seems
a better use of 500 than if you had consumed the added calories. You can make
it Solitaire if you are dining alone. This way you will add some extra play to your day,
and it will reduce the temptation, so you will eat a healthy amount of food. Sometimes you just
want to make it really easy for you to do the best thing....
29 August 2011
A profound truth is one that allows you to see things as they really are. One of my
favorites is, The tool is neutral. I am still integrating this truth where
it comes to technology. Recently, I was amazed to see the logical in the word
technological. I was so excited I quickly shared my awareness with a good friend. She
just as quickly shot back, Look again. It says no logical!
How true it is that the tool of technology is neutral. The same search function that lets
two octogenarian siblings find one another after six decades of being separated can be used
for identity theft. It is obvious that YOU bring the ethics to any tool you use, and it may be
that we can all use technology to lessen stress in our lives.
Do you remember the song, Rikki Dont Lose That Number? It was a hit by Steely Dan way
back in 1974. One of the most often recalled lines is, Send it off in a letter to yourself.
Back then that meant write it on paper, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and put it
in the mailbox. In 2011, you have ways to make things so much easier on yourself....
Have you thought about sending information you want to have available to yourself in an
email from your smart phone while you are not at your desk? Technology is becoming more and
more mobile all the time, meaning there are more and more ways for you to use it wisely.
I found this cool website with tips for using technology. Be sure to check out John Chambers
One Minute Tip: Podcasted Technology Tips for Busy People.
Tip 172: Really Deleting Filestells you how to make sure all your confidential files are
deleted when you get a new computer and sell, donate, or gift your previous one.
If bike riding is one of your favorite ways to get in your daily exercise, Tip 169: Google
Maps and Bikeslets you create your own path, using the drop and drag method.
Tip 163: YouTubes Educational Channel at www.youtube.com/edu lets you take music lessons and learn
scientific theories with more meaning and more EASE.
You may find some of the other tips helpful, too. Here is the link: http://www.oneminutetip.com/
Your health, as well as your work, is affected by your relationship to technological advances.
In the article, Struggling with Information Overload (see http://huff.to/nkeYl5), Larry Magid says
he used to think he could manage his busy life by multitasking, but research is showing that
is not viable. But except for things like walking and chewing gum, multitasking is a myth.
When it comes to cognitive tasks, our brains arent really capable of competently doing more
than one thing at a time.
All of this reminds me of the saying, Love people, not things; use things, not people,
most often attributed to Spencer W. Kimball. This week, remember you can discover many ways
to stay present to your own life and to those important people in it as you let technology
improve your life and the lives of those you care about.
22 August 2011
If you will grant me a bit of personal indulgence, this weeks wellness tip is about
my own experience with Healing Touch. It is not an accident that it comes to you while
I am heading to San Antonio for the 2011 Healing Touch Worldwide Conference. In addition
to a workshop called Cool Responses for Heated Discussions, Joel and I will be presenting
a postconference workshop on Using Guided Imagery for Surgical Support (Imagine Healing).
I expect the conference to be very powerful, but it was a deeply tender, personal experience
I had with a client this week that caused me to choose the subject of Healing Touch.
I received a call from this mans daughter, asking me to visit her father at the hospital.
This gentleman was an inpatient, being treated for a bacterial infection in his abdomen.
His condition was considered quite serious. In addition to the more serious physical
challenges related to the infection, he had hiccups, the deep, hard, painful spasms....
and he had had them day and night for six days!
His daughter has been trained in a healing method (Reiki), so after a brief assessment,
I invited her to work with me. We began with a full-body technique (originally taught as
Magnetic Unruffling, now called Magnetic Passes). We worked for a while, switching sides
of the bed to protect our own posture, doing repetitive movements from above his head,
along the full length of and off his body.
Next, I encouraged his daughter to find what she might think of as an edge, and just
hold her hands there allowing whatever was needed to happen. We talked about how healing
is the most natural process in the world. As we each held our hands there, we talked
about her fathers beliefs and his religious practice, as he has been a minister for all
of her life. She told me her father was not afraid of death. I suggested they arrange
to play his favorite hymn (Amazing Grace with bagpipes!) while he was there in the
hospital. As we continued to hold our hands, and our sacred intentions, we noticed
slightly longer times between hiccups. They continued to slow, and his breathing became
more normal, and then the hiccups stopped.
We left a heart hand print with her dad, and after a bit of instruction in a
technique called Tendon Guard Release the nurse came back wanting to take vitals.
Her father was sleeping peacefully for the first time in days, so we asked the nurse
to let him sleep. If her dads relief was a coincidence, we were all grateful for it.
After almost 20 years of doing the work, I continue to be in awe. Although her dad
had hiccups upon waking, the following morning his plumbing started working and she
described things as night and day.
Some find it is easy for you to accept this. After all, I was doing laying-on-of-hands,
anointing with oil, and prayers for healing as part of communion in my church long
before I had ever heard of Healing Touch. And it is true that the early research on
Therapeutic Touch was based on teaching a family member to do this for their loved one.
Children really respond well. Animals do, too.
Thank you for letting me share something profoundly personal. This week, remember that
even if not everyone agrees about everything all the time, maybe you can share something
that is meaningful for you with others, too.
15 August 2011
According to the article Semantics of Longevity: Why Words are a Matter of Life and Death Laura
Rowley says research seems to once again have proven that the rhyme we heard (and most likely said)
as kids, is definitely not true, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt
me. You can see the full article in the Daily Finance at: http://srph.it/oIXlB7. Come to find out, simply the way the question
was phrased (researchers asked whether they expected to live to or to die by
a specific age) was able to influence someones estimate of their lifespanby more
than nine years!
According to the article, We wanted to know whether beliefs about how long one might live
would differ with simple changes in framing, and if so, how big is the effect, says John Payne,
a Duke University business professor. The answer is yes, it does matter, and the effects are
Now, I admit to having a true bias for conscious communication, meaning the way you can notice
how what you say (out loud to another or sometimes even more powerfully what you say to yourself
as part of your thinking) makes such a difference. For example, if I say to a child that we will
go to the movies if or when or after he or she finishes lunch,
the behavior will be influenced in the same way the researchers influenced the estimate of the
interviewees lifespan. Subtle communication systems play a significant role in attitudes,
beliefs, and behaviors.
I saw a woman who has been successful in quitting smoking. This is something she has wanted for
quite a while, but now she is so excited that her goal has become her reality. While it is true
that when I talked to her recently, she was still thinking of herself as a former smoker, her
identity has already changed with her new attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Her attitude now is
one that it is so worth it, on every level. Her beliefs are that she is able to be successful
because of the benefits she gains. Her behaviors include the things that allow her to enjoy her
new health, freedom, and she has also influenced the estimate of her lifespan, just like those
who were interviewed.
You have probably heard people say things like, I am a person who _______. Just fill
in the blank. You might have actually used those words yourself. Think how that is such a
frozen evaluation. what is it that would always be true of anyone? At times in the past I
was a person who rode my bike to work. At times in the past I was a person who did not eat
meat. At times in the past I was a person who did thus and so. We have all had experience
with having done something that you no longer do. Even things like drinking from a bottle or
feeding on the breast, or going to the bathroom in a diaper. Life is a constant state of your
giving up things that no longer work for you, so you can go on and live a
long, healthy, happy, life.
It is worth noting the rest of that research:
In a separate study, the researchers asked respondents about life annuitiesan investment that
requires a large, immediate and nonrefundable payment in exchange for a stream of monthly payments,
guaranteed for life. Obviously, the sooner you expect to die, the less attractive an annuity investment
James Hubert (Eubie) Blake was an American composer, the only surviving child of eight. All of the
rest of his siblings died in infancy. Eubie was born in 1887 and lived until 1983. In addition to his
amazing contribution to the arts, he is famous for having said, If Id known I was going to
live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.
Participants were presented first with an online brochure titled, How to Invest for Retirement.
It described a life annuity and a self-managed retirement account. Then participants completed the
same life-expectancy task, with half in the live to frame and half in the
On average, individuals in the live-to frame judged their probability of being alive at age 85 at
52 percent, while those in the die-by frame judged their probability of being alive at 85 at 30
percent. As with the previous studies, there was an approximately 10-year gap in the median expected
age of death.
Next, half of these participants evaluated a single life annuity and reported the likelihood of a
purchase. On average, 39 percent of those who judged themselves likely to live longer said they were
likely to buy, while only 26 percent for those who expected to die sooner planned to buy.
Individuals in the live-to frame, in particular, showed the strongest sensitivity to estimated life
expectations in their annuity preferences, the researchers write. That suggests that the way the
longevity question is framedand the way you think about your life expectancyweighs heavily
on decisions about future financial outcomes.
This week, be someone who is taking very good care of yourself, making good choices, enjoying a
healthy lifestylenot out of the fear of dying, but out of the joy of your living your life as
someone who expects to live a very long time.
8 August 2011
A while back I wrote an article for our monthly Beyond Mastery newsletter with the title, You Can
Judge a Book By Its Cover. I used book titles to tell the whole story. It was fun, and some folks
really thought it was clever. Here is a link to the article about the book titles:
June 2008, in case you want to enjoy reading it.
The newsletter is something you can opt in to receive each month, but we have all the past issues
I was thinking I should do this weeks tip on all the titles of news articles about why you
want to exercise.
- Strenuous Exercise May Protect Aging Brain, by Janice Lloyd
- The Relationship Between Exercise And Self-Control, by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.
- When Mom Exercises in Pregnancy, Her Babys Heart Benefits, by Bonnie Rochman
- Exercise May Keep Your Cells Biologically Young, by Lauren Cox
- Exercise and Be Happy, by Sharon Begley
- Exercise After 30 May Curb Breast Cancer Risk (Reuters)
- Sweat Your Way to a Bigger Brain, Dean Ornish, M.D.
- Workouts May Help Ease Chronic Back Pain (Reuters)
- Were Born to Walk, by Bernadine Healy M.D.
I just have to share more about this last one which says, More than 140 exercise-related genes are
awakened if the body gets off the couch and engages in physical activity. These sleeping beauties make
proteins with wide-ranging benefits to body metabolism, muscle mass, fat deposition, blood vessels, and
immune function. As C. Ronald Kahn, endocrinologist and president of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston,
says, if you dont exercise, you dysregulate your genes.
This week, learn to laugh more. To help you get started, this comes to you from my joke file:
Dear Diary... For Christmas this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the
local health club for me. Since I know I need to get in shape I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead
and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer Ill call Bruce, who
identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swimwear. My
daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started. The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
OK, so no one knows the value of your regular exercising better than you. If you only remember one thing
from this tip, remember to exercise your right to enjoy yourselves with all this.
Monday: Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the
health club to find Bruce waiting for me. He is something of a Greek Godwith blonde hair, dancing eyes and a
dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Bruce gave me a tour and showed me the machines. He took my pulse after five
minutes on the treadmill. He was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attribute it to standing next to him
in his Lycra aerobic outfit. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after
my workout today. Very inspiring. Bruce was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching
from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going be a FANTASTIC week!!
Tuesday: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Bruce made me lie on my back and
push a heavy iron bar into the air, then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill,
but I made the full mile. Bruces rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! Its a whole new
life for me.
Wednesday: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying my toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth
back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didnt try to
steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Bruce was impatient with me, insisting that
my screams bothered the other club members. His voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when he
scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Bruce put
me on the stair monster. Why the heck would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by
elevators? Bruce told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other lies, too.
Thursday: Bruce was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were
pulled back in a full snarl. I couldnt help being a half an hour late, it took me that long to tie my
shoes. Bruce took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the locker
room. He sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machinewhich I sank.
Friday: I hate Bruce more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of
the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without
unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Bruce wanted me to work on my triceps. I dont have any triceps!
And if you dont want dents in the floor, dont hand me the barbells or anything that weighs more
than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off, and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldnt
it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Saturday: Bruce left a message on my answering machine in his berating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not
show up today. Just hearing him made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength
to even use the TV remote and ended up watching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.
Sunday: Im having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is
over. I will also pray that next year my daughter chooses a gift for me that is fun, like a root canal or
1 August 2011
A number of years ago we had a termite infestation, so recently I received a brochure in the mail
from the company that treated our home and does annual inspections to make sure things are still
in good shape. I was quite stunned by the fear the ad was using to try to get me to buy additional
The headline was: What, inside your home, has caught the attention of medical experts? It went
on to list horrific things that could come from natures creatures. The one that really caught
my attention was ants: Ants have been suspected to be carriers of more than a dozen pathogenic
bacteria including Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Pseudomonas and Clostridium. Yikes ... I knew
they are carriers of crumbs, but this is ridiculous.
Now, I am not naïve to how frustrating an ant infestation can be. I have a story of my own
about fire ants in Gulf Shores ... but part of the reason the exaggerated threat of ants
caught my eye was because the same day I saw the ad, I had read a CBS news story, Small Wonders:
What Ants Can Teach Us. I wont try to give you all the dope on ants, but you might like to
know (according to Deborah Gordon, professor of biology at Stanford), what is amazing is how
colonies of ants accomplish amazing featswithout a boss, with nobody in charge, with no
bureaucrats, no foremen, no managers. Ants accomplish these amazing feats together by just
doing what it is their nature to do.
Nature is smart. Trees know when to bud. Birds know when to migrate. Bears know where to
hibernate. I am glad you know how to tune in to your natural intelligence, too. There are
some really natural ways to deal with pests.
I found a recipe for a good natural repellent. Simply mix five drops of geranium or rosemary
oil with two ounces of witch hazel in a spray bottle. Add ten drops of cedarwood oil, shake,
apply, and go enjoy the great out-of-doors. Geranium and lemongrass are good repellents, too,
but be sure to dilute essential oils. If you shop around, you can also buy some effective
and healthy products. Watch for those that have products you recognize, like eucalyptus,
bay leaf, tea tree oil, or patchouli.
The point is, notice when someone is saying something to you (especially in an ad or on
the news) that sounds really scary. Most likely they are trying to get you to buy something.
And that something might not be very good for you.
You might enjoy learning how to interpret natures creatures by looking at
the meaning as it reveals itself through observation. You can buy books about these observations,
usually referred to as animal medicine or totem animals. You can also
just pay attention to what you know to be true. The following observations came from a
website by someone in Alaska. It is called Cycle of Power: Animal Totems.
This is about ants:
The ant is very industrious. Some ants are solitary but most are part of a large community.
Within the community there is a repertory of activities and behaviors. Their activities
include gathering and hunting. Within a community each ant knows its place and performs its
duties with total loyalty to the whole.
For some reason, I am suddenly remembering that famous line from FDRs first Inaugural
address: [T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself. This week, make some time to
get out and enjoy nature. Think of those who would try to make you afraid of nature as the
real pests. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Definitely not ants....
Worker ants are excellent architects and can show us how to construct our dreams into
reality. Ants are very persistent and can teach this skill as well.
The power of ant medicine is teamwork. Each ant will do its part to ensure the survival
and health of the whole colony, regardless of the role it has been assigned. If ant has
to fight, it will; if ant has to dig tunnels, it will; if ant has to carry leaves for
miles, it will, all for the good of the community.
Ants are selfless servants always looking out for their fellow ant. They focus on the best
outcome for the community and teach the art of self sacrifice and true service. The queen
ant has wings and the ability of flight until fertilized. Once fertilized she pulls off her
own wings sacrificing her own flight for the birth of a newborn. Although there is a caste
system within the ant community all ants honor and respect each other and work for the
Ants are tireless workers and hunters and teach the art of perseverance and patience in
all that they do. Those with this totem will find that many of their life lessons will
involve the mastery of patience in some way.
24 July 2011
Yikes.... North American has been experiencing a real heat wave. According to Miles Grant
(http://bit.ly/nr0XYH) the extra heat may be a trend. We all know weather goes in cycles.
Grants Tuesday July 19, 2011, blog says we have been dealing with higher-than-average
temperatures for decades.
June 2011 was the 316th consecutive month with a global temperature above the
20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.
Now, I admit to being a bit like Goldilocks. Whether weather or porridge, I dont like
it too cold, and I dont like it too hot. Kids can be at risk because they love being
outside and they are not particularly aware of the need to stay properly hydrated. Some
medications, such as diuretics or anti-cholingeric agents (like Benadryl) or sleep aids,
can make people more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Here are some easy tips for
staying healthy in the heat:
- Take kids to the lake or pool or let them enjoy water-balloons, playing in the sprinkler,
or with squirt guns.
- Wear loose clothing. Maybe you have a granny gown or a gauze wedding shirt still hanging
in a closet.
- Eat light meals. Ever notice you get hot after a big meal ... that is your furnace
firing up to burn off the calories!
- Choose cotton or linen or seersucker fabrics.
- Take an ice pack to bed with you.
- Run cool water over your wrists to cool your pulse points the same way a cold washcloth
lowers a fever.
- Ditch the down pillow until fall or winter. Switch to one made of organic cotton.
- Eat spicy foods! They make you sweat and that will cool you down.
- Sip on lemonade quinine water.
- Control your temper.
OK. So you might be surprised by that last one ... but it is true. Research has shown
that our emotional centers in the brain have an effect on heat control. Most likely this
is a result of the hypothalamus. You have seen people blush so you know faces show that
temperatures, tied to emotions, can fluctuate. Emotions may even lead to severe temperature
shifts even to the extent of fever, or in the case of cold, hypothermia. Tempers do tend
to flare with heat, as can violence. So here are some tips for keeping your cool:
- Ask yourself if what had you so upset will matter that much a hundred years from now.
- Shift your perspective to see things from the others point of view.
- Count to ten.
- Take three deep breaths, and let it go.
- Remember you cannot take an angry word back. It is like trying to put toothpaste
back into the tube.
- Take better care of youeven if it is someone or something else you were upset with,
anger was affecting your health.
- Walk around the block.
- Say what is real with compassion for yourself and the other/s, My emotions are getting
out of control. I need some space/time to get myself cooled down.
- Express your feelings in a journal or write a letter to release the feelings but
dont sent it.
- Dance, sing, hop, skip, jump ... just get active to get a shift in perspective.
- Sleep it off.
The following article has some really helpful tips for saving energy during hot
times. I knew some of them, but some surprised me. I knew turning a thermostat down
to cool a room more quickly did not work, but I did not know that it actually made the
air conditioner run longer. Here is the link:
This week, be aware of how you are able to stay cool and conserve energy physically
and emotionally. Remember the expression HALT, and never let yourself get too Hungry,
Angry, Lonely, or Tired. This one is probably good advice for every season!
18 July 2011
Recently I was the guest pastor at Unity on the Lakeshore in Douglas. If you would
enjoy hearing the whole lesson and the meditation on Imagine Healing, it is available
I told this joke as my opening:
A guy suffering from a miserable cold begs his doctor for relief. The doctor gives
him a prescription, but after a week, the guys still sick. He goes back to the doctor,
and, this time the doctor gives him a shot. But that doesn't help his condition either.
If giving yourself pneumonia to get over the common cold does not sound like
sound advice to you either, then perhaps it is really important for you to recognize,
understand, and honor the power punch that research has shown is carried by the placebo
effect. In fact, what people believe about their medicines matters.
On the third trip to the doctor, the doctor says, Okay, this is what I want you
to do. Go home and take a hot bath. Get right out of the tub, immediately open
all the windows, and stand in the draft until you are thoroughly chilled.
Ill get pneumonia! protests the patient.
I know, said the doctor. That I can cure.
Those of you who have followed my column for a while, or if you have taken workshops
or classes with me, already know that what you think about things is really important,
especially when it comes to your being healthy. You have heard me suggest to avoid using
your body to express emotions. One friend just wrote about this thanking me for teaching
her not to use phrases such as:
- What a pain in the foot or pain in the neck (or whatever other body part like a word for donkey one chooses to use)
- My heart bleeds for them. OR My heart aches for them. OR That hurts my heart.
That's so complex it makes my head hurt just thinking about it. (spoken often by a friend of mine who suffers frequently from headaches)
- That scares me to death.
Essentially we may discover more about the reasons these sorts of things make
such a big difference (small changes ... infinite results). We can get good at getting
well by adding your psychological and emotional intelligence to healthy habits.
That is what the process at
is all about, but for now, it may just make good sense to make good use of whatever helps.
According to a recent article, Common cold curbed with placebos, study finds....
If you believe chicken soup or Vitamin C helps speed your recoverythen stick with it,
placebo users recovered from the symptoms of the common cold a full 2.5 days sooner than
their no-pill counterparts. See the article at http://on.msnbc.com/mSyBEe.
This week, begin to maximize the placebo effect by using some affirmations. More and
more, I allow my body to heal. I remind myself that I make good choices, not out of
fear of disease, but out of the true joy of living. Sometimes I feel fear, anger,
or sadness, and I accept that is what I am feeling in the moment. I recognize my
emotions as something I am experiencing in the moment, and I relax knowing when I go
to sleep my body is restoring itself naturally. Hmmm. I think you can tell that we
are all already feeling better, dont you....
Black Walnuts and Daffodils
11 July 2011
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening) wrote of his having learned about love watching
his father-in-law watering black walnuts six inches high that wouldnt be fully
grown for a 150 years. That got me thinking about what allows you to invest your time,
your money, your energyyour lifedoing things that will benefit others long after
you are gone.
We do that with our children, believing they will live on after we are no longer in body. We
certainly do that with our grandchildren, even more so. I dont know for sure, but I am
thinking I will experience that to an even greater degree when I am a great grandmother. Although
he is not yet married and says he does not think he wants to have children, great grandparent
could be close for me since my elder grandson is 21.
As I ponder this today, I am aware more deeply of the emotion my 80-year-old mother-in-law
was expressing when her 43 year-old grandson died, and she said, Why didnt I
go instead of Scott?
Both the planting and tending of the black walnut trees, and the surrendering to the way
life is unfolding in all its uncertainty, call for courage of spirit or what is sometimes
called character. And the way you develop more of that just might be through regular exercise!
In an article Why Exercise Makes Us Feel Good, (N.Y. Times, Saturday, July 9),
Gretchen Reynolds writes, Why does exercise make us happy and calm? Almost everyone
agrees that it generally does, a conclusion supported by research. A survey by Norwegian
researchers published this month, for instance, found that those who engaged in any exercise,
even a small amount, reported improved mental health....
I saw a suggestive T-shirt showing a guy on a bike. The caption read, Put some
fun between your legs. My daughter and I swear that twenty minutes on our bicycles
is good medicine. Obviously, others think so, too.
The research was done with mice not men, but it does seem to provide good evidence and
the article is probably well worth a quick read. Here is the link: http://nyti.ms/p4Ld1v. What
the research found is encouraging: exercise intertwines with emotions, along with the soothing
message that it may not require much physical activity to provide lasting emotional resilience.
And take heart knowing that they found excessive amounts of daily exercise are not
needed (or desirable) for you to achieve emotional resilience. The mice in his lab ran
only when and for as long as they wished, over the course of several weeks. Moderate
levels of exercise seem to provide the most stress-relieving benefits!
Before you move on with the busy of your day, enjoy reading a story,
Daffodil Principle, from the book Celebration, by Jaroldeen Edwards.
The story reminds me of one of my favorite forms of exercise
which is to walk the labyrinth shown in the photo below, especially when the daffodils
are in bloom. Check out Still Waters, a retreat house in Buchanan, Michigan (www.StillWaters.org).
This week, be aware of those areas in your life that are worth your investing your time and
money and energy into the future, not just for your sake, but also for the sake of those who
4 July 2011
Wow.... It has been over 30 years ago when I first declared my home a smoke-free zone. It was not
a popular action, because at that time, smoking was very popular in American culture. We saw teachers
and students smoking at school, and we saw doctors and patients smoking in hospitals. We saw our heros
smoking on TV. Ads told us smoking was the way to be sexy, popular, smart, and a lot of other things. We
were not only buying a pack of Salems, Winstons, or Camels, but we were also also buying a pack of lies.
Recently I saw a line I really resonate with: A leader is not one who says, Follow me.
A leader is one who says, I'll go first.
According to an article in The AARP Magazine (July-August 2011), research indicates going
first and thinking twice before you undergo the knife (have surgery) is something we should
all pay attention to. The article, Four Surgeries to Avoid, by Karen Cheney, says
the following procedures are overperformed for a variety of reasons: some
are moneymakers for hospitals and doctors, others are expedient, and still other
seem to work, at least in the short term.
If you want to read the entire article, here is the link:
http://aarp.us/l5uyPc, but I will
do my best to share with you some of the alternatives the article says are good choices for
you to make.
Stentsfor Stable Angina
Suggestions: Diet, exercise, medications. Why? Cheney says If plaque is forming in your
arteries, this is a systemic disease; a stent wont keep even a full inch of your arteries
clear. Youll still need aggressive medical therapy to prevent future problems. Fortunately,
if you are a regular reader of my health tips or if you have attended workshops with me, you
probably already know that Dean Ornish, M.D. has been able to help people heal cardiovascular
disease with lifestyle changes, including one hour per day of yoga, meditation, or guided
imagery. Here is a recap of that research:
Compex Spinal Fusionfor Stenosis
Suggestions: Physical therapy, cortisone injections, acupuncture, and medications. Why?
According to Arnold Weil, M.D., clinical assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine
at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Probably less than 5 percent of all
back pain requires surgery. I am certainly thankful I learned alternatives when I was
diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. You can read more about that here:
Debras Story: Freedom From Pain.
Hysterectomyfor Uterine Fibroids
Suggestions: Uterine-artery embolization (cutting off blood supply to the fibroids), or
focused ultrasound (shrinks the fibroids). Its kind of amazing that weve had all these
alternative procedures for many years and they havent gained a lot of traction, says
William Parker, M.D., author of A Gynecologists Second Opinion, and lead investigator of a
2009 study on the long-term health consequences of hysterectomy.
Knee Arthroscopyfor Osteoarthritis
Suggestions: start with the least harmful and invasive treatment... Why? Except in cases
where the meniscal tissue is torn, studies show the surgery group and those opting for less
invasive treatments had nearly identical outcomes.
This week, declare your independence! Be willing to seek a second opinion when that is
appropriate, just as I declared my home smoke-free. Just do whatever helps you find
the path for your own healing. This means find what works for you. It may go against the
mainstream. Remember: No individual is a statistic.
27 June 2011
Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.|
Even though I am a self-confessed wordsmith, I had not previously noticed that the word
gratitude has the word attitude contained phonetically within it. Yes, we all know attitude
is a big deal, but for now, lets look more at the attitude of gratitude.
If you think about the idea of your attitude of gratitude turning a meal into a feast, I
am reminded of having read about a practice called sleeping with bread. During the Holocaust,
children were instructed to save part of their bread each day. They were to hold it in their
hands, while they fell asleep, so they would always sleep well knowing there would be bread
when they woke up hungry the following morning.
Stories of the children of the Holocaust are coming out. They are just one of the things
that can touch your heart deeply, and bring you to gratitude for the innocence of all children.
I was 4 years old and my brother was 5-1/2 years old when we were first separated from our parents
and placed in a Protestant orphanage in Belgium. I was a depressed and confused child, but with
the passing of time, I began to believe that all children lived away from their parents.
The original saying was that you cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear (meaning
you need the appropriate raw materials to generate the desired result), but my husband has always
said I can make a silk purse out of a sows ear. For sure, we had humble beginnings,
having married when I was a sophomore and he was a junior in high school! Even as a child,
though, I loved making spaces comfortable. A tree house, a play house, my bedroom. You know
how just the right attention to detail yields such joy for you and for your guests, turning
a house into a home. I used to be awake all night redecorating or redesigning a space after
being in someones home for the first time. And even today, whenever I see an abandoned
house I feel a sense of possibility....
Do you know what it is like to meet a person for the first time and totally be at ease,
as though he or she is a long-time friend? Often that connection can happen so quickly,
and our lives are forever touched. I still remember the nurse who happened to live across
the street from an intersection where my dad and I were involved in an auto accident.
She administered first aid and waited with me for the ambulance to arrive. Her name was
Barbara ... and I was twelve years old. It was August 12, 1962.
I am quite sure the man off whom University of South Florida lineman Danous Estenor recently lifted
a 3,500 pound Cadillac feels gratitude to him.... (For the whole story, see http://bit.ly/kWfWt4.)
This week, notice the things in your life that are asking for you to look upon them with
an attitude of gratitude. Probably none of us have to hold onto a crust of bread to know
we will have something to eat tomorrow. But, it does not have to be just the big things.
We can be grateful so it all makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a
vision for tomorrow.
20 June 2011
A halo only has to fall a couple of inches to become a noose. ~ Farmer's Almanac
As an executive wellness coach, many people are surprised that I dont talk about weight loss.
Yes, for many Americans, ideal weight is something you will enjoy as your weight is lower than
it had been, but recently I flipped through one of the social magazines as I was waiting in line
at the grocery store. The cover story was about eating disorders. Obviously, ideal weight for
those folks is not just about weighing less. I was shocked at what I saw, and I wondered how
someone could have such a distorted view of things, distorted enough that they had put their
health and well-being in such jeopardy.
Obsession is how. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Take something really important like
proper nutrition. Some people are so compulsive about good nutrition they make themselves sick.
Literally. There are those who wont eat anything cooked. Some dont eat meat. Others eat
only organic. Some are vegan. I appreciated the balance presented by Dana Ullman (Americas
leading spokesman on homeopathy) in his article, Is it Unhealthy To Be Too Obsessed With
Health? (AOL Healthy Living, June 8, 2011, http://huff.to/lPj2Ah)
Anyone can think of one reason or another that any food may not be good for you, but one can
also consider ways that most food provides certain benefits. Meats may have too much fat, but
they are also densely packed with numerous nutrients. Eggs may have cholesterol in them, but
they have lecithin in them that helps digest cholesterol and other fats more effectively. Cooked
foods may lose certain nutrients, but such heating of food can make some of its nutrients more
easily assimilated. Ice cream may have a lot of fat, but it can be an important mental health food.
The opening quotation about only a couple of inches from halo to noose was in Ullmans article.
It is essential that you find the right balance for you. Just as with pantyhose, one size will
not fit everyone! Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke the truth when he said, The only thing we have
to fear is fear itself, and Ullman addresses how the obsession of good health can put someone at risk.
Perhaps most dangerous for people obsessed with nutrition is the amount of fear that they
ingest with their meals. Fears of pesticides, hormones, fluoridation, chlorination, radiation
and heavy metals are ingested with every meal. While the negative effects of these toxic ingredients
are very real, one can only wonder if the state of fear experienced by some people is poisoning
them more than the foods and drinks that they ingest.
Obsession with exercise can also be dangerous, and is all too common. It is sneaky, too, when
someone is obsessed with something good. Especially with good things, it is important that you
know what that right balance is. The runner who smokes, or a supposedly healthy individual who
partakes in binge eating or drinking, can be missing the bigger picture. Ullman cautions:
One way to detect if you are obsessed with health is if you are passionate about a single health
disciplinebe it nutrition, exercise, homeopathy, herbs or yogabut ignore other health strategies.
Health is feeling whole; it is a balance of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects
of our being.
Lets make a deal. This week, be aware of how your choices about nutrition and exercise are part
ofand fit intoyour over-all balanced strategy for your enjoying well-being. Thats right. Get that
halo back up there where it belongs!
13 June 2011
Most everyone you know would probably have at least some grim comments about the economy, especially
the housing market. I am curious what you think was at play in the life of a woman I will call Hope.
Hope had been working for a corporation, but felt the call to become a hospice chaplain. When I
met her, she was in the process of making those major life changes, including leaving her
stable employment, and moving from one state to another. Here is the story of Hope:
About a week before she was to move, she found out that the family member who had planned to
purchase her home could not get financing. In her own words, she put it out to the universe
that I wanted it to sell in six days (so I could rest on the seventh). On a Thursday, she
called a realtor. She wanted no house payment in June, since her salary would have come to
an end. The realtor gave her what she felt was the truth: even if the house sold right away,
it would take at least 30 days to close.
Hope says from that moment on she was surrounded by angels: a carpet cleaner who had an
opening Friday afternoon; a window cleaning company that could come that very day; a landscape
company to add curb appeal Saturday afternoon. (The young mans mother drew up the plans and
shopped for the plants herself!)
On Sunday, the realtor came over for the first time. Monday after work, Hope hauled furniture
into the garage and basement. Tuesday after work, she went to her sons baseball game. Wednesday
after work, she was up all night cleaning. Thursday the house went on the market. Six days later
it sold (cash sale, as is!). Just as she had requested, she had no house payment in June, and
she says her sons team took third in the state!
In the cover story of the June 6, 2011, edition of Time Magazine, in an article titled The
Science of Optimism: Hope isnt rationalso why are humans wired for it? Tali
A brain that doesnt expect good results lacks a signal telling it, Take noticewrong
answer! These brains will fail to learn from their mistakes and are less likely to improve over time.
Expectations become self-fulfilling by altering our performance and actions, which ultimately
affects what happens in the future.
You can read the entire article at http://ti.me/mQxNGD,
but to sum things up the author suggests you probably want to believe we will stay healthy
but get medical insurance anyway; to be certain the sun will shine, but grab an umbrella on our
way outjust in case. This reminds me of the old Middle Eastern saying, Trust Allah,
but tie up your camel.
Notice if you have a bias for optimism. Perhaps you have a house to sell. Or maybe you have a
job to find. Or it might just be that you want to live longer or you desire to be healthier.
Research findings indicate that optimists live longer and are healthier. Whatever else you do,
this week take a lesson from Hope.
6 June 2011
Recently I read a report that is not for the faint of heart: 2011 Alzheimers Disease Facts
and Figures. The numbers, as staggering as they are (every 69 seconds someone in America
develops this memory-robbing, life-destroying, incurable illness) do not show the heartache
in the families and friends of each one of these folks. Just last week a friend of mine lost
her father to Alzheimers Disease.
In an article titled An Easy Meditation Practice to Reverse Memory Loss by President and
Medical Director, Alzheimers Research and Prevention Foundation, Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D.,
reports that the research clearly indicates that it is not a super new pharmaceutical that
will most likely prevent the disease. Nonetheless, assures us all that there is hope on the
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Communication showed that subjects
were able to activate a very important part of their brain, called the posterior cingulate
gyrus, or PCG. This is important because the PCG is the first area of the brain to diminish
in activity when a person gets Alzheimer's disease. If you activate it daily with KK, perhaps
you wont lose mental function as you age.
Khalsa is advocating a specific 12-minute meditation form, called Kirtan Kriya (KK), in which
you sing four syllables, Sa, Ta, Na, and Ma, while holding your thumb to your index finger, middle
finger, ring finger, and pinkie finger, respectively.
Take water, for example. Water is a simple thing, yet just losing more fluid than you take in
can cause all sorts of symptoms, including becoming lethargic, experiencing headaches or
lightheadedness, dizziness, vomiting, constipation, and in extreme cases, even death.
It is pretty amazing to remember that, unless the person is suffering from something like
flu, most dehydration can be prevented by drinking sufficient water. This is really important
to remember as we slide into summer. My husband got dehydrated at a golf outing one day. He
had coffee and a couple of beers, and it was very warm. By the evening, he was feeling really
bad. Mayo Clinic has a tip sheet for treating dehydration for both children and adults:
Now, let me be perfectly clear. I am not agreeing that KK or drinking sufficient water is
the cure-all. If you only remember one thing from this weeks health tip, remember how often
it is the simple things make the most profound differences.
This week, let your heart open up to those who are dealing with the pain of Alzheimers. Be
intentional to open your mind, too, so you are willing to know the truth about health and
well-being, even if it is something as simple as singing Sa, Ta, Na, and Ma, or drinking
plenty of water.
In big ways and small ways, make prevention of needless suffering a goal you are committed to.
30 May 2011
I love it when you can see how things are connected, dont you? I have been very focused
on launching our new website that
teaches folks how to use guided imagery to help you heal. I will give you a link to that later
in this tip, but for right now I want you to think about how powerful it is to imagine something.
For example, if you have ever had an experience of having been afraid of heights, imagine
yourself suspended in air 4,000 feet over the majesty of the Grand Canyon ... view the glory
of the Colorado River below, witness the sunrise over the canyons carved peaks, and
listen to the stillness of Mother Nature.
The Skywalk at Grand
Canyon West is a unique glass-bottomed cantilever observation deck that spans 70 feet
over the canyons rim. (See http://www.grandcanyonskywalk.com/.)
Yikes.... reading the description of the Skywalk (and going to the website to
see the images) just about takes my breath away. If you were able to use your capabilities
to imagine to make your body register fear even while you are two days drive from the Grand
Canyon, imagine that we can also do great things with that skill!
To really develop a skill, you need to have some sense of how things work. Not always do we
need to know why things work, but the how can be valuable. For example, while sitting at
your desk or in a chair somewhere, lift your right foot up off the floor and begin to make
clockwise circles with it. While continuing to do this, draw the number 6 in the air with
your right hand finger. Your foot will change directions, and there is nothing you can do about it!
This has something to do with your right brain and left brain ... and so does Imagine Healing.
When a person is going through something that they have not yet gone through, the left brain
has a tendency to look for everything that could go wrong. In some situations, this is a good
thing, so that ability is a skill. However, in the circumstances of an upcoming event (such as
surgery or medical treatment), your right brain is needed so you are able to relax and feel
peaceful. And when you are able to relax and feel peaceful, you stimulate your
bodys ability to heal.
You can read some amazing success stories at
www.ImagineHealing.info but if you only remember
one thing from this weeks tip, just remember that exercise about the circles with your right
foot and the number with your right finger. You see, everything has a beginning, a middle, and
an ending. The left and right brain processes work differently and you cannot not have a better
outcome when you are intentionally activating your right brain process.
Of course, you are right that the benefit of your being able to imagine a good outcome is not
limited to surgery, or even to just physical issues. You can think about anything you have
been experiencing as a problem. Imagine it getting better. Really see, hear, feel, know what
that would be like. And then, imagine it going on to open up even more opportunities. Again,
really get a strong sense of those benefits. Ask yourself what else is possible now, and let
your ability to imagine wonderful ways it can happen flood your senses. Ah.....
This week, take some time to enjoy browsing
www.ImagineHealing.info. Read some of the success
stories there. Share this website with friends, family, colleagues, your doctorbecause every
one of us wants to enjoy better outcomes. Imagine doing that both personally and globally. We can!
23 May 2011
Friendship seems to be changing, just like most of the other areas of our lives. We can
have friends on Facebook; we can have childhood friends; we can marry our best friend
or you can be your own best friend. However you define it, though, friendship (or heart-felt
connection with others) is a significant component of a well-balanced life.
In The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You
Have, Mark Nepo writes so tenderly about friendship:
When I was ill, one toweled my head when I couldnt stand without bleeding.
Another bowed at my door, saying, I will be whatever you need as long as
you need it.
Some of you may have seen that thing about women friends staying by your side. I have
seen that same degree of love in men, but they are often less obvious about it. Devoted,
loyal, dependable, trustworthy..... Notice how many words about friends have to do with
character traits we all value.
Nepo says it is no mistake that the German root word of friendship means place of
high safety. One website I found took off on the idea to have a friend, you must
be a friend.
Another website focused on how you are learning to be a friend to all humanity. One
said it is not enough to be a friend to all humanity, you want to be a friend to animals,
too. And the idea of being a friend to the planet showed up over and over again.
Do you agree or disagree with those who think the greatest spiritual truth is found in
the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?
One very selfish reason for being and having good friends: you will likely live
longer! A ten-year Australian study found that older people with a larger circle
of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those
with fewer friends. (See http://xrl.us/bmf7xq)
The important issue for health and well-being is probably pretty simple. We can benefit
by recognizing the value other people are in our lives. Friends have helped me move when
my family bought a different home. Friends have picked me up when my car would not start.
One friend came to my house in her pajamas to bring me some homeopathic eye drops when
I was so sick with a virus I had secretions from multiple body orifices. A friend once
broke into my garage and drove all the way to Chicago with a suitcase that had been
Friends may not be people we see every day, or even people we see eye-to-eye with, but
they are the people who can be there for others when when it counts.
You make a big difference to others. Send a card. Pick up the phone. Go out to
lunch. Say a prayer. This week notice and appreciate the rich fabric of friends we
all have in our lives.
16 May 2011
This weeks tip could have just as well been titled something about musings, or a
little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing. My mind has been filtering all the
ways what seems to be unrelated is part of a larger pattern that we may not even be aware of.
Often this shows up for me as meaningful coincidence, or the nature
In the same way that you will see a certain type of car after you get one, or you will
hear a certain song after it is in your awareness, after the 28 February 2011 tip for
well-being was about the benefits of ginger, that sparked my awareness about the health
benefits of ordinary substances, and another tip on spices of life came out 2 May 2011.
A fairly common theme of the tips is how you can do things that are good for you as a
natural way of life.
This week, I have been so aware of this nature of nature. Maybe this is brought about
partially by the migrating birds I am enjoying outside my window as I work at my desk.
I have seen a mating pair of ducks, numerous ordinary birds, several pairs
of Cardinals, a few Hummingbirds, many noisy Blue Jays, some Orioles, and the lovely
Rose Breasted Grosbeaks! How do they know when to migrate? What tells them where to go? Do
they have a GPS for finding food? The answer to the questions about the intelligence of
nature might surprise you, especially when you recognize that humans are part of nature, too!
But what about the idea that it is not nice to fool with mother nature? An article in
the New York Times (May 1, 2011) writes with lipo, the fat comes backin weird
places. Gina Kolata reports that fat removed from the thighs returned a year later to
the arms and belly. Here is a link to the article: http://nyti.ms/kI2vBe, but I dont
think you need to read more to understand that the lifestyle changes that change our
lives the most are the ones that sustain good health on all levels.
Many people know author Louise
Hay, of Hay House publishing fame. She is sometimes
referred to as the Queen of Affirmations. Her work is based on how our
bodies reflect our minds. The use of the opposite of the
probable mental cause of a symptom or a problem, as an affirmation,
is thought to reverse the negative trend so you can return to good health and well-being.
This week I was reading about the cancer prevention properties in garlic. I happen
to love garlic. Even if it did not keep away vampires, I would eat it. The material
I was reading suggested to let the garlic sit for about ten minutes after
it is crushed to get the greatest benefits. This is thought to be especially true if
you will cook it at high temperatures. You, like me, probably prefer to get the most
out of what you do, dont you....
Well, this brings me back to the nature of nature. I have a theory that some of
what causes fat is what is between our ears, not just what goes into our mouths. I
just had another one of those email conversations with a young friend saying once
he turned 30 he packed on the pounds. Oh, my.... 30 seems so very young to me from
where I sit now looking at the birds outside my window. I sent him the information
Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, by Ellen J. Langer.
Langer pulls together scientific research proving mind-body connection, and how a lot
of what people have believed to be inevitable about aging just isnt true!
She also says that correlation is not causation. I agree with you on this one. Yes,
my young friend turned 30, and yes, he had put on some weight. But his weight gain
did not come because he turned 30. And that fat that went to the arms and belly might
not have been a result of the liposuction at all. It might have had a lot to do with the
lifestyle changes that may have accompanied the liposuction. Perhaps before the surgery
those folks knew they needed to eat healthier and enjoy more exercise to look better.
Once that fat on the thighs was sucked out, the perception of those folks might have
been, I can be fit without taking care of myself now. Hmmm.... Interesting.
However you think of things in your own life, think about all those birds. They go
where they are to go and they do what they are to do. They seem to find what they need.
I dont see them boycotting my feeders if there is food they dont want or
need. They just take what they want and they leave the rest. They dont seem to
worry about my neighbors cats lurking around. They just get out
of the way when the lurking around turns to leaping towards.
This week, crush some garlic, let it sit for about ten minutes, or just become
aware of the intrinsic intelligence available to you through the nature of your
human nature. After all, humans have been enjoying life on this planet for some
time already. I guess garlic and all the other good stuff has been here for us all along....
Be a Go-Giver
9 May 2011
Years ago when I first started teaching the use of personality sorters as a spiritual
growth tool, I also read the book, People SmartsBending the Golden Rule to Give
Others What They Want. The idea is that you can learn to observe both verbal and
nonverbal cues and learn how to change your style so you can relate to others
better. In Healing with Language: Your Key to Effective Mind-Body Communication
(Joel P. Bowman and Debra Basham), we talk about that as building rapport through
calibrating sensory systems.
It makes me grin to notice how complex this sounds, when it is simply what people
are doing who are having a better time of things in their lives!
Currently, this idea is being presented in a little story about a powerful
business idea. What is that idea? It is the observation that people who give
the most get the most. The Go-Giver has gone from a national bestseller to a
near-global phenomenon. Here are some simple tips of mine on how we can live those
principles in our own lives, so we can get more of what we want.
- When someone is afraid, you can be brave
- When someone is cruel, you can be strong
- When someone is confused, you can be clear
- When someone is helpful, you can be thankful
- When someone is generous, you can be honored
- When someone is cranky, you can be patient
- When someone is creative, you can be excited
- When someone is happy, you can be encouraged
- When someone is hurting, you can be hopeful
Now, Go-Givers is not just about how you can enjoy good relationships,
it is a book about how you can be successful in business. Be clear about that,
because this is a book with a message that is very clear. From the book:
Pindar smiled. Please dont misunderstand me. Theres nothing
wrong with making money. Lots of it, in fact. Its just not a goal that will
make you successful. Reading the bewilderment on Joes face, he nodded
and put his hand up to signal that he would explain.
If you have ever found yourself anywhere other than where you thought you wanted
to be, maybe you, too, will benefit from their Five Laws of Stratospheric Success:
You see, Pindar continued, the majority of people operate
with a mindset that says to the fireplace, First give me some heat, then Ill
throw on some logs. Or that says to the bank, Give me interest on my money,
then Ill make a deposit. And of course, it just doesnt work
that way. Joe frowned, trying to parse the logic of Pindars examples.
You see? You cant go in two directions at once. Trying to be successful
with making money as your goal is like trying to travel a superhighway at seventy
miles an hour with your eyes glued to the rearview mirror.
- The Law of ValueYour true worth is determined by how much more you give
in value than you take in payment.
- The Law of CompensationYour income is determined by how many people you
serve and how well you serve them.
- The Law of InfluenceYour influence is determined by how abundantly you place
other peoples interests first.
- The Law of AuthenticityThe most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
- The Law of ReceptivityThe key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
This week, just be open to letting some of this filter into your busy days, and if
you are surprised by how much mental attitude improves physical health, write and let
me know about that. Meanwhile, we have some go-giving to do, dont we....
Spices of Life
2 May 2011
What if you could enjoy something really delicious and also experience relief from pain, generate
a healthier heart, help prevent prostate cancer, and stop ulcers? How about spicing up your life
with some chili peppers? According to her June 30, 2010 article, 7 Miracle Spices with Huge
Health Benefits (and Big Flavor), Blythe Copeland says you can do just that.
The other six super spices on her list include: cinnamon, tumeric, parsley, oregano,
garlic, and thyme. I will share a few of her favorite ways you can get all of the
Cinnamon: Sprinkle on sweet potatoes or carrots or add it to your oatmeal. Benefits
your arteries, your blood sugar, and your cholesterol.
Tumeric: Great combined with curry dishes, part of the same family as ginger
(see previous health tip on the benefits of ginger), so it lowers inflammation.
Parsley: It is not just for looks, you know! Copeland says as far back as Roman times,
people have used it for health. She says parsley can help pass kidney stones, battle
deafness, and prevent buildup in the arteries.
Oregano: Most familiar uses in spaghetti or on pizza, shown to help fight off infection
with quadruple the antioxidants of blueberries.
Garlic: Garlic packs antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. (Plus it will
keep vampires away.)
Thyme: Delicious in soups or stews, Copeland says the health benefits go beyond
warm soup on a cold night: The herbs oil is antiseptic and antibacterial, and recent
studies show thyme can kill MRSA infections, which are resistant to other antibiotics.
Here is a link to her entire article: http://bit.ly/ajZ1my, or just send this health
tip along to others you care about.
At a time when there seems to be so much bad news, it is good news to know that those
things that keep us healthy and make our life tasty have been here for us all along.
Here is another article on the benefits of spices: http://www.healinglifestyles.com/index.php/superspicehealth
The next time you are tempted to slide into an attitude of doom and gloom, go out to
your favorite Indian or Italian restaurant, or spend some time at home in your kitchen.
Those who are familiar with it, will recognize this quotation: As often as you eat or
drink, do this in remembrance.... Well, as often as you eat or drink, begin to really
enjoy the spices of life....
This week make a point to replace one negative or discouraging thought with a positive
or innovative idea for change. And replace one bland food for one you can really enjoy,
something with one of these spices. Who knows? Eat right and you might just put some spice
in your life in other ways, too, if you know what I mean....
25 April 2011
This weeks tip is on foods that are just good medicine. Our ancestors did not have a Walgreens
on every corner, so they used food as medicine to help them be healthier, and with a bit of
awareness, you can enjoy doing the same thing today.
Most of us have heard the phrase, An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but now
scientific research has shown that the doctor is probably a cardiologist. Yes, according
to an article by David W. Freeman (CBS news), apples have been shown to lower your
bad cholesterol (LDL), and increase your good (HDL). The particular study mentioned
in this article focused on a group of women, ages 45-65, but other studies, including those
with animals, have consistently shown the same benefits.
Freeman says two compounds found in apples might explain why your eating them is
so good for you: pectin (a carbohydrate), and polyphenols (a class of antioxidants).
He makes a point to say that applies are also low in calories and packed full of Vitamins A
and C. Also, for good bone health, they give you the bone-building mineral boron. What a
super food. Yum!
The next healing food on my list is honey. According to an article by Jim Gorman
in Mens Health (April 16, 2011), instead of cough syrup, try a dose of honey.
Think about how long it takes honey to travel down the inside of a plastic bear
squeeze bottle, out its head, and onto your toast. You can check your e-mail,
Facebook, and the Dow while waiting. Well, that same thick, viscous quality makes
honey a perfect substitute for cough syrup. Both do essentially the same thingcoat
the throat, relieving irritation.
In The Anti-Cancer Diet, Peter Jaret answers the question, Do all fruits and
vegetables, from avacados to zucchini, contain cancer-fighters? Simply put, his
response was, Almost everything in the produce section has a place in a cancer-prevention
diet. The only thing in the article I did not really agree with was a comment about
inherited risk, but his suggestion is you can use good nutrition to help yourself
even in that situation. I do agree with that idea and, if you are interested in
reading the entire article, here is the link: http://bit.ly/f6zj1Z
In fact, a recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found
that a spoonful of honey was better than dextromethorphan (DM), the active ingredient
in Robitussin DM and other cough suppressants, at halting hacking in children. Honey
should work equally well in adults, says study author Ian Paul, M.D., an associate
professor of pediatrics and public health sciences at Penn State University. The best
part: You wont feel dizzy or light-headedone of the side effects of taking DM.
Try buckwheat honey, a darker variety that contains more antioxidants than
lighter shades do. (Antioxidants may help prevent heart disease and cancer,
scientists believe.) Take 2 teaspoons when you want to quiet your coughat
night or before a meeting, for examplebut dont try to squelch the cough
altogether. Productive daytime coughing can help loosen and move mucus out of your lungs.
This week begin to notice how the things you eat can be part of your getting
more healthy. That might just be the way nature intended it....
18 April 2011
Wowser.... Think for a minute about Russell Bishops article titled, Are You a Winner or
a Whiner? (Huffington Post, March 21, 2011) and what might be true for you. Of course,
everyone has stuff to get through. Life happens, that is for sure. In the olden days,
people would talk about getting bitter or better. We all want to have attitudes that
turn us into winners, especially in those areas that really count most to us.
One of the most important things seems to be that you need to pay close attention to
the temptation to give reasons why something in your life has not yet worked out the
way you say you want it to. As Bishop says,
Whenever you start to serve up reasons that things arent where you want them to be
in your life, you can probably rationalize your predicament pretty well. However,
whenever you find yourself starting to rationalize, you might consider reframing the
word rationalize as telling yourself rational lies.
Rationalization is one of a variety of defense mechanisms people use because they
allow them to maintain a positive self-image. In addition to rationalization, other
common defense mechanisms include: projection, denial, scapegoating, suppression,
symbiosis, and introjection. We used them to avoid recognizing things about ourselves
we would find unpleasant or unacceptable. To begin listening for and identifying your
own defense mechanisms, you may wish to keep a journal to record the thoughts and feelings
as you can best recall them following significant conversations. It is helpful to notice
places where you said something you knew was not totally true for you. Fear and anger can
indicate one of the defense mechanisms has been at work.
One woman spent many years complaining to her friends and family how she would be
able to do wonderful things if it were not for her husband. He was an alcoholic and
extremely jealous. Her typical conversations would include some variation on the
following: If it werent for him, I would go to church, but everyone in town knows
about his drinking, and I could never hold my head up.
Following his death, when she finally did venture out, she discovered that she was
horribly afraid. Her husbands behavior, contrary to her years of complaints, had really
been protecting her from having to acknowledge her own fears. (See Healing with Language:
Your Key to Effective Mind Body Communication, by Bowman and Basham)
In Workarounds that Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work,
Bishop uses the metaphor of sailing to make his point. If you are out sailing and the
mast breaks, you do not gain anything by complaining or blaming. Even if there were a
faulty part or a negligent behavior, you know none of that will change anything. He says
you will find a workaround, in this case, you will create some sort of makeshift mast
so you can get moving again.
This week be compassionate with yourself and others when you have opportunities at
work or at home that would have challenged you. Fortunately, now you are able to become
more aware of the ways we had all been using defense mechanisms. You can move from
rational lies to rational eyes. You will notice and enjoy the
benefits pretty quickly!
11 April 2011
Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don't know how to laugh
either. - Golda Meir
Perhaps on the surface it might seem a bit strange to follow up last weeks tip on
laughter with this comment by Golda Meir. Then again, it makes perfect sense that
we are all learning the significance of our emotions, arent we.
According to an article in USA Today (Emotions Show Our True Colors, by Sharon
Jayson), Being attentive to your emotional state doesn't make you self-absorbedrather,
it can translate into benefits for health and well-being.
A lot of research into emotional intelligence has shown up on the landscape in the
past couple of decades. I often remind folks that thinking about what we are feeling
is a relatively contemporary way of being. If you are over 50, think about someone
asking your grandfather if he liked his job. If you are younger than 50, you might want
to think about that for your great grandfather. People used to have to just do what they
had to do to survive. They were too busy to ponder such things.
As we find ourselves dancing in this century, pondering is something people do. Maslow
may have had something when he identified what he called the hierarchy of needs. It makes
sense that there is a ladder of importance to our needs. We need air, water, and food if
we are going to survive. We need shelter from the elements. Safety needs obviously
include our physical safety, but you can also recognize the importance of a safe emotional
environment where kindness and compassion and respect give way to higher emotional needs.
Maslow called this next level Belongingness needs, including family, friends, and
intimacy. It has long been known that humans (like other species) benefit from social
groupings, not the least of which is procreation. Next on his list, you will find a
category called Esteem needs. Wikipedia had this to say about those:
Most people have a need for a stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two
versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the
respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The
higher one is the need for self-respect, the need for strength, competence, mastery,
self-confidence, independence and freedom. The latter one ranks higher because it rests
more on inner competence won through experience. Deprivation of these needs can lead to
an inferiority complex, weakness and helplessness.
While we often think about these steps, and the next one on the list (Self-actualization),
as separate, they are really part of a continuum, meaning the previous needs must continue
to be met if we are to achieve the next. Rather than 1, 2, 3 ... think one, and two, and
three... Making music of our lives includes having intelligent awareness of our emotional
states because our emotions are the drivers of our behaviors.
Sales and marketing companies have long known people buy based on emotions. People marry,
divorce, argue, and make amends, all based on emotions. Yes, acting on our emotions
is not always wise....
According to Jayson, technology has now come to the rescue! You can buy an app for
your iPhone called Awareness. It costs $3.99, and it gongs and gives you a prompt to
record your feelings. You are invited to take a deep breath, and to choose from 115 feelings
in eight mood categories. Kudos for New York City psychotherapist Ronit Herzfeld
who created the app.
Author Byron Katie wrote a book called Loving What Is, so it may be that the benefit
comes from being aware. Several years ago I became aware that I thought I could not
cry. I was actually jealous when I saw others who could cry so easily and so deeply. I
wanted to be able to weep well.
Whatever you are feeling, this week notice how all of our feelings connect us to
others. Whether you feel like laughing, or whether you feel like weeping, even when
you get curious, or when you get excited, or as you get hopeful ... you are touching
the web of your divine connection to all that is.
A Laughing Matter
4 April 2011
Sometimes when things get really serious, folks will say, This is not a laughing matter. Scientific
research seems to indicate just the opposite. The more serious things get, the more you may need
laughter. In fact, even looking forward to having a good laugh seems to have a positive
benefit. (2002 Reuters News Service article by Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent)
But what is it about laughter that may be so helpful? According to a March 25, 2011, Health.com
article by Lynne Peeples, it may be that laughter is part of a heart-mind connection. Listening
to your favorite tunes or funny jokes could lower your blood pressure, perhaps even as much as
cutting salt from your diet or dropping ten pounds, according to the preliminary results of a
small study presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta.
When you think about how things that make you feel good actually produce better health, that
heart-mind connection idea makes good sense. I am reminded of a program with Art Linkletter.
It was an interview with kids, and he often would laugh and say, Kids say the darndest
things. It is true.
A mother was struggling to get the ketchup out of the bottle when the phone rang. She asked her
four year-old daughter to answer it. She heard her daughter say, Mommy cant come to the phone.
Shes hitting the bottle right now.
Peeples article reports on some research done at the Osaka (Japan) University Graduate School
of Medicine. Participants could listen to music or funny stories, similar to stand-up comedy, or
laughter yoga exercises. They practiced one hour, every other week. After 90 days, average systolic
blood pressure readings showed improvements in the range of what could be expected
if a person went on a low-sodium diet, lost ten pounds, or took blood-pressure-lowering medication.
Maybe we should just hang around kids more. I read recently about a first grader who, not quite
getting the words to the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, was heard saying, I led
the pigeons to the flag.
There is a lot of good reason to experience more of this heart-mind connection. According to the
article, Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland
Medical Center, in Baltimore, says even slight reductions in blood pressure have been linked
to a 5% to 15% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
A little boy asked his grandmother how old she was.
39 and holding, she replied.
Well, then, how old would you be if you let go?
That is a really good question!
I think theres definitely a physiological effect going on, some sort of mind-heart connection,
says Miller, who was not involved in this new study but has conducted similar research. He should
know what he is talking about, as he and his colleagues found that both laughter and listening to
upbeat music improved function of the inner lining of blood vessels, causing them to expand by 30%.
Well, my inner linings must have really expanded recently when my husband and I were chosen as
contestants on the Love and Marriage Game on a cruise. The cruise was a graduation gift for
our grandson. When the host asked my husband what I would say about our whoopie the night
before, he surprised us all. Would she say it was like the Fourth of July, Halloween, or
He responded, I think she would say it was like Memorial Day.
Why do you think she would say that?
Honoring the dead.
Oh, my.... perhaps it is not just kids who say the darndest things. This week let yourself have
a really good laugh every chance you get. After all, the more serious things get, the more they
really are a laughing matter.
Sleep Well, Live Better
28 March 2011
It has long been recognized that your getting a good nights rest is important for good health.
In fact, William Shakespeares Macbeth spoke about, Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of
care. And some people believe you can identify those who will sleep well or those who dont
by the sleep habits of infants. Whether that is the mark of tendencies or not, I am living
proof that you can develop habits that allow you to sleep well so you can live better.
These simple things tend to help: clean sheets, an organized room, fresh air, and an uncluttered mind.
Clinical Psychologist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. (The Sleep Doctor) provides some interesting
tips on how you can sleep well in a March 17, 2011, article in the Huffington Post, including
how you can tell if your pillow is dead:
How do you know if you are sleeping on a dead pillow? Follow these simple steps:
Still not convinced? Try this:
- Begin by laying your pillow across your arm and look at how its folded.
- Does it have a slight fold, but still sticks out at the ends? If so, then the
structural integrity of your pillow is fine.
- Or does your pillow foldor flopover your arm, like an old saddle
bag? Then you have a dead pillow, and it needs to be replaced.
- Lay your pillow on top of your bed and fold it in half.
- Now place a shoe on top and let go.
- If the shoe goes flying, then your pillow is fine; if it is
stays put, then you need a new pillow.
Here is a link to the entire article: http://huff.to/hJYRqq. Other tips include darkening your room,
keeping it cool, keeping a regular bedtime schedule, and doing things to wind down
before heading to bed.
I admit I had to teach myself to sleep well. Some of my favorite wind-down activities include
taking a soaking bath, sipping a cup of caffeine-free tea, reading inspirational materials, such
as Mark Nepos The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have,
spending a bit of time with the emWave stress reducer by HeartMath, listening to relaxation music,
or putting on my headphones and falling asleep listening to one of our guided imagery CDs. My favorite
to fall asleep with is Everlasting Peace, maybe because it is only 17 minutes of
guided imagery, and the background music is Pachelbels Cannon in D, Three Meditative
Variations with Ocean, by Liv & Let Live (used by permission). To purchase this amazing
CD, visit www.invinciblemusic.com, choose
instrumental music, and scroll all the way down the page.
When I want a handy tool for uncluttering your mind, you can use the exercise: Nine Steps to
Forgiveness from Forgive for Good (Harper Collins 2002), by Frederic Luskin, Ph.D. While each
of the steps may have significance for you, Number 8 is my favorite: Remember that a
life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby
giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and
kindness around you. Forgiveness is about personal power. You can read all nine steps online
This week notice which of the tips help you to sleep well and live better. It is Spring....
It is time. Enjoy!
Headache Prevention and Relief
21 March 2011
A man goes to the doctor and says, Doc, have you got something for a bad headache? Of course.
Just take this hammer and hit yourself in the head. Then you will surely have a bad headache.
More than 45 million Americans (Prevention Magazine. March 5, 2011) report they have been
frequent headache sufferers. About 90 percent of all headaches are thought to be tension
headaches but many people agree that migraine headaches are among the most problematic,
and that is no joke.
The Mayo Clinic website has a self assessment tool to identify types of headaches. Here
is that link: Headache Types if you are curious about that.
Some people say weather changes can bring on a headache, and while we cannot always control
the weather, as with most other areas of our lives, you can often take the right actions that
will likely better your situation. Here are some general headache prevention tips which are
probably good advice for all of us:
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is thought to trigger headache pain.
- Watch labels to avoid monosodium glutamate (sometimes listed as hydrolyzed
protein or caseinate).
- Avoid stress and practice relaxation techniques regularly.
- Get plenty of the omega-3 fatty acids (the good kinds found in fish).
- Add ginger to your diet (ah, here is another benefit of ginger).
- Consider whether magnesium is an appropriate supplement for you.
- Be sure you are using good posture, particularly when sitting.
- Avoid foods high in nitrates (found in processed meats like hotdogs or bacon).
- Limit foods that can cause blood vessels to constrict, then dilate. Worst in this group may
be tyramine, the amino acid found in aged cheese, or liver, but also in lima beans, snow
peas, and yeast breads.
Taking a warm shower or enjoying a relaxing warm foot bath (add some dry mustard) can
bring relief by getting blood flowing away from your head. So might a gentle walk, some
soft music, or taking some deep breaths. Sometimes an ice pack alternated with heat brings
relief. The important thing is to be compassionate with yourself, to listen within, and to
look at easy ways to lessen or prevent as many incidents as you can. Regular body work, energy
work, or acupuncture can be part of your prevention, too. And you are preventing more than headaches.
According to Alan Rapoport, MD, cofounder and codirector of the New England Center for Headache
in Stamford, Connecticut, If you drink too much caffeine on a daily basisthree or more cups of
coffee or large amounts of sodayour caffeine intake can cause or worsen your headaches.
Moreover, suddenly stopping your caffeine will surely bring on a headache. But if youre not a
regular caffeine consumer, one cup can go a long way toward providing headache relief by
constricting the dilated blood vessels around your temples. It also increases the efficacy
of pain medications, which is why it is found in most headache medicines.
How interesting it is to notice that in this case caffeine was sometimes the culprit and
sometimes the cure. Something like procrastination can be a good thing if you put off worrying
about things you cannot control. Gosh, maybe my friend was correct when she said the tool is
neutral. This week notice how often that is the case.
Benefit by Athletics
14 March 2011
Oh, I really appreciate knowing our view of aging is changing. Not long ago, it was thought
competitive sports were finished when a person turned 30. Now, a whole new era is dawning
in which super athletes are competing well up in years. Like Joan Campbell, a national
record holder in masters swimming. I am not sure what is more impressivethe fact that
Joan is still swimming competitively at 80 years of age or that she was never much of
an athlete in her youth and did not start swimming until she was 59!
You can read the entire article by Gretchen Reynolds and enjoy seeing some amazing
photographs by Scott McDermott at AARP The
Magazine, March/April 2011
One of the points the article makes is that athletics connect us, mentally and emotionally,
as well as physically, to our youth. And younger athletes are so inspired to see folks
doing well in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
I do believe it is good to be aware of the terrible toos, too hard, too much, too
long. Best to set a goal and making regular progress toward it.
When people ask me how I became a full-time wellness consultant, they are often
surprised to learn that I had been in chronic pain and on medication and was very
compromised. Just last week I posted a page about my own journey to well-being on my website.
You can read that at this link: reverendbasham.com/Freedom_from_Pain.
But your being more physically active is not just good for you physically. It has been
repeatedly shown in clinical trials that aerobic exercise improves moods in those who
have been depressed. In fact, Duke University researchers (1999) found folks improved
as much as those treated with Zoloft.
All trials seem to indicate the same conclusion: Exercise not only relieves depressive
symptoms, it also seems to keep symptoms from coming back. Now that is a good reason to
get on the bike, get in the pool, get off the couch, and enjoy the benefits.
Those benefits are muscular, for sure, but exercise also loosens arteries in humans and
rats alike! Well, it was mice... but older mice that used running wheels. They were found
to have much more flexible carotid arteries than their lounge lizard counterparts.
The article sums it up this way:
So heres what all this means for the everyday athlete (or even the occasional athlete):
Many of the supposedly unavoidable and debilitating physiological effects of aging are
illusory. Being sedentary is much more of a risk factor for extreme declines in muscle
mass, strength, and endurance than is simply being past middle age.
This week, take advantage of that extra hour of daylight by waking up your inner athlete.
Next week you can put some spring into your step. Find yourself feeling better knowing
it is not just your heart that is improving with more exercise. It really is easy to feel
better physically, emotionally, and mentally, with something that simple and natural.
Grass Fed Fish
7 March 2011
In 1968 Martin Bell wrote a book of Gospel stories using new images (The Way of the Wolf).
One of my favorite stories is What the Wind Said to Thajir.
A message from that story which has stayed with me all these years: Anything
that hurts anyone, hurts you. Anything that helps anyone, helps you. It is not possible to
gain from anothers loss, or to lose from anothers gain.
Now, so you can really understand this, lets go to Southern Spain.
I had never heard about farming grass fed fish until I saw an article about it
in the Huffington Post.
Veta la Palma, initially started in 1994, is now a thriving 8000 acre wetland
estuary ecosystem in a national park that happens to produce 2000 tons of delicious,
omega-3 rich, toxin-free sea bass, sea bream, shrimp, eel, and sturgeon a year.
It is actually a restored wetlands, and the largest bird sanctuary in Spain with
over 220 species of birdspink flamingo fly 150 miles each way to feast on the
high-quality fish this farm produces. In fact the birds consume 50 percent of
all the shrimp and 20 percent of all the fish produced.
Wow.... This really demonstrates that message the wind said to Thajir, doesnt it.
I relate to the idea of making something wonderful out of wetlands. Partially,
this is because I had the opportunity to go birding in a couple of amazing wetlands
while I was in Florida. One of themGreen Cay Wetlands and Nature Centerhas been
designed to naturally filter several million gallons of treated waste water from
Palm Beach County. The wetlands recharges groundwater, and it does this by being a
magnificent home to 86 different species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and aquatic vegetation.
An elevated boardwalk (1.5 miles) loops throughout the wetlands, allowing parents with
strollers, folks in wheelchairs, those using walkers, and even able-bodied birders to be
up-close-and-personal to dozens of species of birds. The official count for our field
trip that day was over 50! We saw nesting Great Blue Herons. We saw Purple Gallinule.
We saw Snowy Egret.
I feel so inspired by Veta la Palma, I could break into The Unicorn Song: You'll see
green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees,
some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born, you're never gonna see no unicorns.
The real point of all this, though, is to notice the ways we can get some of our best
results simply by shifting our focus just a bit.
At Veta la Palma, they measure the health of their farm by the health
of their predators. Imagine ranchers measuring the health of their lands by the health
of the wolves that feed on the sheep. Six years ago there were no birds at Veta La Palma,
just cows. The transformation that has taken place there in just a few years is truly
Transformation in all of our lives can be truly astounding. Imaging a world where
everyone understands and lives the simple truth that Anything that hurts anyone,
hurts you. Anything that helps anyone, helps you. It is not possible to gain from
anothers loss, or to lose from anothers gain.
This week, see if it is convenient for you to enjoy a nutritious meal of fish.
Whatever you end up eating, take a few moments to think about the amazing gift of
wetlands. And watch for opportunities that present themselves for you to help others
so you can help yourself.
Divine Spark in Ginger
28 February 2011
By saying grace, we release the Divine sparks in our food.
When he said this, Rabbi Herschel (see http://Gratefulness.org, February 24, 2011) might
well have been thinking about ginger!
Long before McDonalds was serving up millions of burgers, nature was providing us with pretty
impressive herbs. Huffington Post ran an article on the benefits of ginger: A new study
finds that two types of chemical compounds found in gingergingerols and phenolscan be used
as an analgesic to treat muscle pain.
Ginger has for some time been known as an aid to digestion. According to a study in the
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, ginger was also deemed to relieve menstrual
cramps as effectively as Ibruprofen. You can make your own tea by steeping some fresh
ginger root for 10 to 15 minutes. Add organic lemon juice and local honey for additional
health benefits, delivered via yummy taste.
Make a scrub for glowing and smooth skin using ginger, Epson salt, and lime juice,
reportedly very popular at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas.
You can read the entire article by going to http://huff.to/gDj00j.
Remember, however, herbs are no different from all the other areas in your life. It is
important to know how much benefit you can receive from something, as well as the risks.
Make smart choices.
In a study done at Brigham Young University, ginger was shown to bring more relief
from motion sickness than the ingredient used in motion-sickness medication available
over-the-counter (dimenhydrinate). I assume this is without the dry mouth or the drowsiness....
Wow, now I know why I really enjoy ginger chews. I often have some with me as my choice for
road food when I travel.
This week, remember to really get the greatest benefit from everything in your life, make
sure you have a healthy mental attitude. Check out this three-minute video on the healthy way
to take medications on YouTube: Mind-Body Tips for Taking Medication, or let me know if you would like to
receive the handout for this.
Share these tips with a friend or family member. Someone cared enough to send it to you!
A Long Trip
21 February 2011
Way back in the days of full-service gas stations, a minister waited in line to have his car
filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant, a member of the church, worked
quickly, but there were many cars lined up ahead of the minister.
Finally, the attendant motioned the minister toward a vacant pump. Reverend, said the young
man, Sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready
for a long trip.
The minister chuckled, I know what you mean. Its the same in my business.
There is a force within that gives you lifeSeek that. In your body there lies a
priceless jewelSeek that. Oh, Wandering Sufi, if you are in search of the greatest
treasure, dont look outside, Look within, and Seek That. Rumi
In her blog, Marcia Wieder highlights four steps to take so you have a clear intention.
You might find these helpful as you get ready for the long trip of making your
dreams come true in your own life.
- Get clear about something you want and write it down. I usually encourage folks to
identify something you know will benefit yourself and others in your life.
- Share your intention with someone in a way that will supportively hold you accountable
to taking action. You may be familiar with the lyrics to the country song about the road to
hell being paved by good intentions. You want to choose something you are willing to take
appropriate action towards.
- Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention. This can be big or
small, and will work best if it is something totally within your control.
- Acknowledge that you did what you said you would do, and then take the next step. People
often find that the next right step reveals itself most clearly as soon as you start taking action
toward the goal. I have heard it described in terms of physics: it is easier to redirect a moving
object than it is to get a stationary object moving.
This week, let the power of your intention redefine what it means to be serious about your dreams.
Ecologically Sustainable Medicine
14 February 2011
Principle Number 10:
Understand the Global Context of Healing
It is something we are very aware of, the waste that results from unneeded medical tests,
procedures, and prescriptions. I recall a friends having suggested massage therapy to his
sister who was having some back problems. She quickly replied, I would rather have surgery.
While it is easy to point fingers, we have been being inspired to begin taking responsibility
and making wise choices. Many people have seen drastic medicine as a more viable option to life-long
changes. This series on epigenetic medicine (from The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the
New Biology of Intention, by Dawson Church) comes to a close by bringing our thinking into
harmony. You can live what you learn, and everyone wins.
Many are joining in this focus, and among its goals, are those who advocate ecologically
sustainable medicine (ESM). What they actually advocate is an emphasis of wellness in medicine
and by medicine. This means that, as we focus more on prevention, precaution, and efficacy,
even the planet itself benefits.
Of course, recognizing these fundamental truths will help you know how to choose. While many
of the complementary and alternative medicine therapies may be paid for by you as the consumer,
the enormous global benefits far outweigh the minor personal investment.
This week, remember, as Church writes, Fantastically healthy people cannot thrive on
a dying planet. Please let me know how this
series has changed your view and assisted you in your journey to greater health and well-being.
A Healed Life
7 February 2011
According to Church (The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention),
we have come a long way in seeing death, not as a failure of
medicine, or a time when a doctor lost a patient, but as an opportunity for
bringing to public consciousness the truth that we celebrate the continuation
of spirit even as we mourn the loss of a body.
Principle Number 9:
New Vision of Death: A Healed Life
He shares a personal experience of his own mother having healed her life by making peace.
Layer by layer, all the heavy weights of a lifetime of resentment and anger dropped off
her shoulders. Church says that his mother's heart and soul recovered, but her body did
not. She and his father lived in the home of his sister the last two years of her life,
and her last words were, I see the light. Do you see the light?
Church mentions a few of the pioneers in this work: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.,
Bernie Siegel, M.D., and Stephen Levine. I might add Ira Byock, M.D., to that list for
his book, The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living. In his work with the
dying, he has come up with four phrases that allow you to live a healed life: Please
forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you.
If you are somewhat new to this, or you want to share resources with others,
you will appreciate www.TheFourThings.org
or www.DyingWell.org for more information.
This week, remember, as Church writes, everyone dies, but you can live a life of passion,
creativity, joy, inspiration, and healing in every moment you have left. You do this
by seeing death not as an enemy of healing, but as a change of state.
31 January 2011
Humans can be very wise, especially when you truly see things as
they really are. You would probably not go to a library to purchase
a new car, nor would you likely ask your dentist to figure your income
tax return. In the same way, it is good that you recognize appropriate
treatment paths exist within the world of healing.
Principle Number 8: Stream to Appropriate Treatment Paths
While many situations will actually get better on their own, especially if
your lifestyle creates a good environment for health and well-being, in
Spontaneous Healing, Dr. Andrew Weil makes distinctions between those health
issues allopathic medicine is very good at, and those situations in your
life where you are wise to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Allopathic medicine CAN:
- Manage trauma better than any other system of medicine
- Diagnose and treat many medical and surgical emergencies
- Treat acute bacterial infections with antibiotics
- Treat some parasitic and fungal infections
- Prevent many infectious diseases by immunizations
- Diagnose complex medical problems
- Replace damaged hips and knees (I would add organs to this list)
- Get good results with cosmetic and reconstructive surgery
Allopathic medicine CANNOT:
- Treat viral infections
- Cure most chronic degenerative diseases
- Effectively manage most kinds of mental illness (I would highlight
anxieties, phobias, and panic attacks, as well as depression)
- Cure most forms of allergy or autoimmune disease
- Effectively manage psychosomatic illness
- Cure most forms of cancer
Church makes a point that the list needs updating, as more and
more conditions are being moved from the allopathic column to the complementary
and alternative medicine (CAM) column as better research is being published.
He mentions specifically the current understanding of the risks of
conventional hormone replacement therapies.
Most everyone now knows that chronic pain sufferers are finding relief through everything from acupuncture to homeopathic remedies and Zen meditation.
Church closes this section of the book with a very clever cartoon showing
a person visiting an allopathic physician. The caption reads, Doc, Ive
tried everything! Acupuncture, herbs, EFT, Reiki, prayer, yoga... Now I'm
ready for drugs and surgery!
My bias has always been to combine the best of the West with the best of
the rest. That is why, even when drugs and surgery are the appropriate treatment
path, you can benefit by including mind-body, such as the tips for health ways
to take medication, or Pre- and Postsurgical Support with SCS.
Let me (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if
you have questions about this or other areas.
The most important thing isthis weekpay attention to the many
options that exist and make wise choices as you stream to appropriate
24 January 2011
Principle Number 7:
Magnify the Body's Inherent Self-Healing Powers
Church says that sometimes a person only needs a slight nudge in the right
direction to get unstuck from a pattern and activate the natural healing processes. You can
think of this as similar to the childhood game where you hide an object and then give hints
about being closer or further away by announcing, Warmer.... Cooler.... Freezing.... Burning up!
As your wellness consultant, my goal is to leverage your attitudes, beliefs, behaviors
(all of the choices you make) so you can do the things that improve your health and well-being.
The best interventions are those that are inherent within you that you perhaps had been missing or not utilizing fully.
Andrew Weil is adamant that health care reform must empower the patient by making it a priority to
teach the patient how best to improve his or her own health. Church agrees, saying a doctor is with a
patient for moments, but you are with you all of the time. You are the one who can have the greatest
influence on your well-being, every day for the rest of your lives.
Mark Nepo was interviewed on Good Morning America January 13. His healing from cancer, and the
love of life which comes truly from your waking up to the miracle of your own life, is inspiring
millions through his books. You can see an interview and read an excerpt at the following links:
Church sums up this principle: Recognizing the enormous healing powers of the bodyand
finding ways to engage thempresupposes an entirely different model from the classic image of
the patient being fixed by a doctor or hospital.
This week, pay attention to the new awareness you have that your inherent self-healing powers
are the most important ingredient in your enjoying a greater level of well-being on all levelsemotional
and mental, as well as physical and spiritual.
Healing Before Disease
17 January 2011
Whatever the conditions of our lives, no matter what difficulties we are experiencing in our
health, our relationships, our work, the techniques found in energy medicine can optimize entire
systems in our bodies, minds, and emotional realms.
Principle Number 6: Healing Before Disease
Church makes the point that our focus can shift from looking for disease to increasing
our level of well-being, and says a good way for you to do this is withenergy medicine.
Energy medicine is one of five domains identified by the National Center for Complementary
and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), and the Center makes a distinction between forms whose existence
has already been confirmed and proven by scientific investigation, and those, such as
spiritual healing, which are not yet considered proven by science. Many of the therapies
are already quite familiar, and their benefits are recognized by those who have used them.
Acupuncture, Reiki, Qigong, Healing Touch (energy source not yet considered to be
proven by science), magnet therapy, light therapy (energy source has been proven
scientifically). Of course, these are just general categories, and there are
many options available. Homeopathy and herbal remedies are often included in the broad
category of energy medicine, as well as guided imagery and relaxation training.
If you are interested in learning more, I have more about energy medicine at the
following link: http://Abmp Energy Medicine.html
Go to Download: Self-Full-Body (pdf) to download one of my
favorite Healing Touch techniques, the guided imagery for doing Self Full Body
Connection, or the version of this with the familiar Our Father prayer at
Download: Self-Full-Body Our Father Version (pdf)
The most important thing is, this week, begin to be aware of the importance of your
putting your focus on healing now by developing the habit of attuning to your inner
state of health.
Treat Whole Systems
10 January 2011
Holistic methods are designed to affect all of the body's organs and systems at the same time. Years
ago I read an article that was designed to prove that Healing Touch was fake. The writer had a Healing
Touch session and wrote that nothing happened, except relaxation. I dont even remember where I read it,
or who wrote it, but I recall the heart of the message. Sure, I found it deeply relaxing. Yes, I was able
to calm my mind. True, I slept well after, but nothing really happened.
Principle Number 5: Treat Whole Systems
Church reminds readers that stress-reduction methods are the opposite of a magic bullet. He says they
are instead a magic wand, capable of creating head-to-toe physical transformation in moments.
This is true because reversing the fight-or-flight response improves everything:
- causes the blood to flow back out to the peripheral muscles and into the digestive tract
- blood is available to the reproductive organs
- breathing deepens
- muscle activity slows
- all the tissues of the body receive more oxygen
- blood flows back into the frontal lobes of the brain
- blood pressure drops
- blood sugar drops
Church makes the point that you have just improved digestion, sexual function, mental acuity,
circulation, and cell rejuvenation, and all at the same time! He says if there were a drug that
could do this, it truly would be a miracle drug.
You can do this by learning and practicing your relaxation response. And simply by improving your emotions,
you initiate the epigenetic signals that shift your gene expression toward health.
Church reminds readers that natural methods of raising serotonin, such as meditation, yoga, energy medicine,
and optimism, come without any of the risks of taking a drug (such as seratonin reuptake inhibitors known as SSRIs)
and avoids the common practice of prescribing a second procedure to limit the negative side effects
of the first drug.
He says we can begin now teaching children simple stress-reduction techniques and lifestyle skills that
improve our health and well-being by reducing overall stress.
Holistic medicine approaches every symptom as an expression occurring within an integrated energy
system, and finds the leverage points that bring that whole energy system back into balance.
If you would like some excellent resources for yoga for children, visit the website of my good friends
Don and Marsha Wenig from Yoga Kids at Yoga Kids Catalog
This week begin to notice how much better you feel when your whole energy system is in balance.
3 January 2011
Principle Number 4: Being-Focused
Make sure you notice the hyphen in this weeks title. This is about a persons state of being
having a lot to do with his or her health. Larry Dossey, M.D., reported the story of doing his
rounds in a coronary care unit and asking patients (they just happened to be all men) why
they were there.
Their responses were about the situations that were going on in their lives. I couldnt
stand to see my bosss face one more day, or I feel trapped in my marriage. I cant
abide being with my wife, or My kids fight constantly. I would do anything to get away
from their constant bickering.
While on the surface, we see our emotions and thought life as separate from our physical health
and well-being, these responses, and the current research, indicate that your state of being (your
emotions, your beliefs, your attitudes) create the environment for your state of health, your
For sure, extreme symptoms can catalyze a change in our lives. This is probably true even though,
as Church writes, Our presenting symptoms may have a great deal more to do with our state of
being than with our medical histories. My own awareness of this grew out of the work of
Bernie Siegel, M.D., in his book Love, Medicine, and Miracles. His suggestion was to look
at the gift an illness brings by asking yourself what the illness or symptom allows you to do (or
what you give yourself permission to do) that you had not seemed able to do previously. When I asked
myself what the symptoms of degenerative disc disease allowed me to do, the shocking truth was I gave
myself permission to rest.
A rich social network, consistent spiritual practice, an authentic vocation, the ability to speak ones
feelings, meditationhave been shown by research to build a more powerful sense of personal well-being.
The ways this looks in your life will be unique. You may choose yoga or Tai Chi; you may join a church or
start a daily habit of journal writing; and you may decide to nurture the relationships you have in your
life, including your relationship to Mother Nature.
Church sums up this point by saying the physician of the future might first look for the practices
that can most bolster the patients soul, like James Dillard writing on his prescription pad, Long
talks with your rabbi, to banish the shadow of death from the consulting room, and generate a
healthy, creative, peaceful state of being.
This week, for your healths sake, begin to pay close attention to your state of being.
27 December 2010
The timing for the third principle from The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New
Biology of Intention, by Dawson Church, Ph.D., is perfect because it defines the nature of the
healing relationship between a patient and a doctor.
Principle Number 3: Heart-Centered
When you think about the way medicine was originally practiced, by loved ones or those with
special gifting (such as a priest, shaman, or medicine man or woman), it makes sense that modern
medicine is now placing more emphasis on the importance of a heart-centered connection as being
an essential aspect of the healing connection.
A lot of research has gone into the understanding of the benefit of that connection. One of the
earliest observers, was Sidney Jourard (1926-1974), a leading force in Humanistic Psychology.
Jourard was ahead of his time, for sure, and his books, including The Transparent Self
(1964), provided ample clinical evidence of the therapeutic value of appropriate disclosure
and genuine connection, as opposed to professional detachment.
More recent scientific understanding has come by way of the functional brain observations (fMRI),
which show how good feelings are transferred from one person to another. We have previously looked
at this idea, and however you are able to truly understand it, as Church writes simply being
met by another human being, heart to heart, at the level of soul and emotion, can be a profoundly healing
And your benefiting from this connection at the level of soul and emotion goes way beyond just
patient-doctor relationships. My co-author, Joel Bowman, has been quoted as asking, What
if every person you meet is your spiritual partner? This week, take the opportunity to begin
to see your life more this way. If you would enjoy a story that provides a lovely way to see this,
read The Little Soul and The Sun, sapphyr.net/largegems/littlesoul-thesun.htm.
The last line in the story is, Always remember, I have sent you nothing but angels. Your
living with that awareness truly is heart-centered!
Healing Is a Process
20 December 2010
Since epigenetic medicine is a new field, some of you may appreciate what Amy, from Hospice
at Home, sent to the folks in her organization after receiving last weeks tip for well-being.
Thank you Amy, who wrote that here is a straightforward short definition from a Time
At its most basic, epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve
alterations to the genetic code but still get passed down to at least one successive generation.
These patterns of gene expression are governed by the cellular materialthe epigenomethat
sits on top of the genome, just outside it (hence the prefix epi-, which means above). It is
these epigenetic marks that tell your genes to switch on or off, to speak loudly or whisper.
It is through epigenetic marks that environmental factors like diet, stress and prenatal
nutrition can make an imprint on genes that is passed from one generation to the next.
She said you can read more:
In a book Dr. Dean Ornish calls a very effective collection of mind-body techniques,
Rituals of Healing: Using Imagery for Health and Wellness, caution is given to reacting
negatively to the naming of health problems. You may have even noticed how some peoples
language was possessive of disease states, such as when someone would unthinkingly say such things
as, My cancer. Rituals of Healing reminds us that perceptions vary from time
to time and from country to country. In France, for
example, people with migraine headaches are likely to be diagnosed with a liver disorder, in
the United States with a vascular disorder, and in England with a gastrointestinal problem.
It seems as though a key factor is to recognize that health and well-being are on a continuum,
rather than having an on-and-off switch. We continue our look at The Genie in Your Genes:
Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, by Dawson Church, Ph.D.
Principle Number 2: Healing is a Process, Not an Event
Modern medicine has tended to see illness as an event that begins with the onset
of symptoms and ends with relief from them; however, just as being a parent does
not begin with birth (anyone who has been pregnant can verify this as truth) and
it does not end when the child moves out. Weight loss is not an event, like going
on a diet, joining a fitness club, or even losing 10 or 20 pounds would be. You know the
difference between an event and a process in these areas of your life, and your healing
is also a process.
A process is something we incorporate into our lifestyle, such as having a habit of going
to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and completing a set routine (p. 325).
Church illustrates the difference between seeing things as a process or an event by
mentioning what he refers to as an old Catholic joke: A Catholic goes to church three
times in his life, and two of those times hes carried. The three times are the sacraments
of baptism, marriage, and the funeral. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, for sure
you are aware of folks who make a point to go to church at Christmas and Easter, rather
than valuing regular worship attendance and developing a habit.
A number of years ago, I participated in a work-site lifestyle program called Dump Your
Plump. Well, the wonderful thing about the program was that you learned how to make well-being
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Exercise 30 minutes a day, six days a week
When I did this program, my weight came down to goal and has stayed there all these years.
Why? Healing is a process ... not an event! Of course, we now know to add relaxation response, too.
Many of you are involved in lifestyle improvement programs through your employer, so you
can enjoy your ideal weight, become a former smoker, learn healthy ways to self-soothe,
and develop ways of thinking and believing that promote your good health and sincere happiness.
This week notice the healthy choices you are making. Give yourself credit for all of those,
big and small. Notice places where you can easily benefit from a lifestyle change, and
easily gift yourself and your family with that. Enjoy a healing process of making good
choices of body, mind, and spirit.
13 December 2010
The emerging science of epigenetic medicine is changing the way we think about how we can get
(or stay) healthier longer. If you are a reader, you will want a copy of The Genie in Your
Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, by Dawson Church, Ph.D. What
wonderful news that biology is not destiny, and genetic predisposition will soon no longer
be an excuse for choices that are not good for you. Over the next weeks, you will be
introduced to ways you can get (or stay) healthier, longer. You will learn how you can
do this for yourself, as we look closely at what Church refers to as ten principles
of Epigenetic Medicine.
Church suggests that we will benefit by identifying our unique psychological triggers
so we can walk out of the office of a caring expert with a prescription pad of beliefs,
concepts, prayers, and visualizations that have been proven (scientifically) that they
will boost your immune system as you make doing them for about ten minutes part of each
day of your life.
Principle Number 1 - Intentions First, Outcomes Second
While a good outcome in physical medicine means the symptom has disappeared, symptoms
can be seen as a guide to deeper awareness of not only physical, but also emotional and
mental and spiritual, needs. Illness can be full of gifts, and Cancer was the best thing
that ever happened to me is a common (paradoxical) comment heard throughout the stories
In my new book, Falling Together in Love: Stories from my Heart, with her permission,
I tell the story of Jane, a wonderful woman who has learned to heal body, mind, and spirit.
Jane is excited to share her story because the surgeon had told her husband and son that
there was nothing more he could do for Jane. He also told her something else.... He said,
You need to find a holistic healer.
Jane likes to remind me to be sure to mention to folks that this was ten years ago!
Church suggests we state our intentions clearly then let go. He writes that Reinhold
Niebuhrs serenity prayer (used by AA and other twelve-step programs) is a good one to
use regularly. He sees opportunity for Western medicine, with its focus on outcomes, to
embrace the idea that the journey is more than the destination. You already know that
your having a good sense of well-being is a lot more than just not being sick.
Church writes about how tiny robots have been developed to work inside the body. He mentions
the Pillcam, a camera the size and shape of a pill, that a person can swallow. It moves along
the digestion track, easily providing valuable information. Wow ... these are very exciting
times we are living in.
You can decide to get on board the epigentic medicine train. This week, make conscious
your clear intentions to do just that and more.
6 December 2010
Like farmers we need to learn that we cannot sow and reap the same day.|
If you have children or have been a child or ever carried a child, you know that
this is a time of year where having patience can be quite challenging. Children
especially want what they want NOW!
It is not just children, though, who have the tendency to be impatient. Waiting
for adults can spell S-T-R-E-S-S.
Patience is good most of the time but it is an absolute must for some situations in life:
Achieving your ideal weight
Having a baby
Learning to play a musical instrument
Attaining goals (education, relationship, career)
Becoming a skilled athlete
Healing from surgery or illness or accident
Learning Tai Chi
Writing a book
Planting a tree
Training a puppy
But how do you develop patience that keeps you healthy and allows you
to be relaxed and comfortable as things run their course?
Here are some tips that just might give you the edge you want with all of this:
- Be realistic, and recognize that the process is the way to the goal
- Forgive yourself and others
- Set your intention
- Be patient with your occasional impatience
- Pay attention to your breathing
- Exercise regularly (it creates good brain chemistry and makes it easier to be patient)
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat regular meals
- Get plenty of rest
- Enjoy music
Record your insights so you know you are learning.
Just as trees take time to grow, but it is all worth the wait, cooking healthy
meals can be part of the practice of patience. Although they say that a watched
pot never boils, you can enjoy some wonderful healthy cooking this season. Sue
Spitler is a friend of mine who has some great cook books. I have been at a
cooking class in her home in Michigan City, Indiana, and here is a link for one
of my favorites of her cookbooks and it is a real value at 70% off right now:
http://Ecookbooks Low Fat Recipes
And now a joke most everyone will relate to:
A supervisor, manager, and the
director are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.
Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.
They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, I'll give each of you just one wish.
Me first! Me first! says the supervisor. I want to be in the
Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.
Poof! Shes gone.
Me next! Me next! says the manager. I want to be in Hawaii,
relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas
and the love of my life.
Poof! Hes gone.
OK, its your turn, says the Genie to the director.
The director says, I want those two back in the office right after lunch.
Patience is a virtue!
If you have not seen one in a while, you might enjoy watching this video of chicks hatching:
29 November 2010
Many people are familiar with the use of five very common elements (some fist-sized rocks, some
pebbles, some sand, and some water) to demonstrate a concrete illustration of a key time management
strategy: put the big rocks in first! The demonstration goes like this. Take a jar (this represents
your life). Fill it with fist-sized rocks. Ask the group if the jar is full. Then put in some
pebbles to show there was more that could be added. Ask again if the jar is full, before pouring
in the sand. Ask one more time if the jar is full, and finish the demonstration by showing that
you can still add the water.
Demonstrations like this are good because your brain remembers them, and the ideas they represent
make sense to you on many levels.
This season is one of the busiest times of the year, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere,
it comes just when our bodies would prefer to be settling in for a long winters nap. The days are
shorter. The winds are colder. Many of us go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark. Many
days are gray, especially if you live here in the Midwest.
So when your priorities are straight, what are the big rocks you put into your days, and what
are the things really worth caring about? Well, obviously, a healthy body is vital for anything
else that is important. A general rule of threes for survival is that to stay alive you must:
Breathe air within three minutes; find warmth/shelter within three hours; drink water within three
days; and eat food within three weeks.
Those are key for survival, but you want to do more than that. You want to thrive. You want to
establish priorities that will allow you to be healthy, happy, and to have energy to do the things
you want to do with your life.
Our values come from a decision made at one moment in time. Even so, significant emotional events
can reorder our values. That is why lifestyle changes can result from a health crisis. Since we
generate our behaviors to satisfy our values from the top down, you can make sure your values
support the life you want to live by asking yourself if you can have X without Y. Can you have
fun without health?
Ask yourself what you really want. Your values need to go from the big picture (to be happy) to
the specific (to respect individual choices). You want to be able to look back and to see it
all with love.
One guy said his family was the most important value in his life. That was why he was working
60-70 hours a week, To provide for my family. It is vital to notice that he might need to make
some changes in his values to be able to make sure that one of the things he wants to provide for
his family is a healthy father and husband.
Notice what would have to change for you to be able to say you know you can do that. After you
finish writing down the five, six, or ten areas that are a top priority for you, think about how
much time you are spending in each area. Make sure you have put in the big rocks first, then the
pebbles, then the sand, and then the water.
If you would like a list of values to get you started, here is a handy link:
As you are thinking about values and priorities, you might also want to give a bit of attention
to what you drink on a given day. My mom used to say that house plants would not live a week on
what most people drink. Worldwide, after water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage.
Polyphenols are the anti-cancer properties found in teas. But what teas are the highest in
Among all varieties of teablack, green, white, oolong, red, herbalwhich one offers
the most health benefits? According to an article by Gloria Tsang, R.D. (published in April 2008),
the best teas are black, green, white, and oolong, with green and white teas the least processed.
Regardless of the processing method, black, green, white and oolong teas all contain polyphenols.
In fact, tea ranks as high as or higher than many fruits and vegetables in the ORAC score, a score that
measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.
So at this busy time of year, sit down with a cup of one of these healthy teas, and
give your attention to what is really important in your life.
22 November 2010
Jeff Potter has read my mind and written a cookbook for geeks. I dont have it yet, but
I heard his tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving meal, and you will agree that this is a
worthy goal for all of us.
- Keep it simple
- Go potluck
- Use the microwave
- Buy your dessert
My thoughts about these include the why, not just the what and how. Your family and
friends really want to enjoy time with YOU. Sure we all enjoy good food, but the real
meaning of getting together is relationships. Back in the day when you used to let all
the things you "should" do have you too worn out to enjoy any of it yourself, and too
crabby to let anyone else enjoy much of it, you had put the food before the fun. But
men and women do not live by bread alone.
Keep it simple
Anything that can be done ahead of time, do it! Anything you can hire done (such as
cleaning, shopping, baking the bread) do it! Anything you can delegate, do that, too!
Rather than a ten course meal of everyones favorites, Potter says to stick to the
staples: turkey, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, bread, and dessert.
Even a large family meal can be easy if everyone pitches in. The host home prepares
the turkey, and the rest of the fixins arrive with the guests. That way, even you can
be fresh as a daisy, and have energy to play some of the old favorite games.
Use the microwave
This tip brought another one to mind, sweet potatoes can be prepared in the crock pot and
are easy as pie. Vegetables can be easy and healthy when you steam them in the microwave
or on the stove using a handy little collapsible grid that you can buy for about $4 in
most grocery stores.
Buy your dessert
Speaking of pie, order yours from a good bakery, and the cost will be about the same as
purchasing the ingredients. You can get bread or rolls at the same time.
Add the cranberries as a natural remedy for the sluggish feeling that can happen after
eating turkey because of the amino acid called tryptophan.
Serve cruciferous vegetables, because they contain lots of disease fighters. Cabbage,
cauliflower ... they both have been shown to lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers.
And since this is a holiday all about thankfulness, become aware of your own, and as
you learn to do The Original Gratitude Dance. Here is a short instructional video, by
the GratiDudes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9z2ELaBVJY.
The dance is easy to do, and it totally says one thing you are most thankful for this
year is you are learning how important it is to take good care of you. That is how you
really take the best care of others.
Happy Stress-Free Thanksgiving Day!
15 November 2010
Facebook has been very busy this week. Part of that busy was because a story about Mark Haub, a
professor at Kansas State University who lost 27 pounds eating nothing but junk food, went viral.
The story drew over 125,000 views, and elicited over a thousand comments. But Haub says the real
point is you dont have to starve or resort to drastic things like Atkins or South Beach Diet.
In an article from Kansas (reported on WWMT, News Channel 3) Haubs words of encouragement
include: Its not starvation; its not liposuction, its using diet to lose
weight," said Haub. Its completely altered a lot of
things we've been taught for last five years about nutrition.
Haub came up with the idea while teaching a class on nutrition. And his point was to prove that
the most important thing is that your caloric intake supports your weight management goals. His calories
were reduced from 2,600 to 1,800.
You will want to eat healthier foods than he did, mostly because you can actually eat more,
and you can enjoy it all. During his Twinkie Diet his cholesterol levels actually improved.
In fact, for some people, healthy weight management comes from eating enough calories (studies
suggest no less than 1200) so your body knows it has what it needs and it can turn that food into energy.
One of the reasons bodies had turned food into fat was because it thought it had to conserve.
Skipping meals is not smart. Can you imagine what would happen if you went from morning
until night without breathing....
According to an article in the December 2010 Prevention magazine (I
Lost Weight Without Even Trying, by Anne Underwood), new emphasis is placed on creating a
healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips:
Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami, Florida, suggests you savor your food, practice
good posture, and follow your passion. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge,
Massachusetts, says your focus is on transforming your relationship with food: you make a
special space for meals, you fight fat by breathing, and you enlist the support of your family
and friends so you can all enjoy healthier lives. One woman who lived alone would go to garage
sales or resale shops and buy lovely place settings for one. She made an event of every meal.
We have mentioned previously that the meal following a meal eaten out of disposables is likely
to have more calories.
Duke Integrative Medicine, in Durham, North Carolina, has found that it is easier if
throughout your day you pause to think about what you truly value in life (family, friends,
health, creativity). They also found that when you take a few days to rate your feeling of hunger
before, during, and after a meal, you will be pleasantly surprised how satisfied you can
beespecially if you jot down what you eat and when you eat, as well as your feeling of hunger,
in a journal. Although not just related to healthy eating habits, it is vital that you silence
your inner critic. Good feelings create good behaviors....
The Golden Door in Escondido, California, suggests you appreciate the sounds of silence, nurture
gratitude, and seek friends with a positive outlook.
All of this makes good sense, doesnt it. It reminds me of a quotation I wrote down from a little
book of happiness, All of life is a journey; which paths we take, what we look back on, and what
we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get
there, and how happy we are when we get there.
8 November 2010
This past week has been one of awareness of death for me. It is not just because November 1 is
All Saints Day. On Monday I got a call from a colleague of mine, a woman who is also an
Ordained Interfaith Minister. She had just received word that her brother had committed
suicide in Florida. She was in Michigan recovering from a recent hip replacement. Her
desire was to make peace with it all.
Tuesday I received a call from another colleague of mine, another woman who is also
an Ordained Interfaith Minister. She had just been asked to do a funeral service for
a baby that had just died. Her initial reaction was to feel that she did not know how
to do this properly because she had never done it before, but while her initial thought
was to ask me to do it, she realized she was the one the family wanted.
Every day we are faced with the idea of death and dying. The teachings on death and dying
by Brother David Steindl-Rast (a Roman Catholic theologian born in Vienna 1926 and emigrated
to the US in 1952) are said to focus on the interaction between spirituality and science.
I cannot think of any subject that does that more than death and dying. Everything that
is born, dies. Science tells us that everything is energy and energy can be neither created
nor destroyed, it simply changes form.
Brother David was asked, What awareness about death and dying would change the way people
view it if they really understood?
His answer sounds a bit like a riddle. (I am paraphrasing some....) You have to be very
alive to deal with dying because dying is something that is very active. You cannot say I
am being died. To die is something that you have to actively do. He went on to say that
most people are afraid of dying, but even more people are afraid of living fully because
to live fully, you are constantly letting go, meeting the unknown, meeting the
surprise. You can see a 6 minute video of this interview at
Brother Davids suggestion for your living life fully comes from the rules of the
Benedictines, the order in which he is a monk. To have death at all times before
your eyes. It might be good advice, because his work has really been about the way
gratefulness and happiness lead to better health. In case you want details on HOW,
here is a list written by Erma Bombeck shortly after she had been diagnosed with cancer:
If I Had My Life to Live Over Again
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I werent there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained,
or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the good living room and worried much
less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass
I would have cried and laughed less while watching televisionand more
while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldnt
show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, Id have cherished
every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only
chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, Later. Now go
get washed up for dinner.
There would have been more I love yous.... More Im sorrys
Given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and
really see it ... live it ... and never give it back.
I would stop sweating the small stuff.
Dont worry about who doesnt like you, who has more, or whos doing what.
Instead, cherish the relationships you have with those who DO love you and
think about what God HAS blessed you with.
Life is too short to let it pass you by. This is not a dress rehearsal.
So Many Books
25 October 2010
I love to read. Someone once said that we read so we know we are not alone. Well, I must
really enjoy company, because I am most often reading several books at one time, and
right now I am reading Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through
the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing, by Herbert Benson, M.D. (author of
the bestselling Relaxation Response), and A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the
Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life, by Jack Kornfield. At first glance these
books might have looked unrelated, but upon a closer inspection, you can see how
they are saying essentially the same thing.
That makes sense because your thoughts, your emotions, your beliefs, and your
bodies are hard wired. To care well for your body, you want to learn how to manage
your thoughts and your emotions and to challenge beliefs that are not helpful.
One aspect of the whole person does not exist separately, but all are intimately
woven together. Kornfield writes, In joining the monastery, I had hoped to leave
behind the pain of my family life and the difficulties of the world, but of course
they followed me. It took many years for me to realize that these difficulties
were part of my practice. Oh, my.... I am with you on understanding that!
Many of you are familiar with my handout of the Benson-Proctor method for eliciting
the relaxation response. You pick a focus word or a phase or image, or just focus
on your breathing. You sit calmly in a quite place, and you close your eyes. You
progressively relax all your muscle groups. As you inhale and exhale slowly and
naturally, you just repeat or picture your focus word, phrase, or image. When
other thoughts come into your awareness, you simply return to your focus. The
suggestion is to do this exercise for about 10 to 20 minutes at least once a day.
Benson and his co-author, William Proctor, M.D., have found that while this is
often enough to lead to significant healing, you better your results if you include
visualization after you do the relaxation session. They encourage you to make a
picture of what it was like to be free of the symptom you are currently experiencing
so you are able to remember and relive a state of well-being you have had in the past.
They are clear to say also that if it is challenging to remember a state of being
without the symptom, use your imagination to see yourself in the desired state
A good friend of mine recently had a hip replacement after many years (a couple
of decades) of chronic pain. Following the surgery she had a vision of the physical
parts of her body as personalities, some male, some female, some old, some young,
some frightened, some angry, some excited. She was able to imagine them working together,
and she used this visualization to move herself forward in her physical and emotional
and mental healing.
Kornfield includes a wonderful visualization in which you imagine going to a healing
temple or a sacred spot and a wise being comes and guides you to well-being. If you
would enjoy that, you can imagine being physically touched and comforted and healed
by this wise being. You can imagine what you would hear, what you would see, what
you would feel ... and you can make a movie of yourself taking the actions that
prove to you this better state of well-being is now yours.
Benson and Proctor warn that some people begin to worry about whether they are doing
the visualization correctly when they first start using the skill, and they assure their
patients that if they do the exercises, even if they dont think they are doing
it right, the clinical benefits occur.
They say, Overall, the static in the brain, including thoughts and worries that
may interfere with concentration, decreased as subjects continued with their mental
exercises. I love that now science, through the use of the fMRI (functional magnetic
resonance imaging equipment), is able to conclusively support what spiritual practitioners
of meditation have been saying all along.
One of the additional benefits is how our minds actually forget habituated patterns
that had resulted in discomfort, and learn new ways of being in the world. They say
our bodies are freer of the stress responses that cause or exacerbate illness. I
think you will agree that is something you definitely want more of. If you do not
have one, and you would like a copy of the handout on Eliciting the Relaxation Response,
just send an e-mail request to email@example.com.
Best Breast Test
18 October 2010
My sister-in-law sent me a photo of a little girl with the slogan, Find a cure before
I grow boobs! on the front of her dress. Cute... and very appropriate for circulating
in October. However cute that slogan is, what women really need is good, accurate,
honest information that can save a lot of suffering.
I am fortunate to have been in the holistic health industry for a good,
long time now, so I have known about the benefits of breast thermography for
almost twenty years. I could have written this myself because I agree with it
so strongly, but the following is the opening paragraph in her October 12
newsletter by Dr. Christiane Northrup:
- Every year when Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) comes around I am a
saddened and surprised that thermography hasnt become more popular. Part of
this is my mindset. Id rather focus on breast health and ways to prevent breast
cancer at the cellular level than put the emphasis on testing and retesting until
you finally do find something to poke, prod, cut out or radiate. Thats why I call
October Breast Health Awareness Month, not Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I understand
that mammography has been the gold standard for years. Doctors are the most familiar
with this test, and many believe that a mammogram is the best test for detecting breast
cancer early. But its not. Studies show that a thermogram identifies precancerous or
cancerous cells earlier, and produces unambiguous results, which cuts down on additional
testing--and it doesnt hurt the body. Isnt this what women really want?
Everyone agrees that early detection is vital, but did you know that because heat is
an indication that inflammation exists, research has shown that an abnormal thermogram
was 10 times more accurate in predicting future risk than having a history of breast
cancer in your family?
Dr. Northrup calls thermographys accuracy and reliability remarkable. Some research
indicates the benefit of using thermography as the primary diagnostic tool, because
of the prevention element that exists with it. They suggest mammography only if there
is a problem indicated. This might just be a really good plan.
To read (and share) the entire article, here is the link:
Now, make sure you share this news with all the women in your life. It would be
a real shame to continue to keep the best breast test a secret, wouldnt it....
11 October 2010
According to Wikipedia, Sweetest Day originated in Cleveland, Ohio, 88 years ago and is
celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes Region and parts of the Northeast United States.
Celebrated on the third Saturday in October, now is your chance to celebrate this holiday.
It was originally a day to spread love and cheer to the unfortunate but pretty much is
now known as a day to show affection to the loved ones in your life. But it is described
by Retail Confectioners International as an occasion which offers all of us an opportunity
to remember not only the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives, and associates
whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed. That sounds like a worthy focus for this week,
and perhaps for every week....
Erich Fromm is quoted as having said that infantile love follows the principle: I
love because I am loved while mature love follows the principle: I am loved
because I love. Immature love says: I love you because I need you but mature
love says: I need you because I love you.
If you think of love as an emotion that comes from somewhere outside of you, a
feeling that you are hopelessly at the mercy of, such as falling in love, or I
just dont love him (or her) any more, then you have missed the understanding of
the way your brain chemistry is at work, creating the feelings of loving, or not
loving. In Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, Candace B.
Pert, Ph.D, (see Appendix A: Prevention Oriented Tips for Healthful, Blissful, Living)
offers some significant advice good for all of us.
We must take responsibility for the way we feel. The notion that others can make
us feel good or bad is untrue. Consciously ormore frequentlyunconsciously, we
are choosing how we feel at every single moment. The external world is in so many
ways a mirror of our beliefs and expectations. Why we feel the way we feel is the
result of the symphony and harmony of our own molecules of emotion that affect every
aspect of our physiology, producing blissful good health or miserable disease.
Granted, most of the patterns of belief and expectation that have been creating
our experiences were not chosen consciously. That is the real point of your becoming
aware. There are some behaviors you can consciously choose that will allow you to be
happier and healthier.
Candace Pert continues, Meditation practiced early morning and late evening,
routinely, even religiously, is, I believe, the single quickest, easiest, shortest,
and cheapest route to feeling good, which means being in synch with your natural feelings.
Maybe this Saturday you can begin and end your day meditating on all the friends,
relatives, and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed. Now that
would make your day the sweetest day ... and perhaps you can enjoy doing that every day.
Weight Management Secret
4 October 2010
Sometimes people got into the habit of being self-critical when they would cheat or eat the wrong
foods. It is much more productive to just create a new behavior, one that lets you be healthier and happier.
Use your imagination or pretend that you have a forbidden food right in front of you. Pay attention
to the thoughts you are thinking, to the things you are saying to yourself, and to the sensations you
are experiencing. Some people report that they can even salivate! Before you let yourself imagine how
good that is going to taste, just freeze that image of that food, and, as though you are looking through
the lens of a camera, just zoom out so the image of that food is now very far away. You might change the
image in other ways, too, such as shifting it to black and white if it were color, or making it very
blurry if it had been clear.
Your making these changes in the way you represent the food in your mind will change your emotions about food.
In, The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, Rena Greenberg suggests that before eating less desirable
foods, you can imagine that you already ate the food, and focus on the feelings in your body. Pay
close attention to any indication that the food was not really good for you, such as slight nausea,
disgust, or guilt, heaviness or other feelings of discomfort, and any distention or bloating feelings.
She says you can exaggerate (or imagine) the bad feelings associated with having eaten that particular
food, making negative feelings as real for yourself as possible. She considers this to be a key to
effective behavioral change, because you are able to think about the negative consequences before you
take the action. Now that is real learning, isnt it....
She goes on to say that rather than fantasizing about how wonderful this food will taste prior
to eating it and then experiencing the pain of having eaten it over and over again, begin to associate
pain with the food before you eat it. That will keep you from wanting it. By doing this exercise
regularly with the trigger foods that caused you to sabotage yourself, you change the subconscious
programming that had been running your life and was keeping you feeling helpless about your choices
for a healthy life.
She is right that as you change your perceptions about the foods you eat, your habits will automatically
and effortlessly begin to support your desire to live a healthier life. This is certainly a lot easier
and a lot more fun than the way we used to do things.
Dogs 'n' Tricks
27 September 2010
Todays tip is a tribute to dogs ... and to teaching yourselves new tricks.
One reason a dog can be such a comfort when youre feeling blue is that he
doesnt try to find out why. ~ Author Unknown
Almost every day we see something else about how to keep your brain healthy well into
advanced age. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies to get all those antioxidants. Do all
the brain-train tricks including word puzzles, Rubix cubes, and Sudoku; learn new skills,
play challenging video games, and even take time to meet new people. The common denominator seems
to be the new....
Corey Ford said, Properly trained, a man can be dogs best friend. Perhaps
we really can learn new tricks to keep our brains healthy.
I was still feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the things I had yet to complete before
heading to the airport on my way to Thailand, but I was already quite excited about all
the new I would be experiencing, and all the neuronal patterns I would be growing. What
a powerful idea that even just going somewhere you had never been before could be good
for your brain. Travel agents will love that. So might divorce attorneys....
The more I see of man, the more I like dogs. ~ Anne Louise Germaine de
Staël-Holstein (1766 to 1817), commonly known as Madame de Staël
What all these actions have in common is how they each force your brain out of
its old patterns, literally getting you out of your rut.
And the final dog quote for today: My goal in life is to be as good of a
person my dog already thinks I am. ~ Author Unknown
This week choose to enjoy at least one activity just because you know you are
growing new brain pathways. Maybe even learn a new joke you can tell. Today I am
on my way back from Thailand so as I leave there, I will leave you with this last laugh:
A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet and says, My dog is cross-eyed. Is there
anything you can do for him?
The vet says, Well, lets have a look at him.
So the vet picks the dog up to have a good look at the dogs eyes. Finally he
says, Im going to have to put him down.
What? Just because he is cross-eyed?
No, because he is really, really heavy.
This one reminds you how important it is to listen for words with more
than one meaning. In fact, your doing just that can be one of the many new tricks
you are enjoying learning....
20 September 2010
Whether or not you formally know about the psychological defense mechanisms, as named by
Freud, we all have a total recognition when someone is projecting their stuff onto us.
Projection can create relief, because it allows what cannot be tolerated by the self, to
be blamed on someone or something outside the self. It is considered normal, and
everyone does it to some extent. Pathology occurs when the projection cannot be
recognized, thereby allowing legitimate needs to go unmet, hidden from the conscious mind.
If you think only about the way someone blames the dog, kicks the wheel, or
shoots the lawnmower, we might think about projection only as bad. However you
had thought about the process, you may benefit from the way Byron Katie (author,
speaker, known for the work) uses the process of projection as a
wonderful tool for self-inquiry.
In the same way that a caricature reveals what is there because it is
exaggerated, the work consists of an exaggerated use of the process of
projection to show you something you did not know about you.
Identify someone with whom you have some sort of issue: someone you are frustrated
by, irritated with, angry toward, or sad about. Rather than trying not to project
onto that person, Katies worksheet has you write out what you are upset about, what
that person should or should not do, what you need him or her to do or not do
for you to be happy, and what you dont want to experience with that person again!
After you have done a great job with this step, she has you ask yourself four questions
about it all:
- Is it true?
- Can you know absolutely that it is true?
- How do you react (what happens) when you believe the thought?
- Who would you be without that thought?
As if you could miss your own projections with this process, next she has
you turn things around in your mind. In the example, My husband does
not respect me, the first turn around would be My husband does respect me.
Turn around number two: I dont respect my husband, and number three:
I dont respect me. The last step is to find three examples of how each turnaround is true.
You can download a free worksheet at Katie's website by going to
Judge Your Neighbor. Eat your heart out Sigmund. You can keep a copy handy and use it
often to project your way to more awareness and improved relationships in your life!
13 September 2010
Perhaps we are all more ready now to really enjoy being creative about taking better care of
ourselves in more situations. According to the internet, a study at the University of
Missouri-Columbia reaffirms that a sedentary life increases risks of such diseases as
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. They also found that being faithful to
exercise 30 minutes a day is not enough if the rest of the day is spent sitting. The
suggestion is that we need to stand up and move around throughout the day, every day.
Here is a link to a short (5 minute) video with some helpful information about relieving
back pain with Tai Chi: http://bit.ly/aoR8IU.
You may be familiar with the work of Paul Lam, M.D., a family practice physician in
Sydney, Australia. He travels the world to promote the benefits of his Tai Chi for
Health programs, developed with medical experts and Tai Chi masters. His websites
(www.taichiproductions.com or www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org) have some great
resources that may be of some help so you are able to avoid the health risks of a sedentary
lifestyle more easily and more effectively.
From these links, you can select newsletter and open and click on June 2006, and
then select and click to read: Tai Chi to Go, Travel Light With Tai Chi, by
Dahlis Roy. This article is about her use of the techniques found in Dr. Lams DVD, Tai
Chi in Flight.
Dahlis is a good friend, an amazing artist, and one of my Tai Chi instructors! Her profile
is available here.
The important lesson for us all is to begin to believe that there really always is a way you
can be healthier, in all situations and in all ways. Dahlis loaned me her copy of Dr. Lams
DVD, Tai Chi in Flight, for use during the long flight to Thailand. Remember how the inner
critic would have you believe what you want or need to be healthier or happier is not
available to you? It is good to activate your inner coach so you know better now.
Tai Chi can be practiced anywhere, anytime, by you or anyone else who wants to enjoy
better health and more well-being. Thank you, Dr. Lam! Thank you, Dahlis! And thank
yourself for making taking good care of you your full-time job. You and your employer
will benefit greatly.....
6 September 2010
All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.|
Henry Miller (1891-1980)
Years ago I read essentially the same thing in An Eschatological Laundry List. I am
not sure that I even knew it at the time, but the list came from a book by Sheldon Kopp. Even
the title of the book is quite heady: If you Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him.
What does all of that mean to us right now? Well, if you are reading this tip on Monday, September
6, or Tuesday, September 7, 2010, it means I am on my way to Thailand! This is a trip that came
up quickly and was just too good an opportunity to pass up. Spontaneity was certainly necessary
if I were to seriously consider going.
The woman I am going to be with is quite a celebrity there. She goes simply by her first
initial, D. Her book, The Life Compass I and II, has sold over 1,000,000
copies in Thailand and will soon be published in English. While I am in Thailand with her,
she will be addressing thousands of doctors, and she will be conducting a three-day mind-spa
retreat for two hundred participants. Also while I am there, we will be launching my book, Stories
from my Heart. These are true stories about experiences of many of the folks I have
been honored to work with over the years.
Ds story is quite powerful. She was a very young woman, married, and with a baby. Her
husband died, leaving them with over $4,000,000 in debt! Many people would have given up.
Some people would have felt sorry for themselves. Some might have contemplated or even committed suicide.
Instead, D practiced meditation! Her spiritual practice and principles allowed her to not only
survive, but also to build a life that is truly quite blessed, by just about any standard.
You have read about the benefits of meditation in this blog. You know that scientific
research has shown many physical benefits (including turning off cancer causing genes
and turning on cancer prevention genes) of a regular practice of meditation, but did
you ever think about meditation as the source for your being more financially stable? Not
just feeling OK about what you have but actually the key to your having more?
More money, more time, more freedom.... When you think about it, not only do you feel better
and look younger, but your ability to r-e-a-l-l-y r-e-l-a-x completely
means you are smarter, too. That is what D proved. You can see her photo and read about her
And if you would enjoy spontaneously reading Sheldon Kopps entire eschatological laundry list,
here it is. (Who knows how much good can come from your doing just that!)
An Eschatological Laundry List
- This is it.
- There are no hidden meanings.
- You cant get there from here, and besides there is no place to go.
- We are already dying, and well be dead a long time.
- Nothing lasts!
- There is no way of getting all you want.
- You cant have anything unless you let go of it.
- You only get to keep what you give away.
- There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
- The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and
theres no compensation for misfortune.
- You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
- Its a random universe to which we bring meaning.
- You really dont control anything.
- You cant make anyone love you.
- No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
- Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.
- There are no great men.
- If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some way.
- Everyone lies, cheats, pretends. (yes, you too, and most certainly myself.)
- All evil is potentially vitality in need of transformation.
- All of you is worth something if you will only own it.
- Progress is an illusion.
- Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.
- Yet it is necessary to keep struggling toward solution.
- Childhood is a nightmare.
- But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
- Each of us is ultimately alone.
- The most important things each man must do for himself.
- Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
- We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that's all there is.
- How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
- We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
- All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
- Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
- No excuses will be accepted.
- You can run, but you can't hide.
- It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
- We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
- The only victory lies is in surrender to oneself.
- All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
- You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.
- What do you know for sure ... anyway?
- Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again.
30 August 2010
Did you know that you can keep your heart healthy by your enjoying nuts and seeds? Nuts and
seeds are high in phytosterols, a helpful substance that can lower cholesterol naturally.
According to Consumer Reports on Health, these are the top five nuts and seeds to
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pine nuts
- Flaxseeds, whole (I use a coffee grinder so I have fresh ground every day)
In addition to this being a good way to lower cholesterol, you want to be more mindful
of what you are doing with your thoughts about food and your body as well. The following
list came from the August 26, 2010, Daily Reminder from Betty Lue Lieber, Ph.D, MFT.
Betty Lue is available for coaching and counseling or spiritual direction at Reunion Center,
3496 Buskirk Avenue, Suite 103, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, and can be reached at (800) 919-2392.
You may decide to sign up so you can also enjoy her daily reminders.
- I pay attention to my digestion from both ends to understand better what works for me now.
There are always signs and symptoms that teach us what not to do and eat.
- I pay attention to my feet, legs, and back to tell me how to move and use my body well.
- I wear the shoes my feet need, rather than care what others think.
- I eat the foods my body needs rather than eat like others eat.
- I keep my spiritual life in order using these loving reminders and lots of gratitude daily.
- I trust my body to keep me informed about what it needs for well-being and it does!
- I maintain my household and work space in a ways that inspires me with its beauty and order.
- I sustain my relationships with trust, freedom, gratitude and lots of Love.
- I bless all monies I receive in any form, and use them wisely for the benefit of everyone.
- I give away things I am not using or use them in my service work with others.
- I eat wiselymostly organic vegetables, and some whole grains and fruits.
- I truly do what I love and love what I do and it brings me enthusiasm and joy.
- I wake up in the morning feeling delighted to spend this day in loving ways.
We are living in a time where information is everywhere. It does not really matter what
works for someone else unless it works for you, does it....
Take some time this week to notice what is working for you now. Tastes change.... I used
to play with dolls and suck my thumb. You have probably outgrown some of the things you had been
doing regularly, too. It is a different kind of nuts to not change in ways that
allow you to be happier, healthier, and to really enjoy your life. Grab some seeds or nuts,
lower your cholesterol and raise your level of well-being. After all, that is what you are
receiving these tips for!
23 August 2010
Have you seen the video of the ten-year-old singer, Jackie Evancho from Americas Got
Talent? If you have not seen her before, grab your heart, because here is a link
to her performance on Americas Got Talent:
Hearing Jackie sing and watching her be so excited about going to Universal Studios in
Orlando led me to wonder how such pure joy and genuine innocence can be more of my
experience every day. I dont mean that I think I can sing like Jackie. Gosh, probably
not many on the planet can. But what can you do that brings that feeling?
Sometimes it is the most simple of things that allows you to have the feeling.
Such as being able to enjoy watching a 45-minute old baby goat trying to stand on
its wobbly legs at the county fair.
Or finding a quarter on my morning walk.
Or having my soon-to-be 21 years old grandson sign off his instant message with
Your ability to feel truly happy more of the time seems to be tied to your learning
focused attention, such as what is seen in brain scans of highly skilled meditators.
You can get some of these benefits with styles of both sitting and moving meditation,
such as yoga or Tai Chi. See The Brief History of Happiness Research with OBGYN
and Tai Chi Master, Stephanie Taylor, in
Dr. Paul Lams Tai Chi, Health & Lifestyle Newsletter, Issue Number 108, August 2010.
Funseeker or Funsucker
16 August 2010
Recently I read an article with a rather attention-catching question for a title: Are you a
funseeker or a funsucker? The August 2, 2010, article by Lian Dolan was online at
Oprah.com. The title is rather
self-explanatory, but perhaps you will enjoy a closer look at how the idea can make a difference
for you in your life.
The article says that your becoming a funseeker is a choice you make to not
take things so seriously, meaning that to be a person who seeks fun is a decision you make to make
the best of any situation, such as times your plane is delayed.
One frigid January morning, my husband and I were trying to get out of
Chicago on our way to Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. While other frustrated passengers ranted
and raved and made demands that the airlines would have already been doing if they could,
John and I entertained ourselves reading Far Side cartoons. I still recall the one about the woman
leaning out of the second story window, yelling down to her husband on the sidewalk below. Thieves
were lurking in several of the doorways, but oblivious to the risk she loudly called down to him,
Herbie, I forgot to tell you to deposit the $5,000 cash into checking, not savings! As we laughed
and laughed, most of those others waiting glared at us as if to say, How can you enjoy yourself
when we are stuck here? Our thinking was that this is a day of your life, and you want to make the
best of it. We could not control the circumstances, but you absolutely have a choice how you respond to them.
This idea is not really new at all, and many students of mental well-being may be familiar with A
New Guide to Rational Living, by Albert Ellis and Robert Harper. In 1955 Ellis developed
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and is often described as the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapies.
What I remember most about A New Guide to Rational Living is that there are warning signs of a
person with irrational beliefs. I have improvised a few of them below, with a bit of my own twisted sense
of humor so you can read them all and the note following because there is hope for you to become a funseeker, too.
- Change behavior only with difficulty (Change might have been easier by your being more flexible, but
wouldnt that have been like using a rubber ladder?)
- Generally accept little or no information upon which to reason (Others didnt confuse you with the facts ...
because you have had no interest in them.)
- See reality in a prejudiced light (You know you have been imagining it all, but you
had been able to see it all so clearly!)
- Avoid careful examination of your own false assumptions (Your assumptions might have
been false, but at least they were your own.)
- View as fact what the rest of us speculate aboutsuch as anothers motives for behavior (You
know that meteor had it out for you.)
- Escalate probabilities into certainties (OK, maybe it is a
one-in-a-zillion chance, but with your luck it can happen.)
- Often fail to distinguish a person, place, or thing from your evaluation of it (Well, the van
is stupid, and the dog is lazy.)
- Usually make dogmatic judgments about the goodness or rightness of many things that cross
your path (Well, it is clear when things are wronglook at this list!)
- Blame nonhuman elements in your environment (You shoot the lawnmower because it wont start.)
- Impeding your own progress towards chosen goals (Sure it had never worked before, but you were
going to hang in there anyway.)
NOTE* If you see someone else in your life in some of these and it makes you smile, funseeking
is definitely a way of life you are developing. If you see your former self and send this to at
least two others telling them about it, they will never accuse you of being a funsucker. And if
you see some of your own tendencies even now and you are able to laugh out loud at yourself,
you will have made a difference in your own life and in the world today. Maybe we should all get
Be A FunSeeker T-shirts....
9 August 2010
Scientific medical research has proven that music is good medicine. Modern sound healing is the
outgrowth of the work of the late Dr. Alfred Tomatis, of France, but every known culture has used
sound in healing since the beginning of time, including the drumming of Native Americans. In fact,
Dr. Barry Bittman, M.D., of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, has correlated
group drumming with increased activity of Natural Killer Cellsthe beneficial cells that make up
the bulk of your innate immune system. NK Cells seek out and destroy cancer cells, play a major role
in the rejection of tumors, and have a positive impact on cells infected by viruses. In several
studies chronic, nonmalignant pain decreased after listening to music for just one hour a day for
You probably already recognize that sound can be very relaxing, and music can shift a bad mood
into a groove move. You can enjoy music at home, in your vehicle, in your favorite restaurant, and
now even in hospitals, where private rooms are wired for bringing peaceful sounds to the patients.
You can even enjoy music in your dentist office. You know that music can change how you feel, but
have you thought about how this happens, and have you realized that your financial future may be
Both ears do not hear in the same way. Its pretty well-known that the left side of the brain specializes
in processing rapidly changing sounds, like speech, while your right brain handles drawn-out sounds, like
music. Your marvelous left ear, therefore, is dominant for music and similar sounds, and that means
listening to music stimulates your right brain.
In the May 7, 2009, CNN.com article Why Right-brainers Will Rule this Century, Daniel Pink, author
of A Whole New Mind, tells Oprah that future job security in America might just depend upon your
developing your right brain now. Pink explains that right-brained skills include the creative thinking
processes such as design, storytelling, and empathy. Left-brained skills such as computer programming
are being outsourced, but it is much more difficult to outsource the creative processes of the right
brain. (To read the entire article, go to http://bit.ly/q1138.)
We still use both ears to hear a variety of sounds, of course, but your being intentional to use music
and sounds that stimulate your right brain might not only be good for your body, your mind, and your
spirit. It might also be good for your wallet!
2 August 2010
A delightful idea came from Word for the Day (Saturday, July 24, 2010). Here is the
quotation: Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.
If you are interested in an online inspirational thought for the day you might sign up
for this one, it came from gratefulness.org, whose mission is to use gratefulness as the foundation
for personal and universal cooperation and change.
Certainly this quotation means even more to you when you realize it comes from Nkosi Johnson,
a 12 year-old Zulu boy living with AIDS!
But your doing all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are
living has a very practical side, too. Think about getting ready to make dinner. Do you know
about the SuperCook Website where you can list the ingredients you have on hand and they will
tell you what you can do with them?
Now that is a very helpful tool....
Your doing all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are living
simply means more and more you can see possibilities where others might have seen limitations,
in all situations.
Another favorite saying of mine comes from Jan Cowen, developer of the Little Tramp inspirational
series of cards and giftware: Love only adds and multiplies; love never subtracts or divides.
Sometimes you are hungry for something specific and it is worth a stop at the store. The
rest of the time, maybe most of the time, however, you can look around and see all the possibilities
that are present in what you have right now.
Gandhi & Kyle
26 July 2010
Most people would agree that Mahatma Gandhi definitely has left a mark on our world. His
life and teachings inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and ultimately influenced what
is commonly called the American civil rights movement. You may not end up having this
degree of influence, but a lot is written about the benefits of your developing and
maintaining a positive mental and emotional attitude. Perhaps you have previously heard
or read this quotation attributed to Gandhi:
Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.
Inspiration did not end with Gandhi. If you want to see a real-life example, check
the Website of Kyle Maynard. I had the opportunity to spend 9 days with this amazing
young man. Do your world a favor, get inspired! You can do that by investing just
three minutes and seventeen seconds to watch A Fighting Chance
Kyle Maynard is totally inspiring. Perhaps his message, like that of Gandhi, is
enough to remind each one of us to share your best with the world.
19 July 2010
Sometimes you learn something that just changes the way things unfold for you and
you know for sure you are making choices that are good for you now. That is how I
felt when I read about the research (Biking Minutes a Day May Ward Off Weight Gain,
by Amanda Gardner, Health.com, June 28, 2010) saying that biking just might be the answer
to your enjoying your ideal weight. Bicycling is an answer to weight control, says the
lead author of the study, Dr. Anne Lusk, Ph.D., a research fellow in nutrition at the Harvard
School of Public Health, in Boston.
Not everything about biking is serious benefit, though. Here is a pretty funny bicycle joke:
A guy was riding alone on a tandem bike, when he was stopped by a police officer. What
is wrong, Officer? asked the man. Sir, your wife fell off the back of your bike
quite some ways back. Oh, gosh, that is good news. I was afraid I had lost my hearing!
And, okay, here are my top five favorites from a long list in a blog called You Know
You Are Addicted to Biking When...
5. You move to a new town and the first thing you look for is a bike shop.
4. You can tell your spouse, with a straight face, its too hot to mow
the lawn and then you go for a long bike ride.
3. You use wax on your chain, but not on your car.
2. You're too tired for hanky-panky on Friday night, then you can ride a
five-hour century on Saturday.
1. Your Power Bar tastes better to you than a Snickers.
The biking benefit includes stationary bikes, so biking can become another
one of the things you do regularly for year-round enjoyment. Perhaps this tip should
have been titled, Pedal Power.
12 July 2010
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci said time stays long enough for those who use it.
We probably have more reason to pay attention to the way we are feeling and thinking about time
than just about any other subject. Why? Because time is an illusion, and every moment truly is
People have been speculating about the true nature of time for thousands
of years. Since Newton, the common conception has been linear, with the universe being
thought of as a giant clock, moving relentlessly forward through time. In terms of our daily
lives, this view often serves a useful purpose. It allows us to think about the order of events
that influence our lives, with last week occurring before this week, yesterday happening before
today, and tomorrow and next week ahead of us in time. This view of time
allows us to reflect on our past and plan for the future, and our ability to measure
time encourages us to look both forward and backward.
Physical time does seem to operate in linear fashion. Because the day-to-day, week-to-week order
is so pervasive in our lives, it is difficult for us to consider that other models of time are
also possible. It was only when Einstein introduced the concept of relativity, that the idea
that time could be something other than linear began creeping into human consciousness. But time
as we know it, is a mental construct, and our perception of it varies.
When a person seems stuck in a state or focused on a challenge or a problem,
he or she will often use a simple verb tense, I am angry. Simply changing the
verb to a progressive tense may help the individual see him- or herself as moving through a
particular state: So you have been feeling angry.
Remember that the universal present tense exists through time. Be alert for language usage
which suggests that a certain state has always existed and will continue to exist forever. Your
simply shifting to the past tense when you think or speak about a challenge you had been having
helps move the problem into the past.
Now, if you want to think and speak about your well-being using the universal present tense,
you may agree this is a great plan, regardless of what is happening at a given moment, you will
be living the idea that time really does stay long enough for us to use it. As you invest in life-giving
thoughts and actions today, you will begin to notice that the most powerful good feelings are the ones
to remember. Just remember to forget the rest....
5 July 2010
Me and Bobby McGee is the title of a song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred
Foster, taken to the top of the singles charts in 1971 by Janis Joplin. Freedoms just
another word for nothing else to lose runs around in our minds like kids on a merry-go-round.
But what is freedom, and more importantly, how can you enjoy freedom with all you have going on
in your life?
In Think You're Operating on Free
Will? Think Again, (Time, July 2, 2010), Eben Harrell reports that research by
Ruud Custers and Henk Aarts of Utrech University in the Netherlands indicates that
more of some peoples behavior than you ever imagined (including your desire for and
food and drink choices) may have been determined from outside your personal freedom.
In fact, commercials for soda and other things often include scenes of life-style advantages we
all want and need to be healthy and happysuch as time with friends or pleasant experiences out
in nature. If people watch these over and over again without being aware, it can make
it more likely that some will decide that they want a Coke, despite research (2006)
that suggests drinking diet, regular, and decaffeinated cola can actually lower bone density
and put women at increased risk for osteoporosis.
There is good news, however. Some of the simple mindfulness practices that are healthy for you,
such as focusing, meditation, or guided imagery, teach you to make more conscious choices. If
you are looking for easy ways to be more aware, you might want to practice the following:
Pick a focus word or short phrase. Some people choose a single word such as love
or peace or a phrase like be the change you want to see. Choose something
that is firmly rooted in your belief system. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. You may
choose to close your eyes, as you allow all of your muscles to begin to relax completely. Become
aware of your breathing - comfortably inhale and exhale, and repeat your focus word silently
to yourself. You can assume a passive attitude so when other thoughts come to mind, you
are able to gently release them and return to the repetition.
Continue sitting quietly for a minute or so, allowing other thoughts to return, and sit
for another minute before rising. Research has shown that it is beneficial to do this technique
once or twice daily, for 10 to 20 minutes (source: The Relaxation Response, by Herbert
The main thing is that you decide health and well-being are important to you, and you
learn ways to ensure every decision you make is a conscious choice. That way you will
be able to celebrate your personal freedom every day of the year!
28 June 2010
Although many people think of real medicine as what is called modern or Western medicine,
medicine actually comes in many different flavors, the most appropriate choice is simply the
one that works. Western medicine is the new kid on the block. Folk medicine is found in virtually
every culture, and was what was always available right where you are when you need something.
History of Medicine can be seen in this writing: (author unknown)
2000 B.C.: Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D.: That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D.: That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D.: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D.: That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 A.D.: That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.
Summer brings much more time out-of-doors, and with that can come bites and stings. Weeds, herbs,
roots, and even common foods have been shown to be effective at taking some of the sting out of
insect bites, so relief for you is as close as your kitchen.
Oatmeal baths for rashes, aloe vera for burns, sliced tomato on a mosquito bite, onion or garlic poultice
(boiled and mashed) on a bee sting, Earl Grey tea compress on a sprain, vinegar on sun burn, baking soda
as an antacid.... all are common (simple and available) ways you can experience relief.
After all, even before 1928 when Sir Alexander Fleming noticed bacteria could be destroyed by mold,
our ancestors were very aware of the healing wonders in our natural environment. Whether you use herbs,
homeopathic remedies, teas, or roots, the next time you have an injury, illness, or irritation, including
those seasonal bites or stings, enjoy your healing naturally. And while you are at it, heal on all levels
at the same timephysical, emotional and mental, and spiritual ... that is natural, too!
21 June 2010
At the root of all growth, we find change. Allow it to work for you not against.
--Daily OM 6/18/2010
This is an idea that has been around longer than any of us. Heraclitus (535 BC - 475 BC), the
Greek philosopher, was teaching change as central to the universe. Yet as much as humans know
it is true that change is the only constant, until you truly have a sense of peace about change
in your life, change has the potential to create sufficient stress to cause illness. Enough so
there is even a handy-dandy tool (with stress points for each major life change) to rate how much
health risk the changes in a persons life can generate. To see the Holmes and Rahe stress
scale you can click on this link: Holmes and Rahe Stress
Scale, but take it with a grain of salt.
Peter Senge, American scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the
MIT Sloan School of Management, said People dont resist change. They resist being
changed. Virginia Satir identified a human tendency she called the lure of the familiar,
and perhaps most of the resistance you have had to change came from that.
What is really exciting, now, is how your developing a healthy attitude toward changes changes
things in a very positive way. This week, notice how you can welcome change as the gift it is to
all of your life.
After all, if nothing ever changed, thered be no butterflies.
14 June 2010
A core component of Chinese medicine looks at how your energy (called Qi, Chi, or
Vital Force) is said to flow through your meridians. You can think about it the
same way your blood moves through your veins and arteries. These meridians are
directly related to your organs. And 12 of the 14 major meridians are
said to enter or exit your body through your toes or fingers. This understanding
is applied in acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology. In Acupressures Potent
Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments, Michael Reed Gach says, foremost
among the advantages of acupressures healing touch is that it is safe for you to
do on yourself and others.
Massage therapists recommend your doing daily reflexology to help counterbalance
repetitive stress issues, as well as to relieve the emotional stuff that can get
stuck in our hands and trigger points when our hands are too tight. Even while
you are reading this tip, you can spread your fingers out and, one at a time,
rotate each of your fingers and thumbs clockwise and counter-clockwise. Notice
which are more flexible, and which improve with the rotation.
To see a drawing of the reflexology points on your hands, you can click on this link:
Download: hand reflex chart (pdf).
I actually carry a credit-card sized hand reflexology chart in my purse. You can
do really good things for yourself whenever you need to.
If you would like to see a simple chart about what emotions are affected by
which meridians, or you would like to see drawings of all the meridians, visit
You can think about this as giving yourself a hand!
1 June 2010
Walking is not only a great way to get regular exercise, it can be a wonderful form of
meditationso when you are walking you are doing things that are good for your
body, your mind, and your spirit.
Here is a link to a simple handout with advice for your starting a walking program:
Angeles Arrien, a cultural anthropologist, author and educator, has written about
meditation postures in The Four Fold Way: The Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer
and Visionary. While moving meditation is often identified as a walking meditation,
she says that you can use other forms of movement as a meditation, too.
This posture supports the aspects of trust, openness, and encourages
the unexpected since ones attention is engaged in a moving activity, says
Angeles. Perhaps moving meditations teach human beings about the wonder of
what can happen when one trusts and lets go of control.
Visit 4 Different Meditation
Postures and Universal Meditation Techniques to read
more about the four different meditation postures, and notice how you walk every day.
Adding awareness to what you do changes everything now.
24 May 2010
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them. --John F. Kennedy
JFK was saying that the best way to lead effectively is by examplelive your
highest values. The best way to be led is by someone who is congruent, doing the
best job possible of living his or her highest values in every thought, word, and action.
In a recent lecture, Dr. Jeanne Huston, a scholar, philosopher and researcher in human
capacitiesshe is considered to be one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers
of our timesays it this way: There are great people inside yourself. You have within
you all the great archetypesyou have inside you the healer, the meditator, the poet,
the artist, the scholar.
Now you can use that awareness to do really great things in your world today. If you
are a good cook, be aware and assume the cook persona when you do something
that you would have found challenging without that awareness, simply adding this ingredient,
adjusting the recipe to your liking, bringing to what you are doing your flair, and all
the while you are doing what you are doing you are feeling how delicious it is.
Use these three questions to bring more congruency to your life:
- What do I need or want?
- What does the situation need or want from me?
- What will bring the most benefit in the best way?
In the June 2010 edition of Whole Living is a quotation worth your
remembering: There is invisible writing on the back of [your] diploma.... It
says, You are brilliant, and the earth is hiring. That was written by environmentalist
Paul Hawken to the University of Portlands 2009 graduating class, but sometimes
I read something and you know it is true about you, too.
17 May 2010
Listening to a lecture by leading neurobiologist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of
The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being
(W.W. Norton. 2007), will offer you evidence that your developing mindfulness is
worth the effort, beyond a doubt, because with practice states become traits.
He looks at the latest research and says the simplest definition of the mind goes
like this: That the mind is a process that regulates the flow of energy and information.
Whew.... Some of you might be interested in watching the entire lecture on YouTube
at http://bit.ly/YnWBW but fortunately for all of us, he sums things up simply as
your ability to learn to see and influence your internal world.
Siegel shares the secret of developing mindfulness: for at least ten minutes a day
just be aware of your breath; pay attention to your intention; build the muscle of
the mind. Here are four questions to test the muscle of your mind so you will be able
to tell if you want to practice Siegels three steps of mindfulness.
1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator? Stop and think about it and
decide on your answer before you scroll down.
The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door.
This question tests whether you have tended to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?
Sorry, wrong answer. The correct answer is, Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put
in the elephant, and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the
repercussions of your previous actions.
3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend, except one.
Which animal does not attend?
Correct answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put
him in there. This tests your memory. Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions
correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.
4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not
have a boat. How do you manage it?
Correct answer? You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening?
All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.
According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got
all four questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Have a laugh at
yourself, and then make the commitment to be aware of your breath; pay attention to your intention;
and build the muscle of your mind!
10 May 2010
Your making simple changes can produce significant benefits in your life. Standing up at a kitchen counter
eating out of a plastic container results in consuming 50% more calories at the next meal than when you eat
your food at a table and off a plate, according to an article on nutrition news and trends in the June 2010
Recently I read this quotation: Dining outdoors is a tradition that spans many cultures and
has withstood the test of time. A meal eaten under open sky in the company of loved ones is an
occasion in its own right.
This week as you enjoy your meals explore these ideas:
- Take a moment to smell your food before you bite into it
- Drink your water or tea out of a glass or mug that you like the looks of
- When you have a choice about what you eat, ask yourself what you are really hungry for
- Notice the energy of a food or drink before you eat or drink it consciously
- Pay attention to the sounds (including your inner dialogue) you can become aware of while you are eating
- Light a candle, dim the lights, open the blindsexplore which lighting has the most beneficial effect on your appetite and mood
- Plan a picnic atmosphere for at least one meal per week, at home, at work, or in your vehicle, with a friend if possible
- Journal or reflect on your observations with at least one other person
A woman who lived alone would purchase very nice single place settings at garage sales or
Goodwill or closeouts. Each day she would lay out a very lovely table just for her. I dont
know why she did that, but current research shows that meals consumed on nice dishes are actually
more filling and more nutritious than those same foods served on disposables.
In the same way that man does not live by bread alone, now, you dont have to
take heroic measures to get the simple bliss of a picnic, and your developing conscious eating
habits can extend health and well-being way beyond just the meals you enjoy eating out-of-doors.
3 May 2010
"The best time to dig a well is not after you are already thirsty" is a quote that really speaks to the
importance of a regular relaxation practice. As I watched the news of severe flooding in middle Tennessee,
where my daughter and her family live, and my co-author Joel is visiting his son and family, and where I
have many friends, I felt just like I used to when I worked as a birthing coachyou know who is
having the baby (and it is not you), and you know you need to breathe, and you are able find a core
of peace to support the person who is going through the process currently.
People often ask me how you discover the best relaxation/meditation tools for you. I remind them that
it is personal. I tell them to think about what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste,
and what you feelincluding your sense of touch and your emotions. Think about the things you do on
a regular basis, such as brushing your teeth, getting into or out of your vehicle, opening or closing
a door, or answering the telephone. In addition to your regular practice of meditation or relaxation,
intentionally use those outer experiences to invite your coming to that inner core of peace, just for
a few seconds. In the same way that you know your phone number without having to consciously think
about it, your body will remember to relax naturally.
For more specific hints about your developing a meditation practice, see the
one-page handout I developed.
Of course, meditation is not just good for your mental and emotional state. It has been
shown to lower blood pressure, to turn on cancer-prevention genes, and to make you look younger.
Ah ... now those are all things you are willing to have in your life, aren't they....
25 April 2010
Research shows that laughter has amazing benefits. In fact, the relaxation response after a really
good laugh has been shown to last up to 45 minutes!
While some people try all sorts of exotic things to get good health, laughter is something readily
available, consistently pleasant, and totally free.
In Gesunheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society Through Physician Service,
Complementary Therapies, Humor and Joy, Patch Adams, M.D., and co-author Maureen Mylander write:
"Humor is an excellent antidote to stress and an effective social lubricant. Since loving human relationships
are so mentally healthy, it behooves one to develop a humorous side." Patch says that wearing a rubber
nose everywhere he goes has changed his life. He suggests that wearing underwear on the outside of
your clothing can transform a tedious trip to the store into an amusement park romp.
While that may be a bit over-the-top for some people, become really good at finding things in your
life worth laughing at. After all, a Readers Digest article titled "Laugh Yourself Skinny," reports
that experts at Vanderbuilt University found that "getting the giggles does burn some calories, and
the more you laugh, the more you burn."
19 April 2010
As a woman was waiting for her flight at the airport, she bought a book and a bag of cookies to
pass the time. As she was engrossed in her book, she noticed a man take a cookie from her bag of
cookies that was sitting on the table in between them. This, of course, made her furious.
As she took a cookie, he too took a cookie. This went on until only one cookie was left. Now,
she wondered, what would this cookie thief do? With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh,
he took the last cookie and broke it in half. He offered her one half and ate the other. She
snatched the cookie from this rude man and fumed about his audacity.
When her flight was called, she indignantly got up and boarded her plane. She didn't even look
back at this thieving ingrate. As she sank down on her seat, she reached into her bag to pull
out her book. Gasping with surprise, she pulled out her bag of cookies.
While we may not be able to always avoid making assumptions, we can become so much more
gentle in our relating by remembering this story. At the moment this woman realized what had
happened, she was at an emotional crossroad, one we face with every thought throughout the daywalking
the road of life with either guilt or grace as your companion. It is easy to see that grace gifts everyone.
You cannot "unhappen history," but you certainly can create a brighter future.
12 April 2010
Medicine is beginning to recognize how your being emotionally healthy is key to your physical
well-being. If you want to read a bit more, this link is from Mayo Clinic:
William Shakespeare's Macbeth says that "sleep ... knits up the raveled sleeve of care" and modern
medicine would totally agree. Whether it is about REM (the stage of sleep that is associated with dreaming),
or the way brain chemistry is affected by moods, or the way moods are affected by brain chemistry.
Perhaps you are just now becoming aware of how your developing healthy sleep habits affects others in your life.
In Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman says we are
"wired to connect," and comments on "the surprising ease with which our brains interlock,
spreading our emotions like a virus."
This Mayo Clinic article provides some helpful tips:
Sleep for Health
Everlasting Peace is a wonderful CD for restful sleep. Turn it on, and you can slip easily into
restful, restorative sleep. Ah ... and you can wake up really refreshed! Spread everlasting peace.
A gift to you and to everyone you work and live with.
5 April 2010
"The bottom line, whether you weight 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you
are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief
or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman," an excerpt from the book
Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth.
Trying to address unconscious eating habits, without looking at the deeper dynamics, is
a lot like mopping up the floor without turning off the water. We are learning by unlearning
now and we can be more aware of what we are teaching. If, after having a meal, a child says he or
she is still hungry, rather than saying, "You can't still be hungry!" we can teach self-awareness by
being more conscious. A possible response might be, "Hmmmm ... we know you just had a good lunch.
Sometimes people confuse feelings and eat when they are needing something else. Since you are feeling
as though you are still hungry, I wonder what you are really hungry for."
We can actually re-educate ourselves while we are teaching others to be more self-aware, too!
Of course, it is great to discover that your eating less and your being more active is often
the natural outgrowth of something as simple yet powerful as your being more emotionally self-aware,
and as you are doing that if you ever wondered about how many calories specific activities
burn, here is a link to a pretty good chart:
Calories Burned During Exercise