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mental health

The search for mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual openness will makes it possible to develop your unique creative potentials. The sky is the limits.

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Core Energy

Core Energy

The core of a human being - that source of virtually boundless creative power as well as physical and psychic energy - will never be found by dissecting the human body. Nor can it be arrived at by analyzing the human mind. Yet a sense of what I call living from the core or the soul, an experience of living - living truthfully to your own values - is something each of us experiences at certain times in our lives. Although most of us only happen upon this experience accidentally, it can also be cultivated by pursuing actions which we enjoy, or which make us feel good about ourselves and our lives. It can happen when we fall in love, when we feel happy because everything seems in harmony around us, or when we feel pleased with ourselves, our children, or some accomplishment. In such moments everything seems to fit together, or feel right, and life has meaning. Such a sense is central to an experience of living with energy. The techniques for building a high-energy lifestyle are only of lasting value if you value yourself and live your life on that assumption. tuning into core energy Psychologist Abraham Maslow, who spent his life studying not human pathology but rather human beings who lived their lives with great energy, creativity and joy - he called them self-actualizers - referred to the special moments in our lives as ‘peak experiences.’ After examining the experiences of thousands of high energy creative and happy people, he came to the conclusion that these self-actualizers have certain things in common. They tend, for instance, to be the healthiest people in society mentally and physically. They tend to have a lot of values in common too such as prizing simplicity, wholeness, effortlessness, truth, honesty, uniqueness, completeness, and perfection - in fact, the same values one might expect mystics to possess. They are, in effect, fully functioning people who tend frequently to have peak experiences - moments of great happiness, rapture, ecstasy - in which life’s conflicts are at least temporarily transcended or resolved. Other psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers have described Maslow’s self-actualizing person too. Carl Rogers - perhaps most appropriately of all - refers to Maslow’s self-actualizer as a ‘fully functioning’ person. Out of their work has emerged a whole new picture of what it is to be human. It has changed our perspective, so that we no longer see a human being the way Freud did - as a collection of repressed destructive urges, only barely restrained by learned moral constructs from destroying ourselves and others - but as potentially autonomous human beings. We recognize that the destructive and self-defeating tendencies which we all have are far less the hidden truth of a person than the results of a frustration in the expression of what Maslow called the Self - or soul - of life itself. Not only boundless energy, but happiness and freedom from this frustration and from negative thought patterns and the behavior they engender lie in letting your natural self-actualizing tendencies (which in most of us are still weak or dormant) develop. Until they grow, we all regress into fear and frustration or laziness. Once they become stronger, one’s life becomes an ongoing process of energy release, growth, and unfolding of potential as well as, quite simply, much happier. what are your peak experiences? Describe a moment or moments in your life where you felt a sense of `living from your core' - a time when everything seemed to work for you, where you felt temporarily fulfilled and good about yourself. If you are not sure you understand the idea, simply describe a moment when you felt particularly happy. Remember the scene as vividly as possible and use as much detail as you can to recall your impressions. Use this description as a reference point from now on for how good you can feel and how wonderfully life can fit together. As you become more and more self actualizing and come to live more and more from your soul, peak experiences become more frequent. create new visions of you and your life Now start now to dream of what it will be like for you to have all the energy you ever need. Begin to play with a number of clear mental pictures of yourself fit, well and looking great. But don't just consider the physical changes you would like to make. Get to know the person you aim to be and see yourself in this image. Record what you see, hope for, want to bring into being in a notebook and refer to it often when you feel unsure of your goals and direction. Here are some of the characteristics of high energy self-actualizing to use as inspiration: An exceptional ability to cope with change and to learn from it. Most people have trouble with change. It is unsettling and frightening. It needn't be. It all depends on how you look at it. We all face fear with changes, but the more you come to live from your core - to manifest your soul energy - the more you will tend to view change not as threatening but as a challenge to learn from and grow from, whether any particular change at face value appears to be `good' or `bad'. And as far as failure is concerned, instead of being a source of fear, it can be viewed as something that shows how to deal with a similar situation in the future. After all, human beings do fail sometimes. No great worry about saying ‘No’. Not aggression, but assertiveness, plays a central role in creating energy. It implies a strong sense of your individual right to your values and opinions, and a tendency to respect the rights of other people as well. You need to be able to say no to a food or drink you don't really want, a request from a lover or spouse, a demand from a child or a colleague. The best way to develop healthy assertiveness is simply to practice it. It feels a bit strange at first, but the more you do the easier it becomes. Paradoxically, only when you are positively assertive can you discover what real unselfishness is, because then what you give is what you choose to give, not what you feel obliged to give. A well-conditioned body. This not only brings you energy, it also helps you cope with stress better, look better and younger, and strengthens your sense of self-reliance. It also shifts hormonal balance and brain chemistry, making you highly resistant to depression and anxiety, and highly prone to feeling good about yourself and your life. Top-level fitness leads to a freedom to achieve excellence in other nonphysical areas of your life as well. It increases stamina, strength and flexibility, not only physically but emotionally as well. A marked absence of common minor ailments and troubles. Most people believe that the Monday morning `blues' or the aches and pains in joints after forty are a normal part of living. But they take up little space when you have an abundance of energy. `Normal' means moving with ease, and feeling pretty good about things day after day - sometimes feeling very good indeed - not because something stupendous has just happened, but because when you are really fit and well that is the normal way to feel. Laughter comes easily. An ability to laugh at the absurd (including yourself when appropriate) and a sense of fun are perhaps the most important of all the high-energy characteristics. Joy is health-giving. Paradoxically, often the most delightful sense of humor parallels a strong sense of purpose in a person - another high-energy characteristic. Integrity. The more you become a self-actualizer, the more you set your own standards and live up to them. Your values become a source of strength and energy for you. You don't have to compromise them to achieve some temporary advantage. You can feel the truth, be who you really are, and make your life work.

200 Mg Of Zen

200 Mg Of Zen

Its name tells the truth about what it delivers. This unique combination of L-theanine and GABA has been formulated to support the production of alpha-wave activity in the brain. And it keeps its promises. The Buddha-like feeling that practitioners of Zazen know so well is just one of the benefits I and others who have used it report. Two capsules offer a unique and natural path to relaxation without sedation. I use it often to great effect. 200 mg of Zen is the brainchild of one of my favorite manufacturers of dietary supplements in the world Allergy Research Group who since 1979 have used only the purest raw materials available and are known for the strictest quality control procedures available. They are even licensed by The California Department of Health Services—Food and Drug Branch. 200mg of Zen 200 mg of Zen contains a combination of L-theanine and GABA. L-theanine is found in green tea (Camellia sinensis). Order 200mg of Zen from iherb ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: If you decide to order any products from Iherb.com, you will automatically receive $5 or $10 off your first order. Their products are the cheapest and best in the world…I use them for everything no matter where I am. Get it sent to you via DHL. It will be with you in three to four working days… iHerb.com ship all over the world very cheaply. 200 mg of Zen is a real find, so long as you are not taking drugs of any kind. IT IS CONTRAINDICATED WITH DRUGS OR MUST BE USED ONLY UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONER

Affirmations

Affirmations

Every one of us has more potential for health, happiness, self expression, energy and good looks than we ever make use of. Although there are many tools to help you towards self fulfillment - good food, exercise, stress control, beauty techniques, etc. - by far the most important of all is learning to use the power of your mind. you are what you think Because we create our lives from thoughts, it is important that we think constructively. Unfortunately most of us, without being aware of it, limit our possibilities for fulfillment because we continually bombard ourselves with negative thoughts. We all carry on some sort of internal conversation throughout the day. Usually if we tune in and listen, we find that it is full of negative thoughts and self doubts. Most often we are hearing the voices of our parents, or of people in authority telling us that we can't expect to be happy, that we are bound to fail, that life is suffering and that we should face the stark realities. Out of these negative thoughts arise our self-image and our sense of purpose and direction. It is clear to see, with so much criticism and so little sense of possibility, why we never dare dream of better things. The first step in changing your attitude towards yourself and your life is to stand back and listen to the voices in your head objectively and realize just how ill founded they are. Once you detach yourself from the rubbish going on in your head, you can begin on the path to self-fulfillment. love thyself Whether you feel you are too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too selfish, too sensitive etc., in order to change, you must begin by accepting yourself right now for what you are. Try this exercise: Look at yourself in a mirror and repeat the words, "I love and accept myself completely, as I am" in your head over and over. And as you do write down any blocks that seem to keep you from accepting yourself. You may feel stupid or ridiculous or embarrassed, but stick with the exercise and you will find that it begins to ring true. positive affirmations You can learn to program your mind to bring about success and fulfillment in all areas of your life through positive affirmations. An affirmation is a phrase which can be silently thought, spoken aloud, written down or all three. The great thing is that affirmations can be done anytime and anywhere in one form or another. There are a few basic guidelines for contacting the appropriate part of your brain and evoking results. Once you understand them, you can create your own affirmations to help you become all that you can be. present tense The subconscious part of the brain only understands now - the present tense - so it is important to phrase your affirmation in the present tense. If you try the future tense, e.g. "I will be happy." your goal will remain constantly out of your reach. It may take a bit of getting used to to write or speak your dreams in the present tense, but remember that is just a formality. first person The most powerful suggestions are those made in the first person. Remember when you say "I" you are including all of you and so helping to integrate and employ your entire being in your goals. It is always better to make affirmations positive rather than negative. In other words in stead of saying, "I no longer overeat" say "Everything I eat returns me to my ideal weight of...." specific and realistic Set yourself specific goals at first, which are within your capabilities to achieve. Once you have accomplished them you will be encouraged and can set more challenging goals. If you are trying to give up smoking, for instance, begin with the affirmation that you will cut down the amount you smoke by half. Then you can cut by half again until you finally stop altogether. short and simple Keep affirmations as short and direct as possible. A concise brief affirmation will have more impact than a long wordy one. suspend disbelief Try while doing affirmations to cast aside doubts and believe in the possibility of what you are saying. If you keep experiencing negative thoughts, get them down on paper, then get rid of them and reassert your positive affirmation. personally phrased Make sure that you are happy with the wording of your affirmation. For each person, the word choice may need to be slightly different. Feel free to change any of the affirmations we suggest to suit your own requirements. all encompassing Remember that the affirmation can be used to transform any area of your life, from career and self image to your relationships with others. The Bible says: 'Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find.' Know that you have every right to be successful and happy and that your life is yours to create. Here are some favorite affirmations. Find one or two that you particularly like and repeat them to yourself often. My daughter and I both like the written affirmations, because for us they seem to solidify things. Other people prefer to repeat them silently in meditation, or even sing them. If you do write them down keep a special affirmation journal and write in it any thoughts that arise as you write. Also make a note of things that change for you for the better, and be sure to give thanks for what is given to you. We find seven a useful number to work with. Repeat the affirmations in multiples of seven at a time. some affirmations Every day in every way I am getting better and better. I have everything I need to enjoy life here and now. I create my life and it is good. I love and appreciate myself just I am. Each day my life unfolds in beautiful perfection. I enjoy to love and be loved. The more I give to others the more I have to give. My relationship with ....... is getting better and better. It is good and right for me to have everything I want. Everything I eat makes me strong and healthy. I eliminate wastes easily and completely from my system. I have an exciting, rewarding and well paid job. I have plenty of energy and I enjoy work. I communicate freely and easily with others. I have all the time I need to accomplish all I want to do. It's okay for me to enjoy myself and have fun. God's energy within me produces perfect results in everything I do. Everything that happens is working for the good in my life. I can do ........ and nothing can stop me. ....... or something better now comes to me for the total good of all concerned. I give thanks for all that I am blessed with.

Escape The Rut

Escape The Rut

Working in the same stressful environment day after day produces the same triggers and responses to stress that we simply learn as habits. It’s a good idea to take as many opportunities as you can to break the stress-routine, and there are lots of easy ways to do this. Tea and coffee breaks may be official breaks or simply a chance to grab a quick cup of something between phone calls, appointments or jobs. They are usually few and far between, so it’s wise to make them work for you rather than against you. Consumption of coffee or tea can range from a single cup in the morning to up to 6 or more cups a day. For most people, the process of having another cup becomes an automatic response. The problem is that after the initial caffeine pick up, tea or coffee can let you down badly. Few people know - or want to know - how much damage a few cups of tea or coffee a day can do. Each time you drink a cup of coffee you are getting a dose of between 90 and 120mg of caffeine, and between 40 and 100mg of caffeine for a cup of tea. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, pancreas and heart as well as the cerebral cortex, which is why a cup of tea or coffee will give you a temporary boost in energy. The bad news is that, like any drug, the effects of caffeine are short lived. After the temporary energy boost wears off, your blood sugar level will drop lower than it was to begin with and you will feel exhausted. This encourages you to reach for a second cup, and the vicious cycle is set up. breaks that work An average tea or coffee consumption of a few cups a day has been linked with such complaints as heart disorders, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, gastric ulcers and even mental illness. In an already stressful office environment, a cup of tea or coffee in the long run will only contribute to general fatigue and edginess. It is far better to look to natural energy-boosting drinks that will help sustain you through the day. the caffeine-free break Try a glass of vitamin C tonic. Simply add 1-2 grams of powdered vitamin C (about 1 teaspoon) to a glass of spring water (plain or fizzy) and sweeten with a little natural stevia. Or stir a half-teaspoon of powdered vitamin C into a glass of fresh fruit juice such as apple, grape or pineapple. Try coffee substitutes from your local health food store. There are also some wonderful herb tea combinations on the market, which come in convenient sachets and range in flavor from almond to cranberry. Just add boiling water and a little natural stevia to sweeten if you like. Some herbs are particularly helpful for pepping you up, such as lemon grass, while others, such as chamomile, will soothe your nerves. Have both types around. You generally need to steep herbal teas for several minutes to get the full flavor. If you have a centrifugal juicer, you can squeeze fresh juice, such as carrot and apple, in the morning and keep it in a thermos with ice to drink throughout the day. Or simply keep a bottle of spring water on your desk to drink throughout the day. Most offices can be very dehydrating, and replenishing body fluids is an important boost to mental alertness. find relief Recognizing the signs of stress in your body is the first step to taking control of what is happening to you. We all have specific areas where we hold onto tension. Usually you are not aware of these tensions, because your body adapts itself to them and considers them the norm. You only discover a tension when it becomes so severe that it actually causes you pain. If you can locate the areas in your body which tend to be tight, you can unload not only the physical, but also the emotional and mental stress you are carrying around. Common areas of tension are the neck, face, shoulders and between the shoulder blades, forehead, hands, feet, lower back and upper chest. In a quiet moment at home, try this simple technique for discovering the tense spots. Lie down on your back on the floor with a pillow to support your head and your knees bent comfortably, the soles of your feet to the floor. Become aware of your breathing and then concentrate on different parts of your body - beginning with your head and working down to your feet. A tight spot will feel numb, or "dull". This is because the tense muscles reduce the sensitivity in that area. Once you have discovered your particular area of tension, say for example shoulders, concentrate on that area again and consciously decide to make it relax. On each out breath, release a little more tension. You may find as you do this that tension in another part of your body will disappear as well. That will help you discover another typical tension holding area for you. Once you know your typical tension spots, you can use this exercise throughout the day, whether you're sitting or moving about, to let go of tension. The more you practice releasing these muscles, the easier it will become. breathe easy How we feel is almost always reflected in the way we breathe. When we experience emotional extremes, for example crying or laughing, our breathing also becomes extreme. By changing your breathing pattern, you can also change the way you feel. In this way, breathing can be an important tool for de-stressing. Here is a very simple breathing technique which you can repeat throughout the day to help you let go of tensions and get an energy pick up. Start by breathing in and out fully with a sigh. Wait for the in breath to come by itself. As the air comes in let it fill out your abdomen first, and then your chest. Don't raise your shoulders. Then as you breathe out again, imagine you are exhaling all the tension in your body and let your muscles relax. Pause and allow the breath to come in once more and then continue with whatever you're doing. Use this exercise whenever something triggers a stress response. This can be anything from hearing the telephone ring, to looking at your watch when you're late. Stick a colored tab on your watchstrap and on your telephone so that each time you see them you will remember to breathe! tension release Working intensely for long hours on an exciting project does wonders for the mind and for self-esteem. It does nothing for your body, and can lead to long term stress-related physical problems. Here are a few exercises you can do in any quiet moments you have by yourself to get rid of the aches and pains that come with working for too long in one position. neck release Let your head drop forward so that your chin rests on your chest. Clasp your hands behind your head and gently let the weight of your arms pulling down lengthen out the spaces between the vertebrae in your neck. Then drop your head backwards and let your mouth drop open. Open and close your mouth like a fish (this is why you might want to do this when no one else is around) and feel the stretch in your throat. Bring your head back to center and drop it over to one side so that your ear goes towards your shoulder. Wrap the same arm as shoulder over your head and gently help ease it down. Then ease your head over to the other side using the other arm. Roll your head slowly clockwise twice and then anti-clockwise twice. Finish by giving yourself a quick neck rub. Place your fingertips either side of your neck vertebrae, and rub up and down with small circular movements. shoulder shrug Lift your arms above your head, fingers clasped, and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears. Hold them there for a count of five, then let them drop allowing the weight of your arms to pull your shoulders down. Bring your shoulders as far forward as possible trying to bring the insides of your elbows together, hold for five, then relax. Now push your shoulders as far back as possible - squeezing your shoulder blades together for a count of five and relax. Taking one shoulder at a time, rotate it backwards as if you are unscrewing the upper arm away from the body. You should create a space between your arm and the side of your body. Repeat with the other shoulder. Now take a breath in, and imagine your torso widening and your upper arms moving even further away from each other. As you breathe out maintain this distance. Repeat twice more. scalp tap For a quick energy boost simply use your fingertips to tap lightly over the entire area of your skull. Some areas are sensitive so tap lightly, other areas, like the base of the skull, can benefit from a firmer tap. Massage along the jawbone, with small circular movements, from below the ears to the chin. Your whole head and face should feel alive and refreshed. eye refresher Lean your elbows on your desk and cup your hands over your closed eyes. Hold this for about a minute then gently release your hands and open your eyes. Blink several times. Repeat this exercise whenever your eyes are sore or tired. Remember to lubricate your eyes by blinking often, particularly if you are reading or watching a computer screen.

Sacred Truth Ep. 46: Aromatherapy Heals Body & Soul

Sacred Truth Ep. 46: Aromatherapy Heals Body & Soul

The power that floral essential oils can exert over mind and body has been known for centuries. For example, before Cleopatra sailed out to meet Marc Antony, she drenched the sails of her barge with the scent of jasmine—an aphrodisiac. He could not resist her. The faintest hint of a floral perfume can transport you back to a place in your memories, and evoke all the emotions that go with it. Why should something as ordinary as a scent have such a powerful effect upon you? It is because your sense of smell is governed by the limbic system—the most primitive part of your brain. The limbic system also governs your most intense emotions—joy, fear, desire, or rage. So an evocative scent has the power to reach into the deepest parts of your mind and body. When you smell any odor, you are reacting to volatile molecules that are wafting their way to odor receptors behind the bridge of your nose. From there, nerve impulses are carried to your limbic system. The chemical messages from the fragrance are then interpreted, and a response is sent by the hypothalamus to the rest of your body.   It was not until the 1920s that the extraordinary physical healing powers of essential oils began to be explored in depth. It was at this time that the birth of modern aromatherapy took place in the laboratory of a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who became interested in the healing qualities of the natural essential oils that he used in his family’s perfume business. Then, one day Gattefosse burned his hand in a laboratory explosion and he immediately plunged his hand into a bowl of pure lavender oil. He was amazed to find how quickly the wound healed without even leaving a scar. It was Gattefosse who coined the word “aromatherapy,” in a 1928 scientific paper. Floral essential oils work from outside in. They impact your body and senses through your sense of smell and by absorption through your skin. When essential oils meet your human body, their molecules not only produce psychological responses like euphoria and increased alertness as well as relaxation but also induce direct and measurable pharmacological changes through your blood stream. They affect your hormones and glandular system, your metabolic processes, and your nervous system, and subtly induce healing on many levels. There are over 1000 aromatherapy oils on the market—about 30% of them derived from flowers. Each floral essential oil has its own distinct personality, which is sometimes quite different from its ‘soul energy,’ which comes through in flower essence healing. Each can be used singularly or in combination. If you have not yet experienced the blessings of floral essential oils in your life, you are in for a treat. Here are some of my favorite flowers, from which teas can be made and whose essential oils or absolutes can be used for a multitude of other purposes. Get to know their healing effects and their uses, then experiment with them in your own life. SACRED ESSENTIAL OILS To open to the abundance of the universe Rose Otto, Neroli, Lavender To clear unhelpful habits and thought patterns Carnation, Tuberose, Hyssop For increased confidence and self-worth Geranium, Rose Maroc, Ylang Ylang To release guilt Clary Sage, Jasmine, Linden Blossom To enhance the connection with your higher self Rose Maroc, Jasmine, Neroli Immerse yourself in a bath laced with essential oils. Breathe in the mind-altering aroma while you absorb the life-enhancing molecules through your skin. Don't disrupt the experience with perfumed soaps, shampoos, or body washes. If you need to get clean, shower first, then bask in the full aromatherapy experience. Once you emerge from your bath, let yourself enjoy the floral aura that you will carry with you for hours. The simplest method for taking an aromatherapy bath is to sprinkle a few drops of essential oil into your bath, swish it around so that the oil is well dispersed, then immerse yourself. Begin with only 2 drops of essential oil in a tub of water then gradually build up over a period of weeks to 4-7 drops. This may seem like a very small amount, but undiluted essences are extremely potent. More than this could irritate your skin. Also be aware that some florals stimulate while others sedate. For example, if you want a relaxing bath, choose an essential oil like lavender, which has a sedating effect, and use it in warm rather than hot water (somewhere between 28-35 degrees C). If you need invigoration, use a stimulating essential oil like neroli and take a shorter, hotter bath (around 35-39 degrees C). If you prefer a moisturizing bath, make your own bath oil blend by combining the following ingredients: To each 1-2 teaspoons of avocado oil or sweet almond oil, add 1 drop of a mild shampoo 2-5 drops of essential oil Shake the mixture in a small glass jar or bottle and add the blend to your bath. Experiment with your essential oils singly or in combination. Don’t use more than 3-5 drops of essential oil in total. Each has its own personality, and you will quickly learn which ones help you most and in which situations. Above all, have fun experimenting. Rediscover the ancient art of bathing that the Romans knew so well. Take time out to indulge your senses with a prolonged floral soak. It will benefit you in so many ways that it would be hard to list them all.

Think Young

Think Young

Almost everybody has heard of death curses: psychological literature is laced with accounts of how Aboriginal witch doctors have quite literally brought about the death of the young and healthy by cursing them. No sooner do these people learn of the fate which has been cast for them than they begin inexplicably to sicken and eventually to die. It appears that through complex biological processes, their simple belief in the curse brings about destruction of their organism. modern-day death curses In civilized society we tend to look upon such phenomena as anthropological curiosities - products of primitive superstition which simply don't touch us in our more enlightened age. What we are not aware of however is that many of us in the civilized world are also under our own brand of `death curses'. They may be subtler than those issued by witch doctors but they can be every bit as potent in bringing about the physical and mental decline which we have come to associate with aging. Common (and usually unconscious) notions such as `retirement', `middle-age', `It's all down hill after forty', and `At your age you must start taking things more easily', are widely held. They can exert a powerful effect on the process of aging by creating destructive self-fulfilling expectations about age decline. Instead of facing the future full of confidence and excitement about what lies ahead, optimism is replaced by anxiety as we are warned to `Be careful', or `Don't take chances on a new career at your age.' The list of commonly proffered `sensible' advice is a long one. Such well-meaning suggestions often lead people to make changes in their lifestyle which encourage physical decline - for instance decreasing the amount of exercise they get, altering their eating habits away from fiber-rich natural foods towards `softer' foods, and even decreasing the amount of social and intellectual stimulation they have been used to. Even worse, this kind of advice can undermine your self-image and destroy self-confidence, which in turn interferes with the proper functioning of the immune system which plays such a central role in protecting your body from aging. An essential ingredient in ageless aging is a strong awareness of just how powerfully your emotions, state of mind, and your unconscious assumptions can influence both your susceptibility to illness and the rate at which you age. Once that awareness has penetrated your consciousness then you can begin to make use of some simple and pleasant mind-bending techniques in aid of ageless aging. mind-body connections The notion that your state of mind can influence your health and the rate at which you age was once something which had to be taken on faith. Now it is not only being scientifically proven, it is even being put into effective practical use thanks to a rapidly developing scientific discipline with a tongue-twisting name: psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI has discovered that your body's immune system, that bulwark of defense, is undeniably affected by your unconscious assumptions, your emotional states and your behavioral patterns. They can lead either to an increased resistance to aging or to an increased susceptibility to degeneration and illness. In simple terms the happier you are, the better you feel about yourself and the more positive are your expectations about the future, the more likely you are to age slowly and gracefully and the less likely you are to fall prey to degeneration and illness of whatever sort - from a common cold to a life-threatening disease. No area of ageless aging is more fun to explore than this one. I always think of its positive side as `Zorba the Greek' consciousness. It can make possible the most amazing physical and mental feats by quite ordinary people living quite ordinary lives. Take the man who is able to work eighteen hours a day, drink whisky by the tumblerful, dance on tables until the early hours of the morning and still live to be 110 thanks to the sheer joy of his experience of life. I have seen it too amongst saints and holy men who carry out their day-to-day activities, from writing letters to peeling potatoes, in a state of bliss - samadhi. Take a look at their superbly unlined faces. They could as easily be thirty as seventy. Psychoneuroimmunologists are working to find out why. So new is the PNI discipline (the name was only coined in 1981) that the average physician is unlikely even to have heard of it. But so profound and wide-reaching are the consequences of its findings that they threaten to revolutionize medical theory about the origins and development of degeneration. Research into psychoneuroimmunology is already describing the pathways through which mind and body are inextricably bound together. These pathways include neurological connections linking glands and organs with the brain, the antioxidant system and the blood, thanks to hormonal secretions triggered by thought patterns and emotions and - most important of all - via the immune system. PNI researchers have discovered for instance that several kinds of lymphocytes involved in your body's immune response carry receptors which recognize hormones found in the brain that alter mind and mood. They have also found that some of these neurotransmitters or peptide hormones stimulate T-cells to produce more lymphokines such as interferon while others have the opposite effect. In fact listening to leading PNI researchers talk about mind-body connections makes you realize there is probably no state of mind which is not faithfully reflected by a state of the immune system. beyond psychosomatic consciousness Western medicine has long acknowledged that emotional states such as anxiety and depression can make a limited number of illnesses worse. These include asthma, diabetes, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, migraine and cardiovascular problems. But until the advent of PNI it has paid little attention to examining the nature of their psychological components nor has it explored ways and means of improving these conditions by altering a patient's mental state or behavioral patterns. Meanwhile it has almost completely ignored possible psychological components in the vast majority of other illnesses - from lung disease and cancer to rheumatism and allergic reactions - treating them instead as pure physiological occurrences little affected by whether the patient experiencing them felt good or bad in himself. This is mostly because Western medicine, bound by the Cartesian notion of a split between mind and matter, has failed to consider the people it treats as psychobiological units - total beings whose feelings, thoughts, expectations and perceptions are intimately bound to their physiology and biochemistry. Happily this is now changing in no small part thanks to a few visionary scientists who began asking some penetrating questions. Why for instance do some people who smoke forty cigarettes a day for twenty years end up with lung cancer while others following exactly the same pattern don't? The first, most obvious answer is that the former have an hereditary disposition to the disease. True, genetics are important, but these scientists found that they were by no means the whole answer. A large and very important piece of the puzzle was still missing. So they began to look at psychological factors. let go and live longer In a pioneering study carried out over twenty years ago, Scottish researcher Dr David Kissen examined more than 1000 Glaswegian industrial workers suffering from respiratory complaints. Before diagnosing them he gave each man a psychological test designed to delineate personality patterns. He came up with some quite fascinating and highly significant results. He discovered that those who were later found to have cancer showed a striking inability to express their emotions. Intrigued by Kissen's study and other similar investigations which suggested that emotional repression was an important component in the development of cancer, two doctors, R.L. Horne and R. S. Picard, at the Washington University School of Medicine in the United States, decided to carry out an in-depth study of the psychosocial risk factors in lung cancer as measured on a psychological scale developed from the findings of previous studies including Kissen's. They confirmed that emotional repression was indeed the central component of a complex personality pattern which led to the development of the disease. In fact, so important were the relationships between psychological states and the development of lung cancer which they uncovered that the two researchers found they could predict with an amazing 73 per cent accuracy which men had cancer and which men had simple lung disease, from psychological testing alone. They discovered that cancer sufferers, because of their emotional repression, tended to find great difficulty coping with life's challenges and sorrows. After losing an important relationship such as a job or a wife the cancer victims often suffered profound depression for from six to eighteen months before the discovery of the illness. These findings have been confirmed by others. mind and biochemistry Similar studies linking other psychological factors to other diseases, including infections, arthritis, allergies and premature aging, have also recently appeared. One of the best known is that done by Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosemann which demonstrated that what they called `type A behavior' - a behavior pattern characterized by a fierce and unrelenting struggle to do ever more things in less time against harsh competition - appears to cause a number of bodily changes predisposing one to coronary heart disease. They include alterations in blood-fat and blood-sugar levels, changes in circulation and increased levels of the hormone noradrenaline. And each disease is beginning to appear to have its own collection of psychological characteristics. Studies have now established that psychological factors are primary determinants in a host of illnesses while in others psychological factors appear to interact with biological ones determining whether disease tendencies, initiated either by heredity or your environment or both, will in fact turn into degeneration or whether your body will be able to fight them off. But how does it all work? Through what physiological mechanisms do emotional repression in the case of cancer, a frustrated power drive in the case of high blood pressure, and all the various other psychological and behavioral traits linked with their illnesses help create their respective illness and age decline? Perhaps even more important, once one can find these physiological mechanisms how can we make use of them first to prevent aging and even perhaps to reverse some of its processes once they have occurred? The key to both questions appears once again to lie in the immune system. mysteries of mind and immunity The immune system has two major branches, each with its own particular kind of defense cells or lymphocytes. It also includes other less important factors such as large scavenger-type cells called macrophages which gobble up antigenic material. The first branch confers on your body what is known as cell-mediated immunity and is responsible for about half of your body's resources for defense. It is centered around T-cell leucocytes - warrior cells produced in the thymus which battle the thousands of potentially lethal organisms, cancer inducing ultraviolet radiation from the sun and toxic chemicals from our highly industrialized environment. T-cells also produce a group of hormone-like substances such as interferon. They are called lymphokines and are considered the immune system's natural drugs. Some are poisonous to foreign tissue, others trigger white blood cells to keep an immune reaction going. The second branch of the immune system offers humoral-mediated immunity. It relies on what are known as B-cell lymphocytes, which produce antibodies specific to whatever invaders the body is being challenged by. B-cells are carried in the blood. They can combine with antigens in the body and neutralize them or they can coat them, making it simple for white blood cells to destroy them. The actions of both T and B cells are mediated through the thymus gland - often called the master gland of immunity. As we have seen, the rate at which you age appears to be very much influenced by the function of the thymus gland and the state of the immune system which it governs. It has also been well established that immune functions can be disrupted or depressed by such things as malnutrition, free radicals, infection and certain drugs. Recent research shows too that lymphocytes from people suffering from all kinds of stress and from grief, say after the death of a close relative, have a markedly decreased ability to rise to the occasion when challenged by antigens threatening the health of the body. What psychoneuroimmunologists are now trying to explore in experiments with animals and in studies of people are the pathways between brain and body through which this occurs - to delineate the means by which mind affects immunity both as a result of direct input from the brain and the indirect influence of hormones associated with specific emotional states and personality patterns. stress and immunity One of the questions currently being most seriously investigated by PNI researchers is how biological changes associated with stress diminish immune response and increase susceptibility to illness. Stress of any kind triggers the `fight or flight response' - a matrix of hormonal reactions designed to prepare the body for action. Adrenaline is released, for instance, and corticosteroid hormones from the adrenal glands. They in turn trigger other hormonal reactions. PNI researchers have now found that within fifteen minutes of its hitting the bloodstream even a small dose of adrenaline challenges the immune system and triggers the release of lymphocytes. It also inhibits the function of mature white blood cells needed to ward off invasion. Other studies have shown that the corticosteroids can also seriously depress immune functions and increase your susceptibility to disease. They inhibit the functions of both lymphocytes and macrophages and they undermine the ability of lymphocytes to reproduce themselves in the body. In fact if stress is prolonged enough and the levels of corticosteroids become high enough in the body they even cause a withering away of lymphoid tissue altogether. At St Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Dr Richard Shekelle headed a research project which examined death certificates of more than 2000 men who had been tested psychologically for depression and other emotional states seventeen years before. He found that the death rate of men who had been very depressed at the time of testing was twice that of the rest. One of the most widely held theories about cancer states that each of us develops small malignancies all the time in our body but that these are rapidly destroyed in a healthy person thanks to the actions of the immune system. If, however, you have strong feelings of helplessness or depression this can result in elevated corticosteroid levels and other changes which impede your immune system from doing its proper job and rejecting the cancer cells before they can take hold. pni alters paradigms The mind-body links which PNI research is uncovering are beginning to have far-reaching consequences, consequences which ultimately will go far beyond helping people avoid life threatening diseases and slow the aging process. There is a strong resonance to be found between PNI and much of the new physics which is busily exploring the view that the observer is essential to the creation of the universe just as the universe is creator of the observer. As Nobel laureate Roger Sperry has said, `Current concepts of the mind-brain relation involve a direct break with the long-established materialist and behaviorist doctrine that has dominated neuroscience for many decades. Instead of renouncing or ignoring consciousness the new interpretation gives full recognition to the primacy of inner conscious awareness as a causal reality.' It is a causal reality that you can begin using to your advantage right now. For just as prolonged unmitigated stress, depression and anxiety can suppress immune functions, a positive frame of mind and a sense that you can cope with whatever comes your way offers potent protection against illness and age-degeneration. At Beth Israel Hospital, another researcher, Dr Stephen Locke, has used psychological tests to evaluate students' abilities to cope with the shocks and challenges of their lives. He has found that the `poor copers' - those who tend to succumb to anxiety, depression and a sense of helplessness when life difficulties arise - show suppressed immune functions, while the `good copers' - people who feel they can deal effectively with whatever comes their way - had normal immune functions even when faced with major life changes. Meanwhile in a well controlled study of women suffering from breast cancer who underwent mastectomy, British researcher Dr Steven Greer discovered that women who react to their diagnosis with a denial that they are ill or with a determination to conquer the illness are far more likely five years later to be free of the disease than those who stoically accepted the diagnosis or who felt hopeless or helpless. making immunity work for you What can you do, starting right now, in the way of using your mind as a tool for ageless aging? You can begin by exploring the benefits of mind/body techniques which can help alter your mental attitudes and emotional states from negative to positive and therefore encourage good immune functions and hence slow down the rate at which you age. There are many. Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School developed the simple meditative technique, called the relaxation response, which consists of sitting with your eyes closed for fifteen or twenty minutes morning and night and repeating a single word - say `one' or `peace' - over and over again silently. Practiced regularly it will not only counter the immunesuppressing tendencies of stress but even bring about major psychological shifts in belief systems that can gradually change a self-defeating `poor coper' into an optimistic `good coper'. Contrary to popular opinion only 2 or 3 per cent of old people are institutionalized because of psychiatric disorders. Neither do the vast majority of old people have memory defects. Most people over sixty-five continue to be interested in sex, and sexual relations continue well into the eighties between healthy men and women. Studies made of morale and happiness amongst the elderly show no difference between their enjoyment of life and that of younger people. People over sixty-five have fewer accidents per person driving than do younger drivers. They also have fewer accidents at work. The majority of old people are not set in their ways although it does take them longer to learn something new than the young. Studies show that few old people suffer from boredom. Neither are they socially isolated or lonely. More than 10 per cent of old people work and two-thirds of those who don't would like to. Finally old people are seldom irritated or angry. This has been determined by three separate studies. visualize age anew Becoming aware of false assumptions about aging is a good first step. The next is to create a new vision of what it means to have time passing. Make use of creative visualization techniques where in a state of relaxation you allow your mind to play on positive images of yourself five, ten, thirty years from now. There are some excellent books available on the subject which you can use as a guide. But really the technique is very easy. It is only a matter of letting yourself indulge in positive daydreaming. Or practice a meditation or deep-relaxation technique a couple of times a day and finish off by repeating silently to yourself Coue's formula for personal growth and healing, `Every day in every way I am getting better and better.' It is exquisitely simple yet enormously powerful when practiced daily in a deeply relaxed state so that it is your imagination rather than your will which is brought into play. affirm youth and well-being Another simple technique which has real power for altering unconscious expectations and creating new realities is that of writing out `affirmations' - seven times seventy - for a week or two. This can be something as simple as `I am well and will continue to be so as the years pass' or `I let go of past confusion and day by day make my life anew.' The mere act of writing out such words over and over for several days helps break through old thought patterns and negativity that may be hampering you from realizing your full psychobiological potentials. You might be surprised at how quickly they penetrate your consciousness and bring about positive shifts in expectations and in your reality. For they can generate positive mental states and emotions and make them your common everyday experience of reality. And, just as PNI researchers have been discovering, it is the simple positive experiences and emotions like love, hope, faith, laughter, playfulness and creativity which can not only make life worth living, they can actually keep us alive, youthful and well. As effective as massive doses of antioxidant nutrients, fresh-cell therapy and all the other biological methods of age retardation available to you? Very probably. Besides they'll cost you absolutely nothing but a smile.

Herbal Sleep Secrets

Herbal Sleep Secrets

Your body thrives on sleep. It is while you are peacefully slumbering that your body is busily repairing the damage the day has done. Your body’s cells including your skin regenerate and rejuvenate themselves during sleep. When you haven’t had enough sleep your face lets you know about it as soon as you look in the mirror next morning—dull eyes, dull lips and a dull complexion. Deep, regular sleep can do more to enhance your wellbeing as well as your good looks than the most expensive creams and potions on the market. NO SLEEPING PILLS There are no hard and fast rules about how much sleep you should get. Some people need a full eight hours. Others thrive on six. The better your diet—the higher it is in fresh fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods—and the more exercise you get daily, the less time you are likely to need for sleep. What matters most is the quality of your sleep. Sleeping deeply does not mean drugging yourself into oblivion. In Britain alone 50 million prescriptions are written for sleeping pills each year. These drugs taken regularly can bring about dementia Alzheimer’s, depression and mental disorders. They also suppress vital rapid-eye-movement or REM phases of sleep. This produces psychological repression. Herbs offer a far safer alternative to drugs without having to pay the pipe with side effects or morning ‘hangovers’. There are three medically recognised types of insomnia—transient, acute and chronic. Transient insomnia lasts from a few days to a few weeks. It is usually linked to something specific—a worrying event or an illness. In acute insomnia your body has learned poor sleep patterns over a month or more and just keeps repeating them over and over again. Both these types of insomnia can be greatly helped by herbs. Chronic insomnia—when it has lasted more than six months—needs more help than short-term remedies can supply. The underlying reason for your inability to slumber peacefully—be it physical or emotional—needs to be identified and addressed. NATURE’S BOUNTY The drug valium takes its name from a plant: Valerian Valeriana officinalis was the primary herbal sedative used on both sides of the Atlantic before the advent of barbiturate sleeping pills. It is a safe and well-tested herbal remedy with a smell like dirty old socks. But don’t let that put you off since valerian is a powerful herb for inducing safe sleep. You can take valerian in a couple of ways. I like the tincture best—10 to 20 drops in a little water before bedtime or in the middle of the night when you awaken. Alternatively you can take a couple of capsules of the dried root. Valerian in lower doses is equally useful when your nerves feel ‘shot’, even during the day. It has the remarkable ability to enhance your ability to deal with stress and bring you stamina while it calms. Occasionally, and only to a very few people, valerian will cause drousiness in the morning. If this happens to you lower the dose or try a different herb. SIGN OF THE CROSS Passionflower Passiflora incarnata is a climbing plant with extraordinarily beautiful flowers. It has a blissful sedative effect on the body. Passionflower is one of the world’s most useful plants if you wrestle with nervous tension. It can be particularly helpful to women around the time of menopause. Not as strong as valerian in its actions, passiflora is more calming than sedating. As such it is a great alternative to tranquillising drugs. But it is a personal favourite for sleep. I even like the taste. Use 10-20 drops of the tincture in water or take two capsules of the dried extract up to four times a day when you need it. As an anti-stress herb many people like to take passion flower throughout the day in small doses to calm nerves and make everything easier. There is an excellent organic passion flower tea too. GLORIOUS POPPY The Latin name is Eschscholzia californica. California poppy has been used for thousands of years by Native Ameicans to calm anxiety, relieve pain and induce sleep. To assure optimal extraction of bioactive compounds, the plants need to be hand-harvested while in full flower then taken directly to the laboratory and extracted while still fresh and succulent. It’s best taken as a tincture. Researchers tellnus that this plant has anti-depressant properties, is an excellent gentle sedative, gentles pain, calm’s restlessness, counters insomnia, and helps establish equilibrium without any narcotic effect. It is my very favorite anti-stress plant. WELL KEPT SECRET You can use the flowers from the hop plant, Humulus lupulus, together with other remedies as a treatment for everything from indigestion to agitated nerves. Like valerian, hops has a pronounced sedative effect but it is a far milder remedy. Unlike valerian, hops smell sweet and you can use them without worrying about side-effects. You can take hops in the form of a tincture too. But by far the best way for sleep—particularly good for people who awaken in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep—is to drink hops tea. Make it before you go to bed by steeping a handful of flowers for 10 minutes in hot water. Strain it and allow it to cool. Put the tea—sweetened with stevia if you like—by the side of your bed so you can drink it should you awaken in the night. It can also be a good idea to use a little pillow stuffed with dried hops blossoms. Put it under your neck when you go to bed or if ever you awaken at night. Traditional Medicinals make a gentle mixture of hops, catnip, chamomile and passion flower tea called Organic Night Night. FUNCTIONAL AND FUN TO MAKE Herb pillows are small cushions filled with fragrant, sleep-inducing herbs, that you can tuck under your normal pillow or keep near you while you sleep. Once you have stuffed your pillow don’t sew it up too tightly so you can replace the herbs as as often as you wish. If you keep it inside another pillow case you will easily keep it clean. Herbs for relaxation include camomile, thyme, lavender, catmint and rosemary, but my favourite pillows include a high proportion of dried hops. A few drops of essential oil of camomile will help with sleeplessness, geranium will relive anxiety and lavender irritation. Sprinkling with a little orris root powder will help preserve the mixture. PERFECT BLISS Create a sleep sanctuary – somewhere you will enjoy going to rest and sleep. Don’t have a television in the room and as far as possible avoid noise and light disturbance. If you awaken in the night, don’t turn on the lights. Research has shown that 15 minutes of light in the night can affect levels of melatonin in the body and make it difficult to get back to sleep. A WORD TO THE WISE: Never drive, drink alcoholic beverages or engage in activities requiring mental alertness while taking calming herbal products. Consult a healthcare provider prior to using any herb or plant if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking barbiturates, sedative drugs or other medications. TINCTURE OF VALERIAN Eclectic Institute Organic Valerian Fresh, Organic Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root. Organic grape alcohol content: 45%. Fresh Herb Strength: 1:1. Buy Eclectic Institute Organic Valerian ORGANIC VALERIAN CAPSULES Eclectic Institute, Valerian, Rhizome & Roots Harvested Fresh & Flash Frozen for Optimal Quality Freeze-Dried for Ultimate Potency Buy Eclectic Institute, Valerian, Rhizome & Roots PASSION FLOWER TINCTURE Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower Organic Fresh, ORGANIC Passion Flower (Passiflora spp.) flower and leaf. ORGANIC alcohol content: 30% Filtered water. Fresh Herb Strength: 1.1 Buy Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower Organic PASSION FLOWER ORGANIC CAPSULES Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower 100% fresh freeze-dried ingredients, fresh freeze-drying maintains the biologically active constituents for highest potency and action. Buy Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower PASSION FLOWER TEA ORGANIC Gaia Herbs, Sleep & Relax, RapidRelief Herbal Tea Conditions that come rapidly can go rapidly when you give your body the right support. Gaia Herbs' RapidRelief products deliver results fast so you can get back to living life. Buy Gaia Herbs, Sleep & Relax, RapidRelief Herbal Tea NIGHT TEA ORGANIC Traditional Medicinals, Organic Nighty Night The use of passionflower, hops and chamomile for restlessness and mild sleeping difficulties is supported by clinical data and by traditional use. Buy Traditional Medicinals, Organic Nighty Night

Youth Factors

Youth Factors

The ageless aging techniques are powerful allies for survival in the 21st Century. Continuing to practice them will help protect you from degenerative diseases and can have you looking and feeling great as the years pass. But we also need to look after ourselves in other ways. Life at the millennium is not easy. We are exposed to aging influences every day of our lives. dump the drugs One of the major actions you can take to protect yourself from premature aging long-term is to stay away from drugs. Many drugs interfere with mineral absorption and undermine metabolic functions. Acid drugs bind calcium and other minerals like zinc and magnesium, making them unavailable for your body to use in its important enzymes which fuel energy and cell reproduction. Without first rate enzyme functions nobody can function optimally. Diuretics - `water pills' - given to eliminate water retention trigger the kidneys to excrete potassium and can lead to potassium deficiency. Although many doctors now give extra potassium with diuretic drugs, diuretics also increase the body's output of zinc, magnesium, and other minerals (something most doctors are still unaware of) so that deficiencies in these elements develop. Antibiotics disturb the balance of intestinal flora, creating disbiosis. The helpful bacteria needed for the production of certain important B-complex vitamins, vitamin K, and for protection against cancer, are destroyed along with the bad guy bacteria antibiotics are trying to kill off in the body. Most laxatives can also be very damaging to the system. Many contain mineral oils which bind fat soluble vitamins K, E, D, and A, leeching them from the tissues. Even when drugs are prescribed by your doctor, keep a close watch on what you are taking. It's a good idea to buy a book on drugs and their interactions so you keep well informed about anything it is suggested you take into your body. reproductive distortions In our modern industrialized world it is all too easy for our reproductive biochemistry to become distorted and youthful functioning to be undermined as a result. In the past 50 years male sperm count in the Western world has fallen by almost half. Meanwhile, women are experiencing the rise of a whole new - as yet largely unrecognized - phenomenon known as oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen dominance is where a woman's oestrogen levels far outweigh progesterone in her body making her prone to cancer, menstrual miseries and menopausal agonies. There are two classes of major reproductive hormones in a woman's body - the oestrogens which are commonly lumped together and called `oestrogen', and progesterone. When these two are in good balance a woman's health thrives. She remains free of PMS and other menstrual troubles. She also remains fertile and able to hold a fetus to full term and menopause becomes a simple transition instead of a passage riddled with suffering. And she is protected from fibroids, endometriosis and osteoporosis. She is also likely to remain emotionally balanced and free of excessive anxiety or depression. When oestrogen and progesterone are not in balance a woman's body becomes oestrogen dominant and all of these things can come a cropper. watch out for xenoestrogens Oestrogen dominance in women and the drop in sperm count in men have come about for several reasons, the major one being the widespread use of oestrogen-based oral contraceptives and the exponential spread of chemicals in our environment. Called xenoestrogens - oestrogen mimics - they are taken up by the oestrogen receptor sites in our bodies to throw spanners in the works. They include the petrochemical derivatives we take in as herbicides and pesticides which have been sprayed on our foods, the plastic cups we drink our tea out of, as well as the oestrogens that come through in drinking water recycled from our rivers. Oestrogens from The Pill and HRT are excreted in a woman's urine. They can end up back in our water supply, as hormones are not removed by standard water purification treatments. To stay vital each of us needs to be aware of the potential dangers of the `sea of oestrogens' in which we are now living. The proliferation of xenoestrogens in our environment needs to be stopped. It is making men less fertile and women more prone to breast and womb cancer, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, osteoporosis, and infertility, not to mention a long list of emotional and mental imbalances. Yet much of the medical profession as well as the general public still remains largely unaware of the effects these dangerous chemicals are exerting on our lives and the lives of animals. As a result oestrogens continue to be prescribed heavily as part of HRT - not only to the handful of women who around the time of menopause may need a little extra oestrogen temporarily - but to thousands of others whose lives would be far better off without it. go for protection You can help protect yourself from excess chemical oestrogens by not microwaving foods in plastic containers, by avoiding birth control pills and HRT, by not drinking from plastic cups, by ensuring that you eat foods grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and by including in your diet foods rich in phytosterols. These plant-based weak hormone-like compounds can help protect us by locking into oestrogen-receptor sites in the body and therefore preventing the much stronger xenoestrogens from gaining purchase in our bodies. Foods with good levels of phytosterols include yams, peas, papayas, bananas, cucumbers, raw nuts, bee pollen, sprouted seeds and grains (such as alfalfa sprouts) plus the herbs licorice root, red clover, sage, sarsaparilla and sassafras. Following a detox regime regularly a couple of times a year can also help detox the system and keep these poisonous chemicals from building up long-term. watch for deficiencies Much free radical damage and many of the problems associated with aging - from depression and insomnia to fatigue, poor eyesight or hearing, fragile bones, stiffness, and aches and pains - are the result of poor diet and the resulting nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies are now widespread in the developed countries of the Western World. They have developed not because we don't have enough to eat but because we have so disturbed the healthy balance of minerals and other nutrients in natural foods thanks to chemically based agriculture and excessive food processing. A number of large-scale research projects show that someone living on the typical diet of convenience foods over the years becomes deficient in vitamins and minerals. As we get older the most common deficiencies are in potassium, zinc, chromium, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin C as well as in protein and fiber. Fiber from fresh vegetables, grains, and pulses becomes particularly important as we get older. Unless the colon functions properly so that wastes are eliminated efficiently constipation becomes a problem so that the build up of toxicity in the body increases the rate at which aging occurs. A national food survey carried out recently in Great Britain showed that the average person is "grossly deficient" in six out of eight vitamins and minerals. And the problem seems to be growing worse and worse as convenience food eaters get increasingly depleted in folic acid, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron. The survey showed that the average person in Britain gets only 51% of the European recommended daily allowance of zinc, and only 71% for iron. Similarly 40% of the people studied received less than the recommended daily allowance for calcium. Nutritional deficiencies produce premature degeneration. Avoid them by avoiding processed foods as much as you can, using sea vegetables in your cooking and salads and adding more  green super foods to your diet. choose fats carefully Most of the fats that we eat today have been severely tampered with. Instead of being in a chemical form which your body can make use of (the cis form) to build cell walls, make hormones, and make prostaglandins - all of which are essential to de-age the body, we are eating trans fatty acids. These `junk fats' found in margarine, golden vegetable oils, and all of the convenience foods that we devour - from ready made meals we pop into the microwave to mayonnaise, breads and spreads - can undermine health. Trans fatty acids make up a large proportion of the fats used in making biscuits, sweets, imitation cheeses, margarine, pastries, potato crisps, puddings, and nearly all the packaged and processed food products you find on supermarket shelves. Experts in fat metabolism now blame our ever-increasing consumption of trans fatty acids and our ever decreasing consumption of essential fatty acids in no small part for premature aging and the growth of degenerative diseases including heart-attacks and cancer. About the best oil you can use for salads and wok frying is extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil. It is monounsaturated and much more stable for wok frying foods and making salad dressings. Canola oil is also good but harder to find. gut feelings Another major reason why vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies tend to occur as we get older is that poor eating over many years often results in a diminishment in a person's ability to digest and assimilate nutrients from their food. This is why for some even eating a good diet is not enough to supply the nutrients needed. Deficiencies in minerals, a low level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (essential for the absorption of nutrients), or low levels of digestive enzymes are common causes of the poor assimilation that produce nutritional deficiencies. Food allergies and other allergies are also commonly linked with low levels of hydrochloric acid in the gut. This can be corrected gradually by eating a nutrient-rich/low-calorie diet of wholesome foods and by learning to manage daily stress well using a technique like autogenics. Many experts in natural medicine also suggest drinking the juice of half a lemon squeezed into water or taking a teaspoon of apple-cider vinegar in a glass of warm water, twenty to thirty minutes before meals to enhance digestion when hydrochloric acid is low. Useful, too, are good quality supplements of the major digestive enzymes such as bromelin extracted from pineapples, and papain from the papayas. Papain is soothing to the stomach and very gentle. It helps in protein digestion. Bromelin is an anti-inflammatory enzyme which reduces tissue irritation. The pancreas secretes other enzymes important to digestion such as the lipases, amylases, and proteases. For anyone who experiences problems with digestion a good natural combination of digestive enzymes can be a great adjunct to de-aging. One or two capsules with a main meal will usually do the trick. But make sure you choose only the best as there are many poor imitations on the market. sleep a lot Sleep is a great antioxidant and rejuvenator which few pay attention to. Even age researchers are only beginning to be aware of what a potent effect good sleep can have on de-aging the body. Sleep is every bit as essential as good quality food, regular exercise and a healthy environment in rejuvenating the body. In recent years melatonin, the hormone secreted primarily by the pineal gland during the night hours in the absence of light, has been shown to play a major role in controlling the body's circadian rhythms and awareness of time. It has also drawn much attention from age researchers. Melatonin in supplement form can be used to great advantage wherever time awareness has been distorted, such as when crossing time zones or for people who suffer from insomnia. There are many indications that melatonin also offers powerful protection against the body's most destructive free radical - the hydroxyl radical. Sadly, melatonin has been taken off the market in Canada and Britain - amidst a great deal of hooha about it being "dangerous" because it is a natural hormone. Having looked in depth at the whole issue of melatonin I am convinced that used wisely and appropriately it is an extremely useful supplement and that there is nothing dangerous about it. Hopefully one day soon it will reappear. It is still widely available in the United States and most other countries. new radical quencher Meanwhile, when it comes to continual de-aging of the body, the improvement witnessed in people's lives through melatonin supplementation has made researchers ask an important question: Why would the body only secrete a substance like melatonin - a powerful free radical quencher - at night and not during the day? One of the world's experts on the antioxidant effects of melatonin, Dr Russel Reiter, believes that from a biological point of view the primary purpose of sleep may be to create a situation in which the free radicals which we generate during the day (when our exposure to free radical damage is the highest) can be mopped up at night. And it is during the hours of darkness that the body's natural melatonin levels rise. This could well be the reason why many hard-to-treat problems such as food allergies, multiple sclerosis, and ME, are often tremendously improved by getting a good night's sleep. Researchers investigating sleep have also discovered that when the body accumulates high levels of free radicals, a sense of sleepiness tends to set in. Whenever this happens it is a good idea to give in to it and have a nap. At night if you have difficulty sleeping consider using a natural botanical such as passiflora or valerian to help. Everyone's need for sleep is different and while it is true that many of us sleep less as we get older, regular restorative slumber is important for de-aging the body. Enjoy it. Here is a simple check list you can return to to help you create an ongoing lifestyle to de-age your body. 21st century survival Make Every Calorie Count: Gradually decrease the quantity of foods you eat while increasing the nutrients you are taking in. Choose your meals from real foods - the best nature has to offer: raw vegetables, whole grains, fresh fruits, pulses and seeds, prepared in simple ways to preserve their innate nutritional richness. Avoid Processed Foods: Nix on junk fats, margarines, refined sugar and simple carbohydrates like most packaged breakfast cereals which tend to be depleted of essential minerals, trace elements and fiber. Go Organic: Whenever possible buy (better yet grow) organic vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts. Foods grown without chemical fertilizers help protect your body from pollution while they keep essential nutrients in good balance, on which continuing health depends. Get Smart About Labels: Read labels carefully. Don't be misled by the word `natural' or `no preservatives'. Watch out for references to hydrogenated fats, aluminum, colorings and preservatives and leave foods containing them on the shelves. Wash Non-Organic Foods Well: Use 1 tablespoon of baking soda(bicarbonate of soda) to a sink full of water. Soak for 3-5 minutes to help clear acid-pollutants from vegetables and fruits. Drink Clean Water: Use a good water filter, buy purified water or the very best natural spring waters. Don't use tap water. Eat Deep-Sea Fish: The fattier the better - sardines, mackerel, and wild (not farmed) salmon are full of healthy fatty acids. Stay away from cod, shellfish and most freshwater fish. They are more likely to be chemically polluted. Avoid Aluminum Cooking: Pots and pans of aluminum can leach this metal into the foods cooked in them. Don't Use Irradiated Foods: Their effects on the body are still largely unknown and highly questionable. Add Superfoods To Your Diet: Make good use of foods and herbs that are rich in natural antioxidants and immune-enhancers which work synergistically to protect you. These include algae, spirulina, open-celled chlorella, Australian Dunaliella Salina, bladderwrack, Irish moss, dulse, alaria, kombu and nori as well as green cereal grasses and the power mushrooms reishi, maitake, shiitake, tremella and cordyceps. Go For Greens: Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts as well as wild green foods like nettles, dandelion and parsley. They are brimming with antioxidants. Minimize Drugs: Use nothing either of prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs that is not absolutely necessary, including hormone drugs. Also minimize recreational drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, nicotine and cocaine. Practice UV Protection: Exposure to sunlight is a great ager especially now with the depletion of the ozone layer. Protect yourself. Grow a Garden: Or at the very least sprout organic seeds and grains for salads. This gives you the freshest, chemical-free foods available. And you can sprout seeds even in a tiny kitchen in a city flat. Cut Down on Meat: Not only is the breeding of livestock on a wide scale wasteful of the earth's resources, most meat and poultry sold comes from chemically raised animals given antibiotics and much has become polluted. If you eat meat make it organic. If you eat chicken and eggs, make them free-range. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is the body's great rejuvenator, it increases antioxidant activities to counter free radical dangers in the body, enhances the production of the anti-ageing pineal hormone melatonin and is essential to de-ageing your body. loving kindness To care for the body, to enable it to continue to de-age, it is essential that we treat life with respect and care - something which Mitsuo Koda stresses in all of his teaching. This begins with caring for oneself. Creating a lifestyle where your body and your spirit get what they need to thrive - exercise, kindness, rest, stimulation, the rewards of being taken seriously and nurtured. This is something that most of us have to learn how to do. We are always saying `Oh I can't take time to meditate or do autogenics,' or `How do I make time to take long walks or pursue a hobby I love when I have so many responsibilities to fulfill?' The answer is simple and absolutely true although it almost always takes a very long time and a lot of suffering for each of us to learn it for ourselves: Unless you take care of yourself first, making sure you eat well and honor your inner values in the way you live, you are incapable of caring for others properly. For me this has been - in many ways still is - the hardest lesson I have ever had to learn. Each of us behave unconsciously as we have been taught to behave. If our parents happened to desert us or did not care for us very well then we somehow take on their habits about ourselves and don't look after ourselves properly either. The only way to change this is through constant awareness and continued commitment to nurturing the life within us. This in turn develops our ability to nurture others and the earth. life begins today This is the first day of the rest of your life. It can be an exciting one no matter what your age now, what you want to change, and what dreams you want to bring into reality. Begin by making friends with the cornerstone practices of ageless aging. Use them regularly to make your life work better and enhance your capacity for joy. Finally explore what you love most and begin to do it - even if you can only manage an hour or two a week to start with. The American expert in mythology Joseph Campbell used to urge his students at Sarah Lawrence College to follow your bliss, and participate joyously in the sorrows of the world. It is great advice when it comes to de-aging body and mind. By this Campbell did not mean going out of our way to have a good time or chasing rainbows. Far from it. He meant being in touch with whatever is your particular, individual passion and then pursuing it for its own sake, simply because it brings you joy. This can be gardening, or racing motor bikes, going back to university, traveling, listening to music, dancing or surfing the net. The whole point about following ones bliss and honoring ones passions is that doing it leads step by step down a road towards personal authenticity as well as towards the kind of fulfillment that has nothing to do with external success or the approval of society. This too is like rediscovering the joy of childhood when for hours you could sit and perform a particular act or work with a particular skill as life unfolded moment by moment. When it comes to ongoing rejuvenation of body, mind and spirit, what can be better than that?

Beware The Sneaky Inner Drainers

Beware The Sneaky Inner Drainers

With the best will in the world to live from your core, and the most conscientious attitude towards living a high-energy lifestyle, you may have no idea just how many factors can still drain your energy. Some, such as the way you eat or how much exercise you get, are fairly self-evident. Others, such as the invisible electromagnetic fields that surround you, are more tricky to fathom. The most elusive of all are the silent attitudes and beliefs you hold within. These inner drainers can affect your energy at any moment of the day without your even being conscious of it. When they do, the smallest challenge or inconvenience becomes a tremendous burden, your stress levels soar and your energy levels plummet. Use the following exercise to help identify your inner energy-draining attitudes. 1. How do you usually feel when you wake up in the morning? I just want to go back to sleep I am excited about the day ahead 2. When you look in the mirror do you... Fret over my wrinkles/grey hairs/ blemishes and feel down about myself? Feel pleased about myself and good about the way I look - imperfections and all? 3. When confronted with a difficult task at home or at work do you think... What a pain, perhaps if I avoid it someone else will do it? Here's a good challenge - a way to really stretch myself? 4. Looking forward to a romantic evening do you... Create a scenario of doom in case things work out badly - that way I won't be disappointed? Enjoy imagining how wonderful the evening is going to be? 5. When you have an argument with your partner do you say to yourself... This is typical, he doesn't understand my needs. I'll never have a decent relationship? Maybe getting things out in the open can help us understand one another better and feel closer than before? 6. When you get a cold do you think... Just my luck! I always catch a cold at the worst possible moment? My body is obviously run down. Let me see how I can change my diet or my lifestyle in order to better support my needs? 7. When someone pays you a compliment do you... Dismiss it as untrue and then try to work out what their ulterior motive is? Accept the compliment graciously and thank them for their kindness? 8. What is your attitude towards your job? I hate it. I'm overworked and underpaid, but I have to stick it - there's so much unemployment about I can't expect to find another one? I enjoy my work. It gives me a chance to use my talents in a fulfilling way and I feel personally and financially rewarded? 9. You are tired and decide to spend a restful evening alone. A friend calls feeling down and asks you to go out with her. Do you... Go out with her even though I don't want to because I feel I should - this is the second time she has wanted to get together? Tell her I'm too tired, but I would be happy go out another night and enjoy my evening alone? 10. You are invited to a family christening which you don't want to go to. Do you... Go because I'm expected to. My family make such a fuss if I don't - I hate family gatherings? Either excuse myself because there is something else I want to do or go because I would enjoy making my family happy? 11. When you look back on your past do you Feel resentful about the opportunities I didn't have and regret many of the things I have and haven't done? Feel grateful for the circumstances that have made me who I am and feel that if I could go back I wouldn't change a thing? 12. Do you feel your future happiness depends upon... Finding the right relationship, the right job, earning lots of money and hoping that not too many things go wrong? Continuing to live from my core and allowing my life to unfold with optimistic anticipation? If you identified mostly with the attitudes in the left hand column it is likely that you suffer considerably from the Inner Energy Drainers. Make a note of your beliefs and assumptions - write them down - with regard to some of the key issues in your life: 1. Your physical appearance - Do you believe that you can look the way you'd like to? If not, why not? 2. Your health - Do you believe that you can enjoy good health? If not, why not? 3. Your relationships - Do you believe that you can have good relationships with your friends? Your family? Your lover? If not, why not? 4. Your Home - Do you believe you can live in your ideal home? If not, why not? 5. Your work - Do you believe that you can have a satisfying, enjoyable and well paid job? If not, why not? 6. Your purpose - Do you believe you have a purpose in life? If so, what is it? Do you believe you can fulfil it? If not, why not? It is important to realise just how much the negative beliefs you hold about yourself and your life can limit not only the amount of energy you have, but also your potential for happiness and personal fulfilment. By becoming aware of any limiting belief you secretly carry inside, you can begin the process of melting it away. Then your inner draining attitudes can become inner strengthening ones instead. HANDLING THE EMOTIONAL DRAINERS Just as it is common to hold negative beliefs, so many of us harbor negative feelings which deplete us of energy. A common one is anger. Anger in itself does not drain energy. It can be the driving force to achieving a goal. When anger is held in, however, it can turn into depression or resentment - both significant drainers. Another common energy drainer is fear or anxiety. Here are three techniques useful for clearing negative emotional drainers. The first - The Forgiveness Letter - is especially good for anger or resentment. The second, Give Away, is good for dealing with fear and anxiety when they arise. The last one, Rewrite Your Past, helps you to reorientate the way you see yourself and your life in order to release any chronic negative feelings you may carry. THE FORGIVENESS LETTER Harbored negative feelings corrupt your perspective on life, and lead you to attract negativity from others. They also make you feel bad about yourself. Getting rid of this energy drainer means recognizing your negative feelings and actively choosing to let go of them. Here's how: Write to any person towards whom you feel particularly resentful or angry (or even to "life" itself). List all the offenses you can think of. Don't hold back from telling the person exactly how you feel. At the bottom of the letter write: "I (your name) hereby forgive you (the person's name) entirely for the above grievances. In so doing I bless you and wish you well, I release my ill feelings and honor my right to be whole, to be free and to trust in myself and my life." When you have finished, read the letter out loud to yourself. Then burn it, letting the flames dissolve any remaining negative feelings. GIVE AWAY Beginning to live from your core can be daunting. As you access deeper parts of your being it is not uncommon to experience feelings of fear or anxiety. Although it can be disconcerting to find yourself in a state of anxiety, once you recognise it you can use this simple technique to disperse your fearfulness. The Give-Away exercise is based on the American Indian tradition of offering gifts to Mother Earth. It can help you release negative emotional energy and gain comfort by reconnecting with the earth. Here's how: Stand or sit cross-legged on the floor. Notice your feelings of fear or anxiety, and try to locate the area in your body where you experience them most strongly. Breathe into this place, and each time you breathe out, imagine your feelings flowing down your body and into the ground beneath you. Make an offering of your fear to Mother Earth. As you do, you will feel calmer and more clear. REWRITE YOUR PAST Feeling unhappy about your past can be a real block to living the fullness of the present and the future. When you feel hard done by because of something that did or didn't happen to you, much of your energy gets tied up in feeling resentful or victimized. Just remember, your past belongs to you. Although the events in your past may be fixed in your memory, how you feel towards those events can change. For instance, let's say that you always had a dream to travel the world, but because you got married and began a family early your dream was sacrificed. Either you can feel sour about never getting to do what you wanted to, or you can look at all the richness the pathway you did take has brought you. Think of something in your past that makes you feel victimized. It may be the way you were treated by a parent or lover, some career advice you were/weren't given, an accident or "misfortune" that befell you. Write about your grievance as fully as possible, remembering the details as well as you can. When you have finished, look at the grievance again. This time ask yourself the questions, "Why did I choose this circumstance? How has it served me? What has it taught me? What strengths or qualities has it helped me develop?" Record your answers in your journal. See if you feel any different about your past (or your present and future) at the end of the exercise.

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