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mental health

34 articles in mental health

How Desire Becomes Reality

How Desire Becomes Reality

In my last post, we looked at unconscious image-making which prevents us from experiencing authentic freedom and undermines our sense of self. Now let’s flip destructive image making-on its head. It’s time to learn the art of conscious image-making It can improve health, heighten self esteem, and even forge the person whom you long to become in the future. All you need is a simple notebook in which to record your intentions, goals and experience plus 15 to 20 minutes a day to practice the art. This can be a lot of fun. POWERS OF THE MIND Creative imagery is the deliberate, repeated use of specific mental images, while in a deeply relaxed state or meditative state, to bring about change for the better. Just how creative imagery works has never been fully defined. It does, however, appear that the images one chooses to focus on when repeatedly held in the mind are able to affect one's body, emotions, and mind through the autonomic nervous system. Some of the process, at least, is explainable in biological and energetic terms. When a thought or image is kept in the mind of someone in a state of deep relaxation, his or her brain shows neuronal activity in both right and left hemispheres. Nerve fibres leading from the cerebral hemisphere through the hypothalamus can directly affect the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary gland as well as the adrenal cortex. Everyone has had experience of this image-making to some extent in day-to-day life. For instance, if you keep a frightening image in your mind's eye—say of a ghost, a fantastic monster, or a situation you want at all costs to avoid—your body will respond via the autonomic nervous system with a racing heartbeat, perspiration, dryness in the mouth, or gooseflesh. How strong your reactions are to the fearful thought depends entirely on how clear the image is. Similarly, when you hold a clear, relaxing image of perhaps a spring meadow or a person you love, your body responds with relaxed muscles, lowered heartbeat and blood pressure, and generally pleasant and passive bodily sensations. Researchers have found that through this mind-body connection we can exercise a great deal of control over our bodies and our behaviour simply by choosing images to focus on and using them regularly. In fact, this kind of deliberate visualization is the technique behind the ability yogis demonstrate in raising and lowering their bodily temperature or heartbeat at will, going for long periods of time without food, and performing extrasensory tasks. TRUST THE GAME Although the mechanism of creative imagery is highly complex, putting it to use is simple. For just as it is unnecessary for you to know how the nervous system, in conjunction with the brain and muscles, makes it possible for you to pick up an apple and take a bite out of it in order to perform the action, so it is not necessary to understand biological theories about creative imagery in order to practice it to your benefit. The imaging mechanism of your brain works automatically; all you have to do is provide it with images that are useful to you and let it do its job. Nor do you have to worry about whether or not you believe in creative imagery or whether or not you can do it well enough for it to work for you. If there is a goal that you want to achieve, you need simply to visualize it—again and again, at least twice a day; the rest is automatic, so long as your goal is something you consciously consider to be feasible. It would be absurd, for instance, to lie down for ten minutes each morning and afternoon and visualize yourself as an eagle. You might improve your imagination no end, you might also develop a great empathy for eagles, but it unlikely that you would develop wings or a beak. Nor need you worry about success or failure. As Maxwell Maltz says in his book Psycho-Cybernetics, "You must learn to trust your creative mechanism to do its work and not `jam it' by becoming too concerned or too anxious as to whether it will work or not, or by attempting to force it too much by conscious effort. You must let it work, rather than make it work. This trust is necessary because your creative mechanism operates below the level of consciousness." The only real "trust" needed for it to work is that which makes it possible for you to spend time repeatedly practising creative imagery. You do this by letting yourself go into a state of deep relaxation or meditation and then repeating your chosen image again and again over a sufficient length of time for it to take hold in your unconscious and begin producing results. You certainly don't have to trust it in the sense of believing in it for it to work. It will work whether you believe it or not. Just be consistent in using the technique regularly. PREPARE THE WAY Begin by learning to just let go. Creative imagery is an inner state of mind. To visualize effectively you need to put yourself into a calm, relaxed state in which mental images flow easily. Generally the more relaxed you are, the more successful your visualizations will be. This kind of relaxation is something that is learned gradually by practice. Even if you feel in the beginning that you are hardly relaxed at all, you will get benefits from your imaging and this will become progressively more true as you repeatedly practice visualization. Begin by lying down, or sitting in a comfortable chair, with your back well supported. Use a simple practice such as zazen or gentle, quiet deep breathing to let go of daily concerns and enter your private world. When you feel yourself quietly calm resting in your own inner space, there are several things you can do: In this space, you can examine in a new light any question that has been bothering you. You have access to the deeper layers of your mind where many answers can be found, provided you are willing to ask the questions simply and then just wait in stillness for the answer to come. This place is also where you can become aware of your belief systems and bring them to consciousness so that you can examine them in a detached, objective way and see whether they are working for you or not. You can then decide what you want to keep and what your want to leave behind. It is a place where you can learn to listen to the sound of your inner voice. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. This inner voice can guide you to where you are going next and tell you what you are about. It is a place where you can come to know yourself for who you really are, quite apart from roles and habitual assumptions you have always had about yourself. Most important of all in bringing about change, you can use this inner space to practise creative imagery. Go through your relaxation technique until you enter your inner space. Now you are ready to begin visualizing. You can do this in two ways: verbally, by simply repeating over and over a few words that describe the image, or visually, by simply seeing yourself as already having become what you want to be. For some, who at first experience difficulty in visualizing, the verbal method works better; for others, the visual method is more successful. Try them both and see which you prefer. Later on, after you are familiar with the use of creative imagery, you will probably want to use both. FOCUS YOUR DESIRE Let's say you pick as your goal the desire "I want to have more energy." Using the verbal method, turn the wish into a positive statement. It becomes "Every day I am more and more energetic and well." It is important that your goal be phrased in this way. It has to be in the present tense—not "One day I will be better" or "I hope that I will be more energetic," but Every day I am more and more energetic and well. It is happening now. Your subconscious mind, which holds the power to bring about change, does not function in terms of time and space as your conscious mind does. It understands only the simplest and most direct instructions, and when they are given it works as if they had already occurred or are occurring now. The words you have chosen become your image. You put them to work by simply repeating the words over and over again silently to yourself while you are in the deeply relaxed state in your inner space. It is the constant replaying of the message day after day twice a day that works best, not how long you do it each time you relax. One convenient way of doing it is to repeat the directions ten times in each session, moving one of your fingers with each repetition until you have been through all ten. Then you simply say to yourself the same, "I am now going to come out of my inner space...(by counting backwards from three, etc.) and open your eyes. The best time for most women to practice creative visualization is in bed at night just before they fall asleep, and then again in the morning just before they get up. But really you can do it anytime—whenever you can find ten minutes to yourself in the middle of the day, or in the middle of the night if you awaken, or during meditation. The important thing is to do it regularly twice a day every day. You needn't worry about doing it wrong, either. Because, in truth, there is no wrong way, and every supposed wrong in the way you are doing the technique will gradually put itself right with practice. WATCH IT HAPPEN If you prefer, you can use a visual way instead, or you can use a combination of both. Picking the same goal, I want to have more energy, go through your relaxation technique. When you are at the inner space, instead of repeating words let your mind play with the image of your goal as if it had actually come about already, almost like a daydream. In other words, see yourself moving through your day, relating to people, doing your work, playing games, all the while full of vitality and bounce. Watch yourself in your imagination and enjoy the ease with which you do things that once seemed difficult or tiring. Notice the glow of your skin, how well you look; see the vivacity in the way you speak and move. Watch yourself and enjoy it. The more of it you let yourself imagine and the more you enjoy your imaginings, the stronger will be the images you are creating and the more quickly they will become reality. But as with the verbal instructions, always keep your images in the present as if they are actually happening now and not as if they might happen in the future or are something you would like to see happen. You may find at some point that something or someone is interfering with your image. For instance, you might find that as you watch yourself moving about energetically through the day in your mind's eye, another figure appears—say an old woman—who speaks to you. Perhaps she says something like, "You silly girl, if you don't slow down you know you will exhaust yourself or make yourself ill." Or, "Why are you pretending to be full of energy when you know that you are really tired?" and so on. Pause for a moment and take a look at the figure. Who is she? Your mother? A friend who tends to be negative about everything you try? The voice of a belief system from inside you which, without your being aware of it, has been telling you for years that you are tired? Answer the figure back. Tell her quietly but firmly in your mind, "No, you are wrong. I am well and I have lots of energy. I also know how to use it wisely. I will rest and look after myself when I need to, I will eat well, I will enjoy what I do. I will be happy with my vitality." Then go on with your visualization. Unexpected intrusions like this while you are visualizing are often very useful, for they help make you aware of belief systems and notions that may have been unconsciously impeding your progress towards a goal. Then, when you have practised your visualization for, say, five or ten minutes, tell yourself you are going to count backwards from three and open your eyes. A FEW TRICKS TO HELP In the beginning, when you are just starting to explore the power of creative imagery, it is a good idea to pick only one goal at a time and work on it for several weeks or months until it is being progressively realized before taking on another thing you would like to change. The technique of keeping a journal is very useful in recording your progress, but even more important is keeping a record of insights and experiences you come upon while practising the deep relaxation and visualisation techniques. The information and insights they turn up for everyone are invariably rich. Many times something you record today which seems not particularly useful now will have a message of immediate importance to you three months from now. Finally, there is one very simple goal that I find particularly useful because it covers all areas of one's life and you can use it over and over again, year after year, with benefit. It is, "Every day I am more and more myself. My life grows richer and richer." “Practice makes perfect,” the saying goes. It most certainly does but never treat your practice as a chore. Let it be fun. When you do everything happens faster and with greater ease.

Mantra Magic

Mantra Magic

Herbert Benson, who wrote The Relaxation Response and Maximum Mind, discovered that measurable physical benefits accrue from practicing any form of meditation which depends on the silent repetition of a mantra - a word-sound. This can be done by repeating any word over and over while the eyes are closed and the body is in a quiet state. Meditation using a mantra has a long tradition. Some mantras are said to be sacred words that have particular sound vibrations which transmit particular powers. Each tradition has its own mantras such as Guru Om, Om mani padme hum, La ilaha illa 'lla or, in the Catholic religion, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Whether their magic aspects are true or not, the technique works beautifully to replace the habitual chatter that runs through one's mind, worries about things past and things yet to come. Benson suggests you find a word that is pleasing to you. It could be anything, say, `flower', `peace', or `love'. He likes the word `one' as it is simple and has the connotation of unity about it. Here's how. Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed for fifteen to twenty minutes and a comfortable chair that supports your back. Sit down and close your eyes. Give yourself a moment to settle in and you are ready to begin. Simply sit there, feet on the floor and eyes closed, quietly repeating your word over and over to yourself: `one...one...one...' Whenever your mind wanders or you are disturbed by a sound or thought, simply turn your mind gently back to repeating the word again. That is all there is to it. After fifteen to twenty minutes, stop repeating the mantra and get ready to open your eyes. Open your eyes, stretch, and go about your everyday activities. This is a particularly useful technique once you have practiced it a few times because you can do it in so many different places, such as in a waiting room or on a commuter train or bus.

Meet The Helpers

Meet The Helpers

The right kind of herbs can be a great asset not only during times of heavy pressure, but also to help increase your body's adaptive energy so you can take a lot more pressure without cracking. Hans Selye, the father of stress, did not believe this could be done. Now, thanks mostly to research carried out in Russia we know it can - provided you know your herbs well and choose the right ones. There are two classes of herbals that are helpful when it comes to stress. The first are the adaptogens. These are agents which can help protect you against mental and physical fatigue. The second group are the problem solvers such as valerian - an excellent alternative to tranquilizers when you need some extra help, or echinacea, which is an immune booster should you feel yourself in danger of getting a cold or flu during very demanding times. Rather like people, each herb has its own personality. Get to know them; they can be great friends for stress and overall health, enhancing your energy levels, protecting you from fatigue and illness, and helping you to unwind. Let's look at the adaptogens first. medicines for the well The adaptogens include a wide variety of natural substances. In practical terms, they improve your ability to adapt to all forms of stress, while at the same time helping to normalize its biochemical effects. Taken as ‘medicines for well people’ adaptogens can be remarkably helpful in keeping you youthful and full of vitality. Russian researcher II Brekhman at the Institute of Marine Biology Far-East Scientific Center of the Academy of Science in Vladivostock has probably done more than any other single scientist to find natural substances with adaptogenic properties, and to test their effects both on animals and humans. One of the first natural substances which Brekhman and his coworkers investigated which had this ability was Panax ginseng. Probably the most well-known and highly respected natural medicine in the world, the ginseng root was first used for medicinal purposes more than 4,000 years ago ‘to restore the five internal organs, tranquilize the spirit, calm agitation of the mind, allay excitement, and ward off harmful influences.’ for perfect harmony Over-processing and heat treatments destroy many of the beneficial effects of the adaptogens; as a result, most of the ginseng you find on the market is pretty useless. You need to choose your products carefully. There are three true ginseng plants: Panax ginseng, which is the original Korean/Chinese plant: Tienchi (Panax noto-ginseng) which is another Eastern version of the plant: And Panax Quinquefolius, or American ginseng. The active chemicals in ginseng are compounds called ginsenosides, of which there are thirteen. They lie at the core of ginseng's anti-stress properties. When choosing ginseng you need to look for a standardized ginseng extract with a guaranteed percentage of ginsenosides. Panax ginseng comes from Korea or China. The best quality roots are the big red ones which are six years old. Second are the white roots and third are the red grown in Japan, so look for country of origin when buying them. The whole roots are best to take, with root pieces and extracts following in that order. Ginseng tablets and powders often contain ‘fillers’ and are much less potent. American ginseng - Panax Quinquefolius - is usually less effective than Panax ginseng, unless you can get large old roots which are hard to come by. Unlike most other stimulants in common use, ginseng does not produce a sudden rapid rise in blood sugar followed by an unpleasant dip in energy. Nor is there any danger of becoming dependent on it. Also, Brekhman and others have found that ginseng acts as a stimulant without causing insomnia, and that it not only helps stave off fatigue but also strengthens the organism as a whole. The beneficial effects of taking ginseng multiply and build up over the period in which it is used. And ginseng's benefits last long afterwards. siberian ginseng Another adaptogen which has now been widely investigated, particularly in the Soviet Union, is eleuthrococcus senticosus or Siberian ginseng. Members of the same family, but really a different species, eleuthrococcus' therapeutic properties were only discovered in the past 50 years. Like ginseng, it has the capacity to strengthen the body's ability to resist illness, degeneration and fatigue, while never upsetting its natural functions. It is also a mild stimulant, the stimulant action lasting between six to eight hours. But its tonic effects are accumulative - they come gradually over a few weeks. They include increased stamina, better sleep patterns, better memory, cleaner thinking and improved athletic performance. Brekhman and many Russian researchers believe that eleuthrococcus is an even better adaptogen than ginseng. But there have so far been very few well-controlled studies to validate their claims. The best form of eleuthrococcus senticosus comes in extract direct from the Soviet Union. It has been carefully low-heat processed to preserve its biological activity. amazon power The most exciting herb I have come across for a long time is suma (Pfaffia paniculata). Locally known as Para Todo - "for everything" - suma has been used by Brazilian Indians for centuries as an aphrodisiac and general tonic. Recent research shows that, like good ginseng, the wild root of the suma plant also has strong adaptogenic proprieties. Suma is well worth looking at as a nutritional support to raise your energy levels, enhance your ability to be very active - both mentally and physically without fatigue or damage - and detoxify your cells as a prevention against premature aging and degeneration. Apart from the adaptogenics, which strengthen the organism against stress, there are two general herbs which can be a real help during times of heavy pressure - echinacea and valerian. daisy with a difference The immune system plays an important part in protecting from stress-damage. For prolonged stress can interfere with the immune system and you can become highly susceptible to infectious illnesses. That's where echinacea comes in handy. Known as Purple Coneflower, echinacea is a member of the Composite (daisy) family with potent antibiotic and anti-viral effects. The roots of two species, E. purpurea and E. angustifolia, have long been used against infection, and in detoxifying the body, by native peoples including the American Plains Indians. In recent years, the herb has been heavily researched in Germany, where numerous scientific studies now verify its health-promoting abilities. In Germany there are now more than 200 prescription products based on echinacea or its derivatives. Echinacea is able to amplify the activity of the immune system not only by helping an ailing body to recover swiftly, but by helping protect from infections such as colds and flu during the long winter months. I find it a welcome friend taken daily as a preventative during ‘flu season’ as well as a great boon to recovery if you feel yourself coming down with an infection. perfect calmer There is one more herb that can be enormously helpful especially when you become so wound up that you find it difficult to come down. Valerian, Valeriana officinalis, lives up beautifully to its folk reputation as a natural tranquilizer. Recent research confirms this common herb has a remarkable ability to normalize the workings of the central nervous system. Scientific research confirms that valerian is a superb natural sedative. One of the major problems with drug-based sleeping pills is that, while they will put you to sleep, they can also interfere with the quality of the sleep you get when taking them, and leave you with a ‘hangover’ of fatigue in the morning. Researchers found that valerian not only significantly improved sleep quality it also left subjects with no hangover the next morning. But it is just as good as a de-tenser. I find it particularly helpful when I have been traveling across time zones as a help in readjusting my sleep patterns. Get acquainted with a few of the best herbal stress-helpers. They are good friends to have around when you need them.

Salts Of The Earth

Salts Of The Earth

Our energy is balanced between dynamic, outpouring energy—which is exciting, creative, fun and challenging—and inner, moving energy, which is receptive. It’s a kind of quiet expectance that allows the universe to give you the gifts that it has to give. And of course, we can’t receive those gifts unless we know how to move from the dynamic state into the real receptive one. One of the things that’s important in helping us learn to do this—and almost everybody I know needs to learn to do it in our hectic, overstressed, dynamic world—is using water. Water itself is a powerful energy balancer. For instance, when you apply hot and cold water alternately to the surface of your skin, this stimulates circulation through the cardiovascular system, and it also spurs really good lymphatic drainage. From an electromagnetic point of view, by stimulating these systems you are increasing electricity at the heart of your cells, heightening your body's ability to produce energy at a cellular level and to produce vitality in your life. Hydrotherapy works in other ways too. Like a really good way of eating, high in fresh green vegetables and low or no processed and convenience foods, water helps detoxify acid wastes which are interfering with normal energetic processes. An excellent technique that works fantastically well is Epsom salts baths. They are magical in the way they can help you to balance your energies, not only on a physical level, but emotionally. Epsom salts are magnesium sulphate. Both magnesium and sulphate molecules have an ability to leach excess sodium, phosphorous and nitrogenous wastes from the body. By reducing toxicity, your body's energy becomes freed up for more efficient use. Magnesium and sulphur are also some of the most alkalinizing earth minerals. In practical terms, what this means is that they have the ability to create more physical space between the atoms and the molecules of your body. The greater the acidity in the body, and the more compressed the molecular space becomes, the greater the physical and emotional pressure you feel. When you get into an Epsom salts bath, the magnesium sulphate disturbs the pressure in your body, dispersing it and helping to restore balance. Magnesium sulphate dissolved in a body of water creates an electrical unified field. When you put your body into this field, it removes any excess electrical discharge from one area of the body and sends it to areas which are undercharged, creating a magnetic balance. There is nothing quite as good as an Epsom salts bath when you have been on a long flight or if you are suffering from jetlag, emotional tension, great fatigue or upset. Here’s How [video src=http://d1vg7rm5xhtxe9.cloudfront.net/video/sd/epsom-salts.mp4 poster=http://d3oy45cyct8ffi.cloudfront.net/health/video/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/08/epsom-salts-baths.jpg ] Take two cups of industrial grade Epsom salts. These are available from the chemist and sometimes from supermarkets. Pour it into a bath with a tiny, tiny bit of household bleach—the bleach is optional, but strangely enough it is another helper which, in minute quantities (and I’m talking less than a teaspoonful in a whole bath) ionizes wastes that are stored in the body. Fill the bath with tepid water, just above body temperature. Then immerse yourself in it for at least 20 minutes. If you begin to feel cool, add some more hot water. If you feel too warm, add a little bit of cold water, so that you are able to sustain being in this bath in a very relaxed state for 20 to 30 minutes. Get out of the bath, wrap yourself in a towel and rub yourself vigorously. This is lovely last thing at night and brings blissful sleep. You can also take an Epsom salts bath during the day, or before going out for the evening after a stressful day. When you get out of the bath, wrap yourself up in a towel and lie down for 10 minutes then get up, get dressed and go about whatever you are intending to do.

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.

Laugh Hard

Laugh Hard

Laughter and humor are much needed in the over-serious world of health and beauty, a world which tends to measure health not as joyous energy and creativity but in terms of cholesterol levels, blood pressure and sedimentation rates. The irony is, that according to the latest research into the mind body relationship, a life which sparkles with laughter is not only good for you because it feels good, it can also help look after the state of your blood pressure, immune system and cholesterol levels. Some researchers believe laughter can help look after the state of your blood pressure, immune system and cholesterol levels far better than high powered medical care and drugs. Drugs, after all, have deeply worrying side effects. The worst of laughter's side effects is joy. When we laugh we shed feelings of judgment, self pity and blame. Our perception shifts and we come to know another level of consciousness. Laughter deepens your breathing, expands blood vessels, heightens circulation bringing more oxygen to your cells, increases the secretion of hormones beneficial to your body, speeds tissue healing and helps stabilize bodily functions. A new philosophy is emerging from studies carried out in France and Canada by philosopher Andre Moreau on the notion that one should seek in all philosophical teachings the keys for releasing innate human tendencies towards humor, laughter and positive energies. It is known as "Jovialiste" which advocates the practice of smiling as a free expression of human vitality and creativity. Meanwhile, hospitals both in the United States and Europe are even prescribing laughter in the form of Jerry Lewis and Marks Brother's films, humorous books and any other simple triggers to put patients into a blissful state of spontaneous giggles. life on the flip side The way that emotions and health are closely related has been investigated for many years. The scientific press is full of papers which show the way that negative emotions such as anger, resentment, fear and despair are major factors in the development of serious illness from cancer to coronary heart disease. Scientists have charted direct pathways between mind and immunity via anatomical connections that link the brain directly to organs such as the spleen and the thymus gland. They have also shown that hormonal secretions induced by emotions and thought patterns create a second pathway between mind and body which is carried on the blood, and there is strong evidence that excess adrenaline from high levels of stress can significantly depress the body's immune system. But until recently most of the focus of mind-body research has been on the negative. Now, thanks to the new fascination with laughter, many scientists are beginning to investigate the biochemical changes brought about by positive emotions and encouraging their use as tools for health and healing. Researchers now find that laughter, relaxation, meditation and hope not only produce beneficial changes such as lowered heart rate and breathing, they can even improve the way your body responds to stress hormones, and bring about a shift in your perception of potentially stressful situations so you can look on them as challenges rather than as insurmountable problems - a vital attitude in preserving and enhancing the health of your mind and body. One of the very best things of all about laughter is that it breaks through the tendency each of us has to take our self and our values too seriously. It breaks down the roles we play and liberates the self locked within. It is our tendency to identify with our own self-created image, fears, beliefs and assumptions that takes us away from the joy which we believe is normal for each of us to feel. Give yourself a chance to laugh, and it will make you feel more alive, healthier and more beautiful. learn to laugh Seek out and spend time with people who make you laugh - often. Look for books that make you laugh, and keep a file of cartoons and magazine articles which you can share with your friends. Learn to be silly sometimes - like a child. Maybe join a drama class where they do improvisation, or make friends with children who still remember how to laugh and play and let them be your teachers.

End Your Depression

End Your Depression

Depression is a killer. I know. I suffered from it badly in my twenties. I think I must have been born with a genetic tendency towards it. As a result, I know so well the deep sadness, feelings of shame and helplessness, the terrible fatigue coupled with not being able to sleep to relieve it, the poor concentration and the strange shifts in appetite that come with it. When you feel depressed, you often feel anxious as well. I’ve learned a lot about how to help people banish both. depression There are many causes of depression—some come from the body and some from the psyche. I believe you can’t separate the two. Just as your body and mind interact with each other to produce the dark, seemingly endless blues that can set in at any period in your life, so can your body and mind work together to clear depression from your life. Few people know this, but wherever you find depression, you almost always find a mass of creative energy as well, which—for one reason or another—has remained blocked. This makes you feel impotent and helpless until it can be set free. You may discover that you have been trying to live your life too conventionally—that is, by other people’s rules—rather than trusting yourself, honouring your own unique truths, and living by them, come hell or high water. When depression is long-standing and debilitating, you may even come to feel you have no soul to live from. This is completely untrue. I love the wonderful American saying, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” Once you learn to do this, depression begins to its grip on you forever. Deep cleansing your body Deep cleansing your body is the first step to releasing blocked creative energy and restoring the biochemical balance to wash your blues away. Try following a long-term way of eating based on real food, not the packaged stuff they try to sell you in supermarkets: fresh spray-free vegetables—many of them raw—and top quality proteins from wild fish, organic meat, free range chicken, and eggs. Avoid all cow’s milk products including milk itself, yoghurt, and cheese (butter is OK because it is a fat, and it’s the milk protein that tends to cause problems for people prone to depression). Explore sheep milk, cheeses and yogurts, goat milk products or buffalo milk products—my favorites. Must important: Stop eating anything made with wheat or other grains and cereals, including pasta, breakfast cereals, breads and biscuits. Make all processed convenience foods a thing of the past. Eat Real Food A diet free of convenience foods releases you from the sort of metabolic disturbance which causes mood swings and depression. It was just such a diet—one in which at least 50-75% of the foods I ate were raw—that cleared my own deep depression. It frees your body and opens up your mind. You start to see life with a much broader view. You begin to feel a sense of excitement each day with whatever you are doing. But be patient. It takes time for the transformation to happen. Gradually feelings of depression and impossibility melt away like snow drifts in the warmth of spring sunshine. You begin to experience your own natural energies as a more balanced state of mind emerges. More peaceful and centered, you come to see that you are really able to do whatever it is you want to do. Your body is a magnificent system capable of the most incredible regeneration and renewal. You can let go of all the anti-depressant drugs. Recent research shows that most are no better than placebos. When you learn to live on simple, pure, natural organic foods, this helps you transform your whole being physically, emotionally and spiritually—in effect, to discover who you are at the deepest level of your being, and come to live your life from there. I did it. So have thousands of others who never dreamed this might be possible. So can you. A human being is most certainly "fearfully and wonderfully made". It’s time to discover this for yourself.

Banish The Blues

Banish The Blues

Depression can be a killer. I know. I suffered from it badly in my early twenties. I suspect I was born with a genetic tendency towards it. I am familiar with the deep sadness, feelings of shame and helplessness, the terrible fatigue coupled with not being able to sleep to relieve it, the poor concentration and strange shifts in appetite. I have learned a lot about handling it over the years. There are many causes of depression—some are of the body, and some of the psyche. I don’t think you can separate the two. Just as body and mind feed each other in producing the dark, seemingly endless blues which can set in at any period of your life, the herbs you call on for help will improve both body and spirit. When you feel depressed, you can feel anxious as well. Many of the plants which are effective in lifting the blues help to clear fear and anxiety too. Cleanse Body And Soul Where you find depression, you almost always find a mass of creative energy which, for one reason or another, has remained blocked. This can make you feel impotent and helpless. You also often find a tendency to live life by other people’s rules rather than your own—from the depths of your own soul. Indeed, if depression is deep and debilitating enough, you may even come to feel you have no soul to live from. Deep-cleansing the body is important in releasing blocked creative energy and restoring the biochemical balance that helps wash away the blues. Use the Herbal Cleanse. Take a look at my brand new 10 Day Clean-Up Plan book, just published on Amazon. When your cleansing program is done, try following a long-term way of eating based on fresh vegetables—many of them raw—and good quality proteins from fish, organic meat, free range chicken and eggs. Avoid milk products including milk itself, yoghurt, and cheese (butter is OK because it is a fat, and it is the milk protein that tends to cause problems for people prone to depression). Also cut out wheat and anything made from flour such as pasta, breakfast cereals, breads and biscuits and, finally, make highly processed convenience foods a thing of the past. It was just such a diet—one in which at least 50-75% of the foods I ate were raw—that began to lift my own deep depression in my twenties. Sacred Plants Then, turn your attention to herbs and discover just how useful they can be to rebalance brain chemistry, strengthen the body and clear the mind. Then call on the healing powers of some of the best plant-based antidepressants you can find, from St John’s Wort, rosemary and California poppy, to the gorgeous ginkgo. Ginkgo Clears Cobwebs The beautiful leaves from ginkgo biloba—also known as the Maidenhair tree—improve circulation throughout the body and brain. Ginkgo’s seeds were sent to Europe in the 1720s from Japan and China. The Chinese use the ginkgo seeds, but research in the West has mostly concentrated on the leaves. They contain ginkgolides, unknown in any other plant. These phytochemicals block blood platelet activating factors. In doing so, they inhibit all sorts of allergic responses. Meanwhile, ginkgo’s flavonoids do wonders to improve circulation to the brain. Recent studies show that this long-standing Oriental gift can help people clear depression. Ginkgo increases the rate at which information is transmitted at the level of nerve cells. This helps depression in many, thanks to the plant’s ability to enhance the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. An effective antidepressant dose in one study where ginkgo was used to specifically counter depression was 240 milligrams of the powdered herb a day, in capsule form. It can take six to eight weeks to experience the full effects of ginkgo. So be patient. California Bright Lights Its watery sap has long been used by Native Americans to relieve toothache. It relieves pain, relaxes spasms and warms your body. California poppy is the best anxiety-calming herb I know and it works quickly—in a few hours. Don’t worry, it is not a narcotic, only a gentle sedative and tranquillizer so safe that herbalists give it to children. Neither does it depress the central nervous system as many sedatives do. The usual dose of tincture is 1 teaspoon to half a glass of water taken twice a day in the afternoon and evening. I like to combine tincture of golden California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, with that of St John’s Wort—in equal parts—to lift the blues. Bright As Sunlight The yellow flowers and dancing leaves of St John’s Wort—Hypericum perforatum—can bring balance and joy. This plant may be slow to act, but its effects are deep and long lasting. St John’s Wort is nature’s answer to Prozac. Every part of this joyous herb yields uplifting power—its leaves, its shoots, its glorious yellow flowers. Even the way it grows seems to celebrate life. St John’s Wort can banish anxiety, bring light into the dark depths of depression, and help transform difficult times—the loss of a job, of a lover, or of sense of purpose—into times of power. In the past 20 years, dozens of randomized clinical trials have shown that this plant is just as, if not more, effective than standard antidepressant drugs. Yet it comes without the negative side effects. In Germany alone, 1 million prescriptions are written for this plant each year. The bright yellow flowers of St John’s Wort contain a red oil called hypericin, which is anti-viral and probably mood enhancing. Many studies show that it is whole plant extracts, however, rather than hypericin alone that have the best antidepressant effects. Help From St John's Wort To make tea, use 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes, strain, and drink 1 to 3 times a day. Another effective way to use St John’s Wort for depression is as a tincture. When you feel at your lowest you don’t have to go to the trouble of making a tea. Take 1 teaspoon of St John’s Wort tincture in a little water 3 times a day. When used as an antidepressant it should be taken for at least a month before results can be seen. A lucky few people, however, respond right away. Caution: In a few people St John’s Wort causes mild nausea, stomach-ache, depressed appetite, tiredness, and in even fewer still, sensitivity to sunlight. It shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy. If you are already taking antidepressant drugs do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Lift Your Spirit Tea Rosmarinus officinalis grows just about everywhere. Who would ever suspect that the rosemary plant is one of the most useful herbs you will ever find for lifting the blues. The strong and sturdy plant is an excellent tonic as well as an all-round stimulant. It raises spirits and energizes the body, clearing apathy, nervous exhaustion and digestive disturbances. Rosemary has a long-standing reputation for strengthening the memory as well. That’s why Greek scholars wore garlands of rosemary when taking exams. It is also rejuvenating, in no small part thanks to the flavonoid diosmin which it boasts in abundance, to strengthen capillaries and collagen in the skin. In the 14th century, 72 year-old Izabella, Queen of Hungary, was crippled with rheumatism. She used masses of Hungary Water (rosemary leaves macerated in alcohol) and regained her youth so well that the king of Poland proposed to her. One of the first to be distilled, a few drops of essential oil of rosemary in the bath can help clear a fuzzy head with ease. You can use the fresh leaves or the essential oil in steam inhalations for exhaustion and shattered nerves. Meanwhile, simple rosemary tea is bracing and wonderfully uplifting. Spirit Lifting Tea Put a handful of rosemary leaves (1 tablespoon of the fresh herb or 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup) into a warmed pot and pour boiling water over them. Replace the lid to prevent the aromatic vapors from being wasted. Leave to brew for five minutes. Drink hot. Top quality herb products: Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root Liquid Herbal Extract Validated Full Spectrum Extract Dietary Supplement Supports Normal Relaxation from Tension Brought on by Daily Stress Promotes Muscular and Nerve Relaxation Encourages a Sense of Emotional Well Being Order Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root from iherb Natrol Ginkgo Biloba Helps Improve Memory Supports Sharpened Alertness Dietary Supplement Natrol Ginkgo Biloba may help support circulation, which is one way researchers believe this herb helps enhance cognitive function. Our formula is standardized to guarantee a potent level of highly active compounds. Order Natrol Ginkgo Biloba from iherb Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort Liquid Herbal Extract Validated Full Spectrum Extract Dietary Supplement Order Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort from iherb Herb Pharm, California Poppy We prepare our California Poppy Extract from fresh (undried) whole Eschscholzia californica plants (root, leaf & flower) which are Certified Organically Grown on our own farm without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. To assure optimal extraction of bioactive compounds, the plants are hand-harvested while in full flower and are then taken directly to our laboratory and promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent. Our poppy plants are never fumigated or irradiated. Order Herb Pharm, California Poppy from iherb

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.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 13,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 13 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 8th of May 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.75 lb
for women
-1.27 lb
for men
-0.75 lb
for women
-1.27 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 8th of May 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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