Category Archives: Healthy Living

Stay Well Through Autumn With Natural Remedies

As the gentle energy of Autumn settles around us, wrapping us in her hazy sunny days and crisp evenings it is time to prepare for the turning inward that naturally occurs as we approach winter.  Autumn is a time of benevolence, when the activity of summer has slowed, when pastimes become gentler and more leisurely, when we turn our attention within to our own thoughts and dreams.

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As the energies of Autumn contract and gather inwards, they cause us to also slow down in readiness for the stillness of the coming winter. The contemplative nature of the season allows time for inner reflection and awareness, providing a space to find clarity before setting plans and goals to initiate in the Spring.

In readiness for increased awareness and understanding, Autumn is a time to embrace peace and avoid engaging in personal dramas. This is the time to practice distancing yourself, to step back from conflict, judgement and other triggers in your life. This is the time to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to potential conflicts.

 

Autumn Health

April is a time of transition for our whole body. As the evening air takes on a bite after the gentle warmth of the afternoon sun our bodies become more susceptible to health problems. Illnesses that have gone underground over the summer will re-appear and new flu and other infections appear.

If you don’t use this time to build your health and charge up your immune system, by June you may find yourself more susceptible to winter illness and less capable of throwing off any illness you develop.

 

Change Your Habits

By adjusting your lifestyle to best use the seasonal energies you can strengthen your whole system.

There are a number of ways to make changes all of which contribute to building your health.
Most people naturally change their foods as the weather cools as Summer salads make way for heavier meat and root vegetable stews and soups. But also adapting life practices including exercise, meditation and sleep so they are healthier offers enormous support through the colder months.

 

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

One of the most important lifestyle changes to make for Autumnsleeping under the moon watermarked bought and Winter health is to recognize that your body needs much more sleep as it turns inward. Having about seven hours sleep every night is one of the best ways to protect yourself against winter illness. Your body doesn’t recover by sleeping in on the weekend after a sleep-deprived week and this does not support your health.

If you can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, speak to your natural health practitioner now, before Winter, for advice and treatment to change this pattern.

Push yourself to rest and take it easy. Develop great bedtime routines to maintain wellness and keep away ‘office illness’. These Seven Surefire Ways To Get a Good Night’s Sleep will get you started.

As Autumn settles in it is time to treat yourself with compassion. Be conscious this is the season to be gentle, and wrap yourself with TLC. If you are someone who is constantly there for everyone else, now is the time to turn that caring inwards and say ‘no’ to others.

It is only by first caring for your own needs that you can adequately care for those around you.

 

Autumn Exercise

Exercise is a great way to boost immune health.

Exercise increases oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen levels in major cities are repeatedly measured at levels significantly below normal. When you consider that most people also breathe poorly, taking in less oxygen, and that many chronic diseases including cancer are associated with low oxygen levels, the importance of boosting oxygen intake becomes obvious.

Exercise makes you feel more alert, boosts your levels of endorphins to make you feel positive, as well as improving oxygen levels in every cell of your body. But during Autumn it is vital to tone down your exercise program to prevent your energy becoming depleted, as that adversely affects your immune system.

Yoga, t’ai chi or Qi Gong are very balancing and present the perfect exercise option for autumn. Deep breathing exercises and yoga stretching both serve your immune system as well as your respiratory organs through the winter. Brisk walking and bike riding are other great ways to exercise in Autumn.
Avoid heavy aerobic exercise outdoors in the cooler autumn months, as it may reduce vital energy and weaken your system.

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Susceptible Organs During Autumn

The lung and the colon are both organs of elimination and relate to your ability to “let go” on all levels. According to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine if your immunity is weak these are the organs that will be affected during Autumn, with respiratory problems including coughs, breathing difficulties and sinus problems, or gut issues like constipation and/or diarrhoea.

These are the organs that are affected when you hold on to grief and sadness. If you are holding unresolved grief or sadenss they eventually affect the health and function of your lungs or large intestine, sending you the message that it is “time to let go”.

 

 

Continue reading to discover which foods to eat in Autumn, what supplements you need and what to do if you still get sick…

 

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatments suggested on this site.

Are you Happy? How Do You Rate?

Are you a happy person? Happiness is a matter of choice not just luck.

How often have you thought of someone as simply having a happy disposition? The truth is that happiness doesn’t just fall into your lap, rather it is something you need to consciously work at. Chances are that person with the happy disposition consciously makes life choices to create that feeling, every day.

 

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For some people this comes easier than for others, but everyone can choose to be happy and then to take the steps to make it happen. Just by changing habits in their life for ones that create more happiness they can shift themself towards the happier life they crave.

Happiness is not something that occurs all the time. Life is a series of ups and downs. Rather, being a happy person indicates that you are able to bring yourself back into that lighter state when you find yourself falling into darker moods.

 

Use this checklist to learn how happy you really are.

Happy people:

  1. Nurture social relationships and spend time in-person with their friends
  2. Live minimally
  3. Tell the truth
  4. Don’t judge
  5. Don’t hold grudges
  6. Never make excuses
  7. Take the time to listen
  8. Speak well of others
  9. Choose their friends with care
  10. Set their personal boundaries
  11. Dream big
  12. Avoid social comparisons
  13. Treat everyone with kindness
  14. Accept others
  15. Exercise
  16. Don’t sweat the small stuff
  17. Accept what they cannot change
  18. Meditate or practice quiet reflection
  19. Avoid seeking approval from others
  20. Express gratitude for what they already have in their life
  21. Eat well
  22. Laugh and have a sense of fun
  23. Are busy but not rushed
  24. Give – but not until it hurts
  25. Surround themselves with other happy people

 

family and friends

 

So just how happy are you?

 

If you didn’t rate so highly try adopting some of the practices on this list.

Start with just one or two and do them until they become a natural way for you to act or think. Then gradually add some more. As you increase your happy practices it becomes easier to add more and more, and you will find you feel happy most of the time.

What makes you feel really deeply happy? Leave  your reply below?

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Disclaimer
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

 

New Moon Clarity: Discover Your Personal Insights For Lunar Manifestation

Often when you live a life based on good health you get focused on the physical – eating healthy food, getting enough exercise, or avoiding toxins. But  to achieve good health you need to takes steps on all levels, and the physical is only the starting place. It is equally important to manifest change on each of the levels of mind, body and spirit. The time of the New Moon is especially potent and the best time to birth anything new into your life. Creating a New Moon Ritual is a powerful way to stimulate new beginnings and change.

New Moon Rituals address all of three of three aspects of yourself, the mind, body and spirit. They help you to clarify desires, to form that desire into a goal, and to set an intention for achieving it.

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Once every month I remind my followers on Facebook that a New Moon is about to occur and I suggest they prepare their Lunar Manifestation List. Some of them do. But the response of many who have never done this before is “What the…?”

Unless you have been guided to this by someone you will most likely not know how to do it.

For years I have held amazing New Moon Red Tent Circles to coincide with the New Moon. They are the most wonderful supportive space for busy women to take some time out for just a few hours. They provide the space to tune into yourself and identify what’s not working in your life, what’s really p*ssing you off, and most importantly, where you need to make changes and exactly what you want to begin in your life.

It all happens with a group of women who offer unconditional support for you to gain understanding and clarity. All in the group can share without comment or advice from others, and can even vent if they need. Everyone usually gets amazing insights.

Within the circle you also have the opportunity for a some self-care and sometimes a little creative play (Recently we played with finger paint. I have never done this before and it was So. Much. Fun.)

Why I always hold these sessions at the New Moon

Simple!

Throughout history indigenous societies always honoured the time of the New Moon because it is the time when our intuition (those gut feelings you get) are at their strongest, especially for women.

Test this out for yourself. Keep track of what messages your subconscious sends to you in the few days around the New Moon. Often the messages come through your dreams. Take notice if you wake up suddenly knowing the answer to something that has been troubling you.

This is also the time when many, especially women, feel extra weary. Your body may feel heavy, sleepiness overcome you in the afternoon, you crave early nights or you may feel less like going out and socialising.

This is you telling yourself that it is the best time to slow down and go within. This is the best time to access the knowledge you already have for a better, happier life.

The time of greater awareness varies from one person to the next but usually is for a few days around the New Moon time. As the actual time of the New Moon varies from one place to another because each place is in a different time zone, you need to check for the exact time and date in your area. Remember to set your own location.

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Lunar Manifestation Lists

One of the things that always forms the closing of my New Moon Red Tent Sessions is the creation by each person of their Lunar Manifestation List.

It becomes too easy for us to roll along on our merry way, one week passing to the next until we suddenly notice that another whole year has passed us by.

Using the New Moon to set our Lunar Manifestation Intention List is simply a form of getting clear on your wishes for the month, like a monthly goal setting. But it is more than just ‘goal-setting’ as this one really comes from our heart.

Mix It Up

It’s important to wish for what you really do need in your life, or what you don’t need. Whatever you  decide to include on your list frame it with the intention of stimulating personal growth.

You may wish to change a bad habit, or a relationship you have outgrown or one you are now ready to welcome in. There may be a material possession you would love. You may need more self-nurturing. Perhaps you would like to undertake some form of service to others or to allow others to do things their way. It may even be to simply change the way you view a situation.

Whatever it is you wish to create can be added to your list.

Get specific

When I look back on my own lists I am struck by how often what I wrote came about.

For about 18 months I kept adding ‘New Car” to my list. But no new car appeared. Then one month I wrote down the make, the model and even the colour of the car I wanted. Six weeks later just that car was sitting in my driveway, and I got it for an awesome price too.

When I got really serious and was more specific about my list, my focus and my energy was directed towards achieving that goal, like an arrow.

Take Time

Don’t just dive in. The result will most likely be superficial. This is the time you need to get real. Spend the time to really tune in to your subconscious, your inner knowing, if you want to discover deep insights about how to change for the best.

You can simply sit and write your list but if you spend some time beforehand to really tune in to yourself you receive greater clarity about the deeper issues that are holding you back.Also you may find something you are ready to receive in your life that you were not yet aware of.

If you meditate this is an awesome way to tune in to your intuition.

If you prefer someone else to guide you through a meditation there are many guided visualisations available on Youtube. (I am creating a series of suitable guided meditations for the New Moon which will be available later this year.)

Keep things Simple

You don’t need to meditate, it’s not essential.

Simply taking some time to go somewhere quiet, somewhere you won’t be disturbed is enough. It may be a special space in your home or somewhere you love in nature. Wherever you choose just make certain you are somewhere you will not be interrupted. (For busy Mums it may even mean locking yourself in the toilet!) Just find somewhere quiet and peaceful.

New Moon Red Tent Ritual

Make sure you have pen (they can be coloured) and paper with you, the list needs to be written by hand. A journal is perfect for keeping your Lunar Manifestation Lists together if you would like to keep them to look back at later.

If you wish play some uplifting music, light a candle or do anything that has special meaning for you. But make sure it doesn’t intrude and draw your attention away from listening to your intuition.

When you are seated comfortably take a few moments to relax yourself. Start by loosening your toes and work your way up your body. Finally feel your shoulders drop, your jaw relax and your forehead un-crease.

Now take a few deep belly-breaths. As you breathe in imagine the Indigo Light of Intuition entering your body along with your breath and spreading through every cell of your body. As you breathe out feel the stress of your day and any negative thoughts you are holding leave your body along with your breath.

As you breathe the Indigo Light within on each breath feel yourself connect more deeply with your inner knowledge. Allow your breath to relax into a natural rhythm and sit for a while opening yourself to any thoughts or ideas that flow in.

Be creative.

If thoughts about what you need to do today are blocking out anything else then maybe what you need to manifest right now are some organizational techniques so you can get all that stuff out of your thoughts. Bringing in techniques such as this will free up lots of brain space for other things in your life. So put it on your list.

What you need may come to you as a a picture in your mind-eye, you may hear it, a clear thought or even just a sudden flash of insiration. Be open to receive.

Write your list in the present tense, as if it is already happening.

While you can’t wish for change in others, that it for them to determine themself. However you can wish for changes to yourself that may then affect them later.

Add up to ten things to your list. More becomes too many and lessens their impact. Less is fine, simply putting greater focus on what you do add, but you do need more than just one or two.

Each New Moon of the year is associated with a different part of your life and your list is more potent when you focus your wishes on that area of your life. This New Moon right at the start of Aquarius is about BIG Plans, and seeking freedom in your life. This moon also has a link with the past and might be the perfect time to discover a new way to renovate, restore or revitalise an old problem or relationship.

Finishing Your Ritual

Just one more step – speak the list out loud. Giving a voice to your intentions empowers them, and anchors them in the front of your awareness.

When you have finished, thank your Higher Self, your angels, or simply the universe, blow out the candle and you are done.

Lunar Manifestation Lists are not like affirmations. You don’t have to keep repeating them. Once you have done the ritual you can put the list away.

What you do with your list is up to you. Some women burn their list, others put them under their pillow, some even bury them. I keep my Lunar Manifestation Lists in a journal as I like to have the reminder later of the power of positive intent. Sometimes reading through them refocuses me when I feel I’m getting nowehere.

There is no time frame around when the things you have placed on your list manifest. Sometimes you may need to include them for month after month.  If you do your wish may need to be re-phrased (as I did with my car) or may not be right for you. Often when your intent is strong and you are focused you will find changes start to occur about two weeks later around the time of the next Full Moon.

I hope you decide to adopt this wonderful practice into your life. It literally only takes a few minutes and by regularly setting yourself this focus the benefits are huge.

Catherine Bullard trained as a Red tent Facilitator with Star Of Ishtar.

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Disclaimer
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Set Your New Year Resolutions For Success With A Releasing Ritual

As the year slides to its close the energies of the New Year may have already begun to affect you. You may already be formulating goals and plans that you would like to birth in the year ahead. New Year resolutions may already be forming. You may even be plotting pathways to achieve those goals. You may be one of the many who want to get a jump on the New Year, to enter the New Year already clear about how you’ll achieve your goals for 2015. One way to set the founadtion for success with your goals is with a simple New Year Release Ritual.

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For the last few weeks I keep being surprised as I hear myself talking about things that will happen for me in 2015, ideas and plans I hadn’t even noticed were forming in my brain or my heart. But apparently these ideas were solidly there just waiting for me to notice.

Many of us have already formed plans even if we’re not conscious of them yet and you may find you are doing the same. This year you’re being urged to get real about what you want for yourself, to set a considered plan of action, and to get to it now.

It is way too easy, especially in these fast-paced times to allow your life to slip past. Days flow into weeks, into months, years and suddenly a decade has passed you by. Trying to look back and see the detail of your life pathway becomes more and more difficult as time moves on if you have neglected to mark points along the way.

 

Markers for Your Life

In times past traditions and ceremonies provided marking points in people’s lives. They provided moments in people’s consciousness when they paused, finding time to take stock of themselves and their life.

We still hold on to some of these traditions – 18th or 21st birthdays, weddings, funerals – but many milestones are no longer honoured or even remembered. Many of those we do still hold no longer require us to examine and consider ourself and how our life to date has evolved.

We no longer have many occasions where we pause and examine our progress in life, acknowledging our achievements and successes, appreciating our blessings, recognizing our lessons, and planning changes.

 

Set Strong Foundations For Goal Success

Trying to establish goals and resolutions to guide you along the pathway to achieving your dreams without first pausing and taking time to appraise the road you have just traveled is like building your home over a sink-hole. Without solid footings the structure of your life will simply collapse.

A Release Ritual is your opportunity to establish a firm base on which to build your future. It doesn’t take long to do and provides you with deep insights and clarity to steer you to better results.

As the energies of 2014 begin to unravel set aside time to draw together the threads of the year that has just passed. Find the space for yourself to weave them into a strong support that can carry you into 2015. Take time to examine your experience, the rainbow of coloured threads of your life, both the weak strands and the strong, threads of extreme beauty, and threads of fragility. Once you have examined the weave of your last year the signs that point to the new directions you need to follow next become apparent.

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Old Year Releasing Ritual

Begin your reflection by settling down in a quiet corner with a pen, paper or a journal, and a relaxing herbal tea or coffee. Light a candle to signal the start of your ritual if this has meaning for you.

Life has a habit of drawing you back to the same old lessons, over and over, spiraling round, often revisiting them under another guise, until you reach awareness and understanding of that particular lesson for your life. Each time you revisit the lesson gets louder, as if the universe is shouting so you will hear.

turquoise starTo save yourself treading these same old well-worn paths yet again next year, begin your release of the old year by writing down the illuminating life lessons you learnt in 2014. What were those ‘Aha’ moments? What great insights occurred?

turquoise starNext add the dreams that came true for you. It’s easy to forget what the dreams you once held even were once they have actually happened, and just as easy to forget how dearly you held them, hoping they would eventuate. Remember to include the small dreams as well as the huge ones. The small dreams of life often grow into the big important ones.

turquoise starWhat did you achieve in 2014? Remember to include the small glories not just the major ones. What did you learn you could do that you didn’t realise before?

Now you are ready to consider how you have grown in the last 365 days.

turquoise starHow have you changed? What have you learnt about yourself? What changed you? What is it you now know about yourself that you didn’t know before? Write them all down.

turquoise starWhat did you discover you had outgrown? What no longer serves you? What, or who, did you release from your life?

turquoise starHow did you surprise yourself – what did you do that you didn’t know you capable of? What have you done that swells you with pride? Was there something you were able to do that you have never managed before? Were you called to step up, and you did?

turquoise starWhat was there in this last year that was a source of grating disharmony? What can’t you tolerate any longer? By now you know what it is you just have to change in your life. Write it down.

turquoise starIf there’s anything you need to get off your chest about this last year, do it now. Rant if you need to. If you feel the urge to cry honour it, it will bring release and relief.

turquoise starNow finally, write down what it is you are grateful for, the gifts you received from 2014. Include every little thing. As well as the big stuff in my life I include small joys in my gratitude lists like my morning cup of tea, or the slightly creepy but endearing smile my gorgeous dog beams at me whenever I arrive home.

Finished?

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Closing Ritual

And now dear friend, you are ready to release the Old Year. You are now ready to face the year ahead. You are ready to set your resolutions, to clarify your dreams and your goals, to decide what is achievable for you, and to stride forth with purpose into the New Year.

Take some time now to close down your releasing ritual.

Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, down into your abdomen. Hold briefly and then breathe out slowly through your mouth making a small sound as you do. As you breathe out give thanks for the past year, for all your experiences, your joys and pains, the lessons you have been given and the insights you have received.

Breathe in again, drawing in with your breath the green light of healing, deep into your abdomen. As you hold it briefly allow the green light to flow into every cell of your body until your whole body shines with its emerald green glow. Breathe out again, slowly. Sense any negativity you have been holding in the cells of your body, any disharmonies from your past year, flow from you with your breath. Feel your shoulders relax as the weight is taken off them. Feel your body sink into your chair.

Once more breathe in deep into your abdomen this time drawing in the golden light of possibility. Feel it flow freely through you bringing renewed energy to your body, clarity to your mind, and generosity and fulfillment to your heart.

As you slowly release your breath allow the energy of the past year to ride on it. Allow it to float away, knowing that you hold within you all the loving positive energy you have earned in the last twelve months. You will always have the knowledge and insights you have gained.

Take your time and when you feel ready open your eyes and welcome with joy the new energies of the coming year.

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10 Top Tips To Survive The Holiday Season and Start the New Year Powered-Up

December, the end of the year – a time of good will and the ‘Season of Stress’. At this time of the year we are all weighed down with stress – at work, at school, shopping for the Holidays, coping with crowds everywhere we go, financial worries. For almost everyone, everyday stress levels in their everyday life are ramped up right now.survive christmas

And then there are the parties! With so much going on it’s almost impossible to reach the New Year without crashing in a heap.

There is no point waiting until after the damage is done and the celebrations have finished to try to pick up the pieces. The key is to get on top of the extra stress right now.

Of course, that brings us right back to one of the big the stress triggers – you have no time right now to add anything extra into your busy life.

Fast Simple Strategies To Regain Calm Control

While the stress hormones, adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, were essential to life in the wild, our bodies have not caught up with our lifestyle. Too much of the hormones designed to save our life in cave-man days surging through our body can have dire consequences on our health now. The constant level of stress we live with keeps them permanently switched on, constantly increasing our stress.

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There are many quick and easy ways you can defuse stress in just two to five
minutes. It is simply a case of learning them and then remembering to use them.

Here are ten health hacks that take less than five minutes to get your stress levels down and have you on track to hit the New Year running. Try them all out or just one, but do yourself a favour this holiday season and practice a little self-care.

#1 Sweetly Scent-sual

Far more than just being pleasant aromas, the fragrance of flowers contains volatilelavender-76476_640 plant compounds that can reduce stress as powerfully as certain drugs. Keeping fresh flowers or a plant in your workspace will help, but to get a powerful effect opt for aromatherapy essential oils. Coming in little bottles they can be carried in your bag and quickly sniffed whenever you feel stress levels rising. Lavender is one of the best, and frankincense often the first choice to reduce stress. Rosemary is my favourite to increase clarity and focus, and peppermint is another good choice.

Simply take a long, deep breath from your bottle, or dab on your temples whenever you need it.

Or if you find your stress levels rising when you are out shopping duck into the closest florist and take some good deep calming breaths.

Flower Power can also be accessed through flower essences. These come in small bottles to carry with you, and you simply drop a few drops on your tongue whenever your stress, anxiety or worry levels start to rise.

While many find Bach Rescue Remedy helpful, The Australian Bush Flower combination essence ‘Calm & Clear’ is fantastic for helping you keep your cool. Buy it from you Natural Health practitioner or local health food shop.

#2 Tame Those Racing Thoughts

Sometimes when you are under stress and your mind is always busy, thoughts can go a bit wild, running round and round your head, building up your anxiety and increasing your stress.

When you find this happening simply begin to focus on an object – it can be any object, even just a pen, although I prefer something that is more engaging. You need to really focus on it, concentrate so other thoughts don’t creep in.

Once you are focused start to breathe deeply and slowly, right down deep into your abdomen. If you are not sure about doing this try it out a few times when you are calm to get the hang of the process which you can learn on Mastering The Breath Of Life.

Keep the breathing going for three minutes while you maintain your focus. This is an excellent way to calm your mind and relax you.

#3 Breathe…

image credit: Shawn Rossi
image credit: Shawn Rossi

You don’t necessarily need to focus and breathe when you feel stressed.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing alone soothes your nervous system and increases your alertness. Once you have mastered this technique it is easy to simply stop and do it. Even just breathing for two minutes can settle you down considerably.

Breathe down into your belly, through your nose, hold for a couple of seconds, then release slowly through your mouth.

#4 Tea Time

How often do you hear someone say in TV shows ‘let’s have a nice cuppa tea’ after some big drama is sorted? Full of antioxidants tea is the perfect way to calm down, especially if you stop rushing around and sit quietly to enjoy it.

Black, green and white tea, all have some calming effect. But if you want the big guns of relaxing teas you can’t go past some of the herbals.

Chamomile is the simplest and is readily available, even in most cafes, so is a good one to fall back on. It is far more effective when it’s brewed up with lavender though and works well in many blends.Tulsi Tea

Ashwaganda has been used in Ayervedic medicine for thousands of years to treat even severe stress. A great choice while you’re working as it calms your nervous system without sending you off to sleep. As a bonus it induces a sense of wellbeing and clears your mind.

Lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, valerian, lime blossom and oats are just some of the others that calm and relax.

There are so many herbs already combined into excellent relaxing blends now available that all you need to do is select the combination that you like the most. Try out a few different blends until you discover your favourite.

#5 Talk With A Friend

Whether you vent, speed-talk, shed a few tears, or simply sigh, talking to a good friend who is ready to just listen, can make a huge difference to your stress levels. Research has shown that as well as getting stuff off your chest talking to a friend actually reduces your stress hormones as well as your blood pressure.

#6 Smile

Frowning or grimacing, clenching your jaw, or wrinkling your forehead all suppress your immune system and trigger the release of more stress hormones.fruit smile free use

Simple smiling boosts your levels of the neurotransmittors serotonin from your thyroid and endorphins from your pituitary gland. These are the ones the one that produce good moods and make you happy. As smiling increases your endorphins it also lowers your levels of cortisol.

The more you stimulate your brain to release these mood boosters by just smiling the more relaxed you feel.

But here’s the amazing thing. You don’t have to feel happy. It’s the simple act of moving the muscles in your face that triggers the action. Putting on a happy face starts the process.

#7 Visualize – Let Out Your Imagination

Your mind is a powerful tool and the gateway to escaping your stress. Remember how good you feel when you are think of your favourite holiday spot? Or perhaps recalling time spent with close family or friends?

Closing your eyes and taking your thoughts inside your minds-eye to your favourite perfect, beautiful scene or happy experience allows you to return to those times when you felt secure, happy and relaxed.

Simply closing your eyes gives you the space to spend a few moments to ground and reduce the stress hormones surging through your body.

#8 Yuuummm…

Now here’s one many of you will love. Small amounts of dark chocolate really do make you feel better and reduce your stress. Eating dark chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels in your brain – the mood enhancers. Plus it lowers your levels of that difficult stress hormone, cortisol.

Just 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for a couple of weeks does the job. And the darker the chocolate, the better. It must be at least 70% cocoa. Sweet, milk chocolate varieties don’t offer the benefits, and don’t even consider white chocolate. But be sure to practice moderation, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

#9 Meditate

Not only does meditating calm you in the moment, establishing regular meditation practice changes the way your brain responds to stress.

The image many have of meditation practice is of sitting still for hours with a completely empty mind. But there are many forms of meditation, some still – some active, and some taking just a few minutes.

Have you ever found yourself gazing at something, perhaps a magnificent scene, completely caught up in what you are looking at, your mind a blank? You are in a state of meditation. Anything that totally pulls your focus and allows you to switch off distractions is a meditation.

Sometimes it can happen simply by watching something absorbing, at other times it helps to repeat a simple word or phrase in time with your breath. Words such as relax, I am calm, peace or serenity are all suitable choices. Find one that has the most meaning for you.

Concentrating on your breath is one way to focus and meditate. Zen masters may do this for hours on end but even doing it for just a few minutes has a powerful effect on your whole body – your brain, your nervous system, your emotions, your muscles.
You can even meditate by concentrating on your breathing as you take slow measured steps in time with each breath. LINK??

#10 Meridian Magic

This is a different take on how to relax and calm yourself.

This twenty second exercise is an ancient healing practice that rebalances the energy pathway in the body that affects stress. Realigning this meridian supports your immune system and improves your ability to manage stress and release tension, anxiety and fear.

So simple, quick and effective, you can do it anywhere, and it only takes seconds.
This year, set yourself up to hit the New Year running.

We can’t totally eliminate stress from our life in these times, it surrounds us day and night. But taking simple steps to prevent the effects of that stress building and building in your body until it reaches a level where you crash, just makes plain good sense.

Perhaps even more importantly it gives you back control of your life.

SURVIVE CHRISTMAS 2

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
Source articles
http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1457988
http://livingbodywellness.com/de-stress-5-minutes-less/
http://www.annehartley.com.au

14 Awesome Books That Will Change Your Life

Christmas and the summer holidays are the perfect time to dive into some great reads. And as most of us want the New Year to be a fresh start with new plans and goals, it makes sense to read at least one life-affirming, soul-sustaining book to support you on your life journey and life purpose.

awesomw books 4

This post marks a major milestone. As I hesitantly wrote my first article in July 2012 I never dreamed I would reach 100 posts. To honour this 100 post milestone I have collected a few of the books that offered me inspiration and guidance, and influenced my journey along the pathway to health, happiness and a fulfilled life.

I am a total book addict. Curled up with a book, reading in my bedroom, is my go-to-happy-place. These are not my favourite books although some are certainly ones I do love. These are books with a purpose.

Because I always want to know the answer ‘right now’ these are books that present a poal or a purpose and then tell me how to get there. Most importantly, they all definitely played an important part in signposting the pathway for me.

This selection can give you the tools to make enormous life changes for yourself too. Take a look, and maybe find an inspiring book to add to your summer reading list, one that will open the doorway to allow big changes into your life in 2015.

WARNING: Long but awesome post ahead! Feel free to skim

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LIFE CHANGING SUMMER READS

In no particular order (apart from which one I pulled off the bookshelf first)

 

#1. Love The Life You Live: Ten Steps For Happier Living by Anne Hartley

This book guided me to the Life Coaching course I chose. I‘d wanted to do it for over two years before I found a course that really resonated. During that time I stumbled across this book in which Hartley outlines her “Heart Process”, the essence of the Hartlife Coaching Course I studied.
The Heart Process is basically a guideline to reclaiming your “happy.” Starting with her own story Anne takes you through a series of heart-based steps to find your joy in life again. This is solid stuff that has been around for generations, but it is presented in such a way that you don’t just get excited about the message you are also guided as to how to achieve it in your own life. The book is packed full of helpful hacks for mastering each of the ten steps.
Anne has been a Life Coach for over twenty years during which time she has refined everything she has used in her work, and here you have her most successful techniques.

 

#2. Walking Meditation by Nguyen Anh Huong & Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of mindfulness has recently taken the world by storm, but my introduction came a while ago from the Master of Mindfulness himself through this book. This is more a kit than a book and is a wonderful tool if you want to introduce mindfulness into your life. It contains an instructional DVD, a CD of 5 guided meditations to get you started, and a small book to guide you through so you get the most out of your practice.
Someone once said to me that women gained most from active meditation and men gained the most from still meditation. I don’t know if it’s true or not but the concept of women engaging in the active, masculine Yang, and men in the passive, feminine Yin has a beautiful poetic balance to it.
An excellent and simple meditation for all women (and men) to master.

 

#3. Goddesses In Everywoman – Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives by Jean Shinoda Bolen

This is the book that launched me into the healing work I do with women today. Exploring the goddesses from ancient Greek mythology Bolen opens up our understanding of the age-old psychological patterns that modern women still follow. This is one of those books that bring incredible ‘aha’ moments as you suddenly recognize yourself in one or another goddess. It places the patterns, whether actual or potential, that you fall into in your life right there in front of you, where you can’t help but see them for what they are.
I love this book – it was such a solid foundation to understanding women’s archetypes and led to my ability to hold space for women’s healing groups, as well as to presenting their life patterns in a far more easily understood way to my Coaching clients. It’s easy to read, easy to understand and very insightful.

 

#4. The Inner Goddess Makeover: A Step-By-Step Makeover by Tanishka

This is the book that inspired me to go train as a Red Tent Facilitator and then later, a Women’s Rites Of Passage Facilitator. I came across “The Inner Goddess Makeover” after I read about women’s archetypes in ‘Goddesses In Everywoman’ and was left hungry to discover more about the feminine archetypes we all embody.
Tanishka uses each of seven goddess archetypes to embody seven universal psychological feminine aspects. Each one also governs a chakra. As you work through the exercises for each, consciously exploring the issues raised, you experience energy shifts and clear old blocks that were limiting you and stopping you from experiencing your personal empowerment and potential.Copy of waterhouse_the_crystal_ball_skull
I worked through this awesome and exciting journey, one chakra/goddess per month. Some of the goddesses were easy but with others I was really challenged. It was so empowering that after I finished I contacted Tanishka and went and trained with her.
This book is challenging but F.U.N. Even more fun when you set up your own goddess circle to work through it with the support of your Besties. Tanishka pulls no punches! Totally down to earth, her vibrant personality shines through, and she speaks to the reader as if you were both hanging out and chatting over a coffee.

 

#5. The Botany Of Desire by Michael Pollan

This is an odd book to have here but it is the book that galvanized me into opting for organic produce whenever I could, especially potatoes, changing my eating habits forever. It is about the reciprocal relationship between people and four domesticated crops. Pollan links four desires – sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control – with four plants that we use to satisfy them. He uses the story of the potato to illustrate control.
In his examination of how potato growing has evolved he visits commercial potato farms, an organic farm and Monsanto, the developers of genetically modified potatoes. Reading about the intense chemical spraying program and the permanent toxic state of the commercial farms was more than enough to turn me away from commercially grown potatoes forever. It also set me to investigate which other commercially farmed crops are highly toxic and which are relatively safe.
My very first post on this blog, Telling Tales on ‘Taters’ was inspired by this book and is about organic vs commercially grown potatoes.
The other stories about the apple, tulip and hemp are also fascinating.

 

#6. Healthy Home, Healthy Family by Nicole Bijilsma

Nicole is a Building Biologist and Sick Building Syndrome expert who is passionate about environmental medicine. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR), allergens, drinking water, and toxic chemicals pervade our living and working spaces and here Nicole shows you how to reverse their damage on your body, your mind, your emotions and your health.house-insurance-419058_640
An accomplished Naturopath and Acupuncturist with a young family of her own, she has produced a book full of practical ways to determine and remedy the levels of toxins you are being exposed to everyday.
This book contains lots of questionnaires and checklists to assess your own home. There is also advice on selecting cleaning products, air cleaners, plastics, and more. It even includes a guide for anyone about to buy, rent or build a house, with what you need to investigate or ask before you start.
With resource lists, useful websites plus so much more this is a great book to have on hand.

 

#7. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda Castro

I was a Mum who used homeopathy for my family long before I was a professional Homeopath. Back then I needed a book that was comprehensive enough for me to find the correct remedy for the symptoms that presented, but not too complicated for my purely amateur ability.
Miranda Castro has written a book that nails it. It includes the homeopathic history, principles, myths, how to actually take a Homeopathic case and work out a remedy, then a comprehensive Materia Medica and Repertory to guide your remedy choice.
This book has it all for the ‘Home Homeopath’ and clearly and simply presents everyday homeopathic prescribing as the individualized effective treatment system it can be, when it is done correctly and well.

 

#8. Eating For The Seasons by Janella Purcell

I rarely recommend diet or cookbooks. But this is so much more than just a set of recipes. This book is all about eating in tune with the seasons and the rhythms of nature. By so doing your body gets just what it needs for the time of year.
This means more than simply eating light, raw food in summer and heavier, warming food during winter. Purcell’s eating recommendations are based on the principles of Traditional Asian Medicine.
Recipes (with alternative suggestions) are grouped by season. Each section also contains advice about health objectives of the season, preferred seasonal cooking methods, what to avoid, and which body organs need support.
A great book to remind you of seasonal eating patterns, even if you don’t use any of the recipes, it helps to keep you connected, by tuning in and aligning yourself with the rhythms of the Earth and life itself.

 

#9. The Life You Were Born To Live by Dan Millman

I love numerology and once studied it avidly, but it was so complicated. Not any more! Dan Millman changed all that. He has devised the “Life-Purpose System” from the ancient wisdom of Numbers, and it’s amazing, clear, and easy to follow. As Millman says “ the drive to understand our life purpose is as important to our psychological growth as eating is to our biological survival.” And he sets out all the information you need to help you in your quest.numbers pay-530339_640
It’s a big book but you only need to read the sections that apply directly to you and can ignore the rest. Millman shows you the simple way to calculate what is relevant to you. As you work through your picture he breaks it down into detail that applies to you, along with specific issues in your life and guidelines for action.
Millman’s book can help you sort out conflicts in your life and help you find your life purpose.

 

#10. Excuses Be Gone by Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer has been turning out awesome books for decades. But I love this one. After doing lots of work learning to recognise my inner critical judge, this book taught me about changing the lifelong self-defeating habitual thinking that the inner critic thrives on.
It teaches about stepping up and recognizing that although we can’t control everything that happens around us, what we make of our situation, and how we deal with it, is completely up to us and the way we choose to think. Powerful stuff!
It is easy to recognize the excuses we habitually use that Dyer places before us here. He takes us through the Seven Principles of Excuses Begone, with exercises at the end of each principle to help cement them in place. He then looks at seven questions surrounding the paradigm shift such as “What would my life look like if I couldn’t use these excuses?” and “What’s the payoff?”
But what I really love and often go back to just to remind myself, are the Four Cardinal Virtues and how they manifest – reverence for all life, natural sincerity, gentleness and supportiveness.

 

#11. 29 Gifts: How a Month Of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

There are so many “Challenges” around now – 5 day, 7 day, 30 day. But this 29 day story of the role that gift giving and the practice of generosity and gratitude played in Walker’s battle with Multiple Schlerosis is heart-warming and life-affirming.
She shows that by placing our focus outside ourself and the problems of our own life we move the energy of our life away from our problems and illnesses and give ourslf the room to heal. gratitude Julie Jordan scott
As she embraced the practice of Gratitude and Gift-giving on her month long journey Cami’s health and happiness turned around. Initially filled with thoughts of ending up in a wheelchair and in extreme pain her experience was transformative.
From her own experience Cami began a movement that has spread across the globe – millions of people on a 29 Day Gifting Challenge.
This is beautiful story of her journey that you can take on and apply to your life.

 

#12. The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

We all talk about living in the moment, but not that many of us actually manage it. This is the basic message that we hear so often is the essence of Tolle’s book. But what makes it different is how he explains so clearly how our thoughts and emotions get in the way of achieving this, so we actually understand what is going on.
Tolle likens the mind to a destructive disease, and as long as you allow your mind to stay bonded to the inherited collective mind-patterns it will continue in its diseased state and you will continue to suffer.
He leads us to an understanding that enlightenment is found through consciousness, that through surrender we can find happiness and ultimately peace.
It is resented as a dialogue with many questions you would ask yourself.
This book really helped me get through some tough times in my life.

 

#13. The Chemical Maze by Bill Statham

This tiny little book revolutionized my shopping. It lists by their number all the additives found in foods, personal care and cosmetics. Beside each it grades the danger the additive poses for you, what the adverse effects are (such as asthma, dermatitis, cancer), why it is added, along with the types of products it is used in.
Luckily for you it is now available as an app for iPhone or Android.

 

#14. Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain

One of the first books I read that turned me onto the path of creating the life I really want, this book was written over 35 years ago and still holds today. An anniversary edition has just been released and is a great book to start with if you are just beginning your manifestation pathway.

 

So this is just a starter. It doesn’t include the writings of so many brilliant teachers. I hope you are drawn to one of the books on this list. Happy reading!

Please add the name of any book that has guided you to make huge change in your life in the comments section under “LEAVE A REPLY” below. I’d love to know, and am always ready to open the cover of a new book and discover another new life lesson.

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Food Intolerance – The Lowdown. Are Food Intolerances Leaving You Washed-Up?

The number of people recognizing they have one or more food intolerances have been rising dramatically over the last decade, with more and more people becoming aware that they have problems with certain foods. Many more are not willing to even entertain the possibility that food intolerance may be causing their symptoms.

Food Intolerance
The reality is that as the body demonstrates an adverse response after they eat particular foods more and more people are becoming aware that they have problems with certain foods.

Many people live with the debilitating symptoms of food intolerance for years without anyone being able to diagnose their problems. In spite of extensive testing nobody seems able to help them. Often it is only after eliminating a particular food from their diet that they discover where their problems come from, and the extent of damage that food is causing to their body.

 

FOOD INTOLERANCE OR FOOD ALLERGY

For many the distinction between allergy, intolerance and sensitivity is not clear, but they are actually very different.

Food intolerances involve a completely different response by the body to food allergies. In food allergy the immune system identifies an ingredient as harmful and reacts by creating antibodies. Read more about allergies here.

Food intolerance is limited to the digestive system and occurs when food is not properly digested and ferments inside the gut. Where this gets confusing is that digestive dysfunction often causes dysfunction in other parts of the body and so symptoms from intolerance can appear throughout the body even though they arise from the gut. They can be quite diverse ranging from depression to weight gain, chronic fatigue, eczema, thrush and many more.

Food sensitivity is a delayed food allergy and can be particularly difficult to recognize. These are the least predictable reactions because you may be able to eat a food sometimes with no consequences but at other times develop symptoms like nausea, cramps or reflux. Fructose malabsorption is an example of a sensitivity.

While food allergies are more common amongst children, food intolerances are more prevalent in adults, partly due to stress, alcohol, the use of various medications which all compromise the digestive system, as well as to the decrease in digestive enzyme production as you age.

The onset of problems caused by food intolerance and sensitivity is generally not as rapid as that of allergy. Reaction can occur from about thirty minutes to even a few days after the food was eaten.

Where food allergies can produce fatal anaphylactic responses, food intolerances are not life-threatening, but they can lead to many chronic diseases such as thyroid disease, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

Many of those with food intolerance are actually able to eat small amounts of an offending food without too much problem. Dairy foods are a good example of this. According to the Food Intolerance Institute of Australia, in December 2013 75% of the population were intolerant to dairy foods like milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream, and most of these people were completely unaware of it.

Often it is the very foods that are not tolerated well by the body that are the foods that you crave the most. Nobody really knows why we crave foods we do not tolerate although there are a number of theories. As a good rule of thumb any food that is regularly craved should be treated as suspicious.

It can take some time before a person is willing to accept that they may have food intolerance. For many it is not until their symptoms become unbearable that they will even consider the possibility. This may be more so if the food is also one they crave.

 

INTOLERANCES CAN SUDDENLY APPEAR AS AN ADULT

It is not uncommon for there to be no apparent problem with foods during childhood and for symptoms to appear as an adult. Typically, but not always, lactose intolerance symptoms appear in adulthood.

The most common food intolerances are dairy, gluten, wheat, additives, fructose, yeast, although many other foods including alcohol can be the culprit. Sometimes it will be a whole food group that is the problem, such as the dairy group or nightshade foods (potato, tomato, capsicum, eggplant, chilli), or just single foods from different food groups.

Generally avoiding a food that is not tolerated allows the digestive system a chance to heal from constant irritation and the person quickly recovers, feeling happier, more energetic and able to live their life fully.

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SOME CAUSES OF FOOD INTOLERANCE

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This is a chicken and egg situation…does the IBS cause food intolerance or does constant irritation and inflammation of the gut from food intolerance cause IBS? The symptoms are constipation, urgent diarhoea, and cramping.

Food Additives

Many additives including sulfites found in dried fruits, wines and the salads from salad bars, cause asthmatic reactions in many people. Additives are often a big contributor to ADHD and result in a wide range of symptoms including migraines.

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is interesting as it is actually a gluten intolerance which resembles an allergy, because the immune system is involved as well as the gut. The symptoms are mostly digestive but can lead to many other symptoms through the body.

Specific Foods Or Food Groups

Certain foods, particularly dairy foods (milk, cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, cream) and grains containing gluten (wheat, spelt, barley, rye and oats) are often the most poorly tolerated. There are many other foods over a wide range of food groups that also cause symptoms of intolerance.

Enzyme Deficiency

Different enzymes are needed to digest particular foods. If production of any one enzyme is deficient, then the food it breaks down is not tolerated.

Processed Food

The processing of foods particularly grains, milk and soy products seems to play a part in food intolerance as the process makes the foods difficult to digest, leading to irritation of the digestive tract and a whole range of symptoms.

 

IDENTIFYING FOOD INTOLERANCE CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT

Often the symptoms of intolerance are very mild and so go unnoticed. Or, because of the time delay between when the food is eaten and when the symptoms occur, they are not connected with any particular food, or are attributed to a completely different cause.

When the problem is with a food that you eat every day, or even many times a day, it becomes virtually impossible to make the connection between the health problem and the food, unless the food is totally removed from the diet for a period of time, whereupon the symptoms improve or disappear.

If you have intolerance to more than one food it makes it extremely difficult to isolate all the foods or food groups that may be responsible for their unpleasant symptoms. Removing just one food only gives partial improvement at best.

Frequently it can take some time, even days, for the negative response to become evident. Given that you will have eaten a number of different foods in the intervening time it becomes virtually impossible to isolate the culprit.

 

SYMPTOMS OF FOOD INTOLERANCE

Symptoms caused by food intolerance can be mild or severe, specific or vague. If you suffer from persistent symptoms, or ones that recur more than twice a week, and they are not caused by another condition, you could suspect you are not tolerating one or more foods.

  • Bloating after meals or in the evening
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Eczema, skin problems
  • Asthma or cough
  • Nasal congestion, sinus pain, nasal discharge
  • Chronic diarrhea, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation
  • Belching after meals, indigestion, abdominal pain
  • Muscular pain or weakness, generalized aching, back pain
  • Stiff, swollen or painful joints
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Poor concentration, memory loss
  • Depression
  • Repeated Urinary Tract Infections
  • Candida or thrush, vaginal irritations
  • ADHD
  • Food cravings
  • Low or no energy, tiredness and drowsiness
  • Poor balance, dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Autoimmune disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Psoriasis

Bloated green man

 

GETTING ANSWERS

Keeping a food diary can help you identify problem foods. Over the course of two to three weeks record every single food or drink you eat as well as any symptom that occurs. By looking at the list of food intolerance symptoms it is obvious that it is very easy to miss symptoms, as well as difficult to make the link with the offending food.

If a certain symptom always occurs after eating a particular food you can recognize which food seems to be the culprit. Then it is necessary to totally avoid that food for about ten days and to see how you feel. If that food is a basic like gluten, wheat or dairy it is essential to read every label, as these foods all occur in many processed foods and are not always obvious because they may be listed under many different names.

It can be quite difficult to conduct an elimination diet on your own and is much easier under the care of a Natural Health Practitioner.

TESTING FOR FOOD INTOLERANCE

Testing, such as the Scratch Test, is normally conducted to detect allergies and it measures the response of IgE anti-bodies, that is, the response of the immune system. It detects a true immediate allergy.

Because food intolerance involves a different and delayed response a Scratch Test will not pick this up. Many people are left confused after a Scratch Test when they get negative results for foods they felt sure were problematic. Often they have an intolerance rather than an allergy.

While blood spot tests used to test for food intolerance check for specific anti-bodies to specific foods, they are not always definitive, as many people react with foods in which the antibodies do not show up on the test. When this occurs eliminating the suspected food and noting the response, can be a way to identify whether the food is a problem or not.

I conduct testing in my work (no, not a Vega machine) which indicates whether your various body systems respond negatively to a food. While it does not distinguish between allergy and intolerance it does identify problem foods. Usually the person is sensitive to a number of foods, not just a single food. I find that if the foods indicated as being a bigger problem are totally removed, the other foods are usually better tolerated, as long as you do not overindulge.

BEWARE HIDDEN DANGERS!

Wheat, soy, corn and dairy, are foods frequently found to cause reactions and are ones that are commonly added to many other products. In processed foods they are often not simply called milk or wheat, but go by a vast array of pseudonyms. Go Dairy Free provides a list of other names for milk proteins. Wheat-Free.org lists alternative names for wheat in foods. To actually stop eating the offending food, at least for long enough to allow your digestive system to repair, you need to be quite vigilant about avoiding it in ALL foods, including where it may be hidden.

The length of time you need to avoid the food depends on how bad your reaction was. It may take six months of total avoidance and then only very occasional exposure to keep you healthy.

But, most people don’t miss the problem food after it has been removed for about a month as they feel so much better, and as the chemical process that sets up cravings for problem foods is broken they no longer even want to eat the food.

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only. They are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Source Articles
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/faq-20058538
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/weight+loss/diets/do+i+have+a+food+intolerancer,18769
http://nourishholisticnutrition.com/could-hidden-food-intolerances-be-sabotaging-your-health/

Hidden Dairy: Foods, Medication, and Beyond

http://www.customfitnutrition.net/allergy.html
http://www.ift.org/knowledge-center/learn-about-food-science/food-facts/food-allergens.aspx

Reduce Exam Stress To Stay Sane

reduce exam stress with natural remedies

With the run up to, and on through, the end-of-year exams it’s a very stressful time for VCE and Uni students and their families. For many students it’s the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced and many succumb to exam stress. But natural medicine offers much help to overcome study and exam stress and give you the edge in exam performance.

Everyone reacts differently to challenges. While it’s normal to feel stressed at this time, for many the effects can spiral out of control. Read on for advice for managing study stress the easy way with the help of alternative medicine.

With so many high expectations, and so much riding on results it’s quite normal for students under pressure to suffer for many months causing a stress response in their body. The hormones released as a result of being under stress have far-reaching effects on every system in your body both at the time and later on down the track.

While some stress can aid performance, if stress continues over weeks and months it can take over and have detrimental effects. The immediate effects are often evident at the time but the long-term effects can continue after the exams are long over.

In addition, anxious and grumpy students have a big impact on anyone around them particularly on their family. Homes become a bed of tension, concern and even reach friction and confrontation if stress spins out of control.

 

EFFECTS OF STRESS

During worrying times the stress hormones produced effect the neural connections of the prefrontal cortex. This is where your working memory is located, as well as functions vital for reasoning, planning and problem solving, and for regulating attention and emotions all essential for academic success.

A sudent under great stress is therefore unable to function at their best in exams, no matter how much they study.

In addition stormy emotions weaken the prefrontal cortex and this hampers thinking and learning ability.

Students suffering study stress don’t learn effectively or remember well what they’ve learnt.

In order to perform to their best and to present their ability and knowledge well in their exams, it’s essential for students NOT to be in a state of stress. By actively reducing stress you increase learning capacity, memory, reasoning powers, and academic performance. By reducing stress you’ll feel calm, clear-headed, motivated and in control.

By stepping in early to reduce the effects of stress you support your health and it lays the groundwork for better performance. Reducing your stress can also reduce the tension in the home to restore peace.

 

REDUCE EXAM STRESS

While there are a number of exercises and lifestyle practices you can do to reduce stress the greatest impact is gained from using alternative medicine. Of these I see the best and fastest results with homeopathic medicines and flower and herb essences.

 

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HOMEOPATHY

Homeopathic treatment offers great benefit for all the problems associated with study and exam stress.

Remedies that individually selected to each persons needs for anxiety, difficulty focusing or remembering what was learned, problems sleeping, fear of failing, trouble settling down to study, irritability, feeling like giving up, even mixing up information or getting it backwards.

When the remedies are prescribed according to Homeopathic principles they are very fast acting and effective.

There are some great Homeopathic remedies to calm exam nerves and reduce the anticipatory anxiety and shakiness students experience before the actual exam.

Here are a few of my suggestions:
Gelsemium is a great remedy to take for performance anxiety. It’s perfect before an exam where there is a shaky or jittery feeling and a frequent need to use the bathroom.

Lycopodium is an excellent remedy during study break for someone who worries about being evaluated, who feels they know nothing and will look stupid in front of everyone, but who, once they get started performs wonderfully.

Nux Vomica is useful for an irritable person using too much coffee and other stimulants in an effort to push on through.

There are many other remedies for all those other consequences of study pressure and stress including:

  • feeling overwhelmed and out of control
  • self-criticism and negative thinking
  • irrational beliefs such as “nobody will respect me if I don’t score above 95”
  • feelings of catastrophe like “I’ll fail whatever so what’s the point”
  • inability to relax into sleep or waking up through the night and worrying
  • holding all the emotions inside until they explode
  • feelings of isolation and losing touch with friends
  • crankiness and irritability
  • problems getting motivated

Speaking to a professional Homeopath can clarify all the issues you are facing. They will put together remedies individually suited to YOUR needs.

 

FLOWER ESSENCES

Flower essences are easy to take – just a few drops on the tongue a few times a day. A few drops can even be added to a water bottle to carry around with you to sip in the moment they are needed the most.

Bach Rescue Remedy is a tried and true treatment for anxiety.

I find the Australian Bushflower EssenceCalm & Clear’ excellent for building and sustaining a state of calm in anyone, including students.

Australian Bush Flower Essence Cognis‘ is great for the student who can’t settle down and focus on their study. It balances daydreaming, confusion and a sense of overwhelm and gives clarity and focus to help with the assimilation of ideas. This is a great treatment for the next few weeks when you are trying to consolidate your study.

Individual flower essences are also great for study – Bach’s Clematis helps focus, Gentian for self-belief, Larch for confidence and White Chestnut for clarity.

I like to use and prescribe Herbal Essences as they can be combined in a mixture that specifically addresses the way each person individually experiences exam stress. This means it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment but one that’s tailored to each person. Herbal essences are great as they combine the thousand year old knowledge of the healing power of herbs with the positive effects on the mind and emotions of flower essences

ESSENTIAL OILS

There are a number of studies that show burning essential oils can induce brain power. All the oils can be used in an oil burner but will be more beneficial in a diffuser which disperses the droplets as water vapour. Here are a few to try.

    • Basil is one of the best for clarity and encourages concentration. Mix it with rosemary to stimulate memory recall.
    • Peppermint stimulates the brain and promotes clear thinking.

Lavender is soothing and relaxing and is useful if stress prevents sleep.

 

FOODS

While foods alone won’t turn your exam stress around (unless you’re bingeing) they do play an integral part in how you cope with exam stress.

It’s essential to eliminate all those that hold you back such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, simple carbohydrates, junk foods and nicotine. But it’s just as important to add those that boost brain power to enhance your study and performance. Right now is when you need lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meats and complex carbs.

  • Omega-3 enhances learning ability and boosts memory power. Itss found in many foods as well as fish oil or krill supplements, or sea buckthorn if you’re vegetarian. Some good sources are oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Avocadoes increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Chocolate increases endorphin production to improve focus and concentration, and dark chocolate helps cognitive skills by boosting blood supply to the brain. But don’t overdo the chocolate and opt for dark chocolate over the sweet, milky varieties for a much greater impact.
  • Nuts and seeds help memory and cognitive skills and are easy to munch while you study

 

SUPPLEMEMTS

Taking a multivitamin can help keep up vitamin levels reduced by stress. Vitamin B and magnesium are both depleted during stressful times. Take B vitamins in a complex rather than as single vitamins as they work synergistically.

 

RELAX

Deep breathing is a wonderful way to calm and relax your emotions very quickly in times of extreme stress. Focusing on the breath helps to exclude outside thoughts and stop panic before it escalates. For the correct technique click here. 

Yoga is an excellent way to achieve relaxation quickly, and is perfect to introduce into your study routine. Alternatives are qi gong, tai chi or walking.

While it’s important to take time to relax, to take breaks, to eat well and get plenty of sleep, all the time allocated to study revision is no use at all if you’re not clear-headed, can’t retain the crucial information or are so strung-out you can’t even settle down to study. This is where alternative medicine steps in.

 

Here are a few things to take away with you.

  • Worrying about the study workload or exam outcome only increases stress hormones like cortisol, which impairs your concentration and ability to learn.
  • Food can be your friend. Reduce caffeine, sugar, junk foods and alcohol. Add foods that support study.
  • Steer clear of performance enhancers like Ritalin.
  • Don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you haven’t got everything exactly right.
  • Take time off as studying 24/7 doesn’t work. Exercise is a great way to get back focus.

And crucially, now you know how, use Natural Medicine to gain the edge in your exam preparation and performance.

 

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
Source articles

http://www.evokelearning.ca/the-impact-of-stress-on-academic-success/
http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/homework-and-study/homework-tips/managing-exam-stress

The Impact of Stress

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6 Natural Remedies For Depression

natural remedies for depression

Along with the outpouring of sorrow that occurred this week with the news of the death of Robin Williams there has also been much discussion about depression – the nature of the illness, reminders to offer our support to those suffering with it, of ways to deal with it.

Clinical depression is a serious illness that needs treatment from a professional western or alternative health practitioner. However many of the symptoms of mild depression can be helped significantly by a variety of natural treatments that you can do for yourself or which a Natural Health practitioner can take you through.

There are many symptoms associated with mild or subthreshold depression including ongoing fatigue, poor sleep, appetite irregularities such as lack of appetite or comfort eating, a lack of interest in relationships events or celebrations, low self-esteem, anxiety, an inability to find motivation, or a feeling of being cut-off from life.

 

1. MINDSET

There have been studies done that confirm that a persons perception of life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While depression is not all in the mind your frame of mind is really important for recovery. I am not suggesting you can just ‘snap out of it’. But, while acknowledging that there is something wrong, losing the depression label is a first stepto recovery.

When you buy into defining yourself with a label placed on you by someone else, whether it is a doctor, family or a friend, you relinquish your personal power and undermine your ability to get well. If you allow your thoughts to focus on the label, you accept for yourself the role of someone who is mentally unwell. It may seem simplistic but changing your mindset and making the decision to overcome your illness is the first step that allows you to move forward.

One way to do this is to carefully examine how you are affected by the people you mix with. Tuning into how you feel after spending time with a particular person allows you to sort out any that may be contributing to your low feelings. If you regularly feel disheartened after time spent with anyone it is better for your frame of mind and wellbeing to minimize time with that person.

What your feelings tell you about your relationships with others can come as a real surprise. But acting in congruence with your feelings can turn around your mindset, lift your mood and support you in getting well.

It is also worth asking yourself if your low feelings are linked to your life. Are you expected to sell out your integrity in your work? Are there problems in a relationship that you may need to end? Do you have creative outlets? Feel spiritually disconnected? Is your body restricting you?

Being honest with yourself may help you find the source of your depression. Sometimes having a counselor, psychologist or life coach to help you work through these and define a pathway to change makes things easier to achieve.

 

Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses

 

 2. HOMEOPATHY

Many natural therapies have a good record with alleviating the symptoms of depression. Acupuncture, herbal therapy and EFT are just a few.

Homeopathy also offers many options for depression. The Homeopathic remedy used depends on the particular symptoms you experience, as everyone’s experience of depression varies slightly, in both the expression and the emotions and thoughts and experiences behind it.

Homeopathy taken in accordance with homeopathic prescribing principles is particularly good at changing your mindset. It allows you to lift your head out of the depressive thoughts and start to move forward.

There are many Homeopathic remedies for depression. One of the first to consider for depression with obvious anxiety is Arsenicum album. These people are often quite particular about describing every little detail of their symptoms. They are often very worried that an illness has been missed and have often undertaken lots of investigative tests.

Another commonly used remedy, Ignatia, is a good remedy when depression follows bereavement or shock. These people are very emotional with lots of sudden mood swings and sudden tears or they may frequently sigh deeply. They don’t want sympathy and often take well meant help as criticism.

A person needing Natrum muriaticum responds differently to grief as does one needing Ignatia. This person builds a barrier and won’t release any emotion through crying. They hate sympathy from others although they are empathetic themselves and will readily care for others. They can be very sensitive and easily move into a lower mood from stimuli such as music.

As you can see Homeopathic prescribing is quite particular and individually selected. Two people may react to a similar experience in very different ways and so require very different remedies. There is also the potential to make symptoms worse if the wrong remedy or potency of remedy is taken. Consulting a Homeopath who can match the correct remedy to your particular symptoms can result in significant improvement.

 

3. FOOD

Food most definitely affects our mood. What we eat and when we eat can have a huge effect. Staying away from caffeine, sugar, fatty foods and alcohol is a great place to begin as these foods actually make depression worse. Don’t keep them in your pantry and you will be less tempted by them. You will feel a lot better if you simply don’t eat them.

Replacing the poor junk foods with nutritious foods moves you towards recovery faster. The top foods to fight depression are:

  • Omega-3 is often lacking in depressed people so eating oily fish and other foods high in omega-3 can make a significant difference. One study showed taking just 1 gm of fish oil a day made a 50% difference in symptoms of depression. Take between 1-3 gm a day. Other omega-3 rich foods include walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
  • Brown rice is rich in B vitamins as well as trace minerals. Brown rice is great for reducing mood swings due to sugar-highs and lows. Don’t use ‘quick-cook’ varieties as they don’t have the same benefits.
  • Leafy greens are a great source of folic acid, one of the B vitamins helpful for symptoms of depression, as well as magnesium.
  • Bananas are high in tryptophan which is used in the body to make serotonin, the happy hormone. Other foods to enhance serotonin are healthy fats like coconut oil, protein rich foods especially free range turkey and wild caught fish high in omega-3.
  • Don’t skip meals and help keep your blood sugars stable.

depression2

4. SUPPLEMENTS

  • Many people actually suffer from a disorder known as Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) which is the result of insufficient exposure to sunlight and as a result, they have low Vitamin D levels. This disorder becomes worse as winter progresses and can persist through Spring until levels of Vitamin D build up in their body again. Taking Vitamin D as a supplement through the winter months can dramatically help SAD sufferers. Consult an Alternative Health Practitioner who will work out how much Vitamin D you actually need, it varies from one person to the next.
  • The B Vitamins are linked to a whole range of emotional disorders and if your levels are low taking a supplement can be a great way to keep your spirits up. Take 50 mg of a Vitamin B complex each day rather than individual B Vitamins as each one works better when the others are all present.
  • Magnesium deficiency can be another factor behind depression and mood disorders and there are many who have a deficiency of this crucial mineral.
  • SAMe can be very effective for treating depression. Take 200 gm on an empty stomach.
  • The herb St John’s Wort has long been used for depression. Check with your doctor before using as it can interfere with some pharmaceuticals. Don’t take this if you are taking anti-depressants

 

5. LIFESTYLE

Getting enough exercise is essential to beat depression, no matter how little you feel like it. Pushing yourself to get out for a walk will help improve your spirits. Even exercising along with a DVD in your living room is good.

The effect of meditation on depression has been well-documented and it is known to greatly improve the symptoms. There are many different ways to meditate from simple breathing techniques LINK that you can do in just a few minutes, through guided visualizations, walking meditations, mindfulness LINK and binaural beats. It is all a matter of working out which is the right one for you.

 

6. HORMONES

It may be there is a physical cause for your depression. If your hormones are out of balance your mood will be hugely affected. Finding out your levels of thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones are wrong can offer some clues. Armed with the results, visit your natural health practitioner who can then work toward rebalancing your hormones naturally without resorting to pharmaceutical medicines.

Moving yourself out of mild depression requires a combination of strategies. Making lifestyle changes, dietary changes, examining your relationships and your behaviours all play a part. Seeking out professional help to put these strategies together to achieve the balance you need to move forward can set you on the path to recovery faster.

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.

 

 

Source articles
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/owning-pink/201103/11-natural-treatments-depression-md-s-tips-skipping-the-prozac
http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/bha-charity/how-we-can-help/conditions-a-z/beating-the-blues/
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+advice/treating+depression,7821