Tag Archives: anxiety

Slip Me a Slug From The Wonderful Coffee Mug – Ahh Java!

Lots of us rely on our morning java to get us going and for some that is followed by numerous refills through the day
Lots of us rely on our morning java to get us going and for some that is followed by numerous refills through the day

For most people the question of whether coffee is good or bad for you is entirely irrelevant. Whatever the answer, it makes no difference to their coffee habit.

Lots of us rely on our morning java to get us going and for some that is followed by refills through the day. But caffeine is highly addictive and can lead to adrenal fatigue

Coffee serves lots of purposes for each individual – it can get you through depression or anxiety. But the caffeine it contains that provides the adrenaline rush, the temporary jolt,  also has a dark side, putting stress on your adrenal glands, increasing your stress hormones and leading to a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety. When you drink lots of coffee the adrenaline rush initially makes you alert. But as it wears off cortisol builds up. When this cycle is repeated frequently it creates the same effect on your body as chronic stress.

Caffeine also contributes to fertility problems including increased miscarriage and infertility; triggers the secretion of stomach acids and causes heartburn; contributes to hypoglycemia, an imbalance of blood sugars; increases weight gain over the long term linked to the production of stress hormones; hastens osteoporosis because it interferes with mineral absorption in the bones; affects the normal detoxifying process in the liver; and causes dehydration which then can lead to many other problems including wrinkles and stretch marks. It can even contribute to gluten intolerance  or Coeliac disease.

It is interesting that the heaviest consumption of coffee occurs in regions that are overcast, drizzly or that lack sunshine for long periods and are generally dreary. Caffeine seems to help with depression initially by contributing to dopamine production, which in turn helps to lift our mood. But increased coffee consumption can then create the vicious circle that actually leads to depression.

Caffeine is present in some other foods also like chocolate, cola and tea but most caffeine in our diet comes from coffee. However it only makes up 1 – 2% of the coffee bean and it the other constituents that are now beginning to be researched for their effect on our health.

For some years coffee has been recognized as having some benefits as well as being harmful, and for a while the belief that to be healthy you needed to quit coffee eased somewhat. Caffeine can offer benefits to those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons disease. Research done 20-30 years ago discovered that there seems to be a relationship between coffee and diabetes – the more coffee drunk the lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

More recently however it has been found that the caffeine in coffee could be causing insulin spikes and contributing to hypoglycemia. Considering that insulin imbalance plays such a part in ‘diabesity’ which is such a big and rapidly growing problem in our society, the alarm bells are now ringing.

Coffee is a very acidifying food. Foods which cause an acidic reaction in the body are known to contribute to a wide range of problems quite apart from digestive upsets including arthritis and gout. Here is a checklist of 30 symptoms to find out if you are too acidic.

Caffeine is a diuretic, causing the body to release more fluid. This also results in an increased excretion and loss of high levels of minerals – calcium, magnesium and potassium. This becomes particularly significant in a country like Australia where the soils, and therefore foods grown in that soil, is very mineral deficient already.

With concern over these rapidly increasing health problems and given that so many people in the 21st Century are stressed, depressed, overworked, sick, nutritionally deficient, hormonally imbalanced and generally living with inflamed or toxic bodies, it seems that the time has arrived for many to kick their habit.

Caffeine is very addictive and when lots of coffee is combined with stress in your life then the addiction can take over. But, some people don’t actually want to even consider that there is a level of addiction, let alone kick it.

Quitting coffee can be very difficult and apart from leaving you feeling weak and tired can cause all sorts of side effects such as headache, fatigue, depression and difficulty concentrating, as anyone who has to forgo their normal fix knows very well.

The answer is not to turn to de-caf coffee, which is often subjected to some nasty toxins such as solvents in the decaffeinating process and still contains trace amounts of caffeine, but to turn to healthier alternatives – choose NO-CAF over DE-CAF.

In addition, caffeine withdrawal does not have to be so difficult and there are measures that can ease it. I regularly use Homeopathic remedies for my clients with great success to stop cravings for all manner of substances, including caffeine. Hypnotherapy and EFT are other successful strategies you can use to break addictive habits. Supplementing with the amino acids L-Tyrosine or Phenylalaline can also help – some people do better on one and some on the other.

When my clients are drinking lots of coffee and need to cut it back I encourage them to do it in steps. This might be to just drink one cup less a day at first gradually working down to one ‘high quality’ coffee treat on the weekend, or even better, no coffee. The easiest way to do this is to replace the coffee with alternatives.

If you would like to make the switch here are some much healthier alternatives.

Start out by replacing some of your coffees with these. Perhaps initially alternate a coffee with one or more from this list and gradually decrease the coffees and increase the alternatives.

DANDELION COFFEE – This is one I drink and enjoy. It has a strong, slightly bitter flavour, very similar to coffee but it contains no caffeine. It has an astonishing range of health benefits – it is nutrient rich, supports the liver and kidneys to remove impurities, aids digestion and decreases inflammation, plus much more. The root is roasted and you will often find it mixed with chicory root. I drink it black and unsweetened but you can mix it with milk and sugar. I prefer the pure dandelion root to the mixes but try both out. I also mix it half and half with coffee occasionally.

You can make your own dandelion coffee and a quick google search will yield lots of instructions. If harvesting your own plants make certain that it is true dandelion and not the very similar Catsear.

TEECHINO – gives the energy feel of caffeine but without the crash of caffeine. It tastes like coffee but is made of carob, barley, chicory, dates, figs and almonds. But, just take note that this contains gluten so don’t use Teechino if you are watching gluten in your diet.

YERBA MATE – (pronounced yerba matay) This is a herbal tea from South America. It doesn’t taste exactly like coffee but has a pleasant flavour of its own. It is rich in antioxidants and minerals. Like coffee it boosts energy and fights fatigue. It does contain caffeine but the levels are lower than in coffee or even tea. You can also find Yerba Mate in some herbal tea blends.

GREEN TEA – Green tea has small amounts of caffeine, about 20 grams a serve, but these are substantially less than in coffee. It has high levels of antioxidants that fight free radical damage, improves cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of cancer and helps with weight loss. By the way, your green tea needs to be green, if it is brown it has been oxidized.

WHITE TEA – even better than green tea is white tea which is less processed and retains a higher amount of antioxidants compared to green. It also has less caffeine than green, only 15 grams a serve, and is light and delicious.

ROOIBOS TEA – A pleasant full flavoured, slightly sweet and nutty tea from South Africa which like coffee, can be mixed with milk. It contains no caffeine and very little tannin. It is also rich in antioxidants and minerals. It is thought to reduce stress, irritability and headaches, the opposite of coffee, plus has many other health benefits as well as relieving many illnesses.

REISHI MUSHROOM TEA – This is one to take if you are determined to wipe the slate clean and it is certainly an acquired taste, but reishi mushroom is absolutely loaded with antioxidants, is a wonderful stimulant for the immune system, lowers blood pressure and is purported to have cancer fighting qualities. It requires long brewing and you may need to add ginger or to sweeten it.

Coffee is often touted as having health benefits but the simple truth is that coffee is not a health food. Like other drugs there are side effects to any benefit that it offers. There are much better, less risky ways to achieve any of the professed benefits of coffee consumption.

If in spite of everything, you are going to continue drinking coffee then consider the coffee you are drinking and choose the best options around.

  • Firstly, opt for Organic fair-Trade varieties. Coffee is notorious for its dangerous growing practices.
  • If your coffee is laden with milk you might want to think again. The latte drinks offered by Starbucks for example are high in kilojoules, sometimes as high as fattening desserts like ice-cream or chocolate cake that most people avoid, and those joules are all in the form of unhealthy fats.
  • The way the coffee is prepared also affects the caffeine levels in the cup. Espresso coffee contains less caffeine than drip coffee and also has the most antioxidants, but it is also the one linked to higher levels of Triglycerides and LDLs.
  • The amount of caffeine in light and dark roasts varies only slightly so which you use makes little difference

After all this bad news are you still reading?

If you are still with me then enjoy this video (I’m not sure why it isn’t displaying properly, but follow the link it will get you there).

Then let me know in the comments below what your favourite coffee alternative is.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pULXnVTRynY                 .

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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.hungryforchange.tv/article/10-reasons-to-quit-coffee-plus-healthy-alternatives

http://www.naturalnews.com/036412_coffee_dopamine_caffeine.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/034335_Starbucks_nutrition_calories.html

Coffee – The Good and The Bad

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/food+diet/expert+opinion/white+tea+vs+green+tea,13045

http://www.mushroom-appreciation.com/mushroom-tea.html

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/what_is_rooibos_tea

http://www.naturalnews.com/034058_coffee_health_effects.html

http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-end-your-coffee-addiction/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/14/Is-Drinking-Tea-or-Coffee-the-Smarter-Choice.aspx

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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

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.

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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

 

Stressed? Relax The Natural Way

dear stress1

Stress has become such a permanent part of people’s lives that many stressors are now considered a normal part of everyday life, or regarded as a necessary evil of modern life.

The world, and our place in it, has developed at an alarming pace. Although we’re still adapting to the world, it’s at a much, much slower rate. Our bodies and reactions are completely out of synch with our world. Our brains tell us stress is just part of living a modern life, but our bodies tell us the opposite. 

Ongoing chronic stress is now considered the number one hurdle to good health.

Stressors can be physical, such as illness or violence, extreme heat or even noisy neighbours. They can be caused by lifestyle practices, such as work stress, alcohol abuse or poor sleep habits. Or the stressors can be emotional, originating in your mind. These can be the most complex and lead to the greatest impact.

Stress can have many widespread effects on the body. Sometimes anxiety develops as a result of ongoing stress. But the effects of even low-grade stress are significant:

  • Blood pressure increases
  • Muscles tense up
  • Breathing rate increases
  • Heart rate increases
  • Brain waves slow down

Of course these are all signs of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response kicking into action. This is fine in the short term but detrimental to your health when they are ongoing.

When stress is ongoing it leads to widespread problems through the whole body.

  • Weight Gain – Stress alters the way fat’s distributed in the body, depositing it around the midriff where it poses the most danger to health.
  • Faster AgeingA study from the University of California found chronically stressed mothers aged faster. Another study linked prenatal exposure to the mothers stress to accelerated ageing in the child.
  • Affects Brain Cells – A Stanford University study found brain cells shrink in the chronically stressed.
  • Serious Disease – Stress is known to increase free radicals incidence which leads to the development of serious chronic disease.

RECOGNISING STRESS

While anxiety is often the effect of stress, not everyone who’s stressed is anxious. People who suffer from stress often appear calm. So it’s worth learning to recognize other body cues that occur when you’re stressed. If you learn to notice and recognize the signs in your body you can take steps to reverse them.

Do you recognize or experience any of these signs that you are under stress?

  • Your neck gets tight and stiff and you develop a tension headache at the base of your skull.
  • Your shoulders and back tighten.
  • Your chest wall feels constricted. If you cross your arms to compensate it simply further constricts your breathing.
  • You get a feeling of a tight ball or knot in your belly.
  • Your jaw clenches, your forehead tightens, as do your lips.
  • Your fingers feel tight, your hands clench.
  • People looking at you can easily see your stress – your shoulders hunch, your head bows, your face is clenched and you may even seem to be wearing a defeated air.

signs of stress and how to reduce stress

You may even experience some more serious problems which include palpitations, stomach upsets, sleep problems, impotence, reduced sex drive, raised blood pressure or a stroke or heart attack.

Perhaps most importantly, stress has been shown to lead to an increase in free radicals throughout your body. Free radicals lead to inflammation and are now seen as the forerunner of serious chronic and autoimmune diseases such as cancer, SLE lupus, other autoimmune disorders, ageing, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

 

YOUR DE-STRESS TOOL KIT

While it can be virtually impossible to eliminate many ongoing, underlying stresses from your life, adopting some simple techniques to use in times of increased stress can help you feel better in moments. When you take steps to reduce your stress response you also create an immediate effect on the stress hormones released through your body. Having a few tools suitable for crisis control can restore your sense of wellbeing and help you cope in difficult situations.

Being able to reduce stress and anxiety without having to fall back on medications will help build your health in the long term.

Some techniques will work better for you than others and so it is worth searching out those that you find most effective. Try any technique you come across, even the esoteric ones, you can never be certain which will work for you. Allow them all the benefit of the doubt and give them a fair try. It is likely you will need to combine more than one technique, so be on the watch for any improvement and don’t reject anything if it is only partially helpful, it will still be making some difference.

Learn the technique before you are caught in a difficult situation. Memorise it and  practice it – you need to be able to use the skills automatically. Most important, don’t give up – stress can make you restless and inclined to not stick it out.

There are many ways to manage the symptoms of stress. Acupressure, massage and diet are some of the better known. Flower essences and homeopathic remedies are excellent and very effective. Herbals are available in many forms. But there are also certain simple techniques and practices that you can do wherever you happen to be, right in the moment you need help.

SIMPLE TECHNIQUES TO USE

Relax

Often when your muscles are tense you are not even aware of it. Relaxing is a very basic and simple technique which will not only help you to release the tension, it will also bring you awareness of the state of your muscles.

Sit, stand or lie. Tense up one set of muscles in your leg or arms as tight as you can. (You can even start with just your toe muscles to be more effective). Then let them go so they are quite limp. The contrast between the two states will show you what ‘relaxed’ actually feels like. Concentrate on that feeling as you then tense and relax the other muscle groups in your body – your toes, feet, legs, buttocks, back, abdomen, hands, arms right through to your head. Pay particular attention to your jaw and forehead.

Breathe  

Ninety percent of people breathe inefficiently.

Before you begin, reassure yourself that consciously controlling your breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to control anxiety and stressful feelings, and to diminish the effect of stress on your body.

Find somewhere quiet, clear your mind and start breathing deeply into your abdomen. Place your hand on your belly, you should feel it rise and fall. Breathe slowly and don’t raise your shoulders.

If you struggle, breathe as you count backwards from fifty. Breathe in on ‘fifty’, out on forty-nine and so on. Keeping your mind focused on synchronizing your breath with the numbers slows down your breathing and forces you to breathe deeper.

You can read more about the technique of deep breathing, and learn how to make effective breathing a normal, unconscious part of your life here – “Mastering The Breath Of Life”.

 

image: Shawn Rossi
image: Shawn Rossi

Smile

Frowning triggers the release of stress hormones and smiling decreases them. In addition, smiling causes the release of endorphins, the chemicals that make you feel ‘oh-so-good’.

Stretch

Simple but very calming! Do it as slowly and gracefully as you can. There are three co-ordinated actions involved:

  • Controlling your breath
  • Raising your hands and arms
  • Stretching your whole body from toes to fingertips

Stand. Let your arms, wrist and fingers go limp. Bend your knees slightly, entwine your hands loosely and turn your palms upward.

Slowly breathe in. Raise your hands towards your mouth and start to straighten your legs.

Slowly breathe out, turn your palms outward and stretch your body. Slowly exhale totally, reach your arms up, face your palms to the ceiling. Stand on your toes.

Now reverse the action

Repeat at least five times, slowly. Take a few minutes afterwards to relax and do nothing.

Affirm

Your subconscious is a powerful force. Affirmations tap into your subconscious and are extremely effective if they are worded well and are used routinely. Given the impact and complexity of emotional stresses, affirmations are a useful tool because your subconscious cannot tell the difference between what is real or what is not, it only knows and directs according to what you tell it. If your thoughts are always that you can’t cope or you have no money, that’s what your subconscious believes and will direct accordingly.

The exact words you use form your affirmations are very important and can make or break the effectiveness of the affirmation. It is just as important that they become a regular part of your day and so the way you integrate them into your life needs to be considered.

Keep your statements in the present tense, as if they already exist. “I want to…” or “I can…” or “I will” relate to what you want to achieve and are not as powerful as “I am” or “I (do)” which relate to a state already in existence.

You will find some guidelines to creating and using affirmations here.

It can be useful to consult a practitioner to set up an affirmation technique that really works for you.

Visualise

If you are a visual person imagining a big screen showing a scene that you find calm can be useful.

Close your eyes and choose an image that reflects how you would like to feel, perhaps an idyllic tropical island or a peaceful waterfall.

Next imagine this image on a big screen in your mind.

Keeping your eyes closed ‘examine’ the image – the long stretch of beach, the ferns beside the water.

When you see it clearly, step inside. See yourself in the scene as if you are really there. Notice what you are wearing, what you can hear, smell. Feel the sand or grass, the breeze in your hair.

Once you feel you are really in the scene, reach for the ‘controls’ of the screen and turn up the volume and picture. As everything around you becomes brighter and louder and your physical feelings more intense, you become calm and relaxed almost immediately, as if you were really there.

Relax, keeping the calm with you.

tropical-paradise

Release

One of the most common symptoms of stress is a clenched jaw and clenched teeth. Releasing the jaw is a simple technique to release much of the tension of stress.

First become aware of the tension in your jaw. Clench tighter, then release it.

Lightly press your tongue against the roof of your mouth behind your teeth.

Part your lips slightly and feel your jaw relax.

Repeat several times a day.

Tap

The Emotional Freedom Technique, or tapping, is SO simple and SO effective. Anyone can teach themselves the basic routine and use it to create all types of changes. It can be very effective for creating calm.

It simply involves a routine of tapping on acupressure points in the body, while saying a set of statements. The process lodges any change in thinking within the subconscious. Changes occur with EFT extremely quickly.

Discover the basics of EFT, watch a demonstration and learn how to do the basic technique yourself right here. If you would like to learn more, many EFT practitioners run free information and demonstration sessions.

Eat

If all else fails eating small amounts of DARK chocolate helps calm anxiety. The theobromine in chocolate helps to elevate your mood and the tryptophan in dark chocolate improves your levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood and contributes to feelings of wellbeing.   Many people with anxiety are known to have low levels of serotonin.

Stress and the inflammation that results are now seen as the forerunner of serious chronic and autoimmune diseases. It's time to change that right now.
Stress and the inflammation that results are now seen as the forerunner of serious chronic and autoimmune diseases. It’s time to change that right now.

Importantly, remember to try the techniques out when you are feeling ok. Get to know them so you can move straight into doing them whenever you need, without having to think them through. If you struggle to remember what to do it will only add to your stress.

Do you have a technique that you find really helps when you are feeling stressed?

Leave a reply below and tell us about it.

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

Wilson, P. Instant Calm, Penguin, 1995

Hartley, A. Love The Life You Live, Hart Publishing, 2000

Fight Anxiety With Natural Medicine

AnxiousEveryone feels anxious at some time or other, but for some people anxiety is an overwhelming part of their everyday life. For some, stress or depression walks alongside, and insomnia likes to drop by too.

Modern life moves so fast and our lives are constantly changing. Upheavals such as moving house, redundancy, the passing of a loved one, or even something joyful like a wedding or a birth, can set up the arena for feelings of anxiety. Your body recognises the feelings as stressful and responds by sending out a flood of stress hormones to deal with the situation. If you are healthy, you deal with the feelings, and move on. But for others, unable to move past the feelings, anxiety interferes with their daily life to such an extent they cannot cope well with everyday things. This is an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is not stress. Anxiety is a fear-based emotion that results in a physical and emotional response in the body. Stress is the body’s response to stimuli, which can be a problem is if is ongoing or overdone.

There are a number of different forms of anxiety including Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) phobias, Separation Anxiety.

Anxiety is experienced in many, many different ways. It may show as constant and obsessive worrying, panic attacks, feeling overwhelmed and teary, repetitive thoughts, huge emotional swings, having concentration difficulties and being easily distracted, trouble remembering things, difficulty learning, insomnia, tension that makes relaxing difficult, low libido, appetite changes such as cravings, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or weight change. A combination of life experiences, hereditary tendency and chemical imbalances in the brain leads to the symptoms.  It develops gradually and runs in families.

The conventional treatment calls for a combination of strategies to deal with the symptoms, which include a number of effective natural methods. But there are many other very effective ways to reduce anxiety in the long term that are not a part of the normal conventional treatment plan, but are well worth trying. They can be used to treat both anxiety disorder or a simple anxious response to a life event.

Some of the common Conventional ways of dealing with anxiety:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Breathing techniques
  • Diet changes
  • Counseling
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Behaviour Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Medication
photo: Alain Abplanalp Photography
photo: Alain Abplanalp Photography

So How DO You Reduce Anxiety?

NATURAL MEDICINE

Homeopathy

Homeopathy has a great track record when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Remedies such as homeopathic Aconite is a very useful first-aid remedy for dealing with panic attacks or fear of flying. Homeopathic Gelsemium is one of the remedies that can help exam nerves. There are many others which are very effective when they are closely matched to the exact nature of your individual anxiety symptoms. Other remedies can be used for long-term anxiety issues but again, need to be matched to your own particular symptoms. Certain remedies are helpful when you wake during the night with worry and anxiety that keeps you awake, others for when you avoid social situations due to anxiety, others for control issues, others for anxiety due to a range of particular stimuli and so forth. Consulting with a qualified Homeopath  will identify which remedy suits your needs the best.

EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique  or Tapping, is so simple, anyone can learn it and do it anyplace as it only takes a few minutes. It works on the principle that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system, and seeks to shift the points along the body meridian system where energy is blocked.

Temporal Tap

Affirmations are employed in conventional treatments but you can take this much further to get a greater impact by combining them with ‘Tapping’.  Stimulating acupressure points on the body helps awaken the chi energy and keep it flowing smoothly. By tapping on certain points on the head while you say the affirmations, you can help to set the self-reprogramming in place quicker and stronger. Temporal tapping influences your thinking, your nervous system and the cellular activity of the body. Watch this demonstration by Donna Eden of the Temporal Tap method. She explains how it works and demonstrates the process very clearly and simply.

Flower essences

Essences are a very gentle form of natural medicine that work directly on the emotions. Bach Rescue Remedy is extremely effective for panic attacks and can be carried with you in your bag. It is simple to use and gives fast, gentle results. Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence has a similar effect to Bach Rescue Remedy. Some people respond better to the Bach and others to the Australian Bush Flower remedies. Try both to see which works best for you. Bach Mimulus is the remedy to use for a known fear, such as public speaking or dogs. Bach Aspen is better when there are more general, vague fearful or anxious feelings without a specific cause.

Aromatherapy

Because the sense of smell bypasses the part of the brain that does all the worrying, aromas and smells can be powerful helpers. Light some (100% natural and plant-based) incense such as frankinsense or sandalwood which are very relaxing, or lavender if you need calming. The incense slows the heart rate and soothes nerves. Or burn quality pure essential oils such as lavender, geranium or bergamot, which are all calming and effective relaxants. If you soak in a bath with added essential oils or add the oils to a massage oil base, you get added relaxation benefits.

DIET

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that triggers the body to release adrenaline, a major stress hormone and the one you need to avoid. You find caffeine in coffee, cola, guarana, chocolate, diet supplements, and now it is also added to many other soda drinks so always read the labels and don’t assume that if you avoid the cola drinks you will be ok.

Adjust Meals

Eat small meals frequently. Stable blood sugars help maintain stable moods. Eat every couple of hours and make sure the meal contains some protein. You can get protein from a boiled egg, a handful of almonds or other nuts and seeds, a small tin of tuna, a quinoa salad, a slice of turkey or organic chicken breast, nut butter, hommus, tempeh, grain fed organic beef.

There has been much research recently into how anxiety originates in the gut, so it is no surprise that it also affects digestion and the bowel. Reduce caffeine, sugar, dairy, increase vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and grains to ease the load on your gut – basically, eat healthy!

Supplements

Magnesium  is a mineral that is often deficient in much of the population, but more so in anxiety sufferers. Available in many foods including green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, brown rice, bananas, and dark chocolate, to make sure you are getting adequate amounts it high-quality supplement can be better.

Vitamin B is also often deficient in the diet of anxiety sufferers and a daily Vitamin B complex is worth taking. Take a high quality complete B rather than single B vitamins.

HERBS

Calming herbs include passionflower, kava, oats and chamomile which are also good for helping with sleep problems, and St John’s Wort.

 Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is one herb that helps the body respond to stress and anxiety, whether that is emotional or physical, by reducing the levels of stress hormone. It produces feelings of calm and relaxation.

A cup of chamomile tea in the evening eases stress and promotes sleep by helping you relax and easing tension before bed. Chamomile is a useful relaxant and will help sedate you to sleep

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate) is an old folk remedy for anxiety that acts as a mild tranquilizer, calming without sedating. It can be taken as a tablet, a tea, or a liquid tincture from your practitioner. It also assists with insomnia. Don’t use passionflower if you are already taking sedatives, or if you are pregnant, nursing or have established kidney or liver disease.

Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is widely known and used to reduce anxiety symptoms by activating GABA receptors in the brain.

image: Shawn Rossi
image: Shawn Rossi

OTHER NATURAL STRATEGIES

Bodywork

Muscle tension can be an effect of anxiety, particulary if it is ongoing, and body therapies such as massage, reflexology or shiatsu can relieve the muscles and help you relax. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are other techniques to help the body relax. Yoga incorporates good breathing practices and is especially useful.

Cranialsacral therapy uses more gentle techniques than massage on the head, spine and pelvis, the source of the nervous system. Gentle manipulation of this area of the body leads to reduced nervous, as well as muscle tension.

Meditation

In meditation controlled breathing techniques are used to free the mind of chatter and activity. By practicing meditation on a daily basis you can develop a more relaxed outlook. Meditation does not need to be difficult. There are many different ways of meditating and it is simply a matter of finding the one that suits you. Take a look here to discover some different forms of meditation for beginners and find the one that is right for you. If even the idea of meditating freaks you out start here instead.

Breathing

Learn to breathe correctly. When you get anxious you start to breathe more and more shallowly, using just the top of your chest. Breathing deep down in the belly helps to bring about calm. Learn more about controlled breathing techniques here.

Self-talk

Using positive affirmations can be very effective. When you form an affirmation try to phrase it as if it already is happening. For example, instead of saying “all will be well” use “all IS well” instead. Placing the thought in the present is more effective. “I am coping, breathing deeply, and feeling relaxed” is more likely to calm you because it is strongly placed in what is happening now, in the present, rather than “I always cope if I breathe and relax” which is far more general.

Centring

To create calm in the moment place both your palms on the side of your face and rest your fingers gently on your closed eyelids. This cradles and quiets the mind, allowing you to centre yourself so you can face things again.

Release the built-up adrenaline

Move your body about. Play some up-beat music and dance, scrub the walls or floor, weed an overgrown patch of garden, go for a run or a bike ride. Exercise burns up the stress chemicals , promotes relaxation and helps circulate blocked energy that contributes to anxiety.

Distract yourself

Put on your favourite music, take the dog for a walk, make a cup of soothing herbal tea, revisit your favourite beach holiday photos, especially if they were in the tropics or whatever calms you in the moment.

Taking steps to reduce your anxiety in a more natural way allows you to experience more of life. Try out some of these strategies for yourself.

What natural strategies do you find most useful to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, tell me in the comments section below? For me it is homeopathy, flower essences and EFT.

fearless

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.naturalnews.com/042748_anxiety_natural_treatments_fight_or_flight_mechanism.html

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/Natural_Treatments_for_Stress_and_Anxiety

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/natural+health/ten+ways+to+beat+stress+and+anxiety+naturally,10965?gclid=CNjOycSxzLoCFQLvpAodlA8Abg

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/08/26/one-simple-solution-addresses-6-different-types-of-anxiety-disorder.aspx

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/conditionsatod/a/Anxiety.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Anxiety_treatment_options

Related articles

Magical Magnesium

My sister is lucky and has a beautiful bathroom with a big, deep bath in it, and so this week I ordered her a bulk order of Epsom Salts for her long, deep bath soaks. She knows, like most people, that they are a great way to relieve tired and aching muscles and bring on a great sleep. But what she doesn’t know is that Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, a mineral that can be poorly absorbed internally.

Epsom Salts are a great way to relieve tired and aching muscles and bring on a great sleep
Epsom Salts are a great way to relieve tired and aching muscles and bring on a great sleep
Photo credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin

Magnesium is often deficient in our diets but soaking in a bath containing Epsom salts can be a way to boost your magnesium levels, because it is absorbed very easily through the skin.

Most of the population does not get enough magnesium. In 2000 the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (in USA) found that the figure of deficiency was as high as 80% of adults, a figure most likely mirrored here in Australia. This figure is significant because the mineral magnesium plays a part in thousands of functions in your body, and it is also one that is easily depleted. Also, deficiency is often not detected because it manifests differently in each individual.

The mineral magnesium, plays a vital role in building and maintaining good health, working in conjunction with many other nutrients, particularly calcium and Vitamin D.

Most people know that they need calcium. And there is also growing awareness of the importance of Vitamin D. But the third side of this triangle is perhaps not so widely known about. Magnesium also plays a part in this picture, and while magnesium deficiency is quite widespread due to deficient intake, it is frequently not addressed with diet or supplementation in the way that calcium is. head-30160_640

Magnesium, calcium and vitamin D work in unison in the body. All three require the others to actually do their job, and it does not matter if you are getting adequate amounts of one of them, without all three it will not be able to do its job. Which means taking calcium supplements without adequate magnesium is not much use. Your body needs about twice as much calcium as magnesium, but many people actually have much, much more calcium and many times less magnesium.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant element in your body. It helps to regulate over three hundred enzymes, it plays a vital role in muscle control, in sending electrical impulses along the nerves, in energy production and also it assists in the elimination of toxins.

Many common diseases of our modern life can be rooted in a magnesium deficiency, and it can lead to heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, or illnesses resulting from stress. Magnesium deficiency has also been shown to contribute to SIDS. Long term chronic magnesium deficiency damage can even be fatal.

When we talk of muscles everyone usually thinks of those in the legs or back, and most people have experienced muscle cramps at some time, often in the legs or feet. But how many think of their heart as also being a muscle? Low magnesium levels can affect the efficient working of your heart, in the same way that they can lead to cramping of your leg muscles.

Here are some early symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle cramps, tremors & twitches
  • Restless or fidgety legs
  • Pain in the feet

Some other indicators of a possible magnesium deficiency:

  • Migraines, cluster headaches 
  • Anxiety, stress & panic attacks
  • Fatigue, sluggish
  • Poor sleep & waking up tired – difficulty falling asleep or waking with muscle stiffness
  • Low energy levels
  • High blood pressure & cholesterol levels
  • Period pain & PMS – deficiency can also lead to infertility and pregnancy problems
  • Nervousness – heightened sensitivity to external stimuli like lights and noise, with exaggerated emotions
  • Irritability of the nervous system – depression, restlessness, psychiatric conditions including bipolar and epilepsy.
  • Kidney stones
  • Poor memory & confusion
  • Calcium or potassium deficiency
  • Autism spectrum, ADD/ADHD, other neurological conditions

 

Magnesium Foods

Magnesium can be obtained from a number of foods. Good sources of magnesium are

Continue reading…

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://truththeory.com/2013/04/02/16-signs-youre-magnesium-deficient-symptoms-of-low-magnesium-levels/

http://truththeory.com/2013/04/02/16-signs-youre-magnesium-deficient-symptoms-of-low-magnesium-levels/

http://www.ancient-minerals.com/magnesium-sources/dietary/

16 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms – Signs of Low Magnesium Levels

http://unames.com/floating/epsom.htm

The Magnesium Factor, Seelig, Mildred. 2003

Combat Stress In Your Life With Meditation

The pace of life has increased exponentially over the last few years and we are all living with increasingly rising stress levels
The pace of life has increased exponentially over the last few years and we are all living with increasingly rising stress levels

“We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don´t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.
Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home.”
Sogyal Rinpoche

Stress plays a major part in the development of many illnesses. It is known to affect many body functions including the reproductive system, cause eczema and psoriasis, cause dry mouth or ulcers and musculoskeletal pain as well as affecting the immune system as a whole.

The pace of life has increased exponentially over the last few years. As we all take on more and more in our lives and the influx of information bombards us faster and faster, we live with increasingly rising stress levels – whether their cause or focus is on our work, our family , finances, or the health of ourselves, our parents as they age, our family or our beautiful planet, or any of the myriad of commitments we all have in our life. Some may even be stressing about whether they are allowing enough “download” time to counter the stress they have. Almost all of us, including children, are affected to some degree.

DE- STRESS

One of the ways that I often suggest to clients to offload the effects of this stress in their life is to adopt the practice of meditation. Some say they have tried it but just can’t maintain focus. But for others the idea is somewhat daunting and many dismiss the idea out-of-hand. Introducing something new requires planning, and for them to allocate scarce time seems to only escalate their problem. For others it is all just a bit ”woo-woo” and uncomfortable.

But the fact remains that meditation is a wonderful way to de-stress, and it does not have to be difficult, or to require big chunks of your time, or to actively involve “chakras”. You do not need to join a class, it is entirely portable. And it does not have to include burning incense, crystals, difficult yoga poses or the need to “get it right”.

There are many different ways that the benefits of meditation can be obtained and it’s simply a matter of finding the one that fits you and your life, and then making that a regular part of your day.

There is a misconception that in order to meditate you need to completely shut down your mind. But for most people the mind chatter just keeps on intruding, constantly pulling them out of that calm, quiet, thought-free place we all seek.

The truth is that in order to be able to meditate in that way takes many, many years of practice. For the majority thoughts wander in and out, and it’s ok. The key is to accept that your thoughts will wander, and to simply consciously pull them back again whenever they do, by focusing once more on the meditative technique that you are using.

The thing is, meditation does not have to be a big major undertaking. Sure there are yogis who can sit and meditate all day. But there are also others who do it throughout their day in bursts of a few minutes. And many more who allocate a set amount of “me-time” when they are able to do their practice, and re-group.

MINDFULNESS

The enlightened Buddist monk Thich Nhat Hanh advocates doing walking meditations, which offer you the opportunity to transform an everyday practice into a healing and nourishing way to develop mindfulness, awaken your consciousness and to bring some peace into a life all too often over-run with stress. Basically they are meditation in action. You become mindful of the action of walking and try to keep your mind focused on the experience of walking and breathing. This makes it a lot easier for “monkey minds” to deal with as it gives the flighty mind something on which to concentrate. You can hear him explain it here and watch him demonstrate this form of meditation to a group of followers. It is a good form of meditation for women, who often benefit from active meditation as it is more yang, or masculine. I learnt the practice of this powerful technique from this wonderful Walking Meditation Kit – comprising book, DVD and CD which you can buy from Amazon. Meditation Oasis has clear detailed instructions for doing a walking meditation to get you started right here.

If you find you prefer active meditation Osho offers a number of  dynamic meditations you may like to try.

Many people prefer a guided meditation as they find having a voice directing the practice helps them to maintain their focus. Here is a simple ten minute relaxation meditation that I came across recently. I like it for its simplicity, her gentle, soothing voice and because it incorporates conscious muscle relaxation – perfect for releasing stress. I believe this is one you could even do at your desk if things start to get on top of you at work.

If you are having difficulty actually relaxing any muscles in these meditations one tip is to tighten each muscle momentarily. This allows you to relax the muscle on release. Use this technique until you are able to relax the muscles at will.

BREATHE

One of the simplest ways to start meditating is to practice consciously watching your breath, often called mindfulness . It comes out of Buddhist tradition but is not ‘religious’ in itself. It is all about ‘being present’ and allows for your mind to do its own thing while you develop, over time, the ability to detach from the thought. That sounds complicated, but in fact it is very simple. Here are two variations of a calming and simple meditation that focuses on the breath, again from Meditation Oasis. Breathing Meditation is one of the simplest forms of meditation and yet is also one of the most powerful. You may discover you never need to look any further!

Of course there are many different types of meditation that can be used to fulfill all sorts of purposes. Many have heard of Transcendental Meditation which derives from Hinduism. Zazen meditation involves just sitting for long periods. Kundalini is gaining in popularity and focuses on the rising stream of energy that exists in humans. Guided visualizations can be a very powerful way to opening your awareness. I use these in my Women’s Circles often with wonderful results. They involve concentration on an image or imagined environment or experience. Another form of meditation that I have found particularly powerful is the practice of Qi Gong, a Taoist meditation technique. Of course there are others as well and you may like to investigate some once you have established a regular meditation practice in your life.

I am a big fan of not taking on big loads – maybe it is the inner sloth, who knows. But if there is an easier pathway then I am always willing to give that option a go. And one way that always makes things a little easier to achieve is to break tasks down into their smallest bites and to then tackle those one at a time. If the prospect of meditation seems a bit daunting to you then start small. Start out by adopting a five minute breathing meditation, or if that is too much make it three minutes. Or start by doing a quick body relaxation every day at your desk or before the kids come home from school, or before going to bed at night. Or maybe even do it for a few minutes a few times through the day.

Soon you will find that it is easy to meditate.

“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.”
Voltaire

This is how I picture myself meditating...but it is far more likely I will be sitting in my car catching a few brief moments to centre my breathing before plunging back into the chaos of life
This is how I picture myself meditating…but it is far more likely I will be sitting in my car catching a few brief moments to centre my breathing before plunging back into the chaos of life

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.iam-u.org/index.php/8-basic-kinds-of-meditation-and-why-you-should-meditate-on-your-heart http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview

Coasting to Christmas on the Silly Season Tsunami

With the end of the year racing towards us it is very easy to succumb to overwhelm, and here in Australia I believe that we actually do this season much harder than we need to, and perhaps harder than they do overseas. The festivities of Christmas, or whichever of the Holidays  you celebrate, coincides here with the end of the school year, the end of the working year, and the end of the calender year, all in one short week.

coasting to christmas-1386235586MYq

Trying to juggle a myriad of  ‘end-of-year’ school activities, dance concerts, exam study, shopping for the festivities ahead and socialising, together with having so many businesses closing down for at least a few weeks and preparations for the mass post-Christmas exodus to various idyllic beachy places, it is very easy to get caught up in a sense of “approaching the end”. Easy to get that nagging feeling that you need to finish absolutely everything, to tie up all the loose ends in your life.

It seems that the whole nation drives itself into an absolute feverpitch of stress through December and then shifts to the opposite extreme and shuts down totally after Christmas Eve. It is no wonder everyone races around with a sense of impending doom if everything isn’t done and finalized on time.

Perhaps this Australian ‘end-is-nigh’ approach to December actually fuels the stressful emotions that are experienced.

Are You Driving Yourself Too Hard?

How many times do you say to people ‘we must catch up before Christmas’? How much do you drive yourself at work to finalise jobs that realistically might wait a week or two? How many parties do you attend? How many late nights do you have? How much fattening, sugary, or rich food do you eat? How often are you driven to do or buy something which could wait, without really knowing what drives you to do it right now? And these are only what you are actually doing – they don’t even start to address the emotions that get stirred up at this time.

This last part of the year can be a time of escalating stress for so many during the build-up to Christmas with ‘so much to get done’, loneliness, increasingly tired children as they approach the end of the school year, the pressures of self-run businesses to cover added end of year costs such as holiday pay for staff, a calendar that seems to overflow, loss of a job and financial constraints, plus many more difficulties.

Loneliness and Grief

This part of the year is also the time of tremendous emotional stress for many. It is the time when the loss of loved family members, whether through separation or their passing, comes home and strikes with almost paralyzing force. For some people the whole season is wrapped in a tight mantle of grief that draws in around and stifles them.

It can also be the time when singles feel the most lonely, when isolation from family and friends or an abscence of them in your life strikes most intensely.

Family Tensions

For others the experience of returning into a family where everyone is suddenly thrown back into the role they played as a youngster and the family dynamics that played out when they were children, is too difficult to deal with.This is in spite of the fact that in their real everyday life they are responsible and competent parents, partners, employees or employers with wide and admirable skills and abilities.

In this scenario is it any wonder that the anxieties of childhood rear their ugly heads. Is it any wonder that behaviour reverts and childish tantrums or bickering, petulant unhappiness or resentment and various other actions that arise from the uncertain and fearful child that is still living deep within, start to occur.

But whatever the reason the ability to engage in the Christmas spirit eludes many and the season is anything but bright.

There are natural treatments that can help you cope as the Holiday Season gets nearer and stress levels increase
There are natural treatments that can help you cope as the Holiday Season gets nearer and stress levels increase

WHAT YOU CAN DO

There are a number of natural strategies that you can adopt to help deal with these issues. Rather than go into each of them in detail I will give you a link to some that I think are sound and effective. You can have a look and try a few out and then use any that suit you the best.

Even making a little time to get some exercise or relaxation is a good way to start. When we start to rush both exercise and relaxation space often go by the wayside. Schedule the time in your calendar and then stick to it.

Remember that a massage can work wonders especially if you carry your stress in your neck and shoulders, and it will be even more effective if it includes aromatherapy essential oils for relaxation.

Emotions respond beautifully to any of the varied forms of energetic medicine. Medicine delivered in an energetic form can be very effective in ‘re-balancing and re-setting you’ so that you are able to deal with whatever it is you have to face. Hear are a few.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy offers some great remedies for many of the issues such as stress, overwork, grief, over-excitement, anxiety, guilt, exhaustion and so on.

Homeopathic Coffea helps with getting over-excited children off to sleep on ChristmasEve. Ignatia is often a first choice for grieving. Nux vomica can work wonders if you are driving yourself towards burnout with overwork.

Homeopathic remedies need to be matched to your own idiosyncratic symptoms, the particular way you manifest the stress so unless you are familiar with self-prescribing for acute situations, or if your stress is long-standing you should consult with a fully trained and registered Homeopath.

Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses
Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses

Acupuncture

Visiting an Acupuncturist is a great way to deal with the stress, but even better, you can do Acupressure yourself anytime and anywhere, and it works along the same lines as acupuncture. Here is a good demonstration of one way to relieve stress by Donna Eden, an expert at using acupressure in her energy medicine work.

This advice and demonstration of acupressure points to use for hangovers could be useful if you are partying hard. And here are some acupressure points to help with feelings of anxiety felt throughout the holiday season.

Flower Essences

Flower essences can have a great benefit when trying to deal with grief. They work very gently, but effectively on the emotions.

The basic Bach Rescue Remedy or Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence are both good ‘all-purpose’ mixes for dealing with stressful situations but there are a number of others that can be tailored to each individuals requirements. FES Five Flower Formula is similar to Bach Rescue Remedy.

Perhaps my favourite for this time of the year would be the Australian Bush Flower ‘Calm & Clear’ essence – the name says it all.

There are flower essences to help relieve all the other stressful emotional responses to the holidays and they are well worth investigating.

For information about each of the Bach remedies look here, for Australian Bush Flower Remedies look here and Californian Flower Essences here.   And this blogger describes her response to flower remedies which is interesting if you have had no experience of them before

Calm_Clear_Th

Difficult Families

Here are some useful strategies for those who have to deal with intensified extended family tensions. They give you the opportunity to plan ahead and devise strategies for you as well as your family.

Importantly it is all about taking back the reigns and getting back your sense of control. If you are able to clearly identify where your stress is coming from then you have a better chance of achieving this control. If there is a tradition in your festivities that causes more stress than joy, then it is time to give yourself permission to change things. Maybe 2012 is the year to make changes, after all you cannot help others if you are not really coping yourself.

Don’t forget, it is not all about the ‘Big Day’. The stress of the lead up through December can be just as bad or worse, and the significant health effect that prolonged stress can have on your whole system is often not recognized or acknowledged until it gets serious.

Remember to check in with situations and ask yourself whether they are of joy or of stress right through the whole Month of December.

Make this the year where you decide to be a bit kinder to yourself. Sure there are always going to be pressures, but maybe by being aware of the extent of the manufactured pressures you embrace, you can let a few slide, and in easing up your obligations you will be able to deal with those stresses you really cannot avoid.

It is time to allow yourself the gift of self-love and self-care.

It is time to allow yourself the gift of self-love and self-care

 

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.