Archive for ‘Health’

January 3, 2011

Kiss my muffin top: A study in self-image

by Dandy

Ah, the holiday indulgence!  Yes, the past six weeks I’ve allowed myself ample amounts of fudge, cookies, cocktails, white chocolate chex mix (oh, baby), brownies, fancy hor dourves, the list goes on and on.  So all the work I put into last summer and fall to lose the 10 pounds that had really been bothering me was thrown out the window.  I had been so proud of myself when I got to my ideal weight.  I felt so good that I had really started to take great care of myself.  I have never been an exercise person, so I really took myself out of my comfort zone when I walked into a gym for the first time in my life and purchased a membership.  The exercise made my self-esteem soar.  I had no idea that exercise could do this for me.  I just wanted to whittle my waist a little.  I had more energy and stamina.  My mind felt clearer and sharper.  All these good feelings motivated me to eat healthier.  I had no more interest in the high fat, high calorie diet I had most of my life.  I bought a juicer and was pouring down the fruits and veggies.  My skin was glowing and my finger nails were really strong.  I started drinking green smoothies and made vegan lasagna

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December 20, 2010

The Highly Sensitive Person part 1

by Dandy

There can be a multitude of descriptions and definitions of the highly sensitive person.  It is agreed that the highly sensitive person, or hsp for short, experiences a deeper and higher level of sensitivity and have different nervous systems than those that are not highly sensitive.  Incoming information is processed and reflected upon so deeply that we are more likely to become overwhelmed and over stimulated than those who experience a lesser degree of sensitivity. 

The causes of hypersensitivity are not known to be biological, but rather an evolutionary trait inherent in a particular gene that has been with us since humans started walking this earth.  There have always been people of a strong spiritual nature.  We were known to be healers, saints, prophets, shamans, and philosophers – people known to be deeply rooted in their souls.  We are people who are able to access wisdom, knowledge, and love that comes from the sensitivity to the world around us.  Hsp are blessings to this world filled with chaos, violence, and injustice.  Highly sensitive people have access to parts of their brain that others might not experience.  Hsp use over 10% of their brain and filter out less reality through the optic nerve, so more reality is experienced.  Hsp notice energy fields and chakras can sometimes be seen.  According to Dr. Elaine Aron, who wrote the revolutionary The Highly Sensitive Person, hsp take up 15 to 20% of the human population.   The following are some common traits:

  •  Ability to perform deep processing of information.
  • Picks up on subtle details while in the learning process.
  • Are not able to learn effectively when over aroused.
  • Are known to be thoughtful, sentimental, and loyal.
  • Are able to accomplish tasks with great accuracy, detail, and speed.
  • Gets more affected by caffeine and other stimulants.
  • Can stay still for a longer period of time than others.
  • Has more right brain activity.
  • Creative by nature.
  • Highly imaginative.
  • Takes time to come out from the effect of some kind of stimulus.
  • Can understand human emotions more deeply than others.
  • Does not give their best while being watched.
  • Tends to mix less with others.
  • Does better work when the environment is relaxed, calm, and quiet.
  • Prefers to feel and experience quietly by themselves.
  • Are great organizers.
  • Are more loyal and hardworking than others.
  • Strongly compassionate and caring.
  • Are inclined towards spirituality.
  • Strong aesthetic sense.
  • More in tune with nature and elemental forces.
  • Notices subtleties in appearances, physical sensations, and placement of objects.
  • Prefers to work and play quietly.
  • Asks deep thought-provoking questions.
  • Gets easily disturbed by noise.
  • Reads the moods of others with great accuracy.

So as you can see by this long list of information the perception of things are magnified; therefore, the feelings and emotions are stronger in a hsp.  The hsp can strongly benefit from yoga, meditation, chanting, and/or deep breathing exercises.    Because the hsp is prone to become over stimulated and stressed it is of the utmost importance that coping techniques be learned and applied.  We are more sensitive to chemicals; therefore, a diet as free from chemicals, preservatives, and dyes should be sought.  We are more inclined to sleep disturbances so leading a disciplined life of proper sleep and relaxation is crucial.

Hsp are more open to negative fields.  We absorb people’s negative energy and emotional toxins.  We can feel a person’s psychic chaos very easily.  Physical symptoms can show in us such as chronic colds, allergies, sinus troubles, headaches, sore throats, stomach upset,  and breathing difficulties.  On a positive note, we are just as open to a person’s positive field.  Which is why it is imperative for us to surround ourselves with healthy, loving people.  Children who are hs are particularly sensitive to energy fields and are strongly susceptible to the physical ailments.

December 6, 2010

Deep breathing techniqes for well being

by Dandy

There are so many benefits to deep breathing.  It can help with physical pain, sleep disorders, anxiety, asthma, depression, etc,.   Just because we know how to breathe doesn’t mean we are taking advantage of all the great things that can come from it.  Most of us breath in a very shallow and aimless manner, with stataco jerks.  We are so used to this that it takes mindfulness to alter the breath.  But it is easier than you may think to develop an unconscious habit of mindful deep breathing.  Once we gain attention to our breathing and make an effort to stretch and lengthen our breath, we easily start breathing deeply.  However, as soon as our minds start to wander in some other direction we return to the shallow breathing.  But there is a remedy.

The first method is known as the Pause Breath method.  This is a simple, but powerful technique.  All you need to do is concentrate on the two pauses that occur while breathing, the inhalation and the exhalation.  Just by doing this you will start taking continuous deep breaths.  When you inhale deeply, you will need to exhale deeply.  Try this now.  You can do this technique anywhere and everywhere.  Just observe your breath.  So it for 5 minutes.  Start focusing on these breathing pauses twice a day for 15 minutes each.  Try to do the session of pause breath in a quiet, peaceful place at first.  As you do this, you will find that even when you stop focusing your attention on the pauses, you will still be breathing deeper.

The second method is called the Pavlov method.  We use “conditioned reflexes” for this method. There is a long list of things we do everyday without fail, like driving, getting dressed, reading the newspaper, internet surfing, etc,.  we will use these activities as external stimuli to train our nervous systems (minds) to automate the process of deep breathing.

Let us take walking as an example.  We walk to the bus stop, or the bosses office, or down the supermarket aisles.  We do all of this with purpose.  So all you need to do is choose one of these daily walks.  Just one.  Now when you walk for that purpose give attention to your breath.  Be aware of the pauses.  Try to breath deeply.  For this one walking purpose always breath deeply.  For all other occasions of walking, forget about it and take in breath the way you normally do. 

So suppose you choose to do this every morning you walk out to your car.  Always do this deep breathing.  After you are in your car you can breathe normally again.  You are not required to do deep breathing all day long.  Just to the car.  You will be unconsciously training your mind to start associating the process of deep breathing while walking to the car.  The simultaneous process of walking to the car and deep breathing will become automatic.  You’ll see that when you forget to breath deeply while walking to the car, your mind will remind you and your body will respond.  A “conditioned reflex” will be created!  You can apply this to other daily activities you do, like taking a shower, or washing the dishes, or checking your email.

If you do this several times a day during your daily activities, you can be deep breathing for 3 or 4 hours daily.  Just imagine all that pure oxygen running through your brain and body!

Do you practise deep breathing?  How has it benefited you?

November 8, 2010

Emotional & intellectual benefits of reading

by Dandy

I have been a life long lover of books.  I’m a chain reading bookworm who knows every square inch of my public library.  When I was a teenager my parents always knew where to find me – in the library’s basement on the green sofa curled up with a book.  I never, ever got into trouble as a kid, because I didn’t have the time to get in trouble with my voracious reading schedule.  I guess you could say books were my recreational drug.    It was my love of reading various types of literature that compelled me to pursue a degree in English.  All I wanted to do with my life was read and study. 

There are so many articles everywhere about our physical health.  We all know that yoga is good for the body and soul.  We all know to eat our veggies and fruit, because it makes us feel better.  We all know that exercise is the key to a long life of good health.  We all know the vitamins we need.  But what about reading?  What are the health benefits to reading?  Read on and find out.

Stress Relief – Reading is therapeutic.  It stops us from ruminating about our own worries.  Many different studies have shown it to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

Rejuvenating – Being alone with a book recharges us emotionally. 

Entertaining – Reading will make you laugh, cry, blush.  It will challenge your core beliefs.

Right Brain Stimulation – Reading opens us to new possibilities.  It makes us ask, “what would I do in this situation?’  It stimulates us mentally and increases concentration and focus. 

Relaxation – We all need this.   The beauty and rhythm of language can calm and relax. 

Widens Vocabulary – Reading causes us to be alert and curious to new words.

Intellectual Curiosity – As our vocabulary increases so does the desire to read more challenging material.

Expands Reality– Reading takes us out of our geography and time line.  It expands reason and opens us to more diversity, customs, ethnicity, and lifestyle.

Builds Self Esteem – Reading makes us more knowledgeable about a certain topic hence increases our confidence.  People will look to us for answers. 

Memory Improvement – Reading requires remembering details, facts, figures, plot lines, characters, themes, and structures.  It stretches our brain.

Improves Creativity – Reading will give us exposure to new ideas and information.  It inspires and encourages innovation. 

Sometimes a single book can change our entire lives.  We are made better people because of reading.  It can take us on an unexpected course.  It shapes our personalities and beliefs.  You don’t need to read War and Peace or The Canterbury Tales to experience the health benefits of reading.  If you are not much of a reader, start with a short book.  Or read poetry if you have trouble focusing on anything too long.  Read something today that you have never thought about reading.  Challenge yourself, you will be healthier because of it.

What books have you read that had a profound effect on you?  What topics have you been wanting to read, but haven’t gotten around to it?  What is your favorite genre?

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