The Secret To Reducing Stress: Balancing Life

The Secret To Reducing Stress: A Balanced Life

A statement by the well-known mind/body physician, Herb Benson, M.D. says that 60-90% of all visits to the doctor’s office are due to stress. We all hear about stress, experience stress, but what exactly is stress? Most of us think of stress as the emotional conflicts we experience in our daily lives, but our emotions are just one category or one type of “event” that can cause us to experience stress.

In order for us to survive in our ever-changing environments, our bodies are designed to adapt and it does so through a series of biochemical reactions. These chemical reactions are natural and necessary, but they are the wear and tear of living that we call stress.

Here’s an example I like to share in relations to because it gives a clear vision of this principle. When I was living in New York City, I drove my little stick shift through the stop and go traffic. Imagine the wear and tear (stress) on the clutch.

There are many events that might cause similar stress to our bodies. Some may surprise you.

  • Weather
  • Excess Exertion (such as too much exercise or lack of sleep)
  • Trauma or Injuries
  • Allergies and Immune Insults
  • Infections
  • Reproduction Related Events (monthly cycle, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, etc.)

While the common nature of these events does not sound encouraging, there is some good news. If we have a stress response that is short term, like when the phone rings and the nurse tells you that your child had been vomiting, our bodies do just fine.

It is the prolonged stress, like anticipating for two whole weeks a root canal or that pesky “annual office evaluation.” That does us in! This extended stress affects our digestive system, immune system, cardiovascular and even reproductive systems. Couple this with poor eating habits or insufficient sleep, and we are not happy campers.

While excessive or chronic stress is definitely not good for our health, we need stress adaptation for survival, so it is actually a very good thing. How this adaptation takes place is by way of specialized hormones from our adrenal glands, located in our kidneys. They change our heart rate, blood pressure, lung capacity, and a host of other functions, for our survival. However, these hormones, if secreted too much or too often can suppress our immune, digestive and reproductive systems and even damage our cardiovascular system. Chronic stress is one very large reason why some of us have fertility problems.

So how can we make friends with stress? The answer is good old moderation. Remember being told “all things in moderation leads to a healthy body.” It is true. We do not have to learn to do anything exotic to reduce stress, we just need to balance our lives and avoid excess.

Nevertheless, there is the rub, given modern life. We are all excessing more and more and moderating less. For a great book on this subject, check out Why Zebras Don’t Have Ulcers by Dr. Robert Sapolsky. It is a very witty and informative book. Laugher, as we know, is “our best medicine.” It is also a great stress reducer.

 


For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

 

 

How You Can Shape Meaningful Relationships In the Workplace

How You Can Shape Meaningful Relationships In the Workplace

Some of us may not realize just how important it is to shape meaningful relationships in the workplace. Without the support or cooperation of those with whom we spend a significant amount of our time, our job performance and certainly our work satisfaction can suffer. Several studies have shown that difficult office relationships impair performance and decrease morale even more seriously than rumors of employee layoffs.

Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours working. And as a result, we spend the majority of our time with our co-workers. Just as with other people in our lives with whom we interact on a regular basis, our co-workers need to be viewed as important and essential parts of our “life support” group. Cultivating respectful, considerate relationships with our co-workers is good for our health and our work performance. It creates a positive and friendly environment where we spend a majority of our time.

Here are some easy ways to make the work environment nicer, friendlier and more positive place:

Avoid gossiping: No one wants to be gossiped about. If you don’t gossiping about others, your co-workers will get the message that you do not wish to “stir the stink” about them and they will respect your integrity and treat you likewise. If someone starts to gossip with you, simply respond: “Really?” Then change the subject or excuse yourself from the conversation. Reducing gossip effectively enhances the work environment and your reputation.

Show genuine interest: One of the nicest experiences is having someone show interest in the things that interest us. It makes us feel valued and builds rapport and trust. If you are aware of co-worker’s interests and happen to run across something pertaining to those subjects, giving them information or helpful articles can really make their day and enhance your working relationships.

Give credit where credit is due: Embrace the win-win attitude and always give credit where credit is due. If people have worked hard and made a huge contribution to a project, they should be recognized and applauded for their efforts. Nothing is more uplifting than being recognized for our contributions and the value we bring to our work. By supporting and appreciating co-workers, you create for them and for yourself a cooperative and trustworthy environment that encourages them to continue to do their best.

Competition can be healthy, but not when it results in giving credit to the wrong people or not recognizing excellence in others.


For more life-changing, whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolution With Mindful Eating

Accomplish Your New Years Resolution With Mindful Eating

I love what Geneen Roth has to say about our relationship with food and how it reflects our relationship with ourselves.  In my over thirty years as a clinical nutritionist, I have observed, like Geneen, that we feed ourselves the same way we live our lives. The way of mindful eating is that our eating patterns and nutrition, like adaptation and survival, are critical components of our ability to live and thrive. Accomplish your New Year’s resolution, such as improving your health or losing weight, with mindful eating.

The Source Of The Challenge

In spite of the fact that the food we eat has such a significant impact on our whole being and quality of life, most of us are wildly confused about nutrition. This is especially true today because this basic necessity has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry, selling us foods and nutrition related goods our parents didn’t need or know about. 

“In the old days”, food was produced more naturally with less processing, lifestyles were less complicated and decidedly less stressful.  Remember how we said we would never grow up to be like our parents? We may want to rethink that – they are the healthiest and wealthiest generation ever!  Nutrition has become a big health issue because of poor quality food, soaring stress levels and our lack of exercise.  “The balanced diet” –the tried and true standard for good nutrition has been pushed aside for every conceivable variation on what and how to eat.

Some of this new information is quite useful and lots of it appeals to our vanity or desire to avoid taking the long look at what Geneen Roth refers to as “being present to our food and our lives.” If we are present, we realize that moderation and balance (just like with stress!) is the way to go.  Our foods are chemicals and can affect our emotions as well as our bodies.

A Grainy Example

An example of this is excess grain consumption. Human beings do not produce enzymes to break down cellulose, the outer protective layer of grain.  Many animals like cows and horses can eat grain in its natural state without a problem. If we attempted that, we would injure our mouths and esophagus, so we alter the grain from its natural state to flour, in order to consume it.  We think we can eat whatever, so we get creative and bake, fry, boil, etc. this processed grain into “food.” 

Unfortunately, the majority of us do not tolerate the protein gluten found in most grains.  Gluten can damage and weaken the lining of our gut, leading to all kinds of problems, which can include eating disorders, obesity and depression. Humans are also the only mammals that continue to consume milk after weaning, and it’s breast milk from another species at that. 

When we are experiencing mindful eating, we become aware of our body’s responses to what we put into it.  That requires slowing down, which is what our nervous systems have to do for our digestion to work properly. Stress is “anti-nutritious” because during stress our ability to deal with the “emergency” at hand.  Stress also significantly increases the need for certain nutrients, which are critical for the stress response. Protein, Vitamins A, B, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids and minerals need to be replenished.

Moving Forward Mindfully

How we can improve our nutrition and discern what is best for us? We can observe why and how we eat, what feedback our bodies give us and consider the always prudent common sense approach of balance and moderation.  We are living beings, we need to eat living food.  The good news is you can eat all the fruits, vegetables, salads, veggie soups and stews you want (barring allergies) and you can’t go wrong!

 

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

 

 

What Causes The Cycle of Emotional Eating?

What Causes The Cycle of Emotional Eating?

Thanks to the work of M.I.T. professor Judith Wurtman, PhD, and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or "chemical messenger" called serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain.

Serotonin and other neurotransmitters are produced by our bodies as "feel good" hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to "self-soothe" by behaviors that lead to the increase in serotonin. Overeating carbohydrates and fatty rich foods or "comfort foods" such as cookies, ice cream, and other "treats" significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, drinking alcohol and abusing drugs are also attempts to self soothe and increase serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially accepted and as easily available as overeating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating.

In addition, the body’s need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol and minerals skyrockets when we are "adapting" under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or appropriately supplement these vital nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body's demand for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing.

For a period of time, foods that comfort, soothe or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves once more. Then we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrates and rich, fatty food to stabilize our blood sugar level and brain function until we feel better again.

This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even in bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload.

As a result, it is no wonder that within the last few years, low carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans, or 20 million people, are currently on low carbohydrate diets. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over-consumption of carbohydrates; therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. However, this is the real issue: How long can we reduce our carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place?

For more whole health discussions like this, listen to my weekly radio show Living Above The Drama available on iHeartRadio.

Preventing Conflict During The Holiday Season

avoiding conflict during the holiday season

The December Holidays are just around the corner. Some say, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Or is it? For many of us, the holiday visits back home to family members is something to be dreaded. While we look forward to the pleasure of celebrating these festive times, there is also the memory of past conflicts and the real possibility of new confrontations that we find ourselves anxious to avoid. We can tell ourselves that this is the year we will not get stressed out or upset with visits to or from our families. This is what we strive for yet, most often, not how things turn out. Here are some strategies for avoiding conflict during the holidays.

In is common, according to Dr. Jeffrey Fine, Ph.D., Director of the American Foundation for Conscious Parenting that our families can be “a breeding ground for repressed resentments and hostilities left over from childhood. “We might anticipate that once we have grown up and moved away to create our own lives and families that these feeling would diminish but, as many of us experience, unfortunately they do not.

One potential solution to transforming the holidays from stressful to joyful is the application of identified communication skills that have been researched and shown to facilitate changing difficult relationships. Behavioral Engagement is a 12-step set of communication skills that has been the subject of hospital pilot studies over a 32-year period.

The outcomes of these pilots showed the participants experienced a significant improvement in their relational outlook and attitude after interacting with the communication skills model.  Originally developed to enhance relationships between doctors, nurses and patients, the model was also applied and studied with business and family relationships.

James Prochaska, PhD, renowned researcher on behavior change and author of “Change for Good – the Six Stages of Transtheoretical Change” says of Behavioral Engagement that “The process of Behavioral Engagement has the potential to transform relationships that are suffering or struggling to ones that are thriving!”

Generally, one of the most recommended approaches to staving off holiday conflicts is to “try and accept family members or friends as they are.” Unfortunately, this good intention can be easily side-lined without specific communications skills that can help keep us on track.

Step by Step Behavioral Engagement

The 12-Step Model of Behavioral Engagement that Dr. Prochaska endorses offers specific, easy to learn, communication skills that have been proven effective in changing conflicted relationships into compatible relationships based on the understanding that we all want to be valued, respected and listened to.

The steps are based on physical, psychological, hormonal and neurological aspects of human relationships and communication. They start with the understanding that while we cannot change others’ behavior, we can change our own behavior in how we relate to others, which can result in a transformative outcome for all participants.

We can do so by using specific, simple communication skills and following the steps that have been shown to be effective in creating greater receptivity and generating more positive emotions in relationships that have previously been conflicted or stressful.

If you have experienced or are anticipating challenging relationships during the holidays, you may wish to apply these easy steps and see if they can assist you in having happier and even healthier holidays.

Step One – Be physically comfortable when communicating. This removes discomfort that can distract providing your full attention to the person you are speaking with. Distractions reduce your focus on the person you are speaking with, which decreases receptivity, which sends the message that you may not be listening to them, which can flame the fire of resentment.

Step Two –Understanding what you want. Our intentions are powerful behavior motivators. Understanding what we want from an exchange with another can assist us in communicating more clearly our thoughts and feeling, inviting greater understanding and intimacy. Example – “I really want to understand what you are upset about.”

Step Three – Centered Body Posture. Uncross arms and legs, present open, receptive body language. To send the message that you are respecting the conversation and giving the other person your fully attention, do not play with your watch, glasses, hair or continually look away from the person you are speaking with. Committing to being focused is an important element in communication and sends the message that you value your time with the other person. We can all feel when someone values being with or speaking to us. 

Step Four – Sustained, Soft Eye Contact has been scientifically proven to stimulate oxytocin which opens emotional centers of the brain and enhances trust and feelings of love and intimacy.

Step Five – Respectful Inquiry. Asking rather than telling or directing, and using “I” statements rather than “you” statements, creates a safe, non-judgmental environment for the other person to communicate openly.

Step Six – Responsiveness. By using appropriate responses, such as facial expressions, smiling, head nodding and so forth, indicates you are responding to and understanding what the other is saying without interrupting or interjecting. This acknowledges the value you have for their communication.

Step Seven – Pauses between responses, allowing for silence between statements. Instead of immediately speaking as soon as the other person is finished, allowing for appropriate silence when someone has shared a thought or feeling with you is an important part of the experience of being respectfully listened to. It is also a component of being truly present to them.

Step Eight – Non-Judgment. By not allowing your unspoken mental and emotional judgments to invade your attention, you eliminate the unconscious communication that is sent through subtle and gross body language. Unconscious, non-verbal body language is something most of us pick up immediately. They can make or break your communication and relationships within your family.

Step Nine – Leave the ego at the door. Eliminate the push-pull or power struggle of previous relationship interactions by letting go of taking control of the communication and allow for equity between you and the other individual.

Step Ten – Re-Centering when you start to lose focus. Mentally repeating simple words that you identify as prompts to get you back to the focus of the conversation is a quick and effective way to get yourself re-centered in the exchange. Example: “back to focus” or “get-centered”.

Step Eleven – Collaborative mindset. Working towards having a win-win outcome eliminates conflict and improves the quality of the relationship in both the short term and for the long term.

Step Twelve – Sacredness of Relationship – Sacredness means “worthy of respect”. When we are aware of appropriate verbal and behavioral boundaries within our communications, we hold the other person in high esteem and create fulfilling, lasting relationships.

When dealing with family holiday conflicts, it can be helpful to try these simple, proven communications skills, but also to reflect on the wisdom of the question – “would you rather be loved than be right?” Often when we select love over being in control or being right, then our relationships shift for the better.

You can download a free excerpt of the book on Behavioral Engagement by visiting www.changingbehavior.org

 

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A Healthy Love Affair With Pets

While it may be difficult to get large numbers of Americans to collectively agree on any issue, it seems that when it comes to pets and the value we place on them, there is little disagreement. The 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association survey reported that an astounding 65% of all American households have a pet living with them.

An identified 79.7% of all households have dogs – over 100 million of them. Cat owner households total 42.9 million, while dogs make up 54.4. Fresh water fish, birds, reptiles and horses, along with small animals such as rabbits, hamsters, and others make up another 25 – 27 million pets. Americans, it seems, have also come to view and treat their pets in human terms. No longer satisfied with relegating the family pet to its own domain, today’s pet lovers are demanding the highest quality products and services for those they love.

The idea of buying a simple dog chew or catnip toy now takes a backseat to designer sweaters and jewelry for our beloved companions. The current trend of dog hotels instead of kennels, indoor animal toilets, perfume and even pet trench coats have flooded the marketplace. A hugely popular service “doggie dates” and exotic animal sitting services have also found their way into today’s pet economy.

For the most passionate pet lovers, faux mink coats, lumberjack vests, designer jackets, matching jeweled leather collars and leash sets, Halloween costumes, and holiday outfits are becoming part of the new “pet fashion.” Safety seats for transporting pets in vehicles are also becoming popular. Still, one of the larger pet expenditures is for pet food.

These days the pet food aisle looks strikingly similar to the rest of the “human food” aisles in chain grocery stores. Specialized, balanced gourmet meals are readily available in the refrigerator section as well as all variations of animal treats, vitamins and supplements. Special diet foods for the senior pet population offer life extension and prolonged health.

Pet dental care, tooth brushes, mouth wash, braces to correct crooked bites, and even cosmetic dental surgery are all available to the concerned pet lover. There are also pet lovers who are having their animals’ vasectomies reversed and paying for cosmetic surgery to enhance their pet’s beauty.

Expenditures on pets by their household for 2015-16 was in excess of 62.75 billion dollars. It is easy to imagine that this number must be a mistake as this is more money being spent on pets in the United State than the gross national product numbers for all but 64 countries around the world. This 62.75 billion dollar figure also represents almost double the approximately $35 billion dollars Americans spend on going to movies, video games, or for listening to recorded music.

healthy love affair with petsThe approximate 20% of non-pet households are for the most part made up of individuals with allergies, who live in apartments or living environments that do not welcome pets and those who have no time left in their over-scheduled lives to care for a pet. It seems people of all ages, ranging from infants to very elderly enjoy and welcome the company of pets. The presence of pets is so population today, that nursing facilities have therapy pets at the facility on a regular basis. The one downside to this practice is that sometimes the residents start arguing and competing over who gets to keep the cat, dog or bird with them for the day.

Our pets love us unconditionally. They listen to us when we speak, provide companionship without politics or the agenda of most relationships. They accept our love and affection the way we chose to give it without complaint and they provide us in return with affection and loyalty.

hey are the ultimate loving family member and we are now treating them as such; can anyone blame us? Social networking has become the way we communicate and “do” relationships. These days it is often over e-mails and text messages that we are starting relationships or ending them, sharing major life events –  even proposing marriage. The intimate contact of human connections we had even 15 years ago before the dominance of the internet and cell phones is being replaced by our pets.

Pets are not only beloved companions, but are also taking on the role of healers. Dogs have been long known for their service as seeing eye dogs, but the use of dogs and other pets in many areas of healing and health monitoring are becoming more widely spread. Dogs who alert their companions for seizures or “sniff out” cancer or horses that assist with helping autistic children to interact with others are easily found on the news or the internet.

A recent study by researcher Dr. Karen Allen, at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She identified that individuals suffering from hypertension after adopting a dog or cat had lower blood pressure reading in stressful situations than their counterparts who did not have a pet companion. The National Institute of Technology Assessment Workshop: Health Benefits of Pets identified that pets provide greater psychological stability which protects not only from heart disease and other stress related conditions but also reduces depression. In the same study pets have been shown to lower the cost of health care as individuals with pets make fewer doctor visits, especially “for non-serious medical conditions.”

A Perdue University study demonstrated that when seniors face traumas of adversity, the affection received by their pets and the bond between them helps prevent depression and loneliness. As a means of enhancing our psychological and physical well-being, pets have the power to love us, heal us and help us to live longer. If only we could get other humans to do so with the same honesty and loyalty that our pet companions provide.

 

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References

http://www.vet.purdue.edu/cpb/faculty_profiles/beck_alan.html  (Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship)

http://center4research.org/healthy-living-prevention/pets-and-health-the-impact-of-companion-animals/

http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp

Thinking Outside The Box When It Comes To Healing

Thinking Outside The Box When It Comes To Healing

Many of us don’t realize how much of a role environment, emotional state and spirituality play in our current health status. Understanding these connections can be especially helpful during the peak of cold and flu season. To fully grasp this “cause-and-effect,” it’s a good idea to have a larger perspective on the following contributing factors to illness.

Emotions

The late psychologist Abraham Maslow, Ph. D., said that aside from basic survival and safety needs, we possess an innate drive to belong, develop self-esteem and actualize our authentic selves. While it might seem that exposure to more people is an invitation for illness, a study found the exact opposite: According to the researchers, people with one to three social “roles,” such as a parent, child and friend, are more than four times as likely to get sick than those with six or more social roles.

This may stem from the relationship between your immune system and the self-esteem you get from your interactions with others. The more positive social interactions you experience, the greater your self-esteem and the more you enhance your immune system’s functions.

Spirituality

Spirituality can be broadly defined as the things you hold important and sacred, and the relationships you form with others and with the world around you. Boundary setting is one of the most important aspects of spirituality; it is especially important if you want to create a meaningful and fulfilling life.

The boundaries you set are codes of conduct relating to how you behave toward yourselves and others. For instance, how you eat, work, exercise, and live all reflect your individual boundaries. All of these actions have a profound effect on your health and sense of well-being.

Environment

Your body actually has two distinct environments that interact with one another: the internal, and the external. This is something you should always be mindful of. In the external environment there are sources of noise, stress, toxicity, temperature and mood affecting weather, and volumes of work or exertion to complete. All of these things affect your health directly by influencing the nervous system and your immune systems.

Internally, your body’s chemical environment has a large bearing on weather germs are allowed or prevented from inhabiting your bloodstream. This makes it important to consider the ways your internal environment is manipulated by the foods you select, your sleep cycles, and the kinds of thoughts you allows to take up residence in your mind. Both positive and negative ideas can have a big influence on your choices and behaviors each day.

When all is said and done, illness can be caused by a wealth of seemingly insignificant factors that affect the whole person. Various strains of colds and viruses have different dimensions. This is because humans are also multidimensional. Recognizing this fosters the understanding and application of emotional, spiritual, and environmental cause and effects of sickness. This comprehension and practice allows you to prevent colds and flus from affecting you.

 

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Pitfalls of Forgetting To Heal The Whole Person

pitfalls of forgetting to heal the whole person

In this week’s blog, I would like to begin  unwrapping the problems and pitfalls with forgetting to heal the whole person in an effort to establish true and effective wellness. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the words “specialty” or “specialize” in the healthcare field, I would be a very wealthy woman. These are among the latest buzzwords and for good reason. Given the increased competition and expansion of healthcare options, specialization – even among “natural” or “alternative” health care providers—has emerged as the way to stand out in today’s consumerist economy.

Thanks to a combination of the Internet, increased communication, and a fast-paced economy, competing for the health consumer is only expected to become more and more commonplace in the decade. What is getting abandoned in the clamor to remain competitive as a health provider in either the allopathic or alternative fields is the quality of care.

What once distinguished “alternative” health care providers—mindful and respectful listening to the individual and being present in a way that addressed their needs as a whole person—has gradually been replaced by practicing or promoting the specialty that we have been trained and are experts at.

Critics of allopathic medicine have for a long time pointed to the specialization and fragmentation of health care services as the “demon” preventing the creation of an integrated, whole person health care system. Yet we see alternatives to allopathic medicine being practiced in an identically fragmented, specialized way.

The applications of nutrition, herbs, energy healing, body alignment, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, and so forth, are primarily offered to the consumer without an integral whole picture of how healing takes place. Specifically, how our body functions as an integrated, homeostatic living being and how the specialty sciences that we call “alternative healing modalities” enhance or assist the function of our overall health on a physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental or spiritual level. The modalities of alternative care are now being offered in the same way medical specialties have been over for years; now, we just have more items on the menu to choose from.

It is also concerning is that alternative health care practitioners seem no better educated in integrated anatomy and physiology than most allopathic practitioners. One of the legitimate criticisms of alternative health care is the lack of evidence-based knowledge on the part of the practitioner to explain the effective outcomes from their application. Alternative practitioners, like their allopathic counterpart who focuses on prescription writing as a cure, are woefully uneducated in the evidence-based sciences of human anatomy and physiology as well as lacking an authentic education and understanding in whole person science.

When I opened my practice in the early 1970’s the alternative practitioner was often seen by the suffering individual who sought their assistance as “an angel of mercy.” Today, it’s quite a different story. It is a sad testimony to the popularity of alternative health care that in the dawn of the 21st century people are more confused, less informed and even less aware of how their bodies work and how to take care of themselves over their lifetime than they were thirty years ago!

Today I repeatedly overhear people confiding that they are disappointed with the alternative health care profession, and feel that there is the same focus on selling product or treatment plans as there has been in the medical practices they used to turn to. No longer do alternative practitioners spend the time they once did explaining and demystifying the process of disease and the cause and effect of where it comes from, but rather are busy selling the latest product of their trade or re-scheduling people for their next ten visits of care. Economic success has come to alternative health care and with it the same issues that have plagued the practice of allopathic medicine for many years. Success is a strange bedfellow. If we lose the very essence that crafted our field then we have lost our personal and professional integrity.

The philosophical foundation of alternative health care is the knowledge and ability to address the whole person rather than just one isolated aspect of health. The five aspects of health include the physical, environmental, spiritual, nutritional and emotional. The specialization of alternative health care attacks the very core of this practice.

Modern practitioners are continuously specializing in physical areas of the body or specific conditions or diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome or environmental allergies. This specialization is creating isolation where practitioners are failing to treat the whole person. Countless studies have shown the effectiveness of treating the whole person in a relationship-centered, education-focused model of practice.

In our roles, whether as allopathic, alternative or holistic health practitioners, whole health coaches, or holistic nurses, we must establish and promote a practice of treating the entire person and addressing the bigger picture of their illness or presentation. Given rapidly rising chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, it is our duty to remain true to this integral approach to healing and serve our patients in the way they want and need us to.

I encourage this initiative to health practitioners across the country: Fight specialization and favor treating the Whole Person. It is only with such an approach that we can begin to solve that which ails us.

FREE Whole Health Consultations available.
888-354-4325 Take charge of your health!

Being Thankful Heals The Heart

giving thanks heals the heart

What a wonderful gift Thanksgiving, a day for giving and expressing thanks, is for all of us. Anyone and everyone can participate in this day of gathering family and friends to share food and well wishes, taking time to reflect on the things we have been blessed with and are thankful for. This giving thanks heals the heart.

Giving thanks is a healing and healthy act that many of us have sadly reserved for this one special time of the year. Ignatius, the renowned scholar and saint, offers us a powerful insight into the nature of why we suffer – and as it happens, it relates to giving thanks.

Ignatius said that “all suffering starts with ingratitude.” When we lose our appreciation for all that we have and the many blessings each of our lives is bestowed with, we begin to seek, want and covet what others have been blessed with. We put our own gifts aside, much like children do when they see their friend’s or sibling’s shiny new toy.

This gratitude opens the heart and removes “stress” that comes from fear of not having:

– Everything that we want

– Everything that we think we need

– What we see others have

– What we think is due us

– What we believe will make us happy

– What we believe will make us important or loved

Giving thanks for what we have, rather than wanting and longing for things we do not have, is a simple act of love that fills us with the humble pleasure of realizing how the universe cares for us – and is taking care of us.

Even when things are difficult and we are suffering, when we take the time to reflect on all the good things we also have in our lives, we suffer less, worry less and feel happier. This can stimulate real, holistic healing—the cornerstone of whole health. The spirit is healed when we release the resentments we carry. The body is healed when stress is reduced, stress that puts strain on the heart.

Perhaps Ignatius is on to something very holistic when he encourages us to remember the biblical wisdom found in I Thessalonians 5: 18 that recommends to us – “in all things give thanks.” For in this we will find our hearts full and our fears dissolved.

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday Season.

With all good wishes,

Georgianna

 

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Do You Want To Empower Others To Take Control Of Their Health And Wellness?

It’s no secret that we Americans have reached an all-time level of being “unhealthy,” thanks to an ever-increasing stress-filled lifestyle. Despite widespread campaigns aimed at helping people stop smoking, eat better and exercise, the vast majority of Americans does not get regular exercise and are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. There is a clear need to empower others to take control of their health and wellness.  

There has been an explosion in obesity that is cited as high as 63%, along with climbing rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases associated with lifestyle and behavior choices. As far back as 1996, Harvard Medical School published a 7-year study which confirms up to 70% of all cancer, heart disease, stroke and mature onset diabetes are preventable with lifestyle and behavior changes. And yet, the health of the wealthiest nation in the world continues to decline.

A Need For Real Health Education

Core factors for this epidemic amongst Americans can be found in a recent government study. The Institute of Medicine published a major study identifying that ninety million Americans are "health illiterate." This does not mean, in this internet dominant society, that people do not have access to or are not receiving enough health and wellness information. It means that the majority of us do not know how to interpret or use the health information we receive to control or improve our health and wellness or prevent chronic disease. This reveal the need for more educated Holistic Nurses and Health Coaches to bridge the gap.

Think of the last time you read the results of a new study in a magazine and realized you did not know how to use that information to support or improve your health. In fact, data presented to the American College of Health Care Executives identifies "lack of information as the number one root cause of death.” Yet, experts like Susan Edgman-Levatin, Executive Director, John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital, acknowledges "It's no secret that traditional methods of patient education are hopelessly ineffective."

NIWH Has An Answer

Addressing this problem, as far back as 1977, the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston, Massachusetts, in cooperation with physicians, nurses and online health educators, began research and development on an extraordinary, whole-person focused model of health education. The product of these 30 years of development in Boston area hospitals, Whole Health Education®, has today found its way into the medical mainstream.

These specialized health educators, Whole Health Educators ™, are uniquely trained in respectful presence and mindful listening skills as well as evidence-based, integrated health sciences to demystify for their clients the five major factors of health that influence how well we are or how sick we become. By providing “the big picture of health”®, an integrated understanding of how these five aspects can cause health or disease, the patient or client can possess the knowledge and tools to make necessary lifestyle changes and behavioral choices that are personally right for them. Identifying the root cause and effect of a chronic condition can free an individual to make changes they may not have previously considered.

Become The Solution

If you are looking for work with purpose and integrity and are a health care professional, or entry level candidate, who desires to serve others by providing evidence-based health information, and a natural, spiritual outlook on healing, this program may be of interest to you. NIWH offers Holistic Nurse Certification and Health Coach Certification. Program are offered through distance learning as well as optional in-person weekend classes, conducted at a Harvard affiliate hospital in the Boston area, which includes nationally recognized health experts and outstanding core facility members. For more information visit www.niwh.org or call 888-354-HEAL (4325)

 

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888-354-4325 Take charge of your health!