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.

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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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Research Reveals The Purpose Of Your Emotions

research reveals purpose of emotions

Most of us perceive the brain as being for thinking, or intellectual functions. We often think of ourselves, our personality, as what is going on in those intellectual functions from the neck up. In fact, there are several parts to our brain that contribute to who we are and how we form our personality, not just our intellectual cortex. In this way, the purpose/role of emotions is far more complex than meets the eye.

The cortex is what we refer to as our smart brain. Most of us know individuals who are brilliant academically or intellectually, yet they can be emotionally dysfunctional almost in the extreme. We often presume erroneously that our thinking brain should be “smart” enough to exercise dominion over our emotions.

However, the missing piece of information here is that our emotions actually are a survival adaptation mechanism that each of us develops as we process our early environment and social conditioning.

Aggressive Or Passive?
Some of us learn to be assertive or aggressive in our environments to adapt, and some of us learn to become passive or try to become invisible to stay safe and secure. Nothing is more powerful in the human being than the drive to survive. Hence, our emotions win in the battle between thinking and feeling.

It is helpful to understand that our emotions represent how we learned to adapt in our surroundings and environment, especially during the first five years of our development. Our familial input taught us, as it did Ivan Pavlov’s dogs, how to respond to the stimuli we received as infants and toddlers.

Embedded Conditioning
This embedded neurological conditioning is not overcome by thought processes; the thought process for humans is the newest component to our primitive, or primordial, brain. But it is in the survival adaptive portion of our brain that we form our personality and that we become conditioned to create and interact within relationships.

You have to understand that the interpersonal issues that can frustrate you may come from your drive to survive and the conditioned responses to the stimulation and environment you have experienced. They do not stem from a desire to be difficult or bad intent. Realize this and you can begin to be kinder and gentler toward yourself and others.

Our emotions are the way we learn to live and survive in our world. We cannot think them into changing, but we can step back and appreciate the service and challenge they offer us in our daily lives. We can also explore techniques that allow us to have greater control over our emotions. For a free chapter download on brain function and behavior, visit changingbehavior.org.

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What Nonverbal Communication Are You Sending?

What Nonverbal Communication Are You sending?

Albert Merhabien, the famed communication researcher, stated that nonverbal communication makes up almost 93 percent of all the “messages” we receive from other individuals. Others suggest that it is actually more like 60 percent to 70 percent of nonverbal communication that lets us know what others are really feeling.

What we know about how the brain and body work is that all thoughts and feelings are ways that we cope with surviving in our world and that, for many of us, not revealing our feelings and instead holding them back may be the “safe” way to cope with others at work, at home and in general.

Inside The Brain

What is also well understood is that there are “tells,” or neurological expressions of these withheld, nonverbal communications, that are going on inside of our brains. Even though we may not consciously or intentionally express verbally or physically how we feel, our brain/body connection does express these thoughts and feelings in nonverbal ways. These nonverbal ways are the “tells” that police and other professionals use to decide if someone is withholding information.

Many studies have been done on the subject of body language and nonverbal communication. It is important for all of us to become aware of how our physical and verbal or nonverbal behavior impacts others, especially those who spend the most time in our environment.

Nonverbal communication can often cause one individual in a relationship to become upset if he feels he is seeing or interpreting nonverbal actions by his partner as being rejecting or disinterested. Often, before a relationship breaks up, one partner suspects the relationship is in trouble because of a lack of eye contact or verbal communication or because of hostile body language, such as the crossing of arms or legs, in response to communication attempts.

Scientific Insights

There is a science to nonverbal communication interpretation, as well as a science to understanding the best way to express our feelings and how the way we do that can result in a positive or negative outcome. The science is directly related to neurological and neurotransmitter connections between thoughts and feelings in the brain and their communication to the muscles and nerves in the rest of our body.

If you would like more information on this subject, you can download a free chapter from Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn Proven Communication Skills by going to www.changingbehavior.org.

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Establish These Three Behaviors To Improve Your Life

The most important relationship we have is with ourselves. The way we think, eat, behave and use our resources define the quality of life we live. We all want to thrive and enjoy a healthy fulfilling life. Yet, in our over scheduled, frenzied personal environments and ever encroaching culture, the simple, basic, no-cost behaviors that will better our lives and foster an excellent relationship with ourselves are often overlooked.

Here is a list of 3 simple behaviors any of us can do immediately to improve and restore our well-being and enhance our health.

1. Buy with Cash

Over the last 5 years, most of us have had a reality check regarding the corrosive nature of debt. It can cause stress, anxiety and sleepless nights, robbing us of our well-being and causing us to lose control over our relationship with money. One of the fastest and easiest ways of “turning the ship around” when it comes to debt is to commit to using only cash for purchases and cutting up the credit cards.

While we can have an emergency card or line of credit squirreled away for a real emergency, by reining in our spending habits and eliminating debt, we can do more for our sense of well-being and health than following the latest health trends and starting an exercise program. Yes, it’s true – reducing and eliminating the crushing stress of debt accumulation is the number one act of self-care we all need to commit to. Studies show that chronic stress and worry will make us sicker and even cause life threatening events such as stroke and heart attack more so than any other lifestyle behavior.

Also, by paying in cash you are more aware of what you are actually spending and have the opportunity to ask yourself: “Do I really need to make this purchase?”

2. Clean out Your Closets

In our consumer-driven environment, we are invited daily to buy, buy, buy and can find ourselves living with closets, attics and basements overflowing with “stuff.” Much of this stuff we do not even use and may not even remember we have.

One of the most satisfying experiences is to clean out closets, drawers, basements, attics, garages, storage areas, and so forth. Thin out all the excess material possessions we have and do not need or use. Giving things away to the local “swap shop” or donating these unnecessary belongings to Goodwill or the Salvation Army will not only free up room and space in our homes, but will also provide a greater sense of control over your living space as well as provide a sense of orderliness and cleanliness – all good things for our health and happiness.

3. Post Your Life Goals and Affirmations

We all have goals and dreams we want to realize. One of the fastest, proven ways to achieve those goals and manifest our dreams is to write them down and post them throughout our whole working and living environments. Take the most urgent and important goal you have at this time and focus on it daily, using post-its or other reminders of what you want to manifest.

This no cost, proven method for creating the things we want in our lives can become an excellent life-long behavior. When one goal is realized or achieved, we can identify the next important goal and work on that specifically, using our desire and unconscious mind to manifest our dreams. After all, thoughts really are “things.” By repeatedly thinking on something, we can create it into reality.

Everything was a thought before it became a reality – the chair you are sitting on was a thought in someone’s mind before it was created. We can and do create our lives with our thoughts – so post away and realize your goals.

For more information about this topic, you can access a free excerpt from the bestselling book Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn Proven Communication Skills by visiting www.ChangingBehavior.org

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Take The First Step Towards Happiness

Take The First Step Towards Happiness

With such a strong emphasis on achievement, accumulation and recognition in our society, it is easy to become discouraged or disappointed with who or what we perceive ourselves to be, especially in how we stack up in the “pecking order” with those around us. Being happy with yourself is a choice that each of us can make every day by taking simple, practical steps to develop habits of happiness.

Take the first step towards happiness right now. It starts with creating an environment to work and live in that reduces stress and workload and brings order and ease, making your work and living easier. This uplifting environment can also provide the experience of soothing tranquility rather than focusing on the disorder and chaos that often become the working and living environments we find ourselves in.

Start With A Clean Slate

Clean out your desk drawers and closets, discarding excess. Redefining what is important to keep and what feels good to get rid of is a first step to creating a peaceful and happy living or working space. Creating an environment that truly resonates with your values is like building an oasis in the desert. By eliminating the need to accumulate more and more “things” around us, we can unburden ourselves and have a more orderly, relaxing and peaceful space to live and work in.

Review Your “Friends List” Too

This same philosophy can be applied to your circle of friends and acquaintances. Just like with material things, we can also accumulate unnecessary or unwanted relationships that can make demands on our time and energy and often insert negativity or sap our physical or financial resources. Clearing out the toxic or unhealthy relationships we may have can bring personal renewal and further our sense of happiness and contentment.

Embrace Family

Take the time to appreciate family. For most of us there are few individuals who have done more for us than our family members. This includes the people in our family who support us, are there when we need them and provide a “safe harbor” throughout our lives.

Losing loving family members can be devastating but no more so than when we fail to appreciate them as they are helping us along life’s bumpy road. Take the time to give back and express your gratitude to those who care and nurture. Not only will this bring them pleasure and a sense of being appreciated, but it will become a reminder of how loved and cared for we are. That allows us to feel more content and happy with being who we are.

For more information about this topic, you can access a free excerpt from the bestselling book Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn Proven Communication Skills by visiting www.ChangingBehavior.org

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Learn The Surprising Way That Food Affects Your Mood

Learn The Surprising Way That Food Affects Your Mood

Did you know that what you eat affects your mood? It's interesting that the emphasis is usually on how things from the outside of us affect our insides. In reality so much of what is going on inside of us affects our outsides. That’s right, our mood and our food are intimately connected.

This is really evident in terms of weight loss and weight gain. The way we feel about ourselves, work, life, if we are fulfilled or dissatisfied, has more to do with what or how much we choose to eat than how eating a food has to do with how it "makes us feel." Our food decisions are often linked to our level of emotional wellness.

One of the reasons diets don't work is because the "work" is being done on the outside of the problem instead of the inside. I have been a nutritionist for over 30 years and have seen tens of thousands of patients who want to change the way they look or the way they eat.

When we start to "work" on the goal, within a relatively short period of time, they become aware that there are underlying feelings and emotions associated with not eating foods that help them to "medicate" or mask their feelings.

They often become discouraged because the feelings are uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It is our human nature to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. It takes courage to truly tackle and confront the underlying issues of "food and mood," rather than focusing on the outside of the problem, to focus on the inside instead.

Here is an exercise you may find to be of value. If you are dealing with mood or food issues, keep a journal for 10 days. Write down everything you eat and how you feel when you don’t eat what you want, as well as how you feel when you DO eat what you want.

Just becoming more aware of what you are putting in your mouth and how it translates to how you feel after you eat a particular food, can be the start of a healthier and happier relationship with food and your mood. Before you take your next bite, consider whether you are feeding your stomach, your mood, or both.

 

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