Tuesday, 17 June 2014

10 Simple Ways To Relax Every Day

The pace of our culture is increasing at an astonishing rate. While this speed certainly has its benefits and conveniences for our outer lives, they come at a great cost to our inner world.
For as all of the wisdom traditions teach, well-being can only be cultivated when you take time every day to slow down and turn inward. So as fabulous as it is to click a few buttons on your phone and receive a package at your doorstep two days later, the momentary thrill is quickly tempered by the undercurrent of anxiety and emptiness that pervades most people's lives.
When I talk about slowing down with my clients, many of them draw a blank. They're so addicted to the fast pace of our modern world that they believe they've lost the capacity to develop the inner life so necessary to well-being. I'm not talking about giving up all worldly possessions and retreating to a cave on the top of a mountain; no, I'm talking about making a commitment to yourself to slow down and turn inward each day while still remaining connected to a full and active life.
If you need a jump start reminder for how to do that, experiment with the following simple suggestions.
1. Light a candle.
There's something about the flicker of the flame in a dark room that naturally inspires us to slow turn and inward. Perhaps it's a primal reminder of an earlier time in human history when the lack of electricity required that we follow the natural rhythm of day and night. We can find thousands of ways of skirting time; lighting a candle hearkens back to a time when we lived more organically and less technologically.
2. Sit in nature.
Similarly, one of the beauties of nature is that it's completely unaffected by technology. The seasons still follow the same rhythm that has informed their cycle of shedding and renewal for thousands of years. The leaves of the trees die and reborn at their same pace; animals hibernate and migrate at the same rhythm. When you sit in nature — and I do mean sit, as opposed to hike, run, bike, or drive — you absorb via osmosis the pace of nature and your internal clock is reset to organic time.
3. Read poetry out loud.
Poetry is an aural art and, as such, is meant to be read out loud. When you read it out loud, your voice is more likely to meet the pace of the words as they were written, to savor each symbol, and to allow the imagery to wash over your soul and fill you up. It's like standing barefoot in the grass and allowing the waters of the earth rise up through the bottom of your feet, through the channels of your legs, and into the chambers of your heart.
4. Listen to inspiring speakers and teachers
One of the blessings of technology is that it allows us to access some of the world's greatest thinkers with the click of a button. If your mind is an overactive place and, despite trying to meditate you can't seem to quiet those incessantly loud and often mean voices, try replacing them with kinder ones by listening to inspiring audiobooks and lectures.
5. Read an actual book.
Kindles and iPads are convenient, and for some people they may even be easier on the eyes, but when you only take in information through technology, you're much more likely to jump onto the Internet or quickly check your email instead of staying focused on the book. There's a certain romance to reading an actual paper book that is lost when the information is presented technologically.Curling up with the iPad just doesn't feel quite the same as curling up with a good book.
6. Write an actual letter.
The act of putting pen to paper naturally slows us down. While it's convenient to let your fingers fly across the keyboard and click send, when you take the time to choose stationary, write an actual letter in your own hand, fold it up, address it and stamp it, and put it in the mailbox, you're hearkening another era where time moved at a slower pace, and you will move at that pace as well.
7. Meditate.
Meditating creates spaciousness and is now widely acknowledged as one of the most effective ways to slow down and turn inward. Thirty to forty minutes several days a week is ideal, but even just ten minutes of sitting down and getting to know your mind will help you fill your inner well.
8. Journal.
Journaling is a free and accessible way to enter your inner world. When you take time to reflect on the contents of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you develop a capacity to make choices regarding how you treat yourself. In other words, if you're operating on a running commentary that says, "I'm not good enough," journaling helps to bring that subtext into the forefront of consciousness where you can then choose either to believe it or seek to replace it with a commentary that's more loving and kind.
9. Take a nap.
When's the last time you took a nap? When's the last time, instead of getting something done, you lay down on the bed or your office floor and just closed your eyes? In our culture that values doing over being, it's hard to set aside the voice that cracks down with the cackling whip of "you're lazy" and remember that in many other cultures, a siesta or rest time is built into the fabric of the day and seen as an essential component to well-being.
10. Pet an animal.
If you're wondering how to cultivate more being and less doing, study your pet, as Eckhart Tolle writes in his beautiful little book, Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from our Dogs and Cats.

There are many other ways, of course. When you orient your compass toward filling the well of Self, you'll discover the ways that are most nourishing for you.

Source:  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14116/10-simple-ways-to-relax-every-day.html

Friday, 14 February 2014

How drinking coffee can give you a long, happy life

People joke about how drinking coffee has created a culture of caffeine junkies, people who are basically zombies without their cups of Joe. But the reality is that while some people will take anything to excess, moderate coffee consumption may actually be good for you. Very good. Research links drinking coffee to lowered risk of serious health condition, to longevity, and to better moods.

Coffee fights diseases

Studies indicate that drinking coffee correlates with lower risks of diabetes and heart diseases, two major contributors to premature death. It could also have a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease or delay the onset. These benefits only seem to come from consuming coffee with caffeine though; decaf doesn't do the trick.

Researchers from two universities in the United States discovered a link between greater levels of caffeine in the blood of people aged 65 and older with later appearances of Alzheimer's. According to the people from the Universities of South Florida and Miami, higher levels of caffeine appeared to correlate to a delay of two to four years of the disease when compared to people who had lower blood caffeine levels.

Dr. Chuanhai Cao of the University of San Francisco said that drinking caffeinated coffee in moderation won't necessarily prevent Alzheimer's, but the researchers think that it could significantly decrease Alzheimer's risk or at least delay the development.

Coffee is also a rich source of antioxidants that protect people from a variety of diseases. A 2005 study found that nothing else gives people nearly as many as antioxidants as coffee provides. For Americans, it is the number one source of antioxidants. Although there are other sources of antioxidants, such as fresh fruits and veggies, the human body is able to absorb more of these beneficial substances from coffee.

Coffee makes you happy

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that coffee boosts the mood. Just hang out in Starbucks and watch the faces of the people who come in and then see their faces change after they have their drinks. But a National Institutes of Health discovered that at least four cups of Joe per day correlates to a 10 percent lower risk of depression. The author of the study, Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, hypothesized that antioxidants are responsible.

Another study found a link between coffee and suicide risk. The Harvard School of Public Health study showed that people who consumed around two to four cups of java had only about half the risk of suicide. The suspected reason is that coffee assists the body to make neurotransmitters including dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. These chemicals help to fight depression.

Coffee may extend life

Most people aspire to live long happy lives, and coffee can assist with that not only by elevating the mood and staving off diseases, but it also may simply help you live longer. A 2012 study found that people who drank at least three cups daily had a lower risk of death. Both regular and decaf seemed to have a positive effect. A study from 2008 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine had similar findings.

So, if you feel guilty about how much coffee you drink, don't. Of course, these studies were all done with coffee, not expensive, high-calorie, extra sweet coffee-flavored beverages. There are no studies to support that habit.

4 Steps To Stop Worrying About What Other People Think Of You

Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, but many of us spend too much time and energy worrying about what other people think. You might not even realize you're doing it, but these kinds of mental gymnastics are unhealthy and stressful, making us feel unworthy and removing our attention from the present moment.
Here are four steps to help you stop worrying about what other people think, designed to help you maintain healthier and happier relationships with yourself and others.

1. Understand why you care.
In order to break the cycle, it's important to understand where the energy is coming from. We've been socialized by a culture that sets norms for our belongingness. From birth, we're taught we should act a certain way, dress a certain way, buy certain products, and adhere to certain ideologies to be liked and accepted. Social media brings the popularity contest to a whole new level, where how many friends we have, and how much they "like" us, is now publicly broadcast and recorded.
We are stressed and exhausted trying to manage our real and online personas to make sure that people continue to like and accept us. Many of us have spent our whole lives in this cycle, believing that a certain set of actions would bring us acceptance, only to repeatedly find that this is not the case. This is a form of social conditioning that we must now give ourselves permission to release!

2. Learn this mantra: What Other People Think About Me Is None of My Business!
The root of the problem with caring about what people think about you is that you're attaching yourself to an outcome that you have absolutely no control over. That’s right, you have NO CONTROL over what people say, do and think about you! You can have the best intentions, or you can do something ridiculous: It doesn’t matter. You do not control the way people will respond, just as they do not control the way you respond to them.
The belief that you have any ownership of or control over people’s opinions about you comes from a place of ego. The reality is that what other people think about you is none of your business! Take a moment and begin to process and accept this perspective. See how the mantra makes you feel, and note the resistance you might feel from your ego. This is normal. (In fact, with all this time spent worrying and managing expectations, this mantra can feel downright strange at first!)

3. Direct the energy to something positive.
This new perspective frees up an immense amount of time and energy to live in the NOW and experience your authentic flow. It also breaks the cycle of conditioning that if you could only do X, say Y, and buy Z, people would like and accept you. Deep inside we know that true acceptance comes from within. So instead of caring so much if someone might be talking about you behind your back ...
Breathe, repeat your mantra, and then direct the excess energy towards something positive, like following your passion and doing what you love! And if you don’t know what you're passionate about, go and find out! Try a creative new activity, such making art, dancing, playing music, building something, or frolicking outside. You'll be amazed at how happy and free you feel when you spend time doing what you love instead of worrying about what other people think!

4. Practice daily self-love and acceptance.
When you're living and creating from a place of genuine love and acceptance, you will know that what other people do, say, and think about you really has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. If you don’t like what they have to say about you, you can walk away knowing you are being true to yourself.
A regular, daily practice of self-love and self-acceptance is key for releasing attachment to outcomes and maintaining happy, healthy relationships. For many people, this journey begins with meditation, breath-work, yoga, eating healthy, spending time in nature, and creating art. No matter what you do, make sure to do something that reminds you how much you love yourself every day. As you feel more self-love and self-acceptance, you will attract more of it into your space.
This is a life-long mission, not an instant transformation that happens overnight, so please be kind and forgive yourself if you fall back into the cycle of worrying about what other people think. If you find yourself feeling attached to their opinions of you, just remember that they, like you, are walking a long journey of internal healing and growth, and that their attitudes are unique and personal to them ... and truly none of your business!

Source:  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12627/4-steps-to-stop-worrying-about-what-other-people-think-of-you.html

Thursday, 13 February 2014

10 Lies You Should Stop Telling Yourself Right Now

The mind is a real magician. It often presents an illusion so real that we don’t even stop to consider if it’s true. When we define ourselves by our projections (projections created by our minds – the same tricky mind that likes lying to us), we lock ourselves in the fiction that we already know who we are based on fears, logic, conditioning and habits.
We're limiting our true potential.
It’s time to examine your mind and ask yourself, “What lies am I telling myself that are holding me back?” Here's a list of 10 that you should be aware of and avoid, to become the happiest version of yourself.

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1. You are your feelings – you are your thoughts.
When you're encompassed by a powerful emotion it can feel like it's in every fiber of your being. But is this actually true? Are we our emotions?
If we were our feelings or thoughts, when they disappear, we should disappear too. But we don’t. Thoughts, feelings and emotions fade away like a weather system passing through. They are not you.

2. Risks aren't worth it.
Many people are on a quest for safety, but the reality is that no one will never attain it, given the certainty of uncertainty. Everyone lives in a constant state of change. So whether you play it safe or take risks, the outcome isn't guaranteed
Make choices that put you above everything and everyone else. Even your loved ones. After all, if you're not taking care of yourself, your relationships will eventually suffer.

3. Happiness is attached to material success.
You can’t buy happiness. The things in life that truly make us happy are always free: love, laughter, the present moment, kindness, acceptance, gratitude and compassion.

4. You’re fat, ugly, short or dumb.
There will always be someone smarter, funnier, more successful or better looking, you will never live up to the projections you seek. Remember that life is impermanent, so putting your self worth in the basket of physical appearances always will let you down. Stop worrying, because you'll only face an endless struggle of trying to maintain something that will always be out of grasp.

5. You’re a victim, or it's never your fault.
Stop being the victim. Is anyone else really responsible for how you feel inside? We all love to blame; how convenient it is that we often overlook our own responsibility in our relationships.
Accepting fault will improve your credibility, increase learning, solidify relationships and you will appear trustworthy. It will give you strength, not weaken it.

6. You don’t need my friends.
Many times your friendships will take a back seat to other prioritizes, like your kids or work, but telling yourself you don’t need to make the effort is a big mistake.
Friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness, enhance happiness, reduce stress and give you companionship.

7. The past decides the future.
Stop trying to hold on to the past, and stop beating yourself up for your past actions. We all make mistakes. It’s the way we learn, but you are not your mistakes. The past is gone, and dwelling will only strip the present of joy. This is your life, right now!

8. You are alone.
When you feel lonely, sad or hurt you may mistakenly believe that you're alone, that no one else has ever felt so low. The reality is that everyone in the entire universe at one time or another has felt these exact emotions. Just because you can’t always see the connection doesn’t mean it isn’t there, so take comfort in our interdependence.

9. You need to be perfect.
Find the balance between doing a good job and obsessing. Perfectionism causes stress, pessimism, obsessiveness, guilt, and the list goes on. Rememmber you are only human. Tackle life with a light playfulness. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

10. You need to worry about everything.
It is true that worrying strips you of all joy. Can we end suffering? I think we can, if we could only realize that all our suffering comes from our own unpleasant feelings. What if we changed our reactions and thoughts to outer problems. Just ask yourself, what if? It opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Recognize your thoughts, and don't be afraid to question them and redefine them.

Source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12538/10-lies-you-should-stop-telling-yourself-right-now.html

Three major signs you have mercury poisoning

Heavy metals are becoming more pervasive in our food, water, and air supply to the point they are turning up in products that we have previously deemed completely safe. Mercury is one heavy metal in particular that has ended up in our physiology in a variety of ways, and as a result, is causing the slow poisoning of our bodies to the point of acute illness. Here are some of the common signs.

Digestive problems

There are no shortage of reasons why people have digestive problems, but one common factor that many do not consider is mercury poisoning.

This starts for many in their mouth as the chewing of their food releases salivary enzymes, as it simultaneously stimulates the release of mercury from their fillings. This mercury mixes with your food and travels down to the digestive tract with it.

In the stomach this mercury combines with hydrochloric acid and produces mercuric chloride, which can damage the stomach lining and create ulcers. Not only that, but once this mercury comes into contact with our friendly bacteria in our intestinal system, it can kill them instantly by touching them. Unfortunately, this does not harm the mercury and it continues to destroy other friendly bacteria in its path.

This ultimately leads to imbalanced gut flora which creates a multitude of conditions and symptoms, most notably Candida Albicans and other digestive related disorders.

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Brain disorders

Mercury is lipophilic, meaning it concentrates in fatty tissues, mostly the brain as it is comprised mostly of fat. For this reason alone, it makes sense that any level of mercury poisoning is going to negatively affect the proper functioning of the brain due to mercury binding to it.

Unfortunately, it appears that the neurological development of fetuses, infants, and children are much more susceptible to mercury poisoning than adults, which may explain rising rates of brain related disorders like autism in infants exposed to vigorous vaccination schedules that contain mercury.

Brain related symptoms from mercury poisoning include late development of walking and talking for infants, and poor memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills. This is often labeled as dementia, autism, ADHD, Parkinson's, depression, migraines, and more.

Muscle and joint pain

Since mercury has an affinity for concentrating in fatty tissues, and tends to accumulate over time, it should come as no surprise that it can cause severe muscle and joint pain, including stiffness and swelling.

Signs of mercury toxicity in the musculoskeletal system include tender muscles, rapid muscle fatigue, joint stiffness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and TMJ dysfunction. This is often labeled as arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.

Where mercury is found and what you can do to remove it

Mercury is found in the air, drinking water, fish, dental amalgams, vaccines, occupational and home exposures, batteries, red tattoo dye, and more. Be careful to avoid highly polluted environments and the food and water near them, as well as medical procedures that subject you to mercury.

Detoxing from heavy metals is one of the most important, yet most difficult things to do for your health. It typically takes a long period of time to remove them safely and effectively, so starting right away and using sound medical counsel is vitally important.

First of all, consider a holistic dentist who specializes in the removal of mercury amalgams. Secondly, work with a holistic practitioner who understands the proper food, supplementation, and digestive and liver/kidney support required to safely and effectively remove mercury from your body.

Ensure you are properly detoxified in other areas, and have been properly nourished before you consider starting the process.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

3 Myths About Sex, Debunked!

It’s going to be a disappointing 45 years if this study is correct!
In the United States, the average life expectancy for men is 76 years. For women, it’s 81. But, a sex satisfaction poll conducted earlier this year showed that both men and women considered the best sex of their lives to have occurred in their early 30s! The conclusion drawn from the survey was that both men and women reach their sexual peaks around 30 years of age.
It’s clear that there are lots of beliefs about who, how and when to have great sex out there. The problem is that some of the most prevailing beliefs are flat-out false.
The trouble with this survey is that it drew from a relatively small pool of people (about 1281 people), and it’s therefore misleading. For instance, you might read a headline that says “Men and Women Reach Sexual Peak in Their 30s” and feel both reassured and very disheartened.
Sadly, it might confirm your perception of your own sexual experiences. And, if you’re already in your 40s, 50s, 60s or even 70s, you might be wondering if that’s it. You had your chance at great and satisfying sex, and now you have to settle for boring sex or none at all!
If you’re past your mid 30s and you don’t feel like you’ve had much (or any) fabulous sex, you might feel depressed and maybe even angry about that. We’d like to look at little more closely at some common sex myths to give you some hope. You see, we believe that you can have amazing and connecting sex even if you’re past what others say is your “sexual peak.”

1. Men peak younger than women. The prevailing belief used to be that men had their sexual peak at 18 while women peaked at 30. We wonder how much of this myth was linked to different attitudes about when and whether men and women should claim their sexual desires.
There’s no doubt that this myth creates a sense of mis-match in heterosexual relationships. It sets women and men up to believe that they’ll never be on the “same page” when it comes to really enjoying sexual intimacy. This causes distance and disconnection.

2.  Sex declines (or disappears) as you age. A big myth about sex is that it’s just not fun or passionate the older you get. For some, there is a belief that you won’t have sex much (or at all) when you get past a certain age. This belief puts even more negative stress and strain on getting older!
When a person’s body changes, he or she may give up trying to have great sex or even think it’s inappropriate. Rather than exploring new ways of being sexual with his or her partner, the person might completely shut down sexually. For those who are single, this myth may cause them to stop dating or refuse to date because of their or their potential partner’s age.

3. Sex inevitably becomes boring in long-term relationships. From our readers and coaching clients, we often hear that it is “just a given that passion will die over time.” The belief here is that it’s normal and unavoidable — sex will become stale and boring in a long-term relationship. The consequences of buying into this myth include: harboring resentment and anger, turning to addictions to make up for no passion, having affairs or merely tolerating a lagging sex life.

8 Bad Pet Parent Behaviors

We’d like to think that most pet parents are kind, responsible people, always looking out for the best interest of their beloved cat or dog. But is that always the case? Far from it! Even the most well-meaning pet parents can do things that harm their Fido or Fifi. Read on for some of the most common bad behaviors of pet parents. And, of course, a disclaimer: all of these behaviors have plenty of caveats, and, ultimately, the decisions you make regarding your pet are best left to you and your veterinarian.

1. You Think Your Pet’s Bad Behavior is All — Or Not at All — Your Fault.
Your pets’ behavior is  often an extension  of your behavior. Is your dog wreaking havoc by running around the house? Perhaps you don’t walk her enough. Incessant barking, chewing things that shouldn’t be chewed, and treating the house as her own personal bathroom: these are all behaviors that, with proper training, can, and should, be modified. But don’t give yourself too hard of a time — even the most seasoned amateur can have difficulties training some dogs, and some dog breeds in particular. That’s when it’s best to get the help of a seasoned professional.

2. You Let Your Dog Jump on Strangers.
Sure, you might think that your dog is the friendliest, sweetest and most fun animal on the planet. But the hard truth is that, well, not everyone feels that way. Plenty of people out there are afraid of dogs, are allergic, or just don’t appreciate a strange animal jumping on them. Plenty of people with dogs don’t appreciate a strange dog coming up to their beloved pooches. What may be cute to you is annoying and rude, or even scary, to someone else. If your dog has a tendency to jump on strangers, training and a leash can go a long way to prevent that.

3. You Won’t Take Your Cat to the Vet.
Most cats, and dogs, too, aren’t exactly excited to go to the veterinarian. But are humans gung-ho about visiting the doctor? Yes, it can be very, very traumatic on your cat to go to the vet. But not going to the vet has its consequences, too — would you rather your cat get very sick from a preventable problem? If your cat (or you) really can’t handle it, there are many vets that make house calls, though you’ll end up paying more for it.

4. You Feed Your Pet Too Much.
It’s so hard to say no to such a cute face! So many pet owners are guilty of over-feeding their beloved pet. Knock off the table scrap feeding, the extra serving of food, and the special treats just-because. You might be giving your pet a little instant gratification, but this can have serious repercussions  for your pet’s long-term health. Can’t resist the table scraps? Make sure you’re very clear on whether or not a “people food” is okay for your pet to eat. Many foods, even foods that are healthy for humans, can be deadly for cats and/or dogs.

5. You Treat Your Pet Like a Doll.
Your dog is not a fashion accessory, a baby, or a doll — so don’t treat it like one! As much as you want to pamper your pet, Fifi is an animal, and no amount of fancy sweaters, shoes, or pet strollers is ever going to turn your pet into something it isn’t. As long as you get the seal of approval from your vet, let your dog out to play. Let her feet touch the ground. Let her walk on her own. Let her be a dog! Unless your dog is small, old, or sick, or the weather is particularly cold, your dog will do fine without a sweater.

6. You Didn’t Let Your Lifestyle Dictate What Breed You Should Get. Is your border collie miserable in your tiny apartment? Your bulldog not keeping up with your active lifestyle? Your dalmatian snapping at your young children? There is often a good reason for that: you just didn’t choose the right breed of dog for your lifestyle. Choosing the right pet for you is about more than just which breed is the cutest, the softest, or the smallest. If you find yourself with a mismatched pooch, don’t force it to fit into your lifestyle — adapt to fit hers. After all, you chose to bring your pet into your family, and she’s your responsibility. If you and your pet are really mismatched, perhaps it’s because you haven’t taken the proper steps to train her. Start with that.

7. You’re Misusing Crates.
It can be sad to see your beloved pet in a crate — it can seem like doggy jail. But with proper training, your pooch can learn to think of his crate as a safe, comfortable place. And, if your dog tags along in the car, it’s much safer for him to be in the crate than it is to be loose in the car. Humans wear seat belts — dogs need protection, too! Puppies in particular really benefit from the crate, because it helps to reinforce all of the training you’re working on. Crate training, of course, is a decision best left to you and your veterinarian, but don’t be put off from it solely because of your emotions. At the same time, though, don’t overuse the crate. As a general rule, keep puppy crate time limited to 3-4 hours, and for adult dogs, 8 hours.