Living On the Edge

On a day to day basis your immune system ‘seems’ to be keeping your body fit and healthy, however when your living on the edge continually and you don’t listen to your body’s signal system all’s it takes is one immune challenge, high stress incident, or emotional crisis to reach ‘THE TIPPING POINT’ and tilt your immune system over the edge.

Our body’s immune system has the natural ability to keep us fit and healthy when we give it the right tools and create the right environment. At the same time we know that the fast pace of life in the 21st century and the rapid evolution of:

  • Eating habits
  • Food sources
  • Financial burden
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Continuous stress
  • Family breakdown
  • Community structure
  • Relationship challenges

sees our mind and bodies struggling to keep up with the pace which is reflected in our current ramped increase in diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, ADHD, Hormone Challenges and Depression to name a few.

According to the World Health Organization, “Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal well-being.” Achieving wellness requires balancing the various aspects of the whole person; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

The question is

  • ‘Do you wait until you hit a crisis and pass the tipping point?

or

  • Do you want to be proactive participant in changing your life?

If you answered yes to number one then stop reading now.

If you answered yes to number two then the curiosity and exploration becomes what can you remove or transform in your life to reduce the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual stress and what things can you add to your life to boost your immune system, balance and harmonise your spirit, mind and emotions to maximise your health, vitality and life.

2     TWO     2     TO     2     Too     2

No matter which way you put it … There are only 2 CHOICES!

Every choice you make in every moment of every day either ADDS to your quality of life or DETRACTS from it on a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level. IT’S THAT SIMPLE!

The question is how PRESENT are you with what’s happening today? Most of us are living in this week’s budget, last year’s balance sheet or next week’s schedule. The power to choose is in your hands. Whether your:

  • Walking down the shopping isle,
  • Reaching for the 3rd piece of chocolate cake
  • Engaging in gossip
  • Stuck in a cycle of negative self talk
  • Emotionally beating yourself up
  • Unorganized and living in chaos

It’s not about getting it right or getting it wrong it simply requires your presence of mind and awareness to make proactive choices which enhance your life.

The question in every moment becomes ‘Does this choice make me feel heavy or light?’, ‘Does this choice take me one step closer to living my best life or 2 steps back?’

ONLY YOU have the power to choose.

One curious step at a time …

Excerpt from soon to be released ‘How Close Are You Dancing To The Fire? by Michelle Richmond

We all come to choice points in life when happiness demands that we are in touch not only with what needs to be done to feel successful, but also with what needs to be done to support us as individuals. 

To meet this demand Change Agent Michelle Richmond designs Life Transformation Programs and One on One Mentoring Sessions that support people in being a proactive participant in transforming thier business, relationships, health and life. A self care approach that places increased mastery of your life back in your hands.

Whilst her warmth, humility compliment her clinical experience and insight, she utilizes a well tested understanding of what inspires people to make change in their lives. Her previous role as C.E.O. of the Asher Institute of Integrative Medicine has seen Michelle mentoring 1000’s of people in sustainable wellness. She continues to expand her repertoire of knowledge as she interviews colleagues from around the globe on Holistic Cancer Treatment as Co Director of maxAwareness.com an on line educational hub.

She is a Facilitator for the ‘Quest for Life Foundation’ and ‘Stepping Out’, a Trustee for the Integrative Cancer Solutions Institute and the Children’s Neuro Development Research Foundation and a member of the International Federation of Coaches.

Boost Your Mood With Food

You are what you eat. So if you’re finding yourself moody, tired and slightly depressed, changing the foods you eat may help improve how you feel. Caitlin Reid, dietitian and author of Health & the City, explains how to use food to boost your frame of mind.

There’s a connection between your body and mind – what you eat not only fuels your body, it influences how you feel. From the pleasure of cooking and eating to the changes in brain chemistry that food can bring, there are many reasons why your food choices impacts on your mood. So if you’re feeling a bit down, just a few small tweaks to your diet may lift your spirits in no time. Read on to see which mood food you should be eating and those you should be limiting.

Make sure you eat:

1. Salmon: Topping the list of excellent mood foods is of course salmon, which is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. A healthy brain depends on omega-3 fats, as they’re a major component of brain cell membranes and are crucial for keeping brain signals moving smoothly. Research suggests that omega-3 fats can help reduce depressive symptoms. So, be sure to add salmon to your weekly shopping list.

2. Oats: Being a source of low-GI carbohydrates, oats help to control sugar levels, which can help maintain energy levels and mood. Carbohydrates also influence serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a brain chemical that boosts mood and relaxes us. Start the day the happy way with a bowl of porridge or muesli.

3. Low-fat milk: Packed with protein and carbohydrates, low-fat milk is bound to brighten your day. It contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels in the body. However to do this, tryptophan must get into the brain and it requires insulin to do this. This is where the carbohydrates in the milk become important – they increase insulin levels, which helps drive tryptophan into the brain so it can be used to make serotonin. Milk = better mood.

4. Avocado: Apart from containing tryptophan, avocadoes also contain vitamin B6, which is an essential vitamin needed in the manufacturing of serotonin from tryptophan. Inadequate vitamin B6 disrupts the formation and functioning of serotonin, which may cause depression.

5. Chickpeas: Chickpeas are rich in folate, another B vitamin important for the regulation of mood and proper nerve functioning in the brain. Low levels of folate have been linked to depression, as inadequate folate appears to impair the metabolism of serotonin. Include chickpeas in a salad, pasta or couscous dish.

Make sure you consume less:

Coffee: It has the fantastic ability to get us going in the morning, but have too much coffee and you’ll end up jittery. Make sure you don’t eliminate coffee completely though – cut it down gradually. In particular, avoid coffee in the afternoon so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep and you wake the next day with loads of energy.

Alcohol: In small amounts alcohol can produce a temporary feeling of euphoria, but this ‘feel good’ beverage is actually a depressant that affects all nerve cells. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, people can quickly turn to an emotionally unstable state. Alcohol abuse can lead to depressive disorders, so make sure you enjoy in moderation.

Sugary foods: If you’re like many of us, come 3pm and you’re probably searching the pantry or your desk drawers for a sugar fix. It might be chocolate, a slice of cake or a couple of sweet biscuits, but either way the sugar hit is bound to give you a temporary boost of energy only to have you crushing back down moments later. Choose low-GI carbohydrates instead.

Caitlin Reid’s book Health & The City (Longueville media). RRP $22.95 www.healthandthecity.com.au

The Goddess Philosophy

PLEASURE IS A WOMAN’S BIRTHRIGHT

Pleasure or getting your goodies from life is a woman’s birthright, yet so often it’s swept aside and comes last on the list. I believe that living a life of pleasure is like a functioning muscle: Too much compromise too much putting others first and it becomes slack.

Women have somehow managed to become so geared to compromise, happily settling for “I’m tired, but I’m ok” most days; burning themselves out in the pursuit of career achievement or being a supermum; or allowing themselves to become rather invisible and simply functioning instead of truly living.

They rarely take the time to indulge themselves or take real pleasure in something…pleasure is seen as a luxury – yet researchers have found that levels of nitric oxide (a gas) in the body are linked to the how much pleasure or how much stress you allow yourself each day. Pleasure can be so many things: It’s watching a film that makes you cry buckets; volunteering at the homeless shelter; going for a walk along the coastal path in the rain; doing yoga, wearing yoga wear that lifts you up so you look your fabulous best (of course!); reading a novel from beginning to end; having a champagne fuelled lunch with the girls and laughing until you your face hurts; indulging in a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine and music; having wild and exhilarating sex! Even the thought of pleasure gives you pleasure! So in a nutshell the more pleasurable your day/ your existence the higher your levels of nitric oxide and in turn the higher level of immunity to disease.

So the next time your partner asks you what you really want to do Friday night, instead of settling for “a video and take out” which is really what he’d like, how about saying instead: “I want you to massage my feet with warm oil, look deeply into my eyes and really see me” or “I want to sit naked at the table except for a pair of heels and I want you to feed me morsels of food whilst making me laugh madly!”

My philosophy’s all about helping women regain that confidence, sense of self and real energy to do whatever gives them pleasure and makes them feel great about themselves… and to do it a lot! Then you have surplus to give. When you have surplus you have energy for life.

Marina Jacoby * Yoga instructor, yogawear designer /Director of Marina J Yogawear

Dodging the Winter Blues

Have you ever noticed how in winter we seem to lose some of our drive. In spring we come alive at the prospect of sun and fresh air. We have so many plans and are full of hope. A new start. Summer arrives and we seem to have more time to do things. We feel more energised, ready to face the world. We even get motivated to look after our physical bodies and try to get fit. As the day dawn’s new hope awakens. Inspiration waits for us.

In winter, we seem to lose momentum. We become lethargic as our energy levels drop. Like a bear, all we want to do is hibernate. We feel tired and we seem to lose our inspiration. That drive that seems to keep us going through the summer months dissipates with time during the winter months.

Have you ever noticed how our energy levels drop after a few constant days of rain and dark skies? We tend to lose our smile and our sense of humour. All we want is to stay at home and hide from the world, eat comfort food and do nothing. We become easily agitated as we allow things that would ordinarily seem trivial to affect us.

Winter would be perfect if we didn’t have to get up to cold, wet, dark mornings, work all day and only get home as the sun is setting, to face even more work. For many of us getting home is just the start of another shift. Cooking, cleaning, looking after the children; your partner.

Most people do not even enjoy their workplace yet it’s where they spend most of their time. It’s a place where there is constant pressure to perform, office politics, and often, the unrealistic expectations we put upon ourselves.

When our energy levels drop, so do our immune systems. We start to feel depleted. We get lost in our heads. The mind chatter becomes constant and dissolves all sense of clarity. Our emotions start to surface more intensely. The thoughts that are based on emotions take hold to the point that we lose sight of the bigger picture or any sense of logic.

However, the world is what you think it is. Thoughts turn into words which turn into action.

Imagine that your brain is a computer and that the virus is the negative thought pattern in your mind. When you continue to only think of negative thoughts, ideas and experiences, then with time, they start to manifest in your reality. This seems to intensify in winter with the decrease in sunlight, and colder temperatures. It is easier to get lost in our thoughts and allow a distorted reality to take shape. We forget that each experience is merely a lesson that we need to learn. Instead we get caught up in the emotions and lose sight of the lesson. We despair as we fall deeper and deeper into the victim mentality.

An example of this is a client I once had. Everything in her life was wrong and of course it was everyone and everything else’s fault. All she spoke about was doom and gloom, There was not one positive thing that came out of her mouth to the point where she could no longer remember one happy moment in her life. At the age of 32 you would think that there would be at least one happy moment, one good laugh, one joke. It reached the point where she even found it hard to see colours. She had imprisoned herself in her own mind. She was unable to work and relied on anti-depression drugs to get her through the day. This was an attractive, intelligent woman who only two years earlier was a successful lawyer. Sadly she was unable to see her beauty. She had become so critical and full of judgements.

So why do we allow this to happen?

We don’t take into consideration the climate changes which naturally affect our physical and mental bodies. We stop listening to our bodies and continue to push ourselves to the max until these emotions turn into a physical ailment for us to address. Typically we ignore our pain or try to suppress it. This then manifests into a more serious problem. We still keep ignoring our bodies, refusing to nurture ourselves and continue to push hard until we reach breaking point.

A more common example of this is when we start to feel run down, but we still try to maintain the same level of intensity as we do in summer. We do not take into consideration the fundamental changes in the weather patterns when we already understand that without enough sunlight on our skin (vitamin D) we can easily fall into a state of depression. With the colder months our body gets tired and sends signals for us to rest. When ignored, these signals can easily turn into flu symptoms. Continuing to ignore these signals will then often lead to a more serious infection which takes longer for us to recover from. We start to feel vulnerable as fear takes hold.

In summer it is easier to maintain balance and be able to deal with all this. There is the flow of the suns rays to energise us and keep us in a more positive state of being. We swim in the ocean which helps to cleanse and energise our bodies. We walk bare footed on the land which helps to ground our energy and we are more likely to try our hand at keeping fit.

As winter approaches we tend to stay indoors more. Our energy levels drop because we have not found an alternative to compensate us for the loss of sunshine and fresh, outdoor air. We are less social and we tend to feel uninspired.

Have you ever noticed that as soon as the clouds clear and the sun comes out we automatically start to feel more at peace. It’s as if you can breath again for the first time. That incredible feeling when the sun first touches your skin, that gentle warmth. Our moods automatically change once the sun comes out.

We feel lighter, calmer, a fog lifted for that brief moment. The secret is to harness that feeling when ever your body needs it. Not to just sit around and become a victim.

It is important that in winter we listen to our bodies more and try to make the most of the good weather. Enjoy the moment and allow the mind to become still. Take deep breaths now and then and allow yourself to centre. Don’t you find, that it is so much easier to look after other people than to nurture ourselves. We always come last, yet if you can’t look after you then who will? Our bodies actually tell us what they need but we ignore them. Science tells us that without sunlight we will cease to function. One of the key factors in treating MS is vitamin D – sunlight.

Prevention is better than cure. Following are some tools that you can utilise in order to prevent the winter blues. They are natural and effective and the only thing it costs is a little of your time.

Remember; energy flows where attention goes so each time you catch yourself thinking of a negative thought or experience, replace it with a positive thought, feeling or experience immediately. You can visualise the thought or feeling on a canvas. See yourself painting over it with a golden paint and then replace that thought or emotion with a positive thought, emotion or memory. Breathe deep that feeling of freedom, exhilaration, joy and peace. See yourself happy and sooner or later you will start to believe it and thus create it. If, like my client, you find it difficult, then think of the best sex you ever had. I bet you’re smiling right now at the thought. Laughter is the greatest medicine.

There are many tools you can utilise to assist you in dealing with depression. It’s important that you find what resonates for you. There is no right way or wrong way, it is your journey and you must find your truth, what works for you.

Some tools you can use to clear your mind and get the energy flowing are meditation, chi gong, yoga, thai chi, healing treatments and massage to name a few. If anger is an issue, it must also be released physically, so roll the windows up in your car and scream your lungs out, run, surf, ride your bike, whatever works. For me, boxing works the best. I tried punching pillows and found it most frustrating – but hey, it might work for you! In this way, you will not be taking out your frustrations on others.

A good, quick meditation before you start the day is:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take deep, gentle breaths – visualising a golden yellow colour like the midday sun coming down from creator (whatever creator is to you). If you can’t visualise it just put the intent or try to sense it.
  • Breathe this colour down through the top of the head, down the body and into the naval chakra. (located at the belly button)
  • Do not force the breath.
  • Feel the stomach expand outwards as you breathe in.
  • Stomach goes in as you breath out.
  • Breathe out slowly and gently. Visualise the golden yellow colour touching every cell of your body. Stomach goes in as your breath out.
  • Imagine this colour flooding your whole body. Your muscles, bones, organs, skin, hair etc
  • Do this X 21 breaths
  • When completed, continue to take slow breaths and start to wiggle your toes slowly, then your fingers, moving up to the shoulders, neck and head.
  • When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.
  • To ground your energy (so you’re not so caught up in the head) breathe into the stomach and as you breathe out, visualise or sense golden roots forming out of your feet, going all the way down into the core of the earth. Do this several times as it will help to balance you. This is a simple and effective tool to use each time you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s ideal to do before you have to confront someone, go into a meeting, or anytime you are feeling lost in your head and in need of some clarity.

It’s important to realise that you do have the ability to stop the mind chatter that takes over at times, just as easily as you created it. You have a choice and it is your responsibility to make peace within your world. The happiness and joy you seek can only come from within. By nurturing ourselves, we are able to create a constant flow of energy in our bodies, which makes the flow of life much smoother. Regardless of seasons, when you use these techniques you are able to balance your emotions with much greater ease. Just try it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Remember you have the ability to create your reality. You always have a choice.

The Healing Power of Food and a Positive Mindset

A few months ago I was hospitalised for my Crohn’s Disease. At the time I had suffered for a couple of months with joint pain, stomach pain, feeling like I had the flu all the time and feeling very weak. The pain and the flu feeling was so bad, that the only relief I could get was having 4 – 6 hot baths a day. I have always been an exercise fanatic and the pain stopped me from exercising which was very frusrating. It was the first time since this disease was diagnosed eleven years ago, that I thought it might finally claim my wonderful lifestyle. I was scared, really really scared.

The doctors at the hospital insisted I be put on steroids, something I had resisted through my illness, in fact, I had not been taking any medication at all for many years. I believed (truly believed) that my fitness and my postiive mindset would keep me free from symptoms. I had proven this before because years ago when I was first diagnosed I increased my exercise and was extremely fit, I believed that the fitness kept me free from Crohn’s symptoms. I did take a drug for three years, however, I became allergic to that medication so sought out alternative therapies.

My research resulted in me practising a gluten and dairy free diet and the results were amazing. However, over the years I became bored of this diet, and thinking I was cured, I went back to not very good eating habits. Then I paid the price! Over the years of eating the wrong foods for my body, it took its toll and I ended up in the hospital on steroids, although I fought the doctors with tears and tantrums prior to taking my first tablets.

I lasted four days on the steroids, and I am here to say, they did give me immediate relief. I felt fantastic! However on day 4 I started to notice weight gain and my mood became aggressive. That was it for me, I took myself off them the next day (not recommended to anyone and it was a risky thing for me to do). I knew I was going to be in for a hard time that night, but nothing could have prepared me for how difficult a time I had. I was at home by myself that night so I had no one to help me and I spent the night shaking, aching and feeling like I was going to die. The next day the joint pain and flu feeling was back in full force and I thought that if this was to be the rest of my life, it wasn’t going to be much fun.

I decided that I would do whatever it took to get better. I told those that are close to me to “watch this space” and that I would cure my symptoms myself with my diet and positive mindset. I put myself on an anti inflammatory diet, took myself off sugar, salt, wheat, white rice, dairy. I ate copious amounts of avocadoes, Fish Oil, olive oil, fish, dark berries, vegetables and slippery elm powder. I had convinced myself that this would work, so I put a ‘belief’ in my head that I would be healthy again in a few weeks.

It worked within a week! Nothing short of a miracle to the people who witnessed what happened. To date, I am rigid with my diet and will never venture off it again. I have a friend, who is an Alchemist, he suggested that every day I drink a solution of chlorophyll, Chia seeds and Himalayan salt mixed in with purified water. At first it was a bit hard to stomach, however now I love it and drink over a litre per day. This has resulted in my skin being very hydrated and makes me feel wonderful. So thanks to Bill Rock in Manly for that little gem! Chlorophyll is known to be good for the blood, Chia is the highest known plant source of anti-inflammatory Omega 3 (8 times more than salmon) as well as a good source of potassium, phosphorous, folate, zinc, Vitamins A, B12, C and many other great benefits. Himalayan salt has a full spectrum of trace elements that provide the bloodstream a mineral-rich solution in a naturally balanced concentration for electrolyte replenishment.

My lifestyle today is eating a healthy diet, drinking my potion and exercising – I run and I work with free weights. I feel fantastic, I refuse to go on any medication and the more I research the powerful healing of some foods, the more I am convinced that our diet is vitally important to having good health. I keep a positive mind and try never to think of negative thoughts.

I am not a healthcare professional and just relaying a story that worked for me, my advice to you if you are unwell is to do your own research and be guided by your doctors.

Debbie Carr is a director of the True Colours Group and Coyote Management International. You can find her atwww.truecoloursrecruitment.comwww.truecolourstraining.comwww.truecolourskeynotes.com andwww.coyote.com.au/debbie_carr.html and you can read her story at www.seemingly-sane.com