What is your Happiness Threshold?

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Most people forget or never knew that your Nervous System not only coordinates all your joints and muscles, but it also has a huge impact on your mood, your thoughts and feelings.

We all subconsciously know this because we can see the impact of stress on our posture (take Theresa May for example, her posture is collapsing under the stress of Brexit). And at a more personal level, try feeling really miserable and then stand up very straight, stretch your arms out to the side and throw your head back. Now try to feel really miserable. It’s remarkably hard I know.

But what made me ask the question about happiness?

Party because so many of my clients have happiness as one of their goals…..

I’ve just been on a skiing holiday. Now although I’m sporty, I’ve come to skiing very late in my life so I’m not very good. I go away with a ski club so that I can ski with people of my level, whilst my husband who is an excellent skier goes off with the advanced group. This year I chose to ski with a very experienced skier who was nearly 30 years my senior. And through her I got the big “aha”…..

"Happiness comes from Making Progress”

What do I mean by Progress?

For the first time ever, I managed to get down a Black run and actually enjoy the experience. I wasn’t terrified, I skied it technically quite well, though slower than my friend. It felt amazing because I could see and experience the progress I was making. And every day last week I learnt something new. I did things that a few years ago would have put me into serious fear and distress.

How to mess up Happiness…

So if my goal had been to ski as well as my husband last week would have been depressing, a total failure and not a pleasurable experience. The reality is, it’s unlikely I’ll never ski to his level, he started over 40 years ago.

So how do we make our happiness threshold unattainable? Usually it’s out mind that messes us up - the perfection gene is what I call it. It’s that little voice that either sets totally unrealistic standards and then beats you up when you don’t achieve them, or even if you making progress finds someone else to compare you to and says “but they are doing better than you…..”

Do you recognise that voice?

How to Achieve Progress and hence lower your Happiness Threshold?

There is a balance here. It’s tempting to set super easy goals and then you achieve everything. However, if your goals are too easy, sooner or later you’ll get bored and then the fun will go out.

I set myself the challenge this year to ski with different people and be open to new experiences and challenge. I did have one day where I scared myself on a red run by going way faster than I was capable of and being out of control. I recovered by holding my nerve and didn’t fall or injure myself or thankfully anyone else. I learnt from it because I was still on the edge of my comfort zone, but beyond it to be honest.

So set yourself goals that are going to stretch you, but are also achievable. Skiing with others was a realistic goal, what I didn’t know was would it stretch me. Because I put challenge in my goals, I got exactly what I asked for. New people, challenge and a huge amount of happiness and pleasure.

I’m curious to hear how other people experience this? Do ask yourself - what is my happiness threshold and how can I lower it realistically?

What else can I do?

  1. Notice when you make progress and how it makes you feel

  2. Observe how often you sabotage happiness, it’s probably more than you think

  3. Practice somato respiratory integration Stage 1 daily to check in with your internal state

  4. Get your nervous system checked by a holistic chiropractor or other health based practitioner and make sure your posture supports who you are and who you want to be.

Setting Your Health Goals for 2019?

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So January is here. Have you set your New Years Resolutions yet? Are you doing a “dry January”? Have you joined a gym (again) to try and get fit? How are you bringing in the New Year?

Personally, I used to set “resolutions” every year, and then spend January working out how I was going to break them and feeling what really mattered to me. And generally within a few weeks, they’d all be forgotten until the next year.

But what about health resolutions?

Obviously my passion is health and wellbeing. It’s my work, it’s a big part of my life. I spend time outside of work reading research on nutrition, listening to podcasts on the latest research. It’s definitely “more than a job” to me.

A question that comes up for me over and over regarding health is how to achieve my goals around my health. So having talked to many people over several decades about health goals, most of you included, I wanted to remind you of some of the principles that make the biggest difference:

1.       Make sure you state what you want, not what you don’t want!

Do you know how many people write goals along the lines of:

i)                    Lose Weight

ii)                   Get out of pain

iii)                 Stop beating myself up

The problem with this is you’re focusing on losing something, but the brain hears:

i)                    Weight

ii)                   Pain

iii)                 Beating myself up

 

2.       What do I want to be able to do?

So the first thing is to decide what you want, not what you don’t want.

I’ve also found a great way of looking at my health is look at what I want to be able to do. For example personally, I still play hockey at least once a week. To do that and get the most from it I need to be fit, focused, my back needs to be flexible and strong and I need a clear head (because at my age, I cannot play hockey well if I’m fuzzy or hungover).

So what do you want to be able to do? And how does your body need to be to achieve that?

3.       Ask yourself - how do I want to feel/how do I want to think?

Another area I find really helps me to set my goals is to ask this question. Because personally that’s really important for me too? Because true wellness is not just about my physical body, it’s about my emotional state, my mental state and my spirit. So knowing what I want in all of these areas helps.

 I want to feel relaxed, at ease but also energized and motivated. I want to feel happy, satisfied and excited. And I want to make a difference in the lives of others. And to do that, I have to look after my body to the best of my ability so that I have the capacity to give more.

 So ask yourself:

  1.   How do I want to feel? Physically? Emotionally?

  2. What does my mental state need to be like?

  3. Do I have things that are bigger than me that I want to achieve?

 
4.       Participate in achieving your Goals

I personally believe that a healthy functioning nervous system (through a healthy, functioning spine) takes you a long way towards any health goals. And NSA is one approach that will take you a long way in that direction.

I also know that you have to feel self-empowered, which is where the SRI comes in.

But there is more to wellness than NSA and SRI. What you eat, what you think and how much you move/exercise will also make a difference.

So what do you need to do in 2019 to help move you forwards to a better, healthier version of you?

So if there were a recipe for me to achieve my health goals in 2019 it would contain elements of all of the following:

  • Food/nutrition

  • Exercise

  • what I think/emotional state (SRI or other modalities that empower me)

  • regular care of my spine and nervous system (NSA or subluxation based chiropractic)

  • Things I really enjoy doing that bring me pleasure

  • Things that make a difference to others 

Have fun creating a healthy 2019.

When to Choose Alternative or Mainstream Healthcare for Neuro-Muscular-Pain?

It’s a question that many of us ask. I like most people was brought up to believe that the Doctor is always right, and that medicine will have an answer to all of my ills. My experience has taught me otherwise, but I know for many they will always default to their GP.

I’m personally a big fan of mainstream healthcare. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in my early 20’s and without medicine, I would be long under. However with my back problems, wrist injuries and sports injuries I’ve not had the same success, which was a big factor in why I ended up retraining as a chiropractor in my late 20’s.

I’m going to focus on neuro-musculo-skeletal problems, though this process can be applied to many areas of health. Just use common sense, and you’ll usually find a good solution.

So what questions could you ask when deciding where to get help with different types of he?

My first question is always - is this life threatening in the short term. If the answer is yes, then go to A&E. Some conditions need medical intervention and they need it NOW. Fractures need to be diagnosed and x-rays do the job quickly and cheaply. For a bad whiplash, it’s always worth getting checked over in A&E first for example, because an unstable or fracture neck could lead to paralysis or even death. And medics are very good at putting you back together when surgical intervention is the short term need.

So I’m alive, nothing is going to kill me, but I’m in lots of pain. What is best?

I’ve had a few severe pain episodes in my life - I damaged a disc in my low back in my 20’s and I had a frozen shoulder a few years back. Both were crippling painful and neither were life threatening, though both potentially “quality of life” threatening.

My questions when it comes to solutions are mainly around the longer term, because I can handle a bit of short term pain. So whatever the intervention I want to know the following:

  • what are the side effects and the consequences of the side effects?

  • how will that affect my pain levels in the short/long term?

  • how will this affect my overall well-being and ability to function in the longer term

Pain killers are most peoples first choice because then life can pretty much carry on as usual, assuming they work.

Here are my concerns around Pain Killers:

  • they numb a problem, leading to potential of more damage

  • they don’t fix the solution, they’re a bit like taking the oil light out of the dashboard instead of changing the oil

  • many painkillers have side effects ranging from gut problems,liver problems, or even mental health problems. You need to know what they are and look out for them. Recent studies have even shown that every day pain killers such as paracetamol are linked to a reduction in the ability to feel empathy, scary I thought. So do your research. Some people also get addicted and getting off the drugs becomes a huge problem.

So let’s assume you’re looking beyond pain killers for a longer term solution. The mainstream approach is physiotherapy, which on the NHS usually means exercises. Exercises are great as far as I’m concerned, as long as they are taught properly and are done to the frequency advised. This works well for many simple back problems, often movement is at least part of the solution.

Alternative Professions

Then you come to the alternative options - or put another way - the options you’ll have to pay for out of your own pocket. You can chose from so many nowadays from Chiropractic, Osteopathy to Spiritual Healing or Reiki. I could list so many.

Here are the questions I always ask?

What are the short and long term goals of the practitioner?

If their whole focus is on pain relief, that may be great, but sometimes this becomes a patch-up, not a long term solution and symptoms rapidly come back

Will I become more resourceful as a result of this?

Having an injury or pain is rubbish, but it can also be an opportunity. Depending on whether you working with a practitioner or the practitioner is “doing to you” can make a big difference. So find out how the practitioner will empower you to be more healthy, more resourceful and more prepared for the future.

We teach everyone Somato-Respiratory Integration (SRI), which is a bodymind approach that uses breath, movement and energy to become more aware of what is going on in your body. With practice, people learn how to release tight, tense areas and how to be more in their personal power. It returns some control to the healing process. Many report feeling that being involved in their journey is one of the most important things to them. We combine SRI with our chiropractic approach, and together get better results.

What are the side effects?

Side effects is a description coined by the medical industry to describe unwelcome events that can happen from medication. Read up on your meds, it’s your body and your responsibility to understand what might happen.

Time is also a big one - many exercise programs require a big commitment to get results, sometimes x3 per day, and many people struggle to put this in, usually resulting in poor results. So if you don’t have the time available you need to look elsewhere.

I’ve found that there are even many positive side effects associated with some interventions.

So what positive side effects can you expect from Network Chiropractic?

In a big retrospective study of nearly 3000, it was found that over 70% people experienced improvements in ALL of the following areas.

  • physical health

  • emotional/mental health

  • life enjoyment

  • stress handling

  • overall quality of life

People also reported spontaneously adopting healthier life style choices without any effort, such as dietary and exercise choices.

So it appears that working with your spine and nervous system, is so much more than just “fixing” your back pain.

So whatever intervention you choose, it’s good to know what the long and short term outcomes are.

Be safe, do your research and make a choice that suits you. I’ve used both mainstream and alternative approaches with lots of success (and some pretty horrible mess ups) and if I had my time again, I’d ask more questions and do it differently.

If I summarise - if it’s not an emergency, often meds are not the best solution. It’s still your choice though. Do whatever works best for you.

How can I help myself heal?

This is a question that comes up on a regular basis in the office, so here are my thoughts.

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There are the things I think of as obvious, which you may or may not have thought of. I’m going to cover 4 areas, so scroll down to whatever interests you most.

  1. What you eat

  2. Exercise

  3. What you think

  4. How you relate to your body - exercises to increase awareness and connection

What you Eat

This is probably not the first place you might go, but it’s important. Depending on what needs to heal in your body, this will vary a bit, but the essence of this is that if you eat good, healthy, nutritional food, your body is better set up for healing.

By that I mean lots of vegetables and fruit, high quality protein and good quality fats (the research is starting to show that saturated fat is not as bad as we thought, the real culprit are trans-fats - which are not real food - such as margarine).

If you are in a lot of pain, you may want to reduce inflammatory foods and drinks from your diet. These include (not exclusive) red meats, wheat/gluten, dairy, alcohol, sugar and processed foods, and caffeine. If you feel you need support on this, find a good nutritional therapist, naturopath or other health professional well trained in nutrition to guide you.

Exercise

Now pain levels can really get in the way of this, but let’s assume your pain is manageable or going. It’s really important to move, because as humans we are designed to move, and most of us don’t move enough.

Find things that you enjoy and also challenge you, but not too much. People often ask me if I prefer yoga or pilates? I actually find it’s a personal choice and very much related to the teacher. So try several classes and find someone you like doing something you enjoy. Because if you don’t enjoy it, it will never become part of your routine unless you have an iron will.

What you Think

How can this help you may be asking. I find people who are totally focused on pain, tend to take longer to heal than people who are focused on what they want to do once they have healed. If all your focus is on what’s wrong with you, you have a different experience of your body than those who focus on what they can do and what they can do next.

Try this. Stand up and observe your body. If you have a sense of energy focus on it. Or observe your posture, how you stand, how you feel. Then say out loud “What’s wrong with me?” and observe your body response. Then say out loud “what’s right with me?”. Observe your body.

Most people notice that the energy goes down on the first question and the posture collapses a bit. On the second question, energy goes up and there is a straightening or expansion of the posture.

There are obviously many more questions you can ask, such as “what would help me most in this moment to heal?”, “what will I do differently as I heal?”. Find your own questions. But be very aware, if your internal dialogue is along the lines of “what’s wrong with me, I’m broken, this is never going to end, I’m doomed, I’ll never heal” - you are not working with your body but against it.

Somato-Respiratory Integration (SRI)

SRI is a body approach that enables you to get more internally resourceful. It is based on the 12 Stages of Healing written by Donny Epstein, which discusses 12 states of human consciousness. Each state has it’s own posture, behaviours and perception or experience of the body.

Many people run their body’s from the first two stages.

Stage 1: Disconnection, helplessness and suffering - we don’t believe we have any control over how our body is, everything happens to us and we feel broken. By using the Stage 1 exercise however, we start to discover internal resources we didn’t know we had. We stop being a victim to whatever happened and find new resources and start to heal. We then move into Stage 2.

Stage 2: Polarity - When we get to this stage we have more energy, enough energy in fact to look for help or to look for someone or something to blame. We often find the “magic healer or chiropractor” in this stage and put all the responsibility on her to fix us. We are still not taking responsibility for our own body, but at least we are doing something about it. We often have a story about why this has happened and are blaming someone or something for our pain and suffering.

Stage 3: Stuckness or Frustration - this is where we get to as we heal a bit more and realise that we are stuck in a pattern. We’ve still been blaming others or circumstance and deep down we know that we have to change inside, because we have something to do with our suffering. Many people at this point fall back into Stage 1 and feel disconnected and suffer, or go big time into blame and get angry and put it all on the therapist, the person who hurt them, or just anyone they can throw their anger at. Because as long as they stay angry and in blame mode, they don’t have to take responsibiltiy for what is happening in their body.

In stage 3 we connect to the patterns within us that have held us in this loop. We engage with our body in a different way. Because we have had enough, and as the energy builds we start to move into Stage 4. Stage 4 is where we start to fully engage and take responsibility for our healing. We know that we have to change, which may mean our diet, our exercise patterns, our outlook on life. We just know that it is time and we are going to do it.

To read more on the 12 Stages click here.

If you want to learn the first three stages (or the higher stages), check the Events page to find out when the next workshop is and book in.

Can the Mediterranean Diet Slow Aging?

With so many “new” diets being touted as the solution to the health crisis, it’s good to be reminded of the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet is one that is high in fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and seeds, with moderate dairy, fish and some meat, washed down with a glass of wine.

In a series of 6 studies, the main indicator of health benefits was found to be how well the diet was adhered to, with better scores coming from the groups that followed the diet better. These groups showed healthier aging scores, ie they aged better.

Another conclusion from the studies was that Co-enzyme Q10 supplementation also enhanced healthy aging.

However, no one has as yet been able to explain why it works. But if you are going to follow a diet, it’s a great one to follow because there are so many fantastic things you can eat.

Reference: JGerontolABiolSciMedSci, 2018; 73: 315-54

High Cholesterol and Alzheimers - new research

The cholesterol debate continues, with scientists split as to whether cholesterol is good or bad. With more and more people choosing not to medicate, but try diet and other means, this article may be of interest…

In a recent study, high cholesterol was shown to protect the brain as we age. It noted that in very elderly people who had high cholesterol, this group is the least likely group to develop dementia and suffer mental decline

Reference: AlzheimersDement, 2018 Mar 1

How does having Back Pain affect your Intimate Relationships?

Three difference institutes have come to the same conclusion - hold hands or empathize with a loved one when are in pain and it will have a pain relieving effect.

The more your brains sync, the greater the effect.

22 couples (minimum 1 year together) were wired up to EEG (electro encephalography) to measure brain signals whilst sitting together but not touching, or whilst sitting in separate rooms. Even being together started the brains synching and hand holding increased it.

However if one partner was in pain and they didn’t touch, the brain synching reduced, as did heart synchronisation and breathing.

It appears pain interrupts interpersonal synchronisation between couples, and touch brings it back. Another thing that reduced pain was the degree of empathy felt by the pain free partner. More empathy equated to better pain relief.

Researchers admitted they didn’t understand why or whether similar results were achievable with people who were not a couple.

This research brings up all kinds of questions for those who have suffered with long term pain and how it may have affected their intimate relationships. If pain interrupts the connection between couples, that is going to impact on so many part of their lives. And touch appears to be the solution. So if your partner is in pain, touch them gently and empathize. You may be able to do so much more than you think.

Reference: ProcNatlAcadSciUSA, 2018; 115: 2528-2537

Does your Phone Run Your Life?

We live in an age where most of us check our phones pretty constantly. And it can feel like an obsession….

So what can you do to reduce the appeal of your phone and bring you more into the real world.

  1. Turn off the Vibration
    A new syndrome called “Phantom" Vibration Syndrome” has been coined, in fact a 2012 study showed that 89% of students had experienced this. It’s though that this contributes to distractability so turn it off, then it can’t happen.

  2. Have Phone Rules
    You probably wouldn’t dream of leaving your phone if you were at a funeral, but you’d be surprised when people think it’s ok to answer a phone. I’ve seen people answer their phone during their chiropractic session, during a theatre visit and people (though I have no experience of this) are known to check their phones during moments of intimacy.
    Simple rules might include: turn it off during meals, when out with friends, never use it in the bedroom, or turn it off at 9pm. The use of technology is linked to poor sleep after all.

  3. Turn it to GreyScale
    Apparently this works like computer games. If it’s grey it’s less appealing to use. Go online and find out how to turn your device grey.

And if you’re still hooked to your phone and are starting to develop “Text Neck” or “Computer Neck”, make sure you get your spine checked regularly so that you aren’t storing up spinal problems for the future.

Reference: Comput.Human Behav, 2012; 28:1490-96

Could Vitamin D help prevent Colds and Flu?

A recent research study has shown that daily or weekly dosage of Vitamin D can help protect again colds and flu. The study, published in the BMJ, was a participant data meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials including over 11,000 participants.

We associate Vitamin D with bone health, but low vitamin D levels are also associated with increased susceptibility to acute respiratory infections, or put more simply – colds and flu.

The study found that people with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood got the most benefits, cutting their risk by almost half, but that all participants received some benefit from Vitamin D supplementation. Administration of periodic high dosage Vitamin D appeared to have no benefits.

Colds and flu are a big drain on the NHS in winter. If you think you are at risk, you may want to consider adding vitamin D to your daily or weekly routine.

References
Adrian R Martineau, David A Jolliffe, Richard L Hooper, Lauren Greenberg, John F Aloia, Peter Bergman, Gal Dubnov-Raz, Susanna Esposito, Davaasambuu Ganmaa, Adit A Ginde, Emma C Goodall, Cameron C Grant, Christopher J Griffiths, Wim Janssens, Ilkka Laaksi, Semira Manaseki-Holland, David Mauger, David R Murdoch, Rachel Neale, Judy R Rees, Steve Simpson, Iwona Stelmach, Geeta Trilok Kumar, Mitsuyoshi Urashima, Carlos A Camargo. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant dataBMJ, 2017; i6583 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i6583

Why does Back Pain "come from no where"?

I’ve had this conversation a thousand times….. it goes something like this…

“Well I’ve had the odd grumble in my back before, but all I did was bend over to pick up the paper and BOOM my back went…it just doesn’t make sense”

What they did varies but this happens over and over and over.

So was really going on, and can this be applied to most people?

What shows up first?

When you actually get down to it, most people with rapid onset low back pain had plenty of warning signals. They often have a history of low grade back pain. They just hoped it would go away (because normally it does), or they were too busy with life to stop and rest or change the activities that were aggravating. Or sometimes, life just simply doesn’t allow us to stop.

If you examine the spines of most people you will find tension and areas of the spine that are either very tight or don’t move properly. Most people actually have areas in their spine that aren’t working to full capacity. So actually, spinal dysfunction often shows up way before the painful injury. But most people are aware of it to some degree in that they may feel a reduction in flexibility or certain things become harder to do, or they feel “stiff and old”. It’s very individual.

And what we tend to do with low grade irritation is we ignore it or take painkillers. We rarely see it as something that should be sorted out before it becomes a problem.

So what triggers the injury? What is the tipping point?

Many people with an acute injury have just gone through or are in the midst of multiple stresses in their life. It may be emotional such as illness or loss of a loved one. It may be work stress, with pressure to perform or earn. Or postural stress with a body not coping with hours at the computer or driving for too many hours. A poor diet lacking in vitamins and minerals can also be a stressor, as can obesity. Lack of exercise, over excising or the wrong kinds of exercise can also put inappropriate stresses on the spine.

So over time tension and dysfunction builds up in the spine. But we are amazingly good at adapting and some people will go for years without experiencing symptoms, and then BOOM!

So what can you do?

  1. Stop. Pay Attention. Listen to your Body.

  2. Find a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, who is an expert in the spine and can help you to heal from the injury, not simply mask the pain with drugs and hope it will go away. Because function is rarely restored without changing how your body works. And painkillers mask the problem, and may buy you time for the pain to reduce, but they rarely change the underlying pattern.
    Network Chiropractors not only help your body to release built up tension, but over time they can help you change how you respond and react to stresses so actually your capacity to handle stress can increase - something many of us need in the modern crazy world.

  3. Look at your lifestyle and ask - what can I do to promote healing in my body? You may need to look at diet and nutrition, exercise, stress triggers which may include things you can’t change.

So if you have the warning signals of spinal problems which include back pain, headaches, fatigue, stiffness and so much more, think about dealing with it before the crisis hits. And if the crisis has hit - call us now.

But we live in a culture where you look after your teeth, but only look after your spine when it screams loudly at you.

Getting your Brain Back Online - or How do you change unprofitable or addictive behaviours?

This is a topic that was discussed in a well known journal recently and here is an abbreviated version that may help a few of you look differently at your addictive behaviours and approach them in a different way….

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The part of the brain that deals with impulsive behaviour is the pre-frontal cortex. It’s located in your forehead and is responsible for what’s know as “executive function”. Or put in simple words, it’s responsible for self-regulation, organisation, planning, short term or working memory, strategising/planning and impulse control.

When we have poor impulse control it can be an indicator that this part of the brain is under-performing. It is however possible to exercise or train this part of the brain to work better.

A recent study in the Netherlands trained people over a month in executive function. To their surprise not only did executive function improve, but people spontaneously cut alcohol consumption by approx 10 glasses per week. The placebo group saw no change. The changes in both working memory and alcohol were still in place a month later.

One way of improving executive function is aerobic exercise. A 2013 review showed there was ample evidence to support this. As little as 3 hours per week of aerobic exercise improved the areas of the brain associated with executive function compared to a control group that did flexibility exercises only.

If you go online you can easily find apps that will boost your executive function. Examples include:

  • Luminosity

  • Elevate

  • Mensa training

  • Memorado

So whether exercise appeals or training your brain or both, there is plenty you can do to curb impulsive behaviour.

Refs:

PsycholSci 2011; 22:968-75
PsycholBullRev: 2013;20:73-86

The Network Wave of Healing

Most people who have experienced Network Spinal Analysis love how it makes their body feel.

However, some people find it easy to observe the breath wave that moves up and down their spine, others know that they feel better but because we can’t see our own spine find it hard to relate what is happening (after all we put things we don’t want to deal with to “the back of our mind” which is where the spine is…..).

In this short video observe the movements and listen to the commentary as to what is happening. Then next time you get adjusted (entrained) observe your body with this extra knowledge or if you get a chance as if you can watch someone else for a few minutes. So many people have said – once I saw what was happening I became aware of it. Is this you too?

Sleep, why it matters and an interesting tip to help you get to sleep faster..

We all know that getting a good nights sleep is really important. I say it to my clients on a regular basis that we use down time or sleep to recover and recuperate. So what happens when your body isn’t getting enough sleep? What are the potential longer term consequences?

Well they’re not all guaranteed, but your risk factors for all of the following go up if you suffer from insomnia

  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • weight gain – yes weight gain!

  • weight loss – ironically…

  • increased risk of cancer and diabetes

  • lower immune system function

  • constipation and diarrhea

  • blurred vision

  • tension headaches

Some of the things we take for granted can also be affected by poor sleep or lack of sleep including:

  • Inability to Manage Stress – including agitation and overwhelm

  • Irritability or grumpiness

  • Poor concentration and focus

  • Short or long term memory loss

  • Slower reaction times

  • Problems with motor skills or operating machinery

  • Low self esteem

  • More likely to take uncalculated risks

  • Increased risk of addictions

  • Depression

It’s a pretty depressing list isn’t it. Especially if you’re someone who’s looking after yourself in many other ways and the one thing that isn’t sorting itself out is your sleep.

So what can you do to improve your ability to sleep? 

  1. Try to stay awake – a small study from the University of Hertfordshire showed that actually trying to stay awake increased your chance of falling asleep when compared to people who tried to fall asleep

  2. Hide your clock

  3. Cool your room – our temperature drops when we sleep, a cooler room supports this

  4. Have a warm shower, before going into your cooler bedroom

  5. Wear socks – a study showed that warm hands and feet were a predictor of being able to fall asleep

  6. Immerse your face in ice cold water – triggers the Mamalian Dive Reflex lowering heart rate and blood pressure, soothing your system

  7. Scent your bedroom with lavender

  8. Listen to classical music for around 45 mins

  9. Avoid watching television or using electronic devices in the hour before bedtime

  10. Try the 4,7,8 method – championed by Dr. Andrew Weil (see below)

“4,7,8” Method

Championed by best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil—and various wellness bloggers, the “4-7-8” breathing technique is purported to help you fall asleep in under a minute. The method is said to relax you by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood stream, slowing your heart rate, and releasing more carbon dioxide from the lungs. According to DrWeil.com, here’s how you do it:

  1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.

  2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

  3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

  4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.

  5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

  6. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

So I’d love to know what works for you ? Do share below if you have anything else that really works too.

For some people there is so much stress in their body and their life they need more help. If you’ve tried everything above and more, think about getting your Nervous System and Spine evaluated because the answer may lie there…

What are the 12 Stages of Healing or Human Consciousness

In his book The 12 Stages of Healing, Donald Epstein discusses the 12 stages of human consciousness we go through from a healing perspective. But what are they, and how does each stage impact on your life.

How you experience your body and your world can make a huge difference to your life experiences. We all know the differences between a glass half full person and someone who’s glass is half empty…. There is more depth to these stages, but it is always good to read them and see what rings true for you and what doesn’t. Because if are constantly circulating between stages 1, 2 and 3, progress is a challenge. You may find the resources to make change, but it will probably be a struggle……

Have a look and see what you can relate to….

The 12 Stages of Healing Exercises

sri 12 stages.png

Stage 1: Suffering and Disconnection
When we suffer, nothing works. We feel helpless and most of us will do anything to avoid this feeling. In this stage we learn that there are times when there is nothing we can do, but if we can learn how to connect to our body in those moments we can draw upon resources we didn’t even know we had.

Stage 2: Polarity
When there are things we cannot accept about ourselves, our situation or our life we tend to look for magical solutions or something to blame. This disconnects us from our bodies and our resources. In this stage we learn how to connect to different parts and how to increase our resourcefulness when we feel that things have been done to us or someone else can “fix” us.

Stage 3: Stuck in a Perspective
Ever feel like it doesn’t matter what you do, nothing is ever going to change? In this stage we explore how our mind can hold us in a pattern and how to connect to that part of us that is stuck and limited.

Stage 4: Reclaiming Your Power
There are times in our lives when we realize that something has to change and that something is us. In this stage we recognize how we have given our power away and how it has limited us and we step back into ownership of who we are and what’s possible.

Stage 5: Merging with the Stories
Have you ever told yourself that you just can’t change, that this is how it is or that is has to be and will always be this way? We often limit ourselves with beliefs, and often they’re not even our beliefs, we just picked them up along the way. In this stage we reconnect to that the stories and illusions we have created and start to rewrite our stories in ways that serve us more productively.

Stage 6: Preparing for Resolution
Do you ever feel so ready for change and want to build up the energy even more? In stage 6 we connect to our resources, build energy and get ready to discharge that which no longer serves us.

Stage 7: Resolution
This stage is associated with discharge of the patterns that no longer serve us. Discharge can be noise, screaming, yelling, laughing or muscular moves. It is associated with a sense of accomplishment, peace and inner strength.

Stage 8: Emptiness in Connection
Following discharge we feel empty. But that emptiness if full of potential, full of possibility. We enter a stage of gratitude, vulnerability and connection to possibility. Trust comes naturally and serendipity is a regular occurrence.

Stage 9: Light beyond the Form
We become aware that we are more than just our physical body, and can become aware of the energy flowing within us and around us. Some experience an energetic connection to others. Accompanied by feelings of awe and joy for the process.

Stage 10: Ascent
There is an awareness here that we are not just an intelligent form but we are intelligence itself. Here we transcend the limits of the self, recognizing that we are united with the force of the universe.

Stage 11: Descent
We are renewed beyond our limits and sense of self and enter into the world again. We know that we are part of all we perceive and responsible for what we know. We live without being attached to our situations. We love and serve life and others. We communicate with ourselves and others “through” our wounds instead of “from” them.

Stage 12: Community
We experience our involvement with humanity and recognize that wholeness comes from bringing our gifts of individuality into community. We receive the gifts of individuality, from within ourselves and from others. We recognize that all of our choices are spiritual ones, and affect the entire globe of beings. This occurs in our internal and external communities. Eventually, we recognize that the limits of what we can bring to community stem from our own lack of wholeness. Therefore we seek to re-experience the rhythm of Stage One.

The Importance of Hydration

While you’re busy enjoying your summer activities—whether it’s hiking, biking, fishing, camping, relaxing by the pool, or enjoying summer sports—don’t forget to stay hydrated You can chose between tap, bottled or alkaline water.

But first, what are the symptoms of dehydration to look out for?

The most common signs are:

  • Increased thirst

  • Dry mouth

  • Tired or sleepy

  • Decreased urine output

  • Urine is low volume and more yellow than normal

  • Headache

  • Dry skin

  • Dizziness

Severe Dehydration signs include:

  • No urine or very limited urine output

  • Dizziness that affects your ability to walk

  • Blood pressure drops when you stand up

  • Rapid heart rate that doesn’t settle

  • Fever

  • Poor skin elasticity (slowly goes back to normal position when pinched)

  • Lethargy, confusion, coma

  • Seizure

  • Shock

Obviously these symptoms are rare, but if you suspect someone with you is suffering seek immediate medical support.

But to Water….

We like alkaline water, and whilst the research is still in the embryonic stages, this is what they think so far…

Why is alkalinity important for your health?

It helps you combat acid overload by regulating your pH balance.  Not only will it help alleviate unpleasant symptoms, but it will also help boost your energy, support your immunity, support your weight loss program, promote a healthy heart, improve your cognitive function, promote healthy skin, ease back/joint pain, and aid your overall health and well-being.  What’s not to love?

Our favourite choices are either Liquid Chlorophyll by Natures Sunshine. We’ve used the product for several years now and our bodies just love it. Alternatively you can buy alkaline drops from Amazon.

Whether you chose to hydrate with Alkaline water or not, make sure you drink plenty of water to support you through the hot summer months. Maybe this summer isn’t a one off, who knows, but for now, look after your body and drink as much water as it needs.