Mind over Medicine

Thank you for all the bloglove I am receiving! I apologize for not replying to comments and email messages as promptly as I would like to, but please know that your love and messages are like honey poured directly into my heart and healing tonic for my soul!

I am doing what I need to do right now – taking time to slow down, creating space to listen to my heart, to meditate, to write, spending time with people  I love – doing the things I know will assist my body in healing.

I feel the benefits in many ways –  less pain, more laughter, more ideas coming to me, more creativity, wanting to dance and do somersaults on the lawn….. 🙂

I would like to share a book title and a TED talk – by Dr. Lissa Rankin

Dr Lissa Rankin speaks my language – re-afirming to me, just how important it is to listen to the body. How important emotional health is to our overall health – it’s not a separate entity – emotional health is the foundation of health.

Dr. Lissa Rankin is wildly inspiring. I hope you enjoy!

 Lissa Ranking M.D.

Another thing I want to tell mention, is that the famous VVP Virtual Vegan Potluck, will take place on the 16th of November.  If you are into healthy eating or simply wants inspiration to a healthier diet – the VVP is a mecca of great inspiration!

Read more here –   http://virtualveganpotluck.com/november-2013/

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The Power of Relationships

If there is one thing in life that can completely create imbalance in our lives, emotionally and physically – it’s troubled relationships.

Relationships between our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, co-workers, or our boss – any relationship out of balance has the potential to create havoc in our lives.

Relationships have a huge impact on how we thrive, our health, our overall well-being and enjoyment of life.

We are genetically wired for connection and we need connection, we need relationships to survive. So when our relationships are challenged we feel enormous stress, we feel threatened and our bodies suffer –  causing anger, resentment, guilt, sadness and pumping out stress hormones causing us to be on alert, a constant fight or flight mode.

Our relationships live in the sacred space between us, which is sacred – Martin Buber

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Continue reading

Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is one of the most important cornerstones of emotional and physical health. If we don’t accept ourselves and value our needs and emotions, it will stress our body and deeply affect our well-being.

It’s so easy to find beauty in other people, to honor them and be kind to them. But to do the very same thing to ourselves, can be very difficult. Few people have learned how to accept and appreciate oneself and for the most we are not even aware of how unkind and hard we can be to ourselves.

Compassion and kindness starts within ourselves – the more compassionate and kind we are towards ourselves the more caring and loving we can be to others.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha

I came across an amazing series and I would love to share it with you.

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Sounds True is a multimedia company that among many things offers free podcasts – with amazing teachers. It was founded by Tami Simon. She is a wonderful woman and an amazing interviewer, it’s a real pleasure to see her at work.

This particular series is called the “Self-Acceptance Project”.

Tami Simon explores the important questions: “How can we befriend ourselves?” and “How can we be kind to ourselves?”. She interviews experts and people renown within psychology and neuroscience, for example, capacities like Kristin Neff, Harville Hendrix, Geneen Roth, Brene Brown and many more.

It’s a 12 week video program, it has already started, but it’s possible to sign up and enjoy the previous episodes.

It’s such an amazing opportunity and it’s FREE.

Check it out and sign up here 

Enjoy!

The power of music

This past week I have been reminded about the many powerful benefits music has on us. What a huge positive impact it has on our lives – Imagine a world without music! Music is in our lives in so many ways. When we listen to music, it awakes all kinds of emotions in us – joy and happiness, sadness and sorrow. Music holds memories and music speaks to the heart. It connects us in a special way.

Where words fail, music speaks – Hans Christian Andersen Continue reading

Daring greatly

We all strive to be happy and to live a fulfilling life. This means following your dreams, speaking your truth, daring to be authentic and stand up for who you are and what you believe in. Speaking your truth even though some may not like it.

That takes courage!

Courage – cour means heart in french. Courage means to listen to and follow your heart. Go out and do whatever it is you have to do to follow your heart, even when your knees are trembling and your heart is racing. That is daring greatly.

I know that feeling so well – don’t you?  When it comes I remind myself,  if I want to live a balanced fulfilled life I must, listen and I must dare.

When I am too scared to do it I really feel I am betraying myself and it creates imbalance, I feel discontent. Not that I always get what I go after, but I have to try.

Trying is a success in itself – because even if we fail, at least we tried. We feel the emotions that comes with failing, we let go and move forward.

“It is hard to fail , but it is worse never to have tried to succeed” Theodore Roosevelt

Dr. Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. When I think of courage I think of her. In her books she puts herself out there. She tells the world about her shame and her vulnerabilities and she shares from her heart.

Her new book Daring Greatly is about the courage to engage wholeheartedly in our lives. About embracing vulnerability and imperfections. About Daring Greatly.

“I failed my way to success” – Thomas Edison

13 steps to a healthier ’13

It amazes me how much is possible when we take our own health into our own hands – so much can happen! It could happen that we might very well risk feeling better, energized, loose weight, lower our cholesterol, boost our immune system – and all naturally!

A little actually goes a long way – and can make a huge difference.

Health is everything – without it we have nothing.

nature therapy

 

13 steps to a healthier ’13

  • Drink green juice/green smoothies – every day. It is not a coincidence that I put green smoothies and green juice on top of the list. Drinking them every day, will energize you and naturally make you feel like eating more healthy foods, moving and grooving. You will feel great. If you are not already a green smoothie drinker check this >>>out.
  • Try to exchange some of your meals with plant-based meals. But keep to: whatever feels right – exchange, bacon and eggs with a delicious raw food oatmeal and a great smoothie. Or exchange the sandwich with a delightful salad lunch. One meal at a time will make a difference!
  • Exercise – there is no way around it, exercise is a must. We know the mind will try to convince us, that today is not a good day, tomorrow is better or even next month is much, much better. But don’t listen – just DO IT, get out there – I promise you one thing, you will not regret it.
    What ever it is – make it fun, make it enjoyable, make it a joy that you cannot live without. Check this>> out!
  • Drink water – Exchange some of your drinks with cool clear water. Water rejuvenates you and keeps you alive. This is what The Mayo Clinic>> recommends
  • Meditate – research shows again and again the multiple advantages of meditation. If you already meditate, you know what I am talking about. Meditation is so powerful and so good for our health, both emotionally and physically. Mindfulness meditation boost our health and overall well-being – it reduces stress and anxiety. It gives us a pause, a well needed break in a hectic world.
  • Journal – journaling is a fantastic way to release emotions, reflecting about life and understanding ourselves better. It is like writing yourself home. The journal can be trusted with anything, no one will ever need to see it, it is yours. Express yourself on the pages, no censoring.
  • Fresh air – spend time in nature. Japanese researchers have found what they call “Forest Therapy” – spending time in nature, to lower blood pressure and heart rate and it increases the amount of natural killer cells that helps us ward of infections and fight cancer. Read the article>> here
  • Play – did you know that play is an actual need? Play is crucial for our health and well-being. Dr Stuart Brown has proven how play shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul. Check this>> out.
  • Express yourself – Expressing ourselves, speaking our truth and taking ourselves seriously, is important for not just our emotional health but our overall health. If we don’t there is a part of us that gets stuck – and stops the flow.
  • Follow a dream – Life is short and if there is one thing that can really bring joy and add to our well-being, it is going after our dreams. Making them happen. Taking steps towards reaching a goal, a dream.
  • Get a massage – A massage is soothing, comforting and wonderful. It also has tremendous health benefits, such as stress relief, pain relief, helps with depression and anxiety, blood pressure control and it even boosts our immune system.
    Read more>> here.
  • Self-compassion – Before helping others put on your own oxygen mask! The more gentle, compassionate and loving we can be with ourselves the more compassionate we are to our children, our spouse, our friends and the world. Studies says self- compassion boosts not only our self-esteem but also our health. Prof. Kirsten Neff has researched the power of self-compassion for years, listen to an interview with
    her>> here
  • Friends and family – spend time with friends of both sexes. Nothing so rejuvenating as a night out with the girls or a guys night. A night with good friends around the dinner table is wonderful. Make time for friends and family. Often when you ask people what is most important to them, they say family and friends, but work and duties get first priority. Read more here in this>> Huffington Post article.

Give yourself a break

When did you last spend 10 minutes doing absolutely nothing? Just 10 minutes?

We are busier than ever, running faster and faster, expecting more and more from ourselves.

 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Love as a daily supplement

I just thought this was wonderful………

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Love as a daily supplement!

Seriously, if we want to loose weight and keep it off,  we must look beyond what we put on the plate and how much we exercise. This parts are important, of course, but there is more to it than that.

A healthy bodily balance can only be kept if we also are aware of our emotions! Feelings are just as important, if not more so, than what we put on our plate and how much we exercise. And when it comes to the most difficult part: keeping the weight off – emotions, and how we feel about ourselves, is paramount. We are much more likely to make healthy choices when we listen to our body’s signals and it’s needs, and we need to include the emotional needs as well.

In my morning paper, the Danish Politiken, I found a great article that supports my thoughts! The title made me smile: “She recommends love as a daily supplement”  – I topped up my tea and sat down to enjoy the article.

Professor Berit Lillienthal Heitmann from Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen ( Center for Sygdom og Samfund ) and an honorable professor at University of Sidney, has been researching obesity for over 25 years. She is convinced that we will never find a solution to why we become overweight and obese, if we only look at the dinner plate and at how much we exercise.

Prof. Heitmann considers stress, lack of nurturing in childhood and bad sleep/sleep apnea, etc. as important factors affecting our ability to succeed in loosing weight and keeping it off.

She says that we can all loose weight by eating less and by exercising, the trick is to keep it off.

Her research has shown that a calorie is not just a calorie. In a study where she looked at nurses in Denmark, she found that those nurses who felt pressured and stressed, put on more weight than those colleagues who were not stressed, when eating  the same amount of calories.

She also did a study with a rare group – identical twins, where one of the twin was overweight and the other was not. What she found in this group was that the one twin, who was overweight had often felt neglected as a child and had missed contact with the mother.

Something points to the fact that nurturing and compassion plays an important role. Berit Lillienthal Heitmann keeps doing research in this field and I will be following her closely, because I think she is on to something really important.

Love as a daily supplement

I wholeheartedly recommend love as a daily supplement too and preferably high doses of it!

“Don’t forget to love yourself” Søren Kirkegaard (Danish philosopher, 1813 – 1855)

Read more:

Self-compassion

Great scientific proof – mindfulness treats depression and anxiety

Anyone who has ever been defeated by depression or overwhelmed by scary anxiety attacks, will know what I am talking about here. It is an awful experience!!

But, it doesn’t need to be! It’s indeed possible to get help and find relief from both anxiety and depression! There are many great roads leading to Rome – one of them is mindfulness, which is what I’m going to talk about.

I read an interesting research article in the Danish Videnskab.dk. The Danish researchers have found that practicing mindfulness actually helps, if it is done properly. The study shows that young adults suffering from depression or social phobia, and, as well, cancer patients, suffering from depression and anxiety, all show significant improvement after just 8 weeks of intensive mindfulness training!

The research has been published in an Ph.D study: ‘Mindfulness-based therapy for social phobia, recurrent depression, and psychological symptoms in cancer patients and survivors‘.

The research shows;

  • Patients using a mindfulness program improved the same as patients who went through Cognitive treatment.
  • the re-occurrence of depression is significantly less if patients use mindfulness, and
  • cancer patients feel less depressed and anxious.

According to Psychologist Dr. Jacob Piet from Aarhus University who was in charge of the research – it is quite fantastic that an intensive 8 weeks course of mindfulness practice can improve peoples’ lives like this! But, it is an intense program and people have to be motivated.

Dr. Piet says that mindfulness means “conscious presence” and many misunderstand it and think it is “just” something we do. But it is not that simple, he says. Mindfulness is a competence that comes with dedicated practice and intense training – every day.

When you are mindful you are in the present moment aware of emotions, sensations, thoughts, impulses  – you observe what goes on right now, without judging or analyzing.

To use mindfulness as a successful treatment it has to be practiced intensely over a period of time.

The first study that was done showed that relaxation was just as effective as confronting a fear. A group of young patients suffering from social phobia – was separated into two groups.  One group was treated with cognitive therapy where part of the treatment was to confront the fears – which is common in cognitive therapy. Another group was treated with mindfulness based therapy .

The results showed that mindfulness treatment was just as effective as cognitive therapy.

The second study showed that mindfulness can be as effective as medication! This study involved 593 patients with reoccurring depression and as a treatment diligently practiced mindfulness. The results showed a decrease in re-occurrence of depression with up to 43%! The research is so promising that the British Health Authorities recommend the method to all people who have previously suffered depression.

Cancer patients, as a group, are understandably often suffering from depression and anxiety. In the third part of the study, 1403 cancer patients participated. The results showed that after 2 months practice, the patients felt less anxious and less depressed. These cancer patients felt emotionally better, after using the mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness

I can understand why mindfulness could play such an important role in overcoming depression and anxiety – and even preventing it from reoccurring.

Mindfulness teaches us to be in the moment – it teaches us to observe without judgement – whatever feeling, sensation, thought or impulse there is. It teaches us to feel, rather than suppress – it teaches us to tune in with our core. It teaches us to relax, take some time every day to be in the moment, without judging without fixing – just being.

Interesting links about mindfulness:

Center for mindfulness

http://mymindfulnessblog.wordpress.com/

UCSD Center for mindfulness http://ucsdcfm.wordpress.com/

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center http://marc.ucla.edu/

Sweat the blues

Can exercise really help us beat the blues?

I came across an interesting article on one of my favorite Danish news sites Fri.dk called “Can exercise prevent depression”?

A research study done by The Danish National Institute of Public Health points out that exercise can have an effective preventive effect on depression.

There is no doubt that exercise can help us when we are feeling the blues, but prevent depression? This is what the article said:

4 hours light exercise or 2 hours hard exercise a week

The Danish study confirms what we already know, that exercise is good for us physically, and that exercise plays a major role in our emotional health, but it also showed that exercise may  have a preventive effect on depression!

The research was done with 18.000 Danes between 18-99 years of age, both answering questions sheets and undergoing blood tests during a 26 year period.

The results showed that, especially in women, there was a preventive effect in the occurrence of depression, by doing regular exercise.

Women who were either physical inactive or exercised less than 2 hours had 1.8 times higher risk of developing depression than the women who were exercising a lot. The “exercising a lot” criteria in the study was, light exercise more than 4 hours or more than 2 hours heavy exercise a week.

The research points (not surprisingly) to have the same beneficial effect for men, but then there was not as many depressive men participating in the study.

The research discussed whether  it is simply exercise that has a preventive effect. They, therefore, also studied people who were physically active during their work day, for example in the postal services, but the research clearly showed that the physical exercise has to be done in free time. Work related “exercise”  had no effect on depression!  So something points to the fact that it is not the physical activity in itself that has the effect, it is important that it is part of free time and maybe there also is a social component.

I think this affirms that health does not happen in isolation – balanced living and happy health – means many things, among them are: getting regular exercise, nourishing our bodies with good food, embracing (all) emotions, having healthy relationships at work and privately, etc. And remember, depression can be a healthy response to something not right in our lives. No matter how much we run, we still need to attend to the underlying emotions and consult our heart – the old saying is true, we cannot run from our problems.

“Being entirely honest with oneself is good exercise”- Sigmund Freud

I think the social component in exercise plays a big and important role in preventing depression. We get out, we meet people and often we have great conversation during exercise, we solve the worlds problems as we go. We connect in a special way with people we exercise with. We set goals together, we sweat together, we laugh and cry together, we stretch ourselves together, we go beyond, we celebrate successes and support each other, we encourage each other, we share together. These aspects have the power to heal us, make us feel better, and prevent depression from occurring.

“The greatest wealth is health “ – Virgil

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health” – Hippocrates

Earlier blog posts on exercise:

Muscles reward exercise

Make running part of your life – for good.

Getting into the great habit

Want to live longer? Jog a bit