All it takes is 10 minutes

Are you dreaming of getting into a daily mediation practice, but you just don’t know where to start?

Have you tried meditation again and again and given up again and again?

Or, maybe you  want to get into a daily practice,  but you feel overwhelmed  just thinking about it?

Maybe you feel so stressed that you think it would be impossible? Look at this….

Breathe

Breathe

 

I came across Andy Puddicombe, the creator of GET SOME HEADSPACE –   a mindfulness meditation program online. He has THE most pragmatic, fantastic and down-to-earth approach to meditation you will ever find!

The benefits of taking just 10 minutes out of your day to meditate, are tremendous.

I love and live my meditations – this time of my day, reserved for me, is a way to reconnect and tune in, it’s my sanctuary. In a busy life with lots of balls in the air, this is what makes me feel grounded, connected and reconnected.  It’s really not just about me, when I’m more in touch with me, I’m more in touch with my children, my family, friends, the people I work with and meet during my day. I’m able to be truly present with the world. 

These are some of the side-effects you may experience when meditating.  Be aware, you may feel more:

  • calm
  • clarity
  • laughter and happiness
  • energy
  • creativity
  • flow

Mindfulness meditation:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reliefs anxiety
  • Helps with depression
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Improves your sleep
  • Helps with Addiction
  • And even PTSD

And all it takes is 10 minutes!

Andy Puddicombe has created the Get Some Headspace program – which starts with a 10 minutes for 10 days program and it’s FREE for you to download HERE

Read how mindfulness meditation may be more efficient than drugs to treat anxiety and depression, HERE

10 tips on how to establish a meditation practice – read them HERE 

More articles on meditation HERE

The Danish/American documentary,  FREE THE MIND  about how meditation changes the brain, see the trailer and read more HERE

Advertisements

Give time

Do you remember the time when there was no internet? No cellphones, no smartphones, no computers, no emails – just perhaps a landline, but no answering machine!

Television, yes, but no broad casting 24/7 and only a few channels to chose from.

Do you remember when the shops were closed on Sundays?

That was peace!

To me, holidays and Christmas in particular, means peace and time to reconnect with the people I love. But it seems to have become increasingly more difficult to actually create that space of complete peace. Don’t you think?

Just have a look and see how distracted we are here and  here – these stories made me laugh, but really, they are sad!

Stories of people falling down stairs while texting, someone falling off a bridge, a lady into a fountain, someone fell down onto the  train tracks at the station! All were they  “Wexting” – walking while texting.

In London they are padding the lampposts because people walk into them while texting….

People in restaurants busy on their phones and not in contact with the people they are with.

All this 24//7 online connection is making us crazy, more and more stressed and disconnected.  We are missing out on precious present moments.

So how do we create a space of peace, or at least more of it?

How about something as wonderful as an “Unplugged Holiday” ? Just a few days…… unplugged, undisturbed –  connected to the real world?

Join me on my “unplugged holiday” 

This is what I plan to do:

  •  I will turn off my iPhone over Christmas
  • unplug my computer
  • No checking email, no blogging, no twitter, no Facebook, no Pinterest

I will attempt to convince my teenagers to do the same, I know it will be a hard one, but perhaps as a role model I will inspire them further down the road.

After all THE most important gift we can ever give one another – is time, time to truly be,  present with life and with each other.

“Our relationship lives in the space between us – it doesn’t live in me or in you or even in the dialogue between the two of us. It lives in the space we live together and that space is sacred”

-Martin Buber

 IMG_1362I wish you peace, reconnection and fun this holiday! 

Check this great idea out from the Clinton family:

Gifts that Give

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/

What is stress telling you?

Since I became sick I have had my focus on, what I could do myself, to help my body heal, and preferably, as soon and as fast as possible!

Good food and rest

Good food and rest

But most importantly,

I have been thinking, what is there in this for me to learn?

I kept asking myself – how could I who is, so healthy, become so sick?

How?

How?

I poked and I prodded, I took deep breaths, I scratched my head, I turned and I swirled with the question……why, and what is in here for me to learn?

The illness, the imbalance in me, surely had a message, a very important one, I knew, but what was that message?

I finally got it ! I knew that stress creates havoc in people’s bodies. But somehow I didn’t think it also meant in my own body!

I could somehow, magically escape stress and just move on, without it having any effect on me…….

Just continue my tin soldier act …. stressing away….

But reality is, no-one can, not even me or you! Eventually, stress catches up with us and we break down in some way or the other. In my case, it was this infection, but it could just as well have been, depression or a heart attack…

I have to admit that I have been stressed, emotionally stressed for quite some time and finally my body broke down. I had neglected to hear my body’s desperate whispers in my ear for too long. I had not been listening and in the end it had to scream, in the form of an illness, that almost wiped me out, to finally, finally, get my attention!

Quiet enough to hear

Quiet enough to hear

Illness forced me to become quiet enough to hear.

What I learned is that we can eat healthier than heathy and we can exercise till the moon goes down. But, if we are stressed, its not going to work. It’s like a beach ball we can try to hold it down under the water, but it eventually will pop back up.

The truth is, stress robs us of life, it makes us sick – it’s a killer!

Please see the interview by clicking the link below, with Gabor Mate MD  –  Dr. Mate, a Vancouver based doctor, who has for many years worked in the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital where he was the medical coordinator. Based on medical studies and his own  personal experience, and through his work, states that there are important links between the mind and the immune system.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/15/dr_gabor_mat_when_the_body

Stress is a sign to slow down and listen. The problem with stress is that we become used to it and can hardly even feel we are stressed after a while it just feels “normal” to feel like that.

Stress actually starts in our childhood, for example, some of us learned not express emotions and needs as children. This means we are much more receptacle to becoming stressed because we have learned early on to suppress our emotions and needs.

Stress weakens our immumne system and makes us more prone to diseases and while stressed it’s more difficult to heal.

It’s obvious that stress creates imbalances in our bodies and our lives! It should be treated with uttermost respect – symptoms of stress are not only whispers, they are the body’s desperate scream for attention!

Read more about stress symptoms, signs and causes here

Read Gabor Mate’s book “When the body say’s no” Understanding the stress- disease connection.

Summer without stress

I’m off! Today is the day I have been longing for – for months – the first day of the summer holiday!

I am off to spend 3 delicious weeks in a summer-house by the sea.

I can hardly wait.

Summer

Summer

I am so excited and at the same time I know it’s important to plan ahead, so that we make the most of it. Successful holidays don’t just happen. Holidays can be disappointing! We all have expectations and dreams and they may not turn out the way we wished, hoped and longed for. Unfulfilled expectations cause stress and disappointment!

The time leading up to the holidays can be particularly stressful.

We all need our holidays – to recharge, rejuvenate and fill ourselves with new energy.

So how can we increase our chances of fulfilling it …

This is “my” plan for a stress-free summer:

  • Unplug. Actually turn of all electronics and be out of reach. Yes, no need to check emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc.
  • Mindfulness – live in the moment. Practice mindfulness, breathe, and be in the moment.
  • Meditate – to reconnect with myself through daily mediations
  • Read books – instead of computers and internet, I want to read great books, in the shade …..
  • No plans – be spontaneous. No schedules, just feel the flow and be part of it.
  • Play – God yes, be crazy, play let go, have fun, look silly
  • Bare feet – connect to the earth and the ground -lots of research on this …. great idea.
  • Go slow – nothing I need to do or nothing I need to get to – just inhale the moment – remember to stop and smell the roses.
Smell the roses

Smell the roses

“Every Sweet-scented rose tells from it’s heart the secrets of heaven and earth” –Rumi

Bare feet in the sand

Bare feet in the sand

Beach

Beach

I know this will not be easy and I am sure I will have withdrawal issues for a while 🙂 But I also know how vital, how crucial, it is to disconnect to reconnect – and recharge.

IMG_0675

” And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

Khalil Gibran 

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

DSC_0015

U-Turn

During my recent visit in Denmark I heard about a very interesting study concerning lifestyle related diseases like diabetes 2, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stress, depression, etc.

The study aims at finding out whether it is possible to reverse lifestyle related diseases? Ie., once we suffer from these diseases,  is it possible to make a  U-Turn? And can that be done by simply changing ones own lifestyle?

The experiment, U-Turn, has been started by Chris MacDonald, a Cand. Scient in Human physiology, originally from the USA, but has been living in Denmark for the past 14 years. He is the founder of Health in Balance and Strong Body Strong Mind.

Chris has been coaching and guiding numerous people back to health with very positive results and continues to be a tremendous inspiration to Danes every day!

U-Turn is an experiment that is being documented by the Danish National television. Over a period of 6 months, Chris MacDonald is guiding the 8 participants, all suffering from lifestyle related diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, stress, depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.

The program includes daily training, physical exercise, healthy food, getting a good sleep, along with support and emotional coaching.

Half way though the program the participants will go to France and hike the GR10, a hike that takes them thorough the French Pyrenees, a 850 km hike with considerable elevation, a very strenuous hike!

(Photo source National Geographic)

Throughout the experiment participants are closely followed by doctors from a Copenhagen hospital, to keep them safe, to monitor their well being and their need for medication.

Chris  MacDonald and his team want to see what happens to sick people when you ask them to eat healthy, walk every day and be physically active and minimize negative stress. What happens to them over a 6 months period of time?

Will they feel better? Will they be able to reduce or even eliminate their need for medication? Will they be able to reverse disease and return to great health?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

So far, the National Television has produced 4 programs that have broadcast, taking the viewers along on the journey with the 8 participants and documenting the results they achieve. These programs cover the first half of the experiment.

It’s blood, sweat, tears and laughter – it’s amazing to see the courage, dedication and the victory! 

The participants have been monitored at the hospital when the experiment started, during and half way thorough. The results are astounding:

  • They lost weight
  • They lost dangerous body fat around inner organs
  • Achieved normal blood sugar levels
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced liver counts
  • 3 participants no longer need medication/
  • the rest have been able to reduce the amount of mediation significantly
  • They are of course in much better shape

I think the message is powerful.

Lifestyle changes are the strongest most effective medicine!

I am looking forward to following the experiment and I will report back to you, when it finishes.

Lifestyle related diseases can be reversed and healed by lifestyle changes!

Walking is man’s best medicine – Hippocrates

Can you lower your hereditary cholesterol? Naturally?

Yes, absolutely you can!

IMG_3498

I never thought it would be, because my doctor told me –

“young lady, you have the hereditary kind of high cholesterol and that means no matter what you do, you will never be able to lower it naturally. The only way for you is medication.” 

So, for the past 10-12 years, I have been on statins – every single day I popped a pill, to help me to keep a low count on my cholesterol.

However, other health problems inspired me into changing my lifestyle.

And today, I can celebrate 3 years with normal cholesterol levels and no medication!

So does that mean you need to be on a really restricted diet? No desserts, no streaks on the BBQ, no butter, no cheese, no life…….no fun ?

Nope – I eat everything and I have lots of fun!

Even cream cake

Even cream cake

So how do I do it?

It’s really simple and if I can do it, so can you!

(Please don’t go off your medication without talking to your doctor!)

This is how I do it:

IMG_2744

  • I shifted the balance on my plate. So 80% of what I eat is plant-based. This means 80% of what I eat is vegan, plant-based, green leaves, lettuce, salads, spinach, kale, nuts, seeds, lentils, grains, roots, all kinds of veggies, and lots of fruit.
  • I eat plenty of food that contains natural cholesterol lowering agents, like nuts especially walnuts and almonds, oatmeal, berries, avocado, fish, tomatoes, etc.

IMG_1496

  • 20% is whatever I like to eat – it can be anything.
  • Every day I exercise, except for one day of rest!  45 min. to an hour! Yes I know, you don’t have time! I didn’t either, but you can find time! Exercise is brutally important when it comes to lowering cholesterol naturally. I get up earlier in the morning. I wake up and have millions of excuses for not going, but I tell myself that I only have to tie my shoelaces, get out and run to the end of the curb. If I still don’t like it, I can go back home……. but it has never happened, once I am out there, once I have taken the first breath of that beautiful morning air, the last thing I want is to go back home.
  • Meditation – When we are stressed and tired we are more likely to make unhealthy choices, eat fatty foods, drink too much etc. Also research shows that the release of stress hormones can damage the blood vessels, so plague sticks more easily. I find mindfulness meditation is a great way to unwind.

IMG_3532

A great article about food writer Mark Bittman and his concept VB6 – Vegan before 6 

Stay tuned for the VVP – The Virtual Vegan Potluck, taking place this Saturday! 160 + bloggers will bring their delicious food to the virtual party 🙂

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

IMG_2821

Continue reading

Unplug

Last week it was “National day of Unplugging ” did you know?

It went by without me having the slightest clue even of its brilliant existence. Probably while I was myself plugged in and most likely busy working online, tweeting, blogging, updating Facebook,   Unplugging Day came and passed me by!

Hmm, I asked my two gorgeous teenagers – “did you know it was National Unplugging Day, a few days ago?” No reaction – and not surprising – they didn’t know either.

But when talking about health and well-being, unplugging is crucial! We need to unplug and create space to slow down, be quiet and simply just be.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

 

We need this quiet time to listen and tune in to our needs. Even though, the body is amazing, the perfect GPS, always reliable; it has to have the space to tell us what we need. It can tell us if we are happy and content, if we are stressed and out of tune. So often we look outside ourselves for the answers, but the best answers come from within. The body never lies it always tells the truth. But, it needs to be “unplugged” from the outer influences and given time to relay its messages.

Our happiness and health rely on us taking that time to tune in.

I remember when I trained to become a psychotherapist, part of my training was going through intense therapy sessions and I remember how difficult and humbling it was for me to try to answer the simple question “How do you feel?” – How did I feel? Really feel? I didn’t know!

The honest truth was, I was so used to, when asked that question, to say “fine” without ever actually feeling my body responses. It was a new experience to me to connect to myself, to listen to my body and then be able to answer honestly how I felt. An even worse question was “What do you need?” – Again, I honestly had no clue. That was painful!

It took time and practice to learn and relearn. We are born with the ability to feel and know what we need, but early on we learn to suppress those feelings – in order to fit in.

I am a great believer in creating unplugging moments, every day. But how do we do that in a world that is so plugged in all the time?

I have devised a set of unplugging strategies, that works for me:

  • Getting up 1/2-1 hr before everyone else to meditate, sip tea, write my journal (with a pencil), run, jog, or just sit.
  • Unplug over the weekend just giving myself time to hang out with the family, read good books, wear my gumboots and do gardening, hike, walk, feed the hummingbirds and generally just be.
  • Before bed some quite time for a hot bath, a good book, some journalling, a lit candle, some gentle music, an evening meditation.
  • Sitting still with a hand on my heart, closing my eyes, while asking my heart (not my mind) the questions “how do I feel'” – ” what do I need” and quitely wait for the answers.

How do you unplug?

Presence

Presence

Here are some great links to inspire you further:

http://www.expresswhoyouare.com/

http://zenhabits.net/

 

Be the change

Our children are stressed more than ever. They are on a non-stoppable – high – speed treadmill. Demands from school, parents, extra curricular and a never ending intrusive connection to social media and cell phones. Our children are on 24/7, always on the go.

photo

 

As a tragic result, we see anxious, depressed and stressed out children like never before. Nearly 7% of Canadian teens suffer from some serious and/or disabling anxiety.

According to an article in Globe & Mail ” School study paints a picture of teens under pressure” – this is a serious problem.

The article reveals the Canadian study of 103.000 grade 7-12 students. It  shows that teenagers are under so much stress that they are losing sleep, being driven to tears and experiencing greater levels of stress than parents and teachers expected.

Read the statistics of the study here

Dr. Atkinson, a clinical psychologist working in Toronto, sees children who are confused and overwhelmed, who are not able to experience life in a natural way, because they have to do more and move faster.

I see stress and anxiety as symptoms, a serious wake up call to all of us. Something needs to change.

Underneath stress and anxiety there are needs and suppressed emotions – stress and anxiety are natural reactions to what the children are experiencing, they are signs of overload, but the children have nowhere to go. This way of living has become the norm, we are all stressed. While this unhealthy environment goes on and on, we are creating children who are worn out, burned out before they even begin, maybe for life.

This means that children today need us more than ever.

The good news is that we by pulling the emergency brake can help our children deal with stress and burnout. Not by telling them and staying on the treadmill ourselves, but by slowing down and dealing with our own stress.

They need to see us:

  • get off our own treadmill
  • say “no” and mean it
  • say “yes” and mean it
  • meditate
  • go for walks
  • be mindful and present
  • be in the moment
  • do nothing
  • take a nap
  • have time to chat
  • have time to listen
  • have fun
  • take a long bath
  • do yoga
  • read a book
  • bake a cake
  • take care of ourselves
  • say what we mean
  • listen to our bodies
  • follow our hearts
  • take deep breath
  • have no plans

They need us more than ever: to support them, encourage them and spend time with them. 

It can be hard to do these things, but lets do it, for ourselves, our children and the future.

Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi