Practicing the Pause Before You Speak.

Social Media can either uplift, inspire, amplify, influence, or shift your moods in the most positive ways; likewise, it can show division, hate, disrespect, ignorance, greed, falsifications, and ways that people think they are living in a much better way than their fellow-man by putting others down. Using words like “all” and “everyone who ever did this__”, and hashtags folks have found which are derogatory, so they feel better in that one moment maybe being part of the mean hashtag club.  In light of many recent events, I just encourage you to practice the pause right now brothers and sisters. The pause is important.

Are you alienating people you once broke bread with? Are your words in hate and anger more important the human being?  Do you feel better arguing on social media or perhaps by doing so you are becoming the very thing you are so vehemently denying?

I spoke to you guys this week on my page about a few things and people commented that I looked a bit tired…maybe sad even.  The leaders/clergy/healers of the world have a lot on their shoulders right now and they aren’t perfect either.  Whatever religion, beliefs, or views you have, I want you to think about a few things before getting into a debate with others on social media.

3 Ways to Practice the Pause:

Is it True?  (How would you know for sure) Is it Necessary? (Is it adding value to your feed) Is it Kind? (if the answer is no…)  This is actually pretty interesting as it comes from a book of Victorian Poems called Miscellaneous Poems by Mary Ann Pietzker published in 1872.  Here is an excerpt:

Is It True? Is It Necessary? Is It Kind?

Oh! Stay, dear child, one moment stay,

Before a word you speak,

That can do harm in any way

To the poor, or to the weak;

And never say of any one

What you’d not have said of you,

Ere you ask yourself the question,

“Is the accusation true?”

And if ’tis true, for I suppose

You would not tell a lie;

Before the failings you expose

Of friend or enemy:

Yet even then be careful, very;

Pause and your words well weigh,

And ask it be necessary,

What you’re about to say.

And should it necessary be,

At least you deem it so,

Yet speak not unadvisedly

Of friend or even foe,

Till in your secret soul you seek

For some excuse to find;

And ere the thoughtless word you speak,

Ask yourself, “Is it kind?”

 

So, my thought is this.  If you are out there shouting the words of someone who does not practice the pause, and deliberately provoking people you once considered a friend, how are you being different from what you are shouting about?  To be honest, I expect those of you reading this do, in fact, practice the pause.  We can only work to change ourselves and most often I have found those who are actively working to change themselves, will reflect on this and think about it in more than one aspect.

Because I want you to have more than one take away here, especially if this brought to mind certain people in your life, I was doing research on how anger affects the brain (for my Club content), and this wonderful PDF is free so while I wanted to share this with my Club, I also want you to have it today.

In a nutshell, the research from The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine outlines how stress hormones affect your body.  Those of you with heart problems acting in anger will elevate your heart rate, blood pressure will rise, arterial tension rises, blood glucose level and blood fatty acid levels will rise as well.  I don’t want you to basically have a stroke over your anger and reactivity.  I also don’t want your headaches to increase (have you noticed that), your stomach to be upset, and your immune system to be weakened all because of how you are reacting to stress.

If this helped you in any way, here are a few tips on how to practice a simple meditation.  <<  Thank you my friends.  I wish you good health.

5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood

For those of you who have read my about me page, you know that I have been researching and improving my health for over 18 years.  Last year I completed a sports nutrition certification and realized, yet again, how many of the health issues we face today can be altered and slowly improved with just the right tweak in our diets.  I believed so much in it, that in just 1 year, I had completely turned my life around from removing the foods that were causing me pain and “flare-ups” of my diseases.  Depression was not going to get me once I identified what foods made me worse.

So today, I was minding my own business gathering ingredients for a nice big salad, when a processed food display jumped right up and tried to grab me.  <<< not really, but it almost did.  Chocolate is my weakness.  But this chocolate was on something that is a known flare for me and causes me to crash so much right after eating it I feel like I can’t move.  I become that tired.  So I knew what I had to do and I want to help you do the same.  Let’s grab some of these great foods instead!

5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood:

  1. Go bananas <<< technically I linked to my favorite dry snack, but I love this version of dried bananas.  So what do these yellow fruits help us with?  Bananas employ mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates.  What happens in the body?  You get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy as well as mood.  Mind you, this is natural and not some made up thing like “high fructose corn syrup”.  <<< icky for autoimmune responses…well just plain bad honestly. So I always stay away from that.  At our house, we tend to use bananas in smoothies, but if they have been there and are ripe, I will actually cut them up and put them in the freezer for later use as “banana cubes” in my blender.
  2. Sunflower seeds (or butter) <<< I love this stuff times 10.  I was doing research a few years ago on a theory I had that my prior acid-blocking supplements (completely weaned myself off them using natural remedy) were causing an issue with my magnesium levels.  Why is this important?  Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, is vital for many body functions to operate normally. Magnesium deficiency can be responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (triggers increase in adrenaline), and it’s been linked to various mood disorders. However, stable magnesium levels can help the body and mind achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Some scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  Boom!  There it was yet again.  That feeling to go down the right path and unravel the mess my doctors, no offense to anyone, had caused in my gut.
  3. Dark chocolate is the bomb dot come in my world.  <<< the one linked I often see in my grocery store as a savior if I am desperate to have something chocolate.  I have to read all ingredients, but this one is safe for me.  The organic cacao powder is my go-to for smoothies, baking and drinks of the hot kind.  Yummy.  How does this help me?  Sorry men, but PMS time, seriously, come in the house with this in the shopping bag.  Here is why: Among its many nutrients, cacao beans contain a slightly stimulatory, mood-boosting caffeine derivative called theobromine. Theobromine, a molecule with a structure similar to caffeine, has been shown to support mood and increase focus:)  I am big into plant-based or phyto healing, so as this chocolate melts on your tongue, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body.  Yummy.
  4. Pass me my green tea y’all.  <<< I linked my all-time favorite recent discovery of this muscle recovery tea I drink after a hard day of yoga.  So why is tea, especially green tea helpful?   Tea, the green variety more so, provides catechin antioxidants that have been shown to support brain function and promote proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol.  Further, a toasty mug of tea can supply you with L-theanine, an amino acid that might promote you being alert a bit more.  Also a report published in Public Health Nutrition showed that study participants who sipped four or more cups of green tea daily reported having a more positive mood.  I recently started making my green tea 30 minutes ahead of time in the fridge using cold water and mint leaves.  I then drink it cold and I know that provides a metabolism boost as well.
  5. Walnuts were also on my list of foods to eat.  <<< again, I have to be careful.  No glaze, no almonds (I personally found out they cause me stomach pain…who knew? Autoimmune is a tricky navigation.), no additives.  JUST walnuts!  Why are they helpful?  Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to the elusive good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate.  Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings.  Boom!  Grab you some walnuts friends.  Or nutty friends…either way. Normal suggested dosage of omega-3 oils is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You’ll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts.  I put them on my yogurt, but yogurt is a whole different story, so read the ingredients!  I personally have been enjoying some Brown Cow yogurt…but prior to that is was the Stonyfield Farms kind.  Again, navigate so that you can actually read all the ingredients as I discuss in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course.  You don’t want things you can’t read going into your body.  It really does flare all kinds of things that are just bringing you down.

Thank you guys for reading this and go out and clean your pantry today!  Stock up for better health!

Anything's possible

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20 Minutes of Anger or tips for not Hulking out

Recently I was at a talk where someone said emotions take 60 seconds to pass through the brain…while that might be true of some emotions, it is not true of all.  Take ANGER for example.  Oh yeah, that bad boy throws a fit.

How does anger respond in the brain?

The bad news…when we become angry, like really, really angry, think HULK angry, our cerebral cortex, or thinking part of the brain, is bypassed. The limbic system, or emotional center, is considered more primitive.  Okay, so to grasp this, Hulk center equals primitive thoughts, rational thoughts equals Dr. Banner.  Yes, I am a geek, but this works.  Back to the brain.

The data that we get from the outside world passes through our amygdala, where it decides whether to pass it on to Dr. Banner or the Hulk.  So basically, during the fight or flight event, the amygdala goes into action without thinking of the consequences as it doesn’t have to. This reactive incident has come to be known as an amygdala hijacking…or in geek terms, Hulking out.

What happens next?

During the Hulking out, or amygdala hijacking, the hormones flow freely.  A surge of energy follows preparing us for flight or flight…and of course, during a Hulk moment, what do you think you are going to choose?  Wellll, you don’t actually choose right then.  Unless you have your anger under serious control, during those moments, what the person says or does is not controlled by Dr. Banner…it is controlled by Hulk who smashes first, thinks later.  Unfortunately, the impact of these hormones that leads to anger can last several moments…or several days.  Yup DAYS.

According to research, on average, it can actually take 20 minutes for a person who has experienced an angry state of HULK to calm and move from functioning from the emotional area to the thinking area of the brain, thus turning back to Dr. Banner.

Hulk smash?  No.  Stay calm.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s, yes, you guessed it, I watched The Incredible Hulk.  Bill Bixby and the awesome Lou Ferrigno, who as a young girl, was scary to watch on T.V.  Ha.  My dad was frequently thought of in our house as the Hulk at times too.  He never ever remembered what he said when angry.  Yes, I still love my dad, but it needs to be referenced that I did grow up with someone frequently Hulking out around me.  My brother and I both can get angry fairly fast as well.  So how do you learn to stop the immediate rush of hormones?

Tips to tame the Hulk:

  1. Stop and breathe.  Just 3 short breaths and remember you are currently NOT in control of your thoughts…which means your mouth.
  2. Use a code word for your family which seriously tells them not to push your buttons right now.  I need a moment works as well.  Or “Go outside right now.  NOW”.  I need some air.  That might work for your kids.  If it is a spouse, move away from them and tell them that they need to leave you alone to process your anger for a while, and you can revisit this later.
  3. Get some exercise or yoga.  It is well-known that exercise increases serotonin and endorphins.  Why is this important?  Endorphins and serotonin are important chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are manufactured in your brain and affect your mood, energy levels and overall well-being. remember that burst of energy you are going to get up there ^^^ as the Hulk?  Use it here instead.
  4. Stick with “I feel…” statements during this time and let people know how something made you feel…not blaming, but stick strictly to feelings.
  5. Use humor to diffuse the situation if you can…quick tell me a joke.  This doesn’t always work, but it helps my teens.  They smile and then we try very hard to move past whatever it is.  If we give the anger somewhere to go, it has less control over our brain and we return to thinking faster.

A few other tips can be found in my grounding article, as that works well with people who are processing many emotions that might not even be theirs.  Check out Learning to control your highly sensitive emotions as well.  Sometimes we realize that we are reacting to emotions or even channeling other emotions around us thus bringing us to whatever level the other person is functioning at.  Take the time to remember you are not always in control, and use the tips here to get your Hulk state calmed down.

angry

The Formula for Happiness.

fun people

We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success.  Do you follow the formula of if I work harder, I will be more successful and then I will be happier?  Watch this and see what you think.  The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.  Your brain at positive is 31% more productive that at negative, neutral or stressed levels.  Hmm.

Did you realize that being happy has a direct correlation with your performance?  Finding a way to be positive in the present moment is imperative to you performing better.  But…how can we do that when we are under stressed out conditions?  Guess what.  I have some ideas.

Dopamine makes you happier and turns on all the learning centers in your brain.  What are you doing when you are not happy I wonder?  Are you making important decisions in an angry state? 

I’m going to be honest.  I used lots of research to come up with my programs that I just launched here under the work with me tab…but I want to be able to give you some ideas that you can begin to use now.

Creating Lasting Positive Change:

I referenced Shawn’s video, so watch it!
  • 3 Gratitudes, new things you are grateful for each day!  (remember my previous blog post??  I had not even found his research yet, but look at how forward thinking we are.  It goes together!)
  • Journaling (WAIT!  I didn’t even go to Harvard and I have been writing about this, and counseling my clients for a while.  Research skills work!)
  • Exercise, which yes, includes me continuing to bug you about my yoga research:)  Namaste happy.
  • Meditation…heyyyy.  Here is where I told you about my collaboration with a friend who does guided mediation.  Or you can sign up for free ones online…like Deepak speaking into your ear.
  • Last, but not least, what I wrote about last week.  Random Acts of Kindness.  My friend Shelli did some shout-outs on Facebook one day and let me tell you, it was nice.  It can be that small to you, but to the person you are praising it means you are thinking about them and that kind of recognition whether public or private is a happiness booster for both of you!

The interesting thing about all of this, is that if you use the search feature, you can see some of the things I have written about the above ways to create your lasting positive change.  I have also come up with workbooks and other things to help my clients over the years, but the bottom line is, if you do the work on the inside, you will start to see results on the outside.  ~Aimee

Want even more help?  Check this out.

inside work

 

 

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5 tips to boost your mind.

Brain based research has been around a very long time.  I remember the first time it came around when I was teaching…how can I use this information to better my teaching?  To engage students more?  I used techniques that were thought to be ahead of the times…each and everyday in my class.  I never thought that as I got older I would be applying that same idea to my research in depression and what causes us to become depressed.  I found so many links to neurotransmitters in the gut I was astonished.  I was finally getting somewhere and like each and every time I have found something important, I get this tingle.  I knew that I was on the right path to helping others like me.  Here are a few things I learned to boost my head:

  1. The dreaded word exercise.  You know the whole a body in motion tends to stay in motion theory?  Same for a body at rest. A 2010 study on primates published in Neurosciencei also revealed that regular exercise not only improved blood flow to the brain, but also helped the monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as non-exercising monkeys, a benefit the researchers believe would hold true for people as well.”  I just wanted to throw that in because sometimes I read scientific research for fun.  But let’s suppose you have brain fog like I do…it comes from things like fibromyalgia as well as my hemochromatosis.  Sometimes, I can’t remember things, so on days that I do yoga, I feel amazing and notice I have less brain fog.  I know this is the day I can read up on new things and process better.  So if you have a hard time learning new things, exercise before.
  2. The good fat…coconut oil.  Sooooo.  My family has a track record of some pretty ermmm crappy genes.  I have inherited a few, but the thing I am concerned about it that at such a young age, I started showing signs of the above brain fog I mentioned.  The brain needs glucose and it actually manufactures it’s own insulin to convert glucose in your bloodstream into it’s food…if it is starving, think Alzheimer’s patients.  What I would like to know, is where was this research about 17 years ago that I am about to share?  Maybe it was known…maybe not.  BUT, I wish I could have slipped my grandpa some bulletproof coffee.  What am I talking about?  This!  According to research by Dr. Mary Newport, just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or 7 level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.”  P.S. That link is to one neat coffee recipe I found.
  3. Fix your gut…but seriously.  I will never forget the day I started my second brain research.  It was amazing to me what my doctors had missed when they had put me on proton pump inhibitors, and I started telling everyone who would listen to get off them.  For those wondering, that’s acid blockers like omeprazole.  Anyway, my gut was a mess, my acid reflux was a mess, but the pills actually were making everything worse.  I got off them, and learned what gut health meant.  It could actually be it’s own post…and oh, it was.  Up there I linked it.  But seriously…your gut bacteria is actually closely linked to food.  That is why I counsel all my clients, ALL my clients, to tell me how they are eating.  We really get into it and I start to get them to see a pattern.  Because let’s face it, when you tell people your food is actually making you crazy, they get a little mad at you.  Even if they know they need to eat better and get off processed foods, and white sugar.  Probiotics are your friend.
  4. Vitamin D.  This one is quite easy, but often overlooked.  I went for years before anyone even thought to check my levels..and here I am not supposed to go out of the house without SPF 50.  But let’s not check her levels.  Hmmm.  Moving on.  IF appropriate sun exposure is not an option, cough porphyria, not an option, then get on readily available vitamin d.  Basically it’s liquid form.  Just get checked.  Don’t skip this.
  5. Meditate.  You knew it was coming probably.  Since I completed my 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher study…I know that I need quiet time.  Okay, well, I kind of have a problem with noise now that I didn’t have before fibromyalgia anyway, but seriously, meditation is superb.  After only 20 minutes, we start to show a decrease in beta waves, which is basically like we are learning how to halt the processing part.  I know that I have probably put this in here at some point, but one such interesting brain researcher who I love is Jill Bolte Taylor.  Her understanding of the brain after her stroke is outstanding and I cry every single I watch it.  I can’t explain why…it’s just wonderful.  Okay, maybe I can explain a little.  I think about the part where she talks about not having to process and how she can just float…and everything seems to be a beautiful experience and that my friends, that is what meditation at the highest form would be like for me.  If I was there.  Which is why I keep practicing.  Because sadly, I have a hard time.  Imagine that.  This point is technical, but it’s really interesting. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have, and it turns out this is because we’re actually loosening the connections of particular neural pathways. This sounds bad, but apparently it’s not.

I created my own way of healing and invite you to join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club to learn more.

Quiet the mind

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You can actually.

You CanAs disturbing as it is to think about, we can actually change our neural pathways.  I know that I have.  I am not a scientist, merely a researcher of all sorts of things.  A former teacher who is now on the path of teaching new things to new students.  Yoga.  As I have continued my inner studies, I have learned a great deal about my mind.  For example, because of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ever-changing potentials, anything is possible.  I cry every time I watch Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight due to the vastness of possibilities she describes.  The energy just plainly overwhelms me…and when I watched it again, I couldn’t contain my tears.

I am capable of great things.  Clearly I was designed to overcome this pain and do more with this life I was given.  Combining that knowledge with my new, and difficult, meditation practice, I focus on the places where I feel no pain.  Each time I practice this, I begin to realize I feel less pain.  The moments where there is no pain do last for seconds longer, and that is improvement.  When the thought of pain arises, I focus back on the breath.  The yoga.  The moment that I am in.  I learned a new practice of counting in my head as I am breathing.  Just simply imagining the numbers as I breathe in and out.  I imagine them forming in my head and it takes my thoughts away from the ramblings.

The more we repeat good habits, the more we can change our brain.  So tonight, I started with my quote, but I want you to try this.  You really can do anything you put your mind to.  Close your eyes, think of something you have been wanting to do.  Now write it down.  On the bathroom mirror in dry erase, on a list beside your bed, or a journal.  You can do it.

Autoimmune help on Christmas Eve.

Hi friends.  I wonder how many of you suffer from autoimmune diseases and just don’t realize it?   It’s been one year since I gave up processed foods, sugar, flour and any word on an ingredient list I couldn’t pronounce or immediately recognize.  I have good days and bad days just like anyone else.  It’s been almost 2 years since I started figuring out what triggers my “flare ups” and mood swings.  I still don’t have it down to a science the way I want to.  For example, yesterday my children and I made a gluten-free eggnog cake.  Sounds delicious huh?  It was.  I have everything on Pinterest🙂  Anyway, after eating it and drinking my tea, I began to feel weird.  I got a bad headache and my throat started hurting…signs there was something that was triggering an autoimmune reaction.  Later, bloating.  When I woke up today, red eyes that were sticky.  If you have been following me for a while, you might recall when I started putting all this together.

Bad food triggers bad responses.  Period.

I was doing research on neurotransmitters and the brain…but more specifically how food triggers reactions in the stomach to the brain thus causing depression and/or mood swings that come out of no where.  Anyway, that was last year and you can find it by searching for “New Year, New Brain?” over there on the side search thing a ma jig.  I can’t stop researching.  I probably can…but I haven’t yet.  So a friend suggested a while back that I get a light box to help with my moods during the winter as it’s harder on me.  Fibromyalgia flares up in the cold, there are people making things I can’t eat, and after 38 years of basically eating whatever anyone put in front of me, including sushi, it’s difficult for someone who loves food to be able to cope with what my body is doing to me.  It doesn’t help that every single time we go out, no matter how hard my dad tries, he passes me the bread when we get it and I say no thank you and he keeps saying “I’m so sorry.  I forgot.”

So I came across this interesting talk, and I wanted to put it out there as a reminder that there really are things we can still control without pharmaceuticals.  I know that I am the rare person trying to reverse this without “drugs”, but more and more people are thinking about this I hope.  So here it is, Brain Chemistry Life-hacks:

My husband was just shaking his head at me as I listened to this “guy”, you know a clinical neuroscientist, because he tells me to move more.  I know exercise is important.  I do.  I get it.  That’s why I go to yoga, but I don’t go enough.  So I need to change that.  I need to go at least 3 times a week.  It can be 2 yoga days and 1 walking day, but it does matter.  I have GOT to do better…at something I used to like doing.  The mind is very powerful and we have to learn how to control it as I believe it’s the key to helping people like me fight off the diseases.  Once my body is brought back into fully functioning mode, I have to take care of it better.

Getting autoimmune help is just a matter of learning your body and how it reacts.

So if you are like me, you have autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia or anything that causes flares/pain, pay attention to what you are doing.  Eating.  Putting into your body.  Stay away, far far away, from sugar.  Do not feel bad you are not putting “cocaine” as Steve Ilardi calls it into your body…he gets to that at around 8 minutes in.  Listen carefully (as a side note, I use only coconut palm sugar or pure maple now as it breaks down differently.  I also take Omega-3 supplements, mine, so see the tab Vitalize You for how to purchase what I use.  Everything I take is all-natural, with no additives, and is made using phytotherapy or plant based methods.)  It became so important to my health, that we started a business called Vitalize You Wellness.

This video runs about 10 minutes and if you are having a hard time during the Holiday season, really pay attention.  You can help your own moods, depression, and life.  You can.  So my gift to you is to think about happy thoughts, get a light box if needed, take care of yourself, go to yoga or exercise, grab a buddy, and don’t ruminate on those negatives in your head.  Don’t.  Experience changes the brain.  Change your thoughts.

** Author’s note, this was written before I went through 200 hours of yoga teacher certification, completely re-trained my body to move again, and then was additionally trained in using yoga to help with pain and arthritis.

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