Health Tip #41

health-tip-41

Past hurts and traumas have  very real effects on our health.  Health disciplines across the board, from holistic healers, to acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to modern mainstream medicine, all understand this connection.

Past Hurts and Traumas Can Make Us Fat

Jon Gabriel, author of The Gabriel Method, who weighed 409 lbs at his heaviest, explains about emotional obesity.  Emotional obesity is caused by traumatic events that cause our bodies to hold on to weight as a form of protection.  Jon uses  a number of techniques to overcome past trauma including visualization and doing a rewrite of past traumatic experiences.  Remember when we talked about how diets don’t work and how cravings for junk food aren’t really your fault?  When former life saving adaptations have become maladaptive and health damaging, this is part of the emotional obesity mechanism.

Past Hurts and Traumas Can Make Us Sick

Pediatrician, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris describes ACE’s (or Adverse Childhood Experiences) and toxic stress as childhood traumas that occurred before the age of 18 which have lifelong negative health effects.   Some of these childhood traumas include: physical, emotional and sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, parental mental illness, substance abuse, incarceration, parental separation or divorce and domestic violence. These ACE’s alter brain development, immune system development, hormonal systems and the way our DNA is read and transcribed.   17,500 adults studied, showed that the greater the number of ACE’s they suffered as children, the greater the negative health effects in their lives. Some of these negative health effects included greater susceptibility to:  heart disease, hepatitis, depression, suicidal thoughts and cancer.

It’s Not Even Our Trauma

Research has shown that another adaptation is at work when it comes to trauma.  Traumas suffered by our parents and grandparents may be genetically passed down to us.  Information about traumatic situations can be passed down from generation to generation so that successive generations can more easily adapt to their environment.  The trouble is, if our parents or grandparents lived through a war, and they pass that adaptation down to us, we may be living our lives as if we are constantly under attack and constantly in danger.

Methods for Healing Trauma

Fortunately there are methods available to us for healing past traumas.   These methods include mental health care, nutrition, holistic interventions and in some cases medication.  Many of mental health techniques for healing center around the idea of changing our beliefs about the past situations.  Some ways that we can change past beliefs are by doing visualizations and rewrites as Jon Gabriel describes.  Positive affirmations (thoughts) to replace the negative thoughts should be done regularly.  EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Faster EFT are techniques we can learn to do ourselves and involve tapping on acupressure points while bringing up emotionally traumatic events, feeling the emotions of them, releasing and letting them go.  Questioning away negative thoughts and feelings, as in Byron Katie’s The Work, is also an effective method.  In this method we learn to question our stories we create about our life events and to see the positive in every situation we have gone through.  Relaxation techniques such as meditation and focusing on gratitude are helpful techniques we have already discussed.

Health Tip #8

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We hear the word stress thrown out there so often that it has kind of become meaningless.

What is the big deal about stress anyway?  The big deal about stress is that  it is the underlying factor in every disease you can think of.  We all have a weak link in our chain and under stress, that’s where the chain is going to break.  That’s where we are going to see ill health show up.  Stress can turn on disease promoting genes that might have otherwise remained switched off.  That’s a pretty big deal.

So what is stress anyway?  Stress is wanting reality to be different than it is.  Stress is fear  and lack of trust in our future. Stress is perceiving our situation in a negative way.

Stress can make us crave sugar and processed carbs to sooth our emotions and as a quick source of fuel for our muscles so we can  fight or take flight.  Stress raises our blood pressure.  Stress shuts down our digestive system making it hard for us to extract nutrients from our food and can lead to irritable bowl syndrome and other digestive disorders.

So what can we do about it?  Relax.  Find a few moments each day to unplug and slow down.  Activities that help us to relax and de-stress are ones that encourage deep, rhythmic breathing.  Deep breathing sends the message to your body that you are safe.  Some of these activities include meditation, guided meditation or visualization work, yoga, and tai chi.  Writing in a gratitude journal also affords us that little break to slow down and switch gears.  I enjoy little reminders throughout the day to stop and take a conscious, deep, cleansing breath.  I sign up for positive reminders that remind me stop, relax and refocus.  I also have a mindfulness chime app on my phone that I can set to go off periodically throughout the day as a reminder to take that much needed breath.  And finally as pictured above, one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress is to take a walk in nature…And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul!

 

 

Health Tip #4

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Just as with not counting calories, we don’t need to count the numbers on the scale either to indicate we are on the path to health.  At most, the  number on the scale shows where we’ve been not where we’re going.  And besides that, did you know that muscle weighs more than fat? Did you know you can be ‘skinny’ on the outside but have dangerous fat accumulations around your organs on the inside?   As you begin a new healthy living regime, continually looking at the scale can be discouraging and misleading.  Instead of asking, how much does the scale say I weigh today, ask, how is my energy level today?  Do I have more energy than yesterday? How do I feel today?  If you stay focused on your ‘why’ and visualize your goal regularly, and by continually adding in the nutrient dense foods we discussed in the previous post, you can’t help but be heading in the right direction.  Just holding the intention that you want to do something positive for your health will be leading you in the right direction.  The scale can’t measure that or any of the other positive changes you are making for yourself.  The scale cannot measure your change in mindset which is the biggest factor in making positive changes for your health.

 

Health Tip #1

health-tip-1cWhy?  Why do you make health and weight loss resolutions every year?  If you don’t have a strong enough why, you are not likely to see your resolutions through.  Your why is as individual as you are but whatever that why is, make it a good one!

Your why could be because:

  • You want to be as healthy as you can, to be there for your family. If you’re not feeling well, it is hard to show up and be your best for those you love.
  • As the years tick by, you realize you don’t want to be a burden to your family and you want to take responsibility for your well being so they don’t have to.
  • You’ve come to the realization that by loving and caring for yourself first, you have so much more to offer and so much more strength to draw from.
  • Your medicine cabinet is beginning to look like a pharmacy and you’re taking one medication to manage the side effects of another and so on and so on. Maybe you’ve decided you want to get to the real root of the problem.
  • Maybe you or a loved one have had a scary diagnosis or a close call that has made you rethink how you care for yourself on a daily basis.

You can even create a why if you can’t find a strong enough motivator.  Sign up for something that’s going to keep you accountable.  Sign up for a fitness program with a set goal date or sign yourself up for an upcoming running race.

Whatever your why, start a wellness journal and write it down.  Keep that why in front of you and remind yourself of it often.  Collect images of what you will look like and feel like when you reach that goal and keep them in your journal.  Daily visualize yourself having reached that goal and feel how it feels now that you’re there.

Health Tip #2