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Emotions and Health

Dr. Gabor Mate, MD. Yes Magazine, FROM THE WINTER ISSUE – Good Health

“I never get angry,” says a character in one of Woody Allen’s movies. “I grow a tumor instead.” Much more scientific truth is captured in that droll remark than many doctors would recognize. Mainstream medical practice largely ignores the role of emotions in the physiological functioning of the human organism. Yet the scientific evidence abundantly shows that people’s lifetime emotional experiences profoundly influence health and illness. And, since emotional patterns are a response to the psychological and social environment, disease in an individual always tells us about the multigenerational family of origin and the broader culture in which that person’s life unfolds….

Please click the link below to read the whole article.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/good-health/gabor-mate-how-to-build-a-culture-of-good-health-20151116

~ Gabor Maté, M.D., frequently addresses lay and professional audiences across North America and internationally. His books include When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection, and In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. drgabormate.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Dr. Elaine Dembe

  1. Explore life and live it as an adventure. – Even if you have no one to do it with. Never deny yourself the pleasure of doing something just because you are alone. Do it anyway. Remember the lyrics from the Tragically Hip song “Ahead by a Century ~ “No dress rehearsal, this is our life.” Travel as much as possible, whenever you can.  If your funds limit your journey, plan a unique “staycation” or small getaway.
  2. Every choice in life, whether it is about food, lifestyle or our relationships, is either life-enhancing or life-diminishing. Look at the situation and use that template. If you are sleep-walking through life you may not be conscious or aware of your automatic life-diminishing behaviour. Smoking is life-diminishing. If you’ve started, STOP immediately! 100% guaranteed to cause health problems.
  3. There is a Buddhist Philosophy. “Comparing is the root cause of suffering.” Every time you say “I used to…” as in “I used to be thinner, younger, fitter…” you are comparing. Instead look at the current reality and who you are today and either accept or change the situation. Likewise, stop comparing your life to others. Believing their lives are better than yours, leads to misery and envy. Be grateful for your life, which is the shortest path to happiness and peace of mind.
  4. Stop eating crappy food. High sugar, trans-fat, and processed meats. Eat nutrient dense foods, and mostly organic fruits and vegetables. Drink water! You cannot buy your health, and you’re not immortal!
  5. Keep your body fit and strong –- Try weight training, high intensity interval training, Pilates. Get your body moving – even 20 minutes a day will make a difference. You’ll be a lot healthier by 50 and beyond. See a flight of stairs as a fitness opportunity. Seek ways to minimize optional motionless.
  6. “One of these days” is here NOW! Don’t put off your passionate pursuits. Do you want to: write a book? get a second degree or advanced degree? change your career? learn to play a musical instrument? learn to cook gourmet meals? run for public office? Make a plan and get started.
  7. Be generous. Do one small thing that inspires you or touches your spirit or someone else’s. There’s nothing better than paying it forward. (acts of random kindness) Give to others so you feel the goodness that service brings. However you give, do it with your full heart, soul, and effort. Expect nothing in return.
  8. Start saving money, even if it’s just a small amount.  It’s never too early to begin financial planning. Commit to allocating a set amount each month for your future. Even throwing loose change into a jar daily can add up.
  9. How often are you disappointed? Get over it! Are you too attached to life unfolding in a particular way? Let it go. You can only do so much to control a situation. Try saying this, “I want such and such to happen… or the ‘most benevolent outcome.’ We also need to balance this idea with taking responsibility for your own life and fulfillment outcomes.
  10. Do you act too fast when faced with a conundrum? If you leave a decision for a while—instead of making it under pressure—often the situation sorts itself out without intervention. And how you feel about something on day one can be quite different from how you feel on day 4.     Avoid quick judgements based on what might be incorrect information. We often hastily send an emotionally-charged email, text, or make a phone call without sufficient reflection or patience.
  11. Maintain (or repair) relationships with parents and siblings. Even if you have very complicated relationships with them, and sometimes limited or no contact, family ties are extremely important. Soon or later you’ll understand that your family is the most important connection you’ll ever have.      Addendum: Much depends on the circumstances!
  12. Nurture your friendships.  Why text when you can have a live conversation? Here’s a novel idea: buy a birthday card, hand write a message, and mail it to your friend rather than a quick Facebook greeting. They will probably be joyously shocked with your thoughtfulness.
  13. You might not think Aging is relevant to you NOW, however NOW is the time to focus on your health. 70% of how fast we age inside and out is based on our lifestyle, 30% is genetic, and we can even alter our genetic map by making healthy choices. If diabetes or heart disease is part of your family history, staying lean and fit is your best bet.
  14. Get to sleep. We need 7-8 hours of quality uninterrupted sleep. A dark room or sleep shades will block out light. No bright screens before bedtime. A 10 pm lights out with a 6 am wake up is ideal.
  15. Read at least 10 books a year and never stop learning. Take courses; engage your brain to keep your neurons firing.
  16. Learn to meditate and practice mindfulness. Scientific evidence has made the connection between meditation and equanimity.
  17. Belly Breathe! When we are tense, we unconsciously hold our breath or shallow breathe. This triggers the sympathetic nervous system and cortisol, the “flight or fight hormone.” Slow diaphragmatic breathing activates the healing, restorative parasympathetic nervous system. Moving yourself into a healthy parasympathetic state, and staying there as much of the time as possible, helps heal all health conditions, both physical and emotional ones as well. Try 4-7-8 breathing. Take a slow breath in to a count of 4, hold your breath for 7 counts, and exhale for 8 counts.   Or try this mini relaxation exercise for stress reduction: breathe in and say “I AM,” breathe out and say “At Peace.”
  18. Live in AWE! Notice everything! Clouds, flowers, birds, animals (domestic and wild). We live on a beautiful planet. Be astonished at nature’s force and beauty – sunsets, thunderstorms, rainbows, and snowstorms.
  19. A thought for those who are focused on the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Here is a life-changing quote from the Dali Lama when asked what surprised him the most about humanity,

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

There are many reasons why you might wake up during the night and not be able to get back to sleep. To start, as the night wears on, your body naturally moves into lighter stages of slumber, during which it’s easier to be roused. That’s why wakeups are more likely to happen in the early morning hours.
Poor sleep hygiene can also play a role. Drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening can prevent you from sleeping deeply. And having an alcoholic nightcap may make you fall asleep quickly, but often causes wake-ups later on in the night as your body metabolizes the alcohol. A less-than-ideal sleep environment—for example: a room that’s not dark enough, too noisy, or too warm—can result in fitful sleep, too. Over-the-counter sleep aids or prescriptions rarely offer significant help for this problem.

Various underlying conditions might also be to blame. People with sleep apnea, who experience pauses in breathing or shallow breaths as they sleep, often wake up countless times during the night. An enlarged prostate can cause men to wake up frequently to go to the bathroom. Restless leg syndrome, and the jumpiness associated with it, can jolt you awake, and chronic stress or anxiety can cause you to awaken frequently, too. And heartburn or a chronic cough associated with gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can cause you to wake suddenly through the night. These are all serious conditions, so if you suspect that you might have one of them, speak to your doctor right away.

One reason older adults may be at higher risk for insomnia is that sleep itself changes with advancing age. Sleep latency (time to fall asleep) increases, early morning awakenings are more common, deep sleep (stages 3–4) decreases, and sleep efficiency (time asleep while in bed) is reduced. Because older people spend less time in the deeper stages of sleep and more time in the lighter stages of sleep, they are more likely to awaken, for example, from noise in the environment.

To help stay asleep through the night, try some of these strategies to relieve insomnia:
• Establish a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine. For example, drink a cup of non-caffeinated tea, take a warm shower or listen to soft music.
• Relax your body. Gentle yoga or progressive muscle relaxation can ease tension and help tight muscles to relax. Deep diaphragmatic breathing with longer exhales than inhales is very helpful.
• Make your bedroom conducive to sleep. Keep light, noise and temperature at levels that are comfortable and won’t disturb your rest. Don’t engage in activities other than sleeping or sex in your bedroom. This will help your body know this room is for sleeping.
• Put clocks in your bedroom out of sight. Clock-watching causes stress and makes it harder to go back to sleep if you wake up during the night.
• Avoid caffeine after noon, and limit alcohol to 1 drink several hours before bedtime. Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep.
• Get regular exercise. But keep in mind, exercising too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.
• Go to bed only when you’re sleepy. If you aren’t sleepy at bedtime, do something relaxing that will help you wind down.
• Wake up at the same time every day. If you go to sleep later than usual, resist the urge to sleep in.
• Avoid daytime napping. Napping can throw off your sleep cycle.
• If you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep within 20 minutes or so, get out of bed. Go to another room and read or do other quiet activities until you feel sleepy.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/insomnia/faq-20057824

Dr. Martin Seligman founder of the positive psychology movement described the 3 p’s of pessimistic behaviour

Personalize “It’s my fault”
We blame ourselves for the events that occurred and are angry for not having known or for taking action sooner.
Not taking failures personally allows us to recover and move on.

Pervasive “My whole life is a disaster”
Assuming that since this ONE horrible event/incident has occurred, everything is awful in their lives
Whether it’s personal or business related, they catastrophize that their happiness is gone and will never return.

Permanence “I will never feel joyful again”
Individuals believe that the way they feel now… shattered and broken… is the way they will feel forever. Evidence suggests that we do recover and often thrive in the face of adversity.

Habits can be contagious. The people around you matter. And you matter to the people around you. Research shows that we are affected by the body composition, habits, and lifestyles of those around us. The more people around us are doing something, or living a certain way, the more likely we are to do and live the same — whether that’s what we eat, how we eat, whether we move (or not), how we move, and so on.

If your friends and family are fitter and healthier, you’re more likely to be fitter and healthier. And the reverse is true, too.

Summer Sorbet

Here is a great recipe for a summer treat that is healthy and delicious.

Honeydew Melon Sorbet

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaVa-hHxKEE

 

 

 

 

 

 

POWER AND STRENGTH ARE MADE IN THE GYM… LEANNESS IS MADE IN THE KITCHEN!