MENTAL HEALTH by DESIGN: How to Edit Your Mental Health Equation for Improved Mental Health

mentalhealthequation

Every person’s depression equation, including yours, is uniquely different and yet every person’s depression equation shares common denominators.

A common denominator is a commonly shared theme or trait.  You will no doubt have heard people speak about the common denominators for success in business, relationships and people who live to be healthy past 100.  A common denominator is also a common element in a mathematical equation. In math class you learn to rewrite your math equations to change the undesirable answer. When things are not adding up in your life you may be prompted to start subtracting out potential causes; analyzing and rewriting your mental health equation by subtracting out contributing factors and adding in supports, can help you to restore and maintain better mental as well as physical health.

In the midst of the additional uncertainties and stressors added to our lives and the lives of the people around us due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding in supports would be a good place to start to restore and maintain better mental health.  There are many free mental health supports available, depending on where you live. I have listed several supports at the end of this post. Subtracting out some of the mental health challenging factors, like those I highlight below, may have to wait until a later time after isolation, when your regular healthcare provider and other qualified practitioners can guide you. You now have the time to do your research and planning, make diet changes, add in exercise and mind body strategies.

How do you rewrite your mental health equation?  

You can rewrite your mental health equation by subtracting out or cancelling your well-being challenging contributing factors and adding in strategies to help eliminate your depression and other mental challenges. The combined approach strives to ‘right the wrongs’ that may be a part of your depression/mental health equation; allowing your body’s natural healing mechanisms to heal your brain and restore your brain chemistry and function to normal. It took me years of research and trial and error strategies, while also working on my multiple physical health equations to achieve the improved health results I have. This post focuses on the mental health equations that I and my clients have addressed to achieve improved mental health.  Obviously brain damage and past trauma are additional factors that will need to be addressed with additional medical and psychological supports. This is a process that will take time. It is not as simple as the equation image below.

lifemath

I suffered from depression at various times in my life.  My understanding and definition of what was possible about being depression free were limited due to everything I was told and read. My father had suffered from depression and I was told once I had two episodes of depression in my life I would probably need to be on medication for the rest of my life for it. I changed my definition of what I believed was possible, I am a bit of a rebel, and then looked for ways to make it happen. I analyzed my depression equation, started researching and then started editing my depression equation, subtracting out potential causes and adding in supports. I am now 100% depression free and have been for many years. I do not take medication or regular supplements for depression. Not only that, I feel upbeat and happy and blessed!

You may need to rewrite your definition of what is possible in terms of becoming depression free so that your brain and body are on the same page. This may require a paradigm shift. Every person may not be able to stop taking medications, but you may be able to reduce your medications and improve your mental health by editing your mental health equation. Do not stop taking your prescribed medications or start editing your depression equation without the supervision of your regular healthcare provider.

“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.”[1]

Understanding the Genetics and Environmental Factors of Your Depression Equation

Although you may have a family history of depression or mental illness, it does not mean that you will have or continue to suffer mentally.  Genetic predispositions are inherited but do not always become expressed, allowing for a condition, unless they are turned on by environmental factors. Although you cannot subtract out genetic factors, you can prevent genetic predispositions from activating due to environmental influences, preventing the related health challenge.

Environmental factors or external factors, like your lifestyle, including work and life balance, diet, exercise, pollution and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stressors can affect your brain chemistry and brain function, mood, resilience, ability to cope and stay positive. You have control over most of these factors and for those out of your control, there are supports that you can add in to cancel out or minimize their negative impact.

Your general health, nurture, supports, medications and habits can affect your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. This is an area where you may have to make some hard and radical decisions, which should only be considered and implemented under the care of qualified health practitioners.

“After completing an enormous study, scientists have dismissed claims that single gene variants, or even a small group of them, can dictate susceptibility to depression. Instead, they suggest that any genetic risk for depression likely arises from very large numbers of variants, each contributing a small effect.”

“In an American Journal of Psychiatry paper, the team concludes that early theories about ‘depression candidate genes’ are wrong and that studies identifying them have likely done no more than produce ‘false positives’.”[2]

“A genetic predisposition (sometimes also called genetic susceptibility) is an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. A genetic predisposition results from specific genetic variations that are often inherited from a parent. These genetic changes contribute to the development of a disease but do not directly cause it. Some people with a predisposing genetic variation will never get the disease while others will, even within the same family.”[3]

“However, it appears that even with a genetic predisposition to mental illness during birth, resistance to mental illness is possible. Resilience is heightened because of a favorable nurturing environment after birth or perhaps due to exercise. People should create enriched environments where they help and support each other, exercise actively, and gain resistance to stress.”[4]

Environmental pollutants can become a part of your body pollution and mental health equation. As a teenager I pumped leaded gasoline at my father’s gas station.  I started to suffer from depression at that time.  While investigating my depression equation later in life, when I once again suffered from depression after off gassing of a new house, I made the environmental pollution connection and implemented whole body detoxification, a two step detox; through natural strategies to deal with my accumulated body pollution.  Do you know what your body pollution looks like? Read my blog post on body pollution to find out.  A combination of whole body detoxification and BodyFeedback Interview and Therapy treatment for a client, eliminated a disabling 50+ year caterpillar phobia. Keeping your blood brain barrier healthy is important to prevent pollutants into your brain.  Read more at my blog post: NATURAL CURES: Protecting and Repairing Your Blood Brain Barrier to Restore Mental Health

“A cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals has been detected in every person tested in a cross Canada study of pollution in people.”[5]

“In this sample of young adults with low levels of lead exposure, higher blood lead was associated with increased odds of major depression and panic disorder. Exposure to lead at levels generally considered safe could result in adverse mental health outcomes.”[6]

“Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline. The findings reveal that the higher a person’s blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.”[7]

“Vert and colleagues in Barcelona identified significantly increasing rates of depression among those exposed to a range of air pollutants, with doubling odds of depression”

“Emergency department attendance for depressive episodes were significantly higher for particular combinations of air pollutants at certain times”[8]

What we eat effects not only our physical, but also mental health. Although you may not have been advised to look at your diet when presenting at your doctor’s office with symptoms of depression, research has shown that diet is a key factor in brain health.  Although I was eating a fairly healthy diet during my periods of depression, study through a Nutritional Consulting course provided me with an in depth knowledge of nutrition, detoxification pathways and health recovery.

“Few people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression while they easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness. Depression is more typically thought of as strictly biochemical-based or emotionally-rooted. On the contrary, nutrition can play a key role in the onset as well as severity and duration of depression. Many of the easily noticeable food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that occur during depression. These may include poor appetite, skipping meals, and a dominant desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions.”[9]

“Studies have compared ‘traditional’ diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical ‘Western’ diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars, which are staples of the ‘Western’ dietary pattern. In addition, many of these unprocessed foods are fermented, and therefore act as natural probiotics.”[10]

Dr. Emily Deans, in her Psychology Today article, reports that randomized controlled trials show that the right diet can improve depression.[11]

Stress, stress idling and stress sensitization can be contributing factors to depression and chronic anxiety, factors in your mental health equation. Implementing ongoing stress management strategies throughout your life are important to living depression free and enjoying  good, consistent mental health. Hopefully this will be the first go to, as well as diet changes and exercise that doctors prescribe to people presenting with anxiety and depression symptoms, not just a suggestion or after thought. You can read more in my blog post on stress title STRESS IDLING & SENSITIVITY: A Modern Day Health Challenge.

“If the stress is continued or prolonged, it can leave adverse effects on body’s immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems. When chronic stress goes untreated it can result into serious disabilities like insomnia, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, anxiety and muscle pain. It can also play a role in developing major disorders like depression, heart disease and obesity.”[12]

The human body was created with many amazing abilities, often referred to as ‘the doctor within’. Understanding and utilizing those often misunderstood and mostly forgotten powers is crucial to well-being and eliminating depression. Exploring ways to continually develop and maintain strength of mind and body will enable you to better endure the demands of life with grace and confidence; ultimately allowing you to stay focused on the pursuit of meaningful goals. Change and fortitude often start with a healthy dose of fear. Sometimes fear comes through a ‘wake up call, something is really wrong’, like the debilitating symptoms of depression.

“Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don’t simply relax us; they can ‘reverse’ the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud.”[13]

You can find the summarized strategies that I used to edit my physical and mental health equations to improve my health eliminating depression, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and multiple food allergies in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. You can find out about the additional supports that I use through my blog posts and social media pages which are listed at the end of this post.

Follow my road map to help you edit your mental and physical health equations, restoring your health so that you can get on with your life and the pursuit of meaningful goals and relationships. Find alternate mood protecting and enhancing supports at My Green Medicine Cabinet.

These are very difficult times and existing mental health and addiction challenges can be magnified. If you have people in your life who are exhibiting threatening mental health behaviours towards themselves or others, it is important to take action through setting boundaries and incident reporting.  Failure to take note and action could result in serious consequences for other people, including your loved ones. The recent events in Nova Scotia highlights the seriousness of radical changes in a person’s mental state that led to the death of many innocent people. Utilize and recommend the mental health supports that are readily available during the pandemic through governments and community services. Check out the resource list below.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/HealthbyDesignForAHealthierYou/

https://www.facebook.com/LIVE.DEPRESSION.FREE/

https://www.instagram.com/elisabethlhines/

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[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bee_Movie

[2] Scientists quash claims about single ‘depression genes’, Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324884

[3] What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to a disease? US National Library of Medicine, https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/mutationsanddisorders/predisposition

[4] Involvement of Genetic and Environmental Factors in the Onset of Depression, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897684/

[5] Pollution in People, Toxic Chemical Profiles of 11 families and 5 adults across Canada, https://environmentaldefence.ca/report/report-pollution-in-people-toxic-chemical-profiles-of-11-adults-and-5-families-across-canada/

[6] Blood lead levels and major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder in U.S. young adults, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917196/

[7] Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190123112330.htm

[8] Air pollution, mental health, and implications for urban design: a review, Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health, https://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal-4—air-pollution-and-mental-health.html

[9] Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

[10] Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Dr. Eva Selhub, Harvard Health Blog, March 26, 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

[11] A Dietary Treatment for Depression: A Randomized controlled trial shows the right diet can improve depression. Dr. Emily Deans, Psychology Today, March 17, 2017

[12] Chronic Stress Leads to Anxiety and Depression, Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health, https://www.jscimedcentral.com/Psychiatry/psychiatry-5-1091.pdf

[13] Meditation and yoga can ‘reverse’ DNA reactions which cause stress, new study suggests, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170615213301.htm

Resources:

Check with your local and national government websites to find supports for your region and country.

Mental Health Commission of Canada – https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/external-covid-19-resources-general-public

Taking Care of your Mental Health During COVID-19, Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/mental-health.html

Canadian Mental Health Association – https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health

Diet quality and depression risk: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studiesJournal of Affective Disorders, January 15, 2018.

Diet and Depression. Dr. Monique Tello, Harvard Health Blog, January 29, 2020.

Dietary patterns and depression risk: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, July 2017.

 

HISTORY REVISITED: Lessons Learned from Pandemics of the Past

apothecaryMNT

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, while waiting for life saving vaccinations, looking back in history can provide insights for additional strategies to alleviate symptoms, and potentially save lives. Medieval medicine has come a long way to advance medical care. The Medical News Today article, What was medieval and Renaissance medicine, reported that the local apothecary or wise women would provide herbs and potions.(5) Folk medicine of the Middle Ages dealt with herbal remedies, prayer and religious rituals in the treatment of ailments by monks and nuns. Monastery gardens grew an abundance of medicinal herbs.

“A group of physicians treated victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic with botanical medicines and the treatments were very successful.”(2) Research review concluded “we feel confident that herbs that historically have been used successfully to alleviate flu symptoms also work to normalize cytokines, reducing the production of the proinflammatory cytokines responsible for the challenging symptoms of influenza. Although unproven, the clinical evidence of symptom reduction appears to be a result of a quieting of the cytokine storm”.(2)

openairtreatment

The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918–1919 was the most devastating pandemic on record, killing between 50 and 100 million people worldwide. Fresh air (4),  sunlight, scrupulous standards of hygiene, reusable face masks, disrupting the transmission of the virus by banning public gatherings, closing schools and isolating infected people, are credited with substantially reducing patient and staff infections and deaths.

“Scientists suspect that cytokine storms caused many of the fatalities in the 1918 flu pandemic and the 2003 outbreak of SARS, a virus related to the one that causes Covid-19.”(1)  A cytokine storm is an overproduction of immune cells, including cytokines, that can result in lung inflammation and fluid buildup; often leading to respiratory distress and secondary pneumonia. Scientists are now studying the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural therapies for the possible treatment of Covid-19 (7)

Inflammation is your body’s protective response to injury and damage, required for natural ongoing healing and repair. Chronic inflammation resulting from stressors, pollution, toxins, poor diet and some drugs creates unhealthy inflammatory responses. Lifestyle, an anti-inflammatory diet, herbs and essential oils are important considerations for supporting a healthy immune system response; ensuring pandemic preparedness.

“Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good.”(6)

An anti-inflammatory diet requires avoiding refined carbohydrates (white breads and baked goods), fried foods, sugar, red meat (burgers, steaks), processed meats (hot dogs, sausages), margarine, shortening and lard. Micronutrients are crucial to supporting the body to initiate a healthy immune response. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, like tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards), nuts, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines), fruits, herbs and spices provide supports to ensure healthy inflammatory responses. Anti-inflammatory herbs and essential oils can help your body to offset skewed and chronic inflammatory responses.  .

Hildegard of Bingen, St. Hildegard, was a medieval medical practitioner educated in classical Greek medicine who prescribed folk medicine remedies. Herbs and aromatics were used to both prevent and cures diseases and plagues. Hildegard catalogued both her theory and practice in two works. Physica and Causae et Curae.

“Her hallmark is to emphasize the vital connection between the ‘green’ health of the natural world and the holistic health of the human person. Viriditas, or greening power, was thought to sustain human beings and could be manipulated by adjusting the balance of elements within a person. Thus, when she approached medicine as a type of gardening, it was not just as an analogy. Rather, Hildegard understood the plants and elements of the garden as direct counterparts to the humors and elements within the human body, whose imbalance led to illness and disease.

She became well known for her healing powers involving the practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones. She combined these elements with a theological notion ultimately derived from Genesis: all things put on earth are for the use of humans.”(3)

Hildegard of Bingen’s books provide a vast historical portrait of medicinal herb usage and successes.

physica

  

My confidence in historically proven medicinal herbs and aromatics, like that of St. Hildegard, and my study of botanical herbs through the teachings of Maria Treben, a world renowned herbalist from Austria; have encouraged me to stock my apothecary  to be prepared for my symptoms and those of my clients. In this age of uncertainty, which has been experienced many times throughout the centuries, self sufficiency in addition to sound medical advice, is a wise health strategy.

 greenfirstaid

You can find an excellent source of wild crafted and organic herbs. You want clean herbs so make sure of your source to avoid buying herbs grown in polluted areas and countries.

  

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

Paid Links:  “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases (books above)”

Sources:

(1)    What is a cytokine storm?  https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/health-disease/2020/what-cytokine-storm

(2)    Herbal Treatments for Pandemic Influenza: Learning from the Eclectics’ Experience – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244889601_Herbal_Treatments_for_Pandemic_Influenza_Learning_from_the_Eclectics’_Experience, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen

(3)    Hildegard of Bingen and the Greening of Medieval Medicine – https://muse.jhu.edu/article/4342

(4)    The Open-Air Treatment of PANDEMIC INFLUENZA – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504358/

(5)    Medical News Today. What was medieval and Renaissance medicine? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323533

(6)     Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School: Foods That Fight Inflammation – https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

(7)    Publications on the use of TCM to treat COVID-19 – Learn Integrative East-West Approaches to Treat Covid-19 – https://exploreim.ucla.edu/covid19/publications-on-traditional-chinese-medicine-tcm-to-treat-covid-19/

Deadly immune ‘storm’ caused by emergent flu infections – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227142250.htm

Into the Eye of the Cytokine Storm – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3294426/

The cytokine storm of severe influenza and development of immunomodulatory therapy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711683/

Practical Solutions to Preventing and Treating COVID-19 Using Lifestyle, Vitamins, and Herbal Treatments https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340607489_Practical_Solutions_to_Preventing_and_Treating_COVID-19_Using_Lifestyle_Vitamins_and_Herbal_Treatments

Cytokine Storm – An Over Reaction of the Immune System – https://www.newscientist.com/term/cytokine-storm/

Essential Oils and Their Major Compounds in the Treatment of Chronic Inflammation: A Review of Antioxidant Potential in Preclinical Studies and Molecular Mechanisms – https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2018/6468593/

Effects of a Combination of Thyme and Oregano Essential Oils on TNBS-Induced Colitis in Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2233768/

https://www.facebook.com/HealthbyDesignForAHealthierYou/

https://www.instagram.com/elisabethlhines/

FIGHTING AGE RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE: Implementing strategies to keep you protected.

Immune decline

It has long been accepted that as people age, their immune systems decline. Your thymus gland, the small organ behind your breast bone, plays an important role in the immune and endocrine system. According to medical science the thymus gland starts to atrophy during puberty, and also sometimes due to extreme stress. In spite of the atrophy, it generally continues to play an immune roll in a healthy individual; still training T lymphocytes to fight infection and cancer for your lifetime. As you age you have fewer immune cells, and the ones you do have, don’t communicate with each other as well as they did when you were younger. That means they take longer to react to harmful germs, viruses and to heal from injury. Research reports that this deficiency also impacts whether or not a vaccine will be effective; “B lymphocyte deficiencies have been found which contribute to lower vaccine response in the elderly as well as in some younger individuals”.

Watching the daily news reports highlight the vulnerability of seniors and the immune compromised to viruses, in particular to the current ‘pandemic’. Despite being a healthy senior, I like many older people, feel vulnerable. If I contracted the virus and suffered respiratory complications; my life, as I had it planned out, might take an unscheduled turn. I will continue to heed research based information on protecting and maintaining a healthy immune system as I continue to age, as well as, follow government recommendations for health protection.

Our Canadian government and healthcare system are doing an excellent job at protecting the senior and immune compromised population with the recent measures implemented; and with everyone’s cooperation, these measures should be enough to keep everyone safe. Please follow the World Health Organization recommendations for coronavirus protection at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019, your important first step to immune protection.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIGHT AGE RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE?

Modifications and supports:

According to research, you can reverse thymic atrophy, rejuvenating immune system responses. A Springer Link research article titled Reversing the immune ageing clock: lifestyle modifications and pharmacological interventions, indicates that  you can fight your ‘forcasted’ immune decline. Below are a few summarized points from the research. Visit the link to read the research – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-018-9771-7

• high levels of physical activity in adulthood have a beneficial effect on thymic output
• optimal nutrition is an important determinant of healthy ageing and plays a significant role in maintaining healthy immune function
• zinc found in shellfish, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, nutritional yeast and wheat germ is a trace element required for multiple immune cell tasks
• reservatol found in red grapes, peanuts and berries, has immune modulating (enhancing) effects
• a wide range of pharmacological agents with anti-immunesenescence (anti-immune decline) properties have been identified

“Growing evidence” reported in the Frontiers of Immunology, Nutritional Immunology article “It is increasingly recognized that nutrient intake, above what is currently recommended, may beneficially affect immune function, modulate chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and decrease infection risk. This includes both macronutrients (lipids such as n-3 PUFA) and micronutrients (zinc, vitamin D and vitamin E), in addition to phytochemicals and functional foods (probiotics and green tea). Many of these nutritive and non-nutritive food components are related in their functions to maintain or improve immune function including inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators, promotion of anti-inflammatory functions, modulation of cell-mediated immunity, alteration of APC function, and communication between the innate and adaptive immune systems.”

Nutrition/Diet:

The immune system has many protective and signalling functions which require an adequate availability of micronutrients to maintain a healthy immune response.  Diet deficiencies of many of these necessary micronutrients are often found in the elderly and immune compromised. The Nutri-Facts article titled Micronutrients and the immune system states “The nutrients collaborate and complement each other in the diverse processes of the immune system”. Homemade soups with a large variety of quality ingredients are an excellent way to get a diverse array of immune supporting micronutrients.

According to the Frontiers in Immunology article Immunosenescence (immune decline) and Its Hallmarks: How to Oppose Aging Strategically, “The close connection between nutrition, intake of bioactive nutrients and supplements, immune function, and inflammation demonstrate the key role of dietary strategies as regulators of immune response and inflammatory status, hence as possible modulators of the rate of immunosenescence. The link between aging and disease is in part a reflection of the functional changes in the immune system of older people”. You can read more at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02247/full

The Blue Zones research article, Boost Your Energy and Immunity with These 13 Super “Blue” Foods,  reports that you can improve your immunity by making changes in your diet. A diet focused on beans, greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, oats, barley, fruits, green or herb teas, turmeric, garlic, shitake mushrooms and goats milk; can boost your immunity. The Blue Zones Solution lays out a proven plan to maximize your health based on the practices of the world’s healthiest people. Dan Buettner reveals how to transform your health using smart eating and lifestyle habits gleaned from new research on the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities he’s identified as blue zones—those places with the world’s longest-lived, and thus healthiest, people. Visit the Blue Zones website to read more at https://www.bluezones.com/2020/03/boost-your-energy-and-immunity-with-these-13-super-blue-foods/.

Are you negatively affected by certain foods or  other triggers?  Determining the root cause of these can provide you with useful information, allowing you to avoid them and preventing risky immune system distractions.  THE WEAK LIST:  A Necessary Well-being & Protection Tool

Immunotoxicity:

Immunotoxicity is an ongoing challenge for all ages. Immunotoxicity is defined as adverse effects on the functioning of both local and systemic immune systems that result from exposure to toxic substances including chemical warfare agents. The personal care, home and garden products that we use daily come with potential immunotoxic challenges, disrupting the body’s natural and necessary immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponses. Check out your personal health care products for their potential immunotoxicity ratings at the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database – https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.

Fragrance in personal care, laundry and household products also contain immunotoxic risks. Check out the Less Toxic Guide for recommendations for less toxic options for other products you regularly use – http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca/.

Workplace exposure to toxins can result in immunotoxicity. Environmental immunology has provided highly tangible benefits in the study of the immune system. The Research Gate article Occupational Immunotoxicology, states that “Occupational immune diseases are some of the most common illnesses that affect workers including inflammation, allergy, respiratory disease, autoimmunity, or other immune modulation resulting in suppression following exposure in the work environment”. Workplace protection for employees from toxins is an employer responsibility.

Stress, Stress Idling and Stress Sensitivity:

According to the Health Psychology Open article titled Psychological intervention based on psychoneuroimmunology; “Beliefs, attitudes, spirituality, and psychological perspectives can dramatically affect our health, disease course, and overall well-being. Psychological and social disorders are also capable of altering the immune system, which may influence vulnerability to the disease and its evolution.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6444782/

Do you feel like you are stress idling? Are you sensitive to stress?  According to research reported by the American Psychological Association article Stress Weakens the Immune System, “Managing stress, especially chronic or long-term stress (even if it’s not intense), may help people to fight germs”.  Germs include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. The best action you can take to keep your immune system strong and able to handle ‘germs’, providing virus protection, is to manage your stress.

According to research “individuals who are sensitized to stress become so over time through repeated exposure to external, as well as endogenous, stressors.  As such, increasingly minor stressors maintain the disorder than were required to trigger its initial onset”. Being chronically stressed out and stress idling indicate that the body’s stress response is flawed. This can interfere with normal body functions including the necessary communication for accurate immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse.

Managing stress is a necessary ‘must do’ to ensure a healthy immune response.  Ensuring a healthy life balance through a more ‘health promoting’ priority list with stress management strategies is an important immune support for all ages, especially those who are elderly, immune compromised, stress idling or stress sensitive. From the American Institute of Stress article by Jim Porter, Are You Stress Sensitive, “My recommendation for stress sensitive people is to take up meditation. Meditation may actually help you rewire your nervous system. One study of mindfulness meditators (at the University of Wisconsin) showed that people who meditated for 30 minutes every day for 8 weeks were actually able to increase the size of their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for happiness and contentment.” Learn more at STRESS:  A Modern Day Challenge -. http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1115.

Mindfulness and meditation:

Mindfulness and meditation have been researched for their immune system supporting benefits. According to a Research Gate article titled Meditation and Immune Function: “Practicing meditation has several benefits, including reducing the severity of psychological disorders and stress-related ailments, increasing immune function, and delaying the progression of various diseases. Researchers have found that Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Qigong interventions have positive effects on individuals’ NK (natural killer) cell activity and proportions, B-lymphocyte numbers, and telomerase activity, while also keeping CD8+ T-cell numbers stable during times of high stress. In addition, meditation has also been shown to increase antibody response in people injected with the influenza vaccine. Similarly, HIV positive individuals practicing meditation showed increased T-cell and NK cell counts and NK cell activity, slowing the progression of the virus.” https://www.researchgate.net/…/329479535_Meditation_and_Imm… I listen to the Ultimate Zen Meditation playlist on Spotify for my meditation ‘time outs’ as well as silent meditation on, breathing, ‘peace’ and family.  The research based ‘ways to’ and ‘how to’ meditate suggestions on this Science of People post are helpful to get started.

Tai Chi:

According to a Harvard Health Publishing article titled Tai chi gives immune system a boost, “Tai chi might have a strong effect on the immune system because it manages to bring exercise, relaxation, and meditation together in “one behavioral intervention,” the researchers said. They theorized that tai chi enhances T cell activity by quieting the nervous system’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which can, in certain circumstances, interfere with the immune system.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/In_Brief_Tai_chi_gives_immune_system_a_boost

Yoga:

New research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that yoga can boost your immune system, helping you fight off viruses and protect you from the damaging health consequences of chronic inflammation. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/urban-survival/201802/new-research-how-yoga-boosts-your-immune-system

Herbs:

Herbs have long been used to support immune system health. Immune stimulating herbs are recommended to be used short term to help you to resist infection and provide support when exposed to contagious illnesses. Immunomodulating herbs are slower acting, with a more prolonged, deep immune balancing, toning effect.

o Allium sativum – Garlic bulb
o Baptisia tinctoria – Wild Indigo, root
o Commiphora mol-mol – Myrrh, resin
o Echinacea spp. – Purple coneflower, root and seed
o Eupatorium perfoliatum – Boneset, leaves and flowers
o Sambucus canadensis and S. nigra – Elderberry, flowers and fruit
o Spilanthes acmella – Toothache plant, leaves and flowers
o Usnea spp. – Usnea lichen or old man’s beard, whole lichen body
o Zanthoxylum clava-herculis and Z. americanum – Toothache tree, bark
o Panax ginseng – root
o Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus – root
o Astragalus membranaceus – root
o Licorice root, Glycyrrhiza glabra L. – root
o Cat’s claw, Uncaria guianesis and U. tomentosa – root and stalk bark
o Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera – root

https://www.chestnutherbs.com, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1534735403256419, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/astragalus-membranaceus, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/491s/4714940, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/

Essential Oils:

Many essential oils support the immune system by either fortifying the immune response or eradicating bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Essential oils have specific immune-strengthening properties: antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. https://fullscript.com/blog/essential-oils-for-immune-health

• Eucalyptus – Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359267
• Frankincense – Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic acids. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20696559
• Oregano – Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581
• Thyme – Antibacterial and immunity enhancement properties of anaesthetic doses of thyme. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1018364713000918

The preceding information is just a small collection of strategies to get you started on fighting your ‘forcasted’ age related immune decline and immune vulnerability. Check with your regular healthcare provider before implementing changes in your healthcare supports, there may be contraindications due to age, medications or other factors. Do not stop taking your prescribed medication without consultation with your doctor.

For more health promoting strategies:

Follow my road map: http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=2774

My Green Medicine Cabinet: http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?page_id=2914

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.C., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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SURVIVAL MANTRA: Words to get you through the hard times

flores-no-ceu-azulpdthriving

As the year wraps up and a new one approaches, taking stock can sometimes overwhelm us. In spite of what life has presented you this year, there are many strategies that can help you through the difficult moments and days. Creating a ‘survival’ mantra, words of encouragement can help you whenever you feel down or bad or hopeless. Referring to that mantra in times of need can be one of your ‘go to’ survival life lines. I have a book with a label on the front that I have written ‘Inspiration’. It is my ‘go to’ for pick me up words of encouragement when I need them. In my book I have a collection of words from the many inspirational books that I have read.

Inspiration

In Hinduism a mantra is a word or formula, as from the Veda, chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer. Mantras can be simple or melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations such as a human longing for truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge, and action.[3][11] Some mantras without literal meaning are musically uplifting and spiritually meaningful.[6]  

If you find yourself in need of a ‘life line’ on your challenging days, I recommend that you start collecting inspirational phrases from books, social media and magazines and create your own personal ‘pick you up’ self-help mantra. The mantra below is the one that I created as this challenging year comes to an end. I choose to thrive in spite of everything!

Thriving In Spite of Everything

I am human,

Imperfect as all humans are,

Not created to be a robot,

That functions perfectly.

I come with many flaws,

Prompting daily maintenance,

To restore God’s original defaults,

In keeping with His human creation plan.

I am human,

I reluctantly embrace my inborn potential

For imperfection,

While honouring my

God given innate goodness.

Seeing with gratitude daily,

A human more full

Than empty of good.

I am human,

A work in progress,

Making time ongoing,

To create a better, healthier version of me,

Utilizing my ‘creator installed’ amazing abilities

And quality self-care,

To honour my maker with my efforts

As an ‘unfinished work’.

I am human,

I will not be defeated by what knocks me down.

I will get back up,

Staying on my path to thrive in my beautiful life.

                                                           Elisabeth Hines

EMERGENCY & TRAVEL PREPAREDNESS: Naturally Ready for the Unexpected

Emergency Preparedness Hawaii

T’is the season for mingling and the many unwelcome tag along guests that come along for the ride.  Being prepared for health emergencies is always important.  We are all ‘a work in progress’ on our own unique well-being path. A strong immune system and ‘stress free’ state of readiness would be ideal, but is not always possible in our busy lives.  Good nutrition, adequate rest, life balance and quality self care are essential for health emergency preparedness and maintaining good health on a daily basis.  Whenever I am travelling I initiate virus preparedness protocols to be ready for any viruses I encounter at airports and on flights. Scroll down the page to learn how I prepare.

To stay up to date on virus concerns for travelers visit your local public health department and the World Health Organization websites.

Long wait times for appointments and treatments, and drug shortages and unavailability may require some self-help strategies for pain and inflammation management, virus and bacteria solutions, stress management and yet undiagnosed symptoms and conditions.

Besides the usual recommended emergency preparedness items you can add:

  • Self-help strategies and tools found in The Whole Person Well-being Equation
      • Clear and concise information on how to investigate and promote the elimination of your symptoms

      • Detailed strategies for eliminating body pollution, body detoxification aids for specific types of environmental toxins, detoxifying foods and recipes, herbal detoxification bath recipe for full body detoxification using the body’s largest organ – the skin

      • Self-help therapies and tools to improve your health

      • How to use your brain’s operating system for improved health

      • How to redefine your definition of ‘possible’ for improved well-being

      • How to identify and eliminate limiting thinking and beliefs for improved well-being

      • How the mind/body connection and research prove the power of visualization

      • How to use visualization to improve your health

      • 40 general body scan visualizations that can improve your health

      • 18 customized body scan visualizations to fight diseases and cancer

      • How to customize visualizations to fight disease and cancer using a diagnosis, prognosis and information from questions you ask your doctor

      • How to customize visualization equations to eliminate unwanted habits and associations

      • How to customize affirmations for improved well-being

      • How to use specific foods to repair DNA damage

      • How to rejuvenate your body using foods

      • How to rejuvenate your body and stack your well-being odds regardless of your environments

      • How to tap into your body’s natural ‘fountain of youth’

      • Renewed hope that you can become symptom free and regain your health

      • Muscle response testing for health protection instructions – learn the basics to protect you from offending foods and harmful substances (a variety of discreet methods you can use while shopping before you buy). If you are inhaling, absorbing or consuming multiple substances daily that weaken you or cause irritation, inflammation or interference; your immune and other systems can be compromised, interfering with your body’s ability to fight illness and disease.

      • How to focus your body’s natural identification, awareness, understanding, knowledge, belief, responding, healing and protection mechanisms using self-help therapies. These abilities can be compromised in persons with conditions (e.g. MCS), diseases and cancers.

      • Get your copy of The Whole Person Well-being Equation today, a packed DIY self-help guide to wellness and health protection.

Ebook Cover New_1-1

  • Green healthcare supports to help you naturally manage unwelcome and unexpected viruses and bacteria and ride life, holiday and travel roller coaster challenges.

greenhealthcare

balance test

Have you noticed that there are times when you feel sudden weakness or nausea, your balance is altered or one side of your body is weaker than the other side?  Are there times when all of a sudden you feel faint or your brain chemistry has been ‘knocked off’ of its normal balance? Muscle response testing is a form of neuromuscularbiofeedback, an applied kinesiology biofeedback testing method.  It uses feedback from the body and brain (your virtual black box) as information.  Other forms of biofeedback include taking a pulse, taking a blood pressure and listening to the heart with a stethoscope.” In the 1950s, Dr. Arthur Coca identified that his wife’s heart rate would increase if she ate a food that provoked an inappropriate or allergic response. This was, as Dr. Coca put it, ‘accidentally acquired knowledge’ which he then applied to patients as well as his wife. The results were very effective and consistent.”  Similarly muscle response testing provides information about foods and substances ingested, inhaled and applied to the body as well as environmental factors including stressors. Anything can cause disruption to the natural communication and function within your body.  Learning how to read your body’s responses after exposure to suspected causes can provide you with health protection. A daily dose of accumulated ‘balance disruptors’ can seriously interfere with the body’s normal healthy required communication and function, compromising physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  Learn how to protect your health by paying attention to your body’s responses.

MY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PACKING: 

My travel ready backpack will include a variety of easy to pack essential oils for emergency readiness, a diffuser, personal inhalers, carrier oil and empty capsules.  I have a ready to spray, non toxic hand sanitizer with a mix of protective oils with me wherever I go:

  • pain and inflammation – frankincense, turmeric, marjoram, lavender (I put a combination of frankincense, turmeric and marjoram in a capsule to manage inflammation and pain. I also apply essential oils to my spine using the SOC neurologic and inflammatory protocols when needed)
  • virus and bacteria readiness – oregano, thyme, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove, rosemary, tea tree ( I put a combination of protective oils in a capsule before social gatherings and boarding a plane.  I add several drops to the wick in a personal inhaler and a hand sanitizer spray bottle for easy use while travelling.  I also apply essential oils to my spine using the SOC infectious protocol when needed.) Face masks can provide a layer of protection from all viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not currently recommend that people in the U.S. wear face masks in public to prevent infection. Proper and regular hand washing and covered coughing are important protection strategies. The CDC has issued guidelines on two different kinds of face masks — surgical masks and N95 respirators — which are commonly worn by health care professionals and those who are already sick.
  • stress management – lavender, marjoram, Siberian fir, wild orange (I use these oils in my diffuser and the lavender and marjoram on my reflexology points, pulse points on the neck, wherever I feel tension and on my inner wrists and ankles. I also apply essential oils to my spine using the SOC emotional protocol when needed)
  • digestive upsets – digestive blend of Anise Seed, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Rhizome/Root, Caraway Seed, Coriander Seed, Tarragon Plant, and Fennel Seed essential oils. ( I use this blend with a carrier oil and massage in clockwise circles on my abdomen for digestive system upsets.  The SOC digestive protocol, applied to the spine provides further relief when needed)

Get started on packing these emergency preparedness essential oils!

A ‘ready for the unexpected’ backpack with a copy of The Whole Person Well-being Equation book and a selection of the oils listed would make a great ‘green gift’ for a loved one!

Adding in more mind body and natural strategies to your emergency and holiday preparedness can help fight climate change, by reducing your environmental footprint!

If you would like help getting started on your natural emergency preparedness contact me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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GREEN HEALTHCARE: Healthy for You and Healthy for the Planet

greenhealthcare

With the overwhelming focus on fighting climate change it can be a challenge to feel empowered.  There are many decisions we can make and actions we take on a daily basis that can protect the environment, fight climate change and create a green legacy.

greenfirstaid

There are many ‘green’ healthcare options that can help you to protect the planet, fight climate change and alleviate your symptoms without unwanted side effects.  Below is a short list:

  • meditation
  • visualization (find out how to customize body scan visualizations using your diagnosis and test results)
  • breathing techniques
  • tapping techniques
  • affirmations
  • mantras
  • prayer
  • mindfulness
  • yoga
  • tai chi
  • walking
  • exercise
  • nature
  • super foods
  • herbs (fresh or dried) – no processing, added ingredients or excess packaging required
  • essential oils – unadulterated, therapeutic grade
  • . . . many more!

Get started on incorporating green healthcare strategies into your daily life; healthy for you and healthy for the planet. Visit My Green Medicine Cabinet to learn more.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

#greenhealthcare #gogreen #healthbydesign #protecttheenvironment #fightclimatechange

REBOOTING YOUR HEALTH : Revive Your Body’s Amazing Abilities

reboot

Holistic health strategies, like lifestyle medicine address the root causes of disease and symptoms. The human body came equipped with efficient innate abilities that when working properly, will not only protect you from pathogens and environmental threats, but also fight disease.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, Greek Physician (460BC-377BC)

Like a computer, for optimum operation, the body and brain require ongoing undisrupted surveillance and communication to effectively detect and respond to threats. When your computer stops functioning optimally you can do a ‘reboot’ or ‘system restore’. Holistic health strategies help your body to naturally reboot and system restore; allowing your body to return to functioning as intended in God’s pre-programmed factory default settings.

reboot definition:

  • to start up again after closing or shutting down to boot up again waiting for a computer/program to reboot
  • to start (something) anew to refresh (something) by making a new start or creating a new version 
  • to start anew to make a fresh start 
Daily exposure to toxins in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat and the products we absorb through our skin, hair and nails results in an ongoing circulation of these disrupting forces as our body attempts to detoxify them. Even if your body has efficient detoxification pathways, this ongoing flood of toxins can disrupt normal communication, surveillance and responses while your body is working hard to detox them. This is an even more of a health challenge for little ones and pregnant moms. The human body was not designed to function with an ongoing level of toxic, disrupting body pollution. Think about how a virus affects the normal operation of your computer.  You need to eliminate the virus for the disruptions to stop and normal computer function to resume.  A steady wash of toxins in your body also causes ongoing disruptions and compromised functioning. Ongoing effective detoxification like that provided with the two step detoxification strategy below allows all of the body’s normal productions (internal pharmacy), functions (immunoresponse) and other amazing abilities to work as originally designed.

 

I recommend a two step detoxification process to limit the ongoing internal disruption caused by toxins, a crucial step to ‘reboot’ your body’s natural, amazing abilities:

 

Step #1 – Stop adding to the body’s detoxification load and body pollution. This can be accomplished by ‘greening’ your environments, diet, personal care products, symptom relief options and cleaning products.

Step #2 – Eliminate your present body/mind pollution by promoting the body’s natural detoxification pathways effectiveness using a variety of body detoxification strategies and aids.

Regardless of what your health challenges are, this two step process if the place to start for health recovery and reboot.  Get started today using holistic health strategies which will naturally reboot your body’s naturally functioning and amazing abilities.  You can find more holistic health strategies and expanded detoxification aids and recipes, including botanical spa therapy in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. 

Ebook Cover New_1-1

Wishing you restored health and healthy longevity so that you can fully focus on living your life and the pursuit of meaningful goals!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

Green Your Healthcare, Medicine and Makeup Cabinet: http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?page_id=2914 

My Books:  http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/books.htm

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Art ‘as therapy’: Healing through creative expression

mywisdomfromatree

Exercising our creativity enhances the quality of our lives and nurtures overall well-being.  Creativity is an innate gift that every person has, which for some, may require some mentoring to activate. Creativity takes many forms.  Arts and crafts have long been the go to for art therapy. Any hobby or activity that allows for the creative process can be considered art therapy. Whether you like to paint, draw, craft, sew, woodwork, knit, scrapbook, play music, write, compose, cook or garden; your brain and overall health will reap the rewards of the creative process involved in them.

Studies have shown that art can reduce depression and anxiety, and improve cognitive functions by producing both new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites. Exercising our creativity can ensure that we are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and memory problems as we age. Immersing ourselves in the creative process of art gives us a temporary time out from the body and mind’s focus on life’s stressors, ‘the unexpected’, past trauma and grief. Engaging in some form of ‘art as therapy’ regularly allows us to escape from our feelings of stress and pain; providing our body and minds the time and space we need to promote healing.

For me, other than creating decorative comforts for my own home, art had always been about producing a product to generate income. My family heritage of producing handwork for money has been a strong and compulsive influence throughout my life. In the past I spent many hours producing hand painted folk art pieces and marketing them at shows. These are a few of my handcrafted works. I recently crossed paths with the jug in the first image at an antiques shop.  When I first saw it, it looked familiar, and I wondered where I had seen it before.  Then I realized that it was one of my artistic reproductions which I had painted decades earlier.

birds jug farm animal lampRooster jug

I left the above type of income producing ‘handwork’ behind decades ago when it was no longer a good fit in my life, and went on to study nutrition and natural health to improve my health. My career focus then changed to helping people to improve their health like I had through changes in diet, lifestyle and adding natural strategies.

Recently, after experiencing the loss of a friend to suicide and being thrown back into the grief process while still grieving the passing of my mother, I felt a strong need to return to the creative process to distract my mind’s focus. Accessing the ‘creative side of my brain’ had always helped me in times of stress in the past, and we all know that life’s stressors can add up at times and feel overwhelming. Over the years I had read a lot about how art was therapeutic so I made the decision that I would start painting ‘for therapy’. What I didn’t expect was the huge block I had getting started. In the past the motivation for painting, other than my home décor items, had always been to produce a product to generate income. My mindset had difficulty with the concept of painting for therapy, although I understood the health benefits. My psyche and perfectionist tendencies, influenced by my family heritage, was stuck in my old pattern of ‘produce for income’.  It took me quite some time spent meditating and praying to start letting go of my old mind set, and allow myself to spend time painting without focusing and seeing the end product as a marketable commodity. This was not an easy transition for me. I am still meditating and praying regularly to help reprogram my brain’s previous default setting about producing art solely as an income source.

In the interim, I have put my paint brushes to canvas.  Many years ago I had purchased a poster plaque at a thrift store (image below) with an inspirational message I liked and planned to someday reproduce.  I loved the ‘Advice from a Tree’ message but did not like the artistic presentation.  From an internet search I found that there were many longer versions of the poem, originally written by Ilan Shamir, which I felt tied into my ‘balanced lifestyle’ quest; and would more easily prompt me to make the ‘art as therapy’ transition that my brain needed. When I purchased the thrift store plaque below, the border, now dark brown, was a bright emerald green.

advice from a tree 2

My artistic interpretation of the ‘Advice from a Tree’ poster would be a better fit for my décor and draw more of the ‘wisdoms’ from the alternate versions of the poem I found on the internet. It would also reflect the beautiful tree view that I see daily through my living room window.

mytreeview

The real relevance of my art work version is the creative ‘therapeutic’ process and finished product ‘therapeutic’ messages. The creative process would provide me with the therapy that I needed while making the piece and the end product would provide me with ongoing visual prompts to help me in my quest to maintain a balanced lifestyle, be grateful and mindful.

The image below is my finished version which I decided to title as ‘Wisdom from a Tree’. It is a better decorative compliment to my family room and the messages and reminders of the creative process provide me with comfort, calm, motivation and inspiration. I am grateful for the healing it has brought me.

mywisdomfromatree

standtall rememberyourplace

Feelthewind

A ‘Wisdom from a Tree’ art therapy mindfulness workshop can help you in your quest to manage life’s stressors, process painful emotions like grief and feel more mindful, grateful and grounded. Join me for a therapeutic two day workshop to create your personal ‘Wisdom from a Tree’ unique artwork. I can lead you through the steps that I used to create my version and you can customize your creations by selecting your favourite ‘Advice from a Tree’ poem messages and other creative embellishments. This two day art therapy mindfulness workshop is suitable for beginners as well as providing advanced artists opportunity to further their creative expression. For more information visit my workshops and retreats page and scroll down to Holistic Menu item #12.

Art therapy journaling is a form of therapy that involves a conversation with yourself. It is not about creating an art product, which may present you with a challenging learning curve from your past artistic production endeavors.  I have been using art therapy, along with many other provided and self care strategies, to process grief while unpacking the emotional backpack of my mother’s passing, and to help manage multiple life stressors, including the suicide of a friend. The picture below is the cover of my art therapy journal. It is pretty simple so do not be intimidated if you think you are not artistic. For some of the pages I transfer outlines from images with transfer paper to get me started, then start colouring inside and outside of the lines. Think of it as an adult colouring book meets self-help/self-talk journal, a winning combination. You can also take clippings from magazines and paste them in to get you inspired and started.

artjournalcover

Whatever you are going through in your life, or feeling, consider some form of art ‘as therapy’ or art journaling therapy to help your body and mind to cope and heal. Take time to retreat from your busy life priorities, connections and obligations and give yourself the quality self care you need.

This is my latest ‘art as therapy’ project, initiated due to the corona virus isolation:

INSPIRATION: Some of life’s greatest memories are made gathered around the table. Although gathering around the table with my family has not been possible due to the isolation, I was inspired to paint this sign using some wood I had in the garage. The piece was bigger than I ideally wanted, but I worked with what I had. Framing will be a future task. Art therapy in action!

gathered

For more supports during your grief journey read my post.

Get started in your quest for greater resilience like that of a well rooted tree by reading Rick and Forrest Hanson’s book Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness.

The Create Your Life Book below is a great guide to get started on art therapy journaling for grief, stress management and healing.

                                                       

I love these Tombow Dual Brush Pens which allow me to sit and colour while relaxing without the mess of water and paint brushes.  It is a great transportable product to accompany your art therapy journal on your travels.

Tombow

Below is the mix media water colour sketchbook that I started with. I added a copy of my dutch birth certificate over the cover before adding my art work.

 As an Amazon Associate I earn commission from qualifying book and product  purchases on this page.

Enjoy your healing art therapy experience!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

More help to get started:

The Huffington Post – 10 Art Therapy Techniques https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/art-therapy-techniques_n_6103092?ri18n=true

 

YOUR BODY’S INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: Improving crucial messaging for better health.

bodybraincommunication

The nervous system is the body’s main communication system and it’s ongoing, undisrupted flow of information is the most important requirement for optimum health.  It gathers, analyses and uses information from the body and the environment to keep you healthy.  If, when and how the body and mind respond depends on healthy messaging.

So what happens when something interferes with the information transmission that your body and brain need for proper functioning and responding? Well think about your computer and what would happen if it had a virus or your power supply was disrupted or damaged.

powersupplyfailure

Immunosurveillance is a term used to describe the processes by which cells of the immune system look for and recognise foreign pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, or pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the body. Healthy immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse requires ongoing, undisrupted accurate messaging throughout the body and brain.

We all know that many things can interfere with our computer’s communication and performance.  There are also many factors can interfere with the body and brain’s communication and performance.

What can you do?

To keep your body’s internal communication from disruptions and interference, providing for healthy responding and optimum function you will need to be vigilant, proactive and protective.

  • Wash your hands often with non-toxic soaps.
  • Use all natural personal care, laundry, household and lawn care products.
  • Avoid medications and drugs where possible and use natural symptom relief strategies.
  • Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, unprocessed and free of additives and preservatives.
  • Avoid air pollution by implementing protection measures – air purifiers, etc.
  • Use all natural personal hygiene products.
  • Avoid all sources of radiation.
  • Body pollution is the result of your body’s inability to get rid of toxins and other foreign substances. Detoxification is a two step process that helps your body to get rid of body pollution: Stop adding to your body pollution and remove your body’s existing body pollution.
    • Drink clean water and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit to promote natural detoxification.
    • Add strategies to improve detoxification..

How can you learn more about how to protect and improve your health naturally?

YOUR BODY CAN HEAL ITSELF: Follow My Road Map to Get There

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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‘ITCHING’ TO RUN or FIGHT: Managing a ‘Ready to Take Off’ Stress, Fight or Flight Response

Itching

Remaining cool, calm and collected has been my ongoing goal to ensure that I stay grounded during times of stress, emotional upset and tragedy. My baseline calm default was altered in the past due to stress trauma and at times had me ‘idling’ on the edge. When stress and grief became a factor in my life, my ‘itchy’, ready to respond sympathetic nervous system ‘gas pedal’ would activate. This disrupted my overall balance, exaggerating my ‘not yet’ overcome vulnerabilities.

Some people have an over active, under active or faulty blood sugar, hormone, immune, heart or blood pressure response. Medically and generally accepted as ‘out of a person’s control’. An over active or run away stress, fight or flight response is seldom given the same understanding or acceptance. Extreme cases may be diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

So what do you do if you find yourself somewhere between an ‘itchy’ stress, fight or flight response and PTSD? I am not going to mislead you by telling you there is a quick fix.  I have been working on restoring my baseline calm default for years using a variety of natural strategies and have made gains and experienced set backs.  The good news is the gains have been greater than the set backs. I am a ‘work in progress’, daily keeping my focus on my ultimate goal of ‘think, feel and respond like a Buddha’. You can find many of the holistic strategies that I have used in the past that have helped me to make huge gains in my health in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. Below you will find some additional and expanded strategies that I use and you can use to help you.

  1. Maintain life balance. This can be a challenge when you are going through major stress provoking times of your life.  Sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride when these major life stressors come my way. I have worked really hard to maintain life balance over the years and help clients and workshop participants to assess, restore and maintain life balance so that they are better prepared when the major life stressors come their way. You can learn about my life balance tools and workshops by clicking on the image below.  Board with
  2. Create a mantra.  This can help reprogram how your body and mind respond, gradually resetting your base ‘calm’ default. One of my mantras is ‘I chose to remain cool, calm and collected in the midst of stress, drama and the unexpected’.
  3. Use breathing. I recently started this practice again after a major life stressor. Inhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3’ while exhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3,4,5,6’ prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart, putting on the brakes to prevent an out of control stress, fight or flight response. When at home I set my cell phone timer to remind me every hour to repeat the breathing sequence several times. When away I can ignore it when it goes off or take a few moments in my busy day to repeat the breathing sequence.
  4. Use imagery and visualization. Combined with the breathing sequences, imagery and visualization help engage my parasympathetic nervous system’s braking action, decreasing my stress hormones and ‘itchy’ sympathetic nervous system’s gas pedal response. Lily of the valley has been a favourite image for me since I was a child visiting my grandmother’s farm garden, and I use it as my ‘go to’ visual and sensory reset. The perfect little bell shaped flowers and calming aroma bring me back to my grandmother’s garden. I have a picture of the lily of the valley on my cell phone wallpaper. I use a variety of sensory essential oils to provide a calm reset.
  5. Incorporate Symphony of the Cells. Symphony of the Cells is an orchestrated application of therapeutic grade essential oils developed by Boyd Truman after 20 years of experience working on thousands of people with chronic and acute emotional and physical conditions. The professionally designed protocols combine the layering of specially selected essential oils with therapeutic properties which are applied in layers to the spine and feet and inhaled aromatically. The spine is an excellent application site since the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system travel along the spine and the spinal cord fluid can carry the therapeutic benefits up to the brain and central nervous system. Each protocol application provides an immediate relaxing and sometimes releasing impact with continued therapeutic benefits as the oils therapeutic properties reach the cellular level. I alternate the neurological, sensory and forgiveness protocols regularly since they can be helpful for managing stress, PTSD, emotional trauma, fear, anger, tension, hyperesthesia, anxiousness, OCD, mental fatigue, loneliness, self-doubt and grief. I highly recommend adding the Symphony of the Cells to your wellness plan. Come and see me for a one on one complimentary introduction and application to get started.  Attend or host a Symphony of the Cells workshop. Contact me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com  or my daughter Amanda Dumouchel @mamasandoils for more information.
  6. Prayer, gratitude, nature and quiet.  My daily companions to promote calm and keep me balanced.

Wishing you ‘cool, calm and collected’ living!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca,

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