The National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) | Pioneers of Whole Health Education® and Whole Person Care
August 9, 2013

Three Things You Can Do This Weekend to Change Your Life

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

Clean Closet Art Career Wardrobe Three Things You Can Do This Weekend to Change Your Life

The most important relationship we have is with ourselves. The way we think, eat, behave and use our resources define the quality of life we live. We all want to thrive and enjoy a healthy fulfilling life.

Yet, in our over scheduled, frenzied personal environments and ever encroaching culture, the simple, basic, no-cost things we can to do to have an excellent relationship with ourselves and a happy, healthy life are often overlooked.

Here is a list of 3 simple actions any of us can do immediately to improve and restore our well-being and enhance our health:

1. Buy with Cash

Over the last 5 years, most of us have had a reality check regarding the corrosive nature of debt. It can cause stress, anxiety and sleepless nights, robbing us of our well-being and causing us to lose control over our relationship with money.One of the fastest and easiest ways of “turning the ship around” when it comes to debt is to commit to using only cash for purchases and cutting up the credit cards.While we can have an emergency card or line of credit squirreled away for a real emergency, by reining in our spending habits and eliminating debt we can do more for our sense of well-being and health than following the latest health trends and starting an exercise program.Yes, it’s true – reducing and eliminating the crushing stress of debt accumulation is the number one act of self-care we all need to commit to. Studies show that chronic stress and worry will make us sicker and even cause life threatening events such as stroke and heart attack more so than any other lifestyle behavior.

Also, by paying in cash you are more aware of what you are actually spending and have the opportunity to ask yourself – “Do I really need to make this purchase?”


2. Clean out Your Closets
In our consumer drive environment we are invited daily to buy, buy, buy and can find ourselves living with closet, attics and basements overflowing with “stuff”. Much of this stuff we do not even use and may not even remember we have.

One of the most satisfying experiences is to clean out closets, drawers, basements, attics, garages, storage areas, etc., and thin out all the excess material possessions we have and do not need or use. Giving things away to the local “swap shop” or donating these unnecessary belongings to Goodwill or the Salvation Army will not only free up room and space in our homes but will also provide a greater sense of control over your living space as well as provide a sense of orderliness and cleanliness – all good things for our health and happiness.

3. Post Your Life Goals and Affirmations
We all have goals and dreams we want to realize. One of the fastest, proven ways to achieve those goals and manifest our dreams is to write them down and post them throughout our whole working and living environments. Take the most urgent and important goal you have at this time and focus on it daily using post-its or other reminders of what you want to manifest.

This no cost, proven method for creating the things we want in our lives can become an excellent life-long habit. When one goal is realized or achieved we can identify the next important goal and work on that specifically, using our desire and unconscious mind to manifest our dreams. After all, thoughts really are “things” and by repeatedly thinking on something, we can create it into reality. Everything was a thought before it became a reality – the chair you are sitting on was a thought in someone’s mind before it was created. We can and do create our lives with our thoughts – so post away and realize your goals.

 

 

 

 

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June 27, 2013

Revealing Research on Romantic Love and Heartbreak

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

72 SS Heartache Revealing Research on Romantic Love and Heartbreak
The subject of romantic love is so vast and dominant in our lives that it is generally the subject most music, books, operas, poems and plays are about. Romantic love is a major focal point in our culture and has been shown to be what is most often the subject people are discussing or thinking about throughout the day. But I am sure none of this surprises you, as the majority of us are “relationship focused.”

Last month I had an amazing opportunity to interview today’s leading scientist and researcher on the subject of “Romantic Love”, which has been the subject of her groundbreaking research since 2005, when her first book on the subject was published. Helen Fisher, PhD, Biological Anthropologist, is a research professor and member of the Center for Human Evolution Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Internet dating site, Chemistry.com (a division of Match.com). She has conducted extensive research and written five books on the evolution and future of human love, sexuality, marriage, gender differences in the brain as well as how your personality type shapes who you are and who you love.

For those of us in health practices, it is very common to hear from our patients the pain and heartbreak of their romantic relationships and whether or not they feel they can “ever trust or love another person again.” After being this deeply hurt, many of us would like to be able to just “put it behind us” and move on with our lives, but the research of Dr. Fisher and her team of scientists now explains why it is so painful and difficult to bounce back quickly from a broken heart and how difficult and sometimes desperate we can feel during that experience.

Dr. Fisher’s research on romantic love identifies the areas of the brain, the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area, that show romantic love to be far more powerful and urgent that we may have previously believed. She says that romantic love “It’s really a drive that is deeply primordial and primitive.” She explains that romantic love experiences “…are way below the emotional center and in fact are not emotions at all, but rather a powerful drive and need that is shared by all human beings.”

There are additional studies, such as the Tylenol study out of the University of Kansas, College of Arts and Science, as well as the work of Geoff MacDonald, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, who is an expert in romantic relationships, that show that “our brain centers cannot tell the difference between physical pain and emotional pain.” Dr. Fisher’s work identified this portion of the brain as the anterior insula, location for both physical pain, as well as heartache. The Tylenol study shows that this simple aspirin like compound can lower the discomfort of heartache as well as a headache.

Dr. Fisher’s research has included thousands of imaging studies both in the U.S. and in China. Through these studies, she and her research team has establish just how important it is for human beings to be in relationships where they experience reward for their feelings and efforts toward the significant other.

If you want to understand more about this fascinating subject and how to help yourself overcome the heartache of lost love, visit www.helenfisher.com  where a book list on her research is available. You can also download a free excerpt from the bestselling, multi-award winning book Changing Behavior, by going to www.changingbehavior.org.

http://web.psych.utoronto.ca/gmacdonald/macdonald_social_pain_chapter.pdf

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/227298.php

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May 18, 2013

Do We Unknowingly Create Unhappiness?

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

change your mind life Do We Unknowingly Create Unhappiness?Most people identify themselves as a “glass half full” kind of person.  We don’t intentionally set out to wreck our moods or think ourselves into unhappiness… do we?  However, we can feel like tumbleweeds in the wind, our moods – which can create stress may quickly shift from the impact of a difficult work environment, a nagging spouse, or even something as seemingly benign as the weather.  And all these mood stressers impact us on a physical level too – by increasing the body’s production of a stress hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol initiates a vicious cycle of food versus mood, wherein we crave sugary, carb-laden foods and shun healthier alternatives like fish and vegetables.  Of course, eating all this garbage makes us feel more depressed and more negative, which floods the body with more cortisol.  But the good news is that you can break the cycle – and it all starts with something as simple as a thought.

As it turns out, the more frequently you have negative thoughts, the more depressed you feel [1].  Conversely, the happier you feel, the more your health and your mood improves.  Classes in understanding happiness have even sprung up on college campuses.  Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D ., an associate of the Harvard Psychology Department teaches the single most popular course on campus – a course about how our levels of happiness and unhappiness are rooted in our thoughts, deeds and words.[2]

But can we really learn to be happy?  A new school of thought put forward by psychologist Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychology Association believes that we can all be happier by recognizing how our thoughts and words contribute to our moods.   The good news is that you can start feeling better today by following a few proven steps that boost your body’s natural “happiness chemicals”.

According to an article by the Cleveland Clinic,[3] you can quell a bad mood almost instantly by:

·         Holding hands or hugging – A 20 second hug with your spouse releases the feel-good brain chemical oxytocin, which in turn helps you relax and feel calmer.

·         Get social – Resist the urge to hibernate in your home alone and grab a pal (or two, or three) for an evening out.  When women are emotionally close to their friends, the hormone progesterone is increased, which subdues anxiety and reduces stress.  Men get the same benefits whether they’re with their buddies or with women.

·         Enjoy more of nature – The fresh air, the trees, the crisp leaves under your feet, the warmth of the sun on your face… getting out into nature revitalizes your body and mind while clearing out the cobwebs of too much time spent indoors.

·         Laugh out loud – Rent a comedy movie or listen to your favorite comedian. Boisterous laughter releases endorphins which help you feel happier and more at ease.

Feeling happier is not a matter of willing your body to do so.  Your brain is smarter than you think, and no amount of telling yourself “I am happy…I am happy” is going to change your mood.  Instead, combine your affirmative statement with a reason – such as:

Today I am going to feel happy BECAUSE…(I’ll finish that big project at work / I’m grateful for my family / I’m taking better care of my health, etc.)

Back to the cortisol culprit – how do you slam the breaks on a seemingly never ending cycle of cravings that can disrupt your mood?  Follow these tips, from the Food and Mood connection by the Mayo Clinic [4]

·         Keep your blood sugar levels even throughout the day by consuming more whole grains, fruits, and leafy green vegetables

·         Avoid alcohol as it can interfere with your body’s natural ability to get a good night’s sleep

·         Eliminate caffeine as you’re likely to experience a “crash” later when your blood sugar takes a nose-dive

·         Consider eating 5-6 smaller meals per day rather than 3 large ones as this also contributes to better blood sugar levels.

Overall, you can learn to improve your mood and well-being by taking these simple steps. Try it out and let me know your results in the comments below!

[1] The Effects of Reducing Frequency of Negative Thoughts on the Mood of Depressed Patients
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/620107

[2] Tal Ben-Sharar: The Secret to Happiness:
http://harvardmagazine.com/2007/01/the-science-of-happiness.html

[3] The Cleveland Clinic: Mood Boosters: Think Happy Thoughts to Boost Your Mood
http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/mind/moodboosters/Pages/ThinkHappyThoughtstoBoostYourMood.aspx

[4] The Food and Mood Connection:   http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-mood/my00716

Copyright 2013 G. Donadio

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