This is a guest post by David Nelson, PhD
A few months ago, Molly and I were having supper together in a real nice little vegan café in Madison, Wisconsin. We were exchanging stories of our ways of helping people cope, and I relayed to her one of the experiences I had in teaching people how to relax.
I also explained how many counselors today are just very boring in their professions, and need to spice it up a bit.
You see, about 10 years ago, a gentleman came into my office stating that he had chronic pain in his lower back. He explained he was a carpenter and that the only thing that seemed to help him manage his pain was smoking marijuana.
He turned to me and said, “I heard you do hypnosis, and I was wondering if you could hypnotize me to be stoned all the time? I don’t want to lose my job with a dirty urine analysis. I figured if I could hypnotize myself to be stoned, it would manage my pain and I could keep my job.”
My first thought was, “Is he kidding?”
Then it dawned on me, “Why not?”
If you’re like me, you’ve spent your life slathering on sunscreen every time you were out in the sun.
Everyone said to do it. It was a no brainer, right?
Well, guess what? As with many pieces of health advice, “everyone” turns out to be wrong!
The latest research shows that if you apply sunscreen every time you’re in the sun, you’re blocking the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D may reduce your risk of up to 16 different types of cancer, including: pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin.
Vitamin D contributes to healthy bones, lowering blood pressure and protecting against a host of other diseases. Yes, you can take a supplement, but it will never be as good as the direct source of the sun.
In the USA, vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels. Ironically, vitamin D deficiency can lead to aggressive forms of skin cancer. A ground-breaking 2011 study published in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that optimal blood levels of vitamin D offers protection against sunburn and skin cancer.
As we begin a new year, many bloggers are writing about goal setting for 2015.
I have done that before and you can read my previous post.
But aside from setting goals and intentions, if we want to bring about something new in our lives, we have to change what we are doing, or how we are doing it.
If you keep doing the same old thing, you will get the same old results.
Today I’m going to propose one change to your life that may make a surprising difference: more rest.
WHY GOD RESTED ON THE 7TH DAY
We’ve all heard the phrase from the Bible, “And God rested on the 7th Day.” But what does it mean, really?
Well, I’m embarrassed to report that, after posting three weeks ago about my great start, I now get to report on lessons learned failing the “30-day no sugar challenge.”
Technically, I wrote about a 10-day no sugar challenge proposed by the documentary Fed Up, but I was undertaking 30 days of no sugar.
But whether 10 days, or 30, I failed.
However, I did learn a lot [about myself and sugar] which I felt was worth sharing.
The goal, set by my friend Gary, was to avoid anything with sugar in it for 30 days.
HERE’S WHY I FAILED
Like many people, I’ve always been uncomfortable with anger.
I don’t like to get angry, and I don’t like to be around angry people.
True to my Irish heritage, I’m slow to anger but when I do, watch out!
And over the years as I’ve meditated more, and done more self-healing, I’ve been rather pleased with how calm I usually am.
So imagine my surprise at finding myself angry quite frequently over the past month.
Mind you, there have been things going on in my life that many people would say justify being angry about.
But that is not an excuse for someone like me who is trying to live her life at the highest vibration possible.
Healing from our anger can be one of the most powerful ways to move our lives forward.
WALLS BUILT OF ANGER
Best-selling author Wayne Dyer, Ph.D., tells the story of holding onto anger toward the alcoholic, abusive father who abandoned him and his family when Dyer was just an infant.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Gary posted on Facebook that he was going to do 30 days of yoga and no sugar and asked who would join him.
I was the only taker! And neither Gary nor I had even watched the documentary “Fed Up” yet.
“Fed Up” proposes a 10-day no sugar challenge. If you go to the website www.fedupmovie.com you can sign up to join the challenge and get helpful reminder emails for 10 days.
You can watch the “Fed Up” trailer at the end of this post.
I am now on day 11 and feeling great. But I’m surprised no one else wanted to join us so I thought a blog post on why we should be avoiding sugar was in order.
Because sugar is slowly killing us as a nation.
Never think about your age! I learned that from a horse. When I started riding lessons as an adult, the horse I rode most often was a Quarterhorse gelding by the name of Bug. Bug and I got along quite well together and, as a result, my teacher usually paired me with him. He was […]Continue reading
A few decades ago, I had frequent back pain and visited my chiropractor often. That was before I discovered stretching.
There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with my back – my problem was I sat at a desk all day, then was very physically active evenings and weekends without stretching properly before and after walking, running, hiking, cycling, etc.
During one visit, my chiropractor handed me a sheet depicting a morning stretching routine and told me to do it every day.
This post contains links to some good morning stretching routines.
Hopefully in thirty years you can say you’ve done them every day and your body is pain free!
Bear Heart was a traditionally trained healer of the Muskogee Creek tribe. What outsiders would call a “medicine man.”
But the real ones don’t call themselves “medicine men” as Bear Heart explains in this video. The medicine is already here – healers just put things together to facilitate healing taking place.
Salt has a bad reputation, through no fault of its own. It’s come about because most people use commercial table salt, an unhealthy concoction which we shouldn’t be ingesting in the first place.
Not all salt is created equal. Natural salt from the earth is what we should be using, and the results can contribute greatly to good health. Commercial table salt does just the opposite.
To the ancients, salt was as valuable as gold.
When you understand its benefits, you may just forget the commercial table salt and “go natural” once again.
FED UP is a new documentary the U.S. food industry doesn’t want you to see. But I think everyone simply must watch it.
If you follow my blog, you know my passion is human potential. Yet how can we reach our potential if our health is poor?
If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, your health is on the way to poor, if it isn’t already.
To Native Americans, the food provided by Mother Earth was sacred. Yet it’s becoming harder and harder to find food in the way Mother Earth intended.
So it’s of utmost importance that we educate ourselves. Knowledge is power.
Is there a way to save the earth from home? With vinegar and baking soda?
Taking action in saving the earth should be a priority of us all.
And sometimes big changes are the result of many people taking small steps.
Can one person change the earth with vinegar and baking soda? Perhaps not. But what if everyone stopped using toxic cleaning products? Read on.
How is your breathing? Did you know good breathing may be a key to the Fountain of Youth?
It doesn’t take particularly great psychic powers to guess that you might be sitting in a chair as you read this, and it’s likely that you’re slouching or perhaps leaning in over the desk.
And it’s also a good bet you’re breathing shallowly.
And all that is not so good for your health!
Sitting up straight and doing deep, slow breathing is one of the healthiest things you can do, yet few people do it!
In fact, most people need lessons in how to breathe correctly!
Children breathe fully and naturally until about the age of seven. That’s when they start to take on stress and awareness of what adults are doing and they lose their natural ability for healthy breathing.
Dr. Mehmet Oz caused quite a stir with his December 2012 Time Magazine cover story on conventional versus organic produce.
In “Give (Frozen) Peas a Chance – and Carrots Too,” he shocked many organic food fans, myself included, by saying organic food is no healthier than the frozen conventional vegetables in the supermarket.
Oz said, “nutritionally speaking, there is little difference between the farmer’s- market bounty and the humble brick from the freezer case.”
Nutritionally, he was right. But in terms of overall health, he was wrong. Why? Because he didn’t look at the right studies.
Cicero, the 1st Century Roman orator once said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
The U.S. Holiday of Thanksgiving took place last week, but hopefully we’re not expressing thanks just one day of the year. Daily gratitude is a key to happiness, health, success and balanced living.
So I get to write about it again.
Sometimes people get dejected, or have suffered great loss and find it difficult to find anything to be thankful for.
One of the best spiritual practices I know is to list at least 5 things you are grateful for every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up. That can help lift our spirits no matter what is going on.
This Veterans’ Day post first appeared November 7, 2012. I felt it deserved a repeat.
To me, Veterans’ Day, celebrated this Monday November 11, just isn’t enough to honor what our veterans have done for this country.
Although I am a pacifist, and was an active anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, I was ashamed of the way our veterans were treated when they returned home.
And I am still deeply saddened by the lack of support and care our veterans receive today.
Yes, war is horrendous, and perhaps if women were running the world there wouldn’t be any wars. But those who did their duty and fought for us deserve better than one day to celebrate them.
THE CURRENT CRISIS IN OUR MILITARY CARE
Sleep gets short shrift in our society. Health advocates promote the importance of diet and exercise, but sleep is seldom mentioned.
Yet it’s the third leg of the health tripod.
We spend over one-third [36%] of our lives doing it. So if you’re 90 years old, you’ve spent 32 years asleep. Sobering, isn’t it?
The latest research shows that sleep is a bit of a miracle drug and we should all be taking it more seriously.
I’ll admit that I have spent a fair amount of time in my life fantasizing about how much more I could get done if I had more waking hours. I’ve even written posts on how to be more productive.
But no less a power player than Arianna Huffington, in her TED talk, sang the praises of getting enough sleep. That’s a position she moved to after fainting from exhaustion, hitting her head on her desk, and breaking her cheekbone requiring five stitches on her right eye.
Getting enough sleep improves your life in so many ways that it could be considered a key to success, in spite of Margaret Thatcher saying sleep is for wimps and Thomas Edison’s proclamation that it’s a criminal waste of time.
I’ve been reading with alarm the stories of radioactive fish being caught in the Pacific Ocean as a result of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan in 2011. Including radioactive bluefin tuna caught recently off the California coast.
Fukushima is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, both measuring Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Even after the initial radiation leakage that occurred in 2011 as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima plant has continued to leak radiation into the Pacific Ocean.
There are no signs of it stopping because Japan can’t even figure out why it’s leaking.
All fishing off the Fukushima coast has been banned by the Japanese government, though restrictions were eased in June 2012 allowing fishing of 16 types of marine life.
But here’s the thing: fish swim. And they can swim from Japan to the U.S. coastline. A bluefin tuna tagged by scientists was found to have crossed between Japan and the West Cost of the U.S. three times in 600 days.
Japanese and U.S. officials claim that the amount of radiation found in the bluefin is safe. But the overwhelming scientific opinion is that there is no safe level of radiation.
So there isn’t a consensus. But here’s what you can rely on: governments will lie to us and downplay the danger.
So we’re on our own and have to fend for ourselves on what to eat and how to stay healthy.
When the great Lakota leader Crazy Horse was getting ready to go into battle, he would review his warriors and, if any were full of anger, he would tell them to stay behind.
Only when they had conquered their anger could they rejoin him.
That’s surprising, isn’t it? One would think that such a dedicated and successful warrior on behalf of his people was motivated by anger, but apparently not.
Anger can point us in the direction of what’s important to us, but anger often controls the person instead of the person controlling it. And that’s where the trouble starts.
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha
DO YOU CONTROL YOUR ANGER OR DOES IT CONTROL YOU?
There’s nothing wrong with anger provided you use it constructively. Wayne Dyer
Use it to motivate you to make change.
But if it twists your heart into knots and makes you vindictive and out of control, it hasn’t served you. You have served it. I believe that’s the kind of anger Crazy Horse didn’t want in his warriors.
I have been facilitating a Full Moon Drumming Circle for the past six years and I always get the same comment/question when new people inquire about joining us:
“I’ve never drummed before and I don’t know how to do it.”
The fact is: everyone knows how to drum. It’s in our DNA and is one of the oldest means of communication, meditation and musical expression.
So I just tell them to have courage, keep a steady beat and follow the leader. Nothing could be simpler.