The Window of Tolerance and A Brief Meditation on Tolerance and Compassion

calm joy Dec 04, 2018

  By Tim Culbert, MD

The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to thrive in everyday life. This zone has been described by Drs. Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden as “sailing within a river of wellbeing where we are able to respond to all that comes our way with equanimity-without being thrown off course" (learn more here).

 

When you find yourself outside of this desirable zone (e.g., a nerve-wracking social situation), then your nervous system gets revved up and you can become emotionally over-reactive and quick to anger. Or, you may go the other way, and shut down or withdraw.

As the saying goes, "You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails." So how can you adjust your sails when you find yourself outside your window of tolerance? You can use awareness, grounding, and mindful breathing skills to help you get back in the zone for more optimal functioning.  

The regular practice of...

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Plant-Based Diet for Beginners: Start a More Plant-Based Diet This Fall (6 easy tips!)

By Elly Hollenhorst

The days are getting dark and cold. Warm hearty meals may be at the center of your cravings and, trust me, you are not alone. The following tips on how to eat more plant-based this fall will not only satisfy your comfort food craving but nourish your body by helping you succeed in eating more whole foods.

What Is a “Plant-Based” Diet?

The term plant-based has been buzzing around the internet of late and hopefully, we will continue hearing more about it as time passes. A whole food plant-based diet means that the food you consume is centered around an abundant variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, nuts, and seeds. The aim is to eat food as close to its whole form as possible (e.g. brown rice vs. white rice), choose organic as much as you can, and avoid processed food.

Whole food plant-based diets have been studied and appear to be among the healthiest ways of eating. Let me put it this way, very few people argue against...

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Winterize Your Brain Kit: Support for Seasonal Affective Disorder

calm joy Nov 20, 2018
 

It's here! The kit to get you through winter without that mind-body crash has arrived. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in winter. The Winterize Your Brain Kit includes key supplements and tools that work synergistically to help you create more warmth, light, & happiness- even during the coldest & darkest days. Learn more about your kit below.

Watch the video above and learn more about the kit here

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Foods that Help You Focus

digestion focus Nov 14, 2018

Food has an amazing ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and your ability to focus and to feel calm. If you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places you should start with is what you’re eating. Below are some general suggestions and specific foods that may help you improve your focus.

General Suggestions: 

Eat Breakfast. Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Foods at the top of researchers' brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, protein, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Keep Regular Mealtimes. Your mid-day meal should be the largest if possible with a light meal at supper. Eat moderately, neither fasting nor indulging in large meals.

Relax. Take time to relax after eating. You'll digest better and feel more calm, satisfied, and ready to focus on your next task. 

Eat...

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The SHARE Model: Five Steps to Restore and Support Your GI Health

digestion Nov 06, 2018

If you have gastrointestinal (GI) concerns, consider trying the SHARE Model (below) to ease discomfort and restore more resilient GI health. The Share Model is a modified version of the 5 Rs from The Institute for Functional Medicine.

If you're not sure about your symptoms, visit your doctor and then visit the Natural Digestion section for more information and support as you work to improve your GI health.

 

Visit the Foundations category to learn more about the Resilient Diet.

There are some basic GI health supplements from Resilient Remedies that can help you as you implement SHARE. See below for these supports.

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Modeling Screen Time for Kids (Even Babies!)

kids Oct 30, 2018

By Marti Erickson, PhD

Did your parents used to tell you, “Do as I say, not as I do”?

That wasn’t a very effective strategy then, and it still isn’t. Like it or not, kids are far more likely to do as we do.

So, if you bemoan how kids seem to have a phone or other device as one of their appendages, look in the mirror before threatening dire consequences if they don’t “put that thing down right now!”

Disclaimer: I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m pointing a finger at you. Truth is, when I point at you, my other fingers point back at me! I’m a grandma of five kids, ages 10 – 14, with whom I spend a lot of time. I also have a pretty close relationship with my electronic devices. I’ve had to work at this technology balance too!

There are two important questions to ask yourself while looking in the mirror:

  • What is the appropriate place of these devices in my child’s life and my own?
  • What lessons am I teaching (and...
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Give Yourself the Gift of Connection

awaken joy Oct 25, 2018

By Sandra Kacher, LICSW Emeritus

As we enter the season of great festivities, I realize once more that this is the time of year when my therapy clients begin to talk about loneliness, isolation, and grief. My first Christmas disappointment was getting a generic “Lovely Linda” doll instead of a Tiny Tears. The heartache (for a child)! I can clearly remember the sinking in my stomach when I realized I wasn’t getting the real thing. For too many people, that sinking feeling lasts from October through New Year’s Eve.

The image of your perfect holiday may have to do with childhood memories of special foods, tree decorating rituals, and beautifully wrapped presents under that tree (and Tiny Tears in one of those packages!). Glossy holiday images also tempt us in sentimental movies, TV commercials, and a barrage of magazine recipes for this year’s version of the new best food for the holidays.  

Despite the focus on food and presents, the perfect holiday...

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A Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder: Definition, Treatment, & Prevention

joy Oct 18, 2018

By Henry Emmons, MD

Our annual journey around the sun has crossed the threshold that creates a mild sense of dread in many people—winter is coming. The days are now shorter than the nights, and if you live north of a line going through Atlanta, you are probably noticing a change in your biology. Your body wants you to hibernate. Most of us don’t actually hibernate, and probably wouldn’t feel good if we did, but living out of sync with nature’s rhythms comes at a cost.

You may just feel a little sluggish, want to sleep more, crave comfort foods, or have a harder time getting to a gym. Or, you may feel something more—a specific form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (known by the apt acronym SAD).

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder refers to a form of depression that occurs at a specific time of year. For most people, that means the winter, though there are subsets that occur in the spring or summer. Look for...

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SAD Light Therapy

joy Oct 17, 2018

By Tim Culbert, MD

Has the weather got you down? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A significant amount of folks (about 10 to 20%) experience seasonal symptoms of low mood or decreased energy. When symptoms are more severe, it’s often called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Winter is the most common time for SAD, but some individuals may have similar shifts during other seasons. For this article we'll focus on fall and winter.

Common Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD symptoms can include:

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy, feeling sluggish
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
  • Feeling sad, irritable, or agitated
  • Difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep

It's important to meet with a health professional if you are experiencing these symptoms. Along with their guidance, you may find it helpful to try light therapy. 

What Does Light Have to do With SAD?

Research suggests that a big part...

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Outdoor Therapy and Grounding Techniques for Mental Health

calm focus foundations joy Sep 28, 2018

 

By Tim Culbert, MD

Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

-John Muir

Where do I go when I feel burned out? I head to the mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, and desert landscapes for rejuvenation and a sense of calm. That simple step of heading outside almost magically shifts my internal landscape. I think of this immersion in a wild environment as “swimming with the senses.”

As a physician, I’ve sought out the scientific support for how these healing effects of nature take place. It's a free activity, there are no side effects, but is it just good for me or is something my patients should do too?

Well-known authors, poets, political leaders, and healers from all over the world have understood this connection between health in mind, body, and spirit, and the natural world. I love Seth Adam Smith’s...

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