Live Fully: Living From The Heart

guest posts joy meditation Apr 24, 2018
 

Guest post from Catherine Duncan

Note: After reading, click the play button above for the Journey to Your Heart Meditation. 

I grew up in a family that saw feelings as a foreign language. We didn’t talk about them. We didn’t express them. We usually pretended we didn’t feel them. We loved each other, of course, but we weren’t that comfortable saying so. In our tribe, the path to recognition was paved with achievement. Talking about the heart? Not really a thing.

But if we don’t talk about the heart – the very core of who we are – we’re not living fully. This is how it was for me, at least. I spent my young adulthood in the corporate world – the world where doing and thinking count for a lot – and always knew something was missing. I longed for deeper connections with people. I realize now that I wanted a life of meaning, purpose, and feeling.  I sometimes feel grateful for my near-drowning experience while...

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Living in a World of Distraction

focus Apr 17, 2018

By Henry Emmons, MD

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”

-Lord Chesterfield

 

The above quote is from the 1740s. Today it is uncommon to get even one hour of truly uninterrupted, focused time. While working on your computer you might occasionally check your Facebook page or Twitter account, receive a text or voicemail, read or respond to an email, or be interrupted by a colleague. How often are you able to complete even one task without another message popping up and demanding your attention?

The Side Effects of Multitasking

So, does it really matter if you’re distracted? Yes, it does if you care about your mood, stress level, sleep, brain health, and longevity. Human beings, it turns out, are not very good at dividing their attention.

No matter how great the demands placed on you, the idea of multitasking...

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Emotional Spring Cleaning

calm focus joy Apr 10, 2018

By Tim Culbert, MD

Spring brings with it the desire to declutter, simplify, and cleanse. This craving usually applies to the physical spaces we occupy liked packed closets, overstuffed junk drawers, and tucked away spaces. Cleaning out those external spaces can be very freeing (tip: take the “Pick and Purge” and/or “Clean Up” challenge from the April newsletter). However, extending that effort to your internal landscape can help identify and release unwanted emotions that have become burdensome and which clutter up your mind and heart. Shame and guilt are two very common emotions that could likely use some spring cleaning.  

Guilt and Shame

Guilt and shame are self-conscious emotions, often brewed up in response to a perceived transgression or shortcoming. Though similar in many ways, these emotions are different. Shame is particularly characterized by the desire to hide and escape. It’s usually about the “self” and can even take shape...

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Be Well in April: Live Simply

resilient year Apr 03, 2018

Most folks are overscheduled, overcommitted, and undernourished. Time for self-care can feel exhaustively absent. This over-taxed state of being can make goals for better health seem like impossible dreams. 

The focus this month is to live more simply to create space for better health and resilience. This focus can help you prioritize effort, stay more motivated, and more confidently invite your health goals in and take action toward them. With this in mind, the intention this month is: 

Live Simply

Here are three strategies to focus on:

Pick And Purge: Declutter

  • Space impacts the mind and body in big ways. Eliminate unnecessary items from your home in order to create spaces that are calm, warm, and that truly reflect you.
  • Specific action: Choose two rooms (or closets) that you can sort through. For each room, aim to fill at least two brown bags full of items that you'll either sell, donate, recycle, or throw away. And don't let...
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Tune Your Brain for Sleep

sleep Mar 27, 2018

By Tim Culbert, MD

Sound is an important sense that has a profound effect on the mind. Listening to soothing, soft music or nature sounds can quickly balance mind and body.

Tune Your Brain. It's possible to actually “tune” your brain in response to rhythmic, repetitive sounds embedded in music or natural noises. Therapists have developed special music that contains these repetitive beats or rhythms that can synchronize brain wave frequencies in the listener. This process is called brainwave “entrainment.”  

Brain waves are a reflection of the electrical activity generated by brain cells, just like our heart generates electrical activity each time it beats. Brain waves come in five different varieties or “frequencies,” depending on their speed. Below, the five frequencies are listed from slowest to fastest:

  • Delta waves are associated with dreamless sleep.
  • Theta waves are associated with dream sleep, imagery, intuition,...
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The Calming Breath Technique: Simple Tool to Stress Less and Sleep Better

sleep Mar 20, 2018

The Calming Breath Technique

The Calming Breath Technique addresses anxiousness and stress by emphasizing the exhalation. When you're anxious or agitated, your breath is shallow and rapid. On the other hand, when you're in a relaxed state, exhalation is easy, long, and full, with no sense of needing to rush to the next breath. You can cultivate a state of calm that can also help you fall asleep by consciously lengthening the exhalation. Here's how to do it:

  • Settle into a comfortable seated position or lie down.
  • Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Slowly breathe in through your nose, counting to 3 or 4.
  • Pause briefly after your inhale and then gently exhale as you count to 5 or 6 so that the exhalations become longer than your inhalations.
  • Continue in this way without any sense of work or strain. As you follow your exhalations to the end, you may begin to notice a slight pause that occurs at the end of the...
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Parenting + The Chemistry of Calm and Joy

kids parenting Mar 13, 2018

Dr. Emmons spent some time with MomEnough to discuss strategies parents can use to bring more calm and joy into family life. 

Listen over here >>>

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A Whole-Person Approach to Treating Depression

joy Mar 06, 2018

A recent article in Experience L!fe Magazine explores complementary approaches to depression that can be integrated into nearly every treatment plan. In the article, Dr. Emmons notes:

“Our diagnostic skills with depression are not where they necessarily need to be,” says integrative psychiatrist Henry Emmons, MD, author of The Chemistry of Joy. He believes that pharmaceutical treatments can be effective in manipulating brain chemistry for short-term relief, but that more reliable, lasting effects come from rebuilding systems throughout the body and mind. Emmons and other integrative health experts recommend starting with the following strategies...

Read about these strategies in the full article >>>

You can also visit the NMH Natural Joy category for a free mini-course that integrates some of these suggested strategies.

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Be Well in March: Sleep Peacefully

resilient year sleep Mar 01, 2018

Spring is in the air! Perhaps ironically, this enlivening time is made even more refreshing when sleep is prioritized. Better sleep allows you to take in more fully the inspiration of spring and turn it into healthy actions to benefit your body, mind, and heart. With spring in mind, our intention this month is: 

Sleep Peacefully

Here are four strategies to focus on:

Spring Sipping: Drinks That Help You Sleep

Try a hot cup of chamomile tea or warm coconut milk mixed with honey, cinnamon, and turmeric before bedtime. 

Nap Mindfully: Ideal Nap Time 

If you want a nap, keep it under 30 minutes. Short naps can be beneficial, whereas long naps can make you groggy and negatively impact your sleep at night.

Be Grateful: Shift Your Attitude with Gratitude

Each night before bed, think about two or three things that happened during the day that you are thankful for. Even small things!

Nourish, Move, Awaken

The strategies above are built on our ...

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Five Easy Tips for Better Sleep

sleep Feb 27, 2018

Lying awake in bed when you rather be catching Z's can feel like torture. Perhaps you know the feeling as frustration over your lack of sleep increases, your agitation amplifies, and then sleep becomes even more difficult. It's a vicious cycle.

Read below for five tips that can prevent or crumble that cycle so you can get better sleep. 

  1. Flow & Release. If you lie awake for 20 minutes or more, try to flow with it. You may find it helpful to write down any worries so that you can stop running them through your head and release them. Just remember to keep your room dark, even if you are journaling.
  2. Disengage. To avoid ruminating about the fact that you can’t sleep, you can try techniques that disengage your mind. For instance, you can try doing some math in your head, like counting backward from 300 by threes. You might also try the calming breath technique (find this technique in our free Joy, Calm, or Focus mini-courses).
  3. Time Your Meals...
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