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...
“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.”
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?
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...
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 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...
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:
Here are three strategies to focus on:
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:
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:
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...
You can also visit the NMH Natural Joy category for a free mini-course that integrates some of these suggested strategies.
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:
Here are four strategies to focus on:
Try a hot cup of chamomile tea or warm coconut milk mixed with honey, cinnamon, and turmeric before bedtime.
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.
Each night before bed, think about two or three things that happened during the day that you are thankful for. Even small things!
The strategies above are built on our ...
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.