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7 Yin Yoga Poses to Support Calm, Joy, and Focus

calm move Dec 18, 2019

 

by, Elena Hollenhorst

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is a form of yoga that is derived from ancient yoga practices dating back thousands of years that was changed and developed in the west starting in the 1970s. In Yin Yoga practice, postures are typically held for 3-5 minutes, though they may be held one minute or longer. Yin Yoga poses work with gravity to passively place gentle stress on the area around the joints and connective tissues to strengthen said tissues surrounding the joints. Yin Yoga is intended to be practiced in conjunction with more active, or yang, practices.

Yin Yoga Benefits

By creating gentle stress the theory is that a routine Yin Yoga practice will strengthen and healthily mobilize fascia and other connective tissues.

Yin Yoga Sequence

Props Needed

  • Yoga mat
  • 1 Blanket
  • 1-2 blocks or pillows (depends on your needs)
  • Timer

Instructions

  1. In yin yoga practice, work towards gentle...
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6 Tips to Nurture Calm This Holiday Season

calm Dec 12, 2019

Holiday marketing and Hallmark movies will tell you that the season is only full of Joy, laughter, and celebrations. But, for some, the holidays can bring up stress and disrupt calm. Try the six tips below to support your calm this season.

1. Meditate.

Try a daily meditation practice for the few weeks before the holidays and until they wrap up (or continue beyond!). Even just five minutes of meditation can set up your entire day. Try Dr. Culbert's meditation on compassion and tolerance.>>>

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday - unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” ― Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon

2. Keep up with your regular exercise routine.

Try to make room for your regularly scheduled workouts. If you can't find the time, opt for an active group activity such as a hike or a walk around the neighborhood. 

3. Regulate your sleep schedule.

Do your best to go to bed and rise at the same time every day. Late night...

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A Meditation on Tolerance and Compassion

calm Dec 03, 2019

By Tim Culbert, MD

Meditation on Tolerance and Compassion

Find a comfortable seat or lay down. Take a few slow breaths, then simply repeat each statement below three times.

If possible, begin by writing each statement below on a piece of paper. Then, use your paper to guide you through the meditation (rather than looking at a potentially distracting screen). 

  1. I choose to be balanced, happy, and live my life with tolerance and compassion. (repeat 3 times)
  2. I will take the time to notice my arousal level in mind and body when I'm with others. (repeat 3 times)
  3. Even in difficult situations, I intend to sail along with appreciation, inner-ease, and patience. (repeat 3 times)
  4. I will release unwanted feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment as needed. (repeat 3 times) 
  5. I am grateful to everyone for the lessons they teach me. (repeat 3 times)


The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to...

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The Future of Mental Health

calm focus foundations joy Nov 07, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

We are Living with an Epidemic of Mental Health Problems

The numbers are staggering. 

The percentage of people in the US suffering from depression, anxiety, and poor focus/memory are historically high and increasing by more than 10% each decade. The rise is even faster among adolescents. If you are struggling with one of these common mental health problems, you are most definitely not alone!

Currently available treatments often don’t work well over the long term. 

Antidepressant medications still form the mainstay of treatment for depression and anxiety, while stimulants are the primary treatment for ADD. Consumers and professionals alike are realizing the limitations of conventional treatments and desperately looking for more natural, safe yet effective alternatives.

Natural approaches to mental health treatment are too often disorganized and unscientific.

There is no unified theory explaining the epidemic of disorders, either in the...

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CBD Oil for Mental Health for Kids and Teens

calm focus kids Oct 03, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

What Kids, Teens and Parents Should Know About CBD Oil for Mental Health

By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.

Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.

I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...  

The Chemical Components of CBD, Marijuana, and Hemp

The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...

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CBD and Cannabis For ADHD

calm focus joy Sep 26, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Does CBD Oil Help Relieve Symptoms of ADHD?

There is sparse evidence that CBD oil can improve the core symptoms of ADHD, and the evidence that exists is mostly anecdotal. Nonetheless, that isn’t stopping patients from trying it.

The current concern is that consumer/patient use has sped past scientific evidence for use and regulation on product quality. That means long-term effects are virtually unknown and snake-oil companies continue to pop up with CBD products that are not pure. 

An article in ADDitude magazine summarized this:

“During [a person’s] development, I worry about cannabinoids, both CBD and THC,” says UCLA’s Evans. “There are adenosine receptors (and CB2 receptors) on the microglia that are critical for brain development, and CBD inhibits adenosine uptake. This may be a beneficial factor for epilepsy and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, but who knows for ADHD.” 

The article...

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ADHD & Sleep: Using Melatonin to Reset Circadian Rhythm (Part 3)

calm focus kids sleep Sep 03, 2019

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

[Read Part 1 of this series for more on melatonin and its relationship with ADHD.]

First: Is Melatonin Safe? 

I've found melatonin to be quite helpful for kids and teens with ADHD for both sleep onset and sleep maintenance issues. However, some concerns have popped up about kids and teens using melatonin for long periods of time (more than 6 months) or at high-doses. However, little has been substantiated through research studies. 

A recent systematic review of 13 RCTs assessed the safety and efficacy of melatonin for pediatric patients with ND disorders (e.g, ADHD and Autism). Studies included a total of 632 children who took either regular melatonin or controlled release melatonin. The review found that:

  • Kids who took the melatonin fell asleep faster and slept longer compared to those given a placebo pill (Abdelgadir).
  • No major side effect concerns were apparent in any of the studies.

Second: How Should You Use...

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ADHD & Sleep: The Whole Family Approach to Reset Circadian Rhythm (Part 2)

calm focus kids sleep Aug 29, 2019

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Good [and bad] Sleep Is Contagious 

Creating a culture of healthy sleep in a household requires a “whole family” behavioral approach to sleep. That means you'll need everyone in your home to opt-in to healthy sleep hygiene practices.

  • Sleep hygiene refers to sleep practices (I call them routines and rituals) that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.
  • Sleep routines and rituals are done at the same time and sequence each night as a way of winding down and giving your mind and body time and cues to move into a more calm and quiet mode to ease the transition into sleep.

No matter if your family consists of just you, twelve cats, or lots of humans, you'll want to consider all the beings and environmental influences that can be optimized for sleep. Short-term assists like melatonin can be helpful, but it's really the establishment of healthy sleep practices that bring the lasting benefits. 

Some of the...

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ADHD & Sleep: Problems with Melatonin & Circadian Rhythm (Part 1)

calm focus kids sleep Aug 27, 2019

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

The Connection Between ADHD and Sleep 

Many of the same brain regions that regulate sleep and arousal also control attention. You've likely felt that firsthand when trying to focus on a task after a rough night of [no] sleep. It's a losing battle.

The relationship between ADHD and sleep is becoming more clear as new research has identified that:

  • Between 55 and 75% of kids and adults with ADHD also suffer from sleep related issues.
  • Even just a little sleep deprivation can lead to mental fog, inefficiencies, and can mimic the symptoms of ADHD.
  • The symptoms of insomnia and ADHD may be related to the dysregulation of the 24-hour clock (AKA your circadian rhythm). 

Though not always done in usual care, it's vital that sleep issues are explored in any child, teen, or adult with complaints of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. If you're a patient or parent who can relate, don't be shy to bring up the topic of sleep with your...

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NAC Supplements for Anxiousness

calm Aug 13, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those articles first.

NAC Benefits | NAC and Anxiety

NAC is short for n-acetylcysteine. You may have never heard of it before, but it has been used for years in emergency rooms for patients who are at risk for liver damage from something they have ingested (e.g., too much acetominophen). It protects the liver for the same reason it protects the brain: it works as a powerful antioxidant, boosting levels of the body’s own primary antioxidant—glutathione.

As researchers have realized the connection between glutamate/GABA balance and anxiety conditions, they have begun experimenting with NAC. Recently it has been used with one of the most complex anxiety illnesses—the spectrum of compulsive disorders (including OCD). Remarkably, researchers found that this...

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