Exercising for Energy – Stop 8

Exercising for Energy – Stop 8

Exercising for energy

 

Ah, exercise. The little argued value to a healthy life, yet highly argued as to what is optimal exercise. The answer, like food, is it depends on the individual.

 

For most people exercise is about weight loss or maintaining weight. The old calorie in calorie out adage. I’m not of this camp. Diet and proper sleep/circadian rhythms are far more capable of helping you lose weight in my opinion. You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.

 

However exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle. I believe exercises from just general moving to intense workouts have a place in your life.

 

Light exercises like walking and slow paced activities are awesome because they are often communal or put you out in nature, which is good for the spirit. Getting outside gets you sunlight and all of nature’s good woowoo vibes. Activities get you social which is incredible for your health. Light activities reduce stress, and movement in general is good. We are not meant to be sedentary. Sitting after all is the new smoking.

 

Lack of physical activity is linked to:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporsis
  • Sarcopenia
  • Sleep Issues
  • Brain Health
  • Emotional Health

 

Further, I have no proof of this but I once heard a theory that I loved that activities like walking can help you lose weight because it signals to your brain that you want to be active so your body helps you to be active by shedding weight. Sort of an epigenetic thing. (and that wasn’t even a scientific theory with studies, though I think it may have been a doctor blogger’s theory, but isn’t it a good one)

 

Types of exercise/movement I like:

 

Sports – I love for the social aspect of them. Surrounding yourself with friends is about the best thing you can do for your health in my opinion. They also can be high intensity, and some even sort of interval training (like soccer or basketball where the running comes in spurts) which I will go on to explain why I love.

 

Yoga – I’m not going to even go into, because the Internet is full of reasons as to why yoga is awesome, and I couldn’t agree more. I will say though that I especially love yoga because it is quality exercise that is good for almost anybody. Like I said, everyone’s optimal exercise routine is different, but yoga pretty much fits into everyone’s. It can be a great stress reducer too if you can find one a type/time/place you enjoy.

 

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – This is a very popular type of workout these days. For good reason. HIIT training increases VO2 (oxygen uptake), supports heart rate variability and strength, improves blood glucose control and increasing intensity (especially muscular) releases a interleuken-6 an anti-inflammatory.

 

These are all great things. It’s also the quickest way to get a full body workout that is good for your heart, energy, and whole body. Buuuuut it’s not the right type of exercise for everyone, so it’s definitely a good idea to get a doctor’s opinion before starting this training. For instance someone with late stage adrenal fatigue (low cortisol and energy) may not want to be doing HIIT routines because it can often be a high stress exercise.

 

The Vibe – Kind of sort of an exercise. Whole body vibration plates are incredible, because they support the lymphs and detoxification. Further it supports the immune system, increases muscle strengths and bone density and stimulates brain function. And like yoga, can fit into almost anyone’s routine. You can also do exercises on The Vibe to increase difficulty/intensity/effectiveness depending on the exercise.

 

And that’s just the tip of the exercise iceberg. There are so many programs and routines out there.

 

Change it up. Keep it interesting. Have fun. And most importantly take time to recover. But if you’re looking to get the most bang for your time HIIT routines, Body by Science super slow workouts, or the new up and coming if you can find it in your hood ARX machine seem to be where it’s at.

 

Popular exercises I have some problems with:

 

Static exercises like running for 45 min at a target heart rate and endurance training like this are actually kind of bad for your heart in the long run because they can lower heart rate variability, and heart rate variability is really important to long term heart health.  

 

Crossfit – crossfit is doing skill-based exercises (such as snatches) to fatigue, but because you do it to fatigue there is a tendency to lose form as you fatigue and risk injury.

 

I’m not saying don’t do these types of exercise, especially if you like them and they motivate you to work out.  Just be wary of the risks, and try change it up as much as your motivation allows for.

 

The Energy Takeaway

 

Exercise improves oxygenation to the blood and blood flow, which increases energy. It’s also a great chronic stress reducer, which just improves all of life.

 

Check out my free webinar: The 5 Keys to Optimal Energy for my biggest and best tips to shortcut getting back and sustaining optimal energy.

 

The Short of It:

 

BACK TO INTRO

 

Laura Boysen provides Wellness and Vitality Coaching for Women who are sick and tired of being sick and too tired to do (insert countless number of things, ie.; playing with their kids, getting intimate with their partner, meditating before bed, following their dreams). Laura’s mission is to help you learn how to support your innate ability to heal so that you can take back your energy and own your power to create a healthy and incredibly vital life. Schedule a free 45 minute “Get Lasting Energy” coaching session with Laura here.

 

DISCLOSURE

I am not capable of diagnosing or treating diseases. Nor is that my intention. These statements have not been FDA approved.  I’m a girl that has been studying holistic wellness for over 10 years, working on my own health, and feel compelled to share the information I have learned, that I believe in, and that has changed my vitality, performance, resilience, and health for the better. I of course can not guarantee its accuracy, though most has supporting scientific studies, it is always important to note that scientific studies are fallible and some are completed much more stringently than others. Again I’m only sharing information that I believe has improved my life.  Further this article contains affiliate links (TOS) and I truly appreciate your support.

 

Food and Fixing the Gut – Stop 7

food as medicine

 

Ah, food as medicine. The beginning, most of the middle, and the end, for oh so many in the holistic health world. And you know what, while food is not the be all end all for me, I can’t blame them. Food is powerful, important, and can absolutely be medicine.

 

Antibiotics wreak havoc on our gut biome. Which we want to be diverse and healthy. You can find articles on the gut microbiome all over the internet. It’s a huge topic in holistic health these days. Book’s like Dr. Axe’s Eat Dirt are all about this.

 

For the healthiest gut you want a microbiome that is plentiful and diverse. Which today’s sanitary capabilities, germ phobia, and the overuse of antibiotics in the healthcare system and in the food we eat, our gut microbiomes don’t get the diversity they used to get. This often leads to food sensitivities, allergies, and is a big contributor of the problem of a leaky gut (meaning your gut barrier has become permeable and allows food molecules into the bloodstream that shouldn’t normally be there). Leaky gut can lead to gastric problems, autoimmune conditions, and in my opinion it is likely everyone with a chronic disease has a leaky gut.

 

Gut health is vital to the health of the overall body. It is certainly not separate and shouldn’t be treated as such. Among other things, the gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system. (1)

 

What Leads To an Unhealthy Gut?

 

  • Antibiotics, and the lack of concerted effort to repopulate the gut after taking them, are a huge contributor of poor gut health.
  • Chronic stress, in the form of mental or emotional stress, toxins, certain dental work
  • Consistent poor eating habits can also lead to the eventual imbalance and poor health of the gut.
  • Stress can lead to poor gut health or disease in any part of the body

 

Pleomorphism – Another Reason To Have A Healthy Gut??

 

I recently learned, from the book PEMF by Bryant Meyers, something else that also demonstrates the importance of a healthy gut microbiome. It begins with the concept of pleomorphism. The idea of pleomorphism is that bacteria and viruses change depending on the environment. This goes against Louis Pasteur’s germ theory of disease, which is a theory still prominent in modern western medicine. (please direct all pitchforks away from me, I did not come up with theory, I just like, and think it is powerful and worth sharing)

 

According to this germ theory of disease, we are victims of germs and these bugs can strike anyone unknowingly. Modern medicine then tells us to use antibiotics or vaccines to destroy or prevent these buggers. Pasteur also describes germs as non-changeable, in both form and function.

 

But there is also another concept that opposes Pasteur’s theory. The theory that microorganisms are pleomorphic (from latin pleo = “many”; morph = “form”) that they can often change forms. A virus can become a bacterium, which can mutate into a yeast or fungus. And we now know through the use of darkfield microscopes, that this is true of at least some bacterium. To understand how pleomorphism works, look at the pioneering research of Antoine Bechamp and Claude Bernard.

Bechamp discovered little organisms, which he called microzyma; they are seed bacteria that morph into beneficial or malevolent organisms depending on the environment or terrain. Much like a stem cell can differentiate into all the organs and tissues in your body, a microzyma can morph into any type of bacteria, virus or parasite depending on the terrain; hence the term pleomorphism. The idea of pleomorphism is that bacteria and viruses change depending on the environment. The type of organism is a result of the chemical environment in which it lives, and it can change both its form and function. It was Bechamp who discovered the pleomorphic nature of germs, but it was Claude Bernard who further developed the idea of the “biological terrain” and more clearly explained how pleomorphism works. A healthy terrain or environment in the body creates healthy and beneficial organisms (like acidophilus for example); an unhealthy terrain creates pathogenic organisms.

Meyers, Bryant A. (2013-08-19). PEMF – The Fifth Element of Health: Learn Why Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy Supercharges Your Health Like Nothing Else! (p. 68). BalboaPress. Kindle Edition.

 

A healthy gut biome is just one aspect of a healthy terrain. Meyers goes on to explain, the terrain includes homeostatic levels of glucose, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen level, and pH. And I will argue all are highly affected by the things in this wellness success and vitality roadmap series.

 

Does this mean the germs/bacteria/viruses have no place in disease. Not at all. Again Pasteur’s germ theory did win out over pleomorphism, but I think there is probably a place for both theories to be correct. And, I think it just means if you are healthy and have a healthy system that those germs are far less likely to cause disease. Your body is better able to adapt and heal.

 

So with our gut being so vital to our health what do we do to keep a healthy gut?

 

Well essentially you follow this roadmap. Lower and control stress, sleep well and keep your circadian rhythm right, connect with the Earth, avoid toxins, and eat a diverse diet of whole organic foods. Things everyone should be doing, currently healthy or not.

 

But if you are among the vast number that currently have gut problems, how do you fix those gut problems?

 

You do all of the previous paragraph mentions, but with some more specifics and effort.

 

The idea behind many gut healing diets is to eliminate all the foods you are sensitive too. The ones your body is reacting too when the large food molecules are getting through the gut barrier and into the bloodstream. This makes a ton of sense, and definitely works for many many people, but these eliminations diets are also pretty darn difficult, because it’s not uncommon to have a ton of food sensitivities. It’s also not uncommon to be highly sensitive to something that you supposed to be eating on a healthy diet such a coconut. You can get a food sensitivity test but those should really only be treated as a guideline and not hard and fast. I got one and was for instance highly sensitive to olives. Olive oil generally being considered ok on many of these gut healing diets.

 

While removing all of the foods you’re sensitive to from your diet is a great idea, and can possibly heal your gut, I would argue that can take a freakishly long time and it doesn’t necessarily heal your gut. If you are still under chronic stress or exposed to certain toxins or aren’t also focusing on fixing your energy production then it might all be what could certainly feel like “a waste of time” (though you would really be quite healthier just not necessarily healed).

 

Food can be both incredibly simple and incredibly complex, just like pretty much everything else when it comes to the body and health and healing. So I say unless you need to do the mentally difficult complex way (i.e. full on eliminations) or are really that interested in and prefer the that, why not start with something a little more simple, a little easier on the stress, emotions, and cravings.

 

Going back to what my mom always says “you’re making it too complicated, maybe you need to stop trying so hard.” (Seriously listen to you mom. They are so smart).

 

So might you be one of those people that needs to go on a full elimination diet, and introduce foods back in one at a time slowly. Maybe. But you know what, elimination diets suck. I’ve tried them, more than once. Different kinds, and the full on. Nothing is worse than cutting out practically all food and a week, two, three weeks later still feeling basically the same. “I DON’T FEEL ANY BETTER!” Or cutting out sugar for 2 weeks and “I STILL FEEL THE SAME” Well relatively. Both in my case did give me a bit more energy and a bit less tummy trouble, but essentially I felt the same and it was very frustrating. And I know what you are thinking – “You have to give it more time.” Well, agreed, but when you hear story after story of feeling so great after just 1 week of eliminating xyz and you don’t feel any significance difference yourself after 2 or 3 and you’re still burping up a storm, it’s very defeating. Any of you that have tried an elimination know, they can be very difficult mentally and socially.

 

So what I have come to realize is that elimination diets suck, and they are the harder way. Yes, I still am a fan of the food as medicine route, and in that route you still have to cut out a lot of foods in particular gluten, dairy, and sugar to the very best of your ability. It’s actually pretty easy to do gluten and dairy these days (though I would recommend not replacing gluten with a whole lot of processed junk gf goodies). Anything more then that, it begins to be the complex way. And again, I should probably clarify that by complex I mean the more stressful (for most of us) way. Also again, I want to say that a diet like the GAPS diet is probably never the wrong choice, and will almost certainly help in your healing. But if you are like me, and the idea of the GAPS diet hurts your brain and depresses the hell out you, you might want to try something else first. There is a good shot it’ll really help you, and is kind of a good transition into making the fuller elimination diet mentally easier should you end up finding it necessary.

 

So you’re asking yourself what is the “simple” way.

 

Well truthfully it’s not exactly simple. It’s kind of far from it, depending on how you already eat. For me though, I’ve found it to get easier and easier, and now I truly enjoy eating this way as a lifestyle, and my gut is pretty darn happy with it.

 

The following is the alternative to elimination diets that I eat for optimizing the gut:

 

Supplements:

HCL

Digestive Enzymes and/or bitters

High quality Probiotics

Supplements that help rebuild the gut lining

            Glutamine

            MSM and Chondroitin

            Marshmallow

 

Eat:

Gluten and dairy free (unless you’re doing raw dairy or high quality fermented dairy, maybe some goat cheese occasionally). One of the main reasons we don’t want to eat wheat and other gluten-containing grains is that they contain a protein called gliadin, which has been shown to increase zonulin production and thus directly contribute to leaky gut. (1) And why no dairy, it’s common to have poor reactions to the caseins in dairy.

 

Far, far less

            Sugar

            Processed foods

More

            Organic whole foods

            Organic Veggies

            Collagen and bone broth

High quality fats

 

Choosing

            Grass-fed and ideally organic meats

            Low toxin – cold water fish

            Eating seasonally for your zip code

 

Also:

            Fermented foods – Fermenting foods to store them for eating in winter has been done for ever. It’s a quality source of getting healthy bacteria to your gut. However each batch is so unique, and therefore will work differently for you. Some batches of whatever you try (kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, etc.) might have bacteria that doesn’t sit as well with you as a previous batch. I like making my own fermented veggie slaw with Dr. Mercola’s starter culture .

            Raw foods – pasteurization kills all the potentially good bacteria we can get from raw foods. I recommend not being scared of things like raw almonds and raw milk as long as you know who you’re buying from. Make it a good source. Some states sell raw milk legally in stores and others you can get it if you do buy a cow. Where it is legal the standards of safety are super high.

            Hell, even eat food with some dirt on it – Especially if that dirts from your own gardening or from the organic local farmer at the farmer’s market that you’ve chatted with and trust their soil isn’t junk. The probiotics in soil are great for getting quality gut biome diversity.

 

And follow the rest of the roadmap.

 

This is essentially the outline of a healthy diet for everyone, both in need of healing and not. Like I said food is complex. Where you live, genetics, and ancestry can play a big part in whether or not certain foods are optimal for you. Living along the equator you probably do a lot better with all sorts of fruits year round. Others do better with certain meats or grains.   Everyone is sensitive to different foods. This is why I personally find it difficult to solely focus on general gut healing diets Food is medicine, it’s just super personalized medicine. That’s why it’s also a great idea to work with a professional or coach to help you personalize your food approach. I myself am a Bulletproof® certified coach (in training thru 2016), and truly believe in it. One of the reasons I like it and teach it, is because it is based in science and focused on essentially the outline above, but also finding what works and doesn’t work for you. It’s about optimizing your environment.

 

 

Here’s the kicker – the gut microbiome – rebalancing and restoring

 

As I mentioned earlier antibiotics have the ability to give our gut microbiome, which is essential to our health, a major ass whooping. Your gut houses more bacteria than there are human cells in the body, and they are there for a reason. They help with digestion and absorption of food. They help your gut function properly. They talk to our nervous system, and likely so much more that we don’t even know about.  

 

About 75% of the cells that make up your immune system are gut related. (3) Further 90% of the neurotransmitter serotonin which helps in regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep is located in the gut, and your gut bacteria can affect this amount. (8) Bacteria not only interact with neurotransmitters, they can also produce their own. Some beneficial bacteria can influence GABA (another neurotransmitter) receptors in the brain. Other bacteria in the gut can prompt or inhibit inflammation in the gut and also elsewhere in the body, and some gut bacteria will actually produce neurotransmitters themselves. (9)

 

Gut dysbiosis (unbalanced good gut bacteria) is linked to a whole host of health conditions from allergies to autoimmune conditions, and some could argue nearly all chronic health conditions. A healthy gut is vital to a healthy immune system, and proper digestion and why healing your gut is the cornerstone to so many autoimmune healing protocols. (4)

 

To have a healthy gut, evidence is pointing to the need to have a healthy, diverse, and balanced microbiome. The diet outlined above with low sugar and addition of fermented and raw foods has shown to help people begin to balance their microbiomes.

 

 

But there is more you can do as well – beyond food:

 

  • Probiotics
  • Prebiotic foods – like jicama, artichoke, onions and garlic
  • Whipworm or beetle guts/HDC
  • Fecal transplants
  • Probiotic enemas

 

I know what you may be thinking. Whipworm? Beetle guts? Fecal transplants? This girl is nuts. Well for starters, talk to your doc. Make it a functional medicine doc, and these shouldn’t be foreign concepts to them. Fecal transplants are only legal in the US for certain conditions mainly C. difficile colitis, (5) but if you are reading this from out of the US or looking to do health treatments out of the US, fecal transplants can be a way to change your gut environment, if your condition is serious enough and the things you’ve tried haven’t been working. Essentially you are using a healthy donor’s fecal matter to repopulate your digestive tract with the donor’s healthy bacteria via an enema. It has been used for metabolic diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders, autoimmune diseases, allergic disorders, tumors and weight loss. (6)

 

Ok, so what about the worms and beetles? These are actually slightly easier to do within the US. While I had heard of taking pig whipworm a while back I recently learned of taking HDC (beetle guts) for the same reason on a Bulletproof podcast with Dr. Sid Baker. Dr. Baker was looking for ways to treat immune intolerances. In order to do so he looked at cultures and communities where there is no instances of auto-immunity. What he found was that these people have a different kind of microbiome which somewhat larger germs in them than bacteria. And there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that this is very true, and has helped many people heal their guts. Whipworm (aka helminthic therapy) or HDC (Hymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids found in the guts of grain beetles) are currently the options for larger germs that you can find and try for yourself. Doctors like Sid Baker cultivate HDC and use them with his patients or patients of other doctors he works with, but you can also learn more and get some via Biome Restoration. Whipworm is a bit more expensive and harder to find, but you will likely find more doctors familiar with helminthic therapy, which it is also known as than HDC. In a controlled clinical trial published in 2005 in Gastroenterology, 52 participants with colitis were given 2,500 pig whipworm eggs or a placebo every two weeks for three months. Thirteen of the 29 patients (44.8 percent) who received whipworm eggs improved, compared with only four of the 23 participants (17.4 percent) who received the placebo. (7)

 

So while it may seem extreme. I believe it’s worth knowing about these therapies and options and talking to your doctor about it.

 

This can be all be overwhelming and hard to start, but is really quite easy once you get into the gluten dairy free (except raw if you are trying it) groove. And what if it doesn’t work? Truth is, it might not. If it doesn’t, going more complex with food allergy panels, GAPs diet, full on eliminations, SCD, FODMAPs etc. may be your route. Or if your need and will is strong enough going on a diet like GAPs right away has shown to help heal your gut, especially if you take into consideration the rest of this wellness roadmap, because unfortunately for some it’s not just one thing. You need to be doing all these things at once. If you are eating the healthiest diet and working diligently to repopulate your gut but are still under massive stress there is unfortunately a good chance you will have less than optimal results.

 

The Energy Takeaway:

 

Eating a diet similar to the above can help you normalize insulin, lose or keep weight off, and optimize fat metabolism – all of which will help with optimal energy production.

 

Check out my free webinar: The 5 Keys to Optimal Energy for my biggest and best tips to shortcut getting back and sustaining optimal energy.

 

 

The Short of It:

 

 

BACK TO INTROGO TO THE FINAL STOP – 8

 

Laura Boysen provides Wellness and Vitality Coaching for Women who are sick and tired of being sick and too tired to do (insert countless number of things, ie.; playing with their kids, getting intimate with their partner, meditating before bed, following their dreams). Laura’s mission is to help you learn how to support your innate ability to heal so that you can take back your energy and own your power to create a healthy and incredibly vital life. Schedule a free 45 minute “Get Lasting Energy” coaching session with Laura here.

 

DISCLOSURE

I am not capable of diagnosing or treating diseases. Nor is that my intention. These statements have not been FDA approved.  I’m a girl that has been studying holistic wellness for over 10 years, working on my own health, and feel compelled to share the information I have learned, that I believe in, and that has changed my vitality, performance, resilience, and health for the better. I of course can not guarantee its accuracy, though most has supporting scientific studies, it is always important to note that scientific studies are fallible and some are completed much more stringently than others. Again I’m only sharing information that I believe has improved my life.  Further this article contains affiliate links (TOS) and I truly appreciate your support.

 

Hacking Happiness – Stop 6

Hacking Happiness – Stop 6

cultivating happiness

 

The degree to which people experience positive emotions in their lives can predict whether or not they will be languishing or flourishing. (1)

 

Ah, the illusive happiness.  We all want it, and many of us struggle to get it or maintain it when we do.  We say we’re happy, but then think “but I could be happier.” So maybe it’s really the happier that is illusive.  That grass is always greener on the other side idea.

 

I recently heard a great version of that quote though.

 

hacking happiness

 

When you water your patch of happiness it grows. Being happy is as good for your health and longevity as giving up smoking is.  Not only are you less stressed when you are happy, your immune system is also healthier and more robust.

 

When happy, you: (2,3)

  • Are more productive
  • Have WAY more creativity, like 300% more creative  
  • Create a higher sense of well-being
  • Increase life satisfaction
  • Increase physical health
  • Have greater resilience to stress
  • Have better social connection to others
  • And people even have longer lives.  

 

Research even shows that positive emotional experiences cause these various outcomes rather than just being a consequence of them, which is very very cool. (3)

 

This is how I look at it.  When you are happy you aren’t stressed.  When you aren’t stressed you are allowing your body to enter or remain in healthy or healing mode.  Not to say you can’t be stressed and happy, but in that case you are probably in a good stress mode, one that is temporary.  

 

There are many definitions for happiness out there, but it boils down to having more positive than negative thoughts and emotions, and a sense of life satisfaction.

 

Now this doesn’t mean if you experience a lot of negative feelings that you can’t or won’t be happy.  Negative feelings can be quite healthy.  Good or bad feelings/emotions, it really is about how we deal with them.  And dealing with them in a healthy way involves opening up to and working skillfully with the full range of your emotional spectrum.  The best way to do this that I know of is to practice mindfulness and presence which I discuss much more of in the stress section as well as the hot tip I give away in my free webinar: The 5 Keys To Optimal Energy.

 

So how do we let positive emotions light our way and water our little patch of happiness?

 

Cultivating Happiness:

  • Gratitude
  • Cultivate optimism
  • Avoiding overthinking and comparative thinking
  • Practice kindness
  • Build and nurture relationships – happy people have stable relationships
  • Develop coping strategies and increase resilience
  • Practice Forgiveness
  • Increase Flow
  • Savor pleasures in life
  • Commit to your goal
  • Be curious and try new things – take risk (4)

 

I want to expand on the two I personally believe are the most important for cultivating happiness.

                                    

Building social circles

 

Neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman explains how society not understanding the real, literal value of social is our kryptonite.  Being social makes us happier, healthier, smarter,and more productive.  (5)

 

And I couldn’t agree more with Lieberman.  Understanding the power of being social and using it, is a super power.  

 

The following is an excerpt from book I Can. I Am. I Have about related to why relationships and being social is so good for your health and happiness.

 

There have been many scientific studies done that show the importance of relationships. So many that I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that building and maintaining quality relationships may be the most important factor in living a long and healthy life.

Kelly McGonigal [health psychologist] talks about how stress [in her TED talk] makes you social, because the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress response, motivating you to seek support. Oxytocin is the hormone released when you hug someone. It’s good for you. It’s an anti-inflammatory. It encourages you to release your stress through relationships. People are nourished by other people.[i]

A recent study by Brigham Young University psychology researchers found that loneliness and isolation boost chances of death by 29%.[ii] It is comparable to obesity. Another study found that the effects of loneliness might be even worse in older people. During a six-year period, isolated people who are 50 and over had twice the mortality rate of their peers who enjoyed more active social and family lives, according to a 2012 paper published in The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied.[iii]

I also was recently reading about a study of an old community of Italian immigrants in Roseto, PA in the 1960’s. This community was very close-knit and looked after one another. The type of place where doors were always open and you spent evenings socializing, drinking, and playing cards together. Researchers were drawn to Roseto because the community statistics seemed to defy medical logic. Residents seemed almost immune to the most common causes of death, even though they lead lives that would typically be linked to early death such as drinking, smoking, eating lots of pasta, and doing hard labor jobs.

Researchers believed that it was the community and its strong social nature that led to the health statistics. They shared a life, a community, a work ethic, a goal of a better life for their children. Three generations of family would live together and elderly would be elevated socially, instead of diminished. Social clubs and church activities would bring out the whole community. As the community advanced with the times and kids went off to school and stayed away, and everyone turned to their computers and TV’s, it wasn’t shocking to find that their stellar statistics of health began to fall into normal ranges.[iv]

If you think about it, it makes a ton of sense. When you are with friends and family you are releasing stress. You can talk about your problems and get feedback. If you don’t want to talk about your problems, but are still actively engaged, you are living in the moment. Some of the time you might be doing physical activity, another one of the excellent ways to release stress. You are also likely to be feeling loved and giving love, which will release oxytocin, another powerful stress reducer.

Some of you might be seeing this as bad news, because you are lonely, and struggle with social connection. All hope is not lost. A couple of loyal friends can actually be better than many less engaged friends. Meetups.com is a great way to meet new friends that share your interest. There are a surprising number of book clubs still taking place. Church or spiritual groups are fantastic places to find support, friendship, and people to help. Don’t just seek to find people to support you, but also to find people you can support. You can also start online. Perhaps start a pen pal relationship. Expressing yourself through writing is a fantastic stress reducer and relationship builder. Groups on Facebook are numerous, and while not as ideal as in person interactions, they are a great outlet for support if you find the right group, and a great start. For instance, as a solo entrepreneur I belong to a couple of groups of other entrepreneurs that offer me much more support than I could ever get from my family and friends revolving around my business, simply because they are also immersed in the world and know a lot more about it than my friends do. I’m so grateful to have them. One group even led to an in person mastermind meet-up with others who live close to me.

 

When you are being social, and have a strong social life you have a lot of opportunities to cultivate happiness.  Not only are you reducing stress by talking it out, or laughing, or simply being in the moment with friends you have more opportunity to; express gratitude and kindness, practice forgiveness, get help developing coping strategies, try new things, and savor pleasures in life.  These are all things that have been shown to water and grow your patch of happiness.

 

This doesn’t mean you need to have a ton of friends, or even the more friends the better.  Even one or two really good friend you can talk to often will provide strong happiness boosting benefits.

 

The second tip for cultivating happiness that I believe is uber important is to:

 

Practice kindness – but in particular choose love and practice kindness for yourself

 

To me kindness is about love and forgiveness as well giving and receiving.  You know how they say money doesn’t buy happiness, especially once you’ve reached a level of income to provide you with comfort in meeting all of life’s basic needs.  Well this is often followed up with, but money actually can make you happier IF you are spending that money on others.  When you are giving.  Now of course giving doesn’t just mean giving something of monetary value.  Kindness is a form of giving.

 

It’s pretty easy to see how practicing kindness to others can boost your happiness levels.  Just thinking about people being kind to each other is making me smile right now.  It can be the greatest gift you give someone in their day, and in doing so you will also feel better, instantly happier because you helped someone else to be happier.

 

For many however it is a lot easier to be kind to others then it is to be kind to themselves.  It’s so easy and common to barrage yourself with harsh words and thoughts, or beat yourself up for failures, mistakes or not being where you want to be.  Also, for many, like myself, it is far harder to forgive yourself then it is to forgive others.  

 

I believe when you practice kindness for yourself you are not only cultivating happiness but love for yourself as well.  And in doing so, I you will be able to forgive others and yourself more easily.  

 

Forgiveness is the ultimate kindness that can be given.  

 

Not only for someone that may desperately want the forgiveness but every single time forgiving is an act of kindness to yourself, knowing that by forgiving you can let go, move on, and create space for love and happiness to grow.  (with the caveat that you shouldn’t forgive too quickly, not without first grieving, or feeling/expressing the emotions that came along with what needs forgiveness)

cultivating happiness

 

A fantastic way to practice kindness it do practice a meditation called:

 

Loving kindness meditation

 

Loving kindness meditation, sometimes known as metta meditation, is meant to cultivate and learn to self-generate loving emotions and direct them to yourself, others, and eventually everyone, everywhere.  It is a meditation practice taught by buddhist to develop the habit of selfless love.  Practicing it consistently has many benefits: (6,7)

 

  • More socially connected
  • Improvement of self-reported health symptoms
  • Increases positive emotions
  • Increases vagal tone
  • Decreases migraines, chronic pain, and PTSD
  • Increases empathy and compassion
  • May increase telomere length (a marker of aging)
  • Decreases biases towards others
  • Decreases self-criticism

 

During a loving kindness meditation you use visualization, reflecting, or auditory (mantras/phrases) to evoke feeling of love and kindness.  Phrases such as:

 

May I be filled with lovingkindness.

May I/he/she/all be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May I/he/she/all be well in body and mind.

May I/he/she/all be at ease and happy.

May I/he/she/all be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.

May I/he/she/all be free of mental suffering or distress.

May I/he/she/all be happy.

May I/he/she/all be free of physical pain and suffering.

May I/he/she/all be healthy and strong.

May I/he/she/all be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

 

These feelings are directed first to yourself, than to others.  Some meditations go through next a respected, beloved person such a teacher, then a dear friend or family (someone who you have no internal conflicts about such niece or nephew), then to a neutral person (someone like you see occasionally like the barista at your coffee shop), then to someone you have negative feelings for, and some meditations take it all the way out to everyone in world.  

 

And in practicing love for yourself in this way I believe you will be attending more to some of the other things on the list, such as forgiveness, gratitude, resilience, and optimism.

 

These sites have some good written versions of the loving kindness meditation.  

 

Contemplative Mind

Metta Institute

Jack Kornfield

 

Get a free audio version of a loving kindness meditation along with some other powerful mindful meditations you’ll learn about in the Stress chapter of the roadmap by joining the Life Upgrade community HERE.

 

The Energy Takeaway:

 

Water your patch of grass with happiness.  More happiness = less stress, more flow, more presence = more energy.

 

Check out my free webinar:  The 5 Keys to Optimal Energy for my biggest and best tips to shortcut getting back and sustaining optimal energy.

 

The Short of It:  

 

 

BACK TO INTRO   –  GO TO STOP 7

 

Laura Boysen provides Wellness and Vitality Coaching for Women who are sick and tired of being sick and too tired to do (insert countless number of things, ie.; playing with their kids, getting intimate with their partner, meditating before bed, following their dreams). Laura’s mission is to help you learn how to support your innate ability to heal so that you can take back your energy and own your power to create a healthy and incredibly vital life. Schedule a free 45 minute “Get Lasting Energy” coaching session with Laura here.

 

DISCLOSURE

I am not capable of diagnosing or treating diseases. Nor is that my intention. These statements have not been FDA approved.  I’m a girl that has been studying holistic wellness for over 10 years, working on my own health, and feel compelled to share the information I have learned, that I believe in, and that has changed my vitality, performance, resilience, and health for the better. I of course can not guarantee its accuracy, though most has supporting scientific studies, it is always important to note that scientific studies are fallible and some are completed much more stringently than others. Again I’m only sharing information that I believe has improved my life.  Further this article contains affiliate links (TOS) and I truly appreciate your support.

 

The Inner Side of Healing – Stop 5

The Inner Side of Healing – Stop 5

Inner healing

 

When it comes to doing inner healing work, there is a lot we can talk about,  but in today’s case, I am referring to 2 things.

 

  1. The extraordinary power of belief

 

This is often referred to as the Placebo Effect, though it doesn’t actually require a placebo to work.  Simply truly believing will work just as well.

 

The idea of the placebo effect is that in most clinical trials a placebo is given to one group and the other group is given the real medicine.  The placebo effect occurs when a placebo given patient heals just as well or better than the real medicine group even though they received an inert pill.  Yet they still got better because they believed they would.  They believed they were receiving the real treatment and that the treatment would help, and then they got better.

 

This has been documented countless times over the years, and not just with pills but with all sorts of treatments and procedures.

 

There is actually emerging science as to why the placebo effect works, and if you are interested I encourage you to check out my book – I Can. I Am. End of Story.  Or the works of Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, or Lynne McTaggert.  They delve into the quantum theory, epigenetics (how your environment, including your thoughts, control your genes) and the science behind the placebo effect, and in my book I try to take all I’ve learned from them and others and make it nice and short and clear.

 

Regardless of why it works, there is true power in believing something to be so.  And for some of us, it really is pretty simple. For others, like me, believing isn’t so cut and dry.  Because for the placebo to work, you really have to believe without a shred of doubt.  

inner side of healing

 

So how do we believe? Read on.

 

  1. Ridding yourself of all those nasty little limiting beliefs and past traumas you are holding on to.

 

What it all really comes down to is that your environment controls your genes and your cellular health.  You may have heard the term biohacking before.  Biohacking is all about this exactly.  Changing your environment in and around you so that you have control of your biology.  This entire roadmap is about doing just that.  About what needs to be changed in your environment and why.  Your thoughts and beliefs are an environment.  They are a powerful environment that can be working with and for you, or it can be working against you.  

 

It’s more than just about optimistic thinking and happiness (which is important and part of the roadmap).  It’s also more than power of belief.  All too often we have all these hidden and limiting beliefs.  Limiting beliefs that conflict with and keep us from truly believing what we want to and need to believe.  

 

Not only can limiting beliefs keep you from believing in healing, they can be the cause of your disease all together.

 

For example the all too common limiting belief – “I am not good enough” can come from anywhere, from a couple flippant remarks by your parent or teacher as a child, from getting picked on, to a couple friends not showing up to your birthday.  

 

But once that belief settles in, it starts to limit you.  It keeps you from asking cute boys out on dates for fear of rejection.  “I’m not (blank) enough, why would he say yes”.  It can keep you from taking risks, applying to jobs, building strong relationships, standing up for yourself, keep you stuck in a bad relationship, all sorts of things.

 

These limiting beliefs we all have, can also provide a lot of negative feelings and associated emotional and psychological stress that can often manifest in diseases. 

 

You can be doing all the right things, but if you are holding onto a limiting belief especially one keeping you in a bad relationship or job or unhappy place, or you have a past trauma that is stifling you, there is a very real possibility you will not heal.  

 

Examples of limiting beliefs:

 

  • I’m not X enough (pretty, smart, cool, confident, strong, good, etc.)
  • I can’t trust people because I’ve been betrayed before
  • Money is hard to obtain
  • I’m not lovable
  • I can’t pursue my dreams because I don’t know what I’ll do if I fail
  • I have to do everything on my own, because people aren’t helpful (or I don’t want to be needy)
  • I’m not worthy
  • I’m helpless
  • Many fears tend to be tied to limiting beliefs, caused from them or at the root of them. Fears of judgement, rejection, failure, etc.
  • I can’t change

 

The inner side of healing can be difficult, emotional, and a ton of work, and is something that never really ends.  Though once you start doing it, you’ll see how amazing it is, and you’ll want to make it a part of your life.  It gets easier.   Once you really get through the most difficult stuff you’re holding onto, it get much easier.  And fortunately there are some powerful tools out there for getting your inner healing and believing on.

limiting beliefs

 

How to Get Rid of Limiting Beliefs and Believe

 

The first and foremost being:

 

Presence and awareness:

 

There is an incredible power in being present to the moment.  When you are in the present moment you are attuned to your current being.  This builds awareness.  The more aware and observant you can be of yourself in the present moment the more you will notice when your limiting beliefs pop up.  Because it’s a lot easier to get rid of limiting beliefs when you are aware of them.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.  Noticing them, and deciding you don’t need it anymore.

 

Being present and building your inner awareness helps you get to know yourself.

 

Mindful meditation is a great way to begin practicing presence.  You can download some free meditations I recorded for you HERE.  

 

Getting and staying present gets easier and easier with practice.

 

Exercise for releasing limiting beliefs

 

Once you’ve identified a limiting belief, you can begin the work to get rid of it.

 

Work with one belief at a time.  Start with the big ones, and by big ones I mean the ones having the most impact on your current life.  For me it was very much the common – I’m not good enough belief.  Write it down.

Then write down all the things you can think of that may have caused this belief to manifest.  It’s a good idea to do a short meditation and really get present with yourself before starting this.  Think all the way back to your childhood.

Now having acknowledged all these reason, express gratitude for them.  Express gratitude for the belief.  Expressing true gratitude helps release the negative emotion attached to this list, making them easier to release from your body and mind. Thank them for what they have done for you or they believe they have done for you, and then write down all the reasons these reasons the the belief is wrong.  

At this point I like to destroy the paper by burning it (take all the proper safety measures if you choose to do this as well)

Finally write down your new belief that you are replacing the old limiting belief with.  And practice it.

 

Practice:

 

For a long time most scientist, researchers, and doctors believed that at a certain age the brain stops growing and changing.  Many still do believe this.  But it turns out that is pretty much BS and the truth has recently emerged.  Our brains ALWAYS have the ability to change and rewire.   This concept is called brain plasticity, and it’s freaking cool.

 

Essentially it means you can teach an old dog new tricks, so teach on. It also has a profound impact on healing as well.  In this youtube clip, Dr. Norman Doidge, discusses how the concept of brain plasticity and “talking to the brain in its own language” has helped autistic kids have great improvements, and how it has helped patients with parkinsons, and many other brain health patients.

 

Practice and repetition is how the average person rewires their brain.  That’s why you want to practice the right way.  The more you fire the new/different neurons together, eventually that pathway will become dominant.

 

The more you practice mindfulness, the sooner it will become second nature, and you’ll be living a more present life. The more you say your affirmations and feel your affirmations the sooner you’ll start to truly believe them.

 

This isn’t really a new concept.  But for some it can be a needed shift.  This idea that you never are too old to master something new, you can get smarter, you can change things you don’t like about yourself, you can make beneficial changes to your brain.

 

So I invite you to practice believing. Practice the beliefs you want to replace your limiting beliefs with. Practice life as if you have no limiting beliefs.  Practice the shit out of it.

 

Create rituals that you do daily, weekly, monthly, etc. that are about your own personal development.  – Journaling, meditating, affirmations, praying, walking, power gab sessions with your bestfriend about inner healing in particular, etc.

 

Intention:

 

I look at intention as the precursor to belief.  This is an excerpt from my book about Lynne McTaggert’s Intention Experiment, showing the power of intention.  

 

Dr. William A. Tiller, a material science engineer at Stanford University, had scientifically controlled experiments in which he tested intention. He tested the power of the mind through intention to change physical matter. One of his first experiments was to test whether or not intention could change the pH level of water by a full degree. Not just half a degree or less than half a degree, which could be chalked up to chance. He wanted a noticeable, at least one degree, difference in the pH of water. (1)  How they did this was by imprinting devices with intention and then sending those devices to a laboratory 2,000 miles away where it was placed next to water and then turned on. When the device was turned on in the vicinity of the jar of water, the pH level decreased or increased according to the intention that was directed at it as much as one and a half full units.

Lynne McTaggart and The Intention Experiment are expanding on this. They’ve done some really, really cool things as well. They started out doing scientific controlled blind experiments across thousands of miles, some across the ocean, to see if, not only in presence but at a distance, intention can change physical activity. They took a set of leaves and had a group of people, across thousands of miles, set an intention to have one of those leaves glow. It worked. The scientists working with Lynne, who didn’t know which leaf was intended to glow, confirmed that in fact one leaf was glowing. You could see it in pictures, compared to other ones. How cool is that? It’s through intention of thousands of miles away that a leaf was made to glow. They were also able to do the same sort of experiments making plants grow faster. They had several groups of people in several different parts of the country, each working with a different set of plants thousands of miles away. The one plant that they had intended to grow faster, grew faster. (2)

What one of the really interesting, but not surprising, findings was that they did have one group, it was a group of all trained healers and experienced intenders, who were able to make their plant grow even higher, even faster, than the other groups that weren’t as trained and experienced. That is really cool because that means that you can cultivate your power, you can cultivate and improve your ability to intend and to turn that into actual physical results. (3)

 

How do you cultivate your capability to intend and see results?  You practice.   Practice setting intentions, believing they will occur, and see what happens.  If it doesn’t work.  Don’t get down on yourself.  Just try again.

 

My best tip from the science behind the placebo effect is to truly believe you have to feel it.  It’s not the thought that’s powerful, it’s the feeling associated with it.  The feeling of belief.  The feelings associated with visualizing your intention as complete.  Seeing it, tasting it, smelling it, hearing it complete.   Practice getting into the emotions and really feeling your intention manifesting.  

 

One of my favorite books – E Cubed by Pam Grout, as a ton of fun intention setting experiments in it.

 

Talk to yourself

 

Seriously, you’ll be amazed by what you hear in return.

 

Not too too long ago I had started to develop an anxiety disorder.  I experienced my first panic attack, and if you’ve ever had one you know how terrifying they are.  You feel an absolute lack of control over your body, and not in a good way.  They pop up out of nowhere, and can lead to you being terrified of possible triggers you associate with the panic attack.

 

To be honest, I thought it was a one time thing.  How could I in all my new agey power and self-confidence develop a panic disorder.  Was I under that much stress that I was denying?

 

So I began to see a therapist.  I was interested in getting EMDR therapy which I had recently learned about as a way to get rid of limiting beliefs.  While my therapist did do that therapy it wasn’t her primary go to.  She started explaining to me Internal Family Systems.

 

The IFS Model, views a person as containing an ecology of relatively discrete minds, each of which has valuable qualities and each of which is designed to — and wants to — play a valuable role within. These parts are forced out of their valuable roles, however, by life experiences that can reorganize the system in unhealthy ways. A good analogy is an alcoholic family in which the children are forced into protective and stereotypic roles by the extreme dynamics of their family. While one finds similar sibling roles across alcoholic families (e.g., the scapegoat, mascot, lost child), one does not conclude that those roles represent the essence of those children. Instead, each child is unique and, once released from his or her role by intervention, can find interests and talents separate from the demands of the chaotic family. The same process seems to hold true for internal families — parts are forced into extreme roles by external circumstances and, once it seems safe, they gladly transform into valuable family members. (1)

 

Essentially your internal families are various and often undefined parts of your body, that your therapist can help you uncover.  Then you have conversations with these parts with the idea that you can help that part return to its original healthy role or to release all together.

 

I highly recommend the therapy and seeing a professional to help you with it.  However I think it’s also something you can explore a bit on your own.  Talking to your body from individual cells, to organs, to emotional centers while in meditation.  If you only come from a place of love and only give love I don’t think you will do any harm, and only good (this is obviously a non-professional point of view, see my disclosure).

 

Talk to your parts – we have many parts to us.  We have parts that get angry, get sad, we have parts that hold in anger, we have parts that are shy, embarrassed, jealous.  And they are all there for a reason.  An example would be to protect you.  But from what?  Something you don’t need protection from anymore, most likely anyways, especially when you have stirred your soul and awakened to your truth.

 

Go into a meditative state, notice a part of you that’s feeling down or feels off when you think of a limiting belief or of your disease, etc.  Bring it forth in meditation.  Talk to it.  Let it talk it back.  Have a conversation with your part.  Find out why it’s doing what it’s doing.

 

Talk to your body.  You can talk to figurative parts that represent emotions and beliefs, and you can talk to actual physical parts.  You’re parts are listening.  Your cells are listening.  And they’ll talk back, if you are in the right frame and space to hear them.  

 

Work with them in mediation to find and eliminate limiting beliefs and fears.  Ask them what they need to heal.  Ask the parts that aren’t serving your highest interest to start doing so.  

 

3 tips for the conversation. (2,3)

Real Intent – Understand that your body is made of parts and cells that have a consciousness of their own.  They experience emotion.  Always choose love and gratitude and compassion when it comes to your conversation.

Attunement – Go into your conversation knowing that you and your parts are one. You are working together to build a relationship and to heal.  You are allys.

Spontaneity – allow for changes in the conversation.  Don’t go in with an expectation of results or the conversation that will be had.  Sometimes it goes well, other times – crickets.  Sometimes you don’t hear what you want to hear, and sometimes the parts just don’t get what you’re trying to say.  Try different words and thoughts that elicit different emotions. Just go with it, with love and respect and appreciation.

 

So go on, talk to yourself.

 

I go more into this in my book I Can. I Am. End of Story.

 

Take a leap of faith and trust yourself

 

When it comes down to it, to believe something truly you just have to choose to believe it.  Sometimes you just know it, and sometimes you have to make that choice over and over again until it’s locked in.

 

Making this choice though often requires a taking leap of faith and trusting in yourself and, if you believe it, a higher power.

 

Trust in yourself and your power to create, manifest, heal, intend and make happen.  Trust your awesome Jedi like powers to manifest your intentions.  Trust in your knowledge that you are designed to heal.  (I know I did not go into it, so if you don’t have that knowledge yet check out my book or the works of Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Pam Grout, and many more).  Trust in what you are doing to heal, will heal you.

 

Because the real magic of it all, of you, is that we don’t know how we began, we don’t know the truly profound abilities we have hiding in us waiting to be discovered, science can’t explain it all, at least not yet, and it could be wrong.  We are so intricately complex, and our power is limitless.  How did we get that way? Who really knows, but let’s embrace it.  

The more books you read on the subject the more you awaken, the more it gets ingrained, the more it’s like “well I already knew that”.  And that is a good thing.  Have faith in you knowledge.  You know that health is the true state of your being.  You know that you can heal yourself.  You know that your awareness can change the body, your very cells and genes can change from your beliefs.  You know life is abundant and expanding and limitless.  You know you can fix distorted energy.  You know you are energy, you are pure love, and your body is meant to align to that state, and can easily do so.  You know you are not your ego, and that their is another way to live.  You know the answers to your questions are always given.

Have faith in this knowledge.  Let it sink in, let it stew for awhile.  Hold it in, embrace it, claim it, because it’s your truth.  And yes, you’ll go about your day and forget, but that’s ok, because you can remind yourself.  And the more you remind yourself, and have faith in your knowledge, the more it sticks around, the more the subconscious mind says “ok let’s do it this way.  I like it better this way” and starts to release the old programs and conditioning.

(I Can. I Am. End of Story.)

 

Reaffirm this trust as often as possible.  

 

limiting beliefs

 

 

Further, consider working with a professional or coach (like myself).  From professional therapist doing therapies like EMDR to energy work professionals and hypnotherapist that can help you energetically cut cords are release limitations, to EFT practitioners, there are a lot of them out there that can help with inner healing.  Sometimes it takes that outside professional to help you see beliefs you aren’t finding, or really fully cut out the deep ones.  

 

For more on this check out my book I Can. I Am. End of Story.  An Amazon former #1 best-seller in it’s category.

 

The Energy Takeaway:

 

Doing some inner healing work will have a big impact on your stress levels and confidence.  This will be a strong boost to your mental and emotional energy, which will reflect in your physical energy as well, because it’s all connected.

 

Check out my free webinar:  The 5 Keys to Optimal Energy for my biggest and best tips to shortcut getting back and sustaining optimal energy.

 

The Short of It:

 

 

BACK TO INTROGO TO STOP 6

 

Laura Boysen provides Wellness and Vitality Coaching for Women who are sick and tired of being sick and too tired to do (insert countless number of things, ie.; playing with their kids, getting intimate with their partner, meditating before bed, following their dreams). Laura’s mission is to help you learn how to support your innate ability to heal so that you can take back your energy and own your power to create a healthy and incredibly vital life. Schedule a free 45 minute “Get Lasting Energy” coaching session with Laura here.

 

DISCLOSURE

I am not capable of diagnosing or treating diseases. Nor is that my intention. These statements have not been FDA approved.  I’m a girl that has been studying holistic wellness for over 10 years, working on my own health, and feel compelled to share the information I have learned, that I believe in, and that has changed my vitality, performance, resilience, and health for the better. I of course can not guarantee its accuracy, though most has supporting scientific studies, it is always important to note that scientific studies are fallible and some are completed much more stringently than others. Again I’m only sharing information that I believe has improved my life.  Further this article contains affiliate links (TOS) and I truly appreciate your support.

 

Light, Sleep and Your Circadian Rhythm

Light, Sleep and Your Circadian Rhythm

UV Light Benefits

 

I just want to start this stop by saying, Light is freaking cool.  I’m not going to pretend to know everything there is to know about the full spectrum of light and how it affects our health.  In fact, I think there are very few that understand it to the full extent of what is becoming known by science. But I find it completely cool and fascinating.

 

Here is what I do know. Our bodies have a natural rhythm to them, called circadian rhythms.  These rhythms are important in determining sleeping and feeding patterns and this cycle links to brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities.(1)  In short it’s important to maintaining a healthy sleep pattern and our health in general.

Why Is Sleep So Important?  

 

During our sleep we consolidate memories.  We recover, we heal.  Lack of sleep is a detrimental barrier to health, performance, mood and memory.  It plays a pivotal role in the normal function of the endocrine (including pituitary glands) and immune systems.  Lack of sleep is linked to health problems including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and depression.  Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of hormones such as leptin (your hunger hormone) and insulin (your blood sugar hormone that is vital to optimal energy production), which is why a lack of it is linked to obesity and diabetes, and low energy.  A good night’s sleep improves learning and memory, mood, decision making and problem solving.  Not to mention, as a kid, sleep is when you do your most growing, and is thus even more vitally important in the early years. (5)

 

Circadian Rhythms and Our Health

 

So back to circadian rhythms. These rhythms are found in most living things and respond to light/darkness cycles in a being’s environment.  

 

They are controlled by the body’s master clock.  This master clock is located in the hypothalamus, and consists of a large group of nerve cells (about 20,000) in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN.  The hypothalamus is located in the brain just above where the optic nerves from the eyes cross. (2)  And that location is important.  

 

Circadian rhythms are produced by the body, but they are affected by signals in the environment, mainly the light and dark cues.

 

98% of sunlight enters the body through the eyes. (3) And with the location of the SCN being just above the optic nerves, is it all that surprising light plays such a huge role in controlling the rhythms.  The SCN relays information about light coming through to the brain.  

 

Truly the number one way to get a consistent good night’s rest is to reset your internal clock.  To do this you have to be wary of light exposure.  

 

Blue light messes with your internal clock and the production of melatonin.  Exposure to bright blue lights in the evening can turn off your melatonin production that is going to help you fall asleep.  Further getting out into the sunlight or the bright lights of your kitchen, etc. first thing in the morning wakes you right up, and actually helps nighttime melatonin production occur sooner. (4)  So we want bright morning light in the morning ideally from the sun.   The melatonin rhythm phase advancement caused by exposure to bright morning light has been effective against insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).   

 

So here’s the hot tip for resetting your internal clock:

  • Eat your breakfast outside whenever possible.  Poor weather isn’t a great excuse.  Really poor weather, well ok.  
  • Even if it’s cloudy or rainy you’ll still get the blue light from the sun coming through.
  • And certainly don’t put on sunglasses during this time.

 

The Woes of Blue Light Especially at Night

 

However at night, we need less light, and specifically less blue light in order to make more melatonin.  Unfortunately all our favorite tech devices (ipads, tvs, cellphones) have blue light coming from their screens.  But not just our tech devices.  CFL light bulbs are heavy on the blue light spectrum.  

 

While natural blue light is good for us especially in the morning and early day, at night time blue light can affect our circadian rhythms.  Further artificial blue light from staring at our screens all day can affect our eye health.  Blue light has a tendency to flicker due to its short wavelengths.  This flickering can cause glare and contribute to eyestrain, headaches, and physical and mental fatigue, and potential retinal damage and macular degeneration. (6)

 

Further there is some evidence that blue light exposure at night is linked to diseases (many similar to the lack of sleep related diseases – coincidence?) Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. (7)

 

Even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. A mere eight lux—a level of brightness exceeded by most table lamps and about twice that of a night light—has an effect, notes Stephen Lockley, a Harvard sleep researcher. Light at night is part of the reason so many people don’t get enough sleep, says Lockley, and researchers have linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems. (7)

 

So what can we do to avoid blue light exposure at night?  Specifically at least an hour before bed, but ideally as soon as the sun sets, so yes much longer in the winter when you make more melatonin and you begin to make it earlier.  

 

Remember 98% of light enters the body through the eyes.  So you can get nifty blue blocking glasses like these?

uv light benefits

 

Don’t I look nifty.  Truth is, there are much more fashionable ones, but these are cheap and do the job.  And honestly from the day I started wearing them at night, my body knew what was up.  I’ve gotten sleepier and fell asleep much more easily.

 

Further, you can get apps like f.lux, it’s free, to automatically turn down the blue light on your computer.  Though to be completely honest I don’t love flu.x.  I think it could do a better job of giving you control over when your light switches, though it’s recent update has improved it greatly.  Mac computers have an app called candlelight that I think does a better job at getting all the bluelight out, but flu.x is great for “forget it and set it”, and I generally put on the glasses on top of that.  

 

But remember light also comes through your skin, so if you really want to get hardcore about it, which I suggest you do, change out your light bulbs and/or where full coverage clothing in your house at night.  Lowbluelights.com is great for all your orange and amber lighting needs.  I’m a big fan of amber night lights.  Incandescent, while being phased out (so harder to find), is much better in terms of low blue light than CFLs or LEDs.  Halogen lights are also a decent option.  

 

The best sleep hack I know is to block all light in your room at night.  Get blackout curtains.  Remove your clock.  You don’t need it.  Turn your phone on airplane mode and use an app like Sleep Cycle as your alarm, which wakes you up when you are at the top of your sleep cycle.

 

Infrared and UV light

 

I’ve become a bit of a light nerd.  Light is so freaking cool, and as it turns out, it has quite the impact on our health.  And if you think about it, it’s not much of a shocker.  The sun is what gives us life.  The Earth being the perfect distance from the sun allowed life to not only exist, but flourish on this planet, so why wouldn’t it have a big impact on our biology.
Electromagnetic spectrum

via Wikimedia Commons

 

Infrared

Going back to the electromagnetic spectrum, we just talked about how the visible light spectrum plays a big part in our circadian rhythm, in particular blue light, but really the full spectrum, which is why actual sunlight is best for resetting your circadian rhythm (and why those with seasonal affective disorder use full spectrum lighting to help battle it).  But now I want to talk about UV light benefits, and how Infrared (IR) and Ultraviolet (UV) light play their part.

 

Infrared is becoming well known in healing circles as a powerful tool for health.  There are handheld tools like Infrared lasers for pinpointing spots, and there are also infrared saunas to soak your whole body in IR light.  There is even this really cool company called HigherDOSE that is trying to bring Infrared lighting to all hot yoga studios as there heating source, because IR light emits heat.  If you live in a big city you can probably find a yoga studio that has it already, and they are doing it because they know what IR lighting can do for the body.  You can even make your own homemade IR saunas and tools, though I don’t have the expertise to share how to do that, it is definitely available on the Internet.  Then there is of course the sun as the easiest and most powerful light source that emits plenty of and the complete range of IR light.

 

Infrared lighting exists in a broad spectrum, ranging from near IR to far IR.  Both are beneficial, though far IR is more commonly found in saunas and current healing tools, however, if you can find a full IR spectrum sauna, that is where it is at.

 

Benefits of IR include: (8)

Far Infrared:

  • detoxification
  • lowered blood pressure
  • relaxation

Mid Infrared:

  • improved circulation
  • weight loss
  • pain relief

Near infrared:

  • cell health/immunity
  • wound healing
  • anti-aging
  • oxygenation of tissues

 

Infrared laser therapy helps: (9)

  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Enhance tissue healing
    • Including muscles, ligaments or even bones

 

Sunlight/Ultraviolet

So what about UV light?  It’s bad, right?  Well too much, yes, it’s probably not great.  Burning out in the sun is not a good thing, never will be.  However, a little bit goes a long way and that little bit is vital.  

 

We have this cultural fear of UV light.  Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.  Well for starters have you ever looked at the ingredients in commercial sunscreen.  Gross. Talk about toxic and unhealthy. But more than the fact that commercial sunscreens tend towards unhealthy levels of toxins, how about the fact that getting some sunlight, just a bit, everyday is ideal and healthy.  Sunlight, the full spectrum, including UVA and UVB.  

 

Sunlight is the most natural way to get vitamin D.  Your body produces vitamin D in response to UVB, and with humans spending 93% of their time indoors (10)  coupled with the fact that UVB is varies greatly according to certain times of day, certain times of year and latitude, it is easy to see why deficiency is extremely common.  So getting out in the middle of the day without sunscreen for even just 5 minutes (more depending on your skin color and sensitivity) can do you a world of good.

 

Vitamin D is important, and helps the body function in (11)

  • Immune system, which helps you to fight infection
  • Muscle function
  • Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
  • Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects

There is compelling evidence that low vitamin D levels lead to increased risk of developing rickets, osteoporosis and osteomaloma, 16 cancers (including cancers of breast, ovary, prostate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and other chronic diseases such as psoriasis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, myopathy, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, hyperparathyroidism and susceptibility to tuberculosis. (12)

 

If you check out the Vitamin D council you can see how vitamin D can play a roll in healing or preventing a huge range of health problems from tooth decay to multiple sclerosis.

 

UV Light Benefits Beyond Vitamin D

And if you delve into this further, you can see there is some evidence as to why getting some UV light (again not advocating you go out and burn without sunscreen while tanning at the beach) is important beyond the benefits of creating vitamin D (in case you were thinking I’ll just take the vitamin supplement some more):

A study in New York found that summer sun exposure but not vitamin D levels was associated with increased grey matter volume and whole brain volume. (13)

 

It has long been known that the risk of MS increases at higher latitudes. From the relation with latitude, it appears that low solar UVB doses during winter are an important risk factor. (14)

 

There was just a study published in 2014, done in Sweden, that tested 30,000 women over 20 years, and it correlated their amount of sun exposure to all caused mortality, which means that anything that they died from. They were twice as likely to die from anything when they got less sun exposure. (15)

 

Direct immune suppression. Exposure to both UVA and UVB radiation can have direct immunosuppressive effects through upregulation of cytokines (TNF-α and IL-10) and increased activity of T regulatory cells that remove self-reactive T cells. These mechanisms may help prevent autoimmune diseases. (16)

 

Treating skin diseases, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, and scleroderma. UV radiation also enhances skin barrier functions (17)

 

Enhancing mood and energy through the release of endorphins (17)

 

Relieving fibromyalgia pain (17)

 

Increasing testosterone levels – yes, many people lack this important hormone, including women.  A quite old study, 1939 found that getting UV radiation on your chest increases testosterone 120% and it increases 200% when the genitals are exposed. (18)

 

Humans make several important peptide and hormone “photoproducts” when our skin is exposed to the UVB wavelength of sunlight. (19) These:

  • induce relaxation and increases pain tolerance
  • protect against hypertension, vascular inflammation, and oxidative stress
  • promote blood flow and regulates the immune system in response to acute stressors
  • Produce a polypeptide hormone that controls cortisol release by the adrenal glands, thus regulating the immune system and inflammation
  • reduce appetite and increases libido

 

Exposure to the UVA wavelength of sunlight increases the release of nitric oxide from storage. Nitric oxide produces a strong cellular signal that dilates the blood vessels and thus reduces blood pressure. (19)

 

We’re designed to live in light, in particular, sunlight.  Based on heredity and the latitude your ancestors lived at and you live at, we all need different amounts.  But, don’t be scared of it, don’t burn, don’t aim to burn, but get your sunlight.  Tan’s aren’t bad.  Not great for wrinkle developing, but not bad for your health.  People who work indoors are much more likely to get melanoma than people who work outdoors. (15)

 

The vitamin D council explains this well.  I encourage you to read the whole article if you are concerned about melanoma.  It’s not the sun itself that we need to be scared of, but we do need to be cautious how we go about exposing ourselves to it.  

 

According to many studies, the risk of melanoma increases with recreational UV exposure. But melanoma risk does not increase with chronic UV exposure such as from outdoor occupations. People who participate in recreational UV exposure often go in the sun just a few times a year. Their skin has not been prepared for higher UV doses.

However, when the skin is exposed to UV gradually, such as a few minutes longer each day in the spring, the skin develops a protection factor. This protection doubles or quadruples the time of sun exposure without burning.

Some articles with good sun safety tips.

http://lifeupgrademovement.com/1742-2/

https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/29/sun-exposure-vitamin-d-production-benefits.aspx#_edn3

 

The Energy Takeaway:

Light from the sun plays a vital role in normalizing our circadian rhythm.  A normal circadian rhythm not only helps us sleep which helps us with our daily energy, it also helps support a proper HPA axis which is important for normalized cortisol levels that are so very important to energy production.  Further infared and UV light benefits include promoting blood flow and oxygenation, both will help support optimal energy production.

 

Check out my free webinar:  The 5 Keys to Optimal Energy  for my biggest and best tips to shortcut getting back and sustaining optimal energy.

 

The Short of It:

 

 

BACK TO INTRO GO TO STOP 5

Laura Boysen provides Wellness and Vitality Coaching for Women who are sick and tired of being sick and too tired to do (insert countless number of things, ie.; playing with their kids, getting intimate with their partner, meditating before bed, following their dreams). Laura’s mission is to help you learn how to support your innate ability to heal so that you can take back your energy and own your power to create a healthy and incredibly vital life. Schedule a free 45 minute “Get Lasting Energy” coaching session with Laura here.

 

DISCLOSURE

I am not capable of diagnosing or treating diseases. Nor is that my intention. These statements have not been FDA approved.  I’m a girl that has been studying holistic wellness for over 10 years, working on my own health, and feel compelled to share the information I have learned, that I believe in, and that has changed my vitality, performance, resilience, and health for the better. I of course can not guarantee its accuracy, though most has supporting scientific studies, it is always important to note that scientific studies are fallible and some are completed much more stringently than others. Again I’m only sharing information that I believe has improved my life.  Further this article contains affiliate links (TOS) and I truly appreciate your support.