Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Hope: Understanding the Root Causes of Emotional Pain

Eastern medicine believes there are 7 energy centers throughout your body that hold the key to a balanced long life.

These cultural medicinal traditions can be used as one pathway to wellness as we approach a new year. Understand our body’s energy center drives our emotional states.  Emotions are powerful players in your physical, mental, and spiritual health.  A concept that you may not be aware of is why unblocking your Chakras can be extremely beneficial to uncovering the root cause to poor emotional and physical health.

Your 7 main Chakras extend from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Each corresponding to different parts of your body. The belief is when your Chakras are blocked or out of balance you’re prone to poor health.  This can impact everything from your heart rate, metabolism, mood, attitude, and even your relationships. However, when you unblock your Chakras you learn to take your health into your own hands. By gaining and understanding about Chakras--you increase information needed to fight off illness and feel better in your own body.

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary is a Western trained Neurologist who states unblocking your Chakras could be the key to your good health. Recently Dr. Chaudhary appeared on the Dr. Oz show to inform the viewers about this practice of eastern medicine. She states “the central nervous system holds the answers to unblocking energy.”  She explained “the spinal cord is a relay system of information giving electrical signals to our nerve fibers.”  Dr. Chaudhary believes “these bundles of nerves are linked to the different Chakras that are connected to different organ systems.” Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Oz a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and television personality, believes “if we define life at the level of the cell of energy…then it stands to reason that energy is the currency of life.”  When you understand the roots of why you have the problems that are blocking any one or all of your seven Chakras (energy sources) you can begin to repair your body’s weaknesses.

When Chakras’ are blocked you may experience:

ROOT CHAKRA – discourse in your body, mind, and emotions

SACRAL CHAKRA – lack of creative force, sexuality, and diminished emotions

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA – lack of identity, self-esteem, motivation, ambition, and will-power

HEART CHAKRA- decrease of emotions of love, compassion and fear of intimacy

THROAT CHAKRA – difficulty in expressing feelings

THE THIRD EYE CHAKRA – depression and poor intuition

THE CROWN CHAKRA – inability to regulate sleep/wake cycles, difficulty meditating, feeling disconnected from your body or others and spiritual discomfort.

Below is a free image that illustrates where the Chakras are located and the benefits of unblocking them.

 7chakras How To Open The 7 Chakras (Guide)

Incorporating mediation and proper nutrition allow for lasting results in this eastern medicine practice that deals with the root cause of problems that diminish mental and physical health.

Submitted by Lauren F. White-Johnson, LCPC


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Brain Health and Emotional Health

I recently attended an enlightening conference, The Evolution of Psychotherapy, where I had the pleasure of attending a seminar conducted by Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist, brain image specialist and prolific author who focuses on brain health. Here are some the the tips and suggestions that Dr. Amen shared specifically regarding brain health, which invariably affects our emotional health and well-being.  The brain is the control center of the body and is involved in everything we do.  The brain is too often neglected in both emotional health and physical health. If your brain is not functioning correctly, it is probable that you are not functioning properly.  In the same way that each of us could make some changes that would improve our physical health, we can also make some changes to improve our brain health.

Our brain is mostly water and fat. To keep it healthy we need to eat plenty (around 30 – 40 percent of daily caloric intake) of good fat.  Examples of good fat are nuts, avocados, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, hemp seeds and flax seeds.

Obesity is harmful to the brain and body.  As weight goes up, the physical size of the brain goes down and brain functioning decreases.  Fat helps produce inflammation – the beginning phase of all disease processes.  Fat also stores toxins in the body – the more the fat, the more the toxins. Toxins aren’t good for the brain or body.

Vitamin D is important for weight loss since low Vitamin D deactivates leptin, a brain hormone that signals satiation or fullness. If leptin doesn’t work, we don’t get the proper signal to stop eating.

Interesting note: Men who have sex 3 times a week decrease heart attack risk by 50%. Unfortunately, the same is not true for women.

Our diet, which is supplemented way too much with corn products, soy and vegetable oil, gives us too many Omega 6 oils and not enough Omega 3 oils. The remedy for this is to check labels to avoid corn, soy and vegetable oil and supplement our diets with Omega 3 fats found in cold water fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), nuts and flax seed.

People who are gluten sensitive have increased risk for both anxiety and depression and have decreased blood flow to the brain.

Sucralose, otherwise known as Splenda, was originally made as a pesticide.  It works quite well as a pesticide and is used for that purpose in some farming communities!  Not surprisingly, Splenda will also kill off the healthy flora in your gut.

Untreated depression had been shown to increase Alzheimer’s dementia two times in women and three times in men.  Other conditions that can have a negative impact on brain functioning include chronic stress, untreated depression, unhealthy peer group, emotional trauma, lack of activity, nicotine and caffeine.

Here is what Dr. Amen recommended we do for increased brain health and functioning:
1.     Mental workouts help strengthen the brain. He recommends learning something new 15 min each day.
2.     Physical activity- weights, resistance training and coordination exercise (i.e. dancing)
3.     Nutrition – ½ body weight in ounces of water, high quality foods and clean protein (hormone free, free range, grass fed), smart carbs – low glycemic (slow to convert to sugar in the body) and high in fiber- which are plants, eat a rainbow of colors daily for good antioxidants, the cancer fighters, and plenty of herbs and spices all of which have some healing properties in the body.
4.     Probiotics put the good flora back into the gut. This is important since 90% of serotonin, the chemical involved in good mood, is located in the gut. Antibiotics kill the good flora in the gut. It is best to keep the gut balanced and working properly. Probiotics can be taken in supplement form or found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and kim chee.

Finally, Dr. Amen stressed that that emotional health in this country has been negatively affected by our diets. He further theorized that the rise in emotional disorders is likely due to the rise in food additives and genetically modified organisms. As such, gluten, dairy and food additive allergies may be causative factors in many emotional disorders.

Submitted by Holly Houston, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Decrease Anxiety by Eliminating Fears

We don't often recognize the fear that dictates how we think and respond when faced with obstacles or challenges.  Fear often blocks our decision-making and paralyzes individuals into a state of in-action. This increases anxiety because you often feel a sense of hopelessness about your problems.

Living with anxiety driven fears can show up in a myriad of ways.  Note these examples: Parents may fear angering their children when they suspect the child may be in danger by avoiding a confrontation. A great new opportunity presents itself but it would cause a dramatic change in your routine. You frequent the same places for clothes, food, entertainment. Your anxiety takes over. You fall into a rut and your fear tells you that everything should stay the same. Fear can keep you locked in a depressive state that increases your anxiety and stress level.

One way to move through this state and decrease your anxiety is to list the pros and cons of facing your fears. When you write things down you are moving through this state on two sensory levels. Your mind is engaged in the exercise and you are taking the time to weigh the cost of remaining inactive in controlling your fears. Take the time today to work toward eliminating fears and anxiety from your life.

Live in Peace not in Pieces "Iyanla Vanzant"

submitted by Lauren F. White-Johnson, LCPC