The Physical Journey Chapter 10 Help For the Physical Body I believe our total essence to be comprised of four separate components; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When one facet of our being is out of balance, that lack of equilibrium ripples through to the other components as well. , As you have seen in this power point, situations which affect the emotions and core spirit, actually create a lack of balance within the physical form. Therefore, following you will find suggestions for achieving a sense of inner calm. This inner calm will transfer to a physical relaxation, and physical relaxation will in turn assist with physical comfort. .
Suggestion #1 – Increase Serotonin Serotonin in a natural physical stress buster. Large amounts are found in the ‘gut’ and blood stream. This ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter regulates: * The onset of sleep * Sensory perception * Mood * Body temperature * Noise and light sensitivity
Low Serotonin Levels A diet lacking omega 3 fatty acids is more likely to lower serotonin. Low levels manifest in the following symptoms: • Increased carbohydrate cravings • Depression • Heightened sensitivity to pain and light • Troubled sleep patterns Low levels are often felt in the late afternoon, especially if lunch included coffee, sugary sweets, ice cream or chocolate. A common reaction is to ‘feel good’, by ingesting alcohol, caffeine, chocolates and sweets.
Serotonin in Food Various foods that increase the level are carbohydrate rich such as a potato. Eat one every night with its skin. Compliments to the potato include butter salsa, olive oil, mustard and spices. Other foods include turkey, black eye-peas, English walnuts, mushrooms, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Cheeses such as gruyere, and Swiss, as well as fruits such as tomatoes, kiwi, plums, plantain, pineapple and bananas. Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil raise serotonin Whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice and oatmeal trigger a serotonin to rise gradually, and enable blood sugar to remain stable. It’s a bit of a tricky business – A facet to the protein contained in some of the foods mentioned can inhibit the full effects of the Serotonin, however, ingesting nutrients naturally is a great and simple beginning for countering the effects of the bereavement process.
Suggestion #2Focus on BREATH WORK BREATH WORK While this sounds simplistic, it can be one of the hardest conscious action for humans to undertake. You may have heard the expression,' To sleep like a baby’. A baby seems to sleep as if they haven’t a care. They take breaths that initiate in the lower belly, and with the breath, you can watch their tummy expand and contract. Too often, especially in moments of stress, humans inhale shallow breaths from the upper torso only. Focus on taking long deep breaths. Why is this effective? ‘Fight or Flight’ requires the heart to beat more rapidly, to increase the amount of blood pumping to extremities, and away from central organs. When this happens, humans naturally take shallow breaths. By deliberately slowing down your breath, you consciously slow down the panic process sending a deliberate ‘all clear’ signal back to your brain, which translates as a chemical reaction that sends ‘cease and desist relaxation hormones through your body. Dr. Herbert Benson actually conducted study, designed a process and wrote books on just this concept. He writes: ‘It’s a physical state of deep rest, or meditation, in which the relaxation response changes the physical and emotional responses to stress... And the opposite of the fight or flight response.’
DR HERBERT BENSON’S ‘Relaxation Response’ 1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. 2. Close your eyes. 3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet & progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed. 4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word, "one"*, silently to yourself. For example, breathe in ... out, "one", - in .. out, "one", etc. Breathe easily and naturally. 5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes. 6. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating "one." With practice, the response should come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
Suggestion #3 ~ Blow Bubbles A wonderful way to practice relaxed breath work, and to reduce body stress naturally is to purchase a simple bottle of bubbles, and bloooooooooooow…
Suggestion #4 DRINK WATER Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport system, delivering nutrients to the brain & eliminating toxins. Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the circuitry works well & it functions at optimum levels. Water is essential for concentration and mental alertness. Studies have shown that most people are permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their brain is working considerably below its capacity & potential. A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day. (source: Bill Lucas, Power Up Your Mind, 2001) This natural, necessary body requirement, while often overlooked, is of special importance during the bereavement process. There are so many benefits – from replenishing every aspect of the body, and forcing the body to flush toxins related to grief, water aids in the physical healing process. It also has been found to release dopamine. That uplifting ‘aaah’ sensation, while small, should not be underestimated. Terefore, you should drink at least 2 Liters of water every day.
Insomnia Suggestion #5 (Herbal Assistance for Rest Filled Sleep) An Institute of Medicine 2006 study reported that the less sleep one receives, the more obese they tend to be. It appears that sleep tips Hunger hormones out of whack. Leptin, an appetite suppressant is lowered, and Ghrelin, an appetite stimulant is increased. Help may be as close as the fresh produce isle in your nearby grocer. Common herbal suggestions for insomnia include: Valerian. This is the best-studied herbal sleep aid. Research shows that extracts of the root not only help you fall asleep faster but also improve sleep quality. Try taking this herb 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. The typical dosage is one 150- to 300-milligram capsule standardized to 0.8 percent valeric acid. Kava kava. When insomnia results from anxiety, this herb is particularly effective. Studies suggest that kava kava promotes sleep by acting upon the brain's emotion centers and by relaxing muscles. Taking one or two 400- to 500-milligram capsules an hour before bed should help you get the sleep you need. Chamomile. This old fashioned remedy has an wondrous reputation for calming nerves and gently aiding sleep. Drinking one or two cups of tea before bed will help soothe you into sleep.
Suggestion #6 Eat Smaller Meal Portions After a big meal, most of your body's oxygen is being used by your stomach and digestive system as it digests the food you have eaten. This means that your brain is being denied much of the oxygen it needs to function effectively and stay mentally alert. This is why you tend to feel sleepy after a big meal. Therefore, you should try to smaller portions, more often, and when possible, enjoy your main meal at lunchtime, or in the evening before 7:00 pm.
Suggestion #7 Eat Fresh Since digestion slows during times of stress, causing a host of problems, for easier digestion, enjoy as many fresh fruits & vegetables as possible.
Suggestion #8 - CRY Have you ever wondered what happened, biologically, after having a good cry? Have you ever wondered why you feel so good—despite the puffy eyes and nose and tight face? Scientists have wondered, too, and they have an explanation. Crying lets the body release negative emotions. We all have tears— 3 different types to be exact. • Basal tears lubricate our eyes. • Reflex tears occur while chopping onions or after we receive a hit to the eye . • Emotional tears are caused by something psychological. Dr. William Frey, a biochemist, conducted a study on crying He compared The tears of women crying for emotional reasons (emotional tears) to the tears of women crying over cut onions (reflex tears). The results showed that the emotional tears contained high levels of hormones & neurotransmitters associated with stress. The participants crying emotional tears also showed lowered blood pressure, pulse rate & more synchronized brain-wave patterns. Dr. Frey believes emotional crying is a process the body uses to rid itself of accumulate distress hormones. It makes us feel good because it releases unhealthy toxins from our body. If these toxins are not released- if we hold in our tears, we can keep our bodies in a state of “tension,” which can lead to a weakened immune system, impaired memory, indigestion & possibly anxiety. The next time you feel the need to cry, weep away. You’ll find yourself feeling better for it. If someone is uncomfortable with your display of emotion, gently let them know it is part of a natural process, & attempts to block or stymie the process only serves to prolong it. THERE IS SACREDNESS IN TEARS….They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.’ Washington Irving
Suggestion 9 Progressive Muscle Relaxation PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION Sit or lie quietly, then focus on a specific muscle. Tense or tighten the muscle, hold for a few seconds, then relax the muscle. Progressively move from one muscle to another, alternately tensing then relaxing the muscles. Why Is This Effective? Deliberately relaxing each muscle sends a message through the body to halt the Fight or Flight response.
Suggestion #10 Repetitive Prayer, Singing, Chanting or Phrases Sound is an important input affecting the nervous system. The brain reacts to sound input because information signals are able to travel from the outside environment, across action potentials and through the neural network into the brain. Such signals, electrical in nature, can be detected by the electroencephalogram, or EEG, which measures the electrical activity of the brain. For thousands of years, music has been regarded as possessing unique powers in affecting the human experience. Specifically, music has been associated with healing abilities & has been used for such purposes throughout history. Traditionally, the types of sound responsible for healing are characterized by distinct rhythms, and by specific emphasis on repetition that stems from those rhythms. A striking example relating rhythm, brain function, & health is found in a story which occurred 40 years ago among a group of Benedictine monks in southern France, when changes in their behavior resulted in health complications. After the Vatican II council, it was decided that the monks no longer needed to perform their typical 6-8 daily hours of chanting, & could rather use that time for other chores & activities. Interestingly, it was after this change that a vast majority of the group began to suffer exceeding amounts of fatigue, no longer able to survive well on the limited sleep with which they once functioned normally. Health officials were called, & advised the men to get more sleep. This was done, but still the symptoms persisted. Again a doctor was called, this time deciding that the monks were undernourished & should begin eating meat. This new regimen was followed, but to no avail, and the monks suffered yet more tiredness & lethargy. Finally, it was prescribed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French ENT specialist who acknowledged the impact of structured sound on brain function, that the monks recommence their many daily hours of chanting; and this, interestingly, is what seemed to solve the problem and bring vitality back. It was thus believed that the singing of chant, and specifically the accessing of high frequency sounds & Harmonics had a way of altering brain wave activity and energizing the nervous system & brain. Numerous other examples claim such positive effect of chanting on brain function. "Omkar" recitation & chanting has been shown to increase concentration & memory, & to reduce fatigue. Sitting quietly, close your eyes and repeat a phrase, prayer or sound.
Suggestion #11 ~ Mindful Meditation • Mindful meditation is a method that comes from Buddhist philosophy and involves merely "observing" or "noticing" things, to elicit the relaxation response. For example, we may walk down the street and say, "My feet are touching the pavement, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. I notice the tree ahead. The top branches are swaying in the breeze. I’m feeling thirsty. My body is sweating. My feet are on the grass now. The grass is soft." Why Is This Effective? • By simply noticing your experience and naming it, without judging or evaluating whether it is good or bad, we tap into a source of active meditation that elicits the relaxation response. Instead of having one single focus word or phrase, the world around us and the world of feelings within us become our focus phrase.
Suggestion 12 ~ Increase Calcium and Magnesium Intake During the stress response, your stores of magnesium and calcium are released into the bloodstream. If these stores are not replenished, the body will send a signal that they are depleted as well, reactivating the red stress button even more! . Calcium encourages the F&F symptoms.Symptoms of low calcium can include muscle cramps & joint pain. Easy natural sources of calcium can be ingested by eating dairy foods such as milk, yogurt & cheese, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, Kale and spinach, fresh fruits such as oranges, beans and peas, nuts such as peanuts, peas, tofu, black beans and baked beans, almonds, fish, especially salmon and sardines & sesame seeds. (Vitamin D allows for the body to absorb the calcium, and can be found in whole grain cereals, whole grain breads and egg yolk. Magnesium works to calm the body back down, and strengthens the bones. Some symptoms which could indicate a need for Magnesium include: muscle weakness, tremors or spasms, increased heart rate, irregular contractions, heart palpitations, headaches, elevated blood pressure, imbalanced blood sugar levels. Sources include raw pumpkin seeds, spinach, chard, soy beans, mustard greens, summer squash, broccoli, raw sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, Halibut, black beans, navy beans and tomato paste.
Suggestion 13 Balance Body Glucose Level When stressed, glucose is released constantly, which means the sugar balance within your body is never on event keel, and you may have sugar cravings. Healthy fats and lean proteins have been effective in reducing cravings. Attempt to cut as much synthetic sugar from your diet as possible. Sugar is an obvious ingredient in cookies, cakes, candy, but it also hides in many canned and frozen convenience foods. Check the labels on the products you buy for: Glucose, sucrose, and other sugars. Suggestions: Homeopathic Supplements, herbal teas, vitamins, natural foods, and GABA (Gabaminobutric Acid) provide a calming effect You can stimulate natural pressure on the *Hypothalmic Area – When activated, this has been known to reduce cravings naturally*
Suggestion 14 ~ ASSIST THYROID FUNCTIONS Our bodies must have an adequate intake of iodine to form the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. To counteract the strain place on/ and help sustain the function of the thyroid gland, a supplement rich in iodine may be of assistance. In adults low iodine intake (or very high intakes) can cause hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can manifest as low energy levels, dry or scaly or yellowish skin, tingling and numbness in extremities, weight gain, forgetfulness, personality changes, depression, anemia, and prolonged and heavy periods in women. Fortunately, iodine can be found in salt, vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy products, breads and cereals and fruit. Soy beans, raw flaxseed, cassava (used in tapioca), sweet potatoes, lima beans, maize and millet also increase the requirements for iodine. (And while it’s good to incorporate Brussels and other cabbages into your diet, consumption of brassicas, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, increase the requirements for iodine, especially if consumed raw. ) The key to good thyroid function is to insure adequate, but not excessive iodine intake. Intakes in the range 100-300 micrograms per day are desirable, though intakes up to 500 micrograms per day are probably not harmful.
.Suggestion 15 ~ Assist Adrenal Functions To counteract the strain placed on the adrenals during the stress of bereavement, as well as to help sustain the overall function of the adrenal glands, it is helpful to take a good multivitamin, as well as to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables that provide natural sources for vitamins C & B. Excellent sources (in order of highest content on down) for vitamin C include Papaya, raw red bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe, cauliflower and kale And although they are prevalent in many many foods, fresh meats and dairy products are the best sources for most of the B vitamins.
Suggestion 16 Counteract Shaking/Trembling To reduce shaking or trembling, gradually begin to cut back on items which include caffeine, such as chocolate, hot chocolate, iced tea, hot tea, and coffee. There are now many excellent decaffeinated herbal teas on market, as well as decaffeinated coffee. Also use care when ingesting over the counter cold remedies and decongestants as they often contain ingredients that induce shaking or trembling.
Headaches (Suggestion 17) Possible Causes 1.) It has recently been found that continuous use of over the counter medications for pain relief (such as aspirin. Or ibuprofen. Or acetaminophen) can actually trigger a ‘rebound headache’. (says Dr. Merle Diamond, the associate director at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago. ) 2.) Too much caffeine can cause headaches. How much is too much? According to Dr. Merle Diamond, anything more than a cup and a half of coffee or a can of soda pop. 3.) Blood sugar imbalance Too many sweets or carbohydrates paired with not enough protein can create a climate in your body rife for headaches. “Hypoglycemia is a really common trigger of headaches and people don’t think about that,” says Erin Stokes, a naturopath on staff at Pharmaca Integrated Pharmacy, where a team of alternative practitioners is available to assist shoppers. “Stabilizing glucose levels can really help people.” Stokes suggests eating adequate amounts of protein throughout the day, starting with breakfast, because “protein encourages stable blood sugar levels.” 4.) Several foods can trigger headaches, especially for people prone to migraines. “About 30% of migraine patients will have a food trigger,” says Diamond. Peanuts, chocolate, & red wine are common-known triggers. “We believe some of these foods have a lot of tyramine, an amino acid that can be a headache trigger.” Processed meats that contain nitrates, such as sausages, hot dogs, & salami can also trigger headaches. Dairy & wheat are a lesser-known cause of headaches, and are worth checking out if you have chronic headache pain. 5.) Dehydration is a major cause of headaches . 6.) Long term stress
Gentle Exercise Suggestion 18 Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) attacks by assaulting the inner lining of your blood vessels. Under the heightened pressure of ‘fight or flight’, these normally smooth linings within the arteries, begin to tear, scar, & pit. Blood rich in fatty acids, starches & glucose leave deposits in these worn areas which eventually clog up & harden. In addition, nutritional supplements such as the essential fatty acids found in Flax Seed and the fish oil found in Salmon, along with a B complex vitamin and anti oxidant rich foods can counter the process.Gentle exercise - sweating assist the body in ridding itself of waste ~ try to perspire a little at least everyday.