Saturday, February 21, 2015

Women & Service: How to Have a Mind for the Good of Others

 “A joy shared is doubled and a sorrow shared is halved.” ~ Author Unknown

Most of us know that (now) old saying WWJD? "What Would Jesus Do?" It is a good question to ask yourself when you are in a place of should I or shouldn't I? Or, how should I proceed?
There are other lessons to learn from Jesus' words and actions: love, kindness, obedience, and service to name some. Service is our topic today.

Last fall I did a couple presentations/talks on Women & Service. Humans & Service is really the crux of it. But, I was speaking to women, and sometimes women need to be reminded how much we can do, and should do for our fellow humans--we are more than wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and the fairer sex.

Many times, I meet people who find it easier to do for animals than for humans. I understand their reasoning; animals are helpless and voiceless. Animals can't file a police report after being abused and if they could, often times, their torment is not considered a crime. An awful and pitiful situation. 

I do not suggest anyone abandon their zeal for the betterment of animal lives, treatment, and justice. I am asking those who would choose one over the other to see compassion and service as universal to human- and animal-kind.  That goes the other way, too. If you care for God's human creation...can His animal creation be forgotten?

Service, compassion, love, obedience, and kindness are all qualities of God--Jesus showed us this by example and asked we follow Him. Remember this when you look upon another--human or animal. 

My talk dealt with how to serve others in the human world, I felt impressed to add our animal friends here. Many think God gave us animals to use for our purposes, only, but if you read Genesis, Adam's first job was to name all the animals. Says a lot. (Gen. 2:19)

Jesus asked we help one another...not just family members.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Modern English Version--MEV)

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”   (English Standard Version--ESV)

The next passage is too long for me to post, I leave it to you to read it. It may just move you. 

Imitating Christ’s Humility  Philippians 2:1-18 

Though not an exhaustive list of Christ's words on the subject by any stretch...a starting point, however. A tickle to start an idea that may find motion and bloom. What happens when a flower blooms? People take notice--they gaze upon its loveliness. 

We all know how to help someone. It isn't hard to find someone in need. But, if you're looking for some ways to help...I've created a list to get you thinking. Maybe you could inspire others to do the same and even create their own lists--after all, no one knows everything! 
Well, someone does, but he's not due back for a little while.

A Few Ways to Serve

  • Financially where able (pay a bill, buy groceries, fill a gas tank, buy underwear for someone who needs it!)
  • Spiritually where able (have enlightened discussions, pray together, have Bible Studies, buy a subscription to Vibrant Life or Signs for another.)
  • Listening when able (bring food, water, and a white flag.)
  • Offer NO advice when it is the correct action & when you can hold it together despite your desire to explode like Mt.Vesuvius.
  • Offer the right advice at the right time.
  • Give someone a ride—even when you have something else to do.
  • Invite someone along on a day out, even if they make your ears bleed normally.
  • Pay for a meal for someone who is normally a skinflint and tell them you enjoyed treating them.
  • Help someone clean their house, just because you can, and then share a hot beverage together.
  • When someone starts a sentence with “I have or I need to…” You ask, “Can I help you with that?”
  • When someone is a total freak show and you believe demons live in their lower regions, smile, after you thank God you are not this person suffering, say a prayer for them, and tell them you hope their day improves (as you’re leaving—drop it like a bomb & run like it’s one, too!)
  • When you see a homeless person on a hot day, give him a bottle of water and an  apple.
  • When you see a homeless person on a cold day, buy him a coffee or hot cocoa and a sandwich. 
  • Donate your time at food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters—No time? Bring them clothes and home goods you no longer need, instead
  • Animal shelters need volunteers for a list of reasons. Did you know you could volunteer to socialize dogs or cats in many shelters? What a fun way to help out--they need interaction and love just as much as food and shelter. Also, money helps!
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to donate to organizations that directly help people in the community and in many ways…The Salvation Army helps people with heating oil, clothing, spiritual guidance, addiction programs, housing, work programs, and thrift shops that sell affordable clothes and household goods; Goodwill Industries has the same thrift-shop benefits, but also has programs to train people to work and seek employment; local RI places like Crossroads and The Providence Rescue Mission give people food and shelter one night at  a time, clothes and personal care items, and many times,  hope.
  • Give a caregiver a break: make a meal and deliver it, offer them respite, or visit with the attitude to uplift and wash dishes.
  • Don’t believe someone’s being mean to you or judging, give them the benefit of a crap day or that their face hasn’t been told all is well yet.
  • Walk someone else's dog; exercise for you both and free time for the grateful guardian.
  • Make that call to Animal Welfare when you see an animal left outside for days in cold or hot weather, left in a car, or if you witness sores or beatings.
  • Many shut-ins enjoy animal companionship but cannot care for their own pets; where able, try pet sharing or consider pet visits.
  • Laugh more than you do complain (this is a gift to all who have to hear you)—keep track. Have an arsenal of funny stories in your head to reflect on--as the day may sour unexpectedly or satan’s sister shows up to throw a wrench in your plans of bliss building
  • Smile at horrible (acting) people, it really gets them heated…do it anyway, call it your Christian ability to tick someone off with innocence—It’s God approved! Seriously though, sometimes that small, insignificant act can help turn someone around.
  • Don’t isolate yourself—for you or anyone else. It leads to depression and rips you from God and His blessings. Everyone has gifts to offer. Do something for someone that is easy for you but difficult for them—you both feel that joy. 
Jesus was so profound in His teachings that many non-Christians follow His words. The Bible is so wise and wide spread that many everyday sayings are from the ancient tome. 

Look up some for yourself--it's educational and fun :) 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Homeschooling: Why it's Awesome!

Homeschooling: Why it’s Awesome! 
First Things First
Is everyone decided? Is everyone ready to be part of the journey?

Homeschooling is the greatest journey my daughter and I took together. After 12 years of learning (for us both), I am able to condense our success and tips to this little blog. These are the notes from a talk I gave in March of this year~


1. Just like starting a family, homeschooling is not an accessory—you don’t just add it to your “plate”. Home life is now all about family + homeschooling.
2. Do the research, take notes, review those notes, and make lists.
3. Keep track of everything you do! People you talk to (with dates), paperwork, and your calendar (from year to year). Also, keep notes you make regarding your children’s performances and all their work—save this bounty of paperwork until they are in college.
4. When you are homeschooling everything counts; cooking & gardening with mom, sewing and doing household chores or repairs, going to the market and budgeting, car maintenance, church obligations or volunteer work, working out or joining the track team, art lessons, math or geography clubs, museum visits, and science groups…the list is endless.

5. Join a homeschool group or co-op. This is a wonderful way to seek out like-minded adult friends for parents and children of different ages for the kiddies. They also provide educational field trips, classes, and plain, old fun outings—squelching the naysayers who believe homeschooling is isolating. Each group is unique to the parents involved; check out a few before deciding who to go with, or join a few! The support system works wonders for those times parents feel they are lacking.
6. Know your state guidelines—what you must teach to comply and how often and when. Each state is different.
7. Inform the town you live in of your intent to homeschool.
8. Consider joining HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense). It was the peace of mind I needed to feel safe during a scary patch of homeschooling history. I look at it like insurance. It is $120 per year and it’s cheap compared to the worry or troubles some experience without this service.

Information from their website follows—visit their site for more detailed information.

Your Decision is made, what do you do about a curriculum?

Take your time and choose wisely—it can make or break your enjoyment level of teaching…
1. Do you want to use good, old-fashioned books and notebooks with a smattering of computer work as needed? Or, do you prefer all online teaching, workload, and tracking?
2. Do you want a curriculum-selling educational company to keep transcripts? 
3. Is it important the curriculum be (only) Christian/God based?
4. Are you comfortable culling together different sources to create a complete curriculum geared to your child/children?
5. Does unschooling appeal to you?

Plan your style of teaching and create the atmosphere that works for you and your family: kitchen table/counter for math and home economics and the living room floor for reading and yoga, maybe off to the local park to run around and then enjoy painting (on canvas) the world around you.

Common Questions:
How do single parents or working parents expect to homeschool?
How do you plan vacations?
How do you count the 180 days necessary—do you really “school” that many days?
How do you afford the costs of curricula for the children year after year and extra-curricular activities?
How do I fit everything in each day and still do what I have to for my family?
What if I don’t know how to teach something or I get stumped and can’t move forward?
What if my child is unmotivated?
What if I don’t get along with my child? What if homeschooling makes it worse?

The answer to most of these questions (for me) is prayerfulness. A constant dialogue with God certainly helped me to make the correct decisions and allowed me to move in the right direction. 

You teach when you are able and allow the child to work independently as often as possible, especially as they get older. A homeschool child doesn’t need the busy work they assign in school.
Once he/she gets it—move on! Don’t go over the same lessons just because they are in the lesson plan. Homeschoolers tend to move ahead quickly. They are also (usually) better-rounded students because they are privy to constant learning opportunities.

Yes, count the days…180 by law. Easily done when the occasional Sunday is added to the week or a school vacation day is used to continue homeschool studies. The drab winter holiday day spent lazing about won’t be missed if it is used instead to be ahead school days and allow for early dismissal during the month of May or June. That may take some convincing in January, but the point will be proven when they are swimming in June instead of finishing up the school year. I also employed year-round schooling, this allowed for days off whenever we wanted without fear of being behind in studies.
When short on funds, buy used online or swap with others (homeschool groups help here). Sharing curricula or gathering lesson plans and resources online are other options. Public school systems are required to provide curricula to homeschoolers who ask for it. Homeschoolers are also permitted to attend school activities as desired. Research the rights and responsibilities of this perk if it interests you. There are guidelines.
Just as you plan your child’s lesson plans, you must plan your days to fit in the housework, cooking, errands, work/job, and driving around--and do it without being grumpy; not easy for anyone, day after day. You have to remember that you can’t do everything! You have to prioritize—make lists—nix what doesn’t work for you or your family. Cooking can be part of school, as can the responsibility of vacuuming or caring for pets. How you handle your day will teach your children how to handle theirs…right into adulthood. They learn by example, first.

When you don’t know a subject well enough to teach it, and the instructions in the book aren’t teaching you enough to do it with your student, employ dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, homeschool group, tutors, the mailman…
Seek and yea shall find. There are people and websites to get you through it.

When children are unmotivated, a short break with a redirection to another task or subject may do the trick; other times, there may be a reason requiring some digging on your part to pull the reason out of the child. Often times, a fear of failure or boredom can cause a child to procrastinate or outright refuse to continue working.

It’s hard to imagine wanting to homeschool a child you don’t get along with, but if this is the case, the other parent or other dedicated adult must be available to tag-team teach if homeschooling this child is that important to you or to him/her.

What is unschooling? (Per Pat Farenga)
“This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. Lately, the term "unschooling" has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn't use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear. The advantage of this method is that it doesn't require you, the parent, to become someone else, i.e. a professional teacher pouring knowledge into child-vessels on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling on an "on demand" basis, if at all. This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work. So, for instance, a young child's interest in hot rods can lead him to a study of how the engine works (science), how and when the car was built (history and business), who built and designed the car (biography), etc. Certainly these interests can lead to reading texts, taking courses, or doing projects, but the important difference is that these activities were chosen and engaged in freely by the learner. They were not dictated to the learner through curricular mandate to be done at a specific time and place, though parents with a more hands-on approach to unschooling certainly can influence and guide their children's choices.

Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not "natural" processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority. Therefore it isn't unusual to find unschoolers who are barely eight-years-old studying astronomy or who are ten-years-old and just learning to read.”

RI-Based Homeschool Groups:

Notable Homeschooling Authors:
John Holt
John Taylor Gatto
Mary Griffith
Mary Pride

Enjoy the sun, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the fresh air, the birds, and even the squirrels (little garden bandits they are)...all the world has to offer...that is your classroom.

Monday, September 29, 2014

 Love: For the Health of It

“Men give love for sex: women give sex for love.” –Unknown/Anonymous

Health Benefits of Having Loving Relationships:
Love brings about emotions of which laughter is but one. Laughter is medicine.
Research shows acts of love neutralize negative emotions that harmfully affect your immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular functions.
Cancer survivors (studies have shown) healed better and faster from treatment when a strong family bond existed. Loving family connections and close-friend(s) bonding created noticeable and healthful results.
Prolonged hugging and hand holding (even from non-romantic pairings) provides the bonding intimacy necessary for health benefits.
Platonic relationships where extended hugs and copious touching are discouraged still benefit from back pats, shoulder squeezes, and arm rubs. Stress hormones will lessen and human connection increases.

MIT Sloan School of Management (researchers) found that men are more likely to say “I love you” first.

Health Benefits of Being “in” Love:
Drop in blood pressure, longer life span, drop in cortisol* levels (when together; rises during separation), keeps wits sharp, lessens depression (especially in women), brain health improvement (in couples who socialized together especially with other couples), stress diminished through power of spouse’s touch, oxytocin** released during cuddling/hugging/sex (plays role in social bonding & has tremendous effect on cardiovascular system), improved agility and muscle control (through frequent sex), less pain (head and muscle aches) due to sex and increased blood circulation and movement. And for men specifically, frequent sexual activity throughout their lives has shown a reduction in prostate cancer later in life.

The principal steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. It regulates 
carbohydrate metabolism and the immune system and maintains blood pressure. When natural or synthetic cortisol is used as a pharmaceutical, it is known as hydrocortisone.

A neuropeptide that stimulates contraction in the uterus for childbirth and mammary ducts for milk production. This same hormone (the feel-good hormone) increases overall happiness and sense of wellbeing. It is increased through cuddling, holding, and sexual intimacy. It is known as a bonding hormone as it bonds mother to child and woman to man.

Studies have shown…
~Frequent huggers had lower blood pressure.
~The health benefits of marriage were cancelled out by divorce and death; the participants had worse health issues than individuals who had never been married.
~Blister Test/Study: couples were given blisters and their healing progression was monitored. The couples who were happy & loving healed faster than the couples who were hostile to one another and/or in depressed relationships.

Learn about the Opposite Sex for Better Relationships:
+Learn the differences in men and women to improve your relationships with them; spouse, parent, child, friend, or employer!
+Enjoy what he/she brings to your life rather than compete with him/her. Appreciate the opposite as a complement to your life.
+Communicate what you feel, don’t be afraid to open up and be vulnerable. Shame on the person who exploits your open honesty!
+Don’t play tit for tat—give freely, expecting nothing in return and animosity won’t grow. Be prudent, though—don’t be a doormat, either.
+Do support your partner’s interests and participate in them—bonding will occur. Things that light them up have a way of warming your fires, too.
+Don’t say or ask for something expecting something else to come about—your spouse cannot read minds, for that matter, neither can the rest of us!

Two great books (and their websites) explaining love and its many complexities for men and women as individuals:

“The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts”  Dr. Gary Chapman

“Men are from Mars Women are from Venus”  Dr. John Gray

Many books have been written on the subject of love and marriage from every perspective imaginable. I chose these two because they deal with men and women as men and women--we are different! Also, because love is good for requires work to make it work and good texts are the tools along with a willing heart and mind. Love Languages learned will help you with every relationship you have, not just romantic coupling.
Be well~

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dealing with Depression

Hello All,
A talk I did in January of this year "Dealing with Depression" hit home with many; whether you suffer its affects, or a family member or a friend does, everyone feels the pain of depression.

Notes from the Dealing with Depression Talk/Presentation

Symptoms of Depression
Fatigue, insomnia, change in appetite, lack of desire to do what was once enjoyable, sad mood, anxiety, lack of concentration, feelings of guilt and/or hopelessness, frequent crying spells, difficulty in keeping up with peers (socially or otherwise).

Some Causes of Depression
Situational depression (loss of job, death, relationship ends, etc.), meds, drug use, PMS, cancer, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, RA, any limiting or degenerative disease, vitamin B-12 or B-6 deficiency, and heredity.

The longer a person stuffs his emotions and doesn’t deal with the root cause of the depression, the harder and longer the later recovery will be, and at a very high cost—lost years. Every decision you make is based on your current way of thinking and mindset. Your life will take shape and direction from this starting point. You may not like where you are in two, five, or even ten years if you make decisions built on your current emotional state. These are all things to consider.

Depression is caused by many known factors, many at the same time. A counselor will help you to determine whether negative incidents led to the present situation, or a chemical imbalance is the culprit. Many times both are to blame. Allergies to chemicals, medications (some medications create nutrient deficiencies), or even foods can cause a depressed state. A safe area to start change is your diet. Eating a healthy, well-balanced, and well-varied diet is never a waste of time or effort. You may even feel improvement immediately.

Food affects mood. You’ve heard that you are what you eat; hence, junk food equals junk body. The temptation of sugary treats, sodas, and juices (with more forms of sugar than fruits) is a nationwide epidemic. Who could blame children and teens (not to mention many adults) for desiring such sweetness?

The problem isn’t only tooth decay and empty calories; sugar is like a drug in the bloodstream. The sugar high is all too short and followed by a crash that leaves you lower than when you started. It’s a false energy boost. Sugars can be addictive, making depression worse because of the struggle to overcome the need to have more of it, and the inevitable increased intake of sugars and starches.

Simple carbohydrates (such as pasta, snack chips, cakes, candy, and even breads) break down quickly in the digestive system and rush into the bloodstream, where the brain is affected first. Remember that false energy boost? After your energy and emotions have been on a roller coaster ride, the offending “sugar” now imbalances mineral levels (especially calcium-which also could contribute to insomnia), dissolves B vitamins (which are especially necessary for nerve health), depresses the immune system, exhausts the pancreas, and contributes to weight gain. It also plays a negative role in diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart disease, cholesterol levels, nearsightedness, and indigestion.

Nutrient deficiencies throw the body out of balance. The body’s chief role is to survive and seek balance. Each day humans are met with an onslaught of toxins, radiation, processed and refined foods (virtually devoid of nutrition), chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, viruses, bacteria, and so on. Some are greeted in the air we breathe, water we drink, and from out-gases in our buildings (homes included), but many are eaten by way of the standard American diet (S.A.D.); such disruptions to health imbalance us. Simple changes (over time) in our way of eating can relieve, and even reverse many health concerns. 

A short list of foods high in fiber, EFAs (essential fatty acids), vitamins & minerals, and enzymes (notably for brain health):
Brown rice, wheat germ, tofu, tempeh, beans, almonds, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, walnuts (particularly for prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease), sea vegetables (nori, kelp, etc.), oranges (and other citrus), apples, and sprouts.

A fresh salad of raw veggies (baby spinach, red peppers, onions, carrots, cucumbers, seeds, sprouts, fresh herbs) and an outrageous dressing added daily is a great start to any healthy beginning. Soy yogurt with
wheat germ and fresh fruit makes a satisfying breakfast. Snacks of seeds and nuts (not salted & roasted— raw only), or fresh fruit are a better alternative than dangerous packaged snacks.

Half the brain’s weight is essential fatty acid. A low-fat diet, or an over-processed one, is lacking EFAs.
Enzymes are necessary for every function of the body. They are replenished by eating fresh foods. Cooked (and heated foods) are dead. The enzymes are lost, the first to die when cooking food. The secret is to eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

NOTE: Food coloring and preservatives are known carcinogens (cancer-causing). They also may contribute to frequent headaches and mood swings (as well as other maladies).

  • Water is an important nutrient to the body. Six to eight glasses of pure water daily are necessary for proper hydration, waste removal, and organ function.
  • Sunlight contributes to a healthy mind and body. At least fifteen minutes a day is necessary for the body to synthesize vitamin D (used with vitamin A to utilize calcium).
  • Exercise promotes fluid movement and drainage in the lymphatic and elimination system, oxygenates the blood, sparks the digestive system, curbs the appetite, and releases endorphins (happy hormones)—among other things.
  • Yoga, T’ai Chi, Karate, and Pilates are forms of exercise that truly serve the participant. They offer more than simple exercise. They have time-tested benefits of relaxation, discipline, peace, and calmness.
  • Hypnotherapy, biofeedback, and acupuncture offer additional methods of relaxation. Learning deep relaxation has helped some people to overcome chronic depression, in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
  • Adequate sleep is crucial to overall good health. Eight hours a night allows your body to not only rest, but to heal. Your body heals when you sleep! Depression can make sleeping a challenge and lack of sleep can worsen depression.
A list of foods to avoid (negative effects on mood and overall health): 
Cheese, yeast extract, alcohol, soda, coffee, caffeine, junk food (refined & processed—basically anything in a box with a long ingredients list), artificial sweeteners, sugar, food dyes, all preservatives, aluminum-based baking powders, (and aluminum cookware).

A list of supplements that are rich in enzymes, EFAs, amino acids (protein), vitamins, and minerals:   

  • Blue-green algae
  • Chlorella and spirulina
  • Barley, wheat, and alfalfa (grasses)
  • Royal Jelly— (from bees-not vegan) a powerhouse of B vitamins, the eight essential amino acids, and more.
  • Probiotics— beneficial microorganisms –necessary to intestinal health for proper nutrient assimilation and elimination of wastes. Also, needed for manufacturing a few B vitamins.
  • Fish oil—Omega-3 fatty acid is an important nutrient to the body but especially the brain (helpful in depression and assisting anti-depressants to do their jobs better). Fish oil is the better form of Omega-3 (compared to flax seed oil) for depression. 

Toxic Colon = Toxic Brain

Highly refined and processed foods (white flour, pastas, etc.) form a type of sludge in the colon. When fiber (whole foods, vegetables, grains, beans) is absent from the diet, or insufficient, the wastes are not moved through the colon, and the elimination passage narrows. Animal products also “gunk” up the colon. Foods that are left behind putrefy (causing a noxious odor when passed as gas), and then petrify (forming desiccated pebbles). Nutrients are unable to be assimilated because of these obstructions. Increased nutrients will not help, as they will not be properly absorbed. 
Lifestyle choices that benefit mental health:
Exercise, sunlight, fresh air, proper diet, adequate hydration, laughter, love, interdependent relationships, spiritual peace and practice, friendships that encourage and support, enjoyable work and interests, doing for others (service), smiling, joint projects or tasks with others, uplifting music, involvement in movements or ministries that matter to you or to someone you care about,  playing/petting animals, visiting nursing homes, singing, writing/journaling, art (painting, drawing,carving), playing/learning an instrument, crossword puzzles, game night with people who are a hoot, and anything else that makes you  awesome!

Herbals to get you through it all:
  • Bach’s Rescue Remedy-especially good to calm high anxiety, sullen mood, and aid in depression
  • B-Complex Vitamins-nourish the nervous system and calm the body and mind; they also improve the efficacy of prescription anti-depressants.
Supplementation Dosages from Andrew Weil, MD ~~~~
St. John's wort: St. John's wort is an herbal remedy that has long been used in Europe as a treatment for mood disorders. Standardized extracts have shown an effectiveness equaling Prozac in the treatment of mild to moderate forms of the disease. It should not be taken with anti-retroviral medications, birth control pills, or antidepressant medications, especially SSRIs like Prozac or Celexa. Try 300mg of an extract standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin, three times a day. It's full effect will be felt in about eight weeks.
SAMe (S-adenosy-L-methionine): Has the advantage of working more
quickly than St John's wort. Use only the butanedisulfonate form in enteric-coated tablets, or in capsules. Try 400-1,600 mg a day on an empty stomach.
Fish oil:
 Recent preliminary studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may be helpful in maintaining a healthy mind. I think that reasonable doses of fish-oil supplements (1,000 - 2,000 mg per day) might be useful in addressing mild depression. Fish oil is an excellent source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential fatty acid found in nerve and brain tissue.

I cannot stress the need for lifestyle change and the addition of counseling or group therapy enough! Keeping silent and being isolated will not improve your condition. Depression doesn’t just disappear, or go away. You may find as you work through your depression that you discover many wonderful things about yourself.

The world is waiting…

Monday, April 14, 2014

Stress in Any Season

Hello All,
I did a talk/presentation in November 2013 on anxiety and stress~here are the notes for your pleasure.

Notes from "Stress in Any Season"

A Few Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress:

Stomach issues
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Jaw clenching/Grinding teeth
Cold, clammy hands

Change in appetite
Frequent crying
Difficulty breathing/Frequent sighing
Frequent urinating
Loss of sexual desire
Feeling overwhelmed

Natural Ways to Combat Stress

Yoga Breathing (because you can’t breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time) 
4-7-8 Breath
Exhale completely through the mouth.
Inhale through the nose to the count of 4—HOLD breath to the count of 7—exhale slowly, through the mouth to the count of 8.
Repeat at least 2 times daily.

Brisk Walk
A ten-minute brisk walk during an episode can calm the jets. Whether it’s a distraction or increased blood flow to the brain, take it as a remedy!

Herbal Remedies
~Rescue Remedy (spray, gum, or pastilles) from Bach Flower Remedies

~Chamomile: calms—compounds bind to some brain receptors as drugs like valium do. Tea or capsules.

 ~Hops & valerian: sedatives---taken to promote sleep—DO NOT take with prescription sedatives or tranquilizers. Tea or capsules.

 ~Green Tea—contains amino acid L-theanine—reduces anxiety. Tea or capsules.

 ~Lemon Balm: calms, helps with sleep. Tea or capsule.

 ~Passionflower: sedative for nervous restlessness. Also used for insomnia. DO NOT use longer than one month. Capsule or herbal blend capsule.

 ~Kava Kava: calms & promotes rest/sleep. Tea or herbal blend capsule.


Lavender & Bergamot & Eucalyptus: calming—can use essential oils sublingually or in a diffuser.

Nutritional Therapy
Eat leafy greens for phytonutrients—to reduce anxiety. Varied diet of greens will supply loads of B-vits., which are necessary for nerve health and combating stress.

Laughter & Touch & Expression
Laughter is the best medicine...I'm sure you've heard that said. The truth is that laughter releases endorphins and endorphins are hormones that make you feel good! Laughter is laugh and someone is bound to at least smile when they see you crack up in a fit of hilarity. 

Why not find things that make you laugh: a movie (comedy), a comedian on CD you know to be your brand of amusing, a funny friend to have coffee with, playing with children, or playing with animals. All can bring you laughter and happiness--even for that moment. String a bunch of moments for a happy accident--a great day!
People who have animal friends have improved health! Petting a cat or a dog or a llama can lower blood pressure and impart a sense of well being. Animals provide unconditional love and the benefits are felt by both human and animal.

Touch is important for all humans...everyday. No matter your age, you need hugs. No matter your age, you need the positive feedback from another person. Don't neglect yourself by not being in a situation where there is no one to share this bond with you. 

Animals provide additional, and I think quite necessary, love and affection. Warning: Don't replace human touch and intimacy with animal/pet affection...isolation from your own species will not bring you stress-free living. Enjoy both!
Do check who comprises your human circle. It might be the people (or a person) in your circle are stressing you out, not people as a whole.

It is difficult to squeeze in everything we need...should...and want to do--every day or every week. One way to have better control in this area, thereby reducing the stress we put on ourselves, is to re-check our priorities often.

Do you still operate as a mom/cook/referee/maid/errand girl/message taker/homework helper now that your children are in college and living on campus? I hope not. Your job titles have changed. Have you re-evaluated your tasks and time to reflect this whilst tending to your needs via your new-found freedom?

Sadly, many of us hold onto our old job titles and pile on new ones as they pop up. We stay so busy that we neglect things that bring us another, necessary, true joy. Things that are separate of work, home life, spouses, children, and friends: things that are part of our core being such as art, music, dance, gardening, philanthropy, etc. Passion for the gifts we were God-given that make us feel alive differently than the day-to-day us. Sometimes, stress stems from this lacking and can be abated by its expression. You can even share this part of yourself with your spouse and family and friends, still reaping the rewards, as well as adding happiness to their lives. Seeing those we love thrive and flourish brings peace and joy to our lives.

What do you want to do?