Is Inner Peace the New Success?

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No doubt there are times in life when we need grit and perseverance. Most achievements in life like building a career, running a business or just continuing to front up to the daily grind of work day after day require effort and determination. It’s not surprising we’re surrounded by messages telling us to not give in, to push through and stick it out. Our hero’s are generally those amongst us that have overcome adversity through sheer hard work and determination.

But what if, on a day-to-day level, all that striving leaves you feeling a bit strung out and exhausted. What if, in trying so hard to get ahead, you miss out on valuing let alone savouring the journey. What if you’ve spent your life climbing the ladder only to realise it was on the wrong wall?

An anti-dote to finding yourself strung out and stretched too thin is to regularly access states of deep rest and peace. Like a holiday for your mind and nervous system, inner peace nourishes feelings of contentment as well as mental and emotional clarity.

Cultivating feelings of peace starts with taking a little time out every day to find some mental and emotional space away from to-do lists and demands. It can be enough to spend time each day doing something fun and engaging that you love - gardening, singing, rollerblading - whatever lights you up! Combine this with simple relaxation and meditation practices that help you access deep states of quiet.

If you're feeling really stuck and you’re in need of a mindset reboot, a powerful tool to try is a gratitude diary. You simply spending time each day reflecting on and recording what you are grateful for. Can’t think of anything? Start with the things you're probably taking for granted i.e. the roof over your head and build from there.

Small Steps Become a Giant Leap

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I think it’s fair to say that most people have a rough idea of what they could do to feel better the hard part is actually taking the necessary steps required. For anyone not battling a serious illness but nevertheless suffering from symptoms of general malaise such as feeling tired, having aches and pains, skin blemishes, uncomfortable digestion, headaches, poor quality sleep, feeling irritable and so on, better health is only a series of small steps away. The three pillars of better wellbeing are:

1.     NOURISH

You heard it here first, better quality food creates better wellbeing! No seriously we all know that the more rubbish we eat: sugary snacks, fast food, alcohol, the more burden we place on our body’s organs of elimination. Clean up your diet and your body will love you back. The best part about upgrading the quality of your diet is that you get to eat amazingly well. Plus there has never been as many resources available like blogs, books and podcasts to inspire, inform and support you to eat better.

Tip to start small: rather than focus on what you’re not going to have start by putting more nourishing foods on your plate plus pick just one thing you’re going to give up or reduce i.e. have one coffee a day not two. 

 

2.     MOVE

Apparently, our bodies we’re not designed to be driven to work, sat in front of a computer all day, driven home again and sat in front of the TV all night – who knew!

Tip to start small: find something you enjoy doing and schedule it into your day so you move without having to think about it. The key is upgrading from your starting point whether that means taking the stairs not the lift or upgrading from one to three workouts a week

 

3.     REFRESH

Becoming mentally and emotionally decluttered is a pre-requisite of good wellbeing. What works for each person is different, so I suggest finding something which you love doing that absorbs your whole attention. When you find that sweet spot your worries and concerns will fade into the background at least for a while.

Tip to start small: revisit something that you used to love and start doing it again. Examples might include rock climbing, knitting, gardening, motorbike riding, martial arts, Yoga, sewing, painting, singing, playing an instrument or meditation.

 

THE MAGIC OF MOMENTUM

The best part is that you only need to elevate one aspect of your wellbeing, such as upgrading the quality of your movement and you’ll start to build momentum. As you start feeling better you will have the energy to expand your action into the other pillars of wellbeing like nutrition or mindset and little by little you’ll find yourself looking, feeling and living better.

Boost Your Immune System the Natural Way

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I’m sure you have all noticed that at this time of year everyone is talking about colds, flu's and getting sick. The common cold is the most prevalent viral infection in the world with over 200 variations of the virus. While getting sick very occasionally does give your immune system a good work out, it is best to have a strong immune system in order for your body to ward off viral and bacterial infections which should minimise the symptoms and duration of winter illnesses.  

Luckily for all of us nature has provided us with some amazing and effective herbs which assist in boosting our immune systems. These herbs are particularly useful at this time of year when people are generally more susceptible to those nasty colds and flus floating around.

So without further ado I would like to introduce you to a few of the many herbs that are available which assists us in strengthening our immune system. These herbs are the more common and most widely used:

Astragalus

Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. This herb is used to protect and support the immune system, and has success in preventing colds and upper respiratory infections. It is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and studies have shown that it has antiviral properties which is why it may prevent colds and viral infections. Research (particularly in the US) has shown that Astragalus has the ability to help people recover faster from illnesses and live longer.

Echinacea

Echinacea is indigenous to North America and as such the Native Americans used it extensively to treat colds, flu and other infections. Research shows that Echinacea may work as a natural antibiotic which can suppress virus activity and promote immune stimulating effects. Studies also report that while Echinacea does not cure disease, it does help the body resist and fight illness, reduce severity and duration of an illness and boosts the immune system. It is particularly useful in colds, respiratory conditions, bronchitis, and ear and throat infections.

Garlic

Garlic while pungent is a strong immune booster, and can be taken in supplement form for those sensitive to the strong taste and smell. Research has shown those who take a garlic supplement on a daily basis reduce one’s risk of contracting colds by 50%! At the first sign of a cold/flu taking garlic can also significantly reduce the severity and duration. However, like they say “Prevention is better than Cure” and for that garlic is the way to go.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal is an extremely popular herb and is known as an immune system enhancer and herbal antibiotic. Goldenseal also has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties and aids in soothing the mucous membrane of the ears, nose, throat and eyes. Taken at the first sign of colds or flus, Goldenseal can help to prevent further symptoms developing. Goldenseal is also said to assist in reducing fevers. This herb has many nutrients which is why it has such strong antibacterial and anti-infective properties – perfect for enhancing one’s immune system.

Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake Mushrooms are indigenous to China and have been used for thousands of years both medicinally and for culinary purposes. It has been used as a symbol of longevity in Asia due to its health promoting properties. Shiitake Mushroom contains a compound called lentinan which enables our immune systems to fight diseases and infections more efficiently. It is believed that this amazing mushroom is more effective than prescription drugs and can help fight against a variety of conditions from common colds to more serious infections.

If you want to enhance your immune system this winter or more effectively fight off a current cold, consider incorporating these herbs into your life. These herbs are by no means the only herbs used for the immune system, but they are a start. Always remember to consult your healthcare professional should you have any queries.

Tea is a perfect way to take these herbs and is especially warming on these cold winter days. So here’s a toast to good health for all!

Why Denial is a Heavy Load to Bear

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Everytime you deny something you subsequently store it in your body and your energy system.  Denial blocks your ability to potentially break those negative patterns in your life you wish would stop recurring.

(I was apprehensive when considering writing about the topic of denial and then realised I was succumbing to the very discomfort that is the point of today’s blog post! Ha!)

Firstly, let’s look at the definition of denial by the Merriam Webster dictionary. Why? Because it highlights the very reason why so many of us get uncomfortable just talking about denial. Nonetheless, getting raw and real with yourself is vital on so many levels.

“refusal to admit the truth or reality of something”

Both truth and reality can be hard pills to swallow. Can you remember a time when you were driven to see the truth for what it was? Perhaps it was a relationship that had run its course or an emotion such as anger or grief that you were doing your best to ignore. Or maybe you were denying a change that needed to happen such as taking control of your health. The biggest denial we often face is the reality that we were responsible and had a part to play in how something turned out. 

So how does denial create heaviness in your life and why do you need to pull your head out (of the sand!)?

Every time you deny a message from your body, an emotion or a knowing that comes from within your heart, you’re denying your own story. For example, denying that you’re actually quite angry about how someone treated you prevents you from holding your own healthy boundaries. We all look for validation and the best place to find it is within. Validate your experience with this person by acknowledging your feelings. Anger has a place in your life— it shows you that someone has crossed your boundaries. Society has fallen short with teaching us how to release anger in a healthy, non hurtful way.

If you’d like to explore a simple way to work through your emotions, check out my blog post Simplifying Emotions - The Dog In The Room.  Or pick up a copy of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.

In the example of anger not only do you weaken your boundaries in life, the force of anger gets stored in your energy system and into your body (remember, it’s all connected). There are a number of common areas to hold anger depending on the particular scenario and your own patterns of stress. You might clench your teeth in your sleep; an often subconscious physiological response to anger. Or anger might be pain between your shoulder blades; the rhomboid muscles lie in the back of the Heart Chakra where we feel past hurts . The rhomboids are also related to Liver Meridian energy that can store anger when blocked. If it’s not the rhomboids that the Liver meridian is communicating through, it can be headaches—ouch. It’s fascinating stuff! Your teeth and muscles can really suffer under the weight of denied anger, not to mention the costs of dental work and frequent body work!

I recently wrote about denial in my series Diary of a Flawed Healer over on my blog, Holistic By Nature. I was inspired to write about the inspiration I gain from working with clients week in, week out who face their truth and reality. I affectionately call being in denial The Ostrich and I share my experiences with imperfection, denial and overcoming adversity. If you’ve seen me at Live Well or worked with another kinesiologist, I’d love for you to read To Be Or Not To Be The Ostrich; The Great Denial and my Ode to You. Here’s an excerpt:

“I am in awe of your sage offerings. I am in awe of your willingness to go deep within yourself— even when it’s scary or unfamiliar. I am in awe of how you listen; how you feel. I am in great awe when we tackle a massive session together and I wonder if it was too much yet you return to peel away yet another layer. I am in awe when the pieces of the mind-body-spirit connection finally make sense and we both bathe in the gift of insight. There is no denial, simply acknowledgement and gratitude. Whether you’re in the depths of your exploration or in the light of your awareness; you are almighty.”

I also share a hot tip for help with moving through denial and you might be surprised as to what it is!

Once you’ve faced reality and opened yourself up to your truth, you might just find a lightness in your life and a huge weight off your shoulders (a primary area to hold denials). You might even find resolution within yourself and your relationships with the world around you. Who knows, you might even reach a greater level of potential and FREEDOM.

As always, with love and gratitude— you don’t have to do it alone, x Kate - Live Well’s Kinesiologist.

 

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Kate's passion is to educate and empower each client to understand their mind, body, and Spirit and how these aspects are all connected. Her integrative approach to health and healing is to explore and treat the whole person.
To find out more about Kinesiology.

To make an appointment with Kate.

Who Wins The Fat War: Butter or Margarine?

Every now and then a new research paper comes along and exposes the fault lines between conventional and holistic thinking on what is good for you.

A couple of weeks ago, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report titled “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease” which championed the view that saturated fats like butter and coconut oil were, in fact, bad for you. The card carrying members of the Dieticians Association of Australia reading this news over their morning bowl of oat bran and skim milk didn’t bat an eyelid but the paleo loving hipsters however, were spitting out their bullet proof coffees in disgust.

So who’s side are you on?

It comes down to whether you spread margarine or butter on your toast. Margarine, for me, always conjures up images of 1980’s Peter Russell-Clarke and his parody of a bionic cow, imploring us to eat the real thing.

You might imagine that as we get a better understanding of the importance of replacing processed foods with whole foods that margarine would be tossed on the scrap heap of failed food fads. Not so, as any trip to the supermarket will attest. Manufacturers of processed foods are massive corporations who will naturally protect their commercial interests and there are many who pointedly suggest the AHA is beholden to the “big food” lobbyists.

Each side of the debate accuses the other of cherry picking the data to suit their own arguments so if you’re hoping for a consensus you could be waiting a long time.

For me, I would rather consume quality unprocessed fats, including saturated fats like butter and coconut oil as part of a nutrient rich diet rather than think I can eat refined fats like margarine with impunity. I’m also a sucker for the flavour of butter so my tastebuds probably have more sway that I’d like to admit.

Concerns about saturated fat are founded on the belief the prevailing belief that they are a key contributor to high cholesterol and heart disease, however there is a counter argument that diets high in sugar and refined foods are to blame. Whatever you choose to believe, keep an eye on your cholesterol and if you have any concerns see a healthcare professional of your choice.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression

Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.

Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes

Make an appointment to see Wes.

Killer Cramps

Help For Painful Periods

With up to 90% of women experiencing pain or discomfort with their period it was pleasing to see the results of a study that showed acupuncture’s ability to relieve unwanted menstrual symptoms.

In the study lead by University of Western Sydney researcher Dr Mike Armour, 74 women were given 3 months of acupuncture treatment, which included nutrition and lifestyle advice. The idea was to replicate the type of holistic and individualised approach that you would expect if you visited your local acupuncturist.

The good news was the women experienced significantly less pain during the treatment phase and most importantly that the beneficial effects lasted for up to 12 months. In addition to pain relief they also experienced improvement in other common PMS symptoms including breast tenderness, emotional changes, bloating and headaches.

How does it work?

Well according to the researchers acupuncture was thought to affect a number of mechanism in the body including the release of natural opiates, a reduction in inflammation, an altering of uterine blood flow and positive changes in prostaglandin levels. The end result meant 50% or more reduction in pain for most of the participants. Whilst this Australian study was small, its findings were consistent with a much larger German trial of 649 women (Witt et all, 2008).

Armour had his wife’s experience from which to draw inspiration. She had previously suffered from painful periods and with advice from their GP she tried going on the pill and using painkillers. Unfortunately nothing they tried worked, so they sought out the help of an acupuncturist. His wife’s eventual success with acupuncture lead him to study acupuncture himself and to ultimately want to share the benefits he had seen in his own practice with others. Armour’s message to women who are suffering with painful periods is simply this: you don’t just have to put up with it. Great advice.  

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression

Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.

Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes

Make an appointment to see Wes.

Managing Stress with Mindfulness…One Breath at a Time

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It seems most of us are living such busy lives these days, sometimes just getting through the minefield of daily activities can feel exhausting and draining on our health.Whether we are juggling the demands of our jobs or managing a family, connecting with social and intimate relationships, stress is familiar to us all these days.

While a certain amount of stress can be an enlivening and motivating force in our lives, like all things taken in the extreme, it can result in severe disruption to our wellbeing and ability to function effectively.It is well documented that unrelenting stress is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety and a compromised immune function.When we find ourselves in that stressed state it’s difficult to concentrate and solve problems without feeling overwhelmed.

By contrast we can all recall that feeling of being in life’s flow, facing challenges with realistic acceptance, grace and even humour. At these times we can mobilize our inner resources so the problem itself somehow stimulates a turning point that awakens and propels us forward.The way to gather our potential and tune into a state of flow, is to begin practicing being “here and now” in the present moment. While that’s easy to say, most of us struggle with being present.We have nearly all had the experience of driving the car and suddenly realizing that you can’t remember most of the trip.“How did I get here?”Imagine if we lived most of our lives this way and getting to the end having missed many of the great moments.

Today, meditation is universally recognised as a highly effective tool to stay present and help manage our health and wellbeing in the midst of the madness. Vast amounts of research confirms that by training the mind through meditation we give the body time to relax and recuperate, and clear away stress hormones that may have accumulated in the system.Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard University first established that meditation techniques had a very real effect of reducing the fight-or-flight response, in his groundbreaking research in 1968.Since then, many more studies have reinforced and enlarged upon Dr Benson’s findings and today meditation is widely accepted as a valid practice and complementary to the high tech advances in medical science.

The corporate world, where burnout is a growing problem, has also discovered the benefits of meditation.Ray Lopez, director of the Lawyer Assistance Program for the New York Bar Association, is a strong advocate for using meditation to deal with stress.“When you slow down for a short time on a regular basis, you reduce stress.When people are stressed they think they can do a lot, but they’re limited – they’re impaired. We have to realize that is we don’t take care of our health we’re going to be undone.”

Practicing meditation and relaxed breathing gives us the opportunity to practice responding to our thoughts patterns and stressful situations more peacefully, The positive effect of this is increased clarity, resilience andproductivity, So much so, a number of leading law schools, including Harvard and the University of California are now offering meditation courses to their students to provide budding lawyers with tools to manage stress throughout their future careers.

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness meditation and how it can help you to better manage stress or more positively enhance your experiences in life, Live Well offers a six week program in mindfulness meditation training entitled Managing the Madness.

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This program was co-created by our resident counsellor and coach, Katrina Berg-Howard with Sal Flynn and in 2012, Katrina began presenting Managing the Madness regularly during school terms.

The program is designed to demystify meditation and make it accessible to everyday people wanting to experience the empowerment and calm that meditation practice can bring – managing the madness indeed!

A Gut Feeling

You may have already heard the term “leaky” gut floating around. Also known as Increased Intestinal Permeability, “leaky” gut is a term used to describe a condition whereby the integrity of the tight junctions and cells of the intestinal wall, and thus its functions (particularly the containment of materials and toxins) have been compromised. So the gut ends up “leaking” undigested proteins, particles, microbes, toxins, and waste metabolites into the bloodstream where they freely circulate (and shouldn’t be!). This can impact many aspects of our health, and can even affect the brain.

Why a gut tune-up is important:

The condition and functioning of the gut is not only important for digestive health, such as the ability to break down, absorb and utilise nutrients from our food, or mitigation of digestive conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It also feeds into, and has implications for other less obvious conditions.

Interestingly, the gut is also thought of as the ‘second brain’. This is mainly due to the fact that it relies upon the same neurons and neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) that are found in, and communicate with the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This helps us to understand the link between gut health and mental health, and how they feed into each other. And suffice it to say, how psychological, emotional and physical stress can cause digestive troubles.

Signs to look out for, include:

       Nutrient malabsorption -the inability to absorb essential nutrients

       Fatigue

       Chronic inflammatory conditions, such as: Asthma, Eczema, Heart disease, Dementia, Fibromyalgia, Pancreatitis, Gall bladder disease, Obesity, Autism, Depression, Lupus, Bleeding gums and Dental caries.

       Candida or Thrush infections

       Immune system function -susceptibility to, and ability to ward off infection; sensitivities and allergies; and autoimmune conditions such Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Type I Diabetes.

       Cognitive function: for example, clear vs foggy thinking, and memory decline.

       Mental health: poor mood (or moodiness and irritability), depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder

       Hormonal imbalances, for example PMS or PCOS.

       Skin conditions: eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea

       Thyroid disorders

       Joint pain

       Weight gain

       ‘Syndrome X’ (metabolic condition)

       Toxic build up

       Headaches and migraines

Factors that contribute to poor gut health and function, and “leaky” gut include:

       Stress! Stress has a major impact on the gut (among other things!), and I see this in clinic, time and time again… The gut is a sensitive organism, that is highly vulnerable to the ill-effects of stress. From the tension held in the nerve plexus that feeds into the gut (the vagus nerve), changes to appetite, decreased digestive capacity (the ability to break down, absorb and utilise nutrients from our food), ulcers, reflux, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea and IBS, to lowered immunity, increased susceptibility to infections, and the development of neurodegenerative and autoimmune conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

       Poor Diet -The SAD (Standard Australian Diet), which is laden with nutrient poor, processed, sugary, and fried foods. The SAD burdens the body with rubbish, and typically lacks essential nutrients found in a nutrient-dense fresh produce, and a chemically-reduced (Organic, where possible) wholefood diet that the body requires to maintain good health and functioning.

       Foods that commonly contribute towards and aggravate poor gut health include: sugar, gluten and unsprouted grains, dairy (although the A2 variety appears to be less so), caffeine, alcohol, processed/packaged and foods.

       Medications: particularly antibiotics, due to the fact that they tend to wipe out the good bacteria colonising the digestive tract, destroying the ecological balance; the oral contraceptive pill; paracetamol and ibuprofen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) being most common.

You can take back control of your gut health today by:

       Remove common culprits from the diet, like gluten, dairy, and sugar. This can be challenging to think about, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated or hard. The ability to collate the right resources and support, and make a plan goes a long way in making any dietary transitions like this smooth.

       Take your time to eat. Even if it is just 5 minutes, undistracted.

       Chew well. It may sound silly, but by paying attention to chewing each mouthful more completely, we’re actually helping the mechanical breakdown of our digestive process, which takes a burden off our digestion, and makes it noticeably smoother. Digestive disturbances are reduced, and nutrient absorption is enhanced.

       Get serious about minimising your stress levels -see my articles on 6 Ways to Beat Stress Fast, and Little things you can do to Unplug for a few good pointers.

       Eating more leafy greens, which feed and encourage good bacteria growth in the gut, and help physically sweep toxic waste out from the bowel. They’re also rich in stress-busting nutrients.

       Trying a gut-healing Bone Broth. You can find good recipes for how to make a bone broth all over the net. It is a nutrient-rich, mineralising broth that helps restore the mucosal lining of the gut, aids digestion and the immune system.

       Seeking professional help for a proper assessment, and treatment.

 

The magic of Nigella seeds!

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Nigella seeds are produced by the Nigella sativa plant, a flowering annual of the buttercup family, native to the Middle East. The seeds are high in essential fatty acids and can be pressed produce an oil.

Nigella seeds are also known as black cumin or black onion seeds and are one of five spices that make up the classical Indian ‘panch phoran’ mix used to flavour dhal and curries, delivering a peppery and decidedly aromatic tang.

Over the centuries Nigella seeds have earned both considerable renown and some legendary advocates. Galen, the famous Roman physician recommended Nigella seeds as a failsafe cure for colds, whilst the Islamic prophet Mohammed went further, proclaiming nigella as “good for all ailments except death”. Perhaps as a result, nigella seeds are commonly used throughout the Middle East and Asia both as a food and medicinal herb.

Nigella’s status in the West may have remained unchanged as culinary obscurity except for the growing weight of research that indicates nigella seeds have an extraordinary array of beneficial properties. There are over 600 peer reviewed studies referencing the benefits of nigella in a wide range of conditions including:

Type 2 diabetes: by reducing fasting glucose and insulin resistance.

Stomach ulcers: by treating helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Epilepsy: by reducing seizures especially where standard medications have failed and

High blood pressure: especially in cases of mild hypertension.

here are also promising results suggesting that nigella seeds may be helpful in tackling golden staph or MRSA Infection, reduce the symptoms of asthma and prevent colon cancer.

What stands out about nigella is the breadth of conditions it seems to influence. Traditional herbal folklore describes the action of nigella as an immune ‘normaliser’ with the unusual ability to treat both overactive inflammatory type conditions as well as conditions where there is immune weakness and lack of inflammatory response.

Whether in the hands of an expert herbalist, sprinkled onto a flatbread, or thrown into a curry, Nigella is another of nature's magical gifts to be cherished.

Make an appointment to see Live Well's Herbalist!

Endometriosis: From a Naturopathic Perspective

Endometriosis is a condition that really needs to be treated using the best that both the Medical and Complementary healthcare systems have to offer. That is to say, treatment for Endometriosis should be undertaken in a comprehensive and focused way to throw everything you can at it, and achieve an effective therapeutic outcome.

Medical treatment may seek to reduce or stop periods altogether, using hormonally active medications to induce a continual pregnancy-like hormonal state or produce a temporary menopausal state. It would also be concerned with medicating for pain management, mood swings and depression. Medical procedures can range from the less invasive, to the higher end of the “invasive” scale, and may involve:

•       Medication -for example, oestrogen-modulating (e.g. the oral contraceptive pill),  progestogens (e.g. Provera), and analgesic medicines

•       Laparoscopic investigation and surgery/ablation

•       Regular D and Cs (dilation and curettage)

•       Hysterectomy

Naturopathic treatment for Endometriosis is centred on supporting appropriate organs, systems, and pathways in the body through a comprehensive nutritional and herbal prescription to target the disease pathways; as well as beneficial dietary and lifestyle modifications in order to mitigate symptoms, improve reproductive health and fertility, and ultimately, to manage and reduce disease progression.

After proper assessment of the condition -that is, how active the Endometriosis is, severity of growth and symptoms, treatment goals (symptomatic improvement vs fertility, for example), and contributing factors; the main areas of focus in treating Endometriosis from a Naturopathic perspective involves the regulation and support of:

•       Hormones (especially oestrogen and cortisol)

•       Liver detoxification pathways to improve toxin and hormonal clearance

•       Gut health and function

•       Lymphatic and immune function

•       Inflammation pathways

•       Oxidative stress within the system

Naturopathic investigations may also include:

•       Assessment of goal for treatment e.g. symptom reduction, fertility or treatment of entire disease process

•       Hormonal and Pain tracking

•       Hormonal profile (salivary test)

•       2 and 16 (pathways) oestrogen metabolism testing

•       Adrenal hormone profile

•       Food igG and IgG profile

•       Coeliac profile

•       Complete Digestive Stool Analysis

•       Vitamin D status

•       Lipid profile

•       Gene screen

•       Liver function: capacity for detoxification/assessment of phase I and II of liver detoxification processes

•       Levels of oxidation, pro-oxidant factors in the diet and lifestyle (e.g. stress and poor nutrition), and antioxidant status

Nutrition

Nutritional and dietary measures are mainly focused on the repletion and boosting of key nutrients, as well as the avoidance of foods and substances necessary to impact Endometriosis pathways (outlined above). Basic principles of which, include:

•       Nutritional (and herbal) prescriptions to provide symptomatic support (including psychological and emotional stress), and target inflammation and other disease pathways

•       Limit pro-inflammatory substances and foods, such as: dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, non-organic meats and farmed fish, processed/packaged foods, saturated fats and deep-fried foods, soy and other oestrogenic foods (including xeno-oestrogens, commonly ingested through use of plastics)

•       Include more: fresh, whole (natural, non-processed), and organic (this is actually really important, therapeutically) foods that are nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-packed!

•       Increase fibre to aid digestion, enhance the ecology of the gut, and clearance of oestrogen and toxic waste from the system

LifeStyle measures may include:

•       Meditation and relaxation techniques can be invaluable in helping deal with the psychological, emotional and physical impact of endometriosis

•       Moderate, daily physical activity like walking, stretching and yoga are beneficial

•       Losing weight (if necessary), as adipose (fat) tissue produces more oestrogen, and is very hormonally active

•       Refraining from sexual intercourse during menses (due to the link to possible retrograde blood flow)

•       Awareness around what’s in your environment, food and personal care products (e.g. moisturiser, make-up, deodorant, sanitary items); and making appropriate changes to avoid and decrease exposure to chemicals and toxins (for example, heavy metals, pesticides, parabens, phthalates, solvents, and moulds), is a must.

References:

Cook, K and Trickey, R. Endometriosis. Crows Nest, N.S.W: Allen and Unwin, 2002.Print.

Hechtman, Leah. Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia, 2011.Print.

 

 

Shanna is a qualified Naturopath and EFT Practitioner, and member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA). 

Shanna's interest in natural medicine came about through her own health challenges. She has a special interest in helping people with natural fertility, hormone balance, stressanxietydepression, fatigue and general wellbeing. 

Learn more about Shanna
Make an appointment to see Shanna

 

How to help your child through anxiety

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We just want them to be happy! We wish that they see in themselves what we see: brilliance, inner beauty, wit, compassion and love. These little people with whom we spend so much of our energy supporting their growth, safety and exploration through life. More and more I am seeing precious children come into Live Well showing signs of anxiety and sensitivity. Sometimes parents are aware of anxiety in their child, other times it is revealed in the session. Either way, no parent likes to see their child struggle with anxiety.

How anxiety presents in children

Anxiety has common characteristics among children and you may see one or more of the following:

  • sweating and a red face (excluding after running around!)
  • tense muscles, clenching hands or jaw
  • shallow or quick breathing, or holding their breath
  • sleeping problems – trouble falling asleep or waking often
  • loss of appetite or over-eating
  • verbalising or physical expression of worry, being scared, low self-esteem or confusion
  • wetting the bed or frequent toilet use
  • an increase in challenging behaviours such as tantrums, anger or frustration, or

Why is my child anxious?

Anxiety is an aspect of survival and 'fight/flight mode'. When a child doesn't feel safe or they're worried or uncomfortable about something, their body responds by releasing stress hormones from the adrenal glands to help them deal with the situation. Stress hormones cause a child's breathing to quicken, their heart to race, the blood to rush away from their logic brain and to their survival brain and their body gets ready to 'fight' or 'flight'. In fact, many of the symptoms you see in the list above are caused by stress hormones.

A child can start to struggle with anxiety because they don't know how to calm down at the end of the day, to feel safe again and to know that all is well. It could be stress around making friends, being bullied, frustration about learning something new or 'not being good enough'.

Frequently, the emotional and mental pattern is linked to how a child feels about themselves: Do they feel comfortable being themselves? Do they believe in themselves and accept who they are? Do they express self love and kindness? Are they confident?

What you can do for your child

I am sure that many parents reading this article are already doing a lot for their children in terms of expressing their love and support physically and emotionally. If there is a known source to your child's anxiety then it is important to address this: does the school and staff need to be involved, does your child need some tutoring or do they need to be supported to express how they feel? Emotional resilience comes from emotional intelligence and a life-long lesson is understanding and expressing our authentic self.

Whilst you are working through any external elements, you can support your child through anxiety from the inside out by using complementary medicine!

  • Acupressure: ask your child to make a loose fist and press or massage where the tip of their little finger rests – this will help relieve the anxiety and connect them to spirit/instinct.
  • Essential oil: place a few drops of Rose essential oil into their bath or on their pillow, or place one drop into a teaspoon of a carrier oil such as almond oil and massage into their hands and wrists, feet and ankles. Rose essential oil will help your child to feel love and to express love rather than feel isolated.
  • Nutrition: foods high in refined sugars and/or caffeine can set off stress hormones as the adrenals work to balance blood sugar levels, so it's important to give your children healthy treats that maintain their blood sugar levels. 

And remember, all of these techniques can also be used by adults who suffer with anxiety!

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If you would like help to understand what is happening with your child or support with helping your child through anxiety, then call Live Well and book your child in for a kinesiology session with me (Kate!). Kinesiology is gentle and safe for children of all ages – they end up having a great time learning and listening to their body! You will be given tools and techniques to take home which can be used as resources for life. Help your child to reach their full potential and to be happy and strong within themselves.

*Concession prices available for children and students

**Private health fund rebates available from participating health funds

***Weekday and Saturday sessions

How to Reboot Your Relationship With Stress

Stress: the word conjures so many different reactions, judgments and responses. Can you recognise yourself in the following portraits:

The stoic

You will proclaim “I’m not stressed” only to reel off a list of Herculean tasks you are currently juggling on 5 hours sleep a night. To you, admitting to being stressed is to entertain the possibility of a chink in your armour. Not identifying as being stressed is your way of staying resolute in the face of challenges, to continue to reassert your capacity to cope regardless of the challenges life throws at you.

The upside: tremendous drive, resilience and capacity to get things done. You’re still ploughing on when most mere mortals have fallen in a heap.

The health downside: when you crash you crash hard. Not content with the typical cold or flu, these tough nuts will not slow down until a full blown auto-immune crisis hits, rendering them incapacitated for a lengthy period of time.

Stress reboot tip: Don’t ignore the warnings signs of your health breaking down. Just because you can put up with (insert uncomfortable symptom e.g.: headaches, skin rashes, insomnia etc) doesn't mean your body is not trying to tell you something. Wha starts out as a whisper can end up as a scream if you keep ignoring it.

The dramatiser

Stressful events are mined for their rich potential to provide entertaining stories to regale anyone within earshot. You know you’re stressed but you’ve felt this way for so long now you’ve forgotten what its like to not feel constantly stretched to the limit. Ironically you may find yourself having hour long conversations with people telling them how much you have to do! You are so busy coping with being stressed that you can’t get started on your to do list. You can feel incapacitated and powerless, you procrastinate and are unable to take the first steps into stress reducing action.

The upside: Despite everything you’re often fun to be around, you’ve kept your sense of humour despite the chaos and that’s definitely a good thing

The health downside: you know what to do, you’ve probably already bought the relaxation CD’s.  Your Yoga mat is gathering dust in the cupboard, you keep telling yourself that next month is when you’re going to switch you morning coffee for a green juice. Failure to change your ways leaves your cortisol levels dangerously high, you’re immune system compromised, your energy levels flat and your mood tetchy. You’re better than this, its time to make some changes.

The health reboot: Start small. Commit to doing just one thing every day for this whole month and stick to it. No matter what! In just 31 days time you’ll have laid the foundations to being disciplined about making your health a priority.

The quietly desperate

No one knows how tough you are doing it, you keep up a good front but inside its a different story. You might be so good at coping that you’ve even convinced yourself that your ok but deep down you know you’re struggling.

The upside: You are resilient and people turn to you because, despite the turmoil within you radiate calm (even though your not feeling it). Once you learn to better manage your stress you’ll be able to switch on your true inner zen at will.

The health downside: You’re not coping even though you look like you are, which is dangerous. You might turn to alcohol, sugar or other forms of short term stress relief but it only makes you feel worse. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Stress reboot tip: Feeling good is not as far away as it probably feels right now. You just need to make some positive changes, starting today. Exercise is your friend, as it will perk up your liver, cleanse your blood and lift your mood. Once you get a bit of momentum everything will feel and be easier.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about We

Make an appointment to see Wes.

Nutrients to Combat Anxiety

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When it comes to anxiety, nutrition can make a huge difference to your resilience and wellbeing. That means your diet, along with carefully chosen and professionally prescribed supplements, are key tools for reducing the symptoms and the effects of anxiety in your body and mind. Below is a summary of what your brain and nervous system are craving when you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

 

Magnesium

Supports:

  • Mood, wellbeing & relaxation of the nervous system.
  • Also needed for activation of B vitamins & vit D + decreases lactate in system

Found in:

Dark, leafy greens; whole grains e.g. brown rice, quinoa, oats; nuts & seeds e.g. almonds, cashews, sesame; eggs; legumes e.g. beans, lentils; avocados; bananas; brewer's yeast.

 

B vitamins

Support:

  • Nervous system health & function + necessary for brain chemistry production.
  • Many anxiety symptoms are associated with vitamin B & Magnesium deficiency .
  • Deficiency in B & Magnesium also increases lactate in blood;
  • Note: B vitamins + Magnesium both feed the & relax the nervous system

Found in:

Dark, leafy greens; whole grains –brown rice, quinoa, oats; nuts & seeds; legumes e.g.  beans, lentils.

 

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Support:

  • Healthy nervous system function (protects & nourishes).
  • Necessary for nervous system transmission (communication between nerves/brain)
  • + Healthy mental/psychological function including mood (EFA therapy is highly beneficial in treatment of anxiety & depression) 

Found in:

Avocado; cold-pressed oils (especially olive and sunflower); oily fish (salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel); nuts and seeds.

 

Adequate protein

Supports:

  • Rule of thumb: 1g protein per 1kg of body weight, per day
  • Protein provides us with amino acids (building blocks) that are the precursors (needed substances) to produce the brain chemistry we need

Found in:

Leanmeat, fish, eggs (try to get organic & free-range where possible); legumes e.g. beans, chickpeas, lentils; nuts & seeds…

Try to have protein as a part of every meal/snack, and you will notice a difference! J

 

Complex Carbohydrates

Support:

  • Smooth, sustained energy release; Balance blood glucose; High in essential nutrients & fibre.

Found in:

Whole grains e.g. brown rice, quinoa, oats; dark, leafy greens e.g. silverbeat, kale, bok choi, lettuce; sprouts; vegetables (root vegies like Pumpkin, carrots, turnips, Swede, sweet potato are esp. grounding in anxiety!); Sprouts (nutrient powerhouses! Loaded with essential nutrients e.g.  vits, mins, phyto(plant)chemicals, anti-oxidants..)

REMEMBER, OUR BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM ARE LIKE PONDS WE NEED TO KEEP TOPPED UP! 

Overwhelm is the New Black

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At Live Well we see so many people who, for one reason or another, find themselves feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. In some ways it’s no surprise, modern life demands more and more of our attention. If you’re like me, when you have a spare moment, you’ll find yourself compulsively checking your emails or your text messages or reading something on your phone. Never before have we had such access to information and stimulation.

The consequence? We’ve trained ourselves to be switched on and ready to respond at all times. From a body/mind perspective this means we are perpetually in action mode. It’s interesting to note that you can be lying in a hammock on a tropical island sipping a cocktail but if you are thinking about work then, as far as your nervous system is concerned, you may as well be at work.

Generally speaking we spend way too much time switched on and not nearly enough time spent unwinding and relaxing. In fact most of us have become really good at ‘coping’ with being switched on for long periods and really bad at switching off and deeply unwinding. If you push yourself through the day with low energy and high stress, finding you need to rely more and more on stimulants like sugar and caffeine to keep you going through the day you will know what I’m talking about.

The solution? First to recognise where you find yourself. If you are overwhelmed but just keeping your head above water, don’t wait to see whether life’s going to get easier. If you’ve felt this way for a while, it probably won’t. If you’re already experiencing uncomfortable physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, episodes of panic as well as a feeling that you’re no longer able to keep a lid on things then you probably already have anxiety.

To break the cycle I suggest seeking professional help from someone who is going to offer not just short term relief but longer term holistic strategies. Psychologists, for example, will give you a range of mind tools and education. A naturopath can give you herbs and supplements to reduce symptoms, build resilience and restore balance. Acupuncture will reset your nervous system, helping you access deep states of relaxation perhaps for the first time in a long time. Kinesiology can help you understand the mental and emotional patterns that have been keeping you from switching off and of course a massage or pampering treatment creates a space and time where you can completely let go. Just remember ‘coping’ doesn’t have to be your norm, for your health’s sake it’s time to take action.

Resolution Revolution

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Why do we make New Year's resolutions? It boils down to an acknowledgement that we want to feel different. For example ‘I’m going to give up eating junk food’ or ‘I’m going to start running/walking 3 times a week’, probably translates as ‘I don’t want to feel tired, overweight and slightly depressed anymore’.

 

Be Positive

Take a closer look at what you want to change. Instead of focusing on how you don’t want to feel, shift your focus on to the feelings you really want in your life. So if you were contemplating giving up junk food or starting regular exercise it’s quite possible you want to feel more energised and happier.

 

Boost Your Motivation

Positive feeling goals like wanting to feel more energised and happier are much more motivating than giving up something that you like such as junk food or lying on the couch! The thought of not being able to do the thing you like sets up an association of pain with your new goal and is likely to make you stop. On the other hand when your goal is focused on the positive feeling it sets up an association of pleasure and gives you much more chance of staying on track.

 

Get Creative

The other great thing about positive, feeling based goals is that you can unleash your creativity. If you focus is on being energised and happier you can probably think of lots of ways you can support your goal other than the original junk food/exercise intention. What else makes you feel energised? What places, books, art, people make you come alive? Also consider what saps your energy and joy? What creative ways can you lessen these activities or build resilience? If you stay focused on the feelings you want and find lots of ways to support them you are much more likely to succeed.

So take some time to reflect on how you’d like to feel this year, make these feelings your ‘theme of the year’ and watch them sprout, grow and blossom as you nurture them with your loving intention for change.

How Meditation Changes Your Brain For The Better

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Lately everyone’s talking about meditation and just how good it is for you and a lot of that buzz is thanks to research showing the positive effects of meditation on the brain. You have probably heard about neuroplasticity, a mouthful of a word that means your brain can change and that’s a quite big deal because the prevailing logic until the 1980’s was that once you became an adult you were stuck with the brain you had. Now we know you can continue to train your brain much like you can train your muscles and one of the most cutting edge brain training tools is, of course, meditation.

Here’s how:

De-stress your amygdala

Meditators know it and now science has explained why meditation makes you feel so damn relaxed. It comes down to meditation switching off activity in the amygdala –  the part of the brain that becomes overstimulated with chronic stress and anxiety. Meditation not only makes you less reactive it also boosts your resilience to stress.

 

Thicken Your Cortex

Meditation makes your cortex thicker but that’s a good thing! Thickening of the cortex is associated with boosting your memory and attention as well as your brain’s ability to plan and organize. It also points to the potential for meditation to prevent the thinning of the cortex associate with old age memory loss.

 

Happy Hippocampus

Meditation has been shown to boost the level of grey matter (science speak for brain power) in the part of your brain linked to positive emotions as well as emotional stability – the hippocampus.

 

Juice up your Junctures

Not only does meditation make you feel good it also makes you a kinder more compassionate person thanks to the activation of you temporal parietal junctures. This area in your brain is tied to empathy and means you are more willing to respond to those in need.

The wealth of research showing the benefits of meditation is amazing and the results being produced are astonishing however I’m sure what we have already seen is just the tip of the iceberg of what we will discover about the benefits of meditation.


Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. 

Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes
Make an appointment with Wes

Breathe Easy

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Breathing, you’re doing it right now but have you ever stopped to notice your breath? Is it smooth and deep or shallow and fast or something different? Of course it changes throughout the day depending on what you’re doing.

Your breathing is usually governed by your autonomic nervous system, meaning its on auto pilot, so that when you go for a run you don’t have to think: I must breath faster now, it just happens. You also have conscious control, so you can deliberately slow or deepen the breath just by thinking about it. 

What’s fascinating is how your breathing changes when you are stressed. Cue simplified biology lesson. Stress triggers a brain and hormone response, which amongst other things makes your breath faster – lets call this the stressed breath. This is an excellent thing for running away from sabre tooth tigers, which was what it was designed for, but a terrible long-term strategy for thriving in chronically stressful situations like juggling a busy day at work or at home. 

Under ongoing stressful conditions – otherwise known as modern life, your breath, when left to its own devices, will be sustained in faster and more shallow pattern. 

That’s because without intervention your physiology easily gets stuck in an unhelpful feedback loop. Your brain ‘listens to’ your breath and if your breathing is shallow and fast then it registers ‘danger’ and it perpetuates the hormone signals to continue the stressed breath. Along with the stressed breath comes chronic muscular tension, elevated blood pressure, depressed immune system function, impaired thinking capacity, digestive system shut down and chronic nervous system exhaustion. If that list sounds familiar that’s because these are the most common health issues of our time!

Thankfully spending a few minutes a day consciously applying simple breathing techniques can profoundly change your wellbeing. 

Try this simple exercise. Breathe in normally and count one, two, three and so on until the end of your natural easy inhalation. Then as you breathe out extend your exhalation by one count. So if you breathed in for a count of four breathe out for five. Continue this for 10 to 12 breaths and notice the difference even a few conscious breaths can have on the way you feel.

Toxic Emotions? Try This Approach ...

Have you ever felt really angry or afraid, embarrassed or lonely? Of course, you have, they are just some of the common side effects of being alive! What's interesting is that whilst we may answer YES when asked directly, we may still expend enormous energy trying to not feel these common emotional states when they arise. Why is that? Well, it's a good question, one that I'd like to explore here and in doing so we will cover one of the most helpful concepts I've ever come across, one that's made a huge impact on my life.

Emotions are like the weather

One of the most helpful lessons I have learned from Yoga philosophy is that emotions are like the weather; they are very changeable (a concept that I grasped easily having grown up in ‘four seasons in a day’ Melbourne) but more significantly emotions are BEYOND OUR CONTROL. We have no say in whether it rains or is sunny today all we can do it adjust the way it is, if its cold we rug-up, if it's raining we take an umbrella. No amount of effort will change what the weather wants to do! If it's sunny and we want rain….too bad!

When it comes to emotions, most of us want it to be sunny all the time, we prefer “positive” emotions like love, joy, happiness, contentment and gratitude to so-called “negative or toxic” emotions like fear, sadness, anger, despair and bitterness. The problem is at some stage or other we experience all emotions, every day a hundred or more emotional states arise within us. If we like some and don’t like others we’re going to try and hang on to the one’s we like and push away the ones we don’t like…the result is tremendous tension and guaranteed misery.

Letting go

Before I understood the idea that emotions were beyond my control I had been suffering under the illusion that I could make myself feel only enjoyable emotional states if I tried hard enough. If I felt bad, sad or mad I thought I must have done the wrong thing, I should have meditated more, should have exercised more, should have thought different thoughts or eaten different foods! In truth, I could have done everything "right" and yet be visited by sadness, confusion or fear. When I truly understood emotions come and go of their own accord it was an immense relief, for I could begin to accept how I felt. It was the start of a journey away from trying to make circumstances fit how I wanted them to be and towards a state of more ease with how things are.

Having a War With Reality

Yoga teacher and author Steven Cope describes the battle between how we want things to be and the way things are as our “War With Reality”. Fundamentally whenever we are suffering the root cause is this war between how we want to feel and how we actually feel. The result of denying or suppressing the unwanted feelings we have is we lose the opportunity to feel ok with how things are.

Remember the weather analogy, if it's raining we’re sad, if it's sunny we’re happy and even though we know it's not going to last we spend our days chasing this temporary happiness and running away from (or suppressing) a temporary sadness. It’s exhausting and futile and we end up being anxious about not just how we feel but also who we are and how our life is.

Acceptance

What heals the dissatisfying gap between how we want to feel and how we actually are feeling is the practice of acceptance. Remember no amount of wanting the sun to come out when it’s raining is going to make a difference, so it's time to stop fighting a losing battle. A good starting point is to become curious, just like meeting new people is interesting, meeting these previously shunned feeling states is fascinating. What we find is that these yucky feelings are really not that scary when we consciously choose to be with them rather than run away from them. Some states are more challenging than others, who really wants to feel ashamed or lonely or full of dread, I’m not saying this is always fun or easy necessarily but it’s a relief to really FEEL what’s been there all the while. Each time you feel an uncomfortable emotional state without running away you start dismantling the tension built up around trying to avoid feeling it. The experience is like being able to welcome all these feelings that are just different parts of yourself, no part of you need be in exile anymore, all of you is welcome.

Welcoming

So the theory is very simple, feel whatever arises, whether it’s a pleasant or unpleasant emotion. I would suggest starting with a daily practice of quiet observation for 2o minutes. In that time sit or lie somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, close your eyes and take your awareness inside your body and feel what’s present. It’s a bit like sticking your head out the window to see what the weather’s doing but this time you're taking a look inside of yourself. Ask yourself how you feel. Is it's sunny and warm and peaceful in there or is there a storm raging with wild winds or something in between. The crucial thing is to not judge what you find but practice welcoming what you feel. Imagine you are opening the door to a dear friend, as you open the door you don’t know if she is elated and smiling or upset about something and in tears, either way, you welcome them in. Extend the same courtesy to yourself and welcome what you find no matter what state you’re in.

If you find it hard to feel anything, try mentally visualising the events of the day in one-hour blocks and see whether it triggers any emotional states to observe. With practice you can check in with your emotional state throughout the day, it only takes a moment to stop take your awareness inside and feel what’s going on in there. In time you’ll be able to stay aware of uncomfortable feelings as they’re arising even in really challenging situations.

Important Tips:

Avoid the Story

Try to avoid getting involved in the story of WHY you feel how you feel, for our purpose of making friends with your feelings the why is not important, it can easily become a distraction from feeling,  which is our goal.

Acceptance is not the same as being passive

Accepting how you feel from moment to moment isn’t the same as being passive and accepting circumstances in your life that you need to change. For instance, your may observe a feeling of frustration arising frequently. Really feeling the frustration and accepting its presence (without wishing it was wasn’t there and without creating a story about why it’s occurring) lets you be comfortable with observing the feeling in yourself. Once we tap into and accept our true feelings they can be a catalyst to change and growth as we are no longer numb, no longer in such conflict with ourselves. Feeling frustration arise regularly and accepting its presence may lead to embarking on a new path, perhaps more in accord with your deep desires in life. Interestingly the more we can open to feeling the uncomfortable emotions like fear and loneliness the more open we are to feeling the enjoyable emotions like love and contentment.

You’re not alone

You’re never alone. If you feel overwhelmed by grief, for example, imagine all the billions of human beings around the world, and in the very same moment that you are grieving many thousands of others are also in that exact same state. We’re all human, we all have the same challenges and experiences, that can be a comforting thought.

Sometimes this work brings up sensations and feelings that are very powerful and challenging. If you feel overwhelmed and scared find a professional to support you as you do the work, such as a psychologist, or counselor.

I hope these ideas and practices help you as much as they have helped me over the years. It's an ongoing task but one that is well worth the effort.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. 

Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes
Make an appointment with Wes

Are you tired but wired?

Can't switch off? Feeling on edge and irritable? Desperate for a really good night's sleep?

You really would like to wind down and relax but modern life has other plans for you. When the birds start chirping you desperately want to stay a little longer under the doona but that desire is squashed by the need to get to work or get the kids off to school.

Once you are awake it's difficult to slow down. You are subject to an increasing onslaught of information and stimulation unlike anything humanity has previously known. One edition of the Sydney Morning Herald contains more information than someone in the 17th Century encountered in a whole lifetime. No wonder your mind is busy and can't switch off.

Its not surprising that so many clients we work with at Live Well are what I call 'wired but tired'. It's easy to become wired when your nervous system, which is responding to an avalanche of stimulation runs faster and faster just to keep up. 

As a consequence of being wired, it becomes progressively harder to switch off. Have you ever noticed how babies when they get overtired can’t settle and become increasingly distressed? As adults the same process is happening but we are better at pushing through the tiredness barrier and soldiering on. In other words you are good at 'switching on' and even when you do stop for a moment your nervous system stays on standby mode, ready to leap into action again at a moments notice. It’s not surprising all this go, go, go leaves you feeling deeply exhausted.

So how do we access the deep rest our bodies are craving? Try these tips:

  • One night a week, go electronics free: switch off the TV, turn off you mobile phone and hide the laptop. Better still turn off all devices at least 2 hours before sleep and give you body and mind a chance to unwind. 

  • Include a relaxation practice in your day, even a five minutes starts to re-train your nervous system to unwind.

  • Get out in nature or learn to meditate both are very healing and proven to reduce stress.

  • Let go of multi-tasking all day. Find space in each day where you can stick to one task. Your nervous system will thank you.

  • Remember to breathe. A few deep mindful breaths will quickly bring your mind and body into the moment and offer your nervous system a much needed pause.

  • Reach out and get support. Acupuncture is exceptionally good at helping rewire you body and mind to relearn how to access deep relaxation and restful sleep and Herbal Medicine can profoundly soothe an irritated and depleted nervous system. 

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. 

Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

Learn more about Wes
Make an appointment with Wes

Top 3 Merry Stress Busters: How to Stay Centred and Authentic this Silly Season

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December is my favourite month of the year but getting caught up in the silly season can be a fast track to crazy-making if you let your monkey-mind take over and forget what's at the essence, not only of the celebrations at this time of year, but within yourself.  So to give you a little Yogic helping hand to staying merrily stress-free here’s my top 3 stress busters to help you stay centred and acting authentically this silly season:

1. Remember to BREATHE! 

Three (3) deep breaths can change your life! They definitely change your ability to stay present, rather than reactive in the face of stress or pressure. Deep, controlled, steady breathing actually changes your body and brain chemistry. This gets you out of the 'fight or flight' response and back into 'Yes and Bless' (also known as 'rest and digest'! Fight or flight can be thought of as the Blame and Shame system when it comes to our emotions!). The physical chain reaction that 3 deep breaths give you acts like a circuit breaker - rather than react primarily to a trigger, you gain a little space and can then CHOOSE your actions mindfully.

So when you're driving around on Xmas eve looking for last minute gifts because work has been mental and someone cuts you off in the car park, instead of flipping the bird, STOP, breathe in to your belly and fill your lungs as deeply as you can. Exhale for at least the count of six, ten is even better. Do this three times, then smile, say YES, you're welcome to have the right of way, send them your blessings for a safe and happy Xmas and go merrily and less stressfully along your way. 

Same applies if your Aunt tells you that 'you're looking bigger this year darling' or if you accidentally burn the Xmas tofurkey (yep, it's an actual thing, not a typo) -Breathe, smile, send your blessings and let it go... Often a little circuit breaker like 3 deep breaths lets you let go of the drama, or your 'story' about how things 'should' be and gives you the chance to see the humour in the situation or find some compassion for the other person.

2.Remember the answer is always LOVE

It might sound corny but asking yourself the question "What would love do?" when someone or something is pushing your buttons can help you gain a little perspective, and again a little space, before you react to a trigger. It works REALLY well when coupled with #1! 

This applies equally to your interactions with others as to your relationship with yourself. Often we find ourselves the hardest person to love, accept and treat with respect and this sees us making decisions that don't honour our best selves. This includes our actions such as food choices, the company we keep, and the way we interact with others and our thoughts such as negative self talk, guilt and shame. The perfect seasonal example is drinking too much at the work Xmas Party, taking actions you wouldn't be proud of if you were sober and then guilting on yourself about it all afterwards - sound familiar? 

The trick to preventing this chain of avoidable events is taking the time to consider your options (remember that 3 breath thing above at #1?!) and then asking "What would love do?" and listening in for the answer. If you really, truly loved yourself, what would your honest answer be? There's a trick to listening for the answer to this question too - it won't come from your head, so if you're thinking about it, you won't get an honest answer. 

The real answer will come from your heart, as a feeling, or a sense of knowing and it probably won't be easy to recognise at first, but intuition is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Another hot tip is: it probably won't be the easy/popular/people pleasing choice. It might involve saying no in the face of peer pressure, or missing out on something. Yup, FOMO usually keeps you stuck in your same-old behaviour patterns, where it's safe and easy but probably not really what serves your highest good.

3. Remember to practice Yoga DAILY

Yoga is not always about physical asana or learning how to control your breath. Yoga is a myriad of personal and interpersonal practices that you can use to learn to love and manage yourself, and to harmonise your interactions with others. 

Your daily yoga practice may take many forms; physical movement, meditative stillness, intentional breath, devoting time to truly listen to another person or a random act of kindness. It may look like something else entirely. That's the beauty of Yoga - it is personal to you. 

You can practice Yoga anytime you want, wherever you happen to be. Like on the golden sand of your favourite beach or in the seat of your car as you drive cross-country. You could practice in your place in the queue for photos with Santa. Where ever it is, the point is that you have the opportunity to give yourself the gift of presence - being mindful of where you are, who you're with and how you choose to direct your thoughts and energy (remember #2: What would love do?) towards them and yourself. 

Each time you practice it's like a deposit in your spiritual bank account, your energy grows and enables you to invest a little more each time you come back to practice again.

So when you're cruising the shopping centre car park after your yoga class on Xmas eve and cut off that person you could clearly see was waiting before you, maybe if you just took 3 deep breaths and asked yourself 'What would love do?', you might find it within yourself to practice a bit of Yoga right now too? Like the butterfly effect, you'd be surprised how far reaching your simple practice of breath, mindfulness and love  - your yoga in action - can be. 


Ramone is Live Well's Thai Yoga Massage practitioner and resident Yoga teacher. Her passions include exploring the connections between the body, mind and abundant health, helping people cast-off their limitations so they can start living more fulfilling lives and encouraging laughter, lightness and wildness once in a while! She combines these loves by hosting retreats that combine yoga, meditation and self-study in stunning, natural locations. 
Ramone specialises in Thai Yoga Massage for Pregnancy and is also a qualified Pre and Post Natal Yoga teacher tailoring individual programs.