The blog page offers holistic information regarding all facets of healing—be it emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical. We welcome your participation: email us your questions and comments regarding posted information or add a comment to the blog.
In my last blog, I used two specific people--the Dalai Lama and Congressman Tim Ryan--to demonstrate the positive power of meditation. Today I describe two major studies that show how we can benefit from the use of meditative approaches. Researchers at Harvard Medical School report that long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation had many more disease-fighting genes than individuals who did not practice any form of relaxation. These genes protect us from pain, infertility, high blood pressure, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, the meditative state of relaxation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. According to the publication, Psychology Today, research also shows that when meditators shift their brain activity from the stress-prone right frontal portion of the brain to the calmer, left frontal portion of the brain, a decrease in the negative effects of stress, depression, and anxiety occur. Additionally, there is less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear.
Each meditates every day. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, who imparts a message of universal responsibility, love,compassion, and kindness to people throughout the world. Central to this perspective is the Tibetan holistic approach to health, which involves diet, behavior, prescription of medicine, and contemplative (meditative) practices. In 1989 he was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. You can learn more about this remarkable individual and his teachings/writings by visiting www.dalailamafoundation.org
Early in November 2012, the Los Angeles city council unanimously approved a resolution recommending city residents not eat meat on Mondays. This Meatless Monday campaign started internationally in 2003. The Los Angeles effort is associated with Johns Hopkins University’s public health school.
Not only is the environment diminished by the amount of meat consumed in this country, a high-meat diet is linked to health problems such as colon, prostate, kidney and breast cancers, as well as heart disease. Furthermore, the problem of obesity can significantly be moderated by reduced meat consumption.
So what’s a meat eater to do?
Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Results from a Harvard University study showed that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (such as meat and full fat dairy products) with foods rich in polyunsaturated fat (such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19 percent. Research results also suggest that higher consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of Type II diabetes. In addition, the consumption of red and processed meat is associated with higher mortality rates.
Interestingly enough, replacing a meat-based meal with fish such as tuna and salmon isn’t that difficult to do; nor is substituting an inexpensive bean and rice dish for meat, since the two combined form a complete protein. Fortunately, information regarding meatless meals is readily available on the Internet—not only are there countless recipes, updated research results inform readers of the many health benefits of eating meatless meals.
Years ago when I became interested in healthier diet options, I began by choosing white turkey and chicken instead of red meat. Gradually I began to incorporate fish into my diet. Now I am comfortable with fish two or three days of the week and lean fowl on the other days. When I have a yearly physical exam and the doctor remarks about the status of my good health, I attribute this to regular exercise and a healthy diet. You’d be surprised how rewarding it is to transform anxiety-ridden doctor’s visits to a life-affirming event!
As mentioned elsewhere on this website, my writings feature a holistic perspective. I’ve included many mental and emotional exercises in Grow Up Your Ego, but today I’m thinking about the numerous ways we can exercise our bodies. While we all know that walking is a low impact and simple exercise, we tend to forget the profound health benefits it provides. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking lowers blood pressure, helps manage weight, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk or manages Type II diabetes, and improves one’s mood. To obtain maximum health benefits, one should walk 30 to 60 minutes a day most days of the week. It’s best to warm up by walking slowly the first five minutes. Walking slowly the last five minutes of the walk is recommended as well. If you aren’t a regular walker, at first only walk as far as is comfortable, for example 5 to 10 minutes. Then gradually build up to 15 minutes, and so on. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of walking is that it can be done with others, which includes walking with one’s children. When I’m walking the trails close to where I live, I frequently observe parents who either have infants cradled in back packs or who are pushing them in strollers.
Water workouts also are relatively simple and can be very enjoyable. According to a study published in the April 2012 American Journal of Cardiology, three or four days a week of swimming laps for 15 to 45 minutes leads to significant improvement of vascular function. Did you know that, in addition to reducing stress and the risk of cardiovascular disease, swimming burns about the same number of calories as jogging, with less stress on your joints?
Overall, research concludes that regular exercise routines contribute to healthier lives, reduced stress, and improved interactions with others—which by extension includes a more positively energized approach in relating to infants and children.
Your submitted comments posted here would be of help to everyone. Share your experiences with consistent daily/weekly exercise and the affirmative effects on yours relationships. Tell us what helps you stick with the commitment to regular routines, or what obstacles stand in your way.