• Finding Your Purpose — A Way Forward

    Living almost two years with the pandemic has changed us.  Our priorities have shifted.  Our routines have been altered.  So how do we find a way forward in this new pandemic-defined world?

    Start by living a life of purpose.

    Those seven words pack an enormous punch.  “Finding your purpose” is more than just a cliché.  It’s actually a tool for creating a happier, healthier, more balanced life.   There’s even research that links having a sense of purpose to positive health outcomes including fewer strokes and heart attacks, better sleep, and a lower risk of dementia.

    What is purpose?  Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life — the reasons you get up in the morning.  Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning.  For some people, purpose is connected to vocation — meaningful, satisfying work.  Purpose is #1 in the 5P’s to Optimum Health, with the goal being to achieve a natural balance and reconnection to the Divine.

    So how on earth do you discover what your purpose is in life?  First, understand that finding your purpose is often a lifelong journey.  Give yourself the grace of time.  Second, you might also find that your purpose changes over time.  Give yourself space to regularly reflect on whether the path you’re on is taking you in the direction you want to go.  If not, then change course.  The road to finding your purpose will inevitably have a few curves, forks, and stop lights.

    Four key questions to help you discover your purpose:

    1. What drives you?

    Is there an injustice that touches you so deeply that it drives you to change it?  Often a powerful purpose can come from seeking to right a powerful wrong.

    2. Who do you want to help?

    There are many perspectives from which to view an issue.  By figuring out the specific person/people you want to help, you can more easily define your purpose.

    3. How do you want to help?

    Your passions in life are what you love to do.  When you use your passions and skills to achieve your goals and solve problems, they will lead you to find your purpose.

    4. What you are willing to sacrifice?

    Often we think we want to do something, but don’t end up following through or putting in the work to succeed.  Once you find something worth true sacrifice, then you know you’re on the right track to finding your purpose.

    Are those questions challenging to answer?  Don’t panic.  Keep reading…

    Four steps to focusing on what matters most to you:

    Step 1:  Take inventory of your achievements, values, gifts, and talents.

    What have you excelled at both personally and professionally?  Identify attributes you are proud of.  Are you a good listener?  Are you a great organizer?  Our successes and accomplishments tell us where our skills, talents, values, integrity, and heart reside.

    Step 2:  Explore your interests via new opportunities.

    Think about what you used to love to do.  Join a MeetUp group, a running club, a writing club, a Mom & Me group, a book club, etc.  Try new things that might spark your creativity.  Step out of your comfort zone to learn new things about yourself that will help define your passions.

    Step 3:  Practice journaling.

    Start writing for 5 minutes a day, and build up to 30 minutes each day.  Write down your thoughts and feelings.  Notice dreams and signs.  Pay attention to what keeps coming back.  Prioritize creative expression.  Journaling helps you uncover what you love/don’t love about your life, face your fears, and pinpoint what you truly want.

    Step 4:  Embrace a daily mindfulness practice.

    Turn down the distractions.  Make the time to quiet your mind and tune out the noise, giving your brain the chance to sift through everything, shift from reactive mode to thoughtful mode, and help you realize where your priorities truly lie.  Find the mindfulness practice that works best for you — writing, yoga, meditation, nature walks.

    At OHI, in our Focus class, we teach you how to focus on your highest priorities. Look at how you spend your time, identify your core values, and define goals that support these values to achieve what matters most to you. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Setting a Vision for 2022

    Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Set a Vision During a Pandemic

    It’s Covid Year 2.  So how do you stop surviving and start thriving amid a pandemic?

    You set a vision and manifest an amazing future.

    Ready.  Set.  GO!

    What does it mean to have a vision?

    Why is it important to have a vision?  A vision gives direction to your life.  Each of us is put here on Earth for a purpose.  When we are deeply passionate about something, we need a vision to help us accomplish goals that serve our purpose.

    Purpose:  WHY you are here?

    Vision:  HOW you see your life unfolding to achieve your purpose.

    Goals:  WHAT you want to accomplish.

    What is manifestation?

    A “vision” for your life is the roadmap you set for yourself to achieve your purpose.  You use manifestation to traverse this “vision” roadmap.  In the context of productivity, manifestation means bringing your dreams into reality by “living” your goals.  Manifestation takes a holistic approach to goal setting by adopting a positive mindset and behaviors.

    How to set a vision & manifest

    Here are seven steps to manifest the best future possible for yourself:

    Step 1:  Get clear on what you want out of life.

    If you don’t know exactly what you want, you can’t actually take steps to make it happen. Start by creating a list of 10 things you want to manifest.  List the attributes in the positive — avoid using the word “don’t.”  For example, if you want a better relationship with your spouse, get specific about how you will improve communication, kindness, patience, and tenderness.  Your vision can’t be murky.  No detail is too insignificant.

    Step 2:  Set your intentions.

    Once you have the list of what you want to manifest in your life, it’s time to set your intentions.  There are many ways to put your goals and desires out into the universe with positive energy.  You can pray.  You can meditate.  You can create a vision board.  Whether you write a letter to God, or chant your desires as you take a walk in nature, put an actual voice to what you want once a day.

    Step 3:  Work toward your goals.

    Working toward your goals means putting all your positive energy toward making those goals a reality.  Start by writing down three actions you can do today to bring you closer to your goal.  Running out of ideas?  Google it!  It’s likely someone else has struggled with the same issue and has written about it.  Let yourself be inspired by the path that others have traveled.  If you take consistent action EVERY SINGLE DAY, all that positive energy will bring you results.

    Step 4:  Trust the process.

    As you work diligently toward your goals, there may be moments where you feel stuck.  You might get discouraged or frustrated that you aren’t making as much progress toward your goals as you had hoped.  Whenever you find yourself doubting, cancel that negative thinking.  Instead, focus all your positive energy on saying, “I’m getting closer to my goals every day.”  Re-center yourself with positive thinking.

    Step 5:  Acknowledge what you get, and receive it with gratitude.

    Help and guidance toward your goals are all around you, but it can be easy to miss the signs.  Practice gratitude by writing down the evidence of the progress you have made toward your goals each day.  Did you read an inspirational quote on Facebook that you really connected with?  Did you feel particularly energized after praying or meditating on your vision?  Acknowledge it all with a grateful heart, and redouble your efforts to focus on the positive.

    Step 6:  Practice authentic positivity.

    According to the Law of Attraction, you attract what you are sending out.  Spend at least 10-15 minutes a day doing something that makes you feel truly happy.  Go for a run with your dog.  Meditate outside in the sunshine.  Keeping your positivity authentic is the best way to open your arms to the abundance of good things that are headed your way.  If you give in to negativity, you can bet negative consequences are on the horizon.

    Step 7:  Clear your resistance.

    If you haven’t yet manifested what you want, it’s likely you are resisting what you’re being guided to.  Doubts, pain, procrastination, frustration, anxiety, fear, regret, and resentment are all forms of resistance.  Resistance is totally normal.  Just name it to tame it.  When you notice conflict within yourself, acknowledge it, cancel the negative thinking, and remind yourself to breathe, relax, and work to turn your thinking around.  Counsel yourself with grace and understanding by saying something like, “I’m frustrated again.  I’m going to let it go, breathe, and look for signs of goodness in the world.”  If you are having a particularly difficult time letting go of a problem, find someone to help you through it.  Connecting with others is always a positive use of your energy.

    What is the science behind setting a vision?

    Oprah Winfrey likes to credit her success in life to a keen understanding of the Law of Attraction.  And even centuries ago Plato seemed to know it, too, when he observed “like attracts like.”  The Law of Attractions states that we attract events and situations of similar frequency as our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.  Be it consciously or unconsciously, we constantly broadcast a vibrational energy that determines the circumstances, experiences, and people we attract or repel.

    The science behind manifestation is based on the impact of positive thinking on positive action, and the importance of habitual action to reach a goal.  Here are four manifestation techniques people have used to great success:

    1. Sensory Visualization

    Muhammad Ali credited visualization techniques for enhancing his performance.  This technique encourages you to experience your vision by immersing all your senses.

    2. Vision Boards

    This technique involves curating images and inspirational quotes that resonate with your vision, to be displayed on a board in a prominent place where you will see them every day.  According to science, vision boards gain their power via the Reticular Activating System (RAS).  It’s a part of your brain that filters all the information you receive.  When you look at your vision board, your subconscious retains the positive connections to everything pictured on that board.  As you move through the world and different opportunities present themselves to you, your brain can immediately make associations and connections with the goals posted to your vision board, and you can focus on options that will help you reach those goals.

    3. Gratitude Journaling

    A series of studies by Nathaniel M. Lambert concluded that developing an attitude of gratitude results in more positive life outcomes.  Making a daily gratitude list can enhance the power of your manifestations by elevating your consciousness.

    4. Manifestation Affirmations

    Affirmations are positive statements designed to eliminate the negative tendencies of your subconscious mind.  A 2015 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that future-oriented self-affirmations can help break limiting subconscious patterns and create newer, more useful neural connections.

    Put in the work today to set a vision, and manifest the best life possible for yourself.  With an outlook of positivity, you can make the world a better place all while creating a life of purpose that is meaningful to you.

    At OHI, in our Vision Board and Rock Painting class, we work with the laws of attraction and affirmations to create a visual representation of your optimum life. There is also time for connection and fellowship with other OHI community members.

    Our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

    “There is actual science behind vision boards,” by Angelo G. Garcia, May 2, 2019, news.abs-cbn.com

    “The Importance of Seeing the Vision for Your Life,” by KatieMae, September 17, 2018, medium.com

    “An In-Depth Exploration into the Psychology of Manifestation,” by Adam Sicinski, blog.iqmatrix.com

    “An In-Depth Exploration of the Science of Manifestation,” by Adam Sicinski, blog.iqmatrix.com

    “8 Manifestation Techniques: Understanding the Law of Attraction,” by Sonia Vadlamani, happiness.com

    “7 steps to Manifest Anything You Want, Including Money,” by Nathalie Guerin, December 6, 2017, huffpost.com

  • New Year, New You – A New Way Forward

    Greetings to our OHI community; I wish you a brisk and bright January as we enjoy the crisp fresh air of a brand new year. I love the contrast that winter gives us because it enables us to more fully appreciate the warmer months when they return. It’s a great metaphor for how the contrast of the last two years has prepared us to move forward in new ways.

    2021 will be remembered as the year we learned to work within the new abnormal of Covid-19. We found new ways to communicate virtually instead of in person; we discovered how to mix the two by creating hybrid environments both at work and with our extracurricular activities; and we learned how to live safely and healthily.

    The last 22 months made me recall, when I was growing up, my parents would occasionally recollect the privations Americans suffered during the Great Depression and World War II. They spoke of people living in tarpaper shacks in city parks, waiting in long lines at soup kitchens, and desperately searching for jobs when few were to be had; then during the war how everyone was issued ration cards and stamps which they had to use for buying food, clothing, gas, and pretty much everything else.

    They said there were always shortages due to the war effort. And, how the military needed so much food that people in the cities had to start gardening in order to have fresh vegetables. Those little “Victory” gardens, as they were called, ended up providing 40% of the country’s produce. Finally the war was over, and after 15 years of nonstop hardship, Americans were more than ready to move forward.

    It was hard for me to imagine how very difficult things were for my parents’ generation because by the time I was coming of age America had become the land of plenty. But the last two years have given me a taste, and I, like many of you, am ready to move forward. It is how we should move forward that I’d like to address in this newsletter.

    Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

    I offer you these verses because it’s time to stop yearning for what we had in 2019 and start forging a new way forward.

    The Quarantines Disrupted Our Lives – Now It’s Time to Regroup & Move Forward

    The inactivity we experienced during the Covid-19 lockdowns created new levels of fear, self-doubt, and confusion. Thankfully, in the past two years, we have learned to live with Covid-19, its variants, and now it’s time to move forward. But how does one move forward? I liken it to re-learning an activity or sport. First, it’s hard to muster the energy to get started, then when you do – you need to practice until you’ve regained coordination of your body and mind – and if you’re like most people, at first you will underperform and feel frustrated. This detracts from your enjoyment and leads you to doubt your ability. At that point, if you don’t push ahead and continue honing your skill, you could lose your self-confidence to the point of giving up.

    Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Proverbs 4:25

    As we begin forging our new way forward, it can be challenging at first. Author, Simon Sinek, offers this advice, “If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.” So, where do we start this process?

    Rediscover What is Most Important to You

    The New Year is a great time for re-evaluating our purpose, vision, values, and goals. It’s a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go; what we know and what we still need to learn; and what our dreams are and how to implement them.

    Purpose. I have written about purpose in this newsletter many times; it is one of our 5 Ps of Optimum Health. Your purpose is all about what makes you happy combined with using your natural talents, then getting so involved and absorbed with it that you completely lose track of time. If you don’t know what your purpose is, you can find it by following your joy. When you feel joy, it is such a powerful emotion that it speaks the truth from your very soul. Think of the things that brought you joy in the past. Make a list of those times, then look for a pattern, and before long you’ll know your purpose. To learn more about finding your purpose, see the article on page 5.

    Vision. Once you’ve revealed your purpose, you can work on your vision. Your vision is the roadmap that aligns your purpose with your goals. It is the big picture of where you hope to be in the future. There are many techniques to identify a vision for your life – a couple of examples include: creating a vision board and journaling. For more details about how to set a vision for 2022, see the article on page 3.

    Values. Identifying your values will help guide you when it comes to carrying out your purpose and vision.  Our values illustrate what we cherish, inform our belief system, and guide our behavior. We all have two types of values: intrinsic and extrinsic. The first is internal (inside of you) and the second is external (outside of you). Intrinsic values are our core ethical beliefs such as honesty, kindness, compassion, respect, and personal responsibility. Extrinsic values create the motivation for our purposeful actions such as the rewards or the acknowledgment we receive for achieving our goals. Now is a good time to contemplate the values that are most important to you because they will help you work on your purpose, vision, and goals.

    Achieve Your Goals in 2022

    Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

    In this new year, it’s important to keep forging ahead, build confidence, and not backslide into habits that undermine our goals.

    Renewing your mind and creating new habits will help you forge ahead and achieve your goals. At OHI, we teach if you engage in a behavior and do it every day for 21 days, it will become a habit. Creating new habits can sometimes seem daunting and we can feel overwhelmed before we even begin. But now there is a new way of adding a habit that is nearly instantaneous. It’s called habit stacking.

    The brilliance of habit stacking is that you attach a new habit to an existing one. You simply perform the new behavior right before or right after a habit that’s already second nature. Next add extra activities, again and again, as fast as you’re comfortable, until you create a stack. You then treat the stack as one activity instead of a bunch of separate tasks. For example, after breakfast each morning add the following activities: conscious breathing, stretch, alpha practice, and gratitude journaling – then eventually perform them as a single routine. You can get started with this by thinking through your day and pinpointing your various habits. Then select the ones you want to turn into prompts for your stacks.

    Here are some additional tips for achieving your goals: give yourself deadlines for each little task; find people with similar or the same goals as you and then work together or become accountability partners; reconnect or rebuild your support system (such as your OHI cohort); remember that your path may alter (as it has over the past two years), but your vision and goals remain constant; practice gratitude; last but not least come to OHI and let us help you forge a new way forward into 2022.

    Steer Clear of Limiting Beliefs

    I am excited for this new year and for you to start forging a new way forward! We’ve discussed how identifying your purpose, vision, values, and goals are key ingredients for the recipe to do so; but also remember how limiting beliefs can undermine you in achieving your optimum self. Limiting beliefs that formed in childhood can continue to hold us back as adults.

    If you wish to eliminate a limiting belief, you must first identify it. You do this by noticing when you become anxious or depressed, then try to recognize what stimulated the emotion. Look for any habits or patterns in your behavior that provoke those feelings.

    Next, replace the limiting belief with an empowering belief. Establish your new belief with positive affirmations that you repeat throughout the day. Your replacement belief, however, must be believable to you or it won’t stick. Start gradually and build up to the empowering belief you desire. For example, you can’t go from “I’m not afraid” to “I have the courage to do anything.” Instead repeat to yourself, “I’m excited about having new experiences.” Then every time you do something you’ve never done before record it in your journal.

    If you need more support in forging a new way forward, consider a visit to OHI. Many of our classes – including our Focus class, Vision Boards, Mental Detox – teach you how to identify your purpose, vision, values, and goals and will set you up for success in this new year.

    Still the Safest Place You Can be Away from Home

    We are continuing to make upgrades to both of our facilities. At both locations, our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms are outfitted with a Molekule air purifier and 100% organic cotton linens and towels (including fitted sheets). We also brought Covid-19 testing in-house. At OHI San Diego: every guest room has wood flooring, high-speed internet, black-out shades, and 80% of our guest room bathrooms have been renovated; and 80% of our food is from local organic farms. At OHI Austin, we added new wood flooring and carpet to our exercise classroom. We hope you come to experience our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms – designed with your safety and comfort in mind.

    Call us to book your reservation today: (800) 588-0809. Or visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org.

    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed New Year.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

  • A 3-Week Stay at OHI Works Wonders for Body, Mind, and Spirit

    The greatest victories are often the ones that take time to earn. The path to optimum health is long and winding, but it starts by releasing any illusion that an “instant fix” exists; true healing requires patience as we work on realigning our bodies, minds and spirits.

    A 21-day program at Optimum Health Institute will help you find wholeness and wellness through our invigorating and healing program.

    Learn more about what you can expect here:

    Week 1: A Good Start 

    The first week inspires you to become more aware of the body, mind, and spirit connection. Through the detoxification diet, full class schedule and fellowship activities, you immediately begin to feel improvements in all areas of your life. Without processed foods, meat, sugar, and dairy, every cell of your body starts to “wake up.”

    Weeks 1 + 2: A Deeper Understanding 

    Building on the foundation you created the first seven days, the next week delivers more powerful tools as you explore deep inside your heart and mind. Get in touch with emotions you might have been stuffing down for decades. Clarify and commit to your values. Learn to communicate effectively. Touch into the limitless joy that self-love and a cleansing diet can bring.

    Weeks 1 + 2 + 3: Putting It All Together 

    After 14 days of releasing self-limiting thoughts and behaviors, all the while nourishing your body with cleansing foods, you’re ready to integrate everything you’ve learned. In your final week at OHI, constructive new behaviors will have time to become positive new habits, empowering you to create optimum health as you take the program home. You’ve not only experienced the transformational difference an organic, live, raw vegan lifestyle can make – you’ve had hands-on experience in creating it.

    3 Weeks Adds Up Financially, Too 

    You get a special savings of 5% when you stay two consecutive weeks, and 10% when staying 3 consecutive weeks.

    Find the time you require for making the healthiest choices for your body, mind, and spirit at the OHI missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 45 Years of Holistic Healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement, and inspiration to kick destructive old lifestyle habits to the curb, and adopt beneficial and healing new ones. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Why Organic?

    Eating organic foods is a wonderful way to get good nutrition without the harmful pesticides and chemicals found in non-organic foods. But did you know that organic foods are actually more beneficial to your body?

    Sure, there is much debate about the benefits of organic food. Many skeptics ask why this is such a big deal because they don’t see any difference between how their groceries look before and after going through an organic process.

    Yet, it’s true that eating organic can vastly improve your overall health.

    What you eat has a huge impact on the way your body works, how you feel, and how well you function and perform. The higher nutritional content and increased anti-oxidants in the organic produce you eat can go a long way toward promoting natural healing in your body. Here are some of the important differences between organic and non-organic produce:

    Pesticides

    • Non-organic produce is sprayed with chemicals to kill pests and diseases. These chemicals can remain on the produce until it reaches your home, where it can be ingested by you and your family even after washing. These pesticides may include neurotoxins that gradually build up and cause long-term health problems.
    • Organic produce, on the other hand, isn’t doused with chemicals to kill pests. Organic produce farmers use birds and insects to keep harmful pests in check, or they may plant other flowers or plants nearby to repel the unwanted bugs. Other farmers may use natural or organic products to protect their plants from pests.

    Fertilizers

    • As with pesticides, non-organic produce is fertilized with chemicals that promote growth but can be harmful to humans. Organic farmers use natural methods, like organic manure, to fertilize their crops. Compost is also used to promote strong, healthy plants.

    Herbicides

    • Weeds are a problem for all produce farmers, but non-organic farmers use chemicals to kill the weeds that invade their crops. Organic farmers use less harmful methods to rid their fields of weeds. Mulch, hand weeding, and tilling are organic ways to keep weeds at bay.

    Conservation Methods

    • Organic farmers work to conserve the environment in which their crops grow. They rotate their crops to avoid depleting the soil, gather rainwater to provide irrigation, and reduce pollution in their farming techniques. Non-organic farmers put less emphasis on the environment and more emphasis on the bottom line.

    At Optimum Health Institute, we serve only 100% certified organic foods.  To learn more about our holistic healing programs in San Diego and Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute online or call us today at (800) 588-0809.

  • Meet Dr. Lance Carroll, Optimum Health Enterprises’ Holistic Medical Practitioner

     

    Optimum Health Enterprises (OHE) is a third-party vendor who offers colon hydrotherapy services at OHI San Diego and OHI Austin. In Texas, prescriptions are required to receive a colonic, therefore OHE provides practice management for a licensed medical doctor, Dr. Lance Carroll, to supervise colonic services at OHI Austin.

     Get to know Dr. Lance Carroll with our quick Q&A…

    Q. Give our guests a little background on yourself.

    A. I grew up in New Mexico. In college, I studied the medicine of Native Americans and Eastern thought.  I got my undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University.  I was a research assistant at Harvard Medical School, where we studied circadian rhythms in astronauts on night shuttle launches in conjunction with NASA.  I received my medical degree from Loyola University of Chicago/Stritch School of Medicine.  As part of my medical education, I studied infectious disease, surgery and obstetrics at The University of Cartagena School of Medicine, Cartagena, Colombia.  I did my Residency in Austin, TX, where I was Chief Resident.  I currently practice Family Medicine with an emphasis in psychiatry and internal medicine.  For my private clients, I provide a holistic medical approach to their conditions, with the focus on functional medicine or Ayurvedic medicine.  Part of Ayurvedic medicine is to cleanse the body, and to restore balance to the body, mind, and spirit.  I also practice medicine in several specialized facilities.  I work as a consultant at the Shalom Center, a center for those of faith from all over the world.  In addition, I work in hospitals and treatment centers for those with moderate to severe mental illness and addiction issues.

     

    Q. Why did you join Optimum Health Enterprises (OHE)?

    A. I met Rev Russell Nees in 1998 at a rotary club meeting in Smithville, TX. He shared his vision of health with me, and we spoke at length about melding our fields.  From my first visit to OHI, I was immediately taken with the place.  I feel it’s the missing piece of the medical puzzle to long-lasting good health.  Russell and I went on to become great friends.  I was asked to join the staff of OHE to oversee the colon hydrotherapy department at OHI Austin.  I’ve been there for over 15 years.  Many on the staff at OHI Austin have been working together for decades, so we are truly a family.  Each week, the guests that come through those doors become part of our family.  It’s quite a remarkable place to work.

     

    Q. What’s changed at OHI Austin since you first joined the staff in 2005?

    A. The only thing that’s changed is they now have Wi-Fi. (laughs)  Seriously, when a program is this remarkable, you shouldn’t change a thing.  People come to OHI Austin for a variety of reasons, and many of them have health opportunities they want to focus on.  Our team always puts the guest’s safety first, so we assess a guest’s health to see if they are a good candidate for colon hydrotherapy.  Overall, guests come to OHI Austin looking for healing.  Once they experience the program, they keep coming back…and coming back…and coming back.  It is literally a transformative experience for those that choose to embrace the program.  How can you argue with a complete body/mind/spirit transformation?

     

    Q. How do you interact with OHI guests?

    A. Guests at the Austin campus who are interested in receiving colon hydrotherapy start with the initial screening, and then I meet with them to learn more about their goals for their time at OHI. I want to assess whether our colon hydrotherapy services will add real value to their experience.  At OHI, the focus is on the body/mind/spirit connection, and in my opinion colon hydrotherapy is a way for some to reconnect with their own body.  Contraindications include conditions that affect the kidneys, gastrointestinal, cardiac, and brain.  Those who are underweight, have an eating disorder, or dementia are not candidates for colon hydrotherapy.  It is my goal to always ensure colonics are given in a healthy and safe manner.

     

    Q. What does colon hydrotherapy do for the body?

    A. Colon hydrotherapy assists in hydrating the body.

     

    Q. Any final thoughts as you join the OHI team?

    A. The body/mind/spirit detox at OHI is the transformational experience of a lifetime. Words don’t do it justice.  Commit to the 3-week program, and you will truly understand.  It is a great way for individuals to reconnect with themselves, and enrich the lives of the people around them.

     

    Thank you for all you do, Dr. Carroll.  We are so grateful to have you as a long-time member of our staff.

    Although colon hydrotherapy services are not required or an essential part of our holistic healing program, they are readily available to you if you choose to add them and enhance your experience. These services are delivered by professionals on-site for your convenience and many of our patients find that they really heighten the benefits of the program. While colonic services are available daily, it is best to schedule appointments in advance, as sessions fill up quickly.

    Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Celebrate!!

    By definition, a celebration is the act of engaging in a happy activity that marks the pleasure of an important occasion.

    In other words, celebrations are joyful, happy events! They’re also one of our most natural impulses.

    Think about some of the things you’ve celebrated in your life.

    Perhaps you’ve celebrated a “first” — a baby’s first steps or the first day of school.  Perhaps you’ve celebrated a “milestone” — a high school graduation or a wedding anniversary.  Or, perhaps you’ve celebrated an “achievement” — earning a driver’s license or a spouse’s job promotion.

    In fact, you’ve probably celebrated all three types of occasions throughout your life.

    So if celebrations are joyous, happy occasions…why don’t we bring “celebration” into our daily life more regularly? Would there be any genuine benefit to celebrating EVERYTHING?

    Absolutely!  A celebration, no matter how small, is a formal invitation to take a break from the daily grind, and feel positive about the moment you’re in.  That positive thinking brings an immediate reduction in stress.  The scientific benefits of stress reduction are well-documented, and include improved cognitive performance, better physical health, and reduced burnout.  Research has shown that a positive attitude and a genuine feeling of gratitude can improve overall well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.  (1, 2)

    So how exactly do celebrations impact the brain?  When you feel happy, the parts of the brain that are activated are the ones responsible for personality expression, decision making, moderating social behavior, and abstract reasoning.  They “light up” with feelings of reward (the reward when stress is removed), interpersonal bonding, and positive social interactions.  The happiness you feel with celebration also causes an increase in important neurochemicals.  There is a surge of feel-good chemicals including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins.  Dopamine is your own personal motivation machine.  It is the secret to getting pumped and hitting goals.  Serotonin regulates mood.  Healthy levels of serotonin keep you feeling happy.  Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression.  Endorphins are the chemicals searing through your body when you finish a run, giving you the feeling of being on top of the world.  Dopamine can be triggered by reward, serotonin by community, and endorphins by laughter.  Celebrations are a medley of all three triggers, and all three neurotransmitters combined contribute to the feelings of closeness, connection, and happiness that come with celebrations large and small. (3,4)

    Research shows the brain changes with experience, so the more that daily celebrations are practiced, the more the brain learns to tune in to the positives in the world.  Humans have a negativity bias to notice threats in the environment.  That has kept human beings alive as a species but hasn’t done much to foster happiness.  Our brains will always notice dangers to keep us safe, but we also need to make sure our brains notice positive things to nurture our overall happiness and emotional well-being.  To do that, you need to teach your brain to notice positives and celebrate them. (4)

    Holding (focusing on) an experience for 20 seconds is long enough to create positive structural changes in the brain.  The “Three Good Things” practice, developed in a 2005

    study led by Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that those who spent 5-10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things to celebrate, large or small, and also reflecting on WHY they were worth celebrating, reported increased levels of happiness that persisted for six months.  This practice is effective because it not only helps you remember and appreciate moments worth celebrating, but it also helps you savor the moment and remember it more vividly later.  By reflecting on the sources of these celebratory moments, the idea is that you start to see a broader ecosystem of goodness around you rather than assuming that the universe is conspiring against you. (5)

    But daily celebrations don’t all have to be about what you accomplish.  A special moment to celebrate is when you take the time to give back.  Many studies have demonstrated that helping others kindles happiness, just as celebrations do.  When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were, according to a study in Social Science and Medicine.  Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteered monthly and 12% for people who volunteered every 2-4 weeks.  Among weekly volunteers, 16% felt “very happy,” and that happiness was long lasting. (6)

    Volunteering not only makes you feel happier, but also healthier.  Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety.  Working with animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.  Volunteering increases self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose and helps you stay physically healthy.  Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.  Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills.  Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease. (6)

    Being generous can also have the same healthy benefits as volunteering.  According to a 2010 study, it was found that the less money people gave away the higher their cortisol levels. (6)  Studies demonstrate elevated cortisol levels can impact the immune system, fertility, and bone health.  It can also lead to insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, abdominal weight gain, and loss of verbal declarative memory (words, names, and numbers).  (7)

    “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” said Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.  Lyubomirsky, who has studied happiness for over 20 years, found that performing positive acts once a week led to the most happiness.  (8)

    So to come full circle on the topic of celebrations, should you incorporate daily celebrations into your life?  Unequivocally!  Anything that lowers our stress levels, triggers endorphins, and teaches our brain to notice the positives in life is worth the effort.  Should you work volunteering into your schedule?  Sure!  It’s a win-win when you can feel happier and healthier while your community benefits from your generosity.  And if volunteering isn’t an easy fit into your life right now, would performing a few random acts of kindness or donating money to a worthy cause make a difference?  Completely!  So pass it on, and celebrate the good in the world every day!

    At the Optimum Health Institute, program attendees will experience many firsts, milestones, and moments of achievement throughout their time with us. Along the way, we’ll celebrate these accomplishments as part of our daily wellness routine. Come to learn more about why it’s important to incorporate daily celebrations into your everyday life while experiencing the holistic healing program at either our San Diego or Austin campus. Call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.


    (1)  Duckworth, Steen, & Seligman, 2005;  Watkins, Cruz, Holben, & Kilts, 2008;   Watkins, Uhder, & Pinchinevskiy, 2014;  Wood, Joseph, & Maltby, 2009
    (2)  Brightening the Mind:  The Impact of Practicing Gratitude on Focus and Resilience in Learning, by Jane Taylor Wilson, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching ad Learning, Vol. 16, No. 4, August 2016, pp. 1-13. Doi: 10.14434/josotl.vl6i4.19998
    (3) Michael Hyatt magazine, michaelhyatt.com, “The Science of Celebration — 5 Reasons Organizations Should Do It More Often,” by Erin Wildermuth
    (4)  Hey Sigmund, heysigmund.com, “The Science of Gratitude — How it Changes People, Relationships (and Brains!) and How to Make it Work For You,” posted by Karen Young
    (5)  Greater Good Magazine, greatergood.berkeley.edu, “Four Great Gratitude Strategies” by Juliana Breines, Ph.D., June 30, 2015
    (6) HelpingGuide.org, “Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits — How Giving to Others Makes You Healthier and Happier”
    (7)  Diagnose-me.com, “Elevated Cortisol Levels”
    (8)  Goodnet.org, “7 Scientific Facts About the Benefit of Doing Good”

  • Be Thankful for the Good Things

    The Greek philosopher Plato once said: “ A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.”   By being thankful for the good things you have, you’ll automatically attract more good things into your life.

    Gratitude isn’t just a warm feeling – it’s considered the parent of all the spiritual virtues in Judeo-Christian tradition.  Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are filled with verses encouraging the faithful to have grateful hearts, and express gratitude for their many blessings.

    It’s also a key component of Native American spirituality.  When the Wampanoag Indians at the First Thanksgiving presented the pilgrims with cornucopias of vegetables, they were illustrating the Law of Gratitude.  They believed when people on earth thanked the Great Spirit for their blessings, even before those blessings materialized, they were creating the sacred space for those blessings to come to them.  The pointed tip of the woven cornucopia represented the place where the Great Spirit dwelled.  By expressing their gratitude to their Creator, the Indians felt they created an energetic cone that extended from the Great Spirit down to them on Earth, and showered them with abundance, as evidenced by the “horn of plenty” brimming with food.

    Gratitude does more than nurture the spirit – it has mental, emotional, and even physical benefits.

    Scientific studies have shown that grateful people are happier and more satisfied in both their personal and professional lives, have more positive relationships, and are quicker to forgive.  They’re less stressed, jealous, depressed, and anxious, and more likely to “not sweat the little things.”

    Those who choose to feel and express gratitude in general experience greater psychological well-being over those who focus on the negative.  This gives grateful people better ways of coping with challenges, and more ability to learn and grow from these experiences.  They tend to have more self-respect and a greater sense of purpose in their lives, which fosters a more positive attitude.

    The body also benefits from a conscious attitude of gratitude.  Those who are more optimistic and grateful experience fewer sleep disorders, better immune function and even a healthier heart rate – all measurable side benefits of thankfulness.

    If you want to turn your life into a happier, healthier, more loving adventure, try this trick. Every night before bed, A quick, daily exercise guaranteed to help you turn your life into a happier, healthier, more loving adventure is to think of the three most wonderful things that happened to you that day.

    That’s it.

    When you lock in even a few minutes each night to review the best moments of your day, you automatically begin to cultivate a constant “attitude of gratitude.”  Instead of waking up thinking, “What can go wrong today?” you’re already focusing on what’s going to go right. It’s the positive things you’re consciously choosing to dwell on and remember – in fact, you’ll be actively looking for them for the next 12+ hours.  Sure, other more challenging things will happen in the day, but those won’t be the moments you’ll keep churning around in your mind.  Instead, you’ll be anticipating, and then experiencing, a steady flow of things to feel grateful about – day after happy day.

    Prove it to yourself, and tonight, review the three things for which you felt the most gratitude today. You’ll probably immediately experience a deeper, more restful sleep tonight, and eagerly start your day tomorrow on the lookout for still more positive things to reflect on tomorrow night.

    It’s just another way to confirm that when your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, visit  Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, TX. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Unplugging for a Weekend

    What if I told you there was something you do every day that can have a serious impact on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being? It can lead to issues like eyestrain, poor sleep, and difficulty concentrating on tasks. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.

    What if I also told you there was a cure…and it was free? You’d want to know what to do, wouldn’t you?

    The issue is technology overload. The cure is simply unplugging.

    As simple as that sounds, for most people, literally going off the grid for a weekend by turning off electronic devices and focusing on real people and nature seems like too big a challenge to tackle.  But here’s why you should.

    Stop unhealthy conditioning!   Pavlov used a bell – your cell phone uses a notification tone or vibration.  Both, however, cause the same response.  You’ve conditioned yourself to stop focusing on whatever you were doing and jump to answer the text or a call.  Pure and simple, you’re constantly interrupting your life for the instant gratification of being acknowledged by someone – even when that someone could just be a mass-distributed ad from your grocery store.

    You’ll be more focused and mindful. Despite the apparent panache of being able to “multitask,” technically, you can’t.  The human brain cannot process more than a single thing at a time, according to a study at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.  When you’re talking on your cell phone while you’re driving, or chopping onions, or finishing a report, you’re not doing either activity as well as you could.

    You’ll sleep more deeply and peacefully.  Dr. Andrew Weil, founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, refers to the importance of “sleep hygiene.”  Doing a sweep of the bedroom to get rid of electronic devices, from TVs to cell phones to iPads, will effectively “clean” the room of artificial and LED lights that interfere with the quality of your sleep.  Watching TV or checking the internet before you try to fall asleep causes your brain to fire off an arsenal of electrical activity and triggers the body’s cortisol production for a “fight or flight” response to stimulus.  Artificial light from screens can also suppress the release of melatonin, which helps us get deep, restorative sleep.

    You’ll improve your social skills. Despite the fact we have more access to information than ever before, we can be woefully unprepared to carry on a pleasant conversation, in person, with an actual person.  The late Dr. Candace Pert, an American neuroscientist who discovered the opiate receptor and medically proved the concept of “chakras,” reported that people are hard-wired for human companionship.  We can’t substitute cyber connections for essential face-to-face interactions.  Mindfully sharing space and spending time with one, several or many others nourishes our emotions, mind, and spirit in a way a technological link-up never will.

    You’ll feel more grounded.  The relatively new science of Green Therapy has proven that spending even a few minutes outside daily will reduce symptoms of ADHD, stress, and depression.  Hospital patients with just a glimpse of a tree outside their window need less pain medication, heal more quickly, and are discharged earlier than those without a visual connection to nature.  Imagine the sense of well-being and groundedness you could achieve with a weekend of digging your toes in the grass or sand!

    You’ll rediscover yourself.  Without any technological distractions for an entire weekend, you’ll have the opportunity to plug back into the magnificent being that is YOU.  Listen to the music you love.  Get together with friends and family you haven’t seen for a while.  Read that book you’ve been hearing about.  Watch a sunrise or sunset from the porch, or the beach, or the mountaintop. Meditate, and feel your heart and soul expand as you journey inward.

    Do a complete “technological cleanse’ at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health, and give you practical tips to use when you get back home. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Missionary Spotlight: Get to Know OHI Missionary, Jane Jones

    Jane Jones is matriarch to a BIG family.  “I’m a mom of three grown children, seven adult step-children, twenty grandkids, three dogs, and six chickens,” said Jane.  “We moved a lot for my husband’s job as an insurance executive, so I’ve lived on both coasts, in the Rocky Mountains, in the Midwest, and in London.  I received a culinary degree from le Cordon Bleu, I’m certified in sports therapy, and I am currently finishing a sociology degree.  I am an empty nester for the first time since I was 21 years old!”

    Jane has visited the San Diego campus eight times over the course of her life.  “My acupuncturist told me about OHI twenty years ago,” said Jane.  “The first time I visited, I only stayed a week because my kids were young.  I thought I was there to lose a bit of baby weight, but after a few days I felt so happy and peaceful I realized I was really there for my spiritual and emotional well-being.  Each time I stay I discover something new about myself as a flawed human committed to improvement.”

    It took almost two decades before Jane felt ready to be part of OHI’s missionary program.  “I had always been interested in the missionary program,” said Jane, “but the 3-month stay didn’t work with managing a large family.  I booked a two-week stay a year ago after being diagnosed with Lyme disease.  I met Tamara, who was serving as a missionary at the time.  She also had young adult children, and I talked with her about the worries I had about being away from my kids for three months.  The next day, Tamara found me and said, ‘I’ve been thinking about our conversation, and I want you to know that one of the reasons I decided to become a missionary was for my children.  I need them to know that it’s okay to put your health and well-being first.’  That really struck a chord with me.  If I wasn’t at my best, I couldn’t give my family my best.  OHI is a place where I am not someone’s mom or wife.  I am just me.  I get time to reconnect with myself.”

    During Jane’s time as a missionary, she balanced working with guests with some intensive work on herself.  “I really wanted to work on overcoming some personal flaws,” said Jane.  “I spent time reading books by experts, and praying for guidance.  What I came away with is self-compassion.  I’m not always going to get it right in life, but I am doing my best.  Forgiving myself and self-love are the most profound spiritual exercises in my life now.  Also, my missionary buddies love me, and helped me to see the good in myself.  For that, I will always be grateful.”

    When Jane was a guest, she made it a point to go to as many classes as possible.  As a missionary, she encouraged all guests to do the same.  “I have two ‘favorite classes’ at OHI,” said Jane.  “I love the Vocal Toning class.  Sometimes I have so much energy after the class I feel like I could levitate!  I also love the Focus class.  I’m not a naturally organized person, and this class really gives you tools for living successfully.”

    Whether she’s at home or at OHI, Jane makes her diet a priority.  “Our bodies hold our spirits” she said.  “When we feed our bodies nutrient dense foods, we feel better.  When I eat well, I’m more in tune spiritually.  I eat more raw food than I used to, and I eat out less.  A restaurant just can’t compare to what you can make at home with organic produce.  Also, I always have homegrown sprouts in the fridge.  They’re so easy to sprout yourself.”

    In addition to her food choices, Jane keeps her daily celebrations simple yet meaningful.  “I meditate every morning,” she said.  “I read scriptures, and spend time in prayer.  I also have affirmations, and a positive mantra I repeat during stressful times.  I also spend time in nature as often as possible to help myself heal.  I’ve been mostly sedentary the last couple of years battling Lyme Disease and Epstein-Barr.  After my 3-month stay at OHI, I’m back to mountaineering.  This week I climbed two 14,000ft peaks in Colorado.  I am amazed at how well I’m doing!”

    While serving as a missionary, Jane shared a simple piece of advice with guests.  “Make time for quiet daily,” she said.  “The world is so noisy, and we often buy into the rush — that somehow our lives have more meaning if our days are overflowing with tasks.  Time in meditation and prayer opens our hearts to inspiration.  If there’s too much noise in our lives, we can’t hear the quiet whisperings that are there to guide us.”

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.