Thanks for the Happiness!

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Here’s a quick little daily exercise guaranteed to help you turn your life into a happier, healthier, more loving adventure.  Every night before you fall asleep, 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 course of 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.

The Greek philosopher Plato summed it up beautifully: “ 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 actually illustrating the Law of Gratitude.  They believed when people on earth thanked 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 Great Spirit dwelled.  By expressing their gratitude to their Creator, the Indians felt they created an energetic cone that extended from 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 grown 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.

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  (link to www.optimumhealth.org ) in San Diego or Austin, TX. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

 

Getting the Poisons Out of Your Personal Care Products

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Here’s a quick exercise to prove why you need to pay attention to the things you put on your body.  Take a clove of garlic, cut it in half, and rub the cut side against the bottom of your bare foot for about four seconds.  Within 10 minutes, you will literally taste garlic in your mouth.  Think of it this way – anything you put on your skin should be something safe to eat.

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t quite see it that way. Under FDA regulations enacted back in the 1930s, unless a product contains artificial coloring, cosmetic companies have no legal requirement to either test their products for safety, or even disclose all ingredients on their labels.  Even if something in a product is found to be harmful, product recalls are strictly voluntary.  That means many of the creams, soaps, toothpastes, shampoos, cosmetics and other personal care products on store shelves contain toxic chemicals.

In an effort to help you make educated choices when you’re buying personal care products, Optimum Health Institute (OHI) has created a list of some of the most commonly used synthetic chemicals to avoid:

Triclosan is an antibacterial, antifungal chemical first used in hospitals as a surgical scrub in the early 1970s.  This pesticide is now found in a wide range of consumer products including soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, cleansing lotions, toothpaste, plastics, and fabrics. It has been linked to skin irritation, liver toxicity and thyroid disruption. Triclosan is not effectively filtered out during wastewater treatment, and is being identified as a growing danger to the ecosystem in our lakes and rivers.

Phthalates are used as a plasticizer in some nail care products, and are also widely used as fixatives to hold fragrance. They are linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicants. This chemical is already banned in Europe.

Formaldehyde is a carcinogen released by a number of cosmetic preservatives used in nail treatment, hair color and hair bleaching products.  Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15.

Lead acetate is used in hair dyes . It is a known human reproductive and respiratory toxicant, a neurotoxin and a possible carcinogen.

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is used as a fragrance ingredient to mask undesirable odors. Besides bring a possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor, it is also harmful to fish and other wildlife when it leeches into the lakes and rivers.

Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate is used as a foaming agent and is a possible carcinogen.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) are also foaming agents, and can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin. DEA and TEA are toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time, ?and are associated with cancer in lab animals.

Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl) are antibacterial and antifungal, and are widely used as preservatives in personal care products. They are suspected endocrine disrupters that may hurt male reproductive functions. They can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes, and have been found in human breast cancer tumors,

When your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program to help you learn what to put on your body, and in it, visit Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

An Invitation to Experience OHI Austin

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OHI Austin offers an island of peace

Your OHI Austin experience will provide a safe and sacred place where you can escape your busy world and embrace peace and serenity. Leisurely strolls along our 1.5-mile, beautifully landscaped pathways invite you to meditate and center yourself. Concerns and stress will float away in our tranquil outdoor pool. The massaging flow of our hot tub will relax you while the warm water calms and helps restore your body, mind, and spirit.

Feel yourself winding down as the sun sets

As the daylight grows dim, you can spend alone-time or community in our inviting and inspiring Great Hall. You’ll dine on delicious fresh certified-organic raw food meals poolside or in our cozy dining room. At day’s end, you can retreat to your comfortable room to journal, read, meditate or sleep. OHI Austin is restorative, restful and life changing.

Expand your stay and explore Austin the city upcoming events

Before or after your OHI experience, consider extending your stay in the Austin area. Austin has long been famous for its music festivals, and now for its events of all kinds.

Our OHI Austin staff is looking forward to meeting you and sharing with you the OHI holistic healing program with Texas hospitality. For more information visit our website then call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Laughter Therapy is no Joking Matter

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“Quotes found on the internet are not always accurate.”

                                             -Abraham Lincoln

Are you laughing at that?  Great!  You’re literally doing your body good.

An Optimum Health Institute (OHI) guest shared the story of how, when she was stricken with a brain aneurysm, despite her pain she was able to joke with her neurologist that she knew “It was all in her head.”  He later told her he was positive that the only reason she survived was because of her bizarre sense of humor.  By being able to laugh in the face of a life-threatening event, she could maintain a healthy balance in her body, mind and spirit, making her surgery and complete recovery come off without a hitch.

It’s a medically proven fact – laughter really is the best medicine.  A good laugh loosens up the whole body, relieving physical tension and stress and leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.  It effectively massages the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, lungs and even the liver.

It boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.  Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. That can mean less pain, and quicker healing times.

Laughter protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow.  It’s not just a great tonic for individuals — laughter brings groups together in a positive, fun way, resolving conflicts and energizing everyone while establishing a strong connection.  It’s the quickest way to bring your body, mind and spirit into healthy balance.

While documented evidence of using laughter to heal goes all the way back to the 13th century, in contemporary times, former Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins is credited with bringing the concept into mainstream consciousness.  According to the story, Mr. Cousins cured himself of a progressive illness with a self-invented regimen of laughter and vitamins.  His writings on the topic sparked interest in laughter therapy, and the funny idea took off.

The power of laughter to heal is now so respected that Laughter Yoga classes are gaining in popularity, and hospitals across the nation are incorporating both formal and informal laughter therapy into their therapeutic regimes.  Even the pentagon is using it to help military families, training “laugh leaders” to help families use laughter as a stress releaser. 

A funny thing about laughter therapy — the brain can’t tell if we’re laughing for real or using “forced laughter,” where we intentionally start to make “ha-ha-ha” sounds and gradually turn up the intensity.  Whether we just watched a YouTube video of a cat chasing a bear up a tree, or we’re “faking” our laughter, our body immediately starts to squirt out the good chemicals that calm us down, lower that blood pressure, relax our muscles and all the other positive benefits a great belly laugh delivers.

When you regularly camp out with some favorite movie comedies, challenge the kids to a squirt gun battle or just intentionally make yourself laugh, you’re wisely including some very healing “funny business” in your life. 

Keeping your body, mind, and spirit in alignment is important for achieving good health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, and a lot of good laughs, visit Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

How to Pray – no Religion Required!

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While you read this, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and feel the oxygen circulating into your lungs and throughout your body.  Now recall a recent moment you enjoyed with your family or close friends.  Feel the warmth of their companionship; perhaps the unexpected joy of sudden laughter, maybe a hug or a caring glance.  Finally, feel heart-centered gratitude for this happy memory.

Congratulations.  You just prayed.

If you ever silently asked for help during a challenge, or were overwhelmed at the beauty of a sunset, those count as prayers, too.  Even just saying “good bye” is from the old English blessing and prayer, “God be with ye.”  All sincere, spontaneous appeals for help, expressions of gratitude or feelings of awe are, pure and simple, prayers.

Contrary to what many tend to believe, prayer doesn’t have to be religious in nature.  It doesn’t have to follow a strict formula, be done in the presence of others or even, technically, be directed specifically to God.  Rather, true prayer is the sincere desire of the heart – and all true prayers are answered.

A practice called “The Law of Attraction,” which gained global prominence in the movie “The Secret,” is a form of prayer.  It consists of mindfully focusing on what you intend to bring into your life.  Even though this concept is taught in Judeo-Christian scripture, Native American beliefs and other spiritual disciplines, it doesn’t require any religious belief to do it effectively.  It just requires holding a specific intent in your consciousness, and imagining it already coming into being.

To pray is to consciously connect with a power greater than yourself, however you choose to conceptualize that power.  There’s a spiritual duality to prayer, because even as you go outside of yourself to link up to God, or Spirit, or Divine Love, you are simultaneously going deeper into yourself.

The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) teaches classes in how to reach an Alpha state, where you can tap into your sub conscious, or God Consciousness, depending on your spiritual orientation.  In quantum physics, this state of being is called the unified or quantum field, where everything, and everyone, are interconnected.

When you pray, you automatically link into this higher Alpha state, and influence your state of mind, which then influences your “state of body.”  Your body obediently responds by releasing stress and depression, causing you to breathe more deeply, lowering your blood pressure and helping you digest and sleep in a more balanced, healthy way.

The more you consciously enter into this Alpha prayer state, with or without the religious trappings, the more you start to create new mental habits, and subsequent new behaviors.  Studies have actually shown positive physical changes that help prevent mental illness in the brains of people who have prayed for a long period of time.

No matter what your spiritual orientation is, when your body, mind, and spirit are aligned, you can achieve optimum health. If you are looking for a holistic healing program, visit Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health in 2013. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Soaking Away Tension and Stress

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Stress is a significant health problem for most adults, because stress is constantly building from the pressure of work, family, and other obligations. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time necessary to relieve this stress. There are both emotional and physical consequences of overloading oneself with stress, so it is important to learn to harness stress on a daily basis. Soaking in the bath is an excellent stress relief technique that you can utilize every day. It is important to start out your bath with dry brushing your skin.

History of the bathing ritual

Ancient civilizations of the east and west enjoyed baths because of their healing power and luxurious appeal. Bath houses existed in Rome, Japan, and Egypt, and these centers were extravagant structures where the rich and poor would gather to cleanse, socialize, and be entertained. Some bath houses were large enough to fit thousands of patrons, but they generally featured private rooms for more notable citizens. As societies continued to evolve, the bath became a fixture in the home, making baths a more private affair. However, there is still some semblance of ancient bath houses in today’s public saunas and hot tubs.

Physical and spiritual effects

Soaking in a bath heals in two ways. First, the warmth of the bath causes a physiological reaction in the body. The blood vessels dilate and increase circulation, which causes the muscles to relax. Deep tension can be released simply from a long soak in water just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As your body relaxes physically, the chemical dopamine is released in the brain to give you a sensation of euphoria and help you let go of the emotional stresses in your life, enhancing your path for spiritual contemplation and connection. 

Enhancing the healing power of your bath

You can unlock more healing power from your soak by adding aromatic salts and oils  that trigger various reactions to help you feel energized, sleepy, sensual, or deeply relaxed. Floral and herbal oils tend to promote more calm sensations while brighter scents such as citrus fruit and juniper berry will excite your senses and wake you up.
The OHI store carries a great selection of essential oils that are perfect for adding to your bath. You can order by calling the OHI store at (888) 643-7867.

Soaking is only one of the many ways to heal yourself holistically . If you are interested in other healing strategies you can discover them through the holistic healing program at Optimum Health Institute. You will learn alongside other guests how to quiet the mind, awaken the spirit, and cleanse the body with prayer, meditation, raw food dieting, detoxing the body and exercise. You can find more details about the OHI program or by calling (800) 993-4325.