• Catching the Holiday Spirit

    In the middle of holiday rush hour traffic at a busy intersection, an older model car-choked to a standstill. The license plate read “Disabled Vet,” and the elderly man behind the wheel looked panic-stricken. Meanwhile, people in the growing string of cars blocked from making the turn started to tap on their horns.

    A middle-aged woman got out of her car and hurried to the stalled vehicle to ask the man if he was OK. He was, but he was unable to restart the car so he could move it to the side of the road. She told him to release the brake, and she attempted to push it. Within seconds, a young man with dreadlocks halfway down his back jumped out of his car to help her, then a man in a business suit also came to push. The three of them were able to safely move the car out of traffic, and the woman stayed with the veteran until help arrived.

    While the entire event lasted fewer than five minutes, for the people involved, including those watching, it had a powerful impact. Each random act of kindness we perform boosts our immune system, and lowers our stress level. This surge of positive feel-good energy is so linked to doing kind deeds it even has an official name, “Helper’s High.” Studies have shown that the person performing the act of kindness can get even more benefit than the person being helped, similar to the way Ebenezer Scrooge was totally transformed when he started doing kind deeds for Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and other characters in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

    Studies also prove kindness is contagious. When people see others being compassionate, they’re hard-wired to do likewise.

    The holiday season presents special opportunities to start a chain-reaction of doing good for others. A few suggestions for this time of year include contributing to a Salvation Army bell ringer’s kettle; holding the door for a shopper loaded down with packages, or moving empty shopping carts deserted in the parking lot into designated collection areas.

    Other kind acts could become new holiday traditions:

    1. Host a party, and ask guests to bring a few cans of food to donate to the local food bank.
    2. When you buy a bag of food for your dog get two, and drop one off at the community animal shelter.
    3. Grab some friends to go caroling at an assisted care facility.
    4. Get your kids involved by having them pick out some of their gently used toys to donate to Goodwill.
    5. Smile at strangers and wish them “Happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas.”

    For more ideas, visit RandomActsofKindness.org, a non-profit global organization dedicated to encouraging compassion, and sharing inspirational stories of helping others.

    One random act of kindness that can literally transform someone’s life is donating to the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) Scholarship Fund. Find out more, and see how OHI can also assist you in achieving a healthy balance in body, mind and spirit during the holiday season, or anytime. Our caring team at our missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas, will share the tools to help you achieve and maintain optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Drawing Closer to God

    Although he was getting back on his feet, a recently homeless man still felt victimized by a life that was turning out radically different from what he had envisioned . His previous jobs in radio, newspapers and public relations, along with his marriage, all went up in smoke. Frustrated and directionless, he began writing a list of angry questions to God.

    Suddenly he heard a voice ask if he really wanted answers to those questions, or if he was just venting. The man spun around to see who spoke, but no one was there. At that point, he decided to start writing answers to his questions himself, from the perspective of God actually replying. The rest is history.

    That dramatic incident was the genesis of Neale Donald Walsch’s phenomenally successful book series, Conversations with God . His first book remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 135 weeks, and proved how people around the globe are hungry for a personal relationship to God, or divine source.

    It’s not enough to hear a religious leader talk about God – the heart yearns to feel that deep spiritual connection, without the interference of external influences.

    But how does one achieve that level of conscious integration with God? Spiritual disciplines straight from ancient scripture illuminate the way.

    Pray . Prayer is talking to God, and is the first step to making a divine link. Begin your prayer with three deep breaths to calm and center yourself, and gently put you in a highly sensitive and receptive Alpha state.

    Meditate . While prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening for the answer. From your prayer state of heightened awareness, go directly into meditation. As you attentively wait for God to connect with you, you will gradually come to realize that the deeper inside your heart you go, the closer you get to God. You are truly the temple wherein God dwells.

    Be thankful . It’s not just a spiritual concept; it’s science. When you express gratitude, your brain actually spurts out different chemicals – chemicals that positively impact your mood, pleasure centers, immune system, stress hormones, heart rhythm, blood pressure and even blood sugar. As your body comes into a happy balance, so will your mind, emotions and spirit. Feeling thankful fans the flame of God within you.

    Community . Read the Bible, and other spiritual material. Listen to classical music. Breathe in the beauty and majesty of nature. Appreciate fine art. So many things can uplift your spirit, and enhance your feeling of a personal connection to the divine.

    Get inspired . Nurture your spiritual community. By spending time with like-minded people on a similar spiritual path, you will reinforce your own and each other’s personal integration with God.

    Serve . By helping others, you are expressing God in action. You are making the world a happier, healthier, more loving place, and drawing closer to Him with each act of compassionate service.

    Strengthen your connection to God by taking optimum care of your body, mind and spirit. At Optimum Health Institute (OHI) missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Catch the Spirit of the Holidays at OHI

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Blessed Ramadan, Good Winter Solstice, and warm greetings to mark the spiritual celebration you honor this time of year.

    The holidays traditionally mean gathering with old friends, savoring favorite dishes, making plans for the New Year and feeling a deep sense of spiritual rejuvenation. For more and more people, they experience all of that, and more, by coming back to Optimum Health Institute during this magical season.

    Celebrating the holidays at OHI is becoming such a popular tradition that nearly 75% of the visitors during December and January are returning guests, observing the season of promise, joy and renewal by giving themselves the gift of optimum health.

    From the hundreds of thousands of tiny white lights woven through the landscape in San Diego and Austin, to the spectacular 12-foot-tall poinsettia tree in San Diego, and countless poinsettias tucked into flowerbeds, the magic of the season is everywhere at OHI.

    In the dining hall, lettuce celebrate the holidays with two savory new dressings to deck your greens and veggies in delicious style. Spicy Dijon Dressing and Parsley Herb Dressing will be on the menu, along with crunchy and nutrient-packed sprouted and dehydrated pumpkin seeds.

    Thanksgiving dinner at OHI is always the most delicious meal of the day – and for many guests, it’s the FIRST meal of their day! Thursday evening marks the end of the three-day juice fast, so taste buds are primed and ready for a healthy feast.

    Make OHI your new holiday tradition. Come celebrate with us, and let our supportive and loving community show you why detoxifying your body, quieting your mind and rejuvenating your spirit is the perfect way to celebrate the end of 2015, and welcome in 2016. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • A Letter to Your Younger Self

    Imagine if you could connect with your young self, and communicate the wisdom you’ve obtained from a few decades of living and learning . What would you say?

    When people across the country were invited to share what they would tell their younger selves in a letter, the responses were enthusiastic and immediate.

    “Having fun is important! Learn to spend time with and love your self!! Take time to travel before settling into a career if you can and take your time with big decisions in life; don’t let others pressure you,” said one entrepreneur.

    “Face the fear – but then do it anyway. Otherwise you’ll always regret that you didn’t at least try.” Those were the thoughts of a Seattle attorney and photographer who’s traveled the world, concentrating on Africa, for her work. Her photos have appeared in Oprah magazine and the New York Times.

    “Pay attention to your body, including your heart. Give yourself time to check your gut and make decisions accordingly. Above all, enjoy life,” advised a former hospital engineering technician who decided to follow his passion of energy healing.

    I’d tell me not to worry! Everything ALWAYS works out fine. I’d also tell me not to worry about what other people think or say. I’d tell me to live the life I’d enjoy instead of the one society wants to choose for me. And I’d tell me to travel! A lot! It’s better than having stuff!” Those words of wisdom came from an Emmy-winning producer currently living in New Orleans, and traveling frequently.

    “I would tell my 18 year-old self to never fear. Life’s short. There isn’t going to be a do over. So if you want to pursue your passion do it because there might not be a second chance. And if you fail? SO WHAT? Unless it’s a terminal cancer diagnosis, NOTHING is so important that you allow it to shatter you,” advised a South Carolinian.

    “I’d tell young me that if someone hurts you, you allowed them to. Their character is at fault but you gave them the opportunity to affect you. You teach people how to treat you. And if you lay the ground rules and they don’t get it, then they’re not worth your time trouble or feelings. Cut the cords. If you hurt someone, then apologize and own it. And move on,” said a Miami woman.

    Writing a to younger you is a wonderful opportunity to both heal and celebrate yourself, integrating all of who you are – the lightness, and the shadow. It acknowledges the spiritual growth you’ve experienced, and allows you to release old hurts and disappointments to make way for a new sense of balance and purpose.

    It can also help you reevaluate what values truly define you; what things that seemed so important to younger you turned out to be not worth pursuing after all? What new goals and aspirations guide you now, and definitely are worth your time and effort?

    Taking the time to prayerfully integrate your past, present and future selves through mindful reflection can truly enrich your life on so many levels.

    Learn how to integrate your body, mind and spirit to create optimal health for present and future you. At Optimum Health Institute (OHI) missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.