Sometimes a hurt is so deep, so traumatic, that you can’t even talk about it. It can fester inside of you for decades as an open wound, causing you pain on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
Thankfully, research is proving that the pen can be a mighty weapon in healing that debilitating ache. Journaling about the reason for your hurt for 15-20 minutes a day, over four consecutive days, can help relieve stress and lessen the emotional charge of the incident, making way for serenity and peace. Multiple studies have shown that the practice, labeled “expressive writing,” has measurable results in providing benefits for the body, too.
By mindfully writing about specific traumas, or any deep emotional issues you have experienced, physical transformations can start to manifest. Your immune system receives a boost as your body increases production of T cells, which destroy infected or malignant cells; stress levels and blood pressure go down; asthma and arthritis symptoms are reduced, and liver function, mood and memory are improved.
Clinical studies show numerous longer-term physical benefits for the body, mind, emotions and spirit as well. Participants reported fewer doctor’s visits for illness, reduced depression, a greater feeling of well-being and shorter hospital stays. Journaling even seems to strengthen ties to one’s community by improving the way people interact with others.
Expressive writing is a key component of the Mental Detoxification class at the Optimum Health Institute retreats in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During the 21-day holistic healing program, guests are encouraged to resolve painful issues using an effective combination of meditation and journaling. After asking for Divine support and guidance, guests enter into a relaxed alpha state. From that space of mental clarity, they first journal about the negative experience from their own perspective. They write about the incident again from the opposite point of view. Finally, they record the experience a third time, now taking a neutral perspective. By examining past hurts in such a focused and mindful practice over the course of several days, true healing can begin.
During OHI’s 3-week holistic healing program, expect dramatic transformations in body, mind and spirit while detoxifying with a plant-based raw organic diet, taking classes like pain control, emotional detoxification and organic gardening, and sharing in spiritual fellowship with other God-centered people. Book your stay today, and ask about special promotions when you call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org .
Four Roadblocks to Your Happiness & How to Overcome Them
We’re now three weeks into the New Year. It’s time to reveal the one key resolution that, when kept, speeds you on your way to following through with every goal you set for yourself throughout 2018.
Be happy. That’s it. When you’re feeling positive and optimistic, you love and respect yourself. That self-love goes a long way towards making the best choices on your path towards optimum health in body, mind and spirit. It’s not just “feel-good” platitude. There’s concrete science to back up the transformative power of happiness.
Let’s break down four key roadblocks that can keep you from being, and staying, happier this year.
1) You’re feel guilty, or worried, or shamed.
The irony is, these non-beneficial thoughts trigger reward circuits in the brain. They also tend to stall you from taking positive steps forward. When any of these emotional saboteurs show up, shift into an attitude of gratitude. Feeling thankful for something boosts the same neurotransmitter dopamine that antidepressants do! An extra bonus – feeling grateful to your community of friends boosts activity in your brain’s social dopamine transmitters, making it even more pleasurable to spend time together. That makes EVERYONE happier!
2) You just feel “yucky.”
That’s OK. Acknowledge that feeling. In fact, the late neuroimmunologist Dr. Candace Pert called our emotions the link between our spiritual and physical bodies. If you DO try to deny your feelings, your limbic system can rebel, and give you all the physical symptoms of being out of balance – increased stress, rapid heart rate, flushed face – any of that. So, here’s the twist – instead of denying your emotions, label them. Annoyed? Bored? Impatient? Give those uncomfortable feelings a specific name. That simple process will activate your logical prefrontal cortex, tuning out the emotional amygdala reaction. We’re happy to hear that.
3) You can’t decide.
Take a deep breath. Focus on your intention. What’s your ultimate goal? Those simple tasks will reduce worry and anxiety by engaging that logical frontal cortex, so you can finally make that decision. Something to keep in mind – at Optimum Health Institute (OHI), in the classes preparing you to take the 21-day holistic healing program home, you learn the concept of “better than.” When you can’t stick with the program 100%, look at options that are “good enough.” The simple act of making a decision, even one that isn’t absolutely ideal, relieves stress, and lets you move closer to your goal. Moving past that state of limbo definitely makes you feel happier.
4) You feel lonely and rejected.
Those emotions mean it’s time to get back in touch. Literally. Our brains are hard-wired to need acceptance, validation and love from others, which includes physical touch. It’s part of our “tribe” mentality. In fact, feeling socially isolated or rejected can actually trigger physical pain impulses. Hugs are fantastic for bringing you back into a happier emotional state. If a hug doesn’t seem appropriate, even a handshake, or a quick pat on the back can produce a comforting feeling, causing less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – the pain and worrying circuits. Five hugs a day for four weeks is a big boost to your happiness. Don’t have someone to hug? Get a massage.
And finally – go less “virtual” and more “reality.” Spending time with loved ones, or at least talking with them on the phone, boost the happiness-carrying brain chemicals. Texting? Nope. No uptick in those cortisol and oxytocin levels at all.
Something else that will increase your happiness level is getting a special deal on an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Save on your consecutive 3-week or 2-week stay when you ask about January promotions. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
So we’re almost half-way through the first month of 2018. How are you doing with those resolutions? If your honest answer is, “Not so great,” here’s a suggestion. Instead of struggling to change a bad habit, try embracing some positive new ones. Scientific research has shown that’s a much easier and more practical way to go, and the odds are you’re very likely to succeed.
Here are more positive “Tips for Healing Transformation” to help you live an optimal life in body, mind and spirit in this New Year:
1. Surround yourself with happy, confident people who reflect your goals. When you desire to adopt a more plant-based lifestyle, for instance, but you spend every weekend with old friends who insist on going to the steak and ale house, it’s going to be nearly impossible to make a healthy change. Seek out friends who already reflect the positive new behaviors you’re striving to achieve in 2018.
2. Let go of things that are weighing you down to make space for different, more positive things to come into your life. This applies to everything; acquaintances who constantly demand that you participate in their dramas; clothes that haven’t fit for decades, limiting old ideas that keep you from going after your dreams. Let it go – and watch lots of good things show up for you.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be people who are smarter, richer, more attractive and so on. That’s great for them. But that has nothing to do with your unique gifts and perspective, and the special things that only you can bring to the world. There is NO other person like you! Embrace that, and watch your joy level soar.
4. Prioritize. Think about five things you really want to achieve. Whittle the list down to three that feel the most attainable and desirable. Now pick the one thing you’re ready to start working on TODAY.
5. Stay in the positive emotional state of already achieving what you desire to bring into your life. Enter into a deeply relaxed alpha state daily and imagine yourself already enjoying the optimally healthy and happy life you desire. Know you’re deserving of miracles. Staying emotionally receptive is an excellent way to set the miracles in motion.
6. Make your daily life less “virtual,” and more “reality.” Don’t text a friend to say ‘hi.’ Pick up the phone and call. Or better yet, lock in a specific time and place to get together, and leave your cell phone in the car! A virtual “Like” will never replace an actual hug. Being more present with family and friends is emotional tonic, and a sure way to feel better about yourself, and life in general.
7. Focus on Habits over resolutions. When we set up resolutions at the beginning of the year and focus on ‘not’ doing something we set ourselves up for failure. Instead take the time to build new habits in the New Year. Resolutions come and go, but habits help us become the individuals we strive to be!
The easiest, quickest way to surround yourself with positive, supportive people is to resolve to spend three weeks, or at least two, at an Optimum Health Institute mission in San Diego or Austin, Texas asap. Mention code “2018,” and save 10% on your consecutive 3-week stay in any best-available, single or double-occupancy room, or 5% off your entire 2-week stay. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
We’ve all probably started too many New Years resolving to vanquish all our bad habits. We’ve also probably ended too many Februarys frustrated to discover our aggressive agenda to change everything we don’t like about ourselves has already fallen by the wayside.
That long list of things we resolve to fix in our lives is pretty much doomed. There’s a wealth of scientific research showing the law of attraction is very real – what we dwell on tends to become our reality. When we start out the New Year focusing on all the things we dislike about ourselves, even though we want to change them, we are unwittingly actually reinforcing those undesirable behaviors. We’re beginning from a place of “deficit” – we already feel like we’ve lost.
Thankfully, simply by changing our focus from a deficit-based model to one embracing our strengths, we completely shift into a place of positive reinforcement and possibilities that can power us towards our goal.
Start with a radical new idea – actively loving yourself. Science has shown that every cell of our body has a separate consciousness, and too frequently the message we send to each of them is, “We are not enough.” Instead of being so self-critical, try this exercise – stand in front of a mirror, and make eye contact with yourself. Then, in a gentle voice, say, “I love you,” and add your name. Making this validating declaration will have an immediate positive impact. You will instantly feel energized, empowered and reconnected to yourself, and your spiritual path.
From this place of strength and self-love, think of one specific core value that truly defines you. Is it your compassion? A sense of responsibility? The way you are clear-minded in a crisis? Your spirituality, or your honesty? Go into meditation for guidance and clarity. The most important core value will hold a special resonance for you.
As you are doing this inner journey, after you determine that core value, go a step further and choose a way that you can show yourself more love and respect, incorporating that core value. For instance, if you are a deeply responsible person, try counting to 10 before you volunteer to take on yet another task. Give yourself a moment to reflect on how overextending yourself isn’t about self-love, but more a misplaced desire to gain approval and validation. If you don’t love and value yourself and your time first, no one else can ever do that for you.
When your goal and your action steps are in alignment with loving yourself, you are definitely approaching change from a place of power and sustainability.
Daily shifting into that place of self-love, and making a point of coming up with three things for which you’re grateful, definitely sets you up for success and optimum health and happiness.
Resolving to love yourself more, and stay in gratitude, works perfectly in conjunction with a revitalizing extended stay at OHI missions in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Start the New Year off right. Mention code “2018,” and save 10% on your consecutive 3-week stay in any best-available, single or double-occupancy room, or 5% off your entire 2-week stay. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.