• The Peaceful Beauty of the Alpha State

    During times when you’re feeling stressed, or you can’t seem to relax, or your mind won’t stop racing, do you ever wish you had the magical power to instantly feel peaceful?

    Actually, you do have that power.

    No matter how keyed up you may feel, peace and serenity are only a few breaths away. All you need to do is find a place where you can sit and close your eyes for a few moments. Take a long, slow, deep breath through your nose, and then release your breath slowly through your mouth. Repeat two more times, and you will feel measurably calmer.

    What you’ve just done is touched into the Alpha state, a meditative level of brainwave activity in which you automatically release stress and negative feelings. It is in the Alpha state when the body, mind, and spirit are gently brought into balance.

    We spend most of our waking moments at the Beta level, which is the opposite of Alpha. Whereas Alpha is a state of non-arousal, Beta is a state of hyper-arousal. It is in the Beta state when the brain solves problems, makes decisions, and keeps us engaged and attentive. We need that level of brain activity in order to be productive—but prolonged periods of time in the Beta state can be exhausting, physically and mentally. It can also lead to chronic stress and depression.

    By learning how to slow those brainwaves down, we can immediately shift into the more balanced and healing Alpha state. Rather than being alert, easily distracted, and focused on what we need to do next, we’re relaxed and fully mindful of the present. We feel peaceful as our body, mind, and spirit begin to effectively integrate. We become aware of all that is sacred to us, and are able to let go of what no longer serves us.

    You can switch from the more frenetic Beta state into the deep relaxation and receptivity of Alpha anytime you feel the need to do so. Simply practice the deep breathing exercises described earlier. You can also take it to the next level with mindful meditation. Sit straight with your feet flat on the floor, or sit in a cross-legged position. Gently rest your hands on your legs, palms up, and bring your thumb, index finger and middle fingers together. Close your eyes, and be mindful of your breathing.

    It can be helpful to silently repeat a word or phrase that has special meaning to you. “God is love,” “Shalom,” or “Om” are popular choices to get you into a peaceful state. Starting at your toes, imagine all the tension and stress of the day slowly flowing out of your feet and into the earth. Relaxation continues to wash over your body, taking you deeper and deeper into a place of complete contentment.

    As you bask in the peacefulness of Alpha, inspiration, creativity and sudden insights may float into your awareness. People often find solutions for issues they’ve been dealing with, or discover a completely new way to look at a situation.

    When you feel you’ve spent enough time basking in the Alpha state, you can gently bring yourself back into consciousness. It’s helpful to silently say a positive affirmation, like, “Every day in every way I am getting healthier and healthier, happier and happier.” Count from one to five, bringing yourself back into a state of refreshed alertness. One, feel the chair beneath you; two, three, wiggle your fingers and toes; four, you’re back in the room, and five, open your eyes. Take a moment to stretch and mentally review your experience. Do any images, thoughts, or insights stand out? If so, write them down.

    Once you’ve practiced mindful meditation a few times, and have seen for yourself the profound difference it can make in your state of mind, you’ll want to use your “magical power” over and over again. And the more you use that power, the more you’ll benefit from the Alpha state, and be able to return to it whenever you need calming.

    Experience a healing Alpha state in all the mind-body-spirit classes offered at the Optimum Health Institute holistic health missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 44 years of holistic healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement, and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty.

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Embracing Your Spiritual Awakening

    A new season beckons … and it’s a wonderful time to think about awakening the Spirit within.

    That is an essential part of our well-being, although we don’t always focus on it as we should. Especially today, when the world seems fraught with challenges that crowd our minds and threaten to steal our peace—but we needn’t let that happen. By purposely turning away from the challenges, we can see that a brand-new season offers renewed hope. And there is no better time to focus on our spiritual health.

    After all, when we feel turmoil, it’s often a sign that our souls are aching. By looking inward, we can experience the kind of healing that truly replenishes us—the kind that comes only from our Creator. In the Bible, the prophet Elijah heard God speaking to him in the form of a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). If we don’t make an effort to tune out life’s noise and listen for God’s voice, we could miss His quiet message to our hearts.

    But when we do make an effort to listen for God’s quiet message, it can bring an amazing, incomparable sense of calm and renewed purpose.

    Byron Katie experienced this sort of calm—but not until she reached the lowest point of her life. She was suffering from addictions and severe depression, and then, in a moment of striking clarity, Katie had what she calls her “spiritual epiphany.” Suddenly she knew that by letting go of the turmoil that had long consumed her, and focusing instead on positive, hopeful thoughts, she could change her life into one of joy, purpose, and love. That’s when she created “The Work,” a method of self-inquiry that helps people separate myth from truth and is based on four questions:

    1. 1. Is it true?
    2. 2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
    3. 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
    4. 4. Who would you be without the thought?

    From that day forward, Katie had a renewed purpose, and she dedicated her life to sharing her personal epiphany with others. She is convinced beyond any doubt that if she hadn’t confronted her own desperation, she would never have experienced the spiritual awakening that has transformed so many lives.

    We want you to experience your own spiritual awakening and be ready to face the new season with a renewed sense of purpose, hope, and joy.

    Take the first step by visiting our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and then call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation. Give yourself this precious gift of healing, and your life will be forever changed.

  • How To Encourage Your Kids to Eat Healthy

    We’ve all been there – you made a delicious, nutritious, and healthy dinner for our family only to have one or more of our kids turn their noses up at the meal you worked so hard to create. Don’t get discouraged! This article is meant to give you some good ideas on how to encourage your kids to embrace healthy eating.

    Try these tips when trying to encourage healthy eating habits:

    1. Provide Choices. Whether planning or preparing a meal, provide your child with choices. For instance, when preparing a snack give your child a choice between sliced apples, baby carrots, or celery with almond butter. This gives your little one the independence kids desire while keeping food choices in the healthy arena.

    2. Offer Hands-On Education. Take the kids to tour an organic farm. It’s one thing to see carrots, peeled and sealed in a plastic bag on the kitchen counter. It’s a completely different thing to stand in rich fertile earth and pull a carrot out of the ground. Or pluck blueberries from a bush and put as many in your pail as you put in your mouth. Or see how easily the vine releases a scarlet tomato when it’s ripe for the picking. Walking through the fields and groves of local farms will help kids feel a new respect for where their food comes from – and might even make them want to try their hand at growing something.

    3. Make Healthy Choices Easily Accessible: Knowing that the things that are most accessible are probably the first thing the kids will reach for, reserve the front of your refrigerator and cupboards for the healthy foods you want them to eat. A grove of broccoli “trees” standing in a bed of hummus; bite size celery pieces; grapes washed and off the vine and frozen; cherry tomatoes – when they’re prominently displayed and readily available, the kids will find the healthy foods first – and gobble them up.

    4. Get Kids in the Kitchen: If the only time your kids see their food is when it’s prepared and plated, they will continue to have a passive relationship with it. Instead, make it fun – and mandatory – that they actively participate in planning and creating healthy meals and snacks with activities that match their age and skill set. For very young kids, “Ants on a Log” is a great choice. You cut the celery and fill the stalk with almond butter, while they add the raisin “ants.” As they get older they’ll be able to use knives, a blender and other appliances with your direct supervision. The important thing is to let the kids have the hands-on experience of creating healthy, nutritious meals or snacks for family and friends.

    5. Be a Role Model: Children are easily influenced – especially by their parents. So, practice what you preach, and your little ones are more likely to follow.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven. As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how to achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Stay safe, and be well. Above all, embrace positivity!

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • The Art of Encouraging Others

    We all know that words matter! Encouragement touches the heart and shows people you care. Knowing how to encourage people is essential to being part of a team, family, group and community. It’s a way of recognizing someone who is doing their best.

    The most effective parents, teachers, leaders and companies know that spending more time validating and less time correcting yields more immediate and lasting positive results. While one-on-one feedback is motivating, publicly acknowledging a person’s contributions can be even more powerful. Praising a person in front of their peers boosts their self-confidence to new levels, and encourages them to continue to produce quality work.

    There are several methods of encouraging others:

    1. 1. First, remind them of how they’ve succeeded in the past. A teacher saying, “You did a great job on your last paper” as she’s making the new assignment is simultaneously boosting her students’ confidence and encouraging them to excel again.
    2. 2. When people are facing a particularly challenging situation, help them break it down into manageable steps. Congratulating them as they complete each part motivates them to continue, and helps them maintain a positive attitude as they forge ahead.
    3. 3. Never diminish the importance of another person’s feelings. Saying things that minimize their apprehension, like, “It’s just not that big a deal,” can make them feel angry, betrayed or panicky. Too frequently the cause of an employee getting discouraged is she or he feels they’re out of the loop, or don’t really understand what’s being required of them.
    4. 4. Listen to their concerns without judgment, and let them know you respect their input. Then, clarify the goals, and together, come up with a practical and realistic plan to make it work.

    Sometimes the most effective encouragement can be a little compassion and empathy. Whether it’s a teen trying to drum up the courage to ask his crush on a date, or a colleague who’s swamped with projects, just taking the time to listen sympathetically may be all they need to move ahead with renewed confidence.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how to achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.