• Achieve Your Goals by Setting SMART Goals

    We are already into the third month of the New Year, and spring is just around the corner. This is an excellent time to reflect on your resolutions for 2021 and take an honest look at how you’re doing.

    Are you making progress toward your resolutions? Or are you feeling discouraged about what you haven’t accomplished versus celebrating what you have accomplished?

    If just about everything you resolved to do has fallen by the wayside, don’t lose heart! Remember that spring is the season of growth and renewal, making it the perfect time to tackle your goals—the right way.

    First, you need to feel a passionate connection to your objective. Pick a specific goal that’s in alignment with your values, and you’re much more likely to see it through.  Write down that goal: the act of putting it on paper, or keying it into your computer or smartphone, affirms and focuses your intention.

    The most effective goals are SMART:
    Specific
    Measurable
    Attainable
    Relevant
    Time Dimensioned

    If your goal is, “Get Healthier,” be very specific about what you want to achieve. Lock in specific action steps, like, “Get up 20 minutes earlier to meditate every morning,” and, “Exercise at least 30 minutes every day.” The more specific you are, the easier it will be to stay on track.

    By taking time to set measurable goals right from the start, you’ll be able to monitor your progress in real and tangible ways.

    A common tendency is to set completely unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve. For instance, if on a daily basis you love to sink your teeth into a giant burger, chances are your desire to “Go Vegetarian Starting Today” is not going to happen.  Instead, starting with one meatless day the first week, and gradually increasing the number of days every few weeks, gives you the opportunity to realistically and permanently change your behavior.

    So let’s say you’ve strategically set SMART goals, you wrote down specific action steps, and you’re starting to see results. It’s time to celebrate!

    While stopping to congratulate yourself on your progress might seem unnecessary or premature, it’s actually one of the best motivators. In her book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., shares her research on this topic. She proved that marking minor achievements is the most effective way to inspire people to continue on track for achieving other objectives, both large and small.

    Also, celebration is a spiritual discipline. Enjoying the fellowship of like-minded people, expressing gratitude for your achievements, and sharing the fruits of your labors enriches your spiritual connections to everyone and everything in your life, and to God.

    Learn how to set SMART goals for yourself by spending time with us at the Optimum Health Institute. Our caring, dedicated team can help you attain your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Brighten Your Mood with Light Therapy: The Importance of Sunlight during the Winter Months

    In OHI’s Elimination class, we talk about how sunlight is an essential ingredient for good health, and scientific studies have shown the effects of light on the body are more than just psychological. Sunlight prompts our physical systems to produce the hormones directly responsible for improving mood and creating a sense of well-being. Sunlight also helps our bodies produce vitamin D and maintain calcium in our bones, which in turn prevents our bones from becoming thin and brittle. Sunlight can have a major influence on how we feel and boost our productivity, literally giving us energy for life. We only need 10-15 minutes of sun exposure per day.

    And what about those who live in a climate that’s not consistently sunny? Or where gray cloudy skies block the sun during the fall and winter months? You may have felt sad or tired during the winter simply because there are fewer hours of daylight in the winter, and that lack of light is impacting your mood. Many people report succumbing to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter. SAD is a type of depression that occurs in the fall and winter when daylight is limited, and symptoms include sluggishness, sleep problems, change in diet, and even loss of mental acuity.

    SAD symptoms can decrease or be alleviated by getting enough sunlight. Light therapy lamps bring daylight indoors by emitting a bright white, full-spectrum light that safely mimics sunlight (without the harmful UV-rays).

    Light therapy (also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy) is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders, and other conditions. Light therapy improves mood and energy by triggering the release of serotonin. Light therapy improves sleep and focus by resetting your circadian rhythm to its natural state, and regulating melatonin.

    During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. To be effective, light from the light box must enter your eyes indirectly. You can’t get the same effect merely by exposing your skin to the light. While your eyes must be open, don’t look directly at the light box, because the bright light can damage your eyes.

    Light therapy is most effective when you invest the time consistently. Stick to your light therapy schedule, and don’t overdo it. Light therapy is a proper combination of light intensity, duration, and timing.

    1. Intensity: The intensity of the light box is recorded in lux, which is a measure of the amount of light you receive. For SAD, the typical recommendation is to use a 10,000-lux box at a distance of about 16”-24” from your face.

    2. Duration: With a 10,000-lux light box, light therapy typically involves daily sessions of about 20-30 minutes. A lower-intensity light box, such as 2,500-lux, may require longer sessions.

    3. Timing: For most people, light therapy is most effective when it’s done early in the morning.

    Light therapy is a clinically-proven treatment for SAD, but it might not completely cure Seasonal Affective Disorder. But consistent light therapy sessions will ease symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help improve your mood. Light therapy can start to ease symptoms within just a few days, or in some cases it can take two or more weeks to feel better.

    So the next time you’re feeling the “winter blues,” set up a light box and other Alpha techniques to help you improve your mood and achieve a calm, relaxed state – and let the sunshine in.

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you how to use light to help you heal. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Get to Know OHI Missionary, Barbara Hochmann

    Ten years ago Barbara Hochmann was surfing online, looking for ideas to lead a healthier life.  She wanted to find an approach to managing stress that she could rely on for the rest of her life.

    “I came across OHI online, and I immediately connected with their approach,” said Barbara.  “I stayed at OHI Austin for 3 weeks.  I was flabbergasted to realize how often I used food and cigarettes to numb myself from stress.  But the more I faced my emotions, the more negativity I released, and the more room I now had to embrace joy.  At the end of my 3-week stay, I was completely changed.  I had shed 20 pounds of inflammation and emotion.  My skin went from grey to rosy, and my eyes were clear.  I felt strong enough emotionally to commit to continuing the juicing and raw diet for the next 9 months at home.  OHI connections were always just a phone call away if I needed help.  The bottom line is I stuck to it because OHI’s program gave me a clear path forward.  I chose to LIVE, and now I can honestly say that life just keeps getting better every day.”

    Of course, it wasn’t just the diet that helped Barbara.  She immediately connected with the OHI curriculum as well.  “I was so energized by OHI’s classes,” said Barbara.  “I went to every class I could.  The information is delivered in a way that’s easy to absorb and utilize in every day life.”

    So when did the missionary program factor into Barbara’s life plan?  “I have come back to OHI for a week or two tune-up almost every year for the last 9 years,” said Barbara.  “OHI has truly given me back my life, so I decided I wanted to be an OHI missionary to pay it forward.  I applied to OHI San Diego just as the pandemic hit, and started my 3-month missionary placement in the middle of June.  I had huge expectations going into it, but I can honestly say this experience has far exceeded every expectation I could have ever had.  During my time as missionary, there were up to 30 guests on campus at a time.  It was a very intimate experience, full of vulnerability, connection, and depth.  I am so grateful for the unique experience.  I am certain my spiritual practice has deepened because of the small cohort size.  During my past annual visits, my focus was on my physical body and my intellectual mind.  But my extended 3-month stay as a missionary gave me time to focus on my spirituality.  My concentration has improved immensely, and my meditation practice is so much more rewarding for it.”

    While Barbara has experienced all of the OHI classes multiple times, she does have a few favorites.  “From a science perspective, the Elimination and Digestion classes are absolutely fascinating to me,” said Barbara.  “But on a personal level, I am constantly working to improve my communication so that what I share with the world accurately reflects who I want to be.  The Alpha Meditation and Communication classes are amazing.  I get something new out of each class every time I take them.  Now I know I’m worth all the time and effort I put in to healing myself which has lead me to a life that is so rewarding and fulfilling.”

    What is Barbara’s advice for others considering a stay at OHI?  “Don’t put off your life another minute,” said Barbara.  “After coming to OHI, I navigate life in an entirely different way.  I see everything from a new point of view.  Life is beautiful!”

    The OHI missionary program is a volunteer extension program for those who have graduated from the OHI holistic healing program and desire to continue on a spiritual path to heal themselves and others. As a missionary, you are able to immerse yourself in the healing process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage all who have a calling, passion, and commitment to serving others and who want to be in a community focused on healing to apply.
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • Boost Your Mood and Heal with Color

    Color can have a major influence on how we feel and how we react in different situations. Because colors can affect your mood, colors can consequently impact your health. We’ve all experienced this . . . colors that energize our bodies; colors that calm our minds; and colors that uplift our spirits. There is plenty of scientific research to back-up the notion that color can help boost our mood and help us heal.

    Color therapy, also known as Chromotherapy, uses the vibration of color and light to balance our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states. The cells in our body require light energy, and the vibration emitted by color and light transmit a certain type of energy to our body, which in turn impacts our mind and spirit. The principles and practices of color therapy date back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, India, Greece and China.

    How Chromotherapy Works

    According to research physicists, Azeemi and Raza, “Every creature is engulfed in light that affects its health conditions.” The authors claim the human body is composed of colors and therefore is responsive to colors. Each color emits a certain frequency of light energy. “Colors generate electrical impulses and magnetic currents or fields of energy that are prime activators of the biochemical and hormonal processes in the human body, the stimulants or sedatives necessary to balance the entire system and its organs.” In other words, the frequency of a color can energize and harmonize with the body’s organs and cells or conversely, it can disrupt bodily functions. Color frequency and light energy can either create dis-ease in the body or help us heal.

    Each color has a unique wavelength and oscillation (the duration of time between each wave). In Chromotherapy, the seven colors in the color spectrum (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red) correspond with the seven energy centers of the body. Each energy center is associated with a particular organ of the body and each organ of the body is associated with a color frequency. Therefore, the idea is to synch the organs with its associated color frequency to strike harmony and balance. If you’ve taken OHI’s Vocal Toning class, you may have experienced this first-hand.

    Color and Its Impact

    People use color therapy to help release anxiety, ease depression, and better connect with themselves through meditation. According to therapist, Wendy Galyen, “Each color has a different effect, so different colors are used for different mental conditions and mood problems.”

    At OHI, we use color in a variety of our classes: Alpha 1 & 2, Vision Boards & Rock Painting, and Vocal Toning.  For instance, in Alpha practice we might say, “Imagine a warm golden light surrounding you,” as we settle into our meditation. In Vision Boards & Rock Painting, we suggest using vibrant primary colors to draw attention to certain words and imagery. And in Vocal Toning, where we use our voices to create healing vibrations within the body, we also use color because colors have their own vibration – so, imagining a color while making the vowel sound enhances the healing power of the vibration.

    Here is a summary of the seven colors of the color spectrum, and their associated energy centers:

    So the next time you need a mood booster, open your mind to the possibilities of color therapy. Set your intention to allow soothing thoughts of colors calm your mind and relax your body, and put the healing power of color to work for you.

    “A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution,” by Samina T. Yousuf Azeemi and S. Moshin Raza, ncbi.nlm.hih.gov, December 2005

    “The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Color Therapy,” by Simone M. Scully, healthline.com, July 30, 2020

    “What is Color Therapy, What is it For, and is it Right for Me?”, medically reviewed by Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH, regain.us, December 3, 2020

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you how to use color to help you heal. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • Tanya Roman’s Journey to Wellness

    Scholarship Recipient Recovers from Cancer Surgery

    Tanya Roman remembers June 2012 well. It was when she was first diagnosed with cancer. Following surgery, she went through 6 weeks of chemotherapy, where she experienced hypersensitivities to the drugs.

    “It was the longest 6 weeks of my life,” sighed Tanya.

    Unfortunately, six years later the cancer returned. Tanya underwent the same chemotherapy treatments, and again experienced more drug hypersensitivities.

    “I felt strongly that my body wanted to heal,” said Tanya. “But after five days of being unable to eat, I felt lost. I remembered that a friend had told me about OHI as an alternative treatment for cancer. I called them, and they invited me to come in that very day. When I arrived, I found out the woman who greeted me had also been diagnosed with THE SAME cancer many years ago, and here she was looking vibrant and healthy. That immediately confirmed my belief in my body’s ability to heal itself.”

    OHI saw that Tanya’s situation was dire, and they gifted her a scholarship for a three-week stay. “The amazing thing was that within three days I felt like a completely different person,” she said.

    Tanya was on board with the raw food diet from the start. “The diet of organic raw food, the fasting, and the colonics seemed to be game changers to me,” Tanya said. “I could tell it was exactly what my body needed.”

    Tanya also felt invigorated by the classes. “I was so impressed by how the instructors would teach each person how to accomplish their goals for their best life. It wasn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. For me, I found meditation to be the key to enhancing the positivity of my thoughts.”

    Tanya choked up when asked about her OHI experience as a scholarship recipient. “Few things come along in life that offer true transformation,” she said. “OHI does just that. This scholarship gave me a life-altering experience, and I can’t thank them enough. They taught me spiritual positivity, and how to have an open spiritual relationship with the world around me. When life is too much, I know I can ask God for help.”

    Share the Love, Share the Feeling, Share the Gift of Healing

    Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI program. Over the course of our 44 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join with us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

    Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible One-Time Donation, or Sustainable Monthly Contribution.

    To all who have donated to the OHI Scholarship Fund – Thank you for your generosity!

    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • The Power of Optimism: Studies Show Optimists Live Longer

    Everyone is looking for the Fountain of Youth…and a new study shows it might just be as simple as maintaining an optimistic outlook!

    Research has identified many factors that can help decrease the likelihood of diseases and premature death — healthy diet, exercise, no smoking, limited alcohol, minimal stress, etc. However, much less is known about whether positive psychosocial factors can extend healthy aging. It seems like an obvious connection.

    If risk factors impact your health negatively, shouldn’t beneficial factors impact your health positively? Yes, they can! And science has shown the positive impact that optimism, gratitude, kindness, and generosity can have on your health. This article explores the science behind the power of optimism.

    A new study based on decades of research finds that having an optimistic outlook supports a longer life span. Preliminary findings indicate that optimism could boost our chances of living 85 years or more by over 50%.

    Researchers from Boston University’s School of Medicine, the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System, and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve “exceptional longevity” — that is, living to age 85 or older.

    Scientists combined data from two large, long-term studies: One study focused on 69,744 women and the other study focused on 1,429 men. Both groups completed survey questions to assess their feelings about the future as well as their level of optimism. Their overall health and

    habits were also detailed, controlling for variables in diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol use. The women were followed for 10 years, the men for 30 years.

    The study aggregating the data of both study groups was published on August 26, 2019, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    When individuals were compared based on their initial levels of optimism, the researchers found that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated, on average, an 11% – 15% longer life span, and had 50% -70% greater odds of reaching 85 years of age compared to the least optimistic groups. Scientists were able to show that the most optimistic women (top 25%) lived an average of 14.9% longer than their more pessimistic peers, and were 1.5 times more likely to reach 85 years old than the least optimistic women. For the men, the most optimistic of the bunch lived 10.9% longer than their peers, and were 1.7 times more likely to make it to 85 years old. The results were maintained after accounting for age, demographic factors such as educational attainment, chronic diseases, and depression, and health behaviors such as alcohol use, exercise, diet, and primary care visits.

    Despite the good news, it’s still unclear how exactly optimism helps people attain longer life. Researchers make the connection that more optimistic people tend to have healthier habits, such as being more likely to engage in exercise and less likely to smoke, which could extend life span.

    “While research has identified many risk factors for diseases and premature death, we know relatively less about positive psychosocial factors that can promote healthy aging,” explained corresponding author Lewina Lee, PhD, clinical research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston and assistant professor of psychiatry at BUSM. “This study has strong public health relevance because it suggests that optimism is one such psychosocial asset that has the potential to extend the human lifespan. Interestingly, optimism may be modifiable using relatively simple techniques or therapies,” says Lee.

    “Other research suggests that more optimistic people may be able to regulate emotions and behavior as well as bounce back from stressors and difficulties more effectively,” says study senior co-author Laura Kubzansky, PhD, MPH, Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and co-director, Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

    “Research on the reason why optimism matters so much remains to be done, but the link between optimism and health is becoming more evident,” said senior author Francine Grodstein, ScD, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of

    medicine at the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

    “Our study contributes to scientific knowledge on health assets that may protect against mortality risk and promote resilient aging. We hope that our findings will inspire further research on interventions to enhance positive health assets that may improve the public’s health with aging,” added Lee.

    So let’s take a step back and unpack exactly what constitutes optimism. For this study, “optimism” refers to a general expectation that good things will happen, or believing that the future will be favorable because we can control important outcomes. Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring life’s stressors, but rather when negative things happen, optimistic people are less likely to blame themselves and more likely to see the obstacle as temporary or even positive. They also believe they have control over their fate, and can create opportunities for good things to happen in the future.

    So if optimism contributes to longevity, how do we become optimists? Are you born that way, or can you train your brain to think in that way?

    Deepika Chopra, PsyD, is a visual imagery expert and a happiness researcher specializing in evidence-based manifestation and the science behind cultivating joy. He suggests three simple daily practices to increase your optimism:

    1. Move to your favorite music: Music and movement are significant ways to increase happiness and optimism. And it’s a great in-the-moment practice. Turn on some music that makes you happy and dance, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.

    2. Spend time in nature: Get outside for 20 minutes. That’s it. You don’t even have to be active. You can just sit down in the grass. Contact with nature increases positive mood, and we know that when our mood is improved, our brain also anticipates events more optimistically.

    3. Thank yourself: We’re getting so familiar with the idea of gratitude — it’s one of the most researched concepts in mindfulness. But people rarely express thanks for themselves in their gratitude journals. Celebrate your wins, even if they’re super small. Actually, the smaller the better. When we’re celebrating something we’ve achieved, we’re so much more likely to focus on what we want or what good things are up next than on what is not going well.

    Now, more than ever, in this New Abnormal World, we need to keep an optimistic outlook on life amidst constant change. There is a lot at stake these days, and the situation changes minute-to-minute. So how do we maintain optimism through 2021?

    At OHI we strongly believe in the three gifts of faith, hope, and love. That is why many of our classes focus on optimism. In particular, our mental detoxification class teaches you how to cancel, reframe, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones to facilitate the healing process. The goal is to develop a mindfulness practice for maintaining an optimistic attitude — gratitude, affirmations, visualization, journaling, and living in the present.

    We hope you’ll join us at one of our OHI campuses during 2021. Put the power of our community to work for you, and anchor your optimistic mindset. When you accentuate the positive, that sunny, optimistic outlook just might help you live an extra long and happy life!

    “Cheer Up! Optimists live longer” by David Shultz, ScienceMag.org, August 26, 2019

    “Optimists Live Longer” by Gina DiGravio, The Brink e-newsletter, Boston University, August 26, 2019

    “New evidence that optimists live longer”, ScienceDaily, www.ScienceDaily.com/releases, August 26, 2019.

    “New study shows optimists may live longer”, by Max Massey and Sarah Acosta, ksat.com, November 9, 2020

    “How to Think Like an Optimist,” by Deepika Chopra, PsyD, Goop.com

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you how to cultivate an optimism outlook to support your extra-long happy life. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Introducing Carla Boeck, Kitchen Manager at OHI San Diego!

    Carla has been interested in nutrition for as long as she can remember. Of course, she started out by researching the nutritional value of horse feed…

    “I worked as an assistant horse trainer for 5 years,” laughed Carla. “These horses were on the professional show circuit, so they received the best of care. But sometimes a horse would develop diabetes, or other serious health issues, so I started researching what was going into their horse feed. I knew nutrition had to be at the root of their problem.”

    Carla went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition from San Diego State University in 2014, and was looking for a job that would not only utilize her knowledge of nutrition, but also emphasize her values and her enthusiasm for helping people.

    “I started working at OHI in the spring of 2015,” said Carla, “and I’ve been here for almost 6 years, working my way up from food prep to kitchen manager. I chose to work here instead of in the food service industry because this job allows me to help people grow as human beings through food.”

    Carla is not only the kitchen manager at OHI, she also teaches several food-based classes, and oversees the greenhouse.

    “As kitchen manager, I want to make sure the guest experience is the best it can be,” said Carla. “My staff and I are always looking to make new recipes and utilize the foods that are in season as much as possible while maintaining the meal structure of the program. We are also working to increase the amount of farm-to-table produce we serve, making sure it is all certified organic from local farms. We also work to grow all of our own wheatgrass in our campus greenhouse, as well as a small amount of sprouts. To be honest, I’m still learning the fine points of growing sprouts. It’s HARD!”

    Carla really gets to know the guests well in all the food classes she teaches. “I teach Fermented Foods 1 & 2, Dehydrated Foods, and Menu Planning,” said Carla. “My favorite class to teach is Fermented Foods 1. Guests not only learn how to ferment foods, but I also introduce new

    concepts like how to make your own seed milk and how to spiralize vegetables. I want guests to leave the class feeling confident that they can easily do all of this at home.”

    Carla knows many people have a combative relationship with food, and they come to OHI to try to resolve some of those personal issues. “So many guests struggle with food, fear food, or are confused about food,” she said. “At OHI, we take the mystery out of food, and help you learn to use food to honor your body. And ‘honoring your body’ doesn’t mean you have to make big changes to your diet all at once. Progress can be made by just making changes to your thought direction on food choices.”

    So what has Carla learned about herself working at OHI? “I think I’ve learned patience,” said Carla. “Guests will often come to me with food questions, but what they really want to do is just talk. Sometimes just being heard and feeling validated is all that they really need to jumpstart the change within themselves.”

    Carla is so enthusiastic about each new cohort of guests that arrives. “My advice to new guests is to come with an open mind,” she said. “You have to trust that this program is going to work for you. No matter whether your goals are for physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual growth, this program will get you there. And I am honored to be a part of that growth.”

    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • Meet Eva Loseth, a “Frequent Flyer” at OHI!

    Eva Loseth is a true Chicagoan at heart, but she sure does love the warm embrace of the California sun. “I grew up in Chicago,” said Eva, “but after college I put down roots in California for 15 years. I love California’s sun, healthy produce, canyons, and their beautiful beaches. I’ve been happily back in Chicago for a decade now, but going back to OHI San Diego is a trip I always look forward to.”

    Eva is a “frequent flyer” at OHI, having been a guest at the San Diego campus approximately 10 times. “I first went to OHI in 2001 at the suggestion of a friend,” said Eva. “After all of this time, OHI has become a vital sanctuary to me. Each time I go back I discover a new perspective on something that helps build my toolset for healthy living.”

    Eva usually stays at OHI for 1 or 2 weeks at a time, but for her most recent stay she set aside a full 4 weeks. “My mother suffered a catastrophic stroke in August, and I spent eight nights in the ICU by her side,” said Eva. “I was holding her hand as she passed away, and the grief I felt was deeply profound. My heart was broken in a thousand pieces, and I knew I needed to process my grief in a loving, nurturing environment. As soon as I could safely get on a plane I went to OHI.”

    Eva’s daily OHI routine keeps her active while still giving her time alone to be reflective. “I like starting my day with the morning exercise class,” said Eva. “The movement gets me out of my head, and into a place where I can focus on the strength and resilience of my body. If my body stays strong, then I know my heart, mind, and spirit will follow. After exercise class, I attend the daily Breakfast Circle, which helps jumpstart my day with a thoughtful meditation.”

    Eva takes as many classes as she can whenever she visits OHI. “The You Validation class and the Mental Detox class are wonderful, especially for first-time guests,” said Eva. “It’s very important to learn how to cancel negative thinking. Attending the Release Ceremony is always so beautiful and moving for me. And the Eat, Pray, Live class has great ideas for jazzing up my food once I go home.”

    Eva thinks that no matter the reason for your visit, the success of your journey is dependent upon one thing. “When you come to OHI, come with an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to put in the work on yourself,” Eva said. “Every guest that walks through those doors has a different set of challenges and opportunities, but we all want to be the best of version of ourselves that we can be. So my advice is to spend your time at OHI focusing on the journey. Take the classes. Write in a gratitude journal. Eat the food. Go for a walk, and immerse yourself in nature. You will come out of your stay a different person. 2020 was the most difficult year of my life, and losing my beautiful dear mother is the greatest challenge I have yet to face. Taking the time to heal my heart is absolutely vital to my ongoing health, and I know my mom would want me to grieve in a way that leads me to grow as a human being.”

    “ I am so grateful that OHI is here as a meaningful, holistic refuge whenever I need it.”

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven. As we celebrate 44 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how 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, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Welcoming a New Year in a New Abnormal World

    Here is a warm and hearty New Year greeting to our OHI community. As we enter into the new year, we would typically be looking forward to a fresh new year with a bright new future. But instead, we find ourselves striving for a return to normalcy.

    Most of us will likely remember 2020 as the year Covid19 descended upon us and profoundly changed the way we live and relate to one another. Almost one year later, we are living in an era of anxiety, fear and a future marked by uncertainty. We are told this is the new normal, however, there is nothing normal about the world’s current state. Staying safe in this new world, requires heightened vigilance and sharp awareness as situations arise. It is in this context I want to address the concept of Situational Awareness. But first allow me to set the stage…

    “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” Judges 17:6

    I first learned about the book of Judges in my youth from my Sunday school instructor. The book of Judges, from the Old Testament, examined the human condition as it spiraled downward into moral corruption. This part of Jewish history spanned 325 years and was marked by a cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, then peace… only to repeat the cycle. With each cycle, Israel’s leadership (the Judges) grew more corrupt until Israel as a whole fell into self-destruction. The stories within the book of Judges, although deeply dark and disturbing, are meant as a cautionary tale and to generate hope. The descent into self-destruction occurred when the people of Israel turned away from God. And the stories effectively point out the need for God’s grace and for situational awareness.

    The characteristics of that period – turmoil, disunity, hardship – are similar to today’s conditions. So let’s explore the concept of Situational Awareness and how to apply it to our current time.

    What is Situational Awareness?

    Situational Awareness (SA) is about noticing anomalies and determining what is likely to happen next. If you see something that is odd or abnormal, that is when you want to start analyzing the setting and then deciding how to respond. Develop a habit of noticing peculiarities or deviations from the norm. Sometimes it’s just a feeling; oftentimes your subconscious will notice something – that is your intuition speaking to you – trust your gut.

    SA is considered an important aid to decision-making especially when it comes to protecting human life and property. Lack of SA can lead to accidents or in the case of health – illness. It is in the area of health that OHI can help.

    Using Situational Awareness in a Covid19 World

    When you must go out, it pays to be attentive to sanitation and hygiene. Are the facilities of companies that you visit mindful of the pandemic? Are they maintaining cleanliness? Are they monitoring staff and customers for compliance with health protective behavior such as mask-wearing and social distancing?

    Here at OHI, we use situational awareness to inform our decisions in providing our guests with a sanitary and healthy environment. More on this later, but we are so proud of this accomplishment that we are now saying that OHI is the safest place you can be outside of your own home.

    “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

    Today’s brave new abnormal has created a divergent paradigm in which we now have to live. It requires us to maintain an alert mindset because the Coronavirus, like the flu virus, could mutate and the vaccine will likely not be widely available until this Spring. The best defense is to be prepared for unexpected exposure to viruses, bacteria, and toxins. And the best way to do that is to practice self-care, to routinely work on improving and maintaining your health and well-being. Developing and boosting your immune system, taking vitamin D, washing your hands often, and wearing a mask in public settings are ways that can serve you in the event of an unexpected exposure. Here at OHI, we provide a complete program that focuses on wellness for the body, mind, and spirit. From diet to cleansing, you’ll learn self-care techniques that you can use for a lifetime.

    Our busy fast-paced lifestyle makes it challenging for us to find time for self-care, and this especially impacts women. Women have traditionally been caretakers, and as much as our modern world strives for equality, this hasn’t changed all that much; instead it has increased the demands on working women. This makes it challenging for women to find time for self-care.

    Self-Care is Vitally Important in The New Year

    When we have people relying on us – co-workers, customers, family, and friends – we can’t afford to get sick. All of which makes self-care essential.

    The English language is full of idioms that warn us not to overdo things: “You’re… biting off more than you can chew… spreading yourself too thin… burning a candle at both ends… running yourself into the ground… working like a dog… overtaxing yourself… pushing yourself too hard… working your fingers to the bone… wearing yourself out.”

    The risk of failing to take time for self-care is that you can become stressed, irritable, angry, frustrated, and depressed. In short you can burn out, and become sick. The remedy is to develop a routine of taking care of you. Self-care doesn’t just happen; you have to actively plan it into your day. You should schedule it, write it in your calendar, and announce it to your friends and family to insure your commitment. Reserve self-care time then guard it.

    A mistaken notion is that taking care of your self is selfish. It is not. Sometimes you simply have to say, “No.” You can’t satisfy everyone’s needs; you have to set limits. When you know how to take care of your needs, and do so, you are better prepared to take care of others. Remember: practicing self-care is practicing self love!

    Self-care enables you to perform at your best and become more productive. When you reduce your stress, you relax and feel good, which in turn improves your self-esteem and makes you resilient. When you develop awareness of your personal needs and meet them, you will become well rested and energized. Now you will have clarity and sense of purpose, as well as knowing what has to be accomplished.

    The Good News is Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Take a Lot of Time

    There are many ways in which we can give ourselves the self-care we need. Start with only those things that must be done today. Identify your top priorities, and then stop over committing yourself. Don’t get caught up in perfectionism, it is okay to take imperfect action. An easy method is to give yourself extra time in the morning, so you don’t start your day off rushed. Get up a smidge earlier for a little “me time”. Another great place to start is by identifying and addressing your basic needs; make sure they are being met before you start helping someone else. Like the flight attendant says, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” Take some time to feel your feelings; too often we try to ignore this important aspect of our emotional system.

    Getting organized is a big way to take care of yourself. De-clutter your space (home and office) and your time by eliminating stuff you don’t use and activities that waste your time (social media is an example). You might even consider making a Stop-Doing or NO list to help you remember.

    “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

    Here at OHI, we’ll show you many ways in which to practice self-care. You’ll learn about feeding yourself the right foods for good nutrition and health. Our Stretch and Alpha classes will show you how to focus, strengthen, relax, and gain clarity. You’ll find solitude where you can spend time in prayer, quieting your mind, contemplation, reflection, and practicing gratitude. You will also learn how to release the past and things that no longer serve you. Best of all, you’ll develop your own community of like-minded individuals with whom you’ll form a lifelong connection. Maintaining your OHI connections will provide you with a sounding board and support group of people who understand your particular self-care needs better than anyone else.

    At OHI Your Safety is Our Primary Interest

    As I mentioned above OHI is the safest place you can be outside of your own home. In essence, OHI has created a safety bubble for our community. We have taken every conceivable precaution to provide a safe and sacred environment. Back in March, we established a safety plan that follows CDC protocols and involves three major pillars: preventing infectious diseases from entering the OHI campus; sterilizing the campus, guest rooms, and public areas to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission; and conducting ongoing temperature checks and Covid-19 testing for our employees.

    Our safety measure include: 1) Pre-screening our guests at the time they book their reservation, before they arrive on our campus, and upon arrival to ensure they are symptom-free. 2) Covid-19 testing for our employees on a bi-weekly basis. 3) We installed special oxidizing Molekule air purifiers in all of our guest rooms and common areas. 4) We use electrostatic spray disinfection systems, and only safe, non-chemical cleaners. 5) We have smaller cohorts of guests on campus, including guests, staff and missionaries. OHI San Diego is limited to 60 program attendees on our 2-acre campus; OHI Austin is limited to 20 program attendees on our 14-acre campus.

    Additionally, we updated our guest rooms – we call them the OHI for Life Wellness Rooms. Our wellness rooms feature organic cotton bedding, and wood flooring instead of carpet. They are cleaned with natural products.

    We are open and optimistic about the future! You don’t have to wait for the pandemic to be over to visit us here at OHI. Come develop your personal self-care program for this new year.

    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

    At Optimum Health Institute, you will learn the value, benefits and tools for self-care so you can perform at your best and become more productive in 2021. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
    to make your reservation.

  • Set Your Vision for 2021

    The New Year is here, and it is a time for renewal. With this new year comes new possibilities, unknown opportunities, and exciting new prospects. It’s a fresh start with boundless potential. Which means it’s the perfect time to check in with ourselves, discover what we truly want out of life, and set a vision for the future. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

    What is a “vision” exactly?

    Much more than a set of goals, or a New Year’s resolution, a vision is an overarching and all-encompassing conceptualization of your ideal self and ideal life.

    Vision vs. Goals

    Vision – Your vision is like your mission statement. It’s a ‘big picture’ idea of how you want your life to look. Your vision could be greater health, more financial abundance, stronger relationships with your family and loved ones, or just more joy and love in general.

    Goals – It might help to think of goals as smaller, more easily digestible pieces of your overall vision. Goals are clearly defined targets that exist within your greater vision and guide you closer to your ideal life.

    For instance, if your vision includes improving your health, your first goal might be to lose 5lbs., quit smoking, or change your diet. If your vision includes greater wealth, you might set a goal to pay off that credit card debt, or start your own business. If your vision includes improving your relationships, your goals might include forgiving an old grievance, or simply communicating more with those you care about.

    How to Set Your Vision

    When people leave OHI, one of the most valuable things we want them to take away from their experience is a renewed and strengthened vision for their lives. This happens in a variety of different ways. Here are three steps you can take:

    1. Meditation – A cluttered mind is perhaps the primary obstacle to overcome when crafting a solid vision for yourself. Holding and sticking to your vision requires focus.

    That’s why meditation is such a crucial part of the OHI experience. Consistent meditation helps to release pain and pent-up tension, and helps you to tap into your sub-consciousness by clearing away the muck and frustration that builds up over time.

    2. Acceptance – The many physical, emotional and mental struggles we encounter in life can sometimes hamper our ability to stay positive. But, through consistent practice, and purposeful dedication to self-acceptance, you can learn to maintain the positive mental attitude needed to push toward your vision for a healthier happier you.

    3. Visualization – One of the ways we try to bring our visions to life at OHI is with our vision board class. This gives guests the opportunity to tap into their creativity by building physical representations of their overall visions. By combining images and photographs with words and phrases that connect our visions to concrete things in the real world, we charge our visions with feelings of passion, and begin to attract those things into our lives.

    An OHI retreat can be an eye-opening first step toward making your vision a reality, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t get started on your own. The important thing to remember is to clear your mind, focus on a positive mental attitude and set your vision before setting your goals, because if your goals don’t serve a greater purpose, you are much less likely to achieve them.

    There’s no better way to start off the New Year than by taking time for yourself to create a clear vision for the life you want to lead in 2021. A retreat to OHI’s holistic health missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas allow you to step back from the stresses of daily life and re-focus on what is important to you.

    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.