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Archive for April, 2018

How to deal with anxiety—without ever using meds.

Tell us if this sounds familiar: Racing thoughts, sweaty palms, chest pains, hot flushes, exhaustion, trouble sleeping, maybe some nail biting and worry.

Oh, so much worry. We’ve all felt a little (or a lot) anxious at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s that ridiculous work deadline, uncertainty in your close relationships, or general unease with the state of the world that’s making you feel on edge. And learning how to deal with anxiety is not just inconvenient. Uncontrolled anxiety can be downright debilitating, sending you down a chaotic spiral of negative thoughts and feelings.

“Anxiety is how we internally react to stress,” says psychologist Ellen Albertson. “It’s a product of our negative or worrisome thoughts and can leave us feeling totally helpless.”

1 in 4 Australians have some form of anxiety disorder, making it one of the most common mental illness in the country. But even if you don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, you can still experience anxiety’s ugly symptoms from time to time.

The good news: You probably don’t need medication or formal therapy to get your symptoms in check. Everything from choosing the right foods to reframing your thoughts to a little strategic breathing can help keep you calm.

Here are eight expert-approved natural remedies for anxiety to get you feeling balanced again.

Have eggs for breakfast

“You don’t want to get too hungry,” says Dr Drew Ramsey. “So make sure to eat a good source of protein and fat in the morning, like eggs and skip the sugar and refined carbs.”

That’s because hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause or exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, especially symptoms like sweating, shaking, irritability and heart palpitations. But consuming enough protein and fat will keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent any mood-altering spikes or dips.

“Eggs are also great because they contain choline,” adds Ramsey. One study found that low choline levels were significantly associated with increased anxiety symptoms, and several other studies suggest that choline enhances cognitive functioning and overall brain health.

Take a few deep breaths

Deep breathing is one of the simplest, most effective ways to calm yourself down in the midst of an anxiety-induced freakout. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the fight or flight response and helps neutralize stress and anxiety.

Albertson suggests trying a simple 4-7-8 breathing technique: Exhale completely, inhale through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold it in for a count of 7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat about five times, or as needed.

Nosh on some chocolate

A varied, whole foods based diet with plenty of plant foods helps support the right balance of brain chemicals for a calm state of mind. But if you have to pay attention to one nutrient in particular, it should probably be magnesium, a mineral responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and that about 68% of us need more of.

Making sure you’re eating enough magnesium when you’re feeling frazzled is so important for two reasons, says Albertson: low magnesium levels can make anxiety feel worse, and anxiety and stress can further deplete levels of magnesium.

Foods that are high in this essential mineral: dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds, dark chocolate, avocado and black beans. Meaning, yes, you now have an excuse to indulge in those dark chocolate-covered almonds from time to time.

Head outside for a quick walk

Spending time in nature is key for maintaining a sense of calm and balance in your life. “Forest bathing, essentially just walking in the woods, is the latest rage in Japan, and just 15 minutes of it can have an amazing effect on lowering your blood pressure and increasing your sense of calm,” says psychologist Susan Albers.

No forest to walk in? That’s fine. Head to the park or out to your garden, or even look out your window for a bit while you practice some deep breathing—research shows that just being in close to proximity to natural green space is associated with reduced depression and anxiety symptoms.

Trade your coffee for matcha

Despite your undying love for coffee, it’s not so great to consume in excess if you’re prone to anxiety. That’s because caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, which activates the fight or flight response in your body, which can further exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety. All of which is to say you’ll just feel more on edge, says Albertson.

If you can bear to part with your morning cuppa joe, consider trading it in for a lower-caf option like matcha tea. Matcha not only has about half the caffeine of coffee, but it also contains the amino acid l-theanine, which helps buffer the effects of caffeine and is associated with a more calm alertness (rather than a jittery high).

Want to ditch caffeine altogether? Albers recommends sipping on chamomile, rooibos, or valerian tea when you’re feeling anxious, all of which are naturally caffeine-free and contain antioxidants and other compounds that promote relaxation and sleep.

Get warm and cozy

Here’s something you’ve definitely experienced: feeling more tense and anxious when you’re cold and more relaxed when you’re warm (yet another reason to sip on the herbal teas mentioned above). Which makes sense, considering how most of us physically tense up our bodies in response to cold temperatures.

Research backs this idea up, too, with one small, preliminary Japanese study finding that people felt less anxious after spending time in a sauna. Other research suggests that warming sensations may have an impact on serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter.

Tip: Roll a tennis ball across your shoulders and under your feet for instant anxiety relief. Albers suggests putting a tablespoon of dry mustard in a hot bath with a half cup of epsom salts and having a good soak when you’re feeling anxious. Dry mustard, she explains, is an ancient spice with properties that are warming and calming to the body. No time for a bath? Pop your bathrobe in the dryer for a few minutes then wrap yourself up in all that coziness; or simply curl up under an electric blanket for a few minutes.

Of course, this won’t work in the office, so having a blanket or sweater stashed in a desk drawer for these anxious occasions can make all the difference, especially when that A/C is blasting.

Give yourself a mini massage

What’s better than a massage to physically break up and eliminate the tension and anxiety you’re holding in your body? Probably nothing, but getting one every week would probably bust your budget. That’s why mini massages are your new BFF. Albers recommends keeping a tennis ball at your desk, or even in your purse so you have access to it at all times. “When you feel stressed or anxious, pull it out and roll it under your feet or behind your shoulders,” she says.

While you’re at it, go ahead and do some gentle stretches or yoga poses, too, which are great for relieving physical tension and providing you with a moment to pause in your day, evaluate what’s making you anxious, and (hopefully) let it go.

Tune into your emotions You can never truly rid yourself of anxiety until you first acknowledge what you’re feeling. To do that, try this simple “soften, soothe, and allow” exercise. Here, Albertson explains: “First, stop what you’re doing when you notice you’re feeling anxious. Then name the emotion connected with the anxiety (maybe it’s anger, or maybe it’s sadness). Next, locate where on your body you are feeling the anxiety, such as a tightness in your chest or butterflies in your stomach. Then, try to soften and soothe that area with some type of physical touch. Finally, allow the feelings and sensations to come and go.” Sometimes just sitting with these feelings can help quell the anxiety that accompanies them.

Source: http://www.preventionaus.com.au/article/8-natural-remedies-for-anxiety-that-calm-you-down-fast-488852

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Nerve damage
Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock
There are billions of nerves in your body. Most of them, your peripheral nerves, are like branches of a tree that spread out all over and transmit messages back to the “trunk”—your brain and spinal cord. When everything goes smoothly, your brain gets the info it needs so that you can move your muscles, recognize pain, and keep your internal organs working properly. But when peripheral nerves get damaged, it’s another story: Walking could become challenging, you might experience unrelenting pain, or you could end up with a serious injury because you had no idea how hot that stove was.

An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from peripheral nerve damage, AKA neuropathy, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Diabetes is the No. 1 cause. Bad luck [meaning you inherited an anatomical defect] is number two. Repetitive motion and Lyme disease follow,” says Andrew Elkwood, MD, a surgeon who specializes in nerve reconstruction at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction in New York and New Jersey.

Other causes include sudden trauma (like a car accident) aging, vitamin deficiencies, heavy exposure to toxins (including alcohol, cancer medications, lead, mercury, and arsenic), and infections and autoimmune disorders like hepatitis C, diphtheria, HIV, Epstein-Barr, rheumatoid arthritis, and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Meanwhile, about 30%-40% of neuropathy cases are “idiopathic,” meaning there’s no known cause, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The good news is that nerve damage generally develops slowly, says Isha Gupta, MD, a neurologist at IGEA Brain and Spine in New York and New Jersey. That means you might be able to treat it before it worsens—but getting the right diagnosis isn’t always easy. Your best shot? See a doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms.

Numbness in foot
memorisz/Shutterstock
You have numbness, tingling, or burning.

This sensation may radiate from your hands or feet into your arms or legs. “Compression of sensory nerves (often while sleeping) is relatively common, and symptoms such as numbness or tingling can be temporary,” says Gupta. But if the pins-and-needles feeling doesn’t go away, get it checked out.

Close up of ice
Mycteria/Shutterstock
It’s difficult or impossible to move part of your body.

“If motor nerves are affected, then weakness or even paralysis may occur,” says R. Glenn Smith, MD, PhD, a neurologist at Houston Methodist. These same symptoms could also indicate that there’s an underlying issue that needs urgent attention, so it’s best to head to the ER. If it turns out that you’re actually having a stoke, you’ll need medical attention ASAP.

Sciatic nerve pain
Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock
You have pain running down just one leg.

A constant sharp pain, burning, or tingling that starts in the lower back and travels down the back of your leg could mean that you have sciatica. This happens when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or damaged, either by a herniated disk in your spine or by a disease such as diabetes.

Slipping and falling
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You’re way clumsier than usual.

Suddenly stumbling and falling a lot? “If large nerves affecting sensation are damaged, then lack of coordination and failure to sense the position of the body can lead to falls,” says Smith. It might also turn out that you have a condition like Parkinson’s, in which the nerve cells in your brain have become damaged.

Need to go to the bathroom a lot
Momoforsale/Shutterstock
You’re running to the bathroom all the time.

Damaged nerves can send your bladder faulty messages, so you feel like you have to pee a lot or have trouble making it to the restroom in time. You have a higher than average risk of this problem if you gave birth to a child vaginally or have diabetes.

Headache
andrei simonenko/Shutterstock
You get brief, intense headaches that feel like electric shocks.

You may have something called occipital neuralgia, a condition that can occur when a nerve in your neck gets pinched. You may need a nerve block—an injection that temporarily blocks the troublesome nerve from transmitting pain signals.

Sweating
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You’re sweating too much or too little.

It might be a sign that the nerves carrying info from your brain to your sweat glands have become compromised. Your doctor might order tests to measure your sweating and heart rate.

 

Burn on hand
Corbac40/Shutterstock
You got injured because you didn’t feel something you should have.

Sensory nerves are supposed to tell your brain that a surface is dangerous in some way, and if they’re not doing their job properly you could seem more accident-prone. If you have burns, cuts, or other trauma because you didn’t realize that you were touching something hot, sharp, or otherwise uncomfortable, see your doc, says Smith.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/8-signs-you-might-have-nerve-damage/slide/4

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Photo: @bondarillia

It’s your lucky day, dark chocolate lovers. According to new findings, chocolate with a high concentration of cacao—at least 70 percent—might boost our immunity, mood, and memory.

While we’ve long known that dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids—an antioxidant that can help regulate digestionreduce anxiety, and even boost sexual health—this is one of the first times that the specific effects of chocolate have been tested on humans.

“This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings,” says Lee S. Berk, DrPH, a researcher involved in the presentation.

The findings refer to pilot trials that found that dark chocolate boosts cellular immune response and enhances neuroplasticity, which could improve mood and memory. According to the finding’s presenters, the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, though more research still needs to be done to back up these claims.

Go forth and break yourself off another square.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-dark-chocolate-can-reduce-stress-and-inflammation

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Photo: Nadine Greeff

 

Eating high-lectin foods like wheat cues your body to store fatbecause the lectins they contain wage war on your gut, and the troops need food (aka stored fat) to keep battling. Lectins also deplete beneficial gut microbes, which support our well-being in a number of important ways—including helping to maintain a healthy weight.

But there’s also a third reason eating lectin-rich foods contributes to excess weight: because one of the lectins in many grains (in addition to gluten) is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is one of the most offensive lectins out there and has been implicated in celiac disease and heart disease. One of its (as well as other lectins’) most insidious powers, however, is that it has the ability to mimic insulin in the body.

Insulin is a hormone that’s manufactured by the pancreas, which releases varying amounts of it in response to the amount of sugar and protein you eat. Insulin helps regulate your blood sugar levels by attaching to either fat cells, nerve cells (or neurons), or muscle cells and ordering them to open up and let the glucose in. Once the glucose is moved into the cell, the insulin detaches, and these cells are able to receive messages from other hormones and chemical messengers.

But WGA binds to the same receptor sites on these cell walls that insulin does. And it doesn’t ever leave. So the next time your gut releases glucose into your bloodstream, the insulin doesn’t have a place to attach to. It’s kind of like insulin is you in your car and the cell wall is the grocery store parking lot. If all the parking spaces are filled with other cars, and no one ever leaves, you can never park and actually go into the store to get the food you need.

When WGA attaches to your fat cells, it can stay there indefinitely as well, continually telling them to make more fat from the sugar that passes by. When it parks on the wall of a muscle cell, it prevents any sugar cells from getting in. As a result, your muscle cell can’t access the fuel it needs to maintain itself and grow; muscle wasting is the outcome. And when lectins take up residence on insulin receptors on nerve cells, your neurons never get the energy that they need, and so they continually send a message that you’re hungry in hopes of getting more fuel. So your nervous system keeps sending hunger signals, even when you’ve had plenty of calories. The sum result of WGA mimicking insulin is that your fat cells grow, your calorie consumption rises, your brain cells don’t get the fuel they need (leading to brain fog), and muscle tone reduces. Does any of this sound familiar?

The road back to good health.

The good news is that once you understand what lectins are and where they come from, it is possible to settle into a way of eating that has cascading positive effects on health—from troubling symptoms like bloating and brain fog up to outright disease such as heart disease and autoimmune disease. They key is keeping out lectin free-foods (here’s a full list of high-lectin foods) and stocking up on anti-inflammatory picks. Try this delicious, savory muffin to get you started!

Cheesy Cauliflower Muffins

These muffins are a great grab-and-go option for busy mornings. They’re savory, cheesy, eggy—all of the things that you crave in a quick breakfast bite. Top them with a little hot sauce for some extra kick!

Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • ½ teaspoon iodized sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 omega-3 or pastured eggs or VeganEggs
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup cassava flour
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower rice and sea salt and cook, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic powder, paprika, and basil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower mixture, eggs, and cheese or nutritional yeast.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the cassava flour and baking powder.
  6. Fold the dry ingredients into the cauliflower mix along with the hot sauce, then portion into muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until no longer wet to the touch. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-lectins-cause-weight-gain

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Photo: Thais Ramos Varela

When I used to walk down the street in New York City, I styled people. In my mind, I’d cut their hair, help them lose weight, disapprove of their color choices, and just retool them overall. My mind was so busy, judgmental, and arrogant. Except one day, I noticed it. I stopped and questioned my behavior. And, at that moment, I could hear it. I realized how incredibly embarrassing, let alone shallow, it was of me. It woke me up to how much was going on in my mind that I wasn’t conducting.

At that moment, I decided that I was never going to allow my mind to run amok like that again. Instead, if my mind needed something to do on that walk, I would give it something better to do. From then on, whenever I walked the streets of New York, I let myself only think about my business, my clients, new ideas, and where and what I wanted to teach. I used my time and mind for value and fun, period.

When you start to figure out what you’re doing with that mind of yours or, better yet, what it is doing with you, you can have control over what you actually want to do with it, hopefully something more useful and inspiring than what we’re doing with it now.

Sure, this notion of just giving your mind something better to think about may sound a bit trite to your dubious doubter, but stopping yourself long enough to hear yourself, to figure out how to tell yourself to (in the nicest of ways) shut up, and to replace those very thoughts with whatever you want to be thinking about is truly life-altering.

Here are five basic steps to reclaim your mind. Don’t knock it until you try it, but do try it until you master it.

1. Observe it.

The first thing you are going to do is start paying attention to your thoughts. You’re going to start to use a thought log and write down what you’re thinking in the language in which you are actually speaking to yourself. Let’s say one of the areas you are working on is your relationship with your body. You are now going to make sure when you hear yourself talking to yourself about your body, particularly when you’re looking in a mirror, when you’re getting dressed, when you’re shopping or avoiding shopping. When you are looking at a menu, what do you say to yourself? Listen and write it down.

2. Name it.

Decide which thought patterns you want to eliminate. You’ll start to see that you are constantly talking to yourself about one particular thing, and it’s negative, and it makes you feel bad. Find your negative thought patterns that are not aligned with your dreams, and name that thought pattern. Make sure you figure out the right name for that negative thought train you get on and the pattern so that you can hear it the minute it leaves the station.

3. Stop it.

The minute you hear that particular thought pattern, you’re going to roll up your sleeves and deal with stopping it. You’re going to figure out that you can, trite as it may seem, actually tell yourself to think about something else. Because you have let your inner dialogue run wild in certain areas of your life, you have no idea that if all of a sudden you no longer tolerated its tantrum, you could put your foot down and change it. You can stop its rant, decide the game of chicken is over, and call the shots. It’s that simple. I dare you to do it. Your dream implores you. The best ways to stop your negative thoughts are to either confess them to someone out loud or make a consequence for yourself for engaging in those thoughts.

4. Replace it.

Decide which thoughts you actually want to cultivate instead of your current ones, making sure they align with your dreams. As simple as this, too, may sound, I promise it works. You are in charge of what you want to be thinking about; you just haven’t been. You sublet your mind to your brat, chicken, and weather reporter. The worst tenants ever. And just as it takes time and patience to kick bad tenants out, this, too, is going to take some time. The three squatters have been living there for years, so hire your dreams a good attorney (your higher self)!

5. Implement it.

Direct your new thought patterns, ensuring that you are thinking—hello!—about what you want to be thinking about. So let’s say your dream is to fall madly in love and find your soul mate. Instead of entertaining negative thoughts in your mind about how “dry” your city is or how unlucky you are or how you missed the (nonexistent) boat, start instead imagining your trip together to Bali, his or her hand in yours, the ring on your finger, etc. Start getting your mind to quiet down and do what youwant it to, replacing the bratty, cowardly, and self-sabotaging old thoughts with new, bold, and dreamy ones. If you follow the five steps above, you will take back your mind.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-reclaim-your-life

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Photo: Carlene Thomas

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of tea at mindbodygreen. We whip up matcha lattes, sip on honeyed rooibos, and make a batch of peppermint when we’re feeling a bit sick or headachy. But in the name of getting more tea bang for our tea bucks, we wondered—is there a healthiest tea? We reached out to some of the country’s top functional nutrition experts to find out.

Green tea

The bioactive compounds found in green tea are called catechins, and they are what fuel the metabolic health benefits and antioxidant activity of this powerful drink. The most powerful catechin is epigallocatechin gallate, otherwise known as EGCG. There is so much research to support that green tea provides health benefits beyond basic nutrition that it is deemed a “functional food.” In addition to lowering inflammation, supporting optimal liver detoxification, and reducing the risk of cancer, research also demonstrates that green tea has a favorable impact on fasting glucose control. So many amazing benefits! I always recommend purchasing organic green tea to reduce toxic exposure.

Brigid Titgemeier, R.D., founder of Being Brigid and Next Great Nutritionist winner

White tea

I love white tea. It’s from the same plant as green tea, but the quantity of antioxidants is higher because it is younger and has gone through less oxidation.

Kelly LeVeque, CHN, best-selling author and mbg class instructor

Fennel tea

I love and often recommend my clients sip on fennel tea to help ease indigestion, gas, and to beat the bloat. Even if you don’t suffer from digestive issues like these, fennel is really soothing and tastes great.

McKel Hill, R.D., founder of Nutrition Stripped

Matcha

What makes this deep-green powder so special is it is made from the leaves of a high-quality shade-grown bush called Tencha. These green tea bushes are sheltered from direct sunlight, which reduces photosynthesis and slows down the growth of the plants. This results in a darker shade of green and stimulates chlorophyll production, which magnifies the health benefits and nutrients of this tea. As a result matcha is high in polyphenols, l-theanine (a compound that helps with stress and anxiety), fiber, potassium, and chlorophyll. Some of the amazing health benefits include antioxidants (to fight off free radicals that contribute to disease and aging), metabolism boosting, detoxification, improved concentration, mood enhancement, and anxiety reduction.

Courtney Swan, M.S., founder of Realfoodology

Dandelion root tea

Many teas contain health benefits unique to the tea, but in general, I think the most important criteria in selecting a tea is that it is organic to avoid harmful pesticides and additives. I love dandelion root tea. If you’re sensitive to or are avoiding caffeinedandelion root tea is a delicious alternative. It’s easy on the digestive system, caffeine-freeand is delicious with a splash of cream or coconut milk.

—Melanie Beasley, R.D. at Nutritional Weight & Wellness

The one you’ll actually drink!

The healthiest tea is the one you’ll actually drink, not forget about, with minimal adjustments (not adding a ton of sugar). Maybe it’s the minimalist in me, but keeping your cabinets clutter-free and usable is important for mental health too.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-the-healthiest-tea

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Photo: Pablo Heimplatz

Have you ever been in a relationship in which you had one foot in and one foot out, never completely committing and never actually leaving? Or maybe you’re trying to leave but somehow you don’t quite get there? This was an issue a woman named Helena brought to my attention, saying, “I’ve been in an on-and-off relationship for six years. We have been breaking up, ghosting, and then reconnecting on and off for the last two years since he moved out. I keep trying to end it in a powerful way, but then we end up reconnecting again. What does a situation like this indicate, and how would you resolve this continuing dance?”

This is a tough one, and there are some major reasons it keeps happening. Here’s what you should know.

You’re holding on to hope.

One of the things that keeps partners going back over and over again is the hope that the other person will change—or that you can get him or her to change. This is especially true if each of you have professed to have changed. However, unless both of you are receiving help in dealing with your individual issues, change isn’t likely.

It may be hard to be realistic about change, but it’s important to accept that you can’t make another person change—they change only when and if they want to, and if they receive the help they need to heal their underlying issues. Without real change occurring through each of you doing your inner work, the only reason to go back is if you can accept this person exactly as he or she is, without hope of change.

You’re stuck in a pull-resist system.

One of the reasons for the yo-yo relationship concerns the relationship system. If you are in a relationship in which one of you is needy and controlling and pulls on the other for attention, approval, or sex, and the other is resistant to being controlled by the needy partner, you might feel that you just have to get away. But once apart, the same system might not be operating, so you start to feel good around each other again.

But once again, unless you have each been healing your end of this relationship system, you will find yourselves going right back into the same pull-resist system, with the same outcome.

You fear being lonely and not meeting someone else.

Often, the stress of a dysfunctional relationship leads to wanting to be alone, but once alone, the fear of being alone and lonely takes over. You might start to date, only to discover that it’s not easy to find someone you are attracted to, or you keep meeting the same kind of person over and over. You tell yourself that you will never meet someone and you will end up alone your whole life, and that it’s better to be with your estranged partner than to be alone.

Again, without doing your inner work to heal your participation in the dysfunctional relationship system, you will keep recreating the same relationship over and over. The most loving thing is to focus on doing your inner work, regardless of whether or not you go back to your partner.

You’re not investing in the learning you need to do.

Perhaps there is a genuine connection between the two of you, but neither of you are doing the inner work to heal underlying problems. When this is the case, you might feel drawn to the relationship over and over, knowing at some level that this relationship could work if some healing occurred.

When this is the case, it may be worth it to give the relationship a real shot. Unless there is physical or emotional abuse, there may be no real value in leaving without attempting to heal yourselves and the relationship first. In fact, you may be walking away from a great opportunity. You take yourselves with you when you leave, and you are likely to create the same relationship problems again in another relationship unless you work to resolve them within the current relationship.

If just one of you is open to doing your inner work, this might be enough to shift the system to a more loving one, or, if you do your inner work and then realize that you need to leave, you might be better equipped to create a more loving relationship the next time.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-you-should-know-about-the-yo-yo-relationship

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Photo: Thais Ramos Varela

When was the last time you broke the rules? If it’s been a lot longer than you can remember, consider this: When you break the rules, you feel powerful and like you’re doing exactly what you want to do. You feel free, and you don’t feel like there’s something hanging over you. That’s why there’s something so generative in breaking your own rules.

The violation of prohibition as a cornerstone of desire.

Even if it makes you nervous, there’s always a small thrill that comes from doing something you’re not supposed to do, which is why sexologist Jack Morin always talked about the “violation of prohibition” as one of the four cornerstones of desire. A little bit of rule-breaking goes a long way.

Ask yourself this: How can you introduce small transgressions in the midst of the safe and the predictable? You may know the outcome, but there are so many ways to be playful with each other throughout the day or night.

A few ideas for breaking the rules:

  • Leave a party early and get a drink together on the way home.
  • Close the door after your babysitter arrives and dedicate the beginning of the evening to each other and arrive at a party late. Or skip the event altogether and go for a walk or bike ride instead.
  • Stay home for a few hours in the morning midweek. Do something that you’re not supposed to do, because breaking the rules and changing the norm together leads to vibrancy.
  • Send a suggestive text during the day or evening. It’s all about talking about sex without talking about sex. Refrain from throwing the idea of sex in the other person’s face—be coy!
  • Drop a note that says, “I saw you in the elevator; has anyone told you how bright your eyes are?”
  • Meet him or her at a party and introduce yourself to your partner as if you’re meeting them for the first time. Once you give yourself the permission, you won’t be afraid of acting like a fool or being ridiculed.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/why-breaking-the-rules-will-help-keep-the-spark-alive

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Photo: @tanitaderuijt

If you haven’t dabbled in homemade ferments before, turmeric soda is a great place to start. Fermenting turmeric is actually the secret to dramatically increasing its bioavailability, meaning you’ll reap even more of the orange root’s amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. Even better? Making fermented soda requires only two ingredients—plus, a little bit of patience.

You start with a “bug,” or culture of beneficial bacteria. “It is similar to a sourdough starter for bread or a SCOBY for making kombucha,” explains Tanita de Ruijt, the author of Tonic (from which the below recipe was excerpted). “Though not overly tasty by itself, the bug acts as the base for homemade tonics such as root beer, ginger beer, and fruit ‘sodas.’ The turmeric imparts its flavor and, as it naturally ferments, creates a mixture of beneficial bacteria.” She also recommends rinsing but not peeling the turmeric, as the peel is rich in bacteria and yeast that will aid in the fermentation process.

Probiotic Turmeric Soda

Ingredients

Makes 200 mL (7 fl. oz.)

Ready in approx. 3 to 5 days

  • 200-g (7-oz.) piece of fresh (ideally organic) turmeric root, unpeeled
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons rapadura sugar or raw cane sugar
  • Filtered water

Method

  1. Chop the unpeeled turmeric root up finely or mash in a pestle and mortar. Transfer to a container with the lid left slightly ajar and keep on your kitchen counter.
  2. Take 1 tablespoon of the turmeric paste and add to a glass jar with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 3 tablespoons of filtered water. Mix well, cover, and place in a warm spot—around 72°F is ideal.
  3. Every day, add 1 tablespoon of turmeric paste, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of filtered water to the mixture, mix well, and leave to stand again.
  4. Repeat until the turmeric bug is nice and bubbly. It can take between 3 and 5 days. You can drink it straight or add additional flavorings and do a second ferment!

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/turmeric-bug-recipe

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Photo: @michaeljameswong

What is an action? Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a thing done.” I like this definition—so simple, so clear, so concise. An action has two distinct phases: an intention and an execution. Before we act, we must first have intention: “What is our purpose for doing this? What are we hoping to achieve? What is the motivation behind it?” Only then should we execute: “What is the best method for getting it done?”

This process applies to the smallest of actions and the grandest and can happen hundreds of times every day, often in a split second. For example, say you’re hungry. You don’t just magically get full—first, you must eat something. This is an action: You act by eating food. But before you do that, you need to have a clear intention.

Let’s break it down.

The problem:

I’m hungry.

What is the intention?

If I eat this sandwich, I won’t be hungry.

What is the execution?

Make a sandwich, eat the sandwich, and now I’m not hungry.

Do you recognize the stages? They may happen almost simultaneously, but each stage is there. With clear intention, our choices in execution are considered. Oftentimes, without the intention we simply react without thinking, and the outcomes can be less than ideal. A reaction, on the other hand, is a response. It’s an action that usually affects us and plays on our tempers, placing our bodies into postures and positions with full awareness and accountability—and in life we should be doing the same.

When you act with intention, you’re less likely to feel regret.

The idea of regret is one we all know and try to avoid. Regret isn’t a good feeling because we know we could have done better or achieved a more positive outcome. We’re human. We don’t need to be perfect, but we can do our best to see how our choices and actions best serve and support our lives instead of regretting those we made when reacting to something. There are some things in life that you can’t take back, so act carefully.

But what is regret? For me, regret is the idea that I should have done something differently. It’s often quite clear after the fact that our choices at the time could have been different. Sometimes, it may have been our egos getting in the way or choices we made in the heat of the moment—these are the moments that we define as regrets.

But what if we defined our actions differently? Rather than labeling them as regrets, what if we acknowledged them simply as experiences to learn from? Yes, we can all acknowledge that our choices could have been better, but regret keeps us looking back instead of moving us forward. With a simple shift in approach, we can start to live life without the burden of regret.

How yoga can help you act with intention.

How does this apply to yoga? In yoga, we always move consciously, maneuvering our bodies into postures and positions with awareness and accountability. But there will be a time when you might go too far or push too hard. Often, this results in injury that may sideline your practice for a day or even weeks. This has happened to me plenty of times over the years and to many yogis I know.

Once, I fell while I was in crow pose. I wasn’t paying attention, my hands slipped, and I twisted my wrist. I couldn’t practice that pose for almost six months. It would have been easy to get angry, regret the decisions I made when I was practicing, or try to blame the teachers for not giving me the option to try something different, or just let the frustration win. But the truth is, these were my actions, my choices, and my decision, regardless of how mindful.

I was in my actions. I may not have liked what happened, but looking back, I learned something about myself. The experience wasn’t pleasant, but it was valuable. I now know my limits, and I now always approach this pose with my full attention because I know what will happen if I’m not aware and mindful of my actions. So choose wisely, live without regrets, and learn from every experience. This is how we can live mindfully every single day.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-avoid-living-with-regrets

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