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Three Feelings You Should Not Ignore

Three Feelings You Should Not Ignore

It turns out that we may have been thinking about things backwards.

We all know that we live in a high-stress world, and that stress can harm our health. We've also probably heard about ways that we can manage stressful feelings. If we manage the feelings, conventional wisdom suggests that we can lessen the stress reaction, and reduce the health consequences.

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Six Ways Physical Activity Benefits Your Brain

Six Ways Physical Activity Benefits Your Brain

Summertime is a great time to be more active, but if you live in the south like me, it can be all too tempting to retreat to air-conditioning and inactivity. Please don't!

One of the books that I've been reading this summer is called The Upward Spiral by neuroscientist Alex Korb. Although the book is often rather technical, it is a fascinating explanation of how our brains are wired, and how we can stimulate various neural circuits to improve our happiness. One of Dr. Korb's first recommendations for creating "an upward spiral" is exercise.

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7 Ways to Lower Your Inflammation Number Without Medication

7 Ways to Lower Your Inflammation Number Without Medication

You've most likely heard about the key health numbers that the Know Your Number campaigns have encouraged us to monitor. Increasing public awareness about high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high body mass index (BMI) has been a cornerstone of the public health effort to combat heart disease.

There is another number that is less well-known, but that can also be an important measure of heart disease risk, as well as risk for other chronic diseases. This measure is a lab test called C-reactive protein (CRP), and it is a general marker of inflammation. While there are many lab tests that measure inflammation, CRP is the one that is most widely used and available.

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Three Simple Ways to Keep STRESS from Ruining Your Metabolism

Three Simple Ways to Keep STRESS from Ruining Your Metabolism

The research is clear — chronic stress damages our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

One of the most interesting lines of study, including research that was released just this week, reveal how feelings of stress, anxiety or depression are linked to inflammation and metabolic changes in the body. To put it simply, those thoughts and feelings trigger reactions in the body that increase inflammation, raise blood sugar, and turn energy into fat. It appears that our high stress culture is making us fatter and sicker!

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Simple Self-Care in an Imperfect World

Simple Self-Care in an Imperfect World

Life never goes according to the perfect storybook version in our heads, does it?

In fact, it is full of unexpected twists and turns, requiring constant adaptation.

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Unseen Forces that Steal Your Health - and What You Can Do About Them

Unseen Forces that Steal Your Health - and What You Can Do About Them

I'd like to respectfully disagree with George Pettie. He's the one credited with the modern proverb - "What you don't know can't hurt you." Back in 1576, he said it a little differently:"So long as I know it not, it hurteth mee not."

I tend to agree more with Sir Francis Bacon's assertion that "Knowledge is power." — especially when it comes to our well-being!

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Five Surprising Benefits of Drumming

Five Surprising Benefits of Drumming

Rhythm is contagious. It isn't hard to imagine why. Our earliest life experiences are linked to the comforting beat of our mother's hearts.

The word rhythm comes from a Greek word, rhythmos, meaning movement and flow - that which creates order, shape and symmetry to our lives. Every culture has its own way to articulate this flow, and to express it in ways that bring the community together. Drum circles are one ancient tradition that is becoming increasingly popular in our modern world.

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Three Ways to Preserve Your Energy for the Long Haul

Three Ways to Preserve Your Energy for the Long Haul

Fatigue. It is one of the most common and challenging symptoms that primary health care providers evaluate every day.

Why? Because lack of energy can be caused by so many different things — and it makes such a difference in the way people look, feel and perform. Without sufficient energy, we can't accomplish all the things that we need or want to do. Without sufficient energy, the quality of our lives is diminished.

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Four Ways to Access the Healing Power of Laughter

Four Ways to Access the Healing Power of Laughter

Laughter is the best medicine. You've heard that before, right?

As you may know, this is not just a wise folk saying. While it may not be the best medicine, scientific evidence continues to confirm that humor and laughter are great for our well-being for a number of reasons.

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How Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

How Meditation Changes Your Brain for the Better

It wasn't that long ago that scientists believed that our brains were fixed at about the age of three, and that they didn't alter over time, except to deteriorate.

In the last ten to fifteen years, however, the scientific literature has been exploding with evidence that this idea was completely wrong. The concept of neuroplasticity has emerged as we've learned how our brains change in response to stimuli - both positive and negative.

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Six Ways to Tame the Toxins in Your Life

Six Ways to Tame the Toxins in Your Life

We live in an amazing, beautiful world at a time when scientific and technological breakthroughs are creating new possibilities for innovation and quality of life.

Unfortunately, we are also living at a time when we are being challenged by an increasing burden of toxins around us and within us - all of which can have serious effects to our health.

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Five Ways to Use Good Vibrations for Health and Well-Being

Five Ways to Use Good Vibrations for Health and Well-Being

Traditional western medicine operates based on assumptions based in biology and our current pharmaceutical treatments are rooted in chemistry. Practitioners from this tradition have been somewhat slow to embrace the emerging field of energy medicine which is perhaps better understood from the perspective of physics.

Nonetheless, there is compelling evidence that our experiences of resonance and vibration - whether through practicing an ancient technique like Qi Gong or participation in a group sing-along - can have profound impacts on our health and well-being.

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How to Deal with Radicals

How to Deal with Radicals

Radicals are everywhere - creating danger to our health and well-being. But they aren't the kind of radicals that get talked about on the news.

I'm talking about free radicals - invisible molecules in our bodies that are unstable. These molecules are a natural byproduct of energy production - released when the oxygen we breathe interacts with the food we eat during metabolism. Even though they are natural, they are also dangerous. They need an extra electron to become stable and they are drawn to anything in our cells that will bind with them and donate one. They bind to, and damage, our cell walls, fats, proteins, or DNA - leading to chain reactions that cause premature aging. Fortunately, many of them are neutralized by antioxidants. Antioxidants bind with free radicals and keep them from doing so much damage.

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How to Boost Your Body's Healing Power

How to Boost Your Body's Healing Power

Until recently, many people thought that their risk for chronic disease was mostly determined by the genes that they inherited. Recent scientific discoveries have revealed, though, that we have a lot more control over our health status than we thought. It turns out that what is in our DNA is only part of the story. The study of "epigenetics" is teaching us about some of the factors that determine how our DNA expresses itself - and whether certain genes get turned on or off.

Our bodies have any amazing ability to heal themselves, and the lifestyle choices that we make each day can boost or diminish this power. One of the ways these choices affect our health is through a pathway called Nrf2 Activation. In a nutshell, when this pathway is activated by our lifestyle choices, it affects over 500 "survival genes" which stimulate processes that decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, produce more mitochondria (the energy-generating components of our cells) and increase cellular detoxification.

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Five Food Preparation Tips to Support Good Health

Five Food Preparation Tips to Support Good Health

These days we hear a lot about what we should be eating. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, Mediterranean, DASH diet — all of these terms are probably familiar to most of us.

But what about HOW food is cooked? This doesn't get as much attention, but there has been some fascinating research done on what cooking methods are the healthiest.

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Four Ways to Mind Your Metabolism

Four Ways to Mind Your Metabolism

These days we're hearing a lot about the rising incidence of chronic preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. These problems share a common denominator in that they all result from metabolic processes in the body that have gone awry.

Metabolism refers to all the biochemical processes that occur in the body in order to maintain life. These processes are tightly regulated by hormones and play out like an elegant symphony. Unfortunately, a number of factors can negatively impact metabolic processes, and lead to health problems.

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Five Ways to Get the Sleep You Need

Five Ways to Get the Sleep You Need

We live in a sleep-deprived culture. Although the National Institute of Health recommends 7-8 hours of sleep each night for adults, many of us don't get that. A 2009 U.S. survey found that more than a third (35.3%) of adults reported less than 7 hours of sleep, and that even more (37.9%) reported falling asleep unintentionally at least once during the prior month. The CDC has gone so far as to call our collective lack of sleep a public health emergency.

It's not just that poor sleep makes us cranky. It also makes us more accident prone and more susceptible to chronic diseases. 

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5 Essentials for Building a Better Brain

5 Essentials for Building a Better Brain

"I think, therefore I am." ~ René Descarte

As a culture, we tend to place a high value on a well-functioning brain. Of all our organs, none is so linked to our sense of who we are and our possibilities.

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Six Self-Care Practices to Beat the Blues

Six Self-Care Practices to Beat the Blues

The United States has one of the highest rates of depression in the world.  An estimated 1 in 6 (16.6%) of us are diagnosed with a major depressive episode at some point in out lives and this does not include those of us who suffer from milder cases of the blues that aren't diagnosed. A 2011 study of prescribing habits found antidepressants to be the most highly prescribed class of drugs in the United States. Unfortunately, research has found that antidepressants aren't effective for everyone - especially those with milder symptoms. 

Fortunately there are a number of non-drug approaches to treating and preventing depression. These approaches may be used with or without treatment with medication. Dr. Stephen Illardi, a psychologist at the University of Kansas, has tested a number of them in his practice and has developed a program that he calls Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC). He shares about the six core strategies in his book, The Depression Cure. As you read them, you'll see that many of them are common-sense self-care practices that have many other benefits!

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Five Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies

Five Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies

"Eat Your Veggies!"

With the vast array of nutrition information that is available, it is often hard to find common ground among the recommended eating plans.

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