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Taming the Stress You Can't Feel

Taming the Stress You Can't Feel

When you hear the word "stress", what comes to mind?

Many of us have come to associate the word "stress" with the physical, emotional, and mental reactions we experience when excessive demands are placed on us. That kind of psychological or emotional stress, is well-known in our fast-paced society.

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Why Wellness Won't Wait

Why Wellness Won't Wait

Barney Fife, one of my favorite TV characters from the Andy Griffeth Show, had a sensible approach to law enforcement. He was a proponent of stopping any problem before it got bigger— preferring to "nip it in the bud".

Knowing that we are facing a threat makes taking decisive action easier. When it comes to well-being, though, the threats can sneak up on us.

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A Breakthrough for Extending the Quality and Quantity of Life

A Breakthrough for Extending the Quality and Quantity of Life

Every now and then, science produces breakthroughs that change our understanding of what is possible.

Most of us alive now don't remember what it was like before antibiotics.Many of us might not remember what it was like before laparoscopic surgeries. (I can still remember when all gallbladder surgeries required large incisions!)

In addition to innovations that help us treat disease, science has been exploring how to extend the quality and quantity of life. Since 2004, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has been running a series of studies known as the Interventions Testing Program. 

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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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Sending Your Body Healthy Messages

Sending Your Body Healthy Messages

We send our body messages every day.

I'm not talking about those messages we generate when we look in the mirror and assess what we see — although those are certainly important to consider.

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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 Healthcare Myths that Make You Sick

Four Healthcare Myths that Make You Sick

As I shared in a recent post, the U.S. healthcare system continues to have a lot of room for improvement. Despite being quite expensive, it does not keep its citizens as healthy as the systems in other industrialized countries.

The debate for how to improve the healthcare system continues. Meanwhile, those of us who are served by this system are wise to understand its strengths and weaknesses so that we can be proactive about getting what we need.

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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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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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Bright Ideas for Better Sleep

Bright Ideas for Better Sleep

Getting enough good quality sleep is a cornerstone of maintaining good health and resilience. The list of benefits that we get from sleep is long and growing longer all the time. Yet, sleep deprivation is a very real and persistent problem in our modern culture.

Even when we try to get sleep, it sometimes eludes us. While that can stem from a variety of reasons, a very important one is how our circadian rhythm is affected by natural and artifical light.

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How to be More Resilient

How to be More Resilient

The road to greater well-being is rarely a straight path. Often our journeys take us up, down, and around. Sometimes it may even feel like we are going backwards! Parts of this last week felt like that for me.

No matter how much we plan, we don't know what Life has in store for us. While that can be unsettling, the good news is that there are lots of tools and practices that can help us weather the stress of unpredictability.

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How to Be Well when you are Healing

How to Be Well when you are Healing

I felt another nudge to share with you, so I made a video to honor that.

The video that I made is unscripted and long - so not everyone will have time for it in one sitting. I trust that it will reach whoever will find value in it.

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Six Ways to Get the Most from Your Primary Care Visit

Six Ways to Get the Most from Your Primary Care Visit

Between changes in insurance, the looming shortage of primary care providers in the United States, short times allocated for each primary care visit, and questions being raised about the value of annual "check-ups", it isn't surprising that many people find primary health care somewhat confusing.

It's true that our health care system has room for improvement. Despite the growing pains of our health care system, though, research has repeatedly found that having access to primary care creates better health outcomes. As health care providers have become increasingly specialized, it is particularly helpfui to have a trusted relationship with a health care provider that knows you well, and who can help guide you to resources that are appropriate for your level of health and well-being.

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Nine Ways to Love Yourself Well

Nine Ways to Love Yourself Well

It's February, and here in the U.S. we're celebrating hearts, love, and relationships. Although Valentine's Day tends to focus on romantic relationships, it also provides a great opportunity to acknowledge all of the relationships that make our lives rich. As you celebrate all your relationships, I invite you to to remember one that is near and dear to your heart — your relationship with yourself! After all, THAT relationship affects every other relationship that you have. So, I hope that you nurture it well!

Here are nine different ways that you can love yourself well that are based on the Wheel of Health model created by Duke Integrative Medicine:

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5 Essentials for Your Self-Care Kit

5 Essentials for Your Self-Care Kit

Modern life can be fast-paced and some days are extra-challenging. Even if you're pretty good at the basics of self-care, you may find times that you need a little extra TLC. What do you do when you you're having one of those days and your time and circumstances limit your options? You can prepare in advance for those kinds of situations by having a "self-care" kit on hand.

What is a self-care kit? I imagine it as a sort of wellness gift basket — full of samples designed to nurture your well-being. The kit might be physical, virtual, or both. The most important thing that it is portable and accessible whenever you want it. You might, for example, have a folder on your computer that include some components, or perhaps a notebook, or maybe a bag or container. It just depends on what you decide to put in it!

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