Sunday, July 30, 2017

Intro to Anti-Anxiety Meditation

As a massage therapist, I specialize in relaxation. I know from my own experience, that meditation is beneficial in helping the body to relax. If you get into the habit of practicing meditation, then when something stressful and unexpected arises, you will have an easier time dealing with it. 

The brain likes security. It needs to feel safe, above all. It also likes novelty and seeing something new and different; but only when it feels safe to explore. We are designed to survive, first and foremost. For many people, that is what they are doing, but they are not thriving or growing. 

According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, you can be in a state of joy (growth, contentment, thriving) or in a state of fear and protection. You can't do both at the same time. In these post-9-11 times, and especially with the uncertain political climate, it is not hard to imagine that we might feel stressed.  

When you're in a state of stress, real or imagined, your body reacts in the same way: fight, flight or freeze. Blood flows to the legs for running (flight), to the arms to fight, and to the back of the brain (popularly called the "lizard" brain) for survival. What's running the show here is the amygdala, in the limbic system. It is the only part of the brain that is fully formed at birth; the rest of your brain continues to grow dendrites, throw down neural pathways, and make connections. The amygdala records your emotions connected to survival, especially fear. This is where phobias come in; a 2-year-old who nearly drowns could develop a water phobia. I was bitten by a dog and had a phobia of dogs for the next 20 years. The amygdala doesn't care about logic or reasoning; it cares about safety and survival. So the prefrontal cortex (behind your forehead) can have lofty plans and goals:

PFC: "I think I'll take up skydiving."

Amygdala: "Nope."

Anxiety is what happens when the amygdala is out of control. And it feels that way when it feels like it's out of control!  It also happens with unrelenting stress. The human body was not designed to experience chronic, long-term stress. 

Here's what Mayo Clinic says about anxiety. Basically, anxiety is a physiological fear response to a perceived threat. The focus is on a future "WHAT IF?"  loop in the mind. "What if  x happens?"  

Unresolved trauma can get physically stuck in the body. Trauma Release Exercises, help to release it. 

Hormonal Imbalances:
Dr. Kelly Brogan is a psychiatrist who gets people feeling better and off anti-depressants. She is a functional medical doctor who looks at the whole body and how it functions; paying attention to hormonal levels, food sensitivities and many other things that affect health and well-being. Her book is A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.  It's not just about depression and it's not just for women.  Here's an interview with Marie Forleo.   She talks about anxiety & panic attacks in the first 10 minutes.  Her Huffington Post article, How to Resolve Anxiety and Depression Through Diet.  Here's her YT channel.  

I told my osteopath that my friend who came to see him thanked me for referring her and she said, "I knew I wasn't crazy." He said, "You know, I've had 3 patients tell me that this morning." 

Dr. Izabella Wentz  Her book: Hashimoto's Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back. Dr. Kelly Brogan also addresses thyroid function, as well. 

If you're told your blood tests are "normal", make sure you get the full panel. According to thyroid advocate Mary Shomon, you need:
  • Thyroid (TSH)
  • Free T4 (FT4)
  • Free T3 (FT3)
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO)
  • Thyroid Antibody (Anti-thyroid AB)

Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? when My Lab Tests Are Normal: a Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Hashimoto's Disease and Hypothyroidism by Dr. Datis Kharrazian. 

Toxic Mold
In the last 30 years, anti-fungal paints have created a resistant strains of molds, much like antibiotics have done with bacteria. In addition, HVAC circulates that mold. Any buildings that have had leaks or floods, are at risk. There is a broad spectrum of health ramifications from behavioural (learning disabilities, ADD) to neurological (M.S., migraines, etc.) to emotional (depression, anxiety, etc.) to hormonal (Hashimoto's, etc.) I first became aware of the issue of toxic mold from Dave Asprey, Bulletproof Guy. His book, Headstrong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Fast-in Just Two Weeks, is a must-read for a happy, healthy brain.  For an eye-opening documentary, watch Moldy: The Movie.  It's a HUGE problem and cause for health issues. For more videos about mold, click HERE.

A Correlation
I'm not including this under "Causes" of anxiety, but there is a correlation. According to Dr. Peter Gray, in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life , research has show that as free play in children declines, anxiety is on the rise. In his book, he illustrates the value of free play. As schools cancel recess and focus more on test-taking, and as parents schedule children for adult-supervised play dates and team sports, children have less and less time or opportunities for free play. The skills they would learn; negotiating, getting along, kindness, innovation, risk-taking, are getting lost. But this isn't just about children, because children grow into adults. Dr. Stuart Brown, in his book,  Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, maintains that people have "play" deficits, just as they have sleep deficits. Play is critical to our well-being. However, PLAY is different for different people. 

What is "play" to YOU?  Team sports, board games, reading, arts and crafts, music festivals or gardening?  One person's play is another person's work. I was recently invited to go to a baseball game. "Come on, Hali. It'll be FUN!"  

Nope. Big bowl of NOPE. 

"Fun" to her meant time with friends and family. Baseball is a fun sport. It's summertime! Plus popcorn. To me, it's noisy,  I hate sports, and it's 90-something degrees. I wilt in the heat, there's nothing for me to eat and I'm stuck in a crowd. PLUS, baseball goes on for hours. HOURS! There's no end time; you never know when it's done. 

So here's the question:  Where's the FUN in your life?  What playing do you do?  It's critical to your emotional well-being and overall health.   

 Kyle Cease  is someone I think is FUNny & gets me thinking. Plus, he meditates! AND he shares a story about anxiety:

Another kind of physical exercise, the chi kung bounce:

John Morgan teaches a relaxation process, RELAX in 2 MINUTES:

Here's a blog post from John Morgan of a simple mindfulness technique: Heads Up.


HERBS are a whole-plant way to nourish your body and support it in times of stress. 

Susun Weed is a wealth of information on herbal medicine; specifically on the healing properties of common weeds. For adrenal support, try Stinging Nettle.  Here's a tutorial from Susun on how to make an infusion.   I make 2 quarts at a time and keep it in the fridge. I use it to make my protein shakes with. If you want something a bit more convenient and instant, nettle powder works well, too. There are many benefits of nettle; great for sinuses, allergies, and boosting your energy levels.

Other herbs specifically for stress:

KavaHere's some information on kava, different kinds, what to avoid, etc. The main point is to avoid tudei.    BulaKavaHouse  which has instant  &  CactusKava   Here's how to make it.   It tastes like dirt and is a bit gritty. But it gives you a mellow sort of relaxed feeling. 

Another great herb to try is passion flower. However, it might make you sleepy. Here's a capsule version.  Here's a link a friend sent me in liquid form & says it helps really well and fast.

FLOWER ESSENCES are based on the frequency of the flower that gets infused into water, and is preserved with brandy or vinegar. It's kind of like homeopathy, only with flowers. Bach was the first, but there are others now, most notably Perelandra. 

Here's a great book:

Flower Essence Repertory: A Comprehensive Guide to North American and English Flower Essences for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being by Patricia Kaminski & Richard Katz

Bach's Rescue Remedy: a combination of different flower essences designed to help soothe and calm down.

Perelandra ETS: ETS (Emergency Trauma Solution) Perelandra has a flower essence and combinations for everything and everyone, people, animals, plants. 

I'm really sensitive to smells, so I stay away from essential oils. Even tho they're natural, they're very strong. It has been recommended that lavender is good for relaxation; which is an instant migraine for me. However, there is one oil I can do, created by Dr. Norm Shealy: Air Bliss. It was designed to be put on specific acupuncture points to alleviate anxiety and depression, and to raise oxcytocin levels. It smells divine! And whether it's the heavenly smell or the actual application, it does bring a sense of calm; almost bliss! His latest book, Living in Bliss. I tried some of the other ones he has, and I can't do them. But Air Bliss is WONDERFUL!  

Official Brain Gym website
Here's a link demonstrating the basic 4 exercises, by someone who used them to quell panic attacks. 
Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head by Carla Hannaford; brainy stuff along with illustrations of Brain Gym exercises.

RESONANCE REPATTERNING Resonance Repatterning is a WONDERFUL healing system for addressing any issue; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.  Founder Chloe Wordsworth has 2 books:

Spiral Up! 127 Energizing Options to be your best right now   Resource of quick and easy exercises; Brain Gym, breath exercises, chi kung, etc.
Quantum Change Made Easy; explains the science behind Resonance Repatterning.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Pioneer Sister's 2 youngest, Violin Gal & Sir Charmer, stayed at Atlasta's for a week. And then I met Pioneer Sister mid-way to take them back home. It turned out that Violin Gal wanted to go back to stay an extra week. So we headed back home and somehow missed our turn. Violin Gal pointed out this BEAUTIFUL church as we drove by, so we turned around and took a looksie.

I wonder what the proper pronunciation is for this name.

So I drove her back home because I was going back to visit the old River House 'hood. (More in the next post)!  Violin Gal found some locust shells in a tree so collected a few. Atlasta put one on the lamp:


We stopped along the way:

Back at the homestead:
Violin Gal planted a few shells around.

Her parakeets:

And here is a new brood: