I’ve recently started a new position that I’m very excited about. I wasn’t looking for a full-time job, but I was drawn to this so strongly that I had to be a part of it. This means that I won’t be taking on any new coaching clients for a few months; although I fully intend to fulfill my obligations with my current clients – we’ll just have to be creative with our timing.
I don’t want to give anyone false hope, but I do know people who could potentially benefit from Brainwave Optimization. I’m not trying to sell you on it – it’s not a cheap investment; and I make no claims about results. We’re very clear that we do not diagnose or treat; that we simply provide the neurofeedback technology that helps your brain move itself toward greater levels of balance and harmony.
The idea is that the brain is the “master regulator” – and when it’s balanced and harmonized it can function optimally. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me. You can also Google the Valentus Clinics website to see what we’re about as a company, and/or check out the Brainstate Technologies site to learn more about the technology itself. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts!
This post is a little different from the things I usually write about, but it’s something I really want to share:
Ever since I was a child I’d visited the doctor with symptoms of malaise and fatigue, only to find nothing wrong. This has continued throughout my life; and if I had been formally diagnosed I’m certain that I would have met the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Once a few years ago a friend suggested that I get tested for allergies. After getting the shots for a year I felt like a new man: healthy, happy, and full of energy. I had never felt so good in my entire life. But I gradually took this for granted and started to slack on my allergy shots. For the last 2 years or so I’d been feeling miserable again daily. All my medical tests would come back fine; although there were many days when I found it very hard to even get out of bed. It almost felt like a constant low-grade flu – and it really started messing with my emotional health.
About seven months ago I decided to revisit the allergy thing; sort of fearing that I had imagined the benefits I’d received a couple years ago. But I’ve been getting the shots for 7 months now and I’m starting to feel really good again. I forgot how good it feels to feel healthy, and I’ll never take it for granted again.
I am indeed very grateful. And I’m also wondering how many other people out there with undiagnosed allergies are being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and such; continuously feeling unwell with no apparent reason for it. My doctor told me that my symptoms weren’t the norm – that people who come in for allergy testing and shots are typically suffering from the typical itchy eyes and runny noses. But what about other people like me, who have never entertained the idea of allergies because their symptoms aren’t typical?
I have a feeling there are more of us out there. So if you know anyone who constantly feels under the weather despite negative medical results, please tell them to get tested for allergies!
I’ve always been very interested in the art and science of hypnotherapy, and I’ve often considered getting trained myself. But it can take years to master; and even then not everyone can do it well. It takes a special kind of person and very skilled practitioner to give you the kind of experience that can literarily change your life in a very short period of time.
I’ve recently been chatting with Xavier Nathan from Setanta Hypnotherapy Clinic, way across the world from me on the Isle of Man, who really is a master of his craft. I’ve learned so much after surfing his website, and I’ve included the link here for you to check out as well if you’re interested.
What’s also really cool is that Xavier and his wife, Mary, offer a bunch of free hypnotherapy downloads to check out before buying their products or services. So make sure you download them, and check out the videos while you’re there – very cool stuff
There seems to be a lot written about mindfulness lately, and so I’ve sort of steered away from the topic. But I was reminded again recently about how important a topic it really is: how one simple practice can make such a difference to one’s well-being.
I have a friend who has been having trouble sleeping due to stress and ruminating at night, and when I had suggested mindfulness mediation her response reminded me how many people tend to see this practice as new-age ‘hocus pocus’. The fact is, though, that this practice has been used for thousands of years; long before the western ‘new-agers’ ever got ahold of it.
Mindfulness is a simple concept; although not always easy to employ. It simply means (according to at least one definition) just being here right now. Non-judgmentally being with this moment. And this moment. And this moment…
Our bodies do not easily differentiate fantasy from reality, so when we’re ruminating about the days’ events or about what’s going to play out tomorrow, or bodies respond as if the mental scenario we’re playing out is really happening. The body then goes into its stress response and we can’t sleep. Or digest well. Or relax. Or think clearly.
So during the day it helps to remind ourselves to just be right here right now. If we take a moment, use the breath as an anchor to just be really present (just observing the breath going all the way in and all the way out, without trying to control it in any way), we realize that literally nothing is really going on at this particular moment: the stress we feel is purely a manifestation of what’s going on in our head at that moment.
There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness in daily life (and it does take ongoing practice), but I won’t get into them for the purposes of this article. I will, however, go back to the topic of sleep and share a mindfulness-based exercise for calming the mind at night (when ordinary problems appear much bigger), so that we can get the rest and repair we need.
I had been giving a workshop sometime ago about sleep, when one of the participants shared a great strategy. It’s something I continue to use regularly, and I wish I knew who he was so that I could give him proper credit. He did not call it mindfulness meditation, but as he explained the simple technique I knew that that was exactly what it was:
The next time you have a hard time sleeping, particularly because you’re ruminating, the first rule is to remember that just by lying there you’re getting most of the metabolic rest you need. So don’t stress about trying to sleep. Don’t even try to sleep – that only makes things worse. Rather, try slowly and persistently saying ‘Goodnight’ to every little piece of your body: “Goodnight toes. Goodnight balls of the feet. Good night tops of the feet. Goodnight ankles. Goodnight calf muscles…” You get the picture. And when you start to drift off or wander, force yourself to continue with the exercise.
This exercise may sound silly, but it’s very powerful in its simplicity. What you’re doing is automatically relaxing every part of your body simply by focusing on it. And when the body is relaxed, rest comes more easily. The other thing you’re doing – and this is where the mindfulness comes in – is stilling the mind. When you’re focused on each part of your body, you’re not thinking about the day or about what’s in store tomorrow. And when the mind is calm, rest comes more easily.
So if you find yourself stressed from time to time (as we all do), try cultivating more mindfulness during the day: just stop and be present with whatever you’re doing, so that you can make clearer choices. And if you find yourself carrying it with you to bed, try this simple exercise before reaching for the sleeping pills or the bottle of wine!
My son had a bowl of Mini Wheats this morning, and he was absolutely off the wall. My kind, gentle soul of a child turned into a raving lunatic within minutes.
Now Mini Wheats are certainly a somewhat-nutritious breakfast, but one of its ingredients apparently did not agree with his little system. I believe the culprit was artificial colouring (we’ve begun to notice this trend with a variety of foods).
The thing is that this was not very difficult detective work: food in, beast unleashed.
But as adults, we have so many more layers of complexity: when you’re feeling a little off during the day, is it because of that conflict with your co-worker? Is it because you have a thousand impossible deadlines to meet? Or is it simply because you had Mini Wheats for breakfast?
The truth is that what affects our emotional and physical balance is multifactoral: lots of different pieces of the puzzle adding up to the whole picture.
But some pieces are bigger than others, and carry more weight on our sense of well-being or dis-ease.
So when you’re doing your detective work, experiment on all levels: have the difficult conversation you need to have. Go to bed instead of watching that last movie. Learn some better time-management skills. Forego the Mini Wheats tomorrow morning.
Experiment and identify the big pieces of your puzzle. Keep a journal and record your foods, activities, energy levels, and moods – and see what themes arise. You may be surprised at how one simple change can have a domino-effect on the rest of your life!