Tag Archives: sickness

10 Unusual Reasons You Might be Feeling Sick All the Time

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Surviving without air conditioning when it is hot and humid is nearly impossible, especially in some regions. Keeping an AC running requires more than just the right appliance; it demands maintenance, which a lot of people neglect. An air conditioning unit that does not receive proper servicing not only spikes the power bills but poses health risks as well. It may be surprising to learn that you may be feeling a bit under the weather because of your home’s cooling system. Continue reading

One World: Michelle King Robson and EmpowHER

Michelle King RobsonAfter being given an unnecessary hysterectomy at the age of 42, Michelle King Robson saw a dramatic shift in her health. She went into menopause overnight, gained weight, experienced hot flashes, joint pain and memory loss. “I got so sick that I didn’t want to live anymore,” she recalls of the experience.  Her struggles with the procedure and the long road to recovery that followed, lead her to create her website EmpowHER.com

Michelle recently sat down with Deepak Chopra to have a discussion on her experience as part of the One World series on NEWSWIRE.FM.

As Michelle struggled through recovery, she searched for someone who had been through something similar. After visiting hundreds of websites and reaching out to doctors across the country, she couldn’t find a single person who could tell her what to expect, recommend a course of action or even give her any words of encouragement. “I got sick, I got well, and then I got mad and that’s when I decided to start a company.” Michelle explains.  EmpowHER was created to ensure that no woman has to go through the struggles that Michelle went through around her health.

“What happened with me was I didn’t advocate for myself, and most women don’t. We advocate for everybody else…but we don’t do it for ourselves.” She told Deepak for the One World episode. EmpowHER allows women to not only find support when they are dealing with a variety of health challenges; but also helps women (and men alike) take control of their health with condition-specific medical information and access to a dynamic community.

EmpowHER offers resources to women around what questions they should be asking of their healthcare providers and what things they can be doing to advocate for their health. “I wanted to make sure women have valuable information and support because that’s what I was lacking.” This is how EmpowHER’s 24-hour promise was born. Anyone can log into the site, ask a question and they are guaranteed a FREE answer within 24 hours. In this way, Michelle can ensure that no one gets left behind. “We all deserve answers, validation and support around our health.”

As caregivers in most societies, women are taught to put their own wellbeing last. With EmpowHER, Michelle seeks to turn this trend on its head. “It’s ok for you to be first in your life. Because if you’re not first guess what happens? The whole family suffers.” Rather than becoming bitter as a result of her own experiences, Michelle has created the support system and tools she wishes she had. EmpowHER brings credible health information and women together in a safe trusted community. “When you have information, you have the power to change outcomes in your life and every life you touch.”

Since establishing EmpowHER, Michelle has become a nationally-recognized women’s health and wellness advocate spending her time speaking before women’s groups, health care organizations, political leaders, regulatory bodies and the media about women’s health and the importance of women advocating for themselves and their loved ones.

You can see Deepak’s whole conversation with Michelle at NEWSWIRE.FM

Learn more about Michelle and EmpowHER.com: http://www.empowher.com/michelle

Download Michelle’s Free HER Health Toolkit: http://www.empowher.com/toolkit

Better Than Before: A Hypochondriac Discovers von Willebrand Disease

 von Willebrand DiseaseThe worst thing you can tell a hypochondriac such as myself, is that there is another illness out there waiting to be experienced. Case in point: The little-known bleeding disorder, von Willebrand Disease (vWD). While it sounds like something you can only catch from effete German aristocrats, it is, in fact, named after Erik Adolf von Willebrand, a Finnish pediatrician who first discovered it in 1926. And the only reason I am writing about it now, is that it turns out that I know someone who actually suffers from it, and she recently described her symptoms to me. (Note: When innocents start doing this and my husband, The Lawyer, is present, he desperately, tries to stop them before I personally start to manifest the symptoms!) Amazingly, it is remarkably common – if not well understood – and by some estimates, affects as many as 1 in 100 people. A genetic disorder, it is non gender-specific, meaning men and women are afflicted equally. Most cases, though, go undiagnosed because the symptoms tend to be very mild.

In order to find out more about vWD, I consulted with the specialty-trained clinicians in the Express Scripts Bleeding Disorder Therapeutic Resource Center, offered through Accredo, who have disease-specific expertise. They help patients understand and manage their condition and treatments. In other words, they are good for me to get to know. (Both the experts and the treatments, that is!)

Here is what Leslie Oygar, a clinical nurse liaison in the TRC, tells me:

Von Willebrand factor (vWf) is one of the key components of the process that helps blood clot. It is produced in the bone marrow and the lining of the blood vessels, where it is also stored. In 99% of us, VWf is released into the blood when an injury occurs and works with platelets to start the clotting process, which ultimately stops the bleeding. If the supplies of vWf are inadequate, it can result in uncontrollable, or poorly controlled, bleeding.

There are three types of vWD. Fortunately, a vast majority –roughly 75% – of patients have Type 1. These patients typically experience less severe symptoms. Type 2 is caused by a qualitative dysfunction of the vWf. There’s enough clotting factor but it does not function the way it should. Type 3 is the most serious, and rarest, of vWD. These patients have a a severe deficiency of clotting factors, and experience significant bleeding –including joint bleeding. Type 3 requires treatment with an intravenous clotting factor containing vWF.

Now for the scary part as far as I’m concerned! That would be the actual symptoms. According to Oygar, these can range widely depending on the person’s gender and type of vWD.

“They can be as minor as light bruising or small knots under a bruised area,” Oygar says.

The more alarming ones include bleeding from the gums and prolonged bleeding after a dental extraction, blood in the urine (kidney bleeding) or bleeding in the stomach or intestines. Female patients, as one would imagine, can have additional signs including prolonged or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, which are in some cases very serious, requiring blood transfusions until it is under control. Postpartum bleeding is of concern as well.

The good news? vWD is treatable, Oygar points out. How? Glad you asked, because Oygar has answers.

• Symptoms of Type I and some forms of Type 2 are often treated with an intranasal spray, Stimate, also offered in injectable form.

• Oral medications, like Aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid, are available to help prevent the clot formed from breaking down after the bleeding stops. They are often used before and after dental procedures.

• Some other forms of Type 2 and Type 3 may call for an intravenous plasma-derived clotting factor.

For patients with any form of vWD, however, below are six useful medication management tips to help ensure that their condition is well controlled. They are important suggestions to keep on hand on your journey to feeling Better Than Before:

1) Be on the alert: If you have vWD, as with so many conditions, the first step is prevention. Similar to people with hemophilia, obviously avoid activities that can lead to cuts and internal bleeding. Less obvious is food-intake related actions. Sharp-edged foods, such as corn chips, may scratch or pierce the soft tissue inside your mouth and cause bleeding. Chewing gum can lead to biting your tongue. And if you are already bleeding, avoid hot foods and beverages, as they can cause vasodilation, causing bleeding to worsen.

2) Have First-Aid handy: Keep popsicles in the freezer as a first line of care for oral bleeding until medication can be administered as ordered by the hematologist. The ice-cold treat aids in vasoconstriction, which is part of the first stage of coagulation. Ice packs for topical use on other areas of the body should be in the freezer as well.

3) Cover all contingencies: Especially in the case of your children who may have vWD, have a plan and discuss it with the school nurse or teachers, and other caregivers. Ensure that medication is available in the school clinic for any episodes of bleeding.

4) Use as directed: Nasal sprays, injectables and intravenous medications for vWD require a hematologist’s supervision and approval and should be used exactly as prescribed. Over-dosing or under-dosing can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Always consult a hematologist or an appropriate clinician for questions about dosing changes. Missing doses or discontinuing the medication could cause the bleeding to resume.

5) Monitor fluid intake: Over-hydration in patients on a nasal spray or injectable form of medication can cause seriously low sodium levels which could lead to seizures.

6) Talk to your clinician: Heavy menstrual bleeding can be dangerous and must be reported to the hematologist or clinician. Let your hematologist know at least 2 weeks prior to surgery or dental work. Be sure to report any symptoms or changes.

As for me, I’ve decided that from now on I probably should stay away from sharp knives; and just to be sure, all cooking utensils! The Lawyer will just have to fend for himself in the kitchen. (Who cares if the odds are 99 to 1 that I don’t have vWD!)

Taking your Best Shot – When & Why You Should Get the Flu Shot for Flu Prevention

Intent_1002doctorAccording to the experts who keep track of these types of figures, this year we are experiencing the flu virus in record numbers. It’s an epidemic, so much so that The Big Apple, my home town, is now known as “Flu” York. Since it is extremely contagious, that leaves the question of how to prevent getting it to begin with. I mean it kind of makes you want to wear a mask and surgical gloves in public. (Wait! That would be considered weird?)

But of course, the flu virus is not just limited to New York City — it’s all over. Aside from washing our hands well, drinking plenty of liquids, eating extremely healthfully to build up our immune systems, and staying out of rush-hour packed subways for the time being (no need to ask me twice on that one, I assure you), what else can we do? For advice, I turned to Don Smart, a specialist pharmacist in the Express Scripts Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC). Indeed, Don and his team play a more important role than ever in helping patients through this nasty cough and cold season.

“As someone who focuses on pulmonary conditions,” he says, “what concerns me is that many of those at the greatest risk will neglect to obtain a flu vaccine this year.” To that end, he and his colleagues counsel patients about respiratory illnesses on a daily basis to help them achieve better health outcomes. “And one simple but important step they can take to maintain good respiratory health is to get a flu vaccine.”

According to Smart, respiratory infections like influenza are more serious in patients with asthma and COPD, as such infections can often lead to pneumonia. “However, per the Centers for Disease Control, despite being at a greater risk for developing complications from the influenza virus, only one-third of all adults who have asthma, and one-fifth of those younger than age 50, get the vaccines annually.”

He feels, therefore, that this is especially troubling because children with asthma are particularly at risk for developing influenza-related acute respiratory illnesses. “From 1976 to 2007, an estimated 3,000 – 49,000 people died annually from the flu. Most healthy kids and adults are able to fight off these infections, but people already in high-risk categories are especially susceptible.”

Probably not a great idea to put this info in the hands of a confirmed hypochondriac — and a health writer, no less — but here are some of the risk factors he shared with me for acute respiratory illness:

• Anyone over 65 years.

• Anyone who resides in a long-term care facility or nursing home.

• Those aged 2-65 with a long-term lung condition (among other diseases).

• Anyone aged 19-64 who is a smoker or has asthma.

“Having asthma and COPD does not put you at a greater risk for getting the flu, but it does mean that you are at a higher one for developing complications,” Smart explains. “The influenza virus can increase inflammation and mucous secretions. This exacerbates breathing symptoms in those with illnesses who are already predisposed to swollen, inflamed and sensitive airways.”

At the end of the day, Smart insists that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that patients who suffer from asthma and other high risk conditions would benefit greatly from the vaccination; especially since they are more susceptible to complications and hospitalizations if they contract the flu virus.

Finally, while a flu shot can be taken any time after October, “flu season generally peaks in January and February,” Smart concluded. “So if you haven’t already, get vaccinated. Now is the time. If you have questions, your specialist pharmacist can help.”

So arm yourself with the best possible anti-flu weapons this season. Just remember, as they will undoubtedly say at the Super Bowl: A good offense is the best defense.

Protect Yourself From Food Bourne Illnesses

Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 1.31.38 AMEarlier this year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report about Salmonella poisoning in various imported spices that people use every day. Shortly thereafter there was a nationwide panic when Salmonella was found in grocery store chicken. With these various threats it is important to know what you’re dealing with and how keep yourself safe from salmonella and other food-borne illness. And it is especially important to us that you understand why you never have to worry about such contaminants in Wakaya Perfection products.

What exactly is Salmonella?

The FDA defines Salmonella as a group of bacteria that is the most common cause of food poisoning. Symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea and fever, usually last 4-7 days and many can get better without treatment. However, symptoms can be more severe or lead to more serious illnesses in older adults, infants and those with chronic illnesses.

What are the sources and how do you prevent it from being in your food?

Salmonella is usually found in uncooked eggs, poultry and meat. It can also be found in unpasteurized milk, juice, cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, and spices that have been processed improperly.

The primary ways to avoid Salmonella are to make sure that your meat and egg products are thoroughly cooked. Salmonella is usually killed off at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Also make sure to wash your hands properly before handling any raw food products, especially if you are interacting with animals or their treats beforehand. Germs can easily transfer from humans to the food, and if not heated properly can lead to Salmonella poisoning.

Be careful with your cooking utensils as well. Don’t use the same utensils to handle raw products that you do when your food is finally cooked. Check your labels and packaging for refrigeration protocols and follow them. Food that is not properly refrigerated before cooking can also carry the bacteria.

Why are you safe with Wakaya Perfection?

First of all, all of our products are 100% organic which means there are absolutely no outside pesticides or chemicals used in their processing. They are watered completely by Fijian natural rains – no man-made irrigation is used to cultivate our ginger plants.

Once our ginger is ground it is cooked for many hours in a sealed convection oven and immediately processed in our USDA NOP certified full stainless steel sealed suction powder processing machinery that allows no human contact or surrounding air contamination.. It is totally enclosed in the system for the entire process.

The packaging is immediate with no delays and no contaminants entering the system at any stage. The proprietary process is strictly controlled at every stage for immediate processing and not exposed to open environmental and human pollutants.  Our state of the art USDA NOP certified organically registered factory facility is our consumers’ guarantee of quality, purity and superior hygiene at all times.

5 Ways to Protect Your Kids (and Yourself!) from the Flu

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The season is changing and we have finally arrived at that bittersweet time of Daylight Savings.  I always feel like this simple one-hour time change throws me into a pretty significant physiological shift.  For me, it also marks the beginning of the flu and cold season.

Ever wonder why the winter months are when we get sick the most? While many experts have their myriad reasons, the culprit is not as simple as “it’s cold outside.”

There are few steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from what seems to be the inevitable flu. The guardian of the health of our body is the immune system.  While intangible and challenging to identify, the immune system has very specific signs and symptoms.

For a moment, put aside the traditional considerations for assessing your child’s health.  Instead, I’d like you to consider some new approaches and angles that will provide you with insight into the likelihood that your child will stay healthy or get sick this winter season.

1. Sugar and processed foods impact the immune system.

Studies have shown that through a complex system of chemical processes sugar and processed foods depress the immune system. There exists a direct link between the amount of these foods that your child consumes and his/her health.

Obvious foods such as sodas, candy, cookies, ice cream, and potato chips are the big guns that should be kept concealed.

Even more disturbing are the foods that you think are healthy for your child that hide sugar and many refined ingredients: yogurt, and yogurt drinks and “pops;”most cereals; juices; fruit roll ups and “leathers;” “healthy” cookies and treats, soy ice cream and frozen treats. While being marketed as healthy choices, these foods aren’t much better than the obvious poor choices. Work hard during flu season to keep these foods away from your children.  Read ingredient labels and watch out for:  corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or “HFCS,” brown rice syrup, fructose, sucrose, barleymalt and the obvious, sugar.

2. Fresh foods offer the highest quality vitamins.

It’s shocking to me how often I see people turn to orange juice for vitamin C in an effort to fight off a cold or flu.

It is important to understand that the majority of vitamin C in orange juice is added after processing. Vitamin C and others like zinc, vitamin E, and magnesium help to support the immune system and are a great defense during flu season.

Choose better by having kids eat fresh whole foods such as cherries, berries, and apples, and vegetables such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes.

I know you probably hear this suggestion all the time, but it can’t be stressed enough. It is imperative to find creative ways to prepare vegetables so that kids will actually eat them.  Sautee, roast or grill vegetables with olive oil or real butter, add some fresh sea salt or sprinkle with organic low fat cheese and kids will be more likely to eat.

3. Sleep will boost the immune system.

At night while we rest, the body is working to rebuild the immune system.  Deep sleep allows a complex set of hormonal changes that recharge the body so that it’s resilient the next day.  Be diligent and ensure that kids get a full night sleep of 8-10 hours.

Mandate bedtime despite protests and stick to a regular schedule. These are the times that mom and dad really need to be the boss. Resist the temptation to allow your child to stay up late and watch his or her favorite show. At the end of the day when you are tired as well, it’s easy to give in to your child’s vigilant campaign.

Remember: Would you rather avoid the confrontation tonight? Or deal with a sick kid tomorrow?

4. Fatigue is the first sign of a distressed immune system.

As already stated, the immune system desperately needs sleep to keep the body healthy.  When the immune system is fighting to keep your child healthy, it requests that the body get extra rest to help in the fight.

If your child seems more fatigued than usual, it could be a very strong signal that your child is on the brink of getting sick.

The best way to fight off a cold or flu is to act immediately and get extra rest. Pay attention to the health of others around you such as those at work or your child’s school.  If you hear of a bug “going around” and you notice that your child is tired, there’s a good chance that extra sleep will ward off the cold or flu.  This is the time to allow extra television and require a mid-day nap.

5. Wash hands frequently, but avoid antibacterial products.

This seems counterintuitive, but the best way to kill environmental germs is to use soap and hot water and scrub hands thoroughly. Bacteria live all around us.  They are on every surface we touch and in every breath we take. Without bacteria, our immune system wouldn’t learn to be strong.

Our internal bacterial system fights off invaders and thereby gets more effective at winning the battle.  It’s just like working out:  In order to become stronger, you must work hard in the gym.  Your child’s body is a bacterial gym.  Again, this comes back to the immune system. If you foster a strong immune system, your child’s body will fight off invaders and therefore become more resilient to future battles. While it is imperative to wash hands frequently during flu season, remember that the hands are only one very small way that germs enter your child’s system. Killing off the germs on hands with antibacterial products is futile and weakens your child’s- and the world’s- future ability to confront germs.

 

Originally Published in 2008

Banish Belly and Other Aches…. Guided Imagery Helps Kids Ease Tummy Troubles

 

 Eight-year-old Alice suffered from horrible stomach pain.  In my office she closed her eyes, breathed slowing into her belly, and asked inside what was the cause. Stress appeared as a large square black block in the middle of her brain. What to do? Her inner voice said Calmness was the antidote. Pictured as a swirling lavender ball, she breathed Calm feelings into hands, belly, neck, and head. Stress melted and her tummy stopped hurting.

Over the past 25 years I’ve seen how the pain of chronic stomachaches and headaches can debilitate a child. The worry, anxiety, fear of pain, and feeling out of control can send kids over the edge. But kids can also learn imagination techniques to help them heal.

I was therefore extremely pleased to read about the new research just published in the November journal of Pediatrics showing that guided imagery CDs relieved children’s chronic stomach pain. Conducted at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University Medical Center , 30 children ages 6-15 listened to relaxing CDs several times a week over eight weeks. The children enjoyed the CDs so much that there was virtual complete compliance. Their results showed 63.1% of the treatment group significantly decreased their pain, compared to 26.7% in a control group that just received standard medical care.  Once the two-month study was over, the control group was given the same guided imagery treatment so they wouldn’t lose out; results were similar  (61.5% improved).  At a six-month follow-up, children continued to do well.

One of their images stood out. The children imagined a special object like butter melting into  their hands making them warm and shiny, then placing their hands on ailing tummies, spreading warmth and light inside to create a protective barrier that prevented anything from irritating their bellies. I often use a similar direct hands-on approach to teach children they can heal themselves.

My focus is children and teens learning to create their own imageries through a toolbox of nine core imagination skills to mix and match as needed. Their personal kit includes: the relaxing balloon breath, discovering a safe special place, meeting wise animal friends and wizards as guides, receiving gifts from them to assist, connecting to the wisdom of their heart and belly, dialoging with symptoms and feelings, and using color and energy for healing and pain control.

With these tools, kids make up their own creative scenarios. Below are five suggestions to help you on your way.

1. Teach the Balloon Breath as a Foundation Tool

The Balloon Breath is a simple technique of breathing slowly and deeply into the belly while focusing attention about two inches below the navel. This type of diaphragmatic breathing helps center and calm.

2. Pay Attention to Wisdom of Inner Guides

An imagined Animal Friend (or Wizard) can be a valuable tool to access inner wisdom. These imaginary guides are kind, loving, and have a child’s best interest at heart. Gifts from them are used to receive power and assistance. One six-year-old boy’s pride of lions stood guard around his hospital bed to give him courage during a frightening medical test. Another eleven-year-old girl received the Gift of a spiral-moving rainbow to heal chronic stomach pains, along with rainbow glasses to see the world in a more positive light.

3. Incorporate Color to Relieve Pain

When children are very focused and involved with their personal imageries, they are distracted from their pain. One seven-year-old girl created a “color therm-o-meter” that could raise or lower different emotions and pain. She initially worked with feelings; they seemed easier for her then the pain itself. She increased ‘blue’ Calmness and decreased ‘orange’ Fear; then increased ‘pink’ Love and decreased ‘black’ Anger. This helped her progress directly to reducing her pain in a similar manner. And a 12-year-old boy found that by first increasing his pain, he realized he had some control over it. He then used this control to lower his pain to an acceptable level.

4. Practice The Three-Question Exercise

It’s an easy imagery formula that may relieve or totally eliminate pain. Start with doing the Balloon Breath. Ask your child: “Where in your body do you feel the pain?”  Then follow with:

(1) What color is it?

(2) What shape is it?

(3) How heavy is it?

Be accepting and positive of any response. Have your child continue to breath slowly three or four times between rounds. Repeat the three questions and your reactions to them.

Over the course of three to five to ten minutes, there is generally a change from dark, sharp, and heavy, to light in color, round, and light in weight. I’ve seen this work with all kinds of pain. The length of this process depends on your child’s openness to relaxation and the intensity of pain.

If there are any bits of pain left, suggest a conversation with Pain in order to find out what your child needs to know, understand, or do to let go of the rest. Or, he can imagine melting away any leftover hurt through his body (through skin, belly button, or whatever he comes up with).

5. Use the Power of Audio

As in the fine UNC/Duke study, a well-chosen relaxation CD can work wonders. A favorite all-purpose guided imagery with the kids I see is imagining planting a magical garden where they visualize growing healthy and strong. While their garden grows, they float in a nearby healing pond, allowing the waters to wash away their pain, or heal inside hurts by drinking from the special liquid. After one group session, three boys were relieved of the pain of their stomachache, headache, and canker sore respectively. You may create your own, try the script on pages 127-128 in The Power of Your Child’s Imagination* or have your child listen to the Creating a Magical Garden and Healing Pond CD I recorded.**

Remember, it’s not necessary to have the perfect script, or years of experience for facility with this work. What is important is your sincerity, your respect for your children and their process, and your allowing them to bring forth their natural inner wise healer. As a young pre-teen discovered:

“Your imagination can help you heal.”

Van Tilburg, M., et. al. (2009) Audio-Recorded Guided Imagery Treatment Reduces Abdominal Pain in Children: A Pilot Study. Journal of Pediatrics, 124 (5) 890-897.

* C. Reznick. The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success (Perigee/Penguin, 2009).

Dr. Charlotte Reznick has dedicated her life to helping children, adolescents, parents, and professionals. She is a nationally recognized child and educational Psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA. Upon earning her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California, she was honored with "Dissertation of the Year" for her work on the effects of parental divorce on adolescents.

The Power of Your Child’s Imagination is a heart-felt guide that shows parents and professionals how to empower children with easy, effective, and creative skills for surviving – and thriving – in our stressful world. It’s an indispensable guide that provides nine simple tools to help kids access their natural strengths and resources. There’s a mini-primer for each Tool—a sample script, troubleshooting tips, and real-life examples of how it is used. The Tools are adaptable to all ages (even adults can use them), and their benefits accumulate over time.

 
 

Your Body, Your Friend

John Morton, D.S.S.

Do you relate to your body as your friend?  To me, our body is one of our best friends amongst many best friends, and it is on the order of a perfect servant.  Our body follows directions, and much of that direction is so far beyond what we know consciously.  So it’s important to give our body directions that are loving and healthy.

When we begin to appreciate what our body is, where it comes from and how it functions for us, then it is a temple.  It is a place of worship that’s holy.  So consider the perfection and majesty of your body.  Naturally, as we come into that awareness, we begin to respect and honor our body as that temple.  Our body is a vehicle, a housing if you will, for our functioning.  It’s vital to us as souls, as spiritual beings having human experiences in this world.

When you don’t feel well, don’t judge yourself.  For example, if you say to yourself, “I’d be really fine today if this body would do what it’s supposed to do,” that’s a statement of ignorance.  Your body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.  It’s your attitude that needs some adjustment.

Move your consciousness toward what is joyful, healthful, and vital to you.  John-Roger defines health as “loving who you are.”  When I first heard that, I was struck by the simplicity and truth of that definition.  If I’m loving who I am, there’s a vitality in that.  Even if I’m in a coma, or I’m paralyzed, there’s still a vitality in my loving.  My vitality as a loving being is  not about the functionality of my physical being.  Those are conditions that bring to us what we are learning.  Often, those learning conditions appear to us as obstacles and challenges.  Yet they are on purpose for who we are and what we are learning as souls in this world.

You can change your attitude towards your body right now by loving it just as it is — your good friend.  Choose to be happy and at peace with yourself as best you can.  Even if you have a headache or you don’t have the energy to walk across the room, that doesn’t alter your purpose or ability to love yourself in each moment.  So be accepting and loving towards yourself in relation to the conditions of your body, the temple for your soul.

************

John Morton, D.S.S., is the author of The Blessings Already Are and You Are the Blessings: Meditations and Reflections on Life, God and Us.  Learn more about John’s works at www.johnmortonministries.org.  Contact John at goto@johnmortonministries.org.

This Week on Intent: Tell Us How to Prevent Sickness

This week on Intent, we want to hear your advice on preventing sickness and illness. What can we do on a physical, mental and even spiritual level to prevent ourselves from getting sick? 

We bring this up because preventing an illness is so much more time-efficient and cost-efficient than getting out of an illness. Spending an extra thirty minutes a day to exercise may sound like a chore, but is so much cheaper when you consider the costs of a trip to the hospital or missing a few days of work.

We also bring this up in light of the current ongoing dialogue on healthcare reform. Though we may not have complete control over what happens with our health care policies, we at least have complete control over our own lifestyles to prevent future illnesses as much as we possibly can through the food we eat, the exercise we do and the time we take to educate ourselves on important health issues.

So what can we do to prevent sickness before it happens? Whether it’s the common cold, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease or even depression, we want to hear what action steps we can take now to avoid costly hospital visits or future operations.

Vitamins? Meditation? A simple exercise routine? Eating more vegetables? Watching more comedies? We want to hear everything.

You know that old saying about how a stich in time saves nine? When it comes to health, that principle couldn’t be more true.

Join Intent’s mission this week to inspire others with ideas on preventing illness or injury. Tag your blog posts "preventive care" and we will be featuring the best weekly content at the end of the week. If you simply want to share a quick idea in the comments below, we want to hear that as well. We can’t wait to read your contributions!

 

What Is My Responsibility?

Funny I should ask, since this very question was popping left and right all around me lately. It all begun with an email that was forwarded to me, an email that contained "Little gems from the Health Care Bill". Those gems were all the parts of the bill that would allow government to force people to do things, dictate what things they can do and how, control their health, control their business and investments, control their marriage, control their life!

 
As I read the tension grew, with every sentence the fear was stronger. Fear of being manipulated, forced, restrained, trapped. As I continued reading the email I remembered a question that Brooks asks occasionally: "So whose body is it anyway? Whose responsibility is it?"
 
It occurred to me, as I considered the email and the place from which I felt it was written, that there is fear where there is no responsibility. There is fear where there is no independence. Because whose responsibility is it that I am healthy? That my body is open and balanced? And whose responsibility is it to bring it back into balance when it collapses and becomes ill? 
 
If I make it the doctor’s responsibility, if I make it the pharmaceutic industry’s responsibility, then there is place for fear. If they are responsible for my health then my body is in their hands. If my body is in their hands then they can manipulate me, control me, restrain me, trap me.
 
But what if I don’t? What if I realize that it is my body, that it’s not a doctor’s job to heal me but mine, it is not medicine’s job to heal me, but mine. Because it is my body, my life. I get to say whether I am ill or not, healthy or not. Who else could possibly make that decision for me?
 
There is no fear here, there is no room for control or manipulation in this place, there is no possibility of control or manipulation because I am here and I am responsible. Because I am here and I am responsible I am free to be however I wish to be. There is nothing here that could stop me, because I am here.
 
So what is my responsibility? Everything. Because it is me, because it is my body, because it is my life. I am creating it, I am designing it. I am free to do that, absolutely free to grow and open, with no limitations, because I am responsible.
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