One Tool Can Help You Enjoy Every Holiday Moment!

Holiday Meditation

Meditate Your Way The Best Holiday Ever!

You have too much to do, too many people to see, and your budget is tight during the holidays.  All of these worries have the potential to deprive you of any joy.  Don’t let it happen.  Mediation offers many rewards.  Click here to read my earlier post about the benefits of meditation.  Meditation is powerful.  Recently, one of San Francisco’s toughest schools was transformed by meditation.  Click here to read about it.  Meditation can change your brain.   A recent Harvard MRI study proved that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s gray matter in 8 weeks!

The most beneficial result of regular meditation, especially during stressful busy times, is that it can help you to enjoy the present moment, your family and friends and all the beautiful things about this season. [Click to Tweet]  This means that no matter how busy you are, how much you have to do, or how worried you are about your bank account, you will be able to see some joy in almost every moment this holiday season.

Have you tried to meditate and just didn’t feel like you were doing it “right?”  Or, did you mentally run through your to-do list or think about your aching back, or the argument you just had with your spouse/kids?  I am analytical by nature and by training (as a lawyer) so I know how hard it is to quiet the mind and live in the present.  It was easy for me, in the beginning, to get frustrated.   I attended meditation seminars, read books, listen to guided meditation and meditated at least 6 times per week and still I felt like I was fighting with my brain to just “be quiet.”  In my earlier blog, I referenced Dr. Joe Dispenza, the doctor who trained me to meditate.  Dr. Dispenza teaches a concept that changed the way I thought about “learning” to meditate.  What follows is not exactly the way Dr. Joe teaches it.  It is how I took his concept to help me in my meditation.  So here it is:

Meditation tree

This is the meditation tree.  This is not an official name but just a way for you to remember the concept you are about to learn.  The roots are your anchor.  No matter “where” you go during your meditation, they will hold you firmly in place so you are not nervous or afraid.  The trunk is your body.  The branches are the various dimensions of your self, your life and personality that you need to “get past” during your mediation so that you can live in the present unburdened by all that “stuff.” The more you are able to do this, the faster you will be able to do it.   Faster is better because when you are in that stressful situation, you can draw upon your training quickly to react by appreciating the situation, and not letting it drag you down.

Some of the branches that are in the tree ready to keep you trapped are:

  • Your Past
  • Your Future
  • Time
  • The Environment
  • Your Body

At the center of the tree is your true self and it is absent of these thoughts. This is the place every meditator wants to reach because there, you are free, joyful, limitless and living in the present.

All of the above is background for the value I found in this concept.  Here it is – learning to meditate is a process!  Some days you go back and forth in the outer branches never getting deep in the brush.  Other days, you dive down deep, only to pop out really quickly. Some days you fall down deep and pop back up over and over.  Then —- there are the days when you fall deep into the tree and hang out for a while.  The more you meditate, the easier it is to “drop in” and stay there.  And, as I mentioned above, the more you practice, the more you will be able to draw upon this skill when you need it to help you live and love in the present moment.

So, you see, there is no competitionThere is no right way or wrong way to meditate. [Click to Tweet] As long as you are hanging out in the branches, you are accomplishing something.  Recently, I saw this graphic on Facebook and I think it sums up what regular meditation will enable you to do.

Butterfly mediation

So, close your eyes for a time each day and swing through the branches.  The result: enjoying every minute of your holidays and beyond!

Have you tried meditating?  What was your biggest challenge?

Caroline Boardman
December 6, 2015

www.balancingyourchemistry.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

 

Are Your Neurotransmitters Ready For The Holidays?

neurotransmitters

5 Tips for Maintaining Proper Brain Chemistry During The Holidays
The holiday season is approaching.  Have you given any consideration on how the holiday season affects your neurotransmitters?  I’m guessing probably not.  Read below and be armed and ready!
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, most of us have experienced that sleepy feeling after eating too much turkey.  Did you know that turkey is rich in tryptophan, a neurotransmitter precursor to melatonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you sleep!!  Melatonin is derived from Serotonin, a well-recognized neurotransmitter responsible for a great part of our mood.  Serotonin and Dopamine are probably the two most recognized neurotransmitters across the board.  Little did you know but the things you do over this holiday season can have major impact on your neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body.  They relay signals between nerve cells, called “neurons.”  The brain uses neurotransmitters to tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, and your stomach to digest.  They can also affect mood, sleep, concentration, weight, and can cause adverse symptoms when they are out of balance. Neurotransmitter levels can be depleted many ways.  As a matter of fact, 86% of Americans have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels. [Click to Tweet] Stress, poor diet, neurotoxins, genetic predisposition, drugs (prescription and recreational), alcohol and caffeine usage can cause these levels to be out of optimal range. (1)
But, there are positive lifestyle activities that can promote a healthy balance of neurotransmitters.  Just as easy as our neurotransmitters may come out of balance, the trend towards balancing them can be achieved by the following five recommendations.
  1. Regular exercise:  Exercise can have an effect on the channels that produce serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and possibly others. (2)
  2. Healthy Diet:  Too many sweets over the holiday season disrupt the ideal fluctuations in brain chemistry and may deregulate our brain chemistry.  Make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and take it easy on the sweet stuff.
  3. Manage your Stress:  Stress raises free radicals, insulin, and blood pressure which all damage neurons. (3)  If we damage our neurons, then we damage our neurotransmitters.
  4. Just Breathe:  Sounds simple but breathing can have a major impact on our nervous system and its expression.  The vagus nerve is the nerve that comes from the brain and controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your relaxation response.  (4) The more relaxed you are, then better response of neurotransmitters.
  5. Relax:  It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday madness that we forget to relax.  Relaxation gives the brain time to rest, which in turn allows it to make the proper neurotransmitters. [Click to Tweet]  So when you don’t feel like fighting the holiday madness, kick back and forget about it!!
Neurotransmitters is an exciting or very boring topic depending on the audience.  Regardless of your interest, it is important to keep up a healthy relationship with them.  I tend to focus more on the eliminating the things that I know cause harm and focus on the things that I know cause balance in my neurotransmitter levels.  So when the holidays roll back around this year, keep in mind the above mentioned five factoids to create balance in your  own brain chemistry.
What is your biggest challenge at the holidays and how do you handle it?
Dr. Andrew Kender, D.C.
October 28, 2015
www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
To schedule an appointment, click here.

Sources:

  1. http://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNeurotransmi09CE.asp
  1. http://www.livestrong.com/article/96493-exercise-brain-neurotransmitters/
  1. http://robbwolf.com/2012/04/26/diet-stress-biochemistry/
  1. https://sites.google.com/site/stanleyguansite/health/health-tips/breathe-deeply-to-activate-vagus-nerve

Image Courtesy of:  http://allthingsfulfilling.com/tag/technology/