Ecclesiastes 2:11 Chasing After the Wind

So my mind has been stuck on this verse and has really resonated my soul these last few days.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

How often we spend so much time and effort putting work first, procrastinating on recovery, meditating and self-care.  I read something interesting today in one of my devotionals I would like to share with you for those of you searching for the meaning and purpose of your life.

When God said that rest is found in him, he means that rest “IS FOUND IN HIM”.  A Pastor once talked about the difference between amusement and rest and he said, “we tend to do one better than the other and the one we do well is not rest”.

Our souls require rhythm too.  How often we forget our soul.  Most of us however are unaware of the spiritual rhythms that are crucial to our health and wellness.  Since our lives are increasingly disconnected from the rhythms of Gods word, we often miss his whisper, his heartbeat to our spirit that is meant to sustain us.

When God says to us, “come to me and I will give you rest”… we do not respond.

God tries again, “lay your burdens down” and walk with me and your walk will be burden free, again we do not respond.

God says I want you to be fascinated not with trinkets but with me and yet we still don’t respond.

We glance skyward to listen to the answer and say huh? God, was that you?  What’s linger?

But before he has a chance to reply, we hear a subtle ring from our phone alerting us to a new text message or a new email.  Then we can’t help to move our thumb across our phone or keyboard.

Score one more for the enemy of our soul.

Ouch.  Wow! I’m equally as guilty trying to figure out this thing called life.  Our past has always been a place of mental and emotional escape for those of us stressed out from our present and our future.  However, I learned today that it is not wise to ask such questions like “why were the old days better than today”. It’s like living in the rear view mirror.  No forward momentum, no learning from mistakes, just living in what binds us to our misery.

I ask those of you reading this blog, to make a decision to move forward.  Take the past and thank it for its lessons and then reach for the promise of God.  He gives rest to the weary but we need to present in order to receive the gift of his presence.  Anxiety, Depression and Addiction are mere words.  But Gods promise of rest is what takes our chasing of the wind to something that truly matters.  That my friend is rest for our souls.

A point to ponder on my friends…

Doubt – The motherhood of all evil. Could this lead you to a relapse?

In the Vine’s Greek Dictionary Doubt is defined as “To Be Without a Way”

If one were to think about how many times in their life that doubt prevented them from doing something, the list would go on and on…

I lost a loved one recently.  Someone very young and dear to my heart.  I remember one of the last conversations I had with him as we drove home from the city of Chicago.  We talked about Faith and believing without seeing which then led us to talk about how often doubt holds us back and keeps us from something greater than what we can see.  It is now that I’m thankful that I had this conversation with him.

As I watched him for a short time after that, reach out further to the unknown of what his college life would hold for him, I saw him removing the steps of doubt and reaching for the steps of Faith.  He left this world a better place with his kindness and good heart.  He reached for his next step and put the words of doubt in his past.

How often do we let our own thoughts of doubt come between what we want and what we’re afraid of.  If only I could, if only I would have…

It is easy for one to say to remove the fear of doubt but what tools do we have that might allow us to make that somewhat easier and who do we lean on along the way to help us.

It starts by asking.  Asking someone close to you and letting them know that you would like to remove the seed of doubt and replace it with the seed of Belief.  A seed as small as a mustard seed grows into one of the strongest plants in the garden.  Matthew 17:20 “If you have Faith the size of a mustard seed”,  you can move that mountain.

Remember

  • Self-Doubt kills recovery and keeps you living in procrastination
  • Faith & Belief = forward momentum
  • Don’t let your voice lead to doubt
  • The battlefield is in your mind not your Faith
  • Don’t let doubt sabotage your Belief
  • Acknowledge your thought of doubt and stand tall with Faith and Believe you have the power to change
  • Be Grateful
  • Don’t look through the rear view mirror as your past is to teach you how to improve your future
  • No regrets.  Do not live in the “If Only or What If’s”
  • Get an accountability coach

I’m here for you if your ready to take the next step.  It requires Faith and Believing in yourself.  You just have to be ready and ask…

A point to ponder on my friends…

 

ADD, Anxiety, Depression & Addiction Part 3

So in part 2, we looked at what serotonin and dopamine actually do.  A short recap is that Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that promotes happiness and joy and Dopamine is a chemical that helps you focus as well as make good choices.

So what happens when you have to little serotonin or dopamine?

Since these neurotransmitters are so integral to our behavior patterns and emotional health, changes in personality and habits can point to a deficiency in them. The reason I tend to think regulating dopamine plays a particularly large role in treating depression is that if you take a look at individuals with low dopamine, they have difficulties with memory, thinking, organization and are unable to feel pleasure.  Schizophrenics also tend to have abnormally low levels of dopamine levels as well, and as a result are unable to maintain motivation or stay productive.  Those with low dopamine levels can display Parkinson’s like symptoms, with slowed reaction times.  Those with deficient levels of dopamine are prone to attention deficit disorders, and addictive behaviors.

Low serotonin can result in OCD-like symptoms including obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.  It can display as impulsivity, suicidal thoughts, aggressive behavior, etc.  Lowered levels of serotonin are linked towards unstable moods, sugar cravings, constant worrying, insomnia and pervasive-sadness.

So what are some natural ways we can raise these neurotransmitters?

We’re learning more and more how these neurotransmitters are connected to various food and lifestyle choices and there are quite a few ways we can intervene without drugs that can greatly improve our hormone balance.  Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Change your Brain, Change your Life has done quite a bit of research on these subjects and has extensive studies available to review.  Noting the level of success he’s had with his patients, I’ve drawn inspiration from his work in my recommendations.

Increasing the amount of foods you consume that contain tryptophan, a precursor for serotonin, will help boost this hormone.  Seeds and nuts are fairly high, as well as most animal sources of protein.  Temporarily increasing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, especially from sources such as lentils and oats, can make serotonin more available in your bloodstream, though long term increased carbohydrate consumption can cause other issues such as impaired glucose tolerance.

The link between serotonin and dopamine as they relate to exercise is still unclear, though studies suggest that regular exercise that is at least a moderate intensity contributes to a favorable balance and can improve the conditions associated with too little of these hormones.  Note that voluntary exercise that you find enjoyable will stimulate the release of appropriate hormones, whereas if you feel like your exercise is a chore, or you feel forced into it, you’ll instead be increasing stress hormones and causing harm instead of promoting health.

Vitamin D is an essential backbone to the production of these and all of our hormones, so it makes sense to optimize your vitamin D level.  I choose to take Usana’s vitamin D as they are a pharmaceutical grade vitamin (www.usana.com).  You can also add some additional sunlight to your skin by exposing it on a daily basis, aiming for at least 30 minutes of sun on as much skin as your are able to show.

Omega 3 fatty acids, preferably from fish oil, is an ideal choice when aiming for hormone balance and brain health.  Again I choose to take Usana’s Bio-Omega as the quality is pharmaceutical grade.  These specific fish oils are high in DHA, which helps the brain to function better and balances the release of various chemicals that improve our overall brain chemistry and integrity.  DHA protects neurological function and hormone balance even for those with severe disorders, so while it may not restore your serotonin and dopamine levels immediately, it may be the biggest step you can take towards regaining balance.  DHA is the structural backbone of many neural tissues and is in the greatest need when our brains are developing in youth and in cases where there is damage to the brain tissue, such as in head injuries and cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.

While DHA can have a calming effect on the brain, EPA, which is another component of fish oil, is energizing to our neural processes.  Most fish oil is 60% EPA and 40% DHA and this combination can make our brains work more efficiently, needing less energy to regulate moods and processes inside the body, as well as increasing our ability to think quickly and form new memories.  EPA is a type of Omega 3 that is constantly used and depleted and supplemental EPA has been linked to increased academic performance, reduced inflammation and improvement in mental health issues such as depression and addiction.  While DHA can be considered the structural foundation of neural tissues, EPA is like the maintenance team, making sure everything runs smoothly.

Adding a magnesium powder before bed can not only help you sleep better, but will help restore reserves of this mineral that is often quite depleted and is difficult to replenish through diet alone.  Adding a well-formulated B complex in the mornings will help you to maintain energy balance throughout the day and these vitamins are co factors in allowing our tissues to respond correctly to transmitter signals.

Armed with a more complete picture of the factors that cause these imbalances, I believe that we should have hope that we can create not only improvement, but a picture of your ideal health.

A point to ponder on my friends…

 

Suffering from ADD, Anxiety, Addiction, Hormone Imbalance? Read On To Part 2

So in part 1 we read about the astronomical rise in prescription drug abuse and how our neurotransmitters affect our behavior if they are too high or too low. Let’s continue on…

So what do these neurotransmitters do exactly?

Serotonin helps to keep excessive and constant anxiety away by boosting our overall level of happiness. Serotonin also plays a role in proper digestion and too little of it can lead to slow movement through the intestines. Serotonin is a regulating factor for the heart, the way we feel pain and our effectiveness at learning new things. Since there was an association drawn between low serotonin and depression, there are prescription drugs (SSRI’s) that keep serotonin in circulation longer but this can interfere with appropriate chemical signaling and prescription drugs have their own set of drawbacks.

Dopamine is referred to as the reward drug since it gives a pleasant emotional response when we view something that happens to us as good. The catch here is that the good thing that happens has to be unexpected. Getting your favorite dish at a restaurant, if it’s as you expect it to be, may be excellent but it won’t trigger a release of dopamine. If your significant other proposes marriage after the meal, however, your brain will be flooded with this neurotransmitter, much to your glee.

Want to learn more? Contact me at lgagan@lucky2beme.org

More information on what happens when you have too little of these neurotransmitters.

A point to ponder on my friend…

Could Glyphosate/Roundup and Environmental Toxins Be The Reason For Your Anxious and Sad Thoughts…

What is Glyphosate?  Glyphosate and Roundup is an herbicide for weed control that was introduced back in 1974.  It inhibits an enzyme found in plant life that is needed to survive.  It has been used as an antibiotic and mineral chelator that immobilizes nutrients and kills microbial life in the soil.  Glyphosate and Roundup are sprayed directly on GMS foods like wheat, oats, soy, corn and cotton.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed glyphosate as a “probable” carcinogenic (cancer causing ingredient).

When glyphosate and Roundup are ingested by humans, it acts as an antibiotic in the gastrointestinal tract.  Studies prove that this toxin can cross the blood brain barrier that lead to ADD/Anxiety/Depression which can further lead to addiction issues.

If you need further information, please feel free to email me, go to www.stopsprayingglyphosate.com or look for our Facebook page, the national chemical detect & detox project.

Does Mindfulness Meditation help ADD or Addiction

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

I’m sure you’ve heard of meditation as it’s very trendy these days. There are so many benefits to spending even 5 minutes each day meditating. Meditation helps to calm your mind, lessens cortisol, lowers your heart rate, and reduces blood pressure, all leading to lower stress and decreased risk for disease.  Most people think that meditation is sitting quietly with crossed legs, listening to ocean music, trying to train your mind to shut off.  The assumption is that the thoughts going through your head will just go away if you can learn to shut your brain down. In all honesty, your brain never really shuts off, so trying to force thoughts away is actually counter productive to your stress relieving activity.

Mindfulness meditation is really just about being present in the moment by paying attention to your breath and practicing longer exhales. You don’t have to turn off your brain as it really never turns off, but simply acknowledge your thoughts and set them aside as you turn your focus back to your breath.  Most people who meditate on a regular basis will have hundreds of thoughts that go through their mind while meditating, which does not make it any less beneficial for their health.  I know I do as my mind wanders all the time but I still try to devote time to meditation each day.

Lots of people suffering with anxiety, depression, ADD and addiction issues tend to be negative in their thoughts or their mind is constantly racing.  It’s much easier for your brain to latch on to the negatives. The concept of negative bias is not new.  The amygdala which is also known as the pleasure center uses approximately 2/3 of its neurons to detect negative experiences.

Positive experiences have to be held in our awareness for more than twelve (12) seconds in order for the transfer from short-term to long-term memory.

So here’s a few basic tips to get started:

  1. Find a quiet place to sit or lay down.  Music is optional, but if you choose to use music find instrumental calming music or just nature sounds
  2. Put one hand on your stomach and take a deep breath in for a count of two and exhale for a count of 4. It should feel like a wave from the ocean coming in to the shore on the breath in and as you exhale, your stomach pushes out like the wave of the ocean going back to sea.  Lol, that’s why they call it Buddha belly.
  3. Just try to keep your focus on your breath for about 5 minutes ( longer if you can.)  Try and work up to about 15-20 minutes each day. The key to mastering this is to not to get lost in that thought or that emotion but to acknowledge it and gently drift back to acknowledging your breathing.

We all have thoughts and emotions during our meditation time. Each and every one of us so don’t be discouraged by your thoughts but keep focused on your breath.  Trust me, it just takes a little practice even if it’s only 5 minutes a day.

A point to ponder on my friends…

 

If you are interested in finding out more on ADD and Addiction, please feel free to contact us for a free holistic health coaching session.

What’s happening with that pre-frontal cortex when you have behavioral problems?

Do you ever wonder what goes on inside your brain? You know that organ that dictates your behavior and the things you say.  Have you ever wondered that maybe kids/teens/young adults don’t really know and most parents don’t know that maybe they are lacking supplements in the “processed food world” we all live in.  That if only the right person were to ask them the right questions, maybe that someone would be able to let that parent know that the kid is not all that bad and  maybe its the fact that they lack Vitamin D or Omega in their diet?

Interesting, most people these days are deficient in these two much needed vitamins yet most doctors don’t see the link when discussing behavioral problems with parents.
If your curious about this, let me know as over the next month I’ll be posting some really good information about this. Stayed tuned because there is more to come. In the meantime, check out this link as I’m sure you’ll find it very interesting.

Brain Fog is Not Normal

Something to ponder on my friends…