Body Language for a Better Life

Fascinating research is confirming that choosing more cheery body language can translate into the physiological responses that make us feel better! In just a matter of minutes, chemical changes take place in the body (and brain!) in response to particular postures or poses. These responses, however, work both ways… choosing a despondent posture or shuffling around looking at your feet can keep you feeling low as much as lifting your chin and producing a smile can make your spirits soar. Turns out that body language not only informs others, but it informs us!
Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, has spent years researching how body language impacts our own physiological responses. In her TED Talk on this very topic, she explains the profound impact on the body and mind when one simply assumed a more “powerful” pose for as little as 2 minutes prior to entering a stressful situation.  Not only did the test show differences in how others perceived the test subjects, but revealed that the internal chemistry of the subjects shifted in relation to whether they had assumed a positive or negative stance prior to testing. Imagine how your mind and body could be impacted by more consistent changes in body language and posture if it only took 2 minutes to shift biochemistry in test subjects! For the full take on this intriguing research, check out the video below:
A May 2015 article by Live Happy Magazine enumerates 6 quick ways to give yourself a little boost by just engaging your body in a positive action, posture, or facial expression:
1.  Add a little bounce to your step. Walking in an upbeat and cheerful manner can positively affect mood and memory!
2.  Smile!!!! It could boost your immune system, release endorphins, and help you recover from stressful situations.
3.  Assume a “power pose.” (See Amy’s TED Talk in the video above!) Standing like a victor or superhero can reduce stress hormones and promote feel-good chemistry, helping you feel more confident.
4.  Mirror someone. Loosely acclimating your body language to that of whomever you are engaging with can help to produce trust. Once that trust is established, your partner may then mirror you!
5.  Let out some laughter! Genuine laughter reaps a host of benefits for the body. Laughing with others reduces isolation! Quick! Share a joke with your neighbor!
6.  Spread out. Stress tends to encourage us to hunch up, fold arms, close our posture, and make our bodies generally smaller. Opening your posture and inhabiting more space is a natural way to tell your body you are confident and haven’t lost control.
Try to incorporate a new technique each day this week. Let us know how it impacts your day!
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Yes to Coffee… No to Anxiety!

coffee“Do you suffer from anxiety? Then you know how quickly it can derail even the best and brightest of mornings, sending it quickly into a dismal day. It steals your focus, saps your energy, and holds you hostage while your efficiency and productivity sit bound and gagged in the corner. If you could reduce the incidence of anxiety, imagine the benefits you’d see popping up in all areas of your life. For me, one of the triggers of anxiety that I quickly identified was caffeine. That hot cuppa joe left me feeling not so hot… jittery, anxious, on edge, revved up, upset tummy, worried mind. It didn’t take long to see the pattern: caffeine in the morning, anxiety attack soon to follow. My body was weakened, my adrenals a wreck, and the toxicity of regular coffee, the over-stimulation of the high caffeine content, mixed with my complex health conditions almost always left me feeling miserable. But when you’re adrenally fatigued, low energy can be a problem. And thus the vicious cycle: wake up tired, drink coffee, feel revved up and anxious for several hours. Once I pin-pointed caffeine as the culprit, I was quick to eliminate it, diligently trying to heal my body and remove anything that I knew was such an obvious trigger for anxiety. I missed my coffee but I didn’t miss anxiety! A few years later, the docs at Lake Pointe introduced me to Organo Coffee, each cup containing Ganoderma, a well-researched extract that boasts health benefits ranging from calming effects to anti-inflammatory properties to immune modulation. Now, if I want coffee, I can choose Organo and feel better. Incidence of anxiety from caffeine has been drastically reduced and if I grab a regular cup of coffee instead of my regular Organo, I can usually tell the difference pretty soon. If you find that caffeine triggers negative effects in your body, try Organo. You may find that the benefits of the Ganoderma bring better balance to your body.” – N

Happiness Habits You Can Master

hat-591973-1January isn’t far away. (YIKES!) Who wants to resolve to Be Happy in 2017?! Below is a mega-list of attributes and habits shared by happy people. Habits have to be carefully cultivating, requiring effort and dedication for lasting impact, so rather than trying to tackle the whole list (and then getting tackled by your zealous commitment…), choose a few of the habits listed below and make a plan now to incorporate them into your life in the coming year. Take intentional steps toward happiness!
1.  Keep yourself busy (don’t get bored), but don’t allow life to get rushed (don’t get overwhelmed).
2.  Maintain a handful of close relationships… preferably with happy people.
3.  Don’t allow your happiness to be tied solely to external sources.
4.  Cultivate resilience. Keep getting back up!
5.  Actively try to be happy. Be the decision maker when it comes to your attitude.
6.  Exercise.
7.  Look for good in everything and appreciate the small and simple pleasures life presents.
8.  Be generous. Spend some of your time and resources giving to others.
9.  Don’t avoid discomfort if it’s leading to mastery. Struggle is part of progress. Keep at it!
10.  Find a hobby or activity that you can get lost in. Let yourself get carried away once in awhile!
11.  Choose to spend on experiences more often than you do on things.
12.  Seek out opportunities for in-person connections (rather than opting for social media or text messaging).
13.  Engage in deeper conversation.
14.  Learn to listen.
15.  Get enough sleep!
16.  Listen to music.
17.  Get outside more often.
18.  Follow your dreams.
19.  Make time for your spiritual health.
20.  Change your body language (check out our recent post on this!)
Check out some of the research behind these habits and benefits of making them part of your life by checking out this post on 99U and this article by the Huffington Post. Make happiness a habit!
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Be Rested: Don’t Be Crabby!

ostrich-992753_1280How many times have you seen the seemingly insurmountable woes of an overtired child cured miraculously by naptime? It’s simple enough to recognize sleep deprivation for what it is when your toddler gets fussy or you can’t keep the kids from squabbling in the backseat, but it can be all too easy to forget that the same basic needs of infants and children don’t disappear as we age. Food, water, shelter, relationship, clothing, touch….. sleep. Each of us needs it and we probably only fool ourselves if we think we can get by without it. Not only is the body prone to suffer when we don’t get adequate rest, but cognitive and emotional health take a hit as well. In his article on the effects of sleep deprivation, Dr. Mercola lists many of the results of even one night of poor sleep including slower reaction time, poor memory and learning capabilities, declines in cognitive processes, and heightened emotional response. Regarding the latter he states:

“As your reaction time and cognition slows, your emotions will be kicked into high gear. This means that arguments with co-workers or your spouse are likely, and you’re probably going to be at fault for blowing things out of proportion.

The amygdala controls basic emotions like fear and anger. As discussed in the film, another area of your brain called your frontal cortex, plays a key role in the regulation of emotions, and sleep is vital for its function.

When you’re well rested, your frontal cortex is nicely connected to your amygdala—that deep emotional center—and works almost like “a break to your emotional gas pedal.”

Sleep deprivation causes a disconnect between these two brain centers, allowing your emotions to run amok. Sleep deprivation also plays an important role in mental illness, and tends to result in more adverse psychiatric outcomes.”

Prioritizing sleep can result in mental clarity and better emotional stability. Approach complex and challenging emotional situations from a stronger, more stable place by getting the recommended 8+ hours each night. Your body will thank you, your mind will thank you, your heart will thank you, your friends (and family, and coworkers, and community) will thank you!

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Be Rested: Sleep to Get Skinny

solitude-1591169_1920Trying to lose weight? Chances are you’re already keeping track of what you’re eating and how much activity you get each day. You may also be keyed in on drinking more water, reducing stress, and taking supportive supplements. But in the long checklist of things you’re tracking, have you considered adding sleep? Research continues to prove that not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain because of how it impacts hormone balance. Dr. Hyman explores the concept, the research, and a case study in his engaging article on the topic:

“It’s all about the hormones… Your body has a finely tuned appetite control system that is governed by certain hormones. These hormones are affected by sleep. One group of researchers has found that depriving healthy men of sleep leads to increases in grehlin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry, and decreases in leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.”

Getting your appetite… and waistline… back under control may start with adding more sleep into your diet. If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, check in with your doctor at Lake Pointe for solutions to help get you back on track.

Be Focused: A Functional Approach to ADHD

“ADD is not a Ritalin deficiency.” This insightful quote is central to Dr. Hyman’s discussion on healing the body to heal the mind and reverse ADD/ADHD. Prescribed stimulants are not your final option for helping your child (or yourself!) overcome an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. More and more research is confirming that healing and balancing the body is necessary to heal and balance the mind. Watch this great video by Dr. Hyman on how Functional Medicine can reverse ADHD and then schedule your Functional Medicine appointment at Lake Pointe to begin healing your body and balancing your mind.

 

Be Focused: Improving Memory

brain-951871_1920Memory need a little tune up? We’ve all heard that exercising your brain via games, new experiences, and gaining new skills can be helpful in maintaining memory, but did you know that exercising your body or eating your veggies could help too? Dr. Mercola’s article on improving memory lists 7 simple lifestyle steps to a better memory. His easy-to-follow advice lists these:

1. Eat right.

2. Exercise.

3. Stop multitasking.

4. Get a good night’s sleep.

5. Play brain games.

6. Master a new skill.

7. Try mnemonic devices.

He adds in a few bonus tips at the end to take you the extra mile. Check out the entire article here and schedule a consult with your Functional Medicine doctor at Lake Pointe to get a customized plan on how to improve memory and cognitive health through lifestyle and nutrition.

Be Focused: Alzheimer’s Isn’t the End

cemetery-1670234_1920Among the most debilitating and tragic of illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease is becoming increasingly, alarmingly common in our society. Many see this diagnosis as a final sentence, a slow demise of mind and body, a difficult passage into a foggy future. But did you know that Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive decline don’t have to have the final word? If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s be encouraged that Functional Medicine can treat this and other cognitive illnesses effectively and that it can be as simple as some lifestyle changes. Dr. Perlmutter dispels many of the myths about Alzheimer’s in his post, Five Incredible Alzheimer’s Facts You Probably Don’t Know. He enumerates what anyone experiencing cognitive decline could wish for: that there is hope, the condition is not only preventable, but reversible, and that it doesn’t have to happen as a course of aging. For the full article, click here. Then get on the phone to schedule time with one of our Functional Medicine doctors and address the root cause of cognitive decline or get a headstart on keeping your brain healthy.
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Be Well: Sniffing Out the Problem

woman-698971_1920-1A case of the “sniffles” can turn bad pretty quick.  We’ve all experienced that feeling when a stuffy nose becomes fully clogged sinuses; then comes intense pressure in the face and head, inability to clear the nasal passages, post-nasal drip, poor sleep due to all these other symptoms, and the vicious cycle seem to perpetuate itself. A day or two of that might have you in urgent care begging for relief, but before you pick up that prescription for an antibiotic, nasal decongestant, and whatever else you could get a scribe for, check out this post by Dr. Mercola and Rachael Droege about the real root of most cases of sinusitis. Regarding current common treatment methods for sinusitis and the more helpful alternatives, they write,

“…despite constant treatment with antibiotics, many people’s sinusitis continues to return. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, not only is sinusitis one of the most expensive disorders in the United States, but also its prevalence is on the rise, indicating that the common treatment methods are not getting to the root of the problem.

So what is the root of the problem? Researchers have found that most cases of chronic sinusitis are not caused by infection but are actually an immune disorder caused by fungus. In a 1999 study, the researchers discovered that fungal organisms were present in the mucus of 96 percent of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis, and inflammatory cells were clumped around the fungi, which meant the condition was an immune disorder caused by fungus.

Fungus and mold spores are in the air all the time and are commonly inhaled so most people have fungi lodged in the mucus lining of the sinuses. However, only people who are prone to chronic sinusitis will experience an immune response to the fungi that results in the symptoms of sinusitis.

They took the research a bit further and in the next study found that a fungicide was effective in decreasing inflammation and nasal swelling among participants suffering from chronic sinusitis. The researchers are hoping the study will lead to the development of new antifungal medications to treat the condition.

Although antifungals may be more effective than antibiotics–antibiotics make fungal infections worse–there are other steps you can take to lessen your risk of sinus infections by getting at the underlying cause.”

If you find yourself battling chronic sinus issues, consider how an anti-fungal approach might finally address the root of the problem providing lasting relief. The doctors at Lake Pointe can help you find the right protocol to address your symptoms. Schedule a Functional Physical today at 612-922-8100.

Be Well: Reishi

Lower inflammationbusinessman-1284460

Reduce cholesterol

Reduce risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Promote healthy angiogenesis and apoptosis

Introduce anti-cancer compounds

Inhibit metastasis of cancer cells

If you could do all of these things every day in one simple step, wouldn’t you? It turns out that all of these benefits and more can be gained from a single source: Reishi. This medicinal mushroom extract used for thousands of years in Asia has become the focus of countless studies, all showing it to be useful in everything from detoxification to mental health benefits to the potential for effective cancer treatment and prevention.

What’s really great is that this same powerful extract has been added to all of Organo’s products to offer a simple daily way to introduce this healthy product into your life. You can easily swap out your cup of morning coffee or tea for an Organo coffee or tea and reap the benefits of making your daily habit a healthy habit. Stop by the office and pick up a box of your favorite beverage, with certified organic reishi extract in each cup, and make health another part of your morning routine.

Read up on some of the fabulous ways reishi can impact your health here and here.