Living Well, Staying Healthy In Mind, Body and Spirit

I saw an ad the other day that said… “I don’t want to grow old gracefully, I’m going to fight it every step of the way”. I laughed, but also thought serious about what the commercial as saying. Of course their desire was to get me to buy something; instead it started me to thinking.

And thinking is exactly what I’m talking about; I enjoy my mind, it is sharp and active and sometimes I’m amazed at my memory, that isn’t something I want to lose, and YES, I will fight to maintain my health and acute mind and you should too. Forget growing old gracefully and letting the effects of gradually and graceful aging rob you of a sharp mind and healthy body, I say FIGHT.

Exercise, stay limber and active, get outside and enjoy life, smell the air, greet the neighbors, say hi to the postman, just be active. And then, and this is paramount, use what modern medical science has available with vitamin supplements.

Here’s what you should be aware of; your body (and particularly your brain) need essential fatty acids, getting your recommended daily allowance will aid in keeping your brain sharp as a tack and dementia merely a word used in scrabble.

The bible says…. “Take a little wine for thy stomach’s sake”. This isn’t a religious discussion, but research shows that Polyphenol, found in red grapes (and other less tantalizing plants) will aid in cognitive functions.

Here’s one I hadn’t heard of till researching this article; ALA or Alpha-Lipoic Acid, seems this one is a fighter (I like it already) and will attack (or interrupt) free radical damage and increase antioxidants in the brain and improve memory, sounds like a winner in my book.

Okay, getting older is a fact of life, so when we look at vitamin supplements and amino acids, we’ll want to find and take those that have proven benefits to brain functions. Enter Coenzyme Q10 which apparently is like a soldier with orders to… “Protect The Brain With Your Life” and do not let the enemy intrude at any cost.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and with time diminishes, but again, don’t let it happen gracefully, do everything possible to hold to health and longevity. Seems that might have been written as a banner for Vitamin E, known to keep our skin supple (it’s an antioxidant in our tissue) and our brains active. Make CERTAIN to get an ample dose of Vitamin E, it’s vital.

Here’s one that most of us HAVE heard about, good ‘ole Ginkgo Biloba, available at every drugstore and many convenience stores along the highways of life. It is powerful and known to increase blood flow to the brain (a good thing) and vital to keeping our brains in tip top condition. Use your brain, work puzzle, solve riddles, read books, STOP staring at the TV and take a daily dose of Ginkgo Biloba.

Remember the old “Bugs Bunny” cartoons. The wise cracking rabbit that was always one up on whatever situation he encountered? He was always munching on a carrot, and a carrot contains what? Why carotenoids of course which (when taken in a balanced manner) is a proven and powerful antioxidant.

FACTOID: Antioxidants are nutrients or chemicals that are free radical scavengers. Vitamins A, C, E and some B vitamins, beta-carotene, selenium and certain crucial enzymes in our bodies are antioxidants.

The letter B is beautiful, and it can represent so many words, emotions, and memories. And I’m going to focus on memory and speak of vitamins B6 and B12, which are crucial (did you hear that) for our brains to function properly. With these vitamins, we’ll slowly but surely begin to forget things, become confused and certainly NOT grow old gracefully. Make CERTAIN you are getting your recommended daily dose of this vitamin.

Life is about living, we are all on the same path and the path is beautiful indeed. Live well, stay healthy and be sure to take your vitamins.

How Pilates Can Promote Good Health In Both Mind And Body

It’s been known for some time that a good daily exercise routine can help both improve a person’s physical health and also their mental outlook as well. The body just seems to respond well to being kept in tune. But even further advancement in mind/body health has been brought about in recent years through the use of the pilates exercise method.

Joseph Pilates formulated the basic exercises that comprise the system over 70 years ago, and so the system of graceful movements is named after him. Of course, since that time many more exercises have been added and refinements made, but many of the original exercises are still in use as well.

Pilates felt that the mind and body were connected as a unit and that the mind could help strengthen and control the body’s health if focused properly. So he worked up a system of movements that must be done gracefully and accompanied with proper breathing techniques to build up the core muscles of the body and enhance flexibility in the process. His work became quickly adopted when he opened his studio in New York City and since then has been carried on and expanded after his death.

Pilates exercises try to build strength and stamina not through aerobic and weight training as much as controlled body movements that use isometric principles instead. They can be performed just about anywhere and the only really necessary piece of equipment is a mat upon which to lie down.

Although pilates may sound like a very simple thing to do, there is more to it than you may initially think. Of course, it can be very gentle for those who have been injured and need to start slowly, but for those who are long time practitioners pilates can be challenging as it calls for stretching almost every muscle in your body as you go through the movements and to even hold those stretches for a period of time.

But pilates has another very beneficial effect on one’s health as it contributes to a positive and relaxed mental outlook. That is something that many people would love to have these days, and so they are surprised to learn that pilates can help in this area. But the combination of breathing exercises and total concentration on the movements seems to help many release the worries that cloud their mind from each day’s activity as they go through their pilates workout.

So if you feel that you need to improve both your physical and mental health, why not take a good long look at pilates to see if it can benefit you? It doesn’t take much to get started, and is not expensive at all like other fitness routines. There is no time like the present to begin.

Beat the Summer Heat – Cooling Crystals That Soothe the Mind, Body and Soul

As the long, hot summer days roll around and the sun makes its most profound entrance, the effects of its presence can sometimes be more far-reaching and effectual than you may realize. During heat waves the body has to work much harder to maintain a normal temperature. Excessive heat can not only result in serious health threats by pushing the human body beyond its limits, but can also have an effect on your mental, emotional and spiritual states of mind as well. Heat cramps, exhaustion and strokes are among the possible physical challenges you might experience, but more common is dehydration. However, the heat can also turn up the possibilities for irritability, stress, frustration, tendency towards intolerance, aggression and confrontation, lack of energy, lack of interest in new ventures, and over-stimulation that draws you outward and away from your inner needs.

There are many measures you can take to prevent heat-related illnesses including avoiding too much sun and extreme temperature changes, slowing down and avoiding strenuous activity, staying indoors as much as possible and keeping your space cool, wearing loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing covering as much skin as possible, protecting your skin with SPF and protecting face and head with hats, planning major activities for early morning or evening, and especially drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, avoiding alcoholic beverages. However, another supportive tactic can be found in wearing and surrounding yourself with crystals that contain within them cooling elements to help adjust more than just your physical temperature, but your overall state of being. These crystals support a calming and beneficial effect that supports a return to harmony and balance during the summer months.

Crystals can and have been used for healing or environmental enhancements for millennia. They possess unique properties and subtle vibrations that affect the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels of being. Since ancient times, healers have been familiar with the fact that crystals possess varying energies and can either be energizing or more calming; sedating or stimulating. So choosing a crystal for its calming properties can help soothe your summer heat experience and help return balance and harmony to your life.

Crystal guides, such as The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall, can be used to decipher the properties of crystals and help you find what you are looking for, but sometimes merely the color of the crystal can be very telling, as in the ocean color of aquamarine expressing its calming elements. The following crystals are amongst several that would be beneficial in creating that watery experience when dry, hot days seem never-ending:

Blue Lace Agate: brings peace of mind with its soft, cooling and calming energy

Amazonite: extremely soothing and calms brain and nervous system

Amethyst: mentally calms

Apatite: reduces irritability and overcomes emotional exhaustion

Apophyllite: calms and grounds the spirit

Aquamarine: calming, reduces stress as well as quiets the mind, harmonizes, invokes tolerance

Blue Calcite: gentle stone for recuperation and relaxation, lowers blood pressure, soothes nerves

Blue Sapphire: tranquility, calms mind and tension

Chalcedony: brings mind, body, emotion and spirit into harmony

Chrysocolla: tranquil, serene, calming and reduces mental tension

Chrysoprase: inspires tolerance, calms overexcitement, cooling, takes heat out of situations

Lapis Lazuli: cool and calming, releases stress, balancing

Larimar: radiates peace, promotes tranquility, brings calmness and equilibrium

Moonstone: calms overreactions to situations and emotional triggers

Rose Quartz: infinite peace, calming, cooling, sedating

Selenite: calming, deep peace, quieting

As we approach the heated summer months and continue to navigate in these times of change, it is crucial to find ways to help support a return to peace and harmony. Keeping your body and emotions from getting “too hot” becomes essential and there are many ways you can help facilitate a “cool down” that can not only benefit you personally, but on a collective level as well. Crystals are one such tool that can promote calming tendencies on physical and emotional levels, thus promoting overall well being.