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Mindfulness Is Just the First Step: How to Change Mental Patterns

A Simple Guide to Developing an Affirmation Practice   I suffer from the mental pattern of spending inordinate amounts of time in thoughts of the future. Not the future thoughts that are helpful for planning your life direction. Instead, I wade through mountains of worries about the uncertainty that is inherent in the unknown future. So I launched into a self initiated “7 Day Now Challenge.” For seven days I wrote “Now” in big bold letters on my hand to remind myself to be present and here is what I learned: 1. There is great power in focusing on something for a finite period of time. Whether it is a 30 day exercise challenge or a 10 day cleanse, creating a bite-size increment of time to develop a new habit has the benefit of making a daunting task attainable. 2. Mindfulness creates a sense of detachment. When we move from being engrossed in our mental chatter to observing it, a sense of ease can move into the space created between the mind and the awareness. This space, this ease, can become a superpower. Enjoy this fabulous explanation video. 3. Observing negative thought patterns does not actually change them. This lesson is revolutionary because it brings to light the innate limitation in mere observation of the mind. 4. To change the negative thought patterns, positive ones must take their place. As Marin Luther King declared so beautifully, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” When we want to affect change in ourselves and in this world, we must invite the light. Replace negative thought patterns with positive ones. This is the practice of affirmations. Satirized by Stewart Smiley on SNL decades ago, positive affirmations are actually a profound practice. Here is a simple guide to developing an affirmation practice: 1. Create an affirmation for yourself. Look at the negative thought pattern you wish to change and turn it upside down. Write a positive statement that is brief, memorable, and in the present tense. For instance, I took this recurring thought, “What if I never achieve anything?” and turned it into this affirmation, “Success is mine. Divine Mother guides my life.” 2. Write your affirmation down and place it around your home. 3. Bring your affirmation into your meditation. At the end of your daily meditation practice, repeat your affirmation three times mentally, or even audibly. If you do not meditate daily, find a quiet moment each day to say your affirmation. In the bathroom, in the kitchen, in your closet, any moment of solitude will do fine for repeating your affirmation. Here are a few of my favorite books filled with ready-made affirmations: Affirmations for Self-healing by Swami Kriyananda Finding Happiness Day-By-Day by Swami Kriyananda Whispers From Eternity by Paramhansa Yogananda

2018-10-19T11:43:15+00:00 By |

Probiotics and Autism

Learn the Possible Cause   Many autism experts claim that several types of foods and diets can effectively treat or help children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some autism researchers also believe there is a strong link between the functioning of the brain and the gut. But with the very large number of foods and recommended diets out there, how can you determine what works best for your child and adult family member(s) with autism? In this article, we discuss the various theories, as well as the effectiveness of probiotics or the so called “friendly bacteria” and diets in helping ease the symptoms of autism. What is the Possible Cause? In their study on autism, researchers led by Dr. Paul Ashwood of the University of California, Davis’ Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (M.I.N.D.) Institute identified proofs linking autism with changes in the brain, gastrointestinal (GI) distress, immune dysfunction, and severe repetitive behaviors. According to Dr. Ashwood, they found that children with autism have elevated levels of dendritic cells, which are considered as the ‘generals’ of the immune system. He claimed the dendritic cells serve a key role in the body’s immune response to microorganisms, including the disease-causing germs and normal digestive bacteria. Several scientists, meanwhile, have discovered several rare genetic changes or mutations linked with autism. However, they also found an intricate and different combination of genetic risk and environmental factors affecting early brain development of a child that further increase his/her risk of developmental delays or autism. Among the most discussed theories include environmental risk factors, advanced age of both father and mother at the time of conception, very low birth weight, maternal illness during pregnancy, extreme prematurity of birth, and difficulties during birth, particularly the times in which the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen. Download your FREE guide here   Autism, Probiotics and Digestive Health Based on various studies, individuals with autism often have abnormal digestive health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Kids with autism were also found to have an elevated number of the pathogenic bacteria called ‘Clostridia’, as well as the lesser known bacteria called Sutterrella in their guts. Meanwhile, a number of studies showed probiotic microorganisms have positive effects on the digestive health of both adults and children. These healthy microorganisms are contained in the probiotics supplements that can be used to treat ASD, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly in children. The US Department of Health’s (DOH) and National Institute of Health (NIH) claimed that gut health and autism are interrelated.  According to the agency, the postnatal development of a child depends largely on the microbiome or the balance of organisms in his/her digestive tract. Every child should have a healthy gut in order to develop proper immune function, regulate inflammation, and support proper and healthy development. To achieve a healthy gut, the thousands of strains of good bacteria should live in balance with the “bad bacteria.”  In the event that the bad bacteria [...]

2018-10-12T18:03:37+00:00 By |

The Five Pillars of Intuition

Learn How to Develop Your Sixth Sense   Intuition is as natural as breathing, sleeping or eating. All of us have intuition. Some of us are more open to this capacity, and connection to higher information, than others, but we can all deepen and develop our intuition with a few simple techniques and daily rituals. Intuition is the spark, or gateway, to higher knowing and to living a fulfilled, flowing, effortless and peaceful life. Each day we are bombarded by an avalanche of information, demands and pressures, that squash our vastness into a tiny reality. This data smog and information overload swamps our intuition. Now more than ever, we need this innate capacity to guide us. The more lost we are in the pace of modern life, the more we need this anchor. Our Sixth Sense Intuition is very much a natural and inherent part of our natures. When you strip back all the learned stress behaviours, pressures, mental projections and layers of baggage, we find the radiance of our true self. This authentic nature is peaceful, blissful, and intuitive. Each one of us has this ability to know things, to sense things, to feel things, see things and hear things, beyond our conscious awareness. The origin of the word “intuition” is the Latin verb intueri, which is usually translated as to look inside or to contemplate. There is a growing body of research suggesting there are underlying non-conscious aspects of intuition. Among these aspects of intuition involved in intuitive perception are implicit learning, or implicit knowledge. Science is now showing that the heart is involved in the processing and decoding of intuitive information. Emotion and intuition seem to be also rooted both in the heart and the second brain in the gut. This is where the term, your gut instincts, comes from. Intuition is like a secret, inner jetpack that helps you make quantum leaps in your life, a map that reveals the shortcuts, opens up the pathway and holds the keys to your happiness. Is this building up intuition too much? I don’t think so. Even the military is studying the secrets of intuition. In the wake of snap intuitive judgments in the field of combat that saved many lives, US researchers are studying the power of intuition. Sensing impending danger, deciding whether objects are missiles or airliners, or detecting bombs, are a few situations where a snap judgment needs to be made and where lives are at stake. The US navy studies, with experts in neural, cognitive and behavioural science, were attempting to discover what gives rise to our so called “sixth sense” and how they can train marines to use it.  A former US navy seal has even written four books on the subject and he believes that tapping into our intuition helps us to excel at light speed. Understanding what intuition is, can help us to recognise it. The basics of Intuition Intuition is an instinctual awareness. Actually, intuition is a mysterious and curious thing a [...]

2018-10-08T12:25:42+00:00 By |

Boost Your Happiness: 10 Mindfulness Tips for Busy People

Learn the Keys to Happiness!   “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way” ~Thich Nhat Hanh Do you ever feel as though you would be happy if only things were a little different? You know that happiness is important, but you keep putting it on the backburner because there simply isn’t enough time to prioritize your own inner joy. And at the same time, you know that meditation would help, but you can’t even imagine where you’re going to get the spare time you need to sit still and meditate. In an ideal world, we would schedule moments every day in which to cater to our health needs, because health and well-being are paramount. Yet despite our best efforts we will inevitably face those times when we’re busy every minute of the day. I know I’ve been there. A few years ago I moved country while pursuing life as a freelance journalist. I was working non-stop for a less than minimum wage, and I had zero time to focus on my mental health. Life became unbearably stressful. And while I knew that I could stop the stress if I meditated, I simply couldn’t work out how I would ever get the time to do it. My happiness drifted further and further away. Stress built. Anxiety hit hard. And with zero free time I simply couldn’t find a way out of my misery. I knew meditation was the key. I just didn’t have the time for it. So I made a choice. Instead of meditating the old-fashioned way, sitting still doing nothing, I would find ways to meditate while still being productive. That way I could work on my happiness while still doing everything I needed to do. The key was mindfulness. By simply being present and living in the moment, I could meditate while getting things done. This was a total game-changer for me. Suddenly I had all the time in the world to practice mindfulness because I could do it while still being productive. I was mindful day and night. I would eat meals mindfully, walk mindfully, read my email mindfully… whatever I needed to do I would do mindfully. Suddenly I had gone from having no time to meditate to making mindfulness an integrated part of my life. All mindful moments were helpful at this time. But there were ten mindful practices that I found particularly valuable. And even though today I keep a much healthier schedule and make sure not to spread myself too thin, I still use these practices. Whether you’re going through a busy time or looking for an alternative to traditional seated-meditation, you can use these techniques to boost your mindfulness while saving time. 1. Walk mindfully. Walking is one of the most relaxing exercises in the world. But it can be all too easy to ruin a good walk by thinking too much. When walking, be mindful of the world around you, paying attention to [...]

2018-10-03T11:38:09+00:00 By |

3 Relationship Myths (and Why We Need to Stop Believing Them)

“Love isn't always perfect. It isn't a fairytale or a storybook. And it doesn't always come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on and never letting go.” ~Unknown When I started dating, I idealized love. I had many false notions about relationships, which I formed from my friends, watching movies, and reading romance novels. Many of the beliefs I had about how relationships should work caused me pain and disappointment because reality turned out to be different from what I expected. Dating became a journey of resetting my expectations and letting go of false beliefs. In order for me to find love, I had to let go of the myths I had around relationships. Myth #1: Opposites attract and make for more lasting long-term relationships. I found myself drawn to men who were very different from me during my early stages of dating. They were the stereotypical bad boys who rebelled against authority, the ones with a wild independent streak who were emotionally unstable. These were the type of men I was attracted to. They made my life exciting and helped me expand my boundaries. I thought opposites would create a balanced relationship, making for an ideal union. Luckily for me, none of them worked out. Looking back, it would have made for a bumpy, unstable relationship. We’re fascinated by people who are unlike us because they represent parts of ourselves that we’d like to let out and explore. We tell our friends we can’t help who we are attracted to, but often we are attracted to people who are wrong for us. While it's true that we can complement each other with some differences—if, for example, one person is more laid back and the other is more Type A—couples who are more similar have longer lasting relationships than those who are complete opposites. Dating someone similar means we get the support and validation for our core life values. There will be fewer disagreements on the most important issues and opinions that shape our lives. Core life values may be spiritual, religious, social, family, and health-related. Taking a closer look at what you prioritize in your life and where you invest your time will tell you your values. This also means that having similarities lead to more positive feelings because of the reciprocity rule in relationships: we like others who are like us. It’s exciting to date someone who is the opposite of you at the beginning. But as the relationship progresses two people with different life values will start to separate and head down different paths. Opposites attract like strong magnets for the short term, but if you’re looking for the long term, it’s similar core life values that will keep you together. Myth #2: You should be honest about your deal breakers upfront to save time. The other day I went to lunch with one of my friends, who is a serial dater with profiles on three different dating [...]

2018-04-17T05:01:07+00:00 By |

Six Food Mistakes Parents Make

Don't Give Up on Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy!   Here’s a look at six common mistakes parents make when feeding their children. 1. Sending Children Out of the Kitchen It is understandable that parents don’t want children close to hot stoves, boiling water and sharp knives. But studies suggest that involving children in meal preparation is an important first step in getting them to try new foods. 2. Pressuring Them to Take a Bite Demanding that a child eat at least one bite of everything is likely to backfire. Studies show that children react negatively when parents pressure them to eat foods, even if the pressure offers a reward. 3. Keeping “Good Stuff” Out of Reach Parents worry that children will binge on treats, so they often put them out of sight or on a high shelf. But a large body of research shows that if a parent restricts a food, children just want it more. 4. Dieting in Front of Your Children Kids are tuned into their parents’ eating preferences and are far more likely to try foods if they see their mother or father eating them. Parents who are trying to lose weight should be aware of how their dieting habits can influence a child’s perceptions about food and healthful eating. 5. Serving Boring Vegetables Calorie-counting parents often serve plain steamed vegetables, so it’s no wonder children are reluctant to eat them. Nutritionists say parents shouldn’t be afraid to dress up the vegetables. 6. Giving Up Too Soon Eating preferences often change. Parents should keep preparing a variety of healthful foods and putting them on the table, even if a child refuses to take a bite. In young children, it may take 10 or more attempts over several months to introduce a food. Dr. Mercola's Comments: Considering a child’s attitudes about food and nutrition are overwhelmingly formed by their parents’ same attitudes, the way you approach food, mealtimes, and food preparation is vital to your child’s future health. About two years ago, I posted a survey from the America On The Move Foundation that found 71 percent of children get information about how to be healthy from their mothers, and 43 percent get such information from their fathers. Case in point, this New York Times article points out that preschoolers will like or reject the same fruits and vegetables that their parents like or dislike. And girls are more likely to be picky eaters if their mothers don’t like vegetables. Parents have also been found to be the strongest influence in how much soda kids drink. So getting healthy yourself and adopting healthy attitudes about food are two of the best things you can do for your children. You’re Not Doing Your Children Any Favors By … Most parents do try to feed their kids relatively healthy, but a lot of factors tend to get in the way. First of all, there’s so much misinformation out there about what’s healthy and [...]

2018-09-17T18:53:31+00:00 By |

6 Ways Gratitude Can Improve Your Life and Make You Happier

Being Thankful Means Less Worry   “I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.” ~Brené Brown For the longest time I sought after happiness in the wrong place, and I wasn't always leading with my heart to obtain joy. I used to picture myself living in a big house, with nice things to furnish and fill the fantasy home I dreamed of. I didn't obtain this large dream home, and I've learned that it's not important, nor is it what I want. I've been fortunate to live in a moderate home with exactly the things I need, and more—a happy, healthy, loving family. Prior to gaining the wisdom of wanting less, I spent a lot of money on material items, because, one, I thought I deserved it on a good day, because I was “celebrating,” or I worked too hard not to have it; two, I told myself I had to shop on a bad day, because I needed to cheer myself up; three, I shopped out of boredom; or four, I went shopping as a social activity. After collecting these possessions of “happiness,” I realized my life wasn't totally fulfilling and satisfying. In fact, I eventually became short-tempered, overwhelmed, and stressed out. I was overwhelmed with the amount of maintenance these material things required, while caring for my family. My belongings took over my life, and, therefore, I lost myself underneath everything. I started to hate what I was becoming—someone who wasn't consistently happy, and someone that lost track of what mattered most. My perspective on life changed when my daughter came into my world in 2014. A few months after her arrival, I made a change that has significantly changed me for the better and brought more happiness by Practicing Gratitude and Living Simply Being thankful for the essentials—appreciating what I already have—has allowed me to live more simply. It’s also revealed these benefits… 1. You're better able to be present. Being thankful reminds us of what we have to be grateful for in our current state, and that helps us be more present. I used to worry more about what I didn't have and seemed to constantly strive for these things. That changed when I figured out how to be thankful for what I have and in the most important place—the present. There's no better moment than the now. Practice gratitude to enable yourself to be entirely present. 2. It boosts confidence. When you focus on appreciating what you have, you feel less concerned about what you lack, and that can help boost confidence. Now that I'm more accepting of myself and my life, I don't compare myself to others and I take pride in paving my own path. It's a great feeling to do things that are best for me and my family, without trying to please the rest of the world. 3. Being thankful means less [...]

2018-09-17T18:20:26+00:00 By |

One of the Worst Parenting Mistakes You Can Make

Is TV Dangerous for Your Kids?   No matter how physically active a child is, time spent in front of the computer or television screen is associated with psychological problems. In other words, children can't make up for TV time by spending extra hours exercising. The findings also suggest that the way children spend their sedentary time, in addition to how much time they spend being sedentary in the first place, matters for their mental health. According to Live Science: "... [R]esearchers asked 1,013 British 10- and 11-year-olds how much time each day they spent in front of a computer or TV. The children also wore accelerometers around their waists for a week to track their physical activity and sedentary time ... The study found that ... more than two hours a day in front of a TV or computer was associated with more emotional and behavioral difficulties." Dr. Mercola's Comments: I've written about the wide variety of health benefits that exercise provides, one of which is treating depression and boosting mental health. These benefits apply to children as well as adults, and, in fact, the younger you start, the greater the long-term benefits. However, there's nary a household in the US that doesn't have at least one TV, and/or a computer, and for all their potential benefits, TV-watching and computer use also has a long list of drawbacks, especially where children are concerned. Most troubling is the finding that you may not be able to compensate for time spent in front of the TV or the computer screen. Because regardless of your child's overall level of physical activity, spending more than two hours a day on these digital displays may be all it takes to impact their mental and emotional health... Kids Spend an Astounding Amount of Time Watching TV or Using Computer Today, less than one-third of kids aged 6 to 17 get at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. Compare that to the TV-watching statistics below, and you'll realize just how troublesome the above findings may be. It may even be a crucial part of the equation that might explain why so many children are now using anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs. The average American watches nearly FIVE HOURS of TV a day More than half of American children have a television in their bedroom; one study put the number at 70 percent Twice as many adolescents with a television in their bedroom watch more than five hours of TV a day compared with youths without a TV in their bedroom 90 percent of American toddlers, under the age of 2, watch TV, videos and DVD's regularly About 40 percent of babies, under 3 months of age, watch TV, videos and DVD's regularly Based on a 2007 survey of families in two states, kids at 3 months watched less than an hour of TV daily, and that viewing time climbed to 90 minutes as children reached the toddler stage Visual digital [...]

2018-09-11T14:39:13+00:00 By |

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Kids Are Picky Eaters, but These Tips will Help You Make Sure They Are Getting the Nutrients They Need   Getting the Kids on Your Side Getting kids to eat healthy can be a challenge. It seems everywhere you go high sugar and low nutrition foods are screaming out for their attention. So instead of arguing with the little ones, why not start today and show them how to make wise food selections for every meal of the day. This is a great way to get them on your side and teach them to follow healthy eating habits for a lifetime. The best way to do this is the get them involved in meal planning, shopping for groceries and preparing the meals. While it may be difficult to bring them on every trip to the grocery store or prepare every meal, but most importantly letting them do something every now and then makes them part of the decision making process. They will be more interested in giving opinions and making healthy food choices if they know their input matters. Check out these simple ideas to get your children involved with daily meals. Ask your kids to pick out their favorite fruit or vegetable and you’ll pack in their school lunch. Allow them to select one healthy side dish with each meal. It can sliced peaches, canned beans, fresh strawberries, it doesn’t matter. This gives them a better understanding of what a well-balanced meal should look like on the plate. Encourage them to be involved with preparing the meal. It can be as simple at peeling the husks from the corn or counting the potatoes for mashed potatoes. Ask your kids to select a simple recipe they would like to make for dinner. Making rice or spaghetti sauce are always winners. One of the benefits of having them help to make the meal is they will eat it without complaint or hassle. Include a Fruit or Vegetable with Every Meal This little secret is an excellent way to help your little ones to eat more fruits or vegetables. For example, toss in some dried cherries into the rice side dish or add chopped mushrooms to the green beans. Also, consider putting a 21-day restriction on purchasing any pop or soda every month. The reason is it takes 21 days to create a new habit. You’ll soon find if these high sugar drinks aren’t readily available in the house, they won’t be craved. During this time simply switch from carbonated beverages water or 100% natural and freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices your children will not crave pop or soda. Drinking a glass of juice is a great way to add 1 – 2 servings of fruit or vegetables to their diet daily.Also, be a good example to your kids. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite indulgence. For example, snack on an apple while taking your children to school or pack a light [...]

2018-09-05T16:32:56+00:00 By |