BREATHING, MEDITATION, MINDFULNESS, CONNECTION, BREATHWORK, PEACE, INNERWORLD,

BREATHING MEDITATION:

For this meditation we are going to use the breath as a support.

I find it helpful to take 3-5 really deep breaths as I start to help calm my system down (as most of us are always rushing around)

So

  • Chose a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position either on a chair or on the floor
  • Keep your back straight
  • Close your eyes gently and relax the face, jaw and shoulders
  • Place your palms face up or down on your lap, whichever is more comfortable
  • Take 3 deep inhalations and exhalations through your nostrils
  • Then settle and start to notice the natural flow of your breath. You don’t have to breathe in any particular way here just breathe as you always do
  • As you breathe in and out it can be helpful to focus on one point like the tip of your nose where the breath enters and leaves again
  • It’s completely natural for your mind to wander so don’t get frustrated when this happens just gently say to yourself “whoops there I go again wandering off” and come back to the breath again.
  • Continue with this breathing meditation for 5-10 minutes each day and build from there

MY TOP 3 TIPS:

START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY

I meditate in the morning as I find it helps start my day in a positive and intentional way. It’s a great way to settle yourself before the madness begins and I find if you give yourself 5-10 minutes in the morning your ability to cope with stress and any obstacles you encounter during the day is much better. Focusing on our breathing is a very powerful tool to help with anxiety and depression.

 

SMALL STEPS EACH DAY

Real change happens when we are consistent with our habits. 5-10 minutes each day is far better and more beneficial than 2 hours once a week. Even though small changes might not feel like a lot, trust me they make a big difference and the kind of difference you are really looking for = REAL CHANGE.

 

BE EASY WITH YOURSELF

As you begin your journey into meditation be kind and compassionate with yourself. It’s too easy to beat yourself up for wandering thoughts or unwanted emotions arising but this is not the time for that, we do that too much anyway. Instead, this is your time to focus on the present in a non-judgmental way to increase awareness, which in turn helps to calm the body and mind.

Join me on Facebook in my Minding Mum Group for live weekly meditations

Shine Bright

Ali xxx

When we talk about mindfulness people can get stressed thinking they have to allocate large amounts of time and energy to it. The trick is to simplify it and bring it naturally into your day. For me being more mindful is learning to pay attention more to what is happening in the moment. We can do this while driving, cleaning, and exercising or indeed during conversations with friends but one of the most important times to really try and become more mindful is at meal times.

We are always being told about what we should eat but what about HOW we should eat? How many of us eat on the run or at our desks or in front of the TV. This mindless form of eating is actually wreaking havoc on our health. We have lost our connection to food and food is our life source so it’s important that we understand the value of not just eating right but also eating mindfully.

A lot of people view food as the problem in life and are constantly on diets and restricting the very thing that nourishes us physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. When we switch this up and see food as a solution it can help us to reconnect to ourselves our emotions and our habits around eating. Health is all about balance and the winter months are the perfect time to reconnect with food in a deeply nourishing way. Christmas time is also about food and connecting with those we love. It shouldn’t be about feeling bad or even guilty afterwards.

How we eat is how we live and how we live is how we eat. In other words our relationship to food and eating represents our relationship to our lives. Think about how you eat, keep a food diary for a week and start to notice how you are treating yourself through food. If we eat artificial, processed and fast food than we become that. Do you eat for emotional reasons, which is basically eating instead of feeling, this is something most of us do on a day-to-day basis so don’t worry you are not alone. The trick is to tune in, slow down and pay attention.

The benefits of mindful eating are plentiful but most importantly your digestion is improved. When you are stressed and busy you are in what’s called fight or flight mode or “stressed mode”. This is when the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated leading to all sorts of digestive problems starting with your digestive system being shut down and fewer digestive enzymes being released. There is also less hydrochloric acid in your stomach released which is not good as you need HCL to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into the vitamins and minerals that are needed for optimal health. If you are stressed, your hormones and mood will also be deranged and your immunity compromised.

MINDFUL EATING, MINDFULNESS, EATING WELL, HOW YOU EATSo here’s some of my TOP TIPS:

  • EAT SLOWER AND BREATHE– Most of us eat too fast so even slowing down a bit will help enormously. Take three deep breaths before each meal too as this will help encourage your body in a para-sympathetic mode AKA the one you want! When you slow down you are more likely to notice when you are full too.
  • CHEW, CHEW, CHEW– Most of us barely chew these day but chewing allows your food to be mixed with digestive enzymes in the mouth which helps to begin the digestive process. It will also help you to eat less too.
  • NO DISTRACTIONS – Turn off the TV, phone and step away from the computer. All of these distractions encourage mindless eating so instead of tuning into your devices tune into to the taste, smell and colour of your food, which helps to stimulate senses and connect your body and mind with your food.

My first book Minding Mum is all about understanding that self-care is not selfish in fact it’s probably the most selfless thing you can do.

I learnt this lesson the hard way after I had my son James who is now just nearly six. I completely neglected my own needs post birth and was certainly not Minding Mum. I pushed myself way too hard, didn’t eat properly and it came at a huge cost to both myself and my son as I became very ill with postnatal depression. What I have realized the past seven years on my wellness journey is that if our own tank is empty we have no strength and energy to give to others.

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SELFCARE

Once I started to value myself enough to eat well, exercise, talk kindly to myself and practice daily happiness habits I began to understand the power of self care. I learnt what it truly means not only for ourselves but for those we love.

I now have more time (believe it or not), patience, energy and vitality for James since Minding Mum. Practicing self-care does not mean you are shirking your responsibilities. In fact as a parent there is no better way to instill confidence and self-esteem into your kids than to be a healthy and happy role model.

I know the first thing mums say is that they have no time for Minding Mum and since they have had their children they can’t even go to the bathroom alone anymore. The only time I have had a shower alone without 20 questions is when I’m away.

I was an impossibly stubborn Mum and thought this too. However when I was unwell I found it incredibly difficult to get dressed most days and knew something had to change. There is real power in self care and even more power in taking small steps to get there.

BABYSTEPS

Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes we need to relearn or learn in my case to like ourselves and value ourselves. The small changes I have made over the past few years have led me on a path of true wellness. Not only that I have discovered the true contentment I have always craved but never been able to find. After I had James I stopped placing my worth in external things like property, boyfriends and job status but I started to look within and face my fears.

It’s been a rocky road and some days I’ve felt brave and others scared but every day I have been giving life my best shot. I am now living an anxiety and depression free life, which is something I never thought, would be possible. I have daily happiness habits and if you scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes you can do this too.

TIPS FOR MINDING MUM:

  1. THANK YOU

Say thank you every morning as you wake and keep a gratitude diary. This should take no more than 3 minutes each day. Recent research from Harvard happiness researcher and author Shawn Achor says that if you pick 3 different things each day that you are grateful for not only does it help your optimism but also it actually rewires our brain. This is one of the most powerful tools I use daily and this habit helped to drag me out of some dark times. Sometimes we can become too focused on what is going wrong and miss everything that is going right!

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2. FIND YOUR WELLNESS FORMULA

We’re all different which is the beauty of life and what’s works for one will not work for another so have fun and find a formula that works for you. In life we tend to focus on just one area at a time like diet or exercise but what I have found is that a little of everything is better than a lot of one thing to help you find that balance. (PG 23 in my book)

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care3. EAT REAL FOOD

We’ve made food very complicated and there are thousands of diets out there now. My advice is keeping it simple so eat fresh wholefoods. Remove the word diet for your life, as they simply don’t work! Steer clear of processed foods and ease up on sugar. Stay on the outskirts of the supermarkets (usually where fresh produce is) cook and freeze for the week if you are short on time and try to eat a variety of colour.

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4. KEEP HYDRATED

You will never realise how bad you feel until you start to feel good, and hydration or dehydration can be the cause of so many illnesses [so too much hydration could make you sick too?]. For the past fifteen years I have started my day with lemon water. It all started at a photo-shoot one day, when my skin was bad as I suffered with adult acne. A make-up artist told me that drinking warm lemon water every morning would help. It is something that I have done ever since and since studying nutrition I have come to realise that the benefits are far greater than I could have ever imagined.

So my first tip for hydration is to wake up your body with a glass of warm water and lemon each day. This will kick start your digestive system and metabolism. It’s small changes like this that will make a massive difference to your health. Just think of how dehydrated you are after a night’s sleep. Does it not make sense to drink fluids first before putting more food in? When I take a break from drinking warm lemon water in the morning I really notice the difference in how efficient my digestive system is and I also notice a difference in my energy levels.

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LEMONS

Lemons are great because they contain bioflavonoids, potassium and Vitamin C. Bioflavonoids are super antioxidants that contribute to good heart health and have powerful anti-carcinogens. Potassium stimulates the brain as well as helping keep your blood pressure under control and the antioxidants from the Vitamin C will really help your skin (healing, especially after a C-section). Vitamin C is required to produce collagen, a protein that plays a critical role in the structure of our bodies. Collagen is the framework for our skin and our bones and without it, we would quite literally fall apart. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of iron and if you live in a big city just look at Vitamin C as a giant fire extinguisher for all the pollution and nasty toxins out there.

TOP TIP: Get more water into your day by keeping a bottle with you all the time and by drinking herbal teas (caffeine is a diuretic). Eat your water by including water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, like cucumber and watermelon.

5. CATCH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND SWITCH THEM TO MORE POSITIVE ONES

This sounds easy but some of us are in a pattern of consistent negative thinking without even realizing it and it’s a habit that we can break with practice. I use my STOP- CATCH – CHANGE formula which is Stop your negative thought, catch it and change it to a positive one. This might seem unnatural and hard in the beginning but it becomes easier with time. I use it to catch negative thoughts about myself, others, work and life in general. Building good self-esteem means appreciating yourself and treating yourself with compassion.

6. FIND AN EXERCISE YOU ACTUALLY LIKE

Fitness is meant to be fun and if it’s not for you then try something new. Life is hard enough without dreading our exercise class or the gym. There are 100’s of options to keep moving and keep fit. I get bored so I switch it up all the time from yoga to Pilates and the gym. You need to feel good about what you are doing as our body, mind and spirit are all connected.

7. MY TOP BEAUTY TIPS ARE

Keep it simple and keep it real. Make up should be used to highlight your features and I’m definitely a “less is more” girl. From a health perspective I have also started to use more natural and paraben free products after all, a lot of the chemicals in our beauty products are absorbed by our skin and enter into our bloodstream.

When I was recovering from depression and anxiety I started to understand that the products we use disrupt our endocrine system and our hormones, which is all related to mental health. (CouleurCaramel.ie and Phyts are great brands) Try switching up your deodorants to a more natural alternative too. It’s the cumulative effect of all the products that causes the problems as our bodies are actually very good at detoxing naturally but they just can’t cope with being overloaded with environmental toxins, product toxins, bad food and a bad lifestyle!

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8. ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR SKIN PROPERLY AND WASH YOUR PILLOW CASE REGULARLY

I have suffered from adult acne so my rule with my pillow is

SLEEP-TURN-SLEEP-WASH

So you sleep on one side, then turn it over the following night and sleep on the opposite side, and then wash it. It’s simple and effective.

9. USE YOUR BREATH

Stress is our biggest killer these days and using mindfulness and meditation can help. Its simple, if you can breathe you can meditate. Our breath is our most powerful asset yet it is the most underused resource we have and its free and available all the time. As a busy mum you can feel overwhelmed quite often and very often just taking a moment to stop and breathe can make all the difference.

Stop, breathe and be

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10. STOP JUDGING AND START SUPPORTING

I have one rule and that’s always try and be there for another mum who needs you. All mums are working mums whether you stay at home or go out to work. There is no ideal situation as each one of us are completely different. To create a good work/life balance you need to do what’s right for you. There is a full chapter on PND (post natal depression) in the book, which is honest and offers great tips on asking for help and helping yourself!

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There are many more tips in my book ‘Minding Mum’ which you can buy here which you can buy here.

So what does selfcare really mean?

Selfcare is something that only you can provide for yourself and is by far the most important ingredient for true wellness.

  • It means showing up for yourself every single day.
  • It means taking the time to work on yourself instead of avoiding yourself.

In 2017, we saw words like selfcare, authenticity and mindfulness often being overused, yet very misunderstood.

Saying and doing are very different things. Having struggled with my own mental health and addictions for 20 years, words like selfcare, authenticity and mindfulness are sacred words upon which the solid foundation of a strong and healthy lifestyle is built.

Real self care is about valuing yourself enough to treat yourself with respect and kindness. It’s about understanding that there are no prizes in life for being a sacrificial lamb, and understanding that when you give to yourself first, you have so much more to give to others, so it’s a true win win. Just think about aeroplanes when they ask you to put on your own mask first before helping others.

I agree that selfcare can be difficult sometimes because it asks us to be present and deal with life as it happens instead of pretending everything is fine. Very often we wear a mask for the outside world when our world inside is crumbling. But it is only through facing the very things that scare us can we have real change and peace in our hearts and minds.

selfcare, mindfulness, thoughts, intentions, authenticity,

Selfcare means finding and following our passion and purpose. It means being strong and aligning with our true values and ethos instead of merging with the masses and losing our way. When we practice authentic selfcare, we work with our mind and transform it to create a better life not only for ourselves but also for those around us.

Selfcare awakens our authentic self and allows us to live out our true calling and not one mapped out for us by others. However its needs ingredients like consistency, awareness, mindfulness, love, kindness, gratitude and daily practice to be transformed into a way of living that continuously delivers miracles to us daily.

When we practice living like this, we experience a shift in perception, which encourages us to be kinder and more loving to both others and ourselves.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY

As individuals we never stop growing, learning and evolving till the day we die. When we do, problems happen. One of the biggest learnings I have had so far is that you can either consciously choose to live life to the fullest, or you can do what I did for years and walk around dead. There are so many people in the world today who are alive but dead.

I became stagnant in different areas of my life and stunted my growth. Very often, as human beings, we have a goal in life such as leaving college and getting a good job or getting married and having kids. What can happen when we achieve these things is that we become complacent and dare I say even lazy. We have now hit our target and so we stop trying and sit back to enjoy the ride. I did this for years as I reached goals I thought ‘that’s it fantastic life will now take care of me’ but I learnt the hard way that it simply doesn’t work like that. You get out of life what you put into it and every time you get to a place where you feel comfortable, it’s time to push further and grow more.

 

This is how you stay alive, excited, curious, connected and adventurous. When you live this way, you are happening to life and life is not happening to you. When you become stagnant, life happens to you. This is when you become a victim.

I used to be a victim! Nothing was ever my fault. It was always someone else’s. If I didn’t book a big job it was my agents’ fault, my sisters’, boyfriends’ or whoever was lucky enough to be standing to close to me at the time. If I missed work because I was out drinking, it was the fault of the people I was with, not mine.

 

It’s hard to take responsibility, it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see aspects of yourself that are not so appetizing.

selfcare, mindfulness, thoughts, intentions, authenticity,

Responsibility and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Self-respect and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other and boundaries and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

I learned all of this the hard way. I had no self-respect; little or no boundaries and I never took responsibility for my behavior even when it meant I was hurting others.

Addiction will strip you bare. It will chew you up and spit you out. It will lie to you and for the small moment that you think it relieves your pain, it will give you more and multiply it by four each time.

Facing and feeling the issues and problems that life presents to us heal pain. It doesn’t work by turning your cheek and running the other way. I know because I did this for most of my adult life. Avoiding pushes those experiences and feelings down further. You push them down so hard and far you think you are clever and that they are gone forever but one day they will bubble back to the surface and what do you then?

They will present themselves in all sorts of ways through illness, depression, anger and rage. Just think of it like a bottle of coke that you have been shaking for years. Now just imagine when the cap comes off, the mess it makes. Does it not make sense to feel and deal as we go along so that the mess doesn’t get so overwhelming?

Now I’m well aware that life is complex and each one of us has our own journey. Some people are given the tools to cope and some are not. I had none and mental health is certainly not a topic that was ever spoken about when I was young. Mental health issues and addictions bring shame and guilt into a family and that cycle can only be broken when each one of us accepts that no one is perfect and we need more understanding, support and compassion.

Shame, blame and guilt are deeply ingrained in Irish culture, primarily a hangover of the control the Catholic Church had for so long. When you have been reared like this, it’s hard to break the cycle and break free.

Part of practicing selfcare means being genuinely kind and compassionate towards yourself and when guilt has been your comfort zone, the shift to love can take time.

My golden rule is to treat yourself as you would a best friend. Every time you say something mean, ask yourself ‘would I say that to a friend’. Our words have real power and negative self-talk lowers our energy and vibration.

selfcare, mindfulness, thoughts, intentions, authenticity,I also believe mindfulness is one of the most important daily practices and something that is not optional anymore. We need to consciously include mindful moments in our lives because the digital age has now removed the ones we had naturally. We have become wired and tired and need to bring more mindfulness in to help calm and control both our body and mind.

Overall selfcare enables you to find your way among the masses, to find your way home to your true self. After all it’s an inside out world regardless of what the illusion of this world would have you think.

So why should you do this and practice selfcare?

Because you are unique. You are the only you on the whole earth and you are a unique expression of our creator’s love.

So don’t ever expect to be like anyone else. Just be you. Your beautiful bright, bold and unique self.

BOOK NOW FOR TICKETS TO MY FULL 360 EVENTS – A FULL DAY OF WELLBEING

Lets raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the use of single-use plastic. We have put a list of tips together that will make this easy.

This article was first published on thebamboobrushsociety.com

1. SHOPPING BAGS

When you’re out of the house, you sometimes make a spontaneous trip to the supermarket without bringing a grocery bag. Here’s what you do! Always have a bag in your work bag, car, or other vehicle you drive. Maybe also leave a few at the office! This way you don’t end up buying another bag.

2. WATER BOTTLES
Plastic bottle floating ocean
Let’s start with some scary facts: 53 billion gallons of bottled water are consumed globally. Only 1 out of 5 bottles is recycled. 40% of all bottled water is taken from municipal water sources. Bottled water costs up to 10.000 times more than tap water. Not convinced yet? Carrying around your own water bottle is very trendy these days! These are some of the brands we love; Mizu,  Klean Kantene and Dopper.

3. STRAWS

In case you’re running a restaurant, first have a look at alternatives like PLA straws. Maybe don’t give out straws at all. For consumers: ask the waiter to serve your drink without a straw. It’s that easy! In case you really like a straw here are some cool ones; glas straws from Simply straw and paper straws from Aardvark straws.


4. COFFEE CUPS


Coffee cups are hard to recycle. Bring your own coffee cup, some baristas may even give you a little discount. And please take your cup like you most enjoy your sunbathing: topless. Do you really need that plastic lid?

5. GROCERY SHOPPING

Špeceraj, Zero Waste shop in Croatia

A lot of cities now have zero waste stores. But there are other alternatives to ‘regular’ supermarkets that use plastic packaging for almost all of their products:
a. Choose bread sold in a paper bag or no bag at all. Or get one these cool bags from Bag Again.
b. Return fruit and veggie containers to the store to be reused.
c. Bring your own containers to the store.

6. CHEWING GUM
Did you know almost all chewing gum is made from plastic? That’s right. When you’re chewing gum, you’re chewing on plastic.

7. RAZORS
Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor.
8. LIGHTERS

Plastic lighters are made from heavy plastic and can travel around the world for years and years. Go back to matches or buy an oldschool lighter that you can pass on to the next generation.
9. PLASTIC WRAP

Beeswrap; a great alternative for the plastic wrap.

Who doesn’t love homemade, unprocessed food? So why cover it in a plastic wrap?! Especially when you know the chemicals from the plastic can end up in your food. Using glass storage containers is the way to go here. Or check out Bee’s Wrap sustainable food storage.

10. CLOTHING

So many new products are made from synthetic materials: polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, nylon. In other words, plastic. Please check before you buy; there are so many cool brands that care about the stuff they use. And maybe you can buy a little less as well.

Congrats you made it to the end of the page. Bonus tip: Plastic toothbrush replace with a bamboo one ;-)

Anxiety is one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting 1 in 13 people in Ireland. Anxiety differs from fear in that, while fear is a rational response to a real danger, anxiety usually lacks a clear or realistic cause.

Sponsored by
Eskimo-3 logo

Feeling anxious occasionally is normal.. people may feel anxious coming up to exams, before getting married, at work sometimes. Though some anxiety is normal and even healthy, higher levels of anxiety are not only uncomfortable but can lead to significant problems.

Anxiety is often accompanied by a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are heart palpitations, rapid breathing, breathlessness, sweating, excessive and undue worrying, disturbed sleep, insomnia, muscle tension, headaches, morbid thoughts, hyperventilating, dizziness, digestive disturbances and fear of losing control. In severe anxiety, one may experience panic attacks – intense feelings of fear.

While anxiety is a disorder in its own right, Stress or prolonged stress can be the trigger for the anxiety. Its very difficult to pinpoint the reason one develops anxiety – it may be a death in a family, financial worry, being in an unhappy environment. Whatever the cause, implementing dietary factors that manage stress is useful in reducing the severity of anxiety.

Dietary Recommendations for dealing with Anxiety

Foods to Include:

  • Low GI Foods: Low GI or GL carbohydrates are mainly non-starchy vegetables (root vegetables are considered starchy vegetables), pulses, and lentils, fresh fruit. Foods with a low GI/GL value release their energy slower, avoiding a ‘sharp’ rise in blood sugar levels. Choose: Apples, Berries, Buckwheat, Cherries, hummus, Cinnamon Green tea, Lentils & pulses, Oatbran and flakes, Oatcakes, Pears, Plums, brown bread, cashew nuts, almonds and grapefruit.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbs take longer to digest. Your body digests them more slowly so they supply energy at a slower and more sustained rate than refined carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect. Choose: whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, oats) wholemeal bread, whole-wheat pasta.
  • Omega-3 rich foods: Oily fish provides the most beneficial and active fatty acids, commonly referred to as EPA and DHA. These omega-3 fatty acids are vital for neurological health. Studies show that the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in oily fish (sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, tuna and herring) can be uplifting and enhance your mood. The higher your levels of omega-3, the higher your level of serotonin will be. The reason for this is that omega-3 fats help build the brain’s receptor sites for serotonin, the feel good hormone.

Omega-3 also reduces your tendency to depression. A large Norwegian study of nearly 22,000 participants revealed that those who regularly took fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, were about 30% less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who did not. Omega 3s supports brain, eye, and heart health throughout life. Surprisingly, a massive 89% of Irish people are not consuming sufficient oily fish in their diet, so often there is a need to take a good quality omega-3 fish oil such as Eskimo-3.

  • Protein and Turkey: Protein is the ultimate fill-me-up food – it’s more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats and keeps you feeling full for longer and helps keep blood sugar stable and moods stable. Turkey is a brilliant meat to include as its a source of tryptophan – a precursor to serotonin – the feel good hormone. So be sure to incorporate healthy proteins like turkey, seafood, lean meat, eggs, yogurt, cheese, soy, nuts, or beans into your meals and snacks.
  • Keep Hydrated: Dehydration can cause more than just thirst and dry lips. It can also set the heart racing and make you feel light-headed and dizzy, all sensations that are common during anxiety attacks. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day along with green tea and relaxing herbal teas.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Caffeine: Caffeine should be avoided by anxiety sufferers. Even a small amount of coffee, tea, coke, or anything that contains caffeine can be detrimental because caffeine raises your heart rate contributing to symptoms. Caffeine also inhibits levels of serotonin in the brain, and, when serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable.
  • Refined Carbohydrates and Sugars: refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour) are known to contribute to problems with blood sugar control, especially hypoglycemia. The association between hypoglycaemia and impaired mental function is well known. Unfortunately, most individuals whom experience anxiety or other mental health issues, are not informed about the importance of  reducing refined carbohydrates and sugars to balanced blood sugar. Avoid white bread, white rice, white pasta, bagels, biscuits, crackers, pancakes, waffles, cakes and pastries, sweets, chocolate and anything containing sugar or sweeteners. Replace with complex carbohydrates as stated above.
  • Alcohol: While alcohol may give you a momentary feeling of happiness, it can also elevate the heart rate just like caffeine, contributing to anxiety symptoms. Also, you can become very low in yourself in the days following.  Avoid alcohol as much as possible.
  • Food Sensitivities: Some people have negative reactions to foods such as gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts or sugar. Reactions can include mood changes, including irritability or anxiety. Do an elimination diet to find out if any of these foods are contributing to your symptoms.
  • Processed Foods: These would include hotdogs, sausages, pies, shop prepackaged cakes, frozen ready meals, prepackaged ham etc. This foods are usually low in nutrients, high in sugar and gluten. Research found that people who eat a diet high in processed foods 58% more chance of suffering with depression than those eating a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables and fish.

Lifestyle Tips:

  • Exercise: According to some studies, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the effects can be long lasting. Exercise increases endorphins — such as serotonin — that improve mood and may improve sleep quality, which in turn reduces stress. Exercise also helps you to manage stress as it produces a prolonged relaxation response. Do: Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week at a minimum. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, skating, hiking, aerobic classes are all types of aerobic exercise. Find something you enjoy and Just Do It!
  • Relaxation: Learning effective anxiety relaxation techniques is an important part of coping with stress and anxiety. Try yoga, pilates or meditation to help relax and reduce anxiety.
  • Meditation: Mindfulness meditation has long been known as an antidote for anxiety. in a study, researchers recruited fifteen healthy volunteers with normal levels of everyday anxiety. These individuals had no previous meditation experience or known anxiety disorders. All subjects participated in four 20-minute classes to learn a technique known as mindfulness meditation. In this form of meditation, people are taught to focus on breath and body sensations and to non-judgmentally evaluate distracting thoughts and emotions. Anxiety was significantly reduced in every session that subjects meditated. Louise Hay and Abraham Hicks are two people offering a wide range of great guided meditations online. 

Food Supplements to help manage Anxiety:

  • Eskimo-3: This is a premium food supplement rich in EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fats which are vital for neurological health. The higher your levels of omega-3, the higher your level of serotonin will be. The reason for this is that omega-3 fats help build the brain’s receptor sites for serotonin, the feel good hormone. Omega 3s supports brain, eye, and heart health throughout life. Eskimo-3 has the highest levels of EPA and DHA available in a single serving.  On the market for more than 20 years and with over 120 scientific studies, the Eskimo range represents probably the finest quality fish oil on the market, providing Omega-3 rich oil of legendary purity, freshness & stability. The oil is always from sustainable sources, and there is full traceability and quality control throughout the production process, from the fishing boat to the finished oil.
  • L-Theanine and Lemon Balm: Viridian L-Theanine & Lemon Balm is most commonly used to reduce stress, anxiety, nervousness, restlessness and tension by inducing a more relaxed mental state. L-Theanine is an amino acid which is present in green tea. It acts directly on the brain to induce a sense of calm, which can help you to de-stress. Lemon balm offers similar benefits in that it can induce a sense of calm, reducing stress and anxiety, but interestingly research shows that it does not decrease accuracy.
  • Mag365: Magnesium is a vital nutrient that is often deficient in modern society. It is responsible for over 300 enzymatic functions in the body. Many studies have shown that a deficiency in magnesium contributes to several mental health problems, including anxiety. Magnesium is a calming and relaxing mineral. It regulates the nervous system and may help you cope with stress so as to prevent anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and irritability. Magnesium is also very protective of your heart and arteries, which is important for anyone experiencing regular anxiety. Mag365 is available in a variety of flavours in health food stores nationwide.
  • Multi Vitamin/Mineral Formula: A good multi-vitamin mineral supplement could help safeguard your health. If you are deficient in any one vitamin or mineral, this could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms. By taking a good multi, you can correct all deficiencies, and hopefully positively affect your health.

Money, every choice you make, every activity you do, every change you contemplate, are in some way connected to your wealth. Yet most people rarely take the time that their financial situation deserves, to plan it effectively. You have income and you have expenditure.

Money Euro Bill Clip Clothes Peg Clothes Line

The basic premise is that your income exceeds your expenditure, leaving you with disposable income. So if you keep your spending below your income, you’ll always have plenty of money left over and you’ll never have to worry about money, never have a row about money, never have money be the root cause of concern or anxiety and never need to feel guilty or otherwise about having too much or too little money. Simple right?

Not exactly. Unless you’re extremely lucky, for most of us, it just doesn’t fall conveniently into place like that. The subject of money does, in fact, get cited in a host of situations from relationship issues, employment choices, lifestyle quality and in numerous ways, your health. Anything that can lead to anxiety, depression, guilt or restrict how well you look after yourself, can be detrimental to your health. And the condition of your finances can most definitely be a major contributor in these areas.

Having too much money, it may surprise you, can also bring its share of negativity. It can be guilt when those around you are short of money. Concern that relationships may not be for the right reasons. The uncomfortable feeling that some may begrudge your wealth or success.

 

So what can you do differently and what can you be more aware of?

The first step in managing and planning your finances with more efficiency, is to establish where you currently are. Most people know what their income presently is, but (as 26 years of reviewing people’s finances has shown me) they are not so sure about their expenditure. They’ll know the main items, the mortgage/rent, the weekly trip to the supermarket, the mobile phone or TV subscription, but there is so much more that never gets included. Think of the last time you took €50 out of an ATM to pay €15 for something. What did the other €35 get spent on? I see people listing things like a car loan but not petrol, tax, insurance, NCT etc. I also see them list “Food” but only total the supermarket. Further questioning may reveal more spent in the butchers, smaller purchases during the week, takeaways etc. To get an accurate picture, an exercise where you keep a detailed list of spending for a month. Every single cent, noted when spent and written or keyed in that evening so it’s not forgotten.

Tips. A few basic actions that most people can do, to improve (or create!) the gap between income and expenditure:

 

  • Examine 3 months’ banks statements and make sure you can account for every single transaction.
  • Compare utility service providers to make sure you are currently getting the best value.
  • Plan your shopping. Make a list and don’t shop while hungry.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to compare before you renew things like car or home insurance.
  • Review premiums being paid on things like mortgage protection and life cover. You DO NOT have to only take them out with your own bank.
  • Know your rights when an item is faulty and do not be fobbed off with “it’s out of warranty” (especially true with large kitchen appliances that break down after 18 months!)

 

Planning. Once you have a better idea of actual income and expenditure, you can plan a little more accurately. Financial planning is primarily aimed at ensuring your current, future and unexpected income remains at least sufficient for you to live on. Everybody’s circumstances are different, so it is important to consider the financial loss that would be suffered in certain eventualities.

One person may not be paid at all if out of work due to illness or injury while another may be paid for a length of time by their employer. Some may have nobody financially dependent on them while others provide for a whole family. In my own case of being diagnosed with cancer quite suddenly, having serious illness cover in place made a massive difference to our financial wellbeing. (Thankfully, I’m over 13 years clear.) Protecting your income against such eventualities and making sure that you will have sufficient income in retirement, deserves relevant attention.

In the same way that your health and wellbeing require planning, consideration and a degree of effort, so too does your wealth require planning, consideration and a degree of effort. Your health and wealth are inextricably linked. Giving each the attention they deserve, will greatly enhance your chances of being a better, all round (dare I say 360 degree!) happy and contented person.

If you would like to contact Dave his website is:

A few years ago, I was at a party and was being introduced to a well-known Irish celebrity. He shook my hand, said, “Nice to meet you Bernie, and by the way I love your bright blue colour”.

Auras

I thanked him and we continued chatting for a while. This was much to the amusement of some of the people standing near me. When he went off to get a drink, one of his friends turned around and asked me what was all that about the bright blue colour? I explained that he had seen the colour in my Aura.

Every living person, animal, plant etc. on this earth is surrounded by what is known as an Aura. It is an electromagnetic energy field that surrounds us all. It is part of our life force. Mystics have known for thousands of years about these subtle bodies of energy and in recent years a special type of photography known as “Kirlian” has proven the existence of these energy radiations.

When you learn how to read someone, at first glance most people will see a soft white light surrounding the other person, and at a deeper level, various colours which usually radiate, vibrate or shimmer, will become evident. According to Aura experts, each colour in the Aura represents different aspects of our emotions, physicality and personalities etc.  These colours will be interpreted differently in each person and a reading will be unique to that individual.

Depending on what is going on in our Life at any given moment in time, different shades /hues/ colours will be visible to those who can read Auras. This is something that some people can do naturally, others can, if they wish, learn how to read Auras. This can be a useful tool in all walks of Life, whether used in business or pleasure, as it can often help us to tune into our loved ones or work colleagues and gauge how they are feeling. It could be described as part of our integral instinct. It can also be useful in warning us against mean or unscrupulous people, or on the other hand it may be useful for you to see how well other people are responding to you.

Auras can also give us signals when we meet someone new, or begin a relationship. What is often described as “Chemistry” between two people can be just a case of whether our Auras react well or indifferently to each other. If we feel at ease with another person, our Auras will gel and can begin to completely merge together as we begin to fall in love with the other person. This is often why, when we lose a loved one or split from someone we loved, we are left with an empty void, that can often be seen, felt or described as a hole in our Aura.

As a healer, tuning into a person’s Aura can often show significant important information as to the state of a person’s well-being, and can occasionally display minor physical ailments. This in turn may enable the healer or therapist to help clear and balance any negativity in the Etheric Aura, the one closest to the physical body.

Copyright © Bernie Hickey Spiritual Journey

Today’s world is often referred to as fast paced, busy and chaotic. We are overfed stress and worry and we are undernourished in areas that truly matter. This concept of being ‘overfed and undernourished’ goes far beyond any food we put on our plate. 

 

I would go as far as saying, that our country is becoming a nation of human beings that are over worked, tired and are operating continuously at maximum capacity. What happens our minds, our bodies and our souls when we get tired, bombarded or run down? We become sick. We become fatigued. We become anxious. We become ill. 

Having worked as a Pharmacist for almost a decade – I could see first hand the frantic, stress ridden, pill popping nation that we have become. I witnessed the rising scale in antidepressants being prescribed. I saw the rise in sleeping tablets, anti-anxiety medication and stress related diseases, ranging from auto immune diseases, inflammatory disorders, skin problems, stomach disease and cancer to name a few. From behind the dispensary – I could see with my own two eyes our society crumbling into sickness and disease. 

Dis – ease, the very word meaning “a lack of ease”. 

I could see both young and old becoming a nation where the concept of “ease” in our lives was merely non existent. A nation where our norm was to be “busy” and “stressed” and if you weren’t busy or stressed, then you weren’t successful. 

But this doesn’t have to be the way. We, as human beings have an infinite inner well of consciousness that wants to be healthy. We inherently want to be happy. We want to have inner peace. We crave to live a life that is healthy, and prosperous and rich in creativity and exhilaration. 

But we tend to get caught up in the rat race, we can often get stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfil us, or a relationship that doesn’t ignite us. We somehow can find ourselves living a life that is not full of “ease”. We can find ourselves feeling “stuck” or stale, and our life can lack meaning or inspiration. When this happens we can turn to food, or alcohol or some external source to try and bring some light or life back into our lives, only to find that, this too falls short and leaves us feeling worse off than ever before. 

So what’s the solution? How can we go about finding some “ease” in our lives? How can we begin to find some meaning in our world? How can we reduce the anxiety, the stress, the overwhelming emotions that surge us on a day to day basis? One way that helped me immensely was Yoga. 

If you read my earlier article on ‘Why yoga really can be for everyone’ and the benefits behind yoga, you will know that Yoga goes far beyond just the physical. One of the main benefits that I find, and that many of my clients experience, is the escaping healing feeling that yoga brings to ones life.

 

Yoga – meaning union, unites mind with the body, and body with the soul. 

In today’s world – this connection is vital. We don’t need more noise, or more busyness, or more loud music, or more adrenaline. What the world needs is more stillness. More silence. More space. More time out. More recovery. More rest. More breathing. More connection. Yoga delivers all of the above and more. 

When you get on the mat, you centre yourself. You ground yourself. You connect. To find more ease in our lives and in our world, it’s important that we first find some balance and stability within ourselves. 

Yoga empowers connection back to our inner world. It enables you to actually stop for a second and scan your body. Scan your emotions. Scan your thoughts. Check in with yourself and listen to your intuition. One of the best ways to reduce stress in your life, is to give yourself a break. In order to find some ease and relaxation in our lives we need to first stop, listen and feel. To take some time out from the busyness and connect to a space of stillness. 

Yoga Breathing or Pranayama: 

When you get on your yoga mat – you connect your mind and body through the breath. The breath – which is our life force energy – our Prana. Once we engage with deep mindful breathing we reduce the anxiety by activating our para sympathetic nervous system. This is our rest and recovery system – the opposite to our fight or flight system where we operate most of our lives from.

When we engage in yogic breathing (see the simple excerise below) we reduce anxiety and nervous tension in our central nervous system. When we are anxious – our nerve endings can become irritated and excited. They become heightened and activated, and we thus, become “on edge” and anxious and develop nervous tension and irritability. 

Doing this breathing along with certain yoga poses (asanas) we can calm down our entire nervous system. We activate this para sympathetic nervous system and as a result reduces our stress hormone cortisol. This reduces heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. 

Yoga breathing (pranayama) is the foundation of your yoga practice. It begins with deepening your breathing and engaging is a 3-part breath technique.

Try this simple breathing technique at least once a day for a week and observe how it affects your body, breath, and mind. This mindful excercise can be done at just about any time of day, though preferably not immediately following a large meal.

How to:

  1. Lie comfortably on your back (with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor) about hip-distance apart or lie in savasana (corpse pose), whichever is most comfortable for you.

  2. Place one palm on your abdomen and just breathe comfortably for a few moments. Notice the quality of your breath. Does the breath feel tense? shallow? rapid? strained? Simply observe the breath without trying to adjust it or change it, or without any judgment.

  3. Then gradually begin to relax your breathing. Slow your breath down, deepen the inhalation and try make the breath as smooth as possible.

  4. Begin to draw the breathe in for a count of 4.

  5. Slowly introduce a slight PAUSE after each inbreath.

  6. Then gracefully release your breath through a nice slow relaxed exhalation to the count of 8.

  7. So the breathing goes something like this;  inhale – count 1,2,3,4… Pause and hold for 1,2,3,4…. Exhale count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8… Pause and hold 1,2,3,4 and repeat.

  8. Once the breath feels comfortable, relaxed, smooth and rhythmical, notice the movement of the body. As you inhale, the abdomen naturally expands; as you exhale, feel the slight contraction of the abdomen. To experience the pleasure of giving yourself a full, relaxed breath, gently try to actively expand the abdomen on the inhale and contract the abdomen on the exhale to support the natural movement of the diaphragm.

  9. Continue this breathing practice for 6 to 12 breaths.

  10. Check in with your body, mind, thoughts and emotions afterwards. (Have a pen and paper near by as you may get some moments of insights or clarity afterwards).

 

Benefits: 

  • Quietens the mind
  • Calms the entire nervous system
  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Improves self-awareness
  • Promotes focus and clarity 
  • Develops inner peace 
  • Reduces blood pressure and can ease bodily aches and pains 
  • Promotes overall EASE in the mind, body and soul 
  • Promotes a sense of wellbeing and relaxation 

Examples of some Yoga poses (asanas) that can really help with reducing anxiety and stress are the following:

  • Cat/Cow pose (Marjaryasana/Bitikasana) 
  • Child’s pose (balasana)
  • Trees pose (Vrikasana)
  • Headstand or supported headstand (sirsasana)
  • Corpse Pose (savasana) 
  • Abdominal twists 
  • Legs up the Wall pose (Viparita Karani)

The trinity of Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing, is just one way that can help alleviate stress and anxiety in our modern world. It has helped me and so many of my clients. I really hope it can also help you. 

 

So your stressful life has contributed to sleeping issues? You have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or all at the very least the symptoms seem to fit. Your energy levels have dropped off significantly over the years and it’s especially problematic during afternoons.

 

Fatigued Coffee

The best remedy combines B-vitamins, magnesium, adaptogenic herbs and critical amino acids like GABA. However, there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue. Unless you have Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands are working as intended. It’s the signaling upstream that is the problem.

Adrenal glands don’t excessively secrete cortisol to the point where they can’t produce unless damaged. This is the finding by the vast majority of scientific research. So why do adrenal fatigue support formulations work? It’s because the effective formulas are resetting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis) just as the vitamins, minerals and herbs previously mentioned.

Why is this distinction important? If only your cortisol levels are tested a patient can get a false negative for “adrenal fatigue” or worse. Then the patient is given cortisol that might exacerbate the situation. This is one more reason to always choose well-formulated herbal based supplements rather than synthetic stimulating or suppressing cortisol drugs.

Cortisol plays a critical role in sleep, stress and inflammation. Our cortisol levels should be highest when we first awake so we are alert and then it tapers off quickly. When perceived stress or chronic inflammation occurs, cortisol secretion is initiated. During times of stress it boosts our system in a threatening situation. Where there is chronic inflammation, cortisol reduces the inflammatory response to protect us from the aging process. Unfortunately sleep is interrupted when cortisol is secreted anytime other than early in the day.

There are four triggers causing HPA axis imbalance between these three glands mistakenly referred to as, “adrenal fatigue,” according to Dr. Thomas Guilliams, an expert the field of Molecular Immunology.

  1. Perceived stress.
  2. Inflammation primarily in the gut caused by small bacteria or candida overgrowth.
  3. Sugar dysregulation.
  4. Circadian dysregulation.

While this topic deserves a deeper dive, the important takeaway is that the HPA axis includes a set of neurotransmitters with self-regulating feedback loops. When the body isn’t in balanced, the pathways either no longer result in cortisol secretion or the cells become cortisol insensitive like a diabetic in the presence of too much insulin. This is the body’s system of checks and balances.

To address the four triggers, incorporate stress-reducing behaviors like meditation, yoga, essential oils and supplements. Begin by reducing inflammation in the gut by eating a healthy diet reducing sugar and eliminating rancid vegetable oils. Try to get outside and take in natural light and stay away from your computer screen late at night.