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Day Five Healthy Foundations

Day Five :Healthy Foundations

Creating and maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit...

Before we begin let's start with a short story again:"Just kidding There's No Story in this chapter"

"Limit the amount of toxins you put into your body while simultaneously increasing your body's 'stress-hardiness'."
Most doctors now agree that the mind has a profound effect upon a person's sense of well-being - certainly nearly everyone knows you can think yourself into being ill. When I was a child, it never ceased to amaze me how many of my classmates would get sick on exam day. These are the same people who are always affected by what I call 'cultural hypnosis' - they only have to hear a few people saying, 'There's a cold going round' and they catch it.
Research has shown that optimists generally live longer, happier, healthier lives. One of the key reasons is because optimum states enhance our immune system. Studies in recent years have now irrefutably proven that we can dramatically enhance our immune systems by actively choosing our beliefs and consistently practising visualization techniques.
But if the secret of health is a positive perspective, what's causing all the illness and disease?
Let's get right to the point:
The single biggest cause of ill-health is an inappropriate response to "stress" 

Studies have shown that the major threat in modern life is being killed by our own defence system being trig­gered too often - by our response to stress.

  • What is Stress?

According to the dictionary, stress is:

a: a constraining force or influence;

b: a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part; 

c: a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. 

However, the stress we experience in our own lives does not come from outside us - it is our body's response to life's challenges, both real and imagined. This stress response is historic, as our ancestors needed extreme physical reactions and a burst of energy to enable them to fight a wild animal or run away. Even now, a certain amount of stress in our lives helps us to function - the appropriate arousal of the autonomic nervous system actually motivates us to do things like get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle, or add energy to a presentation or workout.

For example, when the mind perceives a threat, the heartbeat immediately quickens. Pupils dilate automati­cally, muscles tighten and adrenalin is released into the blood stream. The digestive process halts, your blood pressure rises and the immune system is suppressed. This is known as the 'fight or 
flight' response. 
The continual inappropriate arousal of our mind and body can lead to illnesses.

So Should I Just Avoid Stress?
Any study into the effects of stress on well-being and human performance can usefully be broken down into three areas - stress exposure, stress response and stress capacity.
Most programmes dealing with stress management focus on a combination of the first two factors - Reducing - stress exposure ('downshifting') and developing a more efficient stress response (relaxation training, meditation, etc.). Yet of the three factors, stress capacity is the most significant in predicting long-term wellness and success.
The greater our capacity to handle stress, the more often we will perform at the peak of our abilities, partic­ularly in high-pressure situations. How do we develop our stress capacity?
Simple - we systematically increase our stress expo­ sure, while balancing our efforts with what stress and performance specialist Dr James Loehr calls 'quality recovery time'.
The formula looks like this:
Increased stress exposure + Quality recovery time = Greater stress capacity 

Let's take a common example. When you work out your body, you are deliberately putting it under stress. To maxi­mize the effectiveness of your workouts, you need to allow your body time to recover. Every time your muscles (including your heart, in the case of aerobic exercise) are put under stress and then allowed time to recover, they grow stronger. Why do marathon runners and triathletes put such a heavy emphasis on interval training? Because it follows the same pattern. By alternating between periods of ntense activity, such as sprinting or racing (stress expo­ sure), and gentle activity, such as walking or coasting (recovery time), they systematically develop their strength and stamina (stress capacity).
Oscillating between stress exposure and recovery is not just a good idea, it is an inevitability. The most extreme example of this can be found in Japan, where karoshi, or death from overworking, has at times threat­ ened to become a national epidemic. While death may be the ultimate in quality recovery time, job burnout, exhaustion and 'mysterious illnesses' that keep us from working are the more familiar ways we unconsciously fulfil our body's need for balance.
Here are some simple techniques that you can use to diminish stress and increase your stress hardiness ...
1. Power naps:

Do this once or twice a day to give yourself recovery time and improve your well-being.
1. Begin by moving your attention down to your feet. Notice the feelings of your feet, their relative warmth or coolness, and their weight.
2. Take a deep breath in then let it out and as you do so imag­ine a pleasant, warm and relaxing feeling developing in your feet.
3. Now take another deep, gentle breath in and imagine that warm and relaxing feeling travelling up the legs to your knees. Say the number 'one' in your mind.
4. Allow that warm and relaxing feeling to penetrate your muscles and bones, gently spreading and soothing as it moves.
5. When you are ready, take another gentle deep breath and imagine that warm relaxing feeling rising up to your waist, and as it does so say 'two'.6.Breathing in, pull the feeling of ease and relaxation up to your shoulders and say 'three'.7. Let the relaxation flow up your body to your shoulders and then down along your arms to your hands.
8. Breathing in, let the feeling go all the way, right to the top of your head. Say 'four' and spread those good, relaxing feelings all over your body.
9. Now, say in your mind the number 'five' and imagine that relaxing feeling doubling, as if a new, fresh flow of relaxation was descending from above your head and joining the warm relaxing feelings already going on inside you.
10. And as you imagine this flow of relaxation spreading back down your body, imagine any and all tension being washed down along with it, draining out of your body through the bottoms of your feet, making room for you to be refilled on each breath with new, relaxing, refreshing energy. Make
sure you take a few moments to really enjoy those feelings of relaxation.
11. Pause for a little while to notice the feeling and then, if you wish, repeat the sequence. The more you practise the technique the more effective it becomes.
Stay with this feeling as long as you wish. If at this point your attention wanders or you would like to close your eyes, that's perfectly OK - you will arise refreshed and alert in just a few minutes... 

2. Essential exercise

As we have already seen, the body does not distinguish between an emotional threat and a physical one. So regardless of what happens, it prepares to protect itself by fighting or running away - but often there is no one to fight and nowhere to run to. The body gets worked up but cannot find a way to release its tension.

While much has been made in the last twenty years about the value of aerobic exercise in increasing our general fitness levels, studies have shown that it is equally important in controlling stress. Swimming, running, or any exercise that oxygenates the blood makes controlling stress easier.
So, even before you master the patterns of thinking and feeling that you have learned thus far in the programme, you can give yourself a simple, easy, posi­tive boost by simply having ten to fifteen minutes of brisk exercise each and every day.

3. Energetic eating

Literally thousands of books have been written on what constitutes a healthy diet, many of which directly contra­ dict one another. In order to more easily navigate the volumes of information and misinformation that fill bookshops, libraries and the internet, I suggest following one simple rule: 

  • Learn to listen to your body.

The fact is, some foods increase your vitality and well-being; other foods diminish it. Author and researcher Dr Gay Hendricks recommends the following exercise to determine which foods are your personal high-energy foods: 

Step one: Eat a food you like.
Step two: Notice your body sensations 45-60 minutes later. If you feel clear and energetic, you ate a high-energy food for you. If you don't, you didn't! 

4. Medicinal laughter

Recent research has shown that healthy people are usually happy people. That's why a good sense of humour is so important. Having a sense of humour is vital, not just to amuse yourself at parties but as an essential psychological resource. When you are 'light-hearted', your body manufactures different chemicals inside you to those it manufactures when you are unhappy. 
Research has shown that when we smile we release serotonin, otherwise know as 'happy chemicals', in the brain. So while 'laughing yourself healthy' is still seen as radical therapy here in the West, consider the fact that the Taoists have been using the power of the 'inner smile' as a healing tool for over 2500 years!
I first came across the practice of the inner smile I am going to share with you now in the works of modern-day Taoist master Mantak Chia, who wrote:
'Taoist Sages say that when you smile, your organs release a honey-like secretion which nour­ishes the whole body. When you are angry, fearful or under stress, they produce a poisonous secre­tion which blocks up the energy channels.'
The practice of the inner smile I share below is the way I use it to release tension and promote ease and well-being in my own body. 

1. Sit comfortably - ultimately, you can practise the inner smile anywhere, in any position.2.Allow a smile to dance into your eyes. If you like, raise the corners of your mouth ever so slightly, like someone who knows a really cool secret but doesn't need to tell.3. Smile into any part of your body that feels tight, or uncomfortable, until it begins to ease or relax.
4. Smile into any part of your body that feels especially good. You can increase the smile by expressing gratitude to that part of your body for helping to keep you healthy and strong.
5. Allow the inner smile to reach every corner of your body. Here are some specific suggestions:
a. Smile into the organs of your body - your heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, sex and adrenal glands. If you don't know where these organs are, it's OK to pretend - your body will redirect the energy for you.
b. Smile down through your oesophagus and into your stom­ach. Smile all the way through your large and small intestines and out of your bottom. (If anyone can think of a more deli­ cate way to put that, answers on a postcard, please!)
c. Smile up into your brain, then down through the base of your skull and all the way down to the bottom of your spine.
You can smile into your life as well as your body. Try smiling and expressing gratitude into a relationship, an environment or a project you are currently working on, and notice how the energy around that situation begins to shift! 

5. Believe yourself well
A few years ago some interesting research was conducted to try to discover why a small number of people survive cancer while the vast majority of people do not. The study interviewed a hundred people who had at one time been diagnosed as terminally ill but were still alive at least twelve years after the initial diagnosis was made. 
The intention of the study was to discover any patterns of thinking or behaviour shared by these long­ term survivors. The results were startling but conclusive. While they had all used different treatments, ranging from surgery and chemotherapy to acupuncture and natural diets, and some had even relied on purely psychological techniques or religious practices, all one hundred people shared one essential trait:
They believed that what they were doing would work for them. 
But What If I'm 'Really' Sick ? Click Here

By now, I'm sure you've begun to realize your amaz­ing potential for health, energy and well-being. Return to the ideas and exercises in this chapter as often as you like to unleash that potential and energize one of the corner­ stones of wealth - your physical body!
Until tomorrow, 

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at another cornerstone of wealth and the key to a happy, healthy life - the ability to create money from every opportunity!"DAY SIX"
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