Archive for ‘Health and Wellness’

February 14, 2018

#548 – Your Beautiful Heart

myemwave

Under stress, your heart rhythm shows up as a jagged line – the two branches of your autonomic nervous system (ANS), are speeding up and slowing down. What matters is the quality of that rhythm. If it’s speeding up and slow down, much like a driver with his foot on the gas, then the brake, the gas, the brake, the gas, and so on, which is what happens under stress, it’s not doing you any favours. This wears out your nervous system, accelerates aging and sets up the scene for ill-health, along with a host of other things. Learning to activate the power of your heart changes your heart rhythm. As the rhythm becomes more balanced, you enter a more coherent state. How you think and feel is reflected in real-time in your heart rhythms.

For example, this morning, I recalled what it was like to be in a state of flow. I  went into high coherence; a stress-free zone. Then, a negative thought poked its way into my mind and I immediately saw red in the Coherence Ration window. That’s how our thoughts and emotions affect our heart rhythms. When you’re aware of this, you can make changes to benefit your health and well-being.

By regularly addressing and undressing my stress, I am able to decrease the amount of cortisol my body produces. I see the effects in my lab tests, too, with a lower value in my C-reactive protein (CRP). (If you have RA, CRP, a marker of inflammation, will be part of your regular blood work.)  Cortisol contributes to the inflammatory response, so anything you can do to limit the amount of cortisol that you secrete is a plus, especially if you live with rheumatoid arthritis.

My morning begins with a cup of tea and time on the emWave. Often before I start writing, I’ll do a 10-12 minute session. I do know how it feels when I am in a coherent state; I like the verification I get when I use the emWave. It keeps me on track and honest! 🙂

Since starting this program, over 10 years ago, my life is better in so many ways. In fact, that’s why I became Auntie Stress. I noticed a change in how I moved through life and I wanted to help others do the same. Email me if you’d like to address and undress your stress. I have various options available at a variety of price points to suit your budget.

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath. | emWave and Personal Stress Reliever are registered trademarks of Quantum Intech, Inc.

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February 4, 2018

#547 – Goal Accomplishment: Bundling and Trust

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Image courtesy of Stoonn | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On Alter Your Course, I listed a few things that help me wander the circuitous path that rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has set out for me. While I’m not always 100% successful at doing them, I manage to find my way back whenever I stray off-course.

How are you doing with those New Year’s vows? Have you been successful with the changes that you’ve promised yourself? Perhaps your resolutions were cast in plaster and the icy winter weather has quickly caused them to crumble.

When you decide that self-flagellation, via the guilt train, is no longer viable, it’s time to travel a different route.

Bundle up

To Change Your Life, Learn How to Trust Your Future Self, Jeff Wise outlines how to better achieve your goals by breaking your larger goal down into easy-to- accomplish steps. With the religious execution of those baby steps, you chalk up small successes, or bundles. Based on your past performance, you then have proof that you can achieve the bigger goal. The fruit of your labour yields a healthy serving of trust in yourself. The more you nurture it, the more it grows.

Imagine how it feels when you exclaim,”Hey, I’m confident that I can do this, based on what I’ve done so far!”

Yes, even when you have a chronic illness, such as RA!

 

 

 

September 28, 2017

#539 – #RABlogWeek: Day 4 – Hobbies

 

BeachEve

A hobby is defined as an activity done in one’s leisure time for pleasure. Most of my hobbies have been active ones. Racquetball, alpine and nordic skiing, cycling, travel, rambling and roaming, camping, wind-surfing and of course, swimming.

When I lived in smaller cities in Ontario and Manitoba, I used to get in the car and see where the road would take me.

Some hobbies were short-lived. I took up knitting and drawing while I recuperated from my surgeries.  Other hobbies morphed into work. In my teens and twenties I life-guarded and taught swimming. An interest in languages led to a B.Ed. and a job spanning 3 provinces teaching FSL (French as a 2nd Language) and ESL (English as a 2nd Language).

As the years progress and I tally more years with RA than without, a number of activities I love have fallen away.

During the last 10 years, or so, you’ll have noticed that I rarely invite you for dinner. If I do, it’s usually a pot-luck. The house has probably not had the white glove treatment, although it’s not terrible-horrible.

I do have some constants that have kept me in shape and entertained me for most of my life  – swimming, walking and reading. Lately, I’ve taken to watching old movies and foreign films. Over the course of the winter, I think we watched every Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Live music is a favourite, too. Being on, in or near water will always feature in my life.

Since being diagnosed, I have always focused on living the best possible life that I can. My disease is a part of me. I cannot change that, so instead I focus on how to live fully alongside it.  I have learned to adapt my hobbies to my abilities and my abilities to my hobbies.

If I spend my time thinking about RA and its manifestations and ramifications, I feel worse. When I cultivate my hobbies and interests I find that it brings about a shift in the wind, which provides a breath of fresh air that prevents me from having a suffocating sense of futility and “Why-me?” Yes, sometimes those winds of change are the gale force of a hurricane and all you can do is hang on until the storm passes. And it does.

Hobbies add breadth and depth to your life. They serve as an invaluable distraction from life with RA. They move you out of yourself into the community and give you something to share with others.

Life changes in living arrangements, friends, family, work and health can bring about changes in hobbies. The friend you used to go to ___________ with may have moved away. Your finances may force you into quitting that expensive, but well-loved activity. Family commitments may mean you no longer have time for __________. Health concerns may mean you can no longer do things like skiing, windsurfing and cycling.

Rather than giving up, you find a new group of friends. Discover a more budget-friendly hobby. See about getting help for your family commitments. When it comes to health, RA in particular, you cast out to see what other hobbies can catch your interest. The possibilities are as vast as the Seven Seas. Make it a good day to go fishing and see which hobbies you can reel in and enjoy.

 

 

September 8, 2017

#535 – Your Input, Please

I’m working on an article for HealthCentral about Breaking Rules with Chronic Illness. My topic will explore how your rules for living change when you have a chronic illness, or have they?

Lene Andersen explains:

As a society, we have a norm, an average, and this determines how we react to each other. For instance, if you are having a meeting with your boss, showing up in ripped jeans and a cropped shirt is not likely to enhance your promotion chances. Adults are expected to work, couples are expected to marry and live in the same home, and we are all expected to say please and thank you. Not following those rules can bring censure by others and possibly societal stigmatization.

When you have a chronic illness, you find out that there are a whole lot of unspoken rules regarding health that you didn’t know about. Which makes sense — when you’re a healthy, able-bodied person, you’re not navigating those implicit commands of the chronic illness world we live in. Throughout September, we will be exploring what it’s like to be a rule breaker, the consequences we face, and how to cope.

I’d love to hear your comments about the rules you have now that you have a chronic illness, versus those pre-diagnosis:

  • Do you have rules?
  • Do other people have rules or expectations of you?
  • How have either of them changed since your diagnosis?
  • What happens if you break a rule? How do you feel?
  • How has this impacted you, your loved ones, your colleagues, etc.?

Please feel free to email me to add your input.

Please share this post if you know someone who might like to comment. Thank you in advance for passing it along.

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