The Secret Behind A “Grounding Detox” — What Your Symptoms Are Really Telling You

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I get questions all the time from readers who are told that the negative symptoms they feel while grounding are a “grounding detox.”  They are told that the tingling electrical sensations they  feel, or the resultant restlessness, anxiety, insomnia & headache, are all part of the grounding process and that if they continue, it should go away.

But then it doesn’t, and they email me asking for advice.

So today, I want to share what I tell these folks — there is no such thing as a grounding detox.  What you are feeling is a measurable, palpable AC current that is running through your body, and that having symptoms from this simply means you are electrosensitive.  And believe it or not, that is a good thing.  I’ll tell you why below.

And not only is being electrosensitive a good thing, but luckily there are lots of ways to continue to reap the enormous health benefits of being grounded while removing the AC current from your body.

All it takes is an understanding of what electrosensitivity is and how to address it.  I’ve got you.  And it’s actually fascinating… so let’s dive in!

 


 

 

 

What is the ‘tingling and stinging’ you feel from unfiltered grounding cords?

 

Many people felt uncomfortable sensations when they are grounding with regular grounding cords.

It’s been described as ‘tingling’ and ‘stinging’ on many pages such as Earthing’s: “Why do I feel a stinging or tingling” and Earthing Institute’s: “I feel a kind of shock or an uncomfortable stinging, tingling in my hands.

The most common symptoms are:

  • stinging or tingling sensation
  • headache
  • decreased concentration
  • vertigo/dizziness
  • tinnitus/ringing in the ears
  • skin reactions
  • insomnia
  • mood changes, including anxiety or depression
  • fatigue
  • heart palpatations
  • muscle pain/tension

 

Many non-medical grounding advocates will tell you these symptoms are a “grounding detox” and that you will eventually get used to it if you keep grounding through their products.

But what is it, really?

If you’ve seen my previous posts and videos you know the difference between the natural direct current (DC) flow of electrons that is necessary for the natural, earth mediated grounding process, and the harmful alternating current (AC) electricity that is only from unnatural, man-made electrical power and EMFs.

What people are feeling with the stinging and tingling is the AC current flowing from EMFs through the sensitive parts of their body as the circuit is connected with a standard ground cord that has no filter in place to stop an AC current from traveling through it.  You don’t need the AC current to get grounded, since grounding is a purely DC mediated process.

There are way more people that can feel this AC current than you might think.   If you can feel these “grounding detox” sensations, you are absolutely not alone.  It turns out that some people are more sensitive to this AC current than others, and in today’s post we’re going to explore how prevalent that sensitivity is.

 


‘Perception’ levels of electricity

 

In the electrical safety community, where they study what levels of electricity can hurt or harm you, the amount of electricity that people can start to feel the tingling is called the ‘perception’ level.

100 years ago, back when electricity was being developed as a power source, people conducted a lot of experiments to determine what these different levels of electricity are.  And those findings are still being used today!

The most commonly cited source of electricity safety is the The Electrical Safety Manual of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety [1].  The sources for the levels they use can be traced back to a series of key experiments conduced in the 1950s [2].

 

 

Photos from Dalziel’s testing in the 1950s

 

Photos from Dalziel’s testing in the 1950s

 

The main set of experiments conducted for electricity levels involved hundreds of men and women subjected to different levels of electricity. They tested all sorts of levels of current in various ways, including a ‘gripping’ test where the subject starts off holding a metal probe and AC current was slowly increased until the person could start feeling it, as well as a touch test where the subject repeatedly touched a metal plate as the electricity was increased until they could start feeling it.

What did the researchers find?

 


 

 

There is a big range of sensitivity!

 

They found many things from these tests, and I’ll show you the data right now so you can see it for yourself.

First, there was a wide range of sensitivities – the data follows a traditional bell curve, showing a middle where most people are but also long tails on either side.  The least sensitive people couldn’t feel AC electricity until levels three times the most sensitive people!

Also, women were more sensitive then men, which is a fact that is further confirmed in the medical literature on studies about electrosensitivity — more women than men are electrosensitive, and this data shows us exactly why.  Women have a lower threshhold to perceive electrical current than men do.  But that doesn’t mean if you are a male that you are not electro sensitive — not at all.  Many men (and even more women!) all around the world are electrosensitive, and we will get into those numbers next.

Another thing that researchers found is that touching an object with current (touch tests) were more sensitive than gripping. In other words, if you touch an object that with AC current in it, you will feel it at a lower threshold than if you are holding onto the item as the current increases.  One reason they feel this happens is that during an initial touching event a very small surface area — for example, your finger — will make first contact, so all the electricity will be focused on that area, making it easier to instantly feel.

Another reason test subjects could perceive current more acutely during the touch tests is similar to the boiling frog analogy you are likely familiar with: a frog placed in water that is slowly heated will not perceive the temperature increase and will stay in the water until it is cooked to death… whereas a frog placed in water that is preheated will immediately jump out! Similarly, if you touch a grounding tool you may be able to feel symptoms from AC current at much lower levels than if you have a current slowly introduced into the grounding tool.

This is why I say that being electrosensitive is a good thing!  If you can perceive the current entering your body when you touch a grounding tool, you’ll know immediately how to protect yourself — remove the source of the current.  If you can’t feel it, and you need a much larger current to be able to perceive it’s presence, then you will blindly allow a current to run through your body unaware.

 

 

Current perception levels for men and women using the gripping test (adapted from Dalziel, 1954)

 

 

Touch tests on the same range as gripping

 

 

 


What Does This Mean for Grounding?

 

This type of data can be used to examine the sensitivity of people to grounding.

First, we will use the touch test since the grounding tool will already be connected when you first touch it, so EMFs will already have induced a voltage on your body and you when you make initial contact with the grounding tool it will feel similar to the touch tests.

Second, we will convert the x-axis from current to AC body voltage – the kind you can measure with a voltmeter.  This is done by multiplying the current by the resistance (V=IR) found in most grounding cords (100k Ohms).

Third, the y-axis will be converted from a probability distribution value to number of people in the US and world.

Last, we will focus on the lower ‘tail’ of the bell curve to examine more sensitive people.

 

 

Close-up of sensitive tail of original tapping data, converted to AC body voltage and population sizes (adopted from Dalziel, 1954)

 

 

This shows us that there are millions of people who are sensitive to low amounts of body voltage when grounding!

In the video I created for you right here (to show you the difference between grounding through an unfiltered ground cord (known as a standard ground cord) and a filtered ground cord (known as the PureGround cord) I show you that have an AC body voltage of 4.57, and man could I feel it!  In fact, by the time I had finished recording that video for you, I had a pretty bad headache from that exposure.  As you can see in the graph above, I’m not alone.  At a body voltage reading of 4.57, more than 3.5 million people all over the world would feel this as well.  And unfortunately it is not uncommon to find body voltages shown on the graph, and even higher.

It also shows that at very small voltages there will still be people who will experience uncomfortable sensations; these people could now be diagnosed as ‘electrosensitive’ in the modern medical community.  In medicine we call feeling sensations at this level of exposure Electrosensitivity.  In the non-medical community, grounding companies will call this a “grounding detox.”

But these tests clearly show that theses are real symptoms, not a “detox” effect.  People who sense electrical currents at very small levels are simply more sensitive to electrical stimulae, and there are millions of us.

Non-medical grounding advocates will try to convince you to keep grounding through a standard ground cord, allowing this AC current to run through your body — they are counting on the fact that when you continue holding on to an electrical current, you become less sensitive to it — turning from a ‘touch test’ to a ‘gripping test’ as we talked about above.  Prolonged gripping allowed test subjects to be desensitized to AC current and it took a higher current to reproduce the same symptoms that were immediately felt during a touch test.

But in medicine, we do not want you to become desensitized to AC current and to numb yourself to the sensation of it.  We want you to remove this exposure from your grounding experience entirely. This is why we developed the. PureGround cord, so that now you have a solution to remove AC current from your ground connection.

Read on for more ways to get grounded without having an AC current running through your body.

 


 

 

 

We can make a few conclusive statements from this data:

 

  • 1 in 750 women can detect 5VAC body voltage
  • Over 7 million people worldwide can detect 5VAC body voltage
  • About 1 in 10,000 people can detect super small levels of body voltage, like 1VAC
  • This means almost 1 million people worldwide are that electrosensitive
  • In other words, if you are feeling symptoms of a supposed “grounding detox”, you are not alone

 

Even going with the lowest commonly agreed upon prevalence of perception (0.1% of the population, or 7 million people) this is roughly the same worldwide incidence of many other illnesses that no one would brush off as a “detox” reactions.  A quick look through the WHO Global Burden of Disease report shows that this incidence is similar to the incidence of stroke, for example.  Electrosensitivity is more common than congestive heart failure.  It is more common than Parkinson’s disease.  It is more common than breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer combined.

So yeah, let’s not ignore this huge population of electrosensitive individuals who want to improve their health by connecting to the earth.

In fact, I think electrosensitivity is vastly under-reported, as the data from the touch and grip tests on electrosensitivity suggests there are people who can sense extremely small amounts of electricity, well below the threshold that we’ve been talking about in the above charts.  The original tests report that people with cuts on hands or fingers could detect voltage “almost too small to measure.”   It turns out, many skin conditions such as micro abrasions, rashes or other issues that cause a break in skin integrity, as well as different moisture levels and dry, cracked skin (common during winter months, common for those who live in arid environments, common when folks are dehydrated, etc.) means it is entirely possible that there are people who can detect electricity in very small, almost unmeasurably small, amounts.

The researchers also found that other parts of the body can be more sensitive — such as the neck.  This is one reason I don’t advocate grounding through a pillow (besides the fact that sleeping with a cord at the head and neck area is an obvious choke/entanglement risk — not a good idea when unconscious.)  I am always shocked when other grounding advocates try and sell grounded pillowcases!  The neck is one of the most electrosensitive parts of the entire body.

Recent medical research has found this to be true — millions of people are affected by electrohypersensitivty [3] and in population-based surveys, the prevalence of electrohypersensitivity (EHS) ranges from 1.5% of the population (found in Sweden) up to 13.3% (found in Taiwan) [4].

So these numbers fall well within those ranges and explain, clear as day, what a grounding detox really is.  It’s simply the ability of electrosensitive people to detect an AC current when grounding through an unfiltered ground cord.  Because it is so common that it affects millions of folks all around the world, we set out to upgrade a standard ground cord into a filtered ground cord so that electrosensitive people can still reap the positive health benefits of being grounded, without the negative experience of receiving an AC current.

 

 


I think I am electrosensitive… what can I do?

Here are three great ways to get started in protecting your conductive health:

 

 

 

 

1.  Learn more.

 

First of all, know that it is an actual diagnosable and treatable condition.  In every other country than the USA, that is.  Jeez.  I don’t know why we are so late to formally diagnose and treat EHS, but throughout Europe and in Canada, you can get a formal diagnosis and even disability support, including letters from your physician to request employers and schools to accommodate your needs (and your children’s needs) to reduce EMF exposure and safeguard your health.

Physicians can write:

  • letters requiring employers to provide you with a hardwired ethernet connection
  • recommendations to your employer to have you work in a place that is furthest from the wifi router
  • letters to school educators to seat children in the class seat that is furthest from router
  • letters to school educators to create a cell phone free classroom, with all cell phones put on airplane mode at the beginning of class
  • letter to school educators requesting they allow students intermittent times to go outside and ground to the natural energy of the earth to help offset EHS symptoms

You don’t have to wait for your local health care professional to get on board with diagnosing and treating electrosensitivity, because I will be your healthcare advocate and help you.  I developed a class to teach you everything you need to know about your conductive health — including both positive ways to boost your conductive health through safe grounding practices, as well as ways to protect your conductive health through lowering your EMF exposures.

In this online class I will even walk you through how to get your own, in person physician comfortable with diagnosing EHS and writing those recommendations listed above on a Rx for you to hand to your employer or you child’s teacher.

It’s absolutely possible to be EHS and safeguard your health, while still living in the modern world.  I walk you through exactly how to do it, starting with a self assessment tool that will help you figure out if you are electrohypersensitive (EHS) and walk you, step by step, through all of your living spaces to making them safer for you and your entire family.

Plus I give you tons of encouragement and additional tools to boost your health, decrease the reactivity and inflammation in your body, as well free printables and worksheets that you can keep forever, as well as lots of medical literature to validate exactly what you are experiencing and why.

No longer will you be brushed aside and told that your legitimate, valid ability to perceive electrical currents and EMF fields imposed on your body are simply a “detox” to ignore.  Nope.  In this 7 day online class we will go over together:

  • Day 1: What is electrosensitivity and how to assess if you are electrosensitive
  • Day 2: Removing the exposures you can remove (I’ll walk you through it!)
  • Day 3: Reducing the exposures you can further reduce (let’s do it together!)
  • Day 4: Shielding from any remaining exposures: key concepts & actions to take
  • Day 5: Grounding to rebalance your conductive health with natural earth EMFs
  • Day 6: Boosting your body’s resiliency to mitigate the symptoms you may already be feeling
  • Day 7: How to talk to your physician about further in person diagnosing & treatment of EHS

 

Reserve your spot today and take action to protect your well being (and forward this to your family and loved ones so they can take it with you!)

Taking this with an accountability buddy is a great idea so you can encourage each other and stick with it.  And I’ll be your ultimate accountability partner, walking beside you the entire way:

 

 

It absolutely doesn’t have to be overwhelming, I’ll break it down for you into easily actionable steps that will leave you feeling empowered, not scared.

 


 

 

2.  Switch Your Unfiltered Ground Cord To A PureGround Cord

 

The second action I highly recommend taking is to replace all standard ground cords with PureGround cords.  The PureGround cord blocks AC current so you can get the benefits of the healthy direct current from the earth without experiencing any uncomfortable tingling or stinging from EMFs.

You can order this AC filtering, EMF shielding ground cord right here, and start grounding again with confidence.

 

 


 

 

 

3.  Offset Man Made EMFs Indoors with Natural Grounding Outside

 

The third thing I highly recommend you do is, even if you ground indoors through grounding tools (and a PureGround cord) head outside for at least a few minutes daily to rebalance your conductive health.  It doesn’t have to be for long — grounding is as instantaneous as flipping on a light switch.  When you turn on a light, the entire room is illuminated — and that’s exactly what happens when one cell in your body becomes grounded: your entire body becomes grounded.

While there are cumulative benefits over time to grounding, there is really no time too little for grounding, either.  I never want you to miss an opportunity to be grounded just because it’s might only be for 30 seconds while you stop at a street crossing, or lean against a tree while you take a break during lunchtime, or when you stop for a second to pull a weed out from a garden bed.

Within seconds your skin surface conductance has changes throughout your entire body and your muscle tension has decreased.  As seconds turn to minutes, your brain and vagal tone have gotten a calming boost from grounding, and you might notice pain decreases and mood lifts.  Over time, as minutes turn to hours, your metabolic processes get a boost and your circulation (which supports every single organ system in your body) is running more smoothly.  Grounding day after day means nighttime sleep is more restorative, stress hormones normalize, inflammation decreases, and health benefits begin to accumulate, often resulting in noticeable health benefits on a large scale.

Grounding daily to reset the conductive health of your body is ESSENTIAL — it is not enough simply to remove EMF insults, you must replace those toxic frequencies with the natural healing frequency from the earth.

 

 

To help you with that, I wrote a book for you:  The Earth Prescription.

This book will fill your mind, heart and spirit with exciting ideas on how to get grounded to support your particular health goals best, whether you want to sleep better, get more energy, feel more spiritually connected or even boost your creativity.

My goal in writing this book is to give you tons of solutions on how to get outside no matter what the weather, no matter what the season, no matter where you live, no matter if you have a yard or not, live in a city or not, nothing can stop you from resetting your conductive health with the earth you live on.  I’ll also inspire you with hundreds of uplifting ideas on what to do once you get there:

 


 

 

 

 

The Bottom Line:

 

In a nutshell: electrosensitivity is a well defined, identifiable, treatable, and preventable neurologic disease.

And awesomely, the human body is an incredibly resilient force of nature and we naturally go back to vibrant health when we allow our body to bounce back by giving it time to heal between insults.

The basis of life is a natural ability to repair and recover and a natural adaptability as well.  Your body simply needs time and space, away from a constant toxic onslaught, to do so.  This is even more crucial for those of us who are electrosensitive.  I truly hope today’s article helps to reassure you exactly what you are feeling when you notice symptoms of electrosensitivity, to give you a fuller understanding of what is really happening when you are having a “grounding detox”, and tons of solutions to help release those symptoms and feel better than you’ve ever felt.

To your incredibly resilient health!

xoxo, Laura Koniver, MD

References:
[1] The Electrical Safety Manual of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2009-113/pdfs/2009-113.pdf
[2] C. F. Dalziel, “The threshold of perception currents,” in Electrical Engineering, vol. 73, no. 7, pp. 625-
630, July 1954, doi: 10.1109/EE.1954.6438873.
[3] Belpomme, D.; Irigaray, P. Electrohypersensitivity as a Newly Identified and Characterized Neurologic
Pathological Disorder: How to Diagnose, Treat, and Prevent It. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 1915.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21061915
[4] Hedendahl L, Carlberg M, Hardell L. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity–an increasing challenge to the
medical profession. Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):209-15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26372109/

You Have The Healing Power Of Breath Inside You Right Now… Here’s 5 Ways To Use It

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In medicine, we know it only takes three deep breaths to significantly support vagal nerve tone, which helps modulate your autonomic nervous system.  Meaning your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and brain all get calmed and centered and soothed… and pain significantly decreases as well.

Because we can actively control our body’s air exchange through intentional breathing, there are lots of awesome ways you can play around with using your breath to calm you, invigorate you, increase your focus, decrease your anxiety, decrease your pain, increase your oxygenation, decrease stress and muscle tension, and more.

Although unconsciously most of us will default to holding our breath when feeling stress, or tension, or fear, or anxiety, intentionally taking a few deep breaths is a deeply healing way to give our body the message that we are okay.  Because we can override our default brainstem breath pattern with an intentional, more powerful, deeper breath, focusing on breathing gives us a unique ability to actually modulate our neuronal activity with intention.

We typically can’t go in with our brain and override our other autonomic nervous system functions — like intentionally slowing a pounding heart rate or intentionally decreasing a spiking blood pressure — we CAN actually go in and intentionally take deeper breaths, which then allow that heart rate to slow down and that blood pressure to alleviate… naturally.

This gives us an amazing tool for natural biofeedback.  And we can do this as often as we want, anywhere we want, and even be totally in public and still privately practicing this healing biofeedback tool of intentional breathing.

 

 

I have done tons of research for you — from personally attending live Transcendental Breathing events to workshops on yoga breathing techniques to more traditional medical training in lung physiology, respiration and oxygenation patterns, experience in using respiratory interventions like incentive spirometery and lung percussion, years and years of hands on lung auscultation, as well as decades of reading the latest medical literature.

And after all that, I can report back to you that I have four favorite, simple, fun, and effective breathing tips.  I’m going to share them with you, right now.  So stop holding your breath during times of stress and illness and tension and transition, and instead use the power of your breath to help you instantly transform it.

Here’s how:

 

5 Ways To Use Your Breath To Feel Instantly Better:


 

 

1.  Use the power of three:

 

It truly only takes three deep breaths to boost vagal tone, slow your heart rate, boost oxygenation, calm the mind, increase focus and productivity, stimulate digestion, and reduce stress.

Just three deep breaths — just 3! — try them right now.  You will instantly give your body a mini-break and your brain a mega-boost.

One of my favorite ways to take three breaths is to use a 4-7-8 pattern.  This exercise is simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Repeat the cycle two more times for a total of three breaths.

The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is what is important here… spending twice as long exhaling as inhaling.

If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing medications, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice.  Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension.

 


 

 

2. Incorporate grounding:

 

To relax into a longer breath-work session, it is really helpful to incorporate movement — in this case, walking.

And here is the key to make this breath work even more powerful: do it grounded.

Walking barefoot on the earth during walking meditation is the hands-down easiest way to drop out of your monkey mind, calm your thoughts, and center your awareness down in your heart (or even better — down at your feet!)

And being grounded naturally boost vagal tone, so along with your breath work, you are exponentially calming your central nervous system, releasing stress and anxiety, calming your heartrate, lowering blood pressure, boosting your circulation and oxygenation, releasing muscle tension, brightening your mood, and giving your body a head-to-toe fresh start.

Grounding supports your vagal tone so well that it actually helped premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to improve outcome.  Read this article on my blog right here to find out more about that important study.

If you are suffering from trauma, from insomnia, from anxiety, from depression, from anger, or from any other stressor (and who isn’t?) support your recovery and release by simply doing ten minutes of grounded walking.

If you have never done a walking meditation, you are in for the biggest treat.

In the video below, I sneak you into my favorite walking meditation — using a labyrinth!  I also share with you some super easy ways you can create your own labyrinth, so even if you don’t have access to a labyrinth (and even if you don’t have any of your own yard space to create one)  you can still do a walking meditation.

Watch me as I do a walking meditation for you and then let’s plan out a way for you to do it too:

 

 

Literally drawing a spiral with a piece of chalk on a sidewalk square, or simply walking up and down a line on your driveway, or using tape to create a line or spiral in your garage, all of these ideas can create a grounded walking meditation path that will literally transform your day.

  • Any cement, sidewalk, concrete surface outside is grounded, so anywhere you can kick your shoes off and walk a line or a spiral on a sidewalk or concrete will get you grounded without ever getting your feet dirty!  For example. Walk up and down a sidewalk slowly.  Walk back and forth across your driveway slowly.  Draw a chalk spiral on your cement basement garage or basement floor to walk on.  Or get fancy and use tape to create a labyrinth in your garage or basement on the concrete floor that you can use forevermore!  This video shows how you can create a labyrinth out of masking tape, in just minutes.
  • Of course, any dirt path outside would make a fabulous grounded meditation path, just slowly walk it up and back.
  • If you love the feeling of grass on your bare feet like I do, you can always walk on any safe green space in a grounded walking meditation.
  • Most garden paths and patio walkways are grounded, because slate, tile, brick, even gravel is all grounded when they are lying on the earth.  So almost any outdoor walkway is an instant grounded meditation spot when you walk it barefoot.  In this video I show you 15 different outdoor surfaces that will ground you, beyond just grass.
  • And if you are lucky enough to have your own yard, you can even spray paint a little spiral on your grass to use it for several days in a row.  If you love it you may be inspired to create your very own labyrinth path by laying stones or brick to create a personal labyrinth in your yard or garden.  I know this is on my bucket list to do one day!

If you can take ten minutes to do this walking meditation daily — grounded — I believe with my whole heart it can change your perspective on your entire life, fill you with a sense of hope and fresh positivity, and help you feel physically better too.

 


 

 

3.  Use a chime:

 

If it’s absolutely not possible for you to go outside for a grounded walking meditation today, don’t worry.  It’s a little too cold for me to go barefoot yet this year too, so in the meantime I lean heavily on my favorite chimes.

Using an auditory cue, like a chime, to focus on while you take three deep breaths, allows you to reap similar benefits, any time and any place, even inside your home or office.

In the 15 minute video below, I share with you 3 easy ways to remember to take a few deep breaths throughout your day… click the video below and come do it with me!

Together we will experiment with using a bar chime (my favorite,) a tuning fork, and a wind chime.

For bonus points, do this outside.  One thing I love about a bar chime is that it is very small and lightweight, so you can easily slip your bar chime in your purse, backpack or pocket… and head outside to get grounded.   Using a chime for breath work outside grounded combines tip #1 (taking 3 deep breaths) with tip #2 (doing it grounded) so you can reap the benefits of both very, very easily.

I also love having the wind chime out on my desk to help visually remind me to take a few deep breaths throughout my work day, and I also find it helps give me a focus (and is especially helpful for auditory folks!) to help distract my mind from taking over with thoughts.

You can grab the different sound healing tools I use in the video right here:

Meanwhile, watch this video now to give it a try and let’s breathe together:

 

 

Click here to watch this video directly on my YouTube Channel, where I have lots of healing videos waiting for you:

 

 

As I mention in the above video, the work of Dr. Herbert Benson, M.D. paved the way for understanding how the brain actually improves performance when you take breaks during stressful tasks.

 


 

 

 

4.  Add a mantra:

 

In the video above I also mention a study that was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on June 20, 2018,  that found that short sessions of repeating a mantra actually helped resolve PTSD symptoms in veterans even better than traditional talk therapy did.

Wow!  Here are the details:

  • 173 veterans were enrolled in the study, 89 of them using mantra therapy (focusing on a repeating a mantra) and 84 using talk therapy (with a focus on problem solving) for an hour long session once a week for 8 weeks straight.
  • They were randomly assigned to each group and the assessments were done blindly (meaning the therapist did not know which patient was doing which therapy when assessing symptoms and monitoring progression) before treatment, after treatment on week 9, and at the two months follow up after the conclusion of the study (week 17.)
  • The results showed that focusing on a mantra provided a clinically significant, meaningful improvement to the veterans PTSD symptoms that were sustainable, and worked particularly well for insomnia… better than the talk therapy did.
  • Patients from the mantra group actually had larger improvements to their insomnia and equally impressive improvements to other symptoms, such as depression and anger.

 

The results showed that the mantra results were as robust as traditional talk therapy treatments that were trauma-focused.

That means, that even if you have resistance to focusing on the actual traumatic event to work through your trauma, you can have every bit as meaningful recovery when you focus on a mantra as opposed to the trauma!

This is huge news.

And equally exciting, the improvements from mantra therapy were sustained for months after the treatment ended, with more patients being PTSD free after mantra therapy than traditional talk therapy (60% of mantra patients were PTSD free at 2 months after intervention, compared to 40% of the talk therapy group.)

This study is so incredibly valuable I feel, because as someone who admittedly has a very difficult time with meditating for any length of time, I feel that knowing that just repeating a single word has literally been clinically shown to make a significant difference in improving quality of life and treating insomnia, anxiety and other PTSD symptoms is such a relief.

Slowing down your thoughts and practicing sustaining a point of attention on just a single repeated word or phrase was shown to help patients cope with daily anxiety, fear, anger, depression and insomnia.

You can practice a healing mantra any time, any where.  Here are my favorite two suggestions.

I actually have this printed on the medication card in my Healing Focus Cards, so if you like these you can grab a card set for yourself here, but feel free to come up with your own word or phrase that centers you best:

 

 

breathing in:  I am lovable

breathing out:  I am loved

or

breathing in:  I am safe

breathing out:  I am strong

 

Take a minute long break to use your breath to center you when you feel your stress increase sharply — it’s simple, it’s convenient, and it’s free.

As a huge advocate for grounding therapy, you know I am a big fan of free therapies that allow patients to take control over their own health.  So knowing that you can take a few mindful breaths, or repeat a healing mantra, or ring a chime, or even head outside for some grounded breath work as you do a walking meditation… is such an awesome thing.

Each one of these suggestions will measurably reduce stress in the body and give your health a boost,

Breath work is very private and very powerful.

 


 

lungs1

 

 

5.  Use Healing Artwork as a reminder:

 

I believe in the healing power of the breath so much that I painted a painting of it to remind me daily.

This is my reminder to:

Stop.

Grow Still

Take A Deep Breath.

 

It occurred to me, when I was working with a patient on his breathing issues, that our lungs remind me very much of wings.  I told him to take a big deep breath of air as if he were stretching out his wings behind him, imagining his lungs filling, his shoulder blades growing wings, and his arms reaching out and up as if he were about to take flight.

I liked that image I had in my mind of our lungs filling and turning into wings so much I wanted to paint it!  So I did.

I grabbed my medical school anatomy book (hard to believe I used that 25 years ago now!  Wowza how time flies!) and got to work, sketching out the lungs and trachea on a canvas.  After that, I added an outline of wings behind the lungs:

 

lungs2

 

Then on to painting… first I filled in the background with a layer of deep grey:

 

 

lungs3

 

Then I wanted the energy to feel like it was pouring down over you, swooping in, urging you to breathe in deeply and receive the life giving air directly into those precious lungs of yours:

 

 

lungs5

 

 

I added some divine purples and pinks to the background color, and began to paint in the wings with whites and light greys:

 

lungs6

 

 

Once I got the background and wings how I wanted them, I outlined the lungs again for contrast:

 

lungs7

 

 

And then painted them in with a pinkish orange:

 

lungs8

 

Working back in some additional highlights, I painted some shadows and highlights on the lungs with white and light purples, and added some more white energy coming in from above:

lungs9

 

Lastly I added the mantra: breathe deep.

 

I wanted this image to be wonderful, healing, anatomically based but spiritually expansive reminder to be the best you possible today and every day.

At least I know I could personally use the reminder to stand up straight, hold my head up as I meet the stress of each day, and stop to take those long deep breaths that feel so good.

 

 

 

 

If you could use a reminder too, you can order a Giclee archival quality print of this image right over here.  Watermark does not appear on the Giclee prints, don’t worry!

I have the original hanging in my own bedroom and I just can’t part with it.  But I’d love to think you had the same artwork in your own bedroom as well, reminding you to breathe deeply as you fall asleep and as you wake up again each morning!

 


 

 

 

So here are some suggestions to implement these tools today:

  • start the day with a few deep breaths while you breathe a self selected, calming mantra in and out
  • have a tuning fork, a wind chime, or a bar chime or in your work or living space to use throughout the day whenever stress hits, or simply re-play the video I share with you above where I hit the chime for you and breathe right along with me
  • get grounded outside, walking mindfully in a straight line or along a spiral for 10 minutes during a mid-day break
  • stand outside under the stars after dinner or before bedtime each night, looking up at the moon and stars and taking 3 more grounded deep breaths in and out, slowly
  • hang this healing mantra artwork in a doorway, your bathroom, your kitchen your office or your bedroom to remind yourself throughout the day to stop and take those important deep, centering, healing breaths
  • breathe a self selected mantra in and out for a few deep breaths each evening as you lay in bed before sleep, or while soaking in a relaxing epsom salt bath soak just before bed

 

And if you don’t think breathing impacts your health, you should try a transcendental breathing class… now there is a great way to feel more expansive and more free than you have felt in a long, long time!

There is a reason why, when we come into this world, everyone waits for the baby to take that first breath of air.  That’s the breath of life!  That’s the sign that we are healthy, that we are strong, that we are alive!

It only takes a few minutes to start to reap the benefits of using your breath to boot your health… and the results can be maintained sustainably for the rest of your life.

To your health and your inner angel wings, that are just waiting to fill and support you… don’t forget to lean on them when you need to!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

Electrosensitivity and Grounding: How To Protect Your Conductive Health

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With modern society’s rapid and persistent rampage on creating ever stronger and stronger electromagnetic fields that affects our body’s ability to function, I want to make sure that our connection to the earth stays as safe as possible.

Because even as our environment declines, we must find ways to preserve our healthy connection to the earth outside.  After all, your conductive health is your biggest ally in healing and maintaining robust wellness for a lifetime.  Connecting to the earth is the most natural form of healing there is!

In fact, the very thing that makes grounding so powerful is that we are fully conductive human beings, with every single cell in our body completely conductive and ready to receive the earth’s healing energy.

But that is the very thing that makes us so susceptible to EMF exposures — precisely because we are fully conductive human beings, with every single cell in our body being completely conductive, we are affected by the electromagnetic fields around us.

So even though exposures to mandmade EMFs are causing increasing health issues, it still remains true that exposures to natural sources of EMFs (the Schumann frequency, from the earth) is an absolutely crucial component of maintaining long term health in living tissues.

Conductivity is literally the basis of how our body functions.

Everything from your thoughts to your feelings to your sensory experiences to your heartbeat to your breath to your speech to your digestion to every movement you have ever made is all only possible because you are conductive.  So while natural earth EMFs soothe and heal you, bathing your conductive body in supportive energy fields, manmade EMFs disrupt and sicken you, artificially imposing polarized disruptive radiation fields around you.

Here is a great diagram, taken from this great article published in Science Of The Total Environment in 2019, showing how we need earth’s energy to be healthy, while manmade electrical fields make us sick:



Navigating this is actually simple: reduce exposures to man made electrical environments in your home and work space, and increase exposures to the earth’s natural energy fields by grounding.

The only reason this gets confusing at all is because some grounding advocates say that while you are grounded, you are magically “protected” from manmade EMFs.  While I wish this were true, it is not.  You still have man made EMF exposures affecting your body, whether you are grounded or not.  When you are grounded, if you are electrosensitive you might literally feel these man made EMFs as tingling, headache, muscle tension, or irritability.  The solution to this is for electrosensitive folks to reduce the manmade EMFs around them if at all possible, or add shielding to protect the body while you are grounding.

Unfortunately the grounding advocates who say you are magically protected from EMFs when grounding and who don’t believe in (or don’t understand) that electrosensitivity is real, tell you these symptoms are a “grounding detox” and ignore them.  That’s doesn’t work.  No one should feel worse while they are healing… healing should feel like a relief (especially grounding!) and help you feel better and better and better!

So if you have felt negative symptoms when grounding through a standard ground cord, I want you to know that you are not crazy — there are legitimate medical reasons you are feeling symptoms — and you are not having a “detox” reaction.

Women tend to be more electrosensitive and can feel symptoms at even lower levels than men do, but men are also able to pick up on currents flowing into their body at the level that a standard ground cord allows.  Most average levels of human perception cited include:

  • 0.7 mA is average perception in women
  • 1 mA is average perception in men
  • 10mA can cause muscle paralysis
  • 75mA can cause ventricular fibrillation
  • 100mA for 2 seconds is lethal!

These are averages and many studies have been conducted to determine these levels across many participants.  Not surprisingly there is wide variation on perception, which means a decent amount of the population can perceive levels much lower than the averages.  Experienced electricians could even detect sensations as at 0.1mA or less!  Small cuts, punctures and breaks in the skin’s integrity drops this threshold even lower — so if you notice increased symptoms in winter when your skin is dry and cracked, this may explain a lot for you!

This means there are many people who can perceive current flowing through their bodies while grounding.  And these folks are simply electrosensitive.  I find it sad that thousands (if not millions) of grounding customers that feel ill effects from EMFs that run through a standard ground cord are being told that they are either imagining the symptoms or that if they allow the symptoms to persist, eventually they will get used to it (a so called “grounding detox”.)  I don’t want you to get used to the dizziness, pain, fatigue, headache and irritability that an AC current running through a standard ground cord is causing on your physical tissues.

 

 

The human body is a beautiful, electrically sensitive system, and it is a medical fact that we can pick up on (and have symptoms from) a current that is introduced to the human body.  You are not imagining it and it will not go away, unless you stop the current from running into your body (which is what the PureGround cord does.).

Many electrosensitive folks have trouble grounding thorough a standard ground cord.

To help explain why, I created this video for you, to give you validation to your electrosensitive symptoms and to show you, through the use of a multimeter and other testing devices, exactly why you feel the way you do:

 

 

 

Click the image below to watch this video directly on YouTube:

 

 

 

We want to deal with this ever-increasing, ambient, background electrical smog that we are exposed to every day by protecting ourselves from it.

And here is the good news… we can.

By employing these strategies, you can dramatically decrease your exposures to man-made EMFs and increase your exposures to healing earth EMFs, dramatically protect your conductive health and boosting your well being.

 

Let me walk you through it:

 


 

 

1.  Remove:

 

Go through your living and work space to see what man made EMF exposures you can simply remove.  Removing a source of man-made radiation beats shielding from it every day of the week.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Put your cell phone on airplane mode when you are carrying it on your body or in your pocket or purse to totally deactivate it as a source of radiation all together
  • Decrease the quantity of other radiation exposures in your home: gaming systems, baby monitors, computer printers, home surveillance systems, etc… examine the absolute necessity of each.  Sleeping in a family bed is infinitely preferable to using wireless baby monitors, for example.  Only install home surveillance systems outside of the home, or if you have a multi-level home, keep home monitoring to the first floor and not near any bedrooms
  • Do not use an electric blanket or electric bed frame, do not use electric heating pads, switch to using hot water bottles for soothing warmth and therapeutic heat
  • Turn off your WiFi at night if you can
  • Shut off the electrical outlets in your bedroom at night (as opposed to simply turning off your bedside lamp — a plugged in appliance still has EMFs radiating out of the cord near your head all night long, even while it’s turned off.)  To make this simple, unplug appliances or simply using an outlet kill switch like this one to turn appliances (light your reading light) on and off without unplugging them.
  • Make car time cell phone free time — this is a great rule to instill in children of all ages as well!  Give them supreme rights to choose what music you listen to (yes even if you hate their music, let car time be music time, not screen time!)  Make drive time for radio only (or playing music playlists with cell phone on airplane mode) and talking… trust me, when they become teenagers and are starting to drive, you’ll be so glad they have not coupled car use with cell phone use
  • Institute family game nights weekly that use board games instead of electronic gaming systems.  Yes, there are some families out there that still play board games, Jenga, cards, etc… my teens still do!  Yes I have to initiate it.  Yes I do initiate it despite eye rolls…
  • Make sure every single person in your family — kids and adults alike — nurtures at least one non-electronic passion… from reading physical (paper!) books to playing basketball outside to painting to gardening to joining in on a Zumba class at the local Y

 


 

2.   Reduce:

 

Reduce any exposures that can not be turned off or removed.  Reducing radiation is easiest when you simply increase your distance from the radiation source — simply moving EMF pulsing items out of the bedroom, for example.

Here are some more ideas:

  • If you can’t remove or turn off your WiFi router, then make sure your router is installed in an area of the home that is as far away from all bedrooms as possible and cover it with a Router Guard to decrease the strength of it’s radiation output, while still keeping it functional.
  • Move gaming systems out of bedrooms, placing them in living areas & eliminating them from sleeping areas
  • Same with computers and cell phones — moving all charging cords out of your bedroom… placing them in living areas only and never charge or store them in sleeping areas
  • Use speaker phone & text — never hold a cell phone up to your head to speak on it.  Holding your cell phone at arm’s length is infinitely better than holding it up to your head
  • Use laptops and tablets on desks, not directly on your lap
  • Move your main seating and sleeping areas 2 ft away from wiring in the walls. For example, position your sofa in the middle of the room instead of against a wall, move your kitchen table into the center of an eating space instead of against a wall, and use a headboard to create distance between the wall and your pillow.  Two feet is ideal, but any space put between the wall and your body is helpful

 


 

 

 

3. Shield:

 

Now that you’ve removed sources of EMFs as much as possible and increased your distance from the ones you can’t remove, you can go further to decrease your exposures by shielding.

Shielding works.  There was an impressive medical study, published in 2017 in Immunologic Research, that followed 64 patients with autoimmune diseases (such as lupus and multiple sclerosis) while they slept shielded with a silver based sleep cap over their heads, for a total of 8 hours of shielding in a 24 hour period.  The results? 90% of the patients reported a significant decrease in their disease symptoms.

Making small, simple changes like that that can dramatically reduce your exposures — for example, if you literally just place your cell phone behind a cell phone shield like this one while it is charging, you decrease over 90% of the radiation from that direction.

Here are some more ideas on shielding for you to consider:

 


 

4.  Ground:

 

While shielding from man-made EMFs is wonderfully protective, simply removing radiation sources does not actually nurture and strengthen your own health, it just removes a toxic irritant.  The way to boost your conductive health and increase your conductive well being and resilience is through grounding.

Grounding daily to reset the conductive health of your body is essential — it is not enough simply to remove EMF insults, you must replace those toxic frequencies with the natural healing frequency from the earth.

Grounding means touching the earth outside to get a daily boost of healthy, soothing, natural EMF exposures, or using an indoor grounding tool to get grounded.  If you are electrosensitive, you should select a PureGround cord to use with all of your grounding tools, so that you are protected from AC current and EMF’s in your indoor environment from acting on your ground line.  Watch the video at the top of this article for details on how the PureGround cord works to protect the electrosensitive.

To keep your motivation to go outside and get naturally grounded up year round, I wrote a book to help you:  The Earth Prescription.  I wrote this book to fill your mind, heart and spirit with exciting ideas on how to get grounded to support your health goals best, whether you want to sleep better, get more energy, feel more spiritually connected or even boost your creativity.

My goal in writing this book is to get you aching to go outside and to inspire you with hundreds of ideas on what to do once you get there, no matter what the weather, no matter where you live, and no matter what the season:

 


5.  Boost:

 

Boost your health in other ways.  Your health is multifaceted, so even though there will likely be EMF exposures that you can’t totally eliminate, you can boost your health through many many different approaches that allow you to be resilient despite less-than-ideal living situations.

By focusing on what you can immediately do to boost your health and resiliency with high quality sleep, high quality food, high quality water, fresh air and exercise… you become internally healthier and better able to withstand stressful outer environments.

As the 2016 EUROPAEM EMF exposure guidelines state:

“Anything that supports homeostasis will increase a person’s resilience against disease and thus against the adverse effects of EMF exposure.”

To that I say AMEN.  So if you feel overwhelmed or depressed by thinking of how to navigate shielding from all of the man made EMFs and other things in the world you can’t control, focus on what you can control.  What you can control is boosting your own personal health in many different ways.  Read through this list and find one or two ways that resonate with you and feel good about instituting them:

  • Go through your pantry, bathroom, and laundry room to remove toxic, synthetic, chemical laden foods from your pantry, toxic artificial body care products, oral care products and hair care products from your bathrooms, remove chemical laden home care and cleaning products as well as artificially scented and chemical laden laundry products, and absolutely never use toxic chemicals on your lawn.  Reducing environmental toxins like artificial fragrances and toxic household cleaners and toxic body, beauty and oral care products also goes a long way to reducing the total burden you put on your body each day
  • Reduce total body toxic burden by eating less processed and artificial foods, and more antioxidant rich natural healthy foods.
  • Wash your hands before eating anything to remove all the chemicals we pick up as we go about our day so you don’t get traces of them into your mouth with each meal.
  • Supplement with antioxidants that can help alleviate free radicals and oxidative damage, potentially decreasing risks from EMF exposures.  Glutathione, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), folate, and even melatonin are all powerful antioxidants that help slow or even reverse damage from oxidation.  I have all my favorite, very highest quality supplements in the world waiting for you in my EMF Mitigation Protocol right here.
  • Don’t drink enough water?  Put a water filtration system right out on your kitchen counter and drink a big glass every single time you walk by it.
  • Don’t exercise enough?  Start and end every single day with a simple walk outside in fresh air.  Daily movement helps deliver much needed fresh oxygen and nutrients to all organ systems as well as aid in the removal of toxins and waste by-products.  Exercise absolutely boosts your body’s health and resiliency!!!
  • Don’t sleep well?  Take immediate measures to change that — put on blue light blocking glasses after dinner and wear them through bedtime, take melatonin at dusk every evening, use a light box every morning to reset your internal clock, and even go see your physician for a sleep study to see if a CPAP machine (or other sleep intervention) is right for you.
  • Need to lose weight?  Join my upcoming Weight Release Online Class and I’ll help you reach your goals in a very uplifting, easy way.
  • Super stressed out? Join my upcoming  Trauma Healing Class to let go of deep, buried and old emotional and physical wounds that are affecting your current health.
  • Notice you are breathing shallowly? It only take 3 deep breaths to literally boost the function of your heart and other crucial internal organs.  Take 3 deep breaths right now.  Use a chime routinely to remind you…  I walk you through it right here in this video.  Feel that?  Do it daily.
  • Start reading books at night instead of watching TV.
  • Stop multitasking and let your brain focus on just one task at a time.
  • Start taking nightly epsom salt bath soaks.
  • Start going to your community sauna each week to relax tense muscle and boost your health (as I blog about here, routine sauna increases life span!)
  • Join a spiritual support group or get serious about finding a church or synagogue or meditation center that feels right the moment you walk in the doors.
  • Stop using social media and reach out to your real life friends to set up a real date.

And on and on and on.  There is always something you can do to feel better, and better and better.


 

More resources for any who thinks they may be

Electrohypersensitive (EHS):

 

Most people are not quite sure if they are electrosensitive or not.  And unfortunately for most, their physician has not asked about EMF exposures or taken EMF exposures into account when addressing health issues.

So… when will physicians become serious about the diagnosis and treatment of electrosensitivity?  Soon.

There is a huge movement of physicians who are becoming aware and clear on how the non-stop onslaught of EMF exposures are affecting the physiology of the human body.

To help immediately, even before the field of medicine makes an EMF inventory a routine part of a health check up (this will absolutely happen one day, I promise you) I created an online class to help you diagnose and treat any EHS symptoms you may be experiencing.

Today, I invite you to join me in my upcoming Electrosensitivity Relief Class:

 

 

It’s absolutely possible to be EHS and safeguard your health, while still living in the modern world.  In this class I will walk you through exactly how to do it, starting with a self assessment tool that will help you figure out if you are electrohypersensitive (EHS) and following up with a full week to walk you, step by step, through your living spaces to making them safer for you and your entire family.

This 7 day online class includes:

  • Day 1: What is electrosensitivity and how to assess if you are electrosensitive
  • Day 2: Removing exposures you can remove (I’ll walk you through it!)
  • Day 3: Reducing exposures you can reduce (let’s do it together!)
  • Day 4: Shielding from remaining exposures: key concepts & actions to take
  • Day 5: Grounding to rebalance your conductive health with natural earth EMFs
  • Day 6: Boosting your body’s resiliency to mitigate exposures you can’t control
  • Day 7: How to talk to your physician about further in person diagnosing & treatment of EHS

 

 

Plus I give you tons of encouragement and additional tools to boost your health, decrease the reactivity and inflammation in your body from any EMF exposures that you can not decrease…

…as well as tools to give you the confidence to address EHS with your own in person physician, with free printables you can hand them to get the conversation started.

Reserve your spot today and take action to protect your well being, and forward this to your family and loved ones so they can take it with you!  Taking this with an accountability buddy is a great idea so you can encourage each other and stick with it.

And I’ll also be your ultimate accountability partner, walking beside you the entire way:

 

 

It absolutely doesn’t have to be overwhelming, I’ll break it down for you into easily actionable steps that will leave you feeling empowered, not scared.

Please share this article with any friends or loved ones that you know that may be electrosensitive, which honestly in my opinion is pretty much everyone.  We are all electrically conductive human beings that rely on conductivity for our health.  Which means we all are dependent on grounding to the earth to boost our health, and reducing our exposures to manmade EMFs to protect our health.

If you are electrosensitive, than that’s actually awesome, because it simply means you are more aware of (and therefore can be more alerted to and protect yourself better from) these EMF exposures that so many folks are totally oblivious about.  Let’s turn your electrosensitivity into a positive!   I’m here to help you do it.

Looking forward to it…

xoxo, Laura Koniver, MD

 

The Healing Role Of Play, Right Now It’s More Important Than Ever

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I truly believe that even with the stress of everything we are facing right now, we can still feel healthier than ever if we intentionally set up supportive, comforting and deeply healing health routines.

So all winter long, I’m going to be giving you a weekly blog post full of uplifting ways to improve your health, and every single idea is something you can do right in the comfort of your own home.  Social distancing approved.

It’s a new mini-series I’m releasing for you to help boost your health over these next three winter months.  Forward this newsletter to a friend or a family member so that they can take part in this healing mini-series with you!

The series so far has been:

Today’s topic is perfect to wrap up this mini-series with a little fun… and that’s the topic of play.  How does focusing on play fit into a health and wellness blog?  Perfectly.  Here’s why:

 

 

The Connection Between Play & Health

 

Play is not only a relief and a respite from the seriousness that stress, illness and trauma bring to our lives, it is actually therapy.  I can think of no better time to remember the importance of play than in the midst of a pandemic that has created stress and uncertainty in our lives for more than a year now.  Play is something you can incorporate into your daily life even if you are home, even if you are alone.  

Play time is therapy time.  Child psychologists use this healing tool often, because play is a child’s way to express and release any inner turmoil or fears that the child doesn’t even consciously know they have.  But it isn’t only therapeutic for children, it’s therapeutic for adults too. 

In fact, I would argue that engaging in some form of play daily is one of the best things you can do to safeguard your physical health.  From physical play (whether through dance, playing a sport like golf tennis or bowling, painting, playing a musical instrument, bird watching, hiking, you name it!) to mental play (such as crossword puzzles, chess, sudoku, reading and discussing books, watching plays, learning a new language, etc…) many studies have proven there are mental and physical health benefits from time spent in play.  

 

Just look at the animal world — play is huge!

 

 

 

A study published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology in 2001 on animals and animal behaviors found that the size of the brain of the animal species is directly correlated to the amount of time they spent playing (per body ratio) and a higher complexity of play. 

So animals that had small brains engaged primarily in feeding and other survival behaviors, while larger brained animals spent more time in play and they play the engaged in was more complex.  This applies to humans as well!  We have huge brains compared to our body size and we are meant to spend time in play.

Another study found that play behaviour, not tool using, relates to brain mass in a birds.

These researchers found that brain mass in birds correlated to how playful their behavior was… but not correlated to their ability to use tools to complete tasks.   It seems it is play that warrants a larger brain, not problem solving or task completion.  Social play was associated with both the largest brain mass to body mass ratios and with the longest lifespans of these birds.

 

 

The medical literature in humans is just as clear — play can help save your brain and protect your health, even lengthening lifespan.  One recent study show that being playful, doing crossword puzzles, taking a new route home, enjoying long walks, exercise, traveling, having new experiences and learning new skills, exploring new artistic avenues of expression, and continuing to learn throughout a lifetime drops Alzheimer’s rates by 64%, just by learning new things and being playful and being interactive and retaining a sense of plasticity to the brain. 

Play keeps the brain young and actually helps to prevent dementia… and it’s never too late to begin.  Taking a class on photography, learning a new language, joining a book club, so many ways to learn and grow and play can be done almost any where and at any age. 

A study published in Neuroscience Letters in 2003 showing that play stimulated neurotropic growth in several parts of the brain.  As Dr. Stuart Brown says in his book Play, “when we stop playing we start dying.”  But I would say the reverse is also true, when we start playing, we start living! 

 

 

 

 

I know that at times of great stress in my life, it was ever more crucial for me to have avenues to release that stress.  For example, during medical school anatomy class, when we were dissecting human cadavers — a process that was intensely uncomfortable and psychologically stressful —  I relished my time spent playing intramural soccer, and I also picked up a paintbrush and painted my first painting on a canvas. 

A large study published in Leisure Sciences in 2014, backs up my experience.  They analyzed students in rigorous educational paths from three different universities, and found that the more playful the student was, the more successfully they coped with the high levels of stress.

Play may also be brain protective as we age.  The Journal of the International Neurophysiological Society published a study in 2011 that showed simply doing crossword puzzles was enough to significantly delay the onset of memory decline. And Geriatrics and Gerontology published a study in 2019 showing that almost all forms of playtime activities prevent cognitive decline (some examples were: reading, playing board games, music, art, handicrafts, crossword puzzles, even learning computer skills) and that activities that involved intellectual stimulation and communication was particularly effective.

 

 

 

Physical play, activities that gets your body moving and reduces sedentary time, has been shown to decrease the risk of death, prevent the development of certain cancers, lower the risk of osteoporosis, and ultimately increases longevity.  

The European Journal of Humour Research published a study in 2013 showing that the more playful an adult was, the higher they rated their physical and mental well being.  As you intentionally welcome play back into your life, you’ll notice that through play your optimism, your smile, and your sense of humor returns. So it’s very important during times of increased stress to specifically carve out space in your life to allow for play.  

 

 

 

When you give yourself time to play, it gives your body a time to repair and recover.  Play gives you a period of time where stress hormones can decrease, for you to relax and shift out of stressful mind-frames, and even release unhealthy coping mechanisms.  

In fact, replacing unhealthy coping mechanisms with play can actually keep your brain plastic and flexible, ward off mood disorders, and even strengthen your relationships with others (if you choose play activities with a social component.)

A study published in 2008 in Therapeutic Recreation Journal found that leisuretime activities were so powerful in helping to cope with stress that they recommend incorporating play and leisure activities into a therapeutic healing plan.  

A study published in Leisure Sciences in 2013 found that the more playful an adult is, the lower their levels of stress were and the less they utilized negative, avoidant, or harmful coping mechanisms.  

While there are so many stressors in life that you can’t control, one thing you can do to bring more satisfaction and well being into your life is to prioritize play.  So be intentional about creating welcoming a time for play into the structure of your daily, weekly and monthly routines.  It’s important to have space for things you actually enjoy!  Pare down stressful obligations to make space for activities, whether mental or physical, that you truly enjoy.

 


 

Figure Out Your Play Personality

 

Need help remembering what brings your inner child out?  Read through these different Play Personalities below to help you discover… or re-discover — what activities might bring you joy. 

Remember back to childhood as you circle the play personality that is closest to your play style growing up.  Then read through them again and put a check beside the one that is your play style now.  Under this list are a few simple follow up questions to get some insight into activities you might enjoy bringing into your life right now!  These are the play personalities suggested by Stuart Brown, M.D. in his book: Play, How It Shapes The Brain, Opens The Imagination, and Invigorates The Soul.

 

Play Personalities:

  • The Joker: primary enjoyment is being class clown, practical joker, goofy fun, going for the laughs 
  • The Kinesthete: enjoyment comes from pushing physical limits, feel the result of movement and often enjoys play in the form of physical competition
  • The Explorer: enjoyment comes from discovering the world, searching, traveling, researching, understanding, experiencing
  • The Competitor: enjoyment comes from play centered around winning games, keeping score, outwitting others, interaction, usually very social
  • The Director: enjoyment comes from planning and executing events and interactions, relationships, satisfaction from a job well done
  • The Collector: enjoyment comes from obtaining objects or experiences, either alone or with groups, enjoys social interaction and clubs based on common interests
  • The Artist: enjoyment comes from making things, creating things, experimenting with different forms of expression, color, decor, visual arts
  • The Storyteller: enjoyment comes predominantly from imagination and expressing the imagination, written word, spoken word, communication

 


 

 

 

Journal Questions To Inspire More Play

 

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you have the same style of play personality now that you did as a child?
  2. Growing up, when did you feel most free to do what you wanted to do, and what did you choose to do during those moments of freedom?
  3. Do you do anything similar to this in your life, in any form, right now?
  4. Are there new hobbies or interests that appeal to you as an adult?
  5. Do you make time to do them?  Why or why not?
  6. Do you feel more free to play with your spouse, with your family, with a child, with a pet, with your friends?  Which relationships in your life allow the most room for play and fun?
  7. Are there new elements of play that you would like to begin to incorporate into your life now?
  8. If you had to pick a physical way to play, a physical movement for your body (i.e. taking a walk, dancing, tossing a ball with your dog, playing team sports, etc…) which would be the most fun for you?
  9. If you had to pick an intellectual way to play (i.e. playing a board game like chess,  drawing, discussing a book in a book club, learning a new language, etc…) which would be the most fun for you?

 

Commit to carving time each week towards one playful activity that feels uplifting, fun, interesting or even simply relaxing.

Once you figure out what style your play is, you can start incorporating similar activities — whether through social groups or alone — that allow you to access to the type of play that appeals most to you.  I highly encourage you to make play an uplifting part of your monthly, weekly, and even daily routine!  

 


 

 

To Summarize:

 

Today try to remember what lights you up inside and brings a smile to your heart.

Whether it is dusting off an old pair of rollerblades, or heading outside for a game of catch with your dog, to crafting or creating something, learning or playing an instrument, dancing to your favorite music, trying a new recipe in the kitchen, heading outside to watch the sunset, blowing bubbles in your living room, singing songs around a campfire, going on a walk,  playing a pick up game at a park with friends, playing card games with your family, doing a jigsaw puzzle all week long, riding a bike, laying down to look up at cloud shapes in the daytime or twinkling stars at night, writing poems, learning how to sew, creating a scrapbook, practicing photography, and on and on and on…

…know that time you devote to playing is every bit as healthy for you (& let’s face it, probably even more healthy) than the time you spend in serious mode, tackling things like chores, work, emails, and catching up on the news.

 

 

 

If someone forwarded you this email so you could join in on this health routines mini-series with them, be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any of these uplifting holistic healing tips I send out each week.  I’d love to support you too.

Sign up on my homepage to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox by clicking right here:

 

 

 

To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!

xoxox, Laura

xoxo, Laura

To Stay Young, Stay Curious (& Dozens Of Other Ways To Protect Your Brain)

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When nothing is sure,

Everything is possible.

– Margaret Drabble

 

This is what we are living in right now: nothing is sure.  But that also means: everything is possible!

Right now is the perfect time to open up to learning new things you never would have had the time or opportunity to learn before.  To shed old routines and consider what changes in your lifestyle, what changes to your career, and what changes to your health you might want to make after this pandemic is over, and to start learning new skills to prepare for it.

I truly believe that even with the stress of everything we are facing right now, we can still feel healthier than ever if we intentionally set up supportive, comforting and deeply healing health routines.

So all winter long, I’m going to be giving you a weekly blog post full of uplifting ways to improve your health, and every single idea is something you can do right in the comfort of your own home.  Social distancing approved.

It’s a new mini-series I’m releasing for you to help boost your health over these next three winter months.  Forward this newsletter to a friend or a family member so that they can take part in this healing mini-series with you!

The series so far has been:

 

Today, we are going to focus on keeping your mind open and brain sharp through learning.

There is actual medical evidence that the more you are self motivated when learning something, the better your brain works. One study found that the more curious you are, actually improves brain function! So to keep your mind active and alert, here are some ideas to consider:

 


 

 

 

 

Stay Curious

 

Published October 22, 2014 in Neuron, researchers found that having your own internal motivation, in the form of curiosity, allows your brain to have enhanced memory and function… allowing you to more quickly master the information you are trying to learn and even enhances your ability to remember non-related information alongside it!

Researchers could literally see the brain enhance function on MRI when the subject was highly curious about the material they were engaged in — showing that being curious about something literally changes the way the your brain functions, enhancing key parts of the brain such as the hippocampus and the dopaminergic circuit.

Curiosity about life in general enhances your experience of life itself, opening you up to new things and enhancing your ability to absorb it.  So it’s not as much about completing a task as directed, or rote memorization of material, or getting a specific test score on an exam in school that allows you to truly learn.

It’s about following your inner guidance system, engaging in your own innate curiosity, and allowing that to guide you in making educational and career choices that align your soul gifts with your occupation… so that what you are offering to this world is something that is perfect suit to you because you are self motivated to learn about it, master the material related and ancillary to it, and offering this unique vantage point that only you can offer back to the world.

In short, learning and processing and giving your thoughts back to the world becomes meaningful, instead of simply memorized.  That study shows that you are naturally suited to learn, retain and remember information that you are self selecting, motivated, and innately curious about it.

Need some help discovering (or re-discovering) your natural curiosity?  That’s normal, because the way our educational system and corporate work system is set up, it minimizes personal autonomy and creativity.

But you have it inside of you.  Watch this video for inspiration to give yourself permission to become curious again, and then keep reading below for links to tons of resources of fun, learning, and growth!

 

 


 

 

 

 

Learn A New Language

 

Now is literally the perfect time to daydream about future travel.  You could not pick a better time to explore what your future travel goals are than right now: you have time and space to research different cultures, time to create a personal travel bucket list, time to dream, envision, read books on the history of different cultures and different places in world, and maybe most importantly — time to learn the language before you even book the trip!

Today, start by journalling a few ideas on bucket list trips you may want to take one day.

Then, click on a link below to sign up for one of the many free language classes that are being offered online — there are literally thousands of different languages you can master.

This is also an amazing way to stay connected to your friends even while staying home more — not only can you both sign up for the online classes together, but you can call or FaceTime each other to practice speaking it out loud as you learn, and then you can have the fun of planning a future trip together for an immersive experience, visiting an area where your chosen language is spoken!  Win-win-win!

 

 


 

 

 

Reassess Your Career Goals

 

Stress on the job is such a real threat to your health that I think you should take it into account when figuring out your future.  One medical study shows that stress on the job might literally drive you crazy.  This study, published in Lancet Psychiatry on May 10, 2018, suggests that occupation alone might cause as many as one out of every 7 new cases of depression, anxiety, and other common mental disorders.

Even after adjusting for lifestyle factors, stressful life events, temperament, personality, family history and personal history of mental illness, researchers found that job strain alone was responsible for a statistically significant number of mental illness cases over a lifetime.  14% of all common mental disorders that onset in midlife was attributed purely to job stress.

Researchers looked at over 6,800 participants, ranking job strain at age 45 with risk of mental illness at age 50.  The results were astounding:

  • Having a job that is highly demanding increased mental diagnosis rates by 70%.
  • Having a job that causes high strain (moves at a fast pace, or is highly risky, for example) increased mental diagnosis rates by 220%.
  • Having a job in which the employee had very little control over decisions increased mental illness rates by 89%.
  • All in all, researchers estimate that simply having higher job stress increased the overall likelihood of subsequent mental illness significantly, accounting for 1 out of every 7 new cases of mental illness in midlife.

Forget the usually-thought-of triggers such as divorce, bereavement and serious medical issues… job strain alone can put you at significant risk for mental disorders.

What constitutes a stressful job?  A job that requires high intensity, a job that moves at a fast pace, a job that has high risk, a job that gives you very little control over your duties, and/or a job that doesn’t allow you to make your own decisions were all factors that contributed to job strain.

If you are thinking… yes my job is stressful but I really love it, unfortunately that’s not enough.  Job satisfaction was not protective of the strain that job stress can put on mental health.  Although ideally we would all have meaningful soul satisfying jobs… even when they are super fulfilling soul careers, they can actually still be toxic, stressful, high paced, and put us at high risk for mental illness.  And let’s face it, many times jobs simply are not in the slightest bit soul fulfilling at all and yet still are so stressful that they raise mental illness diagnosis, all for a job you don’t even enjoy.

But there are ways to help protect yourself and your mental state. Here are some ideas to help you decrease the negative effect of job stress on your health:

1.  Factor job strain into your career choices early on whenever possible:  If you have a family history or a personal history of mental illness, it is absolutely imperative that you protect your mental health by choosing jobs that give you autonomy, or at least allow you to participate in decision making. Or… if you want to work in a tightly regulated job field where you don’t get to have control over the decisions, then select a job where the pace is slow and relaxed and/or the job is low intensity, low stakes. If one out of every 7 cases of mental illness in midlife comes from having a stressful job, it is absolutely something to take into account when selecting between several possible career pathways.  Look for a job that allows you to be a part of the decision making process, or look for a job with lower intensity and a slower pace if you have an option and want to be protective of your mental health.

2.  Modify existing job parameters:  If you are already in a stressful job that you want to stay in, consider small ways to modify your current stress levels at work. There are three different ways you can lighten your job strain: increasing your autonomy (getting to make more job related decisions,) lightening the pace of the job, or lightning the demands on the job.  Even choosing just one way to modify your current work load, even just slight modification, can help reduce mental illness risk:

    • Ask to be part of decisions whenever possible… if there are committees to be involved in, if there are meetings you can speak up during, if there are opportunities for a leadership role — this study shows that even in a highly stressful job, having some sort of say in what decisions are made allows the job to cause less strain over all.
    • Negotiate terms whenever possible… not just the classic example of asking for a raise, but speaking up over anything you can… such as negotiating when you take a break, what shift you work, what snacks are stocked in the vending machine, or what the dress code is can help give you some say in your work day and reduce strain.
    • If you can’t make decision and you can negotiate terms, sharing the burden is another way to reduce job strain.  Asking for help, getting co-workers involved, turning individual tasks into group tasks, forming alliances, delegating and and all tasks that you can delegate — these are all ways to reduce job strain even in jobs that are highly stressful and where you have little control.

3.  Recover fully when not at work:  Create clear boundaries around time spent working vs. time spent not-working each day.  One of the worst habits you can get into is working on your time off.  I should know, doctors are the classic “on call” occupation but every doctor I know makes this occupational stress a hundred times worse by bringing work home even when not on call.  I have strained myself beyond capacity for years (decades actually) staying up in the middle of the night on my computer, returning emails from my phone at the wee hours of the morning, packing and shipping shop orders literally around the clock… I even worked all day when my appendix was rupturing, had emergency surgery in the middle of the night, and by the next day was back to packing up orders. Which was totally stupid, I know (I blog about this here.)  I not only risked delaying my healing process but I was still groggy from the surgical anesthesia so I mixed up quite a few of those orders, and then had the hassle of re-packing them.  I should have stayed in bed.  I know I am not alone.  In many — if not most — jobs these days, there really are no designated off hours since technology can reach us anywhere, and this can create a situation where there is no down time, no recovery time, no off time.  So you have to be proactive and protective to ensure — for your own mental health — that there absolutely *is* time off from work and time away from all work related activity.  If you are in a job that you can’t modify, can’t control, has high stress, and little autonomy, then the next best thing you can do to protect your mental and physical health is to make sure off hours are actually off hours.

    • Make it harder to access work related tasks… leave your computer at work (if you work from home, leave your computer in a designated *home office* space and do not bring it into the rest of the house!)
    • Put cell phones on airplane mode at night, or better yet turn them off completely.
    • Designate a cut off time in the evening where you will no longer check emails or return business related calls.
    • Prioritize sleep.
    • Make the sleep you do get more restorative by sleeping grounded.
    • Move your body in a non-job related way: exercise, stretch, get into a yoga routine, go on a long walk, have sex, even simple taking a hot bath in Epsom salts will help soothe tense muscles and get you out of “work mode.”
    • Read a book that is absolutely 100% simply for pleasure and *not work related!!!*. I’m the worst at this because I typically read medical journals before bedtime instead of romance or mystery novels but this is one of my new goals.
    • Schedule time for leisure activities — from a designated weekly movie night to a routine family date to time alone — off time is so crucial for balancing out the stress from your job and should be given the same weight (or even more weight) than your dedication to your career.
    • Take time for friendships and relationships that are not in any way work related.  Consider this… are most of your relationships with people in the same work place or career path as you?  Be sure to go out of your way to nurture friendships and relationships that have nothing to do with work at all — if you have to join a knitting club or a book club or sign up for a gym class or introduce yourself to your neighbors — meet people that it would be literally impossible to “talk shop” with in your down time because they do not work with you.  Having outside interests and outside relationships apart from work helps ensure you don’t think about or talk about work in your off time.
    • Take vacation time — up to 1/3 of all vacation days are simply never even used!!!!  What the…?  No way.  Please take those vacation days, every single one of them.

4.  Be proactive about protecting your mental health in other ways:  Particularly if you know you have high job strain, you want to be sure you are eating foods, taking supplements, staying well hydrated, sleep well, and many other things you can do — even if you can’t modify your current job in the slightest — that will boost your mental health.  To that end, here are more blog posts I’ve written for you on holistic ways to support your mental health:

 

Are you convinced yet about finding ways to either tweak your current job or start envisioning a new one?

Now is absolutely the time to take an online class or two that will help you discover the job of your dreams.  Literally anything you can imagine, you can take a free online class in. From learning how to code for a new career in IT, to learning how to market or run your own business online (even courses that help you set up your website and newsletter lists) to taking culinary classes online, taking classes that prepare you for a trade. Classes like: sewing, clothing design, upholstery skills, dog breeding, pharmacy technician, auto mechanic, massage techniques, acupuncture classes, herbalism, lash extension training, eyebrow waxing — I mean literally, you name it, you can learn it, and you can use this stay-at-home time to get a leg up on it!

Here are some places to explore free online classes, to get you started:

 


 

 

Take An Online Health Class (With Me!)

 

I’ve got several health classes coming up in the next few months — keeping you feeling uplifted, supported and inspired all spring long, with classes in February, March, April and May.  Here is a list of my next 4 classes:

 

 

 

 

February 15th: Trauma Healing Online Class

 

I start this class the day after Valentines day because I can’t think of a better way to practice self love than to deeply focus on your own healing.  As a holistic physician, not only have I scoured the medical literature for positive, actionable ways to help our bodies and minds heal from stressful, unavoidable trauma, but I share detailed ways to guide you through your own healing (along with both personal and patient examples from my past 20 years of medical practice.)

No matter what you have gone through, you absolutely do have the ability to rebound from from it and create a new normal and a new health set point.  Every body does.  Your body naturally wants to trend back to full and complete wellness… mind, body and spirit.  I’ll give you the tools to get there.

This class has been hugely helpful in giving participants actionable, positive, enjoyable healing tools that are medically based and proven to work.  One participant who just took my online classes said that the content on the very first day of the class alone far exceeded what she thought she would get out of the entire class, all put together.  Another participant said she felt movement on old stuck traumas from childhood for the first time in her entire life.  Another said that even though he had been in treatment for PTSD for years, he learned things he had never been told before about how the body holds on to trauma and how to let it go.  I would love to support you in this exact same way as well.  Join me here.

 

 

 

March 8: Earth Relief Online Class.

 

Now is exactly when we need the healing support of the earth most of all.  Grounding will help you keep your immunity high, your inflammation low, reduce stress, deepen sleep, and boost your mood, throughout this pandemic and beyond.  I developed this class to give you tons and tons of ways to incorporate grounding into your daily health care and wellness routines, so that no matter where you live — yard or no yard, urban or rural — you can find ways to stay connected to the earth.

Every single day you will get a new, uplifting, inspiring way to ground your body and support your innate health through grounding, even if you are stuck at home and socially distancing yourself during this pandemic.  Now, more than ever, is the time to deepen your relationship to the earth and turn to Mother Earth to directly support your health.  No matter what distance you need to keep from others, no matter how bored you might be by now, no matter what health stressors you are going through, and no matter how much or little resources you have at hand, the one resource you can always count on is support from the earth.

Our planet offers you so many different ways to stay healthy and strong, from the air you breathe to the water you drink to the food that we eat to the land that supports our homes, cars, communities and life as we know it to thrive… but the most direct way to get support from the earth is to touch it directly through grounding. Join me in this two week course and get materials, tips, and ideas for grounding that you can use again and again and again, for the rest of your life.  Join me here.

 

 

 

March 22nd:  Weight Release & Reset Online Class

 

Your spring tune-up, right from the comfort of your own home!  In this 5 day online class, I’ll walk you through the 5 pillars of sustainable, feel-good weight loss.  I’ve based this course directly off of the positive take-aways from recent medical literature on metabolism and weight, as well as on my 20 years of experience helping to support my patients with their weight loss goals.

I’m excited to offer this class to support a health weight, not the lowest weight.  You’d be surprised that your body naturally knows what weight is the perfect one for you, and it can sustain it at this perfect weight effortlessly once you naturally align your metabolism.  I’ll show you how in a very non-threatening, supportive, uplifting way.  It’s not about being rigid or militant or hard on yourself, in fact, it’s the exact opposite.  The harder you are on yourself, the harder it is to align with your healthiest version of you.

It’s not even about your diet and exercise plan — there are actually three other things that are even more important than what you eat and how you move… and without knowing what those three things are, you just can’t lose weight.  Understand the three things that sabotage weight loss and include those in your plan, and the weight releases, naturally.   Join me here.

 

 

 

April 5th: Chakra Healing Online Class

 

This is such a powerful, healing, information rich, uplifting (and completely fun!!!) way to align your chakras from root to crown.  And even if you don’t know what that means, I’m going to teach you.  And show you.  And get you in touch with your own unique energy flow!

A 7 week long course… we spend one week together on each of your seven chakras: taking a self assessment of how your energy is flowing in that particular chakra, activating and opening that chakra, journalling and doing exercises to expand and heal that chakra, yoga poses and food suggestions to support that particular chakra, meditations to radiate and strengthen that chakra, culminating in a Q&A live Zoom meeting to go over all of your chakra related questions.

There is nothing like this anywhere else on earth — truly.  I support you throughout this entire healing process… you will literally leave this experience transformed from the inside out, head to toe.  Join me here.

 

 


 

Not up for a full class but still want to focus on your health?

 

I have some free ebooks for you here:

 

Or you could:

 


 

 

 

More Tips To Help You Protect Your Brain:

 


 

To Summarize:

 

Today let’s reevaluate what direction we want our life to go in… it’s the perfect time to hit a reset button on the trajectory of our career and to learn new things.  From developing a bucket list of places you may like to travel one day and learning a new language to get you prepared, to focusing on career development or physical health to keep your brain supple and young, you can take online classes for just about anything!

And be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any of these uplifting holistic healing tips I send out each week.  If someone forwarded you this email so you could join in on this health routines mini-series with them, you can sign up on my homepage to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox by clicking right here:

 

 

To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!

xoxox, Laura

 

 

 

Boost Your Connection To Others And It Will Boost Your Health, Here’s How:

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I truly believe that even with the stress of everything we are facing right now, we can still feel healthier than ever if we intentionally set up supportive, comforting and deeply healing health routines.

So all winter long, I’m going to be giving you a weekly blog post full of uplifting ways to improve your health, and every single idea is something you can do right in the comfort of your own home.  Social distancing approved.

It’s a new mini-series I’m releasing for you to help boost your health over these next three winter months.  Forward this newsletter to a friend or a family member so that they can take part in this healing mini-series with you!

The series so far has been:

 

Today, we are going to focus on ways to stay connected to others, even during this time of increased social isolation.

Why is connecting to others so important?

That’s because our connections to others actually helps boost our health, increasing survival rates and longevity.

There was an interesting medical review, published in 2010 in PLOS Medicine, that looked at over 300,000 participants in over 145 medical studies pertaining to social relationships and mortality.  This review indicated that no matter your age, sex, health status, disease status, or cause of death, having social ties increased your survival rate by 50%.

It turns out, having friends, family, neighbors and colleagues improve our odds of survival by 50%.  This protective health boost is dramatic, meaningful and significant.  The study found that having low social interactions is actually a risk factor for death similar to other well known health risk factors:

  • Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
  • Equivalent to being an alcoholic
  • More harmful than not exercising
  • Twice as harmful as obesity

 

It makes sense that if having social ties protects your mortality, social isolation drops it.  And that’s exactly what researchers found in a medical study published in 2015 in Perspectives on Psychological Science.  They found that social isolation, loneliness and living alone each increases likelihood of mortality rates by 29%, 26% and 32%, respectively.

 

 

 

But the good news is this — even if you feel lonely, by reaching out to support others, you actually boost your own health, regardless of if you are getting the same support in return.  It turns out that it is the giving of social support, not the receiving of social support, that really benefits your health, at least as far as your brain is concerned.

In a study published in 2019 in Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers used functional MRI imaging to examine what happens to the brain when one receives social support, and when one gives social support.  It turns out, that key areas of the brain are restructured to protect you against stress — but only when you are giving social support.

Receiving support was not related to these beneficial, protective brain changes… but giving support was associated with significantly reduced activation of the brain in areas of stress response.  In other words, giving support to others might actually buffer your experience of stress, reducing the impact that trauma and stress have by supporting areas of the brain that typically activate during stressful situations.   Researchers postulate that one reason being connected to others is protective to our health is that giving support actually helps mitigate the body’s stress response.

So today, in that vein, today I present to you tons of ways to boost your connection to yourself, your community, and beyond.

 


 

 

 

1.  Connect To Yourself

 

The best connection you can ever foster — first and foremost — is your connection to yourself.

Evaluating your own desires, fears, truths, boundaries, triumphs, needs daily allows you to walk through your days feeling centered and intentional, which is the basis for deep containment and alignment with your personal values and morales.

To constantly be evaluating and re-evaluating who you are in each present moment takes courage.  It means you might change course.  It means your relationships might need to evolve.  It means you might out grow old things.  It’s worth it.

I can think of nothing better to do (except maybe create a daily grounding habit like I talked about last week) during this introspective pandemic pause than to get in touch with who you have become and evolved into in this present moment.

Certainly you have changed from just a year ago.

Certainly you have changed from just a month ago.

Certainly you have changed from just a day ago.

Certainly you have changed from just an hour ago.

To find out who you are right now, and what might serve you best moving forward, you can cultivate some intentional practices that will help connect you to you, by:

 

  • making gratitude lists
  • writing in a daily journal
  • writing your memoirs or autobiography
  • writing letters to your younger self
  • writing letters to your future self
  • meditating (see this blog post for more ideas on this)
  • releasing clutter (see this blog post for more ideas on this)
  • creating a peace-of-mind planner for others to reference when you have passed away (I share the one I am filling out below)
  • starting a creativity journal (my favs are The Artist Way and her sequel, It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again, both listed below)

 

I am sharing some helpful links for some of these ideas — free printable journal prompts and links to the books I mentioned above.  I am not affiliated with any of these websites or authors in any way, and I don’t get a single penny for recommending them, I just truly believe in them and have found them helpful in my own journey.  I hope they help inspire you!

 

Gratitude prompts:  

Gratitude Journal Prompts from Angie Cruise

 

Gratitude Journal Prompts from Rhythms of Play

 

Journals:

 

 

 The peace-of-mind planner I am using

 

 

 

  The Artist Way, personal creativity journey

 

 

It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again: a great mid-life creativity booster!

 


 

 

 

2.  Connect To Others

 

It’s so easy to just stay walled up inside your home, especially during the winter months + adding in a pandemic.  While it can be deeply healing to go on an inward retreat (think Henry David Thoreau) you may find over time that the isolation makes you feel more bleak, hopeless, or apathetic than you normally feel.

If that’s the case, don’t worry.  The basis of life is adaptability and resiliency, so your spirit can and will rebound.  Let’s just take the time to incorporate ways to safely connect with other into our weekly quarantine rhythm:

 

Text

 

While medical studies show that social media can dramatically decrease mental health, direct texting is different, allowing you to stay in touch with people who are meaningful to you in real life, even when you can’t see each other.  Make a list of one, two, three, or twenty people you love and miss, and make a point to start each day off with a text to each, touching base with them.  Their responses throughout your day will help you feel connected.  Repeat daily.

 

Letters

 

Yep, snail mail is still a thing.  And while we are on lockdown during a pandemic, the mail still delivers.  Write one letter a day (or even one letter a week if that seems overwhelming) to someone you love and send it in the mail.  You can even include a folded up self addressed envelop and a request that they write you back!  I know of some folks who are spending their quarantine with crafting materials out, creating greeting cards out of card stock to last all year long — every birthday, anniversary, graduation, holiday is a fantastic reason to send a greeting card, and a homemade on is absolutely the best.   For a special gift to my son who graduated high school, I had family and friends write him a letter, collected them all and put them into a special binder.  He told me that opening it and reading the letters, page after page, was the best gift I had ever given him.

 

Garage Parties, Fire Escape Hangouts & Front Yard Cookouts

 

You can use your outdoor living spaces and still connect with others who live near you in creative, safe ways.

  • I have one friend who lives on an alley so every weekend they all open their garages and bring dinners out to eat in lawn chairs in their garages, chatting and playing music.
  • I have one friend who utilizes a front porch area in the same way — drinking tea in the evening and waving to neighbors who are all doing the same.
  • I know of people who are all gathering each night on their fire escapes in multi home dwellings, to chat to each other before retiring for the night.
  • I know of several young adults who all gather in a cul-de-sac, parking their cars side by side and rolling windows down halfway, chatting back and forth to stay connected.
  • I know of a young dating couple that parks near each other, staying each in their own car, to simply see each other’s face once a week on a “date.”

If you have a front door, a front yard, a porch, a patio, a parked car or a backyard that faces another home, you have the perfect way to stay connected and deepen your connection to your neighbors while practicing social distancing.

 

Games

 

Even if you were never one for puzzles or games before, now might be a good time to see if it’s something you can look forward to — yes, even if you live alone!  From playing online games together (in real time, like on Xbox, or on an app like Words With Friends or Chess) or even just taking pictures of a chess board and texting your move back and forth to each other, or even buying multiple copies of the same puzzle and shipping to all of your siblings for a grand Puzzle Race — see who can finish it first! — there are plenty of fun ways to stay playful, even if virtually, connected with those that you love.

 

 Video chat

 

My favorite way to stay connected to loved ones that I don’t live with, like my parents, is through Marco Polo — an app that allows you to record videos and send then directly to your loved one, who can view it any time and send one back.  It’s as convenient as texting but allows you to feel like you are right there with your favorite people, hearing their voice and seeing their face and watching their mannerisms as they speak to you.  I prefer this over talking on the phone, which is an obvious alternative if you prefer to talk live.  You can also FaceTime or use any other video or streaming app to stay connected to everyone you want to!

 

Pets

 

Don’t forget to stay connected to your beloved pet!  As I talked about in this blog post, pets actually prolong your life!  During a pandemic, I’m sure you appreciate their presence in your life more than ever.  Snuggles, love, company — your home is absolutely enhanced by your fur baby.  Spend extra time each day getting into a routine of connecting with them at least morning and night.  From walking your dog to playing with your cat to letting your guinea pig or bird out of his or her cage for a little play time, enjoy spending time with someone who absolutely loves you unconditionally.  On top of that, there are endless things you can do creatively to help fill your time… write down a list of ways you can pamper your pet and tackle one creative project a week!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

 


 

 

3.  Connect To Spirit

 

One of my favorite quotes of all time is this one:

 

“Here is the world.  

Terrible and beautiful things will happen.  

Don’t be afraid.”

– Frederick Buechner

 

While we are facing times that are different from anything we’ve encountered in our lifetimes so far, it may help you to stay anchored in your faith now more than ever.

Or, if you’ve never had time to devote to growing your spirituality, maybe now is the first time you’ve ever been able to do so — jump on it!

From church services being held freely online daily, to virtual group prayer circles, to live meditations you can join into from the comfort of your own home, to apps that allow you to track your meditation efforts (like Headspace) or bible study plans (like YouVerse’s Bible App) to the daily mantra class I linked you to in this blog post, you can use this time to not just go within but to look upwards!!!

Here are some more ideas for you to strengthen your core beliefs, or discover what they even are in the first place:

 

An Exercise To Help You Open To Connection:

 

Lay gently back in a supine position with your arms resting by the sides of your body. The palms are relaxed and open toward the sky.  Allow your feet to drop open.  The legs are extended down and splayed open.  The heels are in and the toes flop out.

Close your eyes.  Everything is relaxed. Your shoulder blades are pulled back, down and rolled under comfortably, resting evenly on the earth.

Breathe fully in through your nose, exhale deeply through your mouth.  Allow yourself to truly let go in this pose for several minutes, connecting to and receiving unconditional love.  Remind yourself:

  • It is safe to open to support from God, from Spirit, from the Universe.
  • It is safe to receive loving divine guidance and to use this guidance as a basis to make important life decisions.
  • It is safe to connect to others, to connect to the spiritual world around you, to recognize the Divine within yourself and the Divine within others today.
  • In short, it is safe to drop all resistance to the journey you are on and to **life** and see living it as the deeply spiritual practice that it is.

Try to run through this sequence at least once a day for this entire week.  It will help your body, down to your very cells, feel centered and supported.

Bonus for doing this while lying outside under the stars in the evening or under the sunshine in the morning.  Bring a big blanket or a sleeping bag or simply bundle up in winter gear and give it a try, you’ll feel totally invigorated.

Even while bundled up, or in a sleeping bag or wrapped in a blanket, if you can let a fingertip out to touch the earth, the sidewalk, a rock, a branch or any other grounded outdoor surface you can reap all the benefits of grounding while doing this healing practice.  Becoming mindfully present with God while allowing your body to get into the healing state through physical grounding is a win-win alignment that will bring a noticeable difference to you on all levels.

 

With Open Hands: Meditation

 

Probably my favorite prayer/meditation of all time, I actually tore this prayer out from the book (With Open Hands, by Henri J Nouwen) and framed it, and have it in my bedroom to read every night before I sleep… it’s that powerful to me.  Try reading through it and taking a deep breath in and out while you sit with each sentence, this will add up to a total of 5 powerful, meditative deep breaths. Placing palms on your lap face up makes it all the more powerful:

 

Dear God,

I do not know where you are leading me.

I do not even know what my next day,

my next week,

or my next year will look like.

As I try to keep my hands open,

I trust that you will put your hand in mine

and bring me home.

Thank you, God, for your love.

Thank you,

Amen.

 

 

 

Create Prayer Flags

 

You can create beautiful prayer flags to hand in your home, outside your windows, along your front doorstep, from a balcony or tree… putting whatever intention you want into the atmosphere for the wind to take.

This is a fun activity that I liked to do every spring with my children as they were growing up. We would take scraps of fabric and permanent markers and draw pictures, write words, symbols, and blessings all over them. I would sew, staple, clip or string them up along a ribbon, twine or clothesline, hang them up on our porch or between trees, and allow the wind to carry our intentions, desires and wishes out to the world.

Young or old, prayer flags are a wonderful way to intentionally infuse the world with your positive energy, or to ask for blessings, and as the sun fades the fabric over the course of the year, know that your prayers have been received.

Think of it as a tea bag you are steeping in the air —creating atmospheric tea. See the picture at the top of this section for inspiration.

All you need are scrap squares of fabric (consider using recycled fabric from old clothing, worn out cloth napkins or scraps of fat quarters left over from sewing projects), permanent markers, a length of ribbon or twine, and a stapler, clothes pins, super glue, or a thread and needle (whichever way is easiest for you to attach the fabric squares along the ribbon or twine.)

If it’s warm enough, head outside armed with your supplies and settle into a nice area, grounded to the earth. A picnic table at your local park works well, your front door stoop, some steps you can sit on, slipping off shoes so bare feet rest on the ground.

With your energy centered and inward, call to mind blessings, words, symbols and images you would like to infuse the world with. Some ideas might include: love, peace, harmony, freedom, possibility, joy, abundance, unity. Even a simple heart or smiley face works. Draw, doodle, decorate, or simply write one word across each fabric scrap.

Once you have created a few prayer flags, simply clip onto a line using clothes pins, or fold the top edge of the fabric over a ribbon and staple, super glue, or sew.  These prayer flags are wonderful hung between trees, along fence posts or porch railings, or even simply across an open window.

Enjoy the words and prayers being carried off into the atmosphere, knowing the have been acknowledged and added to the intentional design of our Universe. Allow your prayer flags to bleach and fade in the sun and wind and rain, and create new ones each year.

I share this idea for you today directly from my book: The Earth Prescription.  If you loved this idea, there are hundreds more waiting for you, ideas that will ground you every season of the year no matter where you live.   I’m so excited to share it with you.  You can order it here: 

 

 

 


 

 

 

To Summarize:

 

Today try to nurture your connection to self, to others and to Spirit on many levels.  Boosting your connections to others will actually protect your health, and particularly so when you are the one reaching out.

Write down any ideas that appeal to you, or bookmark this page to refer back to when you need a little inspiration or are feeling a little lonely.

And be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any of these uplifting holistic healing tips I send out each week, I’d love to support you too.  My readers are a wonderful source of connection that I am incredibly grateful for in my own life, and I’d love you to be a part of this group.

If someone forwarded you this email so you could join in on this health routines mini-series with them, you can sign up on my homepage to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox by clicking right here:

 

 

To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!

xoxox, Laura

Is Going Outside Part Of Your Daily Health Routine? 8 Reasons Why It’s Essential

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I truly believe that even with the stress of everything we are facing right now, we can still feel healthier than ever if we intentionally set up supportive, comforting and deeply healing health routines.

So all winter long, I’m going to be giving you a weekly blog post full of uplifting ways to improve your health, and every single idea is something you can do right in the comfort of your own home.  Social distancing approved.

It’s a new mini-series I’m releasing for you to help boost your health over these next three winter months.  Forward this newsletter to a friend or a family member so that they can take part in this healing mini-series with you!

The series so far has been:

And now on to today’s topic: getting outside.

Think of all of your essential health and wellness routines:  hydrating throughout the day, washing hands, taking care to get enough sleep, brushing your teeth, taking supplements, wearing a seatbelt in the car.  Do you consider going outside each and every day as essential as any of those other health care activities?

I think you should.  Time spent outside actually boosts your longevity, so making it part of a daily wellness routine is an easy yet crucial thing you can do to protect your innate health.

Today, I want to encourage you to find some way to go outside.  Run, walk, stand, even sit…  think of any and all activities that you do indoors that you could move outdoors and go do it!

Because even in the winter, and even during a pandemic, we still need to find ways to be outside.  Here’s why:

 


 

 

 

 

 

1.  Boosted Vitamin D

 

Most of us know that if we get a few minutes of time outside under the sun, it will naturally boost our levels of Vitamin D.  But did you know how extensive the benefits are to boosting your vitamin D levels?  Vitamin D is necessary for brain health, bone health, immune function, metabolism, mood, and even cancer recovery, to name a few.

  • Brain Health:  Low vitamin D levels are associated with a substantial acceleration of memory loss and cognitive decline. Published Sept 14, 2015 in JAMA Neurology, researchers looked at baseline vitamin D levels and mental status change in over 380 adults (average age 75 years old.).  Vit D deficient adults with serum concentrations of vit D lower than 20 ng/mL declined 3 times faster in cognitive function and in memory impairment compared to those with serum vit D levels of greater than 20 ng/mL.  Another study, published in Neurology on August 9, 2014 found that patients with low levels of Vit D have a 122% increased risk of dementia compared to those with higher levels of vit D.  Their findings showed that the critical level to prevent dementia is greater than 50 nmol/L.
  • Bone Health:  A study published in the January issue of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery found that at over half of the patients that present with stress factors of the bone have vit D insufficiency.  Vit D concentrations are linked to the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus… … in fact, if you are vitamin D deficient, you are only absorbing approximately 10 – 15% of your dietary calcium and only roughly half of the dietary phosphorus you consume. So it’s easy to see how Vit D deficiency can lead quickly to a decrease in bone mineralization… and allow for more fractures to occur.
  • Reduced Diabetes Risk: There are multiple studies showing that a deficit in Vit D levels increases your risk of developing diabetes… especially type 2 diabetes.  In some studies, the risk of developing diabetes actually doubles in the face of low vitamin D levels!
  • Weight Loss: By simply adding Vit D supplementation to your weight loss plan, you reduce your whole-body inflammation and blood markers of inflammation, shows a study published April 23m 2015 in Cancer Prevention Research.
  • Decreased Risk of Depression: Yet another amazing study has come out showing a positive correlation between Vitamin D and mood. Published in the November 2011 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers followed 12,594 participants and found that higher Vitamin D levels are associated with a significantly decreased risk of depression.
  • Cancer Recovery: A huge meta-analysis looking at 25 different studies and 17,700+ cancer patients found definitively, yet again, that higher levels of circulating Vit D at time of diagnosis was associated with significantly better survival and remission rates in the future.  Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism on April 29, 2014, researchers found that colorectal cancer, breast cancer and lymphoma patients all had impressive, significantly higher survival rates in patients who had the highest Vit D serum levels.  They also had increased disease free rates afterwards (longer remission periods after cancer treatment) so it makes sense that Vit D may be the protective mechanism of action in prolonging life expectancy. But right now, my number one reason I love getting the sun to naturally boost my vitamin D levels?  Turns out, Vitamin D helps you fight infections too.
  • Boosted Immunity: As this medical literature review discusses (published in 2018 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences) Vitamin D not only directly boosts our immune adaptive response (meaning our bodies are better able to fight off new, novel, mutating and never-before-seen pathogens) but it also decreases inflammation, a leading cause of mortality during viral infection.

Vitamin D is so important to your natural immunity that even if you get direct sunshine outside or through a window daily, I highly recommend that you test your vitamin D lives and supplement with Vitamin D as needed.

The vitamin D supplement I take is Carlson Labs Solar D Gems… it’s 2,000 IU of Vitamin D in 500 mg of fish oil.  Vitamin D supplements need to be oil emulsified for best absorption, so if your Vit D supplements are dry capsules, switch to an oil emulsion or soft gel.  And the extra Omega 3 fatty acids in the Solar D Gems are an added bonus.  Find my very favorite, tried and true, most trusted pharmacy grade Vitamin D supplements — including these Solar D Gems — at a special discount in my online dispensary here.

 


 

 

 

2.  Grounding

 

One of my biggest passions as a holistic physician is encouraging people to touch the earth outside to naturally decrease inflammation in their body, a healing practice known as grounding.

When you are grounded to the earth, as you are when you touch the earth in any way (including touching any plants, soil, dirt, rocks and water that is on the earth) you are supporting your health on the most fundamental level.  Inflammation decreases, stress hormones decrease, metabolism gets a boost, pain decreases and mood lifts.

If you want a complete overview of the past 20 years worth of medical studies on how grounding supports your health, head over here to read them all.

  • For example, one study (published in the Journal Of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine in 2010) found that subjects who were grounded had 40% less muscle inflammation and significantly less soreness after exertion than non-grounded subjects. They also had lower pain levels and significantly lower blood cortisol levels.
  • Another study,published in 2004 in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, found grounded subjects had a complete normalization of their cortisol patterns, suggesting a profound recovery from stress.
  • And this study (published 2006 in European Biology and Bioelectricmagnetics ) monitored patient’s brain waves on EEG and found an immediate shift of the central nervous system the moment patients were grounded to the earth.

Know the feeling of spending a morning in your garden or an afternoon walking along the beach and how calm, centered, and supported you feel?  Grounding your body is at work here, decreasing stress and naturally reducing inflammation.

And grounding also helps you sleep better too!  Not only will getting outside increase your exposure to daylight, which naturally helps regulate circadian rhythm, but the earth is actually equally responsible for our day/night rhythm, which scientists found out after experimenting with isolating subjects from the earth in shielded isolation chambers (published in 1970 in Life Sciences and Space Research.)

Because it is actually the frequency of the earth (along with with exposure to light) that regulates our natural biorhythms, it’s easy to understand how grounding our body with our planet can help enhance restorative sleep at night and boost daytime wakefulness.  It’s also easy to see why staying indoors eventually leads to daytime sleepiness, nighttime wakefulness, and decreased quality of sleep at night, which is incredibly stressful to the body and ultimately decreases lifespan.  Yet another reason to head outside and routinely make time to directly touch the earth, even if it’s just for a few moments a day.

And for a nice overview on how grounding can specifically support your health during this pandemic, this blog post I wrote for you is a must read.

 

If you are curious about grounding but not sure what to do once you get outside, I’ve written an idea book filled with hundreds of ideas to inspire and guide you, and help you troubleshoot to get the results you deeply crave.

Perfect when we are all looking for ways to stay active and healthy at home, and taking control over our own health. We need ways to protect and boost our own innate health right now, more than ever.  We need ways that don’t require a doctor’s office visit — things we can do right at home to protect our wellness.  Grounding is one of the most important ways I know to do this.

If you are not sure how you can get grounded when stay-at-home orders are in place, or if you live in a city and don’t have any access to a safe greenspace, this book is for you, because you absolutely can still ground daily for your health.

If you are not sure how to get grounded when the weather gets extreme, when the seasons change, what earth surfaces will actually ground you, how long you should ground for, or how to use grounding for specific health results, I wrote this book for you.

If you have kids at home right now and need daily ideas on ways to connect with them while also supporting their own innate health, this book is most definitely for you!

And if you are simply bored?  This book has so many fabulous healing ideas that you could literally stay home for two years straight and never run out of new things to do each day.

Simply flip through and pick a page and choose your favorite idea off that page and get healing!

The Earth Prescription is waiting for you right here, right now, as well as at all major book sellers, on IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes&Noble and more.

 


 

 

 

3.  Increased Movement

 

Hate to exercise?  Never made time to do it before?  Just head outside and walk.  Increasing your physical activity level increases longevity, no doubt about it.

And even during this pandemic, there is no reason, no matter how old you are, no matter if you’ve never ever exercised before, to start exercising in ways that resonate best with you.

New research published March 8, 2019 in JAMA Network Open shows that introducing physical activity later in life, even in your 60s (and as you’ll see in other studies below, in your 70’s and beyond as well) has a similar benefit of increasing lifespan as you would enjoy if you had been exercising since young adulthood.

Researchers looked at over 300,000 patients and found that exercising for an average of 2 hours a week was enough to protect longevity, significantly dropping their risk of dying from heart attack, stroke, cancer, and all causes of death combined.

But here is the interesting part… folks who were inactive but started to exercise in mid-life had every bit the protection to their lifespan as folks who were active from adolescence on.

  • Participants who reported routinely exercising from adolescence had a 33% decreased risk of dying for any reason
  • And participants who reported being inactive during young adulthood but increasing activity in midlife enjoyed a similar benefit, at a 34% decreased risk of dying for any reason.

This echoes what researchers found in a study published April 2017 in the Journal Of Geriatric Cardiology, where researchers looked at almost 3,000 adults, with an average age of 71, and evaluated their mortality rates in relationship to how much they exercise.

What they found is that adults who exercised routinely dropped their risk of dying from heart attack or stroke by almost 60%. But again, the interesting part is how you are never too old to boost your health with exercise.  Because even though the average study participant was in their 70s, if during the study they increased the amount they exercised even more, their risk of dying from a cardiovascular dropped by an additional 25%!

So truly, I mean it, it’s never too late to start exercising routinely, because even if you up your activity level starting when you are in your 70s you are significantly, measurably protecting your health and prolonging your life.

Be sure to move outdoors daily, ideally combining some type of stretch or cardio boost during this outdoor time.  I’m very heart-warmed to see so many families where I live going on after dinner walks, riding their bikes, jogging in the early hours of the morning, shooting basketballs in driveway hoops, jump roping, etc…

Whether you do it alone or with family or a friend, be sure to find some way to get your circulation up daily, and push yourself to make that an outdoor activity.

I like to do my online Barre3 workouts in my garage with the garage door open, and play tennis with my son on our neighborhood courts.  Other ideas include yoga, stretching, tai chi, hiking, running, rollerblading, finding outdoor stairs to go up and down, working on a home garden bed or container garden, etc….

If you typically exercise indoors, find ways to move all or part of this exercise outside.  Bring your weights outside.  Bring your yoga mat outside.  Bring your resistance band outside.  Bring your jump rope outside.  Bring your exercise YouTube videos outside.  Bring your hula hoop outside!  Anything!  Everything!  Walk, move, stretch, run, bike, keep moving every single day.

 


 

 

 

4.  A Natural Mood Boost

 

A huge meta-analysis of the medical literature (published in 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health) found that spending time outside in nature positively impacts mental health and increases emotional resilience.  Participants enjoyed statistically significant improvement in mood, reduction in stress levels, decrease anxiety, decrease in depression, decrease in cortisol levels, boosted parameters of heart health, decreased blood pressure, and an over all improvement in quality of life, just by sitting or walking outdoors in nature.

And the best news? It doesn’t take long to receive these incredible uplifting benefits… as little as ten minutes will do it.  An exciting study published in 2020 in Environment International found that mood significantly improved after only 10 minutes spent in a natural environment.

 


 

 

 

 

5.  A View Of Trees

 

Multiple studies have found that having access to a garden or other green space — even simply viewing plants — decreases depression rates, anxiety rates, and dramatically reduces stress.

One study, called the MIND study (conducted in 2007) found that simply walking through a garden or greenway significantly improved mental health, while walking through areas without greenery (such as a shopping mall) significantly decreased mental health.

Even indoor gardens can positively impact on your well being, so don’t discount the power of a windowsill garden or a simple house plant to support your health.

An exciting study published in 1996 in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, showed that simply adding plants to an indoor computer room not only boosted work place productivity, it also significantly decreased their blood pressure.  At at time when many of us are working from home, consider adding plants intentionally to your work space, or move where you work to be near your best view of a tree, whether that tree is in your home or outside.

Being physically near plants is so impactful to our mental and physical health that it turns out, even just seeing a plant can significantly impact our recovery from stressful health events.

We have such an innate need to be submersed in a world with foliage and plants around us that a study (published in 1984 in Science) found that patients who simply had a view of plants through a window while recovering from surgery had better moods, used less pain medications, had less surgical post-op complications, and even decreased their length of stay in the hospital.

Less pain during recovery and getting to go home sooner after surgery just by looking at plants?  That’s an awesome health strategy that I wish more hospital and clinics would take into account when designing their architecture.

So even if you hated my suggestion to exercise outside and prefer to look at nature through a window, make sure you pick a window where you can see greenery.  Or sit outside under a tree.  Or spend time near an indoor potted plant, if that’s what it takes.

Increase the number of plants you are around both inside and outside the home and boost your health naturally!

 


 

 

6.  Preventive Health Maintnance

 

A study published in Biomedical and Environmental Sciences in 2012 showed that even a brief intervention of one single weekend spent in nature had significant health benefits — reducing stress, reducing inflammation, and even boosting the body’s immune response, compared to staying in an urban environment for the weekend.

Researchers studied subjects that had a two day immersion in nature and found they had measurably boosted immunity markers in the blood, lowered blood inflammatory markers, lower cortisol levels, boosted natural killer cells, along with improvement of several other markers of immunity and inflammation.

But here is the best part: not only was this health boost significant immediately, but it persisted for an entire month after just that one single weekend in nature!   So one weekend in nature sustained an improvement in health for weeks, well after the subjects returned to their urban living.

The immune boost and reduction in stress on the body is thought to be a result of exposures to the phytoncides (a fancy word for essential oils) that trees emit.   The researchers even suggest that routine visits in nature may provide long term anti-cancer benefits, because the subjects who spent a weekend in nature had boosted T Cell and Natural Killer cell function (which produce anti-cancer proteins) that persisted for weeks.

They encourage time spent in nature as a healthy part of a cancer prevention plan, and I agree… if you can’t get outside in nature daily, these studies suggest that planning one weekend a month can still make a huge difference in not only your current health, but protecting your future health as well.

Cumulative anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits from one weekend a month in nature?  That’s a pretty good deal.  If you can strive to take monthly breaks from your daily grind in order to support your long tern health, you can reap the benefits for much longer than your weekend getaway lasted.  Weeks of boosted health, even if you can’t live in nature…. turns out even just a venture outside every few weeks does a body good.

 

 


 

 

 

7.  Decreased Germ Activity

 

Not only does time spent outside amount trees boost your immune system function, as discussed above, but the atmosphere outside actually kills germs more quickly than in indoor environments because sunlight is naturally germicidal.

This medical study (recently published in 2020 in the Journal of Infectious Disease) found that sunlight exposure decreased the survival of aerosolized influenza virus by 93% — decreasing viral lifespan from 32 min (with no sunlight exposure) to only 2.4 min in full sunlight.  Wow. Thank goodness for the natural viricidal properties of sunlight!

This medical literature review, published in 2013 in the Journal of Hospital Infection) suggests that infections caught indoors is a major contributor to worldwide morbidity and mortality rates and urges medicine to consider optimizing sunlight when designing architecture for healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics.

And this awesome study, published 2009 in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that open air hospitals treating patients during the 1918 pandemic actually had lower mortality rates than closed air hospitals, citing fresh air, direct sunlight, and use of respiratory masks in substantially reduced deaths over indoor hospital facilities.


 

 

8.  Boosted Longevity

 

All of these benefits — boosted Vit D, boosted immunity, decreased inflammation, protected brain function, better cancer recover and so much more — all culminates in the fact that people who spend time outdoors simply live longer.

It’s so important to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and a major medical study backs that up.  Published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in 2016, researchers found that people who stayed indoors had a significantly shorter life span than those who spent time outside.

This study looked at almost 30,000 participants over a span of 20 years, tracking health outcomes and life span. Researchers found that participants who stayed indoors had higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary disease. And the results were dose-specific… meaning that the benefits of increased life expectancy went up directly in correlation to the amount of time outdoors.

Longer time outside = longer life span. That simple.

You can seek sunlight exposures in a way that honors social distancing such as:

  • sitting on a porch, balcony or front door stoop every morning and every evening
  • eating picnic lunches outside mid-day
  • observing which of the windows in your home are sunny and at what time of the day there is a sunbeam and sitting in those precious light rays while drinking your morning coffee, your evening tea, while working on your computer like I am doing right now, or while reading a good book, etc… (the glass will stop the majority of UVB waves needed for making Vit D, so open the window if you can!)
  • even going for a drive or sitting in your car even without driving it if you have your own car and it’s a sunny day — be sure to roll the windows down and enjoy!

Read more about the medical study showing that sunlight boosts lifespan right here.

 


 

 

 

To Summarize:

 

Today, try to incorporate the healing benefits of being outside to help naturally boost and protect your health.

The benefits are astounding… from enjoying the viricidal properties of the sun, to boosting your activity level, to grounding your body, to boosting Vitamin D naturally, to naturally decreasing pain, stress, depression and anxiety… going outside is critical to our wellness.

And if you can’t get outside routinely, there are still benefits to looking out windows at nature, adding plants to your living space and supplementing with Vitamin D.

And remember, even one weekend a month is enough to significantly boost your health, so if you can’t get outside daily, plan a weekend a month immersed in a greenspace and enjoy long term benefits in cancer prevention, immune support, and even longevity!

Be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any of the uplifting holistic healing tips I send out each week!  If someone forwarded you this email so you could join in on this health routines mini-series with them, you can sign up on my homepage to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox by clicking right here:

 

 

To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!

xoxox, Laura