A Winter Solstice Sleep Checklist, To Ensure You Get The Best Sleep Ever

Posted

 

This is one of the first paintings I ever painted, many years ago… I called it Nighttime Frolic. The canvas has sold but I have prints right here if you like it! (((xoxoxo)))

 

This weekend brings us the winter solstice (and honestly thank goodness because for my sanity I really need the days to start getting longer again) and the darkest day of the year should naturally be a time of hibernation and restoration… i.e. good quality sleep.

Sleep is so important to your long term well being that you literally can’t live without it… sleep is non-negotiable and absolutely essential for longevity.  And the good news is, that no matter how bad your sleep is right now, you are only ever one night away from a good night of sleep.  So maybe on this winter solstice night, we can make that night your best night of sleep all year.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve struggled with insomnia or how big your sleep deficit is.  Every single night is an opportunity to completely turn that around.  Because your last night’s sleep affects your next’s night’s sleep, when you have a really poor night just think of it as increasing your sleep pressure to make it all the more easy to repair your sleep the very next night.

So right now I am going to give you tons of ideas on deepening your sleep to protect your health… which is more critical now, than ever.  I have listed them in the order you would do them throughout the day — starting with the moment you wake up and ending with a night full of blessed dreams.  Let’s go:

 


 

 

1. Get Morning Light On Your Face

 

To easily correct your circadian rhythm, totally naturally, get into a habit of getting natural light on your face every single morning as early as possible outdoors.

20 – 30 minutes is ideal, but even just 10 minutes greeting the day will make a difference in your sleep that very night.  Sometimes I can only have a cup of coffee in front of a well lit window for 5 minutes in the morning but it is still helpful to get that light on my face.

Another idea is to simply use a light box when you wake up.

In addition to spending a bit of time outside or in front of a well lit window each morning, I use my light box every day — especially crucial for me all fall and winter long — I aim for 20 minutes while I attend to my emails or am packaging up orders for you

Effective to not only boost your daytime energy levels (making you more active during the day, when it’s healthiest to be active!) a light box will also help you sleep better that night… naturally, without taking any medications or supplements at all.

Perfect for those who don’t want to risk any untoward side effects from taking pills, a light box does more than just correct your circadian rhythm, light boxes have been shown to directly treat depression as good as a Rx medication and even boost libido.

You can find the lightbox I love most right here.

 


 

 

 

2.  Get Grounded During The Day

 

If you can touch the earth outside for even a few minutes a day, do it.  Grounding helps you establish (or re-establish) an healthier circadian rhythm, ensuring your body knows when it is day and when it is night.  It also helps to decrease cortisol levels over time, which is another crucial component of high quality sleep.

If you have one rock outside you can touch, one blade of grass (even a weed!) you can touch, one leaf on a tree or bush outside, one corner of a cement driveway or garage or one square inch of sidewalk you can stand on, you can be instantly grounded.  Even in the winter, you can and should get grounded outside.  Here is the ultimate resource guide to grounding in the winter — yes you absolutely can ground even wearing gloves and boots, hop over here to find out how:

How To Ground Outside, Even In The Winter

 

The effects of grounding the human body start instantly, so there is no time too short for getting grounded — if it can only be 30 seconds, so be it.  If it can be 15 min, or 30 minutes, all the better.

Want more inspiration to make a grounding practice into a daily health routine?

Just like brushing your teeth or wearing a seatbelt, grounding is another one of those non-negotiable health care practices.  So I’ve got you.

My book The Earth Prescription is all about how to get outside not matter what the season, no matter what the weather, no matter what the location, no matter if you have green spaces outside or not, no matter if you have 5 minutes or 5 hours to ground, urban settings, winter temperatures, no matter what the circumstance.

It’s filled with tons of easily actionable ways to stay connected to our planet and boost your health during 2022 and beyond.  In fact, if there was one guide I’d want you to have to make 2022 your healthiest year yet, it would be to read this book and refer to it daily.

Meanwhile, I’ve got lots of great ideas for grounding outside — lots of free content awaiting you on:

For starters, check out this video on 15 different ways you can directly ground outside even when you have no grass, no public greenway, and no yard to get grounded on.

 


 

 

 

3.  Move Your Body Every Single Day

 

Walking each day is the one of the best things you can do to prolong your life.

You have to move your body daily.  Walking has been shown to do everything from predict better remission rates during cancer recovery to prolonging life span to simply helping deepen sleep at night, which is why it’s included in today’s list.

If I am not sleeping well at night I have to ask myself, did I truly move my body during the day?  Increase your daytime activity levels and watch your nighttime sleep deepen.  It’s directly proportionate.

Hop over to this blog post for easy ideas to increase your daily movement even when staying indoors in the dead of winter.

 


 

 

 

4.  Decrease EMF Exposures In Your Bedroom

 

Decreasing the disruption to your sleep at night by decreasing your EMF exposures in your sleeping area — removing those you can remove, decreasing those you can decrease, and shielding from those you can’t do anything about — this will help your body truly restore it’s health during sleep.

If you lay in bed and feel overstimulated, I definitely think it’s worth checking out what your EMF exposures are, at least where your bed is.  Because in a world where you can’t do much about decreasing your daytime exposures to radiation, decreasing them at night gives your body a precious opportunity to recover and boost your health resilience.

Ahh… the relief is literally immediate. You can actually feel your entire autonomic nervous system relax and appreciate the break from the constant onslaught of eSmog that is pervasive across the globe now.  If you’d like my help walking through how to measure and reduce your EMF exposures, I would love to work with you in my upcoming Electrosensitivity Class… reserve your spot here.

And meanwhile, I’ve put together this page filled with free, actionable things you can literally do today, before hopping in bed tonight, to reduce your exposures.  Feel free to share it:

 

Free Electrosensitivity Resources

 

 


 

 

 

5.  Block Blue Light From Reaching Your Eyes

 

Ok I’m a mother of a 20 year old and an 18 year old (dang how the time has flown) and it’s just completely unrealistic for me to expect them not to use their computers to complete college assignments. Or use their phone to stay in touch with friends, or to use their televisions to catch up on their favorite TV shows or movies when they can catch a break.

That said, you can make the glow from these screens less disruptive to circadian rhythm simply by the compromise of wearing blue light filtering glasses, like these.

You can find blue light filtering glasses almost anywhere, but make sure they are dark yellow to orange, not light yellow, in order to block enough blue light that it actually makes a noticeable difference in your ability to fall asleep.  Start wearing them after dinner and I am certain you will notice that it’s easier to fall asleep literally that very same night.

 


 

 

 

6.  Take Probiotics Daily

 

The mind/gut connection is completely underrated.  Decreased gut flora has been linked with anxiety and probiotics are now shown to be an effective treatment for both anxiety and depression, and as a bonus, they boost immunity.

Since probiotics are being aptly called “psychobiotics” because of their beneficial influence on brain function, it’s not much of a surprise to see that they also result in an improvement in sleep.  Research published in 2019 in Frontiers In Psychiatry showed that after 6 weeks of taking probiotics, participants has significantly improved sleep quality.  You can read that research for yourself right here.

My favorite way to reestablish a healthy gut balance is to kick start any probiotic regime with a 7 day intensive probiotic inoculation.  In one week you will have dramatically improved your gut flora — I highly recommend starting with this 7 day supplement and repeat it after every time you take an antibiotic as well.

I have these waiting for you, along with all the other supplements I suggest below, in one easy Sleep Restore Protocol that you can look at right here:

 

Sleep Restore Protocol

 

 


 

7.  Take Melatonin At Dusk

 

I hear all the time from folks who say that melatonin doesn’t work for them.

The most likely reason why is because they were taking them at the wrong time.  You have to take melatonin as the sun is setting, not at night.  This is the key!!!  It must be at dusk, not 1 hour before bedtime (as usually instructed on the bottle of most melatonin supplements.)

Whether dusk is at 4 pm or 10 pm or any time in between, no matter what part of the season you are in or where you live, take melatonin as the sun goes down.  This is when it is natural for your body to have rising melatonin levels, and it will naturally relax you through the evening so that you are ready for bed whenever you are finally able to hit the hay.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan to go to bed for several more hours, still take it at dusk, as that is our natural rhythm of melatonin production.

This one simple tweak can change everything for people who think melatonin doesn’t work for them.  Take it as the sun goes down and you will find that no matter when you finally go to bed that night, you are so much more aligned with falling asleep than you would every have been only taking melatonin an hour before bed.   If you take it at bedtime, your body has already missed the window of the natural circadian rhythm signaling that night is approaching.

I’ve found that patients can take a much much smaller effective dose of melatonin, sometimes as small as only 0.3 mg (instead of the usual 5 mg) as long as they are taking it right at dusk!   Again, my favorite melatonin supplements, along with all the other supplements I’ve recommended in this article, are all waiting for you in my Sleep Restore Protocol here.  I’m sharing this with you here because I find I get so many emails asking which exact supplements I recommend (as well as a trust worthy place to order them, since there are so many places, like Amazon, where they don’t properly store supplements.

Supplements are an investment in your health, so the last thing you want to have is supplements that were not stored properly and by the time you get them in hand they are deactivated and a waste of money) so that’s why I want to be sure you know a reliable source for supplements in case you don’t already have one!  If you have a different online supplement shop you love, I’m sure you can still look at the protocol to write the names of each supplement down and then find all the same supplements in your preferred shop.

 


 

 

8.  Take L-Theanine To Help Decrease Intrusive Thoughts At Night

 

GABA is the brain’s soothing neurotransmitter.

If you are have trouble with anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime, you might feel the calming benefits of supplementing with a product containing L-Theanine, which crosses the blood brain barrier and converts to GABA in the brain to help relax over active thoughts.

A supplement called GABA Trex is my favorite L-theanine supplement, because it is a chewable tablet and doesn’t require water, which means you can leave it on your nightstand and chew one right before bed if it is just one of those nights where your brain is feeling restless… or chew one if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.

I know this is repetitive, but like all the supplements I mention in this article, you can find my favorite GABA Trex in my in my Sleep Restore Protocol here.

 


 

 

9.  Get Up And Drink A Warm Magnesium Drink If You Still Can’t Sleep

 

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, and because it helps your muscles relax and release, it is a wonderful nighttime drink.  Most of us do not get enough magnesium (even when it is included in your multivitamin or you have a very healthy diet — it’s just not enough and it leaves us with tight muscles, anxiety, constipation and more.)

On nights when your muscles are feeling tense (especially helpful for anyone who grinds their teeth at night, has neck and shoulder tension, or has restless legs syndrome) instead of laying in bed growing more and more frustrated, break out of that rut by making yourself a hot cup of water with a teaspoon of powdered magnesium drink mix stirred into it.

There are lots of different magnesium powdered drink mixes, and of course I’ve put my favorite one in my Sleep Restore Protocol right here.  Just get up, take 10 minutes to sip your warm magnesium beverage, then settle back in and literally feel your muscles relax as you sink into bed more deeply.

There, isn’t that so much better?

 


 

 

 

10.  Keep A Dream Journal

 

There are so many benefits to your body and mind and spirit from getting deep restorative sleep.  And one of the very best benefits is that you can process and release stress while you sleep!

If you find dreams fascinating, keeping a dream journal is a fun project to undertake during winter, a time of hibernation anyway.  I encourage you to sleep with it right by your bedside, so that you can wake up and — while you are still in that open, groggy, free flowing, intuitive hypnogogic state — record any feelings, thoughts, images, memories, impulses, sights, sounds, topics, ideas, etc… that you got from your dreams the night before.

There are lots of different types of dreams… some are simply to release old issues you are done with, some are just processing types of dreams to enhance memory and recall, some are about subconscious fears releasing… so it’s not necessary to take all of your dreams seriously or focus on ones that are disturbing or frightening.  If you find yourself waking from a truly frightening dream, it’s really important to remember that this likely arose from deeply held or suppressed fears or worries or anxieties that you have held onto because of past experiences, traumas, hurt feelings, past life wounds, etc… and just to let them go.

But if you do wake up from a dream and feel it is symbolic, you might want to have a dream journal by your bedside to jot it down in — one specific animal, situation or event that you are left with upon waking… for example, you battled a snake all night long, you were swept away in a flood, you watched a mystical creature swooping down breathing fire all around you.  These dreams arise from your subconscious and they are the brain’s way of dealing with big themes that are going on in your life.  While they can be informative — often full of fear or violence or sexuality or power struggles or other dynamics you are trying to sort and release in your life, I think of these dreams as more an intellectual exercise in processing and releasing.  These are fun and interesting to record and might give you insight into how your mind is working on certain issues, but I would take this the same way you deal with your monkey mind during waking hours — with a bit of humor and not so seriously!

Every once in a while you might be lucky enough to get a dream that is incredibly calming and centering. These are the dreams where are you connecting with something bigger than yourself — dreams about speaking to someone who has passed away, or seeing a long deceased pet, or a conversation with a spiritual guide or teacher, dreams of flying or astral travel or falling or riding elevators or going through tunnels or attending meetings or being a student learning incredible things.  What is important to remember about these dreams are the physical sensations and *felt sense* that you get from the dream… write down any directives or information that you wake with before it’s lost.

Keep your dream journals by your bedside so you can immediately record your experience in these types of dreams — they are lost very easily and forgotten, just like your intuition speaks quietly and can be easily overshadowed by the mind… these Divinely Inspired dreams are beautiful and centered and more quiet than your daily activities of life and are easily over ridden by the events of the day.

Do you want to hear about the coolest study I’ve seen in a while?  Published in Current Biology on April 12, 2021, researchers interacted with sleeping subjects and showed, for the first time ever, that during REM sleep it’s possible for folks who are lucid dreaming to perceive and answer questions — in other words, the sleeping folks had real-time communication with the researchers.  They were able to answer yes-no questions, compute math problems, and express replies through intentional eye movements and facial muscle movements.

This is the first documentation of two way communication with lucid dreamers.  You can read this fascinating study for yourself right here:

 

Real-Time Dialogue Between Experimenters And Dreamers During REM Sleep

 

 


 

 

 

I hope this information helps you positively impact your circadian rhythm, helps you boost your mood, remedy your sleep, even protect the longevity of your lifespan.

A good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to maintaining wellness — one thing is for certain — your body needs good sleep to function over a lifetime!

For more articles I’ve written on sleep health, click over to read:

 


 

 

 

 

To Summarize:

 

Good sleep is non-negotiable for long term health.  So this winter solstice, focus on getting deep restorative sleep and prioritizing sleep above other activities that might be distracting you.  At least for this week, try a combination of: morning light on your face each day, daily grounding (no matter how brief), an after dinner walk, turning your cell phone and wifi off at night to reduce EMF exposures, as well as decreasing your blue light exposure after dinner, have some key supplements on hand to help out even more, and keep a dream journal as a way to make sleep something you look forward to, instead of a task.

And one last thing… do you follow my podcast yet?  I’ve got more holistic sleep tips waiting for you there!

I recorded a 20 minute podcast for you all about a recent medical study on sleep, and run through all of these tips plus a few extra bonus tips (for a total of 14 holistic steps to your best night’s sleep yet!)

Hop over here to listen in and be sure to subscribe.

Intuition Physician Updates is a brand new podcast I just launched in 2021 and I’ll be adding new episodes on the latest holistic health news all year long!

 

 

 

Also 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, you can sign up on my homepage to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox by clicking right here and entering your email into the box at the top of the page:

To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!

xoxox, Laura

 

 

The Perfect Way To Welcome In A New Year: Declutter Your Life First

Posted

 

 

 

Cleaning before guests arrive for the holidays?  Include decluttering in the process.

I can think of no better way to set the stage for a brand new year, 2022, to be full of expression and growth than to simplify and declutter now.

You need space to expand, it’s as simple as that.

Clutter stops growth and expansion, and it affects your health, both mentally and physically.

I want you to feel like your living space — whether it is a single room, an entire apartment, or a massive multilevel home — just wraps you up in a big hug of safety and security and joy, with plenty of space to take a deep breath in and let it fully out.

We spend so much time in our homes, we cook there, we sleep there, we talk to our loved ones there, we let our hair down and wash our face and put our feet up and read books there and most importantly… we dream there.

We think there.
We create our lives there.

So it’s important to take a few moments to walk through our living space and make sure that we can feel a positive energy movement within it.

Here’s how:

 


 

 

1. Begin by entering your home.

 

Try to see it as if you were walking through the front door for the first time.

What sights greet you?  Do you immediately see a home that has *room* for you? Do you see space for you to *be*?  Do you see things that you love, that are meaningful to you, that you cherish?

Do you see things you’d like to let go of… clutter, or things you have held onto out of guilt (furniture you don’t want to throw away, a gift or family heirloom that you really don’t want?)

Do you step into the space and feel like you can take a deep breath?

Clutter crowds you out.  It is the living equivalent of a pointless worksheet full of math problems. Spitting out memorized facts to give your mind a bunch of busywork to distract it from actually *thinking*.

Clutter gives your soul a bunch of objects to be surrounded by that distracts you from actually *being*.

If you notice clutter in your home, try removing a third of the furniture and “stuff” from your entryway and hallways, from your main rooms or your walls… and see how you feel.

Do you feel more expansive? Lighter? Freer?

If you aren’t ready to part with the items, just consider storing them all in another room just for this exercise, just for this hour… push it all into the garage or a different room… now re-enter your house again.  Does this feel like a welcome change?  Do you have space to breath, to unwind, to sit?

Tweak these changes as necessary… return items that you instantly missed, and consider truly tossing (ideally, gifting to charity or a friend) items that you don’t want to bring back into the space.

 


 

 

2. Consider now that you are allowing a flow of energy in through the front door.

 

Walk through your home from the entryway as if you were a wave of water.

You want your energy to flow through your house as easily as a wave would, washing through the room.

If you walk into a room, try to visualize how the energy would flow around the space… are there any dead ends or dark corners that a wave of water would get caught in?

If so, consider re-arranging the furniture in the room, or hanging a mirror on the wall.  Mirrors and light are a fabulous way to get energy flowing again… The light bouncing around the room is an instant energy lift.

Lamps are another way to get energy to flow in a blocked area… consider rearranging furniture so that you have a light source along any solid walls or windowless corners.  Double check that the lights all work and replace any bulbs that need replacing.

I don’t think you need to purchase a single thing in order to completely mix up the energy flow in your living spaces. Switching furniture around is a fun and easy way to get some new movement into a room… sometimes just angling an existing piece in a different way can get the energy flowing again.

Continue to walk through your home as if you were a wave of water entering each room, flowing down the hallways and through your living spaces… asking yourself two things as you enter each room:

 

First, do I absolutely LOVE this furniture/item/decor that is in front of me?

 

If not, do not rush to replace it… simply remove the item(s) from the room temporarily and walk back into the room and *feel* what this does for the space… does removing some of the items for the room give you more *space* back, more room for energy to flow?

Does it give you a new idea of how to switch the remaining furniture around?

Does it give you a new idea of how to bring back some of the pieces?

 

And second, does the area allow for the flow of an imaginary wave of water to circle around?

 

If there are dead ends, dark corners, or places that feel *stuck* energetically to you, respond to those.

Re-arrange your walls to put a mirror or two in corners that feel dark.

Re-arrange the furniture, angling an item in the dark corner, so that you soften the angles of the corner and allow the wave to flow around.

Consider adding a lighting element to the room… swapping out a lamp from another room or even just propping a metal bowl on a table, a candle, or consider re-painting a lighter, brighter color.

Even just rearranging the wall art… hanging a brightly colored picture or photograph on the wall can often be just as effective at lightening the space as a window or mirror.

Another option is to add a plant to the space… often the least expensive way to soften a corner of a room or add energy flow to a space is to add a plant. One leafy fern in a corner is usually much less expensive and much more relaxing then the thought of re-painting the room or needing to go out thrifting for a mirror or a lamp.  So when in doubt… add a plant!

 


 

 

 

3. Clear out the old cobwebs, both literally and metaphorically.

 

View this time of cleaning as a fresh start.

Intend it to be such.

Even if you only spend ten minutes wiping down the furniture in your main entry/living area, it’s not so much about physically cleaning it as it is about spreading a new fresh intention about the space… your loving soul, tending to your living space and allowing your body to reside in a place that brings you peace.

It’s not about the level of clean; it’s about refreshing the momentum in your home.

It’s about the sacred space you are creating for your body to live in, because you honor and cherish every cell in your body and you trust it to work its beautiful magic every single day in supporting your spirit in physical form.

Just freshen the space up energetically and physically with a quick dusting or vacuuming.

Disinfectants are on short supply during this pandemic.  So in a pinch, if you want to make your own homemade disinfecting spray, give this a try.  It is eco-friendly, antibacterial, degreases, and shines.  And it is so cheap that the cost is reason enough to use it.  It involves recycling and is all natural.  Win, win, win, win, win, win and win.

And hopefully you already have everything you need to create it: just vinegar and a citrus peel.

Any time you use lemons or limes in cooking, or any time you eat a citrus fruit, just pop the rinds into a glass jar, pour vinegar over it, store it in the fridge… and voila!

Instant citrus vinegar EO spray!

 

 

The EO (essential oils) come out of the rind of the fruit and scent the vinegar, as well as provide antimicrobial and degreasing properties.

I pour the vinegar into my spray bottle and use it 1:1 with water… and every time I eat a grapefruit or squeeze orange juice, I just start a fresh jar!

 


 

 

 

4.  Declutter your bathroom

 

After attending to your main living space (living, eating and sleeping spaces) consider moving to your bathroom.  Or heck, skip the main areas and just start in your bathroom.

Bathrooms are sacred to me — after all, this is the area where we literally strip down, get absolutely naked, bathe, clean and refresh our physical bodies, and even re-invent ourselves by styling our hair and make up at times.

We look in the mirror, take stock of what we look like (which can greatly affect how we feel) brush our teeth, wash our hands, get centered to walk back out into the rest of our day on the other side of that bathroom door.

When living with others, especially small children, sometimes a minute or two stollen in the bathroom is the only privacy we get, our only time to clear our minds and think.

So honestly, the bathroom is the prefect place to make sure we are decluttered and feeling free.  Clean the toilet, sink and bathing area.  Wash towels and bath mats.  Remove duplicate items from the countertop and store away for future use.  Slim down the amount of products you use, and consider taking a break from most of them.

Sometimes the large amounts of creams, lotions, serums, make up, hair products, special soaps and ointments and on and on… give the general feeling that in order to feel good, we need to be high maintenance.

This is an illusion… we think we are surrounding ourselves with a safety net by surrounding ourselves with our preferred beauty supplies, our rows of vitamins and health care products… and really we are giving ourselves the impression that we *need* these things to just feel like ourselves.

Try stepping back, even if it is just for a moment, and allow your natural well-being to shine.  Focus on hydrating, drinking lots and lots of water, and feeling gratitude for the health that you do have.

Let everything else fall away for a few days.

Your body can self sustain for quite a long time nourished off of only gratitude and water. Take care to see that everything else you add on top of gratitude and water is simple and pure.

Start your mornings with a cup of hot water and a splash of lemon juice or honey… go outside in the fresh cold morning air to drink it. Take a walk. Focus on fresh fruits and veggies for food this weekend.  Slather on coconut oil in the shower… take a break from all the body washes and lotions and face creams and eye creams.

All you really need is to stand under the water, soaking in the love, and then sealing the moisture in with some olive or coconut oil.  Getting out, towel off… get dressed and go about your day in simplicity.  Try using no makeup, body or hair care products for a few days to just take a break from it all… and reassure your body that you are trusting in its natural state of well being.

 


 

 

 

5.  Declutter your closets, garage, attic and other storage spaces…

 

If you are feeling particularly inspired, after decluttering your main living spaces and your bathroom, consider moving into the areas that you typically don’t live in at all — storage areas like closets, attics, garages.  Let go, let go, let go.

During a particularly hard life transition (my husband of 15 years abandoned the kids and I one day out of the blue — just left letter on the kitchen table and that was that; so in addition to losing a husband and a father we lost our home and almost everything in it — obviously downsizing was a absolute MUST) I would repeat in my head, as I was letting go of almost everything we owned:

freedom… freedom… freedom…

over and over and over with each thing I released, donated, let go of.

You can do the same.  It’s wonderful.

 


 

 

 

6.  Declutter just one room at a time.

 

Taking care to focus on the entryway and your main living area is plenty for one day.

Or if the bedroom is calling you, do that first.

If you are feeling ambitious, continue this exercise throughout the rest of your home over the following few weeks before 2021 begins.  I think once you feel how much freeing space up in your home helps you be able to relax into your home, you will be encouraged to keep going.

Once you have your main entryway and living room feeling comforting and alive… the type of room you can sit in and let your body relax and your mind open… consider doing one last walk through with a lit candle, a piece of sage, or a stick of incense.

I burn incense frequently in our home as a way to start over with a fresh slate and clearing out the old.  You are saying to your home and your spirit that you are ready for the new; ready for the new fresh energy, the new fresh insights, the new fresh level of health that you are welcoming in.

Light the candle or incense, then walk through each space of your home, allowing the smoke to gently drift in the same pattern that you imagined your wave of water… and intend that the burning of the light or the burning of the incense is a new beginning… burning away all negativity, doubt, dark thoughts, old patterns that are no longer working for you… and release them all to the loving arms of the universe.

Allow this to be a new start to a new phase in your life… one of health freedom.

Beginning right here, inside your home.

 


 

 

 

7.  Refresh Your Pet Too!

 

If you have a pet (or two, or three) at home with you during this pandemic, you are so lucky.  In addition to clearing out your home of old energy, also clear and refresh any toys and bedding your pet uses, and enjoy spending some quality time grooming them.  They can feel the energy lift!

Not only is it so fun to have a pet to connect with and entertain you and give you physical touch, but living with a pet is actually a boost for your health.  It’s true!

From childhood throughout our entire adult life and elderly years, owning a pet gives us a a significant health boost that lasts a lifetime.

A few years ago I wrote a blog post for you (you can read it here) on what the medical literature has to say about why caring for an animal just might be one of the best things you can do to protect your health over a lifetime.  And recent medical studies back this up even more.

In fact, this is one of the topics of my new podcast I am launching (more on this soon!) — how a few minutes spent with a dog was actually the very best stress relief out of several interventions studied.  Even five minutes with a dog was found to lower stress levels and even decrease blood cortisol levels on stressed out study participants.  It’s true.  Connecting with a pet for five minutes was actually superior to taking a break for five minutes and peace and quiet, and also superior to a mindful centering activity (coloring a mandala for five minutes.)

 


 

 

8.  Declutter your car

 

If you are fortunate enough to have a car, it can feel so good to clean it out.

Remove trash, wipe down windows and seats, shake out floor mats, even wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and rinse down with a hose if you can!

Even if all you can do is declutter your glove compartment and door pockets and wipe down the steering wheel and windshield, now is the time to do it… and the next time you need to use your car it will feel so uplifting to get into a freshened space.

 


 

 

 

9.  Declutter your books & photos.

 

Don’t forget to declutter your media!  Old bookshelves filled with books you do not intend to re-read can weigh you down.  Trust that your soul got the information that you were meant to get from it at the time when you read the book, and move on.

A quarantine is a lovely time to reflect on, enjoy, re-organize pictures you love (maybe it will inspire you to write some memoirs down and start a biography rough draft!) and release those that you don’t.  Let go, let go, let go.  Even just organizing your computer desk top and online photo storage can be hugely energetically liberating!!!

Put all of your pics into a big photobook (many online companies make it super easy to upload pictures right from instagram and/or facebook and will automatically create a photobook for you!) — having them bound into a physical book will not only allow you to look at them whenever you want, it will also help you let go of extra copies or versions of pictures that you don’t love.

You don’t have to save every single picture just because it was taken!!!  Save the ones you love and release the rest.

 


 

 

10.  Declutter the future

 

This is the time to take a moment to re-examine the trajectory of your life, and if your current situation is setting you up to step forward in your life or keep you stuck.

If you are holding on to old energy items — pieces of furniture you took in from your aunt that don’t feel right in your space, old clothing hanging in your closet that you don’t enjoy putting on, the old mattress you used to have before the divorce — time to release it.

It generally feels better to do without and have the space of possibility open than to have an item that doesn’t align with where you life is heading.

Maybe you can hang one of these sayings in your living space to encourage you as you let go:

Your future needs you.  Your past doesn’t.

***

Look ahead.

Don’t look behind you, you aren’t going that way.

***

If you want to fly,

give up everything that weights you down.


 

 

Go Deeper…

 

If you want some real inspiration, grab one of these books below (all of them are available on Kindle so you don’t even have to order anything in the mail or wait for the books to arrive, if you want to get started right away!)

I have read all of these books and find them all valuable in different ways — click the button below to be taken to their Amazon page where you can read reviews and look inside the books to decide which one vibes most with you.

There is no way you can read one of these books and not be inspired to simplify your living space… and there is no better time to refresh your space, anticipating a wonderful fresh new start after the pandemic lifts, than right now!!!

 


 

To Summarize:

 

Today walk through your living space as if you were a fresh wave of water, bringing new energy into the room full of possibility.

Can you move freely?

Are there stuck, dark, stagnant areas that are catching your eye?

Focus on cleaning, clearing, simplifying and decluttering those. Enjoy the release, you are making room for the future!  Woot!

Be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any uplifting holistic healing tips!

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

 

Women Need Time In Nature To Reboot, Here’s Why

Posted

 

 

There are so many wonderful reasons for women to connect with Mother Earth — and they are medically studied, with strong evidence that the earth offers clinically significant benefits.   That’s why grounding is one of my favorite recommendations to treat a variety of female health issues as well as protect future wellness.

Today I wanted to run through my favorite 7 reasons I love grounding for women… just a quick overview for you along with lots of resources to dive deeper into any topic that calls to you.  Please share this list with the women in your life that you love.

Encourage them to touch the earth directly — it’s waiting out there to boost our health in a myriad of ways:

 


 

 

 

 

 1.  Protects Hormone Balance

 

When women are under chronic stress, the precursors that normally go into sex hormone production (DHEA, estrogen, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, etc…) are stollen to make cortisol.  After one stressful day, this would not make a difference to our hormone balance, but day after stressful day, month after stressful month, and year after stressful year, it’s enough to put us not only into adrenal failure but worsen PMS symptoms, decrease fertility, and even hasten menopause.

Grounding helps reverse this.  In this study, published in 2004 in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, subjects who slept grounded had a complete normalization of their cortisol patterns, suggesting deep recovery from stress.  By lowering cortisol, decreasing stress, and naturally balancing hormones, many women find that their PMS symptoms are lessened, fertility is boosted, and perimenopause becomes a much easier, more natural transition.

What else can you do besides grounding daily to help balance hormones and feel better?

I’ve written two books for you on this topic, read one or read them both, and share widely:

Free Female Health eBook

Free Adrenal Repair eBook

You can also take Maca Root and other adaptogens to help naturally balance hormones — my favorites are in my online dispensary waiting for you in the Female Health category.

 


 

 

 

 

2.  Gives a Metabolic Boost

 

Touching the earth directly boost your vagal tone immediately — this releases you from the autonomic nervous system’s overdrive of “fight or flight” and allows you to get into the parasympathetic healing zone of “rest and digest.”  When your vagal tone gets a boost, your entire digestive track works better — from salivary glands to gall bladder to colon and everything in between, even better gut peristalsis!

In the blog post below, I talk all about the healing power of grounding to boost digestion, decrease gut inflammation, allow your body to utilize the food you consume better, react to it less, and even over time protect your thyroid function.  In fact, medical studies show that grounding does indeed boost thyroid function, as well as stabilized blood sugar levels.    Hop over here to read it:

 

Grounding: A Game Changer For Your Digestion

 

Not only does grounding help you digest your food better, boost your thyroid function, and give you metabolic support, it also helps you lose weight naturally.  I talk about this more for you in this article:

How Grounding Promotes Weight Loss With Zero Effort

 

 


 

 

 

3.  Reduces Muscle Pain and Tension

 

Grounding immediately reduces muscle tension — near instantaneously.

As I talk about in this blog post below, your entire skeleton and all your muscles — as well as the connective tissues that hold all your organs and soft tissues in place — is a conductive conduit for healing is the basis for how and why grounding works:

What Grounding Does To Your Muscles

 

When you touch the earth outside, your entire body is instantaneously grounded precisely because your entire musculoskeletal system is conductive — think of it as a conductive fiberoptic system that runs grounding instantly throughout your entire body, as easy as flipping a switch.

This means that grounding can have an immediate impact on decreasing muscle tension and reducing pain, which so many women have.  From the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, to preventing that annoying tension headache, to decreasing pain from cramping, grounding is my front line treatment for pain.

This video will also help go further, explaining why grounding can help reduce chronic pain in ways that other pain therapies do not:

Releasing Chronic Pain

 

 


 

 

 

4.  Decreases Inflammation

 

Inflammation is an insidious condition that we often can not even feel until there is frank disease.  High levels of inflammation in the body can contribute to depression, to dementia, even cancer.  But grounding can help.

In a study published in 2009 in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, researchers found that grounded subjects had statistically significant decreases in blood markers of inflammation, as well as lowered white blood cell counts, neutrophils and lymphocytes, compared to non-grounded subjects.

In addition, decreases in inflammation as a result of grounding are well documented using medical thermography imaging in this study.  You can hop over here to read a great overview of how grounding decreases whole body inflammation in this articlepublished June 2014 in the Journal of Inflammation Research

Decreasing inflammation can do everything from decreasing your chances of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome to decreasing cancer risk.  It also boosts mood and decreases dementia risk.  That’s win-win-win-win for women everywhere.

 

 


 

 

 

 

5.  Strengthens Our Bones

 

As I talk about in this article below, grounding is bone protective.  One medical study found that after only one session of grounding, renal excretion of both calcium and phosphorous went down significantly, which means the primary indicators of osteopenia and osteoporosis in these patients decreased after just a single night of grounding. 

Grounding: Relax Your Muscles, Strengthen Your Bones

 

This is incredible… after just one night, instead of their body having to go in and pull minerals out of their bones in order to repair the inflammation of the day and to correct the pH, the minerals remained in the bones preserving their strength.  And so, over time and over a lifetime, instead of leaching away your bones and creating brittle bones, grounding is naturally helping to maintain the integrity of your entire skeletal system.  For a nation whose women have epidemic proportions of osteopenia and osteoporosis, grounding is absolutely crucial for females.

What else can you do to protect bone strength?

Read this article for more on why I highly recommend filtering your tap water to remove fluoride, because even the minuscule amounts of fluoride added to the public water supply accumulates in bone.  It is estimated about 50% of the fluoride we consume is eliminated, and 50% is stored in our body, mostly in our bones.  So miniscule amounts of fluoride adding to our bodies sip after sip after sip equals a not-so-minimal exposure.  Over a lifetime, these levels can reach high proportions… decreasing bone density and causing brittleness.

You can also watch this video I made for you several years ago, after attending a medical conference that focused on osteoporosis prevention.  You can also eat this one food to help increase bone density naturally, through food instead of through medications.

 


 

 

 

6.  Boosts Skin Health

 

The moment you touch the earth, your circulation starts to improve.  Published 2014 in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, researchers showed that grounding through the soles of the feet boosted blood circulation all the way up in facial skin tissues, suggesting the positive effects of increased circulation are available even in distant sites of the body that are far away from the grounding point of contact.

In other words, you don’t have to touch the earth with your face in order to brighten your complexion and boost skin circulation, just standing barefoot or touching the earth with a fingertip will do.  Following that study, another study, a double blind placebo study published August 2015 in Health, showed clear evidence of dramatically boosted circulation throughout the body after only one hour of grounding.

What else can you do besides grounding to boost skin health?  Listen to my podcast right here where I tell you about a very interesting recent medical study that suggests beauty sleep is a real thing!

 


 

 

 

 

7.  Boosts Creativity

 

While medical studies show you why grounding is so healing for the human body, I want you to know that it’s not just your physical body that is being supported.  It’s your mind frame, your soul energy, your Spirit.

Just as we have now shown that being disconnected from the earth can contribute to everything from depression to inflammation to accelerated aging (there is so much evidence that the human body deteriorates without nature that we now have a name for it: Nature Deficit Disorder) the re-establishment of grounding your body to support your health will have ramifications that go well beyond any single parameter or indicator of physical health.

You feel better.

You feel supported.

You feel creative.

You feel inspired.

You feel stronger.

You feel more motivated.

You feel more loving.

You feel more loved.

You become open to your soul energy flowing deeply, and meeting your body at it’s core, deep in your heart center.

You become the perfect balance of a physical body that is supported and healthy while being an open vessel holding the most vibrant state of your soul’s energy flowing through your body and resonating out from your core.

When you are in that specific union — of your unique physical body that nobody else has, combined with your unique soul energy that nobody else has, coming together and being totally supported by the healing energy flow of the earth… that is your optimal state of Well Being.

You can offer twice as much of yourself to the world when you feel your well being optimized the way a plant would grow twice as tall because it is grounded and supported by the earth’s energy.

And that’s really the whole point of being alive.

So that you can offer to the world what you are here to offer.

And you can live the unique meaningful life that you are meant to live.

You can go out and radiate twice as much creativity, twice as much goodness, twice as much connection with others, twice as much love to offer, and make twice the impact on this world… and more.

So ultimately, grounding is not just about your hormonal balance or your skin circulation or your bone strength.

Grounding is about finding a center that is so deep and so pure and so strong that you can truly be the best you possible.

Optimizing all of these other things… cardiac function, sleep, hormones, adrenals, bones, thyroid, insulin, etc… so that just like plants in  grounding studies that grow twice as tall when they are grounded, you can feel twice as vibrant, and twice as open to why you are here and what do you want to express while you are here in this lifetime.

That is what I have witnessed and experienced over and over and over again both personally and as a medical physician with my patients.

Most people start their grounding journey because they need an answer that offers more support than any one single medication or operation or vitamin or exercise can offer.  Most people have found that conventional medicine has not been sufficient to correct the physical ailments the disconnect from the earth has caused.

And most people find that when they reconnect, it’s not just the physical ailments that improve.

It’s the body but it is also the energy level and it’s the mind-frame and it’s the sense of meaningful purpose and it’s the heart that heals as well.  So my goal is to be sure you do not limit your expectations in any way when you begin your grounding journey.  Allow your entire body, mind, heart and spirit to be transformed.

Allow the supportive energy of Mother Earth to fill you up, open you up, support you in becoming the optimized best version of you that is possible.

The future for grounding is limitless as connecting directly to the earth outside is the birthright of all living things. There are very very few circumstances where one would not be able to connect outside and receive that healing flow if only we would remember that it is natural for us to do so.  Even urban dwellers can get connected by standing barefoot in a park or on a concrete sidewalk.   Even prisoners in most prisons have access to the outdoors, even if it is concrete, for at least a short period of time each day.

I have patients who live several stories off of the ground who hold onto a tree branch that reaches into their balcony and this is how they ground each afternoon.  I have patients who have a cement basement and stand barefoot on this cement while they fold laundry, and this is how they ground each night.

And for those who have mobility issues or are bed ridden, there are even indoor ways to connect directly to the earth even lying comfortably on our beds as we lay tucked in tight using either a grounding rod or a grounded outlet in your home. Grounding while indoors lets you stay in that healthy, connected healing zone for much longer than only grabbing a few minutes outside when you can.  I have medical grade, eco-ethically hand crafted, organic and non-toxic indoor grounding tools — like grounding wristbands, mats, and mattress panels — waiting for you to explore right over here.

 


 

 

 

Taking action, trying it for yourself, taking a few minutes to put a bare foot onto the earth outside, taking the time to ground indoors as much as possible with indoor grounding tools, can do more to inform you about the healing potential of grounding your body than any amount of words I can write.

Luckily, grounding is the easiest, most readily available healing modality possible.

The only thing you need to do is give it a try, and allow the earth’s energy to uplift, transform and optimize your well being naturally.

The earth is out there, waiting for you.

xoxoxo, Laura

 

P.S. For more information on developing a grounding routine that protects your long term health, I’ve got you.   I spent an entire year writing a book for you… it’s called The Earth Prescription and it’s available in print, Kindle, and Audible right here.

 

I Want You To Think Of One Way To Be Playful Today. Here’s Why

Posted

 

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.   Play time is therapeutic time, point blank.  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 too!

 

To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!

xoxox, Laura

A Simple But Truly Effective Way To Immediately Decrease Your Stress

Posted

 

Today I want to share another way to decrease holiday stress — and it’s so simple there is not a place or situation on earth you can’t use it… 3 deep breaths.  Read this article to know why stopping to breathe is the best thing to do when your in-laws drive you crazy or a topic of discussion at the thanksgiving table raises your blood pressure.

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.  Dr. Weil popularized this breathing method and I want to credit him for how I discovered it!  It’s super simple and can be done anywhere.
  • Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven
  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.
  • That’s it!  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.  So you can speed the exercise up if you find it hard to hold your breath for seven counts — just keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three deep breaths.

 


 

 

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

One Simple Thing You Can Do To Protect Your Brain Throughout Your Lifetime

Posted

artwork I created out of my old med school anatomy book

Do you eat fish regularly?

Do you take Omega 3 fatty acid supplements?

You may want to consider it, because the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in protecting our brain health is becoming more and more robust.

Today I wanted to round up my favorite medical studies for you on how fatty acids impact our brain function so you can see why it’s one of my absolute favorite supplements to recommend.

Here are my top three reasons why I take fish oil every single day myself:

 


 

Protecting Brain Volume:

 

The medical literature suggests that higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids help protect the brain as we age. Published in Neurology, researchers found that higher omega-3 levels is neuroprotective, slowing the loss of brain volume that occurs as we get older.

For this study, researchers look at more than 1000 postmenopausal women using both blood samples and MRI imaging.  They found that higher Omega 3 intake was associated with a higher total normal brain and hippocampus volume… a measurement that was directly related to omega-3 fatty acid levels.  Total brain volume was significantly smaller in the women with the lowest quartile of omega-3 index when compared with those in the highest quartile.

In addition, the hippocampus (the area of the brain specifically related to cognitive function) was protected as well… found to be significantly smaller in the lowest vs the highest quartile of omega-3 levels.  These results were statistical significant even after controlling for age, lipid levels, glucose, blood pressure, education level, and hormone therapy replacement.

Researchers noted that these effects would be possible by “taking about 1000 mg of EPA + DHA every day or by eating a small portion of salmon or sardines every day.  So it’s not difficult to do.”

 


 

Protecting Brain Function:

 

An even newer study, published in Nature Communications, found that psychotic illness could potentially be prevented — even seven years later — simply by a brief three month intervention with Omega 3 fatty acids!

These results are so incredible they should be shouted and touted from every news outlet, media forum and in every physician’s office… so share share share this study with your loved ones.  Here’s why:

Study details:

  • 81 patients at “ultra high risk” for psychosis in young adulthood (median age 16.5 years) were followed in this double blind, placebo study
  • Half the patients received 12 weeks of fish oil supplements (700 mg EPA and 480 mg DHA) or placebo capsules matched in appearance and flavor
  • Patients were followed for almost 7 years to determine what, if any, long term effect the fish oil had on preventing psychosis
  • The Omega 3 supplements significantly reduced psychotic illness, dropping the occurrence rate from 40% of patients having a psychotic episode (in the placebo group) to less than 10% of patients (in the fish oil group) having a psychotic episode.

Not only did fish oil continue to prevent psychosis years and years later, but patients who received the placebo experienced an onset of psychosis much more quickly than patients that received fish oil.  This suggests that if the fish oil was given for longer than 3 months, it may have prevented those remaining patients from having break through psychotic episodes.Fish oil also cut the number of patients who needed to go on anti-psychotic medications almost in half… from 54% (in placebo group) to only 29% (in the fish oil group.)

So all in all, fish oil:

  • prevented the vast majority of psychotic episodes, dropping the incidence of psychosis from 40% to under 10%
  • had long term benefits that extended out over the entire 7 year follow up interval
  • prevented the rate of occurrence, extending the amount of time before patients experienced psychosis
  • decreased the patients reliance on prescription anti-psychotics, cutting the need for medication almost in half

As I talked about above, fish oil has already been shown to protect the brain in older adults, by preventing age-related brain changes and preserving brain volume, so this study rounds out the idea that Omega 3 fatty acids are essential throughout life by focusing on the brain health of adolescents and young adults.

 


 

 

Protecting Brain Development:

 

But what about even younger?  What about when our brain develops in the first place, during fetal development? The studies above suggests just how neuroprotective these fats are to our adult brains, but what about our developing brains?

Researchers have begun to discover what effect omega 3 fatty acids might have on our neurological development as a baby.  We already know that low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids is a possible risk factor for the mom to develop postpartum depression (read that study here) but what about her unborn child?  Do those low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in the cord blood going to her developing baby have any long term consequence on the neurological development of her child years later?

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that the fatty acid concentration in cord blood is correlated to neurodevelopmental behavioral difficulties an entire decade after birth.  Researchers followed over 400 children in a longitudinal study from birth to age 10, analyzing venous cord blood taken at birth with health outcomes a decade later in the same child.

What they found was clinically significant: increases in fatty acid cord blood concentrations correlated with a statistically significant protective benefit from neurologic developmental disorders, decreasing total difficulties including hyperactivity, ADHD, behavioral issues, emotional issues, attention span, anxiety and depression.

The researchers conclusion is that, independent of family income, the child’s subsequent dietary intake of fatty acids, even independent from health issues during pregnancy, the “availability of fatty acids in newborns correlate with later scores on behavioral screens” which included both emotional and behavioral neurological difficulties.

 


Ok so the bottom line?

Omega 3 fatty acids impact our brain’s function… throughout our entire lifetime.

If you do not regularly consume high quality, wild caught fish you may want to consider Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation to protect brain function.

 

For tons of additional, simple, holistic tips on how to protect your brain function as you age, I recorded a 20 minute long podcast for you, available on Spreaker right here.  Or, listen to it on iTunes right here.

Want to give omega 3 fatty acid supplements a try?

I have my very favorite, brain protective supplements listed for you right here, including the Omega 3 fatty acid supplement that I personally take:

 

 

To a healthy brain and healthy aging!

xoxo, Laura

Here’s Why I Left Conventional Medicine (I Spill It All In This Interview)

Posted

 

 

 

Today I’m sharing an interview with you that I recently had with Kids Who Explore.  started by an amazing mama Adrianna Skori who resides in Alberta, Canada.  She created Kids Who Explore as a fabulous resource for parents all over the world who want to incorporate nature into their child’s life.

I highly recommend exploring her website!  There are lots of upcoming events, both locally and virtually, along with a blog and podcast that are both filled with inspirational ideas and tips to get your kids connecting with nature.

The company has the mission of “allowing nature to help raise our kids.”  That might be the world’s best tag line I’ve ever heard.  So when I was asked to be on the podcast, I’m like “hell yes.”  What could be better than 1) focusing on supporting our children’s health and 2) encouraging the use of nature to do so.

 

Me outside grounding with my own kids when they were little — I sorely miss those days!

 

The interview didn’t disappoint — Lauren and Cindy (the hosts) both asked phenomenal questions and covered so many amazing topics.  Even if you aren’t the parent of a young child (sadly I’m not either, my two are already in college and I miss them every day) you will find something interesting in this podcast, including:

  • Why I left conventional medicine (I can tell you the exact day, the exact minute)
  • How to get grounded outside in winter
  • How to stop treating your damn iPhone better than you treat your own body
  • Why you age and how to help reverse it
  • How to ground outside if you don’t have a backyard (I don’t either)
  • How to deal with ticks and tick bites
  • What surfaces outside are not actually grounding you
  • What grounding tools I would never ever use and why
  • What my secret favorite trip to take would be
  • … and so much more!

 

 

Click here to listen to the podcast  (there is also a fabulous quick overview of everything we talked about waiting for you there too, if you are short on time and/or prefer not to listen to podcasts.)

You can also click here to listen to this episode directly on Apple Podcasts.

I hope you enjoy this free resource filled with information that will motivate you to not only get grounded (and stay grounded this winter!) but to make sure you get your loved ones (children or not!) involved too.

Sent with much love,

xoxo, Laura