Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nurture Your Children To Enhance Their Mind And Body Health.

"Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing."

- Jim Rohn

"The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work."

-Patricia Clafford

Your children are your future. Can you imagine a future without empowered, motivated and healthy children? No. That is a prescription for disaster. Unfortunately, babies do not come with manuals to help you do what is right by them. You normally make it up as you go along. It appears that your babies respond to stress by increasing their cortisol levels, which in turn shrink the hippocampus in the brain.

A recent study on 15 children who were exposed to stress looked at their hippocampi. The investigators measured the children's blood cortisol levels. They found that the children with high cortisol levels had smaller hippocampi measured with MRI. The higher the cortisol levels the smaller the hippocampi. Small hippocampus predisposes a child to depression and posttraumatic stress syndrome. Hence, like the flowers in your garden, take time to nurture your children so you can reduce their stress and give them a healthy mind and a healthy body.

It takes a whole village to raise a child.
- African Proverb

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Your Emotional Wellbeing Is Key To Your Mind And Body Health.

"Most of us have experienced the buoyancy and satisfaction that positive emotional states can create in our lives. At such moments of buoyancy, our effectiveness at big tasks and small improves almost effortlessly. Positive emotional states produce that effect because of the coherence they create within the human system."

Doc Childre and Howard Martin The HeartMath Solution

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

Marcus Aurelius

Is it normal to be upbeat all the time? I do not think so. Most people are like the weather that changes day to day. This is because they have no control over their emotions and go with the flow. Like a reflex action, when they are upset, they lash out and vice versa. When they indulge in negative emotions, they pay the price through the effects of the emotions on their health. Misery can kill you as fast as a bullet. Optimism decreases damage to your arteries. Similarly, in people who forgive easily, stress has fewer effects on them. A recent study showed that emotional vitality—a positive state associated with interest, enthusiasm, excitement, and energy for living—is associated with cardiovascular health.

This study that appeared in the December 2007 Archives of General Psychiatry was conducted by Laura Kubzansky, Ph.D. associate professor in the Harvard School of Public Health and Rebecca Thurston, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. The investigators followed 6000 people with no heart disease for 15 years to see whether they developed heart disease or not. They explained their finding that:

"One way by which it (emotional vitality) might protect people, they speculated, is
helping people respond effectively to challenges as well as
provide reserve capacity for meeting those challenges. A better meeting of such challenges would, presumably, put less
stress on the cardiovascular system and thus help protect it."

It therefore appears that for you to enjoy a healthy life, you should strive for improving your emotional vitality. This mental attitude is the key to a healthy living. Hence, in your own life, these are some attitudes that can help you benefit from this study:

  • Cultivate a positive attitude to life. It is however not easy to be positive when the going gets tough. Hence, you have to work hard at always seeing the ray of hope in any painful situation. Remember, you have nothing to lose. You may save your heart in the process and by so doing live a healthy long life.
  • Watch your thoughts, for they are the sails that give you direction in your life. With the right thoughts, you would bounce back when you fall down.
  • Cultivate your supporting relationships, because this social support is there to give you a hand when you fall down.
  • Be spiritual, because spirituality gives you the meaning for your existence and may boost your resilience when you are down and out.
  • Practice forgiveness. For, if you do not forgive, you rehearse the hurt in your mind and by so doing damage your heart with the invisible arrows of hurt.
  • Practice these principles until they become your second nature. Remember, "Joy in living keeps the heart healthier."

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

Author unknown

Reference: Psychiatry On-Line