“In the end, I find I can’t separate brain from body. Consciousness isn’t just in the head. Nor is it a question of mind over body. If one takes into account the DNA directing the dance of the peptides, the body is the outward manifestation of the mind. The new science of psycho-neuro-immunology is redefining the connection between mind and body. We can no longer speak of body and mind as separate systems or entities. Bodymind – one word, no hyphen.”
Candice Pert, author of “Molecules of Emotion”
In recent years, there has been tremendous growth in the field of mind/body medicine. However the mind/body connection did not come into view until the 1800’s. Prior to that time, the mind and body were thought of as two separate parts. One pioneer in this field was Hans Selye, the father of stress research. In the twentieth century, he developed the concept of stress and the physiological response to stress by the body. He concluded that the body has the same response to many different types of stressors, and that stress can make you ill.
Since Selye’s work, others have studied the impact of stress on the body such as George Solomon at Stanford University, Robert Ader at the University of Rochester, and most recent, Candice Pert at Johns Hopkins. Her pioneering research provides evidence that chemicals, (neuropeptides) in the body are the basis for awareness and consciousness, and profoundly influence how we respond to and experience our world. “The body is not a mindless machine; the body and mind are one.” (Book; Molecules of Emotion by Candice Pert)
The stress response has been man’s survival mechanism since early times. The “Fight or Flight” response protected man from being eaten by a predator, but also enabled man to hunt for food. Today, this same response is turned on by lifestyle pressures such as the demands of work, personal and family responsibilities, health issues and environmental assaults. Then again, this same response is turned on by the birth of a child, a wedding, or taking an exam. In other words, whenever there is a rush of adrenaline, you are tapping into the stress response.
While both of the above scenarios produce a stress response, both responses do not necessarily produce harm. Hans Selye determined there are three levels of stress.
- “Good stress” has enjoyable effects and keeps individuals excited about life. These events are short term, the stress response is turned off quickly, and there are no harmful effects.
- “Neustress” does not stimulate a stress response, therefore does not have any effect on the body.
- “Bad stress” may have a prolonged impact on a person’s life and health.
What determines the effect stress has on health is how long the stress response is activated. Early man’s response to stress was probably short term. Once the hunt was over, the stress was over and their body returned to a normal state, if they were not eaten.
Today, stress is at epidemic levels. As many as 90% of medical office visits are due to stress. What upsets the body’s normal function is our attitudes, beliefs, and emotional states.
In upcoming blogs, we will delve into the world of stress, how it effects our health and well-being, and ways we can help ourselves break the cycle.
Please join us.
“Awareness is the ability to observe how you create something
…as you do it…
Seeing the consequences as they happen.”
From the Book-The New Science of Super-Awareness by Bill Harris
One of our biggest challenges today is maintaining healthy habits. Many of us know what we should be doing. But just knowing what we are doing and what we want to change is not enough. Developing strong health habits begins with awareness.
Awareness is the foundation from which change happens. According to Bill Harris, “awareness creates choice.” With awareness, we see options we weren’t aware of because we understand the impulses or thoughts that generate certain behaviors.
CONNECT™ is a holistic philosophy created to build a solid foundation of awareness. Many of the choices we make are made unconsciously. Our habits are on auto pilot. CONNECT™ bridges the gap between unconscious choices, to conscious choice.
In the area of brain science, “awareness is created in the brain, in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the seat of executive control or self-regulation, the part of the brain responsible for planning, self-control and will power, complex cognitive behaviors, decision making and social behavior.” (The New Science of Super Awareness by Bill Harris)
The CONNECT™ process raises your awareness of the tendency to make impulsive decisions and choices. It raises awareness about the value you assign to the choices you make; the benefits, advantages, and consequences you recognize about these choices; how you behave in relation to how you feel. This new awareness will lead you to a sense of control that you feel both physically and emotionally over a situation, while acquiring strategies to help you make conscious choices to reach your goals.
Judy Rienzi is the owner of Health Promotion Associates and the author of the CONNECT Health Management System.
My latest obsession is growing sprouts, shoots, and microgreens. I happened to be in the health food store one day and noticed a box of broccoli sprouts. They did not look like the same sprouts I was buying in the grocery store. These had a lot more little green leaves on top and tasted great. This caught my attention. So, after some research, I was compelled to buy Peter Burke’s book Year Round Indoor Salad Gardening, following his technique to the letter with great success.
A whole new world opened up to me. I’ve learned about so many varieties of plants that can be grown into shoots and soil sprouted greens which have become my favorites. Right now I am growing buckwheat, arugula, and red Russian kale soil sprouts and broccoli sprouts which are a staple in my home due to their powerful health benefits.
There is a lot of confusion about the terminology of different immature greens, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Soil-sprouts and microgreens, I am learning, are not the same thing and the author makes a distinction between all the greens. “Sprouts, bean sprouts, shoots, microgreens, baby greens, and soil sprouts are all immature greens. Each one is distinct in how it is grown and at what stage of growth it is harvested.” It’s an education in progress.
It’s not often I recommend a self- help or do-it-yourself book. But this one is a gem. Peter Burke, the author, lives in Vermont and has been a long time gardener and teacher of his gardening technique. His method for “soil- sprouts” as he refers to all his sprouted seeds is easy and doesn’t require a lot of equipment like grow lights, pumps, or greenhouses that are necessary for microgreens. Just a dark cupboard and a windowsill. He offers pros and cons for growing sprouts in jars and in soil and I agree that the final product is much better in soil. The texture and taste are very different. Plus, when you grow in soil, you can cut what you need and store the rest in the tray until next use. Growing soil-sprouts produces longer stems and green lush leaves that make a delicious healthy green salad, and great addition to soups, sandwiches, or anything you want to add greens to.
The book is laid out nicely with lists of tools and accessories you will need, great pictures, and step-by step instructions from start-to- finish with a recipe for creating your own soil mix. He mentions a wide variety of plant seeds, pros and cons of the different growing techniques, and troubleshooting solutions. I don’t think there is anything he doesn’t cover in his book. As he says,”you can’t mess this up.”
If you like to garden, no matter how small, you will love this book. There is nothing more satisfying and fun than planting a seed and watching it grow into something healthy and nutritious, especially during the winter months when you want to see some green life growing on a cold grey day.
Hidden away in our subconscious are the beliefs by which we live. We make decisions every day based on these beliefs without thinking about them. What happens when these beliefs are challenged? Do we shy away from a challenge because we doubt our abilities, or do we welcome the challenge and rise to the occasion?
What is Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is a person’s belief, or confidence, in his or her ability to be successful in certain situations. The concept of self-efficacy, a core aspect of social cognitive theory, originated from psychologist Albert Bandura. According to Bandura, self-efficacy has an impact on all aspects of our lives; emotional, psychological, motivational, and is a strong predictor of behavior change.
Self-efficacy beliefs, or self- perceptions, provide the foundation for well-being, personal accomplishments, and life choices. A person with a high sense of self-efficacy approach tasks as a challenge rather than a threat to be avoided. They set challenging goals, maintain a strong sense of commitment to them, and recover after setbacks or failures attributing these failures to lack of knowledge and skills which can be acquired (Bandura 1977). Overall, self-efficacy is concerned with people’s beliefs in their capabilities to exercise control over their functioning and over the events that affect their lives.
Self-Efficacy in Health
Self-efficacy provides a way of tapping into the power of consumers to engage in their health. Studies tell us there is a strong relationship between self-efficacy and behavior change. A critical factor in determining how successful a person will be in taking control of, and improving their health depends on their level of self-efficacy. People may understand their health is determined by their behavior, but believe they lack the knowledge and skills necessary to make those changes. Their success depends on several factors;
- their successes and failures with behavior change
- their level of committment
- the time and effort they are willing to invest in the face of obstacles.
- their ability to interpret results and make adjustments along the way
- their emotional state and thought patterns
- verbal encouragement from others
Self-management programs directly target the enhancement of self-efficacy. Building a sense of confidence comes from the ability of learning new skills, mastering them, and successfully incorporating them into daily life. Active self-managers, build confidence in their ability to;
- increase your knowledge about your health and heath care needs
- self monitor
- problem-solve and decision-make
- communicate effectively with your health care team
- find and use community resources
- make healthy lifestyle choices
How confident are you?
How confident are you in your ability to make decisions about when to seek medical help?
Not at all 1_______________________________5______________________________10 Confident
How confident are you that you can discuss your health problems with your doctor?
Not at all 1 ______________________________5_______________________________10 Confident
How confident are you that you can manage your chronic condition on a daily basis?
Not at all 1 ______________________________5_______________________________10 Confident
Source: Stanford Patient Education Research Center