How to Quit Smoking

By Life Coach, Tim Brownson

As a certified hypnotherapist people sometimes call me for help with quitting smoking. The first question I ask them is why they want to stop? That usually generates a look of horror akin to if I’d asked them if they could marry their 13-year-old daughter have a goat as the Maid of Honor and Michael Jackson as my best man.

However, there is a positive intention behind every action you commit even if sometimes it isn’t immediately apparent. That applies to smoking too.

Until you accept that there is an upside to the habit that you’d like to break then you will struggle with breaking it because you are in conflict with your unconscious mind (and your unconscious mind will always win that particular battle). After all, if there really were no upside you wouldn’t do it.

Firstly, you have to want to change. By that I mean it’s not usually enough to want to want to, you need to actually want to. Make sense? What do you mean “Not really sure?” Ok, seeing as it’s you and you’re having a tough day I’ll explain in a bit more detail.

You may well want to give up because you know it’s healthier not to smoke, it’s expensive and makes you feel like a social pariah. That is wanting to want to. A real desire to stop is a different proposition altogether and most people know it when they feel it. You don’t have to justify it to yourself with you just know you want to quit.

Most ex-smokers will tell you that they positively knew when they had made the decision to quit for good. They’ll also often tell you that it felt great and they just knew they would never smoke again,

When you know you want to definitely quit, you then need to look at the ecology of quitting. Will you have to avoid certain places for the short-term? Are there other family members or close friends that smoke that need to understand you’re quitting? If they’re not supportive and will try and tempt you to the dark side, can you actually just avoid them completely?

Don’t underestimate the importance of being aware of the ecology. This is something that people frequently fail to take into account. As a result they fail and don’t really know why.

Now look for the REAL reason you want to quit. Good health isn’t enough. Why do you want that good health? Dig deep with this one. We’re into the realms of values now and we want to get to the core of who you are as a person and what really motivates and drives you.

The greater the motivation, the better the chance of success, so really tap into what you want to achieve in your life and keep this in the forefront of your mind because it’s why you’re going through this.

Now you’re ready to set a date between 2 and 4 weeks away for your new behavior to start. Times of year that you may associate with smoking like New Years and vacations (unless you’re off on a Buddhist retreat) are usually less than ideal. Write the date down in your planner and stick to it.

Tell everybody and anybody that means anything o you what you are planning to do. If you have kids of an age that can understand, make a promise to them too. Then tell the rest of the world too. When I did something similar with all sorts of stuff from alcohol to red meat, I blogged about it.

Start using positive language. You’re not trying to quit, you have quit. Dump the word try because it implies failure.

Make a list of what you have to gain from quitting and post it where you see it everyday. Look past the obvious things like health and money. Do you want an improved sense of taste and smell and more energy? How about being able to relax after a great meal rather than huddling outside in the rain just so you can have a cigarette? What others can you think of?

Now make a list of what you have to lose if you fail. Promise that you will read it whenever you feel the urge to backslide. Again, don’t limit this to death and poverty because there’s a lot more to go at than that.

The really crucial part of all this is to move yourself to a state where you no longer see yourself as a smoker. You remove it from your identity completely.

Visualize yourself every night and first thing in the morning as the person that you want to be. Do this before you even start the change process. See what you will look like. Hear what you will sound like and feel what you will feel like. Really take time to savoir the new you! Play about with the picture and sounds in your head and make them as appealing as possible to you.

Importantly with the visualization, see yourself dealing with and overcoming temptation with ease and confidence and know that is a behavior available to you.

Optional extra. If you have the stomach for this, a really powerful thing to do is research the effects of smoking on health. With the Internet it’s not difficult to do and you can be looking at pictures of the gruesome effects smoking can have on the human body in no time at all.

If you succumb, use it as a learning experience and not an excuse to beat yourself up. Look at what caused the brief set back and start again even more determined to be the person you want to be!

The above strategy can undoubtedly help you quit smoking. However, if you can use it conjunction with hypnotherapy and you are committed to quitting, then I think the odds are stacked heavily in your favor. You may also want to check out the NLP technique developed by Richard Bandler called ‘The Swish Pattern’ which can be very powerful.

Tim Brownson is a life coach and the author of the fabulous little book of questions “Don’t ask Stupid Questions”.

Feel free to subscribe to his newsletter, grab a copy of his book, or check in for more life coaching tips at aDaringAdventure.com.

To learn more about Tim and his life coaching techniques you may also read an interview at the kitchen table “What is a Life Coach?”. If you are a health professional and would like to be interviewed at the kitchen table, simply contact us.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

The Fifteen Most Fabulous Herbal Sedatives

PhotobucketDo you ever just feel like you need to take a pill to take the edge off?

Well a lot of us get extra stressed around the holiday season, and if you don’t want to take something that will totally knock you out, try a gentle relaxing cup of sedative tea instead of popping a pill.

Now opinions may slightly differ amongst herbalists as to what the best herbal sedative is, but I think we can all agree that the best herb is the one that works best for the individual. Here are my top fifteen favorites for making in to herbal tea as they are widely available and not endangered species (to my current knowledge.)

I have included a brief blurb so that you can get an idea of the herbs that will work best for your constitution.Please always check with your naturopathic physician before combining herbs with prescription drugs. Do not take sedative herbs during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

#1 Passionflower- The intricate purple flower pictured above was shown to be as effective as sedatives in the benzodiazepine (valium) family, the aerial parts of this herb are great for nervous tension and anxiety. In recent research, passion flower extract at 45 drops daily (tincture) was shown to be as effective as oxazepam (similar to valium). This nervine herb is also “antispasmodic” which makes it great for people with constant nervous twitching.

#2 Ashwaganda- This is probably one of my favorite herbs, which is why it got the award for “Best Herb of 2007.” Unlike most of the herbs on this list that are designed to be taken at night or at least late afternoon, both ashwaganda and schisandra (listed below) are terrific “adaptogenic” herbs that help us tolerate our stressful days that much better. You can make some tea, or grab some capsules of the organic root and take two capsules twice a day.

This herb is specifically intended for those that are exhausted and agitated or debilitated by stress. In ayurvedic medicine ashawganda is a renowned anti-aging and rejuvenating herb.

Photobucket #3 Schisandra- Referred to as “Chinese Prozac” this herb is commonly unappreciated and underutilized in American herbal practice. Schisandra is a terrific day time adaptogen herb and should be taken as is recommended with Ashwaganda, two capsules with breakfast and lunch, or a cup of tea in the morning and afternoon. The berries can be made in to a nice aperitif for those with a low libido.

#4 California Poppy- The bright orange flowers of the California poppy, leaves and other aerial parts are sedative, anti-spasmodic, and mild pain relievers. This is also a gentle herb used for colic and agitation in children. Do not use this herb or any other sedative herbs in pregnancy.

#5 Hops- No I am not recommending that you drink more beer to calm down. However, the herb commonly used to make beer bitter also works as a sedative. It is extremely bitter though so is best given a small part in your herbal tea formula for insomnia or stress. Do not combine with prescription sleep aids due to an additive effect.

#6 Kava Kava- A well known Polynesian psychotropic sedative, this herb is sedative and “spasmolytic” and thus helpful for chronic pain conditions. Several conflicting studies debate the safety of using this herb with alcohol. Liver damage is thought to occur if used in large doses in conjunction with alcohol. This research however was used to scare many people away from using kava kava for whatever reason.

People need to simply remember that herbs are medicines and that an herb with actions similar to prescription sleep aids and analgesics will of course pack the same side effects. A strong herb demands respect. When used ceremoniously, or occasionally this herb does not run the risks it runs when it is heavily abused.

The best way to safely use kava kava is in an organic tea form. Look for a tea blend that includes kava, or make your own. This herb should not be used in large doses, and large doses should not be used over long term. Do not combine with alcohol, or use during pregnancy or nursing. Chronic abuse will result in a horrible scaly skin rash. Photobucket

#7 Lavender- Try adding lavender to your favorite baked good recipe. Purple lavender flowers will offer a sophisticated herbal makeover to your favorite shortbread cookies, or white tea cakes.

Lavender is great in your herbal medicine blend, and can also be used to stuff pillows, or as an aromatherapy stress reliever throughout the day. Lavender should not be used in pregnancy due to it’s emmenagogue effect.

#8 Lemon Balm- Also known as “Melissa officinalis” this herbal sedative should not be used by those with hypothyroidism as it inhibits the thyroid and is used to treat hyperthyroidism, however for everyone else it is a common simple herb to grow in your garden and make in to your own calming sedative tincture each summer. Do not use this herb in pregnancy.

I grow lemon balm in my garden and harvest it, rinse it, let it dry and then pack it in a jar with enough room for it to swim around in some vodka. Shake the jar once a day for two weeks. The vodka will extract the constituents and after a few weeks you can strain out the plant part leftovers and put a half a teaspoon of this liquid “anxiety medicine” in a little bit of water when you need something to calm you down. Photobucket

#9 St. John’s Wort- Although we think “depression” the second we hear about St. J’s Wort, we also need to address that depression and anxiety tend to walk hand in hand and this herb is not just an anti-depressant it is a mild sedative as well. St. John’s Wort has also been shown to have a lower risk of side effects than conventional anti-depressants and is worth trying for those that don’t quite have severe enough depression to mandate the use of a prescription pharmaceutical, but instead need something to take the edge off and boost the mood a bit.

If you are suffering from anxiety that has a form of depression associated with it, then this would be a great herb to consider in your herbal sedative blend pending that you are not on any anti-depressants or anti-psychotic medications. The condition “serotonin syndrome” may occur from combing this herb with those classes of medications or other herbs and supplements that boost neurotransmitter levels.

This herb should not be used by those on oral contraceptives, or any medications as it increases the cytochrome p450 enzyme system which results in a more rapid detoxification of drugs from the system. The drugs or birth control pills are then rendered useless. Standard dose of St. John’s Wort for those not on any other medications, is 300 mg three times daily of the 0.3% standardized extract. Photobucket

#10 Red Clover- Not traditionally recognized as a sedative, but as a mineral source and blood thinner, this “cooling” herb calms the system and has a special affinity to the lungs, throat, and salivary glands.

This is a terrific balancing herb to include in your herbal sedative blend as the dried flower blossoms make for a beautiful addition to a glass teapot. Do not use in pregnancy, or if on blood thinning medications.

#11 Catnip- Not just for cats. Catnip is actually a gentle nervine herb for humans. No it won’t make you roll around on the carpet or chase after things (at least not to my current knowledge) but it is still a great mild sedative.

This herb should absolutely NOT be used during pregnancy, as most herbs should never be used during pregnancy without checking with your naturopathic midwife, however it can safely be used in children by making a very weak tea. Be sure to only give your children organic herbs and check with their pediatrician or naturopath prior to use.

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#12 Valerian- Definitely one of the more potent herbal sedatives, valerian is also a great pain killer for those with chronic pain. Some people prefer not to use this herb because it can cause quite the herbal hangover the next morning and most complain that it makes them feel really groggy, or desire to sleep through the day.

Look for a tea formula that includes a bit of valerian to avoid the hangover, and if you have severe anxiety, chronic pain, or insomnia talk to your naturopathic doctor about using this at a more therapeutic dose. Always use organic root.

#13 Motherwort- The perfect herb for fried and frazzled mothers; it strengthens a weak heart and is great for nervous palpitations. Motherwort is best taken over a prolonged period of time, and because it is a uterine stimulant, it should not be used in pregnancy.

#14 Skullcap- A bitter, cooling sedative herb that is best used for nervous fear, restless sleep, and is also thought to lower blood pressure. This herb is great for people with the inability to pay attention—huh what was that? And has been used effectively to calm down children with ADHD. Some kids concentrate better when they are sped up, and some do better when they are calmed down.

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#15 Chamomile- One of the most common kitchen herbs, chamomile is a great mild sedative and digestive bitter.

Be careful in using chamomile tea if you experience ragweed allergies, formally known as the “asteracea family” and previously recognized as “composite family.” If you have a history of seasonal allergies you should exercise caution.

If not, make your tea up strong, use a heaping tablespoon and not a teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water, and allow to steep 15 minutes covered. If you don’t cover your chamomile tea you will lose the calming essential oils to evaporation. Only elitist herbalists know to do that. Welcome to the club!

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Traditional Herbal Sedative Use: Establishing a nighttime or daytime tea ritual is a great way to reduce stress, avoid binge eating, and help those that fight insomnia get to sleep at a decent hour.

Don’t forget to have your pot of tea with one of my favorite “Bedtime Snacks for Insomniacs.” Also if you tend to be one of those that gets troubled by having to use the restroom in the middle of the night, be sure to drink your tea at least 90 minutes prior to your expected bed time.

Directions: For most of these herbs simply make a tea with about 1 tsp (milder herbs use a tablespoon) to 8 oz cup of boiling water. Allow to steep covered 15 minutes. Or if you aren’t a tea drinker just look for a pre-made organic herbal formula to take in tincture or capsule form, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Common Sense Cautions: Please check with your naturopathic physician before combining any herbal medicines with prescription medications or making any changes to your health care routine. Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding should never use any herbs unless prescribed by their naturopathic midwife.

You can find bulk organic herbs at Whole Foods, through your local tea shop or buy them online through Mountain Rose Herbs.

What is your favorite herbal sedative?

~Dr. Nicole

Reference: “Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth” by Dr. Sharol Tilgner
©KitchenTableMedicine.com

Related Reading
Best Bedtime Snacks for Insomniacs
Sleep the Miracle Drug
A Quick Deep Breathing Exercise

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

21 Free Preventative Medicine Habits!

Doctor#1 Laugh- When we laugh we release endorphins that make us feel good. These endorphins reduce pain and stress. Stress is a common cause of chronic disease.

Maybe you just lost a ton of money in the stock market and don’t feel like laughing a whole lot about it, but can’t you just muster up a deep dark cynical laugh about it? Good. Now that is a start!

Remember, things can always be worse, and we may not have a whole lot of control over them. But, we can always control our attitudes.

Now, go find some other things that are funny. Make your self laugh each and everyday, laugh at your friend’s silly jokes and make up a few of your own. Play some harmless pranks on your coworkers. “Laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. Now is the time to turn off the news and turn on your favorite comedy show. Laughs are free! Go get ‘em.

#2 Get Sunshine-
Why buy vitamins and when you can get them for free? Twenty minutes of sunshine on our hands and face each and every day gives us the needed RDA of vitamin D. Sunshine also boosts our serotonin levels and makes us happy. In order to optimally benefit from “nature’s Prozac” you need to be under the blue sky for 15 minutes, or an hour under a cloudy sky.

#3 Drink Water- Water is free for the most part, delicious, energizing, and prevents horribly uncomfortable conditions like bladder infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Water also cuts our appetite and helps us feel satisfied. When most people feel hungry, they actually are feeling thirsty. Water immediately rewards you by detoxing your system, and plumping up your cells so you don’t look old and saggy. Drink plenty of water in between meals and shoot for about sixty to eighty ounces of water per day (depending on your size and activity level) to prevent disease.

#4 Sleep- Most Americans don’t get enough of it. Your system restores itself while you are sleeping. Detox and cellular repair occur at an increased rate while you are sleeping. Your immune system also works best while you are asleep, thus you are less likely to be plagued by colds and flu’s when adequately rested. Sleep is free to nearly everyone but med students and the parents of small children. Try going to bed an hour earlier each night if you can. In order to have the energy to exercise, eat right, and be your best—you need to be well rested.

#5 Give Hugs-The price of a hug is free and the benefits are countless. Hugs reduce stress, build community, and nurture both young and old alike. According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Make it a habit to give out twelve hugs a day, even if they are to your self. Everybody needs a hug right now.

#6 Cut back on activities- Chances are you are doing way too much right now. Cutting back on activities and obligations may not only save you money, but save your life by reducing stress and lowering your risk of being in an accident from needless rushing around. Accidents are the leading cause of death in younger age groups. A few minutes less of rushing each day may save your life.

#7 Meditate-Taking five minutes to breathe, ground your energy to the earth, and release your mind of all thoughts is completely free and is a simple way to ensure your day gets off to a good start. Try “Five Minutes to Zen” if you are new to meditating.

#8 Eat Less-If you are overweight, you are eating too much, or too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Switch to a whole foods diet and eat slowly and until you are full. Overeating is ridiculously expensive and costs you much more than just the rising cost of food. Overeating can cost you your health!

#9 Pet your Pet- Well known for lowering both blood pressure and anxiety, interacting with animals is a great way to get you calmed down. Pets are great stress busters, and also serve as free entertainment. Take your dog to a dog park for a free fun relaxing time.

#10 Breathe- Air is still free last time I checked. You cannot be properly energized without sufficient oxygen. Sit up straight and breathe in and out deeply while watching your belly rise and fall. To further release stress try an activity called “Square Breathing”. If stress is killing you slowly, it is time to start breathing.

#11 Phone a Friend- Talking for the most part is free, and talking about our stressors has been shown to be a key feature in various longevity studies. Now is the time to reach out towards others, you are not the only one with problems. Being a friend for someone else and giving of yourself is also a great way to reduce stress. Studies show that those surrounded by a community live longer than those who don’t. Stay connected.

#12 Exercise- Consistently shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, improve well being, attitude and sleep, think of exercise as the hammer and nails in your preventative medicine toolbox. Exercise is the simplest inexpensive way to build your health. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to exercise. Just establish a basic routine of yoga and calisthenics and do them in the same order every day for at least twenty minutes. Then, go out and run, walk, bike, rollerblade, swim or organize a fun neighborhood game of football, basketball, soccer, or tag to burn up some calories.

#13 Play with Children-Engaging your creative mind will help you blow off stress. Most of us are stuck in our analytical left hemispheres all day. Let your creativity loose and take a visit to the right side of your brain. How about an arts and craft project? Research shows that craft products such as knitting reduce stress.

#14 Stretch-With age we lose both muscle mass and flexibility. You can easily sneak in 15 minutes of stretching at the office, in front of the television, or after your workout. At the very least: roll your neck, and stretch your pecs and quads–the muscles that get tight from sitting all day.

#15 Lift Weights-Weight bearing exercise is shown to be MORE effective in treating osteoporosis than the most popular pharmaceutical medications used to treat osteoporosis. So why is everyone on a bisphosphonate you may wonder? Because most people don’t want to take the time to do the work. You can prevent painful fractures in your spine that will occur inevitably from osteoporosis by engaging NOW in daily weight bearing exercise. Try using hand weights when doing lunges, squats, triceps and biceps curls. Push ups and pull ups are also super for driving calcium back in to the bone matrix.

#16 Quit Smoking- Let’s face it. Smoking causes death. Smoking is a leading cause of death. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to PREVENT not just lung cancer, but mouth cancer, lip cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, emphysema, arthritis, heart disease, and every other form of chronic illness. Smoking causes inflammation in the body which is just like throwing gasoline on the chronic illness inflammatory fire. Quit smoking now to save money today, and save your life tomorrow.

#17 Wear your Seat Belt and Helmet-Okay you may not need to do both of these at all times, but the leading cause of death in children and young adults is accidents. It takes you only a second or two to buckle up. That second could save your life. Buckling up is free. Do it.

#18 Write it Down- Freaking out about the economy? Not sure where your next groceries are coming from? Don’t know how you will fill up your car with gas to drive the next car pool? Worried that you are going to lose your house? Just let go from your job? Stressed out of your mind? Write all your worries down in to your journal. Now close the journal, and walk away, leaving your worries in the journal.

Purging yourself of your worries is therapeutic and reduces stress. Use your journal to move through the worry, don’t dwell on it. Dwelling on your worries does not facilitate any transformation processes, it just keeps you stagnant in your stress. Some worry is good. Chronic worrying means chronic stress. Chronic stress means chronic disease.

#19 Wash your Hands- With the cold and flu season upon us, the most important thing we can do to prevent illness is wash our hands. Always wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, before touching your face, after sneezing and coughing, and after using a coworkers office space.

#20 Pray- A strong spiritual connection is always the key to surviving hard times. Researchers have found that chronically ill patients actually benefit from the prayers of others, even when they didn’t know others were praying for them! Whether you are praying for someone else, or praying for yourself, you are trusting Life and trusting God. Regardless of your religious standpoint, it is inarguable that prayer reduces stress for those that believe.

#21 Commit Kindness- Kindness is free, and is the purported driving force that “keeps the world going ’round”. Everyone needs kindness right now. Be kind to yourself, be kind to your family, your coworkers, your colleagues, your friends. Be kind to strangers, to telemarketers, to bill collectors, be kind to the homeless, to children, to adults in need, to pets, be kind to everyone that you encounter whether they deserve it or not.

Now is the BEST time to “Commit random acts of kindles and senseless beauty”. You may have problems, but are they an emergency or an inconvenience? Chances are they are just an inconvenience. Now is the time to reach out not retract in.

Now is certainly not the time to let your health fall apart, frankly none of us can afford it. Instead, follow as many of these simple and free preventative medicine tips to insure that you don’t miss any days of work. Stay positive to prevent stress from facilitating the formation of a chronic disease in your body. During these tough times when many do not have medical insurance, we all need to stay as strong and happy and healthy as possible.

Feel free to forward on these simple tips to anyone else that may benefit.

Reference: http://KitchenTableMedicine.com

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table! Feel free to subscribe, leave comments, or ask me any questions about preventative medicine.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Stress Management

By Dr. KC Kelly – Ph.D. and Licensed Psychotherapist

headshot_for_nicoles_site1.jpgRichard Lazarus and Susan Folkman suggested in 1984 that stress can be thought of as resulting from an imbalance between demands and resources, or as occurring when pressure exceeds ones perceived ability to cope.

Stress management was developed and premised on the idea that stress is not a direct response to a stressor, but rather one’s resources and ability to cope and makes changes in his or her life, thus allowing stress to be controllable.

Stress can be good (called eustress) when it helps us perform better, or it can be bad (distress) when it causes upset or makes us sick.

The stress reaction results from an outpouring of adrenaline, a stimulant hormone, into the blood stream when a person is feeling distress. This, with other stress hormones, produces a number of changes in the body which are intended to be protective.

Professionals in the field of psychology have called this outpouring of hormones, the fight-or-flight response because when faced with a stressful situation, a person will either fight or run away from danger.

When encountering stress, a person may experience: an increase in heart rate, an increase in blood pressure (to get more blood to the muscles, brain and heart), faster breathing (to take in more oxygen), tensing of muscles (preparation for action), increased mental alertness and sensitivity of sense organs (to assess the situation and act quickly), increased blood flow to the brain, heart and muscles (the organs that are most important in dealing with danger) and less blood to the skin, digestive tract, kidneys and liver (where it is least needed in times of crisis), an increase in blood sugar, fats and cholesterol (for extra energy), and a rise in platelets and blood clotting factors (to prevent hemorrhage in case of injury).

What are the Common Symptoms of Stress?

Physical: fatigue, headache, insomnia, muscle aches/stiffness (especially neck, shoulders and low back), heart palpitations, chest pains, abdominal cramps, nausea, trembling, cold extremities, flushing or sweating and frequent colds, decrease in concentration and memory, indecisiveness, mind racing or going blank, confusion, loss of sense of humor, anxiety, nervousness, depression, anger, frustration, worry, fear, irritability, impatience, short temper, pacing, fidgeting, nervous habits (nail-biting, foot-tapping), increased eating, smoking, drinking, crying, yelling, swearing, blaming and even throwing things or hitting.

What Are the Causes of Stress?

Dr. Selye called the causes of stress stressors or triggers. There are two kinds of stressors: external and internal.

External stressors include:
Physical environment: noise, bright lights, heat, confined spaces.

Social interaction: rudeness, bossiness or aggressiveness on the part of someone

Organizational: rules, regulations, “red tape,” deadlines.

Major life events: death of a relative, lost job, promotion, new baby.

Daily hassles: commuting, misplacing keys, mechanical breakdowns.

Internal stressors include:

Lifestyle choices: caffeine, not enough sleep, overloaded schedule.

Negative self-talk: pessimistic thinking, self-criticism, over-analyzing.

Mind traps: unrealistic expectations, taking things personally, all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerating, rigid thinking.

Stressful personality traits: Type A, perfectionist, workaholic, pleaser.

It is important to note that most of the stress that many of us have is actually self-generated. This is a paradox because so many people think of external stressors when they are upset (it is the weather, the boss, the children, the spouse, the stock market). Recognizing that we create most of our own upsets, however, is an important first step to dealing with them.

Read an article on Basic Breathing Exercises to reduce stress

Read all our articles on stress

**Much of this information was prepared by Dr. David B. Posen Lifestyle Counselor and Psychotherapist, and Author of “Always Change a Losing Game”

Oakville, Ontario. Permission has been given for this information to be copied and distributed to patients.

Other information was obtained from:

Lazarus, R.S., and Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal and Coping.

For personalized advice for coping with stress you can visit Dr. KC at www.docinthebiz.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

What is Anxiety?

By KC Kelly, Ph.D., LMHC
headshot_for_nicoles_site1.jpgStress and anxiety are a natural part of everyday life and most of us experience it more often than not in today’s very stressful world. It is also very natural to worry about your hectic life from time to time. “Anxiety” is usually referred to as worry, concern, stress, or nervousness.

Believe it or not, anxious feelings can sometimes be a good thing. Having this heightened sense can actually help to motivate a person to prepare for a big test in school, speech at work, or by keeping a person on his/her toes in potentially dangerous situations, to name only a few examples. Occasional anxiety isn’t something to be concerned about.

However, if the worries, stress, or anxious feelings become overwhelming and you feel as though these feelings are getting in the way of your everyday quality of life, these may be signs that you may have an anxiety problem or disorder. Below are descriptions of the different anxiety disorders. Remember as you read, not to be frightened by the symptoms. An anxiety disorder is a serious condition, yes, but the good news is that it is also one of the most treatable emotional disorders!

ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 40 million American adults aged 16 years and older in a given year, causing them to be filled with overwhelming fearfulness and uncertainty. People usually experience anxiety about events they cannot control or predict, or about events that seem threatening or dangerous.

Sometimes people feel anxious without any known cause. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as an audition or performing in front of a live audience, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive thinking and dwelling on the “what ifs”. As a result, the person feels there is no way out of the vicious cycle of anxiety and worry, and then becomes depressed about life and the state of anxiety they feel. This is a relatively common anxiety problem, affecting about 6.8 million adult Americans.

Panic Disorder can leave people with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly, many times, without warning. They can’t predict when an attack will occur, and many develop intense anxiety between episodes, worrying when and where the next one will strike.

You may genuinely believe you’re having a heart attack, losing your mind, or are on the verge of death. Unless you have a bad heart that has been officially diagnosed, anxiety CANNOT KILL YOU! Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults.

Agoraphobia develops when a person has such an intense fear of having a panic attack that they avoid going anywhere they think it could possibly occur. The fear of social embarrassment of having a panic attack or losing control in public often causing a person to become confined to their homes, experiencing difficulty traveling from their “safe place.”

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves anxious thoughts or rituals you feel you can’t control. If you have OCD, you may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (CPD) entails a cluster of characteristics of behavior marked by inflexibility in order to pursue perfectionism, orderliness, and control (DSM-IV). OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults.

PhotobucketPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that can develop following a terrifying event. Often, people with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people to whom they were once close. Whatever the source of the problem, some people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in the form of nightmares and disturbing recollections during the day.

They may also experience other sleep problems, feel detached or emotionally paralyzed, or be easily startled. They may lose interest in things they used to enjoy and have trouble feeling affectionate. They may feel irritable, more aggressive than before, or even violent. Things that remind them of the trauma may be very distressing, which could lead them to avoid certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the traumatic event are often very troubling times. PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults.

Social Phobia, also called Social Anxiety Disorder involves overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions.

Their fear may be so severe that it interferes with work or school, and other ordinary activities. While many people with social phobia recognize that their fear of being around people may be excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome it. They often worry for days or weeks in advance of a dreaded situation. Social phobia affects about 15 million American adults.

Specific Phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common specific phobias are centered around closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, clowns, and injuries involving blood. Such phobias aren’t just extreme fear; they are also irrational fears of particular things. Specific phobias affect an estimated 16.2 million adult Americans.

TREATMENT: Effective treatments for anxiety disorders are available, and research is yielding new, improved therapies that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very effective in treating an anxiety disorder.

If you think you may be suffering with any of these symptoms, or would just like to talk with a professional in a caring and completely confidential way, please visit www.DOCintheBiz.comwhere you will be able to email us for private and confidential help from your own home! You will never be made to leave your house or comfort zone. Write to us at your convenience!

Article on breathing exercises

Article on Square Breathing

Read all our articles on anxiety

Statistical information reported on this page was obtained from The National Institute of Mental Health

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Stress is For Suckers: Free Book!

November 5, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Life Coaching, Stress

My favorite Life Coach, Tim Brownson has done it again!

His new ebook “Stress is for Suckers” is out– and as a gift to my Kitchen Table readers you are all welcome to access a free copy for the next week! Be sure to get it while it’s hot.

Stress is THE most important lifestyle factor to get a grip on above anything else, and Brownson does a thorough job breaking down and simplifying all the best life coaching tactics for busy people coping with a stressful lifestyle.

Simply visit Tim’s online bookstore and enter the coupon code KITCHENSTRESS to grab your free copy for this limited time period.

Happy Stress Busting Everyone!

~Dr. Nicole

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Zen Please? 20 Things to do on Your Day Off

Hope you all have a great weekend!

The author of ZenPlease has offered some fun ideas for what we can all do with our time off…

1. Head to your local video store and get a movie that fits your genre. Comedy is the remedy; no matter who you are, you’ll enjoy a good laugh!

2. Play some sports! Go swimming or go for a jog. This is the time to work out and sweat it all out.

3. Take a stroll in the park and walk your dog (or your neighbor’s).

4. Read a book, something that will keep you engrossed and guessing – suspenseful plots!

5. Curl up in bed and sleep in, the world does not need you today.

6. Learn how to cook a new dish. It’s going to be fun!

7. Practice Yoga. It relaxes your body, mind and soul.

8. Go window shopping. Take slow strides and just watch everything and anything.

9. Visit a zoo, an art gallery or a museum, these places are really eye opening! Even if you’ve visited before!

10. Call up your long lost friends and ask them out for lunch or dinner, catch up with them since you have the time!

11. Go ice-skating! If you’re a beginner, you’re bound to fall. But who cares?

12. For non-golfers, head towards the nearest driving range and swing at them golf balls.

13. Play some Sudoku or Crosswords, challenge yourself and see how hard it is for you.

14. Go bowling and just smack it! It doesn’t matter if the bowling ball goes down the drain!

15. Find some place peaceful and secluded and watch both the sunrise and sunset of that day! If you can’t find a nice spot, the roof is always a good option.

16. Go scuba diving, the experience of swimming with fishes is really nice. Carefree.

17. Ride a rollercoaster and scream your lungs out! The first ride is something you’ll remember for life!

18. Take random photos. Just pick up your camera and start clicking but make sure you take pictures of the outdoor!

19. Treat yourself to a health spa. Extremely stress relieving…

20. Look around you and see what’s happening in your community. Join a club or an event and try new things!

For the enthusiastic but constantly held down individuals, this is the time for you step up and try new things! Take a walk on the wild side! And as for those who would rather play it safe and take each day as it comes, today is the day you give yourself a chance to let go!

No matter what you do, as long it is comfortable for you, it will be enjoyable. Do it with the ones you love and it’ll be even more exciting! Have fun!

For more great tips on reducing stress and enjoying life, stop by Zenplease.com.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Meet Dr. KC Kelly Online Psychotherapist at DOCintheBiz

kc.jpgEditorial Note: Please welcome to the kitchen table a very dear friend of mine, guest author Dr. KC Kelly, licensed psychotherapist…

Hi! I am KC Kelly, Ph.D., LMHC and I was invited to introduce myself here at one of my favorite alternative medicine and health care informational websites, Kitchen Table Medicine. I’d like to share with you what online counseling or psychotherapy (also called E-therapy) is all about and what I have to offer at DOCintheBiz.com.

Millions of people search the Internet every day for total health care information. Now, I have embarked on a whole new frontier of offering a single place to find a plethora of mental/emotional health information including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, relationship issues, self esteem, stress management, time management, and so much more! I also offer online counseling or therapy! One click to DOCintheBiz.com takes you to a safe and comfortable place where all your mental/emotional health needs can be met!

Before you go there, please allow me to share with you, who I am and some facts about online counseling or therapy.

First of all, one of the most important factors to consider when entering into therapy or counseling is the relationship you have with your therapist. A special kind of trust and rapport needs to be present or the therapy will not be successful. Not every therapist is for every client and visa versa and that is why it is imperative that you “interview” or get to know your therapist before beginning a therapeutic relationship with him or her.

At DOCintheBiz.com, I give you the opportunity to read a multitude of articles that I have written on a vast amount of topics so that you can get to know me, how I write, and how I work with clients. I write one article/week (sometimes more) and try to write based on the information that people request. I encourage my readers to comment on all my articles and I answer each and every commentary. I invite you to visit my blog and see what you think at DOCintheBiz.com.

The next step is to understand that E-therapy directly addresses a major problem uncovered by the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health (1999) which stated that while one American in five has a diagnosable psychological problem, nearly two-thirds of them never seek treatment. Online therapy or counseling should be for mild to moderate concerns or issues you may be having. Online counseling or therapy is a great way to discuss issues, find solutions, and find ways to change your life for the better!

What Dr. KC’s online counseling or therapy DOES provide:

1. Therapeutic help from a professional, caring, compassionate, and understanding therapist who puts YOUR needs first without an ounce of judgment
2. The ability to get to core issues more quickly, sometimes in the first lines of an email
3. Complete confidentiality and ability to keep 100% anonymous (discussed in disclaimer)
4. Convenience of never needing to leave your home and reaching out when YOU want to
5. Affordable low cost services HIGHLY worth the small investment (it’s YOUR health!)
6. Quick, solid, informational, expert and thoughtful responses to your issues and questions

What Dr. KC’s online counseling or therapy DOES NOT provide:

1. Help for severe crisis situations- It is not that Dr. KC does not work with crisis situations (in person); however, when someone writes in online for help with a crisis, he/she is urged to please call 911 or a crisis hotline for IMMEDIATE help.

Thank you to Kitchen Table Medicine and your readers for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and to share a brief understanding of what online counseling or therapy involves. I hope that you will visit me at DOCintheBiz.com for more detailed information.

If you are having concerns, it is OK if I’m not the one helping you; however, I do urge you to reach out and ask for assistance! Someone is there to take your hand and help guide you to a better, happier, and healthier life. YOU’RE WORTH IT!

~Dr. KC
www.DOCintheBiz.com
www.GLCzone.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Cellulite Reduction: The Best Treatments

cellulitecure.jpgBy Bonnie Pfiester, Fitness Trainer.

Someone once asked me if I knew of anything that would help get rid of cellulite.

I am proud to say I do!

My answer isn’t a cream nor is it a complicated surgical procedure. My solution is something that has been around for years – diet and exercise.

Surprised?

You see, I don’t believe the issue is always the lumpy fat we call cellulite, but the problem can be magnified by the result of muscle deterioration. The unfortunate combination can leave skin loose and lumpy.

Let’s look at the facts. Women who do not exercise lose an average of 5 pounds of muscle per decade before menopause and a pound a year thereafter. Since cellulite is more common for women, this causes a couple of problems.

Each pound of lean muscle lost decreases your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. If you already have a problem with cellulite, the slowing metabolism will only make matters worse. Weight gain causes the cellulite to be more pronounced as the fat cells grow.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the firm muscle that once supported the skin and fat is now shrinking. Lumpy fat cells are growing and smooth firm muscle is withering away. Have I scared you into working out yet?

Let me encourage you. Although diet and exercise may not get rid of all the cellulite in the world, it sure can make a huge difference. A low-calorie diet can reduce and manage overall body fat, affecting the size and visibility of cellulite.

Exercising to preserve or increase lean muscle mass can prevent, and even reverse, a lot of the problems. Building lean muscle not only increases your metabolism to help fight weight gain but it builds firm shapely muscle to support and smooth out our aging skin.

Some may argue, but I have seen too many transformations as a result of diet and exercise that are undeniable proof that it can work. Although diet and exercise may not always get rid of the problem completely, I bet it works ten times better than any cellulite cream on the market!

~Bonnie

Bonnie Pfiester is a Personal Trainer and owner of the health club Longevity Fitness. You can enjoy more of Bonnie’s fitness and beauty articles at www.BonniePfiester.com .

You are invited to leave your fitness and sports nutrition questions in the comments below for Bonnie to briefly answer or write about in future articles.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Can You Always Think Positive?

zenthinking.jpgBy Dr. Nicole Sundene

Can You Always Think Positive?

I am certainly trying.

I was raised on a thick Scandinavian-German dose of Murphy’s Law, and am described to have a “Death Valley DRY sense of humor sprinkled heavily with cynicism”.

Maybe I get my old man sense of humor from my Grandpa, or maybe it is just because I have been working in The American Sickcare System for the past nine years.

Sometimes it is really tough to stay positive.

Recently I read an article at one of my favorite positivity sites Ya-ttitude titled “The 4-Step Plan to Success” instructing me to:

“Keep your mind tightly closed to all negative influence.

Those negative influences can come from places you least expect;

friends, family and acquaintances.”

Sounds simple enough! So I decided to try it.

Positive thinking is crucial to any successful stress management program.

I am actively working hard to learn new ways to be more positive by following the advice from author’s such as Benny Greennberg from Ya-ttitude, Life Coach, Tim Brownson from A Daring Adventure, and my other favorite reads at Principles for Peace, ZenHabits, and Zenplease.

I work hard to read and test out their stress management tips so I can better share the simplest ways to live stress free.

In my opinion, closing yourself off to ALL negative thinking is the foundation to being positive and less stressed. Benny Greenwood’s Four Step Plan has it exactly right.

Being positive also means learning to just go with the flow.

For instance, the other day the cat puked all over my pile of clean laundry. Instead of getting upset, I decided to quickly see the positive in things and tossed the nasty mess straight in to the washing machine.

“Ha! Now I don’t have to fold and iron that whole mess today!” I thought, applying my goal to always strictly see everything as positive, as I washed my hands clean of the nasty mess.

Now if someone cynical like me can be more positive while cleaning up cat puke, then anyone can!

Try it.

Try only seeing the positive in every situation for an entire month. See how that month then goes for you.

  • Were you more productive?
  • More happy?
  • More pleasant to be around?
  • Did you make new friends?
  • Do more people like you now?

I know this is not about being more popular, it is about being more positive to reduce useless stress. Being more popular is just a fringe benefit to being more positive.

Do you know someone that could benefit from being more popular er…positive?

Who in your life could benefit from this stress management tip?

  • That demanding perfectionistic boss?
  • Irritating co-worker?
  • Always agitated friend?
  • Meddling mother in law?
  • Cranky husband?
  • Ungrateful child? (Mom please don’t send this to me…I promise I’m trying!)

E-mail them this article, or print it out and allow it to mysteriously “appear” on their desk, or somewhere they might be forced to find it.

The options are endless when it comes to how “positivity” and positive thinking can help us. I notice the immediate result for me with positive thinking, is that my attitude about life is just better.

I am instantly happier.

When I see the positive in a tough situation that once had me upset, I am learning from life. Maybe the lesson was hard. But learning the lesson and moving forward is one of life’s biggest positives. How else are we to grow?

Growth is positive.

Post note: During the final editing of this little uplifting article on positivity, I realized that I never remembered to TURN THE WASHING MACHINE ON! So the cat puke mess sat in there for three delicious hot summer days!

Oh my…well if someone can please help me see the positive in that, I would be most grateful. *shudder*

Ugh…“I am too blessed to be stressed”.

I will be busy reciting the positive person mantra until further notice.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table!

~Dr. Nicole

Naturopathic Physician

www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Pain and Positive Mental Attitude

healpainnaturally.jpgDo You Think Positive Mental Attitude Can Heal Pain?

In the case of Jennifer Mannion it did.

I am very grateful that Jennifer found Kitchen Table Medicine so that she could share her story with us. The following is a case report on how positive thinking was used to heal chronic pain.

Below is Jennifer’s personal account on how she cured her fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome with a change in her thinking.

If this story doesn’t support the naturopathic model of mind/body/spirit holistic healing, I am not sure what else will. Since no pharmaceutical company can patent “positive thinking” and sell and promote it, I will do my best to be the spokesperson (not the poster child) for positive mental attitude.

Please welcome to the kitchen table Jennifer Mannion, the author of the website Heal Pain Naturally!

I had been chronically ill and in chronic pain for 6 years and had received several diagnoses including Fibromyalgia, Chronic Mono and Benign Hypermobility Syndrome. The doctors told me I would always be in chronic pain and would most likely be in a wheelchair. They told me to manage my pain with prescription drugs. Being a mom in her mid thirties with two young children this did not sit right with me but I did not know what else to do.

Upon seeing the movie “The Secret” I knew I would learn all I could about the mind/body connection and that I WOULD heal myself. I did not agree with 100% of the material in The Secret but the parts on health really struck a chord. The fact that our bodies are constantly creating cells and we have a new body every couple of years was new to me. It woke me up to the fact that I could in fact possibly control the type of cells my body was producing “sick” cells or “healthy” cells depending on what I was telling myself.

I surrounded myself with audios, books, ebooks and immediately started putting into practice what I was learning. Within 2 weeks I was off of pain killers. Within a month I felt better than I had in 10 years. Now 18 months later I am still pain and pain pill free. I KNOW how powerful the mind is and I KNOW it is possible to shift from a reality of sickness to a healthier you.

I adopted a method to healing that I call the PAGING ME SYSTEM. It is about “waking up” your subconscious and using tools to put you in the right frame of mind. I have found so many great teachers in the last year and a half and continue to learn every day. I am grateful for my illnesses because they brought me to this point of my life. I have found my passion which is to empower others to realize their own power within to heal. Paging Me is an acronym for the methods I adopted to heal myself.

PAGING ME SYSTEM

Forgiveness of others and self-forgiveness was a key part of my healing. It is something that people often have trouble dealing with. But how therapeutic it is when you let go of all the reasons you have been upset with yourself, all the mistakes you made or bad timed things you might have said.

After this was forgiveness of others/circumstances as I could spend hours saying well if “he hadn’t done this….” or if “this hadn’t happened”. I realized I had spent enough time being angry and whoever/whatever circumstance I was angry at and that it had taken enough of my energy. I was going to let that go as well and try and think of a reason why I encountered that person/thing and how I grew from the experience. I needed to PARDON myself, situations and other people from the anger, resentment and blame that I had held onto for so long.

Being in pain it became easy and a habit to wake up every day and say “ow my back hurts” or “oohhww my leg”. When I woke, my mind was on alert for what part of my body hurt and that is where my attention went. Instead I had to shift my attention to the one part of me that didn’t hurt. Even if it was my little finger that is where my whole conscious mind went as I said repeatedly in my mind “I am so happy and grateful I am so healthy – I know how good my finger feels and that means my whole body is healthy”. Shifting the ATTENTION to what was working and feeling good and away from what was bad and negative did wonders for helping me to feel better.

My next tool was being GRATEFUL. When you are in chronic pain or have been diagnosed with illnesses it is easy to feel ungrateful. I needed to concentrate on what I DID have and who and what I WAS grateful for. I LOVE the house and community where I am living. I have a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful, very smart and healthy children. I have always had a lot of friends and consider myself to be a very good friend to others. I have wonderful parents and extended family. This tool worked wonders for me in the morning and at night right before bed.

Then there were the INFLUENCES (people & media) that I was surrounding myself with. I was watching or listening to the news a few times a day. I was around people who would constantly complain but did not want to listen to me. I was reading violent fiction novels. When I shifted to reading personal development, law of attraction and mind/body connection books and STOPPED watching the news I noticed a HUGE shift in my mood. I also surrounded myself with my more positive friends and limited my time with what James Ray calls “Energy Vampires”.

The next tool was being conscious of my self-talk. Was I telling myself I was sick because the doctors had told me that for years? Was I saying “can’t and “won’t” more than “can” and “will”? I was honestly appalled when I stopped and listened to my subconscious mind. I discovered just how NEGATIVE it was and was very happy to change the messages I was sending myself. If I was waiting in line at a store and someone in front of me was “holding it up” I would get angry – now I stop, relax, realize the person in line isn’t doing it on purpose nor are they happy about the situation. I think about what I can do to pass the time and feel good – think of a happy memory, prioritize the stuff to do later, think of a blog post I want to write about….. Your time is only wasted if you tell yourself it is – there is always a place to go in your mind to make the use of time more positive.

It was also imperative for me to set some GOALS. My life had become wrapped around the kids and my illnesses and I felt I had no time for goals – you ALWAYS have time for goals. If you don’t know WHAT you want – how are you ever going to get it? I did some soul searching and realized while I had pursued my invention I was not putting my all into it or setting obtainable goals in the road to getting a manufacturer. I was exercising here and there but wasn’t setting goals as to how far I could walk or how many times I would exercise that week or what jeans I wanted to fit me…..

Goal setting for my physical and mental wellness was key. I broke them into smaller steps so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I felt so great when I crossed something off of my list that brought me one step closer to my final goal. In time I found it necessary to set goals in a bunch of different areas: mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and financial. I started with concentrating on 1 or 2 at a time but felt if I didn’t have goals set for all these areas – how could I hope to grow in all these areas? Any small step crossed off is a HUGE boost in self esteem and gives you something to add to your gratitude list!

Being a mom and wife at times I felt that I had lost some of myself. I was always mommy, wife or daughter but I needed to find out who Jenny was again. I feel the best tool that helped me do this was MEDITATION. To take 10 minutes during the day and lock myself in my bedroom and either play Deepak Chopra’s Guided Soul Healing Meditations or to sit in silence and let my mind go and concentrate on my breathing. It allowed me to see what I was focusing on and it allowed me to relax. I loved the feeling of peace I achieved after just sitting for 10 minutes. With 2 young kids, noise and movement are pretty much par for the course…..

To know what you are passionate about and continually EDUCATE yourself in it boosts your self confidence. Whether it is music, social causes, wherever your passion lies – the more you know about it the better you will be at achieving goals with it. There are tons of free resources online and in libraries to learn about almost anything… take advantage of it and nurture what you love. It is only by really knowing about a topic that you can teach others and figure out a way to work doing something that involves a passion. Make sure when you are educating yourself you find a teacher/author who really speaks to you and resonates. This will make learning seem effortless and will ensure your interest will keep growing.

I think of these tools like “PAGING ME” (your subconscious). Waking it up so you can be the difference in your life and the world around you.

  • Pardon yourself and others
  • Attention shifting to health instead of feeling pain
  • Gratitude
  • Influences (people, news, reading – make them predominantly positive)
  • No Negative self talk! Turn it around and Make it positive
  • Goal Setting
  • Meditation or quiet time for self.
  • Education – am I continually learning about what I am passionate about?

I use the PAGING ME method to be in the moment and to help me keep focused. If things don’t go my way I use it to figure out why what happened did and how I can use it to move forward and learn from it. I use these tools daily to ensure my health. I have not taken a pain pill or been in pain for over 18 months.

I am now teaching my children to believe they can achieve anything they set their minds to. Once you know where your mind is and WHAT you want to accomplish it is a whole lot easier to make a plan to achieve it. I never doubted I would heal myself and here I am – feeling better than I have in years! I know the belief was integral in my healing. I believe if you use these tools you will heal what ails you or maintain your health and become more self aware in the process.

~Jenny

Jennifer Mannion was chronically ill and in chronic pain for over 6 years. Her prognosis was that her condition would only get worse. After studying the mind/body connection she was able to heal herself of all pain and illness. She is now a coach as a mind/body mentor and also maintains the blog Heal Pain Naturally that is about natural ways to heal emotional and physical pain.

If you have more questions you may leave them in the comments of this post, or you may personally contact Jennifer at jennymannion@yahoo.com and SKYPE: Jennifer.mannion

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Subvert Unfulfilled Consumerism

unfulfilledconsumerismstress.jpgAn unnecessary cause of stress these days is unfulfilled consumerism.

When we are stressed out we often immediately opt to buy something that will make us happy. We want the quick fix.

Most of the time the joy of buying something is transient. The drug-like serotonin and dopamine rush we receive from our latest purchase quickly dissipates as the stress, depression, anxiety, or desire to compulsively shop just quickly returns.

Before making purchases start the new habit of asking yourself… “Do I REALLY need that?”

Chances are you don’t.

The dreaded unfulfilled consumerism is the GRAND American tradition of overdoing everything:

  • Over-shopping.
  • Over-eating.
  • Over-drinking.
  • Over-smoking.
  • Over-driving around.
  • Over-needing.
  • Over-buying.
  • Over-producing.
  • Over-wanting.
  • Over-”keeping up with the Joneses”
  • Being the “Joneses”
  • Over-consuming.

Really, you don’t need STUFF, what you really need is a VACATION!

Trust me I’m a doctor…and I need one too!

Hooray! Let’s all stop buying stuff we don’t need (especially in bulk or the dreaded “buy two get one free”) and ask ourselves:

“What is the bare minimum I need in order to be happy?”

Learn to feel grateful and fulfilled with JUST that.

Instead of blowing your hard earned money on:

  • Things you don’t need.
  • Things that collect dust.
  • Things that waste your precious time.
  • Things that require maintenance and upkeep.
  • Things you don’t really want.
  • Things that make you unhappy.
  • Things that cause clutter.
  • Things you have to wash or fold.
  • Things that hang in the closet with the tags still on them.
  • Things that max out your credit card.
  • Things that make you fat.
  • Things that raise your cholesterol and make you a candidate for diabetes.

Try simply saving that money and putting it towards a vacation or other indulgent stress reducing activity!

Every time you feel tempted to buy something you really don’t need, like junk food, dessert, or heaven forbid McInflammation, breathe and then put that money towards your vacation.

Pay yourself for just saying “NO” to the unhappy American tradition of unfulfilled consumerism.

Trust me.

Less really is more and it adds up quickly.

Get your whole family interested in the concept!

How to save money while using less of the world’s precious resources is a great topic for your next family meeting. Motivate your kids with the idea of a fun vacation. Let them pick where you all are going to go. This is a simple way to teach kids about saving money and preserving our resources.

So, let’s all just put away our credit cards and BREATHE for five minutes!

Breathing is ALWAYS free and a great, simple way to eliminate stress.

Don’t be a victim to the vicious cycle of unfulfilled consumerism!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table.

~ Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician
www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Happy Birthday to…Everyone!

June 9, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Diet Tips, Discipline, Sleep, Stress

innerfabulosity2.jpgEver since med school, I became terrible about remembering birthdays. Becoming a doctor certainly did not make me more thoughtful or provide me with more free time to hand make gifts and such.

So, in order for me to feel all “caught back up” I am going to just celebrate everybody’s birthday today!

Really June is a fabulous time for a birthday party. As a child I was always envious of people with June birthdays. Ponies, balloons, flowers, and birthday cake all look best behind the blue summer sky of June.

What shall you be receiving this year from me for your birthday? Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

How Well Do You Handle Criticism?

May 13, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Self Esteem, Stress

girls-1.jpgLet’s face it, nobody likes to deal with criticism. Especially unsolicited criticism when we are not even asking for “feedback”.

For those of us that are extremely sensitive, trying to shake negative criticism can take days, months, or sometimes even it can cling to us and linger in the back of our minds indefinitely.

One of my favorite tips for dealing with criticism I learned from my Family Medicine instructor, Robert Anderson, MD. Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Breathing Exercise: Five Minutes to Zen

May 8, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Stress

zen.jpgQuestion: What is the one stress management tool you ALWAYS have with you everywhere you go?

Answer: Breathing!

Deep breathing is the simplest way to calm ourselves down.

I work hard to teach my patients to immediately check in with their breathing when they are feeling stressed.

First, sit comfortably in a chair and make sure both feet are on the ground. Imagine that your feet are deeply “rooted” in the ground. Now check in with your breathing… Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

The Wellbeing Toolbox

May 2, 2008 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Stress

toolbox.jpgRecently I stumbled across an article at The Healthy Living Lounge on how to make a “Wellbeing Tool box”.

I loved the concept so much that I asked the author to write about it for Kitchen Table Medicine.

The following is a very inspiring guest post on self care by Carole Fogarty.

When Did You Become The Least Important Person in Your Life? Have you been feeling out of balance, scattered, stressed, disconnected from the real you or simply pushed around by life? Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Why your Work should Pay you to be Healthy

February 27, 2008 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Motivation, Stress, Vitamins, Work Health

PhotobucketA simple tip I recommend to many of my patients that struggle with remembering to take their various supplements, is to simply let their work pay them to take their vitamins!

A smart employer knows that a healthy and happy employee is ultimately more productive and contributory to the work environment.

Most employers will be happy to see you spending your work breaks stretching, running up and down stairs, flossing your teeth, meditating, eating healthy snacks, drinking water, and taking vitamins.

You can simply keep your supplements at your desk, which should ensure compliance with your health regimen at least five out of the seven days each week! Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Knitting to Reduce Stress

February 27, 2008 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Stress

YarnHow can you create a beautiful and fashionable accessory while at the same time lowering your stress level? With knitting, of course.

Research carried out by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine has found that knitting (and crocheting) have been shown to decrease heart rate and induce a relaxation response, much like the meditation response. The repetitive motion and the setting aside of thoughts as the motion is repeated is the key to the relaxation response.

Anyone who has knit for any period of time will tell you that they feel quite relaxed while doing so (unless of course they are laboriously “tink”ing or undoing their knitting). So get out your needles and yarn and prepare to feel relaxed and cozy with your new scarf!

Author: Dr. Emily Gonzalez, Naturopathic Physician

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Basic Breathing Exercises

January 24, 2008 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Breathing Exercises, Stress

How we breathe has a profound effect on our life and health. Not only does it change how much oxygen is going into our bodies and how much waste is coming out of our bodies, it also effects cardiac function, immune system function, mood, stress levels, hormone levels, digestion, strength, endurance and a wide variety of other things. In short, how you breathe can influence almost every aspect of your health and wellbeing.

The most efficient way to breathe is diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. This is the predominant method of breathing in healthy infants and young children, but as we get older we tend to breathe using our chest and shoulder muscles and less of our diaphragm. The exercise below will help you to relearn the most healthful way of breathing.

If belly breathing is practiced regularly it can again become second nature to us. This is a natural way to reduce stress and improve circulation.

• Pick a comfortable position either sitting, standing or lying on your back. It might be helpful to practice this for the first few times in front of a mirror.
• If you are standing or sitting, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and your back is straight.
• You can place your hands at your side, in your lap, or on your belly.
• Take 3 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, feeling stress exit your body with each exhalation.
• As you inhale, let the breath completely fill your lungs and push your belly out. (As your diaphragm contracts it pushes down on the organs of your abdomen and thus pushes your belly out.)
• Exhale completely, feeling your belly move back in as your breath leaves.
• Do a series of 7 breaths. Rest for 2 minutes and then repeat 2 more times.

Alternating Nostril Breathing

This technique is especially good for those who suffer from chronic sinusitis, allergies and lung infections.

• Sit in a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor. Press the thumb of your left hand against the left side of your nose blocking the air passage. Keep the other fingers of your hand straight, but not touching your face.
• Breathe in through your right nostril for a count of ten.
• Move your hand so that the side of your index finger closes the air passage on the right side of your nose.
• Breathe out of the left nostril for a count of ten.
• Repeat this five times.
• Switch hands. Breathe in through the left nostril and out through the right nostril for a count of ten.
• Repeat 5 times.

Breathing Colors

This exercise is a combination of meditation and breathing. It is especially helpful for relaxation, stress reduction, high blood pressure, generalized immune stimulation and insomnia.

• With your feet parallel, shoulder width apart, slowly bend and unbend your knees.
• Each time you bend your knees to go down, breathe out.
• Each time you straighten your legs to come up, breathe in.
• Allow yourself to bend your knees as far as you can without letting your heels come off of the ground. Keep your back straight and do not bend forward at the hips.

Now, it’s time to add the colors through visualization:

• As you breathe in, you will breathe in colors from the earth and the air through your feet and hands.
• Breathe in each color several times, beginning with red. Then repeat the same thing with each of the rest of the colors of the rainbow: orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and white.
• As you breathe out, let the colors go back into your environment.

Resources
1. Brennan, Barbara Ann. Hands of Light. Bantam Books. New York: 1988.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

The work place stretching routine

Sitting at a desk all day long creates a hunched over posture, which typically results in upper back and neck pain. The reason for this is that the muscles on the back side of the neck and upper back become chronically stretched throughout the day. A muscle can only stretch for so long before it will begin to spasm. By stretching out the muscles on the front side of the body such as the neck and pecs you can give the tight muscles on the backside a break.

A simple routine involves doing several sets of neck rolls twice daily, along with a few breaks a day to do “doorway stretches” . You can do a simple doorway stretch by standing slightly in front of a doorway with both hands placed slightly above shoulder height on the trim of the door. Now lunge forward until you feel a nice stretch in your pecs and the front crease of your armpits. Take some deep breaths and hold for at least 10 seconds. Keep in mind it takes at least 10 seconds for a muscle to relax. Taking a few moments throughout your work day to take care of yourself will not only help you feel better but should also enhance your overall productivity.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

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