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Psychobiotics?!

Check this out: Research is being conducted on probiotics’ impact on the gut-brain axis and how these supplements can alter your mood. Research in pigs was the first to find a connection between levels of gut bacteria and stress hormones, and a study of mice demonstrated a relationship between the gut microbiome and anxiety. Sometime in the near future, we may better understand how specific ‘psychobiotic’ supplements can help boost mood and impact symptoms of depression.

Read the full article here: https://ubiome.com/blog/post/can-psychobiotics-actually-alter-mood/

Reflections on 2018

I have to say that 2018 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had in some time. My depression and anxiety were at a level I haven’t experienced in over a decade!

And at every turn I was forced to ask, “Who Am I?” Who am I when I’m not being a ‘graphic designer’? Who am I without the identity of a ‘yoga instructor’? Who am I as I relate to my significant other and as an identity outside this relationship? Who am I as a mother? As a grandmother? As a friend? Who am I in relation to it All?

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Retrain Your Brain While You Sleep

I’ve been using Kelly Howell’s Brain Sync meditations off and on for years now.

According to the Brain Sync website, the binaural beats they use in their recordings help to “balance right and left hemispheres to achieve remarkable mental states. Precision engineered sound waves tune your brain to ideal states of consciousness for meditation, learning, creativity, healing, sleep, goal achievement and behavior modification.”

During the first few months of testing this stuff out, I  used the Secret Universal Mind meditation nightly. After some time, I began to hear myself thinking in ways just like Kelly Howell! For the lack of effort, I thought the result was very cool and it definitely re-patterned my thinking for the better.

Stimulating the Vagus Nerve Using the Breath

“Do you have a sensitive nervous system that adversely impacts your health? By developing an understanding of the workings of your vagus nerve you may find it possible to work with your nervous system rather than feel trapped when it works against you.” — Dr. Arielle Schwartz

The vagus (Latin for ‘wanderer’) nerve is the longest and most complex of the 12 cranial nerves. This nerve runs from the brain stem through the face, neck, thorax, heart, gastrointestinal tract, the bladder, and even branches down into the pelvis! The vagus nerve is heavily involved in the parasympathetic side of the nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system decreases alertness, blood pressure, and heart rate, and helps with calmness, relaxation, and digestion. Vagal response also affects defecation, urination, and sexual arousal.

In people with fatigue, food sensitivities, anxiety, gut problems, brain fog, etc…the vagus nerve is almost always at play.
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Benefits of Oil Pulling

Since I don’t have dental insurance, I started looking into other ways to keep my mouth healthy. (As usual, I’m thinking about when I get old. It’s really hard to eat without any teeth -duh!- and I’ve seen a lot of old people struggle with dentures.) Could oil pulling be the answer? Could it actually heal cavities and prevent gum disease? I started an experiment to find out.

The oral health practices of Ayurveda include chewing on sticks and eating herbs, as well as oil pulling (gandusha). Original practitioners of oil pulling used sesame oil as a way to prevent bleeding gums, tooth decay, dry mouth, bad breath, cracked lips and for strengthening the teeth, gums, and the jaw.

It’s a very easy technique, but I did notice that swishing a tablespoon of oil around for 10–20 minutes was a small workout for my mouth. So I can see how oil pulling would strengthen the jaw! I chose coconut oil for its detoxification and antibacterial properties. (When I tried sesame oil, it was so thick I nearly gagged while doing it.) I also found that swishing while I was taking a shower made the time pass more quickly.

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My Colon Hydrotherapy Experience

I heard good things about the Ayurvedic practice of ‘basti‘, but couldn’t find any provider nearby so in June, I decided to give colon hydrotherapy a try. I was feeling kind of bloated and ‘off’ ever since the trip to Belize in February. So after I got back from Cancun (another trip where I made some bad food choices), I booked a session at a place here in Lancaster called A Therapeutic Effect. A Therapeutic Effect has a ton of great offerings (including chiropractic and massage) and I’m planning to try A LOT of things they have on the menu.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month: My Story

I am feeling called to share my story during Mental Health Awareness Month. I will try to keep it brief, even though I could go into great detail about a lot of things here!

Looking back, I think my mental health issues were set in motion around age 5 when I was separated from my grandmother, who I looked to as my primary caregiver up until that point. After that separation from my grandmother, I found myself being raised in an explosive household with an abusive alcoholic / drug addict stepfather and a very young mother who barely knew how to take care of herself, much less another tiny human. All of this early trauma set me up for a lot of issues surrounding safety, trust, anger turned inward, etc.

Continue reading May is Mental Health Awareness Month: My Story