Category Archives: exercise mental health

2020: Our biggest challenge

In the northern hemisphere, the time between Christmas and New Year is characterized as the time of the “rough nights” with cold winds and snow battering the shutters. I like to use the time for reflecting on the blessings of the past year and working on my vision board for the year ahead.

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One of the great highlights of my year were the unforgettable conversations with the wonderful people I met while serving as a volunteer in a pilgrims hostel on the Camino in the village of Najera, northwestern Spain.

What are you doing with the rest of the days of your life?

People from numerous different age groups countries, cultures, religions and traditions are walking the Camino with burning questions such as: What do I need to do with the rest of the days of my life?  What are the ingredients of a happy, fulfilled and contented life of bliss? What can I do to make the world a better place for my children and grandchildren? Who am I on a deep soul level beyond what the world outside there is trying to tell me who I am and what I need to believe, consume and do?

I have delved into some of these questions and lessons learned on the Camino with my new book Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

Taking time-out for reflection and alignment

The idea and purpose is to inspire readers on how valuable our time on earth really is. We need a time-out every day to perceive our inner world and one of the best ways of doing so is taking a walk in nature. It is the start of healing self and when we heal self we can start healing the world outside. The state of our world is a reflection of our inner consciousness and state of mind.

Much of the western world has lost its spiritual compass with the over-emphasis on external gratification. “Things” can never compensate for the yearnings of the heart and soul. There is a reason why depression and other mental illnesses have become a scourge of our time. We no longer know who we are? It is not surprising when we are bombarded almost non-stop with information overload, and confused by professional deceivers on social media. On the threshold to a new decade, we are faced with possibly the biggest challenge of our time:

Moving to a restorative, sustainable mindset

We need to move from the exploitative, consumerist mindset that is rapidly destroying our ecosystems and foundation of life to one of sustainability and restoration.  The firestorms and unprecedented heatwaves in many parts of the world in the past year, the tornado winds and flooding have come much earlier than the climate scientists predicted. We don’t have much time left to make the turnaround and Nature is trying to tell us something.

We need to change how we are transporting ourselves, what we are eating and what we are consuming.

The Western diet of junk and processed foods is not only ruining our individual well-being and health. Mass agriculture and animal feed production is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We need to eat less meat and we need to eat what comes from the local farmer.

The next decade is going to be defining in many ways. We are either going to make it or break it. Already the battle lines are drawn between raised human consciousness and the pushback from the fossil fuel-based industries and the exploitative mindset of the past.

The delusion the deceivers are putting out there is that the new consciousness wants to push us back into a poverty-stricken hunter and gatherer lifestyle.  The opposite is true. Imagine a much better carbon-free world in 2030 with cutting edge clean-energy transportation, clean air and rivers, oceans, lakes, and forests teeming with life, and foods that keep us healthy and fit.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Time out is crucial for your health

Most people living in an urbanized environment live highly stressful lives, spending most of their lifetime in closed indoor environments or on noisy streets. It is crucial for health and well-being to reconnect with nature and the natural rhythm of the universe.

Sprint and recovery

An integrated sprint and recovery system that integrates work and recuperation time spent outdoors in nature, should be built into our daily routine.

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In order to function as human beings we need lazy time for rest, recovery, creative play and the digestion of the countless distractions vying for our attention round the clock.  There is a huge amount of scientific evidence showing that stress factors such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and high cortisol stress hormone levels begin to fall as soon as we focus our attention on the rustling of leaves in a green forest or hear the sound of ocean waves gently washing to shore.

Natural light is crucial for your body metabolism

Natural sunlight affects our bodies in many ways.  It is a catalyst for the secretion of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is an important antioxidant and can neutralize some agents that damage cells and DNA that are believed to be a contributing cause of some cancers.

Indoor toxins may threaten your health

When we spend most of our lives indoors we also expose ourselves to countless indoor toxins that come in the form of mold, dust mites, fabrics and chemical compounds.

After going through a period of massive job and personal stress that left me badly fatigued, grumpy and in poor health, I went on my first pilgrimage hike in northwestern Spain some ten years ago. It changed my life and since then I’ve taken time out every year to spend between three and four weeks at a time walking in nature. I’ve interviewed numerous people from all walks of life on the Camino, who have confirmed my own observations that walking is a wonderful way of reconnecting with the universal rhythm.

Great thinkers found inspiration while walking!

During research for my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”, to be published later this year by Morgan James Publishing in New York, I was surprised to discover that some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, found inspiration while walking.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

The poet William Wordsworth was said to have walked as many as a 290,000 kilometers (180,000 miles) in his lifetime. This translates to an average of six and a half miles a day starting from the age of five.

Humans are hard-wired to live in the past or in the future because planning and learning from the past has been crucial to the survival of our species.

Listen to thoughts when walking

Real joy comes from those magical moments of being absolutely present and experiencing spirituality, love and peace of mind.

It is an enlightening experience to “listen” to your own thoughts when walking. Becoming aware of your thoughts is the first step toward focusing on the moment.

Take a break, savor the nature around you by opening your sense of smell to the herbs by the wayside, open your ears to the chorus of bird song and feel that cool mountain breeze caressing your face.

Nature is the best healer!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Who are you?

Emotional and physical exhaustion is one of the scourges of the modern era. Depression is reaching almost epidemic proportions. You could very well say that the Western mind has lost its soul that has been entrapped by the temptations of immediate gratification.

We are bombarded constantly with subliminal messages that tell you: Buy this and you will be happy. Do this and you will get rich. Do this to live like a super star. Dress like this and act like that to be loved and validated by the crowd.

Along the way one of our most valuable assets – the time to be fully aware of the  moment – is getting lost. The mind is constantly occupied with either the past or the fears of the future.  In the process you forget soul purpose and who you are!

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I have found that walking alone in nature is a magnificent way of detoxing and training the mind by re-calibrating the senses to the world around us.  I truly believe that nature is a manifestation of God. The whisper of creation can be sensed by a bird song, the rustling of leaves in an ancient tree, or the clouds enveloping a mountain top.

Most people in today’s world however are forced to live in crowded cities that are dehumanizing in their detachment from nature. They cloud the senses with a high level of noise, pollution and bombardment of the senses. The modern human being has become so detached from his natural environment, that its causing havoc to emotional stability.

I think this is one of the reasons for the great attraction of the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain.  More and more people are becoming spiritually conscious and seeking answers. Spending weeks alone by simply walking in nature without distraction is like a detox in peeling away the layers to the heart of the true self. But it doesn’t only have to be walking.  New retreats and centers of meditation are opening everywhere as human consciousness is rising to a new level.

Old school religion has taught us to believe and to follow a certain doctrine and behavior. The new consciousness is very much an experiental spirituality in a “becoming” of the real self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Truth recognizes Truth

We all fall for the same trap. You are conversing with someone when you realize that you might as well be talking to a wall. The other person and you are locked in separate belief systems. Communication is impossible when one person believes he is talking about a teapot while the other person tells you it’s a spoon.

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Photo by Kawtar CHERKAOUI 

Much of this phenomenon is currently visible in today’s polarized political world. We are incapable and unwilling to listen to each other.  You make up your mind that the moon landing was a fake and a Google search will inevitably validate that opinion. You don’t even bother to check the sourcing or the scientific facts.

I very much do believe that humanity is on the brink of a raised consciousness. As more and more people follow the stream of this new holistic energy, a lot of people are also being left behind and will even fall back into the old traps of rabid xenophobia and narrow-minded nationalism – fed by reptilian-mind toxic emotions such as fear and hate.

The holistic minded person sees diversity as a principle of creation, creativity and constant transition.  Having an open-minded free spirit requires grounding and self-awareness. What is my self-identity?  What is personality, and what is my true higher self?

That is when truth recognizes truth in the meeting of minds.

You will sense instinctively what is true and what is false. You will sense the nuances behind what someone is trying to say and find out a new perspective. In deep listening when soul meets soul there is recognition of the common thread in humanity and creation.

The new and the old energies currently very much manifest themselves in the events of the external world. For those on the path it sometimes needs much steadfastness and courage to remain true to the higher purpose and destiny. It is a time where we need to conserve energy and avoid the web of negative distraction.

An example in point is the heated debate on whether the French national football team is really French because of the many black players in the team. A national football star of Turkish descent in Germany, Mesut Ozil, resigns from the team  amid an emotional discourse on whether he is Turkish or German. So what! Those black players in the French team are both African and French. Mesut Ozil is both Turkish and German. Why force someone who comes from different background to choose just one identity.  And if it comes down to it we are all a mixture of many cultures and influences – what a blessing!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

http://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Your very authentic body mind

Imagine your body as a recorder of all the events in your life. It is the most authentic barometer of your emotional state of being and the reason why we still dream of when we stole cookies from grandma’s closet as a seven-year-old.

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Photo by Andrei Lazarev 

What hasn’t been dealt with emotionally will be stored away in your body consciousness.  Its the difference between head-mind and heart-mind. The mind is capable of construing all sorts of reasons why taking those cookies was in order while your sub-conscious heart mind knows very well that what you did was stealing.

Training you “heart-mind” to be emotionally mature is one of the reasons why we are here  on earth. We humans are imperfect beings and we have incarnated as souls to use our bodies as instruments of learning.

The heart is not merely an organ of the cardiovascular system that transports nutrients, oxygen and hormones throughout the body and removes metabolic waste.  In the spiritual sense the heart is described as the “seat of the soul.”  It is the first organ that develops in the fetus and the connection between our physical and non-physical (soul) self.

First impulses or thoughts flow first from the heart and then to the brain. The brain dissects, rationalizes and analyzes. The “heart-mind” is authentic and closest to the true-self or soul purpose. Knowing the difference between “head-mind” and “heart-mind” is the spiritual learning part.

Our body is constantly sending us signals of what we need to hear and work on. The problem is that we are so caught up in the world of distraction that we mostly fail to listen until the body gets really angry and calls a time-out with some illness or malady. It is no surprise that cardio-vascular diseases top the list in most western countries. We have in a way lost our soul and lost direction.

Regaining that connection to the “heart-mind” comes mostly during times of solitude, during meditation, prayer and mindful walking. That is when we become aware of our emotional state of being. Some of the “emotional memories” stored in the body could lie back many years or even decades.

These energies can be transmuted very well with the ancient body arts of tai chi, qi gong and yoga that were all developed and refined by spiritual masters over generations. It is why also more and more people are experiencing a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago as very healing.

Animals, especially dogs, are very much in alignment with their true self. They have an amazing way of dealing with stress by just running it off.  See for yourself by watching this video.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

http://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Emotions running wild?

A common thread in the teachings of the great sages is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts and behavior as a means of avoiding pain and suffering.  It is one of the easiest and hardest things to do. In the age of social-media and political demagogues “the right to vent” has become the norm.

A single uncontrolled outburst of anger so often ruin a long-term relationship, destroy a team or scuttle a business deal.

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Photo by Pham Khoai on Pexels.com

Toxic emotions are poison. They weaken our immune system and can spoil our day as soon as we get up and open a social media account. We are being manipulated 24-7 with emotions that have a detrimental long-term effect on our mental health.

Negative emotions get attention and attention generate “likes” and advertising revenue. It is human nature to focus more on the negative than the positive. Why do otherwise so many people follow the herd in the next shit-storm?

How you start your day will determine your day. It is important to immunize yourself against negativity. Anchor yourself with a positive meditation, visualization, or exercise routine before you do anything else. Negative thoughts and emotions have the habit of drawing more negativity into your life. It is therefore crucial that you exercise emotional shifting that will center you into positive mindset whenever you are confronted with something that disturbs or angers you.

Practicing “emotional shifting” can immediately pull you out of the maelstrom of negativity.  You will become a negative person if you occupy yourself with negative thoughts and you will bring positive things into your life, if you focus your mind on the good and nice things in life. It’s that simple.

Here are some typical emotional shifters that can change your mindset from the negative to the positive in an instant:

  • Take a step back and count your breath – inhaling and exhaling
  • Focus your mind on that beautiful beach you remember from your last vacation or other special moments. Freeze those moments in your mind and recall them when you need them.
  • Laughing is probably the best antidote to negativity.
  • If its been a bad day, try walking it off with a brisk walk in the park, training your mind to focus on that special bird song or the scent of a herb along the path. Open your senses to the natural healing effects of nature.

There are many more emotional shifters you can use, anything basically that will make you feel that life is good and good things are flowing your way.

In my book “Walking on Edge: A Pilgrimage to Santiago” the main character Jake is tutored by fellow pilgrim Chuck on how to start the day in such a way that the daily hike becomes so much easier. You can read the sample chapter here.

Centering comes through regular daily practice of meditation, even if its for only a few minutes a day – and the best time to do it is in the morning.

Reino Gevers – Mentor and Author – Your Health Matters

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

Start your day by adding turmeric to your meals – one of the best ways to boost your immune system.

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As within so without

That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above…

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Art in the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, Majorca

This excerpt from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, a text shrouded in mystery and believed to be several thousand years old, illustrate to some extent how much the ancient teachers emphasized the discipline of thought.

In simple terms you could also translate the text into: What you think, you will attract.

That is why nearly all the great masters recommend and practise themselves  meditation, reflection and alone-time to realign with what is the core essence, and transmuting the daily impulses that come in reaction to dealing with life’s challenges and distractions.

Subconsciously we pick up emotions from people around us and especially from the exposure to mass media. The word “media” has its origins from the Latin word “medius” – the middle – or the medium communicating with the spirit world and passing the message on to the rest of us folk.

What we are seeing and hearing is only one window of reality and that window is often a message of fear and negativity. I would dare to say that the agenda of most of our daily thoughts is set by the first news report or “bad dream” we are exposed to in the morning.

The message from the Emerald Tablet is that we are co-creators of our universe, built in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). You need to build a wall around the temple of your soul so that you can be a creator of your own reality. Surround yourself with a protective imaginary wall that protects you from impulses that trigger stress, fear and other toxic emotions.

Reino Gevers – Mentor and Author – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

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Back pain: Walk it off

Back pain is becoming an increasing disability, increasing by more  than 50 per cent since 1990. A series of papers just released by The Lancet shows that most treatments such as surgery and the use of opioids is doing more harm than good.

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Foto, courtesy Jesper Agergaard

Apart from accidents and genetic conditions, there are multiple reasons why chronic back pain is reaching epidemic proportions. Poor posture, stress and a mainly sedentary lifestyle are some of the obvious.  In Germany statistics from public health insurance companies show that back pain has been one of the main reasons for absenteeism from work for years, costing the national economy a fortune in lost productivity.

Anyone who has suffered lower back pain will know how debilitating it can be and what impact it can have on happiness and general well being. It can force us into a state of paralysis where even the most willing of minds is trapped in an incapable body.

During stress situations our muscles tighten, especially around the neck and shoulder areas. Pressure has to go somewhere and will eventually find an avenue around the weakest part of our back in the spinal discs of the lower back.

The spinal discs play a crucial part in supporting the upper body, and allowing a wide range of movement in all directions. The supporting muscles of the spine inevitably degenerate when we don’t exercise enough. A slipped disc often comes when performing a mundane task. Of course back pain has to be checked by a physician. Sometimes an underlying serious condition such as an infection of a vital organ or cancer can be the cause. Every body is different.

Having practised Tai Chi and yoga for years, I can really recommend these body arts as extremely healthy for body and mind with a good teacher giving special emphasis on body posture.

People with lower back pain initially find any type of exercise painful, making an already serious situation worse by reducing all movement and causing more muscle degeneration. Therefore the most simple way to start is simply by walking which increases the stability of the muscles in the feet, legs, hips and torso.

Gentle, slow walking also improves circulation, pumping urgently needed nutrients into the spine and removing the toxins.  You are in effect “walking off” that back pain. But with our busy lifestyle, most people will argue: “I don’t have the time to do at least 5-8 kilometers a day!”

There are many ways the mind tricks us into staying in a state of procrastination.  But here are some tips of integrating more walking into your daily routine:

  • Use the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Walk to work and back if you can, or use a parking further away from the office
  • Find a nature area you enjoy for your walk. Its that much more fun.
  • And the best tip of all: Get a dog. A dog will tell you in many ways when its time for a walk, be there rain or sunshine. Its a fact that dog owners are healthier, simply because they do more walking.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

 

 

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Emotions and politics

Globally humanity currently seems to be shifting towards fanatical extremes aimed at building walls rather than dialogue for the greater good.  Rogue politicians are feasting on toxic emotions and making our world a more dangerous place.

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Extremism feeds on basic fears, greed, hatred, xenophobia and narcissism. Currently we are seeing plenty of that in the calls for protectionist trade barriers, blaming refugees and minorities for economic woes and a ruling party in South Africa opening a poison chalice by demanding the confiscation of land without compensation to redress “economic inequality.” The end result is always that everyone loses.

Learning to guard the doorway to your emotions has been a hallmark of all great spiritual teachers. For once toxic emotions capture the “tribal” mind, rational thought, logic and holistic thinking go down the drain.  Facts, truth and proven science lose out to “emotional belief.”

Extremist politicians from Warsaw to Washington would not be having such a field day if there was not a global underlying trend visible in much of the social media fueling the fires of polarization.  Humanity has been at a worse place. In central Europe at least, we have had the longest period of peace in human history built on a foundation of mutual dependency and cooperation. We tend to forget where we have come from and what we stand to lose during times of conflict and war.

It is part of human nature to focus on the negative before seeing the positive. It is a survival instinct going back to prehistoric times in being watchful of the dangers lurking in the wilds. This is why negative news, negative social media feeds, hate speech and hate mail receive far more attention than positive news.

The challenge of our times is to separate ourselves from such “negative feeds” and to stay in alignment with our higher purpose in serving the well-being of humanity as a whole. It starts with a self-love and a self-caring outlook on life that leads us into dialogue with our fellow man.

In dialogue as opposed to confrontation with an “alien” we become aware of our own true identity. We become aligned and grounded. A courageous heart discerns between truth and delusion.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

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Creating a better version of yourself

I had a really inspiring meeting last week in Hamburg and Vienna with the best-selling author and founder of Nerium International, Jeff Olson. He embodies all the philosophies on health and self-development that inspired me to establish my own consultancy business PowerBodyMind some eight years ago.

Jeff’s book “The Slight Edge” , on turning simple daily disciplines into massive success and happiness, is a philosophy on which he built a very successful health product company, that has now just entered the European markets. It is not about only selling products, he says, but at the same time helping people becoming a better version of themselves.

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With Jeff Olson (left) in Hamburg

I’m convinced that in coming years we are going to see a lot more companies like Nerium coming to the fore, led by charismatic and holistic-thinking leaders who want to improve people’s lives and make the world a better place.

Most people want to do good and feel good when they have the feeling that they are doing something right, even if it is just supporting a product they know has high ethical standards.

At the forefront are companies in the health and beauty industry after we have seen generations of companies putting products on the market that were having terrible effects on consumers, the environment and other living beings. (tests on animals).

Most importantly, we need not become victims of circumstance. We do have the power and awareness to choose what products we want to buy and support. How healthy and happy we are and how long we live is determined largely by lifestyle and not by genes. Scientists have pinpointed several so-called “blue zones” located in places like Okinawa, Japan, and Sardinia in Italy where people continue to live active, healthy lives well into their 90s.

One of the key ingredients of a long life the scientists found is a diet rich in fresh vegetable, Omega 3 fatty acids and fruit with a low consumption of meat. At the same time these old people are all highly respected and honored in their communities. Attitude, sense of purpose and mindset seem just as much an important aspect as diet and exercise.

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Interestingly many of these old folk have survived their children and grandchildren who became ill and died from typical modern diseases such as heart problems and diabetes II after adopting a sedentary lifestyle rich in processed foods and sugar.

It is indeed all a matter of choice, as Jeff Olson, writes in his book. Turning your life around and making a better version of yourself is simply a matter of choice, adjusting your current lifestyle with simple steps that make that slight edge of a difference from living a life of the mundane to living a life of abundance and happiness.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

 

 

 

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