Category Archives: stress hormones

Do you have a weight issue?

Fat lazy guy on the couch  Every third person on earth has a weight problem. Its a pandemic that is causing major health problems for individuals, societies and the economic future of many countries.

The data released recently by the New England Journal of Medicine  is particularly alarming because it shows a major increase in obesity among children. A diet of mainly processed foods with a high sugar content coupled with a mainly sedentary lifestyle spent behind the steering wheel of a car or on an office chair are cited as major reasons for being overweight.

The other factor is that our fast-paced Western lifestyle is flooding our bodies with stress hormones that stimulate the building up of fat reserves in the lower belly. In previous generations humans were stressed by the fear of suffering from drought or famine, which is why the stress hormone cortisol is designed to tell the body: “Alert: Store fat because hard times are coming.”

How do you determine whether you are overweight? Take your body length. Lets say 176 cm, divide that by half which is 88 cm. Your belly at the height of your navel should therefore not measure more than 88 cm.

Why should you watch your weight? Obesity is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes II and a host of skeletal problems. The fat tissue in your lower belly is creating pressure on all your body organs which increases your blood pressure and the danger of suffering a stroke. Obesity also affects our mental state of mind, our self-image, self-esteem, vitality, libido and most of all your longevity.

Motivate yourself by writing down at least three major reasons why you want to live a long and healthy life!

So what do I do to reduce weight? Don’t postpone action. Start today by clearing your fridge and kitchen cabinet from all processed foods. Educate yourself on a low-carb diet. Try and avoid completely all sugars. Start exercising by at least taking brisk walks during the day. Best download an app on your smart phone so that you can monitor yourself by taking at least 10,000 steps a day. Try sticking to that plan rigidly for at least 40 days and you will notice a significant improvement.

If you want to kick-start your vitality and health check out my my online course: Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

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

http://www.reinogevers.com

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

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Count your blessings – our peaceful era

Mass media influences us in a negative sense more than we think. The emphasis is mostly on deviant behavior of the “rich and famous” or some catastrophic event , mostly in a far-off place that does not directly affect us or where we have never been.

Leaf_forestHow would you answer when asked to estimate between 40 and 80 per cent how many people in the world cannot read or write? Most people put the figure at below 60 per cent. The truth is that some 87 per cent of people in the world today can read and write. What an astounding achievement!

You would, also not know it from the headlines that we’re currently living through one of the most peaceful times in human history. This chart by Max Roser from Oxford University shows the global death rate from war over the past 600-plus years.

ourworldindata_wars-long-run-military-civilian-fatalities-from-brecke1.0

Most people view the European Union as a bureaucratic monster.  This fake-news emphasis was largely responsible for the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the E.U. The truth is that the EU with its consensus-building policy and inter-dependent structures between nations has largely been responsible for the longest period of peace and prosperity in central Europe ever. Whatever its faults this for me is the one major reason to keep preserving the concept of a European unity between nations.

Negative or fake news is designed to appeal to our lower instincts. It does more than that. Fear-mongering and negative thoughts directly affect our immune system. Stress hormones that induce flight or fight symptoms in the body are steered by the reptilian or instinctive part of the brain. It does not react rationally or with logic. The reptilian brain’s only job is to decide whether the information is threatening, edible or sexually attractive. Does that ring a bell next time you open the pages of your gossip rag?

We need to guard our mind against all the negativity thrown at us from all sides because whatever information we feed our brain is that what we become, consciously or subconsciously.

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

http://www.reinogevers.com

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

 

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Stress: A curse or a blessing?

We hear it all the time: People complaining that they are stressed out, attributing all sorts of health problems to stress. It’s a myth. Stress is not the problem – lack of rejuvenation is.

Stress hormones flooding our system are crucial to our survival instincts. Let’s just go back thousands of years to our ancestral past. Uma the hunter is out in the jungle following the tracks of an antelope that he hopes to bring home to his clan living in a cave nearby.

Then a huge tiger blocks his path. Uma freezes. Within a split second the hypothalamus in the brain   sends a message to the adrenal glands on the kidneys that instantly floods the body with the stress hormone adrenaline.

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Adrenaline binds to receptors on the heart, arteries, pancreas, liver, muscles and fatty tissue. In effect adrenaline increases heart rate and respiration, and by binding to receptors on the pancreas, liver, muscles and fatty tissue, it inhibits the production of insulin and stimulates the synthesis of sugar and fat, which the body can use as extra energy.

Uma needs to decide for his own survival: Do I head for the nearest tree or fight the tiger?

Stress hormones enable us to focus all our energies and mental capacities to that one task that needs to be addressed. Whether the threat is real or imagined the body reaction is the same. Singers or speakers know this body reaction as stage fright, moments prior to their act. But when it comes to the actual show, they deliver a starring performance with nobody in the audience having had an inkling of what the performer went through.

Adrenaline and other stress hormones start becoming a problem when the imagined threat is more or less a permanent condition. The constant pressure on arteries weakens the heart muscle eventually leading to heart failure or a heart attack. It can also impair the brain’s memory function and weaken the kidneys. Vital nutrients are extracted from the body to feed the constant adrenaline rush, eventually leading to chronic fatigue or even skeletal problems.

Our stressful modern lives have us more or less constantly facing the tiger. After Uma frightens away the tiger with his spear, he even manages to bring home the antelope for dinner. All the hormones fall back to normal after he has had sumptuous meal and the clan has celebrated him as a hero around the fire.

Stress becomes a problem where there is no longer a balance between activity and recuperation. Even in so-called recuperation periods we often tend to go for strenuous exercise routines that don’t really bring down our stress hormone levels.  So what calms the mind and body most effectively?

Exercises that synchronize body and mind very effectively are those that calm your breathing and relax the entire muscular system from within. A daily meditation of between five and ten minutes is a good way to start. All the body arts such as yoga, qi gong or taiji have an enormously positive effect on the immune system. Even a gentle walk in the park where you concentrate on mindful breathing will bring down your stress levels.

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

http://www.reinogevers.com

Get my free E-Booklet “Resilience: What makes us strong”.

 

 

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Creating health to prevent disease

We are getting older but many of us are getting older with loss in quality of life as our health starts deteriorating because of poor lifestyle management – the topic of my Blog last week.

We have to go back a little in history to understand why most of us have fallen prey to the fallacy that illness is fate and that we have no control over our health. Western medicine is based on the 19th century concept of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) that certain types of bacteria invade the body, causing infectious disease. Pasteur’s concept that disease had to be fought like a war with antibiotics, like penicillin, gave birth to today’s multi-trillion dollar antibiotics industry.

Pasteur achieved fame and fortune as the father of penicillin. Few people today remember a person called Antoine Béchamp (1816-1908)  a vigorous opponent of Pasteur. He argued that health on the cellular level is mainly determined by the biological terrain, such as the level of acidity (pH level), the electric charge, level of toxicity and the nutritional state. While Pasteur was being supported by the pharmaceutical industry Bechamp, the other great germ scientist at the time, even had his work placed on an index of prohibited books and died in obscurity.

Simply put: Béchamp was convinced that we have to create health in order to prevent disease while Pasteur was all about creating defensive walls to prevent “alien exterior agents” from entering the body.

Free happy woman enjoying nature sunset

With more and more infectious diseases becoming resistant to antibiotics and an explosion of diseases like diabetes II and cancer its worth taking a look again at the biological terrain. Another great scientist Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1931, took up much of Bechamp’s theories, arguing that basically all disease, especially cancer, feed on an acidic environment.

So what is the real problem here?

Our body should have an alkaline environemnt with a pH value higher than 7.0, anything below that is considered acidic. And, most of us living on a Western diet have an acidic body because of the processed foods we eat with too much sugar and other additives that our body cannot digest.It is compounded by the high-stress levels we have to deal with in today’s fast-paced economic environment. Stress hormones like adrenaline, nodrenaline and cortisol add to an acidic environment. While under stress, our breathing is too shallow, providing our lungs with too little oxygen to supply our cells with the oxygen they need to detox.

The other big detox organ is our skin but it cannot do its job adequately because we use soaps, perfumes, shampoos and shaving creams filled with toxins including microplastics and crude oil.

As our inner terrain becomes more acidic our body’s defensive walls start to break down creating an environment for unwanted guests. In Chinese medicine health is defined as having the right balance with disease being a symptom of many things running out of control. Initial symptoms might be a series of colds and flus, headaches and allergies. Later this might be followed by loss of vitality, chronic fatigue and a more serious illness.

Interestingly,  Pasteur was quoted  on his deathbed as saying  to Professor A. Rénon who looked after him: ‘Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.’ (‘Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing, the soil is everything.’).” He was referring to his other contemporary Claude Bernard.

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

http://www.reinogevers.com

Get my free E-Booklet “Resilience: What makes us strong”.

 

 

 

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Major health benefits of ginger, turmeric

I’ve just had a bad bout of flu with the virus affecting a lot of people in my immediate vicinity. The immediate impulse was to take the standard medication but I remembered how my grandmother used to heal us with completetly natural substances that are being rediscovered as having huge health benefits.

The real star among them is turmeric which arguably appears to be one of the most powerful medicinal plants on the planet. It contains many healing compounds that have an anti-inflammatory effect and there are claims that it is a most effective anti-depressant.

More recently there have been reports that one of the compounds in turmeric, curcumin, is more effective than chemotherapy in treating cancer patients because of its ability to reduce tumour and the make-up of cancer cells.

In 2009, Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study out of Auburn University that explored how supplementing with turmeric can help reverse diabetes.

turmericA combination of turmeric, ginger and lemon in a tea with honey works wonders in boosting the immune system, especially at times when the body if fighting off an infection.

I use turmeric and ginger in my chicken soup which I have for breakfast every day. The ginger is boiled with the chicken for several hours and after taking out the meat I store the broth in the refrigerator to use over the next few days. You only need to heat the soup a little and then you add a teaspoon of this magic turmeric and a pinch of black pepper which helps to bind all those vital nutrients in the body.

Be aware that not all these super plants come from healthy sources with some of them containing pesticides. Make sure that your herbs are organic and that you get your chicken from an organic farm. Its not worth the risk.

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

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

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The healing power of language

Thank You Word Cloud concept background in many languages Monks and wise teachers from the times of yore knew of the power and resonance of language in formulating the first mantras and healing prayers.

Recent psychological reasearch has confirmed that there is a direct link between the use of language and health. Thus there seems to be a correlation between cardiovascular disease and the use of negative language found on Twitter accounts in the northwestern United States.

Language patterns reflecting negative social relationships, disengagement, and negative emotions—especially anger—emerged as risk factors. On the other hand positive emotions and psychological engagement emerged as protective factors.

It’s sad to observe a growing lack of mindfulness in the use of language, especially on social media sites. I have taken to blocking those people on facebook who have a habit of constantly posting “negativity”. Hate speech, gossip and xenophobia seem the norm. Extremist politicians, following their own agenda, are feeding into this shadow side of human nature, especially in countries where the issues of migrants, religious tolerance and wealth distribution are being debated with strong emotion.

Why not focus on those postings, information and images that serve  the common good, that create a positive wave and healing enerty. This too is part of our reality.

In this context I find the words of the Kalu Rinpoche (excerpt from the Dharma) particularly poignant:

“Mere words, which have no ultimate reality, can determine our happiness and suffering. We create pleasure and pain through our fundamental clinging to sound and speech.”

Ancient languages such as Sanskrit, Latin and Aramaic, the lingua franca in the Middle East during the time of Jesus, are particularly powerful. Mantras and healing prayers in these languages are known to create a strong healing vibration in the body.

In the ancient Chinese body arts of Qi Gong we have the healing sounds for each cycle of the Five Elements:

  • Tzue for the element wood (liver)
  • Haaa for the element fire (heart)
  • Huuu for the element earth (spleen and stomach)
  • Zzzzz for the elemnt metal (lungs)
  • Chuwayy for the element water (kidneys, lower back and bladder)
  • Seeee for harmonizing the central meridian

On the mindset level, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, has a particularly strong cleansing effect:

Om – representing the divine universal energy

Mani – the pure jewel of compassion and love

Padme – the lotus symbolizing wisdom

Hung or Hum – establishing wisdom and removing attachment to hatred.

 

Reino Gevers – coach, trainer, author

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

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Why you need to take a break

IMG_1197With work pressure increasing in practically all sectors its not uncommen for people to remain stuck at their desk for hours and taking their “lunch” while tapping away at the computer or taking a call. On the long term this is wreaking havoc on concentration levels, health and productivity.

Under stress your sympathetic nervous system is on alert flooding your body with stress hormones that accelerate your heart beat, increase your blood pressure, dilate your pupils and inhibit other body functions like your digestion. At some stage however the calming side of your body, the parasympathetic nervous system, will want to reduce the arousal system, bringing everything back into balance and tiredness creeping in. Its a natural body reaction that you can’t control.

We need a good balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system – between the arousal and recuperation phases.

Research has indicated that most concentration levels start sinking rapidly after about 50 minutes of uninterrupted work on a computer. At the latest after 70 minutes your parasympathetic nervous system will start taking over. This is the time to take a short 5-10 minute break. And a break is only really a break if you interrupt your work and do something completely different, like opening a window, taking a deep breath, looking at the bird in the tree across the road or chatting to a colleague.

If you have an office job you will have spent some 80,000 hours of your lifetime in a sitting position until you reach retirement age. This is an enormous strain on your back, neck, skeletal and body alignment system. Interrupting your work for 15-20 minutes a day to do some active stretching movements, will work wonders for your health, your mood and your concentration and work ability.

Pushing your break of say half an hour until the end of the work day practically has no recuperation effect. Regular shorter breaks after every hour are far more effective. Taking a power nap of between 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon works very well for some people. It should however not be longer as you then fall into the deep-sleep mode and will wake up more fatigued.

If you have had days, weeks or months of high stress, your body will very likely have high cortisol levels. It means vital organs in your body are being undernourished because your body is in a “fight or flight” mode. You need recuperation, a time out, to bring those stress hormones back to normal. Best you choose a place where you can lock away your cell phone and focus your mind on anything else but work. Check out also our outdoor coaching programmes.

Reino Gevers, coach, trainer, author

PowerBodyMind – Gevers Consulting

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

 

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