Tag Archives: stress

Inner stock-taking

As we near the end of another year it’s time for inner stock-taking: Was it worth doing what I was doing so far this year? Is it worth devoting my life to it? Where do I need to realign with my inner calling?

Daily habits can either lure you into a state of slumber or elevate you into utilizing all your talents and creativity. Setting aside time each day to practice positive habits is one of the most powerful tools in self-development.

The compound effect of daily habits has a huge impact on how your life is today. A daily routine to keep body, mind, and spirit healthy is key. An exercise routine coupled with meditation is extremely powerful.

A morning ritual sets the anchor for the day. What do I need to concentrate on doing today? What do I need to be aware of? What lower vibration, emotion, or energy from the night do I need to release. What is my positive mantra for the day?

But finding a good closure in the evening is just as important. What were my happy moments of the day? What can I truly be grateful for? What was the primary lesson that I need to record in my journal?

A more in-depth stock-taking of accomplishments, failures or even disappointments is recommended at least every quarter. A reflection with a mentor, guide, or coach can provide much clarity. A mentor is a sounding board and will help you refocus on what is truly important and help you remove the clutter that is no longer serving you.

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The biggest obstacles

There can be many obstacles coming your way that easily detract from the bigger picture and the goal-setting that you envisioned at the beginning of the year. Here are my biggest three.

Surroundings:

Are your surroundings in harmony with your calling? Is your room, apartment, or office cluttered with old things or stale energy from the past? The landscape of the house, village, town, city, or country you live in influences you in many subtle ways. The community, associations, and social conditions around you determine the vibrational field.

Associations:

Jim Rohn once said: “You‘re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are those people you are around with having a positive, energizing influence on you, or are they pulling you down into a lower vibrational field with their negativity or narcissistic self-absorption. Who are the people that you would like in close proximity? Who are those that you need to limit contact with and those that you need to be keeping far away?

Distractions:

The pull of external distractions is probably the biggest obstacle of the three. Are social media, your mobile phone, Netflix, and all those things screaming for immediate gratification pulling you away from your mission in life, your most important objective, your dreams, your convictions, and your philosophy? Distractions can pull you into numerous directions where your thoughts are constantly dancing around in the past or the future.

Be kind to yourself

Even if you have failed to accomplish the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year and are in sadness and regret over missed opportunities or failures, it is important to remain in a loving and cherishing mindset to your inner self. Sabotaging yourself with negative self-talk can in extreme cases even pull you into a depression.

Be aware of the human condition that remains imperfect. You will have failures and disappointments. You will fall back into the trap of old habits. Life is happening all the time with its daily challenges and ups and downs. But the obstacles in the shape of people, events out of your control, unforeseen loss, and tragedy have shaped you into the person you are today and elevated you on a soul level.

You are on a journey of reconnecting to soul. You are much more than your physical body and its needs. As you walk the path of life you might deviate, and choose the wrong direction but ultimately set yourself onto the true path based on the learning experience you have had so far.

In a relaxed state of mind, in a space of solitude and contemplation, you will see things from a different perspective and be open to opportunity and growth.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Beware: Toxic emotions are a health risk

Are you getting caught in the maelstrom of grievance culture permeating the public narrative? Beware you are not only risking your health but also blocking the path to your inner voice and soul destiny.

The medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher Maimonides devoted a considerable time of his teachings on a holistic approach to health including physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being, pinpointing chronic anger as being particularly harmful.

What the sages of old knew from observation and intuition is being confirmed by research. If you don’t have your emotions under control and are constantly triggered into negativity by external circumstances you are weakening your immune system.

At the same time, you are lowering your energy vibration. If your mindset is focused on the negative you will only be seeing the negative and attracting the same.

Your brain stem, also known as the animal or reptilian brain, is programmed to survive. When your thoughts are focused on a perceived danger your survival brain prioritizes survival functions such as an increased heartbeat and higher blood pressure. You are in fight or flight mode.

When you are in an emotional state of intense anger, pain, or fear you are no longer in control. Your prefrontal cortex part of the brain that is crucial for creative thinking, and problem-solving is basically switched off.

A short-lived stressful situation can have a positive effect in helping you slam on the brakes in a traffic situation. But it is the severe and long-term stress with the body permanently being flooded by stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that is the killer. Your vital organs such as the heart, kidney, and liver are working overtime. Your digestive system is affected, ultimately causing inflammatory disease, according to a study

A poll of 14-to 24-year-olds showed that the frequent use of social media such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter increased feelings of anxiety and inadequacy because they facilitated negative comments about self-image and appearance. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found a strong correlation between the use of negative language on Twitter and heart disease mortality.

You have the power of choice

The good news is that you have the power of choice. A proper diet based on foods with a high nutritional value, regular physical exercise, attractive surroundings, walks in nature, a regular spiritual practice such as meditation will immensely boost your capacity to deal with momentary difficulties and challenges of daily life.

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You might want to listen to my podcast interview with best-selling author Liam Naden on harnessing the infinite power of the brain.

Emotional shifting is a practice where you first of all accept the situation you are in. Accept that you are angry, fearful, or sad. It is better to surrender to those feelings than to fight them. You are in survival mode with the monkeys dancing in your head painting horrible scenarios of the worst possible outcome of a situation. You are in survival mode.

Now take a step back, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Focus your thoughts on your breath counting to ten. You might now be in the position to emotionally shift. Replace fear with trust, sadness with a happy moment, and anger with calmness of mind.

As the echo chambers of the external world continue their negative drumbeat it is more important than ever to stand guard at the doorway of your mind. Surround yourself with upbeat, positive-minded people. Be grateful for the small blessings in life by practicing a daily gratitude ritual. What was my best moment during the past 24 hours? There will be such a moment and relish it.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Live to work or work to live?

Assuming that you are an average person working a full-time job of about 40 hours per week you will spend at least 50 years of your lifetime in the workplace. If you are unhappy in that job you will have spent a large portion of your life feeling miserable, negatively impacting your family life and your entire spectrum of well-being.

It, therefore, makes sense to find a job with a vibrant, healthy company culture where you can fully live your potential and creative abilities. But if we look at job satisfaction statistics there are many working people out there who are exceedingly unhappy in their jobs. In America, only 20 percent of people are passionate about what they do for a living.

Job satisfaction appears to be highest among the clergy, chiropractic, caregivers, and high-level executives. Low satisfaction is particularly prevalent among waiters, roofers, cashiers, and bartenders. 

It’s seldom just the money that gives people satisfaction. Employees want to feel recognized and are most happy where their own values are aligned with those of the company. They thrive in a vibrant culture of social interaction, creativity, and respect.

This week I had as a guest on my podcast “Living to BE” Dr. Shahrzad Nooravi, an expert on what drives a healthy corporate culture. In this podcast Dr. Shahrzad explains:

  • The importance of leaders and senior teams “walking their talk”.
  • The keys to a successful coaching program.
  • How to keep up the momentum of a healthy, dynamic, and creative culture where employees feel they are a respected part of the company?

A healthy corporate culture starts with you. One kind word or gesture to a colleague can make a world of difference. It simply pays to help create a healthy space in the environment where you spend a good portion of your lifetime. Life does not start at some time in the distant future when you reach retirement in the illusion that you can spend the rest of your life resting.

Albert Camus once said that to have time “is at once the most magnificent and the most dangerous of experiments. Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.”

How you spend, cherish, and purposefully live every moment of your time is key to a life of bliss.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Are you living someone else’s life?

Are you living through a life of a celebrity and forgetting to live your own life? Millions of people around the globe were glued for hours each day to the live coverage of the recent court drama between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The business model of certain mass media is to elevate normal people like you and me to “God-like status” for the particular field they are successful at and then relish in their fall from grace with every detail of their shortcomings and failings.

The dynamics of the Depp and Amber relationship not only seems to have stirred a dark underside of their respective characters but resonated with something in the shadow of the collective consciousness.

We have the perfect Hollywood couple falling in love. It’s a paradise world where they have everything going for them – youthful beauty, fame, beautiful homes, and travelling to the most exotic places of the world in private jets. Then the curtain falls revealing a world of brutal accusations and counter accusations – a couple literally creating their own version of hell.

External success is no guarantee for happiness

What does that tell us? No matter what status, wealth and fame you have, it is no guarantee for happiness. “Both heaven and hell lie in your own mind. As heaven is your good memories and hell is your bad memories. Whether you want to enter into heaven or hell. It’s not at someone else hands. It’s your own choice,” according to Lord Robin.

Preoccupation with the lives of others is something we observe in village gossip, family drama and on the global stage. You can become so immersed with the life of another that you forget to live your own life. Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) can become an obsessive addictive disorder. In extreme cases it results in stalking and in relatively mild cases regularly following a certain celebrity on social media.

Researchers in the United Kingdom have linked celebrity worship with higher levels of depression, anxiety and negative stress. Significant relationships were found between attitudes toward celebrities and body image among female adolescents.

We all have the same struggles, fears and anxieties

A big part of the problem is comparing one’s own unhappy and unfulfilled life with that of the celebrity who seemingly has everything that life has to offer. Such comparisons are based on illusion. On the material level certain individuals might live in completely different worlds. But on the consciousness level we are all humans with the same fears, anxieties, and emotional struggles.

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The journey of life is ultimately a journey in growth of consciousness. It is practise of presence and in becoming aware of what the Holy Oneness, the Universe, or God whispers to the soul.

You have been given the power of choice. What you feed your mind with, what programs you watch on television, what books you read and the people you choose to spend most of your time determine who you become. What daily habits you practise have a major outcome on the quality of your life. It is a life with a limited timeline that you won’t want to squander.

As a wise sage once said: “You have all the time in the world and yet you have no time to lose.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Just another hill to climb

The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Warren Buffet

One of the worst chains of physical and mental habit is procrastination. Without action, there is no result.

We can dream, hope, and think our wishes will come true but they will only remain dreams if they are not followed up by action.

The pain of breaking the chains of habit are perceived as greater than the pain and the fear of facing an uncertain future. It is the reason we stay in dysfunctional relationships, fail to change an unfulfilling job, and refuse to change a diet that is ruining our health.

The universe will inevitably test your willpower

So often when we are on the brink of giving up in walking through that long, dark tunnel of obstacles, the breakthrough comes in the most unexpected ways. We climb a hill. We reach the top and then we find out that there is still another hill to climb. It is in such moments of despair that most people give up.

It is almost as if the universe is testing our willpower, creativity, and clarity of thought on the walk through life.

The yin and yang, the law of opposites, is an active process of life force, “qi” energy, swinging us from one extreme to the next in the never-ending cycle of growth and change.

Finding the balance between the extremes

The first light of dawn can only be seen in the darkness. Deep happiness is a feeling that is all the more intense after we have gone through the experience of sadness. They are both intense feelings. There is a fine line between love and hate, as William Shakespeare vividly portrays in “Romeo and Juliet.”

The moral of the story is that nothing good can come from blindly embracing fully one or the other.

In Act 1 Scene 1, Romeo is well aware of the close relationship between these two strong emotions:

Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,

O anything of nothing first create!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.”

When we fall in love we tend to see the other in a rose-colored hue of positivity. Love appears all-encompassing and we are blind to character traits or habits that are difficult to reconcile.

The disappointment comes later when we move in with each other and the fights start over who is responsible for the grocery shopping or cleaning the bathroom. Shattered hopes and dreams of what an idealized relationship never was or could have been is one of the main reasons for the breakup of so many relationships.

Extremism has its roots in fear and lack of grounding

Much of the animosity in the political divide comes from the same energy—embracing either the right or the left of the spectrum without seeing the nuances in between. The one is the shadow of the other. Both extremes have a shocking level of intolerance and are rooted in fundamentalism that prevents them from listening to each other.

The tendency toward extremist positions is rooted in uncertainty and fear from a lack of grounding.

Mastering the mundane to grow spiritually

The Chinese masters placed great emphasis on this aspect—not only as crucial in the martial arts but as a life philosophy.

Without a solid foundation in dealing with the mundane, any type of self-development will come to naught.

The ancient Jewish sages went further in teaching that if we fail to master the normal daily activities such as looking after our health, family relationships, and livelihood, we cannot hope to advance to higher spiritual experience.

Thus, a good portion of life in the monastery is spent in cleaning, gardening, and other menial chores. It is not only a practice in humility but stems from the knowledge that mastering the mundane is the gateway to loftier spheres.

Physical exercise and the mindful carrying out of mundane chores are excellent for grounding. If your work is mostly in a sitting position in an office, it is crucial to use breaks for walking or another low-impact exercise.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Depression and the deeper message

As a child, I was frequently confronted with episodes when Dad would withdraw behind a thick grey wall of brooding silence. Only much later in life, when confronting my own demons, did I begin to understand the meaning of depression and what profound effect it can have on family and relationships.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression with the Covid-19 pandemic having further impacted mental health on multiple levels as we deal with the loss of control and personal freedoms.

It is part of the human condition that we go through stages of melancholy sadness but depression is characterized by the WHO as a condition when a person suffers for a longer period of several weeks loss of pleasure in all things, hopelessness in the future, fatigue, low self-esteem and self-worth coupled with frequent suicidal thoughts.

When to ask for help

When you or a loved one are in such a situation it is advisable to seek professional help. Medication can be necessary, especially when hereditary factors or biological issues such as hormones and serotonin levels in the brain play a role. However, medication is not a quick fix and therapy must be understood as a long-term journey to improving the quality of life.

Depression has many facets and is intertwined with an individual’s response and coping mechanism to external stressors. Childhood trauma or emotional neglect could be underlying factors for low-esteem and self-worth, seeding the depression. And, sometimes depression is disguised as a job burnout or a midlife crisis because of the social stigma attached to mental health.

Losing the sense of meaning and purpose in life could be triggered after a relationship breakdown, loss of a loved one, job loss, or the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease. A personal tragedy can be so overwhelming that the individual is unable to find a way out without professional help.

Finding new meaning and purpose

What we do know is that most forms of depression are treatable. Low-impact sport and a healthy diet rich in fatty acids and low on sugars and processed foods play an important part in brain health. At the same time finding new purpose and meaning with the help of a good therapist or mentor is key.

There is a lovely quote from Mark Twain that “the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” The “why” need not be the one silver arrow. Very often people are passionate about a certain career path in the early part of their life and then find out decades later that they need to walk a new path.

Learning from the pain and trauma

Everything that you have experienced or suffered so far in life has prepared you for the next step. What did I need to learn from my divorce? Has it left me with resentment fear and hate? Or, has it taught me to forgive, improved my social skillset, and made me into a more compassionate human being?

Finding a new challenge and stepping out of the normal comfort zone of complacency is a major antidote to depression. When you reflect on your life so far you will always find some stories where you chalked up victories and personal accomplishments. You can add to that success list by finding a new challenge.

For me, such a challenge was walking the Camino in northwestern Spain for the first time in 2007. I was in a very bad place at the time going through a tumultuous relationship and finding myself on the edge of a job burnout. You can read my story in the book: “Walking on Edge: A pilgrimage to Santiago”

I now take the time each year for a personal retreat. Walking one more stage of the Camino has become my annual detox and timeout for realignment and soul replenishment.

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What is your inner dialogue?

How are you talking to yourself? Is your self-talk predominantly negative or positive? You have the power to change your thoughts and your mindset. Predominantly positive people are more successful, happier, and content. We like to have those people around us. When they walk into a room there is a different energy. While those people who are cynical and only focused on the dark side of life inevitably pull you down. You can shift those dark emotions by replacing them with positive thoughts. What makes you laugh? What are the five things that you experienced during the past 24 hours that you can be truly grateful for? Training the mind is like training the body in physical exercise. It takes practice and sometimes we have to simply empty the mind from all those dancing monkeys in the head moving between the pain of the past and the fear of the future.

The healing power of community

Our modern culture of individualism has mutated into narcissism and loss of community bonding. We, humans, are social beings. We are formed by the nature of our associations and primary family connections. We all need a supportive network of long-term friends, family, and community that provides positive validation. Volunteering in a group or a community for a useful project, charity, or church group that improves the lives of others changes the perspective from self-absorption to giving for others in a worse situation. Find a reason to do something for the good of something.

Repurposing failure, tragedy, and grief

Some of the world’s greatest minds have turned a personal tragedy, humiliation, or failure into success by repurposing their experience into new meaning.

Andrew Carnegie, arguably one of the most successful industrialists ever, emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 12 to avoid starvation in Scotland. He eventually amassed a vast fortune in the iron and steel industry but spent most of his later life on philanthropic projects including the establishment of 3,000 public libraries in the United States, England, and Canada.

Charles Dickens’s greatest works of fiction came from a dark place after losing his father and one of his daughters within a week. At the age of twelve Dickens was forced to work with working-class men and boys in a shoe polish factory while his father was in a debtor’s prison. This experience shaped his views of the harshness of the industrial world confronting human values.

Oprah Winfrey, raped, molested, and beaten in early childhood, faced many struggles before becoming one of the world’s most famous talk show hosts. She told fellow chat show host David Letterman that through all of the pain and struggle, she was thankful, “for everything that has happened. I would take nothing from my journey.”

Tony Robbins came from a dysfunctional family and was thrown out of his home by an abusive mother. The experience turned him into one of the world’s top motivational speakers, best-selling author of self-help books, and life coach.

In a world addicted to immediate gratification and quick-fix solutions – take a pill and it will go away – the individual going through a hard time is often told: “Get over it and move on.” Every person has a different rhythm when dealing with grief or trauma. That sadness over the loss of a loved one remains for a lifetime but over time it can take on a different perspective.

Those “dark night of the soul” moments force a look inside. A crisis reveals what needs to be changed. Complacency is the biggest obstacle to soul connection and elevation of consciousness. During times of pain and grief, we dig deep into the resources of resilience for that next hill to climb on life’s journey of growth and evolution and ultimately fulfillment of soul destiny.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When nature moves closer

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

—Lao Tzu

Relationship to the self defines the relationship to nature. For too long we as humans have defined ourselves as a separate entity to the natural world that needed to be controlled, exploited, and subjugated. Gradually the realization is dawning that nature is an expression of the divine and that we are an integral part of the whole.

Feeling, breathing, and aligning with nature during a deep walking experience is one of the most underrated and best forms of healing, especially when you might be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by all the negativity of the external world.

Aligning and healing with the help of nature

Some years ago I had a profound experience on one of my pilgrimage walks on the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain. I started the walk feeling exhausted and stressed out. Inevitably my thoughts would wander back to the daily treadmill of life.

Then, in the following days, as I found my natural walking rhythm I noticed nature coming closer. I was starting to smell the grasses and herbs along the path. Birds would fly close by, stray dogs would follow me for part of the way. On the mountain tops of the Camino Primitivo giant vultures sat motionless a mere two arms lengths away.

I started practicing going in sync with my surroundings by attuning my senses to one element in nature at a time. It would either be the butterflies dancing ahead of me, the calming sound of a creek nearby or just feeling the sensation of a breeze against my skin.

Immersing in nature in this way, I found, has an enormously regenerative and calming effect on all senses. I practice these exercises in nature now as often as I can, having the added benefit of living on a beautiful island in the Mediterranean.

Science confirms the positive effects of the green and blue spaces

Several scientific studies have meanwhile confirmed that the connection with the blue and green spaces in nature has many positive physical and psychological effects. Humans are naturally drawn to a beautiful river or lake.

The Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, or Forest Bathing, has been proven to reduce stress hormone levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Trees and plants emit substances called phytoncides which have been found to boost the immune system. 

Studies by Qing Li, a Japanese scientist who has been carrying out shinrin yoku research for many years, showed that Forest Bathing increases the Natural Killer cell activity in people, with at least some of this effect coming from phytoncides.

David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, conducted a study in which participants saw a 50 percent improvement in creative problem solving after only three days immersed in nature with all access to modern technology removed.

We are very much a species that has lost its way, having become disconnected from nature while emphasizing technological advancement. It has become more pronounced in recent years with the addiction to digital gadgets with the average person in the United States spending about ten hours a day glued to a computer, smartphone, or television screen.

The sages of old, the Mystics and Shamans, have all tought us that nature offers so many important lessons if we would only stop and listen. Every significant place and and animal has a story and a legend. By reconnecting with nature we return to ancient wisdom, to a place of solitude deep inside – the power of the present moment.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Health: We need a paradigm shift

May your body be blessed. May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.“

– John O‘Donohue

You could be feeling a little „battle weary” by now from the daily dosage of Covid-related news. We wish it to be finally over but the pandemic still has many lessons in store for us mankind.

For one thing the issue of public health, and our integral role in a fragile environment has moved into the mainstream.

However, most mass media continues to be fear-based, propagating a one-dimensional perspective, and deflecting from the real underlying challenges. When fear rules the game our vision becomes clouded and our senses become susceptible to mind control and manipulation.

The elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is that two-thirds of Covid victims have had a medical precondition such as obesity, diabetes or stress-related problems that weaken the immune system. Young people with obesity appear to be particularly at risk.

Between a quarter to a half of nurses and health care workers suffer from obesity with experts pinpointing understaffing, stress and bad working hours as some of the reasons. An estimated 115 000 health care workers lost their lives to Covid.

Vaccines are a short-term necessity but not a long term cure. Covid has only highlighted to what extent a large portion of people in the industrialized countries suffer from medical preconditions that will keep on impacting entire economies.

A lifestyle feeding the epidemic

Our modern lifestyle contradicts the very way our bodies have evolved over thousands of generations. Poor exercise, a diet of mainly processed foods and high stress levels cause havoc to the body‘s natural defense systems. Its the perfect feeding ground for a virus that keeps attacking in different mutations.

The „health industry“ is largely in the vice grip of the pharmaceutical industy that is interested in longevity but not quality of life. The processed food industry‘s primary interest is not your health. It is to increase profits by boosting the shelf life of its products with artificial additives that flood the body with toxins, causing a multitude of health problems.

Covid will not be the last virus so we had better start looking at ways of how we can motivate ourselves and others in looking after our body, mind and spirit.

The discipline of maintaining a vibrant body and mind is that bridge toward becoming who you are truly meant to be.

If you don‘t take the time to look after your health, your body will soon force you to take the time to do so.

Just take a walk

Walking is one of the easiest and best ways of how you can start improving your body metabolism. Its one of the most underrated and best ways possible to exercise your body. We have literally been hard-wired by evolution to walk. I go into more detail on this in my book: Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

What you feed your mind and your body with is what you become. If you are addicted to news channels and social media propagating fear and anxiety you will start feeling emotionally drained and stressed.

Your brain and body need the essential nutrients from foods our ancestors have always eaten, mostly freshly harvested from the ground and the trees without pesticides. Meat was from animals that ate grasses and herbs. Fish came fresh from a clean ocean and river waters.

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Aligning body, mind and spirit

Its a no-brainer but we need a real paradigm shift when it comes to personal health and self-care.

By getting enough sleep and exercise, eating the right foods and surrounding yourself with positively-minded people you will have taken the first step to making yourself more resilient in coping with life‘s up-and-down cycles.

When you feel strong in body and mind you become centered and empowered. You will be more resilient to the constant pull of such toxic emotions as anger, hate, fear, envy and frustration.

Reino Gevers – Author – MentorSpeaker

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How resilient are you?

“If we have peace of mind, even negative experiences do not upset us. Peace of mind is also good for our physical health. Medical experts have found that anger, hatred and fear eat into our immune system. Being calm and relaxed is better for our physical well-being.” – The Dalai Lama –

During these times it is all-important to look after your immune system. We will have to live with the pandemic for some time with the rollout of vaccinations taking their time and much uncertainty about virus mutations.

In my last Blog we looked at the importance of breathing through the nose. The nose is a natural filter system, releasing nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs.

But there are many other building blocks to a healthy and resilient immune system. When your immune system is weakened your emotional and physical defense walls will break under the strain. The big question everyone is asking: What can I do to protect myself and my loved ones?

Vitamin D deficiency

Early indications are that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more prone to catching Covid. The vitamin is connected to the activation of T cells in the body, which play a key role in immune response. Elderly people and those living in climate zones with little sunlight are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency. When you get older the skin gets less efficient in producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. It leads to a loss of bone density and in extreme cases to osteoporosis and other diseases. It is suspected that vitamin D deficiency may also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and other autoimmune conditions. Known also as the sunlight vitamin you would need exposure of between 10-30 minutes of sunlight per day to get enough vitamin D into your body. But it also depends on the sensitivity of your skin, your age and how dark your skin is. Seafoods, mushrooms and egg yolk are another way of getting vitamin D into your body.

Avoid sugars

Sugar is found in most processed foods and sodas. There are multiple reasons why you should avoid sugar. One of the primary reasons is that sugar is responsible for weight gain and diabetes 2 which puts you in the major risk category for Covid. A recent Spanish study found that 80 per cent of serious Corona patients were overweight. Obesity is characterized by a chronic state of low-grade inflammation with an increase in cytokines, or inflammatory molecules, which reduces the body’s ability to respond to respiratory infection. You are also putting your mental health at risk with a high sugar diet. Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.

Emotional stress

Negative stress is often triggered by a thought. Negative news media. Negative people around you. Dwelling on the past and the future robs you of the preciousness of the moment. A negative mindset and toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, anxiety and fear have a devastating effect on the immune system. It puts your body into fight or flight mode triggering those stress hormones that you don’t want too much of. “Emotional shifting” is a good way of dealing with a negative mindset. Ask yourself what you can be truly grateful for. Recall those moments or memories that expand your vibrational energy. Focusing on a positive experience will relax your breathing and trigger the recovery mode that you need to bring those stress hormones back to a normal level.

Deep walking in nature

Walking in a forest or on a beach, spending time in those green and blue spaces of nature has an enormous impact on boosting your immune system. Exposure to the natural sounds of nature will reduce your blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate and the production of stress hormones. Spending time in nature also provides a welcome respite from those countless distractions pulling at our minds throughout the day.

Relationships

We human beings are social beings. We need people around us to make us feel seen, cherished and wanted. Social bonding is essential for our health and a good immune system. Social support systems play a pivotal role in managing high stress levels. Loneliness and social isolation have a huge effect on mental health. Connecting with friends, family and loved ones should be a primary focus, even if the pandemic currently prevents direct physical contact.

These are only a few guidelines to help you navigate these difficult times. But Challenging times can also be important stages of transition, elevation of consciousness and restructuring of soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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Stress and how you breathe

During these times of high anxiety the body is flooded with stress hormones that have a major impact on how you breathe, exacerbating problems for people with pre-existing respiratory and other health conditions. The good news is that you can do something about it by changing the way you breathe.

Breathing through the nose

Inhaling and exhaling naturally through the nose is what you should be doing. As you inhale the nose warms and moisturizes the air. Your nose releases nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs. Your breathing will be deeper and slower increasing the volume of your lungs and diaphragm.

Stress is a survival mechanism that we require to function properly. Short periods of stress can help sharp-focus the mind to accomplish an important task. It enabled our ancestors to scamper to safety up the next tree when faced by a predator. Stress hormones such as adrenalin or cortisol are essential tools, enabling for example the driver of a car to slam on the brakes if a deer runs across the road.

Breathing and stress

The hypothalamus in the brain sets off the alarm in a dangerous situation. Nerves and hormones signal the adrenal glands near the kidneys to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These cause the muscular system to tense up, raises the blood pressure, enabling that quick burst of energy to address an emergency situation. As we use more body energy our inhaling and exhaling breaths come in short bursts from the mouth, circulating in the upper throat and chest area. After the threat has disappeared the body normally calms down with the cortisol levels dropping as we go into relax mode.

The problem in our modern world is that our stress is mainly triggered by thousands of thoughts circulating on events of the past or future. The body is in a constant state of alert. The sprint and recovery cycle is out of balance. A constant high level of cortisol will eventually break down the body’s natural defense systems, weaken the cardiovascular system, and impair brain and memory function. We are constantly “stressed-out”, not breathing properly and thus not getting enough sleep.

Our ancestors never had the problem of chronic stress. Scientists, studying the shapes of jaws and mouth cavities from ancient skulls, determined that they probably spent most of their lives in relaxed breathing through the nose. However, probably from dietary and other effects our mouths have changed dramatically in less than 200 years. Our heads have become more shallow, vertically oriented, with smaller teeth and a tongue extending well into the neck. This contributes to a smaller and narrower airway.

What you can do to change your breathing patterns?

Conscious and focused deep breathing through the nose can instantly bring you from a state of high tension into a relaxed state of mind.

  • Sit upright holding one hand on your lower belly and the other in the heart area.
  • At the count of one inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Continue until the count of twelve then switch your hands
  • Continue until the count of 24
  • Close by placing both your hands on your belly

Nourishing your mind and body during times of crisis cannot be over-emphasized:

  • Avoid the consumption of negative news media
  • Surround yourself with positive-minded humorous people
  • Avoid white sugar and processed foods as much as possible

Low impact body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong and deep walking in nature will do wonders in reducing stress hormones in the body. When you focus on nasal breathing your body posture will also improve naturally.

So what about high-impact exercise such as jogging and cycling? The bottom line here is that you will probably be forced to take big inhaling breaths through your mouth to get more oxygen. This will decrease carbon dioxide in your blood levels inhibiting the body’s ability to release oxygen into your cells. The point here is to slow down again so that you can breathe naturally through the nose.  

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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