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Are You Out Of Balance? June 5, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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Has this ever happened to you? You feel frazzled, have difficulty concentrating, sleeping and “getting your life together. You feel like a “walking dead”. You have been told that your problems are stress related, but you are not sure why you are stressed. All the medication that you are taking is not working. Well it is possible that your problems are a result of unbalanced energies.

I frequently see patients who have symptoms which somehow do not appear to “add up” to a definite diagnosis. Many times they have an imbalance in their energies.

Eastern philosophy is based on the premise that all life occurs within the circle of nature. All things within this matrix are connected. They are mutually dependent on each other. The source of all things is the tao, with complementary aspects:  yin and yang. It is the play between yin and yang, which creates ki (chi)energy.  Nature is in constant motion. When the elements of nature are in balance, life is harmonic and flourishes. When the balance of polar forces is upset, disaster looms.

The course of our everyday lives require that we balance the yin(the interior process of nurturing the self) with the yang (the exterior work of the world). Our activity in the world is necessary for our productivity. As the day draws to a close we retreat from the business of the day to rest, relax and sleep in order to replenish our store of chi for the day that follows.

Modern life is filled with constant, often frenetic activity. We are often so consumed with productivity that we neglect giving time for the self to be replenished. To over exercise, overwork or over party is to overindulge in yang, which leads to burnout of yin. The fact is that the body cannot tolerate for long, consuming more than is replaced. Some of the consequences of this imbalance may be problems with the muscles, bones, joints, heart or kidneys; other consequences can be as serious as a heart attack.

On the other hand to be preoccupied with matters of internal health could mean an overemphasis on the yin phase. An analogy is that of an avid collector who keeps acquiring so many objects that have potential value, that he has no energy to put his hidden treasures to use in a productive manner. So in this case the yin is protected but the yang is without life.

Webster’s New World Dictionary describes balance as “a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equality in amount, weight, value or importance as between two things or the parts of a thing; mental or emotional stability”.  Ms.  Donna Brown, a Reiki Master/energy practitioner who practices in Jamaica, states that “balance pertains to optimum health within our life cycle. For instance one cycle can be the career, another home and family.” The challenge is to balance body, mind and spirit within that life cycle focus. We need to remember that life is not static and our focus changes as we grow.

We are rarely balanced in everything at the same time. The importance of balance is that it keeps body systems in optimum working order. The body was created for balance.

We need to pay attention to what helps keep us in balance, especially in these times of pollution, high stress living and immune system breakdown. I recommend a wholistic approach for achieving balance.

SPIRITUAL FOCUS

It is important that we understand and accept the mind body spirit connection. We tend to underestimate our individual power to heal. We are composed of trillions of cells which are imprinted with divine intelligence and wisdom. We need to frequently and regularly connect with our divine source through prayer, meditation and quiet contemplation.

EXERCISE

The following are some practical tips to incorporate regular exercise into a busy schedule.

• Include exercise in activities of daily – this includes vigorous housework. Walk vigorously for at least twenty minutes, three times each week; while doing this swing the arms and legs. There are numerous video tapes and television programmes which are made for guiding viewers with specific exercises.

• If one is sitting at a desk for long hours, stretch every couple of hours and walk around every two to four hours. If you have been cooped up in your office, go outside, stand in the sun and inhale fresh air.

• Walk instead of driving

• Use the stairs instead of the elevator

ENERGY BALANCE

There are a number of universal energy healing modalities, including Bowen technique, Reiki , Quantum touch and emotional freedom technique (EFT).

Energies can also be balanced through deep breathing exercises, meditation

and living simply by un-cluttering the mind .

Ms. Donna Brown has provided this simple exercise designed to relieve stress

  1. deep breathe in through the nostrils and out through the mouth (as if blowing through a straw)
  2. lightly place the fingertips of both hands on the forehead covering the “Oh my God” points . Place the thumbs on the temples next to the eyes. Breathe deeply. Relax and remove the hands. Repeat as necessary.

NUTRITION

We must not underestimate the importance of good nutrition. This is essential to balance. Food can have a profound effect on the functioning of the body. If you are experiencing prolonged stress, you are at risk of developing heart disease, cancer, infections, gastritis,  peptic ulcer disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated that adequate nutrition can help to prevent or minimize the effects of these diseases .

The solution to this problem is to elevate the quality of the food we consume – that means that we need to limit the anti- nutrients in the diet – These include poor quality fats, poor quality white flour,  poor quality sugar, poor quality dairy and poor quality meats.

So practically how can we achieve balance in our lives? This can be done by the use of nutrition, supplements, herbs, physical exercise, magnetic therapy, aromatherapy massage, energy balancing, mental discipline and modification of life style habits. These forms of therapy can reestablish the rhythmic swing of the Yin- Yang pendulum.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

HAPPY January 21, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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I sat on the bathroom floor watching my baby niece Angel as she sat in the bathtub singing “baby happy” and clapping her tiny hands for joy . I could only smile as I wiped away the water Angel had splashed on me . I was enjoying the moment. I too was happy . As I dried her , I remembered a patient I had seen earlier that day. She said to me  “Doc , I have never been happy . I do not know what happiness is “

She was not unusual ,as over the years I have met countless unhappy people . I have never had a patient come to me and say “I am so happy . I am just here for a check up.”

Children always seem to be happy . Photographs of children invariably show them smiling – no matter the circumstances . I have seen some recent photographs of children orphaned by December’s tsunami and they are smiling – genuine smiles too .

Subjective wellbeing is the nickname experts in the field give to happiness .One person’s hell may just be another’s paradise . I have met happy poor people , unhappy poor people , happy rich folks , unhappy rich ones .I have also met happy terminally ill people and unhappy ill people .

So if we begin life as happy children how do we get unhappy ? And what is happiness ?

Richard Davidson , a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin states that happiness is not just a vague ineffable feeling , it is a physical state of the brain . This state can be induced deliberately . Researchers have concluded that happiness has a powerful effect on the rest of the body . When psychological tests were conducted , persons who rate in the upper happiness scores develop 50% more antibodies than average in response to flu vaccines . Some studies have discovered that happiness or related mental states like contentment , optimism and hopefulness appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of hypertension ,heart disease , diabetes , lung disease and colds . Findings of a Dutch study published in November 2004 stated that happiness or related mental states reduced an individual’s risk of death 50% over the study’s nine year duration . That makes sense because health care professionals have known for years that depression can actually worsen hypertension , diabetes and heart disease.

If happiness is a physical state of the brain ,where is it located ? Two brain imaging technologies – functional magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ) , which is able to map the flow of blood to active parts of the brain and electroencephalograms ( EEG ) which detect the electrical activity of the brain – consistently point to the left prefrontal cortex as a prime locus of happiness. Professor Davidson found in his research that high levels of activity in the left prefrontal area coincided with feelings of enthusiasm , alertness , joy , high energy and happiness . Activity on the right frontal area corresponds to feelings of anxiety , worry and sadness .

So how can we be more happy ? There are a number of ways but we are better off aiming for happiness moment to moment than trying to become happy through long term planning . Science has demonstrated that human beings are fairly hopeless at predicting what will cause happiness or how long that happiness will last . For example , you can sacrifice and save for a bigger house , in a better neighbourhood , only to find out that you are not welcome in that area or that working so hard to afford a particular lifestyle causes you to be too exhausted to enjoy the new lifestyle . In other words we tend to overestimate how things will affect us and rarely underestimate them .

Here are some suggestions for a happier life based on my personal experience and observations and research findings from University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky.

• Get as much positive emotion as possible.  Savour life’s joys

Fear is the greatest enemy of happiness . In our life there are two basic fears- fear of not having enough and fear of not being enough . How can theses fears be overcome ? By appreciation. Dan Baker coauthor of What happy people know contends that appreciation is fear’s greatest antidote .He states that the brain cannot be in a state of fear and a state of appreciation at the same time . The two states may alternate but cannot coexist . That is because appreciation engages the prefrontal cortex that is dominant over the amygdala ( which is the brain’s rapid response system where fear resides ) . To keep fear in check , I recommend that you count your blessings by keeping a daily or weekly , “gratitude journal “. In this book you write down five things for which you are thankful . These can be as ordinary as “the marigolds are blooming and make my garden so pretty “ or as defining as “I finally realized that my husband loves me “

• Practice acts of kindness . Being kind to others

Whether friends or strangers , triggers a number of positive effects . The act makes you feel generous and improves your sense of connection with others . Think about it – stopping the car to allow a elderly person to cross the road and having that person wave to you and say “Thank you . God bless you “.

• Take care of your body

Eat healthily , exercise , get adequate sleep every day

• Smile ! Laugh!

Do not take life too seriously

• Thank a mentor .

If there is someone who has guided you at one of life’s crossroads ,express your appreciation – if possible in person .

• Learn to forgive

Bad memories cannot be erased , but they can be overcome .

Focusing attention on finding satisfaction in the here and now is more effective than fixating on the past . If someone has hurt or wronged you , let go of the anger and resentment by writing a letter of forgiveness to that person . An inability to forgive is associated with persistent thinking about the situation and / or dwelling on revenge . Forgiving allows you to move on .

• Invest time and energy with family and friends

Income , job title , address and even health appear to have small effects on satisfaction with life . The greatest factor in happiness appears to be strong personal relationships.

• Figure out your strengths and find new ways to use them.

Focusing on strengths and building on successes creates energy which drives real change.

Use your inner strengths in the service of something larger than yourself.

• Develop strategies for coping with hardship and stress

Hard times cannot be avoided. Situations will arise that cause much anxiety and stress . I believe that one of the determinants of the outcome of a stressful event is how the event is viewed . I firmly believe that happiness is a choice . Despite the circumstances we can choose to be happy .

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com