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Mental Ease Offers a Content Heart
Never in my life, after 34 years in the holistic wellness field, did I ever think there would be such media and interest in the four M’s. Meditation, mindfulness, massage and mental health have been front and center, and for good reasons. The level of intense emotions, along with chronic stress these last few years, have been unmatched by any other moment in our lives, and is rising the risk of cardiovascular disease.
There was no course to take for proper preparation for a Pandemic! It seems to be learned along the way to thrive, not merely survive. And there is much hope to raise the bar for wellness, as that is my life’s passion, to empower health and wellness, most especially now, for ourselves, families, faith communities, and the world.
The connection between the brain/mind and heart is uniquely joined by the longest nerve in the body, the vagus nerve, (meaning wandering), from the abdomen to the brain. Research reveals that it plays a pivotal role in maintaining health, improving healing, controls inflammation, and is part of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the rest, repair and digest component, offering a sense of calm.
The opposite is the sympathetic nervous system of fight, or flight that is dominated by cortisol the stress hormone. Most folks are living in this stress state, but we can access the vagus nerve (which is not functioning well) to control our emotions and health. Your tools:
- Meditation and Massage – both lower blood pressure, anxiety and offer deep peace and relaxation
- Sunlight – 20 minutes/day
- Belly Breathing – in nose, filling belly, then chest, exhaling with closed lips while humming
- Yin Yoga – with breathwork engages the vagus nerve
One other powerful tool that offers a wealth of mental peace, is tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). This holistic modality has been used for over 25 years. The VA teaches tapping for PTSD veterans, along with children from Sandy Hook that were traumatized, and anyone desiring to lessen pain, stress, or anxiety. Evidence based research shows a reduction in cortisol by 40% post tapping.
The technique is tapping the Chinese acupressure points or meridians, while saying the emotion, which sends an energetic calming signal to the brain. The amygdala, part of the limbic portion of the brain, and home to fear and memories is taken out of the Fight or Flight loop to a calming state. Resources:
- www.TheTappingSolution.com – book, and app by Jessica and Nick Ortner
- www.EFTUniverse.com – free 60-page manual Dawson Church offers
- www.TapWithBrad.com – classes, books, U Tube channel for free tapping with Brad Yates
- www.TheScienceOfTapping.org – tons of research
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- How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works
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- Improving Mental Health Through Behavior Change and Weight Loss
- How Does Group Counseling Differ From Individual Counseling?
- The Impact Of Mental Illness