It seemed like all was lost

As a syndrome it includes both winter downs and summer ups. An informed doctor who asks the right questions could diagnose it even when the patient is feeling fine in spring or summer. But what clinician–and what patient–is going to consider the overall annual pattern when things are going well in summer? So it is up to the patient to take the initiative. Otherwise the necessary discussion may never happen. I was often sweating profusely, my heart was beating rapidly, and I would lie there sure I was experiencing my final moments. Diet was playing a huge role in this problem–my blood sugar was crashing each night, causing my adrenal glands to kick into high gear. That surge of cortisol was what had me waking up constantly in terror. To make matters worse, I was compounding the problem by attempting to use alcohol to help me sleep. I thought that a nightly glass of wine might help me rest, but, in fact, it was exacerbating the blood-sugar crash and severely dehydrating me. When I began to include more carbohydrate and fat into my evening meal, and quit alcohol altogether for a long period, my sleep improved immensely. If I focus on diet aimed at well-balanced blood sugar and keep alcohol consumption to special occasions, I’m almost guaranteed a restful night. SUPPORTING YOUR NATURAL RHYTHMS As you found out earlier in this article, it is very easy for your natural circadian rhythm to get offtrack from exposure to light at the wrong times during the day. This fix goes a little against cultural norms, but can be incredibly effective at promoting quality sleep. Similarly, obese children were found to exhale more than fifty significantly fermented compounds compared to non-obese children. While it’s not fully understood which secondary compounds cause obesity, ammonia is linked with colon cancer, and various amine-like metabolites are associated with other diseases, including heart disease. Excessively high-protein diets, for example, increase microbial fermentation of proteins and lead to the formation of metabolites (ammonia, polyamines, and N nitroso compounds) known to be deleterious to intestinal health. WESTERN DIETS ALTER GUT MICROBE BALANCE With continual and intimate cross talk between gut microbes and the majority of the body’s immune system, many of the metabolic and immune problems associated with meals can be traced back to various changes in the composition of the gastrointestinal microflora.

Gut microbes are remarkably changeable: high-carb, high-fat foods rapidly shift the structure of the gut microflora, altering both the expression of bacterial genes and metabolic pathways, which influence metabolism. Bacteria tend to proliferate on foodstuffs best suited to their growth. For example, Clostridia and Bacteroides may have an easier time flourishing in environments devoid of carbohydrates. European children, for example, have significantly more gut bacteria of the Escherichia , Salmonella , Shigella , and Klebsiella type compared to children raised in rural African villages. Children of rural Africa have increased levels of microbes containing enzymes known to digest fibers, while European children have a more imbalanced intestinal bacterial profile, which likely arises from both diet and aspects of the urban lifestyle–including Cesarean-section birthing, reduced breast-feeding, increased hygiene, and greater antibiotic exposure. Light abdominal massage increases circulation and lymph flow, decreases fluid retention, and calms the nervous system, helping to reduce both physical and emotional symptoms. Before your symptoms begin, cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and soda to reduce bloating. You can also exercise to relieve menstrual cramps and reduce stress, which may help with emotional and physical PMS symptoms. Keep a journal to see when your PMS symptoms are the worst and identify any triggers to avoid before and during your period. Essential oils: To further relieve PMS symptoms, add your own blend of soothing essential oils to your massage lotion or use a diffuser.Try clary sage, lavender, bergamot, chamomile, ylang ylang, cedarwood, or geranium. For the following techniques, have your partner lie face up (with a pillowcase or towel on their chest, under the sheet). Add lotion to your hands and rub them together to warm the lotion. Basic Massage: Gliding (light pressure, 1 to 2) Bring the sheet down to uncover your partner’s stomach. Face toward your partner’s head and place your hands gently on their stomach, framing their belly button with your thumbs. Sure, there are excellent eye products that can take the edge off, and some brightening ones that will `lift’ the appearance of them, but anyone who looks you in the eye and says `this cream will absolutely fix your dark circles’ is either misinformed or not being completely straight with you. It’s a little easier for those of us with occasional dark circles caused by things like illness, dehydration, or too much of a good (bad) thing, but genes are hard to mess with. If you really hate the dark circles, you could talk to a dermatologist about trough filler: a non-surgical procedure, it involves injecting the area with hyaluronic acid filler, which sits just under the skin and essentially hides the dark circles. For most people, one treatment will last 12-18 months. WHEN LIFE HAPPENS

SKIN THROUGH YOUR LIFETIME Work with your skin, not against it. As you age, your skin changes, and your skincare routine and kit need to adapt with it. The best thing you can do for your skin is get into good habits young (wear your SPF, people! Life throws many skin challenges our way, thanks to our hormones, habits, our environment etc Don’t let it blindside you: this section will make sure you’re well prepped. Recall those turning points when unseen forces intervened in your life. The right job turned up when you needed it. Through a series of seeming coincidences, you were led to a person who provided the help you were seeking. An unexpected source of money arrived to pay the bills. As a cloud-covered sky can block out the rays of the sun, so our doubts and fear can block the perception of God’s grace. Still, the sun is always shining, even when we can’t see it. The help is still there, even when we don’t realize it. And in the midst of our unbelief, grace still enters our lives. We are not alone. We may call it a guardian angel or unexplained good fortune, but there is a benevolent force at work in our lives, guiding us each step along the way. Stirring the Pot with a Burning Focus After I was onstage at a large event hosted by a well-known motivational speaker and business leader in San Diego, one of the attendees–in from Norway, of all places–approached me in the hall. He tugged at my arm, and I pivoted from the group to whom I was talking to face him. I’ve never seen that, he said. Hello, I greeted him.

I’ve been to a lot of events like this–I bring my whole company, to educate the sales force–but this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone turn it around like that. What do you mean? Most speakers push their message from the stage onto the crowd, he said. You do the opposite–you seem to feed off the energy of the room. I think you could dance with whoever you want, wherever you want, couldn’t you? The shadow emotions related to social relationships you’re experiencing right now will not be changed through a harsh command or a demand to just get rid of your feelings. These shadow emotions are living in your body right now, in your heart, and in the energy of every breath. With compassion and care, you can shift these shadow responses in a gentle and loving way, just as you brought your heart rate down and relaxed your body by changing your breathing. You have everything in you needed to connect and create meaningful relationships. You matter. You can change how you’re feeling, with one small step and gesture each day, beginning with self-love and compassion. Finding social groups or activities in which there’s a common interest is a great place to start; This longing, too large for heaven and earth, fits easily in my heart. In the beginning, motherhood is all-encompassing, defining every minute and detail of your life. Then slowly over time, bit by bit, there’s a new phase to embrace, a new milestone is reached, a new rite of passage is slowly moving your child toward independence. You feel warm and fuzzy inside, you feel as though you are made better through loving them, and you simply like to feel the intense, positive emotions that come with love. But if you want to work on being more giving and open to love, there’s a reality that’s good to accept: Loving someone means taking on their pain. Use this meditation to accept that fact and love fearlessly anyway. Think about what happens when you love someone: You care about what they care about. You smile when they smile, you laugh when they laugh, but you also cry when they cry.

Remember that loving someone gives you incredible benefits, but that it also leaves you vulnerable to your loved one’s pain. Think about a time when someone you loved was struggling, and remember how tough it was to see them struggle. Now, remember what it was like when they rose above their struggle or overcame their challenges and you felt the high of success right along with them. Realize that the benefits of loving someone far outweigh the negatives. Accept that to love means to laugh and cry with your loved one, and decide to love all the same. If you are concerned that you may fit the picture we have given for someone with a seasonal disorder, a constructive first step is to take the free online seasonality questionnaire (see Resources for Follow-up). You’ll get immediate, confidential feedback about how closely your experience fits the SAD profile and whether it appears serious enough to warrant a clinical consultation. If the answer is yes, print out the personalized report and tell your doctor you need an appointment to review the information together.Geography and Time Seasonal changes are not the only source of tension between internal and external time. Yes, the longer nights of winter lead to conflicts between our internal clock and external time. When the sun rises later, our circadian rhythms tend to drift later as well. At the same time, we are expected to go on sleeping on a standard schedule. This discrepancy between the clock in our brain and the clock on the wall readily leads to mood and sleep problems as well as morning grogginess. Other aspects of daily life can also have a serious impact. One, only recently recognized, is the particular place you live within your time zone. First, you will want to make sure to time your sleep-wake cycle as close as possible to sunset and sunrise. For most of us, this means going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Being in bed by 10 and up by 7 is a great goal. It may take some prioritizing and rearranging to make sure you are ready to wind down at the appropriate time, but you will make up for it with increased energy and productivity after improving your sleep. Next, you want to make sure to minimize your exposure to blue-spectrum light after the sun goes down.

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