Beat the Heat with "Cooling Breaths"

Beat the Heat with "Cooling Breaths"

By Tania Wilk 500RYT

Are you overheating under the summer sun? Try these breathing techniques that cool you down and feel oh so good.

You can do these in any comfortable upright position or lying on the floor. Practice in the car (with head in neutral!), at work, on the beach or anywhere you choose! These breaths pacify excess heat in our system and also help to reduce the 3 A's : Anger, Agitation & Anxiety. They also come in handy when you are feeling drowsy, in a slump or need to focus! Sitali Pranayama Sitali Pranayama Lower your chin slightly and begin to curl your tongue lengthwise. Inhale as if you are sipping through a straw while lifting your chin up towards the sky (if you have any neck pain or issues just keep head in a neutral position). At the end of your inhale release the tongue and close your mouth. Through the nostrils exhale slowly as you move your chin back into a neutral position.

Can't curl the tongue? No worries its a genetic trait! Try this version instead.

Sitkari Pranayama Sitkari Pranayama Start by lowering your chin with lips slightly apart and the tip of your tongue on the back of your bottom teeth. As you inhale, allow the air to rush over the tongue between your teeth as you tilt your chin up towards the ceiling (if you have any neck pain or issues just keep head in a neutral position). Exhale through the nostrils with mouth closed as you bring your chin back into a neutral position.

Repeat for 8 to 12 Breaths. You can practice these breathing exercises 2x/day or whenever you feel stressed our overheated.

Enjoy!

Mindful Eating Tips and How Yoga Helps

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By Stephanie Pysher, M.S., R.D., RYT-200

Happy     apple

Are you part of the "clean plate club"? At the end of a stressful day are you reaching for a pint of your favorite ice cream? Do you finish eating a meal within ten minutes or less? These types of eating behaviors while common are NOT considered mindful!

Mindful eating is taking the time to touch, smell, taste, and truly enjoy the food you are eating with all of your senses. Practicing mindful eating can help you to tune into your body and know when you are hungry and when you are full. Consider trying the following mindful eating tips:

1. Turn off distractions (T.V., computer, phone, etc.) while eating.

2. Allow 30 minutes to eat and enjoy every meal. A good way to keep track is to set a timer while you eat and practice slowing down.

3. Put your fork down between each bite.

4. Make half of your plate vegetables. These are a healthy addition to any meal and take longer to chew and eat.

5. Drink a glass of water before each meal.

Practicing yoga regularly can also help with mindfulness. Yoga gives you tools to better tune into your body in the following ways:

1. While practicing yoga poses you are focused on alignment (and NOT falling over!).

2. Yoga helps you to learn how to breathe deeply through breathing exercises as well as using your breath to go more deeply into poses.

For example, first try a Tree pose without focusing on your alignment. Then try the pose again while focusing on what each part of your body is actually doing. Finally, breathe while you are in the final pose. Hopefully you noticed a difference with each added step and felt more grounded and at ease in your final pose.

Finally, be patient with yourself as you work to incorporate yoga and mindful eating practices into your daily routine. Remember that you can restart your day (or week) at anytime so if at first you don't succeed, then try try again!

The Five Pillars of Happiness

Five Pillars of Happiness

Thomas A Cummings, PhD, MS

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Registered Yoga Teacher -200

MS in Neurobiology

Advanced Trainee in Mindfulness Meditation

Graduate (Summa CL) School of Hard Knocks, Psychotic State University (PSU)

Post-doctoral Fellow in Angst, Futility, & Irony, University of the Pathetic (PU)

 

Dr Cummings, having seen the darkness and angelic beauty of more than 1600 patients, still pursues his education; his patients are his best teachers.  In his personal life he has made every mistake one human could possibly make in one lifetime, yet he continues to make more imaginative mistakes anyone could ever dream of.  He learns from his mistakes, for he knows them by heart.  He can repeat them flawlessly, without thinking.  As an elder who is miraculously still alive, and who surprisingly still has friends, he has much to offer.  You have an opportunity to learn from his mistakes, for Thomas, humbly, is still working on his mistakes…tirelessly.   

Pop Quiz:

Which one of the following does NOT belong with the others:

A. Tibetan Buddhism

B. Western Psychological Science

C. Mindfulness Meditation

D. The Law of Attraction

E. Happiness

To check your answer, come to Dr Cummings’ “5 Pillars of Happiness” Workshop on Saturday, August 25th, 1-3pm!

Curiously, happiness is not about money, success, nor fame.  Nor does marriage or having children ensure long-term happiness.  It turns out that happy people make happy marriages and happy parents, not the other way around.  Those in constant pursuit of happiness are, sadly, less happy than those who are not.  There are Five Pillars of Happiness, all of which appear to be prerequisite courses to ‘Happiness 101’.  By ‘happy’ we’re not talking about emotional highs that new love brings, ecstatic experiences, or the feelings that a wonderful vacation can bring.  We are referring here to an enduring sense of contentment, of peace of mind, of satisfaction with life as it is.  Happiness is cultivated, not consumed.  The harvest is subtle.  Sweet, but not syrupy.  Enough, but not plenty. It is nutritious, rejuvenating, and restorative but you cannot buy it at Whole Foods, or anywhere for that matter.  Try to grasp it, and it slips away.  In fact, the very pursuit of happiness may be what is making you unhappy. 

Each pillar has five components within it, and each is connected to each other pillar.  A pentagon-upon-pentagon structure, with crosslinking connexons helps us visualize the balance and interdependence of internal and external factors that promote happiness. 

The First Pillar is 1) Healthy Relationships’ its composite components are acceptance, assertiveness, patience, compassion, and forgiveness. 

The Second Pillar is fairly obvious, it is: 2) ‘Living The Good Life’, that is, we are happy when we engage in activities where we experience ‘Flow’ (a timeless experience where we are fully attentive and engaged, without judgment).  For some it’s surfing, for others its playing music, for others it is being in nature.  This Second Pillar however, must be strongly supported by the 4th and 5th pillars (more later).  Here, ‘Go with the Flow’ applies. 

The Third Pillar is less intuitive, it is: 3) ‘Living A Good Life’.  A slight difference in the preposition, ‘The vs ‘A’ and the meaning changes altogether.  Here, we are referring to ‘a life well lived’.  That is, living according to one’s principles, and values, and contributing in some manner to society or nature.  It also encompasses a sense that we are part of something much larger than us, and we can gain solace and wisdom from our connection with ‘something greater than, or beyond, the limits of our mundane experience. 

The remaining two pillars are psychological in nature.  The Fourth Pillar refers to: 4) Thought Content, i.e. what we think about.  The new field of Positive Psychology, and, not coincidentally, what several lines of Buddhist philosophy have hypothesized for centuries, tell us that what we focus upon, what we think about, strongly influences our happiness (and conversely other less comfortable emotions).  It turns out that happy people’s thoughts are predominantly in the domains of gratitude, beauty, humor, and curiosity.  Their thoughts are also predominantly in the present.  The quip, ‘The Past is History, the Future Mystery, Today is a gift, That’s why they call it The Present’ applies here.  Most of us are not here now.  Where are you right now? Yes it seems that on average, 46% of the time we are distracted.  We all have 86,400 seconds each day, if you are not absolutely and completely present for 40,000 or more of them, then you are more distracted than the average American!  Compare that to the average practitioner of Mindfulness Meditation and, well…are you happy now?  When was it that, the last time that you took a shower, you were in the shower?  Think about it…where are you now?  In the shower? 

The Fifth Pillar is complex.  It refers not to the content of our thoughts, but to our 5) Thought Processes; especially how we think about the inevitable losses, pains, and disappointments a conscious and empathic person experiences in everyday life.  Happy people do cry, and do feel anger, and do experience despair; But, though they feel these emotions, and sometimes very deeply, they are not overwhelmed by them.  They ‘process them’ and move on to more pleasant content, and they resurface, are processed and they come back to the moment.  More on processing difficult emotions in the workshop.  Even the Dalai Lama will tell you that if you hang out with him for awhile, you will see his impatience, his anger, his disappointment.  He is awake, compassionate, human, but not attached to his emotions.  Pema Chodron, a widely read Canadian Buddhist nun, points out that pain and suffering are part of life, but resistance to, or avoidance of, these inevitable experiences creates so much more suffering than is necessary or healthy.   Emotional Forecasting (Daniel Gilbert) renders us perpetual seekers of Happiness.  We think that when we reach point B, as we imagine it at point A, then we will be happy.  However, everytime we actually reach point B, it never looks as we imagined at point A, so we set our sights on a new point B where the real happiness lies, and so on.  We are all a bit quixotic, relentlessly pursuing happiness, only find ourselves gone with the wind, milling about disillusioned, until we spy the next ‘B Happy’ prize, that turns out to be just another windmill.

            The 4th and 5th Pillars of Happiness are the most challenging, yet the most critical; they prop up the first three.  The what and how we think are presented poetically in the lyrics of ‘Child of the Wind’ by Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian folk/rock artist and human rights activist.  Ponder these words, if you will. 

Little blue planet in a big universe

Sometimes it looks blessed, sometimes it looks cursed

Depends on what you look at, obviously

But even more, it depends on the way that you see

Is Mercury Harming Your Health?

Are you confused about the health benefits versus risks of eating fish? Even leading health authorities seem puzzled and give conflicting advice. The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend eating 2-3 servings of fish per week, yet the FDA and EPA warn us of dangerous mercury levels in fish. Fish consumption warnings from the FDA make me nervous. The FDA’s public safety approach is ethically questionable, allowing tens of thousands of toxic chemicals into our country’s food, water and air. So, I assume mercury from fish consumption is a real public health threat if the FDA warns us without any monetary or public positioning gain. Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on our planet. Negative health effects of mercury include neurological, immune, cardiovascular and reproductive damage. Mercury has been implicated in diseases like Alzheimers, ALS, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. Mercury damages chromosomes, making it a factor in development of cancer. The toxic effects of mercury are vast and even a small amount can have devastating results. Still want to add seared ahi to that salad?
The reality is we are all exposed to mercury. Symptoms may be as subtle as headaches and fatigue or could manifest as a debilitating neurological disease. Fortunately, nature provides us with substances that help our bodies metabolize, bind and remove mercury. Here are my top 10 tips for reducing toxic mercury effects:
1. Eat plenty of sulfur-rich vegetables like broccoli, kale, collard greens, cilantro, watercress, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and mustard greens.  Choose organic as pesticides are a major source of heavy metals.
2. Eat foods rich in Cysteine.Cysteine is an amino acid necessary to make an important mercury binder called metallothionein.  Turkey, eggs, red pepper and oats are good sources of cysteine.
3. Reduce your exposure.  Larger, older fish tend to be higher in mercury.  Steer clear of shark, swordfish and marlin.  Choose small aku over large ahi.  Avoid or replace your mercury fillings.Be aware of other mercury sources like long-acting decongestants and nasal sprays, skin bleaching creams, waterproof mascara, antibiotic eye drops, some drain cleaners, fungicides and pesticides.
4. Take a chlorophyll supplement. Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, is nature’s heavy metal chelator. It aids your body’s detoxification system by binding and eliminating toxins like mercury. Chlorella powder is an excellent option.
5. Take a good quality whey protein powder.  Undenatured hydrolyzed whey protein contains amino acids that restore your body’s natural glutathione, an essential antioxidant severely depleted in mercury toxicity. Make sure to get a good quality whey protein, free of hormones, casein, antibiotics, artificial flavors, colorings or sweeteners. 
6. Eat plenty of flavanoids. These polyphenolic compounds found in plant foods reduce heavy metals and help protect tissues vulnerable to heavy metal damage. Eat plenty of dark berries, organic strawberries, green tea, spinach, dark greens, organic apples, onions, garlic and ginger.
7. Eat organic whenever possible.  Pesticides and herbicides are major sources of heavy metals.  Choosing organic reduces your toxic exposure.
8. Build up your beneficial intestinal flora (good bacteria). Healthy intestinal flora help convert mercury to its less toxic, easier to eliminate form.  Eating cultured foods like organic keiffer and taking a good quality probiotic supplement can help prevent toxic mercury effects.
9. Eat plenty of fiber from whole plant foods.  Mercury passing through the digestive tract has the potential to reabsorb into circulation. Fiber helps bind and prevent mercury from re-entering circulation.
10. Assess total body burden.  A random blood test does not accurately reflect mercury body burden levels. You can be suffering from mercury toxicity and have a negative blood test. The body, in its wisdom, recognizes the toxicity of mercury and quickly moves it out of circulation and into tissues where it will hopefully do the least damage.  A hair test may be used, but this just shows recent exposure versus total body burden.  A 24 hour urine test after taking a chelator (chelator = substance that pulls metal out of tissues & binds it) is a more accurate test for assessing total body burden.  Make sure to see a doctor who is familiar with testing, chelation protocols, risk assessment and follow-up treatment. (very few are)

GMO Crops Depleted of Nutrients

We know that GMO crops contain multiple toxins linked to birth defects, infertility, cancer, DNA mutations and cell death, but did you know that the herbicide used on GMO crops also depletes vital nutrients?  Genetically modified crops are mutated to resist Monsanto's herbicides and pesticides so that they can be heavily covered with the chemicals and continue to grow while all other plant life around them dies.  Super resistant weeds have popped up, of course, forcing stronger and greater quantities of chemicals to be used.  Multiple studies now link the use of these herbicides to a depletion of nutrients and a catastrophic plant disease.  Catastrophic sounds a bit dramatic, but in this case I think it is an appropriate adjective.  Glyphosate, the main compound in Monsanto's herbicide, chelates and depletes important minerals including magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium and more.  In plants and in people, mineral deficiencies can go unchecked and untreated....until the organism (human or plant) can no longer maintain homeostasis and disease manifests.  Over 135 million pounds of glyphosate herbicides were used in 2010.  Consider this amount plus all the previous years of use and we have a potentially serious nutrient depletion in plants, animals and humans.  Many herbicide sprayed GMO crops and crops planted in fields previously treated with glyphosate are all of the sudden turning yellow and dying.  It's called SDS, or sudden death syndrome.  It's thought that the glyphosate is slowly changing the nutrient and soil conditions, chelating necessary minerals and promoting pathogenic soil organisms.  The plants grow seemingly fine at first, until conditions reach critical maximum, and the entire crop spontaneously dies.  As a naturopathic physician, I see parallel trends in nature and patients.  So often the patients says, "I've been eating this way for a long time and I'm just now getting (fill in the blank disease condition)".  A slow burn of nutrient depletion and struggle to maintain health and homeostasis amidst continuous bombardment of toxic substances eventually overtakes the body and symptoms manifest.  The human body's ability to heal itself when barriers to health are removed still amazes and inspires me.  Of course there is always a point of no return.  Let's hope our planet does not reach that point. 
 

Do Statin Drugs Do More Harm Than Good?

Statin drugs lower cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme that helps the body make cholesterol.  Sounds good in theory, but do potential health benefits outweigh a growing evidence of risky side-effects?  The FDA just expanded its advice on statin drug risks to include cognitive impairment such as memory loss and confusion, increased risk of type II diabetes and increased risk of muscle damage when mixed with other common medications.  Remember, the heart is muscle.  Another important point about statin drugs: the same enzyme inhibited by statin drugs is needed for the body to make CoQ10, a critical antioxidant required for mitochondrial ATP synthesis and antioxidant protection of cell membranes and lipoproteins.  In other words, CoQ10  is vital to heart health and its biosynthesis is inhibited by statin drugs.  Most of the hype around health benefits of statin drugs came about after the 2008 Jupiter Trial was published, boasting major lowering of stroke, heart attack and death risk.  Not surprisingly, this study was funded by Astra-Zeneca, the makers of statin drug Crestor.  Two years after publication of the Jupiter trial, the Archives of Internal Medicine published three papers refuting the results.  They concluded that the study and statistics were grossly flawed and “do not support the use of statin treatment for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease”!  Although the FDA is only adding a few labeled risks, there have been over 900 studies showing risks of statin drugs to include: cognitive loss, neuropathy, anemia, acidosis, frequent fevers, sexual dysfunction, increased cancer risk, pancreatic dysfunction, immune suppression, liver dysfunction and muscle degeneration.  While most people with elevated “bad” cholesterol can lower and optimize levels with diet and lifestyle changes, there are subgroups that may benefit from statin drugs.  Those with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia and those at very high risk of heart attack (based on heart attack risk factors, NOT cholesterol levels) could benefit from statins. If you are not in one of these 2 categories, statin drugs would likely do more harm than good. What can you do to Optimize cholesterol levels?                                                                                                   

I specifically use the term “optimize” rather than lower, because our body needs cholesterol in the correct ratios to form cell membranes, vitamin D and hormones.  Some simple steps to naturally optimize cholesterol include:

  • Reduce high glycemic foods like fructose, sugars and processed grains.
  • Consume plenty of fiber and raw foods.
  • Take a good quality omega-3 fish oil supplement, free of heavy metals and PCBs.  Fish oils have been well documented to lower total cholesterol while increasing HDL (protective) cholesterol.
  • Exercise!  Move your body every day.
  • Don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol in excess.
  • Avoid all trans fats, shown to lower HDL (good) and increase LDL (bad)
  • If you eat meat, make sure it is naturally grass fed.  Grass fed beef has 4 times the amount of omega-3 fats compared to grain-fed beef.
  • Get plenty of quality sleep.

Source: American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs 2008; 8:373-418                         

Source: J Animal Sci (1993) 71(8):2079-88                                                                                                   

Source: www.fda.gov

 Posted by Dr. Allison Gandre  ND

Tai Chi/Qigong Class (Ongoing Event)

Tai Chi & Chi Kung (Qigong): Team taught by Dr Thomas Cummings & Stuart Holloway. Both teachers will be present at the inaugural class, and they will alternate teaching every Saturday so you can get the benefit of two very experienced teachers by coming weekly. Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese system of mental and physical development and martial art.  It consists of learning 'forms' that are series of graceful movements involving the entire body  and practiced in a very slow and mindful manner.  The movement, breath, and attention are coordinated to integrate the mind and body.  Regular practice results in peace of mind, clarity, fluid movement, increased balance, grace, strength and suppleness.  This movement based meditation can cultivate many of the same benefits as meditation (see: http://bit.ly/KenPopeMeditationResearch) Chi Kung (Qigong) is very similar to Tai Chi, except it involves simpler movements coordinated with the breath and attention making it easier to achieve a meditative state and to clear out and activate energy channels known as meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dr Cummings studied and taught Yang Style and Chen Village Style Tai Chi since 1980 from the Chen Man Ching lineage of Master Liao and David Mishlove.  He is a clinical psychologist who was a professor of various classes for many years so his teaching skills have been refined over several decades.  Stuart Holloway has been practicing Qigong and Tai Chi since 1993.  He is certified to teach Eight Treasures Qigong since 1994; check out www.InnergyCentreLLC.com.

Wisdom from the Dali Lama

"Cultivating an attitude of compassion and developing wisdom are slow processes. As you gradually internalize techniques for developing morality, concentration of mind, and wisdom, untamed states of mind become less and less frequent. You will need to practice these techniques day by day, year by year. As you transform your mind, you will transform your surroundings. Others will see the benefits of your practice of tolerance and love, and will work at bringing these practices into their own lives." Passage selected by Dr. Cummings

Loneliness

Why Loneliness Matters Loneliness really does hurt -- not just your emotions, but your physical health, too. Here's how to reconnect.

By Susan Kuchinskas

WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Patricia A. Farrell, PhD

Loneliness can hit at almost any time. When Amity Brown separated from her husband of 11 years, for instance, she felt -- understandably --  isolated and sad. "The hardest thing is not having someone with that deep emotional knowledge of me to catch me when I fall," says the 41-year-old photographer based in Oakland, Calif.

It's almost inevitable that losing a spouse or moving to a new town can make you feel lonely; but loneliness can strike even without major life changes. You can be alone without being lonely, or you can feel lonely in a crowd. True loneliness is simply a feeling of being disconnected from others; 5% to 7% of middle-aged and older adults report feeling intense or persistent loneliness.

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

Snow White Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Sweet Revenge

By Regina BarrecaRetribution can be pretty delicious when it's crafted to puncture the pride of the perpetrator.   When con artist Bernie Madoff's alleged mistress wrote a book describing what might be called Madoff's very small endowment, she was taking retribution on an ex-lover who once wielded power. The advance on the manuscript repaid her not only for some of the cash she lost but for the self-esteem she forfeited. Her tell-all shout-out was a classic, if not classy, act of revenge....

Read the Snow White Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Sweet Revenge article > >

"Loneliness is what you say it is. You can't tell somebody you shouldn't be lonely," says Louise Hawkley, PhD, senior research scientist with the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

Loneliness and Illness

Loneliness is not only emotionally painful; it can harm your health. It's a risk factor for a host of problems: high blood pressure; sleep problems; decreased ability to deal with the stress of daily life; and the body's reduced ability to handle inflammation, leading to conditions such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendinitis, as well as a weakened immune system, so you're more susceptible to illness. Researchers have yet to identify the exact ways these health problems occur, but they know that loneliness seems to make them worse.

While many of these issues don't show up until middle age or later, the damage begins early, according to Hawkley. Small increases in stress chemicals released into the bloodstream can, over time, damage blood vessels all over the body.

Of course, some lonely times are inevitable in everyone's life, and you don't need to fear them. Think of loneliness as a thirst for companionship, one you can satisfy. Says Hawkley, "It's a feeling that, if it's doing its job, it gets you out there to sate that need to feel connected."

The Loneliness Cure

Louise Hawkley, PhD, says we should think of loneliness not as a state but as a motivation to get social. Here's how:

Get out and about. You don't have to be best friends with someone to benefit from interaction. Amity Brown, who is separated from her husband, takes walks around her neighborhood, smiling at people she passes. "When I started getting to know the neighborhood and the people around me, I felt like part of a community," she says.

Be selective about making friends. Hawkley points out that if you're desperate for relationships, you may be willing to tolerate unacceptable treatment. Now that Brown is feeling more stable, she says, "I'm more careful when I choose my friends to make sure they're low-drama."

Stay positive. Lonely people tend to expect rejection, which makes it more likely to happen. Social cognitive therapy can help people reframe their thoughts about how others see them.

Fighting Depression One Moment at a Time

Exercise to Change the Way You Feel For decades now, scores of studies have documented the mood improving effects of exercise.  Several studies have shown that exercise works as well or even better than antidepressant medication.  And you don’t have to run a marathon.  Just take a walk with a friend.  As time goes on, increase activity until you exercise on most days.  Then increase the intensity without injuring yourself.  You will feel better emotionally, physically, and you will sleep better at night which in turn boosts your mood.  So the benefits are multifold.  If you have not exercised in a long time, start easy, be consistent, build slowly, and listen to your body.  Also seek your physicians advice.

Choose Foods to Boost Your Mood

Some studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12 may ease mood changes such as depression.  Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids.  So do flaxseed, nuts, soybeans, and dark green vegetables.  Seafood and low-fat dairy products are good sources of B-12.  Vegetarians who eat no meat or fish can get B12 in fortified cereals, dairy products, and supplements

Let Your Pet Nuzzle the Blues Away

Sometimes your pet really can be your best friend- and that is good therapy.  When you play with your pet, you take your mind off your problems.  Also, when you take care of your pet you’re fulfilling a commitment to something outside yourself.  Caring for others can be very therapeutic.

Drink Less Caffeine - Improve Mood

Do you really need that third cup of coffee?  Anxiety often accompanies depression.  And to much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious.  What goes up must come down: every chemical lift has a downside, so this is when we tend to get swept away with negative thinking, irritability, and dark emotions.  So cutting back on soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate may make a difference in your mood.  It can also help you sleep better at night.  High quality sleep is essential to fight depression, and stimulants can interfere with the kind of sleep you need to help your brain keep out of the blues zone.

Remember, you must fight depression, you cannot wait until ‘you are in the mood’ because depression is a mood disorder.  You must set a plan, a schedule, and stick to it despite whatever mood you are in at the time.  This schedule should include the following on a regular basis.  I have use the mnemonic device of – The Ize (pron. Eyes) Have It.

The Ize (pron. Eyes) Have It

Exercise – cardio exercise for 25+ minutes, 6 days a week.  If you have not exercised for awhile, take it slowly, do not injure yourself.

Socialize – with others who will take your mind off your negative perspective, do not spend your time commiserating or ‘venting’, it is not healthy, it is merely practicing your negative thinking habits

Solarize – getting outdoors in sunshine helps increase natural Vitamin D and helps stimulate the pineal gland which are both implicated in mood regulation

Humorize – this is not the time to watch Schindler’s List, watch humorous movies, comedians, and read humorous books or articles, laughter is good medicine.

Empathize – Having compassion for others, and acting on it, can stimulate activity in your own pleasure center in your brain (septal nuclei) – recent studies in neuroimaging are validating what lamas and monks in the far east have known for centuries, compassion brings lasting happiness.

Spiritualize – whatever your path, reconnect with it, many people find solace, meaning, and ego-less self worth via their religion or spiritual path.  Religious and spiritual systems help us make meaning out of our suffering so that we may endure the inevitable hardships of human existence.

Realize you cannot do it alone: you need the support of friends, family, and your therapist

5 Fitness Myths You Need to Forget

From What Works What Doesn't To be fit you need to stop letting myths like these hold you back.

1. Walking is not as effective as running. Sure, you'll burn about twice as many calories running for 30 minutes than walking for 30 minutes. But if a runner and a walker cover the same distance, they burn about the same number of calories. So if you're willing to take the 'slow route,' you'll likely lose just as much weight. In fact, studies have proved that how long you exercise matters more than how hard you exercise.

2. Exercise increases hunger It's a common misconception: If you burn hundreds of calories during a workout, you'll end up eating more. But research shows that exercise has no effect on a person's food needs, with the exception of endurance athletes who exercise for two hours a day or more. In fact, research shows that exercise often suppresses hunger during and after the workout.

Plus: 12 Ways to Jump-Start Your Metabolism

3. It doesn't matter where your calories come from Calories are not created equal. First, some foods (in particular, proteins) take more energy to chew, digest, metabolize, and store than others. Others (such as fats and carbohydrates) require fewer calories to digest and store. Second, different food types have different effects on your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates (think white bread, cookies, and fruit drinks) raise blood sugar levels dramatically, which encourages fat storage, weight gain, and hunger. Fibrous foods like apples, as well as proteins, raise blood sugar less, making them friendlier to your waistline. Finally, foods that contain a lot of water, such as vegetables and soup, tend to fill the belly on fewer calories, so you'll stop eating them way before you stop eating more calorie-dense foods.

Download our Life IQ trivia game for your iPhone.

4. Diet alone is enough for sustained weight loss You'll lose weight in the short term by slashing calories, but experts say exercise is what keeps pounds off for good. Exercise burns calories, of course. It also builds muscle, which takes up less space than fat. Muscle tissue also requires more calories to sustain it than fat tissue does. In other words, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you'll burn at rest. In fact, some studies suggest that over the long term, if you had a choice of eating consistently less or exercising consistently more, exercise would be the better weight-loss choice.

Plus: 11 Healthy Ways to Load Up on Lean Protein

5. There is no best time for exercise If you're simply walking to get healthy or take off some weight, it doesn't matter when you do it, as long as you do it. But if you're an athlete looking for the best-quality workout, choose the late afternoon, when body temperature is highest. Muscles are warm, reaction time is quick, and strength is at its peak. If you push yourself harder as a result, you will burn more calories.