Cycle of Health – Mind, Body and Spirit

In the Western Medicine paradigm of technology and science the primary emphasis is on the physical body and how to treat disease. Thus, Western society has become a society of sickness and disease rather than wellness. Physical health is one-third the equation for wholeness and healthiness. Western Medicine over looks the other two – emotional and spiritual.

The cycle of wholeness and health seeks to attune the person’s mind, body and spirit to the needs and messages of the body, as well as, to the natural means the body uses to maintain health. Similar to the balancing cycles in nature, such as the sun and rain nourishing crops, Ayurveda tradition observes the natural cycles of detoxification and rejuvenation that are ever present in the human physiology.

To maintain health, the body needs to rid itself of damaging and unwanted elements – [detoxification] and supply necessary nutrients [rejuvenation] in a balanced fashion. Through combining botanicals in a manner that promotes mild detoxification and cellular rejuvenation this promotes the natural cycle of body health. The result is the enjoyment of new levels of health and well-being in body, mind, and spirit.

By examining how an herb or fruit affects the physiology, Ayurveda establishes how different botanicals can affect the mind, [emotions], the subtle energies of the body, and ultimately the spirit. Ayurveda teaches that each area of health is interdependent.

To maintain health the mind [emotions] and spirit need to be nurtured and supported. The four most important rituals to create emotional and spiritual health is: Prayer, Meditation, Gratitude, Spending time in nature, including near fire and water.

Remember to be consciously aware of the role Spirit plays in your life. Spiritual health is created through being intimately connected to your spouse, partner, family, friends, and community, resulting in social health. Spiritual and social health, are interconnected. It is through your committed relationships that you will create the greatest opportunities for spiritual growth and for learning how to receive and impart unconditional love. Only love is real – all else is self-defeating.

Mental Health – Mind-Body Wellness


The effect of positive or negative emotions is so powerful, it changes lives. It is widely documented that a person’s emotional health influences medical outcomes and can lead to depression or happiness.

Research shows that one function of the human brain is to produce substances that effect emotional and physical health. One such substance is endorphins /en·dor·phins/ (en-dor´fins) which play a vital role in the body’s ability to heal itself. These studies shows that laughter can reduce stress, decrease pain, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system because laughter increased endorphins which increase immune function and make you more resistant to disease.

Do you ever wonder why you feel better after a good laugh, a long run, having sex or any strenuous workout? It’s because of the endorphins released in your body which gives an elated feeling that sometimes last up to 14 hours depending on the individual.


As a healthcare provider and educator, I have taught that “endorphin is one of a group of opiate-like peptides produced naturally by the body in the brain at neural synapses. At various points in the central nervous system pathways they modulate the transmission of pain perceptions”. The term endorphin was derived at by combining the words endogenous and morphine”. Endorphins produces a morphine effect raise the pain threshold, produce sedation and euphoria. This effect can be blocked by naloxone which is a narcotic antagonist medication.

Endorphins may also regulate the release of growth hormones from the pituitary gland and are released when you, for example, cut you finger or burn your hand. Initially you feel severe pain but it soon disappeared due to the release of endorphins that kills the pain.


I see sickness all around. Most of it could be prevented with more attention to health habits, thoughts, emotions, nutrition and actions. How do you respond to stress in your life? Any prolonged strenuous exercises such as swimming, walking, bike riding, cross-country skiing, tennis, having sex will raise endorphin levels; “the happy juice”. UV light increase endorphins but even with the risk of getting skin cancer, people still sun bathe. People will continue to be out in the sun because it leads to that “euphoric feeling” and people like feeling good. Laughter is good medicine for the soul, raises endorphins levels. Keep laughing!

CONCLUSION: It’s time to start taking big steps towards creating that balanced life you want. Just as endorphins increased your happiness and outlook on life, positive attitude and thoughts increased your mental health. Set big financial goals, start a successful home based business so you can make the money needed for a healthy financial future. Eat healthy foods with the right portions to prevent weight gain and obesity. Exercise frequently to reduce stress, increase circulation, maintain desirable body weight and have a believe system – prayer works! Remember your mind or body is a terrible thing to waste.

Mind, Body, Spirit – Health at Midlife and Menopause

Midlife and menopause is a time of many transitions. Shifting hormones may produce hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss, insomnia, and mood swings. Our growing realization of life’s impermanence leads to taking stock of our lives’ successes and failures, how they’ve compared with what we expected, and what’s next. Identity and esteem issues arise as changing roles, like children leaving home, cause us to question “Who am I? Who do I want to be?” Through this, some of us will discover greater clarity, strength and confidence about ourselves, while others will feel confused, lost, distressed. We will be faced with our parents aging, ourselves aging, numerous relationship changes, leaving work, resuming work, and multiple situational influences which may destabilize our sense of self and well-being. Cultivating good health, mind, body and spirit, will be paramount to surviving and thriving all midlife and menopause brings. Here’s what I suggest:

1. Being positive and open-minded. Viewing midlife as a journey, an opportunity to become more fully present to your life and who you are, will enable you to better weather the ups and downs. Research indicates that women who adopt this attitude have less intense physical symptoms, fewer mood issues, less esteem problems, and more personal satisfaction. Be prepared to let go of pre-conceived ideas of your life and how it was supposed to be. Marcus Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands, but in having new eyes”.

2. Rediscovering you. Remember adolescence when you took those shaky steps to becoming who you are. Welcome to “second adulthood” as Susan Braun Levine describes it in her book, Inventing the Rest of Our Lives. Think about who you were before you became a worker, wife, mother, daughter, best friend, etc. Ask yourself “Who am I?” Deep down where roles fall away and your character emerges. This is a chance to reconnect with those parts of yourself you’ve buried and breathe new life into being creative, adventurous, bold, sensitive, who knows. It’s up to you.

3. Listening to your inner guidance. With estrogen declining and a deepening sense of life’s impermanence, many women discover a newfound freedom to loosen the bonds of being who they “should be” and becoming who they choose to be. When you can quiet the voices of what others want or want for you, you can hear your inner wisdom. At first, it may be hardly audible. But, the more you tune in, the stronger and clearer it becomes. It is not the voice of self-centeredness, but inner knowing which begins with self-compassion and extends to others. Listen wisely.

4. Choosing nourishing relationships. At midlife, we may find that relationships we’ve been involved in for years, aren’t working well for us. Why? While it occurs for many reasons like changing interests, frequently it’s because we don’t feel emotionally nourished and that there’s enough give and take. The bottom line is to not force yourself to stay in situations you’ve outgrown. Instead, ask yourself honestly, “Do I enjoy being with this person? Does she/he bring something positive to my life even if it’s changed over time? How much do I want them to remain a part of my life?” Respect what you want and need equally. It’s time.

5. Reducing hot flashes. Now, for some body wisdom. While hot flashes are a product of estrogen shifts, certain substances/situations will aggravate them. So, limit your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and hot beverages. Dress in layers and sleep with a foot or arm uncovered to stay cooler as heat intensifies them. Reduce stress by shortening your to-do list, taking regular breaks, working out, and practicing relaxation. 15-20 minutes of deep breathing or meditation daily was shown to decrease hot flashes up to 70%. If you have trouble sitting still, try yoga or pilates. Discover what works for you.

6. Building heart and bone health. With declining estrogen, women are at increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women over 50 and complications from osteoporosis including hip fracture, likewise result in disability and death. Exercise and good nutrition are key. Twenty to thirty minutes of weight-bearing exercise, e.g. walking, weight training, circuit workout, combined with cardio building, e.g. jogging, aerobics, swimming, several times weekly, is recommended. Daily calcium intake for peri-and post-menopausal women should total 1200-1500 mg. Calcium and 800 IU Vitamin D for absorption. Choosing calcium rich, high protein, and low fat foods will support bone and heart health.

7. Enjoying sex. With hormonal and relationship shifts, sex often changes at midlife and menopause. According to Dr. Jacob Klein, Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, “As women go through perimenopause, arousal proceeds desire”, meaning that women need to feel aroused to be interested in sex. “It’s like going to a restaurant when you’re not really hungry, but your appetizer arrives, you see other people eating, and you start feeling hungry,” he commented. Physical symptoms of vaginal dryness and decreased lubrication may lessen interest and pleasure. But, having sex regularly will offset these some. So understand what’s going on, don’t take it personally, make adjustments, and have fun!

8. Living on purpose. Creating the life you want may be the biggest challenge and opportunity midlife women face. It involves discovering and prioritizing what matters most to us, and then taking actions to pursue these values and goals. For one woman, it might be returning to school and completing her degree which she interrupted to have children. For another, leaving a marriage which has not been nourishing for years. It requires the courage to follow our hearts, whether others approve or understand. To accept our responsibility for the life we create, and living our dreams.

9. Creating a spirit-filled life. What this means is having a sense of connection with something bigger than oneself, whether it’s God, nature, or the universe. Spirit gives us a feeling that there is more to life than our physical existence and at midlife when the reality of our mortality confronts us, many of us long for this knowing. The ways we attain spiritual connectedness are unique whether through organized religion or individual practice, but all have value. Look at Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. and Gordon Dverin, Ph.D., Your Soul’s Compass, for ideas about accessing your spirituality.

10. Embracing stewardship. As our connection with something bigger than ourselves grows, we often discover an interest in protecting and caring for our communities and our planet. We want our children, others we love and even those we don’t know, to be free of the inner and outer obstacles that hindered us. In becoming more fully ourselves, we discover a love and respect for all that is. Healing ourselves helps the world toward a better tomorrow.

For me, the journey of midlife and menopause has been rich beyond words. This doesn’t mean it’s been easy, and each of us will have our share of ups and downs as we traverse this unexplored terrain. But this second adulthood affords us the opportunity to re-examine our lives with the wisdom, strength and resources, we’ve gained, and to decide, if we’re willing, what matters and what’s next. A time to dream again and to live our dreams.

Mind Body Soul Health

Hey ladies, it is important that we are taking care of ourselves and it doesn’t just mean getting your hair or nails done on occasion…it means taking care of your mind, body and soul everyday.

Here are some simple things you can do to incorporate mind, body, soul health into your life on a regular basis.

Mental Health

One simple way that you can care for your mental health is reading material on subjects of interest to energize and stimulate your mind. It’s important to keep learning and presenting yourself with challenging questions for further research and social inquiry.

Another why to activate your brain juices is by participating in activities that get you exploring your creativity such as writing, painting or drawing.

Emotional Health

It is so important to have healthy outlets for your emotions, unbalanced feelings bottled in can lead to physical illness.

Rather than keeping feelings of anger trapped in your body, you can scream into or pillow or use it as a punching bag. But remember that the safety of yourself and others is a priority when exploring healthy outlets for anger.

If you are sad about something, writing your feelings in a journal or sharing what’s going on with a trusted friend can both be very nurturing.

Physical Health

We all know that taking care of our bodies is essential to keeping them vibrant and strong, but most people aren’t committed to exercising or eating healthy on a regular basis because of the misconception that they don’t have enough time, or have to make huge adjustments to their current lifestyle.

However, you don’t have to spend hours each day on a boring treadmill. Things like taking a 20 minute walk on your lunch break or playing with your kids at the park (rather then simply watching them) are great ways to increase your physical activity.

To make some improvements to your diet, carry fruit, veggies or nuts in your day bag. Eating healthy, light snakes throughout the day assists with eating less and lighter during your meal times because you wont be starving.

Spiritual Health

Your spiritual health is an important part of your mind, body, soul health as well. You are not just a skin bag, you are a creative, energetic being who has a reason and purpose for existing in your human form.

Taking time out of your schedule to meditate has many benefits including mental clarity and stress reduction. Meditation will also enable you to be more in tune with your intuition….your gut feelings. You can reek the benefits of meditation with as little as 5 minutes a day.

Spending time in nature, near tress or plants or the ocean are great ways to get connected to the beautiful world that you are a part of. I often experience an overwhelming sense of gratitude when I am in nature.

Meditation and spending time in nature allows you to step outside of your individualized life circumstances and into a world that is whole perfect and complete…an experience that is both stimulating and calming.

The Mind-Body Connection in Health

Neurotransmitters, Receptors, and Prescription Drugs

Science has made some amazing breakthrough discoveries in the last fifty years or so. Television, internet, cell phones, technological advancements – all of these have drastically changed our lives, for better or for worse. But in the area of human health, perhaps the most profound discovery of all has been made regarding the mind-body connection in human physiology.

The term mind-body connection is more than just a new-age catchphrase. It feels kind of strange to think about this, but science has shown us that every thought or emotion you experience can actually be boiled down to the binding of certain tiny molecules called neurotransmitters in your nervous system.

It happens at lightning speed. When you have a specific thought or emotion, synapses in your nervous system are firing, causing a chain reaction through the release of neurotransmitters. If you have a home brain scanning device (just kidding), you could actually see this. You would see that when you think about certain things or feelings, different parts of your brain are activated.

For example, thoughts about a pleasurable experience would release endorphins that activate the opiate receptors in your brain, giving you feelings of happiness or peace. Feelings of anger would release molecules called catecholamines, giving you a burst of energy and causing your circulation to increase or your face to flush.

Neurotransmitters are also involved in the body’s physical systems. The pumping of the heart, the movement of the stomach in digestion, the breathing of your lungs – these are all controlled by the binding of neurotransmitters to the cells in your body.

Of course, this has created a pretty big impact in the field of medicine, primarily in the creation of new drugs. Being able to understand the receptors and neurotransmitters in the body, scientists have developed a whole array of drugs aimed at treating or preventing a variety of health conditions, both mental and physical. This has given birth to our new age of medicine, where in treating disease, prescription drugs reign supreme. While this has benefited many people, the downside is that the powerful movement of the drug industry is detracting from the other benefits we can gain from this new scientific understanding.

The Mind-Body Connection in Daily Life

The same neurotransmitters involved in thought and emotion also have receptors in the various organs of the body. What this means is that not only are your thoughts and emotions physical processes, but they also have an effect on the systems in your body.

Take the digestive system for example. The digestive system has been coined “the second brain” because it is so rich in nerve endings and receptor sites. These nerves in your digestion have many of the same receptors as the ones in your brain. So when you have certain thoughts or emotions, the release of neurotransmitters are going to have an effect on your digestive system. We’ve all had the experience of a nervous stomach, or felt the effects of anger in our gut.

It’s not a one way street either. The organ systems of the body release neurotransmitters that have an effect on our brains, and this can then affect our thoughts and emotions. The human body is a complex system of feedback loops.

This understanding can have just as profound a change, if not a bigger one, than the development of new drugs. In seeing our thoughts and emotions as physical processes that affect the health of our body, it can motivate us to be more attentive to what is going on in both our minds and bodies.

For example, understanding the mind-body connection, it becomes harder to just blow off something like having too much stress as if it is only mental or emotional. Stress can actually have detrimental effects on our health because it leads to the release of excess stress hormones which can cause a number of health problems. Or, when our immune systems become weak because the mind tells us that brutally high expectations are the path to success, we can start to question whether sacrificing health is a worthy trade for this pursuit.

In the 17th century, Descartes penned his famous phrase “I think, therefore I am,” implying the highest quality of humanity is the power of the mind. Over time, we have come to value the mind as being above and therefore superior to the body. We use our minds to control our bodies, to pursue our ideals often at the expense of our physical health.

The breakthrough understanding in the science of neurotransmitters and receptors challenges this mentality. The mind is not elevated above the body – the mind and the body are one and the same. By understanding this reality, we can see more clearly how the mind and body affect each other and learn to take better care of ourselves, our health, and each other.