Tuesday, February 15, 2011

As Healthy As You Can Be: Three Easy Steps You Can Take Now

Deborah Kukal, PhD

Having a medical condition can make us feel powerless. Our body is not doing what it should, and it may be doing stuff it shouldn't. We get frustrated when no one can fix the problem. And underneath it all, it's scary.

We can't totally control our body, that's for sure. But more and more, research is discovering ways that we can have a strong and powerful impact-for better or for worse-on our own health. Even when we have very real diseases and disorders. A recent study of women with breast cancer found that those with lower levels of physical stress hormones had less pain, less fatigue and less depression.

Now you may say "But it would be stressful to have breast cancer!" And of course you'd be right. But all the women had the cancer...yet not all the women had the same levels of physical stress hormones. How we manage our stress can make a difference in the physical cascades of biochemicals washing through our bodies. And that can mean lower levels of negative stress effects like pain, depression and fatigue--even when we have real stress to deal with.

What can you do to wash away the negative stress biochemicals, keep them at a manageable level and prevent stress damage to the brain and body? Here are three easy steps that are shown over and over in research to have a positive, healing impact, reduce stress, decrease pain, improve mood, and just make life happier!

1. Join a group. Whether it's the church you love, the study group you have grown so close to, or the extended family you enjoy so often, the experience of belonging to a group is powerful. Individuals who belong to a group where they feel supported and accepted show positive physical effects, and the research shows positive impact even when we have other not-so-healthy habits!

2. Practice Meditation/Guided Imagery. The research is clear-whether you call it meditation, guided imagery or deep relaxation, it's good for your brain and your body! Don't know how? You can use guided imagery recordings to help relieve pain, and to support you in new, healthy habits. We added Alpha Harmonics to our recordings, to help you relax even more deeply and richly. Your body will have less negative impact from stress, and all the positive effects of reduced inflammation, reduced pain, and increased healing. And it's fun, too!

3. Get some hugs. Our bodies need to be touched-our skin is hungry for touch. Touch comforts, releases well-being biochemicals and can even help us live longer. Touch reduces stress biochemicals, with all the negative physical effects they bring. And hugs can comfort our caregivers as much as they comfort us!

So take the power and control that's available to you. You can help your body be as healthy as you can be now. And you will feel happier, stronger, and more in control. It's how you're made!

Discover new ways to transform your brain, renew your spirit and delight your mind and body. Dr. Kukal's guided imagery for health will support your healthy habits, nourish your healing and enhance your life.

Try a free guided imagery at http://www.thehomeinyourheart.com/id88.html

Deborah Kukal, PhD, ABPP is a licensed health psychologist who has been using guided imagery in a hospital setting for more than 15 years. She has engaged patients from virtually every walk of life in the successful and rewarding practice of health focused meditation.

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