3 Habits of the Healthy and Happy

3 Habits of the Healthy and Happy By Nicole Winhoffer For 10 years, I’ve worked with the most prestigious performance artists, Oscar-winning directors and actresses and top CEOs in the world, whom I like to consider, all, top athletes. We prepare, train, practice and repeat, to reach their optimal excellence. We perform each day, asking our minds, bodies and spirits to execute at an optimal level. Each level of success requires integrating 3 habits. From my research, I consider these 3 habits, the way to get results. I use the 3 habits with each of my students to help them on their journey toward progress and achieving their personal best. The 3 habits are naturally embedded in each NWMethod Program to allow the student to build muscle memory and strength. Practicing these 3 habits can change your body, your mind and your life. Habit #1: Consistency Being consistent is key to seeing results. Repetition induces muscle memory and allows for new brain synapses to connect and create new behaviors, thoughts and actions. Consistency allows you to practice and perform movements that your body wants to change. Being consistent is the small change that maximizes results. How to create consistency? Start by scheduling and allocating your time. In your calendar, plan out your month and week as best you can. The more you write down your goals and measurable items, the more likely you will achieve them. Plan to be consistent with your routine; the time you sleep and wake up, eat, workout, work and rest. Being consistent allows for your brain and body to adjust to a rhythm and flow that decreases stress and wasted energy. The more consistent you are with your routine, the fewer decisions you have to make; therefore, the more brain and body energy you have to spend on the plans and projects that mean the most to you. Being consistent with your body allows for sustainability and maintenance over time. Sweating out toxins, using your muscles and stretching brings more energy to your total wellbeing. Being consistent creates results over time. Be consistent with yourself. Make it a habit and increase your total energy. Habit #2: Creativity Being creative helps you become a better problem solver in all areas of your life and work. Creativity helps you see things differently. It allows you to think outside the box, which brings more new synapses to fire.…

The Remarkable Benefits of Flexible Problem Solving

The Remarkable Benefits of Flexible Problem Solving By Jeffrey Lackner, PsyD The past 20 years has seen an explosion of research on non-drug treatments for painful medical disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Disorders that were once seen as untreatable are now regarded as treatable. Hope has replaced helplessness. One particularly exciting area is the use of a specific behavioral treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to relieve even the most severe pain and bowel problems of IBS. “The focus of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is what maintains a problem not what causes a problem.” Unlike other psychological treatment, CBT focuses on the here and now – how our current thoughts and behaviors impact health. So there is no lying on a coach, “analyzing”, free-associating, or open ended discussion that is part of “talk therapy”. The focus of CBT is what maintains a problem not what causes a problem. The practice of CBT rests on its own set of underlying assumptions. These assumptions are based on experimental research that tells us many of our reactions are learned and form our behavioral skill set. In a nut shell, CBT assumes that: Patients have specific skills deficits related to their disease that make them vulnerable to symptom flares. These skills deficits can be behavioral ones as for example difficulty regulating tension in the body that can disrupt brain-gut interactions or maladaptive coping strategies such as excessive avoidance or reliance on safety-behaviors (reassurance seeking from doctor that their abdominal pain doesn’t mean they have cancer). Deficits can also reflect biases in their salience system leading to exaggerated threat appraisals which crank up the volume of the body’s stress response system. These mental traps can disrupt brain-gut interactions and when this happens symptoms flare. The same processes that create deficits can be used to remediate them. In other words, just as these skills deficits are learned, they can be unlearned by learning more effective symptom self-management skills. By remediating these skills deficits, patients can gain control over GI symptoms and eventually manage, if not control, their symptoms on their own even when medications have not done the trick. “The thought processes of many chronic worriers, involve “catastrophizing” which is a way of thinking that tends to define increasingly worse and worse outcomes to a specific problem.” There is no one regimen of CBT any more than there is one hypertension medication or one physical therapy…

The Wellness Primer

The Wellness Primer By Emeran Mayer, MD Wellness and the related state of optimal health are lofty goals for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only about 5% of the US population fall into this category, while about 45% live in a suboptimal health/pre-disease state (without even being aware of it), 50% already live in a chronic disease state, dependent on multiple medications and interventions of our disease care system (an expression that in my opinion best characterizes our modern healthcare system). An overwhelming amount of epidemiological and scientific evidence supports the idea that the transition from optimal health to predisease and ultimately disease is caused in large parts by the increasing stress our brains and bodies are experiencing during a lifetime, often starting in childhood. While acute, transient stress improves our performance by increasing arousal, excitement and focus on a particular challenge, severe chronic stress engages maladaptive responses of the nervous and immune systems which are damaging to our health. With stress, I’m not only referring to the chronic psychological stresses that we are increasingly exposed to in our modern world; the current pandemic is an excellent example of this challenge. But I also include the chronic metabolic stress that millions of Americans are exposed to without knowing it: the stresses on the gut microbial ecosystem and the closely linked gut health caused by the unhealthy Standard American Diet. The combined influence of these growing psychosocial and dietary perturbations of the normal state of health (also referred to as allostatic load) that has become the new normal in the US population is stretching the resilience of our organism to its limits and is making more and more people dependent on the modern disease care system. In this short video clip above, I provide a brief explanation of the relentless transition that has been occurring in the US and increasingly in developing countries from a state of optimal health and the associated subjective feeling of wellness to the current epidemic of chronic non-infectious diseases. I also provide an understanding of how both psychosocial and dietary stresses interact to result in a maladaptive engagement of the immune system ultimately leading to organ dysfunction and disease. I will follow up in two weeks with the second part of this story, focusing on the preventive and therapeutic strategies supported by scientific evidence that are available to counteract this unhealthy development. If…

Managing Our Mental Health in the Midst of the Pandemic

Managing Our Mental Health in the Midst of the Pandemic By Ariel Suazo-Maler Over the last year, we have collectively gone through a reeducation process surrounding best ways to ‘take care’. While the pandemic caused us to immediately focus on how to support our physical well-being, we quickly understood that ‘health’ included taking care of our mental wellness. “Bringing awareness to best practices and understanding mental health as physical health is a great place to start.” Fluctuating statistics, novel discoveries, and an everchanging narrative contributed to an increase in individual stress levels to the point where stress management became an essential aspect of Covid-care and prevention. Moreover, prolonged isolation, and chronic fear triggered a simultaneous crisis in the psychiatric space, resulting in self-imposed loss of life. Now, while there is no single best solution to supporting mental health, and the path to emotional wellness is specific to the individual, bringing awareness to best practices and understanding mental health as physical health is a great place to start. “We thought it vital to go for an annual check-up, but taboo to see a therapist” Before the pandemic, while conversations surrounding mental health were beginning to be more commonplace, many of us still understood emotional and physical health as two separate entities. We thought it vital to go for an annual check-up, but taboo to see a therapist. Now, more attention has been placed on speaking openly about the link between our mental state and overall health status. Science has shown that chronic stress and anxiety can manifest as a delayed immune response to viruses and bacteria as well as contribute to negative gastrointestinal symptoms and poor cardiovascular health. So, how can we mitigate this when the contributors to our poor mental health status seem to be out of our control? For starters, learning to control our thoughts is a hugely healthful practice. Recognizing what influences where our mind goes, and realizing when it’s time to take back control is one of the most empowering things we can do for our health. “Empowering yourself to turn down the volume on sources of extra noise can be liberating”. A relatable example of how to do this involves the news. Many of us are afraid of not being up to date on the latest facts and figures when in reality, much of what is broadcasted is a repetition of the gravest statistics. Trusting that…

Is Long COVID the New Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Is Long COVID the New Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? By Emeran Mayer, MD Subtitle “COVID-19 infection has also taken a serious toll on the nervous system.” By now the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed as many American lives as World War I, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War combined, and despite the impressive reduction in infection and death rates in the US since the beginning of the year, this ravaging diseases is far from over. While most of the COVID related deaths are due to the well-known pulmonary complications of the coronavirus, the infection has also taken a serious toll on the nervous system. In addition to the acute, severe, but generally transient neurological manifestations ranging from encephalitis and cognitive impairment to stroke, milder persistent symptoms are reported by many survivors, causing pervasive yet subtle cognitive, behavioral, and psychological problems. “50% to 80% of patients continue to have bothersome symptoms three months after the onset of COVID-19.” Although many people who have recovered from COVID-19 can resume their daily lives without difficulty — even if they have some deficits in attention — there are a number of patients who may experience difficulties in meeting their regular responsibilities at home or at work. Published studies (see here and here) and surveys conducted by patient groups indicate that 50% to 80% of patients continue to have bothersome symptoms three months after the onset of COVID-19 — even after tests no longer detect virus in their body. The most common symptoms are fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, brain fog, inability to exercise, headache, and difficulty sleeping. Since COVID-19 is a new disease that first appeared in December 2019, we have no information on long-term recovery rates. Tens of thousands of people in the United States are reporting lingering symptoms following COVID-19. In medical jargon, such patients are called post-COVID “long haulers” and the condition they are suffering from is referred to as “long COVID,” although other names are being proposed. “Long COVID is likely the same or very similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Long before the COVID pandemic, I have seen many patients complaining of identical symptoms which at the time were referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a challenging medical problem for which no effective treatment exists. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has speculated that long COVID likely is the same as…