How to Heal Yourself – Introduction

I’ve just finished a GP locum stint in Bairnsdale and now I’ve got some time off to write. Yay! My eBook – Tools for Transformation is at the publishers and should be ready in the New Year. I’ve already started my next book, which is called How to Heal Yourself. I plan to really concentrate on it over the next few months and will have the first draft finished by February 2020. Each week I will blog about how I am going and what I am writing about. It may just be a weekly up date or if I am writing a lot it may be twice a week. 

How to Heal Yourself covers very practical ways in which any person can create the right environment to help themselves heal. Healing is a natural process yet many of us have forgotten this. I will outline lifestyle changes that anyone can make in order to be healthier. Once we create the right environment in our body, mind and spirit we enhance our healing capacity.

This doesn’t mean we don’t use conventional medicine to help in our healing; we use every resource we can find. Both conventional and complementary medicines provide therapies that help the body heal. But we can help the body even more by making lifestyle changes.

The lifestyle changes we make are not just on a physical level but also on an emotional, mental and spiritual level. As we take responsibility for our own health and healing we can transform our lives.

The changes I suggest come about from my reading about the scientific evidence of what works for people and observing over the past thirty-five years with my patients and myself what actually helps people heal. This book will be for people with any chronic health issues who want to heal themselves on a deep level. Real holistic healing that can change lives. There are no quick fixes here but if you’re willing to step up and take a look at your whole life this book will transform the way you look at life and health. 

I will write about how you can take responsibility for your own health and how you might choose between different treatments, conventional or alternative. There will be a chapter on how to release and process your emotional baggage and one on paying better attention to your thinking. I will look at how you can pay more attention to your life and your intuition and then determine what steps you need to take on your healing journey. I explore how deepening your connections with people in your life and with the earth will help you. I will look at how determining your life purpose and following your creativity can help with healing. I help you to look at your life in a holistic way so that you enhance your body’s natural healing ability.

I hope you enjoy the weekly blogs.

Stay tuned for information about receiving your free copy of Tools for Transformation.

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia.

Disclaimer. This blog is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

The trouble with conventional medicine

I began this blog because I was disillusioned with conventional general practice and medicine in Australia. This disillusionment was part of the reason I recently retired but is it all the fault of general practice or a more global problem of contemporary life?

After all conventional medicine saves many lives and has made great advances in the last few decades. If you have a heart attack or a stroke or serious bacterial infection, medicine can, in many cases, save your life. For many cancers now the treatments can prolong life and sometimes cure. So what do I have to complain about?

I have been a GP for over thirty years and in that time I’ve seen many changes in medical therapies yet chronic diseases continue to have a major impact on many peoples lives and mental illness seems to be at epidemic levels. Obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, hypertension and other chronic illness all seem to be increasing at alarming rates.

Why are we getting sicker?

Why is medicine failing to make us healthier?

Of course there are many reasons for this but the primary one is that medicine generally looks for the quick fix to treat our illnesses. Give the patient a pill or a combination of pills and that will fix things. Cut out the offending part or bombard the body with toxic drugs. Of course these treatments often work in the short term but for mental health issues and other chronic diseases they rarely make a long lasting difference. What makes us sick is often our lifestyle yet medicine has failed to address most of our lifestyle issues.

Some of these issues are related to social concerns that doctors feel powerless to address. Problems of loneliness, isolation, lack of community and too little contact with the natural world are difficult to solve. Together with poor diet, busy stressful lives and lack of activity these issues shape our health in dramatic ways. Yet many patients aren’t willing to look at these issues preferring instead the quick fix of a medication. And many doctors go along with this because there is so little time to address the core issues of why so many of us are sick.

The most significant problem is that we have not yet adapted to modern life, which leads most of us to be under chronic stress. Our diets are nutrient poor and we just don’t do enough physical activity or sleep enough. Many of us work in jobs we dislike for enough money to maintain our over consuming lifestyles. We eat too much, we do too much and we have forgotten about the importance of good relationships and community ties. We also have forgotten about our connection to the natural world and about finding joy in our lives.

So why is medicine meant to address these greater issues?

I believe that doctors should be interested in changes that lead to better health and medicating patients rarely leads to permanent change. It just greases the wheels of a huge pharmaceutical industry. Doctors need to name the problem and in many cases the problem is our addiction to our modern lifestyles. It is our contemporary lifestyles that are leading to much of our disease. There are no quick fixes but changing our lives can lead to much better health outcomes and much happier patients.

Of course people don’t need doctors to make their lives better and healthier. Everyone can make changes to their lives that will improve their health and I will write about these in a future blog. But changing medicine to help people address these issues is important. Naturopaths, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, chiropractors and other complementary practitioners do not fail to address lifestyle issues with patients yet GPs and specialists too often just pay lip service to changing lifestyles while medicating the problem. A colleague of mine has started a clinic to help people try to cure their Type 2 Diabetes. Another clinic I have worked in has long appointments and tries to address the patient’s health holistically. Yet these are the outliers; most GPs spend 10-15 minutes with a patient and this time pressure leads to many of the problems.

The issue of course is how do we change a system that is so entrenched? I think we need to try a multi pronged approach.

First, patients need to educate themselves about lifestyle issues and their importance in treating disease. They need to demand this knowledge from their doctors.

Second, patients need to stop expecting quick fixes for chronic problems; people need to take responsibility for their health and make appropriate changes.

Third, the Medicare billing system needs to change so that there is not a financial disincentive to spend more time with patients. The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) could spend more of their time and energy lobbying for these changes.

Fourth, the influence of pharmaceutical companies over doctors needs to be identified and discussed by the community and the media. Further regulatory changes need to be made to counteract the influence wielded by these goliaths.

Fifth, medical education needs to focus more on the importance of lifestyle issues. Nutrition and preventative strategies needs more emphasis in both under and postgraduate medical education.

Finally we all need to examine our own lifestyle choices and acknowledge their dramatic impact on our health and wellbeing.

 

 

#medicine, #general practice, #medication, #lifestyle

Listening to the calling of our heart

Listening to the calling of our heart.

Our hearts are always calling to us. They try to get us to pay attention to longings that we often bury beneath our everyday existence. We bury such longings and ignore the callings because to listen would be to go against all we have learnt about fitting into society. For society does not pay heed to the callings of the heart. Society pays heed to the callings of the ego and the mind; to mortgages and secure jobs, to school work and university degrees; to being a good child, a good spouse, a good parent.

I listened to an interview with John Mayer the other day and he spoke about knowing that he was a musician and writer from a young age and following that calling knowing it was what he was here to do. Sometimes I wish I’d had that clarity of calling at a young age. But for most of us life gets in the way and our hearts get burdened with expectations. We expect we will follow a certain path only to find that it is not what we thought; that we do not arrive at a place where our hearts are filled with joy, love and abundance. We glimpse such places along our path – maybe when we fall in love, or have a child or begin a job that we love. Yet somehow we can’t hold onto that place within us that is trying to show us how to live.

The heart callings have a strange pull on us and sometimes if we pay attention that pull will be an irresistible force that draws us towards our life’s work. The calling changes over time but some impulses are always with us urging us to leave secure jobs and do things that society may frown upon.

Your heart may be calling you to fall in love with someone, or change your job, or have a baby, or buy a puppy. It may be calling you to stop the busyness of your life and spend time listening to its longings. Sometimes we are so busy that we don’t pay the heart and its desires any attention. Maybe it is because we don’t want to hear what the heart has to say about our current life? Or maybe it is just that we have forgotten how to live in touch with our heart centre but rather pay all our attention to the ego mind.

The ego does not want us to listen to our heart simply because to do so might put us against society’s expectations. But even the ego may fall in line eventually. When that part of us sees that the way of the heart leads to joy and fulfillment and wealth of a type not measured by money. We may struggle with listening to the calling of our heart but once we cease the struggle we can just accept that what we need is to pay our heart more attention. Maybe then we can accept that to follow our heart’s desires is not selfish but the way we can be of greatest service to the world.

Endings

About ten days ago I retired from conventional general practice. It has been a long time coming but finally I had made the decision to pursue other interests. I am still doing some work in youth mental health at headspace but my focus will be on writing.

Writing is something I feel drawn towards in a way I once felt drawn towards medicine. Being a doctor is an absolute privilege and I have learnt so much from my interactions with all my patients. I have learnt all about holistic medicine from listening to people talk about their lives, their illnesses and the myriad ways in which healing occurs.

I would like to thank all the patients and staff who have supported me over the years and with whom I have forged relationships. Many patients have shared their inner most secrets with me and I feel fortunate to have been able to listen to them and hopefully help them towards their own healing. Healing is after all a natural process and as doctors much of what we do is try to provide the right conditions for the body to heal itself. Unfortunately conventional medicine is not so good at helping soul and spirit heal. Nor is it good at nurturing the patient’s connection with their soul and spirit.

While I hope I have helped some patients gain a better understanding of the importance of listening to their inner self, conventional general practice does not encourage this type of therapy. So I am glad to be leaving the system and striking out in a new direction.

I hope to continue to do one on one work in mental health but I don’t plan to return to general practice. I will allow life to unfold and see where my clinical work takes me. For now I feel called to spend much more time writing about healing and transformation and mental health issues. So this is a thank you to all those patients who have shared their lives with me over the years. It has been a privilege to be given your trust and to be a part of your journey.

 

Transformation 3 – the physical body

Transformation 3 – the physical body.

Transforming our whole self can begin anywhere but I chose to begin with transforming my physical aspects. Decluttering my life was the initial step but then I had to look at transforming my physical body into something healthier. I had let myself go in my middle age, becoming rounder of belly and quite unfit. This was affecting how I felt about myself and I decided that what I was learning about in my nutritional studies I should put into practice and see if it made any difference.

I read and researched about what a good diet should be and came to the conclusion that although I have always had a relatively healthy diet I needed to clean up my act. I had not been eating meat for many years except for fish – so I was not a complete vegetarian. I decided initially to try the low carb high fat way of eating. In this diet, which isn’t really a diet so much as a different way of eating, the carbohydrates are kept to a minimum – mostly just vegetables and the occasional fruit. Protein and fats make up the bulk of the food. I cut out all sugar, bread, pasta, rice, root vegetables and began to eat more nuts and cheese and fish. I ate a variety of vegetables and occasionally some berries.

I managed to stick to this for some months and then went on holidays and it all went out the window for a while. When I returned to it I wasn’t as strict. I felt I had more energy on this way of eating and I avoided the swings in energy that a high carb diet causes. However I lost very little weight and it was quite a hard diet to maintain.

Further research then led me to the Paleo diet – the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. This was very similar to the low carb, high fat diet but it didn’t restrict fruit as much. It did however mean no dairy. I lasted about two weeks on a vegetarian and fish form of Paleo but found the food choices too limited without meat. After all our Paleolithic ancestors were not vegetarians; much of their diet was meat based.

Not to be discouraged I made a major decision – to start eating meat again. I had been vegetarian partly for health reasons and partly because of the poor treatment of animals. The health reasons seemed a little unclear now. So I began to eat meat again – mostly organic free range or biodynamic.

I definitely think a Paleolithic type diet is the healthiest diet and the diet we have evolved to eat. This is the type of food I eat:

  • Vegetables – preferably organic
  • Fruits – preferably organic
  • Meat and fish – meat should be organic, free range, grass fed. Fish should be low in mercury and sustainably fished
  • Eggs – organic free range
  • Nuts and seeds – preferably organic
  • Good oils – olive, omega 3, coconut
  • Legumes – preferably organic
  • Herbs and spices – preferably organic

These are the types of food I avoid:

  • Highly processed foods especially those containing sugar and fructose, artificial colourings, preservatives and artificial sweeteners
  • Sugar
  • Dairy – many people lack the basic enzyme for digesting dairy, others are intolerant to the proteins. I have recently been reintroducing a little dairy into my diet in order to get a little more calcium.
  • Most grains – especially gluten containing grains. Some cultures have eaten grains for centuries and have ways of preparing them that decrease gut problems but for most of us grains should be avoided
  • Soy – although I may eat fermented soy sometimes
  • Processed meats – these have been shown to increase our risk of cancer
  • Foods containing chemicals, preservatives, colourings, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, other drugs

I do still drink coffee although less than I used to and I have alcohol a couple of times a week and I’m still deciding whether either has an adverse effect on my health.

Overall I feel less tired. I don’t have those slumps during the day when my blood sugar starts to plummet because I’ve eaten too much sugar or carbohydrates. I can go for longer without food if I have to without feeling hungry or cranky. I have lost 10 kg so it seems to be working, and without too much effort. As long as I eat paleo type foods I can eat what I want so it’s not really a diet but just a different way of eating.

As well as good food I have started taking extra vitamins and minerals. Through my nutrition course and research I am taking a multivitamin and mineral that includes most of what I need. In addition I take vitamin c, magnesium and if I feel like I’m getting rundown I take an immune booster with herbs and zinc in.

I think extra vitamins and minerals are important because even though I eat mostly organic food it still probably doesn’t have as many micronutrients as our ancestors’ diet. Certainly we’re probably all lacking vitamin C. I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest that taking vitamin and mineral supplements has adverse effects. It is possible to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins but in the doses in the average multivitamin pill this isn’t going to happen.

In addition to eating much more healthily and taking the extra vitamins and minerals I decided it was important to exercise more. I began walking almost every day and bought an online yoga membership which I actually began to use.

So healthy!

Exercise

Exercise is worth focusing on for a moment. Most of us aren’t active enough in our everyday lives so exercise becomes an important component of keeping ourselves healthy. The more active we are the better although too much exercise can have adverse effects on how health with joint problems and overtraining issues. The secret is always to listen to our bodies and pay attention. If we have been leading sedentary lives then a gradual increase in activity and exercise is best, paying attention to how our body reacts to new exercise and adjusting accordingly.

Each exercise program and increase in activity is individual. It’s important to do activities and undertake exercise that is enjoyable. We want to bring more joy to our lives, not more suffering. Sometimes we do have to go through some initial reprograming of bad habits to come to a place where we enjoy the increase in activity.

A good exercise physiologist or personal trainer can help us develop healthier habits and sometimes we need a medical check up prior to undertaking exercise – again it’s an individual thing. Tailor your physical transformation to your own particular needs.

Changing our outer body, feeding it better and moving it more, not only makes our body healthier but it makes our mind healthier. Our cells rely on good nutrition to do their job and if our cells are healthy everything works better.

Sleep

The other aspect of good physical health is getting enough rest. Sleep is really important for our health; it is essential for healing and restoration. Research shows that adults require eight to eight and a half hours every night for good restorative sleep and the optimum hours are between 9 pm and 5 am. Delta wave sleep, which is the best restorative sleep, has been shown to occur mainly between 9 pm and 2 am. Restorative and healing hormones are produced in this time. Poor sleep patterns over the long term lead to an increased risk of degenerative diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Tips to establish a good sleep pattern can be found on my website –  Sleep

Healthy environment

I’m going to write more about our relationship to our environment in a later blog but our physical environment is important to our health. Most of us don’t realise how much we are exposed to chemicals and radiation in our everyday lives. Compared to our grandparents’ lives we are exposed to myriad chemicals and toxins and higher levels of radiation. These can all cause illness so it pays to decrease your exposure any way you can. Clean living is more important than ever.

Ways to improve your environment and exposure to chemicals and radiation

  • Reduce cleaning chemicals. Use microfibre cloths to clean with and use only vinegar and bicarb soda. We have become obsessed with killing germs which is altering our microbiome and potentially leading to increased rates of allergies and asthma. Avoid bleach, solvents, strong detergents, air fresheners and fragrances.
  • Avoid chlorine and fluoride in drinking water – use a good quality water filter.
  • Avoid all pesticides and herbicides in the house and garden – these contain hormone disrupting chemicals and other toxins, they are designed to kill animals and plants and should be avoided.
  • Keep electrical appliances at least one metre away from where you spend a lot of time- eg bed, couch, dining table. Avoid prolonged use of mobile phones.
  • Avoid storing food in plastic – use glass, stainless steel and lead free ceramics. Plastics can contain hormone disrupting chemicals and other nasties.
  • Open your windows and air out the house on a frequent basis.
  • Eat more organic and unprocessed foods. Avoid the chemicals involved in processing and conventional farming methods and as much as possible eat organic or home grown produce (pesticide and herbicide free of course).

 

When our body is healthy it is more in alignment with our higher self. Sometimes our health is influenced directly by being out of alignment but if we can look after the physical aspects as well as we can this helps our spiritual journey. Diet exercise, good sleep and living clean are important elements of transforming our physical self into a more healthy state.

Transformation – introduction

I had set out to write a book on transformation but have decided for the time being to publish it as a blog. Books take a long while to write and I am keen for some feedback on the topic while I am exploring the process.

My life has been a series of transformations. This is true for most people and especially for those of us interested in personal and spiritual development. Many of our transformations are brought about by suffering or tragedy. Events that happen that jolt us out of our daily grind and make us realize there is more to life than we had been living. Positive experiences can also cause us to undergo transformation – the birth of a child, falling in love, landing the perfect job, or meeting a special friend.

Often we let our lives pass in this way; waiting for change and transformation to arise out of our life’s events. What if we were to actively embrace change and transformation? What if we were to decide to transform ourselves on a day to day basis in order to become a better person? Of course this is the basis of personal and spiritual development and there are many traditions that recommend such an approach. Choosing to actively transform ourselves into the person we were meant to be. Becoming more authentic. Allowing our soul and inner self to be reflected in our outer persona and our life story.

This is what I propose to explore in this blog series. Choosing to transform. Choosing to grow and change into a better version of ourselves. This version is already present within us but it takes some work to allow our outer persona to be in alignment with our inner self.

My first book Holistic Medicine put forward a model that we can use to understand ourselves better. Holistic Medicine sought to provide people with a way to grow through chaos and transform and heal themselves. This blog begins with the assumption that instead of waiting for chaos or other events to transform us we can choose to transform ourselves consciously.

Whilst I believe that chaos is a natural process that leads to transformation it is often uncomfortable and causes a lot of suffering. What if we could grow and learn and transform without having to suffer so much? Why not choose that path?

If chaos happens in order that we transform into something new can we avoid some of the chaos if we choose to be open to transformation all the time? Rather than waiting for chaos and suffering can we be open to change on an ongoing basis?

Transformation comes about as we bring our inner and outer selves into line so that our inner self is expressed. Our ego shrinks and our inner self or spirit grows and becomes manifest in the physical world. We become who we are meant to be and live authentic lives. We heal our fragmentation and become whole.

The process of chaos has been described in my first book but essentially it is a nonlinear process that cannot be controlled; the outcome is never predetermined and it can take us anywhere. Once we find ourselves in a chaotic process we have no control and have to rely on our inner self to bring us to the outcome. The transformation that we undergo can happen on an unconscious level but as we become more aware of our inner self and its connection to spirit we transform on a more conscious level. I believe that as we become even more aware of our inner self we can choose to undergo the transformative processes without the need for so much chaos and suffering. We can choose to grow in a spiritual sense through the power of our desire to do so. But we may have to learn how to do this.

This is what this blog series is about. Learning how to grow spiritually by choosing to do so. Let’s choose to grow and transform without waiting for life to bring it to us in the form of suffering. Let’s choose to transform into our higher self where our physical self is aligned with our spiritual self and we are whole.

 

 

Skills for living an authentic life 6

Cultivating our community.

An important part of our life is our relationships with other people. Certainly to live an authentic life it is necessary to have authentic relationships with others and be a part of a community. Our community or tribe gives us a place to be ourselves and to support others to be true to themselves.

Community doesn’t just mean the local neighbourhood although some of us do embrace the local community, however this is becoming less common with large cities and busy lives. Our community may be a local church or a local gardening group. It may be our meditation or yoga circle or our bridge club or local school. It is important to have places where we feel we belong and we can act ourselves rather than being who we might be expected to be. For some people their work provides a community but for others the work environment is not always a place where they can be truly themselves.

Cultivating community is about having good relationships with family and close friends but also involves extending our circle beyond those we are closest to. It is a place where we can have relationships with others through finding common ground. Communities are invaluable for times when people are in need; they support their members through good and bad times and people often become even closer in times of crisis or tragedy. In fact tragedy can bring both small and large communities together in an outpouring of grief and support.

Ways to cultivate our community

  1. Talking more to people we meet in our everyday lives enhances our community. Even small conversations can bring light to someone’s day and you never know what connections you may develop.
  2. Explore the ways in which we can be of service to others. This builds community connections. We might do volunteer work or help with child-minding for the single parent or gardening for the elderly. Simple acts of kindness are a great way to increase the strength of the community and allow us to express our authenticity
  3. Get involved in community activities. Go to local activities such as farmers markets, meditation groups, local concerts and gatherings.
  4. Embrace the culture of your community. Be it a church group or school community, a spiritual group or a bridge club it is important to celebrate the cultural aspects of the group.
  5. Celebrate the individual and their authenticity. We can make sure we celebrate individual achievements especially as it relates to the community.
  6. Be inclusive rather then exclusive. Community should embrace diversity as well as being a place where we feel ourselves; we can include members who traditionally may be excluded and in that way strengthen the larger community.

 

To be authentic means that we aren’t just ourselves in the privacy of our own home but bring that authenticity to our communities and the world.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Skills for living an authentic life 1

Well it’s 2017 and time for new beginnings and changes. We all like to think about making changes to our lives at this time of year but so often we don’t follow through on our resolutions. What if our one resolution was simply to be better at expressing our true self? I have been writing some of my new book on Transformation and I have been thinking a lot about how people might be more authentic and true to their inner selves. For most of us this is a journey of discovery about who we really are and who we want to be in the world. Living authentically may seem a bit of a new age cliché but a lack of living authentically is what causes many of the problems in society and many of our personal problems. We are trying to be some version of ourselves that is not who we really are. When we can be the version of ourselves that is truly who we are then life falls into place. Yet we often don’t pay attention to the skills we need to live authentically. Over the next month I am going to discuss at least seven skills that help us live a more authentic life and they are –

  1. Dealing with our emotions
  1. Being aware of our physical body
  1. Dealing with our mind
  1. Listening to our intuition
  1. Following our passions
  1. Cultivating our community
  1. Appreciating nature

Today’s skill is dealing with our emotions.

Young children are usually in touch with their emotions; they feel sad they cry, they feel angry and they yell and throw a tantrum, they feel happy and they laugh. Yet society doesn’t feel comfortable with such overt displays of emotion so most of us are taught that some emotions are not acceptable. We are taught not to cry when we feel sad because it is a display of weakness, that it is not okay to feel anger much less act it out, that even laughter and happiness are not always appropriate. We are taught to bottle up our feelings in many different ways. What happens when we are taught to suppress and deny our emotions isn’t that the emotion disappears but rather the emotion simmers beneath the surface and can erupt if the conditions are right.

Most of us know the feeling of anger building as small frustrations mount up into big frustrations and anger boils over. Instead if we allow our anger to be felt and let the feeling permeate our being we can begin to understand what the feeling is about. As we feel the anger we begin to learn about what is causing it. Maybe it is an injustice that we need to speak up about, or maybe we are allowing people to control us, or maybe we need to change something about ourselves. Emotions are not useless inconveniences they are one way our inner self lets us know when things are going well or not so well.

Feeling our emotions is not always easy especially if they are emotions that have been labeled as bad or wrong at some time in our life. We sometimes have to just sit with our feelings and emotions as they bubble up inside us but if we let ourselves feel them they rarely hang around for very long. As we feel them we can usually become aware of their message. So-called negative emotions are a signal that something is not right. Positive emotions signal that things are on track and that we are following our path. When we experience a lot of negative emotions it is good to pay better attention to them; to actively sit with them and feel them. Usually when we sit with them we discover deeper meanings that encourage us to change things – either the situation or our reaction to a situation or something about ourselves.

There are many ways we try to avoid feelings – we drink alcohol, use drugs, work too hard, project our anger onto other people, gamble too much or sometimes we just pretend that everything is fine and put on a happy face. Instead of avoiding our feelings it is wise to simply sit with them, allow them to have their way with us and experience them more fully. This doesn’t mean acting them out but rather allowing them to move through us. If we have a lot of trouble doing this then sometimes it is wise to see a counselor or psychologist to learn better strategies. I have written more about dealing with emotions in my book Holistic Medicine but there are other books around that have been written primarily on the subject that may be useful, such as Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Whatever way you choose to learn more about your emotional self it will help you discover things about your inner self that help you on the path to becoming more authentic.

In my next blog of this series I will discuss how we can be more aware of our physical body.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

 

 

Seven steps for dealing with overwhelming stress

In our busy western lives stress can often become a problem. Sometimes there are so many things happening that we become overwhelmed. This is when our stress hormones really kick in and we find it hard to cope with the many demands. I have written about dealing with stress in my book Holistic Medicine but here are seven simple steps to follow when you find yourself overwhelmed and stressed out.

 

  1. Recognise that you are under stress. Sometimes we are so busy and overwhelmed by our lives that we don’t even realise that we are under stress. It helps for us to step back for a moment and take some deep breaths. We can pause for a few moments and just pay attention to the fact that our lives have become too full.
  2. Ground yourself. When we are overwhelmed we lose touch with our self and pay too much attention to what is going on around us. The process of grounding starts to bring us back to our selves. Grounding can be as simple as going for a walk outside (bare feet is best), doing some grounding yoga poses or lying on the earth.
  3. Focus on simple things that you can do. When we are overwhelmed with so many things going on in our life we need to focus on those things that will make a difference to our level of stress. What can we do to make a difference in the short term?
  4. Ask for help. Sometimes we try to do everything by ourselves. It is good when we are overwhelmed to ask for help from our family and friends. We can let them know things are overwhelming and that we need some help.
  5. Centre yourself. This is a process of paying attention to our heart centre. We can tap into our inner self and pay attention to the calming effect the heart centre can have on our whole self. Our intuition may help guide us to how to deal with the stress and how to prioritise our time.
  6. Pay attention to what being overwhelmed is telling you about your life. Most of us do too much and we forget to take care of ourselves. Stress shows us that we are not looking after our own needs very well.
  7. Let go. We may need to let go of the need to control everything in our lives. We may need to let go of doing so many things and being so busy. If we can let go of our busyness we can make some time in our lives to listen to our own needs better.

 

We become overwhelmed and stressed when we don’t listen to ourselves and forget to pay attention to our own needs. These seven steps help us take some time out and begin to listen to what we need in our lives. Our priority should be to simplify out lives and pay better attention to what makes us happy.

 

Disclaimer. This web site is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.

Photo from Unsplash by Tim Marshall

 

Sea Change

Yet another change is on the horizon. I have decided to make the move to Phillip Island, a place I have spent so many wonderful holidays. I’ve got a new job at San Remo Medical Clinic and I start next week – September 7th. I’ll be working there Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to begin with and will keep working at the NIIM clinic in Hawthorn on Tuesdays. I’ll also continue some of my work with RACGP in the medium term.

The change will be a bit challenging because I haven’t done rural General Practice for a while. I’ll have to update my emergency medicine skills and learn to remove fish hooks apparently. I’ll continue to offer Integrative Medicine at both NIIM and San Remo practices but the San Remo practice will be more conventional general practice.

I hope to eventually have more time to spend writing as I haven’t written a blog since March and haven’t updated my website with new information for almost as long. The website is getting more visitors all the time so I hope to increase the amount of information available as soon as possible.