Finding Healing With Mother Nature

meditation

A little stress in life is okay. It helps motivate you to get things done and keeps you safe. However, too much stress experienced over time will wear down your body making you sick both physically and mentally.
During stressful situations your body releases cortisol (stress hormone) triggering the fight or flight response. During this response your blood pressure rises as your heart beats faster, breathing quickens, muscles tighten and immune system is suppressed, your body stores fat and cells including brain cells begin to break down.  Your body is preparing itself to fight the danger or flee.
In our society we are always “on”, over scheduled and always connected to our electronic devices and cell phones leaving little time for quiet moments. Each person handles stress differently. Our bodies were not designed to handle long term, chronic stress without consequences.
Stress is experienced on every level. On an emotional level stress may make us feel agitated, overwhelmed, moody, tearful or depressed.
On a physical level stress can cause us to feel low in energy, headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, rapid heartbeat and may even feel like a heart attack. One may also experience insomnia, frequent colds or infections. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding are additional signs of physical stress.
When we are under stress we tend to worry more, become forgetful or have racing thoughts or an inability to focus along with negative thinking which only makes us sink further into a downward spiral to depression.
Certainly our behavior is also affected with stress. We may lose our appetite or over eat, procrastinate and even avoid our responsibilities. Some may turn to using alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as a means of self-medicating. Of course nail biting, pacing and fidgeting are also common signs of feeling stress.
Long term consequences of stress even affect our mental health causing depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes.
The daily clutter of incessant thoughts in our minds becomes a nagging presence. However, just as we spring clean our homes and de-clutter closets, garages and attics. We also need to de-clutter our minds.
Meditation is great way to reduce stress and is the number one reason people practice it. Regular meditation creates benefits on all levels of being, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
You don’t have to sit and chant for hours. The purpose is to quiet the mind while strengthening the relationship between your mind and body to focus on the present moment. It sounds easy but with our over active thoughts, sitting quietly can be daunting even frustrating at first.
Meditation isn’t about doing it “right” but becoming acutely self-aware. It’s learning to listen with your heart. The more aware you are of the sensations in your body, the feelings in your heart and thoughts in your mind, the better you can understand your life and how your thoughts effect your emotions which affect you physically. Becoming a master at monitoring yourself and your thoughts and feelings puts you in the driver seat to your life so you are able to steer it onto the desired path instead of allowing life to happen to you making you feel like a victim.
Meditation helps you transform your self-image into greater confidence and self-belief by getting to know who you really are and learning to accept and embrace every part of your true self. Through meditation, you will discover that your doubts, insecurities and fears you thought defined you, are only superficial. Then you can tap into your true unlimited potential that is within you.
Benefits of meditation:
Decreased blood pressure
Lower cholesterol levels
Improved oxygen use by the body
Increased production of the anti aging hormone DHEA.
Studies have found that as little as eight weeks of daily meditation not only helped people feel calmer but produced growth and changes in areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy and sense of self.
So why meditate?
1. Reduce your stress – Helps you focus on the present moment not in the past or future.
2. Helps to clear the mind and become aware of your inner dialogue.
3. Helps reduce physical pain
4. Improves overall mood through the day.
5. Helps to create distance from situations or events to gain a new, more objective perspective, observing from the outside rather than being immersed and reacting to these situations or emotional triggers.
Are you ready to sit in the driver’s seat of your life? Here are some techniques to help you get started with a meditation practice.
Before meditating do some simple stretches which helps to start the process of going inward.
1. Light a candle and stare at the flame. Sit quietly and pay attention to the flame, color changes, how it dances with air movement. Whatever thoughts, emotions come up allow them to come and go without judging them or attempting to push them away. Be aware of them then continue to focus on the flame.

2. Sit quietly for 5 minutes each day either before your start your day in the morning or when you are quiet just before bed. Focus on your breathing. Slowly, deep inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold for 4 seconds then slowly exhale for 4 count, Allow thoughts to come and go. Repeat breathing sequence.

3. Weather permitting, sit outside with eyes closed and pay attention to the sounds, scents and sensations. Birds chirping, wind blowing, leaves rustling. As you sit, scan your body noticing any tightness or sensations. Remain aware of thoughts, emotions and how your body feels. If you are feeling any particular emotion, can you identify it and where you may feel it in your body?

4. Use a mantra, which is a word or phrase to help quiet the mind. Try So Hum (I Am). Say in your mind as you inhale “So”, as you exhale say in your mind “Hum”. Repeat for as long as you remain in meditation.

Sat, Chit, Ananda (Love, Consciousness, Bliss) is another mantra or you may use any positive phrase that resonates with you.

If you find you are becoming frustrated, remember to breathe and let it go, then re focus. Start your meditation 5-10 minutes long and as you become more experienced you will find you are able to sit for longer periods.
Remember, meditation is like anything in life. To master it you have practice it and make it part of your daily routine. If you make the time to meditate and quiet your mind you will find life becomes smoother, answers and deeper insights come and your reactions to others and situations are less unconscious. You will become the master of your life guiding it with Love.

mind speak

fullcirclewellnessllc.com / 609-839-3810 / full.circle@comcast.net

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Now that the warmer weather is here you may find yourself more active. That is a good thing! However, we tend to overdue it. There is the yard work, outdoor projects, cleaning out storage spaces and of course enjoying the warm weather with long walks, bike rides or anything else. We tend to do too much too soon. If you haven’t been exercising regularly your body is not use to the sudden increase in activity so you may find yourself stiff, achy or even injured, which is not a good thing.
Take it from my experience. In the last few years after doing vigorous yard work and not listening to my body when it said rest, I kept going and wouldn’t you know I ended up on the couch for a week because my back said “you won’t rest, I’ll make you!”
So this Spring keep these things in mind while you enjoy your activities.

Don’t try to do everything all at once. Make a list of things you want to accomplish and pick one or two of them at a time.

When you feel like you’ve had enough and your body says rest, LISTEN!

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Drink plenty of fluids, especially water every day and even during your activity.

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Stay active in the winter to keep yourself feeling strong all year.

Do some light stretching each day to keep your muscles and joints loose and limber.

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When lifting heavy objects don’t bend from the waist. You may injure your back. Instead, squat with bent knees, get a firm grip on the object then lift with your legs. If it is still too heavy, ask for help.

Strengthen your back muscles by doing stomach crunches with bent knees or waist twists (careful not to twist too fast or too far)

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Get a massage. It works wonders for sore, tired muscles and joints. imagesFind out more about our services at our website www.fullcirclewellnessllc.com or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fullcirclewellnessllc

As a business owner of a Holistic wellness business I spend countless hours in front of the computer planning, organizing, and delivering services.
Being an outdoorsy person, I easily become restless, sitting inside while the sun is shining and birds are chirping. Nature calls to me. What is an entrepreneur supposed to do? Okay, maybe I have ADD too.
Last year sitting in the office of my mentor I expressed my frustration at the “work” I had to do when what I really wanted was to get outside and go hiking or kayaking.
She questioned why and what it was about hiking and kayaking I enjoyed. I pondered for a moment to consider the question. I responded: “I love feeling the sun, smelling the air and listening to the wind and birds. I love how relaxed I feel and the connection to something Divine. It becomes very meditative. Life makes sense in the quiet stillness”
Smiling as I spoke, my mentor replied, “Audrey, perhaps that is where your work is.” With a puzzled look on my face she continued. “Sitting in front of the computer is the busy-ness and yes those things need to get done. But if you find Joy being in nature then that is where your work is. Why not offer to take people hiking and kayaking allowing them to experience what you feel out there.”
My body buzzed with excitement. I could hardly wait for her to finish before blurting out; “Oh my God! Of course. I love that idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”
She answered sweetly, “Because you believed “work” had to look and feel a certain way. The next time you go for a hike take a pen and notepad and write down ideas for your business or whatever comes to you.”
So that’s what I did! A couple of months later I hosted our first mindful nature retreat.
The air was still and heavy with humidity one late summer evening in September. It looked like it was going to pour at any moment but we continued. Ten participants arrived for our Yoga in the Pines event. As we spread our yoga mats over the lush carpet of moss, it seemed the rain was holding out for us. We breathed deeply, stood in triangle pose then gazed up at the dark sky in warrior 2. Stood in mountain pose then bent into downward dog. Bringing the session to a close we sat with legs crossed as our yogi instructed us to chant OHM. Under the tree canopy, a low vibration of our voices in unison sounded OHHHHMMM. As soon as our OHM ended, a low rumble of thunder trailed. It was as though nature responded to us with its own OHM. We looked at one another in amazement feeling this response from nature. As we gathered our mats to cool off in the pool the torrent of rain descended.
Nature had held itself giving us the time and space to commune with Her. Since that first retreat we have had others and nature almost always responds to our presence.
I invite you to join us on any or all of our upcoming mindful nature retreats. Mother Nature always has something to say!
Here are the links for more info and sign up to our upcoming retreats. We look forward to sharing nature’s wonders with you!053                                    066

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/welcome-summer-mindful-kayaking-tickets-16202561297

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yoga-in-the-pines-classes-tickets-16541043707

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hiking-yoga-tickets-16469586978

1. Drink plenty of water – Our bodies are 60% water and need it to survive and helps transport nutrients to muscles and cells while regulating your body temp. Filtered water is best since much of our water supply contains chlorine and fluoride. A standard rule is 8oz of fluid 8times per day. If you want to quench your thirst, skip the soda and reach for plain old H2O first.
A common symptom of dehydration is tiredness, achey joints, muscle cramps.

drinking water

2. Exercise – Sitting is now being called the “new smoking.” Studies have shown that prolonged sitting is harmful to your body. Back pain, tightness in the hips and neck are common. You don’t have to join a gym, just get up off the chair and move. Get outside and take a walk. We are spending a considerable amount of time sitting at a computer or other electronic device. Sitting for long periods causes a lack of circulation and a build up of fluid in the legs. When you lie down the fluid travels to the head and neck making it difficult to breathe and can cause sleep apnea.
Long periods of sitting produces more triglycerides, the type of fat that can raise stroke risk.

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3. Sleep – You need your ZZZ. Our society is overscheduled and constantly connected. When we sleep our brain goes to work in a different way than when awake. A platoon of neurons emit electrical signals to soothe and help us sleep. At the same time information processors sort through all the information that your brain received all day. The brain monitors and balances hormones, enzymes and proteins. Sleep improves concentration and memory skills and regulates our weight. When you don’t get enough sleep the overworked cells eventually collapse, causing illness, disease and premature aging.

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4. Receive Bodywork – We abuse our bodies, sit too much, daily repetitive movements and prolonged stress all contribute muscle tension and pain. Before you schedule a Dr appointment or take a pill, Get a massage or other form of bodywork. The list of benefits are endless and it feels good too!
A. Alleviates lower back pain
B. Reduces medication dependence
C. Boosts immunity
D. Improves joint flexibility
E. Decreases anxiety and depression
F. Improves circulation
G. Improves quality of sleep
H. Reduces fatigue
Experts agree that 90% of disease is stress induced. Increased benefits occur with regular sessions.

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5. Play! Hobbies and leisure activities are healthy endeavors. It has been proven that spending time doing things you enjoy can delay signs of aging and promote positive feelings reducing the toxic effects of stress.
A. Being active enhances your immune system
B. Improves your self esteem and socialization
C. Being active and relaxed leads to better quality of sleep.
Remember the saying? “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So get up and move, play, sing and dance.

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6. Meditate – A quiet spiritual practice in whatever form that is right for you. Taking time for silent reflection improves concentration, promotes deep relaxation and helps connect our mind and body. Often we are so busy “doing” we become disconnected with our bodies and its signals. Spending time in meditation improves self awareness.

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7. Supplement your diet – While many may say if you eat a balanced diet you don’t need to take supplements. However, our food today does not contain the same nutrient value it once did. With the overuse of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on livestock, we end up adding more contaminants to our system. While purchasing organically produced fruits, vegetables and meats is ideal it may be quite costly. Eating a healthy diet with regular exercise and quality supplements tend to live longer, healthier lives. When purchasing supplements, refrain from buying from the grocery store, pharmacy. Most contain substandard ingredients and are not absorbed efficiently. Not sure what to take? Take this questionnaire. http://www.shop.com/NutriPhysical-t.xhtml?tkr=s16079 For more specific information on what supplements you need.

supplement dinner
8. Natural Remedies work better than most medications. Those herbal remedies and folk remedies your grandmother used to use and talk about really do work. When you have a cold with congestion, use steam inhalation. A pot of boiling water over the stove with a towel over your head breathing in the steam cleans out sinuses. A nettie pot (looks like a mini tea pot) works well also by flushing the sinuses with saline water. Adding therapeutic grade essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus or tea tree enhances the efficiency. Lavender and peppermint are beneficial for headaches while tea tree and oregano oil are great for infections. The list goes on.

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9. Get outside! Did you know taking a walk in the woods is good for you? Not just as exercise but the trees and plants emit their natural protective oils into the air which you breathe in when walking. ShinRin Yoku is Japanese for Forest Bathing which is actually prescribed to people in Japan. Connecting with nature lowers blood pressure, decreases anxiety and improves overall feelings of well-being. In clinical studies by Dr Joe Dispenza it was proven that 2 hours of Nature sounds per day significantly reduces stress hormones up to 800% and activates 500-600 DNA segments known for healing and repairing the body.

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10. SMILE, LAUGH. Have FUN!- Don’t take life so seriously, see the humor and laugh whenever you can. Remember the saying, “laughter is the best medicine”? Watch a comedy show, read a funny book. Humor combats stress, pain and negativity, creates hope and lightens burdens. It also helps keep you grounded, focused and alert.

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Our health is our responsibility. If we want to be healthier then we need to make the decision to create the changes necessary to live the life we desire.

Silence Please!!

Have you ever noticed how little time people spend in silence? I mean actually being quiet, without their phone attached to their ears or thumbs and no radio blaring or TV droning? Look around, folks everywhere and I mean everywhere are obsessively attached to a device. In the stores, in their cars. I’ve heard ladies on the phone in the bathroom stalls and in the changing rooms of a department store. And have you seen the couples at a restaurant sitting across from each other, heads down, on their phones texting or web surfing? No words pass between the couple.

My theory is; as convenient as cell phones have become, people have become more afraid of silence. To the point they almost feel they cease to exist if there is no connection on the other end. Or, perhaps they are avoiding silence because they don’t want to have to look at their perceived misfortunes or problems. And people wonder why they are so stressed, why bad things happen to them. It’s because they are not paying attention to what is going on, on the inside of their head and hearts. Yes, People have become disconnected from themselves and keep seeking on finding the answers in the next phone call or on the internet. Really people need to stop talking and start listening, to themselves, to their heart. It is speaking loudly but they can’t hear it above all the other noise.

Silence seems scary, as it implies being alone or isolated. However, it is quite the contrary. In silence we find answers to our life’s questions and dilemmas. Try it sometime. The best way to experience silence is to take a walk in nature. Your mouth is quiet as you pay closer attention with your ears, eyes, nose, and touch. Listen to the birds and watch them fly, feel the bark on a tree, smell the changing scents in the air. In silence, we come to truly know ourselves and that makes us feel more confident, less insecure.

Another effective means to try on silence is in an aquatic bodywork called WATSU. You float in warm water with the assistance of the therapist. As she moves you slowly through the water, you become keenly aware of your own body as it relaxes. The weightlessness and sensory reduction of being in the water transports you to an almost meditative state. In the water the world is quiet but you can hear your own breathing and safely go within yourself without getting lost.

Monks take a vow of silence in order to become enlightened, not only about themselves but about the world around them. They learn to communicate without speaking. They learn love and compassion by listening.

In silence, we can go within ourselves to find our own enlightenment of who we truly are. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo schedule a watsu session and experience the depth of silence and peace felt. Visit my website at http://www.fullcirclewellnessllc.com, or visit me on Facebook at fullcirclewellnessllc. These sessions are given at the AtlantiCare LifeCenter in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

What does the Forest say?

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Throughout my life I retreated to the forest for comfort. Sometimes I walked angrily, other times frustrated tears fell to the soft carpet of leaves and pine needles beneath my feet. As I walked the forest, my footsteps were quieted. In the quiet, I found solace among the trees with each step. I felt the tension falling away. I watched the trees sway gracefully in the breeze and listened to the birds chirp and flit from one branch to another. Letting go of my thoughts I witnessed the beauty around me. Nature bears no conflict or struggle, it merely accepts and bends with the flow of changing circumstances. In its reverent stillness my mind quieted as my heart filled. I was in the moment, just BEING. I was observing nature. Was it observing me? It must have been. I felt so comforted as though the forest understood me. All I felt from my surroundings was LOVE, Unconditional LOVE. In this place I wanted to remain. As I left the forest I felt lighter in spirit, freer in my mind. Cleansed.

I always thought my over active imagination was the reason I loved being in a forest. To my pleasant surprise I have learned that Shinrin-Yoku which means forest bathing is something being practiced in Japan. Forest bathing is literally spending time in the woods for its therapeutic benefit. Science has actually confirmed its healing influence on the body. When you spend time in a woodland setting you breathe in phytonicides, which is the active substances released by the plants and trees to protect them from animals, insects and decomposition. This substance has been studied and concludes that photonicides lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, decreases pain and improves concentration. It also has anti cancer effects.

One of the services I offer are meditative hikes and kayak journeys into the nearby forest of Wharton State park in Batsto, NJ. These journeys are meant to help you:
*Quiet your mind and experience a deeper connection with your higher self
*Listen with your heart to hear the answers you have been seeking.
*Experience a sense of peace and understanding to a higher truth
*Become more aware and conscious of your thoughts and how
they effect you.
*Enhance and deepen the connection between nature and yourself
*Move to a more enlightened state of being by being mindful
of your awareness and attention to the moment.

Before you hit the malls and start the holiday hustle bustle, join us this Saturday, November 29th at 10am. We will be taking an easy 3 mile hike to reflect on the things we are grateful for in our lives. While we are hiking we will be helping a hungry soul. 50% of the proceeds from this hike will go to Sister Jean’s Soup Kitchen in AC, NJ. So register now! Start the holidays in peace and gratitude.003
http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=8idcltcab&oeidk=a07ea3apfzr75e5609f
For more information please visit my website; http://www.fullcirclewellnessllc.com or on Facebook: fullcirclewellnessllc

Nature as Healer

Nature is a powerful healer. Grand views of 001

vast oceans to majestic mountains touch us in a place deep within. However, the healing properties of nature have the potential to penetrate deeper on a cellular level. Native Americans and Indigenous tribes throughout the world have understood and used the resins, oils and plant parts of a myriad of herbs, plants and trees for healing and ceremony.
Before the industrial revolution our society utilized herbal and folk remedies for most ailments and conditions. Then, synthetic drugs and penicillin were claimed to be the drugs of the future. We turned our backs, scoffing at natural remedies derived from nature. We didn’t realize just how powerfully healing Mother Nature was. Only now are we finding most of these drugs that were meant to heal are hurting, even killing us as they help with one issue but create several others as a result of their toxic side effects. Now, we are finally recognizing that Mother Nature knows how to heal best.
The practice of aromatherapy is ever increasing in popularity. In aromatherapy, essential oils derived from a variety of herbs and plants are used in massage, diffused in the air, used in cooking, skin care and alternatives to medication.
For instance, Lavender essential oil is one of the more commonly used oils and is known to promote relaxation and ease headaches to name just a few.
Peppermint essential oil helps ease breathing and acts as a digestive aid.
Melaleuca, from the melaleuca tree is commonly called Tea Tree oil and is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic and regenerative for the skin. The list of oils and their benefits goes on and on.
For any essential oil to be effective it must be therapeutic grade oil not synthetic oil.
Therapeutic grade essential oils are not the only plant derived compound found to have healing benefits to the human body. Many natural complexes are used in supplements.
Pycnogenol is derived from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and numerous studies have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory properties.
White Willow bark is referred to as nature’s aspirin. It is a safer alternative to aspirin, aleve or ibuprofen. It is a natural antiseptic, reduces fever, swelling and inflammation.
Resveratrol is better known as red wine extract. They weren’t kidding when they said red wine was good for you! Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant which scavenges free radicals and protects cardiovascular health. Though, I wouldn’t recommend trying to drink enough red wine for therapeutic purposes because you’d have to consume the equivalent of 3 bottles of red wine each day to get the benefit of one daily dose of resveratrol.
So before you reach for the aspirin or ask your Doctor for a prescription, look to Mother Nature first. She’s been around a lot longer and you know the saying; “Mother knows best.”
Not sure where to start? Contact me for a complementary 20 minute phone consultation.
The picture above is the wintergreen plant. Its oils are used in gum, toothpaste, breath fresheners and muscle relief lotions.