Tag: Health

Thrive and success

I have considered the book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life” by Arianna Huffington for a while but couldn’t make up my mind. Seth Godin posted a short review, “What does success look like now?”, over at hugdug. The text below is part of that.

Most people use the word more in association with success.

More money, more power, more friends, more fame.

It’s easy to see how we end up with more, because in a scarcity-based industrial economy, that’s how capitalists and those trained to work in the system win.

Arianna Huffington, a tireless, generous, wise soul is asking us to take a few hours to think deeply about whether more of the usual stuff is all there is.

What about: More meaning. More sleep. More connection… What about making a difference to yourself and the people around you?

The bold text is my edit, that sentence motivated me to order the book.

Take a Walk

I subscribe to the newsletter “A Month of Me Time” from The Calm Space. It’s nice reminders, “Simple Daily Actions to Nourish Your Soul”. Today it was about the benefits of walking and I love the included quote.

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.
Soren Kierkegaard

I injured a foot before Christmas and have not been able to take my daily walks since then. Miss them and I do look forward to getting back in the habit again.

When mind attacks body – the nocebo effect

Today at Twitter I got this link, The science of voodoo: When mind attacks body. It’s a really interesting article that goes from placebo (when mind helps the body) to nocebo (when mind attacks body).

The idea that believing you are ill can make you ill may seem far-fetched, yet rigorous trials have established beyond doubt that the converse is true – that the power of suggestion can improve health. This is the well-known placebo effect. Placebos cannot produce miracles, but they do produce measurable physical effects.

The placebo effect has an evil twin: the nocebo effect, in which dummy pills and negative expectations can produce harmful effects. The term “nocebo”, which means “I will harm”, was not coined until the 1960s, and the phenomenon has been far less studied than the placebo effect.

What I find interesting but not surprising is that this is a yin-yang pair, good and bad, in both cases the mind affects the body. The nocebo effect can also explain how voodoo works:

What we do know suggests the impact of nocebo is far-reaching. “Voodoo death, if it exists, may represent an extreme form of the nocebo phenomenon,” says anthropologist Robert Hahn of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, who has studied the nocebo effect.

The article gives an example of a person who was told that he was terminally ill and died within the said timeframe. It was then found out that the diagnosis was wrong, still the person and those surrounding him believed in it and acted/reacted as if it was true. Mind attacked body.

Despite the growing evidence that the nocebo effect is all too real, it is hard in this rational age to accept that people’s beliefs can kill them. After all, most of us would laugh if a strangely attired man leapt about waving a bone and told us we were going to die. But imagine how you would feel if you were told the same thing by a smartly dressed doctor with a wallful of medical degrees and a computerful of your scans and test results.

I find this connection between mind and body very interesting. I know the good effects from yoga and meditation, this is the darker side of it.

This was originally posted at Zen And More, another blog of mine.

Milk and Sugar

Yoga and my spiritual development makes me change gradually what I eat. The two things I focus on at present is to eliminate or at least cut down on sugar and dairy. When it comes to sweets I do not like the concept of artificial sweeteners, I avoid them completely.

Zen Habits has a great post about sugar: Beat the Sugar Habit: 3 Steps to Cut Sweets (Mostly) Out of Your Life. There is a list of the bad things with sugar as well as a list of tips on how to beat the sugar habit.

Epic Self raised an interesting question in “Dare We Eat Dairy?”:

When it comes to nutrition, the milk debate is probably as confusing and controversial as it gets. Is cow’s milk a cancer fighting, PMS subduing, osteoporosis preventing super food? Or is it just another multi-billion dollar industry working with the government to alter dietary guidelines in their favor?

It also says:

Today we tend to look to scientific evidence to tell us what and how much to eat. But, what happened to paying attention to how you personally feel after eating certain products? Tuning into the internal workings of your own body will give you some clues into how to moderate or in some cases eliminate dairy from your diet.

My own experience is that dropping sugar and dairy makes me feel better.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

An Eater’s Manifesto

I found An Eater’s Manifesto over at ChangeThis. The manifesto by Michael Pollan is an interesting read, a teaser for his book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” but well worth reading.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

We are entering a postindustrial era of food; for the first time in a generation it is possible to leave behind the Western diet without having also to leave behind civilization. And the more eaters who vote with their forks for a different kind of food, the more commonplace and accessible such food will become. This is an eater’s manifesto, an invitation to join the movement that is renovating our food system in the name of health—health in the very broadest sense of that word.

Michael Pollan means the Western diet is causing a lot of health problems, we need to change what we eat (less processed food, less artificial nutrients).

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.