6 Life – Transforming Lessons That Can Help You Heal From A Serious Condition

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By Bhava Ram

mansmileThe greatest adversity in your life is also your greatest gift. A 2013 study found that those who reported the highest levels of trauma and adversity also reported the highest levels of growth and self-development. (Here’s the link.) This was definitely true for me.

I wasn’t always a yoga master. In fact, I used to be a poster child for hopelessness.

By my 50th birthday, I had lost my career as an NBC war correspondent to illness and injury. After I broke my back, failed surgery left me crippled and condemned to life in a body brace. I became addicted to painkillers, antidepressants, uppers, and alcohol. I gained 100 pounds, and then was diagnosed with stage IV terminal throat cancer. I felt my life was over.

The turning point for me came when my two-year-old son, Morgan, begged me, “Get up, Daddy.” Those three words became my motivator and my healing mantra.

Here are six lessons I learned from the adversity I had to overcome.

Working harder to get ahead won’t help you reach your potential.
I used to think that working longer and harder in my profession as a journalist was the path to fulfillment. I was recognized with a prestigious journalistic award and had many meaningful experiences, but at the end of the day, I lost my health, my marriage, and nearly lost my future–some due to working so hard, others not. Identify your true potential as a person, not as a professional, and pursue that instead with the same level of zeal.

Having a clear mantra or intention will carry you through difficult times.
If you’re determined to make a major change in your lifestyle, you’ll have to approach the challenge relentlessly, passionately, and with unflagging motivation. The easiest way to do this is to find something that you desperately care about, something that when you think about it impels your forward with even more resolve. In my case, as mentioned, it was living for my son. Whenever I faltered, I repeated his three-word plea to me over and over. A mantra also helps you flick away distracting thoughts and impulses.

We all have the power to take control of our health, and the capacity to self-heal.
Doctors may tell you your situation is hopeless. Or they may tell you the alternative healing path you’ve chosen won’t work. Take charge of your own healing journey, with or without their help. The capacity of human beings to reinvent ourselves is infinite–limited mainly by our fears. You can support your body’s innate ability to self-heal through diet, detoxing, meditation, a spiritual discipline, the loving support of friends and family, movement, mind-body therapies, energy medicine, and excellent teachers. The doctors called my recovery “a miracle”; I call it enabling my body to reach its full potential.

healthywordsIf you want to completely transform your health, make it your number one priority.
I had the good fortune to be able to devote myself to self-healing 12 hours a day. With the help of loved ones, healing became my primary job. Not all people can quit their jobs while healing. But think of it this way. If you get so sick you can’t work, you’ll lose your job anyway. When faced with a life-or-death decision, choose the path that will help you live this rich, wonderful life a little longer. You can do it. Don’t let naysayers, low-value people and activities, or outside pressure discourage you from your mission to heal.

Find a healing discipline and dive into it with your fullest passion and focus.
There’s more than one way to heal one’s body. For me, it was yoga combined with Ayurvedic medicine, diet, and practices. Whatever discipline you choose, become the best student you’ve ever been. Do research, find teachers, take classes, go on retreats, enter a clinic, and engage in the discipline every day. For me, doing yoga 12 hours a day and changing what I put in my body was my “organic chemotherapy”–it altered my body chemistry, my state of mind, and made my body strong.

You can’t make much progress on your health quest until you clean up your act.
People who are very ill or seriously injured often feel that their suffering entitles them to indulgences like a sugary dessert, steak dinner, or cocktails at night. My body was so riddled with alcohol, prescription drugs, and unhealthy food that it took me days in a rehab facility to get these toxins out of my body. It took many more months of cleanses and a complete overhaul of my diet to reverser the effect of the poisons. Once I did, however, my body responded well to yoga and all the other healing modalities I was using.

– Brad Willis, a.k.a. Bhava Ram, is a former NBC News war correspondent who self-healed from a broken back, addition, failed surgery, and stage IV cancer using yoga. The founder of Deep Yoga, based in San Diego, he teaches workshops throughout the US and India. His new book is Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life (BenBella Books). See his recent TEDx talk based on the book, and learn more at deepyoga.com.

Why It Is Difficult To Teach Health And Fitness Lessons To Children

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By Diana Maria

momkidsrunHealth and fitness have become major concerns for parents as well as school administrators and teachers across the world. With the obesity epidemic wrecking havoc with the health of young kids, the issue has garnered a lot of attention and a lot of emphasis is now being placed on improving the fitness and health of school kids. Here are a few key reasons that have a bearing on the teaching of fitness and health.

1. Not getting the right kind of support at home or school

When children don’t get the right kind of support at home, it becomes very difficult for teachers to manage their fitness and health through school programs alone. The fact remains especially true for grade and middle school kids as they aren’t always independent enough to make good food choices on their own. It is a bit easier to impart such teachings to older school kids though they too may not be able to break free of unhealthy eating habits that they have learnt at home. Similarly, kids that come from very health conscious homes may find it difficult to sustain the same attitude towards healthy eating and fitness if their school curriculum doesn’t include sports and physical activities and if they only have access to unhealthy food and snacks in the school campus.

2. Lack of a fitness culture

Studies have shown that regions and cities that lack a proper fitness culture find it more difficult to impart health and fitness lessons to school kids in comparisons to cities and regions that were more sporty” in comparison. Fitness culture mainly refers to the popularity of fitness related activity amongst the general population of a region. Cities that favor outdoor physical activities like roller blading, biking, hiking, surfing etc. are more likely to have healthier and more fitness oriented school kids than cities whose population prefers a more sedentary lifestyle.

3. Lack of sports infrastructure

Sports infrastructure and sports leagues for school kids allow them the chance to develop a healthier and more fitness oriented lifestyle. It is observed that regions with limited sports tournaments for school kids generally had less fit children in their schools while regions with healthy sports tournaments and leagues had fitter school children on an average.

4. Lack of healthy food options

kidseatinghealthyA lot of people associate health food with higher priced and specialty foods. However, when we talk about school kids, healthy food constitutes nothing more than mindful food choices at home and at school. School kids that brought bagged lunches from home or had access to healthier food and snacks at school are more likely to eat more mindfully for the rest of their lives. However, schools that offer unhealthy snacks like high fat fries and overly sugary snacks and drinks are more likely to have overweight and obese children. Also, children hailing from families that indulge in unhealthy eating habits are also likely to maintain those poor food choices through their lives.

5. Limited school budgets

One of the biggest contributors to the obesity epidemic in school children is the sheer lack of budget for fitness and sports departments in schools. Schools that have these financial cuts to deal with often opt to keep only the most popular sport going and cut all the other programs. Since only a very small fraction of the kids at the entire school are likely to make it into these teams, the percentage of children at the school that are healthy and fit also dwindles.

6. Parents with no time for outdoor activities

It is a well known fact that kids pick up a majority of their habits from the environment that they are raised in. parents that work two or more jobs or those who simply are too busy to indulge in outdoor activities with their children ever so often inadvertently pass on an unhealthy lifestyle to their children. Similarly, parents that is conscious about fitness and health and who make an effort to get out of the house often and indulge in some form of physical activity end up imparting a love of fitness and a healthy lifestyle to their kids.

– This Post is written by Diana. She is a writer/blogger. She writes articles on Technology, social media, wordpress, Gamification, travelling and health etc. These days she contributes on luxurious homes.

Arla Caraboolad – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Arla Caraboolad

1. Your message to kids today that you wish you knew back then what you currently know now. Be specific.

I wish I had known how important it is to be open and vulnerable. Being real is so important, and so little is done to teach it.

2. How did you learn your lesson or what was your lesson? Did you get hurt, did you upset someone, did you get scared?

Life and God have taught me through divorce and as I’ve listened to thousands of stories from my therapy clients. My daughter was hurt to be sure and has repeated my pattern. (We usually do repeat our parents mistakes and patterns.) And that has hurt her children.

3. What you would have done differently back then if you could turn back time.

Try more things to see what you are good at (definitely not drugs). Stay away from drugs, especially weed, it robs you of ambition and caring.

4. Do you convey this message to children in your life today?

Absolutely! If you don’t have parents you can talk to find an adult you admire to mentor you. If you have terrible, out-of-control parents ask to go to therapy–especially if you’ve been abused. Don’t blame yourself for other people’s problems, but take every chance to know yourself, and if you are wrong admit it.

I am so grateful that my parents were responsible even though not very open or enlightened. And I am so very grateful that I started looking for a relationship with God early in life. That has made all the difference. I’m so glad I went to college instead of getting married.

Arla Caraboolad, Marriage and Family Systems Therapist

Kathryn Williams – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Kathryn Williams

Had I realized the power of filling one’s passion I would have pursued a career in the creative world of art instead of all of the years I spent in business. I am happy I learned this ultimately and I am sure my business experience helps me navigate the waters of my own business but physically, I believe I would be further in my pursuit today if I knew this earlier.

If you are wondering what you want to do in your career, think about what makes you happy today. What do you do in your spare time that gifts joy? For me, I spend hours writing and drawing but I didn’t pursue this because I didn’t think I could support a comfortable lifestyle as an artist. After reaching a $100,000 plus annual salary, I realized if you do not love what you are doing, life is harsh and your career is just a job without any real fulfillment. Money is helpful in life but it doesn’t buy true joy. This is manifested through inner fulfillment.

My lesson manifested through health problems tied to on the job stress. My job was 24/7 with business crisis hours on the weekend and evening. I put in long days and traveled a lot too. It was difficult to achieve happiness while feeling unhealthy and exhausted. I was afraid to transition into a career after many years in business but in 2008, I lost my job shortly after losing my father and, during this time, I decided I needed to put my energy into making a positive change in the world. Today I use my art as a path to healing I offer to my community.

My area of expertise offers testimony to the therapeutic powers of the creative spirit. Creative endeavors align the mind, body and spirit. This is a life tool that many do not realize and it is my mission to surface this holistic path to those in need of it. I have a healthy living column on Examiner.com, I am an artist and published author and I am a graduate student currently in a Mental Health Counseling program. I have overcome many life hardships, an upbringing touched by poor economics, domestic violence and alcoholism, divorce and job loss as an adult, bereavement and much more. I am healthy today because of my creative spirit.

– Kathryn Williams, Artist/author, Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC

Dr. Erica Whitlock – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Dr. Erica Whitlock

Dr. Erica Whitlock writes: Looking back, I remember phrases such as “Eat your green beans. They make you strong!”€ or “€œAn apple a day keeps the doctor away.” How many times does a child hear this and actually understand the absolute importance of “€œeating your vegetables?” From birth to the late teen years, immense changes are occurring within the body from brain development to bone growth and it is so important to capture this time of development and help advance it in the best way possible. On a biological level, eating fruits and vegetables can decrease inflammation, boost the immune system and improve brain function and these are just a fraction of the benefits! With the knowledge and experience I have now, I would have eaten more fruits and vegetables.

Through post-graduate nutrition courses and similar seminars, my eyes began to slowly open and realize the life-changing importance of healthy eating. Reaching for processed foods on the shelves of supermarkets was no longer appealing, as I realized I was only robbing my body of sustaining minerals and nutrients. With this, I decided to make a drastic change. I decided to implement a purification program that consisted of consuming only fruits and vegetables for 21 days. Which, in essence, means no ranch dressing, no bread, and no pasta, etc. etc. This program is not about being a vegetarian, it’€™s more than that. It’€™s about removing any food that may be causing stress or toxicity in your body. The first 3-4 days of the program was both challenging and difficult, as I was constantly tempted to reach for a bag of chips or a slice of bread. But, without cheating, I prevailed, and by day 21, I was feeling more energetic, rejuvenated, and healthier than I had ever before.

saladheartsmallThe results to me, spoke louder than any nutrition course I could have ever taken. After the program, I knew I needed to make a more permanent change, but I wanted more than just fruits and vegetables. So currently, my meals consist mainly of fruits and vegetables, and then I add other foods to my plate. In return, I have gained a healthy balance and am grateful for the education and experience that directed me along the healthier path. My husband and I do not have any children of our own yet, but we are very active in the lives of our 2 nieces. When we spend time with them, we only make healthy options available. So, instead of the question “Would you like fruit or crackers?; “we instead ask “Would you like an apple or an orange?”€ This tactic has been very effective, and as they continue to grow, I look forward to teaching them more about the benefits of healthy choices. I wish I had understood them better as a child!

– Dr. Whitlock is the director of physical therapy at SpineCARE Therapy, a division of Minimally Invasive SpineCARE. Dr. Whitlock specializes in the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of the neck, back and extremities, with a particular expertise in prenatal and pediatric chiropractics.

Anett Hrubiak – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Anett Hrubiak

1. Your message to kids today that you wish you knew back then what you currently know now. Be specific.

I wish I had more commonsense and not been driven by my feelings so much. Each time I made a change in my life, I followed my emotions only and I did not care about future consequences. For example I left a job just because my boss had been fired, however the board would have kept me with the new boss. I felt such compassion towards my boss, that I risked my own carrier and reputation.

2. How did you learn your lesson or what was your lesson? Did you get hurt, did you upset someone, did you get scared?

My lesson was here to balance my emotions and not to take immediate reactions, by thinking before acting. I got hurt by the new boss, she was shouting at me twice for no reason, but with my decision I definetely upset the board members of the chamber who insisted on my staying. In a way they were cheated by me.

3. What you would have done differently back then if you could turn back time.

I would stand up for myself and communicate my bad feelings with the new boss and try to build a bridge of understanding towards each other’s reactions. I would sit down and negotiate, giving it a chance, not running away, supposing that in another life situation I do not have to experience and face my lack of self-esteem and self-confidence.

4. Do you convey this message to children in your life today?

Yes, I would strongly emphasize one thing: always give a achance to situations arising in your life no matter what. Fight your battle, face your “enemy”, say what you think is right at that moment, talk from your heart and see the bigger picture, by stepping out of the situation for a moment and putting your emotions aside.

– Anett Hrubiak, traner of self development Female wholeness, Balassagyarmat, Pest Hungary

Debra Ruh – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Debra Ruh

That we all bring something to the table, we all have abilities and disabilities. I never understood how people treated people with disabilities as a “tragedy” until my husband and I had a daughter with Downs syndrome. A neighbor once came to my house after quite a few beers and told me she cried for me each night. I was surprised and asked her why? She said because my daughter was born with a disability. We do not see our daughters disability as a tragedy. We see it as a difference, she has some disabilities but quite a few abilities. I have tried to spend my life since my daughter was born (she is 25 now) spreading the word especially to children that it is okay to be different. I did not understand that as a kid and tried so hard to fit in with everyone. Not realizing that someday I would have a child that is different, she looks different, acts different and is different. Maybe that is okay and we have strengths in our difference. Maybe the world would be super boring if we were all the same.

If we could get this message to children at an early age – I think we would have less bullying and less stress to be like everyone else. It is time to embrace our differences we all have abilities and disabilities. It is okay to think and look different.

– Debra Ruh, Managing Director, Ruh Global

John Duffy – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – John Duffy

I believe the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned in my life is to follow my heart, my soul, and my passion. I work with children every day in my practice, and I encourage them to do just that. Discovering and following my own passion has been in fact a long and arduous journey for me.

I began my career as an accountant, Making that choice solely out of fear of my parents reproach. Over time, I began to experience acute anxiety during the course of my accounting career, seven years in total. My body was offering me a very clear signal that something was wrong.

After a time, I chose to heed that signal. I quit my very secure job in the accounting world, and headed into the great unknown of graduate school in clinical psychology. Many people suggested this was a very bad idea, destined to fail. Why would someone give up such safety, to follow a dream?

Eventually I received my doctorate, and opened my practice. That was 15 years ago, and I have served and helped more than 300 families in that time. I love my work, and hold it more precious and dear than almost anything. I am so grateful that I took the leap of faith and followed what mattered most to me. I tell this story to my young clients frequently, and hope that they too will follow their passions.

John Duffy, Psychologist, Author

Barbara Techel – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Barbara Techel

What a wonderful subject! My message to kids would be that our thoughts are so powerful. I want them to know that even though we are always going to have challenges in our lives; the way we choose to deal with them will have a powerful impact on our lives. If we choose positive thoughts it truly can help us get through a situation with a bit more ease. It won’t make the problem go away, but we can move through it easier when we choose positive thoughts.

Another thing I want kids to know that vulnerability and empathy are gifts, not weaknesses. I wish I would have understood this years and years ago as I know it would have saved me much heartache, from feeling “different.” I really started to understand these lessons about seven years ago after my dachshund; Frankie became paralyzed due to diagnoses of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). I spent most of my life worrying what others thought of me and my choices, as well as lack of self-confidence, and being a very sensitive individual. I always thought that being vulnerable and sensitive were “bad “things. Frankie taught me that we all have challenges, whether others can physically see them or not.

But we can all work through these challenges by being positive– and we can each stand tall in who we are. I’m not sure what I could have done differently to change this. But I have worked hard the last six years instilling in kids that being positive will help them live better lives– Frankie helped me do this and she was such a perfect example for the kids to learn from– we were a great team sharing this message to instill in kids they always have a choice about their attitude. We also helped them understand empathy and being compassionate to all living beings. One of my favorite things to teach kids is that though Frankie was in a wheelchair she was still Frankie– she did not change. Her wheelchair was her tool to help her live the best life she could.

– Barbara Techel, Joyful Paws, Author

Dr. David Che – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Life Lessons From Adults To Children
Today’s Guest – Dr. David Che

1. Your message to kids today that you wish you knew back then what you currently know now. Be specific.

I wish as a child, I knew the consequences of drinking soda or carbonated soft drinks, which resulted in cavities in my teeth. The average can of soda contains SIX teaspoons of sugar! Coke also contains acid in addition to sugar, which damage the enamel on our teeth. Soda and carbonated soft drinks should contain pure cane sugar, which is actually good for the body and doesn’t cause tooth decay. However, soft drink companies use high fructose corn syrup, which is a lot cheaper to produce and brings in more profits. In 1983, a beverage analyst estimated that by switching to high-fructose corn syrup, Coca-Cola gained a cost advantage of USD 70 million a year over Pepsi and its bottlers! A year later, Pepsi followed in Coke’s footsteps and also began using the artificial sweetener. High fructose corn syrup is also the suspected culprit behind increased rates in diabetes and obesity since it was introduced in 1982. High fructose corn syrup has other negative effects on the body which is beyond the scope of this article.

2. How did you learn your lesson or what was your lesson? Did you get hurt, did you upset someone, did you get scared?

My dentist never explained the causes to me, as he just treated my cavities. I spent much time in the dental office having my teeth drilled on and my cavities fixed. I could never figure out why I was getting cavities. I later learned the strong connection between carbonated soft drinks and cavities while in dental school, studying the effects of high fructose corn syrup and saw the direct effects as a practicing dentist. I see children who drink lots of soft drinks come to the office with a lot of cavities, and it’s quite obvious now.

3. What you would have done differently back then if you could turn back time.

If I could turn back time, I would avoid drinking all carbonated soft drinks (except maybe at birthday parties) and stick with water and NOT FROM concentrate fruit juices. (Juices from concentrate have a lot of sugar) It’s worth pointing out that Coca-Cola produced in Mexico with the large glass bottles are actually made with cane sugar, and NOT high fructose corn syrup! Also, the store called Whole Foods Market produces their own brand of soda called 365, which has NO high fructose corn syrup. It comes in a variety of flavors such as lemon lime, cola, root beer, and ginger ale. I’ve personally tasted them and they taste just the regular store brands, minus the high fructose corn syrup!

4. Do you convey this message to children in your life today?

Yes, all the time in my dental practice and people I come across. I tell children and their parents that soft drinks, which contain high fructose corn syrup is very damaging to the teeth as well as . Cane sugar is the preferred good sweetner, but can be hard to find as high fructose corn syrup is present in many foods today, not just in soft drinks. Education is very important, but difficult because soft drinks are so widely advertised.

– Dr. David Che, Cocoa Beach, Florida US, http://www.totallawofattraction.com