Stress Management for Your Memory

Welcome to installment 4/6 in my brain health series! This series is inspired by 'The Alzheimer's Solution' by Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherazi. In my first post, I explained that lifestyle choices can prevent up to 90% of Alzheimer's cases.  For the 10% of cases that can't be prevented due to very strong genetic risk (such as in those that carry the APOE4 gene), lifestyle changes can delay presentation or progression of the disease by up to 15 years. There are 5 main lifestyle tenets for optimizing brain health that I am covering over the course of this blog series.  They include nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep and regularly engaging in complex cognitive activities. The focus of this post is stress management and its impact on brain health.

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December 2017 and January 2018 Hit List

I've been slacking a little the last two months, so this list encompasses  the things that made me smile, think, celebrate and learn in December, 2017 AND January, 2018. This month I am also celebrating 15 years of independence from meat, fish and poultry and this year marks 10 years completely powered by plants!

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Wabi Sabi: Tale of a Recovering Perfectionist

There's a period in my life that I don't talk about much.  Only those that have known me most of my life or that know me very, very well are privy to it.  I bury it in the trash with the journals that helped me through it.  Not because I'm ashamed, but because I don't want it to define me.

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Morning Meditation and Nude Mineral Bathing

My first week in Sofia I went on a Remote Year organized event and had no idea what I was in for!  About 15 people that signed up for the event met in a parking lot outside Vasil Levski stadium at 7:30 AM.  We drove about 30 minutes outside of Sofia to get to our destination: Pancharevo Lake.  Our adventure began with a 30-minute silent meditation hike that took us to a viewpoint with stunning views of the lake and the city of Sofia. The hike was a beautiful and energizing way to start the morning and was a great accompaniment to my fledgling meditation practice this month.  After taking in the view at the top, we hiked down to the lake and our guide presented us with our next challenge (as if walking in silence wasn't enough for us):  it was time to refresh ourselves in the natural hot mineral springs.  Nude.  As the Bulgarians do.  

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Reiki in the Energy

My health coaching and nurse practitioner philosophy is one of holism.  I recognize the importance of the mind-body connection and the role of spirituality in bridging the gap between the two.  Yet, despite encouraging patients and clients to find strength in their spirituality, I've done very little (aside from an occasional half-ass attempt at meditation) to adopt my own spiritual practice.  I have a science-oriented, practical brain and I believe in evidence-based practices.  Not to say there isn't an evidence base for certain spiritual or mind-body therapies (meditation holds a significant body of reliable evidence in it's corner), but I remained somewhat a skeptic.  

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July 2017 Hit List

Every month I compile a 'hit list' of things that are nourishing me- because nourishment is about so much more than food!  Here are the things that made me smile, think, celebrate and learn in July, 2017

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Come As You Are

Yesterday I had this wave of anxiety rush over me quite unlike anything I've ever felt.  I'm not at all an anxious person (at least not in my adult life), so this sudden shock of paralyzing emotion as I was walking to meet friends at a coffee shop in Belgrade led me to the edge of panic.  I began to question everything I was doing-recent decisions, my financial situation and where I want to end up at the end of this year.

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Hands on Help: Massage For Your Health

Lured by the prices and held by the relaxation and tension relief, I spent a lot of time facedown on a massage table in Asia. I had the opportunity to test drive all different massage types, including traditional Malay, Khmer, and Thai massage (my favorite).   Since managing your health is about much more than the food you eat or the number of steps on your pedometer everyday, all my time on the massage table led me to research different types of massage and the purported health benefits of each.  Techniques like massage can be an important component of disease prevention/symptom relief/ lifestyle medicine especially for stress relief.  Maybe it goes without saying, but less stress means improved blood pressure, sleep, weight control and immunity. 

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The Importance of Honoring Your Needs

The past 1.5 weeks have been among my most challenging so far during the last 3.5 months of Remote Year (RY).  There have been other challenging moments due to things that happened at home, but this is the first time I've had a difficult experience related directly to the RY adventure I'm undertaking.  Ok, so my Instagram has been feeding off glorious and enviable photos of the turquoise blue waters and sun kissed skin of island life.  I must be exaggerating, right?

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