Tag Archives: stress

Stress and what it does to you and your body !!!

Let’s start at the top; the brain. First, let’s differentiate good stress from bad stress. Typically, there are two types of stress: acute and chronic. Acute stress is a reaction to an immediate threat. That threat can feel like a physical or an emotional threat. It causes our brain to go into flight, fight or freeze mode. Once the threat passes, our stress hormones return to normal and we feel okay. Sometimes acute stress revs up the brain to perform at a peak level, kind of like revving an engine before the start of a race.

Chronic stress, the kind we face daily, is what tends to cause the real damage. According to an article by Deane Alban, 90 percent of doctors’ visits are for stress-related health complaints. Chronic stress makes you more vulnerable to anything ranging from the common cold to cancer. The article goes on to say that “the non-stop elevation of stress hormones not only makes your body sick, it negatively impacts your brain as well.”

Stress has many hidden negative consequences, because it affects the brain: High chronic stress increases the stress hormone cortisol, which creates a surplus of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Glutamate creates free radicals that attack brain cells in a similar way that oxygen attacks metal and creates rust.

Stress can also decrease or stop the production of new brain cells. The brain cell activity described is not what we can see so we are clueless to some of these damaging affects until we start to experience the signs and symptoms such as increased depression, cycles of anxiety and worry, increased risk of all kinds of mental illnesses, emotional dysregulation (when we feel we can cry at the drop of a hat or be fine one minute, enraged the next), increased forgetfulness, and/or basically feeling stupid.

A stressed woman biting her first.

Untitled by Serena West

Stress literally allows toxins into the brain that can shrink our brain, it can lead to higher risk of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Yet, according to Alban, Alzheimer’s disease is the number one health fear of American adults and the sixth leading cause of death. Stress leads to premature aging on a cellular level. As a psychologist who specializes in trauma, I’m especially interested in the part of the brain called the amygdala. It’s the area in the brain where we lose the ability to be present, and we are in fight, flight or freeze mode.

According to an article by Carolyn Gregoire from the Huffington Post, increased cortisol hampers the activity of the hippocampus (an area of the brain associated with learning, memory and emotion), and it increases the size and activity of the amygdala, the brains center where we hold our unprocessed emotions, thoughts and body sensations. If stress increases the activity in this part of the brain, then that could mean we are in a heightened state of reactivity to a perceived threat. This increases our emotional reactions and decreases the ability to have rational thoughts and take in new information. It takes a lot more energy for the brain to be in flight, fight or freeze mode then to be calm and relaxed. As stated earlier, the ways in which stress affects the brain is extensive. We could go more in depth, but these are some of the common ways stress affects the brain and therefore, affects our daily lives and journey of healing.

There is no way to make recommendations as to how to manage stress and decrease the negative effects on the brain without taking in the entire mind, body, spirit approach to wellness. I will be going much more in depth in the next two parts of this blog; for now, a good place to start would be to:

  1. Reconnect to your spiritual life and belief system.
  2. Incorporate yoga and/or meditation to your exercise regime.
  3. Consult with a nutritionist who can advise you on proper nutrition and appropriate goals for mindful eating.
  4. Consult with a doctor (my preference would be an Ayurveda specialist or Naturopathic Doctor) who can/will go more in depth with proper testing and recommendations for managing stress. Checking your adrenals and cortisol levels will be important in the process of decreasing the effects of stress on the brain and body.
  5. Consult with a professional counselor who can work with you on identifying and managing your stress.
  6. Engage in a healing process that can benefit you inside and out.

As we are all on our journey of healing, we face a variety of challenges consisting of health, family, relational, financial, spiritual, and emotional experiences.

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Nocturnal Seizures

I myself have been not knowing what’s going on with me. All the symptoms, new and old seem to fall under the category of the “Norm” of Autonomic Disease and Dysfunction. But this last year I have noticed waking up having what feels like a seizure, I can actually feel like my brain shaking, it feels like my chest in shaking, my nerves and muscles in my hands are moving, I get jerky muscle movements as well. It’s been scary so to be honest I haven’t said anything as it was happening just once in a while and every time you go to the Doctor that just look at you like your nuts!

So instead I emailed Stanford asking my Doctor and telling him of some worsening symptoms I was experiencing and this seizure thing happening, because its happening more now. Some times 3 times a night, then of courses going back to sleep is not going to happen, the fear of going back to sleep keeps me awake.

So after writing him and his quick response to get into the office right away, it scared me a little bit. Well a lot. So what do I do, what I tell people not to do is go on the internet. Okay, it happens more then you think, and most people don’t know they have them. but I do. Because of the different stage of sleep I’m in, I am aware of it which then makes it worse.

Good news is there are medications to control seizures, epilepsy and if those don’t work you can have a device put in your chest that sends electrical shocks up to your brain to try to keep you from having them all together. To be honest, I am so tired of drugs, there site effects, I ‘d rather have the device put in. I know that sounds crazy but I have already tried a lot of the epileptic meds due to migraine headaches and they made me very sick.

So that being said there are several reasons for having these seizures, one forget medication, alcohol withdrawal or drug withdrawal, lack of sleep, insomnia, misfiring in your brain. or previous drug use, well I have never tried drugs unless given by a Doctor, I don’t really drink, I do have insomnia and I can tell you I have my wires misfiring in my brain. I can tell something is wrong, I can feel it. I am so tired. I can sleep 20 hours a day everyday. my brain fog is so bad. I forget from one thing to the next. Head pressure galore. So I am off to Stanford. Hopefully since there is no cure, symptom control is all I can expect.

So hopefully this visit will be a new beginning for symptom relief.

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Remedies to treat Insomnia by lifelolo

8 Home Remedies to Treat Insomnia
September 29, 2016Komal Karnani

In this fast growing era, everyone has a lot of pressure and tension irrespective of the age, career, or financial situation. Hypertension is the basic cause behind less sleep or insomnia. Though tension cannot be removed completely but this problem “insomnia” can be treated to get a sound. Some home remedies can help well than medicines to treat insomnia. Try out the following home remedies to treat insomnia:
1. Listen up music to sleep
Slow and soft music is the best way to keep your mind calm and relaxed. Listening music is a very common way to get easy sleep and divert your mind from entire tiredness. Constant and soft music reduces the frequency of thoughts in mind and makes our mind for falling asleep.
2. Drink tart cherry juice for sound sleep
This natural sleep aid contains one cup of tart cherry juice and the half cup of water. It contains a kind of amino acid which ultimately converts into melatonin that governs the sleeping system in the body. Other than this, one can eat cherries also to increase melatonin in the body.
3. Lemon balm for insomnia
Lemon balm not only lifts the mood but also provides relaxation to the tired body. It calms your mind and promotes mental as well as physical health. Add an equal amount of dried lemon balm and dried chamomile in fresh warm water. For taste add honey in the mixture and take it before going to bed.
4. Do some exercise to sleep
Exercise is the best way to energize your body and keep it fit. It is an idea to burn the calories and feel better. But make a note, it is advisable not to do exercise before going to bed, as it may make you feel awake for some more time.
5. Warm milk for sound sleep
Sip a full glass of warm milk 30 minutes before going to bed. Warm milk has tryptophan acid which works well to wind up your mental activities and provides relaxation. After boiling the milk, bring it to the normal temperature and consume it every day.

6. Meditate for few minutes
Mediation is a way to relax your mental activity. It promotes calmness and peace in the body that helps in getting sound sleep. You can also try acupuncture before going to bed to relax your body.
7. Sleep well with catnip
All you need is one or two teaspoon dried catnip to sleep well. Add 8 to 10 ounce boiling water in the catnip powder. For taste, you can 1 spoon honey too. Before bedtime, drink this mixture regularly.
8. Magnesium for insomnia
This mineral supplement promotes the nervous system of the body. Magnesium plays a vital role in smooth functioning of GABA receptors and ultimately, prepares your mind and body to fall asleep.
A decent and sound sleep is very important for a healthy life. Insomnia is like a real nightmare that one can face. Above-mentioned simple home ideas can help you in your bedtimes. Sleep well and stay healthy!

For more great information you’ll want to check out lifelolo, and to the left of the page next to resources click on lifelolo and you’ll be at there site Don’t forget to subscribe!!!!

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Phantom Pains

Although amputations are visible the phantom pains are not.  The exact cause of phantom pain is still unknown  but originates in the spinal cord and brain.  when a patient feels these pains, it can be seen in a MRI machine.    It is believed that it is a response from mixed signals from the brain.

When a amputation takes place, areas of the spinal cord and brain lose your input from the missing limb and adjust to this detachment in a unpredictable way.  It may send a message to your brain the pain is else where.   Because the sensory information is referred elsewhere-from a missing hand to a present cheek.  So when the cheek is touched its as the missing limb is present.  It is a version of tangled sensory wires.  Thus results in pain.

Phantom pain can be caused by damaged nerve endings, scar tissue at the site of amputation and the physical memory of pre-amputation pain.

Know your triggers, usually you can feel a tingle or some sensation before pain begins, Try to empty your bladder, don’t get constipated, drinking alcohol can add to the pain,  If you learn your triggers you may be able to stop them before they happen,  meditation, calming one self down can prevent the pain.  Number one trigger is Stress!  so if you can exercise, de stress, calm down, you may be able to find tricks by massaging the limb before bed to help prevent the pain or using a (tens) machine to the affected limb.

Treatments and drug

Acupuncture and Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

(TENS), have been found to be effective treatment for those that don’t want to take oral medications.  Also more invasive options include injections or implanted devices .  This is usually a last resort.


Although no medications specifically for phantom pain exist, some drugs designed to treat other conditions have been helpful in relieving nerve pain.  Not every pain medication will work for every person’s pain.

Medications used in the treatment of phantom pain include:

  • Antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants may relieve the pain caused by damaged nerves. Examples include amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Pamelor) and tramadol (Conzip, Ultram).

    These drugs work by modifying chemical messengers that relay pain signals. Antidepressants may also help you sleep, which can make you feel better.

    Possible side effects include sleepiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, weight gain, and a decrease in sexual performance or desire.

  • Anticonvulsants. Epilepsy drugs — such as gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica) and carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol) — are often used to treat nerve pain. They work by quieting damaged nerves to slow or prevent uncontrolled pain signals.

    Side effects may include depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, irritability, and allergic reactions such as hives, fever and swelling.

  • Narcotics. Opioid medications, such as codeine and morphine, may be an option for some people. Taken in appropriate doses under your doctor’s direction, they may help control phantom pain
  • receotor antagonists. This class of anesthetics works by binding to the NMDA receptors on the brain’s nerve cells and blocking the activity of glutamate, a protein that plays a large role in relaying nerve signals.

    In studies, NMDA receptor antagonists ketamine and dextromethorphan were effective in relieving phantom pain. Side effects of ketamine include mild sedation, hallucinations or loss of consciousness. No side effects were reported from the use of dextromethorphan.

Noninvasive therapies

    • Nerve stimulation. In a procedure called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a device sends a weak electrical current via adhesive patches on the skin near the area of pain. This may interrupt or mask pain signals, preventing them from reaching your brain.

      Used properly, TENS is safe. To avoid an unintentional shock, don’t wear a TENS device in the shower or tub or turn it up too high.

    • Mirror box. This device contains mirrors that make it look like an amputated limb exists. The mirror box has two openings — one for the intact limb and one for the stump.

      The person then performs symmetrical exercises, while watching the intact limb move and imagining that he or she is actually observing the missing limb moving. Studies have found that this exercise may help relieve phantom pain.

    • Acupuncture. The National Institutes of Health has found that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for some types of chronic pain. In acupuncture, the practitioner inserts extremely fine, sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body.

It’s thought that acupuncture stimulates your central nervous system to release the body’s natural pain-relieving endorphins. Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed correctly.

Minimally invasive therapies

  • Injection. Sometimes injecting pain-killing medications — local anesthetics, steroids or both — into the stump can provide relief of phantom limb pain.
  • Spinal cord stimulation. Your doctor inserts tiny electrodes along your spinal cord. A small electrical current delivered to the spinal cord can sometimes relieve pain.
  • Nerve blocks. This method uses medications that interrupt pain messages between the brain and the site of the phantom pain.


Surgery may be an option if other treatments haven’t helped. Surgical options include:

  • Brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation and motor cortex stimulation are similar to spinal cord stimulation except that the current is delivered within the brain. A surgeon uses a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to position the electrodes correctly.

    Although the data are still limited, brain stimulation appears to be a promising option in selected individuals.

  • Stump revision or neurectomy. If phantom pain is triggered by nerve irritation in the stump, surgical resection or revision can sometimes be helpful. But cutting nerves also carries the risk of making the pain worse.

On the horizon

Newer approaches to relieve phantom pain include virtual reality goggles. The computer program for the goggles mirrors the person’s intact limb, so it looks like there’s been no amputation.

Along with this pain from amputation, a patient may experience grief of the loss of the limb amputated, also depression over the loss can be common,  Loss of activity, or ability to work, or function pre amputation.  So support from family and friends are a important part of the recovery of a amputee.

One patient told me the pain was so bad he wanted to cut his entire leg off or kill himself.   Life was not worth living.


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Horse Therapy, could this be for you or a loved one?


Horse photos

I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Kara Lund Padilla via facebook, then by telephone and I believe we were meant to meet, Kara has a business called Equine-sense.com. Kara has found away to take her passion to help others. She uses her passion of horses to help children and adults either learn to ride horses for Fun, hobby or for therapeutic purposes. I didn’t understand myself the benefit, Kara and her team teaches the care of the horse, the techniques of riding horse and they bond with the horse. All done in a safe environment for people with special needs. Although she is in Texas, she does have camps, but if you read and click on the blog, you can learn more about what she does and you may be able to find someone close to you that offers the same type of therapy. I always want to bring attention to someone who is using there passion not make millions but to help others. That to me is hard to find and considered a Hero. Kara is down to earth, easy to talk to, humble, willing to answer her questions. If you can go on her web site and check out all the beautiful horses and ranch I know Kara’s team that helps her with the ranch have to be gentile and loving people as well. A Therapy I never thought of. Kara is a pure gift. I am looking forward to moving forward in our friendship. We both have the same mission to help people, Not to many people out there helping others.. So I see our friendship will be a positive wonderful experience and journey together. http://www.equine-sense.com/

Please check out her site, look under her blog and how they can help you or your loved one. Kelly

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Find your inner child. By Mind over Menieres

A Childs Guide to Managing Stress FB

A long time ago, humanity faced a big problem.

The Earth was different back then, more unpredictable, and danger lurked everywhere. In a world where every bug bite, thunderstorm, and wild animal could kill you in an instant, how does a species survive?

We may be at the top of the food chain now, but it’s not because of our strength or speed or any other physical attribute for that matter. We rank pretty low on the scale of physical prowess when you take the entire animal kingdom into account.

No, our power lies in our intellect, and the specific ways the human brain has evolved to adapt to its environment. When death was always so close at hand, we needed a better way to stay alive. As a result, we evolved a stress response as a way to quickly prime the body to react to danger.

Now, in an instant, adrenaline courses through our veins. Our hearts pump harder sending blood to the muscles in our arms and legs. Suddenly we can run faster, hit harder, and think more clearly. All non-pertinent bodily functions shut down so all available energy can be diverted to facing the crisis at hand. Needless to say, our chances of survival have improved dramatically.

Today, we no longer face the environmental threats that our ancestors once did, but the stress response remains. In small doses, stress isn’t a problem. In fact, it’s actually a good thing. It provides us with novelty, challenges, and opportunities for growth. But there’s a fine line, and once you cross it, your stress no longer serves you. It can become a problem.

Chronic stress has a profoundly negative effect on our health and for someone living with a chronic illness, it can have dire consequences. It also happens to be one of the most common triggers of Meniere’s disease symptoms.

It’s important to try to eliminate stress whenever possible, and strangely enough, children happen to be great role models. We can learn a thing or two, and reduce our stress in the process, by following in their little footsteps.

The Importance of Play:

“A lack of play should be treated like malnutrition: it’s a health risk to your body and mind.”

— Stuart Brown

If there is one thing that children consistently do better than adults, it’s play. It just comes naturally to them. It’s like somewhere along the way we forgot how to have fun. And I’m not talking about the “normal” things adults tend to do for fun like going out to dinner, coffee, and the movies.

I was a kid in the earliest days of the internet, long before mobile devices would come to dominate our lives. For years, I would get together with the kids in my neighborhood and play outside. We would hang out and explore, ride bikes, play tag, and tell jokes. We were rarely bored, and would play together for hours. When I was a kid I knew how to have fun. I miss that.

But as adults, play is still important on so many levels. It is a powerful reliever of stress. It gives us the social interaction we all so desperately crave. And it brings us to the present moment, offering a pure enjoyment that we rarely seem to find in adult life.

Play doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, either. If you can add some sort of physical movement, or exercise into the mix, even better. Try going for a nice long walk with a good friend or loved one. Play a game of catch or throw around a Frisbee. Hang out at the beach or the pool or the park. Even getting together with your friends to play board games can be a great change of pace. You can use a service like Meetup to meet new people who share your interests.

No matter how severe your symptoms are, there is a way to add play into your life. You can make this change, right now, and start benefitting immediately.

The Stress Relieving Power of Coloring:

Over the last few years, a strange and wonderful, though unexpected, kind of book has become a new literary trend the likes of which have never been seen before in publishing. It may be hard to believe, but Coloring books designed for adults, are selling like crazy.

As I write this, out of the top twenty books on Amazon.com, six are coloring books for adults. Earlier this year, adult coloring books held the number one and number two spots for all of Amazon.

If you have never heard of the phenomenon before now, you are probably wondering what it’s all about. Well, according to the Washington Post, it boils down to stress relief.

“The best theory offered to date is that best-selling adult coloring books such as “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest” are all about easing stress and calming one’s inner child. From this perspective, coloring is all about regaining mindfulness and getting a digital detox. And, indeed, the best-selling Scottish illustrator and “ink evangelist” behind these books, Johanna Basford, recently told The Guardian: “I think it is really relaxing, to do something analogue, to unplug … Coloring books are also an easy way to flex our creative muscles in a way we likely haven’t since our good old paste-eating elementary school days.””

The coloring books for adults differ from children’s coloring books in one very important way: intricacy. The elaborate patterns and illustrations found in adult coloring books can take hours to fill in. The act of coloring such complex designs requires a level of concentration that effectively quiets the mind, but not so much that it can lead to fatigue or frustration.

I find it to be an incredibly relaxing practice and when I’m feeling stressed, it helps to take the edge off. And for literally millions of people, it has become a relaxing, creative, and therapeutic hobby.

An example of a page I've Colored

There are now hundreds of different adult coloring books on the market, many of which only cost between $5 and $10. If you would like to give it a try, here is a list of the best-selling adult coloring books on Amazon.

Disconnect from your Tech:

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, smartphones have come to rule our attention.

According to a recent Gallup pole, in the United States, 52% of smartphone users report checking their phones at least several times an hour. 11% report checking their phone every few minutes. And that’s just the average. It’s much higher with the younger demographic. In my opinion, however, the most startling find was that 81% of smartphone owners keep their phones near them at all times.

We seem to be more addicted to our phones and tablets than ever before. The constant flow of information can become a problem and real source of stress. But it’s not all bad. As hard as it may seem, we can disconnect, and we don’t have to leave our devices at home to get the benefits.

A few months back, I went on a weekend trip with my fiancée Megan to Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida. If you’ve never been, it’s a beautiful tiny island and a wonderful place to relax. There are giant seashells all over the pristine white sand beaches, streets lined with mom-and-pop shops and locally-owned restaurants. It’s the perfect weekend getaway.

Now I personally fall into the category of “checks his phone several times an hour” and I know it’s a problem. So on this trip, and for the first time ever, I decided to turn my phone off and just enjoy the nature. We spent time on beach, explored the little island, and really connected with each other.

In a lot of ways, it was incredibly liberating. I felt very grounded, relaxed, and when the trip was over, I felt deeply recharged. I have since made it a priority to turn my phone off every once in a while and be present with whatever I’m doing.

I encourage you to give it a try. The next time you plan to be out in nature, turn off your phone. Keep it with you in case of an emergency, but otherwise leave it off. You will be shocked to find how good it feels.

Managing stress is such an important part of managing illness. We are bombarded by stimuli, constantly, in a way our ancestors could never have imagined.

But when we stop for a moment and approach the world like a child, we can really make a difference in our stress levels. We can find more enjoyment in our lives, too.


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