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03 Feb

Reducing Your Cancer Risk: A holistic approach

Guest post by Carl O Helvie, R.N., Dr.P.H.

Did you know that the current risk of cancer is 1 of every 2 people in the United States? And did you know that 40% of these are preventable according to research. Thus, it is important to learn how to reduce your cancer risk to avoid being in a cancer or cancer survivor group. .

What areas of life offer an opportunity to reduce your cancer risk. . The author uses a public health framework to answer this question. Assuming health and illnesses (cancer) are processes resulting from the interaction of the human host, a disease or disabling agent, and the environment, disease can occur when the host is weak, the agent is strong, and the environment that brings them together is favorable. Thus, it is important to avoid or reduce environmental carcinogens, to strengthen the host, and to make the environment less favorable for an interaction. Intervening before the host interacts with an agent in a favorable environment is known as prevention and is most cost effective and less traumatic for individuals.

There are four major areas of environmental carcinogens that can be avoided or reduced in intensity. These include electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), ultraviolet rays, carcinogenic chemicals, and carcinogenic metals. The author discusses research related to each area as it relates to cancer and ways to avoid them. There are also over 45 national expert interviews linked to appropriate topics throughout the book. For example, Bisphenol A (BPA) a carcinogenic chemical, is an endocrine disrupter responsible for cancers of the prostate and breast. It is found in plastic and you can avoid it by replacing plastic water bottle in which the plastic leaches into the water during hot weather or transporting with glass containers, replace plastic utensils, and not eating canned foods that havw BPA linings in the can.

There are many things you can do to build your bodies immunity against carcinogens. Some physical interventions include working with nutrition, fluids, exercise, adding supplements and herbs, using immune builders, getting adequate rest and sleep, and avoiding or stopping smoking. For example, research shows that daily exercise reduces your risk of cancer by 50% and proper nutrition reduces it by 35%. Looking at nutrition, the Standard American Diet (SAD) of high animal protein and fat, saturated fats and cholesterol, high sugar and processed foods, and low complex carbohydrates and vegetables with GMO, pesticides, and other pollutants is considered a potential causal factor for cancer and should be replaced with a diet with more fruit and vegetables especially raw ones and lesser amounts of nuts and proteins. Researchers are finding that the vegan diet lends itself to reducing several diseases including cancer. A proper diet should also include organic, non-GMO food without growth hormones, pesticides and other pollutants. Good sources of oil should be used such as cold pressed organic olive oil for low or no temp cooking, and coconut oil for high temp cooking. Anti- inflammatory foods and anti oxidants should also be included. Also avoid farm grown fish and seafood, large fish that eat smaller ones and have higher mercury levels and avoid foods that raise the glycemic level in the body. Some physicians believe eliminating inflammation will reduce most diseases and taking anti-inflammatories canl help overcome them. Antioxidants are important because the cells give off waste including free radicals that lead to inflammation and are precursors to disease. The body produces some antioxidants to balance the free radicals but with radiation, processed foods and other contaminants this process cannot keep up so additional ones in food are necessary. .

A last area of interventions to reduce cancer risk are mental/spiritual ones such as prayer, meditation, affirmations, visualization, faith, helping others, compassion, gratitude and others. These were important in my cancer journey with lung cancer 43 years ago when I was given 6 months to live and was offered chemotherapy and surgery which I refused. Instead I used a holistic natural approach.

Although there is no research to support mental/spiritual interventions killing cancer cells there is currently adequate research to show the supplemental role they play. Overall these include reduce blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, improve memory. Increase DHEA, a hormone that reduces aging and decreases cortisol, the stress hormone, by 23%, increase happiness and self esteem, improve immune functioning. Improve tolerance to aches and pains, reduces stress, improves quality of life and others. Specifically. Cancer patients with a sense of purpose have an increased life spam, and those who are spiritual have less pain and a higher quality of life,. Patients who meditate have 31% lower stress symptoms, and 67% less mood disturbances, and music can lower patient’s anxiety, pain, heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. Visualization can improve immune functioning in cancer patients. .More information at: www.HolisticCancerFoundation.com

Carl O Helvie, R.N., Dr.P.H. is a nurse with a doctorate in public health and over 60 years’ experience as a nurse practitioner, educator, author and researcher. He had published 9 books and chapters in 4 additional ones and over 100 international research papers and articles. He has been listed in most national references and Wikipedia. At age 85 he continues hosting the Holistic Health Radio Show, and serving as President of the Carl O Helvie Holistic Cancer Foundation.

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04 Jan

Physical Activities Can Power Kids’ Brains

Guest post by Kilian Saekel

Getting kids off the couch and away from televisions and other electronic devices that have them sitting around for hours at time is important for health reasons, but it has another surprising impact. A new study found that kids who fit in extra physical activities in their day paid more attention in school and performed better in subjects such as reading and math. Sometimes getting kids interested in an activity that causes them to break a sweat is like pulling teeth, but taking things they love or that interest them and putting a fun physical twist on them can get them to rethink their personal ban on physical activities.


Kilian Saekel, CEO of A-Champs, has a few tips for parents on fun physical activities that can be done in the living room that kids will want to participate in and that can boost their brain power:


Play old school games- Play classic games such as “Red Light, Green Light”, “Mother, May I”, “Simon Says” or any other game that gets kids moving around. You can also put

  • a twist on classic board games by creating your own rules that involve physical activities. Such as having kids do ten jumping jacks when they buy a property in Monopoly or running in place for a minute if they get sent home in Sorry.
  • Scavenge the room– Hide objects around the house and have kids search for the item they think you are describing. Require kids to perform a certain physical activity (jumping jacks, sit ups, push-ups, etc.) before they are allowed to submit the item that they brought back to you. If they bring back the wrong item, they have to do twice the number of jumping jacks that are required before returning to the hunt! You can also set up a scavenger hunt where they search for animal figurines and have to act like the animal being called out such as hopping like a frog, running like a cheetah or flapping their arms like a bird.
  • Set up camp– Have kids strap on backpacks and pack gear that they would need if they were going on a hiking/camping trip. Take them on a walking trip around the house and even pretend the stairs are a mountain they have to climb. When you feel like you explored enough, have kids make a tent out of a sheet in the living room. You can also set up a makeshift campfire with battery powered candles or equip kids with flashlights and take turns telling scary stories. Once you’re done have kids pack up the gear again and make their way back home.
  • Don’t touch the lava- Spread pillows or couch cushions on the floor and have kids hop from cushion to cushion without touching the ground. If they do touch the lava, or ground, have them do 5 jumping jacks, sit ups and push-ups before they restart the course. You can make this game tougher for older kids by playing with smaller pillows or taping paper circles to the floor.
  • Take the games indoors– Set up different sports stations around the living room. Create a basketball hoop using a trashcan, a volleyball net using string and two chairs and use old boxes for soccer goals. Have kids create new sports games or put twists on the old ones such as mixing soccer rules with the volleyball playing style where players must try to keep the ball in the air and make it in their goal before the other players try to take the ball away or block it from the goal.
  • Mix in technology- Kids love anything that has a tech component. Find games, apps or videos that get kids up and moving instead of sitting on the couch like a zombie. NFL Play 60 and ROXs are both great options to get kids interested in physical activities along with mixing in technology. If your child is adamant about watching a show or movie pick a word or phrase that you know is used often and set a rule that they have to do a certain action like jump up and down or do high knees every time it is said.


Kilian Saekel, Co-Founder & CEO ofA-Champs

Kilian is a German born entrepreneur in the field of product development and manufacturing.

In 2010 Kilian’s wife successfully battled cancer. It was then when he started to appreciate the need to live an active and healthy lifestyle. In 2015, he founded “A-Champs” with the goal to inspire children to engage in physical activity and to help them set the foundations for living active and healthy lives. The A-Champs solution is an interactive gaming system that uses technology, video gaming play patterns and kids’ imaginations for real-world PLAY experiences that are screen-less.

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11 Dec

Direct and Protect: Dominance without Malice

by Linda Kohanov

An excerpt from The Five Roles of a Master Herder


Whether you overemphasize or avoid the Dominant role, learning to employ it consciously and judiciously is one of the most important — and difficult — skills to develop.


In working with large animals, Master Herders also cultivate a sophisticated knowledge of dominance to handle the flamboyant power plays that aggressive herd members engage to challenge authority and intimidate others into submission. Similarly, parents and teachers must help naturally dominant children modulate and channel this sometimes-explosive force into benevolent pursuits.


Here’s the problem: Managing, let alone working for or living with, people who overidentify with the Dominant role is sometimes emotionally painful, intensely frustrating, and even occasionally dangerous. In these efforts, you must not only be powerful yourself, but you must also model a centered, socially conscious use of this often-misdirected force — even if dominance is not your natural inclination. If dominance is your native tongue, you must transform your own instinctual tendencies to control, intimidate, and divide and conquer into an impeccable source of refined influence. Either way, it may be the challenge of a lifetime.


Classic Dominance Games

To various degrees, naturally dominant people and animals experiment with using intimidation as a management tool. At best, they have strong opinions and aren’t shy about directing others’ behavior. The most dangerous Dominants, however, quickly escalate to violence while displaying an outrageous sense of entitlement.


Two-Legged Dominants

Humans who overemphasize dominance play similar games, though most of these people are unconscious of what they’re doing and how they affect others. To some high-powered CEOs, intensely autocratic behavior becomes their baseline — usually through a combination of talent for this role reinforced by parental encouragement, followed by success in competitive educational environments and cutthroat business climates.


In the corporate world, large salaries still entice many workers to endure intensely competitive, demeaning bosses. Younger generations, however, are less tolerant of disrespectful power plays and “my way or the highway” tactics. Talented, independent people are more than happy to “hit the road” in these situations, especially when the internet makes it easier to work from home and start a business online.


Instinctual Characteristics of an Immature Human or Animal Dominant

  • Uses intimidation as a management tool.
  • Exhibits a strong sense of entitlement.
  • Often asserts power divisively, usually by keeping others away from something valuable (food, water, resources, mares in heat, and so on).
  • Sometimes attacks others for little or no reason (to keep everyone a bit on edge).
  • Pressures others to yield, to look away or move away as a sign of respect.
  • Refuses to move when others ask.
  • Herds others with a driving force, most often by pushing the group from behind.
  • Exhibits tendencies to micromanage, demand compliance, and control others’ behavior.
  • Verbally or nonverbally expresses a “my way or the highway” attitude.


Optimal Use of Dominance

When dominance is used consciously — in balance with skills developed through exercising the other roles — it becomes a constructive force for motivating others and moderating unproductive group behavior. Mature Dominants transform their potentially explosive energy into a “direct-and-protect” orientation, deftly employing the role’s divisive and driving forces for specific, life-enhancing pursuits. While their adolescent counterparts are busy chasing herd members away from food and water, horses who master this role use their refined, still-potent power to break up fights between individuals (divisive), set boundaries with aggressors (divisive), herd the group away from danger (divisive and driving), and chase off predators (driving).


In pastoral cultures, expert herders employ dominance for these same purposes, while helping their younger counterparts convert disorganized aggression into focused, intelligent assertiveness. During seasonal migrations, Fulani herders regularly employ the divisive energy of this role to keep loose cattle out of farmers’ unfenced fields, thus preventing war with the tribe’s sedentary neighbors.


Accomplished human leaders use the Dominant’s driving energy to motivate lazy or resistant individuals to get back on task and/or to change destructive behavior. The driving force can also be used to help groups stay together and persevere through the uncomfortable by-products of change. During droughts and economic crises, the Dominant’s protective, boundary-setting abilities keep predators at bay and prevent opportunistic herd members from hoarding or hijacking limited resources.


Benefits of a Mature Human or Animal Dominant

  • Has a “direct-and-protect” orientation.
  • Excels at setting boundaries with aggressors.
  • Challenges predators.
  • Breaks up fights.
  • Herds others away from danger.
  • Motivates lazy or resistant individuals.
  • Socializes adolescents to use power appropriately.
  • Directs group members toward common goals.
  • Protects valuable resources from those who would take advantage.


Living and Working with Dominants

Until I learned to work effectively with dominant horses, I had no idea how to use this role constructively, let alone how to help naturally dominant humans transform their tempestuous power into a conscious, relationship-enhancing force.


The following four “power principles” will help you handle aggressive energy with dignity and poise, while forging stronger, mutually supportive relationships with naturally dominant people and animals:


Power Principle One

Pay attention to body posture and breathing, using both as nonverbal communication.

Power Principle Two

Distinguish between setting boundaries and motivating others, using the assertiveness formula to employ power as needed.

Power Principle Three

Do not take dominance games personally.

Power Principle Four

Resist the temptation to enlist a Dominant to compensate for others’ avoidance of this role. Instead, coach all staff in the appropriate use of power.


# # #


The author of the bestseller The Tao of Equus, Linda Kohanov speaks and teaches internationally. She established Eponaquest Worldwide to explore the healing potential of working with horses and offer programs on everything from emotional and social intelligence, leadership, stress reduction, and parenting to consensus building and mindfulness. She lives near Tucson, Arizona and her website is eponaquest.com.


Excerpted from the book The Five Roles of a Master Herder: A Revolutionary Model for Socially Intelligent Leadership. Copyright © 2016 by Linda Kohanov. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com

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02 Dec


Guest post by Brad Warner, author of IT CAME FROM BEYOND ZEN!


I first heard of Dogen when I was about 19 or 20 years old. I am 53 now. So, I’ve been acquainted with Dogen for most of my life. Dogen was a Japanese Buddhist monk and writer who lived around 800 years ago, from the year 1200 to 1254. He was barely older than I am now when he died.


When I first heard of Dogen, I assumed I was a latecomer. I figured that the people of Japan had read and studied Dogen’s philosophy for the past 800 years. I assumed that Dogen’s ideas were part of Japan’s national philosophical identity.


Nope. For about 700 years, Dogen’s writings were barely known even in Japan. A few very scholarly monks and historians read and studied his writings. But most people had no idea what he wrote. Oh, they knew he wrote stuff. It’s just that very few people had read any of it.


However, Dogen also started a temple and monks from that temple started other temples. After a while, there were a lot of temples associated with Dogen. These temples became very popular and influential.


Dogen also taught a style of meditation called “just sitting” or shikantza in Japanese.


The “just” in “just sitting” isn’t like the “just” in “just sitting around.” The Chinese character used to represent the word I’m translating as “just” also means “to hit,” like “to hit a nail right at the center of its head.” So, when Dogen said “just sitting” he meant doing nothing else when sitting meditation except sitting. You weren’t supposed to meditate on anything. You weren’t supposed to try to gain anything through your meditation. You weren’t trying to become calm, or centered, or mindful. You were supposed to completely devote yourself to the simple act of sitting, completely absorb yourself in doing nothing at all but sitting.


And a lot of people in Japan took his advice and sat for the sake of sitting alone. It wasn’t exactly a popular activity. But enough people did it that we can say that Dogen’s style of practice became an important aspect of Japanese culture.


Still, even though some of them sat, very few people in Japan read what Dogen wrote. And no one outside of Japan had any idea he even existed.


In 1633, about 400 years after Dogen died, Japan closed its borders to outsiders. Very few people could come in or out of Japan. The nation deliberately isolated itself from the rest of the world. In 1865, the American Commodore Perry forced Japan to open itself to international trade. This began what is called the Meiji Restoration. The film The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, is about this time. It’s a fairly accurate movie, but Tom Cruise was not actually there.


Japan suddenly realized it was very much behind the rest of the world. Those Americans had weapons that were way beyond anything most Japanese people had ever seen. They realized that, in this age of colonization, they were incredibly vulnerable to being taken over by a more advanced foreign power. They knew that they needed to modernize fast.


This also led Japanese people to try to find Japanese things that were as good as similar things in Europe and America, so that they could prove that Japan was worthy to stand with the mighty powers of Europe and the Americas.  So, they started to look more closely at their own art and literature, as well as at Japanese philosophy and religion. There was a nationwide push to discover the best that Japan had to offer to the outside world.


In 1925 a scholar named Tetsuro Watsuji published a book called Shamon Dogen (the Monk Dogen). In this book, he presented Dogen as one of Japan’s most important philosophers. This led to a widespread rediscovery of Dogen’s work in Japan. For the first time in 700 years earlier, ordinary Japanese people started to read Dogen’s writings. And for the first time ever, they began presenting Dogen to the rest of the world.


What they discovered in Dogen’s writings surprised many people. Here are a couple of examples of interesting ideas from Dogen’s writings.



Dogen did not believe in miracles, but he did not deny them either.


Many religions are based on the idea that miracles can sometimes occur. For example, Jesus changed water into wine, walked on water, and was raised from the dead. Christians believe these miracles are evidence that Jesus was divine. Because Jesus was divine, they say, his words must be true.


You might have heard that Buddha was originally not considered to be a prophet or a god or any kind of divine being. That’s true. But, as Buddha’s legend grew and his teachings were translated into new languages and introduced to new cultures, many Buddhists came to believe Buddha performed miracles.


Dogen believed that all things in the universe are subject to the law of cause and effect. So, even if something that seems like a miracle occurred, Dogen believed it was the result of some cause. He did not believe in supernatural forces that can make things happen without any cause.


However, when he talked to his students about this, he did not deny the supposed miracles of the Buddha. Instead, he said these were “small stuff miracles.” The bigger miracle is that there is a universe in which small miracles can occur. The existence of the universe itself is the great miracle. All other miracles are insignificant by comparison.


In my new book It Came from Beyond Zen, I try to express what Dogen says about Buddhist miracles by describing Christian miracles the way Dogen talks about Buddhist miracles. I write, “Jesus fed a multitude with two fishes and five loaves of bread, he raised Lazarus from the dead, and was himself raised from the dead three days after his crucifixion. These are indeed great accomplishments. But they are examples of small-stuff miracles, not the big-time miracle. It is only because of the big-time miracle that such small-stuff miracles as the ones Jesus performed exist. Without the big-time miracle, even the most spectacular of small-stuff miracles could not occur. Jesus worked great wonders. But the greater wonder is that there is a world in which Jesus could have been born, that there is a universe in which that world exists, that you and I are alive to hear about his miracles. It is only the big-time miracle of existence itself that allows smaller miracles to occur.”


Dogen believed compassion is intuitive.


Dogen said that compassionate action is like someone reaching back for a pillow in the night.


It’s a very strange expression. Most of us think of compassion as a deliberate. We see a situation. We think about what is the compassionate thing to do about that situation. Then we do that thing.


To Dogen, compassion was not like that. Dogen thought that compassion was spontaneous. We don’t need to think about what to do. We follow our intuition and automatically do what is necessary.


Dogen also warned us against judging what others do as “not compassionate.”


Dogen said, “There’s a difference between nighttime as conceived of by a person during the day and the reality of the darkness on an actual night. You should also look into times that aren’t quite day but aren’t quite night, either.”


Day means times when it’s easy to see what the compassionate thing to do is. Like when you see a turtle on its back. The compassionate thing to do is turn it over. Easy.


Night in this case would mean times when you have no idea what the best thing to do is. Sometimes there is no clear-cut, easily identifiable way to be compassionate.


Then there are times that are neither day nor night. That means times when you might not know which among several options is really the compassionate one.


When Dogen says “nighttime as conceived by a person during the day,” I believe he ’s talking about the kinds of things where folks think they can see what somebody else ought to have done in a certain situation.


Sometimes we look at history and we think, “If I was alive at that time, I would have been better than those people!” Or we look at people in faraway countries and think, “If I was over there, I would do better things than those people!”


It’s easy for those of us in the “daylight” of a world at peace (at least our corner of it) to speculate about what those in the dark night of war ought to have done or what we would have done if we were there. But we weren’t there. So we have no idea what we would have done. In fact, our assumption that we know what we’d do in such a situation is the height of ignorance and arrogance.


It’s totally pointless to claim moral superiority in these kinds of speculative matters. It’s better to listen to what people who were actually in those situations have to say about it. Sometimes you can learn a lot by listening, even if you don’t always believe everything you’re hearing.


There is a big difference between real night and night as imagined by someone during the day.


In the end, we are not other people. We can only try to listen to our own intuition in the real situations that we encounter for ourselves. If we meditate every day, we will be able to listen to our own intuition more clearly. Then we can act with genuine compassion. And, when we do that, compassionate action is spontaneous like when you reach for a pillow in the night.


# # #


About the author
Brad Warner
is the author of It Came from Beyond Zen! and numerous other titles including Don’t Be a Jerk, Sit Down & Shut Up, and Hardcore Zen. A Soto Zen priest, he is a punk bassist, filmmaker, Japanese-monster-movie marketer, and popular blogger based in Los Angeles. Visit him online at www.hardcorezen.info.


Based on the book It Came from Beyond Zen! Copyright ©2017 by Brad Warner.  Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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02 Dec

Love and Health

An excerpt from The Forgotten Art of Love

Guest post by Armin A. Zadeh, MD, PhD

Who better than a cardiologist to unpack the many dimensions of love, the emotion that has long been depicted as emanating from the heart?


A comprehensive, multifaceted exploration into the nature of love is precisely what Dr. Armin A. Zadeh, who is both a cardiologist and a professor at Johns Hopkins University, offers in his new book entitled The Forgotten Art of Love: What Love Means and Why It Matters.  We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.


# # #


Love not only helps us live more happily but also helps us live longer. Happy marriages are associated with better health, while tension in relationships increases stress and the risk of illness. An analysis of studies involving hundreds of thousands of people suggests that maintaining good social relationships is associated with lower mortality. Conversely, social isolation ranks among the most significant physical and lifestyle risk factors for mortality, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking.


This association does not prove causality: we can’t tell whether the boost to longevity comes from the relationship itself or from other factors associated with a relationship. For example, it is conceivable that being married contributes to better health by encouraging better diet or hygiene. It is also possible that healthier people or those with fewer unhealthy habits, such as drug or alcohol abuse, may be more likely to get married in the first place, thus skewing the analysis. Yet studies that controlled for these factors have shown similar results for lower mortality in happily married people.


On the other hand, unhappiness is associated with many types of organ dysfunction and disease. Even brief angry outbursts have now been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. One study of immunity among socially isolated people showed that they had poorer immune function and greater stress levels than those with many social contacts.


In the extreme case, stress can lead to health crises. We have recently learned that acute emotional stress can lead to actual heart failure — a serious illness known as broken heart syndrome, which is now regularly identified in medical centers around the world. While the exact mechanisms leading to weakening of the heart muscle remain unclear, we know that high levels of certain stress hormones, which are released in response to a devastating breakup or personal loss, or extreme fear or anxiety, may trigger the syndrome. Fortunately, many patients recover after a few weeks.


A large body of evidence suggests that love has a direct effect on a vast array of biological functions. A loving relationship fosters the release of the hormone oxytocin, the “love hormone.” Oxytocin has a variety of purposes and is probably best known for its release after childbirth to foster bonding between mother and baby. Oxytocin is also implicated in attachment during relationships and many other human interactions. It has antidepressive effects that are being investigated for clinical use. Of particular interest is the discovery that oxytocin may decrease the levels of the hormone cortisol. Changes in cortisol levels are associated with sleep deprivation and physical and emotional stress, and cortisol has a well-known weakening effect on our immune system. It may, therefore, not be surprising that happy relationships are associated with lower rates of sickness.


Good emotional health leads to good physical health. And just as good physical health requires us to exercise, acquiring good emotional health also requires training. Emotional health “workouts” may include regular, conscious efforts to focus on love and relationships while deemphasizing material or career goals. As with physical exercise, it may take months or years of devoted practice to get into good emotional shape. This is because less healthy thinking patterns acquired early in life tend to be reinforced over years or even decades, making them difficult to reverse.


At any given moment we have the choice of allowing our thoughts and actions to be moved by impulses such as anger, frustration, jealousy, and boredom, or overcoming these impulses and acting out of love. If we choose love, we immediately feel a sensation of calm and peace, and things seem different. It works instantly and predictably. It is ironic that our society yearns for instant gratification and pursues various strategies for achieving instant wealth and fame — which essentially never work — while the immediate reward of a happy mind is instantly available to everybody but often not recognized.


Life is about balance. While we cannot control our genes or all the things that happen to us, we can help ourselves a lot by nurturing both our mind and our body and by placing a stronger emphasis on love. This undertaking requires focus and devotion, but the results are impressive. Devoting time to the art of love is a smart investment. Not only do we directly foster our own happiness, but we also support our health and chances of a longer, better life.


# # #


Armin A. Zadeh, MD, PhD, is the author of The Forgotten Art of Love. He is a professor at Johns Hopkins University with doctoral degrees in medicine and philosophy as well as a master’s degree in public health. As a cardiologist and a scientist, Dr. Zadeh knows, from first-hand experience, about the close relationship between heart disease and the state of the mind. Visit him online at www.theforgottenartoflove.com.


Excerpted from the book The Forgotten Art of Love: What Love Means and Why It Matters. Copyright ©2017 by Armin A. Zadeh. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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28 Nov

These Are The 8 Friends You Need To Be Happy In Life

View the book on Amazon here!

View Eric’s new book on Amazon here!

Guest post by Eric Barker.

Do your friends sometimes disappoint you? Ever feel like there is something missing in your relationships?  You’re not alone.

Tom Rath and the Gallup organization discovered something interesting: the vast majority of the time, no one pal offers you everything you need from your relationships.

Some of your friends are great listeners… but they’re not always there when you need them. Others are intensely loyal… but just not that great at helping you out of a jam. And so on.

We get different things from different friends. And sometimes even with a sizable group you’re still not getting all the things you want in order to feel truly supported in life. Kinda like how to be healthy you need the four different food groups — you can’t just eat cookies for every meal.

“Friendship” is a pretty vague word. You generally don’t even know everything you want from your relationships to feel whole — you just know something’s missing. There’s a gap.

So Rath and Gallup got to work. They surveyed over a thousand people to find out what the types of “vital friends” were — someone who if they vanished, your life satisfaction would noticeably decrease.

What did these types of friends offer? How do they round out your life? What are those things we all want from a group of friends to feel truly fulfilled?

Rath breaks down the results of their research in Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without.

It turns out there are 8 types of “vital friends.” Many of us don’t have all of them in our squad, and that’s why we often feel disappointed or like we’re not getting everything we need. (You have to collect all the different Pokemon to win at the game called life.)

So let’s break down the 8 and get the basics on what they are, learn where you might meet the ones that are missing, and find out how to strengthen your relationships with the ones you already have. We’ll also look at what you should do to be better at the role which you play in the lives of others.

Okay, time to get friendly…

1) The Builder

Just because you’re not in Little League anymore doesn’t mean you don’t need a coach. Someone who motivates you and encourages you to take it to the next level. That supportive friend who believes in your potential and won’t let you rest on your laurels.

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

Builders are great motivators, always pushing you toward the finish line. They continually invest in your development and genuinely want you to succeed — even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you. Builders are generous with their time as they help you see your strengths and use them productively. When you want to think about how you can do more of what you already do well, talk to a Builder. Much like the best coaches and managers, these are the friends who lead you to achieve more each day.
Lacking a Builder in your life? We all need that person who nudges you to be all that you can be. Start asking more people for advice, then vet based on who gives solid answers and supports you. Who checks in with you a week later to see how things are progressing? That’s your new Builder.

Want to make the Builder you have better? Tell them your goals and what you’re struggling with. Tell them you appreciate their support… and give them permission to nag you if you slack.

What if you’re a Builder? How can you be more helpful to your friends? Pay attention to what they’re up to and offer help. Check in with them if goals they said were important do a vanishing act. Some people need a supportive voice in order to follow through.

My friend Jodie is a Builder par excellence. I tend to only do things that interest or excite me. So my life can get a little unbalanced. (That is a tsunami-sized understatement, by the way.) When I neglect things that, oh, “keep me breathing” or “make life worth living,” Jodie offers reminders, support… and then nags me relentlessly. So I always do what she says…


(To learn more about the science of a successful life, check out my new book here.)

Builders motivate you and keep you going. Who sings your praises to others?

2) The Champion

We all need a friend who isn’t afraid to break out the pom-poms and play cheerleader. Somebody who roots for you and describes you to others in a way that makes you blush.

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

Champions stand up for you and what you believe in. They are the friends who sing your praises. Every day, this makes a difference in your life. Not only do they praise you in your presence, a Champion also “has your back” — and will stand up for you when you’re not around. They accept you for the person you are, even in the face of resistance. Champions are loyal friends with whom you can share things in confidence. They have a low tolerance for dishonesty. You can count on them to accept what you say, without judging, even when others do not. Champions are your best advocates. When you succeed, they are proud of you, and they share it with others. Champions thrive on your accomplishments and happiness.
Need a Champion in your life? Look for the people who are always praising others. They’re usually very humble and kind. So say hi.

Want to help your Champion help you? Regularly keep them abreast of what you’ve been doing and what your goals are. And don’t forget to thank them when their help pays off. Champions live for that.

If you’re a Champion, how can you improve? Ask your friends what they’ve been up to and how you can help. Think about different ways you can promote them. Maybe you’ve spread the word about their great work at the office — but have you ever complimented them in front of their spouse?

Luckily, I have Andy. Andy says things about me to other people that would make me want to meet me if I didn’t already know myself. And he does this for all his friends. I can tell you that they are all very lucky people. But Andy would just tell you how awesome they are.

(To learn the 3 secrets from neuroscience that will make you emotionally intelligent, click here.)

So maybe you have someone swinging pom-poms for you. But do you have that person to conspire with on that passion project?

3) The Collaborator

Who loves that same strange thing that you love? Who is that friend that the moment you see each other you roll up your sleeves and get to work on the next big caper?

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

A Collaborator is a friend with similar interests — the basis for many great friendships. You might share a passion for sports, hobbies, religion, work, politics, food, music, movies, or books. In many cases, you belong to the same groups or share affiliations. When you talk with a Collaborator, you’re on familiar ground, and this can serve as the foundation for a lasting relationship. Indeed, in those conversations, you often find that you have similar ambitions in work and life.
How do you find yourself a Collaborator? Let the people around you know more about your interests and see who else happens to be into cryptozoology or 19th century pre-existentialism. Attend events where fellow enthusiasts gather.

What’s a good way to encourage your current Collaborator? Send them articles about your mutual interest. Meet for coffee to discuss.

And what should you do to be a better Collaborator if you are one? Your mission, should you decide to accept it… Schedule a regular time to meet and work on your shared plan for Global Domination.

My buddy Mike is a grandmaster of all things visual. Mike and I don’t do stuff together — we make stuff together. When I said I wanted to send my publisher some ideas for my book’s cover, Mike fired up Photoshop. When I needed an author photo for said book, Mike’s the one who took it. And per my above recommendation, I really should set a regular time to meet with him…

(To learn the seven-step morning ritual that will make you happy all day, click here.)

You have the Bonnie to your Clyde. Do you have the person you can call late at night when the worries get serious and you’re having a dark teatime of the soul?

4) The Companion

Simply put: a best friend. They won’t just help you move; they’ll help you move bodies. The person who will still be there when everyone else has very wisely run for cover.

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

A Companion is always there for you, whatever the circumstances. You share a bond that is virtually unbreakable. When something big happens in your life — good or bad — this is one of the first people you call. At times, a true Companion will even sense where you are headed — your thoughts, feelings, and actions — before you know it yourself. Companions take pride in your relationship, and they will sacrifice for your benefit. They are the friends for whom you might literally put your life on the line. If you are searching for a friendship that can last a lifetime, look no further than a Companion.
How do you find a Companion? Think about which of your current friends you might want to have a deeper relationship with. Spend more time with them. Open up and be vulnerable.

How do you strengthen your relationship with a current Companion? Cut the small talk. Discuss the deep stuff in your life: your fears, your dreams, your future.

How can you be a better Companion? Create a safe place for your friend to discuss anything. And when times get tough, reach out. Don’t wait for them to ask for help.

Jason is my best friend. If there is anything in this life I should be envied for, it is that. He is the person who frequently says things like, “Eric, that thing you are about to do is insane, has little chance of success, and is illegal in most NATO countries. I know you’re going to do it anyway. If it works out, I will be thrilled for you. If it crashes and burns, call me no matter how late. I’m here for you.” And often I call. And he always picks up.

(To learn the 4 rituals from neuroscience that will make you happy, click here.)

Best friend acquired. But who is introducing you to new friends?

5) The Connector

No matter what the issue, they know somebody who can help. They make friends more often than most people make excuses. Even if they were locked in solitary confinement with no one to talk to, they’d end up best pals with the prison guard.

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

A Connector is a bridge builder who helps you get what you want. Connectors get to know you — and then introduce you to others. These are the people you socialize with regularly. Friends who play the role of a Connector are always inviting you to lunch, dinner, drinks, and other gatherings where you can meet new people. This extends your network dramatically and gives you access to newfound resources. When you need something — a job, a doctor, a friend, or a date — a Connector points you in the right direction. They seem to “know everyone.”
What’s it take to add a great Connector to your life? Look for the people who know everybody in a given situation. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself — these folks obviously like to meet new people.

How do you best leverage your Connector? This one’s easy: just ask them for introductions.

If you’re a Connector, how can you better help your friends? Be proactive. Don’t wait for them to ask for help. Think about who might be good for them to know and offer an introduction. Or just throw a party and get everybody talking to each other.

My buddy Gautam knows more fascinating people than I know people. Not only is he the subject of one of the stories in my book, he also introduced me to two other people whose stories I told in my book. While I was typing this, Gautam has made 6 new friends.

(To learn how to make friends as an adult, click here.)

So you know somebody who always knows somebody. But have you got a friend who just makes you feel great?

6) The Energizer

That fun friend. The person you’re always laughing around. The one who always knows the great place to go or the awesome thing to do.

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

Energizers are your “fun friends” who always give you a boost. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends. Energizers are quick to pick you up when you’re down — and can make a good day great. They are always saying and doing things that make you feel better. Energizers have a remarkable ability to figure out what gets you going. When you are around these friends, you smile a lot more. You are more likely to laugh in the presence of an Energizer.
How can you find your own shiny, new Energizer? Look for the person who is the life of the party in any situation. Bask in their neon glow and introduce yourself.

Want to further energize your current Energizer? Let them know how much you appreciate their enthusiasm. Reciprocate the positivity.

Want to be a better Energizer? Just like with Connectors, be proactive. Look for those who are feeling down and work your magic.

My friend… Oh, crap. I don’t think I have an energizer. Well, that explains a lot. Better introduce myself to the life of the party, STAT…

(To learn an FBI behavior expert’s tips for getting people to like you, click here.)

So you have a friend who always keeps you smiling. But who is always introducing you to new ideas?

7) The Mind Opener

They send you interesting articles. They get you to question your assumptions. Talking to them makes your brain do things straight out of the dream sequences from “Inception.”

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

Mind Openers are the friends who expand your horizons and encourage you to embrace new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They challenge you to think in innovative ways and help you create positive change. Mind Openers know how to ask good questions, and this makes you more receptive to ideas. When you are around a Mind Opener, you are unguarded and express opinions aloud, especially controversial ones that you might not be comfortable sharing with other friends. These friends broaden your perspective on life and make you a better person.
How do you find someone who will open your mind? Share your ideas with more people. See who regularly offers new perspectives and invite them to crowbar your cranium.

What’s the best way to help your Mind Opener work on your noggin? Encourage them to play devil’s advocate with your ideas — and never shoot down their responses. Noodle on their suggestions for a while to fully explore them and to show respect.

What if you’re the Opener of Minds? Listen — and offer suggestions. Send friends ideas you have and stuff they should check out related to their interests.

My friend Nick never met an idea he couldn’t challenge. We go on absurdly long walks and he responds to everything I say with, “But what if…?” He always makes me think really hard.

I like him anyway.

(To learn more about how to be someone people love to talk to, click here.)

So you have someone to challenge you. But who helps you plan how to get to that next stage in life?

8) The Navigator

Sometimes it feels like you’re in Hell, Dante — and you are gonna need a Virgil. Sometimes they’re a mentor, sometimes they’re a sounding board, but they’re always your GPS system for when you don’t know which exit to take on the highway of life.

From Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without:

Navigators are the friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You go to them when you need guidance, and they talk through the pros and cons with you until you find an answer. In a difficult situation, you need a Navigator by your side. They help you see a positive future while keeping things grounded in reality. Any time you’re at a crossroads and need help making a decision, you can look to a Navigator. They help you know who you are — and who you are not. They are the ideal friends to share your goals and dreams with; when you do, you will continue to learn and grow.
Need to create a new Navigator in your life? Ask people around you about themselves. Find out more about what they’ve done and what challenges they’ve overcome. You’d be surprised how many have been in your shoes — or had an analogous experience that might offer insight.

Want your current Navigator to have improved GPS? Tell them when you’re facing big decisions. Share your goals and dreams. Ask them how they would go about getting from here to there.

As a Navigator, how can you help guide your pals? Again, be proactive. Offer help and advice where they’re struggling with an area you have expertise in.

This year would have been inconceivably harder without my friend Ryan Holiday. He’s offered guidance on releasing a book, what new projects to explore, and how to handle the big issues in life in a way that would make the ancient Stoics proud. He’s the only person I know who goes through more books than I do and, unlike me, his lips don’t move when he’s reading them.

(To learn the lazy way to an awesome life, click here.)

Okay, that’s a lot of different friends. Let’s round it all up…

Sum Up

These are the 8 friends you need to be happy in life:

  • The Builder: If you were a sports team, they’d be the “Coach.”
  • The Champion: Pom-poms not included.
  • The Collaborator: The unindicted co-conspirator.
  • The Companion: They’ll be at the police station at 3AM with bail money. Again.
  • The Connector: This is the friend you and I probably have in common.
  • The Energizer: (I’m currently taking applications.)
  • The Mind Opener: If they sent you this blog post, I’m flattered.
  • The Navigator: Like a high school guidance counselor, except useful.

Some of your friends may play multiple roles. And you might play different roles to different friends of yours. That’s fine.

To most of my friends, I’m a Mind Opener. But to others I’m a Collaborator or a Companion.(After 4 espressos I might be an Energizer.) Figure out what you are to your friends. And then make yourself a better one.

Find the roles that are missing in your group of friends and work on strengthening the relationships with the ones you have. It’s like a heist movie where you need a safecracker, a wheelman, a computer expert and the comic relief in order to pull off the job.

Life is hard enough. You’re gonna need love and support to make it through.

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28 Nov

Taking Care of Busyness

85073An excerpt from How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult by Ira Israel


Every adult wants to live a version of what he or she imagines is “the good life.” Yet, many struggle with a default voice in their heads that tells them that whatever they do will never be good enough and that they will only be happy when they get a new job, relationship, physical appearance, etc.


In How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening, author and psychotherapist Ira Israel explains that the origin of this voice of dissatisfaction is the wounded child within who is subconsciously and retroactively seeking the acceptance, approval, and love of primary caregivers who either withheld love, loved us conditionally, or treated us in ways we did not understand.


We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book


# # #


We need to question what we were taught would make us happy: did we learn from the narratives of films, songs, television, and literature that having passionate love affairs would make us happy? Were we taught that having one partner for life would make us happy? Did we learn that having millions of dollars in our bank accounts would make us happy? Did we learn that driving sports cars or boats or having expensive accoutrements would bring happiness? Because it turns out the one thing that correlates with happiness is the quality of our intimate relationships, how much we can depend on other people, and how securely we are able to connect with other people. Isn’t it ironic that the supposed prizes of our brand of capitalism pull us apart and push us into big houses with fences, exclusive first-class lounges, country clubs, private boxes at sporting events and concerts, and so on? And maybe once people taste exclusivity they become unwilling to share it, they want to keep it exclusive so that they can believe they worked hard to earn it, or that God loves them, or some other myth or fictional subconscious narrative? No sane person wants “Worked Really Hard” on his or her tombstone, yet every day I hear people respond to the question “How are you?” with: “Crazybusy!” which obviously makes no sense since crazybusy describes what one is doing, not how one is doing.


I am not advocating slackerism; I am advocating balance. And being truthful about our life situations. I am advocating that each of us derives our personal identity from who we are, not what we own, where we vacation, or what we do to earn money. If we believe Malcolm Gladwell, then we agree that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would not have become Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had either of them not been born in 1955, hit high school the same year that mainframe computers entered high schools, and had ten thousand leisure hours to obsessively tinker with hardware systems and design software for those


Maybe it is time to unlearn “living to work” and relearn “working to live,” and to do so before our first, or next, heart attack or the traumatic sudden death of a friend or loved one with whom we regret not spending more time, or we develop an addiction, affliction, or dis-ease that is a signpost screaming, “I am not a dancing bear! I do not want to be a cog in the wheel of capitalism! I am sick and tired of working hard so that other people can get richer! I am fed up with people exploiting my limited time on planet Earth!”


The average retiree in America watches television forty-five hours a week. Are we working harder and harder just so we can spend the last twenty years of our lives on a sofa? I think we need a new metric for mental health, happiness, and success. And it could be different for every person. But if we buy into the current version of the supposed American dream, then we are signing up to live financially beyond our means, to be on hamster wheels of consumption, to constantly work until we drop dead or retire or are put out to pasture to make room for younger, hungrier workers.


If I am right and the current barometer of mental well-being relates to showing up for our jobs, to being productive members of society in order to earn money to pay our credit card debts, mortgages, and student loans, then instead of over 20 million Americans taking antidepressants every day, maybe it is time to reframe the American dream; build vibrant, loving, noncompetitive communities; take vacations; and allow time for people to bond with and attach to their families and friends. Maybe it is also time to stop blaming people and labeling people as lazy if they are not rich, stop ostracizing people who do not play the game of consumerism, and allow people to decide for themselves who they want to be and to find for themselves the things that will keep them at the higher ends of their happiness spectrums.


# # #


3034Ira Israel is the author of How to Survive Your Childhood Now that You’re an Adult. A licensed marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor, Ira graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and holds advanced degrees in psychology, philosophy, and religious studies. He lives in Santa Monica, California, and you can visit him online at www.iraisrael.com.


Excerpted from the book How to Survive Your Childhood Now that You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening. Copyright ©2017 by Ira Israel. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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16 Nov

How Busy Lifestyles, Environment Toxins and Stress Affect Our Health at the Cellular Lev

Is Your Modern Lifestyle Depleting Your Vital Force?
Five Ways to Restore Your Mitochondria and Safeguard Your Health

What do busy lifestyles, environmental toxins, bad habits, and stress have in common? They’re all wreaking havoc on your body and depleting your Vital Force. But integrative cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACC, and spiritual counselor Tommy Rosa say you can restore the mitochondria that supports Vital Force and secure your health. Here, they show you how.

          New York, NY (October 2017)—You’re caught in a relentless cycle of depletion. Between the daily challenges of work, family, and taking care of yourself, you feel your energy and stamina dwindling, but you don’t know how to stop it. Even worse, after years of frantically rushing from one place to the next and meeting deadlines, stopping long enough to scarf down some questionable fast food, and collapsing into bed each night, your hectic lifestyle feels normal. You worry: If I keep up this pace, I’ll surely get sick…really sick.

The worst part is, you’re right. Struggling through life, exhausted and depleted, is a recipe for certain illness. But Dr. Stephen Sinatra and spiritual counselor Tommy Rosa say there is a way to bring your body and spirit back into balance: Nurture your Vital Force.

“We are all born with an inner core energy called Vital Force that, when strong, leads to healing, good health, and overall well-being,” says Dr. Sinatra, coauthor of Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near-Death Experience (Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99). “But if you don’t nurture this energy, it can’t sustain you. Many aspects of modern life destroy or weaken your Vital Force, and that’s when you get sick.”

What exactly is Vital Force? Well, it’s called chi by the Chinese, ki by the Japanese, prana by Hindus, and breath of God by Hebrews and Christians. But when scientific types talk about Vital Force, they tend to focus on the mitochondria that produce it, explains Dr. Sinatra. Mitochondria are tiny cucumber-shaped power plants in cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy of life. Our body must make ATP continuously or else we perish. But we store enough for only 8-10 heart beats.

Thousands of studies have now been published on the link between abnormal mitochondrial dynamics and their involvement in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune conditions, cancer, heart disease, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even aging itself. More than 50 million people in the United States are said to be affected by conditions involved in mitochondria dysfunction.

Here’s where things get interesting: Dr. Sinatra’s coauthor, Mr. Rosa, learned about Vital Force during a life-altering near-death experience (NDE) following a terrible accident. During his stay in Heaven, eight revelations of good health were imprinted onto his psyche. These revelations dovetailed with the knowledge that Dr. Sinatra had already gained through his studies of scientifically and medically validated clinical research, as well as his own experiences as a cardiologist. Upon meeting Mr. Rosa at a lecture in 2010, the two friends began working together to uncover the science- and medical-inspired insights on Mr. Rosa’s spiritual lessons.

“Every living thing is imbued with Vital Force at conception,” says Dr. Sinatra. “It can also be called Life Force, General Vitality, or simply vibration. A person’s Vital Force or vibration increases or decreases throughout that person’s life based on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual choices that are made each day. The better the choices, the higher the vibration or Vital Force and the stronger and healthier you become.”

Our Vital Force—AKA mitochondria—can be depleted by many things in our environment, like viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, fungi, parasites, and molds—as well as toxins caused by negative emotions from within, notes Dr. Sinatra. These factors can lower our vibration and make us sick. But when mitochondria and ATP are supported, not only can organs, particularly the heart, be repaired, but they can also be rejuvenated.

Keep reading for five tips to help you nourish your mitochondria and bring your Vital Force back to its full power.

Avoid the Big Ten Toxins as much as possible. Though it is impossible to totally avoid Dr. Sinatra’s list of the most toxic substances you’re likely to be exposed to in daily life, try to avoid or minimize exposure to them as often as possible.

  • Pesticides. To avoid them and other additives in food, eat washed organic produce. These foods are much, much lower in pesticide residue and perhaps higher in natural antioxidants, compared with nonorganic produce.
  • Prescription drugs. Many pharmaceutical drugs are mitochondrial-toxic and can deplete the body of nutrients. Often natural alternatives can help treat the underlying causes of chronic problems and minimize or eliminate risky medication usage. These alternatives include eating organic, taking nutritional supplements, engaging in regular exercise, and following a good stress-reduction method. However, if you want to stop taking a drug or ease back on it, always consult your doctor first.
  • Alcohol. Moderate intake of alcohol—one drink daily for women, two for men—may have therapeutic value, but drinking more than that is asking for trouble. Liver destruction, nutritional deficiencies, and premature aging are among the many consequences of heavy drinking.
  • Indoor and outdoor pollution. Air pollution does damage to cells and organs over time. Use an air purifier indoors to reduce dust and other particulate matter. Install a water-filter system to purify your water—the body’s most needed beverage. And avoid walking, jogging, or biking in the city during rush hour to avoid outdoor pollution.
  • Cigarette smoke. Lung cancer aside, smoking is the most destructive habit for the heart and nearly every other organ in the body. Each puff carries a toxic payload of chemicals and carcinogens. If you smoke, you need to stop now. Seek help through your physician or a credible smoking-cessation program.
  • Formaldehyde. This chemical is used in the production of many household products and is even found as a preservative in some foods. It can irritate the skin, throat, nose, and eyes, and in high-level exposure is linked to some cancer. The primary way you can be exposed to formaldehyde is by breathing it, so frequently open windows to bring fresh air indoors. Also, reduce your dependency on dry cleaning, since the process used to keep clothes wrinkle-free involves the use of formaldehyde resin.
  • Personal care products. Most deodorants, for instance, contain aluminum, which is known to cause DNA alterations and may, over time, lead to breast cancer. Antibacterial soap contains triclocarban and triclosan, which have been found to disrupt reproductive hormone activity and interfere with cell signaling activities, including in the brain and heart. Whenever possible, use natural products, and use them minimally, because what goes on the skin goes into the skin…and into the body.
  • Petrochemicals. Derivatives of petrochemicals are found in most processed food, personal care products, and cleaning products. To minimize exposure, cut down on processed food and eat organic. Be aware that solvents can cause lung and throat irritation, and furniture polish may be flammable and can cause serious injury if accidentally swallowed. Avoid products, when possible, with the word danger on the label.
  • Heavy metals. Lead from dust, dirt, old house paint, batteries, new toys, and even water flowing through lead-lined pipes can increase the risks of a number of health issues, particularly in the nervous systems of young children and unborn babies. Also avoid cigarette smoke (which contains cadmium), and limit the amount of high-mercury fish you eat, including shark, tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, large halibut, and grouper.
  • Phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These common compounds, used in plastics and found in products ranging from cosmetics, soaps, lotions, food packaging, and water bottles are dangerous to all. Reduce your exposure by steering clear of plastic containers whenever you can. Avoid canned foods and drink water out of glass bottles or containers.

“Fertilize” your mitochondria with targeted nutritional supplementation. Dr. Sinatra shares that there are some powerful supplements you can take to feed your mitochondria and help counteract all the toxicity to which you are exposed. These include Coenzyme Q10, Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, carnitine, and d-ribose. NOTE: See attached sidebar: Five Mitochondria-Friendly Supplements (and the Foods They Naturally Occur In)

Support Vital Force through rhythmic deep breathing. Deep and rhythmic breathing helps the respiratory system remove the toxins that deplete your Vital Force. In addition to disposing of carbon dioxide, the respiratory system includes several protective mechanisms to prevent infiltration of toxins from the air we breathe. Dr. Sinatra recommends you practice this exercise at least five minutes every day:

  • Sit erect (but not stiff) in a straight chair with a pillow placed between your shoulder blades. Remove your shoes. Place your feet firmly on the floor or, weather permitting, barefoot on the earth outside.
  • Gently open your mouth. Let your jaw hang softly.
  • Breathe in and out through your nose, with your awareness on each inhalation and exhalation.
  • Place your hands over your navel and, with your eyes closed, feel your abdomen rise under your hands.
  • When your breathing is calm and slowed down, your Vital Force is nurtured.

Use a sauna to sweat out toxins and rejuvenate your body. Sweating in a sauna is an excellent way to detoxify the body. It helps you eliminate heavy metals, toxins, petrochemicals, insecticides, and pesticides that reside in our subcutaneous fat.

“Several of my patients strongly believe that they ‘cured’ themselves by sweating out such toxins in infrared and Swedish sauna,” says Dr. Sinatra. “Another great way to sweat out toxins is through regular exercise, which also promotes detoxification.”

Raise your vibration through positive thoughts. Along with the other self-healing powers of your body, your thoughts and actions can either raise or lower your vibration, affecting your Vital Force. Negative emotions like fear, lack of faith, anger, jealousy, greed, ego, self-pity, and negative thinking lower your vibration and make you vulnerable to illness. Luckily, you can avoid behaviors, circumstances, and thoughts that lower your vibration and can embrace others that raise it. Practice raising your energetic vibration through positive thoughts every day to enhance your Vital Force. NOTE: See attached tipsheet: 20 Things That Lower Your Vibration…and 20 More That Raise It

“Because your Vital Force is so crucial in maintaining the life—and the aliveness—in your body, you need to be committed to nurturing it back to its fullest potential,” concludes Dr. Sinatra. “It’s an ongoing job that will continue to pay off for you. When the Vital Force is strong, you become the healthiest, happiest version of yourself, because you are supported and well, all the way down to the cellular level, where true healing occurs.”


Five Mitochondria-Friendly Supplements
(and the Foods They Naturally Occur In)

To counteract day-to-day toxicity exposure and nourish your mitochondria, adopt
a healthy protocol of supplements and healing foods.

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) plays an important role in the production of energy at the cellular level and helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Wild migratory salmon and sardines, as well as organ meats such as liver and heart, contain the highest quantities of CoQ10, but you can also obtain this nutrient from supplements.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids support the heart and overall health by increasing HDL (the good cholesterol), decreasing triglycerides and normalizing blood pressure, preventing plaque ruptures, and much more. While omega-3 supplements come in plant- or marine-based forms, Dr. Sinatra recommends marine-derived products because they directly supply the beneficial omega-3 fat, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Another healthy and sustainable option is squid oil.
  • Three additional ATP-boosting nutrients are magnesium, carnitine, and d-ribose. Magnesium is essential for metabolism of food and release of energy and is important in preserving the DNA in the mitochondria. Carnitine transports fatty acids to the mitochondria and helps remove toxins. Finally, d-ribose is a naturally occurring sugar derivative of ATP and can help keep mitochondria functioning at a higher level.

In addition to taking supplements, you can also eat more foods high in these nutrients. The best foods for CoQ10 are wild migratory salmon and sardines; for carnitine, the best source is lamb; for magnesium, consume nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), leafy greens, beans, and figs; for omega-3s, eat wild migratory salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds.


20 Things That Lower Your Vibration…and 20 More That Raise It
Excerpted from Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a
Near-Death Experience
(Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99)
by Tommy Rosa and Stephen Sinatra, MD

Everything in the human body—every cell, every organ, every system, every thought, every emotion—vibrates to its own natural rhythm. When our energy vibrates at a high level, we attract better health. When it vibrates at a low level, the opposite happens: Pathogens and toxins are more likely to enter the body and make us sick.

The good news is, we can avoid behaviors, attitudes, and circumstances that lower our vibration and embrace others that raise it. Tommy Rosa and Stephen Sinatra, MD, coauthors of Health Revelations from Heaven, offer a quick list to consider:

Things That Lower Your Vibration

  • Telling a lie (or knowingly not telling the truth)
  • Thinking negatively, pessimistically
  • Lacking love
  • Remaining isolated and being lonely
  • Lacking faith
  • Having aggressive behavior
  • Being selfish
  • Staying angry
  • Lacking a purpose
  • Unresolved grief or sadness
  • Not forgiving self or others
  • Envy
  • Greed
  • Laziness
  • Lacking activity and physical movement
  • Drug use
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating GMO (genetically modified organism) foods
  • Consuming excess sugars
  • Overexposing yourself to the chaotic, unseen frequencies of cordless and cellular phones, Bluetooth monitors, cell phone towers, computers, and other wireless technologies that create the invisible toxicity surrounding the Earth

Things That Raise Your Vibration

  • Having faith
  • Loving yourself and others
  • Forgiving yourself and others
  • Gratitude
  • Creating biological and spiritual family connections and building romantic relationships
  • Letting go of anger, fear, ego, grief, and selfishness
  • Spending time with children and animals
  • Praying and/or meditating
  • Mind/body interactions like tai chi, qigong, and yoga
  • Positive thinking
  • Volunteering
  • Not using illegal drugs and limiting alcohol intake
  • Pursuing a favorite hobby
  • Listening to music
  • Being flexible and fluid
  • Drinking clean water with minerals, preferably out of glass containers
  • Eating a clean, non-GMO, organic foods-based, non-inflammatory diet
  • Detoxifying your body and surrounding environment
  • “Grounding” by walking barefoot on sand, grass, or even concrete as often as possible
  • Taking targeted nutritional supplements that support Vital Force energy



About the Authors:
Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Tommy Rosa are coauthors of Health Revelations from Heaven.

Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist and psychotherapist with 40 years of clinical experience treating heart disease. He is the host of HeartMDInstitute.com and the creator of Vervana Marketplace (vervana.com), which offers wholesome, high-quality products from all over the world. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL.

Tommy Rosa is a spiritual counselor who helps people conquer their fear of death. He is also the founder of the Unicorn Foundation in Stuart, Florida, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to educational endeavors and community outreach projects. He lives in Stuart, FL.

About the Book:
Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near-Death Experience (Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99) is available from major online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.healthrevelationsbook.com.

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03 Nov

Stand Your Ground: How Grounding Promotes Vibrant Health (and Protects You from Your Cell Phone’s Harmful Energy)

“Grounding,” also known as “earthing,” is a technique rooted in ancient wisdom that has a powerful healing effect on your body. Dr. Stephen Sinatra and coauthor Tommy Rosa explain how it works—and why it’s especially needed in the era of electronic devices.

          New York, NY (November 2017)—When was the last time you lingered barefoot in the grass, in the garden, or at the edge of the ocean? If you’re like many people, it’s probably been a while. Most of us live artificial, climate-controlled, indoor lives, and the time we spend connected (literally) to the Earth is fairly negligible. That’s not good, say Stephen Sinatra, MD, and Tommy Rosa. They say we should be spending at least half an hour each day with our feet touching the Earth—a practice known as “grounding.”

“Staying more connected to the Earth is especially important now that we’re constantly exposed to electromagnetic fields generated by electrical and wireless devices,” notes Dr. Sinatra, coauthor along with Tommy Rosa of Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near-Death Experience (Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99). “This radiation causes all sorts of health problems, likely including cancer. Grounding can help protect the body from it and in general promotes vibrant health.”

Grounding, also known as earthing, simply means connecting yourself physically to the energetic fields of the Earth. Healers in many cultures throughout history have realized the connection between the natural energy of our planet and the natural energy of the human body. Today, the concept is enjoying a revival of sorts.

Dr. Sinatra has written extensively on the subject of grounding over the years. That’s why he was so astounded when he met Mr. Rosa and discovered that he had been taught about the benefits of grounding during his life-altering near-death experience (NDE) following a serious car accident. In fact, grounding was one of the eight “health revelations” Mr. Rosa received from his otherworldly Teacher.

“I learned that Earth has a vibration that heals the body,” says Mr. Rosa. “In fact, I was specifically told that the more we ground ourselves to the planet, the more we heal ourselves from everyday radiation, toxicity, inflammation, stress, sleeping problems, and pain.”

Dr. Sinatra concurs. Based on research and his own observations as an integrative cardiologist, he says grounding has numerous health benefits. For example:

Grounding thins the blood. When blood thickens like ketchup, it can promote clotting and inflammation. Grounding has been found to cause red blood cells to achieve a consistency more like red wine. Since thick blood, with inflamed blood vessels, is the cardinal risk factor for heart disease, it makes sense to ground.

It disarms the free radicals that sicken and age us. Walking barefoot activates the KI 1 (Kidney 1) pressure point on the bottom of the foot. This activates the meridian that runs up your leg, over your back, through your kidneys, and up to your neck, ending in the roof of your mouth. This increases the flow of electrons through your body that work like antioxidants.

It restores the body’s healing potential. In 2012 Dr. Sinatra and other researchers published a review study on the health implications of grounding in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health. This study concluded that, for many, daily grounding activity can:
– Decrease inflammation.
– Reduce or eliminate chronic pain.
– Improve sleep.
– Improve blood pressure.
– Relieve muscle tension and headaches.
– Lessen hormonal and menstrual symptoms.
– Speed healing after surgery and prevent bedsores.
– Protect against potentially health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields.
– Balance the autonomic nervous system by decreasing sympathetic and increasing parasympathetic nervous activity. When dealing with challenges and stressful situations, we use our sympathetic nervous system and expend energy. When we’re calm and relaxed, our parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, so the body can repair and restore itself.

It lifts our spirits. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, did a study to determine if grounding could improve mood. The findings, published in the April 2015 issue of Psychological Reports, suggest the answer is yes.

Grounding isn’t difficult, of course. All you have to do is go outside, preferably barefoot, and stand on the Earth. The challenging part is to find the time to do so at least 150 minutes a week (although, admit it, you’re probably wasting that much time on Facebook or in front of the TV) and get in the habit of daily grounding. Dr. Sinatra offers the following tips:

Walk barefoot as often as possible. If you can’t go barefoot, wear thin-soled, plain leather shoes. Avoid rubber soles like tennis sneakers or the neoprene found in running shoes, as these will keep you disconnected from the Earth.

Stand on the grass, soil, sand, concrete, or brick at least half an hour daily. You might get in the habit of going outside to have your morning coffee. You can sit outside to do your daily meditation. You can lie under the stars.

Look for fun ways to immerse yourself in nature. You can ground while gardening, camping, hiking, walking on the beach, or swimming in the ocean, a lake, or a river.

Reduce the time you spend toggled to devices and electronic ways of communicating.Don’t be a slave to your smartphone (and turn it off when not in use). It’s better to use plug-in landlines than cordless phones. Also, turn off your router at night. And move your clock or radio away from the bed so EMFs aren’t directed at your head.

If you’re really serious about it, bring grounding indoors. You can sleep, work, or relax indoors on special conductive sheets or mats connected to the Earth with wires plugged into a grounded wall outlet or a ground rod outside.

When grounding, cultivate an appreciative relationship with Mother Earth. Notice the rhythm of life and feel a sense of belonging to the natural world. Feel gratitude.

“Grounding is one of the easiest and most uplifting ways to improve your health,” says Dr. Sinatra. “Through this simple and powerful method, we can remember our connection to nature and, in doing so, reclaim aspects of our health that need rejuvenation. Where there is Earth, there is healing.”

# # #

About the Authors:
Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Tommy Rosa are coauthors of Health Revelations from Heaven.

Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist and psychotherapist with 40 years of clinical experience treating heart disease. He is the host of HeartMDInstitute.com and the creator of Vervana Marketplace (vervana.com), which offers wholesome, high-quality products from all over the world. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL.

Tommy Rosa is a spiritual counselor who helps people conquer their fear of death. He is also the founder of the Unicorn Foundation in Stuart, Florida, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to educational endeavors and community outreach projects. He lives in Stuart, FL.

About the Book: 
Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near-Death Experience(Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99) is available from major online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.healthrevelationsbook.com.

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02 Nov

When You Need to Solve a Problem

Bensmihen Head Shot 5by Joseph J.B. Bensmihen

(excerpted from Taking Your Place at the Table: The Art of Refusing to Be an Outsider, Morgan James Publishing, 2017)


When you need to solve a problem, call to the table people with the necessary skills. Don’t just call people with good intentions.


This is the fundamental principle for solving any problem. Yet in practice, it’s often overlooked—especially in federal and state legislatures, where the prevailing idea is When there’s a problem, the best people to solve it are politicians.


This is completely backward. Politicians’ main job is not to have good ideas and wise solutions. It’s to solicit good ideas and wise solutions from the right people, and turn the best ones into law.


I’ve been very closely involved with the health care industry all of my life. I’ve been a patient, a volunteer, a caregiver, a manager, a home care business owner, an advocate, a social worker, an adviser to federal and state legislators, a lobbyist, an organizer, and an association president. Because I lived for two decades in Canada and almost three decades in the United States, I’ve been able to closely compare the different health care systems. I’m in a unique position to see what can work in the U.S.—and what never will.


Let’s start with something that won’t work: Obamacare. It had noble goals, but it simply didn’t work very well in its first couple of years of implementation. Its predecessor, the Massachusetts-based Romneycare, didn’t work very well, either. Neither the Democratic Obama nor the Republican Romney recognized their programs’ primary flaw: each one forced large numbers of people to pick a health care plan they didn’t particularly like.


In health care, as in so many forms of human activity, if you have to force people to do something, it’s because they don’t want it or it doesn’t work. If something does work, you won’t have to force people to use it, because they will naturally gravitate to it.


The problem behind both Obamacare and Romneycare is that they were created primarily by politicians—people who don’t fully understand the economics of health care.


The job of designing any state or national health care program should be delegated to people who design health care plans for a living: actuaries. We’ll come back to these people shortly.


In order to fix the American health care system, we need to start not with something that doesn’t work, but with something that does. The United States already has an excellent health care program: Medicare. Americans are very happy with Medicare. I don’t believe an American has ever said to me, “Medicare sucks. When I turn 65, I’m not going anywhere near it. I’m buying my own private insurance instead.”


So, one part of the solution is to take an already popular program—Medicare—and make it available to everyone.


If this idea makes you uncomfortable because it’s socialized medicine, get over it, because Americans really, really like Medicare. If you think they’re wrong to like it, then for the next month try telling everyone you know, “We need to take Medicare away from our elderly neighbors, because it’s socialism.” Then let me know how things work out for you.


On the other hand, if you’re thinking, Wait a minute, JB. Medicare’s going broke. It’s not sustainable, you’re completely right. We can’t have a health care system that goes broke. So we need to fix the economics behind Medicare.


That’s what our politicians probably won’t do. But a group of competent actuaries can.


Making Medicare sustainable isn’t rocket science. Just call to the table a nonpartisan (or bipartisan) group of experienced actuaries. Say to them, “Figure out what American workers and employers can reasonably afford. Then, based on that amount of money, figure out how much health care we can pay for. Design a bunch of different programs around those numbers, and make sure each program pays for itself. Then bring us all the options and we’ll pick one.”


I don’t know what the actuaries will come up with. But any plan they come up with will stay solvent—and will give every American citizen reasonable health care coverage. Our current system does neither.


I’m sure that some aspects of Medicare will need to change. Maybe it will eventually kick in at age 67 rather than 65. Maybe the cost of the plan will need to go down gradually between the ages of 64 and 70. Maybe some things that are currently covered will need to become optional, for an additional charge. Maybe the market for Medicare supplements will expand to cover people of all ages. This is all fine, so long as the plan is based on solid economics, not ideology.


Whatever plan gets implemented, it will surely need tweaking. That’s fine, too. People will be very vocal, and very public, about what works and what doesn’t. Congress can listen to them for a couple of years, then bring the actuaries back to the table and say, “Here’s what people are saying. Come up with some fixes.” And they will.


Some years ago, the University of Wisconsin built a group of new buildings around a large open area. Once the buildings were ready to use, they did something—or, rather, didn’t do something—that I consider genius. Instead of putting in walkways, and trying to force people to walk in certain patterns, they left the area bare for an entire academic year. During that year, the university’s planners paid close attention to where people actually walked.


The next summer, when they put in the walkways, they were exactly where they needed to be, because they weren’t based on some planner’s grand idea, but on the real people who schlepped back and forth across the open space.




At the age of six, Joseph Bensmihen walked into Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s office, asked for an immediate meeting with him, and got it. Five years later, he was the first disabled Canadian student to be mainstreamed in a public school.


As an adult, JB has been a highly successful business owner, an advisor to

many members of Congress, the former President of the Private Care Association, a highly sought-after speaker, and a strong advocate for the disabled. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.


For more information about JB and his book, visit www.takingyourplaceatthetable.com.

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