How to Detoxify your Mind

We read endless articles and books about the importance of detoxifying our bodies but not a lot is said about the importance of detoxifying your mind. Most us have ways of operating at an emotional level that cause us to magnify and catastrophise and then go on to experience the emotions caused by our own negative thinking. An example of this is when we imagine a scenario.

Mary gets to thinking about how much work she is doing, how many extra hours she is putting in to produce the high quality work for which she prides herself. It has been a couple of years since she had a pay increase, how unfair is that, her friend Jane gets a review every six months with a pay increase and a share of company profits. She decides she will speak to her manager. She runs though in her mind all the additional work she has done, the excellent results she has achieved, and settles on an amount of pay increase she would like. She then begins to think of her manager, this manager is quite new and in a way it was unfair that Mary was not offered this position. Anyway, this manager seems jealous of her and doesn’t seem to like her. She imagines asking this person for a pay increase, she imagines the whole scene going horribly wrong and the manager sneering at her and hinting she has overestimated her importance to the company. Mary then feels overcome with rage and furiously insulted and imagines slamming down her resignation and walking out.

Did any of this happen? No, but Mary has experienced the same the pain and suffering and assault on her self worth as if this had really taken place. Does this sound familiar? This is an example of an exhausting and toxic way of operating emotionally. If a different way of operating could be found a lot of emotional wear and tear would be saved.

The first step to an emotional detox is to identify patterns that no longer serve you well. Mary’s way of operating is called ‘worst case scenario’ or ‘catastrophising’ This is the habit of immediately imagining the worst possible thing that could happen and then suffering the emotions that would go along with this if it were true. The old expression ‘fighting your battles before they come’ also describes this.

Identifying what exactly is wrong with our way of operating is quite hard as we immediately try to save ourselves by justifying exactly why we do what we do. The mind is a very tricky customer when it comes to protecting itself and we need to ask it to step aside while we find better ways of being.

We will start with the two most common causes of troubled thinking.

Do you worry a lot? Are you worrying about actual things that are about to happen? Then you are probably going round and round in circles and not producing an end result. First step is to externalize the situation. Take a piece of paper and make three columns. Head them “What I expect will happen”, “ What I fear will happen” and “What I would most like to happen” It may be that you have the same thing in two columns. This is okay, the reason for doing this exercise is so you can identify your own thinking. Do you always expect the worst? Why would that be? (Let me assure you at this point you haven’t been singled out by Fate to have a horrible, miserable life).

The most likely answer is that you have developed a negative way of thinking that no longer serves you well and one that you wish to change. It is easy to change this once you have identified that you are doing it.

Do your answers lead you to find you are very fearful? Why are you fearful? How often do the things you spend so much time fearing actually happen?  Try to remember the first time you felt fear or anxiety. This will most probably be a child’s thinking and when you hold it up to the light of day as an adult you can often see that it no longer applies to you and you can make the changes required.

Are the answers you have put in your “What I would like to happen” realistic? Are they possible and achievable? They may reveal that you have set your sights too high and that the tasks you have set for your self are not presently achievable. Do you have the tools for this to happen? How can I get the tools? If, for example, you say I want to be a famous rock star but you currently can’t play any instrument or sing a note, then you have set yourself up to fail and will experience all the negative feelings of failure.

What about anger? Feelings of undirected anger and fury suffuse a lot of people a lot of the time. If this is how you feel you will understand the effect it has on your nervous system and if you have to live with someone who is like this you will know just how emotionally draining this is, and the bad effect it has on those around this behaviour, children especially.

First step is to identify the feeling of anger. Why are you angry? Why exactly does this make you angry? It is no good at this point saying “It makes me angry when people are bad”, that is too general. Why is ‘badness’ wrong? Does it offend our morals? We need to keep narrowing the question down until we get an answer. It may be that we find that we are angry about things that are not fair. Then we must ask is it injustice that makes us angry. If it is, then we must ask who decides what is fair or not. How did we come to decide what is fair or not. Do we still believe the answer we have come up with.

Many times you will find that you formed ideas that are the basis of your moral judgements in childhood and have never revised them in adulthood. Finding out what you really think about all sorts of issues is revelatory and the start of personal growth.

Now you are armed with these simple but extremely effective tools to examine the areas in which you are your own worst enemy you will be able to identify the blocks to your own growth and development and proceed to put in place strategies that allow productive thinking and emotional calm.

Hair, Skin and Nails

These three are the visible signs of our health and wellbeing. These three are also the things that at some time or another give cause for worry. Lets have a look at them individually, see some common things that can go wrong and what we can do about them.

We will start with hair. To suddenly start losing handfuls of hair is a dreadful experience, and hair loss seems to vary from person to person. So how much hair loss is normal? Most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day. The hair you lose when you brush or comb or shampoo your hair are ready to fall out, so not brushing, combing or shampooing will not help stop hair loss.

Our hair is an excellent indicator of our health. If we should experience excessive hair loss from the entire scalp this usually means something has happened to our body. This could be either a temporary thing or a more serious event and the cause needs to be identified and corrected. Once this is done the lost hair will be replaced.

Usually whatever caused the hair loss happened two or three months before the loss became apparent. In the case of a temporary hair loss something like food poisoning or a high fever will cause a loss of hair from all over the scalp a couple of months after the event. Other common causes are stopping contraceptive pills, changing from one brand of pill to another, taking the morning after pill, or ending a pregnancy. In these cases no treatment is necessary and hair will return to normal in six months.

It is usually something more serious that causes permanent hair loss. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anaemia, and things that affect the endocrine system.
The endocrine system covers the glands of the body system and their role is to secrete hormones. These glands include the thyroid, the Parathyroid and the Adrenal glands.

The Thyroid gland is very important to the way we feel, how energetic we are. If this gland is underactive we may experience fatigue, hair loss, menstrual disturbances, weight gain and excessive hair growth on the face and body. If, on the other hand, the Thyroid is overactive, we could still experience hair loss as well as feeling too hot, sweating and have a rapid heartbeat.

Our Adrenal glands produce the hormones that help us combat stress, and with the busy stressful lives we all lead nowadays the Adrenals are overworked at the best of times. A sudden bout of more stress on top of our usual high stress levels can result in hair loss.

Anaemia is a common cause of hair loss. This is something you should not diagnose yourself, you should get a blood test from the doctor to check your levels. It is however, something that is easy to do something about. You can check to make sure you are having enough protein in order to get iron, you can take additional Vitamin C to aid absorption of dietary iron, and you can find supplements based on beetroot if you are a vegetarian.

Mineral deficiencies are another common cause of hair loss. Common deficiencies are Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, and Chromium. If you eat a varied diet that contains lots of vegetables and fruit and a protein source at two meals per day, you should be getting all the minerals you need. You may think you have a healthy diet but it could be that your stomach isn’t working properly and you are not absorbing your nutrients. If you feel bloated, with belching, flatulence, indigestion and diarrhea or constipation you can be sure things are not working and you should be heading for your Naturopath.

So, what is the best thing to do if you are experiencing significant hairloss? If you can identify an illness or traumatic event that took place two or three months ago you don’t have to do anything. Your hair will grow back. If you can’t think of any particular thing then maybe it is time to see a Naturopath to get the cause identified.

 

The skin

There are many different skin diseases and problems that range from the inconvenient and temporary to the recurrent and permanent. Let us have a look at the most common skin problems, and probably pimples and breakouts of the face would be top of the list. The first thing that needs to be done is to identify the probably cause. One of the most common problems is the breakouts that occur at period time, the hormonal pimples. These tend to be around the jaw line. To get this fixed we need to see what is happening in the menstrual cycle to assess if there is a hormonal imbalance. If one is suspected then taking some herbal medicine or some herbal medicine in tablet form will usually sort this out. A wonderful hormonal regulating herb is called Vitex Agnes Castus, its common name is Chaste Tree. This will work for simple problems but if you have a lot of pain or cramping or heavy bleeding with your periods – as well as skin outbreaks – you would do well to see a Naturopath.

In Chinese Medicine the skin is called the third kidney and the idea is when one or more of the systems of elimination are not working properly, the body has to use the skin to get rid of toxic matter, and it does this in the form of breakouts on the face, chest and back. So we have to ask what is not working. Are the lungs okay? This is one way we eliminate toxins from the body. If you are a chronic asthmatic for example, your lungs may not be able to expel adequately and may need some help. How is does your digestion work, is there bloating, flatulence, rumbling, constipation or diaorrhea? This isn’t how things are meant to be and this must be fixed.

What about the bowels? This is the most important body system of elimination. If you suffer from chronic constipation the body cannot rid itself of waste matter and what is worse, little bugs called enterotoxins move from within the bowel into the blood and secrete enterotoxic matter. This then circulates around our brains and makes us feel headachey and ill as well as causing pimples to break out on the face, back and chest. If this is what is happening to you then this must be fixed quickly. Cut out all fried food, sugary food, and junk food of any sort. Cutting out junk food applies to drinks as well as food. No soft drink, coffee, sports drinks either! Eat a diet high in fruit, vegetables, lean meat and high fibre complex carbohydrate like good quality bread and brown rice. You could also take a supplement such as Psyllium Seeds or Slippery Elm Powder, both of which are available from the Supermarket..

For healthy skin we need Zinc and Vitamins A, C, and E.

 


Nails

The state of our fingernails tells us a few interesting things about how our body is working. Like everything else in the body, our nails reflect our general state of health. If we are in poor condition due to illness or poor diet this will be reflected in our nails.


Soft cracking peeling nails

Take gelatine capsules or a teaspoon of powdered gelatine stirred in to a glass of water or juice daily. This will strengthen them up in about one month. Also take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement.


White spots on your nails

A sign of Zinc deficiency, take 25 mgs of elemental zinc.


Horizontal Ridge

A sign that you have been sick or experienced major trauma. Will grow out.


Longitudinal Ridges

Some ridging is normal with age but it can be a sign of a lack of Hydrochloric Acid in the stomach. Try drinking the juice of half a lemon in hot water each morning first thing. Some people also think this is a sign of a lack of Silica. This is readily available in health food shops.


No Moons

We should have moons visible on all of our finger nails, not just our thumbs. It is a sign of poor protein intake or metabolism to have no moons. Make sure your digestion is working and make sure you eat adequate protein. Eating meat, fish, chicken, dairy foods and eggs is the easiest way to be sure you are getting enough protein, and eating it at two meals per day, not just one. If you are a vegetarian you have to put some effort in to getting enough protein, you need to eat pulses such as dried beans and lentils at two meals per day, or other foods such as tofu, or combining foods to make good proteins. Beans and rice is an example of combined foods making a good protein, as is bread and cheese.

Just in case you are in trouble in all three areas there are products available from health food shops made by a number of different companies called “Hair, Skin and Nails”.

How to Change

How often do we hear people telling us to “deal with our issues”, “get over it” “move on”.  Quite a lot!Most of us would love to resolve all of our internal hurts and angers and be free of our emotional burdens but just don’t know how to do it.

Counselling or consulting a psychologist is one way to sort out your emotions but there is another way, a very simple and effective way using flower essences.

There are a number of different Flower Essences such as Australian Bush Flower essences and American essences but the ones I like to use are the Bach Flower Remedies. Most people have heard of Rescue Remedy which is a combination of five different remedies and is used for shock, confusion, irritation, etc. These remedies were first discovered by Dr. Edward Bach, a medical doctor who qualified in 1912. He was disatisfied with the practice of medicine and worked on intestinal bacteria where he made a name for himself. He still had great hopes of discovering a simple system of medicine that could be used to good effect by everyone.

He became aware that it didn’t matter what the name of the disease was, each individual has their own way of reacting to whatever may be wrong with them. For example people who are sick have reactions that can be categorized in to quite a small number of reactions. One is being angry that you are sick, another is feeling sad and sorry for yourself and wanting to be looked after, another is to just ignore being sick and soldiering on, and yet another is to just want to be left alone.

Dr Bach decided he would find remedies for emotional reactions to ill health rather than treating the physical problem itself, believing that when the emotions were healed the body would follow. He had a thought that a drop of dew on a plant would hold some of the plants properties, and acting on this somewhat unusual idea set about developing his first nineteen remedies. He had a highly sensitive nature and by holding the plant in his hand or placing it on his tongue he would experience the negative emotions the plant would heal.

As you can imagine the medical profession didn’t exactly take to his ideas and he then began to teach his system to members of the public as a simple way any person could help alleviate the suffering of fellow men and women. When we are troubled by emotional issues we experience a number of negative emotions such as anger, fear, being judgmental, confused, indecisive. By taking the remedies that align to your emotional state you bring about relief from troubling and negative ways of thinking. And let me tell you they really work!

Most health food shops sell Bach Flower remedies and most Naturopaths will make you up a bottle. It is usual to pick five of the strongest negative feelings you have and the remedies are then combined in to the one bottle. These gentle safe remedies are a wonderfully effective way of freeing yourself from old patterns that no longer serve you well.

Taking the remedies is a very simple matter of just putting four drops under your tongue four times daily. Now let us have a look at the remedies themselves to see what exactly they do.

 

Agrimony: keeping all of your feelings bottled up inside you.


Aspen anxiety: and feelings of dread or apprehension.


Beech: being critical and faultfinding and harshly judgmental.


Centaury: peacemakers who are afraid to speak up for themselves.


Cerato: person who continually asks other people for advice, always talking about personal problems, but never takes the advice. Everyone has at least one friend like this.


Cherry Plum: feeling that one is about to crack and do something dreadful. This is very good for exhausted mothers who fear they will crack and beat their child.


Chestnut Bud: never learning by your mistakes, and doing the same thing over and over again. This is good for the woman who is constantly being let down by picking unsuitable partners.


Chicory: feeling sorry for yourself and for using emotional blackmail.


Clematis: feeling dreamy and unable to concentrate. This is very good to give children who get in to trouble for not concentrating at school.


Crab Apple: feeling dirty or contaminated. This is good for people who have nasty skin conditions or those who have suffered sexual assault.


Elm: feeling that life’s burden is too great, that you are overwhelmed by having too much to do. Just about everyone needs this remedy at some stage of the year, use when the pressure feels unbearable.


Gentian: doubtfulness, for the expectation that everything will turn out bad. This is good for people who have suffered rejection and are now unsure of themselves.


Gorse: believing there is no hope at all and that they have been doomed to a lifetime of suffering. Give this to those who believe they have been born under a bad star or that they are cursed in some way.


Heather: those who are very concerned with themselves and find themselves a fascinating subject. Give this to those who talk incessantly about themselves or to those who talk to fill up silences and who drain the energy of others.


Holly: anger, jealousy, envy and hate. This is wonderful for those who are consumed by anger and can’t work their way through it.


Honeysuckle: homesickness and living in the past in a time when things were happy. Give this to those who dwell on lost loves and to old people who live in the past in the good old days. Use also for homesickness.


Hornbeam: temporary feelings of being unable to cope. Use when faced with a huge task or workload, studying for exams.


Impatiens: intense feelings of irritation and being extremely irritable. This is very good for PMT.


Larch: feeling inferior, a lack of confidence. This is good for children who are being bullied and for anyone whose confidence is down or suffers poor self esteem.


Mimulus: fear of specific things such as fear of flying, or fear of spiders. Give it to anyone who has a specific fear.


Mustard: black depression, the sort that comes upon one for no particular reason. This is good for the depression of PMT or any sort of black depression.


Oak: those who always do their duty. This is for hard workers who have lost their strength due to illness.


Olive: exhaustion. Use after illness or overwork.


Pine: plagued by guilt. Use for those who apologise all the time, who begin conversations with “Sorry”. For any strong guilt feelings.


Red Chestnut: called the mothers remedy. This is for overconcern for others. Those who need this worry excessively about their loved ones. Use for those who believe you have been killed in a car accident when you are 5 minutes late.


Rock Rose: for panic. Use for those who fly in to a panic about trifles, and for panic attacks.


Rock Water: rigid and inflexible ideas. Those who have strong and unchanging beliefs. This is wonderful for those who are held back by stong negative beliefs.


Scleranthus: those who cannot make up their minds, procrastinate and dither. This is good to help make a difficult decision or for those who habitually procrastinate.


Star of Bethlehem: shock or trauma, recent or old. Give to those whose life has not been the same since a traumatic event or a death of a loved one.


Sweet Chestnut: despair and emotional agony. Use when plunged in to despair by a sudden horrific incident.


Vervain: perfectionists, this is good for people who have such high standards of themselves and others that they are constantly let down.


Vine: those who wish to control others. Use on the control freaks in your life and watch them change.


Walnut: dealing with states of change such as puberty, menopause, moving houses or countries, separations and divorces. Use for anyone undergoing big life changes.


Water Violet: aloof and uncommunicative and wish to be left to their own devices. This is good for those whose partners won’t talk to them.


White Chestnut mental arguments with themselves, who worry incessantly, who over analyze things. This is very good for anyone having trouble sleeping because of the inability to switch off their mind.


Wild Oat: cannot make a choice or decision when there is too much to choose from. This is good for those who are unable to move forward. This allows the person to focus.


Wild Rose: feelings of apathy and resignation, when someone is beyond depression, just can’t care anymore. This is good for those who don’t want to do anything, go anywhere and who have no energy and are past caring.


Willow: resentment and holding grudges. Use this for those who have held on to every slight and insult and who still feel angry about them.


 

Most health food shops sell Bach Flower remedies and most Naturopaths will make you up a bottle. It is usual to pick five of the strongest negative feelings you have and the remedies are then combined in to the one bottle. These gentle safe remedies are a wonderfully effective way of freeing yourself from old patterns that no longer serve you well.

We are what we Eat

It is often said ‘we are what we eat’ and while it is very important to eat a healthy diet, it might be closer to the truth to say ‘we are what we absorb’. There is an old Naturopathic belief that all disease starts in the gut and thee is some truth to this, so a healthy digestive system, one that is capable of processing and absorbing the nutrients from the food we eat is essential to a healthy disease free life. The digestive system is a lot more than a tube where we put things in one end and the waste products come out the other. It is a place where a miracle of transformation takes place and the food we eat is broken down to many constituents in order to be used by the body as fuel.

The process start in the mouth with the saliva containing enzymes that begin to break down carbohydrates. The food reaches the stomach where more enzymes such as Hydrochloric Acid are secreted. The food then turns into a soupy mix and goes into the next stage of digestion, the small intestine. This is the place most digestion and absorption of nutrients happens. The small intestine walls are covered with small finger –like projections called villi, and it is through the villi walls nutrients pass in to the blood stream. To assist in the breakdown for food, bile is secreted by the gallbladder and enzymes by the pancreas. The fibrous remains of the food then move in to the large bowel where water is extracted and the rest, along with cellular debris, dead bacteria become faecal matter.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with this process, things that lead to a condition of underfunction and if left untreated result in a number of uncomfortable situations before they lead to something more serious.

The first most common situation encountered is a lack of Hydrochloric Acid in the stomach. This leads to feeling very full when you haven’t eaten a particularly large amount, feeling like the food you eat stays in the stomach for a long time. Feeling very burpy or bloated.

It is very important to fix this up quickly as the food you eat isn’t digesting and is passing to the small intestine without being broken down, and this will cause problems all the rest of the way down. One simple way to fix this is to begin the morning with a glass of warm water to which you have added the juice of half a lemon.

A problem occurs in the small intestine when the villi become stuck together with mucus as a result of a bad diet and then crack open to allow large molecules of protein to move in to the blood stream. The immune system then challenges these molecules and what we get is an allergic reaction. If this situation goes on long enough a sufferer gets to the stage of feeling they can’t eat anything anymore, everything makes them feel sick in one way or another. This situation requires more drastic action, one we will go in to detail about below.

Many problems can occur in the large intestine but the most common problem is constipation. It is normal for food to take between 24 and 48 hours to pass through to excretion. The time this takes is called transit time. If you want to check how efficiently your bowel is working eat some corn. Count how long it takes from the time of eating to the time the last kernels appear in your stool. If this time is longer than 48 hours then matters need to be given a hurry up.

The most common two reasons for constipation are not drinking enough water, we need six to eight glasses per day, and not eating enough fibre.

We can have between 2 and 5kg of faecal matter held in our bowel at any one time, and when it just sits there some horrible things take place. Putrefactive bacteria can move from the bowel in to the bloodstream and when they are there they secrete enterotoxic matter. This then travels in the blood through the brain and causes headaches and feelings of toxicity and sickness.

Pockets of inflammation can form in the bowel which lead to diseases such as diverticulitis.

Before we start to think of what we should be eating it is a good idea to begin any healthy lifestyle plan with a repair program for the insides.

As we said before, digestion begins in the mouth so the first step is to chew your food thoroughly. This isn’t possible if you eat on the run. Most of us look forward to eating so we should all allow at least half an hour to sit quietly and eat. Trying to talk and eat at the same time results in swallowing your food unchewed, so I would advise finding a quiet spot for yourself.

The next step is to get the stomach to work as well as possible.

As mentioned above, begin the morning with a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon. This will encourage the secretion of Hydrochloric Acid and by the time you are ready to eat your breakfast, your stomach will be ready and waiting for the food.

All mucus membranes are covered with mucus, in the stomach this is to stop it digesting itself. Excess mucus can slow the process so it is a good idea to begin your program with Fenugreek Tea. This comes in the form of seeds and is a spice familiar to anyone who makes a lot of Indian curries. In the form of a tea it is a valuable dissolver of mucus throughout the body. To make, bring one tablespoon of seeds in three cups of cold water to the boil and then leave the pot to sit and soak. Make and drink the contents of this each day, straining out the seeds of course, for seven days. You may experience loosened bowels, but if you do don’t worry, this is just a sign it is doing its work.

This will also help the villi wall of the small intestine recover its function, and will stimulate the bowel to move.

The elements of a healthy diet are fresh food, unprocessed food without additives, and a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. We need to eat some cooked food and some raw food each day.

It is best if we can eat some protein at each meal. Breakfast examples can include eggs, baked beans, cottage cheese, ricotta or sardines. These can be eaten with a slice of good quality bread. If you prefer to eat cereal, try to eat a good one without added sugar. Sprinkle it with LSA (a mix of ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds) for added protein and add soy milk. If you don’t like soy milk try rice milk, this goes very well with cereal with its slightly sweet flavour.

Lunch is a good time to eat some salad, bring a selection from home and eat with a can of tuna or a small amount of fetta or cottage cheese. If you are really hungry add a couple of slices of good bread. If you absolutely don’t have time to bring your lunch from home you can buy salad, but buy it plain, not covered with mayo. If you want to add a bit more flavour, squeeze over some lemon or lime juice or add a bit of balsamic vinegar.

For dinner at night eat a good range of freshly cooked vegetables, a small portion of a starch of some kind, such as potatoes, rice or pasta. Add some
fish meat or chicken.

Eat at least three pieces of fruit per day.

If you have a basic good diet you can afford to have some occasions for celebration and for eating cake, desserts and having some drinks. After all, staying happy and not feeling deprived is an important factor in good health.We are what we Eat