Pillar 5: Sleep and Relaxation

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.” 

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome back to our continuing series on the 6 Pillars of Brain Health!  To date, we have explored the benefits of  Mental Fitness, Food & Nutrition, and Social Connection and how they impact our brain health.  Today, we will take a slow, deep breath and float effortlessly into the 5th Pillar of Brain Health:  Sleep & Relaxation.  

I asked memory expert and accelerated-learning guru Jim Kwik, to share his top 5 tips for Sleep & Relaxation to promote brain health based on his research.  Jim is passionate about teaching others how to maximize brain health, increase learning speed, and improve memory retention.  His client list ranges from A-list Hollywood actors to learning challenged students, to NASA space engineers tasked with memorizing enormous amounts of data.  His ambitious mission is simple:  to reach 1 billion minds with his brain-training platforms.  Jim shared 5 tips for the Stand In Love community;  To help us remember them, let’s use this simple acronym:  FS MOM.

Float Tanks

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The idea goes like this:  Enter a light and sound proof chamber filled with Epsom salt and water matched to your body’s natural temperature and float for a period of 60-90 minutes.   Commonly used by athletes, creatives, and jet-setters alike to aid in recovery, inspire new ideas, and help offset the effects of extensive travel.   A few benefits include: intense relaxation, increased energy and circulation, as well as the balancing of the left and right brains.   The closest thing I have experienced to a float tank was a float in the Dead Sea during a taxi-cab foray into Jordan with my kibbutz volunteer pals in the early 2000’s! (It was hardly relaxing given the 110+ degree heat, zero shade, and fear of heat exhaustion!)

Sleep

Yes, just get those z’s.   We all know we need them.   But how?   Is there a magic number of hours of sleep we should be getting every night? One thing is certain, people are continuously looking for solutions to their sleeplessness.   In best-selling author Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution, she sites:

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Try these sleep tips:

  • diffuse calming essential oils like Serenity,  Bergamot, or Patchouli to promote restful sleep.  I start my diffuser an hour before bed so the air is filled with gorgeous aromatic compounds to relax and restore me at the end of the day.
  • set the temperature cooler to promote reduced body temperature.
  • leave cell phone, laptop, and electronic devices in another room.  These emit frequencies that disrupt our circadian rhythms and our ability to fall and stay asleep.
  • develop a bedtime ritual.  Ex: Start the winding down process by changing from your work clothes, lowering lights after dinner, and having an herbal tea.  I place a drop of Vetiver essential oil behind my ears and on my wrists every nite. ( I am secretly obsessed with this oil, and cannot imagine life without it.)

Meditation.

Intentionally calming the mind and focusing on the breath is highly restorative, relaxing, and is beneficial to induce sleep.  I rarely sit still, so my meditation practice is of the  moving variety and ranges anywhere from praying while jogging, to counting my blessings at night when I get in bed.  There is no perfect way to meditate.  When trying something new, remember that intention, practice, and patience are your allies.

I love using  Frankincense, Arborvitae, or Hawaiian Sandalwood aromatically and topically to aid in this process.   Aromas have a profound effect on our emotions and psyche.  The sense of smell is the only one linked directly to our brains.  It’s not always easy to calm the mind, the thoughts, or the body; however, using essential oils is one practical tool that will help you to ease into this practice.

Outdoors/ Nature

The circadian rhythm is a natural, internal system that is designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period.  This complex timekeeper is controlled by an area of the brain that responds to light, which is why humans are most alert while the sun is shining and are ready to sleep when it’s dark outside.  Exposure to sunlight helps promote rest and sleep.   Try exercising outdoors,  enjoying a walk on your lunch hour, or reading outside in the morning.  When time allows, escape to the nearest wooded area or park for the calming benefits only nature can provide.  Did you know that the color green (most commonly found in nature) relaxes the rods and cones of your eyes?  Amazing how natures is designed to provide comfort and relaxation for us.

Massage

Before essential oils became a routine part of my life, I used to dread getting a massage.  I knew I needed them to mitigate stress in my life, yet I did not like the idea of staying still on a table with the fear of an attack of anxious feelings coming on.   These days, I can’t get enough, and look forward to the wonderful benefits of massage.

To enhance these benefits,  I recommend using oils like Aroma Touch, or Deep Blue as they help promote circulation, while providing soothing relief to sore, stressed muscles.   Aroma Touch contains a lovely blend of Cypress, Peppermint, Marjoram, Basil, Grapefruit, and Lavender essential oils.  Not only is this blend great for self massage, but it is also great to soothe a variety of tension related issues.   Deep Blue is my favorite to apply when massaging my legs after exercise.  The mix of Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Helichrysum, Blue Tansy, and Blue Chamomile will elevate your relaxation as your muscles receive the benefits of these powerful essential oils.

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based writer, doTERRA wellness advocate, and business coach for global NGO BeadforLife.  Her passions include: serving people, inspiring ideas, and helping others live their purpose.  For more inspiration on beginning your essential oil journey, click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pillar 4 of Brain Health: Social Interaction

 

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” – John Lennon

Welcome to Stand In Love!  If you are a first time connector, I am SO thrilled you joined us! 

Today, we are exploring Pillar 4 in our 6-part series on Brain Health.    To dive deep into this topic, I called up my girlfriend and friendship expert Shasta Nelson.  In case you missed the post featuring Shasta’s 3 core components of friendships, you can read it here.  So how does social connection promote brain health, and how can Shasta’s years of research on this subject benefit you? Read on!

Shasta’s personal mission: “Friendships can save the world!” 

Shasta Nelson, M.Div., is the Founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women’s friendship matching site in 65 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Her spirited and soulful voice for strong female relationships can be found in her books Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness and Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends.

Here’s our girlfriend chat!

Q:  Shasta,  in your book Frientimacy, you share the importance of positivity in the cultivation of friendships and social interactions,  What role does positivity play in connecting socially?
“Positive feelings are the foundation for every relationship we have!  At the end of any interaction, whether we are conscious of it, or not, we are determining how much we want to interact with that person again, and we’ll base it off of how we felt in their presence.  In fact, research shows us that for a relationship to stay healthy, our positivity-to-negativity ration has to be at least 5:1, meaning that we need five positive emotions for every negative one.  So while we can never do away with all negative qualities, life stressors, or relational disappointments; we can always add more positivity: more kindness, empathy, laughter, acts of service, affirmation, gratitude, pride, etc.”
Q:  According to your extensive research, what would you say is the biggest obstacle to social connection?  What would you say to someone who feels they just don’t have the energy or mood to connect socially? 
The most common self-reported obstacle is “lack of time.” I hear it repeatedly.  And unfortunately it’s a vicious cycle in that the less frequently we see our friends, the less meaningful it can often feel, and so then the less often we want to make the time to see them.  On the contrary, the more we spend time with each other— the more we feel like we know what’s going on in each other’s lives, the safer we feel sharing, the more we feel supported, and the more relaxed and positive we feel.
Consistent time and interaction is one of the three requirements of all relationships that I teach in my book Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness; and without interaction we can’t do the other two requirements: positivity and vulnerability. It is time together that provides us the chance to share our lives and feel supported.  So, while some friendships can survive less consistent interaction now if they have a history of time spent together, we simply cannot create new friendships without the gift of a lot of time together.
Q:  Let’s talk about the  “8 Vital Friends Role “ … a part of your book Frientimacy I really enjoyed!  What is the benefit of having friends who play different roles in our lives, and how does that help contribute to our ability to connect socially? 
Those 8 Vital Roles come from Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends, and I agree: they are so enlightening!  It reminds us that we all have different strengths and roles that we play for our friends which means that we can’t expect any one person to be all of those things.  One myth that we’ve had to slowly let go of is this belief that 1-2 relationships can do for us what our tribes and communities used to do for us.  When we have healthy expectations of who our friends are, and what primary role they can play in our lives, we then, for example, know whether to reach out to a Builder, Collaborator, Connector, or Energizer.
Q:  Everyone who has read your book and those who will want to read it (it’s SUCH a GREAT read) will want to know :   What are your favorite ways to connect?   And would you mind sharing a time when you connected with someone and it resulted in a deep, long-term friendship or relationship?  
My favorite ways to connect are through long conversations where both people are feeling seen— which means both people need to feel safe sharing (vulnerability) and feeling supported (positivity).  My temperament bonds through conversations, especially conversations about things like ideas, feelings, and psychology.  To feel close, I ultimately want to feel like I can say anything and that you will, too!  For some people, this would sound exhausting! ha!  But put me in my living room, with a glass of red wine, a couple of friends, and a long evening ahead of us— and I am one happy girl.
And in answer to your second question— the secret to that wasn’t having a long and meaningful conversation with someone as that can happen somewhat often, but what turned it into a long-term friendship was the fact that we repeated it, which helped give us the consistency needed to get the friendship off the ground.  For example, a couple of my more recent friendships come to mind and what helped them turn into friendships instead of a friendly interaction was that they were in some monthly group I was a part of which allowed us all to keep getting together and build some shared history.
Q:  If you were to leave us with a few lasting thoughts on why it is important for our brain health to connect socially, what would you share? 
The research is staggering on this but in a nutshell: feeling supported buffers our bodies from absorbing the impact of stress.  How we answer the question, “how loved and supported do I feel?” will tell us more about our future health than almost any other factor including our diet and exercise.  Our immune systems are stronger, we live longer, we recover from surgery and sickness faster, we feel more optimistic, and we report greater happiness when we feel connected to others.  The best thing we can do for brain and body health is make sure we develop supportive relationships.

Thank you Shasta for sharing your passion and expertise with the Stand In Love community! Let’s continue the conversation… please share in the comments any thoughts or feelings that arise when reading this interview!  Stand In Love is a welcome place for serving PEOPLE, inspiring IDEAS, and living your PURPOSE!  


Extra Credit Readers:  Check out this video on Ginger: The Oil of Courage!  Goes hand- in-hand for social connection!!!

Pillar 3: Food & Nutrition

Hello Stand In Lovers!

How was your week of Mental Fitness?  Anyone try Linda’s Tiny Habit suggestions from last week’s post? SO many nuggets of goodness in that video interview!  Today we are diving into the topic of  Food & Nutrition, the 3rd pillar in our 6-part series on Brain Health.

It’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how and what we should or should not eat.   What we do know is that by integrating plant-based, whole foods into our daily routines, we are practicing Hippocrates’ sage advice, “Let food be thy medicine.”  

Primary Nutrition

According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, it is vital to look at the full spectrum of our lives, outlined in the color wheel below.   Take a look at each area and see where you may be hungry for something deeper than you are currently experiencing.

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How to make your Circle of Life

Place a dot on the line separating each section on the wheel to see how satisfied you are with each area of your life.  The closer the dot is to the center of the wheel, the more dissatisfied you may be in that particular area.  Dots closer to the outside circumference of the wheel suggest you are more satisfied in that category.  After you have placed a dot on each of the lines dividing the areas, connect your dots and see what your Circle of Life looks like.  Perhaps a couple of areas are super awesome, while others may need a little TLC.  That’s perfectly ok… our lives are in constant change, and there is no right or wrong here, just insight.

Nutrition for Brain Health

Along with the Primary Food listed above, let’s take a look at some key foods noted for their support in brain health and function.

What To Eat

  • Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach–  Try this green smoothie recipe with a touch of Wild Orange essential oil!  It’s fast, healthy, and SO delicious!
  • Dark-fleshed fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are loaded with polyphenols– antioxidants that help fight free radicals.
  • Sustainably sourced fresh fish rich in Omega 3’s like salmon, tuna, or halibut.
  • Walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybean are great alternatives for Omega 3 fatty acids if fish isn’t your thing.  Another great option is supplementing to ensure you get the required amounts.  Here’s a fantastic Raw Coco Bite recipe with walnuts and Wild Orange.
  • Whole grains such such as oats, barley, and quinoa, are rich in many of the B vitamins that work to reduce inflammation of the brain.
  • Avocado– try this amazing Lazy Avocado Sushi with Ginger recipe or replace your butter with avocado on your morning toast for something new! (mental fitness practice at the same time- way to go!)
  • Dark chocolate– a great source of antioxidants that potentially improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation.  I like to mix a drop of Black Pepper essential oil when making my own for some spicy punch and extra benefits!

Spice Up Your life

  • Herbs and spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger are packed with antioxidants that may help decrease harmful inflammation in the brain and elsewhere.  I like using a touch of Ginger essential oil in my herbal tea, and add Cinnamon essential oil to my homemade granola recipe.  There are endless ways to incorporate the benefits of doTERRA’s gorgeous CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) essential oils into your foods for brain health.  Here are additional  recipe ideas using essential oils!

Hydrate

  • Water-  This is one of the simplest ways to keep your brain healthy and fluid. Need help drinking more, it’s simple! Try adding a drop of Lemon, Grapefruit, or Wild Orange essential oil to your next bottle (stainless steel or glass due to the volatility of the natural aromatic compounds).   I love using Slim & Sassy in my water to help fight off cravings throughout the day.

Tools are designed for use.  May these help guide you on your brain health and wellness journey!  Stand In Love is a community, and all are welcome to join!  Please feel free to share, comment, tag, or like this post, so we may help others on their path to wellness!

P.S.  For those of you following me on Instagram @standinlovejen,  as promised, here is my favorite breakfast bowl recipe:

Jen’s Breakfast Bowl:

  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1 whole egg + 1-2 egg whites scrambled with turmeric
  • top with grated purple cabbage and sliced tomato
  • drizzle fresh vinaigrette made with herbs and a drop of your favorite essential oil on top!

season with S & P. and ENJOY!

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Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based writer, DoTERRA wellness advocate, and BeadforLife Community Partner.  She is the founder of StandInLove.org  ,a platform for sharing her passions: Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose
Do you desire more freedom, flexibility, and want to empower others? Join me today! 

 

 

Pillar 2: Mental Fitness

Ever considered the fitness level of your brain?   We are constantly reminded that physical exercise helps increase oxygen to our brains and promotes overall health, but when was the last time you saw an advertisement urging you to increase flexibility and motor functioning of your supercomputer?

Welcome to Pillar 2 in our 6-part series on Brain Health.  This week’s focus:  Mental Fitness.  In case you missed last week’s post on Pillar 1 of Brain Health: Physical Exercise- you can find it here.

Our brains, like our muscles, are hungry for activation and use.  Today’s blog post is a video interview with Linda Fogg-Phillips, director of Tiny Habits Academy.  Linda is an expert in habit formation and behavior design, having taught over 65,000 people around the world through a rigorously tested scientific model designed by her brother, Stanford Ph.D and professor, B.J. Fogg.  Whether you want to adopt new personal habits, or train members of your business to help improve the lives of their clients, Tiny Habits can help!

We explore 5 key components of Mental Fitness and share insights on positive habit formation while pairing them with the purest and most potent essential oils in the world!  You don’t want to miss this!

Enjoy the show !

Feel free to share these tips with your friends and family, it’s the best way to reinforce your learning!! #standinlove#tinyhabits

 

 

To begin your journey with these life-changing essential oils, click here.

Thanks for joining, and see you next week as we explore Pillar 3: Food  & Nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 6 Pillars of Brain Health

 

Did you know that your brain weighs approximately 3 pounds, and processes nearly 70,000 thoughts per day?

Inspired by an encounter with world-renowned memory expert, Jim Kwik last week at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, I am thrilled to share more in-depth my passionate work in essential oil therapy as a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and Business Coach!  It’s no surprise that doTERRA’s 5 pillars of health and wellness align perfectly with the The Six Pillars of Brain Health, as defined by the Cleveland Clinic.  Together, we will take a look at specific doTERRA essential oils to help you maximize each pillar of brain health.  This is a 6-part series, and my goal for you is twofold:  First, for you to fall in love with your supercomputer, and more importantly, for you to discover the wonderful world of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils that will help boost your health and wellness naturally!  Ready for a learning journey?

 The Brain is a Supercomputer

The brain is the most vital organ to everyday life and functioning and, together with the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, makes up the central nervous system which directs, coordinates, and regulates voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) processes.   The brain, like a muscle, is “use dependent” meaning it requires continuous use to grow stronger.  A humbling statistic Jim pointed out shows nearly 75% of what we learn is lost within 48 hours if the memory is not exercised properly.

Our brains manage and direct all organs, systems, and body processes and have several layers of protection including the skull, thin membranes, and cerebrospinal fluid.  The brain also has a protective mechanism commonly referred to as the blood-brain barrier, which keeps cells of the nervous system separate from cells throughout the vascular system (the rest of the body).

Essential Oils and the Brain

Due to their unique chemical constituents and the fact that they are carbon based, essential oils are able to permeate the protective blood-brain barrier and provide support for such things as headaches, migraines, vertigo, emotions, and mood.  Oils like Frankincense and Sandalwood are composed of specific chemical constituents called sesquiterpenes, and have a particular affinity for supporting the brain.  Essential oils with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are also particularly important for maintaining a healthy brain.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the brain and essential oils, let’s take a look at the first of 6 pillars.

Pillar 1: Physical Exercise

Research shows people who exercise regularly may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.   Exercise improves blood flow and memory; it stimulates chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood and thinking.  Have you ever taken a walk and suddenly an idea came to mind that would help improve a work situation,  or relationship conundrum?  Exercise pumps oxygen to our brains and magical things happen!

 Essential Oil Tips

  • Pre-workout:  Try using the blend Breathe or Peppermint essential oils to awaken the lungs and prepare them for activity.  Both of these oils help promote clear airways and provide an invigorating aroma.  Place a small drop in the palm of your hands, rub together and cup hands over the nose and take a few deep inhalations.   I love starting the day this way!  You may also like Eucalyptus oil or Purify- the Cleansing Blend as well! That’s the beauty of essential oils, there are endless choices.  Pick what works best for you!
  • During workout:  Try a drop of your favorite energy boosting citrus oil like wild orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit in your water for a quick pick-me-up while exercising.  Just remember safety precautions when using cold-pressed citrus oils. For more on oil safety, click here.  Not only is lemon refreshing, and invigorating, it has been used historically to help lower blood pressure.
  • Post workout:  After any exercise, enjoy the soothing benefits of the Deep Blue Rub, by applying topically to areas that feel sore.  This is an amazing blend of Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Helichrysum – oils that are frequently studied for their abilities to soothe inflammation, alleviate pain, and reduce soreness.  The cool, refreshing sensation when applied is an added bonus!

For all you DIY lovers, try making this simple Joint Juice blend to help promote joint support!  Simple and effective!

  • 30 drops of soothing blend (Deep Blue)
  • 25 drops of frankincense – (this boosts the benefits of Deep Blue!)
  • place in 10ml roller bottle
  • fill the rest with fractionated coconut oil and shake to blend.
  • rub onto affected area as needed.

Join Stand In Love next week as we take a look at the 2nd Pillar of Brain Health: Mental Fitness!   

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based Writer, DoTERRA Wellness Advocate and Business Coach, and BeadforLife Community Partner Volunteer. She is the founder of Stand In Love.org  -a platform for sharing her core values:
Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose
For information about how to join the Stand In Love circle and begin using essential oils, please visit www.mydoterra.com/standinlove.  By becoming a wellness advocate, you will receive 25% off retail pricing and join a community committed to inspiring change, and encouraging health and wellness around the world!