Circadian Sleep – Maximize Your Body’s Rest, Repair, and Recovery

by admin

The way that your body cycles levels of activity throughout the day is called your circadian rhythm.  Various brain centers have internal rhythms that affect your body, and in turn are affected by personal habits such as your sleep patterns, activity level, and light exposure.  Since these lifestyle choices play such a large role in how your body functions, it is important to maximize your personal lifestyle habits to reflect how circadian rhythms are innately programmed.

Many activities inside your body vary based upon the time of day.  Body temperature, wakefulness, digestion, even cell division are all affected by circadian rhythms.  Nearly all of your bone growth as a child occurs at night!

Lack of a Healthy Rhythm
It is well known that those who don’t sleep on a healthy cycle suffer from health problems due to their schedule.  For example, those who work the night shift have a greater percentage of most of the major chronic diseases relative to those with a daytime work schedule.  Also, not sleeping enough is a powerful negative influence on your body.  For example, sleep deprivation is a strong promoter of obesity and weight gain.

Circadian Rhythms Also Effect Your Hormonal State
The hormone cortisol is emitted in a cycle throughout the day.  Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases primarily in times of energy usage.  In terms of your body’s circadian rhythm, cortisol reaches a peak output first thing in the morning.  On the other hand, the output of cortisol is lowest in the late evening.  The greatest output is around 5 a.m., while it is at its lowest point in a 24-hour period around midnight.  This is one reason why getting to bed before 11 p.m. helps your body sync up with your natural circadian rhythm.  And this helps to maximize repair during sleep. More

Chronic Disease Crisis

by admin

Growing up, current generations heard that the greatest health threats worldwide were things like starvation, epidemics, and drought.  While these things continue to plague mankind, there is now a newer problem that has surpassed these old disasters.  The number one threat to human life on the planet today is the crisis of chronic disease.

Just how bad has the crisis of chronic disease become?

The World Health Organization has declared chronic diseases the number one killer on the planet.  Chronic disease is now the cause of over fifty percent of deaths worldwide.  Furthermore, the death toll currently caused by chronic disease continues to increase steadily.

Facts about chronic disease from the World Health Organization:

  • Chronic diseases are now the major cause of death and disability worldwide. Noncommunicable conditions, including cardiovascular diseases (CVD), diabetes, obesity, cancer and respiratory diseases, now account for 59% of the 57 million deaths annually and 46% of the global burden of disease.
  • A relatively few risk factors – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and alcohol – cause the majority of the chronic disease burden.
  • A change in dietary habits, physical activity and tobacco control, have a major impact in reducing the rates of these chronic diseases, often in a relatively short time.
  • Heart attacks and strokes kill about 12 million people every year; another 3.9 million die from hypertensive and other heart conditions.
  • More than one billion adults worldwide are overweight; at least 300 million of them are clinically obese.
  • About 75% of CVD can be attributed to the majority risks: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, low fruit and vegetable intake, inactive lifestyle and tobacco.
  • Sustained behavioural interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing population risk factors.

Chronic diseases include things like heart disease and strokes, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and dementia, and many others.  These diseases are widely understood to be the result of our modern lifestyle choices.  Over the past several decades, research has shown that these chronic illnesses are preventable in large part if we learn to make different choices.  In other words, if we live differently.

Predictions for the future are that this chronic illness crisis, as bad as it is today, will get much worse.  Cancer rates have been predicted to go up by 50% by the year 2020.  One in three children born in the USA today will develop diabetes.  And research continues to show our toxic modern lifestyle is the cause.

Sadly, many diseases we are suffering from today were largely preventable if we knew what to do differently ahead of time.  The same applies to our health in the future.  If we act now, many of these chronic diseases are avoidable if we change how we live our lives. More

Negative Influences – Comparisons, Social Cues and the Herd

by admin

We hear it often from the Bonfire experts, “If the herd was happier and healthier, we would follow them,” but as Dr. Jesse Davis put it, “Unfortunately, doing things that fit in has become increasingly dangerous.

The herd moves in fear. Movement with the herd often results in irrational decisions by way of the absence of comprehensive understanding and reasoning, also known as: groupthink. The herd’s movements, though keeping individuals from being singled out, seldom provide optimum benefit for any within, as is certainly the case in modern culture. Running with the crowd today may help us survive society, but will not help us thrive as individuals.

Many of society’s accepted norms dress the harmful up as helpful, present disease as desirable, proclaim the hurtful as healthful, and promote sickness as status. We are exposed repeatedly to messages that detract from our attention to our wellness. The vast majority of the inputs we are surrounded by emphasize momentary enjoyment, instant gratification, or both without regard to long-term effects of those indulgences on our own or others’ lives.

Along our Bonfire journey, we must continually ask ourselves what around us is influencing us “negatively.” We can define “negative” (since it is quite subject to individual interpretation) as:

Anything that detracts from the long-term quality of, or equilibrium among, the Seven Lifetime Value Accounts depletes their current balance, or hinders our ability to sustain our investment in them.

When we discover influences (people, information, environments, etc.) that subtract from or divide more than they add to or multiply, we should:

• Remove them from our lives altogether – this will work better on magazines, television shows, radio programs, and the like than on family members.

• Reduce their share of or input into our lives – let those who do not acknowledge the power of their choices in determining their own wellness watch us from a distance as we proactively shape ours…hopefully they’ll learn something.

• Remove ourselves from the reach of their energy – Let’s stay away from that corner store with the “Delicious Healthy Snacks” sign that peddles artificially flavored, food-like substances with corn syrup-sweetened carbonated beverages with which to wash them down. If we walk in, it is by our own choice that we come “under the influence.”

The next time we feel like just rolling with the herd because it’s “easier” than standing out and living healthy, well and awesome lives, let’s remember a tiny concept expressed in a well-known historical letter and ask ourselves if we really want what we’ll get if we do follow the crowd:

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Oh, and as far as keeping up with the Joneses, when we think about comparing what we have to what they have (food “freedoms,” bottled “youth” or “beauty,” “enhanced” athletic performance, etc.), let’s not forget to also compare what we have to what they have (chronic diseases, adverse reactions, that extra-spacey look, etc.). Then we can ask ourselves “Do we really want to clamor with everyone else around us to ‘win’ a lifetime achievement award for the number of chronic diseases and corresponding ‘treatments’ we can go through before we close our eyes for the last time?” We’d probably be a whole lot better off just staying near the basics of the Bonfire…

Sustained exposure to negative influence over time reduces the balance in our Seven Lifetime Value Accounts. It’s up to us to determine not to be part of the downward spiraling health trend that surrounds us. As Dr. Paul writes:

Let’s rally together to go against the accepted norms, against society’s common traits of living a sedentary existence, eating non-nutritious processed foods, and engaging in busy but unproductive, chronically stressful lives. All of these common contemporary lifestyle behaviors are literally destroying our bodies, our health, and our lives.

Stress Management – Quick Strategies for Coping with Stress

by admin

The Quick Take Away:

  • Eat less sugar: sugar is an extraordinary stress-inducing food that undermines our health in countless ways.
  • Sleep more: go to bed earlier because you still have to get up at your usual time, so to get more rest – one the most effective stress relief behavior you can engage in, and it’s free and feels great.
  • Exercise more: the body’s response to exertion is categorically a must for health in general but a key strategy for melting stress
  • Say no … more often: reduce the demands on your schedule by simply not committing to so many … things (for you, for your kids, at work).

We all do what we need to do to survive, “get by,” and in hopefully most cases, succeed.  In all of these, good, bad, or ugly, stress accumulates and adds to the load we’re already carrying through life.  Thankfully, we are surrounded with abundant information on how to productively quarantine, reduce, or ideally, dissipate the stress – the question is, have we looked into it yet?

There are none more powerful in managing stress levels than ourselves, and so we are charged with the responsibility of keeping tabs on how we are allowing stressors to affect us psychologically and ultimately, physically.  After reading Week 1′s SPARK Insight, we understand a few of the physiological effects of chronic stress, and are tasked with finding practical methods to incorporate daily to prevent stress-induced deficiency.

Here are some great “weapons” in our arsenal that everyone can use to combat chronic stress:

  • Bonfire’s FUEL section provides a wonderful way to eliminate some of the stress of having to “cook up” healthy meals to fuel a hungry household, and provides grocery shopping lists and recipes with instructions each week.  Not only does this help with the planning and shopping aspects, but the real, live, and whole ingredients in the meal plan help our bodies be properly set up to physically deal with our daily stresses.

We need to practice removing ourselves from our everyday stressors, even if for a few seconds at a time while right in the middle of them, and we need to be on-purpose about it.

One particularly inconspicuous strategy that is fun and costs nothing is a “three second vacation.”  For three seconds, close your eyes and let your mind transport you to the most relaxing place on earth – sights, sounds, scents, everything.  Breathe it all in deeply for three seconds, and then resume your activity (extend duration and/or repeat as many times throughout the day as necessary).

Also, to the extent that schedule and location make it practical, giving your body a chance to “reboot” comes highly recommended.

On a larger scale, we challenge you to use some of the most gratifying activities you’ve come to enjoy to assist in the battle against stress.  They don’t necessarily need to cost anything (it doesn’t cost much to take a sketch pad out to draw a landscape or to get out and climb a tree…preferably your own tree), but a reasonable expense is also acceptable (a ride along the coast on a sunny day, top-down in a rented convertible, a round of golf, or a session out on the community airfield with a radio controlled airplane…however, if the expense or challenge of the mechanism adds stress, please find another coping mechanism to use).  If we ask our Bonfire experts, we’re sure to find intense exercise and surfing among their top choices for coping mechanisms – not specifically for the coping aspect, but because they’re a main course of fun with a generous helping of stress-relief on the side.

We’re all different and there’s no sense in stressing about choosing coping mechanisms, so find your fun and you’ll discover a mechanism that works for you!

Chiropractic: The Essential Element of Nerve Supply (and being healthy)

by admin

How have chiropractic patients had miraculous recoveries from such diverse conditions as infertility, high blood pressure, hearing loss, and enuresis (bed wetting)?  By freeing the master system of the body – the nervous system – from interference, that’s how.

Chiropractors correct mechanical stress to the spine (called vertebral subluxation) that creates irritation and interference to the flow of information across the complex and sensitive nerve system.  This is the same reason why the healthiest families in the world, not to mention elite atheletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Jerry Rice, make regular chiropractic care part of their health regimen.

More

Want To Be Happier? Could It Be This Simple?

by drstephen

We all want to be happier.  Even the happiest among us want to be happier still.

Know this:  Harvard University is deeply engaged in the study of happy people.  They have teased-out the common traits and behaviors of the happiest people they could find.  Here are some of the high points:

1.  Use your strengths. It turns out that when we get to do things that come easier to us, we are happier. Humans like to be good at things. Remember that the next time that you apply for a job, encourage your child or ask your spouse to help you do something.

2. Savor the moment.  Apparently we needed research to tell us to stop and smell the roses. (Or at least I did.) As the world speeds-by, it seems that those who stop to appreciate how freakin’ fortunate we all are experience greater happiness. I’ll have to schedule that.

3. Engagement. Once again, the evidence frowns on multi-tasking. It seems that trying to focus on more than one thing at a time not only interferes with accuracy, quality, creativity, production and safety; it turns out that it robs us of our happiness as well.

Do this: Embrace the fact that it is not only what we do that matters, but how we do it.  Accept that your mind is a magnificent single-processor that blooms in the light of purposeful work; do something that allows you to express your natural virtues and engage in the splendor of the here and now.

Happily,

Dr. Stephen Franson

Positive Influence – Inspiring Success in Yourself and Others

by admin

Influence can be likened to a liquid that flows into and out of all of us. The character of what flows into us directly affects our internal state and affects what flows out of us, inevitably impacting what gets into others around us.

People, places, and experiences that provide positive influence are those that help us move nearer to our desired results and help us to be better today than we were yesterday. Many if not all of us can recall times of positive change in our thinking that enabled us to move well beyond what we initially anticipated. Some of us may even have enjoyed the privilege of watching others process inputs we provided and move themselves to better lives. More

Create the Life you Want – How to Inspire Lasting Personal Change

by admin

“Fake it ‘til you make it!” they say, but where’s the long-term value in that approach?  If we spend energy just faking progress, how will we ever actually arrive at our destination?  It sounds much like the experience of people who sit in what look and feel like race car drivers’ seats, but after exhilarating, high-intensity video game simulations, find that they’re a dollar short and no further from where they were when they began. More

Virtual Board of Trustees

by admin

Dr. Guy Reikman describes a best practice for alignment as the creation of your own Virtual Board of Trustees.  Your Virtual Board of Trustees (VBT) is populated by individuals who best represent or role model “successful traits” in each of your Lifetime Value Accounts.  This group can include people you know well, celebrities, or even fictional characters, whomever you choose.  Mentally access this VBT whenever faced with a question of appropriate behavior or response in their respective Life Value Category…”What would Yoda do here?”  Below, fill in the list of accounts in your life on the left.  On the right you will choose your own Virtual Board of Trustees – they can be people you know, people you don’t know, or people you simply look up to.  By identifying who is on your Board of Trustees, you will be able to access their behavior or response whenever you desire to.

Do it now!