Vitamin D – the benefits of a daily dose of sunshine

Vitamin D – the benefits of a daily dose of sunshine

Vitamin D – the benefits of a daily dose of sunshine

We all know sunlight is good for us, and we all know that it gives us Vitamin D, and even the idea of a day spent outdoors in bright warm weather is enough to make us feel good.

We are a continent wrapped in a blanket of searingly high UVA and UVB rays, and health experts heavily caution us never to bake in the sun, for the risk of skin cancer is very real.

But is our effort to avoid premature ageing and skin cancer making us sick in other ways?

Australia is a sunbaked continent.

We have grown up being trained by mass media campaigns and schooling to be conscientious of our time in the sun. Our country is well known for a sun that bites, and to avoid the sting and agony of a summer sunburn, we vigilantly follow the advice of years and years of social conditioning to; “slip, slop slap”. 

Australian schools adopt a policy of – ‘no hat, no play! As the primary intervention for teaching a ‘Sun Safe’ attitude in a country with summers that can reach the high forties is imperative. The risks are high for many with fair skin as well as the elderly – but we need the sun to stay healthy and mentally balanced. 

In our effort to protect our appearance and save lives combined now with a dramatic shift in the way we live, socialise and work, Australians young and old are increasingly at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency

 

It is estimated that at least 1 billion people don’t get enough Vitamin D. Could the spike in depression, auto-immune diseases, and ADHD be related?

It’s Winter in Melbourne

It is now winter in Melbourne, and the sun is hidden in a perpetual blanket of grey.
It is a difficult time for many, as winter can trigger depression in those with lower levels of happy chemicals in their brain. A natural booster to the missing sunlight therapy we all need to feel well and maintain mental equilibrium is Vitamin D.

Doctors and pharmacists recommend soothing winter blues with extra Vitamin D during the winter months, but how much exactly should we take, and which of us really need it?

Your Headaches Might Be a Vitamin Deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, fatigue, body aches, headaches, insomnia, back pain, bone fractures and osteoporosis. Vitamin D is essential for healthy brain function, cellular renewal and memory and getting enough time outside can improve concentration and focus in kids with ADHD.

Because Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system, without enough of it, you will get sick all the time and wounds on your body will take longer to heal. Lower Vitamin D makes you more susceptible to colds and flu, so it’s a good idea to get your Vitamin D checked by a doctor, especially if you live in a place like Melbourne, which has long grey winters and is further from the equator.

How Much is Enough?

To get enough Vitamin D, we need at least 10 – 30min direct sun exposure daily (it depends where you live in the world). To gather Vitamin d from the sun, you need UVB, and to get that, you need to be outside; light filtered through glass only delivers UVA, which is only going to burn your skin.

Other ways of introducing Vitamin D into the body are through a dietary supplement or eating foods like oily fish, beef liver and eggs.

Watch the film to learn more.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions of third party resources included in our posts are not necessarily the views and opinions held by us.

The information provided is not intended to replace medical advice. Always seek professional medical intervention from a licensed health practitioner, doctor or therapist if you feel unwell.

.................................

If you happen across something on our platform that may have been disproven by a reputable resource, please let us know.

Copyright Horatio's Jar, 2021, All Rights Reserved

Prescription Hugs – The Healing Benefits of Hugging

Prescription Hugs – The Healing Benefits of Hugging

Prescription Hugs – the healing benefits of hugging

A hug is such a simple remedy to handling the complex and sensitive emotions we have as human beings, and its intrinsic value to our health and happiness is overlooked.

 If you have experienced a lockdown in the era of COVID-19 for two weeks or more, you might have an insight into what it feels like to be deprived of human interaction, meaningful touch and companionship?

The Pain of Separation

Last year for so many of us in Melbourne and around the world, we were alone for prolonged periods of time. It was a huge test of our resilience to cope with sudden change, intense grief, impeding financial ruin and social isolation.

Like myself, many endured a prolonged lockdown alone. My family and friends well and truly out of reach I struggled at times to feel ok. I was lucky enough to have my little dog Neumann as a solid and noble companion and it made a world of difference.

But some people had no one, and unlike the lucky folks with backyards, terraces, families, pets and sunlight, they were locked up in small apartments that closed them off from the world entirely.

What Now?

The implications of these ongoing lockdowns can not really be quantified socially, emotionally or economically. Nevertheless, the effects of loneliness, hopelessness and future uncertainty on our way of life continue.

 We know there are harrowing statistics regarding mental health and suicide rates due to the pandemic, and it continues to rise. And there is not a single person I know that hasn’t been emotionally and psychologically affected by the pandemic we are still in. And the solution to the mounting health crisis that impacts all of us is totally insufficient, and we know it.

The COVID_19 lockdowns have highlighted the realisation of how unwell we can become when we don’t have enough interaction with other living beings. Depression, anxiety and the feelings of grief and hopelessness among the many is expediential.

How long might it take for us to recover – unknown?…

Hugs could save lives!

After my experience of prolonged isolation,  loneliness and grief, I learned what it was like to be touch-deprived and how serious its effect was on my health. I had depression for quite some time last year, and the lockdown we just had triggered feelings of doubt, angst and irritability in me and many others.

When I  finally had the opportunity to properly and consistently interact with friends again, I recognised immediately how impactful being physically close to another being was for me and how quickly bad vibes and anxious feelings were subdued when hugged.

 My experience got me thinking – how many of us could have our lives transformed by regular touch and meaningful hugs?  How many of us are unaware that our society’s lack of human contact might be why we are unwell and critically imbalanced?.

We have a mental health crisis at our door, and accompanying this is the loneliness epidemic, and the two go hand in hand – could hugs help?.

It is factual that regular social contact, physical touch and big warm hugs help us handle the difficult emotions, grief and pain we all experience. Science says it’s so – and there is plenty of good evidence that proves that hugging heals.

Take one dose of hugs daily!

I am interested to see if you, too, can benefit from a good old fashioned dose of hugs?

I am prescribing 1 month of hugs and love to be taken daily.

Whenever possible, take the opportunity to connect with fellow humans through physical touch and cuddles. It important you make sure you choose someone who wants to hug you back.  There is nothing worse than an empty hug; you will know the difference; it feels weird, and you won’t feel any better afterwards.

In the videos above there are  some good guidelines and ideas for building up to a good long cuddle and how to provide and experience maximum benefits to your health and heart.

  • I would recommend a diary to track your feelings, your health and your overall view on life throughout your hugging experience.
  • I recommend hugs every day or as often as you can. Track in a diary whether there is an improvement to how you feel – and does it make your bond closer to your buddy?
  • I would be curious to know if you experience any changes to your mood, health, and social and emotional bonds. So please send me an email, comment on my social media feed or post a letter to let us know how it goes.

Goodluck Fellow Huggers xxx

Disclaimer

The views and opinions of third party resources included in our posts are not necessarily the views and opinions held by us.

The information provided is not intended to replace medical advice. Always seek professional medical intervention from a licensed health practitioner, doctor or therapist if you feel unwell.

.................................

If you happen across something on our platform that may have been disproven by a reputable resource, please let us know.

Copyright Horatio's Jar, 2021, All Rights Reserved

Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Making Changes

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Daily Relaxation and Deep Breathing

Daily Relaxation and Deep Breathing

Daily Relaxation and Deep Breathing

Learning to relax and reset the mind and the body is essential for your everyday health and wellbeing.
Deep breathing and mindfulness meditation are proven and effective in relieving stress, anxiety and depression.
Learn how to breath deeply to boost your mood, re-focus the mind and get a good nights rest by learning this easy and effective tool. Only a few minutes a day of mindfulness and meditation has been proven to change your chemistry, balance your emotions and help you to think more clearly.

Find out more on deep breathing here –

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio’s Jar or the platform that this content is provided on.

We provide resources that are selected on their relevance and authenticity.

We, however, do not necessarily hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Mindfulness and ADHD

Mindfulness and ADHD

Mindfulness in the mainstream.

Since founded in 1979 by  Jon Kabat – Zinn, Mindfulness or MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) has been used the world over in hospitals, corporations, the military and schools as a form of brain training, stress reduction and cognitive boost.

There are over 600 published studies verifying mindfulness meditations effectiveness in reducing stress, building mental resilience, improving cognition and helping the body to repair itself.

The Doctor Who Took Kids Off Drugs

Dr Chris van Tulleken takes over part of a GP surgery and stops patients’ prescription pills. This time, his focus is on children on medication and taking them off drugs. (English, SBS)

https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/the-doctor-who-took-kids-off-drugs

Because of the effectiveness mindfulness has in developing self-awareness, emotional self-regulation, cognition and concentration it has application in the treatment of cognitive disorders like ADHD in children have been adopted and explored by clinicians and psychologist as an alternative to medication.

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological impairment and not a product of bad parenting. ADHD affects people in different ways and the symptoms and severity can differ. People that have ADHD can have difficulty with planning, being motivated, regulating behaviour and emotions, sitting still, paying attention, memory, and making friends.

Not everyone with ADHD appears to be over-energetic, some people have problems with motivation, making decisions or remembering what to do next and can be labelled as lazy when they are not.

Other Traits Of ADHD

  • Being sensitive to sounds and lights
  • Touch sensitive
  • Inability to express emotions
  • Impulsive relationships
  • Intense emotional fluctuations
  • Anxiety
  • Indecision
  • Low motivation

Seeing things as they really are

Mindfulness is a style of mediation derived from Tibetan Buddhist practices of  Vippasana, (which means to see things as they really are). A lot of what we experience is filtered through the lens of our own emotions, expectations, awareness and cognitive bias. 

Mindfulness style meditation helps to separate our attachments to thoughts, feelings and emotions and help us to look upon the world in a more objective way. It gives us greater clarity which means we have a more positive outlook and the skill to navigate our attention and our choices.

Mindfulness helps us to maintain concentration so we then recognise when our mind is wandering off. We also can then observe the fluctuation of negative thoughts and feelings without bias and through effort retrain the mind to be more positive.

Practising mindfulness daily has been proven to increase working memory which means information is stored in long-term memory which helps students to perform better in exams, cope with stress and perform tasks that require prolonged attention.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio's Jar and platforms content is provided on.

We do not hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Habits – How Changing Your Habits Can Rewire Your Brain

Habits – How Changing Your Habits Can Rewire Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Compulsive disorders like Terrets, OCD, ADD, ADHD and hoarding are really no different to gambling addictions, alcoholism, drug addiction, overspending and overeating: in the sense that they all promote the chemical release of Dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating the sensation of pleasure in the body. 

The dopamine centre in the brain is embedded with the habit centre that is why actions that trigger the reward centre (where dopamine is made) in the brain are more likely to be repeated. Behaviours that trigger a larger release of dopamine in the brain are easy to make and very difficult to break.

Habits are formed when you repeat a behaviour over and over until it eventually becomes wired in. Once programmed into your brain the behaviour becomes automatic and you become unaware of it. Learning your timetables, a song, or how to walk home from school are all consciously programmed habits that eventually become automatic.

Other habits can be formed involuntarily or compulsively as a result of unconscious behavioural problems, emotional and chemical imbalances in the brain or the impulse to avoid uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Compulsive overeating, overspending, drug use, gambling and other self-sabotaging behaviours are related to avoiding uncomfortable sensations in the body.

Unwanted thoughts and the compulsive need to perform a ritual behaviour like handwashing, counting, checking and ticking (repetitive movements) are all part of the need to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings that can arise from the faulty circuitry and leaky chemistry inside your head. People with OCD that have intrusive thoughts will continue to repeat the thought with the idea that thinking it and checking on it will make it go away, but instead of it dissipating, it just strengthens the desire to repeat it.

These behavioural loops are absolutely debilitating and can keep people from becoming who they want to be. Some loops are so extreme that people with these illnesses cannot live normal lives, form proper relationships or even leave their house. The inability to break the loop is described as a ‘Brain Lock’ by Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. an American psychiatrist that has spent over 20 years of research in the fields of neuropsychology and neuroplasticity. Through his research into compulsive illnesses, he has discovered that these ‘Brains Locks’ can be undone with mindfulness and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

Stop Feeding The Beast – Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Killing the Beast

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved