Stress is unfortunately on the cards for so many of us but it varies as do our personality types. Here’s how you can relieve yours by knowing yourself.
Working out how to relieve your own stress can become a complicated and stressful issue in itself, so to focus on how to wind down we need to begin with a look inside. We are all individuals with unique personalities but we do seem to have and follow particular traits; some people are logistical and enjoy order, some thrive on being busy and active, some need quiet and calm, etc. According to Christine Lusita, Nutritionist, Mindfulness Educator and Behaviour Change Specialist, there are four personality ‘types’ that people fall under. Similar to Ayurvedic ‘doshas’ we can be inclined towards more than one, sometimes even all, but typically one will dominate. Each type has a certain energy and rhythm which helps us to determine how to treat ourselves in order to optimise our health and happiness.
Knowing yourself and your personality type and also realising that you don’t need to change, just to self-acknowledge, will not only help you care for yourself physically, but will also allow you to find ways in which to recover from stressful situations, restore your balance and find harmony on a day-to-day basis.
The Four Personality Types
These are decisive people who look at the big picture. They are the more alpha types with plenty of energy and confidence to direct others and be the centre of attention.
These are intellectual types who pay attention to detail. Their focus is unrivalled; they research, collect facts, and contemplate all the angles before making a decision.
Those who thrive in a crowd, display an extroverted character, and charm their audience. They are gatherers; creating sociable situations and being the life and soul of the party is their forte. They’re the ones with the successful social media accounts.
These are the reliable types who keep a steady rhythm in life. They’re around for their friends and family, and put others first. They can be traditional and display empathy to others.
Which one are you?
You may find that some of the traits from each type are part of your personality however try to select the one which most applies to you. Once you have done this you can work out how to relieve your stress.
Ways to relieve stress for Leaders
Due to the constant driving and pushing you can suffer from overdoing it, and find yourself in stressful situations; when one such situation arises that clouds your judgement you are likely to overreact. Leaders are often subject to impatience and so need to find fast and functional ways to alleviate the build up of stress. Destress by taking action – competitive sports, going to the driving range and smashing a few balls, take a drive and turn the music up loud. Other ways leaders can bring reactions down is to ground themselves: meditate and bring yourself out of your thoughts and concentrate on the physical you; hone in on your breathing and just being present. A good method for this is STAT; a body-scan meditation – you sit comfortably, inhale, exhale, and focus your attention on and soften each part of your body for a few seconds working upwards from your feet to the tip of your head. In total this should only take around four minutes but you don’t have to put a time on it. Once you have competed the ‘scan’ you should feel as though you hit reset and will find clarity to continue with your day.
Ways to relieve stress for Planners
If you thrive on perfection then when things are in disarray or not going the way you had planned you can suffer deep despair. To relieve this, a planner would do well to take part in a focus-required activity such as taking a long walk in nature, going for a substantial swim or a leisurely game of golf. Your struggle is being able to let go, to release the disappointment or anxiety about things going wrong. Simple meditation methods such as squeezing your own hand and creating a tension, then focussing your attention on this feeling for a few seconds before you release the pressure…reenacting the idea of ‘letting go’ can actually help you to do so.
Ways to relieve stress for Socialisers
Due to your innate sociable nature the socialiser is prone to overdoing it and self-imploding. Never wanting to refuse a get together they can often wear themselves out and the result is anxiety overload. How to relieve such feelings comes in the form of rebalancing. A sociable form of exercise can help with this as it suits your group mentality but also provides a formidable relief from stress. Take an exercise class, join a singing or musical group, go dancing with a group of friends…anything that will release that pent up tension. Meditation can also help a socialiser to find their balance; sit and mentally take on the form of a mountain, feel how strong you are, breathe in the elements that cannot penetrate you and release them. Permit that resilience you own to flow back in.
Ways to relieve stress for Supporters
You don’t get frustrated too easily but if you are halted or obstacles get in your path you can lose your rhythm and therefore feel stressed. For a supporter small social alterations to the moment can help to regroup and regain your regular energy. Try walking in a local area, taking a class with friends, starting a new hobby, and focus on realigning your heart and mind. Walking meditation can be beneficial for supporters; find a secluded spot and just walk up and down (around 30-50 paces each way) and absorb all the light and colours that you encounter whilst taking deep, meaningful breaths, exhaling all the negativity and allowing your goodness to flow again.
The eventuality of stress can be a serious negative when it comes to our health and mental balance, so it is imperative that we recognise it when it appears and counteract it with methods that suit our personality, why not give yours a try when you happen to feel out of sorts and see if you manage to press your refresh button?
Online diploma courses in Stress Management
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a distance learning diploma course in Stress Management and also in Advanced Stress Management for students wishing to advise clients. The course covers a huge array of stress related problems and their treatments. It also investigates the root causes of these problems in a methodical, easy to understand way.
Good news for this students who are considering taking both the foundation and advanced level course: If you order both courses at the same time we will give you the non-advanced course for free! (offer does not apply to payments made by instalments). Visit the enrolment page to find out more.
Nutrition advice is so focussed on food, but here’s what you should and should not be drinking according to Ayurveda.
The ancient traditions of Ayurveda focus on there being three body types or ‘doshas’; pitta (fire and water), kapha (water and earth) or vata (space and air). To work out what your dosha might be (you can lean towards more than one but usually there is a dominant one) you can complete a simple online questionnaire. Whatever your constitution tendency turns out to be can determine any health issues you may have or could be prone to, highlight strengths and weaknesses, and therefore effectively outline your unique needs when it comes to diet and overall wellbeing.
Most recipes and dietary information points towards the dos and don’ts of foods, but what are we supposed to drink alongside our meals to optimise health and nutrition? Well, according to Ayurveda it is more about the when and how as well as what we ingest. If we look deeper into the function of digestion and understand the process we can shed more light on the concepts they adhere to. If we relate the act of digestion as being a fire inside us then we have to ensure that we keep the fire stoked in order to effectively digest everything we consume. And liquid has a big part to play in this:
As with most diets, Ayurveda insists that water is the main event when it comes to your beverage of choice. However when other drinks are being chosen you should consider your personal constitution, or dosha, to influence your decisions; the composition of the liquid – temperature, texture, strength, depth, etc. alongside the taste; sweetness, sourness, salt content, bitterness and pungency or astringency; has different effects and you want to pacify your system as opposed to aggravate it.
The kapha dosha, being made of water and earth elements, generally requires the least water of the three. Astringent liquids; bitter, spicy and pungent are key for a healthy kapha keeping beverages light and clear. Water or herbal teas are on the yes list plus green juices with plenty of leafy greens. A little amount of caffeinated drinks is acceptable for a kapha type to boost the constitution slightly. Being a heavy constitution means kaphas should not consume too much creamy or milky drinks and avoid cold drinks.
Opt for: Warm or hot water, black or green tea, vegetable juice, herbal tea (dandelion, nettle, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom); coffee in moderation.
The pitta constitution runs hot, which can lead to dryness, but makes up for it as they are part made of water. Being also a fire-based dosha the pita should avoid too much fermentation and acidic drinks as this leads to too much heat.
Vata types are made up of space and air which leans towards it being drier than the other doshas. If you are primarily vata you need to keep an eye on your hydration with a push towards salty, sweet and sour in order to assist your system. Steer clear of any drinks which promote dehydration such as tea and coffee, but milky drinks are beneficial for these types. Carbonated drinks are best avoided due to the vata being an air dosha.
Opt for: warm water, fruit or vegetable juice, herbal teas (chamomile, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon), dairy milk, nut or seed milk.
Avoid: Black or green tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, caffeinated drinks.
As well as focussing on the dosha the following guidelines are important in maintaining the most effective digestive system…
Meal time beverages; during meals we should drink little amounts as this is when the system (fire) needs to be at its strongest. To aid digestion prior to a meal take a warm herbal tea or simply room temperature water at least twenty minutes before you eat.
Sip it; we want to keep the fire burning, not extinguish it so avoid guzzling down a large amount of liquid at once. Keep water nearby at all times and consistently sip it throughout the day. Keep track of the amount you consume and make sure it is sufficient to keep you hydrated.
Keep warm; avoid iced drinks as the cold can reduce the digestive fire…always opt for room temperature to hot unless of course you’re melting in the summer sun and need a cool drink for refreshment. If this is a necessity make sure it occurs at least one hour before and after a main meal.
Online diploma courses in Nutrition
Nutrition is a popular subject at the School of Natural Health Sciences – so popular that we have eight distance learning diploma courses that cover the majority of nutritional topics:
Click on any of the links above to explore the topics further and enrol in one of the courses. Even with a busy life our study methods will work – our courses have no expiry date and you can study them at your own pace. No deadlines, no stress – just success!
Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or meat eater you simply have to try making your own nut dairy. Plant-based diets are the ultimate in healthy eating and dairy is off the table so these recipes are a huge part of maintaining variety and flavour. I personally love to have a range in the fridge just waiting to be added to toast, salads, curries, soups, buddha bowls…well pretty much anything actually!
The world’s favourite has got to be peanut butter when it comes to spreading on your toast or sandwiches, this spin on the old classic is really delicious and healthy.
Place all of the nuts on a baking tray and cook for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to keep checking on them so they don’t get burnt!
Remove the nuts from the oven and leave them to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the nuts to your blender and turn up the power to full. Then let your blender work it’s magic!! Be sure to check out the tips above if you just skipped to the recipe for some super useful pointers on how to get nice smooth homemade nut butter not to break your blender!
Make sure you read these important notes before you begin the process:
Use a powerful blender.
Blend the nuts on full power. I actually broke my blender once because I was trying to blend nut butter on a low speed – it was chugging away and then the motor broke!
Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender if some of the nut butter is getting stuck there.
Have patience! This is super important. It might seem like it isn’t going to blend but once it starts to go it will get smooth quite quickly.
If you think your blender is overheating then turn it off for 10 minutes and then start blending again.
Add in flavourings once all of the nuts have been blended into a smooth butter.
GARLIC & HERB VEGAN CHEESE
Easy creamy vegan cheese infused with lemon, garlic and dill, and nutritional yeast for that extra cheesy flavour. Soft, spreadable, delicious plant-based cheese!
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator to soak for 12 hours*. If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. They will keep refrigerated for 24-36 hours.
Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to food processor. Add minced garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour + balance.
Place a fine mesh strainer (or colander) over a large mixing bowl, and lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel).
Use a spatula to scoop all cheese over the cheesecloth, then gather the corners and twist the top gently to form the cheese into a “disc.” Secure with a rubber band.
Place in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away, and it holds its form when released from the cheesecloth.
To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and gently invert onto a serving platter. Reform with hands or cheesecloth as needed, then coat with chopped herbs and a bit more lemon zest (optional). It is fragile, so handle gently.
Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. Leftovers keep well covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
This is a delicious addition to your staple of plant-based foods, but beware – it’s highly addictive and one jar will not last long! This thick and creamy nut butter is a great alternative for peanut butter. Store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Place cashews in a high speed blender and blend on low for 8-10 minutes or until creamy.
When you add the cashews you need to be patient, it takes time until they turn into thick creamy butter, but it will happen. You may need to occasionally scrap dow the sides with a spatula. Once the butter is ready it will be warm from the blades of the blender, transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge and it will thicken a little more.
Grate-able vegan Parmesan like you’ve never seen. 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to freshly grated dairy-free Parmesan every night of the week!
Recipe by Sophia DeSantis.
1 cup raw cashews , do not soak
2 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 ¼ teaspoons distilled white vinegar (see note)
½ teaspoon sea salt , can use up to ¾ teaspoon pinch ground mustard
Place dry cashews in a food processor and blend until they are a fine crumble.
Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until incorporated. Stop here if you prefer not to grate this but simply use it in crumbled form.
If you are shaping it into a wheel to grate, then you can keep blending until smooth. It should come together into a ball, almost soft and dough like.
Shape into a wheel and refrigerate overnight. You can use plastic wrap to store it in or shape with your hands and store in an airtight container.
It will be ready to grate in the morning, but if you can’t wait keep checking for hardness every few hours!
This also stores very well in the freezer if you know you won’t use it all within 7 days.
Keep cheese cold in the fridge until ready to grate. It will soften and not grate well if left out. It also stores very well in the freezer for extended periods of time.
The white vinegar is what gives this recipe the sharpness and tanginess of Parmesan. If you sub it then you will not get the same flavour.
You can also just use this crumbled straight from the food processor or store crumbled in the fridge if you don’t want to grate it. If you simply store it crumbled, it will harden as crumbles in the fridge.
This makes 1 wheel about 5 inches by one inch, or a little over 1 ¼ cup grated. Serving size is 1 tablespoon.
Become a qualified Nutritional Therapist
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer 8 courses in nutrition – it’s one of our most popular subjects. All these courses are online distance learning diploma courses and can be taken at your own pace with no stress, and no deadlines – true holistic education! Click on any of the links below for more information:
The original purpose of stress, yes it has a purpose, is to instigate a fight or flight reaction to a potentially threatening situation. It is a vital part of human survival; if you came in close contact with a wild animal, for example, you would instinctively choose whether to fight it or run away from it. Modern day stress is created by different factors, most of which are not things we can’t attack nor flee from and so we struggle to find a way to relieve that stress. It also builds up due to us being in persistently stressful environments or situations; meeting deadlines, working a stressful job, being on time, being in a difficult relationship, etc. there are countless pressures in the society we have created for ourselves. And you can’t fight a testing boss, nor can you get up and run away from them! Unless we consider methods to reduce, relieve and dissipate the stress we experience, we can experience discomfort in the form of headaches or backache for example, and it can lead to serious health conditions.
It is essential that we find ways to manage our stress levels and activate self-healing. Regular exercise, breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation are all strategies which can help. Another effective way in which we can alleviate stress and anxiety is through the pressure points in our body. Acupressure can be done by a professional but there are also ways to effectively self-administer.
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is a technique rooted in traditional Chinese medicine which works similarly to acupuncture but without the needles. The same pressure points are manipulated with a massage-like pressure in order to influence Qi (energy) that flows through the energy pathways, or meridians, inside our body. Pressing hard on the following points and making small circular or up and down motions for a couple of minutes will give way to a release of built up pressure and also relieve symptoms of particular ailments such as; headache, migraine, eye blurriness, fatigue, low energy, cold/flu symptoms, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, stress and fatigue, lower back pain, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, limb pain, insomnia, facial pain, toothaches, neck pain, and of course stress and anxiety.
Note: ‘cun’ is the measurement used to locate the points on the body; it is approximately one thumb width.
On the top of the foot, along the webbing between the first and second toes, in the depression before the joint.
On the sole of the foot, at the point of lighter and softer skin, approximately in line with the space between the second and third toes.
On the back of the hand, at the apex of webbed triangle between the thumb and the index finger.
On the front of the forearm, between the two tendons that run down the centre of the forearm, two cun from the wrist.
On the top of the shoulder, halfway between the shoulder point and the base of the neck.
On the back of the neck, one cun from the base of the skull, on the rope-like muscle approximately one cun from the spine.
On the upper chest, six cun from the midline, in the space below the first rib.
On the forehead, midway between the eyebrows, at the point of the third eye.
The information in this article is intended for educational use only; it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the School of Natural Health Sciences; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Online Diploma Course in Acupressure
Acupressure is an effective form of holistic health that helps to reduce stress and improve our overall general health. If you are interested in learning more on the subject and to be able to administer acupressure to yourself, friends and relatives, or add it to your portfolio if you are already a practicing therapist, take a look at the Acupressure course we offer which will enable you to become a qualified practitioner.
The School of Natural Health Sciences has seen over 40,000 graduates qualify in Holistic Therapies since we started in 1997 – view some of our Testimonials
It isn’t always possible to find a quiet space and sit in peace on a daily basis. Here are some other methods to help you reach your meditation goals.
Not all of us have the time to sit and appear to be doing nothing, even though the act of meditation is far from nothing, it is actually one of the best things we could possibly do for ourselves, and so finding other ways to meet your wellness needs can prove very rewarding.
Meditation has been shown to provide remarkable benefits to those who manage to stick with it, including:
The true purpose of meditation is to go beyond the mind and experience our essential nature, to find peace and happiness. Going beyond the mind is easier said than achieved, as it is the mind itself which obstructs us from achieving this awareness. For those who experience difficulty in meditating the traditional way the following methods can help you achieve similar benefits of meditation without having to sit quietly alone in a room…
Cleaning up your act
It may sound bizarre but carrying out a monotonous household chore can actually provide you with the perfect situation to meditate. Cleaning windows, vacuuming, polishing furniture, washing the car, are probably things which we would all prefer to avoid, but it has to be done at some point so why not make it something positive and worthwhile for your personal wellness, not just a boring routine task? As long as you manage to avoid general thoughts creeping in you can absolutely be present and reap the benefits of meditation whilst cleaning the house!
Work it out
Taking a leisurely walk, run or swim can give you plenty of time to clear your mind and focus on your mantra for the day. Before setting off make a decision as to what you need to work on and create the mantra which will carry you towards your goal. Repeat this and only this in your mind when you notice any other thoughts creeping in. And if they do, let them out again without hanging on to them or making judgements. Make sure you concentrate on your bodily movements, how your foot feels, how the water feels as you push it past you, how the air feels on your face, how your weight shifts as you move.
Practice practice practice
A yoga or tai chi session is a great tool to take you to a meditative state. Both practices reinforce all the sentiments of meditation whilst keeping you present. Focussing on the breath and movements rather than your thoughts and external distraction makes for achievable mindfulness.
Mind what you think
When we react to outside influences, whether it be positive or negative, or dwell on something that may be happening to us, we are subjecting ourselves to a mind full of judgements. A way in which to practice what meditation teaches us is to be aware of our thoughts and reactions and refrain from making judgements which will, in turn, clutter up and stress out our mind. Acknowledgement of challenging situations and then moving on, rather than harbouring the thought or reacting to it, is far more conducive to a peaceful state of mind.
Take a breath
If you are experiencing a challenging moment, feeling stressed, or simply need a peaceful boost, stop what you are doing and concentrate on your breath for a couple of minutes. Set a timer and just breathe, clear the mind, locate any negative thoughts or judgements that are clouding and fogging up your head and breathe them out. If you find it difficult to zone out try counting your breaths and see how many deep inhalations you do in two minutes.
In actual fact you can turn anything into a meditative practice as long as you are avoiding any outside mental stimulation, such as from the television or a book. As long as you have made the conscious decision to remove yourself mentally and feel the world via your senses, you are experiencing a form of meditation.
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a distance learning diploma course of 11 lessons in Meditation. This Meditation course, takes the student on a journey through both Eastern and Western ‘meditation techniques’; from ‘Chakra Balancing’ to ‘Walking the Labyrinth’. No previous qualifications are required, as this course covers the appropriate basics for those studying this subject for the first time.
Our thoughts are potential seeds of creation manifesting within us. What we think essentially becomes what we do and determines the life we lead on a daily basis. Being in control of our thoughts is an incredibly powerful tool with which to guide ourselves on the best path we can. Our thoughts are a commanding force of energy, to harness that energy and direct it to benefit us gives us the power over our emotions and behaviour. How do we do this?
Developing a deeper awareness
It is all about consciousness and clarity. To develop a deeper understanding of our own thoughts means that we need to connect with our emotions and understand them better. If we are experiencing a strong sense of anxiety, guilt, anger, sadness or fear we need to take note of this and delve deeper to find the root of this feeling. What is causing it, what could be the trigger? Once we address cause and effect we can take the reins and make positive changes. Once observed, such thoughts and emotions can be released, we have the power to let them go. We can allow our thoughts but we can also watch them come and go rather than fester and inhibit us.
How to deal with negative thoughts
Spiritual-interfaith Minister, life counsellor, teacher and writer, Michele Goldstein looks at negative thoughts as “squatters” who have infiltrated our minds and manifest in four particular ways:
The Inner Critic
This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:
Other people’s words; many times your parents.
Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.
He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.
Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?
This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”
He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.
Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.
The Reactor or Trouble-Maker
He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.
He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.
He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves, if it ever did.
The Sleep Depriver
This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including theinner planner, the re-hasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.
His motivation can be:
As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalised anxiety
As listed above for the inner critic and worrier
We need to realise that we are not our thoughts or emotions, and that if we are capable of witnessing them then we are actually distinct from them.
Often a moment of meditation will help to focus on self awareness and allow us to make the choice to expel any negativity.
Taking negative thoughts and defining or labelling them is a useful tool, give them a name as Michele has done; by doing so we maintain that awareness of separation from them and the choice to be able to let them go.
One simple physical method used to dispel such thoughts is to be literal and breathe them out; release them and blow them away. Breathe in to find your awareness, use the power of your mind to observe the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, breathe out to let go of those you no longer wish to harbour.
Outside forces do have an effect on our thoughts such as events and other people’s actions, but once we realise we are able to manage our own minds, that we are independent from our thoughts and can observe them we can gain full control. You will then find it easier to create the safe space between what arises in your mind and body, and how you act. That space is where you take power, and make a choice about how you want to think, feel and live.
How to use the power of your thoughts
We need to actively, daily be aware of our thoughts and be in constant control. If we find any of the negative influencers creeping in we have to embrace them, and empower ourselves to understand their reason for popping in, and then allow them to leave by extinguishing them with new, positive thoughts. Employ your conscious breathing if and when you need to and allow yourself to approach your thoughts with calm, clarity and rationale.
If there is something you wish to achieve, anything at all you can use the power of your mind to do so using the method of “practical daydreaming”. First you need to visualise what it is you wish to accomplish. Create a mental scene if you like, and add all the detail you can to this scene; colour, smell, sound and life. The more intricate the better, and put this scene on repeat. Not all day everyday like a mantra but often and with belief in your thought. Our subconscious accepts ideas as real, it doesn’t distinguish between thought and reality and so will consider your scene an actual experience. This means it will begin to start making changes and attract opportunity to make your reality match the images in your subconscious mind. How effectively this happens depends on how determined you are to make it so. Anything that we visualise frequently; actions, situations, objects, etc. eventually manifest on the material plane naturally. You can utilise this method to be able to change negative habits, and change your life by building new, positive habits, skills, relationships; anything you wish, that’s how powerful we are if we put our minds to it, literally!
“Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes. You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy. Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!”
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” Mahatma Ghandi.
“The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.”
“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.”
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
Online Holistic Therapy Courses
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a distance learning diploma course of 10 lessons in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. Everyone can benefit from the knowledge found in this course as it focuses on assessing the particular ways in which individuals think, behave, perceive, act and react. Whether you want to work as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist or CBT consultant with your own specialised clinic or simply study for your own benefit – this course could change your life and the way you deal with the world around you completely.
We all want to eat food that is tasty, nutritious and, most of the time, healthy. Well how about looking at your food not only in terms of being good for you, but also being able to heal you? The following ingredients are all helpful in delivering flavour and enhancing the taste of your dish, but they also boast healing properties that will raise your meal from ordinary to extraordinary.
This spice, often associated with Christmas aromas in the west and daily food in eastern places such as Morocco, has antibacterial properties. Cinnamon is a warming spice which can help to improve your circulation, relieve cramping (especially for women while menstruating), and alleviates congestion. There are different types of cinnamon but the one to get is ‘Cinnamomum verum’ also known as ‘true cinnamon’ or Sri Lankan ‘Ceylon cinnamon’.
This spice, used in so many eastern dishes, is jam-packed with healing properties. It is good for digestive health, relieving acidity, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and trapped gas. It also helps with circulation, bad breath (due to its antibacterial properties), and depression. Some Indian traditions also claim that a warm cup of milk, honey and cardamom can do wonders for your sex life by alleviating sexual dysfunction.
This aromatic citrusy healer is nature’s acetaminophen: it reduces pain and inflammation, helps to bring down high fevers, and relieves headaches. It’s known as “fever-grass” in Jamaica. Lemongrass also helps to restore our vital systems, including digestion, respiration, excretion, and the nervous system.
The best-known member of the family: primarily for its flavour but also for protecting and promoting a healthy digestive system. It’s one of the most ancient medicinal plants used in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Indonesian medicine. In Asia, ginger is known to warm the body, ease nausea, improve appetite and digestion, relieve aches and pains, and restore strength to those suffering from illness. Steeped hot ginger teas help relieve symptoms of cold and flu. When combined with turmeric and black pepper its healing properties multiply.
The king of spices contains bioactive compounds with powerful healing properties. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. This bright pungent yellow spice does not hold enough curcumin to give you the amount you need per day and our bodies find it hard to absorb it, so some people take a supplement containing curcumin instead. However, when combined with freshly ground black pepper, the absorption is enhanced. Turmeric can help to reduce the risk of or help alleviate symptoms of brain diseases, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis. It can also help to fight depression and help delay age-related diseases.
Is full of healing properties! An often underrated spice but one we all have to hand in our kitchens. Not only is it a rich source of minerals and nutrients, it is also actually a digestive assistant in that it helps us to metabolise food as it is passed through our system. It also helps to clear congestion, relieve indigestion, detoxify, and relieve a fever. In Ayurveda black pepper is used as an appetite stimulant, a breathing aid, and a cough therapy, when combined with oil. It is also sometimes used to treat colic, anaemia, heart trouble, and diabetes. It can help to alleviate a headache, and thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties is known as a natural pain killer. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers due to its strong antioxidant properties. Piperine, the compound responsible for pepper’s taste, also aids the absorption of other nutrients, such as turmeric.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine to fight flu by clearing mucus from the respiratory tract, this spice is effective in fighting viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, as well as inflammation. It’s also a common ingredient in medicinal teas, to treat coughs and chest infections. The seeds can be chewed before meals to stimulate the appetite or afterward to relieve gas and bloating.
Were you ever given a clove to put in your mouth when suffering from toothache? These aromatic flower buds found in the spice racks of most homes, are known to have antiseptic, anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory, warming, soothing, and flatulence-relieving properties. They are high in antioxidants, nutrients, fibre, and manganese. They are great for supporting liver health and helping stabilise blood sugar levels as well as potentially preventing cancers, and significantly improve liver health and bone health.
Not just great for warding off vampires! The healing properties of Garlic are manifold. It helps to purify the blood, provide relief from colds and flu (two cooked cloves per day, or in a tea with honey), sinusitis, helps to prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, help with fungal infections and maintain skin elasticity. Garlic is also well known as an antibiotic to treat bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections.
The humble onion is packed with nutrients. Being nutrient-dense means they are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. They are also useful little fellows in that they may benefit heart health, help fight cancer, control blood sugar levels, boost bone density, and digestive health. They are full of antioxidants and have antibacterial properties. A natural antihistamine, onions are also rich in vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids, and other phyto-chemicals that can soothe the throat and clear stuffed-up nasal passages.
Online Nutrition Courses
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer eight holistic therapy courses in nutrition:
Successful completion of these distance learning diploma courses results in accreditation in 26 countries worldwide. Whether you are a therapist looking to expand your portfolio of qualifications or an individual who would like to help themselves and their family and friends, these no-stress, no-deadline courses offer the perfect opportunity.
If nutrition is not your interest we have over 60 holistic therapy courses on offer – visit our A-Z course listing page to see for yourself!
What we do directly before sleep affects our rest and dream patterns. Follow our tips for a great night’s sleep.
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our health and general performance: if we are tired we are less capable and struggle to conduct ourselves as effectively. So to encourage a healthy long uninterrupted sleep is paramount; how do we go about achieving this? Does the age-old adage about eating cheese before going to bed giving you nightmares hold any weight? The following will give you some pointers as to what not to do before hoping to head off for a lengthy slumber; and what you can do to achieve a deeper sleep.
One major factor to be aware of with respect to sleep patterns is that we must regulate our melatonin levels if we wish to achieve restful, consistent sleep. Melatonin is the hormone which regulates our sleep/wake cycle, or ‘circadian rhythm’.
1. Avoid certain foods and drinks
What we eat affects our bodily functions as well as our mood and so it is obvious that we must consider that foods which we know affect us negatively or disrupt our daily life when we are awake may well also affect us during sleep. Caffeine can stay elevated in your system for as long as six to eight hours, so steer clear of this at least eight hours before heading to bed; avoid, tea & coffee, fizzy drinks, chocolate. Alcohol is known to cause, or increase, the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. It also alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a key role in your body’s circadian rhythm. Another study found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations of human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a role in your circadian rhythm and has many other key functions. Other foods to avoid which can disrupt your sleep: fatty foods, high sugar cereal, hot and spicy foods, high-protein or high fat meals, raw onion, green tea. Foods that increase melatonin production include white and black mustard, almonds, sunflower seeds, passion flower tea, cherries, kiwi fruit, and flax seeds. While not as strong, oats, barley, bananas, ginger, omega 3 rich fish and tomatoes also increase melatonin.
2. Dinner time
Eat at least four hours before you expect to be going to sleep to allow your body time to digest and reduce any effects your meal may have on you while you sleep.
3. Screens away
Within the last few years, experts have found that our screen time could be disrupting our sleeping in a big way. Reading using a digital device can greatly reduce our melatonin levels, leading to poor sleep. This habit can also delay our chances of falling asleep by around an hour and a half. This can make us feel a lot less alert in the morning as well as reduce energy levels. The best advice is to stay well away from any devices at least one hour prior to going to bed and keep them out of the bedroom altogether. Buy an alarm clock instead of making the excuse that you need your phone to wake you up! It is a huge temptation to have a peek at your messages, but this only leads to a disruption in your thoughts and often follows on into your sleep. Keep devices well away from the bedroom, and do not engage in ANY screen activity at least one hour prior to going to bed.
4. Daylight saving
Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can improve sleep quality and duration, especially if you have severe sleep issues or insomnia. If you make sure you absorb plenty of natural light throughout the day and cut back on blue light this can help your melatonin levels. If you read from actual books or magazines or newspapers rather than on a screen this can help you to have a better night’s sleep.
Before going to bed it is essential that we avoid taking the stresses of the day with us into our slumber. These will only serve to disturb our natural sleep pattern by perhaps affecting our dreams, wake us up mid-sleep, or even prevent us from dropping off in the first place. So, before bed make sure you carve out some time to relieve some pressure: read a good book, take a long hot bath, light candles, apply essential oils with calming properties or place a few drops on your pillow or a napkin nearby, meditate, have a decent yoga-like stretch, have a long talk with a close friend or family member who will make you laugh or smile, and very importantly plan and prepare for the next day. If you are ready for everything facing you tomorrow you will be able to switch off safe in the knowledge that you are prepared. All of these will help to calm you down and allow you to gently drift off with peace of mind.
6. Keep a sleep schedule
If you keep to a regular pattern your inner body clock will help you to manage your sleep. If your body knows you regularly go to bed at a certain time it will begin to set your rhythm to this. You will get used to sleeping for those hours, your body and mind will naturally begin to wind down at the chosen hour and wake you up when required. We are that amazing!
7. Environment is paramount
Make sure your sleeping environment is calm, clear and comfortable. To be able to sleep deeply we need to rest in an agreeable place. Some are more sensitive than others to light and sound when trying to sleep so for those who struggle, wear an eye mask or invest in some black-out curtains, wear ear plugs, ensure that your pillow and mattress supports your frame, and your sheets and blankets are comfortable.
8. Natural supplements to help you relax
Ginkgo biloba: A natural herb with many benefits, it may aid in sleep, relaxation and stress reduction.
Glycine: A few studies show that 3 grams of the amino acid glycine can improve sleep quality.
Valerian root: Several studies suggest that valerian can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. A valerian tea could be a soothing and calming drink before bed.
Magnesium: Responsible for over 600 reactions within your body, can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality.
L-theanine: An amino acid that can improve relaxation and sleep.
Lavender: A powerful herb with many health benefits, lavender can induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep.
So if you’re still wondering about the cheese thing – it isn’t an exact science but stronger cheeses are harder to digest and therefore can potentially have a disturbing affect on your dreams, which, in turn, can cause restlessness.
Sleep well everyone!
Become Qualified in Dream Therapy
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer over 60 Holistic Therapy Courses. One of those is Dream Therapy – a distance learning diploma course of 9 Lessons that offers an introduction to sleep, its functions and dream analysis. The course is of value both to the layperson with a keen interest in dream analysis and interpretation, as well as the Therapist who is looking for holistic methodology with real examples worked out to show technique and style of analysis.
Since I began writing this blog for the School of Natural Health Sciences I have found myself making natural alterations to our family’s daily routine which have been positively life-changing.
For me, a holistic approach to health, and life, is the first option. I much prefer to reap the benefits of nature than dive straight into a pharmaceutical solution. So, once I began researching into holistic therapies I became inspired to incorporate the concepts and remedies I was writing about into my own life.
The following is a list of all the therapies, or therapy inspired, adaptations I have made to our daily routine and how they have changed our lives for the better, naturally.
A traditionally Ayurvedic oral hygiene regime. I personally use coconut oil to do this as it has the best taste and, I believe, effects. You place one tablespoon of oil in your mouth and pull it through your teeth for twenty minutes every morning before brushing. This may sound like a lot of oil as well as a lot of time, but once it becomes part of your routine you get used to it. I completed three months of oil pulling and noticed that my teeth were consistently cleaner, shinier and whiter than usual. At this point we were travelling and I was unable to find any organic, virgin coconut oil so I took a break for a few weeks. The difference was really noticeable; I had plaque build up on the back of my lower teeth once again and my teeth seemed a bit dull. The real purpose of oil pulling is to keep teeth and gums healthy by removing unwanted bacteria from the mouth; helping with gingivitis, bad breath and gum disease. I would highly recommend this, my husband and children have started to do it as well now since they began to notice the difference in my oral health.
This is something that I have been meaning to get into for years. Young children, life in general, and me not carving out the time, got in the way. Since writing this blog and constantly researching and discussing natural treatments for just about everything, time and time again meditation comes up as a key element in our equilibrium. Meditation is a key tool in achieving this as it allows us to tap into our own spirituality, keep us grounded and well-rounded; it can make you feel happier, less stressed, help to focus, increase brain function, improve quality of sleep, it increases your memory, attention, self-awareness and self-control, even lowers your blood pressure all the while increasing a deeper sense of connection to yourself, others and your sense of purpose. Focussing on oneself is paramount to happiness and something we all neglect to do in the assumption that it is not necessary. A ten minute daily meditation is an achievable way to get some ‘me time’ and something I have been striving to do for the last eight months. I have to say I found it really hard to not let my mind wander but using guided meditations online has really helped. The benefits for me are simply to feel ready for the day, I feel more open to the world and others, I feel more patient and able to reflect and consider before acting, and a lot more capable to give and receive love.
Read the blog“Mediation apps can help you get started on this life-changing practice”
Due to our strong belief in protecting the environment, as well as how highly we value nutrition and dietary health, we have adapted our diet as a family to be predominantly plant-based. We are not full vegan yet; we still eat cheese and use butter and milk but I am working on reducing this and moving to plant-based nut butters, cheeses and milk replacements. The children have adapted so easily and none of us miss the idea or taste of meat at all. The main reason was to reduce our carbon footprint, increase our nutritional intake and not to add to the negative impact that animal farming has on our planet, as well as the animal cruelty involved in the process. One of the benefits, as well as feeling and looking healthy, is that it has pushed us to be more creative in the kitchen; we’ve discovered a huge range of amazing recipes and ideas that we may never have come across if hadn’t made the switch.
Read the blog“Vegan or not theses recipes will change your view of plant-based diets”
Since starting with the oil pulling I also began using coconut oil as a moisturiser when I have dry skin and to remove make up. We use aloe vera for sunburn or minor burns. Paw paw lotion for chapped lips, sores, rashes, etc. I also only use natural deodorant, shampoo & conditioner and shower gel. I have found that natural products smell so much better, and have a far more nourishing effect on the skin. Dare I even mention that my skin seems a little younger?
I made the switch from regular perfume to essential oil-based perfumes about a year ago as a very clever friend of mine (rebeccatracey.co.uk) who creates the most amazing blends of essential oils gave me a range of her rollerballs as a wedding gift, and that means 100% certified organic and pure oils only. This move was mainly due to the realisation, having written about the perfume industry, that the ingredients used in commercial perfumes are not good for our skin nor the environment. And why use synthetic materials rather than the beautiful aromas that nature has provided for us? Different blends of oils naturally have different effects on our mood; I like to carry a few rollerballs around with me, instead of perfume, to use throughout the day. Depending on what I am about to experience, I’ll select the appropriate oils for the moments ahead. For example, to keep me balanced I have one made up of geranium, lavender, patchouli & petitgrain. Other blends can help energise you, refresh you, help you get to sleep, to de-stress, and help to face any challenges throughout the day. My next step in this field may well be to take the SNHS course on aromatherapy, I just find it so fascinating how our minds and bodies are so well connected to nature.
This is one of my favourite adaptations we have made. Our first aid kit now consists of predominantly natural ingredients which function just as well, if not better, than conventional pharmaceutical products. In our kit you will find; arnica for bruising and soreness, eucalyptus oil for stuffy noses and respiratory issues, ginger for nausea or motion sickness as well as cold and flu relief, echinacea to boost immunity, epsom salts for muscle aches and soaking splinters to help with removal, peppermint oil for digestion, hydrogen peroxide for cleaning cuts and wounds, aloe vera plant for burns and blisters, and of course apple cider vinegar for everything else!
Read the blog“First aid kit: our top ten essential natural items”
We are noticing that using plants to fulfil our entire daily lives is not only satisfying and nourishing but we feel better, healthier and more positive about our place in the world.
Feeling like part of the solution is a beautiful place to be.
Over 60 online Holistic Therapy Courses
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer over 60 distance learning diploma courses, all of which are accredited in 26 countries worldwide.
Whether you want a new career, a new life or just a new you, our courses provide a world of opportunity. We have over 22 years of experience in training holistic therapists so you’re in good hands!
How to compost. One of the ways we can consume more responsibly and be more sustainable is to dispose of our food scraps by way of composting. Follow these easy steps to learn just how simple the process can be.
Composting is a natural process that consists of mixing plant leaves, grass clippings, vegetable peels and organic matters and turning them in to a rich soil, known as compost.
Composting is not a complicated matter, nor is it time consuming or expensive to get started; doing it requires very little work and resources and it has a huge positive impact on our environment. It is one of the easiest and greenest things we can give back to the planet and can really make a difference.
As well as it meaning you are doing something positive for the environment, i’ll give you five good, no, great reasons why composting is something we should all be doing.
Composting our food waste reduces landfill, incineration and in turn emissions; the release of methane, toxic ash waste and carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere are all a major negative result of landfill.
Composting reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. If we use our own compost as opposed to commercially produced versions we are reducing the negative impact that the commercial methods produce.
Composting is healthy for the earth; you’re creating an environment for a whole new little ecosystem full of bugs, worms, bacteria and fungi, whilst emitting ZERO methane. The humus produced by the natural degradation process of your food scraps provides a rich, organic matter harbouring vital micronutrients in which to grow brand new healthy plants.
Composting complies with the natural cycle of life; in nature there is no waste, this is a human concept which we absolutely need to start reducing. When you compost for yourself you begin to realise that decay and growth are equals, each having their place in the cycle.
Anything that was recently alive can be composted; there are many things which people believe cannot be composted which are simply not true – anything which has not fossilised can be composted, even certain materials such as latex. Cooked food is also a legitimate entry into your compost mix, you may want to dig it down deep to avoid rat invitations and if any decay smells terrible you can remedy it by adding more dry materials such as paper, or twigs.
How to start…
Whether you have a garden, or in a small apartment, there is a composting system that will work for you. All you need is a good composting bin and a little bit of knowledge about the process.
1.Location – where are you going to put your compost? It needs to be conveniently placed, protected from the wind, close to a hose or water outlet, and have decent drainage so the bottom of the pile will not become waterlogged. Having an indoor and an outdoor composting bin is the best way to manage your compost. The indoor bin must be leak proof and have a lid to avoid smell and fruit flies. You can find plenty of great options online or in DIY stores everywhere. Choose something that can be added easily to your kitchen space and collect all the food scraps here before you empty them into your outside compost bin. Now choose your outdoor bin; your options here are to create your own compost pile – you can literally create a pile in your garden, or use a purpose designed compost bin (if you’re handy you can build your own), or you can set up a worm farm. If you choose to buy a bin consider your waste levels to ensure it is the right size. When your indoor bin is full, you add it to your outdoor one; simple!
2.What to compost – There are two categories of waste; green and brown materials. The green materials are; grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps and peels, coffee grounds, etc. The brown materials are; dried leaves, newspaper, wood chips, sawdust, etc. The green is high in moisture and nitrogen rich whereas the brown is rich in carbon; an adequate amount of both is needed by the microbes responsible for decomposition in your bin. Generally one part green to two parts brown works well.
GREEN; Vegetable and fruit scraps (fresh, cooked, or canned), coffee grounds/filters, tea leaves/bags, garden waste, fresh weeds without seeds, fresh grass clippings.
DO NOT COMPOST: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, oily foods, bones, plants infected with disease, plastic/petroleum products, metals, synthetic materials.
3.The Process – when your composting starts to work, this is when things really heat up, literally! The microbes begin feeding on the materials you’ve provided, and your bin or pile will actually start to rise in temperature. To start building up your pile ready for the composting process there are a few things to note:
• Start your composting with a large layer of brown material as the base
• Then begin to alternate your layers between green and brown
• The smaller the waste is, the easier and faster it will break down.
• Always cover your green layer with a brown layer immediately, as it avoids any odours
To encourage the ‘breaking-down’ your pile needs to be turned with a garden fork. Simply turn your compost to allow air (oxygen) to get into the mix.
4.The Benefits – compost improves the structure of the soil, water retention and is great for your garden and reduces the need for pesticides and fertilisers. It also helps to produce microbes which protect plants against disease. Your landfill offerings become way lower than ever before.
Here’s a more detailed list of ‘ingredients’ you can add, or avoid adding, to your compost from Planet Natural Research Centre:
Manure (preferably organic)
Any non-animal food scraps: fruits, vegetables, peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves and tea bags (preferably minus the staples)
Pet bedding from herbivores ONLY — rabbits, hamsters, etc.
Dry cat or dog food
Dust from sweeping and vacuuming
Old herbs and spices
Need Preparation or Special Time:
All of these items can be added to compost, but if you just toss them into a normal heap, they may still be there, virtually unchanged, a season or two later. Be prepared.
Shredded newspaper, receipts, paper bags, etc (any non-glossy paper)
Tissues, paper towels, and cotton balls — unless soaked with bacon fat, kerosene, makeup, or other stuff that doesn’t belong in the pile!
Cardboard, egg cartons, toilet rolls
Used clothes, towels, and sheets made from natural fabrics — cotton, linen, silk, wool, bamboo
Old string & twine made of natural fabrics
Hair, human or otherwise
Old, dry pasta
Pits from mangos, avocados, peaches, plums, etc.
Toothpicks, wine corks
Raspberry & blackberry brambles
Long twigs or big branches
Pet droppings, especially dogs & cats
Animal products — meat, bones, butter, milk, fish skins
Learn more about Ethical & Sustainable eating
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer a distance learning diploma course in Ethical & Sustainable Eating. Introducing sustainable living and its philosophies, the lessons in this course provide many comprehensive definitions, including the term ‘permaculture’ and the concepts behind designing sustainable, efficient and productive ways of living. A Practitioner/Therapist Level Qualification is awarded on successful completion of this course. See our Accreditation Page for the list of independent accrediting bodies who approve and accredit our courses in the UK and around the World.