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Depression – 5 Initial Tips to Help !

Depression  5 Tips images-3

Over the last couple of months, I have been contacted on several occasions for advice on how to deal with, cope with and treat depression.  I think because I actually admitted that I suffer from depression and anxiety people find it easier to approach me with these questions.  Its sad to actually see how many people struggle with depression day to day and if there is one thing that I can say is that there is hope, that depression is treatable and there are strategies that can be implemented to help treat depression.

 

From a professional standpoint I will say that if you are having suicidal thoughts, if you cannot get out of bed, if the depression lasts more than two weeks, if it is impacting your work, your relationships, your home life, your physical health these are all indicators to seek professional help.

 

The following are 5 initial tips to help with depression

 

  1. Be gentle with yourself.  Many people will often beat themselves up and even berate themselves for thinking they have depression.  Statements like why me, this shouldn’t be happening to me, I shouldn’t be feeling like this are often uttered.  Many people ignore the fact that they could be depressed as they are too busy being busy, working.  Many often think that they are too “busy” to have depression yet they often cannot put a finger on why their energy is low, why they are sad or irritable, why they no longer find joUnknown-5y in activities.  Be kind and gentle and realize that yes it can happen to you.
  1. Hopelessness and how to find hope – When you are depressed its as if a suffocating black cloud descends on you. You often feel that you are in a hole trying to claw your way to the surface for air, it’s a struggle and depression can feel physically painful.  For most there is a feeling of hopelessness, that this will never pass.  Hope is defined as the anticipation of something desired but in depression we often cannot see the fulfillment or achievement of the desired.  One of the difficult things is that hope is mainly derived internally.  So how do you get hope if you’re depressed.  Hope-fully there are people in your life who will give it to you when you need it the most, you can listen to inspirational speakers such as Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra to name a few.  You can start a diary of hope of your own to get you through bleak times.

3.   Get up, take a Shower, Get Dressed. This may sound ridiculous but even in my professional experience one of the most fundamental things in depression is to get patients out of bed, to get them showered and into clean clothes to get them out of their rooms and isolation.  If that is all you did today, then you have succeeded.  As an addition to this if you suffer from anxiety and depression and are trying to exercise you have succeeded by putting your shoes on, if you make it to the gym that’s a great additional step, if you take a class or run on the treadmill even better, but its that first initial step that is amazing.

4.  Fear, Negativity and Putting things in perspective: Did you know that negativity is a prevalent component of depression.  How many positive people suffer from depression?  How many people who have a thrill for life, who live their lives in positive ways, who relish challenges, how many of these people suffer from depression.  Depression often stems form negativity and negative thoughts.  So stop saying “why does this always happen to me” or the worst always happens or bad things happen to me.  Cultivate a spirit of positivity and if you find this difficult you can train yourself to be positive by meditating, by replacing negative self talk with positive self talk.  1745823f781993af90063730693bc0ab--positive-psychology-counseling-psychology

5.    Gratitude – Practice being grateful. Every day you get up write down 5 things you are grateful for.  From experience I know this can be hard and there are days when we struggle to find one thing.  But trust me if you do this on a regular basis most people can see that their lives do have things to be grateful for.  With many of my patients I get them to write two columns one for their problems and one for the things they are grateful for and they are often surprised to see that there is more in the first (Grateful) than the first (problems).5-things-Im-grateful-for1

 

Take away strategies:

 

Write down 5 things you are grateful for daily

https://www.positivityblog.com

 

Replace negative self talk with positive affirmations

https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/

 

Cultivate positivity with meditation or listening to inspirational speakers  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq1bY5AuyWg

 

Start a diary of hope

Write one thing daily that gives you hope for example “This too shall pass”, I will be happy again,


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How to halt and even reverse aging ! The Telomere Effect.

How to halt and reverse aging!

1329410057_kim-richards-sandra-bullock-lgDo you ever look at someone and wonder what age they are?  Are you often surprised how some of your high school friends have aged terribly and how others appear to have found the fountain of youth?  We often blame it on our genes, on the hand we were dealt but an amazing new book, The Telomere Effect explains to us how we can maximize the hand we are dealt and minimize the aging process (the crow’s feet, aching joints and sagging skin)

I am always researching and reading the latest and greatest health news.  I have a responsibility as a Nurse Practitioner to stay abreast of the latest research and knowledge as it pertains to my practice.

I have just finished reading The Telomere Effect by Elissa Epel and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn.  Dr Blackburn discovered telomerase and the role that it plays along with telomeres themselves in not only halting but also reversing the aging process.  Dr Epel is a lifestyle psychologist who specializes in showing how specific lifestyle and psychological habits can improve quality of life slowing down the aging process by direct protection of telomeres.

There is so much crammed into this book that it is hard to pick just 5 Top Tips to halt and reverse aging but here are 5 Snippets and hopefully many of you will buy the book or stay tuned for the Synergy Health and Wellness Seminar Dates!   The premise of the book is that shorter telomeres are an indication of premature cellular aging and what we do or don’t do in terms of diet, exercise, stress, depression and even environmental toxins have a direct effect on telomere length.

Stress:

imagesI love the observation that “Cells are listening to your thoughts”.  According to Epel and Blackburn a small dose of stress does not damage or shorten telomere length but subject the individual to chronic long term stress, stress that is not resolved and these individuals have noticeably shorter telomere length.  Those people who are caretakers or suffering from job burnout or going through a protracted divorce, for example are all subject to severe and prolonged stress.  We all know that inflammation is bad for us but did you know that shorter telomeres promote inflammation.

Recommendation:  Try stress reduction exercises such as meditation, yoga, journaling to reduce the amount of stress in your life.  Even better identify stress triggers and try to negate or minimize them.

Depression & Anxiety:

Like stress depression and anxiety wreak havoc on telomeres and studies show that they shorten telomeres.  The more severe the disorder (think mild versus major depressive disorder MDD) the shorter the telomeres.  More than 350 Million people worldwide suffer from depression and studies show that telomeres are shortened in those with depression and there is also a link to the duration of the depression or anxiety episode.  Telomerase, an enzyme that is secreted in response to shortening telomeres is increased in depressed individuals in an attempt to counteract telomere shortening.

Recommendation:  Early identification and treatment for depression and anxiety is essential.  Treatment modalities such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy and mindfulness itself can also be used in treatment and again modalities such as yoga and meditation have been shown to be effective in the treatment of both depression and anxiety.

Exercise:

images-4Its well known that exercise helps with stress reduction, improves symptoms of anxiety and depression and aids in weight loss – so it’s a no brainer to exercise daily.  What The Telomere Effect reports is that HIIT type exercise programs (think of all the programs available at Synergy Fitness Boca) increase telomerase activity helping to increase telomere length.

Recommendation:  HIIT exercise programs 5 times a week for 30-45 minutes a time will help protect telomeres.  Add in resistance training to your program as well.

 

Diet:

images-3What’s the best diet to protect your telomeres, increase their length slow or reverse the aging process?  Easy!  Fruit, vegetables, wholegrain, fish, chicken, Omega 3 rich foods, alcohol, fat, processed food avoidance.  Also avoid those foods that cause inflammation (these may differ from individual to individual) but cow’s dairy, fatty red meats, cheese, soda, processed and cured meats.

Recommendations: Follow a clean diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Mediterranean and Okinawa diets are good examples.  Limit alcohol, processed and refined foods!

Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements:

Epel and Blackburn would rather that we get the majority of our Vitamins and minerals from our foods eating those foods high in antioxidants.  But we may not get enough of certain vitamins and minerals from our diets and they suggest that adequate amounts of Vitamins D, B (folate) C, E and Omega 3’s promote telomere length and telomerase.

Recommendations:  Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, wholegrain, legumes and low fat proteins such as chicken and fish.  Eat Omega 3 rich food and reduce foods that cause insulin resistance and inflammation.

Sleep:

images-1Lack of sleep, insomnia and sleep deprivation all lead to shorter telomeres.  If you are tired during the day you are not getting enough sleep – Simple as!  But lack of sleep is implicated in depression, anxiety and so much more.  Sleep should be of good quality, the same time each day and for an adequate amount.

Recommendations:  Go to bed at the same time each night, if you tired during the day go to bed earlier.  Avoid alcohol and drugs and for more sleep information check out my previous article on sleep. (http://bit.ly/2dE7N45)

There is so much more in this book than mentioned above and I urge you all to buy it and implement the strategies included.  Stay tuned as we will be doing a more comprehensive lecture on how to halt and even reverse aging by promoting telomere friendly strategies in all areas of our lives.

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel is published by Orion Spring unknown-1

Synergy Health and Wellness   Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net

For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211.  Thanks Dolores


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Goals & Intentions for 2017

 

unknown-2Setting Goals and Intentions for the New Year

5 Great Goal & Intention Setting Tips

We’re a little over one week into the New Year and already people are falling back on some of their resolutions or goals.  What are some of the ways that we can ensure that we succeed at goal & intention setting so as to achieve all we desire in 2017.

  1.  I don’t care what anyone says. To be successful you HAVE to write your goals down and also keep them in a place were you can glance or refer to them frequently. Get a diary and just jot down all the amazing things you would like to achieve in the next year.  This list is random and creative and it should flow but doesn’t necessarily have to have any rhyme or reason.  Don’t worry if it seems hard to start just stick with it a bit.  You can muse on areas of love, career, spirituality, home, family as some general headings to get started.
  1.  Light a candle or incense or even smudge the area you are sitting in with sage. “Clear” the space or pray to a higher being for peace and guidance. Smells and sounds often help to calm the person as they are getting ready to set the tone for intentions. th-1
  1. Be realistic about your goals and while we often use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. to refer to goal setting – I like to be a not more “loose” with the specifics and timing of goals allowing the Universe to provide (as it always does) in the divine timing that it has set. You do have to be realistic about goals – setting a goal to lose 50 lbs in 1 month is neither realistic or healthy, a better goal would be to break the task into smaller more achievable pieces such as a weight loss of 10lbs per month.
  1.  Set goals that motivate you and set you on fire. You shouldn’t set goals just for the sake of setting goals. Goals should motivate and excite you set you on fire and ostensibly improve you in some area of your life!
  1.  Make an action plan. Its great to make goals but the next step is crucial you need to make plans to achieve those goals. If your goal is to travel to Iceland or Machu PIccu get travel brochures, enquire about airfare and hotels, pick a date and plan on saving every week. Sites like SmartyPig allow you to save for your goals and will direct debit a set amount on a set schedule.  Its great to have goals and dreams but the plans and steps to get there are equally important.
  1. Dream Big – OK this may be counterintuitive to the “be realistic” part of SMART goals – But go on have fun dream big.  What would you really like to accomplish if someone told you you couldn’t fail.  That beautiful farm & studio in Leitrim It will be yours (well mine) ! Running your own company, writing that novel or producing that movie.  All are within reach !

Happy 2017 Dare to Dream Great Dreams – and make them all real in 2017 !th-2

For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211.  Thanks Dolores

Synergy Health and Wellness   Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net


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New Years Resolutions Prep (Part 1)

5 Great New Years Resolutions Prep

unknownResolution Prep

Clear the Pantry (and the fridge and other cupboards)

Just about one week until New Years and everyone seems to be making all of those New Years resolutions.  Did you know, that statistically most people will have abandoned their New Years resolutions and goals by the 3rd week of January.

Do you want to be more successful beyond the first few days ?  Here are some tips that you can do prior to “D” Day or “R” Day to stave off temptation.

Clear the Pantry ! And the Fridge and other Cupboards !

  1.  What are your goals.  Decide what your goals are ! For example if your goals are to try to eliminate sugar from your diet that means that all cookies, high sugar cereals, even cereal bars and those highly processed foods will have to be dumped.  Throw out the quick boxes of cake and cookie mixes, dump the high sugar yogurts and the cookie dough and lets not talk about pop tarts, ice cream and other frozen treats.  These are the obvious culprits but even unobvious foods like processed apple sauce, ketchup, granulated sugars and sweeteners are all culprits – Stay tuned until tomorrow when we will discuss your replacement food list.  Here are the top 10 offenders:

Granulated Sugars and Sweeteners, Drink Powders and Sodas, Candies, Dried Fruits, Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Jams and Preserves, Cereals, Oatmeals (Packaged), Cereal bars, Ketchup, Ice Cream, Canned Fruits and Syrups

Also check your food labels for the following r high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, sugar as the 1st or 2nd ingredient, mono-sodium glutamate (MSG.) and carrageenan and chuck them all.   (Also see my article on Sugar- The other white powder (http://bit.ly/2gczuA2)

thGoal Setting:

  1. Eat Less Sugar, Eat less processed foods, Eat less packaged or boxed items, Eliminate meat, dairy, gluten from my diet, eat less fat.

You can also say that I will eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes or I will eat clean, I will pack my own lunch for work or school, I will eat clean, I will eat out less often.  These goals are just specific to your diet and eating but you should evaluate, explore and determine goals in all aspects of your life !   Join us on January 7th for a great Goal Setting and Vision Board Class (https://www.facebook.com/events/1530477190301339/) and I will post this class online after January 7th, 2017

Be Brutal

  1. Yes you have to have a heavy hand and a cold heart when cleaning out your pantry (or even closet).  Everything goes.  Be determined and unwavering do everything at once and don’t go back to complete the task – leave no stone or hiding place unturned.

Get a garbage bag – A big One !  

  1. Dump everything that does not comply with your eating and health goals and when you are finished put the garage bag outside.  There is something extremely psychological and detrimental to removing food from a garbage bag or pail.  If you have an issue with waste see number 5

Pick a Food Shelter!  

  1. Pick a food shelter – Look at local shelters and see can you drop off food supplies to the shelter.  But be aware that most places will only take unopened packages.  So all opened goods will still need to be tossed.  Alternatively ask a friend or family member if they want to take your items.

Check Expirations!  

  1.  While you are purging your items check the expiration dates on those items that you are keeping.  Packages of rice and beans that you are keeping may be beyond their shelf life and also need to be tossed.

 

Next Up – A look at those items that you will stock in your fridge and pantry !unknown-1

For any questions or comments you can contact us at www.Synergyhealthandwellness.net or 561-866-1211 or Dolores@synegryhealthandwellness.net


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Sugar ! The “other” White Powder

2619f2b6b8454582_187481430Sugar (and Spice) May not be all things Nice –

 Let’s not Sugar Coat it!

Sugar, has now become the “other” white powder and is associated with systemic inflammation tooth decay, increases in diabetes both in adults and children.  It contributes to Metabolic Syndrome X and obesity.  To add to the problem, in an attempt to substitute with other alternatives a large number of people are turning to sugar substitutes which have been shown to contribute to cancer.   On average Americans consume a staggering 130 lbs. of sugar yearly.  Sugar is found in nearly every food and manufactures of processed foods often sneak in sugar substitutes using names such as malt, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltodextrin to name a few.

What is it: a sweet crystalline substance obtained from various plants, especially sugar cane and sugar beet, consisting essentially of sucrose, and used as a sweetener in food and drink. It’s a short chain, water soluble carbohydrate.

Where is it Found:

  1. White Sugar – Calories 16 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein,  2g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  How is it manufactured?  From Sugar cane which is then shredded mixed with water and sometimes a saturated syrup then its crushed between rollers redissolved with chemicals, char filtered and evaporated further then boiled and crystalized removing its color and rendering it right.   Sugar, especially highly processed sugar is used in processed foods, candies, cereals etc.  While we need glucose for energy any excess gets converted to fat by the liver.images
  2. Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content, or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar. Calories 17 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium 2 mg, potassium 16mg, protein,   43g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  Basically same refining process except that residual molasses is left behind
  3. Coconut Sugar Mahava  – Calories 15 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, with trace magnesium, zinc and iron, potassium,  0g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  This product is Non-GMO, Organic, its sustainable and unrefined but the bottom line is it is essentially still a sugar.  images-1
  4. Honey – Calories 20 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein, 17g of Carbs but because it is sweeter than sugar the theory is that people use less.  It contains small trace amounts of vitamins and minerals and there is only one processing tip and that is heating the honey which cuts out 3 refining steps of sugar.
  1. Agave Calories 20 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein,   2g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  Agave comes from the Agave plant and most Agave in the US comes from the Blue Agave Plant BUT it is as highly processed as high fructose corn syrup, is extremely sweet and at the end of the day while it is a “fructose” its still a sugar and if in excess in the body it does get converted to fat.
  1. Stevia – Calories 20 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein, 2g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  Stevia comes from the Stevia Plant and its active compound steviol glycosides are sweeter than sugar are calorie free and are effective for those on calorie/carbohydrate controlled diets as steviol does not increase blood glucose levels but beware for most commercially prepared stevia products there are 40 steps in the process using chemicals such as methanol, acetone, ethanol and isopropanol. Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens.   Most brands also use erythritol which is generally obtained from fermented genetically modified corn.
  1. Aspartame & Saccharin & Sucralose – Sugar Substitutes – Used as substitutes to sucrose to sweeten foods and drinks.  Usually zero calorie with no nutritional properties but with links to cancer (with the exception of sucralose) in lab animals prompting FDA warnings that these products are harmful to your health.  I usually do not recommend these products to any patients as a substitute.

images-2

 Recommendations

Sugar is a sugar is a sugar!  In excess it will convert to fat by the liver and be deposited and stored.   Advice use the least processed sugar possible in the smallest amount necessary and always stick with “natural” products and not the sugar substitutes!

For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211.  Thanks Dolores

Synergy Health and Wellness   Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net