What Is Self-Care And Why Is It Essential?

Online nowadays the word self-care gets thrown around a lot, but what does self-care actually mean? To always put yourself first? To make sure you have a morning and evening skincare routine? Or to take time out to go to a yoga class?

As a Health Coach, I would define self-care as “an act initiated by one’s self to maintain health through nourishing the mind, body and spirit”. 

So why is self-care so important?

Nowadays our lives are so busy that sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. However, if this happens, it won’t be long before your body starts to sound the alarm and let you know in the form of a stinking cold, fatigue or even chronic migraines in my case.

Self-care can help you tune into your body, prevent sickness and help you find homeostases which is essential in maintaining health.

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When people first think of self-care, they think of having a day at the spa, a massage or some sort of beauty treatment, but self-care is so much more than that.

Self-care can be incorporated into all areas of your life. For example:

  • The food you choose to put in your body every single day is a form of self-care
  • The physical exercise you partake in is a form of self-care
  • The way you talk to yourself is a form of self-care
  • The relationships you choose to surround yourself with is a form of self-care
  • The way you manage sleep is a form of self-care
  • The mindset you adopt is a form of self-care

Can you see how if all the above fell out of balance there is a chance that your health could suffer as a result?

Self-care can be anything that nourishes your mind, body and spirit and will be individual for everyone. Some examples of this could be:

  • A long walk in nature with the dog
  • Writing in your journal to acknowledge the daily progress you are making
  • Taking some time out for meditation
  • Not letting anxious thoughts get the better of you
  • Going to a dance class
  • Buying yourself some fresh flowers just because you love them
  • Finishing work half an hour early to spend some quality some with your kids
  • Having some quiet time with a good book
  • Getting up half an hour earlier to prepare a healthy lunch for your day
  • Reciting a list of everything you are grateful for as you walk to work

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As you go through life and evolve, the self-care you need now will be very different to the self-care you need in say 10 years time.

Learn to simply check in with yourself on a regular basis and simply ask yourself “What does my body need in order to feel balanced right now? Trust your gut because it knows the answers.

Fall in love with taking care of yourself because your body is the only place you have to live.

 #Self-Care #Mind #Body #Spirit #Health #Happiness #Self-love

 

Chronic Migraines To 1 Year Migraine Free – How Did I Do It?

I can only describe this last year as one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Actually, that is an understatement.

Inflammatory foods create disease in the body so as a result, I eliminated harmful cooking oils, artificial sweeteners, sugars, refined flour products, gluten, dairy products, alcohol, meat, poultry, trans fats and any form of processed food. Click here to read more about how I have done this.

    2. Learned To Use Food As Medicine

Once all the nasties were out of my diet, I then began to repair and nourish my body with healing foods. I did this by eating a clean, whole foods plant-based diet which meant I was only consuming fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some gluten-free grains. Click here for previous blog posts to get started yourself.

    3. Calmed My Nervous System

When you have been sick for a long time your body goes into ‘fight or flight mode’ as it is continually living in fear in the sympathetic nervous system. This continual stress takes its toll, so to heal you need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which I did by slowing down, learning diaphragmatic breathing, how to meditate and basic calming yoga stretches.

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    4. Disciplined Self-Care

Self-care can be as simple as a ten minute morning meditation, making time for some daily stretches or even spending some time at the weekend preparing food for your week ahead. YOU need to make time for YOU as no one else is going to do it for you. Click here for further reading on self-care.

    5. Visualized A Healthy Future

Every day I would do Dr Joe Dispenza’s hour-long meditations whereby I would visualize my life completely healthy. Science proves that your brain creates the same pharmacy of chemicals when you visualize something as if you were there, thus healing happens. This takes daily dedication but is totally worth it. Click here to learn more.

    6. Addressed Emotional Stimuli

You will be amazed how emotional stress affects your migraines subconsciously without you realising. I had to work on releasing emotions such as guilt, anger and feelings of unworthiness to be able to truly be free from emotional triggers. Click here to learn more about emotional stimuli.

    7. Practised Self-Love

I know you might not love where you are and who you are right now due to illness, but until that changes it is very hard to become free. When I learnt to accept that I am doing the best I can and actually look in the mirror and say “I love and approve of myself”, I stopped giving myself such a hard time, thus healing happened.

    8. Became My Own Teacher

We are so blessed nowadays to have access to a wealth of information all over the world. To become migraine free, every spare second of the day I would try to learn something new to further my healing through books, podcasts, online content, social media, audio books and more. Why not make the most of it?

    9. Focused On Health Rather Than Sickness

The law of attraction will bring you what you think about most and focus on. So when I discovered this I realised that I had to put all my energy into health rather than into disease. This meant leaving the migraine support groups and instead focusing on learning and surrounding myself with what I wanted. To be healthy. Click here to learn more on this.

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    10. Learned To Listen To My Body

I know this might sound a bit airy fairy but honestly, you know what’s good for you and your body and what isn’t. All you have to do is simply trust that feeling in your gut as it’s always right. It’s as simple as asking yourself “what do I need right now?” and just wait for the answer. It may be some time out, a quick meditation or to get outside in nature. Click here to learn more.

    11. Found Balance

Disease is essentially just the body being out of balance, so our job is to listen and find out what it is we need to rebalance ourselves and therefore regain our health. Is it more nutrients? Less stress? Or even just some more you time? Take some time to find what creates homeostasis for you.

    12. Changed How I Reacted To Life

It’s hard to admit but I used to love the drama. No matter what it was or what happened in my life, I could make it into something. But when I chose to step away from this and also changed my reaction to certain situations, my emotional stimuli reduced. This had all been self-inflicted. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

    13. Stretched Daily

Personally, after experimenting with my body, I found that 20 minutes of gentle daily stretching reduced muscle tension thus any muscular headaches. I also found that this practice calmed my mind every morning and contributed to my daily self-care routine. Click here to read more on this.

    14. Put My Health Above Everything Else

In order to become migraine free, my health had to be the priority. If I was ever at a point in my journey when I was questing whether to do something or not I would simply ask myself “Does this serve my healing right now?” and if the answer was no I wouldn’t go there. My healing had to come first.

    15. Believed That I Would Get There

Out all of these 15 actions, I have to say that this one is absolutely ESSENTIAL for any of the above to work. If you believe that you will always be a migraine sufferer then that will be your fate, however if you truly believe that freedom is possible then it is achievable. After all, what the mind believes the body achieves. Click here to learn more.

I apologise for the long blog post but I really wanted to share that it wasn’t one action that allowed me to become migraine free, it was a combination of many.

I also have say a huge THANK YOU to Anthony Cocco because without his amazing support and guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I would love to know what area’s interest you and that you would like to know more about. Please leave me a comment below.

  #Migraine #Health #Healing #MyJourney #Headaches 

 

My HUGE Anxiety Breakthroughs And How They​ Can Help You Too!

Wow, I’m not going to lie, this process has not been easy. In fact, I think it’s been the hardest part of my journey so far. Yes, harder than actually becoming migraine free! Crazy, I know.
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Before I go on, I first need to apologise for the recent radio silence.
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Going through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and working on trying to master my mind and my thoughts has literally taken up every hour of every day. It really has been a battle but I know in order to break through this, all my energy and focus needed to go into it so that’s what I’ve been working on these past few weeks.
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So let’s cut to the chase. What are my breakthroughs?
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    1. I CAN GET RID OF PHYSICAL PAIN!

Yes, this actually happened. After a week of a debilitating headache and eye pain and so much time spent indoors resting, I woke up one morning and said enough was enough.
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I sat down with my ‘thought monitor’ (which is a CBT process whereby you reduce your anxiety by through creating new positive beliefs) and filled in the worksheet in order to reduce my anxiety.
 ……
As I read through the positive alternative beliefs I had created, I began talking to myself out loud and encouraging myself to overcome this. I said the following statements over and over…
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This is a signal to start to roll my shoulders and breath deep because this will pass.

I am in control, no one else.

I am NOT going to let this happen.

I am stronger than that and I KNOW I can do it.

I have BEATEN the migraines so I can BEAT this too.

I am doing it NOW!!!

And as I did something miraculous happened. Not only did my anxiety start to disappear but so did the eye pain and headache! After around 45 minutes of repeating this over and over and over whilst taking in deep breaths and rolling my shoulders, everything vanished!
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What on earth had I just done? I had taught myself that by completely eliminating my anxiety I can also eliminate my headache and pain! This was a revelation and it taught me that I am in the driver’s seat of my body and how I feel. This was a major breakthrough for me. 
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    2.  I CAN REDUCE MY ANXIETY BY SIMPLY SAYING NO!

So after my fifth CBT session, I started to become frustrated. I could use the ‘thought monitor’ effectively and get rid of my anxiety at that moment, however, when I ventured out into the world again it wasn’t long before those destructive thoughts would enter my mind and cause me havoc.
 ……
I raised this problem in one of my sessions and my therapist advised me to simply say to myself when that thought comes up “I am simply not going to go there”. Then after that bring yourself back to the present moment and distract yourself with what’s happening in the now. It sounds so simple but oh my god it works amazingly!
 …….
Then after discussing this with my amazing boss and mentor Anthony Cocco, who is six years migraines free, he elaborated on this and best described this process as a simple game of tennis.
 …….
All you have to do is bat the thought away with your tennis racket as if the thought were a ball. Genius! I now even visualize this too.
 ………
So since combining these two steps, everything has changed. Seriously, no joke. I suddenly have a new-found confidence as my anxiety is no longer holding me back and I’m now free to experience the joys of life again without having the chains of anxiety ruining my every move. I no longer find myself getting stuck in the moment, full of worry and doubt, unable to move, and instead I pause, take action and am able to carry on with the rest of my day.
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I guess like with anything in life, this of course is going to take a lot more practice, time and patience to perfect this skill and become a master of it on the court, however, it’s without a doubt worth the hard work.

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“You either control your mind or your mind controls you”

Napoleon Hill 

#Anxiety #Mind #Success #MyJourney #CBT #Health 

 

 

Learn Your Partners Love Language This Valentines Day

When suffering from an illness we all know that relationships tend to suffer, it’s just natural, right? Or is it?

What if you were able to understand what it is your partner actually wants and needs in your relationship? How to make them feel loved, appreciated and valued even through testing times?

Sickness or not this IS possible and I am going to show you how.

Let me introduce to you the 5 love languages.

Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages best describes this as the process of learning how your partner wishes to experience and express love. Once you understand which of the five love languages is their predominant language it will allow you to connect on a deeper level than you ever have before, illness or not.

As a migraine sufferer I’m sure you feel pressure to put a brave face on and plan that day out to be romantic just to show him/her how much you care, but with this amazing new tool that won’t be necessary. It’s so much easier than that.

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The Five Love Languages

All you need to do is click here and get your partner to take the test. It literally takes two minutes and once it is completed it will tell you which love language your partner prefers to give and receive love.

Now let’s dive into each category further and break down exactly what they mean.

Physical Touch

This person enjoys the experience of touch. Not necessarily sexual, more just the day to day experience of being close. This person feels loved by that simple hug, cuddling up on the sofa or holding hands. This makes the individual feel safe and secure in their relationship.

Words of Affirmation

This person enjoys being appreciated through words alone. Saying I love you means everything as does praise, compliments and hearing encouraging words of support. These kind and loving words speak wonders to this individual who needs this audio-affirmation to feel secure and loved.

Quality Time

This person feels connected and loved through the power of the quality time that they spend together. This could be doing activities together or simply time at home alone. However, this means having no distractions and the partner’s complete and utter undivided attention.

Acts of Service

This person feels loved when their partner is able to ease responsibility for them. It doesn’t matter how small but offering to make dinner or do the food shop shows them love and commitment. Actions speak louder than words for this individual.

Receiving Gifts

This person feels loved through materialism. A gesture of a gift speaks volumes, especially the thought and effort that went into it. They enjoy being visually spoilt as this makes them feel a deep connection of love to their partner.

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Now you understand what love language your partner wishes to receive, you can go about doing something nice for Valentines Day that aligns with their love language.

For example, if you partners top love language is acts of service then maybe you could look after the kids one afternoon and send your wife off for some R&R time to treat her.

Or if your partner’s love language is quality time, why not dedicate a day solely to each other. No phones, no computers and no TV. Spend that time talking, laughing and enjoying each others company again. This will show them that they are truly loved.

It is also a good idea if you too take the test so that your partner can understand how to make you feel loved each and every day.

Happy Valentines Day!

    #Relationship #Health #Love #Connection #Healing

Groundbreaking Heal Documentary – NOT TO BE MISSED!

As the last scene came to an end and the credits started to roll, tears trickled down my cheeks as I smiled contentedly to myself.
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Inspiring doesn’t even come close.
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As I have proved myself, we all have the ability to heal and now there is scientific proof!
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The Heal documentary focuses on the mind/ body connection and how our thoughts affect our lives and ultimately our health. Good or bad! It is brilliantly put together with numerous experts from their fields such as Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, Marianne Williamson, Anthony Williams and my man, Dr Joe Dispenza.
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It proves that radical remissions happen all around the world from every illness imaginable, and after collecting the data from these individuals to find out what they did to heal, the results were astounding.
 ……
Out of 9 common actions, ONLY TWO of these were physical and SEVEN were mind related. These were:
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  1. Taking control of your health
  2. Following your intuition
  3. Releasing suppressed emotions
  4. Increasing positive emotions
  5. Embracing social support
  6. Deepening your spiritual connection
  7. Having a strong reason for living

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This is proof alone. The documentary then dives deeper into what’s causing so much illness in our world today. And the answer? Stress.

.Did you know that 90% of the illnesses we go to the doctor for are stress-related illnesses? This is because nowadays we are all living in our ‘fight or flight’ response which we are unable to sustain for long periods of time without our bodies eventually getting sick.

The documentary also follows the story of Elizabeth Craig, a self-claimed yoga fanatic and juicer. Elizabeth was diagnosed with stage four cancer but after working with a spiritual psychologist to release past emotions, deal with fear and do some inner child and anger release work, together with only one round of chemo, her tumours vanished! She was cancer free and the doctors couldn’t explain it.
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Incredible. You really have to watch and see for yourself.
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What I also loved about this documentary was that it proved that as much as your thoughts can make you sick, they also have the power to make you healthy again and science proves it. You might not be aware of it but your negative subconscious beliefs could be keeping you rooted in sickness.
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Heal proves that trauma, negatives emotions and subconscious beliefs actually lead to disease.
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GROUNDBREAKING ALERT!
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Other topics the documentary covers include our ever-changing global environment and how that is affecting our health, our diminishing microbiomes resulting in poor gut health, the placebo effect, chronic inflammation and the benefits of meditation to heal.
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I could seriously go on and on about how beautifully inspiring this documentary is all day long but I want you to go away and watch it for yourself.
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And if you are not left with the confidence in your own body and your ability to heal yourself after watching this documentary then I don’t know what will.
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Remember, your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. 
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Click here to go to the Heal website for viewing information and plenty of extras.

#Heal #MindBody #Believe #Documentary #Inspirational #Health 

 

 

 

Could Emotional Stimuli Be An Underlying Cause Of Your Migraines?

Do you currently feel like you are hitting a brick wall when it comes to beating your migraines? Are you trying new treatment after new treatment but yet again nothing seems to work?

If this is the case then there may be something going on deeper beneath the surface that keeps holding you back from breaking free from your migraines.

Meet emotional stimuli.

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Firstly what is emotional stimuli? Well it’s simply any object, event or energy change that elicits a sensory or behavioural response in ourselves. Examples of emotional stimuli could be such things as a change in mood due to a conversation you had with a family member that upset you or feeling overwhelmingly happy due to some great news you recieve.

Whatever emotion it is, fear, anger, joy, sadness, elation, guilt or shame this could be the unconscious cause of your pain without you even realising this. I will give you a personal example of this happening for me.

So during the period of my illness I have felt like a financial burden to my husband who has been supporting me throughout every treatment and turn I take in this journey. It used to fill me with dread every time I had to use our joint account to buy even a few items from the supermarket and anything bigger would give me pangs of guilt and shame due to the fact that I no longer could support myself.

As I continued to struggled with my health, my physiotherapist advised I needed up to 10 more sessions to continue my treatment, however I then later found out that my insurance would no longer be able to cover these sessions. When this realisation hit me I was in pieces . How on earth could I ask my husband to pay for 10 very costly physio sessions? I just couldn’t.

However after talking this through with my incredible, friend and mentor Anthony Cocco who has also beaten chronic migraines, he made me realise how this daily emotional battle I was having with myself over something so small as a pint of milk (almond of course) was causing me physical pain.

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After breaking this down and realising that I am still a great wife even if I cannot contribute financially, I released all that guilt, shame and subconscious tension I had been holding.

As a result it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could literally breathe again. Instantly my shoulders dropped about an inch from my ear and my headache felt ten times better.

So what I have learnt as I progress further and further on this journey back to health is that nine times out of ten subconsciously there is so much more going on for us underneath the surface that could be causing us physical pain, and emotional stimuli is definitely one of them!

Of course we cannot go through life not feeling any emotions as that’s not how life works, however to help ourselves we need to examine if emotional stimuli is there always on a subconscious level like it was for me all the time and also when those heightened emotions hit, we need to protect ourselves from feeling the extremes of these emotions as it does absolutely no good for our head.

As Anthony Cocco perfectly explains it, we need to “try not to get too high on the highs and too low on the lows” as that reaction to emotional stimuli is enough to without a doubt, cause you a headache.

How do you think emotional stimuli impacts your headaches? I would love to hear from you.

 #Emotions #Healing #Health #Subconscious #Headaches #Mind

 

 

 

My 3 Essential Health Takeaways From 2017

 

Wow, what a year it has been. 2017 has gone by in a flash and when I look back, my god have I come a long way.

From having my last migraine in March 2017 to now being completely free. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means at the end of my journey and can declare myself totally headache free but it’s sometimes great to reflect and look back on how far you have come because it motivates you to keep on fighting.

So, as a result, I wanted to share with you the 3 biggest health lessons I learnt in 2017 in hope that someone else may be able to relate, benefit or learn from them as I have.

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  1. Triggers Are Not Only Physical

Previous to 2017 I would have classed most of my headache triggers as physical, mainly caused by food and my environment. However, when I dug deep and truly started to listen to my body I realised that the majority of my triggers were actually emotional stimuli.

This could be in the form of anger, anxiety, stress, certain relationships, certain situations, repressed emotions, self-hatred, denial and fear. Without knowing, these underlying emotions and issues were actually what was causing me so much of my pain.

So if you are struggling right now and have become frustrated in your recovery, take some time out to take a look at what’s really going on for you underneath the surface. For me personally, talking to someone was better medication than any doctor could possibly give me.

    2.  You Truly Are The Expert Of Your Own Body

Now I know it sounds really airy-fairy when someone says listen to your body but I never realised how important this was until I made several discoveries by doing exactly that in 2017.

Your body is simply communicating with you every day in every way, we just have to listen. Every pain, emotion, twinge and gut feeling is your body’s way of trying to tell you what it needs.

For me, I found when I began to journal daily (not keep a headache diary, this is very different) it allowed me to really understand how my body reacts to certain situations, foods and emotional stimuli and thus learn from it and change my behaviour moving forwards.

Once again, how could a doctor ever tell you how to heal your body when it’s not talking to them, it’s talking to you! So tune in and listen to the song you are singing.

 

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3. Eating The Right Foods Actually Prevents Headaches

In 2017 I discovered the magic of a whole foods plant-based diet and when I did my life truly began to transform.

By removing all processed foods and upping my intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains my migraine frequency and severity began to decrease rapidly until I was left with none. Yes, seriously none!

In the migraine world food is known as evil for triggering attacks, however what so many people don’t know is that you can use food as a tool to prevent attacks and get rid of them all together. Trust me, it worked better than any medication ever did.

 

 #2017 #Health #Lessons #PersonalJourney #Progress #NeverGiveUp 

Amazing Things Happen When You Get Out Of Your Own Way

Recently I hit a bit of a brick wall. No one tells you that after beating chronic migraines that there will be a whole other chapter that you have to face afterwards. Extreme tiredness no matter how many hours you seem to sleep, brain fog, headaches and muscle aches seem to be the most prominent symptoms right now.

So as you can understand, I have felt somewhat frustrated by this newest revelation. As close as I thought I was, I am not yet able to spend all day at the beach like my friends, go to parties and busy social events like ‘normal’ people do or make it all the way through a wedding, which I have to admit has been driving me pretty crazy. All I have recently been focusing on was what I couldn’t do. In turn this then made me super emotional (yes, even more than normal), highly sensitive and creating so many other issues for myself that of course weren’t issues whatsoever!

After what I would call a ‘mini meltdown’ or what my good friend Anthony calls ‘a checkpoint’ in my recovery journey, I had an epiphany. I realised that all the frustration, anger and emotional upset that I was creating by not being exactly where I wanted to be, was causing me actual physical pain and stopping my body’s ability to heal.

Not so coincidentally, it was at this point Gabriella Bernstein’s book “The Universe Has Your Back” made an appearance in my life and from this point on everything changed.

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The book teaches you that by trusting in the universe and it’s ability to guide you, allows you to no longer live in fear and negative emotions. The aim is to perceive any problem that arises in your life through the teacher of love, meaning it has been sent as a lesson and is part of the process. Choose to embrace it and be at peace with it.

Gabriella says that every obstacle is simply a detour in the right direction so simply trust the process as the universe has a higher plan for you.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety”. This was a game changer for me as I realised that due to my uncertainty and view of my situation from the position of scarcity and lack, this is why I was experiencing anxiety, fear and so much tension. And as I know from my migraines, in order for the body to be able to heal it needs homeostasis and a calm nervous system which is certainly not what I was creating for myself.

My second epiphany came after attending a positivity talk at the Brahma Kumaris center in Brighton. The speaker delivered a sentence that completely changed my view on where I am right now in my journey. He said “Pain may be present but suffering is a choice.”

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Ok, let’s hear that again and really think about it. Pain may be present, but suffering, is, a choice. Bingo! I suddenly had all the answers I needed. With Gabriella telling me to lean towards love and joy by trusting that my highest good is coming to me, and with this incredible revelation from the speaker also telling me that I can still find love and joy even in pain, I realised that this was what I needed to do in the next step of my journey to heal my body. So that’s what I have been doing!

I visited my Grandad and looked over beautiful family photos and soaked up the love and joy reminising with him.

I have enjoyed lovely afternoons in watching films with my Mum, laughing, being totally present and grateful for these priceless moments with her.

I even found the joy in simply being alone, tucked up in bed with a good book and a cup of herbal tea. As a result my health has definitely benefited, and to be honest, I feel ten times happier than I did before making these changes.

We have a choice in the world to choose scarcity, lack, conflict, anxiety, tension and fear which will all manifest in our physical body, or we can choose to live in peace, love, serenity and joy by finding the good in every situation and trusting in the universe.

What will you choose?

#Love #GabriellaBerstein #TrustTheUniverse #FindTheJoy

How To Take Control Of Your Migraines With Deep Belly Breathing

Did you know that breathing is the new Botox in the migraine world? Yes, it’s true.

Something as simple as a bodily function has the power to mitigate depression, anxiety and stress, all of which are commonly a result of suffering with chronic migraines and in turn only make suffering with migraines so much worse.

Meditation using diaphragmatic breathing has also been shown to even improve cell health, balance hormones levels and even reduce blood pressure and it’s something that we all have the power to access, we just have to learn how.

 

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How Can This Help My Migraines Then?

In order to explain to you how this can help you, I need to delve into the science behind it first but trust me it’s actually super interesting. So here we go.

Our nervous system is broken down into several different parts but what we are going to focus on today is two areas:

  1. The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
  2. The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

The sympathetic nervous system is connected with our ‘flight or fight’ response which I am sure you have heard of before. This was initially installed in us to protect us from that lion that was trying to eat us millions of years ago. However, our body is also designed to ‘rest and digest’, activating our parasympathetic nervous system after the threat has disappeared and the lion is no longer present.

Unfortunately nowadays, relaxation doesn’t happen anymore and we are all running around in panic mode and chronically stressed, either waiting for that lion (or in our case that migraine) that’s lurking around the corner. Now I know from personal experience, when my migraines were at their worst I spent all of my time in the SNS, ‘fight or flight’ mode’, on edge, living in constant fear of another attack.

However when I started to meditate and just breathe through my migraines and the pain, the miraculous used to happen. They would calm, my pain would begin to lessen and without question the duration of the migraine would reduce and until this day I never really knew the reason why this happened, but now I do. I was switching my body from ‘flight or fight’ to my ‘rest and digest’ system without even knowing it. God I wish someone had told me how powerful meditation using deep belly breathing was when I was super sick but hey, now I’m telling you so that’s all that matters.

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So Why Is Being In The ‘Rest and Digest’ System So Important?

Without returning to the ‘rest and digest’ system, with the extended release of stress hormones in your body it lowers your immunity, makes you more susceptible to illness (more migraines) and means that your body is never able to heal, restore and repair. Deep belly breathing can also reduce tension in the neck and the shoulders which again, I am sure most people can relate to when suffering from a migraine.

How Do I Practice This Then? 

Right, so find a comfortable, quiet space where you will not be disturbed, ideally sitting upright on a chair or a bed. My top tip is do not lie down otherwise there is a very high chance you will fall asleep. Happens to me every time!

Place your hands on your belly, thumbs touching on the navel and connecting your index fingers together so that you are making a heart shape with your hands.

On the inhale your belly will expand as you fill your diaphragm with air which will push your hands outwards and away from your body. Try to do this slowly and to the count of five in your head, hold for a second at the top and then exhale contracting your diaphragm and releasing the air out through the mouth and the hands should fall back towards your body again.

Simple, right? 

Personally I find doing this whilst listening to some calming music such as the sound of waves washing up onto the shore makes this even more powerful.

Now check you out! You’re now a qualified mindfulness and meditation guru!

I honestly don’t believe I would be here today, over 4 months migraine free without learning to breathe and by finding some calm in my pain. This was a game changer for me and I know it can be for you too.

#DeepBreathing #Mindfulness #Health #Meditation #Healing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Self-Care Behaviours To Reduce Your Migraines

Throughout my recovery from chronic migraines it’s fair to say I have learnt a lot, actually a hell of a lot, not through my triumphs, but through my failures. After all, if you don’t try then you won’t fail, and if you don’t fail then you won’t learn, and if you don’t learn then you won’t be able to succeed so I guess it was all part of the journey.

That being said, I wanted to share with you a few self-care behaviours that I learnt in the hope that I might be able to prevent you from a little bit of pain along your own journey of healing. Ok, so let’s get stuck in.

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    1.  Put Yourself First

This was a hard lesson and unfortunately one that I only learnt the hard way, in fact so many times I lost count. As a migraine sufferer it is normal to be filled with guilt on a daily basis and many times I would attend a party or gathering with friends when deep down I really knew I shouldn’t. My gut was telling me no but my conscience was telling me to go! I would always worry about what others would think and sure, I have lost a couple of people I thought were friends over the last few years but I am here to tell you that until you prioritise your health first above anything else, your healing won’t be able to begin.

By prioritising number one it reduces your anxiety and eliminates unnecessary stress which only makes migraines so much worse. I lost count of the number of times I did things for others and suffered for days as a result so try to remember friends to put yourself first, it’s just not worth it. YOU are worth it.

    2.  Learning That It’s Ok To Say No

Ok, so you’ve listened to your gut (which I have to say is 99.999999% right most of the time) and you have politely turned your friend down for those birthday drinks you wanted to attend, but what I want you to realise is that you are not being selfish by saying no you can’t make it in any way. Real friends will stick around come what may, no matter how many times you cancel on them as they truly only want what’s best for you.

My top tip on how to make this situation more comfortable for both of you is to be honest with them from the start. If deep down you know you probably won’t be able to attend something just explain that to your friend from the start, be honest rather than promising you will be there and 10 minutes before you leave you message saying you can’t make it.

The more transparent and open you are about a situation, the more likely they are to understand and don’t worry, there will be plenty more opportunities in the future that you won’t miss out on.

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   3.  Love Yourself Exactly Where You Are

When my migraines were at my worst I’ll be honest, I hated everything about myself. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror as I was ashamed of who I had become. That was until I read Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life” and everything began to change.

She taught me compassion for myself, patience and how to love myself exactly the way I was. Don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time for my mindset to change but when it did I realised how much tension and stress I was creating myself.

She would always ask “What would you say to a friend if they were in your position?”. Of course you wouldn’t put them down and give them a hard time for what they are going through would you? No, you would be empathetic, patient and understanding of the battle that they are fighting so why aren’t you doing the same to yourself? She made a good point.

So take a moment today to be kind to yourself and reflect on this notion. And if you are still struggling then get yourself down to a book store and grab a copy of Louise’s Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”. It’s magic.

  4.  Nourish Your Body On All Levels

In order for your body to begin to heal, you need to master self-care in all areas of your life. Everything from making time out for yourself, being disciplined about your social schedule, how much sleep you get, the food you put in your body every day, whether you talk positively or negatively to yourself or whether you have time to release stress and tension through exercise.

Whatever it is, your body deserves the best and the more you give it what it needs, the more you will be able to thrive again and become migraine free. Essentially, self-care is simply ensuring that you are taking care of your emotional, physical and mental health friends and yes, we are all totally worth it so try checking in with yourself now and again to discover where you could nourish yourself on a deeper level.

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I really hope that these self-care behaviours help you find a little more balance in life in order to reduce your migraine frequency. In what ways do you struggle with self-care? Is it balancing family commitments or your busy work schedule? I would love to connect and hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below.

#LousieHay #SelfCare #SelfLove #Migraines #Healing #Compassion