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Why A Healthy Lifestyle Should Include Time For Balancing Attention

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You probably know by now that a good diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep every night can keep you reasonably healthy. However, not many people are aware of another important element of a healthy lifestyle, which is balanced attention. In this article I will explain why you should take care of your attention and how doing so can keep you healthy.

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But first I would like you to realise that your attention is: .

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A PRODUCT

Person in Room with 500 MonitorsThink for a moment, what do people who are called celebrities have in common? For example, Paris Hilton, Kate Moss, or Victoria Beckham. What gives them the status of celebrity? What are they really paid for?
Well, in my opinion, it is their ability to pull in your attention and keep you focused. The more people focus on them or on whatever they create, the better they are paid. Every viewer, listener, or supporter counts, and the more people’s attention they attract, the better they are paid by those who want more adverts.

This means, your attention is a product and it has its price.

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A GIFT

A good mother keeps her baby in the centre of her attention. A good teacher pays undivided attention to his/her pupils, and a good worker fully concentrates on a task. You recognise a good, caring doctor by feeling how s/he pays attention to you and your problem. Have you ever been to a nursing home? Full of elders forgotten by their families, what residents dream of is someone who will simply notice them and spend some time with them.

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Your caring, undivided attention is often the best gift you can give to someone.

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A DESIRE

21326312741_6320dd2c0eHave you ever dreamed about fame, of being popular and recognised? Most of us admire people who attract our attention, like actors, musicians, politicians, and famous scientists. For many, it is an indicator of  personal success. Many dream about being popular and many of us believe fame can bring happiness. This common belief is often up against reports of real celebrities being very unhappy, addicted to drugs, or even committing suicide. I would say that the biggest desires of many people are money, power, and… the attention of others.

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A SOURCE OF ENERGY

8053126008_cc80b0b971_bCan you remember music stars or sports performers saying how lifted and energised they felt in the middle of a scene or stadium performing to crowds of people? They often describe shivers of energy going through their bodies. Have you heard about elderly couples passing away, one shortly after another, feeling as if they would be ‘unplugged’ after their loved one passed away? Would you feel down, unworthy, and miserable if no one cared about you? It is enough to just spend some time with your friends to feel better — just to be noticed and appreciated, you do not even need to talk. This suggests that you can energise another person just by paying attention to her/him.

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Your attention is one of the most important resources you have. It is available to you every moment of your life, including THIS moment. You should take good care of WHAT and HOW you attend and there are important reasons for it.

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WHY DOES IT MATTER WHAT YOU ATTEND ?

2303136704_86bbcd91aa_qEverything you focus on shapes your personality. It includes your first toy, your parents, and your schoolmates, as well as everything you hear, smell, touch, taste, or look at. It does not have to be a big shift. It might be a gradual process; small changes which add up after days, months, or years. For example, a short encounter with a vicious dog can make you fearful of dogs for the rest of your life; growing up in a quiet neighbourhood can make your life in a city difficult; and your first kiss can directly affect your attitude towards the opposite sex.

It happens moment after moment and it has never stopped happening.

I am sure you have heard about positive thinking and stopping negative self-talk; you’re probably familiar with the ideas behind the film The Secret. These are methods which delve into the same idea and encourage you to focus on good things in the hope it will change you and your life in a positive way. They essentially say, ‘you can create yourself and your world by consciously choosing what to focus on.’ This is why you should be in control of what you focus on. It becomes a part of your personality, a part of you.

However simple it may appear, it is often not so easy to put into practice. The choice of what you attend to is, in truth, often taken away from you by people who want to influence your thinking, feeling, and behaviours. They are called marketers, promotors, spin doctors, etc. They know how to re-direct your attention to benefit them (or their clients), not you. They usually try to sell or hide something from you. Good examples here are widespread advertising,  or a common belief that the tragic events of 9/11 involved two buildings, while in truth three skyscrapers were demolished (buildings number one, two, and seven).

I hope it is clear for you now that you should take care of what you focus on. One could say, ‘what you attend, you become.‘ Make a conscious choice before you pay attention to a person or to a piece of information.

You should also remember that your attending time is limited to your waking hours. When you mechanically attend everything which is pushed in front of you, your attention becomes shallow and erratic, and your personality follows.

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WHY DOES IT MATTER HOW YOU ATTEND ?

18569840791_af88a6b451_zMost people associate paying attention with focusing. You can focus on something you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. In fact, it is a very common, but not the only, style of attending. You have a choice to focus on a flower and see its tiny details, or you can diffuse your attention and see the flower together with the whole background behind and around it.

Focusing requires dividing everything to smaller pieces, which we are able to attend one by one. It help us to deal with ‘stuff’ and to push things forward. When we focus we can see things clearly and we know where we are heading. It makes us efficient and productive. Focusing belongs to ‘the reality of doing.

Diffusing lets us relax and see the big picture. We are not focused on anything in particular. We simultaneously attend everything and nothing. When we diffuse we can fully connect ourselves to the world because our internal chatter (thinking) stops. There is only pure awareness. Diffusing brings stillness and the sense of presence. It belongs to ‘ the reality of being.

According to Dr Fehmi, a neuroscientist and psychologist from Princeton, these two styles of attending have opposite effects on our mind and body. When we are focused we stimulate our ‘flight and fight’ response. When we diffuse our attention we activate the ‘rest and digest’ part of our physiology. According to Dr Fehmi, most people overuse focusing and live in a never ending ‘alert mode’ most of their lives. This is why he recommends learning how to diffuse our attention and balance both styles.

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You can always diffuse your attention when there is nothing important to focus on. In this simple way you can regulate and balance your mind and physiology.

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Dr Fehmi says that the best way to diffuse our attention ‘on the go’ is to become aware of the empty space which is always around us. Space has no colour, no smell, no texture, so there is nothing to focus on in space. Another simple way to diffuse is feeling sensations coming from both hands at the same time. You can always stay aware of space around you or feel your hands doing whatever you want to do. There are many moments in your day when you do not have to focus and you can practice diffusing (walking, eating, commuting to work), though I would definitely advise against practicing it while driving a car!

You may find it difficult initially because we are so accustomed to continuous focusing. That is why you should practice mind exercises which are designed to help you learn how to diffuse your attention when you want. There is a choice of these exercises on Dr Fehmi’s and my website. The main difference between them is that my exercises are shorter (10-15 min) and they are designed to introduce people to diffusing and to bring a quick/noticeable change.

The next step in attention training is to learn how to focus while staying diffused. It is called attentional flexibility. However complicated it sounds, it is quite simple to do. It also has many practical applications, like dissolving physical pain, releasing anxiety, or boosting creativity. I am sure that learning how to make an attention flexible could change many people’s lives for the better.

You can see for yourself how diffusing attention feels by following this link.

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FLEXIBLE ATTENTION

is an ability to alternate between

narrow attention (focused)

and

diffused attention (broad)

or

to apply both at the same time.

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Narrowing makes us specific but requires dividing reality into smaller pieces (objects). Diffusing allows us to see the big picture and connect (immerse) with its elements. Pain, anxiety, and problems make the attention narrow and objective. We can self help ourselves by diffusing and immersing our attention.

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.photo by Pedro Rimeo Simoes/CC BY

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Awareness

My 400 Days Without Candy & What I Learned About Sugar Addiction

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At the end of 2017 I decided to temporarily say goodbye to my dietary Achilles heel.

While I’m certainly not suggesting that I am some beacon of ideal healthy eating, I have always been someone who, for the most part, makes what I’ve found to be healthy choices. Except for my one glaring weakness… candy.

In particular, the really sour and heavily sugar coated kind, but you’d be hard pressed to find me turning down even those better classified as sweet, with all of their sugar fused within the confines of the chew. Cherry Blasters, Sour Patch Kids, Fuzzy Peaches, Sour Punch Straws, you name it, I ate it, and usually with a big smile on my face.

But no matter how much my tastebuds loved this stuff, I’ve always known that it’s not good for me (I can’t imagine that there is anyone out there who actually thinks it is), so I decided to listen to my body, just as I had already done with a number of my other dietary changes. I opted to no longer ignore the stomach and headaches that would often come shortly after my sugary indulgences and give it up.

What started as a one month challenge quickly evolved into a three month challenge, followed by a one year challenge, and then a 400 day challenge simply because I liked the sound of the number. Here’s some of what I learned from this journey:

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The First Days Are Undeniably The Hardest

The old adage that it takes approximately 21 days to break a bad habit or make a new one in this case certainly held true. It was right around the 3 week point that I started to find myself far less tempted and far less frequently on the search for something to satisfy my sweet tooth. And believe it or not, the longer I went on, the less appealing the idea of eating candy became. It almost felt as if the memory in my tastebuds that had controlled so many of my past decisions had gradually faded away.

Mindset Is Everything

While I will fully admit that my quest to 400 was helped by it naturally feeding into another one of my “addictions” (a great joy in setting records and tracking analytics), I found that so much of the temptation to consume these sugary, salty and greasy foods really was incredibly temporary. Challenge yourself to at least not let it win once and you’ll likely see just how quickly its strength can fade.

It Paid Dividends

While I didn’t completely cut sugar out of my diet, as many people have so admirably done and documented about, I can say that cutting back even as much as I did felt really good for me. Some may be quick to chalk it up to the placebo effect, and understandably so, but I can honestly say that the above mentioned stomach and head aches occurred far less often over the 400 day span.

Real-Time Analysis: After The First Bite

Having now officially consumed my first piece of candy since 2017, believe it or not, it tastes different. Is it still tasty and did it satisfy me at some level? Absolutely. But it also tastes way more sugary and foreign to my body than it once did. It’s as if my body really wanted to make it clear by saying, “are you sure you want to bring this stuff back into the picture?”

Side Note: For those that are curious, since it’s the most common question I’ve been asked since embarking on this journey, the candy I chose to eat as my first piece was a Vegan Wild Cherry Belt by Squish Candies. (And no I’m not getting paid to brand-drop, and no I don’t make any commission should you choose to buy any at that link… unfortunately LOL).

Where I Go From Here

While I don’t see myself going completely cold turkey on candy again, I also cannot see myself consuming it nearly as much as I once did. And I do so happily, not out of punishment. While I’m also certainly not qualified to be giving out dietary advice, I am comfortable challenging all of you to give up something you know to not be good for you. See how your body feels both without it and after you re-introduce it.


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Instagram. And to receive my free eBook on 5 Simple Daily Hacks For A Genuinely Happier Life click HERE.

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Alternative News

Big News: Costco To Become First Major Retailer To Stop Selling Roundup Herbicide?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to the non profit group Moms Across America, Costco is set to stop selling Roundup herbicide.

  • Reflect On:

    Despite the fact that harmful products continue to be approved across North America, the ultimate power to stop their use is us. When we become aware, we stop buying, and their profits drop. We are the ones that use it. Vote with your dollar.

It’s hard to even know where to start with the herbicide Roundup. Despite years of science exposing the inarguable health and environmental consequences of Roundup, federal health regulatory agencies in North America are still approving the herbicide, while multiple other countries have banned it and made its use illegal, citing various health and environmental concerns. Sri Lanka, for example, banned it five years ago due to its link to deadly kidney disease.

Furthermore, the countries approving it are doing so with massive amounts of corruption. These approvals come as a result of corrupt regulatory agencies here in Canada as well as the US, specifically the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The list of examples is very long when it comes to corruption and government connections to corporations like Monsanto, the corporation that created and sells Roundup. This is the only way these products get approved. It’s not science, it’s simply because of lobbying efforts and shady politics.

“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage (et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), article ID 179691)

The latest approvals of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, came from within Canada as well as Europe.

EU regulators recently decided to relicense glyphosate, a decision that was based on an assessment plagiarized from industry reports. It’s quite backwards that, for years, health regulators have been relying on the scientific reports from the companies that manufacture these products instead of seeking out independent scientific studies.

A group of MEPs decided to commission an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (bFr) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies. You can read more about that here.

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In addition, Monsanto colluded with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stifle cancer research that had any connection to their products.

The corruption is never-ending when it comes to the link between corporations and government agencies. In fact, only a few years ago, more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the Spider Papers.

Related CE Article: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Explains How Big Pharma Completely Owns Congress

Costco

The corruption that plagues our federal regulatory agencies runs deep, and no matter how obvious the science becomes, like the dangers of Roundup, products that negatively impact our health seem to often get approved anyways. But something special on planet Earth is happening, and that’s massive awareness. We are finally starting to see through the veil that’s been blinding the masses in so many different areas within human life.

Sure, these products may continue to get approved, but we are the ones who are constantly choosing to do so. We don’t have to buy them, and that is why awareness is key.

Zen Honeycutt, the leader of Moms Across America, announced this week that Costco will not be selling the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup Ready.

In a live video update posted on Facebook, Honeycutt stated that she received word that Costco was no longer selling Roundup or glyphosate-based herbicides.

While she’s allegedly not received any official word yet from Costco, she stated that she has talked to various people at the headquarters and regional offices confirming this news. This is huge news because, according to a 2015 article in National Geographic, Roundup is the second-best-selling herbicide in the U.S. for home lawn and garden use. Under a lucrative contract with Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro owns the exclusive right to market Roundup in North America and much of Europe. Scotts distributes about $154 million worth (5.5 percent of the company’s total sales) of Roundup each year to retail giants including Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart.

So let’s hope it’s true.

I asked for an official statement and was told that usually, Costco does not issue press releases, etc discussing which items they have discontinued. Despite not hearing back from the Costco PR department, I decided to announce the information anyway. I told them that the 89,000 people who signed a petition to Costco, Home Depot, and Lowe’s deserved to have an answer. I knew that they would be happy to know that Costco was doing the right thing. – Honeycutt (source)

It’s weird how this is even a debate in some circles. This has been known for a very long time, and we’ve seen similar happenings with DDT in the past.

“Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.” – October 2012 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) (source)(source)

Glyphosate is really getting a bad name, as this new information regarding Costco is coming off the heels of some bad press for Monsanto (Bayer) as the case regarding school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit claiming that glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. There are thousands upon thousands of similar pending cases. Any jury that reviews all of the scientific evidence will not be able to rule in favor of Monsanto, and Johnson’s case was a great example that showed glyphosate caused his cancer.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, it’s us who decide to use these products. Obviously, we’ve been misled and made to trust our federal regulatory agencies who are supposedly in charge of protecting us from these harmful products. It’s the complete opposite, and what these agencies do is actually quite criminal. This is why conscious media is so important. The same powers that control these corporations have a tight grip on mainstream media as well.

This is why this issue goes largely ignored, and the fact that so many people rely on mainstream media for information about what’s really happening in the world with regards to health, environment, finance, politics, etc. is why a lot of people are still completely unaware of important issues. This is also why governments have started a war on ‘fake news,’ which seems to be a cover for protecting corporate and government interests.

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Alternative News

New Study Links Acetaminophen (Tylenol) To Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity

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Another damning study indicates it is simply time to pull the plug on this outdated drug.

The study just published in JAMA Pediatrics once again indicated that women who take acetaminophen during pregnancy are more likely to have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The researchers also found that prenatal exposure to the medication was associated with a higher risk of having children who exhibit other emotional or behavioral symptoms.

Recent detailed analysis of clinical studies on acetaminophen (Tylenol) have concluded that this popular drug was ineffective for low back pain and provided no significant clinical relief of hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain, while quadrupling the risk for liver damage.

All together, the results from all of these analyses further calls into question whether this drug should still be on the over-the-counter market or at all.

Background Data:

Acetaminophen is the only remaining member of the class of drugs known as “aniline analgesics” that is still on the market, as the rest were discontinued long ago. Acetaminophen only blocks the feelings of pain and reduces fever, it exerts no significant anti-inflammatory or therapeutic action.

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It is well-known that acetaminophen is very hard on the liver. About 40% of regular acetaminophen users show signs of liver damage. Acetaminophen reduces the liver’s store of the important detoxifying aid and antioxidant glutathione. When acetaminophen is combined with alcoholic drinks or other compounds toxic to the liver including other medications, its negative effects on the liver are multiplied. It should definitely not be used in anyone with impaired liver function and given the stress the liver experiences during pregnancy, it appears unwise to use it while carrying a child for both mother and the developing fetus.

Acetaminophen is often the drug of choice in children to relieve fever. However, use for fever in the first year of life is associated with an increase in the incidence of asthma and other allergic symptoms later in childhood. Asthma appears to be another disease process that is influenced greatly by antioxidant mechanisms. Acetaminophen severely depletes glutathione levels not only in the liver, but presumably other tissues as well, and should definitely not be used in people with asthma.

Each year acetaminophen causes over 100,000 calls to poison control centers; 50,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and more than 450 deaths from liver failure. In addition, regular use of acetaminophen is linked to a higher likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, and hearing loss (especially in men under 50 years of age). Acetaminophen use during pregnancy has also been linked to the development of ADHD confirming animal studies showing acetaminophen use in pregnancy can disrupt normal brain development.

New Data:

To more closely assess the associations between maternal prenatal acetaminophen use and behavioral issues in their children, researchers in the United Kingdom collected and analyzed data 7,796 mothers along with their children. The data included acetaminophen use and behavioral assessments of the children were 7 years old. From this data the estimated risk ratios for behavioral problems in children after prenatal exposure to acetaminophen was determined.

The results showed that prenatal acetaminophen use at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy was associated with a 42% increased risk of the child having conduct problems and hyperactivity symptoms, while maternal acetaminophen use at 32 weeks was also associated with a 29% increased risk of the child having emotional symptoms and a 46% increase in total behavioral difficulties.

Obviously, the researchers concluded “Children exposed to acetaminophen prenatally are at increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties, and the associations do not appear to be explained by unmeasured behavioral or social factors linked to acetaminophen use.”

Comment:

The results from this study and others are clear. Stay away from acetaminophen. Most people consider acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) as being an extremely safe pain reliever for both children and adults. The reality is that it can be extremely dangerous and causes significant side effects. The FDA has done a poor job alerting the public to the dangers of acetaminophen. In my opinion, it is a drug that serves no real medical purpose in the 21stcentury. Bottom line, it is time to pull it from the market.

As far as alternatives to acetaminophen during pregnancy, I would recommend ginger. Historically, the majority of complaints for which ginger (Zingiber officinale) was used concerned the gastrointestinal system as well as pain and inflammation. Several double-blind studies have shown ginger to yield positive results in a variety of gastrointestinal issues, especially those related to nausea and vomiting including severe morning sickness. In regards to pain and inflammation, dozens of clinical studies have supported this use with positive results in various forms of arthritis, chronic low back pain, muscle pain, and painful menstruation.

Ginger powder, ginger tea or a shot of fresh ginger juice added to any fresh fruit or vegetable juice is certainly a much better option to acetaminophen anytime, but especially during pregnancy.

My overall interpretation of the study is that depletion of glutathione caused by acetaminophen leaves cells, especially brain cells, susceptible to damage. I believe that future studies will not only show more evidence of a link to ADHD, but also autism as well. Glutathione is absolutely critical in protecting cellular function. Any factor that depletes glutathione is obviously going to alter proper development. In addition to acetaminophen, the following factors can deplete glutathione:

To boost your glutathione level it is important to focus on a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. Their rich source of antioxidant phytochemicals and nutrients spare the use of glutathione and help to keep cellular levels high.

For additional related research use the following links: 


If you want to learn more from Greenmedinfo, sign up for their newsletter here


Reference

Stergiakouli E, Thapar A, Smith GD. Association of Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy with Behavioral Problems in Childhood. Evidence Against Confounding. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online August 15, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.1775


Dr. Murray is one of the world’s leading authorities on natural medicine. He has published over 40 books featuring natural approaches to health. His research into the health benefits of proper nutrition is the foundation for a best-selling line of dietary supplements from Natural Factors, where he is Director of Product Development. He is a graduate, former faculty member, and serves on the Board of Regents of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Please Click Here to receive a Free 5 Interview Collection from Dr Murray’s Natural Medicine Summit with the Top Leaders in the Field of Natural Medicine. Sign up for his newsletter and receive a free copy of his book on Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia.

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