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Scientists Discover What Meditation Does To Your Gut & Your Brain

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Numerous studies have indicated the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University.

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An eight week study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brains grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the brain’s grey matter. (1)

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.” – (1) Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School Instructor in Psychology

The Study

The study involved taking magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain’s of 16 study participants two weeks prior to participating in the study. MRI images of the participants were also taken after the study was completed.

“The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.” (1)

For the study, participants engaged in meditation practices every day for approximately 30 minutes. These practices included focusing on audio recordings for guided meditation, non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind.

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“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.” – (1) Britta Holzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany

The Gut

Researchers from Harvard have also released another study showing that meditation can have a significant impact on clinical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  The study showed that elicitation of the relaxation response (a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress) is a very big help.

The study comes out of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). This is the very first study where the use of the “relaxation response” was examined in these disorders, and the first to investigate the genomic effects of the relaxation response in individuals with any disorder. The report was published in the journal PLOS-ONE. (source)

Given the two studies cited above, and all of the other documented health benefits of meditation, this should open the door for more studies to examine the benefits of meditation for a wide range of diseases.

“Our results suggest exciting possibilities for further developing and implementing this treatment in a wider group of patients with gastrointestinal illness. Several studies have found that stress management techniques and other psychological interventions can help patients with IBS, at least in the short term; and while the evidence for IBD is less apparent, some studies have suggested potential benefits. What is novel about our study is demonstration of the impact of a mind/body intervention on the genes controlling inflammatory factors that are known to play a major role in IBD and possibly in IBS.” – Brandon Kuo of the gastrointestinal unit in the MGH Department of Medicine, co-lead author of the report. (source)

For those of you who are unaware, IBS and IBD are chronic conditions that produce similar symptoms which include; abdominal pain, and changes in bowel function, like diarrhea. IBD also includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which leads one to suffer from severe inflammation in all or part of the gastrointestinal tract. Science has shown us that stress intensifies these symptoms, which is why this study regarding meditation and these diseases holds a great deal of importance.

The relaxation response has been subject to several studies that clearly show that its regular practice (induced by meditation) directly affects physiologic factors such as oxygen consumption, heart rate, blood pressure and again, stress and anxiety. It was first described over 40 years ago by Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute and co-author of the paper presented in this article.

The study had 48 adult participants, with 19 of them being diagnosed with IBS and 29 with IBD. There was weekly relaxation response training, as well as in their home for 15 t0 20 mintues each day.

The study enrolled 48 adult participants — 19 of whom had been diagnosed with IBS and 29 with IBD — who participated in a nine-week group program focused on stress reduction, cognitive skills, and health-enhancing behaviors. Each of the weekly sessions included relaxation response training, and participants were asked to practice relaxation response elicitation at home for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Along with aspects featured in other group programs offered at the Benson-Henry Institute, this program included a session specifically focused on gastrointestinal health.

“Both in patients with IBS and those with IBD, participation in the mind/body program appeared to have significantly improved disease-related symptoms, anxiety, and overall quality of life, not only at the end of the study period but also three weeks later. While there were no significant changes in inflammatory markers for either group of participants, changes in expression were observed in almost 200 genes among participants with IBS and more than 1,000 genes in those with IBD. Many of the genes with altered expression are known to contribute to pathways involved with stress response and inflammation.” (source)

How To Meditate

A common misconception about meditation is that you have to sit a certain way or do something in particular to achieve the various benefits that it can provide. All you have to do is place yourself in a position that is most comfortable to you. It could be sitting cross legged, lying down in a bed, sitting on a couch etc, it’s your choice.

Another common misconception about meditation is that you have to “try” to empty your mind. One important factor I enjoyed reading from the study mentioned above is that participants were engaged in “non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind.”  When meditating, you shouldn’t try to “empty” your mind. Instead, try to let your thoughts, feelings and whatever emotions you are feeling at the time flow. Don’t judge them, just let them come and go and be at peace with it.

I also believe that meditation is a state of being/mind more than anything else. I feel that one does not have to sit down for half an hour and “meditate” so to speak in order to reap the benefits of it, or to be engaged in the practice itself.  One can be engaged in meditation while they are on a walk, for example, or the time they have right before they sleep. Throughout the day, one can resist judging their thoughts, letting them flow until they are no more, or just be in a constant state of peace and self awareness. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one way to meditate.

“You will have to understand one of the most fundamental things about meditation: that no technique leads to meditation. The old so-called techniques and the new scientific biofeedback techniques are the same as far as meditation is concerned. Meditation is not a byproduct of any technique. Meditation happens beyond mind. No technique can go beyond mind.” – Osho

For more articles from Collective Evolution on meditation you can click HERE.

Sources:

(1)  http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

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Simple Exercises To Help Reverse Damage Caused From Excessive Sitting

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In our modern lifestyle, we are sitting too much and for too long periods of time. This level of sedentary lifestyle is not natural for our bodies and could lead to very serious health issues if we do not address this issue.

  • Reflect On:

    How could you be more active throughout your regular day to reduce the impacts of sitting too much? Can you make some of these simple excises a daily habit to help limit the damages of sitting?

If you are here and reading this, chances are you have a job that involves long periods of sitting, and most likely staring at a screen. This has become the norm in our modern society and because our bodies are designed to move, to stretch and well, basically to be used, sitting for extended periods of time is causing us some serious damage. Some people are going as far as to say that sitting is the new smoking.

Have you experienced those moments when you finally get up from a sitting position and your butt is completely numb? Excessive sitting causes your legs and hips to become tight and leaves your glutes completely inactive, which does nothing to strengthen these areas. Then there is the dreaded slouch over the desk and computer that could be ruining your posture as well.

Think about how our society was before the industrial revolution, stock market and even recently with the invention of the computer. Us humans were tending our own gardens, washing and hanging our own clothes, we didn’t have cars and were, by default, much more active than we are today. We didn’t even have couches to sit on at the end of the day or more screens, in various shapes and sizes to stare at whilst sitting. It is straight up unnatural for our bodies to spend so much time being inactive and we are starting to see the consequences.

However, having awareness is the first step towards change, and there are some simple ways that you can begin to undo the damage that is caused by sitting. So without further a due, here are 7 simple exercises you can do now to reduce the damage caused by sitting.

Sit Less & Move More

Prevention is the best remedy. By simply being aware of how much you are sitting, you can begin to negate its effects. Whenever possible stand up, go for a little walk around the office, perhaps a little stretch or plank while you’re at it. To remind yourself to do this you can set a timer to go off every 30-60 minutes.

Consider using a standing desk perhaps to keep you on your feet and activating your muscles for longer, although you will still want to ensure you are incorporating some movement, as standing for hours on end is not necessarily good for you and your body either. A friend suggested a great idea to me once, which was to drink plenty of water. This will force you to get up often, not only to get more water but to also relive your bladder, this sounds silly, but it totally works. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with staying hydrated!

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Stretch Out Those Hips

If you are really tight, the following exercises may be difficult at first, don’t push it only go to your level of comfort. With time you will gain the flexibility to go deeper as it will get easier after a while.

Squats

Nothing like some good old-fashioned squats to engage your glutes and your legs. Stand up tall, have the feet about hip width apart and facing a little bit outwards, bend down so your knees are at about a 45-degree angle, come up and flex your glutes when you do. Repeat 10 times to start, increasing every time you do this.

Downward Dog

This is a classic move that you may already know if you’ve ever taken a yoga class. If you haven’t — no sweat, it’s a fairly simple exercise. Stand up straight and bend over, place your hands in front of you on the ground and slowly walk them out. If you are on your tiptoes for this, that’s totally fine, you want your body to be in a “V” shape. Hold this pose for 10 – 15 seconds at first, then increase the duration as you get comfortable. To come out of this position, walk your hands slowly back to your feet than stand up tall. You may be able to eventually have your feet flat on the ground as you do this, but it may take some time to achieve this.

Plank Position

The plank position is great for whole body strength. Simply get into a standard push up position, or rest your elbows on the floor, ensure your back is flat, like a plank and hold for 20 seconds to start. Over time, you can increase the duration of this exercise. It is an excellent way to strengthen the core and gets your legs and glutes involved as well.

Glute Bridge

Lay on your back on the ground, bring your legs up so your feet are about 1 foot away from your butt, place your hands flat on the floor and begin to raise your pelvis off the ground. Repeat 20 times, ensuring to flex those glutes every time you lift up. As this becomes easier, increase the number of repetitions.

Spinal Twist

Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. To start, bring in your right knee and cross your foot across your left leg, hug your right leg into your body while sitting up straight. Hold this pose for 10 seconds then switch legs. As this becomes easier you can move on the

Leg Swings

Start this exercise by finding something to hold onto for balance. Start by swinging your right leg backward and forwards as high and as far back as feels comfortable to you. Repeat 20 times then switch legs.

Next up is side to side leg swings. Keep holding onto something for balance and swing your right leg out to the side as high as is comfortable and then in front of you towards your left as far as you can. Again, do 20 swings then switch legs. You may repeat if you are feeling especially tight.

Much Love

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We interviewed David about what is happening within the cabal and disclosure. He shared some incredible insight that is insanely relevant to today.

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Family Constellation Therapy & It’s Role In Healing Autism

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Trans-generational traumas add to our toxic burden and predispose us to illness. Misfortune or unresolved conflict in our ancestry can create disturbances which filter down into the psyche, nervous system and metabolic functioning.

  • Reflect On:

    What conflict exists in your ancestry? Could it be impacting your family's health?

Family Constellation Therapy, sometimes known as Systemic Constellations, was created by Bert Hellinger, a German psychotherapist. This amazing method is used to uncover the source of chronic conditions, illnesses and emotional difficulties that may have roots in the inter-generational family systems, rather than the individual, and may be connected to a key stress event.

Could resolving past family trauma help unlock the symptoms known as autism? Sadly, some form of autism is now observed in 1 in 55 children and is growing at a rate of more than 1,100 percent. Western medicine focuses on medication to suppress symptoms and alternative approaches focus on treating the underlying biomedical, physical, psychological and environmental causes of autism.

However, illness not only originates in our physical body, but can also originate in our energetic and spiritual body as well. So, it becomes imperative that we treat the entire person for a fuller recovery.

“Autism spectrum disorders can only be fully healed by restoring the self-regulation of the system and making it fully functional.” – Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt

This moving and powerful work in the family’s energetic field is also referred to as “the knowing field.” And, is used to examine the emotional factors connected to conditions such as illness, allergies, alcoholism, ADHD and autism. Some parents of children on the autism spectrum have experienced profound transformations as a result of this work for themselves, as well as for their families.

These children are often the recipients of unhealed trans-generational family issues because of their extraordinary energetic sensitivities.  This perpetuates their illness.

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Family constellation therapy work, focuses deeper on the ancestral family blueprint – the family soul. Our souls carry information from one lifetime to the next and from one generation to the next.

Children often hold the energetic field of their ancestors. This appears especially true with children with autism, because they are super-sensitive and spiritual souls. Who, often become unconsciously entangled with others in their family in the name of belonging or wanting to help restore balance in their family system. The purpose of a Family Constellation therapy session is to reveal that hidden dynamic and point the way toward resolution. And, there are often magical improvements in these children when we resolve issues in the family history.

The Forgotten One

One of the participants in a group “Michelle,” has a brother with severe autism who couldn’t speak and was very self-destructive. She was afraid that he could never live a more “normal” life because he refused all biomedical treatment and other therapies offered to him. In the initial set-up, the facilitator had Michelle, her brother, and both parents of her family represented  in “the field.”

The participant representing her brother was hiding under a nearby chair and was rocking back and forth. Both parents were standing in the field, seemingly disinterested in what was going on. The sister (Michelle) kept looking down at the floor. Later in the set-up, it was revealed that the sister was looking down at a baby—a baby who had died of birth defects three generations ago. This baby hadn’t been properly acknowledged or mourned.

In essence, the brother with autism had taken the place of the “forgotten” baby. Representatives for the great-grandparents (the forgotten baby’s parents) were brought into “the field.” Then, the baby was embraced by the parents and a short dialogue was exchanged. The baby reported that he felt more at ease, relaxed and became more comfortable. A healing took place that was so profound.  A year later, “Michelle” reported that her brother was starting to take a more active role in his recovery and was beginning to accept treatment.

War and Mental Illness

“Andrew,” a man in his twenties who was diagnosed with Asperger’s, participated in my group. He claimed that mental illness and psychosis ran in his family. He cried as he explained that he was taking multiple medications for bi-polar disorder. He claimed it was difficult for him to hold down a job.  He often felt very alone. He stated that he did not have a good relationship with his parents. He said that his mom was “crazy.” The parents divorced when he was very small and he blames himself and his issues for why they split.

In the initial set-up of “his field,” Andrew was represented along with mental illness and his parents.   As it unfolded, it became more obvious that something profound had happened in the past. Mental illness began taking on characteristics of a war and hidden dynamics were revealing themselves.

Later in the set-up, Andrew’s representative started choking, like he was trying to catch his breath. He was mumbling, “I deserve death because I have killed others.”

It was uncovered that his great-great grandfather was in World War I and was killed during a mustard gas attack. Andrew was doing service to the family out of deep love. He took on the feelings of the victim and the perpetrator, which caused him deep inner conflict. Hence, he was carrying the burden of mental illness and autism. In doing this soul work, Andrew was able to find resolution for himself as well as all the members of his family.

In conclusion, trans-generational traumas add to our toxic burden and predispose us to illness. Misfortune or unresolved conflict in our ancestry can create disturbances in the family field, which filter down into the psyche, nervous system and metabolic functioning. Children with health issues are particularly sensitive to such disturbances.

Therapy and biomedical interventions may even succeed better after a healing Family Constellation session with an experienced facilitator. Fortunately, it is never too late to heal wounds from the past. Constellation work is unique in that any living family member can do this intervention for the benefit of all.


Learn more about my family’s healing journey (including everything that has worked for me and many of my clients) in my book Healing Without Hurting. And to receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety and more without medication SIGN UP HERE.

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We interviewed David about what is happening within the cabal and disclosure. He shared some incredible insight that is insanely relevant to today.

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Awareness

What If Everything We Know About Depression Was Wrong? [Video]

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There is a lot more to depression than currently meets the eye. If it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, then there is still something that is causing it. It's time to dig deeper and shed some light on this issue that affects millions worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we more depressed now more than ever? Our current society isn't set up for us all to have a fair chance of living the best possible life imaginable.

It is no secret, the amount of people who are suffering from mild to severe depression is astronomical, at an all-time high. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that over 300 Million people around the world have some form of depression. Not to mention many sufferers go undiagnosed. What is going on here? Science tells us that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, but why are we seeing the rise illness at such alarming rates? Perhaps, it’s time to rethink what we think we know about depression.

Is it possible that it is not our brains that are causing us to be depressed, but rather our society? We do not have our basic needs met, we have to work hard to afford to live, often doing jobs in which we have no passion for. We have debt that keeps us completely enslaved to this whole never-ending cycle, and through all this, we are expected to be feel good?

Whether we are working a job with a 6-figure salary or a minimum wage job, many of us are still depressed. Money won’t make us happy, although this is what we are often led to believe. Even those pulling in large salaries find it difficult to find the time to spend with their families, or do something that they are passionate about or brings them joy.

Why are we the only species on the planet that has to pay for our food, water, and shelter? This is such a simple question that is rarely asked.

Now this isn’t to say we blame our society for how we feel, because ultimately WE have control over how we feel. It’s simply that our environment makes it no easier. True peace, is found within, yet our society is pushed to be so distracted that we find little time to go within and find that peace. Instead we’re in constant survival mode.

Opening Up The Dialogue

The video below is a brilliant explanation by author, Johann Hari. He describes an alternate view of what is really causing us to be so depressed in the first place. He has suffered from depression as well and was convinced that this issue was all in his head — the chemical imbalance we hear so much about. He felt it was a sign of weakness and was ashamed of his condition.

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After being prescribed anti-depressant medication and being on the highest dose possible, Hari was still suffering. This is what led him to realize that there had to be more to this issue than a chemical imbalance. After all, what kept causing these feelings to reemerge?

Check out the video below to hear the insight he’s gained after years of studying the true causes of depression.

Where Do We Go From Here?

By talking about this issue, in-depth, and opening up this dialogue, perhaps we can gain new insight in regards to what we can actually do to begin to try and solve this problem. We don’t have to live a life of despair and hopelessness, there are solutions to this issue and at the very least it’s worth a shot, especially when it seems as though all else has failed.

If there is a chemical imbalance within the brain, something has caused that, and as said in the video, there are a number of different things that may be contributing to that. Lack of nature, connection, purpose, holding on to grief, shame, and trauma. As mentioned, we also spend little time turning within and truly reflecting on self. This is probably the greatest relief found in moving beyond depression.

Can we find out what is truly ailing us in order to let it go so we can move on with our lives and thrive as we were meant to?

Much Love

Free David Wilcock Screening: Disclosure & The Fall of the Cabal

We interviewed David about what is happening within the cabal and disclosure. He shared some incredible insight that is insanely relevant to today.

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