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Mind over MRI?

The power of the mind is impressive. Research is building and showing that we can use our mind to change our thoughts and even transform our health.

 

Well friends, it’s time for me to walk my talk and put my trust and faith in the power of the mind and use it as a tool for learning more about my body.

 

Science has even shown us that you can have an impact on someone else hundreds of miles away and their health by using your mind with meditation and prayer. We see these requests for support for our loved ones’ health on Facebook now all the time and it has been practiced for decades.

 

We all have heard the plea or request for prayers and support…it’s because it works!

 

Stress is on the rise and one of the leading causes of dis-ease in this country. Our bodies and minds are taking on countless tasks and there aren’t enough sticky notes to keep track of them all.

 

My clients’ number one complaint is, “I feel overwhelmed!”

 

How often do you find yourself overwhelmed? Is this an emotional state you live or just visit time to time? And how do you manage? I want to know!!

 

My go-to tools to combat overwhelm are meditation, mantra, and mindfulness.

 

Of course, it’s easier said than done. It’s like someone telling you to “let it go” when someone has stamped out your heart and you wonder to yourself…but how?

 

Pondering the impermanence of life in an attempt to make this the best life yet has been my approach to mindfulness. And it hasn’t come without struggle.

 

We all have our stories of triumph and of wallowing in the valley of darkness. And we know that both will come and go so how do we move between the two?

 

Equanimity: The unattached awareness of one’s experiences as a result of perceiving the impermanence of momentary reality. It is a peace of mind and abiding calmness that cannot be shaken by any grade of either fortunate or unfortunate circumstances.

 

And equanimity…builds resilience.

 

Equanimity and resilience are essential in living a healthy and long life.

 

A recent injury in a CPR training at work left me with a locked up neck and back over a month ago. And just as I felt I was almost 100% healed, I woke up with vertigo.

 

Two vertigo episodes left my body with some rigidity, and a total sense of powerlessness. I was powerless in my voice, as I couldn’t yell for help, and in moving my limbs to support me in bringing myself up off the floor.

 

I will note that between the two episodes when I thought again I was almost 100% back to “normal”, I had nightmares that I couldn’t yell for help and more desperate feelings of powerlessness.

 

As I coach my clients when they are wanting to make big changes and create transformation in their lives…I asked myself, “How can I take back my power?”

 

If you resist what is going on in your body, whether it is weight gain, vertigo, insomnia, or any other symptom that can leave you feeling powerless, your body will resist you right back.

 

And the words you use to tell your story and the way you talk to yourself will determine how you move through the symptoms. Bottom line is, your body can talk. It’s our job to listen and support it in coming back into alignment.

 

Our bodies give us feedback all the time! It’s an opportunity to learn how we can better care for this vessel that we have been blessed with while we are here.

 

I found myself in a state of equanimity during my recent vacation to my favorite climbing spot. Now I certainly didn’t get there instantly. I went through the emotional turmoil of debilitating thoughts of why vertigo and why now on a climbing trip that I have soooo been looking forward to? Why spirit, why?

 

And I should share I was upset, but had more compassion for myself and was mindful in how I spoke to myself in a way that I hadn’t been in years. This mindfulness is a practice and another area we do not need to be perfect!

 

As I sat and meditated and listened to what my body wanted me to do, I could hear the silent whispers of what my body was trying to tell me. Slow down Shannon Lee…slow down.

 

So now I take my mindfulness to Colorado Springs Imaging where I will have an MRI and an MRA to look at what could be causing some of the debilitating symptoms I have been experiencing the last 5 weeks.

 

Now I have a whole story around MRI’s and I do recall (silly me, I know better) saying just a few short years ago, “I could never get an MRI, I am too claustrophobic, there is simply no way I could do it!”

 

Yep and then “never say never” bit me in the ass…again.

 

My meditation practice for the last 20 years has not been perfect, and certainly at times not effective, but it’s a practice I have been working on to get better at this thing called life…to build resilience and equanimity.

 

To be ready for whatever life throws our way…

 

I have the awareness to recognize that I have a wee bit of anxiety, ok a lot of anxiety, around being in claustrophobic spaces, and certainly in a tight tube for testing.

 

But I also have the awareness to see that I have created a story around this thing called an MRI. I picked my mother up after she had one and she was so fragile and devastated from it that her story became my story and that’s how “I could never” was born.

 

So I am creating my own story around it now. Letting go of my fears and anxieties around being in a tube, feeling powerless, and what they might find and using it as a tool to get feedback for my body.

 

I am a biofeedback practitioner after all, so surely I can reframe this:).

 

I am going to the imaging center today to look at the machines and get more information. I am also looking at a guided meditation I want to pop in and maybe some new kirtan music for my 45-minute and then 30-minute imaging “sesh”.

 

Yep, that’s right, I said “sesh”. I gotta make this appointment way cooler than my ego perceives it to be.

 

I want to share a few of my favorite tools for starting a mindfulness practice:

 

Calm app: a great tool with bedtime stories in case you have trouble falling asleep, plus guided meditations, and music to help you de-stress and relax. The Calm app is free to download, and you will not incur any charges from downloading it or creating a Calm. Calm is a mindfulness meditation and relaxation app, built to help you feel calm in a natural way that’s in tune with your body’s innate ability to switch from ‘ready for action’ to ‘resting’. There is a 7 day free trial and then it’s $9.99 a month or $58.99 a year.

Headspace: Train Your Way to Happier Days with Headspace. Hundreds of Sessions. Track Your Progress. Use Anywhere, Anytime. Build Healthy Habits. Start Meditating Today. Headspace is a popular meditation app with cute animations, available on both iOS and Android. Most of its content is locked behind the $12.95/month (or $95.88/year) subscription, but you may be able to get what you need from the ten free sessions they offer.

Insight Timer: is an alarm that times your mindfulness practice while simultaneously helping you to use your smartphone as a spiritual link to a worldwide community of meditators using “insight” Insight timer has been downloaded over 300,000 times and has tracked over 4 million meditation sessions. The largest free library of meditations and music tracks on earth. New content added every day with access to over 19000 meditations.

 

So where are you feeling fear? Or resisting the symptoms that your body is giving you?

 

Take time to sit, ask your body questions, and get some answers.

 

I want to validate your frustration as well, along with my own, when we don’t know what’s going on and we struggle to figure out what is going on with our body. But that is where connecting with your own heart and spirit can guide you in a way that will never fail you.

 

Trust that everyone on your path is here to guide and support you.

 

You are your best healer and have the divine guidance within! Trust in that and take charge of your health by starting a mindfulness practice.

 

Ps…for all you recovering perfectionists out there like me….you can’t do it wrong, so what are you waiting for?

Love to hear your thoughts below…

Got Sleep?

I struggled with sleep multiple times in my life; including when my dad and then my mom were sick with cancer. Obviously stress and fear played a great role in my insomnia. Whenever I experience a heavy heart or deep loss, sleep seems to be elusive.

 

Can you relate?

 

Sleep is a divine right for each and every one of us. No one is more special than anyone else and deserves it more. It takes a keen eye to look at your habits and lifestyle and really observe what could be standing in the way of getting good sleep.

 

Be honest with yourself and look at what you can change…and start to make changes.

 

Now, let’s talk about the history of sleep and some hard facts so you understand where you are today and how you rate on good sleep hygiene.

 

Sleep Facts

  • Between 1910-1960 “normal” average sleep duration was 9 hours.
  • Current average is 7 hours.
  • 1/3 of the population sleeps 6 hours or less.
  • 70% of Americans are sleep deprived.
  • Insufficient sleep leads to imbalance between melatonin and growth hormone, leading to stunted growth, repair and slower healing.
  • Sleep deficiency leads to:
    • Performance loss
    • Slow reaction time
    • Impaired memory
    • Decreased motivation
  • Brain uptake of glucose drops as much as 7% with sleep deprivation.
  • One sleepless night can induce insulin resistance in healthy people.

Sleep Deprivation Causes

  • Impairment in the endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems
  • Glucose tolerance is decreased during sleep debt
  • Sleep deprivation disrupts normal pattern of growth hormone surge during the first 3
    hours of sleep.

 

Sleep Benefits

  • Fortifies your immune system
  • Balances your hormones
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Increases your physical energy
  • Improves the function of your brain
  • Enhances learning, memory and creativity
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Enhances serotonin
  • Fat burning reduces cortisol and increases leptin (hormone tells your brain when you are full)

 

Research shows that just after 24 hours of sleep deprivation there is an overall reduction of 6% in glucose reaching the brain.

 

You become lethargic and may crave candy, chips, doughnuts and other starchy sugary things when you’re sleep deprived. Your body is trying to compel you to get that glucose back to the brain as soon as possible. Now doesn’t that make sense of your inability to say no at times?


Now let’s talk about Serotonin.
1. Almost 95% of our body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. It is the building block for the sleep hormone melatonin. Serotonin is the hormone that helps you feel good during the day; it’s the happy hormone. These two go hand in hand!
2. Serotonin and the health of your digestion can impact your brain and sleep more powerfully than almost anything.
3. Healthy gut = increased quality of sleep.

 

The Sleep-Weight Connection
1. Less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep can affect the hormones that impact your appetite.

a. Leptin- The hormone that tells you when you’re full.
b. Ghrelin- The hormone that tells you when you’re hungry.
2. If you are struggling to lose weight and you are exercising and eating foods that are not inflammatory, you may want to look at your sleep habits. You just can’t lose weight without proper sleep hygiene.

 

Here’s your takeaway:
Take your sleep just as serious as your fitness, your spirituality, your personal hygiene and your diet. Quality of sleep is as important as any of these other facets of health!

 

Take a peek here at my Good Sleep Hygiene Checklist to see how you rate with your sleep and where you can make some changes to sleep like a queen.

 

Hundreds of my clients have taken charge of their health and gone from restless nights to sleeping like a queen and so can you!

 

If you or someone you know is struggling to get sleep, please reach out for help. Sleep deprivation is not sustainable as your body cannot function, heal, repair, or renew without consistent quality sleep. Email me here for help today.

 

Love to hear your thoughts below…

How to thrive and SOAR during flu and head cold season

Winter is an easy time to get back in the gym and rediscover a fun class – A class that you may have forgotten how good it made you feel and give you great results at the same time.

 

I just rediscovered Bodyjam, a hip-hop dance class by Les Mills, available at many gyms all around the world. It was a dream of mine to become a Bodyjam instructor at 40, which I did, and the work involved in delivering that program was one of the hardest classes to deliver…ever!

 

But I am so happy to be in an area with Bodyjam classes, my cardio routines are happening weekly and my immune system is rocking and rolling like a well oiled machine.

 

It’s also high time for germ season, especially if you are hitting the gym!

 

I have been around friends and family and everywhere I turn they are suffering with their health, sinus drainage, coughing, and energy is running low.

 

It’s the flu and head cold season and I have seen my clients and loved ones in bed for days.

 

What can we do? I have a powerful winter tool kit I want to share with you.

 

Because quite honestly, I can feel that my system has been getting tested as well and my tried and true protocol worked again!

 

This is what I want for you too…so read below to learn more about what keeps you thriving in the winter months and let me know how it works for you.

 

Tools to beat the flu and head cold season every year:

 

  1. Organic Bone broth in the morning: Add kelp flakes for healthy iron and blood cell rejuvenation and a dash of sea salt. Fire and Kettle has soups with bone broth that are fantastic. You can use bone broth to heat up leftovers to maximize your daily intake.
  2. Warm bath with Epsom salts every night: 1 cup of salts, soak for at least 20 minutes, and watch something pleasurable like Matt Kahn’s video Soul Contracts and Twin Flames for some self love tips and laughter.
  3. Omega 3’s: I recommend plant-based because of the toxicity in our oceans.
  4. Hot beverages: Afternoon hot tea or a second cup of bone broth (not another cup of coffee). This warms your core temperature and allows your body to spend less energy on doing that and more energy on building your immunity.
  5. Wear a hat: Cover your head when you go outside…no really, your mom was right!
  6. Avoid top inflammatory foods: Stay away from gluten and sugar; sugar feeds inflammation, which feeds infection. If you need a snack, try popcorn with kelp flakes.
  7. Stay away from dairy: Dairy is highly inflammatory to our sinuses and creates mucus, which you are trying to eliminate. Ditch it until you are on the other side.
  8. Move your body daily: a 15 min walk may be all you need if you are fighting something but you can build resilience by having a regular routine. Also recognize when your body needs to rest and recover and when exercise would be beneficial.

 

I have saved the most powerful tip and tool for last…

 

A tool that I have been using for over 18 years to build my immune system from the inside out so that I can feel confident when I am around germs and trust that I can overcome.

 

I just realized how much I lean on this tool and how little I talk about it. In 18 years, I have never written a blog about it. WHAT WHAT?

 

It’s because some people have a negative reaction to any kind of network marketing, ok including myself, as I am approached almost everyday when folks find out I am a health coach.

 

But results are results, regardless of how a product is delivered.

 

25 years of research and billions of testimonies and hundreds of doctors will echo what I am about to share…and that’s that “it works”!

 

Think about it, if your immune system is compromised, you want to eat more whole foods right?

 

When you feel a cold coming on, you want to eat as many fruits and veggies as you can, free of pesticides and herbicides, and pack a punch of antioxidants to the body to fight off whatever is in the system causing inflammation.

 

And that’s what I have done…over and over on a daily basis for 18 years by taking a whole food supplement.

 

It’s not vitamins and minerals, its simply food in a capsule and I am a woman on the go and appreciate that!

 

I started taking Juice Plus+ at 28 years old when I discovered I had chronic fatigue and found I didn’t have the energy to even walk up a hill, much less climb a mountain, which was my passion. I was devastated.

 

I also grew up on processed foods and was addicted sugar and found myself on antibiotics 2-3 times per year for strep throat or bronchitis. I lived on Benadryl because I was allergic to everything from dust, rabbits, dogs, cats, dust, pollen, and ragweed.

 

I had over 52 tests on my body and I was allergic to everything and advised I would be taking allergy medications the rest of my life and that’s just the way it would be.

 

Well, that is just not the case. I am thriving, no antibiotics or allergy medication in 18 years! And gosh, I just realized I may not have ever shared this with you.

 

Now I don’t believe in a miracle pill that will “fix it all”. I have done a lot of work cleaning up my diet, balancing my hormones, finding a good chiropractor, managing my stress, and developing a spiritual practice that are all at play in our total well-being.

 

BUT, when it comes to fighting the flu, head colds, or stomach bugs…I simply double up on my regular dose of Juice Plus+ and follow my simple protocol above, and I slay the nasty infection dragons.

 

I don’t buy cough drops, syrups, Echinacea, or anything else. Juice Plus+ is already on hand, and I fly with it AND drive with it, in case I need it. And who doesn’t want something when you are on a plane surrounded by coughing and sneezing close neighbors.

 

I hope that you hear my passion about it, as my intention is to always support you with becoming the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.

 

I have had three new Juice Plus+ testimonies from clients in the last two weeks. Results such as having regular bowel movements after years of irregularity, sustained energy and mental clarity, and reduced cravings. One client with asthma finds himself on antibiotics every year at this time. His body got physically tested, he got tired, wore out, and he felt it coming.

 

But…he doubled up, and he had been taking it for a year, rebuilding his system on a cellular level. And he is now celebrating beating two sinus infections back to back over the last two winters. Now that’s results I want to share with you!

 

And this is what I want for you too.

 

So if you are struggling…check it out here. I only share because I care.

 

Love to hear your thoughts, please share any comments below.

 

Shannon Lee