When tough times bring you down, your ability to cope in a positive way is known as resilience. An essential skill for healthy development in childhood, resilience is critical to well-being throughout our lifetime. The overriding question is this: As adults, can we increase our capacity for resilience in order to lead more fulfilling lives?
The answer is YES. Resilience is not a super power; it's an ordinary skill that anyone can develop at any age. Think of it as an emotional muscle that can be strengthened. Research shows that resilience is linked to well-being by way of positive emotions and coping strategies (e.g., optimism, cheerfulness, gratitude, mindfulness). Benefits include:
Six Secrets to Increasing Your Resilience:
Catch It Early. One trait of highly resilient individuals is a keen awareness for when things aren't going right. We've all heard doctors say "good thing we caught it early," and that applies to stress. Identify stress early in the process and you can be proactive in managing how it (and your emotions) affect you and your health.
Stay in the Light. Optimism is the ability to look at a dire situation and assess its meaning for your life. If a significant relationship has ended, there will be grief, confusion, anger and so on. There's also an opportunity to re-examine your needs and explore what truly makes you happy. Amid dark times, you can mentally stay in the light by using positive affirmations, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and monitoring what you watch and read on a regular basis.
The Great Defender: that's our immune system, uniquely designed to keep us healthy and defend against illness and infection. Made up of organs, including the skin, lungs, and gut, as well as specialized cells, the immune system's job is to remain on alert for disease-causing invaders and to protect our body against them.
Our immune system's first responders are white blood cells (WBCs) that are alerted to the presence of an invader. Some WBCs seek and destroy invaders while others have a cellular memory that enables the body to remember and recognize previous invaders and help destroy them. For example, if you get chickenpox, your body develops immunity to the virus; if you're exposed to chickenpox again, you won't contract it.
Sometimes the cellular communication goes haywire and the immune system starts attacking healthy cells in the body. This is called an autoimmune response; it can lead to autoimmune disease of which there are many types, such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. There are also conditions, such as Selective IgA Deficiency, in which some part of the immune response is lacking or not functioning properly.
Each of our immune systems are as unique as our individual family health history, our lifestyles, and the environmental conditions with which we live. Some folks seem to never get sick, while others catch every bug going around. The strength of the immune system also changes as we age. Because the immune system is our greatest defender against disease, it's critical that we keep it strong, healthy and balanced.
Adults and children alike are spending more time awake late at night to study, work, or have fun. All those late nights may be slowly killing us. More than 20 years of research shows us that sleep is vitally important to physical and mental health.
Most of what we know about sleep and health comes from studies of what happens to the mind and body when we don't sleep enough, or at all. In animal and human studies, living without sleep for even a few months resulted in death. Sleeping fewer than 8 hours a night on a regular basis is associated with increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, depression, colds and flu, and obesity.
While We Are Sleeping…
Sleep affects brain chemistry and has an important role in the functioning of the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. During sleep we develop and reinforce neural pathways involved in memory, learning, and emotion. New research suggests sleep helps flush toxins from the brain.
While we are sleeping, the body manufactures hormones that repair damage caused by stress and the environment in which we work and play. Growth hormone cleanses the liver, builds muscle, breaks down fat, and helps normalize blood sugar. We also produce hormones that help fight infections. If we aren’t getting sufficient sleep, we get sick more often and take longer to recover. Lack of sleep increases inflammation, which is has been linked to heart disease and stroke.
Skimping on shut-eye is linked with obesity in adults and children. Lack of sleep interferes with the levels of ghrelin and leptin, metabolic hormones that signal when you’re hungry and when you’re full.
The amount of sleep you need varies based on age, activity level, quality of sleep, and genetics (e.g., some of us really are night owls). Infants typically require 14-15 hours of sleep per 24-hour period; young children about 12 hours; teens about 9 hours, and most adults 7-9 hours. A general rule of thumb for determining your sleep requirement: If you do not wake feeling refreshed, you may not be getting enough sleep.
It's that time of year when we are starting to think about holiday gifts! The weather is cooler and it's beautiful walking by twinkling lights in the city's trees on my way to the metro after work. I love this time of year and it's starting to feel festive around my home as well. I put up decorations over the weekend and have started to think about holiday shopping. Here in this blog post, I've put together a list of some of my favorite healthy gift ideas. Happy Holidays!
Thrive Market Membership - Thrive Market is on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. This online grocer offers all the non-GMO foods and healthy products you love at 25-50% below retail prices—all shipped right to your front door.
Organic Indoor Herb Garden Kit - This kit includes everything you need to grow basil, cilantro, chives and parsley from organic and non-GMO seeds.
Vitamix Blender - There are plenty of options for making healthy foods with a Vitamix. Think of chunky salsas, thick vegetable soups, green smoothies, and lots more.
Berkey Water Filter - I love my Berkey water filter. It's a staple in my kitchen and I use it for everything, including water for cooking and even for filling my little dog's water bowl. These water filters are top notch and last a long time too.
Laptop EMF Protecting Pad - Think of this as a safety block between your laptop and your body, designed to block RF, WiFi, and bluetooth. It helps to cool your laptop and reduce body's heat exposure.
Himalayan Salt Lamp - I was gifted one of these last year and I really enjoy mine. Each is handcrafted and unique. It has a soft light inside and emits negative ions that can purify the air and help relieve stress.
Gratitude Journal - You can keep a daily record of life's blessings with this journal. It's filled with a year's worth of insightful prompts and inspiring quotes.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses - These glasses can be used when looking at screens to help absorb blue light emitted from laptops, computers, iPads, and phones.
Glass Water Bottle - These glass bottles have a protective sleeve, which is great for taking water on-the-go. There's no leaching from plastics or metals and it has a wide-mouth so that it's easy to add ice cubes or a lemon slice. It's dishwasher safe as well.
Glass Meal Prep Storage Containers - These containers can be used to prepare healthy meals in advance or to store leftovers.
PlanetBox Lunch Box - This lunch box can be for kids and adults alike! It helps to make packing healthy lunches easy and fun. It's eco-friendly and also made of non-toxic and recycled materials - safe from lead, PVC, phthalates, and BPA. Kids may like that it comes with a set of magnets to decorate.
VitaClay Multicooker - This is a rice-cooker and slow-cooker. However, what sets it apart from other products is that it has an unglazed clay pot to intensify flavor. It also does not have any aluminum, lead or a chemical coating, which can be found in other slow cookers.
Book by Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth - This book is enlightening and uplifting. It's also one of my favorites, as well as Oprah's. It has inspired millions to discover the freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.”
... and here's a gift idea for our furry friends:
Organic Cotton Pet Collar - This collar uses organic cotton and is hand-crafted in California. Take a look at the sizing guide - for dogs and cats!
Oven roasted turkey, corn bread stuffing, green bean casserole, and sweet potato pie. November is a very delicious time of year. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a lot of holiday parties to look forward to, it can be easy to gain weight this time of year. Not to mention that most of our holiday comfort food is full of extra fats, sugars, salts and food allergens that we tend to crave. Below are 5 tricks, plus a bonus tip, to get your holiday fix without the holiday pounds that go along with it.
1. Keep It Small. When facing a feast, banquet, or buffet table, choose the smallest plate size possible. This will keep your portion sizes smaller. Scan the table for fruits and veggies first, the raw kind without added sugars, fats, and other ingredients. Try a large helping of these healthier foods. Then scan for your lean proteins such as turkey, chicken, or fish. With the room you have left, indulge in a small portion of one or two of your favorite go-weak-in-the-knees dishes. Try eating these last so that you get to savor the flavor after your appetite has been mostly satiated.
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