Welcome to the June/July newsletter, I hope it finds all of you doing exactly what you want to be doing. If not, keep reading because I’ll have a few suggestions a bit later. In addition, I’ve got lots of interesting, fun and healthy facts for you all to think about and digest.
First, June 21st is the Summer Solstice, also known as: Alban Heflin, Alben Heruin, All-couples day, Feast of Epona, Feast of St. John the Baptist, Feill-Sheathain, Gathering Day, Johannistag, Litha, Midsummer, Sonnwend, Thing-Tide and Vestalia to name a few.
The Summer Solstice (celebrated in June in the Northern Hemisphere and December in the Southern Hemisphere) is officially the first day of summer and is also referred to as Midsummer because it is roughly the middle of the growing season throughout much of Europe. It is also when our nights are shortest and our days long and somehow I just feel as if I have so much more time to do the things. It’s a subconscious reaction to it being light until late in the evening.
People celebrate the Summer Solstice in a variety of ways, some of which you may be familiar with and maybe some that you are not.
In pre-historic times, summer was a joyous time of the year for those Aboriginal people who lived in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared; the ground had thawed; warm temperatures had returned; flowers were blooming; leaves had returned to the trees. Some herbs could be harvested, for medicinal and other uses. Food was easier to find. The crops had already been planted and would be harvested in the months to come.
The first (or only) full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey from the hives.
In Ancient China, the summer solstice ceremony celebrated the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces. It complemented the winter solstice which celebrated the heavens, masculinity and yang forces.
Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires. It was a night of fire festivals and of love and of magic. It had to do with lovers and predictions, when pairs of lovers would jump through the luck-bringing flames. It was also through the fire's power that maidens would find out about their future husbands.
In Ancient Sweden a Midsummer tree was set up and decorated in each town. The villagers danced around it. Women and girls would customarily bathe in the local river. This was a magical ritual, intended to bring rain for the crops.
Midsummer is also traditionally the time when the sun reaches the peak of its power; the earth is green and filled with the promise of a bountiful harvest. It is a time for divination and healing rituals and divining rods and wands are traditionally cut at this time. It is also an ideal time to use the power of the sun and the energy that is filling our world to make lasting changes in your world as well.
But this Newsletter isn’t just about June, it is also about July and here in the U.S. we celebrate our independence on July 4th. Every country has an Independence Day of one sort of another. I thought it might be fun to look at a few Independence Days.
First, there is no such thing as Australian Independence Day; however, there is “Australia Day” which is Australia's official national day and is celebrated on the 26th January. It commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove on that day in 1788.
When most people think of Cinco de Mayo, in addition to thinking about having their favorite Mexican beer they also think that it is the Mexican Independence Day. It is not. The 5th of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is September 16 that is the true Independence Day.
In looking over a list of countries that received independence from Great Britain, there are many. I thought I’d list just a few: Afghanistan, Bahamas, Barbados, Cyprus, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe; and that’s just a few. I knew the British Empire extended far and wide, but I really, truly had no idea just how far and wide.
So, in thinking about Independence Days and independence in general, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to have personal independence? Independence from addictions, independence from bad relationships or disappointing jobs, over eating or any repeating behaviors that have always caused you problems and that you would like to be free from.
Hypnosis can help you re-claim your independence and take back control of your life, let me explain how.
In the process of just living, we are all exposed to an overload of message units. Think of them as pollution of your subconscious. You know how after a long dry summer everything gets a coating of dirt and dust and pollution from the sky? You might not even truly be aware of it, but after the first good rain, you go outside and everything looks brighter and the air smells amazing, all fresh and clean. That’s what hypnosis does for your subconscious. It clears aware the dust and “pollution” you’ve been carrying around with you for a long time. It is this overload of negative message units and pollution that clouds your thinking and interferes with your ability to actually control your own life.
These negative message units come from sources outside of ourselves. It can come from the people in our lives, our jobs, the world we live in even the news we hear and read. It can come from the stressful situations we are all exposed to. A divorce, the death of a loved one, loss of a job or any of a hundred of other stressful and overwhelming situations we can find ourselves in.
Hypnosis allows you to release and discard the trash that has built up in your subconscious and it also allows you to deliberately choose the types of suggestions, thoughts and ideas that you and only you want. A session with a hypnotherapist helps you to discover what trash you’ve been carrying around and the best way to remove it. Then the fun can start while you re-fill your subconscious with what you want and you start to experience true independence!
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
Thinking about independence and fun, how about living a charmed life. Victoria Moran is offering to tell you how. Read on for all the details.
Living a Charmed Life
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Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day
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It's your birthright, one that you can start to claim as soon as you take to heart---and put into action---the practical and spiritual tips you'll find here. These "lucky charms" will elevate your attitude, change the way you see yourself, and upgrade every aspect of your life: health, relationships, finances, and peace of mind---even in challenging times.
This is no mere theory. The author draws on her own experience: observing the "charmed" aspects of living from childhood on, exploring the spirituality of daily life as far afield as India and Tibet, and using what she learned to face her own challenges and losses and come out on the other side. If anyone who has ever lived was capable of creating a charmed life, you're capable. In this fresh, inspiring book, Victoria Moran gives you the tools and techniques to do it now.
What they're saying:
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— Charla Krupp, author of New York Times bestseller How Not to Look Old
And now, a few health tips I think you’ll find interesting.
- Fight Wrinkles with This Breathing Exercise.
Take a deep breath. Now let it out. Breathe in again. Breathe out. In. Out. Slowly. Evenly. Feel better? More relaxed? Good. You might look better when you are done, too, because studies show that stress does more than rumple your mood. It may actually help rumple your face, too.
According to RealAge skin expert Amy Wechsler, MD, author of The Mind-Beauty Connection, stress can cause wrinkles. How? By increasing the production of cortisol -- a stress hormone that also stymies collagen production, one of the natural substances skin needs in order to plump itself, repair itself, and keep wrinkles at bay.
[Note: In addition to skin damage, cortisol is also responsible for damage to your heart and may be a contributing factor to the growth of cancer cells.]
3 More Feel-Better, Look-Better Tips
Don’t skimp on sleep.
Sleep deprivation exacerbates stress and a haggard appearance. Try these sleep-inducing tips and tools.
Have more sex.
Besides boosting beta-endorphins, making love and cuddling with your significant other increases levels of the tension-squashing, feel-good hormones prolactin and oxytocin.
End the love affair with your couch.
Exercise jacks up your beta-endorphins, too. And it also releases pent up energy and increases blood flow -- all of which your skin will love.
Want Bigger Brains? Walk
True, there’s no home-gym equipment designed to build up your brain muscle. But a simple walk will do. A new study shows that regular cardiovascular exercise can enlarge the hippocampus -- a brain structure vital to memory function.
As we age, our brains tend to shrink, and our memory can wither in the process. But a new study shows that an aerobically fit person has a larger hippocampus and performs better on spatial memory tests than a less fit subject. In the study, being more fit did not slow the rate of hippocampal shrinkage once it began, but it meant that people generally had more to work with once shrinking started. And that means less total deterioration overall.
Find out what types of exercise provide brain-boosting benefits. Related research suggests that exercise may even help restore lost brain volume and cognitive function in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, possibly because exercise increases cerebral blood flow and boosts the birth of new brain cells. Here are some other cognitive-health tips to consider:
Stamp out stress.
Chronic stress can be a real brain drain, and troubled finances may be one major cause. Watch this video to learn what the YOU Docs say about managing the stress that comes from money woes.
Ditch depressing thoughts.
Find out why kicking out blue thoughts may help your memory as well.
Minimize the mai tais.
Some studies suggest that alcohol abuse may shrink the hippocampus.
Better Heart and Bones with This Sweet Snack
Looking to satisfy your candy cravings with something tasty and good for you? Try a handful of nature’s guilt-free treats: dried plums. Research shows that they promote both heart and bone health
A laboratory study of the polyphenols in prunes showed that they boosted bone formation, density, and strength. How? By affecting the way certain bone-regulating gene cells are expressed. Results from animal studies suggest that dried plums can help keep arteries clear. Researchers suspect that prune flavonoids help reduce the inflammation that plays a big role in artery disease
If that isn’t enough motivation to pick up a pack of prunes, consider this: Just 10 prunes delivers 20 percent of your daily potassium and copper requirements, 14 percent of your iron requirements, and 10 percent of your manganese and zinc requirements. Prunes also provide a whopping dose of the essential vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, including folate. And we all know that prunes are a super source of fiber.
Give Your Brain a Facelift
You don't have to download a single Miley Cyrus song or say "like" in every sentence to make your brain younger. Simply make your meals more colorful with broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula, watercress, radishes, bok choy, or cabbage. They're all part of the cruciferous family of vegetables.
To botanists, that means they all have four-petaled flowers. To you, it means they can tickle your taste buds while adding vital health powers. Women who ate the most of these vegetables had scores on brain tests that were the same as those of women 2 years younger. Eat them regularly yourself and your brain could be 48 when the calendar says it's 50. Botox can't do that! Then combine these with other ways we've talked about to make your brain younger -- for instance, taking DHA (600 milligrams a day) and walking (30 minutes a day). They'll all contribute to keeping your brainpower potent.
Check out our other tips for helping you stay sharp:
Not a big fan of cruciferous veggies? Boo on you! But there's another option: spinach. The big spinach eaters also had younger brains. Nutrients like lutein and folate, found abundantly in these foods, may be responsible for turning back the mental clock.
- Push your brainpower even higher by cooking some fish -- say salmon, trout, or sole -- in a foil pouch with a little olive oil and some herbs and then serving it with your veggies. The omega-3 fatty acids in these types of fish also have an anti-aging effect on your mind, possibly because they're anti-inflammatory. So eat up and keep your mental powers strong. And don't be surprised when you beat your kids at Scrabble.
Turn Off Your Worries
Whatever you're stressing about probably won't kill you, but worrying about it can. When you cultivate a "this too shall pass" attitude, you boost your health in more than one way:
It keeps your arteries younger than Beaujolais Nouveau.
Anxiety is so hard on your heart: Highly anxious people with heart disease are twice as likely as their more mellow-minded peers to suffer a heart attack or die. Give your body anxiety and it snaps into "Uh, oh, is that python going to be my dinner, or do I need to start running now?" kind of thinking.
This fight-or-flight response comes complete with a racing heart, shallow breathing, dilated pupils, and increased blood flow to your extremities. Handy when facing the python, not so much when facing the CEO. Over time, this high-alert state causes needless aging of your blood vessels.
Your memory stays more agile than a 10-year-old gymnast. Obsessive worriers have more than double the risk of cognitive decline compared with their more carefree peers; a problem linked to that artery wear and tear.
Here are some ways to keep yourself younger:
Knock out your concerns by writing them down (along with potential solutions).
Talk them out with people you love. Work on decisive plans of action for worries that won't go away.
Settle your mind with activities like walking or lifting weights. It won't take long -- recent research suggests that as little as 8 weeks of yoga can drop your anxiety level.
Kicking worries to the curb drives up your motivation and concentration, too.
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