Welcome everyone to my September newsletter. September is an Equinox month and in celebration of this event, I thought it would be fun to pass on some Equinox facts.
An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the Sun being vertically above a point on the Equator. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day are of equal length, or at least too close to notice any difference.
An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location on the Earth's Equator where the centre of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year. It is also interesting to note that in the 1900’s there were more March 21st and September 23rd equinox dates and in the 2000’s there will be more March 20th and September 22nd dates.
There are different names that we can use to refer to this phenomenon:
Vernal equinox and autumnal equinox: these classical names are direct derivatives of Latin
(ver = spring and autumnus = autumn).
March equinox and September equinox: a usage becoming the preferred standard to avoid Northern Hemisphere bias (implied by assuming that March is in the springtime and September is autumnal—true for those in the Northern Hemisphere but exactly opposite in the Southern Hemisphere).
Northward equinox and southward equinox: names referring to the apparent motion of the Sun at the times of the equinox.
- First point of Aries and first point of Libra. These are archaic names used by navigators and astrologers. Navigational ephemeris tables record the geographic position of the First Point of Aries as the reference for position of navigational stars.
On a day of the equinox, the centre of the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, night and day being of roughly the same length. And I think it is an ideal opportunity for every one of us to think about the balance demonstrated for us of a day where night and day are equal. We can all use a bit more balance in our lives and some of us need a lot more than just a bit.
For half of the year (i.e. from around March 20 to around September 22), the northern hemisphere tips toward the Sun, with the maximum around June 21, while for the other half of the year, the southern hemisphere has this honor, with the maximum around December 21. It is these two instants when the Sun is directly overhead at the Equator that the equinoxes occur. Also at that moment, both the North and South Poles of the Earth are just on the terminator and day and night are divided equally between the hemispheres.
It is 94 days from the June solstice to the September equinox, but only 89 days from the December Solstice to the March equinox. The seasons are not of equal length, because of the variable speed of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun.
There are also some cultural aspects of the equinox that I found interesting.
The Persian new year, Nowruz, is held annually on the vernal equinox, as the beginning of spring.
The September equinox marks the first day of Mehr or Libra in the Persian calendar. It is one of the Iranian festivals called Jashne Mihragan, or the festival of sharing or love in Zoroastrianism.
Sham El Nessim was an ancient Egyptian holiday which can be traced back as far as 2700 B.C. It is still one of the public holidays in Egypt. Sometime during Egypt's Christian period (c. 200-639) the date moved to Easter Monday, but before then it coincided with the vernal equinox.
The Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, although occasionally (7 times every 19 years) it will occur on the second full moon.
The Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox. The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22 on each calendar. The latest possible Easter date in any year is April 25.
In Japan, (March) Vernal Equinox Day is an official national holiday, and is spent visiting family graves and holding family reunions.
In Korea, Chuseok is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday celebrated around the Autumn Equinox.
The traditional harvest festival in the United Kingdom was celebrated on the Sunday of the full moon closest to the September equinox.
The September equinox was "New Year's Day" in the French Republican Calendar, which was in use from 1793 to 1805. The French First Republic was proclaimed and the French monarchy was abolished on September 21, 1792, making the following day (the equinox day that year) the first day of the "Republican Era" in France.
In Annapolis, Maryland, USA, boatyard employees and sailboat owners celebrate the spring equinox with the Burning Of The Socks festival. Traditionally, the boating community wears socks only during the winter. These are burned at the approach of warmer weather, which brings more customers and work to the area. Officially, nobody then wears socks until the next equinox.
Wiccans and many other Neopagans hold religious celebrations of "Ostara" on the spring equinox, and "Mabon" on the autumnal equinox.
This is something I did not know, one effect of equinoctial periods is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. For all geostationary satellites, there are a few days near the equinox when the sun goes directly behind the satellite relative to Earth for a short period each day. The Sun's immense power and broad radiation spectrum overload the Earth station's reception circuits with noise and, depending on antenna size and other factors, temporarily disrupt or degrade the circuit. The duration of those effects varies but can range from a few minutes to an hour.
I’m not including an article in this newsletter because I wrote so much about the equinox and I want to tell you about three books that are coming out. If you really feel you need to read an article by me or even someone more interesting, you can always use this link and find just the right one for you.:
So, I have three recommendations for you. I know that’s a lot, but I’ve personally reviewed each of these and they all have something wonderful to offer. So if you are looking for a bit of guidance, take the time to read the descriptions for each of these books and see if one of them might just be exactly what you are looking for.
“Nuts & Bolts Spirituality, Waking up the Sleepwalkers”
The first offering I am presenting is from Richard Blackstone and his book “Nuts & Bolts Spirituality, Waking up the Sleepwalkers”.
This is a detailed description of learning how to recognize and use the ability you have within yourself to “create the life of your intentions and desires.” Richard explains how so many of us have been sleepwalking through our lives, making unconscious choices and then wondering why bad things happen to us. Richard helps you find answers and gives you guidance in an easy to follow and fun to read book.
Personally I can tell you from my practice and from my own past experience, this “sleepwalking” through life is an all too common occurrence; it is one of the major issues I help people overcome with hypnotherapy. Richard helps you to understand how and recognize why “sleepwalking” though your life is so harmful and he shows you just what you can do about it.
Nuts and Bolts Spirituality will be available for sale on October 8th and for your convenience, you can use this link to to purchase it:
“Am I the only SANE ONE working here?”
My second offering is from Dr. Albert Bernstein entitled “Am I the only SANE ONE working here?”
You can’t stop office madness, but you can stop the madness from getting to you. That’s what this new book by bestselling psychologist and conflict resolution guru Albert Bernstein is all about. Am I the Only Sane One Working Here? teaches you how to change your reaction to office trolls such as gossipy co-workers, bullies, bad managers, cranky clients, and slackers. With this new book you’ll be able to stay productive, healthy, and happy even when surrounded by an army of annoying people.
Dr. Bernstein has the perfect credentials to write this book. He is a clinical psychologist, business consultant, speaker, and the author of six previous books (two of which, Dinosaur Brains and Emotional Vampires, are considered classics in their field). Am I the Only Sane One Working Here? 101 Solutions for Surviving Office Insanity is a distillation of his 35 years’ experience in helping people whose jobs were driving them crazy – and it really works. It is a unique collection of 101 insanity-inciting office scenarios with concrete, step-by-step instructions on what to do to survive and thrive amidst the chaos.
Remember, you can’t change how people behave. But you CAN change how you deal with them. That’s what Am I the Only Sane One Working Here? is all about. If you buy Am I the Only Sane One Working Here? today, you’ll also receive some fantastic thank you gifts. Go to http://www.albernstein.com/book/ for details.
“The Won Thing”
Finally, my third offering is from a woman I’ve known for quite a while and interviewed when I had my radio show, Peggy McColl and “The Won Thing”.
Peggy spent many years searching for that one thing that so many of us spend a lifetime looking for, that one thing that gives your life purpose. In the Won Thing Peggy shares the lessons she learned on her journey and, even more importantly, Peggy will show you how to realize your own dreams. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Won Thing and this is a book I can recommend to each and every one of you.
Peggy has managed to explain (as only Peggy can do) all those theories, beliefs and ideas that so many of us have studied in lectures and workshops for years; and Peggy has concisely and clearly compiled everything you need to know to not only realize your own dreams, but to awaken within you the ability to create and enjoy your own journey of self-discovery.
Go to http://wonthing.com for details, and while you are there, please claim your entry to the grand
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
The Scent That Soothes Stress.
Take some time to smell the roses -- and a whole horde of other lovely flowers, plants, and fruits that seem to zap stress. Roses -- as well as lavender, basil, orange, grape, mango, and lemon -- all contain a special compound called linalool, the smell of which apparently reduces anxiety. In animal studies, the vapors of linalool helped induce calm. Blood cells called neutrophils and lymphocytes, which change in response to stress, were brought into equilibrium by the aroma. In fact, the scent of linalool even appeared to favorably affect the way the body is programmed to handle stress on a genetic level.
Lift Your Lungs with This Wonder Food.
It’s versatile, it’s low in fat, and it’s high in protein. And it just might help your lungs stay lusty and young. We’re talking about soy. Don’t blanch just yet. Prepared correctly, soy can taste sublime. Certain kinds, like tofu, easily take on the flavor of whatever you cook with. And research suggests that some extra tofu or edamame in your diet may slash your risk of pulmonary diseases to boot. Specifically, early research shows that eating soy foods is associated with a reduced risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). That’s a category of lung ailments that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In one recent Japanese study, those with the highest intakes of soy foods not only had lower risk of COPD but also had better overall lung function.
Get More of This Mineral to Prevent Cancer.There’s a mighty mineral found in cheese and yogurt that could help protect your tummy from cancer. We’re talking about calcium. That’s right. A study shows that one of the major selling points of dairy products -- calcium -- is associated with a lower incidence of digestive-system cancers. In the study, high calcium intake was related to a 16 percent lower risk of digestive-system cancers in men and a 23 percent lower risk in women. One caveat for men: High calcium intake was associated with a slightly higher prostate cancer incidence, but a lower incidence of head and neck, esophagus, stomach, colorectal, and bladder cancers.
For women, up to 1,300 milligrams a day seemed to reduce the risk of all types of cancer. Researchers suspect that not only calcium but also the vitamin D and conjugated linoleic acid in dairy may have anti-carcinogenic effects. Calcium’s claim to anticancer fame may have to do specifically with the fact that calcium binds to bile and fatty acids, reducing the damage these baddies do to the digestive tract. Lactose intolerant or don’t like dairy? No problem. Calcium supplements also appear to help cut cancer risk. [But don’t forget to take your calcium supplements with am Omega supplement, cod liver oil capsules, salmon oil capsules or similar product for maximum absorption and all the benefits of a natural source of vitamin D as well as lots of other good things for you.]
Adopt This Lazy Habit for Heart Health.
Napping, sleeping in, and going to bed early . . . we think of them as lazy indulgences. But your heart really wants you to do it. In fact, getting an ideal amount of sleep could help keep plaques from forming in your coronary arteries. And that means less risk of heart disease and heart attacks. So sleep tight!
All Night Long. In a 5-year study of middle-aged adults, the more sleep people got, the lower their rate of arterial calcium deposits. Good news, because calcium deposits help form the plaques that can clog arteries. Because the study had only a handful of people that slept more than 8 hours a night, it’s not clear if there is a cap to getting health benefits from extra sleep. And more research is needed to confirm the study results in general. But it all seems to add to the evidence that healthy sleep habits are good for your RealAge.
Aids for the Sleep Starved. Besides being bad for your heart, sleep deprivation can hurt your health in a number of other ways. It can make you drowsy, grumpy, and more prone to accidents, and it may even encourage weight gain. So take steps to kick restless nights out of the bedroom with these easy tips:
Get moving. Stretch Yourself to Sleep.
You might associate stretching with waking up, but it can help you nod off, too. So if you have trouble falling asleep, trade in the tossing and turning for a simple, gentle, daily stretching routine instead. Women who regularly stretch out their knots and kinks fall asleep more easily than non-stretchers do.
Stretching isn't the only exercise factor that affects how well you sleep. Getting regular exercise of any kind can help improve your shut-eye. Just be mindful of the time of day you do it and how long you go at it. Avoid intense exercise within 3 hours of bedtime; revving your system with a hard workout can wake you up just when you're trying to wind down.
Eat the right bedtime snacks.
These foods may help make you drowsy. About 90 minutes before you want to nod off, head for the kitchen and make yourself a sleepy-time snack. Keep it light (around 200 calories), so you don’t overload your digestive system. And include one or two foods from the list below.
All help to relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones -- serotonin and melatonin -- flowing.
Bananas -- They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
Chamomile tea -- Chamomile is a staple of bedtime tea blends because of its mild sedating effect, which makes it the perfect natural antidote for restless minds and bodies.
Warm milk -- It’s not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan, an amino acid that has a sedative-like effect, and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus, there’s the psychological throwback to infancy, when a warm bottle meant "relax, everything’s fine."
Honey -- Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.
Potatoes -- A small baked spud won’t overwhelm your gastrointestinal tract as it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effect, mash the potato with warm milk.
Oatmeal -- Oats are a rich source of sleep-inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy -- and if you’ve got the munchies, it’s filling, too.
Almonds -- A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can send you snoozing because they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Flaxseeds -- When life goes awry, and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.
Whole-wheat bread -- A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it’s converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs "time to sleep."
Turkey -- It’s the best-known source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that’s actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach’s basically empty rather than overstuffed and when there are some carbs around rather than tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening and you’ve got one of the best sleep-inducers in your kitchen.
Unfurl your muscles
A light massage may help you sleep better and help lower your blood pressure.
Set the mood for sleep.
These bedroom do’s and don’ts will help:
A cool, dark room. The temperature and lack of light is a signal to the pineal gland to kick up melatonin production and knock you out for the count.
No laptops, no TV. Ideally, the bed is for two things and two things only. (You know what we mean.) If you have any other type of stimulus, such as work or a TV, you're not sending your body the message that it's time for sleep. Need more incentive to restrict Leno to the living room? People who don't have a TV in the bedroom have 50% more sex than those who do.
White noise. Get it. Use a fan for background noise, or try one of those machines that plays sounds of the rain forest or ocean. This will drown out the couple fighting next door or the dog barking down the street, so your subconscious stays entirely in the moment.
Appropriate attire. Sleepwear should be non-allergenic (both the fabric and what it's washed in) and non-restricting. Your body is better at keeping itself hot than keeping itself cool, so the fewer and looser the clothes you wear, the more relaxed you'll be.
A standard wakeup time. Stick to one, even on weekends. It'll help reset your circadian rhythm and train you to stay on schedule even if your rhythms happen to wander, say, when you're traveling.
The best mattress. The best mattress. "We believe there are a few things in life you should overpay for," say YOU Docs Oz and Roizen. "Three of them: Pillows, mattresses, and their coverings.
There's no one mattress that works for everyone, so pick what feels right for you (and try it out with your partner if you sleep a deux). Don't let yourself be rushed into a decision. Tell the salesperson to back off and give you 15 minutes to get the feel for a mattress before you take the plunge.
- One good option: A memory-foam mattress, which bounces back to the original flat plane after you get out of bed, rather than forming an indentation. But it can be costly. Alternatively, opt for a high-quality traditional mattress, and flip it every couple of months to prevent body dents that will disrupt your sleep.
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