Monday, 20 March 2017

What's the point?

Sometimes I sit and wonder what is the point of all this?

We wake up each morning and head out to work mostly looking forward to the day ending or the weekend so we can relax.

We do this to make money. Money is essential ­to survive, yes. However, we also have the belief that with money we will find happiness, a feeling of success, freedom and security. To some extent this is true. Money can make certain aspects of life easier but does it have the value we place on it?

We complain that life is so hard, that the world can be a terrible place, that we would much prefer to still be in bed rather than doing whatever it is that takes most of our time.

We look at others. Judge others and compare ourselves to others. We do this mostly in a critical way, sometime more in an envious way. This is despite having no idea what is going on in their world.

We have decided what is most important in our society and once again this comes back to money, power and this to us means success.

But if we really are on the right path, if we really are progressing as a society, moving forward and achieving greatness than why don’t we feel AMAZING.

Why do we feel stressed, anxious, unsettles. Why are we all getting so sick? Why are we making money but not feeling happy, or simply just not making enough money at all. Why is life so hard and why do we crave time away from the place we spend most of our waking hours, being our work?

I’ve been pondering many things of late. Our priorities as a society, the fact that despite advancements in many fields we as a human race only appear to be becoming more disconnected from one another, more unhappy, more tired and more sick.

Everything in my logic explains that we are moving forward. There are new medical advancements all the time, new scientific discoveries, more technological creations to make our lives easier, more ways of communication (even from the comfort of our own homes), more convenient and cheap food, easy accessibility to clean water, rules and regulations to make the workplace safe and fair. With the Internet the world and all the knowledge we could ever desire is literally at our fingertips.

But as a society are we really happy? I mean truly happy, filled with joy? Are we actually healthy? We may be living to an older age but who doesn’t have something wrong with them? How rare is it to find someone over the age of 50 not taking any form of medication?

So what is missing?

I believe it comes down to one fundamental thing. That thing is LOVE. SELF LOVE. We are totally missing this in our society. It is so not a priority. Even worse than that it even has a negative connotation.

“Look how much that guy loves himself.” Does that sound like a compliment? No.

What we fail to realise is that true self-love is not narcissistic but pure, generous and honest. Narcissistic people don’t love themselves or they wouldn’t need to show off and would treat others with the same love and respect they give themselves.

Take a moment and really look into yourself. Do you honestly, openly and without judgement love yourself?

If you completely and genuinely do then why would you allow yourself to suffer so much and so often. Why would you fill your body with what we know to be toxic or unhealthy? Why would you spend your entire life doing tasks you don’t enjoy? Why wouldn’t you prioritise time to do things that bring you joy and inner peace?

I mean really what the point of this life if you are not truly living it. Life is too short to spend each day miserable, or even just neutral. Life should be fun, full of joy, personal growth and most of all love.

You only have one life and you are the only one in control of it. This year, 2017 is one of new opportunities and if you are reading this and it resonates with you then I believe this is the wake up call you need. Don’t spend another minute living the life that society dictates instead of the one you know you have the potential to live. Most of all don’t forget the infinite power of love. Love yourself and love others unconditionally.

Monday, 13 March 2017

How to conquer anxiety naturally

Do you ever get that niggling feeling that something just isn’t quite right? Those butterflies in your stomach, your heart beating just that bit too fast, sweaty palms, inability to think clearly or remember the correct words to say? Do you ever find yourself lying in bed at night unable to sleep as concerns and thoughts travel unnecessarily through your mind? Do you go about your day-to-day life feeling slightly unsettled despite nothing being seriously wrong?

Do you wish for the sense of inner peace and clarity? Do you long to just feel yourself without these unpleasant thoughts or feelings?

Anxiety is something I personally have suffered from my whole life. It prevents you from truly being yourself as you are so caught up in these unpleasant feelings, unable to fully relax and just be. Throughout my life I have taken a back seat due to unfounded fears and worries. I have said no to social events, said no to expressing my true opinions and feelings and by doing this essentially said no to allowing myself to be fully accepted for who I am.

Back at school I remember how terrifying it was to simply put my hand up in class to answer a question or contribute to a discussion. There were so many inescapable thoughts going around in my head.
‘What if my answer is stupid and everyone thinks less of me?’
‘What if my beliefs are not in sync with those of my classmates and I am no longer accepted?’ 
‘What if all the attention is on me and I mess up?’

Not to mention the horrible physical sensations when I merely thought about putting up my hand to contribute. The pounding of my heart, the blurriness of my mind and the feeling that I am no longer grounded in my body. For me the journey has been an interesting one leading me through a lot of self-discovery and ultimately to my career. I have been determined to constantly work on my self-development and use the tools I have learned to then help others. Although I cant say I have 100% eliminated all feelings of anxiety I certainly have come a substantially large way since those teenage years and have learned many tools for coping and ways of balancing the nervous system so my feelings will never return to the way they were back in my insecure childhood days.

Being a teenager I thought I was the only one who experienced such feelings and thoughts. But did you know that anxiety affects more than 2 million Australians? Many of us experience some form of these feelings on a day-to-day basis and simply do not know what to do to stop them or even that there is a way out of these reoccurring situations.

There are many questions I often ask:

Why is anxiety so prevalent in our society?
Why does the number of people suffering appear to be increasing from year to year?
Why do people think it is just a part of who they are and that nothing can be done about it?
Why does seeking help appear to be such a taboo?

There are many factors that contribute to anxiety including:
·      Ongoing stress
·      Family history of mental health issues
·      Depression, insomnia or other mental health conditions
·      Personality factors
·      Chronic physical illness
·      Substance abuse
·      Dietary factors
·      Poor gut health

There are also several health risks associated with ongoing anxiety:
·      Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
·      Dyspepsia
·      Respiratory disease
·      Cardiovascular disease

So what exactly is anxiety?

Anxiety presents with ‘feelings of worry, nervousness, or a sense of apprehension, typically about an upcoming event where the outcome is uncertain, or whether the person feels he or she might not be up to the task’.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety:
·      Feelings of worry or anxious thoughts
·      Stress
·      Situation avoidance
·      Poor concentration
·      Restlessness
·      Accelerated heart rate
·      Dizziness
·      Shaking
·      Sweaty or clammy skin
·      Tingling
·      Gastrointestinal upset

There are also several types of anxiety disorders including:
·      Generalised anxiety disorder
·      Phobias
·      Panic disorders
·      Obsessive compulsive disorder
·      Social anxiety disorder
·      Post-traumatic stress disorder


As anxiety is so multifactorial with many different possible causes it is important to seek help with a health care practitioner in order to truly work through the condition and establish the underlying cause. However, there are some more generalised treatments that may be of benefit to all those who are suffering and that can be incorporated into your treatment plan or used as a treatment for less severe anxiety conditions.

1.     Relaxation techniques are of utmost importance in these conditions. These should be incorporated into your daily routine. Relaxation techniques include deep breathing, mediation, mindfulness, aromatherapy or yoga as some examples. It is important for the individual to establish which technique works best for them and then make a commitment to practicing that technique daily.
2.     Focus on creating a mindful attitude in life. This means actively focusing on the present moment rather than allowing your thoughts to travel to the ‘what ifs’ of the future. This is something that takes a fair amount of practice before it can be mastered for most people. The best way to being mindful is to create a specific scenario daily where you can be fully present and focus purely on this activity. For example one of my favourite daily rituals is to start my day with apple cider vinegar in warm water. I take this outside and stand in my garden when I drink it. As I take each sip I focus on a particular plant. I analyse the colour, texture and shape of the leave. I make sure my full attention is on this plant and its beauty and do not allow my thoughts to wonder off into the day ahead. For me, using nature is one of the easiest ways to bring myself into the present moment.
3.     Identify your triggers or causes for the anxiety and work out a solution. For example if you give presentations at work regularly and the fear of speaking in public is causing you grief then your solution would be to make sure you are prepared for each presentation. You will find if you arrive well prepared, with plenty of practice, your anxiety about the situation will lessen, as you know exactly what it is you are going to say. Also write a list of all potential questions you may be asked and prepare appropriate answers.
4.     Dietary changes can have a huge impact on anxiety and mental health. Certain foods increase anxiety and should be avoided or reduced. These include caffeine, nicotine, sugar, gluten, alcohol, processed food and refined carbohydrates. All of these substances have been shown for different reasons to upset the nervous system and contribute to feelings of anxiety (even if initially they may provide some relief).
5.     Certain foods should also be increased in the diet due to their anti-anxiety affect. These include protein especially (meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds), whole grains (gluten free), leafy greens, fermented foods and avocados.
6.     Supplementation is often initially required to correct any vitamin or mineral deficiencies that may be a contributing factor. The main supplements to include in your daily routine are a good quality B vitamin, magnesium and a probiotic, which includes the Lactobacillus helveticusR0052 and Bifidobacterium longumR0175 strains due to the gut/mood connection.
7.     Herbal medicine can also be of huge benefit. Kava is a particular herb that has been used in the Fijian custom for decades. Its anti-anxiety affect is next to none I have seen before in any herb. It is fast acting, effective and without the known side effects of anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals. I have prescribed it to many clients and used it myself with the effects evident within one hour. Kava can be a very useful adjunct to other treatments, reducing the symptoms as we being to uncover and eliminate the underlying causes. However, if you have a known liver condition kava should be avoided.

Anxiety is a rather complicated and convoluted condition that too many people have to bear on a day-to-day basis. It is increasing dramatically in our society and it is my mission to help reduce the suffering of those who do not see a way out or are unaware that it is not a battle they must fight daily for the rest of their lives. It is not a personality characteristic but more a symptoms of un underlying disharmony within the body that simply needs to be balanced in order for you to heal and find tranquillity.