6 Kinds of Stress — and How to Reduce Them Naturally

The common denominator in reducing stress, regardless of which type it is, is a balanced workout program. Moderate exercise, such as walking, is the key to overcoming the negativity and fatigue that so often accompany every type of stress. Here are the six kinds of stress and some additional prescriptions for reducing each of them.

#1: Emotional Stress
A recent study found that three quarters of Americans experience significant emotional stress weekly. When we’re undergoing emotional stress, our hormones get out of balance. Cortisol levels go up and DHEA levels go down; the coping hormones get depressed and the pleasure hormones don’t get released.

What to do about it: Respond with calmness. Acknowledge that a seemingly overwhelming task will get done in small acts that add up to a big result, like planting a field of corn one kernel at a time. Another solution is to clear your mind with laughter. Laughing almost instantly clears away emotional stress, like a defroster on a windshield.

#2: Sleep Deprivation–Induced Stress
Sleep is a natural medicine, pure and simple. But without adequate levels of restorative sleep, our bodies release cortisol, which sets up a stress cycle and causes a disruption in the sleep we do get.

What to do about it: To address mild insomnia, reduce your caffeine consumption. Avoid big meals late in the day, which can set up blood sugar swings and wake you up when insulin is overdoing its job. Keep alcohol consumption in the healthy zone–one drink a night. And finally, when your head hits the pillow, go over each of the day’s events and as you do, send it into an imaginary circle located outside your body, just in front of your heart. This helps you prepare for deep sleep without replaying your day over and over.

#3: Dietary Stress
An unbalanced diet causes stress in the body. So does eating too little or too much, which can disrupt your digestive system and hinder your body’s ability to recover from physical exertion or even a day of overwork at the office.

What to do about it: Let your dietary habits be an antidote to, not a stimulator of, stress. Avoid simple sugars and choose carbohydrates that are from whole grains, fresh vegetables, and small amounts of fruit. Cut back on or cut out caffeine. Add some healthy oils–like cold-pressed olive oil or omega 3 fish oil–to help balance your hormones. Eat a healthy amount of protein, which helps build muscle and counters the effects of too many carbs. And eat a good breakfast within an hour of waking, and then frequent small meals every 3-4 hours.

#4: Physical Stress
This kind of stress typically occurs from exerting yourself too much in a workout, but it also affects those who have the type of job that demands a lot physically, such as a construction worker, landscaper, or waiter.

What to do about it: Be mindful of the symptoms: irritability, inability to sleep, loss of appetite, overall fatigue that lasts 2-3 days, chronic muscle soreness, lack of motivation, injury, and illness. The key to combating physical stress is to get stronger, but to build up strength in a slow, steady, balanced way. See chapter 5 of our book, Fit Soul, Fit Body, to learn how to customize a conditioning program that addresses your particular habits, lifestyle challenges, and symptoms.

#5: Chemical Stress
Chemical stress occurs when your body has to get rid of compounds that are harmful or toxic to it. Most such toxins come from the external environment–everything from the air you breathe, to the water and food you eat, to the home and office you inhabit.

What to do about it: Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and chemical-laden processed foods. Eat foods grown without insecticides. Drink purified water. Clean up your inside air with an air filter and fresh outside air. Use natural cleaners. Avoid personal care products that are synthetic and laden with unknown chemicals. Being a conscientious consumer will help you overcome most chemical sensitivities.

#6: Inflammation-Induced Stress
Inflammation is a side effect of stress, but it’s also a promoter of stress on the body. Inflammation comes from a number of things, including working out too hard, eating a poor diet, being overweight, and not getting enough omega 3 in the diet.

What to do about it: Balance your fat intake. Reduce saturated fats and oils while increasing your intake of omega 3 oils (fish oil, beans, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil). Get consistent, moderate heart-rate exercise to burn excess fat stored in your body, if this is an issue. Limit your intake of carbohydrates. Omit foods from your diet that make you feel tired, weak, or bloated after eating them, or that give you negative reactions, such as itchy skin or a stuffy nose. The most common culprits are shellfish, meat, eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, some fruits, and nuts.

Reposted from mariashriver.com

Radio Interview with AM 970

Imagine having a powerful connection between your physical body—and the inner, intangible part of you called the “soul”—that allows you to do just about anything. You accomplish more at work. Lose unwanted weight. Sleep like a baby at night. Suddenly, your relationships are more satisfying. And, you’re in the best shape of your life. Sounds like a tall order, but not when you learn the elements of the Fit Soul, Fit Body way of life. Shaman healer, Brant Secunda, and world champion triathlete, Mark Allen, discuss an inspired approach to lasting physical, mental, and spiritual fitness—and vibrant emotional health.

reposted from www.cyacyl.com

Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Happier, Healthier You - by Mark Allen and Brant Secunda

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

“Change Coach” Nancy: In your book, Fit Soul, Fit Body, you discuss tips for becoming fit—physically and spiritually. What did the two of you learn as you wrote this book? Were there areas in your life where you were “out of balance”?

Secunda/Allen: One misconception that people may have about authors of books that are designed to help people better their lives is that that the authors themselves have come to some point of freedom where nothing is a challenge for them anymore, where they have things all together and they never have to rise up above their own humanness, that indeed they are completely in balance every step of the way.

But this is just not the case. As we say in our book, life is not a blissed-out experience all the time. Certainly, if we or anyone uses the tools in our book, those great moments where everything does feel in balance will come more often and last longer, but this is not a permanent state. It is one that we have the chance and the necessity to nurture and foster each and every day.

One of the biggest changes that happens over time for us as the authors and for others who apply the keys to our book to their own lives is that we become more adept at catching the imbalances and correcting them quicker. The Huichol Indians are a model for this in the way they approach their ceremonies and their lives. They say it is always better to stay in balance as much as possible rather than let things get out of balance before we act. For instance, they do their ceremonies to bring the rains before a drought happens.

We can think of that as a focus for our own lives—take care of ourselves daily with the small steps before a personal “drought” happens and we need to take drastic measures to bring our body and soul back into a healthy state. These are all tools of holistic health.

“Change Coach” Nancy: Can you share some practical tips that can help us break through blocks to become more confident, more courageous and more authentic?

Secunda/Allen: Confidence is often something we feel when things are going well, but that we feel we lack when things are not. So the key is to be able to tap into confidence or trust in our life and our abilities when we are in those tougher moments. Here are some tips:

  • Embrace the challenges. Challenges make us smarter and better. Think of a high-jumper who jumps higher the more he practices the skill, and keeps jumping higher every time the bar is raised. Embracing challenge starts by acknowledging that life is not going to always be smooth sailing. In fact, there is a saying that says “smooth sailing does not make a good sailor.” So in the tougher moments when you may be lacking a sense of self-confidence, remind yourself that challenge is just part of life, even if what you are facing does not seem like anything you signed up for!
  • Accept uncertainty. Tell yourself it’s okay to not know how you’ll get yourself out of a situation that is causing you to doubt your own abilities. It’s okay to not have a clear vision of what will take you to the final step to bring about a change you need. Often just acknowledging that it’s okay in the moment to not be clear about what your next step will be will bring a feeling of confidence that at some point the answers will come. Think of a task at work that, at the time, seemed insurmountable. You probably didn’t know how you’d solve it. But you did. Not because you had a well-mapped course of action, but because at some point you knuckled down and worked at it, and the answers came to you.
  • Quiet your mind. This is a tool that help you find answers to vexing problems, in spite of your fears. Often, coming up with the big solutions is not a logical, methodical process. Those answers may only come when we stop the thinking process, stop the thoughts in our head that may be worried about not having enough self-confidence in our abilities to find a clear solution.

One way to quiet your mind is to go for a walk outside and just observe the world of nature going on around you, to feel the earth beneath your feet, the air on your cheeks giving you life. Imagine the light of the sun filling your body with brightness from the inside out. Just doing this can wash away fear and bring back self-confidence. It will also remind you of who you really are beyond any worries you have. People gain a sense of authenticity, of what their purpose is and what their authentic self is about when they are in a natural setting because, as the Huichols say, we are a reflection of nature.

John F. Kennedy used to marvel at how the earth is about 65% water and so are our bodies. The oceans are saltwater and so is the blood moving through our bodies. We are indeed a reflection of nature and also connected to the power that is there. Feeling the life force that is in every plant, every animal in the earth itself is something that brings us courage to have a good life, to tackle the problems that we may be facing and to help us regain a peace inside, which is also another form of self-confidence.

“Change Coach” Nancy: What message do you want to share with people about overcoming fear and finding balance in life?

Secunda/Allen: The first message is about fear. It is okay to have fear, we all have it at times in our lives. What is important for overcoming fear is to create a vision of what might lie on the other side of fear if we are able to walk through it.

Often with fear the only thing a person can see is the fear of what might go wrong, of what is holding them back, and their life contracts. So to overcome fear, step one is to do as we have mentioned, which is to stand back for a few moments and see clearly what can give your life purpose without worrying about any stumbling blocks that might hold you back. See your life with outcomes that you know are possible without fear being a block. Really feel these visions for your life, see some of the key steps you will take to get there, then go out and take them one at a time.

Any time you feel fear creep in, remind yourself that you can go forward even with the fear, that it does not have to hold you back. And once you take that step even with a fear or doubt, look back and acknowledge yourself for having the courage to move forward regardless of how small or insignificant that step may seem and certainly regardless of maybe how silly the fear might seem. Of course, if it is a big lifetime fear, give yourself a bigger pat on the back for doing what was important to get one step closer to the vision or dream you set out to live.

The second message has to do with balance. Balance is not something that is necessarily going to be possible if viewed moment to moment. For example, athletes will train long hard hours to gain the fitness they need to become champions. Those tough training sessions are not balanced, as they tax the body tremendously. But then they will rest, often in a super-compensated way to put back all the vital energy expended in their training so that they are ready and fresh for their competitions.

Neither of these states is exactly what we would call balanced if we took a snapshot of either—an athlete pushing their bodies or that same person lying around like a slug to regenerate. But over time, the sum total is a true balance. Most people have yearly cycles where some seasons are more introspective with less work or demand and other seasons where the demands can be extreme. But hopefully over the year those two will balance each other, and that is the biggest message for this attribute—to seek balance in your life over time, even if in a moment-to-moment analysis things might look out of balance.

That is the way the seasons in nature work, isn’t it? In the northern states, we get extreme cold, rain, and snow for a few months and everything sleeps in the short days of winter. But then by spring and summer everything is blooming and the rains stop, allowing the plants to thrive and soak up the sunlight of summer. Both of these extremes are necessary, but are only considered balanced if looked at over the course of a year. And we as humans can strive to model our lives after this incredibly balanced model that exists around each of us year after year.


Thanks so much to both Brant Secunda and Mark Allen for sharing their wisdom! And I invite all my Change Buddies to share their stories of fear — what has held them back from doing what they most wanted to and how they overcame it! And stop back at the Make A Change blog each Sunday for more tools and tips on making a change!

Reposted from communityofchange.blogspot.com

Six Ways to Break Out of a Fitness Plateau

Starting a new workout or eating plan is easy; sticking to it isn’t. What do you do when, after the first couple months of a new eating or exercise regimen, you hit a place where you’re not making progress, your motivation is flagging, and you feel discouraged?

Don’t worry. It happens to everyone. Here are six simple ways for you to move beyond negative emotions so you will get re-energized and refocused on your health and fitness goals.

Address the stress.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that stress causes a decreased willingness to take on new endeavors. If you’re stuck in the same old eating and exercise habits, get out of that rut by clearing away the stress in your life. Increase your sleep; seek out lighthearted people and fun activities; reduce your intake of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol; and get more sun and fresh air. Reducing stress helps you regain the motivation to change.

Fight your fear.

Believe it or not, fear is a key reason that we hit fitness plateaus and then stay there. By fighting your fear of failing, you’ll feel triumphant and gain a renewed sense of energy and purpose. When fear pops up and tells you it’s hopeless, fight back by breaking your task into the smallest steps you can manage — say, by doing the first 5 minutes of your workout — so you will experience yourself succeeding and chase away that fear.

Have a structure.

Many people respond well to structure. If winging it does not keep you on track, then make a schedule of your workouts and your personal goals each week. Hold yourself accountable to them. This creates clear, short-term, week-by-week goals. A written fitness schedule is akin to making a contract with yourself.

Ease up.

Instead of beating yourself up for hitting a plateau, be good to yourself with your exercise. Recharge with an easier training session than planned. Make your workout into something soothing by reducing the intensity, cutting back on the length, finding a friend to come with you, or picking a route that has beautiful scenery.

Reflect on your goals.

Sometimes the reason we get discouraged is because we allow our mood to influence our actions. Maybe you’ve had a bad day and tell yourself it’s pointless to work out, or you convince yourself it’s too hard. Instead, set aside a quiet time to reflect on your goals. One of the best times to do this is when you are trying to decide what your next step or workout should be. You’ll find that the choices you come up with will be quite different if the end goal is what influences the decision rather than your immediate mood or life constraint.

Visualize success–again.

Numerous studies show that if you visualize a goal–and then reinforce it by repeating that goal to yourself over and over–you will probably achieve whatever it is you set out to accomplish. Visualizing your success over and over again allows you to stay involved with your original enthusiasm. Use this any time there is a lull in your motivation.

photo of Fit Soul, Fit Body authors brant secunda and mark allen
Co-authors Brant Secunda and Mark Allen

Shaman-healer and MacArthur Award finalist Brant Secunda and six-time world champion Ironman Mark Allen teach seminars worldwide on fitness, health, and well-being. Their new book, based on the approach they developed, is Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You (BenBella Books). Find out more at www.fitsoul-fitbody.com.

Reposted from akronohiomoms.com

Ironman Champ and Shaman Return to Boulder for a Fitness and Spiritual Retreat

After winning his first Ironman World Championship in 1989, Mark Allen’s family and friends were eager to learn what helped him pull ahead of his longtime triathlon rival, Dave Scott, in the final miles of the marathon.

The answer surprised them, said the six-time Ironman champ.

“I told them, ‘Well, I saw this picture of these shamans…'” he said.

Allen is slated to tell more of this story, alongside one of those shamans, Brant Secunda, at two events in Boulder.

The first is a talk tonight about the key points of the book they co-authored, “Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 keys to a healthier, happier you.”

Then, during a weekend retreat at Chautauqua, beginning Friday night, Allen and Secunda will delve deeper into the keys, they said.

Secunda said the ideas are simple — like how to connect with nature, how to let go of stress, nutrition. And he says you don’t have to be an athlete — it’s for anyone.

“We emphasize that what we talk about are tools that anyone can use, from losing weight, to getting more fit, to improving in a competition,” said Allen, who lived in Boulder to train for triathlons for about 12 years.

“They’re all things that we live every day,” said Allen, “and we’ve seen the positive impact they’ve had in our lives, as well as the people who come to our programs.”

Allen sought out Secunda after Ironman in 1989, and they’ve been working together ever sice.

“I saw an ad in a magazine for Brant,” he said. “It happened to be in my hotel room in Kona (Hawaii) before the race. It was talking about connecting with nature to empower your life.”

The ad showed Brant and his grandfather, don José Matsuwa, Allen said.

“They just looked so peaceful and powerful,” Allen said. “And as an athlete, you’re looking for that. In Kona, I certainly didn’t have that.”

In the ’89 triathlon, Allen was neck-in-neck with Scott in the run.

“I was at the point where I were ready to give up in the marathon, because he was really strong,” he said. “This image of don José came back to me, and it just gave me the confidence to go for it.

“Here I am, racing against Dave Scott, and he’s probably not thinking about the two greatest shamans to live on this planet, he’s probably thinking of his splits,” Allen added, with a laugh. “After that, I went to workshops in Mexico that Brant was giving.”

Secunda, a shaman in the Huichol tradition from Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains, said it was natural to meet the triathlete — he’s worked with many types of people over the years.

“He was very humble, so it fit into the whole Huichol paradigm of how to be a good person and a strong person,” Secunda said.

After Allen stopped racing, he and Secunda developed a program they originally called “Sport and Spirit: Connect the Power.” A few years ago, they put together the book “Fit Soul, Fit Body.”

Boulder triathlete Barry Siff said their book isn’t at all about how to win an Ironman.

“It reaches a broad audience,” he said. “It’s great for athletes, but it’s not just for athletes, it’s for everyday living.”

Siff said he’s thrilled they came to Boulder.

“I knew they did (retreats) in Santa Cruz, and I thought Boulder would be really receptive,” he said.

“The Chautauqua setting should be so idyllic for what they espouse. It’s the perfect place to grasp the power of nature.”

Reposted from coloradodaily.com

Healing Your Moods Naturally

The modern world is full of great technologies that save us time and reduce the physical demands of just about any task. But along with these savings comes an unspoken expectation that things will get done more quickly, and that each of us will be able to do more in a shorter period of time. Add on a huge dose of competitiveness for jobs, housing, and just about anything else you can think of, and the result is that a lot of us have less time experiencing a sense of peace and more time trying to keep up with the demands of life. This has had a negative effect on many people’s outlook. Three out of four of us describe the workplace as stressful. And for those under 18, the percentage soars to 85% who feel under stress. But take heart, help is here!


Fit Soul, Fit Body-Front Cover

If you’re depressed, stressed out, anxious, or fatigued, the cure might be right outside your door. New research from Holland shows that people who live near a park or wooded area experience less depression and anxiety. And a study from the UK found that a walk in the country reduced depression in 71% of participants. Scientists have long known that sunlight can ease depression – especially in winter.

When you tap into the regenerative power of your environment, it can have instant and profound effects on your mood, transforming negative emotions such as fear, depression, anger, and anxiety into a peaceful, happy state of mind. Just about every single person has gone for a walk at some point in their life. Have you? How did you feel when you finished? Probably much better than when you started!

Walking is an ancient tool of transformation. And the great thing is that you don’t have to specifically be in the wilderness or even a park, for walking to work its wonders on your mood. Even in the middle of a city, if you go outside and walk for a few minutes with the intent of disconnecting from whatever may be causing you stress or anxiety, those precious moments afford you the chance to feel the sunlight on your skin, to breathe in air that has not passed through an air conditioning system, and to feel your feet walking on Mother Earth. These three things will transform your mood naturally and almost instantaneously, just as it did for our ancestors thousands of years ago.

Of course, if you do have access to a natural setting, the effects are enhanced and can improve more than just your mood. Research has shown a number of great positives to spending time in nature. Children who are allowed to have unstructured play in nature, for example, develop an improved ability to focus on school tasks later. They also show a higher level of creativity than those who don’t spend time doing this in their early years. It has also been shown that walking on uneven ground raises intelligence. The mechanism is thought to be from an increase in pathway development between the various parts of the brain that are stimulated by having to stay upright on uneven ground. So if you want to be smarter, walk in nature!

But let’s get back to how profoundly positive even a small dose of time spent walking and being in an outdoor environment can be for your mood. Often because of tight scheduling and a job that keeps us mostly indoors, a lot of people in the modern world are actually ‘nature deficient’. This is because we are all designed to thrive in the outside world. Here is how it works. Our ancient genetics are set up to give us a positive mood when we move. The only time our ancient ancestors were sedentary for any length of time was when food was scarce; it was an advantage to not move around much. The adaptation that we all have in common to this scenario is that it causes a bit of depression. Depression is actually a survival mechanism. As we know, this mood gives us a feeling like being out of gas and being unmotivated to do much, which in ancient times conserved calories during the parts of the year when food was scarce. Walking and moving were signs that there was likely something to find to eat – and along with that came a positive outlook. We can get our ancient genetics to do their job to bring us a positive outlook simply by exercising, and when we do that in nature, it’s a double shot of espresso – courtesy of the inherent energy and power in the outside world.

We say that Mother Earth is always emitting love, which in the Huichol tradition (an indigenous tribe in central Mexico) is the strongest power of all. By walking outside on the earth, we absorb this power and it strengthens our bodies, our souls, and improves our mood naturally. You can activate this same sense of well-being anywhere outside. It could be by simply sitting next to a creek or the ocean and listening to the sounds of the water. It could be by watching a sunrise or a sunset and breathing the colours of the sky into your heart. This inherently makes us feel part of something bigger than just ourselves, part of something grand that has gone on for millennia.

One of the nine keys we write about in our book is Honour Yourself. Part of what this requires is that each of us takes the time to shift our moods using these simple tools. We honour ourselves by going outside when we feel the shift in stress go from manageable to unmanageable and just walk for a few minutes or sit quietly in a park or garden. Honouring yourself says, “I am not my bad mood or my anxiety.” It’s a statement recognizing that, deep inside, you have love for yourself, for life, and for others, and you will make the time each and every day to bring yourself back to this memory. The simplest and quickest way that we have personally found to do this is to boost our mood with nature.

When you tap into the regenerative power of your environment, it can have instant and profound effects on your mood, transforming negative emotions such as fear, depression, anger, and anxiety into a peaceful, happy state of mind. Try these techniques:

See the Big Picture
To bring fear or worry into perspective, focus on a positive event in nature that will continue whether you face your fear or not. Recall the colours of the last sunrise you saw, or think of the present season and its inevitable progression into the next one. You’ll see that such large events continue – whether you and your fears are there or not.

Embrace the Darkness
At night, find a place in nature where you’re not surrounded by things manmade and the only light is the stars. Get enveloped in the welcome darkness, listen to the sounds of nature, and connect to your world.

Get Lit Up
Set your alarm in time to get outside when it’s still dark. As the sun is rising, concentrate on the dawning light. The sun’s rays transform the darkness of night into the brilliance of day. It will brighten your mood naturally too.

Get ‘Soleful’ Love
As we have emphasized take a walk outside – someplace where you feel peaceful. Put one foot in front of the other slowly, and quiet your internal chatter. With each step, visualize the earth’s love coming into your body through your feet and dissolving any problems you have.

Centre Yourself between Earth and Sky
Sit or lie on the ground outside. Visualize the light of the sun entering the top of your head, filling your heart and body, and then going down into the earth. Feel the earth beneath you, and draw the love of the earth up into your heart and body, and then send it up to the sun. Feel your connection to all life.

Invoke the Deer Spirit
The Huichols use the image of the deer to represent innocence, gentleness, and clarity. To melt away emotional stress, visualize the image of a deer surrounded by a circle. Ask the deer, out loud or to yourself, to help you find harmony and balance, and help you to stand tall like a tree.

Fight Negativity with Fire
Transform negative emotions such as fear, anger, and jealousy by sitting before a fire outside or a candle inside and looking at the flame. Imagine your heart opening like a flower and see yourself breathing in the fire’s light. Do this for about 5 minutes. This technique also gives immediate relief to the part of your body that’s holding the emotion (e.g., your stomach).

Reposted from positivehealth.com

6 Ways You Can Boost Your Mood

If you’re suffering from the moody blues, anxiety or angry stress, the key to your mental health may be right outside your door. According to Brant Secunda and world champion Ironman Mark Allen, authors of Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, connecting with nature not only brings beauty into your life, it can significantly boost your mood. Here’s what they had to say about the power of nature in improving your mental health.



New research from the Netherlands shows that people who live near a park or wooded area experience less depression and anxiety, and a study from the UK found that a walk in the country reduces depression in 71 percent of participants. Scientists have also known that sunlight can ease depression — especially SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, in winter. Secunda and Allen say that there are many reasons nature is so effective in lifting people’s spirits.


The authors explain that people who live close to nature suffer from less depression because:

  • They are connected to life, to the beauty of all of life and the majesty of creation.
  • Being a part of a sunset or sunrise makes our soul happy, therefore also affects our body.
  • Taking the time to simply experience nature can calm our nervous system.
  • By being close to nature we feel a part of life, we feel connected to the birds, the flowers, the trees, and the earth.
  • This process of being connected helps take away depression and other negative emotions, bringing us more happiness that will carry us every day of our life.


People who live close to nature also have a much higher chance of being active outside, moving around and exercising. Think about it — would you rather be running on a tree-lined trail with birds singing overhead or pound pavement next to cars or run on a treadmill going nowhere? Secunda and Allen add, “We all know how moving our bodies — exercising — is one of the most potent tools for combating depression.”


Going outside is the first step in connecting with nature, but your intent will significantly enhance nature’s positive effect on your mental health. Here are a few techniques from Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to Healthier, Happier You.

1“Breathe in” the sound of running water

Go to a river or stream and breath in the sacred sound of running water. This simple act helps to make your spirit beautiful. Just think of your plants at home — when they get watered they look beautiful.

2“Breathe in” the ocean sound

If you live on the coast, a good technique for washing away loneliness, depression or anger is to go to the ocean and breathe in the beautiful sound. Then as you breathe out, visualize your exhale letting your problems go.

3Connect to “Father Sun”

Sit on the earth and feel the sky above you and imagine the light of the sun coming in through the top of your head. This helps take away anger and loneliness by helping you feel connected to something grand. It helps you feel a part of life all around you.

4Connect with loved ones — in nature

A deceptively simple tool is to just go out with friends and family to a beautiful place in nature and talk, laugh or even discuss problems.

5Be a part of nature

Go for a walk, run or hike in a natural setting. While you are out in nature, look around at the world going on around you. Forge a connection to the trees and plants and animals around you as you move through this setting whose elements are almost eternal. This can take your focus off your own challenges and help you see that there is a whole world that is enduring and wondrous. It helps us see that, ultimately, even with life’s challenges we are part of this amazing circle of life.

6Draw energy from the earth

One way to draw energy from the earth when you feel depleted is to walk outdoors with intent, and with each step you take, try to visualize Mother Earth’s power rising into your body. The power of Mother Earth is love. Imagine love coming into your body, making your body strong. Love is a tangible power and emotion that many indigenous cultures consciously work with, and it can help all of us living in the modern world.

Reposted from sheknows.com

Fit From the Inside Out: Secrets of a Soul Practitioner

Before Mark Allen was a world champion athlete, he was a loser. His goal? To win the Ironman Triathlon, considered the most difficult one-day sporting event in the world. It starts on the Big Island of Hawaii with a treacherous 2.4 mile open-ocean swim, followed by 112 miles of hard-core cycling, finishing with a full marathon — 26.2 miles on an extremely challenging course in brutal hot weather.

“My first six years racing at the Ironman varied from moderately disappointing to outright disastrous,” Allen writes in his new book. Flat tires, dead legs and internal bleeding were just a few of the obstacles that sapped his energy and blew his cool.

“After so many failed attempts, my patience and confidence were failing,” writes Allen. “I certainly had the desire to win. But desire has a shelf life of about three hours under the intense sun and wind of Hawaii. I began to realize that it wasn’t a failure of my body that was keeping me from winning, it was a failure of my mind.”

Enter Brant Secunda, a shaman-healer who’d spent 12 years living with the Huichol people of Mexico, an exceptionally healthy and happy tribe with secret knowledge about many transformative practices, including the strength and serenity that comes from connecting with nature and uniting body and soul.

Hold on a minute. What does your soul have to do with your ability to run faster, bike better, overcome weakness and develop a more positive outlook on life? Everything, according to Secunda, who started working with Mark in 1989, teaching him the Huichol system of health and healing.

The result? Mark started winning. Between 1989 and 1995, Mark Allen won the Ironman Triathlon six times. Now he and Brant Secunda have collaborated on a fascinating book filled with insights and exercises that can help all of us deal with our own versions of Ironman challenges.

“He (Secunda) helped me change pain into joy, inner struggle into gratitude, impatience and fear into calm and courage,” writes Allen, who came to a whole new understanding of fitness once he started training the Huichol way.

“The reason we fall short of our goals so often is that exercise is part, but not all of the answer. True health and happiness is about developing a sustainable lifestyle where you not only achieve long-term physical health, but also long-term emotional and spiritual health. This is what we call having a fit soul and a fit body.”

No surprise, that’s what shaman-healer Secunda and world champion Ironman Allen named their book — “Fit Soul, Fit Body” (published by BenBella). It’s a helpful how-to for people who want to train their mind as well as their body — who want to be, as the co-authors say, “fit from the inside out.”

A lot of the advice in the book will be familiar — set goals, check your heart rate, eat modest portions of real food. But the most interesting advice is the least familiar, the Huichol-inspired exercises that use nature to boost your mood, lower your stress and develop your soul. Here are two from the book to get you started:

— To connect with Mother Earth’s love, the strongest power of all, start by taking a walk. In the city, the country or the wilderness. Feel at peace. Stop all thoughts and internal dialogue. Walk slowly, quiet your mind. With each step, visualize Mother Earth’s love coming into your body through your feet and traveling to your heart. Do this for 15-20 minutes. Feel her love flowing into your body, and empower yourself with it.

— To bring balance and energy into your life, to become centered between Earth and Sky, sit or lie down on the ground. Feel your connection to the sun and earth. Visualize the light of the sun throughout your body and in your heart. Imagine that light going down into Mother Earth. Draw the love of Mother Earth up into your heart and throughout your body. Send that love to Father Sun. Feel your connection to all life.

Sound crazy? Even impossible? So does winning the Ironman six times.

Reposted from womanpokerplayer.com

Fitness Served Fresh

It’s spring. Do you know where your ribs are?
There’s one layer of padding that can be easily shed when it gets warmer, and one that cannot. Yes, when your winter clothes are put away, you can’t blame your extra bulk on a hand-knit sweater. Time for action. Our friend, triathlete Mark Allen, shares some tricks that we swear will help you get into an exercise groove:

• Change up your usual walk. For instance, try going the opposite direction on the other side of the street. “Downhills turn into uphills, you’ll notice new things, and you’ll be more mentally engaged,” says Mark. “All of that will make your workout go by faster.”

Reposted from mybestyou.com

• Take advantage of the additional daylight hours by doing an activity in the morning or after work, such as a walking club or boot camp.

• Get on the bike. Mark suggests, “Make it a rule that any errand under a mile from home gets done without a car.”

• Build a walk into your commute. If you take a bus or subway home, get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way.

Find your energy, lose the sweater.

Blog Talk Radio Show with Brant Secunda and Mark Allen: Fit Soul, Fit Body

Dr. John Deri, a Psychiatrist in Mill Valley, CA interviewed Mark Allen, a six-time Ironman and Brant Secunda, a Shaman and healer. Mark Allen and Brant Secunda published a book “Fit Soul, Fit Body”. During this Radio show they discussed how we can become truly fit from the inside out and experience joy, happiness, and fulfillment like never before. Mark and Brant know how to get people into the best shape of their lives- both mentally and physically. They have been motivating and inspiring people for decades. Brant and Mark continue to work together at events and retreats teaching a unique roadmap for fostering optimal health, happiness, and wellbeing. Many people around the world learn from them how to live a healthy life filled with lasting joy, happiness, and contentment.
Reposted from happytipsdaily.com