S.E.V.E.N.

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The Three Keys to Healthy Relationships

The Three Keys to Healthy Relationships 435 290 Nate Guadagni

There are three keys or rules that will help you find peace and joy within all relationships, including the most important relationship in your life, the one with yourself.

The first key is found in almost every religion and ethical tradition from the beginning of recorded history: the Golden Rule. Simply put, it states, “Treat others the way that you want to be treated.” This is a profound guideline and one that will never lose its value. Halil the Elder, who lived 100 years before Christ, once summarized the entire Torah with the similar phrase, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the whole Torah. The rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

Although this rule is self-explanatory and resonates with the deepest parts of our being, doesn’t it also leave something out? What if the way that we want to be treated is not the way that others want to be treated? What if a man opens a door for a feminist who takes offense at the offering, which to her implies that women are weak and need men to help them? What about the imperialist who invades native cultures and insists that they must be saved from their barbaric ways with modern lifestyles and luxuries? Ignorance can be well intentioned, yet tremendously damaging.

Let us consider the second key, known as the Platinum Rule: “Treat others as they want to be treated.” This requires a new level of communication, empathy, and understanding. It requires not only the intention to treat others well, but also the willingness to take the time to learn how people want to be treated. Many charities waste enormous sums of money and effort giving to communities without spending the time to understand what that community really needs. Disaster reliefs are often flooded with well-intentioned cans of food and bottles of water, yet what actually may be needed are blankets and electricity. Applying the Platinum Rule to our relationships will bring immediate improvement because the only way to know what another person wants is to let go of our own assumptions and projections and to ask.

There is one final key, and it is perhaps the least understood and practiced. The Diamond Rule states: “Treat yourself the way that you want to be treated.” This is a new paradigm of thought. The application of this rule could lead to a mass shift in the perspective of millions of people who are stuck in feelings of victimhood and blame. To take responsibility for our own lives and to take the initiative to treat ourselves as we want to be treated by others is probably not a way of life that you have seen demonstrated by your community.

This idea alone is enough to alarm and distress people who misunderstand it to mean that we should not cooperate or consider each other but just take what we want for ourselves. What it really means is that nobody else knows exactly what you want, and even if they do know, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to do it for you or to give it to you. Each of us is the creator of our own lives, the thinker of our own thoughts, and the actor of our own actions.

How can we practice this rule and apply it to our lives? If you are wanting others to love you, see that you love yourself first. If you want others to pay attention to you, check if you really give genuine attention to yourself. If you want to have more respect from others, see if you really respect yourself.

With simple introspection, it becomes clear that everything we think we want from others, whether it is love, attention, respect, or trust, is actually a deficit in ourselves that we hope others can fulfill. To the exact amount that we don’t give ourselves enough attention, we will want it from others. To the same degree that we don’t love or respect ourselves, we will crave it from others.

The problem is that the only person who can give us unconditional and unlimited love, respect and attention is ourself. Everyone else will disappoint us, no matter how much we want them to, or even how much they want to satisfy our deep needs, they cannot do it alone. The one person that you really want love and respect from is yourself — your true self. We can see ourselves with the same unconditional love as a parent looking at a newborn child — filled with love and admiration, recognizing our own infinite value, and marveling at the mystery of life. One of life’s greatest realizations is to see ourselves through the eyes of our true self. At this moment there is a life-changing shift in identity described eloquently by George MacDonald: “You do not have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

The main reason that the Golden Rule isn’t working well is that people treat themselves with criticism, abuse and disrespect, and so they are incapable of giving much else to others. As author and civil rights leader Howard Thurman wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The Golden Rule is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The truth is that “You do unto others as you do unto yourself,” for better or for worse. As William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” When we learn to treat ourselves better, we will finally know how to treat others better as well.

All three Rules are important to enjoy balanced and healthy relationships.  Of the three, the Diamond Rule is the one that is most within our sphere of personal influence.  Spending more time developing this constant relationship with ourselves will build a foundation for all other interactions. From a platform of genuine self-confidence and emotional stability, it will be easier to treat others the way we have been treating ourselves — with love, respect, and dignity.

A Woman who is having Stress Bo Yoga

The Three Types of Stress and How to Handle Them

The Three Types of Stress and How to Handle Them 730 330 Nate Guadagni

“You should meditate each day for twenty minutes. If you don’t have time, you should meditate each day for an hour.” — Zen Proverb

Take a moment now to close your eyes and breathe deeply and count to ten. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

Okay, now how do you feel? In just ten seconds, you can reduce your stress significantly and feel more relaxed. Yet, as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, in those same ten seconds, thirty-five people have died as a direct result of stress. That’s 110 million people every year. Stress is a sobering health risk that we are only recently beginning to understand.

The World Health Organization has called stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century.” According to the Center for Disease Control/National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health, the workplace is the number one cause of life stress. Consider these statistics:

★ 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job

★ Nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress

★ 42 percent say their coworkers need help reducing stress

★ 40 percent of workers report their job is “very” or “extremely” stressful (Northwestern National Life)

★ 26 percent say they are “very often burned out by stress” (Yale University)

★ Stress is responsible for 30% of all disability claims
★ Stress costs American businesses an estimated $300 billion a year

What is stress, exactly? The term “stress” was coined in 1936 by Hans Selye, a pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist who dedicated his life to research on the topic. In his later years, when asked to define stress, he told reporters, “Everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.” If nobody knows what stress is, yet it is causing so many problems, how can we deal with it better?

One definition of stress sums it up well: “Stress is the resistance to change.” To the degree that you resist the changes that are happening to you and around you, you will feel an equivalent amount of stress.

If you look carefully at what causes stress for you, you will see that there is always a situation requiring you to change, but you are not willing. Consider these scenarios:

  • Paul is late for a meeting and when traffic slows, he feels very stressed. In the next car over, Jason is listening to a book on tape while enjoying the sunset; he is not feeling stressed at all.
  • Carrie hates to speak in public and is dreading her presentation, yet Maria loves the spotlight and can’t wait for her chance to present.
  • Tina lives for deadlines and thrives under the pressure of monthly quotas. Her coworker Zach feels overwhelmed and often gets sick at the end of the month.

In each case, the level of stress reflects the level of resistance that each person has in relation to his or her situation. It may seem that stress comes from outside circumstances and conditions, but if that were true, everyone would feel the same way about a situation. Stressors are like the weather: It rains on everyone, yet some people are prepared to deal with it while others are not. If you have a warm house, car, or raincoat to protect you, then the rain isn’t as bad as it would feel without the protection.

REI’s clever motto states, “There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” I say the same is true for stress. There is no bad stress, just inappropriate coping. If we enter the arctic with a t-shirt and shorts, we will surely die. Yet if we prepare for the situation beforehand, we can survive and even enjoy the journey.

Stress is no different, and the ability to adapt to change is completely learnable and teachable. While there are countless stressors, there is basically only one stress response. Instead of trying to control situations and people, it is much more effective to understand and manage our stress response.

The stress response is controlled by dual parts of the nervous system — the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic set of nerves creates the stress “fight/ flight/ freeze” response. The parasympathetic set of nerves causes the relaxation “rest/ digest” response. The important thing to know is that only one set of nerves can be active at one time. It is not possible to be in both states at once. If you had to choose, in which state would you like to spend most of your day?

The problem with stress in our society is that almost everyone is quite an expert at inducing the stress response, and they do it often. And if they don’t bring it on themselves, someone else will surely help! Unfortunately, the ability to induce the relaxation response does not come as automatically. However, it is not any more difficult to induce the relaxation response than it is to induce the stress response, and with some practice, a state of relaxation can be maintained.

Often people point to the positive benefits of stress, such as getting things done and making things exciting. Often a high-energy lifestyle is preferred, and people worry that if they relax too much, they will lose their edge or become boring, stagnant, or dull.

However, if you think of your body like a car, your dual nervous system is similar to the gas pedal and a brake pedal. One makes you go faster and one makes you go slower. One is not better than the other; they both are important. A good driver can seamlessly blend their speeds to suit their journey.

Striking a balance between stress and relaxation in our lives is paramount. If our own lives aren’t enough evidence, statistics show us that too much stress is a much bigger problem than not enough stress. The ideal balance of stress and relaxation is called “relaxed focus.” This state is attainable with practice and awareness. Bo Yoga gives the foundation for stress relief and the ability to manage our own nervous system. We may not be able to control the stressors of our lives, but we can do a lot better at managing the stress response in ourselves.

There are 3 levels of stress:
★ Acquired stress (from your past)

★ Potential stress (in the present)

★ Preventable stress (in the future)

The first level of stress relief deals with acquired stress, which you likely feel in your body now. This type of stress can include tension in your shoulders, tension headaches, back pain, or any other physical, mental, or emotional discomfort. Acquired stress is a current problem that you have carried over from your past, due to lifestyle, a sudden event, or injury.

Acquired stress is dealt with by directly working on your body to get rid of the pain and tension. Stretching, deep breathing, and guided relaxation, along with the gentle pressure and tapping of the Bo Staff, can all help to relieve the stress that you feel now. Without dealing with the stress of your past, you will have a hard time facing stress from the present or the future.

The second level of stress relief is dealing with potential stress. This type of stress is the kind that is happening right now. If potential stress is handled well, it won’t become acquired stress. The vicious cycle of stress leading to more stress will end. This requires the ability to recognize the stress response in yourself as you face the stressor. For instance, when you are in traffic, you can begin to assess your stress by noticing that your shoulders are tensing, that you aren’t breathing well, and that you are gritting your teeth. The easy part of this is that usually, when you realize what you are doing, the solution is quite obvious. If you aren’t breathing, start breathing again. If you are clenching your jaw, open your mouth a bit. The hard part is doing this frequently enough to make it an automatic habit.

Bo Yoga and mindful exercise helps this second level of stress relief; when you become more attuned to your body, you will more easily recognize the signs and symptoms of stress, and you will learn to quickly recognize and release resistance within yourself. Also, after you take a class, your mind and body will be like a clean slate, comfortable and relaxed, making it easy to catch small stress responses before they grow too big. Catching stress early and nipping it in the bud is very helpful. Just like it’s easy to pull out a weed from your garden when it is small, it will be much harder to deal with it after it has grown deep roots or has gone to seed. It is important to reduce potential stress as soon as possible before it adds to the pain and suffering of the actual stress that you will carry with you everywhere you go.

The third level of stress relief is preventable stress. This type of stress is when you have released most of your actual stress to the point where your body generally feels good, free of pain, and energized. At this point, you are also good at dealing with potential stress by managing your personal stress responses, such as breathing patterns, physical tensions, and letting go of negative thoughts. Now that you are feeling pretty good, you can get ahead of stress and begin to prevent it before it even happens!

If the Earth is your body, your ability to prevent stress is like the ozone layer. It burns up meteorites in the atmosphere and also shields the Earth from harmful radiation. Not only does it protect the Earth from outside threats, it also creates a layer of insulation that maintains a healthy environment within it, despite the fact that it’s floating in the middle of cold and desolate space.

Preventable stress relief means that your shields are at full power, negativity burns up in your atmosphere, and you maintain a happy and positive mindset, no matter how negative and dark your surroundings are. Preventable stress relief means that you have a buffer around you that gives you time to choose responses instead of reacting. As people and situations come close to you, you can feel and sense if they are good for you or not. You not only build a huge tolerance to stress, you know how to repair any damage to your personal ozone layer when it occurs.

If stress is caused by resistance, then stress relief is caused by the release of resistance. Multiple studies have shown that mind-body training is highly effective to this end. Bo Yoga includes the following types of mind-body training:

★ Moving meditation: The fluid movements of Bo Yoga are meant to be practiced in a state of relaxed concentration, not unlike sitting meditation, except you get to move your body, too, which most of us need to do more often.

★ After class relaxation: Class is typically concluded with a savasana, the yoga “corpse pose” position, which involves lying on the floor to release all tension from the body.

★ Fun and laughter: The proper attitude for Bo Yoga is not overly serious or up-tight. Having a great time doing it is really the only proper way to practice because fun and laughter release beneficial hormones and encourage continued practice.

★ Distraction from stressors: When you take some time to practice Bo Yoga, you forget about your troubles for a moment and just focus on yourself and your own health.

★ Positive social environment: If you are practicing Bo Yoga with others, you can be sure you have found other individuals who, like you, are committed to positive changes in their lives.

One of Bo Yoga’s main benefits is its ability to release physical, emotional, and mental resistance. Through it, you have a regular practice of body, mind, and emotional healing that recharges you and releases you from resistance. Bo Yoga’s effectiveness for you depends on how well you can use it to this end.

You are probably dehydrated.

You are probably dehydrated. 852 480 Nate Guadagni

The importance of water to the health of the human body can’t be overstated, yet fully 75% of us are chronically dehydrated.

Water makes up nearly 85 percent of your brain, about 80 percent of your blood, and about 70 percent of lean muscle. In total your body is about 70 percent water, so lack of water — dehydration — will seriously impact your health.

Water is responsible for a variety of functions, including blood flow, digestion, and body temperature regulation, and it greatly impacts the environment and structure of your cells. According to Doug Casa, PhD, evidence shows that the body will only tolerate a loss of one to two percent of the total amount of water before it triggers the sensation of thirst and the cue to drink. These cues stay on track and properly timed because our brains, kidneys, various glands, and hormones work in concert to monitor the amount of water that we’re taking in relative to how much we’re losing.

But, if our bodies are so good at regulating our water needs, then why are seventy-five percent of Americans chronically dehydrated? Well, it seems that we have become so stressed and busy that we ignore the signals of our bodies and fail to give them what they need. Also, many of us consume food and drink, such as coffee and high-salt foods, that increase our state of dehydration.

We all know, of course, that we should be drinking more. The “eight glasses a day” prescription has almost become a health mantra, although many scientists have abandoned this rule as overly generalized. There are too many factors to consider, such as exercise habits and kidney function, to paint everyone with the same brush, but the importance of water in all of your health functions, and the general tendency to drink too little during the day, means that “more is better” for most people. Also, over-hydration is much easier for the body to deal with than dehydration.

You can get hydration from foods rich in water, from most drinks that aren’t diuretic (such as coffee and tea), and of course, from pure water. The old saying “flowing water never grows stale” applies to your body as well. Hydration is more than just drinking water; it is also using it. Exercise that causes elevated temperatures releases the water from your body in the form of sweat and respiration, and you will naturally drink more water to replace it. In this way, you cleanse and purify your whole body with water, like taking dirty water from a pool and replacing it with fresh, clean water.

Water is also critical to energy production in the body, largely thanks to one of the atoms in the H2O molecule: hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and is also the lightest, floating on the top of the periodic table in the number one position. It is responsible for producing ATP, the main chemical energy supply in the body, as well as for holding our DNA coils together with hydrogen bonds. Antioxidants are a huge trend in the health industry and people pay lots of money for exotic fruit and special pills to get them. However, hydrogen, with its small, simple nature, has earned the nickname “ultimate antioxidant” because it protects the body from free radical damage as well as any expensive vitamin. Hydrogen is critical to your health, and enters your body through the most important compound on Earth — water.

Bo Yoga® teachers will often encourage you to drink before and after training, as well as during if needed. In a Bo Yoga class, it is unlikely that you will need to replace electrolytes as endurance athletes do, so pure water is recommended over sports drinks. Drinking enough water and moving the water through your system, internally and externally, are both important parts of Bo Yoga practice. And, the best way to move the hydrogen and the oxygen that are so vital for your energy and health is through proper exercise, so water and exercise work in tandem to keep you energized and strong.

Finally, don’t forget to learn water’s wise energy lesson. Sages and poets through the century have praised water’s ability to move around obstacles with ease. Margaret Atwood, in her novel The Penelopiad, summed it up well: “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

As you progress in Bo Yoga and begin to master the various movements and postures of the practice, you will naturally learn to flow in a similar way with the energies of life. Like water flowing around rocks in a stream, you will move around obstacles, moving effortlessly toward the life of your dreams.

If you think you may be in the 75 percent of people who are chronically dehydrated and you want to drink more water, how about some easy tips that you can start today? Click the link:

10 WAYS TO DRINK 3 MORE GLASSES OF WATER PER DAY

What are your favorite ways to stay hydrated?

Please share in the comments!

Bo Yoga®