Do you want to progress in your happiness, health, and all-around live better? It all starts from giving kindness to yourself and others. We’re all well aware of the Golden Rule, introduced to us before we even began schooling- treat others the way you would like to be treated. In other words: be kind. What exactly is kindness, though? Why is kindness so important? Kindness is what allows us to have compassion and empathy for others as well as ourselves. It helps us with the ability to relate to people and build positive relationships, and expands our socialization skills. Kindness also has the ability to make us healthier. How, though? Ancient Chinese philosophy and medical texts used for millennia describe how specific organs are related to emotions and emotional activities, such as anxiety to the lungs and anger to the liver. The organ for joy is the heart, and Huangdi Neijing, the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor or Esoteric Scripture of the Yellow Emperor, describes further. To quote, “The five yin-organs of the human body produce five kinds of essential qi, which bring forth joy, anger, grief, worry, and fear.” Essentially, these five “yin-organs” are the basis of our health, and our emotions directly impact their condition. In fact, our emotions are a large contender to disease; when they overpower us they can cause serious injury to organs. That is not to say that emotions are bad- emotions felt within healthy, normal limits are, well, normal. It is when emotions stretch beyond simple stimuli to external factors that they may overcome a person’s wellbeing and cost them their health. Back to our original question, though: how exactly does kindness play into all of this? By being kind to ourselves and others, we unlock a way of understanding our emotional limits and, most importantly, the significance of gratitude. Rather than giving your entire focus to ways to uplift your own anxieties, pay attention to wishing others well in equal amounts. Try your best to be thankful for what you have, such as food, shelter, and loved ones- I know from personal experience how hard it is to do this, and it is even worse when a neurotypical tells you to, “just stop being depressed!” I will say though, overthinking is the root cause to many of my own problems, as well as my peers who suffer from similar conditions. Taking a step back and acknowledging what we have
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” -Aubrey Hepburn This September at ALCW, we are celebrating the simple act of kindness. The thing about kindness is it’s free. In a world of chaos and stress, it is easy to get caught up in the everyday routine of living day by day. I ask you to take every day of September and live it with kindness in your heart and make it become your daily routine. Whether it be reading a daily devotion for yourself, waking up 5 minutes earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee and snuggling with your babies or fur babies, or giving a simple compliment to a stranger, these gestures are valuable. Simple acts of kindness add value to ourselves and to others and help us live just a little bit better in this life that can sometimes be chaotic. For me, I have learned that kindness doesn't always have to be reciprocal. Growing up, my mom always said "do on to others as you want done to yourself, and you don't have to like someone but you do need to be respectful to them." I have never took this lightly, and have used this phrase my entire life. Kindness is something our world is lacking so much of. We really have to look for the good in others, speak kind words, and walk through this world with the knowledge we are never alone. Audrey Hepburn has this down! That is why the quote speaks so much to me. If only I could have met her. We are here to lead and help people see kindness through our actions! Our actions are powerful and can make an impact on people. We don't always know what someone else may be going through, so remember to breathe, love, and be kind to one another. This month, ALCW will be giving 20% off massages to help us unwind and help us be kind to ourselves. You must purchase this by September 13th, and can be used at anytime. Gift cards are also available. Don't forget we have extended massage hours now. Eli is new to our team and works Tuesdays, Thursdays am and Saturdays! ALCW now has massage available 6 days a week. So many options to be kind to yourself
In association with our theme in the practice this month of "preparation" I wanted to give you my best recommendations on how to create the ideal morning routine. I am an enormous believer that each day you must have time to reflect inward, get quiet and be extremely productive. This one action will radically change your state, your internal story and the strategies you create to solve the problems in your day. At Aligned Life Chiropractic and Wellness we have 5 Core Values that we live by. The 5 are; 1) Know Yourself 2) Take Responsibility 3) Listen To Your Body 4) Have A Long Term Focus and 5) Prioritize Self Care. When looking at setting up your morning routine through the lens of these ideas, this is what you will find. 1) When you know yourself it will be easy to do the following: Determine what time of day to do your routine If you have identified you are a procrastinator you will want to put your hardest item first If you wake up feeling depleted then start by fueling your body with healthy food and water If you wake up feeling tired you will want to exercise If your first thought are fear based you will want to meditate to clear the anxiety of starting a new day. 2.) When you are taking responsibility for your health it will be smoother to do the following: Own your feelings Recognize you have the ability to change your perception of your reality Give yourself time and be patient with yourself Get into a positive mindset Take the necessary actions towards your desired outcome 3.) When you listen to your body it will be clear to do the following: Act on what it is telling you If you are stiff then stretch out If you are tired then sleep in or take a nap later in the day If you are in pain review the previous day for injury causing body positions If you have range of motion loss, schedule an adjustment If you feel weak then get some strength training in 4.) When you have a long term focus it will become obvious to do the following: Review your goals daily Set your intention for the day (make a plan) Execute by anticipating challenges and create work arounds 5.) When you prioritize self-care it will become important for you to do the following: Journal Walk Meditate
On average, we have 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day and if you are anything like me and have a constantly racing mind, you’re probably pushing 100,000 thoughts daily. That’s A LOT of things to believe, especially if your thoughts are less than positive. It’s important to know that it’s our brain’s job to think thoughts but it’s our job, as the thinker of the thoughts, to decide which thoughts we want to keep and which thoughts we want to discard. The majority of our thoughts are repeated- meaning that the thoughts we have today, are the same thoughts we had yesterday and the same the day before that. Overtime as these thoughts get repeated, they become “wired and fired” in our brain, deeply engrained and part of our belief system. This is why it can sometimes feel so challenging to free yourself from negative thinking because these thoughts have been accepted as fact in your mind after running around and around on replay. Our thoughts and beliefs impact the actions we take which ultimately reinforces the original thought or belief and this is how we get stuck in automatic negative thinking. Using the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) model of thinking, we can begin to understand our thoughts, behaviors and feelings, which means we are not stuck on our negative programming. If you can learn to stop negative thoughts, you can take back control of your mind, care for yourself more effectively and become more resilient through life’s challenges. The essence of CBT is that what you think you feel and what you feel you do. If you can learn to control your thoughts, you can manage your feelings, which ultimately changes your behavior. In order to do this, you need to be able to look at your thoughts objectively. For example, if the thought is “ I can never do anything right” after a write up at work, it would be helpful to look at the evidence for or against this thought and ask yourself, “Is this really true? In your entire work history, have you never done anything right?” Once you’ve looked at the objective evidence to support whether this thought is true or not, the goal would be to come up with more balanced, neutral or positive thought. For example, “This is a learning experience and I am doing the best I can. I am going to work through this
Before I begin, let me be clear, I am not an expert in yoga, mindfulness or mediation. That being said, I am a Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner. This means that according to the International Chiropractic Association, I am an expert in all things that cause stress to the human body, how the body adapts to those stressors and what drives the body away from health and towards disease. With these ideas in mind, I want to talk with you about why I believe having a yoga practice is a must for anyone looking to live a long, injury free life. Three years ago, myself and two of my neighbors started meeting in a garage at 5:15 AM in order to do some weight lifting and 30 minutes of yoga. We used an app called Yoga Studio which can be purchased through the App Store and acts as your guide. We liked the app because it allowed us to customize our routine in intensity, the types of poses and length of the session. We dubbed this morning workout which we completed on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays as “Groga” (this is not a typo). The reason for this was we were practicing yoga, it was done in a garage and we were always incredibly groggy (haha). As a life long athlete and someone who played division one college athletics, I have always been extremely tight. I was never able to touch my toes, extend my spine backwards very far or stretch my extremities for fear of cramping up. That being said, although the initial few months of my "Groga" practice was difficult and mainly uncomfortable, I began to notice some enormous changes in the flexibility of my body. I also fell in love with the way my body felt after completing a session. My favorite part of doing yoga was the time at the end of the session when your body is fatigued, you are completely focused on the movements and you have stopped thinking about your to do list. I loved coming into present time consciousness by completing the session with a guided meditation. Albeit in the beginning I really struggled with clearing my thoughts, and still to this day struggle continue to have challenge with this from time to time, I was able to progressively improve how quickly and deeply I was able to meditate. The practice of yoga for me eliminated two of the
“And the time came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin It’s that magical time of year again, the sunshine grows stronger, birds are singing, butterflies are fluttering and the flowers have gracefully blossomed all around us. As we witness the beauty of Mother Earth unfolding in front of our eyes, we feel the natural desire to want to grow ourselves. This is the time of year to welcome all change in our lives in order to fully blossom and continue growing into our best-selves. This means taking care of ourselves. Getting proper rest, eating more greens, getting outside more, spending time with yourself, building new habits, saying no to old patterns, moving your body more, reading more books, meditating, developing a gratitude practice, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and most importantly, believing that you can change! It all starts with being open to the change that you seek and giving yourself the permission to grow. Growth takes time, but with some self-love and patience, it will flow through you and help you blossom into the best version of yourself. Radiate love & sunshine and we will all continue to bloom!
The days are getting longer which means we’re gearing up to spring forward into a new time change! And while more hours of daylight are typically a collective “yay!”, losing an hour of sleep on March 10th can negatively impact our circadian rhythm and cause stress to our mental and physical health. The good news is that you can minimize the health implications of the time change by working with your circadian rhythm. This means taking a look at your lifestyle and behaviors, making modifications, and utilizing a few easy tools that I have listed below. Prioritizing sleep is essential for our health and without restful, adequate sleep, our risks for illness and disease increase tremendously. Sleep is an invaluable piece of a healthy human, so follow a few of these tips and set yourself up for a healthy transition into longer days and summer nights. Better yet, use them year round if you want to really bulletproof your nighttime routine. For the week leading up to the time change, begin your nighttime routine one hour earlier. You can set yourself up for success by starting your nighttime routine after dinner or earlier to avoid over stimulating your mind and body before bedtime. Change into comfortable clothes that you don’t mind sleeping in as soon as you know you’re in for the evening. Wash your face, take out your contacts, and brush/floss your teeth as soon as dinner is over and the dishes are put away. This not only will help in your routine, but it also signifies that eating is done for the day and will help those who struggle with nighttime cravings. Set a reasonable bedtime and be consistent, no exceptions. Know yourself and recognize how many hours of sleep you actually need to function optimally the next day. Think maximum, not minimum and know that everybody’s sleep needs are different. No matter your bedtime, the importance is your consistency. The bedtime app on the iPhone is a perfect addition to creating a regular bedtime! (Android has several similar apps). Listen to a meditation app, podcast or an audio book you’ve already read. This will allow your mind to relax knowing you aren’t missing any new or valuable material. If you aren’t a podcast fan or a book-on-audio listener, try listening to a meditation app like Head Space. The narrator has a very calm and soothing voice that puts me to sleep just thinking about it.
Over the last three months, I have noticed a recurring theme in the mindset of many of the patients of Aligned Life Chiropractic and Wellness. I have also noticed this same mindset in myself lately. This theme, I believe, stems from a lack of understanding of who we really are as human beings. An inability to look inward and recognize our own brilliance. I believe it also comes from a lack of maintaining a long term focus and instead, getting caught up in the short term details. The theme I am speaking of is not loving yourself during a time period in which you are struggling physically or emotionally. As someone who regularly comes in direct contact with people who have either recently been injured or who are dealing with a chronic problem, I see the mental and physical challenge of keeping a positive outlook about ourselves. For myself, I have identified that when I am injured, I will commonly resent my body. I will feel as if my body is letting me down and that it is inhibiting me from being my best. Due to these negative feelings, I also notice that my emotional health suffers too. I am writing this not to sound like a complainer, but to let you know that if you have similar feelings that these are common emotions. That being said, what can we do when our bodies are not running in pristine condition (or even average condition)? The first step in eliminating this downward cycle is recognizing that we as human beings are not just our bodies. We are blessed to have many different pieces of ourselves, all of which are capable of giving us joy. What I mean by this is if your physical body is weakened, then it may be a time period to use your mind to bring you joy. For example, it may be a perfect opportunity for internal reflection, for preparing for your future by setting goals, by getting clear on what you can do for other people and for using your mind to bring you happiness. It may also be the perfect time to focus on getting back to basics with your nutrition, your journaling, your stretching routine, your date nights with your spouse or any other non-physical action that breeds the feeling of progress. Secondly, I recommend changing the story in your head that is trying to have you focus
It’s that time of year again, when friends and families travel near & far to gather around the table, bringing love, smiles & thankfulness! At my house, it’s tradition that before gobbling down all the savory goodness, we go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for. I thought during this season of giving, we could raise our awareness at this special gathering we call Thanksgiving, as it wouldn’t even be possible without the gifts of Mother Earth. So why not focus on giving thanks back to her? Here’s a little gift from me to you, in order to help us give back to our Earth. After all, this is a gift that keeps on giving! 1) Conserve Water – Most of us aren’t as mindful as we should be when it comes to water, considering it is our most precious resource! Take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth and only run dishwasher when it’s full. 2) Grow Something from Seed – Try building a planter box, patio garden or windowsill. You can also use seeds harvested from your organic produce 3) Plant a Tree – Trees slowly remove carbon from the atmosphere. One tree might absorb as much as one ton of carbon during a 40-year lifespan! 4) Compost Food Waste – Check out Pinterest for incredibly easy ways to do this! 5) Eat Organic – Shop local and support a nearby Farmer’s Market to beat the 15,000 miles produce can travel to get to your local grocery store. 6) Switch to Sustainable Products – Say no to single use plastics! Use a paper or metal straw/cup, switch to a bamboo toothbrush, and use eco-friendly grocery bags. Check out Stasher Bags, Eco Bags, Simply Straws & Mizu Water Bottles. 7) Recycle – Recycling is the best way to prevent unnecessary trash in landfills. Donate clothing you don’t want, kitchen accessories, toys & appliances. Hosting a *clothing swap* with friends can also be a fun way to recycle old treasure. 8) Power Down – Unplug any unused appliances in your household. Your energy bill & Mother Earth will thank you for it later. 9) Join or Organize a Community Clean-up – Help keep our neighborhoods & beaches clean before it has a chance to pollute the ocean! 10) Say Thank You to her every day, she hears you loud & clear! <3
It’s technically fall here in San Diego and the season of Pumpkin Spice everything is upon us. It’s time to break out the Ugg boots, unpack the flannel scarves, light all the cinnamon scented candles and cozy on up until Christmas. Ok, I may be getting a little ahead of myself given that the high tomorrow is 88 degrees and the leaves haven’t changed because we haven’t had rain since like January, but hey we can pretend right? Fall has always been my favorite time of year, which is ironic because I’ve only ever lived in cities with seasons of hot, hotter, hottest, and inferno (Tampa & Tucson). I’ve never actually experienced a true fall season but despite the heat and lack of changing leaves, there’s something about this time of year that has always felt so magical to me. Perhaps it’s because I know my favorite holiday is just around the corner. Thanksgiving, Duh! Although I won’t be breaking out the Ugg boots anytime soon, I did get in the kitchen this weekend to whip up some of my favorite pumpkin treats. The smell of freshly baked pumpkin spice muffins will get anyone in the mood for fall. This recipe is clean, super easy, kid-friendly and customizable. These muffins are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and low in sugar so you will feel great about eating them! Just make sure you don’t eat all of them! I added collagen to this batch to make them even more nutrient rich and protein packed. Enjoy! Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Muffins Ingredients: 1 ½ cups almond flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda Small pinch of salt 2 tbsp cinnamon 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice ¾ cup unsweetened canned pumpkin 3 eggs 3 tbsp maple syrup (more if you like your muffins sweeter, can sub for honey) 1tsp vanilla 3 tbsp melted coconut oil 1 scoop collagen +1tbsp water (only add water if you add the collagen) ¼ cup dark chocolate (I used a 85% dark chocolate bar for reduced sugar) ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional, I added to half of the mixture) *Makes about 10 muffins Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold in dark chocolate/nuts/dried fruit/additional add-ins. Grease non-stick muffin pan with coconut oil or use liners. Fill each cup to about ¾ full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.