Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

2 Ways to Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

 

Visual imagination or visualization can be a potent tool for emotional well-being. It is mostly what we focus on when we daydream, and it can totally fascinate us when we engage in imagining what we desire.

 

A significant portion of the brain, the visual cortex, is responsible for processing visual imagination and other data coming from the retinas and optic nerves. When the brain is not occupied with that task, it is free to generate pictures of its own – from your brain’s perspective, the distinction between what you see and what you visually imagine is not large. The visual cortex can act as a conduit between the conscious and unconscious mind, giving access to parts of the nervous system that regulate body functions normally considered involuntary.

 

Meditation on visual images is a religious practice in Hinduism and Buddhism, where geometric designs of spiritual significance are used. Apart from its religious purpose, this sort of meditation is said to calm the mind and body.

 

Visual images that we pay frequent attention to can determine the set point of our emotions just as habitual patterns thought can, possibly more so, because they influence physiology so strongly.

 

To get a sense of the power of visual imagination, close your eyes and picture a lemon wedge, freshly cut and glistening with juice. Concentrate on making the image as clear and detailed as you can. Then visualize bringing the lemon to your lips, sucking on it, and biting into it. As you do this, chances are you will experience sensations in your mouth and salivation, just as if you had sucked on an actual slice of lemon.

 

Practitioners of visualization therapy, visual imagination and interactive guided imagery teach patients to modify health conditions by taking advantage of this mind/body phenomenon, often with good results. Over the years, I have referred many patients to such therapists and have seen benefit with problems ranging from atopic dermatitis (eczema) and autoimmunity to cancer and recovery from surgery.

 

To improve emotional well-being, I am experimenting with visualization in two ways:

 

Practice shifting attention from negative thoughts to mental images that evoke positive feelings. For example, think of an actual place where you experienced contentment, comfort, and serenity.

Select an image that you associate with your most positive moods and focus on it frequently. Take that scene from earlier, and recreate it in your mind’s eye. Each time you do, concentrate on sharpening the details, making the colors brighter, imagining sounds, physical sensations, and scents that might have been part of the experience. Keep that image as a place you can go to in your mind whenever you feel stressed, anxious or sad.

Find your own such place, and visit it mentally whenever stress threatens to overwhelm you.

If the negative mental and physical effects of unhealthy stress are affecting your day-to-day life, take steps to address it. Proper diet, lifestyle and supplements may be beneficial.  Call us at Health and Wellness Associates to get you on your personal wellness plan.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr M Williams

312-972-9355 (WELL)

 

HealthWEllnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Avoid All Alcohol Helps the Heart Beat Better

avoiddrinking.jpg

Avoiding All Alcohol Helps the Heart Beat Better

 

The longer you refrain from drinking, the lower your risk of a common heart rhythm disorder.

 

That’s the message of a new long-range study examining alcohol use and atrial fibrillation, or Afib. This is when electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart are chaotic and cause an irregular heartbeat, which increases the risk of blood clots that can cause stroke or heart attacks.

 

One in four adults older than 40 is at risk for Afib, and nearly 6 million people in the United States could have the condition by 2050.

 

But the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco found that every decade of non-drinking decreased the risk of Afib by 20 percent, regardless of the type of alcohol.

Women who drink in any amount before conception and during pregnancy will cause a higher risk of problems for your infant.

 

The study included heart-risk data generated over 25 years on more than 15,000 American adults

 

Past drinkers were at increased risk for Afib, the researchers found. Every additional decade in which alcohol was consumed in the past was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of Afib, and every additional drink per day during former drinking was associated with a 4 percent increased risk.

 

“For a disease that affects millions and is one of the most important causes of stroke, identifying modifiable risk factors is especially important,” study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus said in a UCSF news release. He directs clinical research at the university’s division of cardiology.

 

“Future research may help identify patients particularly prone to alcohol-related [Afib], and, when done, targeted counseling to those patients may be especially effective,” he added.

 

“Our finding suggests there may be chronic cardiac remodeling effects from alcohol that don’t rely on alcohol as an acute trigger, and further research into why this occurs is needed,” Marcus concluded.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr C Carney

312-972-Well

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Is It Safe to Exercise Barefoot at the Gym?

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Expert Answers: Is it Safe to Exercise Barefoot at the Gym?

 

Sure — if it’s done correctly. Here are some tips.

 

Barefoot exercising can be both safe and beneficial — if it’s done correctly and if you start slowly, says Maryland-based physical therapist and trainer Kevin McGuinness, DPT, CSCS.

 

Jumping into barefoot training increases your chance of developing an injury, McGuinness says. He advises reducing the volume and intensity of your workouts to 25 percent of your normal routine in the first week going barefoot. Then slowly build up.

 

Next, consider your activity. Going barefoot when performing strength moves like deadlifts and overhead presses can increase foot and toe strength. It also improves proprioception, which boosts overall fitness performance and delivers neurological benefits.

 

If you’re performing plyometric exercises or training outdoors, however, it’s safer to have something on your feet.

 

Some gyms require footwear, so check club rules before unlacing your shoes. To replicate the barefoot-training effect, you can opt for minimalist sneakers or nonslip grip socks.

 

Once you head for the locker room, bathroom, or sauna, make sure to slip on sandals to protect your feet from germs.

 

As always contact us for your personal health care concerns and needs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

 

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Dr P Carrothers

 

312-972-WELL

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com