October 31, 2017

Who Makes Every Decision in Your Life?

 

 

 Beware, it's your subconscious mind.

Your subconscious mind makes every decision in your life. This is appropriate and automatic ninety-nine percent of the time for walking, talking, and driving your car, but beware of the other one percent. All behavioral decisions like healthy eating, social interaction, and continuing bad habits are made in your subconscious mind.

What is your subconscious mind? It includes the thoughts and feelings below the level of awareness and is nearly unlimited in size.

In the clock-face study, people were asked to raise their hand randomly while looking at a clock. The researchers knew when they were going to raise their hand 300 milliseconds before the person knew. In the portrait study, people were asked to push a button in their right hand if a portrait of a person had a friendly expression and the left hand button if the portrait appeared sinister. The researchers knew several seconds before the person knew which button was going to be pushed. What’s going on? The subconscious mind makes the decision and sends the message to the conscious mind. We assume that we decide to do something, but these studies show the subconscious mind makes all decisions.

The implications may seem minor at first, but they can be life-changing. We need to align our conscious decisions with our subconscious decisions for greater success. This is accomplished by learning how to communicate with the subconscious. This is a primitive crocodile brain that responds to conditioning; emotions; images, sounds, smells, taste and touch; and subconscious reflex triggers.

Your subconscious mind sabotages your thinking. You tell yourself no dessert at today’s luncheon meeting. But, you say yes to the dessert menu and have a sugary dessert all the while saying to yourself you’re not having any. Worse yet, you’re angry with yourself causing dangerous levels of stress toxins. Your subconscious mind made this decision as it has been doing since childhood through conditioning. Instead, use this to your advantage through positive reinforcement. Eat a bowl of plain organic oatmeal. This is a different taste than you’re used to, and it’s like eating paste. However, not in your subconscious brain, here the feeling of hunger has been satisfied which sends a surge of dopamine to the nucleus accumbens pleasure center giving the brain a positive feeling, which in turn sends a pleasant feedback loop to the subcortical striatum part of the brain. Try the oatmeal again, and add blueberries, your subconscious will register this as another pleasant experience. Repeat this several times, and you will develop a craving for this healthy food with the extra benefit of the anti-inflammatory effects of the blueberries.

Sales and persuasion techniques have been based on subconscious decision making for thousands of years. Sell to the subconscious through emotions, images, sounds, and touch. The puppy dog close: send the puppy home for the night with no obligation. Yet, the dark side of the subconscious explains why brainwashing through negative conditioning is so effective. Associate a person or a group of people with negative images over and over through television and the web, soon people will automatically view that person or group as evil. How do you know when your opinion is based on conditioning or your own thinking? For example, if you have an opinion that vaccines cause autism, this is a conditioned response. This opinion is based on a single fraudulent report in a 1998 prestigious medical journal that was quickly “retracted” after investigation showed the author admitted falsifying the data. Vaccines do not cause autism. If your opinion is based on one person’s opinion or a single superficial statement, it’s likely a conditioned response. Do primary source research, and your decision will be your own.

Unconscious mind reflexes are the same as physical reflexes such as tapping the knee tendon. Learn what they are and use them in a positive way. Smile, your subconscious makes you feel better. Stand straight with open arms for strength, and slouch with folded arms for weakness. Head up is strong, head down is weak. Give a gift for increased sales. Give an after dinner mint for increased tips. This is the reciprocity reflex. Your sub-conscious mind has been conditioned to reciprocate. Scarcity of an item is similar, you will buy something if there are only three remaining because your subconscious fears loss. Consider physical activity at work as exercise and gain the benefit. Single-word reflexes are from mirror neurons. You smile and the person smiles back. The other person has a frown, you frown back along with the feeling of anger. Use “because” for a request will result in more yes responses. Rolling your eyes during a discussion causes the anger reflex by activating the amygdala anger center. Make a small request, return later and someone is more likely to accept a large request because the subconscious prefers consistency, or the opposite, make a huge request and immediately offer a small request.

Call to action. Learn the functional principles of the subconscious mind to know when it’s used against you, and learn to align your conscious thinking with your subconscious for a sustainable less stressful and more successful life. 

Gary R. Epler, M.D. in Boston

www.eplerhealth.com

Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy” and “Peak Performance and Leadership

Important acknowledgement – Professor Peter M. Viston at William & Marry; and Professor Robert Cialdini at Arizona State University for their breakthrough research and insights into the subconscious.

July 26, 2017

Brain Health: No Negative Thoughts

       

Stop negative thoughts.

Each time a negative thought comes up, stop it and move on. No need to replace with a positive thought – that’s too much work. No need to replace it with anything. Move on to something else. Think a negative thought? Stop and move on.

Why? Because one negative thought leads to two, and that leads to a story. This is what happens when you have one negative thought. You have a second thought, and the third negative thought builds a story. And, this is always a bad story with an ending that causes frustration, depression, anger, and rage. This is the basis for the adage: think about it, say it, act it, and it becomes your character. Think negative thoughts, use negative talk, act on negative talk, and you become a negative person. Additional traits of this character include complaining, criticizing, blaming others, and making excuses.

Rejections. Have you ever had a major rejection or a series of rejections? You’ve submitted proposals, loan applications, college applications, or funding plans for a project or startup; and you’ve received two, five, ten, twenty or more rejections? We are told that rejections are part of life and part of success. The first few are ignored, but eventually you begin to think about these rejections. You tell yourself you’re a failure, you’re not smart enough, and everyone else is better than you. These negative thoughts begin to repeat themselves incessantly until you convince yourself you’re a failure at everything and the world is out to get you. These negative thoughts go on and on day after day. You become irritable and depressed. You become angry and rage at your family and friends. You don’t want to be around people because you’re so upset; likewise, people don’t want to be around you because you’re negative and depressed. All of this started from a single negative thought.

Other situations. You’ve been chewed out at work. You’ve been fired. You’ve been turned down for a job. You don’t get a promotion. A negative thought pops in your head, do not replay the scene. You have an illness or an injury? Stop all negative thoughts about these. You got a parking ticket? You’ve been criticized? Do not replay these scenes in your mind. Move on to something else.

Solution. Stop the negative thought and this is what happens. You have an instant feeling of relief. Your whole body is relieved because you don’t have to relive the long depressing story again. Over time, the story will disappear from your memory. You free your mind to be healthy, more creative, and to lead an enjoyable life.

Call to action. Negative thoughts? Stop them and move on. Stop thinking negative thoughts for a healthy mind.

Gary R. Epler, M.D. in Boston

www.eplerhealth.com

Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy” and “Peak Performance and Leadership

 

 

 

January 26, 2017

Leadership for You

Leadership is not only for executives, managers, or the boss. Leadership is also needed for your life. Be the leader of your life. What makes a good leader? Positive communication, commitment, decision making, confidence, persistence, creativity, and honesty. These traits can be learned, and for best results, practiced in a self-sustaining and self-maintaining way.

Positive communication is interacting with people in a way that results in a positive feeling for both participants. Talking to coworkers, clerks, shop owners, and restaurant staff in a positive manner increases personal energy and feel-good neurotransmitters. Visualize two people talking, spouses, friends, or coworkers. One of them is excited about a huge event and can’t wait to tell the other person about it. The other person has four response options. The best is to respond with engagement, enthusiasm, and curiosity (demonstrated by asking questions). A second response is a passive “that’s nice,” not harmful but a missed opportunity for a good feeling for both people. A third response is harmful, which is to ignore the person’s excitement and one-up the conversation with a better or more exciting event. You may have been at a dinner party, work party, or a family get-together, and certain people will exhibit this response throughout the entire gathering. This is not an uplifting and pleasant social interaction. Finally, there is the fourth response:  the destructive comment. This is a response such as “While you were having fun, I was stressed out trying to work” or “How much is this going to cost us?” and so forth. These caustic, angry responses usually come from people who are insecure and unhappy with their own lives. Use response number one for the best results. The first person gets to feel good about sharing an exciting event, and the second person feels good because of sharing an exciting experience. Eliminate one-up and destructive responses. There is no place for these responses in positive social interaction.

Commitment means always doing what you say you will do 100% of the time, with no exceptions. You say yes to a meeting, to a dinner party, to helping someone, or volunteering. Do it, even if a better offer comes along or you change your mind. There is no problem saying no. If you don’t want to do something or have a conflict, say no—say no to free tickets, no to an invitation, and even no to a request for help. This is meaningful for both participants, since saying yes and then not showing up is bad for everyone. This makes you feel bad and registers a negative feeling in your subconscious, it makes the other person doubt your character, and it lets down the other people involved in the situation. Say yes, and whatever it takes, do it.

Making decisions means make a decision as fast as possible, one way or the other. A good decision makes us feel good and most likely helps other people. A bad decision makes us feel bad, but we recover, learn something from it, and try another approach. It’s not the decision that’s bad, it’s the outcome. Making no decision is a problem. There is no progress, no forward action. This indecisiveness makes people look weak. This is especially important in your own life. When you are at a standstill, you can’t engage in life. Make a decision—whether it’s good or bad doesn’t make any difference. You can move forward and enjoy the decision or make another one, but you’re alive with energy and creativity from having done it.

Confidence is needed for a good leader. Do you like to follow someone who is weak and has no confidence in a decision, plan, or project? You feel bad when you have no confidence in yourself. Increasing your self-esteem is not enough. We have great self-esteem when everything is going well, but when things get tough, self-esteem jumps ship and abandons us. Use compassion for yourself; this never lets you down. Confidence comes from how much we like ourselves. How much are you willing to be your true self? In grade school, we want to be who our parents and teachers want us to be. Later we want to be who our friends want us to be, who our boss or spouse wants us to be, who society wants us to be—or worse, the perfect, flawless person that our mind wants us to be. It takes time, but be yourself. You’re free. This is freedom from blame, freedom from criticism, freedom from making bad decisions. This is you; there is no reason for complaining, blaming, making excuses, or criticizing.

Persistence is fundamental for continuing success in life. Psychologist and author Dr.  Angela Duckworth uses the term “grit” to describe perseverance and passion. Grit consists of courage, which often means eliminating the fear of failure; endurance and follow-through; and resilience—the optimism and confidence required to bounce back from failure. It’s not concentrating on winning, it’s concentrating on doing your individual best. Grit also means not quitting because the task or project is too hard or someone told you to quit or that you’re not good enough. Stop because you have completed the project, the job, or reached your goal.  

Creativity is the spice of life. This means using your mind to solve day-to-day problems and bumps. Using your mind to make things happen, to create projects for the community, to create products, to create solutions, create businesses, create enjoyment for yourself and for your family. Increase your creative ability, and you will improve your life and everyone else’s too.

Honesty and integrity are the foundations of a good leader. This is obvious for an executive or boss, but even more important is being honest with yourself at a private level. No exaggerations, no convenient forgetting, and no stretching the truth. Always be honest with yourself. No lies. No rationalizing. In many situations, the raw truth will be painful, and sometimes extremely painful, but recovery will occur. The ancient saying is correct: The truth will set you free.

Call to action. Learn and relearn these attributes of a good leader. Use them at work, when volunteering, at home, and most importantly, for yourself. Positive communication, commitment, decision making, confidence, persistence, creativity, and honesty. They will become self-sustainable, enabling you to live an extraordinary life with energy, meaning, success, and enjoyment.

Gary R. Epler, M.D. in Boston

www.eplerhealth.com

Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy” and “Peak Performance and Leadership

 

December 06, 2016

Love is in the Air

  Everyone knows that falling in love increases your heart rate.

   Did you know that increasing your heart rate will help you fall in love with the person next to you? Try it and find out.

Want to fall in love with your husband or wife, your girlfriend or boyfriend, or a first date? Do something that increases your heart rate, especially something requiring cooperation together, like keeping a kayak in a straight line. Go for a hike, climb a mountain, go on a bike path, ballroom dancing lessons, workout together, or go for a run together. That’s what happened to me. I was training for the New York Marathon along the Charles River in Boston and saw someone, my future wife Joan, coming my direction and made the U-turn. Our hearts were beating faster. It didn’t take long, a few moments, to fall in love.

This is what happens. The feel good hormones and neurotransmitters like endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine kick in from the exercise, and when two people exercise, the bonding hormone oxytocin is flowing. In addition, with exercise and increased heart rate, both of you are in the alpha-brain wave world of happiness and bliss. Joan and I ran the Greek Marathon for our first anniversary and our favorite memories were running the three 20-mile training runs to Wellesley and back to Boston the three Saturdays before the marathon. We were together in the alpha-brainwave meditation state, a fantasy world filled with love, joy and peace. The hot-fudge sundae at the end was also a big plus.

I was talking with my friend during a Cape Cod ocean swim telling him about increasing the heart rate to fall in love. This reminded him of his first date with his wife, they took ballroom dancing together, just the two of them. Heart rate increased, they fell in love, and were married within the year. My friend John hiked a mountain trail with someone new and fell in love.

There’s a bonus. You will create lifelong memories that you will both recall 10 years later, 20 years later, and forever. Remember nighttime skating on the Brookline Country Club pond, remember the New Hampshire hike with cranberry nut bread and Mozart’s music, and remember running by MIT during a Boston wintry nor’easter.     

Want to enjoy life together? Fist date? Do something that will you increase your heart rates. Run together, stay together. Love is in the air.

Gary R. Epler, M.D.

www.eplerhealth.com

Award-winning author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy”

November 03, 2016

Visualize the Process, not the Goal

  Visualization is powerful.

We’ve been doing this since childhood. You need to do it right.

Visualize the process, not the goal. Books, seminars, courses, and motivational speakers talk about setting goals for success. When it comes to visualization, it doesn’t work. It delays reaching the goal and may even prevent ever reaching the goal.

Want an A on the exam? Visualize the process, not the A. For days, you visualize getting an A on the exam. You visualize the A when you brush your teeth, walking to class, and going for lunch. How could this be a problem? Everyone says this is a good idea. If visualizing the A is such a good idea, let's test it and find out. Tell 100 students to visualize the A on the exam for five days and compare their grade to 100 students who don’t visualize the A. The results: those who don’t visualize the A get a better grade! This is because students who get the good grades spend their time studying for the exam and not spending their time visualizing the A. This not only takes time, but the students who visualize the A have the feeling that they will get the A because the “universe” will help them. This is not a good feeling, it’s a false feeling of success, and a double bad feeling when the A doesn’t appear. Be the process-visualization students about getting an A and study.

Want a job? Visualize the process, not the job. People can spend hours visualizing their dream job – visualize talking about the offer, about the surroundings of the new job, about what they will do with the money, and about the feeling of success. How-to books and motivational gurus tell you this over and over. They give you thousands of success stories. It sounds so perfect, but it’s not. This is a waste of time and will take you away from attaining the job. Take 100 people who visualize their dream job compared to 100 people who don’t. People who don’t spend time visualizing the job used the time on the process of getting the job, and they get the job.

Want to make a million dollars? Visualize the process, not the million dollars. The “how-to” authors and speakers will tell you to visualize a million dollars, and it will appear. They tell you not to worry about how it will happen, the “universe” will take care of how it will happen. Visualize it, write it down, repeat it 100 times every day, post it on the mirror, and visualize the million dollars during meditation. It’s a secret, don’t tell anybody. All of this effort is time wasted. It’s a distraction. Every cell in your body knows what the goal is – no reminders are needed. Visualize the process, this will lead to success and you’ll feel better.

What happens when you visualize the process? Less stress and more enjoyment. The feeling of failure is eliminated because process is not a win-loss situation. Thinking about goals is stressful and not attaining the goal day after day is not good, a bad feeling in the stomach. It's a negative hope of attaining a goal that may never be reached. Thinking about the process is a continuous feeling of accomplishment and engagement not associated with failure or success, it’s not a competition with yourself to reach a goal. Working on the process results in positive feelings, engagement and meaning in life, accomplishments, and positive social interactions. Deal with process setbacks the same way. Don't think about the setback itself, move on to thinking about the process of getting back on track. Working on the process produces a comforting sense of well-being.

Action step: Visualization is good. It’s how we think. Visualize and think about the process for success, and enjoy the journey.

Gary R. Epler, M.D.

www.eplerhealth.com Award-winning author of Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy

 

 

March 15, 2016

Heal Yourself

          Epler Health

Machines are built to repair themselves, and so can you.

At any given time, people have something that needs some healing attention. Healing is the process of restoring physical health from injury or disease and restoring mental and emotional health. Healing is a state of mind, and you can use your mind to help with healing.

 Two basic requirements. Before talking about healing, you need to do two things. First, learn everything you can about the anatomy of the injury or the mechanism of the disease process from your doctor and review of established evidence-based websites. Second, use your best medical treatment option available, such as antibiotics, medications or surgery. Ask your doctor questions about the injury or disease, about the diagnostic process, how to monitor the process, and the treatment options including the natural history of the process. Ask questions until you thoroughly understand the answers. This will help you be in charge of the situation and begin healing.

Use your mind for healing. You need to have a positive approach to the injury or illness. Tell yourself, you can take charge and successfully manage this situation. Remember, in some situations, you may not be able to cure it, but you can always manage it, and that’s good enough. Anger and a negative approach causes the neurolinguistic trap. This occurs from repeatedly thinking of and verbalizing anger and negative feelings (complaining) about the illness. This counterproductive activity establishes a bad neuropathway sending you down the road of perpetual aggravation and worsening the process. A positive approach neuropathway sends you down the road to strength and control. Use compassion as a companion approach. Have compassion, not anger, for your injury or diseased organ system.  

Controlled breathing. Use controlled breathing. Breathe silently and equally in and out, without holding your breath at the top or the bottom of the breath.  Move your lower abdomen out as you inhale, also called belly breaths. This will decrease stress which will help the healing process. 

Visualization. This can be used to help healing especially while in the alpha- or theta-brainwave state. These relaxed brainwave states help manage fear which is a huge initial part of an injury or illness. There are several ways to use visualization, and you can develop your own. Here are four examples. First, mentally send healing energy to the specific body part that needs healing such as the elbow or knee or the organ system such as the heart. Learn about the anatomy or the illness because the more specific, the better. Second, visualize replacing dysfunctional and abnormal cells with new healthy cells. Begin with one cell, then two, four, eight until you reached millions. Third, visualize repairing damaged DNA in your cells as future cells will be healthy. Finally, with your mind, reignite your dormant healing genes involved in the injury or disease process. 

Persist. The healing component of an injury or disease process can have a powerful influence in your life and if successful can restore your physical, mental, and emotional health. Healing is a state of mind, keep learning new ways to use your mind for healing.

Gary R. Epler, M.D.

www.eplerhealth.com Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy

October 22, 2015

Alpha-Brainwave [Meditation] Time for Health and Happiness

Imagine having the feelings of joy, creativity, and confidence. These are wonderful, soothing feelings that we need every day especially during a personal downturn, loss of income, stress, or pain. How can we do this? It’s through meditation or what I call alpha-brainwave time.

What's alpha-brainwave time? It’s day dreaming. It’s meditation. It’s time when you are experiencing alpha brainwaves. We have several brainwave frequencies. Beta brainwave activity occurs during our typical waking day. Alpha brainwaves and theta brainwaves occur during light and moderate sleep. We require 15 minutes of very slow delta waves for deep sleep every night. Gamma waves are fast and may occur during peak performance. Wake up and unlock the benefits of alpha brainwaves. You can also learn to be in a theta brainwave state while awake for even greater benefits.

How do you do alpha-brainwave time? The traditional way is with sitting, eyes-closed meditation, which continues to be the gold standard. I prefer new eyes-open meditation that you can do while sitting, walking in the woods, walking or slowly jogging on a treadmill, swimming or during yoga. The Norwegians have a term “Friluftsliv” which is the alpha-brainwave feeling that develops being outside in free air.

5 benefits from alpha-brainwave time. First, alpha-brainwave time decreases stress by lowering your blood adrenaline levels. You go from the flight-or-fight state to the stay-and-play state. Second, meditation releases feel-good neurotransmitters and hormones including endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin. Third, meditation balances your left and right side of the brain. We need the left brain to function in society, but it’s rigid and dominant. Meditation shifts some of this activity to the right brain – the social and creative brain making a more enjoyable day. Fourth, people may depend on outside activities for pleasure and enjoyment, but this is an inside job – meditation brings that pleasure inside with no need for outside forces. Finally, science-based benefits of alpha-brainwave time include increasing mirror-neuron function that improves social interaction and increasing the life of telomeres at the end of your chromosomes for increased lifespan.

Take action: Learn everything you can about alpha-brainwave time and meditation. Learn the different ways and find one that is best for you. Give yourself 15 to 20 minutes of alpha-brainwave time every day and especially when you face the inevitable personal downturns and stress. Alpha-brainwave time will give you energy, confidence, and joy. If you wish, watch "Who Knew Life was so Easy?"

Gary Epler 

www.eplerhealth.com

Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy” and upcoming book: “Universal Path to Health and Happiness: 15 Practices throughout the world."

 

 

September 14, 2015

Companion Habits for Doing Your Best Work

For your best work - do the second part of the job and finish the last 5% of the job. 

Do you want to find the best people to help you? Make sure they do the second part of the job and finished the last 5%. Do you want to do the best job? Do the second part and finish the last 5% of the job.

Every job has two parts.

I had some work done on the house replacing some wood that had become worn. The first part, they did a perfect job replacing the wood, couldn’t have been better. The second part, clean up and protect the house. They failed miserably with the second part. They left a mess. There were scraps of wood and paint on the grass, the flowers were trampled, and worse, there were deep gouges in the wood from the ladders. Not so good.

If you want the best, every job has two parts. A good doctor diagnosis and treats disease correctly, the best doctor does this plus has a caring personality. A spin class instructor may have the best music and routine, but lack the second part of creating a positive social interaction in the class. A good plumber fixes your sink. The best plumber fixes your sink and doesn’t trample mud on your floor, doesn’t leave grease on the cabinets, and doesn’t scare you. You need help clearing two feet of snow from you driveway? The good snow remover removes the snow from the driveway. The best removes the snow from the driveway, doesn’t plow the snow into your neighbor’s yard, clears the sidewalk, and cleans the edges.

Look at your work. Do you do a good job or do you do the best job? There are two parts to every job. Know the second part, do the second part, and you will be the best.

Finish the last 5% of the job. 

My friend Bob owns a construction company and told me the first 5% and the last 5% of building a house are the hardest. Review your experience, is he right? Yes, he is. Finishing the last 5% of any job separates the best from the average.

My wife, Joan and I watched two houses being built during our Sunday morning run along our neighborhood route. They were beautiful, majestic homes. They were both built quickly during several months. However, for months after building the first house, the street sidewalk remained in total disrepair from the construction, and the small strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street was mud. For the second house, again several months after “finishing” the job, the protect-the-environment-straw bales were spread throughout the street and neighbor’s lawn. Both of these last finishing touches will remain there for several more months or even longer. For another new house at a different part of our run, the owners took two years to clean up scraps of wood and finish a tiny strip of landscaping in front of their new house that was built in less than a year. These minor details may not bother some people, but the job wasn’t finished. And this issue occurs every day in our businesses and social lives. What about the husband who takes out the trash bag, but doesn't put in a new trash bag in the barrel, leaving this annoying job for his wife? Examples are everywhere.   

My friend Scott told me about his experience with the last 5%. He was a furniture mover in the past and experienced two situations. When two crews did the work, if the first crew only moved the big, obvious items, it took the second crew twice and sometimes three times longer to find, load, and pack the last 5% of small random items. If the first crew, moved what needed to be moved including extra nuisance items, the total job took half as long and cost half as much. Secondly, when homeowners left loose pieces scattered throughout the house in the attic and basement, it took more hours to finish this last 5% than to completely empty the entire house resulting in higher cost to the homeowner. Completing the last 5% saves money too.

Look at your work. Do you complete the job? Do you leave tools scattered throughout the house after minor repair work? Do you clean up after making a mess fixing something? At your work, do you stop at the last 5% of the job and go home? Do you let your associates or friends finish the last 5% of the project?

Finish the job every time. You will have the satisfying feeling of doing a great job, even if no one notices, and you won’t have the lingering, unsettling feeling of a job not quite finished. Second, you will be more successful in your overall work and social interaction. Do the last 5% of the job to be the best.

Take action:  Everyone needs to take action for doing successful work. Do the second part of the job and finish the last 5% of the job.

Gary Epler

Best-selling author of “Fuel for Life: Level-10 Energy

Epler Health

 

 

 

 

August 10, 2015

You’re the Boss: Manage Your Disease

 

You can manage your disease better than anyone else can. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, type II diabetes – you may not be able to cure them, but you can manage them to live an energetic, extraordinary life filled with creativity and enjoyment.

How do you manage your disease?

Start with learning everything you can about the disease. Explore the internet top five searches. Trust yourself, you will be able to read sources that will help you. Learn the causes and learn how the disease is diagnosed – what tests and x-rays are helpful. Is a biopsy needed? Learn the treatment options. There are always options – the natural course of the disease without treatment, medical treatment, surgical treatment, and complimentary treatments. Monitor the progress – is it improving, staying the same, worsening. Often staying the same is good enough, as this is managing the disease and will not interfere with your life. If worsening, try another option. Finally, create a healing environment. This is where the mind is a powerful. You can be healed without being cured. It’s in the mind.

What do you need to know about diagnosing your disease?

You may think that diagnosing disease is the doctor’s job. This is true, yet it is helpful for you to learn about the diagnostic process because you’re going to be asked to decide which tests to have. Some are simple, a blood test or urine test, while others such as special x-ray tests and especially tissue biopsies are complex and have potential adverse reactions. So, learn about potential causes of disease and the diagnostic process. Importantly, ask your doctor the reason for the test, what happens if you don’t do the test, the chance of making a diagnosis, the risks of the test, and finally alternative options.

Find out the treatment options.

There are always options. Ask your doctor what happens if you don’t do anything. What is the natural history of the disease process? This will help you several ways. First, the process may resolve over time. Second, you will have something to monitor to determine if the treatment plan is working. Third, it may be a rapid deadly outcome and you will have intense decisions to make. After this, ask about the medical treatment options. What medicines will be used? What is the typical outcome with these medicines? What are the adverse reactions of the medicines? You may need to know surgical options. What is the operation? What are the chances of success? What are the risks? Ask the same questions about chemotherapy and radiation treatments. When you find out the answers, you will be able to weigh the benefits and the risks to make a decision that is best for you.

Monitor your disease.

Now that you have a treatment plan, it is helpful to monitor the progress. This can be simple by keeping track on your iPhone or computer, or developing an elaborate computer graph. Use the 48-hour rule. If the process is improved in 48 hours, continue the plan. If the process is unchanged, give another 48 hours and re-evaluate. If worse in 48 hours, contact your physician and maybe continue the plan or change the plan, depending on severity. If there is dramatic worsening, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

How do you heal?

Healing is a state of mind. You can be healed despite having a chronic disease. I’m reminded of the professional piano player who was blind and emaciated from AIDS, yet as he was sitting at the piano, he told the interviewer he was at peace and healed. He died the next day. You can learn how to heal. There are several do nots: Do not dwell on your disease. Do not complain to others. Do not let the disease take over your life. Follow what has been discussed: Learn about the disease, know you have chosen the best diagnostic studies and treatment options for you, and monitor the process. Develop a positive attitude toward the management plan. This will give you a feeling of control and being in charge of the disease. Next, you need eight hours of sleep, one hour of exercise, and eat the right foods in the right amount including lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and slow-burn carbohydrates. Use the power of your mind, spend alpha brainwave time through meditation. Have compassion for yourself and the organ system involved. Use visualization of healing the process. Develop relaxation techniques through belly breathing and yoga breathing (equal breath in and equal breath out). Manage stress through these techniques.

Take action.

Learn about your disease, know the diagnostic process, understand the treatment options, monitor the disease, and create an environment for healing. You are in charge. You can manage your disease better than anyone else. Your chances of success are unlimited.

Gary R. Epler, M.D. 
Best-selling author of "You’re the Boss: Manage Your Disease

   

Image via Public Domain Archive

July 17, 2015

One Food that is Killing You

  

Too much omega-6 is one food that scientists are now saying will cause increased mortality by causing inflammation throughout the body resulting in heart disease and stroke.

What’s omega-6?

It’s an unsaturated fatty acid. The number 6 is the location of a double carbon bond on the long-string fatty acid. It’s an essential fatty acid, which means the body does not produce omega-6, and it must be consumed from an outside source. We have been told that the unsaturated fats are the healthy ones, and saturated fats are the ones that cause artery inflammation. Even though an unsaturated fat, too much omega-6 also causes inflammation. This inflammation may occur in the coronary arteries causing a heart attack or in arteries leading to the brain causing a stroke. Recently, people who replaced saturated fats with omega-6 increased their risk of heart disease.

Why is omega-6 a problem now?

Omega-6 was not a problem before the 1950s and is not currently an issue in many non-industrialized countries. Why? The biggest source of omega-6 today is from processed foods and meats. New manufacturing techniques for food preservation and chemically-manufactured foods such as high-fructose corn syrup were not available years ago. In the past naturally-occurring foods resulted in a mostly healthy balance of omega-6.

What are the biggest sources of omega-6?

Vegetable oils, processed foods, and unhealthy meats are the biggest sources of omega-6. Vegetable oils that have high amounts of omega-6 include sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and peanut oil. It is paradoxical that in the 1960’s, corn oil and peanut oil were recommended for replacement for lard and butter for frying foods because these contained unsaturated fats and not the unhealthy saturated fats. Yet, today these are unhealthy high omega-6 oils. Soy beans have a worse story, often thought of as a healthy alternative in the past, today processed oil from soybeans is the biggest source of omega-6 in the American diet. Processed soybean oil is everywhere. It’s in chips, pastries, snacks, ice cream, and fast food. Processed corn and soy are used for animal feed and farmed-raised fish feed resulting in high omega-6 content of these foods. Whole soy beans are loaded with omega-6.

Unhealthy meats may be common in the US. I recently drove across the country with my family from shining sea to shining sea and purple mountains. In the middle of the country, we experienced a foul-smelling stench for several miles that permeated the car causing nausea in all of us. There were hundreds and thousands of cattle squeezed tightly in pens next to each other. Were they receiving processed corn and soy feed plus steroid hormones for muscle growth? Probably. These are deplorable conditions for these animals, and the meat will have unwarranted excessive amount of omega-6 that will overwhelm the balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio in people. The same situation may occur with pen-raised chickens and farm-raised fish, both having too much omega-6.

Why is the omega-6/omega-3 ratio so important?

Food science has led us to something new to understand. The body needs an equal balance of omega-6 and omega-3 for optimal health, but a high omega-6/omega-3 ration causes inflammation. In the past, there was a healthy balance between these two fatty acids until manufacturing processes and forced-fed animal practices have developed during the past 25 years. Now there is an overpowering imbalance from 15 to as high as 40 times more omega-6 compared to omega-3 allowing the inflammatory properties of omega-6 to damage the lining of the heart and brain arteries, and causing other inflammatory responses throughout the body. It’s important to restore the balance by decreasing omega-6 intake.

Take action.

Learn as much as you can about omega-6. Read food labels, even some so-called health foods such as energy drinks and energy bars may contain large amounts of omega-6. Foods with lower omega-6 levels include organic whole fruits and vegetables as well as grass-fed meat, free-range chicken, cage-free eggs, and free-swimming ocean fish. Limit high omega-6 vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and peanut oil. Limit or eliminate processed foods, drinks, and meats.

Gary R. Epler, M.D. at  www.eplerhealth.com

Best-selling author of “Food: You’re the Boss