Post-Traumatic Enlightenment Summit

I believe that post-traumatic growth is the positive change that can happen in the wake of a traumatic event.

Even though adverse life events such as serious illness, accident or injury, abuse, bereavement or relationship breakdown can be a trigger for depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress, people are capable of finding transformation through trauma.

And here’s where the good news gets even better: my friend Jennifer Cunningham is a trauma survivor who got through cancer feeling like her identity had become all about that experience. She decided to be true to herself, take on new challenges and view life from a wider perspective and so she brought together 24 experts, including me, to share our strategies to shift from trauma to enlightenment.

I’d love for you to join us for the Post-Traumatic Enlightenment Summit. Reserve your FREE spot by clicking on this link.

Do you believe in post-traumatic growth?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Aromatherapy for the Health of It

Aromatherapy Diffuser by Laurie  Buchanan

Aromatherapy Diffuser by Laurie Buchanan

Responding to stress is natural, but staying in a constant state of stress eventually produces negative health effects. Cortisol—also  known as the death or stress hormone—is part of our body’s natural response to stress. Yet when it’s released at high levels and/or not allowed to ease up, it decreases immunity, bone density, and the overall quality of life.

Because aromatherapy triggers the relaxation response, it’s an effective self-health method that can diminish, if not eliminate, stress from taking root in the body. This response can balance cortisol levels, decrease heart rate and blood pressure, improve digestion, and normalize blood sugar levels.

Totally portable, essential oils are easy to use. You can inhale a single essential oil, or create a synergy—a blend of oils.

At HolEssence we use diffusers that waft our Signature Scent—a proprietary blend of lavender, ylang ylang, and rosemary—throughout the yoga studio, office, and treatment room. Inhaling the aroma is immediately calming, yet uplifting. Many people who walk in say, “Ahhhhhh, it smells like heaven in here.”

Most people tolerate essential oils well, but care must be taken that the fragrance isn’t overpowering. Essential oils you may want to consider in your self-health program include:

Chamomile is calming, soothing, and relaxing. It has a sweet, herbal, and fruity aroma.

Ylang Ylang is anti-depressive and relaxing. This evergreen tree has intensely fragrant flowers, followed by green fruits—a little goes a long way.

Eucalyptus is balancing and stimulating. Its aroma is a mix of camphor and the forest.

Geranium is comforting and healing. It has a sweet, floral, and earthy aroma.

Lavender is well known for its calming and therapeutic effects. It’s floral, sweet, woodsy, and herbal smelling.

Rose is warm and deeply floral—a little goes a long way.

Rosemary is refreshing and stimulating. Its fragrance is refreshing, woodsy, and herbal.

Sandalwood is very relaxing. It has a woodsy, sweet, and exotic scent.

Marjoram is used to deal with anxiety and insomnia. Its fragrance is warm and spicy.

Jasmine is soothing and relaxing. It has a warm, floral scent.

Neroli is relaxing—it has sedative properties. Its fragrance is floral and refreshing—a little goes a long way.

Note: as with anything used for medicinal purposes, check to insure that the essential oils you use don’t have any negative interactions with current health issues and/or medication. The purpose of this post is not to for you to stop your current healthcare regimen. Rather, to bring awareness that Aromatherapy is a wonderful complementary self-health treatment that can help to create a healthier you.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”|
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

V is for Vitamins

Supplements by Laurie Buchanan

Supplements by Laurie Buchanan

No matter how well we eat, there are usually some nutritional gaps in our diet. Multivitamins and minerals are an easy and convenient way to help fill those gaps and insure that our bodies get all of the nutritional support they need every day.

There are 13 vitamins classified as either water soluble (C and B-complex) or fat soluble (A, D, E and K) each having a key role to play in our bodies.

Water Soluble Vitamins: Stored in the body for a brief period of time, water soluble vitamins are then excreted by the kidneys. The one exception is vitamin B12, which is stored in the liver. Water soluble vitamins need to be taken daily.

Fat Soluble Vitamin: Together with fat from the intestine, these vitamins are absorbed into the circulation. Any disease or disorder that affects the absorption of fat, such as celiac disease, can lead to a deficiency of these vitamins. Once absorbed into the circulation these vitamins are carried to the liver where they’re stored.

In addition to vitamins, our bodies need several minerals for the proper makeup of bone and blood, and for maintenance of normal cell function. These are divided into 2 groups:

Major minerals: phosphorous, calcium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur, and magnesium.

Trace minerals: iron, iodine, cobalt (from vitamin B12), chromium, selenium, copper, fluorine, manganese, zinc, and molybdenum.

Below I’ve provided a brief thumbnail sketch of some of key vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t include healthy oils (i.e., fish, garlic, flaxseed) or herbal supplements (i.e., milk thistle, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, echinacea).

Vitamin A – Vitamin A prevents eye problems, promotes a healthy immune system, is essential for the growth and development of cells, and keeps skin healthy.

Vitamin B-Complex – It’s my perspective that B vitamins should be taken as a complex, a combination of B vitamins that are essential for quality longevity, heart health, and aiding the body during times of stress. Here is a quick look at the individual B’s:

          B-1 (also known as thiamin) helps the body to convert carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for the proper function of the heart, muscles, and nervous system.

          B-2 (also known as riboflavin) is essential for turning carbohydrates into energy and producing red blood cells. It’s also important for vision.

          B-3 (also known as niacin) helps the body convert food into energy. It helps maintain healthy skin and is important for nerve function.

          B-6 is important for normal brain and nerve function. It also helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells.

          B-9 (also known as folic acid) helps the body make red blood cells, and is needed to make DNA.

          B-12 helps to make red blood cells, and is important for nerve cell function.

Vitamin C is needed to form collagen, a tissue that helps to hold cells together. It’s essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It helps the body to absorb iron and calcium, aids in wound healing, and contributes to brain function.

Calcium – Essential for teeth and building strong bones. Adequate calcium in a healthy diet may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Vitamin D Promotes the strength of the immune system, supports bone and joint health, and enhances calcium absorption. Vitamin D is unique in that the body is able to produce it when ultraviolet rays, specifically UVB, penetrate the skin. When these ultra violet rays come into contact with a compound in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol (a cholesterol precursor), this compound is converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (vitamin D3), the active form of vitamin D.

Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. It’s also important for the health of red blood cells, maintenance of a healthy heart, lungs, prostate, and enhances digestive tract function.

Folic Acid – aids in the prevention of birth defects when it is taken prior to conception. Given its potential to protect the health of newborns, healthcare professionals strongly advocate that women begin taken folic acid supplements three months prior to the time they plan to conceive.

Iron – helps red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include weakness and fatigue, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.

Vitamin K – is necessary for blood clotting.

Magnesium – helps muscles and nerves to function, steadies the heart rhythm, and keeps bones strong. It also helps the body create energy and make proteins.

Phosphorous – helps form healthy bones and teeth. It also helps the body make energy. Every cell in the body needs phosphorus to function normally.

Potassium – helps with muscle and nervous system function. It also helps the body maintain the balance of water in the blood and body tissues.

Zinc – An infection fighting mineral, zinc is important for normal growth, strong immunity, and wound healing.

Not all vitamins and minerals are created equal, be sure to read the label. Naturally, you should work with your healthcare provider to find out which supplements you could benefit from, and how much is right for you taking into consideration your gender, age, weight, activity level, health concerns, and any medications you may be taking.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

G is for Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common origin: the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful.”

In the monthly copy of the AHP newsletter (Association for Humanistic Psychology) that I receive, a recent article defined gratitude as “orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in the world.”

I won’t argue with that, but I’d like to add a qualifier. I believe that definition describes passive gratitude. If, however, that spark ignites a fire that inspires personal change, that passivity transforms into active gratitude.

It is my perspective that gratitude in action—as a regular practice—has a wide brushstroke of positive effects:

Inward—through appreciation we find contentment.

Outward—it inspires generosity—be it our time, skills, or money—and gifts us with opportunities to serve.

Environmentally—it’s a catalyst for healing our planet through the respect of nature.

For thousands of years gratitude has crossed religious and cultural boundaries not only as a social virtue, but as a theological virtue, but it’s a relatively new subject in the field of scientific research.

The University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons’ research indicates that “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, (and) regular physical examinations.” His research also revealed that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that literally boosts the immune system—a clear physical benefit.

Dr. Alex Wood, a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Psychology, University of Warwick says, “…gratitude is an integral part of well-being;”—a distinct benefit to our mental and emotional faculties.

Gratitude helps to open the heart, the seat of compassion. It helps us to see the good in our experience, regardless. It enhances trust and helps us to forgive—an unarguable benefit to our spiritual aspect.

Better than a multi-vitamin, gratitude is plain good for us!

How do you weave gratitude into your life tapestry?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Rose Hip Season

Rose Hips on the Vine

You’ve seen them. Those things that look like cherry tomatoes or large berries flirting with you from between the leaves on your rose bushes. Those are rose hips. They form after the rose bloom has died. They’re typically red or orange, but depending on the type of rose bushes you have, they can also be purplish to black in color.

Providing almost 20-times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, rose hips are an incredible source of vitamin C. In addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, they also help to protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

You can use them fresh off the vine, dried, or preserved. They can be used in apple sauce, soups, stews, syrups, puddings, jelly/jam, bread, and pie. My favorite way is to use them is to make rose hip tea. Regardless of how you use them, you’ll need to prepare them first.

Preparation
Place the hips on a clean surface to dry. When the skin begins to look slightly shriveled it’s time to split the hips in half and remove all the seeds and tiny hairs in the center. After the seeds and hairs are removed, let the hips dry completely. Don’t wait to remove the seeds until the hips are completely dry because it’s harder to de-seed them.

Storage
If they’re not going to be used within the week, store the prepared hips in sealed plastic bags and freeze them. If you’re going to use them in the next few days, simply place them in the refrigerator. Somewhat like dried cranberries, they can be eaten as a healthy snack anytime.

Herbal Tea
Boil the dried and crushed rise hips for about 10 minutes (about 2 tablespoons of berries per pint of water). If the mint in your garden took over like ours did this year, you can add a crushed mint leaf (fresh or dried). Depending on your geographic location, you may even be fortunate enough add a few hibiscus flower petals as well.

If you’re going to add honey, make sure it’s locally grown – this will help to combat allergies.

Cheers!

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

VIOLET – Strengthen the Connection with Your Higher Self

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For those of you who are just joining us, welcome to the University of Life. In the previous “classes” we laid the groundwork for this course—The Color of Wellness, and looked at the therapeutic properties of the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo. Today’s palette features the color Violet.

Violet is associated with self-knowledge, divine connection, and spiritual wellness. It enhances creativity, wisdom, and inspiration. It’s the color of royalty. Think of juicy plum, purple grapes, the velvet petals of an African violet, or the rich color of eggplant. When was the last time you picked turnips fresh from the earth? Have you ever seen a spiny purple sea urchin on the ocean floor while snorkeling, or been waved at by an iris dancing in the breeze? 

The positive properties of violet are expressed as inspiration, dignity, creativity, nobility, spiritual awareness, altruism, independence, and personable.

The negative properties of violet are described as fanatical, perfectionist, self-doubting, self-destructive, and alienated.

The healing properties of violet are cleansing and antiseptic and can address physical symptoms such as epilepsy, neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, and negative states of mind that include neurosis, despair, loss of faith, and lack of self-respect. Violet can also be used to suppress the appetite.

When you need a boost in the areas of divine connection and self-knowledge, indulge yourself with this color. The frequency of violet refreshes the crown chakra—the  gateway to our spiritual nature. This energetic center is where we consent to higher guidance for personal transformation.

The energy of violet helps to assimilate our day-to-day experiences into wisdom, waiting at the ready for translation into enlightenment. Violet encourages a peaceful environment and relieves tension. It promotes inner strength, wisdom, and kindness. Violet helps us to change negatives into positives and brings about increased feelings of spiritual connection. Because of its calming properties, violet is an excellent choice to use during meditation.

Are you drawn to pure violet? It emits the clarity of blue and the warmth of red. It speaks of grandeur and reverence. Or maybe you enjoy the lighter airy shades that are elusive and intriguing; while the deeper purple tones are shadowy and peaceful, inviting deep relaxation and meditation.

What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of violet clothing. Add a splash of violet to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle or a throw. Enhance your sacred space with a violet or purple zafu cushion to augment your meditation practice. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of violet or purple crystals such as amethyst, sugilite, or lepidolite.

A special thank you to Joseph’s Market for allowing me to take photographs in their produce department and to Countryside Nursery for allowing me to take photographs in their gardens.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

INDIGO – Boost Your Insight!

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For those of you who are just joining us, welcome to the University of Life. In the previous “classes” we laid the groundwork for this course—The Color of Wellness, and looked at the therapeutic properties of the colors red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Today’s palette features the color Indigo.Indigo is associated with self-reflection, intuition, and intellectual wellness. It enhances imagination, and understanding. Indigo is a combination of deep blue and violet and holds the attributes of both these colors. It’s the color of ripe blueberries. Think of a deep blue midnight sky, the plumage of male indigo buntings in the summer, or a bottomless mountain lake.

The positive properties of indigo are expressed as visionary, wise, inspired, deep, intuitive, empathetic, broadminded, and sensible perspective.

The negative properties of indigo are described as fearful, arrogant, deluded, isolated, and over idealistic.

The healing properties of indigo are sedative and can address physical symptoms such as hearing, sight, sinus issues, nerves, insomnia, and negative states of mind that include paranoia, over-sensitivity, obsession, and hysteria.

When you need a boost in the areas of intuition and self-reflection, indulge yourself with this color. The frequency of indigo stimulates the brow chakra; also known as the third-eye center. It enhances our sense of knowing and helps us to better understand the big picture; to see clearly.

Are you drawn to pure indigo? It calls to mind the emotions of the sea; promoting responsibility and trust in personal intuition. Or do you prefer the noble shaded tones that exude deep thought, contemplation, inner calm and balance? The frequency of indigo enhances our ability to see things from a higher viewpoint rather than from ego, personal satisfaction or material comfort.

What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of indigo clothing. Add a splash of indigo to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle or a throw. Set the stage for nighttime dreams by painting the ceiling in your bedroom indigo. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of indigo crystals such as lapis lazuli, sodalite, or sapphire.

A special thank you to Joseph’s Market for allowing me to take photographs in their produce department.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.