5 Things I Learned From Having a Chronic Illness

5 Things I Learned From Having a Chronic Illness

19th July 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Seven years ago, when I emerged from the doctor’s office after having my worst fears confirmed, I knew that I had some big decisions to make. With the words “most likely Multiple Sclerosis” reverberating around my mind I felt shaky and nauseas. I wanted to crawl into bed and drown in a deluge of tears and despair. This was not how I had envisaged my charmed life unfolding. I was with the love of my life and we had a nine month old baby; this was supposed to be the happily ever after part.

That night lying in the bath I could feel my body throbbing with fear. My mind was busy fielding the images that surfaced and threatened to overtake me: the slow degeneration of my body, the social pity, and all the dreams that would now never be. Then, at one point I felt compelled to raise my arms in the air and slowly wave them around. Though I knew it seemed mad, the urge was strong and I followed the call. As I let a slow organic flow move my upper limbs I felt the first glimpse of hope since I left the doctor’s office. This movement that emanated from deep within seemed to calm my mind and made me feel that maybe this illness had deeper implications.

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The Psychological Benefits of Daydreaming

The Psychological Benefits of Daydreaming

14th July 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

When we daydream we can lose ourselves in a self-generated flow of consciousness. We can do anything, go anywhere within the privacy of our minds. It is a means to escape the outer world, to face our fears, to entertain ourselves, and to explore our inner world, ideas, and scenarios. But those who like to indulge in reverie are often negatively labelled dreamers, dawdlers, or space cadets.

When we consider that we live in a consumer based, economically driven world that worships productivity and efficiency, it is no wonder that daydreaming has long been portrayed in a negative light. Daydreaming, the act of allowing our thoughts to flow spontaneously without an agenda or particular destination, is generally seen as a lazy habit, a waste of time and a distraction from the things that really matter. Sigmund Freud declared daydreaming to be a sign of mental illness, a neurotic and infantile tendency indulged in by those who were unfulfilled. However, more recent research is suggesting that daydreaming has many important benefits that have long been overlooked.

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Decline in Childhood Play Related to Rising Anxiety and Depression in Children, Adolescents

Decline in Childhood Play Related to Rising Anxiety and Depression in Children, Adolescents

2nd July 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” ~ Charles Schaefer

Every generation since the 1950s has experienced a decline in free play. During the holidays in my parent’s generation, kids left the house in the morning and were told to be home by dinner. They went out into the streets, met up with other neighbourhood kids and played all day long. During my own childhood things were a little more supervised, but we still had ample time to play beyond the watchful eyes of our parents.

Today most children are rarely left to their own devices. In an attempt keep our kids safe and provide them with all they need to ensure they have every chance for a happy, successful life, we fill up their days with activities, structured opportunities to learn and seductive screen time. However, as well meaning as this approach might be, there is increasing evidence that it may be doing more harm than good.

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Visualization: Are You Using Your Imagination Wisely?

Visualization: Are You Using Your Imagination Wisely?

23rd June 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Imagination is our inner vision. It is the magical bridge between the everyday and the ethereal realm, the gateway between the finite and the infinite. Children naturally have vivid imaginations and use this innate faculty to explore and animate life. With the advent of science and rationality, a clear distinction between the fanciful and the concrete came to define our understanding of reality. The magical enchantment of the world largely receded into the cracks and humans were left to operate within the confines of the ordinary, the quantifiable, and the normal. We came to see imagination as something of little value, to be left behind in childhood.

Today we are rediscovering the importance of imagination. Quantum physics has transformed our understanding of the landscape of reality and our role in it. Quantum theory has forced the scientific community to question the assumption that consciousness cannot affect external reality. Increasingly, evidence demonstrates that due to the intimate way we are energetically entangled with all that exists, our thoughts do have the ability to affect our physical world. As a result more people are opening to the possibility that we can indeed use the power of our minds to influence what unfolds in our external reality.

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Antibiotics and Intestinal Health: Balancing Our Internal Ecosystem

Antibiotics and Intestinal Health: Balancing Our Internal Ecosystem

17th June 2016

By Tom Rothsey and Christina Lavers

Contributing writers for Wake Up World

The discovery of penicillin in 1928 is considered one of the most important developments in the history of modern medicine. Since their inception antibiotics have without a doubt saved many lives by helping people to overcome serious infections. However, today according to health authorities they are being overprescribed, with estimates ranging from 20% to 50% being deemed as inappropriate. This is a worrying trend because the overuse of antibiotics for non-life threatening conditions, and their use as growth promoters for conventionally farmed livestock, has contributed greatly to gut dysbiosis (microbial imbalance that detrimentally impacts on normal bodily function), pathogen colonization of the gut, pathogen evolution, and the downward spiral of general human health in ways that are as yet not fully understood.

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The Healthy Reality Diet – What We Feed Our Mind and Soul is Just as Important as What We Eat

The Healthy Reality Diet – What We Feed Our Mind and Soul is Just as Important as What We Eat

9th June 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

People are more interested in nutrition than ever before. According to Euromonitor, the health and wellness industry is projected to be a trillion dollar industry by 2017. Aware that the quality of the food we put into our systems will have an important impact on our state of health, consumers who have embarked on a wellness journey are increasingly seeking out high quality alimentary products. It seems fairly obvious that if our diet is comprised of crappy processed, chemically laden food our health will ultimately suffer; while if we consume fresh, high quality wholefoods our state of health surely must improve.

But what about those people who counter all intuitive logic and seem to thrive on a diet that should be a recipe for disease and early death? We’ve probably all heard of those centenarians who when asked their secret to longevity reply that they smoked their whole life and ate whatever they felt like. I personally know a man who seems to exist on copious amounts of artificially sweetened instant coffee, ice cream, coca cola, red meat and cigarettes; he’s in his late seventies and is one of the most robust people I know.

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Can You Hear the Whispers of Love?

Can You Hear the Whispers of Love?

2nd June 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Jung

Have you noticed something mysterious, electrifying, but slightly daunting stirring within? Something that just doesn’t quite fit with the way we have been taught to see the world? If you have you are not alone. After eons of near silence our hearts are calling out, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore their whispering truths.

Those of us who have chosen to pull our attention away from the seduction of the external theatrics, to respond to the gentle urgings emanating from our core, find ourselves opening up to profound transformation. Suddenly jobs, friends, entertainment, and for some, whole lifestyles that used to seem like a good fit, now feel uncomfortable and unsatisfying; so many of the ‘things’ in our surrounds that we once deemed essential to bolster our sense of identify no longer feel meaningful; and concepts like integrity, compassion, authenticity, and love that were once just distant ideals abruptly take centre stage and demand to be acknowledged.

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Are Humans Wired to Sleep Twice a Day? The Benefits of a Two-Phase Sleep Cycle

Are Humans Wired to Sleep Twice a Day? The Benefits of a Two-Phase Sleep Cycle

26th May 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Until recently, most of us just assumed that sleep is a nocturnal activity that naturally occurs in one long block. Today, largely thanks to historian and researcher Roger Ekrich, this long held assumption is being revisited. Ekirch published a study that examined hundreds of diaries, court records, and instructional manuals which demonstrated that, prior to the industrial revolution, most humans slept in two shorter blocks rather than one single large one. Based on his research, which found countless references to ‘first’ and ‘second’ sleeps, it appears that historically most people went to bed after dinner when the sun went down, slept for approximately 3-4 hours, then woke up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, and then finally returned to sleep until dawn.

Two factors are believed to have influenced the shift from a multiple to a singular sleep session. The first is electric lighting, the second was the industrial revolution.

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Know Thyself

Know Thyself

20th May 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Know thyself and thou shalt know all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe” — Inscription on the Greek temple at Delphi

‘Who am I?’ is one of the most fundamental questions of existence, yet most of us are so preoccupied with what is going on in our external reality that we don’t bother to take the time to really explore our own vast internal world. Painting deep self-examination as a form of navel gazing, society tends to persuade us to look outside ourselves for meaning and clarity. But when we neglect our own inner workings we miss the opportunity to delve into the mysterious inner realm and uncover the treasures of our deep self and the universal truths that we, as fractals of the entire universe, all contain within.

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Friends Provide Better Pain Relief Than Morphine, Oxford University Study Reveals

Friends Provide Better Pain Relief Than Morphine, Oxford University Study Reveals

17th May 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Social bonding has played a key role in our survival as a species. Some of the noted benefits of friendship from an evolutionary perspective include reduced vulnerability to predators, greater access to food resources, and protection from harassment. Today, though most of us no longer worry about being mauled by a predator as we go about our daily business, a healthy network of friends is still extremely valuable, acting like a safety net in life. Bolstered by the support of good friends, we can bound to great heights and celebrate the joys of life, and know that if we fall there will be someone there to offer comfort and assistance, to share our deepest fears and disappointments, and help make the dark moments much more bearable.

Recent studies have explored the science behind friendships and discovered that there are actually measurable differences between people who have strong, healthy social networks and those who don’t. In particular, people with strong friend connections were found to experience significantly better states of physical and mental health.

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Do Lunar Cycles Really Influence Us?

Do Lunar Cycles Really Influence Us?

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

The moon has long been a source of wonder and inspiration to humans. Often associated with the mysterious feminine energy and the dreamy, irrational side of life, it has been held responsible for inspiring visions, revelations, and even madness.

Back in the days before artificial light, humans couldn’t help but be directly affected by, and aware of, the varying stages of its cycles. When the moon was full, people could be more active as the light enabled them to engage in activities like hunting and celebrating, while the dark nights of the New Moon were more suited to quiet, more internally focused, reflective activities. Women especially experienced an intimate connection because our own body cycles closely mirrored those of the moon. Yet, as humanity has distanced itself from nature in general, living in increasingly artificial conditions, the synchronous relationship between humans and lunar cycles has diminshed.

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Sugar is as Addictive as Cocaine – Here’s How You Can Kick the Habit

Sugar is as Addictive as Cocaine – Here’s How You Can Kick the Habit

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They’ve discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine.” ~ Michael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

To our ancestors, sugar was a precious commodity. Infrequently found in high concentrations in a typical ancestral diet, substances like honey and ripe fruit were seasonal treats to be savoured, as a means to gain energy and build up fat stores before winter. Today our brains are still wired to want to maximise our sugar intake, but because it is now so processed, cheap and abundant, this once beneficial substance is wreaking havoc with our health. With the average daily sugar intake in the US equalling 32 teaspoons, most people eat more sugar in a week than our ancestors would have consumed in a lifetime.

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