Your Hidden World

BrainYour hidden world has been a million years in the making. There is a part of your brain that evolved in a very important way for humans. You have an ancient brain that was once very much utilized by our ancestors. It allowed our ancestors to live life fully with much less tension and with more ease than we do today. However, today this part of our brain is not recognized, valued or seen as important either to understand or utilize in our daily life.

OUR PAST HISTORY
Imagine you were living many thousands of years ago at the time before there was spoken language. It was also a time we didn’t have an unconscious mind. Everything we experienced was conscious. Night dreams were as real as daytime experience. Many people felt the gods and spirits taught them directly and guided them how to live through their dreams. Being conscious of their dreams they lived their life by them because their gods were guiding them step-by-step.

LIFE IN BALANCE
-7These ancient ones were in harmony with themselves, with others, the natural world and the supernatural world. The reason for this harmony was that their right brain was more prominent than their left. Remember, this was before spoken language and with it the development of the left brain. Living in the right brain our ancestors possessed many talents, such as music, awareness of tones and melody so that they danced and sang the songs of birds as a major part of their life. They were open to their feelings expressing their love their sorrow and were sensitive and aware to what was happening in their inner world. They used this connection to the right brain as a guide for relationships, finding food, protection from predators and seeing things as they actually were, rather than what they would want it to be. Because they had an inner, intuitive knowing about life and animals they were in alignment with nature, supernatural forces and therefore could both survive and thrive. They were in rhythm with their bodies, communication through touch with others was natural along with sexual intimacy and there was a graceful moving within the natural process of daily life. There was the predictable tension of the dangers and physical elements in their environment, but people didn’t hold on to the flight/fright once the situation changed. In this sense life flowed and in some ways was much easier than it is today. We know from anthropological studies that our ancestors had more time to be creative, relax and have ceremonies and rituals for births, celebrations and deaths together in community.

LIFE OUT OF BALANCE
-3What happened to this remarkable life? Thousands of years later the left brain developed as we gained language. We began to think in words and developed sequence, logic and reason. Slowly we lost our intuition and natural rhythm. The left brain within the last few centuries has become dominate and it interferes with our emotions, our natural connection to our senses and has blocked our inner awareness. Today we are robots or slaves to this quality of mind because the left brain often refuses to utilize the right brain. Our cultural values, our education system, our technology all reinforce the left brain over the right. For example, when you make decisions how many times do you turn inside and listen to your body or a feeling in your gut or an emotion that lets you know what to decide. No, we completely by pass this interior wealth that is now socially unacceptable. We don’t know how to understand our emotions so we push them down so that when we unconsciously react to others or situations we are surprised and often overwhelmed by what we seem to feel. The result of these emotional reactions then often creates guilt, interpersonal misunderstandings and lack of acceptance toward others. Our suppressed feeling are so strong that it does not allow the natural inner world to come up to the surface to express ourselves honestly and consciously both to ourselves and others.

RETURN TO OUR NATURAL FLOW
-8In order to return back to reconnect to our right brain and to our natural rhythm, we must make conscious once again our inner life. We need to bring up to the surface of our conscious life our needs and desires so they can be known and heard within us. Making new choices to be more in our right brain our Life will come alive, it will be smoother, have less tension and become a life aligned with our true nature. This is our time to take back the beauty of our lives and to learn to be in balance.

Here are some suggested practices on how to tune back into your right brain.

1. Every day set a time to be quiet. Put away the left brain indoctrination of your smart phone or tablet to look at emails or Facebook comments. Sit quietly (hopefully looking at or being in nature) in order to stop the intensity of doing and thinking by practicing relaxation. Start out with just 15 minutes and increase the time gradually. Use my new CD instrumental Beta meditation track so that you learn to change the frequency of your brain into a state of physical and emotional relaxation.

2. Spend time at the end or the beginning of the day to write what is going on in your life. This practice begins to open up your inner right brain world more consciously. Create a journal just for this special time of reflection. Just write a page or two but let the writing flow so that it is a feeling of automatic writing coming from deep within. This practice begins to illicit a deeper awareness of your inner world and you will learn so much in doing it day after day. (PS: don’t type it as handwriting will activate the physical, sensory part of your right brain.)

3. Use the fourth track (theta frequency) of my guided CD, Heal Your Mind Rewire Your Brain, to start awakening your unconscious and to make it conscious once again by asking specific questions for specific answers – coming directly from your inner self.

EXCITING NEWS!!
Patt has released her new CD, Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brian, “Just Music” There are four tracks matching the four brain frequencies. The music has binaural beats embedded in the music to help us move into the different frequencies of our brain.
1. Beta takes you into deep relaxation.
2. Alpha widens your perception to look deeply within your self.
3. Theta opens you up to your creativity and the place of wisdom within to find answers to life’s questions.
4. And Delta takes you into that vast mystery of your existence and can bring you into oneness with Reality.
The tracks in this music album will help restore that connection to our right brain that Patt has written about above.

Order now by clicking Here We have both CDs and mp3 downloads.

YOUR BRAIN ON NEUROACTIVE STEROIDS…. Does it Improve Brain Function?

BRAIN RESEARCH
So what is a neuroactive steroid and what does it have to do with our brain? According to the research at Queensland Brain Institute, one neuroactive steroid is Vitamin D and is active in brain development.

Amazingly, our brain needs its share of Vitamin D to function properly. New evidence indicates that if Vitamin D is deficient in our system it has been linked with abnormalities in the brain. Increasingly, Vitamin D deficiency is being associated with a number of psychiatric conditions such as autistic spectrum, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and cognitive decline.

W. Robert J. Przybelski, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health said, “We also know vitamin D activates and deactivates enzymes in the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.” In addition, animal and laboratory studies suggest vitamin D protects neurons and reduces inflammation. There are vitamin D receptors throughout the central nervous system so it is important that there is available vitamin D for those receptors.

HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO WE NEED?
So how much is enough vitamin D for our body? Experts say 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily—about the amount your body will synthesize from 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week—is the ideal range for almost all healthy adults. Keep in mind, however, of your skin color, where you live, and how much skin you have exposed to the sun as all of these factors affect how much vitamin D you can produce.

THE BRAIN AND OUR SKIN HEALTH

The big push to prevent skin cancer from too much sun may have come with unintended consequences. The “sunshine vitamin” is synthesized in our skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight, but sun block impedes this process. This could impair brain function because of a deficiency of vitamin D.

Unfortunately, due to decades of professional and media misinformation, the typical American believes they should avoid the midday sun and need to use sunscreen before, and several times during, sun exposure, but research indicates this is wrong.

Let me give you a “prescription” for beneficial use of vitamin D. First some conditions to consider:
While sun exposure is your best source for vitamin D, it’s important to understand that not all sun exposure will allow for vitamin D production. The only wavelength that makes your body produce vitamin D is Ultra Violet B light rays, when they hit exposed skin. It is the Ultra Violet A rays that cause damage to your skin and is a cause of skin cancer.

The Ultra Violet B light rays from the sun must pass through the atmosphere to reach you. This does not occur in the winter for many of us in the U.S. The sun’s rays are also impeded during a fair amount of the year for people living in temperate climates as well.

PRACTICAL GUIDELINES TO OPTIMIZE YOUR VITAMIN D BENEFITS
These are Guidelines for Safe and Effective Sun Exposure

The time of day when the sun position is above 50 degrees from the horizon of where you live is the key. To determine sun position for maximum Vitamin D we need to use the following type table to calculate when to be in the sun.

1.The U.S.Navy has the Sun or Moon Altitude Azimuth Table http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php. This table will help you determine the times of day when the sun is above 50 degrees from the horizon in order to get the UVB rays.

2.To use the table simply specify the date, time interval, and location then click on the “Compute Table” button. Look at the altitude list down to the 50 range and those are the times that it is safe and beneficial to be exposed to the sun. This is translated to the date and time of places on the globe. It means, for example, that some people who live in Chicago the UVB rays are not potentially present until March 25, and by September 16th it is not possible to produce any vitamin D from the sun in Chicago. Please understand it is only theoretically possible to get UVB rays during those times. If it happens to be cloudy or raining, the clouds will also block the UVB rays.

3.There is also an App at iTunes which makes the process even easier. You can download a free app called “D Minder” which will make all the calculations for you. This app sets up information about you then it computes the amount of Vitamin D you are getting. It will even tell how long you should stay out in the sun and warn you when the time is up. How good is that? Here is the URL HYPERLINK “https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/d-minder/id518836420?mt=8” https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/d-minder/id518836420?mt=8

REMEMBER
Vitamin D isn’t a frequency of light; it is a vitamin that is produced in the skin upon contact with Ultra Violet B radiation. If you are behind glass or cloudy weather blocks the UVB, then your skin will not be able to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D alone is not enough for people to perform better. There is a complex of vitamins and proteins and other substances needed for the brain, but Vitamin D is one of the important ones.

 

Unlock the Mystery of Aging

In my lifetime I have had relatives, parents and friends that, as they aged and grew old, they died.  I am sure, like me, you hold the assumption that aging is one of the main causes of death.  Yet, we also know that a person can die at any age with the same physiological conditions as an aging person.

To complicate matters modern medicine has treated aging as a disease so we are taught to believe the myth that death is caused by getting old. But we all know that every day at any age people die from similar things that old people die from.

How do we dispel this fallacy that has been handed down to us that aging causes our death? It is time to wake up from this ancient folk tale and change the story in order to bring back to us health, joy and vitality to our aging lives. As a society we need a new perception, a new belief system to unlock the mystery of aging.

Our first step to change our perception about aging is to understand death. Death comes when one body system breaks down and the rest of the systems in the body follow causing the organism to stop functioning. Major body systems like a heart attack, or kidney failure, or an intestinal blockage affect all the other systems and this interaction of multiple breakdowns cause death.

The real truth is, medically speaking we don’t die from old age. We die from system breakdown. One way to shift this old pattern of thinking that aging causes death is to:

  1. Understand the process of aging
  2. Become aware of the new brain research on aging.
  3. Integrate the new anti-aging research into our daily life.

The process of aging

Aging is a mystery because it is very slow and difficult to observe. From research we know that it begins approximately at the age of 30. From our interior experience it occurs gradually, almost imperceptibility, but before we know it we look in the mirror and we have wrinkles and gray hair. We begin asking our self, “When did that happen?” Aging appears to be invisible and then suddenly just happens.

The research on aging supports this view. The studies on aging show that because of the slowness of the subtle cellular changes in the body it is impossible to detect the immediate impact of aging on the body.  However, the good news is that research on aging also demonstrates that making changes in one’s diet, exercise and relaxation patterns people will get healthier and stronger as they age. Physical and mental deterioration not only will slow down, but stop altogether for some individuals.

New brain research on aging

Human chromosomes (grey) capped by telomeres (white). (Photo: NASA)

It is important to note that aging is a unique process within each individual.  The reason is that the aging process occurs in our individual DNA.  The importance of DNA is that it is a carrier of our genetic coded information.  It is this coded information that indicates the beginning and ending of our life. This DNA together with protein is found in our individual cells. DNA is housed in a structure called a chromosome. Chromosomes are long strands that look like shoelaces. Remember that at the end of shoelaces if a piece of plastic so that the shoelace will not become frayed. It has been discovered that if the end of the chromosome becomes shortened or frayed then aging occurs. The shortening occurs when many cell divisions occur so the DNA cannot be duplicated. They lose the necessary information to maintain health and vitality in all our bodily systems, which results in the aging process.

The good news is that at the University of California at Davis researchers found how the chromosomes can be protected from shortening and becoming frayed. Just like the plastic that protects the end of shoelaces these scientists discovered that at the end of the chromosomes are repetitive sequences called telomeres. Telomeres block cell division at each end of a chromosome. The next good news is that an enzyme called telomerase has been discovered which replaces short bits of DNA.  Telomerase acts like the protective plastic at the end of the shoelace so that it doesn’t fray. When you stop the fraying of the chromosomes you stop the aging process because the DNA can continue to duplicate and maintain health in the body. This research is so revolutionary that it received the Nobel Prize in 2009.

 

How do we apply this in our life?

We now know that telomere length is an indicator of our longevity, health and aging.  Scientists have also asked the question how do we increase this natural enzyme telomerase in our cells to reduce ageing? Further research has shed light on the mystery of how we stay young, healthy and have a long life. It has been found that living a particular lifestyle promotes the activation of telomerase.  One study demonstrated that meditation will activate the enzyme. Consistent, daily meditation is a way to relax the mind, body and give the brain the “message” to rewire the cell pathways that help us to be more able to release our stress, increase the telomerase enzyme and in general reduce the aging process.

Meditation has a physiological effect of wellbeing that that is like a feedback loop that spreads into the mind then on to the brain and finally affects the cells of the body.  What we know from the past ten years of intensive mind/brain research is that the mind is what the brain does. The mind focuses our thoughts, feelings and emotions on something and the brain carries these intentions out and makes them happen.  So each thought, or feeling you have the brain will act on it. If you think you are old and can’t function the brain will make it happen that you will age and you will not be able to function.  It will not add the
“plastic” of the telomerase to our “frayed” chromosomes so that our DNA can continue to duplicate and keep us healthy.

One of the added benefits of meditation is that it will increase wellbeing bring vitality to our immune system, support positive mental function and reduce stress. Studies also demonstrate that diet is also critical to support a healthy body system by providing a diet with plenty of fiber, protein, vegetables and no sugar.  Let me repeat, NO SUGAR. Sugar intake is one of the biggest contributors to cell brake down. Research on aging also points to the importance of a daily exercise program. Dr. Andrew Weil advocates walking as one of the best exercises for the health of the body. Your personal health and experiencing of aging is governed by how you use your mind and brain and how you maintain what you put into your body and exercise it. The aging research tells us that if we maintain body-mind-brain health what we will die from will not be our age. We are the only ones to take responsible for our aging process.

Patt Lind-Kyle

4 Tips for Controlling the Voice Inside Your Head

In case you haven’t noticed, you have a conversation going on inside your head all the time. It never stops. Have you ever checked out this constant self-talk? How do you think it decides to say what it says to you? How much of this streaming chatter is important or even true?

You may have even noticed that it can take opposite sides in a dialogue, especially when you are trying to go to sleep. I think the most disturbing thing about this interior voice(s) is that the conversation tends to be critical and judgmental of others and especially of your self.

I used to be very critical of seeing people talking to themselves on the street or in their cars. I thought they were a bit crazy carrying on a verbal conversation with themselves. But the truth is I have the same busy intense conversation going on inside of me. I just don’t openly show it.

My Crazy Conversation

This type of crazy conversation really showed it self when I was on long silent meditation retreat. It seemed that thoughts came out of nowhere and took on a quality that said, “I am not OK. I am not capable of doing this retreat. I am frightened to be by myself,” and on and on.

This constant inner chatter led to anxiety and panic. There was really no outward problem except this chattering confusion and disturbance in my mind. So I asked my self, “Why do these incessant, meaningless, unnecessary words even exist in me?” Let me use an illustration to answer that question.

Imagine a teakettle that heats up and when it gets to a boiling point the kettle starts to whistle. What creates the whistle is a build up of kinetic energy. When it gets to a boiling point it releases the energy in the form of steam that creates the whistle.

Your thoughts during the day build energy from anxiety, fear, doubt, confusion, desire, judgment, etc. and then they release this energy as mixture of thoughts that flood your mind. The whistle of the chatter is hard to stop.

Neuroscience: The Wandering Mind

Neuroscience research says that negative thoughts and patterns are from a network region of the brain called the default mode network (DMN). The network is automatically engaged when the mind is left to wander without focus or intention.

Also, when the mind is not in an attentive mode underlying physiological processes in the brain begin to take place that are unrelated to any particular thought or sequence of thoughts. In this regard it has been hypothesized that the default mode network is relevant to disorders including Alzheimer’s, Autism and Schizophrenia.

It is important to learn how to quiet the constant mind chatter and minimize the default mode network taking over our thought process.

Here are some tips to keep your mind from wandering, and for finding inner quiet

• Talking to others about what is going on in your interior thought life releases the tension created by all the chatter. (Like letting steam off in the kettle.) However, current brain research also indicates that there is a 30 second rule in brain receptivity that a person can only listen to what you are saying for about 30 seconds and then the working memory can not retain any more information. So, when sharing your thoughts with another remember to take pauses every 30 seconds or so, so that people can actually retain what you are saying to them.

• Set aside a daily time for meditation and for relaxing the body and the mind. This stopping to be quiet can reduce the intensity of the thoughts and begins to create a calm mind. Using my book and CDs is a good place to learn how to do this.

• Make it a practice to ask your self to have the disturbing thoughts released. Simply say to your brain (remember the mind tells the brain what to do), “I let go of this thought. Please release this thought.” As strange as it sounds it will work with a little effort and intention. It is amazing how when thoughts are given full attention on them they will just leave as quickly as they appeared.

• Focus on being mindful of what is going on around you and in you. This means focusing attention on the present moment of whatever you are doing. Be conscious where you are placing your attention and when you notice your mind has wandered bring it back to what you are doing such as washing the dishes, walking the dogs, reading the paper or doing email.

Taking control of your thoughts

You can become more conscious of your chattering voice inside your head. And, you can have control over it. Your inner thought voice is like a roommate that constantly keeps talking at you and won’t shut up. You don’t have to let it control your life. You can say “no” to it. Remember, you are the manager of your mind.

 

Guiding Signs 101

Your Road To Success

I imagine that most of us want to be successful at least once in our life. Each of us defines success in our own way. My question for you is, “What does success mean for you?” Take a moment to remember a time when you were successful.  Was it passing a life test like completing college, getting the job you wanted, or making a great deal?  Whatever the form of success it required you to make a major decision.   How did you make that decision? What was the technique you used to make the decision and are you always successful with the final result using that technique?

According to the latest brain research, making a decision does not come from our thinking, rational, conscious brain that is in the cortex at the crown of our head. Actually, we just rationalize our decisions from the cortex by using our fast beta brain waves. The basic function of the cortex is used to carry out, strategize, rationalize, and plan for the decisions you make.  What is interesting is that more than half the decisions we make are made deep inside the brain in the limbic system in the emotional brain that is run by slower theta brain waves. This area of the brain is also where the subconscious mind resides. The key question is, how do we by pass the cortex and find the real area of the brain that gives us the true answers to our questions and make the key decisions for our success in life?

One way to slow down your brain waves to make decisions as wells as get incredible insight for your life is to use my Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain CD’s. On the fourth track of the CD is the theta meditation. It is called the Wisdom Meditation, which is designed to help you make decisions and gain insight and “wisdom” for your life. For example, two of my clients used the wisdom meditation to create an incredible and fun way to activate your intuition and make decisions. Kathleen and Erin were inspired to create a set of “oracle” type cards to help people make practical decisions and trust their intuition. The theta wisdom meditations guided them every step of the way in the development of the cards. When they didn’t know what to do next on the project they stopped what they were doing and used the wisdom meditation CD track to guide them to ask questions. By going into the theta mind state it sharpened their intuition and understanding as to what to do next with the project. The result of this work together was a fun new approach that lets you make your decisions so much easier and find out lots about your inner world.

They call their intuition and decision process: Guiding Signs 101. It is a box set of cards with an interpretive manual based on road sign images, like Stop and Go, Exit, Road Crossing, School, No Turn, etc. These wonderfully creative cards are guidance cards for a smooth ride on your life’s journey.  I highly recommend them because they really develop the power of our own intuitive decision making ability. We know that the power to make the small and large decisions of our lives comes from inside of us not outside.  A fun anonyomous quote I found is, “If you go within you won’t have to go without.”  These cards and the process for using them are an easy way to accesses those intuitive decisions and confirm the direction you need to take.  All the cards are road signs images that we see every day while in our cars.  You can use these creative cards to train your brain to make those quick insights and wise choices with the red light and green light cards!  Just click the link below and get a set of cards and feel what it is like to be conscious of that subconscious place of theta brain waves. You will discover your own wisdom.

Guiding Signs 10144 brilliant imagery cards and a 136-page comprehensive guidebook.

In the comprehensive guidebook you will find poems, daily inquiries, and deeper meanings for each of the 44 road sign cards to help you along your life journey. Just play and have fun with the cards or let them take you deeper. Explore alone or with a group of friends.
Buy Now

I am proud to be an affiliate of this wonderful product.

Patt Lind-Kyle Prepare to Die - Awakening process

Women: Are you proud to be overwhelmed?

Patt was recently mentioned in this article in Women’s Health at MSNBC.com – check it out to find some great tips on how to manage stress from Patt and other experts in her field:

When you think about it, stress is a mysterious thing: You can’t see it or touch it, but you definitely know it’s there. And its enigmatic nature just might be preventing us from fully realizing the damage stress can do to our minds, bodies, and spirits. Read more…

The Sleeping Brain: the gift to the brain-mind body

THE SLEEPING BRAIN

My curiosity about sleep and the brain was stimulated when I began meditating right before I went to bed.   I found that after meditating I went to sleep easier, slept deeper and without interruption. When I awoke I felt good, rested and energized.  Observing the change in my sleep after meditating each night I asked myself, “What goes on in the brain and body when I sleep?  And why does meditation make a difference?”  To knowing now how the brain works when I sleep has validated the importance of sleep for our health as well as not missing a night of meditation.  Here is what I discovered.

I thought the brain slept when I slept.   Sleep research says that this is not so. The brain is busy most all night long but is in a slower brain wave. (Remember we have four brain waves that impact our brain-mind-body in different ways – beta, alpha, theta and delta.) It is imperative that we prepare our brains just like we prepare ourselves to go to sleep.  During the day we are making decisions, plans, socializing and organizing our life situation. Generally we are in the fast beta brainwaves to accomplish this activity.  But when we sleep we need to do the opposite and move into the slowest brain wave called delta.  This means we need to slow down our activities as well as our minds before bedtime.

Many people read before they go to bed. If you do be aware of what you are reading as it may stimulate a faster brain wave.  This is also true of watching a stimulating TV show or movie or even doing a computer search right before you go to bed. When you use a cell phone before sleep beta brain wave activity increases.  One fascinating piece of research is about cell phones. It has been observed that there is a concentration of beta waves that build up in the brain caused by the interference of microwaves from the cell phone.  With all these stimulations and particularly with cell phones it takes a longer time to fall a sleep as the brain needs time to quiet down after the agitation from the cell phone electrical field.  Thus, using cell phones before going to sleep alters brainwaves and may cause insomnia.  Given the build up of beta brain waves before we go to bed makes it becomes increasingly important to use meditation as good way to slow down our brainwaves. Meditation slows down the beta waves and lets us move more quickly into a deeper brain wave pattern.

Stages of Sleep

So what is our brain doing while we sleep? There are five different stages of sleep:

  • Stage 1 is light sleep where you drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. In this stage, the eyes move slowly and muscle activity slows. During this stage, many people experience sudden muscle contractions preceded by a sensation of falling.
  • In stage 2, eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with only an occasional burst of rapid brain waves.
  • When a person enters stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with smaller, faster waves.
  • In stage 4, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. Stages 3 and 4 are referred to as deep sleep, and it is very difficult to wake someone from them. In deep sleep, there is no eye movement or muscle activity. It is in this deep sleep when bedwetting, sleepwalking, and night terrors can occur.  These events happen when the chemical neuro-modulator GABA, is low in our body system. When it is low we are unable to put the brakes on our emotions and control our motor nerves. It has been observed that sleepwalkers can literally drive a car and not know they are doing it. Often this will happen when the body is physically over stressed. Balanced GABA keeps us from making unconscious movements and tossing and turning restlessly because GABA slows down our motor nerve activity so that we have relaxed muscles. When GABA is deficient strong emotions can arise and the motor neurons can take command over the body. It is this emotional arousal and motor neuron control that causes walking in your sleep. However, it is also in this deep sleep stage that one can feel deeply rested and refreshed if you have a higher level of GABA. My experience indicates that doing the theta meditation with the companion CD to my book can naturally help activate the neuro-modulator GABA before you sleep. GABA is one of the important neurotransmitters to evaluate when you are having difficulty sleeping. My book has an assessment in it that can give you an indicator of whether your various neurotransmitters are weak or strong.
  • In stage 5 it is hard to be awakened and your brain is busy and is especially active in the forehead area.  The brain at this point in your sleep is almost as active as it is during the day.  This is the stage where you dream and your muscles are suppressed and your limbs temporarily paralyzed.  But your breathing, blood pressure and heart rate accelerates and your eyes jerk rapidly.  This stage is called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. You are in this stage 20% of night time sleep and the last time you experience REM is right before you wake up. This last REM experience permits us to remember our dreams. Most people experience three to five intervals of REM sleep each night. Older adults spend progressively less time in REM sleep.

During these 5 stages the spinal cord neurons slow down and in some cases stop firing. Our breathing and heart rate move into a slower rhythm.  The forehead area of the brain is the frontal cortex. In this area brain activity slows down like a car that is idling.  When this happens basic nerve cell repair of your brain and body takes place and growth hormone is being released into the body. Also, dead cells are discarded through the blood and lymph systems and learning is being consolidated from the day. The brain is working in our behalf to repair and restore our body, but the question is: are we getting enough sleep to have all that done for us?

Experts say most of us are not getting enough sleep. For example, babies need 16 to 18 hours, toddlers need 15 hours, school age kids 11 hours, teens need 9 hours and adults need 8 hours and elders need to sleep a little more.

It is 3 am and you wake up anxious. Insomnia is why many people do not want to go to sleep because it is a time when you struggle to go back to sleep and you toss and turn and wonder if you will be able to stay awake the next day. It appears that 30% of the population have insomnia. I have found that many people find their way back to sleep by turning on my Delta meditation CD and before they know it they are back to sleep. The longer you are awake the less slow wave sleep you will have. This is why I encourage people to use the meditation CDs to put them quickly back to sleep.

People who are sleep deprived sometimes takes weeks to get back into the rhythm of sleep. This is especially true for those who travel a lot.  But sleeplessness may also be caused by an overactive mind or emotional storms raging in the brain.  For other people sleeplessness may be caused due to physical health issues from medications, interactions from caffeine, chocolate, restless leg syndrome, physical or mental stress and pain. Sleep experts say that insomniacs underestimate the amount of time they actually sleep and how much sleep they actually need.  Although eight hours is what is indicated the sleep need for each of us is highly individual.

Sleep deprivation is the difference between the amounts of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. Sleep deprivation grows every time we skim some extra minutes off of our night’s sleep.  Studies show that short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy brain and increasingly poor vision. The good news is that sleep deprivation can be repaid by sleeping longer than our normal sleep periods, but it may take a couple of months to get back to a natural sleep rhythm.

If you wake up groggy you may have too much melatonin in your system and not enough cortisol to get you going in the morning. By doing a Beta meditation it can bring the cortisol and melatonin back into proper balance. A wee bit of meditation in the morning will make the world go around a little better for you!

Sleep is the gift to the brain-mind-body. Learning how to prepare our selves for sleep, having meditative tools to deal with sleep issues and understanding what we should do and not do to achieve maximum health through sleep is a critical and important challenge for each of us in these difficult times.

“Say good night, Gracie.” “Good night Gracie” . . . and sleep well.

(George Burns at the end of their radio program to Gracie Allen and Gracie’s response.)

Rewire your New Year’s Resolutions

Eating right, visiting the gym religiously, triumphing over the mid-afternoon sugar (or Venti fat+sugar+caffeine) attack, quitting smoking, saving money…wouldn’t it be nice to make 2010 the year when your resolutions actually stick? The fact that people make New Year’s Resolutions in the first place—whether they’re about fitness or kicking addictions or getting out of debt—shows that many, many of us are dissatisfied with our lives.

But before you sign up for a new gym membership, buy any new gadgets, or join a support group, you need to put the odds of success in your favor by focusing on the right problem. The key to changing your life is to consciously rewire your brain.

In other words, to achieve physical (or financial) fitness, you first need to develop mental fitness.

That applies to getting fit or quitting smoking or strengthening your marriage, or whatever.  You can change your life in any way you want to change it. But first you have to understand what’s at the root of your problems: your mind and the way it directs your brain to function—basically, where you place your attention.

Why Resolutions Fail

The main reason why resolutions so often fail is that the lifestyle habits that brought you to your current level of pudginess, or caffeine have carved neural pathways in your brain that can’t be changed by sheer willpower; as they pointed out in “What the Bleep Do We Know“: what fires together wires together. Instead of looking at your body’s behavior as something bad that needs banishing, realize that it might actually be telling you something: that you’re depressed, bored with your job or relationship, or perhaps trapped in the past. It could be your fitness failings are actually symptoms, and you’ve made your poor squishy thighs the undeserving scapegoat for your general unhappiness.

Fortunately, new breakthroughs in science have shown the brain to be a highly flexible organ, and constantly in flux, responding to the events in our lives by continuously rewiring itself.

You can actually change the brain’s size, how it functions, and how the neurons in the different parts of the brain connect – dubbed “neuroplasticity” – by consciously training your mind.

Over the years I have come to realize what immense power mind training has. Our minds can essentially be trapped by the ways in which they function, which can put us into frantic and depressed conditions. Mind training helps us focus our attention, quiets a scattered mind, and brings flexibility and clarity that enable us to see other options.

Why Mind Training Will Give You Resolution Success

The words “brain” and “mind” are often used interchangeably, but in reality, the mind is the CEO of the brain, telling it what to do; the brain simply acts on orders. For example, if you’re reading a book, the mind tells the brain to turn the page, and the brain responds by sending messages through the nervous system to your arm and hand, enabling you to complete the action. While the mind has no specific location, the brain itself is a physical organ, akin to “a three-pound tofu-like” mass atop the spinal cord.

Each part of the brain is characterized by a specific brainwave, which, for many of us, is where the root of the problem lies: one wave dominates the others, causing dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors.

By learning to focus on each type of brainwave separately, you can eventually retrain them to work in harmony, integrating the brain-mind and producing a feeling of peace and awareness. This is called “synchrony”. Opening the brain to synchrony is when the “magic” happens because you can consciously begin to change the way you do things. Of course, the mind can (and does!) lead us astray, but it also has the ability to reform itself when it achieves synchrony.

A key part of mind training is meditation, which activates the brain’s circuitry and actually helps the brain to grow. (Studies back this up, showing that the more someone meditates, the thicker their brain matter becomes.) Meditating also makes it easier to control emotions and respond to stress and crises with greater ease – poise, even.  Meditation is a scientifically proven method of training the mind, and thereby of changing aspects of your life.  Meditation can train the mind to reduce health problems and stress, and it can also increase your potential and success in life by enabling you to attain synchrony. Essentially, it will allow you to reprogram and evolve your brain to a higher state of consciousness and function. My various classes, workshops and retreats are all designed to teach and practice brain/mind meditation.

There are four tools to train & awaken the mind and with practice help you accomplish your resolutions.

1. INTENTION Quite simply, the brain thrives on direction and purpose. When you give yourself intentional directions, you give each level of your brain a specific focus to explore how that particular “frequency” functions. For example, you might set your intention on having emotional awareness. Think of intention as being about “what.”

State your resolution as a result. Be very specific and clear what your goal is.
“I will lose 5 pounds and keep it off through regular exercise balanced eating within three months.” Intention is not about the process of taking the pounds off, rather it is a focus that keeps the mind focused on achieving a new pattern.

2. ATTENTION This is where you are focusing. When teamed with intention, it enables you to establish a field of awareness and sustain your mind in a single-focused manner. Since concentration can bring balance and stability, attention is essential to reducing stress. Attention is about “where.”

Concentrate on repeating and practicing your intention for 21 days. Research has found that it takes at least 21 days to begin to rewire the neuronal pathways which will produce a changed behavior. If you miss a day it is okay. Keep going until you at least have completed the 21 days and notice what you’ve accomplished, but more importantly how you feel about yourself.

3. RECEPTIVITY The mind is adept at blocking out what it does not wish to acknowledge…which is what got you in this mess that you are trying to resolve! Learning instead to embrace what is on your mind will sensitize you to what is happening in each moment; instead of reacting automatically, your responses will become more flexible. Receptivity is about “when.”

Accept who you are and what you do without self-judgment or criticism. Changing behavior with a resolution is often one step forward and two back. Noticing how you judge your self or rationalize or excuse yourself for not following through on your resolution will alter the mind/brain pattern. We reinforce the old patterns of the neuronal pathways through judgment and guilt. By affirming ourselves rather than negating we rewire the brain faster. Give yourself recognition and acknowledgement for your commitment to shift from negative to positive. Remember your resolution is just a way to practice how you can work with your mind/brain to create the kind of changes you want in your life.

4. AWARENESS Distinguishing between what you think is happening vs. what is actually happening is easier said than done. True awareness comes from being attentive and not getting lost in the randomness of your thoughts. Being truly aware means you are open to meaning, purpose, hope, and better able to penetrate that “me-me-me” veil that can fog your mind. Awareness is about “how.”

Who you are is bigger than any resolution that you want to make in your life.
When we are aware and watch the traffic of thoughts in our head and name them as they pass through – planning, anger, fear, judgment, etc. – we create a level of objectivity that reduces stress and lets us experience a different quality of our life. As you go through the 21 days of changing behavior and accomplishing your resolution notice how your mind will try to trick you and rationalize why your resolution is failing or you are not strong enough, or don’t have enough will power, etc.  When those thoughts come up just name them and you will discover that they will have little power over you. As the practice of your awareness grows you wake up more and more to the world and round you and who you really are.

Practicing all four of these tools with a resolution gives you a practical means to learn how to rewire your brain/mind and make the kind of changes you want for your life.

The mind-brain is facile, flexible, and plastic.  With training, it is possible to reprogram what blocks the mind’s Flow and move quite rapidly from a less evolved state of mind to a higher state of synchrony, one that better serves us and the life around us.

When you achieve your New Year’s Resolutions through rewiring your brain, you are also doing a good deed for your fellow man by contributing to the collective evolution of the human species.

You’re helping manifest in your behavior a state of kindness, love and caring for our planet. Not a bad return for a small investment of your time and energy!
And to think, you just wanted to look better in your favorite jeans!

How yawning can positively affect the brain and your life

BLOG #1: YAWNING
Hi Everyone,
Well, this is my first blog and it combines Mental tools and tips and Brain-Mind research. My intention is to get a blog to you each week and provide insights, inspiration, practical tools, tips and research on the brain-mind. I am absolutely fascinated by the brain-mind research and my understanding continues to grow since writing my book, Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain. Besides the brain-mind information I will also let you know about tele seminars, workshops in your area or appearances at conferences and public presentations that I will be doing. For example, all of you in the New Mexico area I will be doing a weekend workshop in Santa Fe February 26-27. You can contact Elisa Bongiovanni for more information. 505-988-8839. Do check regularly the website under “Patt’s Events” for what I am doing. So, now take three yawns and notice what happens in your body and your mind.
Many people believe that yawning in the presence of others is disrespectful.  Thus, we cover the yawn by placing our hand over our mouth.  In our society when you yawn it is thought of as a sign of boredom. But this simply is not true. Recently, extensive research about yawning has been studied. Here are some examples of the benefits of yawning from the research.
Sara felt the time crunch as she had lots of details to take care and not enough time to do them.  She had taken on the leadership role to organize a charity musical event for blind children.  She knew she had taken on too much but her determination kept her on track in these final moments. In the morning as Sara sat at her desk shifting through all the things to do she observed herself yawning. In fact, she yawned quite a few times.  She thought it strange as she had a good nights sleep. She wondered why she was yawning.  After several yawns she noticed a mental clarity, she was more relaxed and more alert which helped her be efficient with her time to finalize the details of the event.
Josh had been lying in bed in a coma for two weeks after his accident. His mother patiently came to the hospital to see him every day. This day as she came into his room she noticed him move and make some sounds.  And then suddenly Josh yawned several times even before he opened his eyes.  As he opened his eyes and spoke she was overjoyed and knew that he was back to our world and would be getting well.  Josh’s yawning continued over several days, she recalled. She kept wondering why he yawned as he came out of a coma.?
Janet and Ray had a disagreement that lasted all week.  Each time they came home from work they would rekindle the argument. Finally, after carrying the anger and tension around all week they were able to talk honestly about their concerns and feelings. After the clarity of their talk they felt closer.  As they sat back on the sofa Janet began to yawn and then Ray began to yawn as if it were “contagious.” They both laughed and felt so good to be relaxed and at ease with one another again.
These antidotes about yawning point to some interesting research about how yawing effects our brains. The researchers at the institute of Neurology in London found that yawning stimulates a unique neural activity in the area of the brain called the precuneus.  The precuneus plays a major role in being more conscious, self-reflection, aids in relaxation, alertness, and good memory. Thus, when the we take in a deep breath such as a yogic breath in meditation the precuneus is a stimulated, makes us more alert and that is why we feel sense of deeper self awareness.
Tip number one: Yawn as you meditate several times (particularly as you begin the session) because it brings a deep relaxation and reduces stress. You will notice as you yawn that you will have more mental efficiency. The benefit is that it promotes the maintenance of vigilance and alertness just as Sara yawned and needed her mind to be efficient in her time crunch.
Brain researcher Andrew Gallup at State University of New York at Albany says that yawning promotes and maintains mental efficiency by keeping brain temperature in homeostasis. Therefore, yawning helps cool down this part of the over active brain as it regulates the temperature and metabolism of the brain. His research found that yawning increases when people are engaged in difficult mental tasks. Yawning helps contract the facial muscles during a yawn which forces blood through cerebral blood vessels to the brain, which may function to increase alertness. Thus, yawning may reduce sleep as it reflects a mechanism that maintains attention. Yawning also increases when people are in a change from inactivity to activity and vice versa.
Tip number two: When you are focused intensely on a project and need to stay alert and conscious take a moment to yawn every 20 minutes or so, and then sit back and relax. Concentrated activity takes a lot of energy to stay conscious. Our yawns are primarily located ln the new evolutionary part of the brain called the prefrontal lobe. It is this part of the brain that easily gets stressed and fatigued.
I imagine Josh was resetting his brain with his yawns after awakening from his coma. This notion is supported from the research that Florenza Giganti has done at the University of Florence, Florence, Italy.  Yawning helps regulate the circadian rhythms of newborns and also people that come out of a coma or a late-night partygoer. Yawning resets the brain’s internal clock. Yawning appears to arouse a neuromuscular rewiring. As in a coma there is a disturbance in the brain stem. Yawning then may rewire the brain to create a harmonious progress in the brain stem.
Tip number three: Remember when you are traveling by plane and changing time zones yawn to reset your circadian rhythms. Yawning will help to reset your body from jet lag.
Janet and Ray began to feel more connected and less stressed and as they yawned they stimulated dopamine, which activates oxytocin the pleasure and relationship bonding chemicals. The more these chemicals are activated the frequency of yawning increases.  Yawning is also contagious as it triggers the mirror neurons that literally mirror another persons behavior or emotional state. People who are on antidepressents may experience yawning more often especially in the first three months of taking the SSR’s.  So as I say, “individuals that yawn together stay together.”
Tip number four: In stressful relationships situations simply stop the conversation and yawn together several times. If nothing else you may get a few laughs with each other. Remember, laughter is pretty close to yawning!
If you have any questions or comments about yawning lets have a dialogue.

BLOG #1: YAWNING

Hi Everyone,

Well, this is my first blog and it combines mental tools and tips and brain-mind research. My intention is to get a blog to you each week and provide insights, inspiration, practical tools, tips and research on the brain-mind. I am absolutely fascinated by the brain-mind research and my understanding continues to grow since writing my book, Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain. Besides the brain-mind information, I will also let you know about tele seminars, workshops in your area and/or appearances at conferences and public presentations that I will be doing.

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