5 11, 2015

Are You Old?: How Your Thinking Impacts Your Age

We’ve all heard the adage “age is nothing but a number.” Life is a little more complicated than this quote allows but there is truth in the saying. As we know, how we think impacts how we feel and vice versa. The same principle applies to our view of aging. What comes to mind when you hear the word “old?” Do you picture a wrinkly, forgetful person who suffers from some kind of chronic ailment? Don’t feel bad if this is the vision that came to you because that is the one presented to us. Portrayals of older people in [...]

26 10, 2015

Cross Your Fingers, Knock on Wood: Do Superstitions Work?

When flying Jennifer Aniston always boards an airplane with her right foot first. Michael Jordan wore his college shorts underneath his NBA uniform for his entire career. Jordan ended up winning six championships and the 46-year-old Aniston has flown countless times without incident. Of course you don’t have to be famous to believe in superstitions. Many of us have uttered the phrase “knock on wood” or avoided stepping under ladders in the hopes of warding off bad luck. Superstitions are largely innocuous and allow for at least the illusion of control in situations where we feel like we have none. This begs the question: do superstitions work and if so why? For this discussion it’s helpful to think about the nature of superstitions. Early humans had little information about the world they inhabited. They created associations based off their experiences. Say it had been raining for days and stopped suddenly when a person performed a specific action or picked up a certain object. Our ancestors lacked access to sophisticated meteorological equipment and didn’t know the storm had moved out of the region. Instead, they related the change in weather to something they had done. Lacking any other evidence, this cause and effect belief system makes sense and indeed was reinforced by a lack of deeper knowledge. We like to think we live in a pretty rational time in history. Our embrace of the scientific method, whereby an idea must be regularly tested before proven, should make us immune to irrational thinking. However, we know this simply isn’t true. We’re all prone to assumptions and beliefs that don’t make sense within this larger understanding. […]

12 10, 2015

The Frequency of Life

You wake up; rub the sleep from your eyes, maybe yawn and then what? If you own a smart phone the next step probably includes checking your email, Facebook, texts, or a favorite news site. The world is quite literally in our hands. We have 24/7 access to a wealth of information that has radically transformed how we live. Take a moment to think about your typical day. How much time is spent in front of a screen? And yes, I realize you’re staring at one now while you read this post. There are valid reasons to stay connected whether it’s looking at photos of family members who live on the other side of the world or staying abreast of what’s going on around the globe. A lot of this content has the potential to enrich our lives and provide us with greater understanding of ourselves and others. Unfortunately, and let’s be honest, we waste a lot of time and energy zoning out in front of our devices. We seem to be at a crossroads where we value this new freedom but aren’t exactly sure how to handle it. Recently, there has been a call to return to a simpler way of life that includes “getting back to nature.” This idea is somewhat vague and doesn’t present an honest view about the human race’s struggle to live in and overcome their environment. For centuries people were at the mercy of nature. We lived in constant survival mode as we dealt with everything from unexplained illness to unpredictable weather to food scarcity. The flipside is our current reality which consists of the overuse of nature and its resources to the point of crisis. There has to be a balance between being at the mercy of our environment and exploitation of the natural world. As it turns out that balance already exists inside each of us. In 1952 physicist Winfried Otto Schumann made a discovery that didn’t seem to have much importance at the time. Schumann calculated the frequency of the resonances that bounce between the Earth’s surface and the highly conductive ionosphere. Resonances are spectrum peaks in the Earth’s electromagnetic field that occur within a specific frequency. […]

25 09, 2015

Global Meditation & The Crisis in Europe: How You Can Help

In recent weeks a number of people have contacted my office with concerns about the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe. Millions have fled their homes in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. These people are leaving behind countries torn apart by war and economic hardship in hopes of finding a better life elsewhere. The question many ask is: what can I do? More than seven billion people live on Earth. This is an intimidating number, one that makes any attempt by an individual to solve a problem seem fruitless. After all, what happens if you do something to help? There’s no guarantee others will follow your lead and you may not know for sure if your efforts made a difference. Let’s take a second to reframe this issue in the context of our own lives. Think about some problem in your life, maybe you’re falling behind on bills or maybe you’re having relationship issues. Whatever the concern, it can seem insurmountable. However, we know this isn’t true because we’ve seen people make incredible life changes by investing a little time and energy into themselves. We know what it takes to create change in our lives. The process involves combining a clear intention with an elevated emotion. Through mental rehearsal we can populate a future outcome with such detail that our brain and body biologically look like it has already happened. If done properly, in this state we are more caring, grateful and selfless, which opens the door to possibility. Coming back to the situation in Europe, what if we were able to harness that skill needed to produce individual change and apply it globally? Is this even possible? When it comes to the research the answer seems to be yes. In 1993 a group of 2,000 practitioners of transcendental meditation took part in a unique two month study. Researchers wanted to see if this group could raise the level of coherent energy by focusing on peace and reduce the stress level in Washington DC and thus lower the rate of violent crime. […]

11 09, 2015

Your Mind as Medicine: Healing with Placebo

The Placebo Effect is a fascinating field of science because it challenges established notions of how we heal.  In the traditional model you would go to a doctor and he or she would present you with a diagnosis and some treatment options.  Placebos work differently in that they heal from within, not without and this presents a choice: you can either heal from a drug or from a placebo. In placebo studies, patients are given a medicine and told it will either cure them or make the symptoms more manageable.  Of course, they're usually given a sugar pill or a [...]

29 08, 2015

Creating More Surprises and Fewer Mistakes

The past is an interesting concept. By definition the “past” refers to a time that has already happened. However, that isn’t how we experience it in our own lives. We have the ability to relive events over and over again in our minds. This ability to recall and relive is a gift that many of us fail to properly utilize. We tend to focus on the negative aspects of our lives and forget the positive. Think about your day for a moment. What happened? Were you complimented on your work? Maybe a friend drooped by unannounced for lunch? Did you find $20 on the ground? Were you pulled over for speeding? When asked to recall what happened my guess is that most people would emphasize getting stopped by the police. If we removed this one scenario then the rest of the day looks really good, maybe even great. From an evolutionary standpoint, a mistake is a threat to our survival. This makes sense given the right context.   Early humans were at the mercy of their environment and so they needed to be vigilant. At that time a slight misstep could mean the difference between life and death. Our brains are genetically wired to keep us safe and a mistake threatens our security. For most of us this reality no longer exists. Rarely do our mistakes carry with them such dire consequences. Think about it. We make multiple mistakes a day, every day and yet we’re still alive. Despite this regularity we still spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy re-living the past. […]

29 07, 2015

Can the Mind Heal Parkinson’s?

Modern medicine has changed the course of human history.  Advances in disease prevention and treatment have allowed us to live longer, healthier lives.  Our expanded knowledge of the human body has provided order to what seemed like chaos.  We currently have more control of our destiny than any other time in history. Yet, for all the advances in science and medicine many answers remain. The strength of current Western methodology is its reliance on evidence gathered through study and/or experimentation.  This strength can also be seen as a weakness because anything viewed as not “mainstream” is either ignored or ridiculed to the point of irrelevance. An offshoot of this philosophy is the long-held belief that the mind and the body are two different systems that have no influence over each other.  Just a few years ago the idea that your thoughts can positively or negatively impact your body would have been laughed off as pseudo-science.  Now, thanks in part to the process I described above, we’re starting to understand that these systems are intimately connected. […]

3 07, 2015

Biophotons: The Light in Our Cells

There are trillions of cells that make up your body. For the moment I want you to think about just one. That one cell is incredibly busy. In just the last second there were over 100,000 chemical reactions that occurred in this cell. Now, step back and consider your body as a whole. The sheer volume of activity happening inside you at any given moment is almost incomprehensible. With so much information being processed all at once, it’s fair to ask how it all works. The consensus in the scientific community used to focus on a mechanistic approach to explain the inner workings of your body. In this model, molecular reactions were assumed to follow a very linear formula. Essentially event A produces event B which produces event C, etc. In this theory the human body isn’t a fluid, ever-changing system but a static one, governed by a set of rigid rules where the laws of attraction and repulsion of molecular charges run the show. In the 1970s Fritz Popp and a team of researchers at the University of Marburg started doing work with biophotons. Biophotons are considered ultra-weak photo emissions (UPEs). Popp’s work has transformed our understanding of biophotons and the role they play. At one point biophotons were considered byproducts of chemical reactions within our DNA. We now know that the biphotons emitted from our cells are highly coherent energy that may be responsible for the operation of our biological systems.   […]

15 06, 2015

Changing Bad to Good: How Expectations Influence Behavior

As seen on the Huffington Post   So what makes a restaurant nice? Is it an expensive menu with exotic foods prepared by one of the best chefs in the world? How about a well-dressed wait staff, one that's prompt and pulls out your chair before you sit down? Maybe it's something simple like having to call to make a reservation? The "right" answer varies and largely depends on individual tastes. Whatever your definition of nice happens to be, once you make plans to eat out you probably will develop some expectations about the experience. Those expectations are based on [...]

30 05, 2015

The Anatomy of Anxiety

In many ways, anxiety is a healthy response to an external stimulus. We should be in a heightened or aroused state when we give a speech, fly in a plane during times of intense turbulence, or encounter a potential threat from a neighbor’s Rottweiler who has broken lose from their yard. Typically, when the stressful event is over, we expect to return back to physiological balance…and most of us do. Anxiety becomes a problem when it spills over into our everyday lives. For a person with an anxiety disorder normal tasks like going to the grocery store or even leaving the house can feel like an insurmountable challenge. For those who suffer from constant fear, worry, or panic, normal situations in their external environmental can be perceived to be as threatening as facing off with a grizzly bear. With clinical anxiety, the person’s body is actually producing the same physiologic chemical reaction as if they were in a very dangerous encounter with a hungry animal. The reality though, is that there is no real threat. […]