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  • New from Bernie Siegel – Love, Animals & Miracles

    Introducing Bernie Siegel's new title, Love, Animals & Miracles: Inspiring True Stories Celebrating the Healing Bond . The stories in this new book offer funny and heart-touching, true-life experiences that convey loving connections, amazing rescues, and healing with (and by) animals — both wild and domestic. Learn more     Available now in bookstores everywhere. Order your copy online today at:  Wisdom of the Ages, Barnes & NobleAmazon or New World Library.
  • Ask Bernie a Question

    Have a question you would like to ask Bernie? Use the message box below, and be sure to include your e-mail address. Bernie will answer questions each Monday on his blog (see below). Thank you for sharing your question!

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  • Today’s Prescription for the Soul – Prescription #122 – Getting to Know You

    I hope that my “365 Prescriptions for the Soul,” will be a welcome and healing addition to your day. The prescriptions I ask you to fill are designed for your total well-being. They come from hard-earned wisdom and experience with the difficulties of life. They are dispensed “as written” with love. At the end of each prescription is my “Soulution” to help you develop healthy self-love, self-esteem, and self-worth. Please take the prescription I have written for you here and fill it right away.


    The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

    ~ Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish Historian and Essayist

    Getting to know yourself better takes courage. It is far easier to hide behind a mask than to see yourself as you really are. There are many who think they are perfect and need not change, who think they’re the center of the universe, and they have a problem.

    If you wish to know yourself and change for the better, you need to accept your inadequacies, fears, weaknesses, mistakes, and more. If you need others present constantly to entertain and distract you, then you are afraid to be still and know yourself.

    So spend some time being totally alone and see how you feel. If you are comfortable, then I would say you are in the process of knowing yourself. Knowing yourself means being willing to be with yourself. Once you can do that, the frantic search for distraction and escape will stop ruling your life and you can choose to fill your life with the things that bring you joy.

    Soulution of the Day

    Even if it feels uncomfortable, go away with yourself
    and spend some time together getting to know yourself.
    You may find that you are great company.

    - Bernie

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  • Inspiration

    “Inspiration comes from theHeart of Heaven
    to give the lift of wings,
    and the breath of divine music
    to those of us who are earthbound.”

    ~ Margaret Sangster

    When I speak to respiratory therapists the words inspiration and inspire relate to the act of breathing, mechanical movements of the chest and diaphragm which pull air into our lungs.  Yet these words carry a much more significant meaning as well.

    In many languages the word for breath and inspiration relates to our spirit and spark of life.  I do not think it is an accident that this meaning is shared. After all, God breathed life into Adam through his nostrils.  That first inspiration brought life into a piece of clay.  Dust became alive.

    We are all dust and clay until we find inspiration in our lives.  When we are inspired, we change the world, not by changing others, but by changing ourselves.  If everyone on this planet felt inspired and breathed life into each other, we would have a world of companionship and love.

    Inspire deeply for yourself and all those in your life.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Teachers

    When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
    ~ Taoist Saying

    The Sufi poet Rumi said, “Criticism polishes my mirror.” He taught me that everyone is my teacher.  If you are trying to be a better human being, then look for teachers.  They might be your colleagues, your family, and even your pets.  My family, nurses, and patients have always been my teachers.  They tell me when I could be a better doctor, father, husband, and so on.

    The people who I worry about are the ones that always blame everyone else, never do their homework, and do not accept the fact that they have anything to learn or that they can ever do anything wrong.

    Once a teacher has led you to understand how to improve at what you are doing and at being who you are, do your homework and ask them to continue to grade you on your progress.  Life is a school, and teachers are everywhere if you are willing to attend the class called Life 101.

    See your day as a classroom and be aware of the different subjects and teachers available to you for your further education.

    Life is a great teacher.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Self-Care and Cancer: How to Maintain Your Overall Wellness in the Face of Illness

    While traditional medical care, treatments, and medication are all vital components of care for cancer patients, the thing that ties them all together is your own personal self-care. By keeping yourself well — mentally, physically, and spiritually — you boost the effectiveness of your traditional cancer care. Although cancer often makes us feel out of control, practicing self-care is one way to take that control back. Here’s how.

    Prioritize the Big Three: Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep

    The three most important things you can do to put your body and mind in the right place to heal are eat right, get some exercise, and sleep well. What is considered a good diet for cancer patients can vary, but it’s smart to start with foods that are high in protein and healthy fats, as well as fruits and veggies of all colors. Eating better with cancer also involves knowing how to get enough nutrition through bouts of nausea and other illness (for example, try oatmeal, crackers, rice, and plain pasta, for example).

    The American Cancer Society notes the following benefits of moderate exercise for cancer patients: improves balance, keeps muscles from wasting due to inactivity, lowers the risk of heart disease, improves blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots, lowers the risk of being anxious and depressed, lessens nausea, and many more. Exercise provides a body and mind boost that you need every single day.

    Additionally, cancer patients often struggle with sleep. Eating right and exercising will, in turn, help you get better-quality sleep. You should prioritize sleep whenever you feel tired, as your body needs it to heal. Don’t feel guilty about sleeping whenever, wherever you need to.

    Promote Better Air Quality in Your Home

    There’s a reason hospitals keep the air quality in their rooms clean: Polluted air can interfere with the healing efforts of cancer patients and make them feel worse. That’s why you should  invest in an air purifier for your home. It will take care of the pollen, dust, mold, dander, and most airborne pollutants that invade the home. A good air filter to consider is a MERV 13, which traps 98 percent of the particles in the air. Make sure you replace the filter every 90 days to maintain healthy air quality.

    Lean on Others for Help

    Self-care often means making yourself a priority, and one way to do that is to let people help you. You are worth it, and you are not a burden. Being social not only boosts your mood, but research also suggests that having friends and family support can help your cancer battle.

    That companionship doesn’t have to be human either. The benefits of support/therapy dogs for cancer patients are numerous. Beyond the obvious emotional support that a dog can provide, your four-legged companion may be able to help you with relaxation, distraction, and socialization. Service dogs can even help you with things around the house.

    Open Yourself Up for Better Spiritual Wellness

    Spiritual doesn’t have to mean religious (though it can). Having spiritual wellness simply means being connected and integrated with the self, others, nature, art, and possibly a higher power. It’s about meaning, purpose, and tranquility. Cancer patients, who often struggle with finding this meaning and purpose, need to focus on improving spiritual wellness more than anybody. Some tried and true ways to do this include prayer, meditation, and positive visualization.

    Learn How to Say No

    It’s not selfish to practice self-care, especially if you’re fighting cancer. Practicing self-care isn’t necessarily prioritizing yourself over those you love, it’s prioritizing yourself in a way you haven’t before. It’s giving yourself that ability to do things solely for your own benefit, and that’s okay. Part of this means saying no to others when you need to take time for yourself.

    Psych Central notes that “being unable to say no can make you exhausted, stressed and irritable. It could be undermining any efforts you make to improve your quality of life.” For the good of your overall wellness, don’t be afraid to be self-focused (not selfish).

    The bottom line is that your mind and body need to be in tip-top shape in order to deal with your cancer, your treatments, and the side effects. You are fully in control of yourself, and you must focus on improving your overall wellness on a daily basis. This is how you fight.


    This article was contributed by Scott Sanders, creator of CancerWell.org.

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    Be a Coach

    Great opportunities to help others seldom come,but small ones surround us daily.
    ~ Sally Koch

    We all need coaches, someone to point out our errors in technique, improve our skills, and not take credit when we do something well.  A good coach brings out the talent in others and doesn’t take all the glory for what the team does.

    Think of yourself as a coach and help your friends, family, and all God’s creatures to bring out their latent talents and develop their skills.  People just need the right nourishment to grow; the potential is already within them.  You can help it to grow.  Support others when they need it and watch what you produce: a winner!

    Notice who could use a coach today, then step up to the plate.

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    Quantity and Quality

    “It’s choice—not chance—that determines your destiny.”
    ~ Jean Nidetch

    Quantum physics awakened me to the nature of life and the true relationship between quantity and quality.  One normally thinks of a quality product, like a fine automobile, as being desired by many and therefore as being produced in quantity.  The number sold, in this case, depends on its quality.

    Many of us spend our lives accumulating dollars and objects to impress others with all we possess.  But what does this do to or for us as human beings?  Ninety-five percent of lottery winners will tell you, five years after winning, that it ruined their life.  Quantity is not the solution to life’s problems.

    Now enter the world of quantum physics and watch what happens when I add an electron to an existing atom.  By changing the quantity of the atom, I change the quality as well.

    And so it is with human beings.  When we increase or alter the quantity of meaningful information, beliefs, and activities in our life, rather than the objects, we change the quality of our life for the better.

    Unlike the atom being altered by a scientist we have a choice what to add to our personal universe.  Choose wisely.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Feelings

    If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.
    `~ Gospel of Saint Thomas

    Our oldest son organized a band when he was young. One of the songs they often played was “Feelings.”  I loved the song then, and it still means a lot to me now.

    As far back as one can go in our history, people have written about the importance of feelings.  On a personal level we know how feelings drive us to do things, from numbing ourselves when we can’t handle a situation to performing acts of great courage or destruction when we’re motivated by them.

    I’ve also heard people say that while learning to think, they almost forgot how to feel.  Our training and instruction does not teach us how to use our feelings properly.  Feelings are meant to protect and guide us; they are not something to be obliterated.  We destroy ourselves when we stop feeling.  If you bury your feelings within you, you become a graveyard.  I know I was doing that as a physician when I couldn’t deal with what I saw people going through.

    So bring forth your feelings.  Live each day allowing them to surface and guide you. Feel your feelings.  What you bring forth will save you.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Disciples

    Disciple to a philosophy, disciple to a set of principles, disciple to a set of values, disciple to an overriding purpose, to a super-ordinate goal or a person who represents that goal…You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source.
    ~ Anonymous

    Jesus asked his disciples to give up everything and follow him.  I do not think that today we need physically to follow someone to attain spiritual knowledge, because the words and teachings are available to us all.

    I asked my friend Gloria a question about disciples.  She writes Heaven Letters, which come from the words she hears from God.  Here are some words she shared in answer to my question:  “We are entwined partners.  Be a disciple to your own heart.  Be a disciple to truth.  Your willingness to be with Me is your discipleship.  Know our oneness.”  I agree and feel we commence to be disciples when we listen to the truth and to our hearts and become one.

    Become a disciple of the teachings of your heart.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Senior Moments

    To be seventy years young is sometimes more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
    ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

    There are benefits to aging that include discounts and other privileges, but for me the greatest gift is being in the moment.  When you live in the moment you have no age and it allows you to experience life differently.  The difference is a gift that we all should appreciate before we grow old.

    When you are older you don’t have to explain everything you do that doesn’t make sense to your family.  After all, you are older and are having a senior moment.

    When you live in the moment, you stop thinking and worrying and begin to contemplate the world around you.  When you do, you begin to see a much more interesting and beautiful world.  You become a teacher and wise elder for the young ones, something their younger parents cannot do.

    When you live in the moment, even your “senior moments” don’t matter.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    An Important Sign

    There are many fine things that you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances.  But the only time that is yours is the present.
    ~ Grenville Kleiser (1868-1935), Yale Divinity School

    I frequently participate in conferences where the organizers are quite compulsive and very concerned about keeping each speaker on schedule.  So they hold up signs to keep you on target and forewarn you.  When it is time to conclude your presentation, they hold up a sign that says TIME.

    The organizers happily consented to my taking one of those signs, which I now use when lecturing.  I hold it up in front of the audience and say, “If you take any concepts home with you from my talk, make this one of them.  We are all here for a limited period of time.”  I want them to accept the fact that we are all mortal and shouldn’t postpone living.

    As long as we are in our bodies, time is an important factor.  Because our bodies age and are vulnerable, our lifetime is limited and therefore extremely precious.  So do what needs to be done to keep your life’s presentation on schedule.

    Don’t wait until your time is almost up to call home and say, “I love you.”  Don’t bring flowers to the grave; rather, bring them home or send them to the person who is precious to you today.

    Peace,
    Bernie

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    Advice for those suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder

    If you find yourself feeling low at the same time every year, it’s possible you suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  In most cases, SAD comes along during the dark, cold days of winter.  Fortunately, there are ways to manage SAD and feel better.

    Wintertime blues. Generally speaking, SAD sufferers experience symptoms during winter months, although a small portion of sufferers struggle during summertime.  When the seasons change, symptoms subside.  Because of the correlation between symptoms and the seasons, SAD is believed to be connected to changing amounts of daylight.  Our internal clocks can get off-kilter and body chemistry is altered, causing the symptoms associated with SAD.

    According to Medical News Today, some symptoms of SAD include:

    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Depression or despair
    • Social withdrawal
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Weight gain
    • Crying
    • Fatigue and increase in sleeping
    • Reduced libido
    • Irritability
    • Indecision
    • Moodiness

    The summertime version of SAD may include agitation, weight loss, lowered appetite, depression and insomnia.

    Who gets SAD? Women are more likely than men to suffer with SAD, although men tend to experience more severe symptoms.  Usually the farther you live from the equator the more likely you are to suffer with SAD, and those with a history of depression are more likely to get the disorder.  If a family member suffers with the disorder, your risk for SAD increases.

    When to get help. Many people may feel a bit sluggish during winter months, and you may be wondering if your symptoms reflect SAD.  If your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, some experts advise seeking professional help. Talk to your family physician about potential therapy options.  If you or someone you love is trying to manage symptoms with substances or experiencing thoughts of suicide, reach out for help immediately.

    Stop suffering. SAD is a treatable disorder.  If you or a loved one suffers with SAD, it’s important to find ways to manage symptoms.

    Therapies. Thankfully, there are several methods for combating the symptoms of SAD.  If someone’s symptoms are impacting the ability to live a normal day-to-day life, light therapy is often recommended.  With this treatment, the SAD sufferer sits next to a special light for 30 to 90 minutes per day.   Another option is a special light that gradually wakes SAD sufferers, simulating dawn.  These light therapies are felt to help restore the body’s natural rhythms.

    Another treatment option is prescription medication.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the FDA approved the use of two antidepressants for treating SAD: bupropion and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).  It may be necessary to try several antidepressants to find one that is effective and there may be side effects in taking some medications.  Concerns should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

    If you prefer to avoid prescription medication, you could consider a supplement like CBD oil, or cannabidiol. More research continues to show this supplement provides needed relief of anxiety and depression. CBD oil is not a cure-all, as some people claim, but, as Remedy Review explains, “The benefit of introducing cannabinoids into your body is that they can help your body better regulate itself, or achieve more balance.” Of course, this form of treatment is still considered somewhat controversial. And before starting any sort of supplement, you should always speak to your doctor.

    If your symptoms are relatively mild, you may benefit from increasing your activity level.  Working out boosts feel-good chemicals in your brain, and some professionals feel you may be able to manage SAD symptoms with an appropriate fitness program.

    Some SAD sufferers benefit from behavioral therapy or adding vitamin D, and some people do best with a combination of therapies.

    SAD doesn’t have to control your life. By acknowledging your condition, you put yourself in a position of power over it. Talk to your doctor. Together, you can find ways to manage your symptoms that work for you. It will take time, but you can beat SAD this and every season.


    This guest post was submitted by Kimberly Hayes, chief blogger at PublicHealthAlert.info and author of Holistic Recovery: Everything You Need to Know About Alternative Addiction Treatments.

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