Life Coach Blog

The Importance of Water for Mind & Body

Kidney stones. Muscle aches. Headaches. Digestive disorders. These are just some of the outcomes that can be caused by dehydration. Dehydration doesn't always mean you feel thirsty, so it is important to be aware of how much liquid you are drinking and what type of liquid you are drinking. The latter is VERY important.

Did you know coffee, and caffeinated teas and sodas actually dehydrate the body? This is because caffeine is a diuretic, which means it causes increased passing of urine. When this happens, less water is used by the body, and most of it is let out when we go to the bathroom. Sugary drinks and drinks with a lot of impurities also cause the body to put in extra work to process it, which can result in less water being used by the cells and tissues of the body.

The human body is roughly 75% water, and there are some cells in our body which are nearly 100% water! So it is very important that we stay hydrated for optimum mental and physical performance. Hydrate right by avoiding caffeine beyond one or two 8 oz cups per day. Sip pure water throughout the day, and filter impurities out of your tap water with an affordable filter system such as Pur, Britta, or other brands.

The recommendation of 8 x 8oz glasses of water per day is a starting point if you are a sedentary, light-weight person. But for the rest of us who are active and/or have larger bodies, check in with your body about how much more water it actually needs! And start your day off in a hydrated way by reaching for a glass or two of water first thing in the morning, before any coffee, tea, or juice.

Hunger, headaches, "foggy mind," and the symptoms listed at the beginning of this article can be a signal you need a couple extra glasses of (fresh, clean) water. Ask your doctor if you have questions about exact water needs for your body.

Allergy Season Relief Tips

Allergy season in Sacramento is hitting hard. Here are 8 of our favorite effective and useful tips for overcoming allergies.

Please keep in mind, this list is NOT medical advice and is for discussion purposes only-- talk to your doctor before changing your dietary or medicine intake.

1) Neti pot to rinse sinuses. It takes some getting used to, but is a great way to way to gently rinse the gunk out from your sinuses. You can find neti pot kits online, at your local pharmacy, or natural grocer.

2) Eating local honey products. Talk to your local bee expert about how local honey helps the body. Honey is great for soothing sore throats too-- dissolve some into hot water or herbal tea and sip. Important note: If you are allergic to bees, beware of consuming bee pollen and talk to your doctor first about any bee products.

3) Shower your body and wash your hair before bed. This gets any particulates, pollen, and other allergens off your skin and hair.

4) Use a clean pillow case each night. Any pillows you sleep on should be changed daily during the peak of allergy season-- same concept as washing your body and hair in #3. Be aware of your detergent and any fabric softener. Watch for brands without heavy scents and chemicals. When your body is already worn down from all the pollen and irritants in the air, these chemicals can irritate you more than they normally would.

5) Drink a couple extra glasses of water during the day and/or sip a glass or two of hot water or herbal tea. This extra water intake will help your body to flush out allergens and irritants that you are breathing in. Avoid caffeine as this can dehydrate you and make it harder for your body to flush out the irritants.

6) If you take an allergy pill (Claritin, Zyrtec, generic-brand, etc), try taking it at night before bed instead of in the morning. For many people, allergens are worse at night. For added relief, you may want to close the window and run an air filter in bedrooms during this time of year. Other points to be aware of: Some types of allergy medicine make some people very drowsy. Do not drive until after you have taken a new allergy pill for a day or so to see how it affects you. Also, some people experience mood disturbances from allergy medicines--unexplained anger, sadness, agitation, etc. Ask your doctor about whether a children's dose is better for you, or an alternate brand.

7) Triphala for detoxifying the body. Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic herbal blend which helps the body to clear out waste and toxins through the bowel system. It has a similar effect as fiber, but is gentler on the body (less bloating) and many people find it easier to dose since it is in pill form. There are many brands available at your local natural foods store, Mapi.com, and even on Amazon.com.

Image source: http://www.trifrukta.com/en/triphala-ayurveda.html

8) Sleep more. Allergies are hitting us early in Sacramento this year, and for many people it is taking their bodies by surprise. This can be overwhelming to some people's systems and make them feel "run down." If this is you, an extra hour of sleep for a few days and reduced activity level may be what your body needs to feel back on track.

These are some ideas to get you thinking about how to overcome allergies this season. Did we leave off your favorite remedy? Post yours here, or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Happy spring!

Above the Fray: Bright Future

Tonight was our final Phase 1 focus groups for my Above the Fray team. Many, many thanks to our teen and pre-teen participants for all the information you shared, and all the valuable data you helped us to gather. We discussed a broad range of topics related to social media and wellness, always focused on answering: 'how we can help young people overcome the dark side of social media use?' We learned so much, and are excited to share the data with the public later this year. Stay tuned in May/June 2014 for that.

I want to share a little vignette from tonight's focus group of 14-18 year olds that demonstrated how bright our future is when kids feel empowered to do good in their online environment.

We were discussing whether it is easier or more difficult to say mean things online than in face-to-face life. The unanimous opinion was that it was easier to say mean things online because people can hide behind an anonymous profiles, or can otherwise hide behind their computers. Then we asked this question:

Q: "How can you be kind online?" 

We got wonderful answers. Here are two.

A: "I like to go around on Tumblr anonymously and leave nice comments on people's posts just for fun. Just to make them feel good."

A: :"If I see someone getting made fun of or bullied online, I leave a nice comment or call the people out who are saying mean things. Or if I can't for some reason, I'll send a private message to that person and tell them I'm sorry that bad stuff was said to them, and that I don't agree with any of it."

The future is as bright as we make it. Lead the way, kids!

 BeAbovetheFray.org

Melt away stress with Deep Relaxation sessions

Want to melt away stress? Have you heard of our Deep Relaxation sessions? Please read on.

Mighty Mind & Body offers Deep Relaxation sessions as a unique compliment to any existing stress relief and/or spiritual practice you enjoy. It is a proprietary variation of guided meditation which is specifically designed to balance you "holistically," melting stress from the mind, body, and emotions all at once. Many clients call it "a mental massage." Others describe it as "hitting the re-set button" and feeling a "weight lift off the shoulders." The end result is a feeling of serenity and peace you can carry with you.

The busy world we live in seems to pull us in a million directions at once. The art of living a life full of wellness, health, and vitality is a daily challenge. There are many things in life we cannot control. But what we can control is how we react to the things and events that might stress us. And balance of your mind, body, and emotions is one of the key factors that helps to overcome stress. 

Some popular methods of reducing stress and gaining balance and peace include yoga, walking and other physical exercise. These are all great to clear the mind and reduce stress responses. And an effective tool for balancing which does not require movement is meditation and/or prayer.

Adding Deep Relaxation sessions into the mix is a great way to strengthen the calming and balancing effects of your existing exercise program and/or spiritual practice. Deep Relaxation sessions are also a great on their own, and are ideal for people who are recovering from an injury or have other mobility restrictions.

Pricing is $59 each, or purchase a bundle of 5 for the price of 4. To view the list of other relaxation and wellness services available, click here

Contact us today to book yours, to give as a gift, or to share as a couple!

Opiates and Self-Medicating: Obstacles for Balance

Rest in peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is very sad to see you go. You were a talented actor who will continue to tell moving stories to millions who watch your films.

We may not know why Mr. Hoffman overdosed-- was he depressed? Was he controlled by addiction? Was he one of the millions who falls through the cracks of pain management, and switched from pills such as oxycodone to heroin?

Mr. Hoffman's death brings up at least a three-fold wellness discussion to have:
1) the topic of addiction,
2) the topic of prescription opiates,
3) the topic of pain management--physical AND emotional).

Below is my chatter "on paper" about all three topics, concluding with a solution and call to action.

Opioid Use After Physical and/or Emotional Injury

Heroin and oxycodone are both opioid/opiate drugs. Opioids are powerful psychoactive narcotics that profoundly affect our bodies and our minds. Opiates such as vicodin or oxycodone are regularly prescribed by doctors to help patients manage pain after surgery or injury. This is extremely helpful in the painful immediacy of an emergency to provide relief to the injured person.

But over the longer term, more is needed. Not more pills, but complimentary pain management therapy. Every person is different, but some general ideas for complimentary pain management can include acupuncture, physical therapy, massage, meditation, life-coaching, hypnotherapy, and more. The point is to provide people with tools, healing, and support to wean the injured person off the opiate pain killers as soon as possible, so that they can move forward into their recovery, rather than slide backward and form an addiction.

Addiction is an injury in itself, and it is time that our culture takes it seriously as such. People don't try to become addicts. It is not a conscious decision, any more than getting injured by a bomb dropping on your house is a conscious decision. Addiction is the manifestation of an imbalance in the body, mind, and emotions. It is as if the person is trying to reach out for something to make them feel balanced again. But instead they only inflict injury on their body and mind with substance effects.

The statistics speak for themselves. According to the website Medscape.com, Opioid dependence affects nearly 5 million people in the United States and leads to approximately 17,000 deaths annually as of December 2013. These people are in desperate need of support to help them heal fully from their injuries, be they mental, physical, or both.

Everyone has heard of the term "self-medicating." Self-medicating is simply a form of trying to find balance. Everyone, every body, craves balance. But when we don't know how to achieve it for ourselves, we reach for something outside of ourselves. Might be cigarettes, or beer, oxycodone, vicodin, or heroin. Four of these drugs are legal in the USA, one is not. But all are addictive, and all are killers.

Call to Action

Do you know someone who "self-medicates"? Do you know someone with addiction? Encourage them to talk to you. Reach out to them with a loving heart, and help them to understand there are lots of professionals available to help them. Help them to understand they have the power within themselves to feel balanced, without trying to get a substance to do it for them. They have the power to change as soon as they are ready. There is no judgement.

And your support as their friend or family member is key to their recovery as well. Not as their enabler, but as a resource for healing information. You can help them structure a plan and act on it. The most important thing is that they allow themselves to want to heal, whether from emotional pain or physical pain, or both.

Whether for yourself or for a friend or family member, support is out there to help people break their addiction or need to self-medicate. Research detox centers, find addiction recovery specialists, therapists, life coaches, physical therapists, and anyone else who can help them. There are many publicly-funded and non-profit addiction recovery services available. And for veterans there are networks such as Rising Valor which provide free wellness services. The key is to learn coping and pain management techniques so that the healing process is facilitated, and reliance on drugs can be reduced as much as possible. The first step is the toughest, but from there begins the path of healing and a happier, more balanced life ahead.

There are many books, research papers, and other media on the topic of opiate dependency, and knowledge is power. One film I found helpful for more information is American Addict.

Sacramento detox centers listing, click here: www.detox.net

Above the Fray Update 1/8/14

Mighty Mind & Body is partnering with the social media experts at Selvage Media to launch a new project: Above the Fray. 

This idea came to me from my experiences as a wellness coach, and I found an amazing team who can make it happen with me. Above the Fray is a new kind of curriculum to help young people overcome the dark side of social media use. Can you imagine what it would have been like if social media existed when you were in school? We've all heard about cyber-bullying, sexting, "slut shaming", and other inappropriate misuse of social media. It is time for a solution.

You wouldn't hand your child keys to a car without first teaching them how to drive. Above the Fray teaches the "rules of the road" for the social media superhighway. This is not another awareness campaign. And this is not about prohibition from social media. It's about teaching social media savvy + wellness techniques to provide young people with skills they can carry into adulthood. Connecting, learning, and doing business: these are the positive powers of social media in today's world. With the right tools and training, young people can accomplish amazing things.

Thank you to everyone who supported the initial funding phase at the end of 2013. Now we are moving forward with the next phase of research and development with our team. Our goal is to have curriculum in schools before 2015. 

Want to get involved as a researcher, sponsor, curriculum partner, or intern? Please contact us.

For full details visit www.selvagemedia.com/above-the-fray

A Special Holiday Gift

By Aja Uranga-Foster, Wellness Coach

This holiday season, I’ve found myself fascinated with the idea of Christmas. We know about enjoying time with family, the presents, decorations, etc. But I’d like to consider the story of the birth of Jesus. Because, after all, Christmas is known as Jesus’ birthday.

Subtract away the religious side of the story for a moment here. Subtract away the Old Testament, New Testament, and dogma. Imagine just the story: A prophecy is fulfilled-- that a baby boy is born to humans in a manger, surrounded by animals in a barn. He is a special and spiritual boy, and this boy grows up into a man and preaches a message of peace and love to everyone who will listen. He tells everyone that he knows the way for his fellow humans to find peace in this world full of suffering and turmoil: by becoming loyal followers of God. 

For many, the words ‘Jesus’ and ‘God’ are loaded with verbal gunpowder. These two words cause many people to get defensive, to get annoyed, to shut down because of the many years of misuse as a way to control people and keep them locked in fear. And the concept of sin is intertwined with these two words ‘God’ and ‘Jesus,’ which adds to the powder-keg effect.

But again, subtract away the religion and the dogma. Imagine Jesus as a character in a story. He is a person who wants to help people have a better life. Specifically, as I understand the teachings of Jesus, he advocates for a better life by creating a life of service to others, a life that does no harm to others, and a life of peace within one’s own being. And he says the way to access this better life is through a relationship with God. 

God is an abstract idea, and people have been debating what God is since the beginning of humanity. Here are my two cents: what if God is something within you, like a special gift-box inside yourself sitting patiently waiting for you to open it? 

And when you open this gift-box, there is a very special trinket, perfume, candy, or music CD (whichever you prefer) which allows your perspective to shift dramatically. You are suddenly released from your burdens. You suddenly have energy and motivation to dedicate your life to serving others, and to do no harm (because not saying and not doing hurtful things sometimes takes a lot of restraint and energy, right?). And best of all you finally get to experience peace on a daily basis by just your regular activity, and without feeling like you “need” a beer, a pill, chocolate, or anything else to get you there.

So back to the point: celebrating Christmas, a.k.a. Jesus’ birthday. Whether you believe Jesus is a real person, a divine person, or just a character in a human-created story, there is something special for you on Christmas this year. Spend some quiet time exploring the idea of a special gift-box inside yourself as I described above. Is it possible this metaphorical gift-box is really there...? And if so are you curious to open it...?

Happy holidays to all! :)

Fun AND Healthy: Peaceful Party Planning

From the Mighty Newsletter July/Aug 2013
By Aja Uranga-Foster, Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach

Summer is here, and that means lots of fun events such as outdoor weddings, family reunions, and BBQ get-togethers. Planning these events can be stressful. But with a plan and active delegating, the emphasis will be on fun times from start to finish. Here are some tips to infuse peace and joy into party planning:

1) Healthy daily habits. As a party planner, it is important that you can focus on your tasks, which means being able to focus on things besides how tired or hungry you are. This means having healthy habits months before your event or party happens. Consistent, deep sleep is a foundation of good health, followed by healthy eating for your body's fuel during the day, and daily movement and stretching to keep your body ready for activity.

Read more ...

Keeping the Body's "Toolbox" Full

By Aja Uranga-Foster, Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach

Does your body have a complete "tool box" to repair wear-and-tear and fix urgent problems? Micro-nutrients are the "tools" in your body's "toolbox" for repairing damage and wear-and-tear.

Think of your body as a house, and the micro-nutrients are the essential tools to fix things. If there is a leaky pipe in your "house," you run to the garage to get a wrench out of the tool box. If the wrench isn't there, then the floor may get soaked and damaged! Mold, replacement floor boards, and other problems can happen because of the un-repaired leak. So it goes without saying that having a complete set of "tools" in your "toolbox" is essential!

Natural foods packed with micro-nutrients are one way the body fills its "tool box." Micro-nutrients include vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and enzymes. While proteins such as meat and dairy are important for many healthy body types, the main food source for micro-nutrients are plants such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans).

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Purpose-Made Creatures

By Aja Uranga-Foster, Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach

As friends of mine know, my fiance and I are "parents" to a chameleon named Mingus Panqueques, a.k.a. "Mingi". A chameleon is not to be confused with an iguana, which many who meet him often do. Mingi is a veiled chameleon, bred and born in a sanctuary in Los Angeles. His species is from the middle east region of the world, and he is naturally suited to warm, humid weather. As chameleons are known for, his body color and shape changes with his mood-- he is literally like a living, shape-shifting mood ring. He is a reptile, sheds his skin, and eats various bugs and the occasional plant. He is smart, responsive, and adaptable. And he is adorable in his own little reptilian way.

While I do love to brag about my "baby," that is not why I am writing this blog post. I am writing it to introduce you to him so that he can be a vehicle for learning. Just from hanging around Mingus for a few minutes, everyone who meets him says the same things: "He is so cool!" "Look at how he climbs...how his eyes move around... how he shoots his tongue out to eat!"

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