Natural healing, natural wellness

Get Positive and Productive

Wow, we’re three weeks into the new year. Time flies. I told myself at the end of last year that this year I would not waste time obsessing on things which get me down, things which I can do nothing about, and things which are unproductive. So I’ve been trying in the last few weeks to channel my energy only towards things which are positive and productive.

As someone who was diagnosed with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, keeping fit and trim may make all the difference in keeping cancer at bay. Besides the ovaries, estrogen is produced in other places, such as the fat cells, so losing weight has been a priority for me. So far, taking a realistic and steady approach, I’ve been losing a kilogram per month. Just three more kilograms to lose, and I’ll be back to what I weighed on my wedding day, pretty much my ideal weight. By following a daily program of walks and salads for either lunch or dinner, I actually lost weight during the December festive season, in spite of enjoying festive treats. My pants have become so baggy that I’ve started to give them away and I’ve had to buy new pants. What a great feeling!

The other positive and productive thing I try to do is take advantage of every beautiful day that comes along. The weather has been so cool and breezy lately that I venture outdoors as often as I can. Glorious nature and fresh air nourishes both my body and spirit every time. Some new cafes and restaurants have just opened up by the river just 20 minutes walk from my end of the river, and they’re perfect for chilling out at, while watching the sun set over the water. Absolutely delectable.

Then I try to spend more time with people who matter to me. Like my mom, for instance. She has dementia and she quickly forgets every visit I pay to her. But she’s happy when I’m there, so I’m glad about that. I try to have more conversations with my sister who lives overseas, so that she’ll know how much I love her and appreciate her. I try to cultivate a good relationship with my in-laws too, such as by remembering them in little ways. I tell my dear husband every day that I love him, and we spend lots of quality time together. We make time for fun, because joy is such a tonic.  Building bridges makes life richer and makes you stronger. When the dark days come, these relationships will sustain you.

It’s a brand new year. A clean slate, filled with opportunity. Forget the past, it’s time to look forward and make the most of every day. I know there’s lots more I can do to make my life better, healthier and happier. What about you?

The Power of Love

It’s the last day of the year. Soon, I’ll be going out for the countdown party and fireworks. Where has the year gone? There was so much I wanted to do but didn’t manage to accomplish. Sounds familiar, right? All things considered, I’m still alive, so that’s something to be grateful for. My husband is still with me, so I am more fortunate than some other women. A young woman I met earlier this year was not so fortunate; she had Stage 4 breast cancer, was told she was terminal, and her husband was divorcing her, leaving her to fend for herself. Some close relatives and friends of mine were also abandoned by their husbands, leaving them to look after their children themselves, with no financial support.

When you think about it, those who have someone to love them and care for them are truly blessed, even though they may not seem to have much by way of material things. I don’t know how I could have survived the darkest hours of cancer had my dear husband not been there for me every step of the way. He’s the reason I live today.

My wish for the new year is that my hubby will be blessed from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. May every desire of his heart be granted to him, and may joy overflow in him. When the person you love is blessed, you will enjoy the spillover too.

May you all have more than enough love to carry you through 2011!

Walk Away From Dementia

Here’s another good reason for going for daily walks. A study of nearly 300 people in Pittsburgh, USA, found that those who walked at least 9.7km a week had less age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less. In other words, walking at least 9.7km per week may help keep dementia at bay.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia which affects an estimated 26 million people worldwide. Brain cells are slowly killed off in those afflicted, and there is presently no cure for this disease. However, activities like walking have been shown to build brain volume.

The University of Pittsburgh study – published on Wednesday in the journal “Neurology” – began in 1995 and involved 299 volunteers who were free of dementia and who were asked to keep track of how much they walked. Nine years later, their brains were scanned to measure brain volume. Four years after that, researchers tested the volunteers for any dementia or cognitive impairment. They found that the risk of developing memory problems was halved in those who walked roughly 9.7km to 14.5km a week.

Researcher Dr. Kirk Erickson said: “Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems. Our results should encourage well-designed trials of physical exercise in older adults as a promising approach for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease”.

Prevention is always better than cure, so put on your walking shoes!