Beautiful Noise

Sound helps you to release blocked energy, says music therapist and sound healing practitioner, PANKAJ BORICHA

Among the world’s noisiest cities are Shanghai,Tokyo,New York and Mumbai — cities full of sound pollutants.We are surrounded by different sound frequencies, some of which are not even audible. Unconsciously, these noise forms have multiple adverse effects on our health.As the effects of noise pollution pile up, we end up with hearing loss, stress, sleep disturbance and heart disease. According to a new analysis, stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline released over time could eventually lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure. We are also losing our power of listening due to these excessive sound pollutants. Eventually, these affect us mentally and physically and lead to behavioural changes. We must educate ourselves on how we can harness this ancient technique and use the power of sound and music for healing and curing diseases. Once we understand this knowledge,we can spread awareness about sound and use it as a healing tool.

Different modalities of sound have been used in medical science — ultra sound and lithotripsy are among a few of them. But the majority of us are not aware about the power of sound as a sonic and acoustic weapon. Sound has been used in various cultures for centuries as a tool for healing — through the use of mantras and chanting, by playing instruments such as didgeridoo to heal bone fractures, and Tibetan bowl bells and gongs to produce different sound frequencies to align mental and physical health.All these techniques use sound to move us from imbalance to a balanced state of mind. Sound therapy offers cure for a variety of health problems including sleep disorders,anxiety,depression,stress management, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and pain management.

Our brainwaves are tuned to different sound vibrations through sound rhythm and frequency.We entrain our brainwaves to down-shift our normal waking consciousness beta state to a relaxed alpha state and can reach theta meditative state and deep sleep delta state where internal healing can occur. This same concept has been utilised in meditation by regulating the breath,but with sound and music at a certain frequency, it’s easier to influence a shift.In sound therapy, as you prepare yourself to become the receiver of sound,by becoming more receptive and aware of each sound, it creates a pathway of stillness,the same way as meditation or chanting a mantra does.Eventually, this helps us reach the still point to an active subconscious state of mind. The tools here are sound, voice, rhythm, drumming and frequency. Awareness plays a huge role in our own healing. Also, we must realise that our voice is incredibly powerful. It is our body that has the ability to fine-tune our greatest vibrational instrument. Sound frequency helps in releasing blocked energy and you are able to recycle your energy back into your life force,toward the energetic filtration system of each chakra.You must be aware of the different kinds of sounds that you take in daily from your immediate living environment. For instance,we are usually irritated with traffic sounds and the constant high decibel levels in local trains.Loud sounds elevate our stress levels, creating imbalances in our nervous system,lower our immunity and in extreme cases, cause hearing loss. When we are stressed, our whole relationship to sound changes.Even routine, everyday sounds become magnified and contribute to the feedback cycle of the stress. However, by utilising sound therapy techniques, we can become better listeners and more aware of the sounds we take in. Many of us already have a pretty good understanding of the benefits of healthy eating, yoga,meditation,and exercise.The same is true of sound therapy. We know mindfulness practices like chanting and vocal toning help us to find a centre and feel grounded. Our body, mind and spirit always want to move in a direction toward balance from noise to silence, yet we often have excess outer stimulus and noise and not enough time to dedicate to ourselves. This prevents us from achieving a better state of harmony. Sound has a way of helping us reach the source of the inner peace that we all seek. Let’s improve our power of listening and be aware consciously of different sounds, so that we can gradually improve the quality of our life and that of people around us.


Veggie-Heavy Stress Reduction Regimen Shown to Modify Cell Aging

Story at-a-glance

  • New research showed that eating a diet rich in vegetables while exercising and managing stress may modify cell aging and potentially help you live longer
  • Choosing a diet that encourages proper levels of leptin and insulin in your body, and thereby proper genetic expression, is likely the most powerful anti-aging diet there is
  • For most people, avoiding sugar, fructose, grains and processed foods while eating low-to-moderate protein and as much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated) will optimize your general health and longevity
  • Exercise and regular stress reduction round out a simple anti-aging lifestyle plan.

Stress ManagementStress Management

The last time you went to your physician, did he or she ask you about your diet, your exercise habits or your methods of stress reduction? These should be a key point of discussion, as research continues to pour in about their importance to human health, disease prevention and increased lifespan.

Recently, a small study published in the Lancet once again confirmed that eating a diet rich in vegetables while exercising and managing stress may modify cell aging and potentially help you live longer.1

It’s not rocket science… the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ really is true, and combined with other healthy lifestyle factors is the best ‘fountain of youth’ currently known to humankind.

A Healthy Lifestyle Is Your Ticket to a Long Life

You’ve certainly heard about the importance of a healthy lifestyle before, but it deserves repeating because it truly is the closest thing to a magic ‘pill’ for life extension that you can find. In the latest study, men followed a healthy lifestyle, which consisted of:

  1. Eating a mostly whole-food, vegetable-rich diet (with few refined carbohydrates)
  2. Walking for 30 minutes six days a week
  3. 60 minutes of daily stress management (mostly yoga and meditation)
  4. A 60-minute support group session once a week

After five years, men in the healthy lifestyle group had an increase in telomere (the ends of your chromosomes) length compared to the control group. It has been suggested, not without controversy, that increasing telomere length slows down or even reverses aging.

However, it may be possible that the modifications in cell aging being attributed to telomere length increases may actually be a byproduct of healthy genetic expression gained by eating a whole-food, low-sugar diet.

Dr. Ron Rosedale Explains Telomere Science…

Dr. Ron Rosedale, M.D. is widely considered to be one of the leading anti-aging doctors in the US, and as such is highly qualified to discuss the complex issues behind using telomere length as an indicator of lifespan. There are numerous problems with the theory, including that fewer than 1 percent of people have the telomerase enzyme necessary to increase their chromosome’s telomere length.

Further, many cells, such as liver and kidney cells can’t lengthen telomeres, while cancer cells can increase telomere length. As Dr. Rosedale said:2

“The fact that telomeres shorten may actually allow us to live longer, as it may reduce the risk of cancer. The good news is that the telomeres in almost all the cells other than WBCs and stem cells do not increase, for if they did, dying of cancer would be all but certain.”

It may very well be that controlling telomere length specific to different diseases and cells may be a powerful way to improve health. But right now, we just don’t know enough about it to be certain. And it might be that the association between increased lifespan and telomere length is simply a correlation, not a cause. Dr. Rosedale explained:

A major mistake made so frequently in medicine… is the confusion and interchange between correlation and cause. An example is the consistent reference to cholesterol being a cause of heart disease, when in fact it is an association, and even a weak one at that.

…Getting wrinkles is far more correlated, and is therefore a far better biomarker for aging than telomere length, however undergoing a dermabrasion is not likely to extend lifespan. Once again, it is science 101 to not confuse correlation with cause.

It could very well be, and in fact is likely, that reduced telomere length is a byproduct of the cell damage and turnover associated with aging, rather than a prime cause of it, though it likely does have some adverse repercussions especially to the immune system and possibly stem cells.”

How the Foods You Eat Impact Your Lifespan

So what does all of this mean for you, and, importantly, what does it have to do with the foods you choose to eat? Choosing a diet that encourages proper level of leptin and insulin in your body, and thereby proper genetic expression, is likely the most powerful anti-aging diet there is – and may also be involved, or at the very least associated, with the length of your telomeres, although this is only beginning to be explored. Dr. Rosedale continued:

“Life is dependent on the coordination of its constituent parts. This is especially true pertaining to the length of telomeres of the various cells and organs to maintain health but prevent a high risk of cancer.

…we are 15 trillion cells and 90 trillion bacteria that must work harmoniously as one for us to be healthy and remain alive. This requires an intricate orchestration of communication between the different parts. 

That includes the genes, telomeres, and telomerase. It is where, when, and how much they are played, like the keys of a piano playing an infinite variety of music from the same keys, that determine who we are, diabetic or not, and if we stay alive or die.

What we do want to do is slow down the reduction in the length of our telomeres in an organ and tissue-specific manner that can be orchestrated only through proper genetic expression. Leptin and insulin are among the most, if not the most powerful influences of this. And these in turn are controlled by what you eat.”

Insulin and Leptin Resistance: How These Disease-Causing States Happen

Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating your energy intake and energy expenditure. It may be one of the most important hormones in your body as it can determine your health and lifespan. Insulin is another, and  work in tandem with leptin. Both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity, and impairment of their ability to transfer the information to receptors is the true foundational core of most all chronic degenerative diseases.

Your fat, by way of leptin, tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to engage in maintenance and repair. In short, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.

Therefore, leptin may be on top of the food chain in metabolic importance and relevance to disease. You become leptin-resistant by the same general mechanism that you become insulin-resistant – by continuous overexposure to high levels of the hormone. This happens when you eat a diet that is high in sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods. The same type of diet that will also increase inflammation in your body – as the sugar gets metabolized in your fat cells, the fat releases surges in leptin.

Over time, if your leptin receptors are exposed to excessive leptin, they will develop resistance, just as your insulin receptors can develop resistance to insulin. The best way to reestablish proper leptin (and insulin) signaling is to prevent those surges, and the only known way to do that is via diet. As such, diet can have a more profound effect on your health than any other known modality of medical treatment.

Eat This Way to Maximize Your Healthy Lifespan Potential

A strategic whole food diet, as detailed in my free nutrition plan, that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes coupled with targeted supplements will enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity so that your brain can once again hear the feedback signals from these hormones. The vegetable-rich, low-refined-carbs diet described in the featured study likely also played a role in enhancing the study participants’ insulin and leptin sensitivity (although this wasn’t measured), and perhaps this was involved in the changes in telomere length, as Dr. Rosedale’s theory seems to support. To reverse insulin and leptin resistance:

  • Avoid sugar, fructose, grains and processed foods
  • Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
    • No-to-low sugar and grain carbs
    • Low-to-moderate amount of protein
    • As much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated). Most people need upwards of50-70 percent fats in their diet for optimal health. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. Also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.

Remember Exercise and Stress Management, Too

Remember, about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle comes from your diet, and the remaining 20 percent from exercise – but it’s a very important 20 percent, as it acts in tandem with and boosts the benefits derived from a proper diet. Exercise is also one of the fastest and most powerful ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance. For maximum benefits, you’ll want to make sure to include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which has been found to help slow down aging.

Of course, the connections between stress and physical health are undeniable, as well, with chronic stress linked to lowered immune system function, heightened inflammatory response, altered hormonal balance and more. Energy psychology techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be very effective by helping you to actuallyreprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life.

Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and meditation are also important “release valves” that can help you manage your stress. Together with a healthful diet and exercise, stress management makes up the ‘third Musketeer’ that is essential to leading a long, vital life.

Mid-life stress ‘precedes dementia’

stressed woman
Mid-life stress may increase a woman’s risk of developing dementia, according to researchers.

In a study of 800 Swedish women, those who had to cope with events such as divorce or bereavement were more likely to get Alzheimer’s decades later.

The more stressful events there were, the higher the dementia risk became, BMJ Open reports.

The study authors say stress hormones may be to blame, triggering harmful alterations in the brain.

Stress hormones can cause a number of changes in the body and affect things such as blood pressure and blood sugar control.

“Start Quote

Current evidence suggest the best ways to reduce the risk of dementia are to eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, not smoke, and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check”

Dr Simon Ridley Alzheimer’s Research UK

And they can remain at high levels many years after experiencing a traumatic event, Dr Lena Johansson and colleagues explain.

But they say more work is needed to confirm their findings and ascertain whether the same stress and dementia link might also occur in men.

Stress link

In the study, the women underwent a battery of tests and examinations when they were in either their late 30s, mid-40s or 50s, and then again at regular intervals over the next four decades.

At the start of the study, one in four women said they had experienced at least one stressful event, such as widowhood or unemployment.

A similar proportion had experienced at least two stressful events, while one in five had experienced at least three. The remaining women had either experienced more than this or none.

During follow-up, 425 of the women died and 153 developed dementia.

When the researchers looked back at the women’s history of mid-life stress, they found the link between stress and dementia risk.

Dr Johansson says future studies should look at whether stress management and behavioural therapy might help offset dementia.

Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that from this study, it was hard to know whether stress contributed directly to the development of dementia, whether it was purely an indicator of another underlying risk factor in this population of women, or whether the link was due to an entirely different factor.

“We know that the risk factors for dementia are complex and our age, genetics and environment may all play a role. Current evidence suggests the best ways to reduce the risk of dementia are to eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, not smoke, and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check.

“If you are feeling stressed or concerned about your health in general, we would recommend you talk this through with your GP.”

Stress Management .

It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your career and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.stress-management-mindmap

Identify the sources of stress in your life:

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”).
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Start a Stress Journal:

A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:

  • What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure).
  • How you felt, both physically and emotionally.
  • How you acted in response.
  • What you did to make yourself feel better.

Look at how you currently cope with stress:

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress:

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

Learning healthier ways to manage stress:

If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s:

Change the situation:

  • Avoid the stressor.
  • Alter the stressor.
Change your reaction:

  • Adapt to the stressor.
  • Accept the stressor.

Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress:

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

*    Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.

  • Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
  • Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
  • Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
  • Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation:

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.

  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
  • Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.
  • Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you’re under.

Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor:

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

  • Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
  • Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
  • Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
  • Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjusting Your Attitude:

How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as “always,” “never,” “should,” and “must.” These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.

Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change:

Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
  • Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
  • Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

Stress management strategy #5: Make time for fun and relaxation:

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.

Healthy ways to relax and recharge:

  • Go for a walk.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Call a good friend.
  • Sweat out tension with a good workout.
  • Write in your journal.
  • Take a long bath.
  • Light scented candles.
  • Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Work in your garden.
  • Get a massage.
  • Curl up with a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a comedy.

Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.

  • Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
  • Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
  • Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
  • Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.

Stress management strategy #6: Adopt a healthy lifestyle:

You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.

  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
  • Eat a healthy diet:  Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar: The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs: Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
  • Get enough sleepAdequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.