Ladies and Gents, Given the interest many forum members have in healing their nervous system I thought I'd post the latest newsletter from Rick Hanson. I am passionate about Rick's work because he has a real knack for taking very complicated scientific facts and combining them with lofty and rather metaphysical ideals and produces a very workable, very practical and quite brilliant way of transforming yourself through transforming your brain. I consider his contribution a triumph for its broad appeal. Both cynics and dreamers will find much merit in his gentle and natural style. Most important of all, it works. He has written a few books and created some wonderful audio courses but the thing I like most is this weekly newsletter, the JOT or Just One Thing. It is sage, doable and bite-sized which means each week we get to learn something new, remind ourselves of something old, or discover a familiar thing in a new way. The link to the newsletter is at the end. Without further ado, Mr. Rick Hanson. ********** Protect your brain - Just One Thing Hello, Your brain is the most important organ in your body - but it's also very vulnerable. So it's good to know simple ways to take care of it, thus this week's practice: protect your brain. Also: * Anger is a normal response to pain, threat, and injustice. But feeling routinely frustrated, irritated, or resentful eats away at your mental and physical health. Check out this quick quiz to learn about yourself and a anger:www.thefoundationsofwellbeing.com/quizzes/how-do-you-handle-anger. Warmly, Rick Hanson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just One Thing. Simple practices for more happiness, love, and wisdom. What's the most important organ in your body? Protect your brain. Why? Your brain controls your other bodily systems, and it's the basis for your thoughts and feelings, joys and sorrows. No question, it is the most important organ in your body. Small changes in its neurochemistry can lead to big changes in your mood, resilience, memory, concentration, thoughts, feelings, and desires. So it's vital to protect it from negative factors like toxins, inflammation, and stress. If you take good care of your brain, it will take good care of you. How? Avoid toxins. Besides the obvious actions - like don't sniff glue, and stand upwind when pumping gas - be careful about alcohol, which works by depriving brain cells of oxygen: that buzz is the feeling of neurons drowning. Minimize inflammation. When your immune system activates to deal with an infection or allergen, it sends chemical messengers called cytokines throughout your body. Unfortunately, cytokines can linger in your brain, leading to a slump in mood and even depression. So take practical steps to reduce colds and flu, such as washing your hands often, and avoid any foods that set off your immune system. For example, many people have inflammatory reactions to gluten grains (e.g., wheat, oats, rye) and/or dairy products; it's not surprising, since these foods were introduced just 10,000 years ago, a tiny moment in the 200 million-year evolution of the mammalian, primate, and human diet. You don't need overt symptoms of allergies for a medical lab blood test to show that gluten or dairy foods aren't good for you. On your own, try going to zero with both these food groups for two weeks and see if you notice a difference in your mental or physical health; if you do, keep staying away from them: I do myself, and there are plenty of delicious alternatives. Get regular exercise, which promotes the growth of new neural structures, including via the birth of new brain cells. Relax. The stress hormone cortisol both sensitizes the fight-or-flight alarm bell of the brain - the amygdala - and weakens (even shrinks) a region called the hippocampus, which helps put the brakes on stress reactions. Consequently, in a vicious cycle, stress today makes you more sensitive to stress tomorrow. Additionally, since the hippocampus is also critical for making memories, a daily diet of stress (even from just feeling frustrated, irritated, or anxious) makes it harder to learn new things or put your feelings in context. One major antidote to stress is relaxation, which activates the soothing and calming parasympathetic wing of the nervous system. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ JUST ONE THING (JOT) is the free newsletter that suggests a simple practice each week for more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind. A small thing repeated routinely adds up over time to produce big results. Just one thing that could change your life. http://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing/ (Just One Thing) (© Rick Hanson).