Meanings of Hope and Healing Stones

Scroll Down.  Find your stone.  Then find the meaning below:

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From Energymuse.com

Learn the Meanings of Healing Gemstones

healing stones meanings

Abalone is a beautiful shell of the sea. It is believed to hold great healing and soothing energy, encouraging a calmer demeanor. The multidimensional, pastel rainbow colors enhance feelings of peace, beauty, compassion and love. The Native Americans believe this shell to be a sacred shell and use it, along with sage, to carry messages to Heaven. Abalone is excellent to wear when you are in need of guidance in a relationship.
healing stones meanings
Agate is one of the oldest of healing stones. As a stone of strength, it was used in ancient civilizations, on the breastplates of armor, to bring warriors strength and make them victorious in battle. Agates are very protective stones, making them the perfect stones for amulets and medicine bags. They also bring us courage, emotional strength and self-confidence.
healing stones meanings
Amethyst is a natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength and brings wealth and a strong business sense to its wearer. It is a crystal of spiritual growth and protection. It brings clarity of the mind to their owner and helps you to become more in tune with your feelings so that you get to know yourself on a much deeper level. Amethyst crystals repel negative energy and attract positive energy, making them a wonderful protection stone for the home. They have one of the strongest powers to rid your home of any negative influence.
healing stones meanings
Aquamarine clears the mind, balances emotions and strengthens personal power. In ancient times, seamen carried this stone to protect them against the dangers of the sea. It also provided them with courage. Aquamarine connects with the Heart Chakra, helping you to realize your innermost truth and promoting self-expression.
healing stones meanings
Aventurine is one of the premier stones to attract luck, abundance and success. It comforts, harmonizes and protects the heart, helping also to attract luck in love. Aventurine is a manifestation stone that can help you bring your dreams into reality.
healing stones meanings
Azurite is often referred to as the “Stone of the Heavens,” as it aids in the pursuit of the heavenly self. It is believed to awaken psychic abilities, helping you to recognize intuition and spiritual guidance. It calms and relieves mental stress, helping you to clear your mind and dissolve any blocked energy. Native Americans valued it as a sacred stone for communication with Indian Spirit Guides. The Mayans are also said to have used it for sacred and mystical communication.
healing stones meanings
Black Tourmalinated Quartz is Clear Quartz with pieces of Black Tourmaline included in it. It is believed to be a stone of great luck and wealth. It encourages a large amount of light to encircle the body, helping you to heal on many levels. When worn, this crystal helps to unlock energy blockages within the body and create overall balance within it.
healing stones meanings
Bloodstone is a powerful healing stone that has been valued for thousands of years for its healing energy. It purifies and detoxifies the body, grounding negative energy and cleansing your body’s energy. Bloodstone also increases energy and strength, promoting a constant flow of energy throughout the body. It is a very beneficial stone for athletes and people whose jobs include a lot of physical activity.
healing stones meanings
Blue Lace Agate is a wonderful stone for activating and healing the Throat Chakra. It enhances verbal communication and expression, while promoting the acceptance of your emotions. It is a very supportive stone that calms your nerves, bringing a sense of peacefulness. Blue Lace Agate is an especially helpful stone for those who may be feeling depressed or worried. It can also be used to relieve insomnia and ease tension headaches.
healing stones meanings
Carnelian is a powerful Sacral Chakra Stone. It increases personal power and physical energy, bringing you courage, compassion and a boost in creativity. Wearing or carrying Carnelian enhances vitality and will, providing you with the confidence needed to approach new projects and dreams. It is a wonderful stone to wear on a job interview, as it brings good luck and opportunity, awakening your hidden talents within. In ancient times, Egyptians buries their loved ones with Carnelian as it was thought to protect their loved ones in their journey to the afterlife and calm their fears about rebirth.
healing stones meanings
Chrysocolla is a very peaceful stone that soothes and calms us in times of stress. It connects with the Throat Chakra, helping you to create a conscious flow of words to express yourself. It gently draws off negative energies of all kinds, especially in times of transition, such as breakups or job loss. It is a wonderful stone to wear on a daily basis as a support stone or to help calm your emotions. Chrysocolla helps to face challenges and changes with ease, inspiring inner balance and self-awareness. It also increases your capacity to love.
healing stones meanings
Chrysoprase opens and activates the Heart Chakra, allowing for a strong flow of energy to the heart. By sending divine energies into this chakra, it infuses you with universal love and helps you love from the heart. Chrysoprase is a stone of grace and compassion that promotes optimism, joy and contentment. It encourages acceptance of yourself by banishing feelings of superiority or inferiority from within.
healing stones meanings
Citrine is a stone of light and happiness. It does not hold any negative energy and therefore never needs to be cleansed. It brings clarity to those who wear it and helps to manifest anything you want to bring into your life. It activates your imagination, bringing more creative visions to a clearer mind and a more positive outlook in life. Powered by the Sun, Citrine warms, cleanses and energizes the body, energizing and strengthening the solar plexus.
healing stones meanings
Clear Quartz is a stone of manifestation that energizes and activates the energy centers within the body. It helps the wearer to think clearly, allowing them to focus and become clear about their dreams and desires. Assisting with spiritual development, Clear Quartz assists in removing blockages in the body so that energy can flow smoothly.
healing stones meanings
Coral has been called the ‘garden of the sea’. It was believed to prevent ill fortune and offer protection from skin disease. Dreams about Coral are believed to foretell recovery from a long time illness. Ancient civilizations believed that Mars was composed of Red Coral. Coral is a good aid for meditation or visualization, as it symbolizes life and blood-force energy.
healing stones meanings
Fresh Water Pearls are cultured in inland waters and not in the sea. The oldest Pearl was worn in 4300 BC by a Persian Queen. They are considered the bringers of light, beauty and love. They also help you to become aware and conscious of the problems that we carry around with us. Pearls are linked with innocence and helps us to see life through the eyes of compassion.
healing stones meanings
Garnet is a stone of health and energy that enhances energy, passion and pleasure. It is said that the only light on Noah’s Ark was provided by a Garnet stone. It helps to move the chi and energy flow within the body, stimulating physical activity. Garnet is a good stone to help with depression, as it brings joy and hope to the wearer and helps lessen the anger directed at oneself. It also cleanses the chakras of negative energy, re-energizing them in the process.
healing stones meanings
Goldstone is made from quartz sand glass, infused with copper particles to give it its shimmery appearance. The sparkles of Goldstone are symbolic of light that can always be found in the darkness. It deflects unwanted energies and is highly regarded in the spirit realm as a protective mineral.
healing stones meanings
Hematite is a very protective stone that helps you to stay grounded in any situation. It absorbs negative energy and calms you in times of stress or worry. When you wear Hematite, it helps you feel balanced, calm and centered. This stone helps you to find your own, unique talents, releasing self-imposed limitations.
healing stones meanings
Jade is considered a powerful lucky charm. It is a stone that can help you attain your goals and dreams, allowing you to see past self-imposed limitations and manifest your dreams into the physical world. Jade promotes courage, compassion, generosity and longevity, helping you lead a richer more fulfilling life. It is a gemstone of much history, as it has been part of Asian history for centuries.
healing stones meanings
Jasper is highly valued as a healing stone that is full of grounding energy. They can connect you deeply to the vibrations of the Earth, bringing a greater understanding of the power of nature. Jasper helps us to be less judgmental and know on a soul level that we are all connected. In some Native American culture, Jasper symbolizes the blood of the Earth, making it particularly sacred.
healing stones meanings
Labradorite cleans and opens the crown chakra by stimulating the wearer’s intuition. It is a power stone that allows you to see through illusions and determine the actual form of your dreams and goals. Use Labradorite to stimulate the imagination, develop enthusiasm and to see more clearly in meditation.
healing stones meanings
Lapis Lazuli is a stone that has existed since the beginning of time. It is a gemstone of total awareness that connects the wearer to a higher truth. Lapis Lazuli helps to foster verbal expression, opening and balancing the Throat Chakra. It provides wisdom and connects you to your spiritual guardians, shielding you from negative energy and returning any negative vibrations back to their source.
healing stones meanings
Malachite is a stone of transformation. It assists in clearing and cleansing all the chakras. It is an overall healing stone that stimulates and balances the heart and throat chakras. Malachite facilitates the release of negative experiences so once can heal and regain hope. It is very inspiring, purifying and compassionate and attracts love by opening the heart.
healing stones meanings
Moonstone is believed to be a stone of destiny. It is strongly connected to the moon and the divine feminine, making it a wonderfully helpful stone for women. It is worn to increase fertility and harmonize the mind, providing health and protection. Moonstone helps to align the hormone production, metabolism and reproduction. It allows deep-rooted feelings to energize and come to the forefront.
healing stones meanings
Mother of Pearl is the iridescent lining that forms in mollusks. Associated with the element of water and the ocean, it is valued for its powerful healing energy. Mother of Pearl is considered to hold the energy of purity and is believed to keep evil away. It is known to alleviate fear, promote prosperity and good luck, allowing you to see that beauty in everyday things.
healing stones meanings
Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass formed from molten lava that has cooled very rapidly. It is a grounding stone that provides an instant connection from the Root Chakra deep into the core of the Earth. Obsidian helps to clean and remove negative energies and assists in releasing emotions that cause negative energy such as anger, fear, jealousy and greed.
healing stones meanings
Onyx is a powerful protective stone that can shield the mind and body from electromagnetic energy. It absorbs and transforms negative energy, helping to prevent that drain of personal energy. Onyx assists with melancholy, the release of negativity and depression. It helps to calm your fears, leaving you feeling stable and secure.
healing stones meanings
Peridot has been valued for thousands of years as a semi-precious healing stone. It is a high-vibrational Heart Chakra crystal that carries a positive energy, especially helpful for those undergoing traumatic emotional situations. It is the stone for Archangel Raphael and rules the realm of Angelic Virtues. Peridot has the ability to bring out unconditional love, happiness and light.
healing stones meanings
Pyrite is known to remedy financial hardship and attract abundance. The resemblance of Pyrite to gold has made it a traditional symbol for money and good luck. Its sunny golden color associates it with the sun and with the fortification and strengthening of the mind. Pyrite makes a wonderful energy shield, blocking out negativity from various sources.
healing stones meanings
Rhodonite helps to balance the emotions and calm impatience. It is a very supportive stone that works with the Heart Chakra to attract love, ground negative energies and see areas in your life that can be improved upon. Rhodonite helps you to rediscover your inner gifts, bringing out much-needed love into the world. It also assists you in discovering your true passion and learning brand new skills to enhance that passion.
healing stones meanings
Rhodochrosite raises your self-esteem and self-worth, while increasing feelings of self-love. It is a strong crystal for emotional healing that encourages you to love yourself and reach a state of joy and happiness. It is a powerful heart chakra stone that vibrates with the energy of love. Rhodochrosite also gives you the courage to look at things that you may have been afraid to face before.
healing stones meanings
Rose Quartz is the stone of unconditional love. It is one of the most important stones for Heart Chakra work, as it opens that heart to all types of love—love of the self, love of family, love of friends and romantic love. The soothing energy of Rose Quartz fosters empathy, reconciliation and forgiveness of others, lowering stress and tension of the heart. It can clear out anger, jealously and resentment towards others, allowing the healing of heart issues caused by holding onto these negative emotions.
healing stones meanings
Rudraksha Seeds are miracle seeds that emit positive vibrations. These seeds have been worn by Sages and Togis since Vedic times for their profound spiritual significance and powerful healing properties. Rudraksha seeds are believed to be endowed with cosmic powers to elevate the soul and assist on the path of ascension. According to the ancient Vedas, Shiva cried tears of compassion for humanity and his tears became Rudraksha seeds to assist humanity in our healing.
healing stones meanings
Rutilated Quartz is Clear Quartz riddled with needle-like pieces of Golden Rutile, often called “The Hairs of Venus.” It can clear energy blockages of all the chakras and stimulates the alignment of the mind and body. Rutilated Quartz is said to attune you to their Divine Purpose, connecting them with the spiritual realm and their angels. It is a very uplifting stone that infuses joy into your life and surrounding environment. It is said to speed up the healing of injuries and slow the effects of aging.
healing stones meanings
Selenite is the ideal crystal for all types of energy clearing. It has the ability to clear, protect and shield your energy body as well as clearing the energy of your other crystals and home. It quickly unblocks any stagnant or negative energy to create a smooth flow of positive energy. Selenite crystals magnify the energy of any other gemstone that is placed upon it, making it perfect for reactivating and recharging your jewelry and other healing crystals. It has also been recently used in holistic medicine treatments for physical healing, including cancer treatment and tumor reduction.
healing stones meanings
Serpentine helps to bring hormones back into balance. It helps to clear out and release the dense areas of the chakras so that healing can occur. It helps you to take responsibility for your life and know your life is what you create it to be. Serpentine serves as a gentle reminder that you can always reach for the stars and obtain your goals. It can also be used to attract and manifest anything you want in life—abundance on all levels, prosperity, love, healing…anything you want!
healing stones meanings
Smoky Quartz helps to ground and connect you to the Earth, allowing you to keep your feet on the ground and remain balanced. It emits a high level of energy that absorbs and transmutes negative energy. Smoky Quartz assists in removing mental and emotional blockages, relieving pain and dispersing negative energy from the body. It is worn for emotional support and helps to dissolve anger and resentment as well.
healing stones meanings
Sodalite encourages being true to your self and standing up for your beliefs. It is a stone of self-expression and confidence, helping you to deal with issues of self-worth, self-acceptance and self-esteem. Sodalite promotes intuition and a trust in your own judgment. It is a stone of awakening that stimulates the Third Eye and deepens the meditation.
healing stones meanings
Sunstone is known for its powerful connection to the light and the power of the sun. It brings light to all situations and is said to give you the power to “shine,” promoting a sunny and positive attitude. Sunstone has a bright and joyful energy that increases vitality and lightens dark moods. It helps to empower those who feel abandoned by others, encouraging motivation and positive action.
healing stones meanings
Tiger’s Eye helps to rebalance the body on all levels, encouraging optimism and trust in the future. It brings brightness and light into all situations and shines insight onto all problems. Tiger’s Eye brings good luck, abundance and prosperity to its wearer. In many ancient civilizations, it was used as a talisman against bad luck and curses. Tiger’s Eye is a must have in any home for healing.
healing stones meanings
Turquoise is known as the “master Healer,” and is said to be the bridge between Heaven, Sky and the Earth. Many Native American cultures believe that Turquoise helps to connect the mind to the infinite possibilities of the Universe and is considered very sacred in Chinese cultures as well. It is a throat Chakra stone, as it helps to foster honest and open communication from the heart. It works to protect and align the chakras, strengthening the overall body in the process.
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 Snow Flake Obsidian is  stone of purity, Snowflake Obsidian brings about a balance to body, mind and spirit. Snowflake Obsidian helps to keep centered and focused when any type of chaotic situation (office, commute, home, etc.) presents itself. Snowflake Obsidian can remove negativity from a space or person with ease.

Volcanic in origin, Snowflake Obsidian helps to draw emotions to the surface and to examine harmful thought patterns. A good choice for past life work, Snowflake Obsidian heals old karmic patterns and helps in examining harmful thought patterns. Snowflake Obsidian promotes a sense of calm and inner centering which readies one for a deep meditative state.

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Dalmatian Jasper is also known as Dalmatian Stone. This is a stone that aids you to break down barriers that you have created as protection around yourself.It may also relieve the need to take revenge on anyone who you feel has done you wrong, as its vibration helps you to release any lack of trust in other people.

This allows you to move forward in life and discover your true purpose for being here. Its energy brings childlike joy and a sense of playfulness into your life.The black spots are Black Tourmaline, and so it also embodies the energy of this stone, and will aid you with spiritual grounding and psychic protection.

Scientists Hint at Why Laughter Feels So Good

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From the New York Times

By

Laughter is regularly promoted as a source of health and well being, but it has been hard to pin down exactly why laughing until it hurts feels so good.

The answer, reports Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, is not the intellectual pleasure of cerebral humor, but the physical act of laughing. The simple muscular exertions involved in producing the familiar ha, ha, ha, he said, trigger an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals known for their feel-good effect.

His results build on a long history of scientific attempts to understand a deceptively simple and universal behavior. “Laughter is very weird stuff, actually,” Dr. Dunbar said. “That’s why we got interested in it.” And the findings fit well with a growing sense that laughter contributes to group bonding and may have been important in the evolution of highly social humans.

Social laughter, Dr. Dunbar suggests, relaxed and contagious, is “grooming at a distance,” an activity that fosters closeness in a group the way one-on-one grooming, patting and delousing promote and maintain bonds between individual primates of all sorts.

In five sets of studies in the laboratory and one field study at comedy performances, Dr. Dunbar and colleagues tested resistance to pain both before and after bouts of social laughter. The pain came from a freezing wine sleeve slipped over a forearm, an ever tightening blood pressure cuff or an excruciating ski exercise.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, eliminated the possibility that the pain resistance measured was the result of a general sense of well being rather than actual laughter. And, Dr. Dunbar said, they also provided a partial answer to the ageless conundrum of whether we laugh because we feel giddy or feel giddy because we laugh.

“The causal sequence is laughter triggers endorphin activation,” he said. What triggers laughter is a question that leads into a different labyrinth.

Robert R. Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the author of “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation,” said he thought the study was “a significant contribution” to a field of study that dates back 2,000 years or so.

It has not always focused on the benefits of laughter. Both Plato and Aristotle, Dr. Provine said, were concerned with the power of laughter to undermine authority. And he noted that the ancients were very aware that laughter could accompany raping and pillaging as well as a comic tale told by the hearth.

Dr. Dunbar, however, was concerned with relaxed, contagious social laughter, not the tyrant’s cackle or the “polite titter” of awkward conversation. He said a classic example would be the dinner at which everyone else speaks a different language and someone makes an apparently hilarious but incomprehensible comment. “Everybody falls about laughing, and you look a little puzzled for about three seconds, but really you just can’t help falling about laughing yourself.”

To test the relationship of laughter of this sort to pain resistance, Dr. Dunbar did a series of six experiments. In five, participants watched excerpts of comedy videos, neutral videos or videos meant to promote good feeling but not laughter.

Among the comedy videos were excerpts from “The Simpsons,” “Friends” and “South Park,” as well as from performances by standup comedians like Eddie Izzard. The neutral videos included “Barking Mad,” a documentary on pet training, and a golfing program. The positive but unfunny videos included excerpts from shows about nature, like the “Jungles” episode of “Planet Earth.”

In the lab experiments, the participants were tested before and after seeing different combinations of videos. They suffered the frozen wine sleeve or the blood pressure cuff in different experiments and were asked to say when the pain reached a point they could not stand. They wore recorders during the videos so that the time they spent laughing could be established. In the one real-world experiment, similar tests were conducted at performances of an improvisational comedy group, the Oxford Imps.

The results, when analyzed, showed that laughing increased pain resistance, whereas simple good feeling in a group setting did not. Pain resistance is used as an indicator of endorphin levels because their presence in the brain is difficult to test; the molecules would not appear in blood samples because they are among the brain chemicals that are prevented from entering circulating blood by the so-called blood brain barrier.

Dr. Dunbar thinks laughter may have been favored by evolution because it helped bring human groups together, the way other activities like dancing and singing do. Those activities also produce endorphins, he said, and physical activity is important in them as well. “Laughter is an early mechanism to bond social groups,” he said. “Primates use it.”

Indeed, apes are known to laugh, although in a different way than humans. They pant. “Panting is the sound of rough-and-tumble play,” Dr. Provine said. It becomes a “ritualization” of the sound of play. And in the course of the evolution of human beings, he suggests, “Pant, pant becomes ha, ha.”

Exercise is Good for the Brain

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WebMD.com Feature

Anyone with a brain exercises these days, but did you know exercise can return the favor and train your brain? Not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.

“I like to say that exercise is like taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,” says John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of A User’s Guide to the Brain. “Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.”

Stephen C. Putnam, MEd, took up canoeing in a serious way to combat the symptoms of adult ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Then he wrote a book, titled Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind, about the benefits of exercise on troublesome brain disorders such as ADHD, a neurological/behavioral condition resulting in hyperactivity and the inability to focus on tasks.

Putnam cites studies of children who ran around for 15 to 45 minutes before class and cut their ants-in-the-pants behavior by half when they got to class. As with most exercise, the effects were relatively lasting — smoothing out behavior two to four hours after the exercise.

Putnam also points to some preliminary animal research that suggests that exercise can cause new stem cells to grow, refreshing the brain and other body parts. According to Ratey, exercise also stimulates nerve growth factors. “I call it Miracle-Gro for the brain,” he says.

 How Exercise Trains the Brain

Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the University of San Francisco, explains that exercise affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric.

In other words, if you don’t want to wait for those good feelings to come by accident (if they do), you can bring them on by exercising.

“When one exercises,” Anderson says, “you can think more clearly, perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science — stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.”

Effects of Exercise on Depression

Almost everyone has heard of the “fog of war,” but the “fog of living” is depression. “Depression affects memory and effectiveness (not to mention the ability to get up, get dressed, and function),” Anderson says. “If you can control your physiology, you can relax, focus, and remember.”

In a study reported in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness in 2001, 80 young male and female volunteers were tested for mood and then did aerobics for an hour. Of the 80, 52 were depressed before the exercise. That group was the most likely to benefit, reporting a reduction in anger, fatigue, and tension. They also felt more vigorous after the workout.

Effects of Exercise on Depression continued…

A well-known study was done at Duke University involving 150 people 50 or older who had been diagnosed with depression. They were divided into three groups and given either exercise as a treatment for four months, the antidepressant drug Zoloft, or a combination of the two.

At the end of the four months, all three groups felt better. But the researchers didn’t leave it there. They checked again in six months, and the exercise group had relapsed at significantly lower rates than the Zoloft or combination groups. In fact, the scientists felt that giving the Zoloft along with the exercise undermined the effects of the exercise, saying the combination group might have preferred to feel they had worked for their improvement rather than having to take a pill.

This doesn’t mean, the researcher said, that exercise is a cureall for every case of depression. Seeking out the study showed motivation, and motivation can be hard to come by when you’re depressed.

Bipolar disorder also does not seem to respond as well to exercise. On the other hand, anxiety disorders sometimes respond even more quickly.

 If You Want to Try Exercise as a Brain Trainer

Single bouts of exercise can reduce anxiety for several hours afterward, although there may be a lag time before the good feeling sets in if exercise is too intense (good news for those who find fanatical, prolonged, “check your pulse” exercise unappealing).

Therefore, low to moderate forms of exercise are recommended for brain training. Ratey recommends 8 to 12 minutes a day of sweating and breathing-hard exercise (60% of maximum heart rate) for brain training.

Anderson says a minimum would be 30 minutes of moderate exercise, walking, hiking, or swimming, three times a week. Half an hour to an hour, four to five times a week would be even better. For those who want to be REALLY on the ball, 90 minutes five to six times a week would not be out of line, she says.

Anderson recommends two sessions a day for this purpose, rather than one big heaving workout. “Swim for 20 minutes in the morning, then walk at night,” she advises. “Right after hard, intense exercise, you may not be as acute. Overtraining can set off enzymes that can lead to fatigue, which is the enemy of alertness.”

Anderson also says the type of exercise you select depends on your personality. It may be the opposite of what you’d expect. “If you’re a 32-year-old male, work 70 hours a week, play ball twice on the weekend and jog daily,” she says, “you may need to do some yoga to improve your mental acuity.” Some coaches, she points, out actually have to get people to relax to find their “edge.” Meditation can also be a great complement to exercise, she adds. Then: “Do what you enjoy. That’s important.” (If you are reading this within 5 minutes of when we began this assignment, please come to my desk right now, quietly, for extra credit!  Do not tell anyone around you that you’re reading this or you will loose your extra credit.  If you come up to my desk right now, congratulations!). 

“You want to ready your brain for learning,” Ratey says. For that to happen, all the chemicals must “jog” into place.

Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

Doctors Prescribing Exercise Over Medication

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Doctors treating chronic health problems increasingly are urging patients to think of physical activity as their new drug.

BOSTON (AP) — When Dr. Michelle Johnson scribbles out prescriptions, the next stop for many of her patients is the gym, not the pharmacy.

Doctors treating chronic health problems increasingly are prescribing exercise for their patients — and encouraging them to think of physical activity as their new medication.

In one such program run by a health center in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, primary care physicians, internists and psychologists prescribe access to a gym for $10 a month, including free child care, classes and kids programs. Providing affordable gym access for patients ensures compliance, said Gibbs Saunders of Healthworks Community Fitness, a nonprofit gym in Dorchester that has partnered with several health care providers to help low-income residents fill their exercise prescriptions.

Executives at the Whittier Street Health Center say low-cost access to a gym is important, since many residents’ income is low and 70 percent of those they treat suffer from chronic problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.

Life expectancy in Roxbury is 59 years — well below the national average of 78.8 years.

“Exercise is not a new medicine. It’s really an old medicine,” said Johnson, who prescribes exercise to patients at the Roxbury-based health center. “But you know, I think we’re now coming to the point of understanding how important it is.”

Monisha Long, who is morbidly obese and suffers from hypertension, got a doctor’s prescription for exercise and says she’s gotten visible and dramatic results after more than two years of regular workouts.

“I lost well over 150 pounds, and I’ve been keeping it off for the past couple of years,” she said after working out on an elliptical machine at Healthworks.

And Long cites other, less-visible benefits.

“I’m more energized,” she said. “As far as my energy, I feel like I’m stronger. I feel like I’m less tired. I feel like I can do almost anything now.”

People who are physically active tend to live longer and are at lower risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. Yet fewer than one in four American adults exercises enough to reap those benefits, the agency says.

Dr. Edward Phillips, a Boston physician, is so sold on exercise he pedals on a stationary bike that’s integrated into his office desk. Phillips said exercise is “like taking a little bit of Prozac — an antidepressant — and a little bit of Ritalin, which is a stimulant.”

“Our bodies are meant to move,” he said. “Integrating movement into our day allows the system to work optimally. Part of the system that needs to work is our brain, and includes sleep, mood, cognition, ability to concentrate.”

A prescription for exercise is a bargain, said Stephanie Dennis, who works out on a treadmill to stay fit.

“$10 a month is what? $2 a week, $2-$2.50 a week,” she said. “A lot of people pay that every day for coffee. It’s not a big sacrifice for something that you get big rewards from.”

Self Preservation

love-yourself

Read about Mental Illness 

Mental Health By The Numbers

Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. It’s important to measure how common mental illness is, so we can understand its physical, social and financial impact — and so we can show that no one is alone. These numbers are also powerful tools for raising public awareness, stigma-busting and advocating for better health care.

The information on this page comes from studies conducted by organizations like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The terminology used on this page reflects what is used in original studies. Terms like “serious mental illness,” “mental illness” or “mental health disorders” may all seem like they’re referring to the same thing, but in fact refer to specific diagnostic groups for that particular study.

If you have questions about a statistic or term that’s being used, please visit the original study by clicking the link provided.

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34

You Are Not Alone

    • 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.
    • 4.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2018 (11.4 million people). This represents 1 in 25 adults.
    • 16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people)
    • 3.7% of U.S. adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2018 (9.2 million people)

 

    • Annual prevalence of mental illness among U.S. adults, by demographic group:
      • Non-Hispanic Asian: 14.7%
      • Non-Hispanic white: 20.4%
      • Non-Hispanic black or African-American: 16.2%
      • Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 26.8%
      • Hispanic or Latino: 16.9%
      • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 37.4%

 

  • Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:
    • Major Depressive Episode: 7.2% (17.7 million people)
    • Schizophrenia: <1% (estimated 1.5 million people)
    • Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)
    • Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)
    • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)
    • Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)

Mental Health Care Matters

  • 43.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2018
  • 64.1% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment in 2018
  • 50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment in 2016
  • The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years
  • Annual treatment rates among U.S. adults with any mental illness, by demographic group:
    • Male: 34.9%
    • Female: 48.6%
    • Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual: 48.5%
    • Non-Hispanic Asian: 24.9%
    • Non-Hispanic white: 49.1%
    • Non-Hispanic black or African-American: 30.6%
    • Non-Hispanic mixed/multiracial: 31.8%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 32.9%
  • 11.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness had no insurance coverage in 2018
  • 13.4% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness had no insurance coverage in 2018
  • 60% of U.S. counties do not have a single practicing psychiatrist

The Ripple Effect Of Mental Illness

PERSON

  • People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions.
  • 19.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2018 (9.2 million individuals)
  • The rate of unemployment is higher among U.S. adults who have mental illness (5.8%) compared to those who do not (3.6%)
  • High school students with significant symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to drop out compared to their peers

FAMILY

  • At least 8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue
  • Caregivers of adults with mental or emotional health issues spend an average of 32 hours per week providing unpaid care

COMMUNITY

  • Mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency department visits by a U.S. adult (estimated 12 million visits)
  • 20.1% of homeless individuals in the U.S. experience serious mental illness
  • 37% of people incarcerated in the state and federal prison system have a diagnosed mental illness
  • 70.4% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness
  • Mood disorders are the most common cause of hospitalization for all people in the U.S. under age 45 (after excluding hospitalization relating to pregnancy and birth)
  • 41% of Veteran’s Health Administration patients have a diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder

WORLD

  • Across the U.S. economy, serious mental illness causes $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide

It’s Okay To Talk About Suicide

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001
  • 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition
  • 90% of people who die by suicide had shown symptoms of a mental health condition, according to interviews with family, friends and medical professionals (also known as psychological autopsy)
  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth
  • 75% of people who die by suicide are male
  • Transgender adults are nearly 12x more likely to attempt suicide than the general population
  • Annual prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide, by U.S. demographic group:
    • 4.3% of all adults
    • 11.0% of young adults aged 18-25
    • 17.2% of high school students
    • 47.7% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual high school students

 

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

What Does Self Preservation Mean?

Self Preservation

Yoga With Adriene for Self Preservation: Click the Picture Below to See Many Yoga Videos

Yogawadd

 

 

 

Meaning Markers

SUCCESS Magazine, Shawn Achor
September 11, 2014

When I was 7, I ran away from home with my 5-year-old sister. Some 7 miles of arduous walking later, we arrived at my dad’s old fishing hole. Thankfully, 15 hours later, our parents and the local police finally found us. They hadn’t thought to look there sooner because we were so young and the lake was so far, and, of course, I had never driven there. But the brain is more powerful than we give it credit.

From a young age, our brains begin to map the world, not based on facts, but based on meaning. Where are the resources we care about? On the way to fishing, I recorded signposts and landmarks that led to fun.

In our professional lives, our brains are constantly storing “meaning markers.” These mental landmarks are emotions—the feelings of accomplishment, helping people, social connection, the thrill of a sale.

Because we’re wired to channel more energy, drive and focus toward the things that matter most to us, the more we recognize the emotional meaning related to a goal, the greater the chance of a successful outcome. And Wharton Business School researchers found that we experience up to three times higher levels of productivity when our work is centered on our positive meaning markers, rather than “just getting things done.”

What are your meaning markers at work? How can you find more of them so that all throughout your day you’re finding markers that show you where to go next? The goal is not to run away; it’s to sprint toward the things that matter most.

Not only can focusing on positive emotions increase your productivity, it can add really good years to your life. Find out how a joyful attitude makes for a long existence. 

What is Meditation? The Science of How it Makes us Happier.

1Assignment: Write out the sentences below and finish the sentences with information that you read in the article below. 

1.  Three benefits of meditation that I read about below were …

2.  Today, meditation is being used to treat …

3.  Many groups are now using meditation, including …

4.  Physicians have increasingly started …

5.  When new meditators were hooked up to microphones during the day, the doctors found that the people …

6.  I am liking/not liking meditation because …

7.  I will use meditation in my life in these ways …

________________

Begin Reading Here: 

A quiet explosion of new research indicating that meditation can physically change the brain in astonishing ways has started to push into mainstream.

Several studies suggest that these changes through meditation can make you happier, less stressed — even nicer to other people. It can help you control your eating habits and even reduce chronic pain, all the while without taking prescription medication.

Meditation is an intimate and intense exercise that can be done solo or in a group, and one study showed that 20 million Americans say they practice meditation. It has been used to help treat addictions, to clear psoriasis and even to treat men with impotence.

The U.S. Marines are testing meditation to see if it makes more focused, effective warriors. Corporate executives at Google, General Mills, Target and Aetna Insurance, as well as students in some of the nation’s classrooms have used meditation.

Various celebrities also are known meditators, including shock jock Howard Stern, actors Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn and Heather Graham, and Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of the band Weezer.

In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.

READ: Meditation 101: Tips for Beginners

Recently, the Dalai Lama granted permission for his monks, who are master mediators, to have their brains studied at the University of Wisconsin, one of the most high-tech brain labs in the world.

Richie Davidson, a PhD at the university, and his colleagues, led the study and said they were amazed by what they found in the monks’ brain activity read-outs. During meditation, electroencephalogram patterns increased and remains higher than the initial baseline taken from a non-meditative state.

But you don’t have to be a monk to benefit from meditation, which is now gaining acceptance in the field of medicine.

Physicians have increasingly started prescribing meditation instead of pills to benefit their patients. A Harvard Medical School report released in May found that more than 6 million Americans had been recommended meditation and other mind-body therapies by conventional health care providers.

Perhaps the most mind-bending potential benefit of meditation is that it will actually make practitioners nicer. Chuck Raison, a professor at Emory University, conducted a meditation study in which he hooked up microphones to participants who had been taught basic meditation and those who hadn’t. He then recorded them at random over a period of time. Raison found that these newly-trained mediators used less harsh language than people who had no meditation experience.

“They were more empathic with people,” Raison said. “They were spending more time with other people. They laugh more, you know, all those things. They didn’t use the word ‘I’ as much. They use the word ‘we’ more.”

However, even the Dalai Lama admitted that meditation is not the silver bullet cure-all for every ailment or emotion.

“Occasionally, [I] lose my temper,” he said. “If someone is never lose temper then perhaps that may come from outer space, real strange.”

The Dalai Lama also cautioned that meditation takes patience, so new mediators should not expect immediate results.

“The enlightenment not depend on rank,” he said, laughing. “It depends on practice.”

Some scientists believe that in a generation, Americans will see meditation as being as essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.

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