Tips for Healthy Eating and Portion Control

Tips for Healthy Eating and Portion Control 

PortionsDo you have trouble controlling how much food you eat?  When you go to a restaurant or a fast food joint do you overeat or choose foods that are unhealthy for you?  Good news, portion control doesn’t mean starving yourself and changing some of foods you eat can be easy.  First let us focus on the food offenders and how to replace them.

Most of our calories come from foods high in fat and sugar.  This counts for about 800 calories of our daily intake.  The top of the list is cookies, cakes and yeast breads.  We also load up on calories in chicken dishes because the chicken is breaded or fried.  Sodas, energy and sports drinks, pizza, pasta, tortilla and beef dishes pile on more calories.

Let’s start with including healthy fats in your diet.  They keep you feeling fuller longer and allow your body to absorb the vitamins you need.  Some of these include avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.  Bran, whole grains, rice and barley are also full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  The fiber is what helps you feel full longer and low calories.  They also keep you bathroom visits regular.  Foods that are high in saturated fat/trans fats are foods that stay solid at room temperature.  Most of these types of fats are found in butter, coconut oil and animal fats (meat, dairy, bacon and chicken skin).  You should try to avoid this type of fat as much as possible and it should only contribute to 10% of your calorie intake.

Next focus on eating whole foods that include protein and healthy fats.  Such as fruits, vegetables and lettuce.  Add avocado to a salad or a light dressing.  This makes you feel fuller.  Instead of fatty meats, choose lean.  Try to shoot for at least 8 ounces of fish per week.  Instead of butter or margarine, use olive oil or olive oil.  Try baked goods with whole grains instead of white or refined.  Other healthy choices include low-fat dairy food, eggs, beans, and lots of fruit and vegetables.  Don’t deprive yourself, you will end of eating more food later in the day.   Try and stay away from processed foods.  They have chemical additives that make it difficult for us to have just one serving size.

If you want a piece of pizza, choose a thin whole-grain crust.  Put vegetables instead of meat.  Use a low or fat free cheese, or cut down on the cheese using just a sprinkle.  Have one piece and then eat some fruit or vegetables.  All of our favorite foods can still be eaten if we just try make better and healthier choices.

Now let us concentrate on eating the right portions.  Here are ideas to help you gauge what is too much.  If you start downsizing your portions your stomach will too.  Learn to “eyeball” your food to gauge what is too much and what is just right.  Pick a smaller plate to place your food on.  Over the years dinner plates in homes and restaurants have gotten bigger.  So the amount of food we put on them is too much which in turn leads to us overeating.  Learn to serve the right sized portions.

  • Use a smaller plate;
  • Don’t go back for seconds;
  • Don’t keep food on the table that tempts you; and
  • Store leftovers in single-serving containers.

You don’t need to measure or weigh food every time you eat.  Instead, keep a mental picture of images you can relate portions too.  This will make it easier for you imagine healthy portion sizes.  Here are some ideas to give you an idea:

  • A portion of pasta is ½ cup = 1/2 a baseball;
  • A 1 medium potato = a computer mouse;
  • A cup of fruit or vegetables = a fist; and
  • A serving of leafy greens = 2 tennis balls;

Do you think that bagels and bran muffins are a healthy choice?  They are but they are two to three times larger than a healthy portion.  A large bagel can be close to 300 calories.  Even a low-fat muffin can pile on 300 calories and if you spread it with butter or cream cheese you have added more fat and calories.  Wow your breakfast is a whopping 500 calories or more.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is skipping meals.  Always start your day with breakfast.  Try something high in protein, you will feel fuller longer.  Plan ahead what you eating for lunch.  Bring healthy snacks with you, this will help you get through the times before lunch and dinner.  Portion control is difficult when you’re starving!

If you have to have a snack, place it in a bowl or on a plate rather than eating out of the bag or container.  This will make you more aware of how much you are eating and an easy way to manage your portions.

If portion control is more of an issue when you eat out, have a healthy snack before you leave.  Restaurants usually serve enough food for two or three people.  So plan on taking part of your meal home.  Ask the waiter not to bring you the bread or chips, this makes it less temping for you to eat.  Ask for an extra plate to place ½ of the portion to take home.  Order one meal and split it with your companion.  Don’t feel like you can’t “have it”, just decide what you would enjoy more and make the choice.

Slow down and enjoy your food.  Eating fast doesn’t give your stomach time to make you feel full.  Eating slower gives your stomach time to register that you are full making you eat less.  Remember chew each bite more.

Have a healthy balance of foods each day.  Your daily diet should consist of the following:

  • 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit;
  • 2 ½ to 3 ½ cups of vegetables;
  • 5 to 8 ounces of grain, 1/2 from whole grains;
  • 3 cups of nonfat or low-fat dairy foods
  • 5 to -6 ½ ounces of meat, beans, and seafood; and
  • No more than 5 to 7 teaspoons of oils, mostly from plants, fish, and nuts;

You are not alone, most of us are unaware of the amount of food we consume each day and how unhealthy it is.  For more information visit my website:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at:  Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Low Self-Esteem/Poor Self Imaging

low esteemDo you look in the mirror and think, I’m fat, I’m too skinny, I’m ugly, my hair is to thin or I’m not good enough?  Do you find it hard to trust people or are overly critical of others?  Are you an over achiever or an under achiever?  That and more is considered having low self-esteem.  It is the belief that you are inadequate, unlovable, unworthy and/or incompetent.  We all come from unique environments and this is often why we treat others similar to the way we were treated.  The things we do for others is what was done for us, or a reaction to what was not done.  

The first few years of a child’s life can set the stage and create patterns of low self-esteem and thereafter affects their entire life.  At times, when a child is raised by a dysfunctional person, the child is often abused, neglected, abandoned, criticized or is the brunt of anger.

If a parent withholds affection or love, the child might view themselves as unlovable.  When a child is abused they think they deserve it and not worthy of love.  As indicated during those early years, the truth of who you really are can be distorted and unfortunately, grow up living life with these unhealthy patterns.  Once this view of self is formed it can affect many areas in one’s life such as relationships, career, health, choices and dreams to name a few.

So starts the vicious cycle.  

Those with low self-esteem feel that they cannot succeed in life.  When something discouraging or a setback happens, they take the situation as proof that they will not be successful.  Sometimes this can make a person become an overachiever trying desperately to prove themselves, while others remain underachievers achieving less than what they are capable of.

Even overachievers don’t believe in their success, instead they think that they were just lucky and they will not be successful again.  These people lack confidence in new situations because they are fearful of what is expected of them and fear relying on their own judgment.  They don’t want to appear wrong in the eyes of others, bringing on their disapproval.

What we deem important in a relationship is often indicative of that we saw and experienced with the people who surrounded us during those formative years.  Unfortunately, people have very different perspectives on what a relationship should be, or how one should treat the other, how much time they should spend together, or how much they should do for each other.

As a result, there are often many misunderstandings concerning what each person should expect from the other and what is reasonable or unreasonable.  Most likely where there are unreasonable expectations, one or both of the people involved have low self-esteem.  Those with low self-esteem tend to choose the wrong partners and remain in relationships that are abusive or unsatisfying.

Having been betrayed as a child by the people they should have been able to trust and rely on, makes it difficult to discern who to trust.  Unfortunately, they often trust the wrong people, like the ones who are nice to them or show them attention.  This in turn can lead to being taken advantage of or manipulated.  If they think they are incapable, or undeserving, they think others feel the same way about them.

Low self-esteem can lead to not only irrational behavior, but over-spending, alcohol use, overeating, drug use and perfectionism in an attempt to make themselves feel better.  They can have an overly critical attitude, trying to build themselves up by putting others down.  They might focus on the negative rather than the positive in both themselves and other.

Many of us deal with low self-esteem for one reason or another.  This can occur due to our environment or experiences, these occurrences can make us feel bad about ourselves.  It’s time to find a balance in your life and take control.

Low self-esteem may cause someone to overreact or become angry by a simple comment.  They can become despondent or devastated over a disagreement or cancellation of plans.  In some cases they feel like they are being ignored or mistreated.  Their perception is distorted due to the belief that others see them as they see themselves.  They can be motivated by fear of doing something wrong and will receive negativity back.  Everything is black and white, good or bad, all or nothing, and knowing which is which makes it easier to know what to do.  They are unable to trust their own ability to know what’s right so they often look to others for those answers.  Some of their decisions are based on what they were told at a young age, and they are closed to a different viewpoint.  Basically it is hard for them to develop the ability and freedom to look at issues and consider different methods.  They will blindly follow an authority figures without sizing up the situation on their own.  This can lead people to blind allegiance giving others control of their lives and most times these people don’t have their best interest at heart.

Some find it difficult to recognize how their behavior affects others.  They appear aloof, selfish, even self-absorbed or conceited.  Unfortunately, those who are so self-focused don’t get the satisfaction that comes from helping others.

Some people with low self-esteem make up stories about the behavior and intent of others.  These stories are always negative so they often feel like people are taking advantage of them, mistreating them or taking them for granted.  When in truth that isn’t the case, but they believe their emotional reaction is accurate.  However, this cognitive behavior can be corrected once you are made aware that it exist.

They can have unreasonable expectations of their loved ones, friends or family, coworkers, etc.  They think that others should know how they feel and what they want and get upset when it is not received.  They are setting themselves up with unreasonable expectations, and end up feeling that the other person does not care enough or love them.

Fear and anxiety are the cornerstones of low self-esteem.  Many of these people experience attacks (often called panic attacks) brought on by doing something they think is stupid and that others noticed.  During these attacks they may withdraw into isolation and not recover for minutes, hours, days, or longer.

Low self-esteem is the underlying cause of depression.  They feel that there are things they can’t do, such as being successful, maintaining relationships, or having the courage to try new things.  As a result they often feel hopeless about their situation and about the future.

They act in ways that are not in their own best interest.  They float through life taking what comes their way.  So fearful of failure that they stay in jobs, relationships they dislike, or are unhealthy.  They tend to repeat their mistakes and are unaware of their behavior and are unable to do things differently.

Many of us deal with low self-esteem.  From the way we were raised, or situations we get ourselves into which made us feel bad about ourselves.  It’s time to find a balance in our life and take control.  For more information visit my website:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at:

Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

10 Tips to Eating Whole Grains

Whole_GrainsDo you know where grains come from or what foods are considered to be whole grains? Any food that is made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal or barley is a grain product. Foods such as bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereal, tortillas, and grits are some examples of these grain products. Grains are actually divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel known as the bran, germ, and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a nutritional and healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Additionally, whole grains are an excellent source and provide nutritional value as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fiber, Vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Our bodies absorb grains slowly and provide high-quality energy.

Here are 10 tips to eating whole grains:

1. Make simple switches – to make half your grains whole grains substitute a whole grain product for a refined grain product. For example eat 100% whole wheat bread (be mindful of the sugar content), another option is flourless breads instead of white bread or bagels or brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice.

2. Whole grains can be healthy snacks – popcorn, a whole grain can be a healthy snack. Make it with a little or no added salt or butter. Also try 100% whole wheat or rye crackers.

3. Save some time – cook extra bulgur or barley when you have time. Freeze half to heat and serve later as a quick side dish.

4. Mix it up with whole grains – use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soups or stews and bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Try a quinoa salad or pilaf.

5. Try whole wheat versions – for a change try brown rice, whole wheat pasta or gluten-free. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes and whole wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.

6. Bake whole grain goodness – experiment by substituting buckwheat, millet, or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin, or other flourless-based recipes.

7. Be a good role model for children – set a good example for children by serving and eating whole grains daily with meals or as snacks.

8. Check the label for fiber – use the nutritional facts label to check the fiber content of whole grain foods. Good sources of fiber contain 10% to 19% of the daily value; excellent sources contain 20% or more.

9. Know what to look for on the ingredients list – read the ingredients list and choose products that name a whole grain ingredient first on the list. Look for whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole grain, whole oats, whole rye, or wild rice.

10. Be a smart shopper – the color of a food is not an indication that it is a whole grain food. Foods labeled as multigrain, stone ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or bran are usually not 100% whole grain products and may not contain any whole grain.

For more information about healthy eating please visit my website here. Read more articles about nutrition here.

Do you need help with your healthy lifestyle design? If so contact me today!

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Stress Management

Image result for stress management

Did you know stress can be helpful to your health, but also at the same time it can damage your health.

Here are some fun facts when stress is helpful.

When you feel threatened, upset or in danger the body’s defenses kick into high gear to fight for your life or freeze and not move;

  • It helps you stay focused, energetic and alert;
  • It gives you extra strength to defend yourself;
  • It helps you to rise to challenges;
  • It sharpens your concentration; and
  • It makes you happy.

Now here are some facts where stress can damage your health.

  • Cognitive Symptoms (memory problems, poor judgment, constant worrying, anxious or racing thoughts).
  • Emotional Symptoms (moodiness, irritability, agitation, depression, and isolation).
  • Physical Symptoms (aches, diarrhea, nausea, chest pain, rapid heart beat, loss of sex drive).
  • Behavioral Symptoms (eating to much or not at all, sleeping to much or not at all, procrastination, mail biting, pacing).

Common causes of stress:

  • Life changes
  • Work or school
  • Relationships
  • Financial issues
  • Family
  • Worrying or negativity

Situations and pressures of our daily life can cause stress.  Stress can be brought on by our exhausting work schedule, kid’s activities, family or everyday demands.  We think of stress as being negative, but it can also be positive things that cause stress such as planning a wedding, buying a house going to school, anything that puts demands on you.

We are all different and “too much” stress differs from person to person.  Your ability to handle stress depends on many factors, your health, exercise, attitude and outlook, ability to deal with emotions.  Because of the widespread damage stress can cause to your overall health, it’s important to know how much you can handle.  Some people are able to roll with the punches, while others crumble on far smaller frustrations.  Some people seem to thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.

To manage your stress you have to start identifying the source of stress in your life.  Sometimes that is not as easy as it sounds.  Your true sources of stress aren’t always that obvious and easy to overlook.  You may think that your stress is caused by your job deadlines when in reality it might be caused by your procrastination to meet the deadline.

Smoking, drinking, overeating, pills, procrastinating, withdrawing from people, physical violence, constantly doing things to keep you busy are temporary coping mechanisms that temporarily reduce stress but cause more damage than good.

If these are your methods for coping with stress you are just contributing to your health and emotions.  It’s time to make a change and find healthier options. There are many ways to manage stress, but they all require change. Until you accept responsibility for the role you are creating your stress level will remain outside your control.  You can either change the situation or change your reaction.

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.

For more information about how to handle stress and start living a healthier lifestyle visit my website here and then contact me!

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at:  Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com

Poor Eating Habits

poor habitsDid you know that many of us are overfed but undernourished?  We eat plenty of food, but most of the food is a convenience or packaged and these types of food are stripped of nutrients.  When you are running late, do you drive through a fast food joint to grab dinner.  Or if you just got home from your son or daughter’s baseball practice, do you grab a box of hamburger helper and open a can of vegetables?  Do you starve yourself all day then gorge yourself at dinner?  Maybe you eat on the run, while standing or driving.  Bad eating habits is not just a lack of willpower.  It can be that sneaky habit you develop without realizing it.  It could be running out the door in the morning without breakfast.  Or sitting in front of the TV eating a bag of chips.  It could be that beer you drink on an empty stomach.  While this may keep you full it doesn’t provide the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.  These unhealthy eating habits affect our nutrient intake, including energy, proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and fluid.

How does poor nutrition affect us?

Poor nutrition can impair our daily health and wellbeing and reduces our ability to lead an enjoyable and active life.  It can contribute to stress, tiredness and our capacity to work, and over a period time, it can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as:

  • being overweight or obese
  • tooth decay
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease and stroke
  • type-2 diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • some cancers
  • depression

It is estimated that healthier diets might prevent $71 billion per year in medical costs, lost productivity, and the value of premature deaths associated with these conditions.  Good nutrition based on healthy eating is an essential factor that helps us to stay healthy.  If you are serious about eating healthier you need to shake it up.  Change those bad habits and start thinking differently.

Most of us are creatures of habit.  We buy the same foods and prepare the same recipes and live within our familiar routine.  The problem is we get so comfortable in our ways it is hard to give up those habits.  “Many people are skeptical about changing their diets because they have grown accustomed to eating or drinking the same foods, and there is a fear of the unknown or trying something new,” says John Foreyt, PhD, director of the Baylor College of Medicine Behavioral Medicine Research Center.  Even when you want to change, old habits die hard.  “Over time, habits become automatic, learned behaviors, and these are stronger than new habits you are trying to incorporate into your life,” says Foreyt.

Eating a healthier diet may be intimidating at first.  But once you start and notice the change of how you feel and how good the food taste.  Overtime your preferences will change and cravings will fade away.  Don’t feel discouraged if very thing is going along great and then you hit a rough patch and fall back into your old habits.  Just pick yourself up and start moving forward again.  It is time to shake things up and change those bad eating habits and start thinking differently.  If eating healthier seems like a big change for you, take it one step at time.  “Try to gradually incorporate new habits over time, and before you know it, you will be eating more healthfully and losing weight,” says Keri Gans, MS, RD, American Dietetic Association spokesperson and a nutritionist in private practice in New York.  Start slow and pick 1 to 2 changes to make.  Once you have accomplished those, pick 1 to 2 more.  Make it easy and something you can live with long term.   Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • be aware of your bad habits;
  • aim for two to five servings of fruit and vegetables each day ;
  • try to eat less sugary, fatty or salty foods; and if you have to only in small amounts;
  • drink fresh water instead of sugary drinks;
  • try some healthy recipes;
  • plan your meals ahead of time to shop for healthy ingredients;
  • enjoy eating healthy food with family or friends without distractions; and
  • make your snacks fruit or vegetables instead of chips.

Start slow, take your time and before you know it your lifestyle and eating habits will have changed for the better.

It is time to shake things up and take control.  For more information visit my website:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at:  Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Stress Management

relax Feeling like there are too many pressures and demands on you?  Are you losing sleep because you’re worrying about issues in your life?  You’re not alone, everyone experiences stress at times.  Unfortunately stress is a fact of life.  Stress can be helpful at certain times, but also at the same time to much stress can damage your health.   Here are some fun facts where stress is helpful.

  • When you feel threatened, upset or in danger the body’s defenses kick into high gear to fight for your life or freeze and not move;
  • It helps you stay focused, energetic and alert;
  • It gives you extra strength to defend yourself;
  • It helps you to rise to challenges;
  • It sharpens your concentration; and
  • It makes you happy.

Now here are some facts where stress can damage your health.

  • Cognitive Symptoms (memory problems, poor judgment, constant worrying, anxious or racing thoughts).
  • Emotional Symptoms (moodiness, irritability, agitation, depression, and isolation).
  • Physical Symptoms (aches, diarrhea, nausea, chest pain, rapid heart beat, loss of sex drive).
  • Behavioral Symptoms (eating to much or not at all, sleeping to much or not at all, procrastination, mail biting, pacing).

Common causes of stress:

  • Life changes;
  • Work or school;
  • Relationships;
  • Financial issues;
  • Family;
  • Worrying or negativity;

Situations and pressures of our daily life can cause stress.  Stress can be brought on by our exhausting work schedule, kid’s activities, family or everyday demands.  We think of stress as being negative, but it can also be positive things that cause stress such as planning a wedding, buying a house going to school, anything that puts a lot of demands on you.

We are all different and “too much” stress differs from person to person.  Your ability to handle stress depends on many factors, your health, exercise, attitude and outlook, ability to deal with emotions.  Because of the widespread damage stress can cause to your overall health, it’s important to know how much you can handle.  Some people are able to roll with the punches, while others crumble on far smaller frustrations.  Some people seem to thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.

To manage your stress you have to start identifying the source of stress in your life.  Sometimes that is not as easy as it sounds.  Your true sources of stress aren’t always that obvious and easy to overlook.  You may think that your stress is caused by your job deadlines when in reality it might be caused by your procrastination to meet the deadline.

Smoking, drinking, overeating, pills, procrastinating, withdrawing from people, physical violence, constantly doing things to keep you busy are temporary coping mechanisms that temporarily reduce stress but cause more damage than good.

If these are your methods for coping with stress you are just contributing to your health and emotions.  It’s time to make a change and find healthier options.  There are many ways to manage stress, but they all require change.  Until you accept responsibility for the role you are creating your stress level will remain outside your control.  You can either change the situation or change your reaction.

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.  Try positive self-talk every day.  You can do this while in the car, at your desk, or before you go to bed.  Need some help try these positive statements:

  • “I’ve got this.”
  • “I can get help if I need it.”
  • “We can work it out.”
  • “I won’t let this problem get me down.”
  • “Things could be worse.”
  • “I’m human, and we all make mistakes.”
  • “Someday I’ll laugh about this.”
  • “I can deal with this situation.”

Remember positive self-talk helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that is causing you stress.  When stress makes you feel bad, try doing something that gives you pleasure, even if it is only for a short period of time.  Joy is a natural way to fight off stress.  Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy, even if it is only for a short period of time.

For more information about how to handle stress visit my website here.  For more information visit my website:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at:  Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Emotional Imbalances

emotionalRecent discoveries on how the brain works have shed important new light on the role a wide variety of natural chemicals play in manufacturing normal thought patterns, feelings, self-awareness and perceptions.  Emotional imbalances occur when a person is not coping with life.  Whether it is stress, anger, depression, or feelings of negativity. It is important to balance these emotions to prevent further problems.  There are several treatment for emotional imbalances.  These includes exercise, meditation, creative expression, relaxation, herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture, Ayurveda, aromatherapy, reflexology, counseling, and homeopathy.

The Seven Emotions

The seven basic emotions related to organ function are anger, joy, worry, dreamy, fear, sadness, and fright.  Each organ has a corresponding emotion.  If there is an imbalance with the emotion it can affect the organ’s function.  For example, prolonged anger can lead to an imbalance in the liver.  The liver imbalances can produce symptoms of anger, often leading to a self-perpetuating cycle.

It is important to remember that it is normal to experience the full range of emotions.  It is only when a particular emotion is experienced over a period of time or with intensity that it becomes a source of imbalance.  It is obviously important for a person with severe emotional problems to get professional help from a trained psychotherapist.  But even in these cases, therapy is more effective when the corresponding organ imbalance is rectified.  Acupuncture is especially effective in treating disorders of emotions.  Even when it is not completely effective in treating a physical ailment, it almost always brings about a state of emotional peacefulness.

Anger

Anger is associated with the liver.  By its nature, anger causes qi to rise in the liver, which leads to our face turning red, our eyes.  It causes headaches and dizziness.  This matches the pattern of liver fire rising.  Anger can also cause liver qi to “attack the spleen,” which causes indigestion, diarrhea and lack of appetite.  Especially if you argue while eating.

In a more long-term view, suppressed anger or frustration often causes liver qi to become stagnant; this might can result depression or menstrual disorders.  It is interesting to note that people who take herbs to release stagnant liver qi often experience bouts of anger as the stagnation is relieved.  The anger will pass as the condition clears.  Similarly, anger and irritability are often the determining factor in diagnosing liver qi stagnation.  Many people are relieved to know that their rage has a physiologic basis.  It is essential to avoid drinking coffee when treating anger-related liver disorders, as coffee heats the liver and greatly intensifies the condition.

Joy

The emotion of joy is connected with the heart.  A disorder related to joy may sound perplexing, since most people want as much joy in their life as possible.  The disorders associated with this emotion are not caused by happiness; rather from too much excitement or stimulation.  Or sudden good news that comes as a shock to the system.

When evaluating stress levels, psychologists look at all sources of stress, both positive and negative.  Clearly the death of a love one or a job loss is a source of stress. However, a marriage proposal, a job promotion or a marriage is a happy occasion.  These are also a source of stress.  A person who is constantly on the go, partying, and living a life of excess can eventually develop heart imbalances, palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia.  A person with heart imbalances may also exhibit emotional symptoms, since the heart is the seat of the spirit.  You may see this person chattering happily to himself with outbursts of laughter.

Such behavior results from the heart organ’s inability to provide a stable resting place.  This type of imbalance is treated with acupuncture along the heart meridian.  Herbal treatments consist of formulas that nourish heart blood or yin.  If heart fire disturbs the spirit, herbs that clear heat from the heart are used.

Worry

Worry is a very common emotion in our stress-filled society, worry can deplete the energy of the spleen.  This can lead to chronic fatigues and digestive disturbances.  A weakened spleen cannot efficiently turn food into qi, and the lungs are unable to extract qi from air efficiently.  A person who worries too much “carries the weight of the world on his/her shoulders,” is a good description of how a person feels when her weak spleen leads to dampness.  Treatment for this would include herbs that strengthen the spleen, allowing a person the energy to deal with life’s problems.

Pensiveness

Too much thinking or obsessing about a topic can also deplete the spleen, causing a stagnation of the qi.  A person with this condition may exhibit such symptoms as poor appetite, forgetting to eat, or bloating after eating.  In time, the person may develop a pale complexion from a deficiency of spleen qi.  This eventually affects the heart, causing the person to dream about the same subjects at night.  Students are often affected by this imbalance; the standard treatment is the use of herbs.

Sadness

Sadness or grief affects the lungs, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, crying, or depression.  Treatment for this condition involves acupuncture along the lung and kidney meridians.  Often, herbal formulas are used that tonify the qi of the lungs.

Fear

The emotion of fear is related to the kidneys.  This can be seen when extreme fear causes a person to urinate or in children it can manifest into bed-wetting, which psychologists have linked to insecurity and anxiety.  Over time long-term anxiety can deplete the kidneys of qi, eventually leading to chronic weakness.  Treatment involves tonifying the kidneys with tonics.

Shock

Shock is especially debilitating to the kidneys and heart.  The “fight or run” reaction causes an excessive release of adrenaline that sits on top of the kidneys.  This In turn causes the heart to respond with palpitations and anxiety.  Chronic stress from shock can be very debilitating to the entire system, causing a wide range of problems.  Severe shock can have a long-term effect on the heart, as is evident in victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Treatment for shock involves psychotherapy, herbs that calm the spirit and nourish the heart and kidneys, and regular acupuncture treatments.

For example, a balance of work and play is good for your mental and emotional self.  If you have too much of one or the other it creates problems in your work and your personal life.  So you need to ask yourself how balanced your life is.  If you find yourself out of balance, I suggest you begin to fix it before it takes a toll on your mind and body.

It is time to find balance in your life so you can start living a healthier life.  For more information visit my website:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design.  For more information or to schedule a holistic health assessment, please contact her at:  Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at:  http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.