October 11, 2017
by Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
I have to start with a disclaimer. This is a sensitive topic, and our opinions might not match. So my view on this comes from my clinical work with my patients, their stories, their pain, and suffering.
In our modern time, people turned to alternative medicine when they already tried and failed at everything else conventional medical. And in many occasions previously been misdiagnosed, operated on for no good reason, given dozens of pharmaceutical prescription medication, and so on.
It is emotionally challenging to listen to people suffering from a sense of betrayal by their well-recommended doctors.
Yes, I believe people suffer even more from betrayal then from the actual pain when they are misled by highly trained medical professionals who took upon themselves the highest authority to decide how to influence the patient into aggressive surgical or pain management plan.
Agreed, sometimes it saves lives and necessary. However, I have personally seen many patients who didn’t have to undergo aggressive surgical procedures based on vague diagnostic results. Others were put on a pain management drug treatment indefinite program. And often people experience both – unnecessary surgery – more pain – indefinite pain management program.
Don’t you think it is a nightmare for somebody to be told by the end of long and painful treatment that they will never be pain and drug-free?
When these people make it to my clinic, broken physically and emotionally, they expect a one-session miracle. And I want to say: “Where were you before you went under the knife? Why didn’t you explore non-invasive, non-medicated option when it just started happening with you?”. I don’t say it because it will not change anything. But the treatment plan becomes more challenging than it could be. However neuro-emotional work often provides fast results even in challenging cases.
You got to realize that any, absolutely any surgery changes everything in the body. If you have surgery in one part of the spine, the other part will start having issues. If you took the organ out – other organs would have to compensate for that. If you have a facelift – one side of your face might heal differently then the other, and your face might be asymmetric or inflamed.
So, how to find a good doctor?
Some doctors take care of the body. You go to them with pain, flu, broken bones, yearly checkup, etc.
Some doctors take care of the mind. You go to them with mental and emotional problems.
But this is the puzzle – as body and mind are not separate, just as your physical stomach and the spasm in your stomach from stress are not independent of each other. Just as your physical heart and heart palpitation you have from intense emotions are not separate.
- You have got to find a doctor who takes care of your body and your mind together. And if you are lucky – checking on the condition of your spirit as well.
- Your doctor has to be kind and listening to you. If he/she is not kind – it’s a big red flag. Would you marry somebody who verbally abuses and belittles you? Some people do, but it’s a topic for another article.
I don’t know why some people choose a profession of helping others and become unkind and inattentive to their patients. If anything, a medical profession made me more human then ever before.
It is not a rocket science for any doctor (MDs, DOs, etc.) to get educated in the functional and holistic medicine. It takes time and lots of money. It requires personal sacrifices – of time, relationships, resources, and many others. I (along with some other doctors I know and love) invest most of my resources on my education in the latest clinical diagnostics, studying genetic analysis (rapidly developing field), and more holistic medicine. I believe I have a responsibility to my patients (and to people who will come to my clinic for days to come ) to get knowledgeable in 360 degrees approach to their overall health. And so every doctor has that responsibility. At least a little bit.
Many years ago I was a successful computer programmer working for Wall St markets, and I was very computer-like, so I didn’t understand people that much. But after getting a medical degree and learning the intricate connection of mind-body-spirit, the amazing miracle of a human body, internal chemical balance, the brain, the way emotions affect the physical body – wow, that made me very human. That made me compassionate.
So I think I know what a good doctor is.
- He/she is knowledgeable, reputable, have a license to practice, has all the credentials.
- He/she has to offer alternatives, to be knowledgeable about other options, about the latest research in functional medicine, alternative medicine, mind-body connection.
- He/she takes time to listen to all your concerns (by active listening), asks you lots of seemingly unrelated questions about your life, takes time to explain to you everything so you clearly understand, to look you in the eyes and make a connection with real you. It’s hard to not care about a patient after we feel that connection.
Try this. Go to the mirror and make an eye connection with your reflection, and see how long you can hold your own gaze. At some point, you will connect to yourself, and you will care. You will see the pain, suffering, hope, fear, love – all the gamut of emotions, and you will care. It will not be easy to do, by the way, if you are one of us – regular modern people.
So your doctor has to care. Otherwise, all is lost. You cannot trust a person who doesn’t care. It has to be personal for him/her. You have to matter to him/her. Really matter.
Then you know – you matter. Then you can trust your doctor with your life.
September 28, 2017
by Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
One rainy day I happened to be climbing the trekking route to Mt. Everest base camp, and this particular day was especially hard. It was raining most of the day and trail was really steep and slippery.
Also, I had no idea when we get to the next stop and what to expect. Everything important to me at that moment was inside my backpack protected by a plastic cover. And I realized – only a few more things in life were important to me in addition to these few belongings.
Perhaps I needed a little bigger backpack for things. The rest of importance was of people surrounding me, supporting me, helping each other get to the top. If I missed something from my backpack, somebody would always have it to cover me. On that track, I got a valuable lesson in relationships and importance.
I love my luxuries. I like fine dining, international travel, expensive clothes, luxury cars. I didn’t have a privileged childhood and everything I have I worked hard for. There been a time things kept me feeling safe like nothing bad can happen to me… But things are not about that at all.
I believe we often (subconsciously) surround ourselves with things to define us. If you have that purse it means you are …, if you wear that fur coat it means you are with … and so on.
Maybe you disagree, but it’s what came to me after seeing hundreds of clients, and after my own life-changing events. And I still love my luxuries, but the attitude towards them has changed.
Everything carries information. Everything you touch, breathe, eat, drink, see transfer some information to you. That’s why people love beautiful things – they see a pleasant information. When you start perceiving things on a deeper level, you get access to different information. Not all of that information is good for you – be careful. If you pay attention you can actually feel what takes your energy away, and what makes your energy increase.
My father is a hoarder, less now than before. I love my father, he is awesome, and he taught me a lot. He also couldn’t let go of anything (thankfully we didn’t have much to start with). I think he was afraid of losing parts of him he was missing – the happy moments associated with different times. My father is also very creative – he can invent new things, and create virtual worlds for himself and others – in many ways. I think, perhaps, physical clutter kept him grounded and connected to the reality.
Do you think your things keep you connected to your past and ideas about how things should be?
Every moment you are changing so rapidly – everything in you is changing, and the world around you is changing too. If you could perceive it fully you could lose your mind, so the brain safety mechanisms are in place to change your perception of time. You actually feel almost no movement, and sense almost no change. Your brain works this way to keep you safe. Perhaps too safe…
When you free up a space to look around you (externally as well as internally), you will see new possibilities, new ideas, new people. You will feel the world changing. It maybe is scary, but fear is only in your mind – nobody died from throwing away an old shirt or chipped cup or even the well-deserved trophy.
You will not suffer from stopping believing that old crap about yourself. You know better. But some of these beliefs are tied to things you surround yourself with – so you got to let them go.
De-cluttering your home is probably one of the most emotionally challenging things you can do in your entire life! We develop intense emotional attachments to our home surrounding, mostly because we need to feel safe and secure at home. Paradoxically enough, many things in our home not even remotely making us feel safe. We have things that subconsciously bring painful memories, regrets, longing for the past, and reminders of failure.
I’m a big proponent of minimalism, as I think better when there is no clutter. I tried clutter, it worked for me, then I tried to get rid of everything, and it worked even better.
If you want to make a change in your life, your environment got to be a part of it; there is no way around it. If you want to be lighter – weight-wise and emotionally, you got to be lighter with your material goods. You got to identify what is important, really important.
So, material goods are necessary, but you got to choose wisely and retain a few.
The human relationships are far more important.
Remember that when you are clearing your clutter.
September 19, 2017
by Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
If you are like me, the chances are you don’t celebrate your successes. Big and small. I mean (maybe) saying to yourself “good job” and moving to the next thing almost immediately. And still feeling dissatisfaction from the job not “really well” done, or thoughts “I could do it better,” or the feeling that there are better things out there to be done, etc.
The internal mental chatter doesn’t stop for most of us. I’m happy for you if you don’t have it – then copy the link to this article and send it to somebody who sill is going through it. They will thank you for that.
What I just described is a sign of “perfectionist gone unrealistic”. There is nothing wrong with striving to do a perfect job, that’s how we succeed in life and rise above our competitors. We want to do things better than others. Evidently, it stresses us out, and it’s ok – the short-term stress is a sign of an evolution, and it’s healthy. Problems happen when the suffering from the lack of complete perfection never stops. In fact, it gets worse with time, because every achievement in life “could be better,” so dissatisfaction accumulates.
It is such a crazy pattern if you think about it rationally. But our mind is far from rational. In fact, most of the time we are driven by our instincts, associations, habits, and emotions. Cognitive abilities are only one part of your brain; the rest is similar to animals. The cognitive mind is what differentiates us from animals, and the survival instinct can drive even cognitive behavioral patterns.
The problem with chronic emotional stress is that it is one of the main components leading to chronic adrenal fatigue – a debilitating physical condition that rarely resolves completely. The best preventative thing to do is recognize patterns leading you to experience chronic stress and resolve all the components of that pattern. When you start disassembling any pattern it has a good chance to dismantle. The next best thing is to know what you want to substitute it with.
So what do you define as an achievement?
I looked up the dictionary just now, and this is what I found:
achievement – 1. a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill: to reach this stage is a great achievement. 2. the process or fact of achieving something: the achievement of professional recognition | assessing ability in terms of academic achievement | a sense of achievement.
So, to achieve something you have to apply an “effort, courage, or skill” and recognize that you have a “thing done successfully.”
How would you know all of that? Does it come as an external feedback or an internal feeling? For different people it is a different experience, however, in both cases, it also has to do with how we interpret either.
The sense of satisfaction and achievement is a matter of belief system related to pride, survival, and leadership. Any constricting beliefs related to it will impact the way we feel satisfied. We start building this particular complex belief system early in life – as our family and society interpreted our first actions in their world. Please note: “in their world.” Based on their values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. You had to comply.
Well, many years passed, and now it’s all up to you how you want to experience your life, and you have been doing well for yourself (for example you have a computer and internet to read this article).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be more joyful about your small and big achievements, and left judgmental of yourself and others?
Even if you already are, how much more joy can you take?
Practical Steps to Feeling an Achievement:
- Know where you are going so when you get there you will be able to recognize it.
It’s like if you are traveling to mt. Everest but have no way of knowing you got there because there are no big signs identifying the place (actually for mt. Everest there are signs, but for smaller mountains there are none).
How will you know you got there? What is the physical evidence you did it? What is different in your life – physical and emotional compared to before?
2. When you have any evidence of an accomplishment, notice the internal talk.
Recognize whose words are these words. Whose voice is that voice? Where is the talk coming from? The chances are – it’s the same talk all over again you remember for many years. Perhaps it’s even not your talk. In my case, it always was my mother’s or my father’s phrases, depending on the situation. Recognize it and change it to the following: If it was an achievement of somebody you love the most in the world what would you say to them? Say it to yourself out loud and replace the old talk with the new affirmative sentences. It’s your mind to claim it back to yourself – nobody has a right to occupy your mental space, even your parents.
3. Recognize milestones you met on the way to the bigger goal.
Think big and act step by step. With every milestone, you are closer to the top. Feel yourself a little better with each of them accomplished, take time to recognize the internal feeling of completion, and take a deep breath. We, achievers, don’t breathe deeply and we need to start doing it if we want to live better lives and achieve more.
4. Write down things you learned on the way.
Not necessarily skills but everything about yourself. Skills are important, but personal discovery is the key to everything else. Did you learn patience, recognized some emotional triggers, met with a challenge in communications, made the same mistake as last time? It’s all valuable, don’t take it for granted and learn from it – it’s an accomplishment on its own.
5. Take a deep breath after you complete a long project.
Make some time to do nothing, look into your notes of all you accomplished, all you learned, the way you grew. Imagine, how it can help you and your loved ones in the future.
And, if you are enjoying striving for perfection, keep the good work setting your goals high and dreaming big. Know your physical and emotional boundaries and limitations, and every day make choices moving you closer to your destination. Good luck!
August 31, 2017
by Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
We all want to start our day will good energy and carry it on through the day. We want to achieve something, or just plain feel good.
Starting your day is directly related to how you ended your previous day. The state of your mind in the evening and the quality (and quantity) of your sleep will affect not only the energy you have the following day but your overall health – your digestion, immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and everything else.
Many of us can remember all-nighters we were able to pull off and get away with it next day. Some of us still do that, and it’s getting harder to maintain good health without good sleep. Sleep is the king!
During sleep, your body undergoes substantial repairs, and your brain undergoes maintenance as the cellular waste is being flashed from it. It takes a lot of energy to do all this work, and the deeper you sleep, the more successful these repairs and detox.
So it requires some changes in your lifestyle to start towards better night rest. Perhaps not every day, but most days during the week you can perform all the steps. Other days do only your favorites. But once you setup your night environment it will be easy.
I recommend being home for 2 hours before the bedtime. I cannot do it every day because I go out dancing at least once a week, and dance socials such as Argentine tango and Salsa dancing all start very late. So I have to modify this night ritual and feeling less energy next day. I will share in a different post what I do in the morning to get myself back to high energy.
In my LightenUp Body&Mind Transformation program I actually present a Night Ritual as one of essential parts of the program.
So here it is – the 15 steps to better sleep – The Night Ritual.
- Move electronics out of your bedroom. Do it once for a more permanent staff like TV, and every day for smaller stuff like iPads and consoles. I’m surprised that many people find it impossible to do. TV in the bedroom is a big problem for every are in your life. Seriously, move it out.
- Shut down all the screens. Blue light is very stressful for your nervous system. Make sure you have filters or software on your electronic devices to get rid of the blue light.
- Many people use phones as alarms and running apps for measuring sleep/snoring/etc. Put your phone in airplane mode, and turn it face down.
- If you use standard alarm – block it, so you don’t see the screen.
- Keep the temperature cooler during the night than through the day. The best sleep temperature is between 65 and 72 degrees.
- At least two hours before bedtime stop eating anything and don’t drink alcohol. The best it to have your last bite before 7 pm, and have only water or herbal tea after. Sometimes it’s not possible but still, keep it in mind.
- Clean up your environment. It is much better to sleep in a clean room knowing that in the morning you will wake up to an organized space.
- Prepare your morning clothes, so you don’t have to waste your brain power on ordinary tasks. Even if you are going to work out in the morning – prepare your workout outfit and sneakers.
- Relax with a book.
- Get blackout curtains and block all the light sources you can. Get your bedroom as dark as possible.
- If you cannot fall asleep for 30 min – get up, go into another room, have dim lighting only and repeat some of your routines. After 15 minutes you can then go back to bed and try to fall asleep again.
- Drink a cup of herbal tea while reading or listening to relaxing music.
- Journal about the day and write down tasks for tomorrow.
- Take at least 10 minutes to practice mindful relaxation and spiritual practices. Usually, spiritual practices take longer. Examples – Prayer, Meditation, Breathing, Qigong.
- When you are in bed with your eyes closed – practice gratitude. First – appreciate defeats – they teach you valuable lessons. Then – recite gratitudes for which is good and positive in your life – name every little thing and be grateful for it.
Download the “Tibetan Exercise For Hormonal Balance” guide. It will help you to get up in the morning with much better energy.
The steps are not in specific order, and you can move them around, create new steps, and do whatever is necessary to fit it into your idea of relaxation.
But the main idea is this – create an environment in which every night you will be able to be repaired and washed on the cellular level.
Everything is better with health. And sleep is one of its main components.
August 23, 2017
by Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
In my previous blog I shared with you 2 steps to achieving a better brain performance – one of my favorite things in the world. Yes, I’m a total fan of pick performances of any sorts, and I even had to do some inner work to tone it down a little. Otherwise, perfectionism can backfire. I’m sure some of you, my readers, can relate to that. Perfectionism can affect our performance, increase stress, etc. this month I’ll be writing about working around it without losing the quality of whatever you are doing.
And today I’ll share with you 2 more steps to how to get the maximum out of your brain without getting depleted, and with some additional benefits.
I noticed that many people are not ecstatic about going to the gym. And this is why we have such a massive explosion of exercise videos – which most of us buy and never use. What are the alternatives and how training activities are related to you brain performance?
Since time beginning people moved their bodies all the time. We are mammals, and we share many features with animals. For example, we host many thousands of various parasites that help us in daily life… But this is another topic we will cover in another post.
In Chinese medicine, we talk about Qi – life force, and how our blood carries Qi and Qi helps to move blood. By the way, recent Netflix Marvel series talk about Qi, and they are accurate in their description. I really like the “Iron Fist” series!
There are ways to cultivate Qi through meditation, QiGong, and lifestyle choices. It has a direct impact on the way you can concentrate and control your mind, so it does what you want it to do rather than running like a wild monkey being manipulated by external influences. (I’ll talk about it in my next blog post)
In contemporary medicine, we speak of blood and lymphatics which constantly have to be moving to deliver nutrients to the cells (blood) and propagate immune system through the body (lymphatics).
To have it happen, we have to move, except when we sleep, because at that time other processes happen that are directly related to a daily movement of body fluids. The better all these processes happen, the better blood flow to the brain is.
A human nervous system consists of central and peripheral nervous system, the brain being a controller sending and receiving messages, and every tiny area of your body participating in that messaging. Approximately 20% of the blood flowing from the heart is pumped to the brain. The brain needs constant blood flow to keep up with the heavy metabolic demands of the neurons. The brain also uses 15-20% of the body’s oxygen supply. There are other factors affecting blood flow in the brain, but the amount oxygen is of vital importance.
So the better we breathe, the more oxygen is available to the brain.
Imagine how deeply will you breathe sitting all day long at your cubicle, or driving everywhere, and then being sedentary at home. You don’t need a high-intensity exercise to oxygenate your brain, in fact, low-intensity activity like walking oxygenates your brain without expanding oxygen on other parts of your body.
High-intensity exercise, on the other hand, expands your blood vessels, and long-term exercise may promote new blood vessel growth that increases blood flow into the brain.
1. walk in the morning for at least 20 min
2. practice deep breathing at least for 5 minutes in the morning and before you are going to bed
3. at least once a week do high intensity exercise for at least 30 min
4. at least once a week do weight-lifting exercise
5. every day engage in some meaningful movement – dancing, yoga, pilates, prolonged walking, etc. It will help your brain to grow new neurons.
Food is the Information your body receives.
Your digestive process is complicated, yet it’s one very long tube starting at the mouth and ending at the rectum. Your life sustaining functions are happening between these entry and exit points. Period. It’s straightforward.
So, how your digestion actually happens. It starts in the mouth with saliva digesting carbohydrates (chew your food properly!). This glucose becomes immediately available for your brain, but keep in mind – artificial and toxic sweet foods are extremely dangerous to your brain – and when you put them in your mouth, your brain gets poisoned almost immediately.
Your digestive tract secretes many enzymes helping you to extract nutrients from your food. So – two things are important – the food that you eat and the quantity&quality of enzymes that your gut can produce. And even further down the digestive tube, another thing becomes even more important – the bacterial flora you have in your belly. What digests your food and impacts your life is the micro biome you are hosting in your body. You have thousands of bacteria living in you in a symbiotic relationship – give and take in harmony. Problems start when bad bacteria overgrowth good bacteria. When all is in balance, your body can compensate for bad bacteria. However when foods that you eat and stress you are putting your body through disturb that balance the bad bacteria growth and good bacteria dies.
It directly impacts your mood, clarity of mind, focus, sleep, allergic reaction, etc. You name it.
1. chew your food – 30 chews per bite
2. after each meal observe – do you have bloating or gas? make a note what you ate
3. after each meal follow – are you more energetic or you are fatigued? Make a note on that. It is useful information.
4. look at your food and decide – what information this food will give your body. Is it pick performance food, is it clean and nutrient dense and can sustain and improve your life?
5. observe your bowel movements. they have to be at least once a day with smooth consistency.
6. thank your body for performing all these complicated life-sustaining tasks for you. Put in your body only what it will be beneficial for it.
In my next blog entry, I’ll share one more practical steps to a Pick Brain Performance – Mind Training.
If this information picked your curiosity, let me know by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for more concrete steps.
August 16, 2017
by Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
Is anybody out there experiencing less than wanted brain power? Outdated research suggests it is related to old age. However more and more research and common sense suggest in most of the cases it has very little to do with actual age, but more with what were you doing with your life all these years. The ways you managed to damage your body with lifestyle choices and impact your mind with all the stress and toxic thoughts.
Ok, it’s not only you, but it’s also me too. We all are “guilty” of that because we just didn’t pay attention while feeling pretty good most of the time. But deterioration creeps up; it doesn’t immediately show itself. It takes years for symptoms to show up. Especially the nervous system symptoms.
Do you think it’s hard to custom design your life? Do you believe it’s for the rich and wealthy only?
Your lifestyle is ensuring your brain’s top performance state. It has the complete ability to make you rich and wealthy. However, not even all rich people have good health and mental state. In fact, a very few people do, and we hear about their success on mass media. These people take every minute of the day thoughtfully, they implement particular mind techniques (like NLP) and watch what they eat – not only to “look good” but for clear thinking.
Let me share with you some important information on how you can achieve your brain pick performance state. It’s a lot of info so I divided it into two posts – this one is the first. Here you go:
- Eat Your Way to Mental Clarity
You cannot expect to keep eating crappy food and think straight at the same time. Maybe you didn’t feel it years ago when you were young and could “digest nails.” But two things changed: you and food. You got older, and the food got worse. There is no way around it.
Bread, grains, dairy, sugary/sweet foods, vegetable cooking oils, preservatives, GMOs, hormone pumped meat, pesticides, all raise insulin levels, increase fat, raise leptin (fat hormone), promote candida growth and have more undesirable effects on your body.
When your digestive system starts resembling swamp – your brain cannot function properly. The mental fogginess happens, memory weakens, it’s hard to concentrate, etc. And what discourages people when they get on the right path to change their eating habits is the fact that it’s not happening instantly. Some people say “it didn’t work.” Of course, you are not going to say that and going to stick to the healthy eating habits, but some people give up way too fast and easy. Just saying… Don’t be like that.
Over years of incorrect nutrition you could develop food sensitivities, allergies, toxic accumulation happened, and now your body is required the new personalized plan of how to get out of trouble.
You need a plan how to create a lifestyle of healthy eating regular, organic, nutrition dense real foods.
2. Sleep Your Way to Brain Rejuvenation
If you want your brain to function better, then it does now you got to have a good night sleep. People with an adrenal deficiency – who burned their energy resources through overworking and excessive stress – they cannot even get enough sleep.
During sleep, your body is undergoing essential repair functions, and it requires a lot of attention. If you don’t sleep enough, your body starts doing it during waking hours (and as it requires you being more or less still) you get exhausted.
You need to sleep 8 hours in complete darkness, preferably with cold temperature. The best is to fall asleep before 11 pm. The darkness increases the melatonin – your body clock hormone, and you can fall asleep easier. Move the electronics and everything with blue lights out of the room.
You are regenerating your mitochondria (the energy powerhouse of the cell) during your sleep.Your stress hormones decline so your brain can pay attention to self-regeneration.
Plus, as a bonus, your mind becomes more creative just by you sleeping between 11 pm, and 3 am ( according to the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine).
I’ll take more creativity – sign me up!
Both of the steps above are huge and I’m inclined to write much more on them in my future posts. In fact, both of them can make complete books that by themselves can make your life amazing.
In my next blog entry, I’ll share 3 more practical steps to a Brain Pick Performance.
If this information picked your curiosity, let me know by emailing me email@example.com and ask for more interesting and relevant information.