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Let’s get to the heart of the matter - stress and emotional trauma play a major role in most health conditions. Breast cancer, of course, is no exception. Keep in mind that stress, or even perceived stress, puts your body into a fight or flight response.  This state is under the control of our autonomic nervous system, which in turn has two branches, the sympathetic and para-sympathetic systems. As you will see, each one has a specific function. 

 

To simplify matters I’ll use the following analogy - Sympathetic System will be termed as a fight or flight state while Para-Sympathetic System we will call a wine and dine state. Each one has a specific function to regulate. For instance, if you walk down a street and someone is trying to mug you, your sympathetic nervous system will kick in. You’ll have a chance to fight or get out of this situation by running away. In either case your major muscle groups will get more blood supply. Your breathing is going to be shortened, your mouth will get dry, your digestive process is going to be shut down, your heart is going to palpate faster, you bladder and bowels will contract and your cortisone (adrenaline) levels will be released to their maximum. This is a very efficient way to make sure that you survive whatever challenge you’re facing at the moment. 

 

By contrast your Para-Sympathetic nervous system is the exact opposite in function. As you wine and dine your breathing slows down, your heart rhythm slows down, you start secreting saliva and you are ready to digest and eliminate as you are in a relaxed state. 

 

The reason why I’m illustrating the function of our Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic systems is very important because most of us appear to be in a Sympathetic mode most of the day. We eat on the run, drink coffee during our commute, and deal with stressful or unpleasant situations at home or at work.  Obviously all this stress will affect us. In my opinion, this daily grind is slowly killing us, since we are not able to digest or eliminate properly, while our high cortisol levels create inflammation in our body and turn everything we eat into fat, as our hormonal levels are stressed and become imbalanced.

 

Furthermore, it is not only daily occurrences and actions that force us into a sympathetic mode but more so our anxious or negative thoughts can trigger the same response. It occurs to me that this is one of the major reasons why we get sick and age prematurely and it is all because we live in a Sympathetic or a fight or flight world. 

 

Let me state this unequivocally; your emotions and thoughts will directly influence your physical health. Thus to attain good health, your emotions and your thoughts need to support your-well being.  In all my years of clinical practice I have never seen a healthy individual whose emotions are in disarray or whose mental state is not at ease.  Thus we call it dis-ease

 

So, what can you do?

First and foremost, create a plan of action on how you’re going to de-stress in a healthy way. Perhaps going for a walk or spending time listening to music or reading a book or meditating, whatever it is that you find enjoyable and relaxing will work to de-stress. Make sure that you create that daily ritual for yourself; this would be a place of refuge and personal healing. 

 

Next, take account of past emotional traumas or conflicts that have not been resolved. Get help from a professional if required or talk to your trusted friend or a family member and ask them for direction.  Be open and willing to accept advice, after all - there is always room for improvement and personal change.  Change could be very challenging for most of us. However, it can also be the most rewarding aspect that can bring us to better health, happier life and self-fulfillment. 

 

Take charge of your health today, be proactive and help others to prevent breast cancer NOW!

 

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“The ability of a physician to prevent illness is a greater proof of his skill than his ability to cure someone who is already ill.” 

- Maimonides – 12th Century Sage, Philosopher, Talmudic Scholar and Physician. 

 

Many people when asked what they value most in life will say: their Kids, Career, and their Security.  Their lifestyle and actions will often reflect these values. However, often people realize their high value for Health only when their health is failing. Only then do they shift their lifestyle and actions accordingly.  This is why it is critical for the future of medicine to transform from the current focus on treatment to the focus on disease prevention.  

 

Disease prevention has been the focus of my research and practice for many years; more specifically breast cancer prevention. Yet, just like there are many common properties that help lower the risk of breast cancer, the same properties also apply to heart disease and many other chronic diseases that are so prevalent in our society today. 

 

People who live long lives and remain relatively healthy into their old age have certain personality characteristics along with certain habits that they practice that help them maintain their health.

 

Here are the 9 common personality traits and habits of many who live past the ripe age of 100: 

 

1.  Being Extroverted – they are found of socializing, belong to many groups and are eager to help others.

2.  Socially Connected – they maintain a circle of friends and family that provides them with support and  fulfills their own sense of purpose.

3.  Being Optimistic – they are happy and are easy to laugh; they are able to cope with stress and maintain a positive outlook on life

4.  Emotionally Stable – they are not very neurotic, there are no major swings in their moods and that keeps their stress hormone (cortisol) levels low

People who maintain their health also exhibit common health habits through their life:

 

5.  They maintain Proper Weight as excess weight taxes your cardiovascular system, affects your hormonal balance and increases your risk for cancer and diabetes. In many cases they are slightly underweight.

6.  They are Conscientious of Their Food Intake and generally maintain a healthy diet with fiber rich foods,  fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. They maintain healthy bowel movements that help with detoxification. They usually do everything in moderation - no excessive drinking or food binging. 

7.  They are Physically Active people that maintain their muscle mass either by physical labor or by regular exercise.  Physical activity naturally slows down the aging process, maintains healthy bone structure and boosts the immune system.

8.  They Get Good Sleep and proper rest which is the foundation for keeping their immune system in top form. Early to bed and early to rise helps keep their melatonin level production at optimum thus contributing to rejuvenating rest.

9.  They Avoid Pharmaceutical Drugs that at best mask the symptoms and at worst create additional  problems with side effects. They prefer to resolve their health issues with natural medicine and a holistic approach. 

 

Naturally, our genetic makeup, our belief system and our environment can affect our lives, our health, and our longevity. Nevertheless, we can greatly improve our chances of living a long and healthy life if we adopt some of the habits and characteristics of people who have succeeded in attaining longevity. 

 

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