by Wendy Midgley, MEd, RD, LDN, CDE & Deb Brothers-Klezmer, BSN, RN-BC, CRRN, NCTMB
“Live in the Sunshine, Swim the Sea, Drink the Wild Air!”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson–
A feeling of Magic is embedded in our reminiscences of Summer. Special trips, beach days, mountain climbing, camping, family reunions, fireflies (lightning bugs), block parties and barbecues add to the mix of memories.
For many–“Summer” evokes sensations of pleasure and connection and states of child-like well-being we wish to repeat—each time Summer cycles back into our lives. However, as adults, we need to plan our time wisely–so that we can embrace all that Summer has to offer before Autumn is upon us!
After ‘The 4th’—The saying goes: “Summer feels half over!” But this is not true! This season goes on through September 22 nd!!!
THERE IS STILL TIME TO CREATE SPECIAL MEMORIES THIS SUMMER!
Summer can also be the perfect time to generally re-charge our personal batteries. Or, we can implement a more structured and ambitious body and well-being transformation, using Dr. Deepak Chopra’s approach. (see further along in the BLOG.)
WHY DOES SUMMER FEEL SO GOOD?
Some folks are not fans of this season– calling it too hot, too humid, too crazy busy, and too uncomfortable. But for those who enjoy it, there is something very delicious about it!
If you are one who loves Summer–you are familiar with the heightening of all five senses and feelings of pleasure that accompany this increased stimulation. There are more SOUNDS to hear through open windows: birds chirping, calls of wildlife, music playing down the block; the feel and TOUCH of warm breezes on bare skin; beach sand and the Earth between our toes. VISION seems more acute, as we take in the myriad colors. SMELLS are more diverse and aromatic. Summer foods offer a wide array of TASTES and flavors, as well as textures.
***It is natural for human beings, and animals, to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Summer provides many options for experiencing pleasure. ALL FIVE SENSES may be stimulated simultaneously–to create a rich experience.***
***If Summer has not been your favorite season in the past—make a choice this 2013 to create a memorable, special Summer!***
There are several physiological reasons we feel pleasure—when we stimulate the 5 senses, and make positive connections with others. These include:
- Increased release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a polypeptide (a group of 9 amino acids) that acts as a neuromodulator in the brain. It is often called “the love hormone” because it is released with human bonding activities such as childbirth, breastfeeding, cuddling and hugging, sexual orgasm; and with social connections and bonding.
Oxytocin is also released in enjoying the love of our pets. See the following articles: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Petting-Pets-Releases-039-Love-Hormone-039-101965.shtml
NOTE: No intimate partner, babies or pets? You can still increase your oxytocin levels. See article: “One Hundred Ways for Women to Increase Oxytocin Levels on their Own.” https://www.facebook.com/TheWarOnIntimacy/posts/117103874985642
2. Increased levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is often called “the Sunshine Vitamin” because the touch of sunshine (the UV-B radiation aspect) on our skin initiates a process that produces Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol ). When we have adequate stores of Vitamin D, we often feel more energetic and in more positive moods.
NOTE: Since we are cautioned to limit time spent in the sun, Vitamin D supplementation is often necessary.
***The recommended blood level for Vitamin D is 30-100 nmol/L.***
- Better balance and flow of electrical ions in the body when we walk on Mother Earth.
Walk on the ground with bare feet (if safe to do so) to receive the beneficial electrical currents of Mother Earth. (See our June BLOG :”These Feet are Made for Walking” https://integratedlifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/these-feet-are-made-for-walking-step-into-summer/)
“Evidence suggests that Earth’s negative charge can create ‘a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems,’ including setting our biological clocks and supporting normal cortisol levels.”
- Increased production of “feel good chemicals” called endorphins–if we relax and are feeling less stressed. Relaxation also results in lower cortisol levels. We reap these benefits as we stay more physically active, laugh more, and are more socially connected.
***An OPEN HEART is associated with increased oxytocin and endorphins. Even better blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels are possible according to some experts. The HEART OPENS when we CONNECT more with friends and loved ones and ALLOW Life to unfold.***
NOTE: Simply feeling better and having more fun can improve physical health and overall outlook on life. (See: The Influencer Summer Guide at: http://www.linkedin.com/channels/summerguide. Ideas for travel, making a special daiquiri, Summer reading lists, trying something new, enjoying the cool air conditioning of your own home, etc)
For those of you who seek a more ambitious overhaul on your physical body this Summer, check out Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Summer BLOG on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130624230002-75054000-how-to-reinvent-your-body-this-summer (“How to Reinvent Your Body this Summer” by Deepak Chopra, MD)
Dr. Chopra refers to the most recent work in the fields of well-being, lifestyle choices, genetic expression, and brain remodeling—and makes these suggestions:
1. Improve the quality of your Nutrition and personal lifestyle habits (sleep, rest, physical activity), so that your healthiest genetic potential expresses itself and “illness genes” are turned off.
2. Practice Self-Awareness and Meditation on a daily basis.
3. Practice simply OBSERVING emotionally reactive patterns vs reacting quickly and automatically to emotionally charged situations. Commit to this practice each time an emotionally reactive pattern shows up. Observe and release it.
4. Cultivate Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity.
5. Practice conscious choices, even with the simple things. For example, does my body want water or diet soda? (hopefully choose water!)
6. Create a personal program for yourself this Summer: incorporating #’s 1-5
7. Focus on larger aspects of well-being: financial, career, community involvement.
8. Remember: a) your body is a PROCESS—not just a structure; b) it has an energy and information field. c) you can turn your genes off and on depending on the choices you make. d) Awareness (and new practices) is the Key to Transformation.
FOR GENERAL Fun-in-the-Sun, Safe Summer Tips, we offer you the following:
- CONNECT with others, as well as with YOURSELF!
- Visit a new place, even a spot just a short distance away.
- Eat well, buy local produce (veggies, summer fruits). Try some new vegetables and/or a fruit you’ve never eaten before.
- Stay physically active through gardening, hiking, sports, fitness routines, swimming, yoga, martial arts.
- Spend time outdoors to absorb the healing energies of Mother Nature.
- Stay well hydrated. Drink extra water with physical exercise, and in high heat situations.
- Be careful with alcohol consumption. We are more sensitive to alcohol effects when dehydrated. If you have been physically active, be sure to drink plenty of water before drinking alcohol.
- Practice safe skin care in the Sun. Wear hats for sun protection. Use sun screens that are 15-50 SPF (level depends on your skin type, prior exposure in the sun, time of day, amount of time spent outdoors).
For more detailed information, see our BLOG: “Summer Fun in the Sun Skin Care”: https://integratedlifestyle.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/summer-fun-in-the-sun-skin-care/
- Have fun and try new things, but don’t overbook and feel over-extended!!!.
We leave you with 3 ending quotes this Summer. So many to choose from!!!
“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” (so make the most of it)
by William Shakespeare
“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” (Take the “might be” and turn it into actualization and manifestation this Summer.)
by Charles Bowden
“Celebrate summer: sun-drenched days and starlit nights.”
by Gooseberry Patch
Enjoy each moment of your Summer!
Deb and Wendy
The Wellness Shifter Ladies!!!
http://experiencelife.com/article/50-ways-to-make-the-most-of-summer/ “Fifty Ways to Make the Most of Summer”
http://parentingteens.about.com/od/teenculture/a/funteenstodo.htm “101 Funs Things for Teens to do This Summer”
http://comerecommended.com/2013/06/all-work-and-no-play-how-to-make-time-for-summer-fun/ “All Work and No Play? How to Make Time for Summer Fun”
http://www.frommers.com/articles/6902.html “6 Tips for Planning an Affordable Day Trip”
http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-srv/ad/welcome_ad.html “How to Plan a Family Reunion”
http://www.kripalu.org/article/118?device=c&network=g&matchtype=b&gclid=CISdlYbPnbgCFYme4AodbCYAdQ Yoga retreats and vacations at Kripalu Center, Lenox MA (close to Tanglewood and other Berkshire summer destinations)
http://www.eomega.org/?gclid=CM3esanPnbgCFQ6a4AodDTUARA Omega Center retreats. Programs available in: Rhinebeck, NY, New York City, and Costa Rica