After five years of hard work, I am incredibly pleased to announce that Reclaim Health: a recovery strategy when doctors can’t explain your symptoms has now published.

The book is written by a team including two expert ex-patients Julia and Janice, supported by two doctors David and Gina, with Helen an expert personal and professional development coach. Reclaim Health becomes very personal for me as I age and with the discovery of Parkinson’s. I am sure I am not alone in this.

In light of the publication of this book, I ask myself whether I am in touch enough with what makes me joyous. Is my Parkinson’s telling me something, and what do I need to change to improve my inner calm and balance? Why not join me in taking a reflective journey on how you are feeling and then acting to improve well-being….

Mind-Body Protest?

Homeostasis, or the maintenance of self-regulation, is the basis of health and, when disturbed, mind–body protest is the result. There is a complex inter-relationship between molecules of emotion (resulting from positive or negative emotion, via the neuropeptide system), and the autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system responsible for control of bodily functions that are not under conscious direction). These systems in turn interplay with the immune system, which is intimately connected with our mind–body state. 

The body, in adapting to evolutionary challenges, has developed an array of responses that maintain the constancy of its internal state and resist harmful imbalances. A thirst reaction protects us from dehydration, for instance. Tiredness and fatigue warn us to stop before we become exhausted. However, the ever-changing pressures in our complex lives can lead us to ignore or overrule these necessities. Adaptation and flexibility will determine whether I live well or die slowly with loss of function.

Do I do what I want to do when I want to do it!?

What luxuries I have now, compared to the time when I was working. And yet homeostasis can be disturbed by too much doing – but equally not enough doing.

Healthy functioning and healthy fatigue, on the up-slope of the curve, are experienced when we are coping well, adapting to changes in our lives or enacting successful actions. Exhaustion and ill health, on the down-slope often followed by breakdown, occur when we are not coping and adapting effectively and we feel defeated, no matter what efforts we make to deal with the demands in our lives.

Too much sustained, unhealthy, down slope arousal leads to the loss of internal balance and results in reduced performance and a mind–body system in overdrive. In this state, the metabolism is struggling and cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure are often raised, resulting in ill health. 

The more aroused we become, the more sleep, which would be to some degree restorative, decreases. Signals of mind–body protest multiply. For instance, sufferers from irritable bowel syndrome may also commonly experience back pain, fatigue and loss of libido. Negative emotions, such as frustration and despair, can trigger exhaustion. This in turn triggers breathing pattern disorders because of the perceived threat to survival – eliciting fight, flight or freeze reactions.

So what can we do?

Perhaps try this… Take time out to be alone and set out three chairs in a row. Sit in the first, close your eyes and recreate in your mind a special place that you associate with peace and relaxation. As you scan your body from the tips of your toes to your forehead, notice which parts feel tight or tense, then settle into stowing your breath after engaging the diaphragm. If you are noticing your breathing into the upper chest try this exercise on YouTube before returning to being present in relaxation.

In the next chair sit quietly and recreate in your mind’s eye a time when you were stressed, and you have moved beyond your tolerance and anxiety for a situation. Notice how your body mind reacted then. Did you feel anxious? Did you experience physical symptoms of stomach irritation, bloating, aches and pains in muscles fatigue or exhaustion? Or your own unique pattern of distress?

In the third chair sit down and observe yourself in the other two chairs as a curious observer. Ask yourself What do you need now to create more peace, purpose and relaxation in your life. As you review the thoughts and emotions, how will you create the flexibility and energy to bring about more control? Notice any negativity and your ability to avoid situations or people that overload you.  What do you need to change if you recognise problematic sleep? Are your symptoms inviting you to make change in your life?

In our book Reclaim Health you will find practical tips and exercises to reset your body’s inner balance that will reduce or eliminate symptoms doctors can’t explain. Of course, first exclude medical disease on examination and investigation. Please read the book, comment and send us feedback. I hope that you find it useful!

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