How Healthy Is Your Mindset?


By Josee Smith  

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Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time, you may need to make an extra effort to get through these challenges. Positive thoughts will help you succeed in the end!

Developing a healthy mindset doesn't need to be a difficult task. There are small changes you can make to get yourself on the right track.

The following 7 strategies will help you in developing a healthy mindset:

1. Ignore negativity from others. Constantly complaining, negatively focused people really sap your energy and your own happiness. For some reason, many people get into the habit of focusing on what is not working. You know you would be better off not to listen to these people, but sometimes you end up complaining yourself.

Focus on what is working and surround yourself with people that will lift you up.

2. Gratitude. Think about all the things you have to be grateful for. Your family, your spouse, your employment, your home, your friends, your health, whatever it is that is positive in your life-be grateful for it. Taking time to appreciate the good things in your life can help balance the negatives when they come along.

3. Accept compliments. The next time someone pays you a compliment for a job well done, take the opportunity to show your appreciation with a great big "Thank You".

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Accepting compliments will help you discover what you're good at and strengthen your self-confidence.

4. Use affirmations. Affirmations are great healthy mindset boosters because they show your brain what you already know you can achieve. They bring positive energy into the present moment.

You can read affirmations on the subjects of your choice or you can get into the habit of writing your own affirmations. Nothing can be more targeted to your true feelings than your own words!

5. Avoid comparing yourself to others. It's easy to get into the habit of comparing yourself negatively to other people. Remind yourself that everyone is unique. You're equipped with your own set of strengths and weaknesses, so the best thing you can do for yourself is concentrate on developing your own strengths.

6. Seek Inspiration. Let's face it life can be hard sometimes. Looking for the silver lining in your personal day can help you stay positive. Find something good in every day, even if it's a little thing. You'll be surprised how many little things can make you feel happy-even if only for the moment.

7. Follow Your Dreams. Part of a healthy mindset is having the drive to take action toward your goals. Have a plan, get support from a coach or a friend and follow through.

When you're faced with challenges, actively seek solutions. When you do, you'll soon notice what a positive role your healthy mindset plays in your life!

Would you like some help and support with adapting a healthy mindset?


Chinese Herbal Medicine: Herbal Preparations


The most common way to buy herbs is in capsule or tablet form since it very easy to use them this way. In China physicians devised many different methods to prepare medicinal herbs for use. The most common way of administering herbs was the decoction or tea. But there are many other ways that herbs were used depending on the situation or condition of the patient. We'll look at several different ways used in Chinese herbal medicine to administer herbs.

A decoction involves boiling herbs in water. But there's more to it than just boiling the herbs since the temperature of the water and how long you cook the herbs are important factors. The basic instructions go like this. To start you need a container that will hold at least four cups of water. Traditionally the decoction was brewed in a ceramic pot. If you have one you can still do it this way. If you don't then you can use glass (pyrex) or stainless steel. Iron (as in cast iron) is not recommended because over time you can get too much iron in your system. Aluminum is not recommended either because it is associated with negative health effects. Once you have your pot you need to add four cups of water along with the herbs that you want to make a tea out of. Turn the heat up high and bring the water to a boil. Once it is boiling you need to let it boil vigorously for five minutes. After five minutes you can lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for an additional 30-40 minutes. Some water will evaporate in the process; however, don't let the remaining liquid concentrate to less than two cups of tea. Once your tea is cooked you can drink the remaining tea two to three times per day - preferably two hours before meals.

The tea and herbs that you do not drink should be refrigerated between use to prevent spoilage. Remember to warm up the tea when you remove it from the refrigerator since according to Chinese medical theory cold can injure your digestive system.

After you finish all the tea you can cook the herbs a second time exactly the same way and drink the tea. After the second cooking the remains of the herbs can be discarded or composted. It should be noted though that some herbs need more cooking and other herbs need less cooking. Roots and Rhizomes can be cooked a long time. Leaves and flowers don't need as long and if you have a mixture of herbs containing roots, rhizomes, leaves, and flowers then starting cooking the roots and rhizomes first then add the leaves and flowers during the last 15-20 minutes of preparation. It is also important to make your decoctions mindfully also. The tea will be used to heal your body so pay attention to what you are doing. An overcooked tea loses a lot of its medicinal qualities and in the long run you may not get the full benefit of the herbal concoction.

Pills are an easy and convenient way to use herbs. In ancient China the herbs were ground into a very fine powder which were blended together with water, honey, flour, or rice paste and formed into a pill. Most formulas made in China are still made into small black pills. Traditionally pills were used for debilitating diseases that required treatment over a long period of time or they were used for herbs that lose their actions when they are heated. For example: the mineral Borneal, cannot be decocted as the heat will break it down into another compound so Borneal was usually added as an ingredient to pills. With modern equipment pills and tablets can be made with machinery. Usually some sort of excipient (binder) is used to help hold the pill or tablet together. An ingredient like cellulose fiber may be added to wick water into the tablet to help it break down in the digestive system. There may also be a corn protein "Zein" used to coat the tablet to prevent degradation of the herbs and protect the tablet from being crushed. The do it yourselfer can buy capsules and add herb powders. Devices like the Cap-M-Quick make it easy to fill 50 capsules at a time.

Elixirs are used very commonly and are made by soaking herbs in wine for one week or longer. Wine enhances circulation and also acts as a preservative. Typically the longer you soak the herbs the more potent the Elixir. Once it is ready a small amount of the prepared the wine is then sipped regularly. For example, Tiger Bone Wine was once used to treat arthritis or rheumatism. The bones were soaked for one month to one year. Since tigers are an endangered species tiger bones are no longer used. Cat bones are substituted instead because they are of the same family.

It should be mentioned that what the Chinese call wine is not the same as the American or European product. Chinese wine or bai jiu is a high proof alcohol with a much higher alcohol content than American or European wines. A little goes a long way.

It is easy to make tonic herbs formulas into tinctures. Just add the herbs into a jar containing a high proof alcohol and let soak for two to three months. Then drink a shot as needed. Many formulas can be found in books or online. Author Daniel Reid's book "A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs" contains many tonic formulas. 

Elixirs, by the way, are also known as tinctures. A more potent form is the herbal extract which involves heating the alcohol and is done commercially. This is very dangerous though and needs a self-contained system. Never try heating alcohol at home.

A more unusual method of treatment is by using a "Thread" which is used for treating conditions such as polyps or hemorrhoids. A silk or cotton thread is soaked in a decoction of herbs and boiled. The thread is then used for tying off the polyp slowly which restricts the blood supply. This causes the polyps to gradually wither and fall off. The thread is changed every two to three days.

The "Fumigant" or smoke method is not used very much today. Herbs were burned together to produce smoke, which the patient then would breathe. In ancient China they also placed a decoction in a wooden keg and kept it boiling. The patient was placed over it so they could breath the vapor of the decoction. Using a fumigant was also one method of treating asthma. Some herbs were burned and were capable of stopping and asthma attack after thirty minutes.

These are some of the methods devised by Chinese physicians and employed for treating people with herbs. The decoction, pills, and elixirs are the most common methods and are still used today.