Friday, September 22, 2017

Reducing Stress

I'm sorry this post is a little late. Things have been a bit crazy for me lately, but God is good. With all I'm going through, I thought this post about dealing with stress was a good one to share again. I hope it's helpful for you too. =)

Tips for Dealing With Stress

Stress is a pretty hot topic these days, as it should be. It seems people have never been more stressed-out than they are now. In spite of modern "conveniences," for many people life has gotten more complicated, more frenzied, and more demanding. 
However, living with ongoing stress causes all kinds of health problems (such as heart disease, digestive problems, depression, autoimmune diseases, etc.). 
So what can we do to reduce stress? Here are a few tips:
This specific kind of massage is excellent for de-stressing the body. It's a relaxing massage that also stimulates the body's natural healing processes. My massage therapist recommends having a lymphatic massage at least twice a month, or every week if possible.
2) Exercise
 Research clearly shows that regular exercise is necessary and beneficial for almost everyone.
(If you have a severe adrenal or thyroid condition, then it's often better not to exercise until the condition improves. For many months I didn't attempt exercise because it would have made my condition worse. Be sure to listen to your body and to your health provider so you know it's safe for you to begin exercising.) 
The kind of exercise that is best depends on each individual's condition and specific needs. For many people walking is the best exercise. Others can handle a more strenuous program. It's important to figure out what is best for where you are right now and then start!
Consistent exercise reduces stress in the body and boosts health in many other ways as well. 
 Most people don't breathe well. Taking a few minutes 2-3 times a day to practice deep breathing can help reduce stress in your body. 
You can do this standing (take a big breath in while raising your arms over your head, then slowly exhale while you lower your arms). Or you can do it while lying on your back (inhale deeply, filling first your diaphragm then your lungs with air, then exhale slowly). 
Also, when you're confronted with a stressful situation, form a habit of stopping to take a deep breath in and then releasing slowly. This will calm the stress reaction and help you think more clearly about how to respond.
Laughing actually shifts the body from a stress response to a relaxed state. (It has many other great benefits, including increasing endorphins, boosting the immune system, and giving your heart a workout). 
Dr. Don Colbert recommends 20 seconds of belly laughter 10 times a day. So find some comedy videos, read a joke book, or just laugh for no reason! You'll be glad you did. =) 
These four things are great for physically reducing stress in our bodies. 
5) Prayer partner 
 Ask someone you know to be a weekly prayer partner. You can meet with them face to face or over the phone. Sharing your needs and requests with another person and then praying together can do wonders to reduce stress. 
God says to be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer, petition, and thanksgiving to present our requests to Him. And He promises that His supernatural peace will guard our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:6-7). 
Even though we can do this on our own, I've found that having a prayer partner to share my requests and prayers with helps me tremendously.
6) Worship time
 If you haven't already, start a habit of spending at least 10 minutes a day simply worshiping God. 
It's great to sing along to praise music throughout the day. But it's even more vital to set aside a specific time with no agenda, no multi-tasking, and no distractions. Then you can focus on God - how great He is, how much He loves you, His faithfulness, etc. 
So get comfy on the couch, stand in your backyard, or hide in your closet if necessary, and spend some time singing praise to God and worshiping Him.
If you try this for a week, I think you'll be amazed at how much it brings down your stress level. As you focus intentionally on God, the cares and stress of this life gradually fade to their proper perspective. 
These two habits have wonderful potential to lower stress and enhance your spiritual/emotional health.
7) Simplify
 - Your schedule
Most people are way too busy, resulting in feeling stressed out all the time. Pray over your schedule and see what activities or commitments you can cancel. Let God guide you in His plan for investing your time, then happily let go of the rest. =) 
 - Your environment 
We all have more stuff than we need. Take some time to find things you can give away, sell or throw away (or make a habit of reducing excess clutter little by little). Worrying about "stuff" causes unnecessary stress. Research shows that often people with fewer possessions are happier than those with much. So keep your "stuff" simple.
 - Your media intake
Today we're bombarded with media 24/7. With smart phones we're never "unplugged" from news, email, Facebook, blogs, etc. But this deluge of media actually adds stress. Take a realistic look at how much media you consume daily. Then find ways to cut back and allow yourself time off to breathe and enjoy some of life's simple pleasures. =) 
It takes effort to simplify and keep life simple, but the rewards of a more focused, less-stressed life and truly worth it! 
I hope these tips are helpful. What ideas would you like to add for dealing with stress?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Use Your Words

I've been thinking again about the power of our words. Words can be life-giving, or not. Thankfully we can use words in a positive way for our health, for our life, and for encouraging others.

Today I want to repost something I wrote a few years ago. I hope it's helpful, and I hope you are encouraged to speak words that bring life to you and to others! =) God bless.

I Hear What I Say

Several years ago a health professional told me to start saying "positive affirmations" every day, like:
"Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." 
I didn't see how that could possibly be true, and somehow it felt wrong to say it. So I never did. Even though that probably wasn't the best statement for me to use, it was a good idea to change the words I spoke. Eventually I discovered the powerful effect our words have on us, and I started to use them in a positive way.
The reality is that our brains hear what our mouths say. Every time we say something negative (even if it feels true) about physical symptoms or emotions of frustration, discouragement, only reinforces that negative idea in the brain and in the body. 
I had to learn to stop saying words that didn't contribute to good health, and instead practice saying words that promote healing and strengthening in my body.
I think the most powerful statements we can tell ourselves are the ones that begin with "I am...." 
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
- I am perfectly designed for a unique purpose.
- I am strong and healthy in every season. (This is one I've been using a lot lately.) 
- I am courageous and fearless! 
- I am calm and capable in any situation.
- I am happy, thankful and full of life! 
Other good statements to use begin with "I can" or "I love" -
- I can do this! I can handle this. I can enjoy this." (fill in whatever "this" is for you)
- I love my family! I love my house! I love my life! =)
Believe me, I know at first it can seem awkward to say things that may not "feel" true. But remember that words are a gift from God - to help us change! Our brains control everything in our bodies. If we want change in the body, we need to have change in the brain. And changing our words is probably the best way to make changes in our brains. 
When we tell ourselves positive truths, we are choosing to focus on those things over the negative things.

I'm not saying that you can tell yourself "I'm healthy" and all health challenges suddenly disappear. 

I am saying that negative words do NOT help in the healing process, but positive words DO. 
Think about the things you usually say to yourself, or that you say about yourself to others. Are those words reinforcing negativity in the brain? If so, consider what statements you can use to replace the negative ones.

Start with statements you're comfortable with, even if it's something like:
"I'm pressing on. I'm moving forward. I'm making progress."

Choose a statement with a positive direction for you and start using it.
Then gradually add in other statements and stretch yourself a little more.

- If you want to be thankful, even though you may not feel thankful, then start saying "I love to be thankful." Your brain will hear that new message and begin to change your attitude. 
- When you feel tempted to discouragement, say, "I can be happy!" 
- When you feel challenged, say, "I am capable in this situation."  

Think of it like a game and try to always find a positive statement for any challenging moment.

I can testify that changing our words is an essential step to take in the healing process. Our brains need to hear us say things that support health and well-being - because I hear what I say, and so do you!

So I'll get you started, ok? =)
You are wonderfully created by God for a unique purpose! 
You are loved more than you can imagine!
You are strong and courageous! 
And you can use positive words as a tool for healing! =)

Yes and amen.
Your turn! =) Please share in the comments one positive statement you will tell yourself this week. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Healthy Holidays

It's nice to have holidays to take a break from routine and celebrate things. It seems like some people are trying to get new holidays recognized for specific things now, like National Friendship Day or National Take Your Pet To Work Day. =)

I was thinking that it's about time we had some "healthy holidays" for those of us living a more health-conscious lifestyle. We need holidays we can celebrate heartily in a healthy way. =)

Maybe something like these...

National Adrenal Day - Eat some organic dark chocolate, take a nap and then go to bed early.

Be Kind To Your Pancreas Day - Celebration could include special sales on stevia, honey, and other white sugar alternatives, as well as swapping sugar-free recipes with friends. 

National Take Your Neighbor To The Health Food Store Day - Invite a neighbor out and teach them the joys and wonders of shopping at the local health food store. 

Happy Liver Day! - Have a detox bath, change your air purifier filters, and take your coworkers a green smoothie.

Off The Grid Day - A day to turn off cell phones, tablets, wireless, etc. and actually sit outside on the ground (for grounding), and enjoy face to face conversation with people.

What do you think? What kind of healthy holiday would you like to have and how would you celebrate it? Leave a comment with your ideas. =)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tips For Adrenal Support

For many years I had very low adrenal function. During that time we learned about things I could do to help my adrenals. So for anyone dealing with adrenal stress or fatigue, here are some tips that might help.

1) Drink a glass of warm salt-water every morning.
I usually put in enough salt that I can taste it, but not so much that it tastes bad. If I was feeling a lot of stress on my adrenals, I sometimes did this up to three times a day. Just be sure to use a good salt, like a mediterranean sea salt, celtic sea salt, etc. (It's the refined table salt that can be bad for blood pressure, etc., because of the way it's been processed.)

2) Do deep breathing.
There are different ways you can do this. I like to do deep breathing while standing. I simply raise my arms over my head while inhaling deeply. Then I hold the breath for a second before slowly exhaling while lowering my arms. You can also do deep breathing while lying on your back. Inhale deeply into your diaphragm, then into your lungs. Hold for a second, then exhale from the lungs and then from the diaphragm. Deep breathing helps boost oxygen and also helps de-stress the body.

3) Get to bed by 10 pm.
This is really important for adrenal function. For years I literally couldn't stay up past 10:00, because my body just quit then. Now that my adrenal function is so much better, I can stay up later. But I still feel better when I get to bed earlier. I know it can be challenging to get to bed early, just do the best you can. =)

4) Have regular lymphatic massage.
This is a specific kind of massage that stimulates the lymphatic system, which is your body's natural detox system. Even a half hour once a week of lymphatic massage can really help your body relax and de-stress, as well as detoxify more effectively.

5) Spend less time on electronic devices and do grounding often.
The excessive EMF's in the world today do have an affect on the body, especially the adrenals. With adrenal fatigue it's important to minimize EMF exposure. Grounding also helps, which is basically standing barefoot on the ground (as long as it hasn't been sprayed with chemicals like pesticide, etc.). Grounding helps your body release excess EMF's that have built up and also is considered to have strong anti-inflammatory results. People who do grounding regularly usually find they sleep better as well.

6) Try organic dark chocolate.
My doctor started me on organic dark chocolate when my adrenal function was very low. I still eat one or two small squares, usually 2-3 times a day. You can also get a powdered organic chocolate (unsweet) that mixes in water. Organic dark chocolate has many health benefits. Just remember to use it in small portions and get it unsweet or with very low sugar content.

7) Include key supplements.
The most important supplements for me have been vitamin C, magnesium, and B-complex. A good probiotic can also be helpful, but it can be challenging to find one that works for you. You can read my previous post for more info about that.

8) Avoid caffeine, sugar, and toxic foods.
These things may seem to give you a temporary fake energy, but they actually put stress on the adrenals, as well as the liver, gut, etc. Instead, make sure you're eating enough healthy protein, healthy fats, and good nutrient-rich foods.

9) Minimize stress, and learn to say "No."
This can be hard, but it's important for adrenal recovery. Look at your current situation and decide if there's any commitments you can resign from, any relationships you need to step back from, or any habits you need to let go of in order to reduce stress factors in your life. Practice saying "No, thanks anyway," when you need to.  

10) Laugh a lot and find joy in the small things.
Laughter is a wonderful medicine, take it often! =) Keep a positive attitude and look for the joys in each day. Practice gratitude and contentment. And hold on to hope, knowing that your body is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that with the right tools and healthy choices, it's possible to have healthy adrenal function again.

I hope this is helpful! Do you have any tips you can add?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yes, This Healthy Stuff Works

This week I wanted to share a few testimonies about some of the simple changes you can make for your health that can have a big impact.

For some people, making simple changes might not yield as noticeable results as it does for others, but even then you can know it's having a positive impact on your body.

So keep up the good work of making healthy choices and living in hope! =)

"One of the best tips Joanna gave me was to drink more water. I found that the simple change of increasing intake of good water (spring water) improved my digestive system, my skin tone and my ability to detox. If you're not drinking enough water (half your body weight in ounces), why not try it? It's a simple, inexpensive habit that can make a world of difference in your health." -Jan

"For over twenty years I had dealt with a chronic asthma condition, being both allergy and exercise induced. I was daily taking my emergency inhaler and in the later years was even on a steroid as well. When Joanna challenged me to stop using fabric softener in my laundry, I was really just thinking of the benefits of not using a carcinogenic product on me and my family. It wasn't until 6-8 weeks later did I realize that my asthma symptoms had almost completely disappeared. I got off the steroids without a problem and my use of the emergency inhaler went from 3-5 puffs a day to maybe 1-2 puffs a month. I would have never dreamed this one small change could make such a difference in my health and my pocketbook - asthma medicine is expensive!! I encourage other asthmatics often to stop using fabric softener and see the difference it can make!" -Jenn

"I struggled with getting a good night's sleep for months. I would lie in bed wide awake for hours, often staying awake until 1 or 2 a.m. When I did finally fall asleep, I was not getting the deep restful sleep that my body needed. Joanna sent me several suggestions for sleeping better, and I realized that there were several things that I was doing wrong. The two most obvious mistakes I was making were having the wifi router on the nightstand within one foot of my head, and keeping my cellphone right next to that and it was always on and charging. Although I was somewhat skeptical, I decided to move the wifi box downstairs, and turn the phone off at night. Since then, I have been sleeping much better! The only time I have woken in the middle of the night since then, was a few nights ago when the cat was screaming outside to be let in. Other than that my sleep has been much better. I will be turning the phone off every night from now on." -Jason

Do you have a testimony to share of a simple health change that made a big difference? Please share with us in the comments. =)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Where In The World Is Joanna?

Hello friends! I hope you are doing well today and staying encouraged in spite of any challenging circumstances.

I'm happy to report that I've had a wonderful summer of travels! I'm still amazed at how far God has brought me! Ten years ago I wouldn't have imagined I'd be able to do all the things I've been doing lately. Praise God!

My friends told me to take a lot of pictures this summer, so I did...I think I've taken over 2000 photos during the last five weeks. =) I thought I'd share some of them here. For me, these photos are a reminder that -
*God hears our prayers.
*We can hold on to hope even when we can't see. 
*God has good plans for us even through the pain.
*Our suffering isn't wasted. 
*God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!

So here are a bunch of photos of me...I apologize if that's boring for you, haha. I have hundreds of pictures of beautiful scenery, but in this post I want to give God glory for what He's done for me and all the places He's taking me...places I didn't dream I'd be able to go. I hope this encourages you that God also has good plans for you, He does hear your prayers, and He will bring something good from your suffering.

God bless you!


The beach at St. Andrews is lovely! 
I enjoyed visiting the Edinburgh museum.

Enjoying the park with friends.
Yes, that's me on a slide! =) 

It was so cold in the Scottish Highlands! But worth it for the incredible view! 

We visited a wild animal park. The tigers were impressive!

I love this beautiful waterfall in the countryside!

Northern Ireland 
Visiting Glenariff, a breathtakingly beautiful place!

My friend and tour guide, Alan. =) 

Me riding on a train from Belfast! It was actually pretty fun. =)

Going on a hike, believe it or not. =) 

Visiting the village of Carnlough on the coast.

Getting ready to ride horses in County Down!!!
I tried to get my horse to stand still for the photo, but she loved to go! =) 

My new buddy, "Bud."

So enjoyed seeing the Mountains of Mourne and the beach at Newcastle again. 
(I was there in 2000 and loved it!)


Taking the ferry to the islands in the Oslo Fjord. Loved it!
Visited some ancient ruins from the 1100's, quite an experience. 
The view over Oslo and the fjord is amazing! 

Picnic at the harbor in Holmestrand.

So enjoyed the botanical gardens in Oslo. 

Stopping to smell the roses. =) 

View from the Opera House in downtown Oslo, with a glacier sculpture in the background.

We found a sweet little bridge up on a hillside. =)

Downtown Oslo, the city of the tiger.
I crossed this bridge several times while in Olso.
Practicing my ski jump position. =) 

Visited a friend's art and music store. Loved it! 

Still so much to see! 

And now I'm heading back to Florida today. It's hard to say goodbye to all these special places and the wonderful people I've been blessed to spend time with. I'm so thankful for God's many gifts! And I'm looking forward to what He has in store for me next. =)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Think And Eat Yourself Smart"

This is the title of Dr. Caroline Leaf's latest book. She is a brilliant neuroscientist whose books and videos have helped me learn so much about healthy living.

Here's a little video of her being interviewed about the content in this book, "Think And Eat Yourself Smart." I think it's very helpful and explains what's happening today.

Please take a few minutes to watch, and then leave me a comment with your thoughts. =)