What does it mean to be well? Wellness involves having an overall sense of contentment, ease, and serenity. To be well, you must address all aspects of life. That’s why a holistic approach to wellness is most beneficial. True wellness means that you are caring for your physical body, your emotional body, your mental body, and your spiritual body. Aligning with the circadian flow of the Universe provides balance and health benefits for wellness. Lastly, participating in a wellness retreat provides tools for self-care.
How Does Circadian Rhythm Impact Health?
The whole universe moves in a cyclic flow. The circadian rhythm is a natural process that occurs every 24 hours and is reset by the sun each day. The circadian rhythm regulates the sleep/wake signals. All Nature follows this flow. Light and dark impacts most living things such as animals, plants, and even microbes. In mammals, the circadian rhythm impacts hormone production, brainwave activity, and other biological activities such as body temperature and digestion. All beings in the Universe rely on the day/night cycle to function in an efficient manner.
According to News Medical, the rhythm of light and dark signals the production of melatonin in humans after the sun goes down. The eyes take in less light and tell the brain to prepare for sleep. (TV screens that are LED lights emit a lot of blue light and thus may inhibit the production of melatonin when watched late at night.) Around 2 am you experience your deepest sleep, and by 7:30 am melatonin production stops. Between 12 pm and 6 pm, humans experience their best coordination, fastest reaction time, best muscle strength, and best cardiovascular efficiency. Around 8 or 9 pm, melatonin secretion begins. Thus, knowing when to be active and when to relax is critical to health.
When you disregard this Universal efficient system of biological regulation, multiple health issues may arise. Your circadian clock regulates your cell cycle. Due to a disruption in circadian rhythm, cancer cells may begin to undergo abnormal cell division. circadian rhythm dysfunction is also associated with cardiovascular diseases as well as diabetes and obesity.
Even more disturbing is that exposure to artificial light during the night according to some studies causes irritability, anxiety, and depressive behaviors. All these impact learning and memory efficiency.
This chart shows the reciprocal relationship between circadian disruptions and depressive states. (See Rossenwasser AM, Wirz-Justice A. (1997). Circadian rhythms and depression: clinical and experimental models. In: Redfern PH, Lemmer B, eds. Physiology and Pharmacology of Biological Rhythms.) Fig. 1:
Mood disorders can arise such as bipolar, seasonal affective disorder, depression, and even schizophrenia. Multiple studies have shown an increased prevalence of depression in night-shift workers. One meta-analysis showed that night-shift workers are 40% more likely to develop depression than daytime workers. Circadian rhythm disturbances are common in people with depression. Such individuals may have changes in the pattern of their sleep, their body temperature, and hormonal rhythms. People with seasonal affective disorder, feel depressed in winter months when the length of daylight is shortened. For the impact of circadian rhythm on of depressive states related to bipolar disorder, please see this blog post on light therapy for bipolar disorder.
How to Deal with Chronic Insomnia?
Chronic insomnia is extremely disruptive and includes symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, lying awake for long periods, waking up several times during the night, waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep. It is also common that insomniacs do not feel refreshed when they wake up. They find it hard to nap during the day and feel tired and irritable during the day. There are many causes to insomnia such as stress, poor sleeping environment, mental health conditions, certain medicines, and various health conditions such as pain or heart issues.
In general, the best way to improve your mood is to get a good night’s sleep. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. It’s best to get up around the same time each day, because a regular wake time establishes a regular time of sleep onset. Avoid screen time and bright lights at least 90 minutes before going to sleep. You can even purchase “yellow” glasses that cut out the blue light spectrum and signal the brain to begin to relax and prepare for sleep. Establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. Remove the computer and TV from your bedroom and create a luscious inviting bedroom atmosphere with comfy blankets, a cool temperature, a sound machine if you wish, and darkness (using blackout blinds or an eye pillow).
Try listening to soothing music, or a guided meditation before bedtime. Of course, reading is always a wonderful way to slow down and encourage sleep. Avoid caffeine after 3 pm, and write down your worries (agreeing to revisit them tomorrow). Now you can “let it all go.” Lastly, avoid medications that simulate sleep but never truly allow you to achieve it. Additionally, you can pick up new tools for maintaining health by attending a wellness retreat.
Tools You May Gain in a Wellness Retreat
A powerful tool to eliminate insomnia is EFT tapping.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It is a method of tapping on acupuncture points of Chinese Medicine to help manage emotions and troubling thoughts. Roger Callahan called it Thought Field Therapy. Later Gary Craig simplified the process and made it available to the public under the EFT name. It is a five step process. In the first two steps of the process, you are engaging the frontal lobe of your brain as through traditional talk therapy. As you begin to tap, it stimulates the meridian points. When activated, these send signals to the brain to relax.
Basically the process is as follows
- Identify the issue
- Rate the intensity of how emotional you feel
- Set up a statement to clear it out
- Tap specific acupressure points while repeating the statement
- Rate the intensity again until it becomes a non-issue
EFT is a powerful self-healing tool that can be used on your own or you can benefit from working with a practitioner to identify the trauma that needs clearing. Working with a practitioner can accelerate the healing process and provide clarity of how to release negative thoughts.
The Felt Sense
Another tool you may gain from a wellness retreat is learning how to receive information from the “felt sense.” The felt sense is not a mental experience, rather a bodily awareness which allows you to gather information in a more holistic way rather than just listening to thoughts. The felt sense is a primary part of somatic experiencing and brings the focus from your external environment to an internal experience where you can get more in touch with your emotions and your process of dealing with stress.
Just because the mind thinks it, doesn’t mean it is true. Learning how to utilize the felt sense process encourages you to gather information by listening to your physical body, emotional body, mental body, and “higher self” conscious body. Seeing your issues from this perspective allows for a more complete and broader understanding of how to identify and release trauma held in the body. Life choices can be more clearly seen and selected with this larger picture. So for example, you might ask yourself, “Should I quit this job”? Using the felt sense method you would listen to how your body responds to this scenario. Do you get a nagging feeling in your gut? Next, you would listen carefully to your emotional body. What emotions arise when you think of quitting your job? Next, what does your mind tell you to do? Lastly, how does your spiritual body feel about letting go of that job? At this point, you have much more information to work with in order to make the right decision. See additional wellness tools and treatments.
Wellness requires a whole-body approach. Being in alignment with the circadian rhythm of the Universe aids healing. Disregarding the circadian rhythm can result in medical issues and psychological disorders. Tools and techniques gained at a wellness retreat help put you in sync with yourself. Call today for a retreat consultation: 928-282-2509.