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Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on calcium-rich foods or rely solely on supplements to get by.

It’s a common misconception that dairy is one of the only viable sources of calcium, in fact there are a wide range of sources that vegans – and lactose intolerant people – can make the most of to maintain a balanced diet.

However, calcium deficiency is a significant issue affecting people of all ages. Experts recommend adults obtain 1000 milligrams of calcium a day, but a PubMed journal study found that 69% of male young adult and 83% of female young adult participants failed to meet the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of calcium, and this number was even higher in the adolescent age group, with 95% of female participants not meeting the EAR.

Those lacking the mineral are at a dangerous risk of bone loss and brittleness, and more significantly, developing osteoporosis. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 20% of people aged over 75 had the condition in 2018, and it’s women who are at the most risk, coming in at a 19% higher incidence than men in this age group.

fracture
Calcium deficiency can lead to severe fractures

As they say, prevention is better than cure. One of the best steps to take is to ensure you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals, calcium being one of the most important. Vegans may have less choices at the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on this essential mineral.

Here are some of the best options to stock up on:

Leafy greens

Although some greens like spinach contain a higher number of oxalates – which bind nutrients and prevent absorption – kale, broccoli and bok choy can be more bioavailable options. One cup of cooked kale contains 268 milligrams calcium, similar to a cup of dairy milk.

kale
Pictured: Kale

Almonds

Almonds offer 246 milligrams of calcium per cup – of course, people aren’t likely to consume a whole cup, as such this is a good choice to add a boost of the mineral, but not relying on them alone. Pistachios are also a great option, and they have less oxalates, meaning the calcium will be better absorbed.

almond
Pictured: Almonds

Sauerkraut

This is already a nutritional powerhouse, known for its high vitamin K content and probiotics. While less well-known, its calcium content is nothing to brush off. Coming in at 43 milligrams per cup, this fermented dish may be lower in calcium than some of the other foods on this list, but it is still a bone-strengthening powerhouse due to its vitamin K2 content and adding a little to your diet is a great way to stave off osteoporosis.

sauerkraut
Pictured: Sauerkraut

Plant-based milk

While many prefer to get their calcium naturally occurring in their food – such as in broccoli or cheese – there’s nothing wrong with including synthetic calcium in your diet and it can be a beneficial way to meet the daily requirements.

Many plant-based milks have calcium fortified into them, and this is still a great way to help reach that thousand milligram goal. Some of these milks also have the added benefits of other vital vitamins like B12 and vitamin D being fortified into them. Oat, almond, rice and soy milk are some of the many choices available, but make sure to check the nutritional profile on the back – some brands have more calcium than others.

plant milk
Pictured: Oat milk

Tofu

Tofu can be a great source of calcium, but be aware than not all brands are built the same. Some offer drastically higher amounts than others and this depends on the method and ingredients with which the tofu was set. If calcium sulfate is used for this process, then it will certainly pack a healthy dose of calcium into a meal, with some coming in at 350 milligrams in a serve – making it the greatest source on this list.

tofu
Pictured: Tofu

Including multiple sources of calcium is reported to be the best way to meet the daily requirements. As such, to ensure a balanced diet, try to avoid relying on loading up on one source of calcium to meet the recommended intake.

In a world flooded with global disasters and mental health conditions like eco-anxiety on the rise, author of the bestselling self-help book, Slow, Brooke McAlary, unveils the pitfalls of neglecting personal care in her new book, Care.

Brooke McAlary’s own experience with post-natal depression was the catalyst for her self-care journey and marked the beginning of her career change from business woman to self-help author. After the overwhelming success of her 2017 international bestseller Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World, Brooke returns to share her latest tips to live a slow and joyful life, through her latest book, Care: The Radical Art of Taking Time, published by Allen & Unwin.

After receiving her post-natal depression diagnosis following the birth of her second child, it was Brooke’s therapist who first recommended slowing down. This wake-up call prompted Brooke’s change of pace and her ensuing move to the Southern Highlands with her family. Burned out by her past career running a jewellery business, along with raising two young children and juggling excessive commitments, the self-care author reveals how she knew something had to change.

Brooke says, “Looking back, I can see my mental health started to take a dive…I write about slow, because I need slow, it’s not something that comes naturally.”

Self care is important for mental health
Photo Credit: Nikko Macaspac on Unsplash

In her book, Brooke tackles the exploitative nature of the wellness industry. The industry has high stakes in profiting from the growing market for self-care, reeling in nearly $4.5 trillion and representing 5.3% of global economic spending.

With increasing mediums for internet users to be inundated by advertisements and marketing campaigns, it is becoming easier for corporations to exploit the rising population of people seeking solutions to stress and burnout. Brooke says, “If you are buying into certain elements of self-care because you think there’s something wrong with you, you become vulnerable to that marketing message.”

Wellness services have flooded the market, many of which have been accused of charging exorbitant fees and exploiting desperation. Brooke challenges the exclusive tactics of self-care corporations, and offers a more accessible path to wellbeing in her guide.

“Everything I write about needs to be accessible to everyone, regardless of finances, geography, abilities,” Brooke says.

It helps if you’re already well, you’re slim and you’re 25, that kind of mentality is what has attached itself to self-care.

“In keeping with the idea of accessibility, I really wanted it to be achievable for people who are busy, which is a lot of people. If you’ve got thirty seconds, you can spend those thirty seconds looking out a window at a green view, you can write down one lovely thing that you saw today or you could hold the door for a stranger.”

Walking outside is a form of self care
Photo Credit: Юлія Вівчарик on Unsplash

Brooke unpacks the ideas of ‘Big Care’ and ‘Small Care’, and their significance in the past year where ‘Big Care’ has had a major global impact of “upheaval and collective grief,” with the climate change crisis and the COVID19 pandemic. While she acknowledges that these two types of ‘care’ don’t exist in a vacuum, she also identifies why we need to prioritise the ‘Small Care’ sometimes.

Brooke says, “I realised I had spent so much time and energy caring about all of these big, important global collective issues like climate change, COVID, the national grief we’re all feeling as a result of last year’s bushfires, but what I had neglected was the other end of the spectrum of care, the small acts of care.

“That is the genesis of the spectrum of care I talk about in the book. The reason we need to start spending more time on the smaller end of the spectrum.”

Brooke’s call for greater self-care and mental health awareness is all the more pertinent, with stress and burnout rapidly increasing among the population. Asana’s global study found that 4 in 5 Australians in white-collar jobs suffered burnout in 2020.

While a variety of symptoms are reported, the main signs often include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Brain Fog
  3. Maladaptive Daydreaming
  4. Lack of Motivation
  5. Sleep Issues
  6. Frequent Illness

With smartphone users clocking in 3 hours and 15 minutes a day and technology infiltrating all aspects of people’s lives, Care brings to light the role technology plays in exacerbating burnout and stress.

Fighting the temptation to keep scrolling on social media is hard when “it feels good in the short term because it releases dopamine”, Brooke says, but she maintains the need to substitute internet usage with more fulfilling activities.

Our phones, our laptops, our screens can be viewed much more like a tool… something you use for a job and then you put it away.

Brooke advises people to partake in hands-on activities outside of technology, suggesting that physical activities like yoga can positively affect the brain and even just “looking into the eyes of animals can release oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone.’

Looking into the eyes of animals produces oxytocin
Photo Credit: Nachelle Nocom on Unsplash

Brooke says, “If there’s an opportunity to go for a walk, or to sit and do something tech-related, I use that information for motivation.”

In her own life, Brooke has implemented this concept for her family, with her children creating a technology-free ‘slow room’ to help reduce outside sources of stress. She says, “I started experimenting and started to declutter and was astounded to find the impact it had on my mental health.” It was this realisation of how switching off can bring joy that inspired Brooke to share this practice with her children.

Practising self care as a family
Photo Credit: Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Brooke also outlines how ‘Small Care’ can affect our perception of time, revealing how anyone can harness the ability to “bend timeand alter their experience of its passage.

“As I get older, as my kids get older, I feel like time speeds up. That made me curious about why there were times in my life where time seemed to feel like more,” Brooke says.

Research shows that our perception of time changes as we grow older. When we’re a child everything is new.  As a result, time feels like it goes on for longer… That is the simplest way to bend time.

Brooke says when people’s lives become monotonous and repetitive, the brain doesn’t hold on to those memories, thus creating the illusion of time passing quickly. In Care, Brooke encourages individuals to embrace the sense of play and wonder from childhood, to slow down their perception of time and make space for ‘Small Care.’

Featuring Brooke McAlary, author of Care: The Radical Art of Taking Time.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Brooke’s work, watch our exclusive interview with her below.

With researchers widely reporting the benefits of tea for reducing the risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure and even the common cold, tea can a great addition to a healthy life. But the endless options on the market can make choosing the right one an intimidating process.

Tea is not just a soothing drink to drown out a stressful day’s work, but it also has powerful antioxidants which target free radicals in the body – these are major contributors to the development of disease – and studies show this may play a role not only in reducing the risk of various ailments, but may also slow down the ageing process.

Lifestyle, environmental and diet choices, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or skimping on regular exercise, are some of the main causes of oxidative stress; a state in which there is an imbalance of free radicals in the body. This imbalance can damage our DNA and could eventually lead to a number of health conditions, including:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Diabetes
  3. Inflammation
  4. Heart disease
  5. Cancer

Research on green tea consumption found that regularly drinking the beverage has a proven reduction in cellular damage and it proved that the antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, in the tea trapped the free radicals, leading to a decrease in oxidative stress.

tea health
Photo Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash

It is clear that tea is a powerful aid to maintaining good health and, although tea may not cure illnesses, it can offer some relief and lessen the burden of some symptoms. Below is a list of some beneficial teas and what they can do – find out which one is right for you.

Camomile Tea

Best for

  • Managing blood sugar levels
  • Aiding sleep regulation
  • Reducing inflammation

Camomile has a long history of uses dating back to ancient times when it was highly esteemed throughout Europe and Asia for its many healing properties. Today, this tea is most popularly known as a calming drink, often recommended to those with jittery nerves. However, it has also been found to reduce inflammation – which is a major contributor to the development of conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis or even skin ailments like eczema. Some studies have also found that this tea can help manage blood sugar levels.

chamomile tea
Photo Credit: Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

Peppermint Tea

Best for

  • Indigestion
  • Bloating

The cooling and refreshing flavour and smell of this tea prove that it’s for good reason that so many products, including toothpaste, sweets and gum, use mint as a main ingredient. But the taste alone is not where peppermint tea’s best qualities lie.

Recognised for its benefits in reducing the pain of indigestion and bloating, this tea can be a great option for those with digestive issues. However, studies show that if one’s symptoms stem from GERD, this tea could further irritate the condition, but those suffering from IBS symptoms may find relief with peppermint, according to previous research.

Peppermint tea
Photo Credit: Anton Darius on Unsplash

Liquorice Root Tea

Best for

  • Supporting kidney and liver function
  • Reducing symptoms of respiratory illnesses

Liquorice root is in fact the same plant that the beloved confectionary liquorice is derived from, and unsurprisingly, the tea has a natural sweetness to it. Studies have found that the oleanolic and asiatic acids in this tea make powerful antioxidants, which in turn can fight the symptoms of some respiratory conditions including colds and bronchitis, by protecting the cells in the lungs.

This study also shows that liquorice root tea contains antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Though there is limited evidence, some believe this tea may reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.

licorice tea
Liquorice root tea is known for its healing qualities.

Ginger Tea

Best for

  • Aiding digestion
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing congestion

This antiviral tea can aid in pain relief for menstrual cramps, indigestion and bloating and is a popular choice for reducing cold symptoms, including congestion. Ginger also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, with one study reporting 5% less oxidative stress-related kidney damage in the subjects that consumed ginger than those that didn’t.

Ginger tea
Photo Credit: Julia Topp on Unsplash

Green Tea

Best for

  • Skin health
  • Antioxidants

This aromatic beverage is a powerful option and its health benefits are a force to be reckoned with, ranging from aiding digestion, boosting brain function and supporting skin health. The antioxidants found in green tea are a driving force for preventing cancer and inflammation. This tea may also fight halitosis – studies have found green tea reduced the severity of bad breath by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

green tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants.

Nettle Tea

Best for

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Bone health

This tea, sourced from the stinging nettle plant, is a nutritional powerhouse, providing doses of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and it also contains all the nine essential amino acids. Like the other teas on this list, nettle tea provides free radical-fighting antioxidants which are vital for maintaining healthy cells and preventing the development of many illnesses.

Nettle tea
Photo Credit: Debby Hudson on Unsplash

While these choices all provide a range of health benefits, it is important to remember not all teas are safe for everyone and some teas may interact with one’s medication and, as such, it’s always best to check with your physician before making any dietary changes.

 

 

A stranger’s cold eyes, pursed lips, scrunched-up nose and serious brows can leave us feeling uncomfortable. Or perhaps you’ve felt at ease when encountering a warm, open face with kind eyes and an upturned mouth. Many of us subconsciously evaluate who to trust or who to avoid based on people’s facial features.

While we might not consider the root of such judgments, putting it down to intuition, we are inadvertently Face Reading. The study, officially known as physiognomy, pinpoints the exact facial features that correspond with an individual’s personality, and proves to be more than just intuition. It is rooted in ancient studies and has served communities dating back as early as the Zhou dynasty in China. 

According to this practice, an auspicious face, which can be categorised by big earlobes, a plump chin, straight nose and a full forehead, can mean this person will lead a prosperous and successful life. By comparison, a face with a flat philtrum – the space between the nose and upper lip, a small chin and a blemished or scarred forehead foretells a life marred with health, relationship and financial difficulties. Chinese physiognomy holds that a person’s past is reflected on their face and through analysing facial features their former and future experiences are revealed.

Like astrology and tarot reading, physiognomy is considered an alternate practice in the West. Despite the sceptical beliefs around these practices, Face Reading is not based on conjecture, as scientists have been studying the links between physiognomy and the way we perceive others, with some reports finding evidence that certain features can affect the way people see us.  Face Reading is even used for criminal profiling, with law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, using the practice to assist in reading suspects or offenders.

There are 12 main features including the ears, nose, lips, cheeks, jaw, chin, brows, mouth, eyes, eyebrows, forehead and hairline, with each corresponding to personality traits. Each facial feature is also thought to represent the health of our internal organs, with the forehead representing the liver, the nose linked to the heart and the ears linked to the kidneys.

facial features corresponding organs health
Facial features are believed to reflect the health of their corresponding internal organs.

The face is split between the left and right side, with the left side held to represent one’s personal life and true self. The right side reflects one’s public self that they project outwards. For example, if a person had a scar on their left side, this may indicate a distressing event in their personal life.

Although physiognomy is not a hard science and can’t be relied upon for profiling without further research, it remains a popular practice that is learned and applied not only by professionals, but also by lay people.

Here are some easy techniques to get started on the elements of Face Reading and what they mean:

Face shape:

There are 10 main face shapes in Chinese physiognomy, each reflecting different personalities, experiences and fortunes. Below are a few of the most common shapes.

  1. Round Face Shape: This shape describes a round, plump face and denotes a kind and compassionate individual who is easy-going and accommodating. Known as the ‘water’ type face, it is thought that the owner of this face is optimistic and has a gentle, kind nature.
  2. Square face shape: This type is thought to be an analytical, logical and smart individual. Also known as the ‘metal’ face, this type is domineering and can be overbearing or stubborn, but is believed to have a good sense of humour.
  3. Long face shape: This face shape denotes a hardworking type who is practical and organised. They may be short-tempered, prickly and difficult to communicate with. This is the ‘wood’ type face, and it is held that the owner of this face may struggle with relationships due to their nature.
  4. Triangular face shape: This type describes a face with a narrow forehead and large jaw. They are considered kind, genuine and family-oriented.
Face shape round long square
Face shapes from left to right: round face, long face and square face.

Eyebrows:

Eyebrows are believed to represent one’s fortune from age 31-34, along with reflecting emotions and one’s familial relationships. In general, auspicious eyebrows are considered those that are long enough to cover the eyes, are aligned with the brow bone and have smooth hair.

  1. Curved: The owners of these eyebrows are described as warm, open and friendly people. They are strong communicators and enjoy working with others.
  2. Straight: Individuals with these eyebrows are considered serious and direct, with a business-minded approach to life. They have a short temper and can be stubborn. They have a strong ability to focus and are not the type you’d find struggling with procrastination.
  3. Angled: This type indicates an impatient and ambitious individual who likes to be in control. They make good leaders, and are highly competitive. This type is advised to keep their temper in check to avoid hurting others.
face reading straight eyebrows
Straight eyebrows (pictured) are believed to reflect a serious person.

Eyes:

The eyes have long been referred to as the window to the soul, and according to physiognomists, it is for good reason. The shape and positioning of one’s eyes are believed to indicate a person’s open or reserved nature.

  1. Closely set eyes: These eyes refer to those that are positioned closer together, and indicate an independent, strong-willed and possibly stubborn individual.
  2. Wide-set eyes: Those with wide-set eyes are believed to be adventurous and thoughtful types who think outside the box.
  3. Upward-turned eyes: Someone with these eyes is thought to be an inquisitive and ambitious individual. They are held to be optimists who are able to get a hold of, and make the most of, opportunities.
  4. Downward-turned eyes: The owners of these eyes are more prone to pessimism and negative rumination. However, they are believed to be kind, thoughtful and helpful to those around them.
  5. Deep-set eyes: People with deep-set eyes are observant and attentive and have a mysterious image. They are reserved and often hold people at an arm’s length before getting to know them. They may take a while to open up and struggle with authentic self-expression.
  6. Protruding eyes: Those with this eye type are considered to be erratic and impulsive, with a strong passion for fun ad adventure. They are thought to enjoy attention and validation from others.

Sanpaku Eyes:

Do you have these unlucky eyes? Sanpaku eyes describes eyes with three visible whites; referring to the visible sclera of the eyes. While this term is Japanese, it is a culturally widespread and deep-rooted belief that this eye type is a bad omen.

Most commonly, people have only two white spaces visible in their eyes, those to the right and left of the iris. But when the sclera below or above the eyes are also visible, these are considered Sanpaku eyes. With the white below the iris visible, the owner of these eyes is considered to be an unlucky person, and someone who will suffer exceptionally through their lives.

Many renowned figures with calamitous experiences have had these inauspicious eyes, including Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and James Dean, who all had whites visible below the iris. On the other hand, people with whites visible above the iris are believed to cause suffering to those around them.

sanpaku eyes
Sanpaku eyes, also known as ‘three-white eyes’, pictured above.

Mouth:

As the corresponding facial feature of the stomach, the mouth represents materialism, sexual attraction, but also love and friendship.

  1. Big mouth: People with this type tend to be healthy, influential and passionate. They are well-liked and charismatic and may have luck in the financial aspects of life.
  2. Small mouth: These individuals are usually more conservative and reserved. They struggle to express their feelings and tend to be timid in relationships.
  3. Upturned mouth: This type represents an optimistic and enthusiastic person who is usually popular and well-liked. They are motivated and driven and this generally leads to financial security and success and their lives.
  4. Down-turned mouth: This mouth indicates a prideful and rigidly- principled individual who can be stubborn. On the other hand, they are hard-working, courageous and are dedicated to overcome challenges in their lives.
  5. Crooked mouth: People with crooked mouths tend to suffer from stomach problems. If the right side is crooked, then these individuals are thought to be witty, talkative and passionate. On the other hand, a left-side crooked mouth indicates a pessimistic, worn-out person who is likely to hold grudges against others.

Lips:

  1. Thick lips: These lips indicate a pragmatic, friendly and sentimental individual. They are positive and considerate, but have a tendency of making impulsive decisions and are prone to getting misled by others.
  2. Thin lips: People with this type tend to be witty, realistic and straightforward. They can also be stubborn, argumentative and like to exaggerate stories. They may lack responsibility and loyalty.
  3. Thick upper lip and thin lower lip: This combination represents a caring, loyal and devoted individual who is observant and considerate of others’ problems. They believe in giving, rather than taking.
  4. Thin upper lip and thick lower lip: This type indicates a dependent person, who lacks self-regulation skills and may overly rely on the help and support of others around them.
lips big small face reading chinese
Lip types pictured from left to right: thick lips, thin lips.

Nose:

The tip of the nose is held to represent a person’s financial luck in life, while the bridge of the nose reflects health.

  1. Fleshy nose tip: It is a generally held belief in physiognomy that the bigger the nose, the bigger the ego. But along with this comes with a strong inner world and a kind spirit.
  2. Small nose tip: This indicates a more prudent and reserved individual, with bad financial luck.
  3. High nose bridge: A straight nose bridge indicates good health, especially if there are no moles or scars. When the bridge is high, it represents a person who attracts wealth and has good luck in romantic relationships.
  4. Low nose bridge: A low bridge indicates low self-esteem and suggests those with this nose lack the confidence that those with higher and bigger noses are known for.
nose types
Types of nose tips pictured from left to right: small tip, fleshy tip.

These techniques can easily be applied to uncover what your face says about your fortune, health and past experiences. However, Chinese philosophy relies upon balance and, as such, for an effective reading, each facial feature should not be isolated, but rather, analysed with the rest of the face taken into consideration.

From the moment we are born, every experience and emotion we have ever felt is stored in the part of our mind called the subconscious. Intangible, immeasurable, and for the most part inaccessible, this portion of the human mind is complex and extremely important to our individual personal identities.

 

Our mind is like an iceberg. Floating in the ocean, we can only see what is above the surface of the water – and while this may be colossal in size, it only makes up a tiny ten percent of the total size of the iceberg. What is hidden underneath is nine times larger. Our conscious mind represents this ten percent of the iceberg in view, above the water, and our subconscious represents all that is below. The conscious mind is only a tiny portion of what is going on underneath.

The conscious mind is responsible for collecting information in our day-to-day life through our senses, which it relays back to the subconscious. The subconscious encompasses those activities we take for granted such as breathing, blinking and monitoring our temperatures, but it also stores every past experience, emotion, and thought we have ever had. Like the iceberg under the water, we can’t see or readily access the true depth and size of our incredibly powerful subconscious mind but it plays an extremely important role in all of our lives.

The capacity of the subconscious mind is incredible, with few limitations on how much it can store. According to motivational speaker, renowned self-development expert and author of Focal Point Brian Tracy, “By the time you reach 21, you’ve already stored more than one hundred times the content of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.”

smell taste touch neon sign

The subconscious mind is constantly active and responsible for an incredible amount of our human functions, actions, choices and personality. In psychological terms, the subconscious is a secondary mind system that stores everything we receive through our senses in a kind of data processing memory bank. It monitors information coming in from our conscious mind such as sight, taste, hearing and touch.

The two aspects of the mind – conscious and subconscious – communicate all the time. The elements that are processed by our conscious mind only stay in the subconscious if they are intensely emotional experiences. This is partly what makes the subconscious so powerful and important in its long-term effects on us as individuals.

What does the subconscious mind actually do?

The subconscious element of our minds covers more than just suppressed desires and forgotten traumatic memories that we are often told about at school. It is responsible for all of those day-to-day movements and activities that we take for granted or don’t even consciously recognise doing. For example, breathing, blinking and regulating our body temperatures are all acts we do subconsciously.

According to psychologist Havan Parvez, of PsychMechanics, the subconscious is always active, even when we sleep. It communicates with us through images and symbols in our dreams, relaying information we have encountered during the day or even from many years ago – the subconscious storage bank goes back as long as we have been processing information through our senses.

 

 

Another key function of the subconscious relates to our behaviour. It regulates our reactions, actions, decisions, and physical choices to fit with those it has previously established as ‘ours’. It keeps our thoughts and beliefs consistent, establishing our comfort zones and deeming what activities would suit them.

Brian Tracy, self-development author and motivational public speaker, states that the subconscious mind is what, “Makes (our) behaviour fit a pattern consistent with (our) emotionalised thoughts, hopes, and desires.”

Man and woman in love sitting close

 

Psychology blog, Mindsets, also claims our natural intuition arises from the subconscious, which uses our previous experience, emotions and memory to help us assess situations. If you have ever felt a ‘gut feeling’ or inexplicable sense about something, this is your subconscious mind communicating with you and sending you signals based on your own previous knowledge.

According to Yvonne Oswald’s book, Every Word Has Power, the subconscious mind does the following:
  1. Operates the physical body.
  2. Has a direct connection with the Divine.
  3. Remembers everything.
  4. Stores emotions in the physical body.
  5. Maintains genealogical instincts.
  6. Creates and maintains least effort (repeating patterns).
  7. Uses metaphor, imagery and symbols.
  8. Takes direction from the conscious mind.
  9. Accepts information literally and personally.
  10. Does not process negative commands.

How can we harness its power?

It is important to know the ways in which we can harness the power of our subconscious minds. Think about emotional experiences you have had that have impacted your future life. Can personal issues with trust, relationships, certain habits, that you currently have be traced back to an incident or experience you had in the past? This is your subconscious mind acting based on the intense emotions you felt during that time.

Woman looking into the sunriseOne of the most significant reasons why we should endeavour to use the power of our subconscious for our mental health is to clear emotional blockages and for the purposes of personal healing. According to Joseph Drumheller, award-winning author and leader in meditation, healing and education, we must be in the proper state of mind before exploring our subconscious. He suggests practising some detachment when considering our emotional charges or particular feelings in isolation. Distance your rational mind from these emotions. Then it becomes easier, and safer, to push into these feelings a little deeper.

Drumheller says that letting yourself explore and feel your emotions as they arise or as you consider certain aspects of your life is important when working on your subconscious. Through your detachment from these emotions, start to think about them more critically. Take mental note of when a certain thought, image, noise, or memory triggers a particular emotion. From this point, we can start to ask ourselves why we feel this emotion, and if from our space of mental detachment, we can see that it may not be warranted, we can start to let the feeling go. As the emotion grows fainter and less raw, we are letting go of this emotional charge and clearing some weight from our subconscious.

This method is useful to try, but the results can differ from person to person. Drumheller suggests that if we are stuck with a particular emotional charge that is difficult to shift, or we begin to lose ourselves in the feelings of that emotion, then there is another method to try. Visualise a large scared object or symbol such as a flower or a cross hovering directly in front of you. Imagine that it holds immense power. Start to think about each of your emotions and visualise this object pulling the force of these emotions out of your heart and mind, drawing them into itself. In this way the power has been transferred to the object rather than your mind in releasing the emotional charge and is a good method for beginners or those struggling with release.

Further suggestions

There is an extensive array of literature, podcasts and other resources available for information and guidance regarding our subconscious. Several books written on the subject are available as audiobooks which can be a fantastic way to engage with the material.

Based on readership ratings, the following books are recommended:

  • The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  • Beyond the Power of your Subconscious Mind by C. James Jenson
  • The Subconscious Mind: How to Use the Hidden Power of Your Mind to Reach Your Goals by Linda Siegmund

Exploring your subconscious is something that can be done privately but is also worthwhile when done with the assistance of a mental health professional such as a psychologist. Those trained in this field can guide you, provide suggestions, and offer support should you need it.

Therapies for your subconscious such as Private Subconscious-mind Healing (P.S.H) are also available for more guided or targeted exploration of the subconscious. This therapy is non-invasive, extremely gentle in its approach, and is designed to assist in resolving underlying subconscious problems that are affecting our day to day lives.

 

Beyond ego and facades…

Of all the life-changing events, this course has affected me, and improved my life, like no other.

I was surprised to learn I held deep-rooted Rage and Shame in being a woman. I had been blocked by a fear of not being good enough. A fear of rejection. We ALL feel a sense of isolation and anxiety over not being accepted. We NEED to belong.

The Mighty Gum

Not unique, not special, one of many … at first glance.

Omnipresent from where I sit, and common throughout the world.

But look closer and you will see the power of the Mighty Gum.

Erect and tall, it reaches high and higher, its stem gradually growing depth and bulk as it metamorphoses into a solid trunk, over time.

Its branches spreading outwards, expanding to take in more of what the air has to offer.

Its delicate leaves multiplying, more and more and more, and dying and dropping off and falling; the tree, never once grieving the losses of these, as it knows in its heart, its soul, its guts, that more will come.

It is strongly rooted in the earth, spreading underground in gentle, continuous search of more nutrients, more moisture, to sustain its blood and body.

It doesn’t resist the searing sun, it moves gently with the breeze and allows the rain to gently fall from its leaves.

Opening to the sun, soaking in its energy, that it needs to feed all its elements – the leaves, the branches, the bark, the trunk, the guts, the roots… all of her.

Which then feed the many creatures that like to visit, stay a while or stay longer – the ants, the beetles, the birds, and bugs.

And then, as it ages and understands the elements won’t keep its body alive, there is no terror as it looks down and sees its two healthy, enthusiastic little saplings thriving – full of optimism, hope, and energy, eager to continue the cycle of the Mighty Gum.

 

I wrote this poem on the Path of Love retreat recently, during a small assignment where we reflected on Nature and its symbolism to us.
It was about my journey as a Woman and as a Mother.
Surprising for an editor perhaps, I frequently agonize over writing, but I wrote this poem in 10 minutes.

I wrote with freedom. Self-doubt didn’t suffocate me, instead a bolder, richer and more creative part of myself emerged; overpowering my usual insecurity and self-criticism.
I credit this to the Path of Love.

The Path of Love (PoL) is a powerful, seven-day course, set in natural bushland in the Hunter Valley, NSW, which is formulated to break through limiting, personal barriers that block people from achieving what we really want out of life. It is designed to help us develop more Love, and to live a more meaningful life.

It enabled me to go within, to the core, beyond Ego and facades such as appearance, life-situation, and personality; which cleared the way for my natural drive and passion to return.

I went to the Essence. I experienced an authentic me.

People had different personal motivations for being there – relationship problems, a lack of career direction, a personal crisis of some kind, dealing with childhood and past traumas, or, simply, because they felt at Crossroads and wanted more passion and direction in their life.

I didn’t have a clear reason for going on this retreat. I just noticed a few coincidences around PoL and was compelled to sign up, not knowing very much about it at all.

I am glad I listened to that inner whisper, because of the University degrees, travel, relationships and other life-changing events, this course has affected me, and improved my life, like no other.

PoL is a deep inquiry into the Self, involving meditation; music; dancing; writing; time in nature; sharing experiences, thoughts, and emotions; reflection; and silence.

There were 30 participants and the same number of staff, our ‘Angels’, who supported us through the intense, exhilarating and, at times, confronting, journey within. They formed a nurturing womb which held us while we shed outmoded and decaying belief systems and habits, allowing for a truer self to emerge.

We worked intimately in a group of eight where all exteriors washed away. I now consider these people another family. The bond we formed during this personal process was profound. And, under the skillful, compassionate and deeply insightful guidance of our facilitators, Samved and Mairead, we were safe to allow raw vulnerability, which encouraged trust, truth, unconditional love and deep, personal breakthroughs to happen.

I faced the scary, dark fears, and also celebrated the light-filled, majestic parts of myself.

I was surprised to learn I held deep-rooted Rage and Shame in being a woman. It was a low-level thing. On the outset, I was reasonably accomplished and happy, but deep down, this self-subjugation was killing the inner fire. In an effort to avoid being a “hard bitch,” I had suppressed my natural Womanhood.

I had made myself ‘small,’ in what I thought femininity ‘should’ look like. I had believed I was an empowered woman! But, through the course’s penetrating process, I experienced a different, new and beautiful kind of power in the Feminine.

The experience helped me take ownership of myself as a woman and as a mother.

Opinions, self-support, sexuality, sensuality, inner strength and a Voice to express what I want and need, as well as love and compassion. I found a Lioness. Protective of her children, and herself. Protective of women.

I identified issues I’d been harbouring since childhood, adolescence and adult life, and was then encouraged to nurture these wounds, and to let them go.

I also found a need to Speak my Truth, overthrowing fears of reproach or judgement, and I’ve been amazed at how well this has worked since in my relationships, work and daily life. I was too afraid to do this previously for fear of rejection, conflict and ridicule.

I realised I have been quite a fearful person, which, despite appearing confident, manifests as shyness and me avoiding social situations. I felt awkward and nervous of intimacy, and actually found it almost impossible to look people in the eye.

It was humorous and a great relief at the end of this course to be able to do this apparently basic exercise, that had seemed so terrifying seven days earlier.

I had been blocked by a fear of not being good enough. A fear of rejection. This, I learnt, is inherently part of the human condition. We ALL feel a sense of isolation and anxiety over not being accepted. We NEED to belong.

I learned that all have our insecurities, weaknesses, fears and pains. Of particular interest, was an insight into the male psyche and heart. I was ignorant to just how vulnerable men are too, and they, like women, are just as in need of love and meaning in their lives.

Here is a snapshot of what my new friends experienced on PoL:

Gunter, a husband and father who traveled from New Zealand to attend the course, shares:

“I felt pretty much done with life – I was depressed, fed up, over it, tired, mainly with my relationship in particular, and came away with the support and feeling that I was still ok, that I was not banished, cast out… I have always known that I’m not perfect, but I gave myself such a hard time, from quite early on. I feel I have made a quantum leap.”

Tanya was overcoming childhood sexual abuse and trauma:

 

“The loving kindness of PoL fast-forwarded the healing of childhood wounds that I did not realize were holding me back in love and life.”

Mark, a devoted husband and father, says, he was tired, stressed and depressed.                                                                                                        “I had lost the passion and connection with my life purpose. Life post-PoL is completely transformed. I am excited about the future and have a new perspective on what contribution I can make.”

Carol, a powerful, sophisticated, charming woman reveals:

“Path of Love helped me understand I had a longing for connection – with my Self and with others. Since I have been able to meditate easily and to find the real “me” within. I’ve also been more aware of patterns where I may self-sabotage and I am able to connect with friends and with life at a much deeper level, which is enriching my life. I feel an inner peace.”

Troy, a devout Christian, father and husband, says:
“I came to learn and grow, and discovered I really wanted to see the bits of me I always hid from. I was encouraged to share, to cry, to listen, and to dance, and to realize that I was loved and divinely bespoke.”

Wen, a charismatic woman coming to terms with the ending of her marriage, shares:                                                                                         “I was able to look at my self-doubts and love for myself. Old beliefs are hard to confront but when you are in a loving, gentle, understanding surrounding, you can feel pure bliss.”

Ant, a clever, eloquent and successful businessman and father of two, explains:

“Its formula is genius and gruelling. On the course, I was semi anxious most of the time with that simmering turning up of the requirement to keep going deeper. That constant inching forward of the intensity and that escalating demand to face yourself. I found real power there. It was enough of a taste to show me that most fear can be transcended.”

I recently read somewhere: “Once you wake up, you can’t come back.” 

The Path of Love enabled this to happen and it feels great to be alive, present and loving, and Real.