Brain Health- Be Transformed (Week 2): Amen 4 Circle Approach and Assessments

So I am delayed in this posting, but I WILL get better at this!  I believe we learned alot this lesson.  We covered 2 topics in this week's DVD: The Amen Clinics 4 Circle Approach and Health assessment tools to do.  So, let's see what makes this approach so balanced!

Dr Amen has learned by personal, life, and work experiences that looking at the whole person gives a much better therapeutic approach. Assessing the person is about one's Biological status, Psychological make-up, Social Skills, and Spiritual attunement.

Biological: How does your brain and body function physically?  This is from the cellular level to your hormones, blood chemistry, organs, and every system.  He helps us assess that personally by asking us to write the positive things we are doing, and the negative things we do to diminish our physical wellness.  So get out some paper and a pen, make a + column and a – column, then to the left list Brain Health, Physical Health, Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep, Hydration, Hormone Balance, Blood sugar level, Supplements/vitamins, and Genetics. He had lots to say about these subjects on the DVD, and you can learn more from his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.  For now, you can try to get an idea of what you DO know about how you are doing in each category above, and list the good and not so good.

Psychological: How do you think and how did you develop?  What?!  So here we look at the processes of your mind and your life experiences that have influenced the way you see life and think about it.  Again, we are looking at the positive and negative aspects of the very deep things of our growth and development, who we are and have become, and our preceptions of ourselves and our lives. Here are the categories for you to list in the left column: Self-talk, Self-concept, Body Image, Physical trauma/injuries, Allergies, Toxin exposure (environment, mold, drugs, excessive caffeine, alcohol, smoking), Infections (Lyme disease, bacterial meningitis, frequent strep, etc), Physical Illness, Medication, Upbringing, Development, Past Emotional Trauma, Past successes, Past failures, Sense of Worth, Sense of power or control, Grief/loss, Hope, and Generational history/issues (immigration, trauma survivors, alcoholic parent or grandparent, DNA testing, etc).  The list is QUITE long and so just begin to see where things pop up as you write the positives and negatives you can identify.  In time, you may decide it is important to pursue this whole process in depth.

Social Circle: What is your current life situation and social support system? A Healthy brain is more likely when we have great relationsips with others, a job or work we like, enough money, and good things going on around us.  An unhealthy brain is often stressed from elevated stress hormones, busyness without rest, having difficult life happenings without resolution or healing, etc.  Here are the categories to make your list: Relationships, Quality of current living environment, Sense of connection to family, friends, and community, Work or school, Stresses, Health, Finances, Current Success or failures, Information, and Health habits of friends and family.  Take the time to look at the postive aspects of these areas…and the negative aspects. Remember, we can't get better if we do not recognize what is off.  Are we hanging with the right people? Healthy people make healthy friends. Dr. Amen says to hang around the healthiest people you can stand as much as you can!

Spiritual: What is your meaing and purpose in life?  You are a spiritual being, whether you have known that before this or not. For us to heal and function at our best, we need to know What convicts us, What draws us to nature, God, and looking for deeper meaning in our lives, What gives us feeling of wholeness, and What is it you are to do in this life.  It is this that helps us live longer and healthier…when we begin to know these things about ourselves.  Here is your list: What is my sense of meaning and purpose?, Why does my life matter?, Values, Morality, To whom am I accountable?, What are my connections to past generations?, What are my connections to future generations?, What is my connection to the planet?, and What is my connection to a Higher Power? Deeper yet are these things that give us a reason to live, for the sake of who we are in the bigger picture of our life on  earth!  Yikes!  So get a yummy drink (one good for the brain!) and get to a quiet place and just sit and let yourself learn about you. Being outside in nature is often a good way to get some insight.

For EACH Brain lesson we will be doing soon, Dr. Amen has a B, P, S, S (see above) solution to help that area become well and healthy, including nourishing foods! Just wait to see how amazing these lessons are!  

Finally, you do need to get some information from inside the body to know where there are areas of need.  "My Health Numbers" are a list of labs, assessments, and evaluations of how your body is functioning right now, and indicators of your overall health.  So here are the things you can start checking: Body Mass Index(BMI), Current Weight, Desired Weight, Waist to Height Ratio, Number of hours you sleep at night, Vitamin D level, Thyroid studies (TSH, Free T3, Free T4), C-reactive protein, Homocysteine, HgA1C, Fasting blood sugar, Total cholesterol (HDL, LDL), Blood pressure, Ferritin, Free and total serum testosterone, Cortisol, DHEA-S.  If we suspect some other things are off, we can also choose to assess those: CBC, Liver enzymes, and more.  Baselines are important so that you know where to begin, what to be relieved about(!), and what needs some attention.  Our bodies are so good at trying to fix us, that they work and work and work, usually quietly, until they get tired and start to poop out. (Old term I just used there! Does the yuppy generation understand that one?!) By then, the screaming of the body might be loud with headaches and pain, or subtle with nausea, food sensitivities, allergies, mild illnesses, hormone imbalances that mimic each other symptomatically at times, and system upsets that we do not even recognize.  By then, we are already in the FIX ME NOW place.

So…start by assessing you!  The book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Dr Amen will be completely helpful; and guide you directly, so if you didn't get it yet, hurry up! 

Weekly Helpful Thots: 1. As you work on the above lists, try using these essential oils to expand your insights: Sacred Frankincense, Sacred Mountain, Angelica, Idaho Balsam Fir, Valor, 3 Wise Men.  Place on the crown (flat part of your head), smell them, use at temples…one drop is all you need. (Use YoungLiving.com essential oils as these are pure, unadulterated oils; use my number to get your oils wholesale! #1425813)   2. Do not be afraid to FIND your wellness team to get you the labs you need, and support your goals. You pay them; they do not pay you, so be picky!  I love my Dr.  She gives me the freedom to do what I love with the oils I love, while I am under her care to have baselines and regular assessments, and to establish plans where I do need her medical help. Teamwork for my wellbeing!

See you next week for The Limbic System!

~ Sherry ~