The HEALTH COACH Practical Guide to Healthy Habits

It is the unknown outcome that makes the first step 
seem difficult

The Rewards of Health are Certain

1. Get it right in your head first. 

Health is a deliberate, conscious choice. That is the only way it happens. First, health must be valued, and then it has to be made a priority. 

When I make health choices, pleasure and sustainability are two of my primary criteria. I have found this to be an easy objective to fulfill; the 13 Basic Health Habits supply abundant options.

Basic Health Habits are life skills. They must be deliberately modelled, taught, and learned, like all life skills

click to expand

The ultimate goal at HEALTH COACH is to challenge and transform your ideas about health, and to prove that health is easy and profoundly rewarding. Health does not require a sacrifice of pleasure or satisfaction.

Let me also reassure you that it is not necessary to sacrifice your health for pleasure. 

I do not abandon my healthy habits during times of indulgence. I consistently hydrate, rest, follow a primordial rhythm of sleep, eat a high fibre, plant-based, whole food, nutrient-dense, 80-20 alkaline - acid pH balanced, probiotic rich diet, engage in physical activity, with a new goal of physical conditioning (The Longevity Test Challenge 2017), and seasonally calibrate my Basic Health Habits

Healthy Habit Formation
Most of the obstacles in our way to starting and developing a new habit, are phantoms of fear, created by a lack of knowledge, understanding, and experience. The difficulty with a new habit, if you lack experience, is the difficulty appreciating the rewards of health during the decision-making phase. 

With experience, you will discover that health is more rewarding and fulfilling than all other options. The healthier you become, the more you will be motivated by and able to include these certain rewards to influence and inspire your choices. As your health improves, you will discover that your resolve and capabilities have also flourished. Making changes based on future outcomes is a goal, not a starting point.

click to expand

I am empowered with the knowledge of how my body functions and what it needs to be healthy. I am encouraged by the power of the human body to be healthy and to heal itself. I am inspired by the desire to see what is possible as I age and to avoid harrowing and invasive medical intervention. I am certain of the rewards of health - they determine and motivate my choices.

Health is the goal. I am developing a relationship with my health habits that is enjoyable, sustainable and richly rewarding, because I understand what my body needs to be healthy, and what works for me personally. I appreciate that this is not a static relationship and that my needs will change.

Please visit
How To Overcome Unhealthy Habits 
and Adopt Healthy Habits


Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living organism. 

Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are the conversion of food to energy to run cellular processes, the conversion of food to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates, and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes. 

These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments.

This means that the principle life, and health-supporting physiological functions are involved in:
  • cellular function
  • cellular building and repair
  • elimination of waste by-products
The necessary elements for the physiological functions of health are dependent on and supplied by your Basic Health Habits.

Health relates only to an intact flesh and blood body.

In humans, health is also the ability of individuals or communities to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental, or social challenges.

Health Literacy
Canadians are health illiterate, and to be fair, we are uneducated. We are on our own when learning about health. 

HEALTH COACH research identifies knowledge and understanding of health creation and maintenance, and a definitive system for healthy habit formation as the major contributing factors influencing health literacy in Canada.

HEALTH COACH research has identified 13 Basic Health Habits that are necessary universally, for human physiological health. This is the fundamental foundation of health missing, and needed to build a coherent and definitive infrastructure of education systems, government policy, and healthcare that actually includes health.

HEALTH COACH research is focused on providing the evidence to show that the basic health habits are not only necessary for physiological structural integrity and function, but also, when practiced together as a whole, the 13 Basic Health Habits are comprehensive enough to create and maintain health, to reduce the risk of disease, and for healthy habit formation.

The 13 Basic Health Habits are also a dependable system for evaluating health. Conventional medical tests give us our risk of particular conditions - high cholesterol warns of impending heart disease, for example, while high blood sugar predicts diabetes. Basic Health Habits, by contrast, help us to evaluate the basic needs to support healthy physiological function, give us an overall reading of how healthy we are, and supply the practical application to address any issues.

2. Knowledge and understanding increase success. 

Knowledge about what your body is made of, and understanding what it needs for healthy function, translates to wiser, more effective choices, and increase the odds for successful accomplishment of your goals. 

This can help you understand difficulties or setbacks. A healthy lifestyle also involves being able to negotiate relapses, compromises, breaks, changes, adjustments, restarts, and continuations.

I have noticed that we frequently do not prepare ourselves when it comes to changing our health habits. For most new and unfamiliar undertakings, we would educate and prepare ourselves or we would seek help, if we lacked the know-how or did not feel capable to do it on our own. 

If you were to build a wall for the first time, you would probably consult a How-to manual or a DIY guide. If you skipped the instruction stage, you would not be surprised if you didn't have all the supplies or the tools needed, or if you made a mistake. If your wall falls down because of faulty methods, you would come to an understanding of your error and you would accept responsibility. You would start again and fix it or consult an expert. 

There is an absence of pragmatism and rationale where our health is concerned. The result is that we are unprepared,  make poor choices, lack the skill to follow through to successful attainment of the goal, and give up in despair, believing that we lack the ability. We look at other people with healthier habits and assume that it is easy for them. 

People with healthy habits do report that motivation and maintenance of healthy habits becomes less of an issue the longer they have these habits. What really separates people with unhealthy habits from those with healthy habits is a wall of inaccurate thoughts and erroneous ideas. What is also lacking is the know-how.

3. Quality information is important, but practical choices are necessary. 

Information is knowledge only when you can utilize it. 

My method of health coaching involves identifying and maximizing your strengths, and reducing and eliminating the obstacles on your path to health. My guidance is customized to work for you.

The strategy that I use starts with the 13 basic health habits that are learned behaviours and that are essential for health. This supplies a sound foundation for understanding your body and what it needs to be healthy so that you can make informed decisions. This puts the power of your health in your hands.

A Health Coach can help you to navigate past old habits and blind spots and to fast-track your efforts and results for a lifelong, rewarding relationship with your health.

While it is valuable to have accurate and comprehensive information about your body and health, I am most interested in the healthy choices that work, with ease in real life.

Health Coaches will shape the future of healthcare.
- Mark Hyman, MD

Health Coaches provide the information, instruction, and the tools to facilitate behavioural change that leads to the creation and maintenance of health, rather than the suppression of natural physiological function and the symptoms of an unhealthy body.

There is no pill that will make you healthy

4. No pill, cure, or therapy can replace basic health habits

Our body is equipped to maintain health and designed to heal itself. Regarding our personal health care, our primary behaviour should involve the support of these natural functions with the practise of Basic Health Habits.

As long as we are made of flesh and blood, we are bound by natural laws. If your present system of healthcare is not built on a foundation of understanding and support of the natural functions of your body, then it is a faulty system.

The New Moderation®
In regard to unhealthy habits, HEALTH COACH recommends moderation, gradual reduction, and finally, elimination. An increase of healthy habits is the most effective way to achieve this. 

When you understand what your body needs to be healthy and to function optimally; and when you make informed choices based on this knowledge and understanding; this can give you a relationship with your health and power of your habits that is more effective than self control.

Develop a new relationship with your health that is based on knowledge, understanding, and effective choices.

1. Sleep
2. Nutrition + Digestive Health
3. Hydration: water + electrolytes
4. Physical Activity
5. Positive Mental Attitude
6. Breathing
7. Sweating
8. Sunlight
9. Rest and Relaxation
10. Meditation 
11. Hygiene personal, home, social, public, occupational, professional, medical, commercial, animal, and environmental
12. Life Skills emotional intelligence, communication, conflict resolution, practical skills, character, integrity, love and compassion, social graces, social responsibility, and more ...
13. Nature We need a healthy environment to be healthy and disease-free.

All basic health habits are learned behaviours
The younger the age that we learn these habits, the more likely they are to be our dependable, and default system, especially in response to unexpected demands and unplanned stress. 

HEALTH COACH basic health habits provide a stable foundation for building knowledge, understanding, and is the most basic of practical guides for your health. With each basic health habit you can customize and personalize your choices.

6. Healthy habits and unhealthy habits work the same way, with some distinctions. 

The physiological process for unhealthy and healthy habits is identical. The same thing happens in our body whether it is a healthy or unhealthy habit. If a behaviour is repeated daily, it takes 45 days to develop a new neural pathway and to the start of a new habit.

Please visit: HEALTH COACH: The Neurobiology of Habit

The process for developing healthy habits is exactly the same repetitive process that occurs when we develop an unhealthy habit and addictions. 

The difference between the two is that unhealthy habits can alter body chemistry and physiological structure in a harmful way, while healthy habits support and promote physiological health and function. 

7. Healthy habits are not harder than unhealthy habits. 

The repetitive process of habit formation is the same for all habit. 

It is true that it is hard to overcome unhealthy habits due to the physiological dysfunction and structural change that occurs as a result of the harmful habit. Unhealthy habits can damage our bodies and disrupt normal physiological function. This is the fundamental reason that unhealthy habits have any control and healthy habits seem to have less. 

I like to associate unhealthy habits with chaos and healthy habits with order. Unhealthy habits seem to happen on their own when we are not proactive about our health.

Health is a deliberate, conscious choice which requires informed effort. The process of healthy habit formation is gentler, and promotes health and healing. A gentle health revolution. The rebuilding of health starts the moment that you start improving your basic health habits.

The most effective way to overcome unhealthy habits is to increase your basic health habits.

8. It takes less time to be healthy than it does to become unhealthy.

It takes a relatively long time to become unhealthy when you neglect your basic health habits and the good news is that the benefits and rewards of healthy habits are immediate, progressive, and comprehensive.

You must be patient for the body to repair, heal, and rebuild itself. It simply will require time as you increase and continue your basic health habits.
The return of health is affected by the degree of ill health, age, disease, physical alteration by surgery and medications, and the effort and dedication devoted to your health.

Keep in mind the benefits and rewards of healthy habits. As your health improves you will discover that your resolve and capabilities will also flourish. There are many gifts and delightful surprises waiting for you and they start the very moment that you start to make healthier choices.

9. Make choices that suit you. 

You will need to develop honesty with yourself to know what suits you, what will work in your life, to make choices you will enjoy, and to be self-supportive. 

Feeling overwhelmed is a sign that I listen to that indicates I'm off track with myself and need to reevaluate or modify my choices, adjust my perspective, and renew my motivations for my health goals. It usually means that I am pressuring myself for results that are not realistic at this time. I respond by taking a step back and doing less or focusing on one goal at a time. I am always learning about myself and what works, with ease, for me. 

I choose yoga because I genuinely enjoy this type of physical activity. I appreciate all of the benefits that yoga gives without limit. Along with breathing instruction, muscle toning, and flexibility training; yoga teaches body awareness - improving body mechanics and structural alignment. Yoga rehabilitates injuries and strains; relieves stress, and increases all types of resilience. Yoga has the ability to reset healthy habits, and to transform behaviour. I see that I get maximum return for my efforts. Yoga is one of the great loves of my life.

10. We have a social responsibility to be healthy. 

This is especially true in a social system of Medicare, like we have here in Canada.

Doing nothing to care for your health is neglectful; cultivating unhealthy habits is self-abusive.

11. Health is the only cure.

The human body is an ecosystem of complementary, co-dependent, and cooperative systems, functioning together to maintain health and designed to heal itself. Neglect of basic health habits leads to physical deterioration, malfunction, a cascade effect of health complications, and finally, to disease.

Our body is equipped to maintain health and designed to heal itself. Regarding our personal health care, our primary behaviour should involve the support of these natural functions with the practise of personal hygiene and basic health habits.

As long as we are made of flesh and blood, we are bound by natural laws. If your present system of health care is not built on a foundation of understanding and support of the natural functions of your body, then it is a faulty system.

12. Take care of your daily health.

What a great concept. This idea directs us to take care of our health with daily habits, one day at a time, starting where we are right now. 

13. Choose health. 
  • When I make health choices, pleasure and sustainability are two of my primary criteria.
  • I make informed choices that increase success.
  • I take care of my daily health, using methodical strategies that suit me. In other words, I put thought and care into the organizing of daily routines that support my physiological health consistently.
  • Seasonally (four times a year), I evaluate and calibrate my Basic Health Habits.
  • Whenever my body gets my attention with pain, skin, or digestive dysfunction, poor wound healing, hormonal imbalance, stress, or I find myself worrying about my age, the first thing I do is evaluate and calibrate my Basic Health Habits.  
  • I am increasingly able to make choices that will benefit my future self, as well as having benefit now.
  • Try HEALTH COACH Basic Health Habits for your health

A Practical Guide for Healthy Habits 

  • Anyone can transform their habits and lifestyle.
  • The skills required for a healthy, happy, and successful life are all learned behaviours.
  • When health is the goal, rather than weight loss or an increase in body size, better choices are made, the health benefits are more comprehensive and sustainable, and include beauty, weight loss, muscle development, and healthy aging.
  • Be honest with yourself about where you're at - what skills you have to work with, obstacles and strengths - and the skills you will need to learn to attain your goal, and how it  all fits in your life.
  • Being honest with yourself also means recognizing your strengths, giving yourself credit for all progress and accomplishments, and rewarding yourself. 
  • Being honest with yourself also means recognizing, acknowledging, and celebrating how good healthy feels.
  • An important part of a healthy lifestyle involves choosing rewards that add to your health - not subtract from it.
  • In regard to unhealthy habits, I recommend moderation, gradual reduction and finally, elimination. An increase of healthy habits is the most effective way to achieve this. When you understand what your body needs to be healthy and to function optimally, this can give you a relationship and power of your physical health that is more effective than self control. Develop a new relationship with your health that is based on knowledge, understanding and effective choices.
  • As you develop healthy habits, your struggles will change and your capabilities will improve.
  • Reduce your stress. When the prefrontal cortex responsible for decision making is overloaded by chronic stress and fatigue - your resolve and best intentions are likely to succumb to emotional desire for instant gratification.
  • Meditation calms the limbic system and the desire for immediate gratification and empowers the prefrontal cortex and our willpower. 
  • Make a detailed plan of goals and priorities. 
  • Make a detailed plan of strategies for coping with barriers, triggers and setbacks. 
  • Plan in advance resources, aids, support, and healthy rewards. 
  • A detailed plan should also include emotional rewards when milestones are reached. This will strongly link changing behaviour to positive emotions and will ease and enhance the process of habit becoming instinctive, automatic and natural. 
  • The more realistic, detailed and specific your goal is, the more likely you will succeed.

  • Habit is overcome by habit.
  • If a behaviour is repeated daily, it takes 45 days to develop a new neural pathway and to the start of a new habit.
  • If your goal is multi-faceted and repeated with less frequency, the longer it will take to become habit because it is easier to forget, there is less repetition and it is a larger commitment - easily engaging our natural avoidance strategies.
  • Installing a new health habit requires: valuing your health, motivation and inspiration, commitment, energy, and it takes time.
  • Start small - get the habit of starting handled - conditioning yourself to new habits - then build.
  • Start with exercise that is gentle like walking, yoga, dancing, swimming or Tai Chi. It will stimulate dopamine, the brain chemical of pleasure and aid in deep breathing, sweating, stress reduction, a more restful sleep , better food and hydration choices and feelings of empowerment. These forms of exercise also affect the brain to help you to maintain your intentions and resolve and to calm emotional desire.
  • Link positive emotions with your new habits. 
  • Read HEALTH COACH basic health habit posts about: sleep, nutrition, physical activity, water, positive mental attitude, breathing and sweating - they will give you specific goals, inspiration and practical tips to help you achieve your goals.
  • Keep in mind the benefits and rewards of healthy habits. As your health improves you will discover that your resolve and capabilities will also flourish. 
  • Get out of your comfort zone and into your courage zone. Learning new physical skills, knowledge, behaviours and habits, new experiences, and self-development all contribute to healthy brain function which has a direct influence on habit-forming behavioural mechanisms.
  • Health is the best happy feeling of all.
  • Have a massage. Massage will create and strengthen the healthy relationship between you and your body and give you the experience of relaxation.
  • Remember: The best things happen when you're relaxed.
  • What To Do If You Miss A Day: Do not despair, panic, or lose control if you do not always meet your commitments, goals, or if you miss a day. A healthy lifestyle also involves being able to negotiate setbacks, compromises, breaks, changes, adjustments, restarts, and continuations. Do not give up on yourself.
  • There are many gifts and delightful surprises waiting for you and they start the very moment that you start to make healthier choices.


The first step is aways the most difficult: Yves Lecoq


Karma is not something that happens to you

karma, when translated, means action
Karma is one of those words we don't translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough - action - but because of the weight the Buddha's teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that the English word action can't carry all its luggage. This is why we've simply airlifted the original word into our vocabulary.

But when we try unpacking the connotations the word carries now that it has arrived in everyday usage, we find that most of its luggage has gotten mixed up in transit. In the eyes of most North Americans, karma functions like fate - bad fate, at that: an inexplicable, unchangeable force coming out of our past, for which we are somehow vaguely responsible and powerless to fight. I guess it's just my karma, I've heard people sigh when bad fortune strikes with such force that they see no alternative to resigned acceptance. The fatalism implicit in this statement is one reason why so many of us are repelled by the concept of karma, for it sounds like the kind of callous myth-making that can justify almost any kind of suffering or injustice in the status quo: If he's poor, it's because of his karmaIf she's been raped, it's because of her karma. From this it seems a short step to saying that he or she deserves to suffer, and so doesn't deserve our help.

This misconception comes from the fact that the Buddhist concept of karma came to the West at the same time as non-Buddhist concepts, and so ended up with some of their luggage. Although many Asian concepts of karma are fatalistic, the early Buddhist concept was not fatalistic at all. In fact, if we look closely at early Buddhist ideas of karma, we'll find that they give even less importance to myths about the past than most modern North Americans do.

For the early Buddhists, karma was non-linear and complex. Other Indian schools believed that karma operated in a simple straight line, with actions from the past influencing the present, and present actions influencing the future. As a result, they saw little room for free will. Buddhists, however, saw that karma acts in multiple feedback loops, with the present moment being shaped both by past and by present actions; present actions shape not only the future but also the present. Furthermore, present actions need not be determined by past actions. In other words, there is free will, although its range is somewhat dictated by the past. The nature of this freedom is symbolized in an image used by the early Buddhists: flowing water. Sometimes the flow from the past is so strong that little can be done except to stand fast, but there are also times when the flow is gentle enough to be diverted in almost any direction.

So, instead of promoting resigned powerlessness, the early Buddhist notion of karma focused on the liberating potential of what the mind is doing with every moment. Who you are - what you come from - is not anywhere near as important as the mind's motives for what it is doing right now. Even though the past may account for many of the inequalities we see in life, our measure as human beings is not the hand we've been dealt, for that hand can change at any moment. We take our own measure by how well we play the hand we've got. If you're suffering, you try not to continue the unskillful mental habits that would keep that particular karmic feedback going. If you see that other people are suffering, and you're in a position to help, you focus not on their karmic past, but your karmic opportunity in the present: Someday you may find yourself in the same predicament that they're in now, so here's your opportunity to act in the way you'd like them to act toward you when that day comes.

This belief that one's dignity is measured, not by one's past, but by one's present actions, flew right in the face of the Indian traditions of caste-based hierarchies, and explains why early Buddhists had such a field day poking fun at the pretensions and mythology of the brahmans. As the Buddha pointed out, a brahman could be a superior person, not because he came out of a brahman womb, but only if he acted with truly skillful intentions.

We read the early Buddhist attacks on the caste system, and aside from their anti-racist implications, they often strike us as quaint. What we fail to realize is that they strike right at the heart of our myths about our own past: our obsession with defining who we are in terms of where we come from - our race, ethnic heritage, gender, socio-economic background, sexual preference - our modern tribes. We put inordinate amounts of energy into creating and maintaining the mythology of our tribe so that we can take vicarious pride in our tribe's good name. Even when we become Buddhists, the tribe comes first. We demand a Buddhism that honors our myths.

From the standpoint of karma, though, where we come from is old karma, over which we have no control. What we are is a nebulous concept at best - and pernicious at worst, when we use it to find excuses for acting on unskillful motives. The worth of a tribe lies only in the skillful actions of its individual members. Even when those good people belong to our tribe, their good karma is theirs, not ours. And, of course, every tribe has its bad members, which means that the mythology of the tribe is a fragile thing. To hang onto anything fragile requires a large investment of passion, aversion, and delusion, leading inevitably to more unskillful actions on into the future.

So the Buddhist teachings on karma, far from being a quaint relic from the past, are a direct challenge to a basic thrust - and basic flaw in our culture. Only when we abandon our obsession with finding vicarious pride in our tribal past, and can take actual pride in the motives that underlie our present actions, can we say that the word karma, in its Buddhist sense, has recovered its luggage. And when we open the luggage, we'll find that it's brought us a gift: the gift we give ourselves and one another when we drop our myths about who we are, and can instead be honest about what we're doing with each moment - at the same time making the effort to do it right.

The Physiology of JOY - Part Three

There is a light that shines above all things on earth.
Above us all.
Above the heavens; the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in our heart.


The Physiology of Joy 

Joy, like all emotions, is a physiological event. The limbic system is THE relay station in the brain. All incoming sensory signals pass through the limbic system to other parts of the brain, for processing. 

The cognitive functions of the cerebral cortex depend on the sensory and emotional information supplied by the limbic system; cognition depends on the acquisition and retention of memories, in which the limbic system is involved. 

Emotions are relayed to the organs of the endocrine system and the immune system through a shared link: the autonomic nervous system. As a result, emotions can affect the internal organs that control the immune system. A positive mental attitude (Basic Health Habit No. 6) has the ability to boost body functions and the resistance to disease. 

The Physiology of Joy

A healthy brain is 65% fat and 75% water. The brain monitors and regulates all of the body's actions and reactions. Your experiences and how you think, dream, reason, and act, affect brain structure and develops neurological pathways. In a healthy body, it takes about 45 days for a daily habit to create a new neural pathway. Basic Health Habits are essential for healthy brain structure and function; healthy habit formation, and healthy emotion.

Two neurons talking

Nerve Cells
The brain, spinal cord and nerves consist of more than 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Each neuron is connected to other neurons by as many as 40,000 synapses. A piece of brain tissue the size of a grain of sand contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses, all talking to each other.

The nervous system functions as a communication system, transmitting messages along neural pathways. There are 5 trillion chemical operations every second. Information travels at about 268 miles per hour in a healthy brain.

Neurons gather and transmit electrochemical signals. They have the same characteristics and parts as other cells, but the electrochemical aspect lets them transmit signals over long distances and pass messages to each other. 

Action Potential
The ionic activity of the Na+/K+-ATPase (sodium-potassium pump), which is an essential part of the action potential (and the resting potential) of neurons, requires a reliable supply and stable balance of electrolytes throughout the body.

for more information

Neurons receive and send messages with the action of neurotransmitters in a one-way direction across a synapse. Many neurotransmitters are endogenous chemical messengers with an inhibitory or excitatory influence and are synthesized from plentiful and simple precursors such as amino acids, which are readily available from the diet and only require a small number of biosynthetic steps to convert them. Some neurotransmitters may be the size of larger proteins or peptides. Neurotransmitters and Their Functions 

Some neurotransmitters are hormones. A hormone behaves differently than a neurotransmitter which has its activity limited to a neuronal synapse. A hormone  is a class of signaling molecule produced by glands, transported by the circulatory system to target and communicate between organs and tissues - to regulate physiological and behavioural activities, such as digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sensory perception, sleep, excretion, lactation, stress, growth and development, movement, reproduction, and mood. The chemical structure of hormones includes fatty acids, steroids, amino acids, peptides, and proteins.

Neurotransmitter Imbalance
Neurotransmitter imbalances have been connected to the cause of many conditions and diseases, including Parkinsons, depression, insomnia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, memory loss, dramatic changes in weight, and addictions. 

All imbalances involve amino acids, which form neurotransmitters. The acids are made up of protein and without a sufficient amount the cells are not structured properly; therefore not functioning properly. Neglect of basic health habits, compounded by chronic stress, are the primary contributors to neurotransmitter imbalance. We can reduce the risks and impact of chronic stress by taking care of our Basic Health Habits.

Positive Feedback Loop
The vasomotor nerves arise in the sympathetic system, and in the cerebrum, which explains the tremendous influence of the emotions. The vasomotor nerves furnish nerve impulses to blood vessel walls, causing them to contract and expand, and are in direct contact with both the cerebral and sympathetic systems. Thus, it becomes clear why every emotion like hope or joy or love makes for health while fear, anger, and hatred make for disease. If the effect of emotions on the sympathetic system can stimulate the circulation and produce a sensation of health or disease, then the organ may get out of order, and affect the emotions adversely in turn. If mental strain, and depression can produce constipation, then constipation arising from other causes may and does produce mental depression and nervousness. This positive feedback loop is present in most nervous disorders. The Mental Highway - Thomas Parker Boyd

In a reduction to the smallest part, and to the simplest function, a positive feedback loop also exists between physiological structure and function, basic health habits, and emotion

Even though the brain and nerves are a highly specialized  system, in the end these specialized tissues are composed of the same basic chemical elements, and require the same basic care as every part of the body.

The brain, nervous system, internal organs, chemical neurotransmitters, hormones, and all of it connected to immune and digestive systems; is a complementary, co-dependent, and cooperative ecosystem, dependent on your basic health habits

Neglect of basic health habits leads to physical deterioration, malfunction, a cascade effect of health complications; including an adverse effect on emotion. 

Health = Joy


coloured SEM of neurons (brown) and glia cells (blue)

Glia cells or Neuroglia regulates homeostasis of the brain,  form myelin, surround and support neurons and hold them in place, supply nutrients and oxygen to neurons, insulate neurons from each other, destroy pathogens and remove dead neurons.

Glia had long been dismissed as the connective tissue that doesn't contribute to learning and memory, as do neurons. With a  new and popular view of the brain as a functional whole, and new methods of discovery, the developing field of neuroscience now recognizes that glial cells do have some effects on certain physiological processes like breathing, and in assisting neurons to form synaptic connections between each other. Studies of Einstein's brain conducted in the 1980s revealed that Einstein had an unusually large number of glia cells in his cerebral cortex.

Brain imaging indicates that when people learn new skills, from juggling to playing computer games, the structure of specific brain regions change. These changes may be due to the glia's formation of myelin, a fatty insulating substance, around axons (nerve fibers), which speeds the transmission of electrical signals from axons.

Neurogenesis is the production of new nerve cells (neurons). Adult neurogenesis occurs in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles and the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus. As detection methods improve, it is likely that other areas of the brain will also be considered neurogenic. Studies have shown that a variety of extrinsic factors stimulate neurogenesis

Endurance exercise activates a protein called brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) which is referred to by scientists as brain cell fertilizer. Hyperthermic conditioning of the body to heat stress through sauna use has also been shown to promote neurogenesis along with increased physical endurance and muscle mass. Phyto-cannabinoids have been proven to increase neurogenesis and to stabilize mood disorders. 

Nerve Growth and Regeneration
When nerves grow, they secrete a substance called nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF attracts other nerves nearby to grow and establish connections. When peripheral nerves become severed, surgeons can place the severed ends near each other and hold them in place. The injured nerve ends will stimulate the growth of axons within the nerves and establish appropriate connections. Scientists don't entirely understand this process.

For unknown reasons, nerve regeneration appears most often in the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems, but seems limited within the central nervous system. However, some regeneration must be able to occur in the central nervous system because some spinal cord and head trauma injuries show some degree of recovery.

Optogenetics is a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, and initially relied on light-sensitive proteins that could suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique required a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it could reach the cells to be controlled. 

MIT engineers have now developed the first light-sensitive molecule that enables neurons to be silenced noninvasively, using a light source outside the skull. This makes it possible to do long-term studies without an implanted light source. The protein, known as Jaws, also allows a larger volume of tissue to be influenced at once.

This noninvasive approach could pave the way to using optogenetics in human patients to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders, although much more testing and development is needed. 
For more information: Optogenetics

Cortical re-Mapping: Every part of the body is connected to a corresponding area in the brain which creates a cortical map. The sensory or motor brain maps, located in the cerebral cortex, are topographical; areas of the body adjacent to one another are adjacent on cortical maps. 

Remapping can occur in the sensory or motor system as a result of amputation or a change in neuronal characteristics. The part of the brain that is in charge of the amputated limb or neuronal change will be dominated by adjacent cortical regions that are still receiving input, thus creating a remapped area.

If you keep a green bough in your heart 
then the singing bird will come. 
Chinese Proverb

Apple Woman by Maria Zeldis
Green Bough by Anahata Katkin

@ Pinterest
Pictured: A Neuromuscular Synapse - The acetylcholine-laden vesicles are carrying and releasing the neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft. A few of the acetylcholine molecules bind to receptors on the muscle cell. The cleft itself is packed with many elongated proteins including laminin, collagen, perlecan and flower-like acetylcholinesterase molecules serving to render inactive the neurotransmitter. Illustrated by David Goodsell, Molecular Artist