11 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies.

If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet like the one described in my ketogenic nutrition plan, you’re probably getting adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.

If not (and this applies to the majority of the world population), there’s a good chance you may be lacking important nutrients.

Even if you do eat well, how and where your food was grown can also influence your nutritional intake. Soil quality, pesticides, glyphosate, storage time, and processing can significantly influence the levels of certain nutrients in your food.

Your age and certain health conditions (digestive issues and others) can also impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.

Unfortunately, in many cases nutrient deficiencies can be difficult to assess, and you may not develop symptoms until the deficiency has become quite pronounced.

Below, I will review 11 of the most common nutrient deficiencies,1 and how to address them. Eating real food is usually your best bet, but very often supplementation may be advisable, especially if you’re showing signs of deficiency.

#1: Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in people of all ages, especially in those who choose to use topical sun screens (which blocks vitamin D production) or limit their outdoor activities.

Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly and those with darker skin.

Signs indicating you may have a vitamin D deficiency include being over the age of 50, having darker skin, obesity, achy bones, feeling blue, head sweating, and poor immune function.   

If you want to get technical and thrive on numbers, your best bet is to get your vitamin D level tested twice a year. Based on the evaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, the optimal range for general health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml.

As for how to optimize your vitamin D levels, I firmly believe that sensible sun exposure is the best way, although vitamin D-rich foods and D3 supplements may also be necessary if you cannot get adequate sun exposure year-round. Most of us do not spend half the day in the sun and sunlight is not strong enough in winter. I take 4000iu daily all year round and get as much sunlight as I can.

How to Optimize Your Vitamin D

To optimize your levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin, such as your back, chest, legs, and arms, to sensible sun exposure. And, contrary to popular belief, the best time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is actually as near to solar noon as possible.

During this time you need the shortest exposure time to produce vitamin D because UVB rays are most intense at this time. Plus, when the sun goes down toward the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than the dangerous UVA.

Just be cautious about the length of your exposure. You only need enough exposure to have your skin turn the lightest shade darker. Once you reach this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D due to its self-regulating mechanism. Any additional exposure will only cause harm and damage to your skin.

Avoiding processed foods is another important consideration, as they tend to be loaded with the herbicide glyphosate (used on most conventional and genetically engineered food crops), and glyphosate has been shown to interfere with enzymes responsible for activating vitamin D in your liver and kidneys. This is a further reason why we should all need supplementation of D.

#2: Omega-3 Fats

Low concentrations of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA2 are associated with an increased risk of death from all causes, and omega-3 deficiency has been revealed as the sixth biggest killer of Americans.

Most Americans eat too many inflammatory omega-6 fats (think processed vegetable oils) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3s, which sets the stage for a number of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, just to name a few.

Telltale signs that your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio may be out of balance include dry, flakey skin, alligator skin, or “chicken skin” on backs of arms; dandruff or dry hair; soft brittle nails; fatigue; menstrual cramps, and poor attention span.

The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is about 1:1, but the typical Western diet is between 1:20 and 1:50, so in addition to upping your omega-3 intake, you also need to reduce the amount of omega-6 in your diet, which means cutting down on processed and fried foods.

Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fats,3 with one serving containing more than 50 percent of your recommended daily value. They also contain other nutrients that many are deficient in, such as vitamin B12, calcium, and choline.

If you decide to take omega-3s in supplement form, I believe krill oil is superior to fish oil. The omega-3 in krill is attached to phospholipids that increase its absorption, which means you need less of it.

Krill oil also contains almost 50 times more astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, than fish oil, which prevents the highly perishable omega-3 fats from oxidizing before you are able to integrate them into your cellular tissue. I take purified cod liver oil daily.

#3: Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 may be just as important as vitamin D for optimal health. It’s essential for bone strength, the health of arteries and blood vessels, and plays a role in other biological processes as well, including tissue renewal and cell growth, healthy pregnancy, and cancer prevention.

In the 2014 paper,4 “Vitamin K: An old vitamin in a new perspective,” vitamin D expert Dr. Michael Holick and co-authors review the history of vitamin K and its many benefits, including its significance for bone and cardiovascular health.

Vitamin K2 is an important adjunct to vitamin D, without which vitamin D cannot work properly. K2’s biological action is also impaired by a lack of vitamin D, so you really need to consider these two nutrients together.

Vitamins D and K2 also work synergistically with magnesium and calcium, so this quartet should ideally be taken in combination.

Whereas vitamin K1 — which is the primary form of vitamin K responsible for blood clotting — can be found in green leafy vegetables, vitamin K2 is only present in fermented foods. It’s produced by certain bacteria during the fermentation process.

Examples of foods that are naturally high in vitamin K2 include natto (a fermented soy product) and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. One of the best sources I’ve found is to ferment your own vegetables using a special starter culture designed with bacterial strains that produce vitamin K2.

Raw dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw butter, and kefir also contain high amounts. However, only grass-fed animals (not grain fed) will develop naturally high K2 levels.

Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) is the kind of vitamin K2 you want to look for in supplements, as this form is extracted from real food.

The other type of K2, known as MK-4, is only available in synthetic form, which has the additional drawback of having a very short biological half-life, necessitating taking it several times a day. Research5 has shown MK-7, specifically, helps prevent inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory markers produced by white blood cells called monocytes.

#4: Magnesium 

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, yet an estimated 80 percent of people are deficient in it. Without sufficient amounts of magnesium your body simply cannot function at its best. Insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems. Researchers have detected more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins,6 reflecting how important this mineral is to a great many biological processes.

For example, magnesium plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and therefore is important for minimizing damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. Even glutathione, considered by many to be your body’s most powerful antioxidant, requires magnesium in order to be produced.

Magnesium also plays roles in preventing migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes), sudden cardiac death, and even reduces death from all causes.

Low magnesium levels are also consistently found in those with elevated insulin,7,8,9 and research10 suggests that magnesium intake may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes if you’re at high risk. The mechanism by which magnesium controls glucose and insulin homeostasis appears to involve two genes responsible for magnesium homeostasis.11 Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors.

How to Optimize Your Magnesium Levels

There’s no easily available commercial lab test that will give you an accurate reading of your magnesium status. However, in her book, The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean lists 100 factors that will help you decide whether or not you might be deficient. You can also follow the instructions in her blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms,”12 which will give you a check list to go through every few weeks. This will help you gauge how much magnesium you need in order to take away your deficiency symptoms. There is also a saliva magnesium test available.

Some people can keep their magnesium levels in the therapeutic range without resorting to supplements by eating a varied diet, including plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables. Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.

Unfortunately, most foods grown today are deficient in magnesium (and other minerals). Glyphosate again plays a role, as it acts as a chelator, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals in the plant. For this reason, I believe it might be prudent to consider a magnesium supplement. You can also improve your magnesium status by taking regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is amagnesium sulfate that can be absorbed into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil (from magnesium chloride) can also be used for topical application and absorption.

If you opt for a magnesium supplement, two of the best ones include magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate. The former is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability. This form is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. Magnesium threonate is a newer type of that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane.

#5: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is known as the energy vitamin. Your body requires it for a number of vital functions, including energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation. The two ways you become deficient are through a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet, or through your inability to absorb it from the food you eat.

About one in four adults are deficient in this important nutrient, and nearly half the population has suboptimal blood levels. Warning signs of B12 deficiency include “mental fog,” memory problems, mood swings, apathy, fatigue, muscle weakness, and tingling in the extremities. Unfortunately, B12 deficiency may not present itself for a number of years, so by the time you notice symptoms, you may be quite deficient.

Vitamin B12 is present in natural form only in animal sources of food. B12-rich foods include beef and beef liver (grass-fed beef is highly preferable to the grain-fed variety), lamb, snapper, venison, salmon, shrimp, scallops, organic-pastured poultry, and eggs. When it comes to supplementation, your best alternatives include injectable B12 and sublingual drops or spray. The best oral supplement is methyl cobalamin.

#6: Vitamin E

Vitamin E is particularly important for your brain health, but it also helps support normal cholesterol levels, and protect against free radical damage and the normal effects of aging. Recent animal research warns that vitamin E deficiency may actually cause brain damage, while studies have also found that supplementation with it may help delay the loss of cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease. According to lead author Maret Traber:13

“This research showed that vitamin E is needed to prevent a dramatic loss of a critically important molecule in the brain and helps explain why vitamin E is needed for brain health. Human brains are very enriched in DHA, but they can’t make it. They get it from the liver.

The particular molecules that help carry it there are these lyso PLs, and the amount of those compounds is being greatly reduced when vitamin E intake is insufficient. This sets the stage for cellular membrane damage and neuronal death. There’s increasingly clear evidence that vitamin E is associated with brain protection, and now we’re starting to better understand some of the underlying mechanisms.”

Important Pointers for Optimizing Your Vitamin E

The term “vitamin E” refers to a family of at least eight fat-soluble antioxidant compounds, divided into two main categories: tocopherols (which are considered the “true” vitamin E) and tocotrienols — each of which has subfamilies of four different forms. Ideally, vitamin E should be consumed in the broader family of mixed natural tocopherols and tocotrienols, (also referred to as full-spectrum vitamin E) to get the maximum benefits.

The vitamin E most often referred to and sold in most stores is a synthetic form of the vitamin, which really should NOT be used if you want to reap any of its health benefits. You can tell what you’re buying by carefully reading the label.

  • Natural vitamin E is always listed as the “d-” form (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.)
  • Synthetic vitamin E is listed as “dl-” forms

The best way to ensure that your body is getting the full spectrum of vitamin E, in a form your body can beneficially use, is to make smart dietary choices. Good dietary sources of vitamin E include nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, and pecans; seeds such as sunflower seeds; olive oil; legumes; and green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli.

#7: Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining healthy skin, teeth, bones, cell membranes, and vision. Vitamin A, like vitamin D, is also essential for your immune system. It’s a precursor to active hormones that regulate the expression of your genes, and vitamin A and D work in tandem. For example, there is evidence that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic. But if you’re deficient in vitamin A, vitamin D cannot function properly either, so a balance of these two vitamins is essential.

. It’s also important to understand the difference between retinol and beta-carotene. Both are important forms of vitamin A, but it can be very difficult to get sufficient amounts of vitamin A from beta-carotene alone. Unless your intestinal health is top notch, and you eat your veggies with healthy fat, getting your vitamin A in the form of retinol from organic animal products is your best bet, and here’s why:

• Retinol is preformed vitamin A, found in animal products such as grass-fed meat and poultry, liver, fish oil, and raw organic dairy products like butter. This is the form of vitamin A your body can actually use.

• Beta-carotene is pre-vitamin A, found in plant foods like fruits and vegetables. In order for your body to actually use beta-carotene, it must first convert it into retinol, and to do this, you need to have a well-functioning digestive tract and sufficient bile produced by your gallbladder. Specific enzymes are also needed to break down the carotene for the conversion into retinol to occur.

Most people have poor gut health, which makes beta-carotene a poor alternative as a primary source of vitamin A. Also, to optimize the usable amount of vitamin A from your vegetables, you need to eat them with a bit of healthy fat, since bile is produced to help break down fat in your diet.

Vitamin A production is tightly controlled in your body, the source (substrate) being carotenoids from vegetables in your intestine. Your body uses these carotenoid substrates to make exactly the right amount of retinol. When you take vitamin A as retinol directly, you intervene in this closed system and bypass the controls. Ideally, you want to provide all the vitamin A and vitamin D substrate your body would have obtained in a natural state, so your body can regulate both systems naturally. This is best done by eating colourful vegetables and by exposing your skin to sun every day.

#8: Iodine

Iodine is an important nutrient found in every organ and tissue, and many are deficient in this nutrient. Worldwide, it’s thought that up to 40 percent of the population is at risk of iodine deficiency. Along with being essential for healthy thyroid function and efficient metabolism, there is increasing evidence that low iodine is related to numerous diseases, including cancer.  Iodine deficiency, or insufficiency, in any of these tissues will lead to dysfunction of that tissue. Hence the following symptoms could provide clues that you’re not getting enough iodine in your diet. For example, iodine deficiency in:

  • Salivary glands = inability to produce saliva, producing dry mouth
  • Skin = dry skin, and lack of sweating. Three to four weeks of iodine supplementation will typically reverse this symptom, allowing your body to sweat normally again
  • Brain = reduced alertness and lowered IQ
  • Muscles = nodules, scar tissue, pain, fibrosis, and fibromyalgia

I take orally or rub into my skin 4 drops of Lugols Iodine daily. Your thyroid only transports iodine in its ionized form (i.e. iodide).  As an alternative, toxin-free Himalayan salt plus kelp/sea vegetables and spirulina are likely the ideal natural sources from which to obtain your iodine.

Raw milk and eggs contain iodine, as well. At the same time, you’ll want to avoid all sources of bromine as much as possible, as this appears to play a large role in the rising levels of iodine deficiency.

#9: Calcium

Calcium is one of several nutrients required for strong, healthy bones. However, it’s important to not overdo it on calcium supplements. Calcium needs to be balanced with vitamin D, K2, and magnesium, or else it can do more harm than good. Lack of balance between these nutrients is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

For example, if you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular. Excessive amounts of calcium without enough magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. You also need vitamin K2 to optimize calcium’s benefit. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be (such as in your arteries and soft tissues), and shuttle it into the appropriate areas (such as your bones and teeth).

One of the best ways to achieve healthy bones is by consuming a diet rich in fresh, raw whole foods that maximize natural minerals so that your body has the raw materials it needs to do what it was designed to do. It’s more likely your body can use calcium correctly if it’s plant-derived calcium. Good sources include raw milk from pasture-raised cows (who eat the plants), leafy green vegetables, the pith of citrus fruits, carob, and wheatgrass, to name a few.

You also need sources of silica and magnesium, which some researchers say is actually enzymatically “transmuted” by your body into the kind of calcium your bones can use. Good sources of silica are cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and a number of herbs including horsetailnettles, oat straw, alfalfa, and raw cacao, which is also extremely rich in highly bioavailable magnesium.

#10: Iron  

Iron is essential for human life, as it is a key part of various proteins and enzymes, involved in the transport of oxygen and the regulation of cell growth and differentiation, among many other uses. One of the most important roles of iron is to provide haemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells), a mechanism through which it can bind to oxygen and carry it throughout your tissues, as without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying.

If you have too little iron, you may experience fatigue, decreased immunity, or iron-deficiency anaemia, which can be serious if left untreated. This is common in children and premenopausal women.

But, while iron deficiency affects more than a quarter of the global population, it’s equally hazardous to have too much iron, and elevated levels are just as common, or perhaps even more so than iron deficiency, thanks to a hereditary disease known as haemochromatosis, one of the most prevalent genetic diseases in the United States. While I was seeing patients, I regularly screened my patients for ferritin, and noticed nearly one-fourth of them had elevated levels.

If you have more iron than what your body needs to satisfy your haemoglobin requirement (for cell oxygenation), the rest becomes a surplus. And since your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, it can build up in your body, with potentially lethal consequences. Iron is a very potent oxidant stressor.

The oxidation caused by too much iron causes dangerous free radicals to form, which can cause significant damage in your cells and increase your risk of heart disease by damaging the inner lining of your blood vessels. It can also damage your DNA and promote diseases like cancer.

Ferritin Test — An Important Preventive Health Screen as Too Much Iron Is as Dangerous as Too Low

Fortunately, checking your iron levels is easy and can be done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen. The test measures the carrier molecule of iron, a protein found inside cells called ferritin, which stores the iron. If your ferritin levels are low, it means your iron levels are also low.

The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20 is a strong indicator that you are iron deficient, and above 80 suggests you have an iron surplus. The ideal range is between 40 to 60 ng/ml.

#11: Choline

Choline15 is a B vitamin known for its role in brain development. It’s a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a role in both muscle control and memory. Choline is also important for the health of your cell membranes, and has anti-inflammatory properties. An estimated 90 percent of the US population may be deficient in choline.16 Some of the symptoms associated with low levels include memory problems, lethargy, and persistent brain fog. 

Your body can only synthesize small amounts of this nutrient, so you need to get it from your diet. Animal foods like organic pastured eggs and grass-fed meat are some of the best sources of choline, so if you’re a vegan or vegetarian who does not consume any animal foods, you may be at particular risk of deficiency. Other good sources of choline17 include beef liver, wheat germ, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, wild-caught salmon, and raw milk.

Tips to Supercharge Your Diet with Nutrients

As much as possible, I recommend getting the nutrients your body needs from whole foods. This means minimizing processed foods as much as possible and instead focusing on healthy fats, fresh produce, grass-fed meats and pastured poultry, raw dairy products, organic free-range eggs, nuts, and seeds, and, if you’re healthy, moderate amounts of fruit. That being said, there are a few tricks to get copious amounts of nutrients with little effort. You’ll still need to eat a variety of foods to get the wide range of nutrients your body needs, but the tips that follow will give you an excellent start:

  • Homemade Bone Broth: Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients.
  • SproutsSprouts can contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fats from the foods you eat.
  • Juicing: Juicing not only helps you to consume more nutrient-rich veggies, it also helps you absorb the nutrients they contain. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” the veggies for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.
  • Fermented Foods: Fermented foods support the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which helps with mineral absorption and plays a role in producing nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2.
  • Having said all this, I use hair analysis to work out what supplements are needed by the individual. Modern food supply has put us in the position of needing supplements.

EFT/Tapping. How useful is this technique?

With the growing rates of mental illness in the world, now is as good a time as ever to manage your stress and emotional well-being.  But could something as simple (and at first glance strange) as tapping on different parts of your body actually offer significant mental health benefits?

Tapping, also called psychological acupressure or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is said to alleviate anxiety and other common mental health issues.  It’s hard to believe it might help, but given what we know about the benefits of other complementary techniques like acupuncture, it’s no surprise that so many people and healthcare practitioners swear by it.

Tapping has roots in traditional Chinese medicine, shown to alleviate multiple mental health conditions

Developed in 1993 by Gary Craig, EFT is an alternative treatment for psychological stress.  Instead of acupuncture needles, EFT involves tapping one’s fingers against certain areas of the body to stimulate energy flow and alleviate psychological distress.  On a neurological level, it’s possible that activating these specific areas of the body via finger tapping could send signals to the brain that help regulate the stress response.

One 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials, published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, concluded that tapping could significantly reduce anxiety.  Another review from 2016 published in Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing found that EFT was also “highly effective” in reducing depressive symptoms.  And The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease also published another review in 2018, which concluded that the acupressure tapping itself was a key component of EFT that helped people find relief from PTSD and other mental health conditions.

Perhaps one of the best things about EFT is that it’s incredibly safe and has no side effects, even if the research supporting its effectiveness is limited overall.  If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, extreme stress, or another psychological condition, there’s really no risk of harm in trying it yourself.

Curious how to get started with EFT?  Here are the five basic steps to help you begin

You can search online for courses and videos about EFT, but here’s a general five-step guideline to get you started:

  1. Think about a single issue or problem you’re currently facing.
  2. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst, rate how bad this issue or problem is currently affecting you.
  3. Decide on a simple phrase to repeat as you’re doing the tapping technique — your so-called setup statement.  An example from EFT Universe:  “Even though I am [upset/scared/frustrated] by this issue, I deeply and completely accept myself.”  As you create this phrase, tap on the “karate chop” point on your hand (the fleshy outer edge of your hand, opposite your thumb) with the four fingers of your opposing hand.
  4. Continue to repeat this phrase to yourself, tap specific points of the body three to five times using two fingers, moving in the following sequence: top of the head, beginning of the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin point, beginning of the collarbone, under the arm.
  5. After you go through this sequence, rank the intensity of your issue on a scale of 0 to 10 again.  Repeat the tapping sequence as often as you’d like until the intensity reaches 0 or until it has plateaued.

The longer you tap, the better EFT clears stress and tension. Even if you ignored the above procedure and tapped on the various points continuously, you would notice subtle changes in your energy and stress levels.

Here is a link to a previous article of mine on How to Tap :

https://wordpress.com/post/health-coach.co.za/4271

A Proven Technique To Neutralize Draining Emotional Reactions.

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body.

Do you notice that you sometimes feel tired or fatigued but are not sure why? Maybe you can have a restful sleep and still wake up having a sense that your energy is not quite there? Maybe you notice yourself being reactive, having a short fuse and feeling unclear about what decisions to make? Maybe you say things to friends, family or people online that you later regret or didn’t truly mean. Much of this can have a lot to do with how we’re feeling emotionally on a regular basis. Emotions that are happening just a touch outside our conscious awareness.

Let’s just do a very quick check in to see what I mean. If you stop a take a moment right now to ask “how am I feeling?” What do you notice? Are you feeling good? Energized? Do you have a background tension? Are you a bit stressed? Annoyed? Are you relaxed and calm? Are you perhaps relaxed yet feeling blah? When we do these check ins we bring awareness to how we might be feeling. This is something we typically don’t do that often and thus are simply not consciously aware of how we feel. If we were a bit more consciously aware of how we felt, we’d have a greater understanding of what we could do to feel better as we know where we’re at.

Loss

This is important because one of the greatest unrecognized sources of prolonged stress, fatigue and physical wear and tear on our bodies comes from living our day to day lives in a state where we consciously or subconsciously experience what we might call ‘draining emotions.’ These are emotions like worry, fear, anger, resentment, or sadness etc.

For each of us, we’re likely going to experience these emotions at some point in life, and this is normal. Typically when we experience these emotions, we’re getting an insight into ourselves. Since what triggers these emotions can often be subjective, we can learn something about our current self by paying attention to these emotions. For example, someone might cut us off while we’re driving on the freeway. On one hand, one person might react aggressively and become very angry, while another might simply see it as a mistake on the part of the other driver and move on with their day.

Why some of us react and others don’t typically comes down the the story we’re telling ourselves about why that person cut you off. Perhaps they take it personally, perhaps they see it as an attack in some way – who knows? You. Only you know, and you can get closer to knowing what that is so you don’t harbour that draining emotion for the rest of the day, and even remove the trigger to begin with so you don’t necessarily have to go down that angry road every time something small like this happens.

I want to be clear here, we’re not looking to avoid emotions or never experience them, we’re looking to gain awareness around why they come, and ultimately have the choice over what gets us bothered and what might be better to simply let go. There is a difference between momentarily feeling an emotion like this, and letting it become a ‘background state’ of being that slowly begins to shape our attitude towards unhealthy and draining tendencies.

We can likely go on all day about where we should ‘honor’ some emotions in some situations or stand up for ourselves in others – I’ll let you decide that within yourself for each situation, but what the focus here in this piece is to simply look at how we can neutralize an emotional experience so we can stop it from draining all our energy and gain greater clarity on why it might be happening.

The exercise below is geared towards improving our self awareness around situations and how we feel, so we can learn to self-regulate emotions at anytime, as well as turn off triggers that might not really be the greatest to have to begin with.

Remember, we’re going to stick with a situation where we are cut off in traffic, but you can use these steps for anything. Maybe you realize you are fearful about a situation. Maybe you notice ongoing worry about something that’s happening or may happen – whatever it may be, the steps can be applied.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

A Quick 3 Minute Exercise

We’ll go through the steps, this might seem long at first but it’s actually very short once you get the hang of it. This method is based on decades of scientific researching involving the heart and the benefits of creating coherence through good heart rate variability.

1. The first step is becoming aware of the fact you’re having the emotional experience. What we’re doing here is by reading this we’re setting up a bit of an increased self awareness in our minds that can help us remember to check in when we next have an emotional reaction to something. Perhaps the car cuts us off while driving, and we react, but then shortly after we remember that we want to have a closer look at that emotional reaction and perhaps choose a different response instead of going down an energy draining rabbit hole. So the first thing we want to do is become aware that the experience is happening.

2. The next step is accepting the experience that’s happening. What this means is, if the person in front of us cuts us off while driving and we get angry and realize we’re angry, bring to your awareness that this is OK. We’re not looking to create a judgement about what happened or what we’re experiencing, instead we simply want to see it for what it is, an experience that happened and we’re now aware of and sitting as an observer of it. What this does is it empowers us to be able to look a little more closely at what we’re feeling and why. After we become aware, take note of the emotion you’re experiencing and name it. Is it anger? Is it worry? Is it fear?

As a small kicker to this, just imagine that the intention here is to turn down the intensity of the emotion so we can go in a take a look at what’s going on in the same way that a firefighter will spray water onto a burning house to stop the fire and cool it enough to go in and assess what the source of that fire was.

3. Next we’re going to take a moment and place our hand or a couple fingers over the areas of our chest, around where your heart is, and use the placement of your hand as something to focus on. With your eyes open, take some comfortable yet slightly deeper breaths. Feel your breath moving in and out of the area of your heart (where you hand is). To do this, don’t worry too much about how perfect the breathing is or whether it’s exactly going in and our of your heart area, just sit with a gentle focus that your breath is moving in and out of the area of your heart. Our goal here is to bring awareness to the physical heart and begin to influence its rhythms ever so slightly. Breath into your heart for about 30 seconds.

4. Next we want to continue our heart focused breathing while also imagining the feeling of calm or ease enter into our bodies. Spend the next 2 minutes or so breathing in the feeling of calm or ease into your heart with comfortable breaths. Notice the calm and ease come over your mind and body. What this stage does is it shows us that we have the ability to produce our own emotional regulation by creating a physiological state that is more synchronized and favorable for introspection and clarity.

After step 4 you should feel a lot more neutral in your feeling, but it may be possible you’re still annoyed or upset about the situation, this is great and in many ways the point of the exercise. Remember the firefighter analogy.

If it’s a really small situation, this awareness might already help us choose to simply let it go. If it’s a larger situation, this exercise helps us reduce the intensity so we can gain a bit more clarity about what’s going on and stop us from simply circling the experience over and over again in our minds, potentially increasing our anger and draining our energy.

Now as a final step, you can take a moment to just assess, what is the story you have been telling yourself about the situation? What might be a more effective way to approach or think about the situation? In the case of getting cut off in the car, was it really personal? If so, how do you know? If it was a mistake, is anger helping you or just providing an undesirable experience? If you had the freedom, would you choose anger at the other driver or to just let it go and maintain better health?

The point here is that with awareness we get clearer on who we are and how we function. This inevitably gives us a choice in how we choose to react. I would start EFT/Tapping now to further balance brain, awareness and heart. See all the EFT articles on this blog for more about tapping.

Wisdom.

May be an image of text that says 'The ability to observe without judgement is the highest form of intelligence.'
May be an image of text that says '"Before you heal someone, ask him if he's willing to give up the things that made him sick." HIPPOCRATES'

Every new second is significant. Hence, you should fill every moment with sacred thoughts, with pure feelings and pure actions. Every moment you should try to get rid of bad thoughts and fill your mind with good thoughts.

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May be an image of text that says 'Sometimes being silent and andkind is more important than proving you're right. Melanie Beckler www.Ask-Angels.com'

Using “What If” in the EFT/Tapping Setup.

Performance Anxiety

“WHAT IF” tapping is one of my favorite EFT strategies to bring clients (or myself) closer to their goals. As one of my clients said, “WHAT IF? is a fascinating question…it opens up so many possibilities!” Fascinating indeed, and a powerful variation on the basic EFT setup phrases. I have found that it allows clients to pose questions without feeling too threatened at the thought of releasing their struggles. It does seem to leave the door open for new options, and any time we feel freer and see more choices in front of us, the healing momentum can begin.

The question, WHAT IF? allows us to imagine the future, without too many strong tail-enders getting in the way. When the tail-enders do surface, of course EFT is the best tool for neutralizing them. The WHAT IF tapping strategy can be applied to either physical or emotional challenges and conflicts. Below you will find 5 practical examples of this application of EFT.

PERFORMANCE ANXIETY:

Let’s say you are always anxious when you make your professional or business presentations at work, or you are an actor or musician struggling with classic anxiety and performance issues. Here’s how I would set up the EFT statements using the WHAT IF routine.

Even though I have always felt anxious when I perform,WHAT IF I could be calm and relaxed this time?

Even though I feel the anxiety just thinking about my next meeting/performance, WHAT IF I could allow myself to feel calm and confident?

Even though I feel nervous and anxious whenever I have to make a presentation, WHAT IF I could choose to be calm this time instead?

Then tap on the sequence of tapping points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I could feel relaxed in front of the crowd?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I could recite my lines/speech feeling calm and confident?

Under Eye: WHAT IF this time marks the beginning of a new me?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I don’t have to suffer any more with this problem?

Chin: WHAT IF I could be successful at this from now on?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I have cleared this problem for good?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I don’t need this anxiety any more?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I am over this problem and can be calm and peaceful whenever I perform?

If any “tail-enders” surface, use them in subsequent rounds of  EFT. Perhaps you “heard” in your head a phrase something like, “That’s impossible to get rid of this problem after all these years” as a classic tail-ender. Your next EFT round would go as follows:

Even though I’m convinced it’s impossible to get rid of this anxiety because I’ve had it so long, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.

Even though I know you can’t get rid of anxiety that fast, I deeply and completely love and accept who I am, including this anxiety.

Even though there’s no way I could be free of this anxiety so quickly, I choose to accept and respect myself anyway.

Then tap on the sequence of tapping points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I could feel relaxed and calm in front of the crowd this time?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I could recite my lines/speech with confidence?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I CAN get over this anxiety this fast?

Under Nose: WHAT IF my suffering is unnecessary going forward?

Chin: WHAT IF I could be successful at this from now on?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I have cleared this problem for good?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I don’t need this anxiety any more?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I CAN get over this anxiety this quickly and enjoy my performances?

Physical Pains and Discomforts

A word about pain control: We have been taught very specific things about the course of action of pain and illnesses. I believe these aren’t set in stone, only set in our belief systems. (Remember, we do not recommend EFT as a replacement for following sound medical advice, we recommend you use EFT in conjunction with your chosen practiioners advice and treatment).

PHYSICAL PAIN/ DISCOMFORT:

Let’s say you have pain, discomfort or an ailment in your physical body.

(1) Identify the specific problem.

(2) Identify exactly how you want to feel instead.

(3) Proceed with EFT as follows:

Even though I have this pain in my ___________(back, shoulder, knee…), WHAT IF I could release it right now?

Even though I’ve had this pain for years, WHAT IF my body knows how to get rid of it and I can feel comfortable instead?

Even though I feel this chronic pain in my ___________, WHAT IF I could wake up tomorrow feeling energetic and strong again?

Then tap on the sequence of tapping points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I could feel comfortable and pain free today?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I could remember the emotional cause and move on anyway?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I don’t need the pain any-more?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I don’t have to suffer with this pain from now on?

Chin: WHAT IF I could feel young and energetic now?

Collarbone: WHAT IF my body has already begun to release the pain and discomfort?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I could feel joyful and pain free from now on?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I have finally cleared this pain problem once and for all?

Using the “WHAT IF” statements as the affirmation phrases of the first set-up statements is bound to trigger tail-enders (those ‘yes-buts’ that tend show up after saying something positive). That’s what we want, so we can get to the bottom of limiting beliefs about human bodies. When these “tail-enders” surface, use them in subsequent rounds of EFT. Perhaps you “heard” a tail-ender such as“there’s no way to get rid of this pain, I’ve tried everything!” Proceed with your next EFT round as follows:

Even though I’ve had this problem for too long to get better now, I deeply and completely love and accept my whole body.

Even though I’ve tried everything and nothing works on me, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.

Even though my pain/ailment is “chronic” and isn’t supposed to go away, I love and appreciate my whole body anyway.

Then tap on the sequence of tapping points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF my pain could be relieved quickly?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I just haven’t been trying the right techniques for it?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I don’t need the pain any-more and can enjoy my body?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I don’t have to suffer with this pain the way I thought I had to?

Chin: WHAT IF I could feel young and energetic from now on?

Collarbone: WHAT IF my body has already begun to release the pain and discomfort?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I could feel strength and stamina in my whole body again?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I have finally cleared this pain problem once and for all?

If you “heard” even more tail-enders, continue using EFT until you can actually say out loud “What if I could be pain free from now on” and believe this is possible!

Addictions & Cravings

Again, with addictions, no one is suggesting that you leave your current treatment or leave your 12 step programs if they are working well for you. I am suggesting you use EFT to alleviate some of your suffering and some of your long standing beliefs about what is possible in your life.

Suppose you have suffered from food, cigarette or alcohol cravings for years, and can’t seem to change the pattern of over-indulging in one substance or another. While there are entire protocols for these problems and the many layers of feelings that fuel them, I recommend that you add this variation to your daily routine.

(1) Identify the exact feeling you have when around the substance, or the feeling you have when you are unable to get/use the substance.

(2) Identify how you wish to feel instead.

(3) Proceed with the WHAT IF tapping as follows:

Even though I’ve had these cravings for years and they don’t seem to be helped by anything, WHAT IF I could release them and this addictive pattern right now?

Even though I’m sick and tired of these cravings ruling my life, WHAT IF I could allow myself to be free of them?

Even though I can’t stop eating/drinking/smoking no matter what, WHAT IF I could suddenly feel free of the underlying anxiety that drives these ferocious cravings?

Then tap on the sequence of EFT points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I could let go of these powerful cravings right now?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF my unconscious mind is already healing me of this problem?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I don’t need the cravings to cover my feelings any more?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I could release the cravings and finally enjoy my life?

Chin: WHAT IF I could feel free of the cravings starting right now?

Collarbone: WHAT IF all this tapping has started to release the cravings on a very deep level?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I could allow myself to feel my feelings without needing to eat/smoke/drink too much?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I have finally neutralized the underlying anxiety (feelings) and can feel completely free now?

Again, you probably “heard” a few tail-enders based on your belief system about addictions and cravings and how hard it is to get rid of them. Identify your significant tail-enders and incorporate them into your next few rounds of  EFT.

Even though I’ve had these cravings for years so I don’t believe they will go away, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.

Even though these cravings are just a part of my life and I have to deal with them, I choose to accept and respect who I am anyway.

Even though I haven’t been able to stop eating/drinking/smoking no matter what, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.

Then tap on the sequence of EFT points using the “WHAT IF” phrases as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I could let go of these powerful cravings right now?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF this tapping could relieve me of my cravings?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I don’t need the cravings to tranquilize my feelings any more?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I could release the cravings and enjoy my life starting today?

Chin: WHAT IF I could finally feel free of the cravings?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I am releasing these cravings on the deepest levels of my mind and body?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I could feel my feelings and feel safe without needing to eat/smoke/drink too much?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I have finally released my anxiety and can feel completely free?

There may have been other tail-enders that surfaced, again, due to our preconceived notions of addiction and how “impossible” it is to be free of cravings. But WHAT IF…

Relationships

Let’s say you are looking for a partner, and you have become quite discouraged. (Maybe you should talk to someone I know who met her first boyfriend at age 84!!) Here’s how I would set up the EFT statements using the WHAT IF routine.

Even though I haven’t found the “ONE” yet, WHAT IF he/she is just around the corner?

Even though it’s probably too late for me now, WHAT IF I could allow myself to feel optimistic and eager?

Even though I feel convinced there is no hope for me to find the right partner, WHAT IF I shouldn’t give up just yet?

Then tap on the sequence of tapping points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I felt patient and knew he/she is on the way?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I could just relax and KNOW it’s about to happen?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I could FEEL as if it is already happening?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I don’t have to fear this any more?

Chin: WHAT IF I could be successful in my relationships from now on?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I have cleared this problem for good?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I don’t need to worry because it’s all about to change?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I am over the doubt and can feel peaceful and eager?

If any “tail-enders” surface, use them in subsequent rounds of  EFT. Perhaps you “heard” in your head a phrase something like, “My relationships never work out, I doubt there is anyone out there for me…” as a tail-ender. Your next EFT round would go as follows:

Even though I’m convinced it’s impossible to find someone because I haven’t so far, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.

Even though I have such doubts about finding someone for me, I deeply and completely love and accept who I am anyway.

Even though I’m convinced I will be alone forever, I choose to accept and respect myself anyway.

Then tap on the sequence of tapping points as follows:

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I could feel relaxed about finding a mate?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I could feel a new sense of confidence about what I have to offer?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I could find someone soon?

Under Nose: WHAT IF my beliefs are old and outdated?

Chin: WHAT IF I could be successful in relationships no matter what has happened in the past?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I have cleared this challenge of finding a partner for good?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I could release the doubts for good?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I CAN find the perfect partner for me?

Again, if you “hear” additional tail-enders such as “There aren’t enough men/women…it never works out for long…” then use these phrases for your next rounds of EFT.

Abundance

The topic of Attracting Abundance is my specialty and my favourite because I have seen so much progress in this area for myself and clients once we get to the limiting beliefs. All those programs that promise abundance are missing the same thing: the tools to neutralize the resistance or limiting beliefs about wealth and abundance. This tool of course is EFT.

The topic of “abundance” can be applied to health and relationships as well. It is not meant as a focus solely on financial abundance.  This installment is about money.

ABUNDANCE BLOCKS:

Suppose you are convinced that abundance and wealth are for those “other people” and not you. This is a classic “limiting belief” that can be successfully neutralized with EFT.

Even though I don’t believe I deserve abundance and wealth, WHAT IF I have been wrong all along?

Even though they taught me that I’m not worthy of abundance, WHAT IF they were wrong and I DO DESERVE wealth and abundance after all?

Even though I’m convinced wealth is not for me, WHAT IF it IS for me and I am about to attract a lot of it?

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I have deserved abundance all along?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I inherited someone else’s false beliefs about abundance?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I don’t need to believe in scarcity any more?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I am releasing my abundance blocks right now?

Chin: WHAT IF I DO DESERVE abundance and wealth as much as they do?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I am already on my way to clearing the blocks?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I am attracting wealth and abundance right now and all I need to do is relax?

Top of Head: WHAT IF the tapping has shifted my energy so much that I am already attracting more success?

Again, using the WHAT IF statements as part of the original set-up affirmation phrases above is bound to trigger very loud tail-enders for you. What I am suggesting with the WHAT IF statements is probably outside of your current comfort zones and belief system about financial wealth and abundance. Identify the significant tail-enders and incorporate them into your next few rounds of EFT. Maybe you heard a tail-ender such as“This is a joke, I don’t have what it takes (and I never will) to become financially wealthy.” Your next EFT round would go something like this:

Even though I don’t believe I have what it takes to become wealthy, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.

Even though they I’ve never known how, so what would be different now, I choose to love and accept all of me anyway.

Even though I’m still convinced I don’t have what it takes to make a lot of money, whatever that is, I deeply and completely love and accept myself right now.

Eyebrow: WHAT IF I do have what it takes and always have?

Side of Eye: WHAT IF I am as deserving as everyone else?

Under Eye: WHAT IF I my belief in “lack” is just a silly belief?

Under Nose: WHAT IF I can release any abundance blocks with this tapping?

Chin: WHAT IF I DO DESERVE abundance and wealth as much as they do?

Collarbone: WHAT IF I am clearing those blocks right now?

Under Arm: WHAT IF I am attracting wealth and abundance right now and all I need to do is relax?

Top of Head: WHAT IF I do have what it takes and abundance is already on its way to me?

I hope these tapping/EFT tips will help you in your journey.