"The best of all medicines is resting and _______."
~ Benjamin Franklin
Care to fill in the blank in today's quotation?
Read on to find the answer...
A recent study has shown that _______ causes you to secrete more of a hormone called GHRELIN, which has a few interesting side effects...
- It gives you energy
- Makes you more action-oriented
- Makes you more sociable
- and better able to overcome obstacles
Okay, I know. You're saying, "Where can I get me some of this stuff?!"
Relax - your body makes it. Your stomach makes most of it and some extra comes from your kidneys, your hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
Ghrelin has a notable anti-depressive effect and generally makes people much HAPPIER.
Of course, your system makes more of it when you're _______.
That might be part of the reason people practicing authentic ancient spiritual traditions are about the happiest folks you'll ever meet. At least, that was certainly my experience of the Orthodox Christian monks of Mt. Athos in Greece.
And they're certainly well known for their _______.
SO WHAT IS _______ ALREADY??!!
It's fasting. The practice of going without food or sometimes food and drink for a certain defined period. It's long been known that fasting kick-starts the body's cleansing reaction, causing you to release toxins.
And fasting it SIGNIFICANTLY contributes to longevity. (If you want to live a long time, try not only eating a BETTER diet, but also eating LESS). Some recent experiments with mice determined that cutting down the little rodent's food intake contributed to lengthening his lifespan by 30% or more and keeping him healthy at the same time. For a human, that would mean the difference between a life plagued with health problems and coming to an abrupt end around age 80 versus a longer, disease-free life of closer to 106 years. Sound good to you?
Fasting is also critically important to any REAL spiritual life. By the way, that doesn't mean that ALL religious fasting is helpful spiritually, it just means truly spiritual people practice fasting. There's a difference!
Now, though, the evidence also suggests that fasting has a very positive, mood-altering side effect as well. Again, this applies to INTELLIGENT fasting, practiced in MODERATION. Don't succumb to the silly logic that if a little fasting makes happy, a ton of fasting will make you the happiest person on earth. Wrong!
So if you're aiming for personal resilience in your life, fasting will be an indispensable practice for you. It will improve your mood, giving you the emotional resources to cope with the ups and downs of life. It will help you detoxify, keeping you healthier. And it will greatly facilitate your spiritual practices, such as prayer and meditation.
NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE?
Then the best way to start is to ease yourself into it.
You can try spending a morning with nothing more than pure water, for example. Then - and this is REALLY important - take note of how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate fasting into your life is to set aside one day per week for it and then do a detoxification cleanse 2-4 times per year. For your one day per week, you could start off, for example, by something as simple as drinking only pure water in the morning and then having only liquids (nutritious smoothies, for example) for the rest of the day.
So, why not set aside a day to avoid this...
... in order to enjoy this?
Believe me, your digestive system will be thanking you big time!
There are lots of varieties of fasting and we can't get into the details here, but you get the general idea.
When regular fasting becomes part of your life, you'll LOOK FORWARD to it, knowing how great it makes you feel.
Remember to smile when you fast ;-)
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger