Survival is one thing, thriving is something else. Holistic nutritionist, Elissa Goodman continues to impress us time and again with her wealth of knowledge. When we share her stories here on TCM (check out her insights here) we always come away better equipped to live well.
We’re celebrating the launch of her powerful new book, Cancer Hacks with a series of stories designed to get you thinking about what it truly means to “thrive,” not just to survive. As it turns out, a sense of true well-being has as much to do with our immunity and physical health as anything.
Inspired by her own cancer survival story, Elissa is addressing the strenuous reality of post-cancer rehabilitation. Whether you’ve been through disease and recovery or are struggling with any kind of stress in life, read on to learn about the kind of support we all need to be providing those frazzled nervous systems…
I haven’t spoken much about it, but during the process of writing, researching and publishing my first book Cancer Hacks on cancer and healing, I wasn’t feeling so great.
Writing about my story of cancer survival – from a diagnosis over twenty years ago to losing my husband to the same disease ten years later – was very cathartic for me. I’m in an amazing place in my life – I’ve worked through a lot of shit – but as each chapter came to fruition, emphasizing the crucial practice of self-love and dealing with your demons, I couldn’t help but feel guilt. I had survived cancer, I had found love in my life and I had repaired and developed strong relationships with my daughters.
What could be wrong?
I felt guilt for continuing to struggle with thyroid and autoimmune issues. I was using coffee to get my day going. I lost a few pounds that I definitely didn’t need to lose. There was a photo shoot for the book cover that made my hyperaware of my thin frame; there was no hiding the weight loss from stress.
I came to the realization that I wasn’t thriving the way I knew I could. I had been surviving all of my life, but now it was time to thrive. I resolved to take a little more time for myself, to seek support and commit to researching better ways to thrive. In the process, I created a protocol of sorts that has been life changing for me. I began by tackling the first and most important step in any wellness journey…
The Central Nervous System
A healthy, in-control nervous system should be your number-one health goal. This is the foundation for well-being, what will enable you to meet unexpected events in life with resilience. A healthy central nervous system will keep your tissues, muscles and organs working at maximum capacity, creating a sense of vitality that many of us are missing.
The central nervous system is the communications and power center of the body. From the spinal cord, nerves spread out to every part of your body. Non-stop communication takes place to and from the brain – making the brain connected to every cell in your body.
Every thought, every stimulated response, every beat of your heart… this is the workload of the central nervous system. Even in good times, that’s still quite a workout!
With our hectic schedules and perma-stress, more often than not, we’re in fight-or-flight mode (the central nervous system’s response to stress). A person in fight-or-flight mode isn’t calm or in control – they’re simply surviving. As the sympathetic nervous system releases hormones to calm fight or flight, changes occur all through the body. Over time, those changes wreak havoc on your health. When you calm the central nervous system, you put yourself back in control of your body.
To start the process of calming your central nervous system holistically, I recommend that you first introduce herbs and supplements that strengthen and protect the central nervous system.
Pure Encapsulations B Complex with 5 MTHF: Strengthens the central nervous system.
Global Healing Vitamin B12 (Adenosylcobalamin): Strengthens the central nervous system.
Thorne PharmaGABA: Strengthens neurotransmitters and calms and overactive mind.
Traditional Medicinals Nettle Leaf Tea: Provides essential micronutrients to the central nervous system.
Traditional Medicinals Tulsi Tea: Helps modulate the central nervous system.
Life Extension Magnesium L-Threonate: Boosts cognitive function and helps lower hypertension.
In union with these strengthening herbs and supplements, the focus is on managing stress and healing the central nervous system with my recommended holistic methods.
Flower Essence Remedies
If you have problems ‘switching it off’ and relaxing, Flower Essence Society Remedies (the only brand I recommend, because their essences are made with 100% organic brandy), may be just the solution for you. Sickness and disease are the outcome of imbalances and disconnection – and flower essences are often used to treat the mental and emotional components of wellness.
These herbal infusions, made from the flowering part of plants, contain a sort of energetic imprint that can help you become more connected and more aware of your purpose and, in the process, help you to restore and find balance. Vervain, in particular, is very balancing and used to reconnect the mind and body, helping you feel the desire to enjoy life and thrive.
The body’s emotional cycle is about thirty days, so I recommend trying this out for a least one month before you jump to any conclusion. Four drops under the tongue, four times per day is the recommended starting dosage. I think you will find this holistic remedy can help the connection of emotions to physical health.
Release The Baggage:
We create our own energy. Our central nervous system is hyper-sensitive to the thoughts and energy coming in or going out. Every impulse takes energy and our thoughts, behavior, intentions and actions are all a part of this energy flow. A nervous system that is functioning properly will direct energy to flow in a positive manner to maintain health and promote organ functioning.
I embraced energy healing because I had become aware that I would not function efficiently without clearing out negative energy and letting go. In the process I found an incredible healer who has changed my life. My restless mind was craving a break. Through his guidance and in practicing his meditations and completing exercises of self-love and acceptance, I found that my anxiety decreased. I started sleeping better almost immediately. With this came more productivity and reduced fatigue. I began to feel that I was functioning with more purpose and capacity.
The transmission of healing energy and release of negativity did wonders for me – and now I recommend it to anyone who will listen. I have never been more convinced that creating the right energy and creating space for good in your life is the foundation of well being.
Balance the Body:
Yoga + Breathwork
Yoga and yogic breathwork has the ability to improve our physicality, but you may underestimate the power that yoga practices have on your body’s systems, particularly the central nervous system. One of the key benefits of yoga is its ability to positively impact and strengthen your central nervous system. Yoga has been shown to stabilize the response of the nervous system to stress, removing muscular tension produced by signals from the central nervous system, and calming the involuntary symptoms of ‘threat’ – racing heart, sweating, anxiety – roused by the sympathetic nervous system.
This strengthening helps you develop a healthier response to stress long term, while restorative yoga and breathing exercises activate the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you handle stress and relax in the moment. A daily practice is an essential component of a well-cared-for central nervous system.
StimUate The Sole:
Can a foot rub really benefit your central nervous system? With every touch, reflexology massage sends messages to your central nervous system through your sensory neurons. Stimulating these pathways and nerve endings enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimum functioning and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal).
Pretty incredible chemical changes take place in the process, the whole body becomes affected, endorphins are released and, in addition to ‘feel good feelings,’ pain management is often a benefit. In addition to the central nervous system, reflexology positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune and neuropeptide systems in the body as well.
I bet you didn’t know that so much benefit was to be had by visiting the foot-massage parlor!
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.
This was a great read. Thank you for the lovely tips.
So much good information. Thank you!
How do you afford all the supplements you recommend? Long term supplementation is a cost I have never managed to sustain because of its high relative cost
What kinda breathwork do you do?