Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner

5 Pillars of Total Health

What comes to mind when you think of the word health? If you’re like most people, that word immediately conjures up sweating in a gym and eating salads. Unfortunately, health is far too often defined by diet and exercise with the results limited by those two measures. Health, by the way, is so much more than shape and size. Total health is about the whole person.

Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner

We are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual beings. Each aspect matters. Although it’s helpful to separate these pillars to focus on specific health issues, dismissing either is problematic because doing so denies our wholeness. Total health integrates all of who we are. Only then we can function at the highest level, laugh from the depths of our bellies, love from the bottoms of our hearts, and connect soul to soul.

…embrace your whole self to achieve total health so you can function, laugh, love, and connect fully.


THE PILLARS OF TOTAL HEALTH

The pillars of total health are not necessarily sequential. Because they are interdependent, health in any one pillar will positively impact health in the others. Therefore, they can be worked on in whatever order you decide is best for you.

Pillar 1: Physical Health

The physical aspect of total health is the most grounding. How each of us physically relates to the earth, the elements, and biology is crucial to overall health. Although what you eat and how active you are do significantly impact physical functioning, other measures are also just as important to physical health. Have you heard of anyone who had a healthy lifestyle suddenly fall ill?

Bob is an active man. He works out, rides his bike, and swims regularly. Bob and his wife also consume the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, and water. Then one day, Bob had a heart attack. Fortunately, he is recovering well.

While Bob did a great job with diet and exercise, his internal health went unnoticed. Bob’s cardiac issues could have been detected earlier with regular physical exams and diagnostics. These health tools assess what is going on inside the body. The superficial measures of calories in and calories out cannot.

In addition to getting physicals and diagnostics as indicated, being your own advocate to individualize your medical care is the X-factor in your health. Don’t just settle for whatever your provider says. Ask questions. Gather information. Seek a second opinion if necessary. Disclose specifics about your condition, situation, and experience. Your relationship with the provider is best as a collaboration and your proactive input is required for you to achieve your best health outcomes.

Pillar 2: Mental Health

During the pandemic, mental health received much needed attention. Perhaps now this undeniably crucial aspect of humanity will be addressed properly by policy makers because mental health issues can be caused by medical conditions, medication or other substances, trauma, and significant life events.

In cases where mental health issues are triggered by illness, substances, or trauma, medical intervention can be most effective. I recommend clients see their primary healthcare provider to rule out any physiological cause of their distress and to determine if medication therapy is appropriate to alleviate any debilitating symptoms caused by the mental health issue.

According to the CDC, depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues that American adults face. Medical conditions aside, these two issues are directly related to paradigm. Your paradigm is the lens through which you view life. This lens is filtered by your mindset and beliefs about how life should be. Depression and anxiety set in when the reality of life and your beliefs differ. With depression, the belief is about what should have or should not have happened in the past. Anxiety poses the belief that the future will be bad.

If your experience of life is diminished by depression or anxiety, help is available. Psychotherapy helps you reframe and redefine your paradigm to be more realistic, to help you navigate life in a way that enhances your health and joy. Effective coping skills are also taught in psychotherapy. Medication coupled with talk therapy has shown significant improvements in these issues. So please, get help.

Pillar 3: Emotional Health

Life can be demanding. Situations can be stressful. Relationships can be challenging. Demands, stress, and challenges all elicit emotional reactions. Such emotions are sometimes powerful and overwhelming, enough to lead to poor choices, harmful outbursts, or overindulgence in food and/or substances.

Emotional health involves being able to manage emotional ups and downs in a way that you are able to maintain equilibrium and learn from the experience that triggered the emotions. Just waiting for the unpleasant ‘feelings’ to pass may seem the easiest thing to do. It will not, however, enhance your emotional health. In fact, ignoring your emotions, allowing them to fester, or acting out impulsively makes things worse because the situation that triggered your reaction remains unresolved and problematic.

Specific skills are required to achieve and maintain emotional health. Emoting with Intelligence is the skillset needed to recognize when you’re in the throes of emotion, contain it, reflect on its meaning, and make conscious choices about how to respond. This skillset enables you to navigate life’s upheavals and maintain emotional health, and is taught in the Emoting with Intelligence chapter of Living In Total Health.

Pillar 4: Spiritual Health

Living In Total Health defines spirituality as your connection to Love. For me, Love is the state from whence all creation comes. So how well you are connected to the Source, to your family and friends, to your community, and to your True Self determines your level of spiritual health.

Connection can manifest as oneness or unity and as intuition, which is an awareness ‘that passeth understanding’. Being at one or unified with another is pretty self-explanatory. Intuition, on the other hand, may not be. It is innate knowing and guidance that you and I are born with. Consider it a gift from the Source of life. Intuition contains all of the information each of us requires to get our needs met in the healthiest way and to experience joy on a regular basis.

Pillar 5: Healthy Boundaries

This pillar will surprise many. Most people only think of boundaries as saying no. They don’t get that healthy boundaries are so much more than that one word. Nor do they get that without healthy boundaries, achieving health in the other 4 pillars is nearly unattainable.

Boundaries are your innate alarm system designed to protect you from harmful forces. Your boundaries are also required for you to properly develop into your own unique self. As such, boundaries are the foundation of health and happiness. Without healthy boundaries, every area of your life can be negatively impacted.

Let’s look at a few ways that boundaries impact the other pillars of health.

Physical
The physical boundary involves what happens to your body.

  • Bodily sensations serve as warning signs when you are in physical danger
  • Inappropriate or unwanted touching can lead to depression, anxiety, self-loathing

Mental
The mental boundary involves agreements and expectations.

  • Unrealistic expectations set others up to fail you, which can cause you to question your self-worth when they let you down and lead to anger and depression
  • Overcommitting entails unrealistic agreements; agreeing to things you can’t realistically accomplish damages your credibility, causes you to avoid others, triggers anxiety and guilt

Emotional Health
The emotional boundary involves proper individuation, being your own person and not taking on the drama/chaos/baggage/issues of another person as if they are yours–not the same empathy.

  • You “lose” yourself to someone else and behave, speak, and react like the other person
  • Friends and family to tell you that you have changed and not for the better

Spiritual Health
The spiritual boundary involves being connected and following your intuition.

  • Ever say to yourself, “I should’ve followed my first mind” or something similar? …indicates that you ignored your intuition, which can lead to problems
  • Loneliness is the absence of meaningful connection to self, family, community, or purpose and is a big factor in depression and suicide

There are many more examples of how unhealthy boundaries affect total health. For more on healthy boundaries please read Living In Total Health, the 2021 Indie Book Award Winner for Health/Wellness and finalist in the Mind, Body, Spirit category. Living In Total Health is available on glenalex.com.

Glen Alex, Living In Total Health, 2021 Indie Book Award Winner

My life’s work is about total health. Of those who know me and my work in health, many still volunteer that they worked out or plan to do something active to assure me they’re on the path to health. This is great. Yet it is not enough. While total health often begins in the physical realm, true health requires the physical to be in concert with the other pillars. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and boundary health matter as much as the physical. So embrace your whole self to achieve total health so you can function, laugh, love, and connect fully.

Assess your boundary health with Glen’s Boundaries Questionnaire.
Visit glenalex.com to subscribe to receive the questionnaire for free, to learn information on Glen’s self-paced course, Healthy Boundaries for Overwhelmed Women, and to purchase Living In Total Health.

Glen Alex, Las Vegas, NV: How Poor Boundaries Inhibit Mental Wellness Blog

How Poor Boundaries Inhibit Mental Wellness

The Foundation of Mental Wellness

Healthy boundaries are the foundation of mental wellness. Boundaries are your innate, personal alarm system that is necessary for you to properly develop as a unique individual and for you to protect yourself from harm. You are designed to be and share who you truly are, expressing the special gift you were born with. There are many harmful forces in the world and your boundaries defend you against them. As such, healthy boundaries form the line where what you will and will not tolerate meet. Poor boundaries do not facilitate individuality or safety and inhibit mental wellness.

What is Mental Wellness?

How well your thoughts, emotions, and actions align with reality defines how mentally well you are. When what you think, when your emotional responsiveness, and when your behavior (choices) are in one accord with the way the world actually functions, not how you believe it should be, then your level of mental wellness will be high. The more attuned you are to reality, its pleasantries as well as its harshness, then the more healthy and realistic your existence is. You handle life’s ups and downs relatively well…going with the flow, learning as you go.

Mental wellness also involves being able to recognize your strengths and build upon them, to cope with life’s challenges and still experience joy, and to contribute to society via productive and meaningful works.

Healthy Boundaries Meet Mental Wellness
Healthy boundaries are based in reality. What is, not what was nor what if. Those who are stuck in the past or dwell on the future fare less well in the present and experience excessive disappointment, anger, anxiety, depression, and weakened self-confidence. The clarity in healthy boundaries promotes overall health and happiness and is directly linked to mental wellness.

Common Unhealthy Boundaries

Let’s look at examples of common unhealthy boundaries and how they impact mental wellness. Three common poor boundaries are unrealistic expectations, overcommitting, and oversharing.

Unrealistic Expectations
Perhaps the most underrated boundary is the mental boundary, which is about agreements. An agreement occurs when two or more people decide together how things will go—a business deal, a relationship, an event. This agreement provides a cooperative understanding between the individuals involved. Each person knows what to expect, realistically.

Alternatively, no agreement exists when one person assumes what another person will do, imposing an unrealistic and unspoken expectation on him or her. There is no conversation nor any communication about what the assumer wants. This unrealistic expectation sets the other person up to fail because he or she does not read minds and are therefore unable to give the assumer what s/he wishes for.

Unspoken and unrealistic expectations kill relationships. More than that, they lead the one who silently hopes for a specific outcome and who assumes the other person will deliver it to doubt their own worth. After all if they were important enough, then they would get what they want from the other person automatically. When the assumer does not get their way, then they may get angry or depressed and have unrealistic thoughts like I’m unlovable, Why doesn’t s/he love me?, What’s wrong with me?, I’m not good enough.

Unrealistic Commitments
Most people believe that boundaries are only about saying no. Though not true in all situations, saying no is definitely required to set healthy limits when appropriate. Life itself naturally imposes challenges and stress. Voluntarily compounding normal stress with overcommitting creates other issues. The unwillingness to decline requests and refuse to add to your already full plate leads to overwhelm, guilt, and low self-esteem.

The overwhelm produced by not communicating no, your line in the sand, when appropriate is ripe with a loss of control, which is laden with anxiety because you stress about getting it all done, knowing that you can’t do it all. And because you can’t do it all, you fail to follow through on promises which triggers guilt, damages your credibility, and wears you out.

Unrealistic Sharing
Do you or anyone you know think of themselves as “an open book”? Those who do tend to believe that sharing is caring, that by telling all about themselves they are engendering closeness, connection with others. I have met people who disclosed their most intimate secrets and desires within a few minutes of meeting me. Oversharing is off-putting to those with healthy boundaries. To those with poor boundaries, your oversharing is a way in to manipulate, to deceive, to get a way in for the sole purpose of getting what they want from you.

Oversharing is not caring. It communicates vulnerability, gullibility, and personal weakness to some. Those with poor boundaries are attracted to you because you give them all the information they need to take advantage of you. Abusers gain intel on how to worm their way in from your oversharing (telling too much). They use who you are against you to get what they want—sex, money, favors, etc.

The consequences of oversharing and being taken advantage of are hurt, anger, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, and/or depression.

Poor boundaries are harmful to your mental health. They make you vulnerable to dangerous forces in life and heap unnecessary stress upon you. Unrealistic expectations, overcommitting, and oversharing are a few examples of unhealthy boundaries. Some consequences of unhealthy boundaries include anxiety, depression, anger, and poor self-esteem.

Mental wellness is measured by a person’s connection to reality, to what is. Healthy boundaries are directly connected with mental wellness because they are based in reality. Your clarity about what you will and will not tolerate and making that line clear to others will offer you peace of mind, less stress, and enhance your mental wellness.

Assess your boundary health with Glen’s Boundaries Questionnaire.
Simply subscribe to receive it for free. Also visit glenalex.com for information on Glen’s self-paced course, Healthy Boundaries for Overwhelmed Women.

Water Matters. Here’s Why and How to Drink More.

Why Water = Life

I drink to live. Water that is. The most important nutrient for humans, for life and health, is water. Wonder what makes water so important? It’s because without H2O, you die. Unlike other nutrients, water is essential for most bodily functions. So while skimping on vitamin d or magnesium, for example, can cause health complications, you will still live. The human body, on the other hand, dies in a few days (how many days varies person to person) without the intake of water.

“Water truly is the elixir of life.”

Dr. Myron Wentz, The Healthy Home

How Water Impacts Health

In addition to sustaining life, water is necessary for overall health. Your body weight is at least 50% water, which needs to be replenished for your organs and systems to work properly. Without enough of this must-have element, just a few of the conditions you can experience are:

• Constipation
• Dry skin
• Low energy, fatigue
• Stiff or painful joints
• High blood pressure
• Hormone imbalances
• Muscle cramps
• Other negative symptoms

Unlike other nutrients, water is essential
for most bodily functions.

 

What is Hydration?

Another unhealthy condition brought on by consuming too little water is dehydration. When the body is deprived of H2O, it basically dries out and overheats. Water gets expelled by normal body processes like elimination, sweating, and breathing. And physical activities, such as exercise and sports, add to the depletion. Thus, water is absolutely necessary to control your core temperature and must be replenished. Please note that hydration involves electrolytes as well as water.

Water Matters: Glen Alex, Author, Coach, Las Vegas, NV

How Much Water is Enough?

You’ve probably heard that we should drink 8 8oz glasses of water/day. Well, turns out that there is no real scientific data to back that declaration. Larry Kenney, PhD said, “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever for that rule.” And according to Mayo Clinic, “No single formula fits everyone.” The amount of water needed depends upon individual factors like overall health, weight, where you live, and activity level. One of the most effective ways to measure your level of hydration is with the color of your urine. Dark urine indicates that your body needs more water.

3 Simple Ways to Get Enough Water

For guidance in understanding how much water you need to consume for adequate hydration, consult your primary healthcare provider or a certified/licensed nutrition. Until then, follow these simple, easy to implement tips for getting enough water.

  1. Drink enough to urinate every 2-4 hours
    –recommended by Nancy Clark, Registered Dietician and Sports Nutritionist
  2. Drink enough to make your urine a light yellow; dark urine is a sign of dehydration and may indicate the need for medical attention
  3. Drink with CLASS, my method for consuming enough water

Color: monitor the color of your urine to know when to drink more (or less)
Liquids: consume tea, fruit, soup or other foods and beverages that contain water
Activity: increase your water intake when physically active, stressed, drink alcohol
Savor: make water tasty by adding fruit or low glycemic drink mixes
Sip: no need to chug; instead, take in small amounts throughout your day

Water is the most important nutrient for life and health. Without enough, your body and mind suffer, unnecessarily I might add. There are many easy ways to get enough water into your body. Feel free to follow my simple CLASS method. I drink to live. Will you?

Create Your Best Health 2021

Living In Total Health is Your Total Wellness Guide for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Timeless Health Information, Insights

Living In Total Health discusses nutrition and physical wellness, vital elements in total health. Living In Total Health provides timeless information and insights for you to develop and maintain healthy nutritional habits. Living In total Health is a great gift for self and loved ones.

An Easy Read on Health Essentials

Your total wellness guide, Living In Total Health, covers essentials for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual health. Presented in an easy, quick-read style it is packed with valuable, practical health wisdom that can be immediately applied to help make 2021 your best, most healthy year ever!

2021 Special Limited Offer
B1G1

Buy a copy of Living In Total Health, Get a free Health & Wellness coaching session with Glen.

Included:
• 1 new, attractive hard cover copy of Living in Total Health from our Amazon Distributor,  Bookch148 

• Free 30 minute consultation with Glen (provide a copy of your receipt from Bookch148 to schedule)
• $24.95 + tax (and applicable shipping charges for non-members of Prime)

Click to Order from Bookch148

Glen Alex, author of Living In Total Health, Las Vegas, NV
Sleep Hygiene

The Beauty of Sleep

Know when I feel the most beautiful? It is after a good night’s sleep. I awaken refreshed, with natural energy, with clarity, and with springs in my step. Being fully engaged in life because I slept well brings me joy. And what is more beautiful than joy?

Joy is an expression of our direct connection with the Creator, with God. So deep, restorative sleep for me is “the best thing since sliced bread!” I have made this statement many, many times over the years. Just as important as the direct connection, restorative sleep also improves overall health.

Sleep Hygiene

“Adequate rest provides a sense of strength, awareness, and focus.
Proper rest is also beneficial in maintaining and improving health because it provides
the wise body space to heal and the opportunity to add quality to life.
Good rest involves deep restorative sleep and downtime, which can include
meditation or just sitting quietly and allowing stillness to take hold.”

–Glen Alex, Living In Total Health

 

Effects of Poor Sleep

On the contrary, without good sleep I drag myself through the day while attempting to appear ‘with it’ despite my fuzzy thinking. And at times, nervous energy (anxiety) emerges from sleep deprivation. There are many other negative consequences of poor sleep. Here are just a few:

    • Poor sleep raises inflammation levels in women
    • Sleep deprivation in children resembles symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    • The brain is unable to detox, as it normally removes neurological waste during sleep
    • Increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and weakened immune system
    • Weight gain

Choosing Sleep

Lifestyle and habitual actions definitely impact sleep. Do you burn the candle at both ends? Are you of the mindset that you will ‘sleep when you’re dead’? Do you sacrifice sleep to do something only to please someone else? If yes to either question, then you can choose your lifestyle to allow for better, deeper sleep so you can function better and feel beautiful.

Use my REST UP method below to improve your sleep patterns. These tips are designed to prepare your mind and body for rest. Visit glenalex.com for more information. If you continue to experience sleep disturbance or deprivation, then please see your primary healthcare provider for an evaluation and treatment, if necessary.

 

Routine: Develop habits to perform as bedtime nears

–Some people relax after a warm bath or shower to deepen sleep

 

Exercise: Physical activity helps relieve the body of excess energy

–Regular exercise helps overall; some relax after yoga or a lite workout 1-2 hours before bedtime

 

Schedule: Have a regular sleep/wake schedule

–I plan to be in bed about the same time every night, and make sure my to-do’s are done before my winddown

 

Tech Off: Eliminate the use of technology in bed, it’s stimulating and promotes awakeness

–Do Not Disturb is set on my phone at 9pm so I am not tempted to answer it

 

Unwind: The winddown – after routine and tech off, settle in

–After stimulations end, I still need time to drift off to sleep and this is part of my schedule

 

Practices: Meditation, journaling, reading inspirational materials are powerful practices for many

–These practices are helpful as part of your sleep routine and throughout your day

 

Feel Beautiful with Sleep

Sleep is so very important to overall health. Deep, restorative sleep triggers your innate healing abilities and brings balance, mental clarity, natural energy, and joy to your existence. So make lifestyle choices that allow you to sleep well to be healthy and to feel beautiful.

Create Your Best Health in 2021

Discover how you can sleep well with Living In Total Health, Your Total Wellness Guide.

Timeless, Comprehensive, Health Information and Insights

Living In Total Health’s chapter, Resting Well,  addresses the importance of sleep to total health. Living In Total Health provides timeless information and insights for you to develop and maintain healthy sleep hygiene.

Living In total Health is a great gift for self and loved ones.

An Easy Read Delivering Indispensable Information on Health Essentials

Your total wellness guide, Living In Total Health, covers essentials for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual health. Presented in an easy, quick-read style it is packed with valuable, practical health wisdom that can be immediately applied to help make 2021 your best, most healthy year ever!

2021 COACHING SPECIAL

Buy a copy of Living In Total Health and Get a free Health & Wellness coaching session with Glen.

Included:

  1. One new, hard cover copy of Living in Total Health
  2. Free 30 minute consultation with Glen
  3. $24.95 + tax + applicable shipping charges
  4. Must provide a copy of your receipt to schedule, purchase must be a new copy from Glen’s Amazon distributor
    Bookch148 ONLY

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Love is in the Doing | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Love is in the Doing

If you think love is just a feeling, think again. Stephen Covey nailed it when he said, “Love is a verb.” Most humans are so deeply confused about this truth. When I posted his quote on my social media wall, a friend immediately disagreed. She replied to correct me with an official dictionary definition stating that love is a noun—a person, place, or thing. Imagine her surprise when I explained what Mr. Covey meant, that love is action.

Love is action.

Love is Feeling in Motion

Going beyond the basic interpretation of love as a feeling his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey describes love as feeling in motion. Too many people need to experience warm fuzzies, excitement, or even sexual impulses toward another person in order to believe they are “in love” romantically. However, the opposite is the true. It is acts of love that produce the sensations associated with love. This is true in romance and other types of relationships too.

Think of why you love someone. Is your love for them based upon what they do for you? …because they are giving, because they do certain things for you, because they listen to you. You love them because of their actions, what they do in your relationship.

Now think of a complaint you have about a loved one. Is it about something they no longer do for or with you? Perhaps they don’t call to say hi anymore. It could be that they stopped cooking or cleaning. Or maybe they no longer spend quality time with you.

Caring Behaviors

These acts of love are called caring behaviors, small acts of kindness. They are easy to perform when that ‘loving feeling’ is present. When it is not, caring behaviors tend to become less frequent or stop altogether.

You may believe that you have to feel love in order to execute a caring behavior. You don’t. It’s actually the other way around. The feeling of love is kindled by caring behaviors, the actions that make love a verb.

“…maybe the feelings are dwindling precisely because you’re not doing all the little things [you] used to do to nurture your partner and the relationship.”

–Barbara Markway Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

If you want to feel excitement and warm fuzzies about your relationship, then do something you know your partner enjoys. Because they enjoy it. Your actions will trigger your love connection and show your partner that they are important to you.

Your actions will trigger your love connection.

How to get that ‘loving feeling’ back with LCD

Follow these 3 simple LCD steps to get back to love:

List:

Make a list of acts you know your partner likes. List everything you can think of, no
matter how small or silly they seem. Remember that caring behaviors are small acts of
kindness so your gestures need not be grand.

Commit:

Commit to performing your caring behaviors consistently—daily, weekly, special occasions, etc.

Do:

Act. Perform the caring behaviors even if you don’t ‘feel it’.

Want to feel love again? Then take action with LCD. Love is in the doing.

Create Your Best Health 2021

Tap into your innate ability to love authentically with Living In Total Health, Your Total Wellness Guide.

Timeless, Comprehensive Health Information and Insights

Living In Total Health discusses healthy relationships, a vital element in total health. Living In Total Health provides timeless information and insights for you to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Living In total Health is a great gift for self and loved ones.

An Easy Read Delivering Indispensable Information on Health Essentials

Your total wellness guide, Living In Total Health, covers essentials for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual health. Presented in an easy, quick-read style it is packed with valuable, practical health wisdom that can be immediately applied to help make 2021 your best, most healthy year ever!

2021 Special Limited Offer

Buy a copy of Living In Total Health and Get a free Health & Wellness coaching session with Glen.

Included:

    • 1 new, attractive hard cover copy of Living in Total Health from Bookch148, our Amazon Distributor
    • Free 30 minute consultation with Glen (must provide a copy of your receipt from Bookch148 to schedule)
    • $24.95 + tax (and applicable shipping charges for non-members of Prime)

Click to Order Living in Total Health from Amazon

How to Give Realistically | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

How to Give Realistically and Authentically

Well, it’s here…the season of giving. This time of year, the fall holiday season, the collective focus is on buying gifts for others and expecting gifts in return, a retail fest for sure. And much to my chagrin, the act of sharing our blessings is relegated to one month and materialistic exchanges. Giving, as with gratitude, is a daily/regular/ongoing activity that connects you to your higher self, to your Creator, and to humanity.

My plea is that we reframe the typical gift-giving approach to giving gifts from the heart, that we be the reason for someone else to have hope of a better existence in this season.

How can I give when I’ve lost so much?

If you’re asking yourself this question, then you are not alone. Millions of people have suffered massive financial losses due to the effects of the pandemic. Fortune.com estimated that at least 100,000 businesses have closed so far this year. Stimulus packages were underwhelming. Extended unemployment benefits didn’t go very far. Too many have experienced the devastation of personal economics in addition to the mental and emotional anguish of 2020.

That doesn’t leave you with much to manage the necessities of your life—paying bills, buying food, putting gas in the car. Struggling to survive, what do you have left over to give away? “Nothing” may pop into your mind as the answer. A completely valid response. If you consider lost income plus uncertainty plus 2020 angst, any other response seems fantastical or Pollyannaish.

You still can be the Reason someone has Hope

Hold on, please. Even with the turmoil of this year, you still can be the reason in this season by giving realistically and authentically. You don’t have a lot of money or material resources? No worries. Gifts from the heart do not require expensive material things. Your heart has an abundance of love and limitless joy just waiting to be shared. Here is how to tap into your heart to give what you can and with love so you can be the reason for someone to see possibilities and a thriving future.

Gifts from the heart don’t require expensive material things.

It’s the Thought that Counts in Heart-Centered Giving

It really is the thought that counts. Rather, the intent. When you give from your heart, especially something meaningful to the recipient, you expand your consciousness and sphere of energetic influence. The amount of money you spend on a gift is irrelevant in matters of the heart. Your loving intention for giving is invaluable and cannot be measured in dollars and cents. The value of your heart-centered gift is appraised by the Spirit.

Why do you give?

How to Give Realistically and Authentically with Gifts from the Heart

Here are 5 simple, free, and powerful gifts you can give to loved ones this giving season.

1. Prayer

An amazing and effective means of bestowing love upon another human being is to pray for them. Perhaps you know someone suffering physically or someone who has lost more than you. Whatever their situation, praying for them is a gift that transcends materialism and directly touches their soul.

2. Smile

There are very few things in life that warm the heart more than a genuine smile. The gift of a smile is so positively impactful that is can be detected even behind a mask because the eyes smile too.

3. Note – Thinking of You

A simple note to say “I’m thinking about you”, “you’re on my mind” is oh so powerful. Your note communicates that you care, that the recipient is not forgotten, and that they matter. You can send this message via a greeting card, a handwritten note, in a text, or in an email.

4. Positive Regard and Attention

Sometimes all we need is to just experience acceptance of our humanity above anything else. Holding a space of positive regard for another person and seeing the best in them is very loving. Perceiving the person behind the facade of personality can open the door for that person to step into their own Truth.

5. Cash or Material Item

Material items in good condition are demonstrations of love as well. Perhaps your gently used coat is needed by someone who can’t afford to buy one this winter. And by all means, if you can afford to give something material then do so. Money to those struggling to pay bills and gift cards to buy necessities can be very helpful expressions of love.

Every dark cloud contains a silver lining. Every challenge cradles opportunity. So current psychological and economic hardships need not thwart you opening your heart and sharing authentic love. Even with 2020 losses, you still have something of immense value to give. And you need not buy anything because grandiosity is not synonymous with love. You can give the gift of love freely and at no cost.

Give from your heart and be the reason in the season for someone to have hope of a better life.

Give from Your Heart by Living In Total Health, Your Total Wellness Guide

Timeless, Comprehensive Health Information and Insights

Living In Total Health can help you give from your heart and achieve total health. Living In Total Health provides timeless information and insights for you to pave your way to total health and give from your heart. Living In total Health is a great gift for self and loved ones.

An Easy Read Delivering Vital Information on Health Essentials

Your total wellness guide, Living In Total Health, covers essentials for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual health. Presented in an easy, quick-read style it is packed with valuable, practical health wisdom that can be immediately applied to help make 2021 your best, most healthy year ever!

For Beginners and Seasoned Health Advocates

Whether you are starting a health improvement program for the very first time or you have years of personal health improvement experience, Living in Total Health is bound to offer new, valuable help in your quest to attain your optimal health.

2020 Holiday Special: B2G1

Buy 2 copies of Living In Total Health for loved ones, Get 1 free for yourself.

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Crimes Against Humanity | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Crimes Against Humanity

I wrote this blog in December 2018 and I am posting it again because it is still relevant. The United States specifically is knee-deep in darkness. Still.

I love crime dramas. The Closer, Criminal Minds, How To Get Away With Murder, The Purge, and every Law and Order Series. These shows delve into the human psyche, which I am passionate about, and demonstrate the depths of depravity unique to our species in an entertaining way. Macabre, I know.

Yet the acts performed on my favorite shows are not real. Those stories are made up and easy to walk away from. Besides being entertaining, crime dramas serve the purpose of allowing viewers to tap into their dark side and sublimate the accompanying impulses.

And while I dig exploration of the mind because I’ve always gravitated toward psychological underpinnings, I shudder at the reality of the harm we humans are capable of inflicting on each other. I am haunted by the brutality of rape, child abuse, domestic violence, killing of innocents, discrimination, and isms. They evoke pain. There is no entertainment value in such actions.

I cannot shake off beatings of anyone because of their race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. A mother killing her children and one lover ending the life of another weigh heavy on my heart. A man forcing himself on a woman with fists and genitalia provokes an emotional stew made of sadness and fear topped with rage.

I am equally impacted by the suffering of those victimized. Their traumatic experiences and untimely deaths seem so unnecessary to me. And painful, emotionally and spiritually. Please know that I am not naïve. I do understand the duality of human existence—good-bad, light-dark, right-wrong, black-white. However, my very human response to human-on-human violence is sadness because I empathize with those victimized. I have the ability put myself into another person’s shoes and experience what they experience…why I can’t stomach the true crime stories. Empathy…“It’s a blessing and a curse.” Adrian Monk

I am also disappointed and outraged that we have not done better. History, technology, heightened awareness are underutilized in improving our individual and collective experiences. What is the hold up?

We have been here before. Many times in human existence factions and fundamentalists and fascists and narcissists imposed their will on others violently. The internet, Youtube, and Facebook give us instant access to useful information. And all things spiritual are more mainstream.

So why haven’t we learned to treat each other better from history? Why haven’t we used technology to right wrongs? Why haven’t we lived the tenets of major religions and wisdom traditions and behave like we are all created equated and of the same Source?

What on earth is taking so long to end crimes against humanity?

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

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Living Mindfully | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Living Mindfully

If the word “mindfulness” conjures up thoughts of sitting in silence with mind empty, then you’re on the right track. Meditation can quiet the mind’s chatter, relegate the mind’s stream of consciousness to an attachment-free film strip, and deepen insight. Whether you use breathing techniques, mantras, movements, or guides in your practice, meditation brings about a profound sense of peace, relaxation, and the gift of connection. Yes, mindfulness is closely related with meditation.

“Mindfulness and meditation embody many similarities and can overlap, but the terms are not exactly interchangeable.”
–chopra.com

There is, however, another type of mindfulness of which I write. Self-awareness. Not to be confused with self-absorption or egocentrism nor any form of negative selfishness, self-awareness is being attuned to your thoughts, feelings, and actions–knowing what you experience internally and do at any given moment. This is not a trick! Every human being has the innate ability to tune in introspectively. Yet, not all do.

Many people are not self-aware, not present to their own experiences. Mindlessness is pervasive. It is attending to every little thing or nothing with a blank mind or being overwhelmed with mental prattling. If you have ever driven somewhere and could not remember the drive, then you were mindless. This has happened with me and I am thankful that I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. If you have ever been told that you said or did something yet did not recall doing so, then you were mindless at that time too. Andy Bernay-Roman called mindlessness a trance state in The Mind/Body Connection.

“…in the trance state, “vegging” out and living unconsciously, the brain disengages from the senses and tunes into its own archive, the past. So today’s reactions are fueled by yesterday’s experiences. Which can be problematic, obviously. As with “choosing well,” the past need not control today’s decisions.”
–Glen Alex, Living In Total Health

Let me share my personal experience. My life’s work is about health because I believe healthy people—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—are more loving, more genuine, and less likely to intentionally harm self or others. It all began in childhood with boundaries. I was so enthralled by the nuance of interaction and took keen mental notes of when people smiled, when they cringed, and when emotional pain consumed their faces.

Boundaries came more into play as a teenager. The youngest of 10, I realized that healthy boundaries are crucial for personal health, wellbeing, and relationships, and learned to say “no” after experiencing mounting frustration from being taken advantage of by elders. I moved from watching to learning to experiencing to teaching matters of health.

During my health journey, I made conscious decisions about how I want to be treated and how I would treat others. Just saying so wasn’t enough, however. We all have said we would do something and it never materialized. Affirmative action required to meet the stated goal was missing. In order to live up to my personal commandments, I programmed myself to be aware of when I fell off my behavioral wagon.

It was a bit rough in the beginning, as I had to walk on awareness eggshells until the habit formed. When it did, by my late teens, I could pretty much recall words and phrases and actions that I delivered, in pretty much any situation. The level of self-awareness I carry daily is high, which requires a lot of energy. And totally worth the personal cost because being authentic and responsible and positively impacting humanity are external manifestations of my Personal Truth, my purpose.

Side note – my self-imposed self-awareness elevated my kinesthetic awareness as well. Not only am I aware of what my body is doing in space, I’m also attuned to what it is doing internally. During the initial visit with my new dentist at the time, I told him about my symptoms and treatments and responses and timelines in such a way that he called me a “genius” because of my connectedness to my existence.

My call to you is to take this one of many opportunities that the global health crisis offers to grow, ignoring all the political agendas. You can become mindful. Allow unhealthy and useless habits to fall away. Touching your face with dirty hands, quick wipe downs, no wipe down, saving time by not washing hands, sneezing and coughing openly are automatic behaviors that need to be laid to rest now and quite frankly should’ve been eons ago. For your own health. For the health of those around you.

Every challenge is married to the opportunity for personal growth. Seize this moment to start living consciously, mindfully. Eliminate automatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that endanger your health and that of those you love. Your past is not your present and need not control your choices. Mindful self-awareness puts you in charge of what you think, feel, and do. Reprogram yourself to become more self-aware. The benefits will extend beyond this crisis.

Humanity needs you to be mindful. Now is that time.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback?

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Unintended Consequences | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Unintended Consequences

I didn’t mean for that to happen. It wasn’t my intention for…

Have you or anyone you know ever utter these words? Probably. Most of us don’t actually weigh the possible outcomes when we make decisions. We only see what we want, which comes at a cost. But alas, what price?

Every choice yields positive, negative, or neutral consequences. Every choice. Oh, and a yes to one thing is a no to another. It’s just a matter of being clear about the potential results and accepting your responsibility in bringing them about. Because if you only focus on what you want or have to have, then you leave the door wide open for yourself and others to be harmed. And I wonder if you took the time to weigh the probabilities, would you make that decision anyway?

This is so true for the current global health crisis. Yes, the pandemic required an immediate and effective response from leaders. Hence the world shutdown with shelter in place (SIP), business closures, and social distancing. Many believe that these measures have reduced exposure, slowing down the rate of new infections and the number of deaths.

After about two months of the shutdown and the declining numbers, many people are still afraid of catching a virus that most will recover from, about 98% of active cases are mild and don’t require hospitalization according to worldometers.info/coronavirus. And many rightfully question the continued social closures, never mind how “essential” businesses are selected. Some governments don’t even have a concrete plan for reopening.

My question is, what about the unintended consequences of the ongoing shutdown?

Domestic Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a big problem. IPV includes physical violence, sexual assault, mental and emotional abuse, and stalking. And according to the CDC, current or former male partners kill nearly half of all women murdered. For the domestic violence survivors, mental health, heart, digestive, muscular, and nervous system disorders can affect them for years.

With SIP, there is no escape. Victims cannot leave home to seek shelter, despite what Nevada’s Governor says, and are more vulnerable. Isolation is a major enabler of domestic violence. Mandatory reporters—medical providers, teachers, therapists are removed with SIP because they cannot see the bruises or get a report from those abused or provide resources for help. Increasing stress, unemployment, and sudden shifts in daily routines are also contributing factors.

Something else to consider. Harvard University Medical School trauma expert, Judith Lewis Herman, found that domestic abusers use similar methods to kidnappers to control hostages and repressive regimes use to break the will of political prisoners to control their partners and children. Andrew Campbell reported that new cases in the United States involve the abusers not allowing their partners wash their hands, using the threat of contracting COVID as another means of control.

Brazil reported a 40-50% increase in reports. France reported a spike of 30%. In the UK, domestic murders of women and children have doubled. In the United States, Houston police received 300 more domestic violence calls, 517 more in Charlotte, and nearly 200 more in Phoenix. Other U.S. cities that reported increased domestic violence calls include Boston, Milwaukee, Seattle, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Utah County, Fresno County, Montgomery County, East Baton Rouge Parish, Buffalo, Sparks, Portland, Nassau County, Cherokee County, and Charleston, South Carolina.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is unfortunately tied to Intimate Partner Violence. About 30-60% of children who live in IPV homes are abused and/or neglected themselves, according to preventchildabuse.org. DoSomething.org reported that 68% of the abuse is perpetrated by family members and more than 70% of the children who die as a result of abuse and neglect are younger than 3 years of age.

Not only do these children experience violence first-hand, they may also witness one parent, usually mom, be victimized. The long term effects of the IPV environment involves psychological, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral issues. And many of those abused as children are linked with future criminal activity.

Authorities are concerned that the usual modes of reports to the police and child protective services are disrupted. Because schools and social outlets are shutdown, children are not seen by teachers, medical providers, other mandatory reporters, or even extended family. The apprehensive expectation is that when society reopens the number of new reports will be exponentially higher than the norm.

Suicide

There was a loneliness problem in the United States before the pandemic. In the age of massive technological connection via social media, more and more people experience disconnection and are lonely. That issue has worsened because of the forced social isolation from the national shutdown.

“We’ve seen several suicides that we can directly attribute to the isolation from not being able to get out and move about and do the things that they normally do. They get depressed,”

–Bobby Parks Evans, Jr., Greenville, SC County Coroner.

Vikram Thakura and Anu Jain wrote, “The looming economic crisis may create panic, mass unemployment, poverty and homelessness will possibly surge the suicide risk or drive an increase in the attempt to suicide rates in such patients. US already claimed a vast increase in unemployment (4.6 million) during coronavirus emergency and speculated that lockdown will cause more deaths than COVID-19 itself amid the recession. This uncertainty of time for isolation, not only demoralize but also make people feel worthless, hopeless about present and future.”

Increased domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide are just a few of the unintended consequences of the shutdown. Lack of access to health care also comes to mind. Leaders must take them all into consideration. Reopening society will require a conscientious balancing act, weighted by keeping those most vulnerable safe from this viral scourge while allowing the healthiest to live and help those in need.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback?

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Quarantine Spring Cleaning | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Quarantine Spring Cleaning

This time of year usually brings a plethora of spring cleaning tips, from everywhere. Spring is the season of rebirths and re-awakenings, so it is the perfect time to start over by throwing out the old and the useless. And regular physical, mental, and environmental cleanses are so important for Living In Total Health.

In 2020, however, the current global shutdown provides new spring cleaning opportunities. Even though outdoor activities are restricted, cleansing can still be done. Must be done to brighten in-home experiences and create loving space in our psyches for when the world reopens. Stay Home orders offer a great time to detox and cleanse for better health—mental, physical, emotional, and yes spiritual, for all forces of health are interconnected and interdependent.

Here are three ways to cleanse now for better health.

Clean House

This may sound like a “dah”. Of course, picking up clothes, washing dishes, and cleaning toilets are involved. Go a step further. Rid your home and living space of excess papers. I tend to keep documents long after their usefulness as hardcopies. Part of my 2020 spring cleaning included an afternoon of shredding and recycling documents that I no longer need, magazines that I won’t read, and printouts that I haven’t read in a minute. My home office is now more organized, more open, and more pleasing to the eye, all of which provide mental peace.

Get It Done

“When I have time, I will…” was a recent social media post of mine. How many times have you said that to yourself? Many, I’m sure. And I hope the time is now. Being unable to go shopping, to dine out, or even hang out is a gift of time. Use it. Complete projects left undone. Finish reading that book. Follow up on that conversation. Because every time you think of something you didn’t finish, you add an extra layer of stress to your psyche, which trickles down to your daily life. Now is your time to get that “monkey off your back” and get it done.

Heart Cleanse

”Not everyone deserves a front row seat in your life.” As a firm believer in surrounding myself with people who have my back, who genuinely support my best, I agree wholeheartedly with Susan L. Taylor. Some people are to be kept at appropriate distances. Some removed altogether. Relatives included. Life is far too short for the needless drama and chaos presented by the egocentric, those hurtful, or people who are irresponsible with my heart.

And guess what? The gift of now is that you don’t actually have to confront anyone or even say goodbye. Social distancing is doing that for you. No need to avoid the gym or walk the other way when you see them coming. You are free, for now. So simply take a moment to reflect on who truly nurtures you. Identify those who don’t. And let them go.

Allow social downtime to naturally release your attachment to those relationships that stunt your growth and strengthen those that uplift you.

For better total health, cleanse in quarantine by cleaning house, getting it done, and releasing unhealthy attachments. When the world reopens, you’ll be ready and fortified with cleanliness, esteem, and love to take on the new day.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author, Health Skills Coach

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback? Book your complimentary Discovery Call now: www.glenalex.as.me/schedule.php