Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bedroom "Feng Shui"

Bedroom Feng Shui

Use Chinese feng shui to promote good sleep. Feng shui is based on the principle of harmonizing the invisible but powerful life energy “qi” that not only courses through the human body but also flows throughout the environment.

Literally, feng shui means “wind-water.” Feng shui has been practiced in China for several millennia. Originally, it was used to find the most auspicious burial sides for the dead. For centuries, it has been used to balance the yin (the female) and the yang (the male) in order to create the balance and harmony for health and wellness. Theoretically, anything that interrupts with the free flow of “qi” is considered bad for feng shui. In the same manner, bedroom feng shui plays a pivotal part in promoting natural sleep.

According to the principles of feng shui, the ideal bedroom should have a regular shape (a square or a rectangle), not oblong or circular. The reason is that any irregular shape will interfere with the free flow of life energy. By the same token, too much furniture is not ominous for good feng shui. A computer or any outdoor coats hanging on the back of the bedroom may create irrelevance instead of harmony to the bedroom environment, and thus obstructing “qi.”

Basically, spaced-clearing is critical to good bedroom feng shui.

Look around your bedroom to see if there are objects that do not belong to a bedroom.

Avoid placing a mirrors on the wall, especially not directly opposite the bed, because it will reflect life energy back at you while you sleep.

Make sure your bed is raised above the floor so that there is no interruption of the flow of life energy. Do not place your bed between doors, or between the window and the door.

If the bedroom has two entrances (such as a suite), place a screen between them.

The sun is not ideal for a sleeping surface. Make sure that your bed is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Depression Basics

Depression is no respecter of persons. Millions and millions of people worldwide are afflicted with this mental disease.

You must understand the complications and complexities of this as-old-as-age mental disorder. First and foremost, you must know the depression basics.

The Depression Basics 

Depression is a serious medical illness affecting more than 15 million American adults, and nearly twice as many women (6.7 million) as men (3.2 million) suffering from depressive episodes each year.

Depression can occur at any age, including childhood, the teenage years, and adulthood. This debilitating disorder is more than an abnormal emotional experience of sadness, loss, or hopelessness – it can interfere persistently and significantly with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, activity, and physical health. We are living in a world of depression.

Depression may include anxiety attacks, panic attacks, mood disorders, such as bipolar depression. Different types may have different symptoms and varying degrees of severity, and there are significant individual differences in the symptoms and severity.

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors of mental depression may include:

  • A life-changing event, such as the loss of a loved one or divorce.
  • Chronic illness.
  • Certain medications, including some high blood pressure drugs.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • A history of child abuse.
  • Sustained problems at home or at work.
  • Physical trauma.
  • Other family members with a prior history of depression.
  • Chronic stress or anxiety.
 Causes of depression

There is no single cause of mental depression. Psychological, biological, and environmental factors may all contribute to its development. Generally, depression may be caused by one or more of the following:

Genetics

There is scientific evidence of a genetic predisposition to mental depression. When there is a family history of the illness, there is an increased risk for developing depression. However, not everyone with a genetic predisposition develops mental depression.

Brain chemical imbalance

Norepinephrine serotonin, and dopamine are three neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that transmit electrical signals between brain cells) are implicated in the cause of mental depression.

Diseases

According to a recent study, half of all people with advanced or terminal cancer suffer from some form of depression, anxiety or adjustment disorders. According to researchers, medical management of cancer has improved significantly over the past 10 years, but mental health care has not been fully integrated into cancer patients’ treatment plans. Research studies show that depression and anxiety can adversely affect a cancer patient’s quality of life and attitudes towards living and dying even more than physical pain.

Hormones

Your mood, memory, and other cognitive functions depend on the efficiency of your neurotransmission, which is the communication between brain cells. Hormones in your body play a pivotal role in regulating chemicals in your neurotransmission —norepinephrineserotonin, and dopamine — which in turn regulates your moods. 

Your estrogen level has significant impact on your brain not only in enhancing the growth and survival of your brain cells, but also in regulating your emotional states, such as anxiety and depression.

As women age, their estrogen levels decline, and they are more vulnerable to depression. As men age, they, too, are at greater risk of major depression due to declining testosterone.

Your thyroid hormone regulates the metabolism of your entire body. Low thyroid hormone levels are both a cause and effect of low estrogen, thus leading to mental depression and mood disorders, such as bipolar depression.

Nutritional deficiencies

Depression may be caused by nutritional deficiency. For example, magnesium deficiency is responsible for neurotransmission abnormalities. All chemical reactions in the body require an enzyme system to initiate the biochemical reaction, and magnesium is a critical co-factor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body. In addition, magnesium is responsible for neurotransmission abnormalities — the precursors of different types of mental disorders.

 Environmental toxins

Research studies have linked environmental toxins, such as chemicals, pesticides, pollutants, to depression.

Even some commonly prescribed drugs, such as sleeping pills, high-blood pressure drugs, antibiotisoics, and painkillers are implicated in neurotransmission abnormalities.

New Perspectives of Depression

Is depression really a mental disorder? Are antidepressants the only solution to the disorder?  Can one use the mind to control the disorder? According to Lao Tzu, one has to go "through" the depression in order to get out of the depression. 

.Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Sunday, February 24, 2019

Don’t Look Like Santa Claus

Don’t Look Like Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a mythical figure loved by children because he always brings presents during Christmas. Santa is imaginary and therefore he will be around next Christmas. However, if you wish to be around when he comes back next Christmas, then don’t look like Santa Claus. Your body shape is a good indicator of your current health conditions.

If your body shape is like that of an apple, that is, with extra weight in the midsection, you may have a propensity for diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke further down the road. The reason is that in a beer belly, your abdominal fat is more easily converted into cholesterol, and hence ultimately affecting your heart health. On the other hand, if your body shape is like that of a pear, that is, with extra weight around the hips instead of in the midsection, you may be less at risk for heart disease.

If you don’t want to look like Santa Clause, be mindful of your body shape. Exercise your body and manage your body weight.

Yoga is the best exercise not only to normalize your muscle tone, as well as to balance the activity of opposing muscle groups, but also to enhance your physical and mental awareness. They all play a pivotal part in weight loss. Remember, effective weight management is more than about eating fewer calories through dieting; the mind and the spirit also contribute to your body metabolism.

Because of its holistic approach to wellness, Yoga exercise also requires the application of its basic principle of nutrition, which is the consumption of small quantities of high-quality life-giving foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, with meat in strict moderation.

Brilliant Yoga: A 200+page e-book with videos on body-mind-spirit transformation! There is all-in-one support you need in every chapter with comprehensive and easy-to-follow steps to guide you on how to make yourself look, feel, and live your life to the fullest. This is the perfect yoga program with everything you need to know about healing yoga. It is for everyone-from the beginner to the advanced learner-who believes that yoga is a science of health. Brilliant Yoga comes with additional bonus books on back pain, pilates, stretching, and weight loss.

Act and think like Santa Claus, but just don't look like him.

Your Golden Years and Santa Claus: This book is about the wisdom of living your golden years as if everything is a miracle, if you act and think like Santa Claus. Living in your senior years is always challenging, so you need the mindset of Santa Claus.

Stephen Lau
Copyright ©2018 by Stephen Lau

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ginseng for Your Golden Years


Ginseng for Your Golden Years

As you continue to age in your golden years, taking ginseng is a must. For thousands of years, most centenarians all over the world have consumed ginseng. It is the elixir of life for seniors.

The King of Herbs

Ginseng is the king of herbs in the herbal kingdom due to its holistic-healing potency. In other words, it treats the body as a whole. As such, it is used to keep your body balanced and healthy, in particular in your golden years. 

In Chinese medicine, balance and harmony holds the key to wellness and recuperation. Ginseng, with its branched roots in the shape resembling that of the human form, is called “man root” in Chinese. The word “ginseng” literally means crystallization of the essence of the earth, “shen”, in the form of a man, ”jen.” The name itself attests to the importance of ginseng among herbs, especially in Chinese health and healing.

The potency of ginseng has long been recognized in Eastern cultures. In fact, as far back as 1800 B.C., ginseng was declared in the East as the king of herbs among more than 200 superior herbs recognized as “medical wisdom” for balancing and harmonizing the body for overall health.  Ginseng for the golden years is the wisdom in successful aging.

Ginseng is the essence of health. According to Chinese medicine, it brightens your eyes, opens your heart, enlightens your brain, and strengthens your soul and spirit. These are the attributes of healthy aging in the golden years. For centuries, ginseng has been present in many classical prescriptions for adjustive, preventive, and restorative purposes.

Ginseng is also a potent short-term stimulant that does no harm. It stimulates your nervous system and increases your reflex. In ancient times, Chinese soldiers used to carry ginseng to the battlefield, using it not only to restore strength, but also to ameliorate the effects of shock and stress in battles. It is quite common practice for Chinese to give ginseng root to those on their deathbed to provide adequate strength to be able to receive their family and arrange their after-death affairs before dying.

In space exploration, the Russian astronauts considered ginseng a better stimulant than the amphetamines used by the American counterparts, because ginseng enhances performance without the hangover effects of amphetamines. 

Nowadays, Soviet coaches and trainers have long used ginseng to enhance the performance of athletes in training, even for Olympic Games. The Chinese even purportedly used runners to determine the quality of ginseng by asking two men to run a race biting a piece of ginger root in the mouth, and the one who did not display any body fatigue would attest to the authenticity of the ginseng root. Similar research studies were conducted in the Soviet Union and other countries worldwide to confirm the potency of ginseng as a short-term stimulant.

As strong evidence of its efficacy as a medicinal herb, wild ginseng can be worth thousands of dollars in price. If stored in a tight container, ginseng can retain its potency indefinitely. Today, ginseng is widely grown in different parts of the world. However, wild ginseng is still exclusively sought.

Even in the West, ginseng has been well respected as a medicinal herb. Many American tribes used ginseng for childbirth, fever, aches and pain. In fact, ginseng was listed in the official book of medicine, the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, in the 19th Century as a stimulant and a digestive aid.

Ginseng is safer and more effective than synthetic drugs or vitamins available on the nutrition market today.

Your Golden Years and Santa Claus: shows you how to take care of your health, how to live like Santa Claus in your golden years, so that you might last forever, just like Santa Claus coming back year after year.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 22, 2019

Human Nature According to Chinese Wisdom


Human Nature According to Chinese Wisdom

Is human nature basically good or bad? This is one of the most controversial questions that does not have a definitive answer.

From the Biblical point of view, man was originally good, but because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, man becomes evil or sinful. There are those who believe that man is created in God's image to serve Him; if that is truly the case, man is still inherently good. There are, on the other hand, those who believe that man is inherently bad.

Well, what is the Chinese concept of human nature?

According to Hsun Tzu (荀子), a Confucian Chinese philosopher who lived approximately between 310-219 B.C., the nature of man is evil, and his goodness is the result of his right actions and activities. Hsun Tzu’s explanation was that man’s innate nature is to seek gain, which is often followed by strife and rapacity that may annihilate his deference and compliance; man’s envy and hatred of others may obliterate his loyalty and faithfulness; and man’s desire to gratify his five senses may engender his own lewdness and licentiousness. This is how man may have become bad and even evil.

Essentially, good and evil are only moral concepts that have coexisted since the beginning of time; humans have been categorizing different actions and feelings based on their own philosophical concepts. Good and evil are closely linked together, just like the concept of yin and yang; one cannot exist without the other, and they balance and complement each other.

According to Mencius, another ancient sage from China, “Evil exists to glorify the good. Evil is negative good. It is a relative term. Evil can be transmuted into good. What is evil to one at one time becomes good at another time to somebody else.”

Undeniably, we all have the bright as well as the dark side of life. The Bible calls the dark side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite as “wrong.” To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at our self-deception: either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.

No matter whether human nature is inherently good or bad, how you view the nature of humans is important because it shapes the way you look at life, and, more importantly, how you live your own life.

No matter whether we were born “good” or “bad”,  we all have enough “goodness” within us to change ourselves to become “better.”

Be A Better andHappier You With Tao Wisdom: This book is about using human wisdom to become wiser and happier. It also includes the translation and the complete text of Tao Te Ching an ancient Chinese classic by the famous sage, Lao Tzu, on human wisdom.

The Happiness Wisdom: This book helps you create your own happiness recipe based on ancient wisdom, contemporary wisdom, and spiritual wisdom. Your recipe has to be yours, and only you can create it, because it’s you who will be going on your life journey.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau  

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Watch But Judge Not

Watch But Judge Not

“The Creator has no judgment, no preference:
He treats everything and everyone alike.
Every manifestation attests to the mysteries of His creation.

So, we, too, embrace everything and everyone with no judgment, no preference.
His grace, never depleting and forever replenishing, shows us the Way.
Judgment and preference separate us from His grace, causing attachment.
Only with His grace do we find renewal and rebirth along the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 5)

To pursue the wisdom of the Creator, you must think like Him.

He has no judgment; He is fair to all.

So, why should you judge others? Nobody is perfect, including you.

To think like the Creator, be all inclusive and all embracive.

“The Creator seems elusive amid the changes of life.
At times, He seems to have forsaken His creations.
In reality, He is simply observing the comings and goings of their follies.

Likewise, we watch the comings and goings
of our likes and dislikes, of our desires and fears.
But we do not identify with them.
With no judgment and no preference,
we see the mysteries of creation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 7)
         
We are living in a world of war and violence.

How could the Creator permit such evil to persist? Has the Creator forsaken those who are just and righteous?

If you choose to ask the Creator the above questions, maybe you should also ask yourself the same questions.

The bottom line: never ever judge; injustice in the physical world is one of the many mysteries to be resolved by the Creator, and not be you, because you are in the world but not of the world.

Stephen Lau        
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
                            

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Be Better, Happier, and Wiser


Be Better, Happier, and Wiser

Living in this chaotic material world has much to do with order, which is a basic principle of the universe, without which chaos develops. To live well, you need to get your life in order; that is, you must align yourself with the principles of the universe. The first and foremost principle of the universe is alignment with the Creator of the universe. Once you have that alignment, you get faith that gives you spiritual strength.

Research studies have shown that people with a religious belief tend to get sick less often and get better faster than those with much less religious faith. Dr. Herbert Benson (Harvard Medical School) attributes this to the faith factor in his book Beyond the Relaxation.

Faith gives you peace of mind, which plays a pivotal role in longevity because peace of mind is the antidote to stress that often shortens life. To live longer, you need to de-stress yourself. But life is never easy, and living in this modern world is always challenging and stressful. 

To have faith in God is another aspect of living that may eliminate much stress in everyday life. However, living for a Christian; just like any other non-believer, you face the same challenge along your life journey. The only difference is that with faith you may transcend the limitations and losses that inevitably come with old age, as well as the difficulties and disappointments encountered in everyday life struggle. “All things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Your life becomes purposeful, and living, despite its many setbacks, has a divine goal. Faith may help you overcome the many tragedies that may come with life and old age.

If you have faith, you live longer. The reason is simple: you take better care of your body because: your body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

If you have faith, you most probably belong to a church, and you may enjoy fellowship with other like-minded believers. Fellowship plays a pivotal role in alleviating loneliness, which is a serious problem among the elderly. Albert Einstein had to say about loneliness: “It’s strange to be known universally, and yet to be so lonely. St. Augustine wrote in his classic work The Confessions of St. Augustine, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find peace in You.”

If you are a believer, most probably you also actively involved in church activities after your retirement. Involvement with people with all ages holds the key to successful aging because you express your compassion and loving-kindness to others. By doing so, you also develop empathy, which is experiencing the feelings and emotions of others; in the process; you learn to appreciate what you have, and make the most of what you have left to help others. 

TAO The Way to Biblical Wisdom: This book is about using human wisdom to understand God’s wisdom so that you may live in this material world as if everything is a miracle.

The Book of Life and Living shows you the blueprint of living in this material world based on the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu (an ancient sage from China), conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom, so that you may  become better, happier, and wiser.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 18, 2019

Imperfections of Life

Imperfections of Life

Life is always imperfect, and living is always a bed of roses with some thorns. We are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world. As such, the art of living involves the wisdom of knowing who you really are, and how things happen and work in your life. Without this profound understanding, you will forever be haunted by the awareness of the darker side of life.

The Bible calls the darker side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite. To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at self-deception. Either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish novelist, calls this darker side of human nature the duality of man. In his famous story of “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he presents Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as both having a dark side within them, where evil is lurking to surface anytime. Both of them hide their evil away, pretending it never exists. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person.

If the darker of life is deemed as something “evil” as depicted by Robert Louis Stevenson, it may immediately lead to self-denial and downright rejection. The darker side is ideally described as a “not-so-good” quality, or just human flaws and weaknesses that we see in others as well as in ourselves. Whatever the definition may be, the darker of life, ironically enough, makes life wholesome, without which life is incomplete and unreal—at best, a self-delusion. Human darkness is part and parcel of human existence. Denying its existence only leads to more pain, regret, and resignation. But understanding the dualistic human nature offers a way to return to wholeness, which is an important ingredient in the art of living well.

Get the blueprint of life and living to live your life as if everything is a miracle: The Book of Life and Living.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Wisdom of Living for Life

The Wisdom of Living for Life

The Creator has given each of us a life to live. Each individual’s life is unique in itself, and everyone’s life journey is paved with his or her personal encounters and events to enrich that unique life experience. Therefore, there is no blueprint for living

Since the beginning of time, man has applied every means to attain longevity basically for two reasons—to defer the inevitable end; and to continue indulging in the pleasurable experiences along the life journey. Some prefer to ignore death and continue to indulge in life pleasures as if it would never come, while others are preoccupied with the impending fate that stresses the body and the mind. No matter what, death is inevitable.

Irrespective of the purpose of everyday living for any individual, the quintessence of living for life is health fitness, without which everyday living may become a daily struggle, a dream turned into a nightmare. Health fitness is a prerequisite for longevity.

Health fitness embraces physical fitness, mental fitness, and spiritual fitness—they impact how you think and what you do; they are the components of living for life. You need physical fitness to reduce the risks of becoming ill, disabled, or dying prematurely. Mental fitness enables you to adapt appropriately to negative changes brought on by diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease. Spiritual fitness may facilitate you to bounce back from the devastating effects brought on by sudden and unexpected changes, such as bereavement of spouse or loved ones.

Life is never static: everyday living is full of challenging changes from time to time. Many of these changes are welcomed and embraced, but some are dreaded and even painful. Being able to cope with these changes in life is fundamental to living for life. More importantly, the ability to bounce back from these undesirable negative changes holds the key to the art of living well.

What is living for life?

Living for life is living with passion and purpose. Nobody is born with the gift of living for life: there is no blueprint for this. It comes from thoughts, behaviors, and actions, and these attributes have to be acquired through mental and physical effort and deliberation. Only health fitness provides an environment for an individual to turn them into a reality.

Your Golden Years and Santa Claus shows you the wisdom in happy and successful aging through changing your perspectives in matters of aging, health, money, loss and bereavement issues. It is a holistic approach to living in simplicity with compassion and tranquility in the golden years.  

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau