Liven Your Space - A Resource for Healing from Mental Illness
New resources added on February 16, 2016 (see below)

We're all aging.   One of my blog readers suggested posting a few links here that might help us age well. Take a moment to check these out.  Many thanks to Marie Villeza.

Aging healthily, gracefully and graciously doesn't come easily for many of us.  It requires a commitment to our true selves and not the negative noise going on in our head.  When we let ourselves feel old, worthless, outdated, and unattractive we become these things. As a result we think less of ourselves and others begin to pull away.  I've been impressed with Dr. Christiane Northrop.  She has a series of videos on topics on health and aging as well as an insightful book, Goddesses Never Age.  Take a look at her website and learn what she has to say.

I recently ran into Thich Nhat Hanh's most recent book "Silence." It focuses on mindfulness and the benefits of stopping the noise in our lives. The book is short, very readable and provides a useful guide for helping us quiet our minds and better enjoying the world around us. 

A recent article in the Washington Post reported important findings on a long term study of methods for treating schizophrenia.  This study, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), demonstrated the significant benefit of talk therapy, early treatment, and the least dosage of drugs effective in managing symptoms. As someone who became able to live a normal life as a result of all three, I encourage others to learn about this study. It counters the earlier recommendation for relying on a heavy use of drugs and limited discussions.  The type of talk therapy that was used by my doctors and which proved so helpful was not psychoanalysis but detailed discussions about how to get along on a day to day basis in the real world. This type of talk helped me set boundaries and focus on positive activities. Here is an overview of the study findings made available by PBS. 

Carrie Fisher has been a hero of mine since I read her first book, Post Cards from the Edge.  And of course I thought she was pretty wonderful in Star Wars.  This article highlights her role as an advocate and truthsayer for those of us with mental illness. Take a look here.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides access to the latest information on mental illness for those afflicted as well as for caregivers. In addition, NAMI is an advocacy organization at the State and National Level, promoting policy and services that reflect the best interest of those dealing with the full range of mental health issues. 
One of the resources that NAMI provides that I think is really useful is their "Peer-to-Peer" Education Course called "Learning to Live Well with What We've Got."   
Looking Glass Natural Health This resource is offered by a friend of mine, Alice Maher, who lives in the Warrenton area.  As her website says, she is "a personal advocate for living an energized and passionate life" and works with adults and children to discover the food and lifestyle choices that works best for them.  I've benefited from her advice and counsel.  You might be interested in her services as well.
USANA is an excellent resource for nutritional supplements and skin care products. When I reached my sixties, I realized how important it was to reinforce my good eating habits with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes - things I thought I could get from well planned meals but which I wasn't due to digestion issues and reduced need for caloric intent.  USANA's brands are reliable and have allowed me to avoid illnesses of all types.  Because I believe in this product, I became an associate several years ago and would be delighted to have your business or to help you become an associate as well.  Click here if you'd like to check out my website. There's a link there to a free health assessment you might enjoy taking. 
It seems that many people with mental health issues - like the general population in fact - have weight problems.  I know my doctors use to always mention my weigh as either being too low or too high.  One of the resources I reached out to several years ago was Weight Watchers. You may already know of this resource but if you need help with eating too much or too little. please give them a try.  It's helped me enormously over the years to stay pretty much a consistent and healthy weight.
Another weight and diet related resource are the books and services of Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  I found his book, "Eat to Live" very helpful.  His work is based on good science and reaffirms that our modern diet is making us sick.  Dr. Fuhrman recommends a natural diet with greens, beans, mushrooms, onions, nuts and seeds etc. and has evidence that eating this way can reverse severe illnesses as well as daily aches and pains. Please look into him.  Here's his website.
 Yoga is a fabulous resource for anyone concerned with stress, lack of flexibility, weight issues, aging and balance issues, and mental health concerns.  It's really beneficial for all of us and not just those good looking models in tight fitting yoga outfits!  So let's get moving.  Let's also put away our sense of self-consciousness and fear of being looked at.  Who cares if we're not the gorgeous, limber bodies of our dreams.  We are who we are and need to move to increase circulation,  reduce our aches and pain, and just plain feel good. My friend Mary offers yoga classes several times a week in Fauquier County and Middleburg, VA.  She's patient, it's not to fast paced, she loves beginners, and has a nice, quiet  presence:  Sugar that makes the medicine go down.  So think about checking out her website and see if she offers something you can benefit from.  Omba Yoga Workshop
Yes Magazine is a wonderful magazine.  It focuses on positive stories that are also pertinent, serious, and inspiring.  Here's a link to a recent article about an ordained Buddhist Lama and her evolution. She came from a  wealthy American family but learned that the trappings of wealth was not her calling. She took the path less traveled. 

Another article recenty included in Yes was written by one of my heros, Frances Moore Lappe'.  It's about eating delicious food, one of my favorite topics!

The science is now recognizing something that was true for me when I was in my darkest hours of mental illness:  music, especially rhythmic music and drumming, can help us heal.  Follow these links to more information:  Drumming for Children with Mental Illness; Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead shares his experience with drumming and recovery

I recently had the pleasure of watching a show on PBS featuring Christiane Northrup, MD.  Her specialty is women's well being but what she speaks and writes about is equally pertinent to men.  Her most recent book, Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Wellbeing (Hay House, February 2015) is about what it means to grow older. Although I haven't read this yet, I found her insights she shared on the show very helpful and engaging.  I think aging well - with vitality and joy - is much better than any alternative.

My doctors consistently recommended that I exercise.  As a result of their good advice, I've been able to not only maintain my weight and my ability to move respectably even as an older person but have learned to significantly manage and reduce stress in my life.  Here's an article on stress and exercise from the Mayo Clinic.