Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is considered a romantic holiday, filled with images of loving couples in seemingly perfect relationships having the time of their lives. However, those images are not accurate depictions of reality. Real romantic relationships are not always blissful, and some people are not involved at all in romantic relationships on Valentine’s Day. Annual holidays are, in part, opportunities for commercial success. Companies market products and services to us and as consumers, we have the choice to participate in this system. Marketing is designed to create a perceived need in…

Sugar Addiction and How We Can Detoxify from Sugar

by Nirmala Raniga As we approach Valentine’s Day, a holiday that is as synonymous with sweet treats as it is with romance, sugar consumption cannot be ignored. In the United States, statistics show that about half of the $17 billion spent to celebrate the Valentine’s holiday is spent on candy. But it is not just candy that contains sugar. Carbonated drinks and processed foods, which fill our supermarket and restaurant menus, are also high in added sugar. Such hidden sugars lead us to ingest far more of this substance than…

Substituting One Addiction for Another

by Nirmala Raniga “Most human behavior is nothing other than the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure.” – Dr. Deepak Chopra One way to look at how addictions form is through a metaphor that likens human memory to software programming of the brain. In this model, when we take an action, it “programs” us with either a good or bad memory and based on that physical or emotional feedback that formed that memory, we are compelled to take another action. If for instance, we eat a type of…

Recommitting to Joy and Our Goals in the New Year

By: Nirmala Raniga Each New Year invites us to reflect on our past accomplishments and review the objectives we have set for ourselves. Life is truly a gift, and each moment we are alive, we have an opportunity to live it to the fullest. No matter what we hope to attain in 2016, the most valuable thing we can do is to approach each moment with joy. Finding new ways to be happy will help us become clear on what we hope to achieve in our lives. We can then…

Helpful Hints to Welcome in the New Year

by Nirmala Raniga The end of the year is the ideal time to look back at our previous year, reflect on the lessons that our experiences provided for us, celebrate our growth, and begin to look at how we would like to continue to grow and evolve in the year to come. As we approach 2016, we can prepare for greater joy and fulfillment in our lives by focusing on the opportunities that the New Year offers and committing to make conscious choices for our wellbeing. Even the words we…

Detoxifying in the New Year

by Nirmala Raniga The New Year is nearly upon us and, with new beginnings, come an opportunity for transformation. One way we can enter 2016 with feelings of greater clarity, health, and balance is to engage in a detoxification program. According to Ayurveda, good digestion is a key to wellbeing. Therefore, we can begin to remove toxins from our bodies by examining and changing what we eat. When our Agni, or digestive fire, is strong, we are using food for its optimal benefits. By simplifying our diets, we can bring…

Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

by Nirmala Raniga Despite the fact that alcohol is a socially accepted legal drug, the over use of this substance can lead to alcoholism, leading to the same dire consequences as other forms of drug addiction. People often drink alcohol during social functions, as drinking in moderation often helps individuals feel at ease. However, because alcohol affects brain function and loosens inhibitions, consuming too much alcohol can interfere with judgment, decision-making, and reflexes and lead to serious injury or even death. For example, in one evening of social drinking, an…

The Christmas Holidays

by Nirmala Raniga During the holiday season, we can get caught up in the magic of the season – picturesque snowy landscapes, heaps of gifts around a towering tree, and perfect gatherings of happy family and friends. When we compare the reality of our lives with such incredible images, often we feel inadequate and sometimes alone. Many of us, for example, have less-than-ideal family situations in which people struggle to get along, argue, or simply do not communicate at all. We may have a small circle of friends or limited…

Planning for Joyful Holidays

by Nirmala Raniga While the holidays often call to mind images of joy and sharing, in reality, for many the season can be one of anxiety and stress. During this time, we often feel pressed to find the perfect gifts for family and friends; we can also feel sad and lonely, reminiscing about days gone by and wanting to connect more deeply with others, but perhaps lacking the opportunity or skills to do so. For people who have experienced trauma in their lives or struggled with addiction issues, many of…

Mindful Shopping and Holiday Giving

by Nirmala Raniga During the holiday season, it is easy for us to go overboard when shopping for those we love or want to impress. Along with our desire to please others are the seemingly endless sales— Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a myriad of other last-minute opportunities that can be difficult to pass up. It is easy to become entangled in the excitement of holiday shopping, but we should be asking ourselves if we really need to purchase this year’s “must haves” and how they will improve our lives—…