They key to a healthy mind starts with the basics. Find out more from our Wellbeing Expert, Sam Sargent.
There’s no doubt we are placing more stress on ourselves these days. With our fast paced lives, mobile phones, various social media applications, instant news and growing to-do lists, there is one question I often wonder. Are we, as a society, coping? In many areas I observe, the answer is no. Anxiety, sleeping problems, mood swings, stress, depression and fatigue are all common symptoms showing us that something needs to change. If any of these words sound all too familiar to you, and you would like to prevent these debilitating feelings from consuming your life, there is, in fact a lot that you can do to cope, so that you can be the happy and healthy person you desire to be.
Our physical body and mental state of wellbeing are so closely intertwined that they can not be treated separately. It would be irresponsible to do so. A healthy physical body helps create a healthy mind. And a healthy mind can help influence a healthy physical body. From my point-of-view, the keys to managing mental wellbeing all starts with the basics: eating healthily, exercising regularly, connecting with nature and setting aside a few moments in the day to nurture yourself.
1. Eat Healthily
Scientific American magazine recently stated that “Scientists are increasingly convinced that the vast assemblage of microfauna in our intestines may have a major impact on our state of mind." To help improve your gut health and mental wellbeing, the following guidelines is a great place to start.
• Graze rather than overeat. Large meals are harder to digest, place a strain on your organs and can result in indigestion.
• Eat a balanced, nutritious diet based on organic and biodynamic wholefoods: fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
• Eat both raw and lightly cooked foods.
• Choose a wide variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that are in season.
• Take either a heaped tablespoon of ground flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, or a good quality omega 3-6-9 fatty acid supplement.
• Eat probiotic-rich foods to improve your digestive and immune health. Sauerkraut is my favourite.
• Choose natural sea salt.
• Drink filtered tap water and herbal teas.
2. Exercise Regularly
There is so much research out there stating that regular exercise is one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques, that it relaxes tense muscles, helps you to sleep, improves blood flow to the brain and releases chemicals called endorphins in to your blood stream giving you a feeling of happiness. So, if exercise is not a part of your daily life and you suffer from low energy levels, anxiety, stress, feelings of unhappiness or an inability to fall asleep, for the next month make the effort to move your body for at least 30 - 45 minutes every day and take notice of the change in your overall sense of well-being.
Whether its a brisk walk around the block, a half hour jog in the park, a yoga class, workout at the gym, swim at the beach, laps in the pool, or bicycle ride, do something to get your body moving and sweating.
3. Connect With Nature
Enjoy sensible early morning and late afternoon sunshine to top up your Vitamin D levels. Take a walk in the park. Get down to the beach and feel the sand and salt water in between your toes. Or go for a hike in the bush. Whatever it is that helps you to be present and switch off from your growing digital to-do list.
4. Set Aside A Few Moments In The Day To Nurture Yourself
It’s easy to place other people higher up on the ladder of who we choose to care for. Whilst this is a kind and considerate attribute, please also remember to take the time to care for yourself too. Whether it’s in the morning, middle of the day or late evening, take time out to gift yourself a moment, just for you. Honoring yourself is an effective way to replenish your battery so that you can be more productive in your day as well as helping to maintain a sense of sanity amidst any stress.