My main blog topics from my website have typically targeted the body, the last one addressing physical fitness, but mental wellness should certainly not be overlooked. When the brain is in check, it’s much much easier to get off the couch and get your steps in. Physical activity sends blood to the brain, bringing oxygen and nutrients, and can also boost the mood by triggering endorphins, dopamine and seratonin, the so-called happiness hormones. Now let’s talk about a few other ways to keep the brain balanced.
1. Sleeep! Sleeeep! Make sure you are getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. Alcohol, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interfere with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle, so make sure your sleep environment sets the tone to get all the z’s you require.
The makers of our fave magnesium supplement Calm by Natural Vitality came out with Calmful Sleep last year, and it’s getting great reviews from our clients here at Rejuven8. It’s simply their trademark supplement Calm with the addition of the amino acids L-theanine and GABA, and melatonin to help ease the body into restful sleep.
2. Eating nutritious foods can improve your mood by helping your brain function at its best. You need a variety of nutrients for brain health, so a varied diet is more likely to hit the mark. The brain needs a consistent and steady flow of nutrients, so stick to three meals and a couple snacks a day, or four or five smaller meals, and incorporate foods with B vitamins like ground flaxseed for vitamin B1, bananas or tuna for B6, edamame or spinach for B9, and soy or eggs for vitamin B12.
3. Plagued by worry, anxiety and stress even though your life is in a good place? Talk it out! If your feeling like you could use some help improving your quality of life and have never tried therapy, I highly recommend giving it a whirl.
If you don’t have a therapist of your own, maybe your bestie can give you a recommendation. And if at first you don’t succeed, just keep trying. Therapy is obviously a very personal thing, and it may take time to find someone you connect with, who will help you engage in some healthy introspection. It is literally their job to guide you toward what’s best for you in a non-judgemental way.
Our family found the right fit with therapists at Insights Counseling Group in Roseville and Auburn (http://www.InsightsCounselingGroup.org) They specialize in individual, family and relationship counseling, children and teens, prenatal and postpartum, grief and loss and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy), which is super powerful and effective for post-traumatic and psychological stress. Check them out on Facebook or click the event link on their website for info on “Let Your Light Shine,” their October 2nd fundraiser at 6pm at the Flower Farm in Loomis, benefiting those in our community who can not afford the therapy they deserve.
4. Nurture yourself in nature. New research led by the University of Exeter and funded by the National Institute for Health Research in the UK found that people who spend at least 120 minutes visiting natural settings—such as town parks, woodlands, and beaches—per week are significantly more likely to have good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who aren’t surrounded by nature at all during an average week. But just getting out of the car and hugging a tree won’t do the trick. No such benefits were found for people who visited nature for less than 120 minutes a week, so that’s the goal! Early morning walks in the park sounds like a solid plan to make the two-hour-per-week quota. Grab a friend, fur baby or a coworker and ball or a blanket, and make your wellness time a social, team-building or family occasion.
5. MASSAGE! It is well known that it can help to reduce anxiety and stress and promote relaxation. Research indicates that therapeutic massage produces profound neurochemical changes that increase psychological well-being. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that seratonin increased an average of 28% and dopamine 31% following massage therapy. According to a series of studies reviewed by The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, fell by up to 53% among subjects “with depression or stress problems” immediately following massage. Need I share more? See you on the table!