Let’s dive into some of our favorite ways to benefit our overall health and wellbeing and in turn a peaceful, balanced state of mind.
1. Stay Well Hydrated
Water is essential to help break up stagnation, mobilize toxins, and effectively excrete them from our kidneys. Water is, of course, essential for life. Humans today, in general, do not drink enough water on a regular basis and may go their whole lives in a dehydrated state. Dehydration shows up in many ways in our lives and can often lead to feelings of hunger, fatigue, depression, disorientation, and lightheadedness. If we wish to allow our body to heal itself and optimize it’s systems it must be given ample, high quality hydration, every single day.
The source truly matters when it comes to the water we drink. A nice mineral spring water stored in a glass jug will likely treat you best as it has a balanced level of trace mineral, electrolytes, and won’t leach toxic compounds when being stored in glass. If that’s not available, go for the next best water you can find.
Purified or filtered water typically lacks minerals and can end up stripping the body of vital minerals. Carbon filters such as the Berky filter or regular undersink reverse osmosis filters are great options for those who do not have immediate access to local spring or mineral water. But in these cases make sure to keep some mineral drops or celtic sea salt around to replenish the minerals that are being filtered out that are essential for proper hydration and bodily function.
Adding some mint, citrus, or cucumbers makes it so much more enjoyable for those who have a hard time drinking water. Making a large batch of strong tea and diluting it in water is also a great option.
2. Avoid Excessive Technology & Social Media Use
Mounting scientific evidence shows a clear link between social media use with greater rates of social comparison and self-objectification, both being related to lower self-esteem, poorer mental health, and body image concerns. This becomes even worse with night time social media use as it disrupts sleep patterns and prevents deep, nourishing rest.
Flooding the nervous system with neurotransmitters through short term gratification, blasting our eyes with blue light wave frequencies, and being so close to high EMF devices alters the innate cycles that bring balance and health to the body. Not only do social relationships suffer but our relationship to ourselves suffers.
If you are struggling to feel energized, focused, or motivated throughout your days try taking a break from social media use which includes things like youtube, pinterest, or linkedin as they are driven by the same triggers and responses that fuel social media use. Try placing your phone and laptop on the other side of the room when you are ready to go to bed and instead grab a book or a journal and spend some time connecting with yourself.
3. Get Deep Rest (3,4)
Being sleep-deprived throws the chemical balance of the nervous system into complete disarray. We as a modern society are chronically sleep deprived and often fail to notice how much it impacts our energy and mood. When humans sleep less we often find ourselves in a more negative mood state in comparison to our baseline. Unfortunately, when people find themselves in anxious, stressed, or depressed states they often report having a much harder time getting restful sleep (3). Thus it becomes a negative cycle that feeds into itself, ultimately becoming a detriment to our health and wellbeing.
When we are experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress it may be even harder to get restorative sleep. These are times that the body needs even more rest than usual. One the opposite side
More specifically, REM sleep may enhance the processing of emotional information. As argued by Stickgold and colleagues, the reduction in aminergic neurochemistry and activation of the emotional brain regions during REM sleep create an ideal neurobiological environment for “emotionally stripping” the brain, by depotentiating prior negative experiences and reducing emotional reactivity
Sleep quality improves with short time to fall asleep, so with that in mind lets go over a few great ways to get better sleep.
- Watch the sunset. Watching the sunset literally tells the body that it is now night time and that the wind down process for rest can begin. The moment of sunrise and sunset are considered the calmest times of the day, being aware and present in these moments allows us to harness that calm energy to bring ease to our lives.
- Support the brain’s natural melatonin producing capabilities by avoiding blue light and strong bright lights for at least an hour before bed as they prevent melatonin production, a necessary hormone for us to enter easily into our sleep cycle. Try journaling, reading, stretching, and drawing to wind down before bed.
- Keep your bedroom tidy and cool when trying to sleep as clutter in the room will clutter the mind.
- Don’t spend too much time lounging in your bed or doing daytime activities as it will train the brain to associate the bed with engaging activities thus promoting wakefulness. Definitely don’t lay in bed all day and work on the computer or watch Netflix!
- Takes some really long, slow, intentional breaths in and out of your nose to calm the mind and relax the body. Try to count your breaths from 1 all the way to 100 without breaking concentration. If the mind gets distracted by a thought, start over from 1. (Described in more detail below).
- Diffuse calming essential oils like lavender, german chamomile, angelica, sage, and bergamot. This will naturally calm the nervous system and create a relaxed ambiance in the room.
4. Unclutter Your Mind
Thoughts often get in the way of seeing the truth of what is really going on and keeps us separate from the present moment that is taking place all around us. These days thoughts seem to be quite stressful for many and play a major role in burnout and unregulated nervous systems. What results is typically a cortisol and neurotransmitter imbalance that can greatly affect the
- Keeping a journal is one of the most effective ways to create change in our lives. Unexpressed thoughts and emotions root themselves in the body when they are not released. Expressing ourselves in every situation may not always be that is needed in the moment and many of our inner thoughts are sacred. Writing in a journal, in a way having honest conversations with ourselves, allows us to get the thoughts and emotions out of our body and our minds, freeing up new energy that can be focused on improving oneself.
- Meditate/Deep Breathing
- Meditation is a hit. Many successful individuals and icons today tout the benefits that meditating has had on their lives and ability to be the best versions of themselves. Studies show that meditation and intentional breathing can drastically reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and nervous activity throughout the body. This harmony allows for us to be more resilient to stress, focus on tasks with a clear mind, and feel fulfilled by life. The quiet moments we take with ourselves are precious in a world that is constantly on the run and globally connected through the internet.
- Sometimes the simplest way to meditate is to just take slow intentional breaths, feeling the air moving in from your nostrils all the way to the bottom of your lungs. With each exhale feel the release of all the tension and thoughts. There is no goal here. If your mind races your mind races, but just focus on continuously connecting with your breath and you will be meditating before you know it.
5. Move That Body
Surprise, surprise… exercise is extremely beneficial for the body and our mental health! Exercise, be it running, surfing, or gardening helps drive more blood to our tissues to flush toxins and metabolic byproducts that may be causing inflammation or pain. Furthermore, it stimulates the release of hormones throughout the body that boost cellular activity and directly increase white blood cell function.
The more a person exercises the healthier they will be, with an immune system that is primed to fight off infections anywhere in the body. A good place to start is by committing to a nature walk outside, everyday, for 10 minutes with no phone, music, or distractions. Simply enjoy the walk and contemplate the environment around you.
For beginners looking to get into moving more, 30 minutes of brisk walking a few times a week can be a good place to start. Finding a hobby or enjoyable sport to play with a community may be one of the funniest and motivating forms of getting exercise, alleviating the association with something that has to be done, to something that is enjoyable to do.
Always make sure to rinse yourself soon after you are finished exercising to clear the toxins off your skin that were brought out with all that sweat. This will stop your skin from reabsorbing them, keeping skin cells healthy and happy.
6. Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet
We are what we eat. The saying will hold true forever, as the body quite literally uses the food it digests to continue on creating new cells and enzymes for the body. With this in mind, it’s clear to see how eating non-nutritionally dense foods packed with artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes leads to dis-ease in the body. The gut is home to twice as many neurons as the rest of the nervous system and relies on many of the same chemicals and neurotransmitters that our brains use to regulate mood, breathing, heart rate, etc.
So when we eat unhealthy foods, not only the gut and its microbiome suffer, but so does the rest of our nervous system. This is why anxiety, depression, and stress dysregulation can consistently be linked to consisten nutritional imbalances and intake of inflammatory foods.
Eating a healthy and clean diet is not always as easy as one may think, though. Getting access to organically grown fresh vegetables and clean, sustainably sourced meat can be an obstacle for many to overcome. But fret not, there are plenty of ways to start eating a more wholesome and nutritionally balanced diet to get you body the vitamins and compounds it needs to function optimally. Here are a few of our favorite ways to clean up the diet.
- Avoid foods that have been consistently linked to mental health problems are those high in sugar, dairy products, and those containing unhealthy (trans) fats, sweeteners, food coloring, natural flavours, preservatives, and binders. Instead, add healthy foods to your diet, such as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon) and healthy greens (kale).
- Eat the Rainbow! Ideally your plate should have most of the colors of the rainbow. These colors represent different vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes that all work together and give you the most diverse and highly absorbable range of nutrients for your body.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates in their whole, minimally processed, and unrefined state often have a lower glycemic index and provide fiber which slows digestion, supports the natural gut microbiome, and keeps blood sugar levels stable. These foods include: oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, teff, whole grain products, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, winter squash, parsnips, and whole fruits.
- Eat Lots of Vegetables. Broccoli, Chard, Collard Greens, Carrots, Beets, Beet Greens, Brussel Sprouts, Lentils, Chickpeas, Quinoa, & Sweet Potato. All these vegetables are great sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By building your diet around these vegetables it allows your body to detox, reset, and function optimally by supporting brain, liver, kidney, heart, and gut health.
- Avoid food allergens: The most common food allergens include: Dairy, Grains/Gluten, Sugar, Onion, Pork, Peanuts, Other tree nuts, Soy, Eggs, and Shellfish. Avoid these foods entirely to ensure that you are not triggering any more allergic or inflammatory reactions in your body. Decreasing exposure to any immune reaction inducing foods or compounds is essential to giving our body a break so that it can heal itself.
7. Avoid Common Sources of Toxins
- Limit Alcohol and Avoid SmokingDrinking alcohol in large amounts can cause a flare of a number skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne, and rosacea. Drinking alcohol can also dehydrate the skin, which can cause it to look flaky, dry, and dull. Drinking plenty of water and limiting alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks can help you avoid these issues.
- Inhalation of the many chemicals produced by smoking cigarettes can also cause damage to your skin in a number of ways. Smoking decreases the oxygen in the blood, constricts the blood vessels, and can lead to visible signs of premature ageing, such as wrinkles and discoloration.
- Avoiding GMO and large-scale commercial grown foods is an essential aspect of developing a healthy diet. These foods that are typically grown with high levels of pesticides or absorb toxins from the soil they are grown in interfere with several absolutely critical aspects of the body including hormonal balance and immune function, not to mention they are extremely inflammatory. Canned foods, plastic-packaged food, polycarbonate lined baking tins or pans are typically the source of most toxins found in one’s diet. It is best to avoid these foods completely if possible.
- Food additives are used to prevent spoiling or to enhance flavor; they include such substances as preservatives, artificial colors, arti- ficial flavorings, and acidifiers.
- Avoid harsh cleaning products such as bleach, detergents, or concentrated cleaning solutions. Use plant based scent free laundry detergent and avoid the fabric softener to avoid irritating skin with clothes or fabrics that touch us everyday.
Hydrotherapy can essentially be understood as the use of water for therapeutic purposes, typically by heat or cooling the water. Alternating hot and cold water applications to the body creates a physical pump in the form of constriction and dilation of blood vessels, efficiently pumping blood, fluids, and nutrients throughout the entire body with the net effects being an overall sense of invigoration and vitality.
- Instructions: Shower normally with warm-hot water for at least 3 minutes or up to 10 minutes, being mindful in areas prone to drought. Cycle completely cold water for 30 seconds and then turn the heat back on for another 3 minutes or more. You can repeat this a few more times but always make sure to end the shower with 30 seconds of cold water, drenching oneself as much as possible. During this time, ground your intention into your feet while taking deep inhales and exhales. At first this exercise may be difficult, but with time you will notice that your increased energy & focus after showering will lead you to enjoy this experience and eventually crave it.
Infrared saunas have become extremely popular lately as an easy on the go solution to getting and effective, detoxifying sweat during the day. Saunas and steam baths encourage your pores to open, facilitating a healthy stream of sweat, the sign of a successful removal of toxins. Common benefits include improved sleep, increased immune function, and lower levels of inflammation.