International Mind-Body Wellness Day

Healthy Lifestyle -

International Mind-Body Wellness Day

The body and soul are interlinked with each other. One cannot live without the other. To create a balanced routine, we should eat well, exercise, and increase mental fortitude. For instance, through meditation. Let’s go through these one at a time. Social wellness, physical wellness, and emotional wellness is what we'll be talking about in no uncertain terms, but just in different verbiage.

 

 

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating has many names. One of which can be mindful eating, eating well, or balanced eating. Especially with the rising prices of food across the board, from produce to daily necessities such as eggs, milk, and poultry, it is imperative that we become more mindful of what we consume. The shift from a consumer mentality is now heading towards a price-sensitive psychology. While consumers will still pay higher prices for time-saving items, they will have a harder time finding more affordable alternatives for their staple foods.

Now, eating healthy doesn't just affect the way we feel, but also, the way we think. Have you ever had brain fog or a brain fart? It’s very frustrating, and it doesn’t only happen when you’re older. Eating right will ultimately change the way you think, and emotionally feel. As the adage goes, “You are what you eat.” Well, it’s true to life. According to Science News for Students, junk food can “impair their ability to think, learn and remember. It can also make it harder to control impulsive behaviors, says Amy Reichelt. It may even up a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety, she notes.“

When you eat healthy food, you become more positive since you can think clearer, and those little things like thinking, learning, and remembering are not restricting your ability to think rationally. Here are some foods and drinks that will boost your brain’s potential, and might make you just that much happier.

  1. Drink Water. By flushing toxins from your brain, it is better able to communicate with other cells. Your brain is 60% water after all. It isn’t difficult to imagine why water is the lifeblood of all living creatures. Plus, it’ll hydrate your skin as well. Drinking water has been linked to faster decision-making, as well as increased performance on cognitive tests.
  2. Fatty and Oily Fish. Omega 3 fatty fish oils sharpen memory and improves mood, as well as defends your brain against cognitive decline(for example, Alzheimer's disease). It will give you better focus and a better memory. But, not all fish have the same amounts of Omega 3. These fish with the most omega 3 include salmon, sardine, Atlantic mackerel, cod, herring, and lake trout.
  3. Nuts & Seeds. Walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are our recommendations since they contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and vitamin E. These help memory and cognition. Be warned, don’t over eat these highly nutrient rich foods. If you normally don’t eat foods high in fiber, eating too many nuts may cause gas, diarrhea and bloating. Definitely not a great situation to be in.
  4. Good Fats. Good unsaturated fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocados, olives, canola, soy, and olive oil have omega 3. Which sharpens memory and improves mood, as well as defends your brain against cognitive decline.
  5. Coffee. For all those coffee lovers out there, here is your time to boast about all that brain juice you drink to all those tea drinkers. However, tea has its moments in the sun as well. With moderate use, in the short term, coffee may improve mood, learning, and reaction time. While, in the long-term, it may protect your brain from brain dispositions such as strokes, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Without a doubt, coffee has many benefits for the brain.
  6. Turmeric. As the saying goes, “spice is the variety of life” or how I like to describe it is, Spice is life, for short. Turmeric is an all-rounder. It can alleviate depression, improve the brain's oxygen intake, improve memory & cognitive capabilities. Besides all this, it can also benefit the immune system, and joints.
  7. Flavonols, Anthocyanins, & Flavonoid Polymers. What are these? Just think of apples, berries, and tea. In a Tufts study which examined 2,800 participants for 20 years, they found that consuming these types of flavonoids. “Tea, specifically green tea, and berries are good sources of flavonoids,” said first author Esra Shishtar. It also reduces the likelihood of Alzheimer's and dementia related diseases. Red wine and dark chocolate have flavonoids, so if anyone says that you should cut down on them, well, tell them that it is for the longevity of my brain. All jokes aside, it is very easy to get flavonoids into your diet. It only takes a few cups of berries per week or drinking tea every day would be sufficient.
  8. Leafy Greens. The more vibrant the color, the better. These have vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. These vitamins may help fight against decreased cognitive function, Alzheimer’s disease, and decrease the risk of stroke. Spinach, carrots, broccoli, garlic, brussels sprouts, kale, green peas, Swiss chard, ginger, asparagus, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and kohlrabi are dense in vitamins.
  9. Probiotics and Fermented Foods. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Good food is good mood”? Health gut or “gut flora” helps absorb the food better, but it is also known to reduce stress and anxiety. Some fermented foods and drinks to try are yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and sourdough bread. While it may seem foreign to some, it is the real deal. Some might not have as much of an effect on your digestion immediately, but trust me when I say, it works. Especially, kefir.

 Exercise

Exercise is more than what we see. Losing weight or getting fit is just one aspect of a bigger picture. It can also make you happier in the process. Have you ever just gone out and played in the park? Maybe there was a soccer game that you could attend. Afterwards, you felt like you had more energy and as if you could do anything. Well, that’s because exercise fundamentally changes your brain. First, the heart pumping aerobic activity (cardio) will allow more oxygen into your brain. Which can help manage anxiety and depression. Furthermore, after 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, your body will release endorphins, which your brain will convert pain into pleasure. So, you’ll feel better after a worthwhile workout. But, that is only the beginning! There are more benefits to come. One of which may generate new neurons in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is associated with memory, learning, and your emotions. It also releases other chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Simply, dopamine and serotonin manage mood. Dopamine also manages muscle movement, but is more commonly known for its role in the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Serotonin, on the other hand, helps manage sleep and digestion. Both dopamine and serotonin work together to make your body optimized to its full potential.

Pro-tip: While there are times that you have to do things by yourself, in a team setting, it encourages you to do better, and it goes beyond the pain of just aimlessly running around. There are several reasons why joining a team might be better than doing it solo. You have support for your health goals. That means that you have a responsibility to do it, rather than by your own motivation. This goes both ways. Building camaraderie and a bond closer than family or at the very least, friends. This brings us to the next benefit, which is enhanced confidence. You have a group of people looking out for you and you them, that in turn, creates a positive environment to grow as a person. Next, is the competition. There is something to be said about the way people just want to be better than their peers. This in turn, builds endurance. Plus, team sports not only improve your hand and eye coordination, but it may also make you smarter. It makes sense since there’s strategy in every game, and a split moment can mean winning or losing. Like a computer, you have to calculate and decide which is the best move for you and your team.

Outdoor workouts have an effect on your brain similar to meditation. This basically means that the shift from a familiar environment to one where you have to be constantly alert and attentive to your surroundings, can provide similar states of meditation.

Outdoor workouts have an effect on your brain similar to meditation. This basically means that the shift from a familiar environment to one where you have to be constantly alert and attentive to your surroundings, can provide similar states of meditation.

Speaking of the outdoors, one thing I love doing is going hiking. It brings you into nature, and out of your routine. Nothing is familiar, so your brain cannot just automatically filter it out. That is the beauty of hiking. But, most of all, it builds your mental endurance. If you feel like you can’t do it, well, there’s nowhere to go but up. Put another way, when hiking you have 5 basic goals.

  1. Going to the top
  2. Going down safely
  3. Avoiding obstacles and your environment
  4. Increase your willpower or get lost in the process
  5. Focus on survival

You are in full control, which means you have nothing to fall back on. That means no excuses. Everything is just there for the taking, or all there to lose. Like life, everything you do or don’t do, is all on you. Granted it isn’t that serious, but nature is cruel, and we can’t be too cautious. Our brain shifts for a reason. But, you don’t have to go hiking to get a workout. You can simply go for a walk. Not too fast but to maintain a constant speed for about 25 to 45 minutes.

Mental Fortitude

There are many things that you can do to increase your mental strength. We’ll talk about three things, journaling, fasting, and meditation. These three things are crucial in making your future happen. Let’s discuss some high level aspects. For instance, journaling, if done in a certain manner, can allow you to understand your situation better, as well as, envision your life plan and how to get there. Fasting not only allows you to lose weight, but also strengthens your mind. Overcoming the hunger pains that you will certainly experience. Meditation can create a space in your mind to instantly shift your mind from an anxious defeated state to a more productive mind.

Journaling

It isn’t anything revolutionary, but it does matter how you do it. If you watch Family Guy, in one episode, Brian, the dog, “makes” a journal for his own business, and then Stewie cracks a joke about it being a few pages of instruction, and then 99% of it being blank. This is kind of how many fill in the blank journals are made these days. While there are structures, the overall journal doesn’t fit your life very well. It makes sense because one strategy or methodology doesn’t fit the ever changing events we call life. In a perfect world, it might be great to write about work, personal, and your future in separate journals, but who has time for that? On the other hand, if you have a fundamental framework in mind of what to add, and what the ultimate goal that you are trying to achieve is, no matter how plain the pages are, you’ll soon fill it out quite quickly. Writing a weekly, monthly, and yearly summary, will allow you to instantly see how you have progressed over time.

Pro-tip: When you write in the third person, your problems become disconnected from your personal thoughts about it. Since, you are now writing in a manner that is more objective and to the fact. It isn’t how you felt, but rather what happened to get you into this situation.

Fasting

Fasting is not only a great way to live longer, and remove some critical health issues, but it can just as well lead to better focus from this chemical in your brain called orexin-a peptide. Think of fasting as a way to better optimize your body, resetting it. Similar to exercising, the body will optimize itself via the lack of fuel. Mind you, at this time, many 1st world countries might need to fast. We are accustomed to eating more than we have to. Which leaves us in a bad situation at the start. Gluconeogenesis comes from the cells making their own sugar. One of those non-carbohydrate materials that the liver converts into sugar is your fat. This second stage, it uses the stored fats and converts it into energy. This can only happen when fasting, since our bodies' routine gets disturbed. Compared to when we used to constantly fuel it regularly.

Meditation

Like outdoor activities, meditation is the shift from one environment to another. Your headspace, as some might call it. This shift from one environment to another means that you can focus more on the present, rather than worrying about irrelevant things. The most important thing about meditation is that you can get the techniques to manage your stress and depression. Meditation also increases patience and tolerance, reduces negative emotions, and increases imagination and creativity.

Let’s break this down a bit. Closing your eyes and staying still for a period of time is boring, and people presently live in a world of instant gratification. Which is great, but it’s also not so great for their mind. They get so much stimulation, all the time, that when they are left to their own vices, they quickly get bored. Try meditating for 15 minutes, it is hard at first. Meditation reduces negative thoughts partially since their mind is shifted into their headspace where they can think clearer. Meditation also creates creativity because your mind is shifted into a headspace, and needs to get over the boredom of sorts.

Plato and many other philosophers had the habit of walking and talking. Walking facilitated creativity since they were in the present, similar to meditation. As well as, the changed environment that they were in. It is also similar to how meditation builds patience. With the lack of stimulation, your mind can think of creative ways to solve problems, rather than concentrating on the stimulus. For example, social media. This is also because while, sitting at a desk might give focus, it isn’t really a great state to be in when in a rut.

Pro-tip: Study Buddhism. There are many teachings that you’ll probably gain from them. Even if you don’t intend to be a Buddhist, religiously speaking.

Q&A

How can you be more mindful with social media?

There are always some addictions that we can’t seem to get away from. I don’t mean a debilitating one like hard drugs or alcohol. But, rather social media. It is of course, their (the social media platforms) job to keep us on their site or app. But, that doesn’t mean that we have to be at their mercy. There are ways to get the most out of it without the temptations of FOMO.

Many people seem to post their whole life story, and that might be great for them, but that also means that their whole life is in the public eye. Even if they put their profile to private. Write with intention. That means, using the who, what, where, how, and why process. You don’t want to post everything since you might regret it someday. And hey, it’s the internet, so there will always be a way to find a copy of that image, video, text, or all of the above somewhere.

Think of it as what do you want people to do for you, or think about you? Imagine that you are a celebrity, not one of those movie stars, but a billionaire. Like Elon Musk. What does he gain by telling people to buy this or that? It makes him money. What is your reason? What do you want to get out of it? What do you want the people to do/feel?

Reduce the time you spend on social media. Delete it from your phone if you have it there. There are multiple studies that say that people who use social media for more than 2 hours a day are more likely to have self - esteem problems.

Conclusion

Synergy between eating right, exercising, and mental fortitude are all interconnected with each other, and it happens to optimize the body, physically, internally, and mentally. The body and mind have to reach a point where they both perform well with each other.