Stress and “Mindfullness”
Some of the keys to keeping a cool head are eating right and staying active. Controlling blood sugar by avoiding excess starch, refined sugars and tropical fruits, can play a major role in managing stress and anxiety. Imagine, you start your day with starchy cereal, toast, a muffin or perhaps you don’t eat breakfast. An hour or two into your day and your blood sugar starts to crash. You start to get restless. The body reacts to that crash with a cascade of neurotransmitters (mainly adrenaline) and hormones (mainly cortisol) that can also affect your mood, metabolism and your frame of mind for the rest of the day. Much like diet, physical exercise is also essential to maintaining a good mood. Ask anyone who exercises regularly if they are grumpy after a workout, and the answer will almost always be no! Exercise helps to control the mind from getting too wound up and can keep your adrenaline, cortisol and insulin levels under control. Incorporating 30 to 60 minutes of physical exercise, three to four times per week, can have a huge impact on how you perceive your next stressful situation.
Adaptogenic herbs have been shown to enhance the body’s ability to cope with stress and can improve winter survival. Healthy fats, like cod liver oil or fish oil, olive oil, coconut oil or butter are also essential for getting through cold days. In the winter time proper evaluation and normalization of vitamin D levels have been shown to help support mood. Magnesium, along with B vitamins, are important to help with energy production and circulation. Guided imagery and the practice of meditation, using proper breathing techniques, are also a sure fire way to reduce stress.
Understanding mindfulness starts with perception. Being in the present moment is a major key to a successful mindfulness practice. Keeping our stress hormones and neurotransmitters regulated with a healthy diet and frequent low impact exercise can keep perceived stress at bay and begin to help us take control of the stress in our lives or perhaps even set us onto new life paths to better enjoy the life we have! Our diet in the winter should naturally consist of more protein (fish, chicken, turkey) and fat, after all we do live in the great white north! Slow cooked oatmeal or toast with plenty of healthy fats like organic butter, almond butter, olive oil or fish oil in the morning can help balance your mind and body throughout the day and take you places you’ve never been before.
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