Spring is nearly here. A beautiful time to lose yourself in many things, not just projects from renewed energy. It’s a great time to invest in your well-being both emotionally and spiritually. So while you’re carrying away with cleaning out closets and donating clothes, make sure you reserve energy for spending time with good friends or reinvesting in a relationship that serves you well.
Here are just a few reasons why.
1. Daily affection (from friends, pets or family…anyone you have a relationship really) may boost levels of the calming hormone oxytocin. Plus, a few belly laughs can improve blood-vessel function which helps blood pressure. Nature’s natural health enhancer.
2. Nearly 75% of adults admit they don’t take the right steps to prevent themselves from feeling stressed out according to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. Luckily for us all, studies suggest that lifting our spirits may be as easy as:
- Sticking with a routine – rituals create a sense of calm. Helps feel a sense of control in an unpredictable world (it also helps to prepare for, welcome and embrace change, too!)
- Eating to your happiness. Avoid trans fats, which can affect mental well-being by triggering inflammatory changes that have been linked to depression. Steer clear or limit to 2 grams a day, avoid foods made with partially hydrogenated oil. On this note, try eating just fruits and veggies (raw, ideally) for a week and see how you feel. I bet your body and your mind will be light and energized. So brilliant how the earth provides for us, we just have to allow it!
- Getting your O3′s. Omega 3 supplement takers were 20% less anxious during a stressful period than those not taking their Fish Oil supplements daily, according to an Ohio State University study. Experts believe that healthy fat may buffer against stress-related inflammation.
- Listening to your breath – it will tell you something. Breathing deeply and listening to soft music can be as relaxing as getting a massage. If your breath is shallow and fast, you’re going to feel stressed and anxious. Slow your breathing and your heart and mind will calm too. You can try this yourself. After a work out, lie on your stomach on a yoga mat. With one ear on the ground, take a deep breath in and hear your heart rate slow with each deep breath. Recognizing how much influence your breath has over your systems, tune into your breath regularly and be sure to take deep breaths, even when you’re not stressed.
- Feeding your gut. It is the source of our intuition and our health. By taking care of our digestive tract, we are taking care of our overall health. Beyond this, probiotics (healthy bacteria) can actually lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone and have a direct effect on moods and anxiety. Research suggests that nerves transmit messages from the microorganisms in the gut to the mind, influencing brain chemistry and further connecting the mind with the body. We rely on our gut instinct to tell us yes or no in any given situation.. and we should rely on this Yuck or Yum decision making compass more often. It of course makes great sense to feed our “second brains” well with the fuel it needs = simple probiotics.
I heard recently that dwelling in the positive increases resilience. That feigning joy can induce joy. Try this sometime. List specific times in your life you’ve felt great. What are the details. Once you have 10-20, a pattern will emerge.