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Living Mindfully To Improve Your Mind-Set

Written by: Amanda Whitehead, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

I hear so many people talk about having a positive mind-set and focusing on the thoughts we have, turning them into positive thoughts to improve our mental health.


This is important, however, I believe just focusing on our thoughts is not sustainable and that introducing other healthy habits is needed for long-term health benefits, both mental and physical. After all, we are one human and are connected mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Living mindfully would make a bigger difference to our body and our soul.


So what is the difference? Mind-set is very much about focusing on our thought patterns. Mindfulness is becoming aware of our thoughts and also how we feel, what sort of environment we are surrounding ourselves in and how we treat and speak to ourselves on a regular basis so we are able to observe and listen to how our unique body communicates with us.


Mindfulness is quite often mistaken for being “woo-woo”, sitting and meditating, silencing the mind. This is impossible to do because our mind never stops.


We can, however, practice mindfulness from the moment we open our eyes and be aware of how we feel and the choices we are making. What food we are choosing to feed our body, which also feeds our mind and also impacts our energy levels and focus. What practices are we doing every day to keep our body and mind strong like yoga, time in the gym, or going for a walk in nature?


Are we staying well hydrated?

How often do you take time out to just sit and observe if your body is trying to communicate with you, or do you only listen when the symptoms of anxiety, overwhelm, bloating, brain fog and those aches and pains appear? Do you have a healthy sleep routine and do you include doing something you love every day? How often do you practice gratitude and do you show yourself respect and have healthy boundaries in place?


All of the above things play a huge part in our overall health and wellbeing, in our personal and work lives.


When we are out of alignment with our true selves, life can feel hard and challenging. This is quite often when we will experience symptoms like anxiety and stress. However, when we take time out to listen and do what fills us up and energises us, life will flow so much easier.


I am not saying this is always easy because I know it is not and creating new habits can be challenging in itself. But below, I give advice on how to make it easier and achievable.


Food choices can impact both these negative situations, as it is easier to eat something quick rather than think ahead and prepare. Quite often though the food choices we are making are not offering any nutrients or very little to our bodies and will play havoc with our blood sugars, so our energy levels will be up and down and fatigue will soon kick in. This puts huge pressure on our liver and our gut, which impacts on our brain health too.


The brain and the gut are connected through a nerve called the Vagus nerve and constantly communicate with each other. 90% of Serotonin and 80% of Dopamine are made in the gut. These are both hormones needed for our mental health and are quite often called the “Happy Hormones”.


These are produced by some of the bacteria in the gut, known as the microbiome. So if the gut is not nourished properly, it has an impact on all of our organs, especially the brain and the liver.


One type of food that is good for the gut is fibre, but specifically not in the form of bread and pasta, instead of that which is found in fresh fruit and vegetables, brown rice, oats, almonds, walnuts, and buckwheat. The fibre feeds the bacteria in the gut, and ideally you would have many different varieties. So the more diverse your fruit and vegetable intake the better balanced your gut and body can be.


The liver is also an important organ as it has many functions such as breaking down sugar and protects the pancreas; it produces vitamin D which is also important for our mental health and the health of our body too. It filters chemicals from the foods, drinks and any medication we take, helping to keep the blood as clean as possible when going to the heart. When we are stressed we can produce too much of our stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The liver will soak up as much of the adrenaline as possible to prevent our body going into a stress response that can lead to some of our other hormones not being produced.


This again impacts our health in a negative way.


So can you see where vicious circles can build and symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, sleep issues, skin issues, and digestive issues as well as other illnesses like diabetes type2 can begin.


Living mindfully can help prevent these issues and create a healthier and sustainable lifestyle for you to lead. Helping you become aware of habits you may have and what helps you understand what serves your unique body and what doesn’t. So you can be the expert of you and live life on your terms.


Everything we do to and for ourselves is self-care and plays a part of if we are keeping ourselves healthy. Ideally, it is good to have practices and strategies that you do daily, weekly, and monthly.


Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.” Eckhart Tolle


I love that quote by Eckhart Tolle because I find it so true, at times in my own life, in the lives of those closest to me and my clients.


Here are a few things you could try to help you live in the moment and I would recommend picking two or three and doing them for one to two weeks before deciding if they fit with you or not. If it feels like hard work and a chore, it is not suiting you, you want something that feels easy and flows. This won’t always be the case straight away, which is why I say do it for one to two weeks and then make your decision.

  1. Go for regular walks and being aware of your surroundings. If you take the same route around the same time every day, you may pick up on things you didn’t see the day before.

  2. Catching up with friends or/and family.

  3. Practice gratitude daily and really lean into the feeling of being grateful. If you have never done this before start small with just three things that come to your mind without thinking about it too much and practice this first thing in the morning and in the evening before going to bed.

  4. Take some time out, even if just 10-15 mins, sit and observe how you are feeling. Take a few deep breaths as this will help with relaxing the body and mind and feeling more grounded. Again if this is new to you, there are lots of free guided meditations out there, I would highly recommend the insight timer app.

  5. Put on some of your favourite tunes and dance around, this is a great way to boost and shift your energy.

  6. Having a relaxing bath with candles and maybe even pop a mask on your skin too.

  7. Working out in the gym or at home.

  8. Cold showers. Being a sun-worshiper, I never thought I would say this but I love starting my day this way. It is so invigorating and energising. It is also a great way to heal the body and reduce any inflammation and alongside breathwork can truly give amazing results. If you enjoy it, you could work up to cold swimming or ice baths.

I do hope you got value from this article and do make time to give some of the above suggestions a try, because when you begin to live mindfully, everything changes!


Feel free to visit my website and sign up for more tips or to work with me.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn for more info!

 

Amanda Whitehead, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Amanda Whitehead is a Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach. After reversing her own lifestyle illnesses, which were irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid imbalances and a sluggish liver, she has supported and educated hundreds of women to understand how their body functions, the importance of nutrition and a healthy mind-set. Creating a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and empowering them to become an expert of their unique selves.


This has enabled them to heal from issues like anxiety and depression, gut health and digestive issues, reversing diabetes type two as well as helping to heal skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis too. Her mission is to change the way mental health is approached and see the person as whole, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual being.


She is the proud founder of Purposefully Nourished, a system used to educate her clients on the mind, body, skin and gut connection, a one-to-one programme that achieves life-changing results and a sustainable way of living.

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