When reading the title of this article, Calm Your Mind – Boost Your Health, what thoughts automatically come into your mind? Maybe thoughts such as: Psychological mumbo-jumbo? Whatever! Oh, sure, now THAT sounds easy. I completely understand those thoughts because I thought the same things when I was introduced to this concept in 2001 while healing from stage 3 colon cancer.
More and more research is now connecting the thoughts and emotions of the mind to the health of the body. Even historical wise men were aware of this important connection. In the book of Proverbs, King David said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.( Proverbs. 17:22)
It’s mind-boggling that today, with all our conveniences, most people live under chronic stress and negative mind-chatter. Unfortunately, instead of offering suggestions about how to control and deal with stress over-load and negativity, most doctors are quick to write a prescription for drugs like Prozac. This is so unfortunate, because there are better answers.
DID YOU KNOW?
Chronic stress causes inflammation in the body.
95 percent of all illness is caused or worsened by stress.
11 Tips to Calm Your Mind & Boost Your Health
The best way to calm your mind is to learn how to reduce stress levels. I’ll be the first to admit that learning to calm the mind is not always easy. When trying to replace an old habit with a new one, we often find it very easy to revert back to habits in which we are more comfortable. Most professionals tell us that it takes at least 21 days to change a habit. So patience and persistence pays off. Be kind to the process and gives the tips below some time to work.
1. The cells in your body react to everything that your mind says. Negativity brings down your immune system. When those negative thoughts or negative mind-chatter begins, replace them immediately with something positive. Say these sentences either out loud or in your mind like: “Today is a good day because I get to…” “I’m so thankful for…” “I really like the beauty of…” “Even though I didn’t handle (insert situation) well, I love and accept myself.” You get the picture. Practice makes perfect or close to it so the more you practice replacing negative or harmful thoughts, the more natural it will become and soon it will happen automatically.
2. Work on the physical causes of stress. You can do this by choosing to eat a healthy diet and by eliminating the common mood-swinging-foods such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol and nicotine. Eliminate fast foods and junk foods. They lack nutritional benefits and are full of chemicals. Check to see if you have a magnesium deficiency or a B-12 deficiency – which, by the way, both are very common deficiencies. Serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood, is dependent on Magnesium. Studies from the U.S. Framingham trial indicate that one in four adults are deficient in vitamin B12, and nearly half the population has suboptimal blood levels.
3. Work on Your Gut. There is also a distinct physical connection between your brain and the condition of your digestive tract. In fact, the digestive tract is now called the “second brain.” Studies in animals suggest disrupting gut bacteria may have an effect on the brain, and in turn, behavior. Mice given antibiotics also showed changes in their brain chemistry that have been linked to depression. Animal studies also suggest that healthy gut flora can affect levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. The study also found that people who took the prebiotics had lower levels of cortisol in their saliva when they woke up in the morning, compared with people who took a placebo. In my opinion, the many health benefits of probiotics for brain/mind health cannot be stressed enough.
Using an intestinal oxygen-based cleanser to support colon health as well as a herbal liver support is always a good idea to keep your digestive tract functioning in an optimal manner. Gluten intolerance can also have an effect on your mind, so check your diet. Take a good multi-vitamin mineral complex every day as well as a good B-Complex vitamin. Be conscious of the foods that you are putting inside your body and nourish your body with real food.
4. Essential Fatty Acids. EFAs play a huge role at the cellular level throughout the body. They can help to support a healthy nervous system enabling you to weather the effects of stress by making it easier to control negative emotions such as anger, fear, worry, jealousy, hate, guilt, victim mentality and irritability.
5. Daily Exercise. Exercise such as a 30-45 minute daily walk will do wonders for your stress levels and help to calm your mind. Breathing in fresh air and allowing as much sunlight on your skin as possibly will not only help you feel better, but will literally help to clear your mind and emotions. It will also aid your body in the production of Vitamin D-3. Low levels of Vitamin D-3 have been linked to depression.
6. Organic or Wild-Crafted Herbs. Herbs can often be used successfully to reduce stress and calm mind-chatter. St John’s Wort, Valerian, SAMe, Chamomile, Ginger, Borage, Milk Thistle, and Nettle have all been found to help with managing stress levels in a natural way. Be careful with herbs if you are on any prescription medications. Check with your pharmacist or doctor about contraindications.
7. Aromatherapy. In my opinion, aromatherapy is one of easiest ways to manage stress. The scents of plant and flower oils can actually calm the mind and relieve the tension and the anxious feelings that are often associated with stress. Oils to try include lavender, chamomile, geranium, rose, neroli, sweet marjoram, and ylang-ylang. Using an aromatherapy diffuser can actually bring some calm to an otherwise busy and hectic home.
8. EFT Tapping. EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, is a type of Meridian Tapping using ancient Chinese acupressure points. Is has been proven to work effectively for pain relief, healing childhood traumas, clearing limiting financial beliefs, weight loss, body image and food cravings, fears and phobias. Tapping is proving to be a powerful, well-researched and easy to learn technique. Tapping utilizes the body’s energy meridian points by stimulating them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.
9. Restful Sleep. Sleep is the time when your body and mind does the most healing and repair work. Going to bed by a certain time every night (including weekends) is one of the best things you can do to eliminate stress. However, at first you may find that you must be a bit militant about your bedtime since it is so easy to find reasons to stay up. Turn down the lights about 30 minutes before bedtime, take a relaxing bath and then go to bed. If you have trouble sleeping try using magnesium oil on your body or reading a boring book.
10. Learn to say NO. It is not healthy or even feasible for you to attend and/or assist with every event, project, and activity that crosses your path. If your stress levels are already high, reduce your activity schedule as much as possible, or even take a break as you are able. Learning to politely but firmly say “no” can also be beneficial.
11. Don’t isolate yourself. Being around positive people will help you become more positive. Often, it takes the willingness to remove negative people from your life. It doesn’t have to be a forever thing, but I would suggest that how much time you spend with them should continue to be limited. Learn a new hobby, take a college continuing-education course, plant a vegetable garden, get a pet, enjoy a once-a-week night out with friends or spouse, get a weekly or monthly massage, treat yourself to a specific spa treatment, join a local church group, volunteer time at your local women’s shelter or school, learn a sport, etc. The main idea is to enjoy being around positive activities that help to up-lift your spirit.
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