The pandemic has taken its toll on most of us, not only from illness, but from stress and isolation. But we have the power to take back our health and our lives. Did you know that a strong connection between your brain and body can boost and sustain your wellness? The neural pathways that make up this connection transmit signals between the body and the brain to control your everyday functions, from breathing, digestion, and pain sensations to movement, thinking, and feeling. If your brain-body connection is compromised; your health is compromised. And if your health is compromised; your ability to enjoy an age-defying life will elude you.
The good news is that you have the power to enhance, renew, and restore those connections by consistently committing to small changes that will produce lasting results. The key lies in using a well-rounded mental, emotional, and physical approach.
Healthy Healing Habit #1 (Mental): De-clutter your Brain
- If you find yourself trapped by negative thinking or paralyzed by thought overload, it’s time to do some mental housekeeping. Not only can those negative thoughts limit your personal, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth, if you are not careful, they can lead to damaging health issues over time. Here are some tips for overhauling internal attitudes:
- Address negative thoughts. Commit to acknowledge, dissect, and flip the script on negative thoughts. When you listen and shine a light on the information you feed your mind, you can throw out the false information and accept the truths with the intent to work on them. By choosing to address weaknesses and mistakes honestly, you can destroy that thought’s power and transform its effect from negative to positive, using the information to make you even stronger and better. It can no longer tell you that you aren’t worthy. Set a regular mental housekeeping schedule for yourself to periodically let go of mental clutter and embrace the new you.
- Focus on being present and find the joy in your surroundings. Experience happiness in the present rather than living in regret of the past or fear of the future. Here’s a simple trick to retrain your awareness: practice five minutes of focus each day. Stop, relax, and close your eyes. Take five deep breaths from your diaphragm, focusing on the rich oxygen permeating all the cells in your body. Then, open your eyes and deeply experience the world around you. Drink in the sights, the sounds, smells, tastes, colors. Allow calm to permeate your body like the oxygen you’re breathing, and just enjoy the moment. These simple five minutes will ground you in the positive elements of your life, magnifying their power to destroy negativity and open the door to more healing.
Healthy Healing Habit #2 (Emotional): De-Stress
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “we are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health consequences for years to come.” If you are experiencing emotional stress, take charge of your health by committing to the following steps:
- Eat and drink to optimize your health. Each morning, drink a tall glass of water, and continue hydrating throughout the day (eight to 10 glasses is good). Eat natural food that reflects all the colors of earth—and slow it down. To strengthen your brain-body connection, be present and focused while you are fueling your body, and pay attention to its responses.
- Practice relaxation techniques. You can empower your body to help relax your mind. Progressive relaxation uses a simple formula: Just squeeze, release, and repeat. Tense, then release, every muscle in your body—one body part at a time. A calm and peaceful mind will follow.
- Reduce stress triggers. Learn to say “No” to activities or intrusions that create stress or prevent you from recovering or healing. Then, practice saying “Yes” to more activities geared to foster calm. You have the power!
Healthy Healing Habit #3 (Physical): Just Move
When you commit to daily movement, you enrich the body and the brain. Keep it simple, positive, and consistent—and most of all, fun!
- Find the sun and take a glorious walk every day. It will lift your spirits and foster the fun in fitness.
- Adopt my 10-minute daily exercise promise—commit to 10 minutes of movement each day. Those 10 minutes will help to destress the body while delivering big health benefits. You don’t have to become an instant marathon runner—try dancing for 10 minutes to your favorite music! Just be sure to mix it up, keep it fun, and challenge yourself every day.
To reinforce all your new habits, be sure to reflect each week. Did you keep your commitment to regular mental decluttering? Did you stay hydrated? What did you eat? Did you schedule time to relax? What did you say no to? What did you say yes to? Did you move every day? Reward yourself with a healthy, fun activity for staying committed. Congratulations—you are on your way to an age-defying life!