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mental well-being

5 ways to support your mental well-being by dialling down your triggers and supporting mind-body balance.

Many find the holiday season fun and relaxing but for others, it is a time when you see family members that can cause pain and trigger all sorts of negative emotions.

Plan Your Response – Don’t React!

Your thoughts and emotions directly affect your health and that is why it is vital to get your thoughts in order and choose to respond rather than react.

We now know from the study of epigenetics and the brilliant work of Dr Bruce Lipton that every thought you have affects you at a cellular level. As humans, we consist of around 50 trillion cells. Our thoughts affect all of our cells, organs, and 11 systems, which in turn can either support us to be well or increase inflammation and potentially make us sick.

With current coughs, colds and viruses, it is more important than ever to get our emotions in order and support our mind-body balance.

Your Mental Well-Being and Mind-Body Balance

Over the last 23 years of clinical practice as a naturopath, I’ve seen a direct relationship between mind and body first-hand. A client might come to us with a bad report of disease or infertility, and the most effective treatment always incorporates both mental and physical wellness solutions.

Your body doesn’t distinguish between a stressful external trigger or your toxic internal thoughts and a real-life threat such as a tiger running towards you. Your body automatically goes into emergency mode – fight, flight or freeze– thinking that you need to act quickly to avoid danger.

When this occurs, the stress hormones released down-regulate genes, and due to the size of our neocortex, we can turn this stress response on with thought alone. Our body then reacts physically, for our heart rate goes up, adrenalin and cortisol are released, and we experience vasoconstriction of our arteries if we face a life-threatening situation. At this point, all of your blood leaves your gut and shunts into your arms and legs, getting ready to fight, freeze or take flight since it reads this negative thought the same as a real danger. 

On occasion, being in a state of emergency mode is no issue, for the body is designed to visit this physiological state to protect you and restore the healing equilibrium supported by your parasympathetic nervous system. The problem arises when we allow things to trigger us each day, and we spend the whole day in and out of emergency mode. 

5 Ways To Support Your Mental Well-Being!

So these holidays, choose to take a moment and think about who & what tends to trigger you to enter this season already prepared with a game plan. Use these top 5 tips so you can stay present; let tiggers fall like water off a ducks back for nothing, or no one is worth losing your peace and your health over.

1. Start Your Day Right

How you start your day is critical if you want your day to flow, so this is now a non-negotiable part of my wellness routine. I always start with wellness water, 500ml of room temperature or warm purified water plus the juice of 1/2 a lemon, freshly grated ginger to taste and fresh mint leaves torn into the water, so I feel mentally and physically strong for my day. You have been fasting through the night, so this is a great way to break your fast. As I sip on my wellness water, I do this little ritual;

  • Sit quietly and focus on your breath and run through your day in your mind like a mind movie. See yourself moving through your day elegantly, responding kindly to triggers and staying out of emergency mode.
  • Imagine all of your cells in optimum health, your mind and body working as a team for your greater good.
  • Imagine that you are on your island, the cool sea breeze tasing over you, all is well, and all of your needs are met. Hold this feeling of bliss for 1-2 minutes to the point it makes you smile. 

If, at any time in your day, you slip into emergency mode or fear, take three deep breaths and return to this state of bliss to train your nervous system out of inflammatory thoughts and to maintain your vibration of faith, peace and gratitude. You can return to your island as many times as needed each day. THis will do wonders for your mental well-being!

2. Scale Up Your Self-Love

The world may need you, but you also need you.

Like when you’re on a plane, and they announce to put your oxygen mask on first in the event of losing cabin pressure, it is the same in life. Unless you are supported and walk-in self-love and understanding, how can you offer that to others?

I use inner child work with my clients to cultivate self-love. Often it is our inner child who is rejected, displaced and abandoned. For we grow up and get so in our heads, we no longer live from a place of being integrated with self-love.

Often when we get triggered, it is due to the wounding of our inner child so offer yourself unconditional love and at that moment say to yourself the Ho’oponopono; I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you.

So each morning and night, take a few moments to send your inner child love, think about specific memories and put your hands on your heart or belly to connect with your child and offer unconditional love and understanding. Establishing healthy thoughts is essential. 

Forgiving yourself is vital. We are our own worst enemies, so let yourself off the hook, learn from your mistakes and choose to be kind and walk out your healing in a loving way. A great way to cultivate self-love is to start journaling.

3. Make Peace with Your Triggers

If you know a particular person, environment or food triggers you – embrace it and offer yourself love and understanding. When we react to our stimuli and feel out of control, this creates a roller coaster of negative emotions.

A great technique is to use a “triggers list”. Get a piece of paper and at the top of one side write ‘things I can change at the top of the other ‘things I can’t change’. Most triggers will not last longer than 30 seconds so remove yourself from the event, close your eyes, breathe and count to 30. Playing music you love and even saying to yourself or out loud ‘change’ also helps break this habit loop.

Get busy with the things you can change and add them to your list, but be mindful that your list is an ongoing list that will never be empty. List triggers outside of your control that can stress you out in the other column. Honour these triggers and choose to trust that God /The Universe is always working in your favour and visualise these issues resolved, gelling the joy this brings you when all is well in your life.

This will allow you to dial down your fear, dial-up your faith, and live from a place of thankfulness, which reduces inflammation and supports optimum health and your mental well-being.

I love this quote by Charles Swindoll:  ‘Life is 10% about what happens to me and 90% how I react to it’, for it reminds us that we can choose how we respond to situations which in turn either supports optimum health or can invite disease.

By changing your perception of life, you change your chemistry, supporting healthy gene expression. By staying in gratitude, love and understanding, your body releases chemicals into the blood like Dopamine which brings about a state of bliss and pleasure. Oxytocin and vasopressin are released, and love flows, making you more attractive. The brain then releases growth hormone to maintenance your entire system. 

We, therefore, have nothing to lose if we choose our thoughts and reduce stress for the mind and body respond with chemical reactions that support health and vitality, having a knock-on effect, so we are more attractive to ourselves and others. Many people don’t even like themselves, so using these tips can cultivate self-love and create a life you love.

4. Give Your Trauma a Voice

I love primal scream therapy and coaching my clients with this method to release trapped emotions and trauma. This is great for your mental well-being over the holidays as you can choose to walk away from a problematic situation and scream into a pillow.

An excellent place for you to start is to allow yourself to feel a negative/trapped emotion and allow this feeling to bubble up inside your entire body to the point you feel ready to scream into a pillow. Repeat this three times, so you permit yourself to feel this emotion, no judgement. Scream it out so you can let it go!

If you have significant trauma, I will do this as a practitioner, but for many, the feelings of fear, sadness, anger and grief can be felt and released safely. The simple act of self-love of allowing yourself to feel this emotion is powerful, for often, as adults, we tend to push these emotions down, which makes us sick.

5. Balance Your Gut-Brain Axis

Emotions freely experienced and expressed without judgment or attachment tend to flow, supporting our health.

Repressed emotions, however, can lead to mood disorders, digestive issues and disease that affects your mental well-being

One of the key ways to reduce inflammation is to support your body’s ability to digest food and your emotions. By supporting healthy blood sugar regulation and gut health, you will feel physically more balanced, keeping inflammation at bay and allowing yourself to live from a grounded place to deal with your emotions. So especially over these holidays, consider including our Rejuv Blood Sugar support capsules and our Liver Support capsules before any meal that could trigger a feeling or the desire to overeat.

Ensuring you have an excellent organic source of protein and good fat at each meal, such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, olives, or vegan yoghurt, is a beautiful blood sugar balancer. Hence, you feel mentally and physically strong.

Increasing fibre, high in prebiotics, is also great to support gut-brain health. I recommend sauerkraut, chia, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chicory inulin, psyllium husks and lots of veggies to give your good bacteria food it prefers. If you take probiotics, please don’t have them with warm food or liquids, and if you take coffee, please don’t have this with your meal, as this will significantly impair absorption.

Chewing your food is also crucial, so try to chew each mouthful 20 times and put your cutlery down in between bites. Limit liquids to 200ml per meal to not dilute your stomach acids. To support gut-brain-connection, make mealtimes peaceful, don’t watch the news or do a stressful email, for this will impair gut function. 

Be mindful of alcohol too for some which are very high GI like white one, beer and cocktails can drop your blood sugar levels, and you can react or even overreact to specific triggers.

Take Control of Your Health & Mental Well-Being

The Seven Pillars of Wellness are my framework for moving you into complete wellness and well-being. We have created the free Rejuv Wellness Quiz to help you understand which three Wellness Pillars you need to strengthen for your long-term well-being. 

Invest five minutes in your health by completing your free Rejuv Wellness Quiz and get your complimentary one-page wellness profile. This actionable summary contains a wellness diagram that identifies your current health and the next best steps toward your ultimate health and mental well-being.

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