taking care of your mental and
The mind body connection and its place in medicine, has never been more talked about than in recent years. This new conversation is only the case in conventional medicine however, traditional therapies have always addressed our mental wellbeing and emotional health and always have done. It's good news then that modern medicine is finally catching up. Fantastic books such as The Molecules of Emotion come highly recommended, demonstrating the connection between our physical body, the effect of our emotions and mental health.
It's my opinion mental health and emotional wellbeing are aspects of ourselves we learn and develop throughout our life. With every day and new scenarios we learn about ourselves, our emotions and from these experiences we grow as people. The aim of emotional growth is not to be always happy, smiley and perfect. Remember there is a huge difference between having fun and being truely content. Fun is merely an outward expression whereas contentment you feel and experience. Many a time when sitting stone-faced while looking out into nature, I have been at my most content and peace. Think of all those social media images of people seemingly having fun, only to later discover those very people were in fact finding life hard.
Emotional growth is something I believe everyone can cultivate. It can take time depending on your circumstances but you can do this. Many of my patients see me through difficult times and often say to me, "I can't handle this", "I can't do this". Difficult situations take time and energy but there is always a light. Joy, being content and true happiness is for everyone, we just need to be open and sometimes guided and reminded of our innate coping tools. Think back to childhood or look at children around you! We were all born with this joy and wonder. Sometimes through life circumstances it takes time to remember this joy.
On a side note, mental health issues can have a very physical aspect. An imbalance in brain chemicals neurotransmitters, stress hormones or sex hormones can all have an impact on our mental well-being. A recent pathology that demonstrates this is histamine intolerance. Previously considered purely a physical syndrome, we now know high levels of histamine can have a huge impact on our mind and emotions. It's for this reason, talking and being open about your feelings and thoughts can help you identify how your brains functions.
It has often been the case that in practice, patients who seek treatment for stress can have a physical ailment underpinning their stress and equally the other way round. Our body should be viewed as a whole, working all together and symptoms should not be looked at individually.
An important note, when dealing with patients on medication for mental health issues, I advise you to find your team. A group of practitioners who work together for your benefit. Never stop your medication abruptly without discussing with your team.
how to maintain and nourish your mental and emotional health
Sounds simple and it's literally the first thing we do in life but many people do not breath correctly leading to increased stress hormones. Very simply 2/3 times a day take 10minutes and concentrate on effective deep breathing. This helps not only clear your mind in a difficult moment but also reduces stress hormones leading to longer periods of relaxation.
Get into the habit of connecting to your breathing. If you have children, teaching them this technique will stay with them throughout their lifetime.
mind is a muscle
One of my favourite books talking about our emotional well-being is Robin Sharma The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. It's a simple short book. All the way through this story the narrator discusses daily tools we can all do to train our nervous system. This can make it sound very mechanical and as if we should live life like robots.
This is not the case at all. Emotions are like signposts guiding us, it's when we are over consumed with a feeling, this can lead to an issue. I often recommend this book to patients who say they feel powerless to their stress. You are absolutely not. Be kind to yourself and be confident in the knowledge of your power.
For me this is the biggest tool to follow.
Communication is so important. Not necessarily to others but simply to yourself. How many times have you been stressed and feeling overwhelmed. Just 5 minutes, be truly honest with yourself, your thoughts and feelings in that moment you will manage to understand your emotions and calm down. This is honest self communication. Sometimes we are not honest with ourselves as we can feel shame for our feelings.
This is not helpful. Being honest with yourself is the first step, speaking to someone is the next step.
Finding a counsellor, therapist or life coach can take time but in the beginning of your self discovery process, talking to the right person will make a huge difference.
You would not think sleep hygiene would be in the mind section of this site did you? Sleep and getting enough,good quality sleep is so important throughout our life. It's also the first aspect of our lives that can go out of balance if stress is a problem.
Observing our sleep, how we sleep even our dreams can help us figure out obstacles we may need to overcome for our emotional wellbeing.
Rushing, over use of social medial and consuming overly sugary foods or sometimes not eating enough are examples of routines which will impact out mental wellbeing. Observe your daily routine over a few weeks and start by changing one aspect of your routine you may notice to have an impact on stress.
Be openminded to different relaxation tools and find what is right for you. These can change over time but be open minded to different relaxation tools. Exercise, yoga, reading and hobbies are all important to our emotional growth and balance. It's important to have a creative outlet and before you say you are not creative, I'm here to tell you we all are.
Examples of creativity are gardening, baking, music.
Find your creative outlet and make sure you make this
part of your routine.