We may be aware of how to look after our body but how would we go about looking after our mind? Some of us may use pharmaceutical drugs to ease anxiety or anti-depressants but that’s when we are diagnosed with a condition and it maybe an option not everyone wishes to take due to their undesirable side effects. I’m talking about how we prevent disease setting in. Are there options? There are, but you need to do your research well to know which would suit you most and it may be that your approach needs to be on more than one level.
To begin, it’s worth understanding that many things can affect the mind adversely be it chemical, food, a thought, an emotion, a situation or circumstance. Food for instance can have an enormous effect on mood, anxiety and depression. Eating things your body cannot tolerate or break down has a fundamental effect on your energy and mood. Fuzzy thinking and lack of energy are common symptoms of food intolerances. When Martin came to see me in clinic he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and constantly suffered from poor concentration, lack of energy, feeling run down and depressed. This was due to his body’s sensitivity to certain foods. Coming off refined sugar, certain grains and excess consumption of fruit, made a huge difference to his mental health. After 30 years of suffering he was able to think clearly, his mood improved and he had boundless energy and therefore able to fully engage in his life. Being on a food programme that suits you may be a key part to improving your mental health.
Chemical imbalance in the body is another area to investigate such as a lack (or excess) in certain vitamins, minerals and enzymes as are removing heavy metals such as mercury, aluminium, lead which are still prevalent in our food chain.
We know our body needs to be healthy for our mind to work but we also know our mind can work beautifully if we give it space. Taking time to think. For most of us, our minds are full of thoughts – constantly. Not a minute goes by where our mind is clear of thought. An unusual minute it would be where our mind would be so quiet. Yet some of our most profound thoughts, ideas and inspirations can occur in the most unlikely of moments like in the shower or when sitting relaxing.
Giving ourselves the time to process and think through things that challenge us is vital. To make shifts in our thinking isn’t always easy. We can get locked in repetitive destructive patterns. Here we may need a helping hand to unblock whatever is in our way and for some psychological therapies can be of benefit. Being aware of our deep thoughts, emotions and working through behaviours that don’t serve us well may require us to change. Working with someone you feel comfortable with therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), psychotherapy, counselling or coaching may help you get that shift you need.
There are occasions we don’t want to talk; then allowing a place of contemplation, of meditation or mindfulness seems more appropriate. Sitting or even walking in a quiet peaceful place being present and watching the mind until eventually there is no mind is a practice that takes much discipline! Research is showing the enormous benefits of meditation in reducing heart rate, blood pressure, even to ease anxiety, stress and depression including other ailments. It is quite remarkable that a technique such as sitting doing nothing, no thinking, should produce such profound results. Meditation has shown to change structures in the brain in an eight week course simply just sitting for 20 minutes a day. The hardest challenge is of course finding the time to sit still and practice it. Switching off is not easy to do when we are so addicted to “thinking and doing” in our daily lives.
Keeping our mind healthy; having good memory recall, avoiding depression or preventing the onset of alzheimer’s or dementia is something worth giving consideration to.
Developing the Mind - Managing Stress
Here are some steps to consider in the way you deal with stress:
About Rumana Zahn ND
Rumana has teamed up with Planet Organic to help share her findings on how to achieve the best possible health you can. With over 25 years of experience Rumana is an expert in the field of natural medicine, runs clinics in the UK and speaks worldwide.
Rumana enjoys living a healthy vibrant life, practices yoga and meditation and loves argentine tango and singing.