Life Coaching Blog Series Boost Your Mood with Your Lifestyle
“The most powerful path to our brain – and peace of mind – is through our gut” – K Brogan, MD
Boost Your Mood with Your Lifestyle:
Everyone has had days where we feel a little blue. Maybe we’ve experienced many days in a row where we feel out of sorts. Our mental health is a huge part of our physical health, and it is subject to the effects of our diet, movement habits, sleep patterns, and exposure to toxins. Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan wrote a book called A Mind of Your Own, in which she encourages people who are suffering from depression to use their emotions as an indicator that their system is out of balance. Specifically, she describes low moods as being a marker for inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been shown to be responsible for heart disease and other chronic health conditions. Luckily, Dr Brogan explains, you can harness the power of lifestyle medicine to help calm inflammation, and bring you out of your gloom. She outlines the most important steps to take in order to decrease inflammation in the body, therefore supporting a more buoyant mood:
- Food as your Medicine: Food, once it gets past your taste buds, is really information for your body. We give our bodies directives by what we eat. By limiting refined, processed foods, and mindfully including whole foods along with healthy, natural fats, we trigger our bodies to have a healthy inflammatory response.
- Meditation: Our ability to calm our racing minds provides a huge helping hand for calming our stressful lives. Much of what we call stress, is actually a mental tendency to be stuck thinking about what has already happened, or worrying about what might happen. Training yourself to be present in the moment lets your system settle and lowers levels of stress hormones, which, when left to run rampant, fires up inflammation.
- Sleep: Now before you get mad and say that you are tired but can’t sleep, consider that it will take more than simply wanting a good night sleep, you have to set yourself up. That includes thing like turning off any screens an hour before bedtime, limiting caffeine and alcohol, and creating a calming bedtime routine for yourself. By prioritizing rest, you give your body the time and energy it needs to heal itself and re-set.
- Exercise: Find some kind of consistent exercise that you enjoy. Make sure it gets your heart up a bit, so you are breathing a little heavier and maybe even breaking a sweat. Notice how your mood is bolstered after a good session of dancing, hiking, or even jumping on the trampoline. You’ll also have more energy, less cravings, and you’ll sleep better!
We hold in our bodies the immense capacity to heal ourselves through the choices that we make every single day. Do we choose to tell our bodies to heal by nourishing it with nutrition, rest, movement and mindfulness, or do we push it past the edge? We can bring ourselves back from chronic inflammation and dis-ease by making better choices, consistently. We can be the authors of our own health story.