Have you ever come down with a cold after a period of stress?
How about when you've been looking forward to that well earned holiday and 2 days in you get sick?
Oh so common!
When your mental health is less than optimal, your body is in constant stress and it has a direct effect on your gut, gut-health and therefore you immune system.
All those little white blood cells needs not only a healthy body, but a healthy mind. And a healthy mind needs a health body - see where the circle is going here?
Dr Hannah Reidy, CEO of non-profit group Mind HK says, “Having a better level of mental health will boost your immune system. When we are low in mental health, we have a weaker immune system.”
This is Week 4 of Boost Your Immunity Month and so far we've looked at:
(click through on each link above to read the posts)
And this week, we're bringing that all together with the role mental health plays in all that.
The connection between mind and body is well established and everyone knows and accepts that your thoughts, feelings and emotions can and do have a direct impact on your health.
Some of the evidence of that is:
Digestion issues from stress
Digestion issues from nervousness
Acid reflux from stress
Breathing difficulties from anxiety
All these issues are a consequence of stress and a weakened immune system, which as been weakened by stress, which weakens the immune system - round and round and round, we go.
SO WHAT DO I DO? (I hear you scream!)
There are several excellent strategies you can use to improve your mental health. With just a few dedicated minutes per day.
Better sleep makes a huge difference to mental health and wellbeing. Our bodies and minds need to rest each day to keep us performing at our best.
If you are not sleeping well because of stresses, some of the following strategies may help.
Having a regular bedtime routine can work wonders. That means going to bed at the same time every night, no TV or mobile devices at least an hour before bed, some light stretching or gentle yoga and focused breathing exercises. Routine and avoiding stimulation are key.
Homeopathic remedy tip - if your mind is over active at night, try Coffea Cruda 30c if you wake up.
OK, don't panic and close the browser window!! I'm not talking about sitting cross legged
on a mountain top in Tibet. Meditation is so much more and less than that!
All you need to do if focus your attention on something for around 15 minutes per day. That can either be your air conditioner, your breathing, the sound from a white noise app, a fan, the wind - anything which you can bring your attention to.
Just sit somewhere quietly and make sure you are warm and comfortable. Close your eyes, drop your shoulders down away from your ears and take a nice, long, deep, breath. Focus your attention on the sound you've chosen, or your breathing, and try to keep only that in your attention for as long as you can.
Your mind WILL wonder - that's ok. As soon as you notice, just bring your attention back to your sound or breath.
Research shows that regular meditation practice can alter the chemistry of the brain and help to deal with all kinds of mental health issues.
If you don't think you have time to meditate, then you actually don't have time NOT to. Just start with a couple of minutes a day and build up to 15 minutes. More if you want to, but with just 15 minutes a day you will feel the benefits.
All you gotta do is breathe
What? It's that easy?
Well, actually, yeah! Just taking one minute to do some focused breathing once every hour or so will calm your nervous system, make you more productive, more concentrated and healthier. It could even help you sleep better.
Just set a reminder on your phone, and stop and breathe.
The moral of this blog post is simply to set aside time to calm and relax. There are lots more mindfulness practices you can incorporate into your day, but just for now, these 3, which are all interlinked, will move you leaps and bounds towards better mental health.
As well as being a homeopath and nutritional therapist, I am also a positive and understanding Well-being Therapist who empowers those affected by suicide in a lighthearted - but extremely effective way, so they are able to pivot into more joyful lives without shame, blame or guilt.