5 Habits To Support Mind/Body Health
How To Nurture Physical and Mental Health at the Same Time
Your mind is a powerful tool. How you use it can have a significant impact on your mental health. But did you know that how you use it can also affect your physical health?
Research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic shows that having a positive mental outlook can contribute to positive outcomes for physical health – even for people with serious health issues.
Here’s more good news: this works in reverse too. So, good physical health contributes to better psychological health. Research shows that exercise improves blood supply to the brain, providing it with more oxygen and nutrients which helps increase neuron signaling, growth, and connections.
The correlation between the physical and psychological aspects of your health means that when you take care of one, you’re looking after the other at the same time. It’s a two-for-one deal!
Here’s five ways to take care of your physical and mental health at the same time.
If you haven’t tried meditation already, maybe its surprising list of health benefits will convince you to give it a try. Studies show that a regular meditation practice contributes to both physical and mental health, including helping to decrease stress, depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia.
One of the many beautiful aspects of meditation is that is can be done anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to own any special equipment or be able to sit in any special way to get started. Consistency is what matters. So, even if you can only manage five minutes a day to close your eyes and pay attention to your breath, it’s worth it.
Once you start to notice the benefits, you’re more likely to want to learn more and explore different styles of meditation. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
And bear in mind the old Zen proverb: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
2. Move more often
Research shows that movement is medicine and that consistent movement throughout the day helps keep the body and mind well.
You may be aware of the physical benefits of regular movement such as weight and pain management, but what about its mental health benefits?
Consistent movement also boosts four ‘happiness’ chemicals in your brain: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. These can help reduce anxiety, stress, and mood swings and improve self-esteem, motivation, and procrastination.
So, whether it’s going for a walk around the neighborhood, gardening with your grandchildren, or finishing some household chores, regular bursts of movement woven into your daily routine is a great way to boost mental and physical health.
3. Cultivate kindness
Being kind releases hormones that boost mood and wellbeing in the giver, according to the research. As the saying goes, mood follows action, so when you show kindness to others, you’re uplifting yourself at the same time.
Being gentle and kind with everyone you encounter – whether it’s teleconferencing with colleagues or speaking with the checkout person at the grocery store – is a good first step.
You can also volunteer for a mental and physical health boost. According to Mayo Clinic, volunteering provides a long list of health benefits, including lowering stress, decreasing the risk of depression and increasing physical activity. There’s never been a better time to get out into your community and lend a helping hand.
4. Practice prayer
If prayer is a regular part of your day, you may be receiving some unexpected benefits. Turns out that the act of praying can have benefits for your mental and physical health. Like the benefits of meditation or yoga, praying can help ease anxiety, manage pain, lower blood pressure and improve immune functioning.
Regardless of your religious affiliation or even if you have one, prayer can provide a chance for quiet reflection and an opportunity to bring yourself back to the present moment. When used in combination with expert health advice, boosting your spiritual health can be good for your mental and physical health too.
Like meditation, prayer is another practice you can do anytime, anywhere, so it’s easy to make it part of your day.
5. Embrace a “growth mindset”
A ‘growth mindset’ is evident in someone who seeks continual learning and expansion. Having a growth mindset means that you keep trying, regardless of outcome, giving each situation your best effort.
If you take part in any of the above activities, you already appreciate the benefits of embracing a growth mindset and understand how it has a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, describes it this way:
“Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience… The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
At Nature’s Link Wellness Center, we are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal mind/body health through a growth mindset and a wealth of science-backed natural wellness options.
Led by board-certified naturopathic doctor Kristine Devillier, we offer mind/body coaching, yoga with meditation, naturopathy, herbal medicine and more.
Get in touch today to set up an appointment. For mind/body wellness in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette and the entire Acadiana area, call 337-332-2705 or reach us online.