The Art of Savoring: Mindfulness Techniques for Mealtime
Looking after our mental health goes hand in hand with looking after our physical health; the two are inextricably linked.
Our thoughts, feelings and behavior can have a significant impact on our physical state, and therefore can positively or negatively affect our overall wellbeing. They are constantly in communication with one another, and it is empowering to see a growing body of research and evidence-based practices that supports this notion of the mind-body connection.
The power of the mind-body connection
When considering our mental and physical health, they are far from separate and there are many associations between the two. Often, poor mental health can lead to physical health issues, such as high blood pressure or chronic fatigue. Equally, research has shown that regular exercise can lift your mood as it releases positive hormones in the brain such as endorphins, increases motivation and can even reduce feelings of mild to moderate depression.
In addition, there is growing evidence that highlights the link between our diet, positive mental health, and healthy brain development. Good quality nutrition plays an important role in contributing to the prevention of depression, and our friends at The Turmeric Co. offer various insights on this topic, sharing how nutrition can boost our mental health.
When you pay close attention to how you feel in your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing as a whole, this can lead to many improved benefits in your daily life. It can boost your performance at work, improve your focus and help to regulate your feelings and emotions.
1. Better sleep
Difficulty sleeping, lack of sleep and disrupted sleep are all common symptoms of many mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. On the other hand, when we are feeling mentally well and have less stressful thoughts, our sleep can improve dramatically.
Identifying a soothing sleep routine can be a helpful way to nurture healthy habits that supports a relaxed state. If you struggle with stressful or overwhelming thoughts before going to bed, take a look at these benefits of writing to support your mental health.
2. Increased sleep
When we are experiencing difficulties with our mental health, including stress, burnout, anxiety or depression, we often lack energy and can even experience severe fatigue as a result.
In contrast, nurturing good mental health can lead to feeling more energised and positive about our experiences, our environment and the relationships in our lives.
Whether it’s setting healthy boundaries for yourself, practising Mindfulness or spending time in nature, prioritising self-care can enhance your energy levels, improve your sleep and inspire a renewed sense of purpose.
3. Improved mood
While our mood can be affected if we are feeling irritated or stressed, nurturing good mental health can increase feelings of happiness and positivity. With less stressful thoughts clouding our minds, we can focus our attention on the positive aspects of our lives.
One way to support our mental health is practicing conscious breathing exercises.
This can help us to observe our thoughts and take notice of how we feel, which in turn helps us to regulate our mood, reflect, and introspect, before reacting to any situation. It also helps us to learn healthy habits that enables us to detach from stressful thoughts, realign our intentions and nurture effective decision making.
The benefits of nurturing our mental and physical health
These 3 steps to nurturing good mental health can also lead to improved lifestyle choices, as well as contribute to positive physical health. When we look at our mental and physical health as a dual-approach to supporting our wellbeing, this can result in the following benefits:
1. An increased capacity to make better nutritional choices
When we feel less fatigued, we are more able to focus effectively on important daily decisions, such as what foods to put in our bodies. Having more time awake and feeling energized to spend time on nutritional needs, such as preparing and eating the right foods, has a significant impact on our physical health.
When we feel mentally and physically well, we are more likely to honor our meal times and remain hydrated, and less likely to turn to convenience foods and drinks that may lower our mood and impact our blood sugar levels.
2. More desire to move and exercise regularly
With more energy comes an increased desire to move our bodies, whether it’s walking, running, stretching, yoga or dancing. Different practices work for different people.
When we are feeling more energized, we can also feel more inspired to move our bodies and exercise more regularly, therefore cultivating a long-term, healthy habit.
For some people, combining regular exercise with seeing a friend, colleague or loved one also helps to boost motivation and strengthen social connections. This is a fundamental human need and supports a positive state of mental wellbeing.
3. Lower alcohol consumption
When we feel well-rested, more energized and experience a positive state of mind, we are less likely to turn to unhealthy habits such as high alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking is commonly linked to poor mental health, particularly high-stress levels and depression.
When we are in a state of good mental health, we are more likely to feel a sense of empowerment and control over our consumption of alcohol. Rather than drinking in excess, which can impact negatively on our fitness goals and physical wellbeing, we can feel a greater sense of connection and centredness, inspired to nurture a well-balanced diet of food and drink.
Nurturing good mental wellbeing for your physical health
When we consciously choose to prioritize our mental health, in turn, we experience a range of positive outcomes for our physical health.
From an increase in our energy levels to feeling motivated to move our bodies, to ensuring as much quality, restful sleep as possible - it can lead us to make conscious decisions to eat and drink well.