As we approach the summer months ahead we typically come into a month of transition and busyness! May is the month where University is out, kids are finishing up school, work revs up, tax season ends, bbq’s begin, summer sport starts up, and general excitement about sunshine to come is in the air! This month at Livfit we want to focus on being Mindfit and easy ways that you can implement mindful strategies into your daily life to help you de-stress and live your best and fullest life!
Mindful exercise is something you may have just starting hearing about or maybe this is your first time hearing these two words- Mindful and Exercise- paired together! We know that our thoughts contribute to our reality, and that our daily habits can literally change our physiology (read all about it under mindfit this month!), so it makes sense that the way you speak to your body while exercising will have an impact on your results. Here is what happens in the brain during exercise:
- Blood flow increases in the brain and promotes the growth of new brain cells
- Endorphines, serotonine, dopamine, and glutamate are triggered which help you feel better and happier
- Increases cognitive abilities and decreases the brain from shrinking over time
- Your nerve cells actually multiply!
Let’s talk about WHY you are exercising. There are a lot of societal pressures telling you why you should exercise, but looking at the route of why you want to be breaking a sweat can help not only in how you feel about exercise, but also how you feel during exercise. Let’s look at fear for a moment. Some people may exercise because of a fear of gaining weight, of not being good enough for their spouse, of being the largest one in the class. But if we were to flip that into wanting to exercise to feel stronger, feeling better in our own skin, and to be the most confident in the class, our workouts would be much more enjoyable and we would be much more likely to workout more often. Taking those voices in our head of self doubt, frustration, and negativity, and flipping them around to empowered beliefs around moving our bodies can have a profound effect on our well being and can actually decrease mortality rates!
We challenge you this month to have positive self talk when working out. All those things your trainers say to you- we want you to say them to yourself. Things like “yes that looks awesome”, “great form you look really stable in that position”, “great core strength keep that up”, and “nice workout! You are amazing!”. Try it out and see how you feel at the end of month!
To read some studies around positive self talk, exercise, and mortality read here:
How to Beat Burnout -Six Herbs to Reduce Stress –
Adrenal Fatigue AKA “BURN OUT”
Stress is considered anything that shifts the body’s internal environment out of homeostasis (the “sweet spot” in which our body functions optimally). Adrenal fatigue is extremely common in today’s society due to the fast passed lifestyle that the majority of us live in. During burnout the adrenal glands become depleted and are not secreting adequate hormones to function optimally. If left long-term conditions such as insomnia, depression, allergies, weight gain and lowered immune system can develop.
Did you know that you can use herbs medicinally to naturally support your body’s ability to manage stress?
Adaptogens: Adaptogens are a group of herbs that help the body adapt to stress while naturally restoring the adrenal glands. When taken long-term they have the ability to modulate hormones and balance the nervous system.
- Licorice Root – Glycyrrhiza glabra
Licorice root is a widely used adaptogenic herb that contains constituents known as saponins.
What’s really cool about saponins is that they can actually mimic the body’s stress regulating hormone known as cortisol. Saponins have the ability to bind to cortisol receptor sites, as result, can gently stimulate cortisol levels in the body and reduce overall stress.
- Ashwangandha – Withania somnifera
This stress reducing herb helps to ease the nervous system and reduce anxiety. It helps to naturally modulate cortisol levels in the body by promoting adequate energy levels upon waking and a restful sleep at night. Ashwaganda is extremely beneficial when taken long-term to promote mental clarity, memory, and stamina.
Nervine tonics: When taken long-term this group of herbs has the ability to strengthen, feed and restore the nervous system.
- Oats – Avena Sativa
Yes, you are reading this correctly it says oats. Oats are not only delicious to eat for breakfast, they are also extremely grounding and nourishing for the nervous system. This is a very versatile herb to add into your daily life to promote a calming and relaxing mental environment. Oats can be not only eaten for breakfast, but can be used in a soothing bath to promote healthy skin, and also infused into alcohol to form a potent tincture.
- Arctic Rose – Rhodiola rose
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that can be used for both its stimulating and sedating effects in the body depending on how much is taken. It works to protect neurotransmitters which are our body’s chemical communicators. The role of a neurotransmitter is to send chemical messages from the brain to the body telling it what it needs to do. Two primary neurotransmitters that benefit from this herb are serotonin and dopamine which make us happy and feel good.
Nervine Relaxants: This group of herbs is very beneficial for acute stress and tension. As they have sedating effect in the body they should be used generally in the evening to calm and relax the mind.
- Passion Flower – Passiflora incarnata
This herb can be specifically used to relieve nervous tension and relax spasms as it surrenders the body into a deep hypnotic state. Due to its sedative effect I like to enjoy this herb as a tea before bed.
- Lavender & Lemon balm
I love using both of these herbs in my essential oil diffuser before bed to help reduce mental congestion and promote inner peace.
Join Sarah and Dr Marissa Bentham this month for our Nutrafit and Mindfit workshop! May 24th, 6:45pm up in the Livfit Loft. De-stress to Livfit workshop is all about ways that you can decrease stress in your everyday life to help decrease pain and inflammation and lower anxiety, creating your best summer yet! Register here
4 keys to elevating your mental & emotional health
Think back to the last time you had an elevating experience. Were you attending a seminar or spending a weekend surrounded with good friends who fill your soul? Think about how energized and alive you felt. Would you like to feel that way more often? What if I told you that this kind of energy is vital to your health and wellbeing?
There is an emerging science called epigenetics that demonstrates the effect that our environment has on the expression of our genes, and ultimately the state of our health. Epigenetics shows that genes can be up-regulated or down-regulated (turned “on” or “off”) based on our environment. (Stay with me here!)
Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of “The Biology of Belief”, describes our DNA as a blueprint, and explains that there are over 30,000 different variations that can emerge from that blueprint depending on the demands of our environment. And more powerful than the environment itself, is our perception of it. It’s the thoughts, emotions, and energy that we manifest in our bodies that create our reality.
I know for some people this may seem an abstract concept to grasp, but the implications of it are incredibly important to your health!
Deepak Chopra, MD, who is at the forefront of the health and wellness revolution, recently published an article titled “You Will Transform Your Own Biology”. Dr. Chopra writes “The mind and emotions directly affect gene activity, and since the mind is the source of a person’s lifestyle and behavior, it directs one’s biological transformations.”
Consider this example from Dr. James Chestnut’s book “The Innate State of Mind and Emotional Hygiene”:
“At Harvard University, women in mind-body support groups for infertility conceive 44% of the time (as opposed to the expected 8-10% rate) and 80% of men with hypertension in mind-body groups are able to decrease their medication, while 16% are able to stop their antihypertensive medication entirely.”
So how does this actually impact you and your health? Well – it boils down to this. Our health is really a genetic expression of our lifestyle choices. It’s our lifestyle choices that create our environment. Our commitment to good nutrition, exercise and rest are the things that commonly come to mind when we think about a healthy lifestyle. What I want to express here is this: Your mental & emotional energy play a vital role in your health. If you’re really serious about optimizing your health, then just like eating well and exercising, you must practice healthy mindset strategies.
But how do we bring mindfit into our daily lives? Just like all of you, I have days when I’m feeling stuck, stressed or overwhelmed. So here is the “go to” practice in our family!
4 keys to elevating your mental & emotional health:
- Practice gratitude.Whether you keep a gratitude journal (Yes, even our kids have one!) or ground yourself in yoga or meditation, this is a powerful way to trigger almost immediate changes in your physiology. True story.
- Connect with nature.Walk through the forest or sit and watch the waves. Being in nature reduces anger, fear and stress and increases positive emotions.
- Get physical.Jump on your bike, go for a run, or hop into Livfit Studio. We all know the positive impact that those amazing endorphins have.
- Make a contribution.Coach a team, contribute to a fundraiser, or practice random acts of kindness. Helping others elevates your happiness. It’s as simple as that.
Join Dr Marissa Bentham and Sarah Heavenor this month for our Nutrafit and Mindfit workshop! May 24th, 6:45pm up in the Livfit Loft. De-stress to Livfit workshop is all about ways that you can decrease stress in your everyday life to help decrease pain and inflammation and lower anxiety, creating your best summer yet! Register here