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Optimizing your health pt.2

part 2- mindfulness image

If you read my previous article, you would have already had a glimpse of the 6 Pillars of Health” model (Movement, Sleep, Breathwork, Mindfulness, Nutrition, and Emotional Health) I work with when helping client to improve their health and wellbeing. In this article we continue with the final three pillars.

4. Mindfulness

Is the cultivation of non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. By applying mindfulness to our daily moments, we change the effect our external environment (the world around us) has on our internal environment (our body, emotions, and mind).

Mindfulness meditation has become one of the most practiced forms of meditation. Studies show that it is of great benefit to people struggling with an array of health issues and scientists say that it could help those with disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and chronic pain, and helps fight addiction.   

According to a Global Wellness Summit Trend Report 2019, rates of anxiety and depression are rapidly increasing worldwide-

Globally, one in six people now has at least one mental or substance abuse disorder (over 1.1 billion people)—with anxiety disorder ranking #1.”

With our current global situation, and the constant fear narrative from media, mindfulness meditation is a low-cost approach to incorporate into daily life to help regain control over your physical and mental health. 

5. Nutrition

Research has shown that improving nutrition helps to support optimal immune function. If you are wanting to improve your immunity, you should be focused on consuming nutrient dense food, rather than heavily processed, high fat and high sugar food and drinks. Find the balance with your eating. I usually recommend the 80/20 ratio. Consume good, clean, nutrient dense food for 80% of the week, that leaves space for a treat day, or the occasional treat here and there during the week.  

Here is a short list helpful vitamins and herbs to get in your diet. Please note this is not the full list I normally work with.

Vitamin A maintains the structure of the cells in the skin, respiratory tract, and gut. This forms a barrier and is your body’s first line of defence, it helps make antibodies which neutralise the pathogens that cause infection.

Vitamin B6, B9 and B12 contribute to your body’s first response once it has recognised a pathogen.

When your body is fighting an infection, it goes through a process called oxidative stress. This process leads to the production of free radicals which can pierce cell walls, causing the contents to leak into tissues and exacerbating inflammation. Vitamins C and E help to protect our cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin C helps to clean this up by producing specialised cells to mount an immune response (neutrophils, lymphocytes, and phagocytes).

Vitamin D helps to boost your immune system as some immune cells need Vitamin D to help destroy micro-organisms that cause infections. A study has found that Vitamin D supplements can help protect against acute respiratory infections, particularly among people who are deficient.

Echinacea– acts as an immune system stimulant

Elderberry– helps fight colds, flu, beneficial for allergies and reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the breeding ground for illness.

Ginseng– enhances resistance to illness or infection, improves the performance of the immune system, increases the production of macrophages- they work as a defence against bacterial and viral infections.

Ginger- helps reduce inflammation, helps to clean the lymphatic system and has antimicrobial properties.

Oregano capsules– have antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties. In our home we use this as a first line of defence to prevent the use of antibiotics.

Fermented food– good health starts in your gut. Fermented food contains high quantities of probiotics, which is good bacteria for the gut as well as support a healthy immune system, support organ (lung, skin and reproductive) health as well as have a positive effect on moods.

6. Emotional Health

A growing field of research, Psychoneuroimmunology, examines how the brain, endocrine, and immune systems communicate, how this impacts health, and how negative and positive moods affect immune function, disease, and mortality.

Fulvio D’Acquisto, who studies the link between emotions and immunity at the University of Roehampton states- “When one feels an emotion, the immune system immediately registers the changes and adjusts to it, this means that if we are laughing, we have an immediate change in immune cell numbers in blood and in their functions — as is the case if we are angry or crying. For every change in the way we feel or live, there is a ‘mirror correspondence’ in the immune system.”

Positive emotions, amongst other things, support our sense of wellbeing, whereas negative emotions detract from this as they trigger the activation of our stress response.

Studies show us that:

  • Average person has 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day
  • About 80% of thinking comes from negative and critical space
  • 90% of our thoughts are the same as the previous day
  • 95% of who you are by the age of 35yrs is made of the same thoughts, same choices, same behaviour, same experiences, and same emotions

Looking at these studies, I believe that we all have an obligation to ourselves, our loved ones and colleagues to look after our emotional health. Mental health disorders will soon become the leading cause of disease, outranking heart disease and diabetes. In the more that 2 decades that I have worked with clients globally, I have found that working and teaching clients how to create healthier pathways to their emotional health has had a profound transformational effect on their physical and mental health.

I am hoping that the brief look at my 6 Pillars of Health has inspired you to make changes. As we move forward, we must not forget about the small steps we can take daily to create a heathy, strong and resilient Body-Mind with a fighting fit immune system!

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