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Week 2: Mind/Body Connection


Ok, ok.... many of us see this title and roll our eyes and think, "here comes the woo,woo stuff"

But the connection the mind has on bodily functions and overall health is undeniable. A person can eat a perfect diet and never miss a workout and something can still be... off.

This week, pay attention to the following things that can contribute to our mental well-being:

1. stress

2. mindset

3. connection with others

STRESS:

When we are stressed, a hormone in our body called cortisol is produced. Certain levels of cortisol are healthy, but chronically elevated cortisol makes us vulnerable to developing higher blood pressure, diabetes, lowered immunity, digestive issues and weight gain to name just a few disorders.

"The problem, is that, "too often today's response to stress is to sit and stew in our frustration and anger, without expending any of the calories that we would if we were physically fighting our way out of a wild animal hunt (as our ancestors did)." -Sean Talbot, Ph.D., associate professor with the University of Utah's Department of Nutrition and the author of the "Cortisol Connection."

The things in our life that cause us stress are often unavoidable, so it's our reactions to them and management of the stress that becomes important to try to control.

Exercise, deep breathing and meditation are just a few ways we can better handle stress.

MINDSET:

Stop complaining and whining:

Easier said than done, but expressing negative thoughts leads to continued negativity. If we are looking for things to whine and complain about, we'll find many. If we are focused on gratitude, we'll look for the good! For example, if tomorrow you start thinking about buying a Toyota* Highlander, you'll take note of every Toyota Highlander you see while driving where a week ago you probably saw many but never even noticed one.

*Thanks again Toyota for the Healthy Kids Rx donation!

Check out this study claiming that when we count our blessings we actually alter the heart and the molecular structure of our brain!

Body Image:

Regardless of what your goals are or how far you need to go to improve, establishing a healthy attitude toward yourself is important in order to make those changes. When we are down on ourselves, we tend to gravitate towards destructive thoughts which lead to unproductive behaviors.

You may think "Once I lose weight, I'll be happier" or "if only I was the size I was 10, 20 years ago"...

Yet if we go back in time, you weren't happy with your size 10,20 years ago either! We have to find happiness where we are at in order to move forward in a positive direction.

CONNECTION WITH OTHERS:

People who have deep, meaningful relationships with others are happier, healthier people. It is better to have 1-2 deep relationships than 100's of "acquaintances". Deep meaningful relationships are those in which you talk about more than the weather but rather your hopes, dreams and fears.

So here's your homework for this week!

1. Keep a log on paper or phone notes of: 3 things your grateful for each day: 1 must be about your own body

2. 10 min of daily meditation, breathing, prayer, etc.

3. Exercise at least 4 times this week.

4. Give 2 sincere compliments to someone else each day.

5. If in a relationship, go on a date this week! If not, call a loved one or friend and talk for 10-15 minutes.


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