If you want to improve your physical health then you need to improve your mindset (and vice versa). The two are closely related. And you can’t overlook health in one area, but expect it in another. Your mental health plays a large role in your physical well-being.
Obviously, living well is no substitute for professional support. Sometimes you need to get counseling to work through your issues. And what I’m discussing today isn’t a solution for clinical anxiety or depression.
This is a daily approach to your mental health and focus on self-care. Kind of physical fitness for your mind. And about how you can take minutes a day to make mental shifts in thinking that can influence your physical health. So here are 5 healthy mental shifts to start making today
Maximize Your Endorphins
Hectic lives breed stress. Some daily stress is an almost inevitable side effect of a modern lifestyle. And this is why endorphins are so important. But do you consciously create endorphins? Because if you don’t, this is an important mental shift to make.
Endorphins are hormones that affect your brain and nervous system. They reduce any sensation of pain. And they trigger general feelings of well-being. Which can help reduce the harmful bodily side-effects of stress. So endorphins help heal your body.
Exercise is the main way to release endorphins. So it’s good to get into a regular pattern of exercising daily. But you don’t need to completely miss out on endorphins if that isn’t possible. Make the habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Or walk on your lunch break. Small bursts of activity release endorphins too!
Breathing is an involuntary act. Yet it’s different than other involuntary acts like the heart beating. You can do it voluntarily as well. And sometimes voluntary breathing is essential for good health.
As babies, we breathe perfectly and from the diaphram. But life and stress gets in the way of perfect breathing. So many of us become shallow breathers and stop taking the deep breaths we need to heal the body.
Deep breathing is one of the many helpful ways to boost the immune system. Breathing properly can strengthen your body by lowering cortisol levels, and your blood pressure. It can help blood flow through your arteries. And all this helps your body to fight diseases.
So make the decision to build in breathing breaks into your day. Put your hand under your rib cage to feel the diaphram expand as you breath. And exhale slowly. This is an especially important mental shift to make on busy, or anxious days when you’re most likely to fall into shallow breathing.
Start Each Day With Gratitude
Mornings tend to be a blur. First the alarm rings. And what follows next, if you’re like most people, is just a flurry of rushed activity. But is this really a healthy way to physically start the day? Probably not.
Starting the day in this fashion can put raise your cortisol and adrenaline. Meaning that before you’ve even gotten to your first morning meeting, your in a place of fight or flight. Which not only over-taxes your adrenals. This constant stress on your adrenals can cause you to gain weight.
A mental shift will allow you to take a few minutes to center before starting the rush of your day. You can take a few deep breaths as previously discussed. And then it’s valuable to take a few moment to acknowledge that for which you’re grateful.
Either write in a gratitude journal. Or say what you’re grateful for aloud. This only takes a few minutes. But this mental exercise can have a great, positive effect on your health.
Put Sleep On Your Schedule
When you’re young, you tend to look at sleep as optional. It’s something to fit in when you have the time. After all, you can sleep when you’re dead. But it ‘s important to stop looking at sleep as a lazy person’s luxury. Because lack of sleep can place a true toll on your health.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect your energy levels; it can weaken your immune system, slow your digestive system, and even exacerbate mental health issues. It can increase food cravings and promote overeating. And it can make you look older.
Start prioritizing a consistent sleeping pattern. Remember when you were a little kid and actually had a bed time? You likely got better quality sleep back then. Setting a bed time as an adult is a great mental shift that will lead to better sleep, and therefore better health during your days.
I know it’s difficult. I know you probably won’t want to do it. But try setting a bedtime for just a week. You may be amazed with what happens.
Start Focusing On How Food Really Makes You Feel
Taste is an extremely part of eating. And good tasting food can make you temporarily feel wonderful. But how is the food you’re eating making you feel during the rest of your day?
It’s important to eat foods you enjoy. And it’s also important to eat foods that make you feel energetic. Food that doesn’t give you the jitters. You want to eat a diet that doesn’t contribute to depression. And one that doesn’t cause your stomach to feel crappy.
You know which foods taste good. But do you know which foods make you feel good during the rest of your day? Because if you don’t, you’re not just missing out on an opportunity to improve your health. You’re missing out on a way to grow your happiness and sense of well-being.
Keep a food diary. And note down how satisfying each food you eat is mentally. Then record how you feel in the hours after you eat each food. And start giving priority to foods that are not only enjoyable. But foods that actually make you feel good in your body.
And those are five mental shifts that can improve your physical health. Change of perspective can have a huge ripple effect. And your good health greatly depends on your mental health perspective.
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*Photo courtesy of Pexels.
Practicing gratitude really does start to make a huge difference. I am committed to my year of short daily gratitude posts that I am doing. It’s interesting to observe one’s brain in the process of rewiring.
I love your daily gratitude posts! They’re so inspiring!