One inspiring cue:
Before you get out of bed in the morning, sit up, prop some pillows behind you, cross your legs, and cup your hands with your left hand on top of your right in your lap so your thumbs are touching. You can close your eyes or keep them softly open with your focus on one spot.
Sit tall and breathe comfortably in and out through your nose. Notice what thoughts come up and continue to stay connected to your breath. That’s it! The idea is to sit with your thoughts and simply be with your breath. I’ll add on a visual aspect next week. For now, just sit for 1-10 minutes, watching, listening, and breathing. Don’t beat yourself up if you only sit for a few breaths – just begin to create the habit day after day.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the benefits of meditation. But did you know…“The meditation-and-the-brain research has been rolling in steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. Or, rather, some ancient benefit that is just now being confirmed with fMRI or EEG. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the ‘me’ centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions.” – Forbes
Also, “a review study at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good.
Meditation is, after all, an active form of brain training. ‘A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing’, says Goyal. ‘But, that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.’ Meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression, as no treatment is, it’s one of the tools that may help manage symptoms.” – Forbes
One inspiring tip:
Don’t overthink it. With all my meditation classes, I’ve learned the most on my own just by sitting and being with my thoughts and breath. You’ll be surprised at the answers and the calm you get just by keeping things simple.
If you’re interested in some of the latest research on meditation, click here for a short blog.
One inspiring song:
“Where Rainbows Never Die” by The Steeldrivers
One inspiring quote:
“The one who has a healthy mind has an easy breath.” – Lyza Sahertian
NUTRIENTS FOR BRAIN HEALTH
There’s truth in the song that says our “hip bone is connected to our thigh bone”, and it’s also true that our mental health and our brain function are connected to our gut and diet.
“Much like the intricate relationship between the gut and the brain, diet and mental health are inextricably linked – and the connection between them goes both ways: a lack of good dietary choices leads to an increase in mental health issues and in turn lead to poor eating habits.”
This is from an article by psychiatrist, brain health researcher, and nutritionist, Dr. Uma Naidoo, about how food affects the brain. I’ll list here what foods she recommends for brain power, but if you want to read the WHY behind them, click here for the 2-minute read of her article.
Brain Power Foods:
- Spices – you know I also love spices and herbs for bone health. As I say BONE HEALTH=OVERALL HEALTH!
- Fermented foods – think good quality sauerkraut and kimchi
- Dark chocolate – yay!!
- Leafy greens
I have my favorite kimchi and sauerkraut, dark chocolate, and sprouted nuts on my SHOP page.
I’d love to hear if you have a regular meditation practice. Let’s get in the habit of meditating every day – even if it’s only for one minute to start. And, let’s help our brains along by giving them some brain-healthy foods.
Sending love to your mind, brain, body, and soul!