In parts one, two, and three of this blog we began to look at the subject that “It’s Not all in your Head.” Part four will cover step 7 of how our mind can function at optimal levels and the conclusion.
Step 7: Calm the Mind
Your mind governs your stress through your autonomic nervous system. It controls all the automatic functions in your body. It is divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Chronic stress increases inflammation, anxiety, depression and damages the hippo-campus leading to memory loss, mood disorders and reduces serotonin levels. It also interferes with thyroid function and causes loss of muscle.
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (3) It is vital that we manage stress because we all have it. There are several practical things we can do. Think about 3 things you are grateful for 30 seconds each night before you go to bed. Lower inflammation and turn off fight or flight stress. Focus on things that are going well. Keep things in perspective. Learn to forgive those who have wronged you. Enjoy a hobby, read (especially scripture) play an instrument and sing these are all things that relieve stress. Take a walk in a park (without your cell phone) and enjoy nature and some outdoor weather can be a big stress relief.
Eat right and reduce processed carbohydrates. Get plenty of exercise – which is really important to help with our health – lower stress and improve our outlook on life. Nutrients we should focus on are a good multivitamin, magnesium, vitamin D3, Omega 3 (EPA, DPA), Folate, B6, B12 help methylation and probiotics. You should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Do things that mentally stimulate you like playing chess, learning something new and meeting new people. Mental fitness is important as you want neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. There is always hope and never give up.
1.) Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute. Choline
2.) Livestrong.com. Importance of cholesterol.
3.) King James Bible. Philippians 4:8.