When you are in your optimum state, the world is your oyster, you perceive more possibilities and feel more capable, and you are usually better able to access joy!
Here are 20 really simple and easy to implement ways to improve your state. A healthy mind and mental state needs to be nurtured.
If taken for granted or neglected it can quickly deteriorate. If you have mental illness, like any disease, recovery and feeling well require consistent daily management; there is no “quick fix”.
Try some of these everyday, you will be better for it. 😃😃😃
Diet has been scientifically proven to influence mood, performance, brain chemistry, your health and your overall state of well-being. To get yourself into an optimum state and play at the top of your game... it’s a good idea to start with the basics.
2. Choose low "Glycaemic Load" carbohydrates.
Eat reasonable portions of carbohydrates as whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit, and stay away from processed sugar and refined foods.
This will make sure you have a steady stream of good quality calming carbohydrates as well as essential amino acids entering your system which are vital for maintaining the perfect state of being. Your brain, your nerves, your red blood cells and your muscles all rely on carbohydrates for energy. Give them the fuel they need to perform.
By choosing quality carbs you help keep this supply stable and avoid highs and lows that negatively affect mood, energy and other body systems.
Extra tip: Combine protein with carbohydrate. This is a very effective strategy to help keep your blood sugar levels stable which has a profound effect on your mood and ability to concentrate. This means you won’t become a victim of cravings and addicted to stimulants that will make you edgy and weak.
3. Save your antioxidants for your power not for your defence. Avoid hydrogenated fats and reduce your intake of saturated fats from meat, dairy produce and junk food. Avoid artificial additives and preservatives. They can deplete you of nutrients, damage your cells, steal your good mood and negatively affect your state.
4. Boost your essential oils status. Omega 3 fats contain EPA and DHA which are mood enhancers as well as mind and memory boosters. Eat good quality oily fish three times a week instead of meat, or take fish oil supplements (good sources are sardines, mackeral, salmon, tuna... sardines are naturally lowest in mercury).
Have a tablespoon of ground flax seeds every day or munch on some walnuts. Use cold-pressed seed oils in salad dressings.
Some herbal teas, have the added benefit of being a “pick up” or “calmer” so choose the one you need. For example: Peppermint and Liquorice tea are great for afternoon energizers. Camomile is great for relaxing. Lemon and Ginger are great for after meals and Jasmine is the perfect social tea.
6. Enjoy whole and fresh natural foods for greater vitality, energy and zest for life. Real foods contain many more vitamins and minerals and goodies than we could easily name off the top of our heads.
If your brain and your body is well nourished, you feel well and capable. If you are malnourished, lethargic, or carrying a burden of chemical toxins (like preservatives, trans-fats, and artificial additives) it is really difficult to improve your state because you just don’t feel good and healthy.
7. Get a daily dose of lecithin. Lecithin supports acetylcholine a neurotransmitter involved in memory and mood. Foods containing lecithin include organ meats, red meat, seafood, eggs, cooked green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli, legumes, such as soybeans, kidney beans, and black beans
8. One or two squares of raw dark chocolate (or good quality organic dark chocolate) can be wonderfully calming and uplifting, especially if eaten with a handful of almonds. Almonds are great for the amygdala, the emotional centre of your brain.
9. Chop some fresh herbs onto your meals.
Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute of Optimum Nutrition, promotes the benefits of the following culinary herbs:
Basil can sharpen the senses and improve concentration.
Coriander is reputed to have a refreshing, stimulating and uplifting effect on the mind and may help with lethargy and tension.
Marjoram is helpful for calming the nervous system and reducing anxiety and feelings of stress.
Peppermint is a cooling herb that can reduce angry feelings and nervousness. It can also help with mental fatigue.
Rosemary is a stimulating herb, reputedly good for improving memory.
So plant a herb garden and get in the habit of sprinkling some fresh and revitalising goodness onto at least one meal a day!
10. Use spices like cinnamon or foods like ginger and liquorice to warm you up or uplift you. Cinnamon can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, helping to keep your mood stable.
11. Magnesium can help calm anxiety and relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. If you battle to sleep, this will dramatically affect your state when you are awake. Try taking 300 mg of Magnesium in the evening before bed to help you relax. Or you could add some magnesium salts to a nice warm relaxing bath.
12. If your energy levels are low and your stress levels are high and you are relying on stimulants to get through your day, consider taking a vitamin B complex after breakfast or at lunch time, rather than a coffee or other stimulant like sugar.
You will be delighted by the lift (and don’t be put off by your bright yellow wee!) Vegans might benefit from supplementing vitamin B12 sublingually (under the tongue) and Spirulina. Vegans are often low in B12 and iron.
13. Focus your attention.
Choose where you focus your attention be aware of what you give power and energy to. If you can laser tune your focus, you will elevate your state and achieve greater results.
Focus on positives, notice when you are in a repetitive cycle of focusing on the negative or worst case scenario. We can train ourselves to pay attention to different things and to become aware of positive things at play in our lives. Our state and progress can be affected by focus.
"Choose what you would like to pull into your focus...."
14. Balance your brain with meditation, prayer, or quiet reflection.
15. Choose your circle of influence carefully. Your “unconscious” mind is open to suggestion, make sure that those speaking into it or influencing it are mostly positive and supporting, enrich your perspective or lighten your state and your mood, or create an environment where you feel loved, accepted and like you belong.
A sense of community, connectedness and belonging will also increase neurotransmitters like Serotonin and GABA which help us feel calm and stable, even happy.
16. Movement through light exercise or some aerobic exercise can get that vital energy going. It will invigorate your brain, raise endorphins and as an added bonus, burn some fat. Exercise has been proven to help people recover from depression.
Dancing has been associated with elevated mood, decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s and improved mental health. Walking in nature releases GABA, a stabilising calming neurotransmitter.
17. Sunlight. Maximise natural light in your room, with natural daylight or full spectrum lighting.
Sunlight and vitamin D are important for the pineal gland, for hormone regulation, for your immune system and can ward off depression.
Sit out in the morning sun or afternoon sun for 20 minutes a day, face and arms exposed to the rays (and of course keep out of the mid day sun, so that you don’t get sunburned).
18. Smell is so powerful that it acts directly on the brain like a drug. Our smell sense is directly wired into the limbic system, a part of our brain that acts as an emotional switchboard.
Fragrances can relieve pain, call up deep-seated memories and generally affect personality and behaviour.
Scents like essential oils: Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Rose, Patchouli, Jasmine, Vanilla and Musk are both relaxing and stimulating. You could burn these essential oils in an oil burner, add drops to your bath, or burn fragranced candles to help improve your state.
19. Create a state of ecstasy or calm through music. You can use music consciously to alter your state- as a natural stimulant, relaxant, mood booster and connector, both at home and at work. Music with 60 beats per minute aids concentration and puts you in a receptive and calming learning state.
|‘Half an hour of music produces the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium.’ Raymond Bahr, Director of Coronary Care, St Agnes Hospital|
20. Sleep. Increased REM sleep is an excellent mood enhancer. Get enough sleep.
People who are sleep deprived tend to be lower in serotonin, lower in growth hormone, less productive, feel more stressed and can be ineffective.
Aim for 6 to 9 hours a night. Take siestas, a well-timed nap can be tremendously invigorating!