By Carol Wilson ~
The mind and the body are intrinsically connected. When we improve our physical health, we experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Physical activity also releases endorphins. They are powerful chemicals that lift our moods and provide added energy for our bodies and mind to function at their best. Regular exercise and activity, can have a major impact on improving mental and emotional health, relieve stress and anxiety, improve memory, lessen or do away with depression, ADHD; help build self-esteem, gives us energy to bounce back from whatever it is that may have us distracted.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic and less stressed throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.
Research indicates that even modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter our age or fitness level, we can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better and to live longer more healthful and productive lives.
Exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and helps create and stimulate new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. Exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing us to find some quiet time to break out of or overcome any cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Eating a healthy diet in addition to exercising supports strong mental health!
Mind/Body Forever Connected
An unhealthy diet negatively affects our brain and mood, disrupts our sleep, saps our energy, and weakens our immune system even if we do exercise. Switching to a wholesome diet, low in sugar and rich in healthy fats, can give us more energy, improve our sleep and mood, and help us to look and feel our best.
The best place to begin our “brain-healthy” diet is by cutting out the “bad fats” that can damage our mood and outlook. We simply replace them with “good fats” that support brain health.
Foods that adversely affect mood and brain health:
- Trans fats or anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil
- Foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones
- Sugary snacks
- Refined carbs (such as white rice or white flour)
- Fried food
Foods that boost mood and brain health:
- Fatty fish rich in Omega-3s such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna
- Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts
- Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Brussel’s sprouts
- Fresh fruit such as blueberries