parasympathetic nervous system

Lessons I've Learned - Love The Life You Live

Lessons I've Learned - Love The Life You Live.jpg

I knew that truly getting and applying this one thing was going to help me become a healthier, better version of me. And because sharing is caring, I knew I wanted to share this with you.

 

I'm talking about when I learned the importance of making healthy habits all around - mentally, emotionally and physically. For me, this meant I needed to make sure I lived a life I was loving. I really sat down and looked at all aspects of my life - both at work and at home. Looking for areas that might be causing me unwanted stress.

 

Finding ways to balance out and manage the stress in your life is super important. It means making time to play and taking time to breathe. Joy helps offset and balance out the stress you have to deal with.  The 'love life' part of my brand is all about this. For sure, what you eat definitely plays a part in a healthier you, but so does your being able to love life. It's about learning to love the life you live. 

 

Something I ask each one of my clients is to tell me about their most recent vacation and their hobbies. Partly I ask because I love travelling and can not wait to hear about some awesome adventure that could be next on my 'must see' list. But I also want to know how they relax and unwind and how often they're going after this balance.

 

You know what I've found? So many who are missing out and not really tapping into the joy part of their lives. Sometimes my best advice to helping someone become their healthiest most awesome self is having them learn to play and have fun in their life again. Explore that thing that brings them joy.

 

You know what that is for you. When you think about it, your heart is like yes! And maybe you feel a little bit of excitement inside. Then fear kicks in and tells you that 'you don't have time', 'you can't afford it', 'what if you're no good at it' or whatever script keeps running through your mind. 

 

Being able to tap into what brings you joy and gives you big belly laughs is part of health and wellness. It matters as much as eating whole foods and drinking green smoothies. When you're doing something that's exciting to you, makes your heart sing and puts a smile on your face, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in. Endorphins get released, hormones and brain chemicals work towards creating balance and your body's natural self-repair mechanisms start to fix your broken bits.

 

Have you ever had the crappiest day at work? You come home feeling miserable. You get a hug, a kind word, maybe a sloppy kiss from your dog or hear a funny story. Suddenly life becomes (even if for only a second) a bit more bearable and enjoyable. Hold onto that feeling. Hold on tight and savour that moment. Don't chase it away so quickly, going back into miserable mode. Linger with that thought and feel that goodness.

 

If each of us held on a little longer to the parts of life that felt good and right, we'd have so much less time for focusing on what's not right. 

 

I'm sure you've heard of the stories, where people find out from their doctor that they have a life threatening disease. They go home deciding that they are going to kick this disease. And they do, or they end up making improvements that has their doctor in complete disbelief. Mindset and joy, I'm telling you.  

 

I remember when I was struggle.ing with my last autoimmune ordeal. One that felt like a three ring circus. (and not the kind you'd wanna pay money to see.) More than one of my specialists told me that my eventuality was Lupus. I remember how initially I felt defeated and devastated. I took note of everyone's reactions as I shared my news with them. Many were almost like giving me their condolences, as though I already had the disease.

 

Then there were a few that told me - No way! That's ridiculous! I was like YES. These are people I need more of. This was one of the wakeup calls I needed. It was at this moment that I knew I need to revisit how I was living my life. All aspects. I knew I need to place more importance on doing things that brought me joy and less importance on doing things because it was comfortable, familiar and feeling too afraid of change or to do things differently. 

 

That was almost 4 years ago, and in my heart of hearts I don't believe that Lupus will be my eventuality. I recently had my DNA tested. Yes, I carry the gene mutation that makes me more prone to autoimmune conditions than others. But having a genetic disposition to a particular disease doesn't mean it's gonna be your grand finale.  

 

There's two other super critical factors to consider especially when it comes to autoimmune conditions. Factors that are so much more important than genetics. One is environmental triggers. Yes, this includes our physical environment like pollution, but it also includes physical and emotional traumas. Things that translate into stress. The important bit is how we deal with and process things that are part of our environment. How we process and manage our stresses and traumas also impacts the third factor. I'll talk about the third factor in another blog post. (gotta give ya something to look forward to.)

 

The photo in this post is super old but I love it so so much. I took this when I was living in France. This little nugget is beyond proud of her bubble blowing efforts. And she's showing her skills to her grand-papa (well, let's assume it's her grand-papa). ;) She's 120% so proud of her little self. The only thing she's experiencing in this moment is pure joy.

 

Somewhere along the line of becoming grown ups we kinda lose that childlike joy a bit (or a lot bit for some). We get so focused on what we need to be doing. Being responsible. Working on our career paths and all of the other grown up stuff. Joy kinda falls by the wayside. I think that that is what you and I need to tap into more. Adding joy into our life. Doing things that bring us nothing but happiness. It's almost like we need to schedule destressing into our daily planners.

 

Whether it's a hobby that you love so much, you could lose all track of time, a job that's so enjoyable it doesn't really feel like work, surrounding yourself with people who celebrate the awesome person you are, encouraging you to be a better human or however it is that you want to live your life. You either have to change your circumstance or change your perspective (sometimes it take a bit of both, believe me) to enjoy these things and tap into that joie de vivre.

 

Once you do this, you start to become happier and joy shows up more often in your day to day. This makes such a huge impact in terms of your health. It means you're turning on your parasympathetic, self repair mode each and every day. A healthy positive outlook on life means a healthier you. You can't go through life with grey thoughts and a grey perspective and expect to have glowing health. 

 

Now, I'd love hear from you. In the comments below, share with me how you add a bit more joy to your day to day. 

 

To loving life,

 


It Starts Before You Even Open Your Mouth

it starts before you open your mouth.jpg

 

When I began to learn about the strong connection between how we approach mealtime and a healthy, well functioning digestive system, I was so amazed and intrigued.

We all know how important digesting our food is for good health. It’s how the nutrients from our food ultimately become part of our cells, allowing our bodies to function well.

We also know those things we should be mindful of when we’re eating - take small bites, chew our food well, put down our fork in between bites, don't drink too much while we're eating, etc.

These small tips give our body the chance to digest all the yummy goodness we're taking in. It also means we’ll get the most benefit in assimilating vitamins and minerals when our digestion is in tip top shape. Creating healthier, stronger systems and healthier, happier selves. 

One of the simplest and easiest ways we can give our digestive system a hand starts before we even open our mouth. 

You see the difference when you sit down to eat. You’re not distracted by the stresses of the day. There's delicious looking food on the table that has your attention. You start to smell all the goodness - garlic, savoury and sweet spices, aromas coming straight from the oven. Maybe even some fresh baked bread. (There really is no greater smell in the world, am I right?) Everything looks and smells to die for delicious. Your mouth starts watering and you cannot wait to dig in.

 

Then, there are those times when you are rushed and starving.

 

You tell yourself to find something quick because you have a million things to do before the day is out. Stopping to eat feels like a task that's just gotten in the way. You end up eating while rushed in traffic or at your desk while working on your most pressing deadline. Quickly, you finish your meal. (Phewpf, that's outta the way). Now you can really focus on that deadline or making it to that meeting on time. You ate so quickly and were so distracted that you honestly can't remember how your meal tasted.

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you? 

What I just described is the first and the most important phase of digestion. It's called the cephalic phase and is responsible for about 30% of our digestive juice (stomach acid) production. It happens when the brain sends a signal to the stomach to start producing digestive juices for your meal.

The very sight, thought or smell of food triggers this signal. It activates our parasympathetic nervous system, putting our body into 'rest n digest' mode.

 

This mode is crucial for helping you fully digest your meal.

 

It only happens when you like or want your meal. This means we need to be mindful during mealtime. Not distracted with the to-do list of the day, and not eating while stressed out.  

I came across this video by Dr. Joseph Mercola. It explains so well the importance of mindful eating. It shows what happens when we eat while distracted and under stress. It's only 5 minutes long, so nerd out with me and watch it.

I make pretty much all of my clients watch this video. As I say - it doesn't matter how organic or wholesome your meal is. If you're not restin' n digestin', your body is missing out on so many essential nutrients.  

If you take one thing away from today's post, it's the need to take time to rest before you start to digest. (Tweet that)

To restin' n digestin',