How can we reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and boost our immune system in a natural, holistic way? Here are 5 holistic tips to boost mental health and clear your mind of the clutter that has accumulated over the winter months:
5 Ways To Improve Mental Clarity And Reduce Stress:
1. Drink Water
Sounds simple, right? Well, this is the most important foundation of nutrition, yet, most of us living in the US are dehydrated. Dehydration can cause depression, irritability, anxiety, headaches, joint pain, and more. A lot of the time, if we start to drink half our body weight (in ounces) every day in good quality, filtered water, these things will subside within a week or two.
Also, drinking two 16 ounce glasses of water right away in the morning will flush out the toxins that were released from sleep the night before. This really improves mental clarity and gives your body’s systems a much needed jump start.
2. Digest Your Food
Again, simple. But is it? How did you eat your breakfast this morning? I know… You crammed an “energy” bar into your mouth as you drove to work in the traffic. We all do it! But, this can be wreaking havoc on your emotional stability, mental clarity, and stress level. Undigested food causes immune response, inflammation, foggy head, and a host of other mental health issues.
In order for our digestive system to do its job, we need to be in a relaxed state. This means sit down to eat, take a deep breath and take a moment to pray or meditate, slow down while you eat and chew your food, be mindful of what your are eating, and finally, remain seated for a few moments after you finish eating. We need to leave room for our system to function properly.
3. Eliminate Sugar / Add Fats
Sugar causes inflammation and hormone imbalance both of which can cause us some feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability. I can’t tell you enough what damage sugar and other refined products do to every cell, organ, and system of the body. If you struggle with mental health issues or stress management issues, then take this tip very seriously and eliminate these things from your diet. Also, adding fats to your everyday diet can do wonders for your mental clarity and brain function.
After all, the brain cells and nerve coatings are made from essential fats. Good fats to introduce are: Organic flax, cod liver, coconut, and olive oils, avocados, free range eggs, animal fats, and wild caught, oily fish such as salmon. These fats will also aid your body in making use of the fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K and will boosting the immune system.
Even if you cannot get outside, no excuses! Exercise is so important and is pivotal in the conversation about how to deal with stress and how to relieve stress in general. Run on a treadmill, do yoga with your favorite Youtube instructor whatever your fancy, go with it! Stretching is especially useful for me in these winter months, and when I do it, I feel a release both physically and mentally.
5. Reduce Stress and Laugh
There are some relaxation techniques that are just plain laughable to me especially the techniques on how to clear your mind. I don’t know about you, but I cannot clear my mind, and the act of trying to do so causes me more stress than not doing it at all. I like to embrace the reality that I think and go with it. One day, as I was trying “clear my mind” with a relaxation tape, I started laughing. Laughing at myself mostly, but also at the guy who was leading the meditation. In all of this, I noticed something … laughter is a great remedy for stress. I practice this often by watching funny movies and hanging out with friends who make me laugh. I carry this into my daily life by laughing at myself. I laugh at myself when I get angry, when I overreact, when I am approaching a deadline, etc. There are more important things in existence than me or how I feel about things! So I laugh it off.
If you follow these five tips, I know you will experience much needed relief and healing.
About the writer: Morgan Smith is a Certified Nutritional Therapist in Madison, Wisconsin.