Your thoughts and emotions directly affect your health. We now know from the study of epigenetics and the brilliant work of Dr. Bruce Lipton that every thought you have affects you at a cellular level. As humans, we consist of around 50 trillion cells. Our thoughts affect all of our cells, organs, and 11 systems, which in turn can either support us to be well or increase inflammation and potentially make us sick.
Over the past 23 years of clinical practice as a naturopath, I have seen a direct relationship between mind and body firsthand. The best treatment often incorporates both mental and physical wellness solutions. This link between mind and body health, through the study of neuroscience, has led me to coin the term I use with my clients as psycho-neuro-inflammation, for those who have repressed trauma and trapped emotions acting as blocks to their healing.
Your body doesn’t know the difference between a stressful external trigger or your toxic internal thoughts and a real-life threat such as a truck speeding toward you on the street. Your body automatically goes into emergency mode—fight or flight—thinking that you need to act quickly to move out of the way of that truck, so your body gets ready to take “flight” (in this case, you would not choose to fight the oncoming vehicle).
Being in a state of emergency mode on occasion is no issue, for the body is designed to visit this physiological state to protect you and restore healing equilibrium supported by your parasympathetic nervous system. The problem arises when we allow things to trigger us each day, and we spend the whole day in and out of emergency mode. If we face an actual life crisis, our stress becomes chronic, and we pitch a tent in emergency mode and live here for a season, which increases inflammation and the potential for disease and poor health.
So how can we find our mind-body balance and reduce toxic thinking to lower inflammation so we can be free of our past and walk into our incredible futures? I’ve compiled my top tips on how you can get your head in the game and think on purpose so you can shift into the best version of yourself.
1. Balance Your Seven Pillars of Wellness
Over the history of my career, I have seen seven main areas that affect our overall health. As a result, I always treat my clients holistically, for when we nourish these seven pillars, the client shifts into wellness, as the body has the right components to heal itself. The Seven Pillars of Wellness include nutrition, sleep, movement, mindfulness, supplementation, body balance, and environment.
Give your body rest and good restorative sleep so it can heal. Choose a type of movement or exercise that you love to strengthen and help your body.
Practice mindfulness techniques daily. Fuel your body nutrition with organic whole food supplements, and keep your system in balance with complementary therapies such as osteopathy.
Last but not least, make sure that your environmental health is in order, so you don’t expose yourself to non-organic skincare and chemicals. These are all vital cogs in the wheel to keep your mind and body functioning.
Do all this to support your long-term wellness.
2. Start Your Day Right
How you start your day is critical if you want your day to flow—this is now a non-negotiable part of my wellness routine. I always start with wellness water: 500mL of room-temperature or warm purified water plus the juice of 1/2 a lemon, freshly grated ginger to taste, and fresh mint leaves torn into the water, so I feel mentally and physically strong. You have been fasting through the night; this is a great way to break your fast.
3. Grow Your Mindfulness Muscle
As I sip my wellness water, I do 20 minutes of mindfulness prayer and meditation to reduce my inflammation and support my health. Don’t make this overwhelming. If you are not used to this ritual, start with 5-10 minutes.
To be well, you need to think on purpose, for your mind is thinking anyway, so you might as well make your thoughts work for you (and meaningful).
The key to manifesting and making this work is not just thinking the thought but also feeling the thought right into your heart and entire body.
4. Cultivate Self-Love
The world may need you, but you also need you.
Like when you’re on a plane, and they announce to put your oxygen mask on first in the event of losing cabin pressure, it is the same in life. Unless you are supported and walk in self-love and understanding, how can you offer that to others?
I use inner child work with my clients to cultivate self-love. Often it is our inner child who is rejected, displaced, and abandoned. We grow up and get so in our heads, we no longer live from a place of being integrated with self-love.
Each morning and night, take a few moments to send your inner child love, think about specific memories, and put your hands on your heart or belly to connect with your child and offer unconditional love and understanding.
Forgiving yourself is vital. We are our own worst enemies, so let yourself off the hook, learn from your mistakes, choose to be kind, and walk out your healing in a loving way. A great way to cultivate self-love is to start journaling.
5. Scream It Out
I love primal scream therapy and coaching my clients with this method to release trapped emotions and trauma. I do this work one-on-one in my retreats or over Zoom, which works very well. I marry this with emotion code, biofeedback, and muscle testing, and we can quickly get to the root cause of a client’s trapped emotions that are acting as blocks to their healing.
An excellent place for you to start is to allow yourself to feel a negative/trapped emotion and allow this feeling to bubble up inside your entire body to a point you feel ready to scream into a pillow. Repeat this three times, so you permit yourself to feel this emotion, no judgment. Scream it out so you can let it go!
6. Balance Your Gut-Brain Axis
Emotions freely experienced and expressed without judgment or attachment tend to flow, supporting our health. Repressed emotions, however, can lead to mood disorders, digestive issues, and disease.
One of the key ways to reduce inflammation is to support your body’s ability to digest food and your emotions. By supporting healthy blood sugar regulation and gut health, you will feel physically more balanced, keeping inflammation at bay and allowing yourself to live from a grounded place to deal with your emotions.
Ensuring you have an excellent organic source of protein and good fat at each meal, such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, olives, or vegan yogurt, is a beautiful blood sugar balancer. Hence, you feel mentally and physically strong.
Increasing fiber, high in prebiotics, is also great to support gut-brain health. I recommend sauerkraut, chia, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chicory inulin, psyllium husks, and lots of veggies to give your good bacteria food it prefers.
Chewing your food is also crucial so try to chew each mouthful 20 times and out your cutlery down in between bites. Limit liquids to 200ml per meal to not dilute your stomach acids. To support gut-brain-connection, make mealtimes peaceful, don’t watch the news or do a stressful email, for this will impair gut function.
7. Make Peace with Your Triggers
If you know a particular person, environment, or food triggers you, embrace it and offer yourself love and understanding. Often when we react to our triggers and feel out of control, this creates a roller coaster of negative emotions.
A great technique is to use a “triggers list.” Get a piece of paper and at the top of one side, write “Things I can change.” At the top of the other, write “Things I can’t change.”
Get busy with the things you can change and add them to your list, but be mindful that your list is an ongoing list that will never be empty. List triggers outside of your control that can stress you out in the other column. Honor these triggers and choose to trust that the Universe is always working in your favor and visualize these issues resolved, gelling the joy this brings you when all is well in your life. This will allow you to dial down your fear, dial up your faith, and live from a place of thankfulness, which in turn reduces inflammation and supports optimum health.
Don’t Be a Victim to Circumstances
I love this quote by Charles Swindoll: “Life is 10% about what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” It’s a reminder that we can choose how we respond to situations, which in turn supports optimum health or invites disease.
By changing your perception of life, you change your chemistry, supporting healthy gene expression. By staying in gratitude, love, and understanding, your body releases chemicals into the blood like dopamine, which brings about a state of bliss and pleasure. Oxytocin and vasopressin are then released, and love flows, which also makes you more attractive. The brain then releases growth hormone to maintain your entire system.
We, therefore, have nothing to lose if we choose our thoughts and reduce stress for the mind and body, which respond with chemical reactions that support health and vitality, having a knock-on effect, so we are more attractive to ourselves and others. Many people don’t even like themselves, so using these tips too can cultivate self-love and create a life you love.
Start Taking Control of Your Well-Being
The Seven Pillars of Wellness are my framework for moving you into full wellness and well-being. We have created the free Rejuv Wellness Quiz to help you understand which three Wellness Pillars you need to strengthen for your long-term well-being.
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