With the ongoing focus on mental health have you gauged the state of your mental health?
The only way yoga works for you on a physical level is by changing you at a mental level. Daily practice actually changes neural pathways in your brain which rewires you to think differently. Not only are you making a conscious connection between your body and mind, but you are also ensuring that vital hormones (which are responsible for your moods and feelings) are also secreted to your system in optimum amounts. Too little or too much leads to conditions such as Thyroidism, PCOS/D, PMS, anxiety, depression etc.
Exercising and eating a wholesome diet are key to overall good health. But there are a few easy guidelines you can follow to ensure your thoughts aren’t sabotaging your health.
- Audit your quality time. Who are the 5 people you spend most of your time with? Do they make you feel good about yourself? Do they lift you up or ensure you’re always down? When those around us respect and love us, we feel stronger and more confident. This is because when you hang out with good friends chemicals called serotonin and oxytocin which cause feelings of well being, are released in your body. So think about the 5 people you’re spending most of your time with and consider making some changes for the better, if required
- Journaling. I’ve been a compulsive journal writer since I was in second grade. You’ll still find stacks of my journals in my parents’ home. I was journaling all the way to the time I started working for Infosys. But as time went on and work got hectic, it took a back seat. Until my birthday earlier this year when one of my students gave me The Five Minute Journal. Sitting down to do this every day has actually had a positive impact on me. Use journaling as a means to think through things, vent, gain clarity. Write about whatever comes to your mind, even if its just a re-cap of your day. It feels great to be able to express yourself in a forum where you won’t be judged, where there is no right or wrong. Sometimes seeing your thoughts and feelings physically in front of you is just what you need to feel better.
- Affirmations. I would actually club this under the umbrella of meditative practices. Write a few statements (on your phone works just fine) and go back to them often throughout the day. Statements should be positive such as ‘Everything happens for the best.’ Reading such statements often to yourself can change destructive deep seated thought patterns that you may be unconsciously holding on to. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself is a simple way to re-boot your mind set.
These are a few of my go-to tools to stay centred when everything around me is off balance. Like yoga, these tools will take some time and effort to work their magic. But once they do, you’ll have a healthy mind in a healthy body.