Mindfulness and Nutrition
It’s no secret that we are what we eat. With so much research available to us on the effects of both good and bad diets on our states of health, it’s no wonder many people are tuning into how to keep disease at bay through being aware of what impact food (and drink) can have on our bodies.
Growing evidence has revealed that the body-mind connection can either be helped or hindered by what we regularly consume. The unpleasant, often debilitating symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety can be lessened through understanding how nutrition plays a part in producing and balancing the hormonal systems. When out of balance they can cause changes in feeling, focus and behaviour, making it difficult to see and react to the challenges life can visit on us as our best selves.
The chances are we’ve all experienced symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression at one or more points in our lives, so we know from experience that these can have a very physical effect on us. For example, when under pressure (or stressed!) we produce the hormone Cortisol (aptly named the ‘stress hormone’) which in turn releases adrenalin. This is great for a short-term situation, as it provides a powerful burst of energy to get you out of danger. Very useful for our ancestors if needing to suddenly run from something ‘stressful’ like a dinosaur, but in our current climate ‘stress’ is usually a result of psychological pressures and demands.
If the ‘dinosaur’ has changed in our modern world, our physiological reaction is still the same. It was this ‘fight or flight’ stress response that helped us to live another day during our evolution; but now our lifestyles have changed and we’re more likely to experience stress whilst sitting at our desks – unable to release this energy, which is at risk of building up as the pressures grow.
So how can we manage this ‘stress response’ better? One way is to be aware of how foods can affect us. Adding sugary cakes, drinks and snacks into the mix might serve you well if you’re about to run a marathon, but if you’re trying to deal with a stress inducing thought or situation, flooding the body with ready-to-use energy (sugar) will leave you more vulnerable to the feelings, and the effects, of stress.
Stress unmanaged can wreak havoc on the body. It has been linked to heart disease, digestive disorders such as ‘leaky gut’ and IBS, as well as exacerbating any other underlying health conditions you may already have. Finding ways to manage stress is now becoming one of our top priorities as a society.
Through practicing mindfulness techniques and understanding the importance of nutrition on mindfulness, you will gain greater self-awareness when stressed, anxious or depressed feelings arise; helping you to devise effective coping strategies to combat these feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them.
To learn more about Mindfulness and Nutrition, you can request dates for one of Workshops or explore our ‘Mindfulness, Health & Wellbeing for Work’ courses. Feel free to get in touch for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.