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Find Your Inner Hero with a Mind, Body & Soul Connection

 

Navigating through life isn’t always a straight route of health and happiness. Life twists and turns… and veers off course more than you might like. Sometimes you may find yourself lost, stumbling onto a path of self-destruction or dysfunction. Or maybe you’re traversing through tough terrain with the wrong equipment. But every woman has a hero who can save her and get her back on track. It may just take a little work to discover that this hero is — herself.

You have the power and resilience to overcome any battle. You can heal your wounds. Shine and prosper. But it’s an interconnection of the mind, body and soul that creates this power. Positive intentions, treating the body well and being in tune with yourself all support your ability to stay strong and thrive among the chaos. The following provides insight on this trifecta of wellness, so you can uncover ways to grow your mind-body-soul connection, bring balance to your life, and unleash your inner hero.

The Mind, Body, and Soul Connection

Mind

“Our thoughts are just as powerful as our words,” says Lauren Unger, certified holistic health coach and Mind Body Green contributor. “What we think, we become.” If your thoughts and perceptions are negative and judgmental, then your world will suddenly seem against you. If you judge and think poorly of yourself, you have become your own worst enemy. Over time, this way of thinking becomes so habitual that it becomes your reality. As you start to regularly see the world through a negative lens, your mental health can start to break. Then stress, disorder or worries of daily life fill these cracks creating a harmful foundation. Once you invite emotional states like anxiety and depression into your life, your physical health becomes at risk, from toxic eating to loss of sleep. But you can cope with mental stressors like anxiety and depression by caring for your mind with gentleness. Meditate, go outdoors, cook a homemade meal or journal to soothe your head.

One way to take the wheel to drive your life toward good mental health (rather than idly watch life go by from the passenger’s seat) is to live with intention. First, let your mind wander. This place of aimlessness can actually provide direction, leading you to self-discovery. To live intentionally, ask:

  • Where do you choose to expend your energy?
  • What types of relationships do you want to grow?
  • Who do you want near your heart?
  • How will you respond to challenge, stress or anxiety?
  • What truly matters to you?

Answers to these questions can provide a blueprint for better mental wellness. The mind is powerful. It just takes practice and the will to eliminate threats and construct thoughts that help you live your best life.

Body

Just like we need to care for our mind, to care for our body, we need to do the reverse as well. Nurture your mind by nourishing your body. In cognitive terms, Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School puts it like this: What you put into your body affects your brain’s structure, function and mood. For example, refined sugars worsen symptoms of mood disorders and depression. Sinking your teeth into that cupcake will give you a high, but your mood will quickly plummet. Nutrient-filled fuel (like nuts, salmon, leafy greens and berries) will enhance your mental health more steadily.

It’s also important to nourish your body with endorphins. Get your heart rate up and exercise to fire off those feel-good hormones. The American Psychological Association refers to this as the “exercise effect:” moving the muscles benefits mental health, says Jennifer Carter, PhD. There’s an undeniable link between your mood and exercise. You feel good and energized after a workout, and more active people are less depressed in the long run. It also serves as a meaningful activity, providing a sense of accomplishment. Explore different ways to move that you enjoy. Find a challenge in training for a half marathon. Experience confidence or calmness through yoga. Build both mental and physical strength by weight training — or use hiking as an opportunity for social connection with others who love the outdoors. Fitness isn’t one size fits all.

Soul

Seeking vitality and wholeness completes the trio of wellness. It’s just as important to enliven your spirit with meaning and purpose as it is to care for your mind and honor your body. A thriving soul creates soundness and harmony. But it takes work to reach spiritual health, and it may be the most neglected area of self-care. Reflection, values and beliefs, compassion and empathy, acting for the welfare of others and living with grace among any adversity cultivate spiritual health. A fulfilled soul supports the ability to cope with mental distress, as well as shape our bodies into a strong, well-functioning structure.

Nourishing the soul can start by learning to let go. Free your mind of negative clutter to make room for peace, comfort and hope. Look deep within to discover purpose, which can relieve stress over the small things and foster self-worth. If you can see something great in yourself and greater than yourself, everyday problems and fears may pale in comparison to more meaningful aspects of life important to you. Seek supportive relationships that bring out your best self. Embrace gratitude and forgiveness. Chase change and opportunity. Be open to new people and experiences. Giving more attention to these emotional states will heal and grow your soul.

You Don’t Have to Journey Alone

Despite a diet overhaul or some soul searching, sometimes talking to a professional helps strengthen the mind-body-soul connection the most, which results in a healthy and better mind, body, and soul or spirit. A therapist can help you navigate your journey toward intention and mindfulness. Therapy serves as a tool for seeing food as nutrition, and not as a coping mechanism. Therapy can provide accountability for treating your body well with movement and activity. You can find a partner in exploring your spiritual core.

Take action on your health mentally, physically and spiritually! With professional support from ThriveTalk, you can find your inner superhero. Talk to a therapist today to help you on how to make your mind, body, and spirit work together and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to balance your mind, body, and soul.

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Perfect Isn’t Real: Why the Body Positive Movement Is so Important

 

The world tells us an overwhelming amount about how we should view ourselves. We hear feedback about our bodies constantly. Eat better. Eat less. Tone up. Slim down. Ask for the dressing on the side.

The media glorifies one type of “perfect” body. Friends and co-workers talk. And let’s be honest, you’ve been self-conscious in a swimsuit since you were 9.

Rarely do people — women especially — express love for their bodies because we’re conditioned not to. We’re taught, though subtly, to pick apart our flaws and to shame our bodies (and other’s). This self-hatred epidemic ignited the body positivity movement.

What’s the Body Positive Movement?

The definition of being “body positive” is accepting the idea that all bodies are beautiful and valuable. The movement says you alone, not everyone else should decide what feels good.

Throughout the 20th century, beauty standards shifted drastically — from Marilyn Monroe’s curves and iconic hourglass shape to Twiggy’s tiny, rail-thin frame. Today, a fit culture is trending in which muscle definition and strength become markings of a desirable body. Corinne Santiago behind BodyPositivity.com says, no moment in time was ever inclusive of all bodies. The body positivity movement was born in the 1960s and has had a recent resurgence. It aims to celebrate all body types and sizes — inclusive of all genders, ages, races, people with disabilities and those of diverse sexual orientation.

Can I Be Body Positive?

Yes. Anyone can! It seems there is more pressure on women than men to have perfect bodies, but the movement includes men too, as well as those who identify outside our gender binary norms. At this point in our culture, there is also more pressure on plus-size women.

BuzzFeed recently gave a voice to five women who are black and body positivity influencers on the pro-plus-size scene. These leaders represent what it means to be big, yet “also seen as beautiful, intelligent, desired, loved,” says Lauren Nicole Coppin-Campbell, blogger and plus-size model.

Wait, So Is This the Same as the Fat Acceptance Movement?

No, but we get why you might get them confused.

Fat body positivity can be misunderstood as critics condemn the movement as an excuse for being obese. Body positivity, however, is rooted in loving your body and gaining self-confidence, rather than trying to replicate a prototype specially crafted by society. That could mean a curvier, heavier body or a straight and narrow body, as both types can yield self and outside judgement.

The movement encourages everyone to lovingly accept stretch marks, cellulite or sagging skin, which have nothing to do with the number on the scale. This is a movement that doesn’t try to normalize obesity but invites people to dare to like what they see in the mirror.

Does the Media Influence This?

You betcha. Think about how women in the media are portrayed. Petite, not disabled and light-skinned are what society has decided is attractive. Consider Victoria’s Secret Angels and Guess Girls, for example — women we’ve seen in ads and on billboards and on talk shows so many times we subconsciously think we too can be like that with a little work. Men experience it too. Not every guy looks like the cover of Muscle & Fitness Magazine but they sure are encouraged to strive for it.

Businesses like diet programs and gyms and fashion brands thrive off this idea of achievability because it makes you buy more stuff from them. Some businesses have even been accused of taking it too far for sales purposes. Of course, there are also brands who do good with their message. Body positivity campaigns from brands like Dove and Aerie feature models who aren’t photoshopped and promote self-acceptance and diversity.

How About Social Media?

Of course. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter — social media is a perfect storm for a digital space that empowers body self-confidence, as well as perpetuates people feeling like they don’t measure up.

About 500 million people use Instagram daily and 1.37 billion active users on average log onto Facebook every day. Every account, every post, every photo makes an imprint on another person in some capacity.

Social media can become a home for people to connect with others and find support — a place where a powerful message can go viral. Instagram sensations like model and body activist Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence, NEDA ambassador and AerieReal Role Model, garner millions of followers who scroll through positive images and messages about body liberation. Following someone whom a person can relate and look up to can make such a difference in their own self-perception.

But it can also be a toxic environment. In the pursuit to live better and healthily, people follow fitness and food accounts. “Fitspo” and clean eating photos can have the reverse effect though, deepening people’s body insecurities and creating reactions of emotional self-judgment. A survey of social media users conducted by researchers for Spring Open Choice found that social media has “negative effects on body image, depression, social comparison and disordered eating.” Instagram users interested in eating healthily have been linked to orthorexia nervosa, a detrimental obsession with healthy eating.

This Is Cool. Where Can I Find More About This?

This movement to free people from societal ideals about the size and fight inequities that make certain bodies worthier than others is important! Organizations and platforms like The Body Positivity, The Body Image Project, The Adipositivity Project and BodyPositivity.com took action and gave a voice, as well as a supportive community, to all who suffer from low self-esteem and body discrimination.

Choose Body Positivity

Choose to bravely love your body. It’s an everyday struggle to stop hating your body. Every day you have to make the choice to shift your perspective. If you need help with low self-esteem or body consciousness, there’s always a listening ear and professional support available. Connect with a certified therapist at Thrivetalk.

Uncover ways to grow the connection between your mind, body, and soul. Work out and eat well to be kind to your body and nourish your soul. Stand up for social equality in body size and shape. Surround yourself with people who believe in your ideals on body positivity in a community where people boost one another up rather than tear each other down.

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5 Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies That Cause Depression

 

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body and mind to function correctly, but many people have low levels of these crucial nutrients in the body. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause a wide range of physical problems, but they can also affect mental health and may even be the cause of depression, anxiety disorders and low mood in some people. Here are five vitamin and mineral deficiencies that could be causing your distress.

Vitamin D

Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression and some chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium, but many people are not getting enough. Modern lifestyles are thought to be at least partly responsible for low levels of vitamin D, which is produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. Working long hours in offices with artificial lighting, sedentary lifestyles, and even excessive use of sunscreen are all thought to contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Supplements may be the only solution for people, as it’s difficult to obtain vitamin D from food.

B Vitamins

Low levels of B vitamins are known to cause depression, irritability, and fatigue. In particular, vitamins B6, B12, and folate are one of the nutritional deficiencies that can cause anxiety and depression and have been linked to a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Increasing intake of foods containing these essential nutrients can bring significant improvements for some people. Vitamin B6 is found in chicken, leafy green vegetables, bananas and some kinds of seafood, while people usually can get their B12 from animal products such as poultry, meat, and dairy products. Liver, citrus fruits, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, and yeast extract contain folate. Vegetarians, vegans, and people on restrictive diets may need to take a vitamin B complex supplement.

Iron

Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms similar to those of depression, including mental and physical fatigue, low mood and irritability. In fact, there have been studies regarding the relationship between iron deficiency and depression in which iron deficiency is more common in women than in men. Up to half of all pregnant women thought to have low levels of iron. Liver, red meat, poultry, and fish are the best sources of iron. However, pregnant women should avoid liver, as it contains high amounts of vitamin A, which can be harmful to unborn children. Vegetarian sources of iron include beans, pulses, and fortified cereals.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral with potent antioxidant properties. It is essential for mental health, a healthy metabolism and healthy thyroid function. Insufficient levels of selenium might contribute to depression, persistent low mood, and negative thoughts. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, but it also is in walnuts, chicken, beef, fish, and whole grains. Supplements are available, but they can interact with some prescription medications, including birth control pills, corticosteroids, and medicines used to reduce cholesterol levels, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking selenium supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is often known as the relaxation mineral, as it has a powerful impact on mood and the nervous system. It is necessary for the proper functioning of almost every process in the body. However, up to half of all adults are thought to be deficient in this essential mineral, the shortage of which can lead to depression, anxiety, migraine, high blood pressure and several chronic health conditions. Spinach, dark chocolate, oily fish, bananas, and almonds are all rich in magnesium. Supplements are safe for most people, but high doses (above 500 mg) can interact with some medications.

Avoiding Depression

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, sometimes associated with depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, also can lead to many chronic health conditions. Vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, selenium, and magnesium are all needed for mental health. While most people can get enough of these nutrients through diet or supplements, serious deficiencies may require medical treatment.

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Five Steps to a Calm Mind

 

At times, you need to calm your mind and enjoy peace and freedom from stress. Everyday situations can make you anxious and put you under pressure, so it’s best to know how to relax and soothe the worried voice in your head. Follow these five steps to serenity, and you’ll know what to do when fretfulness strikes.

Ways to Calm the Mind

1. Take deep breaths

Your emotions and physique are linked, so when your body relaxes, so does your mind. Taking deep, slow breaths down to your belly region sends a signal to your brain that all is well. After all, you don’t naturally breathe this way when you’re scared or anxious. However, you can choose to control your breath no matter how you’re feeling. If you have an anxiety disorder, simple deep breathing exercises are calming techniques for anxiety.

2. Accept all thoughts

The frightened or critical voice within might tell you everything’s wrong, but it’s not really in control of you. Realize you can take charge of the messages your mind sends you. The way to do so probably isn’t how you imagine. Instead of fighting unwanted thoughts, you need to accept them to make them fade.

When negative thoughts arise, allow them to flow, but mentally take a step back, as though you’re listening to someone else speak. Your detachment will let you separate your emotions from the content of your thoughts, so they don’t affect you.

3. Hone your attention

Just as you’re in charge of your inner voice, you also control where you place your attention. Focusing on negativity makes your unhappiness grow. Therefore, change your point of focus. You don’t have to try and think about fluffy clouds and kittens; just turn your attention to an absorbing task when worrying thoughts flow, and you’ll enjoy a break from concerns, calming the anxious mind.

4. Adopt a positive attitude

Your state of mind is a choice, as long as you’re consciously aware this is so. If you let your mind run riot and travel where it wants, sometimes, it will lead you down the path of negativity. Stay alert, though, mindfully following what you’re thinking about, and you can develop a positive attitude. Practicing mindfulness can also help you drive out all the negative thoughts. 

Notice those times when you entertain thoughts that produce dissatisfaction and anxiety, and stop them in their tracks. Pause and remember your intent to be positive. Ask yourself how to see matters from a different perspective that keep you calm and make you feel better.

5. Turn your thoughts outward

After you’ve followed the steps above, turn your thoughts to the environment. Pay attention to what’s going on around you rather than in your head. Use your senses to soak up information. Also, think about the people you interact with, and ponder what they might be thinking and feeling.

If the environment is not conducive to serenity, move away to a quiet place, preferably where nature resides. Observe the colors, scents, and sounds, and touch objects like leaves and the bark of trees and taste the air. Immersing yourself in your surroundings will shift your awareness and experience of the moment.

Conclusion

When you feel low, or just want a break from busy thoughts, take note of the tips above. As a result, your mind will be calm, and you’ll be in control of your mood instead of your mood being in control of you.