As promised, here is the first in a series on how foods affect our moods...
What do foods have to do with our moods?
At the chemical level, food is the brain's primary link to its environment and structure. Your diet affects the brain chemicals that influence your moods, thought processes, emotional reactions, and behavior...which ultimately creates the story of your life! Sounds kinda deep, but really, how many times have I mentioned that it all starts in your brain? Well it stands to reason this behooves us to consider "What are we feeding the brain?"
Fortunately, what you eat is within your power to control...your will power to control. The more you know about the food-brain connection, the more empowered you are to choose foods thatbenefit your brain.
Nutrients provide the biological building blocks for brain chemicals called neurotransmitters which affect how we think and feel. Neurotransmitters are chemicals made by the body (or not) that send signals from one nerve cell to another. It's like when you communicate on a cell phone. "Can you hear me now?" Without signal, you don't hear the voice or get the message. The same goes for your brain! You get the message or you don't...
Or maybe there is static on the radar, uh oh...
How are neurotransmitters made by the body? Our bodies make them from amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Almost half of these proteins (9 out of 22 in adults, 13 of 22 in children) must come from food because the body cannot make them and the amount required depends on age and health.
Do you want to feel good?
Do you want your brain to hear its signals?
What kinds of signals? All of them! It all begins in your brain...signals for pleasure and happiness, touch, feeling and movement, memory, learning, arousal, calming, hunger, sleep, even autonomic nervous system functions like breathing, eye-blinking, heartbeat, temperature...everything!
When you don't eat enough "neuronutrients" or brain nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and related nutrients), your body cannot make adequate amounts of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. Can you hear me now?
Has anyone ever called you a "FATHEAD"?
Find out in my next post why this is actually a COMPLIMENT, LOL:)
We've been looking at the effects of thinking on our feelings and health. Check out this recent article on how positive feelings affect cardiovascular health as well.
Imagery and positive thinking are great, then again, I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to feel better now!!!
The first step is to become aware of your feelings. A psychologist colleague of mine, Dr. Frank Tornatore, suggested doing frequent "check-ins" to scan your body and emotions. If any negativity or stress is found, then stop for a moment to intervene (with therelaxation response, progressive relaxation, or deep breathing exercise) or re-evaluate thoughts as necessary, then turn it around before the feeling goes further... like so you are not a ticking time bomb of stress!
Then check out and carry on in a better path. "Check in and check out," he says... frequently.
So HOW do you stop and turn around adverse feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc.?
Well here's something cool. Recently, someone gave me an audiobook by Kevin Trudeau called, "Your Wish is Your Command" in which he states we all have a genie within us to get what we want by sending out good vibrations, among other things. Really? It's controversial! There was some valuable information in this work, but personally, I lean toward prayer and goal-setting and accountability... every day!
However, I did like chapter 8 when Kevin talked about a list of 20 ways to FEEL BETTER NOW.
He had some great practical tips on how to improve your mood and feelings, so you will begin to feel better, even quickly. It inspired me to start a little garden and even to play Mozart on the piano for the first time in almost 20 years. Bet you didn't know I could do that, eh? I was a closet pianist in my younger days, LOL :)
So here's the list...I'm going to share it with you today before our next series on how FOODS affect your moods. Let me know which ideas are your favorites, I'd love to hear from you!
It was so sad last week to hear the news of Junior Seau, former San Diego Chargers football player. Here's someone who could have benefited from some positive imagery and brain training as we have been exploring.
Did you know that he is one of three former NFL players who committed suicide since February, 2011?
That would be ME after years of flying head first off horses and motorcycles! Trust me, it is no "accident" I "landed" on this career path...
Stuff like this makes you THINK! Think about what you are thinking about and know there is help for people whose brains are stuck in patterns that don't work! It's about a decrease in brain activity, which has been demonstrated on fMRI. Remember my background is in medical imaging, hence, I think about these things. Now, instead of scanning body parts and giving bad news, I show you how to tune up brain activity...so you can think better and feel better! The point is that thoughts lead you in a direction...positive or negative...mental and physical. And it all starts in different parts of your brain, running at different frequencies and just like with muscles, we can train it to be stronger.Through neurofeedback or "EEG Biofeedback" we show you where your brain is at (like looking in a mirror) and where it needs to go to do better. It's really that simple, and without the side effects of medication. How many people do you know who take meds and STILL don't feel better?
For a free consult just give me a call at 928-486-5414 or check in with my affiliates serving Az. in Lake Havasu City by clicking here.
There is hope, folks...through training, lifestyle change, supplementation, and proper nutrition, there is hope and here is some research to prove it!
Stay tuned... next we will take a look at how FOOD affects your moods...
We have been working on positive thoughts and imagery to relieve anxiety, stress, and prepare for upcoming events. It's no secret that thoughts lead to feelings which lead to actions.Thoughts and imagery can even bring forth physical manifestations. Check out this reply that came in from my friend Jack Miller, a Certified Traditional Naturopath. http://www.naturalhealthsciencesofarizona.com/
"Very good info Becky. The opposite is true also. A non-recovering chronically ill person came to see me who perpetually lives in unhappy places. It doesn't even seem that the things this person and some others have gone through are horribly bad but they can recount those bad events in detail, which they do frequently. They live in a place of bad mental imagery and feel sorry for themselves that they had to go through something bad. Bad things are a part of life. I had some pretty rough things happen to me in my life. I won't get into that but the point is that I moved on and choose to focus on good things and a positive future. A few of these patients work on themselves constantly with emotional release therapies but they have been doing so for years and to me it becomes just an excuse to recall bad events over and over. There seems to be a need to do so. I need to learn more about what you do because I may want to send you some people. Do you ever do these sessions in LHC?"
Above is an example of someone who ruminates on negative outcomes to the point of physical disease. PTSD is an example of flashing back to traumatic events. Once again, this has its roots in the brain. One of the first things I do with my clients through EEG Biofeedback AKA
neurofeedback is to help them calm down mentally...this offers tremendous relief from stress, anxiety, insomnia and eventually leads to improved focus and attention.
Did you know you can train your brain to calm, reduce perception of pain, sleep better, and focus? Really! That's good news!
Like Jack, do you want to learn more?
Here's some good news... I'm offering a FREE consultation! That's right, you can call, schedule an appointment or even Skype and we can determine how neurofeedback can help you or a loved one. There's also a bushel of information on my websitewww.edgeneurofitness.com so you can get answers now.
Need a consult in Arizona? I'm there from time to time, but just send me a reply and I will forward you to my affiliate in Lake Havasu City.
Allowing yourself to run through the event SUCCESSFULLY in your mind...
Now here are more pearls of wisdom from Dr. Mazansky, our guided imagery expert:
Aside from allowing you to rehearse mentally, imagery also allows you to practice in advance for anything unusual that might occur, so that you areprepared and already practiced in handling it. This is a technique used very commonly by top sports people, who learn good performance habits by repeatedly rehearsing performances in their imagination. When the unusual eventualities they have rehearsed using imagery occur, they have good, pre-prepared, habitual responses to them. Imagery also allows you to pre-experience achievement of your goals, helping to give you the self-confidence you need to do something well. This is another technique used by successful athletes.
Wow! Now that's the competitive EDGE! When I was studying Exercise Physiology at CSUF years ago, we covered this in Sports Psychology. Because the game starts in your MIND! There is a mind-body connection. It all starts in your brain...that's the point of mental or NeuroFitness training to "Unlock Your Brain's Potential" and I'm here to share with YOU all the tools I have learned!
In my next post, I'll share with you a response that came in from another colleague about what can happen to you physically with continued rehearsal of negative thoughts and imagery...
We've all seen or experienced what happens when people get too stressed out.
Does that ever happen to you? Today's topic is about how to get to that "happy place" if even for a few minutes...to take a little mental time-out for restoration, stress management, or healing!
"But I just can't get there!"
Mental imagery is powerful and if you can THINK, you can do it!
Here are some tips (first in a two-part series) for "Imagery in Relaxation" from one of my colleagues, Dr. Hillel Mazansky, this is his specialty! Directions to the Happy Place, LOL
One common use of imagery in relaxation is to imagine a scene, place or event that you remember as safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful and happy. You can bring all your senses into the image with, for example, sounds of running water and birds, the smell of cut grass, the taste of cool white wine, the warmth of the sun, etc. Use the imagined place as a retreat from stress and pressure.
Scenes can involve complex images such as lying on a beach in a deserted cove. You may "see" cliffs, sea and sand around you, "hear" the waves crashing against rocks, "smell" the salt in the air, and "feel" the warmth of the sun and a gentle breeze on your body. Other images might include looking at a mountain view, swimming in a tropical pool, or whatever you want. You will be able to come up with the most effective images for yourself.
Other uses of imagery in relaxation involve creating mental pictures of stress flowing out of your body, or of stress, distractions and everyday concerns being folded away and locked into a padlocked chest.
Ahhh... I feel better already, do you? I want to go there!