As the last month of Summer 2021 begins, it’s time to reflect back on all that we learned about health and wellness. As part of PromptHealth’s Summer Virtual Wellness Series, we had the opportunity to sit down and speak with different experts on the topics of mental health, understanding our bodies, fitness, nutrition, and emotional health and lifestyle. For a summary of what we learned, keep reading below!
When it comes to taking care of our mental health, there are so many proven methods to choose from. Did you know that acupressure can actually help with your mental health? We spoke to Clara from AcuPro Academy to explain this. Acupressure is the process of inserting tiny needles, as small as a strand of hair, into the area on the body being treated, which triggers mynute nerves that send signals to the brain to trigger the body to self heal and balance itself. Another method to support your mental health journey is through how you actually think. Dr. Shaheem explained that as humans, we are always looking for things to make us feel good and give us dopamine. However, when we get that feeling of extreme happiness and normalizes as it naturally will over time, that feeling subsides. When we are confronted by unpredictable circumstances your first instinct is to resist and pull from things we cannot control. Instead, stop and reflect. Take a breath and allow yourself to make better decisions with a clear mind - that’s when you thrive. A fun way to teach yourself to think positively is through laughter yoga. We learned from the Laughing Lovebugs that laughter improves your mental, physical, and emotional health all at the same time. Even spending 5 minutes a day can boost your mood and put you in a better headspace to tackle the day. Your body and brain does not know the difference between real and fake laughter, so our bodies get to take advantage of the happy chemicals our body releases like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, even if we are fake laughing.
Breathwork and meditation is another way to give yourself a break and focus on relaxation. It is a balancing practice that is safe for everyone to try. Payal Khanwani’s breathwork routine involves finding somewhere comfortable to sit and arriving in your position by taking a few moments to feel yourself in your body. Inhale into your stomach and expand the belly. Then, try the nostril breathing technique: with your index and middle finger down, block your right nostril with your thumb and inhale with the left nostril. take your ring finger and cover your other nostril, releasing your thumb from the right as you exhale. continue inhaling and exhaling through each nostril for 4 counts each way and equal in length. If you are feeling more anxious or stressed, make the exhalations longer to help with letting go of negative emotions. Inhale for 4 and exhale for 6 or 8 counts, depending on lung capacity. Adjust the counts as you’d like to until the practice is comfortable for you. Finally, Dr. Nima walked us through healing from attachment trauma. For many people, there are emotional attachment traumas that they go through in their childhood that they don't ever heal from. Our emotional injuries show in our bodies, from our posture to our ability to make eye contact; to heal from this, guidance is needed to become “unstuck” in our lives, which is where finding expert care comes in.
Understanding Our Bodies
On the topic of understanding our bodies, Dr. Sheldon Bjorgaard from MOVE Health and Wellness explained how people may suffer from insulin resistance without even knowing it. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in your body don’t respond to insulin anymore and therefore can’t use the glucose in your blood for energy. Your body creates more insulin to make up for it and over time, your blood sugar levels go up. If you notice changes in your weight or level of energy, you may benefit from testing for insulin resistance and getting on a health plan that will support you. Michael David Huey talked about how what is in our genes affects how our bodies function, all throughout our lives. The gut microbiome is acquired by everyone at the time of birth; richness is the total number of bacterial species that are in your gut microbiome and diversity is the amount of individual species of different bacteria in your gut. Being intentional about hydration, your gut, and your sleep, watch what happens to your skin, energy levels, and overall health. Dr. Marc Bijman spoke about spinal health and how it is a general indication of your overall health. Like many health topics, there are a lot of myths around spinal health so it's important to not believe everything you hear, unless it comes from a credible source. Our bodies are adaptable and resilient, as long as you slowly adapt your body, it is capable of a lot. When it comes to your spine, your best option is to invest in preventive care.
Hormonal health is another great way to understand your body. We spoke to the Menopause Chicks to better understand the process. Because of the way menopause has been depicted in the media, there is often a lot of misconceptions and misinformation being spread about how it actually looks and is experienced. Menopause happens on the12 month anniversary of your last period, and marks the end of our reproductive lifestage, and of menstruation. The period of time before menopause is called perry menopause which is when your hormones are fluctuating, preparing our body for menopause. The same way a young girl’s body prepares for puberty. For men, we spoke to Dr. Pollock about how 50% of men over 40 experience erectile dysfunction. Men may not realize some subtle symptoms they are experiencing, such as low testosterone. To help with this, lifestyle changes are very important, aerobic exercise 4-5 times a week at a moderate or high level. Another tip he gave was to stop watching pornography, as it increases the threshold that men can get an erection.
Lastly, an important part of understanding our bodies is to make sure you are getting complete and effective care. We spoke to JR Burgess about how patients can ensure they’re getting the best quality care. He explained that it is important to ask the practitioner that you are working with if they feel they can help regenerate or restore you through their treatment, rather than helping you manage it. Learning how to ask powerful questions will greatly benefit you in finding the right treatments.
On the topic of fitness, we spoke to Mark Campbell on the benefits of TRX training. TRX training is a form of exercise that uses suspension cables, your own body weight, and gravity to create resistance. It helps increase: strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core, and joint stability. The movements can be adjusted to meet any fitness level, making it a good choice for almost anyone, and there are so many different ways you can use the TRX to reap the benefits. We also had the opportunity to speak to Farinaz Lari, Olympic Gold Medalist, about creating the mindset of a champion. Farinaz told us that investing in a mindset coach can be highly influential and helpful for maintaining the motivation for a goal. Something you can try at home yourself without any professional help is to try not to turn on your phone immediately when you wake up. Instead, have some meditative time with yourself, even just 10 minutes in the morning. Setting your day up at the beginning through gratitude gets you in touch with your intention and your “why.” During these 10 minutes, think about what you are grateful for; the repetition of understanding how grateful you are for what you do will give you energy and help you enjoy what you do!
Looking for a physical workout? We spent some time with Bree Munno from Balance with Bree as she walked us through a simple summer at-home workout. Check it out on our Instagram or on the Knowledge tab on our site to watch and follow along!
For our nutrition segment, Jenn Messina, a dietician, spoke to us about how we can help our kids have healthy relationships with food and their bodies. Often, our distorted relationship with food as adults affects our children and their relationship with food. Parents are responsible for the where, when, and what, when it comes to food, while the kids are in control of how much, and whether they eat. How a child feels about their body affects many other aspects of their life, and it is important to encourage healthy relationships with food from early on. No matter what their body size is, there are many people who are never fully satisfied with their body, and that makes us realize that it is not about the appearance of our bodies, it is about the way we feel about our bodies and the relationship we have with it. Jill Schmelke, a nutritionist, covered healthy hydration and happy hormones. Hydration is something people tend to overlook. Did you know that tap water does not hydrate you on a cellular level? Adding lemon and sea salt to your water in the morning, as well as getting in electrolytes throughout the day helps deepen your hydration. A lot of people are struggling with hormone balance but do not realize it. Some signs and symptoms include weight gain and weight loss, pain and stiffness, and increased thirst. She reminded us that diet and nutrition are very important for your hormones, and we should be avoiding sugar and alcohol and instead focus on eating whole foods.
Andy De Santis, also a dietician, spoke to us about the connection between nutrition and mental health. Three facets to mental health and nutrition include the way you react to different foods physiologically, how you think and feel about food, and the management of conditions that affect your daily quality of life. If you suffer from anxiety, try adding more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin d, and foods high in antioxidants to your diet. In the winter, due to the lack of sun in most places, people need more supplementation for vitamin d. A simple way to incorporate healthy nutrients into your lifestyle is to figure out what nutrients you are likely to be low in, and increase your nutrient intake with foods like legumes and vegetables that you like. Finally, we spoke to Kelly Carter who walked us through three simple, delicious recipes you can easily make at home.
Emotional Health and Lifestyle
Our final segment of experts covered emotional health and lifestyle improvement. Pari from the Naaji Podcast explained that low self-esteem usually manifests from when you are a child or teenager, which is when you start to criticize yourself. The six pillars for creating self-esteem are living consciously, self acceptance, self responsibility, self assertiveness, living purposely, and self integrity, and it is important to practice building these up to lead a fulfilling life. We need to work hard everyday to change our mindset and opinion of ourselves. Remember, it is not selfish to want to take time and energy for yourself. Samira Hoghoughi stated that when it comes to relationships, we commonly think that our needs are the same. However, everyone's basic needs are different, so the best way to manage conflicts is to firstly understand the needs of the people you’re in a relationship with. Figure out what you want out of the conversations and time you spend with your partner or people in your life. Communicate your needs about what you need and why so they better understand. Remember to make your needs clear, accurate and doable!
Rao Kolusu reminded us to practice meditation in our daily lives. When you are at work, try to take one minute of each hour to take deep breaths, and recenter yourself. You will find you are more focused and are more intentional about the work you are doing.Take deep breaths and inhale into your stomach, letting your belly expand and retract with each deep inhale and exhale. Being in the present is so crucial to your yoga practice, and approaching life in general. Solmaz Barghgir explained that the most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves. If our relationship with ourselves is full of self hate, we will be more likely to enter into and attract toxic relationships. This is why we must connect with what we value in ourselves and the world around us, and then behave according to those values. Next we must figure out what brings us a sense of purpose. Without feeling like we are bringing value into the world through our sense of purpose, we may feel empty and lost. We need to look out onto the horizon of our life, and look into our future. If we can see our horizon, the one we want without limiting beliefs and negative thoughts this will guide us to getting what we want out of life.
With our Summer Virtual Wellness Series concluded, we hope you learned as much as we did! To watch all of the mentioned sessions, please visit our Knowledge tab where you will find the full videos.
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