Supporting Mental Health.

Supporting  mental health is a major factor in improving your overall health. I will share with you 4 tips that I’m doing to reduce the stress in my life, change my mindset and improve my mood.

Over the next 6 weeks, I want to share with you Practical and Actionable health tips. I want you to try them out, and pick 1 Habit to continue and build into your lifestyle.

Recap from Last Week:
Part 1: Building Immunity -Applying the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine to Enhance your Health

  1. My favourite Herb Astragalus
  2. Eat Colourful Vegetables
  3. Detoxify your home

Stress-Level Health Assessment

  1. Has anyone told you recently that your temper or mood is getting out of hand?
  2. Do you use food, alcohol or pills to sooth your emotions?
  3. Are you finding it hard to concentrate or remember things?
  4. Are you grinding your teeth or notice that you are clenching your jaw?
  5. Do you have unusual cravings for sugar, sweets and Chocolate?
  6. Do you experience unexplained weight gain or weight loss?
  7. Do you experience unexplained sweating sometimes?
  8. Do you find that previous outings (social engagements) now cause you anxiety?
  9. Do you have unexplained digestive symptoms, chest pains or headaches?
  10. Are you noticing issues around coordination or speech?

How did you score?

  1. If you answered YES to 3 of these questions, then your risk is MILD
  2. If you answered YES to 4 to 7 of these questions, then your risk is MODERATE
  3. If you answered YES to 8 or more of the questions, then your risk is SEVERE

What is your reaction to this Health Assessment?

What area would you like to improve on this upcoming week?

The Impact of Stress

When you become extremely stressed, your body shifts into survival mode. You’ve heard a number of us Naturopathic doctors mention the “Fight or Flight System” the past few weeks.

Our body, under extreme stress, is designed to release adrenaline from our adrenal glands. This helps us pump blood to our muscles, and provides us with the energy boost to either Fight or Run away.

The problem is that our “Survival” Switch gets turned on all too often these days. All this stress and effort DEPLETES your body’s energy resources until parts of the system starts failing due to the pressures.

This pattern leads to adrenal fatigue, nervous breakdown or a compromised Immune system.

Prolonged periods of stress definitely impacts your brain and your mind. Like many of my patients know, I have an interest in the brain.

Excessive Stress leads to a Chemical Imbalance which interferes with your focus, concentration and memory. You can feel anxious, agitated and find it difficult to relax and calm your mind.

Reminder about Unhappiness

Unhappiness not only dampens your mood, but also negatively affects your health.

We have all probably heard this before, and research supports that depressed, unhappy people have higher outcomes of heart disease.

Most of us need to overcome the Negativity Bias: Our Brains are WIRED to attend to and learn from NEGATIVE Experiences, more than positive experiences. Part of the survival mechanism.

This actually begins in the infant stage. Research shows that the neural networks are firing more when infants here angry voices compared to happy ones.

This Negativity Bias can follow us into adulthood. One study showed, that our brains reacted more to Negative Images (like dead animals) vs Positive images (Good Food)

Be CAREFUL not to have this FIXATION on all the negativity around you

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine support Mental Health & Stress?

  1. Schisandra Herb (Five Flavour Berry)
    1. Builds Qi
    2. Adaptogen: Calm Nervous System, support Liver
    3. Tea/Tincture form
  2. Body Expressions & Emotions
    1. Almost ½ of our communications come via Body Language
      1. hand gestures, body posturing
      2. Getting a pat on the back, or a friendly hug
    2. How we Respond to Body Language : Stimulates our nerves & the Brain
      1. Autonomic Nervous System: excited or scared our nerves tingle
      2. Heart rate goes up: when anxious or angry
      3. Muscle Tenses, fear or frustration
    3. Our Bodies can show how we Feel and our Mood
    4. We can REWIRE our BRAIN with our Body Posture and our Mindset
      1. Body Movement is a very powerful way of rewiring the Brain
      2. Concept of Neuroplasticity
      3. Daily exercise of Celebrating a win! Can release Feel Good Hormones and Neurotransmitters
  3. Surround yourself with something that brings you Joy Daily:
    1. Beauty
    2. Colors
    3. Uplifting music
    4. Flowers/Nature
    5. TCM and Acupuncture have identified the Resonance/ Frequency of Colour , music, nature over 2000 years ago. All are soothing and stimulating
  4. Set Boundaries
      1. Are you always a YES person? (Dr. Jeff shares his story of wanting to be helpful all the time and can’t say no!)
      2. He is learning to Respectfully say no
      3. Cut back on your commitments
      4. Take some time DAILY or WEEKLY for yourself
      5. Pace yourself.

I hope these TIPS are helpful. Please pick 1 health tip to focus on per week, and let’s transform our health together over the next 6 weeks

Please Join me WEEKLY as I am launching this 6 part series on APPLYING the WISDOM of Chinese Medicine to enhance your Health

In health,
Dr. Jeffrey Lee
Naturopathic Physician & Registered Acupuncturist

Check out my Stress Youtube Series here.