Neurofeedback therapy is very effective in helping individuals with anxiety, insomnia, PTSD and ADD, but like any other form of therapy, it works best when incorporated with a healthy lifestyle. What better reminder, than January first, to help us get rid of the unhealthy cobwebs of the past that haven’t served us and add a few easy healthy ones instead.
There are so many ways we can improve our lives. It’s not helpful to expect to change everything, never mind all at once. Choose changes that give you the most bang for your buck with less effort. In this article, I’ll give you a few suggestions to consider.
Did you know that Vitamin D is actually considered a hormone? It is essential for good health and it is not only needed for bone health. We now know that every cell in our body has receptors for vitamin d. It’s necessary for the proper functioning of our immune system and brain health. Unfortunately, most of our vitamin d is produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight. There is very little in food.
We spend way too much time indoors to get enough sunlight and when we are outside we need to protect our skin from sunburn and block out the sun with sunscreen, so it’s difficult to get enough safe time in sunlight. Most of us need to take supplements daily to maintain a healthy blood level of vitamin d.
I think by now we all know that exercise is important, but if you can’t find the time, make time during daily routines. Park the car further away, walk the dogs a bit further, ask a friend for a 15 minute walk/talk session. I have an elliptical in the family room, when I have 10 minutes of free time I hop on. It doesn’t have to be a long arduous commitment and if you fail the next day, well then do it the day after. Don’t berate yourself for not getting it done, that only demoralizes you. Do the best with the time and energy you have in the moment. Some days will be better than others.
There are plenty of books on eating healthy. Do what works for you. I use the Meditereanean diet as a guide, and its not written in stone. There is however important information to remember and that is our gut health is directly connected to brain health and therefore, our psychological and physcial well being. We know now that if we eat foods that improve our gut microbiome we feel better overall. Eating things like all natural yogurts, fruits, vegetables, pickled foods and limiting sugar intake goes a long way to helping us feel healthy. You don’t have to starve yourself or go on strict hard to stick to diets.
Screens of all kinds produce blue light and this light inteferes with our brain’s natural ability to produce certain hormones that help us sleep. It basically tells the brain that its constantly daytime and it doesn’t know when to slow down. As we all know sleep is essential to good health. Our body does most of its healing during sleep and our brains need sleep to consolidate memories and process information we’ve learned during the day, so that we can better retrieve it at a later date. When we don’t get enough restorative sleep it effects every aspect of our health. It effects our capacity to learn, to regulate our emotions and to organize our lives. We become easily overwhelmed and less patient. Limiting screen time an hour or two before bed is essential to a healthy sleep routine.
Remember it’s not necessary and even counterproductive to set your standards of changing your life too high. Small changes are more manageable and slow and steady wins the race. Most strict diets are not maintainable. It’s not you, it’s hard. Expecting to suddenly start a rigorous exercise routine is also asking a lot, especially when you have a family and work full time. Adding a few simple things like vitamin d supplements and maybe a yogurt a day can facilitate the beginning of a healthier lifestyle. Of course, never forget to be kind and patient with yourself and when you need guidance reach out to someone. Don’t carry the burden on your own. Sometimes an objective perspective can help you make small changes that make a world of difference in your life. When we’re in the weeds, it’s difficult to see the way out.
Happy and Healthy New Year!