SFL Fitness Therapy
Sarah Cullen - Personal Trainer & Sports Massage Therapist convering Knutsford, Wilmslow & Alderley Edge

Improve Your Mental Balance

A few positive steps can help rebalance your mind

Mental health problems come in many different forms: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, mood, anxiety and eating disorders. These are to name just a few and can affect anyone at anytime.

I have had my own personal experience with mental health problems and it is nothing to be ashamed of. With a few positive steps, you can help rebalance your mind, gain back control & really start to enjoy life.

It All Starts From Within

There are numerous reasons why people have mental health issues but I believe a lot of symptoms can be lessened with the correct nutrition and exercise programme.

Whatever we think, we feel…… Anxiety often causes nausea; we fall in love and we get butterflies…… but have you ever thought that it might also work the other way around?

If our gut isn’t working properly then maybe that is why our brain isn’t working properly?

Understanding the connection between the brain & gut is essential to healing mental health problems.

How to gain balance

1. Good & bad bacteria

Processed & refined foods will destroy healthy micro flora & feed bad bacteria & yeast, so limiting or eliminating these from your diet must be a priority. Purchase a good quality probiotic to help rebuild the friendly bacteria in your gut.

2. Digestive enzymes

Most people do not chew their food enough to release the digestive enzymes required to digest food properly. A good quality digestive enzyme could do wonders for your digestion; they assist in digesting certain foods such as lactose & animal proteins. Tip: Try to chew your food into a liquid before swallowing. This will helps us to absorb the essential nutrients we require to support our neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain & body)

3. Sugars / Sweeteners

Fluctuations in blood sugar levels are associated with changes in mood and energy. This happens when we eat foods such as refined sugars & simple carbohydrates. Sugars do not only give you the highs and lows, they also feed the bad bacteria in your gut. The more bad bacteria we have the worse we feel physically and mentally. Artificial sweeteners can also cause havoc for similar reasons. Cutting out ALL refined sugars & artificial sweeteners will also help lose fat....BONUS!

4. Food Intolerances

Symptoms such as fatigue, depression, joint pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, bloating, rashes, eczema could all be a signs of a food intolerances. If you are intolerant to a certain food your body goes into attack mode. This releases a stress hormone, this stress hormone sends out its soldiers to fight off the enemy which they think are inside the tummy. This causes inflammation, prevents you from absorbing essential nutrients and messes with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control.

Something to note: Sometimes it’s the foods that we crave the most that is our intolerance. Mine was Greek yogurt & eggs. Try keeping a food diary. The most common reactions are to milk, Gluten/wheat, egg, & cane sugar.

5. Eat organic / Grow your own

Choosing organic food means that you won't be consuming the chemicals, pesticides & fertilisers found in conventional farm produce. Some fruit and vegetables are sprayed up to ten times before reaching supermarket shelves. Not only do they contain less essential nutrients for brain health but they also cause havoc in our gut, which as mentioned earlier has a massive affect on your mental health. Do your research and see that Organic foods really aren’t as expensive as they used to be.

6. Magnesium "The chill Pill"

Stress can cause magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can cause depression, behavioural disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, irritability & disturbed sleep – thankfully these are all reversible with magnesium repletion. I use a spray at night & take Epsom salt baths. Please Google magnesium deficiency to check if you can take this supplement.

7. Omegas

Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omegas play an important role in brain function. Think of your mind as a car, if it doesn’t have any oil then it’s likely to break down. I personally take Eskimo oil.

8. Exercise

We are designed to be active. When we exercise feel good chemicals are released into our body. This helps regulate our mood, gives us energy, clears our minds & also kick starts our metabolism. Even if it’s a brisk walk or some silly dancing in the living room, it will do wonders for your mental health.

9. Music can change your whole mood

Sound can have a powerful effect on our emotions. I exercise to progressive house because it fills me with such energy & makes me feel alive. Listen to music that lightens up your soul.

10. Goal setting

Having a goal is a great way to focus your attention on the things that are important. It allows you to create a vision of how you would like your life to be & will help keep you focused. Achieving small goals each day, even if it is as simple as walking to the park will really improve your state of mind.

11. Mindfulness / Meditation

By focusing on the here and now, you are less likely to get caught up in worrying about the future or regrets over the past. You are less concerned about what people think and are more able to form deeper connections with others. It’s all about the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment.