Natural ‘highs’

 

This time of year often heralds the season of viruses which diminish our energy and mood. The stress of the current economic situation combined with the busy-ness of the run-up to Christmas can deplete our resources.

 

Can we avoid those bugs or at least reduce the impact they have?

 

We can help boost our immune system and look at what we do to ‘give ourselves a lift’ which might, conversely, be compromising our healthy body balance – some chocolate, alcohol, cigarette, or perhaps something stronger?

 

How can we find healthy, safe, legal antidotes to the poisoning of our body and spirit?

 

Eating and drinking sensibly is an obvious first so that we don’t overload our body systems.

 

Exercise improves our mood by stimulating the release of endorphins which create euphoria and pain relief. Doing both appropriate aerobic and resistance exercise provides not only obvious physical benefits but while you’re concentrating on those activities, particularly if you do it with a friend, your mind is diverted from what may be worrying you. Focussing on your breathing during exercise will increase your lung capacity and help oxygenate the tissues and improve your energy and alertness.

 

Perhaps we can copy the unselfconsciousness of children enjoying themselves – be open, present and curious: we could try new things – keep our mental flexibility; we can stay aware of the natural world – keep our senses alert; appreciate our friends and partners – keep our heart open.

 

For fast-acting relief try slowing down. By allowing ourselves some quiet ‘down’ time each day and focussing on stilling our thoughts, the brain activity vibrations slow down towards the relaxing ‘alpha’ or possibly meditative ‘theta’ state.

 

Touching, for example sharing a hug or having a massage, nurtures our body and soul and, like exercise, raises our endorphin levels. It may also increase levels of other hormones such as DHEA – an anti-ageing, energising, anti-stress hormone.

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