This week I unfortunately witnessed people in my community overreacting towards people they love. I won't share the gory details but suffice it to say we only have to turn on the news or look around us to see that many have no reserves for patience, understanding, and compassion for others let alone themselves. The world has become a whirl wind of get up, go to work, take care of kids and home responsibilities, go to bed (too late because we are watching Netflix) and then get up and do it all over again. We can do better can't we? How? What would be our first steps?
Consider you tribe: Look at those closest to you? Do you see a friend who exudes health? Who seems calm and happy? What does he do? What are her habits? You are as healthy as those closest to you. Spend time with those you would like to emulate or those who promote the values that are important to you.
Rest deeply. Analyze your sleep habits. Are you exhausted each morning or are you ready to start your day? Are you over caffeinating with more than 2 cups of coffee a day? This could easily disrupt your sleep (you think it doesn't). Are you staying up watching movies, internet browsing, playing video games? Could you go to bed one hour earlier after reading a relaxing book or having an herbal tea or bath or both? Make sleep a priority, you will live longer and make better health choices the next day.
Eat to live! Try to choose foods for brain health. For more info on this, listen to podcasts by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee or Dr Mark Hyman on food choices. These are excellent podcast on lifestyle and functional medicine that focus on preventing disease.
Meditate. Meditation is not running, walking, cycling. Meditation is practicing deep breathing techniques, engaging the parasympathic (relaxation) system, lowering blood pressure, cortisol (stress hormone) while noticing thoughts coming and going like waves of an ocean. This elicits the relaxation response and helps build not only resiliency but empathy and compassion, and helps the brain work more efficiently. For more information read "The Relaxation Response" . by Dr Herbert Benson founder of Harvard's mind/body institute.
Exercise! Sitting is the new smoking. Moving will help release stress and increase BDNF (brain derived neurotropic protein) which makes your brain work better and helps you maintain focus, counteracts aging and dementia. Exercise is as effective as prozac for depression!
Next week is Thanksgiving and I am pretty excited! Consider starting this holiday the right way. Take your family to a Turkey Trot, start with a healthy breakfast, consider making healthy mocktails instead of overindulging on alcoholic drinks (major sleep disruptor). Best of all, remember gratitude in all the smallest details and moments of this holiday week.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy and Calm Thanksgiving!
Dr. Misha Martin