Regulating the autonomic nervous system to maintain a balance between the sympathetic (fight and flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digestion) is important. This can be best achieved with regulated conscious breathing, deep inspiration is associated with sympathetic action, and complete expiration favours a more passive, relaxed state.
Regular conscious choices about a well-balanced intake of unrefined carbs, healthy fats and complete protein, together with vitamins, minerals, trace elements and phytonutrients, is also necessary. Purified water, limitations to caffeine intake and extreme caution with alcohol and nicotine are also imperative.
Supplementation to a healthy diet is very important in today's fast-paced world where farming practises, cold storage, microwaving and genetic engineering taint the nourishment that we should receive from the foods we eat.
We also cannot function effectively without 7-9 hours of sleep in ideal conditions, i.e. no electromagnetic disturbances in the bedroom (no TV, computers and cell phones), complete darkness and no disturbing noises.
Exercise is equally important, but should be individualised according to circumstances, body types, stress levels and personalities.
Chemical interventions, in terms of medicine, should be limited to the bare minimum and should ideally be replaced or at least substituted by natural alternatives, for example, herbs.
1. EAT A NOURISHING DIET
- Ensure adequate intake of calories, protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, and minerals
- Prioritise whole foods at each meal, including meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds
2. AVOID INFLAMMATORY AND/OR “JUNK” FOODS
- Sugar, omega-6 fats, reﬁned grains and preservatives are common in packaged and prepared foods
- Cook from scratch as much as possible, for more control over what you eat
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
- Poor sleep is signiﬁcantly associated with depression and anxiety
4. EXERCISE APPROPRIATELY
- Exercise is known to improve brain functioning and boost mood, aim for 30 minutes of daily physical activity
5. ASSESS YOUR LIGHT EXPOSURE
- Not enough natural daylight and too much artiﬁcial light can have a significant impact on your mood, get outside as often as possible during daylight hours
6. SUPPORT YOUR GUT
- Consume probiotic-rich fermented foods like yoghurt, keﬁr, sauerkraut and kimchi, for increased beneﬁcial gut ﬂora
- Eat a wide variety of prebiotic foods like fruits, vegetables, and starchy tubers to feed your beneﬁcial ﬂora
7. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
- Use daily stress management techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness to retrain your brain to respond differently to stress
8. PRIORITIZE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
- Ensure that you make time for the things that feed and re-energise you. This includes music, dancing, art, spiritual activities such as prayer or "faith-based-groups," being around friends, being involved with charities, etc
9. AVOID TOXINS
Pathogens like mould or bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals in cleaning and cosmetic products expose us to toxins that disrupt our cognitive function.
- Switch to natural cleaners and toxin-free cosmetics
- Consider installing a high-quality air ﬁlter to reduce airborne toxins and pathogens