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In the age of excessive on-the-go anxiety, the science is evident, if you want your mind and body to last and thrive…you’ve got to prioritise them. Healing your nervous system is an unceasing  journey, and fulfilling these 10 steps, will work towards a healthier mind and body daily. 

Nearly one in six of the world’s population suffer from neurological disorders in direct relation to the nervous system. These neurological disorders range from Parkinson’s disease to stroke, Alzheimers, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, migraine, brain injury and nueroinfections. The UN World Health Organisation studies exhibit people in all countries, irrespective of age, sex, income or education, are affected by triggers in direct relation to an overactive or neglected nervous system.

The nervous system is the bodies communication centre. Originating from the brain, it controls movements, memory, feelings, automatic responses and the bodies systems and processes, including digestion, breathing and sexual development (puberty).

A vast network of nerves send electrical signals to and from other cells, glands, and muscles throughout the body, receiving information from the environment and interpreting the information to control bodily responses.

Following these 10 guided tips to healing and regulating an overactive nervous system is the first step toward a healthier you today. 

1. Meditation and breath work

It is the repeated, as well as the tried and true, magic of meditation and breath work, that can heal a range of bodily stresses and ultimately tap into the healing process of your parasympathetic nervous system. Just five minutes a day of deep breathing through your nose is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Gentle yoga, breath work and meditation classes all work to move the body out of the fight or flight stress response, instead grounding and bringing the mind back to the present moment and in turn generating a healthier nervous system. 

2. Cold water 

Opting for a cold shower or an ocean swim, will kickstart repair and healing in your body and nervous system. Cold water stimulates the immune system and activates the vagus nerve, reducing stress response. The vagus nerve is apart of the autonomic nervous system, connecting the brain to our digestive tract and working as a highway between brain and gut. 

3. Sleep

We have all been ingrained with the ineradicable importance of sleep on both our mental and physical health, and there is nothing more essential when healing and protecting the nervous system. Building and supporting a strong immune and nervous system, is directly linked to our sleep cycle. Majority of people need between 7-9 hours a night, however with statistics presenting the average person is receiving less than 7. If you struggle to get a good nights rest,  lavender diffusers, eye masks and turning screens off an hour before bed, may help to set your sleep pattern and ultimately help to heal an overactive or weakened nervous system. 

4. Limit your caffeine and alcohol Intake

Alcohol is a sedative that slows down both the central nervous system and brain processing. This effect is why people who drink may feel calmer or more relaxed. Caffeine, conversely, is a stimulant, and high doses can cause side effects like anxiety and nervousness. Consuming caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and brain to feel awake, increasing alertness and boosting brain activity. However, caffeine blocks the brain chemical adenosine, which leads to feelings of tiredness. Consumption of both substances tend to dehydrate us, heighten anxiety as well as lead to sleep and digestive issues that work against the immune and nervous system. 

5. Fruit and vegetables

A healthy diet filled with fruit and root vegetables is both nourishing and repairing to the nervous system. Foods to heal both the adrenals* and nervous system include:

Foods to support the Adrenals:

*The adrenals produce hormones that regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, stress response and other essential functions.

  • Bananas                                                                         
  • Broccoli
  • Bone Broth 
  • Cauliflower
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Kiwi
  • Orange Juice
  • Papaya
  • Turkey
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Liver

Foods to support the Nervous System:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas 
  • Bone Broth
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Coconut Water
  • Collagen 
  • Leafy Greens 
  • Orange Juice
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Organ Meats
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Tropical Fruits

6. Smarter exercise 

Often when we feel stressed or our mind is running wild, we opt for cardio or high-intensity workouts to burn off steam. While this can be an option, many may find it too stimulating, and in whole, taking a greater toll on their adrenals and nervous system. Grounding exercises , such as walking, yoga and pilates may be more beneficial for somebody stuck in their fight-or-flight stress response. Remember that, stress (cortisol) is addictive, so many crave to continue their imbalance. Weightlifting is also said to be beneficial for the nervous system, offering proprioceptive input. Fast running or high impact activities such as kick-boxing continue to stimulate an overactive nervous system rather then de-regulate it.

7. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been utilised for millennia to regulate the nervous system and treat many diseases in relation. Acupuncture points stimulate the nervous system, creating chemicals and energy that encourage a parasympathetic response throughout the body, switching on the bodies natural healing abilities. 

8. Bodywork 

Massages, chakra balancing, rolling, craniosacral therapy and reflexology are all bodywork techniques utilised to turn off your stress hormones and allow your body to relax and heal. We often need to somatically release toxic stored emotions, and bodywork allows us to do in a graceful way. These therapies have been known to help release deep trauma and tension and by doing so, the body can start to heal and recover.

9. Dance or sing it out

Trying to constantly juggle being productive, staying physically and mentally active and social, on top of work or other related stresses can be draining on our nervous system. In turn our bodies look for ways to release this built up energy and tension. You don’t have to be the next Beyonce to enjoy the healing benefits of song and dance, your body and mind will love you back equally the same. Expressive dance works to calm and regulate the nervous system, releasing and reducing stress built up in the brain and body. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, belt out your favourite tune in the car or expressive dance moves as an alternative therapy.

10. Play on the senses

The five senses collect information about the surrounding environment that is then interpreted by the brain. However, sometimes information overload drives our nervous system into an overactive state. De-stressing through playing on the senses allows you to de-regulate your nervous system and calm the mind back into the present moment.

1. Listen: 

Listen to relaxing music or meditative music works to calm your nervous system. inc.com‘s study article,  explains how Neuroscience says listening to a particular song reduces anxiety by up to 65 percent.

Sound therapies have been around for centuries, including in indigenous cultures, where arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines were utilised to slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

A list of 10 tracks by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson “Weightless,” resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants’ overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

Sound therapy using Tibetan singing bowls are another option to heal through listening. Utilising a type of bell that vibrates and produces a rich, deep tone when played, the healing bowls are used to strengthen meditation, healing and spirituality.

2. Smell: 

Aromatherapy is the use of  aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes. The healing benefits of aromatherapy, work to promote health and well-being. Sometimes called essential oil therapy, aromatic essential oils are used to medicinally improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Enhances both physical and emotional health, this can be utilised through  candles and essential oils that also trigger memories and transform mood.

Aroma grounds us and make us feel more relaxed, working as a defence of healing for the nervous system. Common essential oils vary from eucalyptus, chamomile, frankincense, lemongrass, lavender and more.

3. Taste: 

A warm cup of herbal tea is the perfect taste sensation to help calm the sympathetic nervous system. Both the taste and warmth of tea as you’re holding it, and tasting the aromatic flavours, usher in feelings of comfort and relaxation.

4. Feel: 

The first sense that humans develop, also influences our decisions when we relate a texture to a believed concept. Patting animals, walking barefoot, enjoying an epsom salt bath or sitting in sunlight releases oxytocin through feeling safe and warm. Oxytocin is the brains direct antidote to the stress hormone cortisol.

5. Sight: 

Spending time in nature and focusing upon non-stimulating material help to heal and release added anxiety from the nervous system. Spend time away from any technology and instead give your eyes a break with examples of enjoying sunsets, beach time or opting for journaling or reading.

In an age inundated with supplemental stresses, the need to pay attention and care toward our nervous system is more prevalent than ever. Healing and de-regulating an overactive or impaired nervous system is an unremitting process, nevertheless, through repetition and consistency,  you can work to bring your body back to balance and help to heal an overstimulated nervous system.

 

 

Throughout the Christmas and New Year period, we are inundated with holiday romance movies, overwhelming social calendars and expectations to look and feel, “Merry and bright”. But for those who are struggling with their mental health, affected by the wrath of seasonal depression, it can feel like anything, but, “The most wonderful time of the year”.

Traditionally, a time for eating, drinking and being merry, the festive season can come with a foreboding presupposition for those struggling with a mental health concern or personal crisis.

When everyone around seems to be in the festive spirit, seasonal depression can make the holidays particularly overwhelming, feeling like a period that needs to be survived rather than thrived.

The holidays have long been associated with seasonal depression, reporting a 40% increase of suicide in the days following Christmas. In accordance with a survey from YouGov,  a quarter of people say that Christmas makes their mental health worse, with an additional survey from the Mental Health Foundation, sharing that 54% of people are worried about the mental health of someone they know at Christmas. 

Whether coping with mental illness, COVID separation, grief or holiday burnout, when seasonal depression creeps in, it’s consequential to recognise and prioritise combatting the symptoms this holiday period.

Some signs and symptoms of seasonal depression include:

  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Feelings of immense lows and depressive feeling throughout majority of the day

Estranged relationships, disappointment of the year that has passed, as well as a range of other personal battles, are just some reasons seasonal depression may present itself. This holiday season, prioritising your health is the key to combatting any form of personal exertion.

Let go of preconceived ideas of what you are “expected” to do, instead alter and simplify the season to best suit  your circumstance, regardless of what that may be.

COVID Christmas

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has protruded ripple effects, seeping into the festive period, with many Australians spending their second year in a row apart from their loved ones. With travel and border restrictions still in place, not to mention the trepidation of COVID crisis entirely, it would be ignorant to view this holiday period without the present ramifications for the majority of Australians still suffering from the pandemic. 

COVID has interrupted and ultimately reshaped this year’s festive period, leaving many feeling unstable in their habitual safety nets of workplace, financial, family or living situations. The first Christmas apart from family, can feel somewhat un-conventional in comparison to the years that have passed. Although it may not feel entirely the same, managing your expectations and mindset, as well as applying a little outside of the box thinking, will go a long way this holiday period.

No two families are the same, and that goes for no two celebrations.  If you are separated from loved ones due to restrictions, stay in touch via phone and video call, as well as inventing outside of the box ways to stay connected and show gratitude for the ones you love, even if that is from a far.

Grieving throughout the holiday season

Grieving throughout the holidays will never be easy, as many become unwontedly aware of the absence of a loved one. As the holidays are a time to come together, it can be bittersweet for those who are grieving, often feeling the missing piece of a loved one and burden of loss far greater over the December to January period.

The expectations of a “perfect” season, that come in the form of favourite Christmas movies and sitcoms, celebrations and traditions can bring about reminders for those grieving wherever they turn. When you have lost someone you love, it is normal to have feelings of painful isolation, as well as incompleteness, grief does not disappear overnight in account of it being the holidays.

Healing is not an overnight process and taking the festive period at your own pace and dynamic is essential.If you are grieving this festive season, recognise the feelings as they pass, and importantly stay present with all that you love. It’s essential to express your emotions as a healthy mechanism and substantial influence in the healing process, this includes talking and crying it out, with those you trust or an experienced psychologist.

Expression, as well as placing emphasis on feeling grateful for anything positive present in your life, will offer alleviation from the heavy emotions associated with grief and tragedy.

Another strategy when processing grief, is to focus and become aware of the time you do spend with other family members and ones you love. Utilise, as well as cherish those valuable moments, as grieving can help to reminded us how precious our time is.

Reminded of the fragility of life as whole, being  present, as well as see beauty in the small and rare moments spent with the ones we love can be utilised in time spent with family and friends throughout the holiday season.

Money and Financial Pressure during the Holidays

The festive season can come at the cost of your wallet and bank account. From presents, celebrations and a little too much cause for celebration, the December to January period can often feel like a year’s worth of spending. This financial whirlwind, however, can be combatted with a little strategic plan and preparation.

Identify what is causing your financial stresses, and begin to take necessary action to alleviate as much worry as possible this Christmas. Communicating your financial worries to family and friends, is also important throughout the holidays. Not to be mistaken for complaining,  suggesting alternatives for gifting such as secret Santa as well as free alternatives when spending time celebrating, will go a long way when budgeting this holidays.

Head to Christmas on a Budget if you’d like more tips and suggestions for financial planning throughout the festive period.

Mental Health throughout the Holidays

Depression is the leading mental health condition treated by general practitioners in Australia. With Beyond Blue reporting a staggering 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression. With stress and depression said to arise in approximately 1 in 5 Australians as a direct result of the festive season,  it is evident mental health is fragile, and needs to be protected even at the best of times. Seasonal depression or holiday depression can occur due to the added pressure, expectation, and stress of the festive period. Typically characterised by low mood, self-criticism and low self esteem. 

Feeling low around Christmas is especially common among people who are unemployed (38%), divorced (35%) or widowed (31%).  Anxiety and loneliness are most prevalent among people who are aged from 25 to 34, at between 31% and 40%. People who are out of work also struggle more than other groups: 47% say they’ve felt stressed, 42% depressed and 39% anxious.

Visit https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/symptom-checker/tool/basic-details on advice for when to seek professional help when these feelings arise.

Managing and aiding seasonal depression 

Seasonal Depression may leave sufferers wanting to retreat and isolate themselves throughout the whole of the holiday period. However, withdrawing from social activities and situations will often only lead to feelings of disconnection, loneliness and worsening of symptoms of depression.

Connection and belonging are the most important ways to regulate your mental health. Combatting seasonal depression includes reaching out to close friends and loved ones, volunteering, or even simply being kind to strangers. These small strategies are proven to strengthen positive mood and reprogram feeling grateful this holiday period.

Be aware of personal strategies to combat the season such as staying healthy through eating well, exercise and relaxing when possible. Although it is the season for over-indulging, many find that binge eating or drinking take a toll on their mental and physical health. Moderation is key for surviving the holiday period, when normal routines are interrupted.

Although labelled  “the most wonderful time of the year”, the festive season, like any other period is improbable to be problem-free. Coping with any form of seasonal depression is best to be approached with realistic expectations. Whatever you or your loved ones are facing or struggling with over the holidays, remember that it is just one season of your story. You can plan and re-coup for the new year, re-writing your narrative, beginning with a new chapter called 2022.

If you or someone
you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000)

Lifeline:  Provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14, text on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight AEST) or chat online.

Beyond Blue: Aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.

In a world flooded with global disasters and mental health conditions like eco-anxiety on the rise, author of the bestselling self-help book, Slow, Brooke McAlary, unveils the pitfalls of neglecting personal care in her new book, Care.

Brooke McAlary’s own experience with post-natal depression was the catalyst for her self-care journey and marked the beginning of her career change from business woman to self-help author. After the overwhelming success of her 2017 international bestseller Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World, Brooke returns to share her latest tips to live a slow and joyful life, through her latest book, Care: The Radical Art of Taking Time, published by Allen & Unwin.

After receiving her post-natal depression diagnosis following the birth of her second child, it was Brooke’s therapist who first recommended slowing down. This wake-up call prompted Brooke’s change of pace and her ensuing move to the Southern Highlands with her family. Burned out by her past career running a jewellery business, along with raising two young children and juggling excessive commitments, the self-care author reveals how she knew something had to change.

Brooke says, “Looking back, I can see my mental health started to take a dive…I write about slow, because I need slow, it’s not something that comes naturally.”

Self care is important for mental health
Photo Credit: Nikko Macaspac on Unsplash

In her book, Brooke tackles the exploitative nature of the wellness industry. The industry has high stakes in profiting from the growing market for self-care, reeling in nearly $4.5 trillion and representing 5.3% of global economic spending.

With increasing mediums for internet users to be inundated by advertisements and marketing campaigns, it is becoming easier for corporations to exploit the rising population of people seeking solutions to stress and burnout. Brooke says, “If you are buying into certain elements of self-care because you think there’s something wrong with you, you become vulnerable to that marketing message.”

Wellness services have flooded the market, many of which have been accused of charging exorbitant fees and exploiting desperation. Brooke challenges the exclusive tactics of self-care corporations, and offers a more accessible path to wellbeing in her guide.

“Everything I write about needs to be accessible to everyone, regardless of finances, geography, abilities,” Brooke says.

It helps if you’re already well, you’re slim and you’re 25, that kind of mentality is what has attached itself to self-care.

“In keeping with the idea of accessibility, I really wanted it to be achievable for people who are busy, which is a lot of people. If you’ve got thirty seconds, you can spend those thirty seconds looking out a window at a green view, you can write down one lovely thing that you saw today or you could hold the door for a stranger.”

Walking outside is a form of self care
Photo Credit: Юлія Вівчарик on Unsplash

Brooke unpacks the ideas of ‘Big Care’ and ‘Small Care’, and their significance in the past year where ‘Big Care’ has had a major global impact of “upheaval and collective grief,” with the climate change crisis and the COVID19 pandemic. While she acknowledges that these two types of ‘care’ don’t exist in a vacuum, she also identifies why we need to prioritise the ‘Small Care’ sometimes.

Brooke says, “I realised I had spent so much time and energy caring about all of these big, important global collective issues like climate change, COVID, the national grief we’re all feeling as a result of last year’s bushfires, but what I had neglected was the other end of the spectrum of care, the small acts of care.

“That is the genesis of the spectrum of care I talk about in the book. The reason we need to start spending more time on the smaller end of the spectrum.”

Brooke’s call for greater self-care and mental health awareness is all the more pertinent, with stress and burnout rapidly increasing among the population. Asana’s global study found that 4 in 5 Australians in white-collar jobs suffered burnout in 2020.

While a variety of symptoms are reported, the main signs often include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Brain Fog
  3. Maladaptive Daydreaming
  4. Lack of Motivation
  5. Sleep Issues
  6. Frequent Illness

With smartphone users clocking in 3 hours and 15 minutes a day and technology infiltrating all aspects of people’s lives, Care brings to light the role technology plays in exacerbating burnout and stress.

Fighting the temptation to keep scrolling on social media is hard when “it feels good in the short term because it releases dopamine”, Brooke says, but she maintains the need to substitute internet usage with more fulfilling activities.

Our phones, our laptops, our screens can be viewed much more like a tool… something you use for a job and then you put it away.

Brooke advises people to partake in hands-on activities outside of technology, suggesting that physical activities like yoga can positively affect the brain and even just “looking into the eyes of animals can release oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone.’

Looking into the eyes of animals produces oxytocin
Photo Credit: Nachelle Nocom on Unsplash

Brooke says, “If there’s an opportunity to go for a walk, or to sit and do something tech-related, I use that information for motivation.”

In her own life, Brooke has implemented this concept for her family, with her children creating a technology-free ‘slow room’ to help reduce outside sources of stress. She says, “I started experimenting and started to declutter and was astounded to find the impact it had on my mental health.” It was this realisation of how switching off can bring joy that inspired Brooke to share this practice with her children.

Practising self care as a family
Photo Credit: Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Brooke also outlines how ‘Small Care’ can affect our perception of time, revealing how anyone can harness the ability to “bend timeand alter their experience of its passage.

“As I get older, as my kids get older, I feel like time speeds up. That made me curious about why there were times in my life where time seemed to feel like more,” Brooke says.

Research shows that our perception of time changes as we grow older. When we’re a child everything is new.  As a result, time feels like it goes on for longer… That is the simplest way to bend time.

Brooke says when people’s lives become monotonous and repetitive, the brain doesn’t hold on to those memories, thus creating the illusion of time passing quickly. In Care, Brooke encourages individuals to embrace the sense of play and wonder from childhood, to slow down their perception of time and make space for ‘Small Care.’

Featuring Brooke McAlary, author of Care: The Radical Art of Taking Time.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Brooke’s work, watch our exclusive interview with her below.

With researchers widely reporting the benefits of tea for reducing the risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure and even the common cold, tea can a great addition to a healthy life. But the endless options on the market can make choosing the right one an intimidating process.

Tea is not just a soothing drink to drown out a stressful day’s work, but it also has powerful antioxidants which target free radicals in the body – these are major contributors to the development of disease – and studies show this may play a role not only in reducing the risk of various ailments, but may also slow down the ageing process.

Lifestyle, environmental and diet choices, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or skimping on regular exercise, are some of the main causes of oxidative stress; a state in which there is an imbalance of free radicals in the body. This imbalance can damage our DNA and could eventually lead to a number of health conditions, including:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Diabetes
  3. Inflammation
  4. Heart disease
  5. Cancer

Research on green tea consumption found that regularly drinking the beverage has a proven reduction in cellular damage and it proved that the antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, in the tea trapped the free radicals, leading to a decrease in oxidative stress.

tea health
Photo Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash

It is clear that tea is a powerful aid to maintaining good health and, although tea may not cure illnesses, it can offer some relief and lessen the burden of some symptoms. Below is a list of some beneficial teas and what they can do – find out which one is right for you.

Camomile Tea

Best for

  • Managing blood sugar levels
  • Aiding sleep regulation
  • Reducing inflammation

Camomile has a long history of uses dating back to ancient times when it was highly esteemed throughout Europe and Asia for its many healing properties. Today, this tea is most popularly known as a calming drink, often recommended to those with jittery nerves. However, it has also been found to reduce inflammation – which is a major contributor to the development of conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis or even skin ailments like eczema. Some studies have also found that this tea can help manage blood sugar levels.

chamomile tea
Photo Credit: Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

Peppermint Tea

Best for

  • Indigestion
  • Bloating

The cooling and refreshing flavour and smell of this tea prove that it’s for good reason that so many products, including toothpaste, sweets and gum, use mint as a main ingredient. But the taste alone is not where peppermint tea’s best qualities lie.

Recognised for its benefits in reducing the pain of indigestion and bloating, this tea can be a great option for those with digestive issues. However, studies show that if one’s symptoms stem from GERD, this tea could further irritate the condition, but those suffering from IBS symptoms may find relief with peppermint, according to previous research.

Peppermint tea
Photo Credit: Anton Darius on Unsplash

Liquorice Root Tea

Best for

  • Supporting kidney and liver function
  • Reducing symptoms of respiratory illnesses

Liquorice root is in fact the same plant that the beloved confectionary liquorice is derived from, and unsurprisingly, the tea has a natural sweetness to it. Studies have found that the oleanolic and asiatic acids in this tea make powerful antioxidants, which in turn can fight the symptoms of some respiratory conditions including colds and bronchitis, by protecting the cells in the lungs.

This study also shows that liquorice root tea contains antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Though there is limited evidence, some believe this tea may reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.

licorice tea
Liquorice root tea is known for its healing qualities.

Ginger Tea

Best for

  • Aiding digestion
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing congestion

This antiviral tea can aid in pain relief for menstrual cramps, indigestion and bloating and is a popular choice for reducing cold symptoms, including congestion. Ginger also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, with one study reporting 5% less oxidative stress-related kidney damage in the subjects that consumed ginger than those that didn’t.

Ginger tea
Photo Credit: Julia Topp on Unsplash

Green Tea

Best for

  • Skin health
  • Antioxidants

This aromatic beverage is a powerful option and its health benefits are a force to be reckoned with, ranging from aiding digestion, boosting brain function and supporting skin health. The antioxidants found in green tea are a driving force for preventing cancer and inflammation. This tea may also fight halitosis – studies have found green tea reduced the severity of bad breath by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

green tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants.

Nettle Tea

Best for

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Bone health

This tea, sourced from the stinging nettle plant, is a nutritional powerhouse, providing doses of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and it also contains all the nine essential amino acids. Like the other teas on this list, nettle tea provides free radical-fighting antioxidants which are vital for maintaining healthy cells and preventing the development of many illnesses.

Nettle tea
Photo Credit: Debby Hudson on Unsplash

While these choices all provide a range of health benefits, it is important to remember not all teas are safe for everyone and some teas may interact with one’s medication and, as such, it’s always best to check with your physician before making any dietary changes.

 

 

Attachment styles are how you have learned to love and communicate with others from early childhood, and it could be affecting you more than you know.

Attachment styles in relationships can be the root cause of arguments, abandonment issues, toxic behaviour, a lack of intimacy and poor communication, to name only a handful. They can be the result of the demise of relationships or repetitive bad habits that seem impossible to break. All of this can result in a sense of hopelessness or confusion as to why these negative feelings or situations keep arising.

The basics of attachment theory are that an infant must form a secure bond with a responsive parent from a very early age. If the infant’s physical and emotional needs are met, they will create a ‘secure’ attachment to their caregiver. This sense of security is essential in early development as this will stay with the child into adult life. A secure attachment style provides the security to form healthy relationships, communicate and navigate the world with a sense of confidence.

The kicker is, only 60% of parents provide infants with a genuinely secure attachment style. A lack of secure attachment can lead to difficulty showing vulnerability, asking for help, receiving affection, or trusting a partner.

So, if you’re struggling to open up to your spouse or frustrated with your best friend for asking for help, don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s just your insecure inner child.

So, what is your attachment style?

a couple sit cross legged next to one another one the road

There are four major attachment styles. Learning which one is yours may be the key to a healthier you and healthier relationships. People who identify and work with their attachment styles often have an easier time correcting negative behaviours. Your style is either:

1. Secure

As already mentioned, secure attachment styles generally have an easier time trusting and communicating their emotions. Therefore, giving and recieing affection usually isn’t an issue for secure types. As a secure type, chances are the lines of communication are pretty open for you in your relationships, and arguments do not easily arise.

2. Dismissive-avoidant

Perhaps you hate the feeling of relying on others, and when others are dependent on you, you think of them as ‘needy.’ Maybe over dinner your spouse has tried to peacefully resolve an unfinished argument from the week before. Instead of listening, you angrily accuse them of not letting go and shut down the conversation by leaving the table. It could be that you prioritise your career over your friendships, and as a result, you find yourself increasingly alone in life. These are self-preserving behaviours that can become toxic.

3. Anxious-preoccupied

Anxious attachment styles are often plagued with fears of abandonment. For example, you may wonder why your partner is being distant and moody, be convinced they are dissatisfied and worry that they are planning to leave you for something or someone better. These negative thoughts can quickly erupt into an argument. Maybe you are jealous and read your spouse’s text messages when they are asleep and later feel ashamed of your behaviour,

4. Fearful-avoidant

This attachment style is a combination of an anxious and avoidant attachment. For example, you might crave love and affection but feel uncomfortable receiving it. This can sometimes result in high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse and difficulty maintaining relationships.

Maybe you struggle to become close to people and can only maintain relationships under the influence of alcohol. You might self-sabotage by distancing yourself from others and look for affection in places you know you will not find it.

Doing an attachment style quiz might help you develop a sense of which feels more like yourself.

a couple sit next to one another on a couch

Attachment styles in relationships

At some point, you’ve encountered the term ‘law of attraction.’ The idea is that our positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative people into our world. Well, your attachment style may have more to do with this than you think.

If you fall into an anxious-avoidant or fearful-avoidant attachment style, maybe someone secure and dependable feels a little dull. Subconsciously, you can crave the unpredictability and chaos that you are used to receiving. Your caregivers might have been angry, dismissive of you, or made you feel like a burden, and yet, you loved them. Because this is what your internal blueprint of love is, it’s what you seek out in another partner.

For example, suppose you are an anxious person who craves love and fears abandonment. In that case, you may spend months or years waiting on an avoidant person to be committed in your relationship with no change. As a result, avoidant and anxious people frequently end up together. On the other hand, two highly avoidant people might spend time apart throwing themselves into their respective jobs and lack communication.

If unaware of your attachment style, it can be easy to enter relationships and friendships on autopilot and often not identify why the same problems are constantly encountered. It’s possible to repeat the same emotional habits throughout your life subconsciously. For example, anxiety, fear of abandonment, or a general lack of care can contribute to turmoil in friendships and marriages.

a couple sit next to one another outside. One is texting while the other tries to read over their shoulder

You can correct your attachment style

If this is all sounding a little depressing, don’t worry; attachment styles can be corrected. The best way to do this is by mindfully identifying how issues in relationships may be rooted in both party’s attachment styles. This gets to the heart of the problem and increases compassion and awareness for each person’s emotional needs.

The first step is to educate yourself and take an attachment style quiz, then read literature, self-reflect, and speak to a psychologist.

Other helpful tools are;

 1 . Meditation

Practices that increase mindfulness are invaluable in high-stress situations. Set aside time each day to do a mindfulness exercise or some breathwork. In the midst of difficult conversations, using these techniques helps regulate emotions to reflect on the issue properly.

2 . Journaling

Journaling is a great way to reflect on the past, your childhood, and things responsible for your stress, anxiety, or fears.

3. Practice self-care

Practicing self-care and learning to nurture yourself is crucial. Provide yourself with the love and care that may have been absent as a child, and you will be more equipped to provide this for others in your life.

4. Therapy

Lastly and most importantly, health care professionals recommend that you address your attachment style through therapy. Some psychologists specialize in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or trauma therapies. But, again, being open with a healthcare provider or doctor is the best way to find what you need.

Be gentle with yourself and the people that you care for. Often, unresolved trauma or neglect can be the root of obstacles in any relationship. Addressing this and healing can take time, patience and be hard work. Pushing through this to the other side will lead to more harmonious relationships and greater inner happiness.

a women sits on a therapists couch talking while the therapists hands are seen taking notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship and spiritual writer, Sheleana Aiyana, discusses how her experiences with abandonment and addiction helped her discover the advantages of conscious relationships, which she now shares with millions of people through her website, Rising Woman.

“Conflict is an opportunity for us to get to know our partner deeper, for us to learn how to get our needs met in a really honouring way.” – Sheleana Aiyana.

As a child, Sheleana grew up in and out of foster homes where she struggled with abandonment, addiction and abuse. Without a father present and a concept of what made a healthy relationship, Sheleana developed a fear for men and became naturally drawn to unsafe partners.

But during her divorce in her early 20s, Sheleana had a spiritual awakening that changed her life. She discovered how much she had been denying and suppressing her grief and childhood wounds and decided to make a change.

“I was in so much pain,” Sheleana says, “I was struggling with this abandonment wound that had been ripped open and I never want to feel that powerless or that out of control ever again. I felt so much pain in my body that I thought I’d die in my sleep.”

But through a range of spiritual teachings such as plant medicine, ancestral and shadow work, Sheleana turned her life around and now teaches millions of people every month about the benefits of self-awareness, reclaiming their true nature and having conscious relationships.

What is a conscious relationship?

“A conscious relationship is simply the act of witnessing our behaviours and noticing our stories. It’s noticing our minds rather than believing every thought we think,” Sheleana explains.

“We’re no longer seeing our partner as somebody who is designed to meet all our needs and do the things the way we want them to but instead they are there as a partner in life, an ally in our healing.”

In a conventional relationship, if someone triggers you it’s automatically something they did wrong and there’s something that person has to do in order to fix you. Whereas in a conscious relationship you’re wholly responsible for yourselves, you’re there to support your partner not to fix them.

Often in relationships, we become co-dependent on our partner, which can be dangerous for our health and wellbeing.

Whether it’s from getting into the pattern of caretaking or putting others needs before our own, it’s crucial to remember we’re not responsible for saving other people.

“I think one of the most beautiful gifts we can give people when they’re suffering or struggling, is to remind them of their own power and that we trust them to do the work and heal,” Sheleana explains.

“It allows us to create strong boundaries with ourselves and put our care and our own primary needs at the forefront because otherwise, we’re just self-abandoning.”

When we self-abandon, we don’t trust ourselves nor do we identify our boundaries or listen to our inner needs.

One could have a dream that’s really important to them to complete only to self-abandon it because it doesn’t work for someone else.

To avoid this, Sheleana says one could ask themselves the deeper question about what that person represents for you and how together, you can heal.

“It comes down to having a compass where you know what your boundaries are as well as what your non-negotiable red flags are,” she says.

Classic, conventional relationships can be viewed in a way that tells us that somebody has to right and somebody has to be wrong, or somebody has to win, and someone has to lose.

We believe flighting, and not seeing eye to eye on things is normal because we weren’t taught otherwise. What we’ve failed to understand though, is that conflict presents the opportunity to learn more about yourself and your partner.

“If we know what we want in the relationship and we can speak that out, then we can actually qualify people before getting into a deep relationship,” Sheleana explains.

“My husband and I had a lot of these conversations before we got together. We wrote letters, we revealed our traumas to each other and shared our life stories. We qualified what kind of relationship we wanted and what we needed to get there.”

While relationships can be difficult, seeking support doesn’t mean you’re failing but rather seeking an opportunity to improve and there are a lot of great support systems out there.

“Work with a teacher, therapist or somebody who’s aligned with your spiritual believes and makes you feel safe. I think it’s also really important to experiment with different healing modalities and find out what feels good for you,” Sheleana says.

“There doesn’t need to be shame when you turn over a stone and there doesn’t need to be shame when you go into the dark. It’s about reclaiming and really owning who are and accepting all your parts.”

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about Sheleana Aiyana and her work, you can watch Wellspring’s exclusive interview with her on our YouTube channel.

How to heal and prevent nappy rash in new-borns.

While common, the red and sore skin condition known as nappy rash can cause discomfort and distress for children under two.

If your child wears nappies, chances are they’ll develop nappy rash at some stage, so it’s critical you know how to deal with it.

How can it be caused?

Nappy rash can be caused by many things, but it mainly develops as a result of wearing a wet or dirty nappy for too long. When urine or faeces come in contact with a baby’s skin it causes a build-up of moisture which, along with friction and long wear, can cause irritation to the skin.

Wearing plastic pants or underwear can also cause and worsen nappy rash as it stops air from circulating around the skin.

Nappy rash can also occur consequently from a child having another skin condition such as eczema.

Sleeping baby.

Tips for treating nappy rash

The underlying, good thing about nappy rash is it generally goes away within a few days, provided you do some of the following.

Give your baby nappy-free time.

Airing your child’s bottom every day is a great way to avoid nappy rash because it helps the skin to dry out and heal.

You could try leaving a dry nappy or towel under your child for a couple of hours or even fasten the nappy looser to allow air to flow.

Change nappies frequently.

Check your baby’s nappy every hour or so, where possible, to ensure they’re not sitting in a mess and change it straight away if they are. Frequently changing their nappy means the area will stay dry and will start healing.

Mother playing with baby.

Keeping their skin clean.

After every nappy change, use lukewarm water and a delicate cloth to gently clean your baby’s skin.

Where possible, avoid using disposable wipes which can irritate children’s’ skin, especially if the preservatives are causing an allergic reaction.

Using a soap-free baby wash that’s gentle on the skin when bathing your baby is also beneficial.

Baby in bath.

Cloth nappies.

Reusable cloth nappies are problematic when it comes to nappy rash because they’re less absorbent than disposable ones. Plus if remains of soap or detergents are left on them it can cause the nappy rash to worsen.

However, if you prefer the cloth nappy, you can avoid these issues by thoroughly cleaning the nappy after every use and rinsing them in freshwater after they’ve been washed to remove any leftover residue.

Tip from a mother of four: If you want to use a cloth nappy but the moisture is an issue, try placing a woman’s pad inside the nappy for extra absorption.

Cloth nappies.

Creams and treatments.

Applying a gentle barrier cream such as Sudo, after every nappy change can be beneficial in eliminating the rash as they stop moisture from hitting it.

You can either purchase these at your local supermarket or drugstore without a prescription or contact your baby’s GP for a recommendation.

Avoid using talcum powder. It’s important not to put powders on your baby’s skin during this time as it can actually trap the moisture inside, preventing the rash from healing plus, it can be a breathing hazard for children.

A home remedy from a mother of four: “I used cornflour after a cream. Cornflour helps absorb moisture and stays on the surface, so lightly sprinkling some over your baby’s skin can help reduce the rash.”

However, if the rash continues after a few days, talk to your GP to find the right course of action.

Father changing new-borns nappy.

 

From the moment we are born, every experience and emotion we have ever felt is stored in the part of our mind called the subconscious. Intangible, immeasurable, and for the most part inaccessible, this portion of the human mind is complex and extremely important to our individual personal identities.

 

Our mind is like an iceberg. Floating in the ocean, we can only see what is above the surface of the water – and while this may be colossal in size, it only makes up a tiny ten percent of the total size of the iceberg. What is hidden underneath is nine times larger. Our conscious mind represents this ten percent of the iceberg in view, above the water, and our subconscious represents all that is below. The conscious mind is only a tiny portion of what is going on underneath.

The conscious mind is responsible for collecting information in our day-to-day life through our senses, which it relays back to the subconscious. The subconscious encompasses those activities we take for granted such as breathing, blinking and monitoring our temperatures, but it also stores every past experience, emotion, and thought we have ever had. Like the iceberg under the water, we can’t see or readily access the true depth and size of our incredibly powerful subconscious mind but it plays an extremely important role in all of our lives.

The capacity of the subconscious mind is incredible, with few limitations on how much it can store. According to motivational speaker, renowned self-development expert and author of Focal Point Brian Tracy, “By the time you reach 21, you’ve already stored more than one hundred times the content of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.”

smell taste touch neon sign

The subconscious mind is constantly active and responsible for an incredible amount of our human functions, actions, choices and personality. In psychological terms, the subconscious is a secondary mind system that stores everything we receive through our senses in a kind of data processing memory bank. It monitors information coming in from our conscious mind such as sight, taste, hearing and touch.

The two aspects of the mind – conscious and subconscious – communicate all the time. The elements that are processed by our conscious mind only stay in the subconscious if they are intensely emotional experiences. This is partly what makes the subconscious so powerful and important in its long-term effects on us as individuals.

What does the subconscious mind actually do?

The subconscious element of our minds covers more than just suppressed desires and forgotten traumatic memories that we are often told about at school. It is responsible for all of those day-to-day movements and activities that we take for granted or don’t even consciously recognise doing. For example, breathing, blinking and regulating our body temperatures are all acts we do subconsciously.

According to psychologist Havan Parvez, of PsychMechanics, the subconscious is always active, even when we sleep. It communicates with us through images and symbols in our dreams, relaying information we have encountered during the day or even from many years ago – the subconscious storage bank goes back as long as we have been processing information through our senses.

 

 

Another key function of the subconscious relates to our behaviour. It regulates our reactions, actions, decisions, and physical choices to fit with those it has previously established as ‘ours’. It keeps our thoughts and beliefs consistent, establishing our comfort zones and deeming what activities would suit them.

Brian Tracy, self-development author and motivational public speaker, states that the subconscious mind is what, “Makes (our) behaviour fit a pattern consistent with (our) emotionalised thoughts, hopes, and desires.”

Man and woman in love sitting close

 

Psychology blog, Mindsets, also claims our natural intuition arises from the subconscious, which uses our previous experience, emotions and memory to help us assess situations. If you have ever felt a ‘gut feeling’ or inexplicable sense about something, this is your subconscious mind communicating with you and sending you signals based on your own previous knowledge.

According to Yvonne Oswald’s book, Every Word Has Power, the subconscious mind does the following:
  1. Operates the physical body.
  2. Has a direct connection with the Divine.
  3. Remembers everything.
  4. Stores emotions in the physical body.
  5. Maintains genealogical instincts.
  6. Creates and maintains least effort (repeating patterns).
  7. Uses metaphor, imagery and symbols.
  8. Takes direction from the conscious mind.
  9. Accepts information literally and personally.
  10. Does not process negative commands.

How can we harness its power?

It is important to know the ways in which we can harness the power of our subconscious minds. Think about emotional experiences you have had that have impacted your future life. Can personal issues with trust, relationships, certain habits, that you currently have be traced back to an incident or experience you had in the past? This is your subconscious mind acting based on the intense emotions you felt during that time.

Woman looking into the sunriseOne of the most significant reasons why we should endeavour to use the power of our subconscious for our mental health is to clear emotional blockages and for the purposes of personal healing. According to Joseph Drumheller, award-winning author and leader in meditation, healing and education, we must be in the proper state of mind before exploring our subconscious. He suggests practising some detachment when considering our emotional charges or particular feelings in isolation. Distance your rational mind from these emotions. Then it becomes easier, and safer, to push into these feelings a little deeper.

Drumheller says that letting yourself explore and feel your emotions as they arise or as you consider certain aspects of your life is important when working on your subconscious. Through your detachment from these emotions, start to think about them more critically. Take mental note of when a certain thought, image, noise, or memory triggers a particular emotion. From this point, we can start to ask ourselves why we feel this emotion, and if from our space of mental detachment, we can see that it may not be warranted, we can start to let the feeling go. As the emotion grows fainter and less raw, we are letting go of this emotional charge and clearing some weight from our subconscious.

This method is useful to try, but the results can differ from person to person. Drumheller suggests that if we are stuck with a particular emotional charge that is difficult to shift, or we begin to lose ourselves in the feelings of that emotion, then there is another method to try. Visualise a large scared object or symbol such as a flower or a cross hovering directly in front of you. Imagine that it holds immense power. Start to think about each of your emotions and visualise this object pulling the force of these emotions out of your heart and mind, drawing them into itself. In this way the power has been transferred to the object rather than your mind in releasing the emotional charge and is a good method for beginners or those struggling with release.

Further suggestions

There is an extensive array of literature, podcasts and other resources available for information and guidance regarding our subconscious. Several books written on the subject are available as audiobooks which can be a fantastic way to engage with the material.

Based on readership ratings, the following books are recommended:

  • The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  • Beyond the Power of your Subconscious Mind by C. James Jenson
  • The Subconscious Mind: How to Use the Hidden Power of Your Mind to Reach Your Goals by Linda Siegmund

Exploring your subconscious is something that can be done privately but is also worthwhile when done with the assistance of a mental health professional such as a psychologist. Those trained in this field can guide you, provide suggestions, and offer support should you need it.

Therapies for your subconscious such as Private Subconscious-mind Healing (P.S.H) are also available for more guided or targeted exploration of the subconscious. This therapy is non-invasive, extremely gentle in its approach, and is designed to assist in resolving underlying subconscious problems that are affecting our day to day lives.