15 Oct 10 Things This Functional Medicine Expert Does Daily To Proactively Protect Mental Health
via Mind Body Green by William Cole
Being wired and tired sucks. In fact, this has become so commonplace in our society that we don’t always realize that’s how we actually feel. And in my experience, until we hit pause and focus on our mental well-being, the way we feel mentally will start to affect how we feel physically—if it hasn’t already.
After starting one of the first telehealth functional medicine clinics in the world over a decade ago, I found myself struggling with this very thing. Stress and anxiety started to creep into my life, and I knew I had to make a change.
As a functional medicine practitioner. I know that mental health is physical health. Being stuck in a chronic state of stress can raise inflammation levels and mess with your gut health, hormones, immune system, brain health, and so much more.
I decided that in order to protect my mental health I had to practice what I teach my patients and implement certain tools in my daily life. Here are a few of the things I now do to proactively protect my own mental well-being:
1. I prioritize my sleep.
I worked hard to rehab my sleep routine to ensure I get seven (or more) hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. This allows me to show up as my best self for me, my work, and my relationships. I have cultivated a bedtime ritual that works for me and includes meditating for 15 minutes before bed, sleeping with a weighted blanket, and diffusing essential oils like lavender while I sleep.
2. I limit my sphere of influence.
The biggest thing I have learned over the last year is to not take criticism from someone I wouldn’t also take advice from. Even though endless opinions and criticism come with the territory of having a social media platform and working with the public, I try not to take any of it to heart. I only actively listen to critiques from a select few people in my life who are living a life of authenticity that I aspire to.
3. I do daily breathing exercises.
No matter how proactive I am with protecting my mental health, life happens, and sometimes things come up that are stressful. But instead of letting it take over and ruin my whole day, I use tools like breathing exercises to calm my mind and body to re-center me in the present moment.
When I need a little reset, box breathing is a simple way to practice conscious breathing wherever I am. Simply breathe in for four seconds and out for four seconds, then repeat. (More on the box breathing technique here.)
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