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Life's reset button

Kate Rhéaume, ND

Special to the Village News

Feeling sluggish and burned out, and reaching for the “Life Reset Button” only to realize there isn’t one? Fortunately, there is a course of action anyone can take to start fresh, stay balanced, and feel rejuvenated, and the best news is, it’s not complicated.

Let us start with movement. Being active is the most cost-effective mood booster and stress buster money can buy. Exercise is as effective as medication in treating low mood and helps reshape brain structure to maintain a healthy disposition. A brisk walk releases feel-good endorphins. So, whether you choose a yoga class or a walk around the block, make time to move your body daily.

Mindfulness is another simple, yet powerful tool for rejuvenating the mind and body; it is the practice of being present in the moment without judgment. Learning to turn down the volume of the running monologue in your head can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and noticing the sensations in your body, which changes your focus from thinking to feeling.

Being mindful reduces emotional exhaustion (a.k.a. burnout), and can even improve sleep quality. If you need reminders to be mindful, try apps like Headspace, Calm, or HealthyMinds, or tie a colored string around your wrist – every time you see it, make a point of being in the moment.

A positive outlook also provides a solid foundation for robust physical and mental health. Like mindfulness, an optimistic mindset is a practice, not a switch to flip. It is the habit of looking for the good in people and situations instead of assuming the worst, which is an unsubstantiated panacea. Evidence-based science states that mindset can affect health at the cellular level and that people who practice “glass half full” thinking can even lower their biological age.

Adopting an expansive mindset does not mean being Pollyanna or simply putting on a happy face – far from it. Suppressing negative feelings worsens stress and even promotes inflammation. One way to cultivate a positive outlook is to practice gratitude, which can be as simple as writing three things you are grateful for daily.

Omega-3 fatty acids are another essential component of a healthy mind and body. These healthy fats are found in fatty fish like salmon, as well as in walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds.

Omega-3s have been shown to balance inflammation to support brain function and mood. If you’re not getting enough omega-3s in your diet, consider taking a supplement. Look for a high-quality fish oil supplement that contains at least 1000 mg of EPA and DHA, the two most important omega-3s.

Finally, what is all the fuss and confusion around coffee? There is a misconception that we should forgo it for optimal health. But freshly brewed coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants, compounds that help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Other sources of antioxidants are brightly coloured fruits and veggies, herbs, and spices. Besides its antioxidant-rich content, coffee improves cognitive function. Just be sure to enjoy your coffee in moderation, as too much caffeine can cause jitteriness, anxiety, and insomnia.

Feeling like ourselves again can be easy and inexpensive. Adding simple things like exercise, mindfulness, positivity, gratitude, omega-3 fatty acids, and freshly brewed coffee to our daily routines allows us to rejuvenate ourselves from the inside out. So take a deep breath, enjoy that cup of coffee without guilt, and start taking small steps toward a healthier, happier you.

Dr. Kate Rhéaume graduated from McMaster University and completed her professional training at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, class of 2002. She followed with a two-year residency during which she taught classes and supervised at various teaching clinics.

 

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