June 2019 Newsletter Re-post
I do hope this newsletter finds you well. As I write this first sentence, I realize we often say that we wish each other well or we ask if all is well and then that is the end of the conversation. And many times it can be just a formality in business and social situations. I mention this because we really do need to ask ourselves, friends and family the question and we need to get an honest answer. The following actually happened:
Doctor: “How are you doing?”
Patient: “I am feeling a little depressed lately”
Doctor: “Well you are in good company. Many people your age feel this way from time to time”
This is not an acceptable conversation and it does not need to be this way. Luckily the patient found a new doctor and great resources.
May was mental health month but June (and every month) is the time to put lessons into play. We all deserve to feel as good as we can and to do that, we need to focus on our mental health all year long. And we need to make sure our friends and family are safe too – sadly hindsight is 20/20 so ask early.
Butterflies in your stomach.
We all use phrases that tie a thought or feeling to our gut, but have you ever thought about why? Why do these things in our brain cause our stomach to feel different? It is because our brain and gut are actually linked and communicate constantly. And now, we have the science to back it. Recently, researchers in the Netherlands (institute and study) pinpointed specific gut bacteria that correlate positively or negatively with mental health and quality of life – your gut plays a role in depression and anxiety and so much more.
Now days the is a lot of talk about gut issues and there is a lot of talk about brain issues. The great thing is that what is good for your gut is good for your brain and your aid in your mental wellbeing.
What is good for your gut is good for your brain.
Think about how a bad meal (the food, the conversation, the company) can make you feel. Once in awhile this happens, your body responds and then it moves on. But if there are chronic stressors your body can only take so much and eventually it is going to break. The biggest stressor is inflammation which can occur due to the foods we choose or company we keep as well as our lifestyle and ability to manage stress.
Inflammation in our gut can cause issues with many, many things but since your brain and our gut are always talking it will always affect our mood, behavior and mental health. There is no way around it. You must resolve the inflammation, or you will never be fully healthy. So get to the root of the cause. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions to support you and your (mental) health:
The 80-15-5 rule
- 80% of the time eat as best that you can (set yourself up for a win)
- 15% of the time choose “better than average” options
- 5% of the time eat what you wish and have fun doing it (fun is key to this working)
Do not be afraid to ask for help – any help
Check out all of the online resources. Here are a few sites but look for local support too:
Actually call a friend (no texting)
Watch something funny – movie night with popcorn
Dance, singing or play your instrument – do all 3
Find a hobby, a sport or both
Volunteer – helping people makes everyone feel better
In closing, a word to the wise: “The road to health is paved with good intestines” – Sherry A. Rogers, MD (My husband says there is nothing worse that nutrition humor but if you laugh and learn it is worth it.)
Have a great month!