Updated: Jan 17, 2022
Looking back to when I was struggled with my own chronic health issues, I realize that I was so disconnected from my own body.
I suffered from painful bloating, indigestion, fatigue, brain fog, acne, anxiety, inflammation, & more on a daily basis, all of which caused me to not want to exist in my own body. Struggling with these symptoms deeply affected my mental health, created food fears, anxiety around eating, & high stress.
I felt hopeless and left without answers as I ran from doctor to doctor to try and find a solution to my problems. I felt failed by conventional medicine, and I knew there had to be another way to take back control of my own health.
So, I started making changes. I cleaned up my diet, took natural supplements and vitamins to support my healing, but yet I still didn't feel 100% better...
What was missing?...the mind-body connection!
The amount of pain and struggle my body experienced everyday took an extreme toll on my mind that the two had become so disconnected. This high amount of stress and mental exhaustion from battling these health issues left my body on autopilot, going thru the motions of life without any direction... My mind wasn't giving it the direction it needed!
The key for me to finally take back control of health was to strengthen the mind-body connection and rebuild a positive relationship with and mindset around food, which had become damaged over the course of my battle with stomach issues.
If you're feeling like you made all the healthy dietary changes, you may be missing this key piece to healing. By implementing these simple lifestyle habits, you can strengthen your mind-body connection and create a positive relationship with food to get you back to feeling your best.
MEDITATE. Most of us live extremely fast-paced, stressful lives, always "on" and always connected to our screens. This high stress life can keep our bodies stuck in a "sympathetic" state of fight-or-flight which can lead to chronic inflammation, pain, mental exhaustion, fatigue, and more. By taking just a few minutes (5-10) to slow down, quiet the mind, and connect with your breath, you can bring your body back into a "parasympathetic" or relaxed state to support the body's natural ability to heal. Meditation is one of the most powerful healing tools to reconnect the mind and body and improve ability to respond to stress. I like using Insight Timer app which is a free!
MORNING POSITIVE AFFIRMATION. It's not unlikely when struggling with health issues to constantly think negative thoughts. When we're in pain or exhausted or dealing with any symptoms from a health condition, it truly does take a toll on the mind. But, because we attract what we think, if we are stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts, we can ultimately stay stuck in our cycle of health issues, too! Breaking this cycle and shifting to a more positive mindset simply by starting your day with a positive affirmation can really improve not only your mental health, but physical health as well. Something as simple as writing an affirmation that resonates with you on a post-it note and leaving it somewhere you'll see every morning or reciting it in your head while brushing your teeth can be game changer. Some positive affirmations you can use are: "I want to feel (insert positive emotion here) today", "I fuel my body to feel good", "food nourishes me and allows me to feel good", "my body is my home and I feel safe".
JOURNAL. Oftentimes, negative thoughts can remain stuck in our minds causing us to repeat them over and over. As thoughts are something we really can't see physically, externalizing them by writing them down on paper can help us to see them, making it easier to get them out of our heads! Journaling is a great way to break from from negative thoughts and shift towards a more positive mindset which will have a positive impact on your body's healing process. Schedule 5-10 minutes in the morning or before bed or just when you feel in a state of stress to write down your thoughts and see how your mindset changes. I just started using the Silk + Sonder journal, which I'm absolutely loving and highly recommend to start journaling!
KEEP TRACK OF HOW FOODS MAKE YOU FEEL. Part of being in control of your body and health is knowing what makes you feel good and what makes you feel not so good. Because each person's body is different, what makes you feel good may not make the person next to you feel good, so understanding your body's individual needs is key to feeling good! The best way to do this is to keep track of what you eat and drink, physical activity, mood, energy, and bathroom habits for at least a week. This will give you the best picture and allow you to draw patterns between what you eat and how you feel and any symptoms you experience. This should not create more stress, but if it does, work with a specialist who can help you navigate through it with ease! (It's okay to ask for help when you need it!).
EAT SLOWLY & MINDFULLY. Most of us eat WAY too fast without actually enjoying the food we're eating. This prevents the brain from signaling the digestive system to fire up and prepare for food, comprising digestion. It also leaves us out of touch with our body's needs as it's easier to over-eat or under-eat! When we slow down and actually enjoy the food we're eating, we optimize digestion and can be more aware of our satiety. Some helpful ways to start eating more slowly and mindfully are to block out time for meals, make sure to sit at a table away from distractions (work, phone, etc), take 3 deep breathes before eating, and chew 20-30 times each bite. These small changes allow for better digestion and absorption of the foods we eat.
FUEL YOUR BODY TO FEEL GOOD. Diet culture leaves us believing that we need to restrict our bodies of food in order to look and feel good. This couldn't be any further from the truth! When we restrict ourselves, we often leave our bodies malnourished and lacking nutrients. Without food, our organ systems can't function optimally, leading to imbalances which overtime lead to health issues. Food becomes the devil and eating becomes a stressful event which further disconnects the mind-body connection. When we change our perspective to view food as fuel instead of as something harmful or inhibiting to our bodies, we become more in tune with our needs and are more likely to achieve our health goals with ease while feeling good along the way! When we focus on fueling our bodies to feel good rather than for any other purpose, the change happens naturally because our bodies are receiving the nutrients needed to function optimally and truly thrive!
These simple tips can make a world of difference when it comes to your mental and physical health. Start by implementing one that feels easier to you, and as it becomes a part of your life, you can incorporate others! The more you can do to shift your mindset and strengthen your mind-body connection, the easier it is to feel good and return to optimal health.
If you're someone who has struggled with health issues for far too long and has tried EVERYTHING with no relief, schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consultation to learn how Nutritional Therapy can help you take back control of your health and feel confident in your body again! Visit JTHwellness.com to book your consultation today!
Jenn Horowitz, FNTP, CPT, CES is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Personal Trainer, and Corrective Exercise Specialist who works to address the root cause of illness. Jenn is the founder of JTH Wellness, a holistic nutrition and wellness practice, specializing in helping people with stomach issues, disordered eating, and weight management problems, take back control of their health through 1:1 nutrition and lifestyle counseling. Jenn works to teach others how to live a balanced lifestyle that allows them to achieve their goals while enjoying life. Learn more about Jenn’s nutrition counseling services and schedule a free 15-minute discovery session by visiting her website, http://www.JTHwellness.com.