Do you ever feel like you have little control over your mind?
Have you ever been in a rut with negative thinking?? a.k.a Stinkin’ Thinkin’?
This is actually a very important topic and probably a topic that does not get enough of our attention. Our minds are very powerful! I know that this will not be the first time you have heard this concept, but the majority of the time that is all that happens, we hear it, and it is in one ear, out the other.
This topic keeps weighing heavy on me- it is an area that I could use some work in, and I also find it very pertinent with many of the people we are taking care of here at Mint Health
. I want to encourage you to actually read this message and try to implement a change in your daily life with making more of an effort to correct negative thoughts and start to go through your day with the choice of a more positive outlook. We all have room to improve even if some of us are already practicing this.
Did you know that your mind actually works better when you are having positive thoughts? Negative thoughts can literally impair processing speed in the cerebellum, and memory, creativity, and coordination can take a dip.
I love the analogy Dr. Amen uses- Kill the ANTs. Dr. Amen is a world renowned psychiatrist and neuroscientist, and he has written many best selling books helping people have healthy brains. Dr. Amen coined the mnemonic- ANTs for Automatic Negative Thoughts.
Do any of you have a problem with this… negative thoughts creeping in on your day? (imagine me barely raising my hand in the audience….. I’m guilty but not proud). This is why I’m following Dr. Amen’s suggestion of carrying ANT killer around with me! We have to kill the ANTs.
We Become What We Think About Most.
Are we focused on how un-well we feel, or how un-happy we are at work or home?? Learning to influence how we feel through positive thoughts was a big take away point with me in one of my most recent reads- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He talked about setting the stage for a good day and how that even starts the night before. He used the example- when you are going to sleep, start telling yourself, ‘I’m not going to be tired tomorrow’, ‘I’m going to wake up full of energy and ready to start my day!’ Try it!
This message of “managing your thoughts” keeps showing up in my life; changing the way we think to have a happier and more positive outlook on life is REALLY POWERFUL and REALLY IMPORTANT for our health. It is not the easiest, most natural mindset for some of us, but negative thoughts will make you sick and miserable! If you wake up thinking my ‘this’ hurts, my ‘that’ hurts, etc, then you aren’t going to feel well. You can call these types of thoughts- Stickin’ Thinkin’ and you can learn to do less of this.
We know that positive thoughts release endorphins and the opposite it true of negative thoughts; when you are feeling bad, hopelss, angry, helpless, your brain releases chemicals that make your muscles more tense, your breathing rate increases and gets shallow, your hands get cold, and your heart rates slows down.
At Mint Health
, we are always striving to help people balance their health through a comprehensive approach. Our emotions are a big part of the comprehensive approach. If we ignore this aspect, it really will be hard to get well.
Another point that I’d like to make is that sometimes our thoughts are not true! Yes, I’m asking you to acknowledge that sometimes we lie to ourselves. When we don’t acknowledge and address these negative thoughts that are not true, we start to believe the thought and this limits us and hurts us. I’ve heard these types of thoughts be called ‘limiting beliefs.’
I’ll give you a few examples-
- Thinking someone is mad at you when you don’t know if they are truly mad at you
- Thinking and/or saying you can’t do something- ie quitting smoking, giving up sodas, giving up gluten or dairy.
- Thoughts like- my husband NEVER helps with things around the house, or my child is ALWAYS sarcastic, or I have to do ALL of the work for the kids.
- Other favorites- I don’t have time to exercise, or I can’t eat healthy when I’m _____.
If we are really honest with ourselves, a lot of these thoughts are lies….. limiting beliefs that keep us in a rut and from making changes in our life that supports health and overall improved quality of life. I encourage you to start addressing these thoughts; call yourself out- “Wait! Is is really true that my husband never does anything around the house??” Then talk back to this thought and correct it and surround it with something positive.
You can give yourself reminders- put a sticky note with a positive thought (something you are trying to work on) on your bathroom mirror, on your dashboard of your car, anywhere in the house where you spend a lot of time and need a reminder. Practice this every day for 10 weeks to help make this healthy way of thinking your new norm. This could be one of the most important things you do for yourself.
So besides learning to manage negative thoughts and incorporate positive thoughts, if this isn’t something that comes naturally to you, what other things can you do and should you do to help keep a health brain-
- Limiting alcohol
- Avoiding processed foods, fast foods.
- Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Eating foods that are low glycemic.
- Staying well hydrated
- Making sure you have enough omega 3s
- Making sure you don’t have sleep apnea
- Avoiding injuries to the brain
- Managing stress
- Doing brain exercises like reading, crossword puzzles, coordination exercises like dance, etc
At Mint Health
, we often go a lot deeper with patient’s to help with restoring balance and optimizing health. Regarding brain health, we pay particular attention when there is a family history of dementia or when people have warning signs that their brain is already not working as well such as poor concentration or poor memory.
It often seems easier to work on nutrition, exercise, and lab values than on our mindset, but this is a big part of the puzzle for your health and happiness!! We all know someone with an outlook that makes us envious.
If you are interested in a more comprehensive approach to your health where we work on identifying deep rooted imbalances that are setting you up for genetic predispositions to disease and also keeping you from feeling your best, I encourage you to make an appointment for a Functional Medicine consult
It works, and you can do it! Think positive 😉
We love helping people have happier, healthier lives!
Renee NP and the Mint Health Team
White Chocolate “Cheese”cake (Vegan)
By: Erica Humble
2 cups Raw Almonds
½ cup Ground Flax Seed
½ tsp Cinnamon
1/3 cup Raw Local Honey
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla extract (alcohol free)
1 ½ cup Raw Cashews (soaked overnight)
6 Tbsp Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Lemon Zest
6 Tbsp Raw Local Honey
1 tsp Vanilla extract (alcohol free)
¼ tsp Sea Salt
6 Tbsp (90 g) Raw Cocoa Butter
6 Tbsp (90 g) Coconut Oil
Prepare the crust by adding all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until desired consistency. Press firmly into pie pan or baking dish lined with parchment paper.
For the filling add the cashews, coconut milk, lemon juice, zest, honey, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend until creamy.
In a glass measuring bowl melt together the cocoa butter and coconut oil. Add to the blender, blend again. Pour into your crust. It will be thin.
Freeze for at least 4 hours or refrigerate overnight then store in the refrigerator. Serve with fresh berries.
Modifications: Increase lemon zest and juice, and omit cocoa butter (add more Coconut oil or coconut cream) for a lemon cream cheesecake
For a chocolate version add 2 Tbsp cacao powder to the crust, omit lemon zest, add 6 Tbsp Cacao powder to Filling.