Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{Exercise & Emotional Wellness} and GIVEAWAY!!

Hello again!!

It's been a little bit since the last post in the Emotional Wellness series, our daughter Ava had a heart procedure done through the Cath Lab up at Duke University to close an ASD hole that she has had since she was a baby. It went SO WELL :) Praising God for everything and for His hand over Ava through all of it! 

Now that things have slowed down a little bit I am excited to share the last post of the Emotional Wellness series and also for the giveaway at the end :) I love giveaways and I am so excited to get to share some of these tools with you!!

Today we are going to look at Exercise & Emotional Wellness! 

  • How does exercise help with anxiety and depression?

  • What are some things that we can be actively be doing with our bodies to support healthy thought processes and emotions?


Here is an excerpt of an article from Mercola that shares some very exciting research that has been done with active mice and sedentary mice comparing their stress responses. The results are VERY exciting:

"Exercise is known to create new excitable neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in thinking and emotions.
This would suggest that exercise might induce anxiety in physically active people, but, ironically, research shows that exercise is associated with reduced anxiety and calmness.
The reason for these seemingly incompatible exercise effects was recently explored by Princeton University, who appear to have revealed, as the New York Times put it, “an eye-opening demonstration of nature’s ingenuity.”1

Exercise Creates New Excitable Brain Cells… and Quiets Them When Necessary

Newly formed ‘young’ neurons can be prone to easy excitement, making them quite efficient at inducing anxiety. Physical exercise creates excitable new neurons in abundance, which is beneficial in the long run, but would be expected to increase anxiety rates in the short term.
However, a new animal study comparing running mice with sedentary mice found that while the exercising animals’ brains ‘teemed with many new, excitable neurons,’ they also contained new neurons designed to release a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA inhibits excessive neuronal firing.

This helps to induce a natural state of calm.2 Commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan, Xanax and Valium actually exert a calming effect in this same manner, by boosting the action of GABA.
Exercise appears to go one step further, however, as when the mice were later exposed to a stressful situation, the study found that the exercising mice, as opposed to the sedentary mice, responded with only an initial rush of anxiety, followed by calm. What all of this suggests, one of the study’s authors noted:3
 “ … is that the hippocampus of runners is vastly different from that of sedentary animals. Not only are there more excitatory neurons and more excitatory synapses, but the inhibitory neurons are more likely to become activated, presumably to dampen the excitatory neurons, in response to stress.
… I think it’s not a huge stretch to suggest that the hippocampi of active people might be less susceptible to certain undesirable aspects of stress than those of sedentary people.”

Such exciting news and so encouraging for anyone who has some level of anxiety or depression. By being physically active our bodies are actually being prepared to be able to have a healthier stress response when stressors do come {not a matter of if but when right?}. 



"If you struggle with anxiety, you really can’t go wrong with starting a comprehensive exercise program – virtually any physical activity is likely to have positive effects, especially if it’s challenging enough. That said, Duke University researchers recently published a review of more than 100 studies that found yoga appears to be particularly beneficial for mental health.6 Lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center told Time Magazine:7
“Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”

According to their findings, yoga appears to have a positive effect on:
  • Mild depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Schizophrenia (among patients using medication)
  • ADHD (among patients using medication)
Some of the studies in the review suggested yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and boosting serotonin. Separate research also found that three months of regular yoga sessions resulted in less anxiety and depression, with anxiety scores falling from an average of 34 (on a scale of 20-80) to an average of 25."
To do yoga on your own at home there are some classes available on YOUTUBE to get started with!

Circuit Training 
This can be done with body weight movements so that you are ready for a workout wherever you happen to be :) or if you have something near by to use as a weight that would work as well.
Choose how many repetitions of each movement you would like to do {10 is a good place to start}
Choose how many rounds you would like to do {3 is a good place to start if you are just beginning - better to start off nice and easy than to overdo it. Even a little exercise has shown to go a long way in helping with anxiety and depression.}
Choose 3 - 5 Movements such as: 
Jumping Jacks
Push Ups
or have fun creating your own movements - just make sure to keep good posture through out in order to protect your back from injury {no rounded back or slouching}. 
Here is a great circuit style OUTDOOR WORKOUT video from Jenni Hulburt {see her WEBSITE for additional great ideas on healthy eating, motivation, workouts and using essential oils!}

Running and/or Walking
Even 10 minutes of exercise has been shown to have an impact on anxiety and depression. So no need to feel that you can't do enough to see benefits from this, anything you do is a GREAT step! When you have a few minutes away from work or when you might be outside with the kiddos just take a few minutes to do a few laps around the yard.
Or you can mix it up by doing some intervals {run for a certain amount of time or a certain distance and then walk for that same time or distance, run again, walk again for as many times as you are ready to do}. This is a great way to make a game of it and at the same time getting your body moving and receiving the benefits of working out both emotionally and physically. 

There are lots of other options for working out, these are just a few ideas! Feel free to be creative and make up your own workouts with things that you enjoy doing, even in the places you enjoy being. Remember every step is important no matter how big or small it may seem at the time. For today do what is do-able for you right now, have fun with it and enjoy the benefits of being places you love to be and being active! 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope and pray this has been helpful and encouraging for you on your journey!! Please feel free to send a message over on this - - - - - - - > side of the screen with any questions that might have popped up or for more information on anything that was covered in this series. 
To be entered into the GIVEAWAY that will happen this Friday feel free to leave a comment below! The giveaway will include a copy of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand gifts, a bottle of DoTERRA's Citrus Bliss Essential Oil blend and a jar of Better Body Coconut Oil to add to your own toolbox at home :) Looking forward to this! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

{Nutrition & Emotional Wellness} and GIVEAWAY!

Hello again everyone!

I am really excited to share with you about this topic again because it is one that hits close to home for me and because I have seen first hand how nutrition and supplements can make a HUGE difference in how I feel emotionally and mentally.

I like to picture what life would have been like way back when the earth was new to help me understand what my body needs today. There are several things that have changed over all of these years that are effecting us now in more ways than we might realize and even with how we are feeling emotionally.

  • What animals are eating
  • What we are eating or not eating
But one thing for sure has stayed the same

  • What we need 
So what does our body need each day to help us to function well both physically and mentally/emotionally?

Web MD states that "Nutrients in foods support the body's repair, growth, and wellness. Nutrients we all need include vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and even a small amount of fat."

When we don't get these nutrients things can begin to go a little haywire in our bodies. Some vitamins and components in particular that greatly impact our emotional health are:

  • Vitamin B6 comes from foods such as avocados, walnuts and hazelnuts
  • Vitamin B12 comes from foods such as sardines, eggs, cheese and many kinds of fish.
  • Folate comes from vegetables such as broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables as well as fruits     such as cantaloupe and strawberries. 
  • Vitamin D comes from being exposed to sunlight and is created in our bodies.
  • Vitamin C comes from fruits such as oranges, green and red peppers, strawberries, mangoes and cantaloupe.

  •  Going back to that picture of what it would have been like back in the day to give us an idea of what is ideal for our bodies - we wouldn't have had this information about which vitamins and minerals we need but we would have eaten the things that were around us and natural to us. I don't know exactly what it would have been like but we can know for sure we would have only eaten natural foods from the earth. Back then there weren't the choices we have today. We would have eaten what was available and depending on where we lived that could have been some sort of protein (land animals, fish, etc.), fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. There would have been no means of processing anything or altering anything so there would not have been any artificial ingredients, processed ingredients, chemicals added or modified ingredients. The only things available were the things naturally grown on and from the earth, gifts to us :) The animals were also eating the things that they naturally tend to eat (grass, algae, etc.). Because the animals were eating the things they naturally eat they were most likely healthy and in return the people eating these animals were able to get all of the nutrition they needed from the plants and animals that got great nutrition.

    A lot has changed today though and we aren't necessarily able to get the nutrients our bodies need from the food available around us. This is something that is great for us to be aware of as we go about our days and make choices about the things we eat. Having this picture will hopefully help! 

    With all of these changes that have occurred what are some things we can do to help us receive the nutrients that we need each day to help us function well physically and mentally?

    Whole Foods:
    • Eat meat, eggs and fish from sources that were raised in their natural conditions and fed their natural food source so that you are able to get the most nutrients possible. There is a wide range of different qualities of meats (organic grass fed, organic vegetarian fed, natural, etc.). Each family has a good fit for them and where they are right now! Don't feel like it needs to be 100%, each step forward is a good one :)
      • Eggs are a great choice since they contain Vitamin B12
      • Wild caught fish can also be a good choice once a week or so to help increase your intake of Omega 3s.
      • Grass Fed Beef also contains Omega 3s as well as Vitamins B12 and B6
    • Eat a wide range of vegetables and fruits. Lots of great vitamins and minerals that our bodies need! Folate is one that seems to have quite an impact on our emotional health. Here is what one source has to say about Folate - "When a person is low in folate they can have an increased risk of depression, insomnia and mental fatigue. To get enough folic acid, eat or drink raw dark, green leafy and colourful vegetables". The wider the range the better :)
      • Fruits such as strawberries, cantaloupe, mangoes and oranges.
      • Vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, red and green bell peppers, avocados and broccoli. 
    • Avoid processed foods, soda, artificial sweeteners as much as possible - again it doesn't have to be 100%, just what is doable for you now!
    • Supplement the food you eat with a multi vitamin to help you get enough Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate and Vitamin D that have been linked with feelings of depression and anxiety when there is a deficiency. 
      • Vitamin D3 (during the winter months you might want to look into supplementing with additional Vitamin D3. You can supplement up to 4,000 IU if you are not receiving plenty of direct sunlight each day. Even supplementing 1,000 IU per day in addition to your multi vitamin can give you a great boost! Just make sure to not overdo it since it can be toxic at very high levels. Somewhere around 4,000 IU per day is a safe maximum.)

    • Supplementing with Omega 3s in the form of fish oil is a GREAT option since buying meat or fish that has high amounts of these fatty acids can be difficult to find and also more expensive.
      • When supplementing with Omega 3s in the form of fish oil we want to make sure we are getting the best option for our investment, to do this look for:
        • Oils that come from wild caught fish (sardines and anchovies as the best options to avoid heavy metals)
        • Oils that have been purified and tested for heavy metals and contain little to none
        • Oils that are processed using gentle methods to extract the fish oil, including low heat (this helps to maintain the natural components of the fish oil so that we can receive the great benefits when we use this as a supplement).
        • Oils that have high EPA and DHA amounts and a ratio that is close to 1:1.
      • Here is a great page from the Whole 30 website about Fish Oil. and FAQ.
      • Another great article on Omega 3s from the DoTERRA Blog.
    • Brands That Are Reliable
      • DoTERRA, Nordic Naturals, Rainbow Light Multivitmins

    IQmega Fish Oil - provides 600 mg EPA and 400 DHA mg of pure, heavy metal free fish oil!
    Lifelong Vitality Pack (Vitamins, Minerals, Omegas & Essential Oils for support) 

    A2Z Children's MultiVitamin

    I just started takng Omega 3s and Vitamin D again just about 2 days ago and I have already felt a huge difference in how I have been feeling emotionally - feeling less anxious through out the day and when I do it's at times that would naturally elicit that kind of response, not just feeling that way for most of the day without a reason. Thankful for these tools to help us get the things our bodies need! One step at a time, every step forward is an important one! 

    Hope this was helpful for you all! If you have any questions feel free to message me over on this side -----> and I will get back to you! 

    p.s. I will add an item to the giveaway to help with nutrition also along with Anne Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts! To enter just leave a comment below saying hi and if you feel lead to share this on your Facebook page let me know that you did so in your comment and you will receive an extra entry :)

    Have a great week everyone! Next time we will be going over essential oils and how they can help with anxiety and depression, looking forward to it!

    **Note I am not a medical doctor and can not diagnose any condition. Please make sure to make choices that you are comfortable with and consult a doctor before making any changes to your supplements or diet if you are pregnant, nursing or on medication. Thank you!