Cultivate Wellness...grow your garden
By Heather Smith, Nourish Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching
Wellness. It’s one of the biggest buzzwords around at the moment, but what does it mean? If you search for a definition you’re likely to find “the active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life”. You’ll also likely find the World Health Organization boldly states that wellness is a “complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease…”.
For me, wellness is something dynamic, a continuous process of change and growth, something you cultivate like a garden – you prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, feed it and nurture it to ensure healthy growth. Not sure where to start? Here are my top five ways to begin growing your wellness garden.
Five ways to cultivate wellness in your life every day:
1. NOURISH YOURSELF. Eating whole foods and hydrating your body are great ways to tend to your inner garden. Just like the seedling requires water, nutrients from the soil and attention to grow, your body requires real nourishment to function and perform at its best. Refined carbs, sugars, alcohol and other poor dietary choices rob your system of vital nutrients needed to get and keep you well. Swap that pasta dish for a bowl of zucchini “noodles” and that glass (or three) of vino for a bottle of sparkling water. You’ll be amazed at the difference small changes each week can make.
2. MOVE YOUR BODY. We all know exercise is good for us, but are you actually doing it? Our bodies are built to move and yet many of us spend most of the day sitting at desks or in traffic and our evenings slouched in front of the telly. Studies show that regular physical exercise not only makes you healthier, but can also make you happier by releasing our “happy hormones” called endorphins. The more rigorous the exercise, the greater the release of endorphins, but you don’t have to pound it out at the gym every day to cultivate wellness in your life. Simple things like walking, stretching and tai chi, which combines movement and relaxation, will benefit both the mind and body. The key is doing some form of activity that you love so you’ll want to do it every day.
3. EXPRESS GRATITUDE. Psychology researchers have found that expressing appreciation doesn’t just make you feel better, it’s actually good for your mental and physical health – it can reduce stress and improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, improve immune function and help you sleep better. They even believe practising gratitude daily may reduce the effects of ageing in the brain. Start by keeping a gratitude journal – write down three things you’re grateful for each week and move on to jotting down at least one thing you’re grateful for each day before you go to sleep. Struggling to find what you’re grateful for? Don’t worry, the study also found that all you have to do is think about being grateful and you’ll become more grateful!
4. GET GROUNDED. Walk outside, kick your shoes off and feel the ground beneath your feet. I know I feel instantly relaxed when I dig my hands into the dirt of the veggie patch. Grounding (also referred to as earthing) is based around the theory that positively charged electrons can build up in the body, but direct contact with the ground can balance them with a negative “grounding” charge. Studies have shown that “earthing” can actually bring cortisol levels back into balance. It’s also a great opportunity to create more awareness – be aware of the sounds, smells and sights surrounding you. Take a deep breath and really connect with Mother Nature to bring balance back in to your day.
5. DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT. Electronic communication – emails, texting, social media – is a huge part of daily life and we can’t deny its convenience. But it often comes at a personal cost – information overload, a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), increased social anxiety, sleep deprivation and a complete lack of awareness of your surroundings. Instead of keeping us connected, it can actually prevent us from being present. Commit to a period in the day (or even better, an entire day a week) for a digital detox – disconnect from the virtual world to nurture your relationships with others. Make actual eye contact, share a laugh in real time, take a walk outside, hug your bestie. Reconnecting with those around you can nurture your body, mind and soul.
Remember, cultivating wellness is about both the journey and the destination.
Heather Smith is a Nutritionist and Coach passionate about whole food and the nourishment it provides. She believes that healthy, nutritious food is also the best tasting food and is committed to inspiring, motivating and encouraging clients to achieve their personal best and be positive about themselves and the choices they make.
Heather and Nourish Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching are a part of the Nourish Melbourne Community. Heather offers Nourish Melbourne Members $20 off their initial consult fee and 10% of follow up appointments, ongoing (excludes supplementation). Click here to find out more about our partnership, or click here to find out more about becoming a Nourish Melbourne Member.