This week is mental health awareness week. Kat Farrants has been thinking about the links between what we eat and how we feel on our mental health?
I’m absolutely delighted that as a society we’re finally taking mental health as seriously as physical health. I do find it so crazy that mental and physical health have been separated for so long. To me, it’s obvious that those who are long-term sick say, often have depression. I sure know that when I’m down with a bug my mood plummets. And when I’m feeling fresh and vibrant, my mood is rosy.
A Terrible Hangover
And I do understand how what we eat effects how our body feels, which effects our state of mind too. Last weekend I went on a long road trip, that I didn’t plan for and I ended up in a garage eating those terrible plastic-wrapped snacks you see in every garage and every supermarket. The sugary treats kept me going but that night I didn’t sleep soundly, and the next day I really suffered. My body just felt heavy and my head fuzzy. And of course I’d contributed to yet more plastic waste in the world. A terrible hangover!
A change in taste
It really amazes me how many folks put endless rounds of these toxins into their bodies in the form of fizzy drinks and sugary/salty snacks wrapped in plastic. Of course they then feel sick, so they take a pill to hide that feeling, and off they carry on. For me the upsetting thing is that they don’t know what it feels to feel vibrantly alive, tingling with energy. They are missing out on so much by overloading the body with food that isn’t supporting its healthy functioning. Bodies and minds become dull.
I’m a real green smoothie lover, not for any other reason than it makes me feel amazing. Something that so many folks don’t get past is that taste is a habit that can so easily be changed, we can learn to love things. I didn’t used to find my green smoothie so palatable and loaded it up with so much more fruit, dates and things to make it yummy. But now I’m accustomed to loving the taste of the vegetables and I really am quite hooked on how alive I feel each and every morning!
Finding time for movement
And for me it’s the same with my morning movement practice. Yes yes, the habit is hard to keep, gosh, so tricky to find ten minutes in the morning. But my goodness, the difference between the days I’ve been on the mat and the days I haven’t is amazing. Again, my body just, well, feels more when I’ve moved in the morning to slough off the night’s sleep.
Caring for the whole
When we think about mental health awareness, to me, we need to think about whole-health awareness. Becoming consciously alive and aware – awake to the effect we have on others and the environment. We can become aware of the effect that the food we are eating and movement we do have on our body and how this makes us feel. I realise that some of us have bodies which are suffering from discomfort even though we’ve been good to them. Indeed, eating the right food, moving more and calming the mind are unfortunately no guarantees of good health. There are so many other factors. But they sure help. What they really help with, each and every day, is adding more feeling, more vibrancy and yes, happiness to every day.
Surely life is just too darned short to numb ourselves with stagnation, not getting out on the mat, making the smoothie, eating your greens and getting through your days with a big embrace to the whole of this beautiful life? No, we can’t numb ourselves with stagnation and eating the things that the advertisers and food companies tell us too. Life is far too good for that!
Perhaps one of the ‘tricks’ then to mental health awareness is being able to keep bright and positive. We need to keep energy flowing when we’re not feeling good in our bodies or when we are sick. If we can learn to break the link between the external causes of happiness and a deep-rooted feeling of contentment, perhaps that would keep us all a little brighter. We need to stay rooted in a simple gratitude for having the honour and privilege of being alive at this moment, and continue to move with gratitude and grace into the next moment, whatever that may bring.
About Kat Farrants:
Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. This post was written by Kat and is inspired by her exploration into how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life.