Did you know that fresh air can make you happier? It's true!
Fresh air make a huge impact on your overall health.
Serotonin is a chemical created by the human body that works as a neurotransmitter. Serotonin helps regulate mood and sleep and it also affects cognitive functions such as memory and learning. It assists in maintaining mental health and can help with depression.
Serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets and the central nervous system.
Boosting Serotonin Naturally
There are many ways to boost serotonin naturally. Fresh air, exercise and sunlight are a few places to start.
Fresh Air and Your Lungs
Fresh air helps clear your lungs and release the build-up toxins and impurities. Taking longer, deeper breaths of fresh air increases the amount of oxygen that gets transported to your cells. Increased oxygen allows greater energy and clearer mind.
Our brain needs about 30% of your body's oxygen to function. Have you ever noticed after a brisk walk in nature your energy levels rise and your mind is clearer? You may find that you are able to complete a task easier after a breath of fresh air.
Additional Health Benefits of Fresh Air
There are many other health benefits related to a breath of fresh air. They include:
A Healthy Dose of Fresh Air
Here are some tips to help you get a healthy does of fresh air.
Information from International Association of Wellness Professionals.
Life is a series of choices. Each day we have to decide on a million different ideas, things and paths to take and we forget that we only need to make one choice. Does this choice I'm making come from a space of love or fear?
We've made holding on in our lives the easy part and forgotten life is about letting go. It is easy to let something that is no longer serving us fall away. We have been conditioned to hold onto everything so tightly because we are afraid it will go away. This causes us to live in the past or worry about the future.
There is nothing wrong with living in fear. In fact, fear (false evidence appearing real) protects us from harm and bad situations in life. But it also takes us away from the things and people that might be good for us. Some people feel comfortable in fear. They have conditioned themselves to close off from the world because they think it will be easy to live this way. In theory this works, but we are meant to be connected and loved.
So how do we live in a state of love? We hear a lot of about self love and self care and these are all great things. These concepts have great practices behind them, but we miss that fact that we still need human connection. Yes, we should completely work on our inner love and support. Without caring for ourselves, we can't care for others, but also still need encouraging people along the way to help us grow.
Living in a state of love means that we have found this inner love for ourselves and the world around us. It is the small voice (intuition, holy spirit, etc.) that guides to know when something is truly in line with who we are. It guides us as a source to know when the fear (ego) wants to take over and the love is being forced out of the situation.
So how do we move from fear to love-based thinking?
1) Don't Let Your Past Dictate the Now
Are you holding onto the past? Do keep feeling like the situation will happen again if you don't control it? Does your past influence your decisions that you make now?
These are all questions to ask to see if fear is determining how you live in the present moment and how decisions are being made. If you are trying to control or holding back because you are afraid then your past is dictating your thinking.
2) The Future Doesn't Exist
Are you worried about what might happen in the future? Do you fixate on what might happen in a few days, months, and years from now? Do you over plan so you can control your schedule?
Worrying about the future won't stop what is meant to be from happening. The future doesn't exist which can be scary when we live in fear, but the beauty is tomorrow is a new day. So take a deep breath and start to experience how you are living right now.
3) Manifest the Good
Manifesting can be a powerful tool to create the law of attraction. Focusing on what is good in your life and gratitude practices is proven to increase amount of those feelings and situations of good in your life. What we focus on is what we create so take time to journal all the things you have that you love in your life and all the things you would like to come along.
4) Lean into the Fear
We have been conditioned now to stay away from the negative and don't give into the fear, but we need to lean into these feelings. We can have days were we are sad, depressed and anxious. These are all emotions we need to feel and should accept them. During these times, take time to care for yourself. Do things that make you a little more happy or just make you relax.
5) Shift the Mindset from Fear to Love
It takes time to retrain the brain, but it can be done. We have to train ourselves to listen to our heart. What is it telling us in this exact moment? This practice takes time and the fear (ego) can be tricky as you learn to find that voice inside that only sees you as love (your true nature). There is proof that the heart can be heard and can be a tool to guide you in life so take time to breath and listen to what it has to say.
The truth is that we have a choice each day to live in love or fear. The only right choice is the one that is right for you!
The topic of mindfulness seems to be everywhere lately and meditation isn't too far behind. Mindfulness and meditation can fulfill the practice of being present in the moment, but it can be a bit confusing if mindfulness is only thought of as meditation. Let's take a look at the difference between the two and other practices of mindfulness. This is especially helpful if you have stress and anxiety.
What is the difference between Mindfulness and Meditation?
Meditation is a practice to calm the mind and not become attached to our thoughts. There are a variety forms of meditation and it is a wonderful practice with many health benefits.
Mindfulness is being fully present in the moment: what you are doing and what you are thinking. You accept and surrender your life exactly in the space you are in.
What are other practices of mindfulness?
The problem with combining mindfulness and meditation into one is that we lose the many other practices of mindfulness. The truth is that someone with stress and anxiety isn't able to meditate most of the time. When the mind consumes us on a daily basis, shutting it off feels impossible.
Here are some other practices that can guide you to be fully present right now!
We practice mantra without even knowing it. Mantra is an ancient practice and means "mind tool”. It is a way to control our thoughts and be present with them. Anytime you have a repetitive thought filling your mind, you are actually practicing mantra. The majority of the time, the thought is not what you want it to be so you have to find ways to reverse these thoughts. Affirmations or statements like "I am okay" are ways to start moving from the unwanted thought and shifting you to a feeling of being okay in this moment even if your mind thinks it is untrue.
When you feel lost in the past or worried about the future, you can lose site of living in your body. Taking a moment to close your eyes and take deep inhales and exhales allows you to come into your body. You also come into the moment and start to feel present within yourself. When you live in your thoughts, you aren't present in your breath which can cause you to be anxious. Allow your breath to be your guide to come back into your body even if it is for a minute.
3) Present Awareness
When was the last time you were aware of exactly what you were doing? We get lost in the to-do lists and don't pay attention to the task at hand or the people we are with. The next time you find your mind wandering, come back to focus on exactly what you are doing or who you are with. This will allow you to absorb the moment and be okay with all that is.
4) Creative Outlet
Finding a creative outlet like dancing, singing, painting, storytelling, coloring or anything that makes you feel alive, automatically brings you mindfulness. In those moments of creation, the only thing you can think about is what you are doing and how much joy it brings. Overwhelming feelings can take you away from your creativity and put it down at the bottom of your list. Take time to make it a priority and see what happens!
Being mindful is personal and takes time to figure out what you need. The techniques above are only a few ways to come into the moment and they come from the practice of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is a devotional practice and allows us to come into a state of love. So whenever you feel anxious, non-present or overwhelmed, take a moment to try one of these tools above!
Wellness can be hard to defined for many people and it has become a popular word lately. Everyone is looking for wellness but do they actually know what they are searching for, the tools they need to find it or even what it looks like to them?
Below is an audio track, short podcast really, about what wellness is, who I am as a wellness coach and what I offer to clients and people who are interested in learning more about my process and me.
Let me know if this information is helpful for you and reach out if I can help determine what wellness looks like for you!
Recently I hosted a Facebook Live to talk about changing your mindset in 2019.
This meditation is short and is perfect to use when you feel overwhelmed, unbalanced or not sure of a situation.
Taking the time to check in with yourself is key to your personal wellness. Wellness is more than spa days, holistic products, essential oils and what we eat. Wellness is learning to live authentically and creating the best life that is meant only for you!
Set yourself up in a nice comfortable seated position. You can sit on the floor, chair or against the wall with support.
Close your eyes and start to observe your breath. Start to take deep inhales and exhales through your nose.
Start to exhale the breath into the heart space. Exhaling several times and start to feel the space release.
Now, start to inhale and exhale into your heart space. As you take the breath into the heart, start to feel any sensations that might come up. If any stuck feelings or thoughts come up, start to exhale them out through your nose or mouth.
Once you feel connected to your heart, ask your heart, "What am I holding onto here?"
Take a few moments and listen to what the heart has to say. Then ask, "What do I need to do to let go?"
Take another few moments and listen to what comes up. Then ask, "What does my heart want to feel instead?"
Allow what the heart wants to feel to sink in for a few minutes and open your eyes.
Learning what the heart needs to feel will guide you to how you can live more in love. You can also use this mediation to ask about a situation and how you should move forward with it. By starting to see what we hold on to and what we can let go, we start to learn what we need in our lives and where we can move to change if needed.
Recently I read the book, Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M. Hass, M.D. I’d like to share with you a few takeaways that I found in this book to better assist you on your own wellness journey.
Like me, you might not agree with everything is this book but it does have tools to help you feeling your best as the seasons change and our body adapts. No matter what, take extra care during seasonal transitions to give your body and mind the reset that it needs to connect with mother earth!
There is a lot of debate out there about having fats in your diet. The key is to find out the difference between good fats and bad fats. This is where I come in to help you learn what the difference is!
Below is a quick look at fats. I'd be happy to dive deeper with you on your wellness journey as your coach! Contact me for more information.
Modern nutrition standards recommend that up to a third of your nutrient intake be fats, and mostly of the good kind.
Generally, a third of fat intake may remain less beneficial fats, while it is optimum for the remaining two thirds to be mostly good fats. Fat is an important facet of utilizing long-term energy, energy storage, and combating inflammation in the body.
Recommended Daily Intake: No more than 24 grams of saturated fats; no more than 2 grams trans fats per day; as for healthy fats, The World Health Organization recommends a daily EPA and DHA of 0.3-0.5 grams, and a daily ALA intake of 0.8-1.1 grams. Each of these acids are different long chains of Omega-3, healthy fatty acids.
First- The Good: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated
Good Sources Include:
Good Omega 3 Sources Include:
Omega 6 sources include:
The Bad: Saturated Fats
It’s generally a good idea to minimize saturated fats in the diet; that will help you reap their benefits while minimizing their health risks.
Saturated Fat Sources Include:
The Ugly: Trans Fats
Sources of Trans Fats Include:
Fat Burning Foods!
*Copyright and information from the International Associations of Wellness Professionals
Do you ever wonder why we crave certain foods during a certain of day, week or month? Are your food cravings causing you imbalance in your life and health?
Food cravings can be a tricky thing to figure out. I’ve observed my own food cravings recently and I found that I crave sweets during stressful and lonely times.
When I am stressed, I turn to chocolate or sugary snacks to feel comforted and enriched. I also noticed that when I feel lonely, I turn to these same sugary treats to fulfill my longing for connection and love. Knowing these two triggers for my sugar cravings, I tried allowing myself to feel the stress or loneliness instead of going for a cookie, piece of chocolate or anything that I can get a hold of.
By taking time to feel my feelings, I noticed the craving for these foods has decreased. I have replaced my afternoon stress burn out and tired feeling with water. By drinking more water, I have energy to make it through the rest of the afternoon.
We all have cravings and we have underlining reasons why our body needs these items we crave. It may be a nutrients imbalance or an emotional tie like mine. Whatever your craving is linked to, take the time this week to really listen to your body and give it the real nutrients it needs. And if it still wants the piece of cake, go for it!
Protein is one of the body's three primary nutrients. On a micro level, protein is a primary building block to keep cells and tissues strong. These little building blocks are called amino acids. Amino acids are vital for the body's continual basic functioning and regulation processes. The body produces some of its own amino acids and must obtain the remainder of the food.
Up to a third of our diet should be protein which is macronutrient found in plant foods, meat and dairy. Proteins are made up of a variety of smaller amino acids, defined depending on the source from which they are found.
Protein is essential for the body's energy uses. It helps strengthen muscle and certain other bodily tissue and ensure that DNA and genes are expressing themselves properly throughout the body. It is closest to what we call direct "full" for our bodies.
Recommended Daily Intake: up to 70 grams per day
These are common symptoms as a result of having too little protein in the diet:
With today's high-protein, low-carb fad diets, it's also possible to have too much protein in the diet. Symptoms include:
Delicious, lean protein sources include wild Alaskan salmon, grass-fed beef, lentils, beans, hummus, nuts and seeds. Summer is a perfect time to grille out your favorite protein sources!
If you're still lacking protein or don't eat meat, a great supplement is Purium's amino acids. You take them throughout the day with meals to get your body functioning to its optimal potential. Details below and contact me for more info!
*Information from the International Association for Wellness Professionals.
Molly Sommerhalder, Owner of Swan in the Lotus Yoga and Wellness, LLC
Swan in the Lotus came to me after years of connection to myself and my Goddess, Saraswati. My blog will provide inspiration to travel with courage on this life journey and provide lessons to find joy, love and self-care!