November 13, 2012

5 steps to flourishing health: how treating your friends like dogs & surfing the web are mind-body boons. ~ Mehdi Comeau

Photo credit: Will Brenner

Trust your gut, follow your gut… no, no, no—believe in your gut, believe in being well and your gut will guide you.

There’s no arguing that stress affects the whole body. The fight or flight response, for instance, slows digestion and reduces blood flow to major organs. Many seemingly mild daily stressors can trigger mind-body responses.

Trusted in naturopathy, yet arguable in conventional medicine, the psychophysiological effects of the mind on the body are profound.

Centralized in the gut, stress systemically alters the body and brain, either contributing to or causing many diseases such as candida, digestive disorders, parasites, acidosis, obesity, depression, and funky non-diagnosable meanderings like fatigue, aches and brain-fog.

Happiness, on the other hand, promotes gut and overall health.

It’s just so much easier to be affected by stressful, anxious thoughts, especially chronic or prolonged issues that populate people’s minds daily. They arise from a scattered, disconnected, complicated world that drives us against, up, down, sideways and diagonally, but not in line with the natural flow our bestial instincts needed for a proper mind-state and livelihood.

The impulsive bliss sparked by a newly zealous idea that tickles in your belly and resonates as an excited bodily state all starts in the mind. These are the ideas you want to take note of and act on.

In a nutshell, a healthy gut equals a healthy, happy individual. And nuts help, especially soaked almonds—the most alkalizing and absorbable with enzyme inhibitors deactivated. Sprouting is the best, but unless you have access to an almond tree, you won’t be able to find raw almonds in the United States. Even the prettiest package and label ‘raw’ with a nice narrative to support the company’s integrity are pasteurized and won’t sprout—try it.

So, how do we promote the health of our gut? That’s the fun part and having fun is an essential ingredient. Somewhere down below you’ll find five simple synergistic stones to start stepping—not skipping.

Like stress overrides our grateful, positive vibes, bad bacteria tend to maintain higher ground in our inner ecosystem. Our inner garden is jam-packed with bacteria, both good and bad bumping into each other, causing ruckus and procreating like an overcrowded college house party.

When we eat the wrong foods—mainly refined carbs, sugars, fried foods, beer and other acidifying substances—without balancing with lots of alkalizing vegetables, especially kale, barley, wheat and alfalfa grass, our digestive system becomes a bacteria breading ground leading to disease, discomfort and even cancer.

Continual tending to our inner garden’s ecosystem by balancing good bacteria with the pesky bad is paramount to health. Bad bacteria love acidic environments produced by the standard American diet.

As you balance your pH, you’ll begin guiding your gut to the life you want—clean, clear and healthy. Probiotics reintroduce good bacteria and can also serve a solid supplement.

Balance is essential—of bacteria, mind, diet and lifestyle.

Diet is no doubt important, but if it isn’t matched with a positive, mindful state, no matter how healthy you eat, that stress will counteract your efforts.

Happiness promotes vigor, stress promotes death.

Be careful not to stress the diet, but embrace and cherish nourishing greatness. It’s too easy to let focusing on positivity cause more stress, becoming a burden by eating well and being overly concerned, anxious and occupied by your diet instead of your life and people in it.

Keeping positive people close, fostering relationships and being proactive to engage socially will surely help keep your health and wellbeing on track.

Education is also essential, so read up on healthy living, diet, pH balance, stress, health and natural remediation, or on snowboarding, backpacking, travel or creative projects. Take small steps in whatever way works for you to promote a positive aura.

There is an education paradox, however, where the more you know the more trouble it can bring to your daily life. No more non-stick pans. Let’s check the ingredients before eating. Are those eggs organic? You get the idea.

Can’t we all dream of living the happy go lucky life of a Golden Retriever?

Knowledge can be a drag—use it wisely.

Educate positively! Read elephant journal and other blogs, sites, etc. which stimulate positivity in your brain. It’s a fun, easy and satisfying act. It’s nice to know you aren’t just procrastinating or surfing the web, but investing in your health.

There are many quick reads (like what you’re now reading) on how to do this or that better apply to everyday life. The more you know the more power you have to enhance health and happiness.

Read. Don’t believe everything, but believe what is intuitively right to you.

We’re all unique, so feel good and proud to do what brings you happiness, however quirky and unconventional it may seem—conventionalism and fashion do tend to be temporary and wearisome.

It’s the small things that count and the simple that is complex—take small mindful steps daily in all areas of life, but most importantly, mystically and yet simply, believe it.

The placebo effect is real because belief manifests physiologically. People rise from their deathbeds through belief.

Belief is how miracles happen. It’s where change towards overall health happens.

The power to transform your health and spirit lies in your mind. Nourish your mind, balance your diet, get up and move around, play, exercise and surely you will soon flourish. It’s all about balance and having fun with it.

Try these things out. Don’t stress over doing them, just do them and do what works for you according to your schedule. It doesn’t have to be all at once.

The mind rules. Combined with education, these are the pedals to your bike. The world is filled with helpful information. Let your curiosity thrive. Be one with the planet, your community, your social circle and yourself.

Embrace, expand, sustain, flourish.

Here are five stones to begin stepping—don’t skip over them—towards a healthier, happier, resilient body and mind:

1. Alkalize. Incorporate more alkalizing foods into your diet to raise your pH and create an internal environment inhospitable to disease causing microorganisms. Have fun with this. Check out the alkaline diet and start innovating new delicious foods and recipes into a life of vibrancy. Bonus dietary/gut aid: take a quality probiotic and eat more fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut (which are fun and easy to make at home).

2. Live mindfully. Emphasize relaxation and consciousness. Everyone is different, so find what works for you. Try yoga, meditation, breathing, mindful-based stress reduction, autosuggestion and focus on living in the moment and showing gratitude for the majestic beauty of all life.

3. Be social. We are social beings. Having a quality social milieu is energizing, supporting and so much more. Studies have found that positive relationships are one of the strongest contributors to happiness, which is one of the strongest contributors to health. So be friendly, make friends and lower your expectations. Treat your friends like dogs—we don’t hold dogs to high expectations and are therefore forgiving and playful, while not only enjoying their company, hanging out and having fun, but also serving as a dependable, loyal companion.

4. Educate. With today’s mixed up healthcare and food systems one must take responsibility for their own health. This means learning how to properly do so and if you read this article, you already have the right mindset. Everyone is unique and knows him or herself best. Incorporate what you’ve learned here and elsewhere creatively (being creative also boosts happiness). Then keep learning, growing and feeling balanced, aware, grounded and content.

5. Believe. Believe it or not, believing can manifest reality and things can be “all in your head.” Think happy thoughts, eat when you’re hungry, nap when you’re exhausted, exercise when energized, tell yourself a reinforcing daily mantra and believe, believe, believe in yourself, your health, your friends, your abilities and your life.

6. Bonus: Don’t take life too seriously! It doesn’t last forever. Anything helps. Be sure you don’t stress and create anxiety trying to perfectly step along these stones to health or those steps may be in vain. So remember, keep it light and have fun with it!

A flat-capped nomad, Mehdi Comeau enjoys adventuring, discovering and muse on people and life. As a highly curious enviro-gastronome, it’s in his nature to be outdoors, pursue perpetual learning and growth, create crafty kitchen concoctions, practice mindful awareness and pursue passions, while tuning in and allowing the clues in life to guide. When he’s not engaged elsewhere, you’ll often find him writing with a big green blend at his side. You can read a growing collection of his musings on his blog, SolsticeSon’s Celebrational Servings. He likes the motto: everything in moderation and full appreciation.

Editor: Jamie Morgan

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