If we’ve learnt anything from 2016 – it’s expect the unexpected. The last few months have seen some major shifts that will change our world forever. In times of so much change and unrest it can feel incredibly unsettling, we can quickly feel helpless and out of control with our future. With so much uncertainty in the world, anxiety quickly follows. We start to question what this change will mean for our families? For our communities? For our country and for our world?
In times of so much uncertainty and unrest it’s important that we stop and take a breath. That we look to what we can control and make sure we are doing our best with that. Something that nobody can take away from you is your health.
At SHDC we are concerned with the person attached to the tooth, not just the tooth. We believe that good health is determined by a number of factors and by addressing ALL of these we’re able to achieve wellness and are able to tackle whatever the world throws our way.
In times of stress sleep is often the first thing we sacrifice. Stress triggers a hormonal response which switches on our sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight response). Considering this is designed to help us stay alert and ready to fight off any potential dangers, it’s not very conducive to a good nights sleep. Without a good night’s sleep our body quickly begins to feel the effects and despite all the health problems poor sleep create, it further exacerbates our ability to manage stress in times of uncertainty. Making sleep a priority means our bodies are well rested and ready to take on challenges in our life.
Our breath is an incredible tool for our health. Not only does it provide our body with the oxygen it needs to survive and maintain body chemistry, but how we breathe effects our mental health and how we respond to situations. Ever noticed when you’re stressed your breathing becomes quick and shallow? Or maybe you just don’t notice your breath at all. In this stressed state we switch on that sympathetic nervous system and begin to produce more and more adrenalin. Perceiving danger our bodies take blood away from our digestive system and towards our peripheries so we are ready to “fight” or “flight”. But this is where the breath is so powerful, by taking deep and long breaths our vagus nerve sends a signal to the brain to turn up the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest) and turn down the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). In a parasympathetic state our bodies are able to digest and absorb all the essential nutrients we need from our digestive system. Our bodies no longer perceive there to be an immediate danger and instead can focus on all of its other important tasks like fighting off disease and regenerating cells. Deep breaths can make all the difference between a calm mind and body, and an stressed one.
When everything around us feels so out of our control we can quickly forget about the things that we can influence – with food being number one. The food you put into your body can either nourish it and help it thrive or poison it and cause disease. Different diets work well for different people, but generally eating fresh produce as close to its natural state is the best way to ensure we aren’t putting nutritional stress on our bodies and are receiving all the nutrients our bodies require. When we nourish our bodies with good food and drink we have the strength to nourish relationships and the world around us.
Stress can quickly make us feel like physical activity is no longer a priority. However frequent exercise increases happiness, reduces anxiety and yields positive long term effects. It not only helps keep our bodies in optimal physical condition but helps our minds better deal with stress. When we start moving well, we start sleeping, eating and being well.
This is a big one. Especially in the current climate where there is so much uncertainty and anxiety, emotional stress can take it’s toll. While there are many things out of our control in the world, the one thing that isn’t is our attitude toward it. Practising mindfulness, exploring positive emotion, engagement and relationships are all important ways to ensure a healthy and open mind.
As our world goes through a period of immense change and uncertainty it is important that we make our health and the health of our families a priority. Rather than succumbing to the anxiety and stress of an unknown future, use it as motivation to build your health up and make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for whatever the world throws at you. Our health is the most valuable thing we have, so take care of it.