Benefits of Eating Seasonally: Autumn

It’s the season for healthy eating

This week I received a big surprise in my email: my long-awaited Diploma in Nutritional Therapy (graduating with Distinction) and another in Naturopathy. At the same time, I also received a very interesting question from a friend I caught up with going walking in the park with my puppy who I told about my recent completion of studies. Her question: “is it really important to eat seasonally and what should I be eating now if it is?”.

That question spurred the creation of this eating seasonally series where we will not just share what’s seasonal for each season, but the top three picks for health each week.

The truth is our bodies have existed over centuries eating seasonally. It’s really a relatively recent phenomenon to be able to go to the supermarket and pick up anything we want no matter what the season. Our ancestors’ ancestors would only eat what was available and that was very dependent on what season it was.

Eating seasonally means that we eat more locally, which means our food is fresher and doesn’t need to go through many processes to travel miles. That’s as good for our health as it is for the health of our planet. It’s also cheaper as seasonal food is plentiful when in season so normally sold at a discounted rate. Remember what is more difficult to get hold of is often marked up and vice versa. If loads of apples are falling from trees, for instance, the growers will want to sell them fast before they go rotten, which means we can buy them cheaper. If, on the contrary, we want cherries when they’re not in season, but they need to be shipped from somewhere far away, we will have to pay somehow to cover the cost of that shipping, not to mention the various freezing and unfreezing processes the cherries have to go through.

So eating seasonally is healthier and less expensive. So what should we be eating? Well each week I’ll talk about my top 3 picks for healthy produce. This week my focus is fruit. My top 3 picks? Well you can see in the videos below and hear why specifically I chose these.
1. Apples 🍎
2. Cranberries
3. Pears 🍐

Autumn Seasonal Fruit 1: Apple!

If you are eager to experiment with apples, I suggest trying out this  Simple Apple& Pear crumble getting most from the fruits:

TRY THE RECIPE 

Autumn Seasonal Fruit 2: Cranberries!

This year try making even more delicious cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is actually full of nutrients and benefits as opposed to store-bought, processed, sugary one!  Naturally sweetened cranberry sauce! 

TRY THE RECIPE

Autumn Seasonal Fruit 3:  Pears!

Stay healthy ! 

Do you feel drained of energy when you mix with certain people? If so, you may be spending too much time in “toxic” friendships or relationships and it may be time to rethink who you spend time with.
If you have been surrounded by toxic people you know exactly how intense the energy can be. Toxic people are often energy drainers in one way or another. Possibly without intending to, they manage to suck the energy out of you and leave you drained, uninsipired and hopeless.
These are often the same people who when you feel you have a great idea, rather than encouraging you, make you “realise” why you can never do it and you’re aiming way too high. These are also those same people who point out your flaws constantly and find some new and different way to make you feel bad about yourself each time you see them. You can detect a level of toxicity in a person by seeing how conflictual they are. Very often, they place themselvs in a situation where they cannot help but fall into conflicts, most likely in the name of some strong principles. They are people who thrive on other people’s failures and like to put down those around them.
Constant complaining and an inability to be happy are also characteristics of toxicity. But above all toxic people can be manipulative in persuading you to act in a certain way that in the end feeds back their toxicity. For example, discouraging you from success and encouraging you into seeing just how “horrible” the world really is so that you can feel as negative about everything as they do.
Unfortunataley, like most people, I have dealt with a fair share of toxic people and negativity. Initially, it can be difficult to spot, but even people whom we love the most might be suffering from this “state of being toxic” at least temporarily when they are in a bad place themselves.

Many self-help gurus recommend distancing ourselve from such characters, especially when we are in a state of “growth” and “flight” as they are likely to curb our development and clip our wings (and our excitement and passion). In the end of the allowing them to exert they negativity over you will lead to your suffering as well. In addition, often we feed on the energy of the company we keep. That’s why when we’re in a state of “self-development” and “self-growth” and we hang out with other in the same state (such as at an event or in a course), we leave there full of ideas that can transform us and others. If, on the contrary, we spend too much time with those who put down growth ideas and see the world as chaotic and negative, we instead feed into that energy and start to also see the dark side rather than the light.
As humans, remember, one of our fundamental needs is to fit into whatever group we find ourselves in. So that if we actively seek out people in the growth phase, we allow ourselves to grow to fit in with them. But if, on the contrary, we are spending a lot of time with those who are wary of growth and change and new ideas in general, we find ourselves also becoming more wary to fit in with them.
Sadly, people who are toxic are often those who are themselves suffering the most. So in a way this advice of distancing yourself from toxic people can seem incosiderate. Are we supposed to leave an unhappy person alone, instead of trying to help them? In some cases there is a very thin line between helping to improve the situation and enabling the situation. The key is to help the person to improve through sharing some of your “light” without enabling them and instead taking of their “darkeness”. Balancing this line is tricky, however, and not for the fainthearted. So if you’re a recovering “toxic”, you may need to leave behind toxic friendships/relationships completely before you’re able to return to them lightly to share your light rather than partake in their darkness.
Obviously, if it’s your family that you find toxic, leaving them is not only difficult but also not suggested. Family is important. Based on theories of reincarnation, we are born into one family versus another depending on what it is that we have to work on in this lifetime. But we can, for a time, reduce our time spent with certain more toxic people while we learn to rebuild. Then come back renewed with a fresher energy. Just don’t expect everyone to appreciate this newer version of you right away. Remember that negative people are often annoyed or intimidated by those who have a more positive go-getter type attitude as it can seem superior or threatening to them. Just approach with baby steps and give them time to adapt. Continue to stay true to who you are and your new optimistic way of approaching life and don’t let them phase you with minor put-downs or negative snide comments.
In nutrition and alternative medicine, we often speak of toxins. Toxins, according to the dictionary definition are “a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation”. We know that most processed foods, sugars and medications inject toxins into the body which then clog the system. The presence of toxins in the body have a severe and very damagining effects: inducing sluggishness, haze, fatigue, irritability, mood swings and depressed organ functions. This presence of toxins has throughout naturopathic medical history been linked with disease, including mental illness.

All disease begins in the gut. -Hypocrates

Hence it’s possible that people who behave in a toxic way have high toxicity in their body. After all, physical metabolic toxins have a similar effect on the body that toxic people have on others: they drain energy, they manipulate the body into negative cravings that ultimately damage it further and they cause irritability and instability. It’s almost impossible to feed oneself on a highly toxic diet and still remain positive, energetic and happy. There are many studies in the last decade discussing the link between gut and brain health and between gut health and mood. Stress, for instance, if perpetual and untreated, can deplete healthy gut flora which then causes further fluctuations in mood and reduces our immunity. Reduced healthy gut microbes (due to long-term antibiotic use for example) reduce immunity and also play havoc on mood. This can become a vicious circle if one is often sick, taking antibiotics, eating an unhealthy diet and living a stressful life. Even mainstream medicine now recognises this connection and studies have been published in publications as well-regarded as Harvard Health.

Screen Shot 2020-11-06 at 9.27.38 PM

In Ayurveda (an Indian science of medicine), it is believed that negative emotions produce toxins in our body causing them to accumulate in certain areas that can later on in life degenerate living cells and support the growth of a cancer. Ayurveda’s method of curing is severe detoxifying for 21 days or longer (that has to be administered by a licenced practitioner), and it is know to have cured serious diseases and helped manage mental health issues.
Screen Shot 2020-11-06 at 9.35.51 PM
In nutritional therapy, especially in naturopathic nutrition, cleanses to help detoxify the body are often used to help those who have skin issues, allergies, intolerances, leaky gut, IBS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or other unresolved health issues that medicine doesn’t know how to help. However, the ideal is of course not to reach that level of toxicity and to feed the body for health before health is compromised. Ideally, we want to reduce the level of toxins we take in (think alcohol, too much caffeine, refined sugars, processed or artificial foods, carbonated beverages and drugs) that stop our body from functioning well and lead to illness and poor mental health. We also want to increase the detoxifying foods that we ingest (fruits, vegetables, cruciferous veg, lentils, beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, spices, water and green and herbal teas) that help our body, brain and mood and that boost our immunity and our ability to fight pathogens and negative microbes.
So one way to help toxic people could be by helping them to physically detox and to clear the mind. Meditation and exercise, along with a healthy diet and good quality sleep, are all fundamentals towards this.
If you or someone you know needs help to detoxify, it often helps to seek out expert advice. To find out more about how to move towards a detoxified body, mind and spirit, book a free call with me here:
https://WellnessSession.as.me/

How to stay resilient in the seeming rise of Covid-19.

You’ve heard the scary figures, even more frightening than some of the costumes we see on Halloween (which may not be allowed to come out this year). The numbers of Covid-19 are rising all over Europe and many countries have been listed for lockdown. This is the long-expected second wave that politicians have been warning us about.

Though the exact percentages are constantly being questioned, doctors everywhere are coming up with protocols that have saved lives. The most vulnerable sector remains the same: those who have some pre-existing conditions (such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders) and the elderly. Obviously we cannot change the fact of life that we get older. However, most of the other pre-existing conditions mentioned are highly preventable with adequate measures to look after our health over time. Even among the elderly population, some are more vulnerable than others: with those who are more healthy surviving even when those less healthy around them don’t.

This should give us all hope that we can arm out immunity to help our body fight whatever virus 🦠 is there potentially around us attacking others. Of course, developing one’s immunity does not happen in a day, no matter how much vitamin boosts you take, but there are certain things you can do.

So here are a few basic tips that we can all do already today:

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 6.49.29 PM

1. Gingerand lemon tea in the morning to clean your system helps with detox, which helps our liver work better thereby helping our immune system work better because toxins stuck in our system impede our immunity. When fe
eling sick or if we have a sore throat, add manuka honey (100+). The lemon has vitamin C and the ginger is anti-inflammatory to fight inflammation from a virus. Manuka honey (or local raw honey) has an ingredient that helps to fight virus and bacteria and other microbes (you can put it on athlete’s foot or fungus for instance to fight the infection).

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 6.51.01 PM

2. Nature has already created an ideal way of balancing us out with foods being seasonal to the seasons when we need them most. For example: butternut squash and pumpkins are in season now when we all carve and display pumpkins for Halloween. Apart from being super delicious and low in calories, both have many nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium and are high in antioxidants. They help towards both eye and skin health and magnesium is key for optimum energy and relaxation. The antioxidants also mean that they help us fight disease and boost our natural immunity. For extra immunity and inflammation fighting benefits, add a bit of ginger, garlic and turmeric.

3. If this seeming pandemic has not scared you into getting more healthy, considering that most of those dying are those who have certain preventable underlying conditions (outside of the elderly of course) then definitely pay attention now! Drop drop drop those refined sugars and processed foods like chips, crisps, colored sweets, soft drinks etc as they weaken your body and your immunity long-term. I know that now when we kind of locked down at home and have time to watch netflix all we want to do is eat “CRAP” (to see what it is visit my previous newsletter here), but unfortunately indulging in highly processed foods and drinks long term does damage that then takes years to undo (if it’s not too late). So better switch to fresh mostly plant-based natural foods and drinks. Imagine that what you put into your body is your fuel.

What do you think would happen if your put Coca Cola into a car that runs on petrol? You may think that’s a ridiculous comparison, but our bodies aren’t made to run on crisps and Coca Cola either. Our fuel has always been whole natural unprocessed mostly plant based foods. But we’ve been trying to live on junk food because it’s manufactured well into something highly palpable.

So is it any wonder that the cancer, heart disease and diabetes rates keep rising every decade? If you don’t want to be an unhappy statistic, take the time to CHANGE your diet and lifestyle NOW.

Need help, book a free call with me here: https://WellnessSession.as.me/

Are epidemics just a part of our existence?

“If we don’t remember history, we are doomed to repeat it” so the refrain goes. So why not study history for clues on how to handle this new epidemic that COVID-19 presents us with? Well a group of scientists are doing just that. While this article  (read the article here) discusses the correlations between what we’re facing now and the Black Plague, there are other epidemics that came in between. The Spanish Flu, for example and even SARS, which never developed into a full on epidemic as it was contained early.

So what do we learn from these great mysteries of horrible death that seemed to come and go? Well, for one, though many died from these epidemics, many also didn’t. So how does one land in the side of living rather than dying?

Well, here are some hints I picked up from a bit of research.

Step one: Be wherever the epidemic isn’t! If we look closely at where the worst epidemics hit the worst, it almost always was in the densely-populated cities. Even King Henry VIII, who feared illness, was known to move his entire court out of London when the plague was worst there. Even today, if we look at where Corona is most rampant, big city names like Manchester, London, Shanghai, New York… seem to be the worst hit. Like throughout history, overpopulated slums normally faced more deaths than countryside manors.

But what if you just happen to live in one of these densely-populated cities, as so many of us do, and moving to the countryside just isn’t an option at the moment. Well then we move onto…

 
Step two: Arm your immunity! Let’s be honest, Moving just isn’t an option for most of us living and working in a big city. But if we look at the statistics of deaths for Corona and even if we do some digging in the past… there were definitely enough who lived in these adverse conditions but who survived and even thrived. Also, these days when statistics are much more readily available than in the past, those dying often have underlying conditions. In fact, what’s interesting is the specific underlying conditions that they have (like obesity and type 2 diabetes) are for the most part preventable. That means that there’s quite a lot that we can do to arm our immunity in the wake of perpetual attack from a virus that has the ability to kill but also could carry with it almost no symptoms whatsoever depending on who’s sick. So how does one land in the latter group rather than the former? Well, stay tuned as I’m currently working on an online program that will help all who want to arm their immunity to prevent defeat so exactly that.

And what if despite best efforts, someone close to you catches the virus  and you’re exposed? Well then we move onto…

All disease begins in the gut. -Hyppocrates
Step three: Give your body the weapons to fight for your health! Let’s be honest, living in a densely-populated world as we do now, any one of us has the potential to be exposed to someone who is ill. In fact, according to statistics, it seems most of us not in hiding in a countryside estate somewhere, has a strong likelihood of us, our families, our coworkers or our friends catching the virus and potentially spreading it to us. So what do we do if we get it or if we’ve been exposed (or think we have)? Well that’s where certain remedies that have outlasted decades and even centuries (for some) come into play. In fac
t, King Henry VIII was known for using some to boost his immunity and the immunity of Anne Boleyn when she caught the deadly virus to great success. There have been many remedie
s over time. Some are more obvious than others and some, while seeming like old wive’s tales, have stood the test of time. These will also be covered in a special bonus edition of the program I’m working on now.

Stay tuned as all will be relieved soon enough (and just in time for the big wave predicted to come that all the politicians are trying to help isolate us from).

If you can’t wait and really want to speak to me about how to help yourself already now, you can book a free 30 minute call with me here to ask me any 1 question. To book your free call, click on this link:  https://WellnessSession.as.me/


Screen Shot 2020-10-23 at 12.29.17 PM
And if you are interested in general history of
Viruses and you can read through it here:

Natural remedies for menopause

Mental Health Newsletter

While obviously not all of you reading this newsletter will be thinking about menopause now, or even be women, you probably know a woman or two who IS in that time of their life where menopause becomes an issue they need to start thinking about.

While there are many ways of dealing with menopause out there, with so many options for women depending on their needs, some, like HRT, carry significant side effects and have been linked to both breast cancer and DVT (deep vein thrombosis) as well as increased risk of stroke. While newer versions on the market are less risky, and offer many women the relief they need from menopausal symptoms, they still have side effects that many women don’t wish to risk, especially if used long-term.

Bio-identical hormones are a safer alternative that are growing significantly in popularity and are made available for women with or without consulting a medical practitioner informed in bio-identical hormones first. Though they are significantly safer than HRT as they are a more natural alternative, significant enough research has not been conducted on safe length of use or on side-effects.

For women who don’t wish to risk hormones in their body, but who also suffer menopause symptoms, or fear what is on the other end of menopause, there is another, more natural option: herbs and phytoestrogenic foods. The article below sums up some of the available natural alternatives that have no known side-effects.

READ ARTICLE HERE

For more information on your own personal situation, book a free call with me here.

Staying healthy in Corona time

At the beginning of Corona time I put out this facebook live helping people to stay healthy with some basic tips. It seems that it’s time to revive the message again as Corona doesn’t seem to be going away as we wished it would. So here is that video with some tips at staying healthy. I’ll be putting out more such videos now that flu season is on the way and that, mixed with Corona, can be disastrous for our health. Not to mention for the health of our kids who are back at school.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE 

There is no more important time to get yourself back in shape and into peak health than now. After all, if not now, then when? Will you wait until you’re in hospital and unable to breathe because you’re in a high risk group. Unfortunately, those most at risk are those who are obese or suffering from type 2 diabetes. Even carrying some extra weight around your belly for too long can therefore put you at risk. Ageing also puts us at higher risk because our immune and digestive systems lose some of their potency after years of misuse.

That’s why I work most with people between the ages of 30 and 60, as that’s when issues really start to creep up and when we can still make a difference. But don’t worry if you’re over 60, it’s not too late ever to improve your health. And if you’re under 30, it’s always vest to start early (the earlier the better).

Want to find out more? Watch this video and book a free call with me here.

Struggling to feed your kids and teens healthy?

Youtube Live Interviews

What we eat makes a huge difference on how we feel, how we look and even how we think. So food is the basis of health. The right food can help protect us from illness and from mental health issues in the future. That’s why feeding our kids and teens well is so important, especially as they’re still developing both in their brains and emotions and in their bodies. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by my friend, Ruth Carter (The Liberty Coach) who works with children and teens in different schools to help their development. Ruth interviewed me about nutrition for young people and for parents on a tight budget. 

I know it can be challenging when funds are tight to feed families healthy food, especially if parents are working several jobs and don’t have much time to cook. So I gave parents tuning in quite a lot of ideas of how to feed families healthy even when tight on time or on a tight budget.

It’s important to make sure that we take care of how we feed our kids from the beginning but starting to teach them healthy habits at any time is key.

Vaccinate or not to Vaccinate? Part 2 .

Youtube Live Interviews

Some time ago, we brought you Mark, a staunch anti-vaxer, who was strongly against vaccinations and especially against any forced vaccinations. To watch that video again, click here: https://youtu.be/56S0EUXcQnw . This week we bring you Sue, a mom, who for her own family’s personal reasoning has made her own decisions regarding why she believes in vaccinating and why she has chosen to vaccinate her family.

Sue lends a different perspective to whether we should or shouldn’t vaccinate ourselves and our kids, and how we can tailor vaccines to suit the needs of our children better. Sue also comes with a new way of considering the currently very stringent debate around vaccinations and particularly around forced vaccinations.

Before you choose a side, watch these two videos which may sway or even open your way of thinking.

Pregnant or looking to conceive? It may be time to quit that coffee addiction!

If you’re already pregnant or trying to conceive, you’ve probably read the research already that states that you should cut down on drinking alcohol. Well new research is coming to light suggesting that women start cutting down on their coffee addiction as well.

In fact recent research has given much more strict guidelines both on drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages and on alcohol. Alcohol as we well know has been linked to fetal alcohol syndrome, infant mortality, early termination, stillbirth, infant brain and birth defects and other serious health issues.

Now drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages, such as colas, strong black tea (and evening eating a lot of chocolate) is also being linked to many serious issues including stillbirth, miscarriage, low birth weight and gestational diabetes. Apparently the new guidelines state that women who are trying to conceive should also reduce their alcohol and caffeinated beverage intake.

How much coffee and alcohol is okay when you’re pregnant? Well apparently no coffee and no alcohol is being recommended to them according to new research. Yep that’s none at all… especially in the first trimester when the infant is the most vulnerable. Both coffee and alcohol have been linked with early miscarriage, so may be something for women who have suffered miscarriages or who have struggled to conceive to consider cutting out.

Research already exists stating that mothers should refrain from drinking especially in the first trimester. However, as women don’t always know when they’re pregnant as a nutritional therapist, I would advise woman to refrain from drinking even when they’re trying to conceive especially if they’re struggling with conception as alcohol can lead to miscarriage and other issues in becoming pregnant. New research coming to light now about caffeine maybe almost as risky as drinking alcohol and women are recommended to start quitting their coffee addiction as soon as they are considering getting pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Both coffee and alcohol drank during the first trimester of pregnancy are especially dangerous for the new baby and can lead to many complications and potential birth defects and brain development issues later on in the child’s life.

If you’re trying to conceive and you’re hoping for a conception to happen soon, shouldn’t you be considering your body is your temple and you want to plough your fields well in order to allow that new seed to be born and to grow into a healthy child?

That ploughing and preparing of your system begins the day you think about getting pregnant. That includes making sure that you have a good diet so that you are delivering the right nutrients to your growing infant. That preparation begins before the child is in your system. It includes also ensuring that you’re taking in the right vitamins to provide nourishment to your growing fetus. It also means exercising in order to make sure that your body can carry the infant in the healthiest way possible and that you will have the best birth possible when it’s time for your child to be born. Preparing your body begins way before that child is conceived. It begins the moment that you are thinking about conception. Because there are so many intricacies of how to ensure that your child is healthy and that you conceive easily and well, it might be helpful to talk to an expert.

If you’d like to book a free call to discuss how to prepare yourself for the best conception, to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child, book a free car with me

HERE.

“If not now, when? If not you, who?”

 

There has literally never been a better time to get yourself healthy. Finally, the impetus for all those resolutions you’ve made every year to “get healthy” is really here. This pandemic has killed people by the masses.

But not all people, interestingly enough. There are many who barely get sick at all and then those that get sick but are fine soon after. So why? What is it that is making some so ill while others seem to be barely affected?

Well, it’s this important thing called our immune system. Why is it that the elderly are more affected by this pandemic than the young? Well, over the course of many years, our bodies become more abused by the food we feed them, the way we live (stress, lack of sleep, anxieties, drugs, alcohol, smoking, self-abuse…) and even the way we feel (the elderly are more likely to be lonely for instance).

But the people most likely to die from this pandemic are not even the elderly: they are the unhealthy. This pandemic has killed more obese people quickly than anything else out there! So isn’t this the warning call we’ve all needed to finally wake up and make ourselves healthy and finally take care of our bodies and our minds (our thoughts manifest remember)?

Watch my latest video below and reach out to me for a helping hand when you need it by booking a free call with me here.

Know someone who can use a wakeup call to get healthy? Forward them this newsletter and insist they subscribe to my YouTube channel as more health videos are coming along with something soon that will launch to my newsletter and social media subscribers first!

 

Can your diet be affecting your mental health?

Last week in my interview with Ayshe and Arusha we spoke about how the pandemic has changed their lives, in a way that was unexpected. Since Ayshe, Arusha and I all studied Nutrition together a lot of our attention was given to nutrition and its‘ effects on stress and stress management. It was especially interesting to speak with them because in this time of Covid-induces isolation they underwent Ramadan: a fasting period which thrives on community interaction. If you want to listen to their stories, and hear some inspiring tips and insights, you can watch the interview here.

This week I want to pick up on the phrase that surfaced in our conversation “Food is medicine”. Hippocrates, one very well-known naturopathic doctor from centuries ago said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. More often than not, food is associated with pleasure or with calories and weight gain, depending on where we are in the moment. Well although food can definitely be very pleasurable, it is also the basis of what can keep us well or can make us sick (think of over-indulgence and high calorie, low nutrient foods).

However, beyond the pleasure aspect, food is also our body’s natural fuel. It is our source of energy and source of wellbeing. The key, however, is to learn to naturally divert from harmful foods that simply taste good (but later make us feel bad or that cause unknown harm to our bodies) and lean towards foods that are healthy and good for us.

It is really not surprising that many of the spiritual practices have called the body our temple and have stressed the importance of loving one’s body. How you treat your body as a huge effect on your health, and a big part of treating your body well is eating well… which is, I have to admit, a life-long journey. Your body changes from day to day, from season to season, and its’ needs fluctuate. By simply accepting that food does wonders to you, by observing yourself after each meal and how you feel from one hour up to 3 days after (yes 3 days!) you will understand its’ effects. Hence food can make you, but wrong food can literarily break you. Bad eating habits very slowly but surely mess with your endocrine system, your blood circulation, your posture, your muscle consistency and your mood.

So what foods should you stay away from? Well foods that are CRAP for a start! That’s carbonated sugared beverages, refined foods and sugars, artificial foods & sweeteners and processed foods. These foods not only are normally rich in calories and low in nutrition, they actually sap your energy over time, cause addiction, are more difficult for your liver to process, cause weight gain over time, make your body feel bad and sluggish and wreck havoc on your body’s biodiversity of good vs bad bacteria as well as your mood and mental health.

So what should you be eating then? Well, for a start: whole grains, fresh unrefined unprocessed foods, particularly plant foods, healthy fats and oils (oily fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts…).The healthiest, happiest populations eat foods that include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains (that doesn’t mean most bread and pasta by the way, which is normally processed), fresh fish, lentils, beans, soy, fermented foods… Stay tuned for coming newsletters that take you further through what foods help your body and your mind keeping you healthier, happier and more youthful long term.

Can’t wait until the next newsletter? Book a free call with me here

All disease begins in the gut. -Hyppocrates

Covid-19 lessons: letting go of the infinite attempts to control one’s life.

It’s amazing how many things have changed since corona virus has become a part of our reality. Plans are constantly changing and 2 weeks is probably the maximum of time ahead we can plan ahead for, if even that. Flights are constantly being cancelled, as country regulations change constantly. We are warned about a possibility of a second wave and an abrupt return of lockdown measures wherever we are. So how do we cope in a plan-free world?

In this week’s interview, talk with two wonderful women: Aysha and Arusha, who very wisely point out that one of the positive outcomes of covid 19 has been exactly the feeling of letting go of the infinite attempts to control one’s life. Can it really be that the key to happiness in uncertain times (as this pandemic certainly has been) is just to let go? Perhaps, metaphysically speaking, my guests have a point when they say that the universe sent us this strange lesson on how to slow down and become watchers for a change, instead of active, constant, neurotic doers.

During this pandemic, both Ayshe and Arusha underwent Ramadan, maintained their careers, healthy families and positive outlooks of the future. One of the commonalities that both women share is that they have maintained strong ties to their community. On the one hand, we are unlucky to have fallen in this slither of time to experience the pandemic, but on the other hand, in no previous pandemics has the world been so connected as today, thanks to technology. Some may say over-connected even, but it is this connection that has allowed us to maintain ties to friends, family, work and community despite strict rules of no contact.

Although attending meetings online certainly comes with its own set of issues and sometimes requires great patience, it also allows us to maintain community ties while staying safe and healthy. Therefore, its seems that people who have had strong ties to the community, have managed to stay the healthiest and even benefit from the pandemic of 2020.

Watch these amazing women give you three tips each on how to keep going forward in times of crisis, which are beyond our control.

What does your gut health have to do with your mental health?

In my previous newsletter, in the interview with Dr. Priya Virmani and Dr. Bonnie Schneider, we spoke about the practices of psychologists to help with mental health. As Nutritional Therapists, we also have to consider mental health as it can have a significant effect on health overall. We also now know that nutrition has a significant effect on mental health in many ways.

In fact, in the process of my research into depression for my last paper, I discovered many research studies that demonstrate the significant effect that nutrition has on depression and mental health overall. Additionally, both exercising and spending time in nature have been linked with improved mental health. The link between physical health and mental health is becoming more and more recognised in both directions: while mental health significantly affects physical health (with those who are living with mental health disorders suffering a significant increase in mortality), how we take care of our physical body also can significantly affect mental health (ie: poor nutrition, poor sleep, poor lifestyle all being causes of mental health issues).

Unfortunately, however, not all traditional Psychiatrists are recognising the importance of lifestyle and diet changes in improving mental health. With the sad rise of mental health issues during the Coronavirus pandemic, and even overall year on year, it’s becoming more important than ever for Nutritional Therapists and mental health experts to work together to bridge the gap that still exists and leaves many just as badly off after trying different medications as they were before medicating. This is why it makes me especially happy to when I get the oportunity to work with people like Dr. Priya Virmani, Dr. Bonnie Schneider, Ruth Carter and others who focus on mental health. In fact, I started my own journey with mental health (studying Psychology in University and then Coaching many years later) before realising the importance of nutritional health to help patients who were unable to be helped by focusing on mental health alone.

So what does our gut have to do with mental health? Well with the advent of much research throughout the years, we know that the balance of microbes in our gut can have a significant affect on our mental health as well as health overall. However, this link is not something recently discovered. In fact, Egyptians used to call the gut a “second brain”, a term that recently resurfaced and has been adopted by modern day scientists and Nutritional Therapists.

An especially interesting link has been found between the levels of probiotics in your gut and your mental heath. Much research has been dedicated towards finding specific bacteria, which lives in our gut and which might be responsible for our mental health. You can read more here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190213124350.htm.

Here is a great quote from the article: “Dr. Michael Gershon, a professor of pathology and cell biology and father of neurogastroenterology, adamantly believes that we have a second brain in our gut. In fact, he states there is bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. With more than 100 million nerve cells lining our intestinal walls, it’s no wonder that when we disrupt the bacteria in this region with antibiotics, poor diet and toxic environment, it creates a neuropsychiatric effect influencing our mood and mental health.”

However science is still predominantly focused on specification of bacteria, as oposed to thinking more broadly: what might be causing this specific bacteria to appear in your gut in the first place or what might be causing probiotic depletion in a body which has been very clever over several thousands of years in reaching this stage. The attention once again is geared towards inventing a medicine – solving a problem by popping one pill, when if fact, that very same approach is the cause of many health related and especially mental problems in the first place.

Therefore, now that it has been proven that the gut has a significant effect on mental health, perhaps it is time to work on tackling mental health issues more holistically, meaning that instead of coming up with a pill to cure the gut, we should really think about the diet and lifestyle issues causing the problems in the first place. We should consider the processes that happen in our bodies when certain foods or chemicals are ingested. For example, what really happens chemically when we persistently eat from McDonald’s, drink that processed soft drink or eat that processed food that depletes the good bacteria in our gut allowing it to fill with bad bacteria instead and leading to a breakdown in both physical health (ie: immunity) and mental health.

Conversely, we should also become more aware of how more lasting positive change can occur through means of self analysis, mindfulness, meditation, exercise, adequate sleep and time spent in nature. Remember that big changes in life and health are built on little victories. Instead of setting yourself difficult to achieve goals like losing 15 kg in two months, start instead with little victories. Remember that building a fortress takes small steps first of constructing bricks, putting them on top of each other, etc: our little victories. Therefore, taking a pill, is not a victory. It’s an act that has little meaning to us – we are so detached from the process that we do not really respect it. A little victory can be simply getting up an hour earlier in the morning in order to make time to exercise, going to bed an hour earlier each night instead of staying up watching tv, giving up one particular food or a drink that’s bad for your health, taking one coffee off your daily intake etc. Once one step is achieved and practiced, the next will be greeted with much more motivation.

Small changes like adding regular exercise, eliminating processed foods and drinks, adding fruits and vegetables in ample amounts, sleeping better and longer, spending time in nature and meditating regularly can make significant differences to gut health overall thereby helping with mental and physical health and improving immunity.

Need a call?
Need more help in figuring out how to do this? Book a free 30 minute call with me Here.

What do our negative thoughts tell us about ourselves?

Last week you were able to tune into my interview with Psychotherapist, Bonnie Schneider, who, in her very insightful manner, portrayed negative thoughts as little monsters who just really need a hug. What a great way of explaining the core of the problem! Indeed, these little monsters – the negative thoughts – often overestimated in our personal realities, in true reality are simply little parts of us which have trouble communicating with us and are trying to tell us something about ourselves but in a very unhealthy way that, rather than helping us, makes us worse.

The problem is that the negative thoughts are there for a reason, but though that reason may be valid, the negative thoughts themselves don’t serve us. There is a very fine line between negative thinking and depression. And there is also a very serious link between depression, low mood and even simply just chronic negativity and inflammation overall and reduced immunity. Unfortunately, what starts as negative thinking can often end up manifesting (maybe not right away and maybe only in many years or even decades) into physical health issues like diabetes, autoimmune disease and even cancer and heart disease. Recently, quite a lot of research on mood has even centred on the connection between the gut and the brain, called the gut-brain axis. Apparently, the way we think can affect the mix of microbes in our gut. If the mix is as it should be, the microbes in our gut help us to produce key vitamins we need, such as vitamin K and short chain fatty acids, among others. But if the mix gets out of whack, meaning too much negative bacteria allowed in and positive bacteria not keeping balance, we could end up compromising our immunity. Probiotics and prebiotic-rich foods will help of course, but there is no substitute for the effects of our thoughts and our emotions on our health.

Often our negative thoughts may reflect truisms about ourselves that we don’t like and ideally would like to change. Sometimes they are voices from our past from a critical parent, perhaps (making us feel we’re not good enough), or from friends who stopped being friends and wanted to hurt us (making us feel put down and hurt), or even from peers who made us feel badly about ourselves for who we were at the time (telling us we’re ugly or fat or stupid or worthless in some way).

Sometimes those negative thoughts drove us to proactively change who we were to become the better person we are today: maybe we were embarrassed about carrying extra weight, so we got fit. Or maybe we were ashamed of not being good enough at school, so we studied harder. Or perhaps we were embarrassed of our poor upbringing, so we worked really hard and became big successes. In this way, the negative voices were useful to empower us to improve. Hence, they should go away when we’re now the person we supposedly wanted to become. But what if they don’t?

What happens if the negative thoughts have done their job but they still stick around like little gremlins coming to bother us just when we think we can finally let ourselves enjoy the fruits of our labour? Or, worse, what if the negative thoughts are just negative thoughts that rather than forcing us to get better, instead keep us trapped in an existence where we feel not good enough, not attractive enough, not smart enough, not worthy enough for love… or whatever our personal gremlins may be. In other words, what if our negative thoughts suffocate us so much that we instead give into them and start to believe the inferior image they brew of us?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the positive effect that keeping a personal diary can have on mental health. This week I want to tackle the problem of dealing with negative thoughts. The tool, unlike a diary, but possibly in combination with one, is a mental one I call a reframe. The ability to listen to your negative thoughts and then to reframe your perspective into one of understanding and motivation, is a way to tackle them and to change negativity into proactivity and then to positivity.

There is a reframe exercise that I use often with clients. It works something like this. When you have a negative thought, ask yourself: is this thought actually mine or is it put there by someone else? In other words, do I really believe that I need to change this something I don’t like about myself or has someone just convinced me that this something needs to be changed? Is there any evidence that this is true? If so, then I need to add this onto my proactivity page of things that I need to work on. If it isn’t true or it isn’t true anymore (maybe you used to be overweight but now you’re fit and it’s no longer an issue, or maybe you used to be poor but now you’ve worked hard and are successful so it’s not an issue), then let it go. Say farewell to the thought (I have certain exercises I use with clients to do this and hypnotherapy is really useful for this too). 

At the end, you should feel that you’ve listened to your thoughts and you should have a list of thoughts that you’re working to improve with yourself. You may need help to let some other thoughts go (that’s what coaches like me are here for). Rather than letting your thoughts keep coming at you like little gremlins who get hungry when you’re in a weak moment, demonstrate your strength to yourself and keep congratulating yourself on how hard you’re working on self-improvement (remember we are all just an evolving self constantly improving so self-improvement is a natural and good thing). Remember to give gratitude for your progress and that it takes positive emotions to over-write negative ones.

In case your struggle is actually in understanding or hearing your thoughts and knowing your feelings, that’s ok too. There is a certain age in children, from 2 to 3, in some cases a bit earlier or later, where these little humans start speaking and formulating meaningful sentences, and start to express their feelings and thoughts. Very often though, although the children think that they are expressing thoughts and feelings clearly, they have just assembled an artillery of words and meanings just enough to start to express their inner world, but they still need a wholesome map, which will help them to interpret this inner world. Sometimes these children themselves do not understand why they feel cranky or upset. Sometimes this same lack of understanding happens with older children too and with teenagers, especially when they have hormones raging and moods all over the place.

Parents can try to help children to articulate their emotions and sensations, help them to distinguish physical sensations of hunger, lack of sleep, tiredness from emotional feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy and so on. Sometimes, really understanding parents can help older children and teenagers too, though it’s more difficult at that age because part of their struggle is also to let parents go. Without parents to help them decipher their thoughts, children can sometimes act a bit like our negative thoughts. They completely surrender to their emotions, have trouble controlling themselves because they do not have the full perspective and they feed their own obsessions as they do not have the tool to stop them. Psychologists normally tell parents who have tantrum ridden children that whatever feeling they are trying to express we should always take it seriously and express affection towards confused children, because they are on a very impressive journey of learning the world.

So why not treat our own “inner children” in the same way? What if our negative thoughts have accumulated to such a degree that we do not know how to fully interpret everything we feel. Psychologists, therapists and coaches act in the adulthood scenario, act like parents to tantrum ridden children, because unfortunately we are not necessarily always taught how to organise and decipher our own negative puzzles or our map of action lies confused and in pieces.

So if helping to decipher those thoughts is something you’d like to do, that’s something I help my clients with: both for the purpose of improving mental and physical health. And if you want to start helping yourself, one good place to start is to ask yourself what these negative thoughts might be trying to tell you. Maybe you have been ignoring yourself for too long? Have you been putting off some very important task, a discussion, a problem you have to overcome but can’t face taking care of? Do you need help to get motivated? Have you been treated wrongly in the past and want to rid yourself from that situation or just to let the angry, bitter voice from feeling hurt go? Do you feel like you deserve more from life but don’t know how to get there or even how to get started?

Book a free 30 minute call with me here and let me here.

Is Covid 19 Causing A Mental Health Crisis

Many of you might have noticed the scary mental health statistics recently. Both depression and suicide rates have been creeping up during the Coronavirus pandemic and domestic violence rates are through the roof. This isn’t exactly a good thing for long-term longevity.

Mental health issues have long been correlated with physical health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and generalised inflammation. Even cancer and autoimmune diseases are often underpinned with previous episodes of low mood, stress, anxiety and other mental health problems.

Because of the clear correlation between mental health and physical health, I’ve made it my mission for the next few months to focus on mental health and how it underpins health in general. In these next few months, I will be speaking to experts in various areas of mental health as well as with regular people who have managed to make the best of not so great situations to improve their own health and happiness.

I’ve also spoken to many people who gained weight, became depressed, are anxious every morning about what life will now bring, have lost their sex drive (in fact I was on Talk Radio last week speaking about this topic) and have generally seen a reduction in their health overall. It’s easy in times of crisis to get bogged down by the negative details of life. It’s true that we are now in very uncertain times. The economy is struggling and there are so many people on the edge of losing their jobs that it can hurt your soul to focus on it, not to mention feel you with fear, boredom, anxiety and depression. But if you give into these negative emotions for very long, unfortunately what comes next is a too rapid downward spiral that leads you to a path that can compromise both your happiness and your health.

What I propose isn’t to isolate yourself from real life and pretend the negative isn’t happening; rather it’s to accept that we are currently in a crisis, while to not accept that crisis into your own life. This means finding some way, whatever it is – and I will show you many ways during this series – to reframe the negative and find the little bit of light hiding within the darkness.

Today’s guest to help me help you onto that path of improved mental health and improved health overall is Dr Bonnie Schneider.

Dr. Bonnie Schneider, believes there is no greater wealth than health, including our emotional and psychological well-being. She earned a Masters and Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University in NY and has worked in a number of settings including: an inpatient unit, psychiatric emergency room, addiction centre, college counselling centre and analytic institute.

Bonnie currently sees individuals in private practice working from a psychodynamic perspective and you can find out more about her and her work here: http://drbonnieschneider.com.
During our interview Bonnie reflects on her professional and personal experiences to share her perspectives and insights on the challenges COVID and lockdown have brought.

If you have any questions on how to work towards better health during this crisis, please book a free 30 minute call with Julia here.

Covid-19 Diaries: Should We Vaccinate Or Should We Not Vaccinate? Video Interview With Mark Lester

Whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate has been a hot debate for many years. Now with the search for a vaccine against Covid-19, and governments trying to pass laws making vaccination mandatory, this debate has grown even louder with more people taking sides.
I’m bringing you a strong voice of the anti-vaccination side now. Watch the video to see some interesting controversies around some of the more common vaccines most children are given.

Then listen for the link to more fascinating information about this debate. You can also find this week’s positive news article.

Need some help with matters of health, book a free call with me here:  https://WellnessSession.as.me/

Warmest regards,

Julia Keller 

To Mask Or Not To Mask: That Is The Question

With the advent of Corona comes also the question of how to best protect ourselves from the virus. Recently an interesting debate has been happening: the one about whether masks actually help us to stay safe or not.

Well, in order to answer that question, I decided to conduct my own research. Unfortunately with all of the answers that I found, I actually found more questions as it seems that the answer of whether masks actually protect us from Covid-19 has experts on both sides just as strongly supporting their own point of view.
One thing for sure, the countries that have responded to the pandemic with asking residents to wear masks everytime they go out are among the lowest in incidences. Some governments have now made statements suggesting that citizens wear masks when heading out into public. But even this is not conclusive as these same countries with the lowest incidences were also just quicker to respond to this new danger. There are also those who say that masks stop the spread but only because those wearing the masks aren’t spreading the disease. So that if all of the residents of that country are wearing masks then the ones who are sick unknowingly aren’t spreading the virus.

Considering the debate, I decided to interview a friend who’s on the side of pro masks in this debate. Have a watch of our live interview and also of her video of how to make your own masks from scratch (no sewing machine required). Then have a look at how I make my scarf into a temporary mask when heading to the park.

Any questions about how to support yourself mentally and physically for better immunity during this pandemic? Book a free 30 minute call with me here.

My Facebook live with my scarf mask:
https://www.facebook.com/coachjuliakeller/videos/579409319593210/

Here is a video from a wonderful KKHaris: how to make masks from scratch!

Covid-19 Diaries: What did I do to stay positive

Now that the Corona virus lockdown is entering an easement phase throughout Europe and Asia, I think it’s a good time to reflect on what we have learned and what I have personally learned during this time of isolation.

The biggest lesson for me was that it is possible to have a completely different kind of life: one that is significantly more simple and not so full of going out, restaurants/cafes (though I miss them terribly) and constantly being on the go. Personally, I have never cooked so much in my life in such a short space time. And I’m happy to report that I’m not just starting to get much better at it (my own preference being Mediterranean diet style healthy cooking that’s also tasty) but I’m also starting to enjoy it. I’m still not sure that there are enough hours in a day, days a week and weeks a year to have enough time to finish all of the things that I want to do, and see all the people I want to see, but there are certainly enough to focus on the things and people that matter.
So what matters? For me personally, relationships with the important people in our lives are what matter most. Relationships between my daughters, parents, partner, friends and the world. It is given that most of us have jobs and obligations, but we should not need such extreme measures for us to realise that without each other, without helping one another and caring for one another, things would be impossible.

During this time of crisis, we have all witnessed incredible things. We have seen so many people volunteer for the NHS help scheme that there are more people wanting to help than those needing to be helped. So many who are finishing their medical studies even have volunteered to brave danger in order to help save lives. I believe that people are naturally inclined to help rather than turn a cold shoulder, that if we have enough time to actually make relations and connect with people, we will do so.
I have personally found myself getting in touch with people around the world with whom I lost contact some time ago. This was the excuse to get back in touch and it was wonderful to hear about how they’re doing now.
However, in order to find the motivation to reach out to others, we must first feel good within ourselves. If we feel depressed and demotivated, we will never find the power and energy to help, we will simply be unable. It is only when we feel stronger and better internally that kindness and helping becomes our second nature. For example, because I felt good inside, I offered help to some of my elderly neighbours who I didn’t even know well because I can imagine the difficulty that self-isolating would put them in. If, on the other hand, we are stuck in our own misery, it’s difficult to see the situation of others as anything we should participate in bettering.
With this experience that had its’ challenges of fear, loss of some comforts we took for granted and even some personal freedoms, also came so much light and opportunity. For me, personally, spending so much time at home made me realise just how important my home space really is. For the first time since we’ve moved into our new space a couple years ago, my kids and I did a huge spring clean. And I mean huge! We got rid of and gave away so many things that were crowding our space, that we finally uncovered what a beautiful, light and clean space we really had. I transformed a whole floor of my house simply by getting rid of a pile of things that was cramping it up. Now this new space has become my makeshift office while my kids use my actual office for themselves.

With all of this difficulty has come so much opportunity and beauty. It’s as if some higher power had planned it in a way that made us suffer and learn from our suffering; it made us fear only to emerge from our fears; it caused death only to leave those living with more appreciation of life. I am not diminishing the sadness and the awful circumstances, because they are absolutely awful. But I also want us to appreciate the wonder that came with the awfulness. “Where there’s darkness, there will be light”.

The world has found a way to show us, or remind us perhaps, that the disbalance between the professional income we strive for daily should be at least evened out with the balance of living life in nature and spending it with those who matter most. I have myself started running through the park regularly and have had my two kids take turns running with me. We take walks or runs on a daily basis now where we might have gone days without doing so. I have seen more people of all shapes, sizes and ages walking in the parks we’ve gone to than ever before.
In addition, in this time, the environment has improved as has the atmosphere. There is less pollution in most countries that ever reported before. People are taking this time at home without a lengthy commute as an opportunity to get healthier and to physically exercise more. And all of the research coming out supports that being healthier and fitter means being less likely to get seriously ill in a pandemic. So this situation has provided us for the opportunity to improve ourselves and our immunity for the future. Let us hold onto the lessons so that we don’t need another pandemic to remind us.

Stay positive with positive news  
CNN: This man came home from the hospital to die. His son found a way to keep him alive.

Read the article here 

Could dogs be the key to quick Corona Virus testing?

Read the article here 

Staying positive in this strange time of uncertainty

Life throws us curve balls on a regular basis that we may not always know what to do with. Some are good ones that lead to much better things: like promotions and proposals. Some are bad ones that are painful and difficult to be a part of: like deaths of loved ones and illnesses we struggle to get better with.
Some are just challenges that can go either way. Covid-19 (aka: the Coronavirus) is one of them. How it goes depends in a large part on how we handle it. Do we take it as a negative and look at it with dismay, anger, depression, loneliness? Or do we take it as a potential positive that could, if taken as the temporary turmoil that it is, eventually lead to better things?
In this video, I speak with two friends on how they find their own way to reframe this would be negative situation into something potentially positive.

Need help reframing your negative into positive? Book a free 30 minute call with me here.

Positive Article of the week

New Covid-19 research suggests millions may have survived disease in UK without even knowing it

READ HERE

Mental Health Newsletter: A great way to organise your thoughts- Keep a journal!

Hello everyone,

I continue my newsletter with the current focus on mental health and how your mental health affects your physical health. Last week I spoke with Ruth Carter, the Liberty Coach, who works with young people, parents, schools and the community to help them to unleash their potential, to create a vision of their lives and to motivate them.

We have been hearing a lot about the mental health issues that Covid-19 has exasperated and last week’s focus was on how it affects our kids: the little humans who will very soon be the next generation of our functional society. If you are a parent and want to know what are the common problems young people and parents are facing in these strange times, please watch the interview here:  https://youtu.be/-pX4C1DXVcg.

This week, I would like to touch upon a tool used for many generations by psychiatrists and psychologists equally to help those dealing with mental issues or just those wishing to clarify their thoughts or keep track of their budding memories: keeping a diary.

There are an infinite number of rituals we turn to, consciously or unconsciously, in order to help us to bring order in our often scattered and chaotic minds, but when are pushed out of our comfort zone and our rituals are interrupted by a pandemic, we panic. Psychologists around the world are faced with the current increasing numbers of depression and anxiety, especially in those people who are highly extroverted, love interacting with other individuals, are outgoing and highly depend on the world around them. For extroverted people, the stable pillar is the society: the work colleagues, friends, family – everything that comes from the outside. Therefore, it is not surprising that when all of a sudden a much more introverted lifestyle has been forced upon us, it is exactly those people who have to undergo the biggest adjustment. This external instability can lead to a sense of loss of control over life, one’s surroundings and even one’s mind and may cause a great disorder in a once ordered life.

“The brain cannot stand disorder. If there is disorder, all its’ activities will be contradictory, confused, miserable and it will bring about mischief in itself and around itself. This order is not the design of thought, the design of obedience to a principle, to authority, or to some form of imagined goodness. It is disorder in the brain that brings about conflict” – J. Krishnamurti

The bottom line is that we all need order! Either internally or externally. So how do we reestablish that order when the world around seems to be in a place of chaos? The good news is that we can do this for ourselves even without resorting to psychotherapy. The universal tool of writing and gathering our thoughts can work like a magic wand in bringing order back to our minds and often in restoring health.

If you’ve ever imagined yourself as one of those people with black leather cover notebooks sitting in a park writing, now is the time to begin. Or if you’re more a technology buff and prefer to record on a different kind of notebook (the kind you turn on and type on) or a tablet, or even your phone, that’s also possible. Actually, the sky’s the limit when it comes to gathering your thoughts. You can even record video diaries for yourself if that’s your preference.

There is something that happens when one sits down to gather one’s thoughts… The process is eye opening. When forced to think about how we wish to express our mind, it’s incredible what transpires. Even the process of how we jot down and gather our thoughts is changing in some way, helping towards resolution. It can be in a single word, a sentence, an experience we’ve had…. Keeping a diary is like conducting research into one’s being, one’s soul, its an archive of life.

The experience is expansive because not only do you find out more about yourself, the way you think and what thought patterns you face, but you expand your view of the world at large. You will begin to notice how the same problems and feelings reoccur. Opening your eyes to a particular problem, or to particular thoughts, you will realise that one and the same individual, or a thought or idea enters your mind frequently: meaning it needs more attention and to be seriously listened to.

Once that process of ordering one’s thoughts is activated, it transits from mind to your external world. You begin to pay attention and notice things more. Additionally, it has great effect on the sense of meaning of the day. This produces a similar feeling in one’s mind as to when one exercises and the positive feeling that brings to one’s body. So that sometimes it feels like no matter how the day goes by, it still was a good day because we exercised. The same fulfillment flushes through your mind after 15 minutes of writing. And above all, after a year, a few years or a decade, when you discover your diary stuck somewhere behind a box or a shelf, a warm excited feeling of self discovery and anticipation entails.

“One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware, with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer . . .. In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.” – Franz Kafka

If you are unsure of how to start a diary, and feel slightly awkward at that moment when gazing down at a fresh sheet of empty paper, try beginning with anything current that comes to mind: the night you had, what you ate the previous day, a discussion with friends or family or a persistent thought or issue: really whatever grabs you in the moment. The beautiful thing about writing a diary is that there are no rules and no limitations. Write your day’s plan and then check it the next morning to see how well you executed it. Try to remember something that touched you, something you felt immensely. Be it beauty, anger, jealousy, even hunger, lust, love… You only need to start and the rest will come.

Want more help on this path or to ensure that your mental health isn’t compromising your physical health, book a free 30 minute call with me here