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7 tips to improve your SLIM Expert Emma Howard

emotional health

1. Connect to Nature

Spend at least one day a week disconnected from tech devices and enjoy the natural beauty of nature or art. So get out from behind your work’s computer screen, as screens will never have the same effect as the therapeutic negative ions released from the waves in the ocean or a running stream or the feel good buzz of the hormone oxytocin from the reassuring sensation of physical human touch. Avoid neglecting your real-world relationships in favour of virtual interaction.

2. Practise selflessness

Do things that positively impact the lives of others. Practice selfdiscipline in the amount of time that you spend “in your own head” and absorbed with your own life. The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. Your life’s true meaning comes from looking out from yourself to create an emotional connection with others; from the barista preparing the cup of coffee to the customer service professional, to a mother giving to her child, life’s emotional health and wellbeing is directly derived in the ability to deliver quality service to the lives of others and focussing less on your own life.

3. Do Something Which Scares You

Learn or discover new things and test your resolve. Learned helplessness is a term used by psychologists when a person selfsabotages their ability to achieve. Negative experiences lead to a belief that you’re helpless and that you have little control over the situations in your life. It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that life will deliver the negative consequences expected. Try to “live in the moment” and see that each day and even each moment leads to the fresh possibility that change is possible and that your past does not control your future. Let yourself go to love again after you have been hurt, forgiveness of yourself and of others is integral to the process of moving forward and applying mindfulness. The process of letting go of any negative emotional state and accepting ‘what is’ increases your emotional resilience.

4. Manage Your Stress Levels

Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. It achieves absolutely nothing and leaves you in an emotional state of distress. Instead try some structured problem solving. Work on cause-and-effect relationships and identify your behavioural activation, because when nothing changes (including yourself ) nothing changes. At times you will come to a conclusion that there is simply nothing that you can do to change a negative situation so “sitting with” the emotional state, rather than fighting with the negative feelings will be your greatest challenge, and subsequently your greatest strength. Model yourself on emotionally stable people, you will find that a lot has to happen for their emotional cage to be rattled. If you find it difficult to be in your headspace at a time of emotional distress, mentally remove yourself from you and ask yourself “how would x (insert name of a person you admire and respect) respond to this 34 slim magazine winter 2015

situation?” Modelling yourself on others is the fastest and most effective way to change, because what you practice thinking and behaving you eventually will become.

5. Let’s Get Physical

We all have awareness at some level that exercise can relieve stress and lift your mood through the excretion of feel-good chemicals of dopamine and serotonin. Look for small ways to add physical activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking the car a little further away from the entrance to where you’re going. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes of elevated heart rate or more of exercise per day. Most recent research is indicating that a daily exercise programme has the same therapeutic benefits as a low level dosage of antidepressants.

6. Sleep

The saying “Things will look differently after a good night’s sleep” has survived the ages because it is evidenced with clinical research indicating that our perception of reality is distorted without sufficient sleep, and our gross and fine motor skills can also resemble that of intoxication without sufficient sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours sleep each night in order to function at their best, so knowing your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle—your circadian rhythm—is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. Psychologists refer to the following factors as sleep hygiene; setting a regular bedtime, waking up at the same time every day. Daytime nap to make up for lost sleep if you need to make up for a few lost hours. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days.

7. You Think How You Eat

Learn about good nutrition and practice it. The subject of nutrition is personal and requires commitment and consistency. Remember it’s not what you do between Christmas and New Year that matters, it’s how you treat your body between New Year and Christmas. Education is key. Understanding your body’s biochemistry with, including you blood type, is the gateway to creating a diet that allows your body to be at its peak performance – whether you are about to do a cardio workout or gearing up for a long day in the office. Your body’s optimum functionality is derived from the simple equation of energy in = energy out. Sugar will give you an “instant energy hit” however its refined nature will see you “bottom out” in your physical and mental state so that you will take longer to recover. Choose foods which have a sustained energy release, such as foods with a low glycaemic index. These foods are generally “whole foods” and food groups that have not been greatly altered from their naturally occurring state. Emma Howard is the Principal Psychologist at Equilibrium Health, 21 Labrador St, Labrador, 07 5528 2255 or

Slim magazine online version 2015  

Elle Macpherson is our stunning cover girl. Slim Magazine is designed for everyone who wants to reach or maintain a healthy body weight. Thi...

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