What body wellness and emotional wellness have in common

 

Is this the worst time to talk about emotional and mental balance?

Or the right time?

I think it’s always a good time to be aware what we are feeling and why.  At this time, things are coming up to the surface for many. And the emotions get more intense.

This post is about

how to create more emotional balance by taking care of the body, by keeping the “body budget” in balance.

Some say balance doesn’t exists. I completely disagree; Look at NATURE. It always wants to come back to balance, when the balance is compromised. Nature is always balancing. And we are nature.

Just like the body will do anything to balance the blood’s pH (to keep us alive),  just like a tree will grow stronger roots, to balance a strong coastal wind, our brains try to balance emotional stress by drawing resources from one tissue to the tissue that needs them most in the moment. It’s called body budget.

So I guess, it’s clear now that a useful way to approach balance is not to see it as  a never changing state, but as a verb. A practice of balancing.

verb [with object] 1 keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall\ [no object] remain in a steady position without falling.  counteract, equal, or neutralize the weight or importance of: establish equal or appropriate proportions of elements in: they are struggling to balance work and family life.

How emotions are made?

In the book “How Emotions are made”  Lisa Feldman Barrett talks about BODY BUDGET. The brain has a predictive nature. It anticipates all the time what you need. And directs the resources: energy, oxygen, salt, glucose, water to the places in your body that need them most in the moment. But the budget has to come back to balance… here is an example: 

If your boss is approaching you and she stresses you very much, your body will activate the survival circuits in the brain. but when the danger is over is has to come back to balance. You help the body to balance its budget by getting enough sleep and the right food. 

When a similar situation happens over and over and over and you do not restore the balance – the budget is overdrawn and various issues start showing up.

All that happens in the body is reflected in our emotions.

This is what Lisa is proposing for emotional wellness – and these are the same things that are good for the body.

  1. The right food: no sugar, no processed foods, no transfats (these are inflammatory substances, that affect our emotions and thinking)
  2. Plenty of sleep (not always possible, when you have a baby or dogs, but do what you can. Very often I’d steal sleep away from myself by reading a book or scrolling instagram)
  3. Exercise – moderate. She talks specifically about yoga, which lets people calm down faster and more effectively. Yoga increases cytokines the anti-inflammatory proteins in the body, and reduces the inflammatory proteins, reducing a risk of certain diseases)
  4. Pleasant surroundings (even if spending money for redecorating is out of question, cleaning takes no money and organizing can be done over a weekend to create a pleasant environment)
  5. Body comfort (for example a massage. If not possible you can do your own foot massage or face massage)
  6. Positive entertainment – when you get lost in an inspiring book, someone else’s story, you forget about your own story for a moment, which may let you rest from worry)
  7. I forgot to add in the video: time in nature – wonderful for the body, mind, emotions and spirit. I’m writing this on April 6th when many people all over the world have to isolate at homes, some cannot go even to parks. Getting a house plant could be the solution.

So this was how taking care of the body, will restore the “body budget” to face what’s ahead and will help with emotional balancing. Next:  how we can create emotional balance with our thinking mind. Coming shortly.