The Role of Mindset in Health
It’s important to stretch our muscles before exercising so that our bodies can handle the stresses of motion and resistance when we use treadmills and weights. Our mind is also a muscle, and it too needs stretching to use the many tools for wellness available: healthy food, exercise programs, and tracking apps, among many examples. But what exactly does stretching our minds mean? Let’s take an example.
I used to take melatonin for sleep. After a friend recommended the supplement, I Googled a bit, tried it out, and found it worked wonders for me. My mind contently told me, “Whatever else happens in your life, you have your sleeping problem fixed.” I developed this thought pattern because I am always eager to improve my well being.
It wasn’t until years later, while researching nutrition, that I found out that melatonin - and a lot of other nutrients people usually take supplements for - are actually contained in food. Some “obvious” health tricks I had used suddenly became questionable.
While there are cases when supplementation is needed, most people receive enough nutrients from their diets.
When I started switching my melatonin for food, I found that a combination of ingredients like oats, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate were all good for sleep. Additionally, they had other benefits like reducing stress and helping memory and cognition. Read all about the details in our series on Food for Sleep, Mental Health, and Relaxation.
I began making things like granola for dinner, not only saving money on supplements, but also getting some great-tasting meals out of the experiment!
Now I realize that without keeping an open, stretched mind, my wellness eagerness also makes me susceptible to looking for quick fixes. I am continuing to learn how to keep my mind stretched in all aspects of my wellness journey, always asking if there are ways to improve, or if there are better ways altogether.
Do you regularly stretch your mind? If so, how? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.