Have you ever tried your hand at making a mandala? I hadn’t, until a friend of mine invited me to an online workshop to learn how.
What I came up with was a handful of contrasting emotions that I attempted to portray in the design.
Come to think of it, these are all feelings I’ve been ping-ponging through my whole life. But at least some of them, I think, have been heightened since we’ve been hunkered down with the pandemic.
Have you thought about what happens in your body when you feel unsafe or alarmed?
Usually when I’ve talked with women entrepreneurs about their health questions, most of them tell me they just want to know what to eat.
Should they be keto? Paleo? Vegan? Low FODMAP? Low fat raw? What about nightshades and grains?
Maybe you’ve tried one or more of the above or some other that I didn’t mention. There’s certainly no shortage of opinions, recommendations, and scientific data available to consider.
However, it strikes me that almost everyone I know is in a state of high-alert right now. With fear of Covid-19, physical isolation, having to wear masks, work schedules disrupted, school schedules disrupted, and so many other activities curtailed, most of us are affected in one way or another. Not to mention all the other things going on in our world.
Whenever there’s a constant aggravation of our nervous system, the body gets stuck in a fight-flight-or-freeze state.
In that case, you can be eating all the right foods, taking all the right supplements, and doing all the things – and your body won’t make good use of them. You may not absorb the nutrients from your food or you may develop sensitivities you didn’t have before.
In the sympathetic fight-or-flight state, your body prioritizes survival above all else. Because of what occurs with the energy generators in the cells – the mitochondria – your energy is sapped, and your cells don’t repair themselves as well.
The body must be in a calm, healing state in order to make proper use of the carefully-chosen foods you put into it.
To access your healing parasympathetic state before you put anything into your mouth, put my TRUST formula into place:
- Tune in to your body’s sensations and simply notice what you feel.
- Release any tension that you detect with some gentle breaths and a calming mental suggestion such as, “Shoulders, relax. Belly, relax.”
- Uplevel your stress-handling repertoire by exploring tools and techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and tapping.
- Slow down and really pay attention to your food, savoring each bite as you chew slowly and thoroughly. The adage, “Liquefy your solids and chew your liquids,” points to the fact that digestion benefits when foods are in contact with the saliva and digestive enzymes in the mouth for an extended time.
- Thankfulness is a great antidote to stress. When sitting down to eat, pause in gratitude for the plants, animals, farmers, grocery stores, and all else that made your meal possible.
The more you can calm your nervous system, the more your energy will increase, the better your digestion will function, and the more likely you’ll be to make the exact right dietary choices for your body.
As for me, I need to focus on the “delighted, peaceful, confident” feelings of my mandala as I sit down to my made-with-love healthful meal. That’s the best way to get all the benefits.