Seven Mind-Body Practices for a Better Mood

Mind-body healing techniques can be defined as incorporating mindfulness/meditation and movement into our healthcare routine in order to tap into our bodies’ natural healing abilities and cope with stressors. These techniques have been used for centuries to heal and strengthen our bodies and minds, but it’s only recently that these techniques have been recognized by the scientific and medical communities.

Personally, I use these techniques with my patients for a number of reasons, most notably to help improve mood and outlook during a particularly challenging part of the healing process, or when patients suffer from depression and/or anxiety. Even better, meditation, breathing, and light movement practices are free or inexpensive and devoid of harmful side effects.

Breathing Techniques. Deep breathing reduces tension and nourishes parasympathetic tone, the “rest and digest” aspect of our nervous system. Try the Pranayama guided breathing app.

Tai Chi. This practice focuses on gentle movements while creating a rooted connection to the earth. Both the movements and breath work create a sense of focus and calm.

Qi gong. This practices encompasses deep breathing, with relaxing meditative movement.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation. A practice of conscious relaxing and tensing of major muscles in your body allows your body to deeply relax while creating greater awareness of yourself.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback. Through this training, the breath is matched to a resonate frequency to achieve an optimal level of HRV, which reflects adaptability and intrinsic self regulation. I recommend Heart Math to my patients.

Mindfulness Meditation. This simple, yet powerful act of focusing on the present moment elicits brain activity changes that foster a positive emotional state. Some popular apps are:

  • Smiling Mind – Guided meditations for all ages 
  • Headspace – Daily guided meditations 
  • Omvana – Free and purchasable meditation and sleep enhancement tracks

Yoga. Yoga allows you to foster a deeper connection of body, mind and spirit. Through meditative movement and deep breathing, you can promote relaxation and a sense of well-being. Try DoYogaWithMe.com or simply search for free YouTube video!

In my book, Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth— The New Mom's Guide to Navigating the Fourth Trimester, I share even more tips for nourishing your mind, body and spirit after baby. Low mood and anxiety can be managed using diet, herbs, nutrients, self care practices and more!

Do you have a regular mind-body practice? Share with us and our audience what you've found works best for you.

 

References

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/art.22478/asset/22478_ftp.pdf?v=1&t=iffmcekn&s=a0ceaab263bb8077acffd374e171d60600e7ce61
  2. http://journals.lww.com/practicalpsychiatry/Abstract/2012/07000/Mindfulness_Based_Stress_Reduction,.2.aspx

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Medical Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.