Mindset - A key to Wellness and Longevity


“Not all storms come to disrupt your life – some come to clear your path”

Some simple changes to our habits can have a positive impact on our mindset

In our first blog post of this series we encouraged making long-term plans and setting goals to help achieve them. On the topic of wellness and longevity, this might be picturing yourself in 20/30/40 years and considering what you want to be doing at that age, and then working out the steps that you would need to take from now in order to achieve that goal. The same can be said for other things in life (financial goals for example), but the intention here is to avoid being bogged down with whatever position you’re currently in and focus more on where you’re aiming to be. There are always obstacles and excuses that can cause procrastination, so it pays to have very clear visual goals to keep on the right track.

With one quarter of Kiwi’s experiencing poor mental wellbeing, mindset has a big impact on our health and is a topic well worth discussing.

Your health is largely determined by your habits, so the small choices you make on a regular basis are what ultimately shape your health. There might be habits that you’ve gotten into that are taxing on your mental health, like an addiction to social media which is often full of negativity. A good start would be to get these sorts of habits back in check! Start by paying attention to things you do automatically and then reflecting on how it makes you feel once you have done it. Generally, we feel much better after a good phone conversation or a cuppa outside than half an hour of mindless scrolling and comparing. It can be hard to stop these habits but once you start paying attention, it can be replaced by healthier habits.

One of the things that demonstrates the importance that our mind has on our health is the ‘flight or flight’ response. In short, we have two parts of our nervous system; one is the parasympathetic which is the mode our body is in when we are ‘resting, digesting and healing’, and the other is the sympathetic nervous system which is our ‘flight, fight or freeze’ response when we are under stress. They are both important, but if we are constantly under stress then we can spend too much time in flight or fight mode and our health can suffer. Things that can trigger us to be stuck in the stress mode include excessive screen time, poor sleep habits, and a high sugar diet. Steps can be taken to reduce our body’s stress response, and for things that are unavoidable there is research to show that physical exercise is required to complete the stress response. To use an analogy, imagine that you come across a hungry lion and your body goes into flight or fight mode – you become more alert, your heart rate increases, your body is primed for danger – but then the lion gets disinterested and you didn’t need to fight or flee after all. Your body is unaware that the danger has gone, it is still primed for action. Doing physical exercise actually completes the stress response – it signals to your body that the stress has now gone and therefore your body is better able to reset and break that stress cycle.

Another aspect of mindset regarding health is the idea of being proactive rather than reactive. We often think of symptoms as being negative, but really they’re our body’s way to telling us that there’s a problem that requires attention. At the very least, we should address these alerts as soon as possible to avoid the problem worsening. This could be something simple like tweaking any exercises that are causing pain or gardening in shorter stints, but what would be even better is if we were to proactively look after ourselves to avoid these issues from developing in the first place. This might include maintenance chiropractic care, regular exercise, better posture, healthier sleep routines and more nutrient-dense food.

Of course there’s only so much we can do on our own and some of us have more support than others. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness or if you just want to talk to someone, there is help available so don’t hesitate to reach out! The 24/7 NZ helpline for texts or calls is 1737.


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