4 Secrets of Mind Balance
1) Go deeper in your meditation
If you already meditate, you might be ready to take it up a level, says meditation teacher Emma Mills. ‘The thing about mindfulness is, it doesn’t take you beyond sensory, objective experience. It encourages you to be in the moment and focus non-judgmentally on your experience – for example your breathing, your heartbeat, the sound of the birds outside.’ But, she says, you might be ready to try another form of meditation called direct path, where you go beyond your own experience. ‘It’s about getting interested in finding the “I” that is busy experiencing everything.’
Or, instead of trying a new meditation, go deeper into a technique you know. ‘Start practising one you’ve already tried – mindfulness, breathing, yoga, poetry, transcendental – and expand on it by doing it lots of times, as though it were an orange you wanted to get every single bit of juice out of.’
2) Enjoy every bite
Mindful eating can be an incredible tool, not only for digestion but for processing emotions around food, says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik.
Dr Susan Albers, author of new book 50 More Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food has a great mantra: When you eat, just eat. Ie, don’t read, watch TV, even exercise. That way, every mouthful will get noticed by your brain, which will tell your body. Dr Albers’ other mind-changing motto is: Pace, don’t race. Eat slowly, and your appetite hormones have got a better chance of kicking in before pudding. Dr Albers even suggests putting your fork in the hand that you don’t usually eat with, to slow yourself down and be more conscious. And enjoy eating as a group, as humans have done for centuries, says Emma. ‘Look at cooking and eating as a celebration of life and sharing with friends and family.’
3) Don’t just do yoga
You might think yoga is the ultimate exercise, but cross training– especially including cardio - will make a more functional body, says Pilates expert Hollie Grant. ‘The heart is a muscle that needs to be worked to be strong. You might not enjoy cardio, but anything that gets you out of breath is a good idea to do regularly.’
4) Is it time to cut out sugar?
‘We found our minds were clearer when we cut out processed sugar,’ said Leah of The Hardihood, raw confectionary creators. ‘If I eat ice cream, it wipes out the rest of the day. It’s to do with how quickly your body produces insulin in response to the sugar,’ says her business partner Daisy. ‘White sugar spikes your blood sugar much more quickly, so makes it drop more quickly.’ And that’s when you can feel tired, both in brain and body. Switch to natural forms of sugar, such as coconut sugar, maple syrup and rice malt syrup. Not only do they affect blood sugar less extremely, they also contain extra nutrients. Coconut sugar, for example, contains zinc, iron, antioxidants and inulin, a fibre your good gut bacteria love.