Gut Health and Happiness – Is there a link?

Gut Health and Happiness – Is there a link?

You better believe it! There’s a strong link between gut health and happiness.

As you’re juggle life’s challenges big and small, while keeping all the balls of family, work, relationships and your health all balanced in the air. You may have overlooked an essential piece of your overall well being and happiness – your microbiome.

Did you know you have more bacteria in your body than cells in your body?

Scary isn’t it!! Well, these bacteria live in your gut, in your mouth, on your skin, in fact all over. Now they can be your friend or foe depending on the balance. You ideally want loads of the good guys that help to make your nutrients, decrease inflammation, help to digest your food and enable you to feel happy, energised and clear headed.

A healthy gut microbiome controls your ability to deal with stress, and that starts in your gut. If you have messed-up digestion, you’ll have a diminished ability to deal with stressful situations. And without the ability to release stress and get to a happy mind space, you end up building a higher and higher threshold for stress.

Your gut health is about way more than just digestion.

 

Let’s find out how gut health and happiness are linked.

 

Creates healthy immune system.

Did you know 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut? Right where the bulk of your microbiome lives. So protecting your gut barrier, crowding out and killing bad bacteria and infections and allergies all help your immune system play it’s A game.

What does this mean for you? Well, when your immune system is humming along, protecting you from bad guys and welcoming friends in, you can put the pedal to the metal and go after your dreams. Fewer sick days and more time to enjoy life and be productive.

 

Natural energy boost.

I’m sure no one would say no to more real energy – it’s the fuel of life. Helping you to blitz through jam-packed schedules, endless deadlines, and often having little time to relax in today’s on-the-go culture. So, many people rely on caffeine and energy drinks to stay ahead of the game. Did you know your good gut bacteria can help you maintain your day-to-day energy levels naturally? No sugar and caffeine required.

How does it work? Well your microbiome helps to break down and digest all the food you eat so you can up take the nutrients you need to feel great. It also produces energy boosting B vitamins and keeps your blood sugar balanced, so no more mid-afternoon humps.

Your good bacteria cranks up your sleep quality so you are recharged and at your best producing and regulating important neurotransmitters and amino acids, like serotonin and tryptophan.

 

Helps you find and maintain your ideal weight.

Not being at your ideal weight can affect your energy levels, your mood, your hormones, your cognitive function, and even your immunity.

Where does your microbiome fit in? Well, it supports your metabolism and a healthy weight by producing enzymes that help digest food and absorb nutrients. So, no more overeating yet being malnourished, wavering blood sugar levels so you’re constantly searching for that next sugar fix and plenty of hormones that tell your brain when you’re full.

If you can get to that weight that is perfect for your frame, you’ll be on track to enjoying all the benefits of a performance-ready body and mind that are ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

 

Sharpens your focus.

Say goodbye to brain fog. Think of all the energy you’ll save when your clarity is dialled up. Did you know your gut is your second brain?

You see your microbiome communicates with your brain via the vagus nerve, where good bacteria send mind-boosting chemicals and messages to the brain that improve your memory and cognitive function.

A gut that doesn’t have billions of good bacteria can get out of balance and overrun with yeast and bad bacteria, producing chemicals and by-products that are toxic to the brain—leading to brain fog and memory problems.

This is also where your warrior gut barrier is so important. If you don’t have enough of the good guys standing guard, the barrier can become “leaky” and allow toxins into your bloodstream that negatively affect your brain. Focusing on the health of your gut microbiome can help ensure that your brain is getting all the communication it needs to support you.

 

Boosts and balances your mood

Your gut and brain are inextricably linked, so a disruption in either one has the capacity to seriously affect the other. Your gut bacteria produces more than 90% of all the serotonin, the “happy” chemical that plays a role in everything from mood and appetite to sleep in your body. Your gut microbiome also lowers cortisol (the “stress” hormone) levels, turns down anxiety, decreases depression and lowers inflammation that can cause loads of emotional and physical health challenges.

When it comes to living your happiest life, staying positive may just be the key to realizing all your goals. A healthy population of good gut bacteria will keep your mood balanced and high.

 

Glowing skin

Your skin can be the first sign that your gut isn’t going well – breakouts, infection, dullness. When your gut is absorbing nutrients—thanks to your good bacteria—and getting rid of toxins and chemicals, your whole body is better for it and your skin glows it!

When fungus, yeast, and bad bacteria overrun your microbiome, it leads to chronic, systemwide inflammation that shows up as acne, redness, irritation, dry patches, fine lines, and even premature aging.

Your skin also has its own unique microbiome that plays a huge role in a healthy complexion. Not only do good bacteria in your dermal layers discourage the growth of nasty bacteria that can cause problems, but they produce substances like hyaluronic acid that plumps and moisturizes skin, and ceramide that strengthens and firms the skin barrier.

Healthy skin and a glowing complexion really do start from the inside out!

 

Radiant smile.

Did you know that your mouth has a microbiome as well? Beneficial bacteria in your oral cavity are your immune system’s first line of defence and have an enormous effect on the health of your teeth, gums, and even your breath. Harmful bacteria often cause tooth cavities and gum disease that can affect your radiant smile.

Research shows that smiling can improve your mood, lower your stress response, increase your productivity, and make you more creative—and make you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others. Now that’s a win-win!

One of the biggest issues with having an unhealthy gut is that it leads to leaky gut syndrome, which in turn leads to toxins entering the circulatory system and eventually the brain. This causes lower levels of happiness, mood disorders, and disease.

Need help getting your microbiome in tip top shape? Click here to book online.

Hoping this article helped you understand your body a little better. Know anyone who would benefit from it as well, please pass it on.

Loads of gut health and happiness, Julie xo

5 Ways To Lift Your Spirits When You’re Feeling Down

5 Ways To Lift Your Spirits When You’re Feeling Down

We all have techniques we depend on to lift our spirits when we’re feeling down about ourselves or our lives.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise L. Hay

A while back I realized something about my spirit lifting practices that I’d found most effective – some were outward facing and others inward facing.

Now, outward facing or external validation is when you lift your mood through appreciation or approval from other people. Whereas inward facing or internal validation is when you accept your own feelings in a non-judgmental and loving way and then let them go.

It’s not about ‘getting OVER things’ rather moving through them, which involves acceptance, processing and integrating. It can be tough but always worth it! I call it the breakdown before the breakthrough.

My aha moment was that internal validation is a core foundation of self love and self care.

How do you lift your spirits? Is it outward facing or inward facing or a mix of both?

 Getting help from others is only one part of the equation. We also need to be able to validate, support, and help ourselves.

As a healer, you create a space for healing but the person has to walk the journey.

With this in mind, I’ve come up with a few ideas to create a little more balance in my support system, making myself a more central part of it.

 

If you’re also looking to increase your capacity to lift your spirits so you can depend less on validation from others, you may find these ideas helpful:

1. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “What do I need right now?”

I’ve got better at this through practice. It can feel clunky at first.

I schedule in practice “what do I need right now?” time every night between 9pm and 10pm. And I so look forward to it! It builds an internal validation muscle that’s strong so you can apply it in your life any time.

If you’re feeling down, or down on yourself, ask yourself: “What does my body need? What does my mind need? What does my spirit need?” Or otherwise expressed: What will make you feel better, more stable, healthier, and more balanced?

You may find that you need to nurture yourself with a relaxing mineral salt bath, practice deep breathing or meditation to clear your head, journal to express and process your feelings or drink a relaxing herbal tea.

This is what the act of validating yourself looks like. Whenever you address your needs, you reinforce to yourself that they are important, regardless of whatever you did or didn’t do previously.

It is a sign of strength and what you are willing to do for yourself.

 

2. Make a “you” section in your daily gratitude journal.

Gratitude journals help you recognise and celebrate all the good things in your day. Take 5-10 minutes each evening to appreciate and give yourself some credit.

Note down the things you’ve done well, the choices you’ve made that you’re proud of, the progress you’ve made, and even the things that required no action at all—for example, the time you gave yourself to simply be.

When you regularly praise yourself, self-validation becomes a habit you can depend on when you need it the most.

 

3. Before seeking external validation, ask yourself, “What do I hope that person tells me?” Then tell it to yourself.

Odds are, you aren’t always looking for someone’s advice or opinion when you come to them with a painful story. You’re looking for them to confirm you didn’t do anything wrong—or if you did, that you’re not a bad person for it.

Essentially, you’re looking for someone else to see the best in you and believe in you. Give yourself what you’re seeking from them before making that call. Then by all means, make it if you want to.

The goal isn’t to stop reaching out to others. It’s to be there for yourself.

The words you want to hear from someone else will be far more powerful if you fully believe what they’re saying.

 

4. Recognize when you’re judging your feelings.

If you’re in the habit of feeling bad about feeling down or insecure, or generally having emotional reactions to emotions, you will inevitably end up feeling stuck and helpless.

Get in the habit of telling yourself, “I have a right to feel how I feel.” This will help you understand your feelings and work through them much more easily, because you won’t be so deeply embedded in negativity about yourself.

Once you’ve accepted your feelings, you’ll then be free to seek support for the actual problem—not you self-judgment about having to deal with it.

 

5. Let the adult version of you talk to your inner child.

Many of us didn’t receive the type of love, support, and kindness we needed growing up, and this may have taught us to treat ourselves harshly and critically.

When you’re looking for that warm, fuzzy feeling that emerges when someone you trust tells you, “Everything is going to be okay,” imagine yourself saying it to your younger self.

Picture that little kid who tried so hard, meant no harm, and just wanted to be loved and cherished. This will likely help in deflating your self-criticism and fill you a genuine sense of compassion for yourself.

Once again, this doesn’t need to be an alternative to seeking compassion from others; it just provides a secure foundation from which you’ll be better able to receive that.

Do you have any techniques for lifting your spirits that validate yourself?

 

Now, it’s time to convert words into action and set you up for success!

Let’s start with Step 1: “What do I need right now?”

To turn on the self care juices I asked Crystal at Ecology Skincare to put together a self-care package for YOU.

So, here we have it….

Replenishing Mineral Salts (packed with magnesium and trace elements) to relax, detox, calm and soothe your beautiful body while you’re having a bath or foot bath.

As a BONUS,  you’ll also receive –

  • Guided relaxation audio – That you can use while you’re soaking in your bath or footbath to help you relax and unwind …even further. It’s like a super boost to your self-care timeout
  • Guided 3 minute breathing space audio
  • Stick notes pack – Put them on your bathroom mirror,your fridge, computer …or anywhere as a physical reminder to take time out for yourself

 

I’d love 500g bag                            I’d love 1kg bag

If there’s someone you know, who might need a little help to lift their spirits, please share to spread the love.

 

May your spirit soar,  love Julie xo

Making Changes – What Hat Are You Wearing?

Making Changes – What Hat Are You Wearing?

Our mind works on different levels to make and maintain change.

Sometimes we use the metaphor of putting on “Different Hats” in different areas of our life. We may have heard the saying “I need to put on my thinking cap”, or “I’ve got my business hat on now”.

This metaphor can also be equated to the different levels of our mind.

It’s helpful to know that different levels of our mind control different areas of function, thinking, behavior, feeling and very importantly… our ability to make, change or keep patterns.

To understand more let’s look at the different Levels of the Mind… the Unconscious, Subconscious and Conscious.

The deepest level is what we know as the “Unconscious” mind. We might call this the “Beenie Brain“.

The unconscious mind runs our automated functions; just to name a few:

  • breathing
  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • eye movements
  • digestion
  • metabolism

It’s like wearing a Beenie we hardly even notice… it’s just there!

The next level is what we know as the “Subconscious” mind. We could think of this as the “Fascinator Brain”.

It’s like those fancy fascinators you see ladies wearing at the races. There’s quite a bit going on, it’s more imaginative with lots more bells and whistles!

The subconscious mind is creative and does not differentiate between reality and imagination.

So when a pattern is suggested through life experience or in hypnosis the brain is more likely to simply accept it. The subconscious mind is where patterns are made.

Patterns may be unhelpful such as  –

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • phobias
  • pain
  • smoking
  • overeating
  • poor sleep

Or helpful and desirable like –

  • creativity
  • learning
  • confidence
  • performance at school/ work
  • riding a bike
  • speaking a language

Once a pattern has been created it is stored in the “Conscious” mind.

This is like the Serious Hat we wear to a work function or business event.

It’s all business, no frills…because the “Conscious mind is our version of “Reality.

The conscious mind is really important because it keeps our patterns going. This is why a persons version of reality can seem very set.

This is great if patterns are helpful. For example, a strong belief in your own values, resilience or the people you love.

But sometimes we hold onto unhelpful patterns. Even when somebody presents a logical argument, we may cling on to what we believe is reality to us.

For example, you can tell someone who has aerophobia, (i.e. a fear of flying) all the safety statistics and rational reasons why flying is a safe and wonderful way to travel. But it doesn’t change the belief they hold as reality, that it is frightening, dangerous and potentially life threatening.

We can talk to them til we’re blue in the face! And in traditional psychology we often do talk with patients until we’re blue in the face….because we are talking with their conscious mind.

They are learning about their triggers, patterns of feeling, thinking, behaving and functioning which is ok, but often the “problem” pattern itself isn’t changing.

The conscious mind is not great at changing patterns it’s only great at holding them as our version of reality.

Patterns are made and changed in the subconscious. So if you want a new pattern the subconscious is the place to create it.

This is where clinical hypnotherapy with an experienced therapist is a powerful tool. It accesses the subconscious mind and its patterns at the level where they are created.

Remember…Your Brain Is Running Your Life. It is your brain that has created these patterns and so, it is also capable of creating something different.

The subconscious mind is the Pattern Maker and the Pattern Breaker.

Every pattern is susceptible to change, you just have to have the right HAT on! 

So if you’re ready for a change grab your Hat and Book In to see…

Perri at Mt Eliza Wellbeing Sanctuary by calling 9787 2111 or email any queries to perri@wellbeingsanctuary.com.au

Perri Curtis, Clinical Hypnotherapy-Psychology, Wellbeing Sanctuary, Wooralla Dr & Bundara Cres, Mt Eliza 03 9787 2111

I love sharing other resources that may help you on your journey through life. So, if you liked what you’ve read and feel it can help someone you know please share it around. It may just help someone you know get unstuck.

7 Steps To Identify What Areas of Your Life Need Self Love

7 Steps To Identify What Areas of Your Life Need Self Love

Us humans are such complicated beings, it’s no wonder we become overwhelmed and confused when we think we are doing something right, yet the results show the opposite.

[ezcol_1half]The Wellness Wheel, have you heard of it?

Do you know its benefits?

How can it help you?

There are many variations of this tool and let me tell you it’s definitely an invaluable method to help you manage your everyday struggles and to gain an understanding of different areas of your life.[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]7 steps to finding your truth empowerment[/ezcol_1half_end]

(more…)

Time to Get Rid of Sabotaging Patterns?

Time to Get Rid of Sabotaging Patterns?

Time to get rid of sabotaging patterns?

Early on in my life I noticed those who had a spark and those that didn’t. To me it made a huge impact on the quality, joy and the way a person shared their unique gifts with the world. There was something engaging and magnetic about those with a spark that drew you to what they had to offer. Whether it be your high school English teacher, local hairdresser, delivery man or sales person.

This intrigue turned into my passion for helping those whose spark has dimmed and need a guiding hand to restore the natural spark they were born with.

Our bodies and minds are complex so there are plenty of places to get stuck. When I work with clients I start at the base with your biochemistry and daily patterns and declutter and build from there. Once you’ve got the foundations strong and stable you can go forth.

Hence I’d like you to meet Perri Curtis – brain pattern breaker and maker extraordinaire.

I’ve been working alongside Perri for the last 18 months and she’s a fabulous resource to help those who find that a pattern is difficult to break consciously.

I’ll get Perri to explain the rest…

How Does Your Brain Run Your Life?

Whatever is happening in the brain is happening in the body.  We hear a lot these days about managing patterns like stress, depression and anxiety.

In actual fact everything we know such as how to think, feel or do has a pattern in the brain. These patterns are called “neural maps”.

Patterns may be unhelpful such as  –

  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • phobias,
  • pain,
  • smoking,
  • overeating,
  • poor sleep

Or helpful and desirable like –

  • creativity,
  • learning,
  • confidence,
  • performance at school/ work,
  • riding a bike
  • speaking a language

 

“Angela had severe anxiety and agoraphobia and couldn’t leave the house. Anxiety was cluttering up her life, draining all her energy and resources as she just coped to get through.

She came to me with five things on her list to fix. I said, ‘I’m going to treat the one thing that everything else is hinged on, and that’s anxiety.’

When I treated her anxiety, she got her energy back because having anxiety 24/7 sucks. You go to sleep with it in your face, wake up with it in your face, and all day long you’re trying to cope.

She had no interest in eating well or exercising or even having a bath to nurture herself. She was just living hour to hour to get through. I eliminated her anxiety brain pattern in a few sessions that had become locked in, through hypnotherapy.

Once that was cleared she had energy. Now her question is, ‘What can I do to feel good?’”

 

It’s interesting to know that our brain has created these patterns and so, is also capable of creating something different. This is where clinical hypnotherapy is a powerful tool and can be used to great advantage.

 

People often ask me, “What is the difference between psychology and clinical hypnotherapy?”

As a psychologist and clinical hypnotherapist with a background in neuroscience, it’s a good question!

The easy answer is that-

  • psychology deals with the conscious mind which is about our version of reality and keeping our patterns going. 
  • clinical hypnotherapy deals with the subconscious mindwhich is about imagination and creation.

The subconscious mind is the Pattern Maker and the Pattern Breaker. 

 

Traditional psychology is great for learning about ourselves and the origins of our version of “reality”. We can learn about our triggers for patterns of feeling, thinking, behaving and functioning, and create strategies to deal with them. But sometimes unfortunately we still get stuck in the pattern.

The subconscious mind, as the Pattern Maker-Pattern Breaker, does not differentiate between reality and imagination so when suggestions for change are made they are more readily accepted.

Any brain pattern is susceptible to change….and the aim in clinical hypnotherapy is to replace old unhelpful patterns and their neural maps with new ones that are helpful and desirable.

For example, in anxiety and depression, neural maps have been activated for a very long time in many patients and they get bigger and stronger the more they are activated. 

So, in clinical hypnotherapy we don’t do lots of sessions that include lots of talking about the issue because that can actually activate a pattern and neural map further.

We simply do –

  1. Sufficient investigation into a patient’s background to understand what the pattern is, how it may have begun, how their brain processes information best and identify what changes would be most desirable.
  2. Then get the brain into a suggestible state which is like daydreaming or relaxing. This is what is called “hypnotic state”.

In fact, it is just a brain wave pattern. It’s the same one we are in when we relax, daydream, meditate, imagine an outfit when we’re online shopping or zoning out at the computer!

It’s a normal brain state that we experience every day. In this state called Alpha-Theta brain waves, the mind will create new patterns quite easily that can begin to be effective immediately.

 

So if your brain is running your life…What is running your brain? 

If the answer is “old patterns” that don’t serve you, then take action and take back control!

Because when your brain changes…everything changes.

You can book in to see Perri at Mt Eliza Wellbeing Sanctuary by calling 9787 2111 or email any queries to perri@wellbeingsanctuary.com.au

Perri Curtis (Clinical Hypnotherapy-Psychology, Wellbeing Sanctuary, Wooralla Dr & Bundara Cres, Mt Eliza)
03 9787 2111

Hoping that’s given you food for thought and a few ideas to digest. If you know someone who would benefit from this, please share it.

Is it time you turned your Fizzle into Sizzle?

Much love Julie XX

(Naturopath, Pharmacist, Life Coach, Mount Martha) 0438 593523

6 Lessons Spain’s Camino de Santiago Taught Me

6 Lessons Spain’s Camino de Santiago Taught Me

I’m just back from cycling a 300km portion of the Camino de Santiago Trail, a bucket list trip I’d been contemplating for over 10 years now. Sure, I may not have walked it like the traditionalists, and I only did over a third of the trail, but I did manage to do it with my family (teenage boys and all) over 9 action packed days. A great experience we’ll never forget! I’m sure I’ll be back again to hike or cycle more of the trail and add to my story collection.

So what is Camino de Santiago?

It’s one of Spain’s most popular ancient pilgrimage routes (the way of St James) marked by yellow arrows and signature blue and yellow scallop shells. It starts at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France and goes right across to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. 800km in total trekked by over 200,000 pilgrims per year.

The trip is sensational for breaking free of the routine of everyday life, to live simply, immerse yourself in the elements, new landscapes, cultures and meet adventurous new friends from all corners of the globe with fascinating stories to match.

I’ll never forget riding past ancient Spanish castles, over Roman bridges, winding down sweeping mountain passes, cruising over medieval cobble stoned paths, glancing over beautiful vineyards and past breath-taking villas. The history, wild flowers, bubbling brooks, local people, wind in your hair, delicious homemade food, camaraderie of fellow pilgrims sharing moments and stories. The delight of a warm shower and soft bed at the end of a day of adventure. Complete immersion in the experience – feeling, tasting, touching and exploring it all.

Here’s six useful tips if you’re planning to tackle the Camino de Santiago yourself:

 

1. Make it your own

 When you’re in Spain, doing the miles along this ancient trail, you, my friend are a pilgrim. Please don’t get lost in whether you’re a real pilgrim or not because you did (or didn’t) do it the traditional way.

This might mean you spent each night in luxury accommodation instead of hostels, only did the last 100kms, cycled it or took twice a long as everybody else.

It’s the diversity of the pilgrims that make it such a special experience. You’ll find the reasons people do this pilgrimage, varies as much as their journey. Some are overcoming addictions or hardships, others are taking it on behalf of others that couldn’t make it, some physical adventure, some for spiritual enlightenment or even not really sure why.

Honour your choices and be unashamedly you.

 

2. Embrace the challenges

 You know there will be many! It’s guaranteed.

There’s nothing like a challenge to highlight your daily patterns and gain insight about yourself.

Talking of challenges. There was a testing time on our recent Camino journey in searing 30 deg shadeless heat where my youngest son had a flat tyre and a bolt that wouldn’t allow it to be fixed. So here I am left behind with a distressed son, no map, no phone reception, no address of destination, minimal Spanish, roughly 6km to go, lost, one flat tyre and no help in sight. Options were to cry, panic or get resourceful. I chose number 3 after a small window of panic. I’m only human…lol!

With streaming tears from my 14 year old we ventured across fallow corn fields to join our rightful path ever so slowly with the disabled bike. Hours later we finally reached town and stumbled across familiar faces. Crisis resolved. There were big lessons learned right there. Lessons learnt for me  – carry your own map, know where you’re going, ask for help sooner rather than later, keep following the yellow arrows always and learn more Spanish…lol!

 

3. Integrate the lessons

 Acknowledge the lessons you learnt from the days before and integrate them as you move forward. Found this out the hard way! Pain and discomfort are great teachers.

 

 4. Honour your own rhythm.

You’ll find your rhythm half way through the first day. Go faster and you’ll burn out quickly. Slower and you’ll get frustrated.

Quiet persistence pays off and beats showy bursts any day. The Camino will show you that.

There’s plenty of trekkers who have charged out of the gates only to break down midway through the journey.

Remember the Camino isn’t a race and you’ll find your fitness improves every day. To my surprise I got better as the days went on. At times five hours into the ride I was at my peak.

Be kind to your body, keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion, and take rests when you need them. Drink lots of water and take a magnesium supplement to help your muscles recover.

 

5. Do the work

Enthusiasm is great. But, you need to put in the training before you hit the track. Nothing can make up for miles in the legs on the mode of transport you’re taking. I learnt that!

It might not be the case for everyone, but, if you spend the bulk of your time sitting at a desk, easing into the walk is a good option. There’s no shame in breaking up your first few days into “shorter” stints: start with 15 to 20km days, and gradually increase the distance from there.

 

6. Enjoy the journey

 Keep an open-mind, reserve judgement and enjoy the experience as it unfolds, for that’s where you’ll find the magic.

Be exactly where you are and soak it all in. Enjoy the mental space to mill over the meaning of life, review your priorities and burn in lasting memories.

Above all join in the catch cry exchanged amongst fellow pilgrims and local well wishers along the way – Buen Camino!  

It literally means  good road in Spanish, but it can also mean good path, both physical and spiritual.

 

Do you have a bucket list trip simmering? Love to hear about it?

Buen Camino!

Julie XX