With national events like Stoptober happening in the month of October and lots of people getting more tuned in to wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle, ‘giving up’ unhealthy habits is very on key right now. With Christmas gluttony just around the corner, I wanted to give some advice for those of you who want to start the January detox early…because a body is not just for Christmas right…it’s for life…so let’s treat our bodies like the temples they are!
Let’s face it; every single one of us is addicted to something, from coffee to chocolate, processed food, or sugar (which one nutritionist told me is more addictive than cocaine!), Or even more harmful substances such as alcohol or cigarettes. There’s also shopping, gambling, social media addiction, drama, pain; the list is endless really in our modern day lives.
I personally don’t like the term giving up… it sounds defeatist or like you are depriving yourself…no, let’s indulge ourselves…yes! Doesn’t that sound good!?…Let’s pamper ourselves... let’s let go of the bad stuff and then we will have room to let in all the more yummy, self nurturing and mood boosting amazingness that our bodies, souls and minds deserve! We are not giving up…we are letting go and letting in!
As a massage therapist in Bristol I often get asked what I did in order to let go of drinking, smoking and eating processed foods. Here are some natural tools to aid the process of letting go and some of the more nurturing activities you can let into your life!
1.Vitamin B Increase the amount of Vitamin B in your diet or take Vitamin B supplements: This can increase your energy levels and boost your mood when those blue moments hit.
2. Mindfulness meditation: Vipassana meditation teaches the mind not to react to the emotions and thoughts that result in harmful behaviour. It is possible through meditation to have a calmer mind. It teaches you to let go of negative thoughts and actions and to let these thoughts, cravings and addictions rise, observe and pass without having to take action or follow those destructive thoughts down the rabbit hole! (Something we can probably all relate to; have you ever been at work, looked something up on Google, and found yourself an hour later looking at cute cat videos before you have even realised what’s happened?...ok maybe just me!) Meditation and mindfulness based relapse prevention has been clinically proven to be more effective than a traditional relapse prevention program in decreasing substance use and heavy drinking up to one year later.
3.Regular Massage: It doesn’t matter which type or where, sports massage, Thai massage, massage at home or massage in the workplace, incorporating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all of the stages of quitting an addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. The physical, emotional and spiritual components of recovery all can be directly benefited by the healing power of therapeutic touch.
Massage has the ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol…we could all do with less of those! and It has been positively documented that massage is able to decrease anxiety, depression, agitation, and cravings. It is also well known that dopamine is significantly involved in addiction and that dopamine levels are lower than average during the withdrawal process and into early recovery until brain chemistry normalizes. There have been findings in studies that a regular massage regime produced long-term results of increasing dopamine levels. The fact that massage naturally increases dopamine levels, and decreases cortisol levels makes it a perfect addition to a standard detoxification program. I have regular massage at least twice a month.
4. Yoga; I cannot recommend yoga enough. It helps focus the mind, relaxes you and keeps you fit and healthy. And if you’re feeling lazy or simply want to stretch your body to new lengths and incredible shapes, or are just beginning yoga and want someone to give you a gentle led introduction by moving your body for you, I would recommend Thai massage.
5. Nutrition and Biochemical restoration: I have found that a diet high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats like those found in fatty fish, nuts, and flax seeds is beneficial. From a nutritional perspective, an individual in early recovery can improve mood and fight off depression, anxiety, and stress by incorporating foods that contain an ample amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids, complete proteins, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals. These foods will also help the recovering addict’s mind—provide essential building blocks for depleted neurotransmitters, for example—as well as the body, promoting healing of all systems and tissues damaged by malnutrition.
So go on it’s time to let go, and let the good stuff in. Put down that glass of wine or Facebook binge. Book yourself a massage or a Thai yoga massage today with Relax Bristol Massage, go on a healthy shop to the local greengrocer, or find a local mediation group like the Amitabha centre on Gloucester Road and sign up for a class. Hey why not do all of the above! You will be feeling fabulous in no time!