Healing & Emotional Wellness – Best Reads this week

This week: Brain fog: why you suddenly have it and foods to eat to help focus; 5 minutes of breath training improves health as much as 30 mins of running, 6 Sober ways to relax, and the opposite of toxic positivity.

I’ve summarised the main take-home messages from each link, and made a little index so you can get to the bits you are interested in quicker.

Best Reads This Week on Healing & Emotional Health

  1. The opposite of Toxic Positivity
  2. 8 Foods to improve your focus, from a neuroscientist
  3. Why you’re suddenly dealing with brain fog
  4. 6 ways to relax without alcohol
  5. Resistance breathing is keggles for your lungs
  6. Apps and sites making my life calmer this week

1. The opposite of toxic positivity – you ever notice how it’s usually the people who’ve felt the most pain that find the most beauty and meaning in life? That’s not a coincidence. It’s called “tragic optimism” and it’s so much healthier than pretending everything happens for a reason or is a sign things are going your way.

2. 8 foods to snack on for focus and productivity according to a neuroscientist There interesting thing is how she says our state of mind really affects our digestion. In other words, you need to rest if you want to focus.

What foods to eat for focus?

Eggs, avocado, dark chocolate, adaptogenic mushrooms like reishi and lions mane (check with your dr if you have autoimmunity), complex carbs, oily fish, nuts and tummeric.

“lion’s mane mushroom may help with focus, mood regulation, and memory building,”

 Caroline Leaf, PhD

Foods to eat for Brain fog

Complex carbs and lean protien: e.g. whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans, and yogurt.

3. why you’re suddenly dealing with brainfog hint: chronic stress, lack of sleep, burnout, possible underlaying health issues. But I found this part interesting:

Being frazzled creates toxins that can build up in your brain and impact your focus, concentration, and memory”

Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D.

4. 6 alcohol free ways to relax at the end of a stressful day Active relaxation (i.e dance to a song, do some HIIT, go for a walk), breathing exercises, find a craft you like.. (crafts aren’t always with paper or yarn – get some ideas here), listen to music that soothes you, going outside, and of course..stop doom scrolling.

Try this breath bubble anytime you need a break.

5. Resistance breathing may improve your health. Powerbreath is H.I.I.T/ Keggles for your lungs.

Paywalled, so I’ll summarise:

The researchers asked participants to complete a high-intensity form of inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) that involved inhaling vigorously through a hand-held breathing trainer 30 times a day six days a week. (Hence my comparison to keggles, cos damn. But they say this only takes 5 minutes)

“Men and women in the IMST group had reduced their systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood-pressure reading, it’s the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body — by an average of nine points.” which is apparently the same as taking medication.

The researches state that the results are comparable to doing any physical activity that gets your lungs working hard, but it needs to be a 30 minute activity.

The benefit of breath training is that this is a shorter means to achieve better overall health. One you can do at your desk or one a rainy day.

I know that since the pandemic started I haven’t felt ok to run maskless, and with my lung condition & asthma, running while masked is also not an option. So I’ll probably get a power breath.

Just coconut water and this view to relax. Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Apps & sites making my life calmer this week

  • I upgraded my lastpass finally so it works on desktop and laptop, not just mobile. It takes a little while to load in safari compared to chrome, so I kind of wonder if 1password is better, since that’s the one apple is always promoting. But I’ve been using lastpass forever and all my passwords are in it. The perk of having a paid subscription is that it shows me how many passwords have been reused or need to be stronger and alerts me if any of my passwords are found on the dark web, meaning someone has the ability to log into one of my accounts and present themselves as me, access my files on cloud services or buy stuff.
  • “Organise with katie”, on etsy. I had stopped using my ringed planner because “I don’t do anything anymore”, but she has a weekly layout that lets me see my todo list for the week and and a very minimal weekly calendar for the essentials. I’ll still use my bullet journal for a day by day view, but drawing out the monthly layout in my bullet journal isn’t working with an energetic toddler who wants to grab whatever I’m holding.
  • The Philofaxy website for having a bunch of free planner printables. I downloaded to do lists, and the month on one page with notes.
  • I am sober app. I’ve been using this app since April. I wasn’t drinking “too much”, but it was the degree to which I would look forward to that drink and then feel like it wasn’t “enough” that made me want to change my relationship with alcohol.

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