July 22nd, 2020
We are living through tumultuous times. Between the global pandemic and the worldwide outcry for social change, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I know I do.
Alarming footage is everywhere, there’s a hodgepodge of different ideas, and it seems like everyone is on edge.
That’s why it is incredibly important to cultivate a few practices that will calm and center you – within minutes.
If you’re in a constant state of fight-or-flight, your body’s vital processes slowly shut down, and your immune and digestive systems are the first to suffer. BUT – if you can catch yourself in those challenging moments before they turn into anxiety, your body can bounce back quickly!
Here are two of the biggest allies I have in my arsenal to nourish and calm my mind.
1) The magic of magnesium
There are a lot of supplements out there and trying to find what’s right for you can sometimes be dizzying. But studies have shown that up to 75% of adults in the US are not meeting the 320 mg (women) or 420 mg (men) of magnesium needed daily.
Why is this a problem?
Magnesium is a vital nutrient that your body needs to make and use energy in your cells. It also stops your body from absorbing toxins that you come into contact with in your everyday life!
But the big reason you absolutely need magnesium is because it pulls the plug on your brain’s reflexive responses to stress, so you produce fewer stress hormones!
Otherwise, when you’re constantly stressed, your hippocampus creates an excess of cortisol, which eventually can lead to big problems like the inability to retain memories.
Here’s an awesome recipe for plant-based magnesium-rich granola bars!
Magnesium Power Bars
- 2 ½ cups oatmeal
- ¼ cup almonds – 1 oz, 80 mg of magnesium
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds – 1 oz, 168 mg of magnesium
- ¼ cup cashews – 1 oz, 74 mg of magnesium
- ? cup honey/molasses/maple syrup
- ? cup peanut butter + 2 tablespoons, 49 mg of magnesium
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, but yummy)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt salt
- ½ cup berries or chocolate chips (or both)
- Pour oats and nuts onto a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Shake the pan and flip larger pieces over. Then bake for another 3 minutes.
- Combine liquid ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add in nuts and oats.
- Stir until completely combined.
- Transfer mixture to a large wax paper-lined cookie sheet and press flat.
- Freeze for at least 3 hours.
- Slice and enjoy
2) Deep Belly Breathing
First of all, what is “deep belly breathing”? Diaphragmatic breathing is when you breathe in with enough depth that your stomach (specifically the area of the diaphragm) expands followed by your lungs.
According to a study at Harvard, belly breathing helps oxygen travel all over the body. This calms down racing hearts and stimulates the vagus nerve which lowers the body’s need to produce stress hormones.
If you can get yourself into the habit of practicing deep belly breathing 1-4 times a day, you can ease tension in your body, decrease your anxiety levels, find deeper sleep, and boost your energy.
Here’s how to do it
- Find a safe place — somewhere quiet where you can lay flat on your back or sit with your back flat against a wall. When your back is straight, it’s easier to notice the depth of your breath.
- Take 3 normal breaths.
- Place your hands on your stomach, just above your belly button.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose and try to expand your stomach so much that your hands rise with it.
- Hold for just a second and notice how far your hands have risen on your belly.
- Now breathe out slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat 5 times. Each time, try to relax even deeper into the breath.
These are two incredibly simple, and surprisingly powerful, additions to your daily routine. Be sure to be kind to your mind every day, but especially during these stressful times.
About The Author
Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as director of “The Sacred Science” documentary and author of “The Sacred Science: An Ancient Healing Path For The Modern World” stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.